PLUMBLINE -- Editor, Wayne Coats

Vol. 4 No. 1,    August 1999


Extra space is being given to the article by brother J. E. Choate because what he writes needs to be known by brethren. The course being followed by Lipscomb University as well as others is a travesty, a disgrace, and a dirty shame. Brother Choate and I do our home-work. We do not choose to go off half-cocked. There are still brethren who desire the facts and this we intend to present.

The thing which needs to be done is to disprove the matters presented rather than hang down the lip and pout like a toddler. As students obsessed with historical events connected with the Restoration movement and its subsequent departures into digression, J. E. Choate and I know full-well how the sorry influence of the schools were the culprits leading the church into the quagmire of digression.

I have in my library all the copies of the Gospel Advocate, the Firm Foundation, the Christian Standard, the Christian Leader, the American Christian Review and the Way. My days, weeks and months are spent reading, researching and gathering data from the old periodicals. Those were days when brethren had something to say rather than being impelled to say something.

We have a few smatters who seem to feel that their job is to rewrite history and I am convinced that they really think all they have to do is write out a few lines and dummies will accept whatever is written. For the masses, the day of proving all things has passed with a previous generation.

--Wayne Coats, Editor

Consistency: The Jewel In The Crown

J. E. Choate

Herman Norton, distinguished Vanderbilt professor and Restoration historian wrote in his book Tennessee Christians (1971): that "If a definite date is needed to specify the time of the division within the Christian Church in Tennessee, October 6 and 26, 1890 must be considered." The first date marked the founding of the Tennessee Christian Missionary Society. No Organized societies and conventions had been a bone of contention among the Disciples dating from the establishment of the American Christian Missionary Society in 1848.

What Dr. Norton said in 1971 should be thought of as a primary fault line foretelling the major earthquake which tore apart the Christian Church following 1968.

The [Independents] chose the status of unqualified autonomy for the local Christian Churches. The liberal Disciples chose the corporate structure of a central controlled denomination. The 1968 Restructure was planned and wrought in bitterness. Where once there had been two churches listed in the 1906 religious census, now there are three polarized Restoration fellowships. Since the 1968 Federal Religious Census, the churches are listed in three separate categories with zero fraternal ties: Christian Church and Church of Christ [Independents]; and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ [the Restructured denomination]; and the Churches of Christ.


And if a definite date is needed to specify the time when this division got underway, in my personal judgment, the time has to be September 10, 1973.

It was on that date when interested brethren from across the country met in Memphis, TN because they were seriously questioning the integrity of the Herald of Truth under the management of the Fifth and Highland church elders in Abilene, TX.

Elders, preachers, and church members were disturbed by the rumors coming out of Abilene. The firing of E. R. Harper, a good and great man, by the Abilene church was troubling because no reasons were given outside the fact that the Abilene church elders were in charge of the Herald of Truth TV and radio.

Before the 1968 Restructure was completed, local Christian Churches pulled away from the liberal Disciples in droves. They now have great cause for regret. They relinquished all claims to a very large part of the Christian Church fellowship. Today, the Disciples of Christ are suffering the largest decline in membership of all American denominations.

We are now observing the creation of another such denomination under the management of a new generation of change agents. These new Willow Creek-like churches are springing up all over the nation by brethren who think they have church growth all figured out.

The Memphis meeting had not been planned. The Herald of Truth program outside the "anti" element was generously supported by numerous churches across the country. Brother Elkins stated that there were persistent reports that the charismatic movement had made inroads into the Herald of Truth TV program, and also because of the non-distinctive nature of the "Heartbeat" radio program.

The whole matter started with an exuberant statement from the then young Lynn Anderson, Fifth and Highland pulpit minister. In a thoughtless moment he pronounced the traditional churches of Christ to be a big sick denomination. In a Wineskins article of recent vintage Dr. Anderson wants it made known that what he said twenty six years ago that he has not changed his mind.



And in my personal judgment as a Restoration historian, leading Nashville brethren mutually agreed with a thundering silence on the evening of September 26, 1997 on the Lipscomb campus that the neo-modern Church of Christ must be now thought of as one more American Protestant denomination.

Richard T. Hughes was invited by the Disciples of Christ Historical Society to deliver the annual Forrest F. Reed lecture. The event was hosted on the Lipscomb University campus as one of the major events celebrating the elevation of Stephen F. Flatt to the university presidency.

