MY LORD DELAYETH HIS COMING - A CALL TO REVIVAL AND REFORMATION
by Leonard Tucker (2010-02-18)
CONCERNED ABOUT COMPROMISES IN THE CHURCH?
Evaluating New Trends in The Church
Samuel Koranteng-Pipim edited a book titled, Here We Stand. In this book a number of Adventist pastors and Bible scholars express their concerns about these things. Names like Richard W. O’Ffill, C.D. Brooks, Ronald A.G. du Preez, Walter J. Veith, C. Mervyn Maxwell, Mark Finley, Doug Batchelor, and others are included. The sub-title of the book reads, “Evaluating New Trends in The Church.” A union conference president, Thomas Mostert, also wrote a book titled, Hidden Heresy. At the time, Elder Mostert was president of the Pacific Union Conference. Another wonderful book was written by Herbert Edgar Douglass titled, A Fork In The Road, dealing with the Evangelical’s influence in changes in our doctrines beginning in 1956. Dr. Douglas is a veteran warrior and has served God’s church as an editor, college professor, theologian and administrator. He was serving as an editor when he witnessed firsthand the things that he writes about in the book. Dr. Douglas is now employed by Amazing Facts. Dennis Priebe, also employed by Amazing Facts as a revivalist, has been speaking in churches all across North America about these things. You can order his books, DVD’s and CD’s by going online to dennispriebe.com. You will also find free downloads on these topics at that website.
I mentioned earlier about new church growth methods being implemented in the church today. Some of our pastors are being sent to seminars conducted by the leaders of the Evangelical mega-churches and giga-churches. Most Adventists have recently heard the name Rick Warren. Pastor Warren spoke at President Obama’s inauguration. Warren is the pastor of the 22,000 member Saddleback Community Church in Tustin, California. Pastor Rick Warren wrote two books, The Purpose Driven Life, and The Purpose Driven Church. Pastor Thomas Mostert, on page 43 of Hidden Heresy, states the following.
“Hundreds of Adventist churches have joined the thousands of churches around the world in the forty-day spiritual journey through the book The Purpose Driven Life.” Then on the same page he states,
Already, we are seeing the fruitage of Warren’s influence in Adventist churches. Pastors in several conferences have announced that they are no longer going to preach controversial doctrines from the pulpit. They indicate their plan is to become ‘seeker sensitive’ on Sabbath morning. The format will be entertaining because that is what non-members want. The music will be contemporary. Each has indicated to members who object, ‘If you don’t like the new direction, transfer to another church.’ It is not coincidental that these same suggestions can be found on Warren’s website pastors.com.
I recently had a member of the Adventist contemporary church that I visited tell me that three years ago all the members were given Pastor Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life. This member was expressing concern about some of the things that were taking place there and seeking counsel. Yes, this church has been growing at a rate of a hundred members a year. Yes, tithe is up as a result of this growth. Yes, many people are excited about this growth. However, indications are that much of this growth can be attributed to the lowering of church standards, the entertaining worship style, the continental breakfast (a feature of the Saddleback church model), and seeker-sensitive messages.
We must ask ourselves: Is this growth helping or hurting the church? Are we building with gold, silver and precious stones, or are we building with hay and stubble? Are we keeping pace with the light and following the Holy Spirit’s leading or are we walking in a fire of our own kindling? The inspired quotes listed above seem to indicate that we are making serious mistakes. We must also remember the fact that the decisions of a few affect us all. We must stop following our own inclinations and turn back to the counsel of the true witness. We must stop looking at the world’s churches for guidance and do as our founders did. They studied the word of God and prayed for guidance from the One who never errs. God has given us an abundance of divine counsel on church growth. Babylon is the habitation of devils; we need no advice about church growth from them!
God has bestowed upon man great light and many blessings; but unless this light and these blessings are accepted, they are no security against disobedience and apostasy. When those whom God has exalted to positions of high trust turn from Him to human wisdom, their light becomes darkness. Their entrusted capabilities become a snare (Prophets and Kings, p. 83).
When Moses came down the mountain and confronted the children of Israel, he told them that they had to make a choice.
Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Lord’s side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him (Exodus 32:26).
When the sons of Levi joined Moses he gave a chilling command.
And he said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor. And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men (Exodus 32:27, 28).
I am convinced that there is a parallel to this for modern spiritual Israel. The sword represents the word of God. God is asking each of us, “who is on the Lord’s side?” Do we want to continue our illicit relationship with the daughters of Babylon in their doctrines, church growth methods, worship styles, and music, or do we want to follow the Lord through obeying His counsel given to us in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy? When we make our decision to be on the Lord’s side, God expects us to take our spiritual swords in hand and do battle with our brother, our neighbor and our companion. How wonderful it is that we are living in the spiritual dispensation and this battle is a spiritual battle not to destroy them, but to win their hearts back to the truth. The sword is the Bible. The truth is to be our only weapon.
I would also call your attention to Elijah and his mountain experience. The rain had been withheld from Israel because King Ahab, the leader of Israel, had married the daughter of a heathen king and led the children of Israel into Baal worship.
