Does The END Justify The MEANS?
Do you believe in the axiom that The end
justifies the means? There are many people in the
religious world who would subscribe to that faulty concept without
one word of objection. Almighty God has never permitted mankind to
set aside, corrupt, substitute or pervert the true way of doing His
will by substituting some other way. This prohibition is dealt with
in the statement of our Lord when he said, But in vain do
they worship me teaching for doctrine the commandments of men
(Matt. 15:9). Jesus is saying, you do not have the right
to change, alter or circumvent what I have declared to be my will
We surely understand what Jesus meant by the word
vain. So much of the work and worship of proud man is
vain, empty, useless and void of worth. How desperately we need to
study the Bible lest we be found among the multitudes who are
condemned because of their vanity.
Mankind can be obsessed and overwhelmed with the
spirit of vainglory. The Bible condemns such an attitude. Every
creed, cult, sect and denomination on earth is the result of men
assuming to speak and act in the place of Jehovah God.
The history of mankind is woven with so many cases
where foolish people decided that the end justified the means. If
the end results were great and good, then whatever means were
necessary to augment or bring about the good were deemed to be
acceptable. Such thinking is downright silly, preposterous and
We believe Jehovah wanted Cain and Abel to worship
Him. Abel utilized the proper means prescribed by the Lord (Heb.
11:4). Did Cain not worship? He did, but his worship was not
acceptable. Are we so demented as not to know why Cain was
rejected? Did the end justify whatever means popped into the head
One of the most preposterous and ungodly activities
ever promulgated by proud and vain man is recorded in I Kings
12:26-33. Jeroboam made two calves of gold and set one up in Bethel
and the other in Dan. The rightful place to worship God was in
Jerusalem. Jeroboam decided to change matters. He wanted the people
to worship, but he desired them to accept his way. Should the
people have attempted to worship? Indeed so! They had no authority
however, to follow after the changes which Jeroboam made. The
ultimate end was worship. The evil means were whatever the wicked
Jeroboam wanted. The foolish people followed their great change
agent. How typical! It matters not how putrid and ungodly a plan
and practice might be, gullible people will swallow the plan and
chatter like a cage of monkeys as they say, look at all the
good that is being done.
The Israelites were in desperate need of water. God
told Moses to, speak to the rock (Num. 20:8).
Moses desperately desired water for the complaining people. He
said, must we bring water for you out of this rock
(v.10)? God was displeased with Moses. The end
result was to get water. The means was given by Jehovah, but Moses
circumvented what Jehovah said. How many millions are doing the
same as Moses?
The book of Malachi presents a number of situations
wherein the people decided to change the plan, pattern and purposes
of Jehovah. We might be able to learn some much needed lessons if
we would study the Bible.
We believe in the God who is all-wise and
all-powerful. When God purposed the church of Christ, He was not
deficient nor limited in His wisdom to purpose, plan and perfect
the church to be sufficient for mankind, even to the end of time,
...throughout all ages, world without end
(Eph. 3:21). Some modern infidels go so far as to question the
perfection of the church as purchased by Christ. Brother F. D.
Srygley said such complaints and questionings were pure
Back in 1849, as the result of old D. S. Burnett
working so hard to set up a system similar to that which he had
left in the Baptist Church, the Missionary Society was started to
do the work which God had ordained for the church to do. Division
was the result. Fraud, greed, graft, theft and every evil work
resulted from the establishment of the man-made society. A gang of
reprobates to the truth decided that the end justified the means.
Alexander Campbell had witnessed the many social
efforts which had been tacked on to the denominations and for some
years he lifted his pen in opposition to such things. The clarion
call of Campbell was to speak where the Bible speaks and be
silent where the Bible is silent. The constant plea of
Campbell was to restore ...the ancient order of things.
Campbell knew there was no such thing as a missionary
society back during the first century. He reasoned that the church
was all-sufficient for all time to do the work God wanted to be
In the year 1823, Campbell wrote the preface to
The Christian Baptist, a paper which Campbell would
publish for some years. It is significant to read some of the
statements of the editor which we will present. In speaking of the
early church, Campbell declared:
The churches were not fractured into missionary
societies, Bible societies, education societies, nor did
they dream of organizing such in the world.
