THREATS TO GOD APPROVED LEADERSHIP #1
At last year's Seek The Old Paths
lectureship, it was my privilege to address a splendid audience on
this very subject. It was very encouraging to witness its kind
reception. Since some of the prepared material was not covered in
the lecture due to time restraints, Bro. Robinson asked if I would
be interested in submitting the entirety of the material for a
series of articles for the S.T.O.P. publication. The following is
the answer to that request.
I know of no more timely subject than the one presently
before us. Considering the present trends which face the Lord's
church; her soundness and purity threatened; and considering the
fact that the church is only as strong as its leadership, the
importance of this subject is paramount.
The basis of this subject is founded upon these premises:
1) There is a Divine Authority. The first verses of the
Bible establish the very existence of this authority. And
God said, Let there be light: and there was light (Gen.
1:3). And God said, Let there be a firmament...
(Gen. 1:6) ...and it was so (v.7). The
same is repeated throughout the first chapter of Genesis in the
creation of all things. When God pronounced something he wished to
be accomplished, it was. Such is the essence of supreme authority.
2) There has been a delegation of this authority. A prime
example of the delegation of authority is seen in Christ. The Lord
states in Matthew 28:18, all power is given unto me in
heaven and in earth. This authority was not assumed by
the Lord, nor was it somehow won; it was given. The Lord
would also add, ...My doctrine is not mine, but his that
sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the
doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself
(John 7:16-17). Again he states, ...when ye have
lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that
I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak
these things (John 8:28). (Note also John 12:49).
3) As Jesus had been given authority, He would Himself
delegate authority to certain ones to fulfill His mission. Those to
whom this authority has been delegated must have met Divine
stipulations in order to be approved as a delegate of the
authority. Jesus himself recognized his role as one who must submit
to authority. In John 5:30 he states, I can of mine own
self do nothing; as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just;
because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which
hath sent me. This must be a disposition shared by those
who have had authority delegated unto them by the Lord.
4) It is important to recognize that there are those who
will use any means at their disposal to undermine the authoritative
stipulations, or the approved leadership, and by so doing, they
will have undermined the Divine Authority. The apostle Paul
identified some of this disposition when he wrote to the Romans
about ...unrighteous men who hold the truth in
unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18-23).
Although having noted the example of Christ as one unto
whom authority has been delegated, God has also delegated certain
authority to men, and thereby establishing various types and
degrees of leadership among men. God has ordained elements of
leadership in the spiritual and the secular
venues of human society; and on occasion, some of these leaders
have served in both avenues with His approval. (Example:
Melchizedek, of Genesis 14, was both a king and priest, Heb. 7:1).
There is, however, a matter which must be understood; there is a
clear distinction between what man perceives as leadership approved
of God, and a leadership which is actually approved of God. The
criteria establishing the distinction between what is or is not
approved, and that which clearly identifies the characteristics of
God-approved leadership, is God's Word. Whatever man perceives as
being acceptable forms of leadership, or as acceptable behavior for
a leader; if it contrasts with the Divine Authority, then those
perceptions diminish into the realm of utter insignificance.
As the force of this discussion is centered on the premise
of dealing with those things which threaten God's approved forms of
leadership, it is first necessary to establish some foundation for
the discussion. I believe it to be of some importance to have a
brief understanding of the forms of leadership which God
authorizes. It is also important to bear in mind, that there were
different purposes and designs for particular forms of leadership
as based on a particular need for a particular people at a
particular point in time. The failures or successes of each of
these forms of leadership would obviously depend upon whether or
not those in the positions of leadership would comply with God's
criteria for approval.
God has, through the ages, set in place certain people to
be leaders. The Bible student is familiar with the
patriarchs, which were heads of families, and were
the means through whom God's will would be revealed unto the
families. Some of the more familiar names of patriarchs would be
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. As Jacob had become God's chosen one
through whom the seed promise would be generated (and his
name being later changed to Israel, Gen. 32), the record shows that
all of those who were his descendants would bear his name. As the
generations passed, the Israelites found themselves in Egyptian
bondage. As God would have it, a man by the name of Moses would be
chosen to face Pharaoh and ultimately lead the people of Israel out
of bondage. Upon Moses death, a devout man by the name of
Joshua would lead the people to take the land which had been
promised to Abraham and his descendants. As the people of Israel
would possess the land promised to them, and would, through time
and dedication, become a formidable nation, God would select
certain ones referred to as Judges to rule the
people (Judges 2:16). The Judges would be responsible for guiding
the people in matters of social, civil, and spiritual affairs. The
Lord would be with the judge to deliver the people from their
enemies (Judges 2:18) as long as the people would hear
the judge. Yet the record shows that the people would not
hearken to the judges (2:17) and when the judge died,
they returned to their corruption and idol worship (2:19). Hence,
a rebellious spirit threatened God's approved leadership, and
undermined the strength and influence of the nation.
