Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7, a radio ministry of The Berean Call with T.A. McMahon. I’m Gary Carmichael; thanks for joining us! In today’s program, Tom wraps up a two-part series with guest Mike Warren as they address the question: “Is There a Worldwide Revival Just Ahead?” And now, here’s Tom.
Tom: Thanks, Gary. Well, this is the second part of our program in which we’re discussing a number of the false teachings and practices that are adversely impacting the body of Christ, and joining me in that discussion is my friend Mike Warren. He’s the pastor of Calvary Chapel Gold Country and is a featured contributor to the DVD Wide Is the Gate: The Emerging New Christianity, which is terrific, folks. It’s a terrific DVD, and I – you know, this is one of Caryl Matrisciana’s productions, and I heartily recommend it. It’s really good stuff. Chris Quintana is another buddy of ours. He comes off pretty good in it, too! [laughing] We love Chris. Anyway, it was really good.
So, Mike, welcome back to Search the Scriptures 24/7.
Mike: Good to be back with you again, Tom.
Tom: Okay, the thing I want to pick up on – you know, we’re going to revisit some of the things that you mentioned, because I think it’s really important, and to let our audience know something that’s been on my heart, and I know they’ve heard it over the past dozen or more radio programs, is, you know, we’re an apologetics ministry. I don’t particularly like that phrase, but apologetics – all it means is we’re trying to raise up a defense for “the faith once and for all delivered unto the saints,” so it’s a matter of defending the Word of God, which defends itself, but sometimes you have to present information and inform people as to where a teaching has gone away from the Word of God, and I think that’s important. But as a ministry, The Berean Call, that’s great to inform people, it’s important, it’s our calling, but then how should we live? How do we help our listeners, help those who read The Berean Call, who follow the ministry, how do we help them to prevent being deceived? What can they do? How then should they live with regard to setting up a spiritual protection based on the Word of God? And we’re going to get into some of that.
So, Mike, last week you mentioned, and I want to quote it because it’s so important, you mentioned 2 Timothy:4:3-4, which is a fulfillment of prophecy, and I’m quoting: “For the time will come,” whoa, there’s prophecy! “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears. And they shall turn away their ears from the truth and shall be turned unto fables.” And, Mike, last week you said “fables,” that’s “myth” in the Greek. It’s myth, it’s mythology, it’s false ideas, and so on.
Now, here’s my question: is that a self-fulfilling prophecy, or simply God knowing beforehand what will happen in our day? In other words, aren’t we all held accountable for what God knows and tells us that will take place?
Mike: Absolutely, and especially as a pastor, one who stands in the pulpit, there should be the fear of the Lord. There should be that understanding that one day you’re going to stand before the true and living God as an under-shepherd. You’re going to stand before the Chief Shepherd, and you’re going to receive a more severe judgment because of the potential that you have to deceive sheep. That’s why I believe that the Word of God has to be our foundation. You know, we’re built upon the foundation of the apostles and the prophets - that’s Old and New Testament, Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone.
And I may have a little different view than some pastors do, and this is why it disturbs me to see what’s going on today with the NAR movement and with this Kingdom Now movement, and the [Seven] Mountain movement where they’re trying to establish again this position or office of apostle or prophet. Because in Hebrews 1, very interesting – Paul (I believe) is the author of the Book of Hebrews. He’s writing to Hebrew Christians; he’s saying this: “In times past and in diverse ways and in diverse matters, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets. But in these last days,” and if you understand that phrase in the Greek, it means the last time God’s going to speak, “He spoke it unto us by His dear Son, whom He’s made heir of all things.” And then it goes on to talk about how He purged our sins by Himself and is now sat down at the right hand of the Father. And so everything that we need to know about who God is and His plan of salvation and His – in the future, as Amos would say, that God does nothing (in chapter 3:7) until first He reveals it to His servants the prophets. Everything we need to know about our walk and our relationship with Christ and how we’re saved – all of this is contained in the Word of God and we have the finality of it. That’s why at the end of Revelation it says, “Any man who adds to or takes from this book, bad things are going to happen to you.”
