Apostle X Sheds Blood on the Father's Floor
by Patricia Backora, author of the book
Tough Love in Christ's Millennium
Which you can order online from: http://www.publishamerica.com
I cried when "Brother Gordon told us about the spiritual abuse he suffered. A vision came to my mind of how the Lord views the aftermath of bitter quarrels which happen frequently between some of His children: A pool of blood left before His Throne in His House. Often the Lord is a sad, silent Spectator watching His own children battle it out in His Presence. It especially grieves His heart to have to clean up the emotional blood spilled in the course of the conflict. Two or more of God's children will not totally agree on some relatively unimportant doctrine (i.e. the timing of the Rapture) so they attack and resent one another.
Sometimes itís a case of clear-cut case of one-sided spiritual abuse which culminates in a lowly, everyday saint fighting back to keep from having his ministry trashed by the celebrity saint. One big-time Bible teacher insists on going through the Tribulation Period to prove his own moral superiority and bravery. So he tribulates his peace-loving brother who has agreed to disagree. While sometimes both combatants are equally to blame, sometimes itís a loud, belligerent saint who starts it and wonít let sleeping dogs lie in peace. The peace lover is content to just express his views and if others accept them, fine. But the true peace lover respects the rights of others and never rams them down anybody else's throat. The religious bully, on the other hand, deliberately picks fights with him and vexes him until the other saint is forced to defend his own spiritual garden from being trashed by the trespasser.
Gordon had dared to share his Pre-trib view in a free speech forum, something diametrically opposed to Apostle X's post-Trib position. "Gordon" was bitterly attacked by "Apostle X" who said all sorts of disparaging things about him. He spoke patronizingly to Gordon at first, telling him to repent. Of what? Apostle X accused this mild-mannered man of pride, although Gordon had said nothing about himself, all he had done was share what the Lord gave him.
Apostle X rested solely upon his vast popularity as a religious leader. So he didnít even dignify his accusation of sin with solid proof that Gordon had committed one! He played God and in front of all the other forum members, accusing poor Gordon of being a spiritual wannabe out to build his own kingdom. This high and mighty paragon of righteousness felt no need to present any Scriptural proof that the second-class saintís views were wrong. Apostle X said: "I warn you, you'd better repent!" So just because the Grand Pontiff of Pentecostalism says "you have sinned, and youíd better repent," Gordon must confess to sins he know he is innocent of? Why should Gordon lie just to gratify Apostle Xís ego?
Now what sin did Gordon allegedly commit, except to disagree with this "apostle's" theology? When someone said a hearty "amen" to Gordon's testimony, Apostle X ripped into Gordon like a pit bull terrier and said: "Don't say amen to that, Sister So-and-So. Gordon is no servant of the Lord. Just a wanna-be in the Kingdom of God." Apostle X bore false witness against Gordon in labelling him a fraud who was not a true man of God. And he tried to quench Voice of the Spirit saying ďamenĒ within that particular sister who got edified by what Brother Gordon shared.
The festering boil had come to a head and it had to be lanced with the Sword of the Spirit. Gordon had taken Apostle Xís vomit patiently for a long, long time, but it made him see red to have the "apostle" censure that "amen" in a free speech forum. The "apostle" was clearly out of line in using strong-arm tactics to quash dissent. The right to free speech ends where someone elseís spiritual space begins. Apostle Xís intimidating, insulting treatment of Gordon, carried on for weeks in that religious club, must be addressed. Gordon told the religious bully that he was not walking in the love of Christ, and he'd better get the giant Redwood tree out of his own eye before he looked for specks in Gordon's eye. Apostle X was a big shot in the Kingdom of God with thousands of fawning fans, but Gordon was not impressed by that turkey's gorgeous feathers. All that mattered to him was the "apostle's" un-Christlike attitude and insulting, rude behavior. Apostle Xís not-so-subtle bullying had escalated into spiritual abuse, and Gordon was bleeding all over the place from it and tempted to reach for the tranquilizers. Just like the big fat cattle in Ezekiel Chapter 34 who pushed the weaker ones away from the watering hole and fouled the water with their dirty feet! Before leaving the forum to avoid further unrest to his spirit, Gordon let Apostle X know that his leaving was not admission Apostle X was right, just a realization that Apostle X would not allow free sharing in that allegedly free forum. Gordon told Apostle X that if he were accused in court of being a Christian there wouldnít be enough evidence to convict him. And if Jesus were just like him, Gordon would want nothing further to do with Him!
