Predicted Departure From The Faith
Roger D. Campbell
The Bible record of I Timothy 4:1-3 states, 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 [demons, NKJV]; Speaking lies in
hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which
God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which
believe and know the truth.
1) Who revealed this departure would take place?
The Spirit (v.1), meaning the Holy Spirit. What Paul
writes in this passage is not his personal hunch. It is not his own
forecast that is based on the conditions of his day. Rather, he
spoke this message by Gods Spirit. God was the source of this
prediction. The fact that the Spirit has the capacity to speak
makes it plain that He is not simply a force, but rather a Person
with power and expression.
2) When would the departure come about? In
the latter times (v.1). This refers to some point in the
future after the time Paul penned I Timothy (probably mid-60s of
the 1st century). Such a departure would not take place overnight,
but would come about over the course of time. Paul had earlier
written to the church in Thessalonica that there would come a
falling away (II Thess. 2:3). Prior to the time that Paul
wrote I Timothy, he had told some shepherds from Ephesus,
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves
enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves
shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples
after them (Acts 20:29,30). By the Spirit, Peter also
wrote that there would arise false teachers among the saints, and
many would follow their damnable heresies (II Peter 2:1,2). The
departure from the faith that eventually came about should have
caught no one by surprise for numerous inspired statements about it
were given to the church.
3) What does the expression depart from the
faith mean? Depart is from the Greek word
aphistemi which means to go away, depart, to desert, withdraw
from one, to fall away, become faithless, to shun, flee from
(Thayers Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, p.89,
word no. 868). The same Greek word is used in Luke 8:13, where we
read Jesus explanation of the stony soil in His Parable of the
Sower ...these have no root, which for a while
believe, and in time of temptation fall away. While Paul
requested that his thorn in the flesh might depart from
him (II Cor. 12:8), the apostasy about which he writes in our text
(I Tim. 4:1), points to actions by which people would remove
themselves from the faith.
What is the faith from which some would depart?
It is the system of faith that is called the one faith
(Eph. 4:5). It refers to the teaching of the Christ or His Gospel.
To depart from the faith is the same as departing from the truth.
To depart from the faith is the same as departing from the way of
the Lord. When a person leaves the Almighty, such a one is
committing spiritual suicide.
4) What could possibly entice people to depart from
the faith? The Bibles says that such apostates would give heed
to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils or demons (v.1). The
following description fits them well: And they shall turn
away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto
fables (II Tim. 4:4). Why would fables attract them? The
previous verse states, 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
(II Tim. 4:3). Rather than give their heart to following the word
of God, they would be pulled aside by false teaching. Why? It would
be more pleasant to them.
5) What does the Bible say about the honesty of those
that would have part in the departure? They will be
...speaking lies in hypocrisy (v.2). Some people may
spread lies, not knowing they are untrue statements. In this case,
though, the lies would be told by hypocrites. Hypocrites are
mask-wearers or actors. They put on a front. Jesus openly condemned
the hypocrisy that prevailed in His time (Matt. 6:1-18; 23:2-33).
Can you think of anything more disgusting than the thought of
hypocritical liars using a religious message to pull others away
from the faith?!
6) What would be true of the conscience of those
involved in the departure? It would be as if it were seared by
a hot iron (v.2). Just as a brand on the flesh of a steer causes
the steer to lose its feeling in the branded area, so a
persons conscience can become totally without feeling. The
term hard-hearted fits them well.
7) What were some of the specific false teachings that
would characterize the departure from the faith?
Forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from meats
(foods, v.3). It is a matter of historical record that in the Roman
Catholic and Orthodox denominations, traditionally only single men
may serve as priests and only single women are allowed to
serve as sisters/nuns. There might be exceptions to that
policy, but that has been the standard practice of those
denominations. What about the matter of forbidding people not to
eat meat? Many of us remember a time when Friday meals in the
cafeteria at school never included pork, beef, or chicken. Why?
