I would like to take the time to encourage you as others have done. I first heard you on Hagmann & Hagmann a few weeks ago and was very much encouraged by some of the things you said and intrigued by others.
I am 63 years old. I was raised in the Roman Catholic church, and until the Lord started opening my eyes at around age 20, I absolutely loved it (especially the pre-Vatican II church) and was convinced that anyone not in that church was going to hell and that they deserved it (as I had been taught). I got married at age 20 and within a couple of years, the Lord started opening my eyes to many of the errors that I had previously not seen. Then I even started questioning whether or not God existed. He ultimately convinced me of His existence through His Creation. “Where did this all come from?” was a question that could only be answered by, “A Creator of course!” Convinced of His reality, I tried reading my Catholic Bible to understand Him better, but the words made little sense to me. It was a dead book as far as I was concerned.
Then I overheard a man at work talking about being able to have Christ living in your heart. That night, I went home and asked Jesus to live in my heart (I didn’t know anything about repentance or anything, only that He would come into my heart if I asked Him to.) Immediately, the Bible became a living book that I could not put down. I read it on the bus on the way to and from work. I read it at home so much, my wife thought I was losing my mind. I started listening to Protestants on the radio (yikes!) and quickly started ditching so much of what I had previously believed (and loved) about Catholic doctrine.
Since that time, I have had an insatiable hunger and desire for truth. In addition to reading my Bible, I have listened to more teachers, read more books and articles, and even attended more churches than I can remember or count. Unfortunately, I have felt that I fit the description of Paul in 2 Timothy of those who are ever learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.
Over all these years (41 now), I have seen the “Church” continue to devolve into consuming ineffectiveness and weakness in spite of an ever increasing ability to “spread the gospel” through more and more options of media. As people have increasingly relied on their own intellect, and on the traditions of men, and the technology of man, they have decreased their reliance on the Holy Spirit (“we can handle it from here God!”). Even those who claim to be filled with the Holy Spirit, more often than not TRY to use Him to boost their own “ministries” and excite the emotions of their followers more than humbly obeying Him regardless of any benefit or cost that may be incurred by doing so. ( I include myself in this latter group, unfortunately).
I believe that the Lord showed me many years ago that America was the Babylon of Revelation 18. He also delivered me many years ago of the “Rapture” delusion, although I REALLY enjoyed the Biblical exposition of your recent series. It answered a lot of my questions. For instance, your last message, about the “Restrainer”, brought further clarity to one Jesus’ parables that I often think about: the Tares and the Wheat. I have understood that the sons of God (Wheat) must coexist with the sons of Belial (Tares) until the harvest, meaning until they are both mature and have borne their fruit. Your explanation of the “fruit” of lawlessness reaching maturity so that the “lawless one” could be revealed fit in perfectly with Jesus’ parable. It is very clear to me that lawlessness is increasing like never before; like the fruit of a tree for example that is green and immature for so long then suddenly ripens, seemingly overnight. The lawlessness ( and not just rebellion against the Laws of God, but even our own man made laws) that we are witnessing in this country in nearly every sector of authority (government, industry, education, science, even (astoundingly) Christianity itself) has, especially in the last 6 or 7 years, exploded.
I have also recognized that Protestantism has continued the heretical Roman Catholic model of “church” with the shepherds leading (sometimes from before, but often from behind) the “laity” who (as you have often said) are quite content to forfeit their responsibility of following Christ on their own, so that they may pursue the “American Dream” (quickly devolving into the American nightmare), and still get to heaven, where they will inherit an even bigger version of the American Dream (golf 24/7 anyone? or maybe a foursome with the Trinity?)
As an example, we have a Wednesday night “Prayer Meeting” at our church (again, I do love our pastors and my brothers and sisters at it). Typically, the meeting is 1-1/2 hours long, 95-100% of which is taken up by “worship music”, live or recorded. Of course the music is typical contemporary music which mostly sings about how much God loves us, comforts us and meets our needs or is mind numbing repetition of religious phrases like “withholding nothing” sung over and over until I want to scream and run out of the building. You would think that in light of the absolute destruction of this country that is now beyond question, the rise of the police state of which there is no longer even an attempt to conceal, and with the obvious fulfillment of prophecies that Jesus made regarding the times before His return, that the church would be crying out to God in repentance, with fasting and weeping between the “porch and altar” as Joel exhorted Israel to do before their time of judgment arrived. Instead, we just try to go along to get along and pretend like the funnel clouds on the horizon will never affect us, after all we’re Americans.
