Gods Plan For Religious Unity
Jimmy W. Bates
Ephesians 4:406. The sin of religious division is one, if not
the greatest, hindrance to the Lords cause today! The Bible is
Gods revealed will to man and points to the necessity of UNITY
among men. When men follow Gods revealed will they will be
united. Division occurs when men reject Gods will.
For Unity to exist, there must be a Standard (a
body of Truth) to which all men must comply. God is the
source of All Truth (John 8:32; 17:17). God revealed this Truth
through Jesus Christ (John 7:16; 12:48-50; Heb. 1:1,2; John 14:6).
Jesus revealed this Truth to His Apostles (John 17:8,17,20,21).
After Jesus ascended back to heaven, the Holy Spirit came to guide
the Apostles and other men in recording this body of Truth and we
have it today in the written word of God (John 14:26; 16:13; Acts
2:1-5; II Tim. 3:16,17; Jude 3: Gal. 1:6-12).
The Standard to which all men must comply is the
Law of Christ (Gal. 6:2; I Cor. 9:21), which is: the Truth (John
17:17; 8:32); the Gospel (Rom. 1:16); the Faith (Jude 3; Acts 6:7;
13:7,8; Rom. 5:1; Gal. 3:26,27); Sound Doctrine (Titus 2:1); the
Doctrine of Christ (II John 9-11). Unity is achieved by all those
who accept and follow Gods standard The Truth.
What Is Bible Unity? The word Unity
is from the Greek word enotas One, unity,
unanimity, agreement (Thayer p.217). The New World Dictionary
defines UNITY as The state of being one, or united; oneness;
singleness.... Unity is different from
Union which is a combination...a combining,
joining, or grouping together... (New World Dictionary).
Religious Unity has been falsely associated with: Diversity
quality, state, fact, or instance of being diverse;
difference; Diverse different;
dissimilar; Diversion a diverting, or turning
aside (New World Dictionary). This is what most of the
so-called unity Movements today are diversions!
What Bible Unity Is NOT: 1) Unity is NOT Union.
2) Unity is NOT Diversity. 3) Unity is NOT Agreeing
to disagree. 4) Unity is NOT Going along to get
along. 5) Unity is NOT Turning ones back and
ignoring the difference. 6) Unity is NOT Ecumenical
Bible Unity involves Oneness, Singleness, Truth, Harmony:
I Peter 3:8, Be ye all of one mind. Phil. 2:5,
Having the mind of Christ. John 17:20,21, As God and Christ are
one. In I Cor. 1:10, Paul told the Corinthians that by the
authority of Christ, they were all to speak the same
thing, that there be no divisions among you,
that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in
the same judgment.
The Need For Unity: Man, in general, has always
rejected Unity and promoted Division. Denominationalism promotes
religious division. Liberal minded brethren promote division in the
church. Contentious, opinion binding brethren promote
division in the church.
Division is Sinful. By its very nature,
division weakens and destroys. United we stand, divided we
fall. ...Every Kingdom divided against itself is
brought to desolation: and every city or house divided against
itself shall not stand (Matt. 12:25). Internal division
weakens and sometimes destroys congregations of the Lords
people (Gal. 5:15). Religious division is possibly the greatest
hinderance to the cause of Christ (John 17:20,21). The Bible
condemns division (Gen. 13:8; Prov. 6:16-19; Matt. 12:25; Rom.
16:18; I Cor. 1:10-13; I Cor. 3:3; I Cor. 12:25; James 3:13-16).
All Bible passages that demand Unity, by implication, condemn
Some Causes of Division. First, a
self-willed attitude causes division. One who is
dominated by self-interest (a desire to please self) (Rom. 16:18;
Titus 1:7; Gal. 1:10). Second, a contentious attitude of
rule or destroy causes division, a greed for authority,
pre-eminence (III John 9). Contentious individuals cause strife and
division (I Cor. 1:11; Titus 3:9,10; Rom. 2:5-9). Third, a
lack of respect for and knowledge of the Word of God as authority
in religion causes division (Col. 3:17; I Peter 4:11; I
Thess. 5:21). This is following the traditions and creeds of men
(Mark. 7:7-9; I Cor. 3:3). This is following human names (I Cor.
1:12,13) and human doctrines (I Tim. 1:3; II John 9-11). Fourth,
rebellion against the Truth of God lies at the root of
all division (I Tim. 4:1-3; II Tim. 4:1-5).
Defending the Truth and exposing error DOES NOT cause
division, but rather promotes Unity. As Elijah stated in I
Kings 18:18, forsaking the commandments of God causes division.
Compare: Phil. 1:17; Jude 3; Eph. 5:11; II Tim. 4:2-5.
Unity is good, right, and pleasant (Psalm 133:1).
There is strength and success in Unity. The strong and successful
church in Jerusalem was united (Acts 4:32). An essential ingredient
to the growth of the church is Bible Unity. The Bible commands
unity (John 17:20,21; I Cor. 1:10; II Cor. 13:11; Phil. 1:27; Phil.
