products which are leaving the colleges, with but few exceptions
among us, are insipid and weak. They think that true Biblical
love is "go-along-ism" with a wink and a smile. The
Christian schools cannot continue to be judged and supported
based on the past purposes of their founders, but must be
examined on the present positions and actions of their
faculties, administrations, and boards. We have too many
Bethanys among us today!
A few days ago the church here received one of those form
letters from the dean of enrollment of Michigan Christian College
(now Rochester College, this was written in 1996) with a request to
list prospective students' names. The first paragraph of the letter
reads: "Churches of Christ are blessed to have a number of quality
Christian colleges. Their aim is to educate the total person --
intellectually, socially, spiritually and physically."
Well, let us just look at the kind of product which
Michigan Christian College puts out and applauds. It might be that
godly parents may want to reconsider sending their children to
Michigan Christian College.
In this winter's issue of North Star, the news
bulletin of the Michigan Christian College, the alumni section
applauds the attainments of David Gatewood, the
son of the first president of Michigan Christian College, Otis
Gatewood. We are told that David Gatewood is a 1963 graduate of MCC
and that "he currently is the clinical supervisor of the counseling
department of Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs." He
was the founder of the California Christian Counseling Center in
1976, and in 1992 he founded the Colorado Christian Counseling
Center. He directs both centers. The article also tells us that, in
addition to his work with Focus on the Family and the
private centers, he is an adjunct supervisor for Fuller Theological
Seminary and directs the National Referral Network, a nationwide
database of 1,500 professionals.
The president of Focus on the Family is
James Dobson, a Nazarene preacher.
Fuller Theological Seminary is a sectarian school. No
Christian is going to be in cooperative cahoots with these
sectarians, but David Gatewood has continued to fellowship them.
Paul clearly stated: "Be ye not unequally yoked together with
unbelievers for what fellowship hath righteousness with
unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And
what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that
believeth with an infidel? and what agreement hath the temple of
God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God
hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be
their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from
among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the
unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto
you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord
Almighty" (2 Cor. 6:14-18).
And to add sin to sin, Michigan Christian College
is lauding David Gatewood for his accomplishments! "Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they
were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall
they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation
they shall be cast down, saith the Lord" (Jer. 8:12). Just as
there is no shame in the hearts of some when fornication is
committed and a child is born out of wedlock, so Michigan Christian
College does not blush nor hush to advertise this spiritual
adultery of one of its sons. FOR SHAME! FOR SHAME!
Now, parents, is this the kind of college you want your
children to attend? Do you think this is spiritual growth?
Brethren, if this is the kind of "Christian" education our children
are getting in the "Christian" schools, colleges, and universities
then I say: let them all die a sudden death.
This kind of education is no blessing, but a curse to the Lord's
church. The products which are leaving the colleges, with but few
exceptions among us, are insipid and weak. They think that true
Biblical love is "go-along-ism" with a wink and a smile. The
Christian schools cannot continue to be judged and supported based
on the past purposes of their founders, but must be examined on the
present positions and actions of their faculties, administrations,
and boards. We have too many Bethanys among us today!
I had written the president of Michigan Christian College,
Ken Johnson, on January 5, 1996, stating in
unequivocal terms my utter disgust with the article under scrutiny.
Ten days later he responded by making a copy of my letter and
writing a pitiful, pithy note to me. His plenary response was:
"Ben, Having been for 10 years on Harding's faculty, I know that no
one employed there would encourage, endorse, or condone your
approach in the above letter. KJ." I wrote him back on the 19th of
January: "Your pithy response is pitiful indeed. Do you really
think that I am trying to stand approved in the eyes of
Harding's faculty? Sir, I prefer to stand approved in God's sight;
and I would suggest that you get your house in order and stop
trying to please men." Further, I noted, "You still did not answer
why you are upholding the apostate Gatewood. If you think that such
is teaching Christian principles, you need to go back to Sunday
I wish the presidents, boards, and faculties of all our
Christian schools, colleges, and universities had the intestinal
fortitude to take a stand for truth and righteousness like James
Harding of yesteryear. In The Eyes Of Jehovah, a
biography of Harding by L. C. Sears, the son-in-law of the
son-in-law of Harding, we read this interesting incident:
A brother Lloyd was described by E. A. Elam as a
"factionist, a leader of the party which had rent the
body of Christ," yet because Elam thought Lloyd was
probably honest and sincere he called on him to lead
prayer in a meeting he was holding on Tenth Street.
