PLUMBLINE -- Editor, Wayne Coats
Volume 3 Number
6 January 1999
In this very important action there needs to be unanimity, agreement, harmony, accord, unity, concurrence and a conciliatory spirit. We can be so vociferous in talking about unity but be so hesitant to practice unity.
> One of the most detestable of all personality traits is that of being self-willed. This horrible characteristic shows itself so often when brethren begin to select a preacher. Someone is dead set on brother Cephas whereas another is just as adamant in getting brother Apollos. Who cares if the church splits into sections? The self-willed egotist only cares about getting his way. This trait can be seen very often in the nursery class where toddlers are extremely immature. It is sad when brethren never get beyond the toddlers personality trait of self-centeredness. Seems as if I recall where Jesus said "If any man will come after me, LET HIM DENY HIMSELF, and take up his cross daily, and follow me" (Luke 9:23). I speak the truth and lie not. To expect self-denial upon the part of some preacher-pickers is to expect the impossible. "Not my will but thine be done," is no part of the thinking and life of the self-centered person.
> We are told that over half of modern marriages end up in the divorce courts. In so many cases this is the result of people being self-willed. This is the same unholy disposition which is demonstrated by some preacher-pickers. It is the same as the childish demand to always be "it" when games are played. Brother, if I don't get my way, then I will just divorce you. You don't question my decisions.
I suppose there is little if any help which can be given to the self-willed person. The devil will try to make certain that his crew-chiefs are scattered far and wide. He is desperate to sow discord, dissension, conflict, opposition, ill-will, disparity, variance, disputes, hostility, quarrels, and antagonism in every place. "Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" (Rom. 14:19). One self-willed reprobate can ruin any congregation.
> Along with the devilish self-willed spirit there is the terrible sin of jealousy which of course is not confined to preachers. I have seen jealousy at work more than once. This terrible sin will cause people to be lost eternally. Jealousy is as "cruel as the grave" (Songs 8:6). Some folks just do not ever grow up. At one place where I preached we had a fellow who wanted to preside at the Lord's table at least once each month. He actually requested that he might be selected for this job. Envy and jealousy is seen upon the part of preacher-pickers. How childish can we be? The disciples of Christ got into a fuss over who was the greatest (Matt. 18:1). Which brother performs the best in passing the communion? Who gets upset if he cannot show off each month?
> Many years ago when brethren in Nashville began to discuss the matter of conducting a special series of meetings, the question of who the preacher would be was discussed. Divergent ideas were discussed and finally the decision was made to have brother N. B. Hardeman to do the preaching. Brother C. M. Pullias was approached about leading the singing. The dear brother responded by saying that he would sweep the floor, do anything he could in order to help the effort. Lord God of heaven, help me to imbibe that Christ-like spirit. Is it better to hide ourselves behind the cross or hide the cross behind self?
> --Wayne Coats, Editor
Liberalism and Conservatism. Liberalism carries the idea of freedom from restraint; of not being bound by established forms or doctrines; free to follow one's own opinion, judgment, or sense of expediency. In religious matters liberalism is opposed to a strict construction of God's word. It permits the modification of the teaching of the Scriptures to suit the circumstances and conditions of the times. It allows the exercise of human judgment and wisdom in carrying out God's commands. It would condone the ignoring of some of God's commandments and the substitution of something else for others. In short, it does not believe that we must have authority from the Scriptures -- for all we teach and practice, but that where they are silent we may do whatever we think to be good.
> On the other hand, conservatism believes in conserving existing institutions; in preserving the status quo. It is "opposed to change or innovation," but believes in "letting well enough alone." In spiritual things it believes that God's word is supreme and sole authority. It insists that God does not speak loosely or carelessly, but that "he says what he means and means what he says." It would, therefore, put a strict construction upon the word of God -- taking it at just what it means, adding nothing to it and taking nothing from it. It believes that where the Scriptures are silent, we should be also -- believing nothing, teaching nothing, and practicing nothing. Beyond the peradventure of a doubt, this is what Thomas Campbell meant by his famous expression.
Who Are the Progressives? The liberals in the Restoration Movement have always considered themselves the "progressive element"; in fact, they took pride in calling themselves the "progressive," and their conservative brethren they stigmatize as "nonprogressives," "old fogies," "mosbacks," "antis," and other complimentary and endearing terms.
