PLUMBLINE -- Editor, Wayne Coats
Volume 5 Number 3, October 2000
I once was a bit chagrined at some of the things my brethren would say, but not any more. When the dear brother said, "We don't want brother Coats," whose name did he call? It appears that it might not be the correct thing for brother Coats to call names, but it is fine for others to do so! We see too much of this spirit which expresses itself in condemning others for condemning, objecting to others for objecting, being negative toward those who are negative, while saying "...everybody's thinking positive."
In some lectureships where I have spoken, the very nature of the subjects assigned demands that names be called. In some assigned subjects there would be no point in calling names except as needed to identify which Bible character wrote specific verses or performed various acts.
Why would brother Coats call names? There could be several reasons. It should be self evident that brother Coats is not afraid of his shadow. No, I do not claim to be the bravest man in the world, but I do claim to have the truth, preach the truth, and love the truth, and I am not afraid to make an effort to defend the truth. If anyone refuses to call names, I pray that it may not be due to fear.
Why would brother Coats call names? The world is full and running over with false teachers of every stripe and hue. Modernism and liberalism are on a rampage in the church. The sheep skin market cannot provide enough covers for the ravening wolves who would destroy the flock (Acts 20:29). If there are no wolves, let us not be bothered. If there are wolves, shall we call them lambs? Too many brethren are like Red Riding Hood with her basket of cookies. In her ignorance she was ready to feed cookies to the wolf. I wonder where little "Hood" worshipped and what kind of preaching she heard. She didn't know a wolf when she saw one, and neither would some of our modern "Hoods" who despise the church of my Lord.
Why would brother Coats call names? It could be to be like that man who lived some two thousand years ago. I'd better not print his name lest some be offended. That man identified the false teachers who sought to destroy him and his work. He even had one of his own select company turn into a traitor. I shall not give the traitor's name either.
There was a peerless apostle who was imprisoned in Rome. Ah, but he suffered much as he stood before governors and kings. That old man could not have spoken on some modernized lectureships because he called names. In one of his letters to a young preacher the old apostle spoke of two reprobates who made shipwreck of the faith and were blasphemous. Do you think I should tell the names of those fellows and the name of the young preacher who was advised of their actions? That would be calling names. Two more false teachers were named in a second letter to the young preacher. Their words would eat as a cancer. Who wants to be bothered about cancerous words when it can be much more fun to belittle and put down those who would try to warn against such heretics, false brethren, and traitors?
The old prisoner in Rome said that one of the brothers had forsaken him. The world was too alluring. Another brother did much evil to the aged saint, and the aged saint even called the name of that renegade.
I am reminded of another forlorn and lonely apostle who tried to help the church by writing a Letter, but there was one fellow who wanted to have the preeminence among the brethren. He would not receive the apostle and "...forbiddeth them that would...." If the apostles were rejected, why should I feel disconsolate if I am not received by some brother who also "...forbiddeth them that would?"
When we stand in defense of truth and identify false teachers, whose side are we on? Whose example are we following? When we forbid the naming of false teachers, on what Biblical basis do we try to stand?
I once attended a lectureship where I sat through an "Open Forum." As it turned out, the forum was not very "open." The young fellow who seemed to be in charge of the forum, who set forth the guidelines for the forum, and who introduced the moderator of the forum, specifically directed, "We will not call names."
Have we come to this impasse? Please give me one inkling of a hint of Biblical teaching that we cannot call names. How in heaven's name can any man meet the demands of the Holy Spirit of God and not call names? The Bible teaches, "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them" (Rom. 16:17). Did Paul mean to mark the false teacher on the bottom of his foot with a piece of chalk? Was Paul just making a puny suggestion?
The inspired penman wrote, "Do I now persuade men or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ" (Gal. 1:10). What do brethren think and how do they reason relative to the above scripture when they attempt to impose the gag rule on others? Moreover, when brethren allow themselves to be subjected and subservient to some foolish gag rule, how can we ever expect to please God? The whole scheme is a senseless effort to please men! If not, why not?
Brethren, I have as much culture, as many manners, as much belief in Christian ethics, respect for the rights of others, and knowledge of how to treat my brethren as well as any among us --- but till heaven and earth shall pass, I do not intend to lay aside my Bible with all its teaching relative to false teachers, have a muzzle put on my mouth, submit to some fearful brother's gag rule, or join in with the silent marchers.