Harding said, "I would as soon have thought of
calling on the devil."
Those are my sentiments exactly about lauding David Gatewood.
MCC's voice might as well have lauded the devil as to have
applauded the devil's advocate.
Others who feel the same way ought to write. Until the
rank and file members of the Lord's church begin to take a stand
against the liberalism that has engulfed many churches and schools,
the liberal leaders will keep marching to a different drum, taking
our young people with them. It is past time that this drum be
muffled and the liberal troops scattered. "Watch ye, stand
fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong" (1 Cor.
"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the
power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be
able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not
against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against
powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against
spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the
whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil
day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your
loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of
righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the
gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith
ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And
take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is
the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in
the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and
supplication for all saints" (Eph. 6:10-18).
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Table of Contents
A Review of Rochester College, Churches of Christ, and
In December 1998, Ken Johnson, President
of Rochester College (formerly Michigan
Christian College) submitted a paper with the above title to the
trustees of that institution, designed to answer questions about
where they stand on doctrinal matters. The trustees put their own
statement with it and made it available. The whole paper is full
of flaws, false doctrine, and reflects a wrong-headed desire to
"serve Churches of Christ across the spectrum of their diversity"
(preface). The proper way to serve the needs of churches of Christ
across the spectrum of their diversity is to rebuke those who have
left the narrow way, and to reprove those who refuse to stand in
the old paths.
This two part series reviews some of the doctrinal
problems in President Johnson's paper. In it we read...
#1 -- CAN PEOPLE BE SAVED IN DENOMINATIONS?
"Finally, at the outset, we recognize that the early
years of the American Restoration Movement were
dominated by a call to unify all Christians,
explicitly recognizing not that denominational
membership precludes salvation but that the creedal
requirements of denominationalism hinder the cause of
Christ, making a nondenominational situation
preferable" (President Johnson's paper, p.3).
It is always sad when people begin to turn to men for
their doctrine and practice in religion rather than seeking the old
path and standing in the old way. This is the cause of all
denominationalism. This document by President Johnson quotes
several restoration leaders in an effort to prove various points.
This practice of appealing to men to settle spiritual matters is
the practice that causes denominationalism.
#2 -- HOW BROAD IS OUR FELLOWSHIP?
If the response is that these men are not quoted to prove
their points but simply to demonstrate that Rochester College is
not at odds with restoration leaders, we challenge Ken Johnson to
go to the Bible and bring forth the texts which support his ideas.
What text can be used to show that denominationalism does not
preclude salvation? What Bible verses can be pointed out which give
men in man-made churches hope of the salvation which Christ
promises to his body and bride (Eph. 5:23)?
I am not a restoration historian. I am not a historian of
any kind. I refuse to argue what restoration leaders thought or
taught about the church. It appears that much of what is passing
for restoration history is really revisionism, but it doesn't
really matter. If we use restoration leaders as our authority in
matters of faith and practice, we become what they condemned.
The point of this article is that being part of a
denomination does preclude salvation. This is true no matter what
restoration leaders believed or taught. Like all truth, it is
independent of us and it remains true whether we accept or reject
it. The idea that denominationalism precludes salvation is true
because the Bible teaches it, and no amount of denial will change
Denominationalism is the enemy of unity. The practice of
denominationalism is the practice of religious division. It
violates the express word of God (1 Cor. 1:10).
The "creedal requirements of denominationalism" do not
simply hinder the cause of Christ. They render our worship vain.
