In This Issue...
THE WORK OF THE CHURCH #1
Roger D. Campbell
The work and activity of the church ought to be the
center of the life of every Christian. That is true this year, just
as it is in every other year.
THERE ARE OBVIOUSLY SOME ACTIVITIES WHICH
When we speak of the church, we have reference to
that organization which is made up of those people who accepted the
call of God through the Gospel and have entered into Christ and His
light (Col. 1:13,14; 1 Peter 2:9). The church is the one body
of Christ (Eph. 4:4), of which Jesus is the Builder (Matt. 16:18),
the Head (Eph. 1:22,23), the Savior (Eph. 5:23), and that which He
purchased with His own blood (Acts 20:28).
The church exists. It has been in existence since the
first day of Pentecost after Jesus rose from the dead and ascended
into heaven (Acts 2).
What is the God-given work the church should be doing?
Webster says the word “work” is: “a specific task, duty, function,
or assignment.” Thus, when we consider the work of the church, we
must think of those things that the Lord has given to the church as
its task, duty, function, or assignment.
ARE NOT A PART OF THE WORK OF THE CHURCH
We should not think that everything under the sun can
be classified as a work of the church. Simply calling something
the work of the church does not make it so. We must also be
careful that we do not make earthly, emotional appeals
in discussing the work of the church. Simply because we have always
done a thing does not automatically make it a work of the church.
Furthermore, something is not made a work of the church simply
because prominent preachers promote it or well-known
congregations practice it. And, something is not a work
of the church simply because we want it to be.
GOD EXPECTS THE CHURCH TO WORK!
The question of the work of the church is one of
authority. When we ask about what work the church ought to be
doing, we are asking about what God has authorized the church to
do. Jesus said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in
earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in
the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded
you...” (Matt. 28:18-20). At least a couple of things about
the authority of Christ are clear from this text. First, all
authority is in the hands of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we have to
appeal to Christ, that is, to His standard, in order to have
authority from God to carry out the work He has given to us. That
is the concept that is found in Colossians 3:17 -þ “do all in
the name of the Lord.” Second, men/women must observe or obey
all things whatsoever Jesus commands (28:20). This involves not
only the first four books of the New Testament, it involves the
truth revealed by the Holy Spirit to inspired apostles and prophets
throughout the New Testament (Eph. 3:5). The apostle Paul wrote,
“...the things that I write unto you are the commandments of
the Lord” (1 Cor. 14:37). The Bible's message about “the
doctrine of Christ” (2 John 9) is plain. We must let the
doctrine or teaching of Christ be the standard by which we
determine the work in which the church should be engaged.
It is tragic that some today do not have their
thinking about the work of the church “in tune” with what the Bible
says. More and more we see and hear of congregations providing
entertainment, fun and games for its members and the public, with
the church footing the bill for such activities. There is simply no
authority in the New Testament for such. What about a congregation
operating a secular school? Same answer. And, what about the church
using funds from first-day-of-the-week collections to sponsor a
"church ball team” in a “church league?” Again, there is no Bible
authority for it.
The list of unauthorized activities that some,
including elders and preachers, are trying to pass off as the work
of the church, is a lengthy one. Not all activities practiced by
congregations are a part of the work of the church. The bottom line
is this: if something is going to properly fit into the category of
"the work of the church,” then it must be authorized by the New
Testament. This may sound so basic, and yet it is the foundational
truth upon which any study of the work of Christ's church must be
based. As with any other topic, the question must be, “What does
the Bible say?"
If there really is such a thing as “the work of the
church,” then the Lord expects us to do just that -þ He expects us
to work! In our society there are those who are perfectly satisfied
and content to go through life, not working at all, or working just
as little as possible, though they have the physical and mental
capacity to work. They simply want to get by doing as little as
possible, and they apparently are perfectly content to reach out
their hand and take from private or public organizations whatever
they can get. We call that lazy, slothful!
The Bible condemns laziness. In speaking about his own
people, one man said the Cretians are “slow bellies”
("lazy gluttons"). The Holy Spirit said of such a saying,
"This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may
be sound in the faith” (Titus 1:12,13). Those who are lazy
need to repent and get to work!
In the church of our Lord, laziness must not
characterize God's people. The very concept of the church being a
"vineyard” carries with it the idea that we are to be working.
