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Longtime readers of Tomorrow’s World have read and become familiar with these “Personals” from Editor in Chief, Dr. Roderick C. Meredith. Sadly, Dr. Meredith, who is nearly 87 years old, has been diagnosed with an advanced stage of cancer, and his days appear to be very limited. It grieves me to inform you of this, as I have known Dr. Meredith since I first took his Freshman Bible class at Ambassador College in 1965. He has asked me, his designated successor to his office, to write this issue’s Personal and relieve him of that task.
Change is never easy, but it is an important part of life. One thing you can be certain of is that while our personalities may vary, the same basic truths that you are familiar with in Tomorrow’s World will remain. All of us here at Tomorrow’s World are deeply committed to what we often refer to as the Truth. We recognize that the true Gospel of Jesus Christ was being corrupted as early as the first century, not long after Christianity began. For, as Jude tells us, “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).
The “faith which was once for all delivered” is not the faith of the Protestant reformers, as Dr. Meredith’s thesis on the Protestant Reformation makes plain. You will find his second installment of this thesis beginning on page 5. If you are a new subscriber to this magazine, you can find his first installment in the previous issue, available on our website at TomorrowsWorld.org or from one of our addresses listed on page 4.
Reports out of the Middle East, North Africa, and other scattered places in the world tell of beheadings and killings of professing Christians. It takes great courage in some locales to profess the name of Christ! One can only admire individuals who put it all on the line when faced with such dire consequences, and one must wonder, “Do I have such courage?” It’s easy to think we do, but there is a test you can take right now that will answer that question.
Luke is the recognized author of the book of Acts. He describes Christianity as the Way several times (e.g., Acts 18:25, 26; 19:9, 23; et al.). In other words, Christianity is a Way of life! Even the translators capitalize Way five of these seven times, recognizing the importance of this word as used in this context. Yes, Christianity is a Way of life! And to live that Way of life requires courage! It requires courage not only where people are being beheaded for professing the name of Christ, but also in safe zones such as your living room, where you may be reading this. Why?
As brought out in Dr. Meredith’s article on the Protestant Reformation, Christianity as we know it today is not the Christianity of Jesus Christ and the first-century Apostles—a fact that is not disputed by knowledgeable scholars! Jesus and His Apostles worshiped on a different day and kept different Holy Days. They preached a different gospel, holding out a very different reward for the saved and punishment for the wicked. While preaching God’s forgiveness of sin through faith in the blood of Christ, they did not neglect to teach the definition of sin, the transgression of God’s law (1 John 3:4). To do away with the law of God is to do away with sin and the need for forgiveness (Romans 7:7)! No matter where they lived, adversaries would speak all manner of rumors against them falsely (Matthew 5:11; John 15:18–21), and the first-century Christians preached a much stronger requirement and commitment to Christ than is generally understood.
It is no wonder that Jesus sternly warns us in Luke 14:26: “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate [that is, love less by comparison] his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.” Now those are strong words indeed! Read and meditate on what they mean for you!
Jesus did not come to bring peace during this age, as many people believe. “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:34–37).
Knowing the truth and living it are not the same. John is known as the “Apostle of love,” yet he tells us the truth is a way of life that must be practiced: “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 John 1:6). He continues in the next chapter, making it perfectly clear what it is that we are to practice: “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:3–4).
The New Bible Commentary Revised comments the following regarding these verses:
3 Next comes a test by which men can know whether, in spite of their failures, they are in right relationship with God, and walking in fellowship with Him. The test is whether they keep his commandments. It is impossible for men who really know God to be unaffected in their daily living by this knowledge… For John the knowledge of God is not some mystic vision or intellectual insight. It is shown if we keep his commandments. Obedience is not a spectacular virtue, but it is at the basis of all true Christian service. 4 The man who claims to have this knowledge but disobeys his commandments, John says forthrightly, is a liar. He underlines this with the addition, the truth is not in him.
Courage must be practiced. Many fear what their friends, neighbors and family will think and do if they step out and actually live the Way of true Christianity. They would rather continue living comfortably by doctrines and traditions handed down to them. To them, courage is what it takes to profess Christ in a far-away Muslim nation, not something needed where one actually lives in a more supposedly enlightened location. But in the end, it comes down to this: Are you going to admit and accept the truth of Scripture? Are you going to obey God? Or are you going to continue following man-made traditions whose origins come from paganism and Greek philosophy?
In reality, we all have this choice to make. And remember, not making a decision is, itself, a decision! If you are among the courageous few and are interested in learning more about others who have already chosen to get back to “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints,” don’t hesitate to contact us at your regional office, listed on page 4, or online. Our representatives will be more than happy to visit you in your home or at some other convenient location of your choice. We will only call on you if you request it, and we won’t harass you with unwanted follow-up visits. But we would be pleased to meet you!