Shall The Sword Devour Forever?
Victor M. Eskew
David was now the official king of Israel. However,
Abner, the captain of Sauls forces, was not in submission to
David. He assisted in the establishment of Sauls son
Ishbosheth as king over all but the house of Judah. But
Abner the son of Ner, captain of Sauls host, took Ishbosheth
the son of Saul, and brought him over to Mahanaim; and made him
king over Gilead, and over the Ashurites, and over Jezreel, and
over Ephraim, and over Benjamin, and over all Israel. Ishbosheth
Sauls son was forty years old when he began to reign over
Israel, and reigned two years. But the house of Judah followed
David (II Sam. 2:8-10).
The division was strong between the two groups.
Fighting would occur from time to time between Davids forces
and the forces of Ishbosheth. II Samuel 2:12-17 records one of the
battles. Joab, Davids captain, met Abner, the commander of
Israel in Gibeon, And there was a very sore battle that
day; and Abner was beaten, and the men of Israel, before the
servants of David (II Sam. 2:17).
That day Abner fled from the field of battle. A man
by the name of Asahel pursued after him. Three times Abner warned
this young man to cease his pursuit. Three times Asahel defied the
warning. Ultimately, Abner smote and killed the young Asahel:
...wherefore Abner with the hinder end of the spear smote him
under the fifth rib, that the spear came out behind him, and he
fell down there, and died in the same place... (II Sam.
This death was grievous for Joab, for Asahel was his
brother. Therefore, Joab and his brother Abishai pursued after
Abner to destroy him (II Sam. 2:24). When they found Abner, his
troops from Benjamin were gathered as one troop with their
commander. It seems as if more bloodshed was inevitable.
It was at this point that Abner called out to Joab and
asked him a sobering question: Then Abner called to Joab,
and said, Shall the sword devour for ever? knowest thou not that it
will be bitterness in the latter end? how long shall it be then,
ere thou bid the people return from following their brethren
(II Sam. 2:26)? Abner probably did not know the full extent
of the casualties of war at that time. He did know that many had
lost their lives. He also knew that both he and Joab could lose
their lives. Too, this battle could cause the sword to continue to
devour Gods people for many, many years. Thus, he asked the
question: Shall the sword devour for ever?
In 1977, this writer graduated from high school. At
the time, my interest in spiritual things increased greatly. Two
brotherhood lectureships were conducted in my hometown. I sat at
the feet of great men of God. These men stood very tall in my eyes.
Their proclamation of the Gospel impressed and mesmerized this
young Christian. It was a joy and a privilege to hear the lessons
they presented and to gain so much knowledge and insight from these
men who had studied the word of God for years and who had labored
diligently in the kingdom of heaven.
Since that time, the sword has devoured many of these
good brethren. Today, they are split into so many groups that it is
impossible to number them all. It has gotten to the point that one
cannot move from one camp to another without being inconsistent and
without being alienated from good brethren with whom there is no
disagreement. It seems like it is time for the army of God to stop
and to give ear to the question asked by Abner. Shall the
sword devour for ever? knowest thou not that it will be bitterness
in the latter end? A similar teaching was expressed by
Paul in his brief epistle to the churches of Galatia. For
all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love
thy neighbor as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another,
take heed that ye be not consumed one of another (Gal.
Joab, fortunately, gave heed to the inquiry of Abner.
And Joab said, As God liveth, unless thou hadst spoken,
surely then in the morning the people had gone up every one from
following his brother. So Joab blew the trumpet, and all the people
stood still, and pursued after Israel no more, neither fought they
any more (II Sam. 2:27-28). That day the battle ceased.
The bloodshed ended. Innocent lives were spared. Would that many of
the preachers and leaders within the church would have the
disposition of Joab. Far too many brethren are being alienated.
Hatred and wrath fill the pages of sermons, journals and
lectureship books. Brethren are growing weary of the fighting. The
world is dying in a lost condition. Shall the sword devour
This writer realizes that there are some issues that
cannot be compromised. Against these, we must stand and fight the
good fight of faith (I Tim. 6:12). He also knows that some of the
battles that have divided sound brethren should not have reached
their present magnitude. Pride, stubbornness, and hatred have
filled some hearts. Good brethren have bitten and devoured one
another. It has almost reached the point that a preacher can only
serve within the local congregation. The moment he ventures into
other pulpits, he will be marked and avoided by some. What a shame
when brethren are so divided that innocent, sound brethren get
caught in the ungodly crossfire of in-fighting. Pauls words to
the Corinthians are most applicable today. For ye are yet
carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and
divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith,
I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal
(I Cor. 3:3-4)?
