Contend For The Faith!

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1 Vl. 7, N. 2 February 1996 Cntend Fr The Faith! Wade Lee Webster Jude wrte, "Belved, when I gave all diligence t write unt yu f the cmmn salvatin, it was needful fr me t write unt yu, and exhrt yu that ye shuld earnestly cntend fr the faith which was nce delivered unt the saints. Fr there are certain men crept in unawares, wh were befre f ld rdained t this cndemnatin, ungdly men, turning the grace f ur Gd int lasciviusness, and denying the nly Lrd Gd, and ur Lrd Jesus Christ" (Jude 3-4). Jude saw the need t write the brethren and t exhrt them t "earnestly cntend fr the faith" because f false teachers that had "crept in unawares." Jude culd write this same letter t any hst f cngregatins tday. Let's ntice three things these verses teach the Christian abut "cntending fr the faith." First, we see the MANNER in which we are t cntend. Jude said we are t earnestly cntend. The phrase "earnestly cntend" is literal ly "t wrestle, strive, r agnize." The secular writers used these wrds t describe the intense effrt that the athletes put frth t win the Grecian games f the first century. Paul, in cmparing the Christian life t a race, used similar terminlgy (1 Cr. 9:24-25). Likewise, the phrase "earnestly cntend" describes the intense effrts which are t char acterize the faithful as they stand fr the truth. We cannt give a half hearted stand fr truth and fulfill this cmmand. The Lrd has never been satis fied with thse wh are trying t remain in the middle between what's right and what's wrng. He cndemned the Ladiceans fr their lukewarmness and the cngrega tins f Pergams and Thyatira because they failed t stand against the false teachers that were amng them (Rev. 3:14-16; 2:12-15,20). We must never be "ashamed f the gspel fchrist: fr it is the pwer f Gd unt salvatin t everyne that believeth; t the Jew first, andals t the Greek" (Rm. 1:16). Secnd, we see the MESSAGE fr which we are t cntend. Jude said that we are t earnestly cntend fr "the faith." The phrase "the faith" stands fr the system f faith that we have revealed fr us in the New Testament. Fr example, in the bk f Galatians we read cncerning Paul, "But they had heard nly, That he which persecuted us in times past nw preacheth the faith which nce he destryed" (Gal. 1:23). Als, in the bk f Acts we read that "a great cmpany f the priests were bedient t the faith" (Acts 6:7). As Christians, we are nt t cn tend fr just any religius dctrine, but, rather, we are t cntend fr what the New Testament teaches. Third, we see the MEN with whm we are t cntend. Jude wrte, "Fr there are certain men crept in unawares..." (Jude 4). Here, Jude tld the brethren the men against whm they were t cntend fr the faith false teachers. These false teachers were trying t turn "thegrace fur Gd int lascivius ness." Jude wanted the brethren t stand up fr the truth, which includ ed standing against these false teachers. After warning the brethren f the presence f the false teachers, Jude begins a lengthy descriptin f the false teachers t help the brethren t be able t detect them (vs.8-16). Jude wanted these brethren t have the attitude that Paul expressed in the bk f Gala tians. Paul wrte, "And that because ffalse brethren unawares brught in, wh came in privily t spy ut ur liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us int bndage: T whm we gave place by subjectin, n, nt fr an hur; that the truth fthe gspel might cntinue with yu" (Gal. 2:4-5). We are nt t harbr false teach ers but rather t mark and avid them (Rm. 6:17-18). False teachers may appear t be the ministers f righteusness, but they are in reali ty the ministers f Satan (2 Cr. 11:15). We must nt supprt them in any way lest we becme partakers f their evil deeds and suffer with them in their cndemnatin (2 Jhn 9-11). Jude wrte the brethren t teach them the manner in which they were t cntend, the message fr which they were t cntend, and the men against whm they were t cntend. May we als heed Jude's wrds and stand against the false teachers f ur day wh are making "havc fthe church." 504 S. Main St. Piedmnt, AL 36272

2 2/10 Seek The Old Paths - February 1996 IF, THEN, Wmen Interpreters All wh believe that nly that which is authrized is accept able t Gd, and wh believe that nly the revelatin f Gd authrizes, view the "IF" "THEN" line f reasning irrefutable when the IF prpsitin is crrect and the THEN cnclusin is lgically cn nected. In view f this, please cn sider the fllwing. What teaching r practice was frbidden (nt authrized) in the first century by the New Testa ment, but is permissible (auth rized) tday? Can yu think f any teaching that was wrng then but is nt wrng nw? Can yu think f any practice that was wrng then but is nt wrng nw? IF it was a sin in the early church, THEN it is a sin nw. If there were dctrines and practices which were wrng in the first century but are permissi ble nw, then where is the revela tin that authrizes such dctrines and practices? tury t steal (Eph. 4:28), THEN it is a sin tday. IF it was a sin t be a drunkard in the first century (Gal. 5:21), THEN it is a sin tday. IF adultery was a