Coming down from Mount Sinai there was a quick moment of disagreement between Joshua and Moses. Oh, this was not in any way a harsh disagreement, but rather gave evidence that Joshua still had much to learn from Moses.
The experience of Moses lent to him hearing what Joshua could not.
Joshua (the younger) heard the “the sound of war” in the camp, but Moses (the older) quickly stated, “It is not the voice of them that shout for the mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome; but the noise of them that sing do I hear.”
For years, one truth that I have taken from this passage in Exodus 32 (among so many others) is that Moses was a seasoned man of God, and Joshua was a younger man (close to my age today) and more naive to the happenings of the spiritual realm. Everyone, at some point is like Joshua. However, Joshua did not argue with his leader, his mentor, the appointed leader of God! When they arrived at the camp Joshua quickly found that Moses was right.
There is so much that I am still learning as a second-generation Christian having grown up in a Christian home and attending church my entire life. Therefore, I yield to the “old guard” when it comes to them warning about the “sounds” that they are hearing in our world, our churches, and other venues. I listen when one of our “old guard” preachers stand and give warning of a practice that is being adopted, overlooked, or maybe even ignored. I take what they warn about and have quickly yielded to what they have said and evaluated it after listening to them.
Everybody needs to have an authority! My ultimate authority is the Word of God! If a man is preaching contrary to the Bible then I will not yield, nor will I keep listening to his message.
At the same time, when younger men start to openly question, disregard, discredit, and slander the “old guard” I for one will not take the side of the younger and quickly think of the fact that Moses heard what was actually happening and Joshua did not.
No one is for pastors being “brutish!”
Looking at what Moses did next by grinding up the golden calf and making the people drink the water in which he had dumped the gold-dust does not sound like “soft leadership” to me. Moses, recognized by God for his meekness, was a dynamic leader with godly grit.
II Samuel 23:11,12 tells of Shammah standing and defending a lentil field. Why not just give it up? Why not just let the Philistines have the field of lentils? Shammah knew that when he gave up this field it would mean that the Philistines would gain more ground and get closer to the main city.
We live in a day where “lentil” fields are not being fought for any longer. As believers, we are losing ground and the enemy is getting closer and closer to the main city.
In some cases, the enemy has taken more than the lentil field – the enemy now has access to our churches!
Where are the watchmen on the walls? Where are the alarms that at one time sounded in warning as wicked music, worldly dress, foul language, sinful behavior, and drifting closer to the edge were loudly cries again as preachers lifted their voice like a trumpet, smote their fists on the sacred desks, and cried allowed against the sins of the nation and world?
I am here to emphatically say that I do not apologize for the “old guard.”
I may not agree with everything they have said and done, but I trust that they had reason, and if not and if they were wrong, they are accountable to God not me. I thank God for the thundering messages that can be and have been heard from pulpits of today and our past. I do not criticize men like Dr. John R. Rice for his strict stand on areas that I may not adhere too, but I also do not apologize for his stand.
What an incredible leader the Founder of the church was and is!
Jesus was God in the flesh and his leadership was kind and steadfast. I would never say that Jesus exercised “soft” leadership in any way. Jesus was not a “soft” man! Jesus was kind, compassionate, loving, tender-hearted, but he was also bold, exercised righteous anger, and was clear in His message!
Jesus rebuked the religious crowd for the way that they perverted the laws of God for their own gain. Ironically, that is how some today justify their “stand” and believe that Jesus would have rebuked some of the “old guard” for their tantrums against sin, their warnings about letting “strangers” into the city, and for calling sin – sin!
Yet, the difference between Jesus and some of our ever-shifting, apologizing, and compromising brethren is that when the sinners came to Jesus – they left changed!
When the sinner comes to our world-reflecting, soft-preaching, tip-toe-through-the-tulips-lest-I-offend-someone churches they are left in the same condition in which they came, and convinced that God understands. Shame on that pastor!
