February 3, 2007

Religious Snobbery

Over the last 25 years of being around Christian apologists, writers and theologians, I have seen two types of people who have become well known in the work of defending the faith. The first kind do so out of concern for souls in an effort to evangelize unbelievers and to steer believers out of harmís way. To them, they would say with the Apostle Paul, "woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!" (1 Cor. 9:16) and, I would add, woe is me if I defend not the gospel as well.

And then thereís the other kind Ė the ones who are interested in controversy and debate. The apostle Paul exposed this sort of attitude when he said, "he has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind (1 Timothy 6:4b-5a).

I can testify to the fact that the second kind despises the first kind. The attributes of the second kind are easy to spot:

  • They quote other theologians and creeds on equal authority as Godís word;
  • They compromise the truth for expediency Ė will share platforms with heretics without confronting error, if it will give their ministry more exposure;
  • They are ecumenical Ė will even show up on Catholic programs with the rationalization that "they are within the pale of orthodoxy";
  • They are boastful of their accomplishments;
  • They despise those who believe the Lordís return is near;
  • They show off or accentuate their "credentials" and the initials behind their name;
  • And they look down on those without "credentials."

One dear brother of the first kind is author Dave Hunt whose books "The Seduction of Christianity, "A Woman Rides the Beast," and "Judgment Day" have opened the eyes of so many Christians to the perils we face today. Hunt writes from the perspective that the Lordís return is near and so as a servant of the Lord he must try and rescue others from falling into the traps set by the spirit of antichrist who is at work in our midst. I share this motivation in all that I do in ministry. The books above shed the light of scripture onto three areas of concern in these last days Ė New Age mysticism in the professing church; ecumenism with Rome; and Godís purposes for Israel Ė in that order.

As a result, he has endured the scorn of many of the second kind whose venom is downright vicious. I have never seen any person in the church today more the focus of unreasonable wrath by errant brothers than Dave Hunt. And itís so irrational.

For instance, ten years ago his Berean Call ministries sponsored a gathering of former Catholics to examine the seditious document called ECT (Evangelicals and Catholic Together), an agreement between Catholics and apostate Evangelicals not to proselytize one another. In an effort to give this important conference more exposure, upon the request of the sponsors, I approached Christianity Today magazine to do a story on the event. The then editor, John Kennedy, agreed to allow me to write the story on the condition that I would not "quote Dave Hunt or his ilk." I was about to tell them where they could go, but at the request of the sponsors I bit my lip and wrote the article.

Apologists Gretchen Passantino and her late husband Bob Passantino, wrote a book aimed at Dave Hunt, called Witch Hunt (notice the play on words). I commented on this in an article I wrote in 1995 for The Christian Sentinel noting: "One of Passantinoís biggest complaints against Seduction was that the author did not follow Matthew 18 guidelines in dealing with the false teachers. However, in a subsequent book by Mrs. Passantino in conjunction with her husband, Bob, called Witch Hunt, they took a total reversal of that stand, exempting cult watchers against the Matthew 18 requirement when dealing with public teaching." 

[For an update on the activities of Gretchen Passantino, see my Reflection of August 1, 2006.]

The apologists of the second kind always look down their noses at the defenders of the faith whose only authority is the Word of God. Just this week someone forwarded me an email dated February 1st from an apologetics list serve called AR-Talk. It was a request for information from fellow apologists on the subject of Catholicism by former CRI researcher Paul Carden. As I was reading it, I was thinking about how I could assist him in his call for documentation until I got to the end which read, "P.S. Nothing by Dave Hunt, please!" With that said, he certainly didnít merit any response.

It is unbelievable to see such religious snobbery from a man who didnít have the backbone to stand up for his fellow apologists whose lives were being decimated by CRI president Hank Hanegraaff when he worked at the Christian Research Institute. In fact, a majority of CRIís researchers kept their mouths shut as Hanegraaff fired them one by one as he memorized their knowledge and had no further need of them. Carden was one of the last to go. (For details see: "The CRI Connection" written by the daughter of CRIís founder, the late Walter Martin.)

However, unlike the apologists of the second kind, Dave Hunt is one who walks the talk. I have known him for 25 years and his life has never had a hint of scandal. The sincerity of this humble manís love for the Lord, in spite of what men may think of him, has stood the test of time. He consistently speaks the truth in love and his excitement for the Lordís soon return is contagious. What a person thinks of Dave Hunt is, in my opinion, a trustworthy litmus test as to whether or not they are solid Christians. Even in his old age he doesnít seem to be slowing down in his service to his Lord.

♥♥♥

Dear Lord, thank you for servants like Dave Hunt. I pray you would bless his health so the church can continue to be warned and edified by his faithful handling of the Word of truth. Raise up more men like him that would stir up the faith of many to endure steadfast to the end. Thank you for the honor of knowing such living saints who have been wonderful examples for us to follow in our service to You and one another. Thank you for pouring out your Spirit upon those who are not qualified to be a part of Mensa, as You use the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. By Your Holy Spirit give us Your wisdom as we study to show ourselves approved by You irregardless of what man thinks. To Your glory, for Your purposes in Jesusí name. Amen.

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