Then Abner called to Joab, and said, Shall
the sword devour for ever? knowest thou not that it will be
bitterness in the latter end? how long shall it be then, ere thou
bid the people return from following their brethren (II
Sam. 2:26)? This is a question that needs to be asked to
conservative brethren within the churches of Christ today. Sadly,
some will boldly answer: The sword will never depart as far as
we are concerned. A bitter end and much destruction will be
the result of such an attitude. This writer longs for the day when
the Bible greats among us can stand arm in arm proclaiming the
saving message to a lost world. It was that unity that encouraged
this writer to become a preacher of the Gospel. When that unity
exists once again, more youth will rise up to become soldiers of
the cross of Christ.
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Table of Contents
The Christian Chronicle Facilitates
The Community Church Takeover Of
The Churches Of Christ
WHAT IS THE CHRISTIAN CHRONICLE?
The Christian Chronicle is published by
Oklahoma Christian University. It is Edited by Bailey B.
McBride. Glover Shipp is the Senior Editor. It is published
monthly and has a worldwide readership.
WHAT IS THE COMMUNITY CHURCH?
Currently, the best known expression of the Community
Church is the model of Bill Hybels out of Barrington,
Illinois, near Chicago called The Willow Creek Community
Church. However, a Baptist preacher named Rick Warren,
while denying cloning Willow Creek, has built The
Saddleback Community Church in Orange County, California,
which closely parallels Willow Creek, and has written a more
understandable guide for duplicating the Community Church entitled
The Purpose Driven Church.
HOW DOES THE CHRISTIAN CHRONICLE
These are denominational churches loosely affiliated
with the group from which they came which merely have shrouded
themselves with the name Community Church. The cardinal
rule among them is to appear non-traditional. They are
characterized by a casual dress code, contemporary music,
non-distinctive public speeches which endeavor to focus the
attention of the assembly on a celebration-type atmosphere,
inter-denominational acceptance, small group organization, personal
testimonies, praise teams, and in their inception stages a brazen
acceptance of financial support from churches they intend to take
FACILITATE THE COMMUNITY CHURCH?
The Christian Chronicle, March 2000, speaks in
the most glowing and favorable terms of the Community Church with
only the exception of a very few scant references to the contrary.
Of the six articles on the subject, only one writer ventured to ask
a few questions, and even he dared not speak one word of criticism,
just alarm while advising a wait and see posture. Also,
of the writers selected, one has helped plant a Community Church in
Searcy, Arkansas, another presented the view that this change
is our historical commitment to nondenominational
Christianity, another said he believes their purposes to be
God-given, and yet another currently is the minister for
a Community Church in Amarillo, Texas. The three pages devoted to
the Community Church are clearly weighted in favor of it.
Additionally, the editor of the feature, Lindy S. Adams,
provided the Web site addresses for Willow Creek and Saddleback,
facilitating their use. Two of the writers are professors at
Harding University, one is adjunct instructor for Harding
Graduate School of Religion in Memphis, one is president of
Rochester College, two are self-styled church growth
experts, and, as mentioned earlier, one is a minister for a
Community Church. The selection of people to write the articles
(with connections to schools supported by churches of Christ), who
will not oppose the Community Church, facilitates the movement by
lending the impression of acceptability to the articles.
TELLTALE MISCONCEPTIONS OF THE EDITOR
The editor of the feature is laboring under at least two
misconceptions regarding the church of Christ.
HOW TO DEFEAT THE TAKEOVER
One, in the introduction Adams wrote, ...the
church they worked diligently to create.... Men did not create
the church of Christ. It is of divine origin (Eph. 3:9-11; 4:1-5;
5:23-25). Without doubt, this misconception is why such liberties
are being taken with regard to the church. The view seems to be if
men created the church of Christ and it is not now what men want it
to be, then just simply change it to fit the wishes of men today.
