PROGRESSIVISM IS NOT PROGRESS
Those who reject Gods word in favor of
some newer more modern standard are spiritual
progressives. It is digression wrapped up in
bright paper with a pretty bow. It is a
rotten egg with icing on top. It is apostasy!
You would think that being progressive would be a good thing
a positive thing; because, when I think of being progressive,
I think of progress being positive, going forward being
better and improved. Some churches of Christ are now advertising
themselves as being progressive and proud of it. But, being
progressive when it comes to the Bible is an evil work of darkness
(cf. Eph. 5:11).
Bing Dictionary defines progress this way: positive
development, usually of a gradual kind, toward achieving a goal or
reaching a higher standard, ...the general advance of human society
and industry over time toward a state of greater civilization,
movement forward or onward.
In spite of the fact of sounding similar, progressives, and
the ideology and direction of progressivism, is not the same as
progress. A striking and dangerous parallel exists between
progressivism in the political sense of the word and progressivism
in the religious realm.
In the political realm, the term progressive has
different shades of meaning, but one basic concept of
progressivism, one characteristic of those who are called
progressives, is that of not wanting to be governed by the
In America, progressivism was conceived and took root as our
country was modernized. Advances in the scientific world brought
about advances in business and industry. Manufacturing practices
changed, electricity brought us new light, and changes in
transportation took us down new roads at faster and faster speeds.
In light of these many advances, people began to believe and
argue that a modern country should not be governed and controlled
by a document that, at the time, was 100+ years old. Progressives
believed (and still do today) that the constitution of our country
was (and is) out of date and out of touch.
Dennis Brady shows the view of President Woodrow Wilson:
Woodrow Wilson believed the constitution was outdated. He
thought the founders had a Newtonian view of government
that was static, he believed that the current leadership of the
nation should be able to legislate without regard to the
constraints of the constitution, especially the limits spelled out
by the enumerated powers of the federal government listed in the
constitution. He was the father of the modern view of the
constitution that it is a living document.
Granted, the founders of our country, those who wrote and
eventually ratified our constitution, did not see it as a perfect
document. They even allowed an amendment process to change the
constitution when such was necessary. But this is not what
progressives want. They want the power to translate or even ignore
the plain intent of the constitution as they see fit. Essentially,
Woodrow Wilson believed that the constitution means anything
the current president and congress think it should mean with no
regard to the original intent of the founders.
(heritage.org/Research/Reports/2007/07/ The-Progressive-Movement- and-the-
Transformation- of- American- Politics) brings out this quote
from Wilson: All that progressives ask or desire, is
permission in an era when development, evolution, is a
scientific word to interpret the Constitution according to
the Darwinian principle; all they ask is recognition of the fact
that a nation is a living thing and not a machine.
By referring to the Darwinian principle, president
Wilson meant that the interpretation of the constitution should
evolve rather than remain static (a fixed or
Sadly, political progressivism is strikingly and obviously
parallel to what we have seen and are seeing in the spiritual
realm. The United Sates was established under the rules and
restrictions of the constitution. The church of Christ was
established under the authority and restrictions of the Gospel.
Political progressives no longer wish to be governed by the
constitution. Spiritual progressives no longer wish to be governed
or ruled by Gods word. And, make no mistake about it,
progressivism in the spiritual realm is not progress; it is
SPIRITUAL PROGRESSIVISM IS NOT NEW
The restoration movement (as a whole) revolved around the
point of being governed only by the New Testament. Denominational
churches had departed from the Bible and no longer looked to it as
their authority. They developed creeds and manuals. The Restoration
plea called men back to the Bible being governed by Gods
word and Gods word alone.
The crucial question is this: Are we going to be ruled by
the Bible or by man-made creeds and doctrines? The perilous and
blasphemous answer that rings from many pulpits is, No!
We will not be governed by the Bible with its strict rule of
conduct. Far too many today are progressives in their
thought and practice. They reject the old because they
feel we need something new. They feel the Bible is out of
date and dont want to be ruled or restricted by it. They are
ready and willing to go beyond the Bible because they feel it must
be fluid changing with time and circumstances.
Few are bold enough to say what they mean, openly declaring
that Gods word is out of touch. Instead, they call for a new
way of interpreting it a new hermeneutic which allows it to
mean whatever they want it to mean. Or, they claim we can never
truly understand the intent of the original authors because we have
a different cultural perspective so why try? Or, they deny
that the Bible addresses all of the spiritual needs of modern man,
therefore we need to go beyond it. Their thinking is that a 2,000
year old document cannot possibly meet the needs of modern man.
