Tuesday, May 8, 2012

From The Position Of Tradition

Matthew 15:2-3, "Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. 3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?"

Mark 7:8-9, 13, "For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.: 9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. 13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye."

Colossians 2:8, "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."

The 'Church' leaders of Jesus' time frequently asked Him why He transgressed the tradition of the elders ~ (Matt 15:2). That's a good question. Why did He? It was because the tradition of the elders were transgressing on the Word of God! They took the focus off of God's Word and gave Prominence to their own man-made traditions and pet doctrines. It made it so that God couldn't get His Word in edge-wise!

From the Position of Tradition the Religious world argues their many doctrines. They try to use God's Word to support their views, but all they have been doing is mingling God's truth with man's lies. I want to narrow the field a bit and concentrate on the traditions of the Independent Fundamental Baptist 'Church' Organization from which I came out of. The folks involved in this denomination are well meaning and good people. I have no qualms with any particular individual who participates within their world. What I aim to expose is some of the traditions these good meaning people have held on to for so long, and the arguments they give to support such erroneous doctrines from a position of tradition. Although most of their doctrines they learned from the Bible are sound, the Baptist traditions aren't Christ derived at all. There is a striking resemblance between the IFBC creation and use of man made traditions of today and what the LORD had to deal with in the above verses.

Some of these traditions are actually borrowed from other denominations, and many are manufactured from years of passing down stories and suppositions from one generation to the next until they became fixed doctrine. This is precisely what the Jews did in their day and age. Even today there are over 1,500 traditions of the elders (called the Talmud), which are not a part of the Mosaic Law. I personally am Baptistic in my beliefs. The main core doctrines we Baptists believe are very solid indeed. But, I believe that whatever doctrines we believe should be backed-up by Scripture alone and nothing else. The Jews have the Bible as well (in part). The O.T. is sufficient in revealing the Gospel all by itself, but they added laws and traditions which had no place in Scripture. These are called hedge or fence laws. The IFB's are no different in their history dealing with Scripture, although their Talmud are called, commentaries and Bible notes. So widely used are the works of Matthew Henry, Thompson's Outline Studies, the Rev. C.I. Scofield, Moody Bible Institute, Charles Spurgeon, Oliver B. Greene and Finney's Systematic Theology by students in the IFBC, they are regarded as accurate, but they do not always hit the mark Scripturally. Because these men are known "Bible Scholars," people take for granted what they have available and believe almost everything they write and accept it as fact.

Case in point: One day a former pastor and I went to two different commentaries to figure out what Jesus meant by "born of water' in John 3:5. My pastor insisted that the 'water' reference spoken of was 'the washing of the water by the word." I believed the water was simply indicating physical birth as when a woman is with child and the unborn baby is surrounded with water within the womb. When we turned to the commentaries for 'wisdom,' we saw both views mentioned. My pastor was befuddled! He didn't know what to say. Both of these commentaries were a part of his library. The IFB's haven't made these commentaries equal to God's Word as the Jews did with the Talmud, but the opinions and traditions derived from these so-called "Biblical resources" have become 'doctrine' (teachings) in the minds of those who read and hear them as a matter of course.

At first, like the Jewish nation, Baptists were dead on with their theology. When I say "Baptists," I mean the first church of Jesus' design. Jesus was identified as a Baptist because His Father is the One Who sent John to baptize with water, and He knew Jesus would be baptized by John. When Jesus was baptized by the only one who had God's authority to baptize at the time, Jesus had John's baptism. When we use the word 'baptize' for identification purposes, as is common today, if someone was born in a Catholic 'Church' family and was baptized by a Catholic priest, what would we call the little fella? A Catholic! If we are baptized in a Methodist 'Church,' what is our identification? A Methodist! Now, who baptized Jesus? Was it John the Presbyterian? No! It was John the Baptist! What would that make Jesus if we were to identify Him by His baptism? A Baptist! So, the church Jesus started is a Baptist church! But, it is not as the Baptist Institutional 'Church' we know of today. Why? Because Jesus never built an Institutional model for church. He continues to build a home-based, church fellowship, known as an ekklesia. All of the disciples that Jesus chose to become His apostles had John's baptism. After Judas Iscariot committed suicide, the apostles had to choose another to take his place ~ Acts 1:20-26. One of the qualifications was that he had to company with Jesus and the twelve during Jesus' ministry, and he had to have John's baptism. Verse 22 says, "Beginning from the baptism of John,...". What kind of a church would we call it? It's got to be Baptist!1

Also, John was known as John the Baptist because he was the only one at the time commanded of God to baptize. John 1:6 points out that his name was 'John,' ~ NOT 'John the Baptist. His identification was 'the Baptist,' because that's what he did. It would be the same as if we identified someone by what they do, such as, Dan the baker, or Joe the mechanic.1 So, I believe in the true Baptist home-church Jesus started; just not the so-called 'Baptist Institutional Corporate Entity' man counterfeited. Okay, moving on,...Time passed, and after the first century the 'Church' Fathers took over and corrupted God's intentions and inserted their own. The first thing they did was to adopt the model of the Institution. When the true Baptists of Jesus' design saw what was happening, they resisted the newly formed Institutional model, and at first continued meeting in homes. They were later forced out into the catacombs, forests, caves and mountains when the Institute had established itself as a governmental power. This new theocratic government wanted to pacify the competition. They tried for centuries using force, even and up to today. The 'Church' Establishment of today is what most Christians think is Christ's church, but they have been led, guided and indoctrinated to believe so. Scripture says nothing about His assembly being or becoming an Institution. When Jesus frequently exposed the elder's traditions as fraudulent, the elders got angry. All they could do was try to find a way to shut Him up. What I will attempt to expose are the little known pet doctrines and traditions within the IFBC Movement so that the 'Baptist' at heart, who are inside the matrix of the Institution, would have the opportunity to reject their traditions for the Word of God. These doctrines have crept into the hearts and minds of good decent people who truly want to serve their God. They've just been misguided by well-meaning 'Church' leaders who've also been misguided.

