Edgar A. Bryan
The Holiness movement has relaxed. We have elected “our” President. We have erected our permanent structures. We have selected our priorities. We have drawn lines (in some cases very artificial) that separate us from the world. We have given over the major arenas to the Calvinists. And we have congratulated ourselves on our growing schools and our few mission fields. The world is not evangelized. Many camps, churches, schools, and missions are but shadows of their former power, and we are relaxed.
Parents, Pedagogues, Professors, Pastors, and Presidents, dare we try to wake up? Can we with our status quo mentality, holier-than-thou attitudes, and golden lined ideas bestir ourselves in this drowsy age? We are, without doubt, in the sleeping virgin era. Slumbering, relaxing saints (if we qualify for such a wonderful title) we are.
Religious fervor fueled by studious Bible reading, heated white hot by the billows of soul searching prayer and beaten into usefulness by the waters of persecution and the anvil of hard work is sadly missing. What is the answer? Is there a possibility of an awakening in the last seasons of this century? I believe there is. Without claiming all the answers and while puncturing my own balloon in many points, allow me to suggest a review.
Parents, the regaining of the Holiness Movement’s fervor can begin with you. Please reinstate family Bible reading and prayer. Bring tears, real unashamed tears back into dry family circles. Worship around the fireplace, kitchen table or master bedroom, and it will make the children understand more about church, God, and eternity. It is unknown what a thousand burning family altars; could do for our sleepy movement.
Dad, consider taking righteous but right control of the family. Redraw those once dear lines of dress. (God help the dad who doesn’t directly or indirectly explain why his daughter should dress modestly and then sees her fall.) Restrict the worldly intrusion of music. Replace spectator sports with some good father/son recreation above question. And let that dating son or daughter use your living room with you home or double date with you and your sweetheart.
Parents, do not expect too much of the local Christian school. Kids just like yours and some worse, attend there. Support it, pray for it, go to all the P.T.F.’s and/or P.T.O’s, but don’t expect it to be heaven. The best Christian school is no substitute for a Godly holiness home where love and concern for others prevails.
Pedagogues (to include principals) -A revival of the holiness movement could begin in the school where you labor. Please be faithful to every staff prayer meeting. Heaven can come down your souls to greet … Glory can crown your mercy seat, and if it does, the day will be so much easier. Your attendance or nonattendance will not go unnoticed. Parents see or hear, students know, and He knows.
Hypocrites in holiness schools What a subject! Please, “Teach,” be true blue, everyday. My son or my daughter is watching and may be forever hurt. If you don’t want to be genuine, please go make something else – don’t make more hypocrites.
Really pray in class. Don’t just go through a form. Make chapels highlights of the week. Ask God for His patience, love, mercy, and (at times) His strictness. History is so important; grammar definitely so; math, science, and P.E. have their needed places, but Pedagogues, one Book and only one will survive. It shall not pass away. Approach it with reverence, prayer, personal openness and your students will do likewise.
Professors – you, your predecessors and your successors have unmeasured influence – godly or worldly. No thinking person can say that a movement is not affected by its colleges. Kingdoms and nations have been. Denominations have been. And the holiness movement of the 1980’s and 1990’s is today being influenced by you. Pray as YOU, have never prayed before.
Some of your students will become evangelists, some pastors and teachers. The soul burden, the holy discernment, the care for a lost heathen world that they see (or 0, God help us! they don’t see) will be reflected in their own future ministries. Others of your students through further education, transfers or dropping out will become some of tomorrow’s lay leaders in our holiness churches. They will remember a class closed in prayer and tears, or a college prayer meeting where they were sanctified or, (forbid it Lord!) they will remember a light remark about Scripture or a joke that revealed a worldly uncaring attitude toward people.
If the Holy Spirit can show through you maybe, God helping you, you can start awakening the youth of this movement. If He doesn’t dominate your life, and if you are not entirely sanctified, the students may drift into cheap religion, go to ungodly colleges and lose their souls.
Only God knows how much of the holiness movement could be revitalized by a few dead-to-self professors and their associates.
Pastors, hundreds strong across America, we hold a valuable key in the chain of revival. Regardless of where you trained or if you didn’t train, begin to gather around you some grand old holiness classics and biographies. But wait! Don’t stop there – read them. Read awhile and pray awhile, or take a long walk, or write out some of the ideas these books inspire. Bury yourself in God’s Word. In short, through reading and prayer, ask God to revive your own heart in this sleeping age.
Preach the Bible. Don’t get carried away preaching fads. Don’t follow the T. V. and radio preachers. Preach Christ and Him crucified. Preach about heaven. Preach about hell until it is hot on your own heel. Preach the Gospel, not words of men. Our families, our businessmen, our children and our entire congregations need to be fed on the Word, and men, we must do it.
Too many pastors with other responsibilities do not spend time alone. They do not meditate; do not reflect on life and its needs. Too few of us have a real vision of our church and its true mission. Wesley said that the world was his parish. Many a pastor would be embarrassed to say his county was his parish if he thought the local businessmen would hear. They would know it wasn’t the truth.
Pastors, the lack of young people volunteering for the regions beyond is our fault to a large extent. Almost every, if not every, real revival has lead out youth into full time Christian service and part of that group went overseas. 0 God, will You help Your men in Your pulpit? We need to stir ourselves.
Presidents of conferences, mission boards, camp meetings, and colleges, your zeal or lack of it is directly mirrored in your organization. If you have been in office very long at all and you crave a real Holy Ghost moving in your midst, others feel it. There is a difference between really craving and mere words for publishing or broadcasting.
