Program#L5The Theological Adventures of Johnny Lukewarm andPastor Loophole: Truth is Relative
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. Youreabout 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,well mail you a free cassette tape of todaysbroadcast, which you can copy and give to your friends. Justcall our toll-free phone number: 866-Obey-God. Thatstoll 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
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,lets 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 Loopholes office to getadvice
(Lower) Please have a seat, Johnny. What seems to bebothering you today?
Johnnys brow furrows with concern. (Higher)Pastor Loophole, Im very upset about this particularpassage of scripture. It seems as though God is commandingme to do something I really dont 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 dont have to obey God.
(Higher) Oh, thank goodness. For a minute there, Ithought Id 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 Spirits conviction. But the Spirit ofGod is grieved away, and He slowly withdraws his conviction fromJohnnys life. And Pastor Loopholes excusescontinue with Loophole #3, entitled The Truth isRelative.
HeresLoophole #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, sodont let anyone tell you what to believe. Only youcan decide whats truth for you. Not everything inlife is black and whitesometimes moral issues are gray. So whenever some narrow-minded literalist shows you a passage ofscripture you dont like, you can always reply, thatmay be truth for you, but thats not truth forme.
(Higher)Thats a great argument, says Johnny thankfully. Now I can go back to enjoying my sins without feelingguilty.
TIME OUT !! Lets look at thescriptures, and analyze Pastor Loopholes advice. Letsrightly 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. Its true that somepeople interpret the Bible differently than others. Itstrue that all men are created equal. But here are the lies:Its a lie that truth is relative. Its a liethat nobody has a monopoly on defining truth. Its alie that only you can decide whats true for you. Butheres 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 realizetheres only one correct interpretation of theBiblenot mine, not yours, but Gods interpretation. If God wrote the Bible, then Gods the only one who cancorrectly interpret the Bible. And God is not dead, nor isHe silent. God is alive, and Hes willing to teachyou, if youll 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.
(Higher) Butisnt 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 hedoesnt have to obey its commands. Thats thesecret agenda behind his question, really, isnt it?)
But lets 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), Id have to agree that no one philosophyhas more authority than any another, since in general wereall 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 Gods opinion. If God created truth,whos gonna argue with God?
So if any of our20,000 philosophers agree with God, theyll be right onevery subject. But if they disagree with God, theyllbe wrong on every subject.
Now follow this: if a philosopher agrees with God all the time, then hesalways 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. Thats why his teaching is trustworthy. Becausehe always agreed with God. Believe the teachings of Jesus,and youll 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. Thats why you can trustthem. Thats 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. Dont you?
I think theres one core reason for Americas 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.
Many people believetruth is relative. They say, That may betruth for you, but not truth for me. But they refuseto submit their minds to God, and they dont 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 Imtrying to decide who to believe, I try to figure out who has themost authority. I dont 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, andyouve been diagnosed with a terrible brain tumor. Youneed surgery to save your life! Lets 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 whossuccessfully 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, youd probably choose the brain surgeon. Hehas the most authority on the subject, and hes 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 dont 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.
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.
Middle segment by Mark McWilliams
Thanks Gordon. Hell be back injust a moment. But first, do you know somebody who needs tohear todays message? If you call our toll-free numberin the next hour, 866-Obey-God, well mail you a freecassette tape of todays 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! Ifits your first time calling us, no donation is required! Just call us!) Our toll free number is 866-Obey-God,thats 1-866-O-B-E-Y-G-O-D. And please specifyyoure requesting todays program. Do you believeAmerica needs to hear these messages? If so, then we needyou to sponsor us, by joining the Persuaders Club with amonthly pledge of just $15. If you join thePersuaders Club, well also send you an autographedcopy of Gordons book that youve been hearing. Justvisit our web-site at persuaders-club.com. Or call us inthe next hour at 866-Obey-God. Right now, lets returnto Gordon James Klingenschmitt.
Thanks again, Mark, were talking about truth here, and howto decide which ideas to believe and which ideas youshouldnt 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? Whenyoure 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 dont agree, your mind rejectsdata from less credible sources, and welcomes data from morecredible sources. So today, if you dont believeGods word, theres 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 thanGods truth, you are actually bowing down and worshippingthem as your god, and you are an idol worshipper. You sayto your idolYou are higher than God in my life. You create the laws in my universe. You define whatstrue and false in my mind. Your words are my truth, andanyone who disagrees with you is a liar. You are thehighest authoritythere 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. Youre notbelieving or worshipping God with your mind, youreworshipping somebody else. Youre worshipping a falseGod.
