You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer. (2 Timothy 2:1-4)
A Look Behind The Scenes
Today in Christian circles it really has become quite fashionable to publicly lament that there are “so few” men who are taking bold stands for the Faith. You know, to be one who asks: Where are the faithful ministers who uphold the Truth no matter the cost? Well, let me politely share a few things with you here that might bring a bit of perspective that is rarely—if ever—discussed publicly. I’ll give you a little bit of a look behind the scenes of Apprising Ministries; and as I do, we’ll break it down in eighths to give you a better idea of what’s been going on e.g. just recently.
The most notable incident involved Christian apologist Richard Abanes, a longtime member of Saddleback Church whose pastor is Rick Warren. For reasons that he never seemed to make clear to anyone Abanes made a still unsubstantiated charge of libel/slander against me to my former ISP. This would result in successfully blowing up the old AM web site. Yes, the Lord took care of making sure that Mike Gendron would step forward to help, that SX Web Solutions would take us on, and a couple of people were there to volunteer behind the scenes to help with the tech work for this new site.
But I wonder, how many have stopped to think about how I now have to rebuild each of the posts because the links within them are all broken. And all of this came right on the heels of the flap concerning my coverage of Ray Comfort being prominently displayed as sharing the platform with Word Faith wolves with his WOTM ministry then painting me, as well as my friend and associate Ingrid Schlueter as the bad “guys.” I’m not going to rehash all of this here so I’ll simply refer the interested reader who wishes to know more concerning the false charge by Abanes to “Just the Facts” About Richard Abanes and the old Apprising Ministries Website.
And as far as Ray Comfort is concerned he has just given his own spin of the events in the latest email Living Waters Weekly Update, which has an online version here, and someone who wishes to know the facts will find them in No, Ray Comfort The Issue Is Not Closed . So right now on a given day within my email in-box a full half of them, which is four-eighths of course, will actually be quite negative. Most often these are ad hominem i.e. personal attacks, which are never easy for anyone to see.
But as a soldier I realize that an underlying principle Jesus taught concerning this spiritual Vietnam of a Truth War is that if you take up the Sword there is all likelihood you could also very well die by an enemy sword. Three-eighths of these emails contain links to issues readers are involved in and/or with questions that oftentimes require hours of research to thoroughly deal with and/or answer. This I do for the Lord as His servant and almost always for no remuneration whatsoever from the questioner, and to be honest usually with not even so much as a thank you. Even so truly only my Master, Jesus, knows for sure just how thankful I am for the almost one-eighth, which contain some encouragement. And then on top of all of this we can now add in the near zero-eighth financial support for nearly a month now.
Finally, there’s also that deafening silence of the many who said they would be our supporters but who have long since turned back when the battle grew intense and enemy firing started in earnest (may it nor be held against them). Do they really think it’s easy to go through the above and then watch people I thought were strong supporters turn away from me at a time like this? For example we lost quite a bit of financial support because I tried to help Ray Comfort—and that behind the scenes—only to have his personal assistant tell a friend of mine, whom he didn’t know I knew, that WOTM felt I was a heresy hunter only out trying to make a name for myself by shooting Ray down. Do those who withdrew support really think that I wanted to have that issue go public?
Men and women, if I had I would have not bothered privately emailing Todd Friel in the first place. However, none of this changes the fact that they have never repented of spreading that falsehood, and as it was, even after I was left with no choice but to go public I still treated Comfort with kid gloves. We do hear those in the Body of Christ lauding the few men of God with some notoriety such as Paul Washer (and rightly so!) who are preaching the Word boldly. “Yeah,” we hear them say, “and he wasn’t invited back to that youth meeting.” But have you really thought about what it’s actually like to be someone like him, or to be his wife and family, and what it literally costs some of us personally to be the ones who are on the firing lines?
To Fight In A War Few Even Want To Win
You might wish to do that as you ponder why more and more churches fall under the sway of semi-pelagian social clubs like the Purpose Driven Church or the Emergent Church or the Word Faith Church in the Devil’s Ecumenical Church of Deceit, the duplicitous daughter of her long apostate mother in Rome with her Roman Catholicism. The despicable spiritual harlot who is Satan’s pride and joy, as well as his single best counterfeit of Christianity and his false front for the Kingdom of God. Church after church slowly departs from New Testament Christianity right before our eyes and then we act so shocked.
But then suddenly some of us look up after spending months of personal time and research and money warning the Body of Christ concerning a plethora of issues; take for example Emergent cult of personality leader Rob Bell coming into more and more mainstream evangelical churches as if his teachings were in line with orthodox Protestant Christianity. I can’t help but wonder today, as I said earlier, if we aren’t actually involved in a kind of spiritual Vietnam war here. Spin control, business as usual strategies, promote our officers, keep the income coming in and engage the enemy just enough to keep prolonging the war we don’t care if we win.
Well, at least this way we can continue to put up a good front to the general public that we actually are willing to walk the unpopular roads as Jesus Christ did. You wanna be a soldier for Christ Jesus? Then here’s where we are. I’ve shared this a few times before concerning the movie Rocky IV. I first used the following illustration for my football players when I was still a high school football coach and I have since adapted it for this *ahem* purpose. I do not endorse nor recommend this movie, but for those who may have seen it—as I did before I was saved—I have tried to draw something of edification as far as it concerns being a warrior.
There is an important scene on the stairway in the boxer Rocky Balboa’s home following the death of his close friend “Apollo” in the ring against a Russian Goliath named Drago. Rocky feels he needs to defend his friend’s honor, even against all better judgment. If only there were more of us who would be willing to do so for the Jesus we say we love. But suddenly from the top of the stairs his wife Adrian shouts at him and tells him that he can’t win. Think of it, now even Rocky’s own beloved wife and his closest friend in the world has even lost her confidence in him.
