Edward L. Kokesch's Testimony
In March of 1965, I had just moved from Vermont to Glens Falls, New York. The Lord led me to a small Free Methodist church near our new home. I had been looking for a church where I could take my family. World and national conditions seemed to me to be getting so bad, I thought my infant daughter and any other future children would need the Christian values and standards to sustain them as they grew up.
For the first time I can ever recall, I heard the Gospel of salvation through the shed blood of Jesus Christ preached. A Godly elderly Free Methodist pastor named Herschel H. Hutt preached with such an effect on me that I went forward the second Sunday I heard him and received Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Saviour.
I now confess Jesus Christ with my mouth as the Son of God, who came into the world and took on human flesh to save His people from our sins. I believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead. I believe the Bible as God's written word containing the revelation of the Godhead to man; and the only way, truth, life, light of life, and hope we have for salvation, peace with God, forgiveness of sins, and a heavenly home with God.
I neither accept nor will wear any of man's religious labels. I am a Bible-believing disciple of Jesus Christ, a sinner saved by God's grace, and non-denominational in theology and practices. I am a "sovereign-grace" Christian, believing in God's sovereignty in His creation, our salvation, our preservation, and in His providential care for us. I believe in the doctrine of God's free grace, as delineated in the scriptures, by all the great Puritan writers, and as in the Westminister confession. The closest denominational description to my creed would be the Puritan Reformed.
I agree with the teachings of Martin Luther in the doctrines of Christian liberty and the bondage of the will. I agree with John Calvin's (often misquoted) teachings in his Institutes of Religion on the sovereignty of God in our affairs and His creation. Paul taught us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (our responsibility), and that it is God who works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure (His enabling).
Finally, I'm a "full-gospel" Christian, in the sense that I believe in Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever. I believe the gifts and callings are for Christians today, as are the signs following mentioned by our Lord in Mark 16:15-18. By an act of my will, I have chosen to believe God and His word, and in that act of believing, I am honoring Him. And because I have made this choice to believe unconditionally, He has opened up His word to me. I am not a charismatic, pentecostal, or tongues advocate, though I recognize the real from God and the imitation from Satan in these areas.
I ascribe all glory, all sovereignty, all care, all truth to God, and hope in none other nor anything else for my eternal well-being. I trust only in Jesus' blood, His righteousness, His holiness, His atonement, and in His providential care to preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom.
I deplore the divisions, schisms, strifes, contentions, and pride separating blood-bought brethren. It seems to me that the unity we have in Christ should more than offset our doctrinal differences. I will not, however, sacrifice doctrinal truth for compromise or conciliation. I feel we can love each other and fellowship with each other while not agreeing on the things that divide genuine Christians.
And lastly, I am jealous for the glory of God, that He be glorified in me, (through me if it be His will), in the churches, in our worship, and in our works. Too much glory is given men today: our works, our human effort, our "accepting" Christ (which is nowhere in the scriptures). Let my testimony be (and if I were to have a gravestone, the epitaph): all Glory to God alone!
I do not believe that Satan belongs in a creed or testimony, but he has much more to do with our Christian walk than is recognized by most Christians today. Paul said we are not ignorant of Satan's devices. I'm afraid that with very few exceptions, that statement is not true for most Christians today. In these last days, with a falling away taking place in professing Christianity, the manifestations of Satan through occult, cultic, and emotional religions are affecting many Christians to the point where they exhibit signs of mental and emotional illnesses. I have added this paragraph because my testimony would not be complete without the mention of God's teaching me these last 20 years of this particular problem, along with the increasing need for deliverance ministries to help more and more Christians.