sin in the early church (1 Cr. 6:9-11), THEN adultery is a sin tday. IF instrumental music was a sin in the first century (Eph. 5:19), THEN it is a sin tday. These "IF THEN" statements hld true with every sin mentined in the many lists fund thrughut the New Testament (Rm. 1:21-32; Gal. 5:19-21; 1 Cr. 6:9-11; 2 Tim. 3:1-7). Ntice hw this same principle hlds true in regards t the rle f wmen in the church. tury fr a wman t preach (1 Cr. 14:34-35; 1 Tim. 2:8-12), THEN it is Garland M. Rbinsn a sin tday. tury fr a wman t lead prayer in the presence f men (1 Tim. 2:8), THEN it is a sin tday. IF it was a sin fr a wman t wait n the Lrd's table in the first century church (1 Tim. 2:11-12), THEN it is a sin tday. tury wrship assembly fr a wman t speak as an interpreter (1 Cr. 14:34-35), THEN it is wrng in the twentieth century. tury wrship assembly fr a wman t functin in any capacity which caused her t have authrity ver men (1 Cr. 14:34-35; 1 Tim. 2:8-12), THEN it is a sin tday. Sme are arguing "1 Crinthi ans 14 desn't cunt" in rder t cir cumvent the plain teaching that a wman must remain silent in regards t "exercising authrity ver men in a wrship assembly" (1 Cr. 14:34-35). It is claimed we can nt use 1 Cr. 14:34-35 tday because it des nt apply t us; i.e., that we cannt use any passage in regards t an assembly wherein miraculus gifts were being exer cised. Their cnclusin is that since we d nt have miraculus gifts tday, then whatever was said t thse brethren in that first century assembly des nt apply t us. But let's see ifthis is cnsistent with the text? 1 Crinthians 14:5 clearly shws that the church is edified WHEN the audience understands the Wrd that is preached. With a freign language speaker, the Wrd is nt understd unless it is inter preted! IF the message is nt inter preted, THEN the church is nt edi fied. IF the message is interpreted, THEN the church is edified. There was n understanding and there- fre n edificatin withut the mes sage being interpreted. The inter preter was bviusly invlved in the prcess f the church being edified, fr withut that persn, the wrd that was preached was spken int the "air" (v.9). "And even things withut life giving sund, whether pipe r harp, except they give a dis tinctin in the sunds, hw shall it be knwn what is piped r harped" (v.7)? IF ne des nt understand what is spken, THEN he is a bar barian (freigner) t the ne wh speaks (v.11). IF a wman culd nt serve as an interpreter in the wrship assembly f 1 Crinthians 14, THEN hw can she functin as an interpreter in the wrship assembly tday? By the cmmn practice f thse wh use wmen t interpret tday, it is implied that a wman culd als functin as an inter preter in the first century church PROVIDED she exercised n spiri tual gift in the prcess. In ther wrds, she culd nt interpret in the first century if she did s by inspiratin; but, IF she was nt inspired, THEN she culd functin as an interpreter. This is nnsensi cal! If anything, the ppsite wuld be true. By inspiratin, she wuld be able t functin perfectly in the capacity as an interpreter. There wuld be abslutely n danger f her making a mistake r ging beynd what was spken by the man by either adding t r taking frm what he said. By being inspired, she wuld be guaranteed that her interpreting wuld be exactly what the man said, n mre and n less; and, therefre, in accr dance with Gd's Will. IF it can be explained t the audience tday (as many say they are ding) that a wman interpreter is nt exercising authrity ver men, that she is simply a muth piece r expedient, THEN surely it culd have been explained t the audience in the first century that a wman was nt exercising authri ty ver men! IF it can be dne tday, THEN it culd have been dne in the first century. Ntice als: IF men culd nt speak unless they tk turns in the first century (1 Cr. 14:27), THEN

3 February Seek The Old Paths 3/11 they cannt speak in the church tday unless they take turns. There wuld be nthing but cnfusin if we all were t speak at the same time! Sme cnclude that because a miraculus element was invlved in the assembly f 1 Cr. 14, that the regulatins gverning that assem bly d nt apply tday. IF thse reg ulatins (restrictins) d nt apply tday, THEN men in ur assemblies can speak withut taking turns! If nt, why nt? Cnsider als, were the men f 1 Cr. 14:27 inspired when they spke? The answer is yes! IF it nly applied t them while they were inspired, THEN it des nt apply when they were nt inspired. IF it des nt apply when they were nt inspired, THEN they culd all speak at the same time! Therefre, they culd all speak at the same time THEN, IF they were uninspired, just like men tday can all speak at the same time because we are uninspired! That als is nn sensical and causes an assembly f great cnfusin. Any man wh spke in a "tngue" (freign language) was fr bidden t speak, i.e., "keep silence in the church" (1 Cr. 14:28), when n interpreter was present t translate what he said. The wrd "silence" here is the same wrd translated "hld his peace" in verse 30 and "silence" in verse 34 when it is said that wmen must "keep silence in the churches." What these verses say t ne (the wmen), they