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August 3, 2009

Return to: Q/A's
Q/A Topics:
  • Independent Fundamental Baptist Dogmas

Questions about IFB dogmas

READER QUESTIONS:
I ordered your VW Edition a few months ago because I think it's an interesting edition to the Bible. I have attended a Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) Church for 5 years. I have learn much about the Bible. I read your article on Baptist Dogmas and i must say I agree with that article. I have a few issues with IFB churches perhaps I'm not a baptist at heart.

VW COMMENTS:
Before going to the "items" which follow, around the same time this section was being worked on, a regular subscriber, in another context, forwarded this link: http://www.baptistdeception.com This subscriber recently CAME OUT of an IFB church, and while now attending a different "baptist" church, agreed with something I had said to him awhile back, when he was questioning the IFB church while he was still in it, that perhaps he was not a "baptist", but rather a "Christian" who happens to -attend- a baptist church.

The website of the link is one of those where people can share their experiences, read each other's submissions, and commiserate with each other. I didn't read everything; but it is obvious from what I skimmed that some who CAME OUT did so for the right reasons. Others came out because they are not truly Believers, and would find -no- Bible Believing church to be satisfactory, if it didn't embrace the music of Michael W Smith, Amy Grant, etc.etc. And many other such things. And while the site focuses on IFB, it should be understood that, in the scheme of what is called "baptist" (which we will be addressing below), IFB is a relatively SMALL PERCENTAGE of the whole. What might be wrong with an IFB church, the OPPOSITE is typically wrong with the rest of the Heintz-57 varieties. Where many IFBs are pharisaical, the rest are, for the most part, liberal, worldly, and no longer even preach the Gospel. But many of the things that are wrong with IFB are also wrong with "baptist" in general. While some no longer preach the gospel, they have their other Rome-like characteristics. And on the other side, while this person asks about IFB characteristics, and we review the items asked in a negative light (because they are not Scriptural), the door should be left open a crack for the possibility that IFB congregations exist who are not beset by these typical errors. I haven't yet seen one, personally, but surely there -must- be such a congregation out there -somewhere-...? Right...? I hope....??

The topics this Q/A covers:

  • Soul Winning
  • Witnessing
  • Altar Calls
  • Sinner's Prayer
  • Tithing
  • KJV-onlyism
  • Local vs Universal church
  • Pants on women
  • No beards
  • Suits & Ties
  • Shorts and Short Skirts
  • Baptist Successionism
So.... here we go....


ITEM:
1. Where did the term "soul winning" come from? VW edition says "leads" a soul not "winneth" a soul. Is Proverbs 11:30 speaking of evangelism or is this verse misapplied?

VW ANSWER:
The word in that verse means, actually, to "take in the hand, carry along, fetch, lead, seize" etc. Nothing about "winning" anything. A related verse that comes to mind is about "snatching them out of the fire" (Ju1:23) What is the first half of the verse? About bearing fruit? (Mt7:16-20) Same as Jesus spoke of the vine branches "bearing" fruit. (Jn15:1-5) I don't think "bearing" is the same as "winning".

In looking up the word "win" in the dictionary, there are some 'remote' definitions that -might- apply. But they are -very- remote. Perhaps it's a matter of how the English language has changed? But newer translations haven't kept up?

Yes, I imagine the IFB's got the term "winning" from Pr11:30 kjv. Perhaps the various translations that have retained "winning" did so due to the predominant application of how they devise -campaigns- (contests) to increase their numbers? Who knows... I wonder often when I see words that say something different than what God's Word says...why did the translators pick/keep -those- words? But they will typically be in agreement with some group's preconceived doctrine. Like the notes in the Defined KJV talk about the need for the translation to agree with the traditional doctrinal tenets... making the translation agree with the pre-established doctrine; not adjusting one's doctrine to the Bible, when/if an error is discovered. Backwards theology!

