Vol. 3 Number 8, August 1997
Inside this Newsletter
1. The Devil's Mission of Amusement
2. NEWS WATCH
3. CN&V'S NOTES
The Devil's Mission of Amusement
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]
Jesus pitied sinners, pleaded with them, sighed over them, warned them, and wept over them; but never sought to amuse them, When the evening shadows of His consecrated life were deepening into the night of death, He reviewed His holy ministry, and found comfort and sweet solace in the thought, "I have given them Thy Word." As with the Master, so with His apostles- their teaching is the echo of His. In vain will the epistles be searched to discover any trace of a gospel of amusement. The same call for separation from the world rings in everyone, "But not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed," is the word of command in the Romans. "Come out from among them. and be ye separate and touch not the unclean thing." It is the trumpet call in the Corinthians. Ln other words it is come out - keep out - keep clean out - for "what communion hath light with darkness, and what concord hath Christ with Belial?"
"God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world is crucified unto me and I unto the world. " Here is the true relationship between the Church and the world according to the Epistle to the Galatians. "Be not ye, therefore, partakers with them. Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them," is the attitude enjoined in Ephesians. "Sons of God without rebuke in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world: holding forth the Word of life," is the word in Philippians. "Dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world," says the Epistle to the Colossians, "Abstain from all appearance of evil" is the demand in Thessalonians.
"If a man, therefore, purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the Master's use," is the word to Timothy. "Let us go forth, therefore, unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach," is the heroic summons of the Hebrews. James, with holy severity, declares that "The friendship of the world is enmity with God; whosoever, therefore, will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." Peter writes: "Not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance; but as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation". John writes a whole epistle, the gist of which is, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 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. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof, but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."
Here are the teachings of the apostles concerning the relationship of the Church and the world. And yet, in the face of them, what do we see and hear? A friendly compromise between the two, and an insane effort to work in partnership for the good of the people. God help us, and dispel the strong delusion. How did the apostles carry on their mission work? Was it in harmony with their teaching?
Let the Acts of the Apostles give the answer.
Anything approaching the worldly tooling of today is conspicuous by its absence. The early evangelists had boundless confidence in the power of the Gospel, and employed no other weapon. Pentecost followed plain preaching. When Peter and John had been locked up for the night for preaching the resurrection, the early Church had a prayer meeting. Directly they returned, and the petition offered for the two was, "And now, Lord, grant unto Thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak Thy word. " They had no thought of praying, "Grant unto Thy servants more policy, that by a wise and discriminating use of innocent recreation they may avoid the offence of the cross, and sweetly show this people how happy and merry a lot we are."
The charge brought against the apostles by the members of the Council was, "Ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine." Not much chance of this charge being brought against modern methods. The description of their work is, "And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ," Then, if they "ceased not" from this, they had no time for arranging for entertainments: they gave themselves continually to the ministry of the word. Scattered by persecution, the early disciples "Went everywhere preaching the word."
When Philip went to Samaria, and was the means of bringing "great joy in that city," the only recorded method is, "He preached Christ unto them." When the apostles went to visit the scene of his labours it is stated, "And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the Gospel in many villages of the Samaritans." As they went back to Jerusalem directly they had finished their preaching, it is evident they did not think in their mission to stay and organize some "pleasant evenings" for the people who did not believe.
The congregations in those days did not expect anything but the word of the Lord, for Cornelius says to Peter, "We all are here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God." The message given was, "Words whereby thou and all thine house shall be saved." Cause and effect are closely linked in the statement, "Men of Cyrene spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus; and the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed, and turned to the Lord." Here you have their method - they preached. Their matter - the Lord Jesus. Their power - the hand of the Lord was with them. Their success - many believed.
What more does the Church of God require today? When Paul and Barnabas worked together, the record is, "The Lord gave testimony unto the word of His grace," When Paul, in a vision, hears a man of Macedonia saying, "Come over and help us," he assuredly gathers that the Lord had called him to preach the Gospel unto them. Why so? How did he know but that the help needed was the brightening of their lives by a little amusement, or the refining of their manners by a collection of paintings? He never thought of such things. "Come and help us!" meant to him, "Preach the Gospel." "And Paul:, as his manner was, went in unto them, and reasoned with them out of the Scriptures" - not "about" the scriptures, mark, but "out" of them - "opening and alleging that Christ must needs have suffered and rise from the dead." That was the "manner" of evangelistic work in those days, and it seems to have been wonderfully powerful; for the verdict of the people is, "These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also." Just now the world is turning the Church upside down; that is the only difference.
When God told Paul that He had much people in Corinth, I read, "And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the Word of God among them." Evidently then, he judged that the only way to bring them was by the Word. A year and a half, and only one method adopted. Wonderful! We should have had a dozen in that time! But then Paul never reckoned that providing something pleasant for the ungodly was part of his ministry; for, on his way to Jerusalem and martyrdom, he says, "Neither count my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the Gospel of the grace of God." This was all the ministry he knew. The last description we have of the methods of this prince of evangelists is of a piece with all that has gone before, "He expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses and out of the prophets, from morning til evening, preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus." What a contrast to all the rot and nonsense now being perpetrated in the holy name of Christ! The Lord clear the Church of all the rubbish that the devil has imposed upon her, and bring us back again to apostolic methods!
Not Spiritually Fruitful
III. Lastly. The mission of amusement utterly falls to effect the desired end among the unsaved; but it works havoc among the young converts. Were it a success, it would be none the less wrong. Success belongs to God. Faithfulness to His instructions belongs to me, But it is not, "test it even by this", and it is a contemptible failure. Let that be the method which is answered by fire, and the verdict will be, "The preaching of the Word, that is the power."
Let us see the converts who have been first won by amusement. Let the harlots and the drunkards to whom a dramatic entertainment has been God's first link in the chain of their conversion stand forth. Let the careless and the scoffers who have cause to thank God that the Church has relaxed her spirit of separation and met them half-way in their worldliness, speak and testify. Let the husbands,, wives, and children, who rejoice in a new and holy home through "Sunday Evening Lectures on Social Questions" tell out their joy. Let the weary, heavy-laden souls who have found peace through a concert, no longer keep silence. Let the men and women who have found Christ through the reversal of apostolic methods declare the same, and show the greatness of Paul's blunder when he said, "I determined not to know anything among you save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." There is neither voice nor any to answer. The failure is on a par with the folly, and as huge as the sin. Out of thousands with whom I have personally conversed, the mission of amusement has claimed no convert.
Now let the appeal be made to those who, repudiating every other method, have staked everything on The Book and The Holy Ghost. Let them be challenged to produce results. There is no need. Blazing sacrifices on every hand attest the answer by fire. Ten thousand times ten thousand voices are ready to declare that the plain preaching of the Word was, first and last-, the cause of their salvation,
But how about the other side of this matter - what are baneful effects? Are they also nil? I will here solemnly as before the Lord, give my personal testimony. Though I have never seen a sinner saved, I have seen any number of backsliders manufactured by this new departure. Over and over again have young Christians, and sometimes Christians who are not young, come to me in tears, and asked what they were to do, as they had lost all their peace and fallen into evil. Over and over again has the confession been made, "I began to go wrong by attending worldly amusements that Christians patronized." It is not very long since that a young man, in an agony of soul, said to me, "I never thought of going to the theater until my minister put it into my heart by preaching that there was no harm in it. I went, and it has led me from bad to worse and now I am a miserable backslider; and he is responsible for it."
When young converts begin to "damp off," forsake the gatherings for prayer, and grow worldly, I almost always find that worldly Christianity is responsible for the first downward step. The mission of amusements is the devil's half-way house to the world. It is because of what I have seen that I feel deeply, and would fain write strongly. This thing is working rottenness in the Church of God, and blasting her service for the King. In the guise of Christianity, it is accomplishing the devil's own work. Under the pretense of going out to reach the world, it is carrying our sons and daughters into the world, With the plea of "Do not alienate the masses with your strictness," it is seducing the young disciples from the simplicity and the purity that is toward Christ. Professing to win the world, it is turning the garden of the Lord into a public recreation ground, To fill the temple with those who see no beauty in Christ, a grinning Dragon is put over the doorway.
It will be no wonder if the Holy Ghost, grieved and insulted, withdraws His presence; for "what concord hath Christ with Belial, and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?"
"Come out!" is the call for today. Sanctify yourselves. Put away the evil from among you. Cast down the world's altars and cut down her groves. Spurn her offered assistance. Decline her help, as your Master did the testimony of devils, for "He suffered them not to speak, because they knew Him." Renounce all the policy of the age. Trample upon Saul's armour. Grasp the Book of God. Trust the Spirit who wrote its pages. Fight with this weapon only and always, Cease to amuse and seek to arouse. Shun the clap of a delighted audience, and listen for the sobs of a convicted one. Give up trying to "please" men who have only the thickness of the ribs between their souls and hell; and warn, and plead, and intreat, as those who feel the waters of eternity creeping upon them.
Let the Church again confront the world; testify against it; meet it only behind the cross; and, like her Lord, she shall overcome, and with Him share the victory.
Apparitions of Mary or the Beast?
Pope John Paul II, in consecrating the shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Zakopane, Poland, which was built by its citizens in thanksgiving to the Virgin for having saved the pontiff in the attempt made on his life in 1981, recalled that the message of Fatima "consists in an exhortation to conversion, prayer, especially the rosary, and reparation for one's own sins and for those of all mankind." (June 7, 1997 VIS)
[Editor] The claim one can make reparation (atonement) for one's own sin, is the sin of blasphemy. Who is this woman? We believers know it is not Mary the mother of Jesus. It can only be an apparition of the beast itself whom the woman is riding.
Rev 17:3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. (KJV)
Christian gays & lesbians??
(United Methodist News Service. May 30, 1997)
Ten United Methodists were among the signers of a recent statement on homosexuality issued by clergy in Madison, Wis.
The "Madison Affirmation: On Homosexuality and Christian Faith," calls for the elimination of all policies and practices "which create barriers and restrictions to the full participation of gay and lesbian Christians in all of the privileges and responsibilities of church membership."
Refusing to condemn homosexuals, the statement says "From our reading of scripture and from our pastoral experiences, we believe there is sufficient evidence to conclude that homosexuality is neither sickness nor sin."
Religious affiliations of the clergy signers include American Baptist, Episcopal, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Society of Friends, Moravian Church in America, Presbyterian Church (USA), United Church of Christ, Unitarian-Universalist and Reform Judaism.
[Editor] The "Madison Affirmation" calls gays and lesbians Christians. But God says;
1 Cor 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, (KJV)
1 Cor 6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (KJV)
1 Cor 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (KJV)
The churches say such "are" some Christians. God says such "were" some Christians. The churches that are going home to Rome to ride the blasphemous beast with her (Rev 17:3) will suffer the wrath of God with her.(Rev 16:19)
Ecumenicism is good for "One Thing". We can all "go to hell together" or "go to heaven separate".
A new ABC-TV sitcom will further anger religious conservatives, some predict. The show, titled Nothing Sacred, will feature a parish priest who is unsure God exists and counsels a pregnant teenager to "follow her own instincts," according to the network's description of the show. Disney owns ABC-TV.(Religion News Today July 16) ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Churches Get Ready For The Anti-Christ-Who has no desire of women. (Dan 11:37)
The General Synod of the Church of England voted not to take a hard-line against the ordination of homosexual priests, and to keep the matter open for future discussions. The debate was less hostile than a similar one 10 years ago, according to news reports..[When people are exposed to something long enough they begin to accept it. That's why God preaches separation.] While he said he can find no justification in Scripture to sanction same-sex relationships, Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey suggested a commission be formed to study the subject of sexuality. [Must the church study the teachings that God calls sin to see if God is right? When God said "study to show yourself approved unto God..." I "know" He didn't have this in mind]. Homosexual and lesbian protesters outside the meeting applauded the decision. [See! The devil is happy] (Religion News Today 7/16)
UMC Finds Way To Increase Membership.
United Methodists decided last April to make children full members of the church when they are baptized rather than when they are old enough to profess their faith. The new policy was unanimously approved by about 1,000 delegates to the general conference (Greenville [S.C.] News, 4/23/96).
And no wonder
The United Methodist News Service on 7/7/97 reports that membership in the United Methodist Church dropped by approximately 42,000 during 1996.
Unofficial figures gathered from the denomination's annual (regional) conferences by Newscope, weekly publication of the United Methodist Publishing House, and by United Methodist News Service, show the 1996 loss is about 7,300 members less than 1995.
Officials estimate that the 1996 membership in the United States will be approximately 8.5 million, down 42,000 from 1995. The 1996 figures are an improvement over the 49,308 loss reported in 1995 and the 62,267 members lost in 1994.
Next month I go back to some of my own articles in the newsletter, but I had a burden to publish the article by Archibald Brown. And so I did.
There are two web sites on the Internet maintained by Roman Catholics who evidently have a burden to "expose" the anti-Catholic teaching of my newsletter and web site. And that is good.
That's good because these Roman Catholics provide a link to my web site inviting their Catholic brethren to "see for themselves".
Once there, they have the opportunity to read the true gospel of Christ, and when they write me I have the opportunity to preach the true gospel of Christ to them. Of course they are going to realize this when they read this letter.
Comments, questions, and additional subscribers are always welcome.
God bless you and see you next month
We Must Earnestly Contend For The Faith