PLUMBLINE -- Editor, Wayne Coats
Volume 5 Number 4, November 2000
Again our hearts are deeply and sorely grieved due to the death of our beloved brother Roy J. Hearn. The brotherhood has sustained a terrible loss in the passing of this faithful soldier of Christ.
Brother Hearn was born November 15, 1911 in Wilmor, Arkansas. When he was fourteen years of age, his family moved to Memphis, Tennessee. He was baptized into Christ on July 14, 1934 by brother H. A. Brown. On September 1, 1935 he and Miss Sadie Tisdale were married. In January 1936, brother Hearn preached his first sermon. For sixty-four years this faithful brother preached the gospel of Christ in a very sound and sensible manner, without compromise.
Two daughters, Dolly and Janet were born to brother and sister Hearn. After being engaged in secular work for some few years brother Hearn entered Freed-Hardeman College and from there he graduated with honors. Later he received the B.A. degree from Lipscomb with Magna Cum Laude honors. After his graduation from Lipscomb, he received the M.A. degree from Peabody College. I mention the above to state that Roy Hearn was a student of no mean ability.
One among many of the great accomplishments of our dear brother was the founding of the Memphis School of preaching in 1966. The superb training which brother Hearn received at Freed-Hardeman College under brother Hardeman and other faculty members was carried over into the Memphis School of Preaching where that great influence will continue to be seen long after our lisping, stammering tongues lie silent in the grave. Brother Roy Hearn was a no-nonsense preacher. He appreciated the Plumbline and once wrote that, "anyone with good sense would appreciate the paper." I agree.
Our prayers and sincere sympathy will continue to be expressed upon behalf of the family members.
Some time ago a friend of mine (though we differ religiously) in conversation about the Bible, said to me: "You take the radical view." Sometimes the word "radical" is given a meaning that is uncomplimentary, that the radical one is an extremist, goes to excesses, is immoderate, his judgment is poor, he is eccentric, unduly narrow, etc. That my friend meant none of these things, I'm sure. But let us note a definition of radical: "Proceeding from the root; original; fundamental; reaching to the center of the ultimate source; thoroughgoing." A radical change is "one that is so thoroughgoing it effects the fundamental character of the thing involved." In view of these definitions, if the position occupied by the church of Christ affects the character of error, then you might say we "take the radical view," but as pertaining to the character of truth, no, for we believe in standing squarely on the truth of God's word, and in the following paragraphs the reader can see why.
1. The doctor. When the doctor diagnoses our case and prescribes a course for us to follow in order to avoid disease and death, do we look upon him as "radical", unduly narrow, in insisting upon our following his instructions to the letter? Suppose he shows us that to vary from the prescribed course means death?
2. Medical examiners. When the medical authorities set up medical standards are they radical? Is the law radical in upholding the standards? Suppose the doctor gives you a prescription; you take it to the pharmacist for filling and he tells you it makes no difference how it is filled; it won't hurt you if you are honest. What if six different druggists say it makes no difference what ingredients they put into the medicine? What would you say? If the law demands that all prescriptions be filled exactly as they are written by all druggists, is the law radical? Are you radical, eccentric, unduly narrow when you insist the druggist fill the prescription exactly as the doctor has written it?
3. The Merchant. When you go to buy a pound of beans and the grocer gives you sixteen ounces for a pound, is he radical if he refuses to give you twenty ounces? If you purchase a piece of goods, and the merchant insists that the correct measure is thirty-six inches to the yard, do you consider him radical if he won't make a yard forty-six inches?
4. The farmer. Suppose you were to insist that the farmer could raise a good crop of corn in zero
weather, in the bleak winter time, would he be radical in saying it is impossible in view of the laws of
nature? Suppose you insisted he could raise a crop of crimson clover from alfalfa seed, and he said it could
not be done, would you consider him radical? Is he radical if he insists there is no variation from the laws
of nature, but that every seed brings forth after its own kind?
