THE CHURCH IS NOT A BUSINESS
Congregations of the Lords church must conduct
business. They have bills to pay and items to purchase. They have
overhead and salaries and insurances to consider. Leaders often
meet for business meetings. But the Lords church
is not primarily a business. If we forget this fact we are in
danger of departure from the Lords pattern.
Many in the denominational world have long since gone the
way of professional business: As Adam McClane puts it:
- Churches hire HR professionals...
- Churches acquire other churches.
- Churches hire MBAs to be Executive
- Churches hire CPAs to run their finance
- Churches hire advertising executives to run their
marketing departments. Churches have departments!
- Churches have board rooms, safe rooms, and even war
There are many, even in the denominational world, who see
the error of this:
- The Church has been using business models for a long
time. It has been quite fashionable for church leaders
to borrow jargon, organizational structures, mission
and vision foci, and leadership styles from the
business world in recent memory. In this paradigm,
making disciples of Jesus Christ is equated with
selling a product or service.2
- ...Maybe the problem was when we thought that it would
be a good idea for the church to follow business models
in the first place. Maybe what we should do is stop
trying to be like the business world and start trying
to be the church. Maybe God has a better model for the
church than a market-driven consultation
- When our leaders think in business terms, we ought not
be surprised when they act like corporate executives
and our parishioners act like consumers. We are not
peddlers for God. Neither are parishioners people who
ought to be shopping for the next best
This article is not against wise stewardship. As
individuals, we must be good stewards of the manifold grace of
God (1 Peter 4:10). If we should be thus in our households,
regarding our own private affairs, how much more important is it
that we exercise stewardship over the Lords money and
We must acknowledge at the outset that many principles
from the business world come under the heading of good
stewardship. Keeping overhead low, avoiding wasteful practices,
making necessary purchases in a wise way all of these are
things we must be concerned about. In addition, many principles
of salesmanship are also natural and scriptural elements in the
spreading of the Gospel.
But still, we must insist that the Lords church is
not a business. 1) It is not to be MARKETED as the
business world markets itself. 2) It is not based on a BUSINESS
MODEL. And 3) DECISIONS for the body must not be based primarily
on business principles. These three points will provide us with
Marketing is not the same as selling or salesmanship. There
are 4 Ps to marketing: Product, Place, Price, and Promotion.
Marketing is the process of adjusting these 4 things to reach the
greatest number of consumers.5 The trouble with
bringing this over into the church is that we do not have
Gods authority to adjust these things.
- With the goal of attracting people to the church, some have
tried to make adjustments to the Product. This has
resulted in efforts to make the Gospel less offensive and
more appealing and to leave out hard doctrines regarding
hell and sin and guilt. Gods word has been forever
settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89). We have no right to add
to, take away from, or adjust it in any way. It is the word
of God (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
- Some have tried to adjust the Place to something more
acceptable to the masses. People who dont like to
go to church may accept house churches, cottage
groups, gymnasium or theater-like atmospheres, so long as
they dont feel like they are going to church. There is
nothing wrong in meeting in any of these places. The church
is not the building, it is the people of God (1 Peter 2:5).
But if the church is not the building, why put so much
emphasis on a different type of building to meet in? To meet
in a gymnasium or a theater in an effort to substitute the
solemn, holy atmosphere of worship with a casual,
sensational, show-time, entertainment atmosphere is
- Similarly, some try to modify the Price, i.e the
demands the Gospel makes. The Gospel demands self-sacrifice
(Luke 14:25-33). The Gospel demands that adulterous
relationships, drunkenness, dancing, gambling and all other
sins be left behind (Matt. 19:9; 1 Cor. 6:9-11). We can
preach a Gospel that does not demand such a high price, but
it is not the Gospel of Christ; and, it will not save
mens souls (Rom. 1:16; Gal. 1:6-9).
