December 7, 2008

'I Am At Perfect Peace'

Steve Gaines was at Rogers' bedside the day the ventilator was in place and he would not be able to speak anymore. His last words according to Gaines was "I am at perfect peace."

Gaines could not say the same thing. Perhaps he already knew there were difficult days ahead for him and peace would be the least of the emotions he would experience. From heaven Rogers observed that "he was not at peace" he had a delusion of peace. He sees the situation of his family's reaction and knows there was no peace there. If ever a man could have used another 15 years of life it was Dr Rogers!

When conservative scholars write about depravity they always quote the old adage, "depravity does not mean that every person is as evil as he can possibly be." Everyone does not commit murder or incest but everyone has the potential. Hitler and Stalin become the examples of total depravity. However no one says: "depravity means people cannot be as good as they imagine themselves to be!" "No one can be as good as their friends think they are!" "No one can be as good as their mother thinks they are!"

The full spectrum of total depravity means that from each end we are totally depraved. If we think we are good we are wrong and if we have been all-out evil we are not as bad as we could have been. Paul deals with both ends inRomans 1-3. The worst that a man can be is when God gives him over to vile affections. 1:26 The best that a man can be is unacceptable to God and we see this description of all men bad and good. 3:9-20

Bellevue had this spectrum. I don't know of a man more evil than Paul Williams. God gave Paul Williams up to the vilest of affections. An associate working with Dr Rogers left the natural use his wife provided, burning in his heart a desire for his own young son. He yielded to this desire for 12-18 months about 1987. We yet have no ideal how many victims there were but it is hard to believe there was only one. Qualitatively speaking Bellevue employed a man as vile as Hitler and Stalin. He was a SBC minister.

Bellevue was pastored by the best America had to offer. He and his wife were a model couple dating only each other from grammar school. Together they built a Christian relationship. They built a great church and began an international ministry, Love Worth Finding. He represents the other end of the depraved spectrum. Yes, Adrian Rogers was depraved. He was a born-again believer who was daily being sanctified but still having the present potential for sin.

What is God looking for in His people? Poor, contrite heart and one who trembles at God's word. Isaiah 66:2 Paul Williams' sin is the sort that speaks of delusion. God lifts his hand from a person and they are let go to do their worst! Yet in close proximity was Dr Rogers who apparently had no clue as to what Williams had done.

God says: "the heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?" but God is not impressed with the buildings we have built and the ministries we have established but He is looking for men not buildings. God inhabits the praises of His people. The place of God's rest is a poor, contrite and word-fearing man.

I am but a common man, just another sinner saved by grace, but we have here a man who apparently turned a deaf ear to God at some unknown point. There are lawyers with files that could reveal the truth. There are safe-keeping places where some truth is concealed. Money has been paid to keep people silent. When we make poor choices God will send a delusion to us. He will let us believe a lie and even take that lie to our grave. God will get his rest! He will get His pleasure. If we are corrected here in this life and receive our discipline humbly then God gets his rest and has a habitation. If we are stubborn and vain in our confidence God will get His rest in the judgment We will die in our deception but awake to the truth. We lift up our eyes seeing clearly. We will be ushered to a place of destruction of our works. Fire will consume all our works and our soul will escape the fire.

The beliefs of depravity are not directed toward the sinner, he understand nothing about sin nor righteousness. He is dead in his sin. Depravity is directed toward elect believers. This understanding is the basis for growth in Christ. As a believer you still maintain the ever potential for sin and Satan is a liar and deceiver. He has successfully infiltrated the church with his deceptions. Satan promotes all ideals of human divinity. He said to Eve, "ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." All concepts promoting islands of righteousness and sparks of divinity from which human choices are made are lies. Compromises that make God creating an island for choice is just another synergistic view that falls short of scripture.

God alone saves!

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