Seek The Old Paths

Vol. 7   No. 11                                                             November   1996

In This Issue...

"Come to Worship Service, and Sin"

Robert R. Jackson

Amos 4:4-5 reads as follows: "Come to Bethel and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression; and bring your sacrifices every morning, and your tithes after three years: And offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven, and proclaim and publish the free offerings: for this liketh you, O ye children of Israel, saith the Lord God."

        Seek The Old Paths In the foregoing text, Amos employs irony to the end that he might impress upon Israel the foolishness of her sins. Irony may be defined as a figure of speech wherein ridicule is used to expose errors or faults of others by appearing to approve of them. The cities of Bethel and Gilgal were the centers or bases of operations for idolatry. Bethel had long been a place for worship, and it was not uncommon for Amos to urge the people to go to the house of God. Notwithstanding, Amos did not say to the Israelites, "Come to Bethel and worship." No! Amos said, "Come to Bethel and transgress."
        This statement alone should have been enough to cause the children of Israel to immediately repent; it should have shocked them into returning to the old paths. But such was not the case. Further, it was Amos' duty to make known to them their sinful condition. How upsetting it must have been for the prophet to have to say to God's people, "come to worship and rebel against God," "come to worship service and sin." One can readily see the message that Amos had for these people, it is made crystal clear. They were guilty of perverting the true religion of their day. They seemed to think their hypocritical offerings would fool God into thinking they were pious. They had the audacity to continue to offer sacrifices upon the altar, as if to make it appear to others less discerning that they were being obedient to God by their actions. That which was to be free-will offerings to God was being abused by some who were forcing others into this sacrifice. Additionally, in order to make certain that the offerings were abundant, they were offering some of the forbidden loaves.
        We can also ascertain what motivated the worshippers. Amos continues in verse 5, "And offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven, and proclaim and publish the free offerings: for this liketh you...." He tells them they had proclaimed and published the free offerings because they liked to do it. The attitude taken was self-serving and contrary to the way God would have it done. The Lord viewed this as simply nothing more than a rebellious, self-willed spirit and sent Amos to cry out against it. It appears their only concern was to enhance their reputations by being present at these assemblies in order that a display of their own monetary generosity might be made. This pseudo-religion, if you will, simply seeks to please one's self. It is engaged in for the purpose of satisfying or soothing one's conscience.
        Prior to and during the time of Amos' sojourn on earth, God's people had become addicted to the worship of idols. Notwithstanding, the Bible clearly states, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (Exo. 20:3). The Israelites had clearly disregarded this command. Any man who would think that God would be pleased with His people engaged in worship directed at an object, is not well acquainted with God and is extremely foolish. When one refuses to worship as God has clearly commanded in the pages of Holy Writ and departs into will worship with it's various formalities and rituals, he shows a lack of trust in and love for God. Further, when one turns his back on God, he begins to trust in his own wisdom. This, of course, will lead one to destruction (Jer. 10:23; Matt. 7:13).
        Romans 15:4 states, "Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." Clearly, there is a lesson for us today from Amos 4:4-5: "Come to Bethel, and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression...."
        When our worship assemblies have become nothing more than a haven for false teachers who spew forth heretical rubbish for their own satisfaction, then we are no better than the people Amos addresses. Further, what is the message we are sending our children? Joshua 24:14 states, "Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord." If sincerity and truth is not a part of our worship we are leading our families, neighbors, and friends astray. "God is a Spirit," the Apostle John informs us, "and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). If one is desirous to worship God acceptably, his attitude and actions must be in harmony with the word of God.
