THREATS TO GOD APPROVED LEADERSHIP #2
WHAT ARE SOME THINGS WHICH THREATEN
GOD'S APPROVED FORMS OF LEADERSHIP?
The approach to this subject may seem somewhat
unconventional when you take into consideration the number of
lectures and articles which have been delivered or written on this
or similar topics. It would be somewhat redundant to reexamine what
so many others have so adequately covered. Most of the previously
mentioned efforts have examined the problems from without; i.e.,
the problems of denominationalism, liberalism, anti-ism, etc. And
yet consider, with all that has been spoken and written on these
and similar subjects throughout the years, why do these problems
and threats continue to persist? In the estimation of this writer,
the responsibility of the perpetuation of these problems falls
squarely in the laps of those who are leaders in the Lord's church.
Is it the fact that the leaders are unaware of the mass of teaching
which has been focused on these existing threats to purity of truth
and authority? Not likely. Hence, the threats which perpetuate
these problems and threaten to undermine God approved forms of
leadership, are likely to exist from within the leaders themselves.
First, and foremost, among things which threaten to
undermine God's leaders would be the lack of conviction on the
part of the leader or leaders. A leader without conviction is
incapable of fulfilling an assigned mission, and thereby
jeopardizes all who are to be involved in the mission for the
1) One without conviction, more often than not, greatly
suffers for the lack of consistency. Consider the lack of
consistency in Aaron (Exodus 32). He assists Moses in
leading the people out of Egyptian bondage, and then in the
wilderness, submits to the whims of the people and forms a golden
calf for the people to worship. Had he possessed true conviction,
would he have made such a blunder? Likewise, the judge Eli
loses his credibility as a leader because of his lack of
consistency evidenced in the manner in which he trains his own sons
(1 Sam. 3:13). King Saul evidences his lack of
conviction as a leader when as one with the power to fulfill God's
commands by virtue of his position as king, submits to the will of
the people in clear rebellion of the command to completely destroy
the Amalakites (1 Sam 15). In the New Testament, Judas
will manifest his lack of consistency when he chastises Mary of
Bethany for using a costly ointment to anoint the feet of Jesus
under the auspices of being concerned for the poor. The text
reveals, however, that Judas was not concerned for the poor, but
was a thief (John 12:1-6).
2) The lack of conviction usually yields to the
ever-dangerous spirit of lawlessness. Lawlessness is a
manifestation of one's lack of self-discipline and serves as a
breeding ground for hypocrisy. Lawlessness is bred of weakness, and
typically yields to those not in authority, the ignorant, and the
otherwise unqualified leader, including women.
3) A leader without conviction usually possesses a
certain degree of gullibility, in that, when error is being
advanced in some manner, he may be easily led to believe that it is
acceptable. As a consequence, this type of leader will be the 'pied
piper' who will lead the flock into apostasy. Paul warned the
Ephesian elders there would be some of their own number who would
...arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away
disciples after them (Acts 20:30). A faithful leader
with conviction will serve as a valiant shepherd when the devil's
'wolves' are threatening the flock. Paul writes to Titus concerning
the fortitude which should be possessed of those who are leaders,
and states that they are to hold fast the faithful word
as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both
to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. For there are many unruly
and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:
Whose mouths must be stopped... (Titus 1:9-11). Clearly,
when a leader possesses conviction, he is one who is stable in his
faith and in his work (1 Cor. 15:58).
4) Also, the lack of conviction will usually be
accompanied by a lack of good sense. Consider Solomon's son,
Rehoboam in 1 Kings 12. Upon the death of his father, he comes to
the throne of Israel. His subjects came to him pleading for relief
from the excessive labor and heavy taxation. Rehoboam consulted
with the older and wiser men who advised him to lighten the burden
and the people would respond to him favorably. However, the king
also consulted with the young men among whom he had grown up, who
advised him to increase the burden on the people. Bear in mind,
that any conviction which is deemed to be of any value, is based on
knowledge and wisdom. The older men possessed such knowledge, the
younger did not. Rehoboam hearkened to the council of the younger
men, and as a consequence of this lack of common sense, the kingdom
divided with ten of the tribes departing. This scene sadly depicts
many similar scenarios in various congregations of the Lord's
church today, where the lack of common sense in its leaders in
listening to the unlearned, inexperienced, and the unwise, have
caused those congregations to weaken by virtue of its division.
