Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 12, 1956
NUMBER 10, PAGE 4,9a

God's "Blue-Print"

(To be continued)

Obedience to the words of Christ is like the building of a house. The Lord himself gave the comparison, "Everyone therefore that heareth these words of mine, and doeth them, shall be likened unto a wise man, who built his house upon the rock ...." (Matt. 7:24-27.) The building of any structure demands some sort of plan, design, pattern. In a very simple and elementary structure this plan may be only in the builder's mind, and never committed to paper at all. But the plan must exist; the "pattern" must have reality. In more complicated structures, of course, that pattern, plan, design, is written down on paper, with appropriate drawings, sketches, measurements, specifications. In the language of the builders this is a "blue-print."

The Bible is God's "blue-print," or pattern, for the kind of life required of all who would be pleasing in his sight. It was given for that very purpose. No man knows, or ever can know by his own wisdom and intelligence, exactly what is, and what is not, pleasing in God's sight. Truly "the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps," and "there is a way which seemeth right unto a man; but the end thereof are the ways of death."

The religious world through the years has been divided into two great camps as respects the proper place and usage of the Bible in our service of God. One camp has claimed that the Bible is a book of broad, general "principles," showing in rather positive fashion the kind of life acceptable to God, and the kind that all of us should strive to create; but every man and every generation is left free within the broad limits of this final goal to work for himself and for that age the way, means, methods, by which this final goal shall be achieved. The forms, customs, ritual of one age are not to be bound on any other age. Baptism, the Lord's Supper, the secondary place of women in the public work of the church, the form of church government — all these and scores of other matters are to be either accepted or rejected as any individual person may decide for himself. The main objective is to make the life clear and holy and useful. How that is to be done, the Bible does not say. And it is the height of folly and blind obscurantism to say there is a "pattern" which must be followed in any particular line of conduct.

The other view of the Bible is the one accepted by conservative Bible scholars, and the only one which can give any certainty or security at all in our service of God. It is, that God has given us a complete revelation of his will. There is a "pattern" for baptism; there is a "pattern" for the observance of the Lord's Supper; there is a "pattern" for congregational government; there is a "pattern" for the relationship of churches in their help the one to the other; there is a "pattern" for the settling of differences between Christians; there is a "pattern" for the handling of both personal problems and church problems. In short , the Bible is a "blue-print" and deals with every phase and activity of our service of God.

The "pattern" (blue-print) never varies. Circumstances surrounding its application may vary; but the "pattern" remains the same. Take the matter of becoming a Christian. There is a positive, definite, unvarying blueprint which was followed in every case of conversion recorded in the New Testament. That "pattern" included these items (1) hearing of the gospel, (2) belief of that which was heard, (3) repentance of all sins, (4) baptism by an immersion in water. There is not one exception to this pattern. It is true that there were innumerable differing circumstances under which the "pattern" might be applied: in one instance 3,000 people were baptized the same day; in another, one man riding along in a chariot heard the gospel, believed it, and was baptized with no other person present save the penitent sinner and the gospel preacher; at another time a jailor and his entire household were baptized in the dead of night; and still again, a blind, praying, penitent sinner was baptized after he had fasted for three days and nights. Varying circumstances do not destroy the "pattern." It was the same in every instance.

In the matter of cooperation between and among churches and/or individuals, the "pattern" is clear and undeniable. It is (1) the church or individual with ability (2) sends directly (3) to the place or person in need. There is no deviation from this. THIS IS THE PATTERN! There were many and varied circumstances under which this pattern was applied; but the pattern was constant. Liberals and modernists have scoffed at the idea, and have ridiculed the whole concept of a "pattern" of any kind in Bible teaching. But faithful and humble 'servants of the Lord have not been led astray by such belittling of God's blue-print. They have in simplicity and worship, the mourner's bench and contributions from a church to a church for the work of evangelism are unscriptural."

In the Abilene and Indianapolis debates, Brethren Ernest Harper and Guy Woods, like drowning men grabbing at a straw, tried to prove their propositions by Brother Tom's "elements" and syllogism. Like Tom, Dick and Harry, Guy tried to justify church contributions to human benevolent societies and Ernest tried to justify donations from a thousand churches to Herald of Truth by exactly the same syllogism.

Tom certainly hatched some syllogism! By that same syllogism, Tom proves that the diocesan oversight of an eldership in evangelization is scriptural; Dick proves that the mourner's bench is scriptural; Harry proves that instrumental music in worship and church contributions to a man-made missionary society are scriptural; Guy proves that church contributions to a man-made benevolent society are scriptural; Ernest proves that donations from a thousand churches to the Highland church for the Herald of Truth evangelistic project are scriptural; and they all prove their various erroneous doctrines by exactly the same syllogism. What A Syllogism!

His minor premise is totally false. His own interpretations of the most of his assertions (which he calls "constituent elements") are unscriptural, and he did not cite (much less quote) one verse of scripture to prove that his "constituent elements" are scriptural. If they are scriptural, why doesn't he quote the passage that makes them scriptural?