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GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 1: Take My Yoke Upon You]

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” [Matthew 11:29-30]

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The Lord is putting a team together. The odds are great most will not make the cut. Christians in general have a strange traditional mindset in which they believe eternal life is automatic, that there is little effort in gaining it, and that this life is essentially a smooth ride into heaven because the Lord Jesus has already done the work to assure our arrival there.

While this is true in a sense it is also highly problematic. The Lord said we must each take on His yoke. Each of us must allow a spiritual yoke to be wrapped around our heads. Each of us must submit to being yoked together with Him in order to do the work He has called us to do. He does His part. We do our part. Each of us and the Lord are to work together in tandem. We can do nothing in accordance with His will unless we do it this way. He is the Leader. We are the followers. We put our head in a yoke beside Him. He already has His head in the other loop of the yoke awaiting us. And then we work together. The point is that the Lord Jesus is not in the habit of dragging dead weight around. One will have to do one’s part. One will have to pull one’s share of the load. If one gets it right one will never be working alone but always working with Him.

This denotes full commitment. It denotes great activity on our part. It denotes real discipleship. When one gets it right there will be spiritual fruit. There will be miracles. Things will happen that we can claim no credit for because we will know the fruitful things that happen could only have happened by His hand. We may otherwise work our fingers to the bone but without the Lord’s involvement and direction all we will get is bony fingers.

If, however, we couple our hard work with His hard work we will receive the fruits of our labor but only because the Lord Jesus was involved in making it happen. Many Christians work themselves silly every day but never gain the spiritual payday hoped for simply because they think their hard work is the answer. But hard work only works in His kingdom if He is also working on the same project we are working on, which means it was His project to begin with and we are working with Him but under His authority to make it happen.

I mean, how humble must the Lord be to yoke Himself up with us, essentially making us equals, to go out there and plow a spiritual field? He could simply dictate to us instead and make us do all the work but we should know the only thing that will do is cause rebellion because rebellion against God is the first reaction of unregenerate flesh. So He has to greatly lower Himself to our level in order to work with us to get anything done. And remember, He can do nothing unless He does it with and through humanity. So the big question for Him is will He be able to actually find anyone willing to work with Him in the only way that will work regarding spiritual reality?

For many Christians this is a big fat no. Tell some big boy religious pretender he will have to humble himself, junk his titles, replace his fancy church duds, and become a lowly servant, and then watch the unregenerate prideful flesh come oozing out like a lard bin in summertime with a fast leak followed by high rebellion and red-faced anger. How often do we see this in the Gospels? For some, the religious pride was way off the scale. The Lord gives the same directions to all Christians but only a relative few get the big idea. No matter how many times the Lord patiently explains that humility is a door into the miracle realm and He runs a spiritual kingdom it does no good if a Christian refuses the narrow road. In other words, who needs to vaya con Dios when he’s already got money and thinks he’s awesome?

“Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,’ and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked…” [Revelation 3:17]

Whoa. How much more plain can the Lord make it? Christians who think they are rich but don’t know they are poor. What’s He talking about? How can it be that a Christian can believe he or she is well off and apparently in the will of God when he or she is actually “wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.” In other words we may be sitting there in the pew all prim and proper and well off and not understand we are sick and poverty stricken. How does that happen?

YOKE OR WOKE

I was around at the onset of Christian television. I saw it go from what it was to what it is. In the beginning it was largely a reflection of what went on in churches and for the most part much better things went on in churches back then compared to now. If you don’t quite see this simply do some research and find some old telecasts. You will see how much things have changed.

In time, as it always seems to happen, an inevitable devolution takes place. The more successful Christian television has become the more spiritually worthless it has become. It has now become thoroughly invaded by what we used to call “worldliness.” It has become a reflection of this world, of current human cultures. Because the medium has appropriated a growing lack of love for spiritual truth it has largely become blinded to it and has thus embraced much untruth masquerading as truth. And it keeps getting worse. The things that pass for Christianity now are laughable. And to add to all the worthless chatter from endless droning talking heads all pretty and facelifted, Christian television has also gone woke.

