Pastor Mark debates a follower of Jimmy Swaggart. Blue lettering is Pastor Mark…
Glad to hear back from you. I appreciate your well thought-out answers and your willingness to discuss these matters amicably. I have listed your statements as well as my response together so that others may benefit from the conversation. I believe that you have done as good a job as anyone could in defending an indefensible position. Your statements are in black and my response is in blue.
You are persuaded that Jimmy Swaggart is a fraud/false teacher or whatever, I am not persuaded.
May I begin begin with some questions? How long ago did you get saved? How long after that did you convert to Swaggartism? Do you still attend a local church? Have you read all the articles on my website pertaining to Swaggart? Have you watched the video The Swaggart Seduction? Remember that Jesus said that we will know false prophets by their fruits, thus it behooves us to examine the past of anyone claiming to be a prophet or anyone teaching new doctrines, or anyone teaching at all, for that matter. It is the command of Scripture to examine everything carefully and to judge what the prophets say. Until you have looked at all the data, I believe you are ignoring the facts.
It comes to my mind, a time when I was talking with a couple of Mormons. I pointed them to Matthew 7:16, the “know them by their fruits” passage. I asked them if they had studied the past of their founding prophet, Joseph Smith; specifically, were they aware of the underage girls he had taken as “wives.” Helen Mar Kimball, was age fourteen. Nancy Winchester was only fifteen. Fanny Alger and Flora Ann Woodworth were both 16. Sarah Ann Whitney, Lucy Walker and Sarah Lawrence were seventeen. As I continued to present irrefutable evidence that their “prophet” was a fugitive from justice, a liar, murderer, adulterer, fornicator and pedophile, they became so agitated that they got up and immediately left. They did not want to study the evidence. The idea that they had been led astray was just too painful for them to contemplate.
I have asked you to watch the entire video and to read the articles on the website. It is very important, for in order to obey Jesus’ command to put prophets to the test, you have to look at the data.
You said that I claimed that JS did not get his revelation from God, but actually I didn’t! What I did say was that how many times do we read a passage and the Holy Spirit opens something up to us, and I also said that JS is saying that the Lord opened his mind to something he had never seen before. Whether it was the Lord directly, or through the Holy Spirit, (which is really how the Lord communicates to us) whatever formula or words or phrases you want to use, it all comes down to the same thing. The Lord was enlightening him, showing him something in the Word which he had never seen before.
So then, you are saying he got it from reading the Bible and the Holy Spirit enlightened him, as He does any Christian. But that is not how Swaggart describes it. He says, “In this Revelation, the Lord explained to me, even in graphic detail…” Nonetheless, if we assume his knowledge was merely gained by his reading comprehension of the Bible with his understanding helped by the Holy Spirit, then we can go back to what I said; you are claiming that he read the Bible with the Holy Spirit’s help as all Christians have done for the past two thousand years of Church history and he is the only one in all that time to see it? Think about that. Can you see how absurd that is?
If not, then you need to read the article, How to Recognize a False Prophet. It is here: http://www.christiananswerman.com/how-to-recognize-a-false-prophet/
Nowhere does the scripture tell us to look for or expect new revelation. Rather it warns to hold fast to what has already been taught. “…hold fast the word which I preached to you.” (1 Co 15:2). And “Contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. For certain persons have crept in unnoticed…who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness… following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly…” (Jude 1:3-4,16)
This tells us that the faith was “once for all handed down.” Teachers who claim a revelation from God are speaking in contradiction to this scripture. They are saying that the faith was not “once for all handed down,” but that it has to be handed down again with their revelation.
You said, “Whether it was the Lord directly, or through the Holy Spirit…it all comes down to the same thing.” It is not the same thing. The former would be heresy. God does not speak directly to people today to give them doctrine to teach. All doctrine comes from the Bible. Furthermore, there is no hidden esoteric message in scripture. The Apostle Paul said, “we write nothing else to you than what you read and understand…” Of course the Holy Spirit helps us to believe it and gives us wisdom concerning how to apply it to our lives, but when the Word of God tells us that Jesus’ blood is the propitiation for our sins, that is plain and simple reading. Anyone can read and understand that. Even an unbeliever can understand what that says. They may not believe it or even care about it, but they are able to comprehend what it says.
I repeat, the Lord does not speak doctrinally to people today. Scripture tells us that God who “spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son…” Do you see that? God no longer speaks doctrinally through new prophets today. “The prophets were until John” (Luke 16:16). God has already spoken long ago and those words are now scripture. He speaks now through his Son and we have Jesus’ words along with the apostles in the New Testament, thus the doctrine of the Church is built “upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets…”(Ephesians 2:20), which is the Holy Bible.
You said JS’s revelation is not in the Bible, that the message is basically put your faith in the cross rather than Jesus. Yes, you know my reply already, and I stand over it. I have heard him say time and time again, “when we say the cross, we are not talking about that wooden beam, we are speaking of the work which Christ did on the cross.”
This is a common straw-man defense that followers of Swaggart use: To claim we are accusing you of referring to a wooden beam when you say the cross. We understand that you do not mean a wooden beam. It is understood that by “the cross” you mean what Jesus did on the cross. As I said in my previous writing, putting your faith in an action is putting your faith in a thing. Primary faith should be in a person, the Lord Jesus Christ.
When Swaggart insists that you must put your “faith in the cross,” he is saying something that the Bible never says. You may claim that God revealed it to him in scripture, but I would counter by saying, which scripture? There are no scriptures that say “Paul was wrong, the Church is wrong, so listen to Swaggart and put your faith in the cross.”
Being that no one else in history has come up with such a doctrine I am confident in saying that Swaggart has put upon scripture a “private interpretation,” which the Bible specifically condemns, “no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.”(2 Peter 1:20)
Your answer to this is that he is deflecting FROM Jesus; that he should be saying put your faith in Jesus. I am sorry, but I really think you are “splitting hairs” and misrepresenting JS.
If I am just “splitting hairs,” if there is not much difference between what I say and what he says, then why does Swaggart make such a big deal out of it? If putting faith in the cross alone is the same thing as putting faith in Jesus, then why does Swaggart say that the Church is wrong and he is right? Jimmy Swaggart does not seem to think it is just “splitting hairs,” for he is the one that says all the churches are wrong because we don’t say it the way he says it. So apparently Swaggart feels there is a BIG difference between what the churches teach and what he teaches.
Swaggart says the church has no fear of God, has a false and insincere heart, ignores the will of God, repudiates the cross, is full of uncleanness, cannot tolerate the truth, does not understand justification by faith, worships strange gods, has left Christ, has forsaken Christ, serves another Jesus, is spiritually blind, is in rebellion, etc. Read my article The Swaggart Bible where these statements of Swaggart are documented. You see, Swaggart doesn’t think the difference between what the Church says and what he says is just a small matter of splitting hairs. He says he has the true Gospel and the Church does not.
