Table of Contents
About the author
1. Lordship Salvation-An
Enemy of Soul Winning
2. Ultra-Dispensationalism -An Enemy of
3. Formal Worship-An Enemy of Soul Winning
Misunderstood Repentance-An Enemy of Soul Winning
Bibles-An Enemy of Soul Winning
6. Church Leaders (Nobles) Not
Soul Winners-An Enemy of Soul Winning
7. Opposition to Pastoral
Leadership-An Enemy of Soul Winning
8. The Universal Church-An
Enemy of Soul Winning
9. The Modem Tongues Movement-An Enemy of
10. Where Are the Nine?
11. Let's Be
12. Lifestyle Evangelism-An Enemy of Soul Winning
The subtle enemies that affect the soul-winning efforts of the
local church have too long gone unnoticed as well as unchallenged.
Dr. Jack Hyles, Pastor of the church with the "World's Largest
Sunday School" and the worlds foremost soul-winning ministries,
contests these enemies, one by one.
These enemies must be exposed for what they are: a definite
attempt, by Satan, to stop fundamental, soul-winning churches from
doing the work God has ordained them to do.
These insights given by Dr. Hyles may seem controversial, but
in reality they are logical as well as Biblical.
Enemies of Soul Winning will reveal adversaries you may have
thought were your friends!
About the Author
Jack Hyles began preaching at the age of 19 and has pastored
for 45 years. These pastorates include churches that varied in
membership from 44 to over 100,000. All of these pastorates, other
than the present one, where in the state of Texas: First, the
Marris Chapel Baptist Church of Bogata, Texas; then the Grange
Hall Baptist Church in Marshall, Texas; from there to the
Southside Baptist Church of Henderson, Texas; and then to the
Miller Road Baptist Church of Garland, Texas. He pastored the
Miller Road Baptist Church for approximately 7 years and saw this
church, under the Lord, grow from a membership of 44 to over
4,000. It was from the Miller Road Baptist Church that he was
called to his present pastorate at the First Baptist Church in
Dr. Hyles has been Pastor of the First Baptist Church since
August, 1959. This church has a membership of over 100,000 and has
averaged over 23,000 conversions and 8,000 baptisms per year for
the past 6 years. For many years the church has been acclaimed to
have the "World's Largest Sunday School." During Dr. Hyles'
ministry the First Baptist Church has increased in property
evaluation to over $50,000,000.
Besides his position as Pastor, Dr. Hyles is FounderChancellor
of Hyles-Anderson Schools, which enrolled approximately 4,000
students last year. The schools are operated by the First Baptist
Church and are housed in separate facilities away from the church
property. Dr. Hyles has served as President of the Baptist Bible
College in Denver, Colorado.
Dr. Hyles is the author of 41 books and pamphlets, exceeding
over 12 million copies in sales. Many of his sermons are also
available on tape.
Dr. Hyles' experience covers numerous evangelistic campaigns,
Bible conferences, etc. He has preached in virtually every state
of the Union and in many foreign countries. His annual Pastors'
School attracts thousands of preachers from every state and many
Lordship Salvation -
An Enemy of Soul Winning
Exactly what do we mean when we say, "Lordship Salvation"? We
are talking about the false doctrine that says that in order for a
person to be saved, he must make Jesus the Lord of his life. If
that doctrine were true, then no one could be saved, because as
long as we are limited by these fleshly bodies, we will be unable
to make Jesus totally the Lord of our lives. This can happen only
when we are like Him. I John 3:2, "Beloved, now are we the sons of
God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know
that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see
him as he is."
The Apostle Paul, perhaps the greatest Christian who ever
lived, spoke of the battle he had. He said in Romans 7:18, "For I
know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good
thing...." Inverse 19, he said, "For the good that I would I do
not: but the evil which I would not want, that I do." In verse 23,
he talks about the warfare between the flesh and the spirit, and
in verse 24, he calls himself a "wretched man."
Of course, every believer should have a sincere desire and make
a sincere effort to make Jesus Lord of his life, but in the flesh,
that is impossible, and we will not be satisfied until we awake in
His likeness. Psalm 17.15, "As for me, I will behold thy face in
righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy
1. There is only one Gospel. Galatians 1:6-9, "I marvel that ye
are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of
Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be
some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But
though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto
you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be
accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach
any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be
The word "another" in verse 6, and the word "another" in verse
7 are not the same words. The first means "another of a different
kind"; the second in verse 7 means "another of the same kind." For
example, suppose you say to someone at the table, "Pass another
cookie to me." You could mean another one of the same kind you
have been eating, or you could mean another kind of cookie that is
at the table. What the Apostle is saying here is that some people
were preaching another gospel; that is, another kind. Then he
reminds us that that kind is not another of the same kind.
Basically there are only two kinds of salvation: (1) Man does it;
or (2) God does it. Someone has rightly said that the two kinds of
salvation are wrapped up in two small words: do and done. Anything
that we would do to save ourselves, anything that another person
would do to save us, or anything that another group of people
would do to save us is a false salvation. The true salvation is
that it has already been done! Jesus has done it all, if we by
faith appropriate what He did.
2. If there is anything that we can do to save ourselves or to
help save ourselves, or if there is anything that another person
or group of others can do to help save us, salvation is not of
grace. We know, however, that salvation is of grace!
Ephesians 2:8, 9, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and
that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest
any man should boast." If it is of grace, works can have nothing
to do with
it, and if there is one tiny bit of works, it is not of grace!
Romans 11:6, "And if by grace, then is it no more of works:
otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is
it no more grace:
otherwise work is no more work." If we must make Jesus Lord of
our lives in order to be saved, then salvation is not all of
grace, and what is not all of grace is heresy!
3. David was saved when Jesus was not Lord of his life. All of
us know the tragic story of David and his sins. Was David saved?
Yes, he was. Was Jesus Lord of his life? Of course not. Look at
Psalm 51:12a. David said, "Restore unto me the joy of my
salvation." He did not say, "Restore unto me Thy salvation." He
was saved, but he was away from God. Jesus was not Lord of his
life. If Lordship salvation were true, then David lost his
salvation when he ceased to make Jesus Lord of his life.
4. Jesus was not Lord of Lot's life. II Peter 2:7, 8, 'And
delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the
wicked. (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and
hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their
unlawful deeds;)" Was Lot saved? Verse 7 says he was "just," which
means he was justified in the sight of God, even though he was
living in wicked sin. In verse 8 he is called a "righteous man,"
which means that he was righteous in the sight of God, having had
the righteousness of Jesus Christ imputed to him. Romans 10:1 -3,
"Brethren, my heart 's desire and prayer to God for Israel is,
that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a
zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being
ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish
their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the
righteousness of God."
Romans 4:5, "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him
that just ifi eth the ungodly, his faith is counted for
righteousness." Was Lot saved? Yes, he was. Was Jesus Lord of his
life? No, He wasn't.
Look at the awful thing Lot had done. In the first place, he
had chosen to go to the well-watered plains toward Sodom.
In the second place, he had not only gone to Sodom, but Sodom
had come to him. Two angels had come to visit Lot in Sodom. When
the homosexual men heard of this, they came to Lot's house asking
for him to give them those men so they could commit their sin with
Now look at Genesis 19:7, 8, "And said, I pray you, brethren,
do not so wickedly. Behold now, I have two daughters which have
not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do
ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do
nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof" Lot
called these wicked perverts "brethren" in verse 7. Then in verse
8, he offered his two daughters to these men if they would leave
the angels alone. What a wicked thing! Later on when Lot fled
Sodom with his two daughters, both of them became pregnant by him.
Each gave birth to a son, and each son fathered a heathen race -
the Moabites and the Ammonites. Was Lot saved? Yes, he was. God
says that he was. Was Jesus Lord of his life? No, He wasn't. If
Lordship salvation were true, Lot could not have been saved,
because Jesus was far from being Lord of his life at this time.
5. Noah was saved, but Jesus was not Lord of his life.
Genesis 6:8, "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord."
Genesis 9:20-24, "And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he
planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and
he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan,
saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren
without. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon
both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness
of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not
their father's nakedness. And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew
what his younger son had done unto him."
Was Noah saved? Yes, Genesis 6:8 says he "found grace in the
eyes of the Lord," and we know that salvation is by grace. Was
Jesus Lord of his life? In Genesis 9:2 1, we find he got drunk and
that he was naked inside his tent. In verse 22 his son saw his
nakedness. Obviously from verse 24, his younger son had
done something to him. Perhaps this was a homosexual act
committed with his own father while his father was drunk. To say
the least, Noah was anything but a Christian who had allowed Jesus
to be Lord of his life. Was he saved? Yes, he was. Was Jesus Lord
of his life? No, He was not.
6. The Corinthian church members were saved, but Jesus was not
Lord of their lives. I Corinthians 3:1-4, "And I, brethren, could
not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as
unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat:
for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye
able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you
envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as
men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of
Apollos; are ye not carnal?" Notice in verse 1 that they were
"carnal," which means "fleshly." Notice in verse 1 that they were
"babes." Notice in verse 2 that they were so immature in their
Christian life that they could not take spiritual meat, but had to
have spiritual milk. In verse 3 it again says they were carnal. It
also mentions that there were envyings and strife and divisions,
and they walked as men, not as Christians ought to walk. Was Jesus
Lord of their lives? No, He was not. Were they saved? Yes, they
were. Look at the last two words in verse 1- "in Christ." II
Corinthians 5: 17a says, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is
a new creature." Were they saved? Yes, they were. Was Jesus Lord
of their lives? No, He wasn't.
7. Babes in Christ are saved, but Jesus is not Lord of their
lives. I Peter 2:1, 2, "Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all
guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As
newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may
grow thereby." If one must make Jesus Lord of his life in order to
be saved, he would have to be a mature Christian then, but the
Bible says there is such a thing as a "babe in Christ," which
means that such a person is saved, but he has a lot of growing to
8. The fact that the Christian must grow in grace means that a
person can be saved without Jesus being Lord of his life.
II Peter 3:18, "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge
ofourLord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and
for ever. Amen." The word "grow" here means that the Christian has
not yet "arrived." He is not yet mature. The words "in grace" mean
that he is saved. Is such a person saved? Yes, he is. Is Jesus
Lord of his life. No, He is not.
9. A person can be righteous in the sight of God and be saved
without making Jesus Lord of his life. Romans 4:5, "But to him
that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the
ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." Here is a person
who does not work for God. All he does is believe. The Bible says
his faith is counted for righteousness. Is he saved? Yes. Is Jesus
Lord of his life? Absolutely not. Jesus commands us to work, to
win souls and to serve God, but here is a man who does not do
those things; yet he is righteous. He is saved, but Jesus is not
Lord of his life.
10. A person can be saved and not have his body yielded totally
to Christ. Romans 12:1, 2 "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by
the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacnfice,
holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And
be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the
renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and
acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Were the people to whom he
was speaking saved? Yes, they were. Notice the word "brethren" in
verse 1. Was Jesus Lord of their life? No, He was not. The Apostle
Paul was beseeching them to present their bodies a living
sacrifice, to be holy, and not be conformed to the world, but be
transformed in order that they might do the perfect will of God.
Were they saved? Yes, they were. Was Jesus Lord of their lives?
No, He was not.
A person can be saved and even call Jesus "Lord" without the
Saviour actually being the Lord of his life. Luke 6:20, 46, 'And
he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye
poor :for your's is the kingdom of God. And why call ye me, Lord,
Lord, and do not the things which I say?" This entire passage was
written to the disciples by Jesus. Were they saved?
Yes, they were. Verse 20 plainly calls them His disciples. Now
what did He say to His disciples? Among other things, in verse 46
He said they were calling Him "Lord," but doing not the things
which He said. In other words, they were like the Lordship
salvation crowd today. Since none of us can totally do everything
He says until we awake in His likeness, it is foolish for us to
say that Jesus is Lord of our lives. Were these people saved? Yes,
they were. They were called "disciples" in verse
20. Was Jesus Lord of their lives? No, He was not, because
verse 46 tells us that they did not the things which He said.
Yes, Jesus is Lord. He is Lord of the universe, and, of course,
we believe that He is Lord. However, to believe that in order to
be saved one must make Him the Lord of his life is just another
form of salvation by works.
May God help me day by day to give Him more control of my life
and yield more and more to Him so that He can become day by day
more and more the Lord of my actions, my will and my life; but, I
must realize that I am hampered by this body of clay, and that
there is a battle being raged. I must yield myself to Him
constantly, making Him more and more the Lord of my life, but I am
looking forward to the day when I shall be like Him, and He, in
fact, will be the Lord of my life.
An Enemy of Soul Winning
I have no problem with the word "dispensation." It is a Bible
word, but I do have a problem with dispensationalism which says
that salvation comes in different ways in different dispensations.
For example, the Scofield Reference Bible, page 1115, in subpoint
(2) of footnote 1 on grace, notice the words, "As a dispensation,
grace begins with the death and resurrection of Christ (Rom. 3.
24-26; 4. 24, 25)." The note continues as follows, "The point of
testing is no longer legal obedience as the condition of
salvation, but acceptance or rejection of Christ...."
Now it is certainly true that salvation in this age is by
acceptance or rejection of Christ, but Mr. Scofield is wrong when
he says that before the death and resurrection of Christ the
condition of salvation was legal obedience! This is what I call
"hyper-dispensationalism." There are those who likewise
erroneously believe that salvation will be other than grace
through faith during the millennium. This is also heresy!
Salvation has always been and will always be by grace through
faith in Christ. From the first sin in the garden of Eden until
the last person who is saved in the millennium, every person who
goes to Heaven will go there by grace.
I take even stronger issue with the hyper-dispensationalism
which says that the letters to the seven churches in
Asia Minor in Revelation 2 and 3 represent seven ages of church
history. For example, Mr. Scofield says that the message to the
church in Ephesus is the church at the end of the apostolic age.
Where is that in the Bible? Then he says that the letter to the
church in Smyrna represents the "Period of the great persecutions
to A.D. 316." Where is that in the Bible?
Then he says that the letter to the church in Pergamos
represents "The church under imperial favour, settled in the
world, A.D. 316 to the end." Where is that in the Bible? Then he
says that the letter to the church at Thyatira represents "A.D.
500-1500: the triumph of Balaamism and Nicolaitanism; a believing
remnant (vs. 24-28)." Where is that in the Bible?
Then he says that the letter to the church in Sardis represents
"The period of the Reformations; a believing remnant (vs. 4, 5)."
Where is that in the Bible? Then he says that the letter to the
church in Philadelphia represents "The true church in the
professing church." Where is that in the Bible? Then he says that
the letter to the church in Laodicea represents the final state of
apostasy. Where is that in the Bible? This kind of heresy is no
where to be found in the Word of God, and the danger of it is that
these hyper-dispensationalists enjoy teaching that since this is
the day of apostasy, God does not do any great works anymore and
that this is the day where we just hold out faithful to the end.
According to them, no great churches can be built, and no great
revivals can be had.
What a sad commentary! What a pitiful look at the Scripture!
There is absolutely nothing that says we cannot have revival
today. We can have revival anytime God's people will pay the
These seven letters to the seven churches are exactly that.
There were churches named, "the church at Ephesus," "the church at
Smyrna," the church at Pergamos," "the church at Thyatira," "the
church at Sardis," "the church at Philadelphia" and "the church at
Laodicea." These churches had problems like all churches do. The
Holy Spirit inspired the
Apostle John to write letters to these churches to help the
churches get straightened out. Would somebody please show me in
the Bible where these letters represent the seven ages of church
There Is a False Teaching Also
Concerning the Last Days
The first time the term "the last days" is mentioned in the
Bible is in Isaiah 2:2, 'And it shall come to pass in the last
days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established
in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills;
and all nations shall flow unto it." Here we have something that
is predicted to happen in the last days.
Now we come concerning the last days to Joel 2:28, 29, 'And it
shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon
all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your
old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And
also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I
pour out my spirit."
Please note what will happen in the last days. It is talking
about the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon people. Please
notice Acts 2:14-1 8, "But Peter, standing up with the eleven,
lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judea, and all
ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to
my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is
but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken
by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days,
saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your
sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall
see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my
servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my
Spirit; and they shall prophesy."
It is Pentecost; 3000 people are about to be saved. Peter
stands up to speak. He explains that what is happening there on
Pentecost is a fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel 2:28, 29, which
he quotes. Notice also in verse 17 that he calls these the last
Now I'm not saying that there are no signs that must precede
the second coming of Jesus Christ to the earth. I'm fully aware of
the tribulation plagues, of the end time war, of Russia and her
allies attacking Israel and the Western Confederacy defending
Israel, and of the Eastern Confederacy coming from the land of the
sun rising to join Russia, etc. Though I do believe that the
rapture is an imminent event that could take place anytime, I
nevertheless do not discount that there are some signs that could
point to the soonness of the tribulation period and the second
coming of Christ at the end of that period. However, the term "the
last days" describes the days from the resurrection of Christ even
until this day and until the consummation of the age.
Now turn to II Timothy 3:1-8, "This know also, that in the last
days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their
own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to
parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection,
trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of
those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of
pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but
denying the power thereof from such turn away. For of this sort
are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women
laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and
never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes
and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth:
men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith."
Notice there in II Timothy 3:1 the term, "the last days."
Likewise notice the condition of the last days, bearing in mind
that the last days started at the resurrection of Christ, as we
learned a while ago in Acts 2:16, 17. We find such things
characterizing this age as people being lovers of themselves,
covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents,
etc. It goes on to say, "without natural affection, trucebreakers,
false accusers, "etc. Then it mentions "having a form of
godliness, but denying the power thereof" Now these are not things
unique to the days in which we live. People have always been
lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters. People have always
been trucebreakers, false accusers, high minded, disobedient to
parents, lovers of pleasure. People have always had a form of
However, we should notice here that whatever these last days
are, in II Timothy 3:5 Paul tells Timothy, "from such turn away."
He was saying, "Timothy, you turn away from these people," showing
that these were already the last days. Notice the words in verse
6, "for of this sort are they...." Notice the word "are." That
word is in the present tense. These people were there then. These
people then were covetous, unthankful, unholy, false accusers and
disobedient to parents. They were alive then, for the apostle
said, "are they."
Notice also in II Timothy 2:6 it says, "and lead captive silly
women laden with sins...." Notice the present tense. They were
doing it then.
Now look down to verse 8. Notice the words, "so do these
also..." In other words, as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses,
there were people at that very time who did the same thing. Paul
is saying to Timothy, "In these last days, these people will do
these things, and this is the way you are supposed to respond to
Now turn to Hebrews 1:1, 2, "God, who at sundry times and in
divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the
prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom
he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the
worlds." Notice that Paul (probably the writer of Hebrews), used
the present tense, "hath in these last days," so in Hebrews 1:1
the last days were already there.
Now turn to I Peter 1:19, 20, "But with the precious blood of
Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily
was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was
manifest in these last times for you." Notice especially in verse
20 the words, "in these last times." Once again, Peter is saying
what Paul had said - that these were the last days.
Now notice II Peter 3:3-5, "Knowing this first, that there
shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own
lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since
the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the
beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant
of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth
standing out of the water and in the water." In verse 3 he
mentions the last days. In verse 5 he says, "for this they
willingly are ignorant of...." Notice the present tense - they
"are ignorant of." In other words, these "last days" were in
existence at the time that this was written.
Now notice I John 2:18, "Little children, it is the last time:
and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are
there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time."
Notice the words in the first part of verse 18, "it is the last
time." The word "is" indicates present tense. John said the same
thing that Peter and Paul said.
Again you find in the last part of verse 18, "it is the last
time." How much more plain could it be? Paul, John and Peter all
attested to the fact that the last days were in existence at the
time they were living.
Now turn to Jude 18, 19, "How that they told you there should
be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own
ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual,
having not the Spirit."
In Jude 18 the term "last time"is mentioned. In verse 19, it
says "these be"-notice present tense. "They who separate
themselves"-notice present tense. There Jude joined with
Paul, Peter and John in attesting to the fact that the last
days were days during which they were living.
God's people can do great things
for Him now!
Daniel 11:20-23, "Then shall stand up in his estate a raiser of
taxes in the glory of the kingdom: but within few days he shall be
destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle. And in his estate
shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the
honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain
the kingdom by flatteries. And with the arms of a flood shall they
be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the
prince of the covenant. And after the league made with him he
shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become
strong with a small people."
Daniel 11:32, 33, 'And such as do wickedly against the covenant
shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their
God shall be strong, and do exploits. And they that understand
among the people shall instruct many: yet they shallfall by the
sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days."
In verse 20-23, it is obvious that God is talking about the end
time. He talks about the antichrist and his work; he talks about
the league that will be made with Israel. All Bible teachers who
hold the premillennial position would agree that these verses deal
with the end time. Now, notice the last half of verse 32, "but the
people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits."
Then look again at verse 33, 'And they that understand among the
people shall instruct many...." It sounds to me like exploits will
still be done in the end time. The truth is, one of the greatest
revivals (as far as evangelism is concerned) that the world has
ever seen will take place during the tribulation period, and
certainly God's grace is not limited to this generation.
It is a wicked thing for dusty Bible teachers with their dusty
theology to compartmentalize the Bible concerning salvation and
soul winning. It doesn't bother me for someone to talk about
dispensations, and it doesn't bother me for people to divide the
Bible, as long as they do not divide it up concerning the plan of
salvation, concerning the power of God, and concerning soul
winning! People can be saved today like they were in the book of
Acts! God's people can have revival just like they always could!
I was preaching in the deep South. On Tuesday night I made a
statement that startled myself. I made the statement that if
somebody would pay the price in this generation, a church could
still have 3000 people saved on one Sunday. I could not believe I
said it. Flying back to Chicago the next morning, the Lord seemed
to impress that upon me. In fact, I could almost hear Him speak
and ask me if I believed what I had said the night before. I was
somewhat stunned that I had said it. Somewhat to my own surprise,
I went to my people that Wednesday night and told them that we
were going to have 3000 people saved on the third Sunday of March
of that year. (That date was about two months away.)
The First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, began to work and
pray as I've never seen a church work and pray. We were asking God
to give us 3000 people saved on, as it were, another Pentecost. On
that special Sunday, 5195 people walked the aisles of the First
Baptist Church of Hammond receiving Christ as Saviour! The next
year we had a second Pentecost Sunday, and over 3300 people were
saved! Then the next year we had another Pentecost Sunday, and
over 4900 people were saved, as Dr. Curtis Hutson was our guest
I'm not a great preacher. I don't profess to be a great
Christian. I just profess to serve a great God Who is the same
yesterday, today and forever, and Who will give revival when God's
people pay the price!
I believe that II Chronicles 7:14 is still valid, and while the
ultra-dispensationalists are saying it cannot happen today, there
are men of God all over America who are seeing it happen! More
people are being baptized today than in the history of the United
States of America. More great soul-winning churches are being
built than have ever been built.
Let the dusty theologians say it can't be done, but give me a
generation of young preachers on fire for God who believe the Word
of God, believe the promises of God and claim the blessings of
God, and we will prove by the grace of God that it can be done
today! I am not fighting dispensationalism; I am attacking
vigorously the heresy and false teaching that says it can't be
done today. Whatever God could do, God can do! Whatever God can
do, God will do, if His people meet His conditions!
