Donkey Dung and Lion Fat
By Steve Van Nattan
DONKEY DUNG AND AFRICA
Thousands of years ago in Egypt the cure for a splinter in your finger was to mix worm's blood with donkey's dung and rub it on the splinter. Donkey's dung alone was rubbed into a wound to stop bleeding. It mattered not if it worked, but it was the medical remedy of choice and was in formal inscriptions for care of patients by Egyptian doctors.
Did the people believe in this cure? Absolutely, and if the bleeding stopped once in a while, those events would be touted as proof of the infallible efficacy of the cure. Did it cause infection? Undoubtedly, but there was very likely an even more insane cure for that. Here are some cures recorded in an Egyptian manuscript called Papyrus Ebers.
Moses had to shuck off all the medical wisdom of Egypt. Some of the cures they used worked. We saw this in Africa as missionaries. The medicine man (in a tribe where the medicine man and witch doctor were not the same man) had cures that did work. Most had nasty side effects, but a few cured the disease.
We don't even see Moses coming up with Egyptian cures and concoctions which worked. He, like Paul, counted it all as dung and went forth into the new life of Jehovah God and his code of life and cure of disease. Moses' medical manual was not a mixture of the good traditions of Egypt and God's new additions. If Moses had done that, Israel would have given the glory to the old, not the new. Did they not long for the food of Egypt?
In Tanzania, back in the 1930s, missionary doctor Paul White found that the Wagogo tribe where he worked believed that if they rubbed lion's fat on themselves, they would become mighty as a lion. The witch doctor also used lion's fat regularly in his cures if the patient paid the higher price for the cure.
The Wagogo women also claimed to cure sore throat in children by scratching the backs of the children's throats with their dirty fingers. It was believed that if a child had a sore throat it was because new teeth were growing in the back of his throat. Of course, the cure worked, for no child thus treated ever grew teeth in the back of his throat. The problem was, the children almost all died from the cure. Did the Wagogo believe in these cures. Absolutely. No question about it, and the death of the sick child was blamed on all manner of other conditions, such as the evil eye and curses.
Charms where worn by the Wagogo in abundance also, as was true all over Black Africa. If a journey came off safely, the charms were given the credit. If a lion attacked, the charms were not blamed-- some other cause of the attack was found.
The Masai in Kenya have a custom to this day in which women will compliment a new baby by spitting in its face. That is just what a new baby needs, right? Do they believe this is good manners and genteel behavior? Absolutely.
The Arussi Galla in Ethiopia where we were missionaries made decisions based on what they believed was an absolutely infallible spiritual manifestation. They followed a certain species of bird through the bush and watched it. Depending on which way it turned, or if it stopped to peck, or flew down on the ground, the answers to life's decisions were made. Purchases were made or abandoned, marriage went forward or was canceled, and journeys were made of postpones until the wee bird gave a more propitious gesture. Many times life worked out just fine, so the bird was given the credit. If life did not work out well, the bird was never questioned. Some other thing was blamed, like evil spirits and curses.
DONKEY DUNG TODAY
George Washington rode his horse around his estate one morning. It was damp and foggy, and later in the day he became sick. Doctors were called, and each one bled Washington. They eventually removed so much blood from him that he died. Did those doctors believe they were helping Washington? Absolutely. Bleeding was a very valid medical procedure in those days. Washington died, but other causes were blamed. The cure was not questioned at all.
Many people claim not to be superstitious, but if they find themselves 13th in the rotation of numbering, they will leave the line and go to another line. Others will alter a journey if a black cat crosses the road in front of them, "just to be safe." Not many years ago the cure for warts by the civilized White race was to toss a rag into the road as one passed through an intersection.
Millions of people will end a statement about something about to happen, and their plans for it, by saying, "Knock on wood."
When I was a kid, my Dad and Mom were in rural church work on the river bottom land in Oklahoma. The old lady across the road from us claimed to be a Christian, but she planted her potatoes every year in the light of a full moon.
Recently, one of our family came under the wrath of someone for putting an umbrella up inside the home.
Even the most innocent thing like a four leafed clover may be picked and cherished. If something good happens just after picking it, the person is caught wanting to mentally give some credit to the four leafed clover.
I know of people who have refused some ID card or have declined to buy a home because 666 came up in the address of numbering. Someone has to have Ford number 666, but these careful souls, "just want to be safe."
DONKEY DUNG AS IT IS FOUND AT THE CHURCH HOUSE
Do you remember the story of the king who had no clothes? No one wanted to admit that the king LOOKED naked as a baby, so they all exclaimed how lovely the king's clothes were. Then some brat kid yelled, "Look, the king has no clothes." The scam was up, and the king was disgraced. In the words of the inimitable Boris Badenoff, "Allow me to introduce myself, I am that brat kid."
Preacher, you have no clothes to cover your church's traditions. Thousands of people, and I am talking about born again people, have slipped away from Fundamental churches lately. You can claim they are backslidden or fallen away, but you and they know the truth-- you have no cover for your damned traditions.
