PLUMBLINE -- Editor, Wayne Coats
Volume 3 Number
10 May 1999
According to the Sunday, May 23, 1999, Nashville Tennessean newspaper, a "Church of Christ congregation's use of music creates echoes of discord." The lengthy article was written by Ray Waddle who is the religion editor of the newspaper. The large, bold, headlines obviously got a lot of attention from thousands of readers.
Mr. Waddle probably meant well, but to equate the Hendersonville Community Church with the church of Christ is like equating Judas Iscariot with our Lord.
Mr. Waddle wrote, "Community Church of Christ in Hendersonville recently tested the limits of the Church of Christ identity." It would be interesting to know who was tested. I do not think the foolishness of a Community Church puts me to the test. I have no interest whatsoever in what some cultic outfit might do except to oppose the false teachings of heretics.
We read "Leaders worked some recorded instrumental music into the Easter Sunday service last month." I do not believe we should be surprised at any innovations which the Community Church might introduce. They might as well be worshipping Baal and Ashtoroth.
Waddle thinks there is, "...a potential cataclysm in the Church of Christ fellowship...." When the newspaper notice first mentioned the beginning of the Community Church in black and white, the information was given that Ken Dye was fired from the Hendersonville Church of Christ because of his liberal views. He pulled some of the members away and started the Community Church. Who has had fellowship with that apostate liberal group? We know that Harold Hazelip of Lipscomb has appeared as a speaker for the Community Church. Also Steve Flatt and Carl McKelvy of Lipscomb has been out bidding God speed to the cultic group. Doug Varnado, who teaches at Lipscomb is the preacher for the Community Church. Will President Steve Flatt give a hoot that one of his faculty members approves of and uses mechanical instruments in the services? Will the Board members be such dullards as to not know or care? Will the alumni become afflicted with the lock-jaw? Is thirty-three cents too much to spend in order to write Steve Flatt? Will the patrons continue to support the school with their hard-earned dollars? Will parents continue to send their offspring to be taught by a Community Church preacher? May God help our miserable souls.
Maury Buchanan opines, "When Jesus returns, he plays a trumpet. We have to understand it's O.K. for him to do that." It is unbelievable that I have lived so long and have never known until now that Jesus would play a trumpet. I can read where we shall be changed, "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, for the trumpet shall sound..." (1 Cor. 15:52). We read where, "The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first" (1 Thess. 4:16). The text says nothing about Jesus blowing a trumpet. Such a claim is completely absurd. When Jesus returns he will sit on the throne of his glory (Matt. 25:31). May we ask what kind of throne is occupied by Maury Buchanan?
> It is not true that we do not use instrumental music because "...the church's 19th century ancestors found no evidence of instrumental music in the New Testament early church." The reason we do not pluck on a piano is simply because the New Testament does not authorize it. All the prattle and babbling otherwise is pure poppycock.
We are informed that, "The Easter incident at Community Church of Christ--a patch of recorded CD orchestral music accompaying a hymn by a voice ensemble--had human fallout. One minister there, Dan Dozier, quit in the wake of it." A few months ago, Dan Dozier left the Madison Church to join with the Community Church. Dan surely knew the liberal stance of the Community Cult. He has been bidding Godspeed to the liberal Community crew, so why quit. "A handful of other Church members are now quietly switching to other churches. Some of them teach at Goodpasture Christian School, where they didn't want to risk losing their jobs." Dan Dozier's wife is a teacher at Goodpasture. She can probably find a congregation as liberal as the Community Church which does not have instrumental music--yet.
Bill Ruhl who is President of Goodpasture School declared, "I really don't know whether that Church is instrumental or not." We also learn that, "The Goodpasture football coach, David Martin, was a charter member of Community Church, but now he and his wife are looking for another Church of Christ to attend." "I'm uncomfortable with it (instrumental music) in the assembly," Martin said, referring to Sunday morning worship time.
The crux of the matter is seen in that, "most Communtiy members reportedly see the music issue as a 'nonissue'." "Weeks ago, according to some Community Church of Christ members, shepherds there announced to the congregation that the music question is not a 'salvation' issue, so its not important if the church adds instrumental music on occassion." For those who have kept their heads out of the sand, that same drivel was presented by the old liberals in days gone by. They tried to justlfy the use of mechanical music in worship by having a very few debates. They saw that such was a failure, so they began to whine that I.M. was not a salvation issue. Read from old J. B. Briney Issac Errett, et.al. They ran like wild turkeys rather than try to defend their practice.