Then as one proceeds through Biblical history, as prophecy
had declared, the kingdom of Christ (the church) would be
established. During the infancy of the church, the Lord chose 12
men (apostles) to serve as spirit-empowered leaders. The
men selected to serve in this honored capacity would have to meet
a certain criteria. They would have to be eye-witnesses to the
majesty of Christ (Acts 1:21-22). These men would be sent to
declare the message of Christ, to establish congregations of the
Lord's church throughout the world, as well as to endow believers
with spiritual gifts in order that they may sustain those things
which they said as they proclaimed the Gospel. The work of these
great men would be the target of many of the Jewish elitist, who
from the very beginning of the church, would with vicious tenacity
attempt to stifle the mouths of the apostles from preaching the
Gospel (Acts 4; Acts 5:27,28). There would be many other efforts by
those outside the church to undermine the apostles work and
In like manner, there would be those within the church who
would question the authority of some of the apostles. Paul's
apostleship, for example, was scrutinized by some who perceived
that he may have been something less than what he claimed. Yet he
made the point to the Corinthian brethren that he was not behind
the chiefest of apostles in any thing (2 Cor. 12:11-12). He further
defended his apostleship to the Galatians when he noted that his
apostleship was not of, or by men, but by the Father and the Son
(Gal. 1:1). In 1 Timothy 1:1, he proclaims that he was an apostle
by virtue of the commandment of God. Yet while there would be those
who would attempt to undermine his claim (in the record to the
Corinthians, 2 Cor. 12:12), he noted that he had wrought
the signs of an apostle among them while he was there, leaving no
room for question.
The authority of the apostle John was tested when the evil
Diotrephes purposefully rejected John's letter regarding the
receiving of brethren who were transient through the area. Although
Diotrephes had disregarded John's authority, he mentions that if he
were to come into the area, he would remember
Diotrephes deeds. That is a clear declaration of his apostolic
authority. It seems to indicate that a certain encounter with
Diotrephes would be eminent and would not be pleasant for the one
with the diabolical disposition. Such is similar to the words of
Paul in 2 Corinthians 13:2 when he warned that if he returned, he
would not spare.
However, the sad fact remains; these men, selected by the
Lord, would meet their deaths in some of the most heinous methods
known and devised by man. Yet bear in mind, even though their
antagonists might feel a certain victory for having stopped the
mouths of these men by their execution, their message is eternal in
nature, for they are the very expressions of the authority of
Christ (Matt. 24:35) and will be the words by which all men will be
judged (John 12:48). Incidentally, there would be those in the
first century who would claim to be apostles, yet would be without
qualifications, and would be without the power to sustain their
claim (Rev. 2:2). There are those today who make the same baseless
claim to be apostles of Christ, claiming to possess equal or
superior authority to those who were apostles of Christ. (For
example, the Mormons). By virtue of their claim, their continual
efforts to lessen the authority of God's approved leaders
undermines the authority of Christ; but to their own peril.
Next month we will observe that after a period of time,
certain men (who would meet divine specifications) would be
selected to oversee each autonomously governed congregation of the
Lord's church as its spiritual leaders. These men are called
elders. We will examine various threats to their leadership
Part 2 next month
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Table of Contents
Specific and Generic Authority
Colossians 3:17 reads, And whatsoever ye do in word
or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving
thanks to God and the Father by him. Since we argue that
this verse demands Bible authority for all we SAY and DO, a couple
of questions have been raised regarding church buildings and
Where is Bible authority for the church to own
property and/or a building in which to meet? I find no specific
Bible authority for such.
It is correct to state that we do not have
specific authority for church buildings.
However, the Bible authorizes in both a specific and
generic way. For example: the Bible
specifically authorizes preaching to all the world (Matt.