Richard T. Hughes spent the better part of two hours in two evenings arguing that the churches of Christ today constitute a recognizable denomination with all the identifying marks as such. Members of the Lipscomb administration and faculty were in charge of the proceedings. I took note of the presence of the Gospel Advocate, and 21st Christian Century people. Not a single one of these brethren present made a public statement then nor have since to repudiate the contentions of Richard Hughes. Are we of the traditional churches of Christ, with identical credentials, such "idiots" that we do not know better? And of all people, why does President Flatt maintain a persistent silence on the matter? Dr. Flatt goes out of his way to assure Lipscomb patrons and students that the school still stands today as in the days when David Lipscomb was alive. Verbal nonsense!


The forced resignation of Doug Varnado from the Lipscomb Bible faculty has now made its way throughout the brotherhood. Varnado was compelled to leave the Lipscomb faculty. He had no idea that this was his time to go. Doug was planning as the senior minister of the Hendersonville Community Church to install instrumental music in the weekly worship of the church.

Obviously the ruling does not apply to faculty who worship part time with organ churches, or churches which occasionally use instruments of music in worship as in the case of such fellowships as the Otter Creek and Woodmont Hills churches where a very large number of Lipscomb faculty hold membership.

For the life of me, how is it that Steve Flatt teaches a university Bible class with a brother who worships six months a year with an organ church in England? Dr. Varnado perhaps mistakenly labored under the notion that since the same thing was being done by others from the Lipscomb campus that he had the license to do the same in the church where he preaches.

The Lipscomb University choral ensemble performs presentational hymnal singing off campus with organ music in non-Church of Christ settings. Instrumental music accompanied the singing of the invitation hymn in the last evening session of Jubilee '97 with Jeff Walling in charge. President Flatt praised Jeff Walling in the presence of a youth group in Smyrna, TN, later in the year.

Harold Hazelip and Carl McKelvey have been guest speakers for this break-away renegade community church. After Dr. Flatt was installed as the new Lipscomb president, he accepted an invitation to speak in a special series of church services at Dr. Varnado's Community church.

Brother Varnado believed that he was secure in a "safe house" guarded by the president and sympathetic Lipscomb faculty colleagues. Dr. Varnado will not accept the role of a "scape goat," and go quietly into the night.

Lipscomb blood descendants have a stake and say in these matters. A hundred years of Lipscomb school traditions are chiseled in black and white in founding documents and files of the Gospel Advocate publications, and numerous other places. The charter and the Lipscomb farm deeds are clear in the specificity that all members of the board and faculty shall be members of the Church of Christ, or they shall leave or be dismissed.

The clearest documentation for one violation is that daily Bible courses are not taught on a daily basis like other university subjects despite the wording in the current academic catalog. It is conceivable that one day the university could be paying high rent to the blood heirs of David Lipscomb for abandoning the principals set forth in the founders' documents. And they talk about "Steve turning things around at Lipscomb." President Flatt has no more authority to alter the wording of the founding documents than the president of the freshman class.

It would take one board meeting with a special directive for the president to tell the faculty members, that if any individual can no longer subscribe to the founder's intent established by corporate law that he shall leave the school, or that he will be removed from his position.

What Doug Varnado should have done was to leave the school as Harris Dark did years ago because of deep seated convictions which ran counter to the president and board. At the time he said that he would not create any problem for David Lipscomb College.

Why was Doug Varnado singled out for dismissal? The faculty and administration are loaded with faculty who defend the practices which caused Varnado's dismissal. You will locate these brothers and sisters in the Harpeth Hills, Otter Creek, and Brentwood Hills churches, and in Dr. Shelly's church. And, they make no bones about the fact.

What did the Community Church shepherds have in mind when they engaged in a exercise of futility to go public with the Varnado matter? And who is this Kansas City like prophet, Ron Cook, and what are his credentials? He tells us that the next generational Churches of Christ will worship to the sound of instrumental music.

I believed at the time of Stephen F. Flatt's appointment to the Lipscomb presidency that he possessed the potentials to succeed. I expressed my concern in a letter to a board member, and in a letter to Steve Flatt. He makes no claim to be a "Renaissance man," a Bible scholar, or church historian. An effective president, however, must recognize these talents in others in making appointments and seeking counsel. Dr. Flatt makes very flawed judgments, in my opinion in this area.

