PLUMBLINE -- Editor, Wayne Coats
Vol. 4 No. 4, Nov 1999
Some time ago I went out to the Lipscomb Library to do a bit of research. I decided to visit the chapel service. A young man who was a senior student gave a short talk and he informed the chapel assembly that the seniors "would be going forth to witness for Jesus."
Do you not wonder how a boy can spend four years at Lipscomb and leave so ignorant? The answer is too obvious, but read on.
In our feverish attempts to ape the sects, some of our brethren have introduced the very popular performance of witnessing and testifying during the worship. There is not a "Holy Roller" in the entire country that can do a more interesting story, compounded with more fermented ignorance, than that which is displayed before gullible members of the church who sit like zombies and swallow such foolishness.
It might help us if we would cease in our efforts to go off half cocked in testifying, and do just a mite of serious meditation. That might be asking too much of brethren who relish a grandiose performance. What is more spectacular than to listen to some super-star relate a personal experience or a professor who gives testimony about, "Ain't God Good?" The more dense it becomes, the more divine it seems to those who enjoy such tripe.
There are a few terms which need to be considered and a number of scriptures which should be carefully studied as we attempt to make our way through the labyrinth of sporty events which some congregations are sponsoring.
When a brother stands before the congregation to testify, he is appearing as a witness. "Testify" is a legal term and comes from the Latin testificari. It is a compound word and means to
"make or bear witness to, under oath or affirmation; to make a solemn declaration before a tribunal,
to establish some fact." Some tyro might decide to play the role of a junior Webster and concoct his
own definition and no doubt it would be acceptable to a certain class of auditors.
Pardon my plainness of speech, but I don't want to hear your testimony. If you feel qualified to testify, I would simply ask, "What are your credentials?" I know what the qualifications and credentials were of those who were to testify and bear witness of Christ during the first century. That was back before some of the brethren began to act like modern Holy Rollers. Our Lord said, "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning" (John 15:26-27). Notice carefully that the Holy Spirit would testify. The apostles would also bear witness. To testify is to bear witness. When Paul made his plea before Ananias, "...the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome" (Acts 23:11). Just when did Paul testify and when did he also bear witness? Would some of our sanctified elders let some of the ecstatic saints demonstrate the difference in the two? We need, not so much a declaration, but a demonstration. The "demon-strations" will put a church on the map, and the hue and cry is to get on the big map.
Just suppose that Christ had not been raised from the dead. Had this been so, then Paul's
preaching and the faith of the brethren would have been in vain. He said, "Yea, and we are found
false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised
not up, if so be that the dead rise not" (1 Cor. 15:15). It is undeniable that to testify was to bear
witness and vice versa. Paul was to testify of the resurrection of Christ. How could he bear witness
to that great fact?
We are familiar with the religious brand of charlatans who want to witness and testify for Jesus. The followers of Mrs. Eddy can tell what she has done for them. Oh, but they can strut their stuff! The devotees of Ellen G. White and Judge Rutherford can whoop it up on their testifying sessions. The Holy Rollers can run wild as they witness. I've heard the sanctified silly "sisters" tell some whoppers. The swallowers of Lydia Pinkham and Hadacol could turn on the testimony and tell of all those marvelous benefits. And the brethren? The half has never yet been told! I wish the testifying professors would shut up long enough to tell me what they have seen? They want to testify, to bear witness, and I want to hear just one of them tell what he has seen from the Lord. Can he tell me? He won't even attempt to tell--but he apparently thinks I've got little enough sense to listen to him testify that he can testify. Those fellows are not one whit behind the Holy Rollers, except the Holiness will sometimes make feeble attempts to defend their practices.
The inspired penman wrote, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness" (John 3:11). Were the credentials of Christ sufficient so as to enable him to testify and/or bear witness? He bore witness to what he had seen, and testified of the same. What have the brethren seen? I'm not asking about how they feel or how much ignorance they have accumulated or how much they want to ape the sects. I insist that a "witness" must get off the stand, shut up and sit down unless he is an eye witness. Elders should be ashamed to allow such duplicity and members certainly should be ashamed to allow themselves to be mesmerized with such babbling.
