ASK Commentary
May 13, 2003 

New to ASK Website

Commentary for Monday, May 13, 2003 — Dr. Martin and ASK Materials

Question: Dear Sir, My father-in-law recently gave me copies of two of Ernest Martin’s writings. They were from the Foundation for Biblical Research. One was called “The Foundation Commentator” with an article called “Christianity is Not the New Covenant.” It was dated 1980. The other is an “Exposition” and the article is “The Death of Death.” I found both very interesting and would like to read more of Dr. Martin’s writings. I looked for FBR on the web and didn’t find anything, so looked up Dr. Martin’s name and found A.S.K.

Is Dr. Martin still alive? In many ways the biography made it sound like he wasn’t (a lot of past tense was used), but then it said he is “presently” chairman of the board.

I wanted to say that it is refreshing to find people who aren’t “traditional” in their Christian beliefs. My husband and I came out of “Armstrongism” in the late 1970s and have yet to find what we believe to be a doctrinally sound church group. If you have ever been a part of WCG you will know how difficult it is to just accept some beliefs without Biblical “proof”! The churches we have tried take many doctrinal liberties with the Word of God!

I haven’t really looked into ASK much yet, but as I said, I did find Dr. Martin’s writings interesting. Sincerely, [name withheld]

Answer: Dr. Ernest L. Martin died in January 2002. The work that he did since 1974 with FBR (Foundation for Biblical Research) and later with ASK is continuing with the publishing many of the older works that are still up-to-date and useful to so many to make plain the Word of God. We are also compiling many of his works into books to be published in the future. The biographical material needs to be updated. Thanks for the reminder.

The ASK Website is a virtual treasure trove of materials. If you click on the section “ASK Articles” at the left-center of the Homepage, you will find additional articles of interest. Then, at the top and bottom of the “Prophecy” and “Doctrine” items you will find even more articles under archives.

In addition you can use the search item on the lower left of the ASK Homepage. The “Advanced Site Search” is even more useful because it allows you to search for articles by subject, topic or interest. Follow the simple instructions that are on the page to search for phrases, in quotes, such as “time of the end,” or “Holy Spirit.” You will find this feature particularly useful.

One way to investigate the writings by Dr. Martin is to have a wealth of material at your fingertips in book form. We have books he wrote online in serial form, but also we have books for sale. From the interests you mentioned, I would recommend Restoring the Original Bible (which will give you terrific information about the Bible and how it is “organized,” and how it developed) and The Essentials of New Testament Doctrine (which will give you from the Bible the clearest explanation of God’s plan of salvation for all mankind). The other books are excellent history as well. The entire historical scenario involving Christ’s birth is to be found in The Star That Astonished the World. The events surrounding the death of Christ are detailed in Secrets of Golgotha. Be sure to keep up with the issues in the book The Temples That Jerusalem Forgot which may soon have relevance to current world events.

By the way, the article “The Death of Death” you mentioned was reprinted and featured as one of the articles for January 2003. The article you mentioned, “Christianity is Not the New Covenant” was rewritten by Dr. Martin as “The Mystery and the New Covenant.”

Each month I put up an article (or two) about various subjects I feel necessary for the ASK audience to know about (or to relearn). Most of these articles are from tape transcripts or older articles from pre-ASK days or at least from pre-Internet days. Last month’s article was from a tape Dr. Martin made in 1991 titled, “ The Prophetic Future of Iraq“ This month’s article is one Dr. Martin wrote in 1993, “Special Historical Report on Islam“ Both are timely subjects for now and the near future.

In regard to your past experiences with religious groups, you might also enjoy “Are You a Misfit?“ that I wrote last year. It described my situation and condition, and others say it describes theirs also.

As you may know, Dr. Martin was a teacher with the Worldwide Church of God before leaving to become an independent author in 1974. Because of your experience I want to make clear that Dr. Martin’s writings are not a substitute for the Bible, but are intended to lead you to learn what the Bible says and thereby encourage you to read the Bible directly with a clearer understanding. His writings will lead you to several instances when you say to yourself, “now it makes sense,” and “of course, that is what it means.” It has happened several times to me and most others who read his writings, not in some mystical sense, but in a way of understanding the clear meaning that God intended without fancy theological terms.

While the Word of God requires study (2 Timothy 2:15) because the whole message is complex and wonderful, God rarely used obscure words or technical terms in either Hebrew or Greek that the common people could not understand. He always spoke and had His writers write in plain language that the people of the day would understand. They rarely comprehended the message, but the words were clear. Only Isaiah in the Old Testament and Paul’s writings (as Peter said) are more sophisticated and somewhat difficult.

“As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”

2 Peter 3:16

The “true church,” or better phrased the ekklesia (which means “called out ones” in Greek), is composed of a seemingly unorganized believers scattered like salt on the earth. However, that lack of organization of the ekklesia in the world is misleading. The ekklesia is certainly organized by God as the Body of Christ. This is not a mere metaphor, because “in Christ” we have our salvation and our being.

You likely will not find a doctrinally sound church group or ekklesia. If you feel the need to associate with others, then at least find a group that allows ideas to be expressed (in a proper forum and with decorum) that are different than the mainstream of the group. Good luck. You will find that opposition to or even questioning of the doctrines of the trinity, hell, immortal soul and silly traditions (such as steeples, pagan symbols, robes, etc.) will likely make you unwelcome in most groups.

If you have a small group that meets on a regular or an irregular basis and you would like to purchase a quantity of books at a discount for study, let us know and we can make arrangements for you to receive them.

Keep in mind that ASK is supported somewhat by sales, but mostly by contributions for which we are humbly grateful — grateful both to God and to the contributors who are our brothers and sisters in Christ. The Bible does not teach tithing, so your contributions sustain ASK to continue to produce useful materials from Dr. Martin past writings and speaking.

Please know that you have our best wishes for your study of the Word of God. Your journey of discovery through God's Word may not be easy at times, but it will be ultimately rewarding intellectually and spiritually. God wills for all men to come to the "full knowledge" (epgnosis in Greek) of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). Be assured that God's will shall be done, in your life, in the lives of your neighbors and friends, and in the lives of all human beings.

David Sielaff

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