Rubel Shelly - Pre Billy Graham Crusade - Woodmont Hills

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Last Sunday I told you of my preaching plan on the eve of the Billy Graham Crusade.

See Believer's Baptism invented in 1525--too late to be Christian Baptism--which is ancient pagan baptism.

Look carefully for the definition of baptism and understand that it is Baptist baptism. That is why it is no compromise. However, the congregation is being fooled by double speak.

See Believer's Baptism as a Pagan form. Much like the Eucharist in the Catholic Mass, it demands that Christ come PERSONALLY to the believer so that one can die with Christ or often to BECOME CHRIST and die for your own sins.

Jesus said that BELIEVE includes BAPTISM saves. He said that BELIEVETH NOT makes one into a treacherous person and an INFIDEL. Teaching or fellowshiping the Zwingli form of baptism makes one a traitor to Christ and calls God a liar.

Jesus said that without BAPTISM one CANNOT, SHALL NOT enter into the kingdom.

In 1957 Graham announced his "inclusive policy" to infiltrate rather than separate. In 1963 he made liberal Bishop Gerald Kennedy the honorary chairman of his Los Angeles crusade. Kennedy's denial of the diety of Christ in the book God's Good News felt that Kennedy should be treated as 2 John states

Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in doctrine of Christ, hath not God, If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

In changing his crusade policies, Graham influenced many pastors and churches to follow his example of compromise in a new approach to evangelism called ecumenical evangelism because of the peer pressure of a brother in Christ and for the sake of souls being saved. The mixing of belief (hot) with unbelief (cold liberalism) created the lukewarm condition of the Laodicean church as described in Revelation 3:15,16. In time it has created spiritual blindness, spiritual poverty, and apathy. Resource.


Rubel Shelly: God Really Loves You

May 21, 2000 / Romans 5:6-

Last Sunday I told you of my preaching plan on the eve of the Billy Graham Crusade. I said that I would be preaching these three themes on the Sundays immediately prior to that June 1-4 event: the worth of human lives in the eyes of God, how much God loves every woman and man of the human race, and how near and available Jesus is to each of us. For one thing, I want each of you to believe these things for yourself. For another, I want you to think about them in relation to someone you know and care about who is not a Christian.

Some of you are aware that some preachers and area congregations of the Church of Christ have been critical of my involvement as a member of the General Committee for the Graham Crusade. They have criticized our being a host church for training Crusade workers.

They have declared themselves unwilling to participate in the Crusade in any way, shape, or form

and denounced you for being associated with a congregation that would do so.

In the first article which is not a Satanic attack but a review Rubel Shelly's statement proves that the you, the congregation, had nothing to do with the decision. As the "pastor" the decision was made by the Dr. and elders and then laid on top of you at Woodmont Hills. Click for the proof.

Please don't be angry with those people.

And please don't be too harsh about either their statements or motives.

Why should "you" be angry or harsh when the corrective is applied to the Leadership. Again, this is the blame game, the guilt clause, to accuse "those being invaded with attacking the invaders."

One of the values of pop psychology is the ability to use harsh, judgmental terms which, because of musical dissociation and performance styles, will sail over the heads of the logical brains and impact the emotional brain of those always looking for someone to blame for everything. For instance, another fellow-preacher turns logic upside down and blames those who remained faithful for the division created by instruments:

"What began as an inclusive and irenic (peacable) movement, aimed at uniting all believers,

has become one of the most exclusive and divisive sects in the history of Christianity.

"But (praise be to God!) new winds are blowing in the Churches of Christ, winds of the Holy Spirit... "Rubel Shelly is an outstanding Bible teacher, and one of the leading lights of what could be called "the new Church of Christ."

Rubel Shelly: There are still a lot of people from our background who think that public preaching to large groups is the single best (or only biblical) method for leading people to Christ.

This is not the view of the American Restoration movement which repudiated the professional "pastor" and demanded that anyone with a "call" must prove it by obeying the direct command of Jesus, the approved examples of the apostles and the necessary inference that you must go to preach to the lost. The Billy Graham festival attracts the seekers of strange things but using mental-dissociation (prepared by the early training) to get a lot of "decisions for Christ."

Big meetings don't work but we will sow discord among the brethren to join with a big meeting which does work!

Rubel Shelly: They think you must teach and convince them of everything you want them to know in sermons.

In our time and place, public preaching is one of the least effective ways of teaching people the gospel.

That is what I have been saying: remember about 10% of the non-biblical pop-psychology they hear and act upon about 10% of the 10% or about 1%. That is why Jesus commanded preach or dialog to the lost and then move on. So, the solution is to disband the "staff" or make them honest men by sending them out. Joining with Bill G would seem to be schizophrenic.