Some of you are not going to rock the boat. Things are good enough or at least “better than before” and you are satisfied. Oh, in the quiet of the night, deep in your soul you wish for a kind of New England Awakening, but you would like for your group to get some of the credit for starting it. No, you aren’t going to rock the old boat. What with committees, budgets, favoritism, and previous commitments, you will let that little wish slide.
Your men could be the starting place of a fresh breath from heaven. Your men could have a Biblical confession meeting for their faults and God Himself would listen in. Pastors look on, youth look on, and the world looks on. Can you or will you leave the “Mr. Cool” leadership image behind and ask God to revive our poor movement?
The holiness movement is relaxed.
I have been. You, reader, have been far more than you would like to admit. We claim to have entire sanctification, but we are not seeing the power. We have “revivals” without lasting results. We travel hundreds of miles to repeat the same scores of pledges to keep things going – going for what? For the conversion of the local bartender? For the evangelization of our major cities? For the salvation of millions in Asia or Africa? For what, I ask? Is it just to keep said organizations going?
Please accept this in the spirit written. I want God to help me and this article is a confession of my own dryness. Our God lives. Our God wants to visit His people. He needs men and women who will see the problem and then start now becoming spiritual giants in this our age.
Awake, my brothers, Awake!
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Edgar A. Bryan
As you may remember, learning to ride a bicycle is an interesting experience. For some it was training wheels. For some it was a parent or big brother running along behind. And for still others it was a large stone, a down-hill slope and a lot of nerve! We had to learn how to pedal, how to hold the handlebars, how to look for roots, rocks, and ruts but mainly we had to learn how to balance the thing.
Keeping our balance was very important. We wouldn’t be riding long enough to pedal much or worry about handlebars if we didn’t maintain our balance. And if we could maintain our balance, we wouldn’t have the near fear of skinless knees or nose. More importantly, if we kept our equilibrium long enough, we could go places.
Realizing that there may be a label attached for saying it – Let me say, The Holiness Movement must have BALANCE.
For years now the terms “liberal” and “conservative” have floated around us, as have “right and left”, “radical”, “fanatic”, and “compromiser”, to name a few. Some times we have classified ourselves and other times someone has been “kind enough” to do it for us. Many people do not wish to be called “right wingers” and so purposely act and dress to the left of the ones they don’t like. While others are “radicals” who revel in their rights. And in both camps preachers have spent God’s time in revivals and camp meetings waxing eloquent on their right or left personal preferences.
Did you learn to ride a bike by being a “right winger”? A “left winger”? I didn’t think so. We ALL learned to ride by being balanced. If we still ride, we still no it by being balanced. “But I’m not riding a bike; I’m a radical-right pastor (denominational leader, camp meeting president, etc.) and proud of it!” Oh?
Joshua was called to minister to a group far more important than any group within our ranks; perhaps greater than all our American groups put together. God gave him specific instructions. …”Turn not from it [the Law] to the right hand or the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest.” (Jos. 1:7b) Josiah also ruled over a very great people. “He did that which was right in the sight of the Lord and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand nor the left.” (II Chr. 34:2)
Having once been a kid and having done several bike hikes since, I know that one can throw his leg over the rear wheel and coast in with all of his body on the right or left side and therefore be a right winger or left winger. Let me remind you though that the bike has to be pushed over to the opposite side and kept there while the trick is being done. Something has to be done to maintain the balance, that God given Law of Balance. Further, the cyclist has less control of his bike and will look awkward keeping the whole show going.
For the Holiness Movement, however, there is something more important than the bicycle being pushed over or the awkward look. One who is all on one side of his bike will soon come to a stop. He is not pedaling and therefore can not go far, unless it is down hill. If we do not keep our balance, or get our balance on present issues we will quickly join the ranks of the nonmoving movements.
How do you keep your balance on the bicycle? You keep moving. Moving serious riders (in olden days, and in some places yet, the bike is a work vehicle, don’t forget) can go great distances without falling over (the word from II Chr. is decline) to the right or to the left.
But you say, “WE are balanced! There are people to the right of us and to the left of us, so we are just right.” Yes, many could say the same with you. The Scripture, however, states, “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: But they measuring themselves by themselves and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” (II Cor. 10: 12) God’s order is balance and movement.
Any old rusty bike can rest beside the road, on its right side or its left. God wants our Holiness Movement to be just that – a movement – and that is only possible when we are balanced.
Let’s correct our balance and move on with Josiah and Joshua
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THE INTERCHURCH HOLINESS CONVENTION: A HISTORY I
Edgar A. Bryan
To a 15 year old, being a part of IHC for the first time was wonderful. A mental picture from then is one of the holiest memories of high school on the Hilltop.
It was an evening service and was being held in the 1000 seat auditorium at God’s Bible School. I’m sure that we sang, and sang only as holy people can sing, and I’m sure also that God was worshiped through prayer – that the two-story ceiling rang with the combined prayers of hundreds of saints. I have no memory of either song or prayer. But I CAN tell you who preached that night!
Either they used only the platform lights or the speaker so held my attention thatitseemed thatway. In those days the microphone hung on a cord around the speaker’s neck and the wire was held by someone seated behind playing out or pulling in as the speaker moved.
When and how he got to the podium I have no memory of seeing. What he took for a text I can not tell. Nor do I recall how the service closed; whether with altar call or not. I have gaps in the details, but for me that April night they were not, nor since have they seemed to be, important. But thirty busy years have not dimmed the picture of who preached that night!
On the platform, his open Bible in one hand, a prophet was in action. Before my memory kicks in, he had removed his coat and wore but a small white band under his collar instead of a tie. He crossed and recrossed that platform with smooth movements, his white shirt and his face nearly shining.