say t the ther (the men). Whatever restrictins were bund upn the ne, were bund upn the ther. IF the wmen had t keep silence in the church (v.34), THEN the men had t keep silence in the church (v.28). Hwever, it is clear frm the cntext that the men had t keep silence with respect t a certain cnditin; i.e., they were t keep silence nly when there was n interpreter present t translate what they said. But, n such "exceptin" was placed upn the wmen. They were t keep silence perid! But, in what respect were they (i.e., men speaking with n inter preter and wmen in general) t keep silent? Was it a blanket silence? Culd these men and wmen lift up their vices in sng with the cngregatin? Certainly they culd (Eph. 5:19). Culd they speak a wrd t crrect r tend t their children that sat by their side (Eph. 6:4)? Certainly. Culd they cugh if they had t (a cugh is nt silence!)? In what respect then in what regard were they each t keep silent? The silence impsed upn them was in respect t the public teaching f Gd's Wrd! Nei ther ne f them (men r wmen) culd participate in instructing the audience in the Wrd f Gd while bund under "silence." IF the "silence" f verse 34 frbad a wman t sing with the cngrega tin, THEN it frbad the men f verse 28 t sing with the cngrega tin. But wh believes such? Nt I. Culd we use a chain f inter preters? Wuld it be permissible t have ne male speaker and tw, three, fur r mre interpreters? This is a real situatin in an audi ence with multiple languages sp ken. Culd these tw, three, fur r mre interpreters be wmen? Wh in the audience wuld believe that these wmen were nt preaching and/r exercising a majr part in that assembly? Accrding t 1 Crinthians 14:40, "all things were t be dne decently and in rder." But IF the limitatins r restrictins men tined in this chapter nly applied 15th Annual Suthwest Lectureship April 14-17, 1996 "Precius Bible - Bk Divine" SOUTHWEST Church f Christ 8900 Manchaka Rad Austin, TX t that assembly because f the presence f miracles, THEN this verse des nt apply tday. But wh wuld cnclude that we are nt bund by the regulatin f this verse? D nt we all appeal t this verse t shw that ur wrship assemblies must be cnducted decently and in rder? Yea, verily! Whatever was a sin in the first century church is a sin tday. 10th Annual Nrthwest Lectureship May 4-5,1996 "11 Thessalnians" JEROME Church f Christ c/ Rn Thmas 613 Sixth Ave. East Jerme, ID CONTRIBUTORS Verna Church fchrist $50 Sumpter Barnes $50 Jseph Britt $25 W. D. Stugh $50 Annymus $125 Gary Wilder $5 Annymus $30 L. O. Wrd $25 Lenard Hgan $70 Mark Lance $5 Shirley Duthit $10 Mary M. Spence $45 Drthy Bryant $20 Danville Church f Christ $150 Virgil Cretsinger $5 Brent McCullch $10 Myrn Mrris $10 Nilas O. Manley $43 Rnald Keever $10 Jhn M. Brwn $50 Jimmy Cantrell $5

4 4/12 Seek The Old Paths - February 1996 WARNINGS Wayne Cx Warn: "t infrm plainly and strngly f pssible truble" (The Randm Huse Cllege Dictinary, c. 1982, p. 1483). Fr bth yung and ld alike, warnings are a part fur lives each day. Children are warned nt t play in the street, nt t tuch the ht stve, and nt t take candy frm strangers. Teenagers and adults are warned abut alchl and drug abuse and the evils f assciating with the wrng crwd. The surgen general warns that cigarette smk ing may be hazardus t ne's health; recent reprts reveal that secnd-hand smke is als detrimen tal. The televisin "beeps" and tells us f a winter strm warning, severe thunderstrm warning r trnad warning. If ne breaks the speed limit, he may be frtunate enugh just t get a warning rather than a citatin. Althugh we smetimes regard warnings as a bther, anny ance, nuisance, etc., they serve t help us avid danger they are fr ur wn welfare. Warnings are prevalent thrugh ut Scripture, and they t serve a vital purpse. Gd's cmmandments and judgments were created fr warning: "The fear f the Lrd is clean, enduring fr ever: the judg ments fthe Lrd are true and right eus altgether...mrever by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping fthem thereis great reward" (Psalm 19:9,11). The wrd "warn" and its derivatives ccur sme twenty-nine times in the King James Versin in bth Old and New Testaments. Fr instance: "Sn f man, I have made thee a watchman unt the huse f Israel: therefre hear the wrd at my muth, and give them warning frm me"(ezek.3:17). "Therefre watch, and remember that by the space f three years I ceased nt t warn every ne night and day with tears"(acts 20:31). Paul nt nly warned the elders at Ephesus, he als warned the Crinthians (1 Cr. 4:14), the unruly (1 Thess. 