Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7, a radio ministry of The Berean Call with T.A. McMahon. I’m Gary Carmichael. We’re glad you could tune in. In today’s program, Tom concludes a two-part series with guest Jiovanne Del Cristo. Here’s TBC executive director Tom McMahon.
Tom: Thanks, Gary. Well, this is our part two of our interview with Jiovanne Del Cristo, and he ministers at Living Word [Church] which I mentioned is a Bible-centered bilingual church in Miami, Florida. Jio, for short, thanks for joining me again on Search the Scriptures 24/7.
Jio: Certainly. It is a privilege to be here once again, Tom. Thank you so much.
Tom: Jio, as we mentioned last week, and I encourage people - we archive all of our radio programs, so you can…if you haven’t heard part one, you can go back and listen to that. Jio ministers at Living Word [Church], and primarily to youth. He ministers with his dad there, and we’ve been talking about the issues of the youth, and certainly because it’s a bilingual church, Hispanic - you know, I was able to speak there, but Jio translated for me, which, okay… It was a wonderful experience, it really was. And I love your fellowship, your dad, your mom, and so on.
But, Jio… Oh! and I also mentioned last week, and I’ll mention it again, I think this is going to air the week before our conference, and you, by the Lord willing and by the grace of God, are going to be here in Bend, Oregon for our TBC conference, which is the last week in August. And as this airs, it’ll be this weekend! So praise the Lord for that. We’re going to introduce you to some snow, if we still have any when you get here, which I think that’s…
Jio: I’m looking forward to it. I am certainly looking forward to it.
Tom: Yeah, that’s going to be great. But I’m looking forward for you to speak to our audience. As we’ve been talking about, my concern - and it’s the concern of The Berean Call, and your concern - for your generation. There have been things where our generation, my generation, has dropped the ball in terms of ministering to the young people.
And I know, Jio, from having spent 30-some years with Dave Hunt dealing with issues related to discernment - certainly issues that have come into the church, drifting away from the Word of God, and so on - I’ve seen great changes in the church in a little over three decades. And I don’t know how bad it can be before the Lord returns for His church, but there’s an indication out there that it’s going to be difficult - far more difficult than I think what I’ve had to experience even in ministry prior to the Lord returning. So that’s a concern for us, isn’t it?
Jio: Agreed. It is a concern, and that’s why I think it’s so imperative for us to focus - shift our attention somewhat to the youth, being that they are the future. And again, as Christ said that He looked out into the fields and He didn’t see very many laborers…and certainly we would like to begin to include more laborers into the kingdom of the Lord, and that being the youth, because I think there’s certainly an energy there. People constantly allude to that as you’re younger, you have much more energy to do these things. I would disagree with that slightly. I think that if the Lord is on your side and you’re truly doing the work of God, He will provide you the strength to do it. But in a physical capacity, there certainly is a certain amount more that I guess that when you’re younger you can exert without tiring yourself out, and that is certainly true.
And I think that we’re seeing a certain level of that within our generation. I’ll provide an example here: I don’t know if she is a Christian or not, but I see a person, for example, as Lila Rose and her live action films and the work that she has done for the - what would be known today as the pro-life movement. This is a young lady who began the organization at the age of 15 whilst she was still in high school, and now it is a nationally syndicated organization that defends the right of the unborn. And certainly we are seeing a lot of that crop up in universities and whatnot, but there’s a lot of young persons who are taking the mantle of the older folk, of the older Christians, and saying, “We need to take the mantle from here. We’ll do it, and we will carry on the gospel and continue to be salt and light as Christ has called us to do.” And in that respect, that is also encouraging to see that many of those young persons are indeed carrying that torch.
You were mentioning in the last program that we had disseminated that for you to see your children walking in the Lord’s ways because of the work that you and your wife had undertaken is certainly a joy for you, and it affirms everything the Bible says. When you read Proverbs:22:6: “Train your child in the way that he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Absolutely.
You see people like Lenin, the former leader of the USSR, they pervert that. And when he says, “Just give me a few years with a child, and the seed that I will place in him no one will be able to extirpate.” So you even see how many of these wicked men have taken these biblical truths and twisted them for evil. But nonetheless, Satan always perverts these things.
