RICK ATCHLEYS CHAIRS
About four years ago someone posted an excerpt from a sermon
preached by Rick Atchley about the divisions in the
kingdom. In the excerpt Rick set up eight chairs, left to
right, to represent the people in our movement
that: 1) worship with the instrument; 2) that sing with praise
teams; 3) that sing without praise teams; 4) that have no Bible
Schools; 5) that oppose supporting orphans homes out of the
church budget; 6) that use one cup; 7) that oppose salaried
preachers; and 8) that reject church buildings. He did this to show
that the way we read the Bible can only produce division.
He is talking about the way we use the Bible to evaluate
innovations and how we reject those innovations for which we find
no Bible authority. Rick laments, ...our movement has split
over every single chair. I lament those divisions also. I
am glad some of those factions are very small.
According to Rick it is narrow minded to
oppose innovations about which the Bible is silent. He says this
goes back to two of our greatest preachers, Moses
Lard and J. W. McGarvey. He says they opposed instrumental music in
the church and when asked why they said, Because the Bible
is silent; therefore its wrong, but he says they
supported the missionary society and when asked why, they
said, Because the Bible is silent about it, therefore
its okay. He shrugged his shoulders when he said that
and everyone thought it was funny.
Of course to make his joke, he oversimplified their
reasoning. He did not discuss the difference in generic and
specific authority, or the difference in additions
and expedients, or the difference in inference and
implication. Lard and McGarvey held to the rule that
Gods commands imply everything expedient
(helpful) to obey the command. God said preach, and to
them the missionary society was an expedient to preaching. God said
sing, and to them the instrument added playing to the
singing. To them there was a difference. I am not defending their
positions; Im showing they were not shallow.
The misapplication of a rule does not invalidate the
rule. Jacob Creath Jr. opposed the missionary society as a first
step back into an unauthorized ecclesiastical organization that
would evolve into an inherently divisive denominational structure
of the kind they had left and condemned. Tall oaks from
little acorns grow, he warned. Rick Atchley mocks the
slippery slope, but history vindicates Creath.
Rick said, We could have a lot more
chairs. Let me suggest a few. Opposition to unauthorized
innovations is older than McGarvey and Lard. Years earlier, Thomas
Campbell had said in the house of Abraham Altars, Where the
Bible speaks, we speak; where the Bible is silent, we are
silent. To which Andrew Munro said, Mr. Campbell,
if we adopt that as a basis, then there is an end of infant
baptism. To which Campbell replied, Of course, if
infant baptism be not found in the scriptures, we can have nothing
to do with it.
Place a chair to the left of the chair that represents
the people in our movement that worship with the
instrument and let it represent those who sprinkle
infants. The Bible is silent about infant sprinkling. James
OKelly championed a restoration plea in Virginia and North
Carolina, but he continued to practice and defend infant
sprinkling. He broke with the Methodist over church organization.
According to OKelly, The scriptures gave no basis for
episcopacy.... Not a word was said about a superior order of
bishops.... Prelates who claim pre-eminence should show scriptural
Place another chair to the left of OKelly for John
Wesley and Francis Ashbury. Wesley pleaded for a return to
primitive Christianity and said it was their one desire and
design to be downright Bible-Christians; taking the Bible, as
interpreted by the primitive Church and our own, for their whole
and sole rule, but he still sanctioned Anglican bishops.
The American Methodist broke with the Church of England.
Place a chair to the left of the Wesleyans for King Henry
and the Anglicans; and, since King Henry broke with Rome over the
Popes claim of power over Englishmen, set a chair to the left
of the Episcopalians for the Pope. The Bible is silent about the
Pope you know, and Rick must surely know that we will never achieve
unity with the Catholics as long as we oppose the Pope. Rick said,
Unity is getting harder and harder, isnt it?
Religious division goes back further than the Pope. We
find it just outside the Garden of Eden. The LORD had
respect unto Able and his offering: but unto Cain and to his
offering he had not respect (Gen. 4:4-5). Cain was his
mothers pride. I have gotten a man of the
LORD, she said. Perhaps it went to his head. He had
trouble receiving instruction and taking criticism.