2:2; I Peter 3:8).
There are Attitudes and Actions necessary To Unity:
In Ephesians 4:1-3, Paul speaks of the unity that is to
characterize our attitude and life: ...Walk worthy of the
vocation wherewith ye are called. Vocation
(klaseos) A calling which involves that
manner of conduct or way of living into which God has called us
through the Gospel (II Thess. 2:14): 1) A High Calling (Phil.
3:14). 2) A Holy Calling (II Tim. 1:9). 3) A Heavenly Calling (Heb.
3:1). We are to walk worthy (adverb of manner
worthily). Our life and conduct must become the Gospel. (Compare:
Rom. 16:2; Phil. 1:27; Col. 1:10; I Thess. 2:12).
Our lives are to be characterized by Lowliness
Humility (v.2). Jesus is an example of lowliness (Matt.
11:28-30; John 13:3-17; Phil. 2:3-9). We must practice lowliness
(James 4:6; I Peter 5:6; Romans 12:3). How does one develop
Lowliness? 1) Look into your spiritual mirror (James 1:23-25); 2)
Compare yourself to Christ (II Cor. 10:12; Eph. 5:1,2; II Cor.
Humility is necessary to Unity. Our lives are to
be characterized by meekness submission (v.2), which
is the strength to control ones actions self discipline
(James 1:19-21; cf. I Peter 3:4,15; James 3:13; Gal. 5:22,23; 6:1).
Also longsuffering (v.2) To suffer long
patient (II Tim. 4:1,2), a spirit that never gives up (James
5:10; Rev. 2:10; I Peter 5:10; cf. Gal. 5:22; I Cor. 13:4; Col.
3:12). Forbearing one another in love (v.2), means
to bear with the practical application of
longsuffering #&151 the attitude put in action (cf. Col. 3:13).
In love regulates all of a Christians attitude
toward others. We must give diligent effort to keep unity and peace
in the church (v.3) (cf. Col. 3:15; Rom. 12:18). We serve the God
of peace (I Thess. 5:23; I Cor. 14:33). Our Lord is the Prince of
Peace (Isa. 9:6; Eph. 2:14). The church is a Kingdom of Peace (Rom.
14:17,19). The Gospel is the Gospel of Peace (Eph. 6:15).
We must not compromise truth to have peace and unity.
When truth is compromised, there can be no peace and unity. We
endeavor to keep the unity God describes in Ephesians 4:4-6.
GODS PLAN FOR UNITY. 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).
All must worship and serve the ONE GOD (cf. I
Cor. 8:6; Heb. 11:6; Matt. 4:10; John 4:23,24). We cannot have
unity with one who worships and serves another god.
All must submit to the authority of the ONE
LORD (cf. I Cor. 8:5,6; Acts 2:36; 10:36; John 8:23,24; Heb. 1:1-
3; Matt. 28:18; Acts 3:22,23; 17:5). To submit to Him as Lord is to
obey Him (Luke 6:46; Heb. 5:8,9). We cannot have unity with one who
rejects the authority of the One Lord!
All must believe and obey the Truth revealed
by the ONE SPIRIT (cf. John 16:13; I Cor. 2:13; II Peter 1:20,21;
II Tim. 3:16,17; Rom. 8:1-5). We cannot have unity with one who
rejects the Truth revealed by the One Spirit (II Thess. 2:10-12).
All must desire the ONE HOPE (v.4). Hope is a
longing desire of confident expectation. The main object of Hope is
eternal life in heaven (I Peter 1:3,4; Heb. 6:17-19; Rom.8:24;
Titus 1:2; I John 2:25; Rom. 12:12; II Tim. 4:6-8). There is only
One Hope, thus only one way to go to heaven. We are called into
this one hope by the Gospel (II Thess. 2:14; II Thess. 1:7-9). We
cannot have unity with one who does not desire the One Hope!
All must believe and teach the ONE FAITH (cf.
Jude 3; Acts 6:7; Gal. 1:23). The One Faith is the same as the
Gospel (Phil. 1:17,27; Rom. 1:16; 10:17; I Cor. 15:1-4). We cannot
have unity with one who does not believe and teach the One Faith
(cf. I Cor. 1:10; Phil. 2:2; I Peter 4:11; Gal. 1:6-9; I John 4:1;
II John 9-11; Rom. 16:17,18).
All must practice the ONE BAPTISM (v.5). There
had been other baptisms in the past: 1) unto Moses (I Cor. 10:1-3),
2) Johns baptism (Acts 19:1-5), 3) Baptism of suffering (Matt.
20:22,23), 4) of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:11), 5) there will be a
baptism of fire in the future (Matt. 3:10-12). But, when Paul wrote
Ephesians (A.D. 62,63), there was only one baptism. Jesus had
commanded it and it was/is to last unto the end of the world (Matt.