Formal Worship -
An Enemy of Soul Winning
Of course, the word "formal" comes from the word "form," which
means "an outline." From this we can believe that formal worship
then would be an outline of worship - going through the form.
II Timothy 3:5, "Having a form of godliness, but denying the
power thereof from such turn away.
The first mention of worship in the Bible is in Genesis 22:5,
"And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass;
and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to
This is the story of Abraham offering Isaac on Mount Moriah.
Notice the words, "I and the lad will go yonder and worship." This
is a far cry from what we call worship. The worship that Abraham
was going to do was to go to a mountain, build an altar, take a
knife, kill his son and offer him for a sacrifice.
The next mention of worship in the Bible is in Genesis 24:26,
48, 52, "And the man bowed down his head, and worshipped the LORD.
And I bowed my head, and worshipped the LORD, and blessed the LORD
God of my master Abraham, which had led me in the right way to
take my master's brother's daughter
unto his son. And it came to pass, that, when Abraham 's
servant heard their words, he worshipped the LORD, bowing himself
to the earth." Abraham had sent his servant back to the old
country to choose a bride for his son Isaac. At each step in the
accomplishing of this task, the servant worshipped.
Neither of these two instances had anything to do with a public
Worship in the Bible
Was an Individual Act
There is not one single mention of a worship service in the New
Testament. There is not one single command or even an implication
to the church to have a public worship service. Worship was a
In Genesis 22:5, Abraham and Isaac went to Mount Moriah to
worship. This was an individual act. In Genesis 24:26, 48, 52,
Abraham's servant worshipped in an individual act.
In Exodus 34:8, Moses worshipped individually upon the receipt
of the second tables of the law. "And Moses made haste, and bowed
his head toward the earth, and worshipped."
In Judges 7:15, in the midst of his battle against the
Midianites, Gideon worshipped individually. "And it was so, when
Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and the interpretation
thereof, that he worshipped, and returned into the host of Israel,
and said, Arise; for the LORD hath delivered into your hand the
host of Midian."
In I Samuel 1:19, when Hannah was told that she would bear a
son, she worshipped individually. "And they rose up in the morning
early, and worshipped before the LORD, and returned,
and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his
wife; and the LORD remembered her."
In I Samuel 1:28, Hannah brought Samuel to Eli, and Samuel
worshipped individually. "Therefore also I have lent him to the
LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he
worshipped the LORD there."
In I Samuel 15:3 1, Saul worshipped individually. "So Samuel
turned again after Saul; and Saul worshipped the LORD."
In II Samuel 12:20, David arose after the death of his
illegitimate child borne by Bath-sheba, and after having repented,
he worshipped individually. "Then David arose from the earth, and
washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came
into the house of the LORD, and worshipped: then he came to his
own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he
In II Samuel 15:32, David came to the top of the mount, and he
worshipped individually. "And it came to pass, that when David was
come to the top of the mount, where he worshipped God, behold,
Hushai the Archite came to meet him with his coat rent, and earth
upon his head."
In Job 1:20, Job worshipped individually upon hearing of the
death of his children. "Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and
shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped."
In Matthew 8:2, a leper came to Jesus and sought cleansing.
When he came to the Saviour, he worshipped Him saying. "And,
behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if
thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." He worshipped individually.
In Matthew 9:18, a certain ruler came to Jesus interceding for
his daughter, and he worshipped individually. "While he spake
these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler,
and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but
come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live."
In Matthew 15:25, a woman seeking healing for her daughter
worshipped individually. "Then came she and worshipped him,
saying, Lord, help me."
In John 9:38, a blind man was healed by Jesus, and he
worshipped individually. "And he said, Lord, I believe. And he
In Acts 16:14, Lydia by the riverside worshipped individually.
"And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller ofpurple, of the city
of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord
opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of
In Acts 18:7, Justus worshipped individually. "And he departed
thence, and entered into a certain man's house, named .Justus, one
that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue."
In Hebrews 11:21, Jacob, at the time of his death, leaned upon
the top of his staff and worshipped individually. "By faith Jacob,
when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and
worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff"
Worship in the New Testament
The word "worship" is mentioned 35 times in the New Testament.
Not one time does it deal with a public worship service.
In Matthew 2:2, the wise men came to worship Jesus. This was
not a public service. "Saying, Where is he that is born King of
the Jews ?for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to
In Matthew 2:8, Herod enquired of the wise men so he could come
and worship Jesus. Had this been done, it would not have been a
public service, but an individual matter. "And he sent them to
Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child;
and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come
and worship him also."
In Matthew 4:9 and Luke 4:7, Satan promised to give Jesus the
kingdoms of this world if He would fall down and worship him. "And
saith unto him, All these things willl give thee, if thou wilt
fall down and worship me." "If thou therefore wilt worship me, all
shall be thine."
In Matthew 15:9 and Mark 7:7, we have the mention of vain
worship. "But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines
the commandments of men." "Ho wbeit in vain do they worship me,
teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."
In John 4:20, 22-24, we have Jesus rebuking formal worship as
He talked to the woman at Sychar's well and explained to her that
they who would worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in
truth. He was telling her that she worshipped one place and the
Jews worshipped another place, but that worship was an individual
matter and could be done anywhere. The woman at the well said,
"Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in
Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship." Jesus answered
her, "Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for
salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when
the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in
truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a
Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and
In John 12:20, the Greeks came to worship at a feast. This was
done by bringing offerings. "And there were certain Greeks among
them that came up to worship at the feast."
In Acts 7:42, 43, we have the word "worship" mentioned
concerning the golden calf in the wilderness. "Then God turned,
and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is
written in the book of the prophets, 0 ye house of Israel, have ye
offered to me slain beasts and sacnfices by the space of forty
years in the wilderness? Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch,
and the star of your god Remphan, figures which ye made to worship
them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon."
In Acts 17:23, Paul mentions on Mars' hill that the Greeks were
worshipping an unknown god. "For as I passed by, and beheld your
devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN
GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
In Acts 18:13, worship contrary to the law was rebuked by some.
"Saying, This fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the
In Acts 24:11, the word "worship" is connected with Jewish
worship. "Because that thou mayest understand, that there are yet
but twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem for to worship."
In Acts 24:14, the worship was done by believing the Bible.
"But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call
heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things
which were written in the law and in the prophets."
In Philippians 3:3, we have individual worship. "For we are the
circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in
Christ .Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh."
In Hebrews 1:6, we find the mention of angels worshipping. "And
again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he
saith, And let all the angels of God worship him."
In Revelation 3:9, we have worship at the synagogue of Satan.
"Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say
they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them
to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved
In Revelation 4:10, 11, we have worship pertaining to the
judgment seat; that is, worship that will be done in the air after
the rapture. "The four and twenty elders fall down before him that
sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever,
and cast their crowns before the throne, saying. Thou art worthy,
0 Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast
created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were
In Revelation 9:20, we have worship of idolatry in the
tribulation period. "And the rest of the men which were not killed
by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands,
that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and
silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see,
nor hear, nor walk."
In Revelation 13:8, 12, 15, we have the worship of the
Antichrist during the tribulation period. "And all that dwell upon
the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the
book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and
causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the
first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he had power to
give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast
should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the
image of the beast should be killed."
The consequence of those who worship the Antichrist is stated
in Revelation 14:7, 9-11, "Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and
give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and
worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the
fountains of waters. And the third angel followed them, saying
with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and
receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall
drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without
mixture.... And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever
and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the
beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his
In Revelation 15:4, we have the tribulation worship. "Who shall
not fear thee, 0 Lord, and glonfy thy name?for thou only art holy:
for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy
judgments are made manifest."
In Revelation 19:10, John worshipped an angel and was rebuked
for doing so. "And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said
unto me, See thou do it not: lam thy fellowservant, and of thy
brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the
testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."
In Revelation 22:8, 9, we have the same rebuke given to John
again for bowing down and worshipping before an angel. "And I John
saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen,
Ifell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me
these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am
thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them
which keep the sayings of this book: worship God."
We have just covered every time the word "worship" is mentioned
in the New Testament. It mentions not one public service where
they worshipped, not one formal worship, not anything like the
average formal church does on Sunday morning-no anthems, no
"Gloria Patri," no "Sevenfold Amen," no liturgy, no high-church
The Church Assembled for Things
Other Than Worship
Though worship was a private matter and not a public matter, we
nevertheless are commanded to assemble ourselves together as God's
people. Hebrews 10:25, "Not forsaking the
assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but
exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day
According to the New Testament, the public meetings were for
strength for God's people, for fellowship, for the taking of the
Lord's Supper, for praying, for studying the Bible, for praise,
etc. The soul winning was to be done publicly and from house to
house. The worshipping was to be done alone, and the church
assembled for the aforementioned reasons.
When formal worship is substituted for the real purpose of the
assembly, Christians do not get strengthened, encouraged, exhorted
or motivated to do the main task of the church, and that is to
carry out the Great Commission, which is soul winning. To that
end, formal worship becomes an enemy of soul winning!
Misunderstood Repentance -
An Enemy of Soul Winning
Over and over again the question is asked me, "Is repentance
necessary for salvation?" Of course, this is of utmost importance.
Anything that deals with the way a person can escape the fires of
eternal Hell and go to Heaven to live forever is of vital
importance. In this chapter, we will address this most important
1. First, we need to find what makes one lost. Please notice
John 3:18, "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." It is
very plain in this verse what makes a person lost. Notice the
words, "he that believeth not is condemned already." A person who
does not believe is condemned, so not believing is what makes a
Bear in mind, the word "believing" is the Greek word which
means "to rely upon." When one believes on Christ, he simply
relies on Him to save him and take him to Heaven when he dies. It
is very plain here that what condemns a person is believing not.
Then notice it says, "because he hath not believed in the name of
the only begotten Son of God." Once again, we are told what makes
a person lost - because he has not believed in the name of the
only begotten Son of God. It is as simple as that.
Now look at John 3:36, "He that believeth on the Son hath
everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see
life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." Again, we are trying
to decide and determine what makes one lost. It is very plain
here. Notice the word believeth, "and he that believeth not the
Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." What
keeps a person from seeing life? Believing not! What makes the
wrath of God abide on a person? Believing not! So, from what must
a person repent in order to be saved? He must repent of that which
makes him lost. Since "believing not" makes him lost, "believing"
makes him saved. The repentance there is a turning from the thing
that keeps him from being saved to the thing that saves him. So,
yes, there is a repentance from unbelief in order to believe. It
is simply a change of direction. It means a turning around. You
are going away from believing, and you decide to turn around and
believe. You change your direction; you change your mind. With
your will you believe and rely upon Christ to save you. In order
to believe, you have to repent of unbelief. That which makes a man
lost must be corrected.
Now turn to John 5:40, "And ye will not come to me, that ye
might have life." Oh, how simple this is, and yet how plain! Why
does a person not have life, according to this verse? Because he
will not come to Christ. So, if a person is going away from
Christ, he must turn around and come to Christ, which is a change
of direction or a change of mind. This is repentance - repenting
of the thing that keeps one from being saved, repenting from
"going away" to "coming to."
Notice Isaiah 53:6, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we
have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on
him the iniquity of us all." Especially notice the words, "we have
turned every one to his own way." That's what not being saved is -
turning to our own way. Now if we turn to God's way, which is
putting our faith and trust in Jesus, we turn around from going
our own way to going His way, from unbelief to belief. This is
Bible repentance. Bear in mind, it is the faith that saves. The
turning around is necessary in order to put our faith in Christ.
One must repent from that thing that keeps him from being saved in
order to be saved.
If a person were saved by good works, then he would have to
repent of bad works, or of not doing good works, in order to be
saved. If a person were saved by quitting his sinning, then he
would have to repent of his sinning in order to be saved. A person
is saved by believing, so he repents of his unbelief or turns from
his unbelief in order to be saved.
Let us look at the verses that teach us we are saved by belief.
John 3:15, "That whosoever believeth in him should not perish,
but have eternal life."
John 3:16, "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 3.18, "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 3:36, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life:
and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the
wrath of God abideth on him."
Acts 16:31, "And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."
There are those who say we have to repent of our sins in order
to be saved. No, we have to repent only of the thing that makes us
unsaved, and that is unbelief. If a person needs to turn from his
sins in order to be saved, what sins does he turn from? Does he
turn from pride? Does he turn from selfishness? Does he turn from
covetousness? The truth is, nobody can turn from all of his sins
until he is raptured and he receives a body like the body of the
Saviour. I John 3:2, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it
doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he
shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he
is." According to Psalm 19:12, we do not even know all of our
sins. David said, "Cleanse thou me from secret faults." What he is
talking about here is being cleansed from faults he doesn't even
know he has. A person, when he is first saved, does not know all
the things that he is doing that are wrong, and if a person has to
repent of all of his sins, where is growth in grace? Where is
being a babe in Christ? Where does the carnal Christian fit in
Now don't misunderstand me. I am certainly for separation and
for living a godly life, but the cleansing of our lives is not
done by us any more than salvation is done by us. Salvation is
simply repenting of unbelief, and believing, and letting Christ
save us. We yield to Him to save us; He does! Immediately the Holy
Spirit comes in to live. The Holy Spirit begins His work of
cleansing in our lives. He is the one Who cleanses, just as he is
the one Who saves. He is the one Who points our sins out to us
after we are saved just as He is the one Who saves us when we are
This chapter is being dictated in San Antonio, Texas. I am
sitting in a Holiday Inn. Tomorrow morning early I will catch a
plane for Chicago. Let's suppose I get on that plane, and I am
trusting the pilot to take me to Chicago. I do not know how to
operate the plane, nor do I know the route to Chicago by air.
There is nothing I can do to get myself to Chicago by that plane.
I trust the pilot to get me there. So, we get up in the air
thousands of feet high, and let's suppose I get a knife and cut up
the seat in front of me. Now, where am I going? I'm still going to
Chicago. Why? I repented of "not trusting the plane to take me" to
"trusting the plane to take me."
The stewardess comes and says, "Mr. Hyles, what are you doing
back here?" I say, "I'm just cutting up a little bit!"
Then suppose I reach up and cut off a lock of her hair. Now
where am I going? I'm going to Chicago. You see, how I behave on
the flight does not determine my destination.
So, the stewardess goes to the pilot and says, "Mr. Hyles, back
in seat 14A is causing some disturbance. Look at my hair. Go back
and look at the seat." The pilot leaves the plane in the hands of
the co-pilot and comes back to seat 14A and says, "Mr. Hyles, what
are you doing back here?" He looks at the seat I've cut up, he
sees the lock of hair that I've cut off the stewardess, and I
reach out and cut off his tie. Now where am I going? I'm going to
Chicago. That was all determined when I got on the airplane. Now
the truth is, I will not enjoy Chicago as much as I would have
enjoyed it, nor will I go to the part of Chicago I'd planned to,
but I'm still going to Chicago.
When we put our faith and trust in Christ, and repent of
unbelief, and believe, God's Holy Spirit comes in to live and
begins to straighten us out. He points out our sins, and as we
yield to Him, He cleanses us from our sins. If we misbehave on the
journey, we are still going to Heaven, because we go to Heaven by
trusting Christ to take us there. The Holy Spirit Who came in to
live begins to point out things that we should and should not do.
If we do not obey Him, if we misbehave on the journey, we will
still go to Heaven; we simply will not enjoy it as much as we
would have had we behaved, just as I would not enjoy Chicago as
much as I would have had I behaved.
I know a young man who recently got married. He got an
apartment several months before he got married and lived there
alone until the wedding took place. What a mess that apartment
was! His pants were hung on the bedpost, his shoes were left on
the floor beside the bed, and the bed was never made. Then one day
he got married. Now how did he get married? He got married by
turning from being single to being married. He repented of not
being married and got married. When he took his new bride to the
apartment, she was aghast, but immediately she began to straighten
things up. She put his shoes in the closet, took his shirt off the
chair, removed his clothes off the bedpost, and made a lovely
little apartment out of the mess that he had made. Now he was not
married because he cleaned up his apartment; he was married
repented of that thing that kept him from being married. He
repeated the vows and accepted her as his wife. It was then that
she came in; it was then that his apartment began to get clean!
Practically every false doctrine comes from getting things out
of order. God's divine order is salvation, then change; not change
and then salvation! If one has to be changed to be saved, that's
salvation by works. It is also salvation by the flesh. The truth
is, one is cleansed from the sins of the flesh just as he is
saved; by yielding to the Holy Spirit and letting Him do His work.
2. You can repent of something other than sin. Matthew 7:3,
"Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was
condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces
of silver to the chief priests and elders." Notice that Judas
repented. Now what does it mean? It means he repented about
keeping the money. He had sold our Saviour for thirty pieces of
silver; he changed his mind and took the silver back. A change of
mind and change of direction took place, but it had nothing to do
with salvation. He had made a bad deal; he regretted he had made
that bad deal, and he tried to correct it.
Everybody who lives in sin eventually repents, but they do not
repent of unbelief. They change their mind about sin. No one lives
in sin without realizing later that it did not bring the joy,
happiness, peace and contentment that it claimed to bring. I talk
to people every week who are tired of their sins, unhappy in their
sinful life or living a miserable, wretched life because of the
results of sin. What have they done? They have changed their mind
about sin, and in some cases, they even quit their sin - at least
that sin which was most predominant in their lives. You can repent
of sin without repenting of unbelief. Such was the case with
Judas. No doubt he repented that he had done wrong. He certainly
repented of the bad deal he had made. He turned around, changed
his mind and brought the money back, but he did not repent of that
thing from which he must repent in order to be saved, and that is
3. God repents. Notice Genesis 6:6, "And it repented the LORD
that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his
heart." Bear in mind, the word "repent" means "change of mind."
God made man and wished He hadn't. He was grieved because of what
man had done, and He repented that He had made man. This does not
mean that God repented from sin, because God could not sin; He
simply changed His mind, which He does often. Basically, that is
what answered prayer is much of the time.
Now notice I Samuel 15:35, "And Samuel came no more to see Saul
until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul:
and the Lord repented that he had made Saul king over Israel." God
had made Saul king over Israel. The truth is that God did not want
to do so, but Israel clamored for a king. Saul was chosen to be
that king, but it then did not turn out as it should have. So, in
this verse it simply says that God repented that He had made Saul
king. He changed His mind.
What I'm saying is, there is repentance other than repentance
from sin. A lady can change her mind about the kind of perfume she
wears. A man can change his mind about the kind of food he eats or
the kind of clothes he wears. He can change his direction
concerning his manners. You can repent from discourtesy to
courtesy. You can repent from stubbornness to leniency. You can
repent from impatience to patience, but those things don't save.
Repenting from the thing that makes you lost is the thing that
makes you saved, and that is, repenting of your unbelief.
Now notice Exodus 32:9-14, "And the LORD said unto Moses, I
have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people:
Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against
them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great
nation. And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why
doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought
forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty
hand? Wherefore should the Egyptians speak,
and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in
the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth?
Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy
people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom
thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will
multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that
I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and thy shall inherit
it for ever. And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to
do unto his people."
Let me paraphrase the story. God said to Moses, "I'm sick and
tired of the people and their rebellion. Get out of the way so I
can consume them." Moses came to God and said, "Lord, don't do
that. You're the One Who brought the people out of the land of
Egypt, and if You consume them, the heathen people are going to
criticize You. Not only that! You promised Abraham, Isaac and
Jacob that you would multiply their seed and that You would give
them the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession." Moses
pleaded his case before God, reminding God what God had promised.
Then verse 14 simply says, "The LORD repented of the evil which he
thought to do unto his people." The word "evil" here means
something that would cause them pain; it's not talking about sin.
God decided not to hurt them after all. He decided not to consume
them after all. He changed His mind, but He did not change His
mind concerning a sin, because God cannot sin.
Now turn to Jonah 3:9, 10, "Who can tell if God will turn and
repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?
And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and
God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto
them; and he did it not."
God was going to punish Nineveh. Jonah had preached in Nineveh
and had warned the people that destruction was coming. The people
believed God, turned from their unbelief to belief, and God
changed His mind about punishing the people. In verse 10 the Bible
says, "And God repented of the evil that he had said that he would
do unto them; and he did it not."
Again, God simply changed His mind and changed His direction.
He was going to punish; they believed; He decided not to punish.
He changed from the direction of punishing to the direction of not
punishing. This is repentance, but not repentance from sin,
because God cannot sin.
Look at Amos 7:3, "The Lord repented for this: It shall not be,
saith the Lord."
Amos 7:6, "The Lord repented for this: This also shall not be,
saith the Lord God."
So, repentance does not always deal with salvation and sin; it
is simply a change of direction or a change of mind.
4. Now we consider repentance and salvation. Look at Acts 3:19,
"Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be
blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the
presence of the Lord."
Peter is preaching here. He tells the people to repent and be
converted. Now we have to go back to what saves. John 3:14-16, 18,
36, "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so
must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him
should not perish, but have eternal life. 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. 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. He that believeth on the Son hath
everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see
life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." Acts 16:31, "And they
said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,
and thy house."
So these people had to repent from not believing and believe in
order that they might be converted. They had to change directions,
change their minds.
Let me say again that I do not believe for a second that
Christian people should live like the Devil. No preacher preaches
separation more than I do. I simply believe that that separation
is a work of the Holy Spirit just like regeneration is a work of
the Holy Spirit, and it starts after one has repented from that
which makes him lost, and that is unbelief. When this is done, he
believes, he is saved. Then the Holy Spirit comes in and begins to
tell the Christian what sins from which he should repent. The man
changed his mind about unbelief. The Holy Spirit directed him
there. Now the Holy Spirit comes in to live and begins to change
his mind about other things.
Now look at Acts 2:38, "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and
be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus
Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift
of the Holy Ghost."
Peter is saying, "Change your mind and be baptized." Now, about
what did they change their minds? This is answered in verse 41.
Look at what they did in response. They gladly received His Word,
and then they were baptized. So what was this repentance? It was
repentance from not receiving His Word to receiving His Word.
That's all Peter was saying. He was saying, "Change your mind
about receiving the Word," which states that you must believe and
repent from unbelief in order to be saved.
Now turn to Acts 17:30, "And the times of this ignorance God
winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent."
Notice God commandeth all men every where to repent. Repent from
what? Repent from the thing that keeps them lost, and that's
unbelief. What corrects this? Look at Acts 17:34, "Howbeit certain
men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius
the Areopagite, and a woman named Dammaris, and others with them."
Notice it said, "certain men believed." So, when he said,
"repent," he was saying "repent from unbelief and believe,"
because just as in Acts 2:38 and 41 a command was given to repent,
and the believing was the obedience to that command. They changed
their mind about belief. They decided to believe instead of not
Now look at Mark l:15, "And saying, The time is fulfilled, and
the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel."
Jesus Himself is saying repent, and notice immediately He says,
"repent, and believe." What He was saying is, "Quit unbelieving,
and believe. Quit not believing, and believe." Again, I'm not
saying a Christian should live like the Devil, but I am saying
that changing your life does not save you. That's salvation by
works. Faith is what saves you. You turn from unbelief to belief;
from no faith to faith, and then repentance from sins begins,
because He Who convicted you from the sin of unbelief to believing
now lives in you. How easy it is now for Him to convict you day by
day of other things from which you can repent and about which you
can change your mind.
5. Repentance from sin is directed to God's people.
Revelation 2:5, "Remember therefore from whence thou art
fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come
unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his
place, except thou repent.