Rubel Shelly: People are led to Christ in this culture through one-on-one relationships that allow teaching over time. People in our Postmodern culture feel disconnected and lonely.

Postmodern means post-Biblical and post-Christendom. What 2,000 years called THE WORD OF GOD because it was the Word of Christ has grown obsolete BECAUSE our culture has changed! However, John York and Rubel Shelly say we must partner with God to derive OUR Scripture for OUR time. I have been trying to imagine a "mite" teaming up with an infinitely tall elephant. That is being unequally yoked together. Yet, Rubel Shelly claims that he is JUST THAT MANY.

I suspect that people who oppose Billy Graham understand how people are taught. The Postmodern invention of a new "for hire cottage industry" has not changed that in the least.

Didn't Dr. Choate tell you about the post-modern view of Dr. Shelly and his David Lipscomb University crew? Doesn't this diminish the power of the gospel?

Rubel Shelly: They distrust authority in general and the church in particular. In the culture of two generations back,

That is another misdirection of guilt: the preachers refuse to go out but the "church" gets the blame. I suspect that tel-evangelists have generated the mistrust which is well-founded.

Rubel Shelly: you could reach people in big groups (e.g., gospel meetings)

and lead them into a smaller community (i.e., Sunday School class, family relationships, small group) of faith.

In this generation, it works the other way around. They will more nearly connect in a small-group community and have some of their cynical edge removed and pass into the 'big group' of a church's assemblies and membership over time.

Now, let me recover a bit. Did I hear that correctly?

Big meetings don't work any more.
We will join with a big meeting.
It will work because of the small groups!

Rubel Shelly: No, we're not abandoning our belief in baptism, church membership, or the Lord's Supper by working with the upcoming Crusade.

Now, the BAPTISM we believe in is BECAUSE we are saved by faith IN grace. However, by claiming to believe in "baptism" the people will not grasp that it is an ancient PAGAN baptism restored by Zwingli in 1525.

Didn't we do that in 1997 by inviting Max Lucado knowing what he believed?

Leroy Garrett's Similar Claim that Alexander Campbell taught a baptism as the sign or affirmation that one is saved by faith only.

Hear Alexander Campbell deny it. "No relation can be changed by believing, apart from the acts to which that belief, or faith, induces us."

Baptist Formulation

As a reaction against the mysteries within Catholicism, and not as well-thought-out theology, men like Zwingli formulated a new doctrine in the world. This doctrine was, within decades, adopted by John Smyth and other separatists as a fundamental tenet of a new creed. Since the early 1600s groups developed which grew into a a new modern system of mysteries or sacramental religion.

John Smyth, claimed by Baptists, in a Short Confession of Faith, denied original sin:

(5) That there is no original sin (lit;, no sin of origin or descent), but all sin is actual and voluntary, viz., a word, a deed, or a design against the law of God; and therefore, infants are without sin.

(11) That faith, destitute of good works, is vain; but true and living faith is distinguished by good works.

(12) That the church of Christ is a company of the faithful; baptised after confession of sin and of faith, endowed with the power of Christ. [ 1993a ] [ 1993b ]

(13) That the church of Christ has power delegated to themselves of announcing the word, administering the sacraments,appointing ministers, disclaiming them, and also excommunicating; but the last appeal is to the brethren of body of the church.

However, his formulation was grasped by Baptists and seems to be accepted by Dr. Shelly:

(14) That baptism is the external sign of the remission of sins, of dying and of being made alive, and therefore does not belong to infants. [ 1993 ]

"Zwingli and Calvin reduced the sacraments to signs and seals of grace which is inwardly communicated by the Holy Spirit. They asserted the sovereign causality of God, and the independence of the Spirit who "bloweth where it willeth" (John 3:8). God can communicate his gifts freely as he chooses. We are, however, bound to his prescribed means. Schaff

Dr. Shelly also makes baptism a symbol:

Turning away from your sin, you turn to Christ for his pardon.
And he affirms that pardon to you in baptism.

This is in two stages: (1) turning to Christ brings pardon and (2) He confirms that prior pardon in baptism.

If Christ confirms or makes known pardon in baptism then doesn't this say that pardon was prior to that confirmation at baptism? That is what Billy Graham would say. But this is not what Jesus commanded or Paul taught!

This the latter-day Zwinglian dogma is that belief or repentance authomaically causes God to remit sins. However, is it tougher for God to cleanse us or wash us at battism than to "affirm" the finished fact by "turning only?"

Rubel Shelly: When you're dirty, what do you need to do? Take a bath?

So God gives you a bath in water to signify what he is doing to your heart because you have chosen to trust Jesus.

Jesus said that we have chosen when we have OBEYED his direct commandment. Remission of sins comes after faith and repentance. It is a SYMBOL in the same sense that the check for a MILLION DOLLARS is a symbol. You don't get the money until you obey the DIRECT COMMAND inherent in the symbol.

