Vol. 3 Number 7, July 1997
Editor Andy Neckar
Inside This Newsletter
1. The Devil's Mission of Amusement-Part 1
2. NEWS WATCH
3. CN&V'S NOTES
The Devil's Mission of Amusement--Part 1
The Church's Task-Entertainment or Evangelization?
By Archibald Brown
[Archibald Brown was a student and a contemporary of C.H. Spurgeon. Under Brown's ministry scores were saved and instructed]
Different days demand their own special testimony. The watchman who would be faithful to his Lord and the city of his God has need to carefully note the signs of the times and emphasize his witness accordingly. Concerning the testimony needed now, there can be little, if any, doubt. An evil is in the professed camp of the Lord, so gross, so brazen in its impudence, that the most shortsighted of spiritual men can hardly fail to notice it. During the past few years it has developed at an abnormal rate, ever for evil, It has worked like leaven until now the whole lump ferments, Look which way you may, its presence makes itself manifest. There is little if anything to choose between Church, Chapel, or Mission Hall. However they may differ in some respects, they bear a striking likeness in the posters that figure upon and disfigure their notice boards. Amusement for the people is the leading article advertised by each. If any of my readers doubt my statement, or think my utterance too sweeping, let them take a tour of inspection and study "the announcements for the week" at the doors of the sanctuaries of the neighborhood; or let them read the religious advertisements in their local papers. I have done this again and again, until the hideous fact has been proved up to the hilt, that "amusement" is ousting "the preaching of the Gospel" as the great attraction."Concerts," "Entertainments," "Fancy Fairs," "Smoking Conferences," "Dramatic Performances," are the words honoured with biggest type and most startling colours. The Concert is fast becoming as much a recognized part of church life as the Prayer Meeting, and is already, in most places, far better attended.
"Providing recreation for the people" will soon be looked upon as a necessary part of Christian work and as binding upon the Church of God, as though it were a Divine command, unless some strong voice be raised which will make themselves heard. I do not presume to possess such a voice, but I do entertain the hope that I may awaken some louder echoes. Anyway, the burden of the Lord is upon me in this matter, and I leave it with Him to give my testimony ringing tone, or to let it die away in silence. I shall have delivered my soul in either case. Yet the conviction fills my mind that in all parts of the country there are faithful men and women who see the danger and deplore it and will endorse my witness and my warning.
It is only during the past few years that "amusement" has become a recognized weapon of our warfare and developed into a mission. There has been a steady "down grade" in this respect. From "speaking out," as the Puritans did, the Church has gradually toned down her testimony: then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she has tolerated them in her borders, and now she has adopted them and provided a home for them under the plea of "reaching the masses and getting the ear of the people." The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the Church of Christ that part of her mission is to provide entertainment for the people with a view to winning them into her ranks. The human nature that lies in every heart has risen to the bait. Here, now, is an opportunity of gratifying the flesh and yet retaining a comfortable conscience. We can now please ourselves in order to do good to others. The rough old cross can be exchanged for a "costume," and the exchange can be made with the benevolent purpose of elevating the people.
All this is terribly sad, and the more so because truly gracious souls are being led away by the specious pretext that it is a form of Christian work. They forget that a seemingly beautiful angel may be the devil himself, "for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light" (2 Cor. 11:14).
Not Supported By Scripture
1. My first contention is that providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in Holy Scripture as one of the functions of the church. What her duties are will come under our notice later on. At present it is the negative side of the question that we are dealing with. Now, surely, it our Lord had intended His Church to be the caterer of entertainment, and so counteract the god of this world, He would hardly have left so important a branch of service unmentioned. If it is Christian work, why did not Christ at least hint it? "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature," is clear enough. So would it have been if He had added, "and provide amusement for those who do not relish the Gospel." No such addendum, however, is to be found, nor even an equivalent for such, in any one of our Lords utterances. This style of work did not seem to occur to His mind. Then again, Christ, as an ascended Lord, gives to His Church specially qualified men for the carrying on of His work, but no mention of any gift for this branch of service occurs in the list. "He gave some, apostles;. and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers - for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ," Where do the "public entertainers" come in? The Holy Ghost is silent concerning them, and his silence is eloquence.
If "providing recreation" be a part of the Church's work, surely we may look for some promise to encourage her in the toilsome task. Where is it? There is a promise for "My Word"; it "shall not return unto Me void." There is the heart-rejoicing declaration concerning the Gospel: "it is the power of God." There is the sweet assurance for the preacher of Christ that, whether he be successful or not as the world judges success - he is "sweet savour unto God." There is the glorious benediction for those whose testimony, so far from amusing the world, rouses its wrath: "Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad: for great is your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you." Were the prophets persecuted because they amused the people, or because they refused to? The Gospel of amusement has no martyrology. In vain does one look for a promise from God for providing recreation for a godless world. That which has no authority from Christ, no provision made for it by the Spirit, no promise attached to it by God, can only be a lying hypocrite when it lays claim to be "a branch of the work of the Lord."
