In This Issue...
WHAT "A MESS"
The above title is a copy of the Out Front column of the
front page of the Religion section of the Abilene Reporter
News (Saturday, October 2, 1999). One of our members brought
their paper to me on Sunday asking if I had seen the announcement
(I had overlooked it). I went to Abilene (Texas) Tuesday to see a
brother at the hospital and decided to go to this meeting at the
Highland Church of Christ.
I arrived at the building at 6:15p.m. and really had no
idea what to expect. I have had some experience with the "Walk
to Emmaus" and knew it was an attempt to "connect" with the
Spirit (over a weekend retreat). This program originated in the
I feared the Highland congregation might play taped
instrumental music during the service. I was wrong on this. They
did not play taped music, they had the real thing. That's right, a
full blown band. Four women singers who sang and played a variety
of instruments for the duration of the service. I walked into the
auditorium and right into a concert. These women also led the
singing (with the instruments) during the "service part" of the
They showed the Emmaus instructional video as advertised.
The thrust of the video was consistent with what I have been told
by those who have gone on the "walks" þ namely, that on these
retreats the Spirit reveals Himself in a variety of ways and guides
(directly) those who seek His presence. The video is basically a
collection of "testimonials," geared to convince the audience that
something (the Holy Spirit) is missing and this "walk" can get you
After the video, the all girl band played and led the
audience in more songs. All the songs were sung as the audience
stood and swayed with hands in the air (in true Pentecostal
fashion). Brethren, only the fact that I had not eaten since
breakfast kept me from getting physically ill during all this vain
worship (Matt. 15:7-9). During this segment of song the plate was
also passed to help sponsor more and more Emmaus events.
I was sure by this time that I could not be surprised by
anything else that was to happen, but I was sadly mistaken.
Eddie Sharp (ACU
instructor and the pulpit minister for the
University congregation in Abilene) approached the stage. He read
(after stating that the Spirit had been stirred) the "liturgy." I
don't know what other word to use for it. He asked the audience to
get out their "purple book" (some Emmaus creed book, or some such
thing). He would read certain sections or passages from the "purple
book" (not the Bible, nor were the passages scriptures) and the
audience would repeat the lines. In others, he would read a certain
part and they would finish by reading the rest and say amen etc...
It was just like watching the Catholics doing their "liturgy."
He then led them in a confessional type prayer where the
whole crowd confessed to several sins (collectively) and asked to
be forgiven. This segment was reminiscent of the group crying and
mass repentance of the Promise Keepers. It was a written prayer
that was read, very little feeling, just vain repetitions (Matt.
After a few more songs, Eddie Sharp took the stage again
and presented the message of the hour. He began by running down the
church. In fact, his introductory comment was that as a church of
Christ preacher he wasn't used to preaching to a crowd where
everyone was invited. This is a blatant attempt to paint the church
in a negative light. (I'm sure Jesus was impressed with this
smart-alec man running down and making light of His bride, the body
He heads and died for (Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:23-25). Since when have
we not "invited" everyone to come and study God's word with us.
This is a lie, and a disgraceful attempt to taint the reputation of
members who have labored for years in evangelistic efforts
sacrificing and working tirelessly to fund and build both the
building at Highland as well as the university were he draws his
Other snide comments were made at the expense of the
church as well. He then went on to laud the "Emmaus Movement" (He
clearly holds it in much higher regard than the Lord's church). He
plainly and specifically taught that it does not matter where you
worship or what "tradition of faith" you're in, just serve Jesus.
He said we are to follow the fight of Jesus wherever it leads us.
If it leads us to stay in our current church, fine, if it leads us
to change churches then we should do just that.
The Bible doesn't give us a smorgasbord of churches to
choose from. Ephesians 4:4ff makes it clear there is only one body.