Here is a case of a church that was a good church. It was a
church that worked. It worked hard. It hated sin. It was
doctrinally sound. Revelation 2:2, "I know thy works, and thy
labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which
are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles,
and are not, and hast found them liars." It was a patient church.
It was a church that believed in the name of Jesus and did not
faint in their standing for that. Revelation 2:3, "And hast borne,
and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast
not fainted." However, it was a church that had left its first
love. It does not say that that church lost its first love, but
they left their first love. When you lose something, you don't
know where it
is. When you leave something, you know where to find it. It
does not say that this church did not love any more. The truth
is they did love. Love is what made them faithful, what made
them work, what made them have patience, what made them hate sin,
what made them stand for the name of Jesus, what made them hate
false doctrine. This was a church of people who loved God, but
they had left their first love - that first sweet love - maybe
more shallow than the love they had then.
It does not say that they loved Him less. The truth is they
probably loved Him more, but God is saying, "I want both. I want
the deep, mature love that you have now and the sweet expressive
love that you used to have.
The only sin this church had committed was the sin of leaving
their first love -that "Amen!" love, that "Hallelujah!" love, that
"Glory to God!" love, that sweet, expressive love. Nevertheless,
they sinned, and God told them to repent. Repent from what? Repent
from drinking? No. Repent from adultery? No. This is not the
subject here. It's repenting from not loving Christ with the first
This same type repentance was commanded to the church in
Pergamos. Revelation 2:16, "Repent; or else I will come unto thee
quickly, and willfight against them with the sword of my mouth."
The same thing was said to the church at Thyatira in Revelation
2:21, 22, "And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and
she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them
that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they
repent of their deeds." The church in Sardis was told likewise to
repent in Revelation 3:3, "Remember therefore how thou hast
received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou
shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt
not know what hour I will come upon thee." The church at Laodicea
received the same command in Revelation 3:19, "As many as I love,
I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent."
So you can see that God tells individuals to repent; He also
tells groups to repent. He tells nations to repent. Time and time
again He called Israel to repentance.
Now let us review, as follows:
1. God says to the unsaved, "Repent of your unbelief."
It's very interesting that in I John the word "repentance" is
never mentioned, and yet the purpose of I John was to give people
the assurance of salvation. I John 5:13, "These things have I
written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that
ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on
the name of the Son of God." Of course, repentance is certainly
implied throughout the entire book, because the book tells us that
what saves is believing on Christ (or relying on Him) to save,
which, of course, implies that that person must repent of what
makes him lost, which is unbelief.
2. God says to the saved people, "Repent of sin." This is done
by the Holy Spirit as He comes in to live to remind us to take the
clothes off the bedpost, the shirt off the chair, put the shoes
into the closet, etc.
3. If a person must repent of his sins to be saved, of what
sins must he repent? Can he repent of all of them? Isn't that
sinless perfection or holiness? Isn't that salvation by works? Of
what sin must one repent? He must repent of the sin that makes him
lost, and that's the sin of unbelief.
4. If turning from sins would get you saved, then turning back
to sins would get you lost. In Acts 16:30 the very simple question
is asked, "What must I do to be saved?" This is the one time in
the Bible where this question is asked. Now the answer to this
question must be what saves a person. Acts 16:31, "And they said,
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy
house." There's the answer-belief. There is nothing about
repentance here, except, yes, there is something about repentance,
because you can't believe without repenting from unbelief.
5. If a person has to clean up his own life before he gets
saved, we are back to Arminianism or salvation by works.
6. We cannot do what the Holy Spirit can do. The Holy
Spirit first convicts us of our sin of unbelief to bring us to
Christ. Once He brings us to Christ, He comes in us to live.
Romans 8:9, "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so
be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not
the Spint of Christ, he is none of his." I Corinthians 6:19, 20,
"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost
which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your
body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
Then when the Holy Spirit is in us, He begins to convict us of
things in our lives that should be changed. Then the Christian
life becomes a constant repenting until we wake in the likeness of
False Bibles -
An Enemy of Soul Winning
In order to live as a child of God, I must have a perfect
Bible. Matthew 4:41, "But he answered and said, It is written, Man
shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth
out of the mouth of God." Notice the words, "every word."
If I have my prayers answered, I must have a perfect Bible.
John 15:7, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall
ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." That means that
somewhere in the world, there has to be a perfect Bible.
God has told us that His words are pure. Psalm 12:6, "The words
of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in afurnace of earth,
punfied seven times."
God has told us that these pure words would be preserved
forever. Psalm 12:7, "Thou shalt keep them, 0 LORD, thou shalt
preserve them for this generation forever." Since today is a part
of forever, somewhere in the world there must be pure words of
God. Hence, it does not satisfy me for someone to say that only in
the original do we have the pure words of God. Since there are no
original manuscripts today, or for that matter, there are no
manuscripts even near the original manuscripts as far as time is
concerned, then what these people are saying is
that we do not have anywhere today any book that contains the
pure words of God. Yet, I am commanded to preach the Word.
II Timothy 4:2, "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of
season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and
Now since the words of God are pure, and since all of the
so-called Bibles do not have the same words, only one can be the
real Bible that contains the very words of God, the pure words of
God, and the preserved words of God. The purpose of this chapter
is not to enter into a discussion about the Textus Receptus or
Westcott-Hort; it is simply to say that if God commanded me to
preach His Word, He would have to give me His Word to preach, and
certainly His Word is pure, because the words of God are pure
according to the aforementioned Scriptures and will be preserved
forever. This preacher believes that those preserved words are in
the Bible that I hold in my right hand at this very moment-the
King James Bible!
I have more respect for the person who says that one of the
false Bibles contains the very words of God than for a person who
says only the original contains the very words of God. At least he
believes, though wrongly, that we still have the words of God
which are pure. For many, many reasons I believe that the King
James Bible has been preserved in the English language
word-for-word. I have to believe that. I must have the words of
God, if I live, if I preach and if I get my prayers answered.
1. There are some things that are incorruptible. The word
"incorruptible" means "perfect," "cannot change," "cannot be
improved." If you change something, it must go to perfection or
from perfection, so if something can be changed, it must have been
imperfect and been made perfect, or it must have been perfect and
made imperfect. Let us notice some things that are incorruptible.
(1) God. Romans 1:23, "And changed the glory of the
incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible
man, and to birds, and foutfooted beasts, and creeping things."
This means God is perfect. He cannot be improved; He cannot
change. He cannot be taken from imperfection to perfection or from
perfection to imperfection.
(2) Our future crown. I Corinthians 9:25, "And every man that
striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do
it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible." Once
the crown is received, it cannot be improved; it cannot change. It
will be perfect.
(3) Our glorified bodies. I Corinthians 15:52, "In a moment, in
the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall
sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be
changed." I John 3:2 "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it
doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he
shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he
is." Notice that our glorified body will be like His, and it will
be incorruptible. His glorified body is incorruptible. You cannot
improve it; you cannot change it. Then, my glorified body will be
incorruptible. It cannot be improved; it cannot be changed.
(4) Our inheritance. I Peter 1:4, "To an inheritance
incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved
in heaven for you." Our inheritance will be perfect. It cannot be
improved; it cannot be changed.
(5) The Word of God. I Peter 1:23, "Being born again, not of
corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which
liveth and abideth forever." Psalm 126:6, "He that goeth forth and
weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with
rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him." Luke 8:11, "Now the
parable is this: The seed is the word of God." You will notice the
seed from which we are born again is incorruptible. It is the Word
of God, which liveth and abideth forever. Consequently, you cannot
improve it; you cannot change it. If you do, you must go from
imperfection or to imperfection. Notice in
I Peter 1:23 it is called "incorruptible." Just as God is
incorruptible, just as our crown is incorruptible, just as our
glorified body will be incorruptible, just as Jesus' body is
incorruptible, just as our inheritance is incorruptible; likewise,
the Word of God is incorruptible.
Notice in Psalm 126:6, it is "precious seed." This implies that
there is some seed which is not precious. Luke 8:11 teaches us
that this seed is the Word of God. It is perfect; it cannot be
changed; it cannot be improved.
2. The words of God are the genes of regeneration. Titus 3:5,
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according
to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and
renewing of the Holy Ghost." Actually the word "regeneration"
means "to be re-gened." Just as the genes of my parents brought my
old nature into existence, even so the genes of God brought my new
nature into existence. Your old nature is sinful because there was
sin in the genes, but the genes of the Word of God are
incorruptible, meaning that which is born of God; that is, the new
nature, cannot sin.
Now if the very words of God must be pure, and if in fact the
King James Bible contains the preserved words of God, then any
other words are not the words of God. This means that the Revised
Version is not precious seed because it is not incorruptible. This
means that the Good News for Modern Man is not precious seed,
because it is not incorruptible. This means that the Living Bible
is not precious seed because it is not incorruptible. This means
that the Reader's Digest Bible is not precious seed, because it is
not incorruptible. This means that the New King James Bible is not
precious seed because it is not incorruptible. This means that the
New Scofield Bible is not precious seed, because it is not
incorruptible. This means that the New International Version (NIV)
is not precious seed, and it is not incorruptible. This means that
the American Standard Version is not precious seed because it is
not incorruptible. If the versions do not agree, then all of them
cannot be the very words of God that have been preserved for us.
3. The genes of the new birth must be incorruptible. I Peter
1:23, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of
incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for
ever." These words were penned in the first century, but it says
that the incorruptible seed "liveth and abideth for ever." Since
today is a part of "for ever," we must have the incorruptible seed
in order to be re-gened, or regenerated, or born again.
4. Suppose corruptible seed is used. Can a person then
be born again from it? You answer that question. According to I
Peter 1:23 we read, "Being born again, not of corruptible
seed...." Then, if corruptible seed is used, one cannot be born
again. I have a conviction as deep as my soul that every
English-speaking person who has ever been born again was born of
incorruptible seed; that is, the King James Bible. Does that mean
that if someone goes soul winning and takes a false Bible that the
person who receives Christ is not saved? I believe with all of my
soul that the incorruptible seed must have been used somewhere in
that person's life. If all a person has ever read is the Revised
Standard Version, he cannot be born again, because corruptible
seed is used, and I Peter 1:23 is very plain to tell us that a
person cannot be born again of corruptible seed, but of
incorruptible seed, and it explains that that incorruptible seed
is the Word of God, and it explains that it liveth and abideth
This is also borne out in Psalm 19:7, "The law of the LORD is
perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure,
making wise the simple." Notice the words, "the law of the LORD is
perfect, converting the soul." It is the law of the Lord that
converts. It is the Word of God that regenerates. The Word is the
seed, and the seed must be incorruptible.
7. The perfect Word of God must be used if a person grows in
grace. 1 Peter 2:2, "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of
the word, that ye may grow thereby." Notice that it is the
"sincere" Word of God by which we grow in grace. So, to grow in
grace, we must have the sincere (pure) Word of God.
This same thing is taught in Deuteronomy 4:10, 36, "Specially
the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when
the Lord said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will
make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the
days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach
their children. Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice, that
he might instruct thee: and upon earth he shewed thee his great
fire; and thou heardest his words out of the midst of the fire."
Notice the words of God are what teach us, and from the words
of God we are to be instructed. If they are in fact words of God,
they must be pure, because a pure God could not give impure words,
and an incorruptible God could not give corruptible words.
8. These words of God are perfect. There are several things in
the Bible that are called perfect.
(1) His work is perfect. Deuteronomy 32:4, "He is the
Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a
God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he."
(2) His way is perfect. Psalm 18:30, "As for God, his way is
perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all
those that trust in him."
(3) The Heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:48, "Be
ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is
(4) The glorified body will be perfect. I Corinthians
13:10, "But when that which is perfect is come, then that which
is in part shall be done away.
(5) The law of the Lord is perfect. Psalm 19:7, "The law of the
Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of theLord is
sure, making wise the simple." So we must have an incorruptible,
perfect Word of God. To say that this could be found only in the
original manuscripts is to say we have no words of God today that
are perfect, which means we have no perfect Book to preach, we
have no perfect Book to read, we have no perfect Book by which to
grow, and we have no perfect Seed by which we can be born again or
re-gened or regenerated.
9. There are several ways that the words of God are made into
impure words by translators and theologians (selfstyled).
(1) They add to the Word of God. Proverbs 30:5, 6, "Every word
of God is pure; he is a shield unto them that put their trust in
him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou
be found a liar." Notice several things in these verses. First,
every word of God is pure. Psalm 119:140, "Thy word is very pure:
therefore thy servant loveth it." Psalm 12:6, "The words of the
LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth,
purified seven times." Psalm 19:8, "The statutes of the LORD are
right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure,
enlightening the eyes." Second, in Proverbs 30:6, we are told not
to add to these words. Third, in verse 6 the Bible says that He
reproves those who do add to His words.
Then in verse 6 also, the Bible says that those who do add to
His words are liars.
Now notice Deuteronomy 4:2a, "Ye shall not add unto the word
which I command you...." We are commanded not to add to His Word.
(2) They take away from the words of God.
Deuteronomy 4:2, "Ye shall not add unto the word which I
command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may
keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you."
God plainly commands that we not diminish His Word.
Now notice Revelation 22:19, "And if any man shall take away
from the words of the book of this prophecy, God
shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of
the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book"
A stern rebuke and warning is given to anyone who takes away from
the words of God. This means that God's judgment will rest upon
those who try to give us a condensed Bible.
(3) They will try to change the Word of God. Jeremiah 26:2,
"Thus saith the Lord; Stand in the court of the LORD'S house, and
speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the
LORD'S house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto
them; diminish not a word." Here we have a command not to diminish
one word. It is not talking here necessarily about taking words
away but changing a word or diminishing a word. Let the
translators of the many versions take heed and take warning.
In conclusion, one may ask, "What does this have to do with
soul winning?" Beloved, it has everything to do with soul winning.
If the words of God are the incorruptible seed, and if seed must
be incorruptible, if someone is born again, then the soul winner
must have a perfect Bible. Thank God, we do!
Church Leaders (Nobles)
Not Soul Winners -
An Enemy of Soul Winning
Nehemiah 3:1-5, "Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his
brethren the priests, and they builded the sheep gate; they
sanctified it, and set up the doors of it; even unto the tower of
Meah they sanctified it, unto the tower of Hananeel. And next unto
him builded the men of Jericho. And next to them builded Zaccur
the son of Imri. But the fish gate did the sons of Hassenaah
build, who also laid the beams thereof, and set up the doors
thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof And next unto
them repaired Meremoth the son of Urijah, the son of Koz. And next
unto them repaired Meshullam the son of Berechiah, the son of
Meshezabeel. And next unto them repaired Zadok the son of Baana.
And next unto them the Tekoites repaired; but their nobles put not
their necks to the work of their Lord."
My ministry has spanned two generations. I have preached in the
great churches of both generations. I have preached in the great
fundamental colleges and Bible institutes of both generations. I
have watched the deterioration of churches and colleges and Bible
institutes. I have wondered what caused it. I have studied the
cause, and in this chapter I present
at least one thing that has aided the deterioration of our
churches and schools.
When I became Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Hammond
over 33 years ago, I inherited an unusual situation for an
old-fashioned, hellfire-and-brimstone preacher such as I. I
inherited a church with 22 committees. It seemed to take five
people seven days to put flowers on the communion table, and it
seemed to take seven people seven days to plan the music for
I inherited a church where my predecessor preached in formal
attire with striped pants and a scissor-tail coat. The church
would not allow the piano to be played on Sunday morning. They
allowed only a pipe organ for accompaniment. They would not allow
a congregational song leader on Sunday morning. Sunday morning was
the formal worship service. Sunday night was an informal service,
attended by a handful.
When I went to the First Baptist Church as Pastor, my Associate
Pastor, now Evangelist Jim Lyons, went with me. Shortly after we
arrived, Brother Lyons went to his office on Sunday morning to
find a picture taken from his wall. This picture was one of his
wife and children. A note was placed beside the picture from one
of the trustees saying that he could not hang a picture on his
wall without permission from the Board of Trustees.
In the church there was a constitution committee. Every adult
Sunday school class was required to have a constitution. Each
constitution was submitted to the constitution committee for
Shortly after I arrived we had a missions conference. Dr. John
R. Rice and Dr. Walter Wilson were scheduled to preach. The
missions committee came to me and said, "You can't have the
missions conference without permission from the missions
committee." (They soon found out that they were wrong on this!)
At the first service of the missions conference we took an
offering, whereupon I was advised by the finance committee that I
could not take an offering without permission form the finance
committee. (They soon found out that I could take an offering
without permission from the finance committee!)
It wasn't long until we had a deacons' meeting, whereupon the
deacon chairman asked, "Pastor, do you have any speaking
engagements that you want us to approve? The deacons must vote to
approve where you speak." (They soon found out that this would not
Soon the deacon chairman said, "We would like to have a list of
all the organizations where you serve as a board member so we can
approve them." (Of course, I would not submit to this either.)
There are many other things that would simply enlarge upon the
situation that I inherited which are unnecessary to be mentioned.
What I'm saying is that this church, at that time a member of the
American Baptist Convention, had become what so many other
churches are now becoming. Now this wasn't the way the church was
first organized. Nobody starts a new church with this kind of
super-organization and unnecessary baggage. What caused this
deterioration? What is causing a similar deterioration in many of
our churches today? Such deterioration has brought formal worship
services, a paralyzed pulpit, weak pastoral leadership, an over
abundance of unnecessary committees and a de-emphasis on soul
When a church is started, it is an exciting time. Especially is
this true of an independent, fundamental Baptist church. These
churches are started on street corners, in vacant lots, in
storefront buildings, in basements, in tents and in many other
places. When a church is started, there is a fervor of soul
winning; people are getting saved. No one ever thinks about a
music committee, educational committee, a missions committee, a
flower committee or a finance committee! They are
simply interested in getting people saved and down the aisle
and building an old-fashioned, New Testament Baptist church.
Notice the step-by-step deterioration of a convert in a young
1. The period of spiritual infancy. During this time there is
usually a period of adjustment while learning the songs, some
Bible, and the Christian vocabulary and manner of life.
2. The period of enthusiastic work at the church. The people
become excited about the work. Though awkward, they attempt to win
souls; they are zealous. This period continues for some time.
3. The period when the work becomes a ritual. After a while,
some get adjusted to the work. They keep on teaching a class but
are not too excited about it. They keep on working on the buses
but have lost much of their enthusiasm. However, during this time,
they become known in the church. They come to a place of great
respect. Perhaps at one time they had the biggest bus route or
fastest-growing Sunday school class. This made them highly visible
in the church. Everybody knows them, and they are becoming, to an
extent, church leaders.
4. The period of becoming noblemen. Now one is a deacon, a
trustee, church clerk or church treasurer. He can be called a
"nobleman" in the church. Perhaps he is Sunday school
superintendent or treasurer. Then he becomes so busy in the
organization and business of the church and in his place of
leadership that his Sunday school class is neglected. His bus
route is low on his list of priorities, and his soul winning has
diminished. After a while, he quits his soul winning, resigns his
bus route, and makes only a token effort in his Sunday school
class. He has too much to do as a deacon or a trustee or as a
church officer, until finally he resigns his Sunday school class.
While he does this, there is another group of people who have
not been saved for long. They are building the church while he is
running the church. The new, zealous Christians are
doing the work, so we have a cast system that has developed.
The older, seasoned Christian has traded the building of the
church for the running of the church. The younger,
less-experienced Christian is building the church. This will
eventually lead to its destruction. One group builds the church
and another group runs the church; the commoner does the work
while "their nobles put not their necks to the work of their
Every deacon ought to be a soul winner. Everyone who sings a
special ought to be a soul winner. Every church officer should be
a soul winner. The same people who lead in the church should build
the church. There are hundreds of churches in America who have a
group of nobles whom the people respect and follow while a bunch
of commoners are doing the work! After a while, the church is
controlled by the non-builders, and those who are building the
church have no part in the running of the church. The builders
become second-class citizens. No bus worker or soul winner is a
second-class citizen! There should be no division between the work
of the church. Every person should be a soul winner. No one has a
right to lead the church who is not taking part in building the
church, winning folks to Christ, building bus routes and building
Sunday school classes.
Sometimes the nobles even get involved in some other project
outside the church -perhaps some interdenominational organization
which is a parasite off the New Testament churches. The greatest
child evangelism in the world should be in the local church. The
greatest youth for Christ program should be in the local church.
All across this nation there are men who once built the church who
have become nobles and stopped doing what they once did in soul
winning, Sunday school building, passing out tracts, street
preaching, etc. They have become nobles who run the church while
another group builds the church.
The same thing happens in colleges. While in college, the
student is a soul winner. He brings folks down the aisles, he
passes out tracts, he witnesses on the street corner. He may even
preach on the streets. Perhaps he builds a bus route. When he
graduates, he has impressed the administration, and he is hired on
the faculty. Far too many times, he thinks he no longer has to be
a soul winner. He has graduated from the production end. He is now
on the faculty. He is now a nobleman. Certainly you wouldn't
expect a nobleman to do the work of soul winning! So, the result
in many colleges, seminaries and Bible institutes is that the
students do the work and the noblemen teach the classes. This, of
course, will lead to the spiritual destruction of a college. When
the students obey the Great Commission, and the administration and
faculty do not, the wrong people are doing the teaching!
This same thing happens in our day schools. Many of our
Christian high schools, junior high schools and elementary schools
literally ignore the local church. Every teacher in every
Christian school in America should be actively involved in the
local church, and more than that, each one of them should be
involved in the production part of the local church. 'Tis sad but
true, many Christian school teachers feel they are doing their job
for God in the school and that their work for God ends there.
Nothing is farther from the truth! The church is many times more
important than the school, and no one is qualified or deserving to
teach in a Christian school unless he is doing the work of
producing, soul winning, church building in the local church.
Once again, we have arrived at the place where we do not think
the nobles have to put their necks to the work of the Lord. The
faculty is supposed to win souls just like the students. The
administration is supposed to win souls just like the faculty and
students. The staff is supposed to win souls just like the laymen.
The deacons are supposed to win souls just like the custodian. The
Ph.D. is supposed to win souls just like the illiterate. The old
folks are supposed to win souls just like the young people. Nobody
has a right to be a nobleman in a church unless he is
participating in the carrying out and obeying of the Great
Commission. Now how can we avoid this dreadful situation of the
nobles who put not their necks to the work of the Lord?
1. The noble should keep working. This should be kept before
the church constantly. I preached this sermon vigorously at First
Baptist Church of Hammond, and the statements that have been made
in this chapter have been made many times from my pulpit. No one
has a right to be a deacon at First Baptist Church who is not
helping to build the church and win souls to Christ. No one has a
right to teach at Hyles-Anderson College who is not active in the
soul-winning program. No one has a right to teach or be on the
administration of our Christian schools unless he is winning folks
to Christ, building bus routes, passing out tracts, witnessing on
the street corner. Let the most zealous people in the church be
the noblemen. Let the greatest soul winners in the church be the
noblemen. Let the bus captains be the noblemen. The simple truth
is, in the sight of God, these who are obeying the Great
Commission are the noblemen!
Some nobleman is reading this chapter. You know who you are.
