Marty became pastor of a small rural church and within a few years had built it into a successful Ruckmanite (King James Only) church. He started a successful Christian school, and one day a problem student reported seeing Marty kissing an unmarried woman teacher.
The two denied it, the church ruled in their favor, and several months later, Marty and the teacher were caught in adultery by Marty's wife. Resigning in disgrace, Marty wanted to return to the ministry. He got into difficult, non-Biblical questions about how many natures Jesus had, and used his knowledge of this non-Biblical subject to present himself as a knowledgeable Christian leader.
Learning that some teachers at his (former) Christian school opposed bringing him back as pastor, he sent letters threatening to destroy their ministries if they didn't stop. At least one teacher read the letter out loud at a church business meeting. He also sent similar letters to some people in the church.
Marty still covers his trail. He currently advertises himself as a successful Christian leader, while omitting the part about adultery.
Friday, December 30, 2011
But Christians with limited ability can still read the Word of God, pray, fast, work, etc., and get blessed more than Christians with more ability. And then, both groups can be struck with jealousy and envy. Conflicts between these two groups are one of the reasons that many missionaries can't get along with each other.
To be continued...
Sunday, December 25, 2011
The translators of the King James version got this one right, while most modern translations got it wrong. "Jealousy" refers to a person having something, but being afraid that someone else will take it away. King Saul was jealous of David, fearing that David would steal his kingdom. Jealousy is not a big deal in the Bible, however.
"Envy" refers to a person who does not have something, but he feels that it should rightfully be his. The Bible talks a lot about the problem of envy, when a person demands a position, an honor, or leadership that someone else has. We'll see how this relates to missionaries.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
One Sunday, the four of us were happily preparing the church kitchen when a fifth person showed up. She immediately started scolding people for what they wee doing and began re-arranging things and giving orders that made no difference. After aggravating us for three weeks, she explained that a group of women had formed a committee and put her in charge of the kitchen.
Since the church had not authorized this committee (and we hadn't been allowed to vote) we ignored her. Soon we had a group of four women showing up every Sunday to pretend they were in charge, while the four of us did all the work. Both groups ignored the other, and no real harm was done.
But if we had to put up with people like that seven days a week, there would have been problems.
Monday, December 19, 2011
My wife and I stated showing up early at the Baptist church to get things ready. This included getting the kitchen set up for the refreshments after church. A Godly older man also started showing up. And then, the Cookie Nazi appeared.
She had earned her name by slapping people's hands if they took to many cookies after church. She angrily demanded that no one but her set out the cookies. I realized that she wanted to serve God, but due to her ill health and constant pain, arranging cookies was about all that she could do. So we let her arrange the cookies, and she did a very god job.
She thought the three of us were wonderful, and she told people how nice we were. But Folks, if we had to put up with her all week, this story might not have had a happy ending.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
One reason that missionaries can't get along should be obvious. The normal stresses of life are magnified when you have to live with people seven days a week. Not all Christians obey the Biblical command to be "endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." But at least you can get away from those people after church.
Which brings up two good illustrations of Church Kitchen Komedy...
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Gothard explained that he was going to start giving missionaries seminars on how to get along with each other. Despite his usual success, Gothard failed miserably in this endeavor. If missionaries didn't know how to get along with other Christians, how did they raise support?
So why do missionaries have so much trouble getting along with each other?
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Most Christian musicians really do love God. But they hear enough praise and gratitude that they sometimes forget that it takes more than musical ability to succeed as a missionary.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Heading to the local Assemblies of God church, the two of them blamed their failure on the Baptists, caused conflict there, and returned to the US.
They failed in their original ministry, caused problems in two churches, and returned to the US--all within six months. But Jim sure was a good musician.
Friday, December 2, 2011
The church had a policy of interviewing several candidates and then choosing one. The fellow preached at the church, and as soon as he got done, the head deacon asked him to wait outside. Ten minutes later, they called the fellow back in and told him that the church had voted unanimously to call him as their pastor.
The new pastor thought that they must have rally been impressed by his sermon, but he found out the truth. The deacon had told the congregation that this selection process was taking to long, they needed a piano player, this guy's wife could play the piano, and so they should hire him. And they did.
Which just goes to show...
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Why do most missionaries fail? Because they're doing the wrong thing (trying to start churches).