Because of the Catholic influence in our society and the
traditional teaching of the Catholics that it is wrong to eat meat
on Friday. Does that not sound a lot like what I Timothy 4:3 says
about commanding to abstain from foods? Many have sincerely
wondered why the meat of fish does not count as meat on Friday!
Other groups, such as Seventh Day Adventists, also teach
that it is wrong to eat certain types of meat. Yes, the Bible does
contain the message that the eating of pork is forbidden. That
instruction, however, was given to the children of Israel (Lev.
11:1,2,7). The old law, including its dietary restrictions, was
abolished when Jesus died on the cross (Eph. 2:14-16).
Pauls inspired prediction was not that all
would depart from the faith, but rather that some would.
It is still possible for individual saints to fall from grace (Gal.
5:4), just as it is possible today for congregations to depart from
the truth (Eph. 2:4,5). How can Gods people be on guard
against such apostasy? By doing exactly what our text speaks of
doing: believe and know the truth (I Tim. 4:3). God has
the truth. It can be known, it can be believed,
and it can be obeyed. That is the only safe course
of action for any of us to follow.
The predicted departure from the faith about which we read
in I Timothy 4:1-3 should serve as a warning to all of us. May we
take its message seriously, learn its valuable lessons, and
determine to stick with the Book and its Giver, so that we will not
be drawn away by the fables of men.
4865 Bates Pike SE
Cleveland, TN 37323
Table of Contents
Trees Of Righteousness
There are so many different words or terms in the Bible that
describe those who are servants of God. Many of them are well
known, such as saints (Acts 9:13; Rom. 1:7) and brethren (Acts
11:29). However, many of them are not well known. One such
designation is found in Isaiah 61:3. In this passage we read,
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them
beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of
praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called
trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he
might be glorified.
As a Christian, have you ever thought about being called
a tree of righteousness? That is exactly what this verse
says. A strong healthy tree has its roots deep in the earth. It is
one that can weather the storms. It is one that will be stronger as
a result of adversity. As the Lords people, cant we learn
from the trees of creation?
Children of God are spoken of in Psalm 1 in the figure of
a tree. Blessed is the man that walketh not in the
counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor
sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law
of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he
shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that
bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not
wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not
so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore
the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the
congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knoweth the way of the
righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
The man blessed of God is as a tree growing near an ample
water supply. It does not fail to be nourished. It will grow and
flourish to accomplish that for which is was created. A Christian
will do the same. He/she will grow in the Lord and seek to do that
which will bring glory to God. The apostle Peter wrote by
inspiration saying, But grow in the grace and knowledge
of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and
for ever (II Peter 3:18). A Christian will grow strong
in the Lord and the power of His might (cf. Eph. 6:10).
A principle of creation affirms that a tree bears fruit
after its kind (Gen. 1:11-12). A peach tree bears peaches. A plum
tree bears plums. An apple tree bears apples. The Lord made this
principle clear when he talked about false prophets in his sermon
on the mount. He said, Beware of false prophets, which
come to you in sheeps clothing, but inwardly they are ravening
wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of
thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth
good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good
tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree
bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good
fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their
fruits ye shall know them (Matt. 7:15-20).
Christians will seek to be fruitful just as a tree is
fruitful. Thats the very nature of our existence. What fruits
do Christians bear? Our fruits are good, holy, righteous, godly.
They are as God is and desires that we be. Ye shall be
holy: for I the LORD your God am holy (Lev. 19:2). As
he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all
manner of conversation (I Peter 1:15). For I
am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and
ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile
yourselves... (Lev. 11:44).
Christians are described as a kingdom of priests. God told
the children of Israel in their Exodus from Egypt, And ye
shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation
(Exodus 19:6). Christians today are likewise called priests.
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an
holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the
praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his
marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now
the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have
obtained mercy (I Peter 2:9-10). Being priests,
necessitates that we be righteous and holy. The path we follow is
the way of holiness. It is spoken of as being a highway of holiness
in Isaiah 35:8.
