Archive for July, 2022

Over the years, our various family units have had pets here at the Abbey. We have had some precious little creatures entrusted to our care. They have brought us much joy, and of course heavy sorrow in their deaths.

We have some very wonderful cats in our different households, but we have not had a dog since the passing of our beloved cocker spaniel mix Lacy in 2007.[1] For a long time, with all of the grandkids around (6 of our 7 are here at the present), it seemed important to me that they have a dog.

We have always adopted strays, and last year during the process of searching for another spaniel mix, COVID hit. With more people home, and in turn also looking for shelter animals, it began to look as though another spaniel was not realistic. After a year and a half of looking, a local newspaper article told of dogs being rescued from hurricane Laura’s flooding in Louisiana and how they were being relocated to animal shelters in the north. Our county shelter was cooperating with this effort by bringing small groups of them at a time to our area.

Melora and Izzy with ZoeyWhen the second group arrived, we decided the time had come – so we completed an application and went to adopt. The shelter manager told us of a dog with a sweet disposition that she thought would be a perfect fit for our family. When we first met the pup, she came right over and laid by our feet, rolling over for a belly rub. Needless to say, she immediately stole our hearts. She was not the spaniel that I had envisioned that we would acquire – the best guess is that she is a Sheprador (German Shepherd and Labrador Retriever mix). Our granddaughter Izzy named her Zoey. Janma and some of the grandkids like to affectionately call her “Zoe-Zoe,” while I call her “Zoey girl.” We adopted her in October, and now she is quite settled in as a beloved family member.

Sometimes dogs are referred to as “man’s best friend,” while the adage “Dogs are man’s best friend because they wag their tails instead of the tongues,” always brings a smile to my face.

Zoey can often be found on the floor by my desk, just as Lacy usually was so many years ago. Looking down at Zoey I am often reminded of the endearing pictures of E.W. Bullinger’s office, where one can so easily spot his beloved dog, Kaffie.

EWB Study and His Dog KaffieIn fact, of the 16 personal pictures of Bullinger and/or his office that Juanita Carey was able to acquire from family members during the research for her book E.W. Bullinger: A Biography, six of them have dogs in them.

[1]     Read about Lacy, her death, and a general look at animals in Scripture in the editorial of Bible Student’s Notebook #106.


Read Full Post »

BSN 883 Ehrenfeld-1Last fall, as things subsided briefly with COVID restrictions, Ken Ehrenfeld paid us a very endearing visit. He was an absolute joy to have, and we relished the mutual fellowship. His passion for God and His Word has led him on an intense, life-long journey toward the truth – to a place of embracing God’s sovereignty, right division, and the salvation of all. More importantly, His spirit bears the unmistakable fruit of God. In Bible Student’s Notebook #879 we shared with our readers a short, encouraging article entitled “Priority” by Ken concerning legalism and our freedom in Christ.

Raised in the northeast, he now, in what he likes to call “the winter of his life,” lives in TX, and conducts an aggressive ministry of supplying books to the libraries of Christian Colleges and Universities. His current distribution is our book The Church in Ruins, with plans to do so with Nothing Will Be Lost next. We are grateful that he allows us to be a part in his daring endeavor.

Nathan, Ken and ClydeWhile he was here, we slipped over and made a visit to the small borough of Ehrenfeld, which is only 12 miles from our place. Just a small community of about 200. We now like to joke with Ken that we live in the suburbs of Ehrenfeld.

Read Full Post »

We prepare the Bible Student’s Notebook weeks in advance of release. As I write this it is my birthday, January 20th. Today a new man was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. This means of course, that I was born on Inauguration Day, and 16 presidents have been sworn in on my birthday. Exactly half of them have been Democrats and half have been Republicans.

Early in this nation’s history there were Presidents from other parties as well: the Federalist and Whig parties. Some of the earliest Presidents were “unaffiliated” with any party.

We tend to listen to, and are often greatly influenced by, the rhetoric of those around us – parents, grandparents, friends, neighbors, preachers, teachers, news sources, etc. As a result, on Inauguration Day half of the country was elated, the other half was dejected. In another election the responses will be reversed. This is merely the cycle of human governments.

