WILL GOD OVERLOOK UNAUTHORIZED WORSHIP?
As God did not overlook unauthorized worship in the
days of the past, neither will He overlook
unauthorized worship when you and I stand before Him
To the woman at the well in Samaria, Jesus said that
the heavenly Father seeketh men to worship Him (John 4:23). But,
for that worship to be acceptable, it must be in spirit and in
truth (4:24). From this occasion in the life of Christ, even
if we could read of no other thoughts concerning worship, we should
be impressed with the seriousness of and the need for Scriptural
worship. First, we are to worship God -- nothing else and no one
else. Second, we are to worship Him with the right attitude -- in
spirit, from the heart. Third, we are to worship Him according to
the prescribed pattern or plan -- according to the truth.
The first recorded scene of worship had to do with
Cain and Abel. From the pages of Genesis we read, in
process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of
the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of
the firstling of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had
respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his
offering he had not respect (Gen. 4:3-5). Both of these
men were desirous of worshipping Jehovah. Abel offered his
sacrifice by faith, but Cain did not (Heb. 11:4). Since
we know that faith comes by hearing the word of God (Rom. 10:17),
it would appear that Cain rejected the command as to how to worship
God acceptably. Seeing that God did not have respect for Cains
sacrifice, can we say that he overlooked his unauthorized worship?
Certainly not! God expected Cain to worship Him in the same way
that Abel worshipped Him. If Abel knew how to be right in his
worship, then Cain would have had the same opportunity to know how
to worship. No, God does not overlook unauthorized worship.
When we read the book of Leviticus, we learn of two
brothers, the sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu. Moses says of these
two brothers that they offered strange fire before the
Lord (Lev. 10:1). The problem was in the origin of the
fire. It was not authorized fire; therefore, it was strange
fire. In Leviticus we observe that God directed that on the
Day of Atonement the incense fire should be taken from the brazen
alter. To bring fire from some other source would constitute
strange fire. God was not pleased with the fire they used for it
was strange, i.e. not authorized. Since they were offering
unauthorized worship, made so by the unauthorized fire, God sent
fire from heaven and consumed both the sacrifice (Lev. 9:24) and
the responsible persons. Such was done to demonstrate the glory of
God. God does not overlook unauthorized worship.
Turning to the pages of the New Testament we travel
with Paul to the city of Athens. The city of Athens
circled the base of the Acropolis, a hill five hundred feet high on
which numerous temples were built...North of the Acropolis was the
agora, or market place where the Athenians met to transact business
and argue philosophy (Acts 17:17) ... At the western approach to
the Acropolis was Mars Hill, or the Areopagus (Baker
Bible Atlas, pp.222-224). It was here that Paul was brought for a
hearing (Acts 17:15-34); and, it was here that Paul discusses
the unknown God whom they, the men of Athens, ignorantly
worshipped (Acts 17:23). At the conclusion of this masterpiece
exalting the nature of the Almighty God, Paul announced,
the time of this ignorance God winked at (overlooked,
ASV); but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent
(Acts 17:30). In essence, Paul said there was a time that God
over-looked their religious ignorance, but that time is no more.
Why is the time no more? For now, we are under a better covenant
and He has plainly revealed His pattern for worship to man;
therefore, He expects all men everywhere to follow that pattern.
God did not overlook their unauthorized worship.
When we consider again the words of Jesus to the
woman at the Samaritan well we hear him telling her that the Father
seeketh men to worship Him, not an idol made by the hands of men.
To worship something other than Jehovah God is both unauthorized
and unacceptable. Just as when John the apostle and writer of the
Revelation fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who was
revealing to him the message from God, we hear the angel say,
see that thou do it not; for I am thy fellow servant, and of
thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of
this book: worship God (Rev. 22:9). From this we also
learn that God expects us to worship in the prescribed fashion. To
worship the Father in some manner other than what He has authorized
by the Scriptures is totally unacceptable.
Today, when the Lords church assembles to
worship, we need to go back to our Bibles to see what God has
authorized to be done in worship to Him. Now, if God had given us
no directives as to how to worship Him, just simply said worship
Me, then we would be at liberty to worship Him any way or in every
way we desired. But, on the other hand, if God has given His
directives as to how to worship Him, we are obligated to worship
Him as he instructs. Remember Cain, Nadab and Abihu?
