Vol.XI No.XI Pg.6
January 1975

Are They (We) Christians

Robert F. Turner

Someone once asked David Lipscomb if certain digressives of the day (using mechanical instruments of music in the worship, and doing the work of the church through human societies) were Christians. Here is his reply, taken from Queries &Answers; Shepherd; p. 77-f.; and digested for P.T.

A follower of Christ is a Christian. One must take Christ as his only Lawgiver, Ruler, Leader, and Governor; his Prophet (teacher), Priest (intercessor), and King (ruler). We must seek to think like Christ, to feel and purpose as Christ did, act as Christ acted, and in all things seek to follow Him.

The heart, the inner man, thinks, feels, purposes. Solomon says: Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. This means all the purposes and courses of life originate in and flow out from the heart. To follow Jesus, we must be like him in heart.

The highest desire of Jesus was to do the will of his Father. (Jn. 6:38; 5:30; Lu. 22:42) The fundamental, ruling desire of every child of God is to do the will of God, to subjugate his own will to the will of God in all things. The heart, then, that desires to change the law and order of God in anything is not right in the sight of God, no matter how kind and charitable he be.

A mans heart may be perfect, and yet he fall into sin. David was a man after Gods own heart, yet fell into grievous sin. The heart of Asa was perfect all his days, yet he fell into sin that brought the punishment of God upon him. It means that, while the desire and purposes of the heart are to serve God, the fleshly appetites and passions may tempt a man into sin. There are two classes of sins — one, the sin of the spirit, or heart, that sets aside purposely the law of God; the other, the sin of the flesh, that is drawn into sin contrary to the desires of the heart. The later sin, if it is persisted in, overcomes and perverts the spirit, or heart, and drags the man into willful sin. The sin of the heart is the presumptuous sin. It consciously and purposely sets aside the law of God and substitutes something that the person thinks will do better or is more effective in honoring God and saving men. The motive of doing good may prompt it. But it is presumption that dares to think man can improve on the appointments of God.

Men who consciously change, or modify, add to or take from, the law of God in the slightest particulars are not Christians; it is misleading to call them so. Churches that change add to, or take from the commandments of God are not churches of Christ; it is sinful to so call them. He who is not for God in such issues is against him. Be true to God.

Lipscomb hit the core of the matter when he centered upon the heart. Objectors may say a sincere man, desirous of serving God, could misunderstand his word; but such an one would continue to study, welcome assistance, and draw closer and closer to truth.