PLUMBLINE -- Editor, Wayne Coats
Vol. 4 No. 12, July 2000
That troublesome times are here, no honest person will deny. I have just concluded a phone conversation -- the second one for this week -- in which a dear brother is so disconsolate, discouraged, and upset over the sorry conditions which have prevailed in the congregation where he worships. Such is pretty common.
The same problem was presented by a distressed and deeply disturbed member of the church from the state of Wisconsin. In both situations, young preachers have moved in with their liberal views and the result is chaos, discord and division.
I will amplify the condition which is a bit closer to home. Up in Cannon County, not far from where I reside, there is what is known as the Midway congregation. Recently a Baptist was present and as I understand the preacher invited the Baptist to lead a song. Whoever invited the fellow is of no consequence. Why not invite some of the beautiful sisters to lead some of the songs? It might cause a bit of discord but I am convinced that the liberal element has no more concern for unity of the Spirit than a herd of goats. Moreover, their heads are about as hard, simply because they will not listen to brethren who try to warn them of the evils of liberalism.
Another condition which is of no little concern is the invitation extended to Steve Flatt to come up and speak at Midway on some forthcoming Sunday. When brethren were apprised of the teaching of Steve, they refused to hear or believe it. Why will we be so dull of hearing?
I have the taped speeches of Steve Flatt wherein he discussed the initial formation of the Nashville Jubilee when he was the preacher at Madison. That Jubilee structure, formation, design, plans and platform was but another pattern similar to the old American Christian Missionary Society. Why people with one-half of an eye cannot see this is simply because they do not want to see it. When you run out of something to do, sit down and try to teach a concrete block how to read. If you have any success let me know. The liberal elements are as responsive to truth as a block of concrete.
Back in 1849, some of the "front runners" jogged over to Cincinnati, Ohio, where they conceived and delivered the American Christian Missionary Society. According to the Bible, the local congregation was set up by our Lord but such did not please the liberals who thought they could hatch up a better plan.
The big Society had a president, recording secretary, delegates and of course a money program. The outfit looked innocent enough to the people who were ready to set aside the arrangement provided by the Lord.
For a number of years, peace, unity and harmony had existed among brethren. The truth spread as if on eagles wings. With the advent of the A.C.M.S., discord developed and the church suffered irreparable harm. Although 150 years have rolled by, the devil is still in control and it seems that matters are growing worse.
In days of yore, brethren would line up, take sides, support and encourage one or the other positions relative to the innovations. Bitter battles were fought, debates were conducted, papers and magazines were printed and mailed presenting the divided state of affairs. Those were busy days for the devil (1 Peter 5:8). He devoured congregations by the hundreds. It is a fact that the liberal Digressives stole six of every seven congregations. So many brethren began to fiddle with the devil while Rome burned. A very familiar chant was constantly heard from the liberals that, "those who opposed the Societies where the ones who were causing trouble." It sounds familiar in our time. Old Hitler said if people would tell a lie long enough folks would believe it. Hitler let the truth slip out for once.
Once again the church is torn asunder with strife, bitterness, discord, division and disgrace. Who is to blame?
The liberals have no ethics or sense of morality and justice. They divide and conquer. Scores of faithful brethren are treated as cur dogs while the liberals gloat and boast.
The Jubilee which was started in Nashville by Steve Flatt has been the cause of countless troubles and untold reams of false teaching. Do you think brethren will believe my word about this? Don't laugh!
The usual grunt is, "That's just his opinion." "I won't believe a word of that unless I heard it with my own ears." Brother Flatt would say, "It should be called plumblies."
I always thought error, false doctrine, Plumb-lies and heresy was easy to answer, but for some strange reason, the so-called lies appearing in this little paper are just trivia and probably not worth noticing. Could be. Could be. We plan to say more about these issues.
In addition to starting the unscriptural Jubilee with its denominational structure which Steve Flatt should have known better, I have tapes of his speeches where he taught false doctrine about the Holy Spirit at the Jubilee. This is not a mere baseless assertion. I am writing the truth. I have tried to warn brethren but it seems few are inclined to listen. I have not misrepresented State Flatt and would be willing for anyone to point out wherein I have taught error.
