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Webster's New World Dictionary gives the meaning of "brain-washed" as: "to indoctrinate so intensively and thoroughly as to effect a radical transformation of beliefs and mental attitudes." This describes exactly what has taken place with many of the Baptists of our day; and, as in the case of brain-washing by the Communists, this transformation has been decidedly for the worse.
Paul, in his address to the Ephesian elders said "For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also OF YOUR OWN SELVES SHALL MEN ARISE, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them" (Acts 20:29-30). This first class of deceivers Baptists have contended with for over nineteen hundred years and have overcome them, even when persecuted to death by them, but this latter group is seemingly triumphing daily; and this, for the simple reason that Baptists have suffered themselves to be brain-washed.
Perhaps some will object to the application of this term "brain-washed" to the religious realm, yet it is no way less insidious because of its usage to change men's minds from spiritual truth than it is when used to corrupt political ideologists; it is confessedly more devilish to do so. Any departure from spiritual truth however insignificant or unimportant it may seem, is devil inspired and can never be pleasing to God.
It is Satan's way to work cunningly to deceive men's minds and to lead them from the truth. Who would be deceived and led into sin were the devil to appear as he is generally pictured and to say "I'm going to lead you into sin?" None, of course! Hence, Paul writes "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light" (2 Cor. 11:13-14). We might well expect the world to be deceived by Satan because "the whole world lieth in the evil one" (John 5:19, R. V.), but how is it that saved people, and Baptists especially, are so deceived? Is it not because they have been brain-washed? There is no other explanation. Baptists have been brain-washed in several important things with the result that they have, in many instances been led to compromise historic Baptist principles. May we note some of these:
I. BAPTISTS HAVE BEEN BRAIN-WASHED CONCERNING MISSION WORK.
This becomes especially obvious when we consider the departure of many Baptists from the scriptural plan of missions, and their vain attempts to justify their actions by declaring that they have found a better way, or that the Bible plan won't work today, or that it isn't important how mission work is done so long as it is done.
Of course, what it all boils down to is that those in places of leadership have replaced the wisdom of God with the invention of man, and the average Baptist church member has been brain-washed into believing what ever they are told in the matter. But it was not always so. In fact, until recent times, there was no such thing as a board, fellowship, society, etc. which claimed authority to send out missionaries. It was all done by the local church according to the apostolic example as set forth in Acts 13:1-3, and so it should be done today, and would be so done by most Baptists had they not been brain-washed in the matter.
This text declares:
1. The Holy Spirit calls to mission work:
(b) He calls the church to send them out, "Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them" Vs. 2.
3. The church is to officially recognize the call, "laid their hands on them" Vs. 3.
4. The church is to send them out in obedience to the Spirit's call, Vs. 3-4.5. The missionaries are under the authority of the church that sent them out, and are to report back to them concerning the work they have done. "And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they HAD BEEN RECOMMENDED TO THE GRACE OF GOD for the work which they fulfilled. And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how He had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles" (Acts 14:26-27).
If there be those who object that not one church in a hundred could support a missionary, we might ask, Can one church support a missionary board any easier? Yet, the scriptures no where teach that a single church must support a missionary by themselves, but it encourages churches to mutually support missionaries. Paul commended the Philippian church for helping him financially while he was doing mission work (Phil. 4:15-18); he apologized to the Corinthian church for not asking help of them while he labored among them as a missionary (2 Cor. 11:7-9, 12:13); he also commended individual church members who had helped him in his work, as, for example, Phebe, of the Cenchrean church (Rom. 16:1-2), Priscilla and Aquila and the church in their house (Rom. 16:3-5), the household of Stephanas (1 Cor. 16:15-17), etc.