Fortunately there are good pastors and preachers within and outside this movement who have repented of these false doctrines and are now starting to tell the truth about them. It is from these men I have sharpened my understanding, either by their preaching or their writings. They have steered me to become more conscious of what the Bible says and to be careful of what man says. Their insights have been an invaluable resource in the aid of the publishing of this piece. By combining their discernment's I have been able to approach this piece from a more accurate stance. I'd like to give thanks to Jason Hemsted for his wisdom regarding some of the false traditions used in the Institutional 'Church' houses of today. Thanks also goes to Gary Bendixen for introducing me to the resources I needed to get off on the right foot. Pastor Steven A get's a lot of credit for unfolding the Scriptures so that the doctrine of the Rapture and the End Times are made so simple and clear. Thank you my friends for sharing these insights and resources so that we might discover new liberty in our understanding of Scripture regarding God's will as opposed to the traditions of the elders.

There are many 'Camps' within the Independent Fundamental Baptist Church (IFBC) movement that hold dear certain doctrines, which are contrary from one camp to another. Little harmony exists between these 'camps.' Most camps agree with the basic premise of Bible doctrine until a certain doctrine is voiced from the pulpit. At this point, a niche is created. A 'Pet Doctrine' is cultivated within the ranks. The men behind these pulpits spew these doctrines with conviction and convince many of their followers of their 'findings.' Many in the congregation support their pastors without searching what Scripture says about these findings and are sucked into accepting them. When another group of IFBC hears of the doctrine they rush in to correct what is being taught until a war of words begins. When this happens two different 'camps' are created. The closest analogy I can think of is when we see two rival Bible Summer Camps going at it in a competition. 

Each 'camp' will Proclaim that their pastor is correct on the issue ~ backed by Scripture, of course. They wield their positions until there is no more common ground to stand on. I had a young pastor friend of mine read my blog and say that he could show me where I am wrong about "my doctrine" on "so many levels." I humbly asked him to guide me through my error, as I didn't want to be a stumbling block to others, but he declined. I wonder why? The Problem is, he can only argue from a 'Position of Man's Tradition,' and not from a position of  Scriptural Strength. If he did accept the challenge, how would he accomplish this miracle? It could only be by using a technique called, 'Plugging-In.' This is where someone would take an obscure Scriptural reference and 'plug it into' a doctrine where it doesn't belong. It's like jamming a piece of a jigsaw puzzle in the wrong place. To the untrained eye, it looks as if it fits. But to the discerning eye, it appears askew. A lot of the time, pastors leave out facts or add inventive slants to Prop up their position with enticing words and cunning reasoning. They basically pull the proverbial wool over God's sheep's eyes. Does this sound like anyone we know? This happens everyday within just about every Main-Stream 'Church' on the planet. Okay, here we go,...batter up!

Traditional doctrine number one: The church in the Wilderness. For years, the preachers in the IFBC Movement of all camps have taught the the N.T. church is an extension of the 'children of Israel in the wilderness.' They even gave the nation of Israel another name; "the Church in the Wilderness." The parallels have been drawn from the Old to the New Testaments between the two groups in countless sermons. What has happened is that these comparisons, although great illustrations, are not related to  one another and should not be spliced together at all. It is merely an illustration. That is how it started out. A preacher used it in a sermon and then countless others started using it as well. After it gained steam and was used over the years, it became a tradition. In their minds the N.T. church became interchangeable with Israel as they were walking around in circles for forty years. This comparison became an association as it spilled over into one doctrine and into the next. How many times have we thought the Lord was speaking to the nation of Israel in Matthew 24 when He was speaking regarding the End Times? Later on we'll see that He was speaking to believers in Israel. In Mark 13:9 (the parallel Prophetical chapter to Matt 24), when He mentions that in the end times, "they will" be beaten in the synagogues, who do you think He is speaking of in the future? It will be believers who are brought up to be Prosecuted, tried and convicted of hate crimes and insurrection before the religious establishment of Israel. The Jews will be the ones doing the Prosecuting and killing of innocent believers in Christ in the Jewish synagogues.

The IFBC's behavior was so similar to the rebellious, and stiff-necked people under Moses' charge that they started referring to the wandering nation of Israel as 'the church in the Wilderness.' It was as though that group of Jews were the ancestors of the IFBC's of today. This idea was actually borrowed from the Roman Catholic 'Church.' This is the doctrine of men like Augustine, Loyola and Thomas Aquinas. It is well-known throughout IFBC circles that some of the best Independent Fundamental Baptists came out of the Roman Catholic 'Church' System. 

The reason why this so-called doctrine gained such wide spread acceptance is because of a technique called, 'spiritulizing combined with super-imposing.' This 'technique' is far from Scriptural. In fact, it is a prime example of what is known as, 'wresting the Scriptures' and 'Plugging-In.' Since each IFBC is independent, and adhere to their own 'camps,' there is no one Baptist Pope that everyone will listen to and cease using it as a doctrine. What lends support to the idea of 'the church in the Wilderness' is the misuse of 2 Chronicles 7:14, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." There is a major Problem with this verse being used to describe the N.T. church. First off is that Christ's church is not the nation of Israel. That is who God is speaking to in this verse ~ Israel! This verse does not literally apply to the N.T. church of today in more ways than one. Christ's church isn't a nation, the IFBC's do not own a whole country and America is not a theocratic ruled society. By the misuse of this one verse, this doctrine splices Christ's model for His church, man's model for an Institutional 'Church' and the USA all into one! This is ridiculous! This may sound far-fetched, but that's exactly what they've done. I realize that not every IFBC member believes this 'Wilderness' business; but sadly, many do.