We have learned in other studies that God, through
his word, authorizes through commands, implication and examples
(accounts of approved actions). God does not authorize through
personal feelings or through poplar vote. God is the only one who
has the right to determine or decided what is right in worship and
all other matters.
Shortly after the New Testament church was begun,
we read about their coming together to worship. Luke described
their worship when he wrote, they continued stedfastly in
the apostles doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of
bread, and in prayer (Acts 2:42). Four of the avenues of
worship are here described: apostles doctrine
(teaching or preaching), fellowship (collection),
breaking of bread (the Lords supper), and prayer.
The only other authorized item of worship is singing.
Authority for this type of music is found in Ephesians 5:19
and Colossians 3:16. Paul wrote, I will declare thy name
unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise
unto thee (Heb. 2:12). Please observe these are the only
avenues that are authorized for worship. As Nadab and Abihu did not
have the right to offer strange fire unto the Lord, neither do we
have the right to offer strange doctrine or strange music before
God and at the same time expect him to be pleased. Therefore, we
have to conclude that, bowing before images, counting of beads,
burning of incense, neglecting to partake of the Lords supper
every first day of the week, or partaking of the Lords supper
at times other than in periods of worship, playing on an
instrument, being entertained by individuals from solos to a
full-fledged chorus or band etc., are all without the authority of
God for worship. Seeing they are without the authority of God for
worship, individually or collectively, they constitute unscriptural
worship. As God did not overlook unauthorized worship in the days
of the past, neither will He overlook unauthorized worship when you
and I stand before Him in judgment (2 Cor. 5:10).
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him
must worship him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).
127 W Seward St.
Ackerman, MS 39735
Table of Contents
MISLEADING USE OF SCRIPTURE?
In the May 2002 issue of S.T.O.P., the Guest Editorial
was a short article titled Instrumental Music in Worship to
God written by Gary Colley. It listed 29 reasons why we do not
use mechanical instruments of music in worship. We received a
letter from a man saying this article misused Scripture. I want to
briefly list some of his comments and answer them from the Bible.
All of your verses quoted, especially #10,
could just as easily apply to a lone preacher as to choirs. Is a
preacher there to glorify himself or God? Is he performing or
worshipping? Why have a song leader? Is that song leader
glorifying himself or God by standing in front of everyone and
leading hymns? Is he performing or worshipping? Where in Scripture
is a song leader granted authority in worship to determine which
hymns are to be sung? I have been to Church of Christ services in
four different congregations, and all of them had song leaders. Are
these men glorifying themselves or God? I see no difference between
a choir of several members, and a choir of one -- the song leader.
The tenth reason brother Colley lists as to why we
do not use mechanical instruments in worship is: By admission
of most, such teaching is an effort to please the ears of men (Gal.
Paul made clear he did not preach to please men nor
to glorify himself (Gal. 1:10). He did not perform before audiences
to receive their applause. He did not seek to impress them with
enticing words (1 Cor. 2:4). Neither would any preacher today be
right in so doing. There was nothing about preachers in this
article and the parallel does not fit.
Having a song leader is an expedient way to carry out the
command to sing (Eph. 5:19). It is obvious that the congregation
must know which song they are going to sing. The song must start at
some point. One to lead (get the song started) is an appropriate
(expedient) means of accomplishing this. A song leader is
authorized in the command to sing. Playing is not
authorized in the command to sing. Playing is a separate kind of
music all together. When someone leads singing, there is nothing
more being done than singing; whereas, when playing is being done,
there is something more than singing being done. It is an addition
to what God commanded (Rev. 22:18-19).
It can be stated without fear of successful
contradiction that there is no command, approved example, or
necessary inference in the New Testament for churches of Christ
ever, with authority, to BAN instrumental music in worship.
The logic of saying there is no Scripture
that bans instrumental music is flawed. The principle of truth and
the Lords church exists on the premise that God tells us what
He wants. That excludes everything else. The silence of the
Scriptures is a valid means of learning and knowing the truth. This
is illustrated in Hebrews 7:14. Divine instruction from heaven
makes clear that Old Testament Scripture did not forbid or ban
anyone from a tribe other than Levi being a priest under the Old
Testament system. When God specified priests would be taken from
the tribe of Levi, that eliminated all other tribes. When God tells
Christians to sing, that eliminates all other kinds or forms of
The point at hand is simply this -- Scripture can
be found which authorizes congregational singing in the worship of
the church today (Col. 3:16; Gal. 5:19). But, Scripture cannot be
found (therefore, no authority) for playing mechanical instruments
of music in the worship of the church today. The Holy Scriptures
ban and forbid mechanical instruments by its silence -- theres
no authority for it! Wheres the Scripture?