Brethren will be called to account in the judgment for supporting false teachers. It is sad when brethren do not want to know.
The sound brethren at Midway should be bound together and oppose false teachers. I will help as much as my physical condition will allow. If I cannot prove that brother Flatt teaches error, I will never write another sentence. I try to do my homework.
--Wayne Coats, Editor
Worship Renewal as advocated by Lynn Anderson in his book, "In Search of Wonder A Call to Worship Renewal," which includes chapters by Lynn Anderson, Max Lucado, Rubel Shelly, Mike Cope, Randall J. Harris, Harold Shank and Jack R. Reese, has a diabolical assault upon worship. It goes beyond changing "the order of events, adding a few contemporary songs, and (if radical) using an overhead projector...what is needed is a heart transplant" (p.76). These self-appointed czars of worship sailing high above the masses on lofty charismatic and/or academic wings are leading congregations away from Scriptural New Testament worship that is "in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24), placing souls in danger of being lost eternally. To appear spiritual, intellectual, and attract the naive they chatter about praise, transcendence, awe, wonder and authenticity and cite the writings of atheist/infidel/modernist theologians/writers; for example, Soren Kierkegaard, Jean-Paul Satre, Reinhold Niebuhr, etc. Worship renewal introduced primarily through Worship and Praise Teams liberates one from Biblical authority by offering variety: freedom of choice in all aspects of worship; provides an arena where human experience/feelings can be expressed: and promotes a Social Gospel (satisfying man's physical needs: i.e., disaster relief and abuse programs, medical clinics, etc., rather than spiritual).
Proponents of worship renewal tell us that revitalization is a must because "congregational worship too often leaves worshippers feeling empty; the wonder and awe having been quenched by stale and predictable worship services" (back cover). Shelly says, "Worship so dated in style and method that it is remote from our contemporaries must be seen for the handicap to communication it is" (p.93). They invariably redefine worship, pervert Scripture, and use the perverted/unreliable NIV. It is interesting to note that they cannot agree on the definition of worship. Lynn Anderson defines worship as "a human response to the majesty of God. So by contemporary worship I mean human response expressed in the language and forms appropriate to the time and place" (p.20); is "fundamentally praise" (p.8) and tells us that "all of life offered up to God is spiritual worship" perverting Romans 12:1-2 (p.15). Harold Shank agrees that all of life is worship and perverts the same passage (p.99-100). Mike Copes definition is, "Worship, at its best, is a performance or entertainment" reaching down into the sewer of the Existential philosophy of Kierkegaard for support and clarification (p.31). Rubel Shelly's definition of worship, "is neither a place nor an act (or series of acts) but an attitude ... summed up for us in the single word wonder" (p.71). He then contradicts himself by saying that there are three acts of worship; i.e., "prophecy, prayer, and praise" (p.71-73). However, according to the New Testament there are five acts of worship: the Lord's Supper (1 Cor. 11:23-26); Teaching/preaching (Matt. 28:19,20); Praying (Acts 2:42; Matt. 6: 5-13); Singing (Eph. 5:19, Col. 3:16); and Giving (1 Cor. 16:1-2).
Some of the unscriptural additions to worship, a number of which are taken from the Old Testament, that are advocated in Lynn Anderson's book: (1) Lynn Anderson falling down, "I cannot but reflect...When was the last time I landed on my face before God in worship?" (p.19) and "shout...David even danced before the Lord" (p.19); (2) Mike Cope, "bowing down" (p.33); "proclaim Hallelujah" (p.35); "a call to worship from Scripture at the beginning of our assemblies..." (p. 43); solos and choirs, "While there is a place for hearing one person or a group of people share a song, prayer, or Scripture..." (p.44); (3) Randall J. Harris injects confession into worship, "confession has not played a prominent role in our assemblies... Worship begins with the confession of our sinfulness and helplessness, it is a desperate cry of perishing people" (p.64); (4) Rubel Shelly, "I am starting to feel free to laugh aloud, clap my hands, or cry" (p.69); "Stories, object lessons, color slides, and videos...drama...a six-minute piece of drama...can have more punch in awakening people to their spiritual needs than a forty-minute sermon" (p.86); the expanded role of women; i.e., "standing up and speaking...singing (congregationally, small groups, or solo), reading Scripture...testifying, teaching sub-groups...(whether female, male, or mixed)" (p.91); (5) Jack R. Reese introduces unscriptural words for the Lord's Supper; i.e., sacraments and Eucharist (pp. 125-127,130) and advocates fasting (p.135); and (6) Max Lucado suggests "spontaneity" (p.141) and implies silence is not an option in worship (p.147).