The fact is, Christ's church never developed into an Institution through osmosis or evolution, because Jesus doesn't build His church that way. He is the Architect and Builder, not man. The Institutional 'Church' concept is not a natural one. It is a fabricated one. Man's foundation for a 'Church' will crumble while Jesus' design for His church will remain forever. Am I saying that those who are intertwined within the IFBC, SBC, ABC or any other Baptist Institutional 'Church' Movement are not in Christ's church? That's exactly what I am saying. Why? Because this brand of Baptist wasn't born from Christ's blueprint for church, but mans. The IFBC Movement actually came out of three distinct Baptist Movements in America in the 1920's. They were spliced together from the outcasts of the Southern Baptists, the American Baptists and the General Association of Regular Baptists. Men like J. Frank Norris, Lester Roloff, John R. Rice and Jack Hyles all discovered in the Bible what I discovered. That is, that the Bible takes precedence over man's traditions. Most all of these men only discovered this to a certain point, however. There was one exception - Dr. John R. Rice. In my personal view, except for his choice in Bible versions, he was the only one who stood true to God's viewpoint and hasn't fleeced the congregant of his finances by teaching Storehouse Tithing.

Aside from this, these men had a lot of backbone for standing up to the Baptist Establishment of their time, however, they only got their noses outside just enough to breath a little fresh air. Thank the LORD that He was able to spread salvation so effectively through the preaching of these men and others who followed their example, but this is about the only real contribution and benefit this movement has been able to make. The mistake they made was to continue on in the Business entity of an Institutional 'Church' system, which requires large sums of money to operate. To keep their Institutes running all of these men, except Dr. Rice, had to sacrifice some Biblical principles and lean on their own pet doctrines such as the misuse of the tithe. Again, Dr. Rice refused to accept or Promote the false doctrine of Storehouse Tithing and received much criticism for his stand. Even today, I hear Christians say, "Did you know that Dr. John R. Rice didn't believe in tithing?" They make it sound like he had a disease or something! I feel akin to Dr. Rice in that I am also attempting to steer good Baptists away from the fabricated teachings of our day.

This is not to say that they aren't saved individuals. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is available to everyone who will accept His free gift of eternal life. This fact is not debatable. What is debatable is the venue of their gathering, and in it's form and function. Christ didn't set up His church as a Business Organization. He set us up as an Benign Organism. His church is not an inanimate object such as a building housing a business entity. If we think about it, even the name "Independent Baptist" is inaccurate because Jesus' true Home-based Baptist model is more Independent than they are! "We are His people. We are His temples. We are His ambassadors. We are alive! We are His local, physical assembly. The only price tag attached to be a family member of His church is His blood; and He paid the price. Those in the IFBC pay a price to be a member; the tithe. Hmmm, which do you think is Scripturally accurate? Those who contend that His church is a business to be run and supported by a tithe argue their claims from a position of tradition. Man's tradition.

I would like to make a parenthetical statement here to clarify my motive for writing this piece. Just as I love the Catholic people, (many of my own family are Catholic), I detest it's Organization. [It] is the thing that has led countless people to Hell using damnable doctrines such as Transubstantiation and the rest of the Sacraments. In the Independent Fundamental Baptist Movement, I have learned to separate the people from the Organization as well. Their false doctrines are not as severe because most in this particular movement do not Promote works salvation, apart from those 'camps' who teach the doctrine of works repentance for salvation - see 'Two Types Of Repentance' in this blog for a detailed look. The reason for this article is to bring to light the false traditions most folks in this Baptist 'Church' have been exposed to and show that Christ meant us to follow Him in another, less complicated way. In essence, I am picking a fight against man's tradition, not the individual. I want these folks to see the difference between Traditional and Scriptural. I want them to see that being a Baptist and being Baptistic in their beliefs are two separate things.

I am known as a Baptist because I am Baptistic in my beliefs. Others may be known as Baptists because they are a paying member of a Baptist 'Church' Organization. There is a vast difference between the two. The differences are partly doctrinal, but mostly positional. There is little distinction between Methodists and Baptists as to how they conduct business in their respective 'Church' Organizations. Both took up residence in a building and hire a staff to run it. What sets them apart is their doctrinal stand. In the case between the IFBC Movement and Christ's model for a home-based assembly has little to do with doctrinal differences for salvation and such. Their differences come regarding the venue in which they operate. Because of the N.T. Tithe doctrine in the Baptist Institutional brand, the people within are in bondage to finance a Property and it's staff. Within the confines of Christ's design of a Home-based church, we are free from these financial constraints. Christ never meant for His church to be in financial bondage to support a pastor and Properties, but rather use their financial resources to Provide for their own family. This traditional man-made doctrine and many like it are the reasons why I want to alert my Baptist brothers and sisters of the deceptions found within their Institutional walls.

IFBC traditional doctrine number two: 'Closed' or 'Close' Communion. Depending on the pastor, each mainstream 'Church' will adopt a certain personality. On the doctrine surrounding communion, we'll see pastors go to bat on whether communion should be taken among the local 'Church' family alone (excluding visitors from neighboring IFBC's), or allow visitors from other IFBC's to participate. The first is called "closed communion," while the other is known as "close communion." The second is referred to as "close" because the visitor is from the same pedigree of Baptists. 'Closed' segregates while 'Close' tolerates. This issue has become a Big Deal in most IFBC's. The real issue isn't whether one should participate, but should one be invited to participate because of the personality of that 'Church.' In my view, this segregation stems from an attitude. It has become a 'Pride issue.'

In the Home-based assembly I attend, we have no such Problem. Why? Because we have no Senior Pastor who dictates the personality of his members. Actually, we don't even have a membership roll! We meet in a different home each week. There is no positioning for power, or jockeying for positions. We come from all over but share the same doctrinal beliefs within. In our assembly we choose to take The Lord's Supper every week as a full meal as it was when Jesus did it. We meet and eat every week anyway, so why not incorporate the Lord's Supper in with our weekly meal as the Lord did on that fateful night? The unleavened bread and grape juice is an actual part of the whole meal in the same sitting. It is taken first to distinguish the memorial from the rest of the meal. After they broke the bread and drank the juice, Christ Himself continued to eat by dipping His bread in the sop. The occurrence of the breaking of bread and drinking of wine came just before He engaged in the rest of the meal. It isn't a ritual, but more of a pause to remember Christ's sacrifice. The whole meal is a bringing together of family and fellowship as it was meant to be. His church family was with Him and they all participated. He is there with us as our church family participates as well.