Peter says that when we wash our bodies in baptism, God sprinkles our HEART. This gives us A holy spirit (Acts 2:38) or a clear conscience or consiousness (1 Pet 3:21).

Baptism "washes away your sin" -- not, of course, because of the water but by the power of the blood of Jesus Christ alone (Acts 22:16). Being saved, after all, is "not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God" (1 Pet. 3:21). Baptism is a grace-gift that is accepted in a faith-action; it is not a works-display with saving merit. From another Dr. Shelly Sermon


Dr. Shelly quotes the NIV but the word "pledge" does not mean a symbol of affirmation but:

Eperotema (g1906) ep-er-o'-tay-mah; from 1905; an inquiry: - answer.

Eperotao (g1905) ep-er-o-tah'-o; from 1909 and 2065; to ask for, i.e. inquire, seek: - ask (after, questions), demand, desire, question.

Therefore, baptism is not the Zwingli or Baptist "sign" or "signal" or Shelly "affirmation" that we are already saved. Baptism is the time and place where faithful obedience asks God for cleansing. Cleansing is always after baptism and not before.

And corresponding to that, baptism now saves you-- not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience-- through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 3:21NAS

(That, by the way, is what baptism pictures for us: In baptism we show that we have been saved from death and doom by the resurrection of Christ; not because our bodies are washed clean by the water but because in being baptized we are turning to God and asking him to cleanse our hearts from sin.) 1 Peter 3:21LIV

Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 3:21RSV

We all know that baptism isn't a work which demands a wage but the Holy Spirit still says that baptism saves. If Jesus wanted to save us by having us hold up our hand then holding up our hand would save us because that is the physical way He ordained to get into the spiritual realm. Baptism is no more works oriented than repentance!

Therefore, when preachers assure everyone that they can still believe in baptism it is important to understand the nature of that baptism. Jesus made baptism the means in that it was the time and place to "accept the will of God for your life." If you reject baptism then you reject God who commanded it.

As "keynoter" Max Lucado laid down a foundation stone of the Jubilee Movement: salvation is by calling upon God.

Dr. Shelly says that baptism is God's affirmation of the prior salvation by repentance.

By participating with Billy Graham this seems to be affirmed. Therefore, it is not fair to sow discord among brethren by causing them to judge both the statement and motives of those who oppose the participation.

This has the same dissociating power of music: if you question the decisions of the leadership you are joining with those who are attacking you.

Review of Max Lucado's Creed on baptism which explains Rubel Shelly's view on baptism
Part One: The Thief on the Cross Saved without Baptism! No: Christ had not yet preached to the pre- Cross faithful nor ascended into heaven.
Part Two: Baptism is just a pledge that you have been saved? No: Baptism is our REQUEST TO God; not OUR guaranteeing OUR faith and future conduct to gain "church" membership.
Part Three: Salvation by Trust Only or Prayer Only? 12/5/02 See how the GA, Shelly, Lucado Trithism as A Family of Gods leads naturally to despising the counsel of the human Jesus and how Baptists Baptism denies that Christ came FULLY in the flesh.
Part Four: Romans 6: Baptism DOES NOT save?

Most Post-Modernists deny that salvation depends upon baptism.

Rubel Shelly: We're not compromising our identity as a church. We are simply grateful for the opportunity to receive and teach people who may go to a big-group event at the coliseum out of curiosity but

who will not become followers of Jesus unless they connect with a few Christian friends or a small-group Bible study.

Why replace CHRIST with the COMMUNITY then? It is because Rubel preaches the "community of the great demonstration" of Exodus. Rubel claims that Exodus is "our pattern for worship and COMMUNITY." Community being "commune." John Mark Hicks preaches that Paul used the ANIMAL SACRIFICIAL FEASTS to explain the Lord's Supper. That is why, John Mark Hicks claims, that we must celebrate and have a JUBILEE around an Agapae (polluted paganism) TABLE where God actually EATS with us.

Isn't it tragic that Jesus didn't know that: the Holy Spirit didn't know that. Now, to the seven "ones" of the "core gospel" in its post-modern sense, we have added some new "apple." People will not follow Jesus unless they first follow "me." Not only is that Post-Modern, it is Post Willow Creek where people are led to God by seeing the talented performance of the "musical worship team."

The unbelieving brothers of Jesus wanted Him to go to the Feast of Tabernacles which had become a fertility ritual. After all, with his "tricks" He could become a "man of note" and get on the lecture circuit. And if He sill believed that He was God, wouldn't the biggest festival in Jerusalem be the place to find the seekers? No. Jesus knew that these people couldn't find God in a noisy crowd and the "festival leaders" in Jerusalem would be attempting to destroy the "Jesus influence" by destroying Jesus.