Editor Waddle writes, "That raises the question whether Community Church will remain in the fellowship." With the exception of such characters as Harold Hazelip, Carl McKelvy, and Steve Flatt of Lipscomb and a few other far-out-liberals. I really didn't know there was any fellowship existing. It is my sincere opinion that the above Lipscomb men will fellowship the very devil himself if there is a popular setting.
In his next yearbook of Churches of Christ, Mac Lynn "...has no plans to exclude Community Church of Christ from next year's edition." Perhaps Lynn will also include all the Christian Churches in his book. Why not?
The affinity and fellowship tendered the Community Church with its blatant liberalism by Lipscomb professors is sickening, disgusting, and heart-breaking. Such is completely and totally contrary to the aims and purposes of the founders of Lipscomb. How any person with a good conscience can tolerate a liberal element at Lipscomb is beyond my comprehension. But of course to me, liberals never make any sense.
We wonder how Maury Buchanan learned that Instrumental Music is not a salvation issue. Is sprinling water on little babies a salvation issue? Is burning incense, counting beads and praying to Mary, salvation issues? These things can be found in the same verse as Buchanans mechanical music.
Let Buchanan and his Lipscomb buddies give us a list of things which are not salvation issues. A specious ploy of the liberals is to introduce some fool notion and then declare that the innovation is not a salvation issue. The Unitarians can run circles around the liberals in the Community Church when it comes to denying the inspired Word of God. The latest craze among the Digressive, Christian Church, and which has been copied by the liberal element is to burp that I.M. is not a salvation issue. We will never learn how these fellows got so smart.
> --Wayne Coats, Editor
The "University Church of Christ Youth Ministry" in Denver produces the musical, Fiddler on The Roof. A "Youth Rally" in Shamrock, Texas features "SALT, a drama group made up of high school students." Another "youth rally" in Borger, Texas advertises "the dynamic drama group 'Colors of Christ' from Oklahoma Christian," and the Arvada church in Denver presents the musical drama, A Time to Stand, "written by Jeff Walling and orchestrated by Randy Gill." This is a small sample of what brother Wayne Coats styles "fermented ignorance" of brethren traveling the broad way that leads to hell. Crying that we "must do something for our young people," elders and parents have turned their responsibilities over to wet-be-hind-the-ears "youth ministers" whose highest aim is to stroke egos, provoke emotional outbursts and, sow "food, fun and fellowship" across the land.
Few people, in or out of the church, realize that drama had its roots in pagan religion, debauchery and sexual perversion and retains much of that influence today. As a former drama student and actor, I know whereof I speak. Modem drama is the result of a process that began in ancient Greece as a festival honoring Dionysius, the god of fertility and wine, whom the Romans called Bacchus.
Among all the Gr. deities none appealed more vividly to the imagination than Dionysius. Gr. tragedy is a form of worship, the ritual cult of the god of wine, who makes the initiate wise and the ungodly mad... There is nothing monotonous about the Dyonasiac legend... All the passion plays of the world (even the Oberammergau Schauspiel) are in the ancient spirit... The vine was not the only manifestation of the god -- oil and wheat were also his; he was the god of ecstasy, the giver of physical joy and excitement, the god of life, the god of certain laws of Nature, germination and extinction, the external coming into being and the dying away of all things that are, fructation in its widest aspect whether in the bursting of the seed-grain that lies intreasured in the earth, or in the generation of living creatures. Hence the prominence given to the phallus in the solemn processions in honor of the god. ("Dionysius," International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 850)
The festival was characterized by sexual perversion, drunkenness, the loosing of moral inhibitions and public display of the same. From this, came the drama and Greek theater was borrowed and somewhat modified by the Romans--an instance of the militarily conquered becoming the cultural conquerors. Ironically, the Greeks emphasized the words of drama, while the Romans preferred the sight or spectacle, but the Latin word auditorium means, "the hearing place," while the Greek theatron means "the seeing place." While drama in both Greece and Rome was characterized by an absence of moral restraint, the Romans took its amorality to a logical brutal end by torturing and killing participants for the spectators' entertainment.