        Is our worship any different from those of Amos' day if the giving of our means to God is done strictly out of duty rather than with a cheerful heart? Is our giving done in order that we might show others our "piety?" Do we give to God because we want to or are we giving to make ourselves look important? Are we truly interested in the Gospel being spread? Let's search our hearts, brethren.
        Is our worship any different from those of Amos' day if we invite known false teachers to come in and indoctrinate our people? When corrupt, unscrupulous brethren mount our pulpits and teach error on such subjects as marriage, divorce and remarriage, we are guilty of sin for allowing it! Matthew 19:1-9 is not difficult to understand; it is binding on Christians and non-Christians alike, and it is still just as applicable today as when it was first uttered by our Lord some 2,000 years ago.
        Is our worship any different from those of Amos' day if we allow our congregations to become a haven for false teachers who advocate a greater role for women in the worship assembly? The Apostle Paul, verbally inspired of the Holy Spirit, penned these words, "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence" (1 Tim. 2:11-12). Paul, when addressing the church at Corinth, taught them that women are to be silent in the churches (1 Cor. 14:34). God's word has not changed on this topic. We dare not overlook these passages of scripture. Our Lord stated on one occasion, "Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God" (Matt. 22:29).
        Are we any less guilty than those of Amos' day when we allow false teachers to espouse the use of mechanical instruments of music in worship to God? When one advocates that which is unauthorized, God is not glorified! In Amos' day the people came to Bethel and to Gilgal and multiplied their transgressions. The same is done today when hand clapping and foot stomping are employed in our worship to the Almighty. When the singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs are reduced to a solo, duet, or choir, in place of congregational singing as is authorized by Col. 3:16, we sin in so doing. Beloved, there is no Bible authority for the employment of any of the above; and we, being obligated and privileged to walk by the faith of the Gospel, must have Bible authority for the things we do when we worship God (Col. 3:17).
        Beloved, we are no different than those of Amos' day when we allow false teachers to stand in our pulpits and/or teach in our classrooms that we should fellowship those who are not in fellowship with God (cf. 1 John 1:3-7). We have absolutely no right to fellowship those who will not follow Biblical teaching. Paul, when writing to the church in Ephesus, declared "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them" (Eph. 5:11). To have NO FELLOWSHIP with the unfruitful works of darkness is enjoined upon each of us who want to live faithful to The Book. Paul, in writing to the church at Corinth, points out that we are not to be "unequally yoked together with unbelievers," for he said, "what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness" (2 Cor. 6:14-18)? Shall we allow some to teach otherwise?
        What about those who teach false doctrine on the work of the Holy Spirit? Are we any different than those of Amos' day who were out to teach and practice those things that pleased themselves? Are we to continue to fellowship those who teach the direct operation of the Holy Spirit when the Bible implicitly declares that the miraculous ceased "when that which is perfect is come" (1 Cor. 13:8-10; James 1:25; Eph. 4:11-13)? Brethren, the Word of God is the medium through which the Holy Spirit operates today, and, further, this is the only way our lives are affected by Him.
        What about our Bible School material that has been written by denominationalists? This ought not so to be! How did we get to the point of using material written by people who are not members of the Lord's church? Brethren, we have digressed! We are no different than those of Amos' day when we allow such to occur in our assemblies and in our homes. Remember what Amos cried, "Come to Bethel and transgress and rebel against God."
        What is your purpose for attending the worship assemblies? Is it so you can be like the people around you? We should each ask ourselves, "Do I personally seek the approval of those close to me for my own satisfaction?" Or, can I truly say that my heart is honest, and that I come to worship service for the purpose of worshipping God in spirit and in truth as taught in John 4:24. Beloved, our motive and actions must be right when it comes to paying homage to the God of Heaven, lest our worship be condemned as in the days of Amos, wherein the people sinned and rebelled against God.
        P.O. Box 1330
        Quinland, TX 75474

