WHY I LEFT THE MORMON CHURCH #5
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is
driven largely by a creed of thirteen Articles of Faith.
To see our ongoing examination of these Articles, go to
FIFTH ARTICLE OF FAITH
The fifth item of the LDS Articles of Faith states, We
believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the
laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the
Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof. In other
words, in order to preach the Gospel of Christ and be active in
that roll, men serving in authoritative positions in the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints must ordain or confirm him. When
I was a teenager, it included being interviewed by the Bishop of
the ward (congregation) to see if I was ready and worthy to meet
such an important calling. He would ask personal and
general questions before declaring me worthy.
Loren C. Dunn, who held a seat on the First Council of the
Seventy, stated in a speech:
...This is part of the revealed procedure in the
gospel of Jesus Christ, which takes place from the
general to the ward or branch level and which allows
every member the opportunity of sustaining a person
who has been called to office...The Lord, then, gives
us the opportunity to sustain the action of a divine
calling and in effect express ourselves if for any
reason we may feel otherwise. To sustain is to make
the action binding on ourselves and to commit
ourselves to support those people whom we have
sustained. When a person goes through the sacred act
of raising his arm to the square, he should remember,
with soberness, that which he has done and commence
to act in harmony with his sustaining vote both in
public and in private... A calling in the Church is
both a personal and a sacred matter, and everyone is
entitled to know he or she has been called to act in
the name of God in that particular position. Every
person in this church has the right to know that he
has been called of God. If he does not have that
assurance, then I would suggest he give his calling
serious, prayerful consideration so that he can
receive what he has a right to receive. (Dunn)
Mr. Dunns speech is an adequate representation of the LDS
beliefs on this subject. Notice the hierarchy, which determines the
validity of the calling.
Where is Bible authority for any of these procedures? Where
is the command, example or implication for these things? If it is
the case that God calls a man to preach as Dunn admits, then why is
that not sufficient? Why is there more needed, and why is it
necessary for man to sustain anything, especially in such
a ritualistic format?
Christ simply and directly told His disciples,
...All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye
therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the
Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to
observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am
with you alway, even unto the end of the world (Matt.
28:18-20). The disciples were given the calling: go and teach. What
were they to teach? Jesus said they were to teach everything He had
commanded them. There was never a confirmation or
sustaining ritual that preceded their preaching the
Gospel or fulfilling the ordinances (laws). No one was called upon
to lay hands on them. The only authority that was involved was
Christ, and doing things in the name of the Godhead.
Consider the time after Christ defeated death and appeared
to the eleven as they ate. He commands them, Go ye into all
the world, and preach the gospel to every creature...
(Mark 16:15). There is no mention or hint of the need for anyone
in authority laying hands on them to preach. Who would
have such authority and where would they get it? They were
sustained by the Word itself and the commandment of the Lord.
Additionally, the only confirmation mentioned were the miracles
they performed that confirmed, as genuine and authoritative, that
which they preached.
The apostle Paul, who labored continuously for the kingdom
of God, imparted sound teaching to Timothy: 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 (2 Tim. 2:2-3). There is nothing mentioned about
laying hands on him, though he did teach him. There was
no ceremony or ritual. Timothy was told to take what he had learned
from Paul, which was the Gospel of Christ, and teach it to faithful
men so they could teach others. The word faithful is
derived from the Greek word pistoj (pistos) which means
trusting or agreeable. Certainly that is the
case when the Great Commission is fulfilled today. The Gospel will
not be received by those who are unwilling to hear and heed it.
In another part of the same letter Paul tells Timothy,
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season;
reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and
doctrine (2 Tim. 4:2). There was no ritual, no formality,
no special ceremony. Paul told him to preach and Timothy was
expected to do it. The only authority came from the One whose
doctrine he was to preach.
There are so many instances throughout the inspired
writings of the New Testament that allude to preaching and
teaching, yet none require someone in an authoritative position to
lay hands on and confirm men before they are
able to preach and teach. Individuals were simply taught and became
Christians upon their repentance, confession of Christ, and being
baptized into His name, they were added to His church (Acts
2:38,41,47). The only time laying on of hands is mentioned in the
New Testament (in an evangelistic context) is when the apostles
would bestow miraculous gifts to one or more. Its purpose was to
confirm the glory of God and Gods power. Since the days of
miracles have ceased (1 Cor. 13), we must be careful not to add
something to Gods word that is not there.
