Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 21, 1963
NUMBER 41, PAGE 8-10,3b

News And Views

Charles A. Holt, 4662 University Dr. Wichita Falls, Texas

James W. Shear is now laboring with the church in Deland, Florida.... Lloyd Barker has recently moved to Hammond, Indiana, where he will work with the Highland church. ...J. M. Raulerson is now laboring with the Hobart (Indiana) church.... Bob Beaty is the new preacher with the Central church in Louisville, Kentucky Alvin O. Raney is working with the church in Saratoga, Arkansas. He edits a very good bulletin under the heading of "Sword Unsheathed." ....I note that the Locust Street church in Mt. Pleasant, Tennessee, where Delbert Porter is the preacher, is helping support nine (9) preachers in different places of the world, in addition to Porter. This church has always been ready to give support to worthy men who are going into difficult fields. Seldom ever do they turn down giving some help to a worthy call. This is very commendable and an example that other churches would do well to follow. John D. Gipson, Robert I. Thomason, and W. G. Vernon serve that church as bishops. There never was (perhaps) a time when faithful churches needed to give attention to helping support men in needy fields more so than now. It is amazing however, that so many of them seem to have such little concern for this kind of work. There are capable men who are willing to go into new and hard fields to labor for the Lord, but they have considerable trouble raising the needed support — and so often they go without really adequate support....I see in the "Bergen (Norway) Briefs," edited by Joe Pruitt, who is in Bergen, that the Bob Tuten family have plans to move to Norway (Bergen) in the spring of this year, but as yet Tuten has not been able to secure adequate support. Why? Do we just not have the money? Are we unwilling to help in such areas? Must such areas "cry forever in vain" for the gospel Without any response or concern from the most of us? Is there some church that can and will help Tuten? I do not have his address at present, but I am sure that it has appeared in a recent issue of this paper. If any will help, the proper address can be secured....Another church that has long been known for its willingness to help support the preaching of the gospel far and wide is the Mt. View church in San Bernardino, California. Arthur W. Atkinson, Jr. is the preacher with this good church; and the bishops are John Gravlee, G. E. Evans, and G. D. Swain. This church will support ten (I think this is correct) different men, fully or in part, this year....BOOK RECOMMENDATION: "Matthew Twenty-Four, An Exposition," by J. Manlius Kik, Presbyterian, in Montreal, Canada. The book was published by "Bible Truth Depot." Every now and then one comes across a book that is very rich, refreshing and so downright stimulating that he feels compelled to tell others about it. This book is such a book, in my opinion. I think that the author sets forth the truth of this often-misunderstood chapter in the clearest and most logical fashion that I have ever seen. It only has 97 pages in it, but they are packed full of worthy material and teaching. I am sorry that I do not know the price. If you want to make a serious study of Matthew 24, I urge you to secure this book to help you in doing so. No doubt the Gospel Guardian can supply this book.... ANOTHER "MUST" BOOK: "Crime & Immorality in the Catholic Church," by Emmett McLoughlin — the author of "People's Padre." This book will factually inform and move you. Mr. McLoughlin pulls no punches and does not try to soft-pedal the truth on this subject so long-hidden from public eye. His having been a Franciscan priest puts him in a much better position for obtaining his information, appraising its merit, and speaking authoratatively on the subject. As stated in the writeup on the jacket, "Here is a book that will be denounced, and author who will be villified. But it is a book that demands the careful attention of every American who is concerned with truth, values, and morality in American society." The book sells for $4.95 — which is somewhat high in my opinion for a book of that size and mechanical makeup; but the information it offers and the bold way such is presented makes the price seem very reasonable. You need to read this book. It can also be ordered from the Gospel Guardian....In reading the various bulletins that come to my desk, I come across many good things. In fact, there are far more worthy articles appearing than I am able to present in this column. Now and then I present an article which may question some element of our seemingly accepted status quo, and will perhaps occasionally "shake us up" on some point. It is not that I agree fully with what may be presented in the article, but that I think there is such merit to them that they deserve our consideration and study. As the readers of this column know, I am not one who likes to conform merely for the sake of conforming and keeping things quiet. I sincerely think that we need to 'be willing to think and study any and all questions and practices, even though they may be of long-standing and of general acceptance. Truly we should "prove all things" for ourselves. Personally, I have no objection to honest brethren 'kicking around" some question or subject as a method of studying (or re-studying) it. Some seemingly would disparage this kind of independent thinking and study; and apparently if it were in their power, they would actually prohibit it as far as they could. What a shame! How terrible if the day should come when the full freedom of study and expression is taken away. Of all people on earth who should relish an examination of our views, in the light of God's word, we should be that people. As I have often heard one able preacher put it, "Conformity in all our views is not necessary to our having fellowship one with another." "Peaceful co-existence" seems to be the sentiment of the day, in religion as well as 'in politics. Do not bring up any mat-(ter that might disturb. By all means do not question or study anything that we have "settled!" We have so long repeated and advocated some ideas, that one is certain to invite the wrath of many if he dares to call ionte-examination of the matter. Some ideas and questions are really "too hot to handle" and woe be to him who tries.... Below I am giving an article that will challenge your thinking; that is, if you are not adverse to doing such a thing. It is written by Wilson M. Coon, and appeared in "Perk Up," the monthly paper edited by Coon. Coon is an able man, and has never been afraid or ashamed to speak up and speak out on any question. Read his article carefully. Also, if space permits, I am including another article which should stimulate and challenge. It was written by Harold Fite, another man of ability and integrity Let me urge a careful reading of this article.