They dare not transfer to a missionary society or Bible
society, or education society, a cent or a prayer, lest in
doing so they should rob the church of its glory and exalt
the inventions of men above the wisdom of God. In their
church capacity alone, they moved. The church they
considered the pillar and ground of the truth.
They viewed it as the temple of the Holy Spirit, as the
house of the living God. They considered if they did all
they could do in this capacity, they have nothing left for
any other object of a religious nature.
The New Testament teaches us that the association
called the church of Jesus Christ is in propria
forma the only institution of God left on earth
to illuminate and reform the world...when spiritual men,
i.e. men having spiritual gifts, or as termed, miraculous
gifts were withdrawn, this institution was left on earth as
the grand scheme of Heaven, to enlighten and reform the
With regard to Bible societies, they are the most
specious and plausible of all the institutions of this age.
No man who loves the Bible can refrain from rejoicing at its
increasing circulation. But every Christian who understands
the nature and design, the excellence and glory of the
institution called the Church of Jesus Christ will lament to
see its glory transferred to a human corporation. The church
is robbed of its character by every institution merely
human, that would ape its excellence and substitute itself
in its place.
The church of the living God is thus independent of all
theological schools and colleges for its existence,
enlargement, comfort, and perfection; for it is itself put
in possession of all the means of education and
accomplishments, if these means be wisely used.
An individual church or congregation of Christs
disciples is the only ecclesiastical body recognized in the
New Testament. Such a society is the highest court of Christ
From the preceding statements, we can see that
Campbell rejected the societies and machinations of men which were
in abundance among the denominations.
At one time Campbell favored the missionary societies.
In 1824 he wrote, I did contribute my mite and my effort to
the popular missionary cause, until my conscience forbade me from
its acquiescence with the abuses of the principle.
A reader of the Christian Baptist wrote Campbell on
April 24, 1824 and said, I regret exceedingly the opposition
you have made to the missionary and Bible society cause. It has
greatly injured your usefulness, and put into the hands of your
paido-Baptist opposers a weapon to break the heads of the
For the earnest student of Restoration History, one
can see the vacillating, changing, on-again, off-again, disposition
of Campbell with respect to the Missionary Society.
The Missionary Society began in Cincinnati, Ohio, in
1849. In 1858, D. S. Burnet wrote, we now have our bible,
Missionary, and tract institutions, and brother Campbell himself
has accepted the presidency of one of them.
Every possible ruse which the liberal digressive
element could employ was used in an effort to sustain the Society
but not one sensible, sober, sane and scriptural argument was ever
given. The church was split wide open by foolish men who had no
regard whatsoever for the concept of Bible unity. God planned,
purposed and perfected the church of Christ to serve as His
missionary agent even unto the end of the world.
Tell me one thing ordained of God which foolish men
have not corrupted. The means given by Jehovah, have never pleased
some men. Such has resulted in the curse of denominationalism. For
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Mt. Juliet, TN 37122
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Table of Contents
Blessings Of A Righteous Life
Garland M. Robinson
James 1:17 reads, Every good gift and every
perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of
lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of
turning. All our blessings come from God. We cannot
attribute anything to ourselves. It is not of our own
accomplishment that we have what we have. Those who think otherwise
are foolish indeed!
The blessings and rewards of a righteous life a
faithful life with the Lord is rich indeed.
As a righteous servant of the Lord, we do not fear the
powers that be in civil government. Since we live
unto the Lord (Rom. 14:8), we abide by the laws of the land
that is, unless they conflict with Gods laws then we obey
God rather than man (Acts 5:29). We dont have to run from the
law because weve stolen someones property (Eph. 4:28). We
dont have to be afraid of the IRS because weve cheated on
our taxes (Rom. 13:6-7). We dont fear the hatred and malice of
another human being because weve committed adultery with their
wife or husband (I Cor. 6:18; Rom. 13:9).
As a righteous servant of the Lord, we do not fear
contracting lung, throat or mouth cancer because we puffed on
tobacco or chewed on its leaves. We dont fear getting aids
because of acts of sodomy. Were not concerned about
contracting hepatitis or having deformed children because were
shared dirty needles of drug users. It never enters our mind of
getting drunk and killing someone on the highway because we love
the taste of alcohol. A life of righteousness is far removed from
all these things. They pose no threat or danger to our lives.