If I can prevail upon "what's her name" (mustn't call her name) to type this piece, it might be possible to get some "secret pal" to publish it. In case anyone should care to write in response, be sure to leave my name off the envelope. We must not call names!
--Wayne Coats, Editor, this article is a reprint
Opposed to Fixed Patterns. Liberalism in its more advanced stages objects to all fixed rules, regulations, models, or patterns. The soul must be left free. It must not be bound or limited by any inflexible rules or requirements. In man's redemption there can be no "musts." While there may be no "musts," there must be an abundance of "mays." Man may do whatever he thinks is right, but he must not be compelled to do any one definite or particular thing, or else be lost. When Jesus told Saul to "arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do," he was mistaken about it. There was nothing that Saul must do, according to modern liberalism. Certainly Jesus Christ is no authority on the subject of man's redemption to these modernists. He was too dogmatic, too arbitrary. He said certain things had to be done. He actually said to an aristocratic ruler of the Jews, "a master of Israel," an associate justice of the supreme court: "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." He commanded his chosen representatives to go into all the world and tell every creature that "he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." That begins to look somewhat like a "fixed pattern," does it not?
A Philosopher Speaks. In an endorsement of Dr. DeGroot's history of the grounds of division among the disciples of Christ, Dr. Ralph W. Nelson, professor of philosophy in Phillips University, Enid, Okla., a digressive college, says: "Even those who disagree with your conclusion, 'that the principle of restoring a fixed pattern of a primitive Christian church is divisive and not unitive,' may be led to inquire what sort of thinking it is that prompts men to seek fixed patterns." "Once facing this question, your readers will eventually discover how pagan Greek philosophy brought the mode of thinking that demands fixed patterns into the church (from the second century on) and transformed the apostolic 'way' (Acts 19:9,23; 24:14,22) into a catechistic memorizing of verbal doctrines condensed into fixed creeds. Thus if your book should challenge readers to restudy their Bibles, seeking justification for their supposed fixed pattern of the church, they may discover the pattern fixing procedure that Greek-inspired theology has taught Christians to read into the Scriptures for sixteen centuries, but Jesus' way of knowing was by fruits. Then they will see that the apostolic church is exactly what Luke calls it--a way of living, a spiritually creative stream of fruits in daily life by which the Christlikeness of Christians identified them as followers of Jesus."
The reason men find fixed patterns in the church and in the Scriptures, if we understand this modern philosopher's learned remarks, is because they have been looking at them for sixteen centuries through colored glasses, one lens of which is made up of "pagan Greek philosophy" and the other of "Greek-inspired theology." We had heard of the treachery and deception of the ancient Greeks (the Trojans feared them even "bearing gifts"), but we did not know that they had pulled the wool over the eyes of men for sixteen centuries and caused them to find something in the Scriptures that was never there. According to the diagnosis of this learned doctor, we who find fixed patterns and inflexible rules in the Scriptures are still deluded by Greek philosophy and theology. Such balderdash! Multiplied thousands of good, honest, intelligent people that never heard of Greek philosophy and theology find fixed patterns and models in the Scriptures. Such men as Thomas Campbell, Alexander Campbell, Walter Scott, Barton Stone, and all other great leaders of the Restoration found fixed patterns and inflexible requirements in the New Testament because they were unconsciously blinded by pagan Greek philosophy and theology! Believe it or not.
"The Plan of Salvation." Some weeks ago, Dr. J. J. Walker, pastor of the Central Christian Church, Memphis, Tenn., delivered the commencement sermon for our local high school. The writer did not hear the Doctor's address, but was told by a number of reliable persons who did that he ridiculed the idea of a plan of salvation. He is quoted as saying: "It makes me sick to hear somebody talking about the plan of salvation. There is no such thing."