- There are also those who want to change biblical
soul-winning to worldly, wild, all-out, no-holds-barred
Promotion. The concept of worldly promotion has
resulted in bribery to get visitors to attend, smoke
machines and zoo animals in the worship, and a host of
unscriptural ministries that we can advertise to
bring people in. In an effort to compete with worldly
advertisers, church groups have chosen professional singers
instead of congregational singing (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16) and
professional entertainers instead of Gospel preachers (2
Tim. 4:2). God never authorized these approaches to
market the Gospel (Col. 3:17). The more we try to
compete with the world, the more worldly we become. Do we
really want a membership that comes because of the attended
nursery, the free donuts, and the great jokes and stories
the preacher tells?
Actually, there are various business models, but there is
only one pattern for the Lords church. The Hebrew writer
makes this point with extreme clarity and a very pointed warning.
First, he points to the admonition from the physical mountain
(Mt. Sinai) that Moses was to see that the tabernacle was made
after a certain pattern (Heb. 8:5). Then he contrasts that
physical mountain and that physical tabernacle with a spiritual
mountain and the spiritual kingdom, the church. His warning? If
they had to be careful to follow the pattern given them from Mt.
Sinai, how much more careful should we be to see that ye
refuse not him that speaketh...from heaven (Heb. 12:25).
There are those who try to make fun of the pattern
concept, but those who do so will not escape punishment. This is
the precise point the writer of Hebrews is making follow
the pattern, or else.
We are on this earth to serve God acceptably with
reverence and godly fear (Heb. 12:28). The church is a
We cannot accept any changes to the structure of the
church as laid down in the New Testament.
- It is not run by a board.
- It does not answer to its shareholders.
- Its mission statement is not self-defined; it is
defined by God.
- Its vision must be the vision of God, grasped by
- Its articles of incorporation are not subject to
- Each congregation is autonomous. Our only head is
Christ (Eph. 5:23).
- Our only headquarters is in heaven where our head is
- All Authority in the church is vested in Christ (Matt.
28:18), and is exercised only through the Scriptures or
through the scriptural delegation of authority to elders
(Heb. 13:7,17; Acts 20:28; et al).
- Elders are authorized to oversee only the flock which
is among them (of which they are members) (1 Peter
- Qualified deacons are appointed as special servants for
special jobs (1 Tim. 3:8-13).
- The concept of pillar churches or one congregation
meeting in two or more locations is contrary to the Bible
Sometimes members think their contribution entitles them to
decision making authority. In the Lords church, such
authority rests with those men who have been scripturally
qualified and appointed as elders (1 Peter 5:2; Heb. 13:17).
Control of the church cannot be bought by large contributions or
sold to the highest donors.
Since the Lords church is a theocracy, decisions
must be made according to Gods will. Many times this will be
in harmony with good business sense. However, there are times
when doing the right thing, i.e. following Gods will, will
run counter to and even fly in the face of good
1. Decisions about discipline Church
discipline is not an optional matter. The commands of God are
plain. We are to withdraw ourselves from every brother or sister
who refuses to live according to New Testament teaching and those
who teach false doctrine (Matt. 18:15-17; 1 Cor. 5 þ esp. verse
11; 2 Thess. 3:6,14-15; Rom. 16:17-18; Titus 3:10; 2 John 9-11).
Too often elders think they have the right to decide
whether or not to practice these commands. They do not have this
Too often elders make such decisions on the basis of
what they think is good for business. They dont want to
cause strife, they might lose too many members, outsiders might
react negatively, the contribution might go down, etc. One elder
told me, If we practice church discipline, well be
the laughingstock of this whole area.
It might be good business to be concerned about such
things, but the church is not a business. Shepherds must be more
concerned about souls for whom they must give account (Heb.
13:17) and the answer they must give to the Chief Shepherd (1
Peter 5:1-4), than they are about what others may think.
2. Decisions about Doctrine Doctrine has
been determined by God. There are no decisions to be made in this
area. In watching over the flock, elders are to feed the flock
and to protect it from false teachers (Acts 20:28-31). They do
not have the right to accept false doctrine from their pulpits or
to endorse and support false teachers with their money or with a
platform on which to teach (2 John 9-11).