The one baptism is a burial in water for the remission of
sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4). It is administered by man
(Matt. 28:19,20). It puts one into Christ where salvation is (II
Tim. 2:10; Gal. 3:26,27; Mark 16:16). We cannot have unity with one
who rejects the One Baptism!
All must be in the ONE BODY (v.4; cf. I Cor.
12:13; Rom. 12:4-5; I Cor. 12:27; Eph. 5:30). The One Body is the
one church (Eph. 1:22,23; Col. 1:18; Matt. 16:18). Jesus
is the Savior of the one body (Eph. 5:23). We cannot have
unity with one who is not in the One Body!
Let us all endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit
in the bond of peace! Not by compromising union
meetings that are falsely called unity movements.
But, by following Gods plan for unity. Every Christian is
obligated to help maintain unity, peace, and harmony in the church,
in keeping with Gods plan!
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Nettleton, MS 38858
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Questions on Baptism and Salvation #1
Found below are excerpts of a letter from one who believes
that salvation is by faith only. This is typical of the
denominational world. Sadly, those who once embraced the truth
amoung us are now moving more and more in this direction. We
sometimes hear comments made by those who think of themselves as
members of the church of Christ like: there are
sincere, devout Christians in all the denominations,
there are many sincere Christians who have never been
immersed, man cannot contribute one thing to his
salvation, salvation is by grace, 100%, etc. etc.
Some of the statements from this letter are in italics.
Following each of these statements is an examination from the
Satan cannot take away anything from the
conditions of salvation or the plan of salvation, for
God has already reduced it to an irreducible minimum.
If Satan is to confound the minds of sinners he must do
so by addition, not subtraction.
Where does the Bible teach that satan cannot take anything
away from Gods conditions for salvation? NOWHERE! I notice the
absence of a Scripture for your assertion. Your statement is an
assumption that is not backed up in Scripture. Scripture can be
both added to and taken from. This is stated in
both the Old and New Testaments (Deut. 4:2; Prov. 30:6; Rev.
22:18-19). Satan and his ministers often appear as angels of light
or angels of righteousness (II Cor. 11:14-25). However, they are
still doing the devils work.
There are no conditions to salvation. Salvation is
a simple fact to be believed, Satans method of
deceiving men has been to add to the simplicity of the
If there are no conditions to salvation as you claim, then
why do you make belief a condition? You teach that only
those who believe will be saved and those who do not
believe will be lost. This makes belief a condition to salvation as
per your own logic.
The Bible certainly teaches that belief (faith) is a
condition to salvation (John 8:24; John 14:6; Mark 16:16; Heb.
11:6). It, therefore, is essential to salvation! But it also makes
clear that belief by itself ("faith only") will not save anyone.
Many believed on Jesus in John 12:42-43, but will not be saved
because they refused to confess Him. The devil even
believes in Jesus but will not be saved (James 2:19). God in heaven
above makes clear to us that the man-made doctrine of salvation by
faith only without works (obedience) is dead
and barren (James 2:17,20). James 2:24 says, Ye see then how
that by works a man is justified, and not by faith
only. God could be no clearer than what He says here.
There is no misunderstanding this verse. Whatever it is that brings
about justification (salvation), one thing is clear, IT IS NOT BY
Noah was saved from the flood by faith, but only WHEN he
obeyed (worked) Gods command to build the ark (Heb. 11:7). Did
he have to build the ark or not? He was not saved by faith
Abraham was justified before God by faith, but only WHEN
he obeyed (worked) Gods command to offer Isaac (James
2:21-23). He was not justified by faith only. There have
always been conditions that men must meet in order to please God.
Some teach that salvation is by faith and good
works; or, salvation is by faith and baptism; or,
salvation is by faith plus church membership; or,
salvation is by faith plus repentance. These are all
attempts to darken the mind of the man.
The Bible clearly teaches...
Those who do not believe cannot be saved (Mark
Those who do not repent cannot be saved (Luke
13:3; Acts 2:38; Acts 17:30).
Those who do not confess faith in Christ cannot
be saved (Rom. 10:9-10; Matt. 10:32-33; Acts 8:37).
Those who are not baptized in water cannot be
saved (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16; Rom. 6:3-18).
In light of what you said above (that salvation is not by
faith AND baptism), isnt it interesting that Jesus said,
he that believeth AND is baptized shall
be saved (Mark 16:16). Those who believe in faith
only need to teach the Lord He needs to go back and re-word
Mark 16:16. Since Jesus said he that believeth AND IS baptized
shall be saved, no man on earth can add to it or take away
from it by saying, he that believeth and is NOT baptized shall
Those who do not live the rest of their lives in
faithfulness to the Lord and His word cannot be saved (Rev. 2:10;
I Cor. 15:58; Matt. 10:22).