One board meeting stopped the former President Emeritus from watering down the wording of purpose of the institution. Furthermore, the board scuttled the CEO's plans to do away with daily Bible and daily chapel.

President Flatt has succeeded in altering in a technical wording the daily teaching of the Bible to all enrolled students. This is set forth in the current university catalog. Two chapel sessions will serve as a time when the Bible will be taught to joint chapels. The catalog says this was an early practice of the school. This is not true. I am convinced that Dr. Flatt means well, but he just does not know what has come down Granny White Pike.

Let us pressure Steve and pray that our Lipscomb president will open his eyes and see that those are not trees walking out there but misguided "change agents." He has too much going for him to blind his eyes to reality. Steve wants to be loved as most of us do. But what do we do when we come to the fork in the roads?

"A false consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." AMEN.

The Changeable And The Unchangeable


Change can be either good or bad depending on the realm in which it is made. In certain prescribed areas biblically, freedom of change is permitted; in other areas it is not permitted without the condemnation of inspiration. This distinction must be made or laws will be made where God did not make any.


Inspired wisdom has left so many things in the realms of human judgment, expediency, incidentals, and indifference where changes are allowed. This means that they are secondary in importance, but are associated with something more important. Examples are numerous. Inspiration has not set the time for the observance of the Lord's Supper on the Lord's Day. Where people are to be baptized has not been legislated by inspiration or what type of water to use. Whether to eat meats or vegetables is a matter of individual conscience (Rom. 14; 1 Cor. 8:4ff). Love for the weaker brother must be the determining factor.

Expedients are permitted when they do not violate the Scriptures. Song books are expedients -- they assist in doing the very thing authorized -- SINGING. The same thing is true of pitch forks and pitch pipes -- they aid in doing the very thing commanded. They are no more a part of the worship than turning the pages in the song book after the leader had announced the page number. Pews are expedients -- they help us to worship. A baptistery is an expedient -- an aid, and not an addition, in doing what God commanded. So is a church building.

All of the above and many other areas, are changeable if good judgment dictates and expedites doing what is commanded, but we must not make laws in these areas that have been left to human judgment (1 Peter 4:11). Binding where God has not bound has been a major source of division in the Lord's church.


In the realm of faith (where God has spoken clearly in unambiguous language) changes are not permitted without divine disapproval. Matters of faith are determined by a direct command (Acts 2:38; 10:48) or an affirmative statement (Mark 16:16), an approved apostolic example (Acts 20:7), or a necessary inference (Heb. 10:25). "When God said a thing, issued a command, left an approved example or gave a necessary inference, there is no room for opinions and speculations. This is the way it is and we dare not doubt it, deny it, circumvent it, or in any way change it. 'For the Lord has spoken'." (Guy Caskey).

What the Bible prescribes in the realm of faith cannot be changed with divine approval. Hence, the many warnings against changing the word of God (2 John 9-11; Gal. 1:8.9; Rev. 22:18,19; 2 Tim. 4:2). The structure and worship of the church cannot be changed by divine sanction. Women leaders, human heads, intercongregational machinery (conferences, synods, associations, dioceses), the single pastor systems, and spectator worship all exist by human authority, not by divine authority. Most of the so-called contemporary worship is nothing more than exhibitionism -- worship directed to the audience rather than to God. Hand-clapping, group singing, lifting hands, humming in worship all fall into this category. Anything not divinely authorized renders worship vain (Matt. 15:9).

Changes in the divine law of pardon authorized in the accounts of the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15,16; Luke 24:45-47) and the book of Acts are unchangeable divine law. According to the divine order, there is no salvation from past sins before scriptural baptism and its scriptural pre-requisites (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16). God's plan must be followed in due order (cf. 1 Chronicles 15:13).

The Lord's church is passing through another one of those cycles when efforts are being made to introduce compromising changes with the denominational world. We are not the only generation who experienced such. May God help us to join hands with the faithful remnant of the past to save another remnant from apostasy.

W. Douglass Harris

1613 19th Ave., S.W.

Decatur, AL 35601

"Rubel Why Repent?"

