THE INNUENDO OF APOSTASY
An article in the August, 29, 1999, edition of Nashville's
Tennessean newspaper told of David Lipscomb
University's dismissal one of its Bible professors because the
congregation where the professor served as a minister had begun to
use instrumental music in its worship services. Doug Varnado,
professor of Bible for 17 years and director of a campus
missions program, was forced to resign after the Community
Church of Christ (CCC) in Hendersonville, Tennessee, began
using recorded instrumental music earlier this year. (The CCC is
the result of a split in the Hendersonville Church of Christ some
nine years ago.)
The article was replete with innuendo and error. However,
being familiar with the Tennessean, I know the paper's
Religion Editor, Ray Waddle, is no friend of the Lord's church.
Thus, it is difficult to know how accurately Mr. Waddle paraphrased
and interpreted those whom he interviewed. Nevertheless, we will
examine the article assuming Waddle accurately conveyed the
intended meaning of the interview participants.
According to the article, "This spring, the church
leadership declared publicly that instrumental music was not a
'salvation' issue. It's not important if the church adds
instrumental music on occasion." First, by what authority
does CCC, or anyone else, add anything to the worship of God? We
are commanded to do all things according to the authority of Jesus
Christ (Col. 3:17). Paul warned the Corinthians against going
beyond the things that are written (1 Cor. 4:6). To add
instrumental music to the worship of the New Testament church is to
transgress (go beyond) the law of God and in so doing, to commit
sin (1 John 3:4).
The article continued, "More important (than
instrumental music--TC) is a faith community that shows
compassion for people seeking God." Are the issues of
acceptable worship and compassion for the lost mutually exclusive?
Can one not seek to worship God acceptably while at the same time
show genuine concern for the lost? What good does it do to convert
a man only to teach him error concerning the worship of God? In
giving the Great Commission, Jesus said we are to make disciples by
"baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded
you" (Matt 28:19-20). Does the use of instrumental music in worship
qualify as one of those things which Jesus commanded us to teach
and observe? Or, does the use of instrumental music in worship fall
under condemnation as a tradition of men (Matt 15:9)? The article
insinuates that those of us who desire to worship God "in spirit
and in truth" (John 4:24) have no compassion for the lost.
Later in the article, Varnado is quoted as saying, "Everybody's welcome here." Again, this is nothing more than
insinuation. As we have already shown, one of the favorite tactics
of digressives is to portray faithful brethren as unkind and
unloving. Is it unkind to desire to obey God? The prophet Samuel
told King Saul, "Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt
offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the
fat of rams" (1 Sam. 15:22). Apparently, digressives believe
that the appearance of kindness and love is better than to obey!
Again, obedience is not mutually exclusive to kindness and love.
Furthermore, Varnado's statement of inclusion is refuted in
the very same paragraph of the article. The article noted that one
minister quit over the introduction of the instrument, and five
other members (and we assume their families) were forced to leave
to save their jobs at Goodpasture Christian School. This attitude
disregards the teaching of Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8. Despite
the aforementioned statement of CCC's leadership, how the church is
to worship is a salvation matter. However, for the sake of showing
their inconsistency, let's assume the use of instrumental music in
worship is an optional matter. If CCC is going to practice what
Paul taught about love, unity, and matters of opinion, they must
refrain from using the instrument in order to maintain peace and
unity among the local flock. To the contrary, CCC's leadership was
so intent on having the instrument that they were willing to do so
at the expense of losing one of their ministers and numerous
members! How's that for being kind and loving?!
Ron Cook, a member and former elder at CCC, was eager to
offer his opinion of the situation. He said, "God made music;
God surrounds us with music every day. It's absurd to say we can't
give music back to God." Question: Did God really
make music, or did He give man the ability to make music? Does God
really surround us with music every day? If so, which
music is God's? Is the thumping and pounding of some teenager's car
stereo God's music? How about the lyrics of most modern music? When
people drive by and force me to listen to outrageous and vulgar
lyrics, am I to assume the deafening noise I'm hearing is God-
given? If so, then I should not attempt to get away!