Some brazenly claim that the church, patterned after the New
Testament, is out of date not meeting the needs of modern
man. They claim this is because of how we have interpreted and
applied the Bible.
Those who contend for the faith (Jude 3) and call mens
hearts and lives back to the old Jerusalem Gospel are
derogatorily called bible thumpers. They literally cannot
imagine anyone who would cling to what they call that old
dilapidated document called the Bible. To them, those who love
the truth are thought of as ancient relics of the past
who are out of touch with the felt needs of modern man.
They love telling us that we are answering questions that no one is
asking. The faithful know better than that and are not fooled by
it. The trouble is not with us quoting Scripture and calling upon
all men to repent and obey it (Acts 17:30). We have the right
answers because they are Bible answers. The problem lies with
people who are asking the wrong questions. The Bible is right and
always has the right answer to whatever men face (cf. 1 Peter 1:3;
2 Tim. 3:16-17). This world will never out-grow the Bible!
There were those in Old Testament times who did not want to be
ruled by the law of God.
THE NEW TESTAMENT ANTICIPATES AND CONDEMNS PROGRESSIVISM
In Jeremiah 6:16, we see those who rejected the old
paths and refused to live by it. Thus saith the Lord,
Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths,
where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for
your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. These
people were spiritual progressives. They did not want Gods
old paths. They rejected the old and sought a new,
unapproved, unauthorized way.
We are not told the specifics regarding what God had
instructed regarding sacrifices in the early days of human history
(Gen. 4:3-5). But what we do know is that Abel offered his
sacrifice by faith, obeying what God had told them to do,
and Cain did not offer his sacrifice by faith (Heb.
11:4). Since faith comes by hearing Gods word (Rom. 10:17),
Abel obeyed Gods word regarding sacrifice and Cain did not. It
was not progress for Cain to depart from the revealed will of God;
and, it is not progress for men today to go beyond that which is
written (2 John 9-11; 1 Cor. 4:6). It does not matter how sincere
we may be, to obey [is] better than sacrifice, [and] to
hearken than the fat of rams (1 Sam. 15:22).
Nadab and Abihu offered strange fire that God had
not authorized (Lev. 10:1-2). They were destroyed for refusing to
obey the restrictions of Gods commands. They were not
satisfied with the old, they wanted something
new. They were progressives of ancient times and were
condemned for it! No wonder progressives today tell us they are
tired of hearing about Nadab and Abihu. I guess so! It shines the
spotlight on their doctrine and practice and they hate it. They
dont want to be exposed. They have NO Bible authority to stand
on; and as a matter of fact, they dont think they need
By the standards of modern progressives, King Saul was
treated unfairly by God (1 Sam. 15). He was commanded to kill the
Amalekites, all of them, even their livestock. He had a new
hermeneutic, a new way of interpreting Gods commands. He kept
king Agag alive along with some livestock for a sacrifice to God.
In his estimation (interpretation), he had obeyed God. First Samuel
15:13 says, Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him,
Blessed be thou of the Lord: I have performed the commandment of
the Lord. When Samuel challenged and rebuked Saul for not
obeying the commandment of God, Saul replied that he had obeyed.
But, in 1 Samuel 15:20 we read, And Saul said unto Samuel,
Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and have gone the way
which the Lord sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek,
and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. Regardless of
his claim, he had disobeyed God and it was not progress, it was
rebellion (1 Sam. 15:23).
The Gospel of the New Covenant was intended for all generations
to come. In fact, departing from it in favor of something new
(progressivism) is clearly condemned in Scripture.
SPIRITUAL PROGRESSIVES TODAY
Galatians 1:6-9, I marvel that ye are so soon
removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto
another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that
trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we,
or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that
which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said
before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto
you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
Second John 9, Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth
not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the
doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
The word translated transgresseth is the idea of going
onward and beyond. Thayer defines it this way: to proceed, go
forward: in a bad sense, to go further than is right or proper.
Sounds like progressives espousing progressivism doesnt it?!
Jude 3, Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write
unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write
unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the
faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
First Timothy 4:1, Now the Spirit speaketh
expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the
faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of
devils. Progressives wish to depart from the faith, and
they do so in league with seducing spirits and demons. It is not
progress to leave the word of God to follow Satan.