He took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him” (1 Kings 16:31).
Is God withholding the latter rain from Israel today? Shouldn’t we have received it by now? Are we not in a time of delay? Why are we still here?
We may have to remain here in this world because of insubordination many more years, as did the children of Israel; but for Christ’s sake, His people should not add sin to sin by charging God with the consequence of their own wrong course of action (Evangelism, p. 696).
Elijah also called the children of Israel to make a choice.
And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him (1 Kings 18:21).
In each case the apostasy could not continue to be ignored. The people had to make a choice. We must also make our choice today. We must turn away from the daughters of Babylon. Babylon is the habitation of devils. The mega-church, giga-church movement is not of the Lord. It is the counterfeit revival. We must recognize the fact that we are on the borders of the Promised Land and King Balak has influenced the false prophet Balaam to bring a curse upon Israel. The Midianitish women are in the camp and are seducing us into false worship at the grand festival.
After a time Midianitish women began to steal into the camp. Their appearance excited no alarm, and so quietly were their plans conducted that the attention of Moses was not called to the matter. It was the object of these women, in their association with the Hebrews, to seduce them into transgression of the law of God, to draw their attention to heathen rites and customs, and lead them into idolatry. These motives were studiously concealed under the garb of friendship, so that they were not suspected, even by the guardians of the people.
At Balaam’s suggestion, a grand festival in honor of their gods was appointed by the king of Moab, and it was secretly arranged that Balaam should induce the Israelites to attend. He was regarded by them as a prophet of God, and hence had little difficulty in accomplishing his purpose. Great numbers of the people joined him in witnessing the festivities. They ventured upon the forbidden ground, and were entangled in the snare of Satan. Beguiled with music and dancing, and allured by the beauty of heathen vestals, they cast off their fealty to Jehovah. As they united in mirth and feasting, indulgence in wine beclouded their senses and broke down the barriers of self-control. Passion had full sway; and having defiled their consciences by lewdness, they were persuaded to bow down to idols. They offered sacrifice upon heathen altars and participated in the most degrading rites (Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 454, 455).
There are false prophets in the camp inducing us to attend the grand festival. Many of us are beguiled with their music and dancing. Some of God’s people’s minds have become beclouded by eating their bread and drinking their wine. There is a price to be paid for our apostasy. Thousands will fall as a result of the plague. Phinehas must take his javelin and slay the boisterous Zimri and the Midianitish harlot in order to stop the plague from destroying Israel. Brethren, in a spiritual sense, we all represent Phinehas. We must each do our part to lovingly, faithfully sound the alarm in Israel. We must, as they did, fall on our faces before God and confess our sins. We must arm ourselves with the sword of truth (Bible and Spirit of Prophecy) and do battle with the priests of Baal so that the latter rain can come. When we truly experience revival and reformation God will give us the latter rain just as he did in the time of Elijah. When the priests of Baal are no longer in Israel and we receive the latter rain, Jezebel will threaten our lives with a death decree just as Elijah was threatened in his day. But the truth will triumph. God will strengthen His people to finish this work and the great controversy can finally come to an end.
Do we really want church growth? God has given us a formula for that: revival and reformation.
A revival of true godliness among us is the greatest and most urgent of all our needs. To seek this should be our first work. There must be earnest effort to obtain the blessing of the Lord, not because God is not willing to bestow His blessing upon us, but because we are unprepared to receive it. Our heavenly Father is more willing to give His Holy Spirit to them that ask Him, than are earthly parents to give good gifts to their children. But it is our work, by confession, humiliation, repentance, and earnest prayer, to fulfill the conditions upon which God has promised to grant us His blessing. A revival need be expected only in answer to prayer (Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 120).
There is nothing that Satan fears so much as that the people of God shall clear the way by removing every hindrance, so that the Lord can pour out His Spirit upon a languishing church and an impenitent congregation. If Satan had his way, there would never be another awakening, great or small, to the end of time. But we are not ignorant of his devices. It is possible to resist his power. When the way is prepared for the Spirit of God, the blessing will come. Satan can no more hinder a shower of blessing from descending upon God’s people than he can close the windows of heaven that rain cannot come upon the earth. . . . We are in the great day of atonement, when our sins are, by confession and repentance, to go beforehand to judgment. God does not now accept a tame, spiritless testimony from His ministers. Such a testimony would not be present truth. The message for this time must be meat in due season to feed the church of God. But Satan has been seeking gradually to rob this message of its power, that the people may not be prepared to stand in the day of the Lord (Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 124).
True church growth will come when we receive more of the power of the Holy Spirit at the falling of the latter rain. The latter rain will fall when we experience revival and reformation in the church. Until that time God will limit the amount of true growth we experience because His church is not ready to be the example of godliness to the new converts that God requires. He can’t call them out of Babylon until we get ourselves all the way out. We will experience tremendous growth when we experience primitive godliness. Then and only then will God be glorified by calling His people out of Babylon and unite them with His Remnant Church.
For the full presentation see: www.GreatControversy.org
With His love,