Dunn, Loren C. We Are Called of God. April 1972. 15 April
921 W Vine St.
Kissimmee, FL 34741
Table of Contents
THE END #1
Garland M. Robinson
The last week of the Lords life was spent in Jerusalem.
Luke 21:37 says that ...in the day time he was teaching in
the temple; and at night he went out, and abode in the mount that
is called [the mount] of Olives. On one such evening as
Jesus ...went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith
unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings [are
here]! And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great
buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that
shall not be thrown down (Mark 13:1-2; cf. Matt. 24:2;
THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM
In but few words, Jesus prophesies the complete and utter
destruction of the temple. Nothing could perhaps seem more
improbable to the Jews than this prophecy. How could it ever be
that their beloved city and temple could be ransacked and
completely demolished? Yet, in less than 40 years, the temple came
down just as the Lord said. History records that the Roman Emperor
Vespasian gave orders to besiege the city of Jerusalem and with his
son Titus leading the army, destroyed it and the temple in 70 A.D.
Continuing out of Jerusalem, Jesus leads his disciples to
a hill overlooking the city where he would spend the night. As
Jesus ...sat upon the mount of Olives over against the
temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,
Tell us, when shall these things be? and what [shall be] the sign
when all these things shall be fulfilled (Mark 13:3-4).
Luke 21:7 records the same questions saying, ...Master, but
when shall these things be? and what sign [will there be] when
these things shall come to pass? Matthew 24:3 adds a third
question that Mark and Luke do not record. Here we read,
...Tell us, when shall these things be? and what [shall be]
the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
There is so much misunderstanding and false doctrine
regarding the Lords teaching in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke
21. The disciples had asked three questions: 1) when
shall these things be? 2) what sign will there be when
these things will be fulfilled? 3) what sign will there
be concerning the end of the world? Though the third question is
often combined with the second, the Lord answers it separately in
Matthew 24. A clear and distinct separation is seen between the
answer to question #2 in verses 4-35 of Matthew 24, and question #3
beginning in verse 36 and extending through the end of chapter 25.
We will treat the disciples inquiry and the Lords answer as
three separate questions.
Jesus uses this opportunity to tell his disciples to not be
gullible and fall for just any and every teaching that comes along.
Jesus admonishes them to take heed that no man lead them astray
(Matt. 24:4). They, just like us, must use logic, reason, and
investigation. First Thessalonians 5:21 says, prove all
things, hold fast that which is good. There would be many
false christs who would lead many astray (v.5). In the next few
years (less than 40) from the time Jesus spake these words, they
would hear of wars and rumors of wars but were not to fear or be
troubled about what they hear (v.6).
THEN COMETH THE END
How fearful are so many, even today, by events going on in
the world around us. As terrible and tragic as they are, the
faithful in Christ Jesus take comfort in knowing that man cannot
harm our soul (cf. Matt. 10:28). We work and pray, pray and work,
that the Lords will be done, as it is in heaven, so also upon
the earth. Paul writes to Timothy saying, I exhort
therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers,
intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be made for all men; For
kings, and [for] all that are in authority; that we may lead a
quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty
(1 Tim. 2:1-2).
Jesus says that in their life time, in that generation
(Matt. 24:33-34), ...there shall be famines, and
pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places (Matt.
24:7). Some would be afflicted and killed. Some would betray one
another and hate one another (vs.9-10). Many would be deceived by
false prophets (v.11). Wickedness, lawlessness, would multiply and
increase. The love of many shall wax cold. But he that
shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved
In Revelation 2:10, John writes, be thou faithful
unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. The
point being, they, as well as us, must live faithful to the Lord
even in the face of death. Neither persecution nor war nor natural
disaster has any hold over the faithful. We may be caught up in the
circumstances around us, but we are comforted in knowing we serve
the true and living God. We must not cave in to the
pressures and temptations of life. James says that trials and
temptations come from both without (James 1:2-12) and within
(1:13-16), but either way, we can overcome because we rest in the
hands of a loving Savior (cf. 1 Peter 1:3-9; Psa. 31:19; 37:28;
In verse 14 of Matthew 24 Jesus said, And this gospel
of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness
unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
While Mark (13:10) mentions the Gospel being preached in all the
world, neither he nor Luke record the last four words of Matthew
24:14 where the Lord said, then shall the end
It is assumed by so many today that the end
refers to the end of time the end of the world. But, an
examination of the context in which this phrase is found wont
allow it. The Greek word is telos and is defined by Thayer
as termination, the limit at which a thing ceases to be.