Sleeping with a clear conscience is a blessing. Can
you imagine how many people go to bed at night in fear and anguish?
They are in continuous turmoil and misery. They are constantly
reminded that their ungodly life may catch up with them and they
will be found out and have to pay the price. This is not the case
with Christians. We sleep good at night. We are at peace with
ourselves and all men. We delight in the joy that is unspeakable.
Being a righteous servant of the Lord brings the
confidence and peace that can only come from the Lord. We have no
fear of what men may do to us because they cannot harm our soul.
Jesus said, And fear not them which kill the body, but
are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to
destroy both soul and body in hell (Matt. 10:28). The
writer of Hebrews declared that if the Lord is our helper, then we
should not fear what men can do to us (13:6). Jesus told the church
at Smyrna, Fear none of those things which thou shalt
suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that
ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou
faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life
(Rev. 2:10). Paul told the church at Philippi, And
in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an
evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of
God (Phil. 1:28). He writes the church at Rome saying,
If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared
not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not
with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to
the charge of Gods elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he
that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen
again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh
intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or
nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we
are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the
slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors
through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death,
nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things
present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other
creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which
is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:31-29).
As a righteous servant of the Lord, our roots sink
deep in the love of the Lord, we have the peace that passeth all
understanding which shall keep our hearts and minds through Christ
Jesus (Phil. 4:7). Oh, what a blessing to be at peace with the
Being a righteous servant of the Lord brings upon us
all spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3). These are the most precious
because they are eternal. No matter what happens to us in this life
physically, a faithful Christian enjoys showers of spiritual
The forgiveness of our sins is one such blessing. When
Jesus shed his blood on the cross, it was for all humanity. The
Hebrew writer recorded, But we see Jesus, who was made a
little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned
with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste
death for every man (Heb. 2:9; cf. Rom. 8:32; II Cor.
5:14-15). Jesus himself said, For this is my blood of the
new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of
sins (Matt. 26:28).
Having the remission of sins means we do not have to
pay the penalty for our sins. Eternal separation from God is the
price to be paid. But, Jesus redeems those who obey him. To the
church at Ephesus Paul wrote, In whom we have redemption
through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches
of his grace (Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14).
An eternal home in heaven is a reward that is beyond
comprehension. Our loving heavenly Father so richly grants us the
ability to be there with him for ever more. For so an
entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the
everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ
(I Peter 1:11).
As a righteous servant of the Lord, our design is to
praise God. In the Psalms we read: Ye that fear
the LORD, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and
fear him, all ye the seed of Israel (22:23).
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts
with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name
(100:4). Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the name of the
LORD; praise him, O ye servants of the LORD (135:1).
Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise
him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts:
praise him according to his excellent greatness (Psalm
150:1-2). Hebrews 13:15 tells us, By him therefore let us
offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the
fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
As a righteous servant of the Lord, our design is to
bring glory to God. At the birth of Jesus, a multitude of
the heavenly host was found praising God ...saying, Glory
to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward
men (Luke 2:13-14). Only one of the ten lepers that were
healed turned back to glorify God (Luke 17:18). Romans 4:20 tells
us a strong faith brings glory to God.
We should be aware that our whole life should bring
glory to God. Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or
whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God (I Cor.
10:31). If we dont do that now in this life, one day we will.
But then it will be too late. Philippians 2:11 tells us that
...every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to
the glory of God the Father. Jude writes, Now
unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you
faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To
the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and
power, both now and for ever. Amen (Jude 24-25).
We bring glory to God in the church.
Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all
ages, world without end (Eph. 3:21). This is not done in
institutions of human origin. We do not bring glory to God in
fraternal organizations or government agencies. Some of these
organizations do good works in the community, but that is not where
God receives the glory. The church of Christ does its own work so
that God receives the glory, not some super organization that man
As Christians, we are His people and the sheep of His
pasture. We live lives of righteousness which bring forth fruit in
Glory, glory, glory! Praise be unto our God. He is the
God of all gods of those who call themselves gods, but are not
Table of Contents
Roger D. Campbell
Have you ever been asked, What is the difference
between the church of Christ and other denominations? Many of
us have. Or, maybe someone has asked you, Is it true that the
church of Christ does not have music like all the other
denominations do? Perhaps someone has inquired, Why
doesnt the church of Christ celebrate Easter like most other
I always appreciate the opportunity to answer
questions that are presented by people that have a genuine desire
to learn the truth about the Lords church or any other Bible
topic. That being said, did you notice that each of the three
questions stated above involves a misconception? That false idea is
revealed in the word other. When people talk about the
church of Christ and other denominations, what are they
doing? They are speaking of the church as if it were a
denomination. They are lumping the Lords church right in with
We are not surprised to hear denominational people
speak of the Lords church as if it were a denomination. It is
disappointing, though, sometimes frustrating to no end, to hear
members of the church speak of the church of Christ and other
denominations. Brethren, leave off the word other
and the statements are fine. Leave off the word other and
it makes a clear distinction between the Lords body and those
institutions that men began.
Biblically speaking, the church that Jesus built is
not a denomination (Matt. 16:18). Why, no, it is not part of the
whole family of God: the church of Christ IS the family of God (I
Tim. 3:15). The church is not part of the saved, it IS the saved
(Eph. 5:23). The church which Jesus bought with His own blood (Acts
20:28) is not a denomination, it is not a part of a denomination,
it is not made up of denominations, and it has no fellowship with
When people make false statements or imply false
things about the church, I try to pick my spots in showing them
that their terminology or reasoning is not accurate. But, when we
speak, brethren, let us make certain that we speak correctly.
Please, it is not the church of Christ and other
denominations. Leave off the word other and you will
have it right: the church of Christ and denominations.
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Cleveland, TN 37323
Table of Contents
MEN OF SPIRITUAL CHARACTER
Bill Jackson, deceased
If one reads in Acts 2, with the establishment of the
church, and reads the New Testament in order, he will learn of the
existence of the leadership, of their work and responsibilities,
and of their being over the saints in the work of the Lord. He will
be missing the details as to the life and character qualities God
expects, until he comes to the epistles of Timothy and Titus. It is
not our purpose to examine each qualification and give a treatment
of it [see I Tim. 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9 for the specific
qualifications]. Rather, we want to see the character God
envisions, in the overall. Regarding the qualifications:
1) There is but one Christian character.
All who belong to God are to be of that character, whether male or
female, young or old. We have stated the express words in I Timothy
and Titus and when men notice that the I Timothy list is slightly
longer, they dare not assume contradiction. In fact, in
the fullest defining of some of the character qualities, there
would be an overlapping. But since there is the one Christian
character, we can know that the men who are vigilant, of good
behavior, patient, controlled, with proper view of this worlds
goods, experienced in the faith and with a good report from
non-members (I Tim.), would also be the men who are just, holy,
temperate, loving good, not self-willed and not soon angry (Titus).
Our point is further made in realizing that in the definitions of
some of the words, as vigilant (I Tim.), we find the word
temperate, which is also used in Titus 1. Likewise, when
one reads the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5), and then the graces for
the Christians life (II Peter 1), there is some variance in
the wording between the two, but there is no contradiction. One who
has the graces of II Peter 1 will bear the fruit of Galatians 5,
and vice versa.
2) Focusing on the men, the elements of Christian
character stated for an elder are to be in all Christian men.
Notice we said, elements of character, for it is clear
that a faithful Christian man may be single, may be a new convert,
and, due to his newness in the faith, have as yet no skills in
teaching. There is one point of emphasis here: A man in the church
may not possess the elements of Christian character due to his just
beginning in the faith, or due to carelessness and neglect, or due
to outright sin in his life but an elder MUST have these
qualities in life, else he cannot serve as an elder!
3) Blamelessness Clearly, the Lord is
not stating that for one to become an elder, he must be some kind
of super-human, never making a mistake. Whoever is
selected has made mistakes, and will make some in the future. The
word refers to the examining of ones life, and finding no
cause for reproach, there being no glaring character defect. Surely
most of Gods children are blameless in life, and indeed, it is
required of each and every child of God (Phil. 2:15). Once more,
any member of the church, through their own fault, might not be
blameless, but an elder MUST be!
