I Remember Dr. Rebel
By Patricia Backora, author of the book
Tough Love in christ's Millennium
Which you can order online from: http://www.publishamerica.com
II Corinthians chapter 4; Philippians 2:2;-3; I Thessalonians 5:12
Multitudes have grown disenchanted with traditional churches. Some have fallen into a deep snare set for them by the devil: that of taking their eyes off Jesus and looking to men for the answers. In the process, many of the solid foundational truths of God's Kingdom have been tossed by the wayside.
Those who are truly Christ's shepherds will demonstrate meekness and tenderness of heart; for when the Spirit of God's Son is permitted to shine forth in all His Glory, all the sweet fruits of His Love will be manifest. They will be willing to reach out to people of humble estate (Romans 12:16).
A certain man, "Dr. Rebel", decided to capitalize on people’s alienation from tradition-bound churches, and their disillusionment with polished preachers. He was oh, so clever about it. Before putting the finger on people’s wallets, he first set out to gain their confidence of these disgruntled souls. Clad in the most rakish garb, this man appeared on TV, espousing his own peculiar brand of Christianity. When he seated himself in his shabby armchair, it was with the air of a king ascending his throne. It worked. His roguish mannerisms helped him connect with those who couldn’t relate to the formality of established religion. His viewers were won over by his laid-back manner and risque jokes.
Once he’d established rapport with a wide viewing audience, Dr. Rebel dispensed with his humble image. He let his disciples know that as a highly-educated man, his preaching was well worth paying for. After all, he said, ministry was like any other commodity; if you consume it, you should pay for it. Dr. Rebel found it quite galling that the Apostle Paul had declared that the Gospel is to be distributed free of charge. Paul had continued to preach the Gospel even when his listeners refused him financial support. Dr. Rebel even said that when he got to heaven he would punch Paul in the nose for setting a bad example for future preachers like himself, who depended on the Gospel (which one?) for his livelihood. Dr. Rebel made clear his dislike for the Book of James. He was irked that James introduces himself in that epistle as God's servant. He said that since he was one of God's SONS, he ought not to refer to himself as His servant. But Dr. Rebel WAS a servant…to the finer things of life. Dr. Rebel didn’t relish James’ teachings on covetousness and the transitory nature of earthly wealth, either.
He had everyone singing joyfully about being set free from the bondage of legalistic church systems with their "don't do this, do do that" type of dogma. I remember one time, Dr. Rebel grinned and pulled out a pair of scissors to illustrate a scripture: Galatians 5:12 which says: "I would they were even cut off which trouble you". In this context, Paul was referring to "Judaizers", brethren who insisted that Gentile Christians must first be circumcised before they are acceptable to God. That verse literally means that if legalists want to circumcise others, they should do a thorough job on themselves! Seeing the scissors made everyone howl.
So Dr. Rebel led everyone to believe that he was teaching total freedom from the bondage of Old Covenant ordinances. Still, he was a stickler when it came to tithing money, which never was taught as a law in the Bible. Abraham and Jacob made voluntary one-time tithes to God, but the very first mention of compulsory tithing (only on farm produce) is in Leviticus 27:30. Lots of folks don't go on to read verse 34, the final verse of that chapter (and the whole Book of Leviticus) which clearly states: These are the commandments which the Lord commanded Moses for the children of Israel. Mt. Sinai speaks of the Law, which only ministers condemnation and fear (II Cor. 3:9; Heb. 12: 18-21)). Mt. Calvary speaks of mercy and grace toward the just who live by faith (Rom. 1:17). When you force somebody to tithe, you lead them back to the bondage of Mt. Sinai. Even before the giving of the Law, God's people knew the difference between right and wrong. Enoch, who did not live under the Law of Moses, pleased God. By faith Enoch was accounted as righteous by God and taken up to heaven (Gen. 5:24; Heb. 11: 5). The Ten Commandments hadn't even been written yet, but Joseph knew it would be a sin to sleep with his master's wife (Gen. 39:9).
