By Mark Swarbrick
Hello TR and thank you for your comment. I have your comments below with my response in bold…
I disagree with you. I do not read anywhere in the word of God that graduating or not graduating from high school is a prerequisite to salvation or to being a pastor.
TR, You are using a typical “straw man attack,” wherein you setup a weak position that I do not hold and then attack that. I have not said that it is necessary to graduate high school to be saved nor have I said that high school graduation is necessary to be a pastor. Here are my exact quotes in regard to Jimmy Swaggart not finishing high school:
“The commentary suffers from a lack of scholarship, as it was not written by a team of scholars but by one man, a defrocked minister who has not finished high school…Typically Biblical commentaries are written and compiled by a council of scholars and theologians. In the case of the Swaggart Bible, all the commentary is written by Jimmy Swaggart, who is himself a high school dropout.”
I also commented on Swaggart’s Mormon teaching that heaven is a planet and on his strange assertion that Planet Heaven is in the direction of “north.” I said that this is the “kind of nonsense you might find in a commentary written by a high-school drop-out.”
As you can see this is entirely different from what you alleged that I have said. My point is that education is important. To do a scholarly work such as a Bible commentary you should first be a scholar and have learned about Biblical history, middle east geography and archeology, Church history, Israeli practices and customs, and so on. The two main writers of Scripture, Moses and the Apostle Paul, were highly educated. Moses was “educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians” and Paul “studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law…” Higher education is valuable, especially when it comes to Biblical scholarship.
In our culture, dropping out of high school generally indicates a lack of responsibility, as does marrying a 15-year old minor rather than waiting until a proper time.
I have a college degree and I would trade it in a heartbeat for the knowledge that this man has. He is a top rate orator.
Being a top rate orator does not make his doctrine Biblical. Scripture warns us to watch out for great orators that bring false doctrine: “By good words and fair speeches they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.” (Romans 16:18)
I am continually fascinated by his ability to expound on a scripture in order for me to understand it. I have the highest regard and respect for this family.
Donny Swaggart, who left his wife for another woman in the church, then divorced her and then remarried again back to his former wife, all the while continuing to minister in the church. Do you respect that? When Jimmy Saggart’s daughter-in-law, Debbie, had an affair with Dwain Johnson, Jimmy threatened Dwain’s wife saying, “Tell that no-good husband of yours, if he is in town tomorrow, I’ll kill him.” Or recently when Donnie Swaggart screamed that if you are Assemblies of God or Church of God that you are going straight to hell. I submit to you that such behaviors are not respectable.
They are truly missionaries by taking the Word of God to the Nations. That’s by far more than I have done.
It is not by your standard of effort nor your level of esteem that we are to evaluate the veracity of a teacher’s doctrine. We are to evaluate it by 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.” (Isaiah 8:20)
You would have to be under the anointing of the Holy Spirit in order to accomplish such greatness.
That is an untrue statement. Many have aspired to greatness as far as building ministry or an organization or a large following without God’s help. The Mormons for example, use the same argument. They say that their prophet Joseph Smith could not have built such a great church if God was not with him. Obviously God is not the motivating force behind a non-Christian cult such as Mormonism. So also, just because Swaggart has a TV ministry does not mean he is always teaching the truth. There are lots of false teachers that have been and still are on TV.
Man looks on the outside but God looks at the heart. A church riddled with divorce, threats, anger, law suits, and scandal (as the Swaggart’s Family Worship Center in Baton Rouge has been recently) does not constitute greatness in God’s eyes. A television network and a nice building does not impress God nor excuse ungodliness.
“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8)
I challenge any one man to challenge the Jimmy Swaggart Ministries.
This is not about taking dares to “challenge.” It is about following the truth of the Scripture versus the false doctrines of men and it is about following the guidelines of Holy Scripture concerning ministers. Nevertheless, there is not just one man that has chosen to “challenge the Jimmy Swaggart Ministries.” Nearly every cult watch group out there has issued warnings about the false doctrines of JSM. Furthermore the entire presbytery of the Assemblies of God, comprised of ordained men of God, decided long ago that Jimmy Swaggart was no longer morally qualified to hold ministerial credentials.