Two, denominational church growth models can be
adapted and altered to cause the churches of Christ to grow. The
church of Christ is not a denomination (I Cor. 1:10; Eph. 4:4). The
one responsible for its growth is God himself (I Cor. 3:6-9). The
method of its expansion is the preaching and teaching of the word
of God (Mark 16:15; Acts 6:7). The church growth expert who teaches
at Harding and has helped start Covenant Fellowship Community
Church, wants the readers to believe these Community Churches
are still within the Church of Christ
mainstream. How can anyone expect that to be so when they
do not even so much as retain the name Church of Christ? Their
attempt at worship and congregational organization is a departure
from the truth, yet they demand their followers to insist that they
are center of the strait and narrow road.
A Christian may have no fellowship with the unfruitful
(I Cor. 1:10; Eph. 5:11). Their means and methodologies have
nothing to offer the Lords people (I Thess. 5:5). Light and
darkness have no communion (II Cor. 6:14). Brethren need to wake
out of sleep, get back to teaching and preaching the word of God,
and Christ will give all the light needed to advance his cause
In closing, four suggestions are offered on how to defeat
One, by exposing the error of the Community Church and
those favorable to it. It is right to be set for the defense
of the gospel (Phil. 1:17). Paul left Titus in Crete to set
things in order, hold fast the faithful word, exhort and convince
the gainsayers, stop the mouths of the gainsayers, and rebuke them
sharply (Titus 1:5-13). Jude 3 still calls for an earnest
contending for the faith.
Two, by refusing to fund the Community Church movement
by withdrawing personal and financial support from those
congregations and schools promoting the Community Church.
Philippians 1:5 and 4:15 proves that those whom we support
financially, we are fellowshipping. If one is contributing into a
church treasury, he is in fellowship with that which is supported
out of that treasury. When the leadership of a local congregation
is dedicated to the planting of Community Churches, all of the
members of that congregation are responsible for the planting of
the Community Churches. By withdrawing personal and financial
support from that congregation, the take over will be thwarted. The
Community Church begins as a parasite feeding off a thriving
organism. A paradoxical phenomenon is occurring with the Community
Church. Older, established churches of Christ are funding the
vehicle of their demise when they support the Community Church. It
is very sad to note that if this continues, the children and
grandchildren of members of the churches of Christ will not know
the truth about the church of the Bible because the Community
Church advocates are changing everything about it under the
pretense of church growth.
Three, by evangelizing the lost (Matt. 28:19, 20). No
matter what the problems and challenges faced by the churches of
Christ, the Gospel of Christ must continue to be preached to a lost
and dying world. Many problems and challenges besieged the early
church, yet the Gospel was advanced to the point that Paul could
write in Colossians 1:23 that every creature under heaven had the
opportunity to hear it. The method authorized by God to reach lost
souls is preaching (I Cor. 1:18-21). Imagine if The Christian
Chronicle were dedicated to such a noble purpose instead of
promoting the latest denominational craze. The millions who could
be taught the Bible through that paper (who are instead being
coaxed into error), make these developments all the more a shame.
Four, by edifying those who are Christians (Eph.
4:15,16). Paul said that by edifying, That we henceforth
be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with
every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning
craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive (Eph.
4:14). Through edification, the Christian dons the whole armour of
God in which he stands against the methods of the devil (Eph.
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Table of Contents
The Only Authority In Religion
Roger D. Campbell
Do you believe in heaven? The Bible clearly teaches that
heaven exists, and that it is totally free from corruption (I Peter
1:3,4). Do you believe that a person can be saved, that is, receive
the remission of sins while still living on the earth? The Bible
teaches that the remission of sins is, indeed, available through
the blood of Jesus (Eph. 1:7).
JESUS QUESTION ABOUT AUTHORITY
If we really desire to be saved and go to heaven,
where can we turn to receive proper instruction? Put another way,
what standard should you and I accept as a guide to follow in our
religious activities? Anyone that has even casually observed the
religious world of our day recognizes that religious division and
confusion abound. Why is that? At least in part, such a scenario
can be explained by the fact that people follow different standards
of authority in their religious practices. Such is not only the
case in our country, but in other nations as well.