Worship renewal as advocated by Lynn Anderson and friends is fatal doctrinal error. It abandons the New Testament as the authority/pattern for acceptable worship, defiles Biblical worship, and profanes the Lord's church. Those who drink from the cesspool of Satan (infidel/atheist/modernist writers) rather than the "...pure river of water of life, clear as crystal..." (Rev. 22:1) have the terrible fate awaiting, " ...I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Matt. 7:23).
6205 Wall Triana, Madison, AL 35757
The quotation above is couched in Psalm 119:89 and was written by the sweet singer of Israel, King David, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Psalm 119 is a Psalm of David, which no doubt was written during his darkest hour. King Saul was consumed with jealousy, making every effort to find the young man to destroy him for the people's love of David was greater than their love for King Saul. Psalm 119 is permeated with warnings and exhortations for us to soberly consider when facing adversity. David was facing his darkest hour and the one place where he could find peace and solace was in the law of God.
David said, "Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments" (Psalm 119:66). God's will should be considered good judgment, and if followed will make us wise to face any problem. David also said, "The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver" (Psalm 119:72). This young man, wise beyond his years, attached great value to the law of God showing that it superseded "gold and silver." There is a marked lack of value attached to the Word of God, and far too many of our modern age fail to take advantage of this great artesian well of truth. David frightfully said "The wicked have waited for me to destroy me, but I will consider thy testimonies" (Psalm 119:95). This young man facing his enemies and fearful of his own mortality was confident in the testimonies of God. We too, when facing trials and tribulations of any magnitude, will find God's word to be helpful and soothing to the aching heart.
David cried out the familiar refrain "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path" (Psalm 119:105). The young man, David, found great solace in God's will as a "lamp" and a "light" which were valuable tools and helpful utensils in their day as well as ours. Little wonder the words of David were everlasting, "For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven" (Psalm 119:89). In like manner, Jesus uttered "heaven and earth shall pass away, but my word shall never pass away" (Matt. 24:35). The permanence and durability of God's word is comforting to those who seek peace at a time of spiritual thunderstorms and tempests that beat against our souls.
Man is so fortunate to have a book of inspired writings that will sustain us during the time of trials (2 Tim. 3:12,16-17). Other books may serve a valuable need for a year or two, perhaps a generation, if one is so fortunate. However, the Bible is "forever settled in heaven" and one does not have to be concerned about rescinding or changing any part, like sectarians regarding their creed books and the Catholic Church with reference to the book of catechism. Examining great heroes like Abraham, Moses, Job, Joseph, and Paul is a constant reminder that their victory over evil came when their trust and confidence was placed in God and his holy word (Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:13).
I have learned that in one of the congregations here in Wilson County some of the men are in the habit of wearing shorts to the Sunday morning worship service. The complete disrespect, rudeness, crudity, incivility, irreverence, impudence and stupidity could not be more obvious than that which is demonstrated by a crew of numbskulls who bare their legs with an assortment of tatoos thereon. Of course such actions are but an effort to get attention. When brains are atrophied and heads are empty, some creatures will work hard to get attention with hairy legs and tatoos, whereas others will moan and groan.
I was invited by the elders to speak at the Sunday services of the aforementioned congregation some years ago. They wanted me to speak about "liberalism in today's church." During my lesson some grown man kept talking and sniggering to his female companion. He was disturbing people who saw what he was doing. I stopped my lesson and said to the fellow, "Sir, it is obvious that you do not want to listen to what I have to say. Your behavior is disturbing to others who desire to listen. Would you please leave or else behave yourself."
The above is what the elders need to recite to the hairy ones. Such jerks have no respect for others so I ask what is wrong with trying to get people to attire themselves in a becoming manner? The outward appearance mirrors what is inside a preacher or others. Such pagan thinkers need to be taught some simple Bible lessons, but such is most unlikely to happen. We need to memorize and practice I Corinthians 14:40.
