Long ago I went to the mission field director of the Ethiopia field of the Sudan Interior Mission with a problem. I pointed out several things I saw as wrong in the direction of the work. To my surprise he agreed with me on all the issues I raised, and then he asked me a question: What is your suggestion to solve these problems? I hadn't thought of that, and I felt a bit stupid.
After venting my spleen on this topic, and I don't apologise a bit for exposing this mess, the Lord prodded me on the thing. I think I better talk about a solution. I don't want to have anything to do with designing another movement or denomination.
The jackboot "pastoral rule" circus has become a disease in the end of the Church Age.
Job 24:1 Why, seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty, do they that know him not
see his days?
2 Some remove the landmarks; they violently take away flocks, and feed thereof.
3 They drive away the ass of the fatherless, they take the widow's ox for a pledge.
4 They turn the needy out of the way: the poor of the earth hide themselves together.
5 Behold, as wild asses in the desert, go they forth to their work; rising betimes for a prey:
the wilderness yieldeth food for them and for their children.
6 They reap every one his corn in the field: and they gather the vintage of the wicked.
7 They cause the naked to lodge without clothing, that they have no covering in the cold.
8 They are wet with the showers of the mountains, and embrace the rock for want of a shelter.
9 They pluck the fatherless from the breast, and take a pledge of the poor.
10 They cause him to go naked without clothing, and they take away the sheaf from the hungry;
11 Which make oil within their walls, and tread their winepresses, and suffer thirst.
Revelation 3:7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he
that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man
shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;
8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it:
for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.
9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not,
but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that
I have loved thee.
10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of
temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no
more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my
God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will
write upon him my new name.
13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Revelation 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things
saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing;
and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment,
that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint
thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will
come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame,
and am set down with my Father in his throne.
22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
|Mennonite and Amish||Plain,
modest, and not easily seduced by "a new thing." Defenders of separation
of church and state. Peace loving. Faithful to one another. Content. |
|Do good at all costs, even if they have to join the devil to do it. Nowhere on eschatology, and proud of it. Communal mentality has destroyed missions.|
|Fundamental Baptists||Avoid Reformed formalism. Defended the King James Bible. Willing to separate to be right with God and one another.||Play the fool in alleged worship. The "beauty of holiness" is considered only for the weak. Mean tempered and militaristic. No accountability. Pastoral dictatorship. Obsessed with OT tithing. Money greed|
|Pentecostals and Holiness||Preach
for a verdict. Demand a holy life in earlier years. Friendly. |
Zeal for the deeper life.
in the holy life for the warm fuzzies. Easily lead into folly and feeling by TV
evangelists and false apostles. Gullible to a fault. |
Raise hands here and swoon.
|Reformed Churches||Defended the Godhead, trashed the Whore of Rome.||Handed the creed to the secular powers. Deadened the people. Never got rid of whiskey and cigars. Unclean|
|Bible Churches||Steady plodders, restrained, faithful. Tolerant of the weak. Zeal for missions.||
People in the pew love to attack these pastors who do not militarize the church. Have traded in the KJV for the NIV. Obsessed with Roberts Rules of Order.
|John MacArthur||Studies 40 hours a week. Is common, plain, and is known only as "John" to his people.||Attacked the Blood of Christ, teaches eradication of the old nature.|
|John R. Rice and friends||Sawdust and folding chairs zeal in revival and Gospel preaching||Became a critic of the King James Bible by Bible correcting at the end of his life. Intellectualism set in. Arrogant.|
|Peter S. Ruckman||Defender
of the King James Bible with no apologies. Deep knowledge of textual issues and
Church History. ||Quotes Nazis and sexually depraved journalists. Never retracts anything. Divorced and remarried. Makes dark humor at the expense of Black folks.|
|Southern Baptists||Aggressive to plant churches.||Lust for the offering at all costs. Harbor Freemasons in the pulpit and pew. Formalized Baptist zeal and killed it.|
for revival and the deeper life|
Strong in hymns of the faith
|Brought in activism and good works for good works' sake. Hug witches and devils eagerly. Exalt women unbiblicly.|
|Charles Stanley||Sound on every issue he deals with||Avoids practical issues like divorce and Freemasonry. Preaches from the heavenlies but not the street.|
|Billy Graham||Preached the Gospel for many years||Bought an entrance by compromise and ecumenism. Became arrogant toward the narrow way. Denied the Gospel in the end.|
|British Churches||Devotional zeal for the Word of God. Plodders with zeal to hold onto the old ways that edify saints and exalt Christ.||Soft headed on separation. Submit to the overlord principle of Anglicanism. Calvinism can be so bold that they doubt their salvation.|
|African Churches in Africa||Less complicated and plain in worship and Bible teaching. Gospel salt is in Caesar's palace.||Gave way to hierarchy of the UK and the World Church. Ecumenism for money. Weak on church discipline and missions.|
|Black Churches in the USA||Make the local church an oasis of round the week refuge from evil on the streets. High respect for older saints.||Have
only two kinds of pulpits--|
1. Jesse Jackson activist
2. Comfort and warm fuzzies
No Bible teaching
|Churches in South America|| |
been persecuted forever
|Cooperate with the Roman Catholic church today. Refuse to stand against devil worship. Weak in missions.|
|Persecuted Churches||Russians are intense and preach boldly in every place. Have avoided church house religion. The Body is the saints.||Have fought with each other over who is most pure. Some have registered with the government.|
|Unregistered Churches- USA||Have delivered the local church of Caesar's power. Show zeal for souls in some groups. Promote home schools.||Unregistered
churches draw tax rebels and Militia like rotten meat draws flies.|
Are arrogant toward local churches who don't agree with them.