But what did Philip do when he had met Jesus? He finds Nathanael and brings (leads) him to Jesus. (Jn1:45-49) The woman of Samaria, "Come, see a Man who told me everything that I ever did. Is this not the Christ?" (Jn4:29)

So...to borrow from one definition: Do we "win them over"? (with enough harassment, tricks, smooth clever talking and mind-control brow-beating) Or do we -lead- them to Christ, allowing the Holy Spirit to work in their hearts?

Nothing about "repeat after me" the words of "-the- prayer". Such meaningless repetitions/rituals are pagan as Babylon!! Flip some rosary beads, say so-many 'hail-marys'. Salvation is not a mantra-induced ritual...!!! Mary "pray[ing] for us sinners" does not save us. Nor do these so-called "prayers". Sorry! Got carried away here....this question is specifically asked later.

At the website, if you click the 'left' box under TopicSearch, and scroll to "soul-winning" you will find past writings on the subject.


ITEM:
2. Another passage is Psalms 126:5-6, is this speaking of evangelism or is this verse misapply to evangelism? According to IFB churches this would mean that I must shed some tears before witnessing to others.

    5 Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.
    6 He who goes forth with weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
VW ANSWER:
It's a short chapter. What is the context? Is it about soul-winning, or the restoration of Israel from captivity. The chapter begins....
    "When Jehovah brought back the captivity of Zion," (vs1)
And... has there not been a lot of 'weeping' related to Israel's dispersion, and will there not be related to her restoration?
    "And they shall look on Me whom they have pierced; and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they shall be bitter over Him, like the bitterness over the firstborn." (Zec12:10)


ITEM:
3. Altar Calls - Where is the altar in baptist churches? There proof texts for altar calls are the "follow after me" and "come unto me" passages found in the gospels. Do these passages support altar calls?

VW ANSWER:
I've never had a baptist describe it to me before, but based on predominant practice, I would guess that the Baptist "altar" is the elevated platform, where the pulpit also resides. God ordained warnings about walking up steps to the altar. (Ex20:26) which is something which characterized the pagan ziggurats/pyramids. They would walk up the steps to the top of the structure, from where the sacrifice was made. Pagan weddings would have the couple walk up these same steps to have the priest bless the union unto fertility 'before the gods'. In the catholic church I believe the altar is the 'table' up on the raised platform, where the eucharistic rituals are observed. And baptists do the same....only, their table is often down at the floor level. But at weddings the couple still climbs the steps to be 'blessed'.

I know of no Scripture that supports/commands "altar calls" as baptists do them. (More on this below)


ITEM:
4. Is soul winning and witnessing the same thing?

VW ANSWER:
By their intended meanings, the two should be the same thing. But in typical practice they are not. Soul-winning tends to stuff tracks into people's hands, knock on doors, and brow-beat people to "repeat after me"....with the resulting increase of 'numbers' and church 'members' when all is said and done. (There was something in a mailing recently about the "dying church" that decried the fact that people aren't being 'won' and 'added' to the membership, thus the church 'dying' is related to 'fewer people' in attendance. And they also decry: Where are the young people disappearing? Why are they leaving? Again: 'numbers') Whereas, witnessing is a testimony of what Christ has done in Salvation. Soul-winning tends to glorify -numbers-, where witnessing glorifies -Jesus Christ-... however many (or 'few' Mt7:14) the numbers might be.

    "Go home to your friends, and tell them (witness to) what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you." (Mk5:19)
And in that context the 'numbers' were NOT increasing; as the community was asking Jesus to leave. (vs17) Jesus had saved the person from the demons, but the rest of his community rejected, because all their pigs ran over the cliff and died. All that money!!! The witnessing (which Jesus commanded) happened; but the soul-winning (which Baptists promulgate), with its added numbers, was a total flop.


ITEM:
Must one say the sinner's prayer in order to be saved?

