In This Issue...
THE SERMON OF SORROW
This article is a portion of the sermon preached to the
congregation of the Coldwater church of Christ relative to the
action taken by their eldership in respect to the youth rally at
the Senatobia, Mississippi, church of Christ. Brother Reagan called
Fred McClure, a participant in this rally, and talked to
In Paul's second letter to the church at Corinth, we
read of his concerns over the first letter he wrote to them. You
will remember that the first epistle discusses various problems
within the church at Corinth and Paul had to use strong words for
them to recognize their spiritually dangerous condition. The words
of Paul in 2 Corinthians 7:8-10 give us some insight as to how Paul
felt about having to do it. He was sorry he had to write the first
letter; but, he was not sorry he wrote because it brought about
their swift repentance.
This is not an effort to place myself on the level of
the apostle in knowledge, ability, or any other aspect; but, that
is exactly how I feel about this sermon. I am sorry it is necessary
for this sermon to be preached; but, please understand, I do not
apologize for presenting this sermon.
The Senatobia church of Christ is hosting
a youth rally the end of January, INSIGHT 2000. The congregation
here received an invitation and the schedule consists of speakers
and various groups who teach doctrines and participate in
activities which are not in keeping with the authority of the
Scriptures. This article and the enclosed letter will describe the
action taken by our eldership and the leadership of other
congregations who have like concerns about this youth rally.
This sermon is not an attempt to "get back" at anyone
for the untrue and unkind attitudes and statements which have been
made to me, about me, our eldership, or this congregation. This
sermon is not in retaliation to a letter that the elders of
Senatobia have published and given the members there naming our
congregation as causing division, sowing discord among brethren,
and Biblical error.
My heart is heavy. The impact of this sermon will
affect every member of this congregation: some more closely than
others and I have not taken nor do I take those relationships
lightly. I am saddened that it has become necessary to discuss the
matters which we will discuss in this sermon; but, please know
every word is covered in prayer and spoken in love -- love for you
as a congregation, love for the souls of whom will be discussed,
and love for the truth of God's Word. The only joy in making this
kind of stand is found in a love of the truth and the hope that
truth, not one congregation against another; but, that truth would
prevail and all congregations of God's people would stand together
in the truth of God's Word.
The Old Testament prophet Ezekiel records the pitiable
condition of the nation of Judah as she stands in rebellion against
God. In Ezekiel 22:30, God declares His search "...for a man
among them, that should make up the hedge and stand in the gap
before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found
none." It is our desire as a congregation of God's people,
and it should be the desire of every congregation, to stand in the
gap to declare and commit to the truth of God's Word.
Please note there is a Biblical precedent and standard
which all Christians will seek to enjoin. In closing out the
epistle to the church at Rome, Paul writes: "Now I beseech
you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences
contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them"
(Rom. 16:17). Why is this type of action necessary? "For
they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own
belly; (their own selfish agendas) and by good words and
fair speeches (their sugar coated words which contain false
doctrine) deceive the hearts of the simple (the
innocent)" (Rom. 16:18). Christ warned His disciples. "Take
heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the
Sadducees" (Matt. 16:6). Matthew, by inspiration, offers a
word of explanation in that Christ was talking of the doctrine of
the Pharisees and of the Sadducees (Matt. 16:12). Was our Lord
being unkind or unloving toward anyone? Absolutely not. In fact,
these and other warnings came because of the love Christ has for
Paul, as he was with the elders of the church at
Ephesus, warned them of the grievous wolves and men who would speak
perverse things to draw away disciples after them. You will
remember that Paul reminded them of his love for them: "Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I
ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears" (Acts
20:31). This is a spiritually protective move designed to warn the
innocent of the false doctrine and those who espouse it. It is by
the example of Christ and apostolically commanded so that souls may
be saved and that is my motive and by their fruit and from their
admission, that is the motive of the eldership here.
Another Biblical consideration is that the eldership
of this congregation has the God-given directive to "...watch
for our souls, as they that must give account..." (Heb.
13:17). The eldership has an obligation to weigh the spiritual
profitability of meetings and other such events before they can
encourage our attendance and based upon the speakers and groups who
have been invited to this youth rally, the eldership cannot endorse
The enclosed letter which was sent to the eldership
of the Senatobia congregation describes some of the reasons this
youth rally cannot be supported. Additionally, brother Fred
McClure, one of the scheduled speakers at INSIGHT 2000, was
personally contacted and asked a few questions.
Question -- How do you feel about instrumental music
in worship? Brother McClure: "I don't use it."