This article is more than an intellectual exercise. Those crying
out for something new in the church today are progressives. They
are eat-up with progressivism. They may not call
themselves that, and they may not appreciate being called that, but
they are progressives just the same. Progressivism is not progress
in the right way Gods Way!
THE CHURCH HAS A PERFECT, UNCHANGING CONSTITUTION
Lets consider some of the ways progressives have
rejected the Bible in favor of that which is new.
1) They reject the Bible as being adequate. Many want to be
ruled by the dictates of modern philosophy or psychology. Thus
saith the Lord has been replaced by thus sayeth Frued or
Skinner or Rogers.
2) Modern progressives think the church should be shaped by
the felt needs of modern Americans. They preach sermons
full of modern buzzwords and the newest fads, yet sadly lacking in
Gods word. They expose their weakness, cowardice, and liberal
direction by what they wont preach the whole counsel of
God. They are the opposite end of the spectrum from Paul who held
back nothing that was profitable and declared
all the counsel of God (Acts 20:20,27).
Progressivism is not progress, its rebellion!
3) Many seem to accept a strictly pragmatic, utilitarian
viewpoint in preaching and practice. This means they will do
whatever brings in the numbers. The cry is, We have to be
current. Forget Matthew 7:13-14! Lets be with the many, not
with the few. One wonders why progressives, appealing to the
masses and following the fads of the multitudes, cannot feel the
heat of the destruction that awaits them at the end of the road.
Progressives are revealing themselves in the moral realm
1) Some have abandoned preaching about marriage, divorce,
and remarriage. After all, in our society, marriage does not mean
what it once did. In modern society, living together without being
married is commonplace. Marriage vows are not as binding as
mortgage contracts. Vast numbers of people have been divorced and
remarried without knowing anything about Gods law on the
matter. Their cry is, how can Matthew 19:9 possibly address all of
these modern issues? And so, many shift their doctrinal position,
or they simply leave out what God has to say about the matter.
2) Those who will not preach against homosexuality for fear
of being out of touch are acting in a progressive manner. The same
with those who will not oppose same-sex marriages.
3) Those who vote for abortionists clearly do not think we
should be governed by Gods word. The Bible clearly expects us
to uphold the sanctity of innocent human life. If we do not do so,
in our votes and in our sermons, we are refusing to be governed by
As long as we have for our foundation the Rock of Ages, and as
long as we use for our constitution the timeless, flawless Bible,
we will never be out of touch or out of date.
1) Jesus claimed a timelessness for his words:
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not
pass away (Matt. 24:35).
2) It is only through the ageless, incorruptible Gospel that
men in our modern age can be born again: Being born again,
not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God,
which liveth and abideth for ever (1 Peter 1:23).
3) Gods word meets all of our needs regardless of how
modern our world becomes. But the word of the Lord endureth
for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto
you (1 Peter 1:25).
4) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and
is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for
instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect,
throughly furnished unto all good works (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
5) According as his divine power hath given unto us
all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the
knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue
(2 Peter 1:3).
It really does not matter how or why men reject Gods
word. Nothing new can replace the perfect pattern. There is no new
need, no new cultural phenomenon, no popular fad, and nothing about
modern society that God did not anticipate in his holy, inspired
Those who reject Gods word in favor of some newer more
modern standard are spiritual progressives. And, spiritual
progressivism is not progress. It is digression wrapped up in
bright paper with a pretty bow. It is a rotten egg with icing on
top. It is not progress, it is heresy. It is a departure from the
truth, the truth that sets us free (John 8:31-32).
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Table of Contents
COMMITMENT TO THE LORD
Garland M. Robinson
The Psalmist wrote, I have sworn, and I will perform
[it], that I will keep thy righteous judgments (Psalm
In being baptized, every person commits to being faithful to
God all the days of their life. However, along lifes way, we
make other commitments. It may be to go somewhere or to do a
certain thing. While we need to keep the commitments we make, there
is never a time when such commitments become more important than
the commitment we made to God on the day we were baptized.
The Lords work trumps all other pledges or promises
weve made. Ive heard brethren say on occasion, I
cant come to the Gospel meeting because I have a prior commit-
ment I cant break. But, what about the prior commitment they
made when they obeyed the Lord in becoming a Christian? We do not
have a right to place ourselves under obligation regarding any
matter, when in keeping that commitment, its going to take us
away from the Lords service. Its a matter of priorities.
