PLUMBLINE -- Editor, Wayne Coats
Vol. 4 No. 9, April 2000
A note from Rubel Shelly's church which speaks of the forthcoming Billy Graham Crusade declares, "Hearing Dr. Graham speak in one of the final Crusades his age and health will allow him to conduct, could get someone there--and the Spirit of God can handle things from there. The preached Word of God can be his instrument to touch that person's heart."
The saying of Shelly is sickening beyond belief. To be so gullible as to think that Billy Graham will preach the whole counsel of God, leaves me to wonder what has happened to Rubel. Will Shelly explain what the Spirit does in touching someone's heart? Of course not! Will the Spirit touch one person and make him a Baptist and touch the heart of another and make him a Catholic, while touching another's heart and making him an Adventist?
Shelly slobbers, "Like most churches involved with the Crusade in Middle Tennessee, we will participate aggressively in some parts of it and pass on others." Could it be that the poor fellow doesn't know any better? Tis a shame that in an effort where the Holy Spirit is supposed to be so active, Shelly and his clones will be passing over something.
That is almost as admirable as Old Judas Iscariot who very aggressively kissed my Lord, but passed some things on to others, including the murder of Jesus Christ. The entire rotten affair stinks to high heaven. Will Shelly and his cronies please inform us just what will be passed on to others? I still say that it is a crying shame that stupidity isn't painful. But read on!
"Many churches of Christ choose not to participate in Graham Crusades because Dr. Graham does not end his lessons with a call to baptism." I would answer the above by saying that only pure idiots would believe Rubel's ramblings. The reason faithful brethren refuse to fellowship Billy Graham is not how Billy ends his lessons, but that which exists before Billy arrives in town. Rubel Shelly knows this to be a fact which he cannot sidestep or deny. He had to babble something for his clones to swallow. Why did he not print the truth? Why cover up the real reasons. Does Rubel, in his blindness, think faithful congregations fellowship Billy when he is not in a Crusade? Does Shelly believe many churches of Christ will fellowship Billy until he gets ready to end his spiel? Faithful brethren have no intention of fellowshipping Baptist preachers or Rubel Shelly.
Why does Graham not "...end his lessons with a call to baptism?" Is this what Shelly will pass on and over? Is baptism not to be preached? Is baptism for the remission of sins no part of the word of God? Is Shelly so silly as to refuse to accept what the apostles preached about baptism and instead align with Billy Graham? For shame!
The fact that Billy Graham refused to preach the truth on baptism, and will follow the Baptist manual, means nothing to Rubel Shelly. Jesus said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mark 16:16). Billy teaches that he that believeth is saved and may be baptized if he wants to. Why will Billy not tell people how to be saved? Why will Shelly help a false teacher who deceives people? To know what Shelly preaches, one would need to know what pleases the crowds.
Please notice, "The truth is that most of the people who respond at such events are not ready to be baptized." Of course not! Neither are they ready to reject error, heresy and false doctrine and they never will be ready by listening to Rubel and Billy. If these two false teachers rejected the doctrines of devils, they would not be so popular with the multitudes.
After, "most people respond at such events, who are not ready to be baptized," will Shelly and his heretical crew get those people ready for baptism? How? What will Shelly tell the people which Billy would not? Is there no condemnation for not preaching the whole counsel of God? For what purpose will those people be baptized? They will not be baptized in order to be saved. Rubel says that such people who respond, not being ready to be baptized, "have their hearts touched by the story of Jesus, and they are eager for the life-change that has been emphasized in the message." What a silly farce, a shame, a bag of fermented ignorance!
When Saul of Tarsus heard the preacher and inquired, he was told to "Arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins" (Acts 22:26). When the people on Pentecost heard the apostles preach they were told to, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). Those ancient people didn't need a crew of heretical counselors to, "begin a process of teaching that brings that man or woman to baptism, identification with a local Church, and growth in Christ."
This scenario has all the earmarks of an Oral Roberts, Benny Hinn, Tammy Faye, Charles Jessup and other fakes who had their tents of seclusion. No doubt the spiritual illiterates will be impressed with Rubel and Billy. Shelly will lead blind followers as long as they consent.