Remember, Jesus said the apostles would bear witness, "...because ye have been with me
from the beginning" (John 15:27). The preaching of John the Baptist bore testimony of Christ. He
said, "Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him"
(John 3:28). John said that Jesus cometh from above, "And what he hath seen and heard, that he
testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony. And he that hath received his testimony hath set
to his seal that God is true" (John 3:32-33). Sometime later John wrote, "And we have seen and do
testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world" (1 John 4:14). Just what had
John seen that enabled him to testify? What have our wonder-boy witnesses seen? John could
write, "This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know
that his testimony is true" (John 21:24). While the testifying brethren are lining up with the Holy
Rollers, I think I will be satisfied to listen to the holy apostles. But the testimony of a few
professors is far more important than the testimony of the inspired apostles to some people.
Our Lord said, "There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. But I receive not testimony from man...But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me..." (John 5:32-37).
> The very thing which Jesus refused to receive is that which some elders arrange to have the congregation to receive. Jesus received not the testimony from mere men, but merry men are asked to testify now. Why? Almighty God has borne witness of the Son, but comes now some feeble folk who want to help God. They want to testify. Let them tell us why, with some semblance of good sense. We do not care for moronic moans. If there is a professor, or self-styled scholar, who feels competent, let him try his hand while holding the Book. What are the credentials of the testifying ones? For shame!
Our blessed Lord chose apostles and "...shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God" (Acts 1:3). These apostles were to wait in Jerusalem until they were baptized in the Holy Ghost. Jesus declared, "But ye shall receive power, after that the holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). The power would come and the testimony would begin. The witnessing would have to wait until the power came. Wonder what kind of power the modern, testifying, witnessing brethren possess? When and where did Jesus tell a professor to testify and bear witness?
After the disciples returned to Jerusalem following the ascension of Jesus, they met together and were to select someone to take the place of Judas. Peter said, "Wherefore of these men which have compained with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection" (Acts 1:21-22). Which brother qualifies to testify or witness the resurrection? Tell us about how you accompanied the Lord from the baptism of John until his ascension. What has happened to the minds of church members? God doesn't expect us to park our brains on the door steps before we enter the meeting house. On the day of Pentecost the apostles preached as they were guided by the Spirit. While discussing the resurrection of Christ they said, "This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses" (Acts 2:32). Wonder which brother qualifies to testify as a witness of the resurrection? Will the elders please send me the names of those who were there when "up from the grave he arose?"
Peter and John were bold in proclaiming the word of God even though they had been persecuted. They prayed to God in time of trouble, "And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all" (Acts 4:33). Wonder who could witness about the resurrection with great power like the apostles? The Holy Rollers would say they could, and there is no telling what some of the brethren would say--once they start testifying. To think that people will walk inside a church house, tolerate, support and sanction such junk is simply unbelievable. Peter and the other apostles spoke of the death, resurrection and exaltation of Christ. He stated, "And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him" (Acts 5:32). The apostles and the Holy Spirit would qualify as witnesses. Who else?
When Peter spoke to Cornelius and his friends, he said, "And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly: Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead" (Acts 10:39-42). Again, it is evident that the apostles who were especially chosen, who ate and drank with the Lord, were the ones who were to testify regarding the Judge of all. Someone counters that the apostles were not the only ones who could tell about the judgment. This is certainly true. No one in his right mind would even hint that others cannot tell about the judgment, as well as other recorded matters. It is a fact, indisputable, provable and unquestioned that what we find written in the Word of God by eye witnesses who testified as such, is a million miles farfetched from some upstart who is pushed forward by pride, an ego trip, arrogance and ignorance in an attempt to witness for Jesus. Again we ask, what have the witnesses seen? Has not the evidence already been attested to by those inspired eye witnesses? We shall say a bit more about this later.
