EXPOSING SATAN’S LIES
“…he is a liar and the father of it”
In John 8:44, Christ made it abundantly plain that Satan is a liar, and that lying originated with this diabolical creature. Unfortunately in our modern world, multitudes by the wagonload are resorting to this practice as a common practice of life. Satan has conned numerous politicians, many parents, and even some preachers into believing his lies and then falsely peddling them as genuine facts.
This lying extends even to the realm of historical religious Fundamentalism, where the devil is perpetrating some of his unscriptural lies with apparent great success. This writer earnestly hopes that the following expose will open the spiritual eyes of some deceived naïve saints within the circle of professing Fundamental Baptists.
LIE NUMBER ONE
Fundamental Baptist churches that are growing and may be larger than most congregations are automatically compromising with the world and are making unnecessary concessions to secular society in order to experience numerical growth
This writer has frequently heard this allegation in current Fundamentalist circles, and will frankly state that he, himself, has sometimes been tempted to believe this lie and to pass it on to other preachers. However, this statement is just not true! The goal of Fundamental Baptist pastors and churches should be to reduplicate both the Biblical principles of spirituality, as well as the Biblical patterns of soul-winning that early first century New Testament churches experienced.
There is no question but that the record of the apostolic era N. T. churches was one that involved both numerical and spiritual growth. Writing about the First N. T. church in Jerusalem, Luke states in Acts 2:41 that “…they that gladly received his word were baptized; and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”
As a matter of fact, daily evangelism was obviously a regular component of the Jerusalem church’s ministry, since Acts 2:47 says that “the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Acts 5:42 reiterates this remarkable truth about the apostles in the Jerusalem church: “And daily in the temple and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.”
The persecution at the Jerusalem church resulted in the believers scattering themselves as Acts 8:1 states “throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria,” where these early believers followed the same pattern as they had practiced in Jerusalem, that of numerical and spiritual multiplication. Acts 11:19 records that “they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephan, travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch.” The results in Acts 11:21 were that “the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned to the Lord.”
The second world-wide [of his day] missionary journey of the Apostle Paul was greatly blessed by God with the result that the churches were “established in the faith, and increased in number daily” Acts 16:5. Preachers who claim that church growth can’t be experienced today, certainly don’t have any legs on which to stand so far as the book of Acts is concerned!
Dr. Walter Hughes, a noted Canadian Fundamentalist Bible teacher of the middle half of the 20th century once aptly declared: “God did not call us to cuddle the saints, but to collar the sinners.” The sinners are out there—more than ever—over 300 million Americans now, and soul-winning opportunities have never been more plenteous than they are now!
While many Fundamental Baptist churches have shut down their evangelistic soul-winning programs, the soul-winning opportunities have never been more numerous. Consider the following various potential soul-winning programs in which most any Fundamental Baptist church can engage, regardless of size: (l) Men’s soul-winning; (2) Ladies soul-winning; (3) Young People’s soul-winning; (4) Hospital calling; (5) Rest homes—services and visits; (6) neighbor calling—take a partner with you! (7) Door-to-Door calling; (8) visiting sick church members—many times unsaved relatives will be there! (9) Sunday School attendees and prospects; (10) Bus visitation—always plenty of unsaved individuals there; (11) follow-up on church services visitors; (12) new-move-ins: These names can easily be obtained; (13) New babies—the hospital ward is a great place to congratulate new mothers, give them a token gift and a tract: Newspapers also print the names of new mothers; (14) Prospect leads provided by members; (15) unsaved relatives; (16) Day Care programs—become their friend; (17) Death-sorrow; visiting funeral homes and the recently bereaved.
Get the idea?—and we haven’t exhausted the list! Souls are everywhere and the opportunities are virtually limitless! Dr. Russell Conwell, the famed pastor of the Baptist Temple in Philadelphia, PA and a Chas. Haddon Spurgeon biographer stated: “The primary mission of the church is to save the souls of men. That is the true mission; that should be its first thought and interest. Its singers should sing to save souls; suppers or entertainments of any kind should be planned with soul-winning mind; every agency that is used in the church should have this great mission plainly before its eyes: We are here to save souls of dying sinners.”
Don’t accept the Devil’s lies about evangelism and church growth! All you have to do to validate that lie number one is factually untrue is to attend any national Sword of the Lord conference. At this conference, you will discover that there are healthy growing churches all across the USA in churches that are growing numerically and are winning souls at the same time, with no compromise involved.
These larger growing churches can be found in “liberal” states such as Connecticut, Delaware and Maryland; in the “cold” northern Midwestern states such as Michigan and Minnesota, in the far west states such as Montana and California, as well as in the so-called “Bible Belt” states like Arkansas, North Carolina and Tennessee, and the pastors of these churches preach hard against sin—and this writer means hard!
