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BROTHER JOE: NAME DROPPING AND MAN PRAISING

May 28, 2009 (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service)

The following is by Pastor Buddy Smith of Malenda, Queensland, Australia <smiletex@bigpond.net.au> —

Brother Joe was one of a kind. He only ever pastored one church. It was the church he started when he moved to a town near us in 1939. He never received a salary from his church. He said he would simply trust God for his needs to be met, and he did, and they were. He never asked for anything, but God heard his prayers and blessed his faith, and he never did without. He taught all the way through the Bible at least three times in a pastorate that lasted more than fifty years. He preached on the radio everyday for all those years and wrote a book that is a classic on raising children. He sent all his children to Bible college, and his son Tim now pastors the church his dad started almost 70 years ago.

One thing about Bro. Joe that puzzled me was the way he would quote preachers or commentators without telling us their names. He would say something like this, “A dear brother in the Lord once wrote…” or he would say, “A godly old commentator once observed this about our text…” I can’t ever remember him telling us who he was quoting. Later on, as I became a bit more familiar with writers and preachers I would stumble across the quotes he used and wonder why he never told us who said them. They were not heretics, nor were they involved in entangling and compromising alliances. They were men like Harry Ironside or A.W. Tozer or Harry Rimmer. But he never told us who he was quoting. Oh, he made it clear that the quotes were not his. He was never guilty of plagiarising. He just didn’t tell us who he quoted.

It was through his wise and discreet use of truth that I learned an important lesson on worship. Bro. Joe avoided name dropping because he sincerely desired for God and God alone to have all the glory. He very carefully and wisely used the truths that fell from the lips and pens of godly men, and he did so in ways that directed the worship of his hearers away from those men and toward God. As the years passed I heard of God’s blessings on Bro. Joe’s ministry, of the people who loved him and asked him to preach in their Bible conferences and churches and colleges, but it wasn’t Bro. Joe who told me about it. He simply had no desire for the praise of men. Certainly, we should thank God for those He uses, and thank them in person, but the crowns can wait till the judgment seat.

The apostle Peter speaks of the wisdom God gave to his dearly beloved brother Paul, so it is obvious that it is not inherently wrong to name preachers that we quote, but Peter avoids heaping upon Paul the lavish praise we hear so often given to mere mortals (2 Peter 3:15-16).  Bro. Joe simply desired that men should praise God and Him alone.

Giving praise to men is a very subtle form of hero worship. God has spoken ever so clearly on the subject of who is worthy to be worshipped. We all swim in a sea of pagan, materialistic, hedonistic, sensual, and rationalistic culture. Our culture genders in us visual, auditory, and olfactory failures. We do not see that we are worshipping idols. We do not hear the warnings of God’s Words, and we are totally unaware that swimming in our culture leaves us smelling like dead fish. Every culture thrives on the praise of men. Name dropping is the name of the game, in the world and in the church. “Dr. Flutesnoot said this,” and, “Rabbi(t) Warren said that,” and “The gospel according to Jack is this…” I attended a conference some time ago in which the main speaker could hardly finish a sentence without dropping the name of some well known Christian leader who is is his friend, or dropping the name of some famous church or college he had preached in. I got the impression that we were all expected to say, “Oh! Do you know him?” and “Wow!, did you get to preach there?” We just love to drop names, don’t we?

Why do we do this? Do we really believe that the gospel of Christ is enhanced by someone who has attained to celebrity status in our stagnant little cultural puddle? Does God need the endorsement of a megachurch guru or a supersalesman soulwinner? Will it count for eternity and for the glory of God that you or I were feted by the ringmaster of the religious circus that he calls a church? Or that you had a 30 second revival meeting with the pastor who jumped a Sunday School bus over a dozen tricycles? All our glorying in man is idolatrous and an abomination in the sight of God. It doesn’t really matter whose signature is at the bottom of your Bible college diploma. It doesn’t really matter whose endorsement is on the back of your book. What has eternal value is whether we have gathered up all the glory and praise we can find and given every bit of it to God.

Consider a few of the Scriptures that speak of the worship of God,

“God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).

“I am the LORD, that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images” (Isaiah 42:8).

“For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? And I will not give my glory to another” (Isaiah 48:11).

“Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy and for thy truth’s sake” (Psalm 115:1).

One last thought: whether we realise it or not, our praise of man tends to have a hidden agenda. We tend to praise men so that they will praise us back. There is in every one of us enough Devil to crave the praise of men. And so we give it to get it. We need to read John 5:44, “How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?” Our craving for recognition, for praise, for honour and glory, according to our Saviour, is an impediment to faith. “How can ye believe who receive honour one of another……..?”

One of my favourite evangelists lived to the ripe old age of 87 years. He preached for over 70 years and is sometimes described as the “best loved evangelist of all time.” When he was very old it was decided by his friends that he should be honoured publicly. Many were invited to come and give testimonials as to his usefulness in the Lord’s work, and they came in droves. One speaker after another sang the praises of the old preacher until finally the speeches were done, and the moderator turned to invite the aged preacher to the lectern to receive the award. To everyone’s surprise he was nowhere to be found. The guest of honour was not on the platform, or even in in the building. He had absented himself some time during the meeting. He had chosen to turn a deaf ear to the sweet words from his admirers! They searched high and low, and eventually they found him, outside the great hall, in the street, speaking to a cabbie about his soul. He knew all about the priorities if godliness and he knew about the emptiness of the praises of men.

Only God is worthy of worship!

Someone may ask, “Who was Bro. Joe?”

I don’t think he would want me to tell you.

We could be guilty of stealing from God the glory that belongs only to Him.

 
 
 
 
 

 

  
True or False? 

 

 1. It is easy to identify false teachers.

Matthew 7:15

Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

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2. False teachers hate money. 

Titus 1:11

They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach-and that for the sake of dishonest gain.

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3. The people will not want to listen to the false prophets.

   Isaiah 30:9-10

 These are rebellious people, deceitful children,children unwilling to listen to the Lord’s instruction.

They say to the seers  “See no more visions!”  and to the prophets  “Give us no more visions of what is right!

Tell us pleasant things,   prophesy illusions.  

 ~~~~

  4. We have to sort the counterfeits working right along side of us.

   Matthew 13:30

Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’

~~~~

5. We are told that the false teachers will be destroyed.

 2 Peter 2:1

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them-bringing swift destruction on themselves.

~~~~

6. Those who teach false doctrine, we are to receive into our homes.

2 John 1:10-11

 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work.

~~~~

7. Many in the church will accept false teachings in rebellion of God.

2 Thessalonians 2:3

 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.

~~~~

 8. Stay close to those who are teaching false doctrine to correct them.         

Romans 16:17

I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.

~~~~

9. Many will seek teachings that will satisfy fleshy desires.    

2 Timothy 4:3 

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

~~~~    

10. The gate to heaven is wide and inclusive.   

Matthew 7:14

But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

~~~~ 

11. We are warned that many will be deceived in the end-times.

 Matthew 24:11

And many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.

~~~~

12. There will be false teachers who will proclaim to be Christians.

Titus 1:16

They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.

~~~~   

13. We can reprove and rebuke the false teachers. 

 2 Timothy 4:2

 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction.

~~~~

14. Error can be prevented by listening those who interpret dreams.

  Matthew 22:29

 Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.

~~~  

15. False teachers will be hard to find within our own churches.

 Acts 20:30   

Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.

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 16. As time goes on we should see increasing peace and strive for this at all costs.

Matthew 24:6-7  

You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.

~~~~

17. False teachers will use flattery to deceive those who are easy targets.

Romans 16:18

For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.

 ~~~~    

18. Only those professing truth will be able to perform great miracles to convince the people of their words.

Matthew 24:24

For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect-if that were possible. 

 ~~~~

19. False doctrine planted by false teachers will be someday be rooted up by God. 

Matthew 15:13-14

He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”

~~~~

20. Those teaching heresy will appear gentle as doves but will be ravening wolves.

Matthew 7:15

 Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious  wolves.

~~~~   

21. The world will have to be “taken” and Christianized before Jesus Christ can return.

Luke 18:8

I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?

~~~~  

22. New revelations take precedence over scripture.

Matthew 24:35 

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

~~~~    

22. Everyone who publicly calls on the name of Jesus is saved.

 Matthew 7:21

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

~~~~   

23. Those who preach, heal, perform miracles, and cast out demons, have to be people of God.   

Matthew 7:22-23

Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

~~~~   

24. False teachers promise material blessings for those who give abundantly to their ministries.

2 Peter 2:3

In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

~~~~   

25. There will be false prophets and teachers who will deny Christ.

 2 Peter 2:1

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them-bringing swift destruction on themselves.

~~~~  

26. Bible study is a good way to protect yourself from false doctrine.   

2 Timothy 2:15

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

~~~~

27. There are other true gospels besides the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ    

Galations 1:9 

As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!

~~~~  

28. False healers will not be able to perform miracles.   

Deuteronomy 13:1-2

If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, “Let us follow other gods” (gods you have not known) “and let us worship them,”

 ~~~~

 29. We are not allowed to judge the teachings of others.   

Matthew 7:1

Do not judge, or you too will be judged.   

Matthew 7:2

For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Matthew 7:3

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

Matthew 7:4

How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye 

Matthew 7:5

You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

 ~~~~

30. False teachers do not want to be unpopular and warn you about your backsliding.

Revelation 3:16   

So, because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold-I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

 ~~~~

31. Preaching good works, gives all the glory to man instead of God.

 Ephesians 2:8-9

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast.

 ~~~~

32. Once you hear and understand the gospel you will never turn away from the truth.  

 Galations 1:6

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel-

 ~~~

33. Using seeker-friendly and worldly entertaining methods is a good way to bring people into the church.

 Romans 12:2

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.

~~~~

34. Those who say there are many ways to God are false teachers.

    John 14:6

 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

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35. It is okay for evangelists of the Word to have many worldly extravagant luxuries.

 1 John 2:15

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

~~~~

36. True teachers need to study many types of books to be well-rounded in their education.

Colossians 2:8

 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

~~~~

 37. Men who perform miracles, and promote their visions of angels must be empowered by God.

    2 Corinthians 11:13

 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ.    

   2 Corinthians 11:14

And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.

   2 Corinthians 11:15

It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

~~~~

38. We are instructed to be grounded in the Word of God, so that we can immediately recognize a false teaching.

  Ephesians 4:14

 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.

~~~~

  39. False teachers say that Jesus Christ is just a myth.

    2 John 1:7

 Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.

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 40. You can be like God.

2 Corinthians 11:3

 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

~~~~

41. God is doing a new thing.

 Hebrews 13:8

 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

~~~~

42. As time goes on there will those who will leave the faith by believing the doctrine of devils.

 1 Timothy 4:1

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.

~~~~

43. We need to point out error to our brothers and sisters in Christ.

 1Timothy 4:6

If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.

~~~~

44. Those claiming to speak for God, but do not, will not pay the consequences.

 Deuteronomy 18:20

But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death.

~~~~

45. There is something we can do when we suspect a false spirit in a false prophets.

 1 John 4: 1

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

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46. Jesus told us to abide in His word so that we would know the truth.

 John 8:31-32

 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, “If  ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”“See, I have told you ahead of time.”  

Matthew 24:25

 “See, I have told you ahead of time.”

 

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