, Gloucester, MA

August 6, 2013

Letter: Charge, not retreat into spirituality

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

I like Eileen Ford and read all of her GDT essays (Insights and Outbursts, most recently, the Times, Thursday, Aug. 1).

I am drawn to her because she recognizes the importance of her spiritual nature and tries hard to nurture it. I read what she wrote about retreats.

When gauging things “spiritual,” I always ask myself this question. Where’s that in the Bible?

If you attend church you will find a long list of teachings and activities that cannot be found anywhere in Scripture. You should not participate in those things and should raise a protest against them. Only in the Bible has God revealed of what he approves and disapproves. If it ain’t in there, it shouldn’t be in his church — period. No matter how popular it may be.

Eileen, retreats aren’t in the Bible. If God felt they promoted our spiritual health and authentically revealed God’s nature and will – he’d have put them in there. He didn’t. What is in there are charges, not “retreats.” Charge, as in a cavalry charge/assault/aggressive rush.

I once had a Bible study at my home. Six of us studied the Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament. When we completed Chapter 28. I handed everyone a slip of paper.

I asked them to write three words that they felt described the character of the Christians we read about in Acts. All six slips had the word “confrontational” on it. The early Christians very aggressively propagated the gospel of Jesus Christ. They led a theological cavalry charge against the pagan, immoral, idolatrous, godless thinking and behavior of the Roman Empire.

We read in Scripture: “But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto the multitude, Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words.” Also, “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.” Plus, “And Paul spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed with the Grecians: so they went about to slay him.” Finally, marching orders from the risen Christ, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every living creature.” “And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.”

Eileen, I have spent 25-plus years in Bennington, Vt., and Boston, day upon day, charging forward with the gospel truth publicly proclaiming it for students, atheists, Muslims, police officers, business men/women, drug addicts/dealers, existentialists, housewives, fellow Christians, feminists, foreigners, vacationers, and honest skeptics to hear and consider. Much verbal and physical violent persecution has attended my efforts, as it did with Jesus’ disciples, but I’ve also been privileged and blessed to see unspeakably wonderful acts of God’s grace.

If you would like to join me in Boston seeking God by charging not retreating – aggressively striving to rescue the perishing – I’d be delighted with your company.