VW ANSWER:
The only "sinner's prayer" in Scripture I am aware of is, "God, be merciful to me a sinner!" (Lk18:13) See also Hos14:2-3. All these other things I have read, -called- the "sinners prayer", to "repeat after me", I have not seen in Scripture. Peter told his inquirers to "repent" (Ac2:38) Paul and Silas told the jailer to "believe...." (Ac16:31) Paul preached that God "commands all men everywhere to repent" (Ac17:30) Jesus exhorted that "repentance and remission of sins" should be proclaimed. (Lk24:47) John says that Jesus must be "received" (Jn1:12) Jesus explained it as being "born from above" of the Holy Spirit. (Jn3:3,7-8) And each person Jesus had a conversation with, He did not hand them a piece of paper (parchment or clay tablet) with words to -recite- back to Him. In each case the conversations were different, and the one who was saved said different words compared to the others who were ever saved. And it is never recorded that Jesus huddled together with someone, with heads bowed, as they "prayed" together. Salvation happens "in the heart...not the letter" (Rom2:28-29) And God knows each heart (Ac15:8, Ro8:27), and also "those who are His" (2Ti2:19)

Salvation is not from reciting some words, but from receiving the Holy Spirit. (Rom8:9, Eph1:13-14) And that which happens with the Holy Spirit is sometimes with "groanings which CANNOT BE UTTERED" (Rom8:26-27) NOT -spoken- words! But if it is in the heart, God -knows-!

But if you -must- use words, how about...

    "Take words with you and return to Jehovah. Say to Him, Take away all iniquity and receive us with grace, that we may repay with the calves of our lips. Assyria shall not save us; we will not ride on horses. We shall not say any more to the work of our hands, You are our gods! For in You the fatherless finds mercy." (Hos14:2-3)
But too, this passage, with the phrase "RETURN to Jehovah", might not be so much for "salvation" as it is confession of sins of the backslider. (1Jn1:9)


And since "prayer" has been mentioned a couple of times in this mailing, interestingly enough there was an e-mail invitation Friday to "trade links" with an organization that is (quote) "fortunate enough to have access to the most sacred place in the world, the church of the holy sepulcher" (unquote) So people can send their prayers to this place. Just like the Jews who stuff their pieces of paper in the cracks of the wailing wall. To whom is prayer made? "to God" (Ac10:2,Ro10:1,2Co13:7) Just do a search with your Bible software. We do not pray to walls, churches, counselors, pastors. We do not 'hand' (as it were) our prayer to some other -person-, who in turn sends the prayer to God. Who is our Mediator who does that? "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man CHRIST JESUS," (1Ti2:5) And prayer happens through the agency (conduit?) of the Holy Spirit. (Rom8:26) We don't have access to some sepulcher (place of the dead)!!! REALLY NOW!!! Jesus is ALIVE! "He is not here [dead], He is risen....as He said" (Mt28:6) We have bold access, directly...
    "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Heb4:16)
Thus... No. The VW website also does not have a special "prayer request" link; nor do I solicite people to send their requests to me, so that I, the "great prayer warrior", can print them out, make a pile of them on my desk, wave my hands over them while squinting hard, and pray for all your needs. (Please! Understand the -sarcasm- with which that was just said!) Occasionally those kinds of e-mails come in, and I don't reply to them. God's help is NOT just a "mouse click away"! If your prayer, directly from your heart to God isn't 'enough'....no (so-called) 'prayer chain' is going to help. Nor is prayer an emotional feeling by which we "bathe" each other, and thus we 'feel' the Lord's presence. Prayer "bathing" is also NOT found in Scripture..!!

Prayer bathing; praying up walls; praying up hedges; prayer blankets; prayer warfare; prayer chains; -NONE- of that is found in Scripture.

And... this has been said before. But: they always cite the example how "prayer was offered to God for [Peter] by the church" (Ac12:5) See! They held a "prayer meeting" for Peter. But WHAT -KIND- of prayer was it? Was it prayer in faith "believing" (Mt21:22)? When Peter was actually released from prison, what was the attitude of the church that had just been praying? -UNBELIEF- (Ac12:13-16) Was it their group -ritual- that delivered Peter?