There is only one word that represents all a
sinner can do and must do to be saved and that word is
BELIEVE. Repentance is not the means by which we
acquire eternal life. Acts 13:48-49 says that as many
as had been appointed to eternal life believed. Not,
repent and believe. Simply, believe. Acts
16:31 teaches the same, Believe in the Lord Jesus, and
you will be saved, Repentance is not a condition.
Eternal life is by faith alone sola fide!
James 2:14-26 destroys once and for all the man-made
doctrine of faith only. Verse 14, What doth it
profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not
works? can faith save him? The answer is NO. Verse 17,
Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being
alone. Verse 18, ...I will shew thee my faith by my
works. Verse 19, ...the devils also believe, and
tremble. Verse 20, ...faith without works is
dead. Verse 21, Abraham was justified by works
WHEN he had offered Isaac. Verse 22, faith wrought with his works,
and by works, his faith was made perfect. Verse 24,
by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
Verse 25, Rahab was justified by works, WHEN she had received
the messengers, and had sent them out another way? Verse 26,
faith without works is dead.
Salvation is by faith, yes, but NOT BY FAITH ONLY. Man
cannot earn or deserve salvation. It is a gift from God. However,
man must comply with Gods commands in order to receive the
gift. Jesus said, And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do
not the things which I say (Luke 6:46)? He also said,
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter
into the kingdom of heaven; but he that DOETH the will of my Father
which is in heaven (Matt 7:21). Jesus is the author of
salvation to them that OBEY him (Heb. 5:8-9). He does not give
salvation to those who DO NOT OBEY him.
OBEDIENCE demands CONDITIONS. One cant obey unless
there are conditions (commands) to obey. The writer of this letter
admits/concedes FAITH is one such condition. However, examination
of scripture shows that Faith is not the only condition. Jesus also
requires repentance, confession and water baptism (Acts 2:38; Acts
8:37; Mark 16:16).
When Paul and Silas told the jailor to believe, he did not
know what to believe. After taking them to his house and washing
their stripes, he was told what to believe and what salvation
required. He did not hesitate to comply by being baptized in the
middle of the night (Acts 16:33). It is handling the word of
deceitfully to take a verse away from those verses around it (its
context). ALL the Bible has to say on a subject must be considered
before one jumps to a conclusion and imagine a doctrine the Bible
does not teach.
There is only ONE plan of salvation, not two, three or
more. No person is told one thing while another person is told
something else. Everyone is told the same thing when we consider
the complete revelation of Gods will. For example, the jailor
was told to believe (Acts 16:31) and afterward, he was baptized.
The man from Ethiopia was told to confess and then he was baptized
(Acts 8:37-38). The people on Pentecost were told to repent and be
baptized (Acts 2:38). We dont read of anything that Lydia was
told. All we read is that she was baptized (Acts 16:14-15). Those
in Corinth heard, believed and were baptized (Acts 18:8). So,
whats the conclusion from all these accounts. They were not
told different plans of salvation. They were all told the same
thing and they all did the same thing. They heard the
Gospel, they believed, repented, confessed and were
baptized. That is Gods plan of salvation for ALL mankind.
All must do the same thing to receive the same reward.
All of these conditions are Gods conditions, not
mans conditions. Man did not dream up any of these things. All
of these things are the WORKS of God, not the works of man. These
are the works God commands man to obey. Even Gods command for
man to believe is a work that man must obey. It is Gods work,
not mans (John 6:29). He devised the work, man must comply by
Table of Contents
In Season and Out of Season
Growth! We long for the increase. We pray frequently and work
fervently to this end, beseeching our God that He might give us the
increase. So, why is it that our efforts bear so little fruit? Why
are we not bursting at the seams? I can well remember the 1960s
(with occasional flash-backs into the 50s), when cottage classes
were not only popular, they were powerful and profitable! Even into
the 1970s our evangelistic efforts produced a harvest of souls to
the glory of our God. But somewhere along the way, things began to
change, and it became increasingly difficult to find that good and
honest heart willing to listen and ready to obey. In addition, the
seeds of liberalism were sown in the 50s and 60s, and we are now
reaping the harvest of the tares sown by the enemies of God. Back
then we did not have such blatant denial of authority, fellowship
with the denominations, and the appeal to the flesh that now
plagues our Lords church. There was a far greater respect for
the Scriptures, and a deeper interest in a study of the same on the
part of members of the Lords church. Add to this the full
harvest of humanism and we begin to see why growth has slowed and
interest in spiritual things has tapered off.
I recently read of a brother in Christ who has been a
Christian since 1939. Baptized at a young age, he immediately
became active in teaching others while growing in the grace and
knowledge of our Lord. His observation is strikingly familiar. He
observed that it has become increasingly more difficult to interest
the lost in a study of the Bible. Yes, the devil has done his work,
and we are the less fortunate for it.
It should also be observed that fewer individuals are
willing to make a deep seated commitment to Christ. Often studies
are canceled part of the way through because the student can see
where the studies are leading and what it will cost them with
regard to change. How shall we react to this changing atmosphere?
