"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.X No.II Pg.14-15a
February 1948

Exalting The Church

Bryan W. VI.Nson

By inspiration the prophet Isaiah foretold the establishment of the church. In his prediction he stated it should be "exalted above the hills." This exaltation was to be and is effected by our being "taught his ways" and in consequence thereof, "to walk in his paths." To disregard his ways or instructions, to fail to walk in his paths, necessarily results in the degradation of his church. Hence, the tragic result of denominationalism observed today.

While we lament the general state of religious society, reflecting as it does an utter lack of appreciation of the church of the Lord, we should not be unaware of the danger of our being improperly regardful of its superlative significance and all-sufficient importance.

The digressives originally digressed from the faith through a failure to adequately appraise the value and sufficiency of the church to accomplish the purpose and perform the will of God. The missionary society was doubtless conceived by pious and sincere men who brought it forth in their zeal to save the lost. The end sought served as a justification of the means employed for its attainment. There is no more dangerous and specious mode of reasoning than that of seeking to justify the means by the end. No doubt that in the advocacy of this decided departure there were numerous partisans who constructed the opposition to their efforts as arising from an indifference to the saving of the lost by the gospel; which they were seeking to expedite by the dissemination of the gospel through their society. It is not improbable that those who oppose, or shall oppose, kindred departures today will be subjected to an impugnment of their motives. This should not move us.

While others are dealing with the encroachment of the colleges upon the church rather than standing apart and wholly independent, I wish to call attention to another dangerous situation among us. A situation which involves not an instance of encroachment but of entrenchment.

The establishment and support of numerous, and ever-increasing benevolent institutions warrants a serious study by all who supremely desire the approval of God. I certainly disavow any sentiments adverse to the care of orphans and the aged. Is there anyone but that believes the New Testament enjoins caring for the needy; and furthermore, that such care was given without the creation of another organization to perform it?

The command to visit the fatherless and widows in their afflictions is the proof-text of such institutions to establish authority for their existence. Anyone who can read an institutional orphan home in that verse should have no difficulty in seeing the missionary society in the great commission. To aid the needy, and to care for anyone in an hour of affliction, is certainly within the providence of the church. However, to make permanent charges of the church anyone except, perhaps a certain limited and qualified class (1 Tim. 5:10) is without scriptural warrant.

To herald abroad that it is "sponsored by the Church of Christ" presents this challengingly interesting question: Is the Church of Christ authorized to sponsor anything? Where did the church make itself responsible for, and vouch for any institution, benevolent, educational or evangelistic? The church is God's only institution to accomplish his work of amelioration and redemption. "Unto him be glory in the church throughout all ages;" "who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works;" "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works which God bath before ordained that we should walk in them"; This "peculiar people" is the church nothing more nor less, no different from "The purchased possession." (Eph. 1:14)

What constitutes good works? "Every scripture inspired of God is profitable...that the man of God may be perfect thoroughly furnished unto every good work." Hence, the church is that institution in which we labor, directed solely by his word in the doing of his will. Again "Let your light so shine that others seeing your good works." Therefore, let the church perform those acts of charity in their own surroundings so that others may see. Relieve emergency distress among the unfortunate members, and insofar as able go beyond these to those of the community.

I have been reliably informed that the number of applications for adoption received by one home many times exceeds the number of children cared for in the home. Why not, therefore, open the doors of those homes for adoption to those who desire children and are fit characters to rear them? That accomplished, divert the support they have heretofore received into more benevolent work at home and to the support of the gospel in weak and virgin fields.

Some time ago there appeared a statement to the effect that the work of caring for the needy and preaching the gospel were both works of the church, and that the writer confessed he did not know which was more important. Christ told the apostles "the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." He fed the hungry, relieved the suffering and cured the afflicted. His apostles did likewise; and in addition thereto, they offered remission of sins "in the name of Christ." Christ knew this was greater. We should be able to appreciate this. It is sometimes urged that the matter of feeding, clothing and housing these orphans are secondary and that the spiritual environment and instruction are the primary consideration offered in their behalf. If this be true, then they are educational institutions primarily, and, as such, they should be classed with the colleges. Yet, there are many who would oppose the church supporting the college, and then strongly advocate using funds of the church to support the orphanage. This would be illogical reasoning, and an indefensible position. Among the most vehement and partisan pleadings employed in their defense is the bold assertion that they rear children better than we do in our homes. Doubtless they do a better job than some, but that is too sweeping a statement. Reduced to its final analysis, it constitutes an apology for a communistic form of society, and the superiority of the state over the individual and the home. The home is debased and the state is elevated whether it is political, or social, it matters not. The home is the oldest of all institutions and constitutes the basic unit of society. It is of divine origin. I am unwilling to yield to such regimentation in preference to the christian home, where parental affection, a mother's love and a father's care constitutes a blessing while we have them and is revered in our memory, so long as we live. There is no substitute for this hallowed institution.

Finally, the supreme issue is whether God wills such an arrangement. Remember the Lord gave us a foresight of "that day" when many would say they had done "many wonderful works in his name;" yet he will profess "I never knew you." Why? Evidently, they professed to be governed by his authority but ignored his instructions, disregarded his will and went beyond his doctrine; hence they have not the Father.

Let us abide within the teaching of Christ, both in what we teach and practice, with the comforting assurance we shall have both the Father and Son while we live and be with them when we pass on.