By David Stahl

The foundational truths, like a threefold cord, has been lost by the Body of Christ and unless the Body of Christ gets back to the fundamental principles and doctrines on which she was established she will continue to be what she is today an irrelevant collection of groups of people trying to seek God through the blindness of not knowing truth and real power. That guard against heresy, these threefold cord I speak of is: the Scriptures, creeds, and the hymns. To understand the importance of these cords we must look at them through the power of the Holy Spirit, something else that has been lost in the Body of Christ. Let us face it the Holy Spirit has been watered down by the Pentecostals, the Church of and Assembly of God, and evangelicals. He has been explained away by the Baptists, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Methodists, and worse the 1,000s of non-denominational churches out there which most of them having strange, unscriptural, and mostly ungodly doctrines which have hyper-spiritualized the Holy Spirit into something He is not. Boy could we tell you about the ungodly churches just in the Jacksonville, NC area, but I will save that for another article. Where is the power of God? I can remember growing up as a child being in a service and suddenly without warning the power of God falls; people crying out, running, shouting, repenting, snot running out of noses, tears running down faces, but it has been a long time since I have seen the Holy Spirit move like this. Today pastors preach their guts out and give an alter call and no one responds. What has happened? Could it be heresy has snuck into the Body of Christ? I do believe the Holy Spirit has not changed maybe it is us who has changed by allowing deception and heresy (false teachings and doctrines) in the camp. The Holy Spirit will NOT move in the mist of lies, confusion, and self exaltation. Today I believe the greatest need in the Body of Christ is not another blessing or another new ministry, but a heart seeking examination of what we believe and why we believe it. Sin has entered the camp and it needs rooted out by shedding the light of truth on practices and beliefs in the Body of Christ that prevents the Holy Spirit from working while exalting the flesh of man. God, in is wondrous love, has given us a way of escape to get back on track if we only stay in the paths He has ordained and directed for us to go. That way is maintaining the ways that was once delivered to us from the fathers of the faith from days passed. Let us look at these threefold cords that will prevent heresy and a continual shift away from God through the eyes of the functions and activities of the Holy Spirit. First off He is a worker and needs us, for we are His instrumentality, or the means by which He accomplishes His work. We

are the canvas the Holy gets to paint on, we are His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). Paul tell us we are man up of three major areas, spirit, soul, and body. I think no one would differ with that thought, but the Holy Spirit employs instrumentalities to carry out the work of the Father in these three areas of our triune being. He does this by means of the various ministries of the Spirit of God and He works with these ministries through the Body which is not the “Church” because WE ARE (the people) the “Church.” I am speaking collectively of the Body of Christ. We are the Body of Christ the Church. I do not mean any particular denomination, but rather the Body of Christ consisting of all true believers that are born again through faith in Jesus Christ whether they are in the Pentecostal sheepfold, the Presbyterian, the Episcopalian, or whatever. The idea being if we are truly born again through faith in Jesus Christ then we are all one family, one great body of Believers regardless of what denominational tag we may wear. Remember what Paul said, “Henceforth, know we no man after the flesh.” And yes the LORD is mightily working today calling many people out of all denominations and is calling out a new people composed from the whole spectrum of faiths to make up His Bride. God is on the move and I am moving with Him. What counts is our personal relationship to Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is active as a person and to keep up with Him we must not run after the denominational worldly ways to draw men to the LORD. To be honest we should be interested and jealously seek the LORD that we might be used by the Spirit of God as the need demands. If there is no need then there is of course no demand. The LORD is not encouraging that we make an empty display of things as the Body of Christ is doing today, but the gifts are available to meet a particular need. Now here is the need, to go back to the foundational principles by the Spirit of God to restore the power and authority the Body of Christ once had. For this to happen we MUST restore the knot of the threefold cord of the Scriptures, creeds, and the hymns. These three guards the Body of Christ against heresy. All three agree concerning the power and doctrine of the Holy Spirit and is the foundational support that the early Christians depended on for their revelation and guidance. The first cord is the Scriptures. This is where we must begin because anything not built on Scripture is not of God and will not stand. I think of the sudden explosion of the Vineyard churches in the mid to late 90s how they would explode on the scene and just as fast as they were planted they dried up and withered away as grass from lack of a spiritual foundation in the Scripture. The Vineyard churches were built on music (not hymns) and a fleshly approach that appealed to emotions, but Scripture does not appeal to our emotions oh no Scripture will put a nail in the heart of our emotions. Hill Song churches today remind me of the Vineyard churches,