So Walter Scott was wrong when he analyzed the gospel and set forth the plan of salvation at New Lisbon, in the Great Western Reserve, about 1830. Walter Scott was a graduate of the University of Edinburgh, a profound scholar, a great thinker, and a Bible student. He was Alexander Campbell's "first lieutenant" in the Restoration Movement, and perhaps the greatest evangelist it has yet produced. After thorough investigation and analysis, he set forth the plan of salvation as follows: "(1) faith, (2) repentance, (3) baptism, (4) remission of sins, (5) Holy Spirit." This plan was hailed with delight and approved one hundred per cent by the Campbells, and has been followed by all gospel preachers since that time. But Scott made a colossal blunder. There is no plan of salvation, says Dr. Walker. It makes him sick to hear it mentioned.
And there was Dr. Brents -- T. W. Brents. He was regarded as one of the intellectual giants of his day--scholar, profound thinker, author, defender of the faith, etc. He met the Goliaths of sectarianism and slew them like David. But he spoiled it all, demonstrated his ignorance, and led the world astray when he wrote "The Gospel Plan of Salvation." This great work has been a textbook for thousands of gospel preachers. They have regarded it as one of the great pieces of Restoration literature--one of the ablest expositions of New Testament teaching. But how woefully ignorant, blinded, and deluded we have all been, including the Campbells, Scott, Stone, Milligan, McGarvey, Lard, Lipscomb, Brents, and practically all the other great teachers, preachers, and leaders of the Restoration! It remained for such men as J. J. Walker to discover the fatal blunder these men made when they thought they discovered a plan of salvation revealed in the New Testament. Poor, deluded men! How unfortunate that Dr. Walker and other modernistic, left-wing, digressive preachers did not live a hundred years ago, so they could have kept these poor, old, deluded men from making such a terrible mistake!
Be it remembered that "modernism" is another name for infidelity. There are different shades of modernism. Since modernism means an attitude toward divine truth, there are different attitudes sustained toward inspiration. One's attitude determines one's belief. People are losing faith in the inspiration of the Bible. They think that they have found some errors and contradictions in the Bible; hence, they do not believe that the Bible is an inspired book. We are to examine some of the attitudes toward inspiration today.
Many do not hesitate to challenge the authority of the Bible. They do not believe it to be the infallible word of God. They deny that the writers of the Bible were guided by the Holy Spirit; they deny the providence of God in preserving for us a correct record of God's revelation to man. Much of the teaching of the Bible condemns the present divided state of religious affairs. Leaders read the Bible and see the condemnation, but give no heed to it. They do not believe the Bible to be God's word to them. In their claim for their own theories in religion they set aside the Bible. They must give some reason for it, and the best that they can give is that it is not inspired. This is the infidel's attitude. The disbeliever does not regard the Bible as being the truth of God.
Others claim that the Bible is "inspired"; however, they give their interpretations of "inspiration." They affirm that our poets were inspired; that Milton, Shakespeare, and other great writers were inspired. They mean by this that they had an urge or an "inspiration," and, hence, from the depth of their souls they gave utterance to the thoughts of their hearts. This to them is inspiration. They say that the secret of the power of the writers was the invincible conviction in their own souls and in the souls of their hearers that the message which they delivered came directly from God. They felt themselves to be appointed of God or called of God to speak for him, and this deep feeling on their part is inspiration. They deny that the Holy Spirit had anything to do with their convictions. From the modernist's point of view the Bible is wholly a human production.
One proof that is submitted against the inspiration of the Bible is the fact that the writers retain their peculiar characteristics and traits. The individual characteristics of the writers leave their impress on their writings. For instance, they tell us that Paul had certain peculiarities characteristic to himself; that he was educated, and there is seen in his writings the marks of a well-trained and educated man. They claim that Mark was not an educated man, and that his writings are more childlike and simple just such writings as one would expect from an unlearned man. So with the other writers of the Bible. It is true that the writings of the different men bear the marks of individual peculiarities; but do these prove that the Holy Spirit did not guide them? Could not the Holy Spirit use and express these peculiarities? Would one deny the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit in using a human agency and rob that agency of its peculiarities? Could not the Holy Spirit use Paul and his style of writing and express the truth of God? And then could the Holy Spirit not use Mark and his characteristics in writing? Such an argument robs the Holy Spirit of power and freedom. It limits the operation of the Holy Spirit to man's conception. Since the Holy Spirit used human agencies in writing the Bible, why could he not use also the human characteristics?
