Diane & Dan Smedra
Thank you for your interest. The
heart of our modest ministry is personal email correspondence* with Christians
around the world who are hungry to grow in their spiritual life and service.
I was led into early
retirement in 2007 due to various health issues, while Diane, after nearly four
decades of employment joined me in 2013. Together, we joyfully serve in this
ministry designed to provide spiritual growth resources to born-again members of Christ's Body.
The website's name "withChrist.org" is drawn from the biblical (Pauline) truths
of the believer's positional: crucifixion (death), burial, resurrection, ascension, and
being seated "with" Christ. See Romans 6:4,6
and Ephesians 2:6.
Having walked with the Lord for nearly 45
years, my heart's desire is to see believers, both young and older, established
in sound foundational basics and able to navigate today's doctrinal
'minefields'. WithChrist.org seeks to prepare believers for subsequent
spiritual growth with the goal of ever-deepening fellowship with God the Father
and God the
Son (1 John 1:3b). Our online corresponding goal is to stay quietly
in touch with the Lord, being prepared by Him to share with those who reach out in need.
This type of relational ministry is not for everyone.
Our goal is for a life-giving
ministry (2 Cor. 4:12). We neither claim nor assert any earthly "authority." Those who visit and read material published on our website are humanly free to
disregard its content--a choice consistent with America's unique founding
principle(1) of "religious liberty". Our desire is to
supplement, not supplant, the role of the doctrinally safe-and-sound local
church, assembly, or meeting.
We view ourselves as directly accountable to the Risen Lord Jesus Christ by the
power of God the Holy Spirit. Our ministry largely draws from the context
of 19th-to-21st century expressions of evangelical Christianity while
recognizing the dangers of over-reliance on either a traditional and
Our Anchor is the Risen Lord Jesus Christ,
who is the Living Word (John 1:1,2) and Truth Incarnate (John
14:6), and Who with other Persons of the Godhead, superintended the inerrant and
propositional Written Word. We adhere to a historical-grammatical
hermeneutical approach to interpreting the Bible. The veracity of both Jesus Christ and the
Bible is authenticated in our experience by the sovereign illuminating power
of the God the Holy Spirit.
"Emerging post-evangelicals," who value "post-Bible study
piety," "post-systematic theology," and "post 'in/out' in perception" will find
little to satisfy their tastes here.
Therefore, in an effort to be good
stewards of our time and resources, we respond to those who demonstrate
spiritual hunger and a receptive spirit. We are not
interested in debates or arguments. Further, attempts to intimidate, censure or silence
us, or email that is rude, insulting, ranting,
belligerent, or repeatedly disingenuous in tone will be ignored or potentially
blocked pursuant to the
Scriptural admonishment of Titus 3:10,11.
* Given the limitations of our financial
resources and schedules, we prefer email rather than engaging in
long-distance phone conversations. Exceptions will be granted on a
NEVER BEFORE IN HISTORY, America's Inspired Birth, Amos & Gardiner, Haughton,
Further Important Notices:
We do not provide legal assistance or financial support for those seeking
religious, political, or economic asylum/relief, domestic or foreign.
Our advice to you is to contact a foreign embassy located in the country of
your residence, a civic organization, or local church.
We do not provide professional
psychological counseling, therapy, or conflict mediation. We attempt
to share wisdom --
Proverbs chapters 1 & 2.
We are not a source of material goods, financial aid,
nor are we interested in any "partnering" or
"affiliation" arrangement with
other ministries, domestic or foreign. Other ministries are designed
to addresses these needs. Your request for funds will
simply be added to the dozens we receive on a monthly basis.
Persistent appeals for money (spam) will warrant a block of your email address.
Other than the cache of resources on our websites, we do not provide free
literature, books, etc. This ministry operates on less than a 'shoestring'
Lastly, we only accept
small 'grassroots' donations via PayPal (see button below). All
donations specifically go to the costs of website hosting, spam filtering,
software and hardware upgrades, etc. Historically, donations have never
exceeded these costs.
Emails which ignore the above will be reciprocally
ignored and deleted.
Subsequent email from the same or similar source will warrant being permanently blocked.
PURPOSE: Our ministry seeks to guide believers into study
suited to their unique circumstances and further strives to see them become "established in
grace" and on their own with the Lord as soon as possible (2 Peter 3:18).
Our expectation is for correspondents to eagerly study the Word of God
(sixty-six canonical books of the Bible) as well as recommended Christian
literature--understanding that the goal for believers is to be anchored in truth,
sanctified through mental renewal (Romans 12:2)
and advancing in a more intimate knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Each
must learn to depend upon Him (Head of the New Creation), not us.
APPROACH: Our approach to Scripture is to ideally focus on
those sections of the Word specifically written to New-Creation Christians--Paul's
Epistles. This is not meant to diminish other portions of the Word,
but to establish an initial priority.
