Today’s Cup of Bennie (Keeping the Faith part 4)

Oh Bennie, you make me weary.  I have had to deal with John Holdeman, Menno and others.  Now I find myself bogged down in the presumptuous and perilous writings of Bennie.  Is Bennie a nice man?  I don’t know.  I’ve never had dealings with him.  However, that is neither here nor there.  He apparently has some influence, in order to pen a book of such importance and have it be given credence all over the conference.  Gladwin Koehn writes a forward, in which he endorses the book quite soundly.  A church member without a mind to think for himself would lift it up to read and be quite taken with the presumed truths found therein.  I know there was a day when I was.  The book endorsed that which I already believed and I claimed every word as truth.

Let’s go back and take another look at the things we formerly didn’t examine closely enough.  I want you to go to page 124.  I am going to quote at length here.  
 
There is no place where loss of power would show up more quickly, should the conviction of the true church be lost, than in the area of church discipline.  Church discipline, as set forth in God’s Word, is a work of tremendous power.  It cleanses the church, it is corrective for the erring and fallen, and it removes reproach and scandal from the church, brought about by members who sin.  It is an exercise that is indispensable for the preservation of the church. A nation would be impotent if it had no provision for action when LAWS ARE BROKEN, (emphasis mine)  nor could it operate by only having laws without enforcing them.  So it is also impossible to operate the church without attention to disobedience.”
 
We all believe that the discipline exercised by the apostolic church was effective.  When discipline was applied, there was nothing else to do, nowhere else to go, but to resign oneself to the authority of the church.  Nowhere that is, but to the world, and then to be judged as apostate, lost and fallen until repentance took place.  For this to work, the fallen had to accept that the judgment of the church was binding and final.
 
My mind stumbles at the enormity of the error contained in the above passages.  The fact that you, Bennie were bold enough to write these words is enough to boggle the mind.  You freely admit that you have a power to enforce LAWS.   Jesus came to set us free from laws that could be enforced upon us by other men.  The law is now written in the heart of a believer. It can only be enforced by God.  This was the meaning of the birth, death and ressurection of Christ, to set us free from the law of sin and death.  Do you read the New Testament?  Allow me to quote some actual scripture…  
 
Col 2:14  “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;”
v. 16: “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days]:”
v. 18: “Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,”
v. 20: “Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,”
v. 21-23: “(Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.”
 
Friends, do these verses mean anything to you?  Do they seem to have anything in common with the words I just quoted from Bennie’s book?  Paul says that legalism is dead;  that system of satisfying God through a pattern of adherence to prescribed behaviors.  He says they do amount to “will worship and voluntary humility.”  I take this to mean you can put on a certain demeanor of holiness that has nothing to do with an inner transformation. Paul asks why, if you are dead with Christ to the rudiments of the world, you still subject to ordinances?  I won’t try to answer these questions for you, I will leave them for your conscience to wrestle.  
 
Let’s look at Romans 8:1: “[There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
v.2: “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”
v. 3: “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.”
v.4: “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
v.5: For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.”
 
My friends, how do you take these verses?  Paul is saying we are free from the law of sin and death.  The law worketh no good thing in us.  Walking according to the law is proof that we are not renewed in the spirit.  And yet, Bennie has no hesitation to let us know he has the POWER to enforce LAWS.  What is he thinking about?  The Old Testament already showed us that men enforcing laws on other men DOES NOT WORK.  That system is a pathetic failure.  Having been set free, how can you so quickly return to bondage?
1 Cor. 15:56 “The sting of death [is] sin; and the strength of sin [is] the law.”
 
What do you make of all this?  What does he mean when he says “the strength of sin is the law?”   The Greek word translated here as “strength” means “power.”  The power of sin is the law?  POWER.  The power to enforce laws actually enforces sin.  When men impose laws on other men, they are giving them power to sin.  These are the words of the Bible. I don’t claim to understand them fully.  But I think I have an inkling of the meaning.  When you impose laws on others, under penalty of sending them out without no where to turn, no where to go, as Bennie says, you increase the chances greatly that they will sin to retain their place.  They turn back to the elements of man pleasing, concocting something out of their own minds, getting off the hook, as it were. In this way, the entire sacrifice of Christ is thrown into the gutter.  We need to claim nothing but his righteousness alone.  His death for us is all we need. Nothing more is required.  No pleasing man, following rules, or adhering to a creed. No belief in a lineage, no praising a one true church, no, friends, all of this is useless.  In this “revival season” as it is called, if you are being asked to do anything, ANYTHING other than claim the blood of Christ for your salvation, stand up and voice your objection. If they choose to throw you out of the synagogue, then go gladly.  For how can you be a part of something that blasphemes the name of Christ?  Asking ANYTHING of people other than the blood of Christ blasphemes his death on the cross, and makes it nothing, or in any case not enough. Quote scripture, and depart from them singing and praising.
 
