Why Include This?
I’ve sent the following article to our Prayer Team and Consultants for their input and suggestions – and received divided responses. Some loved it and one even said: “You’ve written an excellent letter here. Very well said indeed!”, but others feel that it doesn’t belong in our Overseas Outreach prayer letter and that I have little to gain and much to lose. However, I’ve decided to share it now in our prayer letter for four valid reasons:
- Whether the advice was yes or no, I now have doubts that any who read it truly understood my heart issues and the core reasons why I wrote this.
- I see a clear and present danger of more and more division in the body of Christ over these issues.
- I do have a burden to share “the rest of the story” that many do not know about if their only input about news is from major media.
- When Jeremiah tried to suppress the message to Israel, he wrote, “there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.” Jeremiah 20:9 (ESV) I am feeling the same kind of burden.
So, if and when you choose to read the following article, I hope and pray that you will see and feel these urgent prayer requests:
- Please fervently pray for the unity of the Body of Christ “that the world may believe” – and pray that Satan will be defeated in his attempts to divide and conquer.
- Please pray for the liberty of conscience internationally, as well as for American citizens, and especially for Christians.
- Please earnestly pray for conviction and conversion of wicked leaders promoting their death agenda. Please remember that He who brought conviction and conversion to Saul of Tarsus can do it again with any of these. With God nothing is impossible! And please remember the heroes (like Deitrich Bonhoeffer) who had the courage to stand against the tyranny of the Nazi regime.
What to Do with a Conviction
First, I want to clarify that I am not referring to a legal conviction you may have received for violating a law. I am referring to a strongly held opinion that you hold about what is right and what is wrong. I believe that the main difference between an opinion and a conviction is this – an opinion is a preference that I hold, but a conviction is a deep belief about right and wrong that I’m willing to die for. Josh Austin, campus pastor of Eagle Christian Church – West Valley, offered me this insightful distinction between a conviction and an opinion: “Opinions are transient. Formed frequently, opinions can change based on new information and experiences. Convictions are deeply held beliefs formed over time. Convictions are the lens through which we filter truth.”
Before we promote a preference (opinion) to a conviction – wouldn’t it be wise to carefully, prayerfully consider what the Word of God has to say? A conviction should be based on what the Word of God clearly teaches. Convictions should not be based on wild speculations or vague applications of what the Bible might mean. The Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write about such issues that were threatening the unity of the Body of Christ. Please give careful, prayerful attention to Romans 14, and please also take to heart the very high priority Jesus gave to the unity of believers in His High Priest prayer for us: “My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you. All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me, so they bring me glory. Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are… Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth. I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.” John 17:9-11, 17-21 (NLT)
When I was a young preacher in Eugene, Oregon, back in the late 1960s, I heard Delbert White at Bible camp preach a powerful, profound, practically prophetic message on “What to Do with a Conviction.” I needed that! I was struggling with some of the issues of the time and was confused about what should be considered “conviction” and what should be categorized as “opinion.” I already believed the motto for Christian unity:
In essentials – unity!
In opinions – liberty!
In all things – love!
However, I also recognized that many churches had split over various issues throughout history and on the current scene because so many Christian leaders thought that their opinions were the essentials. For example, I recently heard a radio preacher define his opinion about the pre-millennial, pre-tribulation Rapture as one of the essentials. If that opinion is an essential of the faith, then he wouldn’t consider me a Christian. Why? Because I’m a pro-millennial. I’m not sure how our Almighty God is going to fit all the pieces of unfulfilled prophecy together – but however He does it, I’m in favor of it! I know the millennial theories – but I also see holes in each of them. Fulfilled prophecy – now that is another matter!
With this background, I now choose to wade into some current issues that not only have the potential of dividing churches, but are already doing so. I’m referring to mandates, masks, and vaccines. I do hold some strong opinions about these matters, but I have not yet graduated my opinions to essentials (convictions) – but I’m being tempted to. Maybe you are too. However, I also recognize that Jesus did not sacrifice His life for our opinions – but for our souls! He saved us by His sacrifice long before these matters became issues.