It may seem like good business to leave out part of the
Gospel, but to do so leaves us guilty of the blood of those who
are lost by our actions. Paul was only free from the blood of all
men because he had declared all the counsel of God (Acts
Elders do not have the right to choose a smooth-talking
false teacher because he pleases the members over a stuttering,
coarse, unpolished but faithful Gospel preacher. Remember, false
teachers use good words and fair speeches to deceive the hearts
of the simple (Rom. 16:17-18).
3. Benevolence Benevolence is a part of
the mission of the Lords church (James 1:27); and, we have a
special obligation to those of the household of faith
(Gal. 6:10). Sometimes the demands of benevolence will seem like
dangerous business practices.
We have a great illustration of this in the church in
Jerusalem. Thousands of people became Christians on Pentecost and
shortly thereafter (Acts 2:41,47; 5:14; 6:1,7). Because of the
great number of converts, many of whom did not actually live in
Jerusalem, the early church had many needs. They responded to
those needs in a very unbusinesslike way. Acts 2:44-45,
And all that believed were together, and had all things
common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to
all men, as every man had need. Acts 4:34-37,
Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many
as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the
prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the
apostles feet: and distribution was made unto every man
according as he had need. And Joses, who by the apostles was
surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of
consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, Having
land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the
Im afraid to think what many modern elders would
have said regarding the benevolent needs of the Jerusalem church:
We cant help all the widows, what kind of precedent
would that set? We cant have all our members
selling their homes and property to feed all these people this
week. What will we do next week?
It is true, the needs of the Jerusalem church were
unsustainable at first. Selling their personal property to
sustain an unexpected population of Christians in Jerusalem was
not good business practice for the individual Christians involved
or for the church. But God knew what was coming. His plan
included allowing Satan to scatter the church through persecution
(Acts 8:1). If those people had not sold their property, they
would have had to simply leave it all behind.
This was an unusual circumstance, but it is probably
not the only time that benevolence needs dont seem like good
business practices. If we tell a mother with small children to
leave her adulterous marriage relationship, are we willing to
support her and her children until she can get back on her feet?
When members suffer great tragedy and financial loss from fires
or other disasters, do we have enough faith to deplete our church
savings in order to extend the help that is needed?
We must not let our idea of business stand in the way
of the love we should show to each other.
4. Expectations Christianity is a matter
of hard work. There is labor to be done. Tragically, getting
Christians busy in the work is one of the hardest tasks we face.
Just as tragic is the tendency among some
congregational leaders to lower the expectations for fear of
expecting too much. Elders often decide against certain programs
because they are too labor-intensive. They dont want to
expect too much of the members time. Its hard enough to
get members to attend services, much less getting them to show up
for extra works.
In many places, the days are gone when members would
spend hours a day for weeks at a time working on VBS material.
The generation has passed that would show up for a building
project evening after evening, after laboring on their own jobs,
to advance the cause of Christ. Too many Christians are simply
too busy with their own lives to seek the kingdom first.
If the church is a business, then the members are the
customers and they reign supreme. If the church is a business,
then we must not expect them to alter their overcrowded schedules
or sacrifice their precious time. The business oriented leaders
think, If we expect too much, our customers can
shop elsewhere; we dont want to lose them. On
the other hand, if the church is a family, a cause to be advanced
even at great personal cost, a monarchy ruled over by the God of
heaven, then should we not expect and insist on sacrifice by each
member? What have we lost if we lose members who will not be
active for the cause? We have lost nothing but their souls, and
their souls are already lost while sitting in the pews.
5. Numbers There are elders who hire and
fire preachers based on the bottom line of attendance
and contribution. As long as attendance and contribution are
good, it does not much matter what the preacher says. This may be
a good bottom line for business, but not for the church. The
church is not a business. David got himself and all of Israel
into a lot of trouble when he started focusing on numbers instead
of on God (2 Sam. 24).