5:14), and every man in general (Cl. 1:28). Paul's threefld charge t yung Timthy was "reprve, rebuke, and exhrt" [i.e. warn] (2 Tim. 4:2), since the day was cming when s many wuld nt endure the prclamatin f sund dctrine, but wuld chse rather t hear ear-tickling, back-slapping sphistry which wuld save n ne. Just as there was a place in preaching fr warning in the first century, there is als in the twenti eth! In fact, we cannt preach the "whle cunsel fgd"(acts 20:27) if we refrain frm giving needed adm nitins and wrds f cautin. What are sme things abut which Chris tians shuld warn peple? SATAN "Be sber, be vigilant; because yur adversary the devil, as a rar ing lin, walketh abut, seeking whm he may devur"(1 Peter 5:8). Althugh sme deny the exis tence f Satan, he is alive and well n planet earth! The Bible describes the devil in varius ways: (1) He is a murderer: "He was a murderer frm the begin ning" (Jhn 8:44). (2) He is a liar: "When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh f his wn: fr he is a liar, and the father fit" (Jhn 8:44). (3) He is a deceiver: he "deceiveth the whle wrld" (Rev. 12:9); Paul warned f his ability t transfrm him self int an angel f light (2 Cr. 11:14). (4) He is the tempter: "And when the tempter came t him" (Matt. 4:3). Frm the abve descriptins f Satan, it is readily apparent that he des nt seek ur best interests. He is ur number ne enemy, and is relentless in his pursuit f trying t bring abut ur ruin and spiritual destructin. Therefre, heed the warning and resist him (James 4:7)! SIN Scripture classifies the fllwing as sin: (1) Vilating ne's cnscience (Rm. 14:13). (2) Knwing t d gd and nt ding it (James 4:17). (3) Breaking Gd's law (1 Jhn 3:4). (4) Failing t keep Gd's cm mands (1 Jhn 5:17). Sin is inseparably linked t Satan's wrk f temptatin: "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away f his wn lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath cn ceived, it bringeth frth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth frth death" (James 1:14-15). The tempter is adept at his wrk in seducing man a fact with which we are all t familiar, fr "all have sinned" (Rm. 3:23). We shuld send frth a "red alert" against all the manifld sins f ur day, such as immrality, frnica tin, hatred, bitterness, strife, envy, lying, immdesty, drunkenness, et al. May we never be guilty f mini mizing sin by referring t it as "immature develpment", "negative gdness", "misdirectin", r a "mere mistake." Lust is nt lve; prngra phy is nt art; dishnesty is nt shrewdness; and hmsexuality is nt a bilgical maladjustment. Friends, whitewashing sin des nt change it frm what it really is! The wrld in general and the church in particular need a gd dse f strng Bible preaching against such specific sins t prduce cnversin and t prevent apstasy. Let us be cura geus in bth defending and living the truth and denying sin's place in ur lives. Heed the warning and flee sin (1 Cr. 6:18)! SIN'S CONSEQUENCES Peple ften minimize the cnse quences f sin by saying: "It will all

5 February Seek The Old Paths 5/13 cme ut in the wash"; "One hun dred years frm nw it will be frgt ten"; "He's just swing his wild ats"; r "Bys will be bys." Hw flish t belittle the disastrus effects fsin! What are the tragic cnse quences f sin? "The wages fsin is death" (Rm. 6:23). "Be nt deceived; Gd is nt mcked: fr whatsever a man sweth, that shall he als reap. Fr he that sweth t his flesh shall f the flesh reap crruptin..." (Gal. 6:7-8). Gd's law fswing and reap ing is as ld as time. The law hlds true in the physical realm as well as in the spiritual. One cannt sw wild ats and pray fr a crp failure he must face the cnsequences! Many times, sin's effects are felt in this life. Fr instance, the drunk ard may die in an autmbile acci dent r with cirrhsis f the liver as a direct result fhis sin f drinking. Hspitals are filled with thse suf fering the ravages faids as a cn sequence ftheir immrality. Every time, sin's effects are felt in the next life unless they are repented f, fr hell is the eternal cnsequence f unrepentant sin! As ne has said, "Sin is the nly thing that will keep yu ut fheaven; it is the nly thing that will put yu in hell. Indeed, sin is a three-letter wrd which begins the lngest sen tence." In view f such, we cannt affrd t ignre sin's cnsequences. Yet the majrity f mankind des just that! In May f 1953 a trnad struck the city f Wac, Texas. The twister left 114 dead, 600 injured, and 52 millin dllars in prperty damage. Hwever, the death tll culd have been minimal since the weather bureau gave ample warning. One wman said, "I heard the warning, but never thught it wuld really happen." Myriads tday reflect that same dispsitin tward Gd's warn ing "Prepare t meet me in bedi ence, r be cast int eternal trment." N dubt, many will ne day say that they t heard the warning, but never really believed that Gd wuld send men t hell. Heed the warning! Obey Gd tday thrugh gspel be dience; remain faithful t Him always! P.O. Bx 216 Verna, MS The Respnsibility f the Cngregatin t the Elders James W. Byd Peace, prgress, and faithfulness fa cngregatin depends n members ding their duty t the elders as well as elders ding their duty t the church. The church was established and rganized by Christ. All infr matin we have abut the way the church is suppsed t be is fund in the New Testament. Christ is the head f the church and has preemi nence in all things t the church (Cl. 1:18). The system f gvern ment is relatively simple and effi cient when men fllw the Lrd's plan. We read f there being elders in every church (Acts 14:23) as was true in Philippi (Phil. 1:1). The cn gregatins were verseen by elders, served by deacns, taught by preach ers and