That was what kept my attention, that godly face and the pathos it and his voice expressed about his burning heart. There was something about the man, something about his spirit, something about his fire that gripped me. My eyes followed his pace, microphone wire in tow, and my heart followed his passion.
Later times of hearing him preach tell me he probably had a piece of typing paper turned sideways in his Bible holding his few notes. Later memories enable me to hear what I probably heard that night;
His characteristic “OHHHhhh” trailing off into silence.
I can not pull back so much as a word, but I was touched and have cherished the memory ever since of that godly prophet and his hour.
That night, I heard H. Robb French.
The IHC is a cooperation of holiness movements (churches in denominations, churches in connections, churches in associations and independent churches) which share convictions on primary issues.
There is to be found in the history of every movement an impulse(s) from which it was born. Across centuries movements have been forged when mother churches have chosen to change, chosen to ignore their own pollutions, or have chosen to solidify their controls.
Similarities can be found between the pressures sensed by John lnskip, J. A Wood, and the others who started “The National Camp Meeting Association for the Promotion of Christian Holiness,” as recorded by Delbert Rose in A THEOLOGY OF CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE, and the movements associated with the IHC. Likewise, similarities can be found between these and the move out of Methodism as chronicled by Charles Jones in his PERFECTIONIST PERSUASION: THE HOLINESS MOVEMENT and AMERICAN ME’IHODISM,1867-1936.
Several of the movements in fellowship with the !HC are daughters or granddaughters of Methodism. Reference to early Methodist Disciplines (and/or the disciplines of the intermediate bodies) reveals positions which are VERY much like those held today by the !HC groups. It is not so much that these movements have left the mother church, as it is that the mother churches have changed from what they previously believed to be Scriptural positions.
As the practical applications of holy living were first being debated, and then being replaced, by the older churches in the decade or two on either side of1950, the IRC groups felt the pressure. The men at the large helms wanted to homogenize their churches. Certain segments of the churches were already indulging in practices with which others of the same name were totally uncomfortable. The Powers-that-be applied governmental measures which forced some of the smallest disciplinary paragraphs into becoming issues.
Some of those issues were:
Rings Immodest clothing
Hair (women’s) Degenerating schools
Television Centralized government
The IHC was and is more than a collaboration of protesters but it has resisted and helped others to resist the charge of the world into the church. The movements which joined with it in the earlier years and the groups which were formed since, have found, among other things, a fellowship which has strengthened their resolve without controlling their government(s) and a chance for them to cooperate without compromising their convictions of separation.
Because revival was the heart of H.Robb French’s life, it was perfectly natural that REVIVAL would be a primary theme in the IHC. The conventions resisted the erosion of practical holiness. In addition to this (and on the other side of this) they emphasized the life that was to grow in prayer, humility, fasting, and heart searching. And these ARE the ingredients of true revival. At the very core of the IHC has been a desire to see God move with freedom in the convention and then to see
that fire transferred to the local body of believers back home.
To claim success reminds one of the man who supposedly authored a book entitled HUMILI1Y: AND HOW I ATTAINED IT. French and Schmul would not have claimed revival success in the fifties. Schmul and the IHC committee would not claim it now. Nor can this writer, as an attendee and observer of the convention for many years, and as a part of the working force of the holiness movement. claim that there has been consistent progress in revival. However. again as an independent observer (having no official connection with the IRC), the writer wonders where the holiness movement would be today without it.
Where would the independent congregations, where would the small associations almost solely confined to certain rural pockets. where would the larger and yet limited denominations of conservatism be without the family of the IRC? To the independent church the convention can be its camp meeting, conference (place to seek counsel on church polity and/ or seek a pastor), and its ministerial all wrapped in one. Likewise smaller associations of churches can fmd encouragement similar to that penned by Alfred Cookman in 1867, … “to strengthen the hands of those who feel themselves isolated in their profession of holiness; to help any who would enter into this rest of faith and love; to realize together a Pentecostal baptism of the Holy Ghost, – and all with a view to increased usefulness in the churches of which we are members.”
The churches which fellowship with the IHC do themselves the favor of hearing and using ministers (with similar stands) from beyond their membership walls, thus avoiding inbreeding which, in the spiritual as well as the natural world, results in deformed individuals.
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THE INTERCHURCH HOLINESS CONVENTION: A HISTORY II
Edgar A. Bryan
The IHC affords a spiritual effect also on the people who profess holiness but who do not frequent the convention. Perhaps at times the IHC has been written off as the “Hems, Hair, and Hell fire” preachers by the older generation who remember and resent the stand taken by the IHC. Some of the resenters saw what they felt was a move which hurt the mother churches, and they did not like it. (As an aside, the writer would like to tell these that some of their more conservative former comrades have felt the hurt of severed friendships SO STRONGLY and only acted as they did for very conscience sake, regretting the results upon individual men.)
Some younger men, raised without the ideals of holy application in separation, perhaps attempt to totally ignore the IHC seeing it as a holiness parallel to the Amish or, at least, to conservative Mennonites.
Having stated these negatives, the writer affirms that the IHC affords a positive influence in at least three areas to non-attendees. One thing it does is serve as a reminder, to those who once knew it, that there is still a plain life, one which does not mimic every Tammy Baker charm. Secondly, men are not static. Some move to the left, but others will become more godly, and these in every church (holiness or not) can and will be encouraged that holy living is being practiced, even if they never identify fully with it.
