CHAPTER 2 Bible Reports for Unbelievers

CHAPTER 2      Bible Reports for Unbelievers

While the Bible subject of “Reports” and “Reports for Unbelievers” comes from Romans 10:16 {based on a quote from Isaiah 53:1}, the plea of which must be to the unchurched as well as to God’s people of His congregations since the Prophet Isaiah complains to God for all the Prophets and Apostles “Who Has Believed Our Report?”, and is a chapter of Romans listed the most fundamental of Bible reports that must be passed on to unbelievers of both the churched and unchurched variety {by the way I want you to consider the possibility that exactly where the Jews as the once chosen people of God were during the time of Christ and before that the Prophets like Jeremiah and Isaiah is where the churched unbelievers, especially in America, are today}; however first we will start our journey of Bible reports in this chapter, and as a basis for the rest of the book on “Den of Thieves” with an effort to distinguish according to the Bible between the two kinds of unbelievers, those in the churches who like the majority of the congregation of Israel in the wilderness “departed from the living God”–those same people who become the victims of the Falling Away, and then those outside the churches who are also unbelievers.

2-1:  Judgment on Churched and Unchurched.

Churched Unbelievers in Judgment are Punished more severely than Unbelievers outside the church.  While of course the word “unbelievers” is not to be ignored in the Bible, it is by no means a predominate word in the Bible.  Look in a complete concordance, and you will find that “unbelievers” is strictly a New Testament word found 10 times and the supporting word of “unbelief” 16 times with two fine shades of distinction in meaning, unbelief as disobedience in the Greek word “apeitheia” and unbelief as distrust in the Greek word “apistia”.  {Of course, this

gives us clues that the equivalent concept and practice of those who reject God can be found in the Old Testament Hebrew words for “disobedience” and “distrust”–a lack of trust in God– of which we know there was plenty in Israel and in the persons of the Old Testament starting all the way back to Adam and Eve when they disobeyed God’s command not to eat of one certain tree, trusting in the lying Satan more than they trusted in God their Creator.}  Just one verse, that of Revelation 21:8 where “unbelievers” are found in the eternal lake of fire because of their unbelief, right there in the middle of the eternal fires with those of sexual immorality habits, murders, and adulterers, alone, reminds us that we dare not overlook these 26 references to “unbelievers” and “unbelief” that we have. Then when you compound that with sort of the theme background of Bible for this book in Hebrews 3:12 where brethren of the churches are told that there is the possibility for them to have “an  evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God”, we dare not neglect such scriptures as we are also heeding the admonition of “how can we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?”.  Yes, the reports for unbelievers at the fundamental level, perhaps more for those unchurched than the churched, are about the salvation that a loving and patient God has provided by the sacrifice of His own Son on the cross for the sins of the world {redemption and the atonement}; and further what this God of the Bible and the LORD God of Creation expects all human beings to do about the atonement, namely repent, believe, and confess our sins with the mouth for salvation.

Of the 26 Bible references to unbelief and unbelievers, it no doubt is the parable Jesus told on  “The Faithful Servant and the Evil Servant” of Luke 12:3559 where we read the startling words from Jesus Himself where eternal punishment for “unbelievers” (12:46) is portioned out among all the churched and unchurched unbelievers; and where the two categories of unbelievers are clearly identified as:  (1) “the servant {like a church member} who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes” (Luke 12:47); and (2) then the less knowledgeable servant–”he who did not know” (12:48)–received only a few stripes.  Of course the less knowledgeable servant, designated also by Jesus as an unbeliever, would have to correlate with the unchurched unbeliever that has already been mentioned several times in this book.  The kinds of persons, agnostic, atheists, non-hearers of the details of the Gospel for whom the REPORTS would go out of the possibility of faith and salvation, these most critical of all reports for them! Of course, we at basis are trying to discover the similarities and differences between the churched and the unchurched unbelievers; because for one thing as we work with the Holy Spirit–Whose job it is anyway to “convict the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment”–to reach, teach, win, and develop these people both in and out of churches, it surely will make some difference in the approach we are led by the Bible and the Holy Spirit to make toward them!  {I think a church member was recently horrified when I suggested “Evangelism in the Church” just as many are still horrified that there was need for evangelism in the Israel of God’s people, the congregation that stood before God and Moses, in the wilderness.}  As we get further into the Falling Away, and I hardly see how we can go much further in the intolerance toward sound doctrine (II Timothy 4:3,4), much further in the heaping up in pulpits and on TV of “itching ears” Bible teachers, and much further in the rising tide of the flood of sin and lawlessness in the world with “Dens of Thieves” in the churches; however, with more progression the possibility exists–if you buy the prime theme of this book from Jesus, Jeremiah, Isaiah, and the rest of the Bible, that the greater need will exist for Bible evangelism {especially in the rescue of sound doctrine} in the churches than for in the rest of the world.  Of course, for churches and individuals, there is always a time limit of “today”, that today being different for each individual and church and known only by God:  (1) the 7 churches of Asia Minor had only so long a time to straighten out the doctrine and behavior of their churches; (2) the perilous times of follies among church members of II Timothy 3:1-9 and where those follies were revealed lasted only up to the time the bad attitudes and bad behavior of church members like “love of self”, etc. turned into the fables of II Timothy 4:3,4; and (3) this time limit of “today” is also one of the basic reports for unbelievers that we wish to present with warnings for the churched like “brethren, beware”.