Why do most missionaries continue to do the wrong thing, when they see that it doesn't work? Because they have a strongly-held belief that is incorrect.
Why do most missionaries hold to a strong belief, that gets them to do the wrong thing, so that they fail? Because when someone tells them the truth, it is so contrary to what they believe that they reject it.
Now Folks, I want you to be patient with me over the next few posts, because I am going to teach something that is very contrary to what most Christians believe.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
For years, there was no problem, and then somebody in the Convention said something that BIMI didn't like, and BIMI demanded that their missionaries repudiate the statement or BIMI would cut them off. If anyone in the world ought to believe that a mission board has no authority to rule over missionaries, it ought to be independent Baptists.
But when someone has power, and that someone controls the money, that isn't how it works out.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
By definition, most missionaries start small. They have to speak in a variety of churches, and they usually get a small amount (often $50/month) from those churches that support them. Many of these churches will have a Women's Missinary Society that reads the missionaries' letters, prays for them, and even gives them extra money. And some churches have a Missions Director.
Sometimes given the job to placate him after the congregation had rejected him as a leader, the MD oversees the missionaries who are getting $50/month. He has almost absolute power to have the church drop a missionary. And so missionaries have to send this man monthly reports, answer his questions, and not do anything that he objects to. In other words, they have to obey him. Since most missionaries have to answer to several MDs, problems easily develop.
Friday, November 18, 2011
They were both large, successful churches led by soul-winners, and they made the right decision about Peter and Paul.
But that isn't who modern missionaries give account to. They often have to give account to a mission board that has no Scriptural authority to exist. And there's someone else that's even worse.
Monday, November 14, 2011
A major problem with missionaries today is that they have to answer to a board that has no Scriptural authority to evaluate them. Missionaries are forbidden to participate in evangelistic outreach with other groups on the field. They are also forbidden to do anything that might offend the organizations and churches that provide financial support for the board.
I'll be talking about this one for a while.
Friday, November 11, 2011
About three years ago, our church decided to open a children's outreach, for local kids only, to be held on Saturday, and I felt led to help. The plan was a success, even though it didn't work. Last Sunday we brought 32 Mexican children to church in the church's 18-passenger van. And our pastor, who took the church from 12 to over 100 in five years, came to Mexico as an evangelist, not a pastor.
In the book of Acts we read that various missionaries, including the Apostle Paul, didn't go where they planned to, but they were still successful. Careful, long-term planning sounds good, and it is often necessary in order for a missinary to raise support. But it isn't always the way God works.
Monday, November 7, 2011
Most missionaries present the same goal to their mission board: church planting. They will either start or serve in new churches. And church planting is an effective long-term means of establishing Christianity in an area. The problem is, it rarely works. Almost all new churches fail. In fact, the most successful means of starting new churches, by far, is to have a church split.
Starting a new church is extremely difficult, and the failure rate is extremely high. Different groups use different methods, and most of them don't work. In other words, God doesn't often call Christians to plant churches, but that's what missionaries try to do.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Here in Mexico, I have asked missionaries to teach a children's Bible lesson for me, as I cannot learn Spanish. One missionary, who did an outstanding job, complied one time. Others have told me that God didn't call them to work with children. So those missionaries go home empty-handed, while people who are teaching children's classes are getting something done.
Children's ministries do not carry a lot of status. But if God is making a children's ministry successful, His servants will be blessed if they work in it.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
One fellow here in Mexico has been driving a van for years, without pay, for an orphanage. He has accomplished far more than most missionaries in the area, but no mission board would accept a candidate whose only service is to drive a van. I'm a Baptist who drives a van on Sunday for a Pentecostal church, and on a typical week-end I'll bring more Mexicans to church than most missionaries ever will. But no mission board would ever accept me.
A retired doctor and nurse have started a successful Christian orphanage here, but with no experience in the ministry, they are here on their own. And my pastor came here after being rejected by a mission board, took a church running a dozen, and five years later is running over 100.
Mission boards must be doing something wrong, but what is it?
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
I was a missionary to Massachusetts one summer while I was in college. I spent forty hours a week knocking on doors, plus I ran a bus route. We have a teenager down here now who has lived in orphanages for the past few years, working without pay. Someone else just posted a comment about how she led her first soul to Christ on a mission trip.
