Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 6, 1956

Right Things May Be Perverted And Become Sinful; But Many Things Are Inherently Wrong, Or Sinful

Pryde E. Hinton, Dora, Alabama

It was not wrong for Israel to keep the brazen serpent so many hundreds of years. It was sinful for them to worship it; so King Hezekiah destroyed it. (2 Kings 18.)

It was right to transport the ark of the covenant from place to place as Israel moved. But it was inherently sinful to transport it by ox-cart, as David attempted to do. (1 Chron. 13 and 15.)

It was right and beneficial to have the ark of the covenant along when they went to battle. (Joshua 6.) But it was sinful and disastrous to trust in the power of the ark itself to save Israel and win the battle. (1 Sam. 4.) In that case, I have often said, "The ark of God was with them, but the God of the ark was NOT with them." That reminds me of alleged members of the church of God in reference to baptism, the Lord's Supper, etc. You'd better be baptized, you'd better take the communion of the body and blood of Christ; but you'd also better do them according to Romans 6:17, 18 and 1 Corinthians 11:23-29, respectively.

It was not wrong for Eli's sons to offer sacrifices for the people (1 Sam. 2:12-17); but it was sinful and disastrous for them to pervert the worship of God. And it was inherently sinful for King Saul to offer the sacrifice, according to 1 Samuel 13. Why?

It was right, according to God's plan and wisdom, for Israel to be ruled by judges. Therefore, there was nothing inherently wrong with Samuel's sons being their judges. It was sinful for Samuel's sons to pervert judgment, etc. (1 Sam. 8.) But no matter how sinful the judges were, no matter how they perverted judgment and misruled, it was sinful and inherently wrong for Israel to ask for and set up a kingdom!

The people sinned in finding fault with God's kind of government, simply because men had perverted it. This is today the fundamental cause of the rise of Socialism, Communism, etc., in government, and of institutionalism in Christ's church. Saul, David, and Solomon were kings of Israel during a period of 120 years. So far as I know, during all that time neither of them, nor any other of God's servants, ever spoke out in condemnation of Israel having a king. Yet according to 1 Samuel 8, God plainly said it was sinful, and would inherently bring ruin to Israel.

Brethren today reason that things are all right simply because brethren have not condemned them during many years of their existence. Is that dependable reasoning? Lipscomb, Sewell, Srygley, J. D. Tant, et al, not only did not condemn them, but were active in their support, we are reminded. So that proves that those things, such as universal programs sponsored by one church, and orphan homes like "Childhaven" are scriptural! The camel has his head, and almost all of his hump, on the inside of the tent, brethren! And we are drifting!

It proves nothing to say, "Churches and the eldership are right and scriptural; but they both sometimes are perverted and go wrong — the great apostasy was brought about by the eldership." Great wrong was brought upon Israel by the priests, Eli's sons, and the judges, Samuel's sons; but that did not prove that it was right for anybody to offer sacrifices, or that it was "scriptural" for Israel to have a king.

Is it unquestionably taught in the New Testament that the congregation is the only organization under Christ? Is it clearly taught that the congregation is the organization through which God's people are to act and work collectively? Is it safe to employ only the congregational set-up to do collective benevolent and missionary work? Is it safe to set up an organization EXACTLY like "Childhaven," Cullman, Alabama, to have the gospel more uniformly and adequately preached? "AND I DO MEAN" EXACTLY LIKE CHILDHAVEN'S ORGANIZATION! Will some brother name the officials of "Child-haven," and then say plainly that it is scriptural to set up and use the same (EXACTLY THE SAME) kind of organization to have the gospel preached to the lost? WHY DOESN'T SOMEBODY MEET THIS QUESTION WITHOUT HEDGING?