{Bottom Line:  If I was among the vast number of unbelievers, in the church or otherwise, and if concerned about eternity at all which I think is a fundamental concern of all humanity, then I would want to know that my eternal punishment in the lake of fire and brimstone would be less than some others who knew more.  You see even here we must make a distinction between the unbelievers in the church, who have become that way over a period of 40 years or more because of “an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God” who knew more of the Master’s requirements and those who knew less perhaps because their pastors were not as faithful in preaching ALL SCRIPTURE and with ALL methods.}

2-2:  Evangelism of Unbelievers in the Church?

I know it is startling to talk about Evangelism in the churches:  it is almost as bad as calling an assembly of God’s people a “Den of Thieves” like Jesus did, and Jeremiah before Him at the direction of God.  And perhaps it would be wiser to call it something else, for church members are supposed to be the examples for Christ and God to all others in the world; the leaders in morality and ethics and examples for the community; and the best of Christians, if you would.  In fact, in general we do not think of Christians apart from church membership.

What can we call it then if not EVANGELISM; for it is apparent both that unbelievers are in the kingdom and churches since Jesus told about the “tares”, and it is also apparent that the Apostle Paul often made efforts at something akin to evangelism among the “brethren” of churches when he gave warnings like “Beware brethren” of the possibility that a church member can develop, even over a period of 40 years, “an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God.” (Hebrews 3:12)  What would you call this:  a warning of the possibility that the best can stumble and fall, like we know from recent news, happened to Reverend Ted Haggard–head of the National Evangelical Association, pastor of the New Life Community Church in Colorado Springs, and organizer and leader in the large church growth of that assembly.  You remember when it was made public by a fellow gay that Haggard was both gay and used drugs over a habitual period of time, Haggard was forced to resign; however, for sake of reference for the gist of this book, you notice how for weeks by the lies of denials he tried to hold up an APPEARANCE of innocence of both charges.  And further you will notice how recently with the new pastor there has been efforts to make all feel good about what happened for the sake of Haggard and primarily for the sake of all those he won to the church membership of the New Life church.  While later, in the name of thoroughness on the “Den of Thieves”, we will want to look at how “righteous” and “believing”–even full of new life–members can be when their source of spiritual leadership was full of habitual sin, perhaps the worst of all the extreme efforts to promote and maintain an APPEARANCE.

Just a minute, let us get a little God perspective as given in the Bible on these matters of the sin of homosexuality and drug usage before proceeding to the Bible admonitions not to judge according to APPEARANCE, but “to judge righteous judgment”.  For one thing “homosexuality” is clearly identified in I Corinthians 6:9 as a companion of thieves, drunkards, the covetous, idolaters, fornicators, adulterers, sodomites, revilers, and extortioners, and specially stated that such will not inherit the kingdom of God; also as unrighteous which bottom line as we will see in a few moments is the same as saying “unbeliever”. The unrighteous by habit is the unbeliever by habit primarily because “the just {and justified} shall live by faith” and righteousness comes both legally and by inward re-creation by the grace of God when a person believes.  {More about this in the next section as we look at Romans 10 and the fundamentals of belief as well as the fundamentals of the opposite, unbelief.}  Right now, we are dealing with the trouble that both Ted Haggard and the rest of the New Life Community church are in; and how that assembly of church members might very legitimately be suspected as a “Den of Thieves”.  You know how they say, and we all find some validity in it, that a person is known by the company they keep.  Can most of these remaining approximately 10,000 church members of the New Life assembly be known in character, morality, and spiritual maturity by the “integrity” of the leader that taught them both how to become a Christian and how to live as a Christian.  {The alternative is to think that the example of such a pastor or leader of a congregation has nothing to do with the spiritual maturity of those he has won and trained.}