This writer first met Rubel Shelly in nineteen sixty-nine in Memphis, TN, while he was doing local work for the Getwell Road church of Christ. He had a weekly radio broadcast in Memphis entitled, "The Truth in Love" program. He was very effective preaching the old Jerusalem gospel as untold good was accomplished. Scores upon scores of these radio transcripts were mailed to those requesting them. This writer was a young preacher student who was aided by the work of brother Shelly. During this period, brother Shelly published many wonderful books that were extremely helpful to young preachers and Christian people generally. He wrote a terrific book on the threat of liberalism, which is a valuable volume in my library. The truths lodged in this book thoroughly destroys every menace that liberalism brings. Our brother, unfortunately, has disavowed the eternal truths of God which he once championed and defended.

Why would Rubel "repent" of these fundamental truths? Through the passing of time, brother Shelly digressed from the faith, culminating with his lecture at Centerville, TN. His "coming out speech" at Centerville (1983) was the occasion when he "repented" of what he had preached previously. Rubel was truly a bright and gifted preacher in our fellowship. Once, this writer heard brother Shelly referred to as the "Alexander Campbell" or "John the Baptist" of the twentieth century. This writer believes that setting one on that kind of pedestal is a serious error, leading to pride, snobbery and arrogance. Our delinquent brother, vaunted up with pride, has taken a great fall (Prov. 16:18). Most Gospel preachers in our fellowship are cognizant of the chronology that brought this fine man from eloquent preacher, writer, and defender of the faith, to one that totally rejected the basic tenets of the doctrine of Christ (Jude 3). The far reaching influence of Rubel, who has now repudiated the one gospel for which he stood so strong and so forceful, has now turned his back on that which he loved so dearly. We simply pose a reminder of brother Shelly and the heresy he has perpetuated, consequently fellowship must be withheld.

More than a quarter of century ago, a fifty thousand watt station carried the voice of brother Shelly, when he said, "If I believed that the church of Christ was just another denomination, I would not preach evangelistic sermons and try to convert people from their present convictions. Denominationalism is inherently sinful and exists in opposition to the will of Jesus Christ." Rubel, why repent from these inspiring and truthful words. These words, from a radio transcript are just as loyal to the Bible today as it was then. Yet, Rubel said at the Centerville, TN, speech (1983) "there are honest, sincere and devout Christians in all denominations." We know and Rubel realizes, deep in the recesses of his soul; that God adds only the saved to his church (Acts 2:47). Consequently, there is not one responsible person who will cherish salvation apart from the church of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Peter said, "In none other name is there salvation" (Acts 4:12), thus redemption is not found in human denominations. We affirm these fundamental facts unequivocally, yet, Rubel resolved to repent and turn away from the saving message of Christ (Rom. 1:16). He is now an apostate brother, who desperately needs to repent and return to his first love (Rev. 2:4-5).

My heart breaks to see this wayward brother used by churches of Christ all over the brotherhood. Shepherds or elders of the flock should heed the clarity of John's words, "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him Godspeed" (2 John 9-10). Rubel has not only rejected the tenets of the gospel, which we hold so dear, he also has preached in sectarian pulpits on various occasions.

While preaching in a Gospel meeting, some years back, simultaneously brother Shelly was preaching at a premillennial church in the same city where the Lord's people were endeavoring to advance the cause of Christ. The Scripture is crystal clear as to our obligation to this delinquent brother; withhold our fellowship, urge him to repent, and refuse to bid him Godspeed in his digressive and divergent heresies. Rubel, we urge you to repent while we are still on this side of eternity.

--Bob Spurlin

People, Places, Things

Some of our readers may recall a former issue of the Plumbline wherein attention was given to a Nashville Tennessean newspaper article which mentioned the liberalism allegedly presented by Ken Dye at the Hendersonville, Tennessee, Church of Christ. Dye departed and started the Hendersonville Community Church. The Cultic crew recently had instrumental music as a part of their worship circus. Dye is now at West End Church in Nashville, where Jim Bill McInteer preached for many years. Dye is scheduled to be at the Campbell Street Church in Jackson, Tenn, where he will hold a, "Home Inspection Series."

Ralph Gilmore, professor at Freed-Hardeman University is the preacher at Campbell Street Church. This is but another incident where, "Birds of a feather flock together." A fellow must be some more kind of liberal in order to be too rancid for the Hendersonville Church. For one to start one's own Community Church is dumbfounding. How much does a faculty member at F.H.U. need to know in order to pow-wow with liberal, cultic characters? Do you wonder why? I have no $$$ for Freed-Hardeman University, especially when one of its Bible (?) teachers is so weak, compromising, soft-soaping, as to pow-wow with an erst-while Community Church papa. Campbell Street must have a crew of children for its shepherds. Shame, shame!

