Friday, March 11, 2011

At the end of the day ...

I cannot say categorically if Brother X is gay or not. The old folk always say "there but for the Grace of God go I." This is why I resist letting people put me up on pedestal.: pedestals are far too unstable.

Thus much I do know: Jesus' message was not about condemnation -- but rather about restoration and reconciliation.

Our duty as pastors and bishops is not to cast our fallen brethren away ... our duty is to go get them, and bring them back to Christ. That's what a Ministry opf Restoration is all about.

Keep the faith

Restore Fallen brethren in Love

I’ve been in a discussion on Facebook with a brother-Bishop about a particular man of God recently involved in a scandal. The Facebook size limitations make it impossible for me to answer fully on that application; so I am writing m response here, and will post it on his Facebook page. That will also allow me to share this to a broader audience.

HIM: Don't be silly... Brother X will never admit to being gay...that doesn't mean that he, and Brother Y, and Brother Z, etc. aren't...wake up!

Me: But even in satan's world, a man is presumed innocent until PROVEN guilty. Not being silly, I just know how satan uses gossip to divide us against each other.

I have been an adjutant to 2 of these 3 brethren, and know [the third], through working for brother K.. I've NEVER seen any indication of either of them being gay ... and I've chauffeured them, eaten with them, and shared the pulpit with them

Back in the eighties they ran an article in the black paper about my father-in-Ministry. Not an OUNCE of truth to it, just he-say/she-say. We can see the slop in the bucket ... don't mean we should pick it up and carry it.

If you tell me you know from firsthand experience, I am all ears; but WE can't be the ones trashing each other. Heaven forbid anyone should ever say anything to me about Hancock: I'm not gonna hear it until I hear it from YOU!

HIM: The problem is this Johnson...we cover for these guys because they can raise big money...the truth is..all of them are gay! Too many people with encounters...sad to say but true. I do believe that people spread untruths about Pastors...unfortunately because of the real desire of people to respect these offices, where there is smoke, there is often times know just like I do, the church has been covering for years...ask the Pope...he has shelled out 100 million dollars worth of proof!

ME: But these are cases where the priests – or the Church – either admitted guilt or were otherwise confronted with compelling evidence. I’m saying to you that I know these men, for years, and have never seen any evidence to suggest that they are either gays or strays.

Shooting our wounded
But let’s – for the sake of argument – assume that they were. What should our response be? Should we ostracize them? Should we hold them up to scorn and derision?
If a horse breaks a leg, especially a foreleg, we are usually compelled to shoot him, because in most cases he will never be able to support his own weight. When a child breaks a leg we set the bone and put it in a cast while it heals. When a preacher is broken we want to treat him like a horse and shoot him. We’re justified in our indignation, because – after all – we are so very, very holy!
The Bible, though, tells us something entirely different:

Galatians 6:1 Brothers, if someone is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual should restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so you won't be tempted also. 2 Carry one another's burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone considers himself to be something when he is nothing, he is deceiving himself. 4 But each person should examine his own work, and then he will have a reason for boasting in himself alone, and not in respect to someone else. 5 For each person will have to carry his own load. Holman

1 Dear brothers and sisters, if another Christian is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. 2 Share each other's troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ. 3 If you think you are too important to help someone in need, you are only fooling yourself. You are really a nobody. 4 Be sure to do what you should, for then you will enjoy the personal satisfaction of having done your work well, and you won't need to compare yourself to anyone else. 5 For we are each responsible for our own conduct. NLT

1 Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, 5 for each one should carry his own load. NIV

The Greek word for “restore is καταρτίζω (katartizo)

Jamieson, Fausset & Brown
restore--The Greek is used of a dislocated limb, reduced to its place. Such is the tenderness with which we should treat a fallen member of the Church in restoring him to a better state.

John Gill
restore such an one,
that is overtaken and fallen. The allusion is to the setting of bones that are broken, or out of joint, which is done with great care and tenderness. Professors fallen into sin are like broken and dislocated bones; they are out of their place, and lose both their comfort and usefulness, and are to be restored by gently telling them of their faults, and mildly reproving them for them; and when sensible of them, and troubled for them, by speaking comfortably to them, and by bringing them again, and resettling them in their former place in the church, and restoring them to their former usefulness and good conduct: and which is to be done.

in the spirit of meekness:
in the exercise of that grace which is a gift and fruit of the Spirit of God; or with a meek and humble spirit, not bearing hard upon them, and treating them in a supercilious and haughty manner, upbraiding them with their faults, aggravating them, and using them roughly, and with sharpness, which in some cases is necessary, but not in this:

considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted:
a spiritual man should consider himself as in the body, and as carrying about with him a body of sin, a corrupt and treacherous heart, that is full of deceitful lusts, by which he may be tempted also, and drawn away and enticed; and as being liable to the temptations of Satan, and of being overcome by; them, against which he should watch and pray; and should think with himself what he would choose, and should desire to be done to him in such a case, and do the like to others that are in it.

John Darby
If any one, through carelessness, committed some fault, the Christian's part was to restore this member of Christ, dear to Christ and to the Christian, according to the love of Christ, in a spirit of meekness, remembering that he himself might fall.

the spirit of meekness--the meekness which is the gift of the Holy Spirit working in our spirit ( Galatians 5:22 Galatians 5:25 ). "Meekness" is that temper of spirit towards God whereby we accept His dealings without disputing; then, towards men, whereby we endure meekly their provocations, and do not withdraw ourselves from the burdens which their sins impose upon us

Matt Henry – 1706
The apostle having, in the foregoing chapter, exhorted Christians by love to serve one another (v. 13), and also cautioned us (v. 16) against a temper which, if indulged, would hinder us from showing the mutual love and serviceableness which he had recommended, in the beginning of this chapter he proceeds to give some further directions, which, if duly observed, would both promote the one and prevent the other of these, and render our behaviour both more agreeable to our Christian profession and more useful and comfortable to one another: particularly,I. We are here taught to deal tenderly with those who are overtaken in a fault, v. 1. He puts a common case: If a man be overtaken in a fault, that is, be brought to sin by the surprise of temptation. It is one thing to overtake a fault by contrivance and deliberation, and a full resolution in sin, and another thing to be overtaken in a fault. The latter is the case here supposed, and herein the apostle shows that great tenderness should be used. Those who are spiritual, by whom is meant, not only the ministers (as if none but they were to be called spiritual persons), but other Christians too, especially those of the higher form in Christianity; these must restore such a one with the spirit of meekness. Here observe, 1. The duty we are directed to—to restore such; we should labour, by faithful reproofs, and pertinent and seasonable councils, to bring them to repentance. The original word, katartizete, signifies to set in joint, as a dislocated bone; accordingly we should endeavour to set them in joint again, to bring them to themselves, by convincing them of their sin and error, persuading them to return to their duty, comforting them in a sense of pardoning mercy thereupon, and having thus recovered them, confirming our love to them. 2. The manner wherein this is to be done: With the spirit of meekness; not in wrath and passion, as those who triumph in a brother’s falls, but with meekness, as those who rather mourn for them. Many needful reproofs lose their efficacy by being given in wrath; but when they are managed with calmness and tenderness, and appear to proceed from sincere affection and concern for the welfare of those to whom they are given, they are likely to make a due impression. 3. A very good reason why this should be done with meekness: Considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. We ought to deal very tenderly with those who are overtaken in sin, because we none of us know but it may some time or other be our own case. We also may be tempted, yea, and overcome by the temptation; and therefore, if we rightly consider ourselves, this will dispose us to do by others as we desire to be done by in such a case.II. We are here directed to bear one another’s burdens, v. 2. This may be considered either as referring to what goes before, and so may teach us to exercise forbearance and compassion towards one another, in the case of those weaknesses, and follies, and infirmities, which too often attend us—that, though we should not wholly connive at them, yet we should not be severe against one another on account of them; or as a more general precept, and so it directs us to sympathize with one another under the various trials and troubles that we may meet with, and to be ready to afford each other the comfort and counsel, the help and assistance, which our circumstances may require. To excite us hereunto, the apostle adds, by way of motive, that so we shall fulfil the law of Christ. This is to act agreeably to the law of his precept, which is the law of love, and obliges us to a mutual forbearance and forgiveness, to sympathy with and compassion towards each other; and it would also be agreeable to his pattern and example, which have the force of a law to us. He bears with us under our weaknesses and follies, he is touched with a fellow-feeling of our infirmities; and therefore there is good reason why we should maintain the same temper towards one another. Note, Though as Christians we are freed from the law of Moses, yet we are under the law of Christ; and therefore, instead of laying unnecessary burdens upon others (as those who urged the observance of Moses’s law did), it much more becomes us to fulfil the law of Christ by bearing one another’s burdens. The apostle being aware how great a hindrance pride would be to the mutual condescension and sympathy which he had been recommending, and that a conceit of ourselves would dispose us to censure and contemn our brethren, instead of bearing with their infirmities and endeavouring to restore them when overtaken with a fault, he therefore (v. 3) takes care to caution us against this; he supposes it as a very possible thing (and it would be well if it were not too common) for a man to think himself to be something-to entertain a fond opinion of his own sufficiency, to look upon himself as wiser and better than other men, and as fit to dictate and prescribe to them-when in truth he is nothing, has nothing of substance or solidity in him, or that can be a ground of the confidence and superiority which he assumes. To dissuade us from giving way to this temper he tells us that such a one does but deceive himself; while he imposes upon others, by pretending to what he has not, he puts the greatest cheat upon himself, and sooner or later will find the sad effects of it. This will never gain him that esteem, either with God or good men, which he is ready to expect; he is neither the freer from mistakes nor will he be the more secure against temptations for the good opinion he has of his own sufficiency, but rather the more liable to fall into them, and to be overcome by them; for he that thinks he stands has need to take heed lest he fall. Instead therefore of indulging such a vain-glorious humour, which is both destructive of the love and kindness we owe to our fellow-christians and also injurious to ourselves, it would much better become us to accept the apostle’s exhortation (Phil. 2:3), Do nothing through strife nor vain-glory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Note, Self-conceit is but self-deceit: as it is inconsistent with that charity we owe to others (for charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 1 Co. 13:4), so it is a cheat upon ourselves; and there is not a more dangerous cheat in the world than self-deceit. As a means of preventing this evil,III. We are advised every one to prove his own work, v. 4. By our own work is chiefly meant our own actions or behaviour. These the apostle directs us to prove, that is seriously and impartially to examine them by the rule of God’s word, to see whether or no they are agreeable to it, and therefore such as God and conscience do approve. This he represents as the duty of every man; instead of being forward to judge and censure others, it would much more become us to search and try our own ways; our business lies more at home than abroad, with ourselves than with other men, for what have we to do to judge another man’s servant? From the connection of this exhortation with what goes before it appears that if Christians did duly employ themselves in this work they might easily discover those defects and failings in themselves which would soon convince them how little reason they have either to be conceited of themselves or severe in their censures of others; and so it gives us occasion to observe that the best way to keep us from being proud of ourselves is to prove our ownselves: the better we are acquainted with our own hearts and ways, the less liable shall we be to despise and the more disposed to compassionate and help others under their infirmities and afflictions. That we may be persuaded to this necessary and profitable duty of proving our own work, the apostle urges two considerations very proper for this purpose:—1. This is the way to have rejoicing in ourselves alone. If we set ourselves in good earnest to prove our own work, and, upon the trial, can approve ourselves to God, as to our sincerity and uprightness towards him, then may we expect to have comfort and peace in our own souls, having the testimony of our own consciences for us (as 2 Co. 1:12), and this, he intimates, would be a much better ground of joy and satisfaction than to be able to rejoice in another, either in the good opinion which others may have of us or in having gained over others to our opinion, which the false teachers were wont to glory in (as we see v. 13), or by comparing ourselves with others, as, it should seem, some did, who were ready to think well of themselves, because they were not so bad as some others. Too many are apt to value themselves upon such accounts as these; but the joy that results thence is nothing to that which arises from an impartial trial of ourselves by the rule of God’s word, and our being able thereupon to approve ourselves to him. Note, (1.) Though we have nothing in ourselves to boast of, yet we may have the matter of rejoicing in ourselves: our works can merit nothing at the hand of God; but, if our consciences can witness for us that they are such as he for Christ’s sake approves and accepts, we may upon good ground rejoice therein. (2.) The true way to have rejoicing in ourselves is to be much in proving our own works, in examining ourselves by the unerring rule of God’s word, and not by the false measures of what others are, or may think of us. (3.) It is much more desirable to have matter of glorying in ourselves than in another. If we have the testimony of our consciences that we are accepted of God, we need not much concern ourselves about what others think or say of us; and without this the good opinion of others will stand us in little stead.2. The other argument which the apostle uses to press upon us this duty of proving our own work is that every man shall bear his own burden (v. 5), the meaning of which is that at the great day every one shall be reckoned with according as his behaviour here has been. He supposes that there is a day coming when we must all give an account of ourselves to God; and he declares that then the judgment will proceed, and the sentence pass, not according to the sentiments of the world concerning us, or any ungrounded opinion we may have had of ourselves, or upon our having been better or worse than others, but according as our state and behaviour have really been in the sight of God.

Sin and Love – Raymond Allan Johnson
February 2005


God hates SIN. And there is no point trying to categorize it, sin is SIN, and all of us have sinned, and come short of the Glory of God (Romans 3:23)

I found myself immediately thinking about how God’s love comes to the forefront in a conversation like this – and the Spirit dropped in my spirit what a wonderful Valentine’s message this would be. I want to be quiet for the most part and let the Scriptures speak for themselves, but to interject at certain places to tie it all together to this week’s theme.

So our lesson is very simple. GOD HATES SIN, but God does NOT hate the sinner. In fact the Bible says God LOVED the world so much that He gave His only Son, that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but will have eternal life. (John 3:16) This is a very common memory verse – one that many or you learned as a child, in Sunday school. When I started preaching I found myself struck by the fact that we typically stop at John 3:16 – and in the process completely miss the point of the very next verse:

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. John 3:17 When God got through giving me the revelation about John 3:17, I made Him a promise, that,

“Lord, from this day forward, I’m not preaching another soul into hell! Anoint my message, Lord, so that I’ll be able to preach the Hell outa them!”

He said, “OK, but you’ve gotta promise that you’ll still tell them the truth about Sin!”

Read the whole sermon, here:

Jamieson, Robert; A.R. Fausset; and David Brown. "Commentary on Galatians 6." . Blue Letter Bible. 19 Feb 2000. 2011.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Social Network

In 1998 my boss at Ford Motor Company presented me with an opportunity that would change my life forever. He asked me if I was interested in learning how to design the web pages for Ford’s Market Research Office (MRO), where we worked. At that time he also helped me to get my very first email address – – the one which I continue to use as my primary email address, to this very day.

I became addicted to the Internet, to the extent that it was the first thing I went to when I got to my office each morning; and the last thing I looked at in the evening. That same year I created two online Ministries, “XJW-Central,” and “ERAJEMI” (Elder Raymond Allan Johnson Evangelistic Ministries, Inc.).

The following year, the world gasped in nervous anticipation of “Y2K”, and at Ford I became responsible for communicating with the heads of the 100+ companies that supplied services to the MRO. Some of these companies were industry giants, like Milward Brown, Ogilvy, and J. D. Power, and as a result I got to know some very important people in the business. But that wasn’t the most important thing that happened in 1999.

As I thought about the approaching new Millennium, and how the Internet was already making it possible to talk to people from all over the world, I realized that soon a church could expand its horizons to a global audience, without needing to have the multi-million dollar budgets that until now had made it possible for only the so-called “mega-churches” to reach out so far. It dropped into my spirit that this is truly “ ... an AMAZING time to be alive!”

My students at the university think it’s hilarious that there was ever a time when mobile phones, and video games, and portable computers didn’t exist. Every semester I try to show them in classroom lessons how many of the devices and applications that we take for granted today didn’t exist on the day they were born. What they can’t appreciate is the pace at which technological development has accelerated in the past twenty-five or thirty years: truly for somebody like me an awesome testimony to the intellectual gifts that our great God has given to the world.

But I digress from the reason I am writing this particular blog.

It’s now almost twelve years since I made the declaration about our place in history. Five years afterwards a young man at Harvard launched Facebook. I was excited about being able to reach across the globe by email and web pages, and even the earlier iterations of blog pages; but Facebook has opened a whole new door.
Today I remembered a dear brother in Ministry from whom I first heard a phrase I’ve used often in my own Ministry – “The Least, The Last, and The Lost.” So many times I’ve tried to remember back 30 years, wishing I could find him. Today, I found him on Facebook.

Thanks to Facebook I can keep abreast of what my family and friends are doing, and I can simultaneously let them in on important things that are happening all the way over here, in China. MySpace and Twitter do an OK job with this, but Facebook does it so much better – and at the same time provides a vehicle by which I can meet new people from all over the world.

Thanks to Facebook I have had a chance to meet brothers and sisters in the Gospel I might never have met on any of the other networks. In fact I’ve met many new friends because they happened to be friends of another friend, or shared some profound word from God that caught my attention, or – remarkably – in some cases because a particular brother or sister desired to extend their hand of fellowship in new directions.

In either case, now I have a whole treasure trove of new friends to break bread with; and every day God deposits more into that treasury. Today I’d like to say one thing to my new friends in Ministry, as well as to some of you I haven’t spoken to for quite some time: I thank God for you! And for this new tool, that God has given us to help us expand our friendship. I am looking forward to visiting the States for vacation, this Spring (tentative preliminary dates are May 15 to about July 5); and I hope that I will have a chance to meet at least some of you face-to-face, when I come.

Keep the Faith

Friday, March 4, 2011

On the Pulse of the Millennium ...

This is an excerpt of the first page of "", my first ever web site, created in 1998-1999.

“This is an AMAZING time to be alive!"

We have been blessed to see innovations and advances in technology, far beyond the scope of what anyone could have imagined fifty years ago.

Technology has made it possible - for once in history - for us to visualize the fulfillment of Jesus' mandate to the Church:

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.'' (Matthew 28:19-20)

And still there are MILLIONS who have no relationship to Jesus Christ - in fact, who have never so much as heard the message of the Gospel. And so we carry the challenge of global evangelism before us, into the New Millennium; and the Ministry of Evangelism is compelled to devise innovative strategies for reaching and winning the Lost.

Yes, there are many in the Body of Christ who look at Y2K with apocalyptic expectations - looking for return of our Lord Jesus Christ at some point in the year 2000. While I acknowledge that the year 2000 A. D. has as much potential for prophetic significance as any other year - and while I admit that these are indeed perilous times that we live in - I don't believe we can afford to quit doing Ministry until we actually hear the blast of the trumpet.

If the Lord should tarry - say for another five, or ten, or even fifty years - I believe He will expect us to continue to be diligent about reaching the "Lost" for His Kingdom. It is our singular task - our mandate - to snatch them back out of the fires of Hell, by any means necessary!

This Ministry was established for the purpose of spreading the Gospel, in accordance with the stipulation of the Great Commission - for the purpose of carrying on aggressive warfare against the kingdom of satan right up to the moment that the Lord appears in the sky and summons us to come be with Him. It is also our goal that we should be a Ministry tool - a resource for professional services to other fellow-Ministers, that will enhance their abilities to meet the challenge of global Ministry, in the coming New Millennium.

The Challenge

I believe that Ministry in the 21st Century will present a different set of challenges than any of us could have ever imagined. I believe that it is imperative for those of us who have been called to the work of the Ministry to recognize the tremendous ministry potential in the new technologies that have evolved during the latter half of this century. For many of us that will mean learning to put away "conventional" thinking, and moving beyond the familiar clichés and paradigms that have dictated how we do ministry, since - well - before the end of the last century.

In short, if we are going to be effective - in the 21st century - in reaching the lost for Christ, we must evolve past the19th century ideas about how to do Ministry, that have prevailed up to now.

The Internet has created a gateway that will enable us to do Ministry on a global level; but, the only way we can ever hope to DO Ministry on a global level is if we can BELIEVE that we are capable of doing Ministry at that level. We have to overcome small-mindedness.

While most Christian leaders have learned to adapt to new technologies and modern innovations - in their personal lives - some have found it difficult accommodate new ideas, and methodologies, in anything related to Church Business. In the meantime, the kingdom of satan has exploited every available technology as a tool in its campaign to lure men away from Christ - to the extent that its influence is even felt within the Church.

I believe the Church must be as aggressive as kingdom of satan in exploiting every available resource to turn the eyes of men toward Jesus. It is our task to "snatch them out of the fire;" by any means necessary - but if we are to succeed we must continue to be forward-thinking and contemporary. In short:

The Church cannot expect to be effective in the 21st Century, using 19th Century Ministry strategies.

We must understand that being "contemporary" does NOT mean we are not spiritual. Jesus, Himself, faced controversy from His opponents - not so much because of His theology, but - because He dared to Minister to the people on their level. It might even be argued that He was a "Modernist" - possibly even a "radical." But He preached the Gospel by whatever means necessary.

Now, we have the opportunity to cross the threshold of the Millennium - equipped with unprecedented resources for reaching the Least, the Last and particularly the Lost with the marvelous message of the Gospel.
-- Fall 1999