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Stockholm - Newsletter June 2020

A Word from the Pastor  

We can already conclude that this year has been different and unique in many ways. Of course, we do not know yet what the Lord has in store for us during the second half of the year. However, we do know that God’s character and nature does not change and that He is indeed faithful (Ps 119:90; Mal 3:6; Heb 13:8).

Reflecting, Refueling and Renewing

For me personally, and for many of you, one major difference is that the annual Convention in Baltimore has been postponed until August. For many of us, the time in Baltimore serves as a spiritual “New Year”. This is usually the time when we are reflecting upon our God-given ministries, refuelling our ebbing spiritual cisterns and renewing our satanically bombarded minds. In one word, this is the time to have another go. With a few exceptions, due to various reasons, I have been privileged and able to attend most summer conferences in Baltimore since the 1980s.

Big Bible Nostalgia 

Not surprisingly, many things have changed since the ’80s. One thing that has drastically affected our lives is the technical revolution following in the wake of the introduction of the Internet. Back in those days, our people carried BIG wide margin Bibles and thick notebooks wherever they went. This is an unusual sight nowadays, but that generation has not yet completely died out. I must admit that I have obtained a few technical devices, including the Logos Software, which I hardly ever use, to facilitate my studies. Yet I tend to fall into the same category as P. Scibelli and P. Ben, that is, those who “resist novelties”, at least when it comes to the art of studying the Scriptures. Considering the spiritual caliber of those two men of God, it is obvious that the “old school” works well too, perhaps even better. The Word of God has been read and taught in many forms throughout history, from stone tablets to digital tablets via scrolls and books. Undoubtedly, the Word of God can be received and studied in various ways. It is a living and eternal word and consequently not limited to a particular form (Ps 119:89; 2 Tim 2:9). In other words, I am not necessarily criticizing the modern way(s) of reading and studying God’s Word. Nevertheless, I for one must confess that I miss the days of giant Bibles and thick notebooks.

Basic Training      
We all want to stay in shape, physically speaking, don’t we? I am no exception. On that note, I want to speak about a great outdoor gym next to my house. It is very rudimentary. There I can do 8-10 basic exercises. That, together with some stretching and jogging, provide all that I need to stay in shape, and it is all complementary. Obviously, to become Mr. Universe I need some more devices. That is not on my bucket list anyway, at least not for now. Often when people want to get into shape, they spend a lot of money on T-shirts, sweatbands and water bottles. On top of that, there is, of course, the gym membership, if they even get that far before they get tired and throw in the towel. I should ask myself the question, what do I really need? The same is true for our spiritual growth. What do I really need - expensive software that I never get to understand, bestselling books that I never get to read and online Bible courses, offered by some celebrity pastor, that I never get to use? The answer is a resounding no!


Back in memory lane

When I came into the ministry, before the entry of the Internet and during the “Big Bible Era” that I mentioned earlier, Greater Grace people were typically equipped with three things – a good study Bible (yes, a big one), Lewis Sperry Chafer’s systematic theology (8 volumes) and Pastor Stevens’ booklets (scores of them). If I aspire to be a professional theologian I may need to invest in some more material. For most of us, though, this is a sufficient starting kit. Indeed more than that – this “kit” alone can make us sound and effective ministers of the gospel.  

Here is my advice, for what it is worth. First, buy a good study Bible. Although there may be other good ones out there, I recommend the C.I. Scofield, Charles Ryrie and Charles Stanley ones. Since there are plenty of notes and material in them, it is important that the doctrine comes from a dispensational and finished work perspective. These men have biblical beliefs very much in line with those of our ministry. Some of these bibles have been translated into different major languages, should you prefer that.   
Second, try to find Lewis Sperry Chafer’s systematic theology. Perhaps you have it already. Nowadays, the 8-volume edition has been replaced by a 4-volym edition. It contains the same material, though. Today, when false doctrine is entering the church at a hitherto unseen pace, it is more important than ever to “not remove the ancient landmarks” (Prov 22:28). Our ministry has thrived on classic dispensationalism and its unique understanding and application of God’s gracious dealing with man through the incarnated Son of Man. Let us safeguard this doctrinal conviction.

