Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 7, 1959

From Whence Comes This "We"?

C. R. Mansfield, Devine, Texas

"If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion forever and ever. Amen." "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." "And these things, brethren, I have in a figure translated to myself and Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another." "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son." (1 Pet. 4:11; 2 Tim. 3:16,17; 1 Cor. 4:6; 2 John 9.)

Is it your desire and determination, beloved, to cheerfully honor and respect these passages from God's holy word? I dare say that your answer is almost, if not altogether, a ready YES. But that "yes" is as false as anything can be unless you realize that the things enjoined upon you in these passages must be your practice. "Lip-service" simply means to speak for a certain thing, but practice it not, or, to speak one way while practicing another way. Lip-service is a damnable lie. The Devil is the father of all lies — all liars shall spend eternity with Satan.

Now, beloved, to live up to that determination, that is, to cheerfully honor and respect God's word, you must be aware that you must determine that whatever you do in respect to the will of your God shall be done AFTER you have consulted God's word to learn what actually is His will in every matter. You must do this yourself; you must not be a follower of any man. You must know what God says about anything you are asked to do as a child of God. The assurance of any man is of no value in determining what you, as a Christian, should do except it be "proving all things" by the word of God. You, and you alone, shall answer for your life when you come to the judgment of God. No man then can take responsibility for your violations of God's will, nor your failures to know what that will is as you live in this world. The fact that you allowed others to deceive you will not help you, but will condemn you because God has made His word available to you, and had you consulted it and trusted it to direct you, you would not have been deceived. This will seem hard to some, and to those who refuse to face the fact of their own responsibility it may seem even unjust. But we know that it is righteous because God is responsible for it being this way. God has not fixed this requirement of us and then has made his will hard to ascertain from the Scriptures. Hence, when in trying to persuade you into an activity in the church, the persuader uses passages and then inserts some "assumed" situation that "logically" leads up to other passages which the "persuader" works hard to make say the same that he is contending for, etc.; — RUN, but fast, away from allowing yourself to get involved until and unless plain, clear, straightforward presentation of it can be found in God's word — a presentation that does not require that an "assumed" meaning be considered.

Should we all follow these simple requirements no need would exist for anxiety for the church of God anywhere. Each of us is capable of living this way, and there should be no need for any to "spell-out" an example of it, or its application, but just to make sure, a few examples can do no harm.

Great assemblies of brethren from all over the world are arranged for and carried out several times during each year. Someone, or some group, either "assumes" the obligation of arranging these great assemblies or they are "selected" by someone, or some group, for that purpose. Now, someone, or some group, must "select" those who "select" the ones who do the arranging. In turn, this last group must also be "selected" by some authority. All this makes us ask: where did the whole thing originate? The reader may ask: why should these assemblies be referred to in connection with the passages quoted in the beginning of this article? The answer is found when we examine these assemblies — what goes on, etc. It is said that no local church is bound by anything done at these assemblies. The Baptist assemblies make the same claim. What goes on? Men are chosen and recommended as especially able to "edify" brethren on certain "selected" things. This means that someone, or some group, occupy the position of knowing the certain "things" upon which the brethren need "edification". Now, these "things" that are dealt with by specially selected speakers who, in turn, are selected by "selected" ones especially able to know WHAT THINGS, at the time of the assembly, are the things upon which the brethren most need "edification." Now, where did such an arrangement come from? Do the Scriptures even hint that such an assembly is proper in order that "the brethren" may know how to do the will of God? Hundreds of elders from local churches all over the world are present, and more hundreds of other members of the Lord's churches. Is the "edification" given by the speakers and special teachers intended as proper instruction to aid them in carrying out their work in the churches? Especially, is this true concerning the special programs carried out for the benefit of elders? Are those elders present urged to recognize their responsibility concerning the "things" so fervently presented to them during the assembly? Are the elders urged to carry out the "things" uppermost in the edification received in the program of work of their respective local churches? Definitely, positively, and incontrovertibly — the answer to these questions is YES. Now, without temporal power to "enforce" the whim of some men upon all those of the churches — how much closer can you come to binding these "things" upon the churches? It is certain that those who oppose shall have to run the gauntlet thrown up by the vast number of those "on the march" of being subjected to the slur of "anti-ism", "factionist", "hate-mongers", etc. Yet, some have the unmitigated gall to say that there is no intent to "bind" anything upon the churches of God!!

If you, beloved, accept your responsibility to God for what you do, or support, in the local church, you certainly resent anything other than the word of God attempting to direct your life in doing the will of God. It cannot be successfully denied that these assemblies do attempt with every means available to those responsible for them to "influence", or even direct, the work done in the local churches. How many, and which, passages from God's word will be connected together by human philosophy so as to produce what seemingly authorizes their action? What passages instruct brethren in choosing certain brethren, with what qualifications, to occupy such an "office" among brethren everywhere? How are brethren to know how to recognize those with such a commission from God (if it isn't from God, who wants any part of it?) so that they might know that the right men are directing them in these great endeavors? Remember, beloved, it must be "as the oracles of God"; must be by "Scripture — inspired of God"; must not be "beyond that which is written"; and certainly that which is abiding "in the doctrine of Christ". It must be this way or else it will be destroyed in the great day of God "in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, and the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up."

All this that is being so ardently pushed among brethren requires money, and plenty of it. It is not surprising, therefore, that a popular magazine's editorial page is filled with concern over the "budgets" of the churches everywhere — and expressed in terms that practically condemn a church which allows its elders to try to operate without a "budget". Now, whether a church should set up a budget at all is strictly the business of the local church under the oversight of its elders. Whether "It Is Budget-Making Time" certainly is no one's business but the local church's. Who set a "time" for "budget-making", anyway? Isn't it about time that somebody was told to keep their "pea-picking" hands out of the local church's business?

In all the great assemblies one often hears such as: "WE must do________ "

— "WE cannot afford to fail such brethren as _______" In the editorial the same "WE" is very prominent. Seems as if the "WE" and those who promote the great "conferences" are mighty close kinsfolk — might even be the same people! At any rate, the whole thing belongs to a family completely unrelated to the family of God, bears no resemblance in marks of identity to the church of God, holds no promise of inheritance from the Father from whom all blessings flow, its spirit of deception exposes its origin in the father of all deception, and shall look for its inheritance in his everlasting abode.