4) A word on desire Actually,
to reach for, try to gain something. No man should be
appointed who has no desire to serve, but thats true
concerning an elder, deacon, preacher, or Bible class teacher. We
should have a desire to serve in whatever capacity we undertake. We
hasten to point out that through growth, understanding of the work
of the kingdom and the eldership, encouragement given to men, etc.,
proper desire is developed within one. It is far, far better to
have that desire thus developed by growth, encouragement and urging
of faithful brethren, than for a man to have desire on
his own and then begin running for the office.
5) The faithful children
Remember, as we have seen, that an elder is one who is older, has
been in the faith for such time as to have manifest Christian
character in all of its qualities, and has such abilities as to
teach through exhorting the flock and convicting the gainsayer of
his sin. The word faithful in Titus 1:6 is used
throughout the New Testament to refer to those faithful in
Christ. There is no doubt, in view of the above, that God
desired men who had demonstrated in their own homes, and in their
own children, the ability to teach and lead them into the Christ,
and thus the faithful children are those who are obedient
to the Gospel.
6) Wives and children We do not believe
that it is an accident that, in the context wherein elders and
deacons are mentioned, a word is given concerning wives.
A point has already been made concerning elders children. The
Bible does not teach a double-standard indeed, there is but one
Christian character. However, wives and children should live their
lives with an awareness of their husband/fathers position, and
not desiring to adversely reflect upon the husband and/or father
should help motivate one in godly living. Would we not expect the
same, even in secular matters? The mayors wife and children
have the same citizenship standard before them as does everyone
else, but I would expect the mayors family of all people, to
understand what is involved and to conduct themselves respectful of
his position. The chief of polices family come under the same
obligation to be law-abiding as does everyone else, but I would
expect his family, of all people, to live in accord with the law,
being mindful of his position. Should we expect less in Gods
Kingdom, of the families of elders and deacons?
One other word: there is no New Testament office of
elders wife. He must have a wife, but she remains
just that: his wife. The godly woman recognizes this, and would
neither have an officious [meddlesome] air, nor would she
find herself speaking for her husband. Her role remains
that of an helpmeet to him, and especially supportive in view of
the added responsibility he now has.
[Elders Those Who Watch over Souls,
Table of Contents
Questions About Elders And Deacons
#1 What Is the Nature of Elders and Their Work?
...We need to identify the men, and from a perspective
of what the New Testament says about their work. These are offered
1) Elders occupy an office in the New Testament
church. The office is established by God, with both the work
and the nature of the men set forth plainly in the New Testament.
In re-visiting the congregations established in an initial visit,
Paul, on his first missionary journey, saw to it that
...they...ordained them elders in every church (Acts
14:23). Pointing young preachers to the work before them, Paul
stresses the qualifications and some of the work to be embraced by
elders (I Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-11). The apostle pointed out that
the selecting of elders would be a setting in order a
matter that was lacking (Titus 1:5).
2) Elders are to be spiritual men. Our
emphasis is on the word spiritual, and it must be. Far
too many congregations have rushed to select men, all the while
noting the points of I Timothy 3 and Titus 1, but with little
emphasis on the spirituality of the men. All qualifications are
given in the word, and must be noted, but it should not be the case
that the mans marital status and having believing children
topped off with his being good in money matters
virtually assures his selection. CHARACTER qualities are most
vital, and many congregations have learned to their sorrow that
trouble came, not as regards whether the man had a wife or
children, nor as to his business like manner, but in behavior
completely contrary to the character qualities God sets forth.
3) Elders are to do a spiritual work. Once
more, the men are to be of spiritual quality because theirs is to
be a spiritual work. The meaning is that the men must be selected
in view of the work that is before them. They need to know what
that work is, and the congregation needs to know the same. The
points were now making all come together in this: Men who are
non-spiritual will not be able to do the spiritual work God gives
them to do!
[Bill Jackson, Elders:
Those Who Watch over Souls, pp.9,10].
#2 How May Elders Lord It over the Flock? (I Peter
Peter admonished the elders, one of whom he was, to
serve with a ready mind, neither as lording it over the charge
allotted to them, but as ensamples to the flock.
Verse 2 of this context forbids elders to perform their duties from
base and sordid motives of avarice and greed, and verse 3 warns
them of unseemly ambition and abuse of powers. The words,
lording it over, translate a Greek word which means
to rule highhandedly and autocratically and from an arrogant and
domineering spirit. Men in positions of power are often
tempted to do this, an example of which will be seen in III John 9.