Now, right now, we must distinguish between sin as a few time exceptions to the rule; and sin as a continuous habit in the category of the “sinneth” of the King James and of I John.  The Apostle John distinguishes between the two types of (1) once-in-a-while sin and (2) habitual sin with the two separate words for “sin” and sinneth, first stating in I John 1:8 that if any person says they do not sin they are a liar and the truth is not in them, then stating about the second category of sin in I John 3:1-9 and other places in I John that the one born of God cannot “sinneth”, that is cannot live in habitual sin.

Perhaps what the new pastor, the rescuers of the National Evangelical Association, and the justifiers of the New Life Movement, as well as the protectors of the purpose driven churches should be doing is to take a stand consistent with the Apostle John, also to preach what is really in the Bible on sin and sinneth. Surely the new pastor, unless he is closely akin in integrity to Haggard, should be concerned about EVANGELISM in his church lest there be others among the thousands who heeded the example of Haggard as well as what he said, who were overcome by APPEARANCE more than “righteous judgment”.  What is being said is that while we all are aware of the power of the words “judge not lest you be judged”, while we are strongly influenced by the American Conscience of toleration, while our inclination is to never cast the first stone or any stones at all, this can very well be a weakness, inspired and used by Satan and the worldly and unbelieving, to promote and protect the tares in the Falling Away.  First of all, we must understand judgment in the context of what is being taught, and secondly, we know that Satan does quote Scripture out of the total context of the Bible as he did against Jesus in the temptations in the wilderness.

What we are going to find as we look at the biblical origin of “Den of Thieves” in a later chapter is that most of the Temple worshipers were living contrary to the commands and will of God all week, then coming to the Temple to justify their way of living, claiming that since they were in the House of God, they were safe from any real judgment of that sin.  In other words, they expected even God–and especially their own princes and other leaders–to accept them as believers and righteous because of their APPEARANCE in the temple, and that somehow that one day attendance would wipe out, or justify, what was practiced all week and what they knew they would practice the next week. Why the ladies of the home missionary society would go home to make cakes for the worship of idols, leading their children and husbands to assist them in the heathen-like practices by tending the fire and gathering fire wood; and the mere fact that you can isolate such practices from what diverts believers today from “the living God”–that is, the making of idols and substitutes for the real and living God in our own minds–is a big sign that we have not fully comprehended the total meaning of the first commandments:  (1) You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul; and (2) You shall not make any graven image to God.  To make a graven image to God, like J. B. Phillips had in mind years ago in the book YOUR GOD IS TOO SMALL, is often today the process of creating in your own brain a god that does not really exist.  Certainly not the God of the Bible and the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ.

2-3:  Judgment and Appearance in the Bible.

What is needed is a broader perspective based on more Bible, and in total context about Judgment and Appearance from the Bible.  Of course, preachers have always been sensitive to accusations and opinions that they are judging others:  you no doubt have heard the common sayings from the pulpit, perhaps less from the popular preachers and less today than in former times, like:  “If the shoe fits, wear it”; or, “I am just being a fruit inspector”, and “you shall know the tree by its fruit”.  However, in the total context of the Bible, including the most famous quote of “judge not lest you be judged”, we can do better than this on the proper exercise of judgment.

Along with the shock of finding “homosexuals” and “thieves” as prohibited from the kingdom of God of I Corinthians 6, we find some more startling news about

“judge” and “judgement”.  In fact the very prime subject of I Corinthians 6 is

to promote proper judging and judgment among church members as contrasted to the bad habit of taking a Christian brother to court before unbelievers.

“Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints?”  (I Corinthians 6:1) 

And the context continues to teach that:

  1. The saints–real Christians and real believers–will judge “the world”.  (6:2a) Try this, the next time somebody trained by Warren waves a finger in your face because you criticized a church or another church member, “I am practicing for eternity where I will judge angels and the world.”
  2. If church members are going to judge the world in the future world of the new earth under the new heavens, how can they be unworthy to judge these small matters in the local church (6:2b).  In other words that even as Christians are appointed to be judges of things and people, even angels we will see, in the future world, so is the least of the church members appointed to judge people and matters in the local church.  {You know in reality in the recesses of our own mind, we do this anyway; why not dispense with the APPEARANCE of such worldly toleration.}  By the way, this is one of the many bad things about the Christian philosophy of Rick Warren as he would promote the protection of the church and the church covenant at all cost, thus preventing criticism and other church member judgment {if they disagree, the method of P.R. is to kick them out-later in this book will be discussed Warren’s fallacious concept of inherent unity based on control by church leaders, not the unity which the Spirit gives as in Ephesians} and justifying the local church as it is in APPEARANCE.
  3. If we are going to judge angels in the eternal life, we had better get used to judging things in this life (6:3).
  4. Of course, judgment should be exercised primarily by those most esteemed in the church such as pastors and other leaders.  Churches should appoint some of their esteemed members to exercise judgment over other church members. (6:4)
  5. Sometimes we act in churches like there is not “one wise man among us” who can exercise judgement, and act as a judge (6:5a).  Why not listen to the Christian and Bible based wisdom of someone who might compare your church to one of the bad churches of Revelation or to a “Den of Thieves”.  Do we not have the gifts of wisdom and wise men in our churches, in the kingdom, and among Christians; or have we come to accept only the worldly wise of American Society as the leaders of wisdom.  {You might say that we have an inclination to accept as wise only those esteemed in society, not in the church, as wise:  say like Oprah, and Uncle Phil, and intellectual leaders in the psychology of toleration and the American Conscience, or just plain goody-goodies.}
  6. You know we just do not have the perspective of Paul and the Word of God, the perspective of God Himself, on how horrible it is for a Christian brother to go to law against another Christian; and for that matter, to take the side of the worldly against another brother (6:6).
  7. Paul under the inspiration of God calls it “an utter failure” of Christian judging and judgment to go to law between Christians.  You see still so much of our trouble is that we do not recognize the world as separate from Christians, and we do not appreciate that even in the United States that the world outside the kingdom of Christ is controlled by Satan, the prince of this world.  Also, that the “Friend of this world” is the enemy of God. (6:7a)
  8. You should be cheated or allow yourself to be wronged {in the category of turning the other cheek}, before you fail to find a judge in the local church that can exercise judgment between two brothers. (6:7b)
  9. You that wave your finger in the face of a brother who exercises a judgment on the people in a particular church, “you, yourselves do wrong and cheat” if you prohibit proper judgment. (6:8)
  10. Perhaps you have not understood the fundamentals that “unbelievers” of the world and of the law courts are the same as the “unrighteous”; and that these people of the world–yes also the world system of the U.S.–will “not inherit the kingdom of God”.  (6:9a)
  11. Perhaps you have been deceived into the American Democratic Faith of toleration with a failure to recognize that absent from the kingdom of God will be:  fornicators {don’t forget the spiritual fornicators of the Prophets who substitute other gods which are not Gods}, idolaters {don’t forget mental and false idols of the living God}, adulterers {once again remember the habitual sin versus the occasional and temporal as in “sin” and “sinneth”}, homosexuals, sodomites, thieves {will we be able after extensive study to consider members of a “Den of Thieves” of a local church as excluded from the kingdom}, covetous {yes, according to Pastor James where wars come from is from “the spirit within us that lusteth, or covets, to envy}, drunkards {and I wonder how different drug addiction is to drinking in the sight of God especially as we later consider how the body of a Christian becomes a temple of God to be respected}, revilers {your garden variety troublemakers in the local church}, and extortioners.  (6:9,10)  Well, that pretty well identifies the good old boys of the world for us!

2-4:  Appearance Versus Righteous Judgment.

One reason church members are so defensive against human judgment is that through the years churches like other organizations of society have learned to play the impression and APPEARANCE game where things are considered  to be just as you see them without historical and thorough knowledge just as long as evidence is not brought up that makes the impression otherwise.  In other words if you do not talk about it, it does not exist.  We have seen military leaders more so in recent years come to emphasize impression as even more important than the reality itself, and politicians have long played with impression over appearance.  Even a political as previously beloved as John F. Kennedy in his book PROFILES IN COURAGE wrote that a key to politics is “seeming to say something without really saying it.”  {Of course, he was talking about what other Senators and politicians of the past had done, not himself; however, we know better for while many of us were supporting him we knew nothing of the oft extra-marital relationships–once again the difference between an often and habitual habit as compared to one who might stumble once or twice on this sin.}