You conveniently deny the many Psalms that tell us
to praise God with all kinds of instruments. You are also
disregarding the book of Revelation which specifically mentions
Your inclusion of the Psalms shows plainly that there is
no authority for mechanical instruments of music in New Testament
worship in the church (which you admit yourself); otherwise, you
would list them and refer to them. The question at hand is this,
what does God tell us to do regarding worship in the
Since Jesus death on the cross took the
old law away, nailing it to the cross (Col. 2:14),
worship and service in the church today is not governed by the Old
Testament. THE OLD TESTAMENT IS NOT THE LAW BY WHICH WE LIVE AND
WORSHIP TODAY. To try to keep just one part of the old Law makes
one a debtor to keep the whole Law (Gal. 5:3). If we go to the Old
Testament to find authority for one thing, then we must be ready to
include all it demands (including animal sacrifices and burning of
incense). Neither does your reference to the book of Revelation
provide authority for worship in the church today. What is
discussed in the book of Revelation is not talking about worship in
If the New Testament is the sole means of
establishing Truth, then why would any Church of Christ
congregation object to evolution? After all, Genesis is not part of
the New Testament. Therefore, by your own words, Genesis can be
disregarded, as it is not among those verses that are the sole
means of establishing Truth. For that matter, why mention any of
the Old Testament in church at all? Why not eliminate the Old
Testament from the Bible entirely? You rely on Genesis, a part of
the Old Testament, to disprove evolution as truth and treat the
Creation account as literal Truth, yet you deny all of the verses
from Psalms! There are no verses in the New Testament that
The Old Testament is profitable in that it brings
us to the New Testament (Gal. 3:24-25). It was written for our
learning (Rom. 15:4). Every word of it is true. It is inspired of
God (2 Tim. 3:16-17). The principles of the Old Testament are true.
The Old Testament is useful in that it presents facts such as the
creation. However, none of these things affect nor govern our
worship and service in the church today.
Evolution is objected to because it is a doctrine
of man, not God -- it is false, not true. The Old Testament
sufficiently refutes it; but the New Testament does also.
Colossians 1:16 speaks of the creation and thereby refutes
evolution. So also does Hebrews 1:10-12; Heb. 3:4; 1 Peter 4:19;
Rev. 4:11. Jesus referred to creation in Matthew 19:4-6. The
creation is also referred to in: Mark 10:6; Mark 13:19; Rom.
1:20,25; Rom. 8:22; 1 Cor. 11:9; Eph. 3:9; Col. 3:10 and 1 Tim.
The New Testament replaced the Old Testament as far
as rules and regulations that govern people today is concerned.
Notice what inspiration says concerning the Old Testament. It has
decayed and vanished away (Heb. 8:13). It was
changed and annulled because of its
weakness and unprofitableness (Heb. 7:12,18). It
was only a shadow of the New and was therefore
taken away (Heb. 10:1,9). It was blotted out and
nailed to the cross (Col. 2:14). Its purpose was bring
us to Christ (the New Testament) and since Christ has come, we are
no longer under it (Gal. 3:24-25). If this were not
enough, the Gentiles were never subject to the Law of Moses anyway.
It was only for the Israelites and their descendants (Deut. 5:1-3).
To refer to the Old Testament as authority on how to worship God
today, makes Christs death on the cross null and void. It
makes mockery of his pain, suffering and sacrifice. It counts his
resurrection from the grave as trivial and meaningless.
The Old Testament told the Israelites what to do to
worship God. The New Testament tells the whole world (both Jew and
Gentile) how to worship God. The Old has been replaced by the New
(Heb. 10:9). Every verse in the New Testament that speaks of
worship in the church today overrides, nullifies, transcends,
revokes and cancels what was said about worship under the Old
In looking through S.T.O.P., I found as many
articles devoted to stating what everyone else is doing wrong as
articles instructing how to do right. You are truly modern-day
We print articles dealing with what people are doing
wrong as well as articles providing instruction on doing what is
right. The vast majority of the New Testament deals with what was
wrong in peoples lives as well as what was wrong in
congregations. You cant tell people what they should
do without telling them what they should not
do. They are so closely tied together that they cannot be
separated. To do one is to do the other. Faithful preaching
includes reproving, rebuking and exhorting (2 Tim. 4:2). That is:
1) reprove -- explaining what is wrong, to find fault
with, to reprehend severely, chide, admonish; 2) rebuking
-- reprimanding those who are guilty of sin, to tax with fault, to
admonish or charge sharply, and 3) exhorting --
encouraging them to repent and come out of it, beg, entreat,
Your point has absolutely no connection to the
Pharisees. To point out what the Bible says and demand that all men
adhere to it is not Pharisaical, it is commanded by Jesus (Luke
6:46). The friends of Jesus obey his commandments -- his rules and
regulations (John 15:14).