There was a day when you were active in production. There was a
day when you built a great Sunday school class. There was a day
when you went soul winning. There was a day when you built a bus
route. There was a day when you were bringing folks down the aisle
receiving Christ as Saviour, but, you have become a big shot,
affluent and "high brow." You have no right to remain a nobleman
unless you remain in the ministry of obeying the Great Commission!
Our churches are filled with committee members who feel that is
their job as a member of the church. We are incumbered by
unnecessary, superfluous committees such as flower committees,
Christian education committees, pulpit committees, music
committees, youth committees, library committees, literature
committees, etc. who do nothing to obey the Great Commission and
are using these committees as shields behind which to hide,
deceiving others and trying to deceive themselves into believing
they can totally disobey and disregard
the Great Commission! Because they put petunias on the
communion table once a week; or because they belong to the
missions committee, the finance committee, the budget committee,
the roof committee, the ceiling committee, the wall committee, the
floor committee, the picture committee, the painting committee,
the mashed potatoes committee, the "bother the preacher"
committee, the "run the pulpit" committee or the "pester the
pastor" committee, they think they are immune from obeying the
God pity these churches that are organized for everything but
soul winning. Why not organize a tract committee, a jail-preaching
committee, a street-preaching committee, bus committee,
soul-winning committee, rescue mission committee, and obey the
Great Commission instead of having a group of professors in some
college who have never built a church, never had an altar call,
never seen a mourner's bench, never preached a tent revival, never
felt the breath of the Holy Ghost upon their lives but sit in
their halls of ivy behind the shields of their desks training our
young people and killing our churches as they fill our pulpits
with their own clones!
2. Make the builders the most famous. This is why we at
Hyles-Anderson College have no inter-collegiate athletics. The
most popular person on the campus of our college is not the fellow
who puts the ball through the hoop the most times. The most
popular person on the campus of Hyles-Anderson College is not the
fellow who makes the touchdown runs. The most popular fellow in
Hyles-Anderson College is the one who has the biggest bus route,
the one who wins the most people to Christ.
Let us make the soul winners the famous people in the church.
Instead of boasting about "Mr. Big Bucks" because he gives a big
offering, brag on the fellow who has the biggest bus route. So
many of our Christian colleges have gotten to the place where we
recruit athletes and give athletic scholarships and music
scholarships, speech scholarships. Brother, why
don't we give soul-winning scholarships and bus route
scholarships and magnify those who do what God says to do!
3. Do not put the church or the school in the hands of the
non-working nobles or intellectuals. Do you know what's happening
to our schools? The churches are building schools that are not
like the church! Our people go to church on Sunday and hear one
kind of music and then go to school on Monday and hear another
kind of music. Praise God, at Hyles-Anderson College, if we have a
piano concert, we don't have a great deal of classical music. Let
the high-brow schools do that. Let the old-fashioned, independent,
fundamental schools use "Blessed Assurance," "At Calvary,"
"There's a New Name Written Down in Glory," "There is a Fountain
Filled with Blood" and "Amazing Grace" at their piano recitals!
Our churches are dying because noblemen have taken over the
churches. Our schools are being destroyed because noblemen are
taking over the schools. Church music is deteriorating because
noblemen have taken over the church music and the training of our
church musicians in our Christian colleges!
One of my deacons, who is a multi-millionaire, came to me one
day and said, "Pastor, I'm resigning from the deacon board. I
think you are the greatest preacher alive, but I do not agree with
you on business. If I stay on the board, I'll get upset with you
and leave the church. I don't want to do that. I want to come to
this church. I want to hear you preach. I want to see people
saved. I'm resigning the deacon board because I do not agree with
you on business, and I do not want to cause you trouble." What he
was saying was that he was afraid if he stayed on the deacon board
he would become a nobleman and not keep on obeying the Great
Commission. Praise God for a man like that!
All across America our churches are stocking deacon boards with
the wealthy people and the businessmen, and the big shots are
running the church while the soul winners are being run by the big
shots. Now I'm not opposed to wealthy men being on the deacon
board, but I think the deacon board and the
leadership of the church should be representative of the entire
church. On our deacon board at First Baptist Church of Hammond we
have professional men, we have businessmen, we have Ph.D.'s, but
we also have men who are illiterate and can't write their names.
We have deaf men on our deacon board because we have deaf men in
our church. We have a blind man on our deacon board because we
have blind men in our church. We have poor men on our deacon board
because we have poor people in our church. We have businessmen on
our deacon board because we have businessmen in our church, but
because a man has money or formal training does not give him any
more votes or influence than the fellow who can't write his own
When I came to the First Baptist Church of Hammond, one of the
wealthiest men in town invited Mrs. Hyles and me to his house to
eat. The food we ate was flown in from Europe. The house was a
castle. The spoons and forks and knives were lined up like
soldiers in pursuit. We sat down to eat, and in the midst of the
meal, the wife of this wealthy man asked me if I were going to
join the ministerial association. I tried to avoid the question,
but she wouldn't let me. Finally, her wealthy husband said,
"Pastor, answer my wife! Are you or are you not going to join the
I put my silverware down, looked him in the eye and said, "Sir,
you run a business in this town. If you ever need my advice about
how to run your business, you ask me and I'll give it to you. I'm
Pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond. If I ever need your
advice about whether I join a ministerial association or howl
preach, I will ask you, but until I ask you, you keep your nose
out of my business!"
God give us sense again. God give us some reasoning power
There is not a week passes but that I get a call from some
pastor who is having trouble. As soon as he tells me he is having
trouble, I can take it from there. Some influential people in the
church want to run the pastor. Some fellow who is president of
the corporation, president of the local civic club, chairman of
the board, and whose wife presides at the local flower club, is so
accustomed to running things, he wants to run the preacher. It's
typical. It happens all the time, and the poor preacher who is
faithful in his preaching the Gospel has his hands tied by some
man who doesn't know any more about preaching than the preacher
does about the man's business.
Sure, wealthy people in the church should be represented on the
board. The middle-class people in the church should be represented
on the board. The poor people in the church should be represented
on the board. The highly, formally educated people should be
represented on the board, and those who have little or no formal
education should be represented on the board. No one class of
people should be allowed to run a church, and, by the way, no one
class of people is better than another class of people because of
financial standing, prestige, political power or formal training!
I know a big church that was almost destroyed because when the
pastor who had been there over 40 years resigned, the choosing of
a new pastor was basically placed in the hands of seven
well-to-do, wealthy men, and these men called a pastor that, in my
opinion, practically destroyed the church. What a pity!
We have businessmen in our church; we have doctors in our
church; we have lawyers in our church, but they sit side by side
with everyone else. The poorest man in our church is as welcome as
the richest, the least formally-trained person is as welcome as
the most formally trained, the illiterate is as welcome as the
Ph.D., and all are equally represented in places of leadership.
The doctors, lawyers, the college-trained and the businessmen are
humble, godly people who realize that whatever they have is by the
grace of God, and they happily sit side by side with those who
have less money, less formal training and less opportunity.
The vice president of a bank in downtown Hammond was on our
deacon board. (Though he is now in Heaven, we remember him with
gratitude.) One night I recommended something that he thought was
unwise, but as a deacon he stood and said, "I'm the vice president
of a bank, and what the Preacher suggested doesn't make sense to
me, but I make a motion we do it because the Preacher wants to do
it, and I think he knows best in this case." God pity the nobles
who are trying to run their preachers, and God pity the preachers
who let them do it.
When I first came to Hammond, the deacon chairman came to me
and said, "Pastor, some of the deacons are concerned about your
preaching. We want to have a meeting to discuss your preaching. Is
that okay?" I said, "Why, of course it is." He said, "How about
tomorrow night (Monday night) in the Frances Classroom?" I said,
"That will be fine." He said, "Would 7:00 be all right?" I said,
"Seven o'clock is fine." He said, "All right, then, we will have a
meeting tomorrow night at 7:00 in the Frances Classroom to discuss
your preaching." I said, "That's good." About 7:30 the next night
he called me and said, "Where are you?" I said, "I'm at home.
Where did you call?" He said, "I thought you said we could have a
meeting in the Frances Classroom at 7:00 tonight to discuss your
preaching." I said, "You can, but don't expect me to be there,
because my preaching is none of your business." I told them they
could have a meeting every Monday night at 7:00 in the Frances
Classroom if they wanted to, but I was not going to be there.
Years ago at a deacons' meeting at First Baptist Church, a
deacon was discussing a little problem that had arisen. He was a
good man, and this meeting did not keep him from continuing to
serve on the deacon board, but he mistakenly stood and said,
"Pastor, if you hadn't said something in your sermons recently
about a certain thing, we wouldn't have this problem." I left the
front of the room, walked to the back row of the deacons where he
was sitting, and in front of all the deacon board I said, "Sir,
when we paint these walls, you get one vote. When we build a
building, you get one vote. When we borrow money, you get one
vote, but when I walk in the pulpit, you don't get a vote!"
I am not in any way trying to cast reflection on the highly
trained or highly successful, but I like what the old fellow said
when he said, "The only difference in the educated and uneducated
is that they are ignorant on different subjects." I am not
fighting for diminishing the importance of the educated and
wealthy; I am for putting everybody on the same level.
In another generation, Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes was
moving his membership to a Baptist church in Washington, D.C.
Numbers of people joined the church that Sunday. Charles Evans
Hughes was on one end of the line, and a very, very poor person of
another race was on the other end of the line. When the pastor
read the names of those who had come for membership, he started
with Charles Evans Hughes, whereupon Justice Hughes said, "Pastor,
start at the other end of the line. The ground is level at the
foot of the cross." He was right!
Several years ago a very wealthy couple visited First Baptist
Church of Hammond. She was sitting there with her furs and
diamonds, and he was sitting there with the best of apparel.
Across the aisle from them was a little Mexican boy who had a hole
in his pants. He reached down and with embarrassment put his hand
over the hole in his pants. The very wealthy lady looked at her
husband and with a tear in her eye said, "Honey, do you know what
makes this church great?" He said, "What?" She replied, "That
little Mexican boy over there covering up the hole in his pants is
just as welcome here as we are." She was right. It could also be
said that she was just as welcome as that little poor boy was.
Praise God, the ground is level at the foot of the cross!
4. Nobles and common men should share the leading of the
church. At this writing, we have seven doctors and three lawyers
in our church. We have numbers of businessmen. I doubt if there is
a church in America who has more college
graduates than the First Baptist Church of Hammond. Praise God,
I also doubt if there is a church in America that has as many poor
little bus kids as the First Baptist Church of Hammond, and there
is not a church that has as many Spanish-speaking people as we
have in the First Baptist Church of Hammond, and there is not a
church in America that has as many deaf people as we have in the
First Baptist Church of Hammond, and there is not a church in
America that has as many poor people as we have in the First
Baptist Church of Hammond, but here is one church where the ground
is level! No one is better than anybody else because of the house
in which he lives, the car that he drives, the ring on his finger,
the clothes on his back or the degrees hanging on the walls of his
office. Together every class financially, every class
educationally, every class socially should have representation in
the leadership of the church; that is, if all are participating in
the obeying of the Great Commission.
5. The pastor should preach these truths sternly and lovingly
to his people. God has a way of protecting such a pastor. When I
took my stand in the early days at Hammond, we lost over 400
people. Some people threatened to take the buildings away from us,
but how God has blessed through these years! Put a guard around
your church. Walk guard around it yourself. Watch for every little
place that you can see a danger point. Keep the church in the
hands of the soul winners, the street preachers, the bus captains.
Don't even check to see what the balance is in their bank
accounts. I have no doubt in my mind but that American Baptist
Churches started their decline when they put the building of the
church in the hands of the common people and the leadership of the
church in the hands of the noblemen. The same could be said about
thousands of Southern Baptist churches, Baptist Bible Fellowship
churches, Southwide Baptist Fellowship churches and strictly
Practically all of these churches were started by workers.
That's why the churches grew, but over the passing of the years,
the inevitable happened. Hard-working people become successful
people. When they become successful, they often cease to become a
part of those who build the churches.
Such was the case in our text. The people were rebuilding the
wall around Jerusalem after the 70 years of captivity in Babylon.
Nehemiah had returned to help with the rebuilding of this wall.
People were working hard, but sad to say, "their nobles put not
their necks to the work of their Lord." Let this not happen in
your church and mine. Let us love everybody equally and give
everybody equal opportunity! Do not look down on somebody because
he is poor or because he is rich. Do not look down on somebody
because he is unlearned or learned, educated or uneducated. Let
the ground stay level at the foot of the cross!
Opposition to Pastoral
An Enemy of Soul Winning
One of the great battlegrounds in New Testament churches is
that of pastoral leadership. It is the opinion of this preacher
that far too many pastors have allowed their hands to be tied, and
far too many people have tried to tie the pastor's hands. Now I do
not think for a minute that the pastor should be a dictator. I
simply think he should be a leader. For the next few pages, we
will discuss the Scriptural position of the place of the pastor in
the leadership of the church.
1. In business matters, the church should be a pure democracy.
Of course, it would be unwise for the pastor to be allowed to
borrow money on behalf of the church or to build a building
without church approval. The business of the First Baptist Church
of Hammond, Indiana, is in the hands of the people, not the
I know a pastor who said to his people that he would leave if
they did not build. I think this is poor leadership, and I also
think it is unwise leadership. God may call the pastor to another
church, or He may call him to Heaven, and the people would be
saddled with a debt that he incurred. When it comes to the
borrowing of money, the church is a democracy. When it
comes to the church budget, the church is a democracy. When it
comes to church business, the church is a democracy.
Just as ridiculous as the pastor being the business dictator of
the church is the unscriptural practice that the deacons are
supposed to be the business dictators of the church. There is no
Scripture whatsoever to substantiate this. At the First Baptist
Church of Hammond, the deacons are an advisory board. The pastor
recommends the budget to the deacons; the deacons work on the
budget and then present it to the church. The final authority is
in the hands of the church. The pastor cannot spend a dime of the
church budget on his own. The only money that he can disburse at
his own discretion is money that is given him with that
instruction. Quite often people give a check made out to the
church and they say, "Pastor, use this in any ministry you feel
wise." This is exactly what I do, but unless the money is
designated for such, I have no power whatsoever to disburse the
money, except as is dictated in the budget, which is approved by
Let me also say that there is not one Scriptural reference of
trustees or a board of trustees in the church. Philippians 1:1,
"Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the
saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and
deacons." Here you have the simplicity of the organization of the
New Testament church - pastor, deacons, people. At our church, we
have five trustees elected from the deacon board. However, they do
not form a board of trustees; they simply form the official
signature of our church. So, when the church votes to take action
in business matters and loan matters, the trustees sign the
papers. There are hundreds of deacon boards in America and boards
of trustees in America who rebel against pastoral dictatorship,
and then in turn wrestle the power of business in the church for
themselves, making the church a bureaucracy which is just as
unscriptural as a dictatorship.
2. The spiritual program of the church should be under the
leadership of the pastor, and the people should follow. If I were
to lead the First Baptist Church into borrowing money that the
church did not want to borrow, and God called me Home to Heaven, I
would have done the church an injustice. However, if I lead the
church to have a Bible conference, and I choose the speakers,
which I would, this does not leave the church with any
responsibilities in the case of my death.
When I became Pastor of First Baptist Church, there was an
evangelism committee to try to tell me when to have evangelistic
meetings. There was a missions committee to try to tell me when to
have missions conferences. There was a finance committee to try to
tell me when to take an offering. There was a pulpit committee to
try to tell me whom to have preach when I was gone and to approve
where I could preach. Of course, I could not live under this
situation, and I would not, and I did not. If I'm not going to be
the spiritual leader of the church, then I'll move on and get a
soap box and a vacant lot and preach on a street corner somewhere.
A typical example of the average church battle concerning this
subject is the story of Moses and Aaron.
1. While Moses was busy, he received a call from God.
Exodus 3:1, "Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his fat her in
law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of
the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb."
Notice that Moses was busy keeping the flock of Jethro, his
father-in-law. He was seeking no place of leadership whatsoever.
This is usually the way it is. God calls a man who is busy
somewhere else. I know of no place in the Bible where God called
someone who was seeking a position. He calls someone who is busy
doing the job where he is. I have been pastoring for 45 years. I
have never sought a church, nor have I ever wanted to leave a
church where I was pastoring. I have tried to stay busy and work
hard. I tell God my phone number and my address (He probably
already knew it!) and tell Him to contact me when He wants me to
move. Until then, I will not seek to move, nor will I desire to
I was busily serving as Pastor of Miller Road Baptist Church in
Garland, Texas. One day I received a letter from First Baptist
Church of Hammond. I had never heard of the church, nor had the
church, for that matter, ever heard of me. One of the deacons, Mr.
George Huisenga, owned a little gift shop in downtown Hammond. He
sold enough Christian books to receive a catalogue from Zondervan
Publishers. Zondervan had published a little book for me, and that
little book was advertised in the catalogue. In this advertisement
were some statistics about the growth of the Miller Road Baptist
Church in Garland, Texas. The little advertisement couldn't have
been over 1 1/2" square. Mr. Huisenga saw it, tore it out of the
catalogue, went to the pulpit committee, tossed it on the
chairman's desk and said, "This is the fellow you ought to
consider calling." Nobody had recommended me, I had not sought the
position, and for that matter, I did not want the position. They
sent me an application form. I replied that I was not interested.
They continued seeking me and pursuing me. Finally when I was
speaking in the Chicago area, two members of the pulpit committee
came to hear me speak. They took me out to eat and introduced me
to the rest of the pulpit committee. I told the committee that I
had no interest, that I would be flying back to Texas the next
day, and that I did not want to leave my church in Garland, Texas.
Mr. Huisenga looked at me and said, "Well, we did buy you a meal.
Would you at least pray this prayer at least one time sometime
soon: 'Dear God, do You want me to visit First Baptist Church in
Hammond, Indiana? Amen.' - would you pray that prayer?" I said,
"Yes, I'll do that."
I went back to Texas, and to be quite frank, I forgot the
promise I made. Weeks passed. One night I was driving from
Oklahoma City to Dallas. I left Oklahoma City after preaching in a
Baptist church there and drove through the night to get home. In
the wee hours of the morning, I came to the little town of Denton,
Texas. Just before I got to that town, I remembered the promise I
had made to Mr. Huisenga, and so I simply began to pray while
driving, "Dear Lord, do You want me to visit Hammond, Indiana?
Amen." Within five seconds after I prayed that prayer, I was
stunned as I looked to the right of the highway and saw a neon
sign that said three words: HAMMOND WELCOMES YOU. I could not
believe it! I stopped the car, walked over and put my hand on the
sign to be sure it wasn't a mirage. It was the Hammond Service
Station in Denton, Texas, and painted on the sign were such things
as "cheap gas," "mechanic on duty," etc., but there in neon it
simply said, HAMMOND WELCOMES YOU. I was stunned. I trembled as I
drove the rest of the way to my home in Garland, Texas. That was
on a Wednesday.
After the service Wednesday night, I was to drive to Lake
Louise, Tacoa, Georgia, to speak in a Sword of the Lord
Conference. I asked my deacon chairman to drive with me so we
could share the driving responsibilities, as I had not slept the
night before, and I was afraid that two nights in a row driving
all night would make me so sleepy I would be injured in an
accident. I couldn't forget that sign the night before, so I
thought I had better pray some. My deacon chairman drove from
Dallas to Little Rock, and from Little Rock to Memphis, I drove.
As I was driving, I got to thinking about the sign I had seen
the night before. It simply said in neon lights, HAMMOND WELCOMES
YOU. I began to pray as I was driving between Little Rock and
Memphis. Something like this was my prayer:
"Dear Lord, did You mean anything by that sign last night?
Should I visit Hammond? Make it plain to me."
I fell asleep at the wheel while praying! When I woke up, I was
just a few inches from the back of a big six-wheel truck. I jammed
on the brakes, skidded the tires, burned some rubber and stopped,
after barely tipping the truck in the back, doing no damage to the
truck or my car. I was scared to death! I looked up! Would you
like to know what was on the back of that truck? Two
words-HAMMOND, INDIANA. I said, "Dear God, if You will get me to
Tacoa Falls safely, and if that church ever calls me again, I'll
go preach up there."
When I drove into the conference grounds at Tacoa Falls,
Georgia, before I got out of the car, somebody came out of the
office and said, "Is Dr. Jack Hyles here yet?" I said, "Yes, here
I am." They said, "There is a call for you." I said, "It's from
Hammond, Indiana, isn't it?" They said, "Yes. How did you know?" I
said, "I saw some signs along the way!" I picked up the phone and
told the caller that I would come to visit Hammond, Indiana.
What I am saying is that I had no desire to go anywhere. I was
busy where I was. God literally had to grab me and shake me to get
me to consider going to Hammond. Now I praise His name that He
called me here to Hammond.
Exodus 3:2-4, "And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a
flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and,
behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight,
why the bush is not burnt. And when the Lord saw that he turned
aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush,
and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I." Notice that Moses
was surprised when God called him to a place of leadership, but
notice that he did say, "Here am I."
Now look at Exodus 3:10, "Come now therefore, and I will send
thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the
children of Israel out of Egypt." God called this unsuspecting,
unseeking man to lead His people out of Egypt. No real leader
wants to be a leader. A man who wants to lead is not qualified to
lead. In my opinion, that's what's wrong with our presidential
system in America. The way we choose a president will never offer
us a real leader. We choose from men who seek the job. We should
seek the man who is qualified for the job. Notice
Exodus 3:11, "And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should
go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of
Israel out of Egypt?" Especially notice the words, "Who am I that
I should go unto Pharaoh?" Moses did not feel
worthy to do the job. Ah, it sounds to me like this fellow is
going to be a leader.
Moses even argued with God somewhat in Exodus 4:1, "And Moses
answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor
hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not
appeared unto thee." He had some reluctance, feeling that he could
not do the job, and God had to convince him that he would not have
to do the job alone.
Now notice Exodus 4:10-12, "And Moses said unto the Lord, 0 my
Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast
spoken unto thy servant: but lam slow of speech, and of a slow
tongue. And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or
who maketh the dumb, or deaf or the seeing, or the blind? have not
I the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and
teach thee what thou shalt say." Moses argued on the basis that he
was not a good speaker. He was not eloquent; he was slow of
speech. Maybe he had some impediment of speech.
What I'm saying here is that Moses did not seek the job, Moses
did not want the job, Moses did not put himself up for the job,
and at no place did he exalt himself.
Now notice that Aaron did not seek the job of the high
priesthood. Exodus 40:1, 12-15, "And the LORD spake unto Moses,
saying. And thou shalt bring Aaron and his sons unto the door of
the tabernacle of the congregation, and wash them with water. And
thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy garments, and anoint him, and
sanctify him; that he may minister unto me in the priest's office.
And thou shalt bring his sons, and clothe them with coats: And
thou shalt anoint them, as thou didst anoint their father, that
they may minister unto me in the priest's office: for their
anointing shall surely be an everlasting priest hood throughout
their generations." Aaron was God's choice. Aaron did not apply
for the job of being the high priest. He did not seek it. He did
not necessarily want it, but he was chosen by God.
So we have two men. One was the leader of Israel; another was
the high priest of Israel. Both were chosen by God; neither
seeking the job, or for that matter wanting the job, or for that
matter feeling qualified for the job, but they were called of God.
2. People often challenge God's leaders. Numbers 16:1-4, "Now
Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and
Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth,
sons of Reuben, took men: And they rose up before Moses, with
certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes
of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown: And
they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron,
and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the
congregation are holy, even one of them, and the LORD is among
them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation
of the LORD? And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face." Let
us notice several things about this rebellion of Korah.