In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit guided the writer along in setting forth the progress of divine revelation from Adam to Moses; the same Holy Spirit guided the prophets in writing the books of prophecy as we have them from Moses to Malachi. The Holy Spirit guided the writers of the gospel in giving just such facts and teachings concerning the Christ as God wanted man to know; the same Holy Spirit guided Luke in giving such history of the cases of conversion and the church as God wanted man to know; the same Spirit guided the writers of the Epistles in giving all needed instruction to Christians and churches. Such a conception of inspiration lifts the Bible from a mere human production to the high pinnacle of the word of God. Such a conception of inspiration invests in the Bible the authority of God. It honors the Bible as being a revelation of the way, will, and wisdom of God. The true conception of inspiration recognizes the human element and also the divine element.
"Revelation" means "unveiling." A divine revelation means God's unveiling truth about himself; hence, it is the word of God expressed in human language. Man could not understand this revelation if it were expressed in the dialect of angels. God reveals to man; the Holy Spirit guided in making a record of this revelation. God revealed his will to man, not just for that individual, neither that generation; his revelation was made for future generations; hence, the record of it must be for future generations. The record was made for man, through man, and to man; hence, we have the Bible. Its facts, truths, and principles emphasize the divine guidance in giving it to man. To deny the inspiration of the Bible is to deny the Bible. It lays claim to inspiration; hence, it may be believed and trusted as the word of God. Let us believe the Bible and honor it as our guide from earth to glory.
Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, acting as God's spokesman in the gloomy days of Israel's apostasy, said, "For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewn them out cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water" (Jer. 2:13). The prophet's contrast is so vivid in this striking illustration that the truth is impressed and stands out clearly.
The prophet has plainly painted a word picture of the futility of digression and the introduction of human innovations. When man turns from the Lord, the fountain of living waters, to seek spiritual satisfaction elsewhere, he is faced with the rows of cracked and broken cisterns "that can hold no water." Man has "sought out many inventions" but none of them has added to his peace and contentment for very long. Israel had forsaken Jehovah to turn to the broken cisterns of idolatry and sin, but her discontent was national, and her doom was impending.
God's handwriting against national corruption was just as clearly revealed in the predictions of Jeremiah, though not so spectacularly, as it was recorded on the wall of Belshazzar's banquet hall. Soon Israel was forced to weep over the penalties of idolatry in exile and slavery. The nation as a whole, or the individuals who compose the nation, may come under God's indictment. Hear the prophet again, "At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; if that nation against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; if it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then will I repent of the good wherewith I said I would benefit them" (Jer. 18:7-10). The wise man truly said, "Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people" (Prov. 14:34). A nation must serve God, or perish. (Isa. 60:12). "It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps" (Jer. 10:23).
God's people, gathered together upon the plain of Shinar, felt their self-sufficiency, and purposed to build a tower whose top would pierce the very heavens. But God, recognizing the evil design of their plans, confused their speech and scattered them over the face of the earth. (Gen. 11.)
Jehovah granted unto Nebuchadnezzar great dominion, glory, and power. (Dan. 2:37.) But when the king became proud, and turned from the "living fountain" to the cisterns of idolatry and iniquity, God cut short his reign, and taught him "that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will" (Dan. 4:25).
Belshazzar failed to learn by the example of his father before him, and even excelled Nebuchadnezzar in the practice of intemperance and vice. God wrote his sentence upon the wall of the banquet hall, while the king, quaking with fear, cried out for help. But it was too late. That very night the sentence was executed, and death came to Belshazzar's dissolute kingdom.
The kingdom of Babylon is inscribed on the pages of history as a synonym of worldliness and corruption. Belshazzar stands as the type of a godless ruler's ultimate end. Let the dictators of earth who shed innocent blood, and slay the helpless, face the penalty.
Of Jehovah it is said, "For with thee is the fountain of life; in thy light shall we see light" (Psa. 36:9). In his provision for man's welfare, and in the manifold blessings of the plan of redemption through Christ, he has "abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel" (2 Tim. 1:10).