I have always tried my best to wear the best clothing I have to any gathering together of the church. I know man looks not where God looks, i.e. on the heart. What a person wears mirrors what is in the heart. We need to act like, talk like, and look like the followers of Christ -- rather than following the world to hell and destruction.
--Wayne Coats, Editor
Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, acting as God's, spokesman in the gloomy days of Israel's apostasy, said, "For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewn them out, cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water" (Jer. 2:13). The prophet's contrast is so vivid in this striking illustration that the truth is impressed and stands out clearly.
The prophet has plainly painted a word picture of the futility of digression and the introduction of human innovations. When man turns from the Lord, the fountain of living waters, to seek spiritual satisfaction elsewhere, he is faced with the rows of cracked and broken cisterns "that can hold no water." Man has "sought out many inventions" but none of them has added to his peace and contentment for very long. Israel had forsaken Jehovah to turn to the broken cisterns of idolatry and sin, but her discontent was national, and her doom was impending.
God's handwriting against national corruption was just as clearly revealed in the predictions of Jeremiah, though not so spectacularly, as it was recorded on the wall of Belshazzar's banquet hall. Soon Israel was forced to weep over the penalties of idolatry in exile and slavery. The nation as a whole, or the individuals who compose the nation, may come under God's indictment. Hear the prophet again, "At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; if that nation against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; if it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then will I repent, of the good wherewith I said I would benefit them" (Jer. 18:7-10). The wise man truly said, "Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people" (Prov. 14:34.) A nation must serve God or perish (Isa. 60:12). "It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps" (Jer. 10:23).
God's people, gathered together upon the plain of Shinar, felt their self-sufficiency, and purposed to build a tower whose top would pierce the very heavens. But God, recognizing the evil design of their plans, confused their speech and scattered them over the face of the earth (Gen. 11).
Jehovah granted unto Nebuchadnezzar great dominion, glory, and power (Dan. 2:37). But when the king became proud, and turned from the "living fountain" to the cisterns of idolatry and iniquity, God cut short his reign, and taught him "that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will" (Dan. 4:25).
Belshazzar failed to learn by the example of his father before him, and even excelled Nebuchadnezzar in the practice of intemperance and vice. God wrote his sentence upon the wall of the banquet hall while the king, quaking with fear, cried out for help. But it was too late. That very night the sentence was executed, and death came to Belshazzar's dissolute kingdom.
The kingdom of Babylon is inscribed on the pages of history as a synonym of worldliness and corruption. Belshazzar stands as the type of a godless ruler's ultimate end. Let the dictators of earth who shed innocent blood, and slay the helpless, face the penalty.
Of Jehovah it is said, "For with thee is the fountain of life; in thy light shall we see light" (Psa. 36:9). In his provision, for man's welfare, and in the manifold blessings of the plan of redemption through Christ, he has "abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel" (2 Tim. 1:10).
The blessings of the gospel were foretold by prophetic promises, clothed in symbolic beauty. "In that day there shall be a fountain opened...for sin and uncleanness" (Zech. 13:1). "Living waters shall go forth out of Jerusalem" (Zech. 14:8) and "The law shall go forth from Zion" (Isa. 2:3). These prophecies have all been fulfilled in Christ (John 7:37; 4:14). Through Christ, one may have complete remission of all past sins, all spiritual blessings, the hope of everlasting life, and that perfect law (James 1:25) which is to guide his footsteps into that way of life eternal.
World wide turmoil and strife, war, bloodshed, and violence are all directly traceable to one fundamental cause: the world has changed the fountain of life for cisterns of man's own contrivance. Man has forsaken God, and has sought to work out his own inventions for the saving both of himself and of society. Remember that Isaiah charged that Israel had "hewed them out cisterns" of their own devising. What Israel did then; the world has done now. The world at large has "hewed out" its own standards, turned away from God, and erected its own idols. The mad rush for physical pleasure and enjoyment, the frantic struggle for gold, the grasping after earthly power are but examples of man's vain search for satisfaction. His quest is hopeless. For he has turned from the living water to cisterns that have been broken and empty for these thousands of years. In them there is no lasting satisfaction.