Always of the end of some act or state. Vines defines it as
the limit, either at which a person or thing ceases to be what
he or it was up to that point, or at which previous activities were
ceased. It is used concerning the end of the law of Moses in
Romans 10:4, For Christ [is] the end of the law for
righteousness to every one that believeth. Brother James
...Christ is the end of the law. The word
end means goal, target, that which
was in view. The coming of Christ was that toward
which the old law pointed. End here
is like the term end in First Peter
1:9, where Peter wrote, Receiving the end of
you faith, even the salvation of your souls.
The goal, target, that which is in view of faith, is
salvation. In like manner, Christ was the
end of the old law of Moses. It is
the same thought here as in Galatians 3:23-25 which
teaches the purpose of the law was to bring to
Christ. (System of Salvation, Comments on
Romans, Nov. 1990, p.150)
What end is under consideration in Matthew 24:14?
Its not the end of time because the earth is still standing.
Its the end of the Mosaic Age the end of Judaism.
The system of Judaism, governed by the law of Moses, had
come to its end. It had run its course and would be replaced with
the Christian system (the Christian age). Even when the law of
Moses had been delivered, it was revealed, The LORD thy God
will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy
brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken (Deut.
18:15). This passage is quoted by Peter as being fulfilled in Jesus
Christ (Acts 3:19-26). For Moses truly said unto the
fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of
your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things
whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, [that]
every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed
from among the people. Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and
those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise
foretold of these days (Acts 3:22-24).
Nine hundred years after the giving of the law of Moses and
six hundred years before the time of Christ, Jeremiah foretold of
the passing of the law of Moses (Jer. 31:31-34). It is quoted in
Hebrews 8:6-13 as being fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The Lord came to
put away the law of Moses and establish his new law. Hebrews 10:9
says Jesus came to take away the first (Old Testament) that he
might establish the second (New Testament). Blotting out
the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was
contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his
cross (Col. 2:14). The law was our schoolmaster
[to bring us] unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But
after that faith is come, we are no longer under a
schoolmaster (Gal. 3:24-25). The law of Moses accomplished
that for which it was intended. It was added because of
transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was
made; [and it was] ordained by angels in the hand of a
mediator (Gal. 3:19). The seed that was to come
was Jesus the Christ (v.16).
Both John the Baptist and Jesus taught things concerning
the kingdom (church). The law and the prophets [were] until
John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached...
(Luke 16:16). On the day of Pentecost, the Gospel was preached for
the first time (Acts 2). The new law, the law of Christ, was made
effective. The old law, the law of Moses, was done away. The events
of Acts 2 were the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies of
the Messiah and his new law. Everything prior to this chapter was
looking forward to the events of this day. Everything after this
chapter looks backward to this day. No wonder Acts 2 is called the
hub of the Bible. So few understand this simple truth of
The Jews of the first century did not understand, or at
least would not accept, that Judaism had come to its end. It had
fulfilled its purpose. It had ushered in the coming of the
Messiahs kingdom. The Mosaic system which had existed for
1,500 years has been replaced by a new and everlasting covenant
(cf. Jer. 32:40; Heb. 13:20-21). The first covenant, the law of
Moses, had become old, decayed, and consequently vanished away
(Heb. 8:13). It was changed and disannulled (put away, rejected)
because of its weakness and unprofitableness (Heb. 7:12,18). It was
merely a shadow of the New Testament (Heb. 10:1). The Lord took it
(the First Covenant) away that he may establish the second (the New
Covenant/Testament, Heb. 10:9-10). It was blotted out and taken out
of the way, being nailed to the cross (Col. 2:14). It was a
school master (escort, much like a school bus driver) to
bring us to Christ and his new law (Gal. 3:24-25).
