What the Churches Don’t Want you to hear #2: “Snatching, Stumbling, and Falling Away”

Like many medical diagnoses, this perspective of churches and denominations today is not particularly pleasant to hear.   However, the challenge of the Falling Away introduced in THE SOUND OF A SOUND FAITH demand an explanation of the seeming contradiction of “Once Saved Always Saved” and the perspective that most church members will be victims of the Falling Away.  This book on SOME MORE SOUNDS is built on the basic Bible convictions of the first book, but tries to explain in a practical way based on the parable of the Seed and the Sower ,the actual process of church members falling away, not from the churches as church attendance may actually go up, but rather from Christ, God, and the Bible. The Falling Away and the process by which it happens as sin abounds and the love of many waxes cold is hard to explain.  The Falling Away of the magnitude to call it THE Falling Away only happens twice in history, once to the children of Israel in the wilderness and once before the Second Coming of Christ.  It is especially hard to explain simultaneously the sound doctrines of the Security of the Believer and the Falling Away, yet they are both true.  The secret of success like in all Bible study is to find the Authorized Public Interpretation {API} from Jesus and the Apostles.  By that I mean to look at real Bible on how much like the physical birth where 9 months is required to the spiritual new birth like Jesus said.   This is so much unlike the instantaneous new birth of the fundamentalists and others, which is at the foundation of the only approximately 25% of the wheat in local churches and denominations as compared to the 75% of tares.  {By the way, I apologize for not being able in this book to cover the subject thoroughly, and the reader is referred to the later book of TOLERATION OF THE TARES.  This book tries to develop the proper “leave them alone” attitude of Jesus.}  We also in the sequel to this book, TOLERATION OF THE TARES, need to utilize the outline of Mark which we diligently develop in this book.

Color, which you will not find in most Bible commentaries, is used to set apart the Bible quotes and immediate comments to the general flow in black letters. The Bible quotes are given in the pleasant color of green, and the immediate comments are given in the pleasant color of blue.  I think this will help you in the reading of it along with the 12-point print and double spacing.  The CD version of SOME MORE SOUNDS will have sound and animation.

1. Things, Things, Things: God or Mammon

“Things” is a difficult word.   It can mean so many different things.   It has 10 distinct meanings in the dictionary, each with multiple levels of meaning. It can mean “a matter of concern” as in the phrase “many things to do”. It can mean a “deed, act, or accomplishment” as in the phrase “do great things”.  It can be used in the sense of “possessions, effects as in the usage of “pack your things”. And on another level that is less tangible it is “whatever may be possessed or owned or be the object of a right, and on still another level it can be “an article of clothing” as in I don’t have a thing to wear.  With still another definition it can be “an object or entity not precisely designated or capable of being designated” as in the phrase “use this thing”.  Likewise depending on the usage of the word it can have the definition of “detail or point” as in the phrase “checks every little thing”.  Thing or things can be far more abstract as an “idea or notion” like in the sentence he says the first thing that comes into his mind; thing or things is also used in the sense of something individual
like “not a living thing in sight”. You have heard it used in the sense also of “the proper or fashionable way of behaving, talking, or dressing” as in this is the thing.  And then the tenth definition is as “a mild obsession or phobia” as in he has a thing about driving.

The word “thing” in the Bible also has different meanings.  Most are familiar with the quote of Romans that “all things work together for good to those who love the Lord and are the called according to His purpose.”  Things there refers back to the context of how God is working for the good of the called, the Holy Spirit and Christ are also working together for the good of the called.  Here the things are good.

In another context, that of I John 2:15-17 “things” is bad. “Love not the world; neither the things that are in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. {God, the great originator and controller of the new birth will not allow it to happen. He will not allow His love to be in anyone who does not give Him “exclusive loyalty” to borrow a phrase from Thomas McComiskey in THE MINOR PROPHETS.   I also remember so well from a Contemporary Philosophy of Living class the supreme attribute of character from Josiah Royce of “loyalty”.  I think loyalty in our contemporary jargon best describes the top love that King James struggles for in usage of the word “charity”.} All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father but is of the world. The world passeth away and the lust thereof but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.”