The third is perhaps the farthest reaching. Readers, seminarians, and scholars. with or without the knowledge of holiness doctrine, or the life application thereof, will be blessed as the world stands by the burden which H. E. Schmul, IHC’s “Chore boy” (as he likes to call himself), felt to republish holiness classics. Conservatives are interested in the old paths and in finding the channels through which revivals have come, in the hope of having revival renewed. Therefore many rare and out-of-print books have seen new life and influence because of Schmul and the IHC. And this is not only true for Americans and other English readers but for at least the readers of three other languages: Korean, Spanish, and Japanese.
The IHC has had an international impact directly by its conventions and other activities in the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Nigeria, the Caribbean, and Korea. And it has had an indirect impact through associated mission boards on at least 25 OTHER fields on six continents.
Finally, the IHC, in its nearly four decades, has had a grass-roots effect on the nation, especially in certain sections, through its encouragement to holy living which tends to make people more careful in how they vote, how they spend and where they spend their money, and more careful in where they educate their children.
In addition to the Dayton convention there are area conventions held across several different months of the year. With one or two exceptions, these conventions all start Tuesday p.m. and close with the evening service on Thursday. The two or three men who preach at an area convention are most generally brought in from another region and may very well be from a different group. The following is a list of places where one may catch a little of the IHC spirit:
AZ – Phoenix
CO – Colorado Springs
IL – Bloomington
AL – Pell City
CA – El Monte ID – Boise
IN – Columbus, Indianapolis, Shelbyville KS – Independence
MD – Eastern Shore
MI – Cedar Springs,
NY – Endicott, Schenectady OH – Barberton, Canton, Massillon
OK – Oklahoma City, Tulsa PA – Cooperstown,
SC – Easley
There have been area conventions held in other sections of the country and abroad also. The encouraging thing is that Brother Schmul has requests to have more area conventions than the IHC can handle.
Death and age are marking the IHC leaders, oh so well. This IHC which has pushed for revival, this very loosely organized arm of the holiness movement which has sough to renew Wesleyanism, is itself in need of a renewal, a renewal of manpower.
It is not that the convention lacks attendance. Some 8000 people (estimates run even as high as 10,000+) come to Dayton during those three packed days each April. Nor is it that the IJC does not have young blood coming. Some 50 to 60 percent of the crowd is 35 years of age or under
The renewal must not just be with younger men and women. The IHC can only continue as a spiritual force as it is rejuvenated by SPIRITUAL people.
Regretfully some have associated with the IHC in the past, who were “looking for a fight.” That was not the spirit of the founders. This same desire to fight (and that too many times over the extra-biblical) still exists. Though the IHC did resist the erosion of practical holiness, it did it with a spirit of and desire for revival. The early preachers of the convention preached with a brokenness and a hunger for revival. How many times has this writer heard Brother French quote John Knox’s cry, “Give me Scotland or I die.” The renewal the IHC needs is not a renewal of seeking areas where one may cause division – remember, Wesley had no DESIRE to divide the Church of England. The new generation must be seekers, just as the first leaders were, after a warm heart. The quest for personal revival (and its natural result: holiness) must come in this generation to each man and movement. It MUST come to the IHC.
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WHERE BUT IHC?
Edgar A. Bryan
1992 was THE year to remember! Over and over in the three “Dayton Days,” speakers, the platform M.C., and the singers mentioned the past. Before, between, and behind the many recollections of yesteryear Marlin Hotle, Edsel Trouten, V. O. Agan, Omar Lee (and others) addressed the great crowd. In addition to the many pictures from the “family album” that the audience took home with them, they had musical pictures like: TIm LeBeau, God’s Bible School‘s Orchestra, Bryan Wittenmyer, and college quartets. “Building for Keeps” and Brother Denton’s very fitting poem emphasized past conversions and saints. But the 1992 crowd will also remember the new converts and saints that spoke representing the work of Fort Myers Rescue Mission. And who could possibly forget the “Passing of the torch” seeking to make and keep conversions from generation to generation?
God helped Marlin Hotle as he preached Tuesday afternoon. He emphasized Ephesus, as seen by John the Revelator. He worked his way through several verses, reminding the congregation that the church had left its first love. Hotle suggested that verse six was not a commendation but a condemnation. They forgot to love – They had remembered to hate! What a needed message.
Edsel Trouten loves history and Wesley and it showed in his Tuesday evening address. Heritage, yes; Wesley, yes, but as he warmed to his subject he was also concerned about the present. He did not want young preachers to throwaway their heritage. Trouten talked about the flight of many holiness churches into suburbia. And he explained that in that move we had traded the old church authority for a cultural adaptation; the church became a captive of the democratic process.
Bro. Agan spoke on Wednesday morning on the subject of Holiness. Quotes like, “You have reason to question your relationship with God if you don’t have a hungering for holiness,” and “The purpose of God is not to make men happy; the purpose of God is to make men holy,” tumbled from his lips. As he neared the end of his message and was glorifying Christ, the audience was told, “Calvary was no different than the hill on the backside of your grandfather’s farm until God raised it!” V. O. Agan was in his field and in his form.
H. E. Schmul didn’t actually preach Wednesday; he reminisced. His mind went back to old companions on the platforms of Dayton, Huntington, and God’s Bible School. He reminded the crowd of many greats and gave quotes from several. Out of 1000’s of thoughts from 100’s of sermons, Schmul raised these: T. M. Anderson – “I love to hear the message that emphasizes holiness.” H. Robb French ”How can one be holy on the inside and sexy on the outside?” Dale Yocum – “Worldliness is horizontal; its motto is success.”
The Wednesday evening service was all but over when Bro. Schmul asked Tim LeBeau to return to the platform. He sang. And as Tim sang the Spirit deigned to move across the vast congregation. People cried, shouted, and were on their feet. Some ran the aisles and then some walked the aisle! The entire altar and many front chairs were IDled by men and women seeking and finding salvation and holiness. It was a wonderful close to a good day.
