PREFACE:      Life and Teachings of Christ primarily based on Mark.

The nations of the whole world stand before Jesus at the End of the
Age, and what does Jesus use as a basis to separate the sheep from
the goats, a cup of water. It is certainly scary enough to think that our
eternal welfare, can depend on a single act of kindness like a drink of
water, or a free meal, or visitation of the sick and needy; and that it is
our treatment of the “least” in the kingdom of God that is most
important; but beyond the significance of our eternal welfare in hell or
heaven, is the respect and treatment of kingdom members, Christ‛s
brethren, that He demands of us.  You will find in this study of “A
Condensed Version of Mark with Comments” that Jesus fervently
sought out the least in the kingdom in order to do them acts of
kindness.  Certainly among the least were the fisherman He chose to
be His Apostles, a tax collector like Matthew had little respect in the
kingdom, then there were the Gentiles where He healed their children,
and the woman of Samaria at Jacob‛s well that He engaged in a
conversation about the welfare of her soul. It was the little children, of
whom He said “don‛t stand in their way of getting to Him”, and who He
made examples of the simple faith necessary for kingdom
membership; it was the blind man along the road,the leper that was
shunned by society, and we can go on and on; and we will go on and
on in the chapters to follow from Mark, always using Mark as only a
condensed guide to the rest of the Bible, taking from the whole counsel
of God in the Book, what will help in the understanding of the Giant
Parable called the Bible.

And we are also surprised that it takes so little to get into the kingdom
of heaven--a cup of water, a meal, or a single visit or act of kindness
for the less important person in the kingdom. Surprised that the great
wisdom of the universe could find nothing more as a criterion for final
judgment, and separation of the goats from the sheep, as simply a cup
of water. Like Naaham, the leper, we would look for some famous
body of water to cleanse in instead of the muddy waters of the Jordan.
But there we are: It is from Jesus Himself, and we dare not neglect
what He is teaching us!

Although the parable of the tares has been alive and well since Jesus
taught it over two thousand years ago, there are implications of it for
today that are not comprehended.        For example, the tares in the
kingdom and churches have leaders, and those Bible teaching and
preaching leaders are to be treated with the same distant respect as
the tares themselves. When the Apostle John tried to stop some  
disciples from work for Christ, those who had been disciples of John
the Baptist, the bottom line of what Jesus told them was, “let them
alone”.  Increasingly we are seeing more and more heaping up of
weird and unusual Bible teachers and preachers, which we do not wish
to label as false prophets and teachers; and in an effort to treat them
with the toleration demanded in an American Democratic Society, we
have hit on the “itching ear” label of II Timothy 4 in order to explain
what is happening in this time of the Falling Away.

The distant respect of  “Leave them alone” might be considered in the
same category of  the “forget about them” that I heard from one
southwest  seminary professor in reference to the fundamentalists like
James Robinson.        {I will explain later the differences between a
fundamentalists and conservatives on the Bible; however, may it
suffice for the moment to say that they are not the same.}  This was
approximately 20 years ago at the climax of the period in which the
Bible church fundamentalists took  control of the Southern Baptist
Convention led by men like Adrian Rogers, Charles Stanley, W.A.
Criswell, and from a distance, Jerry Falwell.  It was a majority
movement, very similar to the moral majority, where certain community
traditions took precedence over real Bible.        It must  remind one of
how the religious leaders of scribes, Pharisees, and Saducees of
Jesus‛ day were labeled as “teaching for doctrines the commandments
of men”.        In the nature of church and  denominational history it had
to happen, but the shock of seeing it happen in the once most
conservative and evangelistic denomination up to that point in history,
made us seek explanations of the fundamentalists takeover in other
terms.  {See some of the books written in the last 20 years with
multiple attempts to explain what happened.}

However, I would maintain that the distant respect of “leave them
alone” for these fundamentalists and other leaders of the tares is more
like the “don‛t associate with them” of II Timothy 3, the roll call of bad
church behaviour, or the “do not keep company with such who are
believers” of I Corinthians.  I hope you recall, or will check, these two
Bible references on “non-associate” and “non-companionship” in II
Timothy 3:1-9 and I Corinthians 5:9-11:  