During the last week of His earthly life, Jesus was
teaching in the city of Jerusalem. At that time, He also performed
miracles and cleaned up the Jewish temple by running out
some of the Jews that were corrupting it. During that week, on one
occasion some of the Jewish leaders asked Jesus, By what
authority doest thou these things? And who gave thee this
authority (Matt. 21:23)? Jesus response included
these two questions: The baptism of John, whence was it?
From heaven, or of men (Matt. 21:25)? None could deny
that John the Baptizer had baptized a lot of people. Our Lords
inquiry focused their attention on one issue: Where did John get
his authority to baptize people? In fact, Jesus second
question made it plain that there were only two possibilities:
either Johns baptism came from heaven (meaning that it came
from God), or else it came from men. There is a great lesson here
for all people of every generation to learn. What is the lesson? In
matters of religion, all that we believe, teach, and practice comes
either from God or from men. There is Gods way, and there is
mans way. There is Gods teaching, and there is mans
teaching. There is Gods wisdom, and there is mans wisdom.
What shall it be for you and me?
SOME POPULAR FORMS OF HUMAN AUTHORITY
When it comes to making religious decisions, how do
people of our day make their choices? What is it that they use to
determine what course of action is right? How do they decide which
things are acceptable, which matters are required, and just what is
forbidden? Many, perhaps in some cases not even realizing it,
appeal to human standards of authority.
THE AUTHORITY OF THE SON OF GOD
There are instances when it is obvious that people do
in religious matters just what they personally want to do. Do you
remember what the children of Israel did when Moses was on Mount
Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments from the Lord? They put their
gold together and made a golden calf, which they proceeded to
worship (Exodus 32). Before they engaged in this idolatry, God had
already plainly told them that they were not to worship other gods,
nor were they to make any idols (Exodus 20:3,4). Now here is a
point of great importance. The children of Israel fully understood
that God had forbidden them to practice idolatry. Yet, they did it
anyway. Why? The bottom line is, they did it because they wanted
to! Their action, however, did not please God. In the realm of
religion, simply because we like something or want to do it, that
does not make it right in the sight of the Lord.
Other religious people of our time depend on or follow
their feelings. A number of years ago the catchy words of a popular
song were, It cant be wrong when it feels so right.
Is that true in our religious practices? Are our feelings a safe
guide to follow? The apostle Paul, before he became a Christian,
persecuted the disciples of Jesus (Acts 8:1-3; 9:1,2). Why would he
do such a thing? Many years after his conversion to Gods Son,
Paul gave this explanation about his pre-Christian activities:
I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things
contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth (Acts 26:9).
Why did Paul make havoc of Gods church? Because he was
convinced that that was the right thing to do! He had strong
convictions, and he zealously acted on those strong feelings. But,
was the Lord pleased to see Paul trying to destroy Christianity? Of
course not. This example plainly shows that a religious person can
take action that is based on his/her feelings, yet that action can
be displeasing to the Lord. The lesson? Our feelings are not a safe
guide to follow in matters of religion.
Some religious people are devoted to the creeds of
men. Sometimes religious groups call their creeds manuals
or catechisms. Just what is a creed? The word
creed comes from the Latin word credo, which is
from credere, meaning to believe, trust, or entrust
[Websters 9th New Collegiate Dictionary]. A human creed
basically sets forth or puts into writing the religious beliefs of
those people that write it. Do human creeds serve as a safe
standard to follow in our service to the Lord God? A number of
times in the Bible we read that God does not want men to add to or
take away from the message of His word. He told this to Israel
(Deut. 4:2), and a form of that charge is found in the very last
chapter of the Bible (Rev. 22:18,19).
What is the truth about creeds? First, if a human
creed says more than the Bible says, then it says too much. Second,
if a creed says less than the Bible says, then it does not say
enough. Third, if a creed says exactly the same thing that the
Bible says, then there is no need for the creed in the first place
-- just stick with the Bible. Fourth, human creeds often contradict
one another. Fifth, human creeds often contradict the message of
the Bible. Sixth, human creeds are not authorized by the Lord.
There is absolutely nothing in the Bible that gives any human or
group of humans the right to come together to write a creed, which
is nothing more than man-made doctrine. Jesus apostles said,
We ought to obey God rather than men (Acts
5:29). Human creeds are a popular, but false, standard of authority
in religion. We need to cast aside the writings of men and go back
to the Bible. Why is that? Please read on.