(1) This is the same Korah that is mentioned in Jude
11. "Woe to them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and
ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in
the gainsaying of Core." So, according to the Word of God, we know
Korah made a serious mistake.
(2) He was of the family of Kohath, a son of Levi. Now the
three sons of Levi were Kohath, Gershon and Merari. So we have
these three families-the Kohathites, the Gershonites and the
Merarites. Each was given a task to perform concerning the
tabernacle. The Gershonites were responsible mainly for the tent
of meeting; that is, the tabernacle itself. The Merarites were
responsible for the boards and bars of the tabernacle. The
Kohathites were responsible for the transporting of the furniture
of the tabernacle. Ah, it's a wonderful thing to have a part in
the work of God. It is also a wonderful thing to be satisfied with
the part that God has given to you.
(3) There were others in the rebellion. Dathan and Abiram, men
of the tribe of Reuben, the firstborn of Jacob, no doubt felt they
should have been chosen to do the job that Moses and Aaron had
been chosen to do.
(4) They rebelled against Moses. Numbers 16:12. Notice, there
were 250 princes; that is, bosses, men of rank. Notice also they
were famous in the congregation, men of renown, men who were
accustomed to being in charge and well-known people.
This is the same old story. You would think that this was a
Baptist church split. The Devil has no new methods. He operates
the same way, and he has always operated the same way.
(5) They gathered themselves against Moses and Aaron. Notice in
Numbers 16:3, "Ye take too much upon you." Nothing could be
farther from the truth. Neither Moses nor Aaron took the job upon
them. They did not want their jobs. They did not seek their jobs.
It was God Who called them, just as God calls men today to pastor
churches. Moses tried every way he could to avoid the job that God
called him to do. He did not feel qualified; he did not want the
I know how he felt. I do not like to lead. I certainly do not
like to be a boss. If I had my way, I would never boss anybody.
Time and time again after I have had to be a boss or a strong
leader, I've gone to my office and wept. Such is the case with any
real man of God.
Now notice the words in Numbers 16:3c, "... wherefore then lift
ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord?" This is the
typical lie that rebels use. Moses did not lift up himself; Aaron
did not lift up himself; God lifted them up! God called them!
Every organization must have a leader. A country must have a
king or a president. A state must have a governor. A city must
have a mayor. A team must have a coach. A school must
have a principal. A home must have a father. A church must have
Now notice the words in verse 3, "seeing all the congregation
are holy." Somehow these people could not accept the fact that
what they were doing was holy. God had given the Kohathites the
responsibility of transporting the furniture; He had given the
Gershonites the responsibility of transporting the tent; He had
given the Merarites the responsibility of transporting the boards
and the bars, and bless your heart, that was as holy as the jobs
that Moses and Aaron had.
There is no unholy job for God; every job is important. If God
has given you the responsibility of pastoring a church, realize
that it is holy and sacred, and give it your best. If God has
given you the responsibility of being the church custodian,
realize it is holy and of God, and give it your best. If God has
given you the responsibility of being a church secretary, choir
director, Sunday school teacher or deacon, you have been called of
God just as much as the pastor has. Give it your best, but let
each be satisfied with the will of God for his own life. There are
no big shots or little shots in the New Testament church.
No real pastor wants to lead, but he has to; he has been called
of God to do so. Every real God-called pastor would rather follow
than lead, but somebody has to lead, and there is nobody to lead
but human beings.
3. The first committee ever appointed made a tragic mistake!
Deuteronomy 1:19-22, 26, "And when we departed from Horeb, we went
through all that great and terrible wilderness, which ye saw by
the way of the mountain of the Amorites, as the LORD our God
commanded us; and we came to Kadesh-barnea. And I said unto you,
Ye are come unto the mountain of the Amorites, which the Lord our
God doth give unto us. Behold, the LORD thy God hath set the land
before thee: go up and possess it, as the LORD God of thy fathers
hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged. And ye came
near unto me even one of you, and said, We will send men before
us, and they shall search us out the land, and bring us word again
by what way we must go up, and into what cities we shall come.
Notwithstanding ye would not go up, but rebelled against the
commandment of the Lord your God."
(1) The Israelites were at the door of the Promised Land. They
came to Kadesh-barnea, and God told them that He had given them
the land. In Deuteronomy 1 :20b, notice the words, "which the LORD
our God doth give unto us." In verse 21, notice the words, "go up
up andpossess it, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath said unto
thee." It was God's command for them to go possess the land.
(2) They wanted to appoint a committee. Look at verse 22. God
had led the Israelites all the way from Egypt, as He led Moses,
and Moses led them. God told Moses and Moses told the people
concerning the passover. God told Moses, and Moses told the people
concerning the crossing of the Red Sea. God told Moses, and Moses
told the people concerning the journey across the wilderness. Then
they came to the very door of the Promised Land - their goal.
Again God led Moses, and Moses led the people. It was time to
enter into the Promised Land. Couldn't they go in the same way
they got to the door of the Promised Land? Yes, but, sad to say,
the people wanted to appoint a committee!
Someone has said that a committee is a group of the unprepared
who are unqualified to do the unnecessary and who read the minutes
and waste the hours. Somebody else has said that a camel is a
horse put together by a Baptist committee.
(3) The committee came back and recommended not to go. The
Israelites took the advice of the committee and refused to go into
the Promised Land. How tragic! For 40 years they then needlessly
wandered in the wilderness all because they had changed their
method of following the will of God as a people. Sure, God allowed
them to have the committee, but that was not His first choice.
His first choice was for the people to follow Moses as Moses
Our churches are "committeed" to death!
4. God expects His people to follow His chosen pastors.
Hebrews 13:7, 'Remember them which have the rule over you, who
have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow,
considering the end of their conversation."
(1) Notice the word "remember." It means, "don't forget," "Keep
this before you."
(2) Notice the word "rule." The word "rule" is the word "guide"
(3) Notice the words, "who have spoken unto you the word of
God." Here we have the spiritual leaders whom God chooses. They
are our guides or leaders - again, not in matters of business that
would cumber the church with a great debt, but in spiritual
(4) Notice the words, "whose faith follow." Wow, what a
Now look at Hebrews 13:17, "Obey them that have the rule over
you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they
that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with
grief for that is unprofitable for you." Here you have the same
word "rule," and then you have the word "submit," which means "to
yield." Then it tells us to whom we are to yield - to those who
watch over our souls. Then we are reminded that they must give an
account to God for what they do. We are not talking here about
moral matters. We are not talking here about business matters; we
are talking about spiritual leadership.
Now when does this unscriptural practice of a muzzled pastor
start? So often it starts with the choosing of a new pastor. A man
of God serves faithfully for many years. His people follow him;
they trust him; they love him. He leads them well, and they follow
well, and there is a wonderful relationship.
Then, the pastor resigns or passes away. The people must choose
another man of God.
Between pastors, people who are capable have to assume some of
the responsibilities that the pastor had fulfilled. Oftentimes,
these are places of leadership. These men who are capable of
leadership fulfill these responsibilities, and, of course, they
are often men of renown, famous men in the congregation, as we
noticed in Numbers 16:1. These men enjoy this leadership, but now
it's time to call a new pastor. The church calls a new pastor, and
the pastor assumes the responsibilities Now these men who have led
in the interim period have enjoyed their place of leadership and
hate to relinquish it to the pastor.
Then the people do not know the new pastor and do not trust him
as much as they did the old pastor. This is normal and a natural
thing. However, the people are supposed to follow the new pastor,
not because they know him well, but because he is God's man! Soon
his hands are tied. He does not have the liberty the other pastor
had. A few men in the congregation who are famous and well-known
do not want to relinquish the powers that they had to assume
during the interim period.
In conclusion, let it be said that this pastor does not enjoy
leading, nor is he advocating men who want to usurp authority and
power. He is simply saying that when God calls a man to a place,
that man is usually busy somewhere else and does not seek the
place. No pulpit committee or no church should seek a man who is
seeking them. Let God lead the committee to the man, as was the
case in the First Baptist Church of Hammond a third of a century
ago, and let that man be fully persuaded in his own mind that he
is the man, and let the church be fully persuaded. Then let that
man lead with love and the people follow with love. Let the
business of the church be a democracy, and let the spiritual
program of the church be placed in the hands of God's chosen man.
What a wonderful relationship can exist when God's people follow
God's man and when God's man, not wanting to lead, accepts the
call of God and does lead!
The Universal Church -
An Enemy of Soul Winning
(For a detailed study on the doctrine of the church, consult
the author's book on this subject.)
I could not believe my ears! I was listening to a preacher on
the radio. He announced that it was time to take communion. He
suggested that each listener get a cracker or a piece of bread and
some juice and sit beside the radio and take communion with his
other listeners. He then said, "If you do not have any bread, a
banana would be all right. If you don't have any juice, any kind
of liquid, even a glass of water, will do as long as you do it in
memory of the broken body and shed blood of Christ." What a
tragedy! What a travesty! What a total lack of knowledge
concerning the Lord's Supper being an ordinance of the New
I was reading a national publication. It told of an
international youth organization having communion at its annual
convention. What a shame to miss totally the purpose of the Lord's
Supper and bypass the institution to whom it was given!
Over and over again I hear and read the term, "electronic
church." Of course, there is no such thing as the electronic
church, but it is just as scriptural as the term "invisible
church" or "universal church."
The word "church" in the New Testament is a "called out
assembly," and it is to have pastors, deacons and members. This
called-out assembly has been given a commission found in Matthew
28:19, 20, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them
in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded
you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.
Mark 16:15, "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world,
and preach the gospel to even creature."
The local church has been given two ordinances: baptism and the
Lord's Supper. The church is the unit by which the work of God is
The following sentences are certainly an oversimplification and
at best are a summary. The New Testament knows nothing about "a
church" or "the church," except as it is given a location. All
believers cannot and do not form a church because all believers
have not yet become a called-out assembly. This chapter is being
dictated on an airplane. I am flying from Chicago to Charlotte,
North Carolina. It is Monday afternoon. Yesterday, a called-out
assembly met in an auditorium on the corner of Oakley Street and
Sibley Street in Hammond, Indiana. This called-out assembly is
named the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana. This is all
that Jesus had in mind when He started the New Testament church,
and it seems that for some time the Christian world used the term
"church" only as it relates to a local, called-out assembly.
Shortly after the beginning of the fourth century, Emperor
Constantine supposedly was converted. He had a desire for all to
do likewise, and it has been recorded by some that he commanded
baptism. From this endeavor came the Catholic denomination. It was
named the "universal church," the name "Catholic" meaning
Here the battle started. We then had New Testament Baptist
people (though often called by other names such as Anabaptists,
etc.) believing in the Scriptural doctrine of the local, New
Testament church, and we had the Catholic denomination advocating
a universal church. Hence, the battle started concerning this
doctrine, and it wages until this day. Historically, the
Anabaptists and Catholics strongly differed on the doctrine of the
With the passing of the centuries came the Protestant
Reformation from which came our Protestant denominations of today.
Of course, the Reformation began as a battle between Martin Luther
and the Catholic denomination over justification by faith; and
though Luther, Zwingli, Calvin and other reformers are to be
greatly admired, they, nevertheless, continued the Catholic
originated doctrine of the universal church; that is, that all
believers form the church. The term "invisible church" is often
associated with this doctrine.
As far as this doctrine is concerned, the battle that once was
Catholics versus Baptists now becomes Catholics plus Protestants
With the passing of the centuries something happened that I
often call the "second reformation." As the Protestant
denominations became more liberal, especially on the doctrine of
salvation, many churches and pastors and members became
disenchanted with the mainline Protestant denominations. From this
group came what we call "inter-denominationalists." Basically,
they are fundamental Protestants, and much of their discontent
with the mainline Protestant denominations was caused by the same
thing that caused the first reformation - the doctrine of
justification by faith. However, just as their forefathers
protested on that doctrine, they did not protest on the doctrine
of the church and continued teaching the doctrine of the universal
or invisible church.
So the first battle concerning this doctrine was waged between
the Catholics and the Baptists. Upon the first reformation, the
Protestants joined in this malay, and at the second reformation
the interdenominationalists were added to those advocating the
universal or invisible church, making it now a battle between the
Catholics, Protestants and interdenominationalists versus
Baptists. Sad to say, because so many Baptist preachers have been
trained in inter-denominational institutions, the doctrine of the
universal or invisible church has infiltrated even Baptist
movements and Baptist churches. The usually reliable Scofield
Bible has added fuel to the flame until it has now become in many
Baptist circles unpopular for one to advocate and believe the
historic Baptist doctrine that Jesus started only the called-out
assembly, or the local New Testament church, and that that is the
only church in existence and will be until the rapture.
As we investigate this doctrine of the church, it must be
remembered that we are always talking about a called-out assembly.
1. There are now New Testament churches. Much has been said
about when New Testament churches started. The Scofield Bible
erroneously teaches that the "church" was started at Pentecost. Of
course, we can not accept the fact that there is such a thing as
"the church." There are churches, and the first New Testament
church was started during the personal ministry of Jesus Christ.
Since it is a "called-out assembly," it appears that the first
church was started in Matthew 10:1, "And when he had called unto
him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean
spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and
all manner of disease." The word "called" here comes from the same
root word from which the word "church" comes. Here Jesus called
out the apostles. Matthew 10:2-4, "Now the names of the twelve
apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and
Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his
brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the
publican; James the son of Alpheus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname
was Thaddeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also
Now turn to I Corinthians 12:28, "And God hath set some in the
church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers,
after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments,
diversities of tongues." Notice that in the church were first
apostles. It was in Matthew 10 when Jesus called out the apostles.
Though I would not make an issue of this, it seems plain to me
that this was the beginning of the first called-out assembly or
the first church. I would make an issue, however, that the church
was not started on Pentecost, and that it was started sometime
during the public ministry of Jesus.
Notice please Matthew 18:17, "And if he shall neglect to hear
them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the
church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican."
Here we have a mention of a local called-out assembly. Mr.
Scofield in his Bible says that this is "discipline in the future
church," but there is nothing that says, "tell it to the future
church"; it simply says, "tell it to the church." The church was
certainly in existence by Matthew 18:17.
Read Acts 2:41, 47, "Then they that gladly received his word
were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about
three thousand souls. Praising God, and having favour with all the
people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be
saved." Notice the words "added to." It is impossible to add to
something that is not already in existence. It is obvious that
these verses are talking about people being added to the local New
Testament church assembly. Consequently, there must have been an
assembly. You cannot add to something that is not already in
existence. (Again, study my book, The Church for a more detailed
2. Though the New Testament church was started during the
earthly ministry of Jesus, there were such assemblies in the Old
Testament. God never changes His philosophies. If Christians in
the New Testament age need the fellowship of God's people and
compose a unit for that fellowship, for the propagation of the
Gospel, and for the edification of believers, then there would
certainly be a need in every age for a similar assembly. Again,
let it be stated that we are not talking about a New Testament
church. However, wouldn't the Old Testament Christians need to get
together? Wouldn't there be a need for edification, for Bible
Notice Acts 7:3 7, 38, "This is that Moses, which said unto the
children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up
unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear. This
is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel
which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who
received the lively oracles to give unto us." The Israelites were
called "a church in the wilderness." Now this does not mean they
were a New Testament church. It does mean that they were a
called-out assembly. They had been in Egypt, through the passover
lamb and the Red Sea miracle; they were called out of Egypt, and
they assembled in the wilderness. So, this was a called-out
assembly - not a New Testament church, but, nevertheless, God had
called out His people and had them assembled. Again let me
emphasize that God never changes His philosophies. If His people
in one age need to assemble, His people in all ages need to
3. There will be a church in the air. Hebrews 12:23, "To the
general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in
heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just
men made perfect." In conjunction with this, read I Thessalonians
4:14-1 8, ' 'For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again,
even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which
are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent
them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from
heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the
trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we
which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them
in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever
be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
Here we have what is commonly called the rapture or the calling
away or the calling out of God's people. This will take place at
the first resurrection when all the saved people are called out of
the world to an assembly in the air where we will enjoy the
Marriage of the Lamb, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and the
Judgment Seat of Christ. Then for the first time, all of God's
people will be assembled. Because they will be called out, and
because they will be assembled, then and only then will all
Christians become a church, for then and only then will all
Christians become a called-out assembly!
I make a big issue of this because of the error that many make
of bypassing local congregations because they feel they belong to
"the church" simply because they are saved. These are they who
advocate the doctrine of the invisible church, such as all
believers are called in the Scofield Bible.
The very nature of their work, however, contradicts their
doctrinal position, for those who advocate the doctrine of the
invisible church always go to the visible church when they need
money, and, gullible as we are, we in the visible churches support
our invisible church friends, as they bypass us but feed off of
It is also interesting to note that colleges and Bible
institutes that teach the invisible church seem to get most of
their students from the visible churches. Often, however, these
same invisible church adherents neglect and sometimes ignore the
local church. Mr. Scofield even calls the invisible church the
"true church," which would imply to me that the local church is
not the true church.
In one interdenominational institution that has many Baptist
students, the students are not allowed to go to a church on Sunday
morning. They have what they call the "campus church." (There are
as many Scriptures for the electronic church as there are for the
campus church!) It might be interesting to visit that campus on a
Sunday evening and a Wednesday evening to see what emphasis it
gives to the very institutions who have made it what it is. They
are sending out preachers to pastor the very institutions that
they neglect and overlook. One of its graduates told me recently
that she attended that institution for four years and never one
time went to a Baptist church.
4. There will be some kind of an "assembly" in the tribulation
and in the millennium. God will not change His mind about the
needs of His people. We are told that there will be multitudes of
people saved in the tribulation period. It seems to me that these
people would need more than ever a place of refuge, of strength,
of edification, of encouragement, of Bible teaching, like a
church. Though there will not be "New Testament churches,"
nevertheless, there will be assemblies of Christian people who
will need such an institution.
Preachers often erroneously call this "the church age." It
should be called the "New Testament church age." There is no doubt
that the New Testament assembly (church) is a unique one, and
there has never been nor ever will be one exactly like
it. Bearing in mind that God does not change His philosophies,
nor will the needs of Christian people change, there must be some
unit of assembly for the Christians in the tribulation and in the
The Great Commission will likewise be given to these assemblies
or, better still, it will apply to them. Matthew 28:19, 20, "Go ye
therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of
the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded
you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.
Amen." Notice the words, "even unto the end of the world." When
will the world end? Read Revelation 20:11, "And I saw a great
white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth
and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them."
Revelation 21:1, "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the
first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was
no more sea." This is at the end of the millennium, after which we
will abide in the New Jerusalem. Until that time, there will
always be saved people who will live on earth, and an unchanging
God will have some form of assembly for them, so it is interesting
that the Great Commission is until the end of the world, which
means that there will be soul winning in the tribulation and in
the millennium, and there will be baptisms in the tribulation and
in the millennium. These are church ordinances or assembly
Now turn to Matthew 26:29, "But Isay unto you, I will not drink
henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink
it new with you in my Father's kingdom." You will notice here that
our Saviour promised us that He will one day take communion with
us. So we see that communion will be given and taken during the
millennium. Since this supper is a church ordinance (or an
assembly ordinance), it leads us to believe that there will be
some kind of an assembly of Christians until the end of the
I cannot emphasize strongly enough that these assemblies will
not be New Testament churches. New Testament churches were started
by Jesus Himself probably in Matthew 10:1, and certainly during
the public ministry of Jesus, and will end when all believers of
this New Testament church age are raptured, thereby forming the
church in the air.
During this New Testament church age, we are to be faithful in
attending our churches just as a soldier is faithful and
supportive of his own unit of battle. Suppose I meet a soldier on
the street, and I ask him, "What battalion are you in?" and he
replies, "Oh, I don't belong to a local battalion; I belong to the
invisible army or the universal army. Occasionally I visit a local
squad or platoon or company or battalion, and I think they are all
right, but I belong to the great battalion composed of all
soldiers everywhere." My dear reader, such soldiers would build an
army that would never win a battle. There must be the individual
fighting unit, and there must be leaders in that unit. So God has
given us the individual fighting unit called the local church.
Without it we will be as ineffective as an army would be
without squads or companies or battalions; and the invisible,
universal church is as unscriptural as the universal, invisible
army is unlawful!
The Modern Tongues
An Enemy of Soul Winning
Matthew 28:19,20, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of
the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I
have commanded you: and, lo, Jam with you alway, even unto the end
of the world. Amen."
Luke 24:47, "And that repentance and remission of sins should
be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at
Mark 16:15, "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world,
and preach the gospel to every creature."
Acts 1:8, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy
Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in
Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the
uttermost part of the earth."
John 20:21, "Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you:
as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you."
All of the aforementioned Scriptures deal with the cornmission
that our Lord has given us to take the Gospel to the entire world
and to every creature. Upon the resurrection of our Lord, the
church in Jerusalem had a wonderful ingathering of souls. However,
a problem arose. There were people there out of every nation under
Heaven. Acts 2:5, 9, lO, 11a. "And there were dwelling at
Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in
Mesopotamia, and in Judea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about
Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and
Now, what could be done? People from all over the world were
there in Jerusalem. Peter stood up to preach. The Gospel was being
delivered, but the people could not understand what Peter was
Suddenly, a miracle took place. God gave the ability to the
soul winners there to speak in other languages. Acts 2:4, "And
they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with
other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." The word
"tongues" here is the word "glossa," in the Greek, which means
either the physical tongue or a language.
Now then, every man from all the countries heard the Word of
God in his own language. Acts 2:6, 8, "Now when this was noised
abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because
that every man heard them speak in his own language. And how hear
we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?" It is very
interesting here that the word "language" in verse 6 and the word
"tongue" in verse 8 are used interchangeably. Then in verse 11, we
have the word "tongues" mentioned again. "Cretes andArabians, we
do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God."
This was given in order that people might be saved.
1. This wonderful miracle was perverted by some immature
Christians. I Corinthians 3:1-4, "And I, brethren, could not speak
unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes
in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: or
hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and
strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For
while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are
ye not carnal?"
Paul wrote many letters as inspired by the Holy Spirit. He
wrote to the churches in Corinth, Rome, Galatia, Ephesus,
Philippi, Colosse and Thessalonica. The only church to which he
mentioned tongues was the church at Corinth. These were the
"tongue-talkers." Now let's see if they had something that the
other churches did not have. Let's see if they were more spiritual
than the other churches. Notice several things in the first four
verses of I Corinthians 3.
(1) They were carnal, which means "fleshly." (Verse 1) It is
obvious that they lived in the flesh. You will find this same
thing in verse 4 when Paul asks the question, "Are ye not carnal?"
(2) They were babes in Christ. (Verse 1)
(3) They were not mature enough to eat spiritual meat. (Verse
2) He had to feed them with milk.
(4) They were a church tilled with envying, strife and
division. (Verse 3) Notice, they are called carnal twice more.
(5) They walked as men. (Verses 3 and 4)
So here we have a church of fleshly people who are babes in
Christ; who could not bear to eat spiritual meat, but had to be
fed with milk; who were filled with envy, strife and divisions;
and who were followers of men.
So this is the church that was filled with the tongue-talkers.