5) The lack of conviction will, as well, give way to
the spirit of compromise. The child of God should never
...give place to the devil... (Eph. 4:27). A leader
is not to compromise with the 'gainsayer,' he must 'convince' him,
and 'stop' his 'unruly and vain' deceit (Titus 1:9-10). Paul urged
the Thessalonian brethren to ...stand fast, and hold the
traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our
epistle (2 Thess. 2:15). For a leader to compromise the
truth, clearly exposes his incompetence. A competent leader will
emulate the sentiment as expressed by Solomon: Buy the
truth, and sell it not... (Prov. 23:23). Consequently,
if one possesses conviction, i.e., a strong persuasion of belief,
he will not compromise that belief, but will be disposed to defend
it (Jude 3).
Another formidable threat to approved leadership is
the spirit of infallibility. It is certainly tragic to
witness the problems which occur in congregations where the flock
has had to endure a leader who believes he is beyond error. This is
the type of individual who manifests the disposition of arrogant
superiority. Paul warned of those who thought too highly of
themselves: For I say, through the grace given unto me,
to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly
than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath
dealt to every man the measure of faith (Rom. 12:3). In
writing to the Galatians, he states: For if a man think
himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth
himself (Gal. 6:3). Then there was his stern warning to
the Corinthians: Wherefore let him that thinketh he
standeth take heed lest he fall (1 Cor. 10:12). One
thing is certain, any person, leader or not, who believes himself
to be beyond error, is already in error. If we say that
we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in
us (1 John 1:8).
The spirit of infallibility is many times personified
by those adopting the disposition of the diabolical Diotrephes (3
John). The apostle John marked him as one who loveth to have
preeminence (v.9). Unfortunately, there are far too many
'leaders' in the church today who bear the same characteristics of
Diotrephes. They view themselves as 'bosses' or as some C.E.O. of
a corporation. Sadly, the misfortune is that they fail to recognize
their own fallibility, and will seldom 'consider' themselves when
having to deal with others (Gal. 6:1). Even Paul recognized his
fallibility and wrote of the necessity of having to discipline
himself. But I keep under my body, and bring it into
subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others,
I myself should be a castaway (1 Cor. 9:27).
Finally, to be added to this infamous list, is the
threat which is posed by the spirit of materialism and
worldliness. When Paul was instructing Titus regarding the
qualifications of elders, one of those qualifications was precisely
aimed at this particular problem. Those who qualify to be elders
cannot be greedy of filthy lucre (Titus 1:7).
The word 'greedy' is from aischrokerdes, which means
'sordid gain.' The terms in this passage clearly indicate the
person whose primary disposition is the possession of money and
material gain. This is the type of person who will stoop to most
any means to obtain personal gain. The obsession with wealth
usually is connected to a thirst for some element of power and
recognition. Sadly, there are those who are elders who possess this
disposition an attitude usually readily apparent,
particularly when handling the Lord's money. More times than not,
these individuals are identified as having sole interest in
hoarding the Lord's money, even to the point of considering the
money as their own. It would seem evident that they are not
concerned with spiritual things, only material.
These leaders should recall the warning of Paul
regarding the evil which is harbored in the love of
money (1 Tim. 6:10). As leaders of the congregation,
elders should be mindful of the Lord's condemnation of Laodicea,
whose primary problem was materialism (Rev. 3:17). The reader
should ask, What was the reasoning for the sad Biblical
epitaph of Demas? His departure from the Lord's service was
based in his love for the present world (2 Tim. 4:10). Rather than
possessing the disposition of 'greediness,' Paul admonishes all
Christians to seek those things which are above...
and to set your affection on things above
The reader may need to be reminded of the basic theme of
the article, and that is the THREATS which are posed and
may be imposed upon those who are our leaders. Remember, a threat
is the realization of an impending danger that usually manifests
itself in some obvious form. The Bible teaches that we should be
aware of Satan's devices. The threats to which we have
referred are obviously 'devices' of Satan. Brethren, we have been
made aware of the devices; now let us do what is necessary to end
the threats. Though, to some, the threats are recognized, others
will ignore them or will find some reason for justifying in their
mind that it is nothing about which one should be concerned. The
ironic thing is, there are those among us who are consistently
sounding out these warnings, but many of the church's leaders only
seek to silence those who sound the warnings rather than 'stop the
mouths' of the deceivers (Titus 1:9-11).
The leader of the Lord's flock has been designated as
a shepherd (Eph. 4:11 'pastors,' from poimen,
meaning shepherd). To set the proper perspective of the
subject discussed here, a shepherd should be concerned about
threats to the flock. If our shepherds were more concerned about
the security of the flock, there will be less concern for
self-promotion. If the leader will use the knowledge of the Word
which he is supposed to possess, such will provide him the
instruction to discipline himself and end the self-imposed threats
which lend themselves to the weakening of the Lord's body.
