By Fred Foster
When I first met the Lord Jesus Christ as a 21 year old university student, I came into the most different surroundings of my life. I not only encountered the Lord of Glory, I found a way of life based on the Word of God. I found people who had committed themselves to living their lives according to the depiction of Holy Writ.
I found a people dissimilar to others in society around them. They believed in high morals, a strict modesty of dress, women to have long hair with men having short hair, and women not dressing like men. Their preachers taught against smoking, and this was long before the medical community said it was a detriment to health. What a wonderful church I suddenly found myself in.
What do the scriptures say?
Two scriptures stood out prominently: “Love not the world, neither the things of the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15) and “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14).
With the enthusiasm of a new convert and hunger to know all I could about God, I began studying His Word. The cross, New Testament salvation (Acts 2:38), walking prayerfully with Jesus Christ, and especially the standards of separation that made us different, along with the history, archaeology, and customs of the biblical people became a daily diet.
I wanted to make sure about what I was getting into. I already had a master plan for my life, but if I followed these people, it would drastically alter that future. That’s why I dug deeply into the Word.
I especially wanted to know about the lifestyle change. It would affect every area of my life, family, wife, children, and, when God soon called me to preach, the people I would be leading. I must be right. I must be biblical. I must be able to conscientiously look people in the eye and say that this is how God wants us to live.
The Bible Road Map
As I continued my study of the Bible, I found these people were directly in the middle of what the Bible teaches. I dedicated my life and ministry to what I found in the pages of this book that I was learning to love more and more. I believed the Bible was God’s Word to man and was the roadmap to victorious Christian living and to the eternal home in Glory. I didn’t want to deviate one iota from its pathway.
For fifty-seven years, I have been amongst the Jesus’ Name, Oneness people, and now into the 21st Century, we are marching. Stalwart soldiers who preached these marvelous truths have come and are now gone. They started and built great churches and then left them for the next generation. They ran their race well and died, hoping those they handed them to would continue their wonderful progress, having the courage to preach the New Birth message and keep the world out of the church of this last day.
Many and most have done and are doing a great job, and hope springs joyfully at the expectation of the future for these ministries. Some, sad to say, have loved this present world and have taken their ministries with them. You can’t tell the difference between their congregations and the world. The standards of dress (modesty, jewelry, make-up, hair, and women dressing like men) are so different. The lines of demarcation between them and the world around them are no longer there.
The Gospel still works.
Some are breaking down in their spirits. For them the journey has seemed long, and they have weakened and grown lethargic in their pilgrim travel. Some have cast their eyes over to the other camp, and it seems like it is so much easier. They are wondering about holding the line of the past. Others are telling them, “It’s a new day. Shake off the fetters of the old-timers. We could reach a lot more people if we weren’t holding to those old fogish ideas.”
When I hear that line or hear that someone is advocating it, I answer, “Seems strange that someone could say that.” I look around and see some of our churches that still hold this truth and the standards, and they are as large, and some larger, than the Trinitarian, charismatic, worldly churches in their cities. That argument doesn’t hold water. We have proven that in our own twin cities where I have ministered over 35 years.
It’s proven itself over and over. This Acts 2:38, God in Christ doctrine and separation from the world message is the powerful, saving “good news.” It empowered the early church to bring revival of truth to the 1st Century. It worked then; it worked throughout the last century to bring tens of thousands into the church, and it is working over here in the 21st Century. What a wonderful church.
Time to Rise up Strong
It is time to rise up strong and say, “We are well able to take the land.” Get a new hold on the horns of the altar. Rekindle the fire of the past, and know that through God you can take your city. Re-fire your congregation to believe it can happen. Get into the Book of Acts, and know that He is no respecter of persons. What He did for them, He will do for you. You are as important to your city or community and times as the Apostle Paul was to his. God will work with you just as He did for the early church. The Gifts of the Spirit are still flowing. Miracles are still happening. Start preaching the Book of Acts, believing that all things are possible with God.
You don’t need to change your holiness standards. If you think you are being held back in your success, standards are not the reason. Look somewhere else. Dropping them is not a magic formula to church growth. They are stabilizers to the revival God wants to give you.
I have seen men give up on the standards, thinking it would cause great growth in their congregation. I have then watched as they dwindled. Many people left in search of a church where Acts 2:38 and the separation message was preached strongly. People (youth and married couples especially) are hungry for the Bible centered preaching and teaching that give them a cause to stand for—something to challenge them as they lead their families in the ways of God.
We need to get down to business with God. Let Him show you the way. There are more ways than one to grow a church. Make sure you have taught and trained your church how to reach your city and are prepared with the proper organization to take care of them when they come. Plant your church and the families of your church on the solid rock. Let biblical truths come alive from the pulpit to the farthest pew.
What a wonderful end time church we are a part of. What promises God has given us for revival in this day: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh . . .” (Acts 2:17). God has promised tremendous things for his Bible believing, Acts 2:38, separated from the world church. Hang on, Pentecostals; if it hasn’t reached you yet, it’s on its way. This is God’s wonderful church.
The above article, “What a Wonderful Church” was written by Fred J. Foster. The article was excerpted from chapter 2 in Foster’s book, Bible Absolutes.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.