Matthew 20:1-16 records the Parable of the Laborers in the
Vineyard. The owner of the vineyard went to the market place to
hire laborers. What was it he hired them to do? To work. Where? In
his vineyard. The fact that God has called us out of the world and
into His vineyard indicates we need to be working in it.
We should not try to avoid work in the kingdom of
Christ. We ought not try to “skim by” by doing as little work as
possible. Working for the Lord is not an undesirable thing! In
Nehemiah 4:6 it is written that the Jews of Nehemiah's day
successfully rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem to the halfway point
because “the people had a mind to work.” That is the
type of mindset and heart WE need to have in the Lord's work,
rather than say, “Let somebody else do it.” When we talk about the
Lord's work, it is not “their work,” but “our work."
Jesus said, “I ("we,” ASV) must work
the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh,
when no man can work” (John 9:4). Jesus was speaking of the
need for Him to fulfill the Father's will when He had the
opportunity to do so. We sing about that when sing “Work For The
Night Is Coming,” “We'll Work 'Til Jesus Comes,” and “I Want To Be
A Worker For The Lord.” When we sing such spiritual songs we teach
and admonish one another to work. What about after the singing of
such hymns, what should we do? We must go out and put the words of
the songs into practice in our lives -þ go to work for the Lord!
How powerful the army of Christ could be, and how
effective the work of the church could be, if every member of the
church would seriously take to heart the message of 1 Corinthians
15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast,
unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as
ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” I
remember as a child watching the old Brylcreem commercials.
Remember the punch line? “A little dab will do ya.” I suppose they
did not have Brylcreem in the apostle Paul's day, but when he spoke
about the work of the church, Paul was certainly not a Brylcreem
man. He did not have the concept that in the work of the church we
ought to try and get by doing just as little as possible, or take
the Brylcreem approach to the Lord's work by thinking, “A little
dab will do ya."
Notice, again, the words of the text of 1 Corinthians
15:58, “ALWAYS ABOUNDING in the work of the Lord.” That
is what God wants from every one of us — every Christian! A
Christian that is too busy to be involved in the Lord's work is
just that þ- he/she is too busy! Such a problem needs to be
A number of young Christian couples are in a hurry to
have their own house and possess the nice things in life they see
mom and dad have. Of course, mom and dad had to work and scratch
for decades to get what they now have, but today's young married
couples often want to have nice material blessings “right now.” So,
they go to the bank and borrow enormous amounts of money to build
a new house on several acres of land for which they also borrow a
big chunk of money. They want to have two cars, a jeep, a pickup,
a boat, jet skis, snowmobiles, one computer for every family
member, a TV and VCR in every bedroom, and who knows what else.
Somebody has to pay for all this stuff. So, both husband and wife
get themselves a full time job. He might have to work seventy hours
a week to help pay the bills, or maybe even take on a second job,
but it is all worth it (so they think) so they can have these
In the midst of all this, along comes an elder or a
preacher and asks the husband, “I need someone to go with me to
make some visits this week, reckon you'd be able to go with me?"
His answer is a truthful one: “No, I'm too busy. I just don't seem
to have any time to do anything.” I wonder why?! I wonder why he's
"too busy.” Who made those choices in his life? He did. “Well, when
my kids get grown, come and talk to me then, I ought to have more
time to do some church work.” Brethren, the Holy Spirit did not
say, “In the future when your kids are grown up, then you can do
some work for the Lord.” What He said was “always abounding in
the work of the Lord” -þ that means right now, not ten years
We would be quick to point out that there is nothing
wrong with possessing material blessings, even nice ones. But, we
must all strive to keep our priorities straight (Col. 3:1,2). If
the Lord's cause is really first in our hearts, then we need to
give serious consideration to what our self-imposed financial debts
and possible subsequent extra time on the job will do to our
opportunity to help in the Lord's work. How wise is it for
Christians to saddle themselves with tremendous financial burdens
and/or jobs that will severely limit their time and availability to
assist in the work of the church? We need to seriously weigh the
consequences of our actions, and ask ourselves if it is really
worth it to take on certain things in our lives if they will hinder
us from actively participating in the Lord's work.
Elders in the church that are too busy with other
affairs in life to shepherd the flock are elders in name only.