In Matthew 16:13-18, Jesus promised to build one church. Eddie
Sharp needs to put away his "purple book" and pick up his Bible and
You cannot go to heaven and not be a member of the Lord's
church. Acts 2:47 says that God adds the saved to the church. Eddie
Sharp and his ACU buddies can scream and holler ecumenicalism and
denominationalism as often and loudly as they like, but it is still
a damnable doctrine that will cost them their souls (John 14:6;
Matt. 7:21-23). There is no multiplicity of churches in the Bible.
Perhaps the saddest phrase of the entire speech came
during Sharp's introduction when he informed the audience that He
had delivered the material we were about to hear to his class at
ACU earlier in the day. What a crying shame. Teaching our youth
that they are part of a denomination that is just like the man-made
self-seeking bodies that have no regard for the Bible at all.
Brethren, we send our children off to a "Christian" school to be
prepared to fight against the doctrines of Satan, yet Satan has
infiltrated the very classrooms we, the church, have built. Our
unsuspecting youth is often-times turned over to these men and
women who are bent on turning the church into a denomination. It is
high time many of us woke up to what is happening around us.
Sticking our head in the sand is not going to help. Refusing to see
and listen to warnings will only allow those who have no love for
the church to do more to defile as many of her children as
After the "Sermon from Hell" (my title, not his, ML) Sharp
announced that we were about to have communion (the Lord's Supper)
yes, that's right it was Tuesday night (I stress again, these
people don't care what the Bible says about the Lord's Supper or
anything else. They will, and are, doing anything and everything
they want to). He was kind enough to mention that he realized many
people were not used to this, and if we didn't feel comfortable
doing it then we could abstain (mighty nice of him).
He then discussed the manner in which it would be taken
(I don't know why it mattered at this juncture). He said that it
would be taken by "inction." That's how he spelled it. He then
stated that he really thought the "Emmausians" just made it
(inction) up. He said that "inction" was taking the piece of bread
and dipping it into the juice then (after the bread soaked up the
juice) it was to be taken all at once. I know, Jesus and the
apostles partook of them separately (Matt. 26) as did the early
church (1 Cor. 11), but our brethren at Highland and Eddie Sharp
aren't impressed with that, they would rather please their
denominational harlots, and do what feels good to them than stay
true to God's way (James 4:4).
The communion itself was also very Catholic in its order.
Brother Sharp took a large piece of bread (a loaf, I couldn't tell
if it was leaven or unleaven, but again I know it doesn't matter to
them one way or the other) and stood down front (with his Emmaus
cross around his neck) and broke off small pieces and gave it to
the laity (people) as they passed by. He said something to them (it
looked just like a Catholic priest blessing the Sacrament) and they
would pass from him to another man who held a large goblet of
juice. They would then dip the bread into the juice and take it.
This fiasco concluded the service, and the crowd went out to the
foyer where the "host" congregation (Highland) had prepared quite
a spread of snacks.
Over-all it was a sickening night. I could not help but
think of the changes in that congregation since it's formation in
1948. It should stand as a warning to us all to "contend for the
faith" (Jude 3), for if we don't, the truth will be lost.
(I audio taped the entire event so as to have
documentation of what happened)
-- Michael Light
Borrowed from The Plumbline, Dec. 1999
Mt. Juliet, TN 37122
Table of Contents
MISCONCEPTIONS OF THE CHURCH #2
It is a misconception that the church of Christ does not
believe the Old Testament. On the contrary, Romans 15:4
clearly teaches the Old Testament was written for our learning. We
profit from it by learning that when men obeyed God, they were
blessed and when they disobeyed God, they were punished.
"Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A
blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which
I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the
commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way
which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have
not known" (Deut. 11:26-28).
All the great stories and events of the Old Testament
illustrate the great Truth of the New Testament. New Testament
preachers constantly referred to it! "All Scripture is
inspired of God" (2 Tim. 3:16-17). With a thorough knowledge
of the Old Testament, the New Testament is easier to understand.
The Old compliments the New.