And others go on a working vacation, doing less work than they would on a summer job. When they report back to their church, they spread their distorted ideas of mission work to their listeners. A happy congregation is pleased that their young people had a good spiritual experience and misses the fact that they came back empty-handed.
This is one reason why most missionaries, mission boards, and churches that support missionaries don't know what they're doing.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
1) Most missionaries don't know what they're doing.
2) Most mission boards don't know what they're doing.
3) Most churches that support missionaries don't know what they're doing.
After six years in Mexico, I'm convinced that all three are true. Successful pastors down here believe they are true. Most missionaries who come down here leave little or no success behind them, and most never come back.
I'll be posting two or three times a week on "Why Missionaries Fail," and I hope you'll join in with comments and suggestions.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
“Laybawb” is translated “courage” in Daniel 11:25. The word literally means “heart” and refers to both emotions and understanding. Describing a future battle between the king of the north and the king of the south, Daniel tells us that the king of the north "… shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the South with a great army…”
The king of the north already had courage. He needed to stir it up, but he already had it.
Monday, June 27, 2011
And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. Joshua 2:11
This is the only appearance of the word “rhuack” in Scripture. The word refers to the spirit or mind of a rational being. Rahab explained to the two Israelite spies that the fear of God’s power had driven the people of Jericho into irrationality. This helps us understand 2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
When a Christian breaks under fear, and begins lying or doing some other wrong, that Christian already possesses the opposite of fear: a spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. But the Christian needs to use it.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
The Hebrew word “awmatz” appears nine times in the Old Testament. It can refer to establishing something that is already there, or increasing what is already there. Seven times it is part of the phrase, “Be strong and of a good courage.” Awmatz requires strength because what you have is under attack, and you have to establish or increase it under pressure. It is twice translated “courageous,” and both times it follows the command “Be strong.”
Once again, awmatz is not a spiritual gift. You are commanded to be strong and use it.
Friday, June 17, 2011
Appearing eleven times, “khawzak” refers to grasping, seizing, or conquering something. In seven appearances, it is part of the phrase, “Be of good courage.” Twice it is translated “courageous,” and once it is translated “courageously.”
And now an important point: It is never referred to as a spiritual gift: all the Jews were told to use khawzak, as if they already had it.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
In the only appearance of the word “courage” in the New Testament, the Greek word means, well, “courage.” It is related to the Greek word “daring,” and is also related to the Greek word for “comfort” and “good cheer.”
How does courage work? By comforting and cheering you as you face difficulty, enabling you to dare to do what is right.
How does a Christian gain courage? From the kindness and encouragement of the saints.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
In the nightmare that followed, the church leadership united in blaming me. Why? The student's father announced that he was going to sue, and I watched in amazement as the entire leadership quickly turned against me.
I have heard enough similar stories from former Christian school teachers that I feel safe in saying that the great decline in Christian schools is largely due to the failure of leadership to stand up to parents. In fact, the failure of many Christian churches to grow is the result of leadership failing to stand up to church bullies.
I'll be posting a couple times a week from a Bible study on "courage," and comments are welcome.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
After Japan had invaded China, but before they had bombed Pearl Harbor, the US, Japan, and Italy all had Marines stationed in China. The Christian Missionary Alliance had a base, and the director's wife was promiscuous, even with US Marines. A new young missionary arrived, and she seduced him the very first night. They got caught, and the husband made him sign all kinds of confessions that would destroy his ministry if revealed, and then they covered it up.
Remembering that THE STORY MIGHT NOT BE TRUE, I would have advised the young man to get back to the US by any means he could, report everything that had happened, get a secular job, and get out of the CMA. Two pastor friends here agree with me except for the last part. Bypassing their doctrinal differences, they see no need for him to leave the group.
How would you have advised him?
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Re: Barnabas Was Right--or was he?
Friday, March 18, 2011
While in prison, Bakker made a major turn-around, confessing his guilt (although some people feel he was more guilty than he admitted), and currently runs a much-smaller ministry. But Bakker really did stop his fraud. He really has kept himself clean. God doesn't object to His children going to prison; He objects to the sins that got them there.
