The glorious second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ concludes what the Fundamentalists of the early 20th century considered to be the essential doctrines one must hold to be considered a Christian. With the obvious exception of the second coming, if any of these teachings were omitted or redefined in any way one’s salvation was in question. This leads me to ask the most important questions of all the ones I have asked in this article. After reading and thinking seriously about this list of doctrines, is there anything missing from this list? Is it possible to believe in these six foundational teachings of the New Testament and still be eternally lost with a one-way ticket to Hell?
To answer those questions, please read these words I am about write, listen to them in your heart, and ask the Lord Jesus to show you the truth in the scriptures. Most of you on this mailing list are professing Christians who live in America or nations well versed in the Bible and Christendom, so my request should not offend you. If you read Paul’s letter to the Philippians and his second letter to Timothy, you will come upon these verses:
“Brethren, be followers together of me, and “mark” them which walk so as ye have us for an example. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose “end” is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things. For our conversation is in Heaven; from where also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself”, Philippians 3:17-21. “This know also, that in the “last days” perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud….lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a “form” of godliness, but denying the power thereof; from such turn away”, 2 Timothy 3:-5.
Who are these people Paul says to turn away from? Who are they today? Is it possible today, as in Paul’s day, there are many who walk the Christian path, who profess to be followers of Jesus, but really are enemies of the cross, and their end is destruction and Hell? Can the Fundamentalists of the 20th century and today be among the ones Paul was describing? Is it possible for us to align ourselves up with the six essential doctrines outwardly or in our minds, and still have unregenerated hearts or spirits? Is this what Paul meant when he said these professing Christians had a “form” of godliness but denied the power thereof? Didn’t Paul say this would be prevalent in the “last days” which I think we are in right now, with Daniel’s 70th Week on the horizon? I believe the sad answer to these questions is yes, and like Paul, it should bring us to tears, weeping before our Lord Jesus for our unsaved yet religious friends and family members.
It is now time to answer the question…what’s missing from the six essential doctrines of the Fundamentalists? I see “three” other teachings of Jesus that are just as essential as the first six. Please know these three are not the final word on this matter, for other men could offer valid doctrines as well. By saying that I hope I’m not adding to the confusion that fills Christendom today. I think the reason there is so much scriptural confusion today stems from a false doctrine that has spread through Christendom like a wild fire, causing some to depart from the sound doctrines of Jesus Christ while thinking they still love and serve him. This errant teaching goes something like this…when it comes to “essentials” for salvation we have unity, in “nonessentials” we have tolerance and liberty, and in “all things” we have love. At first glance this sounds so sincere and right, but think about it for a moment.
I don’t have a problem with listing foundational teachings as essential. But what man among us is able to say that some teachings of Jesus Christ are “nonessential” when it comes to salvation from our sin nature and the Hell it sends us to? Who would even want to do this? Who among us is going to tell Jesus that something he wrote through holy men of God is not essential? The very tone of it produces “indifference and neglect” and goes against every thing I have learned about Jesus and the scriptures he wrote through men. Our Lord Jesus Christ is not pleased when men who profess to know him cherry-pick some of his teachings and then place them in the “who cares” category of doctrine. When I was first confronted by this “nonessential” nightmare, I asked the Lord to show me what was happening to my fellow Fundamentalists. As I was reading Hebrews I came to this passage referring to Jesus and his teachings:
“For whom (Jesus) we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing you are “dull” of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth “milk” is unskillful in the word of righteousness; for he is a babe. But strong “meat” belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil”, Hebrews 5:11-14.
After reading this passage and listening to the words in my heart, it became obvious how dangerous this “nonessential” madness really is, and why so many of my friends have become “dull” of hearing, having very little thirst or hunger for either the milk or meat of the Word of God. Are they just babes, are they backsliders, or are they not born again, possessing only a form with no power of the Holy Spirit to understand and obey? The milk of the word of God, or the first principles as Hebrews declares, includes the general subject headings of the six foundational doctrines plus the three I will soon give to you. The strong “meat” of the Word of God, is all of the specific and detailed teachings that come under the general principles of the doctrines of Christ, Hebrew 6:1-3. For example, the general teaching on the bodily resurrection of Jesus and his followers is a first principle milk doctrine that all born again Christians can easily digest by faith. However, the detailed and descriptive prophecies surrounding the coming resurrection of the dead are the “hard to be uttered” strong meat as it said in Hebrews.