Return to Table of Contents

The A.D. 70 System of Kingism #2
(The Final Judgment Occurred In A.D. 70)

Garland M. Robinson

        According to the Spirit Of Prophecy (p.68), "This was the end of the world, the destruction of the temple, and the coming of Christ (Matt. 24:1-3). This was when heaven and earth passed away (Matt. 24:35; Rev. 20:11)."
        The blunder of Kingism in this doctrine is that they take every passage which speaks of judgment and relegate it to a local, political or temporal judgment.
        The Bible often speaks of "judgment" in the sense of a localized or temporal judgment. God often speaks of bringing judgment upon different nations, cities and people because of their wickedness. God brought judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. chaps. 18-19), Egypt (Exod. 12:12), Moab (Jer. 48), Edom (Obad. 1), Nineveh (Jonah 1-4) and many others.
        On the other hand, the word "judgment" is often used in the sense of the final, universal judgment. The demands of many Scriptures cannot be met without a universal judge, Jesus Christ, and a universal gathering of all men and women that have lived since Adam and Eve. Scriptures from both the Old and New Testaments speak of such a final, future, judgment.
        In the Old Testament we read, "Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous." "And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness" (Psalm 1:5,8). "Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment." "For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil" (Eccl. 11:9; 12:14).
        In the New Testament we read, "...That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment" (Matt. 12:36). If the "day of judgment" here is referring to the destruction of Jerusalem then where does that leave us? Does this verse have nothing to say to men today? It could only fit the future, final, universal judgment!
        Jesus worked many mighty miracles in the cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida but they did not repent. "Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you" (Matt. 11:20-21). If this "day of judgment" is the destruction of Jerusalem, what could it possibly have to do with the people of Tyre and Sidon who had been dead for centuries? The Lord plainly said it would be easier, i.e., more tolerable, for the people of Tyre and Sidon "at the day of judgment" than for those among whom He worked miracles. It's impossible that the day of judgment here could be the destruction of Jerusalem. Would the Lord resurrect the people of those ancient cities and place them in Jerusalem in A.D. 70 to experience the holocaust brought upon it by Titus the Roman General and the empire of Rome? Nonsense! There is a last, final, universal and future judgment day.
        When Paul spoke on Mar's Hill in Athens he said, "And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead" (Acts 17:30-31). Were "all men every where" in the entire world in Jerusalem in A.D. 70? They couldn't be! Therefore, there is a future, universal, judgment day coming! This will be in "a day," not days or whole year.
        There is a judgment seat upon which Jesus Christ sits. Someday, yet in the future from now, every person in the world will stand before the throne of Christ and be judged according to how he/she has lived. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men..." (2 Cor. 5:10-11). If these verses were fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem, then they mean nothing to us -- it is useless for us to preach them! Why would we persuade men to obey the gospel if there is no future judgment?
        To the church at Rome Paul said, "...we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For... every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God" (Rom. 14:10-12). We might as well cut these verses out of the Bible, for they mean nothing if they were fulfilled in 70 A.D.
        Hebrews 9:27-28 makes the final judgment clear. "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." The judgment, according to Kingism, came upon Jerusalem in A.D. 70 while men were still living in the city. The judgment mentioned in Hebrews 9:27 would be after death, not before it. If that were not enough, we note that many people survived the destruction of the city -- they did not die. Did judgment come upon them? According to Kingism it did! And, it came while they were alive, not dead. Kingism contradicts these verses!
        Second Peter 2:4 says "...God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment." Were these angels reserved unto the judgment that came upon Jerusalem in A.D. 70? Were they in Jerusalem? Don't think so! Verse nine says God holds the wicked "unto the day of judgment to be punished." Were all the world's wicked brought into Jerusalem to be punished? You can't find it in the Scriptures!
        In Revelation 20:10-15 the judgment scene is depicted where all the dead, small and great, stand before God and are judged. The devil is said to have been cast into the lake of fire and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. Before this, he worked his diabolical scheme among men, but now, he is removed from the scene and cast into the lake of fire. If this happened in A.D. 70, then he would not be in the earth today to continue his work. But he is among men! Therefore, there is a future, universal, judgment of God when Satan will be cast into the lake of fire.

Return to Table of Contents


For These Things I Weep

Jerry C. Brewer
For these things I weep; mine eye, mine eye runneth down with water, because the comforter that should relieve my soul is far from me: my children are desolate because the enemy prevailed (Lamentations 1:16).

        Ninety five years of gospel preaching, snatching souls from error and glorifying Christ at Elk City, Oklahoma, is being eroded by a compromising spirit in the leadership of the Second and Adams church. Replacing the certain sound of the gospel there, are the obfuscations of error and the ambiguities of Ashdod. That spirit is manifested in a brochure mailed recently to Elk City residents. Written under the headings of Our Heritage, Our Building, Our Fellowship, Our Preachers, Our People and Our Pastors, the brochure attempts to explain to visitors what to "expect when you honor us with a visit." From beginning to end, it's filled with the language of compromise and doctrinal error and indicates that the leadership of the Second and Adams church in Elk City no longer stands in the old paths. For these things I weep.
Our Heritage... We are a part of the Restoration Movement. Our desire is to restore the New Testament church in our day. We have studied hard to find out what the church was like in the beginning and to pattern ourselves after that. We believe this is the worthiest of goals. We want very much to be a Bible centered church. To us, the Bible is the sole authority in all religious matters. Our conclusions aren't flawless. That is why we say "In essentials -- unity. In opinions -- liberty. In all things -- love.

