I get tickled at folks who insist they stick with the old original King James. Well, I’ve got a copy, a photocopy of the original 1611. I bought it at Walmart for $4.00 in 2011 for the 400th anniversary. Very few could make heads or tails of it, even those who adamantly “stick with the original.” I can read it fairly well, but then I’m fairly odd, I like stuff like that.
But the title here is to remind us that we aren’t the first generation of Christians. Doctrinal foundations have been laid, spiritual structures have been erected for two millennia. Seas of Christian blood have been spilt for your religious liberty. Libraries of hymns that were full of the Gospel, that actually said something, taught something, that were remembered years after sermons were forgotten, were penned, often in times of Spiritual Awakening. Creeds, confessions of faith and catechisms were common a few generations ago. It wasn’t known then as “a Catholic thing;” every evangelical group used them. Now, they are decried. I’ve heard preachers declare against them. The easiest way (translated, ‘cheapest’) to get amens in a Pastors’ conference is to shout out, “I have no creed but the Bible.” And therefore we have the most biblically illiterate church membership since before the Protestant Reformation.
The point is, we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us and it would do us well to read them—their biographies, their writings, their hymns—and to emulate them. Or maybe we should double check to see exactly upon whose shoulders we are standing.
This was a Surprise!
The church in Port Arthur offers ESL classes, has for years. That’s English as a Second Language. In fact, the ministry to the Spanish speaking immigrants was begun that way. Now they make up half the congregation. Beginners and Advanced levels are offered at 1:00PM Tue/Thur. One lady who has been teaching for many years, who is now in a wheelchair, recently confessed she is tired, exhausted actually. With no premeditation I said, “I’ll do it.” I’ve never taught English before, to anyone. But I started teaching Beginners, those who know little to no English. I found out from them that there are many who would come but cannot because they work. So, without thinking through this either, I said, “I’ll start night classes.” We started classes at 7:00PM Tue/Thur. The response was overwhelming. The first night we had to move from the conference room in the office to the sanctuary. The next session, we interviewed everyone in order to place them in Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced. And believe me, Advanced ain’t (sorry) very much English. We keep having new people every night.
The purposes are to share the Gospel and teach English. I can’t describe it to you, but these sessions are like Revival meetings. And most of the folks are lost. But the Holy Spirit is moving.