Mike: We have the complete understanding of what God wanted to communicate, and I’m one of those pastors that believe that if God was able to speak through men in a very inspired way so that the Scripture becomes inerrant, God-breathed – inerrant, authoritative, and inspired, that He’s able to make sure that all of the books that He wanted were put together in what we call the Bible. I believe that is – that Book is divinely inspired; I believe that it is divinely transmitted, and that it is the final authority for our lives.
Tom: Mike, can I interject just one thing here?
Tom: What’s the other option? There is no other option, unless you want to go with the speculations, the opinions, the ideas, the guesses of mankind. Either God has spoken to us directly, okay as you just…
Mike: The true church has no other option!
Tom: Right! The option is…
Mike: And a true pastor has no other option.
Tom: I can’t see any other option, unless you’re comfortable with extra-biblical revelation, unless you’re comfortable with, again, ideas, guesses, speculations, and all that of mankind, which is ludicrous.
Mike: Speaking out of your own imagination and saying things that God hasn’t said, and not challenging the people. And I’m not saying that God doesn’t still speak, you know, through the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but it’s not going to contradict the Scriptures.
Tom: Right, right. And it’s going to be personal and subjective, you know. It’s not...God could speak to my heart. You know, the principle is there in the Word of God for God to speak to us. But this is not the Word of God in terms of what He – Mike, just what you articulated, why He has to tell us these things, what this is about, what that’s about, because we cannot figure it out on our own. Number one, we’re finite, and He’s infinite. Number two, we are fallen, okay? So, you know, we’re behind the eight ball big time.
Mike: To think that we are wiser than God, that’s idolatry. As a pastor – and I tell people I’m just a simple Bible teacher, and I know enough to know how to rightly divide the Word of God, but I also know enough to know that it is God’s Word that changes people’s lives. It’s God’s Word that we stand upon. It is the rock, it is the foundation, and I’ve had people come to our church that would tell me, “Well, where do you get the structure for your services?”
Because we pray before the service, we have a group of people that meet in the prayer room. We pray, we start our service with prayer and with humility, thanking God for His grace and for His mercy, for His kindness, for His forgiveness, for His long-suffering toward us. Then we have a time of worship, and then from there we pray for the needs of the body and then we teach through the Bible, always New Testament on Sunday morning, always Old Testament on Wednesday nights. And I’ve had people say to me, “Well, I go to other churches and they don’t have the same structure.”
Well, you go back to Nehemiah, because they say, “You can’t find it in the Bible.” Nehemiah, when they came out of captivity, and you remember when Joshua the high priest, and Ezra, and those guys, Zerubbabel went back and they finished building the temple, and then Nehemiah came and built the walls, when they came out of captivity, what they did was they stood and they worshiped with their hands raised in surrender and their heads bowed in humility. And then when that was done, the priests stood and they read distinctly from the Scriptures, and they made them to understand the sense of it. I think that’s what church is about. We worship the true and living God, and we surrender our lives to His Lordship, and we bow our heads in humility to Him, because we confess that “We don’t know, but You know, Father. You know best. And so help us through the anointing of the Holy Spirit to understand and rightly divide Your Word of truth.”
A couple years ago, I really saw the need in our fellowship to really teach Bible doctrine. I know that’s an unheard of thought today in the church, because, you know, I was told if you teach Bible doctrine, people won’t come. We had 115 people sign up for a class that lasted nine months on Monday nights in our church, and we went through theology, and we went through Christology, we went through the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, we went through soteriology, you know, we went through ecclesiology, and we went through eschatology. And at the end, those people that went all the way through the class got a certificate of completion.
Well, not only did we have the greatest majority, probably 95 percent that started the class finished it, but we had other churches asking if, because people were saying, “Hey, we don’t get Bible doctrine in our church,” so we had to put it on our website with the PDF form so you could pull down the notes. And it’s amazing how many people are studying it. How do you serve a God that you don’t know who He is?
Tom: No. Well, Jesus said, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and don’t do the things that I say?”
Tom: Well, this is consistent with the verse that I read earlier: “The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine.” Well, why is it that they are not doing what Jesus said? Why is it? Because they’re not reading the Word of God. And, Mike, we’re really going to major on that for the last part of this session.
But I want to come back to one thing here, because this is the issue, and we mentioned this last week, but remember that Jesus was asked by His disciples, “What will be the sign of your coming?”