Those who turn to Modernism will find that they are feeding their souls on the husks of a false and devitalized religion. The broken cisterns of ancient infidelic philosophy has been remodeled and presented under the guise of "modernism." But even one of its greatest advocates admits, "There was power and depth in that old fashioned Christianity which sometimes we modernists lack."
Denominationalism, with its multiplied divisions, mocks the Savior's prayer for unity (John 17:20,21). Paul condemned such divisions as carnal (1 Cor. 3:3) and pleaded for unity of thought and action among all Christians (1 Cor. 1:10). If it be argued that the denominations are but branches, then where is the trunk? Or, if they be regarded as streams of water flowing into the main channel, then where is the main channel? and where is the fountain? Why should the thirsty soul be content with anything less than the Fountain of Living Water?
Away with these broken cisterns! Let us get back to the first century gospel, and to the New Testament church. Let us follow Christ and him alone. Then one day he will "lead us unto living fountains of waters; and God shall wipe away all tears from our eyes."
Relevant at this point are a number of passages of Scripture which I have already discussed. Among these are: John 17:1-21; Eph. 4:1-6; Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13; John 8:32; Acts 2:41-47; 1 John 1:4-7. Also relevant are such passages as Eph. 2:13-16, which sets out the fact that reconciliation unto God is in the one body (the church) of Christ; Romans 6:3-5, which teaches that men are baptized into Christ; and Galatians 3:26-27, which teaches that men become sons of God when they are baptized into Christ.
In the light of these and other passages of Scripture, I conclude: 1) that acceptable unity is attained by persons being born again; into the family of God (the church), and 2) that this unity is maintained by "walking in the light" of God's word -- that is, by living in harmony with the Lord's instructions for the Christian life.
When men obey the gospel plan of salvation, they are "born again" into the family of God; they become "children" or "sons" of God. All in a family are united by virtue of their birth--by virtue of a common ancestry. All who are born into the same family partake of the same nature. It is true that the members of a family may grow apart. But this fact should not be viewed as detracting from the fact that men do attain unto a peculiar (and privileged) relationship to God when they are "born again." And when this occurs, such men also attain unto a peculiar relationship to one another. One is "born again" (John 3:3) when he is "born of water and the Spirit" (John 3:5) ... To be "born of water and the Spirit" is to be baptized in water as the means appointed by the Holy Spirit in his Word (the gospel) for the new birth. Note carefully these passages: John 3:1-5; Acts 8:26-40; Acts 10:47-48; Eph. 5:26; Rom. 6:3-5; Gal. 3:26-4:6. According to this latter passage, by means of the gospel ("the faith"), we become "sons of God" (and thus "born again," into the family of God. This occurs when we enter Christ. We enter Christ when we are baptized in obedience to the gospel (Rom. 6:3-5). From the "grave" of baptism, we arise to "walk in newness," that is, in the state of having been "born again." Thus, Paul teaches us that by one Spirit were "we all baptized into one body" (1 Cor. 12:13), the church, the "house" or family of God (1 Tim. 3:14, 15).
There is no other way to attain unity than by obeying the truth (1 Pet. 1:22-25).
Relevant to the question of maintaining unity after it is attained, is the following passage: "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:6-7).
Thus, it is clear that those sons of God who "walk in the light" (live in harmony with the Gospel, Phil. 1:27) have fellowship one with another. This means that they thus maintain the unity which they attained in the new birth. Further, to say that sons of God can maintain fellowship ("walk in the light") while they (or at least some of them) "walk in the darkness" (live according to false doctrine) is to lie and do not the truth. Faithful sons of God are to "mark" those who believe and live by false doctrine (Rom. 16:17,18) and are to do nothing which would indicate approval of "going beyond" the word (2 John 9-11). Children of God are never to speak or act in such fashion as to encourage acting out of harmony with God's will.
Because we have the same "seed" (the word, Luke 8:11) as that "sown" (preached) by the inspired apostles and prophets (2 Pet. 1:20, 21; Eph. 3:5; 2 Tim. 3:16-17), we have the same power (to save) available to us; that is, we have the Gospel, God's power to save (Rom. 1:16,17). Because we have that same power, we have the same power to attain and maintain unity as did those of the first century. (Acts 2:14-47).
When the "seed" of human religious doctrine is sown in the hearts of men and is believed and obeyed, those who thus obey become something other than sons of God. For example, let us suppose that in one building Minister X preaches "Pentecostal" doctrine to those assembled and that in another building Minister Y preaches "Jehovah's Witness" doctrine to those assembled there. It certainly ought to be clear to all that those who believe and obey "Pentecostal" doctrine do not enter the same "church" (religious body) as do those who believe and obey "Jehovah's Witness" doctrine. Thus (since both of these groups preach false doctrines), they do not attain unto unity either with one another or with true sons of God (members of the Lord's church) by believing and obeying such doctrines.
However, every person (without exception) who believes and obeys the true Gospel of Christ enters the same body--that is, all of them are added by the Lord himself to the church for which he died (1 Cor. 12:13; Acts 2:36-47). Further, every child of God who walks in the light of God's word (lives in harmony with the Gospel) has true fellowship ("unity") with every other baptized believer who thus walks (1 John 1:7).
May God help us never to "give ground" or compromise on this vital matter of unity and fellowship, for God is concerned about unity--deeply and vitally concerned about it. Let us act in harmony with that concern. Let us by both speech and deed uphold scriptural unity and condemn unscriptural division.
Our readers will recall that in the last Plumbline issue we made note of a phone call from a preacher in Seneca, SC who was mighty upset about the items which appear on the back page of the paper. He wanted me to mail the paper in an envelope or put the back page inside the paper so the postal workers would not be able to see any comments about false teachers and Billy Graham. The preacher asked that the paper be canceled, with no more coming to the Seneca church. Of course, being the nice, loving, genteel, accommodating, editor that I am, I canceled the paper so now the church members will not be able to read materials (The Plumbline) which are not first approved the by Seneca preacher. I wonder if the preacher wears a priestly garb and takes confessions?
This week I received a letter from the Seneca church of Christ and as I recall, some help was requested. I am really upset, disturbed, troubled and trembling. On the front of the envelope in plain view of the postal workers was the logo of the "Seneca church of Christ." That envelope should have been hidden inside another or turned inside out or just canceled. The pope is an example of a preacher who got too big for his britches. Does anyone have a "nihilobstat" stamp to send to the Seneca preacher?
Over the years I have been cussed and discussed but insofar as I know, I have never been accused of being a false teacher until about a month ago. While trying to defend the soundness of a young preacher who lives and preaches in the city nearby, I was labeled "a false teacher." Such prattle coming from a person who would not know the difference in an adverb and an adenoid would greatly impress a few swaggering acolytes.
The final verdict is in and the sentence pronounced upon me is exceedingly painful. The sight in my right eye is forever gone as a result of the dumb-headed job performed by the doctor during cataract surgery. My reading is limited to the left eye, and I grow weary trying to read with just one eye. However, I am not so deficient as to fail to see the ruthless methods of the modernists among us. We shall keep trying until the cart breaks completely down which I sincerely pray will be some lengthy time in the distant future.
"You will hear refreshing accounts of how God has worked in the lives of these girls during the Billy Graham Crusade," so said Rubel Shelly in his church bulletin. Just what work did God do for those girls, with them, or to them as they helped Billy Graham? I emphatically deny that God had anything to do with the Graham-Shelly circus. Never has such fermented ignorance been so obvious and never has silence been so apparent. Shelly's efforts to lead the young people into what amounts to false doctrine is so successful because so many older people are too unconcerned, indifferent, lazy and full of compromise.
Albert Lemmons of Rubel's Church in Nashville will be leading a study period at the Columbia Community Church, so said an announcement. Oh yes! Do we ever remember Albert! Tis no surprise to see him linked with a Community Church outfit.
The Twickenham Church in Huntsville, Alabama, would pass as a highly effective social club. We notice where Harold Hazelip and Steve Flatt were two of the speakers as advertised in the Twickenham sheet. The Drama activities were advertised to the limits. Some people must think Jesus died on the cross in order to help the "needy" put on a side-show.
When brethren run out of anything worth while to preach and teach, they resort to the old social Gospel. The Holy Spirit declares, "preach the word." Men do not know this, do not believe this or do not care. The Bible is right.
She was really disturbed and as I listened I thought how similar are the circumstances in so many places. The disturbed lady was a member of a large local missionary Baptist Church and she was "unloading" the troubles and problems.
I suspect the Baptist congregation is at least one-hundred years old. I further suspect the membership reached nearly four hundred people. I learned that 250 members left the old church and are meeting in the High School.
The problem developed when the church got a youth minister and he took over the church--lock, stock and barrel. He introduced a "contemporary worship" which met from 10 to 11 A.M. The traditional service for the elderly was set from 9 to 10 A.M. So many of the elderly did not want to get up and be ready by 9 A.M.
The lady who has been a church soloist for years was demoted "to sing no more." That is what she said. The son of a deacon was removed from the choir. Division has resulted--which is none of my business. I mention this as a mere comparison. As you can see, I mention the above to compare with what is happening in the church of Christ.
My phone rang a little while ago and I was informed of trouble in a congregation. Why? A young man has gone the contemporary route and caused a division in the congregation. This is getting to be much more than an isolated problem. Elders need to trade their badges for shepherds badges. Please tell the elders they need to be shepherds and put the youth ministers where they belong.
It seems unreal but the first issue of the Plumbline was mailed in August--three years ago. We stated the purpose of the paper in that first issue and it is still our purpose to warn brethren about the foolish claims and aims of liberalism. I do not assert that we have been very successful with the great majority of the brethren. Liberalism has been running on a down-hill grade for a number of years and has infiltrated practically all of the schools operated by brethren. Papers and magazines have been started in order to advance the cause of liberalism. Books have been written and published by the liberal writers as a means of pushing the liberal views.
The Plumbline has continued to utter a very weak sound amidst all the cacophony of false teaching prattled by the liberals. It has been "despised and rejected of men" but also it has been welcomed at the hearth-side of many friends.
Long years ago the beloved Marshal Keeble preached a sermon in which he dealt with the modern dance. One disturbed feisty sister approached him after the service and said, "Keeble, my daughter dances and do you think you are gonna stop people from dancing?" Brother Keeble replied, "no mam, but maybe I can slow it down."
Modernism and liberalism has split the church wide open while so many brethren have been complacent. To think that we can bask in the sea of tranquility, be lulled to sleep and never oppose error and think that satan will leave us alone, is sheer nonsense.
For all of those wonderful brethren who continue to support the Plumbline, I shall forever be grateful. There has been a steady stream of subscriptions made by concerned brethren for their friends, relatives, and fellow saints. Some of these "saints" who have received gift subscriptions have not demonstrated very much gratitude but please try to see that someone is interested enough to pay the subscription price for the paper -- even if the recipient is an ingrate. Please do not "cuss" me when some faithful person becomes interested in you. I have often said, "the most benighted, wretched, depraved person I can think of -- is the ingrate."
Occasionally, someone will send a few dollars to help with the publishing of the Plumbline. I try to answer such but if I neglect this, please forgive me. I am truly thankful beyond words to express my feelings for your help.
My dearly beloved brother B. C. Carr is suffering untold agony due to a lingering bout with cancer. Brother Carr and I attended the same high school for a while and we graduated from college together. For a number of years he was the capable director of the Florida School of Preaching in Lakeland, Florida. Would you please send the dear brother a note of encouragement. Keep him and his precious wife Syble in your daily prayers. His address is: B. C. Carr, 61 CR 57, Belmont, MS 38827.
I keep receiving questions relative to any new materials -- books, booklets, etc. -- which I have written. I have either three or four manuscripts ready to be printed which I believe you will want to read. We will keep you informed when they are published.
I confess that I do not have words to express what I feel like needs to be said. Please try to understand. I have a few dear brethren who have sent in subscriptions for a period of five years in the future. My sincere thanks, but I have a gut feeling that I will not be around for five more years -- unless a drastic change occurs relative to my physical condition. The physical frame can tolerate just so much pain and hurt. It is my constant prayer that I might die in the trenches with my face to the foe.