The Truth is, we (the church of Christ, the church of the
New Testament) do not follow the Old Testament in respect to
learning and knowing how to worship God today. It was for another
people (Israel) at another time (before Christ). Jesus died in
order to take the Old Testament out of the way (Col. 2:14). He took
away the first (Old Testament) that he might establish the second
(New Testament) (Heb. 10:9-10). Even when given it was temporary
and would last only until Christ came (Gal. 3:19,16). People are no
longer under it, i.e. obligated to observe its commandments (Gal.
3:24). Men today will be judged by the words of Jesus and his
apostles and inspired writers (John 12:48; cf. James 1:21; Rev.
20:12), not the Old Testament.
It is a misconception that the church is made up of
all the various denominations. Most people believe that one
church is as good as another -- one denomination is as good as
another. John 15:1-8 is used in support of this belief where Jesus
tells about the vine and the branches. They consider all the
denominations to be branches on the vine (Christ). Therefore to
them, it matters not what a religious group believes or teaches,
because "we're all branches on the vine" and, consequently, members
of every group will be in heaven (according to them).
Men's beliefs have always been contrary to inspired Truth.
It's not what men believe, but what the Bible says that matters.
Notice the use of personal pronouns in John 15:1-8. "He," "him,"
"ye," "a man" are all words that refer to individuals, not groups
of people or denominational bodies. Jesus is the vine and each
individual person who has obeyed the Gospel are branches on the
vine. If "a" person does not abide in the Lord's Word, he will be
cut off from the vine and will be gathered with all others like him
and they all will be burned.
The truth is: "one denomination is just as good as
another." Not even one denomination is supported by the Bible! None
existed in the first century. They all were founded by men
centuries after the Lord established His church. The New Testament
speaks of ONLY ONE CHURCH. Jesus said, "I will build my
church," not churches (Matt. 16:18). Ephesians 4:4-5
says "there is one body, one faith." Jesus will
only save His body (Eph. 5:23) and no other. Denominations do not
belong to the Lord and will be "rooted up" in the last day (Matt.
15:13). This makes our task of evangelism much more urgent.
"Good moral people" (according to our standards) are lost
in denominationalism. It is beyond my comprehention how so many are
now joining hands with denominations in joint services. The devil
could not be happier. Denominational churches are the offsring of
the devil, not Christ. They are enemies of the Lord, not friends
(cf. Matt. 12:3).
It is a misconception that the church is a social
organization and is to provide for the social needs of its members.
The idea of "fun and games" is the concept many have. People
see the church as healing the physical and social needs of the
public. Many programs sponsored by liberal churches are geared to
furnish and satisfy the physical and social needs of its members!
Gymnasiums (called family life centers, multipurpose buildings),
ball teams, recreational events, entertainment bonanzas,
"Gymnastics to the glory of God," "Annual fishing tournaments,"
skating parties, Opryland trips, and fun and games, is the order of
the day. The work and purpose of the church is not found in any of
The drawing power of God is not "fun and games" and a full
stomach. It is the Word of God (Mark 16:15-16; John 6:44-45). The
Gospel is the "power of God unto salvation" (Rom. 1:16).
Without the Gospel, God is powerless. Men are called by the Gospel
(2 Thess. 2:14). If it takes candy to get people to church this
week, it will take a Big Mac next week. If it takes a ball team to
get people to church in the summer it will take hunting trips and
basketball in the winter. BUT, when people are drawn to the Lord's
church by the Gospel (God's power unto salvation), they will be
there every time the doors open! They will be truly converted.
Christians can certainly have fun, and do have fun. They
are the most fun-loving people around. But, there is a time and
place for recreation and social activities in our personal lives.
But, these things are not the work of the church. They are works of
individuals, of families, not the church. When the church gets into
this business, they are in the wrong business and have missed the
whole point of righteousness.
Table of Contents
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's
clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them
by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of
thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a
corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring
forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good
fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down,
and cast into the tire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know
them" (Matt. 7:15-20).
The words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ give warning
of false teachers who would lead the flock of God astray. He
revealed their identifying mark -- we will be able to know they are
false teachers by their fruit (teaching, doctrine). Jesus also
warned, "And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive
many...For there shall arise false christs, and false prophets, and
shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch that, if it were
possible, they shall deceive the very elect" (Matt.