This nation is incredibly young, as the age of nations goes. The lesson is that Presidents come and go, political parties come and go, and even nations come and go. They are all just a part of the perpetual cycles of life. Nevertheless, these cycles are all divine cycles, for,

all is out of God, all is through God, and all is going back to God (Romans 11:36).

The one thing that remains stable and constant? Our Father!

… The Father of lights, with Whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning (James 1:17).

My love and appreciation for you all …

Read Full Post »

Our 40th Year of Independent Bible Teaching

But things which were gain to me, these I have deemed a forfeit because of Christ (Philippians 3:7, CV).

2020 marked our fortieth year of independent Bible teaching ministry. While we started our teaching in earnest some six years prior, it was not until 1980 that God set us on a personal journey with Him.

It was in the fall of 1980 that I stepped away from the security of my professional church position as “assistant pastor.” This was an extremely difficult decision, for this was the church of my childhood. Conscience would no longer allow me to support many doctrines and practices that violated what I believed the Bible taught at that time. Over the years I have reflected, with true thanksgiving to God, for this decision that brought me out of the entrapment of “mainstream” religion.[1]

New Responsibilities

… that you might know our affairs … (Ephesians 6:22).

This year has seen unexpected changes and trials for most of us. Some significant changes in the labors of love have taken place within our efforts here as well.

My sons Clyde III and Nathan have taken outside work – including much overtime. As a result, regrettably they have had to restrict and relinquish some of their labors with our work. Some of these tasks are being postponed at the time being; however, one significant duty that Clyde III has had to relinquish is that of answering of our ministry phone. This was always something that he valued, enjoying fellowship and assisting our readers with their inquiries and orders. He always tried to answer the phone live whenever possible.

We’re always busy here: studying, writing, managing publishing and inventory, fulfilling orders, working on new projects, as well as helping students who long to better grasp the Scriptures. Presently, due to limited staff and time constraints we are unable to answer our phones live. However, make no mistake, your calls mean a lot to us. We just need for you to be aware that when you call you will need to leave a message. So, be prepared to leave your name, your phone number, and a little about the nature of your call and how it is that we can best assist you. We certainly appreciate your patience with us, as we are allotting time each week to return your many phone calls.

A Leave of Absence

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

For years we have had the faithful assistance of Mark Peters and Keith Martin with the editing of the BSN. For personal reasons both have had to take a leave of absence from this work. Both provided André Sneidar and me, as well as our readers, an invaluable ministry for which we owe a great debt of honor and gratitude.

In past editorials we have shared a little about these very dear servants who have given much to this work: Mark Peters in BSN #626, and Keith Martin in BSN #703. Though we continue precious fellowship with them both, their labors are nonetheless sorely missed.

New Assistant Editors

  • Now my God shall be filling your every need in accord with His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19, CV).

As the change from autumn to winter, as one season comes to an end – by divine design – another season proceeds. Likewise, Father has most graciously granted us with cherished brothers to assist in taking up the slack in this arduous work: J. Blake Botner, James Fine, Gary Ingison and Mark Vogt.

Some of our readers may remember that we shared about our beloved brother Mark Vogt in the Editor’s Desk in BSN #668. He has also had articles appear in this periodical as well:

  • Christian Terrorism or, God Loves You … But BSN #732;
  • Where Is Justice? and Where Is God? BSN #735;
  • Have You Checked Your Paradigm Lately? BSN #753.

In due course it will be our pleasure to introduce you to the rest of our editorial assistants.

Remaining humbly reminded of Father’s goodness and provision …

[1]     For a short autobiographical work, see:

The Steps I Have Taken, Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr., (or see the order form under “Clyde Pilkington”).

Read Full Post »

All current human governments are usurpers. Though this, of course, is all of divine design, our calling is not as participants or associates of their unrighteous reign, but of remaining focused on our high-calling, peaceably awaiting the end of this evil age.

For the first 20 years of my adult life I was politically active – working polls, campaigning and holding party offices. However, for the past 25 years I chose, by conviction, to lead a quiet and peaceable life, and from the Scriptures have encouraged others to do so as well.

The details of my understanding and position are laid forth in my book World Affairs and National Politics (And the High Calling of God in Christ Jesus).