Thus....neither is it the -ritual- of "-THE- prayer" that saves!


THE READER REPLIED:
and had more questions


ITEM:
1. Tithing - Where do you stand on tithing? is storehouse tithing biblical? Is the church a storehouse? Again it appears that IFB churches are wrong in their application of scripture.

VW ANSWER:
TopicSearch -> tithe

The tithe was to support the Levites, widows, orphans and poor (De14:27-29, 26:12) Giving for the tabernacle and such things was voluntary and based on what people had with which to contribute. Those "whose heart stirs him" (Ex25:2) Paul expressed it as being "from whatever he is prospered" (1Co16:2) from what a person "has", not "according to what he does not have" (2Co8:12)

The "storehouse" in the context of the OT, every 3rd year, is where those, of an agrarian society would bring their farm produce, from which it was then distributed to the Levites, poor, widows, etc.etc. Much as our current cultures collect 'tax', from which "welfare" payments are made to those in need....or food stamps.

The tithe was a government-based 'tax'. Seeing as how, when the Law was first given, before the kings, Israel's government was a theocracy. The tithe was NOT to the "church", but for the support of those for whom it was intended. It might have been administered by the priest system, but it was not a 'religious' tax. The priests ordered the religious -and- the secular leadership. Sacrifices were offered by the priests (religious). But legal disputes, disease quarantines, house inspections, etc were also adjudicated by the priests (secular).

On the other hand, since it was partly -for- the priests, it might be considered a 'religious' tax. When the land was divided up to the tribes of Israel, Levi was not given a portion of land, because their lot was to serve the Lord through temple ministry, etc. 'Land' equated with the ability to raise crops and earn a livelihood. So, the tithe was to store up (like a food bank) for the sake of those who did not have such options. (If the Levites didn't have land, they could not till it and grow food) And so, Paul also teaches that those "who preach the gospel should also live from the gospel" (1Co9:14) Thus, if a congregation 'hires' a pastor, they should make sure to sustain him. But the same Paul who said this, also says, "And we labor, working with our own hands" (1Co4:12) so that in some cases, "that we might not be a burden to any of you," (2Th3:8)


ITEM:
2. KJV Onlyism - I'm not KJV only I'm more TR only. I believe you are also.

VW ANSWER:
TopicSearch -> Kjv-only


ITEM:
3. I know you write books and I'm wondering and suggesting an idea. Why not write a book about your testimony and your experiences with Baptist churches. Then explaining why you couldn't stay in those churches. I attend an IFB church but I'm always open for truth. I'm not bashing baptist they are the closest to my beliefs but not perfectly. No one to my knowledge ever written suck a book on baptist churches. I would definitely buy a copy if you ever wrote that book.

VW ANSWER:
TopicSearch -> baptist churches


ITEMS:
4. Now, what should I do with my disagreements with my IFB church? Should I leave or should I stay? Here are my disagreements with IFB church.

  1. KJV only
  2. Altar calls
  3. Tithing
  4. Methods of Soul Winning
VW ANSWER:
Do they TEACH THE WORD of GOD? Being -baptists- they probably call it "baptist doctrine". But is their baptist doctrine also BIBLICAL doctrine? Over the years I have typically found, of all the various denominations, that the baptists (generically) tend to have the most clear-cut Biblical doctrinal statements. But how do they 'apply' what they claim to believe? And what 'emphasis' do they place on these things. If you do not agree 100% with every little nuance, do they still view you as a Believer? Or do they hound you to join them at their door-knocking nights, and such things; or suck in their breath (with a gasp!) if you read from a good TR-based translation that doesn't happen to be KJV.


