When many people listen to a preacher, they only hear what he says. But there is always something else that may be heard, and that is “the other message”–that which he does not say.
The other message is that which a speaker implies–however unwittingly, and that which the audience infers. “The other message” is by nature subjectively determined rather than objectively. For this reason it behooves us to be extremely careful to always be led by the Spirit concerning what we should say and what should be left unsaid.
Another aspect of “the other message” is seen by the nature of our circle of fellowship. It is possible for “the other message” to drown out what a preacher actually says. It doesn’t matter how vocal we are on some issues, where we really stand is determined by those with whom we stand. There is no way to avoid this. Be he an evangelist, pastor, or missionary, if a man truly believes the holiness message he will stand with men who likewise believe the holiness message, and he must of necessity forsake all other fellowship. Holiness is just as important as the New Birth experience of Acts 2:38, for without it no man will see the Lord! (Heb. 12:14)
Brethren, we cannot eat at the Lord’s table and also eat at the devil’s table–lest haply we should be found to fellowship with demons! Light cannot fellowship darkness without both sides winding up in the twilight zone, where everything is gray and relative, and there are no absolutes.
The Church of our Lord Jesus Christ was never intended to be a mutant monstrosity, that would give sanctuary to both good and evil. And although our Lord Himself foretold this event, it was never the Divine intent that it should so be. That a grain of mustard seed should grow and produce a large tree is an unnatural phenomenon; that it should become a shelter and provide housing to fowls of the air (evil spirits) is an unholy one.
Cry though we may against the papacy with all our might, “the other message” tells the tale. Pay all the lip service you wish to pastoral authority and local church sovereignty, but what you really believe is declared by how you support the pastor when trouble erupts in his assembly.
Sometimes what a man preaches does not trouble me as much as what his message implies–“the other message,” if you please. If I preach my folks into hell over an issue, I am nothing but a double-dipped hypocrite if I fellowship men and preach men in my pulpit who do not abide by that message. And if I preach holiness as a test of fellowship, I cannot pander for financial support to men that do not have the same standards without “the other message” declaring me to be nothing but an equivocator–or, to put it bluntly, a “GRUB LINE RIDER.”
If we are not careful we will be perceived as something we would despise in others. When “economics” is our bottom line we have prostituted our ministry, and “the other message” plainly declares for all the world to hear: We will get in bed with anyone, if the price is right!
What a shame! And what an indictment!
Rev. Tim D. Cormier
Reprinted from the May, 1999 issue of the Apostolic Standard.