There is NO place in the Word of God where we are told that God overlooks disobedience if good works abound. This teaching is a disease today. The Laodicean Traits are terminal. No group has ever come back from compromise, and that better make us all very nervous about our zeal for the Narrow Way.
Let us not forget the strengths of these various movements in the last one hundred years. As we come down to the end of the Age of the Church, let us provoke one another to love of the Truth and the Narrow Way. I personally believe that the Fundamental Baptist movement has become largely redundant. It is time to step out in holiness and find ourselves in home churches and small congregations which live by the Philadelphian standards.
Let me make this clear. I am not the broker of holiness. I fall short in some of these areas, and I intend to deal with that by the Grace of God. But, YOU DO ALSO. The whole point of Revelation, Chapters One through Three, is to arrest us all from mediocre Christianity. What should YOU do about this?
I had just been torn asunder by the hate of a flock of sheep and goats in a church I pastored, and I had just fled rather than fight with them and trash the whole church trying to whip the goats. I felt I did the right thing, but I was very low at the time. The word was out that I had left my church in a conflict, and many pastors were avoiding me rather than learn whether or not I was at fault. I was pretty disillusioned with Fundamental Bible Church compassion right then.
At a pastor's fellowship, Bob Shotts found me, and he at once began to encourage me and help me along, and he promised to pray for me. I know he did pray for me too, because every time I met him later, he asked if I had had an answer to his prayer requests for me. Eventually, Bob found another pastor, Jerry Rubingh, who was leaving his church, and Bob Shotts told the man I would be a good choice to follow him. This resulted in my 12 year stay at Grant, Michigan, where I had many blessings and learned many lessons from gentle sheep who followed close on the heels of Jesus.
Bob Shots took me to a pastor's fellowship in Detroit one day, and on the way he crawled into the back of his worn out station wagon and took a nap while I drove for him. He was exhausted, for the day before, he had been in northern Indiana praying with a brother pastor who was being whipped and mauled by evil.
At the Detroit meeting we attended that day, Bob stood and told of a pastor in Massachusetts who had cancer, his daughter was dying of some disease, and the man's wife had just been diagnosed with cancer also. The pastor in Mass also had no insurance.
Bob asked if the fellowship of pastors would consider doing something for this struggling family, for they were in a very small church with no resources to help the family pay their bills. I learned that day the power of tenderness, for all the men at that Detroit gathering were pastors and knew the compassion of Bob Shotts. You don't catch some of these hard headed Bible Baptist preachers crying very often, but many of those men were diving for their handkerchief by the time Brother Shotts sat done.
From all over the room came, "Our church will give $3000." "Adrian Bible Baptist will give $500." "I am sure our deacons would want us to give $2000." "I will give $100." Bob just sat quietly and let the power of his long life invested in tenderness and self-sacrifice call up many debts. Nearly all of those men had been visited one day long ago, by Pastor Shots, when they were hitting bottom in the work of the Lord.
Here is what awed me even more about this servant of God. Some time later, I mentioned this scene to Bob Shott's daughter while I was tuning a piano for her, and she told me the old station wagon we drove to Detroit that day had well over 300,000 miles on it, and she told me that almost all of it was from running all over three states praying with whipped preachers.
Bob Shotts is still with us. He stays in a nursing home, but he still ventures forth to preach in small churches in western Michigan. Bob still leaves his dinner to get cold at a restaurant to go over across the room and ask a group of Black folks if they have a church home and point them to a Fundamental Baptist church nearby. He still stops to tell someone how much he loves Jesus, and Bob can still break the heart of a mean sinner and get his attention. Folks just know that he loves them.
Pastor Bob Shotts has one foot in The Glory already, but he won't quit. Thanks Bob, for you were a faithful friend and powerful example to me and a lot of other men when we needed help most. I watched you for a number of years, and I learned a lot about being a servant to the Master's Sheep. I just hope my mansion in The Glory is next door to yours.
Perhaps you are a pastor of a Fundamental Baptist church, and you feel this discussion does not fault you in any way, for you DO love the Master's Sheep, and you DO study your Bible and teach, and you DO NOT beat on sheep in order to make yourself the center of everything around you.
Great! I am glad to hear that. Please let me hear from you, for we need your help. There may well be a Home Church in your area which needs the tenderness of Jesus and Bob Shotts right now, and you could help them. We are trying to make a list of local pastors who will help Home Churches in the model of the Apostle Paul all over the USA and even the UK and around the world. SEND MAIL please if you can help.