Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 2, 1959
NUMBER 47, PAGE 7,14a

Success Or Failure, Which Will It Be?

Guy McDonald, Beaumont, Texas

Success comes and is maintained by continued effort. "If at first you don't succeed, try, try, again". Primitive Christianity was restored, but keeping the church pure is like the Irishman's baby. He spanked him, but he wouldn't stay spanked. Every generation must go preach the gospel and continue steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine. Every Christian should set himself for the defense of the gospel; this is his duty. Error will save no one, but when truth is taught, believed and obeyed the church will prosper. When Christians turn away their ears from the truth, confusion and division is inevitable. Those who turn away and teach error are responsible for division, and must give account to God. Those standing on the truth, and opposing these evil forces are the true children of God, and will be saved eternally. God's family, the church, has never been popular with worldly minded people, and James says," — whosoever will be a friend to the world is the enemy of God" (Jas. 4:4; Jno. 2:15,17). Christians should not, and must not bow to those who " — bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction" (II Pet. 2:1,3). Some say if God did not specifically forbid a practice it is acceptable. I say God did forbid any and everything not authorized by Scripture. We must respect God's silence, since faith comes only from what God says. That which is not of faith is sin, and the Scriptures furnish us completely unto all good works (Rom. 10:17; 14:23, II. Tim. 3:16,17). Many things are being practiced by the church today, under what some call the law of expediency. Before a thing can be expedient, it must be lawful (I. Cor. 10:23). It must be authorized either by Precept, necessary inference or divine example.

Brethren, every apostasy has started with worthy objectives, namely, to carry out God's commands. One important thing has been overlooked in every case — doing it exactly as God said do it. It is good to be zealous, but zeal must be governed by knowledge (Rom. 10:1,4). Churches all over the world are filled with people with but little knowledge of God's word. Naturally, they are impressed with "big things". Popularity, prosperity and prestige, in the eyes of worldly ambitious men are the signs of success. Is it any wonder that so many fall into this trap when men who set themselves up as spiritual leaders encourage it? Only those rooted and grounded in the faith will oppose and expose such teachers for what they really are, false prophets. Leaders in all apostasies have ways and means of belittling those who stand for the truth. "By their good words and fair speeches they deceive the hearts of the simple (untaught) (Born. 16:18). Some of these brethren may be honest in their efforts, but they " — walk in darkness, and do not the truth" (I. Jno. 1:6,7). They may be blind, leaders of the blind, but both shall fall into the ditch (Matt. 15:14). Let us, "Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee" (I. Tim. 4:16). Also, "And the things thou halt heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also" (II. Tim. 2:2).

God, in His wisdom, decreed that each congregation be autonomous (self governed). Some brethren have become dissatisfied with His arrangement, or over zealous, and are trying to consolidate several churches under one eldership. This type of reasoning and teaching brought about Catholicism in the first centuries. "We" claim to reject such action as this while actively engaging in it. Do we teach others and not ourselves? (Rom. 2:21,23). Are we "Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth"? (II Tim. 2:7) Just what would it take to cause us to see "our" inconsistencies. I beseech all who would be honest and sincere to consider some of the happenings of our day.

Going, Going, Gone!

"From the Bulletin of the Northwest church in Lawton, Oklahoma, where Harold McRay is Minister, I lift the following quote. 'CITY WIDE ELDERS MEETING: The elders of the four white congregations will meet Sunday afternoon to discuss and plan cooperative work for 1959.' Now, there you are! All they need to do is to elect one of these ambitious men to be the presiding bishop or the "Metropolitan Bishop' and they will have a first class beginning for Catholicism".

Another Convention?

"From the Bulletin of the church in Springfield, Vermont, and written by Charles McDonald, the preacher, I quote the following:

'On December fourteenth there was a general meeting of the congregations in New England held at Brunswick, Maine to discuss plans for a New England publication. The purpose of which would be to cement congregations and to stimulate increased zeal therein. In this meeting a steering committee was selected which consist of six men, one from each of the six states. This committee was to bring to the next general meeting recommendations as to size and type of publication. Also to suggest a five member Board of Directors subject to approval of the next general meeting. This committee met on Jan. 4th in the church building at Melrose, Massachusetts and carried out its instructions. The next general meeting is to be held next Saturday (Feb. 1st) in the Melrose church building at 10:00 a.m. It is my conviction that such a work can mean a great deal to the future growth of the church in this area. Please remember it in your prayers'.

I have heard nothing further as to the decisions of the 'general meeting' relative to this undertaking. This 'general meeting' selected and authorized a "steering committee" to carry out certain functions, and report back to the "general meeting". Also, let it be understood that this was a "general meeting" of the congregations in New England" What does this set-up lack being a denominational Conference, Synod or Association?" (By Charles A. Holt Gospel Guardian Vol. 10, Num. 37)

This sounds like the liberal group in Henderson, Tennessee, back in 1910; when they called a meeting of elders, preachers and teachers to get better acquainted, and to plan the work for several states. Brother David Lipscomb said in regard to that meeting: "I find no meeting of elders and preachers in the Bible, and I do not see what scriptural work an unscriptural meeting can do". (Life and Times of David Lipscomb, pages 271,273.)

Many such meetings were held and plans were made, involving several congregations, in an effort to preach the gospel. These endeavors were city, county and state wide, each working under the elders of a local congregation. They were never referred to as a Missionary Society, but were called city, county or state meetings, as the case happened to be. You guessed it, the Missionary Society swallowed up all of them. As a result of "good motives" by good men, but who failed to follow the pattern God has given, we have the apostate First Christian Church.

Some of my brethren tell me I have built straw man, along with others, and if we would not get so excited about the welfare of the church and stop raising such fuss over nothing, everything would work out alright. I would ask, just what is good about an apostate church? Brethren, this is no straw man, this is the real "McCoy", and it is time somebody got excited enough to help stop it before it is too late. Apostasy is in the making, and for the life of me, I can't see why we should help make it. It seems that men who have stood for the truth in the past have laid the Sword aside, and shucked the Armour of God; and are left without Shield or Weapon in the presence of the enemy. What has happened to some of our brethren who stood like a tower over evil forces in the past? They feared neither man nor Satan, because they believed they had the truth, and they did. Have they lost respect for God and His word, or have they decided that the effort is too great? At one time they appeared to love the truth above all else, and gave everything they had to restore Christianity and keep it pure. But now, after spending a great part of their lives in the Master's service, and in position to help stay the tide of digression why are they so quiet? If these "veterans" would only lift their voices, speak and hold not their peace in this critical hour, many, many, members of the church would be saved. How can one, who knows better, stand idly by and watch Satan gobble up the church and gloat over the spoils, without lifting a finger to stop him? Thank God for a few of the "Old Soldiers" who are no longer able to engage actively in this scrap, but are passing the ammunition, and advice. With the "know how" of these older men, and the conviction of some of our young men, with the will to fight, Satan is still in for a rough time, and don't you forget it.

Brethren, let us buckle on the shining armour of our Lord, with the Sword of the Spirit, and go out and engage the enemy, Modernism, Liberalism, and all other "isms", with the assurance that God is for us, and has promised to be with us always. "Awake thou that that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise. Redeeming the time, because the days are evil" (Eph. 5:14,16). Remember Jesus said, "No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God" (Lk. 9:62). "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne — " (Rev. 3:21). "Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition — " (Heb. 10.)