Jeff Walling And The 1995 Campus Minister's
I have in my hand a copy of a tape of Jeff Walling's
presentation at the 1995 Youth Minister's Conference held in
Memphis, Tennessee. I must admit that the first time I heard the
tape it nearly brought tears to my eyes. Without a doubt, it was
the most blatant and outright attack on the Lord's church that I
had ever heard. Although Walling's "talk" was totally devoid of
dignity, I believe it is the most honest and comprehensive outline
of the Change Movement that I have ever heard.
THE NON-IMPORTANCE OF
I have set out to review this tape. I believe the best
way to expose Walling and his error is to do so with his own words.
For this reason, I have listed various headings indicative of the
Change Movement, and then typed quotations from
Walling's presentation. I have also added some words of review.
The bad thing about an
article of this type is that you can not hear the laughter in the
auditorium and the various silly voices that Walling does during his
presentation. I assure you that even after reading the article, you
will not have gotten the full effect until you hear the tape. It is
not my intention to misrepresent Jeff Walling, and lest anyone think
I have, I would be willing to send you a copy of the tape so you can
hear it first hand.
One very obvious area that is attacked by the Change
Movement is Doctrine. If it is going to be changed without
opposition, it must first be relegated to a position of
non-importance. Notice the way Walling does this through the use of
humor. He says...
ATTACK ON MUSIC
And then somebody says,
"Will you come and speak to the, you know, the ministerial
conference, with the senior ministers?" We don't call em
that, but, you know, the preachin' guys. And that always gives
you a headache cause they want to ask you all these questions
about stuff that nobody else cares about, you know what I mean?
"What's your position on this?" and I feel like
saying, "When was the last time a lost person asked you
that question, you know?"
A second prominent area that is being attacked by Walling
and others with the same agenda is music. The trend is to make our
worship in song more modern and contemporary. One way in which this
is being done is through the use of "praise teams." Praise Teams
are nothing more than a group of men and women who are talented
singers who stand before the congregation and "lead" the song
service. Notice Walling's comments on the "praise teams" at this
THE ROLE OF
...two fantastically gifted
praise teams have reminded me how much things have changed in
the last few years. I mean, I remember coming to Campus
Ministries' Seminar when we thought it was cool one song leader
used overheads. Whooa, whew, cutting edge man, look out! And
now, Lordy, I walked in the back door late, and thought I'm in
the wrong building here. I mean, you know? I have to admit
though, the last group had something, you guys were fantastic,
but the last group had something you guys don't have, and that
is one of the best looking Christian sister singers that I have
A third area that is attacked by the Change Movement
is the role of women. The change is toward women having a
more prominent role in the leadership of the church. See if you
notice this tendency in Walling's remarks below.
OF THE CHANGE MOVEMENT
It is exciting to be here at a
place where the ability and the gift of a number of Christian
ladies is recognized, and their contribution to what's happening
to the brotherhood worldwide. Now, I'm happy to say that
specifically coming from California, cause right up the road
from me, I know that you see Scott Lambert up here, and the one
you didn't see up here is the one that makes Scott look so good,
and that's my good sister and friend, and one of the
"ministers" of the Malibu church of Christ, Luoana
Gill, and I know she's not alone. I know there are a number of
other ladies, who whether they call you "minister," or
call you "women's counselor," or call you, "oh
that gal that helps," whatever title they give to you,
praise God for the fact that we are able to tap into the
wonderful gifts that God has given, the ladies that He's placed
all around us. Amen? Amen! And we need to, let's praise God for
that. That's 'propriate to do. (Round of applause goes up.)
Very little needs to be said about this section. It seems
quite evident that Jeff Walling is well aware of his role as a
leader in changing the church of our Lord. The fact, however, is
that on the Divine side, the Lord's church is perfect. Those who
are a part of "the cutting edge of change" will tell you they are
seeking to change those imperfections on the human side. The
problem with that is that many of the areas being changed are areas
that are unchangeable -- areas on the Divine side.