But nevertheless, the original intent, I think, is very clearly established that we are in a position, we the parents, and those of us that have dedicated ourselves to promulgating the gospel, we have a responsibility toward the next generation to make sure that our children walk in the discipline and in the admonition of the Lord. If we can do that, we will see success in our family life and also church wise.
Tom: Right. Last week we talked a lot about the problem with entertainment and turning our children, my generation, turning our children over to the church as spiritual babysitters. “Oh, just let the church do it. Let the youth pastors do it,” and so on. And sadly, the church has responded by, you know, keeping them happy, keeping them in, you know? Kind of a consumer mentality.
But you know, Jio, from my experience, you push something like that, and our young people can get burned out on it. For example, for the evil of promoting all of that, well, an evil result can be, “Well, let’s give them something different now.” And of course you’ve had the emergent church movement, where rather than electric guitars and video games and all of that stuff, we turn to candles and incense and so on, something that really feeds the flesh. It seems spiritual, and it was new, okay, for our young people, and many of them jumped on board. Now, that’s a problem. It’s a real problem.
On the other hand, just as you described, when you have young people who said, “Wait a minute, this is so self-centered. We want to reach out. We want to help people,” just like this young lady that you mentioned starting the program. Now, that can go south, because it could be a work of the flesh. But nevertheless, there’s an other-directed heart, and that’s what I see among many of our young people to be encouraged. They want to do what’s right. They want to be a blessing. Even my generation, not being a believer, we had the Peace Corps. We wanted to reach out and help people.
But I do see that as a plus side for this upcoming generation.
Jio: Exactly. And I would want to interject also I think there is that natural inclination of the young to want to help his or her peers. I see that, but what happens is the older the generation is the more malicious they tend to become, and I’m not generalizing here by any stretch of the imagination. I’m making reference to people like politicians, and the union heads, and things of that nature. Many persons also in the ecclesiastical sphere, they know that many young persons are willing to help their neighbor, especially when they are that age. But they also know that much of this youth resides in ignorance, and they know that if they can craft, for example, certain talking points, they can make these young people believe that they’re doing something good for the world when in fact they are employing these things for their own detriment and to society’s own detriment.
That’s why to this day, for example, you see anti-Christian doctrines such as communism and socialism still pervasive in our society, because they cloak their arguments with, “We need to help the poor. We need to help the downtrodden. We need to help those that are in need.” And that’s all a great idea, but what leads you to that point? What leads you to believe that the downtrodden have become downtrodden? That the poor have become poor? And many of these people will obfuscate the truth in order to advance pernicious ideas, and ideas that are anti-Christian, as I mentioned before: communism and socialism. And the youth will gobble it up. They will eat it, and they will generally go in that pattern until someone awakens them from that evil ideology - you know, awakens them to the fact that it is truly harmful and dangerous for personal reasons and also for society for them to adopt it, and that’s where the gospel comes in. I truly believe that in Jesus’s words where He says, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free,” if you allow the truth to speak veracity to you, it will make you free.
Again, Jesus Christ, what does He tell Pontius Pilate? “I was born to give witness, to be a witness to the truth.” You have to listen to Jesus’s words, you have to put them into practice, and it will allow you to see the world for what it truly is.
Tom: Yeah. John:8:31-32, Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Jio: That’s it. Yep.
Tom: Now, along this line, since we’re kind of jumping around, there are things that greatly encourage us, and there are things that we’re very concerned about. You know, social justice - once the young people sort of take hold of that, but they’re led in a wrong direction by people like Jim Wallis of Sojourners, and Tony Campolo, Shane Claiborne, and others, which…this is a works-salvation. This is a social gospel that can’t save anyone. It looks good, it seems to be good, but it’s a real problem, isn’t it?
Jio: It is, and I think that this is also, I would daresay, a reaction and also a consequence from removing ourselves from a rational-based Christianity, and what do I mean by that? For all of the evils that emanated from the Enlightenment Period, certainly it was a very agnostic age, and I think that came to a tipping point, or rather to a head with many of the founding fathers. There was one thing that I think was beneficial from the Enlightenment Age, and that was people were looking for reasonable arguments.