I read your book, “The Sinner’s Prayer Gospel”. Excellent ideas and exposition (although an editor would have made it a little smoother read). Thank you for relieving me of the burden of thinking that I had one shot to be born again, and even though I’ve said that “sinner’s prayer” hundreds of times, thinking that all the previous times were inadequate for one reason or another, and even though I absolutely know that there is no “sinner’s prayer” in the Bible, my constant weakness and lack of power must be because I somehow missed being “born again” when I said that prayer.
Perhaps “Born Again” really is “Born from Above” as some translations put it and salvation really is a progressive work of the Holy Spirit (not our own works) that will continue until the day we go home and that I can rest knowing that Jesus is the author and perfecter of my faith and that He will be the one Who faithfully works to present me before His Father. As noted before, I know a major change happened that night that I “invited Him into my heart”, but I have not had the radical transformation that so many have testified to (i.e. sinful habits disappearing overnight, etc). I thought your book steered a careful course between “once saved always saved by saying a prayer” and the error of attempting to be saved by legalistic works. Thank you again.
If I may, before I conclude this lengthy letter, I would like to bring up one issue that is troubling to me. I know you are a big fan of Terry Cook, and I agree that he has many good things to say. But you do such a good job of obliterating the Dispensationalist delusion of eschatological events, that I am surprised that you don’t have a discussion with Terry when he talks about the “rebuilt temple in Jerusalem” and the seven year tribulation. It sounds like he is totally on board with the Dispensationalist view (although not a Pre-tribber) and when you don’t question his views you appear to give tacit approval to them. Now it’s quite possible that I am being too picky, and I know that if you did interrupt him, that it could obscure the otherwise valid point that he is making, but perhaps you and he could have a discussion sometime and clarify where he stands. Even if he doesn’t ultimately agree with you, it might be helpful (especially to younger or weaker believers) if they knew that you don’t agree with some of the things your guests believe, but that the overall goals are the same.
Also, (and I don’t mean to pick on Terry Cook, because I like a lot of what he says), there are so many voices in Evangelical Christianity that constantly tell us what the New World Order is up to, and how evil people are in control of everything and how we’re going to end up in concentration camps, or starving to death, etc, etc. And I don’t disagree with that, and I know that that message has to continue to go out because the VAST majority of the church is clueless and frankly don’t believe it or care. But what about those of us how are convinced that it’s true? What exactly are we to do? Daniel says that “those who know their God, will be strong and do exploits” in those days. How do we ensure that we know God well enough to be those people. I’m talking about practical ways. I read my Bible daily, I try to pray daily (and not just “bless me” prayers, prayers asking for wisdom, power, the ability to help my brothers and sisters in Christ, to build the Body of Christ, etc) but I don’t at all feel adequate to withstand what is coming. Maybe you guys could remind us of God’s power toward us who believe, at least as much as we are told about the enemy’s power to deceive and destroy. I don’t mean to be overly critical. I really appreciate what you are doing, at least what I’ve seen and heard so far.
I have to admit, I’m a little nervous about the Nephilim stuff, UFOs, aliens and all that because frankly that has been the realm of the kooky over the years. But your solid scholarship and love of the Lord and of truth in the other areas gives me confidence that you are not wacky.
I am approaching with caution, because in my hunger for truth and because I really do see the error of the current “church model” and its application, I have become enamored with many teachers who have gone against the grain. Unfortunately, most of them have eventually disappointed and have disappeared or gone off the rails completely.
The gate is far more narrow than we think and the way is far more constricted. Somehow God is able to protect His own from the ever growing deception and I believe that it truly is impossible for the elect to be deceived.
One more thing, if you ever get the chance, read “Apostate, the Men Who Destroyed the Christian West” by Kevin Swanson. It is an excellent dissertation on the progressive destruction of Western Christianity caused by men who had at one time been strong Christians (or at least highly trained in Christian ministry) who defected and became architects of systems dedicated to tearing down the Church (such as Neitsche, Marx, Engels, Dewey, etc). This all started with Thomas Aquinas (interestingly enough) 500 years ago and has progressed through today to build the Beast Empire. After reading this lengthy but fascinating book, I’ve gotten a better understanding of the Beast rising from the sea in Revelation 13. Maybe this Beast doesn’t just rise in 3-1/2 years. Perhaps it is more of a 500 year process. Something to think about. You may even want to have Kevin Swanson on your radio show. I heard him as a guest on Trunews (sorry) months ago.
Keep up the good work. I am seeking the Lord for His direction in supporting your ministry.