But I need to tell you, I
really believe this is an awfully exciting and important time to
be where you are. It's an exciting time to be involved in church
of Christ ministry. Of course, we always feel like this is the
Golden Age. I don't feel like this is the Golden Age. I do feel
like this is the virtual age of, of some kind of virtual reality
in churches of Christ, where things are happening so quickly
around us. Where the tension level is zooming, as those who
would call themselves part of the cutting edge,...you know
there's like lots of people out in our brotherhood who would
like to take a cutting edge to the cutting edge. Do you
understand what I'm talkin about here? There is a great deal of
tension, which makes this an exciting time. It makes it an
exciting time because things are changing, old habits are being
questioned, old tradition, I mean we've got the most sacred of
cows being trodded through butcher shops all over this country
in churches of Christ where people are willing to ask questions
that would have been heresy to even voice before. And I'm not
saying that we have lots of sacred cows that need to be
slaughtered, but every now and then it's just good to check the
herd to make sure you don't have a few goats in there, if you
know what I'm sayin.
It is clear from the following excerpt that brother
Walling understands that change must be progressive. He understands
that all of the "desired" changes can't be made overnight. People
will see through that and rebel against it. If one is going to
change a congregation, it must be done slowly. No doubt, this is
why they are often very successful. Walling sympathizes with these
...and you are struggling with
how do I meet the needs of these young people? How do I help
them to understand? How do I be cutting edge, and new wave,
avant garde, and and progressive, without losing my job? and
making everyone else in the congregation really irritated with
me...I have to wonder if you're at a place in your ministry
where you don't have to go to the church of Christ either.
You've looked around too. And from those of you I've talked to,
some of you discuss it with a pained expression of somebody
who's got one foot one place and some foot some place else, and
you're wonderin, "How do I make this meet?" How do I
keep my balance? How do I be progressive and cutting edge, and
try new things without alienating myself from the very people
who not only support me financially, but do support me heart
wise, and are there for me when I need em?"
Vulgarity, per se, is not a trend of the change movement,
but a lack of respect toward those things traditionally considered
appropriate is. This movement is very much reflective of our
society as a whole. Things once considered taboo are now embraced
with arms wide open. The following vulgarity makes the point.
...Jesus does have a way for us
to keep our balance, and it is only found in him. You see, right
in there is where Paul's big "but" comes in. Mark it
down in your notes and then turn to Second Corinthians chapter 2
verse 14 to find it. Those of you later reading the transcript
of this will not enjoy that near as much as those in the
audience did. As you'll note, there's only one "t" in
the word that I was referring to out of verse 14...and I'm so
thankful for Paul's big "but" that he puts right here
in the middle of this text, and I want you to think of it that
way. I know you won't remember this, "Did you hear about
Walling saying "Paul's big but?" I want you to
The attack on doctrine begins with the philosophy that
the Scriptures are not a pattern for us to follow. When the pattern
is gone, one can only imagine what will come next. Walling states
this point very clearly.
...and all we're doin is sayin,
"I just want to do what the Lord calls me to." Course,
we don't like followin, we like havin a map. Don't tell me
follow you, just give me a map. Some of us think he did, that
this is a diagnostic tool. I don't need the leading of the Lord,
I've got the Scriptures. It is my substitute for the leading of
the Lord. The problem is Scriptures doesn't tell me whether to
live in Los Angeles or Atlanta. The Scripture doesn't tell me
whether to be in campus ministry, or pulpit ministry, or senior
ministry, or just plain ole ministering ministry. You know, it
doesn't tell me. So what have I got to do?...I've got to learn
to walk behind Jesus, and say "Father, you lead me."
...And God doesn't give maps because if we ever took a look at a
map at where he was headin us, we'd get out of the car right
One area the Lord's church has been renowned for
defending in years past is baptism. Unfortunately, it too has come
under attack by some of those who once defended it. Walling asks,
How many of you have been
pressed about baptism in the last few years? You guys are water
regenerationalists, that's what you are. You believe there's
magic in the water, and man we work the water. We try and splain
how it makes sense folks. That water makes sense. That water is
an important symbol and it shows, and the uniting, and going
down and going up. Baptism is silly, no matter how you cut it!
Let me make it very plain. If you are out there trying to
explain baptism because it makes a lot of sense, and it's this
great symbol, and it shows this, and this is the closest thing
you ever come to bein buried, you know, when you go down under
that water, and come back up. That's the closest you ever come
to dyin, and don't you see how. Folks, baptism is dumb from any
standpoint other than God's. You (unclear) somebody up there and
dunk 'em up and down in the water, and you try to tell me,
"This is really, this is serious business." We get
little baptismal suits, make it look formal, you know.
continuation of the discussion on
baptism sounds more like something out
of a stand up comic
routine. Walling uses
the "funny" voices
and there is laughter
throughout. He continues,
"And I ask you
now," and they ask them the confession in the water, and I
always wondered, why do we do it in the water? These folks are
scared, nervous, half the time the baptistery ain't well heated.