“I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually
immoral people.  Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexcually
immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or
idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I
have written to you not to keep company with anyone name a brother,
who is sexcually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a
drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.”  (I
Corinthians 5:9-11)

A few explanations about these Bible verses which may or may not be
obvious: (1) the policy of Paul and John, which by the way they got
from Jesus and the Holy Spirit can be generalized as “in the world, but
not of the world”. Paul said when I said “not to keep company” with
certain people, I meant not to keep company with certain believers
who are churchmembers.  There had been so misunderstanding of
what Paul wrote in a previous letter: some people thought Paul meant
not to keep company with the people of the  world who were sexually
immoral as a habit of life, or who were covetous, extortioners, or
idolaters. No, Paul is writing now:  if were to not keep company with
such people in the world, you would have to get out of the world.  So
you see a summary is “in the world, but not of the world”.  {What the
Apostle John means in the “not of the world” of I John will be
discussed in a later chapter, or perhaps you can read of it in SOME
MORE SOUNDS….Snatching,  Stumbling, and the Falling Away.}        
(2) Here is the bottom line according to the Spirit through Paul, if you
know any believer or church member who practices as a habit of life
these bad behaviors, which by the way is much like the bad behavior
characteristics of church members of II Timothy
3, then you are not to even eat out with them or eat in their homes and
have them over to eat in your home.  (3).  Stop right here, I am not
calling these fundamentalists, or even the heaped up itching ear
weirdos on television, things like “sexual immorals”, or “drunkards”; but
in the getting around the toleration of the tares in favor of a A CUP OF
WATER for the least brethren in the kingdom, we will find that they do
fall into the category of “covetous” for money, disciples, and status—
much like the bad church member characteristic of “lovers of money”
and “lovers of self”, also the “extortioners” as they do seek and get
extorted money under the disguise of more noble ends, and later in
this book we will even make a case for idolatry for them.  The sad
reality, according to Jesus in the parable of the tares and the wheat is
that Satan has put the tares into that part of the kingdom called the
local church, even beyond that to the church and denominations; and
Satan has done that in order to cause offences against the least in the
kingdom.   We must perserver against this most determintal of all
influencec in order to get past these that take the first places in the
kingdom in order to serve the least in the kingdom with at least a cup
of water.

You see in itching ears Bible teachers what we are addressing is the
kind of bible preachers who talk a great deal about Christ, God, and
the Bible.  You do not wish to call false prophets and teachers anyone
you hear talking a lot about God, Christ, and the Bible.  And those are
the people that Jesus told John to “leave alone”.        Jesus elaborated,
“For no one can speak lightly of me that is active as one of my
disciples.” You see, it is not those who speak against Christ that is the
subject of a cup of water versus toleration of the tares, it is those who
are constrained to guard carefully their words about Christ because in
order to create the very impression that they know they are creating.

Conservative, Not Fundamentalist

Fundamentalists will not admit that it is possible to be conservative on
the  Bible without being a fundamentalists.  Like so many people in the
world who operate more on appearance than reality, they claim to be
the only conservatives; yet with their “pick and chose” Bible
interpretation method, they are only conservative on what they “pick”,
quite liberal in what they chose to ignore, especially on the current
realities of the Falling Away.  Since it is difficult to simultaneously claim
to have all the answers, as the fundamentalists do, they ignore the
parts of the Bible that teach that the Falling Away must happen before
the Second Coming. Listen, do you not hear them on the Second
Coming, and you do not hear them on the Falling Away.  This silence
on the Falling Away is within itself proof of the Falling Away. If you
think about it for a while, you will realize that one of the most
outstanding characteristics of the Falling Away, besides as sin
abounds the love of many waxes cold from Jesus, is the intolerance
toward sound doctrine.  There is no more intolerance of sound
doctrine than to leave it out completely as if it were not part of the
Bible itself.  You see, what they do is to pick what is convenient for
them to preach, and ignore what does not serve their purpose. A case
could be made that this kind of pick and chose method of
interpretation is worse than liberalism.