We have been called unto holiness. Weve been called
out of the world and its sin and wickedness. In becoming a
Christian, repentance of sins is mandatory. God
...commandeth all men every where to repent (Acts
17:30). Repentance means we live a godly life. That means we have
to turn away from our sins. We no longer live the way we
want to live. We live the way God commands us to live. Jesus
...died for all, that they which live should not henceforth
live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose
again (II Cor. 5:15).
We have many great and precious promises (cf. II Peter
1:4). Therefore, were told ...to cleanse ourselves
from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in
the fear of God (II Cor. 7:1). We are to cast down our
imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the
knowledge of God, and bring into captivity every thought to the
obedience of Christ (II Cor. 10:5). This means we will
...be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke,
in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine
as lights in the world (Phil. 2:15).
As trees of righteousness, we will
...walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom
and glory (I Thess. 2:12). For this is the
will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from
fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his
vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of
concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man
go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the
Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and
testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto
holiness (I Thess. 4:3-7).
Paul told Timothy to be an example before brethren (I Tim.
4:12). This would be done in word, in conversation, in
charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. The Gospel
shows us plainly ...that, denying ungodliness and worldly
lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this
present world (Titus 2:12).
When we realize this world will not stand forever and that
we must give account of ourselves, it causes us to reflect upon the
kind of people we should be ...in all holy conversation
and godliness (II Peter 3:11). We so live to
...be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless
(II Peter 3:14). Therefore, since the Lord is righteous, we
strive to be like him (I John 3:7).
Table of Contents
Think On These Things
Paul, writing to the Philippian brethren, sets forth a list
of qualities by which the Christians life should be patterned
whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are
honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure,
whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good
report, as well as any other attributes of virtue and
anything worthy to be praised (Phil. 4:8). Paul concludes this
statement with an exhortation Think on these
things. Paul exhorts the brethren to permeate their
lives with all things that are characterized by these moral
attributes. He compels them to make these virtues the object of
careful attention and study, so as to put them in practice; to
think what they are; think on the obligation to observe them and to
think on the influence which they would have on the world
The word think is translated from the Greek word
legizomai which means to make a conclusion by logical
deduction; to take an inventory of; or to reckon or reason
(Strongs). Paul is making an intense proclamation that
Christians should and must reason through the things which he
taught. He expected them to take inventory of the meanings of the
words he used. He expected them to examine the evidence and make a
logical conclusion based on facts.
God has always required man to use his mind, assimilate
information, and make proper conclusions based on his findings. God
made man in His own image (Gen. 1:26-27). Just as God is Spirit
(John 4:24), man has a spiritual nature and the soul of man will
live eternally. But also, God made man so that man could
communicate and understand. God made man a being with which He,
Himself, could communicate. In time past, God used holy prophets,
like Isaiah, to convey His message and will to the people.
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though
your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though
they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing
and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse
and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of
the LORD hath spoken it (Isa. 1:18-20).
God expected man to be able to reason. Israel
had turned from God. God used this time to chasten His people as
well as to reprove them. This process of reasoning together would
have been useless and meaningless without mans mental capacity
to ingest information and ability to make a rational conclusion
from the information given. The people could use their past
experiences to know that they had nothing without God. All
blessings came from Him. They were also able to apprehend the fact
that their idol worship was doing them no good; it was only
angering the God who would save them. These evidences in hand, they
could properly discern to either obey God and eat of the good
of the land or rebel against God and be devoured with the
sword. The people had to make a choice. They could not serve
two masters (Matt. 6:24). The people had the mind and ability to
make that choice and God required it of them.