Another bad usage of “things” is found in the parable of the seed and the sower that was told by Jesus. Jesus first told of the seed of the Word that fell among thorns which immediately sprung up then the thorns choked it out.  And then Jesus explained this as when an individual hears the Word of faith and of God and explains the thorns that choke it out as “the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and other things”. You noticed that “other things” with cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches that choke out the word of faith.

I think you would agree that Jesus is primarily concerned about objects or possessions here, and this is the usage of the word things on which we try to concentrate as perhaps the number one diversion of people living by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Things as objects or possessions dominate lives.  Recall it was the very good and moral rich young man that walked away from Jesus when Jesus told him to give all his possessions to the poor, then come follow Jesus. The young man walked away according to the Scripture “because he had great possessions.”

At least this young man realized it. How many young men and women are walking away from Jesus who do not realize that they are so occupied with objects and possessions that Jesus has been ignored by default. The words of God have lost much of their effective meaning in their lives simply because they are too occupied with possessions—“things” if you would—to even think about God and Jesus.

The word that Jesus used in the Sermon on the Mount to describe “things” is the word “mammon”. What you have in this Sermon is the contrast between the things of God and the things of mammon, things created by man and by the world.

There is nothing wrong with “bread” but if man lives by bread alone then he can not also live a balanced life of every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.

The temptations of Satan to stop the ministry of Jesus centered around the things of this world, and the sad fact is that Satan really has the ability to control these things of the world.  If you allow these things to control your life it is sadly the equivalent of allowing Satan to control your life.  While the things themselves, like money, are not evil, the things become the root of all evil. In fact money would fall into the category of mammon as “all things created by man” “Mammon” is the word used by Jesus for things.  Is it a surprise to you that while we hear so much about Jesus and the teachings of Jesus and about God, we do not hear the word “mammon” mentioned much?  The answer is simple:  businessmen do not want any bad connotations attached to the buying of things.  Mammon which literally means things of man’s creation is not bad within itself.  Mammon is much like money.  In fact when the word mammon originated it applied most significantly to money.   Well, mammon and money are not evil per se, money and mammon are the root of all evil.  It is the root of all that diverts a man effectively from God; it is the root of all that causes man to live more by bread than by the words of God; it is the root of what chokes out conversion with the cares of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, and other things.

Jesus in His teachings of the Sermon on the Mount described it this way, and we have never been able to see the real meaning to the extent of a practical application in life.

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and mammon.”  (Matthew 6:24)

We hear this and we go into self-denial:  “No, that is an archaic teaching that came before this age of technological things and world-class education and the development of a social conscience.  I can love my things without hating God; and I can love my God without hating things.  I can be loyal to the accumulation of things without despised God, Jesus, and the Bible; and I can be loyal to God without the despising of my education, status from men in business, my house, and my other things.  Extremes are not necessary; we say to ourselves.  I can be moderate in the things of God and I can be moderate in the things of men’s creations.

Well, the words of Jesus stand firm; and they stand unchanged down through the centuries as recorded in the Bible.  “You can not have two masters”.  {You can not escape the conclusion that God demands and deserves, and it is for your own benefit, exclusive loyalty.  If it were for eternal life alone it would be worth it, when you consider the length of eternity compared to the short boot camp here on earth; but it is also a lifestyle here on earth which Jesus calls no less than the “abundant life”.  This abundance is sometimes misunderstood, and privately interpreted as the prosperous life of the middle class; but one such abundance is the privilege each day of casting every care on God the Father. “Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you in due time, casting ALL YOUR CARE upon Him, for He cares for you”.}

Well, the reply might come, we just do not understand what God meant when He gave Jesus those words to teach.  Yes, we do!  The meaning is right there on the surface. I recall from many of my good Bible teachers, one at Ouachita Baptist University who said, “just let the Bible say what it means…let the Bible say what it wants to say….” AND WHAT THE BIBLE IS TRYING TO SAY IS THAT EITHER MAMMON OR GOD WILL DOMINATE YOUR LIFE, AND WHICH IS TO DOMINATE IN YOUR LIFE IS YOUR CHOICE.