Rubel Shelly: The coliseum event will be a tiny first step of infancy faith for many people who can be encouraged and nurtured to maturity in Christ, if someone cares about them enough to help them.

But, of course are you going to pledge yourself to direct the Catholics to a priest? Is compromise love? With less money, Woodmont Hills Family of God could do what Harold Hazelip did in the pre-post-modern era. They could tell everyone who will attend the crusade that you don't believe that a God of love is going to be in the coliseum to make his selection of whom He will save and whom He plans to harden just to get them into a burning, eternal hell. That is what predestination believes. God said that "burning babies" never came into his mind.

You could gather all of those who do not believe in a wrathful, Graham-type God together and hold a counter-revival. Jesus came to remove the "burden" laded on by clergy where "burden" is defined as "spiritual anxiety created by religious ritual." This ritual is calculated to create the anxiety always connected with Calvinism to manufacture the "experiences" which rarely happen with indivisuals. this proof of predestination will give people the conficence they need without every "joining up" with a small group.

Rubel Shelly: These first-step believers will need somebody to connect them to the love of God. And that's where you come in. That's where today's sermon comes in.

Acts 2 treats "believers" as baptized believers. Because the "gospel" will not be preached the people will respond but more to Billy Graham than to Jesus.

It is somewhat identical to ancient paganism that the Woodmont Hills Family of God "Musical Worship Facilitator" (means manipulator" was hired to "lead the worshipers into the presence of God." The Billy Graham hires some of the most powerful professional performers. Will they lead people into the presence of God?

Now, you need a trained person to connect them to the love of God.

Next, we are going to get the guilt trip laid on -- with love, you understand? If you don't agree with my decision it is going to be because you are not a loving person and you are under Satanic attack!

Rubel Shelly: For a variety of reasons, today's sermon may be the hardest of the three pre-Crusade lessons for some people to hear. The claim 'God really loves you' falls on stony hearts with some people. It isn't so much that they don't want to believe in God and his love,

I think, as it reflects some painful things out of their past that

has made them doubt there is such a loving and benevolent Creator of all things who cares about them. (That is the old decadent and deliterious doctrine of the church of Christ. That means rotten and destructive)

Life, you see, has a way of inflicting some terribly painful wounds on human hearts.

And Satan tries to use those hurts as wedges between people and God. Let me explain what I mean.

Why Some People Doubt God's Love

The Golden Text of the Bible says this: 'For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life' (John 3:16).

Contrary to the pagan belief that a "worship team" can lead one into the presence of God or into the love of God, John 3:16 doesn't begin and end with John 3:16. The musical idolatry at Mount Sinai was an ancient ritual drama of Osiris under the idol of Apis the bull. The goal was to "ascend" or "go across the sea" of death to find the lost god to lead them.

Paul warned the Corinthians in chapter 10 that they were involved with the feasts of demons and in Romans 9-11 they were trying to ascend to find God. Musical performance at Sinai and in Corinth was the key mind-manipulator to try to "lead the worshipers into the presence of God." However, John begins:

And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. John 3:13

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: John 3:14

That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:15 (An acceptance act is always attached to every act of faith: they had to look upon the serpent)

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. John 3:17

Paul connected the 'belief in Him' and the salvation through Him:

What? For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26

How and When? For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Galatians 3:27

Notice that when you look at the whole message of Jesus and don't shut him up mid-sentence, the Spirit says that one must believe in him to keep from perishing.

However, to the believer, salvation is through Him.

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:18

Jesus made this clear in the Great Commission which must be "into all the world."

As Paul might say: "baptism does not save and not being baptized does not save: keeping Christ's commands is what counts." In the case of baptism practiced by John and the disciples of Jesus, the Jews were not condemned because they were not baptized:

they were condemned because they "rejected the counsel of God for their lives."

So, you see, this is an approved example showing that Christ really meant: "He that is not baptized shall not be saved."

Unless, of course, one can be saved while rejecting the counsel of God. One first believes the counsel and then acts upon it or one rejects it and it is just belief and not faith.

And Peter said that was not the water baptism as a mechanical "body wash" which saved but baptism was the time and place which Christ ordained by which we ask God for a clear conscience and He, and not the water, gives it:

In the case of Mark 16: 15-16 Jesus said that:

He that believes and is baptized shall be saved

He that believes not---------------shall be damned

You see it takes both to be saved. That is, it takes faith and acting upon whatever is believed. However, in the latter case,

the person is not damned because they were not baptized,

but damned because they didn't believe.

Their refusal to be baptized, in John's baptism, was proof that they didn't trust themselves to Christ. Their failure to be baptized was rejecting the commands of God and it was the rejection in the mind and not the absence of the water which damned them.