Question -- Why? Brother McClure: "The Scriptures are
Question -- Is it a matter of conscience or is it
wrong? Brother McClure: "I'm not going to say that God will send
anyone to hell for using it; but, I don't get involved in
controversial stuff. It is not a salvation issue."
Question -- Do you believe there are faithful
Christians in denominational churches? Brother McClure: "I'm not in
the judging business."
Question -- Is immersion in water essential for
salvation? Brother McClure: "Water baptism is important."
Question -- Is it essential? Brother McClure: "This
Question -- My wanting to know what a man teaches is
fruitless? Brother McClure: "Why are you asking?"
Question -- Our kids have been invited to attend and
I want to know what they are going to hear. I don't know you nor
what you teach and I have an obligation to know what they are going
to hear. Brother McClure: "In youth rallies I tell the kids to be
Question -- If you teach that instrumental music in
worship is not a salvation issue, is that what Jesus would teach?
Brother McClure: "I don't know what Jesus would teach. I'm not
going to answer your questions. This conversation is over."
Question -- Why won't you answer my questions? Brother
McClure: "I don't have to. I don't do this."
Question -- You don't believe Peter's command in I
Peter 3:15 to always give an answer to every man that asketh you a
reason of the hope that is in you? Brother McClure: "Yes; but, I am
not going to answer your questions.
Question -- If I were a man on the street would you
answer my questions? Brother McClure: "Yes, look at the context."
Question -- I am considering the context. I'm asking
you to answer questions about what you believe. Brother McClure:
"This is fruitless. You can ask your questions; but, I'm not going
to answer them. You can write what you want to write. Here's
something you can quote, This is foolish and irrelevant."
This and other considerations (e-mails and web site
information) for AVB and One Time Blind drama group was made
available to the eldership of the Senatobia congregation. The
eldership of the Senatobia congregation was invited to discuss this
information; but, they chose not to accept the invitation.
Those who oppose this type of action are quick to
offer objections to what the Bible teaches congregations must do to
warn of false doctrine and those who proclaim it.
Possible objection #1. "What about the
autonomy of the Senatobia eldership? What right do you have to
"interfere" (using their word) in their youth rally?" Each
congregation is under the oversight of the local eldership. The
Lord's church is not tied by any type of denominational or
ecclesiastical organization; but, there is a fellowship between
congregations. The Lord prayed that unity, based upon truth, would
exist among all Christians, not just within the local congregation
(John 1:7). However, when a congregation brings in those who teach
doctrines not found in the Bible, the basis of that fellowship has
been negated. John reminds us of the parameters of that fellowship:
"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..." (1 John 1:6-7). Paul commands: "Have no
fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather
reprove them" (Eph. 5:11).
The Bible provides an example of the eldership of one
congregation involved with other congregations. The church at
Jerusalem, in Acts 15, wrote letters to the brethren in Antioch,
Syria, and Cilicia and the autonomy of those churches obviously was
not disturbed. The action of our eldership and the other
congregations as well, is not a hostile takeover bid nor does it in
anyway interfere with the autonomy of the eldership at Senatobia;
it is exactly what the Bible commands should be done (Rom.
Possible objection #2. "All you are doing is
causing trouble and sowing discord and division." Unfortunately,
more and more people are holding to that view; but, what does the
Bible say who causes the division and discord? In 1 Kings 18:17-18
we are able to read this same complaint charged against the prophet
Elijah: "And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab
said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel? And he answered,
I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father's house, in
that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou hast
followed Baalim." Ahab tried to pressure Elijah into
believing that he was the troubler of Israel and all the while it
was Ahab's evil message and practice which caused the division.
Christ warned us that division would come (Matt. 10:35-36). But the
division comes from acceptance of error and not from applying the
Possible objection #3. "What about the
problems that you have at Coldwater? You must think you are
infallible (or without sin)."
When we read the words of Christ as He commanded men
to beware of false prophets and to beware of the doctrine of the
Pharisees and of the Sadducees, to which sinlessly perfect people
was He speaking? When Christ commanded to judge righteous judgment
(John 7:24), to which sinlessly perfect people was He speaking?
When Paul commanded the church at Rome and at Ephesus and in
Galatia to mark, reprove, rebuke and when Jude commanded that we
are to earnestly contend for the faith, to which sinlessly perfect
people were they speaking? No one has a claim of sinless
perfection; but, we do have an infallible standard -- the Word of
God and we can know the truth (John 8:32).
No one has ever come to me after I have preached a
sermon and said: "You have no right to tell people what the Bible
says about salvation because you have sinned in your life." Why
then, will we pick out other Bible passages and say we have no
right to obey them unless we are infallible? Could we not say that
those who make this argument are themselves claiming infallibility
by the same standard? If not, why not?