I realize that all of us are bombarded with the Marxist mantra that, in order to love our neighbors, we must wear the mask and get the shot (again and again). Some of you will remember that Paul Harvey made his reputation as a news commentator by exposing “the rest of the story.” I also realize that if the major “news” outlets are your only or primary source of information, you may not know that there is another side to the story. The major “news” outlets have become propaganda peddlers for the Marxist machine. They seek to ridicule or cancel anyone who does not follow the “Pied Piper.” Here is my other side of the story. These are my observations and opinions that I believe are correct – but you are under no obligation to agree with me. I do, however, want you to know a bit of “the rest of the story.” Please give this your careful, prayerful consideration. (If you wonder why I’m referring to this current administration as Marxist, you can check my description of Marxism on our Overseas Outreach website, June 2021 under “What Is Marxism?”, or you can write to us and ask for a print copy, or for us to send you an email copy.)
If you believe that Paul’s teaching in Romans 13 means that Christians absolutely must comply with the current mandates, please pay careful attention to reason #7 (coming up), as well as the distinction between a monarchy and a republic.
During spring or summer of 2020, both Della and I were wondering how breathing in our own carbon dioxide from the masks could be good for us. She would get dizzy from wearing a mask too long. Then we heard from a friend about a doctor in Oregon who refused to wear the mask or require employees or patients to do so. Later I learned from another friend that the Oregon government closed down his practice. Government overreach? Hmmm! Obviously that doctor knows that hospital surgical masks and flimsy cloth or paper masks are not equal quality. You can wear masks if you want to – it’s your choice. (For some it may even improve their appearance! 😉) You can also put up a chain link fence to keep cats, rodents, and mosquitos out of your yard if you want to – it’s your choice! 😊
Why I Refuse the Covid Vaccine
1. Because I do not trust the Marxist, corrupt administration that has taken control of government, business, sports, news outlets, education, entertainment, etc. I’ve studied Marxism since I was a senior in high school, and I have good reason to believe from testimonies that Marxists have used vaccines in other countries to inject substances to enhance their control by making the recipients more compliant.
2. I believe in freedom of choice! In our most basic American document, our founding fathers declared: “We hold these truths to be self-evident – that we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, and among them are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Declaration of Independence, 1776. Women who advocate abortion have shouted, “My body – my choice!” hypocritically, because the baby’s body dwelling inside of her own is not her body! However, when it comes to vaccines, the mantra “my body – my choice!” is valid. If you want to have any vaccine injected into your body – go ahead! It’s your choice! I won’t try to tell you what you can do – so please don’t try to tell me what I can do. Both vaccine mandates and mask mandates look to me like government over-reach on steroids! “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” Ronald Reagan “There is a higher power than man – the Creator God – a reality which the founders called a ‘self-evident truth,’ and liberty was endowed to us by Him at creation.” Aaron Ferguson
3. I also believe that, in spite of any denials, there is a strong possibility that most of these vaccines have some elements of aborted baby parts. This current Marxist administration is intent on murdering as many babies as possible by abortion and will cover up the use of aborted baby parts. Also, I have heard several highly qualified medical doctors and research specialists declare that none of these so-called vaccines are actually bona fide vaccines – they are still in the experimental stage, and no one knows what the long-term side effects will be. Recently, Pamela Geller reported that an FDA panel member admitted that covid vaccines are ineffective and highly dangerous. There may be more deaths and serious complications from the vaccines than actual deaths from covid. (Most who die from Covid had serious pre-existing conditions. At least, I’ve heard this from multiple sources.)
4. I choose to do my best to strengthen and support my immune system with healthy supplements such as zinc, garlic, echinacea, etc. I’ve never taken a flu shot and I’ve never had a down day because of the flu. Why is this administration suppressing the truth about medications that do work to recover from Covid (those promoted and provided by Frontier Drs., for example)? Also, why are they so aggressive about persuading, pressuring, and demanding compliance to their agenda? (Hint – Historically, Marxists have taken over country after country by using loaded propaganda, laced vaccines to produce compliant recipients, and extreme force to cancel and crush all opposition by every possible means. Hasn’t this administration cried “unify” while at the same time promoting, pushing, and pressuring us with the most divisive issues of our time? No wonder! Divide and conquer is an intricate part of Marxist strategy. Do you see what they are doing?
