SAUL AND JONATHAN        by Jim Langford on FactNet

Robert Grove and Jack Langford, who between them orchestrated the inquisition against many Christian families during the eighties, played freely and loosely with God’s word during those years to help justify and enforce their actions. In a post on March 1, 2005 we examined a letter (composed by Weyman Zelder I was told) sent to Dalford Todd that was an inexcusable, theatrical farce that bordered on blasphemy! The author obviously had learned the trade well from his mentors.

Following is another example (of which there are myriads) that displays the unique ability of some professing ministers of God’s word to twist it to serve their immediate purposes. The sad thing is that there is no evidence of anyone at that time checking the Scriptures to verify what was said. Is it any wonder why many of us lost confidence in those leaders?

There are “principles” inherent in the Old Testament texts that are relevant to us today. The chief concern is that application must be consistent with proper interpretation of the context. To help a prominent brother from Riverside to grasp the fact that in church discipline no partiality was to be shown among physical family members, Jack Langford applied the story of Saul and his son Jonathan. Here are his actual words delivered in a message at Alhambra in July 1990:

“A few individuals saw through Saul, Jonathan being one of them. He just was utterly disgusted with his father. What carnality, what silly soulishness Saul had. Jonathan, on the other hand saw through it and rebuked his father, and gave total commitment to David…What a man! Saul said, ‘Even my own son is standing against me, even my own son...’ Isn’t that sick? Well, saved people, Christians can often get sick. Thank God, Jonathan saw—not persons—but truth! And reality! And elected to walk in the truth. And if that meant rebuking his own father, so be it! And Saul would be rebuked and jonathan would be no help to the career of his carnal, ungodly father! And that shouldn’t be strange that a son would lose fellowship with his own father…”

This commentary could be excused by some as careless paraphrase were it not for the fact that it was given to justify and encourage division in Christian families. I refer you back to 1 Samuel, chapters 19-31. First of a all, Jonathan defended David before his father and trusted his father when he swore not to kill David (19:1-7). Jonathan didn’t see the truth until his father, Saul, tried to kill him also (20:33)! Prior to this, Jonathan refused to believe David (20:1-9) even though he, himself, had once been instructed by Saul to kill David (19:1-7). Secondly, there is no evidence in the record that Jonathan “rebuked” his father other than to say, “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” (20:32) Thirdly, no where are found the words Jack attributed to Saul: “Even my own son is standing against me, even my own son.” And lastly, the insinuation that “Jonathan would be no help to the career of his carnal, ungodly father” and that he as “a son would lose fellowship with his father” are simply contrary to the facts of the biblical narrative. Jonathan continued to be with his father, to serve his father and to die with his father. In David’s lament for Saul and Jonathan he wrote: “Saul and Jonathan—in life they were loved and gracious, and in death they were not parted.” (2 Samuel 1:23)

Jack followed this example in his message with his routine excursion to Sinai where he said: “Moses commanded the children of Israel to hew down everyone who had a part in idolatry. ‘You mean my brother? My sister? Yes, that’s what God wants you to do! You’re doing it for God!’” The horrors of the Inquisition were incited by the “Vicars of Christ” using the same misapplication of God’s word. Whether the Pope, Jim Jones, Jack Langford or Robert Grove, the Devil is quite capable of using them to the precise degree necessary to deceive their followers.

Return to Navigation