Now, from that we get militant atheism and from that respect you have to look at the enlightenment with skeptical and…with those types of eyes.
So what happens? We arrive now at a generation that is utterly sentimental. Tom, you’re constantly seeing it: people are adopting ideologies and concepts via their emotions, via their sentiments, and when you question them about it, they find that there is no rational basis to espouse what they espouse.
You just mentioned Jim Wallis. Jim Wallis, he says - and mind you, he’s a self-avowed Marxist and a man who is a follower of Dorothy Day, a Marxist Catholic who once traveled to Cuba and said that what Fidel Castro was doing in Cuba was excellent; it was the work of the Lord. This is Jim Wallis and the head of Sojourners who is still going around doing evil things to this day.
I’ll use one example: recently - you know that there’s a heavy debate in the country going on now about illegal vs. legal immigration. Recently Sean Hannity, the host of Hannity on Fox News, he had on a pastor by the name of Samuel Rodriguez. He is the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, and he had him on to debate a militant atheist about what happens if Christianity were to be criminalized in the country, which is slowly but surely happening in the country. And certainly I think that is proper for him to advocate that we should not criminalize Christianity, that Christians also can espouse - and they should take hold of their free speech rights under the Constitution and under natural rights.
But having said that, he had him on, and I’m shaking my head! I’m saying, “How is it possible that Hannity, a self-avowed conservative, could have a man that associates himself in another fashion directly with Jim Wallis? How does he do that?” Well, he belongs to the Evangelical Immigration Table, and through this document, it was asking the federal government to allow illegals to come into the country in a dangerous manner, by the way. A lot of these parents were allowing their children to come from El Salvador and from different places in Central America in dangerous fashion without their parents, and many of them died on the way here. And they were arguing the United States should allow them in under the William Wilberforce anti-trafficking act. Here’s the problem: you find that what they do, people like Samuel Rodriguez and Jim Wallis, they employ the gospel and then they pervert the message of the gospel.
I’ll give you an example: we find that in a speech that he gave at a college - I have the quote right in front of me - he said: “The future of America evangelicalism may very well reside in the political deliberations taking place in Washington DC today on the subject of immigration reform. The fastest growing segment of the evangelical community in America is directly relate to immigration. If we deport today every undocumented individual, churches would lose between 35-41 percent of their congregations.”
So he says, “It’s not about amnesty, and the rule of law. This may very well be the future of American Christianity.”
But it seems like he has a penchant for inconsistency, Tom, because later on he says this: “Evangelical scholars declare Christianity in America will not survive the 21st century in any viable or sustainable manner. Now, I beg to differ, for even if housing markets may crumble, stock markets may plummet, and banks may fail, there is one institution that is guaranteed to always thrive: the church of Jesus Christ is alive and well.” So what am I seeing by this? These men are advancing agendas that are necessarily political in nature, and what do they do? They take the gospel and they make Jesus whatever they want out of him.
You know, you’ve heard the phrases before: “Jesus was the first social revolutionary. Jesus was the first one to challenge the authority of the political figures,” etc., etc. And they subvert the very meaning of the gospel by interjecting into it things that were never meant to be interjected into the gospel, thus nullifying the effect (as the Pharisees were doing and Jesus accused them of doing) the gospel message itself.
So I think we have to be very careful with this, and a lot of youth have fallen for these erroneous and false and fallacious doctrines due to the sentimentalism of this: “Oh, we have to help the poor and the downtrodden.” But wait a minute, let’s examine this in a reasonable manner and see if this does accord with the gospel, which I would daresay 99 percent of the time it does not.
Tom: Mm-hmm. Yeah, Jesus said, “If you have the opportunity, you minister to the poor.” But that was a byproduct of the gospel. And what we’ve seen is it continually - whether it be World Vision or other organizations out there, as you said, there’s an agenda behind it, and the agenda has nothing to do with biblical truth. It has to do with…well, Jim Wallis, he’s the spiritual adviser to Obama, so that should tell you something about what this is about.