In reference to His Son Jesus, God the Father proclaimed,
This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear
ye him (Matt. 17:5). According to this statement, whom
does the Father want us to hear? Jesus. Later, Jesus said,
All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth
(Matt. 28:18). According to this verse, who has all religious power
or authority? Jesus does. Jesus went on in that same conversation
to tell His apostles to go and teach all nations, teaching them to
observe all that He commanded (Matt. 28:20). What is it that the
people of all generations need to hear? The teaching of Gods
Son. What is it that all men need to follow in religious matters?
Same answer, the teaching of the Christ.
The Bible declares, Whosoever transgresseth,
and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that
abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the
Son (II John 9). What is the clear message of this
verse? If we want the Father and Son on our side, then we must
abide in, that is, keep or follow the teaching of the Christ. The
Lord Jesus teaching includes not only what He personally
taught while living on the earth, but also what He later taught
through His inspired messengers. That message is recorded for us in
the New Testament. Jesus doctrine is the teaching of the New
Testament. That, good people, is the only proper authority for any
human to follow in religion!
Jesus once said, And why call ye me, Lord,
Lord, and do not the things which I say (Luke 6:46)?
What was His point? Simply this. If we are going to claim that
Jesus is the Lord of our life, then we are obligated to do what He
says. It is through the Gospel that God calls or invites people to
Jesus for salvation (II Thess. 2:14). Some day, that same word will
judge us (John 12:48). The Gospel of Gods Son, that and that
alone, is Gods standard of authority for all that we believe,
teach, and practice in religious matters.
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Table of Contents
Can Those Who Teach And Practice Different
Doctrines Be United In Christ?
Does unity demand we lay aside differences of opinion and
accept one another? Yes, unity demands we lay aside our personal
differences; i.e., things that are optional and do not involve
Bible doctrine/teaching. We must yield our way for sake
However, laying aside religious differences does not
mean we ignore or overlook Bible doctrine. It does not mean we
accept one another regardless of what each one may believe, teach
and practice. We have only fooled ourselves if we think we have
unity under such circumstances. Such is not unity. We may
have formed a union, but we have not achieved unity
-- not the unity the Lord desires. By inspiration, James
wrote, But the wisdom that is from above is first
pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full
of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without
hypocrisy (James 3:17).
To lay aside religious differences means that all that
is contrary to the Bible must be laid aside, repented of and
forsaken! Men do not have the liberty to follow their own thinking.
Two verses vividly show this is the case. There is a way
which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are
the ways of death (Prov. 14:12). O LORD, I
know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that
walketh to direct his steps (Jer. 10:23).
Jesus prayed for everyone to be united in him in John
17:20-21. He said, Neither pray I for these alone, but
for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That
they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in
thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may
believe that thou hast sent me. Considering these
verses, how can anyone be thankful there is so much religious
division today? Many are pleased with all the division so people
can have the church of their choice. That may sound good
to men, but is the opposite of everything the Bible teaches. Such
freedom does not come from God.
Faithfully following Christ is not like going to a
restaurant with a smorgasbord where each one chooses what he likes.
In Bible unity, there is only one choice on the menu. That is
Gods Way. We either accept Gods Way or reject it. We
either have unity Gods Way or we have no unity at all. Jesus
prayed that everyone conform to the church of His choice,
not the church of our choice.
Jesus died for His church, singular, only one (Matt.
16:18; Eph. 4:4). His church teaches and practices His doctrine,
wears His name, is united in Him. His church does not fellowship
those who teach contrary to His doctrine (Rom. 16:17-18).
Wont you be a member of the Lords church
where true unity is found? Swap man-made union for
Jesus-made unity (Eph. 4:3-6)!
-- Garland M. Robinson
Table of Contents
The Ultimate Need In The Brotherhood
Not only does the scripture at First Peter 2:17 emphasize
that we are to fear [reverence] God, honor the king [civil
authorities], and to honor all [entire human race]; but we are also
to love the brotherhood. When our Lord promised to build
His church, He had reference to its universal aspect. Indeed, love
is a supreme need within the great brotherhood of the church of our
Lord. This is not the superficial kind that ignores false teaching
and the practice of the same.