Praying To Jesus

What would you think if you heard some brother direct a public prayer to Jesus? Would it be proper to pray to Jesus? Does the New Testament teach us to go to Christ in prayer? Did Jesus ever teach His disciples to pray to Him? How do you read your Bible on this proposition? Or, have you seriously thought about such a thing?

I once attended a religious meeting where all the people were praying at the same time. Some of them were directing their prayers to God the Father, others were praying to Jesus, and one man was praying to the Holy Spirit. I was convinced that the people were confused, and in ignorance as to which person or God they should pray to.

Jesus taught His disciples to pray to God the Father. (Matt. 6:9-14) Jesus prayed to the Father, thereby leaving us an example. (Matt. 26:39) Christians pray to God, and the Holy Spirit intercedes for us. (Romans 8:26-27) Children of God pray to the Father when they sin, and Jesus Christ is an Advocate. (1 Jno. 2:1-2) These verses plainly teach us that we are to pray to God, and so do all the other verses in the New Testament. There is no evidence concerning prayers directed to Jesus or to the Spirit.

What if I told you that thousands of Christians direct prayers to Jesus every Lord's Day? You have not heard such prayers? Perhaps you were not listening as carefully as you should. What do brethren do when they sing, "Tell It To Jesus Alone?"

The church that I worship with uses The Majestic Hymnal, Number Two. In the back of the book there is a Topical Index which lists such topics as Love Obedience, Praise and Prayer. Under the word Prayer there are such songs as "I must Tell Jesus," "My Jesus As Thou Wilt," and "Tell It To Jesus Alone."

Let us examine some of the statements in the last mentioned song, "Do the tears flow down your cheeks un-bid-den? Tell it to Jesus, Tell it to Jesus; Have you sins that to man's eyes are hidden? Tell it to Jesus alone." Just how would a Christian go about telling a thing to Jesus alone? Do we pray to Jesus or to God?

How about the song, "I Must Tell Jesus"? One verse reads "I must tell Jesus all of my trials; I cannot bear these burdens alone; In my distress He kindly will help me; He ever loves and cares for his own." Do we tell Jesus about our troubles, or do we tell God, in the name of Christ, about our trials? Which of the two are we to address in our prayers?