"People who hear Dr. Graham preach are asked to, 'make a decision to accept Jesus Christ'." It looks like these people have already made their "decision to accept Jesus Christ." So what more do they need from Rubel? If they have accepted Jesus Christ, will they need to accept Rubel? After they accept Jesus, Billy, and Rubel, will they ever be able to slip backward into their former life of sin? Those poor deluded souls will not be accepting Christ, but heresy in its worst form.
Rubel pontificates, "respondents identify their church background or preference and are referred to people from that tradition." Rubel's religion is a kind of smorgasbord where one can become one's own god. Shelly is not the only little godlet who sits in his homespun temple, "showing himself that he is god." He has long since refused to defend his false theology. He knows better than to try to uphold his liberal views.
What needs to be made public is the many characters who fellowshipped Shelly and his notorious Jubilee, and that includes the compromises from "our" universities. Have you seen any indication of repentance upon the part of any of those who hob-nobbed with the Great One? I doubt that such will occur due to the fact that a certain amount of honesty, integrity, conviction and godly sorrow is essential to genuine repentance. And, a tremendous amount of humility is required.
Please brethren! How in the name of common sense, reason and truth, can anyone approve of some of the Lipscomb people helping during a Billy Graham campaign? When I get ready to help false teachers, you may rest assured that I have deposited my brains on the doorstep.
--Wayne Coats, Editor
It would not be necessary to write what David Lipscomb wrote on the subject of baptism were it not for the misrepresentations of Lipscomb by change agents. The explanation for this is the calculations of the "change agents" to compromise the faithful churches of Christ.
In the early 1980's, some brethren were alleging that Lipscomb taught that the only demand placed upon a repentant believer is that he need only to understand that the purpose of baptism is to honor and obey God.
When this interpretation of Lipscomb's teaching on baptism was being advanced, I knew something was not right. For nearly a year of research in 1986 and 1987, I combed the indexes of the Gospel Advocate to pull up all the articles written by Lipscomb on baptism, spanning the years 1866 to 1913.
Lipscomb was a fourteen year old student in Tolbert Fanning's Franklin College when Fanning asked Lipscomb to give his reason for wanting to be baptized. His response to Fanning was that his desire was to obey and to honor God.
We need to keep in mind what Lipscomb wrote as editor of the Gospel Advocate over a lifetime. This writer had never given the matter thought that Lipscomb had so narrowly confined the need for baptism to such a narrow concept without reference to all that Scripture had to say on the subject.
But this time around I have in mind the change agents. I am not willing to attribute to them even a form of naive ignorance on the subject when almost every word they utter is some kind of a veiled attack directed against the faithful churches of Christ.
Lipscomb wrote his first article on baptism when he was new as co-editor of the Gospel Advocate (1866). He stated specifically that in God's scheme of redemption: "baptism of the believing penitent was God's appointment for conducting us into a state or condition of pardon and acceptance with God" (GA, 1866, p.447).
There was no way that Lipscomb could have made the necessity of baptism plainer than in these words: "We are sure no true, no understanding believer in the New Testament Scriptures ever doubted that baptism to the penitent believer was necessary to the forgiveness of past sins, and of course to his future salvation according to the law of God" (GA, 1868, p. 419).
Lipscomb took into consideration what a fourteen year old boy understood about the design of baptism is not the same as a scholar who has mastered the Greek language. And he wrote in this connection: "Neither have we ever learned that we must understand all the result of an ordinance in order to make obedience acceptable...Remission of sins is only one of the results of baptism..." (GA, 1868, p. 843).
The informed Restoration historian knows the story of Austin McGary who laid down the conditions for acceptable baptism in four steps--belief, repentance, confession, and baptism. The lack of one step invalidated the act of baptism.
In this context, Lipscomb drew a sweeping conclusion to the controversy, writing that: "God bestows remission of sins, as the gift of his grace on man. He has chosen to bestow it in baptism" (GA, 1884, p.342). Enough said is all that ever needs to be said.
We have heard in recent times that N. B. Hardeman accepted the erroneous fact that there are Christians having received a scriptural baptism who are saved in denominational churches. We would that Dr. Humble, the author of the contention, would cite the place in the Hardeman Tabernacle sermons where N. B. Hardeman said these words in the context in which Dr. Humble placed them. I am confident that he cannot.