People who dont submit to Gods Word as truthdont need to repent of unbelief, they need to repent ofidolatry. You say, Well I just dont believeJesus Christs teachings. What you really meanis, I reject Christs authority over my mind. Idrather submit to Oprah Winfrey or Bill Maher or somebodyelse. You do believe something or somebody. There areno voids in the realm of faith. But youd 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 peoples ideas. If you say,I wont believe unless it is proven by ascientist, then you worship scientists instead of God. If you say, I dont 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 wont 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 relativeThat may be truth foryou, but its not truth for me. Only I can decidewhats truth for me, says Johnny Lukewarm. Wellsaid, idol worshipper. The only reason Gods Wordsare not truth for you, is that you refuse to submitto Gods authority. Youd rather worshipyourself. You proclaim yourself to be the highest source ofauthority in the universe, and you proclaim yourself to be higherthan God.
But dont be silly. You cant 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 whats true and false in your universe. If you dont agree, just try to walk across the ceiling. Itll be equally impossible for you to defy GodsTruth, 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 thats so black and white. Noteverything is black and white, sometimes things are gray,says Johnny Lukewarm. No, Johnny, things are not gray inGods mind. God is not confused about anything. Godknows whats right and wrong in every possible moralsituation. To God, its all clear. You eitheragree with Him, or you dont. If youve foundsome gray area, its only because youre confused aboutit, or you dont want to agree with Gods opinion. But God is never confused about anything, and if you open yourheart to Him, hell teach you His black and white truthabout any question you have.
(Higher) But thats so extremist, says JohnnyLukewarm. Yes, Johnny, it is. Im extremely infavor of good and extremely opposed to evil. I am radicallyin favor of God and radically opposed to the devil. Imextremely receptive to Gods truth, and extremely opposed tothe devils 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, Whove 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 youre outthere listening. Youve already heard of Jesus Christ. God will judge them fairly, and God will judge you fairly. Andyouve 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 itcant be taken literally, Johnny Lukewarm complains. But thats just another excuse to ignore any scriptures thatmakes him uncomfortable. Yes, some of the dreams and visions inthe Bible are symbolic, but Gods commands are not symbolic. When God says, Do not commit adultery you can takethat literally.
But you cant prove God exists, say someunbelievers. But people who demand you Prove Godactually dont 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, theyd have to submit to His rulership. They dont want to let God rule their hearts. Soinstead, they just pretend He doesnt exist. Thesepeople claim to be open-minded, but theyre open toeverything except one thing: They dont want God torule their hearts.
If your heart wont submit to Gods rulership,youll never hear His voice, and youll deny His truth,even if its right in front of you. The only way torecognize Truth is by submitting to the authority of the highestGod. Otherwise, youll hear the Truth over andover, and in your rebellion youll deny that Truth exists. Until you want God to rule your heart, youll shut your eyesand refuse to submit your mind to Gods ideas.
Do you really want to recognize truth when you see it? Are you brave enough? Theres one way to know forcertain if Im telling you the truth. Submit yourheart to Gods rulership. Jesus said: Ifanyone chooses to do Gods will, he will find out whether myteaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.
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 Ive 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 youre inyour car, or your home, or in front of other people, itsOK. 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, asGods loving rulership takes over in your heart. Ihope youll write to us and tell us about that. But ifyou prayed with me, I hope youll write to us and get a copyof this book youre hearing. Ive 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 knowits trustworthy. In this book and in our futurebroadcasts, well answer the questions you may have aboutfaith versus works, or eternal security or eternal salvation. And youll hear more theological adventures of JohnnyLukewarm and Pastor Loophole. So I hope youll writeus tune in again next time. Now I love you, and I careabout you. So heres Mark with more information.
Closing trailer by Mark McWilliams
Thanks Gordon, and thanks everybody forlistening. Do you know somebody who needs to hear todaysmessage? If you call our toll-free number in the next hour,866-Obey-God, well mail you a free cassette tape oftodays 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 its your first time contacting us,no donation is required! Just call us!) Our toll freenumber is 866-Obey-God, thats 1-866-O-B-E-Y-G-O-D,and please specify youre requesting todays program. Now do you believe
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