teachers, and every Christ ian a part f the church, being mem bers f the bdy (1 Cr. 12:27). This is the New Testament pattern fr the gvernment f the lcal cngre gatin under the headship f Christ and the authrity granted by Him t the apstles as they were guided by the Hly Spirit, their teaching being nw embdied in the inspired, authritative, all-sufficient, infalli ble, and inerrant Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:16,17). Thse wh serve in the capacity felders and deacns are t be men f certain specified qualifica tins which are revealed in First Timthy chapter three and Titus chapter ne. Elders have duties bth t Gd and t the cngregatin they ver see. There are varius terms in the New Testament that dente them and their wrk, such as pastr, shep herd, elder, bishp, presbyter and verseer. Their duties we have dis cussed in the last tw mnths' issues. The cngregatin als has respnsibilities t thse wh serve as elders. Serving as an elder and being a part f the eldership (the plurality f men wh jintly versee the cngregatin) is ne f the mst awesme and sbering duties that a human being can undertake. We must respect the magnitude f this wrk. We culd nly wish that all wh are elders realized its signifi cance, and many d. We culd wish that all members cnsidered it as they ught. The Bible teaches that the elders shall give an accunt (Heb. 13:17). The wrk fan elder is a wrk t be dne and Scripture calls it a gd wrk (1 Tim. 3:1). But just as elders are t assume and dis charge this wrk, the cngregatin is als t meet respnsibilities t them because each Christian shall give accunt f himself regarding these duties as well as all f life (Rm. 14:12; 1 Cr. 5:10). DOUBLE HONOR First Timthy 5:17,18, "Let the elders that rule well be cunted wr thy fduble hnr, especially they wh labr in the wrd and dctrine. Fr the scripture saith. Thu shalt nt muzzle the x that treadeth ut the crn. And, a labrer is wrthy f his reward." Elders are t be held with hnr, even duble hnr. They nt nly shuld receive mral and spiritual supprt and esteem, but

6 6/14 Seek The Old Paths - February 1996 als supplied with physical and material supprt if needed as they d their wrk. If they are s prvid ed, even as an x is nt t be denied the fruit f its labr, then elders wuld be allwed mre time t devte their energies fr the perfr mance f their duties, especially the duty f attending t matters f dc trine and the wrd. We smetimes frget that thse wh are elders usu ally have all f the individual and family duties that thers have plus the duties f being an elder. They must prvide a livelihd fr them selves and their families as d thers but als expend much time and wrk in caring fr the cngregatin in all the ways they are bligated. While they deserve the respect and mral supprt when they serve well, they ught nt be frced t neglect any f this wrk because they have t expend themselves in lesser duties. Whatever they need t discharge their wrk as elders ught t be pr vided by the cngregatin. First Thessalnians 5:12,13, "And we beseech yu, brethren, t knw them which labr amng yu, and are ver yu in the Lrd, and admnish yu; and t esteem them very highly in lve fr their wrk's sake. And be at peace amng yur selves." T knw them that labr means mre than just knwing their names t identify them. I have fund that many members f the lcal church t nt even knw wh the men are wh serve as elders f the cngregatin. This is a fault f mem bers that can be easily erased. It may be that sme elders are s inac tive that nbdy takes ntice f them and the fault lies with them. But knwing them means t have knwl edge that they ccupy such a place and understand their wrk, and then give recgnitin that they are serving in this mst serius duty, respecting the duty they perfrm. It means giving recgnitin that they serve the church, and then give recgnitin f the service rendered. It means they are accepted by the members f the cngregatin they versee. The very wrk they d demands special recgnitin t be given them. It is wrng t ask a per sn t assume this wrk and appint him t the wrk and then withhld frm him what he needs, r nt wrk with them cperatively in carrying ut the wrk. ESTEEM IN LOVE This same passage says t esteem them highly in lve. This lve is nt favritism, nr simply a sentimental feeling tward them. This des nt have reference t a persnal affectin, althugh that might be included. Many members really have an affectin fr the gd men that lead them in spiritual pathways. It is rather a lve that seeks the elder's highest gd, a lve f him and fr him and his wife because fthe sacred wrk he is per frming fr the whle cngregatin, dne n behalf f thers, and by the authrity f Christ. This lve must express itself in deeds as well as wrds. It calls fr being helpful, respnsive, cperative, respectful, ready t carry ut assignments, helping them carry ut their duties. Gd expects members t help, nt hinder. When the eldership is nt running smthly, it pssibly is due t frictin amng them, but it is als ften due t the lack f cperatin by members. We have heard brethren speak f hw they lve their elders, but they d nt lift their hand t assist them in expediting the wrk the