A Tribute to my Teachers
In the past thirty years since the Lord called me out of the darkness, He has utilized several Christian leaders to help me along. I want to honor them today and summarize the important lessons I learned from each of them. Keep in mind, though, that they are all mere men with clay feet. Perfection is found only in Christ. Here they are in chronological order:
Chuck Smith, pastor of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa.
Chuck’s love for Jesus and the expectancy of His soon return is contagious. The last major revival in America known as the Jesus Movement can be traced back to Chuck’s gifting as a teacher of the whole counsel of God. His enthusiasm for teaching the signs of the times heralding the return of Christ struck a chord with the young generation of baby-boomers who were rebelling against the war strategy of Nixon and Johnson. God was pouring out His Spirit on those hippies who were crying out to Him and gave them new songs of love for Jesus on acoustic guitars. I was part of that lost generation singing along with songs like The Eve of Destruction and For What It’s Worth. We all knew something significant was up - that the world could not survive long on the course it was taking. Chuck told us there was hope in spite of the doom and gloom we couldn't ignore. That is the Blessed Hope of the Lord’s soon return. I was a bit late behind my contemporaries, but that was the Lord’s timing. CCCM was there to respond to me when I quit running from God.
Hal Lindsey, author of The Late Great Planet Earth.
As a new believer, I read everyone of Hal’s books. The Late Great Planet Earth gave me a good understanding of Bible prophecy and dispensationalism and the scriptures that backed it up. Hal’s writings helped me to take the Bible literally knowing it could be trusted. I learned how the first coming of Christ was prophesied and fulfilled and how His second coming would happen in the same way. I had the fortune to go on a tour to the Holyland led by Hal and hear him teach at all the sites, bringing the Bible alive in a powerful way. Hal also watched Israel in the news and helped me to see how the signs of the end times focused on the return of the Jews to Israel. In spite of Hal’s faults, and his compromise with TBN, he still interprets the news through the prism of Bible prophecy - he keeps on the alert.
David Hocking, Bible teacher and radio host.
In the early 80s our local Christian radio station had a line-up of good teaching programs one right after another. The Biola Hour with David Hocking was one of my favorites. Hocking still has a radio show called Hope for Today, and I have learned much from him over the decades. David is dogmatic. That bothers some people, but where God’s word speaks clearly, it’s right to be dogmatic. When teachers hem and haw about a passage and think up many ways in which it could be taken, it’s refreshing for a voice like Hocking’s to say it like it is. He taught me that saying, “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it whether you believe it or not.” No wishy-washy spineless teaching from him.
John MacArthur, Pastor/teacher/educator/Spokesman for the Faith.
Grace to You is the name of MacArthur’s radio program. He may be famous for founding a seminary, pastoring a mega-church, or being seen on television, but it was his radio outreach that has blessed me over the years. His radio show would be in the line-up along with Hocking and the original Bible-Answerman Walter Martin, and I absolutely loved MacArthur’s gift of exhortation. He believes in the Lordship of Christ - you can’t say Christ is your Savior if He isn’t your Lord. MacArthur reflects the spirit of the Apostle James in his epistle. I learned from John the principles of godly living and being a doer of the Word and not a hearer only. He taught me how to apply God’s word to every area of life and have Scripture interpret my view of the world. I respect him so much for not being afraid of saying it like it is when a guest on Larry King Live or any other secular program. He isn’t afraid to be unpopular and he is a good example of speaking the truth and letting the chips fall where they may. I learned from him that it’s okay not to be a people-pleaser but an ambassador of Christ.
Walter R. Martin, Christian Apologist, the late Bible-Answerman.
I attended Dr. Martin’s Bible studies at both Melodyland and Newport-Mesa Christian Center. He taught us how to defend all the major doctrines of the faith. I learned from him that evangelism is a two-sided coin: proclaim the faith and defend the faith and you can’t witness to people without doing both. He showed from Scripture that the baptism in boldness is an essential part of the born-again experience and the work of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life. I learned from Dr. Martin the teachings of the major cults and even some of the lesser ones and how to refute their main errors. He also taught me that the errors in the cults show up within the church dressed up in Christianeze. He demonstrated in his life and ministry how to do one’s best to reach the brother teaching error before exposing him/her to the rest of the church. He was a good example of doing apologetics with love and correction.
Dave Hunt, Author, Defender of the Faith, Conference speaker.
What a tireless worker in the Kingdom Dave Hunt is! I consider him one of my dearest friends in the ministry. He is such an encouragement for me to set my hand to the plow and not look back. He taught me to love the Truth - God’s word is Truth. Throughout the decades Dave has exposed the workings of the enemy in the attack against God’s word from many quarters. His book The Seduction of Christianity should be read by every Christian because he uncovers the M.O. of the devil’s work of deception in the highest places. A Woman Rides the Beast was another one of Dave’s masterpieces in showing the place of the Roman Catholic Church in history and prophecy. A backpacking trip I went on that he led back in 1985 showed me a man passionate for the Truth, deeply in love with Jesus, and dedicated to help others keep on the narrow track. He taught us little group of young people the great old hymns around the campfire and inspired us to be fully committed to the Lord and warned us of the coming apostasy of the church.
Gene Scott, the late pastor/teacher of Faith Center
I attended the late Dr Gene Scott’s Faith Center in Glendale for most of 1983 before he went off the deep-end in his battle with the FCC. I learned about the grace of God, according to Scripture, from a man who presumed upon God’s grace routinely. He taught outside the box, that’s for sure. He touched on things that most respectable Christians don’t dare examine, such as God’s promises to the ten tribes of Israel and His promises to the southern tribes of Judah. He shows there is a distinction, something others simply gloss over. He was an expert on conspiracy theories, and even if he went overboard on some of that, I learned who’s who. I was familiarized with the Illuminati, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the Bilderbergers, and the Trilateral Commission, to name just a few. Jesse Ventura is a boyscout in comparison.
Joe Focht, pastor of Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia.
My pastor from 1987 to circa 1997 under whose study through the Bible every Sunday morning and Wednesday night built me up in my knowledge of the Word. I also listened “religiously” to his Straight from the Heart radio broadcast. His voice was comforting because I knew I could sit back and listen to him teach without my heresy-detector antennae up. I also learned some sad lessons about church politics from Joe, but God uses the good and the bad in one’s life experiences - or as they say - “iron sharpens iron.”
J. Jacob Prasch, Hebrew scholar, founder of Moriel Ministries.
Jacob has a better knowledge of the Old Testament than any teacher I know. His understanding of Jewish Midrash as taught by Jesus and the apostles in their use of biblical symbols and analogy is often scoffed at yet no one can refute it. Jacob always makes it clear that one cannot get their doctrine from Bible typology, but it is useful for a deeper understanding of the clear doctrine taught in Scripture. When Jacob preaches, no one’s head is bobbing from falling asleep. When the unction from the Holy Spirit comes upon him, the insights from his Bible studies blow people’s minds. It’s common to hear collective oohs and aahs in the congregation when Jacob takes the pulpit. One thing Jacob has taught me is how to see things from God’s perspective. When righteous indignation comes up in Jacob, it is a small picture of God’s wrath toward rebellion and spiritual adultery. One just has to discern the difference between the wrath of God and the wrath of Jacob. I love the analogy of the Bible as a loaf of bread he uses. They look the same on either end; Genesis and Revelation clearly display the end from the beginning with many similarities. Jacob digs deeper.