Fatal Progress Print E-mail

Fatal Progress!
By Bishop Samuel Smith

Jesus said: ". . . Take heed that no man deceive you . . . For there shall arise false christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect" (Matthew 24:4, 24). If we indeed believe that our Lord provided sufficient warning to be informed relative to the "end-time," certainly the spirit of "deceit" cannot be ignored!

Paul warned: "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering unto him . . . Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there be a falling away first. . . " (II Thessalonians 2:1-3). I ask a sincere question, was Paul beside himself with end-time paranoia? I am convinced, after years of experience, observing the present state of the Apostolic Church, against the backdrop of the signs of the time, that the end-time battle will be won or lost upon the basis of one's successful struggle with the "spirit of deception!"

Amos proclaimed, "Prepare to meet thy God!" Daniel warned of the flattery spoken by, and the marvelous words of, the Prince of Darkness, whose spirit would pervade the last days. Peter predicted, "Scoffers shall arise in the last days." John identified Jesus as the true God, and admonished us to stay away from idols! Were these Bible heroes "false alarmists?"

Frank Bartleman, contemporary of William Seymour and converted newspaper writer, whom God chose to become the recorder of the famed Azusa Street Revival, predicted an end-time church that would be swayed by a "Christ-less Pentecost." Can we discount Bartleman's prophetic warning?

After the advocates of advancement and critics of caution have had their say; after the tug of war between conservatives and liberals has played out; both the despisers of compassion and the unifiers at any cost, have one thing in common, they have drunk from the common cup of religious poison.

Christian compassion is not compromise nor is mindless unification, progress! We must ask these questions: "When did Satan change his grand design, and when did the Harlot Church and her daughters get saved?" We are amply warned of an end-time Harlot Church, where doctrine is polluted by an unholy affair with the world; a system drunk on the blood of the saints, totally adrift, indulging in the pleasures of the flesh; so worldly and so un-heavenly, it is called "The synagogue of Satan." That despicable monster whom the Bible calls the "Great Whore," and powerful preachers, from Luther, Spurgeon, and countless others, even our dear Apostolic forefathers, granted no quarter. That Mother of Harlots draws little notice from most today, nor do the daughters she has birthed, except that too often, too many try to craft their claims to success in her's and their scarlet images.

When a well-known Pentecostal preacher declares that the Pope's message on universal brotherhood was one of the best sermons he has ever heard . . . Beware! When the leading full-gospel magazine in the entire world speaks favorably of Charismatic and Catholic union . . . Beware!

Call me an "alarmist," I rest my case upon the pages of end-time prophecy! In my lifetime I have been challenged by my mentors, Holy men of God, to pursue Bible Revival!

In light of the Holy Scriptures and influenced by those anointed pathfinders who have articulated the vision, our Apostolic heritage diligently pursued the Promise; doctrinal integrity and worldwide Bible Revival! Why now, among so many, the "drag and the drift?" Must the flame flicker and die out? Are we doomed by either extreme; hostility to evangelism; or, an ambitious quest to free ourselves from the last vestiges of classical "Pentecostalism" to the point of abandoning Sacred Landmarks and Holy Revelation?

In the Quest for big-time "interdenominational" Pentecostal unity, we can never "trade off" the Revelation of the Mighty God in Christ; the power in His name; the masterpiece called the "Acts of the Apostles"; and the role of water baptism in the new birth.

I propose this question for those who feel it meritorious to forfeit doctrinal integrity for strength in numbers: why stop with unifying with non-Apostolic Pentecostals; the numbers would be even greater if we continued further and merged with all neo-conservative/fundamentalists? The fact remains the strength of numbers would really be significant if we unified with mainline Protestantism. The numbers would really be staggering if we continued further and rejoined worldwide Christian Orthodoxy. And really, couldn't we make an awesome statement in the face of the perils of Islam, heathenism, atheism, cultism, and possibly reemerging communism, if we returned to that part of Rome that is charismatic? But wait a minute, I've heard that before! It is the echo in my memory, ringing forth from the pages of Holy Writ, screamed forth from the lips of Paul, "Come out from among them, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you" (II Corinthians 6:17).

Our forefathers in the "faith", from Charles Parham at Topeka, until recently, warned us of the perils of Mystery Babylon/Roman Catholicism and the magnetic pull of her wayward, gifted, and ever so lovely daughters. In the "1960's" my heart pounded, when at a sweltering, hot, July Texas camp meeting, with real sawdust, my young preacher's soul was warned: "While the church-world prepares to return to Mother Rome, we Apostolics are preparing to go home to Father, the Mighty God in Christ." Read Isaiah 9:6.

Paul's warning to the Galatians is more than applicable to our time: "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth" (Galatians 3:1).

Our faithful watchmen on the wall, a generation ago, predicted the inevitable effects of ecumenicalism upon the Church, they recognized the "puppeteer" and his "puppets;" but very few words are spoken today about this fatal threat! Why? Because the extremes are shouting so loud in both ears, right and left, conservative and liberal; must we make a choice to either split hairs and fight "straw-men" or trash our holy heritage?

