Faith for my deliverance is not faith in God. Faith means, whether I am visibly delivered or not, I will stick to my belief that God is love. There are some things only learned in a fiery furnace.
Oswald Chambers in Run Today's Race.
John Paton was a missionary in the New Hebrides Islands. One night hostile natives surrounded the mission station, intent on burning out the Patons and killing them. Paton and his wife prayed during that terror-filled night that God would deliver them. When daylight came they were amazed to see their attackers leave. A year later, the chief of the tribe was converted to Christ. Remembering what had happened, Paton asked the chief what had kept him from burning down the house and killing them. The chief replied in surprise, "Who were all those men with you there?" Paton knew no men were present--but the chief said he was afraid to attack because he had seen hundreds of big men in shining garments with drawn swords circling the mission station.
In 1883 in Allentown, New Jersey, a wooden Indian -- the kind that was seen in front of cigar stores -- was placed on the ballot for Justice of the Peace. The candidate was registered under the fictitious name of Abner Robbins. When the ballots were counted, Abner won over incumbent Sam Davis by 7 votes. A similar thing happened in 1938. The name Boston Curtis appeared on the ballot for Republican Committeeman from Wilton, Washington. Actually, Boston Curtis was a mule. The town's mayor sponsored the animal to demonstrate that people know very little about the candidates. He proved his point. The mule won!
Our Daily Bread, November 3, 1992.
True story. A Christian leader -- we'll call him Steve -- was traveling recently by plane. He noticed that the man sitting two seats over was thumbing through some little cards and moving his lips. The man looked professorial with his goatee and graying brown hair, and Steve placed him at fifty-something. guessing the man was a fellow-believer, Steve leaned over to engage him in conversation. "Looks to me like you're memorizing something," he said. "No, actually I was praying," the man said. Steve introduced himself. "I believe in prayer too," he said. "Well, I have a specific assignment," said the man with the goatee. "What's that?" Steve asked. "I'm praying for the downfall of Christian pastors." "I would certainly fit into that category," Steve said. "Is my name on the list?" "Not on my list," the man replied.
Common Ground, Vol. 10, No. 7.
Statistics and Stuff
The Bible teaches that the origin of false doctrines (1 Timothy 4:1) and the origin of all false religion is demonic (1 Corinthians 10:19-20). This explains the frequency of demon possession among people of false religions and the strong demonic opposition of missionary work in so many places throughout the world.
As I mentioned earlier, the faith teachers maintain that when Adam sinned, the world was turned over to Satan. The devil became the legal owner of the planet. The faith teacher's position accommodates the Gnostic view (particularly evident in Zoroastrianism, a Persian Gnostic religion), in which a good god rules the spiritual world and a bad god rules the physical realm. In such a philosophy the problem of evil is solved by blaming everything that goes wrong on the bad god (the devil); the good god is seen as no more than a counterbalance. One is left with the impression that the two gods each possess equal power both in quality and quantity. Everything that is wrong in the world is the fault of the bad god. And it's up to the initiate or believer to make sure the good god wins. When Jimmy Swaggart defied the orders of the Assemblies of God to refrain from preaching for one year, he assured the public that he was free of moral defect, for, he said, Oral Roberts had cast out the demons from his body over the phone. Oral Roberts confirmed Swaggart's report, insisting he had demons and their their claws deeply embedded in Swaggart's flesh. Now that the rascals were gone, Swaggart and Roberts asserted, Swaggart could get on with preparing the way for Christ's return. Evidently, personal responsibility for sin can be dismissed by blaming it on an external force. Yet Flip Wilson's famous quip, "The devil made me do it" is hardly comedy when we're talking about the biblical view of sin.
For these metaphysical evangelists, even personal sins can be attributed to the bad god, since he is, after all, sovereign over this earthly realm as the good god is relatively in charge of the spiritual domain. Here again, then, is the echo of the Gnostics of old. When that heresy was revived toward the end of the medieval period, Calvin said, "They made the devil almost the equal of God." In this way, the problem of sin is replaced with the problem of Satan. It is facing Satan, not my own sin and rebelliousness, that becomes the great task of the Christian life. I'm not the problem -- the Devil is!
The Agony of Deceit by Michael Horton, Editor 1990, Moody Press, pp. 132-133.
"You don't go look at where it happened," said Scott Goodyear, who starts 33rd [speaking of race-car drivers who have been killed in crashes at the Indianapolis 500]. "You don't watch the films of it on television. You don't deal with it. You pretend it never happened." The Speedway operation itself encourages this approach. As soon as the track closes the day of an accident, a crew heads out to paint over the spot where the car hit the wall. Through the years, a driver has never been pronounced dead at the race track. A trip to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Racing Museum, located inside the 2.5-mile oval, has no memorial to the 40 drivers who have lost their lives here. Nowhere is there even a mention.
I was once conducting a rap session with high school teenagers. I told them that they could ask me any question on any subject, and I would try and answer it. Their questions were typical of ones I had received in similar sessions scores of times before. As the session drew to a close, one girl toward the back, who had not said anything, raised her hand. I nodded, and she said, "The Bible says God loves everybody. Then it says that God sends people to hell. How can a loving God do that?" I gave her my answer, and she came back to me with arguments. I answered her arguments, and she answered my answers. The conversation quickly degenerated into an argument. I did not convince her, nor did she convince me. After a few more questions I dismissed the session. After the session I approached her and said, "I owe you an apology. I really should not have allowed our discussion to become so argumentative." Then I asked, "May I share something with you?" She said, "Yes." So I took her through a basic presentation of the gospel. When I got to Romans 3:23 and suggested that all of us were sinners she began to cry. It was then that this high school senior admitted she had been having an affair with a married man. The one thing she needed was forgiveness. When I finished the presentation of the gospel, she trusted Christ. The reason she did not believe in hell was because she was going there. In her heart she knew she had sinned. Her conscience condemned her, but rather than face the fact of her guilt, she simply denied any future judgment or future hell.
M. Cocoris, Evangelism, A Biblical Approach, Moody, 1984, p. 163.