“Great, then let’s vote. All in favor raise your hand.” Black frowned. “What’s the matter, David?”
“A salivation message should be about sin, not happiness.”
“But sin causes unhappiness, David.”
“Yes, Dr. Aziz, but…when I was a sinner, I enjoyed my sins--a lot.”
Reverend Black cleared his throat, “what if we added a second line that says, ‘God knows the true source of your problems: sin.’ Would that satisfy this argument?”
Dr. Jonas nodded in approval. “Truly, God has given you wisdom beyond your years.”
“Nonsense,” Black waved him off and blushed.
“We should include something about a God shaped vacuum.”
“Excellent suggestion, Stoney.”
“Excuse me, sir?”
Black’s patience seemed beyond end, “Yes, David, what is it?”
“I only have one last comment about happiness before we move on.”
“Very well, try to be brief, we are on a schedule.” He pronounced it shedule.
“Of course. Gentleman,” David began, “If we make our focus on happiness, then we are limiting our message to only those who are unhappy.”
“But that is everyone who is unsaved.”
“Not necessarily. As I tried to mention before, I was having the time of my life when I got saved. I was very happy in my sins.”
“Well, you weren’t truly happy, it was a false happiness.”
David grimaced, “Regardless. I loved myself and I loved my life.”
“Then why even bother to get saved?” As soon as Parvo spoke, he wished he could have retracted his statement, but it was too late. He looked down as David smiled.
“Exactly my point. Why get saved if it’s all about happiness? I was happy when a street preacher in San Diego, California warned me that I would die and face a judgment. Then I became unhappy. He pointed out my sins by using the Ten Commandments.”
“The Law?” Parvo snorted while Aziz gasped dramatically. “You expect us to use the Law and the Old Testament in a modern Gospel message?”
“Why not?” David countered? “You use the Old Testament every time you preach on tithing.” Parvo started to stand, but Reverend Black put a hand on his arm and David continued. “The Law is a schoolmaster that is used to reveal sin in our hearts. After a sinner trembles under the wrath of God, we should apply grace. Only then will a sinner truly understand what he was saved from and why he was saved.”
“I was preaching the faith message before you was born, Pastor,” special emphasis on pastor. “I hardly need you to preach to me about salvation.”
“Gentlemen,” Reverend Black cleared his throat, “I know that Brother David’s intentions are good. Technically, he is right. The Law is a schoolmaster.”
“Not only that,” David, encouraged by Reverend Black’s incidental support, continued, “Psalm 19 says that the Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul…”
“I don’t care what Psalm 19 says, sonny. I want people saved.” Parvo was visibly shaken. Anger burned deep in his eyes.
“I have to agree, Jack. Jesus himself said that he came to heal the broken hearted.”
“Not only that, Dr. Aziz,” Stoney interjected, “He also came to bind up and heal the broken hearted. If we attack in the spirit, I know that souls will be saved. We need to bind Satan.”
“You mean, the broken hearted, right?”
“How’s that, David?”
“Jesus came to bind up the broken hearted, not to bind up Satan, right?” A hushed whisper grew in the auditorium.
“I hardly agree. Matthew 18:18-19 says that whatever we bind on Earth is bound in heaven.”
“Alright, Stoney, maybe you can answer this question. How long does a bind last?”
“How long does a bind last?” The entire panel was staring at Stoney eagerly awaiting his response to a question that none of them could answer.
“Well, I…uh. Well, I’m not sure that your question is valid.” Then he smiled as he came up with an answer, “It’s up to God.” He adjusted his tie.
“Fine. My next question is this, if we have bound Satan, then why is he loose right now?”
“Well, he is strong, and we have to fast…”
“Are you telling me that there is not a Christian in this world who fasts enough to bind Satan?”
“Well, I do. Fast that is.”
“Great. Then why isn’t Satan bound?”
“Well, because someone else has loosed him.” He was pleased with himself for answering the question.
“Then you are saying that God isn’t sovereign. Either God has given us authority over Satan or He hasn’t. If we have that authority, then why isn’t Satan bound? You know what I think?” The panel nodded, eager to hear him continue. “I think that we have been teaching bad doctrine, and I believe that we have been preaching a corrupted salvation message by not addressing sin, repentance, God’s wrath, judgment, forgiveness, redemption, and the blood of Jesus. Happiness, deliverance, prosperity, healing, and knowledge are all great, but sinners most need forgiveness.”
The panel began to speak all at once, each furiously arguing against David Simple. The auditorium began to growl and fight with each other. Reverend Black tried to gain control, but the panel had been turned upside down. David endured these foul accusations for a few minutes, but gathered his items and stood to his feet.
“Hah!” Parvo snapped. “Brother Simple can’t stand the heat. Going home?”
“No, I’m going to save the lost.” David realized that his answer was trite and snobbish, but he desperately needed to make his voice heard. “Brother, you have a unique opportunity to reach the lost, but you seem to be so focused on money and faith that the Gospel is compromised in your ministry.”
“How dare you judge me?”
“No, Jack, he’s right. All you ever preach is money.” Aziz pointed a boney finger at Parvo.
“Ah, Doctor Aziz, you had a great heart for evangelism at one time, but now you have your own name and picture on every bill board in Dallas,” Parvo fired back.
“The people need to know who I am so that I can heal them,” he defended himself and then he realized what he said. “Well, so that Jesus might heal them through me.”
David turned to walk away, and then he stopped. “You know, I’ve already burned my bridges, so I just as well make this a bon-fire. Stoney, you so glamorize the occult and Satan that you give out the appearance that Jesus is less important. Spiritual warfare is a game to you. And please stop selling those trinkets on your radio program. Why do we need an ‘I fight demons’ T shirt? I would swear that Satan is your best friend. You spend more time talking about him and to him that I think you have forgotten that Jesus is sitting on the throne. I can only imagine that in your home you have little stuffed demon heads mounted on your fireplace. The finished work of the Cross gave us the final victory. When was the last time that a sinner actually repented because of your ministry?”
He turned to Dr. Jonas, “with you, it’s all in your head, Doctor. I don’t think that Jesus is in your heart. The goodness of God leads men to repentance, not the knowledge of God. God is not a matter of the head; he is a matter of the heart. You have failed to close that little eighteen inch gap from your head to your heart, which, by the way, is the same distance from heaven to hell.” He sighed and addressed the whole panel. “Gentlemen, you are so busy raising money and promoting yourselves that you fail to minister. My church is flat broke because all of my parishioners send their tithes and offerings to your ministries so that they can get that super big return on their investment into your little kingdoms that you continually promise. Whenever I preach against that, then they get mad and quit and join the next big popular church down the road, where they can be happy. Jesus was a fisher of men, not of riches, and so should be your focus. Get back to basics, gentlemen, I may be a hungry preacher, but at least I can sleep at night.” He turned and walked off the stage, silence permeating the auditorium.
A lone figure in the balcony stood to his feet and began to clap. Slowly, the entire hall soberly endorsed the rebuke.
“Why that ingrateful brat!” Parvo snapped.
“Ungrateful,” corrected Dr. Jonas.
“Absolutely,” agreed Parvo, oblivious to the correction.
“Doesn’t he realize that we paved the road for him years ago?” growled Aziz.
“Well, I’m going to bind him up and cast him out, that little ingrate,” Stoney retorted.
“What we have here is a man that has not been to seminary and to learn the most modern theology. He is lost in the old and stuffy traditions of men like Charles Finney and Charles Spurgeon.”
“Well said, my friend. Well said.”
And with that, I subject myself to your thoughts and criticisms.