Paul's admonition to Timothy serves as an appropriate
ending. May our leaders apply these words: Thou
therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
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. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus
Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of
this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a
soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not
crowned, except he strive lawfully. The husbandman that laboureth
must be first partaker of the fruits. Consider what I say; and the
Lord give thee understanding in all things (2 Tim.
PO Box 461
Fulton, MS 38843
Table of Contents
BIBLE AUTHORITY IN PRACTICE #1
In Matthew 21:1-18,23-27, Jesus enters Jerusalem for the
last time before his death. This event is commonly called the
Lord's triumphal entry into Jerusalem. When he went into the
temple, he saw the corruption of those who bought and sold and he
overthrew the tables and ran out all the animals and merchants. The
next day, as he was teaching in the temple, the chief priests and
elders of the people came unto him and asked: ...By what
authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this
AUTHORITY IS NECESSARY
Jesus addressed their question of authority by clearly
showing that authority comes from either heaven or men. Therefore,
the issue of authority is certainly a subject that people today
need to address as well. By what authority do we meet on the Lord's
day? By what authority do we sing and pray and teach? There are
several relevant points that people everywhere need to learn from
the text of Matthew 21:23-24.
The Lord's people are obligated to live so as to please
God. We learn from Hebrews 11:6 that it is impossible to please God
without faith and that we ...walk by faith, not by
sight (2 Cor. 5:7).
JESUS IDENTIFIED TWO SOURCES OF AUTHORITY
The chief priests and elders recognized that authority
was necessary. They ask Jesus, By what authority doeth
thou these things (Matt. 21:23)? The way many people act
today is that they have never heard of the principle of authority.
When it comes to religious activities, authority is the farthest
thing from many people's minds. When we ask the simple question of
authority in regards to religious activities, they act like we're
crazy! According to them, there is no standard except what one
feels within their own heart. There has always been those who did
what was right in their own eyes (Judges 17:6).
God demands we have authority for all we say and do.
Colossians 3:17 says, And whatsoever ye do in word or
deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.... To do
something in the name of the Lord means that we act
by the authority of the Lord as the Lord has
authorized. When the police come to your door and say, Open in
the name of the law, we understand that means by the
authority of the law. When Peter and John healed the lame man
in the Lord's name, they did so by the Lord's authority (Acts
4:7-10). It is in Jesus' name that we will be saved (Acts 4:12). It
is in His name that we will be judged (John 12:48).
The Scriptures are filled with examples of the
necessity of authority.
Cain and Abel (Heb. 11:4). Since faith comes
by hearing the Word of God (Rom. 10:17), Abel had to offer
according to the instructions or authority of God. For Cain's
offering to be rejected, he offered that which was not according to
faith, i.e., his offering was not authorized.
Noah and the ark (Gen. 6:14-16). Had Noah
changed or ignored any of God's instructions, he would not have
followed God's authority. Men may ridicule and mock the example of
authority, but that does not change the truth of it.
Nadab and Abihu (Lev. 10:1-2). These priests
had no authority to offer fire that did not come from the altar.
However, they offered strange fire (unauthorized fire)
and paid for their sin with their lives.
King Saul and the Amalekites (1 Sam.
15:3-23). Saul was not authorized to offer a sacrifice. He offered
one anyway and was rejected by God.
God has always demanded respect for his Word!
ONE APPROVED AND ONE NOT APPROVED
Not just any authority is adequate. Many look to the
pope, the church, the pastor, a creed, council, synod, conference,
or 'wherever' for authority. It's not enough to say, I like
it, I want it, It makes me feel good, or
It does a lot of good. Our concern must be what God
likes, what God wants, what pleases God.
GOD USES THREE METHODS TO EXPRESS
HIS WILL OR
Jesus asked the priests and elders concerning the
baptism of John and by what authority John baptized (Matt. 21:25).
Jesus summed up the issue of authority in this simple question.
Authority either comes from heaven or it comes from men. The
consequences of the answer to this simple question are profound. If
one's authority comes from heaven, it stands approved of God. If
one's authority comes from men, it stands condemned of God.
Do you want to be approved or condemned by God? The
answer is simple. We desire to be approved of God. The answer is so
obvious that even a child can understand it. Therefore, we must
refuse to participate in practices that are not authorized in the
Bible, but instead are based on human authority!
Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the
Lord Jesus (Col. 3:17). Human teaching (the doctrines
and commandments of men) makes worship vain/useless (Matt.
15:9,13). If we desire God's approval, we must abide in the
teaching/doctrine of Christ (2 John 9-11). God's curse rests upon
those who teach differently (Gal. 1:6-9).
Human wisdom is not what pleases God we must
worship Him according to His will, not our will, because man cannot
direct his own affairs (Jer. 10:23). The Bible clearly shows that
God's ways are not man's ways (Isa. 55:8-9). Though many ways
seem right to man, we know that only God's way is right
(Prov. 14:12). To be approved of God, men must trust in the Lord
and not depend on themselves (Prov. 3:5-6).