Lipscomb did say that Christians are in the denominations by matter of choice. Lipscomb discounted that a scripturally baptized individual could hold membership in a denominational church, and wrote in this connection: "We have on several occasions refused to baptize persons who requested it informing us..they intended to unite with a church that would not practice, or that discouraged baptism" (Ga, 1886, p.406).
There is an especially provocative encounter which David Lipscomb had with John W. McGarvey over a statement that McGarvey made: "I do believe that godly men and women will be forgiven the sin of not being baptized" (GA, 1895, p. 821). Lipscomb countered McGarvey's statement with a challenge: "He [McGarvey] affirms that some believers will be saved without baptism...If some will be and some will not, he certainly owes it to God and those unbaptized believers to tell which will be saved and which will not" (GA, 1890, p.276).
In 1913, the health of the aged Lipscomb was worsening. He had suffered a debilitating stroke in 1909, but remained in control of his mental faculties. He wrote a statement in the Gospel Advocate in 1913 that baptism must come in response to the full measure of gospel teachings. Lipscomb wrote in this connection of the three thousand baptized on Pentecost: "These classes and persons were all baptized to honor and please God...This was their great leading motive." Here we keep in mind what he said when he was fourteen.
How much must a repentant know to demand baptism? Let Lipscomb speak his own mind: "When a man meets another man who has been baptized because God commands it, and tells him that baptism is not valid before God, he contradicts God; This is always sinful" (GA, 1913, p.1019).
Lipscomb wrote in this connection: The thing to be understood is that one is baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus, and in being so baptized he pledges himself to fulfill all righteousness. What more could Lipscomb have said to make his thinking on baptism any clearer?
I have not written this article as a polemical exercise in order to challenge anybody to prove me wrong. My purpose is to focus on the real issues. The need to write this article actually begins with Jubilee 1997. There were a rash of positional sermons preached on the subject of baptism following the 1997 Nashville Jubilee. The jubilee keynote speaker, Max Lucado, had said in a transcribed radio sermon in December of 1997 what delights the heart of denominational folk. He quoted the Sinner's Prayer to call upon God in faith brings instant salvation.
Respected leaders of faithful churches of Christ in Nashville met in the Concord Road church building to consider the influence of Rubel Shelly, Max Lucado, and Jubilee. A plan came down to arrange seminars, and call in preachers to preach gospel sermons on such subjects as instrumental music and baptism. Some who preached those sermons had been previously up to their necks in Jubilee.
The leading critics of Dr. Shelly then are now quiet. They speak no words of disapproval against the greatest troubler of churches of Christ in Nashville since the days of Jesse B. Ferguson 150 years ago. But make no mistake about it, the change agents have a powerful presence in Nashville churches and in the school which Lipscomb built.
But we are not willing to concede defeat to the neo-liberals, or that they have even won a skirmish. We think brethren are becoming increasingly aware of the great harm being done to the churches of Christ.
No other leaders among brethren in the 19th century was held in higher respect and admiration than David Lipscomb. The editor of the Christian Standard eulogized David Lipscomb at the time of his passing in 1917 with these kind words: "he has been recognized for many years as one of our great men." These additional words in the Christian Standard ought to bring shame to the change agents who dishonor Lipscomb as they continue to try to bring down the loyal churches of Christ to which Lipscomb gave a life-time and all his worldly wealth to build: "The Gospel Advocate with whose present policy we are not in perfect accord, has been a balance wheel in the Restoration Movement in years gone by."
I pulled out the 1997 Jubilee program to see again those on the program: Harold Hazelip, Steve Flatt, Carl McKelvey, Gary Holloway, Mike Moss, Earl Lavender, and Walt Leaver. These are Lipscomb people. Other Nashville faces were on the program: Paul Brown, Mark McInteer, and David Slater. The two perennial favorites, Joe Beam and Jeff Walling were there. This is a free country which guarantees the right of peaceable assembly and the freedom to participate in a lawful manner with banners of protest, or whatever. Not a single one of these brethren during Jubilee, or since, have said one word in public or print finding anything wrong with that which went on during Jubilee. Why not, brother McKelvey, you read the Bible with your brethren on the Lipscomb campus, and tell them this is what the Bible says.