And if I need to remind you, here goes: The Lord revealed to me almost eleven years ago that we were in the early stages of a national Great Awakening. Wokism is the devil’s answer to the Great Awakening. Any Christian who has refused to get properly yoked up with the Lord will never partake of the Great Awakening but will instead fall for some form of deception courtesy of a fake angel of light. If you need some Scripture for that here you go:

For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. [2Thessalonians 2:11-12]

Here’s another, an oldie but goodie:

But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” [Matthew 16:23-26]

In case you may be interested, the operative Greek word in the above verse is apollumi. It means “to destroy utterly.” So the choice is that a person will either destroy his life in order to have new life or not destroy his life only to have it eventually destroyed in hell. And until one destroys his life and is born again one will never put one’s head in a yoke with the Lord or drag around a cross for the remainder of one’s life.

And speaking of the deceitfulness of riches, there is this:

And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?” [Matthew 19:23-25]   

Perhaps if Christians ever heard such verses in their churches and Christian television programs they would no longer be deceived. But, of course, this cannot happen because many churches and much of Christian television in general is highly dependent on relatively large outlays of funding. Whoever preaches the truth as the Lord Jesus preached the truth will likely not have a church to preach in or a television show to preach from which tends to eliminate funding. To remedy this one must simply join Christian Fake World and preach a watered down inoffensive feel good gospel in the form of mushy baby food so no one out there will get their dander up or be offended and thus keep receiving cash instead of getting trashed. Better to tell everyone how great and awesome they are because it increases the chances of being thought well of and gaining greater wealth in the meantime.

THE CULLING PROCESS

See if any of this sounds familiar: American Christians screwed up. They turned their backs on the Lord. They loved the Lord’s blessings more than the Lord. They got so full of themselves they couldn’t see the Lord with the Hubble Telescope. This was the Lord’s solution:

Then the sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD gave them into the hands of Midian seven years. The power of Midian prevailed against Israel. Because of Midian the sons of Israel made for themselves the dens which were in the mountains and the caves and the strongholds. For it was when Israel had sown, that the Midianites would come up with the Amalekites and the sons of the east and go against them. So they would camp against them and destroy the produce of the earth as far as Gaza, and leave no sustenance in Israel as well as no sheep, ox, or donkey. For they would come up with their livestock and their tents, they would come in like locusts for number, both they and their camels were innumerable; and they came into the land to devastate it. [Judges 6:1-5] [1]

© 2021 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 2: The Attack of the Midianites]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 3: Introducing Gideon]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 4: Destroying Spiritual Strongholds]

GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 5: Make Your Calling and Election Sure]

PREACHER UNIONS AND “CHRISTIAN” TV: That which is Highly Esteemed among Men is Detestable in the Sight of God (1)

         They came to Capernaum; and when He was in the house, He began to question them, “What were you discussing on the way?”

         But they kept silent, for on the way they had discussed with one another which of them was the greatest.

         Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” [Mark 9:33-35]

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         There is a time when spiritual bankruptcy sets in. In America, that time is far past. There is a reason America is in decline.

         Though the reason may seem odd, one can always trace guilt to the accountable party—the party that knows better but purposefully makes bad choices to further selfish interests.

         In other words, most people in general know right from wrong simply because they have a working conscience. When most people in a society make correct choices, the society in general is strong and moral. The only way to make such a moral society immoral is for an expanding percentage of that society’s individuals to go against their conscience, choose against what one knows to be right (for whatever reason—the reason doesn’t matter), and make bad choices.

         And again, bad choices are most often due to selfish purposes.

         Based on these facts, and the fact that America has a long history of strong Christianity and knowledge of God’s Word, if one seeks the party most responsible for the spiritual decline of America, forget the usual suspects. The reason for the decline is elsewhere.

         Look no further than the relative few in charge within Unreal Christianity, since they are the ones with the authority to make the most substantial choices that affect everyone else.