The blessings of the gospel were foretold by prophetic promises, clothed in symbolic beauty. "In that day there shall be a fountain opened . . . . for sin and uncleanness" (Zech. 13:1). "Living waters shall go forth out of Jerusalem" (Zech. 14:8) and "The law shall go forth from Zion" (Isa. 2:3). These prophecies have all been fulfilled in Christ. (John 7:37; 4:14.) Through Christ one may have complete remission of all past sins, all spiritual blessings, the hope of everlasting life, and that perfect law (Jas. 1:25) which is to guide his footsteps into that way of life eternal.
World wide turmoil and strife, war, bloodshed, and violence are all directly traceable to one fundamental cause: the world has changed the fountain of life for cisterns of man's own contrivance. Man has forsaken God, and has sought to work out his own inventions for the saving both of himself and of society. Remember that Isaiah charged that Israel had "hewed them out cisterns" of their own devising. What Israel did then, the world has done now. The world at large has "hewed out" its own standards, turned away from God, and erected its own idols. The mad rush for physical pleasure and enjoyment, the frantic struggle for gold, the grasping after earthly power are but examples of man's vain search for satisfaction. His quest is hopeless. For he has turned from the living water to cisterns that have been broken and empty for these thousands of years. In them there is no lasting satisfaction.
Those who turn to Modernism will find that they are feeding their souls on the husks of a false and devitalized religion. The broken cisterns of ancient infidelic philosophy has been remodeled and presented under the guise of "modernism." But even one of its greatest advocates admits, "There was power and depth in that old fashioned Christianity which sometimes we modernists lack."
Denominationalism, with its multiplied divisions, mocks the Savior's prayer for unity. (John 17:20, 21.) Paul condemned such divisions as carnal, (1 Cor. 3:3) and pleaded for unity of thought and action among all Christians. (1 Cor. 1:10.) If it be argued that the denominations are but branches, then where is the trunk? Or, if they be regarded as streams of water flowing into the main channel, then where is the main channel? and where is the fountain? Why should the thirsty soul be content with anything less than the Fountain of Living Water?
Away with these broken cisterns! Let us get back to the first century gospel, and to the New Testament church. Let us follow Christ, and him alone. Then one day he will "lead us unto living fountains of waters; and God shall wipe away all tears from our eyes."
Relevant at this point are a number of passages of Scripture which I have already discussed. Among these are: John 17:1-21; Ephesians 4:1-6; Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13; John 8:32; Acts 2:41-47; 1 John 1:4-7. Also relevant are such passages as Ephesians 2:13-16, which sets out the fact that reconciliation unto God is in the one body (the church) of Christ; Romans 6:3-5, which teaches that men are baptized into Christ; and Galatians 3:26-27, which teaches that men become sons of God when they are baptized into Christ.
In the light of these, and other passages of Scripture, I conclude: (1) that acceptable unity is attained by persons being born again, into the family of God (the church), and (2) that this unity is maintained by "walking in the light" of God's word--that is, by living in harmony with the Lord's instructions for the Christian life.
When men obey the gospel plan of salvation, they are "born again" into the family of God; they become "children" or "sons" of God. All in a family are united by virtue of their birth--by virtue of a common ancestry. All who are born into the same family partake of the same nature. It is true that the members of a family may grow apart. But this fact should not be viewed as detracting from the fact that men do attain unto a peculiar (and privileged) relationship to God when they are "born again." And when this occurs, such men also attain unto a peculiar relationship to one another. One is "born again" (John 3:3) when he is "born of water and the Spirit" (John 3:5).
To be "born of water and the Spirit" is to be baptized in water as the means appointed by the Holy Spirit in its Word (the gospel) for the new birth. Note careully these passages: John 3:1-5; Acts 8:26-40; Acts 10:47-48; Ephesians 5:26; Romans 6:3-5; Galatians 3:26-4:6. According to this latter passage, by means of the gospel ("the faith"), we become "sons of God" (and thus "born again," into the family of God). This occurs when we enter Christ. We enter Christ when we are baptized in obedience to the gospel (Rom. 6:3-5). From the "grave" of baptism, we arise to "walk in newness"--that is, in the state of having been "born again." Thus, Paul teaches us that by one Spirit were "we all baptized into one body" (1 Cor. 12:13)--the church, the "house" or family of God (1 Tim. 3:14,15).
There is no other way to attain unity than by obeying the truth (1 Peter 1:22-25).
Relevant to the question of maintaining unity, after it is attained, is the following passage: "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:6-7).
