Beans Done Spilled

OK, I have to tell the truth. I have been very busy these past several months. One of the things I have been working on is my book. Yes, I am about to release my second book and it is quite different than my first book Down the Via Dolorosa. This book I have been working on is now in the design phase with Westbow Press and is one sure to bring attention to Christianity at large. I have spilled the beans about this work to some and now it is time to bring it to the attention of everyone. Yes, I done spilled the beans about my next book (grammatical error intentional).

Oh, I did not tell you the name of the work. Well, it is called Academia: Through the Eyes of a Preacher. This book contains a number of my seminary essays as I worked my way through Master of Religion and Master of Divinity programs at Liberty University. Many hours of research and untold hours of other writing and studying went into this work. It contains multiple references with over four hundred footnotes. It is an academic work that will prove to be an excellent tool for any clergyman or layman that wants to sharpen his theological sword.

However, this book is quite unique. When preparing the essays I made some minor mistakes. The papers were submitted for grading with those mistakes remaining in the essays. I have intentionally kept those mistakes in this work because I want seminarians to carefully scrutinize the essays in an effort to better themselves. Now, the errors are not grave errors yet they are errors. Experts will be able to quickly point to them. So, seminarians go ahead and use my work as a source of inspiration as well as learning. Clergy members, there are untold lessons and sermons in the text of this work. So, go ahead and see where you can be stretched.

The following is a taste of one such essay. Please remember, as always this is copyrighted work with the ISBN number 9781512718300. All rights are reserved for this document as well as Academia. Please look at this excerpt from “The Nicene Creed: The Trouble that Caused It.”

Another adherent to Christ being less than Devine was Paul of Samosata. This heretical bishop espoused the notion that Christ was a created being thereby making Him purely Man and if Christ was merely man He would have no equality with the Father.[1] While this belief may not be counted as Arianism in the strictest since it certainly has the overtones of pulling Christ from the same substance as the Father. Additionally Paul’s Christological views were along the lines of Monarchianism which led to the idea of the Trinity being a Trinity of names only.[2] Subsequently Paul’s teachings were the impetus of the doctrine of Adoptionism.

This brief background provides a picture of why the church was at the point of turmoil. The very essence of God was being attacked in the Person of the Word and by extension the Holy Spirit. This heretical treatment of the Godhead was not taken lightly by some of the leading clergymen of the day. Among the dissenters of Arianism was Athanasius (c. 298-373). He was ordained as a deacon by Alexander during the time of disputations with Arius.[3] Athanasius traveled with Bishop Alexander to the Council of Nicaea where the heretical teachings of Arius were denounced.[4]

Despite the company Athanasius found himself in there was also grave opposition to his stand against heretical teachings. Saint Hilary of Poitiers was born in 315 with an uncertain Christian heritage.[5] Even though Hilary was appointed Bishop of Poitiers and eventually made a saint questions concerning his Christianity are brought to question in that he was seen as a pagan.[6] No matter the issue of Hilary’s Christianity his writings clearly show that he did not recognize Jesus as being coeternal with the Father rather clearly states that Jesus is a creation of God. In this vein Hilary states “He is not eternal or co-eternal, nor was He uncreated at the same time with the Father…”[7]

This work should be ready around Thanksgiving and will make wonderful gifts for those that enjoy good exegesis. Yes, that was a shameless plug. What can I say? I am trying to get the word out! So, sit back and enjoy the academic ride.

[1] New Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 11, 34

[2] Ibid.

[3] Encyclopedia of Religion

[4] Ibid.

[5] The Catholic University of Puerto Rico, The Fathers of the Church: A New Translation (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1954)V

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid., 102

With Them I Stand

It is true that I have been told that I rail too much against homosexuality. And I do rail against the immorality and godless practice of not homosexuality alone but also against all things that are an offense to the Word of God. My cries will not soften as I see this nation emboldening a group of people that are less than two percent of the population and are setting the course to change the culture of morality in this nation. Consider, for instance, a fairly new law in Houston, Texas wherein the lesbian mayor seeks to employ tactics of “fairness” in discriminatory practices in favour of the local LGBT community. Among the fair things required are that those that feel they are a certain gender at any given time are allowed to use the bathroom of choice depending on feeling rather than actual gender (http://www.thenewamerican.com/culture/faith-and-morals/item/18398-houston-city-council-passes-pro-homosexual-law-opponents-vow-to-fight).

This resulted in the people of Houston putting forth a petition in order to overturn the law. And of course the fair authorities declared that there were not enough names on the petition even though the numbers far exceeded the required amount of signatures. This did not sit well with the citizenry of Houston so that there was another legal uprising which included at least five pastours in Houston. Needless to say the lesbian mayor (whom I choose not to mention) decided that she wanted no dissenting voices from the clergy. With that decision it was further decided that the people of God had to turn over their speeches to congregants particularly in respect to discussions on homosexuality (http://www.thepoliticalinsider.com/frighten-every-american-believes-freedom/). The clergy members continue to stand against the tyranny of a few that seek only to push an agenda that is largely unwanted.

I stand with these men of God. I, too, stand against the immorality of homosexuality. The law in place in Houston is an unjust law on many fronts. Among the ideas presented is the fallacious idea of illegal discrimination against homosexuals. Perhaps the, ah, good mayor of Houston should be reminded of the idiom coined by Augustine, “An unjust law is no law at all.” Wait a minute! This mayor is certainly not familiar with the teachings of Church fathers so perhaps she should be reminded of the constitutional amendments. Never mind, she apparently is not familiar with those either. Nonetheless the fact of the matter is that the few homosexuals not only in this country but also in Houston suffer no discrimination. They have jobs and are not denied housing. The Supreme Court, and other lower courts, have even chimed in and declared that States banning same sex marriages are acting anti-constitutionally. This seems strange to me as I have found no place in the Constitution that supports heterosexual marriage. How then can there be clauses for same sex marriages?

The fact of the matter is that this mayor does not care about anything except her own agenda. Her agenda has nothing to do with what she was elected mayor to do. Now, I really don’t care how homosexuals choose to live. Yes, it is an offense to God and directly opposed to His Word. Still God has provided choices if we will walk in a holy manner or live according to the rudiments of the flesh. Well, I choose holiness and so do those faithful ones in Houston. I stand with them and will not bend to the winds of perversion which seek only to destroy a nation whose founding is predicated on the freedom Scripture provides. I will not give in to the feel good legislation that causes only a few to feel good for but a moment of time. I will not give in and I will not give up!

If it sounds like I am taking this matter personally you can bet that I am. I am more than weary of political hacks telling me what I can and cannot preach over the pulpit. I am sick and tired of my fellow clergy members being threatened because they stand on the Word of God. I have had more than I am willing to take and I am fully in support of the First Amendment which affords me not only the right to worship God but also the absolute write to say what I will in respect to same. Yes, dang blast it, I have had enough and will not sit idly by while my country is being run over not only by illegal immigrants but also my rights are being stripped away piece by piece. Well, enough already! It is time for Christians to stand and to stand uncompromisingly.

You men of God down in Houston, I stand with you. No, I do not hate homosexuals I just love the Word of God more. And, it may as well be stated that I won’t marry some heterosexual couples never mind homosexuals. I simply will not go against the teachings of the Word of God because I fear God way more than I will ever fear man. No, I will not succumb to the threats of imprisonment or to ruthless tactics of the IRS. Yes, there are some that stand on the principles of God and it is with them I stand!

Ode to Clergy

October, yes this month is set aside as “Clergy Appreciation Month” so I can think of no better time to express thanksgiving and appreciation to those clergymen who have played a part in my life.

To start, it was about fifty years ago that I came into this world. While I have no express remembrance of the day I can say of a certainty that the day was great and wonderful. You see I was named after my maternal grandfather, the late Reverend William James Smith. Yes, this naming of me set the stage for whom and what I am to be. This Baptist pastor gave me a clergyman to look up to. And why not, I bore his name and it appears that name has propelled me into the profession we share. Yes, it was a day that is written in the annals of time that started me on a path, a path most definitely.

But my grandfather, that preacher in my life, was not the only preacher to influence the indelible light within. You see I can and will never forget the pastor of my youth, the pastor called Reverend Waters. Yes, I remember that strong-handed man as he preached and taught. I did not know until years later, much later, that I was his favourite because I took interest in what was said and posed questions to that end. While Reverend Waters is no longer with us his imprint is sure; this preacher, this pastor this clergyman began to point me in a direction, a direction of service for God.

These two were impactful and part of me they will ever be. Yet there is at least one other, another that has grave significance to me. I speak of the one and only Dr. Wayne E. Anderson. Now, here is a man, a preacher, a teacher, a clergyman for sure. It is because of him that I began to work, no not merely with my hands but a work that started from within. Because of him, service was learned and by him, ministry was birthed. Forget him, no way no how. It is because of the boldness of this man that in boldness I learned to stand.