If we approach things from a business model, things of the
church may seem quite inefficient inefficient at bringing
in crowds, at keeping those we have, at getting the Gospel to the
lost. There may indeed be things in the business world that would
be more efficient. But the Bible is right, and God knows best. As
one man said, Lets embrace some holy inefficiency
and grow the Kingdom!
Here is the true bottom line for Gods people:
Isaiah 8:20, To the law and to the testimony: if they
speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light
1 Adam McLane, Business Models in the
2 Andy Bryan, Church Business,
4 Steven D Bruns, The Business of
5 This material on marketing is adapted from
ideas from Rodney Zwonitzer, Is the Church a Business,
1495 E Empire Ave.
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
Table of Contents
WHAT MUST ONE UNDERSTAND IN ORDER
TO BECOME A CHILD OF GOD? #1
Garland M. Robinson
You cant meet someone on the street, enter into a
conversation of the Bible and that person become a Christian
right there on the spot. The man-made system of denominationalism
says a person can. It says an individual can simply ask Jesus to
come into their heart to be their savior and thats all there
is to it salvation is the result. But, such is far from the
truth. Salvation does not come by mans ways and thinking, it
comes from God (cf. Isa. 55:8-9). What does the Bible say?
One thing common to all mankind is sin. As it
is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:...For all have
sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Rom.
3:10,23). Because of their sin, there are a number of things
people must learn, understand, believe and do in
order to have their sins forgiven and become a child of God
Jesus said, No man can come to me, except the
Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at
the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be
all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath
heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto
me (John 6:44-45). The Lord plainly said people must be
taught. This is done by hearing the word of God and
learning what Gods will is (cf. Rom. 10:17). The end
result therefore is to obey what has been learned.
There are certain essential things that one must
know, understand, believe and obey in order to be
One must believe and understand that God exists.
Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made
us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his
pasture (Psalm 100:3). There is One God and
Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you
all (Eph. 4:6). Thine, O LORD, is the greatness,
and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty:
for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is
the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above
all (1 Chron. 29:11). O the depth of the riches
both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his
judgments, and his ways past finding out! ... For of him, and
through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for
ever (Rom. 11:33,36). For the LORD is a great
God (Psalm 95:3).
One must believe and understand that sin is a
violation of Gods Will. Whosoever committeth sin
transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the
law (1 John 3:4). ...For where no law is, there
is no transgression (Rom. 4:15; cf. 5:13). All
unrighteousness is sin... (1 John 5:17).
One must believe and understand that sin separates
us from God. No one is exempt from sin. There is none
righteous, no, not one. ... For all have sinned and come short of
the glory of God (Rom. 3:23,10). The LORDS
hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear
heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated
between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from
you, that he will not hear (Isa. 59:1-2). Before
becoming a child of God, one is ...dead in trespasses and
sin (Eph. 2:1). Sin defiles a person (Mark 7:20-23).
When one turns from what is right and commits that which is wrong
(sin), he will pay for his evil, if not in this life, in the
judgment to come (Ezek. 18:26-30).
God desires that all men everywhere turn from their
evil so they will not have to suffer for it. ...Repent,
and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity
shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your
transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new
heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die? ...For I have no
pleasure in the death of him that dieth, ...wherefore turn
yourselves, and live ye (Ezek. 18:30-32).
One must believe and understand that if he dies
separated from God (because of his sins) he looses his soul for
eternity in hell. For the wages of sin is
death (Rom. 6:23). The death spoken of here is spiritual
death eternal separation from God. To be separated from God
means separation from everything that is good, true and holy.
...God is light, and in him is no darkness at
all (1 John 1:5). Heaven is a pure place where only
righteousness dwells. Blessed are they that do his
commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and
may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are
dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and
idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie (Rev.
Eternal separation from God occurs when one dies and
leaves life on this earth. No provision has been made by God to
be saved from sins after we die. Woe unto the wicked! it
shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given
him (Isa. 3:11). The soul that sinneth, it shall
die. ...The wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him
Those who sin and die without forgiveness will perish
in utter destruction (Luke 13:3,5). ...He that believeth
not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God
abideth on him (John 3:36,18). Sinners shall not
inherit the kingdom of heaven (1 Cor. 6:9-11). The unforgiven
...shall have their part in the lake which burneth
with fire and brimstone... (Rev. 21:8).