ITEM:
5. Local Church Theory - No Universal Church

VW ANSWER:
TopicSearch -> church (along with several subcatergories)

This one is kinda important as far as I'm concerned. They typically reject the notion that anything that doesn't meet in -their- building could possibly be a legitimate church. They disdain house churches, even though several are mentioned in the NT. Unless -their- hierarcy actually -ordained- the leader, anything claiming to be a "church" is discredited by them.


ITEMS:
6. No Pants On Women
7. No Beards
9. Men In Suits And Tie

VW ANSWER:
In Scotland do they then also say: No skirts (kilts) on men? When I was younger my dad would criticize beards (although he wore a mustach), as being a sign of radicalist rebellion and communism following in the ways of Fidel Castro (because Castro wore a beard). They apparently don't remember how many in Bible times wore beards. In Bible times did they wear suits and ties? How is a woman going to be securely 'modest' in a skirt while doing certain activites? e.g. If she is into rock-climbing, how does she do so in the skirt? What Scripture speaks of is men being men, and women being women.... and not mixing up the roles.

Like the scribes and pharisees, many baptists also "strain out gnats and swallow camels whole"....but these things don't necessarily have anything to do with righteousness and holy living. Col2:16-23 As the passage closes,

    "These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-devised worship, false humility, and severity in abuse of the body, but are of no value against gratification of the flesh."


ITEM:
Shorts & short skirts: sin?

READER QUESTION:
Hi, I did a search on your website and didn't find any information on this issue. Many churches teach that to wear shorts or skirts that exposes the thigh is a sin. Here are there [sic] proof texts:

    Isaiah 47: 2 "Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers. 3 "Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame be seen: I will take vengeance, and i will not meet thee as a man".

    Exodus 28:42 " And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach."

VW ANSWER:
For the priests, this was introduction of "underwear" to their priestly wardrobes. For what reason? Also perhaps explains why the woman's hand was cut off for grabbing an enemy's genitals....if they didn't wear underwear, and wore robes, and 2 men were fighting....such a struggle could leave certain things exposed....easy for the reaching/grabbing by bystanders. (De25:11-12) (Is this thus also not a commentary on what used to be called "dirty" fighting! Now it has become considered to be "normal", and women in self-defense classes are even taught to lift their knee, etc.)

As for the women baring the thigh...again, if there was no customary underwear (that which covers the "shame" or "nakedness"), would that not leave the woman exposed. It reminds me of a picture from the Viet Nam war days, as prisoners were being herded along, and many were naked....this one journalist got a picture, either in Viet Nam or Cambodia? I don't remember now; that became famous back then, with this young girl, naked in the foreground, being herded along with the crowd of captives, and crying. I suspect that is what Is47 is about. That Isaiah passage isn't talking about mini-skirts or shorts.

One reason I have not posted details of this sort at the website is because the "modesty" or "sinfulness" of attire is not as simple a matter as "how many inches" above/below the knee; or centuries ago, the ankle. Like I know I have shared at least one time...back in the 70s girls either wore 'granny' dresses (hippies) or mini-skirts. Did a Christian want to be associated with the hippy movement? If they did not know how to sew, and were buying their clothes, the choices were somewhat set; until later in the 70s when the fashions readjusted again, and longer skirts came back. And like I shared about this one girl I knew at the church where I was attending...she wore mini-skirts....but was more 'modest' than many I have known over the years who wore the knee-length, or whatever. What is it that is in the -heart-? Does 'modesty' reside in the heart? Thus, the eyelids are not 'winking', nor does the mouth go into this little playful pout when addressing males, etc. A woman can be fully covered, but if she is possessed of the Jezebel spirit, she is less 'modest' than somebody wearing a short skirt and halter top who is possessed of the meek and quiet spirit.

For an example of this, there has recently been running an ad on TV for 'something?' where the female goes through these wardrobe changes (through the magic of video production: one outfit comes flying off revealing another; or another floats down from the sky and now suddenly she is wearing something else, etc) as she is sashaying along, changing from more revealing clothing, and ending up with head-to-toe gray 'burka-esque' outfit with the head covered. But just because she ends up in the burka did not make her modest. She is -still- sashaying along in her flirtatious hip-wiggle, shoulder-bosom swaying, pouty smile, aggressive feminist empowerment Jezebel attitude.

