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A letter we received from Arizona

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A Letter We Received From Arizona

Letter written by Clark R. Barefoot
March 31, 2015

 

Dear Brother Chan,

Please let me introduce myself. I am an 88 year old man. As a youth I was a Presbyterian at the age of 24, and became a JW. I was a JW for 39 years and have a love of the Bible, and learned a lot as a Witness and respect and retain many beliefs embraced as a JW. However on a few key doctrines, as well as the authoritarian spirit that developed over the years, my family left.

For the last 15 or so years, I have been in fellowship with the Restoration Fellowship and the Church of God of the Abrahamic Faith. I learned of Eric Chang from my friend and brother Anthony Buzzard. I obtained Eric’s earlier book, The Only True God. I truly feel I got to know and love Eric Chang from his excellent book. It seems the nonbiblical trinity doctrine can be exposed from many different directions, as Eric had many unique thoughts. Anthony Buzzard’s “Jesus was not a Trinitarian,” also Patrick Navas’ “Divine Truth or Human Tradition” are excellent books on the trinity.

I am now about halfway through “The Only Perfect Man”. Bentley I thank you and Eric very much for this fine work. I have read many parts over a number of times including how Eric wanted you to finish the book if he died. “Then those who feared Yahweh took note and listened and a book of remembrance was written in his presence recording those who feared him and kept His name in mind.” Mal.3:16 I am sure Eric is in that book. Dan.12:2.

I admire your ability to complete such a large project. Bentley are you from China? My guess is you are English educated like Eric, am I right?

I am computer illiterate, but can go to some websites. One of my favorite is Christian Disciples Church. This site of yours is truly beautiful, a great witness to Yahweh and The Only Perfect Man. Of course I read Eric’s life story etc.

Leaving (disfellowshiped) the Witnesses of course meant losing lifelong friends. As I cannot attend a trinitarian church, that is how and why I found Restoration Fellowship.

Looking over the bibliography in The Only Perfect Man I noticed a few books I have and have read. David Bercot’s Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs, Bainton’s Hunted Heretic, Rubenstein’s When Jesus Became God, etc. Interestingly, David Bercot, a very scholarly and fine person was a JW in his youth. I have been an admirer of Servetus, and have the excellent Out of the Flames by the Goldstones, when Marion Hillar and Christopher Hoffman came out with the first and only translation of Servetus’ The Restoration of Christianity in English 6 or 8 years ago, and obtained it.

Bentley, because you, Eric are so well read, you probably have these two books:

The History of Christianity - Paul Johnson 1975

The Reformation - Diarmaid MacCulloch 2003

The story of the century, by these highly regarded historians, paints a dark violent record for the three headed god Christendom worshipped. Yes there were some individuals and a few small groups like the Socinians, Polish Brethren, who were not with the trinitarians. Both books mentioned are eye opening to the rotten fruit of Christendom. Mt.7:16. MacCulloch covers Servetus, Calvin really good.

I understand you might attend the Theological Conference in Georgia at the end of May. I am sure the group would love to meet you. I have long wished to attend that yearly gathering. My heart illness has got to the point, it’s difficulty to walk even a short distance due to angina chest pain.

I look forward to the time “the inhabitant will not say I am sick” Isa 33:24.

Bentley, I only mean a short note to thank you and Eric for your work for the love of God and his Son. As I cannot receive or send email I had to write.

May our God of tender mercies bless you Bentley Chan.

Clark R. Barefoot

 

The Restoration of All Things by the kingdom of God

An outreach tract that Clark included in his letter

Most people look at the wonders of life around them and conclude that there must be a God. There is simply too much design and apparent purpose to it all to conclude that what we see and what we are as people is nothing more than the product of blind chance.

And yet we look around us and are deeply troubled and saddened by all of the violence and hurt we see in the world. And in our own lives we have experienced the losses and hurtful things that often rob us of a sense of security, pleasure and peace.