God tells us exactly what he wants and he does so in
the Bible! God's Word is complete and contains all of God's will (2
Peter 1:3; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). We displease God when we teach and
practice things not taught in the Bible!
AUTHORIZE CERTAIN ACTIONS
A Direct Statement. This is a clear and plain
statement or command to do a certain thing. For example:
Repent and be baptized...for the remission of sins...
(Acts 2:38). Now we command you brethren...
(2 Thess. 3:6). A direct statement is that which the Bible
WE MUST HAVE BIBLE AUTHORITY
IN MATTERS OF EXPEDIENCY
An Approved Action or Example. There are
instances in which God does not expressly tell us to do a thing,
but gives instances of Christians doing that thing with his
approval. For example: eating the Lord's supper on the first day of
every week is an approved example (Acts 20:7). This example is
valid because of the underlying command to eat the Lord's supper
found in Matt. 26:26-29. Giving of our means on the first day of
every week is an approved example (1 Cor. 16:1-2). The Lord's work
(the work of the church) is to be financed trough the free-will
offerings of its members. There is no authority in the Scriptures
for fund raisers. We have no authority to beg from the public to do
the work God has given us to do (2 Cor. 9:6-7).
An Implication or Logical Conclusion. A
certain truth may not be expressly stated, but follows from what is
stated it is implied. It is just as authoritative as if God
said it specifically. What God implies is not man's assumption or
reading into a thing. It is what the Bible teaches. What God (the
Bible) implies is sure and certain. For example: We teach the truth
when we say that Lot went down into Egypt, even though the Bible
does not say that he did. It does say he came up out of Egypt (Gen.
13:1). He could not have come up out of Egypt unless he had gone
down into Egypt. The Bible implies this. Matthew 19:9 implies that
one who has put away their mate because of their mate's
fornication can remarry with God's approval. Mark 16:16 implies
that infants cannot be baptized since they cannot believe,
they cannot be baptized.
If God has not authorized an action by one or more of
these three ways, then we have no authority to act. Authority is
necessary for EVERYTHING we do! No exceptions have been found
concerning this Bible principle.
An expedient is an action which expedites or helps carry
out an obligation God has given. When God has authorized an action
and told us HOW to do it, we have no option but to do it THE WAY he
said do it. In many cases, God has not specified exactly
how a matter is to be carried out. We have the command, but he
didn't tell us how to do it. We may then proceed in any way in
accordance with our best judgment so long as it does not violate
the general instructions of Scripture.
How LIMITED we are regarding a practice, depends on
whether God used specific terms or general
terms to express his will. When God uses specific terms, it would
be sinful to proceed in a way other than the way God said. God gave
Noah specific instructions regarding the dimensions of the ark, one
window, one door, etc. Noah would have sinned if he had not
followed those instructions. When God uses general terms, man can
use several alternative choices in carrying out the obligation. For
example, Noah could use hammers, saws, etc. in building the ark.
The area of expediency is far reaching in application.
It is the ground upon which we have authority for: church
buildings, baptisteries, song books, PA systems, multiple communion
cups, chalk boards, etc. We must have authority for everything we
have and do!
part 1 of 2 parts
Table of Contents
18th Annual Seek The Old Paths Lectureship
What God Has Joined Together
East Corinth Church of Christ
July 27-31, 2003
Lessons include: Baptism & Salvation, Jesus the Lion & Lamb, Love
& Commandment Keeping, Christ & the Church, Husband & Wife, Worship
in Spirit & in Truth, The Vine & the Branches, Faith & Works, Grace
& Law, The Broad Way & Destruction, The Narrow Way & Life, Sin &
Death, The Goodness & Severity of God, Prophecy & Fulfillment,
Service & Sacrifice, Faithful Children & Proper Training, Death &
Judgment, and many more.
Table of Contents
From Freddie Clayton, Dunlap, TN...
WHO IS FRED CRADDOCK?
We certainly do not mention the following in order to
advertise, support or endorse it, but to keep you informed of the
rampant liberalism/modernism at Lipscomb University. They
are fast approaching the day when they will hardly be recognizable
as once being associated with members of the church of Christ.
The Hazelip Biblical Preaching Seminar is scheduled for
May 12-14, 2003 at Lipscomb University's Center for Spiritual
Renewal. The announcement of this event says: Preaching and
Evangelism is the theme of this year's conference, which will
feature one of the nation's foremost authorities on preaching. Dr.