And the first words that He said: “Take heed that no man deceive you.” That anybody who is a – claims to be – a Bible-believing Christian has to recognize that deception in these last days, as we move toward the return of Jesus Christ, it’s going to increase and increase and increase. So, take heed that no man deceive you. This is what the Bible refers to as the apostasy, as – or in...you know, the admonition in...I think it’s in Hebrews 2: “Take heed lest ye drift away.” Do you see that across the board?
Mike: Well, absolutely, and that’s what is happening today, and you asked about, you know, 2 Timothy 4, if that was a self-fulfilling prophecy or God foreseeing. I think God is warning us through Paul, especially pastors, because that’s a pastoral epistle, this is what’s going to take place. People are going to no longer endure sound doctrine, and it’s…we’re called to “study to show ourselves approved, workmen who need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth.” And to study God’s Word to the degree that we’re supposed to is work! It’s not easy, but we study it so that we know who God is, who His Son is, what His Son has done for us, we want to understand the nature and the character of our God so that when we hear something that’s against His nature and character we know that it’s false. For example, the guy that does our insurance here – we have Church Mutual Insurance. They send out a guy every year, and they check the building out and everything, see if we’ve added anything so that they can write us a new policy. Well, the young man who came here, Chas, was a graduate from John MacArthur’s School of Ministry Masters College, and he’s a five-point Calvinist. And after we signed the contract and did all the things for the next year, he said, “Listen, I know that you guys are Arminians, you Calvary Chapel types.” And I said, “I’m not an Arminian.”
Mike: And he said, “Well, then you’re a Calvinist?”
And I said, “I’m not a Calvinist either.”
He goes, “Then what are you?”
And I said, “I’m a biblicist. Truth is like a river: it runs between two banks.”
And he said, “Well, what do you think about Calvinism?”
I said, “I think it’s wrong, and I think it’s offensive.”
And he said to me, “Well, what do you mean you think it’s wrong and an offense?”
I said, “It’s an offense and it’s an attack against the very nature and character of the God that I love and serve.”
And he said, “Well, I’ve got to hear this.”
And I said, “Your very first point: total depravity. You teach that mankind is so totally depraved that he can’t even respond to the Holy Spirit unless the Lord chooses him to respond, and to some…And, you guys, you know, it’s a moving target, because you use different terminology, but basically, God chooses some to be saved and some to be damned. Do you believe that?”
And he goes, “Absolutely, and we should rejoice that God has chosen some to be saved.”
I said, “Wrong. Let me ask you a few questions, Chas: how did you become a sinner?”
He said, “Well, Adam sinned.”
“That’s right. By no causation of your own, sin entered the world, and death reigned through sin and has come to you and me so that we were conceived, as David said, in sin and we were born in transgression. Did you cause that?”
“Neither did I. So I became a sinner of no causation of my own. Now, if God would not give me a way out, an ability to choose right or wrong, how could he send me to a devil’s hell forever when by no causation of my own I became a sinner and He never gave me a way out?” I said, “You need to base every doctrine on the premise that God is holy – not that He’s sovereign, as you Calvinists do, or not that the emergent church, or this whole new seeker-sensitive church, is basing it on the love of God. Those are attributes, but above everything else, God is holy, and the reason we know that is He has creatures assigned that do nothing all day and all night but cry, ‘Holy, holy, holy.’” And I told him, “It’s not for God’s benefit. He hasn’t forgotten that He’s holy, but we have forgotten.”
And so, we have to come back to the Word of God, and we have to believe and trust that it is inerrant, inspired, and authoritative, and we have to trust as we study it that we understand the nature and the character of our God, and if we hear anything that’s contradictory to that, then we have to have our ears perk up with discernment and say, “That’s not right.”
Tom: And, Mike, some of the things you’re talking about – Calvinism – some things they make incredibly complex, but some things are so obvious. You know, a simple question to the guy that did your insurance is : “Explain to me the Great White Throne Judgment.”
Tom: I mean, it’s absurd. It’s a charade. It’s...talk about mocking the character of God! How can you be judging someone who is predestined to the Lake of Fire before time began?
Mike: My point exactly, Tom. Because at the end of this thing, the angels are going to declare, “Righteous and true altogether are thy judgments, O God.” And you know what? You and I, Tom, when we’re there safely on the other side in His kingdom, we’re going to be able to say the same thing: “Righteous and true altogether are thy judgments, O God.”