The inspired Peter predicted, "But there were false
prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false
teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies,
even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves
swift destruction." The sad result of their false teaching is
that "many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of
whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of" (2 Peter
John Laurence Mosheim, in a work titled An
Ecclesiastical History, Ancient and Modern, wrote the
following reflecting on the heresies which the Bible reveals to us.
The Christian church was scarcely formed, when, in
different places, there started up certain pretended
reformers, who, not satisfied with the simplicity of
that religion which was taught by the apostles,
meditated changes of doctrine and worship, and set up
a new religion, drawn from their own licentious
imaginations. This we learn from the writings of the
apostles, and particularly from the epistles of St.
Paul, where we find, that some were inclined to force
the doctrines of Christianity into a conformity with
the philosophical systems they had adopted, while
others were as studious to blend with these doctrines
the opinions, customs, and traditions of the Jews.
Several of these are mentioned by the apostles, such
as Hymenaeus, Alexander, Philetus, Hermogenes, Demas,
and Diotrephes; though the four last are rather to be
considered as apostates from the truth, than as
corrupters of it (Volume 1. p.46).
The Lord's church has had plenty of false, deceiving,
corrupt teachers arising from the inside. We have been plagued with
supporters of false doctrines that have divided the body of Christ.
More damage and destruction is often accomplished when men arise
out of our own midst speaking perverse things. We will always have
the burden of false prophets and teachers preaching and teaching
soul damning doctrines which lead men astray. The results of
traveling down the broad way, engaged in sin, will be destruction
in eternal hell (cf. Matt. 7:13-14).
How are we to react when false teachers are found in our
midst aiming deceit at brethren? The apostles show us how to deal
with Satan's servants. The apostle John wrote, "Beloved,
believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of
God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1). What does it mean to "try the spirits?" Brother Guy
N. Woods states that they were able to test the spirits "either by
exercising miraculous power in the discernment of spirits (1 Cor.
12:4-11), or by comparing the claims of these men with the known
teaching of the Holy Spirit through properly accredited
representatives" (Peter, John, Jude, Gospel Advocate,
p.287). Albert Barnes states plainly the reason for testing or
proving the spirits.
"It is more probable, as he addressed this command to
Christians in general, that he refers to the ability
of doing this by a comparison of the doctrines which
they professed to hold with what was revealed, and by
the fruits of their doctrines in their lives. If they
taught what God had taught in his word, and if their
lives corresponded with his requirements, and if
their doctrines agreed with what had been inculcated
by those who were admitted to be true apostles (v.6),
they were to receive them as what they professed to
be. If not, they were to reject them, and hold them
to be impostors." (Barnes Notes, Hebrews To
Brethren, the teachings we hear and read must be tested, examined,
proved, and checked by the Word of Almighty God.
If one's teachings are not in accordance with the inspired
Word of God, then we cannot have fellowship with those promoting
the false teachings. The apostle Paul revealed by direct revelation
from Jesus Christ, "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them
which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which
ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not
our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and
fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple" (Rom.
16:17-18). The apostle tells us to "mark" them which divide the
church of our Lord. "The word 'mark,' the Greek word skopeo,
'to look at, watch, behold, fix one's eyes upon, direct
attention to" (Fellowship, Goebel Music, p.5). Faithful
Christians are to fix their attention upon those who cause division
contrary to the doctrine of Christ. After this, we are to turn away
from them, because, 1) they do not serve Jesus Christ, 2) they
serve their own belly, 3) and by smooth/fair speech they beguile
the hearts of the innocent. Christians are to mark these people and
turn away from them.
We cannot fellowship false doctrine and the people who
spread it! We must not tolerate it, put up with it, compromise it,
or in any way have fellowship with it!
316 4th St.
