My Fellow Fakers,
I have assembled you here today for the purpose of preaching a short sermon on an amazingly effective way to improve the public image of a Christian minister in most communities around the world.
This is the day of short sermons, so I will make this short and sweet to your ears. When you see how obvious my three points are, you will not doubt that I am a fine prince of preachers, and a fine prince of darkness!
Now, those with itching ears let them hear.
Christian ministers of today face the challenge of being accepted among the more astute, educated, and open minded members of the community. One of our responsibilities is to assist them in meeting this challenge.
Of course, there are many ways to achieve the goal, but in today’s enlightened and sophisticated world, I am proposing to you only three points for consideration. These will not seem harsh, unbending, radical or ridiculous to the so-called elite of any community. In fact, the minister who adopts them will certainly be hailed as open minded, warm hearted, and above all, a loving person worthy of their acceptance and respect.
Therefore, you will do your wicked work well if at every turn you impress upon the mind of the minister, from whatever source, these three points:
1. The acceptance of Open Theism. This notion suggests that because God allows human beings free will, He is therefore limited to knowing only everything that may happen as a result of acts of their free will, but not actually all specifics acts of their free will before they happen. That is, God is, finite. He does not need to know everything that will happen, only what could happen. This helps to absolve God of being responsible for the terrible things that do happen, and makes the minister more popular.
2. The acceptance of Theistic Evolution. While this marvelous teaching has been around for a long time (and I ought to know since I was the first to promote it), it has rapidly moved from liberal circles to a significant number of evangelical ministers. Be sure to advance the belief that God is limited to being an impotent cosmic Observer who had only one real function – to have pushed the first button. That idea still goes over with a BANG, and helps to make the Book of Genesis fit better with modern science, and consequently makes the minister more popular.
3. The acceptance of the Annihilation of the Impenitent. The annihilation argument will advance the idea that after an adequate period of punishment, all the really wicked will simply cease to exist. In other words, if the wicked hold out long enough, they eventually have what they wanted – to get away from God, and simply cease existence. This helps to deal with the question of why God would send anyone to hell, and make the minister more popular.
In closing, I acknowledge that you will need to be skillful in applying my three points. However, I believe that you are sufficiently practiced in the black arts of human deception that you have already been thinking of dozens of little tricks to advance our cause by helping to heap the right kind of praise on the hapless minister.
As you already know, the more praise the minister gets from the wrong people in the community the more likely our plan will have the desired results. Oh, how I approve of this Bible verse: “For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:43 KJV). Go and praise them for their open mindedness, warm heartedness, and loving spirit – praise them!
A THREE POINT REBUTTAL TO THE DEVIL’S SERMON
As our Lord Jesus said of all the preaching points of Satan: “Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).
Jesus also said of the Word of God: “Your word is truth” (John 17:17). So, the truth is:
• Open Theism suggests that man can make choices without God knowing about it ahead of time. However, the Scripture refutes this nonsense. “O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O LORD, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it” (Psalm 139:1-6). “Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were written all the days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them” (Psalm 139:16). The God of the Bible is an omniscient infinite God!
• Theistic Evolution suggests that God did not create out of nothing by His spoken word in the six days of the creation week. Nevertheless, Genesis chapters one and two refute this, as does the whole of Scripture. “Before the mountains were born or You gave birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. You turn man back into dust And say, “Return, O children of men.” For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it passes by, or as a watch in the night” (Psalm 90:2-4). “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created” (Revelation 4:11). The God of the Bible is the Creator of all that is, and there is nothing that is that has not been created by Him!
• Annihilation of the Soul suggests that in the end, man can win out over God because God’s love will force Him to extinguish the existence of the wicked. Yet this is not the teaching of Scripture. “And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:10-15). The God of the Bible is a God of justice – eternal justice!
THERE IS A MORE SURE WAY TO SERVE AS A CHRISTIAN MINISTER – A MATURE WAY.
“And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery” (I Corinthians 2:4-7a).
The spiritually mature minister will not be content with a politically convenient message. The spiritually mature minister will stand for Biblical orthodoxy. The spiritually mature minister will not be taken captive by the false hope that if we compromise just a bit, we will enjoy greater acceptance in our community.
Finally, the spiritually mature minister will not ignore the context of the Scripture so loved by the devil (as noted above): “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:42-43 KJV).
Never fall for the foolish flattery of the world, “so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes” (II Corinthians 2:11).
by Dennis D. Frey, Th.D.
President of Master’s International University of Divinity
*All Scripture is quoted from the NASV unless otherwise noted.