Though sinners will perish, there is continual
consciousness of suffering, pain and agony. Jesus talked about
those who ...go into hell, into the fire that never
shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the
fire is not quenched (Mark 9:43-44). Hell is an
everlasting place of torment. Jesus said, ...depart from
me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the
devil and his angels: ...these shall go away into everlasting
punishment: but the righteous into life eternal
(Matt. 25:41,46; Luke 16:23).
Few are those who see the danger and approaching
destruction. Many laugh and scorn. Dont be among that
number. Jesus died and shed his blood for you (Matt. 26:28).
Without your obedience, you will perish in a devils hell.
One must believe and understand that only in Jesus
Christ can one have forgiveness (salvation) from sins and peace
with God. The religions of the world think there are many
saviors. But salvation is found in only one Jesus the
Christ, the only begotten Son of God (John 3:16). Jesus plainly
said, I am the way, the truth, and the life: and
no man cometh unto the Father, but by me (John
When Peter and John were being examined for healing the
lame man at the gate of the temple, they said, Be it
known unto you all...that by the name of Jesus Christ of
Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead...
This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which
is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation
in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given
among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:10-12).
Christ died on a cross and shed his precious blood in
order to obtain the forgiveness of sins for all humanity (Matt.
26:28). For when we were yet without strength, in due
time Christ died for the ungodly. ... But God commendeth
his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ
died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his
blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when
we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his
Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his
life (Rom. 5:6-10,1-2). Forasmuch as ye know
that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and
gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your
fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a
lamb without blemish and without spot (1 Peter 1:18-19).
Only Jesus has the words of eternal life (John 6:68).
Jesus said, ...if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall
die in your sins (John 8:24). God made Jesus, Lord and
Christ (Acts 2:36) and appointed Him judge of the living and dead
(Acts 10:42; John 5:22). There is no other foundation (1 Cor.
3:11). For there is one God, and one mediator between God
and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for
all... (1 Tim. 2:5-6).
Do you believe? Dont let life slip by without
obeying the Savior, Jesus the Christ. Theres no salvation
without it (Matt. 7:21-23). Jesus will only save those who obey
him (Heb. 5:8-9).
Part 1 of 3
Table of Contents
IS GODS WORD TOO NARROW?
Earl B. Claud
Jesus said, 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). The way to heaven
is not a super highway with no hills. The way to heaven is NOT
the easy way. But some say it is just too hard. Is Gods way
The most difficult part of following God is to first
give ourselves into his control. Jesus said, If any man
will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross,
and follow me (Matt. 16:24). Again Jesus said,
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his
righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto
you (Matt. 6:33).
It is not difficult to learn what God wants us to do to
please him. It is difficult to get people to obey it. Jesus said,
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he
that believeth not shall be damned (Matt. 16:16). Is
this to narrow? Peter preached by inspiration, Repent,
and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for
the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy
Spirit (Acts 2:38). We are also told to confess Christ
before men (Matt. 10:32,33; Rom. 10:9,10). Are these too
difficult and hard to do? When one is baptized into Christ, he
becomes a new babe in Christ (Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:27; 2 Cor. 5:17;
1 Peter 2:2). As a Christian, we are told how to live (Col.
3:1,2; Gal. 5:22,23; 1 Peter 2:1,2; 2 Peter 1:5-10; 3:18). As
Christians, we are also told what to avoid (Rom. 1:21-32; 1 Cor.
6:9-11; Gal. 5:19-21; Col. 3:5-10; 2 Tim. 3:1-7). Are these too
narrow or hard to follow to receive a home in heaven? With
Gods help we can overcome the world and live with God
forever (Phil. 4:13; 1 John 2:14; 5:4).