Paintsville, KY 41240
Table of Contents
"THY SPEECH BETRAYETH THEE"
Jerry C. Brewer
In the evening of my memory, when sights and sounds of the
past come filtering through the din of modern religious madness, I
can hear faithful brethren, now long gone, who once thundered the
message of salvation from pulpits across our little corner of
western Oklahoma. One clarion message that echoes through the
canyons and corridors of my consciousness is that God's people
"call Bible things by Bible names;" that it isn't "my church," or
"our church," but "Christ's church," and it isn't "our kingdom,"
but "God's kingdom" and I hear the Saviour say, "out of the
abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh" (Matt. 12:34). But as
I emerge from those moments of earliest memory, a cacophony of
Ashdod greets me from within the Body of Christ. The language of
the ancient Gospel has been cast aside for a new one that betrays
hearts filled with denominational notions, and strange words
assault my hearing.
Words are vehicles of thought. Paul says the things of God
have been revealed in words chosen by the Holy Spirit and given to
inspired men (1 Cor. 2:9-13). God did not allow mortal men to
express His thoughts in words of their own selection. They were
incapable of doing so. "...The things of God knoweth no man,
but the Spirit of God" (1 Cor. 2:11). Right words betray
right thoughts, and God has always demanded doctrinally pure
speech. His thoughts are not ours (Isa. 55:8-9), and His truths
cannot be rightly expressed in words other than those divinely
revealed. The same is true with man. His words express thoughts
that are either sound or corrupt.
Nehemiah observed a corruption of speech among the remnant
of Jews which had remained in the land during the Babylonian
captivity, and this corruption had its source in unholy alliances
with their heathen neighbors. "In those days also saw I Jews
that had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab: and their
children spake half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in
the Jews' language, but according to the language of each people.
And I contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of
them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God,
saying, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take
their daughters unto your sons, or for yourselves" (Neh.
In a lustful desire for acceptance, respectability, and good
will from the world, many of God's children have listened to the
siren song of heathen neighbors to embrace their ways and express
those ways in their own language -- the ways and language of their
religious neighbors. Through the length and breadth of the land,
members of churches of Christ have made spiritual alliances with
the denominational world and adopted the nomenclature and speech
that betrays their spiritually adulterous hearts.
the most popular of the current "buzz" terms of
Ashdod is, "My Church Family." Zeroing in on Paul's statement to
Timothy that the church is the "house of God" (1 Tim. 2:15), change
agents and their blind followers have adopted this term describing
the church, almost to the exclusion of all others. In so doing,
they have appropriated it as a shibboleth of the "New Hermeneutic"
which turns its focus inward to meet the "felt-needs" (i.e.
"desires") of its members.
There is no more scriptural authority for referring to the
church for which Jesus died as "my church family," than calling it
"my church," or "my kingdom." While we are members of the house of
God, it remains His house. This practice is an attempt to supplant
the sound speech of Titus 2:8 with the corruptions of a modern
Ashdod, and springs from embracing every denominational error that
change agents foist upon us. It betrays a kind of spiritual
humanism that places man and his desires at the center of
Christianity. Supplanting God, and revoking Christ's injunction to
deny self (Matt. 16:24), liberalism focuses on man. Thus, instead
of looking outward at the fields that are white unto harvest, they
turn inward to "Family Life Centers," volley-ball leagues, "Food,
Fun, and Fellowship," ski trips, pizza parties, small group
therapy, and other accoutrements of the social gospel. Hence, the
church is transformed from God's vehicle for the salvation of
souls, into "My Church Family" whose total mission is to cater to
"my" carnal desires for temporal entertainment, diversion, and
The house of God, which is the church of the Living God, is
also the kingdom of God, the body of Christ, the Lord's vineyard,
and the temple of God. It is no more "My Church Family" than it is
my church, my body, my kingdom, my vineyard, or my temple. The
phrase, "My Church Family," belongs to Ashdod. It is an affront to
the God who created us anew in Christ Jesus, and to Him who
redeemed the church with His own blood. Let those who love the Lord
know that the phrase, "My Church Family," betrays a blind ignorance
of the exalted station of the church for which Jesus died (Acts
20:28). Let us repudiate the modern language of Ashdod and return
to "sound speech that cannot be condemned" (Titus 2:8).
