Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 18, 1961

Too Much Mixing --- Too Little Baking

C. D. Plum, Paden City, West Virginia

Perhaps from the heading of this article, most readers will know about whom I write. If not, here is another clue. The heading could have been: "A Faithful Father — An Unfaithful Son." And if this last heading is insufficient, we could have written for the heading: "Joined To Idols." If now some do not know about whom I speak in my heading, I might as well say,


Ephraim sometimes means a place, sometimes a mount, and sometimes a person or people. In the lessons we present here Ephraim represents a person and people.

Joseph was the faithful father, and Ephraim was his second son. This reason was given for naming him Ephraim: "For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction." (Gen. 41:52) So far as Joseph was concerned, the coming of Ephraim was just another good reason for him to glorify God. "God has caused me to be fruitful," he said. If Ephraim, after he became grown, had been as careful to remember God as was his father Joseph, the warning in this lesson would not have to be given. But alas, how sad.

"Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people: Ephraim is a cake not turned." (Hosea 7:8) In Ephraim's case, as the heading of this article suggests, and as this scripture emphasizes, there was TOO MUCH MIXING and TOO LITTLE BAKING. Brethren in some places today want an Ephraim in the pulpit. We want a "good mixer" they often say. I sometimes get letters from congregations (or I used to) saying, "Can you recommend a preacher to us who is a good mixer?" Some brethren have even stated to me, "We are not too concerned about the preacher's pulpit ability, just so he can mix with the young folk." What they wanted was a preacher who could (and would) play with the young folk. As though the word of God read, "For I am not ashamed of playing, for it is the power of God for the young folk." A playing church is seldom a praying church. Now, now, don't get excited. I see no harm in parents providing wholesome recreation for their children. But for the church to employ a preacher to chaperon the young folk is a horse with another color. Like Ephraim, it is too much mixing. It is even worse than "leaving the word of God to serve tables." This the apostles refused to do. The ministry of the word is more important. Israel mingled among the heathen, learned their ways, served their idols, and was thereby ensnared. We should be very careful that in mingling among our religious neighbors we do not likewise get ourselves unscripturally snared.

"Ephraim is a cake not turned." Just baked on one side. Too little baking. How would we like for our wives to serve us with pancakes, or buckwheat cakes — half baked, not turned over? Very doughy. Would this not be very disappointing? Are we preachers like Ephraim? Do we "reprove, rebuke, and exhort" with the whole counsel of God, or only with that counsel that will appeal to the church where we preach, and will assure us a return meeting, or a longer local stay? Why are we not preaching against the evil movies any more? Is it because of TV? Why are we not preaching against mixed bathing any more? Is it because we see and condone both the boys and girls in basketball attire in school, college, and church activities, that is almost (if not totally) as bad as a swimming suit? Does getting used to seeing immodest apparel, make immodest apparel, "modest apparel?" If so, how about VICE, will frequently seeing it make it NICE? How about murder, will frequently seeing it on TV make it acceptable? Beware of too much mixing! Beware of being a cake not turned! And this goes for everybody in the church.

Hiding Sins

Ephraim couldn't hide his sins. Says God's prophet, "When I would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered." (Hosea 7:1) "Our secret sins are set in the light of his countenance." (Ps. 90:8) "There is nothing covered that shall not be revealed; neither hid that shall not be known." (Luke 12:2) Then, beware, "Too Much Mixing — Too Little Baking."

Joined To His Idols

"Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone." (Hosea 4:17) This doesn't mean not preach against Ephraim's sins. Jesus once said, "Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." (Matt. 15:14) This doesn't mean we should not preach against blind leaders and blind followers, but rather, don't become a partner in their sins. Ephraim is not the only one joined to his idols. An idol to us is anything upon which our affections are strongly and wrongly set, be it images of worship, money, human organizations, or what have you.

Cast Out

Brethren, be not deceived. Ephraim did not get away with his idolatry. Neither shall we be able to get away with it. Heed this warning: "And I will cast you out of my sight, even as I have cast out all your brethren, EVEN THE WHOLE SEED OF EPHRAIM." (Jer. 7:15) May God help us all to see, to care, to turn away from evil.