Cain was wroth when he learned that some
things done for worship is not respected by God. Hebrews 11:4 says,
By faith Able offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice
than Cain. The implication is that Cain did not offer his
sacrifice by faith. Able offered his sacrifice by faith because he
had Gods word for what he offered. The only way to do anything
by faith is to do it by Gods word (Rom. 10:16-17).
Cains offering was not respected because it was not
authorized. So here we have the first religious division and it was
over an unauthorized innovation in the worship. The first religious
debate followed; Cain talked with Able, and the
first religious persecution, Cain rose up against Able his
brother, and slew him (Gen. 4:8). In the New Testament,
Jude called our unity the common salvation and
warned of those departing from the faith once
delivered saying, Woe unto them! For they have
gone in the way of Cain (Jude 11).
In criticizing the restoration plea, Rick misstated it.
According to Rick the plea had been, You give up what I do
not approve of and we will have unity, and that unity is
only to be achieved by surrendering to the conclusions of
the most narrow minded of us. I do not like that plea
either. The restoration plea is not about surrendering to any man,
broad or narrow. The restoration plea is for unity in truth. It is
about coming together in Christ ...that he might reconcile
both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity
thereby (Gal. 2:16).
Here is how Alexander Campbell described the restoration
plea in 1811.
The present partyism is a disgrace to our
profession.... We commence our career as a
church under the banner of The Bible, the
whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible,
as the standard for our religious faith and
practice.... In Jerusalem the church began. To
Jerusalem we must then look for a fair
beginning. Whatever we have got in our faith
and practice which they had not, we shall
return to the rightful owners. What they had
and we have not, we shall append to our
inventory of Christian duties and Christian
excellencies. Meanwhile, we shall assist each
other in getting rid of our prejudices and
errors as soon as we can, and whereunto
we have already attained, we shall walk by the
same rule and mind the same thing; and if
we live in peace, the God of love and peace
shall be with us: for he has promised it.
You may want to read that again and reflect that Alexander
Campbell was only twenty-two years old when he said that. It is a
profound statement for a young preacher. David Lipscomb used to
teach that unity in truth will necessarily result in division
with error. So also taught the Lord Jesus Christ, Think
not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send
peace, but a sword... He that is not with me is against me
(Matt. 13:34; 12:30).
The use of the instrument in worship can neither be
justified nor hidden. That is why its use is always inherently
divisive. We cannot worship together with it and without it at the
same time. I may worship with those who would have no problem with
adding the instrument to the worship, and I probably do on
occasion. I am not required to know the thoughts of all in the
assembly when we worship together. However, if they start playing
the instrument, I have to leave. I would not ask them to surrender
to me for unity and they should not ask me to surrender to them.
Unity in truth can only come when we both surrender to God.
Rick said, The truth of the matter is, our motto
has been, Where the Bible speaks we speak and where the Bible
is silent were silent. Thats not true. Our real
motto is, Where the Bible speaks we speak, and where the Bible
is silent we have a lot more to say. His audience
thought that was funny but I missed the joke.
Silence is biblical. For it is evident that
our Lord sprang out of Judah; of which tribe Moses spake nothing
concerning priesthood (Heb. 7:14). The law that God gave
Moses did not explicitly forbid a priest from Judah; it specified
Levi, and therefore Judah was excluded by the implication of its
silence concerning Judah. It was because of this that the priests
opposed Uzziahs attempt to burn incense unto the LORD.
Thou hast trespassed, they said, neither
shall it be for thine honor from the LORD God (2 Chron.
26:18). The next verse says, Then Uzziah was
wroth.... Uzziah was in way of Cain, and he was
wroth for the same reason. Those in the way of Cain do
not like people talking about silence, but we have a lot
to say about it because silence is not simplistic. It
excludes additions to what is specified (like playing instruments),
but it does not exclude expedients which are logically implied
(like a meeting place), and it does not exclude opposition to
unauthorized innovations (like the office of the Pope).
Unity in truth is difficult. It has always been
difficult. It was difficult in the New Testament. Much of the New
Testament is written to confront errors that were threatening unity
in truth. Paul wrote some things hard to
understand (2 Peter 3:16); hard, but not
impossible; difficult, but not too difficult. Unity in
diversity is the easier path but it does not lead to Biblical
unity. Biblical unity requires study, disciplined thought,
self-examination, overcoming prejudices, laying aside human
traditions, foregoing personal preferences, humility, courage, and
total submission of self to God. There are no short cuts. God is
gracious and patient with us and we must be gracious and patient
with one another. We do not all come to the truth at the same pace
or at the same time.
