Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 6, 1959

Just A Thought

P. J. Casebolt, Weirton, West Virginia

Sometimes when we are preaching sermons that are designed to convince the outsider, we cannot help but wonder how the same principles would apply to the church. And, if we are consistent, we will use the same standard when preaching to both the world and the church. This standard is the New Testament.

But have you noticed some of the "stock-in-trade" sermons disappearing from some preachers' wardrobes during the past few years? Remember how the preachers used to talk about the differences existing between the church of Christ and the Christian Church? Remember how every gospel preacher condemned mechanical instruments of music in the worship by appealing to 1 Pet. 4:11?

The reason you don't hear some preachers condemning sin and innovations among Sectarians today, is because those preachers would condemn themselves and half their brethren at the same time! It would be interesting to hear some of the loud defenders (?) of institutions among churches of Christ tackle a Christian Church preacher in public debate relative to instrumental music and Missionary Societies. At the rate we are going, it may not be long before the "sects" are challenging us for debates!

Recently, while preaching to the world (primarily), about the all-sufficiency and importance of the church in salvation, a thought or two flashed through my mind even while preaching. I didn't have a "vision", no, but certain inescapable conclusions made their imprint on my mind. Possibly you have thought about the same thing.

Jesus emptied himself of heaven's riches, and became poor, that we might have the church. He lived in such a way that he became the "tried and precious cornerstone, the sure foundation". upon which our hope is built. (Eph. 2:20-22; 1 Pet. 2:6-8.) He gave himself for the church. (Eph. 5:25.) He shed his blood to purchase the church. (Acts 20:28.) The church was so important in man's salvation that Jesus wouldn't let "the gates of hell" keep him from building it (Mt. 16:18.) When the church was built, it became the fulness of Christ, and attained unto the state of a perfect man, equipped for the work of ministering, perfecting the saints, and edifying the body of Christ. (Eph. 1:23:4:12,13.)

These truths we have preached to the world often, with the purpose of convincing them that they need the church, and that it is sufficient unto salvation, aside from all the Denominations of men. By preaching these truths, we have persuaded many to obey the Lord, that he might add them to the church. (Acts 2:47.)

But as soon as we convince people that they should be in the church by indoctrinating them, we begin to dis-indoctrinate them into believing that we need other organizations through which to care for the needy (the work of ministering), and to preach the gospel. The converted person, now a member of the church, must now unlearn all that he ever learned about the church's being able to care for its own needy, edify itself, and perfect the saints!

Or, in plain language, we must (?) build homes to care for the needy, establish colleges to edify the church, and create another organization through which to preach the gospel, none of which can exist without a life-line to the church treasury. Apparently, the only way in which the church remains essential to some, is that it is essential to the existence of the leach-like parasites that have fastened themselves onto Christ's body.

And yet, some preachers still have the nerve (occasionally), to condemn the Christian Church for causing division with its innovations, and the Catholic Church for being the Apostate in sermons about "The Church, The Falling Away, And The Restoration." Brother, if you have denied the church, you are in apostasy, and need to be restored.