Tag Archives: Bible

Guest Post By Ken Marino: Jesus is Waiting Outside

We are pleased to have a guest writer sharing his heart from God’s Word today. Ken Marino and his family were a part of Calvary Temple for 19 years. The Lord brought them out of Calvary Temple and into freedom in 2007. Ken has authored a devotional on the book of James entitled “The Physician & the Pharmacy,” which we enjoyed. We are grateful for his thoughtful and encouraging words to the former members of CT.


Leaving a church can be an emotionally charged life altering event.  Letting go of the familiarity of long time relationships and church culture increases our angst about the uncertainty of what lies ahead.  When it comes to Calvary Temple, leaving the group is exponentially more stressful and traumatic.  Departure here means burned bridges and  scorched earth behind.  Despite all that, rock-solid hope awaits you in John chapter 9.  Let the blind man at the pool of Siloam encourage your trembling heart in the inexpressible priceless exchange in store for you.

“When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, and said to him, ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam'” (John 9:6-7 NASB)

Jesus does something very unusual–spitting on the ground to make a clay eye salve.  Why did Jesus do this?  John lets us know that Jesus’ miracles were signs (see John 1:11).  Signs direct us beyond the miracle to the spiritual reality about God behind it.

Clay as it’s used in Scripture has two main ideas.  One is the soft, pliable material for the potter (usually God).  The other is its brittleness and weakness (Dan 2:41-42; Job 13:12).  This clay was composed of spit, an act of contempt to bring shame (Num 12:14, Deut 25:9, Job 17:6).  Our Lord’s prophecy, “They will mock Him and spit on Him,” was fulfilled by the mockery of the Roman soldiers: “They kept beating His head with a reed, and spitting on Him, and kneeling and bowing before Him” (Mark 10:34, 15:19).

The blind man was about to discover that eyesight comes at a heavy personal cost.  He was going to learn that through weakness, shame and humiliation that the works of God would be displayed in him (John 9:3).  All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.  It’s a persecution that, as the Book of Acts attests to, is more often than not at the hands of religious leaders.

Be encouraged that through weakness (clay) and shame (spit) we gain increasing revelation of Jesus Christ.  Watch how this man’s comprehension of Christ grows as the opposition mounts.  “So they were saying to him, ‘How then were your eyes opened?’  He answered, ‘The man who is called Jesus made clay…'” (verses 10-11).  At the beginning, all this man knows is His name–Jesus.  After the first grilling of the Pharisees, his answer progresses in understanding: “He is a prophet” (verse 17).  By the end, this fellow’s spiritual eyes are wide open: “We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him…. If this man were not from God, He could do nothing” (verses 31-33).  Even though we keenly feel our weakness (clay) amidst the verbal contempt (spit) of the religious leaders, Jesus is sending us on to our pool of Siloam where He opens our eyes to see who He is!

What treatment can you expect from Pharisee type leaders if Jesus has opened your spiritual eyes?   Pharisees are quick to judge you as a sinner for breaking their rules.  They are self-proclaimed champions of Sabbath keeping.  But they blindly accused  the Creator and Lord of the Sabbath  as being a law breaker of it!  “Therefore some of the Pharisees were saying, ‘This man [Jesus] is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath…we know that this man is a sinner.'” (verses 16, 24).  As they judged Jesus, so they wrongly judged His disciple:  “You were born entirely in sins” (verse 34).

The Pharisees love to rule by fear.  In addition to their police-like attentiveness to rule breaking, they motivate compliance by severe penalties.  “His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone confessed Him to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue” (verse 22).  “You’d better obey us or we’ll kick you out!”  Don’t fear excommunication; the best is yet to come!  Watch what the blind man loses compared to what he gains in the end.

“They reviled him” (verse 28).  Pharisaical leaders are trained experts in public vilification.  Be prepared for this heaping abuse on you from Calvary Temple.  And the more influence you have there, the greater the reviling to discredit you to the group.  All this railing is achieved by adorning it with spiritually high-sounding words.  “Give glory to God” (verse 24).  “We are disciples of Moses” (verse 28).

While presenting their biblically based arguments to the congregation, they boldly assert themselves as expert sin identifiers. “You were born entirely in sins.”  Pharisaical leaders will brand you a sinner, even though Jesus says the opposite.  “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him” (verse 3).

What really rankles a Pharisee, though, is a nobody teaching them.  “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us! (verse 34, NIV)”  Here a blind beggar , a bottom rung untouchable, speaks the truth of God’s word.  Pride in their religious training, degrees, experience, and elevation in the people’s eyes deafened them to listen to anyone they deemed beneath them.