Baptism, like faith, grace and everything we will ever have is "the gift of God." However, we don't get God's free gift of 'watermellons" until we plant the seed and allow God to give the increase.

The ultimate act of hate is to hide God's gift of baptism. To teach "faith-only" as the "high five" from God that you have been predestinated to heaven and grasped out of the fires of hell is anti-Christ and to participate is to endorse it. The love of God does not extend to deliberate, with a high hand sin.

Rubel Shelly: That verse plays beautiful, positive notes of music in my heart. I know what it is to be loved by someone (e.g., father, mother, wife, children), and I can transfer those positive notions to God. I can imagine the positive, affirming attitude of God toward me and calculate some of the positive effects of such a love in my life.

'As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you' (Isa. 66:13). I can identify with that image of God because of experiences with my mother when I was so sick for so many years as a child.

Well, let's return to the pre-post-modern text:

As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem. Isaiah 66:13

When Jesus came he was forced to identify Jerusalem with fertility religion: "You piped and tried to force me to sing and dance." John in Revelation identified it with Egypt and Sodom:

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings,

and ye would not Mt.23:37

Like so much of the Bible, a little proof-text of a part of a verse is always followed by other verses:

For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. Isaiah 66:15

For by fire and by his sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many. Isaiah 66:16

And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh. Isaiah 66:24

[This statement was also spoken to the Babylon whore (male) whose harps would go with her into Sheol and be consumed upon a bed of maggots on the edges of the eternal fire]

Rubel Shelly: 'But while [the prodigal son] was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him' (Luke 15:20). I know I disappointed my father in some situations, but he never turned against me or cut me out of his life. So I can identify with these positive images of God's parental role in my life.

That is so true, but is the conclusion to be drawn by the Woodmont Hills Family of God that joining the Billy Graham association is the only way to express tolerance and love? Isn't playing "prayerful brinkmanship" in Navigating the Winds of Change, the old right-wing judgmentalism now being played out in the God-like, and psychologically-disturbing need to acquite others of guilt.

Will attending the Crusade, like attending with the 40,000 "clergy" with Billy at Promise Keepers 96 in Atlanta, give vent to the confession of judgmentalism and somehow liberating everyone by confessing sins and affirming those we once condemned?

Rubel Shelly: And so on for biblical metaphors about Christ loving the church as a husband loves his wife, my unqualified love for my daughter and two sons, and the meaning of friends and other affirming persons in my life.

True, true. Our unconditional love is absolutely necessary. However, in our spiritual pursuits we are not loving for a season but for eternity. We cannot permit ourselves or others to jump off tall buildings because we love them too much to teach them about gravity:

But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Heb.12:8

I used to tell the story about "Jackie" the stray dog who joined me in the "holler" while I built a house 90 miles from home. I told the self-consumed "young marrieds class" that "My dog loves me because I feed her loaves and fishes." The next week I had to say: "Even Jackie has left me." So, the love of God cannot be manifested always in people who will almost always let you down when the loves and fishes cease. Can we expect less than God Incarnate who wasn't always loved and affirmed?

Rubel Shelly: But there are some people who no longer believe in love because they have been hurt and exploited in the name of 'love.' A woman remembers being molested as a child by some man who pretended to love her. Or maybe she was a teenager or young adult when somebody said he loved her and then dumped her and left her behind ñ maybe with children to care for by herself.

I am not sure how this connects to a focus on Billy Graham rather than Jesus.

Rubel Shelly: A man is defrauded by business partners he thought were his friends. Someone's memories of childhood involve an abusive parent who scolded, berated, or beat him in the name of 'loving' him. People have been betrayed by preachers who ñ in the name of 'God's love' built little empires or practiced their immoral behaviors behind a smokescreen of piety.

If the word 'love' conjures up negative memories, painful images, and thoughts of defective relationships, talk about God's love can be barren or painful.

We have looked at a recent sermon at Woodmont Hills which is the most unloving, false chage against those who do not use instruments this writer has ever read. On the other extreme, a lot of silly stuff is written about instruments but we don't know of a book which is as judgmental as this sermon.

And, at Abilene Christian University, non-musical churches are accused with being: "fratricidal, traditionalist, legalists, attitude of superiority, unChristian posture, schismatic, Satanic, sectarian, idolatrous, irrelevant, just pushing junk." In both articles, to be non-musical is to be idolatrous as Alfred DeGroot defines those with a "hermeneutic" which goes with the flow as "churches" and the non-musical groups who follow the first-century Bible with being sects.

Love does not mean turning Biblical and historical facts on their heads.

Rubel Shelly: Others cannot believe in God's love, for they have been taught that God has been he source of all their heartache. 'God took your baby because he wanted him more than you did' or 'God gave you that brain tumor to teach you to trust him.'

