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The Lines Have Been Blurred
 
By Dr. Dexter Truesdell
 

"But the priest the Levites, the sons of Zadok, that kept charge of my sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from me, they shall come near to me to minister unto me. ... And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean." (Ezekiel 44:15, 23)

The devil wants to destroy the ministry and effectiveness of God's church.  The church belongs to Jesus (Mathew 16:28) and the church is the only organization that stands between lost sinners and the fires of Hell.  If the church cannot, or does not, do her job millions will die lost and the devil knows that is true.
 
So Satan is doing everything he can to hinder and hamper the work of God's church.  It is his desire to strip the church of power, mar her testimony and reduce her to a glorified social club that is incapable of having an impact on the human race.
 
Now, Satan attacks the church in many ways, but Satan has successfully infiltrated the church by blurring the lines that separate good from bad; right from wrong.  We often hear people say, "It's hard to tell the church crowd from the devil's crowd," and that is true.
 
There is very little difference between the saved and the lost. They dress the same.  They talk the same.  They indulge in the same questionable activities.  Were it not for lapel pins and bumper stickers most would have a difficult time distinguishing God's people from the world, and this conformation to the world has robbed the church of the power of God!  Many of these "user friendly" churches boast great crowds, but there is little evidence that these churches are experiencing Holy Ghost revival.
 
The power is gone and it left when we decided to lower our standards.
 
How did this happen?  The answer is simple.  We allowed Satan to blur the lines.
 
Here are some examples.
 
 
I.  What Lines Have Been Blurred?
 
"Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.  Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God:  I speak this to your shame." (1 Corinthians 15:33-34)
 
"Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;  That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.  For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:  Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead." (1 Peter 4:1-5)
 
Music
 
"And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;  speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord." (Ephesians 5:18-19)
 
There has always been an apparent difference between sacred music and secular music.  The words were different, but the music was also different. That is the reason church music came to be known as "sacred" music. The words and music were sacred in sound and content. It stirred the soul and lifted man's heart and mind to God.
 
At first the church sang the Psalms from the Bible.  Later the church adopted the practice of singing hymns.  But in every period of church history one could always tell the difference between sacred music and secular music.
 
This was true because Christians used the guidelines given in the Bible when seeking appropriate music for the Church (Psalms 92:1-3, Jeremiah 10:2, Romans 12:2) and pastors led the way by keeping the lines between spiritual and carnal very clear.
 
Now that has changed.  The lines have been blurred.  One must listen carefully to tell if the music they hear on the radio is Christian music or some kind of worldly music.  It all sounds the same. The song service in the average church now sounds like the same music men of God preached against twenty years ago!  It has the same jungle beat and the same Hollywood sound people use to hear in night clubs, dance halls and juke joints.  The lines have been blurred!

Dress
 
"In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;  But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works." (1 Timothy 2:9-10)
 
The same thing is true in the matter of clothing and what is appropriate for a Christian to wear.  There was a time when every church goer knew what Paul meant when he said women should "Adorn themselves in modest apparel" (I Timothy 2:9).  Even lost women had enough self respect not to go out in public dressed like a harlot (Proverbs 7:10) and they certainly would not come to church half-naked.
 
But that is no longer true.  Women now come to church in shorts, miniskirts, split skirts and anything else they decide to wear.  It is not uncommon to see women sing specials dressed in a miniskirt with a plunging neckline that reveals far too much flesh to be called "modest apparel".
 
And most pastors seem to believe this is acceptable.  There is no reproof given from the pulpit and no stand taken by the congregation.  It is apparent that "anything goes" when it comes to clothing and the wardrobe of most Christians is now controlled by the fashion world, not the spirit world!  The lines have been blurred!

Length of Hair
 
"Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?  But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her:  for her hair is given her for a covering." (1 Corinthians 11:14-15)

A short time ago every fundamental preacher in America had at least one sermon on I Corinthians 11:14-15, and they preached those sermons frequently.  There was no doubt in the mind of fundamental Christians that men were suppose to have short hair and women were suppose to have long hair. So while the unsaved world and liberal Christians wore their hair every way imaginable, fundamental boys wore their hair short and fundamental girls wore their hair long.  The lines were clear.
 
Now the pulpits are silent on this subject and the few preachers who still believe it does matter how a Christian wears his or her hair are all branded as trouble makers and rabble rousers.  Hollywood now tells the church crowd how to wear their hair and the church is filled with men who look like women and women who look like men! The lines have been blurred!

Entertainment
 
"For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:  Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you." (1 Peter 4:3-4)

If there is any area where it is easy to see the lines have been blurred or erased completely it is in the area of entertainment.  There was time when no self-respecting Christian would attend a Hollywood movie or go to a dance.  Some congregations dismissed church members for such actions!
 
Every spiritually minded person in America could see that Hollywood was undermining the moral foundation of our nation and it was obvious that dancing was nothing but a sex show set to music. During that era parents were careful to monitor the activities of their children and preachers faithfully warned their flock about the danger of indulging in questionable activities.  Parents and preachers drew the lines very clearly.
 
But all that has changed.  The movie theaters and dance floors are now filled with professing Christians.  Even Gambling casinos are acceptable places for Christians to frequent and often the local pastor is right there among them.  The lines have been blurred!

Sexual Purity
 
"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, ... shall inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
 
"Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:  For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:  In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them." (Colosians 3:5-7)
 
The church has never taught "safe sex"!  The church has always stood for sexual purity.  Petting, necking, premarital sex and "shacking-up" are all forbidden in the word of God and God's preachers have never wavered in their commitment to preach sex is to be kept in the confines of holy matrimony.
 
Homosexuality was also clearly unacceptable and every church goer was aware of that, because men of God redrew those lines again and again.
 
That has now changed.  The pews of our churches are filled with couples who are living together, but are not married.  Unwed mothers abound in our youth departments.  It is not uncommon to find pastors who are divorced and living with their second wife and often she is a women with whom he had an affair!
 
Sexual sin does not grieve us anymore. Churches now sponsor baby showers for the unwed mothers in the church and everybody thinks that is appropriate. The lines have been blurred!
 
My how things have changed at the church.  What started out as a light-house has become a play house. One preacher said, "What began as a sheepfold now looks like a zoo."  Things have certainly changed and they changed because somebody blurred the lines that separate good from bad; right from wrong.
 

II. Who Blurred the Lines?
 
"There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof.  Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.  Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain.  And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken." (Ezekiel 22:25-28)
 
"His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.  Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter." (Isaiah 56:10-11)
 
"Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.  For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.  Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them." (Acts 20:28-30)
 
Who blurred the lines?  Obviously the devil is the instigator of this tragedy, but he had some help.  You might say it was an "inside job". Let me point out the real villains in this tragedy.

Unsaved, liberal pastors
 
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." (Matthew 7:15)
 
"For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.  For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.  But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire." (2 Peter 2:20-22)
 
Many fundamental churches have departed from the faith because they allowed a wolf in sheep's clothing to creep in and become pastor. The Bible warned about that in the book of Jude.
 
"Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.  For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ." (Jude 3-4)

Peter also says something about counterfeit clergy.

"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways ..." (2 Peter 2:1-2)
 
The reason many churches are "giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils" is because that is what is being preached from the pulpit!  Unsaved, liberal pastors have infiltrated fundamental churches and they are blurring the lines.
 
These blind leaders of the blind believe the tried and true methods that God has used down through the years to build great churches will no longer work in the twenty-first century and they have gutted the church of everything that is essential to the work of God.
 
Soul winning, hymn singing and separation have all been cast aside as these jet set preachers attempt to bring their church out of what they would call the "dark ages" of fundamentalism.  These men are seminary trained and seem to have all the answers.
 
Their innovative ideas appeal to the carnal crowd that can be found in many churches.  They know just what to say to please the crowd, but the Bible calls them "ungodly men" and the Bible says they are the reason "the way of truth" is criticized and forsaken in many churches.

Pastors who are cowards
 
"Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein." (Jeremiah 6:16)
 
"For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ." (Galatians 1:10)
 
Some churches have left the old paths because their pastor is a coward.  He has the backbone of a jellyfish.  He never preaches against sin and never takes a stand on any issue.  His philosophy is "don't rock the boat" and his only goal is to remain in the pastorium until he can retire.
 