Of course he means to put all your faith in Jesus. By trusting in Jesus, we are also trusting in what He did for us at the cross.
If we remove the “Of course he means,” from your statement above, then it would be absolutely correct. I do agree totally with, “put all your faith in Jesus. By trusting in Jesus, we are also trusting in what He did for us at the cross.” I agree with that. So does the Church today. So where is the rub? This is what I have said also, that when you have faith primarily in Christ, then we naturally also trust His words about what He did at the cross. That is what the Church has always taught and teaches presently.
The problem is that this is clearly not what Swaggart teaches. Swaggart has stated that he has something new, he has more light, that the churches are all wrong and do not have the true Gospel. Swaggart says that his revelation is “new to the Church,” that the “the Church must be brought back to the cross,” and that “this generation knows almost nothing about the cross…these Christians can be set free only by the cross being preached to them,” and “It is the Cross alone which can bring about this Work of the Spirit.”And “the cross must ever be the object of our faith,” and “the believer is ever to make the cross the object of his faith.” These are exact quotes. I really think it would help you to read the article Message of the Cross on my website. It is here: http://www.christiananswerman.com/message-of-the-cross/
If Swaggart means merely, “put all your faith in Jesus,” as you allege, then why doesn’t he just say that? No, he says put your faith in the cross alone. He says, “There is nothing before the cross and nothing after because there doesn’t need to be.” Can you see that what he is teaching is something entirely different than just putting your faith in Jesus?
If Swaggart meant it the way you just said, then Swaggart would not have anything different than what the churches teach. All the Christian churches teach that we should put our faith primarily in Jesus, and as I said in my articles and previous writings to you, when you have Jesus you have everything. If you trust Him then you trust what he said and you believe his words about his blood washing away our sins. When you have Jesus you have the cross. That is what the Church teaches.
In Family Worship Centre the music is centered around magnifying and lifting up the Name and Person of Jesus, and so is the preaching.
I am not saying people at Family Worship Center are not saved, or that they are not Christians, or that they don’t worship Jesus. But none of that means that all of Swaggart’s teachings are correct. There are Biblical issues with some of the teachings of Jimmy Swaggart, as many cult watch ministries have pointed out. It does not appear that his followers “examine everything carefully” as they should. There seems to be a propensity to accept Jimmy Swaggart as the mouthpiece of God and anyone who dares question his teaching is threatened with “touch not God’s anointed,” or else!
I really think you are making out something that isn`t even there.
As I said above, if there was not “something there,” Jimmy would not be so insistent that he is right and all the Church is wrong.
Let me say this. There are many people in this world, who go to church, and have their “faith” in Jesus, but NOT in what He did at the cross.
You are mistaken. Where do you get that idea? Did you conduct a survey? I think you believe that simply because Swaggart teaches it so. Just because Jimmy Swaggart says it doesn’t make it true. The Church has consistently taught, both in the past and in the present, that Jesus’ shed blood on the cross is the propitiation for our sins. Children are taught that in Sunday School, they are told that when they get saved, they are told that repeatedly at Sunday morning sermons and at Bible study. I know Swaggart says that few preachers preach the cross, but that is not true. I’ve been going to church for almost 60 years and I’ve been in the services of numerous denominations.
The Church teaches Christians to put their faith first in Jesus, and then just as you said, we believe what the Bible says, what Jesus taught, that his blood washes away our sins. All Christian churches teach that. The difference between Biblical Christian teaching is that the Church teaches faith in Christ first and foremost and Swaggart takes issue with that, says the Church is wrong and says, “the cross must ever be the object of our faith…” which is just a little twist he has cooked up in his head.
This faith is vain! They are trusting in His goodness, in His example, yes even in the fact that He is God, and they hope they can get to Heaven by trusting in His example.
Again, not so. After years of pastoral ministry and preaching in churches of many denominations, I have never met a Christian who believed what you said above. We are saved by our relationship with Christ. “Depart from me…I never knew you,” will be Christ’s words to the lost. By knowing Him and having our lives surrendered to Him is our salvation. He saved us by going to the cross. We don’t save ourselves by thinking of the cross or making it the “object of our faith.” Knowing Christ applies the blood of the cross to our lives. The cross is not sacred in and of itself. It is sacred by Him who made is sacred by His shed blood. It is His free gift to us. But do not devote yourself to the gift, but rather to the Giver. The cross is something Jesus did for us. Swaggart wants to try to turn it around and make the cross something you can do for yourself by performing mental gymnastics about the cross.
All over the world, in many different denominations, Christians partake of Communion and do as Jesus commanded, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” (1Co 11:25). They remember Him. They have faith in Him. As they do this of course they contemplate his shed blood on the cross and trust in Jesus words, that His precious blood washes away our sins. The image of His blood washing away their sins is in the mind of every Christian as they swallow the wine or grape juice at communion. The entire Church trusts in that. For you to say that the Church is trusting in other vain things is not a statement based in fact. It comes from the brainwashing influence of Jimmy Swaggart, a self-appointed minister who has declared war on the Church ever since he was defrocked for disobedience to God’s authority.
My faith is in Jesus yes, but it is also in what He did on the Cross for me. I will be in Heaven because of the shed Blood of the Lamb and no other way. I will be in Heaven because Jesus died for me. I cannot come into the Presence of God in prayer except for the shed Blood of Jesus.
Nothing wrong with what you just said there. That is what all the Church believes. So I ask again, why does Swaggart say all the Church is wrong? Clearly Swaggart says more than just that.
“Our faith is always in Jesus, but it`s not merely in Jesus but also in what He did for us.” (Message of the Cross p 150)
Nothing wrong with that particular statement of Swaggart’s. However it is classic Swaggartesque; to mix truth with error, to deny what he also affirms. If that was all he said there would be no issue, but he makes it an issue, saying the Church is wrong, even though the Church totally accepts the above statement. In his writings he goes far beyond that, as I have documented. Some of Swaggart’s statement appear to put the cross before Jesus.
Let me address your comments about Paul not being able to understand the cross. First of all, I do not necessarily agree with this, but it is not beyond the realms of possibility. I don`t think it`s a primary matter with which to break fellowship with someone over!
Jimmy Swaggart is the one breaking fellowship, claiming that the Church does not have the Gospel, saying the Church today is of the devil. He is the one who broke fellowship with the Assemblies of God, calling them a cult and refused to accept their help and discipline when his continual and willful sinning came light. Listen to Donnie Swaggart and Gabriel Swaggart as they angrily yell, rant and rave, condemning every ministry other than their own. They are the kings of breaking fellowship.