Do you also see the danger now? The seducing doctrine of “in nonessentials we have liberty and tolerance” is designed by the fallen angels working through false or ignorant teachers to make the “meat” of the scriptures, which are designed to strengthen us in Christ and against evil forces and false prophets, something no one really cares about anyway, for it is just a matter of opinion and interpretation. These false or misguided teachers cry out for tolerance and liberty in nonessentials “because” strict interpretation only causes division at a time when Christendom wants “ecumenical” unity in their political-religious-military crusades to take “dominion” over the nations. For those among you who have been seduced into this deadly trap I suggest you also read Mathew 24:45-51. Now let’s move on to the three missing foundational doctrines:
(7) The Fallen Angels:
I have often wondered why early Fundamentalists neglected to include the role of fallen angels in their essentials for salvation. Even today there is very little mention of them and how they have impacted the human race. I suppose the reason is because not many people have experienced face to face encounters with these fallen creatures of God. From what I have learned from the scriptures and my personal battles with these evil beings, this uncomfortable subject needs to be included as one of the fundamental doctrines of Jesus Christ. Trust me when I say that the day is coming when the most vile of the fallen angels will publicly appear in their grotesque form and all men shall see them, while Satan and others will possess the bodies of men, Revelation 9,13. And when they do appear, the Lord Jesus Christ will also allow Michael and his holy angels to manifest themselves before men. John’s visions recorded in the Revelation provide ample evidence for what I have said. Please read the articles “When Angels Appear” and “The Judgment Chronicles” posted on our web site, for more details on this subject.
When Adam and Eve fell to the seductive lies of Satan, a sin nature like that of the fallen angels entered into their hearts, minds, and bodies. This evil sin nature was then passed down to all of mankind through the seed of man. Satan then was given, by God, temporary authority and power to establish his own kingdom upon the Earth that he would use to keep man seduced, but Satan’s power was not beyond the sovereign will of God, Psalms 24:1, Daniel 2:21. In effect, the planet was cursed by God. Jesus clearly acknowledged this truth when Luke wrote:
“And the devil, taking him (Jesus) up into a high mountain, showed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil (Satan) said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that (power) is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will give it. If thou, therefore, will worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, get thee behind me, Satan: For it is written, thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve”, Luke 4:5-8.
As the population rapidly grew upon the Earth, the fallen angels went to work establishing their evil kingdom that kept men in bondage to their sin nature. The sin-laden society became so bad that God destroyed all of mankind in the great flood that only the faithful Noah and his family escaped from. Every other human being was killed and their souls cast into Hell. Satan and his fallen angels were still on the loose and waiting for their next victims. Noah and his family repopulated the Earth, but again the fallen angels manipulating the sin nature in men, rebuilt their political-religious-economic kingdom that was to counterfeit the Kingdom of Heaven. You must understand that all political-religious systems and institutions ever developed and implemented among men are the work product of the fallen angels who use their knowledge of good and evil mixed together to deceive and destroy mankind. This includes Democracies, Republics, Monarchies, Dictatorships, Communism, false Theocracies, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and false Christendom. The scriptures repeatedly refer to this kingdom as Babylon or the World, Revelation 17:5, James 4:4, 1 John 2:15.
As time passed and the political-religious rebellion again took root among mankind, God moved upon faithful Abraham and called him to come out Babylon into a land and a nation that God would establish to prepare the way for him to become a man and save his people and all of the nations from the deadly grip of Satan. This call and promise of God to Abraham caused the fallen angels to tighten their grip on those Abraham left behind in Babylon. Satan’s fury and hatred was directed and focused toward Abraham and his offspring as it still is today. Just watch Fox News for an hour and you will hear over and over again the disgusting venom spilling out toward Israel and the Jewish people. Well, from the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that nation, Israel, was established and when the Lord Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, the Messiah was on Earth. You know the rest of the story.