Possible objection #4. The suggestion has
been made, "What if they don't teach any false doctrine at the
youth rally, what would be wrong with supporting them?"
Repeatedly the Word of God warns about having
fellowship with those who teach erroneous doctrine and we cannot
limit this association only in the presence of false teaching. Is
it being suggested the fellowship of which the Bible prohibits is
valid only the moment the false doctrine is being spoken and then,
at the end of the sermon, it's okay to fellowship the one who
taught false doctrine? Surely not!
To invite a man who knowingly teaches false doctrine
to come and speak is an endorsement of the error he espouses (2
John 9-11). Additionally, it is giving a false pretense that man is
a sound, faithful preacher. Paul commanded the Corinthian
Christians: "Be ye not unequally yoked together with
unbelievers." Later he commands: "Wherefore come out
from among them, and be ye separate" (2 Cor. 6:14,17).
Unity among God's people requires disassociation from
those who do not speak the same thing, and those who cause division
by not speaking the same thing as found in the Bible (1 Cor. 1:10).
Even though Lot did not participate, he vexed his righteous soul
with the unlawful deeds of those around him (2 Peter 2:7-8). Those
who failed to distance themselves from Korah, even though they did
not participate in his evil were considered guilty (Numbers
16:26,32-33). The psalmist realized the dangers of associations
with those who have done wrong (Psalm 26). Guilt by association is
something that God recognizes and we should too.
My dear friend, I take no joy at all in preaching this
sermon. But, even if our elders did not ask me to present this
material, I would have done it. The eldership of the Lord's church
bears a tremendous burden and I am thankful for all faithful
elderships and congregational leaders and I am grateful for our
elders. It is not easy to take the stand that has been taken. The
elderships and leaderships of the congregations who defend the
truth endure the uncalled for, unkind, unscriptural, and many times
personal criticisms for their faithful action.
Paul declared that we have the obligation to obey them
which have the rule over us and submit ourselves to the authority
of God (Heb. 13:17). To speak against God's faithful elders is to
speak against God (Num. 16:11). That is not to say that if you have
a question, you cannot come to the eldership and discuss your
question with them; that invitation is always extended; but there
is a difference between asking the eldership a question and going
among the congregation and planting seeds of discord and division.
Of our elders, we are "...to esteem them very highly in love
for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves" (1
I have tried to keep my attitude and my actions in
constant view of what the Bible demands of me as a Christian and as
a Gospel preacher. In today's society of selfishness, this stand is
not popular. However, if we will remain loyal and true to what the
Bible teaches and do so with the proper motivation and attitude, we
will not please many men; but, we will be pleasing to God.
You are loved, Lennie Reagan
Coldwater Church of Christ bulletin, Jan. 23, 2000
PO Box 321
Coldwater, MS 38618
Table of Contents
NOT ONLY DIGRESSIVE,
Garland M. Robinson
Believe it or not, many today deny the murder -- the
annihilation -- of six million Jews under the regime of Hitler and
Naziism. The claim is made that "it never happened."
In like manner, a host of "Church of Christ" people
are denying that liberalism exists among us. The claim is that
those who warn about it, expose it, and document it, are cynical,
negative, trouble makers and liars. But, let the facts and
documentation speak for themselves. They are myriad. One would have
to be spiritually blind and no lover of the truth to deny what's
presently going on among the brotherhood of the churches of Christ.
In a web-page article by Ken Young titled,
"Communion -- Frequency of the Celebration," the
practice of partaking the Lord's supper any day of the week is
defended and promoted. The article reveals that as the leadership
at the Golf Course Road Church of Christ, in Midland, Texas,
planned for "Stream '97", they
"decided a very fitting conclusion to Saturday's schedule of
worship, study, and share groups would be the celebration of
Communion. Many of our members had been on a "Walk To
Emmaus," an interdenominational spiritual renewal weekend,
and had been greatly blessed by the Communion service taken
on a Friday or a Saturday. Golf Course Road had also planned
similar weekends, one for men and another for women. A
Saturday morning Communion service was one of the high
points of the weekend.
For most who participated in these events for the first
time, taking Communion on a day other than Sunday was a new
experience, and for some, it was approached with a sense of
uneasiness. However, almost everyone who went through one of
these experiences gave testimony to the significant impact
the Communion had on them."
The article discusses how that an elder's wife had been
blessed by taking communion at a renewal weekend for ladies that
was not in their building. He says,
"somehow it seemed more uncomfortable for her to take
Communion on Saturday in the same auditorium where we take
the Lord's Supper every Sunday. As time approached for that
evening assembly she commented to her husband that she
thought the crowd would be small. After all, it had been
emphasized to everyone that it was their choice whether or
not to come back after dinner for Communion. If they found
this offensive in any way, they were encouraged not to come.