We must obey God rather than men. Thats what the apostles told
the high priest, the captain of the temple and the chief priests
when they were forbidden to teach in Jesus name. Then
Peter and the [other] apostles answered and said, We ought to obey
God rather than men (Acts 5:29).
Where I lived some years ago, the coach of the winning
Little League team was always the coach of the All-Stars that
played in the district and state tournaments after the regular
season. That responsibility fell upon me one year since I was the
coach of the winning team. I had to tell them I could not be the
coach of the All-Stars because the team would be required to play
on Sunday which would, more than likely, involve playing during
church time. I was told that coaching the team was a commitment and
I could not let the team down. My reply was that I had a prior
commitment to the Lord to worship on Sunday and that I would not
forsake the assembling of the church to attend a ball game
even if I were the coach which also included my son who was on
the team (cf. Heb. 10:25-26). My commitment to the Lord had been
made many years before when I became a Christian. One very
influential man in particular could not understand my decision and
thought I was going over-board. I answered by saying;
well, its a matter of priorities and where you place the
emphasis. Being faithful to the Lord and going to heaven is more
important than any worldly affair. Personally, I would have loved
to coach the All-Star team. But, my commitment to God takes
precedence over all other affairs of life. My illustration here is
not to brag about myself thats not the point. I speak of
it to show the thinking of worldly minded people when it comes to
serving God. They half-heartedly go to church and pretend
to be a Christian as long as it doesnt interfere with what
they want to do. They use the Lord as a crutch or only in an
emergency; and, if its convenient!
By the inspiration of God, Paul wrote these words in
Colossians 3:1-5: If ye then be risen with
Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ
sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your
affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
For ye are dead, and your life is hid with
Christ in God. When Christ, [who is] our life,
shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
Mortify therefore your members which are upon
the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil
concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry (Col.
3:1-5). Several observations need to be made distinct and clear
from these five verses:
Verse 1. Having obeyed the Gospel, we are to keep on
seeking (every day of our lives) the things of God. For
where your treasure is, there will your heart be also
(Luke 12:34). ...Giving all diligence [eagerness,
earnestness, carefulness], add to your faith virtue...
kindness...charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they
make [you that ye shall] neither [be] barren nor unfruitful in the
knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:5-8).
While we look not at the things which are seen
[earthly], but at the things which are not seen [heavenly]:
for the things which are seen [are] temporal [temporary];
but the things which are not seen [are] eternal (2 Cor.
4:18). For here [on this earth] have we no
continuing city, but we seek one to come [a heavenly city]
(Heb. 13:14). For our conversation [citizenship] is
in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus
Christ (Phil. 3:20).
Verse 2. We are to set our affection, our
mind, our interest, our focus, our
goal, not on things of this world, but on those things which
are above, where Christ is. The Lord, his church and his word is
not a crutch to lean on, only when weve been knocked down. He
is not a life jacket, only to be used when were drowning. If
that is all he means to us, we will lose our soul. Jesus said,
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth
and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth
nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor
steal (Matt. 6:19-20). The world passeth away, and
the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for
ever (1 John 2:17).
Verse 3. We are dead as far as the interests of the
world are concerned. They are meaningless to us when compared to
going to heaven. Our first and foremost pursuit and business is
working in the Lords kingdom. As a Christian, our whole life
is hidden, concealed, covered, kept secret from the things
of the world by the life we live in the Lord. The world escapes
our notice when our life is all about the Lords will. The
Lords church is the center of our life, the most precious and
valuable possession we could ever dream of having. Jesus expressed
it this way, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure
hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for
joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that
field (Matt. 13:44). Would you forfeit all you have to be
faithful to Christ and his church? Paul said, I am
crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ
liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by
the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for
me (Gal. 2:20). The problem is that so many fill their
lives with things of the world instead of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Verse 4. Christ is our life. Can you say that? Is
Christ really your life, your whole life? Are you so devoted to the
Lord that you would forsake all else in order to obey him? We
sometimes sing a song that speaks about our Lord and savior with
these words: He is my everything, he is my all. He is my
everything, both great and small. Those are fine words to sing
at church. But do we mean them? Many say they do, but when the
truth is fully known, their practice shows He is only their
life when they dont have something else they want to
do. Jesus said, But seek ye first the kingdom of
God, and his righteousness... (Matt. 6:33). The Psalmist
said, Trust in the LORD, and do good... (Psa.
