39. Beware a church that is ignorant of Scripture
The Letter to 'Pastor' Roger Wheelhouse
3rd December 1998
I recently promised that I would let you know the Scriptural objections that I had to any teachings you brought through your ministry. I have therefore carefully detailed some of the messages that you have recently brought to Calvary Baptist Church and brought them to logical and Scriptural conclusions.
Obviously I write out of a deep concern for the well-being of Calvary Baptist Church as represented by my brothers and sisters in Christ - but I also write because I am most seriously concerned for you and Sue & your family, as well as others who may have come under your ministry in the past, or who may come under your influence at any time in the future.
The transcript I have typed contains the essential points from your work and I have not removed any material that radically alters the thrust of your message in any way whatsoever. Of course, if anyone wishes to question the truth of this statement they can easily obtain the taped messages which are readily available via the tape ministry and verify these facts for themselves. I have no doubt that some in Calvary Baptist Church will not want to believe what they are reading but, thank God, the evidence is indisputable. This is not going to be something that is done in a corner (Acts 26v26), but Scripturally, 1 Timothy 5v19-22:
19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses. 20 Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also may be fearful of sinning. 21 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality. 22 Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily and thus share responsibility for the sins of others; keep yourself free from sin.
Throughout the following text I will use this font throughout for your words. I will also use italics to emphasis the main inflexions you put on words and the script will be emboldened by me to make emphasis as necessary. Where appropriate I will put the sermon date reference (e.g. AM - 11th October 98). The particular points I wish to draw out may also be underlined once [deleted for Web pages to avoid confusion] and I will use text boxes in the margin to emphasise points.
Let me begin with your morning sermon on the 11th October 98 on the passage from 1 Timothy Chapter 1:
"18th century German scholars...traditionally everybody has thought that Paul wrote 1 and 2 Timothy....but, again, scholars have looked at this, searched through this, and decided that, in many ways, the vocabulary and the language used, and the way it's put, and some of the terms that are used, aren't Pauline. They don't seem to come from the words of Paul, they don't seem to be the same as his other letters. So maybe Paul didn't write it. And there's been much debate over the last 100 years. Only the last 100 years. Nobody questioned it before then. Until the clever-dicks of the 19th century came along, and have started to question it, and to say, 'Well, is it of Paul, or not?' I'm going to take the traditional view this morning...that it was written by Paul. Hope that's not offended anybody who feels that we should go along with modern scholarship and say, 'No, let's run with the fact that it might have been somebody else.' But, let's assume Paul, and certainly from the beginning here it seems plain enough - 1 Timothy 1: 'Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus.........'!"
v3-4: As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus, in order that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith.
"I notice Cathy said 'genealogies'- well, we'll argue about that afterwards, whether it's geneologies or genealogies - what's it matter! But, um, er - whatever!"
"Will you notice that he says, 'I urge you to stay in Ephesus so that you may 'command.' Yeah, we've lost that. We've lost that in today's church - in today's church we - are in to tolerance. We're into letting people say what they have to say. We're into actually sitting back sometimes and watching people bring false doctrine into the church and actually hoping that it'll go away. Well, we won't say anything - they are causing a bit of a disturbance, but we won't say anything, we'll sort of brush it under the carpet and hope it'll go away. We don't want to fall out on it. And I just wonder whether our forefathers, over the years - and I'm talking about the church Universal - if they'd only stood firm and 'commanded' that these people who'd infiltrated the church with its false doctrines (sic), actually were sent on their way, we wouldn't be - the church wouldn't be - in the mess that it is today. And so we've got all these different sects, and different cults, and all these different teachings - & we've allowed it to happen. And they are people that actually were in the church. That were in the church as the church. That were in the - the - the - traditional church. And have brought this doctrine in - and so on. And maybe we should have given them sharp change earlier than we did. It all sounds so foreign, doesn't it, in today's world. To talk about 'command.' But if this is a Word of God for Timothy - and this is the Word of God - then I've got to say it's a Word of God for today......the Word is as applicable today as it was then.....'command' certain men. And we must do that - if we see anything like this in this passage happening in our church here, we must get strong enough to 'command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer not to devote themselves to myths & endless geneologies. These promote controversies rather than God's Word.' Yeh, people that are infiltrating the church causing controversies we have to speak firmly against. And so I want you to take note of that. It really is something to do, perhaps, with church discipline, but it's important. A group of men here who're promoting controversies rather than God's work which is by faith. 