By Ken Blue
“And it came to pass about the time of shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out: whither the men went I wot not: pursue after them quickly; for ye shall overtake them.” Joshua 2:5.
“prag•ma•tism (pr²g“m…-t¹z”…m) n. 1. Philosophy. A movement consisting of varying but associated theories, originally developed by Charles S. Peirce and William James and distinguished by the doctrine that the meaning of an idea or a proposition lies in its observable practical consequences. 2. A practical, matter-of-fact way of approaching or assessing situations or of solving problems.” American Heritage Dictionary.
There is no lack of pastors and evangelist who are eager to justify their ministry methods while condemning those of others. Therefore, if you use any methods, not approved by them, you are accused of pragmatism. They say you are doing wrong, (promotion), in an attempt to achieve a good outcome, (salvation of sinners).
God never ask us to turn off our brain or reject common sense in life or ministry. You should never do wrong; but God will be the judge of all our actions and what is wrong. Let me list a few pragmatic actions in Scripture, and life; and you decide what you would do.
Do you condemn Rahab for her lies? Did the end justify her means? Would you have exposed the spies or would you have refused a pragmatic approach to the problem? She told the authorities, “…that the men went out: whither the men went I wot not…” Joshua 2:5. Rahab flat out lied! Yet, Hebrews eleven list her among the heroes of faith, her name is found in the genealogy of Christ, and James says she was justified! “Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? James 2:25. Now preacher, are you going to justify a lying prostitute, who lied to save people from physical destruction and with the same breath condemn pastors who use promotions to try to save souls from hell?
An old Prophet lied to a young prophet to see if he would obey God. “He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him.” 1 Kings 13:18. The old prophet was used to test the young man. You decide if he was right or wrong; still, he did not lose his prophetic ability. (V. 32).
If you needed to get a member of your family to the emergency room, would you break the law and exceed the speed limit if you thought is necessary? Remember, God ordained governments.
Is it is wrong for the police to mislead a suspect when cross examining him? Does it upset you as much as church promotions?
If the Gestapo came to where you were hiding Jews from Hitler, would you reveal the presence of the Jews? What would you do? Would your actions justify the end?
David ate bread that was unlawful for him to eat. Would you have condemned him? “3 But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; 4 How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?” Matthew 12:3-4.
The midwives lied about the male children born in Egypt. “And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them.” Exodus 1:19. These women lied about this matter. What was God’s response? “20 Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty. 21 And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses.” Exodus 1:20-21. Did the results justify their action? You know the answer.
These examples are not given to justify anything that would displease God. However, much of what we condemn in others may not displease God at all. What we do in our practical life many times betrays our theology. Your answer to the above examples will demonstrate that you too, believe the end is justified by the means, in some cases.
“The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.” Matthew 11:19 . “Wisdom has seen fit to justify both courses (taken by John and Jesus, note, Mt. 11:18, above) but you hypocrites condemn them. You would condemn any course taken by any godly man, for you seek to justify your acts of darkness and rejection of truth.” —Dake’s Study Notes.
It is a either ignorance and dishonesty for pastors to assign negative titles to other with whom they disagree. A list of words deem unsavory are: pragmatic, contemporary, progressive, liberal and compromise. If this isn’t sufficient to discredit the brother; they connection them with someone you might differ with. Such names as, Bullinger, Ruckman, Hyles, Graham, Chappell, Warren, Stam, Jones and Falwell. Any person who would read, associate, or quote these men, must be a terrorist, a compromiser, or at worst, a pragmatist.
Pastor Ken Blue was born in Boswell, Ark. In 1955 he accepted Christ as his Savior. He and his wife Joyce were married in 1955. They have 5 children. He graduated from Midwestern Baptist Bible College in 1969 and started the Open Door Baptist Church in Lynnwood, Wa. where he pastored for 39 years. Because of health issues (ALS) he was forced to resign as pastor. It is his desire to continue to be used of God to help pastors and believers through this ministry.