On page 127 there is another quote that I find revealing and interesting.  “When Calvin felt his influence threatened by anyone, as in the case of Servetus, he simply had them executed. This was his solution for “heretics.”
Before you dismiss this idea as extreme, remember the days of the purge.  “Heretics” were expunged. They were not physically killed, of course the legal climate of our day would not permit that, but many people were most certainly cut off and sent away so that the church might remain “pure.” There have been church members, even ministers, who, when they threatened the status quo, were excommunicated.  The heretics are dealt with by execution.  There are too many similarities that can’t be overlooked. Control, power, fear and execution.  What has it all come to when a minister can proudly claim the benefits of his POWER, claim the right to enforce laws, and brag that when he deals with you in such a manner, you have no place to go, no where to turn, and you will “repent” and return to him eventually because you have no other option.  I am disgusted by this.  Stand up people, don’t let yourselves be deceived. 
 
Truth, justice, mercy and love!
Hiram
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6 Responses to Today’s Cup of Bennie (Keeping the Faith part 4)

  1. Greg Wiggers says:

    I’m not sure if this is a good place to post this however it does seem like it may fit into this category.

    About two weeks ago I had a dream, (a very clear dream) regarding a group of people that had met. The year was not current but appearred to be in a early segment of time. I soon learned that the meeting had to have been around the year of 1510 or maybe later. I knew this because there was a man by the name of Menno Simons at the meeting! He was in fact, one of the main speakers in the meeting!

    There were a lot of things discussed at this meeting in which I won’t go inito detaill here, but want to mention one specific topic that was discussed in this meeting.

    How to control the new movement beginning in Munster was the topic point. I was stunned to realize after I awoke that this is in fact what “this church” still does today. Menno made his poiint very clear regarding the power of excommunication. He defined how control could be kept in the chruch is excommunication was taught as he percieved it and if the propper shunning was implemented. He stated at one point in this dream that if this could not be done the church would fall appart and the work of coming out of the Catholic system would be in vein.

    It appears to me that the Holdeman, Mennonites as well as other conservative churches have no other way to control a growing body other than to use the threat of decietful teachings with the hint of Jesus’s (Yeshua’s) teaching to make it look like it’s inspired from on high.

    What Menno Simons did was incorporated the threat of a spiritual death into the new movement instead of continueing the real physical death the Roman Catholic church implemented. So it is with Bennie and many of “the church elders”. They have been elevated to a certain level or status in which the church respects thier teaching regardless of how much it may counterdict or blaspheme the Word of God.

  2. Hiram says:

    Very interesting, Greg. Hard to tell what brought it on, but the fact of the matter is, it seems that the truth was revealed to you in that dream. Control and holding it together are of primary importance. The more that the writers expound upon the lineage and how important it is, the greater the need for power and control to keep it from falling apart. Does this not seem like idolatry? The church is worshiped above God. Holding the lineage and the denomination together becomes far more important than knowing God. It is very tricky to the church member because God and the church have become so inextricably linked. A church member will say that they do worship God. God and the church are one. This is a very difficult deception to unravel. Mind control is powerful.

  3. lotsaquestions says:

    Is Bennie a nice man you ask. Yes he is. BUT I do know for a fact that his congregation wants him to retire very badly and so far he has refused.On a personal level this power is quite real to him, he hasn’t found the humility to do as his sheep have asked requested.
    To go out to pasture.

  4. Hank says:

    It is no question that BG and GK are two ideologues who have promoted the current unbiblical “operation of power” within cgcm. To me, its odd that they have left Anabaptist beliefs and resorted to “Landmark Baptist” theology in describing the church and kingdom. Further, when BG writes about the birth of the church he quotes an “infant baptizers view” as back-up to his theology, rather then Anabaptist writings and the 33 Articles of Faith which oppose BG’s views. It is difficult to sit by and realize what has happened in the last 40 + years.

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