Deacons in the church that are too busy to serve the church are
deacons in name only. Preachers that are too busy to teach and work
in the kingdom are preachers in name only. And, Christians who are
too busy with their own affairs to work in the kingdom are
Christians in name only. These conclusions may not sound pleasant,
but most of us know deep down inside that the words of this
paragraph are words of truth.
We have emphasized to this point, 1) what we do in the
work of the Lord must be authorized by the New Testament of Jesus
Christ, and 2) if something really is the work of the church, then
let us “get in there and do it."
4865 Bates Pike SE
Cleveland, TN 373232
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HOLDING FAST THE FORM OF SOUND WORDS
Garland M. Robinson
The world in which we live is plagued with problems.
Wherever men live, there is sin — the transgression of God's law.
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one”
(Rom. 3:10). Sin exists even in the Lord's church — dishonesty and
lying (Acts 5), immorality (1 Cor. 5), prejudice (James 2),
division (1 Cor. 1), and false teachers (1 Tim. 4:1-4; 2 Peter 2;
The penalty of sin is death, both physical and
spiritual. “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23).
“...When lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin,
when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:15).
Compare Rom. 6:16.
The church today faces the same kind of problems that
has plagued it through the centuries: binding where God has not
bound and loosing where God has not loosed — i.e. making laws
where God made none and ignoring laws that God made.
The greatest threat to the Lord's body is from within
our own ranks. So many men and women are seeking to be free from
God's law. “Set us free from the shackles of the strict adherence
to God's word” is the cry of multitudes. Sound, wholesome words of
truth are despised by such people. However, 2 Timothy 1:13 sounds
forth these sobering words: “Hold fast the form of sound
words....” This is so BECAUSE...
The living word of our Lord Jesus Christ is the
only means of salvation. Without the WORD there is no faith
(Rom. 10:17), and without faith one cannot please God (Heb. 11:6).
Paul said the Gospel of Christ is God's power to save (Rom. 1:16;
1 Cor. 1:18-21). Without the Gospel, God cannot save. He is
powerless to save. His word penetrates to the very soul of man
(Heb. 4:12-13). It convicts of sin (Titus 1:9; Jude 1:15).
The living Word is to be preached around the
world (Mark 16:15-16). It will be used to judge us (John 12:48), it
is urgent that it be proclaimed.
The word of Christ is the only guide, direction, or
beacon that can direct men to heaven. If corrupted, it looses its
power. God expects his people to preach the truth, the whole truth
and nothing but the truth! He expects us to live the truth and
stand fast in it. Any time we forget who we are, who we represent,
who we proclaim, the devil will claim our soul as he has the rest
of the world!
If we walk in the “old paths” (Jer. 6:16) and “speak
as the oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11), we will be blessed above all
people of the earth. God is on our side! The words of the Savior in
the end will be, “well done thou good and faithful servant."
The tentacles of liberalism and modernism have
attached themselves to the church perhaps more than at any other
time in recent history. People's attitude toward the Bible and
respect for the words of Christ is waning more and more. The Bible
tells us this is the way it always is! “For the time will come
when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their
own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching
ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall
be turned unto fables” (2 Tim 4:3-4; cf. Matt. 24:11-12).
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times
some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits,
and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their
conscience seared with a hot iron...” (1 Tim. 4:1-3).
When Jesus said false prophets would come in sheep's
clothing, he was not just taking up space. He said, “Beware of
false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly
they are ravening wolves” (Matt. 7:15). False prophets in the
Old Testament preached lies as though it was God's word (Jer.
14:14). People were not to listen then and they are not to listen
now. Those who do so are made vain (Jer. 23:14,16).
Contending for the faith (Jude 3) and demanding a
"thus saith the Lord” (as the prophets of old) is not popular
in our day. All kinds of ridicule and scorn is thrown at God's
loving warriors who care more for God's praise than man's praise.
The love of so many has run cold (Matt. 24:12). The cry is to “tone
down” the preaching — you can't win people with doctrine, they
say. We are told our business is to “win friends and influence
people,” but for what purpose and to what end? Our job is to
proclaim the Gospel in its entirety, expose sin for what it is,
rebuke the erring, proclaim salvation through faithful obedience to
God and not man (Matt. 7:21). This is what Paul commanded Timothy.
“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season;
reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine”
(2 Tim. 4:2).
Those who preach the whole counsel of God must set
their forehead strong against opposition and not be discouraged by
the rebellious who don't love the truth (Ezek. 3:8-9; Jer.