Well, I never believed that preacher rubbish anyway. But why is there such a stretch to teach everyone the need go ecumenical with Billy Graham, Charismatics and Catholics? Don't make sense to this engineer.

Rubel Shelly: Last Wednesday a broken-hearted lady whom I had just met confided her confusion and anger at God over a severely handicapped and mentally retarded child. Some people from a church near her had told her, 'God gives children with such special needs only to very special mothers who can give them what they need.' (Though I'm sure those people meant well by their pious sentiment, what they didn't know was that her health was beginning to break under the strain and that her husband had just told her that he couldn't take it anymore and was leaving! Did God arrange those things for her because she was capable of handling 'special' situations?)

What reasonable person can believe in a loving God if he or she has been taught to think that bankruptcy and heart attacks, car wrecks and divorces, or handicapped children and deserting husbands are his doing to single people out for tragedy?

Therefore, we should support Billy Graham?

If preachers preached the gospel this wouldn't happen, would it. And if preachers "went into all the world" she would never hear such rubbish.

Rubel Shelly: At this very moment, a two-week-fire in New Mexico has scorched more than 50,000 acres of land, left over 400 families homeless, and damaged the storied Los Alamos nuclear weapons laboratory. You know what such a disaster is called in insurance lingo, don't you? Why, it's an 'act of God.' No! Such events are often simply natural disasters caused by lightning or devastating tragedies caused by careless campfires. This one appears to have been caused by human error or, arguably, human stupidity.

Wouldn't it be grand if all of the money spent on Billy Graham as the guru to whom people will be pointed just took the money and sent it to New Mexico. Now, that would be an "act of God."

Rubel Shelly: I know what the people out there need right now. It is for multiple true 'acts of God' to be displayed toward them. They need for some of us who still have our houses, jobs, and possessions to share with them. That might restore their shaky confidence over facing life after this tragedy has passed. So let's help them.

[Doug Poling comes to the platform to call for a special contribution for victims of the Los Alamos fires, some of whom he knows personally.]

All of us will agree with the rest of this sermon. However, when it is preached in the context of internal and external criticism for getting involved with Billy Graham, Charismatics, Latter Rains and the Catholic church -- and who knows who else -- it is a false accusation because it must have the motive of defending the internal decision (at high levels, not by a vote) and to brand those who criticise the decision as unloving.

Beyond self love or sentimental love which we should all have for those in need, the love of God is quite different:

He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Jn.14:21

You see, Christianity is not seven facts about Jesus but obeying what Jesus said:

If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Fathers commandments, and abide in his love. Jn.15:10

And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 1Jn.2:3

We suggest that Paul meant that the work of the church is to equip individuals for the ministry. They, then take the love to the world. However, the work of the evangelist is to "go preach the gospel and baptize people" and this is the only love which we can express which has eternal value because "the poor you have with you always."

Making God's Love Believable

Rubel Shelly: The reason so much of this church's outreach begins with compassion is simply that we understand how some people cannot see God as a source of love and goodness in their lives. They have been hurt and betrayed. They are sick or homeless or enslaved to alcohol and other drugs. They are in miserable marriages that keep them perpetually frustrated and angry.

And therefore Billy Graham is the way for Rubel to GO?

That seems fine to me but what does this have to do with Billy Graham? Is it supposed to mean that those who oppose an organizational connection with Billy Graham don't outreach or love? I suggest that small, non-celebrative churches probably spend more of their income on missions and charity than big-city churches with a "staff" which would make Moses gag at the pyramidal structure God imposed upon him.

For the $250,000.oo (estimated) spent on Jubilee 98 our little church could send a medical mission to Guayana with more real visible effects than a Billy Graham festival. About $100,000.oo so we could do 2 1/2 Jubilee 98. To spend this money to collect the book-sellers and teach wholesale error does not sound like love.

Rubel Shelly: Maybe they are angry at life in general because they've had such a hard time. Perhaps they are angry at themselves for ruining what was once a fairly decent life. So God has become their 'whipping boy,' for he seems to be a fairly safe punching bag for their disappointment and rage. It's like an angry child screaming at her Mommy because she doesn't know what else to do with her anger.

People sometimes scream at or indict God because they are in more pain than they think they can bear, and they simply must strike out in one direction or another.

It is hard to believe that people who try to teach the truth in the face of a radical "falling away from the church" are screaming children who are angry at God. To be angry with Dr. Shelly is not to be angry with God. We don't have much use for the 'right wing' either but as long as they hold to the Bible as the Word of God both "gospel" and "doctrine" they can always correct defects as they go along. However, once you have carved out a "core gospel" of seven facts about Jesus and relegated the rest of the Bible to the confused interpretations of waring apostles and divisive churches you have lost the ground and the sinking sand will consume you and your "family."