The reason why this doctrine has become such an issue within the IFBC Movement is because there are those who are so paranoid of becoming known as a Universal-Charismatic 'Church' they shy away from any appearance of operating as a care-free, charismatic, 'three sheets to the wind,' holy rolling, tongue waggling assembly. They want all to know that they are local, physical and perform everything in decency and in order. That's great, but so is (and does) the Home-based church of Jesus' design. I can attest that in our Home-based church we do not participate in the irreverent behavior of our charismatic counterparts either. Decency and order are observed at all times. Our primary focus is always on Jesus. If someone visits our congregation, they are made aware of the meaning of the Supper and it's guidelines. If they are lost, we'll invite them to accept Christ as Saviour. If they refuse, they are welcome to eat with us, but under the condition that they understand that the LORD's Supper is meant for the church and those within who are 'right' with one another. The question on whether or not one may partake is rooted in the heart of the local believer and where he stands with his brothers and sisters, not a membership roll.

Can you imagine inviting someone into your home for dinner, and before you eat you begin to interrogate them as to their spiritual condition? Jesus didn't, and neither should we. If there is a sin in our lives, the Lord will reveal it to the body. He accepted an invite with publicans and sinners! Granted, publicans and 'sinners' aren't a part of the LORD's local assembly of believers and shouldn't be associated with the LORD's Supper. Some were former publicans and sinners before they were saved and taught a new way of life, but they didn't remain in their sinful ways. Why? Because they were accountable to the Lord and one another in that local church. Both behaviors would disqualify them from taking the supper because they'd be taking it unworthily and upon questionable spiritual ground. 1Corinthians 5:9-11, "I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: 10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat." It is clear that Paul draws the line on who in the church could partake and who couldn't. If one who is called a brother is in known sin, he would be admonished and therefore discouraged from partaking. This would not mean that the elders enacted 'Witch Hunts' to determine who was naughty and who was nice and therefore would qualify or be denied taking the LORD's Supper. These Believers were people who had embraced the LORD's local assembly as a permanent fixture and were accountable to each other in their behavior and testimony for Christ.

A Publican would fall into a different category, for a publican was an extortionist. He was a tax collector for Caesar. If a tax collection was refused, a pre-announced threat would be administered. These guys were the equivalent to an IRS agent today. Both are local nationals working for a foreign collections agency. The local publican collected for the interests of Caesar, a foreigner, and the IRS agents today collect for a foreign Bank called the Federal Reserve System, a.k.a., the FED. Just as Caesar's imposed power was foreign to the Jews government, and unwelcome, the FED imposes it's will upon the Republic of the united States of America, and is unwelcome. Just like the IRS agent, publicans weren't evil men as individuals. They were Probably really swell guys. They just symbolized an Evil Empire who robbed the Jews in a civilized manner. Because of this, these publican's were considered sell-outs, traitors and poster-boys for the oppressive occupants who took over their holy land. They were greatly despised by the Jewish Religious Establishment of that day.

A "Sinner" was a Prostitute. These were also known outcasts. Anyone who was associated with the Religious crowd was Prohibited from fellow-shipping with these two groups of people. When Jesus was invited to the publican's house for dinner, who do you suppose the publican's friends were in attendance? Back then, if one was a "respectable person" he wouldn't be hob-nobbing with publicans and Prostitutes. What would the neighbors say? No self-respecting Jew would ever consent to accepting an invitation at a publican's table; especially if other tax collectors and even some 'Side-Walk Sallies' were present. So that leaves out the religious crowd doesn't it? How many classes of people were there in the Jewish community to associate with anyway? Three! The Religious Establishment only fellow-shipped with each other. The only other groups left were the publicans and Prostitutes. Who do you suppose they fellow-shipped with? That's right! Each other.

Jesus accepted an invitation to the publican's home to eat among other tax collectors and Prostitutes because He came to seek and save that which was lost. He didn't discriminate against the person. He had compassion on the soul. The other reason He accepted was to show the religious crowd that He was the Saviour of all classes of people. He never looked down on them as the Pharisees, elders and priests did. He embraced them as individuals. He didn't approve or tolerate their sin, but He did show love to the sinner. The people He ate with that day weren't engaging in unseemly behavior as they supped. There was no tax collecting or orgies going on. They ate as any gathering would. He didn't have an attitude and say, "I'm not gonna eat, let alone sit down at the same table as these people!" He graciously accepted their invite and accepted them as human beings. What a powerful lesson He shows. Conversely, in our communion, we commune in the spirit of remembrance with those who are our church family not as guests in some other environment as the Lord did. It is understood that if we do invite someone from outside the church family, we do not do so under false pretense. In other words, we don't try strenuously to, "Get 'em in church so they can be saved." We invite them to participate under Christ's umbrella of fellowship, not to wrangle them in to be branded. But as far as the LORD's Supper is concerned, we would discourage any visitor to partake in that aspect of the meal simply because he wouldn't be accountable to that group of believers.

I agree about not partaking unworthily, etc,...but, to be more precise, let me say that our church fellowships is a group of saved believers. But to say that no lost people are ever allowed into fellowship with us just isn't realistic. Someone who is lost might be brought along as a guest of one of our 'church family,' but before he is, we'd make sure he was dealt with on a personal level, if possible, days or even weeks before he is brought in so that he would understand that he is welcome to partake in the meal, but it wouldn't be advisable to partake in the LORD's Supper portion of the meal until he is on Scripturally sound footing and belonged to that group. Just like the Ethiopian Eunuch asked Phillip, "See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?"~ Acts 8:36, I submit that if there are two ordinances for the N.T. church, (Baptism and the Lord's Supper), the only qualifications are that one is to be saved (for baptism) and the other saved and baptized (for the Lord's Supper). No other self-made qualifications are necessary accept for accountability to a local body of believers.

We are to examine ourselves not just as a group, but more importantly as individuals. After all, we will be standing alone before the Judgment Seat of Christ. Why? Because we are responsible for our actions within and without of our bodies as individuals. No one is going to stand with me over the lack of, or reward of an action I have taken. If that were the case, we wouldn't have a Righteous God to Judge our works as Believers. If the guest is not saved, then he should be dealt with before the pause of the Lord's Supper is taken and discouraged from taking it. The unsaved Probably has enough sense to know not to participate in the Lord's Supper anyway, but understand that he is welcome to partake in the meal. Why? Because we would have made it clear the different significance of the two aspects. If he participates without knowing, it's not his fault; it's ours for not briefing him beforehand.