When the Messiahs new law arrived (New Testament), the
old law (Old Testament) was no longer needed. According to Romans
15:4, its in the Bible so we can learn great principles and
examples of mans interaction with God. It is not that by which
the world is spiritually governed today. It does not teach us how
to worship God and live righteously before him. The New Testament
teaches us that. The law of Moses ...was added because of
transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the
promise was made... (Gal. 3:19). The seed is
Christ (Gal. 3:16). When Jesus Christ came, the law of Moses was
The Jews as well as many others today refuse to see that
the old law has been replaced with a new law. The New Testament is
replete (overflowing) with point after point, argument after
argument, showing the old was filled full and was replaced with the
new. No clearer is this fact shown than in Galatians 5:4,
...whosoever of you are justified by the law (of
Moses); ye are fallen from grace. The entire book of
Hebrews is given to show the superiority of the priesthood of
Christ over the Levitical priesthood Christianity over
Judaism. It is a book to the whole world in general and Christians
in particular that Christ and his church is the only right way.
Dont abandon the Lord Jesus. Dont give up on Him
and his New Law. Were on the right track. Hang on. Steady the
course. Dont forfeit salvation by going back into the world of
hedonism, denominationalism, Judaism.
Part #2 next month
Table of Contents
MAY AND MUST A PREACHER DO THE WORK OF AN ELDER WHEN A CONGREGATION HAS NO ELDERSHIP?
There are obviously two questions to consider here. The first
deals with the issue of propriety (may) and the second deals with
necessity (must). Notice, the primary question deals with whether
it is scriptural for a preacher to perform the work of an elder
when he is not one. The question was stated precisely. It was not
asked whether a preacher can do the work of an elder.
Many preachers likely possess the ability to accomplish the
peculiar tasks God requires of elders. The real question is whether
preachers are authorized by the Scriptures to do what is often
asked of them especially in small congregations that lack
elders. This issue will be addressed in more detail later in this
This brings us to the second question. Is it a practical
necessity for a preacher to act as an elder for a congregation that
does not have appointed elders? A fair number of Christians seem to
think so. I base this statement on what I have experienced as a
preacher and what other preachers and members of the church have
told me. Of course, if the answer to the first question is No,
a preacher is not scripturally allowed to do the work of an elder
unless he is one of the elders, then the matter of whether he
must act as an elder has already been answered. At least,
it has been settled for those who respect the authority of
Gods word (cf. Col. 3:17). Unfortunately, there is sometimes
a big difference between what people may expect (or even demand) of
a preacher and what the Scriptures actually authorize him to do.
In my 25+ years of preaching, I have had dealings with over
100 churches throughout the country. These congregations spanned
from the east coast to the west coast and from the far north to the
south as well as the heartland. I have worked with about a dozen
churches on a regular basis. Some I worked with as the full time
preacher. Others I served on a part time basis or itinerant basis
(as needed). I have worked with very small churches to mid-sized
congregations in the suburbs and cities. Some had elderships but
most did not. The remaining 90 or so churches were ones where I
conducted Gospel meetings, helped with Vacation Bible Schools or
had an interview for the preaching work. This last category
represented the majority of the remaining 90 churches.
As part of the interviewing process I was often asked to
answer questionnaires dealing with doctrinal, moral, and practical
matters pertaining to the particular congregation and their unique
situation. Most of the questionnaires spent a lot of space on the
expectations the members have of the preachers work. Far too
often, the job description they gave sounded exactly like that of
most denominational pastors. This is not the way it
should be (cf. James 3:10)!
A lot of people in the congregations had some very strong
opinions about what a preacher should do for them. If I tried to
point out that their expectations were unscriptural, they often got
upset. Some do not want to compare their beliefs with the word of
God. Instead, they look for ways to justify their long held
beliefs. If anyone should want to ensure his faith pleases God, it
would be the true Christian. This means studying the Bible to see
what God wants us to know, believe and do rather than looking into
the Holy Scriptures to justify our preconceived ideas. Sometimes,
if I told a congregation their expectations were not in harmony
with Gods word, a number of their prominent members accused me
of being unwilling to work hard. Some did not state it explicitly.
Remarks were made that implied it or strongly hinted this was their
belief. However, if God does not authorize a preacher to do what
some members expect and demand, it is not true the preacher is
lazy. He is simply honoring divinely imposed roles and
restrictions. This point is often missed or not truly appreciated
during such discussions.