Although it would have cost him too much to tell the truth about tithing, people admired Dr. Rebel for having the spunk to debunk uncomfortable Biblical teachings. And harmful Biblical teachings MUST be debunked. But some were so mesmerized by this preacher that they said he reminded them of Jesus. How blind people are!
How his followers worshipped him. How impressive was his lordly approach to the pulpit, his other throne. How deafening was the protracted applause for this highly intelligent, learned man.
God said in His Word: O clap your hands all ye people. Shout UNTO GOD with a voice of triumph. Applause given out of love and appreciation for all God has done is a joy to His Father-Heart. But the people were cheering for Dr. Rebel, not for Jesus. How it hurts Jesus to be supplanted by mere men which His hands have formed. It was Dr. Rebel they’d come to encounter, and Jesus came a poor second in the affections of that congregation. I visited his church two or three times, and each time I felt a deep unease down in my spirit, because I could detect a spirit of idolatry in that place. And truly, any being who sets himself in the place of Christ is being influenced by a spirit of Antichrist!
I am reminded of how the people exalted King Herod and said: “It is the voice of a god, and not of a man.” People are always charmed by polished speakers with a scintillating personality. But they do not pause to hear God's Still Small Voice which speaks words of caution in order to guide His loved ones away from the precipice of disaster.
Dr. Rebel had his devotees eating out of his hand. On the air, he’d defiantly sit in sullen silence, as music played in the background, waiting until enough sizable pledges were phoned in before he’d continue with his ghost story or dissertation on Egyptology. Did Jesus focus on such things, or did He redeem the time, knowing that time was precious and the harvest was great?
No one was allowed to approach Dr. Rebel or his parents at any time, except for his closest associates. If anyone dared do this, he would be booted out by ushers. Is God's own Son unapproachable and exclusivist in dispensing His love to His own flock? Would Dr. Rebel have washed the feet of a humble saint? Would he have even laid down his life for a less famous, and poorer, person? Jesus sure did.
Dr. Rebel hosted lavish banquets at the fanciest restaurants for those who could afford to make extremely large donations to his pet projects. Jesus instructed His followers to invite poor, afflicted people to dine with them, because they could not repay the favor, and such kindnesses would be recompensed in heaven (Luke 14:12-14). But only rich (and deceived) souls who could pay for the favor would ever merit a personal handshake and smile from their “pastor”. A true shepherd wishes he could know each of his sheep by name. If the congregation is much too large to permit that, he ought to appoint under-shepherds to oversee segments of his flock under his authority. These consecrated elders should get to know each of their sheep personally and minister to troubled ones on an individual basis. It was not humanly possible for Peter or Paul to personally counsel every convert they ever made in the churches they established, but there were many pastors and elders under them doing this needful work.
But Dr. Rebel never concerned himself much with the trials of his poorer devotees. He was well-insulated from the day-to-day pressures of ordinary working folk who sent him hard-earned contributions. God's Son was not like that! Jesus enjoyed sharing the humblest meals with the humblest folk, much more than dining on rich fare with haughty Pharisees. He cared as much for the poor widow of Nain who had just lost her only son, as He did about the deceased daughter of wealthy Jairus. And Jesus didn’t charge either of them a dime for His services!
Furthermore, Dr. Rebel informed his flock that how he spent their contributions was his own business; even if, on a whim, he decided to invest in a house of ill repute. He was careful to add that he probably wouldn’t go to that extreme, but would God's Holy Son have ever jested about such abominable things?
With a scowl, Dr. Rebel publicly aired his hatred for his ex-wife. Jesus taught: Love your enemies, and pray for those who hate you, and depitefully use you.
How tragic that people willingly blind themselves, so that they call evil good and good evil. How could people ever associate God's gentle, loving Son with such a reprobate, unless they tossed away their Bible and wrote one of their own?
How easily the multitudes are being deceived by satan in these end times. How imperative it is that the true Light of the World within Christ's Church be allowed to shine forth in the midst of a godless and perverse generation, so that perishing souls will know that Christ alone is the Way to the Father.