37:3). Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not
unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways
acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths (Prov. 3:5-
6). If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget
[her cunning]. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue
cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my
chief joy (Psa. 137:5-6). Jerusalem in these verses
represents the Lords Way, his Word. He truly is our
Verse 5. We are to put to death (mortify, cease) our lusts
and passions. To name the name of Christ means we have set upon a
new course in life, a new direction. The things of the world no
longer hold our attention. Immoral and ungodly lusts, fornication,
longing for that which is forbidden and sin of every kind brings
Gods wrath down upon us. That is the way we used to live
(v.6), to fill every desire of the flesh. But now that we have
chosen to be obedient servants of the Lord, we stop them, put them
to death. We serve a new master.
The Psalmist said, I have sworn, and I will perform
it (Psa. 119:106). What was it that he had promised to
perform? He answered by saying that he would keep Gods
righteous judgments. He must keep Gods Word. They are right.
They are true. They are holy. Would to God that all men and women
everywhere would feel the same way. It wasnt that he
had to keep Gods word. It was that he
wanted to keep it. He delighted in keeping it. It brought
him great joy and happiness.
NOW, tell me if Im right or wrong. We know what the
Bible says, so many are just not willing to accept it and live by
it. Are you willing to die by it? Remember, we will give an account
of ourselves to God some day (Rom. 14:12).
Table of Contents
O HOW LOVE I THY LAW!
David was not a liberal; he loved Gods law (Psalm 119:97).
Liberals do not love law. They think law is too authority oriented,
and grievous (1 John 5:3). Liberals have a name for those
who love law; they call them a legalist. Liberals like to
think they are too spiritual to be bound by any law. They are
progressive, or so they call themselves. David loved the law of God
because he loved God; liberals love themselves. They say they love
God, but like idolaters of old, the gods they love are gods of
their own imaginations. They love a god that lets them do what they
want to do. They do not love the God of law (Gal. 6:2), or the God
of commandments (John 14:15), or the God that will judge them by
his words in the last day (John 12:48).
David loved Gods commandments because they made him
wiser than his enemies (Psalm 119:98). Liberals think they are
smarter than commandment keepers, and some of them are in some
things, but they are not wiser. Wisdom comes through humility;
with the lowly is wisdom (Prov. 11:2). In Psalm
111:10 David sang, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of
wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his
commandments. The devil himself is among our enemies and
we cannot outsmart him, but we can be wiser if we have the humility
to fear God and keep his commandments (Eccl.
David loved Gods testimonies because they gave him more
understanding than his teachers (Psalm 119:99). Teachers know many
things and we should learn all we can from them, but they do not
understand the things they know if they do not believe we need to
fear God and keep his commandments. Anytime you hear a teacher
teach anything that is contrary to Gods law you know he does
not understand what he is talking about. Those who know Gods
word know how to weigh the value of what they are taught; they know
what to accept and what to reject. The fear of the Lord is
the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is
understanding (Prov. 9:10).
David loved Gods precepts because they gave him more
understanding than the ancients (Psalm 119:100). We like to think
that wisdom comes with age, but that is not always so. In Job 32:9,
Elihu said, Great men are not always wise: neither do the
aged understand judgment. While it is foolish to lightly
dismiss the counsel of the aged, it is even more foolish to follow
their counsel when it is contrary to Gods law. The young
prophet believed the lie of the old prophet, and God said to him,
Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the Lord, and
hast not kept the commandment which the Lord thy God commanded
thee...thy carcass shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy
fathers (1 Kings 13:21-22).
David knew Gods laws would keep him from evil ways
(Psalm 119:101). He resolved that he would not depart from them
(Psalm 119:102). To him, they were sweeter than honey
(Psalm 119:103). He knew that the mercies and salvation of God
would come according to the word of God (Psalm 119:41). The
entirety of Psalm 119 should be read as the psalm of a man on his
knees seeking God through his word. It is because David loved
Gods law that he said therefore I hate every false
way (Psalm 119:104). Show me a man that does not hate
every false way, and I will show you a man that does not love the
law of God.