LIE NUMBER TWO
Fundamental Baptist churches which may not be large and don’t seem to be growing numerically up to expectations are calloused, carnal, cold and indifferent to an unconverted and lost world of sinners
On the other hand, there are some seemingly successful preachers who look down their noses at smaller pastors and churches which don’t seem to be growing and multiplying and who relegate these church to a non-spiritual carnal, non-concerned status because these congregations don’t meet their numerical standards. They seem to expect that all churches should conform to their numerical growth standards.
If the above is used as the standard, then Christ and his twelve disciples were utter failures! It must be noted that the same massive crowd of the religious multitudes who so warmly welcomed Christ on that Palm Sunday, wanted to crucify him a few days later. Christ began his earthly ministry with 12 disciples and concluded it 3½ years later, with one less than he started-11 followers, all of whom abandoned Him when he faced the cross itself.
In II Samuel, Gideon and his small faithful band of 300 men, armed, only with pitchers and trumpets, defeated the Midianites with their huge army. God reduced the original 22,000 soldiers to 10,000 and then to just a small group of 300 valiant men. Yet this hugely reduced small minority won a glorious victory for hundreds of thousands of Israelite citizens.
Jonathan’s bold declaration in I Sam. 14:6 should be a great encouragement to faithful men of God who pastor small unheralded N. T. local churches: “It may be the Lord will work for us: for there is no restraint to the Lord, to save by many or by few.” Zechariah, the O. T. prophet, rightly stated: “For who hath despised the day of small things?”
Bible students must also recall that in II Tim. Chapter four, the Apostle Paul, who invested 35+ years in apostolic ministry, establishing churches nearly every he traveled, died virtually alone at the end of his earthly, as a martyr, with only a few saints to support him before his martyrdom.
In pondering the truth about the future “Bema” seat of Christ when every believer’s life and ministry will come under Christ’s judgment and scrutiny, there is a verse that contains a neglected Biblical truth that is frequently overlooked when considering the success or failure of an individual believer’s life or a church’s corporate ministry.
I Cor. 3:14 states that this judgment will be based on sort not size! “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare, because it shall be revealed by fire [a symbol of the holiness of God] and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.” Christ’s judgment for believer’s service will not be based on size but on sort! Now, this writer would like to state that God is interested in both size and sort! Numbers do count—and every preacher would obviously like to have more “numbers” in his attendance figures, but preachers who live solely in the book of Numbers make a grave mistake!
Right now, this writer is thinking of two churches in rural regions of northern lower Michigan: Both churches exist in towns that have a population of approximately only 300, yet they both average over 100 every Sunday in regular attendance. That’s pretty impressive: One-third of the area’s residents attend their churches every Sunday. What
“large” Fundamental Baptist church in a large metropolitan area can claim a one-third ratio of attendance to residents?
If numerical size is the sole standard by which to judge churches, then this preacher’s 52+ years of full-time ministry should be considered a horrendous failure. This preacher pastored three churches over a period of 20 years, and none of them ever attained large numerical status, yet yours truly was intensely evangelistic in his emphasis in all three churches and strongly promoted soul-winning in all three ministries!
Furthermore, this evangelist’s burden in over 32 years of itinerant evangelistic and Bible-conference work has always been the small church. He has devoted over 30 years to assisting and helping small churches, churches that never receive any limelight or public glare. Many of these churches have pastors who labor part-time or full time in “avocational” secular jobs to maintain their Biblical “vocation.”
These unknown, unheralded, valiant soldiers of the cross are this preacher’s heroes and he salutes their dedicated labors. If size determines a preacher’s success, then these men are utter failures. However, it may be as Dr. Bob Jones Sr. once stated that God Almighty is using His angels to bring out the heavenly newspaper headlines about their faithful ministries.
If size also determines this evangelist/writer’s ministry, then his endeavors have been a gross failure, but he is willing to let God, not man, be the determiner of that matter!
And this writer cannot forget this important fact that most of America’s Fundamental Baptist foreign missionaries scattered around the world, were saved and trained in these small churches, the overwhelming majority of which probably a couple hundred or less in regular attendance and membership! Just check it out at a missionary conference most anywhere.
LIE NUMBER THREE
Churches that maintain high dress and music standards are unscriptural legalists that do not believe in salvation by grace and do not practice living by grace
Now this writer will readily admit that there is a contingent of professing Fundamental Baptists within historic Fundamental Baptist circles that he would call “external fundamentalists”; churches that have majored on external standards only and have used those outward requirements as yardsticks of spirituality. Genuine spirituality, however, involves a combination of both inward heart convictions—Prov. 4:34-- and outward evidence—I Tim. 2:9.