The third traditional doctrine IFBC embrace is 'The Invitation.' There are several Problems with this. First and foremost is the fact that Christ's church was never meant to be operated as a car lot. Car lots entice people with Promotions to "come and hear the good news of our Special Sale-A-Thon." In the IFBC the advertisement is much the same thing. Instead of a Sale-A-Thon, it's, "You're Invited To Hear The Gospel! " Instead of taking the Gospel to the people, they reversed Christ's mandate to "GO," and started people thinking to "Come." What's wrong with that? The church is a body of believers, not a body of the lost. There is no reason why we should be repeating the Gospel to the saved, other than in a thanksgiving and appreciation sense. The Gospel is certainly 'the Good News,' and we should recognize it's place in bringing various people together in fellowship. But, it shouldn't be used over and over in the soul winning sense among the saved. When the Gospel is mentioned in the IFBC, what we see during the Invitation isn't focusing on thanksgiving and appreciation, but a soul winning blitz. In the N.T. church, saved people didn't try to get one another re-saved by repeating the Gospel over and over again. They took the Gospel for soul winning to the lost outside the church.

The Progression of the service is also lifted from the Roman 'Church.' Sure, our altar calls are a little  different, but the liturgy is almost the same. According to Jesus, we are supposed to bring the Gospel TO the Lost. Vast amounts are spent advertizing a 'Church' and it's attractions. Yellow Page Ads, radio spots, television shows, fliers, brochures, etc are stuffed into the minds, windshields, hands and living rooms of America to Promote their 'Church.' When the invited come to see what all the fuss is about, they are seated in a pew to hear a message. After the message comes the crescendo. It's called, the Invitation. It is a somber time where people come to grips with their own spiritual condition. "If you're saved, get right with God! If you're lost, come down the aisle and get saved so you can later get right with God!"

Just before he invites us to go down, the pastor entreats us to raise our hands for prayer, especially if we need prayer for a specific sin. As we raise our hands we expose ourselves to everyone our sins. This is a form of Confession as our Catholic counterparts teach. The only difference is they confess behind closed doors. In the IFBC it is all out in the open. Sure, the pastor says, "Every head bowed; every eye closed," but who are we kidding? We know full well that Bertha Better-Than-You, seated in the forth row piano side, is sneaking a peek to see who's guilty. My point is, we are not supposed to be confessing our sins to a man. When we raise our hands during an invitation, we are doing just that! Jesus is our Mediator! Not Mary! Not Pastor Sweet-gums! JESUS! We are to go into our own private prayer closet and confess our sins to Him alone. Ya know what? I don't recall ever reading about an Invitation in the Bible in the N.T. church. Could it be that there never was one until the Institutionalists planned out the liturgy for their services? I think so. It's all part of their Religious Show-Business.

There are physical parts that assist in the invitation as well. There is the aisle, the altar and the musical mood setting. Before the 1880's Baptist 'Churches' never had an aisle. That was implemented after the Congregationalists Movement was popular under the big Camp Meeting days of Billy Sunday. They used to call it, "the Old Sawdust Trail." The original idea for the aisle came from ancient Rome. Court houses were made with aisles down the center leading to the platform where the magistrate sat. After Rome adopted a Theocratic Government, the religious crowd came to power. They converted these court houses into Institutional 'Church' structures. The floor plan remained and so did the positioning of the people and clergy. Today, the only difference is that there is no longer a partition between the people and the pastor. Not only did the IFBC adopt the use of an aisle, but the whole floor-plan! They lifted everything from Mama Rome as did the Reformers! Where did they meet before hand? Homes! These good people were enticed to believe that Jesus wanted them to build buildings and run the church like a business. They were lied to. That's not what He had in mind at all! They have conformed to the rudiments of the world's model of religion.

The altar is another Problem. It isn't an altar at all. It is a stage. An altar was meant to be used for animal blood sacrifices. It was not meant to be a place where folks come to kneel down at the foot of a platform. Especially ladies! They have no business exposing themselves by sticking their hind ends in the air for all to see. That is not a good example of shamefacedness or modesty. Also, the so-called 'altar' is a place where droves of people come to kneel down before a man~the pastor! "Oh, NOOOOOO", you say? "I would never kneel down before a MAN!" Oh no? Let's see. If we were to take a snapshot of an altar call in most IFBC's we'd see a picture of lots of folks bowing their knees facing the pulpit, of which stands a man. If we were to take that photo and show it to a primitive culture, they'd say that the people who were bowing down was paying homage to the man standing on the platform as deity. John, Peter and even angels forbade men to bow down to them. Bowing down is a form of worship. We are not to do it before a man.

What are we supposed to do then? That's easy! In a home, we sit in a circle where no one man is the focal point. The pastors and elders sit among the people and guide them during the service. Again, Jesus is our focus. I'd like to see one place in the Bible where an invitation is given in the New Testament church. We won't be able to find a reference because the church was all saved people. In my church, we don't bow down on our knees. We do that in our separate prayer closets in our respective homes in private, just as Jesus commanded us to. There is no holding of hands when we pray as a group. That is a show put on for man's benefit. Again, the lost were found outside the church. This is where the Gospel is distributed. Prayer time and worship are for the saved. There was no such thing as an Invitation in the early church. The 'Invitation' came from a position of tradition.

The last pet doctrine of the IFBC I will cover in this article has to do with the Rapture of the church and the End Times. There will definitely be a rapture, but it won't be as the preachers of our past few generations have portrayed it. Without going into much detail on each stage, the Progression we have been taught is, 1. Beginning of Sorrows. 2. The Rapture of the Saints. 3. World War Three (The Time of the Gentiles). 4. The Great Tribulation begins. 5. Abomination of Desolation (Middle of G.T.). 6. The Mark of the Beast (Second  half of G.T.). 7. The LORD's Wrath upon the Earth. 8. Armageddon. 9. The LORD's Return. 10. Millennial Kingdom of Christ. 11. Satan's release from the Abyss and the War to End all wars. 12. White Throne Judgement. 13. Old Heaven, Earth done away with. 14. New Heaven, Earth and New Jerusalem created. This is the basic framework of the events as taught in almost every IFBC in America.

