definition of spirit is, an intelligent principle of action, as the
spirit of sanity, the spirit of love, etc. It is in this sense that I am
using the word here.
The letter is killing, but the spirit is enlivening. This is true of any
To my understanding, nothing is more plainly taught in the scripture
than the salvation of all mankind. When the word says, "God wills
that all mankind be saved, and come unto a realization of the
truth", it is sufficient to lead me to believe it. And what a
glorious doctrine it is!
What does it mean? It means that God loves all mankind.
I am giving out this message, but do I have the spirit of the message?
In other words, do I act in accord with the message?
Do I browbeat those who do not believe it? Do I use abusive language to
, or about them? Do I hold them up to ridicule? If so, where is the
spirit of the message? It is sadly lacking.
It seems to me that the scriptures teach that not all mankind will
experience this salvation until the finish of God's operations in this
matter, for we are told that there will be judging for some.
Judging will be beneficial, even though it may bring much suffering, for
the word means setting matters right. The believer will have salvation
without this judging. Christ says that the one who believes shall not be
coming into judging.
There are those who do not accept this idea. What am I to do about it?
Forget the spirit of the message and say hard things to or about them?
May it not come to that.
A person said to me recently. "I thought all who receive the truth
is as kind as you are. Why are they not?" I replied. "If they
have the truth and the SPIRIT of the truth, their greatest delight is to
be kind. But the truth without the spirit can be used as a club to kill
It seems plain to me that Paul has a distinctive ministry. I believe
that the Pentecostal church failed after Peter surrendered his position
to James, who was not even an apostle. The killing of Stephen was the
final proof that the church could not be revived.
So God called Saul, who needed great grace, and began through him a
church in which grace was paramount in its doctrines, and also in its
administration. God calls it the church which is the body of Christ. It
soon became predominantly non-Jewish, and has remained so, as God had
Blindness in part has been the portion of Israel during the period of
the ministry of Paul---Saul's name was changed to Paul, which denotes an
interval. The ministry of Paul continues during the interval in which
God is not dealing with the nation of Israel. The blindness will not
depart from Israel until the present church is completed. When it does
depart---for it is temporary---the ministry of Peter will be resumed
through his two epistles.
Many do not accept my view of this matter. They see no difference
between the Pentecostal church and the church which is the body of
Well, am I their boss? Shall I forget the spirit of truth and dis-fellowship
them. If I do, I am killing them with the letter minus the spirit. There
is NEVER any harm in the letter when it is accompanied by the spirit.
There is ALWAYS damage that can be done through it, if the spirit is
missing---no matter what glorious doctrine we are teaching.
I do not doubt what I teach. When I say, "It seems to me", I
do not imply that I am half-hearted about it. I mean that I am not
infallible, and I want to be kind toward others, even if they do not see
in a passage what I see. It means, also, that I am determined to not
force my conclusions on others. I am glad to give, fearlessly, the truth
as I see it. But one can be fearless without being offensive.
I am convinced that in the letters written by Paul there is a gradual
development of truth, and that some things said in the later ones modify
what was said earlier. His letters seem to be in two groups---the
earlier group written while the Pentecostal church was dying, and the
later group (Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians, II Timothy, and
Philemon) written after the dying church was out of the way.
James not only superseded Peter in the dying church, but he also
exercised a distinct influence over Paul. Not until Pentecostalism was
out of the way, for instance, did Paul dare tell the churches under his
ministry that they were not bound to observe the decree under which
James placed them at the Jerusalem Convention. (Acts 15). See Col. 2.
In other words, LAW was no longer to be part of the administration of
the church, now that James, the lawgiver, had no more influence. After
James and his church were removed from the scene, Paul's operations
became "the administration of the grace of God", Eph. 3. All
along he had taught that law had no part in salvation; now he was to
teach that law had no part in administration. IT was to be of as pure
grace as was salvation. The administration of the grace of God had not
ended, nor has the ministry of Paul come to a close.
But am I God, that I should say or do anything against those who do not
accept this view? NO group among us wants to be headquarters. Please do
not embarrass them by writing to them as if you thought they want to be
Letters compose words. A form of sound words is very fine, but only if
the use of this form is accompanied by faith and love in Christ Jesus,
II Tim. 1:13. Even the form may be used as a cudgel with which to beat
others, unless Paul's specifications concerning faith and love are
We may study and teach doctrine, and forget there is such a thing as
FEELING, and the doctrine become a theory that causes us to become so
petrified that we are unapproachable except on our own terms. We then
become a gossip society, a mutual admiration group, better than others.
It is then that we are bordering on Pharisaism. We fail to see any good
in others, and their faults are the topic of our conversation and
letters. How depressing such a thing is to me! I don't want it! There IS
much good, even in people who do not see matters as I do. Let ME look at
THAT. YOU are welcome to live on their IMPERFECTIONS. Let ME live on
their BEAUTY. It is still a fact that, of the three remaining---Faith,
Hope and Love---LOVE is the greatest. Love is the spirit of the truth.
Give me THAT, rather than the letter without the spirit.
My God does not have to condemn me to a life of suffering here, in order
to bless me in heaven later. He does not have to neglect my MATERIAL
blessings, because I am blessed with every SPIRITUAL blessing among the
celestials in Christ. In the past where Paul mentions the spiritual
blessings, he also exhorts me to pray to God now, with thanksgiving, and
make all my requests known to Him. This is not an empty phrase. God does
not play with us. ALL blessings are of God.
Some who are alarmed at the idea of thought having the power to make or
wreck health, and who believe that prayer as a factor in healing belongs
to a former, (or a later), period, who seem to think that bodily
weakness is in keeping with this administration, have no hesitancy in
seeking medical help in order to avoid the very weakness of body that
they imagine to be in order. This is an attempt to thwart God, it seems
to me, while prayer for health is an attempt to be in line with His love
and care of us.
Has He condemned us to a life of poverty? If so why try to overcome it
by working and trading? Is this any more in line with the present
administration than prayer and faith are ?
Would you live a quiet life in all devoutness and gravity? Paul tells
how to do it. Make petitions, prayers, pleadings and thanksgivings for
those who are in authority, as well as for all other mankind, I Tim.
2:1. Do not most of us neglect this, and spend our time criticizing,
instead? They say this is the privilege of people in a democracy---to
criticize those in authority. How much good has it ever done? Who has
tried Paul's remedy? No wonder so many of us are in turmoil. Let saints
forego their privilege of criticism, for the greater privilege of prayer