These churches, however, do not represent or speak for the vast majority of sound Fundamental Baptist churches; churches which maintain a Scriptural balance between outward standards and inner spirituality of the heart. The allegation that Fundamental Baptist churches which maintain strong dress and music standards are “legalists” was invented by New-Evangelical accommodators as a cover-up for their compromises with the worldly trends of an ungodly society.
In the first place, unscriptural legalism has absolutely nothing with Christian standards. Legalists are individuals who believe in salvation by works rather than salvation by grace. There is not one iota of Scripture that proves that maintaining high standards and legalism are twins. Read the history of the early churches in the book of Acts; ponder Paul’s treatises in the book of Romans and check the book of Galatians and you will quickly discover that legalism is based on a false concept of salvation by human works, and that legalism has absolutely nothing in common with strong Christian standards!
This writer does not know of any professing Fundamental Baptist church that teaches salvation by works, either by precept or by implication! They all staunchly believe that salvation is solely by grace—Rom. 5:1, Eph. 2:8-9. The “legalist” allegation was a lie coined by the New-Evangelical compromisers because they have moved in a worldly direction.
Fundamental Baptist churches that insist on using only “traditional” type music are not legalists, they just desire to maintain the “new” song that God gave them—Ps. 40:1-2—rather than accommodate to the “old” music that imitates the ungodly world. Churches that stand foursquare against religious rock music—the sounds and songs of the CCM movement—are not legalists, they are Biblicist Fundamentalists who desire to please God, in the new man—Eph. 4:22-24—not the old “man” of the sinful flesh.
The “spiritual songs” of the “Word of Christ” about which Col. 3:16 speaks are vastly different from the “sensual sounds” of the world, which obedient believers completely reject—Rom. 12:1-2. When it comes to religious music, the songs of the saints and the sounds of the sinners are not compatible. There is no “middle” meeting place between sensual sounds and spiritual songs!
The desirable music of the Word and the degraded music of the world simply cannot jell or co-exist. It is like trying to mix oil and water. You can’t have both at the same time. The musical rhythms to which discerning Fundamentalists listen and the lyrics they sing are vastly different from the songs and sounds of the world. When Fundamentalists refuse CCM songs and sounds and use only traditional rhythms, they are simply seeking to “approve” the “things that are excellent” as Phil. 1:11 states.
These high Biblical based standards also include modest dress standards for Christian workers. Modest apparel is not a sign of legalism, but a symbol of new creatures in Christ Jesus, where the old degraded world has passed away and “all things are become new.” Maintaining high Christian standards is simply remaining true to Biblically based Christian modesty, rather than accommodating to current worldly trends.
The typical lying New-Evangelical line is that churches that maintain old-fashioned moral stands against immodest and unisex trends don’t really love souls and that that they are a bunch of old-fashioned prudes who simply can’t adapt themselves to society. No! No! No! A thousand times no!
This writer does not know of a single Bible-believing Fundamentalist church anywhere that turns sinners away from its doors because unconverted people don’t meet their dress standards! He does know, however, about many good churches that maintain strong apparel/dress standards for its Christian workers! The moral distinctiveness of believers outward apparel should be a sign of the clear difference in their behavioral lifestyles from the ungodly world that surrounds them.
Titus 2:5 plainly declares that mature Christian women should be “chaste,” a word that means “modest” or “free from carnality,” a lifestyle that is not contaminated by the world, a lifestyle that is “pure,” another synonym for “chaste.” Mature, spiritual Christian women, therefore, will wear clothes that do not create the wrong impression, that don’t have any “carnal” [sensual], appeal about them. According to I Tim. 3:11, deacon’s wives should be the examples in a church of this spiritual purity.
When it comes to dress standards, surely the Christian’s standards ought to be much better and much higher than that of the ungodly world! With regards to both the Christian workers appearances and attitudes. God deserves our best, not our worst or our discards. Believers who come to regular church services and/or to serve as workers, are not attending an athletic event, they are there to worship God and serve Christ and their appearance should present the best possible model and most positive impression to the unconverted.
For Christian workers, strong dress standards are not optional, they are obligatory! The unconverted world needs to see the distinctive difference in both our appearance and our attitude! “In all things approving ourselves as ministers of Christ—II Cor. 6:4.” May God help believers to be alert to all of Satan’s “lies,” including the three “fabrications” delineated above.
Also in this issue:
|Editorial – OCTOBER - NOVEMBER 2013 The Fundamentalist Digest; Permission granted for reprint, so long as proper credit is given.|