Jesus dealt with this problem of appearance and judgment as recorded in John 7, and He Himself gave us the words “Do not judge according to appearance but judge righteous judgment.”  (John 7:24)  So what we see is that judgement is good when it is “righteous judgement”, bad when it is done according to appearance only.  We would think back to the previous section where church members must judge in this life as they will judge in eternity, and we start looking around on how to judge correctly thus come to Jesus and John 7:24 to realize that as we act as judges among church members that we must judge righteously, which we might briefly describe as according to the will of God, the teachings of Christ, and the words of the Bible.  This is what righteous judgment would be: what God has identified through Christ and the Bible as being righteous; and of course as we will discuss quite extensively later the Holy Spirit helps us with this righteous judgment since His job on earth is “to convict the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment”  (John 16:8-11).

  1. The Appearance of Learning Credentials versus Learning from God. Remember the incident of John 16 where Jesus taught in the Temple, the Jews marveled that He knew so much about the Old Testament and spiritual matters, and they were concerned that He did not have the appearance of academic status and learning, Jesus before and after having told them often that what He knew and taught had been given to Him of God the Father; therefore to judge righteous judgment about His qualifications to teach would be to consider His true and righteous words of the Father as the source of the teachings, perhaps even the pre-earth eternal time Jesus had spent with the Father.  Even before that, and at the beginning of John 7, there was the controversy with his own brothers where the appearance to them was that Jesus was doing secretive work–”If You do these things, show Yourself to the world” {at this point in his life His own brothers like James did not believe in Him}–when in right and righteous truth Jesus did not walk openly in Judea {the province of Jerusalem and the religious leaders} because the religious leaders of the Jews were trying to kill Him.
  2. The Appearance of Hiding versus Safety.  Jesus told His brothers two judgements of righteous judgment or decision or evaluation which they also could not yet believe or accept, their minds being cluttered by the obvious appearance and opinion of the world:  (1) While the time of the brothers was now, the time for Jesus to by works and word to build up opposition enough for crucifixion was yet a couple of years away; and (2) The world around them did not hate the brothers of Jesus, but they did hate Jesus because by deed and words Jesus testified that the works of the world are evil.  {This is a problem today as many church members would, like the brothers, be friends of the world as with everybody, and when the testimony of a faithful witness to Jesus stirs up the guilt of the worldly, they will often turn to solace in both character slander of the faithful witness and consolation from their friend/church member.  This is another contemporary case of appearance over righteous judgment.}
  3. The Appearance of Unsound Doctrine versus the Doctrine of God.  Jesus responded to the Jews {word is used in context of Jewish leaders since the Apostle John as the other Apostles and Jesus were also Jewish} criticism of His lack of learning credentials with righteous judgment about the Doctrine that comes from God.  It did not belong to Him, Jesus said, but to the God who sent Him; as a matter of what if anyone will do the will of God as Jesus was doing the will of God that person would KNOW about the soundness of doc-

trine, whether it was from God or whether Jesus originated it on His own, or as another matter of fact as somebody else today might generate it.

  • The Appearance of Flattering words about The Speaker, from the Speaker versus the righteous judgment of Seeking the Glory of God.  With a word of caution about so many preachers especially on TV today with their many self-promotions and special revelations from God, Jesus teaches us also in this chapter how the person who speaks for himself seeks his own glory as contrasted to how Jesus sought the glory of the God the Father who sent Him to planet earth! This made Jesus “true”, He said, which is still another way of saying “righteous” as in righteous opinions of judgment; and further the God Who sent Him is true without any unrighteousness in Him.  {A clue as to how we can get away with labeling a church today as a “Den of Thieves”, in fact perhaps most churches since it is during the Falling Away that the love of “many that will wax cold”–obviously the majority IS:  (1) when we seek the glory of God; and (2) when we speak righteous judgments consistent with the doctrine and teachings of the Bible as the Word of God.}
  • Those Who Appear to Keep the Law versus those who break the law.  Jesus reminded them of what Moses gave them the law of the 10 commandments even as we have been given those same commandments today, and in fact have them explained quite extensively; and yet they were going about to scheme and find an opportunity to kill Him, which they immediately and vehemently denied because the appearance in their fine robes and positions and status was otherwise.  {In other words they could lie and get away with it at this point before it became obvious, they paid Judas to betray Jesus in the Garden.}  And here we will have to admit that Jesus had a measure of His righteous judgment not only because of the previous time spent in the past with the Father, but also because of His ability as the supernatural Son of God to look into the future and behind closed doors and in the hearts of all men, not hidden from Him.  An advantage and wisdom we can have only to the extent that we are “WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT”.
  • The Appearance of Sabbath Day Observances versus Doing the Real work of God on the Sabbath Day.  There was no need for Jesus to answer, “Who is Trying to Kill You” (7:20) since they knew as well as Jesus, and He did not desire to play their games.  Instead Jesus turned the focus to another appearance versus righteousness judgement where on the Sabbath Day Jesus made a man completely well.  The Jews themselves in order to keep the law of Moses would circumcise on the sabbath day, thus providing a sort of limited healing of a person.  And such objections to this healing of Jesus was the final of this passage incident of judging according to appearance rather than according to righteous judgment.