We're askin them the most important question in the world, and
they're scared, nervous, and frightened. We could say,
"Taco and a Coke," they'd say, "Uh huh." Am
I gettin to you yet? Have I offended you yet? Hang on, we'll get
there. I want you to feel the ridiculousness of something that
is one of God's choices that I have quit tryin to explain.
There is much more that could be brought out concerning this
presentation such as Walling's comments on "brotherhood
wranglings," his gross paraphrasing of biblical stories, the use of
applause offered as praise to God and several other things.
Brethren, the bottom line is this, Jeff Walling is a dangerous man!
The evidence is abundant! We need to get the word out, and warn
those who are unaware. He is a very smooth talker and sways many
people, but the Bible still says, "mark them which cause
divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have
learned; and avoid them" (Rom. 16:17).
Those interested in receiving a copy
of this tape of Jeff Walling, please send me a blank cassette tape,
and an addressed envelope affixed with the proper postage.
P.O. Box 1484
Statesville, NC, 28677
Return to Table of Contents
A Review of
Churches Of Christ,
And Nondenominational Christianity
We continue the examination of President Ken Johnson's
paper which was supposed to answer questions about where they stand
on doctrinal matters. The first part of this article appeared in
the July issue.
#4 -- IS IT TOO RESTRICTIVE TO STATE THAT BAPTISM
IS FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS?
We take particular notice of statements made on page
sixteen regarding the purpose of baptism. Page 16 is a postscript
dated 2/16/99. Someone had raised a question asking why footnote
#28 included the words "immersion of believers (Mt 28:18-20, Mark
16:15-16, Acts 2:38, Gal 3:26-27, Rom. 6:4)" rather than to refer
to "baptism for the forgiveness of sins?" I'm glad someone was
astute enough to raise the question. On the surface there is
nothing wrong with referring to immersion of believers, especially
when accompanied by scripture references. But in this case, as
President Johnson explains the wording, it becomes clear that these
words hide a false doctrine.
THE VIEW OF ROCHESTER COLLEGE
In referring to the controversy between Austin McGarey
and David Lipscomb, and in taking brother Lipscomb's side,
Rochester College makes it plain that they do not believe a person
needs to know that his baptism is for the remission of sins in
order to be properly baptized. In fact, the statement is made that
brother McGarey's position is the "hard line position that
this entire document rejects." They go on to claim that if
they used the words "baptism for the remission of sins," they would
be taking "the restrictive side" (emphasis from Ken Johnson).
OTHERS WHO HOLD
THE SAME VIEW
Restoration leaders are quoted throughout much of this
paper as if their words should be binding on us. Brother Lipscomb
was a great man, but if he was wrong on this issue, he was wrong.
I don't accept brother McGarey's view or brother Lipscomb's view
just because these men held these views. Let's drop the name
dropping, and turn to the Scripture.
Rochester College is not alone in their view that people
can be baptized without an understanding that baptism is necessary
for the forgiveness of sins and still receive the intended effect
of baptism. Jimmy Allen has taken that stand in
his book, Re-Baptism (Howard Publishing, 1991).
F. LaGard Smith in his book, Who Is My Brother?
(Cotswold Publishing, 1997), also speculates that people who
are baptized under the impression that they are already saved may
nevertheless have their sins forgiven by such an erroneous baptism
(pp.129-130). Talk about putting form before substance! This
argument is based on the idea that people can be saved because they
get the outward form of baptism right, even though their heart is
not following Biblical Truth. This is made clear by F. LaGard
Smith's statements on page 131 of his book:
"If there is in fact a
special case to be made for those believing adults who are
immersed with less than a correct understanding regarding the
nature of biblical baptism, there is clearly no biblical basis
for extending that special case to all forms and modes of
baptism (such as sprinkling, pouring, or infant
So, according to LaGard Smith, if my understanding and
intent is wrong, I may still receive the benefit because I got the
outward form right. But if my intent is to be forgiven, just as the
Bible teaches, but I mess up the outward form, then I miss the
intended benefit. And, we are accused of being legalistic?!