If you find yourself entangled in the current partisan process, I encourage you to use my book as a study guide to assist you in gaining your political bearings.

Over the years we have also carried many articles in the Bible Student’s Notebook from other authors reflecting our same position. One such example is Politician? or Paulician? by Alan Burns (1884-1929) in BSN #159.

I love and appreciate our readers, regardless of what differences Father may have ordained in our present steps.

Read Full Post »

We have been publishing the Bible Student’s Notebook for over 30 years now. During this time we have progressed considerably in areas of understanding and doctrine; and for the past 15 years we have been writing and publishing books, during which we have continued to hone our grasp of truth.

Of course, the side factor in all of this is the ongoing need for book revisions. In fact, almost all of my books are in need of some type of adjustment. Some minor, others more significant. Sometimes I even read something that I wrote in the BSN only a year ago and ask myself how I would write that somewhat differently now. This a testament to advancement and growth, and thus is the nature of written teaching. These revisions may come in due course, as time and schedule permit.

However, I am reminded, for example, of Bullinger’s prolific works in this respect. His bountiful writings stretched out over portions of some 5 decades. The progress he had made over such a long period is perhaps unprecedented by any author. This is in part what we love about him, but this left his works riddled with inconsistencies. Of his 150+ books and booklets we have only one single title that fully represented his final Acts 28 position – The Foundations of Dispensational Truth. Along the way he never appeared to revise or withdraw his previous works. He just kept spending his valuable, diminishing time moving forward – advancing. Along the way he allowed all of his works to stand as they were, leaving a testament of his persistent adjustableness and progress. Although I’d certainly prefer revision, this may be my own lot on many of my titles as well.

This is why we have long encouraged our Bible Student’s Notebook readers to begin with the latest volumes and work their way backwards.

Read Full Post »

In my editorial in Bible Student’s Notebook 756 I mentioned the John Birch Society in reference to my past activism, being caught up in endless causes. This resonated personally with a few of our readers, causing me a bit more pondering over my past.

I was never a member of the JBS, but they did have a chapter in the Hampton Roads (VA) area where I lived, conducting regular seminars with outside speakers on conservative, anti-communist, anti-UN, limited government, conspiracy themes (such as the Council on Foreign Relations and Trilateral Commission). I often attended these lectures. Their “Get US out of the United Nations” billboards were also a familiar sight.

I read and distributed their literature: books from their Western Islands press, as well as periodicals American Opinion and The New American. Robert W. Welch and Larry McDonald were the JBS leaders during my time of association.

I had an “attachment” to John Birch himself, the namesake. He was in the same denomination that I was raised in: Independent Fundamental Baptist. He was a graduate of the Fundamental Baptist Bible Institute in Fort Worth, Texas, a school founded by a prominent founder of our denomination, J. Frank Norris. Birch was sent to China by the World Fundamental Baptist Missionary Fellowship. He participated in WWII as a US captain and was killed in China.

During the time of my activism I was also associated with Liberty Lobby, distributing its weekly newspaper The Spotlight. I was never a member of the Democrat or Republican parties, instead being an active member of the American Party and its VA state youth chairman as a teenager. I was active in the AP presidential bids of Thomas J. Anderson in 1976 (who was a Bircher), Gov. Meldrim Thomson and then Percy L. Greaves in 1980, followed by the Libertarian Party candidates David Bergland in 1984 and Ron Paul in 1988.

In the early 90s I was drawn toward the state militia movements (e.g. Militia of Montana), reactionary activism related to the government’s mishandling of Ruby Ridge and Waco, but I was never a part of them, as another mindset had already begun to emerge which would eventually produce in me a complete about-face (understanding and position laid forth in World Affairs and National Politics, available at StudyShelf.com, or see our order form).

From my own narrow perspective, these groups (mentioned above) have been demonized as supposedly having done things that I did not personally witness. It consistently appeared to me that they were attempting to bring attention to true corruption, while perhaps at times tilting at Don-Quixote windmills. Regardless, from my perspective now, I see them as an elaborate distraction from a grander reality. It may be that I needed these as a contrast to what I know today.

As a result, I can say with Paul,

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung (Philippians 3:7-8).