On Thursday morning Omar Lee helped his audience in practical areas. As a school man he relates to grades and levels of accomplishments. Lee told how he encouraged his students to live above “C” level. Then he named three “C’s”: 1.) Commandments of the Bible, 2.) Conscience (that has been educated by the Holy Spirit), 3.) Customs of the holy people. He also shared his short form of biblical interpretation, “If the Bible makes sense, follow that sense, or you have nonsense.”
One cannot, in one short article, record all the facts (to say nothing of the feelings) across the few hours of IHC. But at least two more clamor for expression. For Fort Myers
Rescue Mission it was “show and tell” time. Bro. Schaffer marched several persons across the platform whose lives were changed by Christ. Some glimpses of the sordid past were there. but more obvious was the power of Christ to save. Jesus Saves! That was a timely reminder for the second and third generation IHC crowd; God still saves from sin.
And then there was the closing service. 150 students. from six colleges. packed the large horse-shoe-shaped choir risers and sang beautifully under the direction of UBC’s Jeny Glick. Soon the Victory Trio (who always do well with their IHC children’s services) were on the platform and a line of larger children started to ascend. The longer they came the smaller they came until 270 children packed the inside of the horseshoe. Bro. Schmul said it that evening, “Where, but at IHC?”.
The line stopped and the singing started. People enjoyed seeing their child up there. They loved watching their grandchild sing. Cameras flashed as photographers preserved the moment. Then four ladies took their place on the side of the platform. Mrs. H. L. (Marge) Ferguson headed the line. Her first-born daughter, Mrs. Leonard (Janet) Sankey. stood to her left. The third in line was Mrs. Steve (Beth) Stetler. Sankey’s oldest child and to her left, on a chair, stood Steve and Beth’s three-year-old Maria. Sister Ferguson held a lighted torch and the children started a new song; something about “Passing the torch from generation to generation”.
People watched and listened. With the start of the second verse the torch was passed to Janet and the congregation began to get the feel of what was b$::ing enacted. Hands were raised and hearts were stirred. On the third verse Janet gave the torch to Beth and the moving on the audience increased. When Beth moved the torch to Maria’s little hand and helped (along with “Grampa Sankey”) her hold it, people were on their feet and the Spirit’s presence settled in a very real way! Sister Ferguson (whom the author has known since he was 10) has for years expressed a part of her emotion in Christ by swinging her arm (s) in a full circle from the shoulder. That night both arms were in full swing. Glory to God!
Expressways and airways took away. that night and the next day. many old friends: former classmates. former students. former fellow workers, and former parishioners. IHC always comes to a close. If. however. God’s children will hate sin AND remember their first love they will someday attend a “holiness convention” that will never end. Let’s be there!
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GOD IS MY INSURANCE AGENT
Edgar A. Bryan
At first glance the title sounds good. There will never be Anyone who could give more peace of mind, never be Anyone who is more readily available, never be Anyone who has more resources – and the list could go on. The problem is that too many people DO see the Lord as insurance and not much more than that.
When is the last time you had your insurance man over for dinner? Does your guest book have signatures from your All State man? Your AETNA agent? A Blue Cross and Blue Shield rep. or the salesman for Metlife? Is your agent your dearest friend?
Insurance agents are businessmen with whom we deal, and deal courteously. We respect their expertise and, to a greater or lesser degree, need their services (though we always hope we won’t.) We agree to pay for coverage and we see their company as a source of security in a crisis hour. We may even feel good about being “under the umbrella” or “owning part of the rock.”
But God forbid that we try to have a mere business arrangement with The Almighty. Or that we “feel good” about being a part of the church. And that we only have this connection for the crisis hour. Yet the possibilities are too real. “Lord, You cover my home and I’ll pay my tithe. You keep me healthy and I’ll give a little missionary offering. Lord, You protect all my goodies; they belong to You (we like to say this, even if it is in question) and I’ll attend church.”
God is not selling “wealth insurance” nor “health insurance” and He surely is not selling “hell insurance.” In spite of what some may wish, we cannot pay our “premiums” at Christmas and Easter. Nor once a week, even, by attending church. (Others go so far, in this parallel, they “shop around” for the church that requires the least and hope that they are covered for eternity.)
We buy insurance for certain items and areas and expect the company to cover them. By contrast, we do not expect the agent for our car to have any say about our house, let alone the whole of our lives. Some would like the same arrangement with Godl “Cover me so I don’t go to hell and keep me well but don’t intrude into the rest of my life.” No, we would not be bold enough to voice that but how near are we to its reality?
Serving God DOES provide the greatest insurance in this world, or the next. But that is a side benefit and only that. Loving God is center of the Christian experience. He is invited into our homes. He is our greatest Friend. And His authority is wanted and felt in every area of life.
God IS our insurance Agent. only if He is our personal, our dearest friend.
S S S S S S S S S S
Edgar A. Bryan
He was tall, he was short, he was pudgy around the middle or he was slim as a rail. He was a Democrat and would have voted for the mule itself if he had run, or one of those Republicans who believed that the Grand Ole Party NEVER owned a rascal. He was black haired with silver at the temples, he was red haired with a curly twist, he was gray, or he had one of those ever widening parts. HE WAS DAD.
He was a farmer, he was a machinist, he taught school or he owned a store. He was a Methodist who loved Wesley and “A Charge to Keep I Have,” he was a Baptist with, “Water, water, everywhere and not a drop to drink,” or he didn’t profess any church name, just loved God anyway. He was the life of any gathering or he was quiet, but when he spoke it was weighty. HE WAS DAD.