The charge allotted was the congregation where the elders
served. Instead of exhibiting a spirit of arrogance in their work,
they were to be ensamples (patterns of conduct) for the
rest, even as they seek to follow the pattern of Christ, the
chief Shepherd (I Peter 5:4).
What is forbidden in the foregoing text is the abuse
of authority, and not the proper use thereof. To cite this passage,
as some today do, as proof that elders are without any authority in
directing the affairs of the congregation, is utterly to
misapprehend the apostles teaching. To deny to elders the
proper exercise of oversight in the congregation is as much a
perversion of New Testament teaching as it is for elders to abuse
their rights and privileges through improper seizure of authority
(Heb. 13:7,17). There are tendencies in the church today toward
both extremes, each of which ought to be strictly curbed. Peter by
no means forbade the oversight every congregation must have in
order to properly discharge its responsibilities and the consequent
exercise of authority such oversight entails. He sought to restrain
the excesses and abuses which may, and often do, result from such;
and he directed attention to the fact that the power of a good
example in the congregation is much more effective than the mere
show of authority, and that to exhibit it in life is the best
guarantee against abuses.
[Guy N. Woods,
Questions and Answers, Vol. II, pp.155,156]
#3 I Timothy 3:3,8 Not Given to Wine, and
Not Given to Much Wine
In listing the qualifications of elders and deacons,
Paul states that an elder is not to be given to wine (I
Tim. 3:3; Titus 1:7), and that deacons are not to be given to
much wine (I Tim. 3:8).
1) Those who insist there is nothing wrong with social
drinking use (I should say misuse) these verses to support their
contention. Why should the apostle say not to be given to wine, or
not to be given to much wine if even small amounts would be sinful?
To these, the condemnation of excessive drinking is justification
for drinking moderate (?) amounts. Dont get drunk!
means it is perfectly alright to drink a little bit.
2) Argument refuted: To be consistent, those advocates
would have you to affirm: Be not over much wicked (Eccl.
7:17), means it is alright to be moderately wicked! Let not
sin therefore reign in your mortal body (Rom. 6:12) means
there is nothing wrong with sin, so long as it does not take
control of ones life! Be not conformed to this world
(Rom. 12:2) means that worldliness in moderate amounts is alright,
but it would be wrong for one to be completely conformed to this
If drinking any amount of alcoholic beverages is
wrong, then why did not Paul say that elders and deacons should not
drink wine at all? Because such would most certainly have been
misunderstood the word wine meaning what it does in the Bible.
Paul did not intend to prohibit drinking wine; but, remember that
wine in the Bible is simply the juice of the grape. Under the law
of Moses, the Nazarite could not drink wine (grape juice) at all.
In fact, he could not eat grapes, even if they were dried (Num.
6:3). This is not what Paul was enjoining upon elders and deacons
in the Lords church. That is why he did not forbid drinking
The expression, not given to wine in I Timothy
3:3 and Titus 1:7 in the King James version, translates the Greek
word paroinos, which means literally by or beside
wine. A marginal note says, ready to quarrel, and offer
wrong, as one in wine. The American Standard Version renders
the word, no brawler, instead of not given to
wine. The use of this particular Greek word lends absolutely
no support to the idea that drinking alcoholic beverages in small
amounts is acceptable.
The expressions, not given to wine, and
not given to much wine, differ more in the Greek than
they do in the English. The former seems to be, in the Greek, a
reference to the brawling disposition which results from drinking
alcoholic beverages; the latter seems to refer to the hold which
alcohol has on those who have imbibed it freely. The distinction
between the two expressions is certainly not a distinction between
the amounts of alcoholic beverages to which elders and deacons
respectively can be addicted.