Why do so many members think preachers must function
as an elder (pastor) in a congregation that has no eldership (and
many times even if they do)? For some, it may be leftover baggage
acquired from a denominational church background. This source is
undeniable and quite understandable. However, those who carry such
baggage with them after conversion need to search the Scriptures to
see if such things are right in the sight of God (cf. Acts 17:11).
Sadly, far too many in the Lords church embrace the
denominational pastor concept. Where did they learn it?
Not from the Bible! Gods people have a sad tradition of
mimicking those who practice false religion (1 Sam. 8; esp. vs.4-
7, 19-20). Long ago, the prophet cried out, My people love
to have it so (Jer. 5:31)! This practice needs to be
challenged because it is not aligned with the Scriptures.
Members who want a denominational pastor fail to
understand and distinguish the Biblical work and qualifications of
elders, deacons and preachers. This is obvious whenever men are
suggested as potential candidates for the eldership. Countless men
have been suggested as potential elders or deacons who are not even
married! Even a casual reading of 1 Timothy 3:1-15 shows that both
elders and deacons must be married men. If church members know the
Scriptures so poorly that they recommend bachelors as potential
elders and deacons, is it any wonder they fail to understand the
work of elders, deacons and preachers?
When Christians are ignorant of Gods word, it should
not surprise us they will argue the preacher must do the
work of the elders in a congregation that has no qualified men
appointed to form an eldership. There are probably several
attempted justifications. Perhaps the most often cited is that if
the preacher will not do the work of the elders, The church
will die! This is nothing but pragmatism. Pragmatism is the
philosophy of If it works, do it! The word pragmatism is
defined as action or policy dictated by consideration of the
immediate practical consequences rather than by theory or
dogma. So, if a preacher is willing to disregard divine roles
and limits in hopes it will build the church, then,
according to the pragmatists among us, not only may the
church demand such of the preacher, they must. However, this
does not please God!
The several sound schools of preaching with which I am
familiar correctly teach that preachers must not exercise
evangelistic authority (oversight) of the congregation in
the absence of elders. Gods wisdom is to have a plurality of
qualified men involved in leading, feeding and protecting the
flock. How could it possibly be pleasing in Gods sight to
allow one man (the preacher) who may or may not be qualified to
serve as an elder to oversee, guide, and rule the church? Yet, far
too many preachers (new as well as experienced ones) become de
facto elders for the congregation with which they work. Why
might that be? Pressure from members with their expectations may be
Is there any overlap in the work of elders, deacons,
preachers and every member of the church? Of course there is. But,
does this fact mean preachers may step in and serve as elders if
none have been appointed? No, because they have no authority from
God to do so!
Preachers are Christians first and foremost. As such, they
have the same responsibility to engage in visiting the sick (Matt.
25:36), teaching the lost (Acts 8:4) and encouraging the weak (1
Thess. 5:14) just as every other Christian does. Sound and faithful
preachers will respect the divine arrangement and not seek to do
what is not theirs to do.
What are some of the unique responsibilities of elders that
a preacher should not strive to do? To answer this, it is important
to realize the primary work of the elders must be viewed as that
which they do as a unit. Individual elders have no more authority
than does any other Christian. However, when elders function as a
cohesive unit for the good of the body, they truly act in their
divinely appointed roles of shepherds (pastors) to feed, guide,
protect, and defend the flock (Acts 20:28-31; 1 Peter 5:1-3). There
is also the need to rescue strays who have wandered from the fold.
Overseeing the Lords church is the responsibility of
scripturally qualified men who have been appointed to this work. In
the absence of a plurality of such men, it makes no sense to give
this vital work to one man just because he may know the Scriptures
better than the average member.
Far too many Christians fail to trust God. Our Lord gave
His church a perfect plan. When members want to circumvent the
divine pattern and try to justify such in the name of survival or
practicality, they reveal their lack of faith in the Lords
wisdom and the power of His word. Expecting and demanding preachers
to do the work of elders is sinful, foolish and ultimately
destructive. That is one way the true church is gradually
transformed into something that bears only a faint resemblance to
the Lords church pictured in the New Testament.
12631 Route 208
Marble, PA 16334
Table of Contents
JESUS IS THE SHEPHERD OF THE PSALM
The 23rd Psalm is said to be the best known and most loved
piece of literature in the world. In his book (Sermons, Chapel
Talks and Debates) A. G. Freed said, For lofty sentiment,
sublime thought, and striking imagery, this psalm is unsurpassed.