He stands for nothing and falls for everything, because he does not have the courage to be a leader.  The Bible says the pastor should take the oversight of the church (I Peter 5:2) and he is to lead the church in ways that please God.  The Bible also says the pastor should rule over the church (Hebrews 13:7, 17), but these men do not have the courage to be a leader.
 
They are afraid they will offend someone if they do not go along with every new fad that someone wants to try.  These men are very popular, but their members are carnal and their church is worldly, because they are not willing to hold the line and keep the devil out.
 
It is easier to compromise than to fight the good fight of faith, so these spineless preachers take the course of least resistance.  They let everyone "do their own thing" for the sake of peace.  As long as everyone is happy that is all that matters.
 
They are men pleasers, not God  pleasers and many fundamental churches are being destroyed by these cowards.  The people in their congregation don't even know the difference between right and wrong, because their pastor is afraid to preach the truth and take a stand on moral issues.
 
Christians do not realize worldly music and worldly methods will rob the Church of God's power.  And it is their pastor's fault.  He is so afraid of upsetting the apple cart he keeps silent and lets the congregation ignorantly destroy the church.

Pastors with unscriptural goals
 
"Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter." (Isaiah 56:11)
 
The goal of many pastors is to build a big church. Numbers mean everything and some are willing to do anything to get them. They believe the end always justifies the means,  therefore anything that increases the crowd is acceptable. If the church must compromise to fill the building no one seems to mind.
 
All that matters is building a "super church".  That is the reason many churches that once claimed to be fundamental churches now look more like the liberal church down the street.  They threw their standards out the window in order to get people in the door, never realizing they would lose something in the process. Now they have the crowd, but they don't have the power of God.  In the process of making the church user-friendly and non-offensive we lost the one thing that must be present to bring men  to Jesus.  Now fundamental churches are just like the rest.
 
Everyone is happy because they can come to church and sing their music, wear their shorts, smoke their cigarettes, patronize the movie house, dance hall, and gambling casino and the church is full, but the power is gone.
 
Drunks and drug addicts no longer come down the aisles weeping tears of repentance and the prodigal son does not leave the hog pen, because the call to repent is no longer issued from the pulpit and conviction is a thing of the past.
 
The churches are filled to capacity, but they have no impact on society, because the church crowd is so much like the world, the world sees no reason to change.  Preachers may be proud of their crowd, but in their rush to fill the building, some have stripped their church of the very thing that once brought the blessing and power of God.
 
 
III. What Can Be Done?

"Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.  But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.  But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned ...  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.  I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;  Preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine ..." (2 Timothy 3:12-14, 16-17, 4:1-3)
 
"The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:  Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;  Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.  And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." (1 Peter 5:1-4)
 
What can be done?  Fundamental pastors must wake up and redraw the lines.  It won't be easy and those who do will not be popular.  It may cost some their pulpit, but it must be done!  For the sake of our children, churches, and our country it must be done.
 
For many years God has used fundamental churches to influence this country and prevent the moral pendulum from swinging too far to the left.  We have been the moral and spiritual conscience of the nation, but now we have jumped on the "let's be popular" bandwagon with everyone else and there is no one left to stand in the gap and make up the hedge.
 
No one is waving the red flag any more and tragedy looms on the horizon.  Fundamental pastors must get a fresh touch from God, draw lines deep and hold these positions until Jesus comes.  Like the priest of old they must teach their people "the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean." It may cost some pastors dearly.
 
They will be persecuted, ridiculed and branded as trouble makers. Some will be voted out and find themselves unemployed.  All who draw the lines where they should be drawn will pay a price.  But it must be done if there is any hope for our nation.
 
 
Dr. Dexter Truesdell, Pastor
Flag Chapel Baptist Church
738 Flag Chapel Road
Jackson, Mississippi 39209
 
 
NOTES:
 
1. Scriptures in red added to Dr. Truesdell's original. -- Missionary John Henry
 
2. No doubt there are those who have read this article who are saying,  "This preacher most likely has about 25 people.  No one could have those kind of standards and build a church."  Well he has hundreds of people and folks are being saved on a regular basis.  When new people come in they see how others dress and act and fall in line with the Bible standards this church has.  They have some really neat people who are a great testimony for the Lord Jesus Christ.  (II Cor. 5:17) -- Evangelist Don Edwards
 


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