Thus, it is clear that those sons of God who "walk in the light" (live in harmony with the gospel, Phil. 1:27) have fellowship one with another. This means that they thus maintain the unity which they attained in the new birth. Further, to say that sons of God can maintain fellowship ("walk in the light") while they (or at least some of them) "walk in the darkness" (live according to false doctrine) is to lie and do not the truth. Faithful sons of God are to "mark" those who believe and live by false doctrine (Rom. 16:17,18) and are to do nothing which would indicate approval of "going beyond" the word (2 John 9-11). Children of God are never to speak or act in such fashion as to encourage acting out of harmony with God's will.
Because we have the same "seed" (the word, Luke 8:11) as that "sown" (preached) by the inspired apostles and prophets (2 Peter 1:20,21; Eph. 3:5; 2 Tim. 3:16-17), we have the same power (to save) available to us; that is, we have the gospel, God's power to save (Rom. 1:16,17). Because we have that same power, we have the same power to attain and maintain unity as did those of the first century (Acts 2:14-47).
When the "seed" of human religious doctrine is sown in the hearts of men and is believed and obeyed, those who thus obey become something other than sons of God. For example, let us suppose that in one building Minister X preaches "Pentecostal" doctrine to those assembled and that in another building Minister Y preaches "Jehovah's Witness" doctrine to those assembled there. It certainly ought to be clear to all that those who believe and obey "Pentecostal" doctrine do not enter the same "church" (religious body) as do those who believe and obey "Jehovah's Witness" doctrine. Thus, (since both of these groups preach false doctrines) they do not attain unto unity either with one another or with true sons of God (members of the Lord's church) by believing and obeying such doctrines.
However, every person (without exception) who believes and obeys the true gospel of Christ enters the same body--that is, all of them are added by the Lord himself to the church for which he died (1 Cor. 12:13; Acts 2:36-47). Further, every child of God who walks in the light of God's word (lives in harmony with the gospel) has true fellowship ("unity") with every other baptized believer who thus walks (1 John 1:7).
May God help us never to "give ground" or compromise on this vital matter of unity and fellowship, for God is concerned about unity--deeply and vitally concerned about it. Let us act in harmony with that concern. Let us by both speech and deed uphold scriptural unity and condemn unscriptural division.
Then another preacher wasn't tooting his horn when he said the work was looking up. Said he, "Of course, that's about the only way the work can look when it's flat on its back."
It's an old story but appropriate. Seems as if an old hound dog followed his owner to the Sunday meeting and laid down on the podium in front of an electric fan. During the sermon the old dog began to howl. The preacher gave the dog a hard boot to the rear end. After the service, one of the men apprized the preacher that he had made a terrible mistake since the dog belonged to the head elder. The preacher tried to help the matter with an apology whereas the dog's owner replied, "I'm sorty glad you did it. Old Tray is smart, and I wouldn't have had him to hear that sermon fer nutten'. It would make him sick in his stomach." We have heard a few such sermons.
A very concerned reader sent me a flyer announcing a big blowout over in Boone, N.C. where the Freed-Hardeman Chorus was scheduled to perform along with Jeff Walling. The Sunday program was advertised and the schedule had the F.H.U. Chorus (or choir) members teaching the Bible classes and at 1:30 p.m. there would be a concert. Now a humdinger concert is badly needed by the devil's crowd. With congregations having concerts, choirs, solos, ad nauseam, we can expect the "infamous box" to be moved in very shortly. Someone needs to get their heads out of the sand and stop such fool-hearty plans before they ever get planned.
We were pleased to hear that the F.H.U. concert had been cancelled, but Walling could furnish enough fun, frivolity and foolishness without the FHU helpers. When congregations open their doors and allow concerts, such is a disgrace to the cause for which Christ died.
In a past issue of the Plumbline, we made mention of our dearly beloved brother Bob Spurlin who is suffering from the terrible disease of MS. Brother Spurlin has written a most interesting and helpful book at the suggestion of brother Tom Holland and the book has been published by brother Holland. The price of the book is $10.00 and can be ordered from brother Spurlin at the following address: Bob Spurlin, 122 Brooke Lane, Somerville, AL 35670. The proceeds from the book will help defray the medical bills of brother Spurlin. Will you please help this good brother? Tackling Life's Problems should be read by everyone.