The objection falls to the ground when one considers that all of the so-called cooperative programs are based on this very idea of each church helping as they are able; where then is the difference? The difference, and the exceptionable thing is that they are misdirected. They place a man-made organization between the church and the mission field. They take the glory that is due to God "in the church" (Eph. 3:21), and they put it in man-made institutions and programs; the authority to send out missionaries is taken from the church (something the Scriptures no where authorizes) and is invested in a mere human organization; funds that are designed for mission work are channeled aside for the maintenance of a superfluous body.
When Jesus said "All power is given unto me," He clearly designated Himself as the sole agent with authoritative power to commission work in His name. When He said "Go ye, therefore" (Matt. 28:18, 19), He manifestly delegates His church to do the work, but He does not authorize it to redelegate that commission. Therefore, those who set up and support outside organizations to do missionary work, depart from the Divine plan of mission work, usurp the authority of the churches, and exalt the invention of men above the wisdom of God.
Some are willingly ignorant of God's plan of mission work; others, and they are in the majority, have simply been brain-washed in the matter, and probably know no better. Brethren, it is time that we all got back to the Christ-honoring, church centered, and scriptural way of mission work. "Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in this body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad" (2 Cor. 5:9-10).
II. BAPTISTS HAVE BEEN BRAIN-WASHED CONCERNING FELLOWSHIP.
Too often it has been the policy of preachers to be cliquish, and this attitude, sadly enough has been passed on to the churches. What is sometimes nothing more than a clash of personalities between two preachers can easily be the means whereby a rift develops between two churches, ruining their fellowship with each other. Nor is this restricted to interchurch squabbles; it can, and often does, occur within a church as it did in the Corinthian, where there were schisms, each group claiming that the person it was following was more spiritual, or more wise, or more qualified to lead than the others. But Paul rightly denominated such strife when he said "For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not CARNAL?" (1 Cor. 3:4).
But where many church members would be quick to add their vote of condemnation to such inter-church strife, they think nothing of a like strife between churches. The fault often lies with pastors who brain-wash their people into believing that only those who belong to his own little clique are sound; or who make it a test of fellowship whether a person is in this or that board, fellowship or convention.
It is indeed sad when Baptists are brain-washed into believing that adherence to this or that human organization is a test of Christian fellowship. Yet, this writer is not alone in having been ostracized by other Baptists for the simple reason that I do not support an unscriptural mission program. To some it matters not that a man believes and practices all the historic Baptist principles that he does; the test is "Do you support our program?" If one does not, he will probably find himself quickly shunned, no matter how sound in the faith he may be. If the disciples attitude of forbidding one "because he followed not us" (Mark 9:38-41) was deserving of the Lord's rebuke, how much more those who declare non-fellowship simply because a man desires to adhere to the scriptural plan of mission work?
It is a common thing today for Baptists to lambaste the Southern Baptist Convention for their unscriptural program, and certainly there is no excuse for such a departure from the truth, yet many of these same ones have pulled out of the Convention only to build another similar program, paint it a different color, give it a different name and then think that they are scriptural. But every organization that is put between the local church and the mission field is headed down the same road as the Southern Baptist Convention, and will ultimately come to the same place it has, no matter what name it may bear. To make the support of such a program a test of fellowship between Baptists is unscriptural and foolish to say the least.
It is the normal thing for many pastors who are associated with such an organization to keep the church members in ignorance about independent, un-affiliated Baptists or else to impress them with the fact that such are a small minority of disgruntled, misguided malcontents who are little better than heretics. Yet, only a hundred and fifty years ago, there were very few who were anything other than, independent, unaffiliated, missionary Baptists; and the study of church history shows that independent, church-centered and directed mission work has been a cardinal belief and practice of Baptists from the time our Lord called out and constituted His church during His earthly ministry until recent times. It is the church-sent missionary, who is supported by funds sent directly to him by churches, who exemplifies the true, scriptural "cooperative program" and not those who support man-made organizations.