When Paul and his company came to Antioch in Pisidia, he spoke in the synagogue and his
central focus was on unfolding the scheme of redemption which culminated in God, according to
His promise, raising unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus (Acts 13:23). Paul declared that Jesus was slain,
"But God raised him from the dead: And he was seen many days of them which came up with him
from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people" (Acts 13:30-31). What testifying
brother saw "Jesus many days" and came "with him from Galilee to Jerusalem?" I cannot believe
that the people who are assuming to testify, actually comprehend the silly scenario in which they
We have seen that those selected to testify were those who bore witness. We have seen that they were selected, chosen, and had been eye witnesses of that to which they gave testimony. There is little if any difference in the Holy Rollers who reject the confirmed, established, inspired Word of God as being all sufficient, and some of the high church brethren who want to testify and witness. The Holy Rollers want to talk about all the miracles which they are experiencing. The age of miracles passed when the Word was confirmed or established. That was the purpose of miracles (Mark 16:15-20). Of course, a lot of people will not agree, but we challenge the entire world of fake miracle workers to demonstrate their claims. It will never be done. The Word has been confirmed, established, witnessed and testified about in a perfect manner. Indeed it has been, "...confirmed unto us by them that heard him. God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will" (Heb. 2:3-4).
Even though the Word has been confirmed, shall we consent to act as if it hasn't? Although the events which gave expression to the last will and testament of Jesus Christ have been seen, heard, and set forth by eye witnesses and inspired penmen--like the Holy Rollers, a few high sounding professors and bigwig elders presume to be able to occupy the role of a witness or one who testifies. This is pure, fermented, hog wash being borrowed from the swine pits of a far country, and utilized by men who could and should know better.
We know the subject, theme, and content of those inspired witnesses who testified after being with Christ. How does that compare with a modern testimonial performance? Please remember that Jesus spoke of the Comforter and said, "...he shall testify of me" (John 15:26). "And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning" (vs. 27).
When Paul stood before the council, the Lord subsequently stood by him. Let us be reminded again that Paul was to testify of Jesus and bear witness of him (Acts 23:11). Of whom did Paul testify? Not of himself, but of Jesus, When he wrote to Corinth, Paul said that he declared the testimony of God which consisted of telling them about Christ and his crucifixion (1 Cor. 2:1-2). That is a testimony which is worthwhile. When Paul was in Corinth he, "...testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ" (Acts 18:5). I wonder how he knew that?
When Paul declared his conversion, he said Jesus appeared to him and stated, "...The God of our fathers has chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard" (Acts 22:14-15). When Paul later came to Jerusalem he saw the Lord who said, "...Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me" (vs. 18). Jesus was to be the subject of Paul's testimony and said testimony would be circumscribed by what Paul had seen and heard from the Lord. Could it be that our testifying brethren have seen and heard the Lord as did Paul? Listen carefully when some brother is giving his testimonial (if you can tolerate it) and see if he testifies what Peter, Paul and others said when they testified or bore witness.
Paul had been given a very special ministry which he had "...received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24). Maybe Paul was lacking in his testimony and just never did get the job accomplished. Perhaps some brother can fulfil Paul's ministry by testifying. One would be able to preach the gospel of the grace of God, but in so doing one would be limited in telling what the inspired writers of the New Testament have already attested to by the inspired Word. I can preach, but I cannot testify or bear witness, but the apostles could do both. I can preach, but I cannot confirm the Word by miracles. We do not need witnesses or testimonials, but rather we need preachers and teachers who will have respect for God's Word and proclaim it.
The apostle Peter testified that this is the "...true grace of God wherein ye stand" (1 Peter 5-12). Can we be sure that we really have the true grace of God? I think we can. We can go by the testimony of the inspired writers. They were not left to their own whims or limited mentality as to what they would proclaim. We are accursed if we preach more or less than the certified gospel of Christ (Gal. 1:8).