Generally, you would have to agree with me, it is the case that those all wrapped up in things, also do not have the motivation of “service” for God in the first place. Where they have missed the boat, and it is an eternal miss, is the meaning of service for God and in the placing of service for God in first place. This is as basic as the first three of the Ten

Commandments. It was summarized by Jesus as: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, mind and soul, and Him only shall you serve.” {Notice how the “Him only shall you serve” rings again of the exclusive loyalty; and how this summary from Jesus is as old as the Old Testament.  In fact Jesus is quoting here from the Old Testament.}

One might respond, “This is simple, and we know all these things, because we are church members.”

No, you don’t as indicated by the popularity among Bible believer’s of the philosophy of Joel Olsten as given in his best-selling book YOUR BEST LIFE NOW. In one chapter alone on the good life, Joel mentions “things” twenty-three times. Also the so-called “Women of Faith” with their popular challenge for women to live the extraordinary life now—supposedly a Bible and Christ ministry—offer you a catalog of things to buy which are called “women of faith resources”.  Now, what in the world does a ministry of Christ and the Bible have to do with the selling of sweaters, and necklaces, and purses, and all sorts of things. In the case of Joel and the ladies of faith, they are promoting immediately the very mammon that diverts from the service of God.

2  “Cares of This World, Deceitfulness of Riches, and Other Things”

These few words from Jesus, “cares of this world, deceitfulness of riches, and other things”, where do you think they come from. Yes, they come from the parable of the seed and the sower that Jesus explained later to His disciples to illustrate how many church members and others miss out on a real conversion. The people of Jesus’ day were very religious, like most people in the United States, they have heard the seed of the Word of Christ.

While we real southern Baptists would like to blame the current Falling Away condition of the churches on the fundamentalists for their superficial and shallow practices on the new birth, human nature has dictated the four distinct responses to the Word of the Gospel.  {Like most of their other Bible it is based on a hunt and peck method of understanding, but they are not alone on instant new birth.} We must admit from the parable of the seed and the sower that from the very beginning of the Gospel of the kingdom with Christ, 25% of the people who hear the Word of the Gospel have it immediately SNATCHED away by Satan. Since their will on the matter and their human spirit is comparable to wayside soil, have the seed of faith instantly SNATCHED away by Satan.  How does Satan do that?  Well, unfortunately he has direct access to the human spirit if not countered by the work of the Holy Spirit here on earth. Although it is hard to say in this day of the type and measure of “tolerance” we have in this country from the American Democratic Faith, {like the religious leaders to whom Jesus spoke saying “you are of your Father the devil”}, you can easily make a case from the Bible that all of those who have not been given the love of God in their life, are controlled by Satan.  And while they may think their influence toward the wayside soil is in the interest of God, just like the religious leaders of Jesus’ day thought they were doing the work of God {remember how Paul thought before conversion that he was doing the work of God as he hauled Christians off to prison}, those religious leaders who sowed that seed, especially if they are liberals, can assist Satan in the immediate SNATCHING away of the seed sown by the wayside.  You see, really, such liberals and fundamentalists, are the wayside, anyway.

You know if you were looking about you today for the most influential men in the world who lead {the man of sin of II Thessalonians} in the Falling Away, it would be a toss-up between a Muslim leader like Bin Laden and a fundamentalists leader like Bush, Falwell, Stanley, and LeHaye. While Bin Laden based on the Muslim classic teaching of destroy the infidels like the potential for a world-wide rebellion that can easily led to the final great battle of Armageddon in the middle east, it is the fundamentalists leaders like Falwell and Stanley, as they took over control of the Southern Baptist Convention 20 years ago—by the way, the largest Protestant denomination in the world with influences all over the world—with their fighting spirit that have caused all the wars, contentions, and divisions among Southern Baptist in Texas, and no doubt in the whole world.  This bad spirit of such fundamentalists was expressed by W.A. Criswell approximately 20 years ago as he told Bill Moyer in a TV interview that “We will keep on fighting until one side or the other wins.” Well, that is exactly what happened: the fundamentalists kept fighting with the moderates, electing such fundamentalists pastors as President like Adrian Rogers and Charles Stanley with the rejection of Texas’ Baptists number one conservation-on-the-Bible and on evangelism candidate, Winfred Moore of the First Baptist Church Amarillo, until they established control over the convention, destroyed the reputations of other conservatives with the label of moderates which in their mind and their listeners’ minds meant liberals, caused the SBC to split into three conventions, drove other conservatives out of Southwestern Seminary, caused warfare between Baylor Theological Seminary, Texas Baptists, and SBC leadership; and the worst thing of all caused a bad spirit of contention to fall over the whole Southern Baptist Convention. {I must add now that the only hope for the SBC is if the real Southern Baptist rise up to re-take control of the SBC.  The real Southern Baptist are those who were southern Baptist during all the time the fundamentalists with their Bible Baptist churches and little seminaries withdrew in approximately 1920 for the Convention, then when approximately 20 years ago decided to come back in force, taking control.  Of course, some of the real Southern Baptists are also those influenced more by Texas Baptists and other conservatives who did not fall prey to the bad fighting spirit of the fundamentalists.