remember, if your hands and feet move before your heart it is your emotions and probably not of God. Sadly the Body of Christ has replaced the Scriptures for technology, commentary, and other’s revelation. I was talking with my son Daniel a few days ago and he was asking me my thoughts on a story in the Bible. Well I shared my thoughts and he went into other events that were not a part of the Scriptures so I asked him where he got these events and he said from commentary reading and then he said, “after all most preachers get their messages from commentary.” Now this may be true, but it is not of God. I told Daniel I can only defend the Scriptures to the extent of what is written in the Scriptures anything written outside the Scriptures is another man’s revelation. Most pastors get their Sunday sermon (a good moral lesson not a message direction from God) from other’s books and commentary. If so they are not getting something from God oh no they are preaching another’s man’s revelation, what God has revealed to that man. Great as the revelation was there is no authority and power in what God has revealed to another man (apart from the Scriptures) no matter how gifted the speaker is. Getting a word from God will cost you something of which most preachers and teachers are too busy and/or do not have the stomach to endure God’s dealings and judgments. Oh no it is easier to get something off the internet or out of some commentary. NOTHING my friend replaces Scripture yet the Scriptures have been laid aside even trampled on and the Body of Christ is now in an ungodly mess that ONLY hearing and internalizing within our heart and soul can fix. The next cord (second) is creeds. You know most Christians do not know what they believe. Oh they will say they believe Jesus saved them from their sin and they are on their way to heaven, but after that they do not really know what they believe. Did you know there is such a thing as an unbelieving believers? All Believers believe in Christ or they would not be Believers, but not all Believers believe what is spoken from the pulpit. Now I will be honest there may be times when it is better that we do not believe in what we hear, but there are also times when God is sending to us His pure word, His message to our hearts, and yet some in the audience (in spite of being a Believer) will not believe. And why? Because most Christians are so busy working for God they never become the work of God. I was in a church one Wednesday night and one of the movers and shakers in the church asked for prayer. She said Satan has her so busy doing things she does not have time to do more in the church, well foolishly I spouted (I am sorry I can only take so much foolishness) out, “that is not true.” We, needless to say, are no longer are welcome at that church. But the truth is we do what we want to do and when we want to do it. Satan does not make us do things we just like blaming Satan for our short comings and mistakes. So too many Christians

are reading Christian fiction they never get around to reading the creeds written by the fathers of the faith. The creeds are a declaration by the fathers of the faith and what the Scriptures taught. The Apostles Creed (AD 390), Nicene Creed (AD 392), and the Athanasian Creed (AD 415). These declarations of faith and of the Holy Spirit and of the Father have come down through the years and this is what the fathers of the faith believed, what was handled down from one generation to the next. When companies of Christians met they declared these truths some while having their tongues cut out, while others had their ears burned off, others their arms and legs torn asunder. Martyred the old saints of God knew the truth. They wrote these creeds, they lived these creeds, and gave their lives for these creeds they gave these creeds to us and the world for the ages. Yet today they have been discarded as rubbish for something that tickles our ears, for something that causes our tongue to flap in the breeze while saying nothing, and all for an emotional stir that moves our arms and legs. What a huge contrast indeed. I think we will have much to apologize for to the fathers of the faith. And the third cord is hymns. With the introduction of amplified musical instruments (mid to late 40s) into entertainment and sadly into the “nominal” church began the end to real understanding and true believe in God. No longer were the words the focus, but now the beat and rhythm took center stage. Who cares what the message is just give me a beat and rhythm that will drive my spirit. We also saw this play out in the 60s in a huge way with the counter culture, anti-war revolution that swept the US. Believe it or not it was the same anti-Christ spirit that fostered the counter culture, anti-war revolution also fostered the death of the hymns. Instead of the Body of Christ affecting the culture the anti-Christ culture affected the Body of Christ tapping into a spirit of greedy fleshly assent to God not to mention the masses this new media can draw. People means power, influence, and money. Hollywood learned this a long time ago and sadly most churches are following their bad example. They and other organizations learned music affects our spirit nothing stirs our spirit and get us up more than an arousing song or even a good march, but hymns affects our soul. Hymns cause us to stop and reflect on the message and what we are hearing. Since our emotions are NOT engaged there is time for an inward reflection. Then mediating on hymns enables us to understand what the fathers of the faith has believed down through the centuries. Songs like, “Sweet Hour of Prayer,” Blessed Assurance,” “At the Cross,” these and so many more hymns that have great meaning and impact in our heart and soul. Hymns connect us with the Christian folks of the past. Sadly many Christians want to forget the past even as we see this play out in the back drop of our culture wanting to rewrite history or just remove things we do not like. Some questions I

would ask are, “are we going to seek God together? Are we going to stand by that masterful threefold cord God has built as a foundation for the Body of Christ to prevent heresy or shall we drift away from the foundation to satisfy our fleshly lust? Will we stand firm on the Scriptures, creeds, and the hymns? Like all things in God time will tell, but one thing God’s word tells us is, “a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12)