Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 22, 1959

He Admitted It

Donald P. Ames, Tampa, Florida

This past summer, while working with the Lord's church in Wisconsin, one of the usual Saturday church-advertising ads caught my eye. Advertising for the "Janesville Bible Baptist Temple," a very young man also showed his picture with the following under it: "Rev. James Reber, Founder-Pastor."

In this modern age, when we find one denomination after another sticking its head up and drawing away followers after men, it is very unusual to see such an ad where the founder of the church actually admits he is the "founder." In Matt. 16:18, Christ says, "And I also say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock (Peter's statement that Christ was the son of God) I will build my church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." Now, let us pause and reflect, did Christ fail? He said He was going to build it? Was He a failure? God forbid! This man, though no doubt sincere, is a little over 1900 years too late with his church to be related to the true church of Christ.

And, as for this word "Reverend," which seems to be used so freely among the denominations today, have all forgotten Christ's teaching against titles in Matt. 23:9, "Call no man your father on the earth: for one is your Father, even he who is in heaven"? Yet, man continually seeks to elevate himself by the wearing of titles unknown to the Lord. Does man feel he is on a par with God, that he tries to also create fear in others of his name? Psalm 111:9 tells us God's name is the one that is holy and to be feared, not man's.

And, last but not least, the title of "Pastor." In the New Testament we find such expressions as: elder, pastor, bishop, and overseer used interchangeably, and all meaning the same thing. And in I Tim. 3:1-7, and Titus 1:5-10, Paul lays down the qualifications of an elder of the Lord's church, among which are: "having children that believe," a characteristic impossible for this preacher of so young years. The world may use the expression "pastor" to refer to an evangelist, but if we truly do all things in the name of Christ (Col. 3:17) and speak as the oracles of God (I Pet. 4:11), by what authority do we apply a name to ourselves which is not given to us, but to another, by God? Truly then we have gone beyond that which is written (I Cor. 4:6) and fall under the condemnation for such actions. (II John 9.)

Yes, he admitted it! He admitted what he had was not of God, but was founded by man, setting man forth to be feared (though perhaps unintentionally), and established under man-made laws. Christ says His heavenly father will root such up (Matt. 15:13), because their doctrines are the precepts of men (v. 9). Would to God all men could be that honest, or would be — and then would accept the truth and learn to do Bible things Bible ways, and call Bible things by Bible names. This is the way, and the only way, we can hope to earn salvation (Matt. 7:21), and reach the unity Christ prayed for in John 17:20-21.