cngregatin under takes. Lve fr the eldership stems frm lve fr the wrk verall, and respect fr the wrk fr Gd that elders d. SLOW TO ACCUSE First Timthy 5:19, "Against an elder receive nt an accusatin, but befre tw r three witnesses." It is generally pen seasn n preachers and elders, r anyne wh tackles a task. Sme peple seem t think they have sme Gd-given right t take ptshts at whever serves pub licly, whenever they want t sht, and never feel bligated t knw much abut what they are attacking. I read a little statement recently that said sme flks leave "n turn unstned." Yu read it crrectly. Regardless f the turn made, sme will stne it. Such is ften the bur den f serving as an elder. Many gd men have been hurt and their lives made painful because sme careless member r members assume the right t "dig" and "jab" at them because they are elders. Thse wh g t the frnt lines and int the fregrund fthe wrk, as leaders must d, are ften targets f criticism. Often this criticism is dne in lve and dne cnstructively. But t ften it is dne with malice by thse wh much prefer t talk against rather than walk and wrk with the nes they criticize. They prefer t use cutting wrds rather than engage in cnstructive wrk. They undermine with their talking. They d nt seem t cnsider hw they undercut authrity even in the minds f the yung and thse ut side the church. I have heard mem bers severely berate preachers and elders in the presence f yung pe ple and nn-christians. When such is dne, shuld we be surprised that the yung and nn-christians have n respect fr the church? Elders are nt perfect in all they d. But are we? Elders are subject t making mistakes, and their mis takes are mre serius. They are subject t temptatins as thers. Yes, they shuld be better able t handle it because they are t be selected frm the strng. But they are still just human beings and suf fer frm pressures as d thers. This is ne reasn we believe Gd auth rized a plurality f elders t frm the eldership that versees the cngre gatin rather than having a ne man rule. It is nt likely, althugh pssi ble, that all the eldership will "g bananas" at the same time. Brethren ught nt be t quick t assume elders are at fault unless there is verified testimny t that fact by witnesses. Criticisms are ften made frm evil mtives and are nt Just. When they are Just and prven, Paul says, "Them that sin rebuke befre all, that thers may fear" (1 Tim. 5:20). This wuld apply t elders as well as everyne else. But this is smething that must be dne cautiusly. Failure t treat an elder r the eldership prperly and Justly and accepting whatever smebdy says against them is t d wrng. When differences arise with elders, they shuld be the first t knw fit. Why tell everyne else? Preachers ften make this mistake and stir up rebel lin against elders befre they cn frnt the elders with their differ ences. It is nt unknwn fr elders t

7 February Seek The Old Paths be viciusly criticized and n effrt made t either prve r crrect the mistakes that are alleged. Preachers have certainly been treated this way als. Such has been the cause f many disturbances in the church. Fr shame! GOLDEN RULE Hw is the member t treat the elder? Let us begin with Matthew 7:12, called the "glden rule." Sme times we wnder whatever hap pened t the "glden rule" amng sme brethren, seeing hw they fight, claw, and rip each ther. It shuld be applied in every relatin ship including treatment tward elders. Wuld yu like yur sincere effrts t be belittled, ridiculed, yur mtives harshly judged and impugned, yur earnest desire t serve and d right t be scffed and mcked? Wuld yu want yur fami ly t be berated and accused unjust ly as the tpic f talk, talk, talk? D yu nt realize that being in the sptlight, as all leaders are, is diffi cult enugh withut smene hiding in the darkness trying t sht yu dwn? Many prblems in the hme and church wuld never have the air t survive if brethren believed and beyed Matthew 7:12. We culd ps sibly emphasize this passage in applicatin f treatment tward elders t the extent that wuld cn clude that this cvers just abut everything abut the duty fthe cn gregatin tward elders. SUBMISSION AND OBEDIENCE Hebrews 13:1,17, "Remember them which have the rule ver yu, wh have spken unt yu the wrd f Gd; whse faith fllw, cnsider ing the end f their cnversatin... Obey them that have the rule ver yu, and submit yurselves; fr they watch fr yur suls, as they that must give accunt, that they may d it with jy, and nt with grief; fr that is unprfitable fr yu." We are t be mindful and thughtful f the elders, especially regarding ur deeds and attitudes tward them and the manner f life we live. We we it t them t make their labr as painless and successful as we can make it. Cnsideratin fr their feel ings is prper. We must be attentive t them, giving heed t their lead. We have the duty t imitate their faith, like Paul called upn brethren t imitate him as he imitated Christ (1 Cr. 11:1). T bey is t submit t their rule. They make decisins f Judg ment n behalf f the lcal bdy. This is part f their wrk. We shuld cperate as best we can with thse decisins. We shuld nt cause the faithful elder grief as he des