Goats In The Pulpit; SBC & FBC Orlando Promote Apostasy (Part 2)

“How much do you have to hate somebody, to know that if they were to die, they would bust hell wide open … how much do you have to hate somebody to know the truth, to know the one thing that could save them from an eternity of enduring the wrath of God … you know that truth and yet you withhold it from them?  How much do you have to hate somebody to do that?”  Justin Peters

To level a charge of apostasy is no small thing.  It is certainly not done for attention-grabbing headlines or click-bait enticements.  It is done, first, because it is true, but more importantly, it is done as a warning, as a plea for Biblically-focused believers who may yet awaken to the forsaking of the Gospel occurring with ever increasing vigor in their own churches and their own denominations.  It is a call for correction, for righting what is egregiously wrong, and for returning, in repentance, to the narrow path.

“It is not necessary for a man formally to deny God and Christ, in order to be an idolator.  Professed reverence for the God of the Bible and actual idolatry are perfectly compatible; they have often gone side by side, and they still do.  The children of Israel never thought of renouncing God when they persuaded Aaron to make the golden calf.”  J.C. Ryle

For over a millennia and a half, the world has seen and been grievously deceived by the premiere showcase of apostasy on the planet, the Roman Catholic Church.  It is apostate, not because of it’s outright denial of God, but by its malevolently motivated augmentations of Scripture.  By defiantly adding to it, altering or denying doctrines, and creating an unbiblical, legalistic structure for salvation, Rome has turned from Scripture’s clear teaching. 

In opposite fashion, Uth, FBC Orlando, and the Southern Baptist Convention, have apostatized also by turning away from Scripture’s clear teaching.  In this case, by ripping the true Gospel from it and proclaiming an “other” gospel.  (Galatians 1:8)

On June 14, in the aftermath of the terrorist-inspired assault on the Pulse nightclub, First Baptist Church Orlando, under the leadership of Senior Pastor Dr. David Uth, engaged in an event of televised apostasy that should have had every FBC church member, and every Southern Baptist, up in arms in a righteous outcry against his Scriptural defiance.  For a denomination that might likely yet rise up in a temple-cleansing-like manner if one spoke ill of its evangelist-emeritus, Billy Graham, there seemed to be hardly a blink of the eye when Uth  “trampled under foot the Son of God,” as Justin Peters commented.

Uth invited Pulse nightclub survivors, friends and relatives of those killed, and the “persecuted LGBTQ community” at large to a prayer service.  Pay particular attention to this point … he hosted a prayer service … not for them … but with them.

An array of guest speakers – some pastors, others lay leaders – from Orlando area churches were invited to take turns at the pulpit of First Baptist Orlando to offer spiritual encouragement to the “LGBTQ community,” offer a (Gospel-void) message of hope, and to pray with them for healing, hope, and peace.  And that they did, to a large audience gathered in FBC’s 4,500 seat main sanctuary, an audience comprised largely of members of that unregenerate “community.”

It was Uth’s desire to reach out to what was called, during the course of the “service,” the “persecuted LGBTQ community” in Orlando, disregarding the definitive fact that “community” is something rightly built around common values, not common sins.  

 
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“Thank you for being here to stand together.  Orlando Strong.  Orlando United.  We come in the name of our Lord Jesus.  Some trust in chariots, some in horses, but we will trust in the name of the Lord our God.  We come together for prayer and encouragement.”  Dr. David Uth

From the outset, then, the premise of Uth’s seemingly loving response to the horrific event perpetrated on Orlando’s homosexuals is patently unbiblical.  It doesn’t take much more than a mere superficial reading of Paul in 2 Corinthians to realize that the church is, under no circumstances, to engage in spiritual enterprises with unbelievers.  But Uth decided the apostle’s warnings were to be shunned, apparently being culturally irrelevant, and chose to pursue prayer with known unregenerate guests. 

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?  What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God;  2 Corinthians 6:14-16

Justin Peters aptly noted that what Uth did in defiance to clear Scriptural commands, especially one that should be known and obeyed by a pastor of Uth’s prominence, was nothing less than “an absolute capitulation to today’s culture.”

Though it may not seem to be something that ought to cause the blink of an eye, particularly in so many SBC churches where the likelihood of more tares than wheat in the pews is a very real, and encouraged, reality, the seriousness of Uth’s Scriptural violation cannot be understated.

 

“The thought that a believer would engage in fellowship with an unbeliever for some kingdom purpose, for some spiritual purpose, is as blasphemous as the idea that Jesus would cooperate as a partner with Satan in the same thing.  It’s unthinkable.”  John MacArthur

While obedience to a clear apostolic imperative calling for the intentional separation of the church and the world was patently dismissed by Uth, the further problem he insipidly introduced to his unregenerate audience is the notion that God will even hear their prayers. Scripture is rather clear on the point that God does not listen to the prayers of unrepentant unbelievers. 

If I regard wickedness in my heart, The Lord will not hear;  Psalm 66:18

 

But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.  Isaiah 59:2

 

Now we know that God does not hear sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him.  John 9:31

In fact, John MacArthur’s site, Grace To You, provides a list of 15 Scriptural citations in response to the question, “Does God answer the prayers of unbelievers?” 