The writer of these lines is a progressive, both by nature and by practice. He believes in that "noble discontent" that is never satisfied this side of perfection. Growth, development, improvement, greater usefulness, efficiency, success should be our aim in all things physical, mental, and spiritual. I believe in religious progress. I think all Christians ought to be "progressives."
> But what is religious progress? And what is a progressive Christian? Religious progress does not consist in departing from the "beaten path" and introducing new "ways and untried means." It does not consist in abandoning old beliefs and practices and substituting something modern and up to date. God gave the world a perfect system of religion at the beginning of the Christian age, and it cannot be improved. It is fixed and permanent. It is inflexible. It is perfectly adapted to the needs of humanity in every age. To modify it is to impeach the wisdom of God and to usurp his authority. It is the sin of presumption. Religious progress, then, consists in discovering just what this divine system requires of man and conforming to it in all its particulars. It is the complete subordination of man's will to God's will. It is the obedience of faith. It is that course of self-discipline and self-control that leads to perfect trust in God and to perfect obedience of his every command. Religious progress, to use the words of the beloved Larimore is "to take God at his word, believe what he says, do what he commands, and trust him for the consequences." A progressive Christian is one who is coming nearer and nearer to the divine standard. Yes, every Christian ought to be a "progressive."
> But the fact is that these self-styled "progressives" are really retrogressives or digressives -- maybe both. Instead of going forward toward the perfect standard revealed in the New Testament, they have gone away from it. They began their departures by the organization of unscriptural societies to do the work of the church, and they have come on down through various innovations to downright infidelity on the part of many of them. Not a few of their preachers and college professors are modernists, skeptics, infidels. R. C. Foster, in a recent article in the Christian Standard, charges Dr. A. W. Fortune, a preacher and a professor in the College of the Bible, Lexington, Ky., with denying the resurrection of Christ and ridiculing anyone who believes it. He quotes him as saying to a class, presumably of young preachers: "No one believes any more that Jesus was actually raised from the dead." This is nothing but straight-out infidelity. It is a rejection of the very foundation of Christianity; for "if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain;...ye are yet in your sins."
Other Departures. Another innovation that followed soon after the organization of unscriptural societies was the introduction of instruments of music into the worship of the church. From the beginning of the Restoration Movement till about 1860 no mechanical instrument of music was ever used in the churches of Christ. But along with the agitation for a "higher order of literature," a "more cultivated ministry," "improved music," the "settled pastor," etc., there arose a demand for an organ in the worship. The first instance of the use of such an instrument, so far as is known, was at Midway, Ky., in 1860. Dr. DeGroot says in his "Grounds of Divisions Among the Disciples of Christ": "L. L. Pinkerton closed a sixteen year pastorate at Midway, Ky., in 1860, where he achieved the unique distinction of being the first Midwest Disciple to introduce a melodeon into church worship." The following quotation from J. W. McGarvey suggests another time and place where instrumental music was introduced and something of the evil it has wrought. From a lengthy letter which he wrote in reply to a brother who had asked some questions about what to do in a congregation that was having trouble over the introduction of an organ we quote one paragraph as follows:
That a vast amount of evil has been occasioned by the introduction of instrumental music into Christian worship is undeniable. Beginning with the first instance of it among us which I can remember, that which caused a schism in the church in St. Louis, in the year 1869, its progress has been attended by strife, alienation, and division, with all their attendant evils, in hundreds of congregations. Before this it had bred similar evils among the Methodist societies and Baptist and Presbyterian Churches; for all of these bodies in their early days, knowing that the practice originated in the Roman Catholic Church, regarded it as Romish corruption, and refused to tolerate it until it was forced upon them by the spirit of innovation which characterizes the present century.
> Of all the immediate causes of the great division among the disciples of Christ within the past century two things stand out preeminent -- "organized effort" and instrumental music, these two, but the greatest of these is instrumental music. It has been our observation and experience that "the organ" has caused more strife, bitterness, and division than any other single thing. It still remains as one of the principal barriers to any reunion of the liberal and conservative groups.
>Thus we see how "liberalism" kept on growing and adding one innovation after another until it brought instrumental music into the churches which precipitated the division, but the end is not yet.
As small children we were all told or read stories that began with the phrase "Once upon a time." This phrase was a catch-all statement that literally meant "this was the way things were back then." As we look all across the brotherhood and note the numerous problems that are facing the church, we need to take this phrase and make a spiritual application, looking at what made the difference "Once upon a time."