        Avoiding any mention of the church of promise, prophecy, preparation, and perfection, purchased with the blood of God's sinless Son (Gen. 12:3; Isa. 2:2-4; Matt. 3:1-2; 16:13-19; Acts 2; 20:28), they boldly declare they are a "part of the Restoration Movement." So are The Disciples of Christ and the Independent Christian Church denominations. Which "part" is Second and Adams? The church of Christ is the kingdom of God that springs from the seed of the kingdom, not a "part" of some "movement" (Luke 8:11). Solomon said "there is no new thing under the sun" (Eccl. 1:9). Confirming that truth, the Second and Adams leadership is just now catching up with Logan J. Fox and his skewed view of the church. It was 30 years ago that the apostate Fox wrote his comments on the church's "heritage."
The Church of Christ is a historical movement. It is one branch of the Restoration Movement, a nineteenth century reform movement in America associated largely with the names of Thomas and Alexander Campbell. The original movement was conceived as being a part of Protestantism and must be classed with other 'free church' movements. One branch of this movement likes to think of itself as being the main Campbellian stream while the others are 'digressive.' (Voices of Concern, "Destiny or Disease," pp. 28,29).

        Does Second and Adams consider itself "the main Campbellian stream" or "digressive?" What is wrong with saying "we have restored" the New Testament church?
The very idea of a 'movement' involves that one has not yet arrived at his desired destination... A movement is designed to get us someplace... Now, when one tacks the word 'restoration' onto the beginning of the word 'movement,' obtaining the phrase 'restoration movement,' we get this concept: not yet having arrived at restoration... Once we have restored the church, the movement to the church is finished. Thus, we are no longer in a movement to restore the church, but we are in the church which has been restored. God is not going to save a movement toward restoration. God is going to save those who have been restored; God is going to save the church... I want to be a member of that which has been restored, the Lord's body, his church. I will teach what the Bible teaches; I will be a part of the church for which the Lord died and shed his blood, and I will reject what these so-called scholars are calling the 'restoration movement.' Really, it takes only one generation to fully restore the church. Once that restoration process is complete, the movement has ended. (Kevin Cauley, "When Does A Movement End?" Contending For The Faith, Vol XXVII, No. 8, Aug., 1996 p. 5).

        Does Second and Adams want to be Bible centered or is it Bible centered? Jesus said, "He that rejecteth me and receiveth not my word hath one that judgeth him; the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day" (John 12:48). The word of God is the absolute truth and rule of faith and practice in all religious matters (Col. 3:17). Yet, Second and Adams soft-pedals the truth by saying, "To us, the Bible is the sole authority in all religious matters." Most denominational preachers say the same thing. The Bible is the sole authority in religion whether it is to us or not. Further muddying already murky doctrinal waters, they say "Our conclusions aren't flawless." If our conclusions are Bible conclusions they are flawless because God's word is truth (John 17:17). When I conclude one must be baptized in order to be saved because Jesus said so in Mark 16:16, that conclusion is flawless. If we can't know that, then Jesus lied when he said "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).
Our Fellowship... Because of our heritage and striving to restore the worship of the first century, we sing a cappella. That is, we sing without the accompaniment of musical instruments. This is a conviction (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16) and a preference with us.