THE TRUTH OF GOD'S WORD
Is it restrictive to assert that those who did not
understand baptism to be for the remission of sins were not
baptized properly and therefore were not saved? If so, then label
me as restrictive. Is it restrictive to claim that we must obey
"from the heart" in order to be set free from sin (Rom. 6:17-18)?
Obedience from the heart implies sincerity and understanding. Is it
too restrictive to insist we are set free by Truth, not error (John
8:32)? People who believe their sins are already forgiven cannot be
set free by that error. Those who are baptized, obeying the false
doctrine that baptism is simply the outward show of the salvation
they have already received, are practicing a different baptism than
that taught in scripture. There is only one baptism (Eph. 4:5).
The New Testament teaches that God, at the point of
baptism, raises us from our death in sin (Rom. 6:4). But Colossians
2:12 teaches that at baptism we are raised by faith in the
operation (power or working) of God. How can we have faith in the
working of God in our baptism if we don't know, or if we deny that
baptism is the point at which we are raised to a new life?
But we are told that baptism is about much more than the
remission of sins. In fact, look at this quote:
"...to state the words
'for the forgiveness of
sins' is to
the Biblical basis for
baptism and to disregard
the fullness of the
baptismal experience. As
we understand scripture,
other matters far
more remarkable than
forgiveness of past sins occur at baptism, namely, a
new-birthing has occurred, the baptized person is now 'in
Christ,' the baptized person now belongs to the family of God,
the baptized person now has the 'gift of the Holy Spirit,' the
baptized person now has the righteousness of God perpetually
counting for his/her righteousness assuming he/she does not turn
away, and perhaps other mentionable matters" (President
Johnson's paper, Postscript, p.16, emphasis mine, RS).
Nothing is 'far more remarkable' than forgiveness of sins! This
quote gives the impression that forgiveness of sins is a relatively
small, inconsequential matter, much less important or remarkable
than being born again or made part of God's family. But forgiveness
of sins is the cornerstone of all of these things. Forgiveness of
sins shows the remarkable plan of God to be both just and justifier
by punishing our sin in the person of Jesus, and by forgiving us in
Jesus (Rom. 3:24-26).
#5 -- WHAT IS
MISSING FROM THE PRESIDENT'S PAPER?
Sin is man's great problem. The other blessings that come
to us based on scriptural baptism are only possible once our sins
have been washed away. In fact, what makes all these other
blessings remarkable is that they are bestowed on those who used to
Being in Christ and being born again as part of God's
family are reflective of the fact that the sin which had separated
us from God (Isa. 59:1-2) has now been washed away. We could not be
reconciled to God, his Son, or his Spirit unless this forgiveness
has taken place. Justification means that a guilty person has been
declared righteous. So how can our new righteousness be more
remarkable than the forgiveness of sins? These are not two
different blessings, they are one.
Those who do not understand that baptism is the point at
which sins are cleansed/forgiven/remitted cannot experience this
blessing. By taking the stand that they have regarding this matter,
Rochester College accepts the baptism of virtually every person in
the Baptist denomination (and many others). Why? Because they have
the outward form of baptism right. Can't we see that the inward
form of baptism -- the purpose for which we are being baptized --
is just as important as the outward form?
If we are willing to accept a baptism that is wrong in
purpose, how long until we accept a baptism that is wrong in form?
If we accept those who were immersed sincerely desiring to obey
God, even though they lack understanding of the design of baptism,
why not accept those who were sprinkled, sincerely desiring to obey
God, even though they lack understanding of the form of baptism?
We call upon Rochester College to give up this
destructive, damnable doctrine.
We want to take time to point out some of the things
President Johnson's paper does not accomplish. In the preface, the
intent of the paper is stated. It is to clarify "Who are we,
religiously speaking?" If that is the intent, the paper falls
Admittedly, no man can or should attempt to write all of
what he believes religiously. We have God's Word in written form
already. But our brotherhood is fighting a battle, and
clarification from President Johnson or his faculty as to where
Rochester College stands on some basic issues would be very
helpful. If the desire is really to make known who Rochester
College is, religiously speaking, we call upon President Johnson to
answer the following simple questions:
1. Are specific acts of obedience on man's part necessary
in order to receive the gift of salvation?
2. According to Scripture, in the New Testament age, can
any accountable sinner be saved without being baptized?
3. Is it a sin to worship God with a mechanical
instrument of music?
4. May women, with God's approval, preach, lead prayer,
or lead songs at assemblies where Christian men are present?