Church is still a called out assemble and is still for the saved!
The lost are always welcome into the doors of our churches, but they should never feel comfortable remaining in their lost condition while they attend week after week. There must be a welcome-mat rolled out for all who may wish to attend, but when they walk through the doors of our church they should hear messages preached boldly, clearly, scripturally, and without apology.
The idea that “we must lift up Christ” is so very true, but it sickens me to watch men state they are “lifting up Christ” as they promote Contemporary Christian Music, dim their lights, accent their platforms with colored lights and call them a “stage,” replace fist absorbing pulpits with plexiglass lecterns, lower leadership standards so that all might participate, only teach God’s word and never preach it, call people to a “worship” service and convince the attendees that they indeed did worship, but in truth had nothing more than a positive emotional experience, and at the end of the day they are convinced that they “lifted up Christ.”
Ironically the church-style modeled above has neglected or ignored the entire teaching of John 12:32. You see, “from the earth” is still as much a part of that verse as “If I be lifted up…will draw all men unto me.”
John 12:32, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”
The church that Jesus founded is not reflective of this world. To mirror the world in our singing, leading, dress, and verbiage is not lifting up Christ. Friend, we must lift Him up FROM THE EARTH! The world ought to be welcome to attend our church, but not allowed to infiltrate our churches.
The church ought to be a lighthouse to a darken world, not a social club where they come to “hang-out.”
As I close, I want to say thank you to the “old guard” and for their steadfast stand. I am thankful for the many styles of leadership that men of God have shown. I have been offended by some through the years, but once I learned their heart, I have discovered that their personality offended me because my personality was not in subjection to the Spirit – that was my fault not theirs.
I believe that every man of God should be kind, compassionate, hospitable, loving, merciful, joyful, peaceful, long-suffering, faithful, and meek, but that does not mean that men of God are wrong for be doctrinally sound, direct in their approach, bold in calling sin-sin, standing tall on the wall and clearly warning of coming danger, fighting for the families of their churches and this world, and proclaiming “thus saith the Lord” loudly, clearly, and with a stern tone.
I do not question why some of our men of God fought for the lentil fields of years gone by – I am grateful that they did!
I am not here to apologize for the “old guard” and how they lead, preached, taught, separated, and stood for God. There may be things I would and have done differently, but I will still follow the advice given under the inspiration of God in Jeremiah 5:5, “I will get me unto the great men, and will speak unto them; for they have known the way of the LORD, and the judgment of their God:” I will also “rightly divided” the passage and realize that there is a colon there which is immediately followed by the conjunction “but,” and that the next phrase, “but these have altogether broken the yoke, and burst the bonds.” is not referencing the “great men” but referencing those that will not return to the Lord in verses two through four (Jeremiah 5:2-4).
We are to stand as soldier’s not social club leaders, as preacher’s not pacifists, as watchman not worship leaders, and we must remain vigilant in this day.
We must not be silenced by the skeptic, detoured by the compromiser, overrun by the critics, led by opinion, fearful of the fight, and we must lift high the banner of the cross so that it is clear that Jesus alone can save and if you do not trust Him for salvation – Hell will be your eternal home instead of Heaven.
Our message must be clear, pointed, and at times loudly proclaimed!
Our hearts must be tender, surrendered to God, and fixed on Him and His cause – souls! We must be quick to edify the saint and engage the invader. We must walk with God, meditate on His word, and yielded to His leading. We must know what the Bible says more than what some famous author says; for it is only as we view these times through the lens of God’s precious word that we will be able to see through the facade of ecumenicalism and realize that there is a religion that surfaced long ago which calls themselves “Christian” but do nothing more than cause confusion, encourage complacency, and are allowing the evil one to wreak havoc in this last day!
Love God! Love People! But we must be resilient and willing to accept what Paul stated in Galatians 4:16, “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?”
Happily married to Sarah G, the father of three incredible children.