1:7,17-18; Micah 3:8). Isaiah said, “...therefore have I set
my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed”
(Isa. 50:7). The command of the Lord to him was, “cry aloud,
spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people
their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins” (Isa.
It's high time for the faithful to stand up and
be counted! We are at WAR! We are in a desperate battle for
the souls of men. It's time we draw forth the “sword of the Spirit"
and throw the scabbard away! It's time we keep the sword bloody by
constant use against wickedness, evil doing and false teaching
until the Lord removes it from our grasp in death. If we do not,
the church will continue its head-long rush into apostasy. It will
continue to split and splinter and be unrecognizable in comparison
to the first century church.
The greater portion of the problem today lies at the
feet of elders who have not “overseen” the flock as God
demands! God knew this would be (Acts 20:28-30). Elders are to take
heed to themselves — to their qualifications, life, family, their
ability to do the work. That is where the responsibility begins.
Many believe that “once an always an elder.” Such is not so. Being
an elder is a work, not simply a position. When one is not doing
the work, he ceases to be qualified to be an elder. It's time he
repents or step aside.
Many have said it only takes one generation
for the church to go into apostasy. In many cases it doesn't even
take that long!! You get an eldership in a congregation that does
not demand “sound words” and a preacher that has jelly for a
backbone and they can apostatize in less than 5 years! It takes a
God fearing Gospel preacher to stand up and “rebuke them
sharply, that they may be sound in the faith” (Titus 1:13).
The answer to the problem of digression is to
"hold fast the form of sound words.” Notice these many verses
that say so. “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou
hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus”
(2 Tim 1:13). “Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom,
and instruction, and understanding” (Prov 23:23).
"Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may
be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the
gainsayers” (Titus 1:9). “But speak thou the things
which become sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1). “If any man
teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words
of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to
godliness...” (1 Tim. 6:3). “Therefore, brethren, stand
fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by
word, or our epistle” (2 Thess. 2:15). “Prove all
things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thess. 5:21).
"Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering"
(Heb 10:23). “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).
Paul declared he had preached the whole counsel
of God. “Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I
am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to
declare unto you all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:26-27). The
only way we can be free from the blood of all men is to do the same
thing. The most loving, kind, considerate thing we could
do is to “preach the word” and lay sin bare! God's people are to
not only hold fast to sound words, but refute error as
well. This involves “contending for the faith” (Jude 3). It
involves “marking” teachers of error (Rom. 16:17-18). They think
they serve Christ, but in reality they serve themselves. Their
"...good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple."
Don't be deceived! Paul said he did not tolerate false
brethren even for an hour (Gal. 2:4-5). He fought the good fight of
faith (1 Tim. 6:12). Elders are to do likewise. That's their job
The devil can and will deceive people (2 Cor. 11:3).
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming
themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan
himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no
great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers
of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works"
(2 Cor. 11:13-15). “Let no man deceive you by any
means...” (2 Thess. 2:3; Col. 2:18). Many do not have the
love of the truth and are willing to be deceived (2 Thess. 2:9-12).
“But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse,
deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3:13; 2 Tim. 3:1-5).
Sound words are the words of God — the words that
proceed from God. They are the “words of life.” Jesus said,
"...the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are
life” (John 6:63). Only the Lord Jesus has “...the words
of eternal life” (John 6:68). If men do not hold to the
pattern of sound words, the soul saving Gospel will not be heard.
Will you let it have free course in your life?
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ARE THERE ANY FALSE TEACHERS?
The Bible warns of false prophets. Those who pretend to
be preachers of righteousness, but are actually agents of the
devil. “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers,
transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For
Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore
it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves
into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to
their works” (2 Cor. 11:13-15). John warned, “Beloved,
do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are
of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world"
(1 John 4:1). However, in spite of these warnings, many today
act as though there are few, or no, false teachers in the world.
They will give their general approval to almost any man (or woman)
who says he is preaching the Gospel.
In contrast to the general feeling among religious
people, the Bible teaches that false prophets abound. John said
"many” have gone out into the world. Is it any different today?
Right after Jesus stated that few would make it to heaven while
many will go to hell, He warned us about false teachers (Matt.
7:13-10). Do you suppose there is any connection? Many false
teachers will deceive many people. Few teachers of righteousness
will persuade few people.
Instead of endorsing everyone who is a “preacher” and
accepting his teaching, we are to examine, test, and try what he
says by the Scripture (1 Thess. 5:21; Acts 17:11). When it is true,
accept it and live by it. When it is false, reject it and him (Gal.
1:8-9). When a man will not affirm that Jesus is the Christ, reject
him (Matt. 16:16). When a man will not teach that salvation is
offered to all men of all races, reject him (Mark 16:15). When a
man will not advocate the words of the Lord, that baptism is for
salvation, reject him (Mark 16:16; cf. Acts 2:38).
Please, dear friend, understand that there are false
teachers in the world. Use some discernment. If what we teach is
false, reject it. Only follow the Word of God! Yet, if what we
teach is true according to God's revelation, receive it and abide
in it. We want to go to heaven and want you to also.
— Steven F. Deaton
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THE “TREADMILL OF TRYING HARD” IS GOOD EXERCISE
In recent years, through a combination of pop-psychology
and Calvinistic thought, the Lord's church has been told by
wool-covered wolves that works are not the answer, they are the
problem. A man recently told me about the many people he knew who
had been 'beat up,' discouraged, disheartened, and generally
damaged by thinking that they had to perform in order to be
accepted by God. Many are attempting to 'set us free' from the idea
that our works determine our destiny, and they say that the very
idea that salvation is conditional on our works is a no-win
It is hard to try hard. Trying hard often involves
self-control, self-sacrifice and self-denial. These three are
opposites and enemies of selfishness, and selfishness makes our
world go 'round. Since our world is dedicated to avoiding pain and
unpleasantness, they have set forth a myth that working hard and
struggling to do right is bad for us.
Many have accepted this myth as truth. Like 'marks'
buying swampland or the Brooklyn bridge, many brethren have bought
stock in the idea that 'performance-based religion' is the enemy of
our souls and detrimental to our joy and peace. Consider two simple
God put us on the 'treadmill of trying hard.' Whether
we think it is good or bad, frustrating or encouraging, regardless
of our thoughts on the matter at all, Hebrews 5:8-9 still says that
Jesus will save those who obey. Matthew 7:21 still says that we
must obey in order to enter into the kingdom of heaven. 2 Peter 1:5
teaches us to try hard (giving all diligence) to add various
virtues to our character. 2 Peter 1:10 says we must try hard (give
diligence) to make our calling and election sure, and teaches that
whether or not we fall is a matter of our efforts.
Man often sees great wisdom in rejecting plain Bible
truth, but such wisdom is foolishness to God (1 Cor. 1:18-31).
Whatever else we say, we should first admit that God wants us to
work in order to receive and maintain the salvation he has offered
us. Salvation is by grace, apart from the works of the old law, and
apart from works of merit, but it is by grace (God's part) through
faith (man's response) that we are saved (Eph. 2:8-9). God has
provided salvation, and has set the conditions we must meet in
order to accept his gift. The fact that salvation is conditional
puts us on the 'treadmill of trying hard.'
God teaches that this treadmill is good for us. First
and foremost because it allows us to appropriate the gift of
salvation, but also because the 'treadmill of trying hard' is good
Solomon understood that God had given work to the sons
of men to be exercised by it (Eccl. 3:10). Paul claimed that his
rejoicing was found in his service: “For our rejoicing is
this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly
sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we
have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to
you-ward” (2 Cor 1:12). He admonished that peace was to be
found in obedience, doing the things we know to be right.
"Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard,
and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you”
All of life testifies to the truth that challenge,
hard work, set-backs, and pain carry a blessing with them. We need
to be exercised by the treadmill of trying hard.
Ours is a world that frowns on giving failing grades
to those who fail for fear of damaging their self-esteem, rather
than seeing failure now as a learning process leading to future
success. Our world frowns on punishment. Our world is more willing
to 'lower the bar' than to take the chance of frustrating someone
by setting the bar too high.
In such a world, we have a choice. We can buy into our
world's viewpoint and twist the Scriptures to support that position
or we can accept the truth of God's word. The first road is a
broad, easy road, with many traveling on it because it takes so
little effort. Self-control is difficult, and many will reject
salvation if it depends on struggle and overcoming. Strength is
needed to walk the narrow, restrictive road.
Hard work is not only involved in our salvation, it
is essential. Jesus says we must strive to enter in by this gate
(Luke 13:24). The word “strive” means to agonize — there is pain
and effort involved. But this difficult way is not only good
exercise for us, it is the only way that leads to life.
1495 E Empire Ave.
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
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“CHRISTIAN MUSIC LIGHTS UP LIPSCOMB"
Nashville Tennessean, Oct. 12, 2000
“David Lipscomb University's Collins Alumni Auditorium is
the site of a notable contemporary Christian show (open to
Christians and non, contemporary and old-school) tonight. The
concert features Caedmon's Call, a seven piece band that blends
Rootsy rock, Hootified ball-cap guitar pop and even a few urban
flourishes into a lively mix that fits nicely with lyrics of
wonders both worldly and deified.
LIPSCOMB AND ROOTSY ROCK
Equally intriguing is Nichole Nordeman, whose This
Mystery is a beautifully sung, pop song set, a brave album that
calls into question the validity of narrowly framed religion and
doctrines as a means of understanding divinity (sounds like a bit
of a drag when I put it that way, but the album is actually pretty
fun). Justin McRoberts is also on the bill. Tickets are $12 in
advance, $15 at the door, and available at Lifeway Christian stores
or by phone at 251-2500. 8p.m. is the start time."
The article above makes it clear that Lipscomb is
promoting vain “Christian music” and charging for it. This is
prima-facie evidence that Steve Flatt and the Lipscomb board are
willing for Christians all over the country to send their offspring
to Lipscomb and have them exposed to “rootsy rock, Hootified
ball-cap guitar pop — with lyrics of wonder both worldly and
deified.” This is sanctioned on campus while these men send glowing
reports to families all across the nation proclaiming: “Lipscomb
University, a distinctly Christian university. All faculty and
staff members are faithful Christians active in local
Here is a clear example of men saying one thing while
promoting another. The Lord Jesus spoke of such, “Hypocrites!
Well did Isaiah prophesy about you saying: These people draw near
to me with their mouths and honor me with their lips, but their
heart is far from me. And in vain they worship me teaching for
doctrine the commandments of men” (Matt. 15:7-9).
Brother David Lipscomb was the founder of the
Nashville Bible School, which has grown into David Lipscomb
University and some might say he would turn over in his grave if he
knew such “concerts” were being held on his old farm property. But
that is not true, such cannot happen. What is true is that he will
rise up in the resurrection with this generation of Lipscomb
bureaucrats (cf. Matt. 12:41-42), and condemn this promotion of
vain philosophy that questions “the validity of narrowly framed
religion and doctrine as a means of understanding divinity....” Was
it not Jesus Christ Himself who “narrowly framed” His religion when
He said, “enter in by the narrow gate” (Matt. 7:13)? Was it not the
Holy Spirit who said, “whoever transgresses and does not abide in
the doctrine of Christ does not have God” (2 John 9)?
Some will rationalize saying, “this was not a worship
service.” Can a person call on the name of God or Jesus Christ in
a meaningless way? How does designating it “not worship” keep it
from being a violation of Exodus 20:7? The Tennessean said the
"concert” was to be held in Collins Alumni Auditorium. As an
alumnus I want every Christian in the United States, and the world
for that matter, to know that I protest such among our young
people. Parents must ask themselves if they want to spend $15,000
a year for their child to attend DLU and have them exposed to
"rootsy rock” religion. As I said before, the people in the state
universities are worldly minded, but at least you know who the
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Table of Contents
HEBREWS 7:14 TEACHES ABOUT THE SILENCE OF THE SCRIPTURES
In his argument that Jesus cannot be a priest on earth,
the writer of Hebrews not only appeals to what is stated in the
Scriptures but also to what is not stated in the
Scriptures. The inspired author wrote: “For it is evident that
our Lord sprang out of Judah: of which tribe Moses spake
nothing concerning priesthood” (Heb. 7:14). In earlier
verses of Hebrews (1:1,2; 2:1-3; 3:7-11; 6:13-18) the writer firmly
establishes that there is absolute importance in what the Lord has
spoken, but in Hebrews 7:14 he makes known the importance of the
Lord's silence as well. Since the Lord, through His servant Moses,
was silent about any of Judah's members' becoming a priest, it is
clear that no member of the tribe of Judah was authorized to become
a priest. Having stated that the tribe of Levi would yield God's
earthly priests (Num. 3:12), there was no need for the Lord to
further prohibit descendants from any of the other tribes from
serving as priests. God had already given authorization to the ones
who should fill this role, and thus His silence excluded everyone
The silence of the Scriptures does not authorize!
