Gleanings Nov – Dec 2015

Contact Information
Jeff and Barbara Clark currently stateside.
Mission Board
Global Outreach Missions Box PO Box 2010
Buffalo NY 14231-2010
Virginia
Jeff and Barbara Clark
PO Box 147
Scottsville, VA 24590
Cell Phone: 434 466-7481
Email: clarkmissions@mac.com

Thank you for praying:
We are able to continue classes via internet. We hold a video class with Jorge Rodriguez each Wednesday. He in turn has, in person classes, with some 40-50 indigenous pastors each month at four locations.
As three of these locations are some distance away and in the jungle, we would like to get him a motorcycle for these trips. We are trying to raise the $5000 required for a well equipped and newer Honda 250. When it comes to mind pray for Jorge and his travel.

Barbara’s heath continues to be manageable and my health is relatively good. We will be getting the eyes checked and glasses updated and cataracts checked to see if they have grown significantly.

I will be jumping through the DMV hoops to get my expired driver’s license renewed.

Our family has been supportive in every way at great expense to themselves. We pray God will be glorified and He will continue assure us and guide us as we seek stay in His will on a range of matters.

Thank you for praying for Pastor Morris and CBC Scottsville.

Thank you for your support and we will continue teaching the pastors in Guatemala through internet classes and notes. And by God’s Grace we hope to make at least one trip to Guatemala to visit the training sites. With the in tent to build up the body of Christ in Guatemala.

We also will start taking stateside meetings again in 2016.

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Some “House Keeping “

Barbara and I have resigned from CBC Scottsville. As it is a matter of some concern to supporters I will include a copy of our original letter which the pastor refused to accept. Following that I supplied an addendum to address the issues about which he said he was specifically concerned. That addendum is also included. Please read them both completely. If you have questions please send them by email to the address above.
________________________________________________________________________
Letter of Resignation
November 3, 2015
Calvary Baptist Church
PO Box 239
Scottsville, Va 24590

To Pastor Morris and the assembly of believers at CBC:

In view of our advanced age and the precariousness of our health we believe it would be better for us to resign as your missionaries. And as we are providentially hindered from attending and supporting the church we resign our membership also.

Our mission in Guatemala will continue as long as we are able to do it, but I do not think we should continue to be a burden on the finances of the Calvary Baptist Church.

It is coming time for pastor and church to plan the budget for 2016 so now seems an appropriate time to make this decision.

We are thankful to God for your sacrificial support over the 17 years in pastoral ministry at CBC and 13 years as your missionaries.

We will now have the privilege of trusting God to supply our needs in other ways as we continue our walk of faith.

It has been grand and glorious up to now and it is to the praise of His Glory we seek to finish in God honoring faith.

Your Imperfect Servants,

Jeff and Barbara Clark
John 1:12-13

PS: Gleanings (our by monthly news letter) will continue to be available by email only. clarkmissions@mac.com
Profound thanks to Barbara Wood, for her faithful ministry in this area these many years.
PPS: To whom it may concern, we have reread the “CBC Statement of Faith” as posted on the web and find nothing in them with which we disagree.
________________________________________________________________________
Addendum To My Letter of Resignation
Dear Brother Morris,
I have answered you but I guess it was not clear.

In regard to changes in my doctrinal beliefs: The changes that have come have brought me into an informed conformance to CBC’s statement of faith; not away from conformance.

That is why the reasons are not doctrinal.

I thought you would understand when in my last email, I said; You asked how my beliefs had changed since I left the pastorate.
The answer is comprehended in this; “I now know I had absolutely nothing to do with my salvation.”

I thought you would understand that I was making reference to the doctrines of God, Man, and Salvation.

I will give you the context and examples.

The context:

I have in the last five years or so been privileged to help produce a New Testament in the Quiche’ language. That work necessitated an intense study of scripture and careful exegesis of words and doctrines.

I discovered that I had not understood what the Bible taught on important areas of doctrine.