        The New Testament church sings because singing is commanded (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16), not "because of our heritage," a "conviction" or a "preference." The Christian Church uses instruments because of their "heritage" and because it is their "conviction" and "preference." It is the "conviction" of Baptists and Presbyterians that musical instruments are acceptable in worship. Is Second and Adams striving to restore "the worship of the first century" or has that worship been restored? How difficult is it to "speak as the oracles of God" (1 Peter 4:11)?
        When did a capella singing become a "preference?" Does that mean if a majority of members at Second and Adams "preferred" a piano, one would be installed? Is baptism for the remission of sins a command or just a "preference" or "conviction" because of "our heritage?" Does Second and Adams practice immersion because of a "conviction," a "preference" born of a "heritage" or because it is commanded by Christ (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38)?
Our Preachers... At the close of the sermon, the preacher will extend an invitation. This is simply an expedient time to invite listeners to make a commitment or request prayer (Acts 2:37-41). If someone responds for baptism, they will be baptized right then. It will not be postponed to a latter (sic) time. The baptism will be immersion for the remission of sins. The word baptism means immersion. It will be a burial in water for the remission of sins (Rom. 6:4-6; Gal. 3:27; 1 Peter 3:21).

        The words "commitment" and "prayer" cannot be found in Acts 2:37-41. Unlike the leadership at Second and Adams, the apostle Peter plainly told his hearers what they needed to do. He didn't say "commit yourselves." He said "repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins..." (Acts 2:38). Why place the ambiguous denominational concept of the invitation (commitment and prayer) ahead of the New Testament teaching about baptism? Second and Adams also needs to "strive to restore" the "great plainness of speech" of the apostle Paul (2 Cor. 3:12).
Our People... Our people at Second & Adams Church of Christ are pretty much the entire spectrum, as in any group. You will find traditionalists...and you will find those eager to try anything new. You will find legalists and liberals and a lot of people between. You will find happy people and grouchy people. Friendly and unfriendly. Loving and disagreeable. People who are learning and people who seem to know it all. People who are holy and people you might be surprised to see in church! You get the picture! We are a diverse group, coming from different backgrounds and cultures, and at different stages of knowledge and spiritual growth.
We don't know everything. We don't do everything perfectly. We don't always treat each other as we should. We haven't arrived -- we're on the journey. However, we are not brought together by any illusion of our perfection or righteousness. We are brought together by our recognition that we are sinners in need of the cleansing blood of Christ, our Lord. That's the reason we can stick together.

        Denominating themselves "Second and Adams Church of Christ," and without defining their terms, they speak of those among their number who are "traditionalists...those eager to try anything new...legalists and liberals." Rubel Shelly would feel right at home with all this oxymoronic "unity in diversity."
        The umbrella statement that "We don't know everything...We haven't arrived -- we're on the journey...we are not brought together by any illusion of our perfection or righteousness," but by "our recognition that we are sinners in need of the cleansing blood of Christ, our Lord," is denominational and smacks of agnosticism. The generalization that we need the "cleansing blood of Christ" is accepted by every denominational preacher in town. But explain how we obtain the benefits of his cleansing blood through baptism into his death and they'll oppose it to a man. Why not teach the whole counsel of God on salvation?
        While no one claims Christians are perfect, they are righteous when they obey the gospel. Paul said the gospel reveals the "righteousness of God" (Rom. 1:16-17). The righteousness of God in that passage doesn't refer to God's attributes but to His standard. The gospel is God's standard of righteousness and those who obey it are righteous or justified in His sight (cf. Rom. 10:1-4).
        Apologetically, Second and Adams says "we haven't arrived -- we're on the journey" and "That's the reason we can stick together." Arrived at what? Heaven or the truth? If they mean heaven, that's true. None of us is there yet. If they mean a knowledge of the absolute truth, that's the language of agnosticism. We may not have arrived at heaven, but we can absolutely know we have arrived at the Way which leads there. The apostle John used the word "know" 26 times in his first epistle. Among those things he said we can know is that we are of the truth (1 John 3:19). The reason Christians can "stick together" is because they know and walk in the light of the truth (1 John 1:6-7). What brings people together in the church is what makes them Christians -- obedience to the gospel and what keeps them together is speaking "the same thing" (1 Cor. 1:10).
        It was at Second and Adams that my father and youngest brother were baptized into Christ in the 1960s and it was there I received much of the encouragement that led me to preach the gospel. Now it is different. I weep for the memory of sound men who once thundered the gospel from its pulpit and for godly elders who once stood like a mighty phalanx in Jehovah's army. Being led away from the ancient order by a leadership which speaks the language of Ashdod, many good people still lend their support and influence to Second and Adams.
        618 Santa Fe Drive
        Clinton, OK 73601