106 Bradley Hill Dr.
Dover, TN 37058
Table of Contents
PROBLEMS FACING THE
James W. Boyd
PLEASE THE WORLD
The church is being overwhelmed with the emphasis and
concern with this world and is failing to set your
affections on things above, not on things on the earth
(Col. 3:2). While we are in the world, we are not to be of the
world. Worldliness has sapped the influence and power of the
church everywhere. We are to save the world, not conform to the
world (Rom. 12:1-2). Love of the world has generated a lax,
worldly minded and permissive people toward immorality, drinking,
dancing, gambling, and many other worldly excesses we see about
us, and among some so-called Christians. Pulpits have become
silent as death in condemning the sins of the world among the
members. (It might cost the clergy-preacher his high paying job
THE NEW RATHER THAN THE TRUE
It is evident that many in the church are striving for
their pleasure and material gain more than the welfare of their
souls and the souls of their children. If you doubt this, just
observe closely the tremendous loss from the church of the young
among members of the church. Family after family has so stressed
this world that their children are not in the Lord.
Jesus taught, Take heed, and beware of covetousness, for
mans life consisteth not in the abundance of the things
which he possesseth (Luke 12:15). Paul warned,
For we brought nothing into this world and it is certain
we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be
therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into
temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts,
which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of
money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after
they have erred from the faith and pierced themselves through
with many sorrows (1 Tim. 6:7-10).
Worldly emphasis has helped create the preacher
shortage. While there is seemingly no shortage of those clamoring
to get on the staff and payrolls of churches, there is
a shortage of faithful men who will preach the Gospel without
fear, favor, compromise, or perversion. There are those who
readily compromise truth in order to retain their level of
income. Covetousness affects the contributions and hinders the
work that could otherwise be done. Works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-
21) still prevent entrance into the kingdom of God. We need to
ask if we are influencing the world or is it the other way
around. The willingness to discard as useless whatever has gone
before and the craze for the new without regard for the
true has captivated the ambitions of too many, and the
church is reeling beneath the pounding it takes from the worldly
minded members. The reproach that is heaped against Christ
because of the worldly lives of so-called Christians cannot be
measured for magnitude of it and the damage it causes to His
cause for which he died.
How people can live for the world and claim to be of
Christ is an inconsistency that cannot be explained.
Change for changes sake is the watchword with some.
While we may improve our methods and expedients that are lawfully
used, some have changed the message and mission in order to
appeal to the world, bringing people into fellowship without
converting them to the convictions they must possess to be
children of God. Many are being deceived by the lies of false
teachers who say they only wish to change in matters of opinion,
but upon examination of their message, it is obvious that the
message they preach conflicts with the doctrine of Christ. We are
naive to think false teachers are sincere. It is increasingly
evident that the lives of many members of the church are not
lights in the world nor are they the salt of the earth. They hide
the light of truth beneath the bushel of hypocrisy and imitation
of error. It still rings true, however, that we are not to love
the world (1 John 2:15-17), and when we are friends with the
sinful things of the world, we are no longer friends of God, but
His enemies (James 4:4; cf. John 15:14).
LIBERALISM AND MODERNISM
Doctrinally, the church is beset with modernism and
liberalism. This really has no relationship with being modern or
generous. Modernism is a system of thought that denies the Bible
is the Word of God, denies the miraculous, denies even the
existence of God, including the Deity of Christ and the evidences
of it. Modernism contends the first eleven chapters of Genesis
are myths and only figurative language. Liberalism embraces the
doctrines that have divided and torn the church apart through the
years, as men imitate the substitute churches of
denominationalism, adopt doctrines of men, slander faithful
brethren to gain their own fame and fortune, and generally
disrupt the brotherhood in order to create a
do-your-own-thing approach to religion. Forsaking the
need for authority for what is said and done, they go their own
way, ridicule the old paths, and heap unto themselves
teachers of error. Many churches, once faithful, are submerged in
LETHARGY/APATHY/PEACE AT ANY PRICE
This attitude toward Scripture has seeped into the
church through brotherhood papers, books, Bible departments of
schools, modern speech so-called versions of the Bible, and the
scholars who have absorbed the modernistic teaching
they studied while gaining their religious titles and degrees at
the seminaries operated by modernists and denominationalists. It
has gained favor through big-name brethren who have had
influence, but who have digressed from the truth. For years on
end these people have been polluting the minds of generation
after generation until the church is staggering from the blows of
digression and apostasy. The climate that only the
intellectuals have any right to say or know anything,
that others need to keep quiet, has captivated the
thinking of too many. As in the day of Paul, those who
profess themselves wise are fools because they have turned their
heads from Biblical teaching and adopted the ways propagated by
men in contrast to truth (1 Cor. 1:17-29).