What he says next can teach us something about courage in the face of impending battle. Rocky answers along the lines of: No, maybe I can’t win. Maybe all I can do is to hold my ground and take everything he’s got. But to beat me he’s going to have to be willing to stand in front of me. And in order to stand in front of me, then he’s going to have to be willing to die himself. And I don’t know if he’s ready to do that. So how about you dear Christian? Are you ready to stand against the spirit of this age, which Dr. Walter Martin correctly identified years ago as universalism?
The Issue Right Now Before Us
Say what you will of me but I have laid my entire life and ministry down before Christ and the world to follow the convictions of my heart to faithfully proclaim as best I can exactly what He has told me to. I am not hiding; I sign my name to my articles and openly challenge the teachings of men like Brian McLaren and Richard Foster and Joel Osteen who can buy and sell me. On top of that, if I’m wrong in my mission then I will have lost all credibility. Do you think that I do this lightly? Men and women, one has to know the times in which they live, and this is no mere intellectual jousting for me. When I have said I ride to the sound of the guns I am quite serious that today is as good as any other day to die.
But I can live with that, can you fellow soldier? And no, this isn’t some kind of mellow-drama because I don’t necessarily mean I will literally die physically; however, by the same token if I have misspoken then my ministry will die. And this would be rightly so. Remember the false claim of libel by Richard Abanes which led to the destruction of the original AM web site? Actually I have very little in any part of my life as it is and yet still I am one of many who comes forth today knowing that Isaiah 6:8-10 lies before us. Know that I meant it when I informed Andrew Jones of the Emerging Church that Rob Bell had better stop laughing at his critics and get himself ready to answer. Because it is as I have explained to people many times lately 1 Peter 4:17 judgments from God have already begun.
You must decide whether this will be the first generation of Christians who get to live in harmony together in this world that cries, “peace and safety” (see—1 Thessalonians 5:3). Or instead, just like every other generation of true Christians, is the Lord telling us that the time has right now come to pick up our cross and be about defending His Gospel against the multitudinous attacks now coming on virtually every front against the veracity and authority of God’s Word in the Bible (see—Jude 3). Are you really going to lay down proper doctrine and simply attempt to find “common ground” with the various false teachings attacking the doctrine recovered through Reformation and then seek to make peace with these divisions within the Church which God is allowing e.g. the Emergent rebellion (see—1 Corinthians 11:18-19)?
Or friend, are you going to stand right in front of them and take everything they’ve got because the Bible clearly says of deceivers like Erwin McManus and Dallas Willard — “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this Word, they have no light of dawn” (Isaiah 8:20). Then the Master Himself says — “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets” (Luke 6:26). Take a quick look around the Net and you can probably recognize that in my particular case this isn’t exactly a problem where I’m concerned. And perhaps you’ve seen that I have no fear of them, or anyone else, because they can’t kill me…I’m already dead…
The Elijahs Of God Are Coming
While I don’t agree with all evangelist Leonard Ravenhill taught in the foreword to a very good little book by Ravenhill called Why Revival Tarries A.W. Tozer wrote:
Great industrial concerns have in their employ men who are needed only when there is a breakdown somewhere. When something goes wrong with the machinery, these men spring into action to locate and remove the trouble and get the machinery rolling again. For these men a smoothly operating system has no interest. They are specialists concerned with trouble and how to find and correct it.
In the Kingdom of God things are not too different. God had always had His specialists whose chief concern has been the moral breakdown, the decline in the spiritual health of the nation or the church. Such men were Elijah, Jeremiah, Malachi and others of their kind who appeared at critical moments in history to reprove, rebuke, and exhort in the name of God and righteousness.
A thousand or ten thousand ordinary Old Testament priests or New Testament pastors and teachers could labor quietly on almost unnoticed while the spiritual life of Israel or the Church was normal. But let the people of God go astray from the paths of truth and immediately the specialist appeared almost out of nowhere. His instinct for trouble brought him to the help of the Lord and of Israel.
Such a man was likely to be drastic, radical, possibly at times violent, and the curious crowd that gathered to watch him work soon branded him as extreme, fanatical, negative. And in a sense they were right. He was single-minded, severe, fearless, and these were the qualities the circumstances demanded. He shocked some, frightened others and alienated not a few, but he knew Who had called him and what he was sent to do. His ministry was geared to the emergency, and that fact marked him out as different, a man apart.
Those who know Leonard Ravenhill will recognize in him the religious specialist, the man sent from God not to carry on the conventional work of the Church, but to beard the priests of Baal on their own mountaintop, to shame the careless priest at the altar, to face the false prophet and warn the people who are being led astray by him.
Such a man as this is not an easy companion. The professional evangelist who leaves the wrought-up meeting as soon as it ends to hurry over to the most expensive restaurant to feast and crack jokes with his sponsors will find this man something of an embarrassment, for he cannot turn off the burden of the Holy Ghost as one would turn off a faucet. He insists upon being a Christian all the time, everywhere; and again, that marks him out as different.
Toward Leonard Ravenhill it is impossible to be neutral. His acquaintances are divided pretty neatly into two classes, those who love him out of all proportion and those who hate him with perfect hatred. And what is true of the man is sure to be true of his books, of this book. The reader will either close its pages to seek a place of prayer or he will toss it away in anger, his heart closed to its warnings and appeals.
So let me ask you something; do you really love Jesus? If you say yes, then today I encourage throw away your copy of man-centered self-help psycho-babble pop theology like The Purpose Driven Life and spend a little time on your knees in prayerful conscious meditation before an open Bible. And in addition if you wish to read something in line with what God has already said in Scripture then go ahead and take up a copy of Why Revival Tarries…