"Once upon a time" the Word of God was respected. People today no longer respect God's Word as the authority in all things spiritual. Most no longer accept it as "the inspired will of God" that was given to man for "doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness." A good example of how people felt about the Word is found in Nehemiah 8:1-12. We see a group of people that desired that the Word be brought and read to them; then while the reading was going on, they were attentive to the reading. As it was being read, they stood and remained standing for the entire reading, they bowed themselves and worshipped the Lord as the Word was read, they understood the reading, and then they went and did as instructed by the Word. Yes, "Once upon a time", we had respect for God's Word, but now we follow after the doctrines, creeds, and opinions of men.
"Once upon a time" the people had a mind to work. When the walls around Jerusalem were rebuilt by Nehemiah and the people, the job only took fifty-two days. We can read why in Nehemiah 4:6. "So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof, for the people had a mind to work." Our Lord, when He was just twelve years old, knew He had a job to do; "Know ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" When we do the Work of the Lord, the lost will be taught, the erring restored, the hungry fed, the sick visited, the down-trodden lifted up, and the brethren edified. "Once upon a time" the brethren had a mind to work, and all of these things were accomplished, and the church was the fastest growing religious organization on the earth.
"Once upon a time" the gospel was all that was preached. Jesus gave the command to "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." Now, look at what the disciple did. Acts 5:42, "And daily in the temple and in every house, they ceased not to teach, and preach Jesus Christ." Acts 8:4, "Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the Word." Look at the results. Acts 2:41, "And the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls." Acts 4:4, "Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand." Col. 1:23, "if ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven." Paul told the young man Timothy to "Preach the word." But today we see anything but the gospel being preached from the pulpit and taught in our class rooms, and then we wonder why we have problems in the church. Yes, "Once upon a time" the gospel was all that was preached to a lost and dying world, and it was this gospel that produced precious fruit in the Lord's vineyard.
"Once upon a time" Christians did not forsake the assembly. The Psalmist had the right attitude about the assembly when he penned these words, "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord." Hebrews 10:25 encourages us not to make a willful choice to miss the assembling of ourselves together with brethren of like precious faith. However, we now see congregations with 200 in attendance at Sunday morning Bible study, 600 for the morning worship service and maybe 250 back for the evening worship, and only about half that many for the Wednesday evening service. My question would be, why the difference? Don't we assemble to worship God? Isn't it just as important to assemble at all the services designated by the leadership, as it is at only one or at most two a week? If not, why not? Yes, "Once upon a time", Christians were glad to go up to the house of the Lord to worship Him.
"Once upon a time" pleasing God was placed above anything else. In Matthew 6:33 we are given this command, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." Our primary purpose and goal in life is to serve God, and we can only do this if He is in His proper place in our life. But now-a-days we see Christians all across the brotherhood who are trying to serve God, as well as please man and from reading Matt. 6:24 we know this won't work. We see brethren who love the world and the things of the world more than they love God, and II John 2:15 lets us know that if this is the case, the love of the Father is not in us. The whole duty of man is to "fear God and keep His commandments", and the only way we can do this, is if we put Him first in our life. "Once upon a time" men were willing to do this, but not any more.
As with every good story that started out "Once upon a time", most all of them had a phrase that summed the story up that went like this, "And they all lived happily ever after." If we will do as they did "Once upon a time", then on the day of judgment we will hear "Well done thou good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord", and when we hear this, we will "Live happily ever after."
10985 Country Haven
Cottondale, Al. 35453
Leviticus 10:1-2 reads: "And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD." There are several things we can learn from a study of these two Bible characters that will be beneficial. The Bible shows us that we should look to the old Testament and learn from the mistakes as well as those things done right by the people of God in that particular time span (Rom 15:4, 1 Cor 10:1-12).
> Nadab and Abihu were the sons of Aaron selected by God for the purpose of serving in the tabernacle. "And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's sons" (Exod. 28:1). What a glorious honor for these men to have been selected by God to this great service! Once these men were selected by God he immediately gave instructions about what the priests were to wear, (it would do some of our brethren good to study this more often concerning God's law on modest dress) and how the sacrifice and worship was to be carried out. In fact, when we begin reading Leviticus it is very clear that God left no stone unturned concerning His law for His people. God has never left man without a law to follow. However, it has always been man's tendency to disobey God's laws. One can look at the very beginning as it is revealed to us in the scripture and learn this. "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat." There are many examples in the word of God concerning apostasy but I believe we get the point.