When we had our infamous phone conversation (about three years ago) I was in a period of sorting through my understandings. It was a period of deconstruction. Things (doctrinal understandings) had been blown heavenward, so to speak, and had not settled down yet.

Then when you told me that the Spurgeon quote I had put in my news letter was unacceptable it confused me because I thought the quote was in no way contrary what the Bible teaches. I found that I had my mental pins kicked out from under me again. And you did pummel me with, what seemed to be blizzard of questions. The answers to each, would require careful thought and comparing scripture with scripture to answer. Each question followed one upon another. The best I could do in that context was “I don’t know.”
The tone of your call was that of a prosecuting attorney. I had the feeling you had a flip chart on your desk. One those diagnostic charts, if “yes” if “no” you follow the line to the next step or question.

But I am grateful because it provoked me to study more, which over all has been a great blessing.

The Examples: CBC’s doctrinal statement on the doctrine of man and salvation.

Example 1: This article states Calvary Baptist Church’s position on what the Bible teaches about man.

Man
“We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God, but that in Adam’s sin the race fell, inherited a sinful nature, and became alienated from God; and that man is totally depraved, and, of himself, utterly unable to remedy his lost condition (Genesis 1:26-27); (Romans 3:22-23)” (CBC’s Doctrinal Statement as posted on its web site)

I’ve read that article at various times without question. And believed it at my level of understanding at the time.

But in the course of the helping the translator in preparation of the New Testament in Quiche’ I discovered that in fact I had not understood the Bible doctrine of man very well.

So all those years ago when I gave ascent to CBC’s Doctrinal Statement I was saying yes to something I did not really understand as fully as I understand it now. Here I cast myself on the mercy of God and the reader.
As Paul said;
“Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious:but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 1:13-14 KJV)

I learned that the Bible does indeed teach that man’s condition after the fall is “totally depraved”.

That does not mean that every man is as wicked as they can be but it does mean that sin has penetrated into every part of every man’s being; his mind, his body, soul, and his will. The results of which are as the article states “of himself, utterly unable to remedy his lost condition.”

I realize that in practice I did not understand the article as written. My practical doctrine was some vagaries about, that somewhere in man there was something that could respond to God; laying as it were dormant, just waiting to be fanned into life by the presentation of the gospel. But alas the damage is far greater than that unscriptural model suggests.

Scripture makes it clear that the second birth is like the natural birth in that it is outside the control of the one being born. “13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:13 KJV) I’ve come to understand the new birth metaphor is purposely chosen to reveal some striking parallels between a physical birth and the spiritual birth.

That unregenerate mankind is so hopelessly lost that we are likened to “dead” men. The Bible supplies an illustration in John 11, with Lazarus. Lazarus is completely helpless, he is dead there is nothing that can be done for him by any but One. Jesus called “Lazarus come forth” (John 11:43), a command that could not be obeyed until he had life. By the power of His word He gave Lazarus what he needed to obey. There is no merit in Lazarus, this is not about Lazarus this is about God. Lazarus could not participate in any way until he was given life. Lazarus was dead, insensible even of his need.
But God had chosen him not as the exception but as an illustration of man’s condition, God’s Sovereignty, and the creative power of God’s Word. God chose the man, and place, and the time. There may have been other men named Lazarus buried near by but only one came forth. The one who heard his Shepherd’s voice. And no one but a “sheep” that had been given to Jesus by His Father could even hear the call. “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” (John 10:26-27 KJV)

And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. (John 6:65 KJV)
Jesus said: I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. 7 Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. 8 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. 9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. (John 17:6-9 KJV)

So the article “Man” in CBC’s statement of faith is correct and my understanding was and maybe still is inadequate. But I do hope to continue to grow in Grace until God takes me home.