On a recent news report from American Family Radio, I heard that 24 state attorneys general have sent a scathing letter to Biden denouncing vaccine mandates. Also, that several state governors are suing him and calling him a tyrant and dictator who is trying to abolish states’ rights – especially concerning mandates and abortions laws. You may not have heard about this from the “cover-up” media sources.
Please pray earnestly with me for Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, all involved in this pro-death administration – including the shadowy figures of the deep state, who are controlling the money and pulling the strings. Let’s pray for conviction and conversion. Let’s remember that on the cross, Jesus prayed for His corrupted tormentors: “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do!” How did His Father answer His Prayer? Acts 4:11-13 says: “This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.” and Acts 6:7 says: “And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.” (ESV)
5. My wife, Della, has only one kidney and many allergies. She reacts to almost everything a doctor prescribes for her. She cannot take the vaccine. I will stand together with Della in refusing to submit to a vaccine mandate.
6. Our national motto is “In God We Trust.” Amen! Almighty God is my Father – not almighty government that wants to usurp His place! The early Christians were willing to die rather than bow to Ceasar. Our puppet president seems to like pretending that he is Ceasar! I refuse to bow to his unconstitutional, un-Biblical mandates. Also, have you noticed the blatant hypocrisy of this Marxist administration that mandates masks and vaccines for American citizens while allowing illegal aliens to flood in by the thousands without mask and vaccine mandates? Are we really supposed to believe that they care about our health and safety?
7. Jesus obeyed the Law of Moses – which was the law of the land of Israel – but He disregarded the man-made laws (traditions of the elders) in spite of their outrage. The Bill of Rights with our Constitution is our basic law of the land. Our Constitution specifies that laws are to be hammered out in Congress – which is the “legislative branch.” The whimsical, flip flop orders of mandates from government officials and government paid doctors are not the law of the land!” Our Constitution has never ordained for a tyrant to be the uncontested ruler of our Homeland. Like Pharoah and Herod, he seems obsessed with murdering babies.
The Pro-death Mentality
Are you recognizing the pro-death mentality that is so prevalent in modern society? Why are so many “elites” promoting, pushing, even demanding abortion “rights,” suicide, euthanasia, etc.? Why has the holiday that celebrates death become so popular? Why are skull and crossbones, skeletons, and monsters as decorations and tattoos popular? Why do hospitals get paid from our government when someone dies of covid – but not if he gets well? Isn’t there a good possibility that the mantra that the world is way over-populated the primary motivation for promoting such pro-death mentality? And isn’t the other mantra that “evolution is a fact” the logical basic philosophy promoting the pro-death mentality? That “God is dead” and man is master of his own fate? Isn’t death the hero of evolutionism?
So, what are we to do with convictions?
1. Test them according to Scripture and try to be sure that our convictions are in harmony with the essentials. Also, let’s try to sort out convictions from opinions.
2. Hold tightly to your convictions but lightly to your opinions. “Blessed are the flexible – for they shall not get bent out of shape!” Gary Strubhar. By inspiration Paul wrote: “Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall… For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too. So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.” Romans 14:12-13, 17-19 (NLT)
3. Be willing to sacrifice your opinions. Be willing to die for your convictions.
4. Share your reasons for your opinions and your convictions – then allow others to form their own convictions. Don’t steal their liberty! The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers: “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (NKJV) He wrote to the Galatian believers: “Standfast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1 (NKJV)
So, whatever differences we may have about masks, mandates, vaccines, or other issues, let’s remember the last line in the motto and practice it – in all things LOVE. May it be in the 21st Century as in the 1st, that unbelievers will look at the church of our Risen Christ and say, “behold how they love one another!”
May the unity of the Body of Christ be one of the deepest held convictions in our hearts and one of the most earnest prayers on our lips. Why? That the world may believe that Jesus is LORD!