So, what's wrong with this? It's out of order! If we were to accept what the Bible says regarding the Order of Events of the end times, we wouldn't be so confused. Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21, Acts 2, JoelDaniel, Ezekiel, Isaiah, 2 Thessalonians, and Revelation 6:12-17, 7:9-14 are all in accord with each other. There is no variance between them as far as the order of events are concerned. They all base their argument on the Authority of Scripture and not from man's traditions. As a matter of fact, the Lord commanded us to watch for the Rapture. In the Bible, the Rapture is known as, 'The Day of the LORD.' No, we still won't know the day or the hour, but we will know the season, just as a woman who is great with child will know when the time has come. How will she know? Her water will break. It won't come as a surprise to her because she knows it will be inevitable.

The Lord explains to His men that He must go away, but after a time He will come back, and uses this same analogy ~ John 16:19-21, "Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me? 20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. 21 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world." The point is, Jesus was telling His disciples to be prepared and not to be surprised or fret when this time comes upon them. The woman in travail was a timing device used to let them know that as a woman knows her time is near, they should know when the time is close for Jesus to be taken away. We can use this same timing device to discern when the rapture is near.

Please remember that in Matt 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 the Lord speaks to ALL, whether Hebrew or Gentile, saved or lost. In contradiction to the IFBC's chain of events for the end times, the actual chain of events in each Gospel are as follows: 1. Beginning of Sorrows (Matt 24:4-8). 2. Times of the Gentiles (WW-III). 3. Abomination of Desolation. 4. Great Tribulation. 5. Day of the LORD (Rapture). 6. Day of the LORD's Wrath (Judgements upon the Earth). 7. Armageddon. 8. The LORD's Return. 9. Millennial Kingdom of Christ. After all of this, Satan and mankind will be Judged, a New Heaven, a New Earth and a New Jerusalem will be created and the saved with Christ will live happily ever after.

For decades I was taught that the 24th chapter of Matthew phased in and out. One event overlapped another. Or a different event abruptly stopped, then started with another event. It was as though the preachers were shuffling the events like a card dealer in Vegas! It was so confusing that I just gave up and was relying on what the preacher said about it. I never considered, until later, that he must have been repeating what some other preacher was telling him. He has the degree that would give him the credibility to put these events in order, so I thought. But in the back of my mind, the question was, "Why did the Lord put these events in such an order so that we had to re-construct them?" So, after comparing the order of events in these three Gospels, I realized that the Lord didn't make a mistake in the order ~ We DID! Commentaries are fraught with error. Anytime we go to the preacher and ask about the order of events of the End Times, he'll inevitably regurgitate what he learned from either Bible College, a Seminar or a Commentary. Hey! He paid good money to learn all of this stuff, didn't he? It must be accurate. Yeah, RIGHT! 

Why would all these preachers deviate from the order of events when it is as clear as day that the order is so consistent within Scripture? I'll tell you why,...FEAR! They're afraid that they'll scare their members to death. If they were to tell the truth regarding these events, they'd be shooting themselves in the foot! Who would invite them to speak at a conference? No one, that's who! The sad thing is, there are many pastors and preachers who believe the same way I'm laying it out for you right now. They just don't want a mass exodus of their congregation to commence. Just think what it'd do to their paychecks. They'd actually have to go out and get a real job.

Hey, don't take my word for it alone. Check this out in your own King James Bible and in history. In these Gospel accounts, the key words to consider and emphasize are the words, 'then,' 'after,' and 'immediately after.' These words are key because they inform the reader of what is to come next in the Progression of events covered within the passage's context. Start at Matthew 24:8.

Notice it mentions the beginning of sorrows first. After that, the times of the Gentiles is next. This is the cataclysmic event that changes everything. Why? Because it has already happened beginning from 66 to 70 A.D. when the Roman General Vespasian (under Nero's command) encircled Jerusalem. For 140 plus days a terrible revolt known as "The Jewish War" came to a grinding halt when nearly a million Jews (according to the writings of Josephus) were murdered throughout the city and surrounding area. When the Jews saw the encampment, they fled and were dispersed throughout the world. When hearing of Nero's suicide, Vespasian went back to Rome and claimed the throne. His son Titus was sent in 70 A.D. to complete the destruction of Jerusalem and no true seat of worship has been erected even until this day. The times of the Gentiles has lasted nearly 2,000 years. Speed up unto our present day and we can see World War 3 looming in our sights. Just read through Ezekiel 38 - 39 and Jeremiah 50 - 51 to get a glimpse of the events that takes place that ushers in the near destruction of the world (and certainly the complete destruction of America as we know her).

Because of WW3, the end times will shift to introduce the event called, the Abomination of Desolation. This is when all H. E. Double Hockey Sticks breaks loose. When we look down at Matt 24:29-30 we'll see that the Tribulation begins and is later finished. But remember, WW3 is not part of the Tribulation. The Abomination of Desolation ushers in the Tribulation period. WW3 ushers in the Abomination of Desolation first. THEN, Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sign of the Son of Man in heaven appears. They shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with power and great glory. This is not speaking of the Revelation at Armageddon. How can we tell? Read verse 31, "And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." This event can only be the rapture of every believer ("His elect") from Adam to whoever is saved last. Again, When does this event happen? IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE TRIBULATION OF THOSE DAYS! ~ Verse 29.