There is one final detail concerning the fallen angels that you must understand and keep in your heart. The kingdoms Satan offered Jesus in a “moment of time” include the seven main Gentile empires that affected Israel from the time of Abraham until the end when Jesus Christ returns and makes them his own by imprisoning Satan and his fallen angels in the Bottomless Pit for one-thousand years, Revelation 11:15, 20:1-3. These kingdoms are…Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, and revived Rome. We are now living in the times of the final stage of the Roman Empire which is also called Babylon the Great of Revelation 17,18. This is a hard and bitter pill to swallow, but America and its European allies are that seventh and final kingdom that Satan has created as his “closest and best” counterfeit of the coming Kingdom of Heaven.
As I have repeatedly written in my articles and letters to you, accepting this truth about America as a born again Christian was very difficult for me because it went against everything my family, friends, school teachers, pastors, and presidents had ever taught me. My five years in the Army as a commissioned officer and the loss of friends in the Vietnam war made it even harder. As a young Christian babe, I didn’t understand how Satan takes one of his kingdoms and turns it against another one he controls, and then uses this battle or conflict as a diversion and to deceive. He makes the one you live in appear to be godly and righteous, while showing you the other as brutal, ungodly, and unrighteous. Does this ring any bells as we watch the current kingdom conflict between Islam and militant Christendom. The day is rapidly approaching when the fallen angels will, through war and deception, cause all of their various conflicting kingdoms to unite and establish what foolish men will believe is the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth, Revelation 13:1-10. You are now faced with the same decision and question…do I trust pastors and presidents and their religious traditions, or do I follow the Lord Jesus and all of his teachings. You will be told by the “nonessential” crowd that this article is just Jack’s opinion or interpretation and it is causing great division in the body of Christ.
(8) The Sin Nature:
I decided to list the sin nature separately even though I have alluded to it generally in the other seven fundamental doctrines. Like the fallen angels, the sin nature doctrine is not a popular teaching in most of Christendom. There are no long lines at rented auditoriums waiting to hear preachers expose and explain the spiritual elements of sin. It is a most uncomfortable subject at the office water cooler as well. And if a pastor should preach a series of sermons on the definition of sin, most of his congregation would come down with the cold. This subject should stand alone, for even after our Lord Jesus returns to imprison Satan and the fallen angels, and begins his millennial reign, the saints who enter into the kingdom, who physically survived the judgments of the 70th Week, will produce offspring who still possess the sin nature. They will need to be born again. Jesus himself will be among his people, especially the children, showing them the scars on his hands and feet where his blood poured out as payment of their sins.
Every one needs to understand just how evil our sin nature is and not make the mistake of comparing ourselves with others who end up on the nightly news after committing some awful atrocity. Keep in mind that within every human being there lies the potential to fulfill every evil imagination of the fallen angels. The only escape and immunity from this plague is in the power of the blood of Jesus Christ to wash away our sin nature. If Adam and Eve, who were created perfect without spot or blemish and filled with the Holy Spirit, can then be seduced by the lie of Satan that they were as divine as God, so can we. And we are not born without sin as they were. This self-esteem, the alluring lie that she was a god, overwhelmed Eve and is at the root of all angelic and human sin. We are all born worshipping ourselves. Our evil nature loves to be esteemed and lifted up which is how the seduction usually begins, and then later we finally take the satanic bait and consider ourselves as a god.
Entire religions with billions of adherents are based on this one delusion. Modern psychology thrives on self-love and self-esteem and has, like a parasite, attached itself to most of Christendom. There are some Christian cults, like the Mormons, who have bitten into this apple as well. Even Kenneth Copeland and his huge following, who are considered Evangelicals and Charismatics, teach that when we are born again our spirits become divine little gods, and yet he is applauded and embraced as a great Christian leader by many Fundamentalists who should know better.
