P.O. Box 31, London WC2E 7LX‚ England or GPO Box 3141, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00936
1. Greetings in Jesus' name! Thank you again for you faithfulness in handling the various situations, including the legal matters‚ supervision of the kids, and your recent renewed efforts to try to meet your obligations of publications and literature which you owe your donors, friends and even enemies. God bless you for doing such a good job under some trying conditions, Praise God! You're winning! Keep up the good work!
2. Thank you also for doing your best in trying to appease your king and preserve him for the Lord's use, but I am beginning to wonder if it's possible because of his growingly critical attitude on certain basic fundamental issues, such as our leadership and our doctrines. I have written you two lengthy Letters on this same subject, "Office of a Bishop" and "Problem Kings."
3. We often start out writing a so-called personal letter to someone about a specific situation, when in the end it turns out that the general advice we are giving could be good for others and applied to other similar situations elsewhere. So as you have seen, we have often taken these original Letters and have named them according to the subject involved and‚ with little or no changes, have had them printed up and sent out to other leaders or all of you who may have the same problems, or probably will have them sooner or later. So that this same advice could cover their situation also, or even save them from getting into a similar situation, as so often a stitch in time saves nine, and an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure!
4. In the case of your king, however, as with so many kings, I'm not sure it could have been prevented one way or another, but at least we've been trying to keep it from getting any worse, but, it seems, without much success. Once a king gets it into his head that he also wants to be prophet and run the whole show, there never seems to be much you can do to cure him. He either wants all or nothing at all. Kings are so often that way: They finally want all of your loyalty and all of your obeisance, and are no longer willing to share them with God's Prophet, and sometimes, not even with God Himself!
5. This has been true with so many major kings with whom we've had to deal. They start off just as a friend and an outside helper, thrilled with our work and its fruits, so they're willing to share with us a little of their abundance in order to meet some of our needs. Then, as every king is a businessman, a materialist and an investor, or he wouldn't be a king, he becomes so concerned about his investments, he is not only a good steward in seeing how you use them profitably, but pretty soon he wants to tell you how to run the whole business, although he's only one of the stockholders. But he's not satisfied with being just a shareholder and on the Board of Directors. He soon wants a controlling interest and to be the boss and run the whole business, or at lest try to tell you how to run the whole business. This has been true of so many kings, if not most kings‚ including King Saul, God's classic dandy bad example of a king who refused to obey God's Prophet, right on down to some of our present kings and queens‚ including now maybe one more.
6. When will we ever learn that, just as Jesus said, we can never seem to pour our strong new wine into their frail old bottles without eventually causing some kind of a bust up‚ explosion and a deluge of spilt and wasted wine that they just couldn't take! It seems to be such a waste of time, and it seldom ever seems to work‚ so that I sometimes feel like we just ought to quit trying, and let the dead bury the dead, and just go on and pass them by and follow Jesus, for they only seem to delay us, hamper and hinder us‚ complicate things and make matters almost worse in the long run!
7. Nevertheless, God is merciful and, as He has done with Saul and so many others, He seems to want to give them a chance, give them our witness, offer them an opportunity of responsibility and a share in the blessings, while we reap some of their benefits‚ before they finally blow it and leave us because of their pride and unwillingness to forsake all‚ including their natural family, beloved old System and treasured traditions. They seldom ever seem to make it. But, in the meantime, God does use them to give us some benefits from their provision and protection, at least for awhile, until they go too far and try to take over. Then God has to put His foot down and draw the line, and they usually can't take that either, so they quit and go back to what they treasured most all the time‚ or they would have forsaken it long ago, for you cannot serve two masters, and where your treasure is, there will your heart be also!
8. Then God has to raise us up a new king and use him as long as he lasts, until he also flubs, as they usually seem to do. I notice it seems to be that way throughout the Bible also: The prophets' biggest problems were their kings and queens, and those who were supposed to be on their side gave them more trouble than anybody!—Sometimes even more than their enemies! But God always seemed to put up with them for quite awhile before He finally had to give up on them and look around for another one, so I guess we'll have to have patience too, and simply be thankful and take advantage of our opportunities as long as they last. When they won't come all the way, we'll just have to go on and leave them behind!
9. It seems that most kings are usually members of the Concision, or the Circumcision, or the compromisers who aren't willing to go all the way, and they never fully renounce their membership in the System. For awhile they try to give you the impression that they are doing it, but they never seem to get around to it completely. They're always going to do it some day, but that day seldom arrives.
10. Instead, when they're finally pushed by God to a decision between the friendship of the world and our friendship, between their old traditions and our new teachings, between having their own way (which, of course, they always call God's way) or going our way and following our leadership—when they finally come to this crisis of choice, which they themselves usually help to precipitate with a little nudging from us or the Lord, they usually wash their hands of us, commit us to our fate, withdraw their favours and go on their own sad way, like the Rich Young Ruler, another classic example of a king who wouldn't pay the price of full discipleship.
11. For, after all, in the final showdown, a disciple is a "discipulos" in the Greek, or a "follower of the teaching". And, of course, when they begin to be reluctant on following the teaching, they are soon reneging on following the teacher as well. In fact, they usually finally use their objections to the teacher as their eventual excuse for not following the teaching. They either don't like one or the other, so they refuse to follow one or the other because they object to one or the other. Therefore, they can, of course‚ follow neither in the end. Thank God‚ we don't usually have to tell them to leave because of all the trouble they're causing and the dissension they're sowing and the confusion that's resulting‚ but they usually leave of their own accord under their own steam—and steaming!