28:19-20; Mark 16:15). But, it does not specifically tell
us HOW that is to be done. We therefore call upon generic
authority to aid us in carrying out the specific command
to preach to all the world. We have generic authority
from God to use whatever means we have at our disposal in carrying
out the command to preach. Generic authority authorizes PA systems,
radio, TV, newspaper, etc. Generic authority authorizes many
different means of travel in getting to places in order to preach:
walk, horse, train, car, plane, boat, etc. Both electronic devices
and motorized vehicles expedite the command to preach to all the
world. These means and modes are expediencies which help
us carry out the specific command to preach.
It is also obvious that any generic means we use
in carrying out a specific command must not violate any
other principle of Scripture. For example: we are not authorized to
rob a bank in order to have the money to buy a ticket to travel. We
are not authorized to steal a horse which would provide us a means
of transpiration in going to preach.
God gave Noah a specific command to build the
ark. He was not specifically told to use a hammer, saw, axe, etc.
However, these things were expediencies which would help him carry
out the specific command to build the ark. They were
authorized under the heading of generic authority.
We have specific authority to sing in
worship (Eph. 5:19: Col. 3:16). There is also generic
authority in carrying out the command to sing. This is the area in
which we have authority for song books, pitch pipe, a song leader,
etc. These things expedite the command to sing; and, they do not
violate any other principle of Scripture. Some want to include
mechanical instruments of music under the heading of
generic authority as an expedient in carrying out the
command to sing. But, instruments of music are not expedients
because they violate Scripture. That is, they add an
additional kind of music to that which God authorized.
The Bible does not authorize playing. It authorizes
singing. Some argue that pitch pipes or song books stand
or fall together -- that they are the same. This is not correct
because a pitch pipe or song book adds nothing to singing, but a
mechanical instrument of music does. When a song book or pitch pipe
is used, there is only singing -- nothing more, nothing less. But,
when a mechanical instrument is used, there is more than singing.
There is an additional kind of music. Therefore,
mechanical instruments are additions, not aids or expedients.
Well, what about church buildings? Where does the Bible
specifically give authority for the church to own a building? The
Bible no where gives specific authority for the church to
own a building. However, that does not mean the church has no
authority to own a building. If it did, then we ought to get rid of
our buildings. The church, on the other hand, has generic
authority to own a building.
The church has specific authority to assemble
and worship on the first day of the week (Heb. 10:25; 1 Cor.
16:1-2; Acts 20:7). In carrying out the specific command
to assemble, we can use whatever means at our disposal in obeying
that command. This is generic authority. Assembling
demands a place to assemble. The church, therefore, has
generic authority to provide a place to assemble. Since
the Bible does not specifically specify HOW this is to be
done, we are left with generic authority to use our good
judgment in seeing to it that the church has a place to assemble.
The church therefore can borrow, rent, own, etc. Neither of these
means violates any other principle of Scripture AND, expedites the
command to assemble. Therefore, there is Bible authority (generic)
for the church to own a building.
NOW, how elaborate and expensive can or should the
building be? This must fall under the realm of human judgment since
God has not specifically mentioned the details of the place the
church meets. In my opinion, many congregations spend far too much
money on human comfort and eye appeal. I believe so much of the
Lord's money is wasted and could have been (and should have been)
used far more wisely in spreading the Gospel than on creature
comforts. However, this realm is human judgment -- human
opinion. Each congregation will have to answer for how they spend
the first day collection.
Where is Bible authority for a full-time paid
The Bible authorizes us to preach the Gospel to every
creature (Mark 16:15). This is done through preachers and teachers,
including every Christian.
The Bible authorizes the financial support of preaching
and preachers (1 Cor. 1:18-21; Gal. 6:6; 1 Cor. 9:3-14; Phil.
4:14-19). A preacher is not paid to do the work of
preaching. He is financially supported in his work as a
preacher. A faithful preacher will preach (using the ability God
has given him) whether he is financially supported or not. He will
use whatever means and opportunity to sow the seed of the kingdom.
However, the Bible specifically authorizes his financial
support (Gal. 6:6; 1 Cor. 9:3-14).
The Bible does not specifically address the
subject of HOW LONG a preacher can remain at one particular
location before he must move on. It mentions that Paul was in
Corinth 18 months (Acts 18:11). He spent two years at Ephesus
according to Acts 19:10. Acts 20:31 mentions he spent three years
in Ephesus. Acts 14:3 says Paul and Barnabas was a long
time at Iconium. We know that while many disciples were
scattered because of persecution, the apostles remained at
Jerusalem (Acts 8:1). The apostles were preachers. We also read of
apostles at Jerusalem in Acts 15. From the day of Pentecost (Acts
2) to Acts 15 was more than 10 years.