He knew all the right fishing holes, he played the fiddle, he recited boyhood poetry, or could carve the neatest whistle from an elderberry stem. He was a builder, he loved to see how things were made, he would tell you what bird had just called or he had a story about when he was a boy, or even when HIS dad was a boy. He spoke with an old world accent, he stuttered some, he would use words he’d learned at war or he always mispronounced the name of one of your mother’s relatives. HE WAS DAD.
Today, on Father’s Day, we remember; his love for mom, his ideas, his dreams, his burdens and his joys. We remember him. To others he was nice or scary, friendly, or odd, interesting or “old hat” but to you – to me, HE WAS DAD.
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Edgar A. Bryan
Super highways are wonderful inventions, especially when it comes to going through the maze of a major city. One must watch, however, because without much warning lanes will swing in, or worse, will swing off in another direction and will confuse you. Drivers of motor homes or other large vehicles at times secure maps showing them which lane to be in if they wish to pass completely through a city without changing. They know that even when that lane is slow it is better to remain in it than to try to change.
Are the leaders of holiness Bible Colleges changing lanes or are they staying in that “through lane” that will safely bring the colleges through the maze of this present evil world?
Harvard University was started before any other American college: 1636. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica the church was the natural sponsor but “the changing composition of its board of overseers marked its liberation … from clerical … control.” Thus Harvard grew away from the ideals of its founders. It changed lanes.
Yale University was founded in 1701 to fit youth for employment in the church and the civil state. It had ten trustees, ALL of whom were ministers. It has changed lanes.
William and Mary is the second oldest college in the U.S. An influential graduate helped it drop its grammar and divinity schools. That graduate was named Thomas Jefferson; he helped it change lanes_
Princeton University was established in 1746 and was an official college of the New York Synod of the Presbyterian church. All the early presidents were ministers, one of them, John Witherspoon, being the only clergyman who signed the Declaration of Independence. Woodrow Wilson was the first of its presidents that was not a minister; it was changing lanes.
Dartmouth College was founded in 1769 as a school for Indian and white youths. The first president chose for its motto, “The Voice of One Crying in the Wilderness.” It began as a Congregational school but it has changed lanes.
Each of these schools (other colleges could be added) was started by and/or associated with the Christian religion. Almost all were used as ministerial training places. had preachers as presidents, and honored God’s Word. They have all changed. Their founding fathers, if they were to return, would be appalled at theml They changed lanes.
There are two times when a driver changes lanes; when he intends to and when he doesn’t intend to. The courteous driver who intends to change lanes signals that he is doing so and thus gives others a warning. The not-so-courteous driver intends to change lanes or make an exit, but he does not signal. His fellow drivers can only guess for a few moments, “Is he weaving?” “Changing?” “What is he doing?’ The driver who intends to change, yet purposely does not signal is dangerous!
There are at least two groups who change lanes unintentionally. They make no plans to drift across the dotted white or solid yellow lines. They started in a specific lane and direction and had all plans of staying there, as evidenced by founding ideals, positional papers and mission statements but they changed. Why?
Some drivers start watching another vehicle (merging or exiting) and are drawn in that direction. Others are scanning the side of the road: the fine barns, and the crops, and they drift across the line. There is no signaL no sudden movement, not even an immediate result just an attraction of the mind which pulls the wheel m the wrong direction.
The other main group of unintentional chani;ers are people who are sleepy. They didn’t get enough ‘-est last night or they have taken something into their system which has induced drowsiness. Before they realize it they are on the berm or into the next lane and stiE moving off course ..
Holiness Bible colleges are in real danger today changing lanes. Some will change on purpose and win be BIG ENOUGH to signal that. Their change cannot be agreed with, condoned, or applauded. It is sad to see at old name insitituUon that has blessed many. educate: hundreds, and sent out scores ablaze with holy fm:. change. They are changing though and we can at least thank them for the signal-they warned us.
Other Bible schools change, doing it on purpose, bu they do not signal. They were in therightlane; now they are in the middle or left lane. If the people who were watching had not seen it happen it would be easy to argue that the Bible College had been there all along. These are “going so smoothly.” They say they have ~never had more freedom” but nonetheless lanes were changed. They are now a great distance left of where they started.
Some school leaders are changing lanes but it is not planned. They are being drawn to the side by an attraction. Something has caught their eye and they are drifting, unaware. The world’s finery, a “touch of class,” some carnal ambition, or the all-attractive-dollar has so filled the mind that an unintentional switch is occurring, un-signaled and dangerous!
Still other educators are asleep. Not enough rest in the Spirit has sapped their strength. The world’s philosophy has been taken into their thinking and it has dulled their senses. The vehicle is drifting across two, or three lanes. They are swiftly approaching the ditch, they are asleep at the wheel, and they have a whole load of youth with them.
But what difference does it make? They are still headed in the same general direction. Yes, it may appear that way for a little while. But if they continue in that lane they will never make it through the maze. God is faithful to erect signs “This lane ends in one mile” or this is an “exit only” lane. Oh! If men would only learn from history.
Is it possible that an institution could pull back into the correct lane? Can a drifting Bible school recover? Yes, it is possible for a college (like a mammoth motor home) to change lanes and get back on track. If, and I repeat IF, the leadership is willing to make some tough decisions and make those decisions in a hurry.
Bear this in mind though; many an accident has been caused on the expressways by drivers making lastminute, sudden actions when they found themselves in the wrong lane. A Bible college trying to come back will have to make a very conscious commitment to do so. And it will have to WANT TO badly enough, that it is willing to jar some people in the process. Yes, and be committed to correcting its lane even when certain money sources dribble and stop. The chances of a school being that committed are very slim.