his wrk, but be a surce f jy t him. Otherwise, it is unprfitable fr us. We have knwn sme brethren wh have been cnstant burdens t the eldership thrughut their lives. They are always a surce f prb lems and antagnisms by the way they cmplain, bstruct, r the lives they live. Leaders cannt lead if fllwers will nt fllw. Since Gd expects leaders t lead, isn't it true that He expects fllwers t fllw? Elders rule and the cngregatin shuld bey and fllw. Elders are t feed the church and the cngregatin shuld be willing t be fed and culti vate an appetite fr the sincere milk f the wrd. The fd is the meat f the truth, the milk f the gspel. Members shuld take advantage f the pprtunities the elders prvide t be fed. Elderships have authrity, a del egated authrity, t discharge their duties. They have a limited authri ty, having n pwer t make, alter, legislate, r cmprmise truth. They d have the authrity t see t it that the wrd f truth is taught, defended, upheld, and enfrced with the wrk f the church, the pillar and grund f the truth, being expe dited. Members shuld cperate with them in seeing all f this is accmplished. HOLD UP THEIR HANDS Members are expected t be as Aarn and Hur when the Amalekites attacked Israel in the wilderness. They held up the hands f Mses s the battle led by Jshua culd be brught t a successful cn clusin. As Mses held up the rd f Gd, Israel prevailed. When he became weary and the rd was lw ered, Israel suffered setbacks. S Aarn and Hur held up his hands and the victry belnged t all the 7/15 peple f Gd. We realize surely, if the elders g cntrary t truth, we shall nt fl lw men, but Gd. As in all matters f authrity, in the hme, parental, in civil gvernment, husbands, etc. "...we must bey Gd rather than men" (Acts 5:29). But in the matters f pinin and human judgment that affect the lcal church, elders have the duty t lead and members have the duty t fllw. T refuse t d s is t challenge Gd's gvernment fr the church. It is t dishnr the very nes we are cmmanded t hnr. In the many years I have been preach ing (nearly frty-three at this writ ing) I have never knwingly taken prblems with elders (and I have had them) befre the cngregatin t d battle withut first facing them, even in matters f dctrine as well as pinin. In matters f pinin wherein we differed I just let it pass, and smetimes it cst me dearly because sme elders wuld nt be as cnsiderate. In matters f dctrine I still shwed respect fr them first. I find this is generally the case with mst preachers and members wh take their faith and wrk seriusly. Only in matters f "thus saith the Lrd" is ne justified in cntending penly and then because Gd's truth is challenged. We can summarize the respnsi bility f the members t the elders by saying it is t lve, supprt, imi tate, bey, submit, hnr, cperate, and treat accrding t the "glden rule," living s as t add n burden but bring jy t them. Peace, prgress, and faithfulness f a cn gregatin depends n members ding their duty t the elders as well as elders ding their duty t the church. After all, we are brthers and sisters in Christ wh serve in different capacities, but each ding whatever he can t see that thers get t heaven. 102 Edisn St. McMinnville, TN37110 "Seek The Old Paths" Lectureship July 28-Aug. 1,1996 The Seven Churches fasia

8 8/16 "Please renew my subscrip tin t this great brther hd publicatin. Brethren, keep up this great and nec essary wrk"...luis Jseph, Clarkstn, GA. "This is a. very gd publicatin and I 1deeply appreciate the stand yu take fr truth"...walter S.EEIf T.HE 0.LD P.ATHS Lumpkin, Brucetn, TN. "I appreciate the mnthly pub licatin f S.T.O.P. very much. Every Christian needs t read and study the articles in it. I appreciate yur firm stand fr the truth"...minnie Medley, Palmett, FL. "I wantyu t knw hw much I appre ciate yur wrk. I enjy reading S.T.O.P. every time it arrives. Thank yu s much fr the utstanding wrk yu d with the paper"...hus tn, TX. "I appreciate the way yu teach the truth with firm, yet kind ways"...linda Rss, Jacksn, TN. Thank yu. I think yu are ding a gd wrk"...winfred Smith, Anadark, OK. "As a gspel preacher fr sme 25 years and as a graduate frm Lipscmb (back when it was a sund Christian Cllege), I am greatly disturbed by change agents within the church fur Lrd, such as the Nashville Jubilee. I am sad dened by thse wh are nt alarmed, and wh cannt see the destruc tive agenda that sme brethren espuse. I fear the strm cluds n the hrizn that threaten the church. I greatly admire the title f yur pub licatin and believe it shuld be the duty fevery minister t admnish Christians t Seek The Old Paths and t walk therein"...multn, AL. "Just a nte t let yu knw hw much wc appreciate the many gd wrks, yu, and the gd East Crinth Church f Christ are ding fr the cause f Christ. Only heaven can see and measure the gd being accmplished thrugh yur gd lectureships and S.T.O.P. May Gd cntinue t bless yu in yur stand fr truth and righteusness"...suthside Church fchrist, Opelika, AL. "I appreciate the gd wrk yu brethren are ding"...lenard Hgan, Hrnbeak, TN. "I praise yur stand fr the truth"...jack Beard, Tyler, TX. Thank yu fr all f the wrk yu d"...je & Elea Rbertsn, Paraguld, AR. "Please remve us frm yur mailing list. Thanks"...Lee Perkins, Senatbia, MS. "I have just read EVERY wrd in yur S.T.O.P. magazine! Wnderful articles!"