Ken Dye is now ensconced at the West End Church in Nashville. That is where the wife of Neil Anderson (who is owner/publisher of the Gospel (??) Advocate) served on the pulpit search committee. Our source informs us that Neil and Mrs. Anderson are now at Crieve Hall in Nashville. It would be very interesting to know what Ken Dye said at Campbell Street, and especially how much of the Dye Color Ralph Gilmore took back to Freed-Hardeman. Liberals never make any sense and their supporters make even less sense. Brethren need to stop being so gullible. Who will resist me in the above matter? A good source informs me that there are now six community churches in Memphis, Tenn. If our readers do not know what a Community Church is, one can never find out by reading the Bible. That sort of Church is more like the Witch's Brew, as described in a play by Shakespeare. Why some of my brethren will be so blind is beyond me.

A preacher called me yesterday and in the course of our conversation he stated, "so many of the brethren do not want to know." This is so obvious when a note comes in which says, "please remove my name from the Plumbline list." In my sweet, kind, loving, brotherly manner, I always oblige with the thought "if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant..." (1 Cor. 14:38).

Remember the community dog which, "was anybodies hound who would hunt with him?" That is a perfect caricature of these Community Churches. We know of several churches in Nashville, if honesty prevailed, who should join the Community Circus name and not alone in practice. God help us! Gilmore and Dye! What next? I do not know Gilmore but I do not feel that I have lost anything from anyone who peddles with the Community Church pastors.

My prediction is that many congregations will assume the patterns of Community Churches. As the young divines leave the modernistic Universities, we can expect to see more congregations turned aside by clerical clowns who have been spoon-fed on a social gospel sort of syrup. With neophyte elders who are selected according to the size of their purse, instead of the size of their Bible-based-brains, I am positive that things will continue to get "worse and worse."


They didn't ask me so I didn't tell but of course I do not always wait until someone asks me about matters. In the Nashville Tennessean of Wednesday, August 25, 1999, a story by Ray Waddle made front page. The large, bold headline reads--"Church adapting to game days."

The article tells how some of the denominational churches near the huge coliseum where the professional Titans football games will be played are changing their worship schedule. The Nazarine church "has changed its Sunday service to 9am instead of 10am." This will provide more parking space for the folks who want to attend the football games. "The church will offer visitors (at their worship services, w.c.) a free parking pass and a gym locker so they can change to game gear." The Holy name Catholic Church will charge a parking fee for folks who want to use the Catholic parking lot. (Where is the tax assessor in Nashville?)

Before the opening Titan NFL game, the Nazarine Church will host a "tailgate party." Ice cream and non-alcoholic drinks will be served. The pastor said, "We adapt to changing culture."

Tulip Street United Methodist Church will move its Sunday worship from 11AM to 8:30AM but only for noon games.

I wonder how many of the liberal churches will conform to changing culture in Nashville. On second thought, the liberals I know are so weak, wishy-washy, wobbly, and destitute of conviction that they would concur with cancelling all Sunday services in order to whoop and yell at a ball game. In my opinion they would be just as well-off, except of course the main-cog-in-the-wheel might miss a mite or two from his dupes Sunday offerings. So many of the Nashville brethren are so determined to ape the sects, and we will not be surprised when some of the youth ministers arrange for the purchase of parking lots near the stadium for their church. A minister of parking will be needed for sure.


Brethren, did you know that some of my most faithful, conservative, loyal, devout, pious, humble, venerated, sanctified, consecrated, and saintly preachers do not savvy the Plumbline? Yes sir! The paper breathes a crude, undesirable, uneducated, nascent, shallow, unscholarly, biblimanic attitude with respect to the liberal church dividers, but for sound faithful preachers to demean the Plumbline and oppose it really hurts me.

For such gentle souls, I suggest that they read "Women's Home Companion" for sermon material. It would do as much good for folks who will not see. Perhaps Outdoor Life would provide sermon material.