>Nadab and Abihu are no exceptions to the rule. They knew the law but chose not to follow the divine pattern set forth by the Lord. Instead, they chose to ignore what God had said. In the first seven verses of Leviticus 10 we learn that Nadab and Abihu were authorized to do this part of the worship. So the question is raised, "why then did God take their lives?" I can know that it was not the censors they used, nor the incense they used (Exod. 25:38; 27:3,23). The problem was in the fire that they used which was unauthorized by Jehovah God. The Bible calls this fire "strange," which simply means it was not authorized by God. This is nothing more than will worship, and we can see that God will never allow such to be practiced. Will worship is wrong and will condemn one's soul. Later in the New Testament, Paul would condemn this practice; "Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honor to the satisfying of the flesh." The brethren at Colosse were falling back into the "rudiments of the world" by following the "commandments and doctrines of men." They were "having their way" instead of worshipping God's way.
> We learn from this calamitous account that not only did Nadab and Abihu practice that which was unauthorized in worship, they also partook of that which altered their minds to the point of not following God's word. "And the LORD spake unto Aaron, saying, Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die (emp. jc): it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations." We can learn from this that the use of alcoholic beverages was profane and unholy in the sight of God. The prophet Ezekiel through the vision was shown the new temple and along with it a reminder that "Neither shall any priest drink wine, when they enter into the inner court." Why this decree? That they be able to "teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean." How can anyone expect to teach a person right from wrong or clean from unclean when said person is "on the spirits?" Obviously, the answer is one cannot. However, we have many (in the Lord's church) who believe that it is all right to partake in social functions and have what is called a "social drink." Studies have been made showing that if a person imbibes one drink of an alcoholic beverage he is one drink drunk; "Blood alcohol of 1/10 of one percent can be accepted as prima facia evidence of alcohol intoxication recognizing that many individuals are under the influence in the 5/100 of one percent range... There is no minimum (blood-alcohol concentration) which can be set at which there will be absolutely no effect." (Minutes of the 1960 annual meeting of the American Medical Association) and (Journal of the American Medical Association). So much for the "I can have one drink with my friends crowd."
Although we are under the authority of the New Testament today (Col. 3:17), we can learn a valuable lesson about how we are to approach God from the Old. Nadab and Abihu took one small liberty (in man's way of thinking) with God's law and perished. Let it be learned that we cannot take liberties with the worship of God and expect to enter into the "streets of gold" when this life is over. It is a sad commentary when one begins to look at the brotherhood in many places and see the beautiful bride of Christ being raped and ravaged by the so called "change agents." They call for "hub-bub" rather than order in worship which leads to a chaotic carnival type atmosphere. There is also a call for the use of women in the worship service, i.e. announcements, prayer, waiting on the Lord's table, etc. Any such change in God's laws will be a disaster for those involved just as it was for Nadab and Abihu. I pray that more of my brethren will study and ponder these great Bible lessons from the Old Testament, learn from them and start getting the lessons.
372 Red Oak Drive
Manchester TN, 37355-3652
Paragraph II, Owen's article
"First, I have learned from my Baptist neighbors to appreciate the overwhelming role of grace in the redemptive process. I believe Ephesians 2:8 with all my heart, and have heard the message of Romans. All are sinners. All are lost and undone. All must trust wholly in the work of God in the cross for salvation. Our obedience is simply the way God has ordained for us to receive his grace and earns us nothing. This has caused me to trust God more and myself less."
> Earl's Comment: [Part one]
Christ did not place the burden of teaching upon the Baptist Church, so why would one be going to them for instruction? Instead of letting the Baptist Church teach us, we ought to be teaching them! If not, why not? The Commission under which the disciples of Christ have always been bound is clearly stated, and every student of the Bible knows it, even if we fail to practice it! It reads as follows: "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen" (Matt. 28:18-20). "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world,, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:15-16). "And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem" (Luke 24:47).
> However, I have never read in my Bible (The King James version; 1769 edition) where the Baptist Church was authorized to teach anything to anyone? If anyone can find the Baptist Church in the Bible, would you send the verse to me? If they are not found in the Bible, and they are not, then how in the name of common sense can we learn from them?
>Jesus invites all to, "COME AND LEARN OF ME" (Matt. 11:29-a); but, brother Owen went to the Baptist Church to learn. What can one learn from a manmade "church" except manmade doctrines? I ask the reasonable reader: "If only the doctrine of Christ was taught, what would happen to all manmade religions?" For the obtuse, I will answer my own question: "They would disappear from the face of the earth." Where did manmade "churches" come from? They came when men no longer loved and obeyed the doctrine of Christ.