Fred Craddock, the Bandy Distinguished Professor of
Preaching and New Testament (emeritus) at Emory University, will
conduct a preaching workshop for participants. Other speakers in
the seminar will include Randy Harris and Mark Love, Abilene
Christian University; John Mark Hicks, Lipscomb University; and
Chris Seidman, Dallas, Texas.
Lipscomb says: Some background on our Breakfast Speaker, the
Rev. Dr. Fred Craddock. Newsweek Magazine named him as one of the
twelve best living preachers. The fact that fellow clergy
consistently vote him one of the most outstanding preachers of our
time says much about his stature. Dr. Fred B. Craddock is minister
of Cherry Log Christian Church in Cherry Log, Georgia. He is Bandy
Distinguished Professor of Preaching and New Testament, Emeritus,
in the Candler School of Theology, Emory University. Much sought
after as a lecturer, he has delivered the Lyman Beecher Lectures at
Yale, the Scott Lectures at Claremont School of Theology, the Adams
Lectures at Southeastern Baptist Seminary, The Schaff Lectures at
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, the Cole Lectures at Vanderbilt,
the Westervelt Lectures at Austin Presbyterian Seminary, the
Mullins Lectures at Southern Seminary and Earl Lectures at Pacific
School of Religion. Dr. Craddock has traveled the World giving
lectures in many Countries.
How did this reverend, dr,
denominational, sectarian preacher get invited
to Lipscomb? Why are they so excited to have him come? Does Steve
Flatt know about it? If he does, what will he do about it? Is he
leading the school in the paths of righteousness? Where's any
evidence of it? Mounds, piles and stacks of evidence all point to
the school's continual departure from the old paths. When
was the last time they had a sound Gospel preacher for such a
program? Don't expect it to happen!
To get answers to the above questions, I wrote John
York (an associate professor of Bible at Lipscomb who was
listed as the contact for more information and also one of the
preachers at Rubel Shelly's Church at Woodmont Hills). My note
said... Could you please tell me who is responsible for the
selecting of Fred Craddock to participate in the preaching
seminar? His reply was... Yes, I work with several other
people including the President in deciding which speakers to
invite. In this particular case, I personally made the invitation
(with the permission of my superiors, of course) and I'm am
delighted that Fred can come. We've had a much greater response to
our seminar this year than in any previous years and I'm sure that
is directly attributable to people's interest in hearing Dr.
Craddock. Hope you can come! JOY
After receiving the note from York, I wrote Steve Flatt
saying... I am Freddie Clayton. I met with you for an hour not
long after you assumed the position of President and supplied you
with documentation as to the direction of such as Jeff Walling and
others with whom you had fraternized. You told me to give you a
year or two to turn things around. Remember? Instead of recognizing
Walling as detrimental to anybody, especially the young, you now
have him there at Lipscomb three or four times a year it seems. A
year or so later when I contacted the number attached to an
announcement about the youthworkers university concerning a
pastor from Hawaii, I was told that he is a
Christian, but he just doesn't go to the church of Christ. I
later found out there were other sectarians on that program and had
been 2 or 3 times before. Then 'contemporary Christian concerts'
began as part and parcel of what was offered on the campus of David
Lipscomb University. What would be next? Now we receive information
that the Hazelip Preaching Seminar will feature a sectarian
preacher. After writing John York as to who was responsible for
this he said it had to be cleared from above him (that would
include you), that he was responsible and that with Fred Craddock
on the program, interest is higher than before. Brother, are these
things examples of turning things around? Please at least try to
explain what in this world is going on with you at the helm.
To this date, no word has been received from Flatt or any
From Jerry Brewer in Oklahoma...
This will come as no surprise to those who know the
Quail Springs Church of Christ in Oklahoma City, but,
just as I suspected, this church is participating in Billy Graham's
Mission Oklahoma City which will be conducted in June,
2003. The following comes from their website: Quail Springs
Church of Christ is participating in Billy Graham's Mission-OKC
from June 12-15. There are many outreach and evangelism
opportunities that will be offered through this ministry.
Many will remember that Quail Springs is the
congregation which fellowships the Quail Springs Baptist Church
each July in a Faith and Freedom Festival. A number of
faculty and administrators from Oklahoma Christian University are
members at Quail Springs. When the fellowship with the Baptists
began, Kevin Jacobs, former President of the school was a member
there. I don't know where the new president is a member.
From Kenneth Thomas in Tennessee (edited by Freddie Clayton)...
The comedy routine by Bud Abbot and Lou Costello has
delighted many for generations, but that is not our concern here.
