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Who Persecuted The Prophets? --David Goes to Church!

By David Brandt Berg, #1942 1/85
The Stoning of Stephen
The Stoning of Stephen

WHEN YOU'RE PERSECUTED, JESUS SAYS, "REJOICE and BE EXCEEDING GLAD, FOR SO PERSECUTED THEY THE PROPHETS WHICH WERE BEFORE YOU!" (Mat.5:12) Well, we've got lots of Jews today, but we've got lots of Protestants, Catholics and other religious people and Systemites who also believe in persecuting the Prophets and will give you a hard time when you're going door-to-door. And even if you went down the whole block and around the block and several blocks and nobody gave you any trouble, it only takes running into one that gets mad, curses you out, slams the door and says "Get off here or I'm gonna call the cops!"--And then does go and call the cops!

LIKE THAT TIME I WAS AT THAT {VOICE OF HEALING} MEETING WITH THAT FAMOUS HEALING EVANGELIST, I've forgotten his name, editor of one of the most popular healing and Full Gospel magazines in the United States. Outside of Oral Roberts' paper and the official Pentecostal Evangel, the Voice of Healing was the third most popular evangelistic paper. And you know Mama Eve, she was always trying to drag me to church, and I'd always protest. She'd almost drag me by the hair of the head or the heels trying to get me to go to church, usually because she wanted to get the kids a booking and get a little offering etc., God bless her, and that was her way of witnessing. Churches were a good place to get a good offering if they'd let you in.

BUT SOME OF THEM WERE PRETTY SMART, THEY'D SAY, "WELL, AREN'T YOU MARRIED, WHERE IS THE FATHER?" She'd say, "Well, yes, but he's at home" or "He's on business" or something. "Well, we'd like to meet him, can't you bring him along too? After all, it's going to be Sunday, why not bring him too? We'd like to meet him so we can get acquainted with the whole family before we give you a definite date or answer."

WELL, THAT'S ABOUT THE WORST THING THEY COULD POSSIBLY HAVE DONE, BECAUSE YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENED EVERY TIME I WENT TO CHURCH! The preacher would get up and start preaching something wrong and twisting the Scripture or downright lying or saying something completely false, deceiving the people, and I just couldn't take it! God's Word says, "They which sin before all rebuke before all, that others may fear!" (1Tim.5:20)--One of my favourite mottos! And that's a good way of witnessing because you've got a readymade captive audience, except it's pretty dangerous.

SO THIS GUEST PREACHER THEY HAD THERE, THIS EVANGELIST, STARTED PREACHING THAT GOD DIDN'T MAKE THE DEVIL, that God was not responsible for sickness and He was not responsible for the blind, the lame, the deaf, the dumb, etc. I took all I could, but finally I nudged Aaron. He was usually my scapegoat and I could get him to speak for me. He had as little sense as I did and as much guts and I could get him to be my mouthpiece. I said, "Aaron, why don't you get up and quote him so-and-so!" And Eve would reach over from the other end of the line and say, "Don't do it, Aaron! We might get a booking in this church, it's just going to cause trouble, don't do it!"--She was whispering away!

FINALLY NOBODY ELSE STOOD WITH ME and I FELT LIKE THE APOSTLE WHEN HE SAID, "NO MAN STOOD WITH ME" (2Tim.4:16), and I STOOD UP BY MYSELF! I said, "Just a minute, Brother, excuse me, but what are you going to do with Exodus 4:11 where it says, 'I the Lord thy God hath made the dumb, the deaf, the blind, the lame'? And what are you going to do with the fact that the Scripture indicates that Satan or Lucifer was an archangel of God, created by the Lord? What are you going to do with some of these Scriptures that indicate that God created everything, He made everything?" You guys could quote that, couldn't you, from John Chapter One? (Fam: "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him.") "All things were made by Him!" That's a Scripture plain as can be!

BUT THIS GUY WAS PREACHING ORIENTAL TAOISM, PURE and SIMPLE! Do you know what the Taoists of the Orient preach? Tao means there's two of everything, so they say there are also two gods, one good and one evil, God and the Devil, the two eternal principles of good and evil, and God, the good one, couldn't have possibly created the evil one, no, no, no! So he was preaching that stuff right there, although he was a good supposed Christian, healing evangelist and Pentecostal!

DO YOU KNOW HOW THEY GOT INTO IT?--THROUGH THAT BODY DOCTRINE, THE LATTER RAIN DOCTRINE. They got off into this kick that, "Every Christian should be rich, every Christian should be in super perfect health, there was no excuse for a Christian being poor or poverty-stricken. There are lots of Scriptures to show that you should be rich and you should never be sick, so there must be something wrong with you if you're sick, you must be an awful sinner to ever get sick, because no Christian should ever be sick!" Well, I'll grant you that there are lots of Scriptures promising you health and wealth, but there are also lots of Scriptures to show that you might sometimes be poor and you might sometimes be sick, and lots of Scriptures to prove that God is sometimes responsible for it, as well as the Devil and evil!

WELL, I STARTED GETTING UP and PREACHING THAT and QUOTING HIM SCRIPTURES. I could do better then than I can now. Only I turned around and called on Aaron. I said, "Isn't that so, Aaron? Now you give him the references!"--Because he was my lawyer and he always knew exactly where they were found. But he sat there mumbling with his head down, he was scared because Mother Eve was yelling at him.--Well, whispering at him, one of those stage whispers you could hear clear across the room!--And he was scared! Here he was torn between Dad's crazy dangerousness and dear Mom's line of safety. In fact, the safe way was the more lucrative way too.