Two strange events are taking place in Nashville this summer and fall: Jubilee 2000 and Woodmont Hills Family of God church supporting the Billy Graham Crusade. I can understand Billy Graham exercising his civil and religious rights. I just can't keep this Woodmont thing on my stomach.
In the August 1999 Plumbline, brother J. E. Choate (a former schoolmate of mine at F.H.C.) in his "Consistency" article refers to the Memphis meeting as a time when the present division got underway.
I had been working with the Getwell congregation since May 1969 as song leader. Rubel Shelly began working with the church in April. When he moved to the Whitehaven Church in 1973 the Getwell elders began to search for another preacher. Brother Garland Elkins was invited to move from Virginia and he accepted the invitation but he requested a few months of preparation before moving. The elders asked brother Alan Highers to fill in until brother Elkins arrived.
Lynn Anderson was scheduled to conduct a meeting at Huntsville, Alabama, but the elders were concerned about Lynn and had asked him some questions. His reply included an opinion that their questions smacked of "creedalism." Brother Highers was asked to conduct the meeting instead of Lynn Anderson. Later, brother Highers delivered a sermon at Getwell on, "What is Creedalism."
The Memphis preachers had a monthly luncheon and brother Billy Watson of Jackson Avenue had charge of mailing the notices and selecting someone to speak. In July he asked to be relieved and I volunteered, but suggested that brother Elkins would soon be at Getwell and we would volunteer him for the job. Brother Watson said that representatives of the Herald of Truth had requested to be there in September.
For the August meeting I asked brother Highers to give a gist of his sermon and he gladly consented. Brother Highers stated that several interested brethren would be present to confront the ones who would be representing the Herald of Truth. There were many brethren present and the discussion continued until 5 P.M. in the Getwell building and continued for four hours. The various speeches were taped and typed. I ran off 1,000 copies and distributed them.
In the last issue of Contending For The Faith, a report was given of that which took place at the Highland Church in Abilene on a Tuesday night by an international group led by nthe minister of the University Church in Abilene, Texas--just 27 years from the date of the Memphis meeting.
2414 English Hill Dr.
Murfreesboro, TN 37130
The antithesis to Secular Humanism, Christ's dictum of sacrifice calls men out of self and into humble service. "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" (Matt. 16:24). The principle of sacrificial service to God is the undergirding of all right relationships with Him. In their disobedience, Adam and Eve turned from service to self when the Serpent whispered, "Ye shall be as gods" (Gen. 3:5). Cain's obsession with self impelled him to murder his brother. Love of self drove those of Noah's generation to devise all sorts of wickedness, and Secular Humanism cast the Gentile world into the mire of unspeakable debauchery.
Webster says secularism is "an indifference to or rejection or exclusion of religion and religious considerations," and humanism is "a doctrine, attitude, or way of life centered on human interests or values" (New Collegiate Dictionary, 1979).
Hence, humanism is that from which secularism springs. Human interests and values are described as "the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eye, and the pride of life" (1 John 2:16), and under the willful control of his own passions, man is but a step from rejecting all religious considerations regarding life. It then becomes easy for him to purge his wicked heart of God and enthrone self to fulfill his own desires. Paul described the degeneration of the ancient world whose interests were centered upon self to the exclusion of God (Rom. 1:18-32), and it is from this degenerate state that Jesus calls us to sacrificial living.
Now this noxious infection has spread its deadly tentacles into every societal strata in America and ensconced itself in the church in the form of Spiritual Humanism. A close relative of, if not an evil twin to, the Social Gospel, Spiritual Humanism pays lip service to God while satisfying the "interests and values" of its devotees. From its genesis in Eden to its manifestation in Judas who asked, "What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you?" (Matt. 26:15), it now flourishes in a mutation that can be described as Spiritual Humanism. Secular Humanism removes God from the center of the created universe, exalts man and human reason, and expresses itself in the dogma of Darwinian Evolution. The only difference between Secular Humanism and Spiritual Humanism is that the latter wraps itself in religious robes and from behind its facade, pays lip service to God while satisfying human wants. Instead of looking outward to fields white unto the harvest, it turns inward to the "felt needs" of man. Spiritual Humanism makes the church a debtor to satisfy members' "needs" and "interests," and mocks the idea of their indebtedness to preach the gospel to lost and dying souls (Rom. 1:14-15).