One of Godís saddest tasks is to reassure a wounded sheep that some religious abuser is no reflection of what Christ is really like. Wherever decent examples of Christlike behavior are absent, the Holy Spirit must help His people keep their eyes solely on what the Christ in heaven is like. Godís walking wounded must habitually divorce unloving hypocrites from their concept of Christ.
Apostle X accused poor Gordon of self-seeking, but heís one to talk. This religious guru had set himself in the place of God Himself, the way he felt he had the right to sit in judgment on somebody else's heart. He accused those who disagreed with his views of wanting to exalt themselves. Look who's talking, the way this false apostle used his popularity to attack the ministries of others without just cause. But he is in deep water by setting himself up as judge, jury and executioner of peace-loving Gordon. Jesus said: Judge not, lest ye be judged. The harder we are on our fellow believers, the harder we can expect God to be on us!
Proverbs 3:30 says: Strive not with a man if he have done thee no harm. Gordon had said not one word to this guy, but had reaped a firestorm of abuse from him just by airing his views in a free forum. It may take a good dose of his own medicine to teach Apostle X a lesson in humility. Jim Jones was the mother of all control freaks, and look at the damage he did to people who were too timid to question his strong-arm tactics.
Sometimes I wonder whether some of those "apostles" out there really were dubbed "apostle" by the Lord Himself, or whether they thought it would win them a bigger following if they bestowed themselves that lofty title upon themselves. The apostle Paul listed the qualifications he met for being an apostle in II Cor.6:4-10. That impressive list includes whippings, fastings, jail sentences, poverty, persecution, hunger, sleeplessness, and dishonor. In I Corinthians 4 we find further apostolic experiences endured by Paul:
VERSE 9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.
VERSE 10 We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.
VERSE 11 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace;
VERSE 12 And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:
VERSE 13 Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.
What a contrast between the meek, lowly attitude of Paul and so many modern "apostles" who step on toes in other peopleís territory! Beware of someone who is not content to share that measure of Christ imparted to them by the Holy Spirit, but who insists on an impressive title to set themselves up as superior to other brethren in the Body of Christ. Rather than viewing themselves as servants who labor alongside other believers, today's religious big shots demand both homage and service from the "laity", a man-made division in the Body of Christ. My, how religious dictators love the intoxicating thrill of taking someone else down to the lowest rung so they can climb up higher. In Luke 14:7-11 Jesus cautioned against racing ahead of others to get the best seat at the dinner table. You are only setting yourself up for a humiliating fall by shoving others out of the way to get there. But the worst religious bullies find that in order to "climb the ladder of success", they must step on the backs of less aggressive people like Gordon to do it. What a heady sense of power it gives bullies to push others down in the dirt. How tall it makes them feel to stand in a weaker person's shadow. In the eyes of haughty religious leaders, humility is a bitter pill prescribed only for the little guy, who must lick the feet of the Grand Exalted Mystic of the Starry Skies.
Which reminds me of quotes posted on the Internet about two prominent TV evangelists, a man and wife team. What I read goes beyond ridiculous. It absolutely made me sick.
The segment I clipped out begins with wise words from the Book of James. Names have been changed in the other text:
"My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, 'You sit here in a good place,' and say to the poor man, 'You stand there,' or, 'Sit here at my footstool,' have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?"
Prey TV founder Sam Crowbar takes that a step further. Those who don't give to them (the Prey Network) will be the slaves of the ones who give. "Those of us who do give are going to get all the reward," Crowbar boasted, while the Prey TV regulars stood behind him in agreement. "We're gonna get it all. They're going to be waitin' on us, boy. They're going to be washing our feet. They're going to be bringing you your late night TV snack dinner. They're going to be waiting on us in heaven, yes. You laugh, but that's absolutely true."