Do we not teach one another in our song services? Verily, we do. (Col. 3:16) But what are we teaching when we tell each other to pray to Jesus? Are we teaching truth or error? What would you think if the preacher got up on Sunday morning and told all the brethren to pray to Jesus? I know what most brethren would do, they would go to the elders, behind closed doors, and ask them to fire the preacher because he was preaching a false doctrine. Is it not strange that we are careful to correct the preacher, but the song leader can teach a lie every Sunday and get by with it? Is there any real difference in preaching a lie, and/or singing a lie? One preacher arose and stopped the song leader during the middle of the song, and said, "You folks won't let me preach a lie, and I am not going to let you sing a lie."

Now a word about "The Majestic Hymnal" which was edited by Reuel Lemmons, published by Firm Foundation Publishing House, and endorsed by such brethren as Tillet Teddlie, Edgar Furr, and Wilkin Bacon. Most of the songs were written by Sectarians who do not know the difference between the Son and the Father or the Spirit and the Word. Some of the songs used the Father and the Son interchangeably as though they were one and the same person which clearly indicates the ignorance of the writers. Very few of the songs have anything to offer to the spiritual growth of the church. And, I think the same can be said of most other song books used by the churches of Christ.

Now, a word of warning to all brethren, "Whosoever goeth onward and abideth not in the teaching of Christ, bath not God...." (2 Jno. 9) "And whatsoever ye do, in the word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (Col. 3:17) We can go to hell as quickly for singing a lie as we can for teaching a lie in sermon or doing something that is unscriptural.

— Wilson M. Coon

Bound By Custom

Every day each one of us performs certain rituals that have become as much a part of us as our speech and dress. Over the years through daily practice, these routines have become fixed and have become habit with us. By and large we are creatures of habit, and, there is nothing wrong in this provided they are good habits, and we recognize them as custom and things traditional with us.

In the spiritual realm brethren do not always have the ability to discern between those things which are tradition and custom, and matters of faith. In times past this has brought about division. Brethren practice a thing over a period of years and become set in it, and that thing eventually becomes law to them and a matter of faith rather than opinion. Thus we hear, "We have always done it that way," as authority for established practices. The practice becomes habitual, then confirmed, and then those who engage in said practice become obstinate and quarrelsome when one digresses from established custom.

It is imperative that we know the difference between law and expediency. Of course before a thing can be expedient it must first of all be lawful. It is customary for the preacher to say, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost," when about to baptize a penitent believer. If one should fall to say it, no doubt many would become upset and would believe the person unscripturally baptized. No where in the New Testament do we find such as a "formula" to be said. This is custom, tradition with us. What is done is essential to salvation, but not what is said. If this is not so, then salvation is dependent upon the one doing the baptizing and what he says, rather than upon the faith of the one being baptized.

In giving the commission to the apostles, the Lord said, "Go ye therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." (Matt. 28:19)

He told them what to do, and by whose authority they were to do it. They were to teach and baptize, in the name of (by the authority of) the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This wasn't a "magic formula" they were to say when baptizing a person. When it is said today, it is said only to inform the ones present what is being done. Let's not be bound by tradition — make tradition law.

It has been our practice for the one desiring to be baptized to arise from the front seat and make the confession that, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." But, if we digress from that just a little and have the penitent believer to make that confession standing in the baptistry, it is really upsetting to some. NO, I DIDN'T FORGET! Bound by custom. Think about this if you will. At the close of each sermon, the invitation is extended to the alien sinner upon the condition that he believes that Jesus is the Son of God. Just suppose as the result of that invitation one comes forward. Is it absolutely necessary for that person to stand before the audience and confess to them that he "believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God?" A fact that is already recognized by the audience, because of the fact that he responded to the invitation with the condition that one must believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. How about it? Would such a person be scripturally baptized? If you believe not, what passage would you use?

The one who came forward last Sunday night was asked the question, but I didn't ask him that question seeking information, for I had talked with him before, and knew he believed Jesus Christ to be the Son of God. And I don't believe he had to stand up and tell you that, for I think you all knew it when he came forward.