The sin nature has many more elements to it which need to be addressed in this article. Remember the difference between the milk and meat of the Word of God we just studied. The milk is the general heading of a particular doctrine, in this case, the sin nature. The meat is the specific elements or characteristics which define it. I have found that most Christians acknowledge the sin nature generally, but have very little interest in understanding the definition and detail. The “nonessential” teachers are partly to blame for this attitude, but we are all going to stand alone before Jesus Christ and give an account of what we said and did in this life. Hebrews encourages us to grow up on the strong meat so we are able to discern both good and evil. You now know that evil comes out of our sin nature, so it is clear that our Lord Jesus wants us to understand the spiritual elements of sin so that we can discern them in our minds when the temptations come upon us, and rest in the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit surrounding our born again hearts to cast them out of our heads before we dwell on and act upon the temptation. My friends, this is at the very heart of salvation and needs desperately to be taught.
Besides self esteem that leads to thinking we are little gods, what are the other elements of the sin nature that Jesus died to save and separate us from? John and Paul both define this, but let’s begin with the words from Jesus himself:
“And Jesus said, that which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil “thoughts”, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blaspheme, pride, foolishness: All these things come from within, and defile the man”, Mark 7:20-23.
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are “contrary” the one to the other, so that ye cannot do the things ye would. But if ye be led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God”, Galatians 5:16-21.
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. and the world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever”, 1 John 2:15-17.
Please notice how Paul’s letter to the Galatians mirrors the words spoken by Jesus and how he expanded the elements that proceed out of the sin nature. And keep in mind that all of these elements or as Paul described them “the works of the flesh” are linked to the ten commandments that God gave Moses. This puts all sinful manifestations as direct rebellion to the two great commandments from our God…”Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all of thy heart, mind, and body; and thy neighbor as thyself”. Whenever we obey the desires, thoughts, and attitudes of our sin nature we are not loving our God or respecting his teachings.
Also take into account that Jesus was speaking to all men who had not yet been born again, whose hearts, minds, and bodies contained these evil thoughts, desires, and attitudes. Paul is addressing his letter to Christians who supposedly had new hearts from being born again. He was warning the Galatians that the sin nature was still in their minds and bodies or flesh, and the indwelling Holy Spirit surrounding their hearts was warring against these same sinful thoughts coming into their minds either from fallen angels or their own bodily instincts to sin. The things Jesus and Paul listed are the basic ingredients that dwell in us all, that manifest themselves in a multitude of desires, thoughts, and attitudes that always lead to the breaking of God’s law or commandments.
Paul even told the Romans that all unregenerate men, both Jew and Gentile,…”do by nature the things contained in the law”…which means that we are born….idolaters, murderers, thieves, liars, covetous, disobedient to parents, to take the Lord’s name in vain”, Romans 2:14-16. It is our nature to sin, some obviously more than others, but we are all guilty as God sees things. However, like Paul said, God has placed in us all a conscience, that bears witness in our hearts when we break his commandments, even though we do it anyway in spite of the guilt that we feel. It appears to me that our “conscience” is all that remains in our hearts from what God originally created in Adam and Eve.
The purpose of God’s law is to expose our sin nature using our conscience, while the purpose of the cross is to take it away, and replace it with a new nature that is connected to the Holy Spirit, who will then empower us to truly obey the commandments to love God and our fellow man, Romans 3:9-31. Watching Fox News for one hour or honestly looking at you own life will prove the natural course or direction of mankind is to do the things, the thou shalt nots, written in the commandments of God. Can you see the importance of learning about these spiritual elements, so that when we are tempted in our minds we will be warned by the Holy Spirit to reject these evil thoughts, desires, and attitudes “before” they become spoken words, deeds and actions of sin, Romans 8:13-22? These are the things Jesus died to separate us from.
Finally, in John’s letter, he seems to put all of these elements or evil thoughts, desires, and attitudes listed by Jesus and Paul into three general categories…the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. All three appear to be intertwined and overlapping, and rooted in the seductive self-awareness lies told to Eve in the Garden of Eden. John then declares all three of the “World”, which I earlier showed you was another term for Babylon, the political-religious-economic system created and powered by Satan and his fallen angels. Did you notice how John repeats the term “World” six times in two verses?Remember that the World or Babylon is a cleverly crafted system of man-made institutions that mixes good with evil in order to allure and deceive men.
