Monday, March 7, 2011

Day 243: A Call to Question A Call to Anguish

There is a famous sermon floating around out there by entitled “A Call to Anguish”. If you have not seen it, it is worth checking out. I began to see this posted on the internet a few months ago by some rather hard nosed fundies. There take on this placed the speaker at the same level as God…so I thought I would take a listen and in doing so made some notes. I know this is probably one of those messages you just don’t talk about unless it is in a good way because it is a sacred cow but, I am not a sacred cow kind of guy. This message is like the donated communion table by sister Ruth Papoofnik where it is what it is. Do not attempt to move it, touch it, or question it's looks because it has a placard on it. Well, not to be one that just sits back and says “YAY AND AMEN” to some guy generalizing all churches (except his of course)…I thought this “Call to Anguish” is leading me to “A Call to Question”.

Where do I begin with this gem? I have a firm belief that if you are going to call someone out or make broad generalizations about how a certain ministry is doing things…you better be able to be on the receiving end in this blogging, cyber-world. Here are some quotes from this rant of legalism that makes this “seasoned Christian” and “recovering fundie” wince

* He immediately begins to bash churches (in general) for having “Inventions of ministries of man & flesh”.

It never ceases to amaze me how some pastors will make statements like this. Perhaps there are some ministries like this but I have to tell you, I rarely see a ministry where I think “wow…could you get any more worldly?” I wonder what specific examples, Wilkerson had in mind when he made this statement. In Matthew 4:19 Jesus was teaching his disciples how to be fishers of men. I love the outdoors and when someone says to me, “Let’s go fishing”, I have to grab my tackle box. Just because my favorite bass bait worked last time does not mean it will work again. You have to do new things, you must be willing to reach a different crowd. There were these types of people in Jesus time that argued about the way he did ministry, they were called, Pharisees. Why can’t churches just do their thing without someone making a broad generalization on how horrible a churches approach to reaching people is? Oh…btw? Wilkerson’s church has many different events going on, they even copy Saturday Night Lives logo for something they have. Just sayin.

*He then begins to blast worship team “music taking over the house of God. Entertainment taking over the house of God. Obsess with entertainment in God’s house, a hatred of correction and a hatred of reproof.”

Okay, let’s hang out here for a little bit. Why is that when some Christians read the bible they assume the verses talking about worship and music means it can be garbage? I have literally heard some praise and worship times that were horrible. No one was led into the “throne room of heaven” (yes I am A/G and can break out the lingo when needed) but rather wondering “what the heck is going on with the worship team/sound/etc?” This church where this message is coming from has one of the best choirs and worship teams around. They even make CD’s and sell their music online. I am not saying this is bad in the least but I am guessing they place a very high priority on music. I would guarantee you that if they cut the worship team and placed three people who think they can play an instrument because “God has called them to do it” in front of this church on a Sunday morning that attendance would start to drop. “Music taking over the hosue of God?” Really? Is this not a huge part of the Christian life. Yes I get the “through the foolishness of preaching” scripture and don’t downplay that at all. However, there are many verses that also talk about singing songs/hymns, etc. With excellence even! “A hatred of correction and a hatred of reproof”? This is the standard legalistic line when a proud preacher is not willing to admit there are other ways of doing ministry and they may in fact not be wrong, but not fully right either. Anytime I had to get corrected in ministry and would walk away a bit upset, I heard “You have to be open to correction/reproof” the whole time I am saying “you have to be open to new things.

*"Whatever happened to anguish in the house of god? Anguish in ministry? Anguish means extreme pain and distress. Acute deeply felt inner pain because of conditions about you, in you or around you.”

In the old testament “which a lot of these preachers quote from as examples because they prefer that God rather than what is going on in the new testament” there were plenty of times where people cried out to God. It was to spare a city in which they were doing ministry, etc. There was a necessary purpose for this as God was establishing the foundation. As we progress into the new testament however, I am sorry but I don’t see even Jesus in anguish and pain before he did ministry. The only time we saw that was just before he was about to die. That is exponentially different than witnessing to the lady at Pick N’ Save. There was no crying out in anguish before, Jesus ministered to different people in the new testament. Before, Paul would go into a city…there is not to many places where, Paul “anguished” for the city he was going into. I believe you can stay prayed up and in tune with God from day to day. Sure we all have our off days but I am not sure a day without praying would make me have an “acute deeply felt inner pain because of the conditions” about myself. I am not sure of any place in the new testament where someone was about to do ministry and they were in anguish about the conditions around them.

*“Become so passive”

How does he measure this? How do we know his church is doing the right thing but that "Brooklyn Tabernacle" in the borough of New York…they are passive. Ever think this guy is bashing, Brooklyn Tab with this message? Just sayin…

*“Take that man and baptize him in anguish”

Okay…now he is just making things up….really? Christian questions 101 here, show me scriptural proof this has happened.

*“Does it bother you at all, that God’s spiritual Jerusalem, the church is now married to the world?”

Again, another broad generalization that makes me sick. As a mature pastor I am quite sure he gets ticked when people generalize his church with others. Why in the world would he do the same? Are there some theologies I could never line-up with? Absolutely. Are there even doctrines I could never align myself with (besides Wilkerson’s)? Yes. To generalize churches causes a great dysfunction in the body of Christ as a whole. "They will no you by the love you have for each other". I believe this guy is motivated by some sad statistic he read in a magazine somewhere and now generalized all the church. How would, Wilkerson define “married to the world” anyhow? What does that look like exactly? If it looks like the way, Jesus did ministry to people who were not “Christians” then yes…count me in on that.

*"You can sit and watch television and your family goes to hell”

What? My kids watching “Dora the Explorer” is going to send them and my family to hell? NOOOOOOO! You mean because someone comes home after work and are tired so they flip on the television for a while that this is bad? Perhaps, Wilkerson lacks self-control and cannot set down the remote when the “Jersey Shore” is on but here is a classic legalistic approach. When someone preaches their personal convictions because they have some struggle…be very careful. Perhaps he doesn’t have a problem with this but to make a broad assumption is quite crazy. There may be many who are reading this that could do better in doing things that glorify God (reading bible, praying, etc.) I think I Corinthians 10:31 really rings true. That even if you are home watching TV with the family…you can do it for the glory of God. Praise the Lord you are with your family and they are all together. Even if you could do better and I know you are a I tell you, you are going to tell because you watch, TV?

*"Is what I said convicted you at all”?


*"True prayer life begins at the place of anguish”.

Again, what does he mean by this? Before my child says “dear God” before a meal should I spank him because he really ticked Jesus off today by not picking up his toys and God wants him in tears before he talks to him? What kind of theology is this? As a father if I demanded my kids to be in such anguish before they came to me to ask for something….I would be in prison for emotional abuse. Prayer does not always begin at a place of anguish. It certainly can but does not always have to be. If someone is going to define, David’s prayers in Psalms of prayers of anguish…they would be mistaken. Those are prayers of outright transparency of both happiness and anger. Then again, if David was on staff at some churches the board would tell him "you have a rebellious heart and need time with God."

*“Don’t tell me you’re concerned when you’re spending hours in front of the internet/television.”

Again, it goes back to the old statement that Christians cannot multi-task. Don’t believe me? It is preached often that “when you are at work…you need to break away for 5 minutes and pray to stay in touch with God.” So many of these messages are preached that it really makes us, the Christian, foolish looking. Hey Wilkerson, tell your internet/IT guy this because it is his full-time job. “you’re not concerned because you are spending hours in front of the internet.” Poor guy would lose his job for what he was hired to do.

I put this video out there on Facebook a while ago and many others punched holes right through this message. This is in no way a personal attack because I am quite sure, Wilkerson is a nice guy. It sickens me though when people post this kind of stuff with such broad generalizations. I know this blog might go over like someone saying “I cannot stand the song ‘I Can Only Imagine’” but it is my opinion and I am sticking with it.


I cannot stand "I Can Only Imagine".


  1. Wow...I have great admiration for David Wilkerson. He was, and myabe is, greatly used by the Lord...but...for a long time I've been uncomfortable with what seems to be increasing legalism and...well, I won't go on.

    Last Sunday we had a missionary, Brad Walsh, at church and he shocked me (how sad to say) by saying, "I love the American church. Let me tell you some things she is doing right..." When's the last time you heard that? If success in God's eyes were measured by "anguish" alone--well, I'm right up there with Rick Warren and Bill Hybels.

  2. Well Bob...I guess you got over your bitterness of being called out for what you preach. Since, now you are doing pretty much the same thing to David Wilkerson.

    You can have your thoughts. You can state your opinion. And if you really feel something is off in Wilkerson's or any preacher's message than by all means, question it. I would do the same. Just make sure you are using the full counsel of God's word when you do so. Otherwise, you just may end up leading quite a few astray yourself.

  3. Bob, why did you remove your last comment?

    Interpretation? I thought we were all reading the bible. My only point is that you can't pick and choose what you want to read and believe.

    You seem to want to leave the Old Testament behind. Isn't the Old Testament still applicable to us today? Or has it become irrelevant?

    Old Testament aside, as I thought about your claim, "As we progress into the new testament however, I am sorry but I don’t see even Jesus in anguish and pain before he did ministry. The only time we saw that was just before he was about to die.", I couldn't help but think of scripture showing this incorrect.

    “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’” Luke 13:34-35

    Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” Luke 19:41-44

    I gotta say Bob, these statements both sound rather full of anguish, and they were both made by Jesus.

    What about Jesus' words when He was on the cross: "Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots." Luke 23:34

    I'm pretty sure Jesus was anguishing when He asked God to forgive the very ones who put Him on that cross.

    Said of Stephen in Acts 7:60 was: "Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep."

    I think Stephen was experiencing anguish as he prayed for the ones killing him after he preached to them.

    You state: "Before, Paul would go into a city…there is not to many places where, Paul “anguished” for the city he was going into."

    Have you read any of Paul's letters to the churches? Those letters in their very nature show that Paul anguished in prayer over them. He loved them so much, he was willing to risk being hated by them in order to correct the different ways they were going astray.

    I gotta say Bob, it would seem as though you have some sort of agenda behind this post. I can't understand what would be so objectionable about anguishing in prayer over those in your life that are lost, either in the world or in a dead religious system. So many pastors talk a good game about love, yet one of the best ways we could love those around us would be to have such a deep concern about them that it would cause us to pray.

    Bob, there are many other issues I see in your post but this one stuck in me the most. I hope that you will give these scriptures (and their contexts) some study and prayer.

    And again, it's really not about interpretation. It's about just reading the bible and taking it at face value.

  4. Well questioning it and being called out do you mean comments like...

    "I want to ring someone's neck in the name of the Lord"


    "I refuse to call him PASTOR Bob"


    "He's very very worldly"

    or a condescending comment like...

    "I like to preach from my bible, I don't know about you guys"

    did you mean a personal threat like

    "Lord take this guy out. Not to kill him but just get him out of here."

    "He thinks he's got it all figured out."

    If you mean ignorant comments like that than no I am not calling Wilkerson out. I was just questioning this one message. The way "calling out" happens in your area towards me is far less Godly. Those are actual quotes btw.

    You know what bro, I know you have a blog entitled, "One Thing I Know". I have read it and personally don't agree with some of the stuff but I have enough decency to not comment because I know of the crowd that reads it. And quite honestly I respect the fact that you have an opinion on it so I won't touch it.

    For some reason (not sure if it is jealousy...and if bad) you guys from that church feel the need to visit my blog and try to prove something. Making comments, giving me rude comments, etc. Really? Is life that boring that you have to monitor me? If I attended your church I would leave because I would be sick hearing about this guy in Waupaca. I would not want to be in a place where the leadership is praying God would take out someone...THAT IS SICK!

    Why would I respond to your blog post/question theologically? I have a feeling if it does not line up with your interpretation then it will be something you won't agree with. That's fine. Have the decent courtesy to leave me alone then. I am not going to change your view and certainly are not going to change mine. Could I go down the road of talking about the politics that went down in Milwaukee at your former church? Sure...but I leave it alone. I am just glad I was not a part of a group that caused a church to split.

  5. TYLER....
    Here's one MAJOR difference... Pastor Bob does not KNOW Wilkerson... so he is using him as an example of some really FALSE GUILT inducing type teaching that is out there to engage a DISCUSSION of thoughts and what Jesus' heart may REALLY be about this...
    HOW DARE YOU call yourself a Pastor and then attack a person you KNOW!!!! Not to mention using a person by name in a sermon??? WOW.
    I have been in "the church" for over 25 years... I am sure I measure up to your "foolish methods of what godliness is" and let me tell you that Pastor Bob has the heart of JESUS!!!! More than any Pastor I have met in my life. You call him "WORLDY" oh really??? I wonder who else got called a version of "worldly"??? I think it was JESUS when they called him a glutton and a wine bibber... because JESUS as GOD stooped down to know the people that His heart yearned for... just as Pastor Bob does... You may say he is leading others astray... I wonder if they said that about Jesus when He spoke to the woman at the well and didn't INSIST that she change her immoral ways instantly but rather engaged her and then gave her LIVING WATER... THAT is what Pastor Bob is offering to people... LIVING WATER... I have a strong feeling what you offer is tepid lukewarm unloving water.. I can tell by your hypocrisy and your self righteous smug ways of "calling people out"...
    I am just sick that someone would do this to my brother in Christ. UNREAL
    May the LORD Jesus show you your TRUE heart!

  6. Any comment today or after on this blog or other ones are now moderated. Seems some, all from the same community of believers can't make a logical argument without including a personal attack. Very classy.