It was customary for the apostle Paul to preach in the
synagogues of the Jews. On one occasion, he went in unto
them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the
scriptures, Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have
suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom
I preach unto you, is Christ (Acts 17:2-3). Paul used
the Old Testament scripture to set about a rational discussion
concerning Jesus Christ. Paul knew his audience and their needs. He
also knew they were well acquainted with the Old Testament
scriptures. Paul not only offered scripture to prove his premise,
he expounded upon its meaning and set forth a logical argument from
those passages which proved that Jesus was the Messiah who
fulfilled prophecy. This discourse demanded rational and logical
thinking on behalf of the audience. The audience was expected to
examine the truth of Gods word in correlation with the
evidence, presented by Paul, about Jesus. The result,
some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and
of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not
a few (Acts 17:4). Many people made the logical
conclusion that this Jesus whom Paul preached was the Christ. Their
conclusion led them to believe and follow the teaching set forth by
Paul and Silas.
Many, today, have totally ignored and disregarded rational
thought in matters of religion. Some have misdefined faith as
merely a leap in the dark when God clearly defined faith
as obedience based upon, and resulting from, solid facts and
evidence (Heb. 11; James 2:17,24). Others have claimed that
religious matters are only governed by emotion (i.e. Love). Jesus
says, If ye love me, keep my commandments
(John 14:15). Faithful Gospel preachers preach love when they
preach obedience to Gods will. Though the world and liberals
among us would like to make love and law mutually exclusive; they
simply are not. God so loved the world, that He gave His
only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not
perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). God loved
man so much that He sent His Son to die for mans sins. In
return, God only requires that we submit to His will. Man can know
Gods will (John 8:31-32). In order for man to know Gods
will, which is truth (John 17:17), man must use his God-given
abilities to make logical conclusions based upon deductive
reasoning. Once man realizes that he is in sin and separated from
God (Isa. 59:1-2), he will desire to be reconciled back to God.
Reconciliation is only found in the blood of Jesus Christ (Col.
1:18-22) and man can only contact the blood in Jesus death.
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into
Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried
with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up
from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should
walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:3-4).
The logical conclusion, then, is that in order to contact
the blood of Jesus, which can reconcile man back to God, man must
be baptized. The apostle Peter proclaims baptism doth
also now save us (I Peter 3:21). It is not the water,
alone, that saves. It is also not a meritorious act or work that
will save. It is, however, acts or works of obedience to Gods
word that will save.
God has never required man to act without facts
evidence. God has never left man to his own devices (Jer. 10:23)
nor in need to make a leap in the dark. God has always
communicated His will to man in a clear fashion that can be easily
understood IF one will honestly weigh the evidence and draw only
such conclusion as is warranted by that evidence.
All Scripture Quotations from the King James Version.
Barnes Notes, Electronic Database. 1997.
Biblesofts New Exhaustive Strongs Numbers and
Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. 1994,
Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.
Lenoir City, TN 37771
Table of Contents
Judas Stood With Them
After our Lord had observed the Passover with his disciples
and instituted the Lords supper, he, along with his disciples
left the upper room and went to the garden of Gethsemane. Jesus
took Peter, James and John and goes a little farther and began to
pray (Matt. 26:36-39). Judas knew Jesus often went there with his
disciples (John 18:2). While in Gethsemane, one of the most tragic
scenes in the Bible takes place. Jesus enemies came to take
him and Judas betrayed him. The apostle John records, And
Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them (John
18:5). Oh, how telling is this statement! Our Lord knew what Judas
would do, but, on this occasion, how disappointed the rest of the
disciples must have been. Contrary to what some religious folk may
claim, Judas was not a devil from the beginning. Our Lord had
selected him as one of his apostles. Judas had every opportunity to
do the right thing, but he allowed Satan to enter his heart (Luke
22:3) and, in doing so, he stood with them. Brethren,
where one stands speaks volumes about ones self.
