By Larry Ray Hafley
Bakker, Swaggart, Falwell, and Roberts are in what the media calls a “holy war.” The scandal is just breaking as this is written. Doubtless the worst is yet to come – “evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3:13). “And many shall follow their pernicious (lascivious) ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of” (2 Pet. 2:2).
Let no one gloat or glory in the sad and sorry spectacle that has spewed out. Love “rejoiceth not in iniquity” (1 Cor. 13:6). Polls will show adverse, negative reaction against all religion. Truly, as observed, “the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.” However, this is not the time to be ashamed and run for cover. Seize the initiative! Grasp this opportunity to declare and display pure and undefiled religion before a skeptical, scoffing world.
Consider this: The unbeliever must use the truth to condemn the Bakker affair. If he smirks at Bakker, then Bakker sinned. But what standard, what authority, says Bakker did wrong? Are there moral principles? Is there a moral standard? The mocker has said there are no moral absolutes. Now, he is using divine tenets to condemn Bakker and true faith. He cannot have it both ways.
Then, there is this: For years, Christians have tried to say, “We’re different; we’re not like them; we’re not a denomination; Bakker, Falwell, Roberts, etc., do not represent the faith of the Lord.” This is the time to press those claims with renewed vigor.
Pity the poor liberals who have been edging and inching closer to denominationalism. They have adopted their social, recreational gospel. They have desired to “brother” and be accepted by denominationalism. Liberal brethren will be stung the most by the Bakker fiasco. Just when they are moving in for a kiss of welcome, Bakker vomits on them. But for those in the way of righteousness, this is an ideal time to uphold the unique, peculiar, distinctive faith of the gospel.
In view of the Bakker debacle: “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ . . . stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel. And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God …. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life” (Phil. 1:27, 28; 2:14-16).
Addendum: Watch for the coming special issue of GOT, “TV Evangelists And Their Message.”
Guardian of Truth XXXI: 9, p. 260
May 7, 1987