If I posted guidelines related to "inches" with the tape-measure, but the condition of the heart is not taken into account...all it becomes is mere legalistic/pharisaical mumbo-jumbo like what Jesus condemned. In that other recent Q/A I mentioned how my dad used to condemn beards, because Castro wore one. I didn't think until after that piece got mailed....he might not have worn a beard, but he wore a mustach. As a kid I didn't know the difference. But thinking back on it now, the mustach he wore, if it had been a bit 'blacker', was trimmed very much like Hitler did. So...a "Castro" beard is bad; but a "Hitler" mustach is OK? But boy, oh boy! He could sure measure the inches of skirt hems! Like Romans ch2 says: You who preach against XYZ, do you -do- XYZ, yourself?

The 50s mid-calf hoop skirts certainly were within the typical pharisee "inches" range of "modesty". But like we observed, get that girl on the dance floor. See what I'm saying? And while we've addressed 'modesty' issues in the past, and what people should or shouldn't wear, I have never given any -specifics-. Purposely. It is a matter of the -heart- before God. If the heart is modest, of the "meek and quiet spirit" (1Pt3:4), the aura of the persona of the person will be modest. They will know -what- to wear; and lacking a choice (for whatever reasons)... -how- to wear it. And for married women, that modesty includes being under submission to "their -own-" husband. If she is submitted to him, in her heart, she will be modest, whether the hem is down at the ankles or above the knee.


ITEM:
8. Baptist Sucessionism - Did John Smyth started the Baptist church in 1607?

VW ANSWER:
Oh really? The way I have heard it many times is that the baptists, prior to the anabaptists, go clear back to the "first baptist" .... "John the baptist" And that we, when we are baptized, "follow the Lord into the waters of baptism" (thus, in effect, being baptized into John's baptism, not into the "Lord Jesus" Ac19:3-5; if a person is baptized "as Jesus was", Jesus' baptism was -by- John, for a different purpose) In that, they are very much like Rome. They go back to Peter. The baptists go back to John. In that, both Rome and the baptists are not much different from each other. And if one considers your previous questions about the "altar" and such things. Many baptists seem to also equate Salvation with the "invitation" experience....that Salvation must occur and be recorded as related to THE CHURCH, up at the altar....the 'baptist' church. Many baptist churches will not allow a person to share in the Lord's Supper with them unless they have been baptized in -their- church....often, another baptist church is not sufficient. This...going back to your "local vs universal" question.

While I have been the music director that led in the invitation hymns, while the pastor was inviting for 1) salvation, 2) baptism, 3) membership & 4) rededication... I have NEVER given such an invitation, and never will. I have sat through, and led the singing through so many of them... the entire concept makes me want to vomit! It is tantamount to emotions-based salesmanship, not the conviction of the Holy Spirit! I knew the filthy, proud, evil, hypocritical hearts of those doing it. Yes... I CAME OUT!

I have "come out" (Rev18:4, 2Co6:17)... which answers how I have dealt with your questions. One of your questions, by itself, may not matter as much. But when everything is put together, it becomes a "scribes and pharisees" situation which Jesus issued condemnations upon them, right and left. He said to leave them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind.