To her surprise, as she entered the auditorium, she
discovered a very large crowd already overflowing to the
balcony. She told me the Communion service that evening was
one of the most powerful times of worship she had ever
It seems ironic that in the next paragraph we read,
"one of our greatest concerns is to do only that which pleases and
honors our Lord." Yet, they finish their column by sharing "the
results of our studies concerning this issue." Their conclusion is
that they find no prohibition of observing the Lord's supper on any
day of the week. They say, "the apostles never once specified a
correct day to celebrate Communion in their writings. Jesus himself
instituted this new celebration on a day other than Sunday, likely
Thursday evening." Their further conclusion is that since the Lord
favors "heart" over "structure," it matters not what day the supper
Let's examine their findings and practice.
Acts 20:7 reveals the day and frequency of the Lord's
supper. The verse reads, "And upon the first day of the
week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul
preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued
his speech until midnight." The background of this passage
concerns Paul's journey to Jerusalem (Acts 19:21; 20:16). He
stopped at Troas and waited there seven days in order to meet with
the brethren on the Lord's Day. At this worship service, the
disciples "break bread," i.e., they ate the Lord's supper. This act
of worship was the scheduled day on which they were to meet and
observe the memorial of the Lord's suffering and death.
If the "supper" could be observed on any day of the
week, why didn't the church there meet before Sunday and observe it
since Paul, an apostle, was visiting them? It was clear he had a
ship to catch (Acts 20:7,11) because he was in a hurry to get to
Jerusalem before Pentecost (Acts 20:16). Waiting seven days until
the next Sunday would delay his departure even longer. Yet, he
waited along with the church until the Lord's day. Why not eat the
supper with an inspired apostle every day that week? Would that not
have been a "high point" in the lives of the brethren there? Why
wait? They waited because the first day of the week was the day on
which the memorial of the Lord's supper was to be observed. The
Lord's day observance of the communion had to have come from the
teaching and tradition of the apostles.
If the memorial of the Lord's supper can be observed
on any day one chooses, then it is the only memorial in the whole
Bible where such is allowed. The Passover (Exodus 12), the sabbath
(Exodus 20) and the atonement (Lev. 23:27) were all kept on
specific days given by God. The people were not allowed to observe
them whenever they chose. The same is true with the Lord's supper.
The only day on which partaking of the Lord's communion is
authorized is on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). Every week
has a first day, therefore, the first day of every week is the
specified day of the Lord's supper.
So many today are not content with the Lord's
prescribed worship. They deem it to be cold, drab and lifeless.
They desire to pump life into it so they cater to man's whims and
desires. They often poll the participants and prospective attendees
to see what they want. When they feel they can get by with changes
in worship, they incorporate them. Their escape from criticism
comes with simply telling folks that if they feel uncomfortable or
are offended by these things, then don't come. They care not if
discord and strife triumphs between them and the righteous. Just as
long as they have their "contemporary worship" is all that matters.
As long as they obtain their "high" of human emotion, they care
not. They content themselves in thinking that if "they are pleased"
then the Lord must be satisfied. How could "we" be wrong since we
"feel" so good? But, one's feelings is not the proper judgment of
whether one is right before God or not. God's word is the standard,
not one's emotion.
You can also have your choice of other programs and
activities at the Golf Course Road church. The Brother's Keeper
Concert, sponsored by their Youth Ministry, will be held in the
auditorium with tickets on sale for $5. Or, single parent families
may attend their 12-week program titled "Just Me and the Kids" to
be held at the building. The cost, by the way, is $15 per family.
Or, you may register for their "Living through Loss" Spring Grief
Recovery Seminar or the Parenting Teen Seminar. After Stream in the
Desert... their prayer is: "Father, help each of us now choose to
allow the Spirit to work in us -- to pour from our cups that have
been filled with Your love to those around us who need Your love.
In Jesus Holy Name, Amen."
How far will some go to be like the nations 'round about? I guess
there's no limit!
The Golf Course Road church decided a very
inappropriate, unfit and unauthorized act by their "celebration of
Communion" on Saturday night. That is not renewal, that is
destruction and ruin!
Table of Contents
[NOTE: Below is an Editorial
that appeared in the October,
1999, issue of Vigil.
It speaks of the
Homewood Church of Christ
in Birmingham, Alabama, and
also "Christ's Church" where
Fred McClure preaches.
"HE THAT BIDDETH HIM GOD SPEED..."