It is unpopular to say now; even dangerous, but when I was a youngster growing up in Southern Baptist work in Texas, we called such men “fuedamentalists”; because they liked to fight and you knew what they were against more than what they were far. However I must add that the extent to which the world is into the Falling Away now, even in the United States where leadership has been for generations of the “Fulness of the Gentiles” and of the spreading of the Gospel, is going to work against the real Southern Baptists taking control, and it will work in favor of the contentious attitude of the fundamentalists. (It is like J. Vernon McGee {by the way who started out as one of them with his training at Criswell’s Dallas Baptist Theological Seminary} says, “I wish the fundamentalists could learn to contend for the faith without being contentious.”

It is that contentious spirit which dominates their evangelism to the detriment of any real contending for the faith that they do, even as the attitude is more important than the deed to Jesus.

We must interrupt these tirades in order to look briefly at something really fundamental.  That is the Scripture that is the most important for the gist of this whole book, SNATCHING, STUMBLING, AND THE FALLING AWAY. We must have a basis for this gist in the Word of God, and it must be exegesis—reading out the meaning from the Bible, rather than the isogesis practiced by fundamentalists, the hunt and peck method of reading meaning into the Bible. Well, here it is from Jesus Himself. It is the explanation of the parable of the seed and the sower that Jesus gave specially to His own disciples after He had given the parable itself to the multitude.  {It is part of what I like to call the API for the “Authorized Public Interpretation” of the Bible. It is the authorized interpretation that comes from Jesus and the Apostles, by way of God and the Spirit.}

Mark 4:13-20

“And He said to them, ‘Do you not understand this parable?   How then will you understand all the parables? {We will discuss it later, but it is the unique privilege of the real disciples of Jesus to understand the spiritual matters given in parables.}

 “The sower sows the word.  {I think you understand word as word of God, or the word of the Gospel, or the word of faith.}  And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately {immediately, see how quick Satan is he is quicker than the fundamentalists}…and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts.  {You see how Satan SNATCHES the see right out of their hearts, and this is the prime way He goes about seeking whom he may destroy.}

“These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness.” {Did you get the full impact of these words, “they immediately receive it with gladness”? And there is hardly a church in the land or an evangelist, fundamentalist or otherwise, who would not conclude this is instantaneous salvation, that a soul has been born again.   You have to admit that when someone immediately receives the word with gladness, they will show the symptoms of joy and salvation; but we are told the rest of the story, how they only endure for a while and how they stumble. Of course, they are still on the church roll; and you while the pastors are counting their ten thousand, you do not hear the rest of this story.} “…and   they   have   no   root   in   themselves,   and   so   endure only  for  a  time.     Afterward,  when  tribulation  or  persecution arise    for    the    word’s    sake,    immediately    they    stumble.”

Just two short statements here that may interrupt the flow on the explanation of Jesus to continue with the last, two remaining kinds of human-response-soil: (1) “endure for a short time”, perhaps for the approximately 40 years typical of the first Falling Away by the children of Israel in the wilderness; and (2) “Immediately they stumble” from persecution and lack of root; but even here you see some amount of time as the church member goes about their life, because it does take some amount of time for persecutions, tribulations, and a lack of growth for roots.

“Now  these  are  the  ones  sown  among  thorns;  they  are  the ones  who  hear  the  word,  and  the  cares  of   this  world,  the deceitfulness   of    riches,   and   the   desires   for   other   things entering    in    choke    the    word,    and    it    becomes    unfruitful.”