Return to Table of Contents


The Forgotten Commandment

Mark Gunderson

        "Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person" (1 Cor. 5:13). How many congregations of the Lord's body practice this today? What we are talking about has been termed "church discipline," "withdrawing of fellowship," and "withdrawing from the disorderly." All of these are familiar phrases to us and are discussed at times, but rarely practiced. Jesus once made the statement, "these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone" (Matt. 23:23).
        Some of the best material I have read on this subject is a tract, "Withdrawing From The Disorderly" by James Pilgrim, copyright 1977. I would encourage anyone to secure one of these and read and consider what it says. He deals with the subject of proper discipline toward those brethren who will not repent of sin in their lives. He makes it clear that this is not an option left up to each congregation to decide. God has given the divine instructions and authority for his people to withdraw their company from an erring brother.
        We all understand that the first step in practicing discipline is to go to the brother who is erring and try to reason with them about their condition. We must inform them of the error of their way and hopefully they will repent at this step. "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted" (Gal. 6:1). The word "restore" comes from the Greek word katartizo. W. E. Vine defines this word "to mend, to furnish completely in Gal. 6:1, metaphorically, of the restoration, by those who are spiritual, of one overtaken in a trespass, such as a dislocated member of the spiritual body. The tense is the continuous present, suggesting the necessity for patience and perseverance in the process."
        But, if after attempting to patiently teach an erring brother who will not repent, we have no other choice but to mark them as walking disorderly. The brother of 1 Cor. 5 who had his father's wife is a classic New Testament example of this. Paul instructed the Corinthians "to deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 5:5). And, "if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator....with such an one no not to eat" (1 Cor. 5:11). The Bible is not difficult to understand on this point, just difficult, it seems, for men to obey.
        Jesus sanctified and cleansed the church with the washing of water by the word (Eph. 5:26,27), that it should not have spot, or wrinkle, or blemish, or any such thing! But, what happens when we let a little "leaven" intermingle with the spotless bride of Christ? It's not long until the whole body is defiled! Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person (old leaven), Paul said.
        May we realize that we are not in fellowship with those who are no longer walking in the light as God is in the light (1 John 1:3-7). Therefore, we must break our daily association and company with such an erring brother to help them realize what it is they are missing. Hopefully, they will be moved to repent while time is on their side. If so, we have gained our brother. Either way, we have obeyed what God has instructed us to do.
        806 E. 7th
        Lamar, MO 64759

Return to Table of Contents


There Is One Body

Steve Miller

        Inspiration teaches "There is one body..." (Eph. 4:4). What is the one body? We can stay in the book of Ephesians and answer the question. "And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all" (1:22-23).
        Paul is teaching exactly what Jesus Christ taught. Our Lord said he would build His church (Matt. 16:18), which is the one body! The book of Ephesians teaches there is ONE CHURCH (4:4). It is built upon the one foundation, Jesus Christ (2:20; 1 Cor. 3:1). Jesus is head of the church: "For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church" (5:23). The church is under the authority of Christ: "Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ..." (5:24). Jesus loves his body, the church: "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; ... For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church" (5:25,29). Christ died for the church: "...even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it" (5:25). We can be members of his body: "For we are members of his body..." (5:30; Acts 2:47). We are reconciled to God in the one body: "And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby" (2:16). We are to have unity in the body (4:16). We have one mission; to make known "the manifold wisdom of God" (3:10). Jesus is the savior of the body (5:23). We are to have growth in the church (4:16).
        When Paul spoke of the one body, he was simply stating, "This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church" (5:32). The church of Christ was established in Jerusalem on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Isaiah 2:2-3; Acts 2). The church would have a distinctive founder, builder, head, body, mission, plan of salvation, membership, worship, name, doctrine, and work (Isa. 28:16; Eph. 2:20; Col. 1:18; Eph. 4:4; Mark 16:15; Acts 2:38; 2:47; 11:26; 1 Cor. 15:58). The church of Christ is the church of the New Testament.
        We encourage you to investigate the church of Christ. We would be happy for you to come and worship with us. We believe the Bible to be the verbally (word for word), inspired (God breathed), inerrant (without mistake), plenary (complete) Word of God (2 Tim. 3:16-17). We believe the Bible to be the only authority in religious matters (Col. 3:17). We seek to worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). The organization of the church, as found in the New Testament, consists of Christ as head (Col. 1:18); elders overseeing the local congregation (Heb. 13:17); deacons serving the physical needs of the church (1 Tim. 3:8-13); and evangelists and teachers who preach the Word of God publicly and privately.
        To become a Christian and a member of the one body, one must do as the Christians at Ephesus: obey the gospel plan of salvation. This makes one a Christian only and an heir to all the blessings found in Jesus Christ. The Bible teaches we are saved by the grace of God (Eph. 2:5, 8-10). In order for man to get into the grace of God, he must do his part which is through faith (Eph. 2:8). The Christians at Ephesus were not saved by grace alone. They heard and believed the gospel (Eph. 1:13). They repented (Acts 20:21). They confessed (Acts 19:18). They were baptized into Christ (Acts 19:1-7).
        13 Preston Estates
        Paintsville, OH 41240