But the question is, Should unscriptural mission programs be made a test of fellowship? Certainly, no one should ever condone error in any form, yet, sometimes we are prone to get our gnats and camels mixed up. Some unaffiliated Baptists, who would be sorely shocked if any one were to suggest that they should fellowship with those who do mission work through boards, have no qualms whatsoever about fellowship with those practicing alien immersion and open communion. But which is the more dangerous to church constitution and polity? Unscriptural mission programs, though not to be condoned, have no corrupting influence upon church constitution, but the practice of alien immersion and open communion operate directly upon the constitution of a church, corrupting it. The unscriptural practice of the ordinances will cause a church to lose its identity as a true church in God's sight almost as quickly as accepting unregenerate persons into its membership.
There are definitely some practices among Baptists today which need to be the test of fellowship but there is also too much non-fellowship declared because of personalities incidentals and ignorance. It is time Baptists stopped to consider whether they have been brain-washed into accepting unscriptural teaching and contracting unscriptural alliances, and whether their non-fellowship of the brethren is scriptural. When this is done, the old time Baptist (without any sectarian names tacked on to modify) fellowship will be restored.
III. BAPTISTS ARE BEING BRAIN-WASHED ABOUT WORLD-WIDE CHURCH UNITY.
Probably no one subject in the religious world occupies as much attention today as does the subject of "church unity." It is prominent in every newspaper, radio and television news broadcast, and every religious discussion.
The talk about church unity sounds good to the religious but carnal mind, but no born-again person who is up on scripture teaching and church history will dare align himself with this present day movement. First of all, because it would mean a compromise upon Bible principles. Those who cite our Lord's prayer "That they all may be one" (John 17:21) forget that He said "as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee." There can be no organic unity, which is the desire of those in this movement, unless there is doctrinal and devotional unity as well. "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" (Amos 3:3). Such was the substance of our Lord's prayer, but the modern church unity plan is not tending toward a unity of doctrine and devotion, but is tending Romeward, the very opposite.
Secondly, this would mean only that all churches would have to come back home to "Mother" Rome; indeed, this is the central idea in Rome's invitation to the Protestants to sit in on the Ecumenical council, so-called. Protestants may well flock back to Rome, for that is home to them, but what are Baptist representatives doing there? This idea of a world-wide, infallible, state supported and enforced church which Rome has so long propagated, is nothing more than a devil's pipe-dream, and it is hard to understand how any student of the Bible can be gullible enough to try to fellowship with that which the Lord has declared to be "MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH" (Rev. 17:5).
It is at this point that some gullible soul will no doubt say "Oh, the Book of Revelation is too mysterious to use as a proof text for such a belief." But let us notice that the Lord gives His own interpretation of this passage:
1. The woman is a great city, Vs. 18.
2. She is a great city that rules over the kings of the earth, Vs. 18.
3. She rules over many peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues, Vs. 15.
4. Her geographical location is clearly given, Vs. 9. The seven heads are not seven kings as some would interpret it, but they "are seven mountains on which the woman sitteth." Men may try to make a symbol represent another symbol, but the Lord interprets the symbol by declaring the substance that it represents. What city sits on seven hills?
5. This woman is drunken with the blood of the saints, Vs. 6. Again, may we ask, Whose whole history has been one of persecutions?
6. She is noted for her abominations and filthiness, Vs. 4; no denomination has had a longer history of pride, false doctrine and moral impurity than the one now inviting her Protestant daughters to come home.
7. She is also, characterized by her wealth, ornate ritual, and pomp and ceremony, Vs. 4.
Yet, in spite of these things, some Baptists are rushing to kiss the papa's toe. How gullible can one get? Rome isn't home for Baptists and never has been. It is time some nominal Baptists woke up. The action of some Baptists would seem to indicate that their brain had been washed but never their soul.
In the third place, there is no scriptural ground for supposing that the Lord ever intended that His church was to be a single, world-wide institution in this dispensation. It is only "in the dispensation of the fullness of times" that He will "gather in one all things in Christ" (Eph. 1:10). Today, there are only local assemblies that bear Christ's name, but carnal man does not like small, insignificant things; he must have everything big, and so constituted that he may take pride in it.