Does Cook really believe congregational singing
not music given back to God? One accusation often
leveled at members of the church is, "You don't believe in music."
My response is always, "That is only true if singing does not
constitute worship." God not only desires music in worship to Him,
He demands it. However, the music God has authorized in worship is
a capella, congregational singing (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16).
Also, is it really absurd to think there are
things created by God that do not belong in the worship of God? If
we could ask Nadab and Abihu (Lev. 10) if there were some God-given
items that do not belong in worship, what do you think they might
say? Would you expect to hear, "God made all kinds of fire; it is
absurd to think we cannot offer to him any kind of fire we wish"?
I doubt it! Paul condemned the Corinthians because they had
perverted the Lord's Supper and made of it a gluttonous, segregated
feast. Do you reckon any Corinthians, in response to Paul's words
in 1 Corinthians 11, said the following, "God made food and drink;
it is absurd to think we cannot use any kind of food we desire in
observing the Lord's supper?" It is not difficult to see the
ridiculousness of Cook's statements and position on the matter.
The article concluded with Cook predicting that "the
music issue will fade away once young churchgoers, awash daily in
music, become church leaders." Said Cook, "Instrumental
music is already a part of youth events that happen at churches.
Teenagers love Christian music. Music is a fact of life. It's
Cook assumes our youngsters cannot be taught the proper
place of instrumental music in the life of a Christian. I have
listened to secular music ever since I was a small boy. I can still
remember singing with my father as we listened to his favorite
songs on the radio. But I have never given a moment's thought to
trying to force the instrument into the worship of God. Why?
Because I was taught better! Obviously, Mr Cook's formal religious
training leaves somewhat to be desired.
Brethren, if all Christians would train their children in
the way that they should go, the music issue would go away, because
our children would not tolerate it! Apostasy is NOT inevitable, no
matter what the digressives among us may say or imply! The key to
making any issue of false teaching go away is proper teaching. May
God help us to this end!
10655 US Highway 278
Hamilton, AL 35570
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Rubel Shelly Says,
Steve Flatt Repeats
The following quotes are taken from tapes of both
Rubel Shelly and Steve Flatt. They are
laid out side by side to show how Flatt often parrots Shelly. These
statements were complied by brother Wayne Coats and printed in the
May, 1998 issue of The Plumbline. You would
do well to subscribe to this monthly paper
that exposes error in the brotherhood. Brother Coats is the editor.
The cost is $5 a year. You may contact him at: 705 Hillview, Mt.
Juliet, TN 37122.
|The mountain where Jesus preached was
not "...a snow capped peak..."
||It was "...not a snow covered
| The location was "...something of a natural outdoor
|| It was an "...amphitheater."
|The sermon is "...history's most
||It is "...history's most
|"This sermon is not a salvation
||"Number one, the sermon on the mount is not a
|"John 3 is Jesus' teaching about salvation, and how
one enters the kingdom of God."
||"If you're looking for a salvation message from Jesus,
turn to John chapter three and look at the sermon he
preached to Nicodemus."
|"Matthew 5, 6 and 7, is the life style of which the
newborn child of God is called..."
||"The sermon on the mount is a description of a
lifestyle to which a child of God is already
|"...Neither is this Jesus' code for how one continues
||"It is also not a code for how to continue in
|"...Neither is this sermon a repudiation of the law
of Moses which is how a lot of us have understood it."
||"The sermon on the mount is not a repudiation of the
law of Moses."
|"Jesus' purpose was never to repudiate, abolish, set
aside, do away with what the law of Moses revealed to us
about the heart of God and will of God."
||"Jesus never repudiated the law." "Read with me what
Jesus says 'do not think that I've come to abolish the
law or the prophets. I have not come to abolish them,
but to fulfil them. I tell you the truth, until heaven
and earth disappear, not the least letter, not the least
stroke of the pen, will by any means disappear from the
law until every thing is accomplished."
|"Those six antitheses are between the commands of God
as interpreted by the Rabbis and Scribes, versus --
those commands as they were intended from God."