Epilogue: Is It Really Worth the Risk?
Why am I wading into controversial issues that may be, as a friend cautioned me, a lot to lose and nothing to gain? Here are my reasons:
First – Because I truly believe that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
2 Timothy 1:7
Second – I know the tactics of Marxism and I see both the subtle and the blatant demands of Marxism pushing to destroy Christian liberty, and to destroy this once great country built on Biblical principles to be “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” I love my homeland as founded by the Pilgrims with the Mayflower Compact, and for which many brave individuals have sacrificed their livelihood and their lives to preserve.
Third – I know that historically, both Nazism and Communism are simply different flavors of atheistic Marxism. I know that Winston Churchill was ridiculed and mocked at first when he stood up and spoke out against Hitler, but I also know that without his bold opposition, Great Britain would have fallen to the Nazi war machine. I would rather be mocked for speaking up (like Churchill was) than to be a wimp like Nevel Chamberlain – whose compromises would have turned Great Britain over to the Nazis.
Fourth – We can go on griping about what is happening to the church and our country but isn’t it “about time to put up or shut up!”? Our founding fathers did not design a monarchy nor a democracy! They designed a republic in which elected officials are to be servants who work for citizens – and citizens are to hold the officials’ “feet to the fire”! Are you an American citizen? If yes – you have responsibility! What are you doing with your responsibility? Complaining won’t cut it! We are on the edge of destruction, so brothers – it’s time to speak up or forever hold your peace! It’s time to be a bold witness for Jesus! For the true Kingdom of God on earth that He gave His life for and arose from the dead to establish! To tell the truth that Jesus is the reason why this country became “the land of the free and the home of the brave”! Insipid evolutionism and utopian Marxism are blatant lies of Satan. Brothers and sisters – we are in heavy-duty spiritual warfare! What are you doing about it? What are you doing to expose them?
What Do I Have to Lose?
So, what do I have to lose? My integrity – if I refuse or neglect to speak up when I’m convinced that I should. What do I hope to gain? In the final Judgement – my Lord’s approval: “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
P.S. If you are tempted to compliance by the mantra, “Follow the science!”, think of this:
- Paul warned Timothy to beware of science falsely so-called. (See 1 Timothy 6:20-21)
- If we follow true science, it will always lead us to the original Scientist, Who created all things.
From Our Mailbox
“Beloved brothers and sisters,
Thank you very much for your care, support, and prayers! With great joy, I present you the Christian Center for Science and Apologetics 2021 July and August newsletter.
We celebrate 30 years of the former Soviet Union nations’ great exodus from the Egypt of communism into the desert of secular democracy. The Church of the Exodus Generation existed despite the oppressions and persecutions. Participation in any event from street evangelism to youth camp was a danger of facing serious problems, even imprisonment. There were very few opportunities. Nevertheless, our older brothers and sisters boldly did everything they could. Fighting the good fight, completing the race, they kept the faith and passed it on to us, the Generation of the Desert.
Our generation received everything at once – without sacrifice, without risk, without hard work. Brothers from other countries joyfully and sacrificially shared with us their resources, experience, knowledge, programs, strategies, methods, approaches, etc. All this was available for taking without considering whether it is relevant to our context. Being a Christian was often a self-sufficient occupation ‘for internal consumption’ – building the Kingdom from 9 am till 5 pm with a lunch break. Why should we, believers, go into, say, science? Or economics? Or politics? Or education system? Or business? All the people are of great size there, we are like grasshoppers in our own eyes! It is so safe here, in our comfortable church ghetto!
I am exaggerating, of course. There were many heroes of the faith, people who were not indifferent and challenged both the world and the stagnant tendencies within the Body of Christ. But this multitude, alas, was a minority. As in the old days, for each Caleb, there were half a dozen ‘grasshoppers in their own eyes.’ Indifference to what was going on outside the church walls has been a common feature of our generation. Moreover, whether one ‘did care’ became the main criterion in recruitment for our own projects. We decided to train the called rather than trying calling the trained.
But time has passed, and a new generation has grown up – young people thirsting for fellowship, learning, devoting themselves to the work of the Kingdom. They do care! They do not want to be ‘grasshoppers in their own eyes’ but yearn for change, proclaiming: ‘We should go up and take the land, for we can certainly do it! The Lord is with us! Do not be afraid!’
I believe that the Generation of Joshua that follows us will become the city on a hill and the lamp on its stand, so people may see their good works and glorify the Father, which is in heaven! And the best what we, people of the desert, can do now, is to invest ourselves in them. We shall provide them with the necessary resources and share all the knowledge and experience we’ve gained so that they do not need to waste time and effort repeating the mistakes we have already made. And so that they too could entrust the things they have heard from us to reliable men who will also the qualified to teach others in their turn (2 Timothy 2:2).
With this in mind, we were doing our best to come with masterclasses, seminars, training programs, etc., for every youth camp and festival we were invited to! We were going from one side of the country to another all the time. The spectrum of the topics discussed was so broad! Effective evangelism, God’s existence, faith and science, mercy and suffering, the role of Christians in civil society, dinosaurs, keeping the truth in the confusing world, use of media for the Kingdom, biblical leadership, etc. Our direct involvement was amplified by the online seminars as well as the media ministry of young people, trained and equipped in previous years. Please pray with us for all these young warriors of Christ!
The summer was an extremely exciting experience that inspired us incredibly! We do know: those who follow us are better than us! They must become greater, and we must become less. Training and equipping key capable and called young people is and always will be our top priority. Having the Apologetics Center facilities as a permanent base will make this task much easier for us now.
The Center remodeling goes on. By the Lord’s provision, we collected 57,64% of the estimated cost already. The electrical works (including reserve autonomous power generator) are done already, as well as most of the flooring. Most of the appliances and furniture are ordered as well. We still hope to move into the facilities by winter. Please keep this goal in your prayers! Please keep praying for our ministry, our team, our families, the finances, and God’s guidance and protection in everything we do. You are in our prayers as well.
Yours in the love and grace of Christ Jesus, Sergei”
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I read the last 2 newsletters you gave me last night and wanted to tell you what a blessing they are to me. You are an encouragement to me for living a devoted life to Christ and being evangelistic and making my life count for something. Thank you for being a witness. I know you are blessed daily with the fellowship of the Spirit as you walk with Him.
I searched my email account and I cannot find where I have received your newsletters in the past. Please add me to your list for future correspondence.
I look forward to seeing you again soon. God’s blessings on you and Della.
1. Let’s begin with praise and thanksgiving! To those of you who donate and pray for us and our requests – THANK YOU! We thank God for you – and think of Paul’s words to the Thessalonians: “We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 (ESV)
2. Duane McMurdie, preacher of the gospel, faithful servant of Jesus, longtime friend and prayer partner for our Overseas Outreach mission was called Home to his reward on Wednesday, September 22. Please pray our Father’s comfort for his wife, Denise, and her family during this time of separation.
3. On October 10, Della and I celebrate our 59th anniversary of engagement – and on November 8, our Lord willing, will be my 78th birthday. Yes, you now realize that as an 18- and 19-year-old kid – God gave me the wisdom and led me to choose Della to be my bride. Wow! Thank you, Lord!
4. Please pray for my bride! Her one kidney gives her much pain, as do the torn muscles or ligaments from her fall on May 13, and the neuropathy in her feet, so she doesn’t sleep well most nights – then has fatigue in the daytime. By the way, she designs the beautiful last page of our prayer letters.
5. One of our four Overseas Outreach representative couples in Ukraine have huge struggles and need our prayers and help – Sergey & Vera Yurevich. Please pray for them – and contact us if you want more information. John Murphy, another of our Overseas Outreach partner, is providing temporary housing for them and their baby, Olivia.
6. Christian Center for Science and Apologetics is experiencing great blessings from God in outreach and influence. Praise His holy name!
7. Let’s pray for multitudes of Biblical churches to launch Christian schools in America and Ukraine!