Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 15, 1960
NUMBER 32, PAGE 6-7,11

News And Views

(Charles A. Holt, Box 80, Florence, Alabama)

News From Here And There

O. B. Proctor has moved from Del Rio to Seminole, Texas....Albert F. Robinson is now with the church in Asheville, N. C.....Ordis D. Copeland has moved from Benton, Arkansas to labor with the church meeting at 14th and Main in Duncan, Oklahoma.... Howard See is moving from Lexington, Kentucky (he has worked with a group in Georgetown and Winchester, I think) to Birmingham, Alabama, where he will labor with the Fairview church.... Leo Plyler is moving from London, Kentucky to work with the Blue Ash church just out of Cincinnati, Ohio.... Cecil Cox is moving from Belgreen to Bessemer, Alabama. Jerry Sutton will move from Vinemont to Belgreen, Alabama.... Pardon a personal reference just here. The Lord willing, I will move on or about January 16 to Wichita Falls, Texas, where I will labor with the Floral Heights church. W. L. Wharton, Jr. is leaving Wichita Falls for San Antonio, where he is to work with the Highland church....I have been with the East Florence church for four years. It has been a busy and very pleasant period of labor. The decision to leave here was not easy at all. This is a fine congregation, with good elders, and they have all stood solidly behind all of my efforts to preach the truth. I could not ask for better cooperation than they have given in every way. I love these people and I think they love me and my family. Leaving such fast and true friends is never easy to do. During our four years together, we have accomplished much, not only at East Florence in particular, but in this entire section in general. The Contender, our monthly paper, has been a potent medium for helping the Cause of Truth both near and far. It has had a circulation of around 14,000 for the last year. Our daily radio program at 12:30 each day, Monday thru Friday, has created much interest and resulted in untold good. All in all it has been a great four years....The only bright side of leaving here is the prospects for a similar work in Wichita Falls, and I have every reason to believe that it will be both fruitful and pleasant. Floral Heights has conducted a Sunday radio program for several years, and it has been widely heard. At the present, brother Wharton can be heard on it and that is enough to encourage all who can to listen. It is station KWFT, 620 on the dial, at 8:00-8:30 each Sunday morning. The station can be heard as far away as 200-300 miles. Tune in and listen.... Floral Heights is the only church I know of within a 100 mile radius which stands opposed to the modern digression. So there is a big field of labor in that section. I would appreciate the names and addresses of any friends or relatives you may have in the city and information about them.

* * * * *

Unscriptural Pictures

Editors Note: A few weeks ago, the first part of an article under the above caption was carried in this column. Thanks to brother Jerry C. Ray, preacher for the West Side church in Irving, Texas, in whose bulletin I first saw these articles, I am now able to present the last part of the article. (This column does have at least one reader!) The article originally appeared in Christian Woman, July, 1951, and was written by Mrs. A. B. Finley, (mother of brother Ernest Finley) who is now Mrs. Elmer McDougal, of San Antonio, Texas. Here is the article.

The wise men from the east are always pictured as three. Why? Nowhere in the scripture can we find justification of this teaching. Wise men is plural. We know there were at least two. There might have been numbers in a large caravan. The fact that three gifts were brought to the baby king is probably foundation for this teaching.

I remember sitting in a Bible class of ladies several years ago when the preacher asked the question: "How many wise men were there?" Without hesitation the answer "Three" came from one of those in the class. With a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eyes, he requested her to bring the scripture to the class the following week where her answer was found. The next week this lady laughingly confessed that she could not find it. She said she had always thought there were three. Was she honest? Certainly, but honestly mistaken.

Only recently, I heard a woman with white hair argue that there were three wise men. She was a church member too. We tried to reason with her and she said: "I am not ready to give up yet."