'And, oh, Timothy, just in case you think I'm being strong on you as a pastor, just in case you think I'm coming over a bit heavy to you, Timothy, will you hear that this is a 'command' in love. Verse 5, the goal of this command is love which comes from a pure heart, and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Maybe if we did a bit of commanding in love, people would perhaps take more notice. Maybe we need to, yes, 'command,' but where we've gone wrong - and if we do command - is we've lost that essence of love. He's saying, 'Timothy, can you see the goal of this - this is my heart of love - that this is stopped, that this isn't continued. Command in love - it comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith, for some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm. Here are a group of people that were actually bringing in a false gospel. They were bringing in - and this is what in essence this Chapter 1 is about - is LAW - versus the gospel. What these people are doing is coming in & they are focussing upon the LAW and they're making the Law the big thing. And they want to teach about it but they don't really know what they're talking about. They haven't really understood what the law is about and so Paul now, very gently, says to Timothy, 'now, let's just firm up in our mind - what is the law all about. And what he does is go back and say 'look, the law is not for the righteous - the law was put in its place for sinners - the un-Godly, the un-holy, the irreligious. That was what the law was brought for - to arrest the un-Godly and the irreligious, the unrighteous. Really to get them thinking, really to bring them up short in their tracks - and what Paul has in mind is some of the TEN COMMANDMENTS - the one about honouring father and mother, the one about murder, the one about adultery, the one about giving, or not giving, false testimony. And so he speaks into those situations, he has in mind Exodus 20 and the Law given to Moses. And he therefore speaks into that. Lets have a look at this.
Verse 9 - 'we also know that law is made not for a righteous, but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and the sinful, the unholy and the irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers for adulterers - and in your Bible and mine it says 'perverts' - but if you actually look at the Greek it actually means homosexuals. For slave-traders, and liars and perjurers, and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine.'
And so what he's saying here is hear the TEN COMMANDMENTS, so here are some of them, so these are the people who are really falling short of the TEN COMMANDMENTS, but he's saying the Law, the TEN COMMANDMENTS - the Law was brought to cause people to face up to their sin. And you see in this passage how quickly he moves onto the gospel. Because Paul knows, and he just re-affirms it with Timothy, 'Look man, the Law can't save anybody. I could stand this morning and I could lay the Law down as far as adultery goes, as far as murder goes, as far as homosexuality goes, all those things - and I could put in front of them, 'Thou shalt not - dud, dud, dud, dud, der.' But at the end of the day that doesn't stop anybody from committing adultery or murdering or committing homosexual acts, or those things that are here - or, or, or, or - telling lies about one another. Because, you see, the Law was put there to get people to wake up to their sin. And what the Law does actually is wake people up to their sin - but leave them with a tremendous sense of guilt. They hear the Law, they hear the way they shouldn't behave, they know the way they are behaving, and they're left dumped! Because there's no way out. They say, well, I suppose the best thing then is to try not to do those things! But, you know as well as I do, give a week or a fortnight, or a month, they're back in them because of themselves, they can't transform themselves, they cannot transform their thinking, they cannot transform their way of life. And so Paul is saying, 'Look, the Law isn't the thing that changes people's lives. The Law is there just to show up the sin, just to get people to come short, facing their sin. But then he goes on to mention the gospel which is in verse 11, or 10 and 11 - 'and whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.'
The gospel that talks about Jesus Christ, who comes to the world, Jesus Christ who saves sinners, Jesus Christ who transforms our lives, Jesus Christ, who by His Spirit gives us the power of changing - that's why it's so important that actually we, in church, don't present the Law - because that's not going to transform anybody. Reading the riot act to anybody who comes to this church - giving them the Law - won't change a soul. In fact it would make them probably TEN TIMES WORSE! But, present the gospel of Jesus Christ, that transforming act of Jesus upon the cross, and their trust in Him and their belief in Him, and their reception of the Holy Spirit - that is what will change them from sin - and bring them to grace and bring them to mercy and bring them to peace.