Atop all this is the pathetic and tragic lethargy and
indifference that holds control of the minds of members and their
leaders alongside the disposition to go along to get
along. This is not a problem with all, nor is this something
brand new among brethren. Revelation 3:16 and the lukewarm church
in Laodicea blazed the trail for this kind of religious stupor.
So many manifest a who cares attitude. So many are
unwilling to take a stand. So many are unwilling to work and bear
their part of the load.
You may see a lot of activity here and there, but often
it is activity that is not the Fathers business, but just
busy-ness. You hear a lot about love, love, love, but it is not
the love of which one reads in Scripture, but a permissiveness
and tolerance of sin, an acceptance of false doctrines and
doctors, a pseudo-love that appeals to emotions but fails to
manifest itself in genuine deeds that seek the others
highest good as God defines the good. Some who cry for love are
among the most vicious people on earth. They have no love for the
truth nor those who stand for it and defend it. Their love is for
their own bellies, their own way, and whatever means that gains
for them their goals and ambitions.
This lethargic indifference is seen in letting the
other fellow do his work and mine too. It is seen in being
against everything and for nothing. It is evident with the
lessening interest in evangelism. Many churches are merely
house keeping for the Lord and not even doing a
credible job at that. It is seen in the decline of accepting
personal responsibility, the unwillingness to cooperate and work.
Interest is centered on self and what one wants, what makes one
feel good, rather than what is the revealed will of God. There is
compromise of truth, and dialogue with those in
apostasy under the guise of seeking unity. They seek not unity,
but fellowship in spite of division, and in spite of Gods
prohibition of it. They preach we are to have unity in
diversity which means to agree to disagree, and that
doctrinal differences make no difference.
The church is now plagued with the development of the
staff and clergy of congregations, the soul-winning
experts without each Christian making his or her effort to even
be faithful, let alone be soul winners. It is seen in the
attitude that nothing applies to me, but everybody else ought and
will do what is necessary. This is a strength-sapping and
energy-draining disposition against the welfare of the church.
Nonetheless, all is not evil, and the Lord has promised
to be with us. With these and other problems, like the lack of
discipline, weak leadership, failure of training, absenteeism,
the Lords people face hard times. It is up to the faithful
to try to prevent, face, solve, overcome, and endure the problems
in the church without developing hatred and bitterness toward
those in error, for that would destroy us. Problems mean that we
must be sure and more determined to keep step with the Master.
We work for a remnant to keep the flame of truth
burning brightly after our term of service ends in physical
death. May God help us to be faithful to Him.
2720 S Chancery St.
McMinnville, TN 37110
Table of Contents
HOLY AND REVEREND IS HIS NAME
God has made known His existence through His inspired Word.
The first verse in the Bible clearly states: In the
beginning God... (Gen. 1:1). This same verse also
informs man that God created the heaven and the
earth. Concerning Gods creation, the Psalmist
wrote: The heavens declare the glory of God; and the
firmament showeth his handiwork (Psa. 19:1). While
observing nature one may conclude there is a Higher Being, but he
cannot know anything about God and His will unless he studies the
inspired word of God (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:3-4). When one
turns from Gods word in pursuit of how the universe and man
came into being, he will find himself on the road of fools (Psalm
14:1). Paul wrote of those who traveled this identical road and
its consequences in Romans 1:20-32.