         There was a time in America when such people chose correctly. Most ministers honored God’s Word the best they could. They preached the real Gospel. They preached repentance. The preached against sin. Though many ministers still strayed from preaching the full Gospel, they preached enough of it to have a strong effect. Most ministers no longer have much effect on American society anymore. Most have become selfish with selfish motives.

         But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.

         “It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” [Matthew 20:25-28] [1]

         If one seeks a particular party most responsible for spiritual decline, then one must look to those with authority in that realm. The reason why is simple: There is no authority without responsibility.

         Of the many responsible parties with great authority, influence, wealth, and esteem, consider Christian television.

         There are obvious frauds associated within such enterprises. Everybody knows it. Yet no one who is a part of the various networks, especially the largest one, says anything about them. In saying this I am not speaking of employees, since there have been inside whistleblowers over the years who have shed light on sinister inner workings, and especially recently, when a veritable feud broke out between family members of one particular network. This became a blood feud, as is often the case when extremely high stakes are involved.

         No, the ones who never speak out about the frauds in their midst are all the fellow ministers that make up the bulk of the Christian television clan. They, like everyone else, know there are obvious frauds associated with Christian TV in general. Everybody knows it. But no ministers within the networks ever say anything publicly about it.

         Their silence is in part due to the fact that the great many large and successful clergy groups in America, of which one comprises television ministers, have become effectively unionized. They have managed, by their unions, minister associations, and closed cliques, to grab the lion’s share of the influence and available money. They protect one another.

         However, by creating mutual admiration societies and bless-me clubs, and by putting themselves out of reach, they have also established a clear no-rebuke policy. They are only accountable to one another, which means they are not accountable at all. Because of this, they have become non-correctable.

         Yet, non-correction always leads to corruption. What they gain in wealth and influence they lose in spiritual strength and righteousness.

         Hence, DECLINE.

         Secondly, individual members also know if they speak out, even in a general sense without naming names, the spotlight will turn on them, and they would rather not have the scrutiny. Their top priority is often their personal reputations and status within their groups. They know there are other “Christians” who have the wherewithal to destroy them. Therefore, they have learned they must not only repent of personal sin (if they’re honest), as all real Christians must do, but to also never step on the toes of those who help make them successful, since most of them see ministry as a professional career.

         However, God doesn’t care so much about personal reputations. With proper repentance, He can fix personal failures. He did not come to condemn us but to save us. The heart of the Lord is about mercy and grace. Each of us is an ongoing work of God undergoing His correction. It is how we become strong and mature disciples. Though the Lord never sinned or did anything wrong, His own reputation suffered due to the outright lies and malicious gossip of religious people. This means personal reputations often hang by a hair, even among the innocent.

         However, for those who insist on the power of outer image—that “image is everything”—and that outer image is tied directly to ministerial financial success, and convince others that they are already polished and perfect, how can the Lord possibly correct them? It is thus impossible for such people to ever become honest, mature disciples.

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Christian TV: Entertaining Actors Unaware

         Many billions of dollars have been spent on Christian television over the last few decades with little overall effect on the spiritual condition of the country, though a few have greatly benefitted.

         By this it should be obvious that money never drives real revivals and actual spiritual awakenings. Neither do popular personalities. Great Awakenings are always brought forth by the Lord Jesus through very humble people on a grassroots level, often with minimal financial support.

         Appearing on major Christian television networks, these major personalities have major backing by tens of thousands of people who support each of them unequivocally. In essence, these personalities are idolized.

         They are never questioned. Their backers have long since been persuaded by the demands of their religious culture to be silent and absolutely supportive. Their backers have been taught to believe that these personalities are standing right next to God Himself, are spiritually special, and are “God’s anointed.” Maybe some are.

         Television is the perfect medium for these personalities. However, before they could ever appear on television, they must have first proved to be able to gather large crowds of solid supporters who never question anything they do or teach, though the majority of these personalities do not teach the fullness of the New Testament.

