Program#L5—“The Theological Adventures of Johnny Lukewarm andPastor Loophole: Truth is Relative”

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Radio Show Transcript, © 2001, Persuade TheWorld Ministries, Gordon James Klingenschmitt, Servant.  Copyingand distribution (without editing) is highly encouraged. 

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Opening introduction by MarkMcWilliams…

Welcome and thank you for joining this radiobroadcast of Persuade The World Ministries.  You’reabout to hear our radio production of the book written and taughtby Gordon James Klingenschmitt, entitled “License To Sin,The Number One Reason America Is Losing Its MoralFoundation.”  If you call us in the next hour,we’ll mail you a free cassette tape of today’sbroadcast, which you can copy and give to your friends.  Justcall our toll-free phone number:  866-Obey-God.  That’stoll free, 1-866-O-B-E-Y-G-O-D.  Gordon JamesKlingenschmitt is a graduate of the United States Air ForceAcademy, and a seminary graduate of Regent University, holdingboth M.B.A. and Master of Divinity degrees.  He’s alsothe founder and servant of Persuade The World Ministries, a501(c3) tax-exempt religious non-profit corporation in ColoradoSprings, dedicated to persuading individuals in America andthroughout the world to forsake their sins and submit theirhearts and minds to the loving rulership of our Lord, JesusChrist.  And now with today’s teaching, here is GordonJames Klingenschmitt. 

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Teaching by Gordon JamesKlingenschmitt…

Thanks Mark.  Today we continue ourmini-drama entitled “The Theological Adventures of JohnnyLukewarm and Pastor Loophole.”  You may remember ourcharacters, Johnny Lukewarm, and Pastor Loophole from our lastbroadcast.  But before we re-introduce these two characters,let’s read from 2nd Timothy chapter 3.  “Forthe time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around thema great number of teachers to say what their itchingears want to hear.  They will turn their earsaway from the truth and turn aside to myths.”  Peopleoften turn to counselors who tell them what their itching earswant to hear.  As is the case with our character, JohnnyLukewarm, who comes into Pastor Loophole’s office to getadvice…

           (Lower) “Please have a seat, Johnny.  What seems to bebothering you today?” 

           Johnny’s brow furrows with concern.  (Higher)“Pastor Loophole, I’m very upset about this particularpassage of scripture.  It seems as though God is commandingme to do something I really don’t want to do.  Do Ireally have to repent, and stop sinning, and obey God?  Oris there some other alternative? 

           (Lower) “Why, certainly there is, Johnny, you just relax. I can offer you dozens of alternatives, and give you very logicalreasons why you don’t have to obey God.” 

           (Higher) “Oh, thank goodness.  For a minute there, Ithought I’d actually have to change my behavior and obeyGod!”  Johnny breathes a sigh of relief.  He sitsforward eagerly, with his itching ears searching for some escapefrom the Holy Spirit’s conviction.  But the Spirit ofGod is grieved away, and He slowly withdraws his conviction fromJohnny’s life.  And Pastor Loophole’s excusescontinue with Loophole #3, entitled “The Truth isRelative.”

Here’sLoophole #3:  (Lower) “Everyone interprets the Bibledifferently, Johnny, so only you can say what it means for you.No one has a monopoly on truth, because all men are equal, sodon’t let anyone tell you what to believe.  Only youcan decide what’s truth for you.  Not everything inlife is black and white—sometimes moral issues are gray. So whenever some narrow-minded literalist shows you a passage ofscripture you don’t like, you can always reply, ‘thatmay be truth for you, but that’s not truth forme.’” 

(Higher)“That’s a great argument,” says Johnny thankfully. “Now I can go back to enjoying my sins without feelingguilty.” 

 

TIME OUT !!  Let’s look at thescriptures, and analyze Pastor Loophole’s advice.  Let’srightly divide the word of truth, and separate the truth from thelies in the advice given by Pastor Loophole.  First, I wantto acknowledge the true part.  It’s true that somepeople interpret the Bible differently than others.  It’strue that all men are created equal.  But here are the lies:It’s a lie that truth is relative.  It’s a liethat nobody has a monopoly on defining truth.  It’s alie that only you can decide what’s true for you.  Buthere’s the truth to replace the lies: God has a monopoly onTruth.  You can disagree with me, and I might disagreewith you, but neither of us has enough authority to disagree withAlmighty God. 

Do you realizethere’s only one correct interpretation of theBible—not mine, not yours, but God’s interpretation. If God wrote the Bible, then God’s the only one who cancorrectly interpret the Bible.  And God is not dead, nor isHe silent.  God is alive, and He’s willing to teachyou, if you’ll submit your mind to His teaching.  Ifyou have a teachable heart, God will teach you about His Son,Jesus Christ.  Do you have a teachable heart, or do youthink you already know everything?  Jesus said, “TheSpirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testifyabout me.” [1]   The truthisn’t relative when deep down inside your heart, you knowGod is telling you right from wrong.  The truth isn’trelative when you know better.  And Johnny Lukewarm, ifyou’re listening out there, your conscience testifiesagainst you, even right now. 

 

(Higher) “Butisn’t the Bible just a book, written by men, who have nomore right to claim their word is truth than all otherphilosophers?”  Johnny Lukewarm complains.  (Yousee, if Johnny can discount the authority of the Bible, then hedoesn’t have to obey its commands.  That’s thesecret agenda behind his question, really, isn’t it?) 

           But let’s think about his question logically.  Is theBible just another book?  

Now if you were to compare 20,000 differentphilosophers (including me) and 20,000 different  philosophies(including mine), I’d have to agree that no one philosophyhas more authority than any another, since in general we’reall created with equal authority and ability to reason. 

And yet, all ofthese 20,000 philosophers and all of their 20,000 philosophiesare completely wrong on every subject, when you compare theirideas to God’s opinion.  If God created truth,who’s gonna argue with God?

So if any of our20,000 philosophers agree with God, they’ll be right onevery subject.  But if they disagree with God, they’llbe wrong on every subject. 

Now follow this: if a philosopher agrees with God all the time, then he’salways right, and always worthy of your trust.  So out ofall the philosophers in human history, which one agreed with Godall the time?  Only one philosopher that I know.  JesusChrist.  That’s why his teaching is trustworthy.  Becausehe always agreed with God.  Believe the teachings of Jesus,and you’ll never go wrong. 

Who else agreeswith God all the time?  The ones who wrote the Bible.  Peter,Paul, John, James, David, Solomon, Isaiah, Moses.  These menworshipped God and submitted to God with their minds and ideas. They chose to agree with God.  That’s why you can trustthem.  That’s why you can trust the Bible over allother books.

           You know, if I want to find the truth on any philosophicalquestion, and I want to learn from men who agree with God, and Ifind an answer in the Bible which differs from an answer inanother book, I will trust the Bible answer and distrust theother book, because I always want to agree with God, and neverdisagree with Him.  Don’t you?  

           I think there’s one core reason for America’s moraldecline: we refuse to believe and submit to Truth.  Did youknow that 67 percent of all Americans believe “there is nosuch thing as absolute truth; different people can define truthin conflicting ways and still be correct.”[2] 

Many people believe“truth is relative.”  They say, “That may betruth for you, but not truth for me.”  But they refuseto submit their minds to God, and they don’t see the greatdanger ahead of them.

           Truth is always an issue over authority.  Whoever hasthe most authority is, by definition, the only one capable ofdefining Truth for the rest of the universe.  I mean, youcan disagree with God if you want to, but what are you going todo when He throws you into hell? 

           Again, truth is always an issue of authority.  Ifthere are millions of different opinions out there, and I’mtrying to decide who to believe, I try to figure out who has themost authority.  I don’t submit my mind to somebody whotells me what my itching ears want to hear, but to the one whohas the most authority on the subject.

           For example, pretend you just came from the hospital, andyou’ve been diagnosed with a terrible brain tumor.  Youneed surgery to save your life!  Let’s also pretendthat the hospital gave you a choice of three people who couldperform your brain surgery: A used car salesman, a high-schoolbiology student, or a professional brain surgeon who’ssuccessfully performed this same operation over 500 times.  Nowwhich of these three would you choose?  Although the usedcar salesman and the high school biology student might be nicepeople, you’d probably choose the brain surgeon.  Hehas the most authority on the subject, and he’s moretrustworthy of me submitting myself on the operating table.

           Now, in the same way, when I hear Oprah Winfrey on television,saying “there are many paths to God, and no one way is theonly way,” or when I hear comedian Bill Maher saying,“all religions are equally valid,” I choose todisbelieve their “expert” analysis.  Why?  Becausetruth is an always an issue over authority.  Oprah and Billare nice people, but they don’t have as much authority asJesus Christ, the Son of God.  Now your eternal soul is atrisk here.  This could be a heaven or hell kind of decision. Who are you gonna trust?  Oprah Winfrey, Bill Maher, orJesus Christ?

           Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except throughme.” [3]  Jesussaid He’s the only way to heaven.  Should I believeJesus, or should I believe Oprah and Bill who say there are manyways?  When judgment day comes, and we’re all standingbefore the great white throne of eternal judgment, who’sgoing to be sitting up there on the throne, judging us?  Isit going to be Oprah Winfrey?  I don’t think so!  Forwe must all appear before the judgment seat of Jesus Christ.[4]  I will submit mymind to Jesus Christ, because He alone is KING OF KINGS ANDLORD OF LORDS. [5]  I choose to believeHis words, and not the words of Bill or Oprah. 

           Think about that for a minute.  Whose “expertopinions” have you believed on the subject of religion? Have you submitted your mind to Jesus Christ, or have yousubmitted your mind to other, less worthy people, who disagreewith Jesus Christ?  Think about that for a minute, while wetake this short break. 

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Middle segment by Mark McWilliams…

Thanks Gordon.  He’ll be back injust a moment.  But first, do you know somebody who needs tohear today’s message?  If you call our toll-free numberin the next hour, 866-Obey-God, we’ll mail you a freecassette tape of today’s broadcast, which you can copy andgive to your friends.  All our tapes are copyable and free,but please remember we need your donations to stay on the air andto give away these free tapes.  So please pray and obey,then send us your best possible donation, after you receive yourfree cassette.  (Gordon:  Hey time out!  Ifit’s your first time calling us, no donation is required! Just call us!)  Our toll free number is 866-Obey-God,that’s 1-866-O-B-E-Y-G-O-D.  And please specifyyou’re requesting today’s program.  Do you believeAmerica needs to hear these messages?  If so, then we needyou to sponsor us, by joining the Persuader’s Club with amonthly pledge of just $15.  If you join thePersuader’s Club, we’ll also send you an autographedcopy of Gordon’s book that you’ve been hearing.  Justvisit our web-site at persuaders-club.com.  Or call us inthe next hour at 866-Obey-God.  Right now, let’s returnto Gordon James Klingenschmitt. 

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Teaching continued by Gordon JamesKlingenschmitt…

           Thanks again, Mark, we’re talking about truth here, and howto decide which ideas to believe and which ideas youshouldn’t believe.  To get that right, we need tounderstand a little bit about the human mind.  Did you knowyour brain works just like a computer disk?  Whenyou’re born as a baby, you have a blank computer disk. Your brain has no data.  But, as you travel through life,your brain collects data, and compares new data to old data. When old data and new data don’t agree, your mind rejectsdata from less credible sources, and welcomes data from morecredible sources.  So today, if you don’t believeGod’s word, there’s one simple reason.  You thinksomebody else is more credible, more believable, and more worthyof your mental submission, than God.  Somebody else hasbecome your god. 

When you submityour mind to somebody, proclaiming their truth is higher thanGod’s truth, you are actually bowing down and worshippingthem as your god, and you are an idol worshipper.  You sayto your idol—“You are higher than God in my life. You create the laws in my universe.  You define what’strue and false in my mind.  Your words are my truth, andanyone who disagrees with you is a liar.  You are thehighest authority—there is no other being as high as you. I submit my mind to you, and I bow down to worship you with mymind.  I force the entire essence of my being to line upwith your ideas, and I transform my entire character to whollyagree with you, your words, and your character.  You arewhat defines whom I choose to be.”  You’re notbelieving or worshipping God with your mind, you’reworshipping somebody else.  You’re worshipping a falseGod.

           People who don’t submit to God’s Word as truthdon’t need to repent of unbelief, they need to repent ofidolatry.  You say, “Well I just don’t believeJesus Christ’s teachings.”  What you really meanis, “I reject Christ’s authority over my mind.  I’drather submit to Oprah Winfrey or Bill Maher or somebodyelse.”  You do believe something or somebody. There areno voids in the realm of faith.  But you’d rathersubmit your mind to a worthless idol than to Almighty God. 

           So what are some of the idols we worship in America?  Youcan tell by listening to people’s ideas.  If you say,“I won’t believe unless it is proven by ascientist,” then you worship scientists instead of God. If you say, “I don’t believe in miracles, the laws ofnature cannot be changed by God,” Then you worship nature ashigher than God.  If you say, “As long as it makes aprofit, it must be ethical, right?” you worship money asyour god.  If you say, “If it feels good, do it,”then you worship pleasure and sensuality as your god.  Butwatch out, everybody.  If you are worshipping any of thesefalse gods, be warned.  The won’t be the One you standbefore on the day of judgment.  Almighty God will cast thesefalse idols into hell, and you along with them. 


               (Higher) “But truth is relative—That may be truth foryou, but it’s not truth for me. Only I can decidewhat’s truth for me,” says Johnny Lukewarm.  Wellsaid, idol worshipper.  The only reason God’s Words“are not truth for you,” is that you refuse to submitto God’s authority.  You’d rather worshipyourself.  You proclaim yourself to be the highest source ofauthority in the universe, and you proclaim yourself to be higherthan God.

           But don’t be silly.  You can’t define truth anymore than you can re-write the laws of gravity.  God createdtruth, just like he created gravity.  God consulted nobody. Nobody overrules him.  He alone is King of Kings, and Godalone can define what’s true and false in your universe. If you don’t agree, just try to walk across the ceiling. It’ll be equally impossible for you to defy God’sTruth, when you face Him on the day of judgment, and you try totell Him that you think your ideas are truth and His ideas arenot. 

           (Higher) “But that’s so black and white.  Noteverything is black and white, sometimes things are gray,”says Johnny Lukewarm.  No, Johnny, things are not gray inGod’s mind.  God is not confused about anything.  Godknows what’s right and wrong in every possible moralsituation.  To God, it’s all clear.  You eitheragree with Him, or you don’t.  If you’ve foundsome gray area, it’s only because you’re confused aboutit, or you don’t want to agree with God’s opinion. But God is never confused about anything, and if you open yourheart to Him, he’ll teach you His black and white truthabout any question you have. 

           (Higher) “But that’s so extremist,” says JohnnyLukewarm.  Yes, Johnny, it is.  I’m extremely infavor of good and extremely opposed to evil.  I am radicallyin favor of God and radically opposed to the devil.  I’mextremely receptive to God’s truth, and extremely opposed tothe devil’s lies.  I aggressively pursue love andholiness, and radically forsake sin and selfishness.  Ibelieve these qualities make me trustworthy--far more trustworthythan any “moderates” out there.

(Higher) “ButWhat About The Pygmies in Africa, Who’ve Never Heard aboutJesus Christ?” asks Johnny Lukewarm.  (You see Johnnycreates this question as a diversion, as if it somehow excuseshim from any need to submit to Jesus Christ as His Lord.)  Butthe bottom line is this, Johnny Lukewarm, if you’re outthere listening.  You’ve already heard of Jesus Christ. God will judge them fairly, and God will judge you fairly.  Andyou’ve already heard of Jesus Christ.  Are you going tosubmit to His rule over your heart, or are you going to tell Godon judgment day that yes, I heard about Jesus Christ, but Idecided not to follow Him.  Jesus paid for your sins when Hedied on the cross.  Can you afford to ignore Jesus Christ,especially when YOU have already heard about Him? 

           (Higher) “But much of the Bible is symbolic, so itcan’t be taken literally,” Johnny Lukewarm complains. But that’s just another excuse to ignore any scriptures thatmakes him uncomfortable. Yes, some of the dreams and visions inthe Bible are symbolic, but God’s commands are not symbolic. When God says, “Do not commit adultery” you can takethat literally.

           “But you can’t prove God exists,” say someunbelievers. But people who demand you “Prove God”actually don’t want any proof.  They ask for proof, butproof is the very least thing they desire.  You know, evenif you offered them irrefutable proof after proof after proof,they would still flatly deny God.  Why?  Because if Godwere proven to them, they’d have to submit to His rulership. They don’t want to let God rule their hearts.  Soinstead, they just pretend He doesn’t exist.  Thesepeople claim to be open-minded, but they’re open toeverything except one thing:  They don’t want God torule their hearts.  

           If your heart won’t submit to God’s rulership,you’ll never hear His voice, and you’ll deny His truth,even if it’s right in front of you.  The only way torecognize Truth is by submitting to the authority of the highestGod.  Otherwise, you’ll hear the Truth over andover, and in your rebellion you’ll deny that Truth exists. Until you want God to rule your heart, you’ll shut your eyesand refuse to submit your mind to God’s ideas.

           Do you really want to recognize truth when you see it? Are you brave enough?  There’s one way to know forcertain if I’m telling you the truth.  Submit yourheart to God’s rulership. Jesus said:  Ifanyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether myteaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.” [6]  In other words,when God rules your heart, God himself will tell you whether ornot these teachings come from God.  But God won’t ruleyour heart until you invite Him to rule it.  Are you readyto find out?  Are you brave enough to submit your heart toGod’s rulership?  Let’s pray together.  Praythese words with me to God.  Stop what you’re doing fora moment, and pray these words along with me to God. 

           “Almighty God, I submit my heart to your rulership.  I bow my knee to your throne, and I declare You as the onlycredible source of Truth in the Universe.  I forsake all theidols I’ve worshipped with my mind, and I reject anythoughts from any sources that disagree with you and your Word. God, everyone who disagrees with You is a liar.  God, Iinvite you to rule my heart right now, and live in my heartforever.  Confirm in my heart the teachings of Jesus Christyour Son, and satisfy the questions of my soul.  I submit mymind to your cleansing truth, and I offer my strength to yourservice.  Save me now, I pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.”  

Did you pray withme just now?  If you prayed with me, would you just raiseyour hand up to God?  Wherever you are, if you’re inyour car, or your home, or in front of other people, it’sOK.  Just raise your hand to God as a sign that you prayedwith me and gave your heart back to God.  Some of you arereceiving a physical healing in your bodies right now, asGod’s loving rulership takes over in your heart.  Ihope you’ll write to us and tell us about that.  But ifyou prayed with me, I hope you’ll write to us and get a copyof this book you’re hearing.  I’ve been veryfortunate and blessed to have this book read and endorsed bypeople like C. Peter Wagner, Tony Campolo, Jon Mark Ruthven whowas my systematic theology professor, Pastors Ted Haggard andFloyd McClung, Joy Dawson and Bill Hamon.  So you knowit’s trustworthy.  In this book and in our futurebroadcasts, we’ll answer the questions you may have aboutfaith versus works, or eternal security or eternal salvation. And you’ll hear more theological adventures of JohnnyLukewarm and Pastor Loophole.  So I hope you’ll writeus tune in again next time.  Now I love you, and I careabout you.  So here’s Mark with more information. 

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Closing trailer by Mark McWilliams… 

Thanks Gordon, and thanks everybody forlistening. Do you know somebody who needs to hear today’smessage?  If you call our toll-free number in the next hour,866-Obey-God, we’ll mail you a free cassette tape oftoday’s broadcast, which you can copy and give to yourfriends. All our tapes are copyable and free, but please rememberthat we need your donations to stay on the air and to give awaythese free tapes.  So please pray and obey God about howmuch these teachings are worth to you, and return to us your bestpossible gift after you receive your free cassette.  (Gordon: Hey time out!  If it’s your first time contacting us,no donation is required!  Just call us!)  Our toll freenumber is 866-Obey-God, that’s 1-866-O-B-E-Y-G-O-D,and please specify you’re requesting today’s program. Now do you believe America needs to hear these messages?  Ifso, we’re specifically asking you to join thePersuader’s Club, and to sponsor this radio broadcast with amonthly pledge of just $15.  If you join thePersuader’s Club as a monthly partner, we’ll send youan autographed copy of the book you’ve been hearing, writtenand taught by Gordon James Klingenschmitt, entitled,“License To Sin, The Number One Reason America Is Losing ItsMoral Foundation.”  Just visit our web-site atpersuaders-club.com.  That’s persuaders-club.com. It’s the monthly donations of our Persuader’s Clubpartners who keep this program on the air.  Now if you havecomments or questions about today’s broadcast, you can emailus at  “persuadetheworld@yahoo.com,” Or you canwrite to us.  Or you can always call us toll free, at866-Obey-God.  And if you remember, please tell us the callsign of the radio station you’re listening to.  May Godbless you, and thank you for supporting Persuade The WorldMinistries.  Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, wepersuade men. 

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[1] John 15:26 (NIV)

[2] Op. Cit., Barna, What Americans Believe,p. 85

[3] John 14:6 (NIV)

[4] 2 Cor 5:10 (NIV)

[5] Revelation 19:16 (NIV)

[6] John 7:17 (NIV)