Dear Friends

Categories: General
by on February 7th, 2008

Dear Friends,

Apologetics and countercult ministry is a very difficult calling. Why? In order to “make a defense for the faith”, one must necessarily feel that truth itself can be ascertained and should be defended against falsehood. Truth defending is, by its very nature, “divisive”. Truth draws a line. If Christianity is TRUE, then anti-Christianity, in all of its forms, must be non-TRUE; some brave counter-culturalists might even say that anti-Christianity is FALSE. To stand for truth and against falsehood is to swim against the raging current of our “everything goes”, “truth is relative”, “judge not”, culture. It is considered bigotry today to say than any belief system, any person, any group, is in error. We are supposed to respect other “truths” as true and valid for “them,” while just perhaps preferring “ours” for “us”. Truth is a mere preference in Third Millennium America. We do not and cannot hold this view. As tempting as it may be to appear broadminded and tolerant, we believe that it matters very much what people believe, and that “sincerity” will count for nothing on judgment day. Jesus said that his followers would be hated by the world for His sake, and we see that more and more every day.

It might surprise some of you to find out that we are not all that popular in many segments of the church either. It makes us very sad to relate that many (though not all, thank God!) churches and Christians are far more committed to “feeling good for God,” than they are to the hard work of reaching the lost. Hard work? Whatever do you mean? We mean the work of education, the work of intercessory prayer, the work of loving people who do not love you, and loving them enough to go out of your way to rescue them from the destruction to come.

Sadly, many Christians in our day seem to lack God’s love for those who are outside the fold, and are indifferent to His heart’s desire to reconcile the lost sheep to Himself.

Another tragic thing is that there are numerous aberrant beliefs and movements that have marched unchallenged right into the church itself, and we seem, by and large, to be asleep at the switch! Our ears want to be tickled; we do not want our “Christian fads” to be challenged in light of God’s Word. The attitude of many seems to be: criticize JWs and Mormons, but don’t pick on our guys! Don’t point out that there are false prophets within the church as well as without. Don’t make us think! Just give us a charismatic leader to follow!

So, here we are. . .The cults hate us, the world disdains us, and sadly, much of the church at large ain’t none too thrilled with us either. We find ourselves with the need to be ever mindful that we are not here to win popularity contests. It is not success by worldly standards that will be rewarded someday, but single-minded faithfulness to what God has called us to do.

But yet, we are here to tell you; God is good! We are rich! Our lives have a satisfaction that money or possessions cannot provide. There is nothing as satisfying as helping someone to find their way out of darkness and fear, and into the peace with God that comes through faith in Christ alone. It is worth the struggle for that reason alone.

And God has provided so richly in people! We are not alone in this work! God is working in the churches, and He has blessed us beyond measure with the people He has brought alongside of us! We have our Timothy, our Dorcas, our Barnabas, our very own Priscilla and Aquilla! Our first priority when we began this ministry was to train men and women of God to be missionaries to those lost in cults and in culture. And we have watched in amazement as God has raised up a veritable army of folks who are willing to put themselves out to reach out to a lost person on the job, in their neighborhood, or at their door. That, my friends, is a blessing!

Another blessing in our lives are the letters of encouragement that we receive…people we may not even know assure us that they are praying for us, and appreciate our efforts, and are learning something from us. We decided to share some of these letters with you, the folks who stand with us, so we can rejoice in the fruit of our labor together:

Dear Don and Joy,
I am writing this letter to let you know how greatly I have appreciated receiving the Journal since its inception in 1995. I am a frequent witness to the truth of Christianity on the on-line chat rooms over the internet, and have been privileged to speak with many seekers, skeptics and cult members through this medium, leading some to their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I cannot begin to tell you how extremely crucial your Journals are in allowing me to witness to these folks. Every issue sits next to my computer and countless times I have turned to them as reference to an obstacle, question, or scriptural misunderstanding someone has had The articles are written very concisely and exhibit a style which makes sometimes complicated and difficult to understand concepts easily understood. I cannot begin to tell you how invaluable your ministry has been to me, both currently and in the past. May God continue to bless your efforts and the efforts of those involved with Midwest Christian Outreach.
In His Service,
G. S.

Don,
Thanks for the information you mailed me regarding Bill Gothard and the open letter you wrote in response to his defense of circumcision…his teachings clearly put the Christian back under some aspects of the Mosaic law. It is apparent in reading his materials that he fails to follow the guidelines of hermeneutics, and thus the Scripture takes on meaning the Divine author never intended. Keep fighting the good fight of faith in a spirit of genuine humility.
In Christian Service,
T. C.

