CATCHING UP WITH JACOB PRASCH24/11/2012 12:41
CATCHING UP WITH JACOB PRASCH
It was good to catch up with an old friend when Jacob Prasch came to speak in my hometown Hamilton New Zealand recently. Twenty years ago he was used by God to help me see the perils of Pentecostalism. Also as a newspaperman I helped publicise his strong views on the madness of the Laughing Revival, the shameless money grubbing of the faith teachers and the immoral activities of Pentecostal televangelists like Jimmy Swaggart and the Bakkers.
Today Jacob is as bombastic as ever in exposing the rottenness of organised religion that blasphemously calls itself Christian. He considers the big Pentecostal churches more corrupt than ever. He dismisses Elim, Destiny and the big purpose driven churches as apostate. He sees judgement falling as we speak; the world’s first mega church, the Crystal Cathedral sunk under a $56million debt has just been sold to the Catholic Church, for example. He believes the one good thing about the Christchurch earthquake was that it shattered the icon Anglican cathedral.
His advice to those in churches where gays and lesbians are ordained, where rock concerts have replaced worship, where a false spirit reigns in the place of true doctrine is simply to get out. And I agree.
But is that enough to escape the doom that Jacob rightly warns is falling on aberrant, apostate, counterfeit Christianity? Is it enough just to swap big church hype for a smaller house group that is still charismatic? Have you truly escaped God’s judgement on the professing church if you’ve merely moved from big church glitz to a smaller, more Bible-based church?
Jacob thinks so but I disagree. Shaking his hand, I told him that, thanks in part to his ministry, I had long ago abandoned Pentecostalism and found wonderful new life in the teachings of the Apostle Paul. “But I’m still Pentecostal – I believe in spiritual gifts,” he protested. Nor he would be drawn when I publicly asked him during question time if he would not agree the real solution to the manifest ills of public Christendom today lies in Paul’s gospel of the grace of God and the “preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the Mystery” as commanded by God the Father in Romans 16:25-26? “Oh, there a few that preach that but they are very few and far between,” he responded.
So why are churches falling under Satan’s sway? Why isn’t popular Pentecostalism really seeing people truly established in the Lord? Why is there widespread falling away from the truth? As Jacob rightly says the world sees all the rottenness in the professing church and therefore dismisses Christianity as bogus.
I suggest the real problem is an obsession with looking only in the biblical rear-view mirror, rather than seeing the “present truth” God has for us now, still less looking forward to his wonderful prospects for true believers in the future. Jacob Prasch, for example, preaches from Ezekiel, applying that prophet’s stern warning of judgement to Judah to the professing church today. And, granted, like Judah of old, much of the professing church today has indeed become an abomination in God’s sight. But Ezekiel was not speaking to the called out church of today. Nor do his words address the root issue, which is, failure to see the sound doctrine, the “present truth” God would have Christians established in today.
Such truth isn’t found in Ezekiel’s prophecies to Judah, nor is it in Amos’s warnings to Israel. It is, as mentioned earlier, Paul’s “my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the Mystery” (Romans 16:25). And that was only revealed for the first time to Paul in his lifetime. Strange isn’t it, that today this Mystery body of truth is never the subject of a teaching series in any major denomination or church?
I believe that lack of it is the real cause of the current church malaise. And that preaching it is God’s prescribed cure for such sickness. Thus the Lord would have us, like Paul, to be dispensing grace truth and making “…all men see the fellowship of the Mystery” in this the current Dispensation of Grace and the Mystery (see Ephesians chapter 3).
We should be doing so as members of the church “which is his body” (Eph. 1: 22-23) the church which is “the fullness of Him that filleth all in all”. Importantly, this church is the product of the unique revelation given to the Apostle Paul and written about in his prison epistles, Ephesians through to Philemon. Like the Dispensation of Grace and the Mystery itself this church is a secret “which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God…” (Eph. 3:9). Therefore neither Ezekiel nor any other Old Testament prophet knew anything about it.
Furthermore it is not found in the teaching Jesus and the twelve in the gospels, nor was it revealed in the Acts period. The church back then was the “church of God” (Acts 20:28, 1 Cor. 1:2, 10:32, 11:22, 15:9 and Gal. 1:13). By contrast the church that is “now” (Eph. 3:10) and that is graced to make known to “principalities and powers in heavenly places the manifold wisdom of God” (Eph. 3:9) is the Church of the Mystery, the Church which is his Body, “the fullness of Him that filleth all in all”.
Jacob Prasch asserts that the professing church at large has been taken captive by the world and by Babylon, the spiritual seat of Satanic deception. He says that, according to Ezekiel 24: 16 and 21 God is seething it in a pot and destroying it. The only hope Jacob sees for those in the adulterous professing church is that some will escape it (Ezek. 24:26).
If that’s so then the simple way for them to do that is to leave it and become part of the Mystery Church, that very different called out company who find their essential doctrine in the later epistles of Paul. In this church all Jewish rites such as water baptism, communion, laying on of hands along with sign miracles such tongues, prophecies and public healings have ceased. Instead believers have been “made complete” in Christ (Col. 2:10), have been “blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3), have been “delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Col. 1:13). They have been reconciled and presented “...holy and unblameable and unreprovable in his sight” (Col. 1:21-22).
You see it’s a doctrinal matter, a question of God’s truth for today, not of church structure. Clinging to the past when God has set it aside dispensationally is the cause of the problem. And the answer is simple: move on with Paul. This is what the Apostle repeatedly urged believers to do. In 1 Cor. 4:16, 11:1 and in Phil. 3:17 he says “…be ye followers of me”. Following Paul means following him when the Lord reveals the truth of the Mystery “… which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men” (Eph. 3:5). It means following him when he looks forward to the day of Christ’s appearing (2 Titus 2:13). It means following him in learning the truth of our heavenly position in Christ, of the coming Day of Christ and of his Appearing.
As this “present evil world” grows darker and the time of its end nears, which church would you rather find yourself in? The church Jacob Prasch decries or the Church of the Mystery which is bright with the promise of Christ’s appearing?
John Aldworth 30 July 2012