Tom: Mike, we’ve got just not too many minutes left here in this session, but I do want to underscore a couple of things that we’ve talked about personally and you kind of referred to it in part one of the series: spiritual protection. The times – apostasy is growing incredibly, exponentially. There are issues going on that are seducing true believers in Christ, and, you know, whether you be a shepherd of the sheep, as you are, or just head of the – spiritual head of the household, we’ve got to put things in place to protect ourselves spiritually. And the Word of God – well, that is it, first and foremost, and you know, I’ve talked about the Word of God, prayer and fellowship, and I just want you to touch on each one of these things briefly with regard to how this is God’s antidote: this is the prevention program for the last days, for the days that we’re in, so that a believer can be fruitful and productive in Christ, not seduced by these false ideas and false teachings, or getting on a program which in fact is working to help develop the religion or the kingdom of the Antichrist.
So let’s start with the Word of God, and then hit prayer, and then fellowship. I’d like to get your perspective.
Mike: Those are extremely important to me, because I believe that they are the defense mechanism God has given us against false teaching. I think that’s what we saw in the early church there in Acts 2 when it said they continued steadfastly in the Word of God, and in prayer, and in fellowship. And the product of that was, as they were honoring the Lord for what He had done, that’s the communion table, and there was the fear of the Lord or the awe of God with them. Now, I believe, and we teach here at our church, that every man is the pastor of his own home, and how would you pastor your home? And we do a Monday night, now, men’s discipleship group: how would you pastor your home without the authority of God’s Word? That is our authority, and you’re required to study it. It’s the defense mechanism. David said, “Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I would not sin against you, O God.”
The Bible says in Psalm:119:89, “Forever, O Lord, thy word is settled in the heavens.”
And Psalm:139:2 it says that, “God honors his word above his name.”
We are commanded by Paul in his epistle to study the Word, that we would be “workmen who need not to be ashamed who can rightly divide the word of truth.” Jesus used the Word when He was defending Himself against Satan: “It is written.” And here’s the living Word quoting the written Word! “It is written, Satan: Man shall not live by bread alone. It is written that you shouldn’t tempt the Lord your God. It is written that you should serve no other God but the true and living God. It’s written.” That’s the authority that we use, and listen, when David prayed, he prayed Scripture, and he reminded God of His promises and of His Word. The Word has to become, as it did in Jesus, it has to become in us, as the Son of God, as an adopted son, the Word has to become flesh in us. It should have the greatest position and place in our lives. That’s number one.
Prayer is our foundation. It’s what we stand upon. It’s our sure rock. It’s what we trust. But then prayer brings us into relationship. I can’t tell you how many times, Tom, I’ve sat alone with my Bible open and in prayer (and I do it every morning), and God, He just reaffirms and refreshes, and He, again, pours His spirit upon me again, and He circumcises my heart, and then reminds me that I’m His son, and I don’t have to listen to the lies of the world – that what I have in my lap is absolute truth, and it just is like communicating with your wife. It brings relationship.
And then fellowship brings accountability; it brings encouragement. We’re going through Ecclesiastes on Monday night with our men, and we just went through Ecclesiastes 3 and Ecclesiastes 4, where it talks about two can do more than twice as much as one, because when one falls, the other one’s there to pick him up, and a threefold cord is not easily broken. And if Christ is wrapped around you and any other relationship, whether it be a marriage or your church – listen, you’re protected! So, I see these things…and I’ve heard people say, “Well, tell me what the essentials are and what the nonessentials are.” Listen, everything the Bible teaches is an essential. It’s an essential for me! And the essential is that God commands me to study His Word. When I first got saved, I started memorizing verses, because I knew that my mind was messed up. And for twenty years I’d lived a life under the influence of the god of this world, the wicked one, and I needed my brain to be washed. And so I started memorizing scripture, and when I got to over 300 scriptures, I started memorizing chapters. And I found that as the Word of God began to wash over my mind and over my heart, it began to change how I thought; it gave me a different worldview. In fact, it changed how I lived. It changed about the places I went.