308 South Oklahoma
Elk City, Oklahoma 73644
Table of Contents
WINTERFEST CORPORATION AND JEFF WALLING
above named corporate body has its headquarters in Edmond, Oklahoma
and is known as the "Winterfest Group." According to its
website report (See http://www.winterfest.org)
its officers are
Greg Anderson of the Western Hills Church in Nashville, Dudley
Chancey, Oklahoma Christian University and Johnny Markum of the
College Street Church in Lebanon, Tennessee.
This para-church organization is no part of the church, but
they annually feature their "Fallfest" or "Winterfest" programs to
draw the youth of the church into their web of deceit. Just a few
clicks of your mouse will reveal much about how this group which
not only uses sectarians as a part of their program but features
"contemporary Christian" performers using instrumental music with
songs of praise and worship. You may listen to a block of this
type music from the website. Here is a quote concerning one of the
"contemporary" groups called, "Solomon's Wish" which will be on the
program of Winterfest 2000 in Gatlinburg next month.
"Mike Hurst, Scott Roberts and Kevin "Toby" Tobias wrap their
pop sensibilities and intricate vocals around themes such as
feeling lack of direction ("Circle in the Sand") and living for
Christ ("Easier Said than Done") while creating contemporary praise
with songs like "Waterfall" and "God is Alive." Drawing from
personal experiences, study times and often pastors sermons, all
three are heavily involved in the song writing process for
Solomon's Wish. Scott laughs -- "I always pay attention when
someone wiser than me is talking -- there's always material!"
"With Scott on percussion as Mike and Toby complement the
Solomon's Wish sound with acoustic guitar, the trio is as dynamic
in live performance as their songs demand. All three have been
involved in some aspect of church ministry, most specifically in
youth ministry, where the threesome have felt called to work with
teens. But for Solomon's Wish, performing a concert for a youth
group is more than just doing their best on stage -- it is spending
time with the kids before and after the show."
Jeff Walling will also be featured on the "Winterfest" 2000
at Gatlinburg in February. This brother over the last two decades
has done as much as anyone to persuade the youth of the church of
Christ that instrumental music in worship is "a matter of
opinion...a gray area" (See Bulletin Briefs, May 1998
and Behold the Pattern, Goebel Music, 5114 Montclair,
Colleyville, TX 76034, pp. 198-223). In many other ways, Walling
continues to seek to change the church of our Lord into a carbon
copy of protestant denominationalism. As evidence of this please
note the following: In the Woodmont Hills Newsletter of September
29, 1999 (See www.woodmont.org), Rubel Shelly announced that he was
going to be a "General Committee Member" on behalf of the June 2000
Billy Graham Crusade in Nashville. About one month later Walling
announced (Providence Road Bulletin, Vol. XXVI, No. 21, Oct. 26,
1999) that Shelly would be their guest speaker for the Providence
Road church for both services on November 7. Here is clear
evidence that these two brothers are working together to
restructure the church of Christ. In plain language their work
with each other and the support for Billy Graham is such evidence.
If not, why not?
Let me entreat in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ all
elders to warn (1 Thess. 5:14) those under your care (Acts 20:28)
against such programs of compromise as "Winterfest." Men who have
been placed as elders over God's flock are required to stop the
mouths of those "who subvert whole households, teaching things
which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain" (Titus 1:11). And, if you do not think these "Fallfests" and
"Winterfests" are a money making operation for those involved, you
just ask the young people or their parents what the costs are to
see the sideshows to the "religious" segment.
-- Jim E. Waldron
Table of Contents
A QUESION CONCERNING "RESPONSIVE READING"
First, reading in the assembly is not wrong. Colossians
4:16, "And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it
be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise
read the epistle from Laodicea." Timothy was told to give
attendance to reading (1 Tim 4:13).