It does not surprise me that David would sing, O how
love I thy law (Psalm 119:97), for he had already said,
Blessed in the man that walketh not in the council of the
ungodly... his delight is in the law of the Lord (Psalm
The Psalms of David are powerful and bold and challenging
and beautiful because David loved Gods law. I hate to think
what insipid lyrics and deceitful ditties they would be if they had
been written by a liberal.
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Table of Contents
Victor M. Eskew
Throughout Bible history, various objects were used by God in
order to accomplish His will. One object that is well known is the
tables of stone upon which the Lord wrote the Ten
Commandments. In Exodus 24:12, we read: And the Lord said
unto Moses, come up to me in the mount, and be there: and I will
give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have
written, that thou mayest teach them. These two tables of
stone came to represent the entire Law of Moses. They were so
important that they were stored in the ark of the covenant (Deut.
10:5) that was placed in the most holy place in the tabernacle
(Exodus 26:34; Heb. 9:3-5).
Another object God used to carry out His will was a
wooden cross. Upon this cross, the Son of God shed His blood
to provide the remission of sins for all mankind. And being
found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient
unto death, even the death of the cross (Phil. 2:8). This
cross was often the subject of Pauls preaching. It was not
always received as it should have been. For the preaching
of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but unto us which
are saved it is the power of God (1 Cor. 1:18).
These two objects, and others like them, are well-known by
most people today. When people hear of the Ten Commandments, they
think of Judaism. When they hear of the cross, they think of Christ
and Christianity. These objects have become symbols, or, material
representations of the ideologies that comprise these things. Other
objects also have a connection (symbols of) Christianity: a
so-called nativity scene, the sign of the fish, steeples,
and the Bible. The world in general give significance to these
objects, but true Christians (those who truly know the Bible) do
not attach any special importance on such objects themselves. They
know these things were just instruments God used to carry out His
will. However, Christians will never eliminate how these objects
are viewed by others. Thus, sometimes in our conversations, we have
to speak of these things in the manner in which the world views
Dear readers, the religion of Christ (Christianity) is
presently under attack in every place and in every way (as we well
know). It is being attacked by atheists, communists, secularists,
and Muslims. These individuals hate Christianity and everything
that is attached to it. Remember, that they see things such as the
cross and the nativity scene as symbols of the Christian religion.
Because of this, they attack these symbols. They want to do away
with the cross, the nativity scene, and the Ten Commandments. In
their minds, ridding themselves of the symbols partially rids them
of the Christian religion. Once the symbols are gone, they will go
after Christian practices such as prayer and Bible reading and
worship. Once these have been abolished, they will come after our
freedom of religion and freedom of speech. They would rejoice to
shut the mouths of all whom they believe are preaching Jesus. They
would love to see every building close its doors that is in any way
associated with the name of Jesus.
True Christians need to understand that the world does not
understand the concepts of New Testament (first century)
Christianity. They just know that the world views things like the
Ten Commandments, nativity scenes, and the cross are associated
with Christianity in spite of what the Bible teaches. The world
despises the religion of Christ, so they attack what they think are
its symbols. Because of their understanding of these things, we
often have to communicate from their perspective whether that
perspective is right or wrong. True Christians need to be concerned
about these things because we will ultimately be in the crosshairs
of the enemies of Christianity. Our secular world will not allow us
to continue to preach Christ just because we do not acknowledge the
symbols of Christianity as holding any religious significance. Any
message of salvation, submission to Christ, sin, the forgiveness of
sins by the blood of Jesus Christ, the church, the authority of the
New Testament, the Second Coming, Judgment, Heaven and Hell will be
opposed. The church will come under fire. May God help us to
understand the mindset of the world. And, may we as Paul, be set
for the defense of the Gospel (Phil. 1:17).
Before we leave the subject of religious symbols, we need to
point out that the use of religious symbols as objects of worship
and devotion are condemned in the Word of God. Take, for instance,
the cross. Christians have always held the cross of Calvary to be
something precious. Paul said that he gloried in the cross.
But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of
our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and
I unto the world (Gal. 6:14). Mans esteem for the
cross, however, has caused him to go too far and use it as
something having power and protection for the believer. By the
sixth century, the sign of the cross was habitually made
by those who claimed to follow the Christ. It was not long after,
that images of the cross and of the crucified Christ were made.
Some were put in houses. Others were placed in church buildings.
Some were formed into jewelry to be worn. When this happened,
individuals began to show honor and devotion to the objects. They
would bow before the crosses, kiss their necklaces, and say prayers
through the crucifix.
