Know Your Bible

VOL. 10                                                                                                                                                                                October 16, 2011                                                                                                                                                                                NO. 38


 Rascals Are Always Sociable

Schopenhauer, famous German philosopher, was so right when he made the observation which is our title. Our law enforcement agencies constantly remind us that "con-artists" never look like crooks. This is as true of purveyors of pernicious error in the religious realm as it is of crooked monetary entrepreneurs in contemporary society, and as foolish as many are in being duped by "get rich quick" schemes, they are even more susceptible in the religious realm.

This reminds me of what occurred at a Florida College Lectureship several years ago. In an audience of several hundred brethren, a preacher stood and asked to speak. His request was granted, so he asked the man seated next to him to stand. The man, obviously embarrassed, stood. The man, though unknown by face to most of the audience, was known by reputation to all as a teacher-practitioner of pernicious religious error. The first brother then said, "Many of you do not know this man; he is Brother ___________. Look at him! Do you see any horns?"

Many in the audience laughed. I did not. It was not amusing. The flamboyant introduction was obviously done to lay at rest any suspicions that faithful brethren might have concerning the man. Obviously, the flamboyant demonstration was to palliate the errors of the man being introduced, and to recommend him to the acceptance of the audience which was a cross section of conservatives throughout the nation. Whether done for this purpose or not, it had the effect of exonerating the man from the onus that rested upon him by reason of his unscriptural and divisive doctrine and practice.

I probably erred on that occasion by not arising to say: "No, we see no horns, but it was Paul, the apostle, who said concerning teachers of error in his day, 'Such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ, and no marvel,- for even Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light."' My reason for not doing so: I did not wish to be publicly unkind to the man thus introduced, for I was certain that he was not privy to what occurred. I mention the incident in this article only to address a matter that stems from the attitude demonstrated by it.

We live in a time when a "good personality" is idealized. Too many churches, when selecting preachers for meetings and local work, are more concerned about their being "personable" than they are about their knowledge of the Bible, ability to preach the Word and character to sustain it, their faith or their convictions. We do not minimize the importance of preachers developing personalities that help rather than hinder the acceptance of the truth which they preach. However, when a "good mixer" is given precedence over a "good preacher," something is fundamentally wrong with our sense of values.

We often hear brethren bewail the lack of depth in members of the church today. The "pew" will never rise above the "pulpit" is almost without exception true. People who are brought into the church (?) by the impact of human personality rather than the influence of truth and are nurtured by the same means cannot be expected to have spiritual depth or be safe from error.

      ---James W. Adams

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Searching For Runaways

Throughout this country, thousands of children are "on the streets," having left their homes in search of "freedom" from the restraints of parents, teachers, rules and regulations May of them are quite young, celebrating an eleventh or twelfth birthday "on their own." Parents and friends live in anguish not knowing the whereabouts of these children. Un-sure whether their children are living or dead, these parents and friends endure tremendous agony as they seek them out and bring these children back home. Many of these children leave home because they feel unloved and unwanted. Others run away because they actually are not welcomed at home, for one reason or another. 

Throughout the kingdom of God, thousands of God's children have turned back into the world, leaving the fold of God in search of "freedom" from God's demands. They are also running from the watchful eye of elders and other members of the family of God. These are spiritual runaways who have disassociated themselves from the body of Christ. 

Most every church has members who have "run away" from duty. They no longer attend and if we are not careful, we may even forget they exist. Too often, we fail in our duty to "round up the strays." In some cases, a "runaway" might not even be missed fro quite some time. Even after a year or more, someone may inquire "I wonder what every happened to John and Mary Doe? I never see them at a Bible class or worship service anymore." What a shame! How pitiful when some of the sheep have jumped the fence and we are so busy we don't even take notice! Elders, as shepherds, do have primary responsibility to watch out for souls, Heb. 13:17. But every faithful Christian is charged to "restore" those "overtaken in a fault" (Gal. 6:1).

It is nothing less than a terrible tragedy that so many members of the church have gone astray. Like sheep wandering away from the fold, they have placed themselves in great spiritual danger. Peter declares that a Christian who migrates back into the world is in an ugly predicament. "...The latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than after they have known it to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: 'The dog returns to his own vomit,' and 'The sow, that had washed to her wallowing in the mire.'" (2 Pet. 2:21,22). The writer of Hebrews explains that those who do not endure, but draw back, do so to the condemnation of their own souls, Heb. 10:26-29. 

  Perhaps a runaway is reading these lines. If so, please know that God still loves and cares for you. So do your brothers and sisters in Christ. We all want you to come home and take your place with the family of God.               

---Mark White 

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Drop Outs

"Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity.

--Jesus, Parable of the Sower, Luke 8:14

Frequently members of the church, apparently for no reason at all, quit attending the services. This is usually preceded by a period of indifference and spasmodic attendance. Upon closer investigation it will be found that back of it all there is usually a hindering cause. It may be that the individual has become in some entanglement with sin, so that he feels so uncomfortable when studying God's Word in class, or listening to a gospel sermon, that he prefers to quit attending, rather than be constantly reminded of his ungodliness.

His sin may be that of gambling, drinking, filthy speech, unethical business transactions, or some other equally sinful thing. There are many reasons why an individual should not act so. The following are some of them: 

1) He owes God a life of service, and if every day that he lives upon the earth were spent in faithful service, he could never compensate for all that God has done for him. 

2) Eternity is too long, hell is too hot, and heaven is too beautiful to spend life here in pursuit of things that will cause one to be lost. 

3) Setting the proper example before others is the obligation of every professing Christian. It would be tragic to so live as to miss heaven, but it would be doubly tragic to lead others to the place of eternal suffering. Be an example to your family and friends. 

4) No one has a lease on life. James said, 'Life is as a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away' (James 4:14). No doubt many will be lost who intended to do something about their condition, but death overtook them before they had prepared to meet God. Don't let it happen to you!  

---A.A. McInroe

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Know Your Bible" is e-mailed weekly by the church of Christ which meets at 112 Roberts Avenue in Wise, Virginia. If you know of others who might benefit from the articles contained in this bulletin, we would be glad to have you submit their e-mail addresses and we will include them in next week's mailing. If you are receiving this bulletin and do not wish to continue to do so, please e-mail us with your desire to be removed from the mailing list and we will remove your address promptly. Continue to the bottom of this page and further instructions will be given as to how you may contact us.

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