Brethren, we have so much in common not to be united.
The Apostle Paul emphasized this great truth to the brethren at
Ephesus. Even though he was at that time a prisoner (Eph. 6:20);
nevertheless, his letter to that local church revealed his concern
for its welfare. He stated at Ephesians 4:1-3, I
therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk
worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness
and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of
peace. We should take note that there must be an effort
to keep the unity of the Spirit. By way of the inspired
Word, the Holy Spirit has spelled out what that unity must be. In
that immediate context are these words: With all
lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another
in love. We need to get down on our knees and do some
soul searching. This is especially needed as we contemplate the
strife among brethren.
What the Apostle Paul was writing by inspiration unto
the church at Ephesus should be heeded in every level of our
relations with fellow Christians. That includes: fellowship between
two or more brethren, unity within a local congregation, and the
bond of peace within the brotherhood of the churches of Christ. Our
beloved Paul further elaborated upon the seven cardinal truths in
which we hold in common, those are: There is one body,
and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is
above all, and through all, and in you all (Eph. 4:4-6).
We do not hold all seven of these great truths with anyone outside
of the church of Christ. Others may recognize some of these, but
not all seven of them.
In the words of the illustrious apostle Paul, I plead
with my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ: Let all
bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be
put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another,
tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christs
sake hath forgiven you (Eph. 4:31-32).
In the past, there was greater peace and harmony among
brethren. This was certainly so when I obeyed the gospel of Christ
more than a half century ago. It has been 52 years ago this past
March since I preached my first sermon. The Lord has blessed me
with relatively good health in that I am still preaching full time
at the age of 71. In November of this past year, I had surgery on
my right lung to remove two malignant nodules. Now, I am not a
smoker! Nevertheless, I was not sure what was in store for me.
Thankfully, the cancer was in its early stages and there will be no
need for chemotherapy or radiation.
This gives me a feeling of a new lease on life. I am
more determined to motivate my brethren to sit down and reason
together. Not in an attitude of compromise in matters of faith, but
in a genuine love for one another. There is no college among
brethren, no publication, no project, or even a congregation having
the right to exist by rejecting or compromising Biblical truths.
And there is not any brother that has the right to hold power over
the church by rejecting any principle of the New Testament. No, we
do not need a modern day Diotrephes in the church of our Lord. But
we do need brethren who love the truth of Gods Holy Word --
those who are willing to sit down together with open Bibles, with
the attitude of not having all of the answers.
Presently, I am preaching for the Pritchett church of
Christ in east Texas. It has existed since 1854. Although we are
small in number, our facilities are adequate to host a group of
brethren who are willing to sit down and reason together with open
This wrangling within the Lords church must
cease! Prior to His betrayal by Judas Iscariot, the Son of God
expressed His concern for unity among His disciples. He said:
Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall
believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as
thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one
in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me
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Table of Contents
THE FOLLY OF PRIDE
Marvin L. Weir
Numerous warnings sound forth about pride in the Old
Testament. The things written aforetime were written for
our learning (Rom. 15:4). Consider these Bible warnings:
Prov. 11:2, When pride cometh, then cometh
shame; But with the lowly is wisdom.
Prov. 13:10, By pride cometh only
contention; But with the well-advised is wisdom.
Prov. 16:18, Pride goeth before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before a fall.
Prov. 29:23, A mans pride shall bring
him low; But he that is of a lowly spirit shall obtain honor.
Jer. 49:16, As for thy terribleness, the
pride of thy heart hath deceived thee, O thou that dwellest in the
clefts of the rock, that holdest the height of the hill: though
thou shouldest make thy nest as high as the eagle, I will bring
thee down from thence, saith Jehovah.
Obadiah 3, The pride of thy heart hath
deceived thee, O thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock,
whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring
me down to the ground?
Even from a casual reading of the Holy Scriptures, one
should observe that pride can contribute to spiritual death! No
person is exempt from the sin of pride. This sin can overtake and
overcome even the most righteous (like Moses, Psalm 106:32-33), and
thus the warning to beware of pride that comes from mans heart
and defiles him (cf. Mark 7:21-23).