Not Taught By The Saviour
II. But again, providing amusement for the people is in direct antagonism to the teaching and life of Christ and all his apostles. What is to be the attitude of the Church towards the world according to our Lord's teaching? Strict separation and uncompromising hostility. While no hint ever passed His lips of winning the World by pleasing it, or accommodating methods to its taste, His demand for unworldliness was constant and emphatic. He sets forth in one short sentence what He would have His disciples to be: "Ye are the salt of the earth." Yes, the salt: not the sugar-candy nor a "lump of delight." Something the world will be more inclined to spit out than swallow with a smile. Something more calculated to bring water to the eye than laughter to the lip.
Short and sharp is the utterance, "Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God." "If ye were of the world, the world would live his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." "In the world ye shall have tribulation but be of good cheer; for I have overcome the world.." "I have given them Thy Word, and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world."
"My kingdom is not of this world."
These passages are hard to reconcile with the modern idea of the Church providing recreation for those who have no taste for more serious things - in other words, of conciliating the world. If they teach anything at all, it is that fidelity to Christ will bring down the world's wrath, and that Christ intended His disciples to share with Him the world's scorn and rejection. How did Jesus act? What were the methods of the only perfectly "faithful witness" the Father has ever had?
As none will question that He is to be the worker's model, let us gaze upon Him. How significant the introductory account given by Mark, "Now, after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee preaching the Gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the Gospel." And again, in the same chapter, I find Him saying, in answer to the announcement of His disciples that all men were seeking for Him, "Let us go into the next towns that I may preach there also, for therefore came I forth. Matthew tells us, "And it came to pass when Jesus had made an end of commanding His twelve disciples, He departed thence to teach and preach in their cities." In answer to John's question, "Art Thou He that should come?" He replies, "Go and show John those things which ye do hear and see; the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up, and the poor have the Gospel preached to them." There is no item in the catalogue after this sort. "And the careless are amazed, and the perishing are provided with innocent recreation. "
We are not left in doubt as to the matter of His preaching, for "when many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door, He preached the Word unto them," There was no change of method adopted by the Lord during His course of ministry; no learning by experience of a better plan. His first word of command to His evangelists was, "As ye go, preach." His last, "Preach the Gospel to every creature." Not an evangelist suggests that at any time during His ministry He turned aside from preaching to entertain, and so attract the people. He was in awful earnestness, and his ministry was like Himself. Had He been less uncompromising, and introduced more of the "bright and pleasant" element into His mission, He would have been more popular.
Yet, when many of His disciples went back. because of the searching nature of His preaching, I do not find there was any attempt to increase a diminished congregation by resorting to something more pleasant to the flesh. I do not hear Him saying, "We must keep up the gatherings anyway: so run after those friends, Peter, and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow. Something very short and attractive, with little, if any, preaching. Today was a service for God, but tomorrow we will have a pleasant evening for the people. Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it, and have a happy hour. Be quick, Peter; we must get the public somehow,- if not by Gospel, then by nonsense. " No, this was not how He argued. Gazing in sorrow on those who would not hear the Word, He simply turns to the twelve, and asks, "Will ye also go away?
Continued next month)
Folks, this warning coming to you in two parts, corresponds with what I have been preaching for years now. And although it was written some time ago and things are now much worse than at that particular time, this man surely had the discernment of the Spirit to correctly see the direction the professing church was headed.
There are men like him among us still today. Men such as Dave Hunt, (Berean Call) David Cloud, (O Timothy Magazine) M.H. Reynolds Jr. and Dennis Costella. (Fundamental Evangelistic Association) John Huffman (Calvary Contender) E.L. Bynum (Plains Baptist Challenger) and many more. God bless them and their ministries. AMEN
Hume takes Canterbury pulpit to stress role of Papacy (ENI)
Cardinal Basil Hume, leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, recently used the pulpit of Canterbury Cathedral to declare that moves towards Christian unity could not include renunciation of the primacy of the Pope.
[Editor] If only the Christians who support the ecumenical movements had a little discernment. Christian unity of diverse faith means "going home to Rome". "Christianity", as the world knows it, will unit under the leadership of the Roman Catholic Pope The "Church" will oppose until taken away.
Government qualifications for what??