Jesus says so in plain language: "This people draweth nigh
unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but
their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me,
teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matt
15:8-9). Are we to believe that what we offer to God as praise and
adoration, sacrifice and devotion are useless, vain, and empty, yet
somehow we are still saved? Nadab and Abihu were killed for their
wilful worship (Lev. 10). To accept the authority of the creeds of
men is to deny the sole authority of Jesus. They who do such cannot
be saved. Those who accepted the authority of the Judaizing
teachers and submitted again to the law of Christ fell from grace
(Gal. 5:4). Can we submit to the pope or any other man and retain
No denomination has divine authority to exist, so each one
exists in sin (Col. 3:17). No person has divine authority to join,
support, worship in, or be in any way a part of any denomination,
so each person in denominationalism is sinning (Col. 3:17).
People cannot be saved in denominationalism. Denominations
are wrong because they teach another Gospel than the Truth of the
New Testament and are therefore accursed (Gal. 1:8-9). Those who
submit to the doctrines of men are fallen from grace (Gal. 5:4).
Men must be called out of denominationalism in order to save their
"Thirdly, we believe the message of Jesus recorded in
John 3:1-21, the 'born again' are in the Kingdom of
God, is a reasonable parameter of fellowship by
nondenominational Christians" (President Johnson's
paper, p. 2).
This statement is lacking in either clarity or in truth
or in both. Is being born again the only test of fellowship? And,
what is meant by being born again? Does being born again "of water
and of the spirit" include the necessity of water baptism for the
remission of sins? Denominational people believe that 1 John 5:1
means that anyone who believes in (mentally assents to) Christ has
been born again. Is there more to being born again than giving
mental assent to the claims of Jesus?
We submit that "walking in the light" is a reasonable
parameter and a necessary condition for fellowship (1 John 1:7-8).
Those who do not walk in the light are not to have the fellowship
of those who do.
Here is another quote from this document:
"On the other hand, some members of Churches of
Christ acknowledge that their heart for
nondenominational Christianity is increasingly
unfulfilled as dialog and open discussion are
eliminated in many Churches of Christ, replaced by
creedal tests of fellowship" (President Johnson's
This quote gives rise to several questions also. What is
meant by dialogue and open discussion? Must we tolerate all who
speak in the name of dialogue and open discussion? There are some
whose mouths must be stopped (Titus 1:11). Dialogue and open
discussion does not mean we tolerate or support the teaching of
false doctrines (Rom. 16:17-18; 2 John 9-11). So often we are
accused of shutting down dialogue just because we tell someone they
are wrong and they shouldn't be saying the things they are saying.
Some people who speak are speaking perverse things (Acts 20:30)
which ought not to be spoken (Titus 1:11). And, those who teach a
perverted Gospel, that which is other than New Testament Truth,
will be accursed (Gal. 1:7-9).
What is meant in this quote by reference to "creedal tests
of fellowship?" Are there matters that demand conformity to the
degree that we cannot extend fellowship to those who do not
conform? First Corinthians 5 teaches that moral living is such an
matter. Second Thessalonians 3 teaches that refusal to work for a
living is a test of fellowship. Matthew 18:15-17 teaches that
personal, private sins, committed against another, can and should
become tests of fellowship if the offending party will not repent.
As far as the word "creedal" goes, there are things which are
surely believed among us (Luke 1:1), and if one denies them, he has
no right to be among us (2 John 7).
Footnote #18 on page 8 refers to the idea that we should
let nothing divide us but Sin. Immorality is sin; false doctrine is
sin; tolerance of sin is sin. It is a shame that these things must
divide us, but if they exist in our midst, and if they will not be
repented of, they must divide us (1 Cor. 11:18-19).
From the conclusion of this document we read:
"Rochester College should function in theology and
religious practice within a middle-of-the-road range
of tolerance which rejects control by the restrictive
conscience (right pole) and rejects theological
liberalism (left pole). The range of tolerance would
open our platform to any in Churches of Christ who
are not attempting to divide our fellowship; it would
close our platform to theological liberals. The range
of tolerance would allow interaction by the college
with non-divisive, non-liberal, Christ-exalting
believers in other fellowship groups from whom we may
learn or otherwise benefit or influence" (President
Johnson's paper, p.15).
If it could be true that Rochester College was trying to
adopt a position which would close their platform to liberals, how
blessed that would be! Actually, Ken Johnson affirms that
"virtually all of us in Churches of Christ are conservative." He
identifies conservatives as those who "believe in the inspiration
and authority of the Bible...believe in the divinity and
messiahship of Jesus...believe in the reality of miracles recorded
in scripture" (p.11). A liberal then to him is someone who denies
some or all of the things a conservative holds as true (p.12).
Truly, those people thus described are liberal, but that
description leaves out those who are trying so hard to loosen the
commands of God and supplant liberty with license.
#3 -- CHRISTIANS ONLY AND THE ONLY CHRISTIANS
The above quote tells us something quite interesting about
Ken Johnson's views. He is interested in more interaction with
people outside the Lord's church ("our fellowship" as he refers to
it). Perhaps this explains the use of Tom Long, a non-Christian, at
their 1999 Sermon Seminar. Going beyond even bidding godspeed to
false teachers (2 John 9-11), Ken Johnson believes in giving them
a platform to preach from. (Tell us, Ken Johnson, has Tom Long been
born again as taught in John 3:3,5? If not, are you reaching across
what even you describe as a reasonable parameter of fellowship?)
How broad is "our fellowship?" It is no broader than the
narrow way (Matt. 7:13-14). It cannot be extended to those outside
of Christ or to those who were once baptized into Christ but now
teach false doctrine, live immoral lives, engage in false worship
practices, etc. The leadership shown by Ken Johnson and Rochester
College in these matters is a corrupting influence.
"The present public image of Churches of Christ --
"They insist they are the only ones going to heaven"
-- is quite distinguished from our forefathers'
insistence: "Christians only, but not the only
Christians" (President Johnson's paper, p.6).
This is a sad quote. It again is an appeal to restoration
leaders to settle something that is already settled by the
Scriptures. The question is not whether or not G. C. Brewer, Barton
W. Stone, David Lipscomb, James A. Harding, or N. B. Hardeman
really did mean there were Christians acceptable to God within
denominational groups. It is notable that Ken Johnson used a quote
wherein N. B. Hardeman refers to some of the Lord's people in
confusion and calls them to come out of that confusion. I wonder if
N. B. Hardeman thought it was only preferable that they
disassociate themselves from denominationalism, as Ken Johnson
asserts (p.3), or did he believe it was necessary? In the same
spirit we might ask whether Ken Johnson calls upon those in the
denominational world (Tom Long for instance, speaker at the
Rochester College Sermon Seminar, May, 1999) to come out of
denominationalism, and tells them they are in confusion like N. B.
But the real point is not what restoration leaders
believe. I am no more committed to a restoration movement, as a
historical entity, than I am to the Lion's club. My commitment is
to the Word of God. My commitment is to the restoration principle
of "back to the Bible." If we keep quoting restoration leaders, we
are hardly demonstrating our commitment to the word of God.
There are three points to be made regarding the question
of Christians only and the Only Christians:
1. The Bible produces Christians only. This will likely
be agreed to by President Johnson. The Bible does not produce
sectarianism. The Bible never produced a single denomination. The
Bible neither encourages nor allows a man to call himself a
"Baptist Christian," a "Lutheran Christian," etc. The Word of God
or the Word of the kingdom is compared to a seed (Matt. 13:19). We
are born again of this incorruptible seed, the word of God (1 Peter
1:23). The seed will always produce the same results. It will
produce people who are Christians only.
2. A Christian is a disciple of Christ (Acts 11:26). When
we understand that following the creeds and doctrines of men makes
our worship vain (Matt. 15:9) and causes us to fall from grace
(Gal. 5:4), we must acknowledge that those who are in
denominationalism, submitting and adhering to the creeds of men,
are not followers of Christ -- they are followers of men. Since
they are not followers of Christ, they are not Christians. In the
Biblical use of the word, the only Christians are those who are
Christians only. Those who are Christians only are the only
3. We must always acknowledge there may be other
Christians beyond our awareness. But, they are not beyond God's
awareness, and they will not be found in denominational groups. If
they are Christians, it is because they have followed the
incorruptible Word of God, not the doctrines of men. Either they
never have been a part of the sectarian world, or they have
rejected the authority of men in favor of the simple Truth of God's
word. But churches of Christ have never, within my awareness,
denied that others can come to God by his Word, without doing it
through us. We have never denied that those who make this journey
are Christians, whether they make it with our teaching or by their
study of God's Word alone. They are Christians. Not following the
doctrines of men makes them Christians only and it also makes them
part of the group that contains all Christians. Since all
Christians are in this group, this group represents the only
First Corinthians 12:13, "For by one Spirit are we
all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether
we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one
Spirit." This verse makes it clear that all must do the same
thing to become Christians. Following what the Spirit has revealed
makes them Christians only, and those who do not follow what the
Spirit has revealed are not Christians. This means that Christians
only are the only Christians. There are no Christians outside the
church for which Jesus died.
(Please note, others have written in more detail and with
great force about this matter of Christians only and the Only
Christians. Readers are referred to articles by brother Thomas
Warren in the Spiritual Sword, Volume 15, Number 1, inside cover,
and Volume 15, Number 2, page 8. Brother Warren also authored a
book titled "The Bible Only Makes Christians Only And The Only
Christians," published by National Christian Press,
Jonesboro, Arkansas. Raymond Hagood has written an article with the
same name in Unity In Truth, Volume 12, Number 4, page
(First of two parts)
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Table of Contents
Muzzling The Wolves
In Acts 20:29-31, Paul gave the following warning to the
Ephesian elders, "For I know this, that after my departing
shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things,
to draw away disciples after them." One of the primary
functions of a shepherd is to protect the flock from wolves. Too
many elderships are taking a lax attitude toward the use of false
teachers. Many do not properly investigate what a man believes and
teaches before bringing him in among the local flock. Some, even
after learning of the false views of the invited speaker, refuse to
take action. It appears they would rather lose face with the Lord
than with the local congregation (and area congregations).
In an attempt to justify the use of a false teacher,
elderships give the false teacher explicit instructions not to
address the subject wherein he holds a false view. This is what
one might call "muzzling the wolf." Rather than cancel the wolf's
invitation to enter in among the flock, they "muzzle" him, hoping
his presence will not damage those over whom they have oversight.
Thus, they not only bring in a wolf among the flock, but attempt to
disguise him as a sheep! Such a practice is not only unwise, it is
also unscriptural! Jesus said, "Beware of false prophets,
which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are
ravening wolves" (Matt. 7:15). Jesus gave his life for the
church (Acts 20:28). Do elderships really believe it is acceptable
to invite in those who would do harm to the body?
In a recent conversation with a preacher-friend of mine,
the following scenario was given with regard to a situation with a
church in Tennessee who has unknowingly invited a false teacher to
preach in a Gospel meeting. A man who was related to one of the
local members was invited to preach in a Gospel meeting (this
invitation was given before my friend accepted the local work).
When an area preacher heard of the invitation, he sent a sermon
tape of the invited speaker addressing the topic of divorce and
remarriage. According to my friend, the man took every view except
the one taught by the Lord in Matthew 19:9. When the local elders
heard the tape, they discussed their options on how to handle the
situation. One suggested that in order to keep peace, the false
teacher would be instructed not to address the topic of divorce and
remarriage during the meeting. The preacher objected on the
1. What if others attend the meeting or hear the tapes and
are led to believe the man is not a false teacher, and the false
teacher is later invited to preach for them and teaches error among
our sister congregations?
2. What if the false teacher gains the confidence of some
of the local members who later seek out his guidance on the topic
of divorce and remarriage and are taught error?
3. What about our responsibility to refrain from inviting
a false teacher among us and bidding him godspeed, lest we become
a partaker of his evil deeds (2 John 9-11)?
4. What about our responsibility to reprove and expose the
unfruitful works of darkness, as opposed to the practice of
inviting a false teacher to speak (Eph. 5:11)? When the eldership
was presented with the facts, and because they had a great desire
to do as the Bible commands, the false teacher's invitation was
The Lord's church needs more elderships who will accept
the responsibilities of shepherding and dutifully carry them out,
heeding the words of the great hymn, "Rise up O men of God! Have
done with lesser things; Give heart and mind and soul and strength
to serve the Kings of kings. Rise up O men of God! The Church for
you doth wait; Her strength unequal to her task, rise up and make
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Table of Contents
Why Men Hate A Loving God
Mark K. Lewis
There are few things more amazing, stupefying, and
paradoxical than the vitriolic hatred that many people have towards
a loving, compassionate God. "God is love," the beloved apostle
John tells us, and indeed manifested that love toward us by sending
His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him
(1 John 4:8-9). Everybody wants to be loved, and everybody (in
their right mind) wants to live. God provides both -- perfectly and
eternally. And yet so many men revile and vilify God endlessly. Of
course, since they cannot get at God directly, their target, as in
Acts 7, is usually those who represent God and righteousness. But
the actual object of their malice is God.
Our country has come upon sad times. A time lies within
the memory of some who read these lines when nearly all people in
America honored God, respected His word, and believed that absolute
moral truth exists and that our laws should be based upon the
precepts of God's eternal word. But no more. Militant homosexuals,
feminists, and baby murderers now dominate the power sources in
America. We have a President who is pro-homosexual, pro-feminism,
never met an abortion he didn't like, plainly is opposed, morally,
to just about everything Christians stand for. How could such a man
-- a proven adulterer and liar -- get elected in a "Christian"
nation like America? And then the man, a good, decent man by every
account of those who know him, who exposed much of the foul, evil
villainy of Mr. Clinton is subjected to constant, relentless,
barbaric assaults by those who want our sin-promoting President to
remain in office. Again, how could such a thing happen in a nation
which barely a generation ago agreed that our country should be
undergirded by Biblical principles? Well, quite simply, America is
no longer a "Christian" nation, and God's people and those who
defend Biblical precepts are on the run, called racists, bigots,
murderers, intolerant, Nazis, and just about every other name the
loving, compassionate, tolerant left can invoke. It is quite an
irony if one can look at it objectively. The God of love -- and
those who try to defend His loving Word -- are cast as hateful,
malicious, Hitlerites. And so many people have swallowed this
baloney whole, without one single chew. It is a terrible tragedy,
with national and -- more importantly -- eternal consequences.
Why do men so hate God and those who uphold holiness and
righteousness? Some men hate God because they simply do
not understand what love is (or what "is" is, for that
matter). For many, love means doing for me what I want done. God
exists, as they see it, to serve them and when God doesn't come
across with the booty they want, when things in life happen that
displease them, they blame God and think that He doesn't care. God
doesn't fit their definition of love, so they hate God. This is one
of the reasons the Jews killed Jesus, the loving Son of God. He did
not provide them what THEY thought God ought to give them. This
isn't love, of course, it's pure selfishness, and many men are
motivated by nothing more than conceited self-interest. But the
Bible says GOD is love, not man, and just as a loving parent often
does things that its child does not understand, even so God must
frequently do the same. Often a child will selfishly conclude that
if his parent doesn't buy him that toy he impulsively desires then
the parent doesn't love him. Children grow out of this (hopefully),
but some people never mature spiritually to understand the love of
God. Our world is full of spiritual toddlers who think God exists
to give them whatever new "toy" they capriciously crave. And when
genie-God doesn't grant them their wish -- or worse yet, condemns
what they covet -- then they will go wherever they can to find it.