Now we are getting down to where the proverbial rubber
and road actually touch. Here is a serious matter needing an answer
-- Does President Johnson want prospective students and their
parents to know where Rochester College is on these types of
issues, or would he rather leave people in the dark?
Nothing in President Johnson's paper gives plain answers
to these or other pressing and serious issues facing the Lord's
church today. Is this document meant to clarify, or is it meant to
establish a middle-of-the-road (President Johnson's words, p.15)
facade that will appease supporters?
I wrote to President Johnson, asking him to answer these
specific questions. He did respond and acknowledged that man must
obey God in order to be saved. (Of course his paper makes it clear
man doesn't have to understand why he is obeying God in the matter
of Baptism.) President Johnson did not even refer to the other 3
questions. Why not? Shouldn't these be easy to answer?
We call upon Ken Johnson to truly let us know where he
and the faculty at Rochester College stand on these kinds of
crucial matters. It is easy to speak in generalities that don't
enlighten or inform.
Voice Of Strangers
Victor M. Eskew
We have offered our pulpit as a platform for the open
public discussion of these matters, so that Rochester College can
defend the doctrines they put forth in this paper. Ken Johnson has
refused, saying that he doesn't believe further dialogue will be
Again, openly, we offer to President Johnson a platform
to come and defend the things he has written in this document. We
offer to let him come speak in our pulpit and defend the
proposition that a person need not understand baptism to be for the
remission of sins in order to be baptized scripturally. We will
deny that proposition and show to all those present the error of
We offer our pulpit as a polemic platform for the
discussion of Christians only and the only Christians, or the topic
of whether people can be saved in denominationalism, or how broad
our fellowship ought to be. But, we doubt that such offers will be
taken up. President Johnson has had plenty of time and opportunity
before now to make his doctrine fully known if he so desired.
Since President Johnson frowns on honorable debate, not
believing it will be productive, we challenge him to simply write
a paper making his doctrine fully known, instead of one that is
full of obscure rhetoric. Or, perhaps someone on the Bible faculty
will take up the challenge to debate these issues personally or on
behalf of the college. Then we can all know how to deal with
After reviewing president Johnson's paper, and
after other serious issues surrounding Rochester College, I have
reluctantly come to this conclusion: maybe it was best, after all,
for them to remove the term Christian from their name.
We call upon faithful Christians everywhere to rise up
and let Rochester College know you will not be supporting them or
encouraging students to attend there until such time as they go
back to the Truth of God's Word, and clearly let everyone know
where they stand and what doctrines will be taught there.
Author's Note: In preparing these articles, care was
taken to truly understand and accurately represent the views of Ken
Johnson as stated in his paper. Because we have no desire to
misrepresent anyone, we welcome any specific clarifications of
points we may have misunderstood or misused. General statements of
being misunderstood, misrepresented, or mis-characterized are not
helpful. We assume that a man in President Johnson's position can
make himself clear if he so desires, and therefore we have taken
him at his written word. If there are specific corrections which
seem valid, we will clarify, retract, apologize, or whatever else
(Second of two parts)
1495 E Empire Ave.
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
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Strange voices are speaking within the midst of the flock
of God. They are saying strange things, such as:
Faithfulness Vs. Foolishness
1) Baptism is not essential to salvation. But
Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38 and 1 Peter 3:21 says it is.
2) Instrumental music is acceptable to God. But
Eph. 5:19 and Rev. 22:18-19 says it's not.
3) Women may take positions of authority and leadership
in the worship services. But 1 Tim. 2:9-15 forbids it.
4) Dramatic performances should replace the preaching
of the Gospel. 1 Cor. 1:21, 2 Tim. 4:1-4 and Rom. 1:16
demands preaching, not plays.
5) There are sincere, knowledgeable, devout Christians
scattered among all the denominations. But Matt. 15:13 says
they all will be rooted up by the Lord come judgment day.
6) The churches of Christ do not comprise the one, true
church. But Matt. 16:18 says otherwise.
7) Book, chapter, and verse preaching is old fashion
and out-of-style. But 1 Peter 4:11 demands we speak as the
oracles of God.
8) Direct, miraculous leadings and miracles of the Holy
Spirit are needed in addition to the Word of God. But Acts
20:32, 1 Tim. 3:16-17 and 2 Peter 1:3 tell us the Word of God is
9) Grace saves apart from any and all law. But
Rom. 8:1-2 and James 1:25 demand obedience to the law of Christ.
10) Matthew 19:9 does not apply to the non-Christian.
But Matt. 19:1-9 uses the words "whosoever" and "whoso"
making it apply to all men.
Sadly, many individuals are giving heed to the voices of
strangers. Thousands upon thousands flock to hear these voices
which run contrary to the voice of the good shepherd.
These individuals need to hear the teaching of Jesus
found in John 10:4-5, "And when he putteth forth his own
sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they
know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee
from him: for they know not the voice of strangers." Sheep
know their shepherd. They will only follow his voice. When
strangers enter in among them, they do not give heed to them. They
do not snuggle in their breasts. They do not cuddle in their arms.
Oh no! Instead, they "flee from him: for they know not the
voice of strangers."
This admonition needs to be heeded by all the sheep
within the Lord's flock. The voices of strangers are calling. They
sound loudly and with great boldness. Many sheep run to them. They
assemble at their Workshops and Jubilees. Sheep of the Lord's
fold, however, will flee from them. They hear only the voice of the
true shepherd of the sheep. "And the sheep follow him: for
they know his voice."
400 Cherry Road
Paragould, AR 72450
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Jeremiah was instructed by God to present this message
to all who came to worship: "...Stand in the court of
Jehovah's house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come
to worship in Jehovah's house, all the words that I command thee to
speak unto them; diminish not a word. It may be they will hearken,
and turn every man from his evil way; that I may repent me of the
evil which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their
doings" (Jer. 26:2-3).
Will Stand In The Gap?
God's house has never been the place to fail to teach all
God's glorious Truth. The message from God was to diminish not a
word! Why would one desire to modify the force of the word of God?
The answer is found in verse eight: "And it came to pass, when
Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that Jehovah had commanded
him to speak unto all the people, that the priests and the prophets
and all the people laid hold on him, saying, Thou shalt surely
die." Upon arrival of the "princes of Judah" to God's house,
the people's sentiments are again expressed: "Then spake the
priests and the prophets unto the princes and to all the people,
saying, This man is worthy of death; for he hath prophesied against
this city, as ye have heard with your ears" (Jer. 26:11).
Jeremiah is declared "worthy of death" because he refused
to diminish the word of God! What "worshippers" of the Lord's
people in every congregation need today is a faithful declaration
of the "whole counsel of God" (cf. Acts 20:27) so they
might have the opportunity to turn from their evil ways (cf. Jer.
26:3). The apostate "dreamers" among us may appeal to those who
have "itching ears" and a desire to "turn their ears from the
truth" (2 Tim. 4:3-4), but faithfulness, not foolishness, is
what God requires of His followers! The warning given in Revelation
applies to that book and all other books of Holy Writ. John says,
"For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the
prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God
shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And
if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this
prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and
out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this
book" (Rev. 22:18-19).
It is utter foolishness to follow apostates like
Jeff Walling, Max Lucado, Mike Cope, Rubel Shelly, Rick Atchley,
Buddy Bell, Joe Beam, Larry West, Terry Rush, and a host
of others of like-trifling stripe down the super-highway that leads
to destruction. An apostate congregation is a curse to the people
who attend, the city in which they reside, and to the Lord Himself!
It is a disgrace for a child of God to ridicule and show utter
contempt for the inspired Word. O how people need to ask today,
"Is it from heaven or from men" (cf. John 21:25)?
Jeremiah's reply to those who threatened him was: "...amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of Jehovah
your God; and Jehovah will repent him of the evil that he hath
pronounced against you" (Jer. 26:13). This is our plea for
today's purveyors of foolishness and false doctrine!
Marvin L. Weir
5810 Liberty Grove Rd.
Rowlett, TX 75089
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Ezekiel was a prophet of God in captivity in Babylon when
he began to prophesy. He had been taken captive during the second
siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonians about 597 B.C. While in
captivity he warned of the complete destruction of Jerusalem and
the carrying away of the Jews into captivity if they continued
their rebellion against God.
The walls of Jerusalem had suffered damage due to the two
assaults on the city by the Babylonian army and there were many
breaches or gaps. Soldiers would have to literally fill those gaps
or breaches against any enemy until it could be repaired. But there
were gaps more serious and important than the physical gaps in the
walls, there were spiritual gaps. These gaps were caused by
idolatry, ungodliness and rebellion. The prophets were doing
nothing to repair these gaps. They were speaking lies and telling
the people they had nothing to fear, but that God would be with
them and would protect their great city. Through Ezekiel, God
warned: "Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own
spirit, and have seen nothing! ... they have seen vanity and lying
divination, saying, The Lord saith: and the Lord hath not sent
them..." (Ezek. 13:2,6).