Nellie Crowbar once spoke up for the poor folks and justified Prey TVís right to plunder them in the same breath. "The Lord just spoke to my heart something so sweet," she said during a "Macedonian Con" fund-raiser. "I thought, Lord these people are so poor (those living in Central America who were being asked to support Prey TV). And the Lord just spoke to me, 'I don't judge wealth of my people by what they have.' The Lord spoke to me, 'I judge wealth of my people by what they give.' The wealthiest people in God's eyes in the world can live in a hovel. And that's what we all want to be -- wealthy in God's eyes . . . Isn't that sweet? I was so blessed, then I realized that a little grandma could be the wealthiest person living on the face of the earth, somewhere in Africa in a little grass hut, she had given her all and she is wealthy."
Jesus had harsh words for those who fleece the flock and target the needy:
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation."
That was one eye-opening article. Are those two kingpins greater than Jesus Himself, who washed the feet of His followers? Once there was a dispute among His disciples about which of them was the most important. And Jesus said to them in Mark 10:
VERSE 42 But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.
VERSE 43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever shall be greatest among you shall be your minister:
VERSE 44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.
VERSE 45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
How stark the contrast between the religious aristocrats who would make domestic slaves of poorer Christians in heaven, and the meek and humble attitude of the Jesus they supposedly serve! If poor saints must continue to feed the unquenchable lusts of these power-hungry religious parasites even in heaven, then it would be the mother of all injustices. These designer-gear kingpins of hype and glitter have had their pie in this world with chocolate mousse piled on top, while the poorer saints hardly got a crumb under their table. Who in their right mind would want to settle for a heaven like that, where they have to grin and bow and say "Yassuh" to Sam Crowbar and bring him his Twinkie on a silver platter? Let frilly Nellie, the queen of cotton candy, come down off her head trip and pour her own Evian Water up there! That also goes for the grand exalted Apostle X!
If Apostle X is so eager to hang out his shingle as an apostle, why isn't he so eager to claim all the perks that go with that office? How can he claim to represent the Christ Who is meek and lowly in heart, as he throws his weight around like a schoolyard bully? It's almost as if he hates it when there is harmony in the House of the Lord, and he is unwilling to maintain the peace by letting others agree to disagree. Is this false apostle setting himself in the place of the Holy Spirit by being the voice of Gordon's conscience and telling him to repent of the sin of participating in a free forum? How tragic, that the spiritual bully uses differing dogma as an excuse to be an attack dog who devours the saints (Gal.5:15). Jesus has to doctor many dog bites on his sheep.
Instead of rejoicing in their agreement on the central issues of salvation, the belligerent adversary of the peace lover will needle and torment that one to make him feel unworthy of calling himself a Spirit-filled saint. The spiritual bully will hassle a particular victim in the group and ridicule everything about him. The peace lover wants to avoid a showdown for as long as possible, so he prays for the grace to put up with the abuse patiently. But when the spiritual bully crosses the line of trespassing into that other person's inner life with God and begins to vandalize the treasures God has placed there, tolerance must give way to firm rebuke. The devil must not be allow to soil the inner sanctum of Godís peace. The persecuted, peace-loving victim of spiritual abuse deeply regrets having to do so, but he draws the Sword of the Spirit to defend his innermost being from the more aggressive saint, who is clearly out of line by being belligerent and not walking in Christ's love.
Jesus got tough with spiritual abusers when he had to, though He hated having to do it. In Matthew Chapter 23 Christ called His self-important religious enemies vipers and snakes because they resisted His message of love and had a cruel, vindictive spirit driving them. It must not be that way in God's own family! Everyone knows how a dog gains new territory for himself. He invades some other dogís territory and puts up a fierce fight until the victim slinks away with its tail between its legs. And in marking this new territory as his own, the aggressor defiles it.
Apostle X will probably never bother to stare into the mirror and admit:"Itís ME, O Lord, standing in the need of prayer!" He knows he would lose the worship of all his little yes-men in doing so, and it could even affect all the perks he gets as a prominent religious leader. So the endless offensive and defensive sword-fighting in the Fatherís House will go on and on and on till the end of time until spiritual bullies stop acting like junk yard dogs and clothe themselves with proper humility and esteem others better than themselves (Phil.2:3; I Peter 5:5). In the mean time, God is left to mop up the blood from the battles and bandage the wounds left by dog bites. And He wonders when His people will once again radiate so much of the shining light of Christ's love that the world will once again say of His children as it did in the beginning of the Church Age: "Behold, how they love one another."