When I hear of Charismatic-Catholics who speak with tongues, and claim that the spiritual gifts make the sacraments of the Church of Rome more dear, and mother Mary more real to their lives, I am troubled! When I hear, ministers, widely accepted in some Apostolic circles, boast that he has Catholics in his church, who still pray to Mary, but that does not bother him; . . . I am bothered!

Are we trading our birthright for a "morsel?" Why the rush for numbers, acclaim, fame, riches, leisure and luxury? Every item I mentioned in the preceding sentence is an enemy too real, soul saving "Revival." The fans of the beer-swilling "Christian" athlete, the world-loving Charismatic Hollywood star, to the tongue-talking country-western singer, sit comfortably in many of our churches today! Our claim to fame is not who attends our churches, but who died for our Church!

Jesus said, ". . . this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come" (Matthew 24:14). If the commonly accepted version of the "gospel" that so many Apostolics are now rushing to embrace were the real "gospel," then Jesus would have returned by now! That version of the gospel (which Paul called another gospel) has been bounced around the world by monks, conquistadors, denominal missionaries for centuries, (and of late, famed televangelists), to every continent and islands of the seas.

I affirm that the Gospel unveils the revelation of the Mighty God in Christ, in the Old Testament concealed, in the New Testament revealed!

At Sinai, the revelation demanded a sacrifice; at Calvary, the sacrifice demanded a revelation . . . Jesus is God! I affirm that infallible scripture declares, and the Gospel propounds, the power in the blood, the power in the name, and the name sovereign in all instances, not the least of which, in water baptism by immersion. As the old songwriter chorused, "All Hail the Power in Jesus name!"

I affirm that the Gospel brings access to whosoever will, by virtue of obedience, and sins remitted, to the Holy of Holies; there they are filled with the promise of God, the Holy Ghost with Bible evidence of speaking with new tongues and power following, to live a life holy and separated, from an unholy and hell-bound world! I affirm that this Gospel is the only means for one being prepared when Jesus returns in a moment, with the shout of the archangel!

Divine order, as inscribed by the pattern of the Tabernacle in the wilderness, Exodus 25-40, decrees that adherence to this "Gospel" is the only means to live a holy life, avoid "Hell", and be "Heaven" prepared. Acts 2:38, preached by the "man with the keys," contains the essential command, "Repent," the correct formula for water baptism, the power in the name, cleansing by the blood and the promised Holy Ghost infilling: "If this gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost" (II Corinthians 4:3).

How can American Apostolics so easily discount the Revelation, and trade off such beautiful truths for apparent progress, when for centuries and even now, there are multiplicities who have paid, and are still paying a great price for this Truth?

I know first-hand the account of the Apostolic revelation in India, their struggle with Hindus, Muslims, denominationalism, and non-Apostolic Pentecostals, to attain and maintain the Truth!

I have joyfully reviewed the first English version of the history of the Apostolic Church in Russia; how that early in the 20th Century, Spirit-filled Russians, hungered for more truth and God revealed it to them. From that point, at great risk and peril, they treasured the Revelation of the Mighty God in Christ, and water baptism in the name of Jesus, with equal fervor to their initial Holy Spirit infilling!

I have personally talked with the elders of the large True Jesus Church of China, claiming 5 million baptized in the name of Jesus Christ and filled with the Holy Ghost speaking with tongues. They have told me how a Chinese Presbyterian pastor in 1917, seeking more of God, fasted for 39 days, (stopping 1 day short of Christ's length of fast, feeling unworthy to be compared with Him), was commanded by God to baptize himself in the name of the "Lord Jesus Christ," thus beginning one of the most glorious chapters of the 20th Century Church, a story I cannot even begin to describe in this limited space.

I cannot ignore how God used a young Mexican housekeeper, returning to her native country from Los Angeles to carry this "Gospel" to a land then ravished by revolution and Mary-worship, to sow the seed of another 20th Century Apostolic Revival.

During my many trips to the Philippines, I have rejoiced at the accounts of the persistent moves of the Holy Ghost to break through the spiritual darkness of that distant Asian land and reveal this Gospel! In World War II, a dying American soldier gave his Bible to a Catholic Filipino and prophesied that the truth therein would truly liberate him, his family, and country. Since then, countless men and women of the Philippines have selflessly given themselves to preach this Truth. Today hundreds of thousands are born-again the Bible way! In Manila, a former Trinitarian preacher so moved by God to dedicate his life to prayer and fasting, that this Truth was revealed to him; he has since preached to 25 to 40 thousand in service each Sunday, and two hours daily upon national television, reaching well over a million souls each week.

In Korea, denominational Christians are being baptized in Jesus' name and speaking with new tongues, rising at 4 A.M. daily to pray for God to save their nation.

I could continue with a factual parade of worldwide examples of Bible Truth revealed and total commitment to the clearly defined Gospel; but I will stop and ponder the incredible. And we American Apostolics would retreat?

While multitudes are rushing to the Revelation, hungry and thirsty for more Truth, can we bear the thought that any of us will pass them, heading the other way? . . . "I want nothing to do with Fatal Progress!"

 
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