Our hearts are sad. By the time this issue of VIGIL is in
the mail it will have already happened. The wife of the pastor of
Christ's Charismatic Episcopal Church in Fairfield, a lady
from First Baptist Church in Opelika, a lady from
Shades Mountain Baptist Church, a lady from the Church at
Brook Hills, and one from the Central Church of Christ
in Tuscaloosa will have spoken at a ladies' conference
sponsored by Christ's Church at Birmingham. Participating also will
be the drama team at Cathedral of the Cross. All proceeds
will benefit Christ's Church building fund. This
conference will have been conducted in the facilities of the
Homewood Church of Christ in Birmingham, unless the elders of
that church change their minds and decide to take a stand against
that which is clearly out of harmony with the Scriptures. Remember,
this article is being written before the fact, and it is not too
late for that eldership to withdraw its permission for "Christ's
Church" to use its building. I have personally talked with two of
the elders and urged them to do so.
The use of those from denominational churches in such a
gathering amounts to endorsement of those denominations. Second
John 10-11 commands, If there come any unto you, and bring not this
doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God
speed: for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil
What is called Christ's Church was formerly
known as the inner city church of Christ. In all fairness
let it be noted that this ladies's conference is not an activity of
the Homewood Church of Christ, but the Homewood church is doing the
very thing the inspired writer said in the above-quoted verses not
to do. It is receiving them into its house and thereby bidding them
The use of the name "Christ's Church" suggests the
members of that church wish to distance themselves from the church
of Christ. I am glad they do, if they have forsaken the distinctive
teaching of the New Testament, if they consider themselves as
nothing more than a denomination among denominations, if they are
bidding God speed (and they are) to those who teach error that
damns men's souls, then I hope they will stop calling themselves
the church of Christ. Churches of Christ have been known as a
people of the Book. Since these brethren have forsaken the Book,
thank God they no longer will seek to be identified with churches
Not only are these brethren sinning in bringing in false
teachers to teach, but they are sinning also in seeking to finance
the work of the church in some way other than by the contributions
of its members. For years those in the denominational world have
used various methods of raising money to support their religious
activities. In the Lord's church we have pointed out time and again
that God's plan of finance is stated in First Corinthians 16:2:
"Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by
him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no
gatherings when I come."
Should I be surprised that the Homewood elders are
allowing this unscriptural ladies' conference to be conducted in
the meetinghouse of the church at Homewood? I suppose not. After
all, we have seen the Homewood church bring in teacher after
teacher who is associated with the change movement in the church.
We have seen the evangelist of the Homewood church promote the
Willow Creek philosophy of church growth, and participate in
"Jubilee," a tool of the Liberal element in the church. We
have read in the bulletin of the Homewood church that members of
the church today have supernatural spiritual gifts. We have
observed an article which argues there is nothing wrong with
quartets, trios, and duets in our worship assemblies even though
the Bible does not authorize such. We have seen the announcement in
the Homewood bulletin of a woman's coming to speak to a mixed
audience on Monday night.
We have stood by idly as these things took place. The
time has come to speak out. Perhaps we should apologize for not
speaking out sooner.
I pray the Homewood church will do an about face, and
return to the soundness that characterized that great church when
I first moved to Birmingham.
Bobdy Duncan, deceased
4207 Adamsville Parkway
Adamsville, AL 35005
Table of Contents
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE ELDERS OF THE SENATOBIA, MISSISSIPPI, CHURCH
Below, we have enclosed an open letter which has been
sent to the elders of the church of Christ meeting in Senatobia,
Mississippi. Sadly, letters such as this one must be sent when
congregations cease following the old paths and begin to follow the
paths paved by men. The leaderships of the congregations who signed
the letter met on Tuesday, January 4th, 2000 at the church building
in Coldwater, Mississippi. The elders of the Senatobia
congregation, who had previously been provided information
regarding the participants of their upcoming youth rally, were
invited to come and discuss with concerned brethren, the upcoming
event. They declined to come and meet with their brethren. In fact,
they had been approached on three occasions before the meeting, yet
refused to come and meet. The letter you see below is being
published this week by all the congregations who signed it --
either mailed in their weekly bulletins or in copied form for the
members of that local congregation. It is a sad day in Israel
when this must be done -- but it must be done for the purity of the
Gospel and the body. We take no personal satisfaction in doing
this, nor do we rejoice in this effort. However, we value our
allegiance and obedience to God above any and all ties on earth.
Our prayer is that the elders at Senatobia will repent, canceling
these who teach contrary to the doctrine and cause division by
doing so. We pray the members will take the opportunity to seek
truth, which can be found.