> Unfortunately, and I say it with profound sorrow, their numbers are expanding under the name, churches of Christ! How long can a group remain the church of Christ who teach and practice things not found in the NT? And, not only do I worry about our Change-Agents and their congregations; but, also about those of us who are "just keeping house for the Lord!" When local churches fail to make any effort to evangelize locally, how long can we remain the church we read about in the NT?
> I am not saying that the Baptist Church does not
teach some truth; but, it is not on grace! Thus, whatever brother Dan Owen learned from the Baptist about
grace would have to be false! He could no more learn
the truth about grace from the Baptist than he could
learn the truth about baptism from them. They simply
do not teach the truth on either grace or baptism. I
attended the Baptist Church hundreds of times; but,
I wonder how many times brother Owen attended the
Baptist Church to learn about their manmade doctrine
A CRITIQUE OF ARTICLE BY DAN OWEN
> Earl's Comment on Paragraph II [Part Two]:
I would ask brother Owen: "What is the overwhelming role of grace in the redemptive process" of which he writes? His terminology gives me some cause for concern. I too believe Ephesians 2:8 with all my heart; but I find obedience just as "overwhelming" as grace. The verse states: (Eph. 2:8) "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God."
I must point out the faith as listed here is not our subjective faith, but it is THE FAITH, which is another name for the gospel. Brother Harold Littrell, a gospel preacher and scholar, in his English Study Bible with notes, translates this verse: "For in grace you all have been saved through the faith; and that not of yourselves, it is a gift from God."
> [If you own the commentaries by James Burton Coffman, I recommend you read his comments on Ephesians 2]
> No one can be saved by grace through subjective faith alone, because grace cannot save one who will not repent (Luke 13:3,5; Acts 17:30). Paul (Saul of Tarsus) who had faith and was praying and repenting, was commanded to "Arise and be baptized, and wash way thy sins" (Acts 22:16). Thus, in order to know what we must do in order to be saved, we must go to more than one passage. For example, Paul says we are saved by the gospel; but, no one would accuse Paul of believing the gospel saves the one who will not obey it. Thus, I find baptism just as important in salvation as anything else. If grace is "overwhelming," so is baptism; but, neither can save without complete obedience.
> It seems to me if we trust wholly in one thing, it must be complete obedience to the gospel (the faith).
"Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him" (Heb. 5:8-9).
>Brother Owen says: "All must trust wholly in the work of God in the cross for salvation." I don't want to be too obstinate, but why did Peter say, "Save yourselves;" and Paul wrote, "Work out your own salvation" (Acts 2:40; Phil. 2:12)? According to this doctrine which brother Owen advocates, nothing is essential because God did it all in the cross. Paul did not say the salvation was in the cross; but, in the "preaching of the cross" (I Cor. 1:18). I thought this sounded vaguely familiar, so I went back to an article in the Carolina Christian Magazine of April 1994. Sure enough, DR Tim Sensing, writing about salvation wrote: "God did all the work in salvation." And, "We are justified in what God accomplished at the cross some two thousand years ago" (Page 8). They must have read the same book; but, it was not the Bible from which they got their strange sounds. Do you suppose these two "doctors" drank from the same fountain wherever they got their degrees? Surely both have imbibed from a polluted source!
>Brother Owen wrote: "Our obedience is simply the way God has ordained for us to receive his grace and earns us nothing." Strange words from a man who claims to be an "evangelist." This sounds like "double-speak" to me. We must obey for nothing, because we are saved by overwhelming grace. If God did all "in the work of the cross," what else remains? Brother Owen contradicts himself when he says God requires us to be obedient in order to receive grace! DR. Dan has simply joined the other Change Agents who refuse to accept the idea of the steps in the plan of salvation which faithful men and women have taught since the first century.
> Beloved, grace is not overwhelming. Though I do not wish to down play the importance of the grace of God, one could hear and obey the gospel without ever hearing the word, grace. In the book of Acts, the church had 5,000 men who were members, plus the women and youth, yet the word, grace, had not been recorded by Luke (4:33). That does not mean that God's grace was not at work, but the thing that had been stressed to that point was obedience to the gospel.
> Yes, I know about grace as taught by the Baptists. In fact, my mother learned about Baptist grace so well that she went to face the judgment without ever doing what God requires one to do in order to be saved. Along with David, I too hate every false way (Psalm 119:104, 128). The Baptist doctrine of grace is a false way. The Baptist doctrine of grace blinds people to the truth of the gospel. Why would our brother, with his multiple degrees, want to learn from a false way? The Baptist doctrine of grace is a doctrine of the Devil. Will our learned brother argue otherwise?