Rubel Shelly: So I cannot assume that everybody I meet feels kindly disposed toward God. From a wide variety of life experiences, he may have very ambivalent feelings toward God's love. She may not believe in God at all because of her secular worldview. He may be so confused by what he has seen in and heard from Christians that it is impossible to make sense of (much less believe!) the words 'God loves you very, very much.'

When I try to be Jesus in that person's life and help him in the midst of his pain, it may backfire on me. If you'll pardon the analogy, it is sometimes like trying to rescue a bird with a broken wing or a puppy who has been hit by a car. Try to pick up the bird, and he'll peck at you and make angry sounds. Try to examine the dog's broken leg, and he'll snap at you -- bite you, if he can.

I have heard this explained something like this:

We "invade" others by challenging their old, destructive doctrine

Those being invaded become hostile and attack the invaders.

This proves that they were wrong all along.

Undoubtedly the church is filled with sick animals. However, you don't try to heal the bird by demanding that the ecumenical animal kingdom has discovered wheels and you are going to cut off the wings and attach wheels. Or you try to feed the puppy with food which has been declared unhealthy by every "doctor" for 2,000 years. Presumption of doctor-talent brings a lot of risk.

Will endorsing PAGAN BAPTISM solve those problems?

Rubel Shelly: The one thing we must not do is use the anger, ingratitude, or negative responses of some of the people we try to help as our excuse for withholding compassion and love. The job of the church is to make God's love believable by treating people with respect, care, and support even, no especially, the 'hard cases.'

The Convincing Evidence

Ultimately, however, the proof of the love of God doesn't come from our attempts at imitating Jesus to the people among whom we live but in telling the story of God's dealings with humanity across the centuries.

This is part of DeGroot's "living church" in which we understand Jesus, not form the Bible, but from the events of history.

He is incredibly quick to compassion and slow to anger. He is eager to bless and reluctant to punish. 'He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance' (2 Pet. 3:9).

This is a repudiation of the Billy Graham predestination.

Rubel Shelly: And even when he must punish evil in order to defend not only his own integrity but those who are attempting to live in holiness, he does so with the option of grace always on the table. 'You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you' (Psa. 84:5). People remember the terrible flood of purging waters that God sent over the Earth but are inclined to forget that he gave wicked humanity 120 years to repent and be spared. People remember the fiery end of Sodom and Gomorrah but seem to forget that if only ten people could have been found in those two cities who could grieve over their wickedness both would have been spared.

One of the most extraordinary stories in all the Bible for me is told in the Book of Jonah. I'm not talking about the big fish that swallowed and then spit out the prophet either. I'm referring to Jonah's racism and nationalism that made him pleased at the thought that Yahweh was about to destroy Nineveh. Nothing could have pleased Jonah more! So he finally -- reluctantly, for this is where the flight by ship and big fish story come in -- got to Nineveh and preached: 'Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned' (Jon. 3:4b). When the people heard of impending judgment, they repented and turned to the Lord. And Jonah's reaction was bitter, bitter disappointment. He wanted those people annihilated.

Are you racists if you don't endorse Billy Graham?

Don't lose touch that this is a pre-crusade sermon justifying the decision of Woodmont Hills against the critics from churches of Christ. Coming out of Jubilee, the Zoe Group and Willow Creek and ACU is the story of the Restoration Movement which makes the rejection of instrumental music the result of racism and nationalism. We have noted that the battle over music was in the North and was not based on racism. Our friend was ridiculed and charged with being a present-tense racist for resisting the introduction of instrumental music in the church. Click For More.

If conservative churches really wanted all sinners to be destroyed by refusing them the right to repent One could think of no better method than for Jonah to obey God's commandments-- to the letter.

However, the law of silence would permit Jonah to hire a local musical band in Nineveh. Then, he could skip, wave his hands and sing, "Repent, repent, and again I say, repent" while the band plays down the street.

So even if Jonah, in this parable, is the disciple of love he would still promote a circus atmosphere, carry out God's commands, no one would take him seriously, and he could go find a goard vine while Nineveh perished.

Rubel Shelly: But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. He prayed to the Lord, 'O Lord, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity' (Jon. 4:1-2).

Thank God that he is so gracious and compassionate, so slow to anger and abounding in love! Thank God that he 'relents from sending calamity' when we make the slightest moves back to him!

Jonah ran from God because he was a bigot and racist, but God still pursued him. Hosea's wife was a prostitute, but Yahweh told Hosea to pursue her as he was still pursuing Israel. Noah got drunk, Jeremiah was depressed and suicidal, Elijah burned out. Moses stuttered, Naomi was a widow, and Samson (can you believe it!) had long hair. Both Moses and Paul had the blood of a murder on their hands. Peter was afraid of dying, and Lazarus already had died. Miriam was a gossip, Martha was a neurotic worrier, and John could be self-righteous.