Paul stated it clearly when he told Timothy, I charge
thee in the sight of God, and of Christ Jesus, who shall judge the
living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach
the word; be urgent in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke,
exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching (II Tim.
4:1-2). One old preacher paraphrased that passage: Preach it
when they want it, and when they dont want it. Our
obligation is to preach and teach. We must leave the numbers
business in the Lords hands and concentrate on our
responsibility of getting the word out. The three Ns of Noise,
Nickels and Numbers (as one brother called it) must not become our
modus-operandi. While some congregations are abandoning the old
paths to walk in the footsteps of the denominations, let us
determine that we will not only walk in those old paths, but that
we will proclaim it unto others.
We must never forget that there are three important
factors when it comes to saving the lost. There is the will of
God, who does not want any to perish. There is the will
of the teacher, who longs for the increase and salvation of
those near and dear to him. Finally, there is the will of the
lost individual. It is the last which has changed in the past
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Talco, TX 75487
Table of Contents
What Relationship Do Colleges Have To The Church?
Jerry C. Brewer
The answer to the above question is, There is
none. The college is neither the church, a work of the church,
a part of the church, nor an adjunct of the church. The college is
first, last, and always, an adjunct or extension of the home. While
many so-called Christian colleges have people on their
staffs who are denominated, Vice President For Church
Relations, the Bible knows nothing of church
schools. Neither is there any Bible authority for churches to
support colleges from their treasuries. That question, which was
debated nearly seven decades ago, persists to this day as colleges
go begging churches for money.
What, then, is the Bible college? It is an
auxiliary indeed, but not to the church. Let us
observe in this connection the mission of the home
and the duty of parents toward their children.
Solomon said: Train up a child in the way he
should go. Paul said: Bring them up in the
nurture and admonition of the Lord. This is the
solemn obligation of the parent and the sacred
mission of the home. But when the child reaches a
certain school age, when it must pass from the
home into the school, does the responsibility of
the parent cease? Is it not still the serious duty
of the parent to select the school where the
influence of the home is continued? In this
matter, then, the school simply takes the place of
the home and the teacher assumes the
responsibility of the parent. So the Bible
college, or the Christian college, or whatever
you may please to call it, is no more than
auxiliary to the home. It supplements the work of
the home. Some who have not made proper
discrimination have wrought confusion by
associating the Bible college with the work of
the church. Others have, therefore opposed it on
the ground that it is a church school, while
others think it is wrong and sinful to teach the
Bible in school. Such a conclusion should drive
the Bible from our homes also and force the
conclusion that it can be taught only in the
meetinghouse on Sunday!
These principles are fundamental.
Let us draw the lines clearly. We have
pointed out the central thought of the
subject namely, the school as an auxiliary
of the home. This being true, it is not the
business of the church to run it. The church
is not in the school business. The only way
the church can Scripturally do its work is
through the elders of the local congregation.
Appeals made to churches,
therefore, in behalf of schools are wrong
fundamentally wrong wrong in principle.
Let the school stand where it belongs, apart
from the church, as an aid to, and adjunct
of, the home. Let parents and individuals
realize their duty and feel their
responsibility in the support and maintenance
of them, thus making it possible for our
children and our neighbors children to have
the training and influence they so much need
and deserve. (Foy E. Wallace, Jr.,
Concerning Colleges, The Bible Banner,
Sept. 1938, Vol. 1, No. 3, pp.2)
The church is charged with preaching the Gospel to the lost,
not with rearing and educating children. When it presumes to
financially support a college from its budget, it usurps the
authority and responsibility that God granted the home and
infringes upon the obligations of parents. It is the God-ordained
function of the home to educate its offspring. That function does
not belong to the church.
To grant that the home is a divine
institution does not warrant the conclusion
that everything related to the home may have
the same relation to the church. The state is
also a divine institution. (Rom. 13). Shall
every auxiliary of the state be made adjuncts
of the church?
The home and the church fill
distinctly different spheres. One is the
sphere of moral right and privilege; the
other is the realm of Scriptural authority.
In the home, anything right, right in itself,
is permissible; in the church, only what the
New Testament authorizes, a Thus saith the
Lord. Christ is not only head of the church,
but he is head over all things to the church.
Secular education is not the work
of the church. But Christian men and women
have the same right to conduct such schools
as they have to engage in the mercantile
business, farming, banking, publishing
houses, or any other honorable business. They
also have the right as individuals to teach
the Bible in such schools as in any other
sphere of individual life. Such schools
should not derive their names from the Bible
any more than from science, mathematics,
philosophy, and other knowledge it imparts.
In choosing the atmosphere in which to
educate their children, it is not only the
right of parents, but their duty, to choose
schools in which the influence of the home
will be continued. The teacher assumes the
responsibility of the parents and the school
supplements the work of the home. It
furnishes no parallel for institutions and
organizations which supplant the church. (Foy
E. Wallace, Jr., The Home And The School,
The Bible Banner, Vol. 1, No. 3,
Sept., 1938, p.3)
Colleges, both private and public, have a right to exist.