Here I should remind fundamentalists that “all scripture is given by
inspiration of God and is profitable”; and to ignore part of is to cheat
church members and to overlook “every Word that comes out of the
mouth of  God.”        The time has already “come when they {the “they”
in II Timothy 4 is obviously church members and other believers, but in
the “tares” category} will not endure sound doctrine”, yet any Bible
teacher can  not ignore certain sound doctrines because they are not
profitable to him or her personally or not profitable to the organization
that he or she represents.        YOU JUST CAN NOT IGNORE ANY
PART OF THE SOUND DOCTRINES OF SCRIPTURES.  {By the
way the soundest doctrine of all is the kind of respect for all persons
that must include the least in the kingdom, and the sound doctrine of
giving them a drink of water.  What is truly being said by the example
of the life of Jesus, and the teachings of Jesus, is that our treatment
and graciousness toward the least brethren in the kingdom really is the
evidence of our right to be among the sheep at the Final Gathering.}

Even  the  “proof  text”  method  of  Bible  interpretation  and teaching
that they often practice is frought with the “pick and chose” method
when  a verse or passage is not considered in the total context of the
text.   This is the age old principle of hermeneutics called “exogesis”
versus “isogesis”:  exegesis is to read the meaning out of the Bible,
while isogesis is to come to the passage with some pre-conceived
meaning or motivation to read meaning into it.        A case in point is
the pastor of a large fundamentalist church and seminary in Memphis,
Tennessee who wanted to preach an applicable message on the first
Sunday of the year 2000, and he wanted that message to have some
sense of urgency about end time.  So in his passage from one of the
Gospels was the simple sentence that “after  six days Jesus and the
disciples went” some certain place.  Yes, you got it this
fundamentalists spun and spiritualized the six days to be the equivalent
of the last days on this earth.  There was no need for this: there is
Matthew 24 on eschatology, the book of Revelation, the teachings of
Peter on the earth will melt with fervent heat, and Paul‛s book of II
Thessalonians with the end time teachings that include the Falling
Away, revelation of the man of sin, and the withdrawal of the Holy
Spirit from the earth, with the clarity that these things must happen
before Christ comes again. Is he worse than a liberal?        I think so,
because he is preaching and teaching something under the guise of
from the scripture, it is not in that passage at all.

Can a person talk about Christ, God, and the Bible, be in the church or
be a church leader, and still not be “wheat”? Yes, that is the gist of the
Parable of Tares that was told by Jesus.  You see we have isolated
our concepts of church membership from the realities of the Bible,  
The Bible, time and again, faces up to the reality that many can be in
the churches, denominations, or even claim kingdom membership, who
have not learned Christ. Paul looked at the Gentiles in Ephesus and the
church members at the Ephesus church:  then he noted that he did not
see any differences.  The behavior of the church members was the
same as other Gentiles in Ephesus.  Paul wrote in Ephesians, “This is
not the way you learned Christ, if indeed you heard Him and were
taught of Him.”