In the Bible, God condemns the use of physical things as
objects of worship and devotion. The second of the Ten Commandments
declares: Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image,
or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in
the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou
shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord
thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon
the children unto the third and fourth generations of them that
hate me (Exodus 20:4-5). Leviticus 26:1 repeats this
commandment in these words: Ye shall make you no idols nor
graven image, neither rear up any image of stone in your land, to
bow down unto it: for I am the Lord your God. God does not
want anything coming between Him and man. He knows that man has a
tendency to put as much, or more, significance on material objects
than upon Him as God, the true object of worship. Jesus said:
...Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt
thou serve (Matt. 4:10). Therefore, what man sees as
symbols of Christianity means nothing to true Christians and the
true church. But at the same time, an attack upon these things is
ultimately an attack upon our freedoms and the free practice of
true worship. It opens the door for persecution.
In this article, we have done three things. First, we have
seen that various objects have been used by God in order to carry
out His will. Second, we have seen that man has turned some of
these objects into symbols that represent a religion. The cross
definitely represents Christianity to most. Those who hate
Christianity seek first to remove these objects from the public
domain. After removing these things, they will then come after the
true substance of the Christian faith. Third, we saw that turning
the objects that God used to accomplish His will into objects of
worship and devotion is condemned in Gods Word. May all of us
learn the Bible stories about these important objects. While such
symbols as the ten commandments, crosses, etc. are meaningless to
true Christians as objects of worship or devotion, let us also
develop a concern about those who are attacking these objects
because they see them as symbols of Christianity. May we never turn
material objects into objects of worship and devotion. May all of
us worship God, and Him alone.
1025 Snug Harbor Court
Jacksonville, FL 32233
Table of Contents
Prayer is man speaking to God. What a marvelous blessing to be
able speak to the creator of the universe, the all-knowing and
all-powerful God of heaven. Let us learn from the Bible more about
the avenue of prayer.
God and man have spoken to each other since the beginning of
man living on earth (Gen. 2:8,15,16; 3:9-13). God has spoken to man
personally through inspired men and now through his holy word (Heb.
1:1,2; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21). Jesus taught his disciples to
pray by his example and by his instructions (Mark 1:35; 14:33-36;
John 17:1-26; Matt. 6:9-13).
Prayer can include supplications, intercessions, giving of
thanks and praise (1 Tim. 2:1; Matt. 6:9; 1 Tim. 4:3,4). Prayer
should be a part of our daily life (1 Cor. 11:28; 1 Thess. 1:2;
5:17; 2 Thess. 1:3). Prayer is to be a part of our public worship
as well as our private life (Acts 2:42). But who has the right to
enjoy the blessing of prayer?
Peter writes, For the eyes of the Lord are over the
righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face
of the Lord is against them that do evil (1 Peter 3:12;
James 5:16). The prayer of a righteous man is very powerful (James
5:16-18). These prayers are to be made through Jesus to God (Eph.
5:20; Col. 3:17; Matt. 6:9). But who is a righteous man?
Paul writes that those who turn away from God are
unrighteous and those who turn to God have righteousness through
Christ (Rom. 3:10,11,20-26; 2 John 9). The righteous are those who
believe that Christ is the Son of God, have repented of their sins,
have confessed they believe that Jesus is the Son of God, have been
baptized to remove their sins and are living a faithful life before
God (Acts 8:31-39; 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 10:9-10).
If it is Gods will, the righteous person will receive
what he asks from God (1 John. 5:14,15). Prayer is a great blessing
from God for his children (Eph. 1:3; 2 Tim. 2:10).
Do you pray? How often do you pray? How do you pray? Are you
a righteous man/woman? Is your life in harmony with the Lord so
your prayers go up before him as a sweet smelling savor?
Earl B. Claud
836 Center Point Rd.
Dover, TN 37058
Table of Contents
Look forward every month for STOP. Bless you for preaching
Gods Truth ...Lorene Wilson, Binger, OK. You
have been sending my dad (Virgil Ferrell) this paper for
quite some time now. He loved to read them and looked forward to
receiving them. He passed away in March and Mom passed shortly
after him in May. Please remove them from your mailing list. Thank
you and God bless ...Renea Cagle, Mountain Home, AR.
