Unification News for May 2003
ACLC Cross to Crown in Florida
by Rev. Michael Jenkins
The Florida seminar was very powerful. Rev. Edwards and I were invited to give both the powerpoint DP summary and the Take Down the Cross Message.
Barbara M., our sister was the MC and did a wonderful job. Dr. L.., a Lutheran Pastor gave the opening. As one of the founding members of the ACLC he has continuously demonstrated the courage to "Stand" just as Martin Luther did. He shared deeply about the ACLC movement as a "real" movement that is tearing down the walls of denomination and race. It just keeps growing and growing. Dr. L. shared the 9 points of the ACLC statement and then introduced me. He overcame much persecution but never for a moment lost his firm conviction as to the central role of True Parents.
Then Rev. Edward Teeters, a white minister, who was blessed by True Parents to his Japanese bride read the New Future of Christianity. He read with power and with confidence the story of Elijah and John the Baptist. He read with tremendous power and excitement the section of Father's 1974 speech given in Madison Square Garden, in which Father says, "Where did I get the authority to reveal these things? My authority comes from the Bible. I learned these things from Jesus, yes I learned these things from God... That's where my authority comes from." Then Rev. Teeters was speaking with such force. He held up the Bible and said, see this is where Rev. Moon's authority comes from. From the Bible. Jesus unlocked the secrets of the Bible and gave them to Rev. Moon. (Rev. Teeters came through a strong spiritual experience in Cheong Pyeong. He was healed there. Later he went onto the blessing.)
The spirit was very strong in Florida. The members are all cooperating to touch the heart of Christianity. Representatives of the Moslem faith were there and were very support. Senator B., the woman senator, proclaimed during Mother's tour of America in September that the Messiah has come after she heard the clouds of witnesses. Somehow, she is totally confident that this is right and God is working through this dispensation. She recently introduced and oversaw the passage of the Parents Day for the state of Florida, the first State in America to follow the National Parents Day Legislation making Parents Day a National Holiday. Now Parents Day is an official Holiday for the State of Florida. The proclamation was officially presented to President Jenkins, Rev. Hong and Rev. Edwards and the ACLC executive Committee of Florida.
The Divine Principle was taught will full force, Creation, Fall and the reality that Jesus was to be accepted by the people was clearly presented. The clergy were with it. I have never anything like this before. They responded to each and every call for an answer. They are literally drinking the principle like people who are coming out of the desert. Not only the clergy, but our Blessed Central Families are getting so much inspiration from the Principle.
We always know that when it we hear the Principle just by ourselves many times we don't feel the full excitement that we felt when we first discovered the truth. However, when we hear the Principle with new people (especially Christian Pastors, well versed in the Bible) that same newness and feeling of discovery is there again. That was the feeling several brothers and sisters shared with me in Florida. Also, as Blessed Central Families, our greatest value is that we have not only studied the Principle but we have lived it for many years and therefore have so much to teach and share. The Blessed members that had ministers as guests could feel a tremendous sense of pride and value in the Principle and in the presentations.
The reason this is happening is True Parents have established the victory in the spirit world. By revealing and reading the Clouds of Witnesses testimonies, just as Father promised us, the clergy are receiving a feeling of inner peace and confirmation that Jesus is behind the Principle and is confirming it all the way. Just last year, we had the first national level Divine Principle Seminar in Florida (in January). This was before the Clouds of Witnesses and the four providential blessings last year. As in our past experience, the fall of man created an explosion and divided many. Christology, John The Baptist all the key points created argument and confusion. One pastors couple barely made it to the dinner cruise that night. One ACLC pastor said openly, why are you trying to jam the Divine Principle down our throats and indoctrinate us? Because of that severe reaction, some key leaders almost quit the ACLC. It was shocking.
Now however, after following Father's direction concerning the Clouds of Witnesses, things are completely different. The ministers are receiving the confirmation from heaven. Without the blessing, the Clouds of Witnesses and the ensuing struggles to proclaim True Parents Messiahship, the era of the cross could never have been ended. We must follow Father's direction. This is the most important thing that I am experiencing on deeper and deeper levels. Father's direction is not a reaction to current affairs or out of convenience or simplistic strategy. Father's direction stands on the foundation of indemnity conditions that were successfully accomplished. Based on the right foundation of indemnity and Heaven's command Father will launch a direction and will not waiver or change.
Look at the Clouds of Witnesses. That revelation from Jesus that Father was the Messiah, came on Christmas Day 2001. Father didn't open it up to the world until certain key indemnity conditions were achieved. Namely the 144,000 Couple Blessing, the historic proclamation concerning Jesus and the Cross delivered by True Parents at the Washington Times 20th Anniversary and finally the July 3rd expansion of the 144,000 to the second generation. Then on July 4th Father proclaimed God's Independence Day and launched the Clouds of Witnesses nationwide in all 50 states (a major Newspaper in almost every state and some national papers). The hurricane hit.