Look what leads up to the rapture. The order is; "immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. And THEN shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven:..."- Matt 24:29-30. As we've already seen in verse 31 above, the rapture follows the end of the tribulation. Mark 13:24-26 says, "But in those days, AFTER that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, 25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken." 26 And THEN shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory." In verse 27 the Bible says, "And THEN shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven. Tell me; which is the ONLY group of people that will be gathered together who are in Heaven and on Earth at the same time? It's the saved who are asleep in Christ (in Heaven) and those who are saved and alive on Earth. What event could this be? "Luke 21:24-28 gives the same account, only it emphasizes the times of the Gentiles in more detail, which corresponds exactly with what Jesus said in Matthew 23:37-39

After the times of the Gentiles is fulfilled (as it has been happening over the past over the past 1930+ years and counting), the abomination of desolation takes place. After that, the Great Tribulation starts. After the tribulation ends, the signs of the sun, moon, stars appear. Then Luke 21:25-26 gives us a view of how man will react to all of this culminating with the heavens being shaken. These events clearly precede the coming of the Lord in the heavens to collect His elect. It's His dramatic entrance. Verse 27 says, "And THEN shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 And when these things begin to come to pass, THEN look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." When are we redeemed? At the rapture, that's when!

Can this be the coming of Jesus at the Revelation where He comes riding on a white horse at Armageddon? No! Why? Because the "Time of the LORD's Wrath" hasn't arrived just yet. The "Time of the LORD" is also known as the events leading up to and including the Rapture. This is introduced immediately after the tribulation of those days ~ Matt 24:29. After the Lord snatches all saved to be with Him in the clouds, THEN begins "The Day of the LORD's Wrath." This is when His Trumpet Judgments rain down upon the Earth and all those who are left behind. This is not the Tribulation period. This is after the Tribulation period! The Tribulation is going to be induced and carried out by man. The Day of the LORD's Wrath is induced by Jesus!

Okay, some of you must be thinking, "But I thought Jesus was going to come like a thief in the night, and that no one will see Him!" and, "But doesn't this all happen before the Abomination of Desolation?" No and Double NO! Scripture tells us over and over that He will not be invisible or undetected. He's going to make sure that EVERYBODY see's Him! When the Bible says, "...like a thief in the night,..." the key word to emphasize is 'Like.' It's a minor comparison between His coming and how those unsuspecting will be caught unawares. When a thief comes along, the ones who are unsuspecting are the ones who are ripped off. Guess what the unsuspecting will lose? That's right; their loved ones who are saved. He is telling His people before hand what it will be like so they won't be taken unawares. Our Saviour is not the 'Cat Burglar' because He is taking what is His and everyone will see Him. As a matter of fact, He'll be preceded by a grand introduction.

Revelation 6:12-7:3, "And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. 14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? 7:1  And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. 2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads."

Here we see the Revelation 6 account of the events leading up to the Rapture. In verse 17 where the Bible says that the great men of the earth are saying that "the great day of his wrath is come" is an accurate one. Why? Because the 'Day of the Lord' and 'the Day of the Lord's Wrath' is the same day, just not the same event. In verses 12-14 we see the same events that occur in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21 just preceding our Lord's return to gather His elect (believers), namely, the sun, moon, stars, earthquakes, etc., listed here. But there is another clue that tells us that this isn't the time of God's Wrath to be spilled just yet. Look at chapter 7 verses 2-3. Reference is made that the angels are NOT to hurt the earth, sea, nor the trees. Why? Because that is reserved for after the rapture. Just take a look in Revelation 8:1-7. This is the time for when the LORD's Wrath is unleashed upon the Earth.

Revelation 8:2-7, "And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. 3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand. 5 And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. 6 And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. 7 The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.

The earth and sea's judgment would follow in verses 8 through chapter 9. These are the Trumpet Judgments of the LORD's Wrath upon the Earth. This all happens after the events shown in chapter 6. Another interesting clue lay's in chapter 7 verses 9-14. In an instant, a great multitude appears in front of the throne of God all dressed in white. John hears a fellow servant from times past ask, "What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?" And John answered and said, "Sir, thou knowest." Then the saint from the past said, "These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."

This great multitude, which no man could number came from all nations, tongues, kindreds and people. Forgive me if I'm wrong here, but isn't it a fact that all kindreds, tongues and nations have never assembled together at the same time in one place before? I mean, a people from an ancient, dead society and language haven't been riding on the subway lately, have they? How can a person from a dead society, who lived thousands of years ago, gather together with a Believer from the Bronx, who still has the smell of lox and bagels on his breath, stand before the throne of God? Not only that, but the multitude was so vast that no man could number them. It would have been a census' nightmare! Also, they're ALL dressed alike. In white robes no less! The last time I read about that many people together wearing white robes was in Revelation 19. What we've just seen in Rev 6 is a scene in Heaven just after the rapture took place. That great multitude were the Raptured saints.

The tribulation happens after the 'A of D' but before the rapture! Let's see what events occurred earlier in Matthew 24:4-8. We read that many false Christ's will appear. Nation will rise against nation. Famines, pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. Then in verse 8 He says, "All these are the beginning of sorrows." In verses 9-14 Jesus describes what will happen to the elect and how the world around them will react. Then in verse 15 He says something that shows us the event that will get things really rolling along; "When ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand.)"

Just as a sidebar, I'd like to point out that when Jesus was unveiling all of this to His disciples, they were sitting on the Mount of Olives overlooking Herod's Temple. My question is, when He said, "Whoso readeth...," who was taking dictation? The answer is, 'No one.' He just knew that one day in the future these things would be written down. None of this was written down when He spoke these words, but He had the foreknowledge to utter the word 'readeth.' Not only that, but He continues and tells us that it is our responsibility to understand what we read. I gotta tell ya, if we were paid to understand what Christ wrote accurately, I'd say that we haven't been doing a very good job. As a matter of fact, if we were to cast a critical eye on our performance, I'd say He has every right to dock our pay, wouldn't you? What an amazing God we serve!

From verse 15 we see the key as it applies to when these things will happen in their respective order. The key is when we see the Abomination of Desolation. According to JESUS, this must take place before the tribulation even begins! This is what kicks-off the tribulation. We've been taught that the Abomination of Desolation will occur in the middle of the tribulation period. Not so fast my friends! Jesus says differently. Who's word are we going to take? His, or Professor Gut-Rot's? Following verse 15, Jesus talks about how those in Israel will flee, be hunted down, killed, etc. Then verse 21 says, "For THEN shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be." When we skip to verse 29 the Bible says, "Immediately AFTER the tribulation of those days, shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken." Last I looked, verse 21 comes before verse 29. 