2-5:  What Are We Going to Do About It?

The question and question asked in the sections above are too critical to delay about the Falling Away and the Den of Thieves, except for the details that required later chapters of the book. 

  1. We are going to continue in all ways possible and as much as possible to PROMOTE BIBLE UNDERSTANDING.  Surely even the elite of denominational leadership and religious popularity such as Olsten and Warren would not object to this goal even when it counters their personal philosophies of religion as set forth in the two popular movements of (1) Things and Cares for Things, and (2) Purpose Driven Lives and Churches as a substitute for Christ and Holy Spirit in the place of “purpose”.  So widespread has this self-purpose substitute become among even the once conservative SBC, that denominational workers had developed a focus on it as an influence that might have on the local churches of the SBC.  Just a deeper look at the message of the book of Ephesians, where God’s purpose suggested by Carver’s book THE GLORY OF GOD IN THE CHRISTIAN CALLING goes even deeper into real Bible oriented purpose as Ephesians 1 reveals, and hopefully illuminates, on how the purpose of God for all remaining human history is to unite all things in heaven and on earth under the Lord Jesus Christ.  While this is a kingdom of Christ reality established by Christ two thousand years ago on this earth and a reality to be progressively each year striven for, it full reality only as the old earth and heavens disappear and God finally “makes all things new.”  In other words, when the kingdom of heaven–where God’s will is now completely done by angels and the “spirits of just men made perfect”–and the kingdom of earth–where we struggle each year to grow the influence of Christ and the kingdom–become one under the leadership of Christ, and then Christ turns over that kingdom to God the Father and for “the glory of God the Father”. {Perhaps there is one exempted period of history remaining for this world age where the kingdom grows as it is doubtful how much growth in the kingdom there can be during the “little while” after the Holy Spirit is withdrawn from earth, Satan is consequently released from restrictions by the work of the Holy Spirit, and the Falling Agway’s rising tide of the flood of lawlessness and sin becomes by far the dominant movement of world age history as also the events unfold as the Man of Sin and Satan develop and lead the greatest army of anti-Christ of all time, and as culminated during that “little while” in the last great Battle of Armageddon until Christ comes to terminate it!

If you cannot see now in the trends and movements of current history a vast movement of opposition to Christ and God from Muslims and Communists, with the many candidates appearing on the scene for the position of “Man of Sin” or “Son of Perdition”, then you must have your head in the sand of fundamentalist propaganda from the SURFERS OF THE FALLING AWAY like Hagee, LaHaye, Warren, Osteen, and Stanley.  {In a few moments this “Surfers of the Falling Away”, these leaders of the “Den of Thieves” gang will be explained further.}

  • However right now I cannot resist the goal of establishing in public a Restoration, spiritually and politically, of the SBC by real southern Baptists.  I am saying that these fundamentalists that took over the SBC during the last 20-30 years under the leadership of SURFERS like Stanley, Criswell, and Adrian Rogers {while during the takeover Rogers only slayed thousands of good pastors and teachers, and their careers,  Criswell and Stanley have killed their ten thousands in the name of the Scofield Reference Bible notes} are not real Southern Baptists.  If you investigate their backgrounds, even though large SBC churches made the mistake of calling them to their churches out of the obscurity of Bible Baptists, they were generated and trained by other denominations. {Later we will want to deal in more details with the current history of the SBC where churches riding on the flooding surf of the Falling Away, with its emphasis more on the world and the concepts and philosophies of the world-perhaps in the trend of Wayne Oates we might want to call them the “unspoken influences” of the community of the world–are the responsible ones for the creation of fundamentalist leadership.} 