So, how long can a preacher stay at any one place and
preach the Gospel? The Bible does not say. And, neither should we
say or make a law God did not make. Just because a preacher lives
or stays in one particular city, does not mean that he limits his
work with just one group of people. Though he may preach at the
same congregation from week to week, he also works in the community
and surrounding area as he preaches the Gospel. He makes trips to
other areas and preaches also. Paul did this while living in
Ephesus (Acts 19:10).
Shall we call a preacher that lives at one certain place
a located preacher or professional preacher? If
a preacher preaches at one location for an extended period of time,
does that make him a professional? Since there is
authority for the financial support of those who preach the Gospel,
then as long as one is preaching the Gospel, he can be financially
supported. A preacher can work to support himself, Paul did (Acts
18:1-3; 20:34; 1 Cor. 4:12). But, he also had the right to not work
and the church support him (1 Cor. 9:6-12). Was he a professional
preacher? I don't think so. He was simply a preacher and used his
ability to preach. In order for him to have more time to preach,
churches supported him so he would not have to work (2 Cor. 11:8;
It is not right for a preacher to be lazy and just live
off the brethren. It is not right for him to think of himself or
promote himself as a professional and a notch
above any other Christian. It is not right for him to think
that because he has a degree or an education in the field
of ministry (so-called), that he somehow deserves special
treatment. This kind of preacher is a leech on the church
and a hireling. He is worthy of shame, not support. That which
enables him to preach is an education in the Bible. And, that
education does not have to come from a man-made school of
higher learning. It comes from many long hours of burning
the mid-night oil in hard study. I feel sorry for those who think
that unless a preacher has a degree from one of our
schools that he cannot preach and is not worthy of support. Shame.
Table of Contents
A new web site for audio lessons by James Boyd can be
found at www.aburningfire.net.
He says, I hope to
have about fifty or more lessons available at any one
time, and then each day delete one and replace with
a new one. Check it out!
Where In The Bible Will I Find
THAT WE ARE NOT TO JUDGE?
Though it is often said, We are not to judge, this
thought is not taught, nor is it to be found, in the Bible. Most of
the time those who use the phrase judge not are trying to
justify themselves in doing things the Bible condemns. These seem
to think NO ONE IS TO JUDGE IN ANYTHING, especially in religion and
It is true that we are not to judge without and before
knowing the facts of a matter. The Bible says, Judge not,
that ye be not judged, BUT SOME CONVENIENTLY REFUSE TO
READ THE REST OF THE CONTEXT. Jesus further said, For
with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what
measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again
(Matt. 7:1-2). Jesus is teaching that as we judge, we will be
judged, but He is not teaching that we are not to judge at all! For
sure, Jesus never condemned Himself, as some do today who JUDGE
THAT WE SHOULD NOT JUDGE. Jesus did no sin (1 Peter 2:20-22). Jesus
never contradicted His own teaching. He again said, Judge
not according to the appearance, but JUDGE RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT
(John 7:24) [emphasis added G.C.].
Did Jesus teach some not to judge, while teaching others
to judge? Not in the least! Take for instance the passage these use
to say, We must not judge, and see how they have twisted
our Lord's words. In this same chapter (Matt. 7), Jesus taught the
We must judge the hypocrite (v.5).
We must judge the unholy (v.6).
We must judge the narrow way from the broad way to be
saved eternally (vs.13-14).
We must judge those who are false teachers (v.15).
We must judge the fruits of the unrighteous (vs.16-20).
We must judge the wrong of religious folks (vs.21-22).
We must judge the consequence of rejecting Jesus
teaching in our life (v.24).
We must judge whether our house is built on the
rock of Christ's teaching or the sand of men's
We must judge whether our way of living will stand the
test of God's judgment (vs.25,27).
We must judge the difference between the authority of
Christ and that of the scribes (vs.28-29).
YES, WE ARE TO JUDGE. Shame on the person who wants to
change the teaching of Jesus to suit his or her own desires!
102 Edison St.
McMinnville, TN 37110
Table of Contents
Are WE Responsible?
Dennis (Skip) Francis
Are we ourselves responsible for the entertainment mind-set
of some liberal brethren, albeit inadvertently? Though
many an article has been written in sound publications
concerning this, what hasn't been addressed is one way the church
is responsible for fostering that very state of mind.
