Volume 20 Issue 6.
The concept of an Apostolic Bible college is completely liberating because by definition these institutions operate under the primary Apostolic principle that “we ought to obey God rather than man” (Acts 5:29). This one precept instantly removes the constraints of secular educational paradigms. An Apostolic Bible college is free from religious systems, free from political commitments and free from humanistic philosophy – it is free to be what God ordains.
I field the question regularly, “Is a Bible college really important today?” To this I answer that Bible college is more important now than ever for two specific reasons. First, there are new and powerful external enemies attacking our young people like never before. Secondly, the Apostolic movement is witnessing the devastating effects of new and powerful forces that sadly have drawn their battle lines from within our own ranks. As defenders of the faith once delivered to the saints, it is our duty to recognize who the enemies are and be ready and willing to work diligently to defeat them. Given this enormous task of defending the faith, training through Apostolic higher education seems a natural answer to the need for laborers “who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5).
Allow me to identify some of the external pressures from the world that I feel are warring against our Apostolic youth. Everywhere we look there seems to be developing a new consciousness, a mind-set of political correctness, devoid of absolutes, that has invaded every facet of life. Today’s youth also face the challenge of working against intellectual elitism. They must navigate a society where power is increasingly held by a select group of influential individuals schooled at prestigious universities in liberalism whose agenda is markedly anti-Christian.
Further, this generation has been plagued with narcissism and self-indulgence. Billions of dollars in advertising have fueled egotism and self-absorption to the point where our children have bought into the idea that they can self-actualize anything, including their spirituality. Mesmerized by their own thoughts they attempt to define God in their human weakness and thus are left to feel no God at all.
Finally, the allure of modern media is entrapping the hearts and minds of young and old alike. The obsession with virtual experiences is causing some to live in transference to avatar personalities. The addiction is rampant and leaves its victims so disconnected from reality they risk loss of personhood. Truly, the endtime battle will be no small confrontation.
The internal pressures that are affecting our young people today are often more difficult to detect, more clever, more deceptive – but, here is where I feel we need to strengthen the walls of our internal defenses. There has been a concerted effort in academia to distort history, to malign America’s founding fathers, and to portray patriots as bigoted, puritanical men who were chasing only their own greed. If they can destroy history, they can destroy the ideals our society was founded upon. Similarly, we must protect our Apostolic heritage and the legacy of our historical roots. Apostolic youth must know where we came from and what battles have been fought to get us to where we are today. We cannot allow those who wish to implement change to do so through manipulation or the distortion of our historical record.
Second, it appears that within our ranks we have allowed a shift to occur that has taken us from a paradigm of obedience to a paradigm of success. In many cases, admiration is bestowed upon those who generate numbers, those who incite fervor, those who are marketable, cool and fresh. Yet, too often the young ministers who stay true to the Apostolic message, Oneness doctrine, and holiness teaching are the blunt of the jokes and labeled the passé, the un-cool. We must be careful when success becomes the measure of the man, and obedience becomes despised.
As a movement we must ensure that our young people can stand boldly against the enemy in doctrinal confidence. We face external pressure to water down what we believe and it is my fear that there is a definite weakening of the internal wall as it pertains to essentiality of water baptism in Jesus’ name and the infilling of the Holy Ghost by evidence of speaking in tongues. If we allow this internal breach to continue, the enemy from without will surely avail themselves of this weakness and finish the destruction of our faith altogether. We cannot allow the falling torch to fall on parched soil. We must impart our mission to this endtime generation and it will take concerted effort to facilitate the generational transition of the Oneness Apostolic message. How can we say that Bible college is a waste of time?
I heard it said that the next 10 years will determine our destiny. I believe that is true. Now is the time for Apostolic training like never before. The stakes are higher, the battle more heated, and the risk of inaction more fatal to our movement than it has ever been. Simple solutions are not possible. The solution will be an army of the willing who will join together in faith believing, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6).