||"No those antitheses beginning in Matthew 5:21 where
Jesus said, 'You've heard it said, but I say unto you --
those are not between an old law and a new law, but
between the law of Moses as it was interpreted by
scribes and teachers and the laws of God as they were
designed to bring about goodness in our lives."
|"For example, never ever does the law say, as in
Matthew 5, verse 43, 'You've heard it said love your
enemy,' ah...love your neighbor, and hate your enemy --
the law of Moses never said that..."
||"Look at Matthew 5, verse 43. It said, 'You have heard
that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your
enemy, but I tell you love your enemies and pray for
those who persecute you."
|"In Leviticus 19, verses 17 and 18, the Jews
specifically were told under the old law, you can't hate
your fellowman, you can't hate your neighbor, you can't
||"You go home and read Leviticus 19, verses 17 and 18
-- you'll find you love your neighbor and you don't pay
revenge on anybody."
|"I'm not sure there is any sense in which the law is
||"As a matter of fact, the law of Moses hasn't been
done away. As a matter of fact, the basic law of Moses
wasn't the initiation of anything drastically new."
|"The old law and the new law, that's not really the
way to say it."
||"There is not in that sense an old law and new law."
|"There's an old covenant which is a part of that
covenant predicated certain things on commandments and
in the new covenant those same basic things are
predicated not on law any more but on grace and yet the
law is such as continues through both covenants."
||"There is an old covenant that was predicated on law
and there is a new covenant that's predicated on
|"The sermon on the mount is not a societal ethic."
||"The sermon on the mount is also not a societal
|"Bertrand Russell...says you'll remember that Christ
said judge not lest you be judged."
||"Bertrand Russell wrote...for example, the idea,
'Judge not that ye be not judged' in the sermon on the
mount. Bertrand Russell said, 'Have you ever known a
Christian judge sitting on a bench to live by that? How
on earth can a Christian judge sitting behind a bench,
|"In John 18, verse 22, one of the temple soldiers
before Annas socked him in the mouth. Instead of turning
the other cheek, Jesus protested. He said, 'Why in the
world did you do that? If I've done something illegal,
if I've done something against the law give testimony in
a court but don't do that."
||"In John chapter 18, verse 22, when he was on trial
before Pilate, one of the soldiers smacked him in the
mouth and Jesus turned around to that soldier and said,
'What have you done? And Jesus said, 'If I have spoken
wrongly, bring charges against me. If not, why do you
|"We are in a hopeless situation even as the church,
in light of passages like 2 Thess. 3, verse 10, that
tells the church not to help some people. If this
statement about, from the person who would borrow, or
would ask something of you, don't turn away. If that's
absolute, the church is in a hopeless situation." "These
are ideal guide lines for kingdom ethics in terms of
personal one on one relationships within the
||"What about 2 Thess. 3, where Paul says there are some
cases, where, when people come to you, he says don't
give them anything to eat. How does that jive with what
Jesus says in the sermon on the mount? You can put
yourself in a hopeless situation if you do not
understand what the sermon on the mount is designed to
be." "It is designed to be ideal guide lines for
personal kingdom ethics...."
|"It's not a salvation sermon."
||"Number one, the sermon on the mount is not a
|"Well what in the world is the sermon on the mount?
It's a discipleship manual." "...It's the good fruit of
||"...It is a manual for the heart of a disciple."
"...It tells you about the fruits of discipleship."
|"The kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven is
neither the church nor the future state of the saved."
"But the kingdom of heaven itself is the sovereign rule
of God in the hearts and lives of the redeemed right
||"And one of the things I want you to understand about
the kingdom is this. You've heard either, all your life,
that the kingdom of heaven is the church, or the kingdom
of God is the church. You've heard other people teach
and I think -- so that the kingdom of God, the kingdom
of heaven, is heaven. It's when we get there, it's not
till the earth ends, and we get to heaven. Let me tell
you what the kingdom of heaven is, or the kingdom of
God. It is the sovereign rule of God over the hearts of
his people. What it is, it's not exactly accurate to
call it the church."
|"I hope we will be encouraged to pray your kingdom
come, your will be done, and no longer think that we
can't really pray that prayer because since Pentecost
that part's inappropriate, it's been fulfilled."
||"A little bit later we will get into Matt. 6, to the
Lord's prayer...remember that expression where it says,
'Thy kingdom come?' And I've heard some teachers and
preachers I respect a great deal say, 'You know we can't
pray that any more because the church has come,' I beg
to differ. I suggest to you that of all the statements
in that prayer, that's the one we need to pray the most.
Lord, let your kingdom come over my heart."
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ATTITUDE IS NOT OVERLOOKED BY THE LORD!
Marvin L. Weir
It is false to teach or insinuate that externals are of
little or no significance to the Lord. There are proper acts and
steps that must be submitted to and engaged in if one is to please
God. No amount of rhetoric will diminish the truth that there is a
divine pattern to be followed and commandments to be obeyed. The
Lord said, "...So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all
those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable
servants: we have done that which was our duty to do" (Luke
17:10). In John 14:15 Christ states, "If ye love me, ye will
keep my commandments." And again, "Ye are my friends, if
ye do whatsoever I command you" (John 15:14). The apostle
John said, "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" (1 John
2:3-4). And, in 1 John 5:2-3 we have these words, "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." In view
of the preponderance of scriptural evidence, it is mere foolishness
to assert that man is not required to keep God's commandments.
Speaking by inspiration, the apostle Paul challenges
Christians to "hold the pattern of sound words" (2 Tim.
1:13). And, it is equally foolish to argue that Moses was commanded
to "make all things according to the pattern" (Heb. 8:5)
that was given to him, but that no pattern has been given for the
"better covenant" (Heb. 8:6) we are under today.
God has always been concerned with the heart of man. In
Matthew 5:8 the Master said, "Blessed are the pure in heart:
for they shall see God." And later the Savior noted, "This people honoureth me with their lips; But their heart is far
from me. But in vain do they worship me, Teaching as their
doctrines the precepts of men" (Matt. 15:8-9). Solomon
declared, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; For out of it
are the issues of life" (Prov. 4:23). The wise man continued
by recording, "Every one that is proud in heart is an
abomination to Jehovah: Though hand join in hand, he shall not be
unpunished" (Prov. 16:5).
Such scriptures prove that a person may outwardly engage in
doing the right thing, but because of inward attitude the correct
action becomes empty and meaningless in God's sight. One's attitude
has always been a determining factor between acceptable and
unacceptable worship. Let us now study an incident of old where the
attitudes of people rendered their actions hollow and useless.
Jeremiah 7 vividly describes God's people assembling
in His House while continuing to live hypocritical lives!
In the days of Jeremiah, God's people took special care to assemble
in the temple on a regular basis. They would gather in the temple
and cry, "...The temple of Jehovah, the temple of Jehovah, the
temple of Jehovah..." (Jer. 7:4). They believed that since
they were God's people and were assembling in God's House they
would receive Jehovah's grace and blessings. But Jeremiah informed
his people, "Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot
profit. Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear
falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods that
ye have not known, and come and stand before me in this house,
which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered; that ye may
do all these abominations" (Jer. 7:8-10)?
The lesson to be learned is that all is not necessarily well
with the soul just because one has obeyed the Gospel plan of
salvation and is assembling with the brethren in the Lord's church
at every opportunity. The people in Jeremiah's day were still in
love with the world and its worldly ways. They did not love God
with the whole heart (cf. Matt. 22:37). "Upon every high hill
and under every green tree" God's people played the harlot
(Jer. 2:20). In other words, every time the opportunity arose,
God's people yielded to sin, and then would gather in God's House
thinking they would be blessed for so doing. It did not work
then, and neither will it work today.
One's actions and fruits are important (cf. Matt. 7:20). The
words of James make a powerful concluding statement regarding this
matter: "Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of
naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is
able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not
hearers only, deceiving your own selves" (James 1:21-22).
5810 Liberty Grove Rd.
Rowlett, TX 75089
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Doing Things Decently And In Order
Guy F. Hester
Recently, my wife and I were present for a Sunday evening
service of a Gospel meeting at a congregation known for its
doctrinal soundness and stand for truth. I have known, loved and
appreciated this church for more than fifty years. Her preacher and
elders are very dear to me and what I am about to say is in nowise
an indictment against them nor the membership. I know for a fact
that the preacher of this congregation has spoken out against "the
change agents" in the church when few others in this area would.
The guest preacher for the meeting was unknown to me but
because of where he was holding the meeting caused me to have a
great deal of confidence in him. By the time for the service to
begin, the house was filled almost to capacity. The song service
was very capably lead and the singing was spirited. After the
speaker was introduced he began with a bit of humor. Now I am not
opposed to a little humor to "break the ice" at the beginning of a
sermon. In fact, I believe it can, when used with discretion, serve
a very valid purpose. However, this particular speaker just kept on
until he had the audience roaring with laughter. Some young ladies
who were sitting behind us (I have reason to believe that they were
visitors) began to clap. The laughter was so loud that I don't know
if others were clapping or not. My wife and I were feeling very
uncomfortable. Less than one hour before, I had preached a sermon
in which I spoke against applauding the preacher and using the
pulpit for entertainment.
Then the speaker wanted to teach us a song called, "Wear Your
Sunshine Smile." A few in the audience already knew the song and
sang along which prevented a solo by him. Then he asked all to
sing. This was not in any way a worship type song and would not
fall into the category of "psalms and hymns and spiritual songs"
(Col. 3:16). It was the kind of song that might be used at youth
camp. At this point, my wife and I quietly got up and left. I am
told that when he finally got into his sermon that he had an
excellent lesson. However, from my viewpoint, he ruined a good
thing by his conduct before his sermon.
"Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel
of Christ" (Phil. 1:27). "Let all things be done
decently and in order" (1 Cor. 14:40). Hopefully the elders
of this church recognized the lack of wisdom of what happened and
have taken action to prevent this type of situation from happening
again. Let us all be warned because such is becoming all too common
in the brotherhood.
1925 County Highway 59
Haleyville, AL 35565
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Do We Know What A Preacher Is?
Charles C. Pugh, III
Several months ago a bulletin contained the following
statement: "The elders at this time have decided to make a change
in the pulpit. This decision is not being made due to any lack of
preaching faithfully the word of God or working energetically to
advance His cause. --(the preacher) and --(his wife), during their
time with us, have put forth maximum effort in their preparation
and work for the congregation here and for this we are very
appreciative. The elders' decision has not been based on any
failure on their part to serve the congregation here 168 hours a
week, being available at any and every hour to serve in our time of
need. This decision is being made only because of our likes and
This writer never has questioned (nor does he now question)
the right (authority) of elders to hire and to dismiss a preacher
in the congregation in which they (the elders) have the oversight.
The Bible teaches plainly that elders have authority (delegated by
Christ through the Holy Spirit, the apostles and prophets, and the
Scriptures) to make decisions in matters of expediency (matters
which involve option in the exercise of human judgment) which are
binding upon the members of the congregation over which they (the
elders) serve as overseers. However, what this writer is extremely
concerned with today is a woeful lack of understanding on the part
of some regarding what it takes to be a good gospel preacher.
Some who ought to know, simply do not know, what a good
preacher is. That
such is the case is evident when one
(as the aforementioned preacher) is: 1) "preaching faithfully the
word of God," 2) "working energetically to advance His cause," 3)
putting "forth maximum effort in preparation and work," and 4)
serving "the congregation 168 hours a week, being available at any
and every hour to serve" and yet is informed, "We don't want you to
be our evangelist here any longer because of 'our likes and
Paul identified to Timothy what a good preacher is when he
wrote: "If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these
things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up
in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast
attained" (1 Tim. 4:6). From his passage we learn that a
good minister (servant, 2 Tim. 2:24-25) or evangelist (preacher, 2
Tim. 4:2,5) is one who (1) knows the truth (2) follows the truth and
(3) teaches the truth.
A GOOD PREACHER KNOWS THE TRUTH
Paul wrote that the one who preaches needs to be "nourished
up in the words of faith and of good doctrine." The
word translated nourished in this verse means educated or to
"form the mind" (Thayer, p.219). The good preacher is one who is
educated in the right things, viz., "the words of faith and of
good doctrine." He knows the Scriptures which are the words
of faith (2 Tim. 3:15; Rom. 10:17) and good doctrine (2 Tim. 1:10;
2 Tim. 3:16-17). One might know theology, philosophy, psychology,
sociology, and a hundred other things, and yet not be a good
preacher, because he does not know the Bible. Too many today are
considered good preachers simply because they know the professional
techniques of speech, "church administration," how to tell a good
story, all the latest counseling techniques, etc., instead of the
fact that they know the Book and can open it and find the place
where it is written (cf. Luke 4:17).
One of the reasons some of our preachers today do not know
the Bible as our men once did is because too many have allowed
their study to become an office. Instead of seeing themselves as
ministers of the Word (students, followers, teachers, and preachers
of the Word) they (and others) see themselves as church
administrators, P.R. men, and organizers of programs aimed at
keeping the church motivated. There needs to be a return to the
recognition that a good preacher is a leader when it comes to being
a serious, diligent student of the Bible. And, not only is it the
case that the preacher studies, but he studies the Bible, and he
learns (knows) it.
A GOOD PREACHER FOLLOWS THE TRUTH
Paul wrote that it also is the case that a good preacher
practices what the Bible teaches concerning the way one should
live. He spoke of the words of faith and good doctrine "whereunto thou hast attained." The word attained means to
"follow a standard or rule of conduct." The knowledge of the facts
and truth of Scripture leads "to the conduct spoken of" (Moulton
and Milligan, The Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament, p.486). It
is not enough to know the Truth. We must do what it (the Truth)
says. Ezra's example, in principle, is that which each one of us
needs to follow. He "had prepared his heart to seek the law of
the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and
judgments" (Ezra 7:10). The Scottish essayist and historian
Thomas Carlyle once received a letter from a young man who was
ambitious to become a teacher. "Will you tell me the secret of
successful teaching?" Carlyle answered: "Be what you would have
your pupils be...." The greatest preacher, our Lord himself, began
both "to do and teach" (Acts 1:1). Good preachers still
do the same today.
A GOOD PREACHER PREACHES THE TRUTH
Not only does the truly good preacher (1) know the truth and
(2) follow the truth but he (3) preaches the truth. Paul informed
Timothy that he would be a good minister of Jesus Christ, "if
thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things." "These things" were the things Paul had written (1 Tim. 3:14) or, in other
words, the Truth -- the Word of God. "These things" are synonymous
with everything Timothy was (and every preacher today is) to
preach. Timothy was not to preach merely some of "these things" but
all of "these things." Paul reminded the elders of this same church
with whom Timothy was working as evangelist that he (Paul) had not
"shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God"
(Acts 20:27). The good preacher not only preaches the Truth but all
the Truth. It certainly is possible (in fact it is happening in
some pulpits today) that a preacher can preach only the Truth week
after week, yet not preach all the Truth. He may preach that Truth
that is welcomed or that which is "safe truth" on selected matters.
Someone may question his (the preacher's) stand on a certain issue
and his supporters may say "he (the preacher under question) has
never preached error on that issue." However, the fact may be that
he has not ever preached error on the issue because he has never
said anything about the issue! He has been totally silent, thus the
problem lies not in what the preacher is saying, but what he is not
saying. One may preach for years for a congregation and it be said
that in all those years he never preached any error but has always
preached the truth. However, it is yet another thing when it can be
said he has preached all the counsel of God, the entire message,
the negatives as well as the positives, the rebuking and reproving
as well as the exhorting. Some preachers who are considered by some
of the brethren today to be "good preachers" are very adept in the
art of saying nothing. The gift of gab and a few Scriptures does
not make one a good Gospel preacher!
It is both a great privilege and a sobering responsibility to
be a preacher. Every one of us who preaches should desire to be the
very best preacher he can be. In our desire to be good preachers,
let us realize that the good preacher is one who (1) knows the
Truth (2) follows the Truth and (3) preaches the Truth. May more
elderships and congregations also realize what a good preacher is.
If you are a preacher, be a good one (1 Tim. 4:6). If the
congregation where you are a member has a good preacher, thank God
for him and give him your support. If your preacher is not a good
one (as set forth in 1 Tim, 4:6) encourage him to become such. May
we truly understand what a good preacher is.
--Charles C. Pugh III
Therefore Stand, Nov. 1985
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Are There Any Inspired Preachers Today?
Occasionally a preacher will make a claim to have some special
ability or some privileged, extra-Biblical information that is not
available to the average person.
Some will declare they are prophets, modern-day apostles or
inspired proclaimers of special messages that God wants His people
to be aware of. They will reveal that God has spoken directly to
them or sent informative visions that they must make known to
others. In making these claims, they expect (even insist) their
message be accepted as genuine. Anyone who doubts the authenticity
of their revelation is rebuked as one who rejects the will of God.
They expect their messages to be received as authority in religion,
even if they are not in harmony with the revealed messages of other
so privileged receivers of information from God. They expect their
revelation to be accepted even when it is not in harmony with the
inspired writings of the Bible.
The problem that arises in situations like this has to do
with the conflicting information that is declared by such speakers.
Each one claims special revelation and each one wants his message
to be accepted as a special revelation. Obviously, God would not
send conflicting inspired messages, so how are we to determine
which are genuine messages? It is easy to see how this subjective
and arbitrary method of revealing the will of God creates
tremendous confusion in religion. God, through His grace and
foresight has eliminated the possibility of this sort of chaos and
gave a permanent, unchangeable standard of authority. Let us see
how it is vastly different from the so-called inspired messages
that men claim to make today.
Peter wrote, "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of
the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy
came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake
as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Peter 1:20,21).
These men who wrote the Bible were "moved" by the Holy Spirit, that
is, they were carried along in their writing by the Holy Spirit.
What they wrote was genuine. The message of the Bible can be
trusted to be genuine, but the private messages of men stand in
doubt. Peter also said "According to his divine power hath
given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness..."
(2 Peter 1:3). Since God has given us ALL things that relate
to our daily living and to matters of religion, then why is there
any need for further revelation?
Paul wrote, "All scripture given is inspired of God, and
is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for
instruction in righteousness, That the man of God may be perfect,
throughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Tim. 3:16,17). If
God has made it possible for man to be completely furnished by the
Scriptures, then any other revelation would be inconsequential. One
would expect the messages of God in the Bible to be the same
message of God through an inspired preacher, so why would there be
any need of duplication. Consider this implication of the so-called
inspired speakers: The Bible says it furnishes us completely and
that ALL things have already been given to us. If additional
information is necessary through human agents, then the Bible has
made a false statement.
Jude wrote that we "should earnestly contend for the
faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3).
Literally rendered, "the faith" or Gospel is once for all time
delivered to the saints. No other revelation will be delivered at
any other time.
The Bible is the only reliable standard of divine revelation.
If someone claims to be inspired and their message is different
than that of the Bible, then they are not to be believed. If their
message is in agreement with the Bible, then why are their services
necessary. God gave us an inspired message that is unchangeable and
appropriate for all time. Let us look to the Bible for God's will,
not to men.
24441 Highway 15
Tiplersville, MS 38674
Table of Contents
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Table of Contents
1999 -- The
Uniqueness of the Church,
1998 -- The Home, $6.50
1997 -- The
Church At Colosse, $5
1996 -- The
Seven Churches of Asia, $5
1995 -- The
Church at Corinth, $4
1994 -- Immorality, $3.50
1990 -- New
Testament Questions, $3.00
1989 -- Old
Testament Questions, $2.00
The Eldership, $2.00
The Race That
Is Set Before Us, $8.00
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