Some will drift into esoteric religions like Eastern occultism,
Buddhism, Nihilism; some will simply become agnostics or atheists
-- the ultimate irresponsible cop-out. But it allows them to
believe and do just as they please, which is what they wanted of
God in the first place. Unfortunately, for them, God isn't that
kind of being.
But further, Jesus puts His finger on perhaps the main
reason most people hate God: "And this is the condemnation,
that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness
rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For
every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the
light, lest his deeds should be reproved" (John 3:19-20).
Men hate God because "God is light and in Him is no darkness at all" (1
John 1:5). Men love to sin -- "darkness" in the Biblical vernacular
-- and thus light, to them, is "evil" and must be extinguished. And
when we Christians, as "the light of world" (mirrors reflecting the
image of God), shine our light brightly, we, too, will be vilified.
"Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you" (1
John 3:13). Again, it is the ultimate irony: God's people, trying
to bring true love, peace, and life to the world -- the very things
the world claims it wants -- are the targets of the most malicious
slander and loathing on earth. But, actually, the world is living
a lie. It claims to want love, peace, and life, but all it wants is
to fulfill it's own selfish desires, regardless of who might get in
the way. This is the very antithesis of New Testament Christianity.
God, His word, and His cause will always be hated by
darkness-worshipping men. Perhaps an even greater irony -- a joke
on the world -- is that their hatred of God and His book is
actually a fulfillment of what that very Book says; by their
hatred, they are providing another confirmation of the truth of the
One more thought, brethren, and let us turn inward for
just a moment. Remember, next time you complain about "hard"
preaching, remember that "everyone practicing evil hates the
light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be
exposed." Homosexuality is not the only evil in this world;
some wickedness abides in the very hearts of those who claim to be
Perhaps the greatest mystery of all is not why men hate
a loving God, but how in the world can God so love men who so hate
2912 N Chester Ave.
Bakersfield, CA 93308
Table of Contents
"We are still having continual problems with the church in the
Nashville area. I am a graduate of Lipscomb and
have always been happy to say that. But in the last few years,
things sure have changed. We have a good man where we worship who
has been teaching at Lipscomb for 20 years and he is faithful in
the word. We are close friends and have many conversations. I told
him when the board brought Harold Hazelip in to
replace Bro. Collins that major problems were getting ready to
start. Unfortunately, I was right. And, now that they have brought
in Steve Flatt, I believe things have gotten
worse and will continue to go downhill. I wish that I could
encourage young people to go there but I can no longer do so. I
guess when you have men in charge who are more concerned about
raising money than they are about shaping lives that you cannot
expect anything else but major problems. They have one teacher in
the Bible Dept. who preached for a congregation only 4 miles from
where I worship. He split that church all to pieces over the role
of women in the worship. He advocated and got his way of women
waiting on the table and leading public prayers. For the life of
me, I don't understand the board allowing such a person on the
faculty and especially in the Bible Dept. Steve has been asked
about this and the only answer he gives is "The students like him."
Rubel Shelly continues in his ways. About 6
weeks ago, the Woodmont Hills congregation where he preaches had a
weekend workshop on reaching out to youth and the two main teachers
were from denominations. This appeared in the local newspaper.