There is a world of difference between honest erring
seekers of truth and scheming self-willed dreamers. God knows the
difference. He will judge us individually and righteously. That
last call is his. But the standard for truth is unchanged and an
error is an error none the less.
Rick asked, Who gets to decide what is
unauthorized and what is expedient? The answer is that God
decides and he has given us everything we need to discern his
decisions (cf. 2 Peter 1:3; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). Having created us in
his own image he expects us to think it through. A rejection of
objective truth will not bring us to unity in truth.
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Morrison, TN 37357
Table of Contents
BACK TO THE BIBLE #1
Garland M. Robinson
Seeking the counsel of the world
DOES NOT please God. The Bible is
Gods RULE BOOK. The faithful
love it. The degressives hate it.
Back to the Bible. Who in the world could possibly disagree
with that simple statement? For God-loving and Bible-honoring
people, thats the answer to the problem of sin. Its
heavens answer. As we communicate to God through prayer, God
communicates to us through his holy inspired word (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
He does not reveal his will through dreams, visions, or feelings.
However, there are many who are now saying: Times are
changing, People are different today, Weve got to keep up with
what people are looking for. They say we are answering questions
people are not asking. I beg your pardon, if theres a problem
in this area, its in the fact that people are asking the wrong
questions, not that were answering the wrong questions! The
answers are ALWAYS the same thus saith the Lord.
Some are now going so far as to hire outside consultants who assess
the church and community and make recommendations on how to grow
and meet the felt-needs of the people.
Theres a very simple answer to this so-
called complex question of todays world. REPENT! Come
down off your high-horse of the doctrines and commandments of men
(Matt. 15:8-9) and get back to the Bible. Forsake mans wisdom
and seek Gods wisdom. Take a sober look at Gods counsel.
Worldly minded men seek advice from the wrong source(s). Rehoboam
sought the counsel of the young men his own age and foolishly chose
to follow their advice (1 Kings 12:6-15). We can see the wisdom of
God when he requires that elders (shepherds, overseers) be older
men, not younger (1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-14).
What many churches are doing today is the same thing
Rehoboam did. They are forsaking Gods counsel (His all-
inspired Word) and following the counsel of the world (the devil).
They go to great lengths to avoid the Bible. They are no friend of
the Lord because Jesus said, Ye are my friends, if ye do
whatsoever I command you (John 15:14). You cant
be a friend of the Lord and not do what he says. Jesus said
himself, And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the
things which I say (Luke 6:46)?
We do not find out what pleases God by seeking the
counsel of the world. Many despise appealing to the Scriptures.
They do not see the Bible as Gods rule book. They hate that
concept with emphasis on the word hate. They hate what they
call proof-texting. They dont want to appeal to the
Bible giving book, chapter and verse for everything we say and
do. But that is exactly what Colossians 3:17 demands. And
whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the
Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by
Theres ONLY ONE WAY a person KNOWS if he is
acceptable to God. Will the liberal-minded and progressive accept
it? No, they hate it. They despise it. But, let the Bible (God)
tell us the answer as to how we know if were approved in his
sight: And hereby we do know that we know
him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and
keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in
him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of
God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he
abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he
walked (1 John 2:3-6).
In 1 John 4:21 we are commanded that if we love God, we
also love our brethren in Christ. But what is the proof that we
love one another? First John 5:2-3 tells us: By this we
know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and
keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that
we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not
grievous. Jesus made abundantly clear that By this
shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one
to another (John 13:35).
Love does not excuse and ignore error. Instead, it seeks
to help the wayward learn of their error and exhort them to repent
of it. Faithful Gospel preachers reprove, rebuke and exhort (2 Tim.
4:2). And, when those in error will not repent, Romans 16:17-18
tells us what to do: Now I beseech you, brethren, mark
them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the
doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they
that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly;
and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the
simple (Rom. 16:17-18). Paul wrote concerning those who
were perverting the Gospel in the region of Galatia: 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 (Gal. 1:8-9).