1. Was Cod radical in Old Testament times? In Genesis 4 we read about Cain's substituting in his worship to God. Was God radical in rejecting Cain's worship because he did it not as God had commanded? Nadab and Abihu offered strange fire in burning incense in worship to God. Nowhere had God said "Thou shalt not get fire from another source," but he had told them where to get fire for this purpose. Was God radical for consuming them when they did not do exactly as God commanded?
When God smote Uzzah for putting his hand on the ark when God's law was contrary to this, was He radical? Was not Uzzah honest? his heart right? did he intend only good? Yes, but he violated a positive command and suffered for it (2 Sam. 6:6-7).
In I Samuel 15 we read that because Saul did not utterly destroy the Amalekites and all that pertained to them, God dethroned him. Was God radical in punishing Saul for saving alive a few cattle and the king of Amalek?
When the young prophet of Judah kept God's law implicitly, until he listened to the lying lips of the old prophet of Bethel, and being deceived by his lie disobeyed God, was God radical when he allowed the lion to take the young man's life in punishment for his disobedience (I Kings 13)?
2. Is Christ radical in His New Testament law? The foregoing examples serve as warnings to us. Note a few things in the law of Christ. The promise of salvation is not to those who merely with their lips, or in their minds, call upon Christ, but those who do his will: "Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doth the will of my Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 7:21). The Holy Spirit teaches in Revelation 22:14 that those who obey God are the ones who will enter heaven. Paul teaches in Hebrews 5:9 that Christ is the author of salvation to those who obey him.
Christ forbids any changes in His word. This has been God's law always. Deut. 4:2 forbids addition or subtraction. Deut. 5:32 forbad the Jews to turn either to the right or to the left, but to keep God's commands. In Mark 7:1-7 Christ condemned the traditions and doctrines of the Pharisees. If we may make changes, have any doctrines and organizations we want, why did Christ forbid and condemn them in his day?
In 2 John 9-11 we are told that those who transgress, go beyond, what God has commanded have not God or Christ, therefore lost. In view of the fact that those who take liberties with the word of God are lost, tough they may think otherwise, we have only one motive in opposing denominations and their error--to save the souls of people in them. Friends, when you wear a name in religion, have a doctrine God does not authorize, you are lost according to John. Revelation 22:18-19 forbids addition or subtraction. Those who do so are lost. No denomination can exist without addition or subtraction, hence the Bible says all who partake of them are lost. Do not find fault with me for pointing this out to you; appreciate it and turn to the truth before it is too late.
If we may vary from God's word, why did God warn us about the doctrines of men (Col. 2:8; Eph. 4:14)? Paul says to preach a different doctrine from what he preached makes one accursed (Gal. 1:6-9). No denomination can exist without preaching a different gospel from what Paul preached. If all religious bodies were to preach and practice what the apostles taught in the New Testament, there would be an immediate removal of denominationalism and unity among us would prevail.
What is the standard? Christ said we would be judged by His word (John 12:47-50). Seeing that we shall
be judged by the law of Christ, and that he forbids any variation from His will, we should live as close to
His word as we possibly can, for those who will not hear (obey) Christ will he destroyed (Acts 3:22-23).
Are we radical, or do we take the radical view, when we object to substitution in worship to God? God would not accept the substitutions of Cain, Nadab and Abihu. Why do people think He will accept them now any more than then? Do we take the radical view when we insist upon strict and complete obedience, lest we be rejected like King Saul? Are we radical when we insist upon pure seed instead of adulterated gospel? Luke 8:11 says the seed is the word of God. If one plants wheat seed, will it bring forth anything but wheat? If we want to raise a crop of corn, would we plant cotton seed and expect to grow corn? Neither can we plant the seeds of denominational doctrines and expect to raise Christians. It won't work; your commonsense will tell you that. The only way to raise Christians, and be pleasing to God, is to plant nothing but the seed of the kingdom, the unadulterated word of God.
Are we radical in insisting upon strict compliance with God's word? Note. Proverbs 30:6: "Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar."
Suppose a man has cancer of the liver and thinks he is all right? Does that make it so? Likewise in religion: "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Prov. 14:12).