We enjoy receiving Seek the Old Paths. Thank
you ...Willard Cox, Searcy, AR. John Dickison has
passed away. We express sympathy for his family ...Gordon,
TX. Thanks ...Roger Comstock, Sevierville, TN.
Thanks ...Knoxville, TN. I preach at a small
congregation in Roanoke, VA. If possible, could we receive your
monthly publication by mail. Could we receive at least 5 copies?
Thank you for your work ...Michael Carter, Roanoke, VA.
[NOTE: We mail bundles to all who desire them. Tell us how many you
want and we will send that number every month. They are free.]
What a joy it is to receive the TRUTH each month through
Seek The Old Paths. Thank you to all who are involved
in getting this publication out. STOP educates, strengthens and
encourages us and we are blessed because of it. We send our love
and appreciation to our brothers and sisters at Leoni church of
Christ. Youre in our thoughts and prayers ...Michael
and Cheryl Cook, Adrian, MI. Seek The Old
Paths is a great publication. Keep up the good work. I have
been preaching for the Pulaski church for the past 20 years. Just
turned 80! I cant believe it, but its true. Time passes so
fast anymore ...Clarence Lavender, Christiansburg, VA.
Thank you ...Mount Hope, KS. Please change my
address and continue sending me Seek The Old Paths.
I love it ...Durham, NC. Thank you
...OH. After 24 years we are sad we are closing our
doors. We have enjoyed your publication over the many years. You
can remove the bundle youre sending. The individuals that are
left have secured their own subscription. Thank you for the many
years of telling the truth of God ...James Oliver, for the
church of Christ at 4th & Lewis, Vienna, IL. Thanks a lot
for the Old Paths. I appreciate each
article. Your paper will help a lot of people. Thanks a
million ...Don Potts, Meridian, MS. Gladys Hutson
has passed away. We express condolences to the family
...Corinth, MS. Thank you ...Brad Bradshaw,
Norcross, GA. Thank you for sending the paper to us
...John & Edna Humphries, Murray, KY. Jason Mosely has
passed away. We send prayers and sympathy to his family
...Albany, GA. Dear brother Robinson: The latest issue
of S.T.O.P. (July/17) is a real winner in my book. I am tired of
the expression times have changed; more accurately it is
the modern day preachers who have changed. The first two articles
show very clearly why the Lords church is where it is today.
Brother Jon Gary Williams very aptly shows what can be accomplished
when the Lords work is done according to the standard (the
Bible). Your article demonstrates what those who find the Bible
insufficient for their needs have done and continue to do. I pray
we can see a lot more from those who are not afraid to say it like
it is. Keep up the good work! ...Denver Thomas, Milton, WV.
[NOTE: all back issues are online at
seektheoldpaths.com/stop.htm]. Louis Clark has
passed away ...Rockwall, TX. I enjoy reading
Seek The Old Paths. Thank you ...Carl Griggs,
A gallon holds 128 ounces. If one puts 138 ounces into a one
gallon container, 10 ounces will spill over the side. This is a
simple idea to grasp. I believe the same concept is part of the
reason attendance suffers, especially on Sunday and Wednesday
evening. Not only attendance, but participation in the work of the
church is certainly not engaged in as it should be. In our society
we have more than enough material possessions and activities with
which to fill our time, so many that we are unable to contain them
in the 168 hours we have each week. Just as with the gallon
container, if we try to fill our week with more than 168 hours,
some other activity must be sacrificed. How often is it that
ones service to the Lord is that which is sacrificed? Let us
fill our lives with more activities for the Lord. When we do, we
will naturally rid ourselves of things that steal our time and
service from the Lord ...Tom Wacaster, Talco, TX.
Money cant buy friendship friendship must be
earned. Money cant buy a clear conscience square
dealing is the price tag. Money cant buy the glow of good
health right living is the secret. Money cant buy
happiness happiness is a mental attitude. One may be as happy
in a cottage as in a mansion. Money cant buy sunsets, songs
of birds and music of the wind through the trees
they are as free as the air we breathe. Money cant buy
inward peace peace is the result of being right with
God. Money cant buy character character is what we
are when we are alone with ourselves in the dark. Money cant
buy the most valuable treasures life they come as a
reward of obeying the Gospel and living a faithful Christian life.
Table of Contents
Bound Volumes (with a complete index) for the years
1995-2002 can be ordered from:
Old Paths Publishing
2007 Francis Ferry Rd.
McMinnville, TN 37110
$5 postage paid
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