Their existence is neither a violation of civil law nor Gods
law. We are not anti-college, but so-called Christian
colleges do not exist as adjuncts of the church and the church has
no Scriptural authority to contribute money to them.
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Elk City, OK 73644
Table of Contents
Singing Spiritual Songs
Roger D. Campbell
Jesus taught that worship to the God of heaven must be done
in spirit and truth (John 4:24). One aspect of our worship is
singing praises to Jehovah. We should remember that though we sing
praises to God in our public worship services, singing spiritual
songs is not restricted to the Lords day or other times of
public worship assemblies. What does the New Testament teach about
singing in spirit and in truth?
What are the New Testament verses that mention singing?
Some passages in the New Testament mention music or singing which
have nothing to do with worshipping God. Others mention music or
singing in heaven. However, for our purposes, we want to notice the
New Testament verses that specifically speak of Gods people on
the earth singing songs of praise to Him.
And when they had sung an hymn, they went out
into the mount of Olives (Matt. 26:30 and Mark 14:25).
And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang hymns
unto God (Acts 16:25). And that the Gentiles
might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this reason
I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy
name (Rom. 15:9). ...I will sing with the
spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also (I
Cor. 14:15). Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns
and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the
Lord (Eph. 5:19). 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). Saying, I will
declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will
I sing praise unto thee (Heb. 2:12). ...Is any
merry? Let him sing psalms (James 5:13).
From this list we see that at least nine books of the New
Testament give instruction about singing or show us examples of
those that sang praises to the Lord. While it is plain that the
Bible commands us to sing praises to God, it is equally clear that
nowhere in the teaching of the Christ is it stated that we are
authorized to use mechanical instruments of music in our worship to
Him. Respecting the authority of the Bible, we thus sing songs of
praise without such mechanical instruments.
Who should sing? All Christians should sing
praises to God. Sometimes it is thought that only those who sing
well should participate in the singing. Some brothers do not sing
during worship services because they feel they do not sing well,
and do not want to be embarrassed or hinder others. But the Bible
instructs all Christians to sing. Please read again Ephesians 5:19
and Colossians 3:16, which were written to all the saints of those
congregations, not just to those who sang well. Partaking of the
Lords supper is a command for all Christians (I Cor.
11:24,25). So is singing. It would be just as wrong not to
participate in the singing as it would be not to partake of the
What should Christians sing? Remember, we are
talking about what we should sing when we worship God. If you enjoy
singing popular songs, patriotic songs, or other songs that are not
related to praising the God of heaven, that is fine (as long as
they do not involve inappropriate lyrics). But, when we worship, we
are to sing certain kinds of songs when we praise God. What are
those? They are psalms and hymns and spiritual songs
(Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). The spiritual songs that we sing have
a variety of contents. We sing songs in which the words speak of
our Creator, our Savior, the love of God, the cross of Jesus, His
second coming, and many other Bible topics. We also sing songs by
which we exhort one another to be holy and faithful in our service
to the Master. The message of each song that we sing in worship
should be based on or in harmony with the Bible. A number of songs
that have been written in recent times actually take the exact
words of the Bible and put them to a melody.
Why do Christians sing? The purpose of our
singing is not to impress other people and cause them to say that
our singing sounds pretty. Again, we do not sing spiritual songs in
order to entertain others. Christians sing because they are
commanded to sing (Col. 3:16). Christians sing in order to praise
God: Singing and making melody in your heart to the
Lord (Eph. 5:19). When we sing praises to God, we do the
following: We speak (Eph. 5:19), we speak to one another (Eph.
5:19), we teach (Col. 3:16), we teach one another (Col. 3:16), we
admonish (Col. 3:16), and we admonish one another (Col. 3:16).
Since we teach and admonish when we sing praises to God, then
should we not make every effort to sing only those things which are
true and in accord with the teachings of the Bible? Surely so.
How should Christians sing? We must sing by the
authority of Jesus, for it is written, And whatever you
do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus
(Col. 3:17). We should sing with the proper motive, which is to
please and glorify God: ...whatsoever ye do, do all to
the glory of God (I Cor. 10:31). We must sing with
understanding (I Cor. 14:15). We should sing with happiness in our
hearts, for it is written, ...Is any merry? Let him sing
psalms (James 5:13).
We should truly sing from our hearts, giving our full
attention to the words we are singing. When we sing praises to God,
let us think seriously about every word we sing, and let us truly
mean what we sing. What would you call a person, who during worship
services loudly sings that he loves God, then leaves the place of
meeting and curses God or denies the Lord by his actions? The Bible
calls such a person a hypocrite and blasphemer! Let us sing with
sincerity, and support our singing with godly lives. Brethren, let
us sing from the heart, just as we would if we were standing before
the throne of God in heaven and singing praises to Him there. Let
us not forget: when we sing songs of praise, God is the audience.