Again. I don't understand Rubel because he has forgotten more Bible
that I will ever know and I know he is bound to know that Biblical
fellowship is a result and not a cause. By the way, the close
friend of mine, who teaches at Lipscomb that I mentioned earlier,
and I were eating lunch a few weeks back and were discussing
Jeff Walling. He stated that he had never heard
Jeff expound that the instrument was permissible in worship so he
called him and asked him his stance. He said that Jeff said that
there was no Bible that specifically condemned it and so he
wouldn't do it either. My friend said that settled it in his mind
as to whether Jeff was a false teacher or not. There are still
faithful congregations in Nashville but it seems that so many folks
would rather have their ears tickled. The other elders with whom I
serve as one have no control over what other congregations do nor
do we feel our responsibilty is to try and oversee any flock except
the one where we worship. Yet, all of the "New Interpretation" of
the Word that is so prevalent does effect our ability to oversee
because we constantly have to be aware of the enviorment around our
flock and be sure that what is being taught constantly reinforces
the truth. It is so disturbing to hear preachers and elders say God
really has no plan for mankind and we should open fellowship to all
and then work out our differences. If you had told me twenty five
years ago that it would be necessary in 1999 to defend the
necessity of baptism for salvation among our own brethren, I would
have thought you were crazy. But today, not only do we have to
defend it but are told that we are troublemakers when we do so"
...TAC, Nashville, TN. "We receive your
publication and look forward to the articles. My husband and I
travel frequently when we have time off together and frequently
attend worship services in many different areas of the southeastern
United States. Our problem is that when we stop at these churches
of Christ we never know what we will encounter: from women
assisting in the leading of singing disguised by sitting on the
front row with microphone in hand, to preaching that reflects
error. We have had to leave these services due to the error we have
found. Is there any publication that would help us in finding
churches of Christ that are true to the name? Your assistance would
be appreciated" ...firstname.lastname@example.org , Paul and Lisa
Lasseter, Gallipolis, OH. [NOTE: I'm not aware of such a
publication or way of knowning which congregations are faithful.
But if we run across one, we'll print it in Seek The Old
Paths. In the mean time, we would like to ask the readers of
STOP to send us the names and addresses of sound congregations that
we may either publish or have available to pass along to those who
enquire about it. It is very difficult to know where to worship
when you're traveling. This sure would be a help in planning
vacations and travels.] "We appreciate your paper and its contents.
We are sending you $$$ to enable you to send copies of STOP
to editors of gospel papers and to preachers in general. Feel
such will "do them good," and may enable other preachers and
brethren in general to "SEE WHAT IS GOING ON". God bless you in
your labors" ...Ector and Cordia Watson, Cleveland, OK.
"I just want to tell you what a great work your paper is.
I am on your mailing list, and I hope that I stay on it. God bless
you in your efforts. Godspeed" ...Mark Tabata,
email@example.com. "We enjoy your publication very much.
It's nice to see, that in a world of change, there are still people
following the truth" ...Jim & Gail Litton, Livonia, MI.
Seek The Old Paths is still doing a great
work. Keep it up" ...Mike Ernstberger, Murray, KY.
"We appreciate the paper very much. Thank you so much for
your work in the LORD'S service" ...Tony Ferrell, Wards
Chapel Church of Christ, Manchester Tenn. "Greetings in
the name of our Lord Jesus! Thank you very much. Keep sending me a
copy of S.T.O.P. I would like to receive a copy of S.T.O.P.
regularly. If you could send me also some old books that we can use
for equipping the saints in the church, I will very much appreciate
it. Thank you very much and I hope to hear from you soon. God bless
you all" ...Danni De Vera, Quezon City, Philippines.
"I think STOP does a
wonderful job representing the
TRUTH. I like knowing about others keeping the strait and narrow
and I like being warned about those who do not. I can't say that
STOP and STOP only changed my view on "liberalism", but your
truthfulness did help. The "liberal movement" (or "letting the
devil in the back door", or the "slide towards denominationalism",
or whatever you want to call it) that is happening in the churches
of Christ today is very easy to fall into. Thank you for being a
beacon" ...Tiffany Griffin. "Thanks so much for
the publication "Seek The Old Paths." I discovered it on the
internet and am delighted to find men holding fast to God's Word"
...Don Tanner, Rockmart, GA. "I appreciate the
good work you are doing with Seek The Old Paths. I think
you are to be commended for dealing with current problems in a fair
and dignified manner" ...Thomas Franklin, Pensacola, FL.
"Keep up your good work with Seek The Old Paths,
lectureships, etc." ...Lester Kamp, Aurora, CO.
"Refused" ...Alan Barham, Pearl, MS. "Thank you and more power to your magazine" ...G.A.
Villanueva, Manila, Philippines. "Thanks for Seeking The
Old Paths and all the other great services you do for the kingdom
of Christ" ...John D. Cotham, McMinnville, TN. .