         Here is a sign—a clear disclosure for anyone with eyes to see.

         How is it that these personalities do not typify and better represent the example of the Lord Jesus as clearly illustrated in the Gospels? They do not seem to look like the Lord Jesus or any of the original apostles and disciples of the Lord. In fact, they sometimes present themselves as the complete opposite.

         In further fact, some of them by their very example apparently live by the motto, in referring to the Lord Jesus, “He must decrease while I must increase.”

         Uh Oh.

WHO’S FOLLOWING WHO?

         In order to be successful, they had to create not disciples of the Lord Jesus, but their own followers. Their followers are not necessarily followers of the Lord and are usually not His disciples. Why? Because it is obvious that the Lord Jesus is not their primary focus and that they do not answer to the Lord but to these personalities they have chosen to be their leaders.

         Once these personalities have gained a substantial following, they are allowed to be on television because television programs can only be successful if people watch. Having a built-in following already insures that a sizable amount of market share can be gained and can be used to build upon.

         Some prove to be not quite ready for primetime. Some fail their opportunity. It could be because they are too honest and too real.

         Others, however, fit the television medium perfectly. As a result, they are followed by even greater numbers of people, huge market share is gained, and donations rise exponentially. These people are thus gold to the network. They are what make the network successful.

         Remember how the Lord Jesus described Himself? If one wants an accurate description of the Lord, it can be found in the following:

         “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” [Matthew 11:29-30]

         Also, remember how He was kicked out of the synagogues and was fought by organized religion? And how the religious elites and controllers of His day hated Him? And how they finally had enough when He cleaned out the money makers from the temple?

         Then they came to Jerusalem. And He entered the temple and began to drive out those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves; and He would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple.

         And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL THE NATIONS?’ But you have made it a ROBBERS’ DEN.”

         The chief priests and the scribes heard this, and began seeking how to destroy Him; for they were afraid of Him, for the whole crowd was astonished at His teaching. [Mark 11:15-18]

         This account adds to the former description of the Lord Jesus. From it we can see that in addition to being gentle and humble in heart, He can also astonish people and make religious leaders afraid of Him.

BRAZEN IMAGES

         The Lord would probably not have been so effective within the deemed requirements of the present Christian television medium. Here’s why:

         People do not want television to reflect reality—even “reality shows” are at least partially scripted (fake). People want television to be entertaining, including Christian television. They want it to reflect fantasy. They want it to be a hyped-up, better-than-this-world, fictional adaptation of reality. And because these major Christian television personalities had already proven themselves to be entertaining showmen by the performances they put on in their churches every Sunday, it makes it possible for them to do the same on television.

         It takes much training to look at a television camera and talk to it as if one were talking to another person. Some are not so good at this. There are television news readers, usually local, who have not quite mastered the concept. They talk to the camera well enough to have their job, but they do not appear so convincing. When a person watches them one can see that the news readers in question are certainly looking at the camera but appear to be talking to the camera instead of talking to the television viewers.

         Major Christian television personalities do not do this. They have mastered the craft of appearing sincere while talking to a camera either with an audience or virtually alone in a studio. If they can get people to identify with them and watch them and listen to them intently as if they were actually talking directly to the person watching on television, then they have mastered the art of communicating through the medium of television.

         This mastered art makes them primarily actors, not preachers of the gospel.

         And everyone knows that the best actors are those who give the most convincing performance.

         “…But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments.

         “They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men…” [Matthew 23:5-7] [1]

         During the Lord’s time, the chief religious actors were the Pharisees. How do we know this? Because the Lord Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites, and the meaning of the word hypocrite is, “an actor, a stage player, a dissembler, and a pretender.”

         According to the major Christian television networks that exist because of these major Christian personalities, (1) Image is everything, and (2) Biblical truth is not as important as monetary success and maximum viewership.