Manifestations of this damnable and egocentric philosophy include the construction of gymnasiums, called "Family Life Centers," participation in basketball and volley ball leagues, small group therapy sessions for members, the acceptance of the unscripturally divorced in many singles' groups, a constant stream of recreational activities for teens, including "lock-ins," pizza parties, and ski trips, all advertised as "Fun, Food and Fellowship" in the name of various and sundry "ministries."
Deconstructing the church for which Jesus died, Spiritual Humanism neither regards it as an ark of safety from sin and its consequences, the glorious Bride of Christ, nor the repository of all spiritual blessings (Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:25-27; 1:3). For Spiritual Humanists, it is but a social service organization to cater to egocentric members. A biblically illiterate generation now speaks of it in the Ashdodic terms of "my church family" and "our church." To many, it is a play room full of social toys where God has placed them to have fun and recreate themselves. Their major shibboleth is the word "ministry." That is illustrated in the following announcement in Rubel Shelly's bulletin from Nashville's "Woodmont Hills Family of God:"
"A Sunday morning class for college students will be taught by Dr. Mark Black this spring. In coming to teach this class, he and his wife Margo are beginning a ministry to college students from campuses all over Nashville. Their goal will be to minister to these students and to involve them in ministry. This will involve teaching and planning classes, retreats, small groups, counseling, and a variety of ministry opportunities." (LoveLines, Woodmont Hills Family of God, Volume 26, No. 2, Jan. 12, 2000).
Mixing Secular and Spiritual Humanism, the Twickenham church in Alabama now offers reruns of The Andy Griffith Show to its members as a basis for moral philosophy, and Rubel Shelly is taking his students to the movies for more of the same.
"The Wednesday class will continue to meet in the Annex. 'The Gospel Goes to the Movies' uses clips from recent films to set issues of concern to college students. The topics are then examined in light of a Christ-honoring response that is based on biblical information. The class is taught by Rubel Shelly." (ibid.)
The Weatherford, Oklahoma church promotes a "Community Concert" at the First United Methodist Church to raise money for a social project.
"Habitat For Humanity will have a Raising the Roof Community Concert this Sat., Jan. 22, 7:00 p.m. in the First United Methodist building. Habitat's goal is to raise enough money to put a roof on the new house it will build this spring...they'll pass collection plates and you can put in whatever you want. Singers' last practice is at the FUMC building at 6:30 p.m., the night of the concert." (Weatherford Church of Christ Newsletter, Issue 00-4, Jan. 23, 2000).
In the same newsletter, this church advertises "Men's 3x3 Church League Basketball," a "High School Breakfast Club," and "Junior High Laser Tag." But one mustn't expect more than Spiritual Humanism from this church which engaged Joe Beam for a meeting in 1996 and just completed one with Larry West. Few people can make biblical illiterates feel better, laugh harder, and clap louder than Joe Beam, and Larry West assures us that this human body is the one which will go to heaven. According to him, even the eternal abode of the righteous will be filled with human bodies.
"...And for the Christian, he'll be taking that body all the way to heaven to be with God to live forever. ...Flesh and bone?! Jesus is identified, is it Luke 24 when he appeared before his disciples? They thought he was a ghost. Huhh! He says you don't see a ghost have flesh and bone like you see I have. What are you eating? He says give me some of that fish. He ate some fish. You know why he ate the fish? To show that he was standing there with his resurrected human body. So changed. But still this body. Flesh and bone going all the way to heaven!" (Larry West, Sermon at Corinth, Mississippi, June 16, 1993).
Beam, West, Shelly, and others are the Pied Pipers of the philosophical synthesis known as Spiritual Humanism. Their system rejects other worldly doctrine, relegates the kingdom which Jesus said "is not of this world" (John 18:36) to a spiritual Six-Flags Over The World, and pipes the way into eternal hell for thousands along the broad way who are asking, "What will ye give me?" Draping its egocentric secularism in clerical vestments, Spiritual Humanism says "Ye shall be as gods," and perverts Jesus' teaching of self-denial into its myriad "ministries" of vain religion for human comfort in the here and now. "A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof" (Jer. 5:30)?