Yet is felt that the possibility exists of real Southern Baptists, with the assistance of Southern Baptist State Conventions, like in Texas, wrenching the control of the SBC conventions back from the devastation from Georgia, Virginia, and Tennessee.  I know, one of the reasons the so-called moderates of the SBC like Dr. Bert Dominy {forced to leave Southwest Seminary for Baylor Seminary by Stanley and other fundamentalists during their takeover} and the former pastor at FBC Amarillo, Winifred Moore, who ran and lost the presidency to Rogers and Stanley, later having to retreat to true SB conservatism at Baylor, the main reason they offer is to cease the fighting among Christians.  While this is noble, and by doing so they were able to save their careers which many other Christian brothers at the same time could not do, it is felt that at some point we must contend for the faith while as much as possible not being contentious. However, there is a fine line of distinction between “contend” and “contentious”; and we must find a way to straddle this one fence in a regain of control of the SBC.

You know this would be about the biggest blow of our generation and generations against the Falling Away and the “Den of Thieves”.  You know, it cannot be co-incidental that the same period of history where we came to notice the results and evidences of the Falling Away like divorce among church members, the gays, the heaping up of itching ears Bible teachers, the intolerance toward sound doctrine with the running off of sound Bible preachers, and the rising tide of the mystery of lawlessness as church members’ love for Christ waxed cold as more of the influence of the world of sin was allowed in local churches…I say it cannot be co-incidental that we notice this movement in southern Baptist history at the same time we notice the fundamentalist’s warfare and takeover of the SBC.  {But this is more a subject for later after we have established a firm foundation in the Bible for the contemporary Dens of Thieves.  Let it be said, however at this point, that no one feels more secure in their man-made Houses of God today than these fundamentalists leaders.  No one feels more their status and safety and permanent position in the kingdom, first in the kingdom, thinking that they “stand”–yes, if Stanley can write on “Spiritual Warfare” at the same time he leads the fundamentalists in warfare against other southern Baptists, all things are possible for them, never for a moment until perhaps they read “Den of Thieves”, that they also could fall and have fallen!}

Yet I still must introduce the phrase “Surfers of Popularity” as applied to these fundamentalists leaders before proceeding on into the third goal of what we must do about the “Den of Thieves” and the Falling Away.  What we find is that these popular preachers and Bible teachers like Warren and Osteen are surfers on the history of the Falling Away.  {Always recall that popularity is a bad sign during the present Falling Away, and that Billy Graham was the last pre-falling away preacher of fame.}  You have to give them credit for being students of the majority of the American people, and what these people want and are looking for.  What Americans are seeking from churches and their religious leaders consistent with what they want in their lives otherwise, is security, things, and safety.  Warren, Osteen, and hundreds of other “itching ears” Bible teachers have found smooth ways to give it to them without offending aggressively other church members and leaders.  You see it in the “Gospel of Prosperity” that news indicates is now the belief of other 60% of Americans; you see it in the self-expression philosophies, in the things of mega-churches where “buying and selling” is done by merchants in the House of God like Jesus objected to in His day, and you see it in the “faith resources” where these movements among women promote things and trinkets in the name of the faith of Christ!