Why does God keep on pursuing people like these 'losers'? Why does he keep on lavishing his love on me? Why is he trying to connect with your heart right now? It's because he loves you. He loves you very, very much. He really does!

But only if you agree about Billy Graham?

A Text With Three Themes

The final proof of God's love for you is the cross of Jesus Christ. Augustine was right when he said the cross is a pulpit from which Jesus preached God's love to the world. 'This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins' (1 John 4:10).

Augustine also projected his sexual problems on the Garden of eden and determined that every human being was in the semen of Adam. So, when Adam sinned, everyone sinned. Billy Graham would buy that. to Augustine, the pulpit is the place to preach to the predestinated.

Please pay attention to this incredible text and the three strands it weaves together from the biblical record:

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:6-8).

First, the crimson thread ends the verse: 'Christ died for us.' What does that mean? There are mothers and fathers in this room who would die for your children. You love your babies so much that you would gladly trade places if cancer or a car out of control was threatening your child's life. I've stood in hospital corridors more than once and heard people sob, 'Why couldn't it have been me? I'd have gladly taken his place!' Do you hear the words: take his place, trade places, die for her? That's what Jesus did on the cross.

ORIGEN.: "none is free from pollution, though his life be but the length of one day upon the earth."

Calvinism: but only for the predestinated to heaven. The Baptist atonement is a limited atonement. If these poor believed people are predestinated to hell then why should we argue that God didn't kill them just to get them started over the barbecue?

Second, there is a stained threat in this text: Christ died in our place 'while we were still sinners.' We weren't obedient, loving children when Jesus was put to death in our place. We were rebels. We were disobedient. We had not asked him to do anything for us because we were determined and deliberate in our sinfulness. Because of our sins, we deserve to die. Because he traded places with us that day, we can live. 'The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord' (Rom. 6:23). We didn't deserve it and hadn't asked for it. It was a gift to us in our pathetically dark, stained, sinful lives.

The wages of sin is still death to those who deliberately sow discord. Again, the Calvinistic threat is still there to burn you in hell -- if you are an inch long -- if you are not predestinated to God's loive. The gift of love is only for the loved and predestinated before the foundation of the earth: if you are not loved there is nothing that you can do and if you are loved there is nothing that you can do to be saved. I don't know the eternal destiny of Job, do you?

Third, there is a golden thread of divine love: 'God demonstrates his own love for us in this.' In some other settings and in light of some of your experiences, the message that God loves you very, very much can sound hollow, unconvincing, and even trite. But if you have been moved to see the cross of Jesus through the eye of faith, those words ring true! They hold the prospect of forgiveness and the beginning of a brand new life.

Gordon Jensen put all this wonderful theology of divine love this way in a song:

In letters of crimson God wrote his love
on a hillside so long, long ago.
For you and for me Jesus died
and love's greatest story was told.
'I love you! I love you!'
that's what Calvary said.
'I love you! I love you!
I love you! written in red.'[i]


Irving Berlin (1888-1989) is the composer you know through such songs as 'A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody,' 'I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas,' and 'God Bless America.' In an interview with a reporter from The San Diego Union, he was asked, 'Mr. Berlin, is there any question you've never been asked that you would like someone to ask you?'

'Well, yes, there is one,' he replied. ' "What do you think of all the many songs you've written that didn't become hits?' And my reply would be that I still think they are wonderful.' And that from a songwriter who wrote over a thousand songs!

Do you realize that God feels that way about you? He thinks every single one of us is wonderful. It doesn't matter what anybody else thinks whether they see you as a 'hit' or not, whether you've been acclaimed as a howling success in life or written off by someone as a hopeless failure. God's opinion of you is that you are awesome. Wonderful. Beloved.

How can I be sure? It's written in blood at the cross of Jesus.

Jesus didn't BUILD a worship center with hirelings sitting in the temple at the top of the Towers of Babbling. Jesus promised to build His Ekklesia which is a synonym for Synagogue which is a SCHOOL OF THE BIBLE. Jesus promised to GATHER (synagogue) when two are three are ready to listen to the Master "Pastor" as He still speaks through His Words. He said that "my words are spirit and life" (John 6:63). Therefore, you CANNOT bring people to Christ: He told you to GO and PREACH and there is nothing within your supreme power which can PARTNER with God.

With or without Billy Graham!

But God also hates:

A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth. Proverbs 6:12

He winketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet, he teacheth with his fingers; Proverbs 6:13

Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord. Proverbs 6:14

Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy. Proverbs 6:15

These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: Proverbs 6:16

A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, Proverbs 6:17

An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, Proverbs 6:18

A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren. Proverbs 6:19

Quotations From

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