..mice Smith, Crssville, TN. "Yu have an excellent publica tin! I share sme f the articles with the Ladies Bible Class and als with ther friends. I enjy the articles s much and lk frward t each cpy. I keep all f my ld cpies fr reference. Keep up the gd wrk! We appreciate yur stand fr the truth"...bettyhendrix, Arab, AL. "I cntinue t enjy reading S.T.O.P. and appreciate yur stand fr truth and the gd wrk yu are ding"...kenneth Willis,Mrrisn, TN. "Just a nte t let yu knw hw much I appreciate receiving S.T.O.P. Yur stand fr the truth is t be cmmended. I als wanted t tell yu hw much I enjyed yur lectureship bk n The Church at Crinth." It is simply an excellent wrk! I have been arranging my schedule fr 1996 and the Lrd willing, I have it pen fr the first time in many years. I have the full intentin f cming dwn t Crinth and attending the 1996 lectures and have already entered it n my calendar"...steve Fishcl, Bradfrd, TN. [NOTE: the lectureship this year will b held n July 28th-Aug. 1st.] "I am thankful fr the stand yu have taken fr the cause f Christ and the dedicatin yu have fr the wrk He has given fr all f His peple t d. In light f the number f men wh have wan dered away frm the "ld paths" it makes the tasks even harder t teach the Wrd t a peple wh have n interest in the pure truth. It is my prayer that thse wh have wandered will see the need t nce again see the need t return t the "ldpaths" befreit is everlastingly t late. My prayers are with yu and yur effrts"...james Pwell, Cull man, AL. "Where I attend church, we still believe the Gspel t be all that is necessary just as it is. Webelieve as yu d, that Gdur Father and his Wrd is sufficient and needs n changes t fit man's weakened cnditin. Keep up the gd wrk. Gd bless yu at Crinth fr yur wrk f Truth"...Ernest Teague, Wetumpka, AL. "Keep up the gd wrk"...dallas Vinsn, Baxter, TN. "I picked up a cpy f S.T.O.P. tday at a preachers and wives meeting. I was very impressed by all the fine articles in it. Frm what I read, my cnclusin is that it is a sund paper with sund writers. I culd praise yur stand fr truth and against errr all day. I pray that thse wh have left th truth will ne day see the errr f their way, repent and cme back re it be t late. I als pray that men like yurself will cntinue t stand fr the Faith and refute every errr knwn. Keep up the gd wrk and may Gd cntinue t bless yu and yur gd elders"...daryl Busby, Dngla, IL. "We receive S.T.O.P. and enjy it very much. It is very infrma tive n the things that are ging n. Use this cntributin as yu sec fit" Seek The Old Paths - February Flrene Hwie, Baker, FL. "It is a fine paper. Thank yu"...gerge Rbinsn, Gurley, AL. "I really appreciate yu and the gd wrk yu are ding. Pray fr us"...charles Huff, Kingsprt, TN. "Yucntinue t d a greatjb with S.T.O.P. The kindness f yur persnality shws in yur articles even when yu are expsing errr. Just d nt get discur aged"...nashville, TN. "Excellent publicatin! Glad t get it"...jeff Archey, Hendersnville, TN. The 1993 S.T.O.P. sent t me has greatly help me t fllw the truth f the Bible t help me gain further under standing f the scriptures. I wish t thank yu fr presenting such materials t us and help us knw the truth f the Wrd"...Matthias Ochui, Nigeria, Africa. "Can yu please renew my subscriptin t S.T.O.P. I have enjyed yur paper fr many mnths and I knw I have increased my knwledge in varius Bible tpics. May Gd cntinue t bless yur wrk!"...bill Sirdfsky, Bise, ID. "I was reading sme f yur publicatins and really enjyed it. I wuld like t receive it t. Keep up the gd wrk"...lerysimn, Jr., Shawnee, OK "Please send me S.T.O.P. I am very interested in fllwing the articles presented in this publicatin"...dave Lewis, Middleburg, PA. "I am a 95 year ld widw and enjy reading yur paper. Please put me n yur mailing list"...minnie Reid, Nashville, TN. "Hats ff t yur Oct/95 issue f S.T.O.P. I believe it is the best ever. The piece by Dan Gddard was superb. The elder article by Jerry Jseph was tps. And the article "Hw T Save The Church" is a piece that every preacher shuld put in their cngregatin's bulletin"...brian Jnes, Springfield, OH. Wuld yu liket have an indexed bund vlume f Seek The Old Paths fr 1995? Make yur check t Old Paths Publish ingfr $5 (price includes pstage) and mail t: 304 Ripley St., Crinth, MS They are nw ready fr shipment. Seek The Old Paths is a mnthly publicatin f the East Crinth Church f Christ and is under the versight f its elders. It is mailed FREEupn request. Its primary purpse and gal in publi catin can be fund in Jude 3; II Timthy 4:2; Titus 1:13; Titus 2:1; II Peter 1:12. All mail received may be published unless ther wise nted. Articles are als welcmed. Editr Garland M. Rbinsn Assciate Editr. Jimmy Bates Vt d - O i> 2 5- : < 1 c OT Q. E O Q, <B O U4 Z-" Q. H CO UJ 3 UI c cc i LL. O T «> z 1- UJ c c u DC t CO 2 * CO ^ Ul w _ 00 I CO m S= w s OC =^ -r-* Q 2 DC h- i rf z < CO P 111 i= c Q Q <

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