It is just his understanding of the passage in Romans 7 etc.
Just his understanding? The proposition that the Apostle Paul as a Christian sinned willfully over and over and failed again and again because he didn’t understand the Gospel is simply nothing more serious than Swaggart’s understanding? So we shouldn’t concern ourselves? You don’t think such a preposterous position is a negative reflection concerning Swaggart’s soundness and lucidity?
If it was only his understanding then I would say his understanding has been darkened. But it is more than just his understanding. It is written in his Bible that they quote on Francis and Friends, reading his commentary as though it was the Word of God over nearly every question that comes up. This is his Bible, which puts his words in-line in the midst of scripture as though it were scripture with his words in red instead of our Lord’s. He is looked to almost as an infallible prophet. He sells that Bible as often as he can. It is not “just his understanding.” It is what he teaches and what most of his followers believe and his “Paul didn’t understand the cross” is part and parcel of his “the Church doesn’t understand the cross” doctrine. Its intended effect is to elevate Jimmy Swaggart in the minds of his followers.
I must ask, how in the world would Jimmy Swaggart, living in the 21st century, know what the Apostle Paul and the other apostles understood in the 1st century? He claims to know. So I ask, how? There are only two ways for him to know what he claims. One, Swaggart finds that what Paul and the apostles wrote in the New Testament is lacking. But such a position is an attack upon God’s Holy Word; an attack that fails, for it is inconceivable that God’s word is not sufficient, complete and accurate for “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished…” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) I must ask, how can God’s Word make a man to be “perfect” and “thoroughly furnished” if God’s Word itself is not perfect and thorough?
The only other way he could know would be for God to tell him. And tell him what? That the apostles that our Lord commissioned and sent into the world to preach the Gospel didn’t know what they were talking about? Can you imagine God appearing to Jimmy Swaggart to tell him such a thing? Such a position is completely indefensible. There is no credible way for Jimmy Swaggart to know that the apostles did not understand the cross. Yet he claims to know exactly this. Such a teaching is a ludicrous monstrosity of such impudence that its proclamation renders its proprietor an untrustworthy source for any further instruction. Swaggart’s proposition is an argument which God not only tells us to ignore, but is a thing ordered to be demolished, as we have just done: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God…” (2 Co 10:5)
As you know, this part of Romans is hotly disputed about whether Paul is speaking of before he was saved or after. Some scholars come down on the former side, others on the latter, but I have never heard them called heretics or anything drastic!
But Swaggart declares things about this passage that no scholar says. What Swaggart says is that the Apostle Paul, at the time of writing Romans, which was ten years after he started planting churches, did not understand the cross. So Swaggart is making the claim that this passage is after Paul got saved, in fact many years after. Swaggart’s position is that Paul was speaking of his situation when he wrote Romans. He goes on to say that “in his defense, no one else at that time understood the Cross.” Swaggart also says in another place that “the cross is the Gospel,” thus he is actually alleging that Paul did not understand the Gospel. In fact he says that Paul’s understanding of the Gospel was so limited that he failed to live righteously, that he failed over and over.
Now that is something entirely different than what the scholars discuss. Not one scholar I know of makes the sort of statements Swaggart makes about this passage. That is why you have not heard of scholars calling each other heretics over this passage; because none of them have spoken heretically. Jimmy Swaggart is not a scholar and what he says has been called heretical by scholars and ministers within the Church.
Swaggart’s belittling of the Apostle Paul’s knowledge and lifestyle is a foundational tenant of Swaggartism. It goes hand in glove with his vilification of the Church. His patented, copyrighted and packaged “Message of the Cross” revelation that he sells, has as its basis the idea that the Church’s Gospel is wrong and that his other gospel is right.
It is not enough for him to claim the entire Church is in error, he extends that to the apostles as well. So you see it is more than just “his understanding of the passage,” as you suggest. It is part of his message and his persona. Just as “Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them” (3John 1:9) so also Jimmy Swaggart loves to have the preeminence and arrogantly declares that neither Paul nor the other apostles “at that time understood the Cross.” How would Swaggart know such a thing? It is an extraordinarily pompous statement which no one believes except those under the mesmerizing influence of Jimmy Swaggart.
JS quotes Romans 7:9, Paul is saying he was alive without the law once and JS interprets this as being alive (ie saved, made alive) without the law, ie it had nothing to do with his conversion, it was all through Christ (see Expositors Study Bible). Then Paul says, “but when the commandment came sin revived and I died” – JS states here that Paul, after his salvation tried to live for God by his own strength and power, and under such circumstances the sin nature revives, and he died to the commandment. etc etc
I will agree that is part of what Swaggart says. It is very convoluted and is at variance to the teaching of the scholars. There is zero evidence that after Paul got saved that he tried to live by law and not by grace. Nothing in the Bible supports that. Paul got his gospel direct from Jesus Christ. Galatians 1:11-12:
“For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.”
I sincerely doubt that the Lord Jesus Christ left out this important element when He instructed Paul. Since Swaggart says “the cross is the Gospel,” it would mean that Paul preached the Gospel without knowing the Gospel.
I must admit, I had never read it that way!
Good for you. No other Christian in all of recorded Church history read it that way either. It is not what the text says.
But it is not beyond possibility.
Yes it is beyond possibility. The proposition that the apostle who taught us salvation by faith, who wrote most of the New Testament, and who said in Romans 10:4, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes,” – to say that he did not understand the very righteousness by faith that he taught and that he continued in sin and tried to keep the law; that is an absurd impossibility. Long before Paul wrote Romans he corrected Peter’s behavior and said these words to him:
“A man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified…I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.” (Galatians 2:16-21)
Salvation by faith and not by works of the law is basic Pauline theology that predates his writing of Romans. It is a central tenet of Christianity. The idea that Jesus did not communicate this to Paul from the get-go is simply not a viable notion.
How many people get saved and know 100 per cent everything immediately they get saved? Just because Paul was an apostle doesn`t mean he was some sort or spiritual superstar ( although he WAS a great man of God, of that there is no doubt) – Everything Paul wrote was under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, but that does not mean that he understood everything immediately.
Paul’s conversion experience on the road to Damascus and his learning of the Gospel was a bit more dramatic than yours, mine or any Christian’s experience. When Jesus appeared to him He said,
“For this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you…” (Acts 26:16)
Jesus did appear to him again and revealed to Paul the fullness of the Gospel, just as Paul claimed when he said, “For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.” Did you get that? Paul was not “taught” the Gospel, he “received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.” Picture the movie The Matrix and Neo getting Kung Fu downloaded into his brain. Paul received the Gospel in an amazing supernatural manner direct from Jesus Christ. Paul did not go to Sunday School for years learning precept upon precept as we do now.
Paul was an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, taught by Him directly, commissioned and sent by our Lord to teach the Gospel and to write Holy Scripture. If there ever were “spiritual superstars,” then the apostles qualify. Of course Jesus is the only one who ever lived perfectly sinless. Nevertheless what the apostles taught as recorded in Scripture is one hundred percent accurate. To say that they did not understand what they wrote is nonsensical and is contrary to the manner in which God used the apostles to communicate. They were not as a medium doing automatic writing. They wrote what they knew and understood. This is the problem with Swaggart’s teaching: It denigrates the Bible. To say that Paul did not understand the very things he wrote is ludicrous. That would not past muster with any Biblical scholar.
Any writing that alleges that the apostles did not have a proper or complete understanding of the doctrines of Christianity is an attack upon Holy Scripture, for the apostles are the authority of the writings of the New Testament. Such an attack, is an attack against Christendom itself, and should be refuted with all diligence.
Peter himself did not know all truth even when he was with God Incarnate, the very reflection of God, Jesus Christ. Surely, you would say he would have known all truth when he was with Jesus? But that was before the cross, ok, after the cross, after the day of Pentecost, then surely Peter was full of all knowledge and understood everything. But yet, Peter had to learn a few things about eating meats. But yet, Paul had to withstand him to the face (Gal 2:11).
Paul did not correct Peter on his teaching. He corrected him concerning his behavior. Peter ate with Gentiles but when certain Jews came around Peter refrained from eating with the Gentiles. Paul pointed out the inconsistency between Peter’s belief and Peter’s behavior. The text implies that Peter agreed with Paul. Nothing in that passage of Galatians says that Peter did not understood the Gospel clearly.
The book of Acts tells us that Paul began “immediately” (Acts 9:20) to preach the Gospel after his conversion, the same Gospel that Jesus Christ revealed to him. He cannot preach what he does not know, therefore Paul must have understood the cross from the very beginning. The substitutionary atonement of Christ and the resulting imputed righteousness of Christ replaces the works of the law. That doctrine is fundamental to the Gospel. It is all through the New Testament. To think that Jesus did not reveal this basic tenet to Paul before he began preaching is an idea without the support of logic.
Is it possible that for a period of time, Paul still struggled in his new found faith and his old life of law? Is it possible? Maybe in his three year period after his conversion when he went to the desert? Is it possible? And now is he telling us about it in Romans 7?
That is not what Swaggart taught. He said, “at that time.” Furthermore, no matter when it was, Paul makes clear that the Lord appeared to Him and taught him the Gospel. I think it reasonable to conclude that Paul passed the Gospel on clearly and accurately to us. Again, this is the danger of Swaggartism; it is full of imaginings and suppositions that cast doubt about the Gospel as recorded in the Holy Scriptures.
There are no facts whatsoever to support the idea that Paul “failed again and again,” that he could not live for God, and that he sinned over and over because he did not understand the Gospel. There is nothing to back that up. It is wished to be so by Swaggart, probably to assuage his conscience for, “chasing prostitutes in every city I held revivals,” and instead of simply repenting and trusting Christ to wash it away he wants to save face and excuse it by dragging the Apostle Paul down to his level.
This does not mean that for those 10 years or so that he was planting churches or whatever that he still struggled. Is he just telling us about it now in Romans – about a time when he struggled. I believe that is a possible reading of Romans 7.
I believe what I said above answers that. I do not believe such a thing possible or likely and there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that. No one besides Swaggart has ever suggested that the Apostle Paul sinned willfully and blatantly while preaching the Gospel. Just because Jimmy Swaggart did that does not mean that Paul did. The scripture warns:“For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins…” (Heberews 10:26)
To illustrate clearly how Swaggart’s doctrine differs radically from Biblical theology, let us review again Swaggart’s exact words. Swaggart says:
“He (Paul) failed to obey no matter how hard he tried…the Apostle Paul couldn’t live for God…Paul thought, now that he had accepted Christ, by that mere fact alone he could certainly obey the Lord in every respect; but he found he couldn’t…he failed…having just been Saved, and not understanding the Cross of Christ, he tried to live for God by keeping the Commandments through his own strength and power; in his defense, no one else at that time understood the Cross…sin in his life which he doesn’t want to do, and in fact hates, but finds himself unable to stop; unfortunately, due to the fact of not understanding the Cross…” — (The Expositor’s Study Bible, Commentary on Romans Chapter 7)
The Bible says:
As we have recounted, Paul was not taught the Gospel, but he received the Gospel by revelation direct from Jesus Christ appearing to him. Jesus told Paul that he had appeared to him to “appoint you a minister…to the things in which I will appear to you.” Paul later said concerning the Gospel he preached, “For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 1:12) After Paul’s conversion, when his sight returned and after only “several days” it says that Paul arose “And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues.” (Acts 9:20)
Now it only stands to reason that Jesus would not send Paul to preach the Gospel until the Lord had conveyed the Gospel to him. We can see from the above Scriptures that since Paul began preaching within a few days, that Christ had by then communicated that Gospel to Paul.
Swaggart alleges that Paul did not know what he himself wrote in Romans 10:4, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” That statement in and of itself seems to indicate that the “end of the law” is fundamental to Christ’s purpose. It seems unlikely that Paul would be ignorant of this, yet Swaggart teaches that for some time after Paul got saved that he did not know this.
The word Gospel means “good news.” The English word means that and the Greek word for Gospel means “good news” also. It was called good news because the message was that a person no longer has to follow the law to try to be righteous. He can put his faith in Jesus Christ and it will be “credited to him as righteousness.” (Ro 4:5) The good news is that not only are my sins forgiven by repentance and faith in Christ, but I also put on the righteousness of Christ so that I “may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.” (Phillipians 3:9) That righteousness comes by faith, in essence is the good news. It is the Gospel. To suggest that Paul did not grasp the very foundation of the Gospel that saved him and which he preached, is to say that he was ignorant of that which he so often affirmed.
Before Paul got saved this good news or Gospel was being preached while Paul was still persecuting Christians, Philip went to preach the Gospel in Samaria. We read, “But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God…” So Philip was preaching the good news (Gospel) of salvation by faith before Paul was ever saved. Yet Swaggart thinks that the Lord did not convey this fundamental part of the Gospel to the Apostle Paul, when all the other Christians already knew it.
Swaggart says that Paul was ignorant of Gospel fundamentals so, as a Christian, Paul “tried to live for God by keeping the Commandments.” Not only does Swaggart say that Paul did not understand the Gospel of salvation by faith but he says, “No one at that time,” understood it either. So, according to Swaggart, thousands of Christians were running around trying to keep the law. It could not be. We have just shown that Philip understood it and was preaching the good news. That proves Swaggart wrong.
How in the world would Swaggart know what he claims? Before Paul came to Christ, many tens of thousands of Christians had believed the good news of being declared righteous by faith in Christ instead of through keeping the law. Yet Swaggart says that not one of these Christians understood the fact that they don’t have to keep the law to be saved? How would he know that? Impossible.
Another reason it is not possible is because Paul tells us that any type of Christianity that includes law keeping as its basis is actually a “different gospel.” Here is what Paul says, ”I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel…You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you nowbeing perfected by the flesh?” (Galatians 1:6, 3:1-3) Do you see that Paul is actually saying that the Galatians were following a “different gospel” because they were trying to keep the law?
Thus, if following the law constitutes a different gospel, then for Paul to have tried to keep the law as a Christian, as Swaggart suggests, then Paul was actually himself following a different Gospel while at the same time preaching the Gospel. If that were so then Jesus would have done a very poor job in commissioning him as an apostle. It is unthinkable.
Consider now what Paul says in this passage: “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” (Galatians 3:24-25)
If the whole purpose of the law was to bring us to Christ, then why would Paul still be keeping the law after he came to Christ? It makes no sense. Add to that the fact that Paul is the one making these points, which renders Swaggart’s proposition totally absurd.
Here is another example of how Swaggart’s doctrine is at variance with scripture. Swaggart says, “This generation of Christians knows almost nothing about the cross…these Christians can be set free only by the Cross being preached to them.” (The Evangelist, January 2004, From Me to You). Yet the Bible says, “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36) The Bible clearly says Christians are set free by Christ, yet Swaggart says that Christians are not free. What Swaggart says disagrees with the Bible.
I’m not saying it is my interpretation of it, and I’m not saying that it’s not, but I`m saying it could be possible. But listen, whether it is the case or not…….it does not nullify or make void the actual “Message of the Cross” per se. I have no problem with that in itself.
Swaggart’s “Message of the Cross” includes the doctrine that the Church is in error and he alone has the truth. He says it over and over. You either have to accept Swaggart’s doctrine and reject the doctrine of the Church, or you have to reject Swaggart’s doctrine and accept the teaching of the Church. Swaggart has made it very clear that what he teaches is not what the Church today teaches. You have alluded to the same thing, that you have heard Swaggart’s faith in the cross message nowhere else. Where ever you read Swaggart’s message of the cross you find the statements that the Church does not have it.
Swaggart’s defamation of the Apostle Paul is part and parcel of his attack upon the Church, which in turn is part of his peculiar message of the cross. It is a central point of his that the only reason he went to prostitutes for twenty years was because the Church did not have the proper message of the cross that would have saved him from doing that. Why it is then that most decent unsaved people don’t go to prostitutes he does not explain.
His animosity towards the Church is all wrapped up in his sexual sin. In his online expose on his message of the cross Swaggart complains that the Church was displeased with him for being a hypocrite for the past twenty years and he therefore accuses them of not being “true Christians.” Saying that Paul also willfully sinned (like Swaggart) because he didn’t understand the cross is part of the same line of reasoning, a reasoning which attempts to set up an excuse for his philandering.
I think it is disingenuous, or at least naïve, to claim that the doctrine of “Paul sinned because he did not understand the cross” is something different from Swaggart’s message of the cross. It is at its very core and I should hope you would have a problem with it.
Regarding your claim that no-one else in the church ever taught this, i refer you again to the “Message of the Cross” page 140:
” Please understand when i say “Revelation” I am not speaking of something new. What the Lord gave me, He had already given to the Apostle Paul…
This is a perfect example of Swaggart’s double-speak. The Swaggarts are known for saying one thing one day and later teaching the opposite. Swaggart has said “This message is new to the Church.” And that he, Swaggart has been given “more light than the Church has previously known,” and that Paul sinned because he didn’t understand the cross. If Swaggart has more light than anyone else ever had then it necessarily follows that he is saying he has some teaching that the apostles did not have; doctrine that is not in the Bible.
Swaggart says, “He had already given it to the Apostle Paul,” yet in his commentary on Romans he claims that Paul sinned and couldn’t live for God, because he was still “not understanding the cross.” How can Paul have it if he didn’t understand it? How can Paul know it if Swaggart is the only one who fully understands it? If Paul had it, then it is in the Bible and then all the Church has it. Your argument here does not hold water.
…and no doubt many others down through the centuries.”
If Swaggart has more light than the church has ever known, then he obviously then has teaching that the Church has never had before, so how could anyone down through the centuries also have it? Furthermore, I challenge anyone to show me in Church history where Swaggart’s peculiar message of the cross has been taught. Swaggart is just back peddling because he is in trouble with the Church for saying he has more light than anyone else.
Now I do find your comments about…..if the true gospel was lost after the 1st century…why would God choose a man who……….etc etc etc . very interesting.
I should think you would find this information about the sinful life of Swaggart alarming, not merely interesting. Jesus warned that false prophets are known by their lifestyle. Scripture warns us not to sit in the counsel of the ungodly and that concerning those who have sinned to have, “mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.” (Jude 1:23)
I will just answer it this way. God chooses who He wills. You nor I have no say whatever in the matter. You may not agree with it, you may not like it, it may cause your blood to boil and your hair to stand on end, but you don`t get to choose – He does. You do not know the state of JS heart now. You do not know his every thought and motive. God does.
That is not exactly correct. The Church does get to choose. They have been given that authority from Scripture. You will see in the New Testament that the apostles were appointed by Jesus Christ himself, personally and literally. The apostolic age is past. The New Testament records that elders are appointed by those within the Church. Someone can’t just show up and be a self-appointed pastor. It did not happen that way in the New Testament first century Church. I know Swaggart teaches that he can self-appoint himself and claim that God has placed him in a high position, but that is not what the Bible teaches.
Furthermore the Bible gives very explicit instructions on who is qualified to be a minister and Jimmy Swaggart falls short of passing that test. So maybe I personally by myself don’t get to choose, but the Bible does lay down the prerequisites and the Church as a whole has been given the authority to choose.
The Church has spoken concerning Swaggart. He was ordained by the Assemblies of God and then when he was caught sinning he refused to be humble and accept the discipline and counsel of the leaders of the Church. So he has been defrocked. He is no longer a minister in the eyes of the Church. The Church has spoken and they have spoken with the authority of God, an authority that Jimmy Swaggart is in rebellion against.
And let me add this. What happened with JS is of course his own doing , as is all our sin.
We are not talking about losing your temper and kicking the dog. This is not a matter of eating too many chocolate cookies. We are talking about willful continued sexual sin of a type that even most of the unsaved have enough sense to resist. He visited prostitutes for twenty years, after he was saved and while preaching the Gospel. That is a very serious matter. Ananias and Saphira, who were not even ministers, made a little lie about an amount of money and were struck dead for it. Jimmy Swaggart, a minister, had to lie to his wife and many others to carry on his sexual liaisons while preaching the Gospel to the world. He lived a lie to the Church of the Living God. This is a very serious matter.
As a public figure who is in the public eye it comes with the territory that your every word, deed, and action is played before a world audience and the world audience gets to learn every minute detail and gets to judge whether or not you are “fit” to be a pastor/evangelist or whatever. But let me ask – if every pastor/evangelist`s thought, word and deed-life – secret and public – was to be publicly aired on tv and in the newspapers – i mean every – no matter how long ago – i wonder how many would still be judged “fit” or “worthy” to be in their “office” – I just throw that out to you for consideration.
Again, we are not talking about being overly critical of some bad habits. I guess I have to be explicit. We are talking about a man who, after he got saved, spent most of his life in deliberate egregious sexual sin with numerous strangers while at the same time preaching the Gospel. He wanted to have sex with the prostitute’s twelve year old daughter. Would you want a man like that to baby sit your twelve year old daughter? I doubt it. So why sit under his teaching?
The Bible makes it very clear what are the requirements for ministers: “An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?), and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain,but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. These men must also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach.” (1 Timothy 3:2-10)
Jimmy Swaggart is not above reproach, he does not have a good reputation with those outside the Church. He is not temperate but has rashly lashed out at other ministers. His ministry has a history of legal entanglements. Jimmy Swaggart was convicted in court of defamation and ordered to pay ten million dollars to another ministry which he had defamed. He was also sued by Dake Publishing for 2.5 million dollars, who alleged that Swaggart had “wrongfully taken and used plaintiff’s proprietary works for their own benefit and profit.” He has not behaved respectfully as a minister. He is pugnacious, not gentle.
His son and grandson are contentious as well. This combative personality tends to rub off on his followers. He has not managed his own household well nor kept his children under control. His son divorced his wife to marry a 5-time divorcee member of their church, then divorced her and went back to his first wife, all the while performing the duties of a minister. He cannot take care of the Church of God while his own household is mismanaged.
He is double-tongued and fond of sordid gain, begging for money while living in the lap of luxury while wearing a $30,000 Rolex watch. Ministers must first be tested and then can serve if they are beyond reproach. He has been weighed in the balance and found wanting and under the direction of the Holy Spirit the leaders of the Assemblies of God removed him from his position as a minister.
Paul commissioned Titus to “appoint elders in every city as I directed you…” They were not self-appointed, but were appointed through the Church via apostolic authority. Paul continues, “… namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain,but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain… They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him…” (Titus 1:5-11,16)
Jimmy Swaggart is in rebellion to the Assemblies of God, he has been quick-tempered and not self-controlled. He does not hold fast the faithful word but has come up with new doctrines. He has in fact become one of the “rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers…upsetting whole families, teaching thing they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain.” Paul commands such men should be silenced, meaning the Church should not listen to them and their doctrine should be demolished with sound, logical and scriptural persuasion.
I judge JS by how i see him now. I see a different JS.
Looks can be deceiving, especially on television. It is very hard for anyone to really tell whether a TV evangelist is living right or not just by watching him on TV. You don’t rub shoulders with him, don’t talk to people that see him day in and day out as you would a pastor of a local church. You have to do research and dig deep to get to the truth. A TV evangelist can be a TV actor and lead a double-life and get away with it for decades. Swaggart proved it can be done by doing exactly that. Everyone thought he was a holy man of God for the twenty some years he visited prostitutes.
It is probably easier for him now to deceive, for being around seventy he would no longer have the sex drive that got him in so much trouble before. But many who have attended his church have left, reporting that there are serious spiritual problems with the leadership and an alarming number of affairs and divorces within his church. The abuse and cultic control over employees is well known. The printing scandal wherein Swaggart Ministries printed gang related and demonic images for musicians is indicative of his lust for sordid gain. You can read about that here: http://deceptionbytes.com/category/jsm/
The fact remains, he fooled everyone before. I was one of them. I didn’t want to believe it when I found out the truth. As I greeted one of my parishioners as they came into the church on Sunday morning and with downcast sadness they told me that Swaggart had fallen into sin with a prostitute, I said, “No, I don’t believe it. Surely it is only some lie cooked up by a God-hating reporter.”
He fooled everyone for two decades. He is an accomplished actor. We were wrong about him then and he can still fool people. He is very deceptive. He fooled the world before and he can do it again.
In a small country church, many years ago, the pastor`s son got engaged to a lady who in her unsaved days had been a prostitute, but she was now saved. The church was split over this. Many said that he shouldn`t marry her, and there were all types of rows and arguments. One Sunday, an old lady asked the pastor could she speak to the congregation. He said, “go ahead.” She said, “What is on trial in this church today is not this lady and her past life, but the Blood of Christ.”
The analogy just does not hold. The prostitute lived that life before she got saved, not after. She wanted to merely be a wife, not a minister. That which Swaggart did, he did after he got saved, after he was ordained, and after he was a world famous evangelist. And he did it for twenty years or more. I hope you appreciate the difference.
When did Jimmy Swaggart repent? There is no evidence that Jimmy Swaggart has repented. In an effort to save his ministry, Jimmy went on television and made an appearance of repenting in a tearful dramatic scene of contrition intended to foster the sympathy and forgiveness of the Christian community and thus save his television empire from collapse. Those who know him well testify to his ability to turn tears on and off as the need arises. At the time I thought it was genuine repentance and I stood in the pulpit and encouraged my church to forgive him. He fooled me. As I am sure you are aware, true forgiveness means turning away from your sin. He did not turn from his sexual sins.
The Assemblies of God mercifully granted that he could maintain his ministerial ordination with them if he would stop ministering for a year and receive counseling from A/G ministers. Swaggart arrogantly rejected this, claiming that he hears directly from God and that the Assemblies officials were “too dumb and too stupid” and that the whole denomination was a cult.
He of course lost his ministerial credentials with the Assemblies of God. Three years later in 1991 Jimmy Swaggart was pulled over by police and caught again. He had a prostitute in his car who said that Swaggart was negotiating with her for sex acts. Swaggart told his congregation, “God told me that it is flat none of your business.” Does that sound like repentance? In 1995 Swaggart was caught again when he was pulled over by police in a red-light district. Pornographic magazines were under his seat.
These acts show that he did not repent in a Biblical sense.
I believe, through listening to JS many many times in recent years, that he has truly repented and is seeking to live a victorious life as a Christian and to share with others how to do so. If he has truly repented (which I believe he has) then to bring up his past again is not to put him on trial, but the Blood of Christ.
You believe this why? “Through listening,” you say. If you listen to all his old broadcasts you could never detect by watching and listening to him that he was a whoremonger at that time, yet he was. If you listened to his repentance show in 1988, you might think he repented, but the fact that he continued to go to prostitutes for years after that proves he did not repent and turn from his sin. Being sorry and crying is not enough. Judas did as much. You have to look at the facts and the evidence, not the display of his feelings.
In this matter i say, tread carefully my friend.
If I only had a quarter for every time a Swaggarite pronounced that doom and judgment was coming my way for pointing out the bad fruit in Swaggart’s life and the false teaching he propagates. Please watch my video, Touch Not God’s Annointed: A Cultic Tactic. You will find it here: http://www.christiananswerman.com/christian-answer-man-videos/
I may be dead soon, or so I have been warned by other Swaggarites. Yes, I have been told that I am in grave danger! Why? Because I have sinned grievously! God is going to get me and judge me. Why? What have I done that is so terrible?
I did this: I pointed out that certain things are not true. For example: I have said, it is NOT true –
– That God has a body that is limited to one location at a time.
– That God’s body lives on a planet somewhere beyond the North Star.
– The Apostle Paul as a Christian lived sinfully and did not understand the gospel.
– That none of the apostles understood the cross.
– That the Holy Spirit has a body.
– That if you don’t speak in tongues then you are of little worth in the kingdom of God.
– That the object of our faith should always be in the cross alone (rather than Jesus Christ)
– and last but not least, that the qualifications for ministers in the scripture should be adhered to.
And the problem is, in so doing I have disagreed with the Great Holy End-Time Apostle and Prophet of God – Jimmy Swaggart! This is my sin! How dare I?
And then I have gone on to say that God is spirit and is omnipresent, that heaven is beyond this corrupt and dying universe in a realm of perfect eternity, that the writings of Paul and the Apostles are without error and complete and sufficient for Christian faith and practice and that all Christians are of great worth whether they speak in tongues or not and that the Name which is above every other Name, He who is the Author and Finisher of our faith, the Lord Jesus Christ – He should ever be the object of our faith.
Now I’ve really done it. I have contradicted the Holy Prophet Swaggart. I’m in big trouble now. But somehow I don’t think I need to worry about retribution from a god-man that has a body that lives on Planet Heaven. He is light-years away and can only be in one place at a time.
Rather I fear Him in whom we “live and move and have our being,” the omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient God of the Holy Bible who tells us to “stand fast and hold the traditions which ye have been taught,” and to “defend the faith once for all delivered unto the saints,” and who warned us of false prophets to come. I place my trust in Him. I think I’m in good hands.
I recommend you read this article: http://www.christiananswerman.com/judging-exposing-error-and-naming-names/ The Bible admonishes us to expose error. Not to do so is disobedience. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they be of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (I John 4: 1). Paul pointed out not only error but also he pointed out bad behavior and named names when he did it: “Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me.” (2 Timothy 4:10). Was Paul speaking against the blood because he pointed out Demas’ failing? Of course not.
Maybe Gamaliel’s counsel in Acts 5: 38, 39 would be appropriate for you at this time: “And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.”
That was counsel directed to non-Christian Jews who wanted to punish and imprison Christians. It does not apply to the Church testing the words of a man claiming to be a prophet. I am not advocating harm to Swaggart or anyone, as the Jewish council was. Rather I am doing what the Bible enjoins: That All doctrine and teachers are to be tried according to the Word of God. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Is 8:20)
As to the “more light” claim – those who are Calvinists would claim that Calvin brought more light to the church for example in regard to predestination/election etc. What he taught “(Calvinists would claim) is already in the Bible -they would claim the apostle Paul taught it – but Calvin as it were brought more light to the subject and hence we have “Calvinism”
I don’t think much of Calvinism and would not consider it more light. Nevertheless, I don’t believe Calvin made any claim to having more light than the Church has ever known, nor do I know of any Calvinists that claim that. To claim more light than the Church has ever known is to say one has more light than the apostles. Calvin did not read his Bible and then one day claim he had a revelation that all the Church is wrong about the Gospel and that he alone has the true Gospel. Jimmy Swaggart has claimed that and Calvin did not, therefore your analogy does not compare.
Swaggart is no Calvin, just as he is no Luther. Calvin lived an exemplary life, was recognized by the Church as a leader, was educated, was an attorney, a theologian; all things that Swaggart is not.
You also mentioned the Pentecostal movement earlier as another example of people getting “more light.” That does not correlate either. Pentecostals at the turn of the last century did not claim they had more light than anyone else in Church history, or claim that they had a revelation from God, or say that the entire Church is in error about the Gospel. None of that.
They simply believed what the scripture said: “These signs will accompany those who have believed…they will speak with new tongues.” (M’t 16:17) and “Do not forbid to speak in tongues.” (1Co 14:39) and “You will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” (Acts 2:38-39). You see Pentecostalism is not “more light” and does not claim to be. It is old truth.
Wherever people believed that, and asked God for it, they received it. But not just in the Pentecostal movement at the turn of the century. From the apostles, down through Church history, people of various denominations have spoken in tongues at many times and places. Wherever those passages of the Bible were read with faith, God’s promise was fulfilled.
With Pentecostalism we have evidence of that doctrine clearly in the Bible, it is found many times down through Church history, and in many different denominations today and is upheld by scholars and theologians of diverse ministerial backgrounds. Not so with Swaggartism. Swaggart’s peculiar doctrine is not in the Bible, is not found anywhere in Church history. It is a teaching promulgated by one man, not a scholar or theologian, but a high-school drop-out that was defrocked from ministry for disobedience to authority after his sexual forays came to light.
Pentecostalism did not require a pope or a prophet to unveil the truth of Scripture. When the Bible says that Christians “will speak with new tongues,” it is in plain black and white. Anyone, saved or unsaved, can read that and understand what it says. It takes the Holy Spirit’s action for one to believe it, want it, and receive it, but anyone can see that the Bible says Christians will speak in tongues. No hidden secret message there that must wait a thousand years or more for some special man to reveal it.
The Bible speaks specifically against having one special man to reveal doctrine. 1 John 2:27 says, “As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things…” Swaggartism is the antithesis of this, requiring the Church to wait two thousand years for Swaggart, the new Pope, to come along and reveal the mystery of his doctrine which was supposedly hidden in the Bible.
Pentecostalism is both gracious and interdenominational. It does not condemn other churches but rather is a truth that embraces all Christians who desire it. Swaggartism, on the other hand, is divisive and abrasive, rabidly condemning all other churches and ministries as being of the devil and in darkness, encouraging people to quit their local church.
Swaggart has taken his particular brand of Pentecostalism into disrepute by saying, and I quote, “If you have not received the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues, then you are of little worth to the Kingdom of God.” (The Swaggart Bible, Luke 24:49). Saying that men such as Billy Graham and countless others are of “little worth in the Kingdom of God” simply because they don’t speak in tongues is outrageous and offensive.
In short, there is absolutely no comparison between Swaggartism and Pentecostalism. None at all. They are at opposite ends of the spectrum.
The “more light” which I would suggest has been brought – but yet is in the Scriptures – is the four main points of the Message of the Cross.
If it is already in the scriptures then it is not more light, not a revelation, not anything new. If it is something new or more then it is extra-biblical revelation, and that is cultic. There is no way around that fact.
1. Jesus Christ is the source of all things we receive from God
No problem there. Nothing new either. That is not more light. That is what the Church teaches.
2. The Cross of Christ is the only means by which all of these wonderful gifts are given to us
That statement is not in the Bible. It is not clear what you mean by it. It is true that Jesus’ sacrifice is the propitiation for our sins and it is that which won our right standing with God. If that is what you mean, then that is correct. Again, nothing new, no more light yet. To be Biblically correct one should say that it is by faith that all the promises of God are appropriated.
3. The cross of Christ must be the object of our faith (and again, that means Jesus yes, Jesus – and what He did on the cross)
You can’t have it both ways. Words mean things. Either the cross is the primary object of faith or Jesus is. Which is it? The Bible and the Church have never taught that we should make the cross the object of our faith. Show me where in the Bible it says that. It is not there. Neither is it in Church history. If you insist they are the same thing, then why does Swaggart take issue with the Church? The Church says to make Jesus the object of our faith. If that means the same thing as putting your faith in the cross, then why does Swaggart say the Church is wrong? Why does Swaggart say the Church does not have the correct Gospel? And again, if “faith in the cross” means “faith in Jesus,” then you still have nothing new, no “more light.”
4. The Holy Spirit superintends the whole process
Yes, the Holy Spirit is called alongside every believer to help in all things. Nothing new here. No more light.
Have you ever heard that put before the church in such a way? I haven`t, until now. And it has given me some light on the subject. It is in the Bible, but i never saw it structured or summarized in that way before.
All of that is in the Bible, except for the heterodox “faith in the cross” business. If you did not know those things it is certainly a puzzle as to why not. I learned them in Sunday School long ago, heard it in many sermons and Bible studies, studied it in Bible college and read it in my Bible every day. How could you not know these things? Your point one is all through the Bible, which teaches that all the riches of God come to us through Jesus Christ. God has “blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” (Eph 1:3) And “He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself…”(Eph 1:5) and “God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Col 2:3)
Again, I`m sorry but I think you are getting “hung up” on this “revelation” business and “light” business and missing the message itself!
I think I got the message clear enough. Swaggart has a new revelation from God that is new to the Church, none of the Churches have the Gospel, only Swaggart has it. Paul was a sinner just like Swaggart, Paul did not understand the Gospel fully, Swaggart understands the gospel better than anyone in the Church ever has, The Church is all wrong and is of the devil and God has a body and lives on Planet Heaven and God will get me now for disagreeing with Jimmy Swaggart.
In your summary you write about action being a thing and not a person. We put our primary faith in Christ. I am quite sure that if you put that statement to JS he would agree with you fully, having listened to his programs many many times. I think you are trying to make a distinction that is not there. I have heard him say over and over about trusting solely IN CHRIST and what He did on the Cross.
If only Jimmy Swaggart taught the same thing consistently but he does not. He teaches faith in the cross. You just said, “We put our primary faith in Christ,” and that Swaggart would agree with that. Faced with the Biblical facts he might concede that, but that is not what he emphasizes in his writings. Faith in Christ is what the Church has always taught, but he says the Church doesn’t have the truth. You yourself said that you did not hear Jimmy’s message in any Church. Well if “faith in the cross” is the same thing as “faith in Christ and what he did at the cross” then why do you say you did not find that in any Church? All the Churches teach that. Apparently you didn’t see it in the Bible either but it is there, plain as day. You seem to want to believe that Swaggart believes what the Church teaches, but he has said repeatedly that the Church does not have the true Gospel.
Message of the Cross p 97 –
“……..Therefore there is no pride, only thanksgiving, no criticism of others who have not reached that maturity, but only encouragement, and no self-dependence but TOTAL DEPENDENCY ON CHRIST. Since there will no longer be any lingering desire for sin, the whole ardour of his soul will be focused upon CHRIST ALONE.”
Good stuff. That’s what the Church teaches also, the Church which he so rabidly condemns. Sadly he strays from this teaching into other things that are not Biblical.
Regarding sanctification, yes of course there is our co-operation – and that entails us surrendering our faith in our own efforts, in what we do, and trusting in Jesus and what He did for us, and allowing the Holy Spirit to change us.
Yes, I am glad you see that. Swaggart’s message of the cross however does not emphasize that. In fact his emphasis on not using your own effort and his lack of emphasis on the self-discipline which is enjoined by scripture, tends to lull one into thinking you can just do nothing but mental gymnastics about the cross.
I`m sorry I couldn’t go into more detail, there is so much more to say, but I`ve got to end here, as I have spent too much time on this already. I would encourage anyone who wants to find out for themselves to purchase “The Message of the Cross ” book and read it with an open mind and open Bible.
Unfortunately that book is not available in any library in the U.S. or Canada. I checked on it to get an interlibrary loan to read it. Apparently if you want to know Swaggart’s “true Gospel” you have to pay him for it. So much for salvation being free. Since it would be unethical for me to financially support Swaggart’s unbiblical propaganda I will not order the book from him. Having a copy of Swaggart’s Bible and having access to his online articles I am able to discern that his message of the cross teaching is heretical.
You are in my prayers and I encourage you to read the articles on the website and watch the video The Swaggart Seduction. It is the command of scripture to test the prophets and examine everything carefully, especially the fruit of their lives, for by that we can discern false teachers. Most importantly pray that God will lead you into all truth. I do hope Swaggart has not convinced you to quit your local church, as being part of a local fellowship is vitally important: Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together…” (Hebrews 10:25)
God bless and I give unto you the words of Paul, “Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.” (2 Timothy 2:7)
GO TO PART 2 OF DEBATE WITH A SWAGGARITE – CLICK HERE