".....Paul says....'let me give myself as an example, look at me'.....even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.' Here was one of the most cleverest of mens (sic) of the time. I mean, Paul who had been brought up by Gamaliel, one of the best teachers you could have. Paul, who had his head filled with knowledge, who was an incredibly-minded man, incredible thinker, a man who could put words together in the way he did. But knew nothing of Jesus Christ. And was acting in ignorance and unbelief......Paul's saying, 'Here's me as an example - that's where I was, that was the sort of man I was, but now with an encounter with Jesus Christ on that road to Damascus ....read Acts 22....I am a transformed man, I've moved from those things. So Timothy, hear the gospel - and hear what the gospel can do for a man like me.' Look at verse 15: 'Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance, Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst.'"
"......this was coming from the lips of a man who was the worst of sinners. Now no law could have changed him from what he was to what he now had become - it had to be the gospel. And this is the terrific thing about the gospel that we preach. That the very worst of sinners could come through that door - and really at the end of the day it doesn't matter what sin they were involved in. The very worst sin that you could think of - although we don't like to classify sins, do we, we said this last week - sin is sin, we don't like to classify them into big ones and little ones. But we do. I know we do - it's human nature I suppose to. And perhaps in our mind we have a list of our sins and which are worst than other ones. But the very worst of sinners could come through the door - and be gloriously transformed. Can be gloriously changed by an encounter with Jesus Christ and being filled with the Spirit. Now that's the gospel that we preach. And somewhere along the line I don't think we're getting that across to Canton. Because if we were - we would have a situation which you've had here at Calvary, and we've had - in the churches we've been in - where you've got the children - you've got the adults having to sort of stand around and wait till the children have gone out to Bible class because there's no room - because people are flocking in. And every chair is taken. Now this morning even with the children in we had a number of empty seats. Are we getting the message across. Because if we can get the message across that the very worst of sinners can be transformed by the grace and the mercy and the love of God - Wow! This place will be filled, people would be flocking, because people want an answer to their sin. And I just wonder whether they have thought the church - all it does - is lay the Law down. You know, this business of, 'Well, if I come to church then - I've got to give up smoking, and I'm not ready to do that yet, so I'm not ready for church. Or if I come to church I can't go to the pub anymore and I'm not ready for that so I can't come to church.' And so it can go on. Because people have this idea that the moment you come through the doors you have to give up - and you have to give up this and give up that, because they've heard something about the Law that the church preaches.
And Paul, you can see Paul's passion here - he's saying, 'Look, people are in the church - and they're preaching the Law. A law that doesn't save but just knocks everybody down. And makes them feel even more guilty. And if you feel guilty enough outside you don't want to come into church to feel more guilty. He says, 'No, lets - Timothy, let's get back on target - you're not there to preach law - you're there to preach the gospel.'
'Here is a trustworthy saying,' I say it again, 'that deserves full acceptance, Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst! But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His unlimited patience, as an example for those who would believe on Him & receive eternal life.'
Thank you Lord, that you are actually calling sinners to Calvary.......the church here.....because sinners whose lives are transformed - as Paul says, there an example to other people. We want sinners to come to this church. We want sinners to meet with the Lord Jesus Christ and be transformed - because they will be the example because back in their streets, back with their families, back where they work - people will notice this sinner, this blasphemer, this persecutor. This violent man is now transformed - is now so different. Why? How come? And the person won't say, well, because I went to church on Sunday and the bloke laid the law down - and all the rest of it. I met Jesus! I met the love of God for the first time in my life. I realised that no sin need separate me from God. But if I repent of that sin and confess that sin, God pours His love into me - I can be transformed....Now, by the power of the Holy Spirit, have the strength not to be a blasphemer anymore. Not to be a persecutor. Not to be a violent man - because I've met with Jesus.
"....What a gospel you've got to teach - what a gospel you've got to preach. Get these people out of the church that are coming in with a false gospel. Because they will have harm on the work that you've got to do. Command these people to stop preaching a false gospel. Get into tune with the gospel or get out - you can imagine Paul saying, can't you? Strong stuff, Paul! Because he's passionate about the church - he's passionate that the church will preach the full gospel. Passionate that Timothy will not be held up by these people who would want to interfere with the calling that he has....."