Did they have something the other churches didn't have? They
absolutely did! They had carnality, envying, strife, divisions and
were spiritual babes. It doesn't sound like they had some kind of
a second blessing or a sanctification that others didn't have.
Certainly they were not to be envied, but rather to be pitied.
2. This gift of speaking in other languages in order for people
to be saved who could not understand the language commonly used
was the least important of all the spiritual gifts. I Corinthians
12:4-10, "Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God
which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is
given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the
Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the
same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the
gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of
miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits;
to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation
of tongues." I Corinthians 12:28-31, "And God hath set some in the
church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers,
after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments,
diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are allprophets? are all
teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of
healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet
earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent
Now notice several things:
(1) All were not given the same gifts. I Corinthians 12:8 and 9
say that one was given the word of wisdom, another the word of
knowledge, another faith, another the gifts of healing, etc. The
modern tongues movement claims that this gift of tongues is
available to all. Absolutely not! God does give gifts to each of
us, but does not give all of us every gift.
(2) This gift of tongues was the least important of all. Notice
the list in I Corinthians 12:8-10. The last one mentioned is the
gift of tongues. Now notice the list in I Corinthians 12:28. Once
again, the last gift mentioned is the gift of tongues. Notice the
word "secondarily" in verse 28.
Also notice the word "thirdly" in that verse. These are adverbs
which modify the verb "set," which means that these gifts are
given in order of their importance. The apostles were more
important than the prophets, the prophets more important than the
teachers, the teachers more important than the miracles, the
miracles more important than the healings, etc. The last in
importance is the gift of tongues. This gift was last in
importance because it was least needed.
(3) This gift was not earned. The fact that it is called a gift
teaches us that it is not earned.
3. There is no record that Jesus, our example and pattern, ever
had to use this gift. All Christians would agree that our goal
should be to be like Jesus. I John 4:17, "Herein is our love made
perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because
as he is, so are we in this world." Philippians 2:5, "Let this
mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." John
14:12, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on
me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than
these shall he do; because I go unto my Father."
There is not one record in all the ministry of Jesus when He
spoke in tongues, meaning He had no occasion to do so. His entire
earthly life was limited to one little country of just a few
square miles. It was not necessary for Him to speak in tongues.
Now if He did not speak in tongues, is a person less spiritual
because he does not have that gift or because his calling does not
necessitate such a gift?
4. Jesus rebuked the Corinthian people because of their
perversion of this gift. Notice the following study of I
Verse 1, "Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but
rather that ye may prophesy." The best spiritual gift, and the one
to be most desired, was to prophesy, which means "to teach, to
reveal truth," etc.
Verse 2, "For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh
not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit
in the spirit he speaketh mysteries." These people who were
speaking in tongues when no unsaved people were present and who
were causing confusion in the church were understood only by God
and not by man. Of course, God understands all languages, but the
people couldn't understand, so the "tongue-talkers" were rebuked
for using this gift in the church.
Verse 3, "But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to
edification, and exhortation, and comfort." Those who were
perverting this gift were not edifying. Notice that they could not
comfort, exhort or edify God's people with this gift.
Verse 4, "He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edified
himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church." Notice the
selfishness of those who spoke needlessly in other languages, and
the unselfishness of those who taught so they could edify the
Verse 5, "I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather
that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he
that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church
may receive edifying." Paul wished for every Christian that he
would have the opportunity someday to witness to a person in
another language so that person could hear the Gospel in his own
language and be saved, but he plainly says that the one who
teaches the Bible is a greater person than he that talks in
Verse 9, "So likewise ye. except ye utter by the tongue words
easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for
ye shall speak into the air." Notice he says that someone who
talks in other languages, unless there is someone there who can
understand that language who is not saved, is speaking into the
air. He is wasting his time.
Verse 12, "Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual
gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church."
Notice Paul says that since you are wanting spiritual gifts, you
should seek the most important one; that is, edifying the church,
or of being understood so you can help people.
Verse 14, "For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit
prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful." Paul rebukes the
heresy of praying in tongues. Listen, it is a waste of time. God
knows English, and the gift of tongues was given so that people of
other races might be saved.
Verse 15, "What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I
will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the
spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also." Paul teaches
here that to be spiritual is to pray or sing so one can be
understood. The modern "tongue-talkers" would lead us to believe
that to be extra spiritual is to talk in tongues. Paul says to be
extra spiritual is to be understood.
Verse 16, "Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how
shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy
giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?"
It has always been the common practice of New Testament,
soul-winning Baptist churches to say "Amen" in church. Paul
wonders how one could say "Amen" if he cannot understand what is
Verse 18, "I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye
all." Paul told the people that he spoke with tongues more than
all of them did. Of course, this was necessary. Paul traveled from
country to country, and God enabled him to speak
in other languages so that the people of different nations
could understand the Gospel.
Verse 19, "Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with
my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than
ten thousand words in an unknown tongue." Paul said that when you
go to church, it's 2000 times better to speak and be understood
than to speak and not be understood.
Verse 22, "Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that
believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not
for them that believe not, but for them which believe." Ah, here
is the clincher. It plainly says that tongues are for those "that
believe not." In other words, it is a tool for soul winning. The
modern tongues movement-I suppose I should not say "modern," for
it is not modern; it was used in the baby, un-spiritual, carnal
church in Corinth - confuses the unsaved, and in some cases even
frightens them away from the Gospel.
Verse 26, "How is it then, brethren? when ye come together,
every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrines hath a tongue.
hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done
unto edifying." Paul is saying here that in church everything
should be done to edify. This totally eliminates the talking in
tongues in church unless there are unsaved people there who cannot
understand the language being used.
Verse 33, "For God is not the author of confusion, but of
peace, as in all churches of the saints." Paul explains to us that
the tongues movement being used at the church at Corinth (which
was not a Bible tongues movement at all) was confusion, and God
was not the author of that!
Verse 34, "Let your women keep silence in the churches:
for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are
commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law." Along
with the perversion of tongues and other perversions by the church
at Corinth, the ladies were speaking in these languages. Paul told
them to be quiet in church. Notice also verse 35, "And if they
will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for
it is a shame for women to speak in the church."
Verse 39, "Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid
not to speak with tongues." Here is the conclusion of the matter.
Paul says that teaching is the best gift, but we should not
disbelieve the gift of tongues. This gift was begun on Pentecost.
Sometimes it is necessary.
The First Baptist Church of Hammond is located in the
metropolitan Chicago area. People from many parts of the world
have settled in Chicago. It is not unusual for people to come to
our services who cannot understand English, but speak other
languages. For example, we have a special ministry to the
Spanish-speaking people. In our Spanish-speaking department alone,
it is not unusual for us to have over 2000 people to come to hear
the Gospel preached in Spanish. There is no need for anyone to
have the gift of tongues concerning the Spanish people, because we
have people who can teach them in their own language.
We also have a ministry to the Vietnamese and Cambodians, so it
is not necessary for one to have the gift of tongues to reach
It is quite common for Romanian people to be saved in our
church. Fortunately, we have a businessman and his wife who speak
fluent Romanian, and often during the invitation time, we call
upon them to come and win Romanian people to Christ.
On occasion we have had people to come to the altar who can
understand only Arabic. Again, fortunately, we have a doctor and
his wife in our church who speak Arabic.
The same thing could be said concerning German people and
However, one Sunday morning one of our young businessmen came
to the altar and said, "Pastor, I have a Chinese lady on the back
row of the lower section of the auditorium who is weeping and
obviously wants to be saved, but she cannot understand English. I
have tried to witness to her, but she speaks only the Chinese
language. Please ask if anyone in the auditorium can speak
Chinese." I did ask for someone to come to translate the Gospel
into the Chinese language. There was no one. This young man was so
disappointed. He went back to his seat, and I forgot about the
Chinese lady because of the busy time during the invitation.
After the service this same young businessman came forward. His
face was as pale as a ghost. He said, "Pastor, something happened
back there a while ago that I could not believe."
He continued to talk, stuttering as he did, but this is what he
said. "Pastor, I went back to the back row, and I told this
Chinese lady in English that I could not find anyone to tell her
how to be saved, but that I was going to tell her in English, even
if she could not understand. Immediately when I started presenting
the plan of salvation, a startled look of understanding came on
her face. She pointed to her ears, shook her head up and down as
she was understanding what I said. I tested her. I asked her to
stand up; she did. I asked her to sit down; she did. I asked her
to raise her hand; she did. She was understanding my English,
though she could not speak or understand the English language. I
told her how to be saved. She received Christ as her Saviour, and
immediately after she prayed and received Christ, she pointed to
her ears, shook her head from side to side as if she could not
understand me anymore. Pastor, I don't know what that is."
Now I did not say it; I'm just telling you what the man said.
It has never happened to me; I have never had an occasion to have
such a need, but this young businessman, not expecting it, not
seeking it or even desiring it, told me that story. You can
make your own judgment, but whatever happened in this instance,
it is exactly what happened on the day of Pentecost, and it is
exactly what the gift of tongues was to the New Testament church
in the book of Acts.
Where Are the Nine?
Recently an article appeared in a leading conservative
publication which I feel must be answered. I am a novice at this;
to my knowledge I have never done this before, that is, publish an
answer to someone else's article. It had the same title as does
this answer, and it appeared to me to be directed toward my good
friend, Dr. Bob Gray of Longview, Texas, whom I love and admire
dearly. I feel I must rise in his defense and in defense of all of
those who feel somewhat under attack by the aforementioned
article, many of whom pastor some of the greatest soul-winning
churches in America. That article dealt with churches who are
baptizing multitudes but are seeing little or no church growth,
and I feel it hit the jugular vein of soul-winning churches, and
it must be addressed.
First, let me say that I consider myself a friend to the author
of the article. I love him, respect him, and admire him very much.
I have no plan to attack him. I think he is a good, sincere,
honest child of God. He is one to whom our country owes a debt. He
is a great preacher, and I have some feeling that my dear brother
did not mean for his article to come across exactly as it did.
I do not think my brother is a compromiser. If I understand the
meaning of the word "compromise," it describes someone who goes
against what he believes for his own personal gain, whether it be
popularity, money or success. I do not think that my dear brother
is a compromiser. I think he is consistent with his pen and in the
pulpit with what he believes, and I do not think he is "selling
out" for anybody.
There are many things in his article with which I agree. I
agree with him concerning revival and the need for real revival in
America. I agree with him that Christians across America should
heed II Chronicles 7:14. I believe that God's people in our
country need to repent. I also agree with him that soul winners
should always present the plan of salvation thoroughly and
carefully. This is not in defense of shallowness. I agree with him
that numbers are not important for numbers themselves. I agree
that our soul winning should not be for numbers but to keep every
person out of Hell that we possibly can.
I have no desire to publicize my personal differences or
convictions or standards with my beloved brother or to air in
public the dirty linen of fundamentalists, but someone needs to
rise in defense of the great soul-winning churches and the great
soul-winning pastors who felt the brunt of this article.
1. Soul winning is not a method of church building. It is a
command from our Commanding General. Occasionally someone will
come to the Pastors' School at First Baptist Church of Hammond,
spend a week hearing and seeing the soul-winning emphasis here,
and go home to win souls and see his church grow. This growth may
continue for several years, and then it may level off. Often this
same pastor will then go to someone else's pastors' school to find
other methods by which he can build his attendance. Soul winning
is not a method; it is a command. We are supposed to go soul
winning and do soul winning if our churches grow or if our
churches decrease in attendance. An increase in church attendance
is simply a delightful product of soul winning; but if such an
increase does not occur, the command of the Great Commission is no
We are likewise commanded to baptize people upon their
acceptance of Jesus Christ. If the church grows or not, the
Great Commission is still valid. We are to win souls, baptize
our converts, and train our converts to win souls.
2. Our command is not to build churches. I know of no place in
the Bible where we are commanded to build churches. Matthew 16:18
tells us that it is Jesus' place to build the church. It is our
job to obey His command. I am not in the church-building business;
I am in the soul-winning business, and I'm doing my best to
conserve the results and to build a spiritual hospital for the
healing of wounded Christians and a dining hall for the feeding of
God's people. It is easy for us in obeying the Great Commission to
ofttimes enjoy church growth. Then our motives become wrong, as we
decide to build churches rather than win souls. The motto of my
ministry is, "I will not use my people to build my work; I will
use my work to build my people."
3. Where are the converts? In Luke 17:12-19 we have the story
of the cleansing of ten lepers. Only one returned to express
gratitude, and our Saviour asked the question, "Where are the
nine?" (Luke 17:17) The answer is found in the same verse, "Were
there not ten cleansed?" Regardless of where the nine are, they
were cleansed. This is the big thing. It was nice for the one to
return to express gratitude; it would have been nicer for all ten
to have returned, but the main thing about this story is that all
of them were cleansed. Now, I'm not saying that all the people who
walk the aisles in our churches to receive Christ are sincere; but
I do believe that the percentage of people who are genuinely saved
who walk the aisles in the churches under attack by our dear
brother is just as great as the percentage of the churches who
have lesser numbers profess faith in Christ.
Now let us discuss where the nine are and where many of the
converts go who are saved in these churches. Since these churches
are not primarily concerned about building churches but keeping
people out of Hell, they reach into many areas of society whose
people can do nothing for the church. Many of these are transient.
For example, at our church we reach thousands of bus people a year
who live too far to attend First
Baptist Church regularly. Many of them are children and
teenagers whose parents will not let them return to First Baptist
Every Sunday we have sailors walking the aisle professing faith
in Christ. These men are stationed at a naval base about 80 miles
from First Baptist Church. These are not men who are going to
attend our church regularly. They come and go; but, thank God,
they are cleansed, if they are sincerely receiving Christ.
We operate a rescue mission. Scores of these mission men are
baptized every year. Most of them are men whose lives have been
ruined and wasted, and they come from all over the country as
transients. They get saved and go back to their families or go to
the next city. They cannot be added to the attendance of our
church; but, thank God, if they sincerely trusted Christ, they are
The churches under attack by our dear brother are churches that
preach on the streets and reach street people. These people are
transients. They are reached, they are brought to church, they are
baptized according to the Great Commission, but they do not live
in our city. They go their way. We try to do what we can to
contact people in other cities to help them; but if they are never
seen again, they were cleansed if they were sincere in their
profession of faith in Christ.
Churches of our persuasion go to rest homes and take the Gospel
of Christ. When these people receive Christ, many are allowed to
come to church for one Sunday just to profess faith in Christ and
be baptized. We have baptized scores of people from rest homes
this year who cannot regularly attend our church and most of whom
will never come to our church again; but if they were sincere,
they were cleansed.
Scores of our converts each year are shut-ins. Our church and
others like ours go to the highways and hedges, go to the maimed,
the halt, and the blind, and we do all we can to get people saved.
Our job is not to get them to help us build a church; our job is
to get them cleansed. After a person who is a shut-in is saved, we
believe he should get baptized. We make special arrangements for
such people to come to church on at least one occasion so they can
be baptized. They do not increase our church attendance; but if
they were sincere, they were cleansed.
We have a ministry to the truck drivers. Many of our people go
to truck stops to do soul winning. Every Sunday we will have from
half-a-dozen to twenty (sometimes even more) truck drivers who sit
together on my right on the front. These men love our services.
Many of them receive Christ as Saviour. In obedience to the
command given in the Great Commission, we baptize them. They go
back to their truck stops, get in their trucks, and go on their
way. They will not be shown on our future attendance records; but
if they were sincere, they were cleansed.
Our people bring their relatives to our church, especially when
they come to visit at vacation time. Hundreds of these people are
saved every year. They are baptized while they are here and then
return to their own homes. They do not help us increase our
attendance on a regular basis; but if they were sincere, they were
Hundreds of people have come from the states of Ohio, Indiana,
Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin to visit our services because
they have heard of our church. When they come, they bring their
lost loved ones with them because they know that we will do our
best to get them saved. Many of these unsaved loved ones receive
Christ or at least say they do. Then they return to their homes;
they live too far to help us increase our church attendance; but,
thank God, if they were sincere, they were cleansed.
Every week we send many of our men to jails across the area. We
have an active prison ministry. Hundreds of these prisoners are
won to Christ each year. When they are discharged from prison,
many come to our church to get baptized
before they return to their homes in other cities and states.
This does not help us in our attendance; but if they were sincere,
they were cleansed.
In Luke 14:16-24 we find the parable of the great supper. There
are several places mentioned where we are to go to invite folks to
come. These places are the streets and lanes of the city. We are
told to bring in the poor, the maimed, the halt, and the blind.
Then in verse 23 we are told to go to the highways and hedges. Now
most of the people you will find in these places and under these
conditions are not people who are going to build your church, but
we are to reach them. Then we are commanded when we reach them to
baptize them; and, praise God, if they were sincere, they are
Add to this the educable slow or retarded people (we reach
hundreds of these), the migrant workers, and many other groups
such as the Vietnamese, the Cambodians and the Chinese, and you
will find that a real soul-winning church that obeys the Great
Commission will reach multitudes of people that will never help
their attendance; but, thank God, if they are sincere, they are
I sincerely believe that this is the heart of the Saviour; and
when He looks down and sees an unselfish group of people who are
obeying the Great Commission and are willing to reach multitudes
who cannot boost the attendance or boost the offering, I think the
Saviour then says, "I'm going to build that church. That church is
a tool being used to obey My commission, so I'm going to build it,
keep it in good shape, send it new members, and send it converts
from nearby who are stable families."
So in answer to the question, "Where are the nine?" the answer
is, they are cleansed. That's the big thing-not if they count in
the attendance report. It is for this reason that the soul-winning
churches are the growing churches in most cases. However, I rise
in defense of a church that is not growing but is busy obeying the
I pastored country churches as a young man. In one place we had
only seven prospects that we found in a church census. So, we
would go down to the next town 25 miles away on Saturday and win
everybody we could to Christ. Then we baptized them. They could
not help our church attendance; but if they were sincere, they
When I was a boy growing up in Dallas, Texas, a church was
started one block from the high school I attended. It was called
the Galilean Baptist Church. I will never forget the soul winning
that church did. They preached on street corners; they passed out
tracts in shopping areas. I can remember that on Sunday afternoon
the pastor would go down to the zoo and stand by the monkey cages
where the crowds gathered and preach to the people. This church
reached thousands for the Lord, but it never became a giant
church. It was average-sized at best and was only a fraction of
the size of a church just a block away. They won thousands to
Christ. They did not keep them all or most of them; but all of
those who were sincere were cleansed.
It is hard for people whose main desire is to build a church to
understand those whose main desire is to obey the Great Commission
and keep people out of Hell. We obey the Great Commission. Jesus
builds the church by sending us enough local people to keep the
tool in good shape so it can do the job for God in reaching others
and in obeying the Great Commission.
4. In a sense, the church that doesn't grow or that decreases
in attendance is growing. When a ministry first begins, there is
not much attrition, especially in the case of a new church. Most
of the growth in the first few months or years is net gain.
However, as a church grows older, she begins to lose people in
certain ways. It is much like a lavatory in a bathroom. There is a
drain at the bottom, and there is a drain at the top. When one
wants to fill the lavatory, he plugs the drain at the bottom, and
all the water that comes from the faucet is net gain. There comes
a time, however, when water begins to reach the
top and flows out through the upper drain. A church is like
this. There comes a time in the life of a church when it begins to
lose people for various reasons. When such natural losses come,
the church must be reaching many people to take the place of the
losses. The membership and attendance must be replenished, so a
church is actually growing when it isn't growing. Death takes
some; college takes others. Marriage takes some; others move out
of the area. Yes, sad to say, some become disgruntled and leave;
others become shut-ins; and others choose to go to smaller
For example, when I became Pastor of First Baptist Church of
Hammond 33 years ago, you could hardly find a fundamental church
in our area within driving distance. Now there are 40 churches
within driving distance of my house that are soul-winning
fundamental churches. Most of these are pastored by people who at
one time went to First Baptist Church, and some are even our
converts. Most, if not all, of these churches have members who
were saved at First Baptist Church of Hammond.
At one time there were six song leaders in churches in our area
who were saved at First Baptist Church. I remember one time
finding that there were three deacon board chairmen in our area
who were saved at First Baptist Church.
I was in the airport at O'Hare Field in Chicago. My name was
paged because an agent wanted to see me. A young married lady who
heard my name came up to me and told me how glad she was to see
me. She wanted me to know that she was saved at First Baptist
Church and that she was now going to another church in the area.
Recently I was at a police department in a suburb of Hammond. I
was told that the captain there was saved at First Baptist Church
and was going to a church in the suburbs. A few years ago I spoke
at a Sunday school convention on the north side of Chicago; I
counted 27 of our converts who were teaching Sunday school in
other churches within an hour and a half' s drive of the First
Baptist Church of Hammond.
The converts of soul-winning churches migrate over the entire
country. There are hundreds of preachers from First Baptist Church
who are pastoring churches around America. Add to that hundreds of
church secretaries, assistant pastors, Christian school
administrators, Christian school teachers, etc., and you have a
great host of people, many of whom were saved here, who are
scattered across the country.
Then there are those who have been saved at First Baptist who
have moved to other parts of the country. Often in San Diego or
Norfolk or Jacksonville or some other area near a naval base, I
meet sailors who were saved at First Baptist and who are serving
in other churches.
The other day I was in San Antonio, Texas. I met a Mexican lady
who was saved at First Baptist Church. A few years ago I was in
Denver. A pastor came to visit the services to tell me that one of
our converts was a faithful member of his church. Almost
everywhere I speak, laymen come to me and say, "I was saved at
First Baptist Church, and I'm serving God here." I was on the
airplane the other day. A stewardess told me she was saved at
First Baptist Church of Hammond.
Soul-winning churches have converts all over the world. A
missionary in the back country jungles of Mexico found a little
group of people who had never heard the Gospel. Very carefully
this missionary explained the Gospel. One little Mexican boy began
to smile and shake his head up and down. The missionary inquired
as to why he was smiling and nodding. He said, "I know all about
that. I used to live in Chicago, and I went out to the First
Baptist Church of Hammond and got saved." Some preacher friends of
mine were in Korea. They went to an army base to eat a bite. The
guard at the guardhouse checked their identity. One of the
preachers witnessed to the guard, whereupon the guard replied, "I
was saved in Hammond, Indiana, several years ago."
Preachers all over America tell me that while they are out soul
winning they meet our converts. Likewise, I meet the converts of
other fundamental soul-winning churches while I'm out soul
I was preaching in Longview, Texas. I had to drive well over a
hundred miles to get to the Dallas airport. I was in a rented car.
I got behind an accident, and for almost an hour I couldn't move.
When the roads were cleared, I found myself driving over the speed
limit in order to make my plane so I could get to my church in
time for the service that night. I was pulled over by a state
trooper. He looked at my driver's license and began to cry. He
said, "You won me to Christ seventeen years ago."
You see, soul-winning churches have converts everywhere. They
are not attending our churches; they give no money to our
churches; but if they were sincere, they are cleansed.
5. There is a deadly accusation against us that we believe
"easy-believism." (Of course, I must confess that I don't know
what "hard-believism" is.) I simply believe in "believism."
Perhaps the folks who were bitten by the fiery serpents in the
wilderness and were saved from death by simply looking at the
brazen serpent lifted on a pole were accused of believing an
"easy-lookism." I would imagine that somebody accused the
Ethiopian eunuch of practicing "easy-believism," and the same
thing would be true of the Philippian jailor or the woman at
Sychar's well. Each of them was saved during one conversation in
the matter of a few minutes. I feel the term "easy-believism"is a
term used by those who are spasmodic in soul winning for those who
are faithful in soul winning. It may even be an excuse for their
lack of soul-winning effort.