The beloved wife of brother J. E. Choate, Jr., has been hospitalized with a dreaded case of cancer. She is now back home and being cared for by brother Choate. A card plus your prayers would be most helpful. The address is: Sister Marie Choate, 3714½ Belmont Blvd., Nashville, TN 37215.
In the Nashville Tennessean of Nov. 26, 2000, the large head-line stated: "Bible Class To Teach Those Who Want To Teach Kids." Under the head-line in smaller copy were the words, "Lipscomb says new courses to focus on changing need of children." The lengthy article informed the reader that Eddie Plemmons, the children's minister from Rubel Shelly's Church will be teaching at Lipscomb University and he will tell one and all how to teach kids. The old way! "Those days are over," Plemmons said, and of course coming from Shelly and his modernism, the old ways are rejected. The new way will, "use skits, pop music, lyrics, higher-energy classroom activities."
This is just another effort of the modernists and liberals to capture the minds of children. In former days the Communists compassed land and sea to infiltrate, capture and brainwash the minds of young people. The Crossroads-Boston cult infiltrated congregations all over the nation and captured the young. Do you remember the disgrace which developed? Comes now Shelly and Lipscomb with their efforts. Truly, the time is ripe for young people in the University to be made "two-fold more the child of hell."
With several faculty members from Rubel's church already teaching at Lipscomb, we may rest assured that the brainwashing technique will succeed. And to think, some parents try to brag about sending their offspring to Lipscomb. Then there are the multitudes who are afflicted with the lockjaw and have too much jello for backbones.
O, how I wish brethren would arise from their indolence, unconcern, apathy, and dead-head disposition.
John McCrae wrote the following during World War I. "In Flanders fields the poppies blow between the crosses, row on row, that mark our place; and in the sky, the larks, still gravely singing fly--scarce heard amid the guns below.
"We are the dead. Short days ago we lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow. Loved and were loved, and now we lie in Flanders Fields.
"Take up our quarrel with the foe; to you from failing hands we throw the torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die, we shall not sleep though poppies grow In Flanders Fields."
As the dead in Flanders Fields gave their lives for a cause so did many of the old soldiers of the cross. There are some of us who revere, respect and honor those old brethren who sacrificed so much as they preached the gospel. It hurts deeply to hear some egotistical smart-alec get on a Jubilee soapbox and make fun of those who repose in silent chambers of death. The tragedy is compounded by a room full of dim-wits who support such freaks.
I have just now faxed the names of nineteen people who have requested to be the recipients of the paper. Also, there were two names sent from people who requested their subscription to be cancelled. It disturbs me no little to realize that several hundred people subscribe to and read the paper, but there are a few folks who do not want to be bothered with knowing about the wiles of the devil. "Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by..." (Lam. 1:12)?
God knows my heart, my purpose and the cause of my feeble efforts. My desire is to do good and no harm whatsoever. My thanks continue to be sent to the throne of God both day and night, for the strength which enables me to continue to move my pen in the battle for truth. God be thanked for all of those who continue to pray for me. Your kind words of commendation are appreciated. Occasionally someone will send a list of subscribers, or a few dollars to help with printing the paper. I thank you sincerely. For some time I have been putting the sale of any of my books in the Plumbline account. We press along day by day.
Many of us older preachers remember when the false, materialistic hobby of premillennialism was being pushed by its adherents. It happened out in Dallas when some of the congregations declared that they did not need the theory preached against or discussed. Some declared, "we have no trouble over the question in this congregation, and we don't want it agitated." Time passed and every solitary one of those positive churches had severe problems over the hobby, whereas those congregations which preached the truth and exposed error, did not have problems with premillennialism. The armour of God consists of several negative pieces but some do not want to use them. For shame!
We alluded to the departure of Jimmy Sites from the Madison pulpit and his proposal to go to the woods and waters in search of some who "wouldn't be caught dead in a church house." Entertaining the Madison circus two Sundays ago was the story telling, joking, laughing, false teacher named Joe Beam. The Holyrollerism of Beam is known to brethren whose brains have not atrophied. Of course, "you can't tell some people anything."