THE PREACHER HIMSELF STOOD THERE JUST APPALLED and AMAZED! He was struck dumb, in silence, he couldn't say a word, not a word, the Lord must have just bound his tongue, and I just kept on very quietly. It was just a small group, in a small little chapel there at the headquarters of the printing office of Voice of Healing. Maybe it's a good thing I can't remember his name, he might want to sue me for libel or something! But anyway, the bigshot, the author of the Voice of Healing, who owned and ran the place and the thing there, he finally got fed up because the preacher, his visiting evangelist, was struck dumb, had no answer, said nothing!

HE WAS SITTING WAY OVER AT THE SIDE OF THE CONGREGATION, and FIRST OF ALL HE SHOUTED OUT, "SHUT UP, BROTHER! THIS IS MY PLACE, LET THE PREACHER PREACH!" I said, "Well, I'm just quoting him a few Scriptures, that's all, are you afraid of the Scriptures?" Whew! There's nothing that the Scribes and the Pharisees hate like telling'm they don't believe the Bible or they don't keep the law! They listened to dear martyr Stephen, they even listened to all that business about God doesn't even dwell in your temple, etc., until he said, "You don't even keep the law!" (Acts 7:53)--Then they ran on him like dogs and bit him and stoned him to death! When I told him he wasn't believing the Bible and quoting him Bible, he said, "You get out of here and shut up! This is my place! You're interrupting a religious service, and that's against the law!"

THAT'S A LAW THEY CAN GET YOU ON, IT IS AGAINST THE LAW IN MOST PLACES TO DISTURB A RELIGIOUS MEETING OF ANY KIND. You can't even get up and speak your piece or give your testimony. Some of them would throw you out for saying "Praise the Lord" or "Hallelujah," because you disturbed a religious meeting! Remember the story I told you about the old lady who got carried out by two ushers because she was saying "Praise the Lord" too loud? As she went out she said, "Well, praise God anyhow, the Lord only had one ass to carry Him and I've got two!"

SO THIS GUY CALLED THE COPS! He said, "If you don't shut up right now, I'm going to phone the police!" And I tried to start arguing with him a little bit then. He said, "That's it, I've had it! I told you to shut up and you wouldn't, now I'm going to call the cops!" So he walked out of the room to his office and I decided it was time to go. I said to the family, "Okay, folks, let's go! Let's forget it! They won't listen, they won't hear, the Lord says forget it! You've done your part. If they won't hear, you don't have to cast your pearls before swine and give your food to the dogs, let's go!"--And I stomped out!--Truly thinking that my little family were stomping out behind me.

BUT I GOT OUTSIDE THE FRONT DOOR and LOOKED AROUND and I WAS ALL BY MYSELF! Not one of them had the guts to get up and walk out with me because Mama Eve had told them to sit still. Of course, the children were pretty small then. Aaron was about David's age in those days and they were afraid of Mama Eve. She ruled with an iron hand sometimes, and if that didn't work, she used my hand! Anyway, they obeyed Mama Eve and stayed there and they were scared and she was telling them maybe they could still get a meeting there. "Let Daddy go, he's a fanatic, he's a fool, he's crazy! We'll just stay here and sit it out."--And they did.

WELL, I WENT OUT and GOT IN MY CAR, and IT SO HAPPENED OUR CAR WAS PARKED RIGHT OPPOSITE HIS OFFICE WINDOW and I HEARD HIM ON THE PHONE CALLING THE COPS. I was going to sit out in the car and wait for Mother Eve and the kids, I thought surely they'd come. But when I actually heard him on the phone calling the cops, I thought, "Well, it's time for me to go and get away from this place!" So I walked around looking for a place to hide, and there was a bowling alley around the corner and I went in the bowling alley and got a cup of cocoa or something and waited. I thought, "Surely my family will come out!" I kept looking around the corner to see if they'd come out to the car yet and I was going to hightail it over there and jump in and run. I even looked around the corner once and the cops were there, and he was charging me with disturbing a religious service, trespassing and blah blah! They were jotting down all the information, two cops in a squad car, and then they left, thank God. I thought, "My goodness, when are my kids ever going to come out of there?"

IT TURNED OUT THAT THE PREACHER FINALLY WENT ON and PREACHED THE REST OF HIS SERMON and THEY STAYED THERE FOR THE WHOLE BIT. Then the big boss shook hands with Eve and said, "Well, very happy to have met you." These preachers are like diplomats, they can smile to your face and knife you in the back! They can lie to you just as glibly as any diplomat. Diplomat is another word for a liar! That's their business. You know the old joke about a soldier's duty is to die for his country, but a diplomat's duty is to lie for his country! So these preachers, they can lie themselves blue in the face! "So happy to have you here!"--He wasn't a bit happy to have had us there! "So sorry, but we just don't have any opening right now, maybe you can come back sometime later, glad to have you" blah blah! Some of those preachers are the biggest liars you ever want to hear, so-called diplomats. There's a difference between that kind of diplomacy and being tactful and having enough sense not to offend people like I was doing! But that's just me, that's the way I am, I'm sorry. When I get in a situation like that I have to not only bark, sometimes I bite!

.

BUT I'LL TELL YOU, I NEVER THOUGHT I'D EVER HAVE TO WAIT SO LONG! The people left, the evangelist left, finally I even saw the preacher's car leave and my kids and Eve were still sitting out there in the car in front of the church waiting for me. Bless their little hearts, at least they weren't going to leave without me, although Eve could drive and they knew the way home and I was big enough to take care of myself. So finally I risked it. I figured, "Well, everybody's gone" and I ran over there quick and jumped in the car and peeled off! Sometimes it's better to peel off than appeal to the court! So I did, and that was it. PTL!

Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family International


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James Arendt

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