Interstate travelers know that when one is stuck in the wrong lane he may spend a lot of time searching and MAY NEVER get where he was headed. And so it is with colleges. Tomorrow is decided by today. That lane signaled, not signaled, drifted over into, or changed in a state of sleep will make all the difference in the future. Wrong lanes cause wrong turns, forced exits, and/or opposite journeys.
Holiness Bible schools should learn from the early American colleges and not change lanes. It is STILL the straight and narrow way which leads into life eternal and few institutions there be that find it.
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SCHOOL OF THE PROPHETS
Edgar A. Bryan
Dr. Richard S. Taylor told, the 1994 IHC School of the Prophets that the well known Holiness preacher, Joseph H. Smith, also held what he called a School of the Prophets. Bro. Smith was humored one day to see that someone had made a large sign upon which they had written “School of the Profits.” We were not told if that was a purposeful play on words or a pitiful act of ignorance. I’m sure, however, that the vast majority of those who attended this year’s School of the Prophets profited by it. To God be the glory.
To return to God’s Bible School was, in and of itself a pleasure. To travel there and back with Christian brothers was to enjoy deep discussions, and seasons of thought and prayer. This year’s School of the Prophets reminded me of the old IHC times: men traveling in cars (many without their wives) many hard miles for a few hours of much needed inspiration, and fellowship, and returning enriched by it all.
It was a rich time for Wesley “buffs” as they heard little details from biographers and from his own pen. Edsel Trouten addressed “Wesley on Christian Perfection,” John Sherman spoke about “Wesley and Fletcher Regarding Controversy,” Larry Smith told us of the ‘Wesleyan View of the Church” and ‘Wesley, the Man and His Message,” Allan Brown informed the school on “Wesley’s Approach to Scripture,” and V. O. Agan listed many of ‘Wesley’s Holiness Texts.” This is to say nothing of the additional times in chapel, dorms, dining hall, and vehicles departing, that Wesley was dissected, disagreed with, or nearly deified.
It was a rich time of learning from Richard Taylor. His opening “Four Selves” (self that needs saved, self that needs crucified, self that needs disciplined, self that is fulfilled in Christ) were modeled by Saul/Paul. Taylor‘s second time was a lesson on the “Psychology of the Second Crisis.” He showed two different foundations: Self-pleasing or Christ-pleasing, two different top priorities: Freedom or Obedience. He showed that Happiness was effected both for salvation AND sanctification and that it is replaced by Holiness. Many of us found this session profitable. Dr. Taylor’s final period was about “Philip, the Displaced Speaker.” It was both humorous and pointed as he proved Philip’s “greatest usefulness came not in spite of, but because of, his displacement.”
Several were enriched by attending the morning devotions and the communion and particularly from the panel discussion on Thursday afternoon. The panel (Taylor, Brown, and Kenneth Powell) was informally expanded for a few minutes to include Barry Arnold. He told of bus ministry, a telephone number to hear a children’s story, of lay visiting, of solid families with a prayer sheet of new names for which to pray, and of the number of prayer meetings each week.
Between pastors Brown, Sherman, Smith, Trouten, former conference president Agan, and author Taylor we were read to, inspired, educated, and challenged. Numerous worthwhile things were expressed but for many of us there is one service for which, if forced to, we would trade all the rest: Wednesday night! Bro. Schmul was scheduled to speak but Robert England replaced him. God was with him as he walked the main floor of God’s Bible School‘s auditorium and told of special movings of the Spirit in the past. Bro. England spoke with fire; feeling and making us feel, the burden for revival. Many gathered up front, hungry for the Lord to move on us and on our churches. After a good season of prayer testimonies were given, shouts were heard, some running was done, and a dear brother in his fifties stated that he had not seen anything like that since he was a boy. The Lord was near, in fact so near, that another brother felt prompted to seek physical help, so an unannounced healing service was held with several praying and feeling the touch of the Great Physician. The service that started at 7:00 ended around 10:20 with moist handkerchiefs, warm handshakes and hugs, and full hearts.
The prophets profited from the great music of God’s Bible School‘s music department. We enjoyed the cook’s ample and refreshing meals and the school’s fine hospitality. The few hours we got to spend in the student’s borrowed rooms were of great value and deeply appreciated. Our thanks to President Miller, Dr. Powell, Dean England, Bro. and Sr. Bob Brock, and the many teachers, staff, and students that made all this possible.
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DID KING DAVID “SEE” MODERN TV? Psalm 101
Edgar A. Bryan
The word “television” is not found in the Bible. That probably comes as no surprise. It might offer relief to a few. “Whew!” they might say, “I’m glad Ezekiel didn’t see one when he wrote about wheels or Nahum didn’t mention TV when he had a vision of chariots (automobiles?) jostling in the streets.”
That “television” doesn’t occur in Holy Writ shouldn’t be thought peculiar. One will search in vain for: “FAX,” “telephone” or “computer.” Even “mail” only occurs twice. Then it’s discussing “the coat of’ not “the cost of’ mail.
Any sense of relief however, that “the Bible says nothing about TV” could be premature. Inspired holy men wrote so that age after age has been blessed and instructed. It’s possible certain writers didn’t totally understand all they wrote. God inspired their pens so His Word could span centuries and societies. “Reader A” can be informed on his question and “Reader B” half a world and half a millennia away, can likewise receive instruction.
Progress has been made against smoking. The US Army has restrictions on where a GI can smoke. Non-smoking areas are provided in restaurants, planes, etc. Careful Christians were years ahead in quitting and preaching against smoking. The Bible doesn’t list “cigarettes” or “Cigars.” When it mentions “pipe” it refers to something one exhales through, for public music, not inhales through, for personal misery!