I have heard a number of traditions lately:
I hear that demanding church membership brings order. Well, so does the Holy Ghost. So, when you do have order, you give the glory to your church membership process. I have heard some of you say so out loud. Order is NOT the work of the Holy Ghost to you.
I hear that the altar call is the way I will have victory, and if I do not rush to the weeping rail and cry out for God's mercy at the feet of the fire breathing bishop, I may, "never have another chance to have victory." So, if I visit your weeping rail, and God blesses me, you will make it clear that it was your altar call which did the trick.
I hear that I should, "Be there every time the church doors are open." So, if I am there by that Fundamental church standard of faithfulness, and if things go well, you and I are free to give the glory to my church attendance, not the mercy of God.
I hear that a new five year building plan is the way to glorify God. So, if it works, and a great new temple of glory is dedicated within five years, our plan worked, and God had to jump when we jerked his chain. If the five year plan did not work, God is not blamed, rather; I am blamed because I let God down. I did not do my part in giving until I was flat broke.
I hear that if I make a Faith Promise, or tithe by law, and if things go well with me financially, then it is because I made my vows and kept them. God is bound by your Church Law of the Tithe to never bless a saint who does not tithe lawfully. Anyone who is blessed greatly, and who is not tithing, must not be saved, right?
I hear that if I am "called to preach," and if I sell insurance for a couple of years because I believe God wants me to do that, I am in rebellion and cannot be trusted in any way. I should be forbidden to do anything in the church program until I am back preaching. If God is blessing my business and giving me joy, well it is the false joy of a backslider, right?
Is that the full list? Jesus did not even begin to touch the full load of the Pharisees. I apply his comment, which he made to them, to you also:
Mark 7:8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
Indeed, many more such things ye do.
THE WORD OF GOD VERSUS DONKEY DUNG
You cannot have both:
Peter 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things,
as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your
It is important that, above all else, I force every preacher and saint to face the fact that you do not really believe in salvation by the Blood of Jesus Christ if you believe in the traditions of your church heritage at all costs. Where did Peter learn about the conflict between moldy pious traditions and the Blood of Jesus?
15:6 And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made
the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.
When you add ANYTHING to the faith once delivered by Jesus Christ in his Blood, on his cross, and in the Epistles of the Word of God, then you damn your best intentions to hell. You make the King James Bible OF NONE EFFECT. Wave the KJV, scream and wail, talk sweetly, talk with great authority, appeal to higher authority, yea even Lee Roberson, to justify your church's donkey dung, and go to hell anyway. If you exalt church standards even concurrently with the Word of God, even using some tricky proof texting all along the way, you are damned and demon possessed.
You are exalting law, albeit new law, church law, well worn law, approved by thousands of pastors, approved in Christian colleges and seminaries, but a mongrel law Jesus hates:
Ephesians 2:15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
Paul makes it very clear that your donkey dung church standards and traditions are a works counterfeit based on good intentions and good works, and they are of Satan:
Romans 9:16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
Galatians 4:9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?
It is a bastardized message which puts the saints under the yoke of old law, new law, or church traditions, creeds, and standards.
Romans 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
If you preach the liberty in Christ, why are your altar calls founded on fear, fear, and trembling? Why is there no assurance in your traditions?
Self-exaltation is epidemic these days among Hyles clones and at Sword of the Lord. I hear Clarence Sexton and the mighty mouths at Pensacola Christian College boast of their accomplishments. It is sadly a plague that will not go away. I heard a preacher from Montana tell how great he and his family were. He then claimed that he and his kids cleared the church property of 17 truck loads of rocks with their bare hands. Lord have mercy on us idiot preachers. Someone has not read all of Btheir church history, for I read the old books, and Bible believing preachers of two hundred years ago were quite eager to give the glory to God, not themselves. Something has drastically changed.
God will NOT share his glory with you and your church friends. He will NOT allow you to claim that your traditions and strategies are the reason that blessing comes.
12:21 And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne,
and made an oration unto them.
It is NOT consistent with God's holiness that he should stand by and let his servants give the glory for his works among men to charms, lion fat, and the devil-- nor to their traditions and standards.
you remember the Wagogo in the above account. They wore loads of charms to secure
safety and immunity from disease. They rubbed on lion's fat and believed it would
cure many diseases. Well, when the Wagogo came to the mission hospital at Mvumi
in Tanzania, Doctor Paul White would require the Wagogo to cut off all their charms,
and the hospital orderlies scrubbed off all the lion's fat, and any other concoctions
they got from the witch doctor to rub on themselves. Why did
But, I tremble at what Fundamental churches, and many other Christians, are doing these days. They add on all manner of additions to the Word of God, and then they give the glory for the results to their traditions. If something goes wrong, God is blamed thus, "Well, it must not have been God's will." If you give your church traditions and standards the glory for good things that God brings you, God will withhold the blessing from you. If, on the other hand, you succeed in your ongoing ventures and give your traditions the glory, it will prove one thing--
YOU ARE LAODICEAN, YOU ARE PART OF THE VOMIT OF GOD, AND ON YOUR WAY TO HELL.