While it may seem obvious to the serious student of Scripture that God doesn’t incline His ear to those engaged in defiant, open sin against Him, or that Jesus commands, and expects, His church to “come out from among” the world, Dr. Uth in Orlando had no problem leading his church in behavior that clearly defied such Scriptural truths.

To be sure, Uth’s ambitions for unity with the unregenerate world and culture of Orlando were well stated prior to the event. 

“All people matter to God.  We believe that, but not only do we believe that, we want to live that, we want to practice that.  We’re going to see unity, even through the tears, even through the grief.  My prayer is – the result of that is – we’re going to see Orlando united, and stand strong together.”  David Uth  (Source

Uth’s kum-ba-yah ambitions seem quite unreconcilable to the words of the apostle in 2 Corinthians, and certainly with Christ’s in His prayer to the Father in John 17.  I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.”  John 17:9

 “At no point in the whole service was the Gospel ever presented, not even tangentially.  In fact, the opposite of that.  Universalism was not implied … it was directly taught.”  Justin Peters

Dr. David Swanson, Senior Pastor, First Presbyterian Church of Orlando was the first of many ushered to First Baptist’s pulpit during the ecumenical prayer service designed, again, for the intentional participation of an audience that was neither repentant nor regenerate.

If Uth’s introductory comments indicated his disdain for obedience to Scripture by embarking on an apostolically anathematized endeavor, Swanson’s comments were blatantly defiant to the entire revelatory, salvific witness of God in Scripture.  Swanson made clear a universalistic message.  Everyone in the audience would make it to heaven.

swan

“We have gathered tonight as God’s people … as a community of faith to still our hearts, and not merely to remember the lost, but to remember that we are part of a larger story that God is writing.  We are part of a larger redemptive plan that points us to a glorious day when we will – each one – be gathered around the great banquet table of the Lord.”  Dr. David Swanson

 

That we are part of a larger story that God is writing is indisputable.  But the testimony of Scripture does not declare that “we will – each one – be gathered around the great banquet table of the Lord,” as Swanson casually, and heretically, proclaimed. 

As any believer who understands even the basics of Biblical soteriology will know, if everyone gets saved in the end, the atoning, redemptive sacrifice of Christ and His incarnated ministry message of “repent and believe” were unneeded.  If all are heaven-bound “as God’s people,” as Swanson states, then there never was a reason for Christ to have been “earth-bound” in His ministry of propitiation and reconciliation for us. 

“I have not heard that kind of heresy.  Not from Kenneth Copeland.  Not from Benny Hinn.  The pastor of First Baptist Orlando should have stood up immediately and yanked him off the pulpit.”  Justin Peters

Peters reiterates the heretical implications of this message.  Swanson “effectively said that all those murdered and all those in the church that night would be gathered at the Lord’s marriage banquet, that each one will have heaven as his or her eternal destiny.”   “Everybody was assured,” Peters said, “that they are part of God’s people, regardless of where they stood with Christ.”  Repentance?  Unnecessary, apparently.

 “This service, from start to finish, was a disaster.”  Justin Peters

Let the point be clear on this.  Peters isn’t calling the service a disaster because Uth invited the LGBTQ people to his church, though to do so with a spiritual intent was unscriptural.  The problem is not the homosexual sinner; the problem is the apostasy endorsing pastor.  

(Had the church obediently wanted to show Christian hospitality to those grieving, a more appropriate and Biblically compliant endeavor might have been to serve them dinner and share the Gospel. The regenerate cannot engage in spiritual enterprises with the unregenerate, but outreach can still be done.)

As Peters pointed out on his radio program, the unrepentant, homosexual sinner faces the same, certain, divine wrath as does the unrepentant, heterosexual liar.  There is a singular, hopeful antidote that might be used by God to save both: the Gospel.  But that Gospel was not given.

Instead, even presuming to engage in an unbiblical spiritual enterprise with unregenerate sinners, neither Uth, nor Swanson, nor any of the other “pastors” or speakers prancing across the dais ever proclaimed the authentic Gospel of Jesus, accompanied by a call for repentance and belief.

What Uth embarked upon was not, as he claimed, an endeavor born of love.  Had it been an act of Christian love, the Gospel – in its Biblical fullness – would have been proclaimed as the singular hope for the unregenerate souls who will, apart from it, die condemned in their sins.  Far from an outreach of love, it was a Gospel-withholding, Uth-endorsed declaration of hate. 

“What was done that night at First Baptist Church Orlando was far, far more hateful than what that Islamic terrorist did with his gun.”  Justin Peters

The unregenerate souls in that service don’t realize the hate perpetrated upon them by Uth, his church, and his invited compatriots as they withheld the only source of hope from them.  But authentic believers realize it.  Indeed, we’re asking, along with Peters, “Where are the Southern Baptist leaders?  Where is the outcry over this?”

Apostasy isn’t just a tagline from Rome.  It’s one coming right out of the loins of the Bible belt.  And Christians should be outraged over it …

(This is part two of a four-part look at the apostasy undertaken by FBC Orlando.  For part one, please go HERE.  For further research, please see the following links.)

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[Contributed by Bud Ahlheim]

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