Seek The Old Paths

Vol. 11   No. 8                                August,   2000

In This Issue...


Richard Guill

       Every true Gospel preacher is an offensive preacher. There are many who "preach" that are not, but they cannot truly be classified as Gospel preachers.
     According to Webster's Dictionary, the word "offensive" has four meanings. Two of these definitely apply to a preacher and I want to consider both meanings and apply them. Webster defines "offensive" as: 1) attacking, 4) causing resentment, anger; insulting....


     A Gospel preacher (really every Christian) is commanded and expected to "put on the whole armor of God" and take the "sword of the Spirit" (Eph. 6:10-17). It is true that one of the purposes of that armor and that sword is for our defense against Satan's attacks. But too many brethren have taken the defensive position only, waiting for Satan to attack. The Gospel preacher not only must defend himself and others against the attacks of Satan, he must launch an unrelenting offensive attack against him as well. He will soon discover that the best "defence" against Satan is an aggressive offense. The grand old song entitled "Faith Is The Victory" expresses the thought very well. It says, "Encamped along the hills of light, Ye Christian soldiers rise, And PRESS THE BATTLE ere the night, Shall veil the glowing skies. Against the foe in vales below, let ALL OUR STRENGTH BE HURLED."
     Wherever and whenever sin arises, the faithful soldier of Christ must attack it, no matter who may be involved. That's what Paul had in mind in his charge to Timothy, "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine" (2 Tim. 4:2).
     Any man who does not have this "attack mentality" should not be preaching the Gospel of Christ and no eldership should hire a preacher who does not possess the "attack mentality."
     However, if one is an attacker, he is going to anger and offend some people, and cause resentment. Perhaps this is why so many of our preachers are not attacking sin and evil. They had rather be "liked by everybody" than to be resented by a few.


     Sometimes the straightforward attack on sin in men's lives will bring anger and resentment from two different classes of people. One is the one whose sin is attacked. The other may be a friend or a relative of the one whose sin is attacked, or, it may be a member of the church who does not like such straightforward preaching because it offends people and makes them angry.
     While I realize we should "speak the truth in love" (Eph. 4:15), and while I agree that no one should ever be unnecessarily harsh and abusive in attacking sin and error, it must not prevent any preacher from boldly and plainly exposing sin and hypocrisy which will destroy one's own soul and the souls of others. If people are offended by such rebuke and exposure of error, they will remain lost, but we will have delivered our soul (Ezek. 3:17-21).


     The preachers mentioned in the New Testament were "offensive" preachers. I want to look at four examples to illustrate the previous points.
     JOHN THE BAPTIST was an offensive preacher. He saw the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, knew they weren't there to repent and be baptized, and cried out to them, "O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth fruits meet for repentance" (Matt. 3:7-8). Careful there John, you may offend those fellows. And, when he stood before Herod, John saw a man condemned in sin. He straight-forwardly told him, "It is not lawful for thee to have her" (his brother's wife, Mark 6:18). It didn't make him very popular with Herod nor with Herodias. They were greatly offended.
     STEPHEN was an offensive preacher also. Because he took the offensive to preach the Gospel, he was arrested and brought to court. Given an opportunity to speak, he took the offensive even more and boldly denounced his audience, including their forefathers. "Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which showed before the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers" (Acts 7:51-54). IT REALLY OFFENDED those folks. They gnashed on him with their teeth and stoned him to death.
     PAUL was an offensive preacher. He took the offensive to preach and defend the Gospel. When certain men began to preach a perverted Gospel at Antioch, he immediately challenged them. He and Barnabas "had no small dissension and disputation with them" (Acts 15:1-2). These false teachers became constant enemies of the apostle. When Paul was trying to convert Sergius Paulus, a sorcerer named Elymas tried to turn the deputy from the faith. Paul took the offensive against him in the strongest of language and even struck him blind (Acts 13:7-12).
     JESUS CHRIST was an offensive preacher. Notice the incident recorded in Matthew 15:1-14. The Pharisees criticized the disciples for not washing their hands before they ate. Jesus took the offensive and reminded them they transgressed the command of God by their traditions. He called them hypocrites and told them their worship was vain as they honored God with their lips but their heart was far from him. The disciples asked Jesus, "Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?" (v.12). He didn't seem too concerned. He said, "Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch" (vs.13-14). It is interesting that Jesus' disciples were concerned because the Pharisees had been offended by Jesus' teaching, but Jesus was not. How many brethren since the first century have tried to apologize for a preacher's bold proclamation of the truth that "offended" someone?
     I surely want to be one of those "offensive" preachers who is not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ (Rom. 1:16).
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 Guest Editorial...
James W. Boyd

     "Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an example" (Phil. 3:17).
     Paul was very aware of brethren who walked the path of righteousness, and he commended them. He was very careful to urge his brethren to imitate him as he imitated Christ (1 Cor. 11:1). Not only did he have respect for such people, but he wanted other brethren to take note of those who walked in the light.
     In Romans sixteen we have a demonstration of Paul practicing what he preached. In that chapter there is a long list of individuals considered deserving of commendation and he proceeded to name them by name and relate in most instances just why they were to be so recognized. Paul did not subscribe to the idea some have developed that it is improper to call names. In fact, those who would blast faithful brethren for calling names do not usually object to calling names just so long as you name only those who are worthy of commendation. Paul was marking those in Romans sixteen for their faithfulness and loyal service to Christ.
     But we should read some more. There are some others Paul commanded to be marked. "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause division and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them" (Rom. 16:17). Paul considered some to be noted and identified as false teachers, creators of trouble, dividers of brethren, with whom faithful brethren should have no fellowship, but rather avoid. What is interesting (and we cannot dismiss it with the oft used "wave of the hand" attitude of liberals and seekers of acceptance by men) is that the same word, "mark" is used in both passages (one an infinitive form and the other an imperative form). Did you notice how Paul marked the good brethren in Romans sixteen? Did he not name them, and in most instances tell why they were named? Is that not the same way we should mark those who cause trouble with their false doctrines to the havoc of the church? How could brethren know who was to be commended if he did not name them? How could brethren know who was to be avoided if they were never named? How could brethren know why such marking, both the good and the bad, was deserving if nothing good or evil was ever connected with the people involved?
     There are some weak and timid souls, for whatever motives, who shy away from naming names when it comes to false teachers and their false doctrines. They will even berate and chastise brethren who do as Paul did. If they had been alongside Paul when he wrote Romans 16:17 they would surely have "corrected" him in his instructions. To them, naming names of false teachers is too unloving, unkind, and like the Pharisees. But I suggest to you that failure to name names of false teachers and their false doctrines is unloving to those who could well become victims of their heresy. It is unkind to the unsuspecting who could become followers of error by deceitful smooth talkers of false doctrines. It does injury to the faithful who could well become subverted by error.
     I have never yet had it explained to me why those who say they love souls and the truth that saves, want to protect the false teachers. Is it because they want to be included in their forums, considered "loving and sweet," or are they just lacking in faith and too cowardly to do what inspired teaching directs us to do? God be their judge, but their fruit in this matter is disgusting. Such "don't-call-names" people continue to pave the way for the acceptance of false teachers and the adoption of their false doctrines, especially by the young, uninformed, and unsuspecting.
     Paul wrote Scripture that was to be read by people for generations. In that Scripture he often called names, both of commendable brethren as well as those who proved themselves to be enemies of the cross. Today, we have some who obviously think they have outgrown the wisdom of the Holy Spirit and rather than condemn the false teachers and their error will condemn those who imitate Paul in dealing with them. No wonder many churches are weak and insipid, compromising with those who lead the digression that has ransacked the church in recent years. The "loving" brethren, who really show a lack of love by their failure to mark false teachers by name and doctrine, have numbed the brains of many who, in turn, swallow the destructive heresy that produces apostasy.
     Until some of these "don't-call-names" brethren produce some Biblical basis for their folly which is based on their own fallacious thinking, faithful brethren will continue to be faithful and mark in the same way the inspired apostle did and taught. He loved his brethren. He commended those who were faithful. He wanted the faithful to be advised, warned, and protected from the wolves that spare not the flock. He was not concerned with being accepted by those who promoted error. He only sought to please the Lord and save the souls of men. What he taught about marking is a powerful part of accomplishing that very thing. Then why do some object? Do they recall at just what age they decided they were smarter than God?
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Questions 74-86

Chuck Northrop

     74. "Where was your CHURCH OF CHRIST when Alexander Campbell was being baptized by a Baptist preacher?"
     Let's think about the term "your church of Christ." This term shows a double possession. Is it "your church" or is it Christ's church? Quite frankly, I do not have a church. I was not crucified for one, I did not purchase the church with my blood, nor was anyone baptized into my name. And, that is the way I want it! I am not qualified to die for the sins of the world. I am not perfect as the Lord is. The church of Christ does not belong to anyone but Christ.
     Where was the church of Christ when Alexander Campbell was being baptized by a Baptist preacher? Jesus said, "...I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:18). Jesus promised that His church or the church of Christ would always prevail and would never be destroyed. Since it is eternal, then the church of Christ was in existence before, during, and after the life of Alexander Campbell.
     75. "Was Elder Luce, the Baptist preacher who Baptized Campbell, a Christian? Did Baptist Baptism put Alexander Campbell into the Church of Christ? If not, when and how did Campbell become a member of the Church of Christ?"
     The standard of how a person is added to the Lord's church is not Alexander Campbell nor elder Luce. The standard is the word of God. What does God say? God says after Hearing the Word, a person must Believe Jesus is the Christ (Mark 16:16). Upon this belief, a person then must Repent of his or her sins (Acts 2:38). Then, a person must Confess Christ before men as the eunuch did (Acts 8:36-38). Finally, a person must be Baptized into Christ for the remission of their sins. Saul of Tarsus was told, "And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16). When a person has done this, then God adds him or her to His church (Acts 2:47).
     Also consider this, a person's salvation is not determined by the one baptizing. If that be the case, then a person's salvation is determined by another. One day every person will stand before the judgment seat of Christ, and all will be judged "according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad" (2 Cor. 5:10). We will not be judged by what others have done, but what we have done.
     If Campbell was baptized with Baptist baptism, then he was not saved. Why? Because Baptist baptism is not done for the remission of sins for Baptists believe they have already received forgiveness of sins. If Campbell was baptized "in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins" by a Baptist preacher, then he obeyed God, and God added him to the church of Christ.
     Let me hasten to point out that what Alexander Campbell (or any other man) did or did not do has no nothing to do with salvation. Our appeal is, "what does the Bible say?"
     76. "If Baptist Baptism put Campbell INTO CHRIST and HIS CHURCH -why will not Baptist Baptism do the same for people today?"
     Baptist baptism is not the one baptism of Ephesians 4:5. In question 19 and 20 (page 37), we pointed out the purpose of the baptism that Christ commissioned, and Baptist baptism is not for that purpose -- the remission of sins. Therefore, like all unscriptural baptisms, Baptist baptism does nothing but get someone wet.
     77. "If Elder Luce did not Baptize Campbell INTO Christ when and where and HOW did Campbell ever get into Christ since he died with Baptist Baptism, and never did repudiate it?"
     If Campbell was "in Christ," he was baptized into Christ (Gal. 3:27) like everyone else who is in Christ. When, where, and how Campbell was baptized may be important to Baptist Davis, but those who simply make every effort to follow the Bible recognize Campbell's baptism is not authoritative. Again, our appeal is to the Bible and its authority, not men.
     78. "If Campbell was baptized into the Church of Christ by Luce's act, then was not the Church of Christ in fact already here?"
     To some, like Baptist Davis, Campbell founded the "church of Christ." If that be the case, then members of the "church of Christ" would be "Campbellites." However, the church of Christ was built by Christ on the day of Pentecost in AD 30 during the days of the Roman Empire in the city of Jerusalem as prophesied by Isaiah 2 and Daniel 2. So, yes, the church of Christ existed before, during, and after the life of Alexander Campbell.
     Campbell's concept was simply to return to the New Testament. Others before he lived, during his lifetime, and after him, have had the same concept. Having the desire to do God's will, and God's will only, does not in any way make one a "Campbellite." When a person does God's will, not adding to it nor taking from it, then upon the obedience of that person, God adds him or her to His church -- not Campbell's movement.
     80. "Are you a member of the ORIGINAL GENUINE CHURCH OF CHRIST or the one that grew out of Campbell's Reform movement? The Church of which Campbell was a member, he got in by BAPTIST BAPTISM. DO YOU HAVE THE SAME BAPTISM? Then, if not, you do NOT BELONG to the original New Testament Church, but to the one that grew out of Campbell's movement ... SELAH."
     If a person simply obeys God, then he or she is not a part of Campbell's or any other man's reform movement. Is he or she a part of a reformation? Absolutely! Every person ought to be "transformed by the renewing of the mind." We ought to reform to God's will. Rather than holding on to the doctrines of men, we ought to turn to God and His will and obey Him. This is called repentance. Jesus said, "I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3). When a person will give up his man-made creeds and be like the Bereans and search the Scriptures and receive the Word with all readiness of mind, then that person is a part of a reformation -- God's reformation. Why? Because they are striving to reform their lives according to the standard of God's Word. When that person obeys God and is baptized according to the Scriptures, then God adds him or her to "the original genuine church of Christ."
     81. "Can you show in History anywhere on earth, a Church organized and operating as your self-styled Church of Christ operates today prior to 1826? Where was it located? What your authority? The scholarship of the world awaits your answer."
     The organization of the church as taught in the Bible is simple. The head of the church is Christ (Eph. 1:22-23). Biblically, Jesus is the only head. Thus, there are no man-made headquarters on earth of the church of Christ. Since Jesus, the head of the church, is in heaven, then the only rightful headquarters of the church is in heaven (Phil. 3:20). Within the local church or congregation, there are elders and deacons. Please notice the plurality. Paul wrote, "Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons" (Phil. 1:1). From Acts 20, we learn that elders are known by three names. Paul "called the elders of the church" to him. In the original language, the word "elders" is the same word as "presbyters" and refers to a man of mature age. Then, in verse 28, Paul called them "overseers" or "bishops" which refers to the office of ruling or overseeing. Finally, they are "to feed the church of God." This is the word shepherd or pastor which alludes to their duties of feeding and tending the flock of God. The qualifications of elders, bishops, or pastors are found in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. Deacons are servants who help elders. Their qualifications are found in 1 Timothy 3:8-13. Working with elders and under their oversight are evangelists or preachers whose God-given responsibility is to "preach the word" (2 Tim. 4:2).
     With this in mind and going back to Mr. Davis' question, the answer is Yes! The church in the first century throughout the world was organized with Christ as the head, elders as overseers, and deacons as servants. Thus, the New Testament is the authority, and scholars do not need to wait for an answer. The true genuine church of Christ through the ages has always been organized this same way. The Baptist Church is not organized this way, therefore, it is not the true genuine church of Christ.
     82. "Where was YOUR CHURCH OF CHRIST from Pentecost until Campbell's day? Almost 1800 years are unaccounted for. Where were YOU and your brethren?"
     Again Mr. Davis, the church of Christ belongs to Christ, not to me or any other person. Since Jesus taught the gates of hell would not prevail against the church (Matt. 16:18), then the church is eternal. Therefore, the church of Christ existed through the ages. To say it did not exist is to deny the words of Jesus. How did it exist? Because few will travel the strait and narrow way (Matt. 7:14), many believe it existed in small obscure groups. Others believe it existed in "seed form." The word is the seed of the kingdom (Luke 8:4-15), and whenever or wherever the word is followed, then the church of Christ exists. The New Testament is the record the church of Christ existed in the first century. If we follow the New Testament pattern concerning the church, we will be the same as they. Therefore, we plead for men to put away the doctrines of men and follow the pattern set forth within the pages of the New Testament.
     It is not necessary to be able to "rattle the chain" of succession all the way back to the first century. The Baptist Church certainly cannot! Let us point out again, if men do today what men did in the first century to become Christians, worship as Christians and live as Christians, then men today are true genuine Christians and members of the one body -- the church of Christ.
     83. "Is it not a fact the ANTI-ORGAN wing of Campbell's movement split off a few years ago and got their younger set registered in Washington as THE CHURCH OF CHRIST?"
     Whether a group or movement is registered in Washington or not is immaterial. There is no doubt the Christian Church, the Disciples of Christ, and some who call themselves Churches of Christ are in apostasy. They are the ones who "split off." However, that is not the case with the true church of Christ as recorded in the New Testament. There are counterfeits today just as there have always been those who have departed from the faith (cf. 1 Tim. 4:1-3), but their origin is in man, not God. Since the true church of Christ existed in the first century, then it is the case that it can exist today, surpassing Campbell or any other man. In fact, it does exist today as it did in the first century.
     Concerning the comment about the "anti-organ;" for the most part, historians agree the church in the first century did not use mechanical instruments of music. Thus, all so-called churches "split" from a capella worship. However, historians are not the authority. The Bible teaches that man is not to go beyond what is written (1 Cor. 4:6; 2 John 9) and not to add to nor take away from God's Word (Rev. 22:18-19). In fact, all that is done must be authorized by God. Paul wrote, "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him" (Col. 3:17). To do something in the name of another, is to do it by his/her authority. What saith the Scriptures concerning music in worship? "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord" (Col. 3:16). The kind of music God authorizes for worship is singing. Let not man add to nor take away!
     84. "All Historians trace the origin of your young set back through the organ-wing of the Campbellite Church, back to the days of Campbell, Walter Scott and Barton W. Stone. Can you trace your origin beyond this date? Are Historians all liars or just plain ignorant?"
     Concerning history, someone once said, "There is what the historians recorded, and then there is what actually happened." For various reasons, historians do not always get all the facts, and they do not always agree. Thus, historians are not the authority.
     Why does Mr. Davis continue to refer to Campbellites? Based on his example, should we call him a "Smythite." What is his purpose? Is he trying to be demeaning or rude? Only he can answer that, but it sure makes one wonder. Be that as it may, I'm not a Campellite! And, his persistence in using the term doesn't change reality. In fact, I've never even met any one who claimed to be a Campbellite. The only persons I've ever heard use the term are those like Mr. Davis who make charges against the church of Christ.
     The origin of the church of Christ does not go back to Campbell, Scott, or Stone. It goes back to Christ's promise of building His church (Matt. 16:18). It goes back to the establishment of the church on Pentecost in AD 30 (Acts 2). It goes back to the first century -- not the nineteenth century.
     85. "Your Doctrine of Church and Baptismal Salvation are both Fundamental doctrines. Did you know that the Catholics, the Mormons, the Jehovah Witnesses, and one Branch of the Holiness sect, are EXACTLY in harmony with you on these points? They tell the world the same story about Baptism and Church membership that you do -- identical doctrines. Why don't you fellowship these people?"
     Questions have various motives. Some who came to Jesus were sincere and wanted to know the Truth. Others came with no interest in the Truth. They only wanted to trap Jesus. The preceding questions make one wonder about the motives behind them. Is Mr. Davis trying to alienate these people from the church of Christ? It is almost as if he is saying, I'm in fellowship with these folks, but the "Campbellite Church" is not. Is he really in fellowship with these churches? Of course not, but he wants them on his side to battle his enemy -- the Truth. The Bible is the Truth, and the Truth teaches the essentiality of baptism (Matt. 28:18-19; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:1-4; 1 Peter 3:21, etc.), and those who are baptized are added to the church (Acts 2:47; 1 Cor. 12:13). However, baptism is not the only Truth that must be obeyed. Baptism is only one commandment given by God. All commandments must be obeyed to have fellowship with God and God's people (1 John 1:7; Eph. 5:11; 2 Cor. 6:14-18; James 4:4).
     86. "Why don't you tell your people the truth about the Music Question? What means the Greek Word PSALMOS or the Hebrew word MIZMOR? Read 1 Cor.14:15, and define the words as you go. BOTH THESE WORDS MEAN 'TO PLAY ON THE HARP OR OTHER STRINGED INSTRUMENT' (Liddell and Scott, 28th. Ed. Clarendon Press, 1903) (Standard Lexicon of New Testament Greek, Souter, 1916) Would David be able to worship at your Church should he return to earth? If Musical Instruments are so sinful, why will a Trumpet be blown at the Resurrection Day? Will you rise and rebuke the BLOWER of the TRUMPET and refuse to fellowship HIM because he uses AN EVIL INSTRUMENT ON THAT SACRED OCCASION? Read Psalm 150 for a good tonic."
     One does not have to be a Greek expert, nor does one have to have a Greek lexicon to know the meaning of "psallo." This word is only used five times in the New Testament in four passages.
     * Rom. 15:9, "And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing (psallo) unto thy name."
     * 1 Cor. 14:15, "What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing (psallo) with the spirit, and I will sing (psallo) with the understanding also."
     * Eph. 5:19, "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody (psallo) in your heart to the Lord."
     * James 5:13, "Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing (psallo) psalms."
     With one exception, this word is translated "sing." The exception is Ephesians 5:19, and in this passage the instrument is named -- "your heart." There are three kinds of music: instrumental, a capella (vocal), and mixed (vocal and instrumental). God is specific in the music He desires in worship -- singing. In every passage in the New Testament where music is mentioned in connection with New Testament worship, it is singing. Since God has specified what He wants, then we must not add to nor take away.
     Though one does not have to be a Greek scholar, there are a few observations that ought to be made about Baptist Davis' question/statement. First, Liddell and Scott is a Classical Greek Lexicon. The New Testament was written in koine Greek. Second, the standard of koine Greek Lexicons is Walter Bauer's translation of William F. Arndt and F. Wilbur Gingrich. Arndt and Gingrich defines psalmos as a "song of praise" or "psalm, in accordance with Old Testament usage." (Notice this is a noun and not a verb indicating to play...) psallo is defined in the same reference as to "sing, sing praise." Third, if psallo means to "to play on the harp or other stringed instrument," then according to Ephesians 5:19, all would have to play an instrument and not just a select group or a single individual.
     One of the purposes of singing is edification. For this reason, Paul states, "...I will sing with the understanding also" (1 Cor. 14:15) and "...teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord" (Col. 3:16). Though mechanical instruments of music may set tone and/or mood, they do not edify nor teach. With instrumental music, one can express excitement, anger, and tranquility, but with it, one cannot teach anyone about Jesus, salvation, or heaven. Listen to the exhortation of Hebrews 13:15, "By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name."
     From a historical standpoint, mechanical instruments of music are a "Johnny come lately." It was introduced into the Roman church over six hundred years after the establishment of the church in AD 30. Within Protestant denominationalism, it is less than two hundred years old. John Calvin, in his commentary on the twenty-third psalm said, "Musical instruments in celebrating the praises of God would be no more suitable than the burning of incense, the lighting of candles, and the restoration of the other shadows of the law. The papist therefore have foolishly borrowed this as well as many other things from the Jews. Men who are fond of outward pomp may delight in that noise but the simplicity which God recommends to us by the apostles is far more pleasing to Him. The voice of man assuredly excels all inanimate musical instruments." In Clark's Commentary, Vol. 4, p.686, John Wesley is recorded to have said, "I have no objection to instruments of music in our chapels provided they are neither seen nor heard." Finally, Charles H. Spurgeon, the great Baptist preacher who preached to ten thousand people every Sunday in Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, said in reference to 1 Corinthians 14:15, "I would just as soon pray to God with machinery as to sing to God with machinery."
     Concerning the trumpet on the day of resurrection, the trumpet is not used to worship God, it is used to call an assembly of all mankind to stand before the great judgment seat of God. As to David, he lived under the Mosaic law which was taken out of the way and nailed to the cross (Col. 2:14). Since David was faithful to God under the covenant in which he lived, then we can be sure if David lived today, he would be faithful to God under the New Testament under which we live.
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Roger D. Campbell

     This is the title of an article that I recently read in a periodical. The article was written over a year ago, but the practices mentioned in it continue until the present hour in many places. There are some relevant matters in this article that deserve our attention.
     In June 1998, a congregation of the Lord's church in Huntsville, Alabama "began a weekly Bible study based on episodes of The Andy Griffith Show." An article in the Cleveland, TN, Daily Banner (9-1-99) indicated that a denominational "ministry" called "Heart of Atlanta Network" has also started using "The Gospel According to The Andy Griffith Show" approach. In addition, the newspaper article said some 50 "church congregations" have contacted the Huntsville, AL church about using this form of "study." The original article that our brethren published last year about the church in Huntsville reported that the class "begins each week by watching a 20-minute episode of the classic sitcom." Then, the class discusses moral issues, based on the TV show they watched. At one point the article's author spoke of the actions of sheriff Andy Taylor in one of the episodes and made this observation: "This is a Christian example, admit it."
     First of all, though some of the characters in this often hilarious TV series may at times have acted in harmony with the teaching of Jesus Christ, to my knowledge there is no indication in any of the episodes that any of the characters portrayed were Christians. Thus, it is certainly out of place to refer to their behavior as "a Christian example." The New Testament uses the word "Christian" in three passages (Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16). We must be certain that we use the word "Christian" only in reference to those who are truly in Christ (Gal. 3:27), and thus members of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13). To apply the word "Christian" to individuals who are not in Christ is to fail to speak "as the oracles of God" (1 Peter 4:11).
     Second, this "Mayberry mentality" shows that some brethren have simply lost track of what attracts people to Jesus Christ. "Mayberry Morality" smacks of trying to draw people by the ways of the world (1 John 2:16). One can come to the Christ only if the Father draws him. How does God draw or attract men to His Son? "And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me" (John 6:44,45). Men hear and learn from the Father through the teaching of the Scriptures. Thus, God draws or attracts men to Christ through the Bible. The early church continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine (Acts 2:42). Have we "advanced" so far that we cannot see the difference between Barney and the Bible, or Andy and the apostles' doctrine? What does it say about our hearts when we want to turn to a secular program instead of the Book?
     Third, spiritual shepherds of the flock of God have the God-given duty of feeding or tending the flock (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:1,2). With what must the elders do this feeding? With that which makes the sheep (members of the church) grow. What is that? The word of God. "But desire the sincere milk of the word that ye may grow thereby" (1 Peter 2:2). Paul's exhortation to first century overseers is still appropriate for bishops today: "I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them that are sanctified" (Acts 20:32). The design of "Bible classes," which are under the oversight of elders, is to teach and study the Bible, not watch some sheriff smile and laugh at a drunk man in jail!
     Fourth, all the foolishness that is taking place in the church today under the guise of building up or edifying the church ought to make us all renew our commitment to a serious study of the Bible. Jesus charged the Jews of His day to "search the Scriptures" (John 5:39). Our Lord constantly prefaced His remarks with "it is written" (such as when Jesus was tempted, Matt. 4:4,7,10). It is he who meditates in the law of the Lord day and night that is blessed (Psalm 1:2). These passages, and scores of others, point us to the Word of God for our guidance and strength and not to some modern invention of men. It is time for all of us to give more diligence to be people of the Book.
     Fifth, it is high time for a number of congregations to seriously analyze what is being taught and just what goes on in those periods that are supposed to be devoted to Bible study. True, most congregations of the Lord's church are not yet ready to begin using Andy Griffith episodes in their classes as an attraction to draw a crowd. But the fact remains, some materials published by supposed "Christian" publication houses contain error. It is just as wrong to teach error by using a textbook as it is to preach it from the pulpit. Elders need to be certain that the Bible class materials being used are sound. Much of the material that is used in Bible classes is extremely weak and not very challenging to those in the class.
     Also, I can tell you from the experience of my children, that even in some of the teenage classes of sound churches, on occasion there is time wasted and time spent talking about non-biblical topics. My kids have sat in Sunday morning or Wednesday night classes in which a lot of time was spent talking about Michael Jordan and sports, or some other modern entertainment. I personally do not take kindly to turning my kids over to a teacher, fully expecting him to teach them the Bible during the whole class period, and have him "fiddle around" in class. If our young people turn out to be imitators of those Israelites who lived after the death of Joshua ("And there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel," Judges 2:10), then surely part of that ignorance is going to be because some of our Bible classes have not done an effective job.
     Are we totally against television and Andy Griffith in particular? Not at all. But in our search to find what pleases Jehovah, we are to hear Christ, not Andy (Matt. 17:5), the Gospel, not Aunt Bee (Rom. 1:16).
     Note: All quotations in this article re: "Mayberry Morality" are from Wineskins (July-August, 1998, pp.20-22). At the time the above-mentioned "Mayberry Morality" article was published, this periodical was co-edited by Mike Cope and Rubel Shelly, two outspoken "change agents" who have done extensive damage in the church.
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"The Third Annual Lubbock Lectureship will be held Oct. 8-12, 2000 at the Southside church of Christ, 85th St at Quaker Ave (PO Box 64430) Lubbock, TX 79464. Phone (806) 794-5008 or 798-1019. Also, the 1st Annual Southside Gospel Singing begins at 7:30pm, Oct. 7, 2000. 35 lessons will be delivered by as many speakers. The theme is In The Beginning, Christian Evidences & Apologetics. There is free housing and RV space. Audio and video tapes and books are available" ...Tommy Hicks, Lubbock, TX. "The Archibald Church of Christ in Archibald, Louisiana, is searching for a preacher. If you know of someone we might could contact, please contact me at my e-mail address We are located about 35 miles southeast of Monroe, Louisiana. The church here at Archibald is grounded in the truth and sound doctrine, and we are looking for a preacher that is also preaching sound doctrine and the truth. Our Sunday morning service has a average attendance of 85 to 100. Thanks for your help. My family and I really enjoy reading the newsletter that you send us. My God bless you, and your efforts for the truth. Thanks" ...William Burgess, Archibald, LA. "Thanks so much for your continued good work in printing and issuing S.T.O.P. It is so sad to see so many in our brotherhood who no longer want to wear the name of Christ but prefer to be associated with a "community church" with a denominational practice in worship and "outreach." Brethren, please continue to hold to the truth. We pray that your paper will spread all over this nation and that more and more people will become aware of the evil that has invaded the Lord's church. May God bless!" ...Jack Lawyer, Conway, AR. [EDITOR'S NOTE: We plan on examing the "Community Church" in an upcoming issue.] "May God bless you all in your great efforts in doing the Lord's will. Through much study and prayer we hope many can come to the knowledge of the truth and will be added to the Kingdom. Keep up the good work. Contend for the faith" ...Ferrell Hurley, Albemarle, NC. "I came across your Seek the Old Paths and found them very interesting. It warms my heart that there are still sound and well balanced brethren still out there. Please put me on your mailing list" ...Michael G. Kissel, Tennyson, IN. "Would you please send your paper Seek the Old Paths. I have read this paper and really believe you teach the truth" ...Dollie Chandler, Wisconsin Rapids, WI. "Remove Sue Woodard & Eddy Don Russell from your mailing list" ...Sue Woodward & Eddy Don Russell, Warren, MI. "You all have an excellent publication. The articles are very timely. However, I desire to have my name removed from your mailing list. I am simply receiving too much mail, and I do not have time to read all of it. Your prompt attention to this matter will be greatly appreciated" ...Coleman Crocker, Union City, TN. "I love S.T.O.P." ...Harold Heath, Princeton, KY. "I would appreciate receiving S.T.O.P. I like it very much" Cecil Seamon, Mocksville, NC. "Please cancel these two addresses. Thank you" ...Charles Matthews, Tyler, TX. "We appreciate having received your monthly publication, Seek the Old Paths, for these past months and wish to continue to do so. The publication is relevant, informative, and reliable. It represents one of the rapidly decreasing number of publications in the brotherhood that still lives up to and represents its name. We wish to help a bit in the defrayal of expenses associated with printing, handling, and mailing the publication" ...Jim & Frankie Bailey, Middleton, TN. "Please continue sending this publication. In reading many other publications, I find S.T.O.P. to be the best help in keeping up with what the change agents are doing. Our local agent is Lynn Anderson. He has helped with the development of a new Community Church with instrumental music here in Arlington, TX. The news is out on him, and most churches are not using him in their men's retreats, vacation school, or as special speaker. I did hear that he was working to help Max Lucado in San Antonio when he was out changing the word of God! The new problem I find myself concerned with has to do with Faith & Praise song book. Howard Publications has really put a problem in the churches with this work. Can you help with the problem of using songs to change the fruit of vine into wine in Song? Three times this changing of the word of God is expressed. Other problems exist with this book but our young people have accepted the fact that wine is ok! Can you send additional information and or tell me where I can get help to expose this song book?" ...Name withheld. "I am glad and pray for your continued efforts in standing for and teaching the TRUTH and contending for THE FAITH. May GOD bless you and the congeration of East Cortinth" ...Wesley Bradley, Paris, TN. "Greetings brother Garland. Appreciate very much continuing to receive your fine publication, and your continued stand for the truth. Perhaps if you have the wherewithal you could send a few issues each month for our small congregation...10, 15, 25. Though small, we have very knowledgable members who appreciate hearing the truth. Also, I am interested in submitting articles for publication, if you would consider them. Please advise what your requirements are for submission" ...Ewell D. Pritchett, Greeneville, TN. [NOTE: Thank you for your good letter and words of encouragment. We do accept articles for publication. You may submit them via email or by regular mail. Make sure the type is clear so it can be scanned. We like articles of general interest that would be of benefit across the brotherhood. It may be examining an error being taught or practiced or simply a good teaching article.] "I wanted to express my thanks for the good work that you do. The spirit of the articles and letters by Lennie Reagan, Bobby Duncan, David B. Jones, and the open letter from the Mississippi congregations to the elders of the Senatobia Chruch of Christ all demonstrate a faithfulness to God, Jesus Christ and His word. At the same time it demonstrates a heart of love, compassion toward the wayward, and a genuine desire for repentance that is needed. There are times, it seems, that some relish at the finding of fault and the opportunity to expose it. It seems to me that they spend "their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing" (Acts 17:21). On the other hand, Paul was stirred in his spirit because of those who were following false ways. Some may say that Paul castigated those pagans. But anyone who reads his Mars Hill sermon can only be amazed at the wise approach that Paul took. I commend you for exposing error. Equally so for the broken spirit that such error causes. Thank you. God bless you" ...Steve Vice, Saipan, Mariana Islands. "Please remove me from your mailing list. I believe that satan is using you to cause dissention among the brethren" ...Charles F. Many, Ruston, LA. .

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