Second, reading in the assembly is an activity that
involves all of the worshippers. Listening to the Bible being
read, silently, humbly, meditatively, contemplatively is just as
much worship as being the one up in front doing the reading.
Third, for all that we do in worship we must have
authority (Col 3:17). The idea that we can do anything that the
Bible does not explicitly condemn is a false idea. Not only is it
false, it is patently absurd. The Bible does not explicitly
condemn animal sacrifices during our worship. If we start
practicing or tolerating things without authority, there is no
stopping place. John 4:24 demands that our worship be ordained by
Fourth, there is no Bible authority for responsive
reading. Some might try to say that it is no different than
responsive (antiphonal) singing, but this is faulty reasoning.
Singing and reading are not equal things. Singing teaches the
Word, but it is not the same as reading the Word. Singing is not
the same as preaching the Word, if it were, why would we need to do
both? Why not just sing, or just preach? There is an obvious
difference between these things. We have clear Bible authority for
singing as a group. We have clear Bible authority for one man
reading or speaking to us the Word of God. Where is the Bible
authority for us in unison to read the Bible aloud as a group? A
parallel argument: could we with God's approval write down a
prayer, and during our service have all worshippers say that prayer
aloud in unison? Only if we can find Biblical authority for such
an action. And, I have not yet found it.
Fifth, responsive reading is not wrong just because
Catholics or others practice it. Yes, we need to be careful not to
mimic denominations, for we should allow the Word of God to lead us
into what God wants in our worship. We don't want to start
climbing in and out of the window because the Catholics use the
door. Our argument against responsive reading should not rest on
the fact that Catholics or others do it, it should rest on the
question of authority.
-- Rusty Stark
1495 E Empire Ave
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
Table of Contents
WHAT SHALL THE PREACHER DO?
The job of the Gospel preacher is to proclaim God's Word. He
is to "preach the word, being urgent in and out of season;
reproving, rebuking, and exhorting, with all longsuffering and
doctrine" (2 Tim. 4:2). He is to "do the work of an evangelist" (2
Tim. 4:5). He is to preach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27),
the things which befit sound doctrine, the gospel, the truth -- the
Bible (Titus 2:1). He is to condemn sin, expose error, and exhort
the brethren to live faithful Christian lives with strength,
courage and conviction (Eph. 5:11). He is to be a herald of God's
Gospel among men both in public and private; both to the Christian
and the non-Christian, yea, to "every creature" in every place
(Mark 16:15-16)! He is to preach! Preach! Preach! He is to
unceasingly preach the truth in love (Eph. 4:15)!
God's preachers within the New Testament were not
politicians with a message on economics. Their mission was not one
of counseling by utilizing psychological methods to rid the guilt
of people's sins without God's forgiveness. They were not
recreational superintendents full of fun and games. Nor were they
entertainers or comedians full of jokes and pulpit clownery. But
now days, some brethren think that if the preacher doesn't start
off his sermon with a good knee-slapping joke or some funny
"attention-getter," then he is boring and uninteresting. And, then
some brethren think the preacher is to be nothing more than a
social anchorman with an unending knowledge of all the latest news
and town gossip. Bah! Brethren, away with such thoughts!
The older pioneer preachers that have gone on before us
have indeed set a true example of what a Gospel preacher is to be
and do. They were true, hardy men. They were not weaklings,
sissies, namby-pambys, and cowards like so many of the softshell
preachers of today. But they, John-the-Baptist-like, were men of
boldness, courage, faith, and conviction; having committed the
Bible to memory, they were full of the knowledge of God's word;
being unintimidated, unashamed, and making no apologies for the
pure simple Gospel they fought "tooth and nail" for or the purity
of the church; and in public oral debates everywhere they plowed up
denominational error root and branch! But now, it seems, that so
many of our preachers are most concerned about their "speaking
voice" and their "public image" before the community. Challenging
the religious errors of the day and contending fervently for or the
once delivered faith is to them the least of their worries!