  • Then it behooves us naturally to consider a third goal of what to do during the Falling Away and expansion of the Dens of Thieves:  to rescue sound doctrine. There is not much money, glory, or fame in this; and certainly a very minimum amount of fame, although one might be accused quite often of trying to steal the fame and glory in the kingdom of such best-selling and popular preachers of the Bible as Osteen and Warren.  You will not appreciate this goal of the rescue of sound doctrine unless you have become convinced that “the time will come”, that period of history that Paul introduces in II Timothy 4:3,4, has already come and that the church members of intolerant doctrine of whom he speaks have already come–”the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine”–they are here now as leaders and followers in the churches {thus by the way also making local churches a “Den of Thieves”, the stealing of sound doctrine among other things}, and with this “heaping up of itching ears” Bible teachers we right now have on the American scene many false prophets in the category of those who came to the local church at Ephesus immediately after Paul and came to the notice of the Apostle Jude during the first century to interpret his efforts on evangelism.  {You know it is amazing how we can admit the Bible truth that false and itching ears Bible teachers came to Ephesus after Paul, even that many of them were in the 7 churches of Asia Minor, or that many existed in the first century against whom Jude wrote, also that Jesus told of their inevitability in the “last days”; yet we cannot find in this generation in our pulpits or on TV or among the local churches and denominations, one single Bible preacher and teacher that we are willing to label as a “False Prophet”.  I am afraid that there is something wrong with us and our Bible understanding.  Perhaps that we have been overcome by the so-called “toleration” of the American Democratic Faith, placing our faith as citizens above our faith in Christ and the Bible.  But this matter of the American Democratic Faith above the faith of Christ and the Bible is also more  a matter for later discussion.}
    • Present “Friends of Jesus” as a challenge sufficient for the Falling Away. This is very positive and challenging in the face of all the negatives we must consider during this Falling Away and the rapid expansion in the dens {gangs} of thieves {surfers}{Later in the book as “Gangs of Surfers” is used I hope you will remember the background development of this chapter.}  Friends of Jesus is a challenge for both old and young alike.  While most of the 12 Apostles, excluding Judas Iscariot and adding the Apostle Paul born out of due time, with careers already behind them such as fisherman, tax collector, and lawyer, cannot be considered as young when they accepted the challenges of John 13-17 to pass from servants of the Master-Christ to “Friends”, a good example of a young man that did follow in their footsteps was the young man Mark.  After a few years and some bad decisions, he focused on telling the story of Jesus in his famous Gospel.
    • With the Holy Spirit and with Reports for Unbelievers.  This also and lastly, we will continue to do in 2008 and beyond, increasing our activities to reach with Bible reports both the churched and the unchurched unbelievers. Granted that while efforts to convey Bible reports to the unchurched unbelievers is most generally called “evangelism”, the efforts to reach churched believers like Paul did in Hebrews 3:12–”beware, brethren lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God”–might more appropriately be called “preventive” rather than corrective.  Like the rest of Hebrews and much of the New Testament, the goal is to keep church members from the extent of stumbling that ultimately leads to the point of no return past their own personal “today” or “now”, and plunges them into the giant abyss of the Falling Away from which there is no rescue!

2-6:  With the Spirit and with Reports for Unbelievers.

In the spirit of B.H. Carrol’s first professor of evangelism at Southwestern Seminary, later the President of the same seminary, and who wrote the well know book on evangelism entitled WITH CHRIST AFTER THE LOST, this book as with one of the 5 purpose of SunGrist_Bible and the website is “With the Holy Spirit and with Reports for Unbelievers”. “With the Holy Spirit” for it is considered that we work in vain and fruitlessly if we do not recognize that the Spirit has the purpose on earth to convict of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; and above the Bible is added to “Bible Reports” to clarify that this reports or testimonies to unbelievers come strictly from the Bible; and finally “for Unbelievers” instead of “after the lost” to focus on the reaching of unbelievers both in the church and outside the church.

This book by no means is an effort to duplicate the movement among Baptists of members getting saved in Arkansas and other SB states of the early 1960’s. I can recall no Scriptural basis for that movement except from evangelists with a holier than thou attitude and a perchance for numbers much like many groups go to mission fields like Thailand to baptize several times certain “converts” for their own denomination.  Back then nobody even thought about the Falling Away as an immediate happening in the United States, and forbid “among Southern Baptists”–thanks to the fundamentalists we can see it better now-much less talked about it as a fundamental necessity for evangelism within the churches.  This type of evangelism, like this book, must be based on Scripture; and must be in the category of warning to all brethren in the church like the Apostle Paul gave to the Hebrew brethren in Hebrews 3:12, that is, “Beware brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God.”   This we will not be able to do unless we:  (1) recognized that there are many “tares” in the churches since Jesus said they are in the kingdom; (2) it cannot be an effort to separate them from other followers of Christ since Jesus warned that if efforts to separate the tares from the wheat were made, some wheat would be culled by mistake {in other words innocent Christians and church members might be harmed}; (3) yet there has to be a counter to the bad influence that the tare-leaders exert in the churches so that at bare min we must talk about the reality of tares over the appearance of complete holiness in a local church; (4) we must get beyond the excuse making of how at least they are sinners that are trying since after 40 years of cultivating an evil heart of unbelief they are far beyond that point of innocence; and (5) the subject with which we continue in this chapter, we must get away from  Public Relations (P.R.) Appearance to the realities of righteous judgment.  Not easy; yet it is important that we go solidly based on the righteous Judgments of many Scriptures, promoting a unity based on the inherent unity in a church provided by the common Holy Spirit, not on protecting the church by enforcement of a man-made church covenant.  This we will do in this book, God willing!

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