Dedicated to the Memory of Craig Bluemel
November 3, 1953 to June 16, 2007
Well done, good and faithful servant, you have entered into the joy of your Lord!
Excerpts from an email Craig wrote to friends March 2, 2007 about some of the lessons learned through years of chronic pain, sleeplessness, and suffering:
�I am no longer able to have visitors to my home because simply interacting with God�s people triggers the Father�s spiritual anointing, releasing a flood of love expressed thru the revelation of truth in the scriptures, and inevitably, I am painfully injured by even the slightest amount of talking. For over 2 decades I spent all my free time doing street outreach evangelism one-on-one or teaching Bible studies, planting house churches, or helping needy families, etc, because God made me as a �people loving personality.� Yet, He also gave me an extraordinary gift to study and understand and teach the scriptures to others in simplicity of the mind and heart, and revelation of His anointing, which brings the word of God alive inside of people.
God is using my suffering and pain as He did with old brother Paul�s thorn in the flesh. Most Christians cannot relate to this statement because it is not a cross that most will have to carry. Jesus said �My burden is easy and my yoke fits.' I never understood this saying until I was afflicted; now I keep this saying. It took many years for me to come to understand the many blessings that are found in pain and suffering. After much complaining and grumbling to God, insisting that He either heal me or take me, I finally embraced the reality of what He has given to me and am now contented in any circumstance He allows. For, when I am weak, He is strong. I can finally boast about my weakness, that His strength is being perfected in me.
You, God�s people, and my sisters and brothers in Jesus Christ, have made this path much easier to walk�thru your words of encouragement and especially your prayers. Ten years ago, when I was in the middle of the eye of the storm of afflictions that beset me, God spoke to my heart in His still small voice and said to me �You are only kept alive by Me because of the faithful prayers of certain ones in the church.� I have never forgotten this personal insight, and He has never revealed to me who these champions of faith and intercession are, but great is their reward!
The restricted mobility and the loneliness that I once felt were destroying me and my personality has finally put to death the �old man� and now the life of the �new man� created in the image of God thru Jesus Christ is come alive! These past 3 weeks have been the most physically arduous and painful, but with the physical weakness comes spiritual strength. The love of God that I now feel for my Father in heaven, for His Son--and my Brother, Advocate, Mediator, Counselor, Teacher, Comforter, and Friend�Jesus of Nazareth, and all of God�s people who are called by God thru his name, is increasing daily.
God has me sequestered in His word, as it were, and I must admit, it is a most peculiar and wonderful place to be. The �love-hate� relationship I have with suffering in this frail and broken body cannot endure the agony of pain that occurs just simply interacting with friends and relatives that would otherwise eagerly join me for fellowship. The most peculiar thing about all of this is that whenever, (literally whenever) I study the scriptures and prepare online studies about the man, Jesus of Nazareth, or about Yahweh Elohiym the only true God and Father of our Lord Jesus, my physical limitations and what I am able to do with His anointing breaking the yoke is nearly effortless.
Outside of God's anointing, to understand the depth of the riches of His word, my ongoing physical condition is a thorn in my flesh that I have grown to be thankful for, because it reminds me of my mortality, keeps me vigilant and diligent, helps me appreciate the things in life that really matter, has made me a much better husband and father, keeping me dependent upon the Father in prayer, and hungering and thirsting after the just, upright and equitable purity of the example I find in Jesus of Nazareth�
� For those who have been praying for my wife and I, and for my health and other needs for the better part of this 14-year ordeal with pain, God is answering your intercessions mightily of late. God�s ways are not our ways, and His thoughts so much Higher than our own. He doesn�t always answer the way 'we' want. However, God always answers prayers in a way that glorifies Him, and furthers the building up of the kingdom of heaven�
�My greatest treasure in heaven is each of you, my brothers and sisters in Jesus� In Isaiah it is prophesied, and in Hebrews fulfilled that Jesus the man, speaking to God the Father says, �Behold, the children which You have given me.� You are the ones who do the will of God from the heart�
�All glory be to God the Father thru Jesus Christ, and thank you all for caring for and loving us.