12. In the New Testament, The Concision‚ as these compromisers were called, were those Jews who were willing to accept Jesus as the Messiah, but were not willing to forsake their synagogues, traditions‚ laws of men and of Moses, or their own self-righteous works. They were not willing to forsake all and drop entirely out of their beloved old System, whether it was a church or their own set ideas. They were not willing to abandon all of their old ways and commit themselves totally to the new way of Salvation entirely by grace and no self-righteous works and to a life lived totally by faith.
13. They are always bragging about how good the old System was‚ how much good it did do and how much good there was in it and how much good they received out of it, and that it wasn't really bad enough to be cast off entirely. They never want to totally buy an entirely new garment!—They always want to try to patch up the old one‚ or wear the old one underneath the new one for double protection. They try to play both ends against the middle and sit on the fence with one foot on each side, one foot in the System and one foot in the Revolution, and that's a helluva uncomfortable position, if you've ever tried it! So, of course, they soon tire of that torture of the double mind which would tear them apart if they didn't finally go one way or the other. So they have to choose and, since they were reluctant to give up the old and it's had a stronger, longer hold on them, they nearly always seem to go back to their vomit and their wallowing in the mire of the swine pen‚ rather than to return all the way to the Father's house and live under the domination of an older, more faithful brother and accept a father's mercy purely by grace.
14. The hardest words in any language, it seems, are: "I was wrong!"—or "I was mistaken!" Some people would rather die than confess that their own way is not right, and kings seem to be especially proud along this line and particularly loathe to give up their own way. It seems they would rather miss the blessing and sell their birthright than to admit they're mistaken! When I told my mother-in-law she would have to forsake her church and join a fellowship of faith, and obey God to keep her healing, she said, "Never!—I was born a Baptist, and I'll die a Baptist!"—And she did!—The Lord removed her healing because of her disobedience and she died shortly thereafter.
15. Dear old king Saul was always telling the prophets Samuel and David that, "I know you're right, I know you're of the Lord, I know you're doing the right thing, and you know I love you, but I just can't take some of these things that you're telling me or doing or asking me to do, so I'm just going to have to do things my own way, and if you get in my way I'll have to kill you, because I have to be the boss. I can't take orders from anybody but God, and I have a hard enough time taking orders from Him!"
16. When the fact of the matter is, what God's prophets say are usually God's orders, but the king just doesn't want to obey them, so he blames them on the prophets and claims that God told him to do something else, and that he, the king, knows best and doesn't have to take orders from God's prophets‚ but only from God Himself! Whereas, God has to use His prophets to speak to kings‚ because they usually won't listen to Him any other way‚ because they're usually so busy with material affairs that they don't have much time to listen to God, so God has to speak to them through His prophets, to whom they usually don't listen either, since they wouldn't even listen to God Himself! It is a rare king indeed who is both prophet and king, as David was—a very, very rare combination—and he therefore proved to be the most outstanding such character in the whole Bible outside of Jesus Himself, who was both Prophet, Priest and King, and the very Son of God, our Saviour. Rare indeed are the kings who are prophets or who will listen to His prophets or who will even listen to God Himself! Such is the way of kings! In the end, they usually go their own way!
17. So the problem is‚ how far do you let them go, where do you draw the line‚ and when should you finally put your foot down and‚ like God Himself, say, "Thus far and no further!" How far can you cooperate with a king, work with him and permit him to work with you? This I was not specific enough about in my last Letter, so although I left the decision up to you, you may still be wondering what to do, as I may not have been definite enough in the rules you should go by‚ or how you should judge the matter, and where and when you should say, "It is enough!"
18. We set down these rules orally in personal conferences with our leaders in our first problems with our first major kings, and I see now that I will have to again pass them on to you as I can tell from your king's latest tape, he is beginning to chafe at the bit and is already longing to be unbridled when we've hardly even gotten him into the harness! Once the horse submits to the saddle and his rider, you can usually ride him a long way before he tires. But if he won't even take a halter and refuses either the bridle or the saddle, as well as the rider also, or runs away so fast you can't even catch him, he has lost his usefulness and you usually have to let him just run away, turn him out to pasture until he dies and the buzzards eat him. Of course, sometimes you can sell him to the horsemeat dealers of the slaughterhouse and let them catch him if they can, but you won't get much for him; but God has often had to do that with some of His kings when they became unruly and were doing more damage than good, jumping or breaking his fences, eating too much of the fodder or injuring or scattering some of the other livestock!
19. We once had an old horse like that on our ranch in Texas, and we finally just had to let him go. Every time we'd try to corral him or harness or saddle him he'd kick or bite us‚ and if we finally did get on him he'd try to throw us or deliberately scrape us off on some tree or fence post or running under some low hanging branch in order to get rid of us and get us off his back! So he just got to be too much trouble, more than it was worth, too dangerous, so we just let him go. We used to see him once in a while after that grazing afar off in the distance, but every time we got anywhere near him, he'd run. He never wanted to be saddled with us again, so he totally lost his usefulness to us.
20. So there are a few simple little rules which you need to go by in order to know when you'll have to let your horse or king go:
21. This is almost always their usual procedure. When God is tired of them causing so much trouble, He usually just lets them have the old worn out field and leads us on to greener pastures! This is one way God has of keeping us moving so we won't over work any one field. It has certainly happened to us again and again, but always for the better and ends in even greater blessing than before, with new and better kings and queens and even more of them, and even in better palaces and kingdoms! Hallelujah! So don't let it worry you—he's the loser! They often lose their own happy homes that they're no longer willing to share with you, and they often lose their lives or families or fortunes, because they have lost their usefulness to God. They'd better not become your enemies too, or God will surely remove them! Be patient: give them time. But if they finally prove more of a hindrance and harm than a help and haven, you'll have to love'em and leave'em, or let'em love and leave you—in peace, if possible! Try to at least keep them as a friend if you can.—Amen?