Wow, did you miss that in reading the book of Ephesians.        I am
sure that you did not hear it from your fundamentalists preacher;  for  
in this time of the Falling Away, the preachers that survive in their
positions do so primarily by:  (1) convincing their congregation or
audience that they are the elect of God; (2) that by joining in with them
you are engaged in the real work of God; and (3) that they have “THE
SOLUTION”, and that if you join them, with or without the new birth,
you are part of the solution.  Later in the book we will deal with what it
means “to hear Jesus” and “be taught by Him”.  Let me say now,
however, that it is the opposite of the famous instantaneous new birth
{or born again} concept of the fundamentalists.  It is amazing how
these evangelists can take the analogy of Jesus between physical and
spiritual birth with the obvious statement “you must be born again”;
then fail to realize that the new birth may take the same 9 months or
longer as does physical birth. Does that make sense to you?  That is it
takes at least 9 months to be physical born, or in that ball park for a
normal birth, then it must take some period of time for the spiritual
birth, eliminating many who claim to experience an instanteous new
birth. {You see another case of pick and choice from the
fundamentalists.} In the parable of the seed and the farmer that was
told by Jesus, the individuals who were compared to the seed sown
among thorns instantly received it with joy, but later as time passed the
cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and other things
choked it out.        Now, you know in most churches during revival and
in any assembly if a person were noted to instantly received the Word
of God with joy, that person would be labeled as “saved” without
waiting to see if the 9 month new birth would be completed. There
actually are some very large churches who would assist the new
convert with their examples and messages to accept the “things” of the
cares of this world to the extent that their messages actually serve to
choke out the Word. This in the old fashion jargon was called “putting a
live bitty under a dead hen”.  What has changed now is that while the
“dead hen” generally in the past was considered to be some lithurgic
church members, now in this time of the Falling Away it is the Bible
teachers and preachers that are the dead hens. And they are very
good at it. They talk about Christ, God, and the Bible so how can they
be a bad example.  Remember it is what is not said that is as
important as what is said; and it is the thrust of the message more than
key words.  Does their influence exert itself in the direction of the cares
of this world for personal gain and prosperity, for the deceitfulness of
riches, or other things?

The American Democratic Faith

At first I thought it strange that an authority on the history of American
Thought would call his book THE MAIN DOCTRINES OF THE
AMERICAN  DEMOCRATIC FAITH. However though the years as I
have pondered what Bible teachers and believers substitute for the
faith of the Bible and of Jesus, it has dawned on me that the substitute
is an American Democratic Faith.  I use to gainsay what former prime
minister of  Israel said about Americans and Jews.  What he said was
that “we in Israel are born Jews just like you Americans are born
Christians.” At first it sounded ridiculous, but that the two kinds of faith
have been mixed should be obvious. I think there are some overlaps
because it is obvious that during this time of the Fulness of the
Gentiles, the period during which the Jews are blind to the Gospel, the
United States has been the undisputed leader in the spread of the
Gospel to every nation.   This is another way of saying that God has
indeed used the United States to help in the spread of the Gospel to
every nation.  Some of us also reluctantly accept the observation by a
foreign student of the US who said “to be an American is more a
religion and a character than a set of beliefs or a mater of citizenship.”
More often you will hear from mister average citizen what I heard as a
young pastor visiting with a man up the valley in Arkansas when I
asked him if he was a believer. “Yes”, the indignant reply was, “I was
born in this country!” And, “Did you think I am a heathen?”

Quickly I would mention five obvious differences between the
American Democratic Faith and the Faith of the Bible and Jesus. (1)
The majority is king in the American Democratic Faith while it is the
minority in the Bible that goes the narrow way that leads to life eternal.
You will note that the schools as the chief custodians of American
culture, government, and society do most of their work in terms of the
priority for the majority. Always, in the Old Testament, and in any
movement or country in history, there has been a “remnant” of real
believers, definitely a minority type word and concept.  Quite often in
the Old Testament, God preferred a dedicated minority to a majority.  
Jesus taught the parable of the broad and narrow way, clarifying that
the many that go the broad way to destruction are the majority and the
few that go the narrow way that leads to eternal life are the minority.  
One might contend that the United States is completely different from
the world in which Jesus taught in that now in our country and in our
time, the majority of US citizens go the narrow and right way and the
minority of US citizens go the broad and wrong way. Perhaps, if it
were ever true of this country, in this time in which our country has also
become part of the world wide Falling Away movement, it is no longer
true. As far as real faith in God, Christ, and the Bible there is little
difference between citizens of America and citizens of any other
nation, and you can make a much better case for that conclusion.

We might put it this way for simplicity and agreement:  While the
emphasis in America is on the priority for the majority, the emphasis in
the Bible is on priority for the minority.