It must be repeated here that most of Christendom has fallen into this mixed up world of Babylon while thinking they are loving and serving God. That’s exactly Satan’s goal and intention, to make you think evil is good and good is evil. Three things Jesus died to save us from are being taught today as Christian doctrine, even by many Fundamentalists, and need to be exposed. They are…(1) The militant pride of patriotism that produced the “just” war doctrine for Christians. This is a manifestation of the pride of this life. (2) The distorted prosperity gospel which satisfies the love of money or the lust of the eyes. (3) The New Age psycho-babble of Christian psychology which opens the door to the self-centered lusts of the flesh and the pleasures of this world. Be aware that the Emergent Church and the mystical Contemplative Prayer movements within Christendom are the clever work of seducing spirits and doctrines of demons or fallen angels disguised as “angels of light” working through false teachers, 2 Corinthians 11:14-15, 1 Timothy 4:1.
John said above that if we love and serve the World or Babylon, the love of the Father is not in us. Plain and simple, is it not? If any of these three religious false doctrines are in your heart or spirit you need to be born again. If they are just in your mind and you now see how duped you have been, cry out for your Lord within you to “renew your mind” with the truth, Romans 12:1-2. Once you have heard the truth, and you willfully and foolishly hold on to these false doctrines because they come to you by professing Christian teachers who your friends recommended, you are “keeping alive” the sin nature within you which was crucified on the bloody cross of Jesus Christ. And in that rebellious state of mind or heart you cannot be forgiven by God the Father, who loves you and wants more than anything to cleanse you by the blood of his Son, 1 John 1:9. To God, it is no more a matter of ignorance, but presumption that requires chastening, Hebrews 10:22-39, 12:1-11. How are you going to respond? Keep reading, for there is only one way that will “put or keep” your name in the Lamb’s book of life, Revelation 3:5, 13:8.
(9) Godly Sorrow:
There remains one final piece to the Fundamentalist puzzle. I refer to it this way for without this last doctrine you are still holding on to a “form of godliness” and even though you can quote scripture verses as a seminary professor, you still are without the free gift of the Holy Spirit. And Paul said to the Roman Christians that if any man has not the Spirit of Christ he is not a true Christian, Romans 8:9.
Godly sorrow is an integral and essential part of repentance, you can’t have one without the other. Many teachers and preachers have sermon outlines on the subject of repentance but most do not include godly sorrow. Repentance means a change of heart, mind, and direction or walk in this life. It is a complete “exchange” of desires, thoughts, and attitudes, that only the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence can bring to pass. We do not have the power in ourselves to take away our desire to enjoy the pleasures of sin even if we want to. But when the Lord Jesus accepts our repentance that is rooted in godly sorrow, we immediately receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the warmth, comfort, peace, and grace of God fills our new hearts. We are filled with the love for God and all men, even those who hate us, Acts 11:18. In my case, I didn’t understand it all in the beginning like I do now, but I knew the Spirit of God was in my heart. My old life of dark self-centered atheism was replaced by the light of the risen and returning Lord Jesus Christ. I knew without a doubt that my sins were washed away in his blood, and my one-way ticket to Hell was torn up and burned in the fire of God’s word.
This teaching on the connection between repentance and godly sorrow is meant for all people. My lost atheist friends, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, counterfeit Christians, compromised or backslidden Christians, and even new-born babes in Christ must walk in the light of godly sorrow that worketh repentance unto salvation. This walk is by the grace of the indwelling Holy Spirit through our faith, all of it being a gift from God. To know and experience godly sorrow we must first understand that our sins were the very nails that pierced the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. We are all born and grow up to be deniers, doubters, and even murderers of the Son of Man. That hurts, but it is the truth you need to hear.