The power of pride is an amazing thing. Pride can be
the cause of heartache and anguish in human relationships. Pride
can destroy a home. Pride can cause Christians to sit on opposite
sides of the church building and refuse to speak to one another.
Pride can be the reason one will not admit that he has made a
mistake -- has sinned -- is wrong! Pride can sabotage friendships
that have existed for years. Yes, pride is the devils tool
that will keep many people out of Heaven.
Let us observe two ways that pride can contribute to
ones spiritual death. First, pride keeps many people from
obeying the Gospel plan of salvation. One can read his Bible
every day and still not believe what he reads. Folks do this all
the time! For instance, the Bible says, He that believeth
and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be
damned (Mark 16:16). Yet, one who has been taught
man-made creeds will say, I just dont believe baptism is
necessary for one to be saved. Baptism has nothing to do with
ones salvation. Does this mean that Peter was confused
when he said, ...wherein few, that is, eight souls, were
saved by water: The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also
now save us... (I Peter 3:20-21)? I think not!
One reads in his Bible about Jesus promising to build
His church (Matt. 16:18). He continues reading and discovers that
Paul speaks of one body and one faith (Eph.
4:4-5). But then this same person defends the right of numerous
denominations to exist! He also argues that man should attend the
church of his choice. Does he read this from his Bible? I think
Second, pride keeps many brethren from admitting
they made a mistake or committed a sin. What is amazing is
that some brethren have held certain doctrinal positions for years
but now are compromising or casting aside these positions because
of pride. Some of these brethren have made both verbal and written
statements regarding the right and wrong of certain matters. And
yet, because of a moments reckless folly, the use of bad
judgment, or the practice of inconsistency, these brethrens
pride will not allow them to confess their mistake, repent, and
change their course of action. It is usually the case that when one
is overcome with pride that the hole he is digging just gets deeper
The sad truth is that some brethren today believe that
they are above reproach and correction. In an earlier verse we
referenced, Jeremiah stated that the pride of ones heart will
deceive him (49:16). Solomon stated that ones pride will bring
him low (Prov. 29:23). Pride is also guaranteed to bring
shame (Prov. 11:2) and destruction (Prov.
16:18). Again, one can read his Bible and no longer believe what he
In the past few years, some brethren (including
preachers) and institutions (Universities and Schools of Preaching)
have demonstrated that they believe themselves to be beyond
reproof. They, because of past success, evidently now believe that
they are untouchable. Is it not amazing that some who know better
will continue to defend a false position simply because they do not
want to swallow their pride? As Obadiah said, The pride
of thy heart hath deceived thee, O thou that dwellest in the clefts
of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who
shall bring me down to the ground? The answer: Pride and
God will bring one down to the ground. Let us beware of the folly
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THANK YOU, Garland, for your article on What
Denominational Leaders Have Said About Instrumental Music
in the April 2007 issue! Its just what Ive been
looking for. It never fails when people ask me where I go to
church"...as soon as I tell them, I get, Oh, thats the
church that doesnt believe in instrumental music". When I give
the Scripture references to show them why we dont use
mechanical instruments of music, it means absolutely nothing to
them. After all, they have so much more fun these days
with their full bands and orchestras at their places of
worship". But these quotes from some of THEIR leaders on the
subject just might make a difference. Will you please send me a
copy of the article itself, so I can make more copies to have on
hand when I need them? I would certainly appreciate it. Many
thanks! ...Anniston, AL. [NOTE: all back issues can
be found at www.seektheoldpaths.com/stop.htm. You can search these
issues and print whatever you need. --Editor] I enjoy the
Seek The Old Paths paper. I read it through. Cant wait
until the next issue. Keep up the good work. Thank you
...Flint, MI. We receive STOP and really like it and
appreciate getting it ...North Central church of Christ,
Flint, MI. Return to sender. Not accepted
...Linary Church of Christ, Crossville, TN. Hope this
note will find everyone there doing fine and enjoying the life that
we have been given in Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God.