Now, Latin America, certainly we could go back to at least the seeds of something like this with the liberation theology among Catholic priests throughout Latin America. Do you see a connection there?
Jio: I do, I do. As a matter of fact, I do. Again, this goes back to what I was saying earlier: Look, let’s…and I hope that the people that when they listen to this, I’m explaining myself properly so that my words will not be lent for misinterpretation (I think they’ll understand what I mean by this): Jesus can be used for anything, and so can the Bible. Throughout the ages, people have taken the pages of the Bible, the verses, and certain - plucked off certain places out of the Bible, and also used Jesus for whatever means. You can do that to anything that is pure in nature. It’s like Paul says: To the defiled everything is defiled, but to the pure everything has to stay pure. Everything is pure. But, you see, to a Bible-believing Christian, you go to the Scriptures, you study it, and you see, Okay, this is what the gospel message is all about. And then when you begin to hear these talking heads, these demagogues, employ Jesus for reasons other than what His mission was in His first coming, then you become suspicious, and you further investigate. And, for example, you were just talking about liberation theology: this is Marxism clothed with Christianity. That’s what it is.
Now, let’s go back to Jim Wallis for a second: Jim Wallis said that when he was in college, he first heard his college professor talk about Jesus opening the Isaiah scroll when He begins His ministry, reading from Isaiah 61. And he hears Him saying that He’s come to help the poor, and he says, “That’s it! I know what I have to do for the rest of my life. I have to go out and help the poor,” and he adopts a Marxist ideology which, by the way, folks, anyone that has experienced communism or has studied about it knows it is an anti-Christian - it is an inherently atheistic ideology.
This is why, for example, Hitler in Germany wanted to eliminate all of the churches and any imagery that had to do with the cross, or Jesus. Any of that, he took it down and placed his image on there, because the state is God, not God Himself; not Jesus, it’s the state.
So Jim Wallis goes about, and he says, “Well, this is what I’m going to do for the rest of my life,” and that’s what he’s been doing now for the latter half of 30 years.
And then people like ourselves, when we study the Scriptures, we arrive at passages where Jesus says, “The poor shall always be with you.”
And you say, “Wait a minute, the poor shall always be with you? I thought that according to Jim Wallis, Jesus Christ, He came to eliminate poverty?”
But the message is very clear, Tom: there are very many reasons, for example, that the poor become poor. It’s not just an external situation. Many people become poor because they make bad choices in life. They revert to drugs, etc., etc., and then trivializing those very instances. And instead of using the proper, pure gospel to counteract that in people’s lives, which is what changes hearts and minds, what do they do? They cloak their political ideology of socialism and communism with Christianity, and they’ll take Jesus Christ and do whatever they want with Him. And once you do that, to me, the unassuming person, the person who has not read their Bible, they’ll say, “Well, since it’s coming from an authority’s mouth like Jim Wallis,” because he is a reverend, as he calls himself, “then he has to be right.” And they don’t ever go to the Scriptures to see if that’s actually what Christ said or did, and they will swiftly follow in those footsteps thinking, I’m doing Christ’s bidding, when in truth it is not.
Tom: Yeah, you know, what’s stunning to me, and I’m sure there are people out there who say, “What are these guys talking about all this socialism stuff, and these issues?” Thirty, thirty-five years ago we had the moral majority. We had the Christian Right, and that was problematic, to be honest with you, in many aspects. And back in those days, Jim Wallis with Sojourners, I use the phrase, “He couldn’t get arrested.” In other words, he was a nonentity back then. To see where he is today and to see that in the church we now have “progressive Christianity…” In other words, among our young people, in particular, but pushed by guys like Tony Campolo, Shane Claiborne (people that I’ve mentioned), we now have the Christian Left! Now who would have…who could imagine that? But here it is in spades! It’s absolutely a stunner, except these are the days that we’re in. This is the apostasy. This is… “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine.” We’re going for the distortion. As you mentioned earlier, we have the distortion of biblical truth, and distorted for somebody’s agenda. And it isn’t just the Christian Left.