Our desire is to provide information that should cause alarm and
sadness among right-thinking brethren everywhere. I am writing
about a recently found website:
http://churchathletics.faithsite.com. The purpose for this site is
said to be Covering Nashville Area Church of Christ Athletic
From links to this page you can find the following
churches participating in at least one of the four softball and/or
basketball leagues: Antioch, Bellevue, Belmont, Brentwood Hills,
Community, Creive Hall, Donelson, Goodlettsville, Granny White,
Harpeth Hills, Hendersonville, Hermitage, Hillsboro, Jackson Park,
Northside, Madison, Mt. Juliet, Rivergate, Riverwood, Rural Hail,
Smith Springs, Tusculum, West End, Western Hills, West Nashville
Heights, White House, Wingate, Woodmont Hills, and Woodson Chapel.
The list above includes those who extended an invitation
to and supported the Billy Graham crusade (i.e., Harpeth Hills,
Smith Springs, Woodmont Hills) showing their affinity for
denominationalism, and those who opposed such a sinful extension of
fellowship. It includes those (Belmont) who left the faith decades
ago and who claim present day miracles with their own in-house
apostle (Don Finto) and those who know the falseness of
such a claim. It even includes a church (Hendersonville) and the
very ones who split that congregation and formed (the
Hendersonville) community church. Is it not possible that the
platform of ecumenical agnosticism promoted by the now dead
Jubilee will find greater acceptance with the youth
through ball playing? The commissioners' of the Nashville
area Church of Christ Athletic Leagues are (1) Softball
commissioner, Pat Waggoner, (2) Men's basketball commissioner, Mike
Bray, and (3) Junior High and High School basketball commissioner,
Lee Hickerson. Clearly, who's on first? also means
who's tending the flock?, Who's kidding whom?,
and for far too many it may mean who cares?
Copied from the monthly bulletin of the Dunlap church
of Christ, bulletin Briefs edited by Jim E. Waldron
Dunlap TN 37327.
From Mark McWhorter in Alabama...
Quoting (The Christian Chronicle, February
2003, pg.34, Bible Education Vital to Children as They Travel
Life's Rocky Road by Bailey McBride) we read: One
indication that the church has minimized attention to Bible school
is the fact that few congregations have a staff member whose
responsibility is the education ministry. ... Most churches rely
entirely on volunteers to handle all the matters of education for
the church. The goal of educating a church to know the Bible, to
grow in faith and to deal with the moral and spiritual issues of
life is too big for people who are volunteers. A trained, capable
person must organize the spiritual education of the church. Without
the continual development of program to teach the Bible so that God
becomes a personal reality to each member and so the history of
God's working with mankind from Adam through the Apostle John is as
familiar as family or national history all the other ministries
will eventually fail.
I think the church would be stronger in the next 20
years if a few large congregations would work together to develop
and eventually subsidize the publication of a Bible curriculum that
takes children from the nursery through high school. The materials
should be developed and tested as thoroughly as possible so that
the planners can be sure they are teaching the great principles and
lessons that will lead children to a life-sustaining faith. I
realize that some churches have devoted the time and resources
necessary for planning a strong curriculum, but I don't know of a
single congregation that has tested and revised the materials so
that outcomes are clear.
I join Mr. McBride in his concern for the Biblical
literacy of this generation and following generations. However, I
believe he has missed the boat with his solution. We do not need a
brotherhood curriculum. All this would lead to is the same failure
that the denominations have with their publishing houses. His
statement that volunteers are not capable of creating and teaching
a Bible curriculum is astonishing. Does he believe that for almost
2000 years the church has missed the boat on this? Where does God
command elders to find trained educators to organize
Bible curriculum and departments? This is the same kind of thinking
that has led to the belief that young people need a trained
youth worker. Schools are now giving degrees in Youth
Ministry. This will eventually lead to congregations requiring a
degreed person to work with their youth. Already we have
congregations requiring a Bible degree to preach. Next to come will
be Mr. Bailey's Education Director's degree.
I am not against education and higher degrees. But we are
rapidly sliding toward a professional clergy system in the church.
That will only lead to apostasy. When it is believed that a man is
not qualified to preach and teach until he has been ordained with
his degree, then there is a clergy-laity system.
Bob Spurlin (who has been bed-ridden since 1995 with MS) has
written another book entitled Don't Ever Give Up. It will
be off the press soon and will include subjects like: Losing a
child, Losing a spouse, The trouble with human suffering, Suffering
a bedridden existence, Challenge of a caregiver, Facing disorderly
children, Trouble in the modern family, etc. There are thought
questions at the close of each of the 13 chapters. The cost is
$11.50 (postage paid), $300 for a case. You can order these from:
Bob Spurlin, 2101 Glenwood Dr. SW, Hartselle, AL 35640,
Table of Contents
THE MORE I LOVE YOU,
THE LESS I AM LOVED!
