One of the frequent ways in which Ruckman defenders try to change the subject is by bringing up the “good fruit” argument. It goes something like this (taken from an actual comment submitted to this website): “Ruckman has hundreds of men currently active as pastors and evangelists throughout the world. Now, that’s fruit brother!”
Often times the fruit argument is brought up with numbers meant to use with which to compare, expecting Ruckman to come out ahead. The numbers can involve professions of faith, church attendance, books written, number of preachers trained, etc. The logic is supposed to be that Ruckman’s fruit exceeds that of his detractors, so this is supposed to prove that Ruckman is right and his detractors are wrong. Geneha Kim dedicated many pages of his Ruckmanism Ruckus book to this tactic of defending Ruckman.
Ruckman often uses the fruit argument himself in a self-serving way frequently in his writings:
[Ruckman referring to himself in the 3rd person] God gives him ten times as many souls, ten times as many ministers (over ninety have been ordained in our pastorate since 1960), ten times as much information from the Book, and ten times as many places to preach as He gives them.
Ruckman, Peter. Bible Believers’ Bulletin reprint #7 (Strictly Personal). 2004, Pensacola: Bible Baptist Bookstore, p. 490
What we need from … is a list of how many souls the Lord gives him in a year (for 30 years let’s say) and then a list of names of young men who are in the ministry winning souls because of the personal teaching and personal counseling and personal example of … It would be interesting to compare this to a list of our own…
Ruckman, Peter. Bible Believers’ Bulletin. March 1985, p. 2
Jesus makes it clear in John 15 that we cannot bear fruit of ourselves, and that fruit is to glorify the Father, not ourselves or to compare ourselves with others. In I Corinthians 3, the Bible makes clear that some plant, some water, but God gives the increase. All credit, honor, glory and praise for any fruit should be directed to God the Father.
In spite of the Biblical warning that it is not wise to compare among ourselves, Ruckman writes in his typical arrogant style as follows:
I have only written 120 books: how many have YOU written?
Ruckman, Peter. Ecclesiastes. Pensacola, FL: Bible Baptist Bookstore, 2001 reprint, p. 358
2 Cor. 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
When the Apostle Paul wrote about spiritual gifts, (closely related to fruit) he introduced the topic with the following warning: Rom. 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
In comparing his ministry with others, Ruckman makes an extremely unlikely claim (regarding other churches) without bringing up statistics from other missions-minded churches:
Sixty-two of our church Mebers [sic] are overseas. There does not exist on this earth four Baptist churches, averaging 2,000 members combined, that have produced even forty church members who went to a foreign field.
Ruckman, Peter. Bible Believers’ Bulletin. July 2008, pp. 6 & 8
A quick internet search brought up two medium-sized independent Baptist churches with members sent to the mission field outnumbering Ruckman’s numbers (if his comparison allows you to combine the church members sent to the mission field from up to four churches). http://tbc.sc/missions/ and https://visionbaptist.com/missions/
Also Ruckman worded his claim carefully to exclude missionary statistics from the largest Baptist churches, such as Temple Baptist in Detroit, Landmark Baptist in Cincinnati, Akron Baptist Temple, Canton Baptist Temple, Highland Park Baptist Church, High Street Baptist in Springfield, MO, First Baptist in Hammond, IN, Lancaster Baptist Church in California, etc. Admittedly many of these churches have experienced dramatic changes in the last 2-3 decades, but were known for supporting or sending hundreds of missionaries in their time. In recent times there has been a Baptist missionary awakening in places such as the Phillipines and Mexico, with some native churches reportedly sending out many missionaries. Ruckman also restricts his claim to Baptist churches, which excludes the outstanding effort of Moravian missionaries in the 18th century, not to mention “Baptistic” churches such as Oswald J. Smith’s independent People’s Church in Toronto, which at one time helped support 500 missionary workers.
Our comparison of missionary fruit of other ministries doesn’t necessarily make Ruckman wrong and others right, but since he made an extremely doubtful claim, we felt compelled to provide examples of other ministries that have been a great example in the area of missionary emphasis.
Ruckman continues, comparing his church with others:
Not one church in which any of our young men (more than forty-five of them) have ever done deputation work was able to produce TEN missionaries that got to the foreign field.
Ruckman, Peter. The Books of the General Epistles. Vol. 2. 2004, p. 220
It is likely that the graduates of his institute would focus on Ruckman-friendly churches, so it would not be an accurate assessment of the mission-minded condition of Gospel-preaching churches throughout America. As previously documented, a quick internet search brought up two Baptist churches that had sent 20+ church members each to the mission field, not counting missionaries supported sent from other local churches.
We are not trying to say that fruit is to be completely ignored and overlooked when examining a Christian ministry or leader. However, it must be realized is that if not implemented with other Biblical factors (such as pure doctrine and obedience to God’s Word), wrong conclusions can be reached based on surface observations. For example, youth ministries that use “Christian” rock music are likely to point to the large number of youth coming together as evidence of God’s blessing on their tactics. In contrast, a godly missionary working diligently among hardened Moslems who sees few converts may be unfairly looked upon as lacking fruit. In Mark 4:8 our Lord acknowledged that some produce less fruit than others, without implying that something was automatically wrong with those who bore less fruit. There is also a principle found in the last half of 1 Samuel 16:7 which serves as a warning for depending too much on surface observations: For the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.
The fruit argument should be used cautiously with any ministry. What must be realized when Ruckmanites associate Ruckman with favorable-sounding numbers is that all the people in their fruit argument have been taught false doctrines such as works salvation for certain dispensations. Another test for examining fruit would be the fruit of the Spirit as found in Gal. 5:22-23. As proven in documentation throughout this website, Ruckman does not demonstrate much love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance in his speech and writings. The Bible also speaks of “evil fruit” (Mat. 7:17), so the fruit argument can also become a double-edged sword.