One of the most calloused, apathetic, dull, boorish concepts to be prattled in all the history of the church is the fool notion of Unity in Diversity which has become a sugar-stick for the left-wing, radical, liberals. Without exception the folks who become enamored with such contradictions attempt to justify their efforts by citing all sorts of illustrations, and the realm of nature is especially favored as proofs?? Even a stark-naked-fool should be able to see the disparity which exists in the realm of nature.

It doesn't require much sense to understand the meaning of diversity and it takes even less sense to learn and/or know the meaning of Bible unity. When diversity pervades and interferes with the Unity of the Spirit, the devil and his imps are happy indeed.

When there is diversity, there must be a state or condition of contrariety, discord, dissonance, disunion, nonconformity, conflict, difference, incompatibility, digression, and yes an over abundance of fermented ignorance. Most adults can look up the meaning of words in a standard dictionary but of course one must be honest in one's efforts which is one thing I do not see among the liberal cults. Unity in Diversity is both foolish and fanciful. It is contrary to what the Bible teaches regarding unity but to those who are determined to be ignorant, little of anything can be of help to such people.


If memory serves me correctly, I think the enclosed book list was presented in a former issue of the Plumbline. I suppose it will not be abusive to our readers to include the list again. I offer my sincere apology to several readers who have requested me to send them a list of the materials which I have written. Hopefully this information will suffice.




A Critique of How Christianity Grows in the City ....50c

Death Brings Hurt and Help .....$8.00

Tell Us Plainly .....50c

Rubel's Cube .....50c

My Sermon in the Methodist Church .....50c

Hell Hath No Fury Like Some Modern Music .....50c

Dear brother Jones & Some Observations on That Atlanta Speech .....50c

Dear brother Jennings and Some Other Stuff .....50c

Witnessing and Testifying .....50c

Affirming and Dedicating Babies .....50c

What Did You Say Matt. 18:15-17 Teaches? .....75c

Rabbi Fuchs at Lipscomb .....50c

Go to Lipscomb and Learn About Incest (Review of Lecture by Gayle Napier) .....75c

Rubel's Rubbish (or the Mountain Sermon Mangled by Modernism) .....75c

How Flatt Flattened the Master's Sermon (or Playing "Simon Sez" with Shelly) .....75c

Tip Toeing Through the "Jubilee" .....50c

A Review of the Shelly-Harris Material on the Second Incarnation .....60c

Review of Another Liberal Digressive Effort as Proposed by James Woodroof to Change the Church of Christ .....$1.25

How Rubel's Bloated Wineskins Burst .....50c

Rubel's Case Against the Ignorant, Arrogant Traditional Church Relative to Solos, Choirs & Quartets (or Shelly on Presentation Music) .....$1.00

Shelly's "Harsh & Steely" Shellacking of the Idolatrous, Arrogant & Ignorant Church Regarding Its Sisters (A Review of Shelly's Role of Women in the Church) .....$1.00

Liberalism at the Jubilee .....75c

How the New Liberals Dig up the Bones of the Old Liberals .....$1.50

Brother Flatt's Holy Rollerism as Presented by Lindsey Garmon & Steve Flatt at the Jubilee .....$1.25

Compendium of Pentecostal Holiness Teachings at the Jubilee .....$5.00

(Plus postage if order is mailed)

Order from: Wayne Coats -- (615) 758-7406

705 Hillview Drive

Mt. Juliet, TN 37122

Now that I am no longer able to travel about as in former days, especially to speak on Lectureships, I am trying to spend my days opposing and exposing the liberal element. How well do I realize that my sentences do not conform to the logic and stilted commentary of some of the young "somewhats" as well as a batch of the older Diotrephes set. Isn't it wonderful that such pertinacious, intractable, monomaniacal, and bigoted brethren do not have to condescend to the low depths of perusing the Plumbline. I have noticed that the brilliant brethren who would be teachers of literacy skills, have never bothered to subscribe to the second-rate, low-quality-mediocre, paltry Plumbline. The big words at the middle of this paragraph are inserted for the benefit of the near perfect preachers.


"Not all the smarts, toil and shame,

     Of those who treat us with disdain,

Not all their silly scoffs and flings,

     Their liberal rot nor bitter fangs

Can stop the progress of the band

     Who hold the Bible in their hand,

Who feel resolved to meet the trampler,

     Who tread upon the Lord's example.

When all the liberal efforts fail,

     The true disciple will prevail."


