By Monte E. Wilson 1
Green Berets vs. the Apostles and Prophets
Consider what the apostles demanded of the newly converted Gentiles. At the end of the debate considering what requirements to place on the incoming Gentile believers, the apostles decided to lay no burden on these people other than to require that they abstain from things offered to idols, from blood and from things strangled, and from sexual immorality (Acts 15). Watch your testimony, watch your diet, watch your morals. That’s it.
Can you imagine if one of us had been there? “Now, Jim, my boy, this won’t do. These folks need to be called up to a higher place in God. You apostles go up.to the temple every day to pray, and so should these Gentiles. You own only one coat, one pair of sandals, give most all of your money to the poor, and every time I turn around you are fasting. Why not require the same thing of all these new believers? At least let them know that there is a deeper life to which they can attain through a more spiritually rigorous lifestyle … that is, if they can attain the same level of revelation that we have.”
Or what of Paul’s exhortation to the Thessalonians regarding walking in love with their fellow believers? They were to lead a quiet life, mind their own business and work with their hands (1 Thess. 4:11). Isn’t this the route to true spirituality within a community? Shouldn’t Paul have added that they needed to have special Sunday evening services for the lost, Wednesday night prayer meetings, Thursday night deacons meetings, Friday night home group meetings and Saturday visitation? How in the world did Paul expect these people to grow in love if they weren’t constantly in church together?
Of course, one of the greatest attributes of many modern Green Beret Christians is living as if Jesus were coming back today, Being a disciple of Hal Lindsey, I knew this was it. We had only a few years left. (This was 26 years ago.) Why, pray tell, should we give ourselves to such mundane matters as developing a career, raising a family, seeing our children get married, building an inheritance to leave our grandchildren and getting involved in matters that concerned the welfare of the cities we lived in? What were these lukewarm Christians thinking about when they so easily tripped off to work or bought a new car or put money in savings or ran for a political office? Had they no sense of the times in which we were living? Obviously they must be in need of a revival or the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Or maybe they are not even saved!
I remember one day reading where Jeremiah told the people of Israel who were captive in Babylon to get a life. While the false prophets were running around telling the Israelites they were about to escape from their captivity, Jeremiah said, “Go build houses and live in them, plant gardens and enjoy their fruit, build families so you can multiply in number, and seek the welfare of the city where God has caused you to be carried away captive” (Jer. 29:4-9). Are these words of wisdom for a people who are to come-out -from-among-them -and-be-separate? Certainly we can’t take this tack, can we? This passage was the beginning of the end of my running around the country telling people they had better live like those who were not long for this world. The burning question became, “What if we are still here one hundred years from now?” What sort of world have we left our great-grandchildren? What sort of churches will we leave the generations who follow? Have we left a business to expand, or debts to payoff? Have we left a good foundation for our children to build upon, or will they have to live their lives clearing away the rubble of debris left through our disinterest?
(Monday: Whose ministry style was “better,” John the Baptist or Jesus Himself?)