I read where David did some pretty bad things and God choose him to have Jesus to be born of the house of David.
Yes, David committed murder and adultery and yes he was forgiven. Yet there was a cost to David’s sin. His son died and he was not allowed to build the temple and this was a direct consequence of his sin. Once you walk in disobedience there may be some ministries which a person sometimes can not do, even if there is forgiveness. There is a cost to sin. Likewise Moses was forgiven for his sin but still God would not allow him to enter the promised land, saying, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.” (Numbers 20:12)
If Jimmy Swaggart has repented for his twenty plus years of visiting prostitutes – and I pray that he has – then he is totally forgiven. But being forgiven does not mean that he is allowed, under the precepts of Scripture, to hold the office of Elder or Overseer (Pastor). The qualifications for Christian ministers is listed in Titus 1:5-9. There we read that ministers must be “above reproach, not arrogant, not greedy for gain, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 1Timothy 3:5 tells us, “If a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?”
Another point to consider is that both David and Moses truly repented. Has Jimmy Swaggart repented? I hope so, but there is reason to doubt. Jimmy Swaggart made a show of repenting on TV in 1988, but then he continued in sin. He rejected the help of the Assemblies of God and did not humble himself. They kindly offered to give him counseling and asked him to step down from preaching for a year. He rejected that, and in pride and arrogance called them stupid and said they were a cult. Then he was caught with prostitutes again in 1991 and 1995 and told his church, “God told me it is flat none of your business.” That is not what repentance looks like.
Swaggart’s actions after his televised display of repentance, seem to indicate that he did not truly repent and turn from his sin at that time. He is not above reproach. He has been, and is still, arrogant. The ministry is greedy for gain. We have not seen self-control and discipline. Clearly a man who is unfaithful to his wife over a course of decades, and whose son divorced to marry another woman in the church, cannot be considered as one who is managing his own household well and therefore cannot be esteemed as one who can take care of the Church of God. Jimmy Swaggart fails the Biblical qualifications required to be a minister of the gospel.
I read where my sins are as far from the east is from the west. He’s forgiven you and me so what makes you think that he can not forgive Brother Swaggart.
Here you make another straw man attack. I did not say that God cannot forgive Jimmy Swaggart. What I have said is that his repentance is in question because of continued sin and a lack of submission to authority. I have said that even if he has repented there is still a cost to sin, especially for ministers of the Gospel. Furthermore it his unbiblical and false doctrines that he is propagating that brings this all into question, for Jesus warned us that we would know false prophets by their fruit. (Matthew 7:16)
What if your sins and mine where exposed to the world. If we were exposed would that mean that we should not be forgiven. All of us have done something we are ashamed of and have regretted time and time again. I’m going to be honest with you – we have not been caught.
You are confusing forgiveness with other attributes of justice such as accountability, responsibility and restitution. Suppose a man robs a store. Then he repents, stops being a thief, accepts Christ and asks God to forgive him. Is he forgiven? Of course. But should he go off scot-free or is it proper that he do some jail time and pay restitution? Again, there is a cost to sin. Though we are forgiven, our sins still have an affect upon our life, especially if that sin was committed while ministering the Gospel and especially if it was sexual sin: “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” (1 Co 6:18)
The Word of God does say Judge not least you be judged.
The context of that passage in Matthew 7:1 makes it clear that the point is to not judge with hypocritical judgment. The immediately following verses 1-5 go on to say that we cannot judge properly to take a speck out of another’s eye if we have a beam in our own. And then in verse 15 Jesus says, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing…” Obviously you have to discern false prophets by judging based upon the teaching of God’s word
In John 7:24 we are told, “Judge not according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment. Therefore Christians are commanded to judge. Indeed Scripture teaches us: “Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment.” (1Co 14:29) Also this: “Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!” (1Co 6:3) I suggest you read the article in the link below for a full treatise on the proper understanding of Christian judgment:
We are living in prevails times. We should be praying and seeking the will of God and asking for wisdom and mercy.