In Elizabethan England, where drama was still characterized by debauchery of the worst sort, the government declared actors to be vagabonds. It wasn't until the 1890s that acting gained a modicum of respectability. That resulted from the invention of the motion picture and its subsequent rise as a popular art form. But the business of drama itself remains morally corrupt.
Sodomy is an accepted "lifestyle" among actors and others in theater and film. Participants in the Oscar and Tony awards ceremonies wear red ribbons ostensibly to symbolize their support of AIDS research. The real symbolism of the red ribbons is their support of and plea for public acceptance of sodomy as an "alternative lifestyle," because so many of their own are sodomites through whom AIDS was introduced to the world. Sodomites constitute a veritable "Who's Who" in the entertainment world, among whom were such luminaries as Rock Hudson, Montgomery Clift, and Charles Laughton. A discipline without morality, drama attracts egocentrists who willingly sacrifice societal restraints for their "art." Nothing much has changed in 4,000 years.
> In their festering, "fermented ignorance," parents, elders, preachers and "youth ministers" think they've discovered something new in drama. Calling it an "outreach," they tell us it's just another way to communicate the gospel. With theater so widespread in the Roman Empire, one would think the apostles would have been aware of drama's "great value" in communicating the gospel. It was in a massive theater in Ephesus where a multitude of pagans shouted, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians," for a period of two hours in opposition to Paul's preaching (Acts 19:24-34). Herod the Great built a theater and amphitheater near Jerusalem and historians say "no provincial city of any importance" was without a theater (ISBE, Vol. 2, p.1171). Roman emperors regularly spilled the blood of gladiators and political enemies in spectacles at the Coliseum and one emperor even filled it with water and staged a naval battle for the audience. No public entertainment was more popular than drama in the first century, but neither precept, example, nor inference that the apostles used it can be found in the New Testament. It came from paganism, it belongs to the world, and there is no authority whatsoever for its use.
The gospel is communicated through preaching, (Rom. 1:15-17; 2 Tim. 2:2; 4:1-4). The Lord charged his apostles to, "Go...into all the world and preach the gospel..." (Mark 16:15), not "Go into all the world, perform and entertain."
Brethren, the world is lost in sin and is steeped in the love of pleasure. The world cannot be saved by entertainment, by 'playing' them in. The world must be taught the gospel (Romans 1:16). God has chosen the "foolishness of preaching" as the means by which the world can be saved (1 Corinthians 1:21); he has not chosen 'plays' and other forms of entertainment to convert the world. Entertainment is not going to keep the church saved either. What is needed in the church is "all the counsel of God" (Acts 20:27)... We, need to stop 'playing' and return to 'preaching.' (Lester Kamp, "And They Rose Up to Play," Matters of The Faith, Vol. 4, No. 3, October-December, 1998, p.3).
Drama is an added element to worship as surely as the mechanical musical instrument. Rooted in the licentiousness of pagan religion, it serves the self-interest of audience and participants, has no saving power, exalts the messenger instead of the message, takes Christ from the cross and, like the soldiers in the common hall, treats Him as a buffoon instead of the Lamb of God.
308 South Oklahoma
Elk City, OK 73844
The "American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language" defines the verb form of the word change as "to cause to be different; to exchange for or replace with another; to lay aside, abandon, or leave for another." The noun form of the word from the same source means "the act, process, or result of altering or modifying; the replacing of one thing for another; substitution; a transformation or transition from one state, condition, or phase to another; something different."
In our own personal lives none of us like change. Most of us are "set in our ways", and will resist every attempt to get us to do anything different or try new things. Many will go through their whole life and never vary from their set routine of doing things. We like order, and will strictly enforce this order in our own lives. However, many who will resist change in their personal lives are the very ones who are trying to CHANGE the Lord's church. They are trying to make the church different, and are replacing the doctrinally sound fundamental issues of the church with ideas and opinions of men. They have abandoned the Word of our Lord, or else have replaced it with a watered down liberal version of the true Word. Due to the efforts of these proponents of Change, a transition is taking place in many congregations of the Lord's body. This transition is taking many congregations further and further away from that first century church we can read about in God's inspired Word. Let's look at some of the issues that many are trying to Change in the church.
God's approved plan of salvation is being Changed. My Bible, the inspired Word of God, tells me that all men MUST hear the true Word of God (Rom. 10:17) and once they have heard the truth, they MUST believe that Word (John 8:24; Heb. 11:6). Then when they have believed the Word, they MUST repent of their sins (Luke 13:3), and then they MUST confess Christ as Lord (Rom. 10:9-17; Matt. 10:32,33). Then finally the person MUST be baptized in the name of Christ for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; Mark 16:16; Acts 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21). This is God's plan according to the Book, but many of my brethren are making Changes in this plan. They are substituting denominational baptism for true baptism into the one Body, and are telling people they are safe with this. Many are leaving the actual confession before men out of the plan all together, and stating that when you walk down the aisle, that is your confession of faith. But saddest of all is the fact that many are advocating that baptism washes away all sins, and that you can go back into the adulterous relationship without changing anything because your sins have been washed away. These changes in God's plan have caused many to believe they are saved when in reality they are not.
God's approved plan for worship is being Changed. God tells us that all men must worship Him "in Spirit and in Truth." This is worship with the right attitude of heart based on the true Word of God. Included in the pattern God has given us for approved worship, we find we must preach/teach the truth (Acts 2:42; 20:7); we must sing praises to God (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16); we must offer up prayers (Acts 2:42); we must give of our means (1 Cor. 16:1,2; 2 Cor. 9:7); and we must partake of the Lord's Supper (1 Cor. 16:2; Acts 2:42; 20:7). However, to be more appealing to the masses, the proponents of Change have advocated that we do different than that which is approved. They are advocating that we substitute clapping, humming, or verbal noises for singing. They are also advocating that singing does not really limit us only to vocal music, but to be "more pleasing" to God we need to add instruments to our singing to get it to sound better. No longer is congregational singing pleasing, but now due to Change we have choruses, choirs, and solos in the church of our Lord. Worship that was once done to the glory of the Father, in reverence and godly fear, is now done with shouting, clapping, laughing, and is merely entertainment instead of worship.
God's approved plan of leadership is being Changed. God has dictated that the church is to have Christ as its head (Eph. 5:23), with men who are qualified to oversee the church in the office of elders, and other men to serve as deacons for the purpose of ministering to the needs of the church. The qualifications of these men are found in 1 Timothy 3 and also in Titus 1, and men who lead the church in this capacity must meet all of the qualifications to be acceptable to God. But again we see changes being made in the leadership role. Men with no children, or the husband of more than one wife (without scriptural basis), or men who can't or won't teach, or men who hardly ever attend the services, or whose influence is tarnished is being installed in the position of an elder, and then congregations wonder why they are having problems. Also, we are seeing more and more congregations delegating leadership roles to women, and anyone who has any Bible knowledge at all knows that this is NOT approved by God.
And finally, God's approved plan of fellowship is being Changed. God has told us who we are to fellowship; those of like precious faith (2 Peter 1:1; 2 Cor. 6:14). He has told us who to avoid; the world and those of the world (Rom. 12:2; 1 John 2:15). He has also told us how to walk; in the light, staying away from the unfruitful works of darkness (1 John 1:5-7; Eph. 5:11). Apparently though, the proponents of Change have either not read God's word thoroughly enough on the issue of fellowship, or else they are ignoring what He has had to say on this issue. We see "brethren" who are now advocating that we can fellowship those of the denominational world because there are good "Christians" in all religions. We also see men who profess to be gospel preachers "swapping" pulpits with those of the denominational world, and even inviting these people to speak at different lectureships. Many are advocating that we extend "the right hand of fellowship" to all those who profess to be Christians because we will all end up at the same place, we are just taking different roads to get there. How sad!
Brethren and friends, in some areas of our life, change is good, but in the area of our spiritual well being, change can be deadly. God has told us what to do to be saved. He has told us how to worship. He has set the leadership roles for the church. And, He has told us who we can fellowship. Now, if we try to replace His instructions with those of our own, or if we substitute something that will make the church different or alter it in any way, then on the day of judgment we will die the second death, and be lost for eternity. Please consider Proverbs 24:21, "My son, fear thou the Lord and the king; and meddle not with them that are given to change." Now if you are guilty of trying to Change the church or are worshipping in a church that has been changed, won't you repent before it is eternally to late!
Danny L. Box
10985 Country Haven
Cottondale, AL 35453
Keith A. Mosher, Sr.
By "cultism" here is meant emotionalism or pietism. Congregations of the Lord's church are given to testifying, tongue speaking, shouting, hand-clapping, candle-lighting, healing, and various other radicalisms as evidenced by the messages read in church bulletins and the reports from faithful brethren. This writer is personally aware of a testifying congregation as far back as 1969. Why is there such an upsurge in these activities? Several reasons come to mind.
First, as a student of one of "our" graduate schools, I am an eyewitness to the fact that many professors believe and teach a personal, literal leading of the Holy Spirit (while at the same time denying verbal inspiration of the scriptures). Once a student is convinced that the Holy Spirit "moves the student's bones" (as one put it to me), then the student is ready to accept any activity in religion whether authorized by the Bible or not! Too, our children are being taught in classrooms and chapel services by rank false teachers who have no respect for God's Word. One "youth preacher" conducted a "wedding ceremony" for a large group of young people in which the preacher "married" the audience to Jesus! He had all stand and say, "I...take you Jesus to be my lawfully wedded husband," etc! To make matters worse, the preacher then extended an invitation. If the young people were already married to Jesus, why did they need baptism? This is just one small example among the many to show the length to which too many go to stir up an audience.
In the second place, many Christians are so worldly that they can not imagine a worship, or youth day, or whatever without whoopee. Noise and numbers are the themes today. Entertainment is the goal and a few good hymns, a prayer, and a sound sermon are too boring for the many. I remember speaking at the local academy (Christian supposedly) and being booed because I suggested that a Christian could be popular without going to dances and such like. I also remember writing an article against the obscene rock-music group KISS and having an anonymous Christian(?) mother write me a blistering note for trying to take away "good, clean fun" from her darling teenagers!
In the third place, church leaders are in place in numerous congregations which leaders are lacking in an essential ingredient--a backbone. Witness the program, "Lasses to Leaderettes" championed in some places. Where does the Bible teach that girls are to be trained to be church leaders? But, if some good old boy in the congregation likes such programs, the leader will go along to keep peace.
In the fourth place, it has become easier to entertain than to teach because most of the members of the Lord's church do not know enough Bible to instruct anyone. I have heard the expression, "I don't see anything wrong" so much in recent years that I am convinced that most of our people are suffering from spiritual glaucoma. There are choirs, soloists, instruments (even vocal), and a host of other violations of God's instructions. And, as clear as the Bible is on these matters, still folks say they see nothing wrong. The church needs her "senses exercised to discern good and evil" (Heb. 5:12-14).
In the fifth place, relativism (there are no absolutes) is taught by and in every segment of American society. Public education is much at fault here for teaching a do-your-own-thing mentality. Young people in our congregations very often place little or no value in a right versus wrong lifestyle. Preachers, afraid they will lose their jobs, perpetuate this erroneous thinking by side stepping doctrine and by proclaiming feel-good sermons. Churches are being taught that there are Christians in denominations and relativistic denominations are teaching that all are going to heaven by "different roads!" In fact, relativism is so rampant that almost anything goes in worship and life. Church members social drink, dance, smoke, swear, watch obscene television shows, demand excitement in worship, gamble, etcetera and few seem to ask or care about biblical teaching on such matters (cf. Eph. 5:11).
In other words, the reason that cultism is
spreading like wild fire through the church is that too
many members are carnally minded and not given to
spirituality. The church needs a revival beginning with
repentance for being so worldly and for not caring
what the Bible teaches nor what God commands.
Overcoming adversity is part of the human predicament, therefore to confront adversity and/or trials of any description is a spiritual exercise that will separate the weak from the strong. Following the death of my beloved mother, this writer was struck with a debilitating disease called multiple sclerosis. Normalcy of fife was suddenly over as I knew it. Thirty years as a gospel preacher had now come to a halt, and if that were not enough, the death of my beautiful daughter via an automobile accident was a crushing blow. Some Christians feel they are automatically immunized from adversity of any kind. Some have said "all these trials and hardships show that God is not really there." Paul informed the Thessalonian Christians of this fundamental matter, "...for yourselves know that hereunto we are appointed" (1 Thess. 3:3; 1 Tim. 3:12). Since the beginning of time the heroes of faith have always dealt with adversity including: Abraham, Moses, Daniel, Peter, Paul, and etc. Beloved, are we any better than the aforementioned heroes? Certainly not! We must not be immersed in self-pity or feel sorry for ourselves when confronted with adversity.
Those of us who have been thrust into the lions den of adversity must come to grip with it, and face it head-on. The apostle Paul declared, "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good" (Rom. 12:21). Overcoming the trials and tribulations of life means we place our ultimate trust in God. "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding" (Prov. 3:5). This asserts that we will depend upon God through prayer (James 5:16). Daily praying and trusting in our eternal God in heaven will help immeasurably, coupled with a rich perusal of God's word (Psa. 119:105; Heb. 4:12). We must not underestimate the power resource that is available to us. Other than the aforementioned tools, we must never forget the strength that is derived through family, friends, and brethren. We must utilize these things if we would overcome adversity.
Overcoming adversity comes with positive blessings. Persevering and enduring hardships will bring patience. Job, who faced adversity that we can only imagine, was a faithful patriarch that would not be sidetracked when hardships appeared at his door. We must emulate the great Job and refuse to let adversity swallow us like Jonah. Furthermore, overcoming adversity will give us a closer relationship to God that will ultimately lead us to that heavenly home (John 14:1-3). Friend, we all face hardships and tribulations of various descriptions, therefore giving up and abandoning God is no answer. Overcoming adversity with good is the best policy. Let us persevere together as we fight the good fight of the faith. (2 Tim. 6:12).
A copy of a newspaper ad from Cookeville, Tenn. announces that Acappella, "... will present a concert at Cookeville First Baptist Church." This is the group that originated in Paris, Tenn. and split off from the faithful church in Paris. The liberals and sects use Acappella all over the nation. Why some brethren will bid Godspeed to this group is absurd. The Acappella group will give their concert at First Baptist on a Sunday at 6 P.M. Do you think Cookeville really cares? To say anything about any heretics is to raise the dander of many among the playboy gawkers. Good shepherds will warn the sheep instead of encouraging them to hop-nob with wolves. "There's a sad day coming."
The morning passed too swiftly as I conversed with brother "Brad" Bradshaw of Atlanta, Ga., who had stopped by on Saturday for a visit. Brother Bradshaw is the son of Sister Joanne Powers Bradshaw who along with her family are contributing a sizable amount of money to construct a library at the Memphis School of Preaching in memory of Brother N. B. Hardeman. Sister Bradshaw is the granddaughter of our late beloved brother Hardeman and the daughter of Sister Mary Nelle Powers who taught Preacher's Grammar at F.H.C. for many years. We are certain that many of the Plumbline readers will want to contribute to the Library Fund. The address is: Memphis School of Preaching, 3950 Forest Hill Road, Memphis, TN, 38125.
In our conversation brother Bradshaw made the statement, "So many people just do not care." This with respect to the "Conservative Cleansing" by the Liberals. We know exactly what happens when a society, state, or church becomes self-satisfied. Ruin has already set in when such conditions prevail. If and when we are satisfied to exist in a state of ignorance it is certain that "...the Prince of the power of the air" will show his strength.
One of the questions asked by brother Bradshaw had to do with the future outlook for the church. "Will there be such a pronounced division as developed in 1906?"
My prediction: There will not be a wholesale split as was true when the digressive liberals stole everything they could. At least the division will not be so pronounced for many years...if time continues.
I predict that the liberals and modernists will bask comfortably in the fact that the Universities and large congregations have for the most part, been swallowed up, while "so many just do not care." As long as the liberal elements will be allowed to persist in their diabolical efforts, they will continue to do so. There will be no halting until they have gained control of everything they like and or want.
In the meantime, many of the far-out liberal congregations will be turned into Community Churches, God's Family, or Social entities. This will not happen overnight. The Community Church or Family of God will continue to compass land and sea to proselyte making their followers, "two-fold more the child of hell than themselves" (Matt. 13:15).
The liberals in years gone by would tell faithful brethren, "We no longer need you, go find another place." When we see people act in such a low-down manner, we wonder what has happened to their conscience. I am not sure that another S.D.N. North sits in Washington to question the divided state of affairs as was done long years ago. I predict with the passing of time it will be the small rural church of Christ and its enemy, the large Community Church. I may not live long enough to see such an open split, but the breach will get wider for certain.
The readers will please take note of the article (included on page 6 in this issue) titled, "Overcoming Adversity," by brother Bob Spurlin. It would be a thankworthy gesture if all our readers would send brother Spurlin a letter, card or note. Confinement for 24 hours each day is disturbing. Our brother is barely able to feed himself. One of your best efforts should include a card to Bob Spurlin, 122 Brooks Lane, Somerville, AL 35670, ph. 1-256-778-8020. As Brad Bradshaw said, "People just don't really care." Are we of that number? Four walls can become discouraging to the infirmed.
Brethren I plead with each of you, if you can in good conscience, join with me and others in trying to increase our subscriptions to the Plumbline. Anything worthwhile takes effort and if there ever was a time when we need to increase our efforts, it is now. If there is no place and time for the paper, then obviously it needs to cease and desist. If there is a need for the paper, then it deserves support. We do not speak of monetary support, but moral and subscription support.
A long time ago the King of Israel said, "Know ye that Ramoth in Gilead is ours, and we be still, and take it not out of the hand of the King of Syria." Pardon me, but I am deeply disturbed over the apathy and attitude which seems to be so prevalent and expresses itself in--"We be still and take it not." It is so cozy and convenient to just be still. How to arrest the attention of the apathetic is a serious problem.
According to the convictions of the framers of the Constitution of Tennessee, "ministers of the gospel are, by their profession, dedicated to God and the care of souls, and ought not to be diverted from the great duties of their functions." Article IX, Section I, Tennessee Constitution.
We are not in any danger of the State diverting ministers of the gospel from their duties but we are deeply concerned about ministers diverting themselves from God and the care of souls. To Timothy Paul wrote, "Make full proof of thy ministry" (2 Tim. 4:5). I realize that some diversion is needed for brethren who work hard as soldiers of Christ. Jesus said, "Come ye apart into a desert place and rest awhile" (Mark 6:31). Deep dedication to God and concern for souls taxes ones strength and energy. Again our Lord declared, "I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day; the night cometh when no man can work" (John 8:4). The dark night of death is approaching.
Twice within recent weeks I received in my mail box, a number of Plumbline papers without any address or mark of any kind on them. These papers are returned to the Plumbline address. My guess is that the printer mailer has sent out some bundles and they get ripped apart. Is it expecting too much of some postal employees to exercise care in handling packages. Their excuse is that they handle so many. That settles the matter. I mailed several books to a congregation and the books never arrived. I tried my best to get somebody to search for those books. They never were found. I was dealing with some sapheads who really did not care. I found that word "saphead" in a old issue of the Gospel Advocate.
Please help us increase our subscriptions.
When Paul wrote to the church members at Corinth, he warned them thusly, "Lest Satan should get an advantage of us, for we are not ignorant of his devices" (2 Cor. 2:11). Was it important for Paul to know about the devices, schemes, tricks and efforts of the devil? Was it important for him to make the brethren aware that the devil would use various plans, contrivances, stratagems, plots, inventions, concoctions, and conspiracies to hinder the Lord's work?
We have a few sound papers which are published by good brethren whose spirit and aim is to oppose and expose the devil's advocate. There seems to be an incessant blather upon the part of a few timid souls who write, "Please remove my name from your subscription list." Of course we sadly oblige. It hurts me deeply to realize that anyone would be averse to know what is happening to the Bride of Christ.
As I write this short paragraph there is a terrible situation over in the Balkans. You know how much effort has been expended in order to know all about the Serb efforts. Do you think our officials are content to bask in blissful ignorance? They are not ignorant of the devices of the enemy.
To me it is the sin of ignorance, fermented and costly, for Christian people to be pacifists. One young preacher said he didn't want to have anything to do with controversy. Do we actually derive such foolishness when we carefully and prayerfully study the Bible? The fellow who only glances at the Bible in order to get up some sort of limpid sermon (perhaps a copy from others) will run away from controversy. Anyone with good sense should know that Jesus the Christ, as well as the Apostles, never at any time refused to be involved in controversy. Consider all those enemies which raised their ugly heads and how they were met by faithful soldiers of Christ. To the Ephesian brethren Paul wrote, "Neither give place to the devil" (Eph. 4:27).
Paul spoke of false brethren and he declared, "to whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you" (Gal. 2:5).
Those early disciples were of better material than
to run away from controversy. May God help those
timid, indecisive, unstable, vacillating, fickle, weak,
faltering, feeble, soft, fainthearted, folks who refuse to
know about the devices of the devil. If and when the
devil starts walking about, I certainly want to know
which way he travels, so keep my name on your
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