Television, like tobacco, is now getting some public criticism. Just as Christians lead the cry against smoking, careful Christians have long seen TV as dangerous and disgusting. Some families have never owned one. Imagine no addiction to “Soaps,” nor over-dose of selected “news.” Even freedom to form your personal opinion. Wow! How revolutionary!
Other parents have seen TV wrapping its tentacles around their child’s heart. They became aware it was affecting his habits of speech, his desires in toys, his view of life, in short, his very mind. And they reacted! They have, with good reason, taken the TV to the dump – with the rest of their trash!
A third category of homes are becoming aware of television’s odor and filth. Some dads have not yet kicked Hollywood‘s garbage can out butthey have restricted their home to one TV and have placed it in a basement or garage. That’s better than where it was – if garbage is going to be kept in the house it’s surely better to have it in the basement or garage than the living room.
God inspired the Psalms. They are the most widely read portions in the Old Testament. David, under Divine direction penned the 101 st Psalm which addresses, interestingly enough, TV. “But you said, ‘television’ is not in the Bible!” Agreed, the word television is not found. What if the Holy Spirit informed King David’s mind (David may
not have known its full importance)? What if David’s words are worth a thousand “pictures”?
Vs. 1 “I will sing of mercy and judgment … ” TV has a lot of what the world calls music. Arethey singing of “mercy”? TV sings of lust which knows little mercy, and of killing, which knows none. What about “judgment?” How does TV stack-up here? Honest courts have been hurt by TV as it has sung of “getting by” rather than of judgment.
. And to whom does it sing? To God? David said, ” … Unto Thee, 0 Lord, will 1 sing.” TV sings to gods. TV’s songs glorify sex. They praise money, and they center on the great American god, SELF.
Vs. 2 “I will behave myself wisely … ” David, as a youth was know for his good behavior. Thank God, Jesse didn’t have the tube! Men are making mega-bucks for being silly. They are not building a better car, teaching a student to think, or improving medicine; they are just being stupid! If enough televisions are drug out of the home (OUT; where all garbage belongs), maybe at least one “stand-up comic” will be shown a chair, or better yet, a mourner’s bench!
“I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.”
David zeros in on the home, the very place that TV has been the most damning! Many a solid church in the past years opposed the “Movie House.” The enemy was then smart enough to place his garbage in the living room. TV attacks the heart to make it imperfect (pictures, desires) and that right within the home.
V s. 3 “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes … ” This is the verse professing Christians who defend TV hate to hear! Why? What’s the problem? Did David pick up God’s “telescope of time” and looking centuries ahead, actually see a TV? Probably not. But a loving heavenly Father inspired him and God knew all about the “wicked” (no exaggeration) things that would be set before modem eyes. If a neighbor tried to use that language or undressed like that, in some living rooms they’d call 911 ! Yet brazen SIN is committed every day, in professing Christian’s homes and there’s no alarm. Is gutter life not as wrong as it used to be?
” … 1 hate the work of them that turn aside •.• ” People turn from profitable work to watch make-believe. (One sign of being crazy is the inability to discern what is real.) Some are more concerned about a “soap affair” than their own affairs. They turn from reading, from wonderful family times, and from hours with the Bible, to the momentary chaff of TV.
Vs. 4 ” … 1 will not know a wicked person.” Many times, people can not help where they live. And where they live dictates who they know. A neighbor is a thief, or a gambler, or even an atheist. Maybe the town drunk lives next door or in the same block – that can’t be helped. But when it comes to TV – it is full of wicked persons.
And TV watchers think they’ve really seen someone or some place when they have only seen them on TV. Using this same logic, the man, women or child who watches TV, knows murderers and rapists. But they do not have to know them – they can haul the devil’s box out.
Vs. 5 ” … him that hath a … proud heart will not 1 suffer.” How many shows would be taped, if all-of-asudden pride were not altowed on TV? Very few, maybe not even some weather people. Pride sells dresses, creams, jewelry, and trucks full of products. It may be hard enough to imagine some churches without pride; imagine the TV world without pride.
Vs. ‘6 “Mine eyes (shall be) upon the good of the land … ” King David knew a lot of people. He did not deal with everybody from his egotistical brother, Eliab, to his bloody father-in-law, to his sons, without learning a lot about human nature. TV has decided the way to make ratings is to cover the lives, threats, demonstrations, and irregularities of the unfaithful. Few faithful (in comparison) are seen on TV.
Vs. 7 ” … he that telleth lies shall not tarry within my sight.” Ever seen the side view of a studio prop? It is false. The very terms “actor/actress” suggest just that someone acting what they are not. How far would that be from a lie? Some true accounts are funnier than “canned” humor but many things on TV are lies. And nothing is even being said here about science fiction, with its lying wonders.
Is it not interesting that David says he does not want this type of man in his sight? Sight is what separates TV from radio. Was David “seeing” TV?
V s. 8 “I will early destroy all the wicked of the land •.• ” Financial pressure can and should be brought to bear on advertisers and stations for wickedness. Imagine the difference if every person who professes Christ would put his television on the street. And did it “early,” i.e., as soon as possible. Wickedness can be fought and one of the most effective ways is by getting rid of TV – now!
TV is wicked. “Good” items may be found in garbage cans but that doesn’t warrant bringing the neighbor’s garbage into the house to sort it. Think of the cry health officers would make if they heard of that. Yet people are trying to sort out Hollywood‘s garbage, in the presence of their children, and that in their homes. What “good” one thinks he gets, isn’t worth the exposing of his family to hell’s germs. Take out the garbage! Take out the TV!