I have, over the years, observed the growing trend among
our schools and other para-church groups to
develop and use choirs and choruses in so-called entertainment
settings. The idea seems to be that I can use God-prescribed
elements of worship as entertainment, as long as my
intent is not to worship God. There is, however, a very
difficult line to be drawn between when I am worshipping and when
I am not. For me, the minute I hear the first notes of a psalm,
hymn, or spiritual song, my heart begins to worship and my mouth
wants to sing!
Recently, an article by Jack Simons1 decried
the practice of making the Lord's supper into a common meal, which
had been practiced by the Skyway Hills Church of Christ of Pearl,
Mississippi, under the heading of Special Sunday
Communion. In that article, the writer said, It is
blasphemy to relegate the worship of God to common practice or to
mingle it with such! Though many a sound proclaimer of
God's word can recognize this principle in relation to the Lord's
supper, there are other areas where we seem to be lax in
Addressing music in Colossians 3:16, the apostle Paul
wrote, Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all
wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns
and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the
Lord. This, along with its sister passage in Ephesians
5:19, gives us the principles we are to exercise when we use music
in worship to God. Several principles should be obvious in these
First, our music should be filled with the word of
Christ so we can effectively teach and admonish one
another. This would preclude the use of popular Christian
songs that do not teach what the Bible teaches, as well as the use
of secular songs in our worship.
Second, our music should be both horizontal and vertical,
that is, to one another as well as to the Lord.
The expression one another, paralleled in Ephesians 5:19
(yourselves), comes from the same Greek word heautou,
which is described by Strong's as a reflexive
pronoun.2 A reflexive pronoun is one that indicates
the same persons as senders and receivers of the message, in much
the same way as a mirror is reflective. Some scholars
have these as reciprocal pronouns, while others
reflexive pronouns used reciprocally. No matter what the
definition, however, one cannot fulfill the action required by only
listening. For one to participate in the act of worship specified
(singing), one must both teach and be taught, admonish and be
admonished, speak and be spoken to. Special groups: choruses,
choirs, solos, and such like, cannot fulfill this requirement.
Third, our music should be vocal, or a cappella.
Colossians 3:16 has singing, while Ephesians 5:19 has
both speaking and singing. You simply cannot
sing or speak with a musical instrument, nor
can you teach and admonish with an instrument. An
instrument of music is an add to vocal music, not an
aid to vocal music.
Fourth, our music should be understood in order to
teach and admonish. The unintelligible noises and sounds
made by so-called vocal bands simply will not comply with
that need. Hums, pops, and the imitation of
musical instruments, simply cannot teach and admonish.
Worship can be done both privately and publicly. It can
also be done in smaller settings than the entire congregation. One
principle we need to grasp here is that whenever we worship [and/or
perform worship acts, editor], in our closet, in our home, or any
other setting, we must worship as God has prescribed. If we sing
songs, hymns, or spiritual songs at home, we must use the
principles previously established: 1) let the word of Christ dwell
in you richly, 2) all Christians present should sing, 3) do NOT use
mechanical instruments of music and 4) SING (do not make
Bro. Guy N. Woods, answering a question on the use of
instruments of music with sacred songs at other times and places
than our usual worship services, had the following to say:
The third commandment of the Decalogue forbade
the taking of the name of the Lord in vain: Thou
shalt not take the name of Jehovah thy God in vain;
for Jehovah will not hold him guiltless that taketh
his name in vain. (Ex. 20:7) The phrase in vain,
translates a Hebrew term signifying that which is
done in a flippant, frivolous fashion, without due
regard for, or attention to, the sacred nature of the
same. Those who utter the names of God, Christ, and
give utterance to other sacred matters such as are
involved in our songs of praise for pastime,
violate, in principle, the foregoing commandment, and
are guilty of profanity.3
What Bro. Woods addressed in this context also applies to the
use of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs for pastime
What constitutes worship -- the attitude or the action?
Though men will indeed decry the use of the instrument, or the
choir, in our formal worship times, they will still support such in
our off duty times. We need to remember that the Lord
said our worship was to be in spirit and in truth (John
4:24). This refers to both attitude AND action! When we begin an
action the Bible authorizes as worship, then that is what it is!
Some may say, But, I can drink grape juice at home
without it being the Lord's supper. Brother Woods pointed out,
though the grape juice has no religious significance when not a
part of the Lord's supper, the sacred themes characterizing
religious songs always have religious significance. The holy
names of God, Christ, heaven; the doctrine of grace, redemption,
and salvation; the hope of heaven and of eternal life -- frequent
themes in our song books -- do possess spiritual and religious
significance, everywhere, and at all times.