One other observation with reference to these verses
is in order. If the social drinkers argument is any good, then
what he has proved is not merely that one can drink moderately, but
that he can be moderately addicted. If not given to much
wine means one can drink a little bit, then it also means one
can be a little bit addicted. Is the social drinker ready to accept
this logical conclusion of his argument? What proves too much
Difficult Texts of the New Testament Explained,
Wendell Winkler, editor, pp.51-53]
#4 What Does It Mean To Be A Blameless
Bishop? (Titus 1:6)
In New Testament parlance, a bishop is the same as an
elder. Observe that Titus was to appoint elders in Crete
(1:5), and that as bishops these men should be blameless
(1:7). Circle the two terms and connect them with a line. As a
cross-reference write: see Acts 20:17,28. The term elder
suggests an older, mature man, while the word bishop
means to oversee, and so suggests the supervisorial capacity of the
But what does blameless denote? Well it
obviously does not demand spiritual/moral perfection, for then no
man would ever qualify for this divinely ordained role. Rather, the
word is employed in a relative sense. The elder must be a godly man
against whom no known breach of fidelity can be charged. He will
have faults. He may even sin publicly occasionally see I Tim.
5:19,20 and if he does, he is to be rebuked. Overall, however,
the elder will be an exceptionally spiritual man to whom the church
can look for leadership and example. His qualifications are not
only set forth in Titus 1, but also in parallel section of I
Timothy chapter 3. Underline blameless and marginally
note: Not perfect, but spiritually mature.
Notes from the Margin of My Bible, Vol. II, p.136]
Table of Contents
The Eldership, The Qualifications
H. Leo Boles, deceased
The weighty responsibilities that rest upon the eldership
necessarily imply high qualifications of character. Any group of
men who are vested with the authority to oversee a congregation of
saints must be qualified in heart and life to perform such
responsible work. Too little attention has been given to the
qualifications of elders. The elders themselves have neglected
these qualifications and the congregations have oftentimes ignored
them. Self-seeking men who desired prominence and preeminence in
the church have pushed themselves, with the help of a few
politicians, into the position of elders. Only evil can result when
such a course has been followed. The time has come when there
should be a reformation in the eldership of the congregation. The
qualifications as given in the New Testament must not be ignored.
There are very few qualifications listed for the
elders which do not belong to all Christians. This shows that the
standard for elders is not higher than that for Christians.
Sometimes it is argued that no man can attain to the high standard
as described by the Holy Spirit in giving the qualifications. The
Holy Spirit has never required of man anything that man could not
do. God encourages man to measure up to this high standard. It
ought to be the goal of every Christian to attain unto such a
standard as is described herein. Men were found in New Testament
times who met with these requirements. Men who were converted to
Christianity from heathenism were soon developed into material for
elders; they soon measured up to the high standard outlined by
these qualifications. If men converted from idolatry then could
attain unto the standard that the Holy Spirit gave for elders, why
cannot men who were reared in Christian homes by Christian parents
and taught the word of God from their youth up soon develop into
elders now? We must conclude that there were men who met these
qualifications then, or else the Holy Spirit would not have listed
these qualifications and instructed Timothy and Titus to appoint
such men as elders. The fact that the eldership was to continue,
that it was a permanent feature of the New Testament church, is
proof positive that men can attain unto the high standard of the
eldership in the church today.
Some have been discouraged when they understood the high
standard of qualifications of elders and have refused to serve as
elders. Such should not be discouraged, but should strive the
harder to measure up to these qualifications. Others have argued
that these qualifications cannot be found in any brother today and
that there should be a number of elders selected, who, combining
all the elders, may have all the qualifications. But the
qualifications mentioned should belong to each man. Why should not
a brother have a good report from those who are without the church?
Why should he not so live that even those who do not accept the
Christian religion would see merit in his character? Why should he
not be apt to teach, temperate, blameless, holy, just, a lover of
good, patient, given to hospitality, sober, vigilant, and a good
husband and father? Why should not every brother control his
temper, yield his judgment to others, be a man of peace, refrain
from covetousness, and be free from strong drink? There are no
impossible qualifications for elders.
[The Eldership of the Churches of
The qualifications for the office of an elder are all
prescribed by the apostle Paul in the third chapter of 1st Timothy
and the first chapter of Titus. They are distributable into six
natural divisions. ... They are distinguished as they relate
respectively to Experience, Reputation, Domestic Relations,
Character, Habits, and Ability to Teach and Rule.
[J. W. McGarvey, A Treatise on
the Eldership, p.53]
Table of Contents
Dear Brother Garland, Hope all is well with you. All is good
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