This fact accepted by the Hebrews writer and his recipients is
sadly being rejected by more and more brethren today. A new science
of studying the Bible (or hermeneutic) is now threatening to detour
many from the old paths. One of the aspects of this New Hermeneutic
(loved by all the liberals) essentially states that where the Bible
does not specifically condemn it must therefore permit. As can be
imagined, when brethren bent on change interpret silence as
permission all sorts of damage occurs: elders charged to protect
the flock drop their guard against evil, fellowship lines are
expanded, the instrument is wheeled into some of our own
congregations, and many more monstrosities take place. The very
sight of such change must make Satan sit back in comfort as a
willing witness to what he expects will be a rebellion against God
likened to the ones about which we read in the pages of the Bible
(Gen. 6; Exodus 32; Num. 14; etc.).
The only thing that can come to the aid of the Lord's
Bride (that is being badly battered by proponents of the New
Hermeneutic) is a renewed dedication to obeying the Lord's Word
without adding to or taking from His Message (Rev. 22:18-19). This
determination should begin with a proper understanding of Bible
silence. The silence of the Scriptures must be properly respected
as a limitation, not recklessly disregarded as a license.
Silence in general is respected by most everyone. How
many of us have entered a door on which we find the words
"Authorized Personnel Only,” reasoning that since the sign does not
explicitly state that we cannot enter that such silence must be
permission for us to enter? Or, how many of us, when stopped for
speeding, have used as our excuse that there was no sign stating
that one may not drive 90 mph, and therefore such silence must be
permission for us to travel at such break-neck speeds? Chances are
that most of us would be embarrassed to give such foolish
explanations for our actions with a straight face. But, when it
comes to religious matters, individuals are not embarrassed at all
(they do not even blush, Jer. 6:15). Instead, it seems as if pride
fills their hearts because they were able to preach an error-filled
sermon, write a digressive article for a weak paper, or publish a
liberal book before anyone else of their sort. The actions of some
brethren are surely reminiscent of the Athenians who “spent their
time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new
thing” (Acts 17:21).
Like many brethren today, king Saul was one who
unashamedly approved of a new approach to worship. Though commanded
to smite the city of Amalek and to destroy everything in it, Saul
interpreted this command with a new hermeneutic of his own and
spared Agag, the king, and the best of the sheep, oxen, fatlings,
and lambs to offer to the Lord (1 Sam. 15:3,9,15). When the prophet
Samuel approached Saul with news of the king's sin, Saul excused
his actions by explaining that he had merely intended to worship
God in a way different from the way in which God had instructed him
(1 Sam. 15:15). For his hermeneutical mishap the king would pay
dearly. Samuel's sober message was that the king's “different
approach” caused him to sin, and for his rejection of God's law,
God would reject Saul from being king over Israel (1 Sam.
15:22,23). The prophet made known to the perpetrator that God's
silence must not be turned into a license of acceptance.
While clothed in human robes, Jesus sought to stress
that the silence of the Scriptures does not authorize. In His
temptations of the deceiver, Jesus was propositioned to fall down
and worship the devil (Matt. 4:9). Jesus' answer to this temptation
is particularly significant; He said: “Thou shalt worship the
Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve” (Matt. 4:10).
This response differs from its reference, Deuteronomy 6:13, in just
one respect. In Deuteronomy 6:13, God does not explicitly state
that He is the only Being to be worshipped. In fact the word “only"
is omitted or italicized in most English translations. The point is
that Jesus did not take such an omission (or silence) as authority
to worship the devil. It would have been an unnecessary exercise
for the Lord to announce a decree stating: “Thou shalt not worship
Satan.” Similarly, it would have been just as unnecessary for God
to tell Noah not to use oak, pine, maple, cedar, or any other wood
to build the ark. In both cases, God clearly stated what the
authorized activity was and everything contrary to this authorized
activity was, therefore, unauthorized.
Jeremiah said it best: “O Lord, I know that the
way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to
direct his steps” (Jer. 10:23). The way most men study the
Bible is to assume authority in the Lord's silence, but all must
learn that the silence of the Scripture does not authorize. Such is
plainly taught by God's precious precepts.
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