We have the custom of one's walking down the aisle to identify himself, or herself, with a local congregation. It is our custom here at Castleberry to eat the Lord's Supper at the beginning of the service rather than at the close. There are expedients and they are lawful. But when we try to bind these things as essential to one's salvation, we are brought into bondage to human law. This is the very reason why Paul "gave place in the way of subjection, no not for an hour" to those who tried to bind circumcision as essential to salvation. To do so would have been placing himself in bondage to human opinion, and would lose the liberty which he enjoyed in Christ Jesus.

Paul warned the Colossians to "take heed lest there shall be any one that maketh spoil of you through his philosophy and vain deceit, AFTER THE TRADITION OF MEN, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." (Col. 2:8) He then gave us an example of such tradition — "Handle not, nor taste, nor touch" (v. 21) "all which things are to perish with the using, after the precepts and doctrines of men9 Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will-worship, and humility and severity to the body; but are not of any value against the indulgence of the flesh." (V. 22, 23)

The Jews asked Jesus upon one occasion, "Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they wash not their hands when they eat bread." (Matt. 15:2) Theirs was not a question of cleanliness, but of ritual. They added to the Word of God; made that which was tradition law, essential to salvation. Jesus didn't deny that tradition had been broken, but showed them that by their tradition they had transgressed the law of God. We can do the same.

While I wouldn't go out of my way to be different, nor to provoke, we must not look upon these things which are custom as laws from God. The antiquity of a thing doesn't make the thing itself divine law.

— Harold Fite

Need At Tularosa, New Mexico

I am writing in behalf of the church in Tularosa. They are desperately in need of a man that can fit into the situation there. They are not financially able to support a man with a livable wage. They need a man that has a big portion of his living or can provide the same for himself, either by secular work, retirement income, outside help or any other honorable means. Preferably some way other than secular work.

I thought perhaps you might know of a man or night be in a position to hear of some man that is capable and willing to move to Tularosa to work with the church there.

Anyone that is interested can contact them by writing to the church of Christ, Box 158 Tularosa, New Mex.

Anything that you can do for them along this line will certainly be appreciated by the church in Tularosa, and by myself as well.

Frank Thompson, 305 W, Castle, Hobbs, New Mex.

New Congregation Established

A new congregation began worshipping in Strathmore, Calif., on Jan. 13, 1963. The meeting place is the Town and Country Club located on the Springville Highway just one block off of old Highway 65. So far as we know, this is the only church in Tulare county that is trying to hold the line against the inroads of liberalism. The new group had fourteen in attendance at the first service made up of four families. John Wilson is to conduct a gospel meeting in Strathmore, beginning on Feb. 10 to run through the following Sunday. Roy E. Gulley will serve as preacher for the new congregation.

RE: the above — I am employed at the Tulare-Kings Co. Hospital, Springville, Calif., as a Medical Social Worker and will earn my living in this manner. I will be able to render service to any patient in the hospital. Anyone knowing of patients here please let me know. Also, I would like to know of any contacts in the area that we could approach with the gospel. Roy E. Gulley, Sox 593, Springville, Calif.

Successful Effort In Northern California

John W. Wilson, P. O. Box 3248, Chico, California. The church here in Chico, northern California, met for the first time upon Lord's day, November lath, 1962. Only four members met for several Sundays. When we had gained ten members we planned a gospel meeting and asked several churches in the other areas to send us their preachers for one week. These churches sent their preachers and these preachers worked. They worked hard from door to door extending invitations to the meeting, trying to arouse interest in home Bible studies, and even teaching the truth to those who would listen. We had seventeen people who were not members of the church to attend. Some of these have asked for a further study of God's Word in their homes. We had five families from two liberal churches to attend. One of these placed membership with us and three others have invited us to study with them further. The brethren from Marysville, Los Molinas, Oroville and Red Bluff attended faithfully. The future looks bright for the church in northern California. The results accomplished can be accomplished elsewhere. Spring will soon be on its way and brethren will be traveling both from the north and from the south. Plan to stop by and worship with these brethren in Chico, Calif. Meeting place — E. 20th & Mulberry Sts.