But things which were gain to me, these I have deemed a forfeit because of Christ. But, to be sure, I am also deeming all to be a forfeit because of the superiority of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord, because of Whom I forfeited all, and am deeming it to be refuse (CV).

Read Full Post »

Have you ever seen pictures that compare actresses with and without all of their “makeup”? How about an everyday person who has had a “make-over”? Or, professional photography that has been airbrushed?

There’s an attempt in this life to “touch-up” everything for appearance’s sake. Perhaps in some ways the effort is something beyond the mere attempt to be phony; it can also represent a longing that things be made perfect. We can only imagine what it will be like when all of creation will be revealed by God in its state of perfection – when all of the flaws are removed, not merely covered up.

The world and everything in it is currently broken, certainly ourselves included. We all know our own imperfections all too well. However, we sometimes forget that others are just as broken. That’s because we have all become quite gifted at attempting to hide our faults and failures.

So much in the public area is really just a façade. Religiously, politically, socially, things are rarely how they appear, but rather they are how others want them to appear. We all spend so much time fabricating masks. This concealment extends to every conceivable avenue and facet of life.

The grand news is that the true day of perfection is coming! The idea of “judgment” in the Scriptures is about setting things right: of correcting every wrong, of bringing all imperfection to perfection. This is God’s glorious plan! Nothing will be able to disrupt Him from reaching such perfection for His universe: not even us – laden with our current imperfections – for even our temporary imperfections are of His current design.

After all, we are all “His workmanship” (Ephesians 2:10) – “His achievement” (CV), “His handiwork” (Weymouth).  There is little wonder that Paul rejoiced with these words,

Being confident of this very thing, that He Who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the Day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).

Read Full Post »

My dad, 1994, age 83I was exceptionally privileged to have a model earthly father who served as a wonderful illustration of our heavenly Father. This is the design of fathers: a way to convey to us the nature of God. Unfortunately, in so many fathers, especially today, this design has been marred beyond use or recognition. This “present evil age”[1] has taken its irrevocable toll on the family, especially the image of the father.

My dad and me, 1959My dad, mom and me, 1961, 1962

I knew my father for 37 years, from the time I was born until he died in 1996.[2] Even after his death I have continued to grow in the realization of him.

My brother Billy and meA couple of years ago I visited my brother Billy and his wife Janet who live in Wilmington, NC. Now 85, he shared with me some things that I never knew about our father. Of course, why wouldn’t he be able to do so, since he knew him for 25 years before I was born? Yet there are still things about our father that neither of us knows (but there will be plenty of time to remedy this in the resurrection!)

The father that I “knew” as an infant increasingly changed as I became a toddler, juvenile, adolescent, teenager, adult, and then a father myself. Some of what I learned expanded my knowledge of him, while other things dispelled misconceptions.

One thing I have learned over the years is that we all have our own paradigms. For some, those paradigms were given to them as children, and barely if ever change. For others, like myself, these paradigms are ever-changing. Either way, we sometimes perceive ourselves to have “arrived” at the truth at a given stage or place in our lives. Among our greatest hindrances is to mistake our doctrinal frameworks for the truth. Over time, however, some of us have come to see that these conceptual scaffoldings, more often than not, reflect our human inability to grasp fully the things of God outside of divine revelation and illumination.

My dad and me, 1965Just as with my earthly father, I have always “known” God, to some degree, for as long as I can remember; and, like my earthly father, I have known Him in many different, progressive and ever-changing ways. In my early days I understood Him in my immaturity – “as a child.”[3] That perception was to a certain degree in truth, and to another extent in error, and certainly out of focus.

My dad, my son Clyde III, and me, 1988Now, though, I am grateful for a more mature view of God – “when I became a man, I put away childish things;”[4] yet, even with all of my progress, it would be more likely for an ant to fully understand me and my world than for me to fully grasp that of the Deity.

Little wonder that I have so many dear brothers who have so many varied differences in their understandings of God. Really, how else could it be? What kind of God would He be were He so fully and easily understood by humanly-constructed models, His infiniteness comprehended by our finiteness?

This does not mean that we do not have a revelation of Him in His Word, or that our perceptions of Him are not now beyond the mere groping of Him.[5] Such a progressive realization was Paul’s constant, passionate desire and prayer for us.