That was the main thrust of your message, Roger. You then went on to detail the example of your pastor friends in the Chippenham area who had given up on the ministry. You stated:
"they (pastors) are as fallible as anybody else."
Here you were talking about pastors feeling like giving up. I mention this in case anyone at Calvary Baptist Church falls for the cultish ploy of saying, 'Well, Roger's made a mistake here. We should excuse him the odd mistake.' But then I would be getting ahead of the crux of the matter. Let us continue with the details from your sermon.
"Sue and I, at the moment, have a very dear friend of ours that really is for now, 12 months on, having left the pastorate, still having psychiatric help. He's having to go for psychiatric help every week of his life at the moment. He is a destroyed man - because of what the church did to him when he was in the pastorate. You talk to him about his calling. "
I hope this is being read carefully to recognise, First - in this example of his damaged friend - we have an attack on the people in the church who cause all this trouble (let's blame the church not the flesh or the Devil - or the carnal nature of a leader!). Secondly, to warn people in Calvary Baptist Church that Roger is here telling them not to attack him in any way - because you wouldn't want this to happen to him, would you? Perhaps listeners at Calvary haven't yet cottoned on to the stories of Roger crying at the breakfast table and being pushed out to work by Sue. It sounds so convincing, doesn't it? Poor Roger, he's a sensitive soul, we'd better not upset him or attack him in any way. If you research the origins of psychiatry carefully you find that Freud & Jung were rooted in the occult. Roger is the second heretic preaching the use of psychiatry who has spoken in Calvary (the other was Keith Roberts, many years ago). More about psychiatry in another place.
And yet what has been happening in the background in the church while Roger has been preaching his version of the gospel from the front? Read on.
"Everybody here would say being a Christian in 1998 is tougher than it was in 1968. Now you've got your clocks thinking back - 30 years. I've not found a Christian yet that is not having a tough time - whether it be in their health, or in depression, or in despair, or whatever. It seems as if we're under the most intense battle in the heavenlies to cause us to give up."
My Bible tells me:
Matt 11v28 "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 "Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and YOU SHALL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 30 "For My yoke is easy, and My load is light."
Jeremiah 6v16 Thus says the LORD, "Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, Where the good way is, and walk in it; And you shall find rest for your souls. But they said, 'We will not walk in it.' 17 "And I set watchmen over you, saying, 'Listen to the sound of the trumpet!' But they said, 'We will not listen.'
Acts 9v31 So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and, going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase.
The Acts church enjoyed all these things despite living under horrendous persecution - how can you describe us as you do in the relative cushiness of 1968 or 1998 - is it because you have admitted that you cannot preach the clearly Scriptural teaching of "the fear of the Lord?" I'm certain that many in Calvary do not equate in any way with your statement here. WHAT is this gospel you are preaching, Roger? A gospel of fear and defeat! Which should come as no surprise to those who have witnessed your personal life at close quarters. Remember the evening in October this year, when you finished your sermon with words about our mission to care for the poor. You strode to the back of the church and there, placed carefully by God for us to witness, was a poor down-and-out, sitting pathetically. Not drunk, but with bad legs and hardly able to shuffle. All he wanted was a lift home. And what was your response to him, Roger? I quote:
'Oh no, I daren't give him a lift because he might refuse to get out of my car!'
Pathetic! As you know, we gave him a lift to his hostel Roger and - guess what? He wasn't too sure exactly how to get to the entrance and we went round the block once or twice. But we dropped him near the door and off he went, good as gold. No trouble at all. What is that other Scripture that springs to mind Matt. 25v31-46? Just a simple lift to his hostel, Roger, that was all he asked.. We may as well rip the Good Samaritan from our Bibles following your example, after all, if we had stopped for him we might have been robbed too - remember the priest & Levite passed by on the other side! I understand you show the same cowardly attitude with the homeless at Calvary. How can we possibly minister to the poor and homeless led by that spirit? You have thoroughly undermined and hurt people in that area, too.