In 1849, the first major departure was made. David S. Burnet was the father of the Missionary Society; it was organized in 1849. David S. Burnet was a convert from the Baptist Church and he brought the idea of the Missionary Society with him from the Baptist Church. "He was brought up as a Presbyterian, but at sixteen years of age, after careful study of the New Testament, was baptized into the Baptist Church." ("The Story of the Churches," by Errett Gates, p. 190.) He said, "I was born into the missionary spirit, and did not relinquish it when I associated myself with my present brethren" (Christian Magazine, Vol. 3, p. 173).
John T. Brown, in his history of "Churches of Christ," p. 153, says: "David S. Burnet was the father of organized cooperative work among the disciples of Christ. He crystallized the sentiment for cooperation. He was the leader of leaders, who, more than any other man, advocated the adoption of the plan of cooperation, which has grown to its present power and usefulness among our people. ... Afterward, in looking over his lifework, he said: 'I consider the inauguration of the society system, which I vowed to urge upon the brethren if God raised me up from my protracted illness of 1845, was one of the most important acts of my career.' ... He was indeed the leader of the leaders in the work of organization and formation of the American Christian Missionary Society."
So, according to David S. Burnet, "the father of organized cooperative work among the disciples of Christ," the resolution to urge the society on the brethren originated in the sickroom in 1845, in the mind of David S. Burnet, but was not put into execution until four years later, 1849.
Dr. Errett Gates in his "The Story of the Churches--The Disciples of Christ," pp. 240, 241, bears this testimony:
The first serious internal controversy arose on account of the organization of this first missionary society. The society was opposed on the ground that there was neither precept nor example in the New Testament for the organization of societies for the spread of the gospel. Some of the bitterest satire in the columns of the Christian Baptist had been directed against the "mercenary schemes" of the missionary, tract, and Bible societies of the various denominations. Campbell's approval of the organization of the new society did not save it from the assaults of many of his brethren. The enemies of the society went back to the Christian Baptist for their most effective epithets against the new scheme, and Alexander Campbell of 1823 was arrayed against Alexander Campbell of 1849. The struggle for organized missionary work among the disciples was begun, and progress was contested at every step by a bitter and relentless opposition, which became a party within the ranks with its leaders and newspapers.
It will be admitted by all that the Missionary Society was thus the first departure from the original grounds of the New Testament teaching as set forth by the pioneers when they united; those who made the departure were responsible for the division on this point. The "Christian Church" departed from the ground of unity and attempted to justify its course in the organization of the Missionary Society. The churches of Christ remained faithful to the New Testament and the "plea and platform" to which the early reformers had called God's people; the churches of Christ stood firm on that platform. In no fair, just, or logical way could the churches of Christ be called a faction unless the whole group was a faction from 1832 to 1849. The "Christian Church" became the faction and was responsible for the division. The churches of Christ were no more a faction in remaining loyal to the New Testament than were Caleb and Joshua when they made a correct report of the spies. The fact that a majority of the churches went with the departure does not make the ones who remained loyal a faction. There is neither precept nor example in the New Testament for any organization, except the independent, local church, and by virtue of the commission given to it by Christ, its head, it can and should "preach the gospel to the whole creation" (Mark 16:15). No other organization is needed for the conversion of sinners and the sanctification of saints--any other organization is an addition to New Testament teaching and is condemned by the word of God. The Missionary Society occupies a position of irreconcilable opposition to the New Testament. The churches of Christ will not compromise nor surrender here; if there is to be unity with the "Christian Church," it must abandon the Missionary Society.
At first the Missionary Society had no authority; it acted only in an advisory capacity. Many who were opposed to it when it was organized tolerated it on the ground that it was only an advisory body with no authority, and, hence, they claimed, the advice it gave to the churches need not be heeded if a church did not desire to follow the advice. Benjamin Franklin was one of this number. He affiliated with the society at first only because it was "only advisory, voluntary, and had no authority...and had no right to interfere with the independence of the churches" ("Life and Times of Ben Franklin," p. 348). This society was a confessed departure from the practices of the pioneers. It soon grew in proportions and soon usurped the autonomy of the churches and stands today as a monument of the cause of woeful division and strife in the brotherhood. It has in recent years gone to such extremes in its departures and arrogance that the Christian Standard has felt called upon to oppose it so stoutly, yet the Christian Standard still claims the right to organize a human society to do a part of the Lord's work. The churches of Christ today stand just where the pioneers stood before the Missionary Society was organized; they sustain the same attitude toward it now in their opposition to it as did the brethren who opposed it when it was organized. Brethren, give up the Missionary Society and come back where you left the people of God and there will still be unity on this point. There can be no unity so long as a part of God's people claim the right to organize a Missionary Society and thrust it upon another portion of God's people.
A second departure was the introduction of instrumental music in the worship. This began about 1859. It was not introduced because it was found in the New Testament; neither were those who introduced it in the worship guided by the New Testament. But few have been bold enough to attempt to prove that the New Testament authorizes the use of instrumental music in worship. Many have claimed on other grounds that they have a right to use instrumental music in worship, but the point made here is that no one, guided by the New Testament, introduced the organ into the worship. Errett Gates, in his history referred to above, p. 250, says: "The organ controversy was the missionary controversy in a new form, for both grew out of the opposition to human innovations in the work and worship of the church . . . The organ party treated it as a question of expediency on which there should be forbearance and liberty. The antiparty treated it as a matter of principle." The arguments now used to justify the use of instrumental music worship are "afterthoughts" and were not used when the instrument or organ was first imposed on the brotherhood.
The Restoration Movement is close to my heart for many reasons. It is close to my heart because of the
ties of the past. My grandfather was a pioneer preacher. The first sermon I ever preached was in a
congregation he helped to establish. My Father was also a pioneer preacher. Like Paul, he "made
tents" and supported himself so that he could preach in weak places. He preached for forty years and in all
those years never received any money except one time. On one occasion, a congregation gave him $5.00 and
on his way home he stopped by the home of a poor family in the community and gave the money to them.
The first local work I ever did was with my home congregation where my father had preached for forty
But as much as the ties of the past mean to me, there are deeper and more fundamental reasons for my
interest in the Restoration Movement. Above everything else I want to enjoy life now and go to heaven when
I die, and I believe with every fiber of my being that the Restoration Movement holds the principles that
can make this possible. This is not just because it is the Restoration Movement, but because its principles
are scriptural. This is the reason that I think we need to study it and know what it is.
The Restoration Movement was launched in the midst of a troubled and divided religious world. Men
had grown tired and weary of the things that caused division. Because the principles upon which it was
started were scriptural, it had an appeal beyond anything that had happened since the dawn of Christianity
on Pentecost. The Restoration is needed in our day just as much as when it was first started. Today the
religious world has lost its way even more than it had when the Restoration was started. Though the
religious world then was in error, it held to many of the great fundamentals of faith, such as the Deity of
Christ, the inspiration of the Bible, and the resurrection. This is not true of religion of our day. Modernism
is eating away the very vitals of Christianity. Many good people in the denominational world are tired and
sick of all of this and are looking for something solid to build their faith on. They are frightened and are
looking for some way out. The principles of the Restoration are the only light for a world that has lost its
way. I think we have the greatest opportunity since the early days of the Restoration. Multitudes are
wanting to get back to the Bible. Preachers are admitting that division is wrong and that religious unity
is to be desired. Of course they do not want it on the basis of the Bible, but their call for unity opens the door
for us to present the restoration plea. But there is a grave danger that we may let this opportunity slip
unless we find our bearing and chart our course by the principles and convictions that characterized the
Restoration in its beginning.
The Restoration Movement was started because of the division brought about by the doctrines and commandments of men. It was started to bring about religious unity. Yet the very slogan that was designed to unite men had become the source of division. Were the pioneers wrong? I cannot believe that they were. The Bible condemns division and teaches unity. Division cannot be right and unity must be possible on some grounds, or the Bible would not demand it. If unity is not possible, then there is no hope for a sin-cursed world.
If unity is taught in the Bible and it is desirable and the Restoration was designed to bring about unity,
why do we have division in the church? I am convinced that it is not because there is anything wrong with
the principles of the Restoration, rather division has come about as a result of mis-application and
misunderstanding of these principles.
Campbell said in 1824, "The history of the church for many centuries has proved, the history of every sect has convinced us, that it is impossible for any one sect to gain such ascendency as to embrace the converts of others, and thus unite the allied forces of darkness, as it is to create a world. Every sect has its infancy, its childhood, its dotage. Every sect with a human creed, carries in it, as in the human body, the seeds of mortality."
Shall the Restoration have its infancy, its childhood, and its dotage? Someone has said that the
Restoration Movement will destroy itself by splinters, faction and division. Will this be true or false? That
will depend upon those and others like us who are here today.
The kind of men and the mood that produced the Restoration are as essential today as they were in the
beginning if the movement is to continue. When we get to the place where we think we have outgrown the
kind of men that started the Restoration Movement, we are planting the seeds that will destroy it. This is
not to say they were perfect men, but their attitudes toward division and their love for truth are just as
necessary now as in the past.
The very heart of the Restoration Movement was the Bible studied, loved, obeyed, and proclaimed. The
pioneers may have lacked many things that we have, but they had no lack of Bible knowledge. Their preaching was not about the Bible, but the Bible. Their sermons were filled with Bible quotations. Every argument
was supported by Bible truth. Entirely too much of our preaching today has a hollow sound and little appeal
because there is too little Bible in the sermons. The faith and conviction of those pioneers came as a result
of the careful examination of the scriptures. They knew what they believed and why. They accepted nothing
until they were sure that the Bible taught it, and they were not sure that the Bible taught anything until
they arrived at such conclusions by their own study. Too much of our faith is second hand. There are too
many of us that believe things, not because we have hammered them out on the anvil of truth, but because
these beliefs have been handed down to us. A second-hand faith is worth very little. It will not last long and
is sure to be corrupted within two or three generations. No doubt this is one reason that God gave us the
Bible in writing. Truth transmitted only by mouth is soon corrupted. But with the truth written down, every
generation may have it for itself from a fountain that is pure.
The following figures are given by Brother Woods in the Gospel Advocate of Sept. 17, 1964. "Forty percent of the members of the church never attend any service except Sunday morning." This is nearly half of the membership of the church. This kind of percentage will have a tremendous influence on the future of the church. You can mark it down that this group is not going to keep the church from apostasy unless this weakness is corrected. The knowledge and conviction of such members are too little to stay the tide of drifting away from the Bible.
"Seventy-five percent of the members of the church are unable to take the Bible and find what it teaches men to do to be saved." The conditions of salvation are simple. When this percent of the members of the church do not know where to find these simple truths in the Bible, we are already in trouble. Can you conceive of there having been few if any in the church in the early days of the Restoration Movement that lacked this knowledge?
"Fifty percent do not know why we do not use mechanical instruments of music in worship." This means that half of the members of the church have no knowledge of Bible authority. The very heart of the instrumental music question is the matter of Bible authority. What sense does the slogan of the Restoration "We call Bible things by Bible names and do Bible things in Bible ways" mean to the member of the church that does not know why we do not use mechanical instruments of music?
"Twenty-five percent would not object to using instruments of music in worship." This means that one-fourth of the members of the church not only do not know what the Bible teaches, they have no respect for it. The person that claims to know enough to be a member of the Lord's church and yet would be willing to worship with an organ cares not what the Bible teaches.
The world in which we live is restless, uncertain and marked with shifting values. There is an air of revolution, change and a call for a turn in our direction. This spirit is in all that we do. Our political world is in a turmoil. Our cities are torn and bleeding. Even our military is faced with dissension and desertion. Youth are in rebellion against their parents. Homes are being divided and broken. These are truly dark and sad days.
Is it strange that this spirit of division, corruption and rebellion should come into the congregations of the people of God? At Corinth, the church was colored by the atmosphere of the day and Paul's letters sought to set the truth in bold contrast to the error of the times.
None but the man who would be blind by choice would deny that we have a growing army of revolutionaries among us as a people. Malcontents, disgruntled brethren and false teachers are having a field day with their cry that the church must be up-dated, restructured and made relevant so as to answer to the needs of the day. One cannot ignore the facts of a conspiracy to wreck us. Revision, reorganization and restructure are being preached loudly from the press and the pulpit. Small cell groups in this movement are now becoming bold and are on the surface. We as a people are in for serious trouble.
Some of us are naive and unbelieving. Some of us want to hush it up and hope it will go away. Some bury their heads and try to ignore it. Some are willing to give up and take the so called good from this movement and try to live it. Some see the danger and want to warn against it even if one must be labeled by the revolutionaries as the trouble maker. We live in a time of decision and the problems are real, more serious than some think and they demand that we look at a conspiracy that has been developing among us for about ten years.
The atmosphere of our time is well described by these words from a widely circulated magazine:
"The warm air of ecumenism and brotherhood in our time is tending to melt the firm conviction that men must repent and believe the gospel. The desire to evangelize is unchristian; the kick is renewal." (Christianity Today, Dec. 1968)
Some among us are aware of this effort to wreck the faith of Christians, such as revealed in these words:
"I am worried about the Church. There is always a small group in nearly every congregation with no abiding faith in the absolute authority of the scriptures; elders avoid confronting those soft on fundamentals because they shun a fight." (Dr. George Benson in Gospel Advocate, Feb. 24, 1972)
We were given fair warning that the spirit of ecumenism, restructure and change was in the wind when we read these words about six years ago.
"Paul did not live in the 20th century. He never spoke face to face with a nuclear scientist or a resident of Harlem." (Mission Magazine, First issue 1967)
An elite corps of highly trained intellectuals began in 1967 an effort to turn us around and away from facing toward Jerusalem. They made it clear that they did not believe the writings of Paul were relevant for our time. He did not live under our conditions, then how would he know how to speak to men of our day? If' this is not the clear meaning of those who began this movement among us, then the direction they have taken will reveal what they had in mind. The intent and meaning of the original editorial has been amplified and directed toward a more relevant message for the church of our day apart from the "gospel" and "doctrine" of the apostolic age. We do not believe that these men felt that the New Testament was meant to be any kind of blue print for our time and their present day editorials testify to this fact. We would like to remind those who seek such renewal that if Paul were here today, he would not speak to men of science about science but about salvation. He would not talk to the inner city dwellers about bread for the belly, but about the bread for the soul. Here is where these reformers among us have turned away from the truth. It is this moving away from the fundamental purpose of the New Testament; it is this threat to the authority of apostolic leadership, it is this attack upon the reality of New Testament authority that is our chief concern today.
Time magazine speaks of the "Methodist Malaise" in a section dealing with religion.
"The Methodist church is a case of a great American dream story going bad. Over the years it has cut, pruned and deleted the very heart of Methodist--A forth coming book by a Methodist minister, titled: 'Why Conservative Churches Are Growing' will say that successful religious movements maintain a high profile of unshakeable beliefs, exclusiveness, strict discipline, zeal and a distinct code of behaviour. The recent mainstream Protestant formula of be tolerant, be ecumenical, be relevant, this describes a formula of failure." (Time, May 8, 1972)
To many among us today, the above theme of the Protestant world of being ecumenical, tolerant and relevant, is an accurate description of what afflicts our pulpits in 1973.
For those with inquisitive and astute minds, the articles in this issue of the Plumbline will be recognized as having been written by great and good men who lived, loved and labored in days gone by and now sleep with the deceased of silent centuries.
The Bible tells us of Abel who, "...being dead yet speaketh" (Heb. 11:4). For over one half century I have clipped, saved, pasted and profited from the marvelous gems and treasures of truth presented by great and godly men who left their good influence for succeeding generations. A good article is like a good song, if it is worth singing once, it is worth repeating. Numerous articles which challenged the minds of honest people in the long ago, need to be made available for the present generation. It just seems to make good sense to preach, teach and write the words of truth over and over. Accordingly, we will present much needed lessons by some of the brethren who though dead, continue to speak.
If for some reason I have overlooked your request for information, a book order or a subscription, etc., please forgive me and do not hesitate to jog my memory. As the days come and go, I try to face whatever is at hand. Some days I simply do not feel like working but other days with help of pain medications I try to forge ahead.
I thank you for your prayers and concern. Occasionally someone will send a gift subscription to the Plumbline for a friend, or an extra dollar to help with printing and mailing. I try to be ever so thankful. In the few years of publishing the paper, I am aware that some people have been offended. Please forgive me. I do not want to cross over the great divide with anything amiss in my life. How tragic to be consigned to eternal torment!
From an old copy of the Gospel Advocate I copy a statement from George Bush who was the son of a Texas evangelist. George wrote, "the students of brother McGarvey thought him inconsistent in favoring the Society and opposing the organ. In my almost four year as a student at the College of the Bible, I do not know of a single student that our brother induced to quit the organ. The general tendency was to lead them to adopt its use. I know of one brother in particular who went to Lexington opposed to the organ and though he attended the congregation of which brother McGarvey was elder, he left quite convinced that it was alright to use it."
I wonder if George Bush of the 1800's was a forbear of George W. Bush, the president elect?
We realize that the mailing of the Plumbline has been very erratic in the last few months and such might be the reason so many have not renewed their subscriptions. Of course I realize that the possibility might just be that a lot of folks do not want to be associated with the Plumbline. I understand quite well. Never has the "ease disease" been more contagious and wide-spread in the church.
In June, July, August, September and October, 2000, a great number of people did not renew their subscriptions, however, we continue to send the paper to them, hoping that some good will be done. Please look at the address label on your Plumbline and do not let your subscription expire. I confess that I do need and appreciate help in publishing the paper. I appeal to the good brethren to help me increase the subscriptions. It has been suggested that if the Plumbline was sent free, the subscriptions might be multiplied. This might be so, however, back when I was preaching for the church, I tried to keep bundles of papers available (as published by brethren) for the members to read. It did not suffice to place bundles on a table. I had to stand at the back door and hand the materials to my brethren as they exited the building. Reading can be such a deadly chore and it can seldom compete with the moronic rot of television.
I trust no person will be so wrong-headed as to accuse the Plumbline of playing politics. I am not politically inclined and have no political favors for anyone either in or out of the church. In the Nashville Tennessean newspaper, I read where vice president Al Gore and his wife attended a party after the election was conceded to Governor Bush. Al was moving about during the party "drinking beer" and his wife was beating on some drums. The Sunday before, the Gores had attended worship, which leads me to say that Al would make a fantastic member in some of the liberal congregations. I thank my God that not one drop of beer-slop has ever entered my mouth. I hate and detest the stinking mess and have no use for the hogs who slurp the destructive brew.
In an election which was held in Mt. Juliet, Tenn. a few weeks ago, liquor by the drink was approved. The local Chamber of Commerce supported the effort, and signs were posted everywhere which encouraged people to vote for the whiskey guzzlers. The signs touted the foul-notion, "For Better Restaurants." There were far more church members(???) who could have defeated the rotten-mess if they had wanted to. Conviction is exceedingly rare in so many places.
Do you recall the information which we penned relative to the sower of discord who came down from the Adams Avenue congregation in Lebanon after the elders refused to kow-tow to his utter stupidity? He was successful in destroying the Villages congregation BUT before he left Villages, he tried to get the song-leader who was one of his supporters to appoint him as a deacon. The congregation has no elders and of course no deacons.
I do not understand why the song-leader--pope-- refused to appoint the misfit to hold the office of archbishop, cardinal, or some such powerful position. My source of information came from one of the Villages members. Brethren, "beware of wolves which come to you in sheep's clothing." The misfit has moved on to place membership with the Powells Grove congregation.