Is There An Apostolic Church In Your Future?
By Pentecom Chairman — Rev. W. Curtis Youn
This question demands consideration. It is not a question of whether a church will be in your future; it is a question of whether the church in your future will be Apostolic. History is replete with evidence that people and churches change. Sometimes those changes remove the heart and soul of the church so that the church is actually dead even though the social machinery continues to operate. The church of Sardis is a good example. Sardis existed on past glory, while claiming to be alive. The verdict of God was that it was dead (Revelation 3:1).
When the question first came to me, I resented its implication. To even ask “Is there an Apostolic church in your future?” suggested a possibility that I did not wish to entertain. I am a third generation Apostolic. This has been my life for more than sixty years. Everything about the Apostolic Church appeals to me. I never intend to be anything else. So with what I thought was righteous indignation, I was willing to dismiss the question.
But wait! The question would not go away. I have seen pictures of some who left the Oneness movement and are paraded in Trinitarian publications. Some were my friends and at one time felt just like I do, but now they have chosen another path. They seem to be quite content in their new world with their non-Apostolic friends and their total abhor-rence for Apostolic standards. If anything, they appear to have an even greater disdain for holiness standards than their new friends who have never known the way of holiness. Why did this happen, and how is it possible to go so far so quickly? The answers to these questions might surprise you. It often happens because the person has been offended and is bitter. Sometimes it is simply a cover-up for neglected consecration. Either of these attitudes will undermine your future.
Bitterness is a seed that grows exponentially in the human spirit. It produces an unpredictable harvest. A smaller amount of prayer and devotion, mixed with a reluctance to be obedient or submitted, will not lead to greater faith and more power. If I stumble in these areas of consecration, it will only be a matter of time until I stumble over the standards, and ultimately the doctrine. I may pay lip service to my roots, but if I lack these vital consecrations, Jesus
Christ will not be the Lord of my life.
Various denominations have been experimenting with ecumenism for many years. In the process, they have eliminated their boundary lines and lost their distinctions. One of the schemes of the ecumenist is to cultivate people with influence, and use them as bridges or corridors between the denominations. These people of influence are known as connectional people. When such ecumenical bridges connect Oneness believers with the trinitarian world, our loss is much greater than our gain. They become one-way corridors leading people into darkness instead of the light. Very few of those who cross over will ever return. I refuse to travel on these corridors of human influence. They are not bridges of revival; they are bridges of compromise.
Some may perceive me to be an isolationist. That is far from the truth. God has always demanded that His people be separated from people or things or places that weaken them. The tribe of Ephraim linked up with idols and became disconnected from God. These are the words of condemnation, proclaimed by the Old Testament prophet: “Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone” (Hosea 4:17). An ecumenist would probably suggest, He is on the cutting edge where new doors are being opened, so let us refrain from questioning his link to the idols. How different modern thought is from the thinking of Hosea, that holy prophet of old.
It is possible to predict the future of a movement by its direction. Many are therefore concerned because they see men of influence who appear to be moving or drifting toward compromise where the Oneness of God is a non-issue, and where matters of holiness and separation are dismissed as bondage. The people who have these concerns are not merely people who fear change; neither are they troublemakers or alarmists. For the most part, they are people of loyalty who are passionate about the Apostolic message. They stand in the category of those who believe in and promote revival. They are men and women of the Spirit. It would be wrong to dismiss their concerns as either divisive or trivial.
The landscape of the Church will no doubt change greatly over the next few years. The future will give to us new leaders with new agendas. A greater emphasis on education will give us greater knowledge. Many local churches will grow and expand into new and larger facilities. Goal-setting and visioncasting will fill our buildings and keep our machinery running at full speed. If all this is our objective, then let me tell you it is attainable without a smidgen of divine anointing. The Church can cease to be Apostolic even though it may continue to operate at full throttle.
To lose any part of the Apostolic message or any of its distinguishing characteristics would be the ultimate compromise. The greater tragedy for the Church is not death but compromise. In fact, death is preferable to compromise. But we do not have to choose between a dead church and a compromising church. We have the option of choosing an Apostolic church. Instead of giving heed to the voice of compromise that beckons us so relentlessly, let us follow the admonition of the scripture which tells us to “Earnestly contend for the faithwhich was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3).
The Above Material Was Published By The Apostolic World Report, August-September, 2001, Pages 4,5. This Material Is Copyrighted And May Be Used For Study & Research Purposes Only.