It is a privilege to worship the Lord God. It is an honor
to speak to Him in prayer. It is an equal honor to praise Him in
song. Few things inspire the soul like the sound of Gods
children blending their voices to praise the great I AM. May we
take our singing seriously. Let each of us be totally committed to
singing every spiritual song from the heart.
4865 Bates Pike SE
Cleveland, TN 37323
Table of Contents
Lets Not Attack The Devil
Recently, two people were discussing the Plumbline
paper. One said to the other, I have just received
my copy of the paper. The other said, Who is he
attacking this time? As strange as it may sound to some
people, I consider that quip a partial compliment. I do not attack
persons, but the heretical and devilish doctrines which are being
taught by false teachers. Is this wrong?
When Paul wrote to young Timothy he said, As I
besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into
Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other
doctrine...some having swerved aside unto vain jangling (I
Tim. 1:3,6). Timothy had the charge to deal with false teachers who
taught false doctrine. He attacked the error but not the persons;
albeit, I fail to see how one can disassociate heresy from
Paul attacked the blasphemy of Hymenaeus and Alexander (I
Tim. 1:20). Of course he mentioned those two servants of satan. Can
I do likewise? Are there any who are making shipwreck of the faith?
Is the faith being overthrown? Should the Plumbline
paper refuse to follow the inspired example of Paul? There
are some papers out there which can utilize practically every word
in the English language but they are as silent as the grave about
Hymenaeus and Alexander who serve the devil. For some are
already turned aside after satan (I Tim. 5:15). We must
exercise extreme caution and never attack any of the errors of
satan, so we are told.
We are aware of the fact that some good and faithful
brethren experience the fact that some church members still act
like Phygellus and Hermogenes (II Tim. 1:15). When brethren turn
away from the truth, they turn against Christ. While
under attack by the hounds of hell, one must always stand to face
the enemy. It is too easy to run. Or is it? The Bible teaches us to
stand (Rom. 5:2; I Cor. 16:13; Eph. 6:13).
I would be safe in saying that few present-day preachers
have experienced more profane and vain babblings from
false brethren than our dear old soldier of Christ who fought satan
in days of yore. Such is a deadly form of canker which brother
Hymenaeus and brother Philetus will bring into the congregation.
Those two reprobates denied the resurrection and overthrew the
faith of some but it appears that not a word should be said, lest
trouble should develop. No sound paper or editor wants to cause
trouble so that might be the reason some papers are so very mild,
pacifistic, and all positive. The papers which the inspired apostle
wrote spoke freely and fully of the traitors, heady and high-minded
(II Tim. 3:4).
I know the grief and heartache experienced by the beloved
apostle who was forsaken by Demas who had been his erstwhile
brother. Should such creeps as Demas be left to indulge in their
self-centered pleasures? Paul deserved more respect and better
treatment than he received at the hands of Demas. The lowest of the
low can be found among the ungrateful wretches who refuse to stand
by faithful servants of Christ. How could any human be deserted who
was as meek, humble, pure and holy as the aged Paul? Some of the
meanest, cruelest, wretches living, are desirous of being called
Christians. Such low, rotten, people do not want to be opposed, yet
their life consists of opposing the truth and those who proclaim
Mt. Juliet, TN 37121
Table of Contents
If you know of good brethren who are looking for a sound
church to work with, please let them know about Richwood. They can
get a little info about us at our web page: richwood.cofc.us. They
should send resumes to us either through e-mail or mail one of the
following addresses: Gil Yoder, email@example.com, 3732 Crescent Dr.,
Pearland, TX 77584, Joe Travis, firstname.lastname@example.org, PO Box 2456,
Angleton, TX 77516. Thank you for helping us get this word out. We
hope that all is going well with you ...Gil Yoder.
Please remove my name from your mailing list
...LaVerne Schubring, Schuamburg, IL. We have started
receiving STOP on a regular basis and have thoroughly enjoyed the
reading and appreciate so much your stand for the truth. We found
out about it from our new preacher at Bohnam Street church of
Christ in Paris, Texas (Marvin Weir). We would love to receive as
many back issues as you might have available. We appreciate it very
much ...Randy & Roxanne Ballard, Blossom, TX.