The authorized version (KJV) of this psalm, given to us in the
Golden Age of English Literature, will live as long as the English
tongue is spoken.
It is a psalm of fifteen lofty themes and for every phrase
there is a corresponding statement made by our Lord in the New
It is a psalm of Gods gentle care The
Lord is my shepherd. Jesus said, I am the good
shepherd (John 10:11).
It is a psalm of contentment I shall not
want. Jesus said, Seek ye first the kingdom of God and
his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto
you (Matt. 6:33).
It is a psalm of rest He maketh me to lie
down in green pastures. Jesus said, Come unto me all ye
that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my
yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart,
and ye shall find rest unto your souls (Matt. 11:28).
It is a psalm of peace He leadeth me
beside the still waters. Jesus said, Peace be still
It is a psalm of life He restoreth my
soul. Jesus said, The Son of Man is come to seek and to
save that which was lost. How think ye? if a man have an hundred
sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety
and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is
gone astray (Matt. 18:11-12)?
It is a psalm of leadership He leadeth me
in the paths of righteousness for his names sake. Jesus
said, My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow
me (John 10:27).
It is a psalm of death Yea, though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death. Jesus said, I
am the resurrection and the life, he that believeth in me, though
he were dead, yet shall he live: and whoso liveth and believeth in
me shall never die. Believest thou this (John 11:25-26)?
It is a psalm of courage I will fear no
evil. Jesus said, Fear not little flock (Luke
It is a Psalm of companionship For thou
art with me. Jesus said, Lo, I am with you alway, even
unto the end of the world (Matt. 28:20).
It is a psalm of comfort Thy rod and thy
staff they comfort me. Jesus said, Daughter, be of good
comfort, thy faith hath made thee whole (Luke 8:48).
It is a psalm of providence Thou preparest
a table before me in the presence of mine enemies. Jesus said,
I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves...fear them
not (Matt. 10:16,26).
It is a psalm of favor Thou anointest my
head with oil. Jesus said, Blessed are they that hear the
word of God and keep it (Luke 11:28).
It is a psalm of abundance My cup runneth
over. Jesus said, These things have I spoken unto you
that your joy might be full (John 15:11).
It is a psalm of blessings to follow
Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days
of my life. Jesus said, I am come that they might have
life, and that they might have it more abundantly (John
It is a psalm of immortality And I will
dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Jesus said, Let
not your heart be troubled, ye believe in God, believe also in me.
In my Fathers house are many mansions: If it were not so, I
would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go
and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you
unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also (John
Jesus is the shepherd, the Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 4:5),
the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls (1 Peter 2:25), the good
shepherd (John 10:11). The church is his flock. Paul said to the
elders of the church of Ephesus (Acts 20:28), Take heed
therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the
Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God,
which he hath purchased with his own blood.
Jesus said of the good shepherd in John 10:4, the
sheep follow him, for they know his voice. And in John 10:16
He said, Other sheep I have which are not of this fold: them
also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be
one fold and one shepherd. That is one church. If you are in
the one fold, you are in the one church. You get there by following
the voice of the good shepherd.
647 Finger Bluff Road
Morrison, TN 37357
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CAN WE THINK LIKE GOD THINKS?
Some would say, Obviously not! We are human, God is
deity. We are weak, God is powerful. We are ignorant, God is
omniscient. We are finite, God is infinite in all his
WHAT IT DOES NOT MEAN
But the Bible not only teaches that we can think like God
thinks, it demands we do so. Unfortunately, one major passage that
teaches this has been so misused and misunderstood by so many that
it is used to teach just the opposite. Isaiah 55:6-9, Seek
ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is
near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his
thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy
upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my
thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,
saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so
are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your
I have misunderstood and misused this passage. Most people
I have ever heard quote from, refer to, or otherwise use this
passage have misused it. Im not smarter than everyone else; I
may not be smarter than anyone else. But just as someone pointed
out to me the true meaning of this passage, let me humbly point out
a more accurate view of Isaiah 55:6-9.
First, this passage gives no credence to the damnable idea
that we can never understand the Bible because the Bible was
written by an infinite God. Why would an infinite God write an
unintelligible book? Wouldnt an omniscient, omnipotent God be
capable of communicating with lesser beings?