6. Was Jesus a failure after having spent 33 years on this
earth after doing so many things that the Bible says the world
could not contain the books that would be written if all
He did was placed in print? He came to the cross. At the time
of His death, His follow-up program was seemingly a failure. His
board chairman was denying he belonged to the church or the faith
of the Lord. His treasurer was committing suicide. One of his
board members was doubting. The rest forsook Him and fled, and
only a few ladies gathered around the cross. Where were those that
He had cleansed? I don't know where they were, but I know one
thing: They were cleansed!
Now I believe in a follow-up program. I would compare our
follow-up program at First Baptist Church of Hammond with any
follow-up program in America, but I'm afraid that too many
churches are following up on converts they are not having. I've
often said that I would rather conserve two out of a hundred than
one out of one.
7. If one must criticize, why not be critical of the churches
who are not growing and not winning souls instead of the churches
who are not growing and yet obeying the Great Commission? If you
must criticize, why not criticize the churches who are baptizing
ten and have less in attendance than those who are baptizing 6,000
and have the same attendance?
Why not reward the hard-working bus workers instead of
criticizing their churches? Why not reward and honor the folks who
preach on the streets and go to the jails, the rest homes, the
streets and lanes and highways and hedges to get the maimed, the
halt, the blind and bring them to Christ instead of criticizing
their churches? Why not reward and honor those who preach and
reach the forgotten who cannot come to church regularly but
nevertheless have been cleansed? Why not honor and reward the
pastors and churches who reach so many who can in turn offer
nothing to the church?
I commend my brother for these many years of preaching the
Gospel. I commend him for overcoming obstacles. I admire him and
love him deeply, and I cannot help but believe that he is more in
agreement with the churches that were the object of his article
than he is with those churches who spend less time
obeying the Great Commission and reaching those who can give us
nothing in return. I honor him, I respect him, I admire him, and I
appreciate his ministry.
Now let him and me both join in appreciating the ministry of
pastors and people who go day and night obeying the Great
Commission. It is sad that those who are called fanatics and who
are fought by city councils, police departments, newspapers, false
teachers, ministerial associations, businesses, atheists, and
others because of their soul-winning zeal, are also fought by a
faithful servant of God who perhaps lapsed into a moment of
May God bless him for his years of service; and may God bless
those embarrassed by his article who preach the same Gospel, exalt
the same Saviour, and believe the same Book.
Let's Be Baptists!
Matthew 16:16-1 8, "And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art
the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said
unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona:for flesh and blood
hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock
I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail
The word "church" here is the Greek word which means
"called-out assembly," which, of course, refers to the local
church, which is the only church in this age. There is a so-called
church called the "invisible church" or the "universal church,"
which supposedly is composed of all believers, but all believers
cannot yet be a church and will not be until the rapture because
all believers have not yet become a called-out assembly. At the
rapture all believers will become a church. Hebrews 12:23, "To the
general assembly and church of the first born, which are written
in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just
men made perfect."
The doctrine of the universal church originated with the
Catholic denomination - the word "catholic" meaning "universal."
Throughout history there has been a battle between our Baptist
forefathers and the Catholic church concerning the heresy of the
universal church or invisible church. I make an issue of this
because the church (local, that is) is the unit of battle in the
warfare against evil and for God and good. To bypass this unit of
battle or make light of this unit of battle is to lessen our
effectiveness in the warfare.
Now notice Hebrews 12:22 23, "But ye are come unto mount Sion,
and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and
to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and
church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God
the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect."
The general assembly will be all the host of Heaven, and the
church will be the called-out assembly of God's people.
Consequently, there is only one church on the face of the earth
today, and that is the local body of New Testament believers, like
the First Baptist Church of Hammond and churches of like faith.
Before we enter into this study or discussion, let me say that
I have the kindest feeling toward all believers, and I have no
desire to be offensive, though I have no doubt that this study
will offend some, perhaps many. However, if we reach the people we
should reach for Christ, we will have to revive the emphasis on
the local churches! Because of that, the eternal destiny of men,
women, boys and girls will rest in our ability to emphasize the
institution that Jesus started for the perpetuation of the Gospel
and for the war against evil.
1. All believers do not form the bride of Christ. Many have
been influenced by the inter-denominational teaching that has
infiltrated our Baptist churches that all believers form the bride
of Christ. The simple truth is, there is no bride of Christ today,
nor will there be until the rapture.
The word "bride" is mentioned only five times in the New
Testament. First is John 3:29, "He that hath the bride is the
bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and
heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom 's voice:
this my joy therefore is fulfilled." Even a casual reading of
this verse shows that it has nothing to do with all Christians
forming at this present time a bride. This is the only time the
word "bride" is mentioned in the Bible until Revelation 18:23,
the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and
the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no
more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the
earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived." It is also
mentioned in Revelation 21:2 "And I John saw the holy city, new
Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride
adorned for her husband." It is mentioned again in Revelation
21:9, "And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had
the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with
me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb 's
wife." Then, it is mentioned again in Revelation 22:17, "And the
Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say,
Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let
him take the water of life freely."
Now follow me carefully. The only time the word "bride" is
mentioned before Revelation 18 is in John 3:29 which has nothing
at all to do with the church. In Revelation 18, the rapture has
already taken place. We have already been called unto the marriage
of the Lamb. No one is a bride until she gets married, and so we
are not a bride now, and all the verses except John 3:29, which
even mention the word "bride" in the New Testament, are mentioned
after the rapture while we are in the air at the marriage of the
Lamb. An engaged lady is not a bride. She must be married; then
she becomes a bride, so all believers are not a bride until after
the wedding. The wedding takes place in the air after the rapture,
so all believers will not become the bride of Christ until the
wedding takes place.
Again I make an issue of this because Baptists are being led
astray by inter-denominational people concerning the doctrine of
the local church. So, just as all believers will not become a
church until we become a called-out assembly, all believers will
not become a bride until this called-out assembly.
2. All believers do not form the body of Christ. The local
church is the body of Christ, as I am going to show you. Notice
Colossians 1:18, "And he is the head of the body, the church: who
is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things
might have the preeminence." Notice the words, "he (Jesus) is
the head of the body, the church...." Now the word "church" is the
called-out assembly. Since all Christians have not been called out
to assemble, then He is talking about the only church in existence
now, which is the local church. And since He is the head of the
body, and the body and the church are synonymous, then the body of
Christ is the local church. He is the head of the called-out
Now in what way is He the head? He is the head in the sense
that He owns it - like the president of a bank is the head of the
bank. Christ owns the church; He is to run the church, and the
church is His body in the sense of ownership of an institution.
The word "body" is used in many ways, but it is often used
concerning a group of people. This called-out assembly called the
New Testament church is a group of people. They are a body of
people. He is the head of that body. The word "head" means that He
is the "Boss-man" of the church; He is to run the church; He is
the King of the church.
Notice Colossians 2:10, "And ye are complete in him, which is
the head of all principality and power." It says here that He is
the head of all principality and power. Now what is that
principality and power? It deals with government. Paul said that
we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities
and powers. Jesus is the head of all principalities and powers,
and the word "head" is the same word that is used in Colossians
1:18 where it mentions that He is the head of the church.
So God is teaching us here that Jesus controls the affairs and
destinies of the world. He puts up kings and sets down kings. He
is the One Who is going to end up as King of the entire world. Now
in the same way that He is the head of principalities and powers,
He is the head of the church, as is told us in Colossians 1:18.
That means He runs the church; He is the Boss of the church; He is
to be the ruler of the church.
The church is His body like someone would say, "That's my coat.
This is my tie. This is my pulpit. This is your microphone. This
is your building. That's my home. This is my car. These are my
shoes." In the same way, the church is His church, His body,
because He owns it. It is a body of people who are owned by Him;
it belongs to Him and He is the head.
3. There are three basic groups of fundamentalists today. Group
one is what I call "American Baptist fundamentalists." These are
they who came out of the American Baptist Convention; that is, the
old Northern Baptist Convention. These fundamentalists are
basically your Conservative Baptists and General Association of
Regular Baptists. Both of these groups came out of the American
Group two I call "Protestant fundamentalists." These people
came out of the Protestant denominations. They came from the
Presbyterians, the Methodists, the Episcopalians, etc. Basically
they are the interdenominational people today. They have started
many Bible institutes, Bible colleges, etc. These are not bad
people; they are fine people. I'm not trying to criticize them;
I'm trying to identify them and name fundamentalism.
Group three is what I call "Southern Baptist fundamentalists."
These are they which came out of the Southern Baptist convention
or were influenced by someone who did. In this group we have the
Baptist Bible Fellowship, the World Baptist Fellowship, those who
were influenced by Dr. J. Frank Norris, Dr. Lee Roberson, and in
latter years Dr. Bob Gray, myself and others who were Southern
Baptists who left the convention.
These are the main groups of fundamentalists during this and
the past generation.
4. Notice the identification of each of these three groups.
Group number one came out of the American Baptist Convention
basically because of the Bible. They got tired of the liberalism
of the American Baptist Convention and withdrew. This is true
basically with both the Conservative Baptist Association and the
General Association of Regular Baptists. This is certainly to be
admired. They did not, however, pull out because of formalism.
They retained their formalism to a great extent. Likewise, they
did not pull out because of church organization. Therefore, they,
to a large degree, retained the same type of church organization
as the American Baptists.
Group number two likewise pulled out because of the Bible,
because of the liberalism in the mainline Protestant denominations
and not because of church organization or formal worship.
Group number three withdrew from the Southern Baptist
Convention not necessarily because of the Bible. Thirty, forty and
fifty years ago when group number three withdrew from the Southern
Baptist Convention, most Southern Baptists believed the Bible to
be the Word of God. We withdrew because we could not put up with
the worldliness, the formalism and the high church organization of
the Southern Baptist Convention. We pulled out because of
differences on standards, pulpit leadership, prophecy, worldliness
This means that groups number one and two have more in common
today with each other than either does with group number three.
Group number three is the old-fashioned preaching crowd, the
hellfire-and-brimstone group. Because of this, the action in
fundamentalism has been basically in group number three. The
emphasis on soul winning, evangelistic preaching, standards,
separation from the world and informal worship services have come
largely from group number three. Group three would agree with
groups one and two on the Bible, but would not agree on type of
worship, standards, separation, etc.
Since one of the main things that separated groups one and two
from group three is evangelism and soul winning, most of our
growing churches have come from group number three, because,
whatever errors the Southern Baptist Convention had,
they, at least, in years passed, preached the Gospel; they did
not have the high church organization; and they had, to some
degree, evangelism and soul winning.
Though there are many admirable things about groups one and
two, they, nevertheless, have not had the emphasis on the old-time
Gospel preaching, the old-time religion, informal services and
strong evangelism and soul winning as has group number three.
Again, this does not mean we should not love them or even like
them, but it is far better that group number three works within
its own boundaries and circumference, loving and appreciating
groups one and two and thanking God for them, but basically
training its own preachers and doing its own work.
5. Group three built few schools in which to train their
preachers. Because of that, we sent our students to group number
two to go to college and to be trained for the ministry. They came
back with a belief in the Bible, but with formalism, different
music on Sunday morning from that on Sunday night, error
concerning the universal church and with influence from group
number two. Because of this, an interdenominational influence has
crept into our Baptist churches. We got the people saved, got them
called to preach, sent them to schools in group number two only to
see them come back, in many cases, to criticize our informality,
our type of music and our soul winning and evangelistic zeal!
Group number three has helped to populate the schools of group
However, in the last few years, group number three has been
building colleges. It is now possible for group number three to
train its own preachers, and while we should have a high regard
and a sincere love for those in groups one and two, we should,
nevertheless, train our own, thereby avoiding the influence of
interdenominationalism, formalism and oftentimes weak standards
coming from the group one and two schools.
6. Group number three has failed to publish enough books and
literature. I was in a church recently pastored by a fundamental
preacher. He has one of the fine churches in America. I looked at
his library. I picked out 15 books. To my surprise, 13 of his
books were written by group number two. Two of his books that I
picked at random were written by one man in group three, and I am
that man. We have sent our preacher boys to group one and two
schools to be trained. They have come back and diluted our Baptist
heritage. They have come back mixed up on the doctrine of the
church. They have come back having been taught a certain form of
church organization that we believe not to be scriptural. They
have been taught that churches should be operated by committees,
and in some cases, they have been taught to wear a gown while
preaching on Sunday morning.
Let me emphasize that I am certainly not angry, nor do I feel
negative toward fundamentalists in group one and fundamentalists
in group two, but there are philosophical differences that should
cause each group to educate and train its own preachers and
likewise to write its own literature.
I came home from this church where the pastor had 13 of the 15
books that I picked written by group two. I was shocked! So at
random I picked 15 books from my library. To my amazement, all 15
were written by group two! Consequently, I have encouraged our
group three brethren to write books and literature.
It's a natural thing that preachers in group three do not
write. Most of us are busy winning souls and building churches, so
we have left the non-aggressive people to write the books that
train the aggressive people to be non-aggressive.
I'm suggesting that we coexist, but let each group stay within
its own group as far as training is concerned. Let us fellowship
with each other, but not organize together! Let us keep peace from
a distance rather than up close.
Let me illustrate. One of the largest churches in America
became pastorless. The former pastor had served for
over 40 years and had built one of the great soul-winning
churches in America. He was one of the founders of group three,
having pulled out of the Southern Baptist Convention and having
led many others to do the same. The church sought another pastor.
They chose a pastor from group one. He was not a bad man. He
believed the Bible, but his beliefs about church organization,
red-hot evangelism, etc. were different from his predecessor, and
the church was harmed greatly because of his ministry. The church
certainly should have had a warm feeling toward this pastor,
though he was a member of group one, but they would have been very
wise to have called a member of group three to be their pastor.
We must fill our next generation with independent, New
Testament Baptist churches that are informal in their services,
evangelistic in their fervor, soul winning in their practice, and
independent in their spirit.
At this writing I am 66 years of age. I have pastored the same
church for over a third of a century. I realize that before many
years I must step down. I constantly keep before my people the
importance, not only to call their next pastor from the ranks of a
Bible-believing group, but also from the ranks of a group that
agrees with the First Baptist Church on types of public services,
the King James Bible, separation, standards, soul winning,
evangelism, the old-time religion and old fashioned preaching.
This church is a perfect example. First Baptist Church of
Hammond thirty-five years ago was a member of group one. It was a
church that had been influenced by the American Baptists and later
by the Conservative Baptist Association. These were good people;
my predecessor was a fine man who believed the Bible, but he
preached in tails and striped pants. The church services were
ultra formal. There were 22 committees. The church was highly
organized, far beyond the New Testament pattern. I was not their
type of preacher. They contacted me. I felt led to come, but
bedlam broke loose. I was group three; they were group one.
Because they loved me and believed in me, the great majority of
the people went with me, though not totally understanding my
position or philosophies. Now through the years we have had a
strong group three church, but it took a war to make it so.
When I was a young man in Texas, we were proudly Baptists. We
loved the interdenominational people but did not run with them. We
loved American Baptists but did not run with them. We loved the
General Association of Regular Baptists and the Conservative
Baptist Association, but did not run with them. We loved the
fundamental Methodists but did not run with them. We thanked God
that they preached the Gospel, but the doctrine of the local, New
Testament church meant something to us back in those days, and the
doctrines of informality and separation and standards meant
something to us. We thanked God that they preached the Gospel and
rejoiced at every soul they won, but organizationally, we kept to
7. This influence from groups one and two is basically and
historically a Catholic influence. In about 313 A.D. the Catholic
church was started, basically by Constantine. In the years
following 1530, there was what we call the Reformation. The
Protestants came out of the Catholic church. These Protestants
included what we now call Methodists, Presbyterians,
Congregationalists, etc. However, Baptists never came from the
Catholic church. Baptists came from Jesus Himself, Who founded
Baptist churches, or should I say He founded the first Baptist
Though the Reformation was led by some great men such as
Calvin, Luther, Savonarola and others, these great men were not a
part of our Baptist crowd. In fact, they persecuted our crowd. In
some cases, our Baptist brethren were martyred, and in some cases
they were martyred by Protestants. I teach our Hyles-Anderson
College preacher boys to read the lives and biographies of the
reformers but not to read the sermons of the reformers. Find their
work ethic; study their character; ready their biographies, but
not their doctrine. Read the doctrines of Baptist preachers!
As I understand Revelation 17 and 18, the Roman Catholic church
is the mother of harlots mentioned there. Now if you are a mother,
you have to have children. So, the Catholic church gave birth to
some children. Who are they? The Protestants. Now with the passing
of the centuries, the Protestants had some babies. Who are they?
The interdenominationalists or what I called previously the
Protestant Fundamentalists. Now just as the Protestants pulled out
from the mother on the doctrine of justification by faith, they
did not pull out from the mother in many other areas. They still
favor their mother.
Now from these children of Catholicism were born other
children. These are the interdenominational churches, and though
they certainly are to be admired because of their stand and their
withdrawal from protestantism as it became liberal, they,
nevertheless, still favor mama, and in some cases, they favor
So today we have the Baptists who have been here since Jesus
started the first Baptist church. We have the Catholics, the
mother of harlots; and we have the Protestants, her children; and
we have the interdenominationals, the children of the Protestants
and the grandchildren of Catholicism. So, as the
interdenominational schools and literature have influenced our
Baptist churches concerning formalism, the doctrine of the church,
church organization, etc., so did the Protestant churches
influence the interdenominational churches, and likewise did the
Catholic church influence the protestant churches. So our
formalism comes from the Catholics by way of the Protestants and
Again let me say that we should feel no animosity toward these
our brethren in Christ, and we should realize that we are brothers
and sisters. We should love each other, but as far as our church
affiliation and church relationship is concerned, we should stay
with the churches patterned after the church that Jesus started.
There are members of Baptist churches who are at this very
moment upset with me, even as you read this chapter, and I'm not
surprised. You have not been trained to be a Baptist, and you are
living proof of what I am teaching in this chapter.
We live in a nice neighborhood. We have good neighbors. We
speak to our neighbors. We are kind to our neighbors. We love our
neighbors, but we don't eat with our neighbors, live with our
neighbors, or sleep in the same house with our neighbors. Does
that mean we don't love them? Of course, it doesn't. In no way am
I suggesting that we not love and thank God for other Christians
who are members of groups one and two, or for that matter, another
denomination, but we should be proud that we are Baptists, just
like we are proud of our families.
8. Churches should start schools; schools should not start
churches. The only institution that has been promised divine
perpetuity is the New Testament church. No school has been made
that promise, so if a school controls a church, there is no
promise that that school can have divine perpetuity. If the church
controls the school, the school is under the canopy of that
promise. Christ is head of the church, not the school; so
consequently, if the church has a school, that school does not
have to die. It may choose to die, but it does not have to die. If
a school starts on its own, it has to die. It may live for a while
and serve for a while, but it does not have the promise of divine
Suppose a group of churches starts a school. Again, it is
outside the promise. The local church should start the school, not
only so it may live but because it may stay stronger. If ten
churches start a school, the school will be just as strong as the
weakest link. Now I'm not criticizing the school if it lives for
just a while, but it does not have the promise of divine
9. A fundamentalist is one who believes in the faith and
practice of the original purposes and doctrines of an institution.
To put it another way, a fundamentalist is one who returns to the
original faith and practice of any organization. You can have a
fundamentalist Mason, a man who is a Masonic lodge member who
returns to the original faith and practice of the Masonic lodge.
You can have a fundamentalist member of the Parent-Teacher
Association. You have fundamentalists in Iran.
If you are a Catholic, you go back to Constantine in 313 A.D.
If you follow the faith and practice of the original intents of
the Catholic church, you are a fundamentalist Catholic and go back
to 313. If you are a Lutheran, you can be a fundamentalist
Lutheran and go back to 1530 and the original intent of Martin
Luther and the Lutheran church. If you are an Episcopalian, you
can go back to the original faith and practice of the
Episcopalians in 1531 and be a fundamentalist Episcopalian.
If you are a Presbyterian, you can go back to the original
faith and practice of the Presbyterians when they were founded in
1540 and be a fundamentalist Presbyterian. If you are a
Congregationalist, you can go back to the faith and practice of
the Congregationalists when they were founded in 1603 and be a
fundamentalist Congregationalist. If you are a Methodist, you can
go back to the faith and practice of the Methodist church as it
was founded in 1765 and be a fundamentalist Methodist.
If you are a member of the Disciples of Christ denomination,
you can go back to 1812 to the original faith and practice of the
Disciples of Christ denomination and be a fundamentalist Disciple
So, if you are a Disciple of Christ, you go back to 1812 to be
a fundamentalist. If you are a Methodist, you go back to 1765. If
you are a Congregationalist, you go back to 1603. If you are a
Presbyterian, you go back to 1541. If you are an Episcopalian, you
go back to 1531. If you are a Lutheran, you go back to 1530. If
you are a Catholic, you go back to 313. I am a Baptist
fundamentalist, so I go back to the faith and practice of Baptist
churches as founded by Jesus during His earthly ministry!
10. The perpetuity of Baptist churches does not follow the
bloodline of Baptist denominations; it follows the bloodline of
fundamental Baptists. The perpetuity of Baptist churches is not in
the American Baptist Convention. It may have been at one time, but
when the denomination grew liberal, the fundamentalists could no
longer endorse its faith and practice, so the ones who left
carried the bloodline of independent, fundamental Baptist
churches. To be quite frank, that means that the bloodline is in
the split and not in the main body that has deteriorated and often
I am simply saying the hope for America is in independent,
fundamental Baptist churches that preach Heaven like it is, preach
Hell like it is, fight sin, go soul winning, and take a stand for
what is right and against what is wrong. That is the hope!
When I was a young man in east Texas, I pastored the Grange
Hall Baptist Church in the country outside Marshall, Texas. Down
the road from me was the Grange Hall Methodist Church. The pastor
of that church was a fine young man whose name was Edmund Robb. Ed
Robb was a fundamental Methodist, not a fundamentalist as I am,
for I am a fundamental Baptist who, as I see it, goes back to the
time of Christ, but Ed Robb was a good fundamental Methodist. He
believed in salvation by grace. He did not believe you could lose
salvation. He had revival meetings. He believed in separation. He
and I were good buddies. We spent some time together. We
fellowshipped together. We prayed for each other. I liked him; he
liked me, but he never preached for me, and I never preached for
him. Our church did our best to follow what we thought the Bible
taught; his church did the best to do what they thought the Bible
taught. We loved each other, we prayed for each other, but we did
not organize together!
I am not asking group one to become a member of group three.
I'm not asking group two to become a member of group three. I am
asking for us to love each other. I'm asking for us
to love all believers and, for that matter, love the souls of
all men. I am asking, and using all the influence I have, that
each group train its own preachers, stick with its own literature,
maintain its own purity, train its own preachers, and study its
own literature, while loving others who disagree. Let's be loving
toward all believers, but let's be Baptists!
