(This blog feature is for the purpose of critiquing what is called ‘The Good Word’ in the Red Deer Advocate. ‘The Good Word’ is supplied by those ministers in Red Deer who are united in that relationship called ‘The Red Deer Ministerial.’ Ministerial pastors (virtually all Red Deer ministers) share with one another the privilege of writing what they call ‘The Good Word.’ Thus, ‘The Good Word’ is ‘The Ministerial Word.’)
The Subject: ‘Are we a skittish Easter people?’ by Mr. Rolf Nosterud, Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, in the Red Deer Life, ‘The Good Word,’ Sunday, March 25, 2012.
The Sin Committed in this Article: PROSTITUTION OF GOD’S HOLY WORD.
Here is the Proof:
In this article, Mr. Nosterud said: “Jesus once said, ‘Many are called, but few rise to answer.’”
This particular ‘Good Word’ is about how Christians ought to rise up and ‘protest for a different world!’ By this is meant that we should rise up and ‘protest the trampling of the innocent and vulnerable—wherever it happens!’ That is the gist of Mr. Nosterud’s message. We agree with the moral; but there is no gospel here, no message about how the death of Christ might be to our eternal benefit through saving faith in his name. For all their noise and preparations for Easter, Red Deer ministers haven’t much to say about the Easter message of Christ’s death and resurrection.
If it is a good thing to ‘protest for a different world,’ then it must be an excellent thing to ‘protest for a different word’ than the one given to us here by Mr. Nosterud. It must be an excellent thing to protest against the prostitution of God's word in the column called ‘The Good Word.’ To ‘prostitute,’ according to Webster’s: ‘to devote or corrupt to unworthy purposes.’ Maybe some reader or other will contend that Mr. Nosterud corrupted Jesus’ words for a worthy purpose: to preach against injustice. No matter why you corrupt the word of God, the reason cannot be important enough, can it, to make Jesus and God’s word into liars? Say that it can if you dare. Get on Mr. Nosterud’s side if you like. But we will call his abuse of Jesus’ words ‘prostitution,’ just like the Bible lovers of old would have done. Jesus spoke. It is written. Any purpose in the world will not justify this History to be rewritten! Such rewriting is prostitution; we should use the strongest possible word we can think of to single out the sin Mr. Nosterud is guilty of. It is PROSTITUTION. He prostitutes the word of God to his own purpose.
Mr. Nosterud cites no Bible book, nor number, in support of what he tells us ‘Jesus once said.’ What Jesus really said was: “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22.14.) It is doubtful that even the most corrupt modern translation says anything like, ‘but few rise to answer.’ If this educated man had been loyal to quote what Jesus actually did say, he would have gained easy access to preaching the gospel, for that verse, accurately quoted, naturally leads to it. But he must think it is no sin at all to misquote Jesus in order to preach something the verse was not designed to address. To be faithful to the word of God must be less important to this man (who calls himself a Rev. Dr.) than being faithful to his own idea about what the word, even Jesus Christ, should say!
Blameworthy behavior of this magnitude is more the norm than the exception in ‘The Good Word.’ The word of God has been prostituted in that column, in one fashion or another, nine times out of ten, for as long as we’ve been aware of the column’s existence: since about 1995. Long-term discreditable conduct! Many letters of protest have been sent over the years, both to these ministers and to the newspaper they publish in. But not one time (and we have followed this column very closely) have we ever come across a protesting letter from one minister to another. Can their silence about each other’s false doctrines and sins be on account of all ministers always agreeing with what is written in ‘The Good Word’ by their fellow brother? Can it be that they all agree that exchanging the words of Christ for an invention is okay? Their unity is such that we never hear of any one breaking rank to reprove another of false doctrine or practice, no matter how wicked the fault. Paul withstood Peter for acting two-faced (Galatians 2.11, 12.) Acting two-faced must be a less serious transgression than tampering with the word of God! But will the Ministerial cry foul? Will it, or any minister in it, withstand Mr. Nosterud to his face? Because of past Ministerial silence when a voice was needed to correct one of its ministers, we have reason to expect nothing more honorable than ongoing cowardice in the interest of Ministerial unity.