Any use of them, therefore, must either be sacred or
It has always baffled me why, if we are entertained by
listening to someone else perform an act of worship in song, we
aren't entertained by listening to someone pray, or watching them
give or partake of the Lord's supper? The word perform is
key to this understanding; when someone performs, they
are entertaining, not worshipping, thus their act is profane.
The argument has been made: If we can listen to a
special group on Saturday night, why not on Sunday morning?
Here we might learn a lesson from the past. Many men supported
bringing the instrument into the children's Bible class in the past
generation, and then were forced to remove themselves from
fellowship when the next generation wanted to bring it into the
worship hall. This is what we are experiencing with the choir and
chorus of today and this is the very argument that men are using to
attempt to bring the choir into our formal worship.
No matter how much good we perceive these
choirs, choruses, and special groups doing, we still have a
difficult time with Colossians 3:17, And whatsoever ye do
in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
Brethren, concerning choirs, choruses, and other
special music, where is BIBLE authority for it?
1 Jack Simons, Seek the Old Paths,
Vol. 13, No. 10, October 2002.
2 James Strong, Strong's Exhaustive
Concordance of the Bible.
3 Guy N. Woods, Questions and Answers, Open
Forum Freed-Hardeman College Lectures, FHU, p.359, Para. 1.
4 Guy N. Woods, Questions and Answers, Open
Forum Freed-Hardeman College Lectures, FHU, p.359, Para. 2.
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Suffolk, VA 23434
Table of Contents
RELIGIOUS PLURALISM VS. THE WORD OF GOD
Steven E. Yeatts
We live in an age where truth is considered to be relative,
where the idea of morality is scoffed at as old fashioned and where
the ideas of do your own thing (radical individualism)
and finding the church of your choice (religious
pluralism) prevail. The mere suggestion that there is an absolute
standard for truth regarding religious matters is sure to draw the
fury of certain family, friends, neighbors, and strangers who have
foolishly adduced that religious liberty is an inexorable
(unyielding) right. However, Jesus said, ...IF ye
continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall
know the truth and the truth shall make you free (John
Religious pluralism has found a stronghold in America
because of a societal environment that prefers therapeutic
sermons and psychological counseling in place of
objective Biblically-based sermons on righteousness, self-control,
and the judgment to come (Acts 24:25). Perpetrators are constantly
looking for a psychological diagnosis to explain their sinfulness,
instead of looking to extrude the sin from their lives by humbling
themselves to God through obedience to His Son (Heb. 5:8.9). The
fast-food restaurant approach to religion (have it your
way) has infiltrated the mind-set of so many that often any
attempt to engage them in an honest, objective, and meaningful
debate from the Scriptures is an exercise in futility.
I have encountered those who assert that any church that
says it is the only church is a false church. When pressed for
Scripture to substantiate such an antichrist claim, they
of course, can produce none. When shown from numerous clear
Scriptures the beauty of the oneness of the church (body) of Christ
(Matt. 16:18; John 17:20,21; Eph. 1:22,23; 3:21; 4:4-6; Col. 1:18),
these religious folks will resort to illogical positions
that from one Head (Jesus Christ) has come many acceptable bodies,
each teaching different doctrine, each wearing different names, and
each desiring all others to become a member of their church, which
they have assured you is not an essentiality to go to heaven in the
first place (who could believe such? -- Sadly, MANY!). Indeed,
religious pluralism [a.k.a. denominationalism, cults and
apostatized brethren] is a divisive, devilish idea which makes no
attempt to justify its inconsistencies because religiously
dumbed-down people demand no such Biblical explanation, but are
instead content in their ignorance, illogic and ecumenism (2 Cor.
4:4; 2 Tim. 3:7).
Unity-in-diversity was sounded forth years ago as the
battle cry for some who claimed membership in the Lord's body, but
who saw a chance for physical growth (more folks in the pews) by
opening the door to religious pluralism in a postmodern society by
diluting the truth of God's Word until their doctrine was
unrecognizable from the denominational bodies down the street whom
the unity in diversity lemmings championed as their
brothers and sisters in Christ. The motto of the religious world is
that from One (Jesus) came many churches teaching many opposing
doctrines, but our Savior asserts that from Him came only one
church, and thereby true religious unity (Matt. 16:18; 15:13; John
17:20-21, Eph. 4:3-6; 1 Cor. 1:10-13).