Of course this inborn rejection of the Lord Jesus has many degrees or levels of intensity, and it begins to take hold when we move from childhood into becoming an adult. That’s why it is important to teach young children the simple gospel message while their hearts are still soft and they are innocent in the eyes of God. The hearts of some men are harder than others for many reasons. When I renounced belief in God to embrace atheism after coming home from the Vietnam war, my heart was as hard as stone. As for the levels or depth of sin, I was in the deep end of the pool. Demonic possession was at my door. Never forget that there is hope in Christ Jesus for all men, even those who finally do become possessed by fallen angels. Remember this also, that when we reject Jesus Christ and his teachings, we are then serving and loving ourselves, money, and any religion or false god that allows us to live and walk in the political-religious pride of this life, Matthew 6:24. Listen to the testimonies of Paul, David, and Peter in the following scriptures concerning godly sorrow:
From Paul: “Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death”, 2 Corinthians 7:9-10.
From David: “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only (godly sorrow), have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me”, Psalms 51:1-5.
From Peter: “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom “ye have crucified”, both Lord and Christ. And when they heard this, they were “pricked” (godly sorrow) in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostle: Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as our Lord our God shall call”, Acts 2:36-39.
Paul, David, and Peter all came to the end of themselves and their religious self-righteousness. David’s heartbreaking appeal to God shows me that whenever we sin against another human being in any way, it is because we have lost our love for God himself. That’s what hurt David the most….he stopped loving God with all of his heart and began loving himself and all the carnal pleasures of sin that last only for a season and then comes judgment.
If you are still reading this long article, I want to tell you it is finally coming to an end. I had every intention to keep this short and to the point, and if I would have just covered the “milk” of the Word and listed only the nine doctrines of Christ that in my heart are essential to understand, we would have finished long ago. But as I was listing each of the nine general subjects, I felt compelled in my heart to include “meat” scriptures that explained and defined the subject doctrine. I suppose the “nonessentialists” in Christendom who are seducing my Fundamentalist friends and family members away from Jesus prompted me to write as much as I could so they might see their error and turn around.
I want to share briefly about one of my family members whose Fundamentalist understandings of Jesus Christ changed my life forever. Several years after Carol and I were born again, which happened in 1978, our young Christian faith was being sorely tested. We were growing rapidly in the knowledge of our Lord, but in those days, all kinds of so-called new movements of God were causing great division in Christendom and were rocking my boat as well. My mother, who I had told in 1969 after my return from Vietnam that I no longer believed in her God, was now stricken with terminal cancer. This sickness and imminent death drew me close to my mother. We were alone together on many occasions, and I again told her how sorry I was for cursing her God when I returned from Vietnam. We cried a lot together.
She shared with me again how she had spent her entire life thinking she was a Christian because she was a faithful member of the church and community. And then when I came home and told her I had become an atheist, her heart almost exploded with grief. A few years later, around the time my father died in 1972, she began to examine her own life and she started to read the scriptures for herself. My sick mother, with tears rolling down her cheeks as she recalled those days of her own darkness, looked me in the eyes and said….”Jack, after reading the scriptures, I realized that I had never truly repented and confessed my sins before the Lord Jesus. I was trusting in myself. I was not saved and on my way to Heaven”. She said that the moment she cried out to the Lord to forgive her, she instantly knew that Jesus now lived in her heart and his blood had washed away her sin. She was born again. The godly sorrow was flowing down her face.
Mother’s cancer was now taking its toll. She couldn’t eat and was under heavy medications to ease her pain. My two sisters, Linda and Jo, and I were always at her bed side. We knew it was now a matter of hours, not days, when our mother would pass from this life into Heaven. Her last words to me before she slipped into a deep sleep were…”Jack, I want to go home and be with Jesus”. As we were sitting in the hospital room I picked up the Bible and began reading in the Psalms, knowing words of great comfort were there. Mother loved the 23rd Psalm.
Her breathing became very difficult as her body was shutting down. I was now reading in Psalms 48 and I came to the last verse which said….”For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our “guide” even unto death”. When I finished reading that verse, I looked up and towards the bed, and saw my mother take her last breath. Then it was like an angel had entered the room and lifted me up from the chair with my hands held high in the air, as I began to weep and cry out to the Lord Jesus. My dear sisters stood with me, and we knew that our mother’s soul had left her body and was looking at her children one last time before her angel would escort her into the presence of the risen Lord Jesus Christ. My mother’s simple faith and absolute love for her Lord and all people, forever defined for me the essence of true Christian fundamentalism.