-- David B. Jones
January 10, 2000
To: The elders
Senatobia Church of Christ
PO Box 488
Senatobia, MS 38668
We regrettably decline to accept an invitation to be
a part of "Insight 2000," on January 28-30, 2000. Among the reasons
for not being able to support this effort are the views held by
those used on this program. Fred McClure is a speaker on the
Jubilee (he spoke in three sessions on last year's program). The
Jubilee is well known for being a tool of liberalism for the
"change agents" within the church of Christ. Also, brother McClure
is a minister for "Christ's Church" (earlier known as the "Inner
City Church of Christ"), in Birmingham, AL, which just recently
used such false teachers as the wife of the Pastor of Christ's
Charismatic Episcopal Church in Fairfield, a lady from First
Baptist Church in Opelika, a lady from Shades Mountain Baptist
Church, etc., in their "Ladies Conference." The proceeds from this
event were to benefit "Christ's Church" building fund.
The drama group, "One Time Blind" constantly
fellowships denominational groups. At least one of them (he was the
only one asked), doesn't know whether or not mechanical instruments
of music are scriptural. Yet, they are invited to teach our
Acappella Vocal Band has the unscriptural practice of
imitating the sounds of mechanical instruments in addition to their
singing. God's word says "sing" (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). Also, John
wrote; "Beloved, imitate not that which is evil, but that which is
good. He that doeth good is of God: be he that doeth evil hath not
seen God" (III John 11).
God plainly tells us, "And have no fellowship with the
unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them" (Eph. 5:11),
and "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions
and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned and
avoid them" (Rom. 16:17).
Leadership, Antioch Church of Christ, Coldwater, MS
Eldership, Central Academy Church of Christ,
Eldership, Coldwater Church of Christ, Coldwater, MS
Leadership, Courtland Church of Christ, Batesville,
Leadership, Crocket Church of Christ, Senatobia, MS
Eldership, Independence Church of Christ,
Eldership, Looxahoma Church of Christ, Senatobia, MS
Leadership, Nesbit Church of Christ, Nesbit, MS
Eldership, Southaven Church of Christ, Southaven, MS
Table of Contents
WHO SHOULD LEAD OUR WORSHIP?
God has always expected those who lead in worship and
service to be faithful to Him. Sadly, that is not always the case
and some are even advocating and encouraging those that are
unfaithful to be leaders. Those that advocate such argue that if we
give responsibility to the unfaithful, they will become faithful.
They say if we get them to teach a Bible class, lead a prayer, or
serve on the Lord's table that will get them to attend. Brethren,
that is getting the cart before the horse.
Paul's purpose in writing his first letter to Timothy
was "that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself
in the house of God" (1 Tim. 3:15). These words do not apply
just to Timothy but to all fellow workers in the household of
faith. Paul wanted Timothy to know how Christians ought to behave
in the church so that he could instruct the church in these
Concerning men who lead in worship, Paul writes, "I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands,
without wrath and doubting" (1 Tim. 2:8). First, notice that
Paul's instruction does not merely apply to the worship assembly
but to worship wherever and whenever it is offered. Because of the
context, we can be sure that prayer is used as a synecdoche ("a
figure of speech by which we speak of the whole by a part..."
--Dungan) representing all five avenues of worship. Second, notice
that the instruction is given to men (males as opposed to children
and women). Finally, notice that there are three specific
conditions placed upon men who lead in prayer or more generally
The first of these conditions is that men pray "lifting up holy hands."
being stressed here is not the posture of prayer. "Lifting up
holy hands" is a figure of speech denoting moral purity and
holy living. The person doing the leading of our worship is to be
the kind of person whose life is a reflection of holy living. The
prayers of a person who persists in sin is not heard (Isaiah
59:1-2; Micah 3:4; 1 Peter 3:12). Brethren, let us be sure. A
person who willfully sins by forsaking the assemblies (Hebrews
10:25-26) persists in sin and his prayers are not heard by God.
Brethren, do we want someone to lead us in worship whose prayers
are not heard beyond the four walls of our church buildings?
The second condition is that men pray "without
wrath." This denotes a disposition of the mind. A man that
leads in worship should not have such a disposition that displays
anger towards God, His provisions, nor His commandments. Further,
he should not exhibit anger towards his fellow Christian nor his
fellow man. The reason for such is found in James 1:20 which says,
"For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God."
The third condition is that men pray without "doubting." The one leading us in worship ought to do so
believing that his worship will come before the throne of God. In
this way, his worship is offered in faith (James 1:6). Jesus
taught, "What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe
that ye receive them, and ye shall have them" (Mark 11:24).
Surely, we would not want a man to lead us in our worship that does
not believe that God will accept our offering of "the
sacrifice of praise" (Heb. 13:15).