Table of Contents
BOLDNESS TO PREACH THE GOSPEL
Far too many would sweep false teaching under the rug and pretend it would go
away, but Paul would not do so for one hour. We must show great boldness in
exposing false teaching whenever it rears its ugly head.
All of Jerusalem was in an uproar as the ruling body of
the Jews had thought executing Jesus would put an end to the
difficulty his teachings and popularity was causing among the
people. Three days following the burial of Jesus, his body was
missing from the tomb and all Jerusalem knew about it. An angel
appeared to certain women stating, He is not here: for he
is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay
(Matt. 28:6). Those doubting Jesus resurrection felt the
brunt of Christians driving home the argument that the Lords
death on Mount Calvary was a sacrifice for sin. The deity of Christ
consequently was confirmed when the body of Jesus was raised
following the third day (Acts 2).
The Jewish court might have expected Peter, James,
John, and other disciples to become intimidated by their threats.
Such would not be the case, as their former fear would be
transformed to daring boldness. Paul writes, But with all
boldness as always, so now Christ also shall be magnified in my
body, whether by life or death (Phil. 1:20). The
original word for boldness comes from an aorist
participle signifying waxing bold. The original language
suggests, Dare to do, or to bear something terrible or
difficult; hence, to be bold, to bear oneself boldly,
deal boldly. These early Christians acted boldly in all their
activities to glorify Christ. The Sanhedrin Council threatened
Peter and John to cease teaching in the name of Jesus Christ and
their reply was, For we cannot but speak the things that
we have seen and heard (Acts 4:20). If we are to serve
Christ today, we must do so with the same boldness that
characterized the Christians of the first century.
1. We need boldness to preach to unbelievers. We
have earlier stated that the apostles were on trial before the
Sanhedrin Council. The church grew very quickly to 5,000 men, not
including women and those young people that have reached the age of
accountability. Some have estimated the church to be 20,000-25,000
members at this time. The Sanhedrin was desperate to interrupt such
rapid growth, and the two apostles were requested to give an answer
to the miracles and consequent growth of the church taking place.
Peter said that it was by the authority or power of Jesus Christ
that all these things have come to pass (Acts 4:10-12). This
message of the only way was not designed to make them
popular; it would require, however, courage and boldness to be
effective (Acts 4:13).
One of the greatest needs of our day is to convince
people that they are lost in sin (Rom. 3:23; Ezek. 18:20). More and
more the pulpit is becoming weaned from the power of the Gospel
(Rom. 1:16). A dose of psychology and other theories are being
offered as an alternative while the souls of men are being
shortchanged of the distinctive message of Christ (John 14:6; 1
Peter 4:11; Heb. 4:12). We must point out in a spirit of love and
kindness how ugly sin is and that a day of reckoning is awaiting
those who reject the Gospel message (Mark 16:16; Gal. 1:8-9).
2. We need boldness to expose false teaching.
Rebuking those that are teaching error is never easy, however Jesus
did so when needed. Jesus forcefully stated to the scribes and
Pharisees, This people draweth nigh unto me with their
mouth, and honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from
me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the
commandments of men (Matt. 15:8-9). To some of the same
Jews Jesus said, Ye are of your father the devil, and the
lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the
beginning and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in
him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own; for he is a
liar, and the father of it (John 8:44). Jesus did not
look the other way when he saw the arrogant Pharisees teaching the
doctrines of men for the law of God. The apostles displayed great
boldness when dealing with religious error. When some attempted to
bind the Old Testament on those of the Christian age, Paul opposed
it. The apostle said, To whom we gave place by
subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might
continue with you (Gal. 2:5).
We live in a day of permissiveness and religious
tolerance when anything goes. Paul was certainly not of this
persuasion and would not give in to religious error -- no, not
for an hour. Far too many would sweep false teaching under the
rug and pretend it would go away, but Paul would not do so for one
hour. We must show great boldness in exposing false teaching
whenever it rears its ugly head.
3. We need boldness to preach the whole truth.
Theres always the temptation to preach what people want to
hear, rather than what they need to hear. Imagine your doctor
saying, All is well, while your body is riddled with
cancer or some other deadly disease. We would want our physician to
be forthcoming and give a full range of treatment and procedures
that would enhance a full recovery. Long ago the prophet Isaiah
wrote, This is a rebellious people, lying children,
children that will not hear the law of the LORD: Which say to the
seers, see not; and to the prophets, prophesy not unto us right
things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits
(Isa. 30:9-10). Israel rejected the prophets and repudiated
right things while longing for that which was deceitful.
How modern the practices during Isaiahs day resemble the
current situation in the 21st century.
Let us exemplify the attitude stated by Paul,
For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of
God (Acts 20:27). It will require great courage to
preach the whole truth, especially when we know that some will not
always embrace it. We must boldly preach the whole truth on the
faith that saves, the one church, baptism for the remission of
sins, acceptable worship, instrumental music, divorce and
remarriage, and a host of other vitally important subjects. We
cannot and must not change the Gospel to fit the needs of modern
man. The Hebrew writer underscored the fundamental truth,
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and forever
(Heb. 13:8). The proposition should follow: if Jesus Christ
is the same yesterday, today, and forever should we not conclude
that his Word is the same yesterday, today, and forever?
The attitude of every Christian should be
speaking the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). Our prayer
should be, Help us O father to speak the truth in all
boldness, but above all things, help us to speak it.
2101 Glenwood Dr. SW
Hartselle, AL 35640
Table of Contents
McBRIDES MURKY MEANDERINGS
Jerry C. Brewer
The trick is to mix
matters of opinion with those of faith, stir them into the change
agents bubbling cauldron and call them all
Christian Chronicle Editor, Bailey McBride
is at it again -- or is it, still? Promoting his
agenda to transform the church into a full fledged denomination
among peers, his latest treatise is such a jumbled maze of
obfuscation (confusion), theological gobbledook, and murky
meanderings that the reader could easily mistake Washington State
apples for Florida oranges.
McBrides typical liberal doubletalk is
manifested in the following from his latest editorial lamenting an
unwritten creed that was developed in the 1950s by
churches of Christ:
Yet, an unwritten creed had slowly
developed even though we were people of the Book
without human creeds. Do not have a neon sign. Do not
have a choir or chorus. Do not let someone show off
by singing a solo. Do not ever let someone tell a
personal story of their faiths development --
testimonial. Do not teach too often about the Holy
Spirit. A responsive reading is disorderly. Dont
raise your hands while praying or singing because the
Holiness folks do that. Rely on Bishop Ushers
chronology because it is as reliable as Scripture in
dating the world. The heart of worship is preaching.
Stamps Baxter songs belong on the other side of the
tracks. High church songs are pretentious.
Preachers with too much education are dangerous. The
church building is not the church, but it is surely
not the place for a kitchen or for recreation.
(Bailey McBride, Sorting Tradition, Divine
McBrides bob and weave liberalism is
perfectly delineated in the above paragraph. The trick is to mix
matters of opinion with those of faith, stir them into the change
agents bubbling cauldron and call them all
1. A neon sign for the church building -- Opinion.
I dont know where McBride was educated, but intelligent people
do not take an isolated opinion, call it a creed, and assign its
belief to everyone else in the church. His inane sophistry would
make a normal man blush!
2. Choruses and choirs -- Faith (Eph. 5:19). He
thinks theyre banned because of tradition. So does Rubel
Shelly. They are banned because of the absence of authority.
3. Soloists -- Faith (Eph. 5:19). Ditto, the above.
4. Testimonies -- Faith (Rom. 1:16-17; 1 Cor.
2:1-5). Is he going to cry mourners to the altar where
they can pray through? More theological slop that ought
to be tossed back into the denominational trough from whence he
5. Do not teach often about the Holy
Spirit -- A vague statement. What does our erudite
Chronicle Editor mean? Is this directed toward men like Foy Wallace
and Franklin Camp who taught the truth about the work of the Holy
Spirit? Does McBride mean we ought to teach what Joe Beam does --
that the Holy Spirit enables him to tell whether a person is lying
or not? One who edits a worldwide publication should be able to
express himself in clearer terms. But then, obfuscation is a
primary tool of the change-agent.
6. A Responsive reading is disorderly --
Faith (Acts 20:7). How many responsive readings were done at Troas?
Is there a New Testament example of such? That practice came from
the Catholics. No one objects on the basis of it being
disorderly, but on its absence from the New Testament as
an authorized item of worship.
7. Raising hands while singing or praying
-- Faith. No one objects on the basis that the Holiness folks
do that, but on the basis that liberals have twisted 1 Timothy
2:8 to emulate the holy rollers.
8. Bishop Ushers chronology? -- Opinion. What
hat did McBride pull this one from? I have been a Christian since
1954, worshipped and preached in four states and never heard this
once. I suppose McBride thinks those of us who hold to the plenary,
verbally inspired, authoritative word of God also believe the
parchments Paul instructed Timothy to bring him were Johnsons
9. The heart of worship is preaching --
No one in my experience has ever made such a statement. Thats
not to say it hasnt been made, but every faithful preacher and
teacher Ive known has always taught that preaching is part of
our worship, not its heart.
10. Stamps Baxter songs belong on the other
side of the tracks -- Opinion. W. R. Craig used to say of some
of those songs that they do more for the toe than they do for
the soul, but thats not a general indictment of all of
them. Liberals who pride themselves on scholarly
specifics ought not to make sweeping generalities as though they
11. High church songs are pretentious --
Opinion. Again, Who said that? What High Church songs?
Those that express unscriptural thoughts or others? There is
absolutely no worship in the sound of a song. The worship,
admonition and teaching come from the words. This notion that we
ought to have toe-tapping holy roller songs or staid old High
church songs for their tonal and tuneful value is a late
blooming idea of change-agents and Howard song book publishers who
borrowed it from denominations.
12. Preachers with too much education are
dangerous -- Opinion. Another broad generality from the
succinct pen of McBride. Some educated preachers are
dangerous. Look at LaGard Smith, Richard Hughes, Doug Foster
and others who hold court at various universities misguidedly
supported by Christians. They are the ones who, in the name of
change and progress, would drag the church 200 years backwards into
the Babel of denominationalism. They are the ones who want to
restore the restoration rather than the pristine New Testament
church. Like every other temporal facility, education is a tool to
be used by the Christian. The tool itself neither makes him
dangerous nor faithful as a preacher. What makes him so is his use
of that tool. A hammer in the hands of a murderer can kill, in the
hands of a master carpenter can build.
13. The church building and kitchens -- Now McBride
takes on antis and lumps them with Bishop Usher, Holy Spirit
teaching, Stamps Baxter songs and neon signs. Coherence of thought
and clear expression thereof certainly isnt a prime attribute
of liberals, especially those who run the Christian Chronicle.
After reading McBrides heretical effluence,
its hard to tell Washington State Apples from Florida Oranges.
But, then, obfuscation and illogic are the prime tools of the
As a final thought, parents who want to hand their
children over to Oklahoma Christian University of Science and
Arts ought to be forewarned that the Christian Chronicle is
owned, operated by, and expresses the views of that school.
308 South Oklahoma
Elk City, Oklahoma 73644
Table of Contents
UNITY OF ALL BELIEVERS
Once again news comes to us about Rochester College
(once Michigan Christian College). It comes to us in
the NORTH STAR (volume 43, #2, Summer 2002), a newspaper published
by Rochester College about Rochester College. The article is titled
Unity of All Believers (page 3).
The article reports on the annual Sermon Seminar
held at Rochester college in May of this year. The opening
paragraph reads as follows:
In the spirit of the Restoration Movements
plea for the unity of all believers, 140 ministers
from 14 Christian fellowships and 27 states assembled
on May 20-22 at the Colleges fifth annual Sermon
The article goes on in paragraph four to say this:
This seminar brought together people from
a variety of faith backgrounds for a unity of purpose
to improve preaching through a biblical
perspective, said Dr. Michael Westerfield,
Rochester College provost. I believe that this
is a critical part of our mission.
One last quote later in the article (paragraph 8):
Organizers said the seminar experience
emphasized the participants unity of purpose in
preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.
How can people from a variety of faith
backgrounds have a unity of purpose
in preaching? Amos the prophet thought (and by inspiration also
taught) that such unity of purpose was impossible with disagreement
of doctrine. Amos 3:3, Can two walk together, except they
Furthermore, are we even supposed to have unity of
purpose with those who are of a variety of faith
backgrounds? Those who teach different doctrines,
including the creeds, disciplines, confessions of faith, and church
manuals that men have devised are vain in their worship (Matt.
15:9). Are we supposed to be unified with vain worshipers? The
unity that God demands is not simply unity of purpose while we hold
on to our divisive creeds. God demands unity of doctrine (1 Cor.
1:10). Jesus prayed that we would have the kind of unity he enjoys
with his Father (John 17:20- 21). Jesus didnt teach one
doctrine and his Father another (John 7:16).
It is true that we must be in unity with all believers, but
we must understand who is a believer and who is not. The word
translated believer(s) or believe(d) is also
translated as faithful (Heb. 11:11; 1 Tim. 1:15) and
true (1 Tim. 3:1; 2 Cor. 1:18). This carries the
unmistakable meaning that believers are those who are faithful,
dependable, and true.
People from a variety of faith
backgrounds are not faithful. If they were all faithful
to the word they would not be of various faith backgrounds.
It is especially true that preachers from various
faith backgrounds are not faithful. There is only one Gospel. Those
who pervert it and teach something else are accursed (Gal. 1:6-9).
Why would we want to be unified with those who are accursed? Do we
want to share in their eternal fate -- hell?
A variety of faith backgrounds is
a smooth way of saying denominationalism. And denominationalism is
the enemy of Christ and therefore our enemy. In this sermon
seminar, Rochester College is waving a white flag, aligning
themselves with the enemies of the cross, and becoming part of the
division which is so hateful to God. They may call it unity, but in
reality it is surrender!
If men truly want unity, let them lay down that
which divides. The word of God is not divisive. The doctrines which
come from its pages, baptism for the remission of sins, one church,
worship in spirit and in truth, none of these things is the cause
of division. Those who have denied and perverted these things are
the cause of division.
We call on those who are part of a variety
of faith backgrounds to lay down the creeds that make
them distinct and to give up all doctrines that cannot be supported
from Scripture. Let us become one on the platform of truth, not on
the shaky ground of false unity with false believers.
1495 E Empire Ave.
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
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This is to warn you of a book being sent free to at least
congregations in the Midwestern USA. It is titled Things you
never Heard (150pp) by Calvin Fields. It purports to be a book
of Christian evidences, however the author sets forth his belief
that the creation days are metaphors for millions of years and not
literal six 24 hour days. I have not finished the book yet, but the
40 or so pages spent asserting this heinous doctrine is enough to
throw up a red flag. It is especially dangerous because a gratis
copy is sent to each church many of whom will be unsuspecting of
its falsity. Keep the faith ...Jim Mettenbrink, Brookings,
SD. I was given some copies of your paper and enjoyed
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Christ in Beebe, AR. Recently, another member loaned us a copy of
your publication of Seek the Old Paths from October. We
were very encouraged by reading it. We would like to receive this
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to stern, I didnt realize you put out this very note worthy
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have the courage to stand for the Truth ...Name Withheld,
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receiving your wonderful magazine Seek the Old Paths
till this day. I enjoyed the whole page and each word that refute
the liberalism plague spread in the church everywhere. It is
Biblical and spiritually fundamental and educational. My free copy
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meet the need who are interested to read for their personal study
and understanding more of the truth. Please send us about 10 copies
from the next issue or if received of this letter for the use of
our congregation. Faithful members in the truth are interested to
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my thoughts on paper. Someone once said, Though I had a
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still preach, teach, and follow Gods divine pattern while
living for Him. Works, money or thank you will never convey how
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very much and being a beginner in the Bible (as far as really
putting a strong foot forward), I really enjoyed your insight and
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material you can send me to help me would be more than appreciated.
As a prisoner Im trying to turn my life around and live for
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the Seek the Old Paths magazine, it will be very
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Thanks to each of you for all your hard work ...TX.
Thanks for sending a bundle of Seek the Old Paths
to the Land Between the Lakes church of Christ. We are thankful to
God for the good work you are doing through this publication. Hope
to see you at the lectureship ...Earl B. Claud, Dover, TN.
We appreciate the articles in STOP. Keep up
the good work ...Joseph C. Britt, Jr., Baxter, TN.
2001 Bound Volume can be ordered from:
Old Paths Publishing
67 County Road 107
Corinth, MS 38834
$5 postage paid
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