But my days in Hawaii would not last forever. It was deemed that I would return to my roots of Baltimore. And in doing so I found myself working with another dear clergyman, one raising the standard called Bishop Johnny C. Carrington, Sr. This man, this man of good report, saw reason in me to work in the clergy. And so it was with his great insight that I would be furthered into my plight. This plight, you see, is not a negative one, rather a plight to do a work that few will ever do. And because of that plight I hold to my word, that I will preach the Word of God until I can no more. And because of the Bishop ministry in me is a ministry all can see.

But by destiny it seems that I had to move again. More travels found me under yet another clergyman, this one Pastor William Riley. A man, a good man, as unorthodox as he was, saw more reason to further the work within me. No longer would I be Minister Carter but Elder Carter am I. Not because I am so worthy but because of the worth seen in me. Yes, we worked together in more than one way but this preacher, this teacher, this man of God did more than just give me papers; he gave me reason to continue the work started in me.

And back to Baltimore, I have come. And with Bishop Carrington, I am again. This time things are quite different. The Bishop is no longer just a good preaching, teaching man but now he is my mentor, my mentor showing me what the pastorate should be. Yes, he is giving, and he rebukes too. Still, he is a clergyman without whom my work would never do.

And while this ode is a memoir of sorts I simply want to say to those bearing me great influence, thank you for all that you have said and done. The years have not all be the best but because of the clergymen in my life, I look forward to the rest. And while I could not name all that have influenced me over the years of time I want the clergy everywhere to know that I am seasoned well because you took time, time to spend on me. So, to those of you that remain and can read these words please know that my love for you is true.

God bless you servants of God.

Peering into Holiness

     It cannot be said enough that holiness is a way of life required by God of His people. Holiness is not a mere suggestion of upright living rather it is a mandate to live outside the dictates of worldviews which are contrary to God’s Word. Even with this simplicity in explanation many seem utterly confused as to what holiness consists of and leave the matter to those clergy members who have no choice but to be holy. Yet scriptural text is not specific to clergy members alone rather the standards are required of all who name the Name of Christ.

     The matter of holiness was addressed in considerable detail by Paul to the church at Galatia. He pointed out some very specific hedonistic practices that not only pull from holiness but also lend to the probability of eternal damnation if the practices continued. Galatians 5:19-21 points out “the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

     Many Christians are very familiar with some of the issues raised in this text yet many choose to overlook many of them for reason of convenience or even more sinister reasons. Most understand that the cry against adultery is a call for monogamous sexual relations in marriage yet the idea of fornication is often limited to heterosexual sex outside of marriage. This is a fallacy that needs to be debunked on every level. While fornication does include the noted definition the idea goes well beyond this over simplicity. Fornication includes all sexual sin including pedophilia, homosexuality, lesbianism and bestiality. As such the call to return to sex in marriage between one man and one woman only is a return to holiness.

     However, Paul did not only address matters of sexual impurity. Matters of the heart also prove to be prominent in his admonishment to turn a people to holiness. The fact is that the hearts of some people are contentious and seek to fight no matter the situation. They choose not to live in peace and are continually seeking ways to create strife on one end or the other. Paul calls this condition “variance.” Scripture advises us to live in peace (II Corinthians 13:11) yet variance is the antithesis of peace. Sowing seeds of discord and backbiting brings about matters that pull away from the idea of holiness through peace.

     And there are other acts that are not conducive to Christendom. Drunkenness and dancing in the streets also pull form holiness. Paul calls the idea of dancing in the street with drunkenness “reveling” yet so many see no harm in this practice. It is true that this type of partying has moved from the streets, in most cases,  into clubs and other venues. Yet the idea remains the same while the party goers honor false deities or other “icons” under the guises of having a good time. Further complicating the matter of reveling many have pulled this unholy practice into the House of God. Yes, the Christian can enjoy life but reveling and partying is an unholy alliance with the standard of godliness.

      This brief overview of holiness points out the fact that God is holy. Those that worship Him must do so with not only the actions of holiness but also a life exemplifying the life of Jesus as well as an attitude that seeks only to please God. If the attitude to please God is pure in nature then the idea of holiness is not a matter for the clergy alone but is a matter for those that enjoy being an heir with Christ and being part of a holy nation.