Ive been reading the Old Paths and enjoy reading the Truth
that is written in your paper. Ive been getting them from a
brother whose girlfriend has been sending them to him. There are
two of us who would like to ask to be put on the mailing list. We
are in prison so we dont have any money to donate for the
continuing publishing. Sure wish we could though. We would be very
thankful if you would send them to us ...James Phillips &
Jerry Hawkins, Brent, AL. [NOTE: we are happy to add you to
the mailing list. Glad to be of help. --Editor] Dear brethren
at Seek The Old Paths. Thank you so much for sending me
your newsletter. It is a great encouragement to me, especially the
instrumental music articles. My parents were converts to the
Lords church about 47 years ago. Dad was raised
congregational, mom Methodist. Unfortunately, they still hung on to
a doctrine of their former practice (instrumental music) and
carried it over to the Lords church. I would have been raised
in an instrumental church of Christ if it wasnt for
the providence of God that there werent any in our area of
Michigan. So I was raised in a local acappella church of Christ.
The whole time mom and dad hid their preference for instruments in
the worship services from us kids. I didnt realize how
instrumental they were until 1985 or so when they apostatized to an
instrumental church in a nearby college town. (I was instrumental
at the time too but I have come back to the truth). Mom and dad
justify their use of instruments in worship with at least two
arguments: 1) If I enjoy the Psalms, learning from them and
receiving comfort with their words, I must also accept the
instrumental music located in them, and 2) II Chron. 29:25-30 says
they worshipped the Lord with the instruments of David, so we
should too. I tell them that the II Chronicles passage also
sacrificed animals and we dont need to do that anymore, we
have Jesus sacrifice. My question is: Should I read the
Psalms, enjoy and receive comfort from them? Do I have to accept
the instruments in worship in the Psalms? I dont follow the
law of Moses, so I dont do animal sacrifices like David did.
My parents refuse to listen to me. Mom keeps saying shes using
her talents for God by playing music so any argument against
instruments insults her. They only want to please themselves with
the instrument, ignoring what the New Testament says. Thanks for
your help ...Name withheld, MI. [NOTE: The book of
Psalms is a part of Scripture. All 150 of them are inspired. They
were written for our learning (Rom. 15:4). So yes, keep reading and
learning from them. Great lessons are derived therefrom. However,
as youve stated, they do not govern worship in the Christian
age. The fact that someone would appeal to them to find authority
for mechanical instruments shows that there is no authority to be
found for them in the New Testament. The Old Testament, all 39
books which includes the Psalms, were done away in Christ. They
were nailed to the cross which shows they were done away (Col.
2:14). Since the church began in Acts two, people live under the
New Testament. The first century church sung psalms, hymns and
spiritual songs, but they did not play an instrument when they sang
(Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). Even secular history bears this out. The
playing of instruments were not introduced for hundreds and
hundreds of years after the time of the apostles. What David and
others may have done in their day does not give us authority to do
the same in our day. He lived under the Law of Moses. We live under
the law of Christ. As far as using ones talent is concerned,
I know several good sisters in the Lord that have a talent in the
kitchen. The meals they prepare are greatly appreciated by many.
But their cooking ability does not give them authority to use it in
worship. Cooking is not an act of worship. Their talent can
certainly be used as an act of Christian service in feeding the
needy. But it is not a part of worship. The point for all to
understand is that we must honor the Lord by doing what he has
commanded us to do. He plainly said, If ye love me, ye will
keep my commandments (John 14:15). Those who are rewarded by
the Lord are those who obey him (Matt. 7:21-23). Jesus is the
author of eternal salvation to those who obey him (Heb. 5:8-9).
When we do what we want to do or what we like or what we feel good
about, we have left a thus saith the Lord and substituted
our own feelings. --Editor]. Please keep up the good work. We
so desperately need faithful men to stand up for the truth
...Wanda Clements, Sun City, AZ. I love Seek The Old
Paths, and at 85, Im still learning from it as well as
the Bible. May God bless your efforts and those of your staff and
writers in exposing error. In my youth, I never would have believed
so many congregations would go off into unscriptural practices. It
saddens me so much. I hope my small check will help defray some of
the expenses of publication. Keep up the good work. I pray for your
work and that of all the writers who have taken up the
challenge ...Murriel Windham, Las Vegas, NV. A
friend of ours in Tyler, Texas has sent me a copy of your leaflet,
Seek The Old Paths. We enjoyed it very much and would
like to be put on your mailing list ...Billy & Mary
Hassell, Ferris, TX.
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