The preacher is not to be a one-man "pastor" over the
church like the denominations have it. He is not to be called a
"Father" as the Catholics are known to do (Matt. 23:8-10). He is
not anybody's "Reverend." Nor is he any more a "priest" than any
other Christian. But he is simply to be a herald of God's truth
among men. He is not at liberty to substitute God's message for
little feel-good sermonettes from the pulpit. He is not to be
afraid of "stepping on toes." Nor is he to be guilty of preaching
a soft-soaped Gospel in order to make secure his weekly paycheck.
In short, he is not to degenerate into tickling and scratching the
ears of lukewarm and weak brethren with some soft, mushy,
ooy-goohy, compromising after-dinner speeches. This type of
watered-down preaching does nothing but rob the Gospel of its
saving power and lowers the esteem and dignity of being a preacher
in God's behalf. And, I am truly ashamed for those so-called Gospel
preachers who are guilty of such!
The preacher must realize that he has the most urgent, the
most serious, and the most important job on earth--that of
proclaiming salvation from sin through God's Son to a lost and
dying human race! So, preachers, let us be about the task!
208 E 1st St.
Burkburnette, TX 73654
Table of Contents
"Thanks so much for your efforts to keep the pure word of God real.
I wonder if you might know something about the Family of God church
in Montgomery, Alabama? I understand that they took the name of
'church of Christ' off their sign and put Family Church of God on
it with little letters on the bottom of the sign "church of
Christ." Is this so? Do you know what direction they are going? I
do know that this was a church following the truth at one time. Is
this 'Family" thing something that is making its way through and
now we are no longer a congregation but a Family? Is this a play on
words or am I missing the point? Again thanks for the good work"
...Carl Clayton. [Editor's Note: Yes, it is true that the
Carriage Hills Church of Christ in Montgomery changed its
name several years ago to the Family of God. When they
first changed their sign, the words "Carriage Hills Church Of
Christ" was VERY small at the bottom of the sign as if they were
ashamed to put it on there. They received a lot of critiism from
within and without and made those letters a little larger though
the emphasis by a large degree is on "The Family of God." I believe
the logo they use is the same as Rubel Shelly's Church. Their sign
has advertized a Methodist minister who was speaking there as well
as participating in some event with the Baptists. It's pretty sad
that they have long since left the faith.] "My husband and I
receive your publication "Seek ye the Old Paths" and
consider it to be outstanding. We know you and your congregation
are Christians who strive to do exactly what God wants and who
strive to teach exactly what God wants us to do no matter how it
steps on others' toes or hurts others' feelings. We think that is
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"Please remove our name from the mailing list of S.T.O.P.
Thanks" ...Everett & Maxine Foster, Taylor, MI. "At
last I have found somebody in the brotherhood who has had an
experience with responsive reading!! I was raised a
Catholic and this was a part of that worship service, it really
upsets me to see that happen in the Lord's church but no one but my
self and one other person has seen any danger in this activity and
that is because they were raised Catholic also! Is it possible if
you have done a study on this very topic and why it is not
scriptural during worship and if I am wrong then explain why it is
alright. Please straighten me out if I am incorrect or please send
supporting scriptures and information if I am right, I need your
help. Thank you and God Bless for being there for the body of
Christ, and keep up the great work on this web site!!" ...Name
withheld. [EDITOR'S NOTE: Responsive reading is when the whole
congregation reads outloud in the assembly. A short answer on the
question of "responsive reading" appears in this issue on page ???]
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Christian Love" ...Betty and Glenn Strickland, Moultrie, GA.
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publication in 1999. Enclosed is a donation to help with the cost"
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publication" ...Nelson Luster, Jr., Memphis, TN. "Thank
you for Seek The Old Paths which you have been mailing
to our congregation here at Post Oak. We appreciate very much the
effort put forth by those involved in this endeavor" ...Doyle
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God will surely bless you in this work" ...Duane & Louise
Burger, North Pole, AK.
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Dangers Facing The Church
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