Dear Associates, Students and Friends:
Just about 49 years ago I found myself in one of the most inhospitable places on earth. I was on the West Coast of Greenland about 100 miles east of the ocean and on the western edge of the vast Ice Cap that covers most of the Island (where I stayed a year forecasting the weather when I was in the United States Air Force). I had been introduced to the Holy Scriptures in an academic way about a year before, and here I was above the Arctic Circle enjoying my work in Meteorology very much, but wondering why I was there because I was also getting interested in studying the Holy Scriptures. There was a great chaplain at the base, Lt. Waterhouse (a Southern Baptist, my mother’s denomination). He took me under his wing and encouraged me. He flatly told me that I would one day leave my meteorological career and become a "Doctor of Theology." He was almost right, but later at Ambassador College I received my higher degree in Education (only my Master’s degree is in Theology).
A few months later Lt. Waterhouse was transferred. I felt alone in a Christian sense. Though there were about one thousand of us on the Air Base, those of us in the meteorological profession had such odd hours of working (always rotating through daylight, swing and midnight shifts) that it was hard to become fast friends with anyone. I especially felt alone in studying the Bible. I finally had no one to fellowship with who could answer questions for me or even to discuss biblical subjects. Not only was it a lonely existence, I discovered that I was getting more confused about theological matters and not learning the proper doctrines that were essential to know. The more that I studied alone, the more confused I got. It was frustrating and even demoralizing. Then, I decided to do something about it. On one of my rare days off from work, I went up to a mountain ridge near Lake Ferguson and knelt down. All I saw were dark clouds above and the arctic wilderness on all sides (I was two miles from the base, but having a sense of isolation it seemed as though I was at the North Pole).
All I asked God was a request. It took me no more than two minutes. I simply petitioned God to help me to know the real truths of the Scriptures and that I promised to teach those truths to all whom He might send me. I experienced nothing emotional or physically sensational during the prayer. In fact, it was so cold that it was uncomfortable to be kneeling. So, it was a relief to get off my knees. I simply thanked God for hearing me, and I immediately walked back to the base. But something was different from that moment. For some reason, when I came down from that mountain ridge (in one of the most desolate areas on earth), I had the real feeling that God had heard my prayer and that He would not let me down. And from then on I progressively began to learn the truth. From that very day, my confusions began disappearing. Even in studying alone in a solitary manner, the proper teachings of the Bible began to become evident and even simplistic. What especially pleased me was the fact that I was encountering new discoveries in Scripture almost on a monthly basis that I had never read about in the Commentaries from the top scholars.
God began to bless me abundantly, and He has not stopped. All of the new research that you have read or hear from me, has developed from that singular time when I simply asked God to help me. I mention this to you to give each of you encouragement. I am confident that God will do the same for each of you. We are in an age of discovery. There are yet many new things to uncover. All of us are needed to get the job done. Thus, I have an appeal to make. I want you to join with me (or continue your helping hand) in getting out the Gospel of Christ to this world. It is the proper philosophy of belief that motivates the work of ASK. This is the important thing (and not the detailed bits of biblical information that any of us may discover). It is not that ASK is always right in what is taught (indeed, we all are commanded by God to grow up in grace and in knowledge – II Peter 3:18).
No person can be right in all things. But it is possible to be right on many points. There is one principle, though, in which we can always be right. That is the philosophy that governs our activities. It is that God-oriented philosophy that is essential. The teaching of ASK is anchored in the belief that all answers on significant subjects that God wishes mankind to know will be found in the pages of the Holy Scriptures as they are properly translated or understood. That is our philosophical belief. True, we may make mistakes in interpretation from time to time (and, of course, we do, but I hope they are few). Yes, mistakes are made, but our over-all philosophy of how we treat and accept the sanctity of the Holy Scriptures (and I might say, of Christ Jesus himself) is genuine and it is sound teaching. That will not change, and I am convinced that God will not allow our prime philosophy to be altered in any negative manner.
These principles of teachings that motivate our activities at ASK are valid, and they are necessary for this period in world history. We all have a big job to do. Thank you for your part in it. For all of you who have been "holding up my hands" over the years, I want you to know that I sincerely appreciate it from my heart. I want to encourage you even to enlarge your individual interest in the work of ASK. We have no big corporations or foundations supporting us in our efforts to teach the Gospel. Our support comes from individuals who have their hearts in educating the public and even the scholars in biblical matters. Let us all continue to broadcast the proper teachings of God. I ask all of you who have been behind my work with contributions, that you keep up your free-will offerings. I believe God is pleased with you all, and that He will reward all of us abundantly in the near future.
The real teachings of God are needed now more than ever. This is especially true in all the hot spots of the world where belligerence and hostilities still exist. That is particularly valid in the city where Christ taught and where He was crucified and resurrected from the dead. Jerusalem and the Middle East need a big dosage of the real Gospel of Christ. The people there need a change of heart. The area of Jerusalem has been a special region of my concern for the past 40 years. A part of my later learning experience (after I left Greenland and went on to college and began my professional work) took me to Jerusalem where I was in charge of 450 college students for five summers at the southern wall of the Haram esh-Sharif. God has allowed me to have my constant attention to that area of the world in all phases of my ministerial work. This is one of the reasons you will find me concentrating on prophetic matters dealing with Jerusalem. I know the strong points in recognizing the prophetic teachings about Jerusalem, and I know some of the major weak points in the world’s mis-understanding about Jerusalem. One of those "weak points" is the use of the modern archaeological methods in trying to interpret the early history of the Holy City.
Take for example, my recent research on the true site of the Temples. There is one thing that keeps a lid on uncovering the truths of history and the Bible regarding Jerusalem. That is the lack of historical training that many archaeologists have. It is a great demerit on their part. My mentor, Prof. Mazar was different. He was first a historian, and then an archaeologist. This is what is needed today. There are few archaeologists endeavoring to put the historical approach as their standard of belief (rather than some archaeological guesses based on pottery and other items that are shown to be without historical basis). The majority still go merrily on their way of making singular (and erroneous) evaluations without recourse to the historical accounts. Also, they are usually castigating the proper evidence in the Holy Scriptures (which many do not trust) and the historical records found in the various documents that have come down to us from the past. Historical records are not a first priority in the eyes of many archaeologists. You need to be aware of these fallacies that archaeologists misuse in our modern world. Their deficiencies are often a real deterrent to learning the truth of any historical matter.
What you need to do is to read the October Educational Report that I am now writing titled: "The Limits of Archaeology." You will be surprised and enlightened on the role of archaeology in discovering the truth, but also how erroneous some opinions of professional archaeologists are (and even a child is capable of determining their fallacies). You will want to read this new article. May God’s full blessings be with each of you. Thank you for your encouragement and your support of the work of ASK. Without you, we could do nothing. Until next month,
Ernest L. Martin
© 1976-2014 Associates for Scriptural Knowledge - ASK is supported by freewill contributions