Lifestyle Evangelism -
An Enemy of Soul Winning
Acts 5:28, "Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye
should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled
Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood
upon us." Acts 5:42, "And daily in the temple, and in every house,
they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ." Acts 20:20,
"And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but
have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to
In the beginning, let me make it plain that I am for lifestyle
evangelism, but I am unalterably against ONLY lifestyle
evangelism! There are those who have attacked personal soul
winning. They love to use such terms as "confrontational
evangelism" as they make light of and often even ridicule those
who pass out tracts, witness from house to house, preach on street
corners, etc. These are enemies to the salvation of men, and
certainly, they are hindrances to the obeying of the Great
I have said before that I believe in lifestyle evangelism, if
it is accompanied by what we call confrontational evangelism; that
is, personal soul winning. Matthew 5:16, "Let your light so shine
before men, that they may see your good works, and glonfy your
Father which is in heaven." It is plain that we are to live in
such a way that people will want what we have and that they may
glorify God because of our good works. There are examples of this
in the Bible. The best was our Saviour Himself. John 3:1, 2,
"There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the
Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi,
we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do
these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him."
Nicodemus, an unsaved man, inquired of Jesus concerning his
salvation, for he could tell that He was a teacher come from God.
How could he tell this? By the miracles that Jesus did. In other
words, we have an example of lifestyle evangelism. On the other
hand, our Saviour did not limit His soul winning to His life, but
He also was a confrontational soul winner, such as is found in the
very next chapter of John, when in a public place He won a woman
I was in southern California preaching. The pastor was driving
me to the morning service. On the freeway, it was obvious that a
lady in a car behind us was following us. If we would change
lanes, she would change lanes. She made no attempt to pass us when
we slowed down. We turned onto a busy street from the freeway; she
turned on that same street and stayed right behind us. We again
turned onto a little neighborhood street; she likewise turned and
continued to follow us. Soon she motioned for us to stop. The
pastor did so, got out of the car, thinking that perhaps something
was wrong with our car. The lady wanted to talk to us about her
relationship with God. The pastor asked her how she knew that we
could help her. She said, "I saw a Bible on the dash of your car.
I thought perhaps you could help me." The very placing of that
Bible on the dashboard of the car was lifestyle evangelism.
I was eating in a restaurant in Illinois recently. As I was
paying my bill, the lady cashier said, "You're a reverend, aren't
I said, "Yes, ma'am. I'm a pastor. How did you know?"
She said, "I feel the Spirit."
On occasion people do notice our lives and seek us out. I was
in Garland, Texas, pastoring. One day I was driving north on
Garland Road. I noticed a policeman following me. I turned right
onto Miller Road. As I traveled east, I noticed the policeman was
still following me. I turned left on Fifth Street. To my surprise
and disappointment, that policeman was still following me. I
turned left on a little neighborhood street. If I remember, it was
a dead-end street. The policeman turned left. I finally decided
once and for all that I was going to find if he were really
following me. I turned right up a little alley; he turned right up
a little alley! I stopped, got out of the car, wondering what I
had done to warrant such apprehension. He got out of his car and
said, "I want to get right with God; can you help me?" That man
got right with God and today is pastoring a Baptist church.
Many years ago when I was in college I worked at J. C. Penney
Company. I worked hard; in fact, I led the entire men's department
in sales, though I was only a part-time worker. I tried to be
nice, honest and courteous. Soon I was called to pastor a little
church out in the country. Within a matter of a few weeks, the
secretary in the office was saved, her mother was saved, her
father was saved, her sister was saved, her sister's husband was
saved, the assistant manager of the men's department was saved,
his wife was saved, a salesman in the men's department was saved,
his wife was saved, the manager of the shoe department was saved,
his wife was saved, a lady who worked in the hosiery department
was saved, and her son was saved. If I remember correctly, and I
think I do, 16 people were saved who worked in that one store. I
trust that my life before them had something to do with it.
Therefore, I have no axes to grind with those who believe that
we should live right and make folks want what we have. The axe I
do have to grind is that it is not the only way, and that you
can't have one without the other! If you don't love them enough to
live it, you won't love them enough to tell it. If you don't love
them enough to tell it, you won't love them enough to live it. If
you live it, you can't help but tell it. Romans 10:11, "For the
scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed."
Acts 4:20, "For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen
and heard." These verses tell us that if we believe, we will not
be ashamed, and that we cannot help but speak what God has done
Let us address the issue of lifestyle evangelism by answering
the many errors connected with this enemy of soul winning.
1. The error of saying we should witness only when the Holy
Spirit leads. What is meant by this is that the Holy Spirit will
direct us in some mysterious kind of way to know to whom we are to
speak. The truth is the Holy Spirit does lead us, but not in the
way that the lifestyle evangelism folks would tell us. Notice
Matthew 28:19, 20, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of
the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I
have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end
of the world. Amen." This is a command for us to go soul winning,
to witness to all nations. Notice Mark 16:15, "And he said unto
them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every
creature." Here we are told to preach the Gospel to every
Now read John 6:63, "ft is the spirit that quickeneth; the
flesh profit eth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they
are spirit, and they are life." Notice that the Word of God is
Spirit, so when God tells us to get the Gospel to every creature,
this is the Holy Spirit leading us. This lifestyle evangelism
heresy that says God will give you special direction when He wants
you to speak a word for Him is foolishness. It is very close to
the fallacious "word of knowledge" that people claim to have.
Brother, the "word of knowledge" is the Word of God, and when God
says something in His Word, this is the Holy Spirit leading,
because the Holy Spirit is the One Who gave us the Word.
Oh, yes, I believe that God opens doors for us. Just yesterday
I walked into a gift shop at the hotel where I was staying. There
were several newspapers lined up in front of me. I wanted to buy a
paper and did not know which was the best, so I kindly asked the
little lady in the gift shop, "Which one of these papers is the
one that has the good news in it?"
She replied, "I haven't read it." Then she said, "I don't know
any good news, do you?"
Well, praise the Lord, it so happened that I did know some good
news, and it was not long until I explained the plan of salvation
to her and she prayed the sinner's prayer.
2. The error that "just the Bible is enough." These advocates
tell us that the Bible is all that is necessary, as they criticize
those of us who practice personal soul winning, obey the Great
Commission, and, yes, even practice confrontational evangelism, as
they call it.
Look at Acts 8:30, 31, "And Philip ran thither to him, and
heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou
what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should
guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with
him." Notice especially the words, "except some man should guide
me." The Ethiopian was asked by Philip if he understood what he
was reading. He replied that he could not understand unless some
man should guide him. The Word of God was not enough. This man was
reading the best part of the Bible that was available then to deal
with salvation. He was reading the clearest book of that Bible
concerning salvation. He was reading the clearest chapter of that
book concerning salvation. He was reading the clearest part of
that chapter concerning salvation, and yet he needed somebody to
Now read Psalm 126:6, "He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing
precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing
his sheaves with him." Notice the first word is "he." Following
that it says he should "go." Then it says we should
weep and bear precious seed. Notice what the enemy has done; he
first takes off the "he." In other words, "Let the Bible do its
work." The deterioration starts when soul winning stops, so it is
not surprising that once we have taken away the "he," we have
taken away the "weepeth." When you stop your confrontational
evangelism or soul winning, it will not be long until the burden
is gone. Now the next line is "bearing precious seed." They first
take away the "he," then take away the "weepeth," then they take
away the "precious seed." What is the precious seed? The King
James Bible, of course. The New International Version is not
precious seed. The New Scofield Bible is not precious seed. The
New King James Bible is not precious seed. Good News for Modern
Man is not precious seed. The Reader's Digest Bible is not
precious seed. The American Standard Version is not precious seed.
The Westcott and Hort manuscripts are not precious seed. The
precious seed is the King James Bible, preserved for us
word-for-word, but, don't be surprised when they give us seed that
is not precious.
So, they first took away the "he," then they took away the
"weepeth," then they took away the "precious seed" and substituted
for it seed that is not precious.
There are organizations that specialize in placing Bibles in
public places. Certainly I am not opposed to this, but it is not
enough. The Bible itself will not do its work without a soul
winner. Oh, yes, there are people who have been saved in motel
rooms just reading the Bible, but somewhere back yonder there was
a human instrument who planted the seed. As I travel across the
country, I find in some places and in some motel rooms the
Precious Seed. Then there are times I find seed that is not
precious, but, it is not surprising. When you take away the sower,
you will eventually substitute for the precious seed.
3. The error of those who say, "If you live right, people will
initiate the conversation." How foolish! Look at John 4:7, "There
cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her,
Give me to drink." Here is the dialogue between Jesus and the
fallen woman at Sychar's well. Notice that Jesus initiated the
conversation in verse 7 when He said, "Give me to drink."
Now look at Luke 19:5, "And when Jesus came to the place, he
looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zaccheus, make haste,
and come down; for today I must abide at thy house." Here is the
story of the conversion of Zaccheus when Jesus won Zacckeus to
Himself. In verse 5 the first words that were spoken were spoken
by Jesus. "Zaccheus, make haste, and come down." Jesus initiated
the conversation. He was the soul winner and started the dialogue.
Now notice John 5:6, "When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he
had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt
thou be made whole?" The Saviour was at the pool of Bethesda. He
was going to heal a man and win him to Himself. Notice who
initiated the conversation. In verse 6 Jesus said, "Wilt thou be
Now look at Acts 8:30, "And Philip ran thither to him, and
heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou
what thou readest?" Here we have the story of Philip, the soul
winner, winning the Ethiopian eunuch to Jesus. Notice who
initiated the conversation. In verse 30 the soul winner, Philip,
asked, "Understandest thou what thou readest?"
Notice Acts 16:28, "But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying,
Do thyself no harm: for we are all here." The jailor was about to
be saved. Notice, the soul winner spoke first. The Apostle Paul
initiated the conversation by saying, "Do thyself no harm."
As mentioned before, there are isolated instances when the
conversation is initiated by the sinner, but for every one case
like that, there are thousands where the conversation is initiated
by the soul winner.
I was in the Dallas airport. It was near midnight. I was
catching a late-night flight to Chicago. I went to the gift shop
buy a newspaper. The gift shop was just closing. One of the
clerks was a young lady speaking to another clerk. She said, "I'm
so tired I could just die." She did not know I was there. I was
bent over picking up a newspaper. I said, "Then what?"
She said, "What are you talking about?"
I said, "Then what?"
She said, "What do you mean?"
I said, "You just said you were so tired you could die. I asked
you, 'Then what?"' In a few moments she was saved.
I was in the Charlotte, North Carolina, airport. I stopped to
buy a newspaper at a little newsstand that was in the hallway. I
was singing and whistling. The lady selling me the newspaper said,
"You sound like you are happy."
I said, "You never sold a newspaper to a happier man than the
one you're talking with now."
She said, "You must have a good boss."
I said, "The best!"
She said, "Who is your boss?"
Well, praise God, in a few moments, my Boss was her Boss!
I was walking down the concourse toward my gate to catch a
plane at O'Hare Field in Chicago. A man almost bumped into me
coming the opposite direction. Suddenly he said, "Oh, my lord."
Instinctively I said, "You must know Him, too."
He said, "Who?"
I said, "You just talked about my Lord." He had forgotten
something on the airplane. I walked with him to the gate and led
him to Christ.
I have been winning souls for many, many years. I could count
on the fingers of my hands the numbers of times that people have
initiated the conversation, but thousands and thousands of times I
have initiated the conversation.
4. The error that says soul winning is just for the preacher in
the pulpit. They love to use Mark 16:15, "And he
said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel
to every creature." The word "preach" simply means "evangelize,"
and what they should do is read the entire verse where it says
every creature," which means that most of the people who are saved
are won to Christ by individual, personal soul winning. It is with
the tongue that people are saved as the soul winner tells them the
story of Christ.
Matthew 28:19, 20, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of
the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I
have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the
end of the world. Amen." The word "teach" implies that it is the
use of the tongue.
Notice again Mark 16:15, "And he said unto them, Go ye into all
the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." You have the
word "preach" which necessitates the use of the tongue.
Luke 24:47, 48, "And that repentance and remission of sins
should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at
Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things." You have the
word "preached" and the word "witnesses." Both these require the
use of the tongue.
Acts 1:8, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy
Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in
Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the
uttermost part of the earth." You have the word "witnesses,"
which again means the use of the tongue.
We are supposed to tell people how to be saved. It is not
enough to live a sweet, Christian life and expect people to flock
to us asking for what we have.
Apply the same thing to other truths. Suppose the average
pastor taught tithing by lifestyle tithing. In other words, he
says nothing about tithing, preaches nothing about tithing,
teaches nothing about tithing, but gets in front of his people
with a collection plate and drops his tithe into the collection
plate, hoping that someone will get the idea and follow suit. Of
course, this is absurd.
Try the same thing about separation. Suppose a preacher does
not preach against the Hollywood movies. He just goes to a movie
house and stands outside. As people see him not going in, they
will not go in. This also is absurd. It is foolishness. We are
supposed to speak the things we have seen and heard.
Something wonderful has happened in our generation. The New
Testament church in the book of Acts was a soul-winning church.
Through the years we transferred the soul winning to evangelism,
and for these many centuries, there has been an emphasis on the
Now what is the difference between the soul-winning church and
the evangelistic church? In the evangelistic church, the pastor
stands behind the pulpit and preaches the Gospel to the unsaved
people whom the folks have brought to church. In the soul-winning
church, the people leave the church and go out into the highways
and hedges, win them to Christ, bring them to church to walk the
aisle and make public their profession of salvation. In our
generation, we have seen the better churches turn from
evangelistic churches to soul-winning churches. This enables
people to be saved more than one day a week - every day of the
week! It enables hundreds of people to preach the
Gospel, rather than just one man on Sunday. It also enables the
man of God to preach to the Christian people on the Lord's Day,
realizing that they will be going into the highways and hedges and
bringing folks to Christ.
5. The error of saying, "Just be Christlike." Yes, we are to be
Christlike. I John 4:17, "Herein is our love made perfect, that we
may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as he is, so are
we in this world." Philippians 2:5, "Let this mind be in you,
which was also in Christ Jesus." John 14:12, "Verily, verily, I
say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall
he do also; and gre ater works than these shall he do; because Igo
unto my Father." Psalm 1 7:15, "As for me, I will behold thy face
in righteousness; I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy
However, one cannot be totally Christlike unless he is a soul
winner. Jesus was a soul winner. Oh, yes, He did some wonderful
works. John 21:25, "And there are also many other things which
Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I
suppose that even the worid itself could not contain the books
that should be written. Amen." However, He did more than just
wonderful works. He also spoke the message. He sought sinners. He
did not wait for them to seek Him out; He sought them out.
Notice Luke 19:10, "For the Son of man is come to seek and to
save that which was lost." He came not only to save the lost; He
came to seek the lost. He sought them out and won them to Himself.
Let's read I Timothy 1:15, "This is a faithful saying, and
worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world
to save sinners; of whom I am chief" He came into the world to
save sinners. If we are like Him, we will have to do more than
just be sweet, kind and forgiving, though those things are a part
also. We will likewise have to speak the words of salvation.
Let's read again John 14:12, "Verily, verily, Isay unto you, He
that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and
greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my
Father." It does not say here that we should just live the life
that He lived, love as He loved, though the Bible does say that.
It does not say here that we are to forgive as He forgave, though
the Bible does say that. It says we are supposed to do the works
that He did.
What works did He do? He came to seek and to save that which
was lost, so we cannot be completely Christlike until we do
Notice in this passage who it is that is supposed to do the
works that He did. "He that believeth on me," said the Saviour.
That means that every single believer is supposed to be a soul
6. The error that says we should not win souls in public places
and from house to house. We are to win souls in public places and
from house to house! Acts 20:20, "And how I kept back nothing that
was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you
publickly, and from house to house." Then the street preacher is
right! The person who goes from house to house knocking on doors
is right! The one who passes out tracts in public is right! The
one who practices confrontational soul winning is right!
Notice Acts 5:42 "And daily in the temple, and in every house,
they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ." There are those
who teach that this means we are supposed to preach salvation in
the pulpit and then go to every house and preach salvation. Now I
have no problem with that, though when he is talking about the
temple there, he is not talking about a place where they went for
preaching. The temple was a place that was used several times a
year, and was a place of activity, a public place, if you please.
These people were simply doing the same thing that the people were
doing in Acts 20:20 - they were witnessing in public places and
also in the homes.
7. The error that we should not persuade people to be saved.
One verse will take care of this heresy: II Corinthians 5:11,
"Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;
but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made
manifest in your consciences. ' The word "persuade" means "to
prevail upon." We are supposed to prevail upon people to be
Now turn to Luke 14:16-24, "Then said he unto him, A certain
man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at
supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things
are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse.
The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I
must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another
said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I
pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a
wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came, and
shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being
angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and
lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed,
and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is
done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord
said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and
compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say
unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of
First, notice where we are to go. Verse 21 says we are to go to
the streets and the lanes. It says to bring in the poor, the
maimed, the halt and the blind. In verse 23 we are to go to the
highways and hedges.
Then notice that we are to compel them to come in. The word for
"compel" is a very strong word which means, "to constrain by
threat, force or persuasion." At the least it means we are to
plead with men to come to Christ.
Yes, we are to be a testimony through the way we live, but that
is not enough, and I believe it is impossible to do only that. As
was said before, if you don't love them enough to live it, you
won't love them enough to tell it; and if you don't love
them enough to tell it, you won't love them enough to live it;
and if you live it, you can't help but tell it!
8. The error of those who call personal soul winning
"easy-believism." Those who are too lazy, too indifferent or too
embarrassed to go into the streets and tell about Christ and to go
from house to house knocking on doors telling about Christ have
coined a wicked term and attributed it to those who are soul
winners. This term is "easy-believism." (I always wonder what
"hard-believism" is!) These are often legalists who add things to
belief and faith for salvation. Often they are people who disobey
the command to baptize Christians as soon as they are saved.
When I came to Hammond in 1959, here at the First Baptist
Church before a person could be baptized, he had to appear before
a committee. The committee met at 6:00 on a Sunday night, right
before the evening service. At this meeting they questioned all
the converts who wanted to come into the church. Each convert had
to give his testimony (in other words, he had to be a public
speaker) so the committee could decide whether or not he was saved
and ready for baptism. (Be reminded that on Pentecost they were
saved and baptized at the same time. The eunuch in Acts 8 was
saved and baptized at the same time. Over and over again in the
Bible, baptism immediately followed salvation!)
The first month that I was pastor of the church, I did nothing
to change this. Then it came time for the monthly meeting. (We had
92 people that month who wanted to join the church because they
had been saved!) The committee met in my office, and in poured 92
people! (Twenty people could fill my office.) The converts were
lined up outside the door, down the hallway and even out onto the
sidewalk. The chairman of the committee rushed up to me and said,
"We won't have time to do this! What can we do?" I said, "The best
thing to do is obey the command of God and follow the plan of the
New Testament church and baptize them when they are saved!" That
is exactly what we did from that time on.
You see, this kind of a lackadaisical, half-hearted attempt to
get people saved along with this committee system just will not
work when God's people are obeying the Great Commission and going
everywhere preaching the Gospel!
I was in Jamaica preaching. We had a question-answer session. A
Jamaican stood up, and with perfect diction and ministerial
deliverance, he asked me about my plan concerning baptizing
converts. I knew what he was hoping to hear, so I gave him what he
wanted to hear. I said, "My plan is that when a person gets saved,
we wait for about 6 months, check him out, have him approved
before a committee, and then once we feel he is sincere, we will
Oh, the Jamaican liked that! He smiled and said, "That's
exactly my plan."
Then I said, "But since my plan and God's plan differ, I
decided to use God's plan instead of mine, so we baptize them as
soon as they profess faith in Christ."
To be quite frank, I do not know what "easy-believism" means,
but I do believe in "believism." Look at some of the Bible
conversions; for example, the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch.
In Acts 8:36, the eunuch asked, "What doth hinder me to be
baptized?" In verse 37, Philip said, "If thou believest with all
thine heart, thou mayest." Later on in verse 37, the eunuch said,
"I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." In verse 38 he
was baptized. This, my friend, is believism-the only way a person
can be saved.
Now notice the conversion of the Philippian jailor in Acts
16. In verse 30, the question is plainly asked, "Sirs, what
must I do to be saved?" In verse 31, it is answered plainly,
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and
thy house." This, my friend, is believism.
Now read Acts 4:4 where 5,000 men were saved by believing.
"Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed;
and the number of the men was about five thousand." This, my
friend, is believism.
Look down to Acts 4:32, "And the multitude of them that
believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of
them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but
they had all things common." Notice that those who were saved were
those who believed. This, my friend, is believism.
Now noticeActs 8:13, "Then Simon himself believed also:
and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and
wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done." Simon
believed and was baptized. This, my friend, is believism.
Now turn to Acts 10:45, "And they of the circumcision which
believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that
on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost."
These Jews believed and were saved. This, my friend, is believism.
Now readActs 11:17, "Forasmuch then as God gave them the like
gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ;
what was, I that I could withstand God?" Notice the words, "who
believed on the Lord Jesus Christ." This, my friend, is believism.
Now turn to Acts 11:21, "And the hand of the Lord was with
them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord." It
says a great number believed and turned to the Lord. This, my
friend, is believism.
Now read Acts 18:8, "And Crispus, the chief ruler of the
synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of
the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized." Crispus was
saved by believing, and many of the Corinthians were saved by
believing, and they were immediately baptized. This, my friend, is
Now turn to the following passages in John 3. John 3:15, "That
whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have
eternal life." John 3:16, "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 3:18, "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 3:36, "He that believeth on the
Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall
not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." All of these,
my friend, are believism.
The word "believe" is the Greek word which means "to depend
upon" or "to roll up on." It means faith. What it means is trust.
As this chapter is being dictated, I am on a 737 jet, flying to
Chicago; in fact, we are close to making our approach at this
time. I am totally relying on this airplane to get me to Chicago.
That is believism. I believe it will get me there, and I am
trusting it to do so. I am sitting in a seat on that airplane. All
of my weight is now on this seat. I have just lifted my feet from
the floor. I am trusting this seat to hold me up. When a person
realizes he is a sinner, realizes he is lost, realizes Jesus has
paid the price for his sins and was raised from the dead after
three days and three nights, and relies upon that Saviour because
of what He did to save him, he is saved! That, my friend, is
It is sad to say that you will find these enemies of soul
winning (confrontational evangelism) in every fundamental movement
on earth, but there are several things that are normally
associated with them - formal worship services, a church
controlled by committees, an enslaved pulpit, etc. There is more
to it than a fervent soul winner criticizing fervent soul winners;
it is a group of what I call "white gloves" Christians who don't
want to get soiled by old-fashioned personal soul winning,
building bus routes, etc.
Dr. John R. Rice used to say, "Everybody wants to be in the
army of the Lord, but everybody wants to be in the quartermaster
corps; nobody wants to be in the infantry."
These enemies of soul winning love to cast reflection upon
those who are obeying the Great Commission, and they have many
little cliches to try to put us in a bad light. It seems to me
that if they were going to fight someone, they would fight the
liberals. The truth of the matter is, these pacifist Christians
seem to hate fundamental soul winners far more than they hate the
liberals, but, thank God, there are hundreds and hundreds of great
soul-winning churches in America who are obeying God's command to
take the Gospel to every creature - the halt, the maimed, the
blind - to the highways, the hedges, streets and the lanes of the
city, etc. May their tribe increase, and may they not be thwarted
or hindered by those who like to coin phrases to be used as a
shield for their indifference.