On July 26th I received an email that, among other things, had these statements and questions in it: “I like your website. I use it in my daily examination of the scripture. I agree with most everything I have read. To me there are signs that you are teaching the truth. The quandary I have is that I cannot find even one other preacher in the Lord’s Church that is instructing the same things… Why don’t you refer to other preachers in the Church at least sometimes to authenticate what you are teaching? Do you even know of any Church of Christ preachers that are teaching these things? Do you use Church of Christ commentaries?”
I responded to the email partially quoted above by asking the person who wrote it to have a phone conversation with me. I never have, to this date, heard back from that person. I am not intending this article to be a full answer to the questions above. The fact is, there will not be nearly enough space in this article for all that can be said regarding some of the things stated and questioned above. This article should be taken as a spring board for all of us to study and grow further in some subject matters. That is my intent in writing this article.
Let me begin by stating the obvious and simple truths we all should know. First off, the word of God is truth (Psalms 119:142, Psalms 119:151, John 17:17, Colossians 1:5, I Thessalonians 2:13, and James 1:18). Any man living and teaching the unadulterated word of God does not need validation from any man or entity for his teaching to be the truth (I Timothy 4:11-16 and II Timothy 3:14-4:5). These truths are undeniable. If you can search the Scriptures and find what you’re being taught is the rightly divided truth (II Timothy 2:14-18), that is what is required of you (John 5:30-47 and Acts 17:10-11). Whether or not others validate that message does not matter one bit! The fact is, obedience is going to be found among the few rather than the many (Matthew 7:13-14, Luke 13:23-24, and II Peter 2:1-3). Now from that, I would like us to consider a great concern I have in the statements and questions cited from the email above.
Preachers Are WAY Overvalued In Churches Of Christ Today
Our faith is not supposed to be in men or of men (I Corinthians 1:10-4:6). Paul wrote: “And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ. As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power” (Colossians 2:4-10). Even as an Apostle of Christ, Paul required loyalty to the word of God above himself, other Apostles, and even angels from heaven (Galatians 1:6-10). How can anyone, with any knowledge of those Scriptures, think that truth needs validation from a collectivity of preachers?
Faithful preachers of the truth will never seek validation from men. Faithful members of the body will never require validation of the truth from men. Again, notice the Scriptures: “And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God… For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain: But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention. For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness: Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ” (Luke 16:15 and I Thessalonians 2:1-6). Validation seeking doesn’t just start and stop with preachers.
Other Churches Of Christ Are Way Overvalued Too
On many occasions I have been asked how many other congregations I am aware of that are doing the right things. Other questions, with a similar subject have been asked. My answer is, has been, and until shown otherwise is; few. I know there are more out there (Romans 11:1-5). I just don’t know of many of them. I don’t need to either.
When you search the New Testament you find errors in the congregations at Antioch, Rome, Corinth, the area of Galatia, Colosse, Thessalonica, Ephesus, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Laodicea, and by implication others too. What if the congregations in Smyrna and Philadelphia stopped doing right because they were the only two in Asia doing so? The truth is not found in the number of congregations practicing it.
I [we] stand among the few. Do you need your faith validated by men? What if Noah, Josiah, Jesus, or Paul needed validation (Genesis 6-8, II Kings 22:1-23:25, John 6:60-71, and Acts 26:1-29)? Think on these things. The future is not going to get better (II Timothy 3:1-13).
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