The principle that God expects those who lead in
worship and service to be faithful is clearly demonstrated in
scripture. Concerning the training of men to preach, Paul writes,
"And the things that thou hast heard of me among many
witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able
to teach others also" (2 Tim. 2:2). The gospel is to be
deposited in "faithful men" who will not betray the
charge to "preach the word" (2 Tim. 4:2) and who will
deposit the same truths in other faithful men. In this way the
succession of teachers would be sustained. However, if the deposit
was made in the unfaithful hoping that they will become faithful,
the succession of teachers would likely fail.
In the list of the qualifications of deacons, Paul
writes, "And let these also first be proved; then let them use
the office of a deacon, being found blameless" (1 Tim. 3:10).
The word "proved" means tried or tested. Only after men
have been tried, tested and proved are they qualified to serve as
a deacon. The unfaithful have been tested but they have failed the
tests and, thereby, are not qualified to serve.
In Acts 6, a problem arose in the church in Jerusalem.
The Grecian "widows were neglected in the daily ministration."
To solve the problem, the twelve apostles called upon the
disciples to seek out seven faithful men to take care of these
widows. The apostles did not call upon the disciple to find some
unfaithful brethren to care for this situation hoping that it would
make them faithful. The solution was not found in the unfaithful
but the faithful for it is the faithful who will be faithful in
Jesus, in the parable of the talents, taught that
those who use their talents faithfully will be reward with greater
talents and those that are slothful will have their talents removed
(Matt. 25:14-30). Because the faithful stewards were "faithful
over a few things," the Lord will
reward them by giving them charge over many things (Matt.
Brethren, if a man will
not be faithful in a lesser responsibility such as attendance, why
would we think that he would be faithful in a greater
responsibility such as serving on the Lord's table, leading in
prayer, or teaching a Bible class? In stark contrast to those who
advocate giving greater responsibilities to the unfaithful, Jesus
taught, "He that is faithful in that which is least is
faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust
also in much" (Luke
Table of Contents
"It is not my desire to spread gossip, fault find, or judge anyone.
However, I felt the following information warranted forwarding to
those who I thought would have an interest in this. I am forwarding
this just as I received it. It grieves my heart to hear or read of
those who seem to be determined to create difficulty in our Lord's
church. I am certainly not opposed to women, nor to the woman being
a useful servant in our Lord's kingdom. And, I thank God for all
those good ladies in the church who find a great blessing in
fulfilling the role that God gave them to play in the church. We
would be in a world of hurt without them. May God continue His
blessings upon them. Let us all pray that we can determine and
follow the will of God for His kingdom in this century -- and that
peace and harmony will again be found in the great fellowship of
believers in our time. In Christ" ...Carroll Sites, Higden, AR.
The letter reads... "You may have heard recently of some of
the changes the Malibu Church of Christ has chosen to make
in its worship "method." As of last Sunday, the Elders of the
Malibu Church of Christ announced that women would be allowed into
a much more active role in the leadership of worship. Women will
now be allowed to lead prayer, serve communion, take the offering,
and offer the communion meditation. No specific mention was made
about whether this change would be extended to include the homily
or song leading. The Eldership of the Malibu church has been doing
research and study on this subject for the last three years. The
research has led them to the course of action which they are
pursuing. It is my personal belief that Dr. Fran Carver, and a
group of women from the Malibu church also had an influence on this
decision. They have very recently become very vocal on campus about
the abilities that have been granted to women. It is their belief
that a woman should be able to lead prayer in a church service just
as a man. I am not sure of my feelings on this particular decision.
My gut reaction tells me to stay with what I have been taught from
baptism. My mental reaction tells me that perhaps I should study
and question and seek. Then perhaps my answer will be a little
better founded. Either way, as brothers and sisters who are serving
in the church in other locations, I believe that you will be faced
with this question in the next few years. What is the role of a
woman during a church worship service? Yours in Faith" ...end
of letter. "We would very much like to receive your
publication Seek The Old Paths. We were given the
December '99 issue and were very impressed with the contents"
...Steve & Linda Horton, Odessa, TX. "I would like to thank
you for the soundness of your publication and the fact that you are
willing to expose false teachers. So many in the brotherhood are
unwilling to do this in fear of being accused of being
'judgmental.' I have to keep studying to keep myself grounded in
the truth and not be lead astray by the ones wanting change
throughout the brotherhood. Again, thank you for S.T.O.P.
and your willingness to stand for the truth" ...Debbie
Walker, Valdosta, GA. "Dear brethren, every time an issue of
S.T.O.P. comes I am anxious to sit down and read it from
cover to cover. It is so good to read on the correspondence page
that so many more are asking to have the paper mailed to them. For
the ones who ask to be deleted, there is only sorrow. It is very
sad that people don't choose to be fed the meat from God's Word.