Return to Table of Contents


Would Jesus Be Allowed In The Pulpit Where You Worship?

Mark Lance

        With the church under attack from without and within, we have to wonder if Jesus himself would be allowed in most pulpits across the country.
        We know he would not be allowed in any of the denominations; for he would be "way to unloving." Remember Matthew chapter 23 where Jesus used the word "WOE" eight times and called them "HYPOCRITES" seven times. Jesus really told them the truth but they couldn't stand it. Jesus always taught "in love" as we are told to do (Eph. 4:15).
        Jesus would be "way to narrow minded" for most. He said I am "THE WAY" (John 14:6) and that is considered "way to narrow." We are told by those in the religious world that you may go to heaven your way and I will go mine.
        Jesus said a person has to be BAPTIZED to be saved Mark 16:16. So, some's response is, "He has gone to teaching water salvation" and we know that can't be allowed.
        With the kind of preaching Jesus did, we know he wouldn't be allowed in any of the denominational pulpits. But what about the pulpits of the church of Christ, the Lord's church?
        With liberalism taking over so many congregations; most brethren are afraid to speak out against sin. Some might call them unloving. And, we don't want any trouble. Jesus would not be allowed in a lot of places with the name church of Christ out front.
        Do we want growth in the church today? YES! But not at any cost! Not at the cost of allowing false doctrine to go uncontested. Not at the cost of allowing those into fellowship who have married, divorced and remarried for reasons other than "fornication" which is given in Matthew 19:9.
        We have to grow spiritually first and then in number (James 3:17). Games and gimmicks won't convert people; only the gospel will do that (Rom. 1:16).
        No, Jesus wouldn't be allowed in pulpits of denominations and a lot of congregations of the church. Would Jesus be allowed in the pulpit where you worship? May more brethren have the courage to stand for the truth and turn back the workers of Satan.
        183 Paris St.
        McMinnville, TN 37110