Now, will you remove your silly charms and wash off the stinking lion's fat? Or, are you a witch doctor claiming that your standards, traditions, imperatives, and extra biblical strategies are the cause of your power?
Here is a serious thought. When Jesus came to Israel and offered himself as Messiah and King, was it the Philistines, the Samaritans, or the Romans who rejected and killed him? No, it was the Pharisees, the keepers of Moses' law. Jesus enraged them by confronting, not their devotion to the Law, but he confronted the traditions they added to Moses' Law.
If Jesus came back today, would it be the Buddhists, the Hindus, the New Agers, and the Muslims who would kill him? No, it would be the Fundamental church preachers, for again he would approve of their devotion to the King James Bible, but he would confront them mercilessly for adding to the Word of God with their traditions.
3:4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh
that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
To Paul the Pharisaical traditions, the blameless standing he had under the old standard, was dung. And preacher, your distinctives, traditions, and standards are also a lot of stinking donkey dung.
HOW DO I GET THE DUNG OUT THE DUNG GATE?
Jerusalem had a dung gate. It was essential for the survival of the people of God. Dung left laying around causes disease and stinks. How about YOU using the dung gate?
Some of you who read this article will agree in principle, and you may want to do something about this. Here is my suggestion. Ask the Lord to help you examine the things you do and things you teach-- those traditions you have been claiming are essential truths needful for church life. Start with something that is a sacred cow and distinctive of your church movement. Examine it in the light of the Epistles. Much chaos has come to the Lord's Church because pastors go to the Gospels and even the Old Testament to answer questions about the life of the Church.
Let me suggest you start with a sacred cow of all Baptists and most other Fundamentalists-- tithing. This is clearly a classic false teaching about church life. What does Paul say about tithing? What do any other Apostolic writers say about it? Don't try to slide tithing in via some implication. Is there a Greek word for tithing, and where is it found in the teaching to the Church?
Stop these tricks to escape the principle taught in I Corinthians 16. Paul clearly teaches that we are to give according to the blessing we have just had. What does that say about Faith Promise giving? What does Acts 5 say about giving? Peter told Ananias and Sapphira that they could have given anything they wanted. Peter says nothing about tithing by percentage.
Now, ask yourself if you could preach giving in the Apostolic Church Age manner and trust God to take care of the local church's needs and you. That is the bottom line. Much of the tradition of the Pharisees was about matters that worked to their advantage. Finally, do the people of God need you to tell them how to give and how much to give. Did Paul EVER tell anyone how much to give?
If you cannot deal with tithing, don't even bother with the other traditions of the church world. You will never understand. Tithing is so simple to deal with that any hick in the hills would get it right...........
Just unless some preacher had terrorized him into the fear that if he fails to tithe God will clobber him. Which sounds a lot like Martin Luther's adversary Tetsel. These traditions are VERY old.
Now, if you figured out tithing, go to the next church tradition, church membership, and so on down the list. The Holy Ghost is not a slacker. He will teach you.
THE PRINCIPLE OF REPLACEMENT
God takes away all the old things from us when we are born again. But, it is the nature of our loving God to replace the old with that which is infinitely precious and blessed and NEW. Do you really believe that?
Here is how it works:
40:1 I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
Can you trust our God to take away the old profane human devices which have been added to the life of the church, some of them dating all the way back to the Whore of Rome and the Dark Ages? Is God good enough and great enough to make your church life sweet and complete by the ministration of God the Holy Ghost? I believe this is the last great test of the Lord's Church. We have used up our time in the Age of Grace. Coming down to the wire, it will be interesting to see how many will be Philadelphians (Revelation 3) and how many will cling in Laodicean bliss to the seductive devices of Satan to guide their church life.
So, what are the great things God has for us in the local church? Answer: The traditions of the Apostles.
2 Thessalonians 2:15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
The ONLY traditions you may, and must, teach are the traditions found in the Epistles of the Apostles. Anything you add to that is damned to hell. "By word" above is NOT your word. Anything you add, even the most lofty spiritual tradition, is a violation of Revelation 22:18-19. The "word" in the above verse is clearly the word of an Apostle as he visited one of the churches in the Acts era. Let us have none of this Papal blarney about the word of a pastor. The only word we want is THE WORD of God in his revelation and the Apostles.
God does not share the glory. He is a jealous God. He will not bless, or send salvation, to any man, even a preacher, who lifts up the traditions of men. You may think it is an innocent thing. You may think you are not leading the sheep astray. No matter. If you exalt non-biblical traditions you are the enemy of Jesus Christ, and you will burn for eternity in hell.
22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this
book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues
that are written in this book:
If it seems that you cannot deal with this alone, I am available. Perhaps a computer conference can be arranged, or perhaps I can come to you. If that is what it takes, perhaps I can do that. In any case, I can be available though email.
Now, go do the right thing:
2 Corinthians 7:11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.
1 Corinthians 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
2 Timothy 2:21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.
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