In the religious section of the Nashville Tennessean, there are a number of Churches advertised. Several of the ads are from brethren who preach to congregations of the Church of Christ. I looked at the list of congregations and decided that I am out-of-date, obsolete, antiquated, decayed, primeval, stale, old-fashioned and time-worn.

I notice the Nashville congregations have youth ministers, pulpit ministers, student ministers, involvement ministers, and so forth and so on. Some of the congregations have a plurality of MINISTERS and it is the sad state of affairs that so many small congregations cannot find even one minister who will minister where a minister is needed to minister.

The church in ancient Corinth was having some severe problems and Paul wrote to the brethren in an effort to remedy the situation. Can we discern between those matters which Paul sought to correct and those practices which were not in order? It would be a reflection upon one's intelligence to insist that we cannot distinguish the difference in approved and condemned practices in the Corinthian Church.

In one of his inane harangues, Rubel Shelly belittles the idea of "pattern theology" which he avers that he rejects such notions. With sarcastic egoism he asks if we should pattern after the Church at Corinth, etc., etc. It seems that one of the problems at Corinth was fornication. Shall we insinuate or leave the impression that some brethren think we should pattern after the fornicators in Corinth? If we do not have the good sense to discern the difference, then such a fool question as propounded by Shelly would be understandable.

Consider a modern setting where a congregation exists and some man or woman commits fornication. It would be absurd and foolish to ask if we should pattern after that congregation. I suspect Shelly might ask the question and also give a secret answer.


I do not recall the name of the brother who informed me that he and his wife had a fight each time the Plumbline arrived. The battle ensued over who would be the first to read the paper. After reflecting on the matter, if the brother will send me the address of his good wife, I will send her a free subscription to the Plumbline.


In a preceding issue of the paper I inserted a copy of Rubel Shelly's bulletin wherein he boosted the Billy Graham campaign in Nashville. A flyer has been received and Rubel is listed as one of the "members-at-large," while serving along with others of the Methodist, Baptist, Nazarine, Salvation Army, Assembly of God, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Interdenominational, Fintos Belmont Church, etc., etc. Since Steve Flatt has been so adapt at copying after Shelly, I wonder why he is not a committee member.

To those of you who have seen a copy of Shelly's bulletin wherein the Billy Graham campaign of Nashville is boosted, please help scatter this apostate bulletin to the four corners of the earth. Do not forget that Steve Flatt of Lipscomb is a great admirer and a copy-cat of Shelly.

How long will the Modernists and liberals go unchallenged by the sweet, all positive brethren?


"Church Expansion Opposed," was the title of a front page article in The Tennessean of Monday October 18, 1999. The article discussed the efforts of the Otter Creek Church (seems as if they do not like to use the descriptive term Church of Christ) to buy more property and build a, "multimillion dollar" plant which will include among other things an, "outdoor amphitheater."

The people in the area are opposing the grandiose plans of the Otter Creek Crew. "Associate minister Corky French said the church did not actively seek new members. This is what God brought," he said. All who believe that cock-and-bull assertion of Corky please fly over the moon. "French said if the plans are voted down, church officials will go back to our prayer closet and really pray about it and ask God to show up another option."

If as Corky asserts that God has brought the group to the present, I ask if God has become weak, indifferent or unconcerned. Sensible people can see through the ruse and thin veneer of the French absurdity. The tragedy is compounded by the fact that, as one good brother expressed it, "the Otter Creek bunch is loaded with Lipscomb faculty members." Add to that the great number of faculty members who go over to Rubel Shelly's church and also those who go to the ultra-liberal Harpeth Hills Church from Lipscomb and one can get a picture of the sad, sad, state of affairs at Lipscomb. Do you suppose Steve Flatt will want to call that a "Plumblie?" It is a travesty that so many have eyes and will not see and ears but will not hear. And to think, some people try to brag about sending their kids to Lipscomb.


I happen to believe in the old axiom that, "the pen is mightier than the sword." Of course the pen will be of profit only if people will read. As we enter into the new century, I plead, implore, beg, entreat, beseech, urge and encourage faithful brethren to use their pencils as never before.

We know that false brethren will continue to inundate the brotherhood with error. It is unlikely that ACU, Wineskins, Howard Publishing, etc., etc., will cease and desist. We need 10,000 ready scribes, but that takes effort.

When you move, send us your change of  address so you won't miss a single issue. The Post Office does not forward the Plumbline

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