If there is a God, many wonder, why has the history of man been so filled with conflict, suffering and death? If God is an all-powerful and loving God, how is it that his creation suffers so? Surely, he would have the power, and one would think the desire, to create conditions that would result in blessings for all the earth. While God is appealed to in endless prayers for peace, health and life, those desired conditions continue to elude the human family.

We could never understand the human condition or the remedy that God offers were it not for the Scriptures. God has revealed himself to the human family by means of those Scriptures we commonly call the Holy Bible. And by giving attention to those Scriptures we can find satisfying answers to the perplexing questions facing us as individuals and fellow citizens of this beautiful planet we call earth.

In the Beginning

God created man and woman out of the elements of the earth and gave them a beautiful garden-like home in which to live. They were made in God’s image, which means they were given abilities and an intellect far superior to the animal creation. They were created to have dominion over the earth and its animal creation. Concerning this God said: “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” (Genesis 1:26)

This couple, named Adam and Eve, were told to “Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:28) Gradually, the whole earth would become a beautiful paradise home for untold billions of people. There would be no wars, sickness or dying in this paradise on earth. Remaining faithful to God was the key to the successful carrying out of this divine commission.

To test as well as to develop this spirit of loving obedience to their God and Father, they were told not to eat of a certain fruit tree in the garden. God had said: “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.” (Genesis 2:16,17) The Bible goes on from this point to explain what happened to cause our first parents to fail in keeping God’s command and the consequences that followed. While this happened thousands of years ago, it has a direct bearing on you, me and every human being who has ever lived. (read Genesis 3:1-24)

Adam and Eve were driven from their garden home under the sentence of death before they had their first child. The life they bequeathed to that child was dying-life. Because they forfeited their conditional right to life, they could not pass on the right to life to their descendants—including you and me. As another Bible writer would later say: “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.” (Romans 5:12) However, the failure of our first parents will not forever thwart God’s purpose to fill the earth with a happy, healthy world population freed from the effects of sin and death. To that end he has provided one to offset the effects of the original failure. As all die because of Adam, all will be made alive through God’s only begotten Son, Jesus the Anointed or Christ. “For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:17)

It was necessary for Jesus to die as a sin-less sacrifice to redeem the human family from the deadly consequences of Adam’s sin. Speaking of Jesus, the apostle John wrote: “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2) This means that God’s purpose for the earth will be realized through his Son, Jesus Christ.

The Kingdom of God

The means by which God will restore life and peace to the human family is by means of his kingdom ruled by his son, Jesus Christ. This kingdom was promised thousands of years ago in the Scriptures. “For to us a child is been born, to us a son given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.” (Isaiah 9:6,7)

When Jesus was asked by his disciples to teach them how to pray, he made prayer for God’s kingdom a priority. Jesus said: “This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9,10) We can be assured that prayer will be answered in God’s appointed time.

What God’s kingdom will mean for the earth and humankind is explained to us in the final book of the Bible, where we are told: “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:3)

Jesus now sits at his Father’s right hand in heaven, and “He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.’’ (Acts 3:21) When that restoration takes place, according to God’s unfailing word, “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 11:9)

The Bible clearly teaches that even though we die there is hope for us to live in that future kingdom by means of a resurrection from the dead. If you would like to know more about God’s kingdom and have someone help answer the questions you may have, feel free to contact the person who shared this message with you or write the publisher listed below.

 

 

Sharing by Bentley Chan: Two years after he had written this letter, Clark phoned me on January 22, 2018, 4:35pm, to tell me that he will die soon. He wanted to tell me that we will see each again because of our hope of the Kingdom. We both laughed for joy over the phone because we knew that death is not the end of the story. A month later, on February 18, 2018, 6:58 pm, his wife Ruthie called me to tell me that Clark had died at the age of 91. This was how he died: Ruthie was standing next to his hospital bed. Clark was concerned that she might get tired standing, so he asked her to sit down on a chair. As soon as she sat down, he died of heart failure. Ruthie joyfully told me that Clark cared for her right to the end, literally the last second of his life.

(c) 2012 Christian Disciples Church