Return to Table of Contents

. MailBag

"Thank you for your stand against false teachers and your defense of the truth. You are to be commended in your work" ...James Fisher, Morgan City, LA. "Thanks to you for writing such a good paper. We have enjoyed it so much. It has helped me with my life. I pray each day, wish we had more like you that speaks to truth and stands for truth. May God bless you in your good work for our Lord" ...Ernest & Dimple Pace. "Really appreciate your work with Seek The Old Paths and efforts to stop change agents. Hope to attend your lectures one day. You have a great home page" ...Ken Willis, Morrison, TN. "I have borrowed Seek The Old Paths and really proud of Christians who are publishing the Truth. Seems literature put out recently like this, is few and far between. I enjoyed July/96 and April/96. Would love to have some to keep. Enclosing a small donation but rather have name withheld. Thank you for publishing the Truth as it is" ...IL. "We would like to receive your publication" ...R. D. Casey, Flat Rock, AL. "Please accept my genuine thanks for the encouragement you give to the brotherhood by your labors there. I enjoyed the lectureship and especially Seek The Old Paths each month. May the Lord bless you good brethren in your work there" ...Rick Knoll, Dresden, TN. "I appreciate your removing my name from you mailing list. Thank you for Seek The Old Paths" ...Bob Carter, Tyler, TX. "This is a much needed work. Thanks" ...Murray Cook, Finger, TN. "Thanks for sending me Seek The Old Paths. I enjoy it very much. Keep up the good work. Enclosed is a small check" ...Pauline Turner, Coldwater, MS. "Please stop mailing to this address" ...Don Mangrum, McComb, MS. "We would like to be put on the mailing list to receive Seek The Old Paths. We were visiting a congregation in Georgia and picked up your paper. We liked what we read and knew you were standing for the truth" ...Leo & Hazel Martin, Florence, AL. "We enjoy receiving each publication. It is very informative. May God bless you richly in your efforts to always stand for the truth" ...Fred Houston, Crossville, TN. "Please accept this small amount of money for the publication of the excellent articles and publications of your via the East Corinth Church of Christ. Again thanks for all of your labors for the Lord. May God bless as only he can so do" ...Harold Blevins, Falls City, NE. "We enjoy your paper very much and think it is very informative of the things going on in the brotherhood. We would like a bundle of 10 to be sent to the Baker Church of Christ. We are sending a small contribution hoping it will help in some way" ...Baker Church of Christ, Baker, FL. [NOTE: we send out bundles in multiples of 8. Therefore, a congregation may receive 8, 16, 32, etc. -- gmr] "Thank the elders for supporting this work" ...Marcia Polk, Lucedale, MS. "Thanks for sending us Seek The Old Paths. We love your love of the truth. Thank you and keep up the good work" ...Ron Lott, Bullard, TX. "Just thought I would drop you a line to let you know how much my wife and I appreciate your strong stand for the truth. We receive your publication and look forward to receiving each one" ...Joe & Elea Robertson, Paragould, AR. "I have read your publication and like it very much. Would love to receive it in my home" ...Jim Scott, Warren, MI. "I sure enjoy getting the paper. God bless you always in God's Truth. And, God bless the church there, you and your family" ...Helen McCasland, Savannah, TN. "May God continue to bless you with wisdom and courage to proclaim His Word without compromise. I am so grateful for what you are doing with Seek The Old Paths and assure you it is badly needed in our part of the country" ...Jerry Brewer, Clinton, OK. "I always appreciate my issue of Seek The Old Paths, but especially appreciated two of the articles in the September issue. We very much appreciate the stand you take, your home page, and the help you have been to me in the past. We certainly are going to try to go to the lectureship there next July" ...Charles Ivie, Arkansas City, KS. "Please delete my name from your mailing list" ...Stephen Coley, Magnolia, AR. "Please remove my name from your mailing list" ...Dustin Adkins, Nashville, TN. "Please send me your monthly publication. I find it very interesting and informative. This fine paper will be a help in my work as a minister of the Gospel. May the Father of us all continue to bless you in the work of the Master is my prayer" ...Mike Mitchell, Belleville, IL. "Your October 1996 issue of Seek The Old Paths was excellent. Would you please send me a pack of a dozen or more to distribute?" ...Donald Layman, Moulton, AL. "Keep up the excellent work and may God bless your efforts to lead others to his fold through the gospel" ...Tim Dooley, Springfield, OH.


A Clarification Statement

Richard Guill

        The October issue of "Seek The Old Paths" contained an article which I had written entitled "The Conformed Church of Christ." In that article, the following statement was made: "The church in the twenty-first century must be no different from the church in previous centuries, unless it is moving closer than ever to the divine pattern, rather than farther away from it."
        Some have questioned what I meant by "moving closer to the divine pattern." Did I mean that the church has not yet been completely restored to the original pattern? No, that is not what I meant at all. But I can see how some might get that impression by how I stated it. Let me clarify what I meant to say.
        What I intended to convey was the idea that some congregations in this century or before, and especially near the end of the twentieth century, have certainly moved away from the divine patter in some areas, and the only "change" that needs to be made is to MOVE BACK TO the original divine pattern.
        I hope this clarifies the matter. I certainly believe and teach that the church has been fully restored according to the divine pattern and that many such congregations exist today. I appreciate those who caught this ambiguous statement and called it to my attention.

Home | Table of Contents | Bible Page
Seek The Old Paths | East End Church of Christ
Lectureship Books

This page has been turned to lots of times since 11/14/96.