WHAT IT MEANS
To be fair, it must be admitted that most preachers who use
this verse dont use it in support of this false doctrine
anyway. Instead, they use it to say that we must not insist on
understanding why God demands the things he demands, and that we
must not question God since he is so far above us.
While this is a true sentiment, it is not found in this
passage. This passage is not saying that we will never understand
Gods thoughts nor walk in his ways. This passage means just
Look at the statements of verses 7 and 8 in their context. In
verse 6, Jehovah emphasizes that He is near. In this sense we are
reminded of Deuteronomy 29:29-30. There are secret things that God
has not revealed. But there are revealed things that allow us to
know what God wants of us.
Notice Deuteronomy 30:11-14, For this commandment
which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither
is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who
shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may
hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou
shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto
us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh unto
thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do
Gods word is not so far away from us that we can never
grasp it. It is near us. It was given to us. Paul says to Timothy,
And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures,
which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which
is in Christ Jesus (2 Tim. 3:15).
In verse 7, the wicked and unrighteous man is called away
from two things: his own thoughts and his own ways. His own
thoughts and ways are sinful. God can pardon ones sins if he
will turn from them.
Question: If the wicked and unrighteous man is rebuked for
his thoughts and ways and called to forsake and turn from them, to
what should he turn? Answer: He must turn to Gods thoughts and
Gods ways (see verse 8).
In verse 8, what is wrong with the thoughts and ways of the
wicked? Answer: They are not Gods ways and thoughts. This is
not because it is inevitable that our thoughts and ways cannot be
Gods thoughts and ways. It is a sign of our wickedness. Sinful
man is condemned for not walking in Gods ways and thinking
In verse 9, we learn how far the wicked have strayed
How low the unrighteous have fallen! Gods ways are as far
away from the wicked and unrighteous as the heavens are above the
earth. Not because God wants it that way. Not because it cannot be
any other way. But because the wicked and unrighteous are thinking
their own thoughts and walking in their own ways. This is what the
passage is trying to change.
It is a challenge to the wicked and unrighteous person to walk
in Gods ways and to think Gods thoughts. It is true that
we are limited, and that in some ways we will never be able to
think like God thinks. But if we turn away from our own ways, we
can think like he does about sin (1 Peter 1:16). We can love like
he loves (1 John 3:16-17; 4:7). We can forgive like he forgives
(Eph. 4:32). Gods word tells us what to think and how to live.
We can do that. We can be faithful. Jesus died to make it so.
If we are failing to be like God in these things, Isaiah
55:6-9 is demanding that we turn from our own thoughts and our own
ways. We are to think like God thinks and walk in Gods ways.
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Benton Harbor, MI 49022
Table of Contents
Greetings from the church that meets in Allenhurst, Georgia.
Thank you so much for the work you are doing in publishing
Seek The Old Paths. It is certainly a blessing to
have your sound publication that all can read and find Bible truth.
We have been receiving your publication for some years. We request
that you continue to send us a bundle of 20 copies each month. May
God continue to bless you in this noble effort ...Bob
Miller, for the church of Christ at Allenhust, GA. We have
been taking this paper for many years. This is a great paper. If
more people would read it and obey, the church of Christ would not
be going in a liberal direction as many are. Keep up the good
work ...J. R. Smith, Hornbeak, TN. Dear Sir, we
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discontinue this ...D. B. Allen, Camden, AR. I
want to thank you for all the inspirational reading and Bible study
that Seek The Old Paths brings to my life. The truths
and concepts cannot be denied if applied properly. However, in my
own way of sharing these truths I sometimes pass on your issues of
STOP and pray the seed is planted in good soil as well. Doing this
I sometimes loose track of issues that Ive not fully noted for
my records and need those issues replaced. If that is possible, the
two recent issues of STOP I would like for you to have resent to me
is Nov-Dec/2013 in which the article Despise Ye The Church Of
God #1 & #2 was in them both. If you can remail these two to
me it would be greatly appreciated and used to benefit our service
to the Lord. Also, are there any old issues that points out the
error in pagan holidays, origins, facts, pertaining to supposedly
christian holidays such as Christmas and Easter. I know
I am not to celebrate them as the mainstream religious world does
today and it is sad that everyone cant be of one mind. Again,
thank you all once again for your help. My prayers go out to you
all ...Claude Mazza, Chatham, VA. [Easter in Jan/2011,
Christmas in Nov/2010].
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