James E. Farley
There is a terrible misunderstanding among people today
concerning love. Sadly, this is true even among those who name the
name of Jesus. Even when one speaks the truth in love, as did the
apostle Paul (Eph. 4:15), some become offended and will often judge
the speaker (preacher) as unloving and unkind. It happened during
the days of Christ, and it happened during the times of His
inspired apostles (Matt. 15:7-13; Gal. 4:16).
Some see love as overlooking error for fear of hurting
another's feelings. They will claim they are opposed to false
teachings and false teachers, but when one of their friends or
family members is associated with some false teaching or erroneous
group, they vacillate, hesitate and waver. They love them you see,
and they do not want to see them hurt. Never mind these false ones
are leading countless others straight to hell fire because of their
counterfeit ways. They don't really love all the others. In fact,
they don't really love the one they claim to love; they only have
fond feelings of friendship for them. What these have is not real
love at all, but some sort of emotional and subjective sentiment.
Real love always sounds out a warning of danger!
The Word of God says, My little children, let
us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in
truth (1 John 3:18). Real love is action. So, let us
notice some actions of true loving ones.
Real love caused Jesus to say, Beware of
false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly
they are ravening wolves (Matt. 7:15).
Real love caused the Lord to answer the scribes and
Pharisees with, Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy
of you saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth,
and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the
commandments of men (Matt. 15:7-9). It is true that
those who heard this were offended (Matt. 15:12); however, true
love motivated the Lord to say of them, Every plant which
my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up
It was love indeed that caused the righteous Stephen to
exclaim, Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and
ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so
do ye (Acts 7:51).
True love is why Paul wrote as he did in Romans
16:17-18, Mark them which cause divisions and offences
contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned and avoid them. For
they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own
belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of
Love, real love, is what motivated Paul to rebuke and
reprove the Galatians with, O foolish Galatians, who hath
bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth (Gal.
3:1)? It is what caused him to call names so that others might be
warned of false teachers (cf. 1 Tim. 1:19-20; 2 Tim. 2:16-18;
Yes indeed, these were loving ones and their words and
actions proved it! Still, some perceived them to be mean and even
vicious with their words and actions. They could not help this, for
no one can control the perceptions others may have of them. We must
know our motivation, and we must speak the truth in love (Eph.
4:15). We must have love for God, for Jesus Christ, for the church
of Christ, for the Bible, and love for the souls of men and women
everywhere. We must also proclaim the Word of Truth with boldness
(cf. Acts 19:8-10; Eph. 6:18-20). There is no contradiction in
speaking the Truth in love and in a bold manner. But some will
perceive you as unloving and as a trouble maker when you do. The
real trouble-makers are those who pervert the Gospel of Christ and
lead people away from the Truth of God (Gal. 1:6-10; 1 Kings
It seems when we love people enough to strongly warn
them of error, they love us less and less. Paul wrote,
And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the
more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved (2 Cor.
12:15). It has always been so. It will always be so.
P.O. Box 285
Crum, West Virginia 25669
Table of Contents
I would like to respond to Seeking in Searcy, AR
(March 2003 issue). I am a recent Harding graduate and
attended there from 1992-98. I was raised in a very conservation
church in Arkansas. When I first arrived, I still wore dresses
Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday and used the KJV Bible.
I had an extremely hard time fitting into a college that I had
always heard was the closest place to Heaven. Even though
I was raised in a conservative congregation, I had not heard many
strong sermons to teach against what I was hearing at Harding.
Eventually, I compromised so I could fit in. I started using a NIV
Bible and going to one of the most progressive churches in Searcy.
In the back of my mind, I always felt that something wasn't right
but I didn't know what it was. After I graduated in 1998, I then
went on to other cities and became a member of progressive
churches. However, in the year 2000 I was VERY blessed to meet a
man that was going to the Memphis School of Preaching. He was the
only one who ever had the courage to tell me what was wrong about
it all. I appreciated him so much that I married him! Today, I am
the wife of a VERY sound Gospel preacher and I thank the Lord
everyday. When I read the article from this Harding student, I
could sympathize. However, this Harding student is more grounded
than I was in the fact that he/she knows that Harding is wrong. I
am very proud of this student. My only concern is that if this
student stays at Harding, he/she will have to be VERY strong to not
succumb to the changing winds that are very prevalent at
Harding. I am amazed that someone that is so new in their faith is
as strong as this student is to KNOW that something is wrong.
Something is wrong and VERY wrong. Please do not let your friends,
teachers, Bible professors, chapel speakers, etc. tell you any
different! God bless you! ...Brenda Sprague, Bells, TN.