Judas stood in opposition to Jesus. Jesus said,
He that is not with me is against me, and he that gathereth
not with me scattereth abroad (Matt. 12:30). In standing
with our Lords enemies, Judas fell into a lost state (cf. Acts
1:25). When brethren take their stand with denominational doctrines
and practices, they depart from the way that is right and fall from
Gods grace (cf. Gal. 5:4). Brethren who have brought into the
worship the use of instrumental music are as guilty as
Judas. Likewise, the partaking of the Lords supper at
weddings, funerals, and other special occasions, for which
there is not the least Scriptural authority, amounts to nothing
more than standing with Judas. When we do so, we are in opposition
to Jesus and his Word.
Why did Judas stand with them? Evidently he
failed to recognize the importance and high honor the Lord had
bestowed upon him. The apostleship, from which he fell, was a great
honor and worthy of his faithfulness. While no one today is an
apostle, we are, however, disciples (learners) and followers of
Christ. The apostle Paul encouraged the Corinthian brethren to
follow him as he also followed Christ (I Cor. 11:1). Has it never
occurred to our unfaithful brethren that their unfaithfulness shows
a failure to recognize and appreciate the high honor and privilege
of their having been called out of sin by the Gospel of Christ (II
As a result of Judas standing with our Lords enemies,
he encouraged and strengthened the hands of the wicked (cf. Ezekiel
13:22). He betrayed the confidence of the other disciples and his
true character was revealed. Sadly, he lost his soul.
Brethren, it is crucial we take our stand with Christ and
his Word. Since God chose us in Christ before the world was began
(Eph. 1:4), he has the right to expect our loyalty. Even though
Judas was chosen to be an apostle, he was not immune to temptation.
The fact is, he succumbed to it. Judas fell for thirty pieces of
silver. Such a small amount of money may not tempt many today, but
the desire to be like the denominational world is very seductive
and, like Israel of old, we often desire to be like our religious
Too, lest we forget, our deeds will determine our eternal
destiny (Rom. 2:6; Rev. 20:12). If we take our stand with the Lord
and remain faithful to him, he will stand with us in the Judgment
(Rev. 2:10). May we always stand with Him, and not with
them. Think about it.
1336 Spring Lake Rd.
Fruitland Park, FL 34731
Table of Contents
Gods Rule Book
Marvin L. Weir
Is it not amazing that most people will accept some rule book
written by men over the rule book written by God?
Countless millions profess to believe in God and the Bible and then
they put their faith and trust into man-made creeds. It is again
amazing that these people either can not or do not desire to see
the error in their reasoning. The Scriptures plainly declare,
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is
profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for
instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect,
throughly furnished unto all good works (II Tim.
3:16-17). It was Hosea who said, My people are destroyed
for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will
also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou
hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy
children (Hosea 4:6).
People who enjoy engaging in or watching certain sporting
events have absolutely no problem in comprehending the fact that
there are rules that govern these events. After three
strikes in baseball, one is declared to be out. Do fans
become upset and complain that this rule should be ignored in some
cases? Surely there are circumstances where a batter can benefit
from four strikes before returning to the dugout! In
football, the team with the ball has four attempts to travel ten
yards in the proper direction for a first down. What if
after four attempts the running back is within one inch
of a first down? Does the referee say, Because this is such an
important game and you have come so close to picking up the first
down, Im going to give it to you. No, such a statement is
not made because everyone understands that the teams must
abide by the rules of the game.
Does one really believe in the game of baseball or
football who will not abide by the rules of the game? No, not at
all! They may believe in another version of the game, but they do
not believe in the game as outlined in the rule book that governs
it. Why cant people see this same truth in the spiritual
realm? One does not really believe in God who refuses to accept
His Word as truth on any matter.
The players on a sports team must conform to the rules
that govern that sport. The rule book for a particular sport does
not conform to the players whims and wishes. The same thing is
true in regard to the Bible, Gods Holy Word. The Bible does
not conform to the thoughts and wishes of men, but men must conform
to the Word of God (cf. Rom. 12:2). One will not save his soul or
incur Gods blessings by refusing to live by the Holy
Scriptures. Man must accept the truth that his thoughts are not
Gods thoughts and his ways are not Gods way (Isa. 55:8).