308 South Oklahoma
Elk City, OK 73644
In the religious world, there are many teachings pertaining to salvation that lack Bible authority. When we compare these teachings with the Bible we notice a stark contrast between the two. Is there a pattern or a blueprint for what I must preach to be saved?
Jeremiah wrote by inspiration that God's people must continue in the "old paths" in order to be pleasing to God (Jer. 6:16). Jesus continued this teaching in His ministry when he spoke of a strait and narrow way compared to a broad way (Matt. 7:13-14). If we desire to continue on the right way that Jesus has planned, we must do so with divine authority for everything we practice (Col. 3:17).
Gospel preachers are given the divine charge to "preach the word" (2 Tim. 4:2). We must declare as Paul, "all the counsel of God" (Acts 20:27). While we must expound the Bible to a lost and sinful world, there are areas where we must never cease to preach and teach.
It is very evident that plain Gospel preaching has taken a back seat to a soft, compromising, humorous approach to spreading the message of Christ. Take heed, not everyone in Zion has given over to this modernistic method of preaching. We are thankful for the many faithful brethren around the world who are still on the firing line for our Lord and Savior,
Let us return to Bible preaching and teaching. May we preach and live the following points.
1.We must preach the Word of God. "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine" (2 Tim. 4:2). The word is the Gospel and its teaching. We are not to preach what the Pope, Calvin, Wesley, Campbell, Graham, Roberts, or any other man teaches. Only that which is found in the Bible is pleasing to God.
We must preach what Jesus and the apostles proclaimed (Eph. 2:19-20). The Bible brings the message of salvation, not confessions of faith, manuals or creeds. The Bible furnishes us unto every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17). We must use what God has given us; the scriptures, and nothing else!
2. We must preach Jesus. Paul was faithful in preaching Jesus. "For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified" (1 Cor. 2:2).
The apostles faithfully preached Jesus Christ. "And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ. Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ" (Acts 5:42; 17:3). Gospel preachers such as Philip have always preached Christ (Acts 8:5,35).
Why did these early preachers preach Christ? The blood of Christ was shed for all (Rom. 5:8; Heb. 2:9). "For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins" (Matt. 26:28).
3. We must preach righteous living. We must make sure the message by our word and our lives is righteous living, and not riotous living. People in the world, and too many in the church are very slack in their attempt to live pure lives for Christ. Those outside of Christ, side with Satan. The devil's way is more popular than Christ's way. Drinking, dancing, swearing, adultery, drugs, sexual immorality, lying, and stealing, are just a few of the many works of the flesh and sinful ways in which many engage everyday. "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting" (Gal. 6:7-8).
4. We must preach the church of Christ. The church of Christ was established and bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ (Acts 20:28). The Bible declares that Jesus is head of that body, which is the church (Eph. 1:22-23). Since the church of Christ is the body of Christ of which Jesus is head, and for which he shed his blood, then there is only one church (Matt. 16:15-18).
How many churches did Jesus say he would build? One! Upon the foundation truth that He is the Son of God, Jesus built His church. Is it a denomination? No! A denomination is a division, party, sect, or part of the whole. The church of Jesus Christ is no fraction or part of anything, it is the whole, the one, true, body of Christ.
5. We must preach the Gospel plan of salvation. While many ridicule the five step plan of salvation, it is still found in the New Testament. The Bible still reveals that we must hear the Word (Rom. 10:17), develop a working faith (Heb. 11:6), repent of our sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as the only begotten Son of God (Rom. 10:10), and be baptized into Christ (Gal. 3:27; 1 Peter 3:21).
By obeying the Gospel plan of salvation, we become members of the church of Christ (Acts 2:47). The saying is true that states, the Bible makes Christians only, and the only Christians. The old plan of salvation is the one that still saves today.
We must preach the Bible boldly, forcefully, and lovingly. Our message must be Biblical, simple, and to the point. Let us not be ashamed of proclaiming the unsearchable riches of Christ to the world.
May we always preach the Word of God, Jesus Christ, righteous living, the church of Christ, and the Gospel plan of salvation.