The aged John informs us that he fell down before a heavenly being and was forbidden to worship it. A voice said, "...I am thy fellowservants, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" (Rev. 19:10). Does this passage have any meaning whatever to those who want to testify? Do they have the testimony of Jesus? I believe John said that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Elders, how about having two brethren to testify during the services and also having two brethren to prophesy? Why not? We cannot afford to be in arrears of the sects any longer. If some of the "high church" folks will begin to testify and prophesy, then it won't be long until those of us in the "low church" will copy the practice. Think what it would be to have "The Voice of Prophecy" in congregations of the church!
We learn that John was in exile on Patmos, "...for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Rev. 1:9). He saw "...the souls of them that were slain for the Word of God, and for
which they held" (Rev. 6:9). He saw "...the souls of them that were beheaded for the
witness of Jesus, and for the Word of God..." (Rev. 20:4). John also saw those who overcame by
"...the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the
death" (Rev. 12:11). Those who testified and witnessed for Jesus were already dead according to
John. When a congregation and/or its elders initiate the sectarian practice of witnessing and
testifying, it may have a name like Sardis, that it lives, but it is DEAD (Rev. 3:1).
Please think carefully about the meaning of Bible words such as "testify" and "witness." We must never concoct our own definitions in order to introduce some practice which people applaud.
I trust we will be reminded that to testify is to bear witness under oath. It involves a solemn declaration before a tribunal. Its purpose is to establish some fact. It does not involve telling what someone has heard that was heard by someone. Hearsay babbling is not admissible in any court on earth. Valid testimony is the only kind that has been heard, submitted and approved before the Heavenly Tribunal.
--Wayne Coats, Editor
With such an arrangement we will be prepared to jump in and supply preachers whenever an emergency pops up or an opportunity exists. By way of example, just suppose your preacher resigns or the congregation decided to terminate the preacher unexpectedly? Never fear, Preachers Warehouse is here! Preachers sometimes die without notice; what then?
Surely, we all agree that preaching and teaching God's word is essential for every congregation. Now I know that some private schools have offered to perform this service for the church but this is a better idea; trust me.
We propose to purchase an apartment complex that is complete with kitchen and recreational facilities. We know where one may be purchased for $750,000.00 which is a steal considering it's location and condition. This property will be fully insured and we will carry two million dollars worth of insurance on its contents. We will have to have a few full time employees and think it would be good to have everything on a computer. There will naturally be some additional expenses for heating and air conditioning, other utilities, maintenance, upkeep, and miscellaneous. Funds will be needed in addition for transportation when a call comes.
We propose that we shall be the "sponsoring church" but we recognize that we will require substantial, regular support and so we propose that we establish a board of directors with a chairman of the board. We will ask several congregations to supply us with these board members and in this way we can count on their continuing support. We also expect to have a lot of volunteer workers in this corporation.
We expect to start out as a local Warehouse for Preachers but expect the demand to be so great that we should quickly be regional and in time, national and one day worldwide. Just imagine warehousing preachers for people of every nation and tongue.
After all, we live in a changing world and the church must change or be left behind on the ash heap of human history. Boy, just think how we will impress the denominations, people will really know who we are!
But please, let's not get bogged down in some silly argument about scriptural authority but rather let us press on to where we are going.
All of the above sounds pretty silly wouldn't you agree? Would you think that if I change the word preachers to the word benevolence that the above scheme would make perfectly good doctrine?
Will we never learn that a thing is not scriptural without a direct command, apostolic example or clear inference? Now someone is sure to say: "Well, it's just as scriptural as some other unscriptural things brethren have done." How Silly!
I ask this clear and simple question: Is there scriptural authority for any organization that is larger than the local congregation to undertake to do the work that God has given to the church? If so, give me book, chapter, and verse. Does the Bible provide us with a pattern? What do you believe 2 Tim. 3:16-17 and 2 Peter 1:3 teachs? Are we, or are we not, completely furnished unto every good work? Is not the word of God perfect (1 Cor. 13:10)?