Let us note some areas where many who profess to be
followers of Christ do not abide by Gods rules.
The majority of those who profess to be Christians think
they were saved at the point of belief. They do not believe that
baptism (immersion) is necessary for salvation. They conclude that
he that believeth and is not baptized shall be
saved. The Word of God says, He that believeth and
is baptized shall be saved (Mark 16:16a).
The majority of people who profess Christianity believe
that there are many different roads (ways) leading to
heaven. The Word of God says, Enter ye in at the strait
gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to
destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait
is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and
few there be that find it (Matt. 7:13-14).
Man believes that one can join the church of his
choice and be saved. The Word of God says, And the Lord
added to the church daily such as should be saved (Acts
Most churches today wear man-made names and thus honor the
founder of such church. The Word of God shows that Christs
church is to wear His name (Rom. 16:16) and honor is to be given to
the Lord who purchased the church (Acts 20:28) and is its founder
Most people today who profess to be Christians believe and
practice salvation by faith only. The Word of God says,
Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and
not by faith only (James 2:24, emph. MLW).
Gods rule book (the Bible) states that Christ is the
head over all things to the church, which is his
body (Eph. 1:22-23). The Bible says there is only
one body (Eph. 4:4), and Christ promises to save
only the body of which He is head (Eph. 5:23).
One is not a Christian and cannot go to Heaven who refuses to
follow Gods rule book!
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Paris, TX 75460
Table of Contents
No Right Way
There always seems to be an effort on the part of some to try
some new innovation not supported by the scriptures. Then, when
confronted by sound brethren, they will try every way to give some
right reason for doing a wrong thing. I recently saw this
cliche on a church sign: There is no right way to do a wrong
thing. How true! No matter how man might try to justify his
innovations, there is no right way to do a wrong thing.
Those who try to justify choruses or solo singers twist
and distort the scriptures by trying to say there is NO scriptural
support for congregational singing. Those who try to justify
fellowship with the denominations argue a non-scriptural view of
fellowship. Those who teach there is no law under the New Testament
totally distort the context of New Testament letters like
Galatians. In the end, there is no RIGHT way to justify these WRONG
things. How do we know that all of these are WRONG? Because
the scriptures point out the error of each one.
Some few years ago a great effort was made to bus kids to
church study periods and worship services. There is certainly
nothing wrong with trying to teach children the necessity to love
and serve God. However, many bussing programs began to inject other
innovations that were contrary to scripture. Many began to bribe
the children to attend by offering candy, gifts, and other kinds of
incentives. Then, when many found themselves with so many young
children disturbing the worship service, they invented something
they called childrens church. This took the children
out of the worship assembly so the adults could enjoy
their worship. Sound brethren soon showed how erroneous it was to
divide the worship assembly of Gods people. Many of the
churches gave up childrens church because it was
proven they were in error. Finally, most of the bussing programs
failed for several reasons: prohibitive costs, most children had to
be bribed to attend, but most of all because it involved tremendous
work on the part of brethren, and they just were not willing to
continue the hard work. With the fall of the bussing programs came
the end of childrens church for a while.
Now, a few years later, we are beginning to see a program
similar to childrens church in some congregations.
Some now dismiss the younger children from the worship assembly so
that they might attend a class (or classes) while the adults and
older children remain for the worship service. When confronted
about the innovation, the argument is that these classes are
altogether different from childrens church. In other
words, this is the right way to dismiss young children
from the worship assembly. It is no matter that the approach is
different, it is still wrong. Just as sound brethren argued against
childrens church, the same scriptures forbid any
kind of divided worship assembly.
Notice what the Bible says about the worship assembly. The
scripture speaks of ALL the people being together, And
Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made
for the purpose; ... And Ezra opened the book in the sight of ALL
the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened
it, ALL the people stood up: ... And ALL the people answered, Amen,
Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and
worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground (Neh.
