While at the Hear the Watchmen conference, someone reminded me of this teaching from another conference last year. I looked for it online, and lo and behold, found it. The talk starts around the 26 minute mark.
Sanctimony has an unpleasant odor about it. Self-righteous,
self-aggrandizing sanctimony rooted in bitterness downright stinks. Once you
run across it, it is as difficult to wash the stench from your nostrils as that
of skunk, or putrid eggs, or some other hideous odor that causes one’s gag
reflex to kick in.
Tragically, I know this odor all too well having run across
it from time to time, and it is so off-putting that I felt compelled to write
the following. As a matter of full disclosure, as I know there will be whispers
to the contrary, I was not asked to write the following by anyone, at any time,
and if I would have been, I likely wouldn’t have.
This weekend I attended the Hear the Watchmen conference in
Dallas Texas. I was asked to speak, and even though I have a four month old and
an almost four-year-old at home, I made the effort to attend because the needs
of God’s people are more important than one’s own comfort. I knew it would be
difficult for my wife to be left alone with both children as I traveled, but
she understood the importance of this event, so she gave her consent with the
caveat that I be gone no more than two days.
As I write this I am sitting in Terminal C at Dallas Fort
Worth airport, waiting to catch a flight to Milwaukee, which will put me home
sometime after midnight. Contrary to popular belief, I am not flying on a
private jet as some like to picture all preachers, I’m flying coach, and my
seat is close enough to the lavatories to wish I were a little closer to the front
of the plane.
I will be missing roughly half of the speakers at the
conference, and for this I am sad. What I did hear while I was there, however,
was the testimony of a Messianic Jew who lost both possession and position for
the sake of Christ, and who was shunned by his family and ended up living in a
tent on the beach in Tel Aviv with his new wife because he refused to deny
Jesus. His name is Zev Porat. He is my brother in Christ.
I also got to hear a talk by Dr. Michael Lake, caught the
tail end of an enthusiastically delivered message by Carl Gallups, and was
present for every minute of Coach Dave Daubenmire’s infectious call to action
for the church. Somewhere in between getting fed I also delivered a message on
the importance of unity within the body, and how all the tribes of Israel came
together with one goal in mind: that of making David King. Without unity, we
are prey. Without unity, we have no hope of combatting the darkness
I did not know why God had led me to preach this particular
message, and I delivered it a day before what I am about to discuss occurred.
To top off my short jaunt to Dallas, thirty minutes after
touching down, I was sitting at a table with a man who is 88 years young, and
still as on fire for God as he was in his youth. His name is Henry Gruver, and
although he remembers having been in our apartment in California and meeting my
grandfather, I was too young to have remembered the visit.
For the thirty years I’ve been doing ministry he is one of a
handful of men I’ve wanted to meet, but somehow never got a chance to. His
passion for Jesus is evident to one and all, and his desire to see souls saved
is what compelled him to drive from Phoenix Arizona to Dallas Texas on his own;
a trying feat for a man half his age.
Throughout these two days I also saw people getting
convicted, delivered, fed spiritually, challenged, and encouraged. I saw people
laugh, and cry, and revel in that sense of comradery that only being around
other like-minded believers can produce. I saw what the work of ministry ought
to be, wherein the family of God lay aside all pretense and simply fellowshipped
with each other.
On the morning of the day I was supposed to fly back home I
was surprised to discover that every speaker at this conference had been
branded a heretic. If I had been singled out personally, this post would not
exist because I have thick skin and I’ve been called worse. However, I was
there when Russ Dizdar spoke of the deliverance ministry and how much of a toll
it takes on him physically. I saw the pain in his eyes, and I remember having
seen the same kind of pain in my grandfather’s eyes when we traveled. I was
there as brother Zev detailed being spat upon by those of his own family, and
how he would have inherited a fortune had he simply signed a document stating
that Jesus is not Messiah. I was there when Coach Dave spoke of standing in front
of abortion clinics and having strangers hurl insults and worse. I was there
when Michael Lake spoke of the hardship of leaving one’s spouse at home in an
ill state so you can go minister to the people of God. I was there when Mike
talked about being at the lowest point of his life, barefoot and penniless, and
someone giving him a pair of sandals and a ten-dollar bill. I was there! If
these men be heretics, then all I can say is that heretics will be walking the streets of heaven one day.
But see, it’s easy to be a Pharisee nowadays, and playing at
being judge, jury and executioner is seductive. Rather than loving the people
of God, the people of God love drama and intrigue. They treat the family of God
like some cheesy soap opera more interested in unfounded gossip than in whether
or not what was spoken was Biblically sound or spiritually impacting to those
Rarely will anyone lift a finger to further the work of the
Kingdom, but they’ll type themselves down to nubs tearing down people who
have been preaching the message of the cross throughout the world for longer
than they’ve been alive. If you have to tear others down in order to build
yourself up, then all I have for you is pity. If, however, you begin to use
words like heretic, which you
obviously do not know the definition of since you used it about men who are
wholly sold out for Christ, then I would encourage you to give serious
consideration to the scripture passages dealing with how one is to approach a
brother whom they consider to be in error, as well as how God deals with those
who make His little ones to stumble.
The thing of it is we all know the problems. We can itemize
them, we can catalogue them, we can talk about them endlessly, but when it
comes to solutions, the handful of individuals who have enough heart and
boldness to present them are branded heretics.
If all we were meant to do as the Body of Christ was moan and
holler about how bad it’s gotten in the world without acknowledging that it is
incumbent upon us to do something about it, to stand in the gap, to stand on
the battlements, and to make war against the darkness, there would be no point
the Scripture regarding being light, fighting principalities, or having done
all to stand.
Most Christians are content with being thermometers. A
blessed few realize they have no choice but to be thermostats.
It’s not enough to wail about it being hot or being cold. As
a child of God you must do your utmost to change the atmosphere around you, to
be a thermostat, and draw those who are in the darkness toward the light.
Just as an aside, as I doubt it’s a juicy enough tidbit to
make the gossip mill, do you know what all these heretics did when they heard they had been branded as such? They
didn’t pray for the Lord to smite anyone, they didn’t pray for the Lord to
rebuke anyone, they didn’t pray against
anyone, they prayed for them.
For whatever it’s worth, from everything I was able to
witness, these men are either really bad at being the heretics they’ve been
accused of being, or really good at being servants of the Most High God who
desire to see souls saved, and the world changed for the glory of the Father. But
then again, Jesus was accused of being master to the demons He cast out of
those who were possessed, by the same sort of Pharisee whose line and seed seems
to have survived the millennia.
It is impossible to scare monsters. Try as one might, one
cannot debase themselves to the level a monster can, and although most
individuals feel uncomfortable and even detest the notion of becoming monsters
even temporarily, monsters feel comfortable in their own skin.
There is no self-loathing when it comes to a monster. There
is no introspection, analysis, or desire to change, to become better, more
noble, or more humane. A monster is happy being a monsters, and anyone who
attempts at pretending to be one, or attempts to play chicken with one soon
comes to see the folly of their ways.
As of late political opponents of Vladimir Putin have been
dropping like flies. Just in the past week two such individuals have been found
dead within the borders of England, and in an act of breathtaking ignorance as
far as the nature of the man she was attempting to rattle, Theresa May set out
to make demands and set ultimatums regarding untimely demise of the
aforementioned Russian nationals. As is often the case words have turned to
action, and some twenty-three Russian diplomats have been expelled from
I know not who the English Prime Minister consulted, but if
she thought for a second that her actions would make the Russians back down,
she really has no clue as to whom it is she was attempting to bring to heel.
At this juncture Putin won’t back down simply to save face.
What the West fails to understand and has for decades is that showing weakness
when it comes to nations such as Russia is not an option. If Putin blinks, he
is done, and he knows it.
It is my hope that this entire drama ends here, that cooler
heads prevail, and heated rhetoric will remain just that. The thing about hope,
however, is that we often times hope something occurs which we know deep in our
gut will not, and this is one of those moments.
I think this would be a perfect time for the Russians to flex
their proverbial muscles, and reaffirm that they will not roll over for anyone,
nor do they take being threatened by a head of state lightly. It will be
interesting to watch this conflict play out to its rightful conclusion, because
I believe depending on how it goes it will either confirm that in fact the
Russians are ready to expand once more, or are still biding their time and
oiling the war machine to lethal perfection.
Whatever the outcome, whatever path nations take, whether it
be to peace or war, as children of God, what we must say as one voice in times
such as these is “come quickly Lord Jesus.”
It happens as surely as the sun rising every morning. Every
time I pen a call to action, or insist that the children of God are meant to be
more than the stepping stools of the godless, there are inevitably one, two,
five, ten e-mails from individuals reminding me that they are just one person,
and there really isn’t much one person could do.
The excuses are well detailed in every correspondence, from
them not having a platform, to them not wanting the blowback from family and
friends because they’ve been spending so much time trying to win them to
Christ, to the more generic, ‘I’m just one person. What can one person really
I have come to believe that this notion of numerical
inferiority is one of the tools and snares the enemy uses most often to keep
the children of God silent. It is a brilliant con, and as all brilliant cons,
it is almost childlike in its simplicity: You simply provide the individual
with justification for not doing what they know they ought to be doing.
You see, what the enemy is intent on doing is keeping you
from finding your voice in the first place. He knows that once you open your
mouth to speak, once you stand on the foundation of truth and defend the name
of Christ, once you stand in the gap and step out fully aware of the slings and
arrows that will come your way, you will realize that this fear of being
numerically inferior, or not being able to affect any change because you’re
just one person is a well-constructed but baseless lie.
There is a quote I believe to be attributed to Thomas Sowell
that highlights just how irrelevant numbers are when it comes to rational
arguments and making an impact in society. He is quoted as having said, ‘It’s
amazing how much panic one honest man can spread among a multitude of
This truth perfectly encapsulates why numbers rarely matter
except for when it comes to war. If you are standing on a foundation of truth,
then though you might stand alone, the fact that you are standing on truth will
strike fear into the hearts of those who have surrendered themselves to deceit.
The only reason the godless are winning is because they godly
are being silent. They make so much noise that one would think they were in the
majority, when all indicators prove that they are not. No matter how much they
try to tell you otherwise, transgender toddlers, pedophilia, the quashing of
free speech, debasement, hedonism, and purposeless existences are not what the
majority in this country ascribe or aspire to. It only seems that way because
the moral, the virtuous, the upright and the godly are utterly silent in the
face of screaming purple haired harpies with holes in their faces and a penchant
for misspelled tattoos meant to have a deeper meaning hidden to everyone but
the Tide pod eater who thought it would be a brilliant idea after a bottle of
It is now past obvious that silence is not the answer. The
silence of the godly emboldens the godless. The silence of the godly gives the
godless a sense of security, wherein they come to believe that the echo chamber
of idiocy in which they live is actually the real world everyone is accustomed
If history has taught us anything, it is that a majority who
is silent long enough will be forever silenced by the vociferous minority which
continues to push its agenda. Eventually, inevitably, there comes that turning,
that moment, that crossroads wherein the silent will want to speak, find their
voice, and make their arguments heard, but alas, they’ve been silent for so
long, and have acquiesced so much power to the godless, that out will come the
muzzles at the first stirring, and at the first sign that those who have long
been silent might want to speak in their own defense.
In any war of words, the side that establishes and determines
the narrative usually has the upper hand. I say usually even though I mean
always, because I don’t want you getting disillusioned within the span of the
first sentence of this essay.
If you get to dictate the narrative, you can paint the other
side as something they are not, and have that picture of them cemented in the
minds of many a soul even before they get a chance to counter your assertions,
or prove the fallacy of your argument.
When someone gets to define the narrative, it is akin to not
only choosing the time and place of a battle, but choosing what sort of weapons
will be used, as well as getting to call dibs on the optimum terrain. Ask any tactician
worth their salt and they will tell you that having the high ground in a battle
goes a long way to insuring your victory.
Even so, knowing this to be factually and demonstrably true,
we allow the godless to claim the high ground time and again, and as such continue
to be bruised and battered by their slings and arrows, which given an ounce of
investigation or introspection prove to be lies and half-truths at best.
We have seen this done to Christians over and over again, and
rather than learn from the past, we allow it to continue. What’s worse, we’ve
stopped defending our positions, we’ve stopped pointing out the cognitive dissonance
of the godless, and like a too oft beaten dog, we curl up in a ball and take
the bludgeoning anew.
Because they know their entire premise is built upon a
foundation of lies, every time someone who does not fit their narrative rises
in prominence, they become rabid in their desire to destroy them, their
reputation, their livelihood, their families, and their lives in general.
One of the longest running narratives regarding Christians is
that we are all knuckle dragging Neanderthals who couldn’t multiply single
digits if our lives depended on it, and whose only useful function in society
due to our diminished intelligence quotient is to dig ditches or shovel manure.
Before anyone gets angry, no, there’s nothing wrong with
digging ditches or shoveling manure, but the godless have relegated the whole
of Christendom to these two career choices, insisting that no rational human
being, no person who has the intellectual fortitude to aspire to more than
menial labors would ever believe in God.
As such, anytime a prominent neurosurgeon, scientist,
biologist, chemist, attorney, or philosopher confirms their belief in the God
of the Bible, they are systematically ridiculed, belittled, mocked, and
Why such vitriol? Because such individuals do not fit their
narrative, and anyone that disrupts their constant barrage of anti-Christian
sentiment must be cut off at the pass.
So what’s the point of this little rant? Well, simply to
encourage you to stop being the doormat of the godless, and defend the truth whenever
the opportunity arises. Stop allowing the heathen to establish the narrative,
and use the truth to defend against their lies.
One thing you will soon discover is that the godless are
cowards. Not only are they cowards, they are hypocritical cowards, who attack
those they have determined will not fight back or defend themselves.
Why is there no mockery of Muslims and Islam by the so-called
free thinkers of our day? Why are the utterly silent regarding even something
as laughable as Scientology? Because they know that there will be pushback, and
even the Scientologists will defend themselves against lies.
Not so for Christians. We are too busy stabbing at each other
and decreeing who will get to pass through the gates of heaven and who won’t to
see that we are being isolated and branded as something we are not.
One of the most despicable human beings to ever walk the
planet penned a pamphlet regarding affecting change in society, and among the
many things he wrote, he also surmised that ridicule is man’s most potent
The church is being ridiculed into irrelevancy, and our
silence at this juncture is utterly criminal. It may be difficult at first, but
as a child of God who stands on a foundation of truth you must find your voice,
and call out the liars who lie about you, your life, your intent, and your
faith. Do it forcefully, vociferously, and consistently, and you will see how
quickly they will retreat back into their dens of iniquity and hedonism.