Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 25, 1961
NUMBER 4, PAGE 8b-9a


B. M. Strother

Years ago, before "the pastor system" had taken over brethren would call out to the speaker when he was thought to be in error. This incident occurred at the breaking of bread: An elder brother, preacher, was serving at the table, and when the Supper was finished, he began to speak further, was called out of order by a brother, saying, "After the Supper they sang a hymn and went out." The speaker's reply: "Yes, they went to Mt. Olivet, but we can hardly do that." Our modern programming restricts freedom of speech within the assembly, 1 Cor. 14.

The following story has such force, I think it well to repeat. The Baptists had become so emboldened in the community, challenging for debate, and as there was no David at hand to meet the Goliath, the brethren were disturbed at the turn of events. Propositions were submitted, one of which was on baptism. Finally, in the distress, an old brother, a little more than able to read, accepted the challenge. It became his to lead in the opening speech. Of course his opponent knew he had a push-over. The old brother approached the speaker's stand, Bible in hand. He fumbled through the leaves, finally opened at Mark 16:16, and then thumbed the pages to Acts 2:38. After he had read both he took his seat. This was so unexpected, his opponent was unprepared to answer, but spent his time jamming the wave lengths. After he had finished, the old brother got to the stand, turned again to Mark 16:16 and Acts 2:38 and said, "Brethren, it is still there." Our modern debaters might learn from this story. No man can fight against God, and to stay with the Book will defeat the adversary. Christ, to the devil said, "it is written" — that was all the old brother knew.

Not until I was an old man did I hear gospel preachers defending the idea of joining the church, using Paul's stop-over at Jerusalem for a fifteen day visit with Peter as proof. This is the kind of reasoning that makes Timothy "The Pastor" at Ephesus and justifies the system. We can expect the college brethren to justify support of schools based on Paul's disputing in the school of Tyrannus, at Ephesus. We, too, have made the scripture elastic to cover our inventions.

Paul is made proof for the preacher's wages, having robbed other churches, "taking wages of them." Brother C. R.nichol said to me some eight or ten years ago that James 1:27 was more abused than any scripture, by brethren, and that unless a halting of institutional programs was had, the church would be sapped of her revenues and the gospel would be greatly hindered. Some oldsters remember the first orphan home among the brethren in Texas, as we do the first "located preacher," how this idea was slow to take root, how this first home had its trials and death. Yet to many we would suppose this as old as the church. I recall the record that Nichol's father was an orphan and cared for by a Mr. Pee. I was an orphan from birth, but those of my kin cared for me. Esther, the Jewish maid who lived to become a queen, was an orphan, but raised by her kin, Mordecai. These show us the scriptural way, I Timothy 5:8. The antiquated way before inventive man had set up an idol and called it an orphanage. In the beginning man was upright, but since has become an inventor of much evil. See Ecclesiastes 7:29.