God be with you and all you do and thank you for walking
in and helping us to walk in the old paths. Thanks ...Phil
Vanwinkle, Burbank CA. Thank you all for your constancy
and perseverance. Teaching the truth often generates opposition and
anger from the other side, and I for one appreciate your love and
patience! Here in Page, Arizona, as in many small churches in the
West, there have been many difficulties. And, the fight goes on!
Enclosed please find a little help to keep up the good fight, and
from the church in Page. Thanks again ...Bob Ward, Page,
AZ. Would you please add my name to your mailing list.
Your choice of articles is superb for the times in which we are
living. It's so good to see the word preached in its purity and
simplicity. Thank you so much for the good work you do for the
brotherhood ...Ed Collins, Talladega, AL. I'm
the evangelist for the Crandon church of Christ in Wisconsin. I
receive your publication and enjoy it very much. We have 12
families here who are very dedicated to the Lord and to spreading
His gospel. I would like to see if you could send us enough copies
so all can enjoy reading it ...James Crawford, Crandon,
WI. I would like to express my gratitude for the
publishing of STOP. As many others have said, it is
difficult to find many to take a firm stand for the truth contained
in God's word and STOP does just that. The efforts put
out by the editor and writers of this publication are sincerely
appreciated by me and my family ...Steve Preston, GA.
Dear Brethren, I picked up a copy of your magazine at the
Dillon Church of Christ, Dillon, SC, a few Sundays ago. I have
really enjoyed reading it. Thank God someone is printing the truth.
Would you please add me to your mailing list ...Ray
Vanderpool, Rockingham, NC. So refreshing to find your
solid web site, Rom. 16:16 ...Walter & Glenda McAlister,
Mt. Vernon, IL. I think it is great ...Andrew
Lancaster, Albertville, AL. I appreciate you brethren at
East Corinth, and the Seek The Old Paths publication so
very much. May God continue to bless your righteous efforts
...Dennis Sargent, Pomeroy, Ohio. Keep up the good
work. Our congregation truly appreciates the STOP
publication. Additionally, our congregation has begun a new effort
called the Michigan Bible School. The need for solid, advanced
Biblical education up here is sorely needed. We begin our first
semester in January. We would appreciate your (and the brethren's)
prayers on the school's behalf. God bless in future efforts
...John Natiw, Michigan Bible School Co-Director, Plymouth, MI.
I believe your paper to be a good work and really
necessary in these times. I appreciate receiving it
...Wanda Clements, Sun City, AZ. I enjoy and have just
recently found your web page. I think you have some good and
applicable articles and would like to keep them on file. Do
appreciate the work that goes into keeping up this page.
Thanks ...Al Lawson. We feel the need for more
and better information to be given to the congregation on matters
to do with change agency, the community church movement, etc.
Please initiate a bundle of 30 copies. Thank you again and keep up
the good work ...Dennis Francis, Suffolk, VA. I
appreciate the good work of the East Corinth church of Christ.
Thank you for your very sound and informative publication in
Seek the Old Paths. Thank you. God speed to you as you
contend earnestly for the faith (Jude 3) ...Danny
Douglas, Elizabethtown, KY. STOP is such a
wonderful publication. I would like to thank you for the hard work
you put into this work! I know that many help in this work for the
kingdom, so I also thank them. In this world of make me feel
good, tell me what I want to hear and do not step on my toes
religion, your truthful publication is a sight for sore eyes!!
Please continue to speak as the oracles of God!! The
TRUTH and ONLY the TRUTH will lead us on to the PROMISED
LAND! May each and every soul come to the truth of God's Holy
Word, now, before it is everlasting too late! May God Bless You In
Every Way ...Greg Barnett. We just received our
latest copy of STOP and have read it through. All the articles are
excellent. Roger Campbell's article Response to an Inquiry
About the Use of Mechanical Instruments of Music in Worship is
very good. I couldn't help but think that if this person had a
thorough knowledge of the Bible then these trivial things wouldn't
even have been brought up ...Gloria Comstock, Cleveland,
OK. Thank you for your good work. May God bless you in
all you do ...Debbie Drake. It is very
refreshing to read the info posted on your website. In a world of
so much liberalism and apostasy,I thank God for your firm stand on
the doctrine ...R. L. Clark. I appreciate the
work you do with STOP. Keep it up! Your Friend In
Christ ...Ron Hall. Thanks for the web site. I
listen to the singing and lessons ...W. C. Chilton,
McMinnville. TN. God bless and keep up the good work
...Eddy Craft, Elizabethton, TN. I have been
receiving STOP for about a year now and have been so
impressed with the articles and the issues that it covers, and
their relevancy to the church. Please add this list of names to
your mailing list. Once again thank you for a great
publication ...Rodney Odom, Hohenwald, TN.
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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