316 4th Street
Paintsville, KY 41240
"Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is offended, and I burn not?" The preceding is an insightful statement made by the apostle Paul in II Corinthians 11:29. Paul plainly states a concept of basic Christianity that most of us regularly forget to apply to our experiences in daily life: sympathy.
Paul had sympathy for all men, in that he personally felt their weaknesses, shortcomings, and infirmities. In essence, he became all things to all men. The apostle Paul, though a truly courageous and spiritual man, bore the weaknesses of the body just like everyone else. He goes on, in this verse, to ask the question, "Who is offended, and I burn not?" In other words, who fell into the relentless path of sin when Paul did not share in the sorrow and shame with him? Too often in life we tend to ignore the perilous plight that others are in, and instead, focus on how much we are suffering.
A charismatic and eloquent school teacher, Joe Clark once said, "Whenever we feel sorry for ourselves, 80% of the people around us, don't care. The other 20% are glad that it is you."
Life is too short to constantly narrow the focus of concern on ourselves. We must consider the situation the other man is in. Then, we must help him with his burden. Sympathy is not merely a state of mind. It is a fervent call for action to uplift our brother, carry half of his heavy load, and save him from being crushed under its cumbersome weight. If we fail to do this, we miss the entire point of Christ's message in the story of the good Samaritan.
How do we help others on the rocky path toward heaven if we have no sympathy for them? Let us all earnestly press on to the goal, and in the process, help another brother get there too.
P.O. Box 557
Ben Wheeler, TX 75754
We are thankful for those good brethren and sisters who occasionally send a check to help scatter the news through the printed page. We have been able to mail the paper free to a number of folks. Eleven pages of names have been faxed a few minutes ago to the printer-mailer. Several of these names have been submitted by friends, relatives, etc. I sincerely hope that those who receive the paper as a gift will appreciate it.
The Bellview Lectureship in Pensacola, Florida is scheduled for June 10-14, 2000. Contact: Michael Hatcher, 4850 Saufley Field Rd, Pensacola, FL 32526.
I am not a politician and that could be why I am so dense and do not understand how and why those Buddhists Monks understood that they were meeting with Al Gore to make campaign contributions, but Al didn't know that such was the purpose of the meeting. Do not revile me. I didn't meet with those Monks.
There are some book orders which are in arrears and I need a notice from those who have not received the materials requested. It seems that I have difficulty trying to stay abreast of matters.
I went to an eye doctor for cataract surgery and what should have been a twenty or thirty minute ordeal has turned into a veritable nightmare. A hole was cut, poked, torn, gouged or whatever, in the eyeball and some of the cataract material fell down into the eyeball. The doctor probed around for 1½ hours trying to get the material out but no success. I was sent to see another doctor and he cut three more holes in my eyeball in an effort to retrieve the material. My sight was destroyed in the right eye but it is gradually returning. It would be wonderful to live where there is no more pain.
For a few years we have had wonderful Lectureships at the Villages Church of Christ in Mt. Juliet, TN. Good sound gospel preachers have been with the congregation as speakers, but such has changed. The list of speakers for this year did not please a "sower of discord" who recently caused trouble in the Adams Avenue congregation in Lebanon, TN. He left that congregation and came to the Villages congregation where he was able to brainwash a few people with his hellish ideas. All of the faithful preachers scheduled have informed me that they will not be present for the Lectureship at the Villages congregation in view of the current controversy in the congregation.
Almost all of the members have left the congregation (including my wife and me), refusing to kow-tow to such diabolical rot. I too refuse to be a partaker of such fermented ignorance. Incidentally, the speakers all called me about their decisions. I did not call any of them to tell them of the problem--they were informed by others as to what had taken place.
32 lessons with 32 speakers. A complete set of video tapes are available from Jim Green for $45. Mail to 2711 Spring Meade Blvd., Columbia, TN 38401. Free audio cassette tapes are available from the East Corinth church of Christ. Order from: 1801 Cruise St., Corinth, MS 38834. A book of the outlines is available for $6.50 (postage paid) if your order is postmarked by July 31. Books are $6.50 beginning Aug. 1st plus $1.50 postage. Schedule can be viewed at: www.seektheoldpaths.com