Third, how about reading P. Stevens’ booklets again? They used to be found everywhere, in our cars, bedrooms and even bathrooms. They are available in digital form online, nearly 500 of them. If we study one a week we will be busy for the next 10 years. He taught and applied normative dispensationalism in an incredibly unique and exciting way. In fact, it was so unique and exciting that it brought us into all the world with joy, did it not?  
A responsible generation

Jesus made it clear that much will be required from those who have been given much (Luke 12:48). Writing from a Swedish or western perspective, I am wondering what will be required of the unsaved at the White Throne Judgement and from the saved at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Scientific knowledge about the universe, natural laws and the human body has exploded in this generation. This increased knowledge, related to God’s general revelation, leaves this generation more guilty before Him than probably any other generation (Rom 1:18-32). Although the Internet is permeated with garbage, the truth is also available. There are plenty of Christian sites and some of them are very good, providing sufficient information to be saved. This does not take away from our responsibility to embrace the Great Commission, though, which is a timeless command given to all believers (Matt 28:18-20).
As for Christians, at least those living in the western world, we have no excuse for not getting to know God and becoming His committed disciples in this perhaps last generation of the Church Age. Never have we had access to what we have today. In any area we can find interesting and edifying material from biblical scholars with various expertise. There are numerous ways to be confident in what we believe.  
We are indeed an accountable generation. The only competition we face would probably come from the wilderness generation that saw all of God’s daily miracles as well as the generation that had Jesus in their midst for over 3 years. Both generations sinned greatly despite the unique revelation of God in their time. How about our generation – will we utilize the great opportunities given to us? I pray that we will.  


I feel obligated to make one final confession - I am not entirely practicing what I preach. I draw from a lot of sources, such as books and articles, and yes, some technology has entered my life as well. I even read the Bible, in several languages, on my iPad. It was a Christmas gift from the church. It took me 10 months to get it going and not without a lot of “external” help. I am very anxious, though, that the material I am working with is in line with what I have been previously so passionate about here.   
I am incredibly thankful for everything I have access to in my life. I also feel greatly privileged to be part of this generation. However, we do not know how long it will last. Jesus warned us that the day will not last forever; the night will come when no one can work (John 9:4). It is still day, is it not? Let us ask the Lord to send out His laborers (Matt 9:37-38). We are indeed part of that team,  are we not?   

In Christ,
P. Mikael Toll

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Focus on the Mission Field

Unfortunately, many mission trips and summer harvest plans have been cancelled, changed or postponed this summer. This does not mean that we cannot be active in other ways. Doubtless, the most effective way to impact the world is through prayer. In case you are not aware of it, Greater Grace has a monthly prayer list where you can pray for different countries, cities and missionaries. This is a great way to catch the worldwide vision of our ministry. First, we bring out our atlases and reference books to locate and learn something about the various places where we have churches. Then we look at the faces of the people ministering in those regions and start learning their names. Finally, we pray for them. Before we know it, God can plant a vision in our hearts. Through the GGWO webpage most of the missionaries’ contact information is available. They would love to hear from you. Why not get started today? Here is the link to the June prayer list.

Short answers to difficult questions

Some Christians claim that physical healing is included in the atonement. In the same way that we receive spiritual salvation, that is, through faith, we can also experience freedom from diseases and weaknesses. Typically, they base it on verses such as Isaiah 53:5, Matthew 8:17 and 1 Peter 2:24. Since many Christians do not experience healing in this life, this teaching often leads to condemnation. Although the Bible does not promise physical health during our life on earth, it abounds with other promises, both temporal and eternal. Listen to Dr. Mikael as he is trying to sort out some of the ideas and concepts involved in this false doctrine. 
Some Christians believe and teach that physical healing is part of the atonement. They base it on verses such as Isaiah 53:5, Matt 8:17 and 1 Peter 2:24. Is this claim biblical?
In our ministry we believe in unconditional eternal security. This is not the case with all Christians. Many think of salvation as a reward for good behavior. Others believe it is a gift, but it can still be lost. Still others think that salvation is a free gift given by grace and cannot be lost. However, unless this salvation is accompanied with a measure of visible fruit, believers cannot be sure that their salvation experience was genuine. What does the Bible say about this? Read Pastor Mikael’s explanation of the topic of unconditional eternal security based on 1 John 5:13.
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