When Bakker eventually did produce real repentance in prison, God didn't get him out the very same day. He had to go through a period of spiritual growth before God, Who can do anything, got him out. When a Christian goes into major sin, there can still be consequences that repentance doesn't remove.
Monday, March 14, 2011
Unknown to me, he was having frequent sex with teen-age girls, and his youth department promoted his friends who were involved in David's sins. Dave would demote or fire hard-working, Godly college students who were getting results, and put his ungodly friends in positions of authority where they took the credit for the success of the Godly students.
Years after I graduated, the sex scandals blew up badly enough that Dave couldn't lie his way out of them anymore. Faced with the prospect of having to work at an honest job, Dave "repented," Hyles declared that the Holy Spirit had restored Dave, and once again he became a successful Christian speaker.
When a large church in my city was considering bringing Dave in as a speaker, I stated publicly that his repentance was fake, and that I would tell anyone who would listen to me that Dave was still a sexual predator. A Godly deacon confronted me about how I could KNOW that Dave's repentance was fake, and I explained the Biblical commands to go back to those you have wronged, and how Dave was disobeying all of them.
Months later, when new sex scandals with Dave Hyles broke out, that same deacon was thanking me for having spared his church from public embarrassment.
Monday, March 7, 2011
Claiming that it would hurt his ministry and that the AOG was too harsh and unforgiving, Swaggart broke his word and returned to the ministry. Three years later, he was caught again with a prostitute, and he announced that God had told him to tell his followers that it was none of their business.
If you cut through the hype and read a neutral article on Swaggart at Jimmy Swaggart - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia you'll see that he had lived a life of self-sacrifice for a long time. Was his first repentance real? I don't know, but based on Proverbs 2:19, I had known back then that he could never be trusted again:
" None who go to her return, Nor do they regain the paths of life ---"
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Folks, when someone fails a test they get an F, if someone messes up in Bootcamp they get set back, this is reality for crying out Loud. If we truly repent then God will forgive us for the sin and we are not condemned to hell for it, but to assume that we can go on in the world of humans as if nothing has happened is absurd.
Any christian leader who is found to be in a serious sin should be a leader no longer because those who lead are an example. If the person repents and over a period of time is proven to be faithful and the particular sin a thing of the distant past then leadership could again be considered.
Today we have nutty stuff, leaders caught in serious sin who continue to lead by asserting that God called them and God forgave them so they should be allowed to continue to lead...that is pure nonsense. Question: why would any christian leader who fails as a christian leader believe that God would want them to continue as a leader? The requirement of a leader according to the bible is to be above reproach, if they commit something that is a serious reproach them they no longer qualify. Of course they can be forgiven by God and still serve the Lord...but not as a leader.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
A few months later, the fellow went to Hyles and confessed that he had been to a prostitute, and Hyles expelled him. Some of the man's friends went to Hyles, asking him to reverse his decision. They pointed out that the man's repentance was genuine.
Hyles told them that he believed that the man's repentance was genuine, but that no one could ever trust him.
Should Hyles have let him continue? Should he even have let him into the college in the first place?
Sunday, February 20, 2011
That teaching, that certain sins can never be undone, made a valuable impression on me that never wore off.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
18 For her house leads down to death, And her paths to the dead;
19 None who go to her return, Nor do they regain the paths of life ---
A Christian who gets involved in immorality can be forgiven, cleansed, and used by God. But this passage teaches that he will never fully recover. There is nothing in Scripture to suggest that John Mark had been involved in immorality, but there is a principle here: certain sins can leave results that repentance does not remove.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
38 But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work.
39 Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus;
Today was the third time I have heard a sermon on "Barnabas was Right."
Acts 14:14 tells us that both Barnabas and Paul were apostles. On a previous journey, John Mark (author of the Gospel of Mark) had deserted them. Now, as they prepare for another journey, Barnabas wants to take Mark with them, and Paul refuses. After all they had been through together, and after all the great works that God had done through them, Paul and Barnabas separate in anger.
The Bible later tells us that Paul and Mark got reconciled, and that Mark also helped the Apostle Peter. Outside the Bible, history tells us that Mark brought Christianity to Alexandria, Egypt. So, is it true that Barnabas was right and Paul was wrong?
We'll be dealing with the painful subject of what to do when a Christian goes into major sin and repents. Forgive him, yes. But can you trust him? Should you trust him?