What difference does it make? Well, without this Bible concept of
priority of the minority, you will be more influenced by the world.  
Satan, the prince of this world, runs this world whether it is in the
United States or elsewhere, and consequently he uses the majority of
this world in order to deter and destroy faith in Jesus and the
Bible.        {By the way if you claimed that the majority in American go
the narrow way that leads to life, then maybe you would be inclined to
think that Satan only works in other countries.  You could have the
simplistic concept that all evil is in Korea, Iraqi, and I forget what the
other country is.}  What difference does it make?  Well, without this
Biblical majority-minority concept for now and in this country, you will
have  trouble  accepting  the  Scripture,  “all  that  will  godly  in Christ
Jesus will suffer persecution”, and this is not limited by any means  to
physical persecution.        The politically correct in churches,
government, and society can separate you as a member of that Jesus
minority.

The greatest danger of all is that you can subject yourself to Bible
teachers and believers that have already become victims of the Falling
Away.  You will tend to become like them, and you will listen to what
they do teach and preach even though long ago they came to the point
where they would not endure sound doctrine, “they out of their own
desires heaped up teachers with itching ears”, turned away from the
truth and turned into fables.  {One word of caution, look for Bible
teachers and believers that are preaching (1) the Falling Away and (2)
A 9 month of so new birth, and shun the progenitors of silence on the
Falling Away.}

(2) A second major difference between the American Democratic Faith
and the faith of the Bible and Jesus is on the concept of “toleration”.  
So much that believers know to be true they will not even speak, for
the fear that  they will seem non-tolerant and therefore non-American.  
An extreme example is that the Presbyterian Church a few years ago
voted whether to decree that a stop should be made on the claim that
Jesus is the only way of salvation, because it seems too intolerant. I
don‛t know how the vote came out, but the very fact that a so-called
Bible believing denomination would have to vote on such a
fundamentals Bible belief about Jesus and salvation is within itself
intolerable.

A Condensed Version of Mark?

As you read this book, you may think there is a lot of other Bible to be
simply a condensed version of Mark.        Yes, there is; and that is the
point.  What we can understand of Mark, in the very nature of
revelation and illumination, is “profitable for doctrine, etc” only as it is
kept in the total context of the Bible; and what we truely understand of
Mark is true only to the extent that it is consistent with the Authorized
Semi-Public Interpretation of the Bible.  The same God put the truth in
Moses and John, Ezekiel and Revelation, Daniel and Mark. The Bible
when you come down to it is a reflection of the consistent mind and
character of God; and above all in the characteristics of God we must
see stability, consistency in God who is “the same yesterday, today,
and forever.”        What you will find as you spend more and more time
in the Bible is that you come to understand more as you also
understand more the Great Author of the Bible.  It is like living with a
loved one here on earth, the more you listen to them and see and hear
the consistency of their character, the more you can even predict what
they are going to say on other ocassions. For example what God had
to say in Daniel, and what God has to say in the many explanations of
Old Testament quotes in Mark and other books of the Bible, lead to
more understanding of the Christ and God we serve.
It will become more clear to you as you get away from the “kingdom”
concepts of Darby and the 1000 year temporary reign of Christ on
earth concepts of Scoffield, those concepts effectively  
propagandized  by  the  Scoffield  Reference  Bible and Tim LeHaye,
that with Jesus, Paul,  and the first century Christians, we have seen
most of what we are going  to see in a spiritual movement from the
Jews.  God gave them one year and the Messiah was cut off, as
recorded in Daniel, to make things right with Him through faith-
salvation in Christ, then the abomination of desolation was complete.  
“What profit is it then to be a Jew?” Paul asks and explains in Romans.
And the answer comes back, “because to them were  committed the
oracles of God.”        Wow, what a marvelous job, sometimes in  spite
of the majority movement among the Hebrews, did the Jewish people
do in protecting and promoting the Scriptures of the Old and New
Testament.        Paul was a Hebrew of the Hebrews, also a Roman
citizen, and formerly a  persecutor of the church, before the Ascended
Christ decided that He  needed a dedicated scholar and lawyer of the
Jewish nation to write 14 book so the New Testament and sponsor
with his influence and manuscripts three more, setting the pattern which
Jesus gave to him in Saudi Arabia of quoting with an interpretation in
the New Testament of the Old Testament truth. So much of where
fundamentalists {today‛s incarnation of Darby and Scoffield, their hunt
and peck method of Bible interpretation with superficiality of Bible
more dangerous, with their fighting spirit, than even their concepts from
Darby and Scoffield}see in the Old Testament a period of peace and
prosperity with a material kingdom in Israel is the “consummation” of
Daniel.  It is the time, at the end of time, when the kingdoms of this
world become really the kingdom of Christ; it is the time when the new
Jerusalem is lowered down from heaven and all government is
established there over all the multitides which no man can number of
every nation, tribe, and people; and it is the time when the new heaven
and new earth are established by God for ever and ever, as the old
heaven and old earth pass away, and there is no more sea.  It is going
to be difficult for you to break free if you have been a victim of such
fundamentalist teachings. One thing you will notice is that you are not
hearing about the Falling Away from such fundamentalists that have
taken control of the Southern Baptist Convention.  There are two
reasons for that:  (1) it is difficult to stake a claim on having all the
answers like Jerry Falwell, Tim LeHaye, and Charles Stanley—co-
founders of the Moral Majority, and still admit that the Falling Away has
come to fulfillment under their watch; and (2) they  remain  in power my
convincing their audience that they are the chosen of God, therefore it
is hard for them to say to the other Tares, you are Falling Away from
God, Christ, and the Bible.  Indeed, Falwell believes as he says that
Rick Warrens‛s heresies in the name of church unity, LeHayes fictions,
along with his political and social power are waves of spiritual revival,
while indeed these efforts, including the takeover of the SBC by his
group, are the very unsoundness in doctrine and spirit that has
percepitated if not induced the Falling Away.  Certainly they have
enhanced the Falling Away.  Why are they so silent on it.  That within
itself is proof!  Won‛t it be amazing if these who have made
themselves “first” in the kingdom of God, taking by force the prime
seats at the feasts, are found to be the “last” when we come to the
fulfillment of the kingdom of God.  And if they are among the tares, we
will not see them at all!  Like the Jewish people of the first century, and
about whom Paul wrote in Romans 1, they have tried to  take  and
mantain the moral high ground.        While they would present
themselves as teachers of the law, they need some one to teach them
again what are the first principles of Bible and a proper spirit.  Although
as we look for the two things to be fulfilled before the Second Coming
as Paul laid out in II Thessalonians— the falling away and the man of
sin; and while many times based on Daniel, we may lean toward
Osama Bin Laden as the man of sin and of perdition; though
sometimes we lean toward the Pope as the final anti-Christ which will
be the man of sin, sometimes it seems that the fundamentalists have
been the most dominant influence in the Falling Away.        I am sure it
is our lack of understanding that forces us to speculate between men
like Falwell, men like Osama Bin Laden, and men like the Pope for
fulfillment of the man of sin.  And the fact, as Daniel was told, that our
complete understanding of the last events is still somewhat sealed up,
leads us to believe that we are still major steps from the Falling Away.
Just remember, that like Satan himself, who was an angel of light, the
man of sin and perdition must appear to be very right and righteous to
be a wolf in sheep‛s clothing and in order to deceive many.  As sin
abounds, he must be a leader in the waxing cold of love. The love
must diminish under his leadership, and the Gospel of the kingdom of
Christ will have to be replaced with something else, like maybe the
Gospel of the Moral Majority.

Book Bottom Line:  Spiritual Terrorism

“He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’” (Matthew 13:2)

Can You buy those words from Jesus Himself?        That there is
spiritual  terrorism  within  the  churches.        We are  concerned about
physical terrorism in our country when we should be more concerned  
about the spiritual terrorism in our churches and the kingdom at large.   
Our problem is that we can not tell the difference between wheat and
tares even when they come out from being underground: we do not
know the difference between a Christian and a non-Christian, between
a false Bible teacher and a true Bible teacher; and even when we do
suspect a church member, a church, or a denomination, or their
leaders we are so  indoctrinated in the American Democratic Faith as
to put tolerance ahead of dis-association from them as recommended
by the Bible. Do you get what Jesus is saying, “the enemy is within” the
kingdom and the churches.  Satan has put many tares in our local
churches in order to subvert the real work of the kingdom of God, and
many of those tares are leaders with itching ears.