We believe the Scriptures are the inspired Word of God, but only as penned in the original Old Testament Hebrew and New Testament Greek languages. We hold the Scriptures as the final authority and last word for all doctrine. The Scriptures are the basis for how we live our lives; but how can we follow its precepts if we don�t know what God's Word says? It is imperative for every believer to study the Scriptures for themselves, instead of relying on church pastors and leaders to decide for them. We say to all of our readers, don�t trust us because we say it is so, but trust what the Bible says, because GOD said it is so!
The Scripture warns of a famine in the last days, not for food, but for hearing the words of Yahweh. We do not claim to have all truth, but increasingly, we desire to follow what God has written. No tradition is sacred -- only God's Word. In the meantime, let us hold to the unity of the Spirit until we come into the unity of the faith, love God with all of our hearts mind and souls and our neighbor as ourselves, looking unto Jesus as the as the Author and Finisher of our faith. As vital as truth in doctrine is, what we know means absolutely nothing without God�s love.
We believe there is only one God, the Father, and only one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all. According to His great mercy, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Although Craig has passed away and no one is available to answer questions, his website is left up in hopes that it will be both an encouragement to others and to provoke Christians to study the Scriptures to find out what they truly teach.
Craig�s passion was truth from God�s Word and sharing the Gospel. For years he did a street version of the Bible Answer Stand Ministry, where he would set up a table with a sign inviting people to ask him questions from the Bible. In the final years of his life when pain prevented him from being with people, we set up this website so he could continue to answer questions.
Craig did not respond with �pat� answers. His deepest desire was to lay aside traditions and preconceived ideas to discover what the Scriptures taught. Because of that, he was willing to change his beliefs when he saw they contradicted the Scriptures. Some of what you read will be controversial. And some of it may seem contradictory. At the time of his death, Craig was in the process of editing some of his older studies to reflect newer insights.
Here�s just one example of how Craig approached theology: belief in the Trinity. Craig never believed in it, as neither the word itself nor the terms used to define it are found in the Bible. Rather, Craig believed that Jesus had a "dual nature" and was "fully God and fully man" based on what he had been taught at the Pentecostal Church he attended as a new believer. Until�
Until the day he was asked to give the Scripture references for those words. Responding that they were convenient terms to describe what was in the Bible, Craig was challenged: "but how is that any different from what Trinitarians do?� Craig thought for a minute, then said,"You�re right, there is no difference" and he quit using the terms.
It took Craig many years of study to sort out what was true and what wasn�t regarding the �Dual Nature of Christ� teaching. Most of the Bible verses about Jesus clearly show that he is a man, but there were some that seemed to say he was �God� (the Greek word was �Theos�). Jesus was called, �the only begotten God� in John chapter one and later after the resurrection Thomas proclaimed that Jesus was �my Lord and my God�. Key to understanding this seeming contradiction came when Craig noticed that Strong�s Concordance listed �magistrate� as another definition of Theos. (Subsequently, Craig did many studies explaining this, including �Jesus is the Magistrate�.)
It seemed that each major study Craig did led to more questions as he challenged the pre-suppositions that led to the original doctrine. In the months before his death, those questions included: What was the meaning of Jesus being baptized? Was he sinless as a young child? And what is sin�is it childish irresponsibility or willful disobedience? He was exploring the answers to some of those questions in a series completed just before he died (Jesus, Our Sympathetic High Priest).
Three days before he died, Craig awoke with more questions�and an idea for a new series. Now he has the answers�and we are left knowing in part and �seeing through a glass darkly�.
Studies marked �new� were done by Craig in the months before he died. We hope to someday add additional studies that Craig completed that have never been posted, as well as finish the editing process that he began on older studies. (And please forgive us if you find some broken links, as we were in the process of making changes to the website at the time of Craig�s death and some of those changes have not been finished. We apologize for any inconvenience.)
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