But brotherly confrontation is okay to do; and it may even be written about. Paul did both. Where bona fide biblical unity exists, there will be a shared concern for truth, and because of this, you will notice that confrontations happen. But a Ministerial that lets each minister believe and do what is right in his own eyes, what kind of brotherhood is that? Is it biblical? That unity may be tight in some outward, superficial sense; but it has no spiritual depth, no accountability, and in consequence, no credibility. This ‘brotherhood’ is an associaton of light and darkness, which is condemned and forbidden by Paul in 2 Corinthians 6. Attempt to make a condemned association like this work, and you will have to overlook, and be silent about, the sins of your ‘brothers’ in order to maintain order and peace. This is why the Ministerial is bankrupt where earnestly contending for the faith is concerned (Jude 3.) How can you contend for the faith when there are so many faiths in your ‘brotherhood.’ Which faith would you contend for? The faith of Roman Catholicism, which says that salvation is by works as much as by faith? The ‘Word of Faith’ from Family of Faith, the aim of which, is not salvation by the Lord and the enjoyment of him, but material prosperity from him and the enjoyment of things? Or will it be the particular Lutheran faith of Mr. Nosterud, which says that the words of a minister may replace the words of Christ whenever it suits the minister’s fancy or design? Rather than contend for the faith, then, this Ministerial, in order for a show of peace to exist and continue, contends for no faith at all, not even the ‘faith of Jesus’ (Revelation 14.12.)
Mr. Nosterud is okay with Scripture prostitution. And many professing Christians will not see much of a sin, if any at all, in what he has done. Some will, we hope, be enlightened to how awful that sin is, through this critique. If you see no sin in a minister deciding what a verse should be—no sin in his exchange of Christ’s words for his own, then is your respect for the word of God not wanting? Is your respect, then, for Jesus the Word, not extremely insignificant? Is it not even possible, then, that you are stone-blind spiritually? Do not allow the state of your religion to come down to what is typical among churchgoers in these ignorant, apathetic times. There are churchgoing persons who possess critical faculties of a very dulled character through the corrupted church culture that believes nothing should be judged, that anything goes, and that nothing counts. Pray that God will disallow your mind from withering to the point at which you don’t care what is done to his precious, soul-saving word. If God will judge at all (and he will), our reaction to his word being corrupted and abused will certainly be some part of what will be weighed by him in that holy exercise.
The verse this minister abuses happens to be the conclusion to the parable known as the marriage of the king’s son. This verse states the fundamental reason why worldly men will not gain entrance into heaven, but instead will be ‘cast into outer darkness’ (verse 13.) The reason: “For many are called, but few are chosen” (verse 14.) “The mass miss the wedding feast, and a few choice spirits find it by the choice of God’s grace” (Spurgeon’s Commentary on Matthew.) How eerily ironic that this minister would abuse a text on the judgment to come when that same judgment is promised for those who abuse the word of God! “And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life” (Revelation 22.19.) Do not cavil at this by saying this warning pertains only to what is contained in Revelation, and that therefore Mr. Nosterud is not liable to judgment. Common sense reasons that one part of Scripture is as inspired as another, and that therefore God will be holy to his word everywhere. The warning, or promise of judgment, just happens to be in the back of God’s Book. Mr. Nosterud takes out the words of Jesus the Saviour to insert his own instead. What greater sin can be committed by a man in the ministry? In his article, he speaks against compromise among Christians. But what compromise is done here by the Christians’ minister?! He is not this Christian’s minister! He compromises the very word that he has been ordained to save souls and glorify his God by! He compromises the words of the very Person ordained from eternity as the only Saviour of sinful souls! This man is culpable. The word of the very Person whose words he prostituted testifies to it. That fearsome word in Revelation 22.19, though penned by the apostle John and summoned forth by the Spirit, is ‘The Revelation of Jesus Christ’ (Revelation 1.1.)
“The story of Nightingale is generally known [not anymore], which Foxe relates, how he fell out of the pulpit and broke his neck, while he was abusing that Scripture (1 John 1. 10)” (John Flavel, The Mystery of Providence, p. 38.)