The first two chapters of Genesis enlightens man not
only of God and how all things came into being, including man
(Gen. 1:26-27; 2:19-22), they also let us know how sin entered
the world (Gen. 2:17,3) and the implementation of Gods plan
to redeem man (Gen. 3:15).
A truly humbling experience is to study the attributes
of God, some of which are:
God is Omniscient A being of infinite
knowledge, that is, he knoweth all things. O the depth of
the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable
are his judgments, and his ways past finding out (Rom.
God is Omnipotent Unlimited in power or
authority. In the beginning God created the heaven and the
earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was
upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the
face of the waters. And God said, let there be light: there was
light (Gen. 1:1-3).
God is Omnipresent Present in all places
at the same time. Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and
not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I
shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and
earth? Saith the Lord (Jer. 23:23-24)?
God is Infinitely Just Justice and
judgment are the habitations of thy throne: mercy and truth shall
go before thy face (Psalm 89:14).
God is Infinite in Holiness And one
cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of
hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory (Isa. 6:3).
God is Eternal Before the mountains
were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the
world, even from everlasting to everlasting thou art God
As one reads and meditates upon the marvelous
attributes of God, he cannot help being overwhelmed, and like
David stand in Awe of God (Psalm 33:8)!
One of the great blessings of being a child of God is
that of prayer (1 John 5:14-15). With great confidence
we can (Heb. 4:16) approach the throne of grace, not in an
arrogant, but humble manner (1 Peter 5:7-8). A practice, no
doubt, that many have adopted from the denominational world is
that of approaching God as though He were a man. Hosea 11:9
states an unchangeable truth, ...for I am God, and not
man.... His nature, like that of Christ, is the same
yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8). Man is flesh and
blood whereas God is spirit (John 4:24). Our Lord
instructed the disciples regarding the manner in which they were
to approach the Almighty, Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name (Matt. 6:9).
The use of Gods Holy and revered name is never to
be taken in vain! It is a common practice among many, including
some brethren to throw out the expression Oh,
my.... Whether intended or not, this is taking
Gods name in vain! Thou shalt not take the name of
the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him
guiltless that taketh his name in vain (Exod. 20:7).
Again we read, ...neither shalt thou profane the name of
thy God: I am the Lord (Lev. 19:12). In commenting on
this, brother Guy Woods wrote:
Jehovah has ever regarded, with the
greatest displeasure, any disposition on the
part of man to use his name in flippant,
frivolous and profane fashion. ... One is
profane who uses sacred things in an
irreverent and blasphemous manner. The word
vain, in the third commandment of the
decalogue, is translated from a word which
means in a light, flippant, and contemptuous
fashion. (Questions and Answers,
Several years ago I noticed an announcement in the
bulletin of a well known conservative congregation about
JCs Kids. Upon reading this I sent the preacher of
that congregation the quote from brother Woods. A few days later
he called and assured me they were not trying to be disrespectful
or use the name of Jesus Christ in an irreverent and blasphemous
My friends, to reduce the name of Jesus Christ to
JC is to trivialize the name that is above every name!
When the angel explained to Joseph that Mary was with child of
the Holy Ghost (Matt. 1:78-20), he then said, And she
shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for
he shall save his people from their sins (Matt. 1:21).
When the Ethiopian eunuch made the good confession he said
I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God
(Acts 8:37). Pray tell me the difference in reducing the name of
Jesus Christ to JC and asking someone if they believe
that JC is the son of God?
Of the Christ, Paul wrote: Wherefore God also
hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above
every name: That at the name of Jesus Christ every knee should
bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under
the earth. And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ
is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:9-11).
Furthermore, James wrote, Do not they blaspheme that
worthy name by which ye are called (James 2:7)? I submit
to you that to reduce that worthy name to such
trivialization as JC is to blaspheme that worthy
name! My friends, I assure you, this is not a trivial
Remember, how one views God, Jesus Christ, the Holy
Spirit and Gods Word, determines how he lives!
O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt
his name together. ... God is greatly to be feared in the
assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them
that are about him (Psalm 34:3; 89:7).
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