Joy,
Your article on War Games was the most informative, documented, and clearly understood and stated material that I have read of the JWs and the Watchtower Organization. I really enjoyed reading the article–in fact, I reread it three times! It’s the REAL truth! I’ve not been a baptized JW; however, I was associated with the JWs for over 25 years by marriage to my former wife, who became a JW shortly after our marriage. I was serving in the military at the time, and then eventually retired after 22 years of service just to please my wife, who hated the military!…For me, your excellent material is always right on target by conveying the Real truth of JWs! I believe the Watchtower Society to be virtually a Cult!
Thanks again. Best regards,
R. G.

Dear Mrs. Veinot,
Thank you so very much for your quick reply to my inquiry concerning Mike Warnke. The information you sent was very helpful, and I deeply appreciate it. My wife and I look forward with great anticipation to every issue of your Journal and your most appropriate articles concerning not only the old, the new, and at times the future developments that have led so many astray over the years from the sound doctrine of Classical Biblical Christianity! Keep up the good work and keep the good faith…Our prayers are with you!
Sincerely,
N. A.

If you’re ever debating with yourself about dropping us a line of encouragement, PLEASE DO! It makes our day. And believe me, some days we really need your positive feedback, and especially your love! However, any critical response is welcome too, and should always be addressed to Ron Henzel.*

Love to all,

Don & Joy

*Just kidding, Ron…

4 responses to “Dear Friends ”

  1. Lynn says:

    In addition to making a defense for Christianity and countering aberrant teachings, I know for a fact that you and Ron also spend time one on one dealing with people in order to minister to them. I know of one experience where Ron gave many hours to try to help one situation — and that was separate from MCO projects. I believe this means you care about individuals AS INDIVIDUAL PEOPLE.

    Shortly after I read this blog entry of yours, lo and behold (strange timing) I found another blog entry, wherein the comments someone was complaining that you were not dealing with what she seems to consider a major issue plaguing the church today, and she claimed you (Don, Joy, Ron) even “shout down” anyone who dares to speak about this issue which is so important to her.

    As usual with this person, I cannot find the evidence for her claims.

    So if you add to your blog entry all the one on one time I know you spend with many people, plus the complaints that you are not dealing with this or that issue, plus the most recent false accusation that you “shout down” people, I can understand where encouragement is needed.

    Consider yourselves encouraged — and prayed for — today.

  2. Tina says:

    Any thoughts on how to counter arguments about how different groups within christianity ALL SAY they are being persecuted either for righteousness sake or for defending their doctrinal positions with each other. Strange how I thought Jesus’s apllication meant with the world but it seems to be needed just as badly within His (?)church.

  3. Lynn says:

    Tina, a partial answer to this problem of the “heads I win, tails you lose” kinds of tactics is to set a very rigid focus on wanting to know the truth. If people do that kind of arguing (crying “persecution”) they are at that point not focused on the doctrine or argument, and are engaging in fallacious noise and clamor instead. And when this happens the truth cannot be known, or at least discussed.

    If there is a true answer (let’s say it’s the source of our authority — Roman Catholics would have the Magisterium, Mormons would have the book of Mormon, and Protestants would say only the Bible is the source of our authority), then the other options are false. And you can’t get to what the answer is by crying persecution (heads I win) or mudslinging (tails you lose).

    In the “heads I win, tails you lose” type of propaganda, the argumentation is not over the issues at hand, but over manipulating people into a false sense of guilt for criticizing, or else falsely assuring followers of this propaganda that they are truly being persecuted.

    People who claim any well-reasoned disagreement is “persecution” are nothing but blubbering babies who ought to read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs and grow up.

    If you present a well reasoned disagreement and are met with the cry of persecution, you could tell them what real persecution is and gently suggest they grow up.

    The flip side of this is that these same people who call “persecution for righteousness sake” (the “heads I win” aspect) is the “tails you lose” part and that is their unwarranted vilification of the opposition.

    The upshot is they can bash you with ad homs, but if you disagree with them with valid disagreements, they cry “persecution.”

    All of this is a diversion from the argument at hand — and when you see this kind of thing happening, you need to point it out for what it is. It is simply called “changing the subject” with emotive terminology meant to demonize you and exalt them, however they do it — whether by the “persecution” cry, or by ad homs against you.

    The only answer is to point out the fallacy, try to get back to the argument at hand, and if no one is willing to do that, to understand that it is useless to argue, and then walk away.

    This is just my 2 cents. I’m sure the blog writers here could say it better.

  4. Lynn says:

    Actually, a good way to put “heads I win, tails you lose” is to say, “If I am suffering for this stand I’m taking by opposition, I am being persecuted for righteousness (I’m right), and if my opposition suffers for opposing me, they are getting what they deserve (I’m still right).

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