[NOTE: We try to keep a supply of back issues for those who would
like to have extra copies. Just write us and let us know what you
need.] Please include my name on your mailing list. I
have wanted the paper for years but didnt know how to obtain
it. The Florence church of Christ in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, sent
me some of their bulletins and included a copy of STOP. I was
thrilled. What a blessing it is to me ...Sharon Daniel,
Reyno, AR. Thank you for sending me STOP. It is good to
have sound doctrine to learn from. Here at the Choice Moore Prison
unit in Bonham, Texas, we do not have any church of Christ services
for lack of volunteers to lead. We have Protestant
worship with a band, clapping, no baptisms and no Lords
supper. Any one who is in the North Texas area willing to volunteer
to lead church of Christ services and provide the Lords supper
should call the unit warden or chaplain at 903-583-4464. Also, I
ask for prayer and encouragement from the body of Christians out
there for my wife Carie and myself. She has told me she cannot be
my wife any longer and it is really tough for me because I know
divorce is not Gods will (Malachi 2:16; I Cor. 7:10-11), but
reconciliation is. Thank you ...Ryan Shield #1294594, 1700
N FM 87, Bonham, TX 75418. Refused ..Brian Cote,
Anthem, AZ. Refused ...Paula Phillips, Anderson,
AL. Dear Friends at Seek the Old Paths, I send you warm
greetings from all of us here at Focus Press. I hope that this
email finds both your family and your work doing well. We print a
paper called Think. The July issue is on the
topic of abortion. In this special issue we interviewed Jane Roe
(of Roe v. Wade), along with a young lady named Gianna Jessen whose
mother tried to abort her. In addition to these two feature
articles, we also have five additional articles that point out
things like how we now know when life begins, when God views life
to begin, and what impact abortion is having on our culture. Many
states are currently reviewing their statutes on abortion (for
instance South Dakota just passed the toughest laws against this
horrible procedure), and we want to do all we can to better help
inform Christians. It is my hope that Christians can pull the
pendulum back and help this country regain some moral footing. If
you have questions or would like additional information please
dont hesitate to call (615) 324-5870 ...Brad Harrub,
Nashville, TN. I would like to be added to your mailing
list to receive your publication. Thank you for your time and God
bless you in your continued work for the Lord ...Jerry
Sturgill, Ashland, KY. We appreciate so much the good
work you are doing and may God richly bless your work
...Scott & Amy Williams, Athens, TX. I listen to your
radio program via the Internet and as you know, your program is
food for the soul. Thanks for such a program. I know that it is an
inspiration for those that listen. I hope you are encouraged by
this letter. For I know that many more people are encouraged as
well. I began listening about one and a half years ago off and on.
Recently I began listening more often. This program and sermons
from the Forest Hill Church of Christ have been my pass time for
the pass three months. Even more so than watching television. Such
I think is necessary. May God continue to bless your great effort
in planting the seed of the word of God ...Lennard Curvan,
Montreal, Canada. I really enjoy reading your paper very
much. I am praying for your work and that God will continue to
bless you ...Columbia, MS. I want to thank you
for sending me STOP ...Larry Powers, Sharon, TN.
My husband and I look forward to reading every issue of STOP.
By the time he gets our copy, I have marked it up and hi-lighted
almost every line. We appreciate the truth being presented in this
paper. I have watched closely the movement to join in fellowship
with the Christian Church. Could you please provide me some other
writings about the Christian Church that show other practices in
this church that go against the teachings of Christ. Most of the
articles deal only with the music, which I understand was the main
reason for the original split, but I would like other information
about the practices of this group. Thank you in advance for your
assistance. Keep on keeping on! ...Darline Mazo, Corona,
CA. [NOTE: We printed some material on the Christian
Church in the June and July 2002 issues of STOP. These can be found
on the internet at: seektheoldpaths.com/stop2002.htm. Also, brother
Dan Goddard has written several good articles about the Christian
Church that can be found at: garden-city-coc.org]. Great
STOP in June 2006. Jim Boyd, as he always does, hit it on the head
with his article concerning Campbellites. WSOJ radio is
great! Thanks! ...Jeff Archey, Cleveland, TN.
[NOTE: Anyone in the world can listen to Gospel preaching/teaching
and congregational singing 24 hours a day at www.wsoj.net. This is
a work of the East End Church of Christ in McMinnville, TN].
We really enjoy reading it and would like to have back issues
to read also. Thanks for your stand for the truth ...Randy
Ballard, Blossom, TX. I recently came across a copy of
STOP. You have had some very timely articles. It seems we have a
tendency to drift away from the Bible. Please put me on your
mailing list. Thank you ...Otis L. Lorton, Cowden, IL.
This years lecture series for the 26th annual St.
Louis Area-Wide Lectureship will be held Sept. 21-23, 2006 at the
Arnold Church of Christ, 2267 Scott Dr., Arnold, MO 63010. For more
information you may contact Jerry R. Reynolds, c/o Sunnyview Church
of Christ, 2801 Highway H., Farmington, MO 63640. Ph. (573)
756-5925. The lecture series will feature Rod Rutherford, Paul
Sain, B. J. Clarke, Jim Dearman and Terry Mabery
...Patrick J. Harper, Jerseyville, IL. I want to thank
you for sending it to me and my family ...Enoch & Jane,
Bound Volumes can be ordered from:
Old Paths Publishing
2007 Francis Ferry Rd.
McMinnville, TN 37110
$5 postage paid
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