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Murfreesboro, TN 37130
Table of Contents
THE LIBERAL AND THE MODERN DAY PHARISEE
Articles on Liberalism have been coming off of the presses in
the last few years due to the fact that it is a real problem. Paul
wouldn't have written about the false doctrine of his day if it
weren't a problem. As the church (in the universal since), we must
wake up and educate ourselves so that we, nor our fellow
Christians, fall prey to Satan's relentless assault on the Body of
This article isn't about any certain doctrine. It is about
the charge liberals make against those who wish to follow the Bible
and allow it to be their strict guide in doctrine, reproof,
correction, and instruction in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16-17). They
claim we are guilty of the same sin as the Pharisees of Christ's
time -- legalism. Their charge of legalism is
misinformed. The true definition of legalism is that one is saved
by law alone. That is not what the agents of change mean when they
use the term. What they mean is holding any view on any doctrinal
issue and saying that salvation is dependent upon obedience to that
I have heard with my own ears the president of the Center
for Christian Education (old Preston Road School of Preaching) say
that The Bible didn't die for you and Doctrine does
not matter (1 Tim 4:6,16). We as sound Christians need to see
through this smokescreen. This error is easily untwisted (2 Peter
3:16) by looking at one verse -- If you love me, keep my
commandments (John 14:15). The question to be asked is
Which ones? The only answer is, All of them.
What was the sin of the Pharisees in Matthew 23? If you
think it was (as per the liberal's definition) legalism, you are
wrong. If it were, Jesus would have said, Woe to you, scribes
and Pharisees, Legalists! Their sin was one of hypocrisy. You
see, a hypocrite claims to be one thing, yet in reality is another
(usually the opposite of what they claim to be).
If the action of tediously following God's law is (or was)
sinful, then Jesus is guilty of advising the Jews to sin with His
blessing in Matthew 23:1-3. The fact is that the Pharisees had the
Law of Moses properly interpreted, but they weren't applying it in
their daily lives. They did what made them appear righteous to
their fellow Jews, but were actually dead men's bones
(Matt. 23:1-5,27). Jesus later says in Matthew 23:23-24 that they
were guilty of hypocrisy because they neglected the weightier
matters of the law. Does this mean they were okay to ignore
the less weightier matters? Of course not. Jesus then
says, These you ought to have done, without leaving the others
undone. To paraphrase what He is saying, You did well on the
details, but you missed the big picture. The next verse is a
much-misused verse. Are we to strain out the camel, and leave the
gnats? Thank you, but I'll pass on the gnat milk-shake. In context,
we must strain out the gnat and the camel. To only strain out the
camel and not the gnat would not alter the Pharisees actions of
hypocrisy. It would only shift their hypocrisy to the other end of
In the context of Matthew 23, the Pharisees claimed to be
the most godly, but were in fact some of the most godless Jews of
the day. They did what made them appear righteous to the religious
world. They practiced the parts of their religion that had the
outward appearance of righteousness.
Look at Christianity in America, which for the
most part is denominationalism. Denominationalism's main allurement
is the appearance of being a Christian. The denominationalist goes
to church and even professes verbally to be a Christian. But, the
denominational world is patterned after the sin of New Testament
Pharisees. They paint with broad strokes and ignore the details,
thus they claim to achieve unity in diversity. They agree upon the
core of doctrine that makes them appear to their fellow
denominationalists to be righteous, but neglect the less
weightier or as they say fringe or
peripheral doctrines which divide them. This is also the
attitude of the modern day liberal who espouses a new
The crux of the matter is that the charge made by the liberal
that those who are striving to hold to the doctrine of the Bible
are deserving of the same condemnation the Pharisees received from
Christ, is incorrect. You can see from the Scriptural evidence that
it is in fact the liberal, who keeps only that part of Christianity
that makes him popular with modern American Christendom,
who is guilty of the same sin of the Pharisee. To claim to be godly
and not live accordingly is hypocrisy, and will lead your soul to
hell (Matt. 7:13-29).
Table of Contents
The Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas announces
their annual lectureship for April 13-16, 2003. The theme is:
Why We Are Members of the Church of Christ. 8900
Manchaca Rd. Austin, TX 78748. Books and tapes are available.