These very points weighed heavily on the apostle
Pauls mind. We read in 2 Corinthians 11:28, Beside
those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the
care of all the churches. He was greatly troubled by false
teachers who led saints away from the truth. He spoke of such when
he said, ...their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom
is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred,
saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the
faith of some (2 Tim. 2:16-17). How sad it is that we have
preachers today teaching the same thing! Philippians 3:18 says,
(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell
you even weeping, [that they are] the enemies of the cross of
The Bible clearly reveals there would be a falling away
a departure, an apostasy from the truth. Paul tells the church
at Thessalonica, there will come a falling away (2
Thess. 2:3). To Timothy he wrote, 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 (1 Tim. 4:1). For the time will come when
they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts
shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And
they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be
turned unto fables (2 Tim. 4:3-4). To the elders of the
church at Ephesus he said, For I know this, that after my
departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the
flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse
things, to draw away disciples after them (Acts 20:29-30).
The apostasy was in progress even before Pauls
death. For the mystery of iniquity doth already
work (2 Thess. 2:7). It has continued through the
centuries and is alive and continuing in todays world as well.
It is so sad and tragic that the tribe of those who are championing
apostasy among churches of Christ are some of its own members. Men
(and women) are drinking from the cesspools of theological
cemeteries (I did not misspell the word). The Lord did not dig
these pools nor plant these plants. But, he will certainly root
them up (Matt. 15:13). Jesus has been provided no place in their
teaching and practice. Oh, they claim he is preeminent in their
hearts and schools/cathedrals, but he is absent because his word is
not welcome nor respected there.
Jesus said, Woe unto the world because of
offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that
man by whom the offence cometh (Matt. 18:7)! Paul wrote a
very similar message in 1 Corinthians 11:19, For there must
be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be
made manifest among you. Error separates the unfaithful
from the faithful and distinguishes between the wayward and the
obedient those who hate God and those who love God.
The modernists, liberals and progressives stand reproved
and rebuked. Will they (you) heed it?
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SAD, MAD OR GLAD
When the Truth is proclaimed (2 Tim. 4:2-4) the hearer will
respond in one of three ways: sad, mad or glad. The obedient people
on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 responded with gladness
(Acts 2:41) while the rich young ruler was sad when he heard
the Truth (Matt. 19:16-22). In Acts 7:51-60, some became so
mad at what Stephen preached they stoned him to death. False
accusations were made against Jesus (Matt. 11:19; John 10:20) and
the apostle Paul (Acts 26:24) out of anger over the Truth that was
Do people generally respond in the same way today? Yes!
We are thankful that some are glad to hear the Truth and obey it.
But how tragic it is when people respond in a sad or mad way and
continue to do so.
Why are people sad or mad when Truth is proclaimed?
Lets notice three reasons.
1) People are sad or mad when they hear what is NEEDED,
not necessarily what is wanted. Some want their ears tickled with
fables and foolishness (2 Tim. 4:3-4). They want to hear that which
is smooth and not right (Isa. 30:10). Too many want to hear what
pleases them rather than what God demands that must be preached.
2) People are sad or mad when they hear NEGATIVE
preaching. It is amazing how some believe there is no place for
negative preaching. One cannot read and understand 2 Timothy 4:2-4
and not understand that negative preaching is a part of God
pleasing preaching. The very words reproving and
rebuking demonstrate that. Of course, there must always
be the preaching of both the positive and negative.
3) People are sad or mad when they hear NAMES called or
mentioned. Is it wrong to identify those who are making havoc of
the Truth and/or who are false teachers? Of course not. Fulfilling
Romans 16:17-18 demands that it be done. Paul did it in 2 Timothy
2:17-18 and 4:14-15. He was not wrong for doing so. Some will
become mad when a false teacher is identified but will not say one
thing when that false teacher (by his teaching) causes others to
lose their souls. Indeed, isnt that strange. Such is a
demonstration of the wrong attitude toward God, His Word and the
We must not become mad with the message nor
messenger of Truth. Then said Jesus to those Jews
which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, [then] are ye my
disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall
make you free (John 8:31-32).
PO Box 1385
St. Peters, MO 63376
Table of Contents
WAR ON DRUGS
The world of substance abuse affects every facet of our lives:
physically, emotionally, socially, financially and spiritually. Few
have been immune from its evil clutches. More attention needs
to be given to this imposing plague. The Bible addresses the issue
plainly (Gal. 5).
Fri. 7:00pm: The Lighter Substances: Tobacco, Marijuana & Alcohol
Sat. 7:00pm: The Hard Drugs
Sun. 9:00am Unspotted From The World Of Substance Abuse
Sun. 6:00pm Be Not Conformed To The World
Nov. 7-9, 2014
Leoni Church of Christ
6818 McMinnville Hwy, Woodbury, TN 37190
Tom House, Gospel Preacher, Commissioned Deputy Sheriff
Table of Contents
WHY I LEFT THE MORMON CHURCH #9
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is
driven largely by a creed of thirteen Articles of Faith.
To see our ongoing examination of these Articles, go to
The ninth Article of Faith proclaims, We believe
all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we
believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things
pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
Setting aside the obvious error that exists with
Mormonism truly believing all that God has revealed, it is apparent
through careful examination that if one really believes all that
God has revealed in the past, then there would be no reason or need
to believe that God is still revealing things now or in the future.
In his second letter to the early Christians, Peter
writes, ...to them that have obtained like precious faith
with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus
Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the
knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 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: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and
precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the
divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world
through lust (2 Peter 1:1-4).
Notice how Peter readily accepts and teaches that God has
given us everything that pertains to life and godliness. In the
same letter, Peter emphasizes the characteristics one must possess
in order to obtain that life and live in a godly way. The
recipients of his letter were members of the Lords church and
understood that it was the Lord who added them to the church (Acts
2:47). They had been baptized, after having repented of sins and
confessed Christ, and thus added to the Kingdom of God. Now that
they were in Christ, they were given instruction on how to
continuously live faithful to the Lord. The same message was to be
applied for all disciples for all time. In other words, if we do
what they did, we will be what they were, faithful Christians.
Jude writes that additional revelation was no longer
needed since the faith (Gospel) had been delivered.
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 (Jude 3). The tense
of the words once delivered shows it was delivered
for all time. There was always just one faith which
was/is synonymous with the Gospel. Once it was revealed how one is
added to the church of Christ and how to remain faithful, there
would be no new revealed information (other than the examples of
those who followed the Scriptures). Once the Scriputures were
completely revealed (2 Tim. 3:16-17), there would be no need for
anything more to be revealed in how to behave. The New Testament
Scriptures furnish us completely unto every good work.
One of the most prominent arguments made by the Mormon
Church in teaching that God is still revealing his will, comes
by way of their belief and teaching of their Great
Apostasy. This is the teaching that after the death of Christ
and His apostles, His church and doctrine was wiped from earth by
man. The LDS website (www.lds.org) contends, After the deaths
of the Savior and His Apostles, men corrupted the principles of the
gospel and made unauthorized changes in Church organization and
priesthood ordinances (unknown). As a result, Joseph Smith
claimed he was visited by God the Father and Jesus the Son in
fleshly tangible forms to instruct him to re-establish the true
Joseph Smith wrote, I was one day reading the
Epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads,
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to
all men liberally, and upbraideth not: and it shall be given
him. Never did any passage of scripture come with more power
to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. ... I
reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed
wisdom from God, I did.
Smith wanted people to believe how God had given him
revelation pertaining to the Church and that he would be the one to
restore it. His downfall comes by way of the very source
he was trying to use to lure so many people into this heresy. Smith
quoted the Bible, which was obviously in existence at the time the
Mormon Church was established. As such, Gods word never
left, and His kingdom was never in jeopardy of being removed.
Since Joseph Smith had the word of God in his possession,
why would he need any further revelation of how to restore the
church of the New Testament? By his own actions he acknowledges
that the word of God and all things that pertain unto life and
godliness were never lost. Thus, he condemns himself. He would
later pen the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great
Price in which his so-called revelations would not only
contradict previous revelations, but habitually change as
time goes on. This is one of the dangers in accepting new
revelations. They not only get tangled with what has been already
truthfully written, but they can change with the seasons to
entertain new ideas not prescribed in the Bible.
Peter assures us, Seeing ye have purified your
souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love
of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart
fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of
incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for
ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the
flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof
falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this
is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you (1
Peter did not say the word of the Lord will continue to
be revealed, but that what has been written will endure forever.
God has said everything He needs to say about living godly lives
and going to heaven. His word does not need changing. It does not
need updating. Certainly it does not need to be revealed in any new
way, especially with Scripture that contradicts the Bible.
Smith, Joseph. History of the Church. Vol. 1. n.d.
unknown, Author. Apostasy. 2004. 23 August 2014 .
921 W Vine St.
Kissimmee, FL 34741
Table of Contents
MORE ON BIBLE TRANSLATIONS
I do not want a Bible that is
easy to read, or one
wherein the so-called translators
tell me what they think the original
means. I want one that tells me what
the original says, and let me
determine what it means; even if the
translation is somewhat awkward and
difficult to read.
When God created man, He did not leave man to flounder in the
waters of ignorance and superstition insofar as his knowledge of
God is concerned. God has communicated with man from the
beginning (Matt. 19:4), albeit the different means of
communications has changed from dispensation to dispensation (Heb.
1:1-2). God left not himself without witness (Acts
14:17), and ...the invisible things of him from the
creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the
things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that
they are without excuse (Rom. 1:20).
We welcome many new readers to Seek The Old Paths who once received
the Banner Of Truth journal edited by Walter W. Pigg, Jr. The goal
of S.T.O.P. is to be faithful to the Lord. This can only be done by
being faithful to His Word. It is by His word we know the Truth
(John 8:31-32) and it is by obeying His word we are saved (1 Peter
1:22; 2 Tim. 4:2).
When our Savior ascended back to heaven, He sent the Holy
Spirit to guide the apostles into ALL TRUTH (John 16:13). That
truth is made available to us through a combination of factors
which include revelation, inspiration, transmission, and
translation. We will touch on each of these as we proceed.
Unfortunately, most folks are completely unaware of the
processes that have produced what we refer to as the Holy
Bible. This lack of understanding has contributed to a
complete disrespect for the Bible, and consequently, to a rather
loose handling of the word of God when it comes to providing a
reliable translation of Gods word in ones native
language. In order to understand the importance of selecting a good
translation, it is important to understand the process involved in
the communication of Gods word to us. Please consider the
First, think about the ORIGINATION of the message
to be communicated to man the creature by God the Creator. What we
sometimes refer to as the scheme of redemption, or what
God refers to as the mystery, was purposed and planned in
Christ Jesus, according to the eternal purpose which he
purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord (Eph. 3:11). Gods
word is settled in heaven (Psa. 119:89). That word will endure
forever (1 Peter 1:24-25). Gods plan for the church, mans
salvation, our heavenly home all these things were in the
mind of God long before He ever communicated these things to man.
On one hand you have God, on the other man. The great task facing
our Creator was to make the things known only to the
Divine mind, and in some way communicate them to the feeble mind of
man. Paul addressed this very point: We speak wisdom,
however, among them that are fullgrown:...in a mystery,...which
none of the rulers of this world hath known: for had they known it,
they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but as it is
written, Things which eye saw not, and ear heard not, And which
entered not into the heart of man, Whatsoever things God prepared
for them that love him (1 Cor. 2:6-9, ASV).
Speaking of the natural man (the uninspired man
as opposed to the inspired man), Paul informed the Corinthians that
...we received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit
which is from God; that we might know the things that were freely
given to us of God (1 Cor. 2:12, ASV). How was this
accomplished? Which things also we speak, not in words
which mans wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth;
combining spiritual things with spiritual words (1 Cor.
2:13, ASV). There are two important truths that emerge from this
passage. First, God has made His mind known to man. That
in and of itself is a most astonishing truth. Second, God has
selected, so far as the means for making His will known to mankind,
the use of words! In order to make His will known, He selected to
combine spiritual things with spiritual words and then
reveal that Divine message to mankind.
Second, REVELATION is the process of making these
things of God available to men. Revelation means simply,
to make known. Before these things were made known it
remained a mystery as to how God would save man (Eph.
3:3-5; 1 Cor. 2:7). Throughout the history of man, God has used
divers manners (or different manners or means) for making
His will known to man. During the Patriarchal age God spoke to the
oldest male member of a family and that patriarch would
then teach his family (Heb. 1:1). As the world became increasingly
wicked, God found it necessary to preserve the seed from
which the Messiah, the Savior of the world, would eventually come;
hence, the call of Abram (Gen. 12:1-3). Time and space does not
allow us to trace the development of that nation that
would produce the man-child, the One Who was from everlasting to
everlasting (Micah 5:2), He Who is called Wonderful,
Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of
Peace (Isa. 9:6). When Israel had developed into a great
nation, God gave them living oracles (Acts 7:38) through
Moses, and from that time until the coming of the Christ, the
nation of Israel was under the Law of Moses. But when the
fullness of time came, God sent forth his Son, born of a
woman, born under the law (Gal. 4:4), and through His Son,
God brought life and immortality to light through the
gospel (1 Tim. 1:10).
After Jesus ascended into heaven to sit at Gods
right hand (Acts 2:33), the Holy Spirit was sent to guide the
apostles into all truth (John 16:13), thereby completing the
process of revelation and giving to man that which is
...profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction,
for instruction which is in righteousness, that the man of God may
be complete, furnished completely unto every good work (2
Tim. 3:16-17). It is this third dispensation, the Gospel of Jesus
Christ, to which all men are amenable.
The third word we want to concentrate on is
INSPIRATION. Inspiration is closely associated with
revelation, for without revelation there can be no inspiration.
Inspiration is the process by which God assured the accurate
transmission of His word to others. As the apostles and prophets
received the revelation they were moved by the Holy
Spirit (2 Peter 1:21) to record the message of God. They were
guarded from error by the careful watch care of the Holy
Spirit over these men who spoke and wrote that divine revelation.
Inspiration is the means by which human agency was used to
communicate the things of God to a lost and dying world. Those
documents, written by the pen of Paul, Peter, John, Matthew, Mark,
etc. were the original documents. God in His divine
providence saw to it that none of the original letters
survived to our day and age. Those letters were evidently passed
from one congregation to the next (Col. 4:16), while at the same
time copies would be made from the originals to facilitate the
spread of the Gospel. This leads us to our next point.
Fourth, TRANSITION is the process by which those
inspired letters were copied and distributed. Care was exercised to
make sure that accurate copies were made. Meanwhile, uninspired men
would quote from these letters, and much of what was written in
that first century by inspired apostles and prophets, has been
preserved through the quotes, copies, and manuscripts. The sheer
number of manuscripts, quotes, and fragments of manuscripts
astounds the imagination.
Our last word for consideration is TRANSLATION. In
order for Gods word to reach the masses it is essential that
the Greek manuscripts be translated into a specific
target language. In our case, the target
language is English. For just a moment, please consider the
role of a translator. In 1968, the late Allan Bloom completed a
translation of Platos work, and in the introduction Bloom
pointed out that his translation was intended to be a literal
translation. He made a most significant observation: He
[speaking of the student, TW] must be emancipated from the tyranny
of the translator, given the means of transcending the limitations
of the translators interpretation. The only way to provide the
reader with this independence is by a slavish, even if sometimes
cumbersome, literalness. Herein we see the importance of a
good translation one that gets as close to the
meaning of the original as is humanly possible.
I do not want a Bible that is easy to read, or
one wherein the so-called translators tell me what they think the
original means. I want one that tells me what the original says,
and let me determine what it means; even if the translation is
somewhat awkward and difficult to read.
PO Box 8733
Ft. Worth, TX 76124
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I wanted to drop a note to you to warn you about a new book
thats making the rounds online. Its called
Escaping Self Idolatry: How churches of Christ are
Finding their Way into the Future. Its
pro-denomination, pro-instruments, anti-every Sunday Lords
Supper and anti-baptism. It calls out faithful men...while praising
Rubel Shelly, Randy Harris, and John Mark Hicks. The
worst thing about this is that the writer claims to be from rural
West Virginia and writes to people in sound churches, trying to get
them to leave their first love. Please warn people about this
book ...Jake Wrightson. Brother Robinson, An
overwhelming majority of Tennessee voters (1.4 million, 81%)
amended the Tennessee Constitution in 2006. The amendment we passed
banned same-sex marriage in our state. On Wednesday, August 6,
2014, one court, consisting of three federal judges and having
jurisdiction over four states (Tennessee, Ohio, Kentucky,
Michigan), heard arguments about whether Tennessees state
constitution violates the U.S. constitution (factn.org). The
justices of the U.S. 6th Federal Circuit Court of Appeals are
currently writing their opinion, and I am unsure how they will
rule. Personally, Im not ready for Tennessees K-12 kids
to hear about how Heather has two mommies or Jake has two daddies.
Why should children be the subjects of such social experiments? I
am not ready for them to read, King and King, a book
given to 2nd graders in Lexington, Massachusetts about two men who
fall in love and marry, and ends with a picture of them kissing. I
am not ready for Tennessee parents to spend time in jail, as David
Parker, a Massachusetts dad did, when he objected to similar
material being taught to his six year old. What I am ready for is
the opportunity to show love to homosexuals by introducing them to
the blessings that come from a life of repentance from past sins
(including homosexuality) and the joy that comes from being
forgiven through Christ and His church. The church of Christ at
Corinth included former homosexuals. So do churches of Christ
today. But the Lords church in America may not always have the
freedom to teach the truth regarding the proper role of human
sexuality and marriage. Thats why my prayer is, Father,
grant these three 6th Circuit Court judges the ability to see Thy
wisdom in creating marriage as the union of one man and one woman,
for life. In Jesus name, amen. For our nation to stand,
marriage must stand. Homosexuality and same-sex marriage is wrong.
Scripture is clear in this matter. What is less clear is, who in
the brotherhood is leading the way in helping congregations prepare
for the legal onslaught of pro-homosexual activists and lawyers?
Who can I look to for practical wisdom in preparing my home
congregation for the legal battles that may occur because of our
stand against homosexuality and same-sex marriage? What
congregation, eldership, preacher, or brother (or sister) in Christ
can I go to for such advice? Can any readers of Seek The Old
Paths offer some advice to me and other readers of STOP? I
would be very appreciative for any information in this regard
...Michael Gilbert, Martin, TN. Here is our
contribution to help with your expense. Keep up the good work and
may the Lord bless you ...Name withheld by request.
I would like to sign up three of our members for STOP. Two are
incarcerated and one is at a rehabilitation facility. All three are
expecting your periodical. Thanks for the work you do!
...Jonathan Loveday. I appreciate the good work you do,
especially on the paper. I know that it is quite an endeavor to
bring to fruition each month. Thanks ...Victor Eskew,
Springville, TN. Jesse Whitlock is no longer a resident of
Beeville TX, so we would like to redirect the Seek The Old
Paths newsletter mailing to me. Thank you ...David
Cave, Skidmore, TX. Please send monthly publication,
Seek The Old Paths. The best Ive ever read!
...Mary Brown, Georgetown, SC. I would like to change
my address ...Clarence Batman, Niles, MI. Would
you send me Seek The Old Paths? Thank you
...Alta McAteer, Greenbrier, AR. Thank you for
continuing to send me Seek The Old Paths
...Bill & Sue Trees, Austin, TX. Thank you so much for
your publication Seek The Old Paths. I am grateful to
be on the mailing list. I am also grateful for your stand for the
truth at a time when so many are preaching a soft social message
that is becoming the norm of our day in so many of our Lords
churches and leaving our young people unfilled and unsatisfied. I
am sending a check to support the work and also ask that you begin
sending STOP to a new convert who desires to grow spiritually.
Again, thank you for your commitment ...Bob Swindell,
Sparta, TN. Thank you for sending STOP. Keep up the good
fight of faith (Jude 3) ...M. Brown, Broadway C/C,
Rockford, IL. Please accept the enclosed contribution
toward Seek The Old Paths expenses. It is an
excellent publication ...Nashville, TN. In an
effort to save expenses, please remove me from your mailing list.
I am able to access your publication through the internet
...Gary Fowler, Franklin, TN. I really appreciated the
July issue of STOP...was much needed! ...Roger Scully.
Please remove the following addresses from your mailing list
for Seek The Old Paths newsletter ...P. D.
Davis, William Davis, Sr., Jacksonville, FL. Could you add
me to your mailing list for Seek The Old Paths? Thank
you ...MS. Hubert Morris has passed away
...Baxter, TN. Thanks for STOP. Here is a small
donation to help with the work ...G. & L. Sydnor, McKenzie,
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Bound Volumes (with a complete index) for the years
1995-2002 can be ordered from:
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