REAL CHRISTIANS DON’T GO TO CHURCH TO HAVE CHURCH—THEY ARE THE CHURCH

         It is obviously the same with many churches and denominations. It takes large amounts of money to make a religious enterprise work. It takes the purchase of real estate, much of it very high value. It takes the building of large very expensive structures. It takes the paying of very good salaries. Christians are conditioned to believe that Christianity simply cannot work or function without the preceding and without very large amounts of cash.

         To that end, congregants and adherents of their respective denominations must be put upon to constantly support the enterprises with much time and much money, though most of the money goes to mere material outlays and most of the time is spent going back and forth several times a week attending the “services” in the buildings we call “churches.”

         The Lord Jesus never bought real estate for ministry purposes.

         He never built a church building.

         He never commanded the building of church buildings.

         Neither did any of His original disciples.

         The first official church buildings were built three hundred years later.

         Therefore, one must attempt to figure out how something so foreign to the Lord and the first Christians had become traditionally indispensible to later church folk. What spirit is being honored here? Who are these people trying to impress?

         The Lord Jesus spent most of the donated ministry funds on everyone and everything but Himself. He purposely put Himself at the very end of the line in the use of ministry funds and allowed Himself only the very barest of the bare necessities.

         Pharisees did the opposite. Major Christian Television Personalities often do the opposite. Many church leaders often do the opposite.

         Rather than obeying the Lord Jesus, they have joined the “successful ministry profession,” and simultaneously the “religious acting profession,” since you can’t have one without the other. Both require large amounts of money, so the raising of money through any means possible is vitally necessary to the existence and maintenance of both professions, and has become a ministry of its own.

         That’s why there are “religious telethon ministers” whose primary duty is to raise cash by manipulating as many people as possible using any means possible to get as many donations as possible.

         On top of all this, the owners and purveyors and on-camera personalities of these enterprises use fear tactics against anyone who might question the necessity of their enterprises and the sincerity of its movers and shakers. Those who don’t go along with their shenanigans are attacked and labeled as something ungodly, which is another great trick of the devil.

         The Pharisees used this exact trick on the Lord Jesus many times—“If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household!” [Matthew 10:25]

         Remember, the above dynamic involved an attack by institutional, traditional, mammon-serving religious leaders and their followers against the Son of God, who appeared as a total radical by comparison. The amount of conviction He brought to them by His perfect example was off the scale.

YOU CANNOT SERVE GOD AND MAMMON

         Because correct teaching is deemed less important to the enterprise and is even frowned upon since it tends to greatly decrease market share, mass viewership, and especially potential donations, the major Christian television personalities only engage in what is popularly accepted by the majority since that is where the money comes from.

         They also bow at the altar of all-inclusiveness by accepting non-believers and legitimizing “Christian” cults. They stay away from divisive issues, both social and political, but most often never address any strongly convicting New Covenant truths that are sure to cause problems with their real agenda.

         Every good business owner knows the customer is always right and one must always honor the clients that make one’s business successful. That is why many ministers know one should never tick off the donor base. And whoever has the most money to donate and influence to grant, regardless of their spiritual condition, must be doted on and given a greater stake in the organization and interaction with those at the top of the pyramid.

         Regarding such behind the scenes actions, the truth is usually not possible, whether it concerns real intentions and motivation, or why they shy away from preaching the full Gospel. They appear as seasoned politicians, expertly deflecting everything beyond the script with sincerity and smiling faces, knowing that as long as they have their financial backers everything will be fine. As a result, they are rendered largely untouchable regardless of scandal or the hint of one. Most may be as honest as possible within a not so spick-and-span industry, but many are at least guilty by association.

         And instead of rebuking those among their ranks who are involved in questionable behavior and refuse to toe the New Covenant mark, they rally to the side of the guilty parties who sometimes remain unrepentant. They know the light may be shining on them one day and they’ll need the support of their allies.

         Quiet on the set.

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

UPDATE (3/13/15): The AP reports that a major Christian television personality, a man who claims he can garner $100,000 for a speaking engagement, needs your help. He needs $65 million dollars for a new luxury jet. Seriously, I do not make this stuff up…