{It must be added here the comment that it is the wrong done today by the heaped up Bible teachers with itching ears who parade the Gospel of Prosperity, formerly called the “Gospel of Wealth and the corollary of success” in the history of American Thought, thus right there in the church worship creating desires for other things that choke out the very word of Jesus and the Gospel.  And if you don‛t get it in the worship service, you can get it from their best-selling books or on television. Oh yes, these are dangerous times: it is called the time of the Falling Away as sin abounds and the love of many waxes cold; and the greatest danger of all is the silence of the pulpits on the Falling Away, the same silence that proves this is a time of intolerance toward sound doctrine.}

“But    these    are    the    ones    sown    on    good    ground,  those who     hear     the     word, accept     it,     and     bear     fruit     some thirtyfold,      some       sixty,       and       some       a       hundred.”

{I like the pattern here:  hear the word and “accept it”.  This is what makes citizens of the kingdom of God and Christ; this is what causes men and women and young people to become members of the body of Christ, the church written in heaven called the Church of the Firstborn; this is when a person passes from tares to wheat and from an alien to a child of God; and this is the point at which the hearer and acceptor can claim the words of Paul for themselves, “Nevertheless the foundation of God stands firm, having this seal:  the Lord knows his own, and let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”  If they are so busy brining forth the 30 times fruit, the 60 times, or the 100 times fruit they will not have time for the iniquity, nor the inclination of the Falling Away.}

2b.     The Cult (Religion) of World Love.

It must be seen that   the theology of Scofieldism is among other things, like Masons, a cult or religion of world love.  Scofield theology, with its private interpretations in the Scofield notes is the opposite of what God’s Word through the Apostle John says in I John  2:15-17:

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

So what do the Scofield notes of private interpretation strive to make the Apostle John say instead of the obvious “Love not the world…”, by making the word “world” mean the opposite of what it says.  The world to Scofield and followers of the Scofield cult mislead the meaning of the whole passage by an attempt  to define  the word  “kosmos” for world as bad national movements like communism in China and Russia and Nazism under Adolf Hitler.  You see what that does, it completely exempts every body in the United States and the United Kingdom for loving the world, they can have the forbidden lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life that is not of the Father, because by definition that are not in the world of Rome, China, and Russia.  George Bush picked this up from both his fundamentalists connections and that of the “Skull and Bones” cult at Yale when he  warned the world against the Axis of Evil of 3 countries so as to isolate evil itself to only 3 countries, saving even the free  world from  even taint of Satan and evil.  What a nice world to live in your own mind!

You need to see the Scofield private interpretation on world love for yourself, with attempts to make the Bible say the opposite of what it really means.  It was suspected as was reading the sermon of a new graduate from Baylor and a seminary in NC, the son of a good high school friend that went astray on gays, as Baylor was promoting his new ministry near San Anton, and who stated in his message that “Love not the world…” meant  “not to love a world system like Rome was at the time the Apostle John wrote.  You see what this does, it leaves pastors brought up with Scofield theology the option of the Gospel of World Love, primarily a justification for the Pride of Life, or  to be somebody self-image.

In the classic Scofield Reference Bible of 1917, inside I John  2:15-17 and next to the word “world” is the letter  b , and b is a center column note which states “kosmos = world system” and adds Revelation 13:3-8 note, thus putting off their further misleading’s to the e  book of  Revelation which most people do not understand.

And what does the note say below Revelation 13:3-8:

“2  Kosmos, summary:  In the sense of the present world system, the ethically bad sense of the word refers to the ‘order’, ‘arrangement’ under which Satan has organized the world of unbelieving mankind upon the cosmic principles of force, greed, selfishness, ambition and pleasure ….This world system is imposing and powerful with armies  and fleets; is often outwardly religious, scientific, cultured,  and elegant; but seething with national  and commercial rivalries and ambitions, is upheld in any real crisis only be armed force, and is dominated by Satanic principles.”

My or my, where do you start on this in the nature of contending for the faith once for all delivered to the saints, the urging of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle John, and I John 2:15-17 to both “love not the world” and to define what that world is, as (1) not of God the Father , (2) passing away with the lusts thereof and the opposite of love of the Father which abides forever, and specifically love of the world is (3) lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life, the easiest of all to slip into and cover of is the pride of life.

As usual you are welcome to free download this blog from SunGrist at:

http://sungrist.org/wcdwythNumber2.pdf

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