Let’s take probably the most well-known of all the “problem solvers,” so called, would be Rick Warren, his PEACE plan, working with all religions to solve poverty and ignorance and all of that stuff. This is so divorced from the Word of God with regard to what’s going to take place, eschatology…but here we are. We’re in those days, and these guys are really underscoring what the Scriptures say will take place.
Tom: But we have about five minutes left, Jio. What can we do? What’s on your heart and mind? I know you mentioned in our first program encouraging young people in the written Word of God. But we also have an increase, a growth, in Hispanics coming to Christ, joining evangelical churches. But isn’t there still…many Hispanics in this country work in the agricultural fields, and you know, the Scripture talks about the fields being ripe for harvest. What can you tell us about that in the minutes that we have left, and how can our listeners pray in particular for your ministry and what you’re doing?
Jio: Well, I thank you for that last portion, and it’s true. I do appreciate people’s prayers in what we’re doing. It certainly helps us out. But I think if I could summarize it, I would daresay the following: number one, consistency is key here. I always hear persons say, “I’m a conservative,” or, “I am a Christian conservative.”
Then I would ask those persons, “What is it that you want to conserve?”
Then many persons would respond to me, “I want to conserve Christianity.”
“Well,” I said, “first live it. If you live it, you will conserve it personally, and then you will also influence other persons to do the same as you are doing.” So in seeing that, just because a person speaks Spanish specifically, or they have not adopted American culture, does not mean that there’s a barrier there. That is insuperable. Why? Because the gospel destroys absolutely every single one of those barriers. So there is no need to alter the message in order to reach out to a particular person that there might be an impediment there because of either language or cultural. I remember the gospel, it transcends absolutely every single one of these things. That’s number one.
And then you were also stating that there is a sense of optimism that we espouse, and it’s true. And the way that I would start that in families, especially that are rearing young children - now, even if your young person is at an advanced age of adolescence, pull them out of the public schooling system. I cannot advocate this more. I’ve done it personally with my own children, and I have seen and reaped the benefits of it. Raise your own children. Educate them; you are more than capable. I think the lie that has become so pervasive in our generation is: “I can’t teach like the public school teachers can.” Well, the problem is that public schooling has become indoctrination centers. They’re no longer teaching our children, what they’re doing is indoctrinating them, especially with anti-Christian concepts. So I see that the numbers of homeschoolers are swelling, and if you look to the statistics, it is very optimistic. Why? Eighty-five percent to 90 percent of children that are homeschooled, they are more than likely than not to stay in the faith and not abandon it. There you go. There’s the Christian principal; there is the biblical answer: Raise your children in the discipline and admonition of the Lord. It doesn’t just - it’s not limited to teaching your children Bible truths, but also to educating them in every single aspect of life. So I would advocate for that, and parents to begin to think about that and put that into action.
Tom: Mm-hmm. You know, just to give you quick personal insight, many of our children in my own family, some we homeschooled, some we had in Christian school, and some we sent to public school. But because it may be an impossibility for some families out there to homeschool, what we would say is you still raise your children up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. When we had our children in public school, we were there. We were there for teachers meetings, we were there wanting to know what they learned, what they were taught, and to bring them back to a biblical truth. So it can happen by the grace of God either way, but it’s certainly encouraging that there are options for people to avoid that which would draw their young people away from the Word of God.
My guest has been Jio Del Cristo, Jiovanne Del Cristo. And, Jio, just real quick give us your website and we’ll say goodbye.
Jio: Certainly: redlettersdialogues.com. It’s plural, and if they would like to communicate with me personally, they can also find my email through the website.
Tom: Jio, thanks so much for being with us. God bless you, brother.
Jio: Thank you for having me. Thank you.
Gary: You’ve been listening to Search the Scriptures 24/7 featuring T.A. McMahon, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. We offer a wide variety of resources to help you in your study of God’s Word. For a complete list of materials and a free subscription to our monthly newsletter, contact us at PO Box 7019 Bend, Oregon 97708. Call us at 800-937-6638, or visit our website at thebereancall.org. I’m Gary Carmichael. Thanks for tuning in, and we hope you can join us again next week. Until then, we encourage you to Search the Scriptures 24/7.