8:4-6). Paul also shows how ALL the people were together for
worship, When ye come together therefore into ONE place, this
is not to eat the Lords supper (I Cor. 11:20); and
If therefore the WHOLE church be come together into ONE place,
and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are
unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?
(I Cor. 14:23). Paul speaks of the WHOLE church coming
together in ONE place. Paul was NOT speaking of all just
being in the same building, but all assembled together at the same
time. The Hebrew writer said we are not to forsake the
assembling of Gods people together (Heb. 10:25). Neither
should some adults be forced to forsake the worship assembly just
to be glorified baby sitters. And, that is what is
Any dividing of the assembly is a man made innovation. It
is wrong! It is wrong whether sending children to a
childrens church or to some similar kind of class.
No matter what the program, dividing the assembly is wrong, and
cannot be made right. Not only are the children divided from the
assembly; but the adult teachers who are caring for them are
divided from and absent from the assembly while others worship.
The sad thing is that usually the very purpose for such
is to give mom a break. Since when can mom take a break
from teaching her child(ren) some of the greatest lessons they need
to learn. These small children need to learn just how important
worshipping God should be in their lives. They need to learn how to
show the proper awe and respect for God (and fellow worshippers)
while in the worship assembly. Young children need to be learning
just what the worship assembly is about. They need to be taught to
be quiet. Nothing is more disturbing than a child that is let cry
or talk continually in the worship assembly. These are the problems
some have tried to overcome with divided assemblies. All
these things can be taught to children from the time they begin to
crawl. If they can be taught to behave in a class, then they can be
taught to behave in the worship assembly. If they have to be
removed from the assembly, let it be to dust off their bottoms
until they learn the proper behavior during worship.
All in all, the truth is: there is no right way to do a
120 Stegal Rd.
Shady Valley, TN 77688
Table of Contents
I commend you for Seek The Old Paths and appreciate you
publishing some of my articles. I am currently looking for a place
to preach. If you could pass this information along I would
appreciate it. I am sound in the faith and have a desire to stand
in the old paths John Cotham, 120 Stegall Rd., Shady
Valley, TN 37688, Ph. (423) 739-3982, firstname.lastname@example.org.
[EDITORS NOTE: I recommend brother Cotham. A congregation
needing a sound preacher would do well to contact him.] I hope
this finds you in good health in body, soul and spirit. I read with
interest the article in the January 2006 of Seek the Old Paths
regarding Confronting Islam: Examining the
Quran. I lead evangelism teams to Ghana, West Africa
twice a year, and just returned from there. We had a team of four
Americans partner with 28 Ghanaian evangelists and God granted us
166 baptisms and the establishment of 5 new Churches of Christ in
the Central Region over a two week period. During these campaigns,
it is not uncommon for me to set down and teach people of Islam
about Christ. Islam in Ghana is moderate, and not like the radical
fundamentalists of northern Nigeria. Therefore, open, friendly
conversation is possible. It is not uncommon for us to convert
people of Islam in Ghana to Christianity. I have not found it
helpful to comment on their holy book. However, I have found it
very helpful to ask them to question, Who is Jesus? From
there I take them in the Scripture to Christs birth
narratives. There the Scripture establishes that Jesus is the Son
of God. I have them read this and ask them to question, Who is
the father of Jesus? If they still have difficulty with this,
I take them to Christs baptism and to his transfiguration and
ask the same question again. They will reach the understanding that
the Bible says Jesus is the Son of God. After we have established
that Jesus is the Son of God, I ask them if they believe what the
Bible says about Jesus. Inevitably, they say that since the Bible
says it, they must believe it. I then take them to John 1:1-5,14.