Is there a pattern for disaster relief? ...YES... Acts 11:29-30, The disciples in Antioch sent relief to the elders where the brethren dwelt in Judea. There were churches in Judea. 1 Thess. 2:14, "the churches of God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus." There were churches, congregations in Judea and the "relief" was sent to the elders. Which elders, we inquire? The elders of the congregation in Judea. That's where help was needed. There were elders in every city and every church (1 Thess. 2:14; Titus 1:5; Acts 14:23; Gal. 1:22). This emergency was "a great dearth throughout the world." What a wonderful opportunity for the apostles to establish some sort of central warehouse under the oversight of some "sponsoring congregation" with a board of directors and that incorporated. In the eyes of some, this relegates the apostles to the ash heap of human history. They missed their opportunity.
Those who would attempt a parallel between CHURCHES OF CHRIST DISASTER RELIEF, INC. and the orphans home should note that the orphans home is doing the work of the home and not attempting to do the work of the church. No organization is authorized to do the work of the church save the local congregation. The three areas of the work of the church have been understood clearly for many years and have not changed and will not change. In times past, the Missionary Society was an attempt by digressives to take over the work of the church in the preaching of the gospel . A benevolent society, THE CHURCHES OF CHRIST DISASTER RELIEF, INC. attempts to take over another authorized work of the local congregation. What is the difference?
To what standard shall we appeal? As God's people we have for a long time agreed that the Bible is our sole rule of faith and practice. We have agreed that whatever cannot be clearly established by the scriptures is to be rejected. We also agree that the silence of the scriptures does not constitute authority for anything. Finally, we agree that there is no basis for an expedient where there is no command.
The doctrinal question before us is this: Is there scriptural authority for any organization larger than the local church to do the work of the church?
A secondary question is: What relationship do the elders of the "sponsoring church" sustain to other churches? May they exercise control over another congregation's work? Can any congregation order THE CHURCHES OF CHRIST DISASTER RELIEF INCORPORATED to go into action at their command? Or, would a local congregation be required to submit a request to the sponsoring church and the corporation? If this is the case, then is it not true that this "sponsoring congregation" and the corporation stand between the local congregation and it's work? If the answer given is that the local congregation is at liberty to do work without the assistance of this "sponsoring church" and corporation, then why have them?
Brethren, we have been led down this path before. It was called the Missionary Society the last time. It promised to send more missionaries, more efficiently but could not and did not deliver.
Even if the CHURCHES OF CHRIST DISASTER RELIEF INCORPORATED was scriptural (which it is not), I would be unable to bid it God speed because I would have to fellowship congregations which have upheld and promoted the false teachers and the false doctrine of the NASHVILLE JUBILEE INCORPORATED. As of this writing, they have not repented and do not denounce the Jubilee heresy.
I spoke with brother Joe L. Dudney who I believe is the chairman of the board of directors of the Corporation. He is very pleasant to talk with and he supplied me with the information I am using. Brother Dudney gave me the names of the congregations who are supplying the men for the board of directors. They are: 1) Brentwood Hills, 2) Hillsboro, 3) Woodson Chapel, 4) Smith Springs, 5) Natches Trace, 6) Otter Creek, 7) Vultee, 8) Tusculum. All of these congregations, with the possible exception of Woodson Chapel, participated in a full page advertisement in the Nashville Newspaper endorsing and promoting the Jubilee Incorporated. 2 John 9-11 would prevent any faithful Christian or congregation from joint participation with false doctrine supporting congregations.
Can't we see that this is just another effort by the "change agents" to restructure the Lord's church? They cry, "We need a twentieth century church." It is a little threadbare and almost a hundred years old now. The voices we hear now are but the hollow echoes of past Digressives who formed the Disciples of Christ denomination. I can no more join in with these apostates than I could with the Baptists, Methodists, Roman Catholics or any group that teaches and fellowships false doctrine.
Brethren, that which is perfect has come (1 Cor. 13:10). What we need to do is to follow the pattern God has so graciously given unto us. We are incapable of improving on the perfect law of liberty (James 1:25). We are indeed furnished completely unto "every good work" in, by, and through the inspired word of God (2 Tim. 3:16-17). We have the blue-print. All we need to do is to faithfully follow it.
--writer's name omitted
It is not denied that these huge corporate conglomerates do some good. The Red Cross, Salvation Army, Catholic Relief Fund, Shriners Burn Center, etc. does much good. It is a false concept to argue that the end justifies the means. We have contended from day one that the D.R.F. is nothing more than a big benevolent society. I sincerely ask, how would anyone object to the Tennessee Christian Missionary Society, upon what basis would there be objections, and at the same time try to justify these huge Nashville Benevolent Societies? I hereby declare that if a big conglomerate can be concocted, someone in Nashville will give birth to it. To object to anything will bring forth anathemas and gnashing of teeth.
One of the charges which Paul gave to Timothy and which was to be passed along pertained to "words of no profit." Note very carefully where the apostle said, "of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers" (2 Tim. 2:14).
It is most interesting to read where the inspired apostle would use the expressions "before God," "before the Lord," "before God and the Lord Jesus Christ," etc. How very solemn and serious!
With great gusto and mighty power most preachers can quote 2 Timothy 4:1-2, or at least a part of the verse. Ah, before God we preach the word, but before God we somehow skip over, by-pass, detour and shun 2 Timothy 2:14 which pertains to the matter of striving about words to no profit.
There is no occasion when greater care should be exercised than when we preach and teach, "before God and the Lord Jesus Christ...." It is not a time to try to act like junior Websters and display our vanity. The complete idiocy of a preacher is demonstrated when he belittles himself and tries to show off by using words to no profit.
Several years ago as a school teacher, I ordered a film titled, "The Showoff." The film was used in connection with my work as a counselor with young people who had dropped out of school. We tried a M.D.T.A. rehab program, but for all practical purposes it was a failure. The show-off student felt inadequate, with a low self-esteem. He wanted attention. What he lacked in brains, he tried to make-up with brass. There is a difference. Why do preachers resort to "strivings about words?" Can such an one be helped? It is very doubtful when one is imbued and obsessed with the matter of getting attention.
During the medieval period, some of the bloaks discussed how many angels could stand on the point of a needle at the same time. I really hesitate to tell this tale, for certain some of the brethren will desire to demonstrate their wisdom on the matter.
The old Athenians, "...spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell or to hear some new thing" (Acts 17:21). There is not anything as impressive as when one swaggers to the podium and relates some new thing.
One is tragically deceived when one thinks that faithful brethren are interested in some fool notion concocted anew by some modern would be Athenian.
The old Pharisees prayed to be seen and heard for their much speaking and they did their alms to be seen of men. God forbid that I might be so obtuse as to align myself with that ancient cult, while striving about words to no profit in order to be a show-off.
--Wayne Coats, Editor
Although I have not at this writing tried to preach in two years, I still attempt to stay busy reading and writing--mostly in the mornings when the discomfort is not so severe. If anyone thinks I am complaining--please stop reading at this point. What I have said is to give a brief, pertaining to my health. I believe complaining and murmuring is sinful.
I have three manuscripts at the printer and have been working piece-meal on some others which I hope to finish in a fortnight--or some other time. The pen is mightier than the sword.
In the August '99 issue, I included a list of materials which I have written and which needs to be removed from my bookshelves and put into the hands of readers. Although the great brotherhood is not known for many advances in reading religious materials, we desperately need to read for several reasons.
Like some of the stock sales which are listed as a "prospectus," consider the book listing as a prospectus. We may not be able to preach, teach publicly, lead singing or do several things in a public manner but we can give booklets to people who need to read and be aware of the devices of the devil (2 Cor. 2:11). Why not order a supply of these materials to give to your friends.
A disgusting, sick and absurd piece has arrived announcing a lectureship at Rochester College in Michigan. Brethren have been warned about the liberalism and modernism which seeps out from so many of the so-called Christian Schools to the detriment of the Truth of God.
Appearing at the lectureship will be such great men of renown as Rubel Shelly, Doug Foster, ad nauseam. As long as brethren continue to support these hot-beds of Digression and also keep the lock-jaw affliction, just so long will neophyte prattlers be turned out to make merchandise of brethren and lead the church into apostasy.
Glover Shipp of OCU babbles about, "We in churches of Christ have been known for our aloofness from other religious bodies even at times of crises when we could perhaps have cooperated with them." Does Shipp mean that we should sail with the Mormons, Hindus, Jehovah's Witnesses, Christian Scientists, and Universalists? Just how does the brother propose to violate every Scripture regarding non-fellowship with false teachers? He will not say. When does Shipp shop on the Sabbath with the Jews?
From brother Steve Wiggins of Burkburnett, Texas, a goodly list of subscribers to the Plumbline has been received. Thanks dear brother for the list of thirteen names sent. I pray that each of these will profit from our efforts. Why not write brother Wiggins at the address given below and request to be placed on the list to receive "Hammer and Tongs?" Send your request to: Steve Wiggins, c/o Church of Christ, 204 Avenue C, Burkburnett, TX 76354.
This piece will get a snarl, maybe a "hiss and a byword" along with a showing of fangs, but so-be-it. Far be it from me to condescend into the dirty depths of politics with the Plumbline. I am neither a Democrat or Republican, but albeit I can deal with social problems and there are many.
The Nashville and other middle Tennessee newspapers have gone slap-happy over the news that Al Gore, Jr. has moved his presidential Campaign Headquarters to Nashville, ostensibly in order to "...distance himself from Washington." My comment! I think it is a disgrace and a shame that conditions prevail in our national capitol to the degree that our native son feels a need to be distanced therefrom. Frankly, I do not see that conditions in Nashville are any better than Washington. This is not a criticism, but rather a news item, which should remind every Christian to pray for those in authority (1 Tim. 2:2). Why remove campaign headquarters out of Washington and hope to be elected and return to Washington? The mere tip of the iceberg of corruption is showing in our nations capitol. How long! O Lord, how long!
A booklet from Harding University announces a forthcoming lectureship with a great number of speakers, many of whom I have never heard of, however, I do know about Steve Flatt, Randy Harris, Mike Moss and Jeanine Reese. For false teachers personified, the above folks cannot be surpassed. Harding University is hard-up for speakers. These are the kind of characters which the universities are using as speakers...and Jubilee folks continue to support them.
The Bel-Air church in Tullahoma, Tenn. Has sent a bulletin announcing some sort of affair with Steve Flatt as keynote speaker. "His ministry has began in the late 1970s..." (sic). There will be "encounter classes," "for young people to experience..." (sic). The song group, lost-n-found will, "...lift your spirits and start a fire in your soul." The drama group Theatron, from Harding University, "offers a different type of ministry through drama...they open our eyes to the gospel in a special and unique way." As a bonus, checks made payable to Bel-Air by a certain date will get you a free T-shirt. Whoopee! Truly the devil is having an enfair. How can people accumulate so much fermented ignorance in such a short time?
A note has been received from Freed-Hardeman University which tears me to pieces. If I will donate $20,000 to FHU, the amenities will accrue and I can hear James Earl Jones. You can "stroll along candlelit walkways and marvel at the thousands of twinkling lights while you are serenaded by the University carolers. There will be story-telling in the Loden-Daniel Library...And you can sip hot cider while you browse the University stores." You can receive ten sponsor's dinner tickets, eight priority seats at the speech, six passes to private reception (including one photo) and listing on the program! It peers like it would be so much simpler to do like Bethany College and install a beer joint on the FHU campus to raise money. Vanity of vanities!
If I want to see twinkling lights, I can gaze at the stars and if I desire to see myself, I can look in the mirror and instead of sipping hot cider, I prefer buttermilk. If I had offers of ten or twenty thousand dollars to drive down to FHU, I might consider the matter.