Whenever we see the picture of the wise men presenting their gifts, it is always in the stable. Generally cows and sheep are pictured in the scene also. Story books usually say that the wise men came the night Jesus was born. When Christ was born, according to the law of Moses under which he lived, he was circumcised on the eighth day (Luke 2:21). When he was forty-one days old he was brought to Jerusalem to be presented to the Lord (Lev. 13:2-4, Luke 2:22). Here the sacrifice was made and Simeon took the baby into his arms and blessed the child and proclaimed him as the Lord's Christ. Evidently Joseph and Mary returned to Bethlehem with the child, for in Matthew two, we read of the visit of the wise men. After inquiring at Jerusalem of Herod, they were directed to Bethlehem and there found the child Jesus. Did they find him in the stable? No, for Matthew 2:11 and 12 says: "And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream, that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way."

After the departure of the wise men, the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph and told him to arise and take the young child and his mother and flee into Egypt. Joseph arose and took them by night into Egypt.

Instead of the wise men's visit being the night of Christ's birth, it could not have been earlier than forty-one days after his birth, because it was after the days of Mary's purification were accomplished. She was considered unclean until then, and could not enter the temple. Please read Leviticus twelve. It might have been longer than forty-one days. The fact that Herod had all of the children killed under two years old indicates that he wanted to be sure that age covered the new king's age.

Jesus was carried into Egypt soon after the visit of the wise men. So the lesson taught that the wise men were in the stable when presenting their gifts would be proof that Jesus abode in the stable a mighty long time after his birth. Do you, dear reader, believe this?

Mothers and teachers, do we examine the pictures and books that are in the possession of our young, and constantly point out to them those things that are poisonous to their young minds? Though the errors that have been pointed out may seem minor in their nature, yet if we allow our children, to accept as truth everything pictured in Bible story books, they may be misled in many vital truths.

* * *

"Signs Of The Times"

Occasionally we run a few lines with the above title in order, I hope, to warn us all about things happening in the church. Some brethren think we are making "much ado about nothing" over the brethren's doings over the country. Here is an example of what a church of Christ has and we quote from the Texline paper, or at least dated Texline, Texas: After telling of the broad extension program just completed, the "non-cushioned pews removed" and a few modernization objects done, the report says:

"The recreation hall, a short distance east of the church, is equipped for Ping-Pong and a number of other games. It can also be used for skating parties. The floor is concrete. The building also has a completely equipped kitchen and other facilities for serving banquets. A Texline Boy Scout banquet was one of the first events held in it. E. D. Sheets said the building is available to all organizations and events that are for the general purpose of improvement of the community."

How interesting. The "all organizations" would surely include YMCA, BYPU, MSU, Public schools, Red Cross, Salvation Army, and the like since they would help the community — at least in the estimation of most folks. Now, brethren, this is what I mean by our having forgotten the mission and work of the church. To spend the Lord's money to build kitchens, recreational facilities, and the like is just not done by the authority of the word. The father and mother have responsibilities to provide for their children's needs along this line, but just what scripture would you use to justify the church funds being spent for such? What responsibility does the church have to provide facilities for the secular organizations of the community to give their parties, fund raising, etc., in? Are we "Speaking as oracles of God?"

— Jady W. Copeland, Long Beach, Calif.

Love Or Legalism

The term "legalism" is defined as strict conformity to the law. A disposition very commendable on the part of all amenable to the law. The term, in religious circles however, has come to rest under general censure, as implying that such an individual is litigious in disposition, and meticulous and exacting in his attitude toward the observance of what is commonly called "little things."

The Pharisees of Jesus time who were so soundly denounced by him for their meticulous care in tithing the smallest seeds of the garden in their effort to obey the law of God concerning the tithe, but "passed by the weightier matters of the law, justice, mercy, and faith," are always introduced as the prototype of those to whom the term is supposed to be applicable. Now that these Pharisees were capital examples of legalism all right, I would not deny, but that which constituted them such, that for which Jesus criticized and condemned them, was not their effort strictly to conform to the law with regard to tithing, but the disposition which caused them, while doing so, to "Pass by the weightier matters of the law." Of their effort to conform to the law even in these lesser matters Jesus said, "These ye ought to have done," and then he added, "And not to have left the other undone."