We talk about who Jesus was before he became flesh and made his
dwelling among us. They are often very surprised to find out this
information. I then take them to Matthew 16:13-17 to show them that
Jesus is the Christ. We talk about Christ being the anointed one,
and that means that he is our Prophet, High Priest and King, and
that he has a Law that we must follow. I continue to ask questions
to make sure they understand what Scripture is saying. I then use
the birth narrative again to show that the name Jesus
means that he came to save us from our sins, and from here teach
about the salvation that God offers us in the Gospel (Rom. 1:16; I
Cor. 15:1-4, 20-23; Isa 53:4-6; Eph 1:7). I emphasize the death,
burial and resurrection of Christ, and if necessary take them to
the Gospel accounts to show that Jesus actually did die on the
cross, was buried, and was resurrected from the dead on the first
day of the week. I show them what Christ commands we must do to be
saved (believe, repent, confess be baptized), and offer them the
same invitation given to Saul in Acts 22:16, and emphasize John
14:6 were Jesus says, I am the way, and the truth, and the
life. No one comes to the Father except through me. I have
found this approach to be effective. This allows the person of
Islam not to become defensive, but to be continually open to the
teaching of Scripture. It certainly doesnt result in the
conversion of every person in Islam. However, I have found that
just as many people who call themselves Christian are
uninformed about Christs plan of salvation and his church. I
have also found that people who call themselves Islam are
also uninformed about their own faith and about what the Bible
teaches. Certainly there is a place for examining the Koran,
especially when dealing with educated and highly indoctrinated
followers of Islam. However, I find that this is seldom necessary
or particularly effective. Brother, I know Im not a trained
preacher and that I am just a servant trying to do my Masters
will (Matt 28:18-20). I certainly am not trying to tell preachers
how to do their business, but only what I have found to be
effective when working with the people of Islam in Ghana. Thank you
again for publishing Seek the Old Paths ...Victor Vadney,
Abilene, TX. [EDITORS NOTE: I appreciate brother
Vadneys letter. It helps emphasize what Jesus said about being
sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as
serpents, and harmless as doves (Matt. 10:16). Different
approaches and methods are needed for different people]. I
commend you for the good work you are doing with STOP. I find the
articles true to the Word of God, hitting the mark on todays
issues, edifying to the brotherhood and well researched to prove
their point. I am honored to have had articles published in this
fine paper ...Jack Simons, KY. Thank all of you
for your work with putting out STOP. I appreciate you all
...Name Withheld, MS. May God continue to bless you as
you print the truth in STOP. I appreciate every copy I receive and
am sending this contribution to help keep it going. Living out in
far west Texas, your publication is a lifeline for those of us who
need to keep informed about the liberal teachers in the
brotherhood. Your publication is most valuable to me. I use
information I receive in it to use in my sermons and Bible lessons.
I preach for a small congregation which would today be called
traditional. Knowledge is power and we must keep informed
of false teachers. Thanks again for the work youre doing
...Jerry L. Duke, El Paso, TX. Thank you so very much
for your stand for TRUTH and your willingness to share it with
others! ...Tammy Hudson. Your publication and
your web site have become a major inspiration to this baptized
Christian (and lifelong church of Christ member). Thank you so
much ...MI. Thanks so much. STOP is a wonderful
publication. We always look forward to receiving it ...Bob
Patterson, Goldthwaithe, TX. It is so refreshing to read
STOP and know there are those that have not turned from their first
love as so many have. Please dont give up this wonderful work.
Thank you so very much ...Ronald Shandor, Death Valley,
CA. I enjoy it so much ...Jackie Bullard, St.
Elmo, IL. Thank you so much for sending me STOP. I always
look forward to it as it stays with the Bible, no man-made
additions. This should be read the world over. I lost my husband of
61 years in August of 2002. I am sending a check in his memory
...Wilma Danielson, Wewoka, OK. It is always
encouraging to meet those of us who are standing for righteousness
and not following liberalism so prevalent in many of the Lords
church today ...H. Joyce Foster, Baltimore, MD.
Your good work couldnt come at a better time. The roaring
lion is at our door ...Doug Brazzell, Franklin, KY.
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