Every passage which men interpret to teach a universal church in the present time is misinterpreted in one of the following ways:
1. An abstract or generic usage of the Greek word ekklesia (church) is interpreted to mean all churches in the aggregate, or, a universal church. But in the New Testament, when the abstract becomes concrete, it always takes the form of a local assembly.
2. The institutional usage of ekklesia is sometimes pressed into service to prove a present universal church, as for example in Matt. 16:18. In this passage, the church is viewed as an institution built upon Christ without reference to a given locality, nor all localities; and without reference to a given assembly, nor to all assemblies.
When men try to make this refer to ALL churches in the aggregate, they misinterpret it, for if viewed as an aggregate of all churches of all time, it could not be true that "the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it" (R. V.) for the gates of Hades have triumphed over SOME churches as when they were destroyed by persecution, or internal sin and strife caused them to pass out of existence. But viewed simply in an institutional sense, the gates of Hades have not prevailed over it for there has been a continual chain of such bodies from the time Christ instituted it to this present hour.
3. Usage of the phrase "the church" is often applied to the supposed universal church when in actuality the epistle from which it is taken usually limits it to a given church; i. e., "the church" (in Ephesus, in Philippi). If the usage of "the church" as in Ephesians 5 be a proof of a universal church, then is not the usage of the phrases "the husband" and "the wife" (Eph. 5:23) a proof of a universal husband and a universal wife? Who will be absurd enough to maintain it? Even if a reference to "the church" could not be applicable to a specified church, it would still mean nothing more than that it applies to any given church. Such is the application of the phrases "the husband" and "the wife."
4. Passages thought to teach a world-wide church comprised of local assemblies are often the result of poor translations. For example Eph. 2:21, which the A. V. translates "In whom ALL THE BUILDING fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord," but which, when rightly translated, as in the R. V. teaches the very opposite, viz. "in whom EACH SEVERAL BUILDING, fitly framed together," etc.
5. Passages which are definitely future in fulfillment are sometimes used as proof-texts of a present universal church. For example, Heb. 12:23.
Universal churchism is the very heart and soul of the present trend toward organic church unity, and it is a trend based upon misinterpretation of the scriptures, and tending, not toward Christian unity, but toward antichristian unity. It is nothing less than a universal church giving allegiance and worship to, and wholly following, the antichrist, which is viewed in Rev. 13:11-15.
State churches, which demand to be the universal church of a nation, have been the bloody persecutor of Baptists since time immemorial and they will be again as soon as they have enough of the world on their side to make it advantageous. Nominal Baptists, it is time to wake up; to shake yourselves out of your lethargy, and to realize that God's word to His people is "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues" (Rev. 18:4).
The Lord will soon return to manifest that the present world church unity is nothing more than the foolish reasoning of carnal, deceived mankind, who want world-wide unity without submission to Christ nor to His laws. There can be no unity until there is unity in doctrine and in devotion to Christ. True unity must begin within the local assembly, in individuals, between members; when each and every professing Christian has submitted to Christ and His word, and has been reconciled to every other brother, then will there be true unity, and this without the necessity of organic bonds.
Many Baptists have been brain-washed into believing that any mission plan is all right; many have been deceived into breaking fellowship with other Christians and churches simply because they did not follow man-made mission plans or some other unscriptural plans; many are now being deceived by the oratory of man into believing that Baptists should answer to Rome's beck and call; this can lead only to headache, heartache and backache.
Baptists awake! For "now is our salvation nearer than when we believed" (Rom. 13:11). "Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning; Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch," (Mark 13:35-37).
The signs of Christ's coming multiply daily; now is the time for a clean heart, clean hands, and a clean head, but not a washed brain. "Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth," (2 Tim. 2:15, R. V.).
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