Example 2: The Way of Salvation (from CBC’s Statement of Faith)
“We believe that the clear message of salvation is “repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). We believe that salvation is “by grace” plus nothing minus nothing. We believe that men are justified by faith alone and are accounted righteous before God only through the merit of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Here again I was confronted with the reality that I had given assent to the article without understanding the implications of it. I found that everything I read came through some ingrained presuppositions. Presuppositions that acted like bad lenses to distort what I read. A simultaneous translation of words to definitions that suited what I thought I knew. This was not malicious but natural to the fallen nature. It is the “grave clothes” of our pre-salvation mind.” We are born with a “Pelagian” bent. I have found this to be an ever present danger when training pastors on the field. The implications of the truth we confess are often not understood. And we are unconsciously concluding that there is something we do to be saved.
Religion loves to “do something”. But Christians rest in what Christ has done.

So if man has nothing in himself to remedy his lost condition and Salvation is by Grace alone then the Grace required by God for salvation must come from outside of man. It must come from outside the recipient and be administered by someone that has access and control over this requirement. That unregenerate man is so profoundly and completely damaged that the work required for salvation can only be done by God. He supplies the “gift of repentance” and “the faith” that believes unto Salvation.

And because there is nothing meritorious in any mere human to make him/her worthy of salvation; it must come by Grace (unmerited favor) alone. There is Giver and a receiver. A receiver who does not get what he deserves “hell” but what he does not deserve “heaven”.

There is strikingly clear case with Noah. 1) The Corruption of all man kind, 2) The pending catastrophic judgement, and the 3) Ark of Grace. Everyone on earth deserved death and hell, as we do this day.

Noah was told to put a specified number of animals on the ark. And God brought the animals to Noah. (Gen. 6:20) God tells Noah to get on the Ark with his family. Noah enters on the basis by faith, Standing in imputed righteousness (Gen. 7:1), Obeying by faith.(Gen. 7:5) Noah becomes the “heir of righteousness that is by faith” (Heb. 11:7).

Judgement came as it must and all those outside the Ark surely died and populated hell. And only those God had put inside were spared. Could God have saved all? Does He have the power?

I think we have answer yes to these rhetorical questions. Then we ought to shrink back in holy reverence and fear. And bow in worship to God, for by His Grace alone we have been spared the judgement we deserve. Because we know that we were left to ourselves would not have gotten into the ark. Nor left to ourselves, can we get in the greater Ark that God has provided in Christ.

On what basis did God show grace to Noah? Was there not one other man on the planet as meritorious as Noah? Yes, they all were as meritorious as Noah but God had not chosen to show His grace to anyone but Noah (and family). Has God the right to exercise His Grace Sovereignly?

God does not do what He does by the counsel of man or for man’s approval. He does what He does for His own Glory.

As CBC’s Doctrinal statement says:”by grace” plus nothing minus nothing. And with a little thought we can see why it must be by grace alone.

God is able to be “just” and “Justifier” on the basis of God the Son’s finished work. It comes through Christ Alone. And where are these truths revealed? In the Scriptures alone. That God imputes by grace alone through faith alone. God provides all that He requires Sovereignly for His Glory Alone.

We are too often like Peter, we hear the Lord’s Word and we say, “Not so Lord.”

We are commanded: “And be not conformed to this world:but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2 KJV)

Does not the verse imply there will be changes, that there must be changes in our thinking as we grow up into Christ?

This is what was meant when I said:
“I now know I had absolutely nothing to do with my salvation.”
(Eph 1-2:22 KJV)

Respectfully,
Jeff and Barbara Clark

PS You were right to call my attention to my non-technical use of the term tithe. We had been “tithing” to our fellowship in San Juan Ostuncalco. The gifts given to CBC would be 3 to 5 times our tithe.
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We are attending Christ Reformed Baptist Church, Luoisa VA; which is only 10-12 minutes away. You can visit their web site online
We hope you have a wonder filled holiday as we pause to contemplate the mystery of the incarnation.
By His Love and Grace
Jeff and Barbara Clark
Still Missionaries to Guatemala

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