Some have raised the question about ministry philosophy and if I would preach or teach on a lordship stage or platform whether radio or website or whatever. Here are my concerns that would factor into my decision. The stakes are high because the gospel’s clarity hangs in the balance.
I. Be concerned with who promotes you.
Sometimes people with bad reputations can promote you. However, that can be more of a curse than a blessing. Consider this account of the apostle Paul and Silas.
Act 16:16-18 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.
Paul was an apostle of God and did not need a recommendation by an unclean spirit. This girl was known for soothsaying due to the demon working in her. Paul wasn’t thinking, ok you go that way and tell the town to trust me and I’ll go over there and preach the gospel. Rather he was grieved and put an end to it and paid for his good decision. They were mistreated and placed in prison. Yet Paul had opportunity later to minister and witness effectively.
Now this may be a more extreme example but think of those who are known most of their whole time in ministry for false gospels. Do you suppose that they lend credibility or a curse to your name if you teach the truth? I for one do not want to be endorsed by known lordshippers. I want to be endorsed in ministry by people known for the true clear gospel. This would include websites or conferences or churches.
II. Be concerned with who you lend credibility to.
This happens not only by what we say but by what we do. I had this concept made clear to me in my life while at a previous church. I came to realize that the church I was attending really did not share the same wavelength so to speak on the gospel or the clearness of it. There were lordshippers, and Calvinists, and Arminians, and maybe a few here and there that may have understood grace but leadership by in large was against grace as I see it. That and many times preachers coming in as guest speakers messed up the gospel. I came to realize that the more I was respected for discernment and clearness of the gospel the more my presence alone there was recommending the gospel clouding church. Some could think, well Jim goes here and Jim seems to understand the gospel so I’ll go see for myself what they have to say. In a church of five hundred they may hear me teach and understand but they more likely will hear all the rest and not hear the truth. It would be like I swim upstream and everyone else swims down stream. It is not worth it. I realized that no amount of my teaching a Sunday school class there would resolve the problem. It was time for me to leave. The pastor told me I would never find a place I was looking for. But in two years time God provided a clear grace teaching and preaching church. Now I can preach (on occasion) and teach every Sunday with the confident backdrop and support of a Biblical pastor and a Bible believing gospel preaching church. It has been a miraculous life freeing deliverance from the constant spirit squelching of the other place. Instead of listen to me (in effect) not these guys, it had become, listen to us as we all teach you the same clear gospel. There is more power in the one. This speaks to strength and wisdom in true unity.
1 Corinthians 10:20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.
2 Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
If you are oil and they are water, then it is a bad mix. It is like dissonance in music. Is that pleasing to the ears or not? Is it great to have grace as one option in a dissonant chorus of LS, LS, and then some more LS? To me, the gospel is pure and precious. Why not let it shine without the confusing surroundings. The god of this world is already at work anyway. Does the head of the church (God) need is church members to cooperate with the pawns of the god of this world to get the gospel out?
Do God’s ways match with the way of the god of this world? Shouldn’t rather servants of one have unity with one side or the other? (Not both).
Rom 15:6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 13:11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.
Philippians 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
Philippians 2:2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
1 Peter 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
2 John 1:7-11 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
III. Mark and avoid
There comes a time for Biblical separation from those that do not teach gospel truth but rather perpetuate lies about Christ or the gospel itself. What I am talking about is gospel destructing error.
Rom 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
The concept of avoid, to me, includes not participating in their ministry. I don’t get to care if it seems ok like a radio ministry or simple website or whatever. Rather, just avoid them. I don’t need them to get the message out. It is going out and lord willing will continue to go forth from a good testimony if I continue to be careful not to let any tarnish that good testimony. It is bad enough to live with the flesh like the apostle Paul mentions in Romans 7 let alone if I bring in associations with those that teach or preach error. Ecumenism will only make it harder to keep a good reputation.
More verses on separation:
2 Cor 6:14-18 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
Titus 3:10-11 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.
Concerning erring believers
2 Thessalonians 3:6-7 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;
2 Thessalonians 3:14-15 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.
IV. Be careful not to make the cross of Christ of none effect.
False gospels and ecumenical compromises do this.
1 Corinthians 1:17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
We do NOT need wise and cunning words of men. The gospel has power of itself.
1 Corinthians 4:15 For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.
Who is begotten through a false gospel? How does that go with truth?
V. Walk with the wise or the foolish?
Which is better? To walk in ministry with those that are true and clear and discerning on things concerning doctrine or to walk with those that do not understand?
Proverbs 13:20 – He that walketh with wise [men] shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
VI. Some desire money and or success.
1 Timothy 6:3-6 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain.
Could it be that some seek to “minister” for gain? What profit is it if they teach untruth? What good is it if we, in ecumenical ways, “help” them out? Or should we think these types can help us in any way?
1 Timothy 6:9-10 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
VII. What is your name worth?
Proverbs 22:1 A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.
Ecclesiastes 10:1 Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.
VIII. Some things have a leavening effect.
Matthew 16:11-12 How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
Mark 8:15 And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.
Luke 12:1 In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
Luke 13:21 It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.
Galatians 5:6-9 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.
IX. It is not ONLY about the gospel.
Matthew 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
The disciples were charged with teaching all things that Christ had commanded them. The apostle Paul made sure that he was not considered a castaway. He certainly preached Christ and Christ crucified, but he also taught much about Christian living and did nothing to tarnish, in any way, his own testimony. Paul talked about running the race set before him. However, to do that one must lay aside weights that beset and slow progress. Compromise and gospel confusion does just that. Cooperation in ministry with those currently known for lordship salvation only slows you down. Why not be free and clear of all that mud?
At the bema seat do we think that God will just say, “well how many did you lead to salvation?” or will He try all of your works to see what sort they are? What sort do you suppose it to be if your witnessing was done through compromise, holding joint events with false teachers, taking recommendations from false teachers, sharing platforms with false teachers, etc?
God blesses the purity of the gospel, so why not serve it up with a backdrop of soundness and truth as much as possible? Remember, the goal isn’t just to see how many will be saved but to teach them and see all believers come to maturity.
Please everyone, before you rush ahead with gospel or ministry endeavors, pause to consider God’s will concerning the whole picture all things considered.