2 Thessalonians 2:1-5 sheds more light on when the Lord is to come at the rapture. Paul writes, "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him (the Rapture), 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, nor be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come (Rapture), except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition (anti-Christ); 4 Who opposeth and exhalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. (Abomination of Desolation). 5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?"

Paul reminds the church at Thessalonica that before Christ can come and gather us together at the rapture, the anti-Christ must be revealed by the act of the Abomination of Desolation. These verses in 2 Thessalonians confirm what is written in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21. The only way to argue against this is from a position of tradition! This is not the event known as the Revelation of Jesus Christ in Rev. 19. Why? Because at that time, Christ doesn't gather His elect together. He brings us with Him to Armageddon. Also, Christ will not gather us all together at the rapture until anti-Christ is revealed (2 Thess 2:3). That means that the Abomination of Desolation must come first. If the Abomination of Desolation comes first, that means that WW-III has already come and gone. IFBC pastors will tell us that we will be gone just before WW-III hits. Baloney! Jesus said the rapture won't happen until after the Abomination of Desolation, AND AFTER the tribulation is completed. The Bible contradicts what the Main-Stream IFBC pastor will tell us. The facts remain true to Scripture.

Are we getting the full picture yet? Just to re-cap. The sequence is, 1. Beginning of sorrows. 2. The Times of the Gentiles (WW-III). 3. Abomination of Desolation. 4. Great Tribulation. 5. Signs in heaven (sun, moon, stars, heavens shaken). 6. Christ appears in the clouds. 7. He sends His angels to gather His elect from the four winds (Rapture). 8. Christ's wrath upon the Earth. 9. Armageddon. 10. Christs appears to make war with His saints against the armies of the anti-Christ and man (Revelation 19:11). 11. Millennial Kingdom. 12. Satan loosed from the Abyss to make war with God. 13. God in Heaven destroys Satan's armies with fire from above. 14. The White Throne Judgement. 15. Old heaven and Earth destroyed and replaced with a new Heaven, Earth and a New Jerusalem. The rest we know.

There is really nothing complicated about the events that will occur if we just allow Scripture to stand pat. Once we get our will involved and give heed to every pastor who wants to  Proclaim credence to their doctrine, we're in trouble. There are several other pet doctrines of the IFBC we could drudge up, but time and space won't allow me to accommodate us in great detail. I'll do my best however to cover them as succinctly as I can. Three in particular have to do with the end times as well. Here's a taste: 

"Wherefore comfort one another with these words" in 1 Thessalonians 4:18 has nothing to do with us missing the tribulation. It has to do with seeing our dead, but saved loved ones again. Paul is talking about being reunited with those who are asleep in Christ ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:13-15. The second pet doctrine is found in 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8, "For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed,..." These verses have been misinterpreted for at least ninety years in IFBC's. What the IFB preachers have been teaching is that the Holy Spirit will be taken out of the way. When He is taken out of the way, we'll be taken out of the way because He will abide in us. When He goes, we go. In other words, this is how the rapture will come to be. Sorry to burst your bubble, but these verses are not speaking of the Holy Spirit, but anti-Christ. 

The word 'let' means to hinder. Paul used it earlier in Romans 1:13 when he said he was prevented from coming to them. Here, it means the same thing. The Holy Spirit isn't even mentioned in chapters one and two, and up to verse 10. The only ones mentioned, up to verse 7, is the brethren, God, the Lord Jesus Christ and the man of sin ~ the son of perdition. The Holy Spirit is no where to be found, unless someone of the IFBC pedigree says, "Well, the Holy Spirit is God! Why can't it be Him?" Nice try, but when "God" is mentioned in these preceding verses the Bible is speaking of the Father. Besides, who is going to take the Holy Spirit of God out of anywhere? He's God! He cannot be removed. He can only remove Himself! Now back to the English lesson. A Pronoun, such as 'he', must have what is called an antecedent. The first four letters of antecedent spell 'ante,' which means 'before' or 'prior to.' Who is it that Paul wrote of just before the Pronoun 'he' in verse 7? The son of perdition, that's who! 

The third pet doctrine I will briefly touch upon is found later in the same chapter when Paul writes in verse 11, "And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie." What lie? For years we were taught that when the Rapture hits, the folks who are left behind will be told that aliens came and got us. The saved of course will know that they will be in heaven with Jesus, but the poor folks left behind will believe the lie of alien abduction. This is not the lie 2 Thess 2:11 is speaking of. The lie is when anti-Christ is wounded with a deadly wound and killed, then is brought back to life by the indwelling of Satan himself. Everything Satan does is 'anti.' Satan will stage an 'anti-resurrection.' It will be a false resurrection meant to deceive millions to follow him. It will work because the delusion God sends will make it believable to the world. Don't worry,...E.T. is not on his way, but for those who believe this is the scenario that will transpire, all I can say is, "beam me up, Scotty!"

These traditions and pet doctrines were created by the clergy of the 'Church' and not by Christ. They have been accepted as truth and defended vehemently as did the Jews of Jesus' time. I am not trying to correct anyone. I am only exposing the fraudulent traditions just like our Saviour did two thousand years ago. The only way the Jews could defend their traditions was from a position of tradition. They had the backing of the people because they brain washed them into believing that the tradition had become equal with Scripture. The same thing has happened in the IFBC Movement, and most other Religious 'Church' Organizations. Nothing seems more important to it's leaders than Protecting their traditions. For to Protect their traditions is to Protect their livelihoods. As we've seen, the church in the Wilderness, 'Closed' and 'Close' Communion, the Invitation, the aisle, altar, and the pet doctrines of the End Times have been erroneously tampered with through years of tradition. I say, let us put an end to it. May the Holy Spirit use this as a catalyst to get good and sincere Baptists to weigh the evidence against the traditions of men so that they may once again stand on solid Scriptural ground and enjoy the benefits of Christ's true church instead of defending an Institution and their pet doctrines from a position of tradition.

'Why Be A Baptist?' Sermon by Dr. Al Lacy

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