[The portions in BLACK are the original text. RED
texts are current clarifications and additions]
2001--In his Nationally syndicated Column Date Janurary 7, 2001 [pmi-note that:
1. Dr. Dobson never quotes God's Word on the subject of tough love through confrontation.
2. Secondly, he promotes a secular process/organization.
3. Thirdly, the tough love confrontation that is Biblical-though not identified as Godly, and the nature of the problem-denial, that Dr. Dobson does mention are the same Biblical steps that he has so stubbornly rejected towards himself, for many years.
4. Fourth he suggests children can go for help without their parents knowing--isn't this the same principle he opposes about teens getting abortions without their parents knowlege?
5. Dr. Dobson send people needing help to this secular organization and not to God's body where they can get everlasting help and life.
God says leave this man alone and stop supporting him until he falls and repents...just like Dr. Dobson says should be done to alcoholics. Everyone who supports Dr. Dobson and Focus On The Family with money, gifts, verbal and non-verbal support contribute to his willfull sinning and the destruction of those who do not know better...May God have mercy on their souls...
ALCOHOLIC MUST BE CONFRONTED IN SPIRIT OF TOUGH LOVE, Dr. Dobson writes:
"Q. My husband drinks excessively. Aside from getting help for my family, what should I do specifically for him? How on earth am I going to get him to go to Alcoholics Anonymous or some similar treatment program? He is deep in denial, and I'm not even sure he's thinking right now. He couldn't make a rational decision to save his life. How am I going to get him to cooperate?"
A: Youíre right about the difficulties you face. Begging won't accomplish anything, r husband could be dead before he admits he has a problem. Indeed, thousands die each year while denying that alcoholics.
Thatís why Al?Anon teaches family members to confront with love. They learn how to remove the support systems that prop up the disease and permit it to thrive. They are shown how and when to impose ultimatums that force the alcoholic to admit his or her need for help. And sometimes they recommend separation until the victim is so miserable that his or her denial will no longer hold up. In essence, Al?Anon teaches its own version of the love?must be?tough philosophy to family members who must implement it.
I asked Bob, a recovered alcoholic, if he was forced to attend Alcoholics Anonymous, the program that put him on the road to recovery. He said:
"Let me put it this way. No one goes to AA just because nothing better to do that evening. Everyone there has been forced to attend initially. You just donít say ďOn Monday night we watched a football game and on Tuesday we went to the movies. So what will we do on Wednesday? How about going over to an AA meeting?' It doesn't work that way. Yes, I was forced ? forced by my own misery. Pauline allowed me to be miserable for my own good. It was loving duress that moved me to attend."
Though it may sound easy to achieve, the loving confrontation that brought Bob to his senses was a delicate maneuver. I must re?emphasize that families should not attempt to implement it on their own initiative. Without the training and assistance of professional support groups, the encounter could degenerate into a hateful, vindictive, name-calling battle that would serve only to solidify the drinker's position.
Al-Anon Family Groups and Alcoholics Anonymous are both listed in local phone books. Also to be found there is a number of the Council on Alcoholism, which can provide further guidance. For teen?agers of an alcoholic parent there is Alateen. Teens can go there and share without their parents' permission or knowledge, and its free.
AS of August 1, 2000 (Chuck who sought the information from FOTF executives) is saying that "Dr. Dobson IS a member of a local Nazarene church but is not allowed to give out the name"--which functionally means there is still no biblical recourse to address using Matthew 18 and Luke 17. Dr. Dobson's shameful behavior continues and now includes his so called church since they do not hold Dr. Dobson accountable for his actions.
August 1, 2000: 11:18am CDT, upon calling many Nazarene Churches in Colorado Springs I found Rev. Zell Woodworth is Dr. Dobson's pastor at the Nazarene Church Eastborough 4123 E Pikes Peak Ave COLORADO - SPRINGS, CO 80909 719-596-1929 I will attempt to bring these issues to Eastborough ruling Elders for the continuing of Matthew 18-Third Step of "Telling it to the Church". http://www.eastborough.org and Pastor Zell's email is PastorZell@eastborough.org
August 1, 2000:2:28pm CDT Rev. Zell Woodworth wrote back saying,
"Dear Sir, Eastborough, nor it's Church Board, are interested in hearing about your dispute with Dr. Dobson.
His, Pastor Woodworth" Enough said to now treat them as a non-church...Lord, Lord Lord...
Bill Fields Interview August 12, 1996 by Gil Alexander-Moegerle for his book James Dobson's War On America, published by Prometheus Books, NY 800.421.0351 March 1997... Unedited ver. This interview was deleted by the book editor as not central to scope of the book. It's offered here in the spirit of the Biblical values of the Dobson case.
Bill: In my interviews, and especially in some of these conflicts I made sure they said it right on the tape at the beginning and the end.
Gil: That's good. Well, I just pushed the record button so if you want to, that sounds like a good idea.
Bill: Hey first, I've got this 45 minute sermon I'd like to try out. .
Gil: Let me call my employer and see if it's all right.
Bill: So I am giving permission to tape it with the understanding that we will review comments and questions to make sure they communicate accurately.
Gil: Sounds good. There are issues that I would enjoy talking to you about that are no aspects of the story that I'm going to tell. I'm going to write for a mainstream audience, I'm not going to write for the CBA and so, for example, some of the theological issues that are involved between Jim and us will not be dealt with in any detail at all. Certainly, Bill, some of the issues that you and Carolyn and I talked most about about a Christian's responsibility, as a Christian-as a follower of Christ-in conflict to respond to a brother in Christ. Those issues will not be dealt with, at least in any large degree, because the assumption that I have when I write this is that I'm not talking to people with whom I share a spiritual commonality. I'm talking with people who've bought the book because they're asking questions like, well, the two basic questions the publisher wants answered are, how did he get to be so powerful politically, and how is it that he did so and we don't hardly know anything about him? Which was by design, there's a specific plan behind that that I'll tell about. So if I seem to leave off some of the questions that between you and me would almost seem like the most important eternal type questions, it's just because of the assumption I have about who I'm writing for.
Bill: I understand, and let me say that that was one of my issues was there's two audiences, there will be the nonbeliever, a person who might call themself a nonChristian, and then there are those who are hypocrites, who take the name of Christian to something that has nothing to do with Christianity, though it traffics in religion, and then there will be the authentic Christian and so of my statements I may need to say, I would make this statement in this arena, this statement in that arena because they are distinct arenas. And one would be to the nonChristian who reads this book is, do not look at the current parachurch culture, and for the most part even what's currently calling itself the Church, as any form of representation of how Jesus Christ would have himself be represented. But he allows it for the sake of those who have no interest in him to blame him and to deny him and to reject him. And for those who are truly of the faith, there's much mourning and grief over the condition of the Church, what calls itself the Church.
And the parachurch. I mean, it's obvious in some of our discussions I can say I have first hand knowledge of when Jim Dobson and I talked and he adamantly declared he is not the Church and therefore all scriptures that pertain to the church do not pertain to Focus on the Family or Jim Dobson. And then as you well know, his home church refused to deal with the issues, and then the next level . . . am I going in the right direction?
Gil: No, that's the perfect direction. We're off to the races.
Bill: OK, and then the next level is that not only did his home church refuse to deal with the issue, that pastor is now a significant part of Focus on the Family, so he's economically and promotionally bound to Jim. And then the third one which I find most distasteful is the pastor of your church is now head of a denomination who wrote an excellent treatise on church discipline and handling abusive pastors but don't practice it.
And so not only did he not protect you as he should have as your shepherd, he's now supposedly a shepherd of a whole denomination and he's still just as politically connected. And the reason for that is that the scripture says whatever's not done because of Christ, or for him, or instituted by him is of the flesh. And these men have acted in most of these significant cases in the flesh.
And I remember an organization that has a reputation of going after the apostate who are lower in the food chain of the evangelical arena and when it came time to go after the top echelon for the same issues, had no courage. And so that's a statement of shame that for those who call themselves believers, that they've not differentiated, discerned based on God's word the true church versus those who assume the name of Church or parachurch. I could talk like that for hours so I better be quiet and let you question me.
Gil: No, you're right on target, Bill. Let's go back just a little bit over exactly the territory you just covered. You're indicating that in conversation directly with Jim or are you referring to conversation with Tony Wauterlek, the issue . . .
Bill: No, I'm talking about Jim.
Gil: OK. The issue directly came up, don't you guys feel some responsibility to the body of Christ, to ecclesiastical resolution and so forth and the direct answer came back, no we're not a church we're a business or words to that effect, Hun?
Bill: Well, the statement was we are not a church. And he called me at my home one Sunday morning, this was over the Campolo issue, by the way, and then he reaffirmed that same issue, that same statement in the issue that dealt with AlexanderMoegerles. And specifically now, in the AlexanderMoegerle situation, he did not talk to me directly. But it was once again stated.
Gil: By Wauterluk?
Bill: I wouldn't remember. In fact, I was trying to think through the issues of chain of command and as far as I'm concerned, any statement made by a board member, by an employee, by Dobson himself are all identical. Yeah. In fact, I remember from three separate sources it was reported in the law suit how Dobson's attorney characterized portions of the Scripture as satanic rituals. And I attribute that to the fact that Dobson did not address that immediately and correct it as a statement in a blaspheming of God's word by Dobson. So I don't separate these people out as different entities.
Gil: Yeah. Where do you recall that coming from because I don't recall that one, Bill? Are you saying that was a verbal statement that you understood form his attorney or it showed up in one of the documents?
Bill: I was told during examination the question of turning Jim over to Satan was asked of Carolyn Moegerle and characterized as a satanic ritual. And I heard that not only from you, from Carolyn, but I also heard it from a newspaper reporter talking to me about the case.
Gil: Yeah. That's true. For some reason I was thinking in terms of declarative documents that the attorney and Jim prepared and presented to the court as opposed to depositions. Jim requested and obtained a gag order about the depositions so at least at this point in time I'm not allowed to say a word that was said in Deposition.
Bill: I understand. I had thought about getting a copy of that day's transcript of the court and decided against it because Dobson had rejected and hardened his heart so many times to other things that were being said, it was worthless to try to pursue it with him.
Gil: All right. So just to recap one last time on that one issue of . . .
Bill: One question I would have. Do you remember Dobson being in the court room when that was said?
Gil: Well, again if I'm following you, Bill, it would not have specifically been in the courtroom, it would have been, all the depositions were taken in conference rooms of the attorneys, the respective attorneys. So when Carolyn was being deposed, she would have been invited to the law of offices of Jim's law firm.
Bill: I thought this happened in court.
Gil: Well, it could be. I could be confusing it. If it was a question that, well Carolyn's right here. Carolyn, do you remember when you were on the stand in the trial if Leonard asked you questions about the statement turning him over to Satan.
Carolyn: Yeah, he made fun of it. He made fun of Bill.
Gil: Did he make reference to it being a satanic ritual or something like that?
Gil: You're right, Bill, it took place in court when Carolyn was on the stand. I was thinking incorrectly
Gil: Yeah, and . .
Bill: And if Dobson was in the room. .
Gil: Dobson was in the room always.
Bill: If he was in the room and this was said, he should have instantly jumped to his feet and declared that inappropriate. And I did not hear that report that he had done that.
Gil: Yeah. The pattern that you see throughout the case is that Jim and his attorney are indeed united in how they move forward. Another example would be in depositions. The attorney, at one point the attorney cursed at my attorney and Jim said nothing. At another point the attorney said we're falling behind in our schedule, we're going to have to do some depositions this weekend including on Sunday. And I'm not, you know, I'm not real, real rigid on what you can and cannot do on Sunday, but I know that Jim is. And yet Jim said nothing at that point, like, you know, that would violate my principles. We're not going to do this legal work on Sunday. I'm going to church. Consistently throughout the whole time it was just whatever his attorney said was fine with him.
Bill: Yeah. And my statement to those that call themselves believers would say the fact that he was in court and had not put forth the same effort to bring peace before court, I would not be surprised that that would be very consistent behavior with him. Or anybody else. This is not a statement about Dobson singularly, this is a statement about the condition of the parachurch organization. And most churches.
Gil: All right. So again in summary, the words were said to you over the Campolo problem, not over mine, by Jim himself, although the words were said by Jim's colleagues in my case that Focus on the Family is not a church and finish the sentence, Bill, just paraphrase it. I don't mean literally what exact words. But I just mean in terms of the sense of what was being communicated, we are not a church and therefore. . . what's the point there?
Bill: Therefore the scriptures that talk about how the church should operate or church discipline, any of those have no bearing on our organization.
Bill: In fact, I challenged him at that point to say are you willing to say that to your donors because I am convinced, interestingly, this is one of those statements reading Calvin's works on Peter, he makes this statement that says, "Scarcely one out of ten who profess to believers are true Christians." These organizations, in my personal opinion, are funded primarily by nonbelievers. And as you listen to Focus, now, you will see that it's run, it began as attempt, as well you know, and I was apart of some of the early taping here in the studios at WGN in the early years was an attempt to bring Christian values of family to the church and to society. I listen to Jim now on secular radio and there's no mention of Jesus Christ. So it's moved from what appeared to be a "Christian" attempt at promoting Jesus Christ in the family to now a highly polished advertising PR machine.
Gil: Yup. I think that's accurate, Bill.
Bill: And of course, you and I have to confess our sins in helping it get there.
Gil: One of us more than the other.
Gil: So you had first hand knowledge of one side of the coin where when asked to be responsible, to be a responsible member.
Bill: I called Jim an elder. That he was acting as an elder. He declined that, again making the statement this is not a church, we do not have those responsibilities.
Gil: Then do you have any first hand knowledge in that conversation or any other conversation of the other side of the coin where they then flipflop and say they have no responsibility to the state. They have no responsibility in a civil court to answer questions about their conduct.
Bill: Well, I don't know that I have a first hand statement. I'd have to think about that. Certainly the court, these are not ignorant men so they're quite aware of the worldly practices, and calculated that the court would throw out much of these cases because the court does not feel it has jurisdiction within the affairs of a religious community. And so what we have in our current 1996 and the last 12 years I've been trying to do conflict resolution, is basically a no man's land. And it's worst than the wild west. Because you have people who are almost captive? To trying to serve the Lord within these parachurch organizations and have absolutely no protection than the whim of the leadership. And that whim is often based on personality, temperaments, whatever terms you want to use and not on the word of the Lord.
And had Jim Dobson, and of course we could name almost any other organization we want to talk about, expended the same amount of energy to make peace and be reconciled using God's word, this case would have never gotten this far.
Gil: That's exactly right.
Bill: Or the other story is, which it turned out to be true, one or both of the parties would be finally obvious even to the common man who doesn't call himself a Christian to be a nut. And that's, when I was studying Malachai I was constantly impressed by how God referred to the average nonbeliever even knows these things. And he says if you take a pig or some sacrifice to your governor that's all mangy, my paraphrasing, the governor's gonna recognize this and not accept it. And you expect me to accept it?
So I'm saying, no, God, his word . . . true and for those who have eyes, they're not impressed with who Dobson is. Which is kind of the funny thing about this Religious Right and all the power that they think they're accumulating. Nobody in their right mid who's not a believer is going to give up adultery, gambling, drinking, smoking, and all the other vices of the flesh. That's stupid. They're not interested in that. They're not making moral decisions, there's not enough moral pagans out there to have a half way decent country anymore. I'm sorry, we may have to edit that one.
Gil: But it was well said, I'll say that. Bill, if I had you seated at a table beside my attorney, it would be really fascinating to ask exactly the same question that I want to ask you and hear one person speaking from the vantage point of law and another person speaking form the vantage point of trying to do life by the Scriptures and understanding of God's mind. And hear you, I'm sure say exactly the same thing, only what would be interesting would be the language that you would use to flesh out different dimensions, different aspects of the same issue. And here's the issue and obviously, I'd like to hear what language comes to your mind.
There is clearly something missing in our society in terms of specifically, practically how corporate heads are held accountable when charged with wrongdoing. Something's not there. An attorney's language might be, I don't know that the Congress of the United States could ever enact new law, put new law on the books about your requirement to follow due process with your employees if you're the CEO of a religious organization because the whole business of legislating religious practice is so complex, so difficult, so unpopular. But, if it were possible, there ought to be something there on the law. And just to give you a quick illustration, maybe something that is in the same category from the law's standpoint as the mandate that a package of cigarettes has a label on it that says, you know, you can smoke these. They're not against the law. But they might kill you.
Bill: Well, let's be perfectly clear here. We're talking about two kingdoms. The kingdom that you're identifying with the law is the nonbelieving world. The secular world. And that kingdom is built on greed. And so we have laws and we have safety regulations, we're seeing that currently with the airlines, etc. where we weigh safety, human suffering, against economics. And so that's what that whole system is based on. There's no sense of justice, there's justice that we're willing to pay for. And so that's what is happening in the socalled Church. It's justice that they're willing to pay for. And so the distinction between the secular and the true believer is is there anyone who's willing to give it all for the cause of Christ? And the answer is, it's very, very rare.
All Dobson had to do or Campolo or Bright or Swindoll or Swaggart, Bakker, Falwell, all of these guys. All they ever have to do is lay down the kingdoms that they've built and allow Jesus Christ to have the final say as to how these things are going to work out. They don't trust Jesus Christ to that degree. They trust their man made systems and power systems. Just like the secular world does. That's why the secular world laughs at them. They're not impressed by what the Religious Right's doing. In fact, I'm ashamed to call myself a Christian now because I'm associated with a political movement that has nothing to do with faith.
When I look at the secular model of laws, all the laws that we need are there. All the precedence that we need is there. And when we look in the Christian world, Christ said it all in two sentences: Love God with your whole being and your neighbor as yourself. These people, all of us wrestle with are we willing to lose it all and trust Jesus Christ for the final outcome. And the answer is, that's a rare person. And that's why it's hard for those that have much to enter into the kingdom.
We must not, also remember, if you don't mind me getting a little carried away here.
Gil: Not at all.
Bill.... that the issue that we're struggling with here is that rich or poor, neither one is necessarily a symbol of God working through a person. And if you listen to our current church structure, you will see that the average person gives to the "successful ministry." But Luke 8 is very clear that there are those whose hearts are so hard that they never hear the Word at all or they hear it and throw it away instantly. And then there are two other groups who are distracted from the truth. And one is through failure, and the other one is through success. We cannot look at these organizations that are "successful" and declare that Jesus Christ has blessed them. It may very well be that the vehicle by which they will be destroyed for their fleshliness. Just as poverty is not an example of spiritualness. So the church lacks rightly dividing God's word. In these meatier matters it is so weak now and so sick and so secularized that they can't differentiate spiritual worlds such as faith in Jesus Christ and his outcome and his ways and his timing, that we've adopted-and I think the Religious Right is potentially an example of this-where they have given up on the Lord and are now trying to take matters into their own hands through the political process.
Gil: That's well said. Let me take another run at. . .
Bill: Did I answer your question?
Gil: I was going to say, let me take another run at something I was trying to see if I could express better and then get your reaction to it. The bottom line, Bill, of all of the work you did in our situation, when I say the bottom line, from one perspective, the final analysis was, just from one perspective, it was that Bill Fields worked as hard as he could trying to work in the spirit of Christ, in the name of Christ, as Christ's ambassador, worked as hard as he could along with Gil and Carolyn and some others to try to find a way to create a resolution or find a resolution within the context of the Body of Christ, within an ecclesiastical context within a setting, that if it had happened, would have looked like maybe a one day church hearing bathed in prayer and a consciousness of the presence of the Spirit of God and conforming to our best understanding of what the Scriptures say about how to solve something and it didn't happen. And secondly, Gil and Carolyn and their attorney, David Warren, worked as hard to try to create a day in a civil courtroom in front of a jury of our peers, 12 good men and women, and I met those 12 and I looked into their eyes and I believe in that system to the extent that it has to be there. It was a fair thing, I felt. The problem was that through legal maneuvering, I wasn't allowed to say a single word to those 12 neighbors about Jim talking to my therapist and Jim talking to my wife behind my back over my protest. Invasion of privacy couldn't come up. Why? Because Jim claimed successfully to the judge that when he talked to my therapist and when he talked to my wife it was an integral part of a religious organization that could not be analyzed by the court and the judge said you're right.
Bill: Yeah, now see, and in that one point I'm saying, gee Jim, you're playing both sides of the coin.
Gil: Of course he did. Of course he did, Bill. And the exact same thing applied to the termination. Jim terminated us because he feared that a false rumor might start that would hurt his image and Focus'. And he said as much. And then when he got to court he said that he terminated us because we violated the Bible.
Bill: I'm sorry, I keep coming back to the theology. But see he was concerned that the immature secular donor base would not give him the funds that he would need to accomplish his work rather than depend on Jesus Christ and the power of his interacting in our world to support what Jesus Christ wanted to do. So therefore he is taking. One of the things that I want to read to you, and I can send it to you through Email, is from the Belgic(?) confession. And it's article 28, 29, 30 and 31 so it's about a page of print. [Bill, on the internet go to http://www.iserv.net/~prc/bc_index.html] But one of them is the nonchurch relies more upon men than upon Christ and persecutes those who live holy, according to the Word of God, and rebuke her for her errors, covetousness, and idolatry. And so here we have Jim worried that his funding is going to be impacted, rather than standing righteous with a brother. You know, one of the things I need to say, and I know I've said it to you, and this may hurt. But I wasn't in it to protect you. I wasn't in it to protect Dobson. That would have been a consequence, a byproduct of trying to do what God's word calls for us to do. The truth is, or the stated fact is we never got to the issues. We never were able to create a Biblical forum where it could be discovered what the issues were and what needed to be brought in alliance with God's word. And therefore, I can never make a statement that says that you were righteous or Jim was righteous, or you were unrighteous or Jim was unrighteous. The only righteousness that I can be witness to is Jim Dobson and Focus on the Family refused to . . . (turned the tape-[Bill: submit to a biblical process of reconciliation])
All the confessions talk about, if not all, almost all, talk about the keys to the Kingdom involve pure doctrine, pure practice of the sacraments and church discipline. And the fact that he calls himself not a church, the fact that he wouldn't practice discipline, the fact that he wouldn't submit to discipline, all put him outside of the church. But because what's called the church today is so filled with the hypocrites and the secularization and so few left of true believers, they're not mature enough, they don't understand the spiritual principle that these, by themselves, put Jim Dobson outside the church. He put himself, by his own testimony, outside the Church. This had nothing to do with whether I believed your story, though occasionally we would talk to some degree about it, but for the most part I don't know those details.
Gil: That's true.
Bill: The issue was he refused to submit to the Biblical processes. And that is sufficient a testimony to those who have ears to hear.
Gil: Gottcha. I don't know for sure, Bill, if I can get this issue out, I don't know but what your response is going to be, there's nothing more that can be done by anyone than what we all did. But I'm still trying to get to a certain point with a question. If I said to David Warren, the attorney, from the standpoint of law, David, what did we learn from the Dobson case. Particularly with reference to the fact that ultimately we could not tell tale to the jurors and ask for a response. We never were allowed to. And from the standpoint of the human experience in a democracy, Carolyn and I had the experience of having our privacy invaded and having our employment handed wrongfully. .
Bill: I see two things happening here. I think I'm asking the question, but the answer is so involved. For example. You were wronged, even by secular law. But because a parachurch organization hides itself as a religious organization, the secular world who does not have spiritual understanding can't differentiate. So we were never to turn to the secular world to resolve these issues. And therefore the secular world cannot help us. Occasionally they will attempt something that they understand. But for the most part, they can't understand the spiritual issues.
Gil: That's right.
Bill: So even the secular issues that were violated because of the corruption of the parachurch organization has shortened the hand of even the secular magistrates.
Gil: Right. But just bear with me for a second, Bill, the argument I'm trying to make on the secular side, and then all I'm doing is setting up the same question on your work, on the work that you did that tried to have that transcendent aspect to it to the eternal. On the secular side, we couldn't get to justice and society would be better, society will always be limited because it's human, it's earthly. It's sinful. But still, we are called on as citizens to strive to make it better. And society would be better if we could have, on the human plane, gotten to justice. And we couldn't. And so if I say to David Warren in this imaginary conference between him and you and me. If I say to him what did we learn, he might say it probably would be good to have a law, it's not perfect, it just would be a little better to have a law that says a company like Focus has to declare, has to have a written policy statement that they will submit either to a specific ecclesiastical accountability process or the state, one or the other. They can't do what Focus did. All right, that's just back ground. Now here's the question I want to put to you. You and I went through the whole thing, just like David and I did on strictly human terms with the law, you and I went through it on more than human terms and we didn't get it done either. We were not able to get to whatever it is we're going for. I suppose what you and I would say is the highest thing we were aiming at was not mere justice, but we were aiming higher than that as followers of Christ to, for example, reconciliation. We were dreaming and praying of a moment where, after processing the issues, maybe in our faith, in our vision with the eye of faith maybe Jim and I would have flung our arms around each other, tears in our eyes, having just taken communion, having forgiven each other and asked for each other's forgiveness. And maybe, you know, we would have hugged to say I am your brother once again and will walk with you. Maybe that's a way of saying what we're aiming for. But we didn't get there either. Now here's my question. When you sit back and think about that, what is needed on the nonlegal side to help us in the future get there when these things happen?
Bill: True believers.
Gil: Yeah, I suppose that's exactly right. Yeah.
Bill: It's that simple.
Gil: Because you can't write anything out. You can't write a law on the spiritual side. You can't compel people to do something.
Bill: There's material on my home page on repentance and the article or series of sermons stops short of talking about what restitution would look like, what reconciliation would look like. And the answer is, when two people actually are before the Lord, you see, when two or three are gathered together in his name, meaning we're there for his purposes, he will be there. And the answer will be probably something quite simple but so profound that tears and being on your knees before him is the only reaction that the two people should have. So what we've discovered is peace making is nearly impossible between a hypocrite and a believer. And it's absolutely, for example, in the current concept of reconciliation ministry, what we have is a political process of give and take, manipulation, mediation, compromise, those kinds of things that will bring a degree of peace. But the purpose of God's word is to bring righteousness.
When you gave the illustration of what our goal was, in one sense that was my hope. And it is still my hope, that some day either you or Jim, that the Holy Spirit will break through either one or both somehow and we can all stand before the world and point to Jesus Christ's work in two hard hearted people.
And then here comes the part that's hard to accept. That the Lord allows broken relationships, and allows these ministries to continue, in order to continue blinding those people whose hearts are not towards him. That's the danger of Dobson being successful and moving on. That's the danger of you being successful and moving on. That's my danger. Is that we all know that we are so adept at rationalization and histrionics, of finding justification that it is possible that we have all missed the Lord even though we all talk about religious spiritual things. And so the answer is that the truth is going to be made known. It will be made known on this side, and if it's not made known on this side, it definitely will be made known on the other side.
And the process that I was a part of. I would like to be able to say to the secular world, most of these organizations, I think it's safe to say most, but if I start trying to make a statement to the secular world, the difference between a true Christian organization and an organization that assumes the name of Christian, they don't have the spiritual understanding to differentiate the two. So I wrestle between we need more regulation.
Let me go back to this Christian reconciliation to answer specifically your question of having these organizations sign a document saying they will submit. They've already done it. Gil, there's an organization led by Ken Sande who has asked all these organizations that they will sign an agreement that they believe in and will practice church discipline. And most of them don't. But they've all signed it. It already exists.
And so it's almost like you're saying, will the secular court at least step in and hold these people to their own promises?
Bill: And the answer is, Gil, you're trying to find an answer for evil. And there is no answer. Evil will always out smart good on this earth. It always hides as light. Sande thought that if he could get everybody to sign this, he could hold them to their word. Well, lo and behold we have 40 million different definitions of God's word. If the people want to follow Christ, and if they love their brother more than themselves, they don't need an agreement. They will practice it. So we need to find those who practice it. And when they're not practicing it, it might be an educational thing. But more than likely these people are highly religious, they're very calculating and they will do whatever they have to do to make sure their kingdom survives. So I can't encourage you to go to Claude Pepper in Texas and the IRS and all these people to try to hold the church accountable. And that's why I was concerned about what I say and how it comes across in the book. What we need is a group of believers who know God's word well enough to be able to differentiate the true from the false. And that doesn't exist, and therefore these organizations continue to grow and multiply. And then I go back to the end of the circle which is the secular world's not going to give up the lust of the flesh. They can't be morally persuaded. That's why Buchanan's candidacy was a farce. Buchanan and Robertson would do better to be ministers of God's word than trying to take the world by politics. And the reason why Jim Dobson as I've heard, so I can't say it's the truth, is Robertson and his Christian Coalition and Falwell and all those guys several years ago, tapped Dobson to be the next guy to take a run at the media. And take a run at the secularization of "Christian" principles.
And all they've turned out to be is Republican. They didn't turn out to be Christian. Am I making sense?
Gil: Oh yeah. I think that's exactly right. I never had any first had any first hand knowledge that they tabbed him, but they may have.
Bill: Falwell didn't tell me, we tabbed him. These are just statements that others have made throughout the different organizations that I've touched.
Gil: Sure. Let's take a run at one more issue this morning and then I'll digest all of this and see if I need to ask for a follow up conversation with you, but I've got another 15 minutes here before I need to hit the road. Bill, I know that you have spent a lot of time thinking about the issue of how a follower of Christ approaches political activism. The Falwell call to Americans to be a certain way, the Robertson call, the Dobson call, and it seems to me that if you were to analyze the right way and the wrong way, if you're trying to answer the question what's the right way and the wrong way to, as a follower of Christ, to have an involvement with political issues, you know, you could get a hundred different answer to that question, but I would sure be interested in knowing. . .
Bill: There's one answer. The only place, of course I'm not promoting myself knowing the Bible this well to say it's the only place, but I think it is, is in John 17 Jesus Christ himself says to the disciples in a prayer to his Father that the lost world will know that he's legitimate by Christians loving one another. That's it. If we would just do that enough would be said to those who had eyes to see and ears to hear. Anything else other than that is an expression of the flesh, attempting to accomplish God's work through the flesh. And it can't be done. It's as simple as love one another. I have no evidence of, in any of these disputes that I've been a part of, where a person was willing to lay down his own life, his own kingdom that he had built as though the calling that Jesus Christ gave him was greater than the exercise of righteousness towards a brother. But I guarantee you, the world will note. Look at Mother Theresa. Look at how the world has responded to her. I don't know if she's a believer or not or if she's doing it out of the flesh or not, but there's just one example.
We have marches around here in Wheaton for Jesus. We have a Jesus March so that people can say we stand for Jesus. Why don't they live it? If they just live it. That's how Jesus Christ wants his message out there.
Gil: Well, if we break that down a little further, I would assume unless you tell me otherwise, that in terms of the basic question I still want to work on a little more is being a follower of Christ and being actively involved in political issues.
Bill: I think the Romans passage if I can interrupt, maybe I'm catching a different direction here about the fact that our government is an extension of God's authority, then I believe we as Christians are responsible to choose those that we believe will govern according to God's word.
Gil: So that's one answer. We make informed choices as the electorate. Secondly, I'm sure you would agree with me that some among us sense a call on our life or a direction of our life to devote ourselves to government. I don't think you and I would say that Washington is devoid of people who feel that God sent them there to do a certain work just as you've been sent to do your work and I've been sent to do my work. There's a second answer to the question. It seems to me that the confusion, the uncertainty right now in society and in the body of Christ is in like a third dimension. We all understand what it means to be informed voters. We don't do it very well, but we understand that. We understand that there are professional politicians who hopefully some are following Christ to do that. The third area is that for the average Joe, is it true what you seem to sort of feel like you're hearing from Dobson, Falwell and Robertson and that is the question of the hour, Bill, is not just have you had your quiet time, it's have you written your Congressman. That seems like it's overkill.
Bill: Well, I think it's theoretically possible for someone to be called of God to go to Washington. I don't think you'll get elected the second time. And I don't know that he could literally get elected the first time on issues where he's willing to promote Jesus Christ and him crucified and the Christian values. I don't know that in this society that person can get elected. We certainly know that the pressure is to find form, compromise, make some improvement versus standing up for this is the right improvement. And I'm not good at compromise. I'm good at sin. But I'm not good at compromise. And so I struggle with at this stage of my life and understanding is some improvement better than none. I think there's a sense that says no! In God's kingdom the answer is are you righteous or not righteous. So once again we've created a territory that allows a person to proclaim to be a Christian and make compromises because at least we're doing better than we did yesterday or last year. And I don't see that being scriptural. Did that answer your part of the question?
Gil: yeah. It sure does.
Bill: Yeah, I. . . so when we talk about writing to our Congressman, I had a case here in Illinois where there was an issue of torte reform. So I studied God's word about how did God in the Old Testament and New Testament declare justice, declare restitution? And I think our torte laws, in some ways are inappropriate. But it wasn't my responsibility to call my legislature and give him my definition. I called him to God's word. He professed to be a Christian, I said here is God's word concerning these issues. And one of the things is that the torte reform put a limit. And I said there's no limit. The limit is 25 times. Therefore, a lot of these award fall woefully short. So let's put back into the law the principles and quit trying to. . . and see the torte reform is an attempt by the economically powerful to minimize their vulnerability. And at the same time, because have a litigious society, they need to protect themselves from people and unscrupulous or whatever the appropriate word is, attorneys whose livelihood is made by suing. And then along that line comes something called Christian attorneys who wouldn't practice God's word when it comes to reconciliation and peace makers because it would destroy their legal business. And so now we have this whole mix and we say, what does it mean to be Christian? All I knew to do was call this man and tell him God's word and tell him my understanding of it and leave him to the Lord.
Am I against abortion? Yeah. I'm against greed, too.
Bill: I'm still amazed that the Assemblies of God dealt with Bakker years after it was obvious that the man was out of control.
Bill: I'm still amazed that the Assemblies of God got rid of Swaggart, not because of the sin in his life and his fake repentance, but because he didn't adhere to their rules. And you see, we keep trying to come up with a way to catch these people. And the answer is, evil will always win until he returns. This is his world. This is Satan's world. You cannot out fox Satan. Even the angels don't even try to address him directly. This is a spiritual war where our only weapon is righteousness. We should be righteous. Jesus Christ will have the say as to how it works out. That's what faith means. That's what we don't see experienced in these organizations. That's what we don't see when we have all this "write into your Congressman." That's a political move. Write to your congressman about being a Christian.
I remember when somebody called me and said help us with Jim Bakker, what does he need to do? And I said, how about become a Christian? How about acting like it? You know? And isn't it wonderful how God has kept his word by it's pretty clear who Jim and Tammy are now, isn't it?
Gil: Yeah, it really is.
Bill: And yet this is God's way of saying to them you still have time to repent. He was so gracious to show them what charlatans they were. It was a call to them to repent. There are some people that are so good, and for whatever reason, God says I'm not gonna let you guys know until we get to the other side. And they will say, "We've raised the dead, we've . . ." And he'll say, "I don't know who you are. You called on my name, I did things because of me, but not because of you." Oh, Jim! You had an opportunity. You still have an opportunity. This book is an opportunity for every parachurch and every assuming organization that calls its church to repent and return to rightly dividing God's word, the practice of the sacraments, and church discipline for the edification of the saints, and the discipline and the removal of those who are hypocrites who have made themselves clear that they are.
Gil: Well, like always, Bill, you give me a thousand things to think about, and ail of them excellent food for thought. I appreciate the chance to bat these issues around with you. We'll transcribe this and get it out, and in the meantime I'm writing all the way through August and through September so as I continue to solidify the various chapters and the various themes, maybe if I need some additional conversation with you to fill out something I forgot to ask, maybe I'll just call again if that's OK with you.
Bill: Yeah, I would enjoy it. As you, I have taped this as well, for my review. My prayer is that it's God's word and that it's not based on bitterness or any of those other kinds of things, but it's an attempt to say both to the Church and to the secular world, Jesus Christ is real. I enjoy talking with you and I'd enjoy talking some more if I can be of any help.
Shalt NOT Bare False Witness Against Thy Neighbor
Dobson In Danger As Non-Christian
The DOOR: Fracas In The Family - Part One
The DOOR: Who You Gonna Call? PeaceMakers - Part Two