Liberalism is worse than the anti movement because so many
well-known preachers have turned from their once sound speaking and
are leading thousands into what is nothing less than
denominationalism. The Lord's church is the way of truth and we
have to be able to teach, hear and live all of it. May God bless
all of you in doing that" ...Name withheld. "What a
wonderful work you all are doing at East Corinth! I appreciate you
sending me the tapes from the lectureship. We don't have the
opportunity to attend lectureships in this area and these lectures
are feasts for the soul! I received my box in today's mail and can
hardly wait to begin listening to them. Thank you very much for
your generosity. Please, accept my heartfelt thanks once again. My
prayer for you and the saints at East Corinth is one of great
blessings from our loving Father" ...Beverly Williams, TX. "I have been receiving your papers over the past years, and enjoy
them very much. At the present time I know of only three churches
in Northwest Ohio that are standing for the truth -- things are
bad! Keep the good work up" ...Harold Driver, Bowling Green,
OH. "I always look forward to your publication and pray you
continue to stand on solid ground" ...Dorcas McLeod, Lucedale,
MS. "I am writing on behalf of my husband, Garnet Hale. He
receives your publication "Seek the Old Paths" and
enjoys studying it and the excellent material on your web site. He
has shared the publication with fellow church members who would
like to receive copies" ...Mrs. Hale, Wayne, WV. "We
continue to appreciate you and the good brethren in Corinth who
stand upon the inspired Scriptures" ...Jerry Brewer, Elk City,
OK. "Please remove Meadowbrook Church of Christ from your
mailing list" ...Tom Perkins, Jackson, MS. "I am a happy
reader who has benefitted from the quality articles which I read in
STOP. I will continue to remain a proud reader of
STOP. The articles are helpful and meaningful; as its editor
I commend you in your work" ...Dustin Forthun, Poplar Bluff,
MO. "Keep on keeping on. We need a newsletter like this one to
keep us aware of what to watch out for in the Lord's church today.
Thanks" ...Neoma Haskin, Old Spanish Trail church of Christ,
Tucson, Arizona. "I cannot thank you enough for sending me
this information. You are saving people's souls. God bless you and
your efforts for His sake" ...AL. "Dear brother Light: I
agree with you. Thanks for the article in this months (Feb/00)
Seek The Old Paths. I have traveled from Alaska to Florida to
Texas to California and the Carolinas and its hard to find a
faithful congregation. I think it's a wonderful thing you're doing
exposing those unfaithful congregations. I think it is a trend in
this country now. When men leave the Bible, it's the most fatal
mistake they will ever make in their life. They go to college and
gain a lot of knowledge and they think they are wise, I'm here to
tell you they just get stupid. There is only one wise God and he is
the Father of wisdom. Any wisdom we get must come from God's word.
There is no wisdom in man's institutions. The Lord's church must
come back to the Bible. Thanks for the encouragement. In Christian
love" ...E. Y. Mock. "We are visiting a little
congregation in LaFeria, TX. They are trying very hard to stand for
the truth. The preacher here would like to have Seek The Old
Paths publication sent to him, if you could send at least 10
copies he would appreciate it" ...Ken and Shirley Barnett. "Please add me to the mailing list for "Seek The Old Paths."
I understand that it is one of the last reliable publications
printed. Thank you" ...Al Rupert, Dayton OH.
Table of Contents
15TH ANNUAL "SEEK THE OLD PATHS" LECTURESHIP
JULY 23-27, 2000
Dangers Facing The Church
BOUND VOLUME of 1999 S.T.O.P. AVAILABLE
$5 EACH POSTAGE PAID.
1999 VOLUME AVAILABLE IN JANUARY
SEVERAL OTHER BOOKS ARE AVAILABLE, SEND FOR A LIST
MAKE CHECKS PAYABLE TO "OLD PATHS PUBLISHING"
Uniqueness of the Church,
1998 -- The Home, $6.50
1997 -- The
Church At Colosse, $5
1996 -- The
Seven Churches of Asia, $5
1995 -- The
Church at Corinth, $4
1994 -- Immorality, $3.50
1990 -- New
Testament Questions, $3.00
1989 -- Old
Testament Questions, $2.00
The Eldership, $2.00
Is Set Before Us, $8.00
Shipping/Handling -- 1 book, $1.75
add 50cents for each additional book.
All books are sold by Old Paths Publishing,
Send order to:
Old Paths Publishing
304 Ripley St.
Corinth, MS 38834