Contact ...Rick Brumback. I am a Harding student and
relatively new in my faith. I have been reading your publication
for about a year now on-line, and I can't thank you enough for
providing the world with the truth. I applaud your efforts at
correcting the false doctrines so prevalent in the world. Thank you
for guiding the brethren of the dangers of the false teachers. I
also have a question. There is a drama ministry group
here at my university, who profess to spread the gospel through
such entertainment. They have even been known to do their drama
during a worship service. Can you provide me with sufficient
information to correct these sadly mistaken brethren?
...Seeking in Searcy, AR. [Editor's note: You can do a search
on our website by clicking on
search on the left side of the screen. Type in the word
drama or any other word or words you want to search for.
You can do a specific phrase search by enclosing the phrase in
quote marks: such as drama group, or thus saith the
Lord. This is very helpful to find articles we've published on
different subjects. Every issue dating back to 1996 is available
online.] My friends receive your bulletin Seek the Old
Paths. I would like to receive it also. Could I receive a
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article on taking the Lord's supper at Weddings & Funerals. Thank
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through the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
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from the enrich publication you do mail to fellow-workers. I wish
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consideration. Thank you ...Artimas D. Maikano, Adamawa
State, Nigeria. I really enjoy your monthly publication
S.T.O.P. and may I continue to receive it. May God
richly bless and reward your evangelism efforts. Keep up the good
work and continue to boldly proclaim the Gospel without
mixture ...Michael Hall, Galveston, KY. Please
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appreciated ...Bill & Kay Williams, East Wenatchee, WA.
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Christ. But I would love to know all I can know. I know there are
a lot of false teaching and I wouldn't want to go the wrong way.
And I know everything the church of Christ know come from the
Lord's book. Thank you and God bless you ...Charles Lupez,
Hondo, TX. Can you please send me your monthly magazine
called STOP? I got a copy from a friend and I think this is a great
magazine with important issues that must stay with the scriptures.
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Old Paths. Please continue sending it to me and any other
articles you print ...Howard & Martha Haynie, Ashland
City, TN. I have just finished reading Seek the Old
Paths, a wonderful monthly publication defending and standing
for the word of God. We have too many powder-puff preachers and
elders afraid to stand and defend the word of God because they will
lose their job. How sad! The true body of Christ is hard to find.
Church worship has turned into Drama (clapping hands, etc.). I like
what I read and it's the truth. Continue to stand for the word of
God. Elders and preachers are weak in this area (standing &
defending). Please send me the monthly copies of the Seek the
Old Paths ...Reba Miller, Plumerville, AR.
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publication and I appreciate so much that you are sending it to me.
I also wish to be left on your mailing list for the year 2003.
Thank you again for sending your publication ...Charlie
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mailing addresses because these individuals need to read of the
wonderful articles of truth. First, let me say I've been a member
of the Lord's church for 13 years and a minister for 12 years. Your
paper has helped me so much. Keep up the good work ...John
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you, and may God continue to bless a good health as you go along to
serve Him, so that, continue the good work being done through the
Seek the Old Paths. This is to let you know, and would
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It is very uplifting and interesting article. I hope you will
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and added into the Lord's church, and 4 families was restored. We
have 30-35 membership in this new congregation right now
...Emelito V. Solon, Philippines. A brother from
Magnolia, Arkansas, brought a copy of Seek the Old Paths
to our church for the brothers to read. I enjoyed it so much and
would like to be placed on your mailing list for you monthly
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would like to thank you for sending us the video tapes a couple of
months ago. We greatly appreciate them. We currently do not have a
preacher, and these tapes allow us to hear some very good Gospel
sermons. Enclosed you will find two checks. The brethren here would
like the $200 check to be used for the expenses involved in
preparing the video sermons. Your congregation is involved in
another work we appreciate very much also, the publishing of
Seek the Old Paths. We would like you to use the $100 check
to help with that work. The congregation here is grateful to be
able to benefit from your excellent efforts. We pray you will
continue your work in these areas. Thank you again
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paper ...Frank Chesser, Montgomery, AL. Thanks
for the efforts put forth on your publication ...Stan
Harvey, Ranger, TX. Thank you and God bless you
...Norma Green, Manassas, VA.
18 Annual “Seek The Old Paths”
July 27-31, 2003
“What God Has Joined Together”
East Corinth Church of Christ
The 2000 & 2001 Bound Volume can be ordered from:
Old Paths Publishing
67 CR 107
Corinth, MS 38834
$5 postage paid
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