And then, prayer: I’m going to tell you, prayer became the most important part of my Christian walk after studying the Word, because, “Lord, without You helping me, what can I do? What can I know?” And then I realized His commandment was not to neglect the assembling of ourselves together. I needed encouragement. I needed accountability. I needed men in my life that were willing to risk our relationship by correcting me and holding me accountable.
Man, how do you make it in this world today, Tom, without those things?
Tom: You don’t, and that’s the deal. And going back to the times – the end times – being deceptive, Mike, you’ve had this experience, I’ve had it not too long ago, putting the Bible before a young man and saying, “Look, this is my authority. What’s your authority?”
And this guy was out of the whole emerging church movement and so on – a leader in that – and he said, “Well, my God is bigger than that book.”
Mike: Your God IS that book.
Tom: That’s right.
Mike: You don’t know your God but by that Book.
Mike: The Bible says, “Who by searching has understood God to perfection?”
Tom: So, Mike, my response to him was “So then, who’s your authority?” But let me move on to the second point. What about prayer? We’re told about the whole contemplative movement that this is the way you draw more intimately and closer to God. Lectio Divina? Repeating Jesus’ name 200 times? That’s communication? That’s personal, intimate communication? That’s stupidity!
And then, fellowship. Mike, you’re in an area where guys like to hunt and get out and fish and…
Mike: Oh, we fellowship like you can’t believe here.
Tom: Yeah, but here’s the thing. How many times have you heard, “Well, I don’t really need church. I just go out in God’s wonderful creation and commune with Him.” Those kind of lone rangers, okay?, Satan loves them. They will knock them right out of the saddle as quick as anything.
Mike: So, when you fall, who’s there to pick you up?
Tom: Absolutely! We need each other, especially, you know, we’re talking about a remnant church. We’re talking about circling the wagons. Sadly, but this is what the Word of God says, the circles are getting smaller. But it doesn’t mean that we give up on fellowship. No, we need it more than ever. We need prayer more than ever. We need to be in the Word of God as a habit. Not just as a…”Oh, let’s come in and hear what Mike has to say. All well and good for that.” But, Mike, you know, if your body, if your fellowship is not doing it on their own habitually – I’m talking about the best habit they could possibly have, they’re in trouble. It’s as simple as that.
Mike: We start every Monday night as our men’s discipleship class, because they’re being called to pastor in their own homes. And we start our group out by saying, “Do you have any questions about where you’ve been grazing into Scripture apart from our Sunday morning, Sunday night, or Monday night studies?”
And sometimes, we don’t even get to the chapter we’re going to be studying in the Word because I’m answering questions because these guys are searching the Scriptures. I mean, they’re hungry for the Word of God.
Here’s my position as a pastor: The Word of God is how we know God He revealed Himself through His written Word. That’s how we know His nature, His character. That’s how we know how we’re saved. Everything we need to know is contained in the Word of God. Prayer brings us into an intimate relationship with Him, and, again, it’s not these chants or vain repetitions, as Jesus said. If you talk to your wife like the contemplative people pray, there’s no communication there! You know, I go to my Father and say, “You’re my Father, and I love you, but I need help here. I need wisdom there. I need forgiveness in this other place. My heart sometimes tends to be very prideful. I need, Lord, that you would help me with those things. And then, fellowship.
Mike: Tom, these are the things that will sustain us in these last days.
Mike: Because the Bible says there’s going to be perilous times. Things are not going to get better. They’re going to get worse and worse. Deceivers and people being deceived – how do we not be deceived? How do we navigate through this minefield – what we would call “the Last Days” – it is through the Word of God. It is through prayer. It is through fellowship with one another.
Tom: Amen. Amen.
Mike: And we’ll get…the true church will get safely on the other side this yet.
Tom: My guest has been Mike Warren. He’s the pastor of Calvary Chapel Gold Country, and as I mentioned he’s been a featured contributor to the DVD Wide Is the Gate: The Emerging New Christianity. Mike, good stuff, bro! Absolutely good stuff. So, thank you so much for being on Search the Scriptures 24/7.
Mike: Well, thank you, Tom
Gary: You’ve been listening to Search the Scriptures 24/7 hosted by 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 the bereancall.org. I’m Gary Carmichael. Thanks for joining us, and we hope you can tune in again next week. Until then, we encourage you to Search the Scriptures 24/7.