Know Your Bible

VOL. 14                                                                                                                         October 16, 2016                                                                                                                            NO. 31



J. W. McGarvey is recognized as one of the outstanding Bible scholars of the restoration movement of the 1800's. He was in the prime of his life (1829-1912) when the controversy over the use of instrumental music in church worship divided brethren in this country. While McGarvey personally opposed instrumental music in church worship, history tells us that he tried to combat it by tolerating its practice. Nearing the end of his life, he gave the following assessment of this approach to dealing with error among brethren to a young preacher.  It is worth repeating:

"You are on the right road, and whatever you do, don't let anyone persuade you that you can successfully combat error by fellowshipping it and going along with it. I have tried. I believed at the start that was the only way to do it.  I've never held membership in a congregation that used instrumental music. I have, however, accepted invitations to preach without distinctions between churches that used it and churches that didn't. I've gone along with their papers and magazines and things of that sort. During all these years I have taught the truth as the New Testament teaches it to every young preacher who passed through the College of the Bible. Yet, I do not know of more than six of them who are preaching the truth today. It won't work."

The New Testament also teaches us "it won't work." Accommodation with error does not promote unity (Eph. 4:3-6). It promotes compromise, corrupting those who attempt to fellowship error (2 Cor. 6:14-18; 11:2-4). It produces the loss of fellowship with God as it causes one to partake in error (2 Jn. 9-11). Yet, brethren still try to use this approach with error today - the social gospel, divorce and remarriage, evolution, denominationalism and many more. It won't work today, either. Do not bury your head in the sand! Error will not go away! It must be opposed for the sake of truth and the salvation of our souls (Jude 3-4; Gal. 2:4-5)!

—Joe R. Price

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"I am just not included at church - I am given no part." That is really sad - if true. It is not God's intent. God designed a local church to depend upon each member. He expects every member to contribute to the body - “...the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share" (Eph. 4:16). Thus, in God's design "every part" "may grow up in all things" (4:15). The ultimate aim is to "present every man perfect in Christ" (Col.1:28). If such work is not in progress, something is seriously wrong.

If a church excludes some members from the edifying process – excludes them from either the giving or the receiving - drastic changes must be made. Without doubt, it does happen. The poor are given a corner. "Odd" brethren are hidden away to prevent embarrassment. Those with an ugly past - and scars still evident - are shunned. The "not very smart" are dismissed as unimportant.  Inexcusable! They are God's children; he made a place for them in his church. Woe to those who deny God's sons their rightful place and their inheritance in God's household! God himself has designed a place - and a job for you. "God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased" (1 Cor.12:18). There are no unnecessary or useless body parts. However, maybe you misunderstood what that part is! And maybe you want the part that "pleases" you rather than the part that pleases Him!

"I am not included" often means "I do not lead the singing."  Wait! Who said you must lead singing to be involved? Is plain pew singing not involvement? Is the voice in the crowd not "included." Are the people with poor musical endowment not included? They sing poorly, but they sing! - as God expects. They are not excluded because they do not lead singing? What about women? They never lead singing. Are they excluded from singing?

Did "I am not included" mean "I was not asked to lead public prayer"? Must all lead public prayer? Surely not! Must all participate in prayer? Absolutely! This explains the need for everyone to understand each prayer and to be able to say "amen" (1 Cor.14:16).  Their "amen" is the door for their involvement in that prayer.  Again, just because women do not lead public prayer; are they uninvolved?

"I am not involved" may translate "I am not asked to teach or preach." Where did such an idea originate? Are you only involved if you are "up front?" Is learning not a part? Is a listener not included? Does comment or question from a classroom pew not qualify as involvement? Not all preach. God excluded women from preaching (1 Tim.2:12) - new converts should not - the ill informed should not - unskilled public teachers should not - those with bad attitude or character problems should not. Yet all these must be included in the church's instruction process.

"Running things," is often confused with being involved.  Being "up front" - "in the public eye" - "the center of attention" becomes all important. Well, get over it! Such attitudes absolutely disqualify for any leadership role. Remember: every member of the body does not have the same job. "Up front" may not be your job!  Because you are not the "boss" - or the "mouth" does not mean you have no part! Be a "helping hand." Consider a role like the family of Stephanas - who "devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints" (1 Cor.16:15).  They were involved.  Who prevents you doing that? Get involved like widows who "washed the saints' feet, relieved the afflicted" (1 Tim.5:10). Who objects? What about imitating Dorcas who was "full of good works and charitable deeds”(Acts 9:36ff), or Phoebe who was a "servant of the church in Cenchrea" and who was "indeed ... a helper of many” (Rom. 16:1,2)? Isn’t that being involved? Mend and heal those "overtaken in a fault" (Gal.6:1). Who excludes you?

Maybe we just expected a different involvement! Is only a high and honored part suitable? Watch out! Beware of pride that disdains the small and unglamorous roles. Get over climbing the ladder. Do what you can - no matter what it is. There is plenty you can do and no one will object. Do what you are asked to do - no matter what. They will surely ask if you volunteer to help! Participate in assemblies – whether leading or following. Contribute to Bible studies - from a seat or the podium. Exhort and encourage brethren whether privately or publicly. Support the weak (Acts 20:35), comfort the discouraged, reprove the wayward, uphold the weak (1 Thess. 5:14). There is a lot of important work for you to do. I guarantee there is room enough to be involved - up to your ears even.

—Joe Fitch

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1.  Resolve not to miss a single service of the church. No excuses!

2.  Read and study your Bible every day, even if it means turning off the TV for a little while.

3.  Try praying every time you have a problem or a decision to make. Pray for others, even pray for your enemies.

4.  Make it your responsibility to bring at least one visitor to the services.

5.  Take at least one night to go visiting -- visit the elderly, the sick, recent visitors to our services.


Try this for a month.  You’ll be  surprised at the results.

-- Selected

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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.

--- E.R. Hall, Jr.





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