The 5/97 Education Reporter, reports of a bill introduced in the Minnesota state legislature would require prospective parents to apply for parental licenses. To qualify, both parents must be at least 21 years old, be legally married, provide proof of economic well-being and lack of a mental disorder, and submit to a search of police records. The bill would require physicians to report any unlicensed pregnancies to the local child protection agency. (What in the World! Vol. 21, Number 12) ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Billy Graham-Messenger of who???
Billy Graham praised the cooperation of Roman Catholics at his four-day crusade in San Antonio last April. "The Devil has separated us, and a crusade like this is used of God to bring people of all denominations together," Graham declared in his opening sermon. "We need one another." About ten percent of the 700 churches that participated in the crusade were Roman Catholic. In all, fifty denominations took part.
Archbishop Patrick Flores, the highest-ranking Catholic in Texas, endorsed the crusade early in its planning stages. He met with Graham and taped radio spots encouraging Catholics to attend the crusade to help bring them to a closer commitment to their faith. Some 247,500 people attended the crusade, and 22,576 people went forward, three times higher than the usual rate (Christianity Today, 5/19/97, as reported by What in the World! Volume 21, Number 11)
[Editor]This Billy Graham- messenger of who???, has the message reversed. I believe it goes like this. "The Lord God has separated us, and a crusade like this is used of the Devil to bring people of all denominations together," I refuse to commit adultery with Billy and serve the god of the Roman Church. 22,576 people went forward. Most of them from the "frying pan into the fire", no doubt.
Falwell & Flynt: Pastor & Porn King
Dr. Jerry Falwell last month visited Larry Flynt for coffee and a friendly chat in his Beverly Hills office. Falwell had unsuccessfully sued "sleaze merchant" Flynt over a 1983 smutty Hustler magazine cartoon which suggested he had sex with his mother. But at the meeting, they acted like long lost pen pals, per the 6/11 L.A. Times. Falwell praised Flynt; "He is a warm hearted, very talented and very generous person whom I believe has much to offer the world." Hardly the language of Spurgeon, or Paul to a "child of the devil" and "enemy of all righteousness". (Acts 13:10) [Calvary Contender, 7/1/97]
[Editor] Larry, in a way has much to offer the "world." I Jn 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (KJV) But we children of God who are not of this world do recognize him as a child of Satan.
Can we Proclaim & Separate? Or in a secular sense, can we chew gum and walk?
A letter was made public June 24th which was sent by John Paul II to Cardinal Edward I. Cassidy on the occasion of the 2nd European Ecumenical Assembly being held in Graz, Austria, and whose theme is "Reconciliation, Gift from God and Source of New Life." The message is to the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity .
The Pope writes that "this assembly is taking place after intense development in relations and in theological dialogue between Christians, a development which has resulted in a new atmosphere among us." And he added that, "as a fruit of contact and dialogue, the commitment to full unity has been strengthened".
[Editor] You see what contact outside of evangelizing accomplishes? Please see "How Far Will This Ecumenism Go" in my August 96 newsletter. The James Dobson supported, and board member of the "Center for Christian-Jewish Dialogue" can only lead to deception. Deception headed by Satan and his demons working through human instruments. Dialogue implies much more that talk.. Another word for dialogue is conversation. A synonym for conversation is communion. Synonyms for communion are, union, fellowship, and agreement. Folks, God is against this ecumenical movement].
Referring to the importance of serving reconciliation in all its forms, the Pope says: "It is not to the credit of Christians to proclaim the message of reconciliation while ourselves remaining divided, and even at times hostile to one another." (VIS 6/24/97)
[Editor] It "is" to the credit of the Apostle Paul, that while proclaiming the message of reconciliation to the masses he practiced separation from the professing religious community. (Pharisees and the Law of Moses and even disobedient brethren)
He not only "practiced" separation, but he "preached" separation. He "rebuked" the deceivers and "named them." Paul preached the "Gospel of Christ", taught the "Doctrine of Christ" and "warned" of deceivers and "exposed" them. HE WROTE ABOUT THEM, and even at times was hostile toward them. Gal 5:12 I would they were even cut off (castrated) which trouble you. (KJV) This refers to the Jews insistence that the Gentile converts be circumcised. and obey the Law of Moses.
Well, Messengers of Christ Ministries is now a non-profit corporation registered in the State of Texas, with a tax-exempt status pending. Some new additions to the ministry is the e-mail CNV News Service, my testimony added to the web site and the CNV Channel on PointCast.
The newsletter subscriber list is continuing to grow at a rapid pace, and so is the volume of e-mail as the "hits" to the web site increases. The negative letters and the positive letters are beginning to balance out. Thanks to all of you. Who needs "signs and wonders"? I need and appreciate God's people.
Comments and questions and additional subscribers are welcome and appreciated.
See you next month.
We Must Earnestly Contend For The Faith.