Now for the good news!  Was all that maligning of reputation and being expelled from the community worth it all?

“Jesus heard that they had put him out, and finding him, He said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ He answered, ‘Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?’  Jesus said to him, ‘You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you.’  And he said, ‘Lord, I believe.’ And he worshiped Him” (verses 35-38).  The religious authorities may expel you, but that’s when Jesus seeks you out and finds you.  How tender.  How comforting.  Christ gives further revelation of Himself to the outcast.  This ex-synagogue member receives greater Christ-centered faith and enters into a new realm of worship.  Don’t fear Pharisaical leadership.  The fear of man brings a snare.  Jesus is waiting outside the “synagogue” to welcome you to Himself.   You may lose your reputation and your community, but you have Him.

“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil 3:8 ESV).

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The Why & How of Personal Bible Study | Part 1

by Naomi

The conversation was hardly two minutes long. It was a passing comment and yet it burned in my memory from that day forward. I was standing inside the Calvary Temple sanctuary with a Calvary Temple friend. The friend told me of a recent new convert, who had been saved in CT’s prison ministry. This young man* was a voracious reader of the Bible. When he was released from prison and became a member of Calvary Temple, he had many questions. Questions that he took to leadership.

“The leadership told him that he shouldn’t read the Bible so much,” my friend said. “He doesn’t need to, because he gets such good teaching here.”

In the most eloquent way possible, let me communicate my thoughts: SAY WHAAAAAAT?!

The leadership of a church told a new convert that he should not read the Bible. He didn’t need to read the Bible. They discouraged a new believer from the very source of spiritual strength and nourishment that will bring him into maturity. They inferred that a pastor’s teaching is higher, better and more useful than the divinely inspired Holy Scriptures. According to John 1, Christ is the Word. The leadership of Calvary Temple cut off a new Christian from Christ Himself.

Through this seemingly-insignificant comment, I learned that Calvary Temple only professes to love the Word. In reality, they love the teaching of Star Scott. They relish his words over the Word of God. When confronted with Scripture, they quote a Star Scott one-liner and spout one of his Scriptural phrases used out of context. This example of the leadership redirecting a new believer away from Scripture disgusted, alarmed and provoked me.

Without personal study of the Word, we are helpless.

We are at the mercy of every charlatan who can speak in churchy language and holds a concordance. We are like little babies, abandoned on a street corner in the wintertime. Freezing to death, and powerless to stop it. We base our trust in humans–fallible humans–instead of the infallible God. We believe anything and everything said to us by the person that helped us get saved, because (supposedly) they wouldn’t lead us astray.

Without personal study of the Word, we are easily deceived.

“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” Ephesians 4:11-16 (underlines added for emphasis)

 

Calvary Temple is skilled at cutting people off from divine truth—the very place that would help them to realize that they are in deception. Is it important for pastors and leaders to preach the Bible? Absolutely. It is also important (and I would venture to say, even more important) for Christians to be able to study the Bible for themselves, lest when they hear incorrect doctrine–they are too stupid to discern it.

Without personal study of the Word, we handle the Bible carelessly.

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15

Accurate handling of the Scriptures means that you have nothing to be ashamed of. Conversely, if you are unable to handle the Bible accurately, you should be ashamed of yourself! Without diligent personal study of the Word, we are apt to pick up any verse at any time and use it however we feel like using it. This is a dangerous and irresponsible practice.

Without personal study of the Word, we are incapable of conquering sin.

Sinners sin, but saints live holy. As Christians, we are living in the shadow of Christ, walking in the steps of Christ, mimicking actions of Christ. Sin is not the normal practice of our lives, and it is certainly not acceptable. Calvary Temple teaches that you will always have some level of personal sin in your life that is unavoidable and unconquerable. Really? The Bible doesn’t teach that.

“How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word. With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments. Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.” Psalm 119:9-11

When you are unable to overcome personal sin, there will always be some mud for spiritual leadership to sling at you. There will always be something they can say to somehow prove a point; that you couldn’t possibly be right because you have done this sin and that sin and that other sin. Calvary Temple has created the perfect little gilded cage that you will never escape from until you learn the Bible for yourself and allow Christ Himself to free you from that spiritually abusive environment and from the chains of constant personal sin. His Word is enough to do this!

Read Part 2 now!

*I do not know this young man personally and his life is not relevant to this article. I am merely using this conversation that I was privy to as an illustration of the erroneous and spiritually destructive attitude of Calvary Temple towards personal Bible study.

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