Therefore, I also, when hearing of the faith which relates to you in the Lord Jesus, and that for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, making mention in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father glorious, may be giving you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in its realization of Him, the eyes of your heart having been enlightened, for you to perceive what is the expectation of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of the enjoyment of His allotment among the saints, and what the transcendent greatness of His power for us who are believing, in accord with the operation of the might of His strength, which is operative in the Christ, rousing Him from among the dead and seating Him at His right hand among the celestials, up over every sovereignty and authority and power and lordship, and every name that is named, not only in this eon, but also in that which is impending: and subjects all under His feet, and gives Him, as Head over all, to the ecclesia which is His body, the complement of the One completing the all in all (Ephesians 1:15-23, Concordant Literal New Testament, adjusted to the 1930 edition).

Paul greatly longed for the saints to have a genuine “realization of God” – an epignōsis (ἐπίγνωσις)![6]

Gnōsis[7] is the Greek word for “knowledge,” while epi[8] is the prepositional prefix meaning “on,” “over,” “above.” The English words translated for epi (on-over-above) can be seen in bold type in the following examples:

… Jesus walking on the sea (John 6:19).

… a superscription also was written over him (Luke 23:38).

above all these things put on love (Colossians 3:14).

Epi is defined as “superimposition,”[9] and can be seen in our English words epidemic,[10] epitaph,[11] and epicenter.[12] Thus, epignōsis reflects that which is dead-center, spot-on, and over-and-above all previous knowledge. It is defined as:

  • full discernment (Strong)
  • clear and exact knowledge (Bullinger)
  • precise and correct knowledge (Thayer)
  • exact or full knowledge (Vine)

Epignōsis was possible based on only the pinnacle of the revelation found in Ephesians – an advanced unveiling of truth that Paul received from Christ.

A.E. Knoch (1874-1965) writes concerning this crucial point,

“The faith which relates to you” [1930 CLT] refers to the new truth set forth in this epistle. … His prayer for “a spirit of revelation” makes it evident that this epistle deals with a secret (Ephesians 3:9) of God’s purpose (:11) quite distinct from His counsels which had been revealed before.[13]

 The advancement in the realization of God is a lifelong process, one that will culminate in resurrection. However, I now know that the Sovereign[14] is “one,”[15] that He is “happy,”[16] that He is our “Father,”[17] and that He loves us unceasingly and unfailingly.[18]

I did not always have such knowledge (epignōsis) of these things. This is a far different understanding from what my paradigm has always allowed. As I remain on a constant, passionate pursuit of Him and His ways (i.e., the truth), what more could I desire now than the knowledge of a sovereign, happy, loving Father?

[1]     “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us out of the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father” (Galatians 1:4).

[2]     For more about my father see,  “A Memorial – Clyde L. Pilkington, Sr.,” Bible Student’s Notebook #172.

[3]     I Corinthians 13:11.

[4]     Ibid.

[5]     “They may surely grope for Him and may be finding Him, though to be sure, not far from each one of us is He inherent” (Acts 17:27).

[6]     Strong’s G1922.

[7]     Strong’s G1108.

[8]     Strong’s G1909.

[9]     Strong’s. Superimposition meaning “to place or lay over or above something” (Merriam-Webster).

[10]    A disease that comes “over” the people.

[11]    The writing “over” a tomb.

[12]    The location directly “over” the center of an earthquake.

[13]    Concordant Commentary on the New Testament (Ephesians 1:15).

[14]    “Seeing that out of Him and through Him and for Him is all” (Romans 11:36), “Who is operating all in accord with the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11).

[15]    “There is one God, the Father, out of Whom all is, and we for Him, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through Whom all is, and we through Him” (I Corinthians 8:6).

[16]    “The evangel of the glory of the happy God” (I Timothy 1:11).

[17]    “One God and Father of all, Who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:6).

[18]    I Corinthians 13:8:

“Love never fails” (Twentieth Century);

“Love, at no time, faileth” (Rotherham);

“Love never ends” (Holman);

“Love never disappears” (Moffatt);

“Love is never lapsing” (Concordant);

“Love will never die out” (Goodspeed).

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts

%d bloggers like this: