When The Serpent Bites Shake It Off!
I never cease to be amazed at how maliciously slanderous religious men can be, especially those who pretend to live by the law. When they cannot refute our doctrine, they try to soil our names and reputations by throwing ugly accusations, which they know have no basis in fact, against us. Just this week, a pastor told a friend of mine, “Fortner preaches that once a man is saved, he can live any way he wants.” My friend asked, “Would you give me an example of where or when Don said that?.” The man replied, “I never actually heard him say it; but I have been informed by others.”
When those who will not come out of Babylon and break all ties with Arminian, free-will, works religion attempt to justify themselves, the only way they can find to do so is to accuse us (this pastor, this church, and other pastors and churches who give no quarter to such blasphemy) of being cultic, divisive, Hyper-Calvinist, or most anything imaginable. I mention these things to you so that you will not be disturbed when you experience them. Experience them you will, if you preach or align yourself with a pastor and church that preaches the gospel of God’s free and sovereign grace in Christ.
In the past few weeks, I have been greatly encouraged by correspondence from four pastors who, having been taught of God the gospel of his free grace in Christ, have begun to preach it. They are all paying a price, some a big price, for their faithfulness. Last night, I told one of those preachers who has begun to experience the bitter venom of religious asps, “I hate to tell you this, but it will get worse.”
Religious legalists, Pharisees, and work mongers never change. They who murdered the prophets, crucified our Master, imprisoned the Apostles, and persecuted our forefathers unto death, tearing their bodies limb from limb, burning them at the stake, and throwing them to wild beasts, will never accept, embrace, or tolerate the preaching of pure, free, sovereign grace. The offense of the cross has not ceased.
It cost a man nothing to stay in an apostate denomination or church. He may claim to believe grace. He may even defend “historic Calvinism.” As long as he does not insist that there is no salvation except by the Christ of God, and no faith apart from the knowledge of that Christ as he is revealed in Holy Scripture, the spineless, profitless “watchman” can keep his job until he retires, pension in tact. It will cost him nothing but his everlasting soul!
God’s servants are not such men. Faithful men do not watch for their pensions, but for your soul. They do not attempt to hide the truth. They proclaim it from the housetops. In the face of certain and constantly mounting opposition, they will be found faithful. The constant beatings they experience from the tongues of others does nothing to break their spirits, but only toughens their hides.
To you, my brethren, who are beginning to feel the brunt of opposition, to you who now must pay the price of your convictions for the glory of God, to you who are now marked as an enemy by the very people for whose souls you labor, I say - Do no flinch. Do not give an inch. Make no effort to accommodate man’s hatred of our God and Savior. Yet, do not allow the wolves to pull you into their den. If you do, they will devour you. You do not need to defend yourself. You do not need to answer the charges or even the questions of carping reprobates. When the serpents of hell bite you, just shake them off. You will not be harmed by them. Preach Christ! Preach Christ! Preach Christ!
To all who are honored of God to have such a man for your pastor, I say - Thank God for him! Never cease to pray for him, encourage him, uphold him, and cherish him.