Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 5, 1963


Truman Smith

It seems that ideas used in big business have crept into the minds of many of God's people today. There are those who have the idea that, in order for the church to make progress, we must adopt slogans that will spur us onward at the speed of a jet plane in this fast moving age in which we are living. One slogan used by some members of the church in 1957 was: "Let's go to heaven in '57." I thought then that they were getting in a mighty big hurry; and sure enough, here it is 1963 and they still have not gone to heaven! Many seem to live by the slogan: "Progress: our most important product." This slogan is all right for General Electric, but not for the church!

A number of years back, brother R. L. Whiteside wrote: "Some years ago some brethren decided to be 'progressive.' When they went out from us they soon spent what Christianity they started off with in riotous indulgencies in all sorts of innovations. Now some no longer believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. With them the religion of Christ is just one of the religions of the world. They are now in the condition of the prodigal son when he hired himself out to feed hogs; but they are not as wise as that boy — they will never make any real progress till they return to the Father's house." (Doctrinal Discourses, p. 279)

There are those today who are so eager for the church to make progress, that they have set out on their "crusade" journey with their suitcases packed so full of slogans, big ideas, and big ambitions that they have no room left for God's Word! Big TV programs, big church building programs! This is BIG BUSINESS! Longfellow spoke the truth when he said, "Most people succeed in small things if they were not troubled with great ambitions." This is true of the church today. God's way is too slow; so they feel that they must help God out, and they do; they help God COMPLETELY out. Men today need to learn from the examples of the Old Testament, which were written for our own benefit (Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:1-12), that God needs no help! Look at the case of Uzza in 1 Chr. 13:1-10. This should be enough; but we have more. Numbers 16 tells of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, who tried to help God, but the earth "opened its mouth and swallowed them up." (Num. 16:32) Trying to help God is a good way to get into trouble. Moses got in a hurry one time and thought he should help God, when he smote the rock at Kadesh instead of speaking to it, as God had commanded. (Num. 20:8) Because God has given us the whole world to preach to, we get to thinking that God's way is too slow. "We are just not making any progress," so we try to help God, as did Sarah in Gen. 16. She thought God didn't know what He was doing by promising a great nation from the seed of Abraham. Because it had been so many years since the promise was made and they still did not have a son, Sarah got in a hurry and thought she should help God. She displeased God by giving her handmaid, Hagar, to Abraham to bear a child for him. It has always displeased God when anyone tried to help Him.

Many of God's children today have gotten away from the Word of God. The "Benevolence and Church Growth" article in Boles Homes News is an example of the thinking of many. It was pointed out in that article that "in every case" where mention was made of the growth of the early church, benevolence was the cause of it. The truth of the matter is that in every case it was the Word of God preached that made the church grow! Certainly, such thinking will result in the growth of human institutionalism, and that is what some brethren want, but for the church to grow, brethren had better leave room in their suitcases for the Word of God! Progress belongs to God, but ours is to do His will. Let's take the time to do the will of God by doing the little things that He teaches, "For who hath despised the day of small things?" (Zech. 4:10) Mallet has well said:

"Ambition! deadly tyrant! inexorable master! what alarms, what anxious hours, what agonies of heart, are the sure portions of thy gaudy slaves?"

— 102 E. Gay Ave., Gladewater, Texas