God said, "And I sought for a man among them that
should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap...but I found none"
(Ezek. 22:30). He also said, "Ye have not gone up into
the gaps..." (Ezek. 13:5). God could find no one to fill the
gaps and stand against the enemy.
The church of Christ -- spiritual Jerusalem -- is under
assault from without and within. There are breaches (gaps) in the
walls. Sin and wickedness, false doctrines and erroneous practices
on the part of some among us are causing these gaps. Change-agents
and false teachers among us, like the false prophets of old, are
following "...their own spirit, and have seen nothing! ...
they have seen vanity and lying divination." They were
crying "Peace, peace; when there is no peace" (Jer.
6:14). Such workers of error bring nothing but trouble, conflict
and a continual destruction of the old paths and sacred truth.
Who will stand in the gap and "make up the hedge" against
Satan and his forces? Beloved, the ancient city of Jerusalem was
destroyed and her inhabitants were carried away into captivity
because no one would stand in the gap and correct the wrongs that
prevailed. Will spiritual Jerusalem, the beautiful bride of Christ,
be swept away again into apostasy because no one will arise to fill
the gaps (1 Tim. 4:1-2; Rev. 3:1-6; 15-18)? Will we allow the
change-agents and false teachers among us, with their smooth words,
fair speeches, pseudo-intellectualism and self-righteousness (Rom.
10:2-3), to convince the masses that all is well and that all the
changes, innovations and departures are acceptable to God?
May God open our eyes to the destruction and devastation
around us, and like the Jews of old, may we see the need to "rise up and build" (Neh. 2:18). But while the repairs are
being made, who will stand in the gap? Will the faithful of God
arise and "put on the whole armor of God" (Eph. 6:10)?
The battle rages on. It could very well be that the
faithful are in the minority at this present time. But let us not
forget that with God, Gideon's 300 men defeated the mighty
Midianite army (Judges 7). If we stand in the gap, "fight the
good fight of faith" (1 Tim. 6:12), and "purge out the
old leaven" (1 Cor. 5:7), God will surely be with us and we
will be able to defeat this monstrous army of Satan in our midst.
Will you stand in the gap?
624 Ridgeway Dr.
Bolivar, Tn. 38008
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"I have just finished reading your editorial in the STOP, April,
1999 and wanted to say thank you. Your words were not "HARSH
WORDS." I thought they were kind hearted. There was a true concern
for the man who wrote the letter to you. At the same time there was
a promotion of the true facts concerning those who would subvert
the gospel and turn the church of Christ into a denomination. We
live in a time when deprecation is the "in thing." The liberals
speak evil of the church, pattern theology, and plenary verbal
inspiration, and any who be so "blind" to believe such things. But
many "conservatives" have also turned their tongues (and pens) into
instruments of lambasting. For some they have new purpose in life,
castigate the liberals. It gives them a sense of purpose and joy.
They have someone to cast stones at. In that same issue you have an
article by Rusty Stark entitled, Not Surprised, Just Saddened. I
thought this was a very appropriate attitude. When Christians turn
away from the truth it brings sadness, pain. A part of the body has
been cut off. It is time for mourning. Those who turn away must be
dealt with, absolutely. But Paul says that we must do it "in the
spirit of meekness" (Gal. 6:1,2; 2 Tim. 2:25,26). There are even
times when strong words should be used. Even Jesus did so in
Matthew 23. But that was only after He tried and tried to persuade
them to turn from their evil ways. That was at the end of His
striving with them and pronounced their doom (Matt. 23:28). But
even then Jesus was not happy about it (v.37). Thank you again for
your wisdom and kindness, and your willingness to stand for truth.
Keep up the good work" ...Steve Vice, Saipan, Mariana
Islands. "We wish to express our love and appreciation
for your S.T.O.P. We desire to be helpful in your labors
to get the gospel of Christ to lost sinners and to the saved who
will listen and aid in your work" ...Ector and Cordia
Watson, Cleveland, OK. "One cannot read Mailbag without
realizing that S.T.O.P. must stay on the cutting edge! Too, it
proves the Lord's church is alive. Re-read the Mailbag entry of the
May, 1999 issue. S.T.O.P. gives courage to the young and older
alike. We are appreciative of the Corinth church, her Elders and
Preacher--Editor of S.T.O.P. God Bless" ...Doyle Gough,
Dresden, TN. "I appreciate your "testing all spirits" for
me and others, but don't judge too much...that is God's job"
...Todd Inman. [EDITOR'S NOTE: The Lord is the
judge, that is true (John 5:22; 2 Cor. 5:10). However, the Lord
also tells us to judge righteous judgment (John 7:24). We are to
"...believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they
are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the
world" (1 John 4:1). And, "...by their fruits ye shall
know them" (Matt.
7:16,20). This demands we make judgments
regarding one's teaching and actions. Otherwise, we would not know
who is a child of God and who is not -- who is faithful and who is
not. We can't judge one's heart because we cannot know it (Matt.
7:1-2), but we can know their life because we can see it.] "Dear
brother Robinson, this is to acknowledge receipt of three issues
(Dec 1998-Feb.1999) of STOP. I find these copies biblically sound,
very useful, and informative. Capitol City 3rd Annual Youth
Lectureship & Fellowship was concluded very recently, May 21 & 22.
This year's theme is "Let No Man Despise Your Youth." I spoke on
the subject: "Be an Example in Upholding Sound Doctrine." STOP
was a gold-mine in my preparation of my lectures. In addition
to the lectureship and fellowship we have gospel meeting. Five
precious souls were added into the Lord's kingdom. Please continue
sending STOP" ...George A. Villanueva, Quezon
City, Philippines. "I sent you my address for your
publication when I was in Bonne Terre, Missouri. I was preaching
for the church there until I began to take a stand on the
scriptures. I taught that the scripture teaches the same things to
all people and Bible studies were not "personal opinion fests." I
also began to express the restoration principle of "speak where the
Bible speaks and keep silent where the Bible is silent." I was
promptly labeled an "ultra-conservative" and steps were taken to
remove me from the pulpit. I have since "kicked the dust" from my
feet and moved to a new work in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. These are
faithful brethren that still "seek the old paths." Your publication
has been very helpful to me in times of difficulty"
...Dennis (Skip) Francis, Port Huron, MI. "I thank you so
much and every month when I get my Seek the Old Paths I
sit down immediately and read it cover to cover. May God bless your
work" ...Debbie Drake, LaRue, OH. "Thanks again
and please continue your fight for the truth. Your publication and
beliefs are very encouraging. God bless" ...Matt LeBlanc,
Ruston, LA. "PLEASE keep up the good work!!!"
...David M. Franklin, Greenwood, MS. "Dear S.T.O.P.
Evidently David Lipscomb must be doing
something right. Your publication spends a lot of time and effort
criticizing this good institution. I will definitely consider
sending my children there. If S.T.O.P. is against it, it
has got to be good!" ...J. Slater, North Carolina.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Isaiah 5:20 says, "Woe unto them that
call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and
light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for
bitter!" I guess it depends on whether you love the truth or not.
I have no friend but Jesus. I'll uphold the Lord, not human
institutions. He died for the church, not man-made digressive
organizations.] "Dear Brethren, I pray that this finds you in good
health and high spirits, and your labors in the Lord abounding unto
the glory and praise of the Almighty. I am currently on your
mailing list to receive STOP and I appreciate receiving
it very much. I am writing on behalf of the brethren, requesting
multiple issues that may be distributed among the brethren here. If
you are able, we would like to receive 40 copies when each issue is
sent out. If there is a subscription charge, please let me know and
we will send it out immediately. If there is no subscription
charge, I expect the men may decide to send something anyway.
Continue the good work and our prayers continue to go with you.
Joyfully In Him" ...Ted Parks, Vacaville, CA. "Thank you and keep up the good work!!!!" ...Jessie
Williams, Orange Park, FL. "I have recently had the
opportunity to read your fine publication. I would like to receive
it if I could. I am concerned about liberalism in the church today
and appreciate your willingness to stand for the truth. Thanks"
...Phil Wilson, Wilmington, NC. "Dear Brothers,
Please remove me from your Seeking the Old Paths Mailing list. I
have lost all desire to read such condemnatory publications"
...M/M John McCranie, IV, Santa Paula, CA. [NOTE:
Do you know of a
passage that countermands Romans 16:17? It commands us to
"...mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to
the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid