Thy words were found and I ate them, and Thy words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Thy name, O LORD God of hosts. Jeremiah 15:16
In Part 1 of this 2 Part article, I introduced the necessity of apprehending spiritual truth organically. I contrasted organic truth with processed truth and explained the difference. In Part 2 below I continue with this explanation and make the necessary application.
Are Christians Being Systematically Indoctrinated?
I believe that many Christians have become indoctrinated and do not realize it. How is that possible? Ask yourself this question: Do I accept without question whatever my Pastor, Elder, or Ministry Leader says when it comes to the Bible? Do I uncritically believe whatever my Pastor teaches?
There has arisen in the church of America today a cult of personality. This cult is found anywhere a Pastor has become a brand. What I mean by Pastors becoming a brand is that hundreds of Pastors today have become celebrities. A marketing machine has been developed to keep them before the public, to keep their books on the best seller lists, to keep these Pastors from failing in spite of their failures. These Pastors are a book writing, book selling, conference speaking, money making machine, an expert on anything and everything. Television, radio, and print media seek out these Pastors for their thoughts and perspectives on any and every issue.
I suggest Americans wake up from this mesmerizing situation. Does the Bible say the following: “Study to agree with your Pastor? If you disagree, it’s because you don’t understand what you are reading.” That may well be a product of your study. You may learn for yourself that what your Pastor teaches is what the Bible states.
What the Bible actually says is this: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 NASB). From this passage in 2 Timothy 2 we learn that it is every individual’s responsibility to know the Scriptures for themselves. The Apostle Paul commended believers in Berea for doing exactly that: “Now these (the believers in Berea) were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scripture daily, to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11 NASB).
Why is studying the Bible for yourself so important? It is important because we are instructed to do so, and it is important because knowing what the Bible says brings you into a deeper, more abiding, much fuller relationship with and understanding of the One who has given us life. Studying the Bible for yourself also protects you from indoctrination.
So, what is organic in this context? It is what you know is true because you have studied it for yourself. What is processed in this context? It is information that you accept as true but that you have not verified for yourself.
I want to be clear at this point on something so as to avoid any potential confusion. I am not saying that you should become argumentative with your Pastor or Ministry Leader. We are not to wrangle over words, which is useless and leads to ruin (2 Timothy 2:14).
Here are three things I am suggesting that you do. They are found in Ezra 7:10: “For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.”
The order of this process is important. Notice what the process is from Ezra 7:10. We are to: study the Bible for ourselves, and then we are to practice what we learn before we attempt to teach anyone else what the Bible says. We are to learn and practice before we teach. In other words, we cannot teach what we do not know because we’ve never worked out truth in our own lives. That’s one reason we are not to lay hands on young believers to commission them for service. They must have time to learn and then learn by experience what truth is.
This is perhaps why the church is in such dire straits today: Pastors have not studied the Bible and therefore what they are attempting to practice and then teach is such rotten fruit. They cannot practice what they do not know. Thus, what they teach is unbiblical. This is perhaps the reason why the average Christian today hears nothing more than cotton-candy sermonettes about a flannel-graph Jesus.
Here is a starting point for Christians today: get your own household in order first. Men, make sure you are practicing what you are learning and then that you are teaching your spouse and your children the Bible. It is not your Pastors responsibility to insure your family knows the Bible. You will thereby grow in truth and knowledge and will be prepared to lead your local fellowship in the same.
Then Christians must get busy demonstrating faith by action in the communities in which they live. James says that faith without works is useless (2:20). Too many Christians have leaned heavily into the “we’re not saved by works” passage that they have become blinded to the fact that true faith is demonstrated by works.
Some Christians think America is a lost cause. I hear them say that America is under judgement. That may well be, but even if it is, where are we instructed to stop fighting the battle in which we find ourselves? Is God done changing lives? Is God done saving people out of the certain fires of hell? Are Christians commanded to circle the wagons and ride out the storm? We are absolutely not told that!
One thing is certain friends: we will not win a war we refuse to fight. Let me show you a picture of what God will do with and for a people who seek to love Him and serve Him in spite of their circumstances. It is found in Joshua 8.
In the chapters leading up to Joshua 8 the Hebrew people are in the Promised Land. They arrive at Jericho and take the city after God miraculously brought down the walls. What a glorious thing that was to see. Unfortunately, a man named Aiken took spoils that the people were told not to take. This resulted in a devastating defeat when a few thousand Hebrews went to destroy Ai. They were defeated and set to flight instead. That is the background for Joshua 8:1 which reads:
Now the LORD said to Joshua, do not fear or be dismayed. Take all the people of war with you and arise, go up to Ai; see, I have given into your hand the King of Ai, his people, his city, and his land.
In this one verse we see five things that are important to consider. First we read that the people were not to fear. Do not fear! In spite of past failure they were not to fear. What is fear? It is emotion caused by anticipation of danger. It is a normal emotion.
Listen to me Christian: do not fear! God has given you the city! An old proverb reminds us that courage and fear are brothers. One cannot exist without the other. Courage is simply fear under control. Freedom from fear comes when you take the step of faith, so step up Christian.
Second, we read the God told the people to not be dismayed. What does it mean to be dismayed? It means to lose courage or resolution. It means to lose hope. Have you not already seen God’s power working in your life? Push past the fear and do not allow your determination to be undermined.
Then God said to enlist those who understand, those with a warrior’s heart. “Take all the people of war with you.” We read in 1 Chronicles 12:32 that the sons of Issachar were men who understood the times in which they lived and knew what needed to be done. That is exactly what is needed today: people of God who understand the times they live in and know what needs to be done. It is time for people with a warrior’s heart to arise.
Next, God told the people to arise and go up with purpose and aggression against God’s enemies. This clearly tells us to go where the enemy is. Take the fight to them. This is offensive warfare. This as much as anything else is where the church has failed today. We see taking the fight to the enemy as serving at a soup kitchen or showing up for visitation night at the local fellowship. The next instruction makes this fourth command clearer.
The last thing embedded in Joshua 8:1 is this: God will destroy the enemy completely through your obedience to arise and go up with purpose and intention to take the fight to the enemy. “See, I have given into your hand the King of Ai.” Every time you turn a mother away from murdering her unborn baby at an infanticide facility you are defeating the King of Ai. Every time you attend a Gay Shame Parade and speak to those trapped in the debauchery of homosexuality and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ that alone can free them, you are defeating the King of Ai. Every time you tell a co-worker, family member, or stranger that there is salvation in no other name than Jesus Christ you are defeating the King of Ai.
Some of you reading this have not been fed true spiritual food in so long you’ve forgotten what it tastes like. You simply exist in a malnourished state. Here is the good news: that is not what God desires for you. God desires that you be the warrior He has created you to be. Do you believe that nothing formed against you will prosper? Then take action with courage and boldness!
Let me suggest that you be the church instead of going to church. It is time to leave the dead, dying, apostate corpses to rot in their lawlessness. Form a new body of believers that is faithful to Jesus Christ and then get active in your community. Start a home Bible study with other like-minded believers.
Finally, begin building a downline. Begin to network outside of your own neighborhood and community. There are thousands of believers looking for other believers to be the church alongside of. A day is coming when the visible organized church will be in full blown apostasy. Some churches and large portions of their denominations already are. Get out of those places and form a local body of true believers who love God and serve Him faithfully. I recommend that you organize regular meetings among those in your network. Have regional meetings where larger numbers can meet to be encouraged, edified, and equipped with God’s truth.
The day is almost over and the night is rapidly coming upon us when the Bible says no man can work. Let us serve our King to honor Him above all else, as workmen that do not need to be ashamed.
Pastor Mike Spaulding