Not sure what you mean by “prevails times.” Yes, we should seek God’s will and ask for wisdom and mercy, but also for discernment, especially concerning false teachers.
God said that we should not touch His anointed.
The twisting of this scripture, found in 1 Chronicles 16:21, has been used by countless false teachers to dodge righteous judgment by discerning Christians. The Jim Jones cult, for example, used this scripture in this way when Christians warned of Jones dangerous doctrines. That Old Testament passage has to do with evil gentile nations not persecuting Israel and has nothing to do with New Testament ministers. It is certainly not saying that we shouldn’t use discernment concerning false prophets. You need to watch my video: A Cultic Tactic: Touch not God’s Anointed at: http://www.christiananswerman.com/christian-answer-man-videos/
I remind you of the scriptural admonition: “I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person…not even to eat with such a one…Do you not judge those who are within the church?” (1Co 56:11-12). We are told to judge and you should consider that sitting under their false teaching is worse than eating with them
I’m assuming that you have read the book and you know the scriptures so I didn’t quote them, but I assure you that if we humble ourselves God will heal our nation. God will convict us if we are wrong and need correction.
Countless Christians are deceived every day and many follow false teaching. Being corrected by the Holy Spirit requires our humility and cooperation, but many have come so far under the influence of false teachers that they close their ears. You may be an example of this, but I pray not. The Bible told us this would happen in the Church, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires…” (2 Timothy 4:3)
I am going to ask you a question has it occurred to you that God would close the doors if His will was not being accomplished?
The Bible makes it clear that God will not always close the doors of a ministry that is off-base. The world is full of cults that claim to be Christian but are not. God has not closed their doors. Indeed even the Antichrist will flourish with world power for a time.
Everyday doors are being opened for more and more homes in the whole world to hear the Word of God and be saved.
Jimmy Swaggart’s plethora of false teachings – that he alone has the true Gospel, that he is the apostle of a new reformation, having more light than anyone else in the history of the Church, that only his church is the true church and that all other churches are of the devil, that Heaven is a planet to the north, that God has a body, that you are of little worth in the kingdom of God if you don’t speak in tongues, that Adam was not the first man as the Bible says, that the Apostle Paul didn’t understand the cross and lived a defeated life of sin, and that you should have your faith “in the cross alone” instead of in Jesus, that people should quit their churches and join his online church – all of these false doctrines are not the Gospel. Thus his telecast into “more and more homes in the whole world” does not constitute the word of God going forth, but a corruption of the truth, in the time prophesied to come when “people will not endure sound doctrine.” (2 Timothy 4:3)
Let’s pray for them that God continue to bless their ministry and let’s pray the anointing of the Holy Spirit continue to prosper this Evangelist.
I have prayed for Jimmy Swaggart more than you probably realize, beginning in 1988 when I stood in the pulpit and told my church that we must forgive him if he has repented. Much has happened since then and Jimmy has gone further and further astray.
I continue to pray for him still. I pray that Jimmy Swaggart will accept the correction of the Church which he has thus far refused, that he will come to full humility and stop claiming to be wiser than any man in the entire history of the Church. I pray that he will forsake his strange and false teachings and just preach the word of God.
I pray that if he has not repented that he will fully repent, instead of making excuses and blaming the Church for his sin. I pray that all those in the Jimmy Swaggart ministries will stop their relentless and baseless attacks upon other Christian ministers and they will come to see how angry and hateful is the spirit in which they operate.
I pray that he will realize that the gifts of money people sacrificially give to his ministry are intended for the furtherance of the true gospel, not so that he can live in luxurious opulence in mansions and resorts, with a $30,000 Rolex watch, fleets of new Mercedes, a private jet, a $40,000 a year country club membership or for purchasing ever more commercial property to rent out for personal profit.
I pray for all of the followers of Jimmy Swaggart Ministries that the eyes of their hearts will be opened so they can see the error and rebellion inherent in that wayward ministry. I pray for you also and thank you for taking the time to write a comment. I encourage you to read all of the articles on my website concerning the Swaggarts and that you prayerfully consider what they say.