When adequately established in basic Christian tenets, the believer can then safely
study and understand other portions of both the NT and OT. As shown is the
graphic below, the believer's focus should be upon Paul's Epistle (the blue dot in the center), then,
move outward to incorporate
the remainder of the NT (the inner green ring). Finally, the believer can
safely incorporation and understand the
portions of the OT (shown by the outer tan ring). Using this approach
helps ensure that new believers aren't overwhelmed by the seemingly mundane details
found in the OT.
Other key marks of our ministry include:
emphasis upon the supernatural "new birth" as the
exclusive portal to genuine Christian experience,
reliance on the Bible, God's written revelation as the ultimate authority,
salvation by grace through faith--never
the other way around,
concern for the born-again believer's 'spiritual
growth' including conformity to the "mind of Christ",
focus on Christ's redeeming work in His Cross,
Burial, Resurrection, and Ascension, and secondarily,
the reasoned and consistent application of these
truths to the broader spheres of cultural life.
SCOPE: While not repelled by scholarship or
footnotes, our material is presented from the perspective of the
non-academic or layman who nonetheless enjoys passionate thinking. We have
little appreciation for Christians who consider the realm of the mind--"soulish"
and thus spiritually inferior. Our ministry does include
occasional observations: philosophical, sociological and psychological, but its
primary focus is theological and doctrinal. Here you will find
candid discussion, frank evaluations and unvarnished reviews, in contrast to the
'seeker-sensitive' messages so in vogue today. "For the time will come
when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears
tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own
desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to
myths." 2 Tim. 4:3,4.
CHRIST: We believe that Jesus Christ is eternally
God the Son and Son of God, the Last Adam and Source of New Life for a New Creation, Savior of
sinners, Head and Bridegroom of the Church--His Body, as well as Israel's
prophesied Messiah and Coming King.
REVELATION OF THE SINFUL NATURE OF THE
FIRST ADAM: Humankind (ha'adam), male and female, being animated by God
with "the breathe of life" (neshama), were uniquely created (Gen.
1:27; 2:7) in God's image and individually constituted "living" beings or souls (nephesh-whole
persons)(1Cor.15:45). In the Fall, humankind's relationship to God
change (Rom.3:23,24) and their animating life became sinful (Romans
5:12-7:25). Both Adam and Eve's standing and sinful life were passed
to their offspring (Gen. 5:3; 1Cor.15:49). The OT and Synoptic Gospels
are the records of God's "testing" for the purpose of demonstrating
humankind's utter lost and incorrigible estate. God's judgment
upon Adamic humankind, "man in the flesh," culminated at the Cross of
Calvary! In this current time, God is not testing humankind to see who
will or will not believe the Gospel, for all are
bound over to unbelief and make excuse (Luke
14:15-20). God's calling and salvation are by sovereign grace (Luke
THE CHURCH AND ISRAEL: In contrast to
theological traditions and widespread belief that the Church replaced Israel in God's
plans, we believe God the Father has one grand purpose—to glorify Himself in
Christ. This involves glory in two (2) spheres—the earthly and the
heavenly (a now-unseen spiritual dimension). In keeping with this
purpose, God has created the Church distinct from Israel, yet both are "joint heirs"
(Eph. 3:6) of the blood of the eternal covenant
(Heb. 13:20). OT covenant promises to Israel, including those of the
New Covenant, have not been transferred to the
Church (Romans 11:1, 25, 29). While some similarities exist, Israel's
ratified New Covenant awaits the coming Millennium for its implementation
HEAVENLY AND EARTHLY PEOPLE: Throughout
history, the salvation of all
saints is ever and only by grace
through faith in view of
the redemptive work of Christ. At no time has God offered salvation
"by works of law." In regard to spiritual blessings, the Church and Israel
sometimes complement or mirror the other, both reflecting the glory of God, but each in
its own respective sphere. The Church, the Body of Christ, of which
Israel is not a part, is uniquely composed of saints seated in the heavenlies
in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:6), while Israel is an earthly people with
unique earthy blessings, who
will be reestablished in their land by sovereign power and in fulfillment of
OT covenant promises.
MYSTERY: The Church, born at Pentecost (Acts
2), is spoken of in the NT as a "mystery," the truths of
which were neither prophesied nor revealed in OT Scriptures, a hidden mystery
until revealed and unfolded doctrinally by the Apostle Paul in his Epistles. While Paul penned Romans to Philemon, these Epistles are
in fact the inerrant revelation from the Risen Lord Jesus
(Gal.1:12), who is
currently seated in the Glory. The other Jewish Apostle indirectly
learned the truth of the mystery from Paul (2 Peter 3:16).
Regardless of the unique role of Paul, each and every one of the 66 books of
the Bible were "God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking,
correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man (and woman) of God
may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:16).
We believe, that over time, the
content of a person's beliefs affect all realms of life--or put simply,
"ideas have consequences." "For as he thinks
in his heart [mind], so is he" Proverbs 23:7.
Many thanks to those who provide prayer
Biblical Love: In Relation to Doctrinal Error and Those Who Hold It
A Few Letters of Appreciation