Dear Associates, Students and Friends:
The majority of people in the world fail to appreciate what Christianity actually means in the biblical sense of the word. This is in spite of the fact that if people carefully study the Scriptures (especially the books of Ephesians and Colossians in the New Testament), the meaning of Christianity is revealed as a sublime and sacrosanct teaching from no less than God the Father (the God of the universe). It has nothing to do with physical expressions of outward religious actions that are erroneously looked on as identifying the main aspects of "Christianity" by groups that call themselves "Christian." Indeed, what we discover in the biblical revelation is that Christianity is actually a philosophy of life. It does not represent a vast congregation of religious denominations under a banner called "Christendom," nor is it the composition of a single large church group with a geographical headquarters on earth.
The "Christianity" of the Holy Scriptures is different. It is essentially based on a manner of belief (faith) in Christ Jesus that revolves around an exclusive spiritual concept of life that is revealed solely in the Old and New Testaments (that singular document called the Bible). It centers on our unequivocal acceptance of Christ and the teachings of Christ as defined in the writings of the Holy Scriptures (not in the councils of men who merely comment). Christ is the key. Jesus gave an all-embracing manifestation of the final and complete teaching of God the Father for the totality of the human race. Christís teaching involves all people, whether the person is racially white, brown, black, yellow, olive skinned, multicolored or, pardon my emphasis, even polka dot in outward appearance. Godís teaching in Christ Jesus as shown in the Scriptures involves ALL people being destined to be in a common and indistinguishable position of rank within the singular Family of God. In God the Fatherís eyes, we are ALL in Christ Jesus no matter what our physical and outward distinctions might be. We are all reckoned to be sitting on the right hand of the supreme authority of the Father in heaven reigning in Christ in the ultimate authority of rule and grandeur (Ephesians 2:6). The fact is, all of us who comprise the human race are destined to inherit (in Christ) the totality of the universe, extending beyond the comprehension of anything humans imagine. The universe will open up to us for habitation and for many governorships.
The fact is, true Christianity is a teaching of how we will all become members of the Family of God (the Family who created and rules the cosmos). The doctrinal theme of mature Christianity is a central comprehensive teaching that transcends political, ethnic or theologically based interpretations or man-made institutions on earth that call themselves "the Church or Churches of Christ." As a matter of fact, Christianity (and the philosophy that dominates it) is the very antithesis of what we call denominationalism as represented by the present world-view of "Christianity." And though it may be difficult to swallow for some people, the proper definition of "Christianity" even precludes and disqualifies the application of what we call "ecumenical Christianity," because the word ecumenical denotes the existence and acceptance of various and separate denominations working together for a common goal. Ecumenical endeavors (while noble in their quests) will never work in the final analysis because the very meaning of the phrase always assumes that differences will continue to exist within our society. It shows communal diversity that seems to be indelibly resident within the portals of modern Christendom. It is wrong to perpetuate this disunity. The ecumenical belief (beautiful as this is as an idealistic concept) still continues to sanction differences in doctrine as an acceptable standard. This approach is disruptive to a unified set of mature biblical principles established by God that all people should appreciate and that all should activate in their lives as "the Philosophy of Christianity."
Just what is "the Philosophy of Christianity"? That is the title of my next Doctrinal Report that will be our offering to you for the month of May. Get ready for some major surprises. Some of you may think that you understand just what the phrase entails. That is fine, but you should still read what I have to say on the matter in next monthís Report. We have much to praise God for by His bestowal of this mature knowledge that the Holy Scriptures teach on this significant and vital subject. I will devote this entire research article to explain the principle in a fashion that all people on earth will be able to comprehend. The Report will show what that grand and sublime concept involves. As a preliminary factor, let me say that "the Philosophy of Christianity" is summed up in what the apostle Paul called "the Mystery" (or, in plain English, "the Secret"). It denotes a marvelous and gracious Secret that was finally dispensed to mankind by Paul and others in the latter part of their ministries. Simply put, the Philosophy of Christianity is "the Mystery." And in spite of what some theologians say, that philosophy has NOTHING to do with the New Covenant. What? Most people think that Christianity is the teaching of the New Covenant that is revealed in the books of Romans, Corinthians and Galatians. This is not so!
It is a fact that the majority of people believe that the New Testament teaches that all Christians today are under what God calls "The New Covenant." Nothing could be farther from the truth. If one views Christians today in the manner that God the Father and our Elder Brother Jesus Christ wish them to be observed, the "Old " and the "New Covenant" are only intermediate phases of spiritual development. They were excellent for their intended time periods, but they do NOT represent the ultimate mature teaching of God. Now wait a moment. Before anyone begins to call me a heretic, one should look at the plain and simple New Testament teaching called by the apostle Paul "the Mystery." This was the final doctrine revealed by Christ Jesus to Paul and other apostles in the year A.D.63. That doctrine represents the supreme principle of belief that God could reveal to mankind. It has nothing to do with the "Old" or the "New Covenants." The teaching of "the Mystery" represents the final and conclusive legal position by which God the Father and Christ Jesus now reckon mature Christians to be in within Godís own judicial standards established by Him. When we recognize that legal standing that we all have in Christ, we discover that mature Christianity should NOT be reckoned as a religion. It is a philosophy of life.
God divulges this fact primarily in the books to the Ephesians and Colossians. These books are companion letters. They speak about identical matters with a different emphasis. Their main subject is "the Mystery" (Ephesians 3:3) which in plain English means "the Secret." The legal principle it reveals is defined as being "the Mystery of Christ" (verse 4); "the Mystery of His Will" (1:9); "the Great Mystery" (5:32 as it is in Greek); or "the Mystery of God, Christ" (Colossians 2:2). Paul also shows that the body of believers known as the ekklesia (erroneously translated as "church") are a single organism of selected people governed by "the Administration of the Mystery" (which is rendered the "fellowship of the Mystery" in the King James Version ó Ephesians 3:9). This "Great Mystery" or "Secret" was made known to Paul and the ekklesia in the year A.D.63. It has since been revealed by the ekklesia (motivated by the Spirit) to the world and to the angelic powers on earth and in the heavens (Ephesians 3:9,10).
Before A.D.63, the apostle Paul said the Mystery "had been hid in God" (Ephesians 3:9). God had kept it a secret from the knowledge of anyone (human or angel) even from before the foundation of the world ó long before the creation of Adam. Indeed, Paul said that "from the beginning of the world it [the Mystery] has been hid in God" (verse 9). Paul spoke of it as "the Mystery of Christ which in other ages was not known unto the sons of men, as it is NOW [in A.D.63] revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit" (Ephesians 3:4,5). Paul further stated in the Book of Colossians that this teaching was called "the Mystery which has been hid from [previous] ages and from [previous] generations, but NOW [in A.D.63] made manifest to his saints" (1:26). This Mystery clearly explains what the real Philosophy of Christianity is all about. It is a teaching that is awesome in scope.
This brand new revelation given to the apostle Paul was first manifested to the world in A.D.63. You will not read of this particular "Mystery teaching" in any of the earlier epistles of Paul except in the subscription of Romans 16:25 which was written after A.D.63 as I explain in my book "Restoring the Original Bible." In that subscription, Paul said that this newly revealed teaching concerning the Philosophy of Christianity was being manifested in "prophetic scriptures." Paul said it was "the Mystery, which was kept secret since the world began" (Romans 16:25,26). This revelation of Paul states that this brand new teaching was not known by any of the apostles, any of the early Christians or by any of the Jews in any period earlier than A.D.63. Adam didn't know of it. Abraham was unaware of it. Moses did not hear it. John the Baptist knew nothing of it. Christ did not teach it to the Jews or even to his disciples when he was on earth. Even Paul did not see it clearly until 63 A.D. It was altogether a NEW revelation!
It was only when special revelations were given to Paul and others in the crucial year of A.D.63 that this grandest instruction that God could ever bestow on mankind was discovered. And it was something very different from what had been taught before, even in earlier teachings involving Christian discipline and faith. It transformed the early doctrines of primitive Christianity from being solely an ethnic religion concerned only with the nation of Israel and replaced it with a spiritual standard of belief that represented a universal and special Philosophy of Christianity. The new teaching of Paul transcended any nationalism (such as dealing exclusively with the nations of Israel and Judah) or any other sectarian denominationalism that would arise because of political factions in this world. In a word, the Mystery transformed early Christianity from being another sect of religious belief into a divine philosophy with a universal application. It abandoned all boundaries and limits involving mundane nationalism and its bedfellow, denominationalism. I will explain what this real and mature Christianity involves in the May Doctrinal Report. This is an important piece of research on biblical matters that all of you should study.
I am offering this new material on "the Mystery" (the Philosophy of Christianity) as my introduction to the second edition of my book "The Essentials of New Testament Doctrine." That book in its first edition was jam-packed with information that the great majority of you rejoiced in receiving. But I have further clarified some of the sections and added more simplified explanations in this new improved edition. It has also been set in a new page style (with a different type font) by my compositional editor, David Sielaff. I expect to be offering this new edition by late May.
In closing, I wish to thank all of you who financially support the research of ASK in this published form as well as you on the Internet who access the extended and more complete research studies each month. My research into biblical themes and geographical matters involving the true sites of Jerusalem are now getting into the hands of the top political leaders in the world. They need to know just what the Scriptures have to say in regard to these End-Times that we are now entering.
Your financial support makes it possible for ASK to present the teachings of the Gospel to all in the world as a free service to them. How is ASK able to provide this service? We do this by working long hours to research and to compose reports that are designed to make the teachings of the Scriptures clear and simple to understand. And, importantly, we count on each of you to supply us with sufficient funds to accomplish the job each month. God expects His people to support His teaching to the world. The use of the tithing system of the Old Testament is not the manner that Christ now wishes his people to follow (and I have shown that in my book on the subject), but financial support for services and for outreach should not be abandoned. We at ASK need your financial help to secure these biblical teachings going into the world. I appeal to each of you NOT to simply let someone else pay the expenses to present the Gospel, but each of you should be responsible enough to help us with cheerfulness. Thank you for your support. Godís blessings on you all. Until next month,
Ernest L. Martin
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