The ministers went through a long dark night. (One pastor said recently, it was a long dark night in Egypt. ) But finally the daylight came. Those who stand now are standing on a Foundation of Faith in the DP and a Foundation of Substance with a direct experience with Father. They are deeply convicted in their hearts.
The Video - Tear Down the Walls for World Peace is quite interesting. Dr. Lonnie McLeod of New York Theological Seminary (He is also teaching at UTS) gives very thoughtful yet profound insights about taking down the cross. Also, Dr. McGhee shares about how he persecuted the movement but now he sees where it is coming from and he knows that he must follow.
That's the foundation upon which Rev. Edwards spoke. He testified that he was challenged. The following a summary of his testimony. It was right there in the same hotel we were meeting in when in September of last year on the tour to proclaim the Clouds of Witnesses and the Messiah Rev. Edwards received a desperate call from his wife. The fire chief, zoning, and two other chief inspectors were there to find infractions in his church. They find minor violations and locked up his church and his Philadelphia Christian Academy ) (K -12). Rev. Edwards said to his wife, "Buy them lunch and try to make them happy."
Rev. Edwards determined that although this was a crisis, this must be a test. He determined to stay on the tour. The inspectors were there because someone, who was against what Rev. Edwards was doing with ACLC repeatedly called them to cause trouble for him. His congregation then met in the parking lot for several weeks, but finally dwindled to 20. Rev. Edwards wanted to give up but by the power of the Holy Spirit and his confidence that God was leading him, he hung on. (Though many have heard the testimony before, in Florida it was as if it was told the first time because you could see the strength and joy with which it is being told.) Now he has around 240 members (140 attended last Sunday). On top of that he went to a Home Depot to buy materials for the inside of his church building (the locks finally came off!!) and a pastor from his former denomination walked up. The pastor said, are you Rev. Edwards? Are you the one that was preaching with Rev. Moon? (Rev. Edwards tells this in a very humorous way.) Jesse related that he wasn't sure if he wanted to say yes. For a second he thought to himself, "This pastor might be coming over to punch me." Nevertheless he said proudly, "Yes, that's me." To his surprise the other pastor stuck out his hand and said, " I want to shake your hand. You are the one who had the courage to stand up for what you believe in front of a whole denomination.!!" Recently, that pastor joined Jesse's church as asst. Pastor. It is amazing.
Then Rev. Edwards shared that recently he received the call to pastor a second church because the pastor (of his old denomination was retiring). Rev. Edwards testified that he now has two churches. By this time the Pastors in Miami are truly uplifted, smiling, clapping and shouting. Then Jesse, said, "This is the time. It is time to believe. Jesus is guiding us this way. I found God in the ACLC like I have never experienced before. Its time to end the era of the cross. I took my cross down on Sunday. I made an 8 foot crown for all the congregation. I realized that if Israel had believed there would be no cross. If Israel had done what Jesus asked them to do, we wouldn't have racism, denominations and division of the body of Christ. Jesus would have been King and would have brought the Kingdom right then.
Because of faithlessness the cross went up. Today, I'm telling you church that because of Faith, the cross, the bloodshed and the old history can come down. Yes we cherish the cross because through that burden Jesus showed us how to love in the midst of suffering. What we cherish is Jesus victory of love at the cross. If there had been faith the son of man had power to forgive sin. Jesus told the man with palsy your sins are forgiven, now rise and walk!! Jesus has all power over sin. Now today because of faith he is coming in glory and victory. So I want you to come now and trade your cross in for a crown. "
At that point Rev. Byron Filus came forward as one of the 120 that founded the ACLC. He stood with the Crowns (lapel pins) and every pastor and all the guests came forward carrying white crosses that had been given out to everyone. They brought their crosses forward while Rev. Teeters sang the hymn "The Old Rugged Cross". "I will cling to the old rugged cross and exchange it someday for a crown." As each one laid their cross down, Rev. Filus gave each a crown. Every single pastor came forward. They laid down their crosses in Miami. Revival will now spread like wildfire (Father prophesied that this would happen.) Miami is on fire now. The spirit of pentecost has come to Miami in the form of Rev. Edwards. Rev. Edwards speaks a testimony of victory and his conviction gives all who hear him great strength.
Then Rev. Jenkins called for Rev. Beck to come forward. (One of the 120 founding members who went to Korea in May of 2000 to found ACLC). Rev. Beck was diagnosed with a severe kidney problem and several months ago was given only 2 weeks to live. (When he heard that he bought a new guitar and said God still needs me here. My time has not yet come.) Now several months later his lives. Jesse and many pastors prayed for Rev. Beck and then 7others naturally lined up to receive a prayer from the leading pastors.
The program concluded with a powerpoint presentation on the second coming. In that presentation it is revealed that Jesus will work through a man born on earth. Revelation talks about the man who overcomes, Revelation 3:21: "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." The one who overcometh is here. Let us be bold and confident to proclaim the good news.
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