> Beloved, I say it with all kindness, but if brother Dan Owen teaches the grace he learned from the Baptist, he is a false teacher on that subject! But for the providence of God and members of the church of Christ who became my neighbors, and who stood for the truth, I might have been deceived about grace as brother Owen evidently has been, and as my mother was.
I remember when Pat Boone was heralded as a great supporter of N.E.J.C. Seems as if Pat's miracle working power was not too effective with the college. The greatest curse to the church of Christ today, is the liberalistic, modernistic, infidel influence of "our?" universities. I will affirm the preceding proposition and prove it, if someone would like to cross pens with me. I am not anti-schooling any more than was Hall L. Calhoun and John W. McGarvey when they opposed the modernism of the school in Lexington, Kentucky.
For the second time in two weeks the telephone rang and a very disturbed brother was anxious to know if I could help him find a sound congregation where he might be able to preach the Word of God.
> I know this brother, have heard him preach, have been on a number of Lectureships with him and I can attest to the fact that he is no dim-wit, crack-pot preacher.
> The men in the congregation met and voted about the matter. The vote was exactly a tie. Half wanted to get rid of the preacher and half said, "No, the preacher stays." That preacher did not suit the devil's crowd and his imps so another scheme was decided upon which would have all the women and children to vote about the matter.
> I never cease to be amazed at the fermented ignorance and meanness which accumulate in so many congregations. We can preach until we drop dead telling folks that the church is not a democracy, yet the first thing some brethren want to do is to start voting. Every liberal wants to vote.
> Brother Foy. E. Wallace Jr. wrote a marvelous article many years ago and stated that any time a congregation begins to put matters up for a vote, at that moment the church becomes divided. Such a scam allows a twelve year old girl to have as much input as an aged saint.
> When brethren begin to settle matters by popular vote, so often every scum-ball who ever stepped inside the church house will be recruited as a voter. Church politics knows no bounds. This is just another reason why I do not want to go to hell. Can you imagine spending eternity in hell with such rotten characters?
> Someone asks, "How do we settle the affairs of the congregation, if there are no shepherds." If brethren will be Christians, matters can be settled. If brethren act like apes, matters will not be resolved. Too many apes are jumping about in congregations. This makes all young boys have strong desires to be anything but gospel preachers. Hell will be the penalty for such offenders.
>There are some Bible verses which will help people who want to please God. If we realize that each breath could be the last one for us on this earth, we might exercise more care as to our conduct. How many readers actually believe that I cannot understand Paul's statement in Ephesians 5:21? Note carefully, "Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God." This verse cuts the foundation from under Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them... (III John 9). When did it become a crime to be a faithful gospel preacher in some areas?
> When a congregation is made up of wise men instead of fools, all matters can be resolved very simply. James asks, "Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom" (James 3:13). The beloved James had been in a meeting where brethren were trying to settle a problem which had been raised by false teachers (Acts 15). The problem was addressed and settled in sensible fashion. Brethren without any sense will spit and sputter, clamor and cavort in order to have their way.
> The Dictatorship of Diotrephes was just as acceptable as a Democratic vote. Meekness of wisdom will calm turbulent waters. The wisdom which is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits without partiality, and without hypocrisy and the "fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace" (James 3:17-18). Foolish people will make war whereas wise people make peace. To act upon the principle that the church is a democracy is sheer nonsense. This needs to be stressed over and over. There are many good people in the kingdom of God but old Barnum and Bailey never had more freaks in their circus than that which is so often displayed among church folks. God expects us to behave ourselves as church members (I Tim. 3:15). Need I say more?
It is strange but for some reason the subscriptions to the Plumbline have dropped drastically. We seemed to reach a plateau in subscribers and just cannot move upward. Brethren, I need your help in finding new subscribers. When I was physically able to attend Lectureships and conduct Gospel meetings, I was fortunate to find people who wanted to receive the paper.
> Again, on yesterday, I was informed of one who had received a few issues of the paper and suddenly received no more. This is happening too much and I do not know the reason. Let me know of any problems and I will do my best to resolve them. Please help me in opposing the parade of heretics. Send some good short articles, news items, etc. If you know someone who would like to receive the paper but who is strapped financially, send for a subscription. I want to help such people and do no harm at all.