But to write a book? No, the Lord hasn't called me to do that. As you can see from the suggested links, the topic has been covered much over the years, and is available. Unless, at some point, the Lord indicates that the website writings should be compiled into a book...as they already exist at the website. (But as I went and checked the other day, the books aren't really being ordered much...like the Bibles are. And it seems, people seem to prefer the 'blue' Bibles to the maroon ones 2:1)

The last church I was in, a Baptist church (not IFB), the pastor was a pedophile who preached that "God accepts you all 'just as you are'" Like Bush proclaimed after 9/11, You "don't need to change a thing". That's "graaaeeeessss" (feels good, don'it!). Why did I stay in that place as long as I did? I was in compromise [link] After the labels of being "judgmental" (like mentioned in the August article)(a subscriber e-mailed to say he was called "puritanical") I was persuaded to be more 'tolerant' of other viewpoints. Around the same time I switched from KJV to one of the perversions that was said by the prevailing scholarship to be "most accurate". I guess... when a person reads something that's NOT REALLY the Bible, the life also becomes something that is NOT REALLY Biblically Christian. So I lived a NOT REALLY Christian life for 20 years. Like the lady said (in the mailing - not included here), it doesn't matter how -accurate- the translation is, if it comes from Alexandria (wrong premise) the translation is wrong (wrong conclusion). The distortions may be translated correctly; but if the original text is wrong, the translation of that text is also wrong. Then the Lord got my attention. Some of you might wonder why I am so (as was said recently) cut-and-dried. So black vs white. So right vs wrong. It's because I started out (more or less) right, but then went into 20 years of compromise. Now that I realize where I was wallowing around, and have been washed...why would I wish to trudge around in that slop again!!! And -that- is why I proclaim as strongly as I do from these pages. That is why I am now (again) so terribly JUDGMENTAL and CRITICAL. Yes, while I was there, I enjoyed it...and had somebody like what I am today come along and confronted me in that state, I likely would have responded the same way that many today do to me now. Thus, as I often say... I am not proclaiming anything that I haven't been there, myself, and done it. That is why I am busy trying to "snatch out of the fire". When somebody is trying to rescue a victim from a fire, there is no time for 'niceties' and 'pleasantries' and 'understanding'. C'MON...GET OUT OF THERE!!! NOW!!!

    4 COME OUT OF HER, MY PEOPLE, so that you NOT SHARE IN HER SINS, AND SO THAT YOU NOT RECEIVE OF HER PLAGUES.
    5 For her sins have reached to Heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.
    6 Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her.
    7 By however much she has glorified herself and lived luxuriously, by the same amount give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.
    8 Therefore her plagues will come in one day; death and mourning and famine. And she will be consumed with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her." (Rev18:4-8)
We may see the errors of whatever exists, and then come out. But we should not become obsessed with them, but rather be "looking unto Jesus" (Heb12:1-2) (as Jesus said to leave them alone, they are blind leaders of the blind...we don't need to obsess when they fall into the ditch together) Yes, if we grew up within the system, and then come to understand the errors of everything that surrounded us, we might become "amazed" as John did when he saw the woman on the beast. (Re17:6-7) But then the angel shakes us out of it back to reality with, "Why did you marvel?" Whatever we might be in, which we come to realize is in error, we then COME OUT OF. And then go on and follow the Lord, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, through the Word of God.

Please... This is not -about- PB being cut-n-dried. It is about "My people" The exhortation in Rev18:4 is not to the unsaved. The angel says, "Come out of her....MY PEOPLE" The only reference to PB in all this is the fact that I am not preaching something that I have not done, myself. I am not sitting in an ivory tower preaching down to ALL -YOU- PEOPLE. I have done it. And I have COME OUT OF HER. And if some of my experiences of the 'process' by which I did so are of help, transfer my own experiences to where you are at. We are all 'pilgrims' and 'sojourners' on this earth. So, insofar as I might have a smidgen of faithfulness to Him who calls us, like Paul said...

    "Be imitators of me, just as I am also of Christ." (1Co4:16,11:1, Php3:17)
Or as KJV says (but the Greek says "imitator") be "followers" of me. I am not possessed of such virtue to suggest anybody 'imitate' me, as Paul could. Oh please! No! But I do know the way for you to follow... Here! I've found the way. Take my hand. Let's go. Let's get outta here!

But most of all...

    "Therefore be imitators of God as beloved children." (Eph5:1)
Amen!

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