No, Jesus certainly never reproached anyone for being as careful as possible to do just exactly what the law of God required of him in everything. And such a disposition does not constitute "legalism," as, the term has come to be used, nor does it deserve to rest under censure from any quarter. Such is a misuse of the term and a misapplication of the passage referred to above.

Jesus said also, "If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments." And there is something wrong with the love of any man who can bring himself to stigmatize as "little, unimportant, nonessential, etc." anything upon which the Lord has spoken, and then proceed to take liberties with it.

— A. Hugh Clark, Caprock bulletin, Lubbock, Texas

* * * * * * * Just Thinking

We were reading an article last week about a tiny community in the Carolinas that has had trouble keeping a preacher for any length of time. Finally the bishop of that district sent down a raw-boned stolid young preacher and strictly admonished him to try to get along with that church. The preacher was amazingly successful. After two years, the bishop, very well pleased, summoned one of the leaders of the church and sought the reason why. The leader gave the reason, "We folks out here really don't want a preacher at all and this young fellow's the closest we've come to it."

We are just wondering if this doesn't just about describe the conditions of a lot of churches where the preachers are nothing but promoters, drawing top pay for their services, pleasing the populace and failing to preach the gospel of Christ.

One thing we know for sure, some churches do not want a preacher, that is, a man who will declare the whole counsel of God without fear or favor. From the advertisements sent out, we know this to be a fact. Some churches advertise for men who have no hobbies (no convictions) and are not antis (not against anything). Some churches are little concerned about the lost souls of men but rather concerned about a social gathering of the upper crust that a false front may be seen of men. Consequently, they desire the services of a man who is the nearest to nothing that can be paid not to preach the truth.

If a preacher wants to get along with the modern church he must learn to water his sermons, cater to the ways of the world, entertain the flock with pulpit book reviews and deal with only the current events that the majority are interested in. By so doing he is apt to stay for a long season and receive regular increases in salary to meet the high increase in living costs. BUT WHO WANTS TO BE A NOTHING?

— Wilson M. Coon, The Perk-UP

* * * *

More Signs Of The Times

The following article appeared in THE GROVETON (Texas) NEWS, Nov. 10, 1960.

Social Honoring Football Boys Sunday Night

The Groveton Football team will be honored Sunday night at 7:30 o'clock at the Church of Christ in Groveton by the ladies of the church. After regular worship service refreshments will be served to the football boys and their dates, coaches and their wives, leaders of the Pep Squad and their dates, also the administration and members of the school board are invited.

The members of the Church of Christ extend a cordial invitation to all citizens to attend the services and social.

Be it understood that this is only ONE of the churches in the city. This is the liberal group that has as its preacher Bill Thompson. This, of course, is no surprise to me nor any of the faithful brethren in this area. They are only following the course of digression. How much further they will go, we know not.

The brethren for which I preach, broke away from this group some three years ago. I have preached the issues and am convinced that these brethren will stand. We are known as the West Side.

Perhaps you are acquainted with Bill Thompson. He also preaches for the new liberal faction here in Lufkin (Central). He is the "daddy" of the above.

Just wanted to inform the Brotherhood of the condition of some of the so-called churches of Christ and to set the record straight as to the attitude and stand of the West Side church in Groveton on this thing. We do not approve of it, neither do we uphold their actions in any way — rather we are doing all we can to let the people of Groveton know we believe this to be unscriptural.

Enjoy reading your NEWS AND VIEWS in the Guardian.

— Richard Cravy

* * * * * * New Congregation In Orange

Some brethren in Orange county have considered for some time beginning a congregation in the city of Orange, and as of today (Nov. 20) that dream has become a reality. Brother Junior West, who until recently, preached for the Nelson Street church in Garden Grove, will preach for the new congregation. They will meet temporarily in a public hall at 124 S. Orange, in the city of Orange, Calif. We commend it to the brethren, and wish to make it clear that we wish for this group the best in the work of the Lord.

— Bulletin, East Long Beach, Calif.