"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.VI No.VI Pg.13b
January 1944

I Helped With A Funeral

W. Curtis Porter

Often gospel preachers are called upon to take part in mixed funeral services. Perhaps relatives of the deceased represent various religious faiths, and you are asked to help in the services where Baptist, Methodist or other denominational preachers also take part. Sometime ago I was called to assist in a funeral service, with a Pentecostal preacher as the other participant. A young man had died. His relatives were believers in the doctrine proclaimed by the church of Christ. His widow's people were of the Pentecostal Church. So the two of us were called upon to take part in the service. And, to make it a little different from the usual, both of us were to make talks.

It has never been my desire to take any unfair advantage of any one in a funeral service. Yet people need to know the truth at such times as well as on other occasions. The Pentecostal preacher delivered his talk first. While he was talking I kept thinking: "Here is a man on the pulpit with me, who claims miraculous power, and who should walk to the casket and say: Young man, I say unto you, arise.' And the dead man should come to life." So when it came my time to speak I spoke somewhat after the following fashion:

"Great men mentioned in the Bible have been interested in the subjects of death and concerned about those who are left sorrowing when loved ones pass away. In this respect the conduct of Jesus is outstanding. He went one time to the house of Jairus whose daughter had died. He said that she was only sleeping and was laughed to scorn by those present. But he took the father and mother and three of his disciples and entered the room where the body of the damsel lay. There he took her by the hand and said: Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.' Immediately she arose and walked and joy was brought to the sorrowing family. On another occasion Jesus, with his disciples, followed by a multitude of people, approached the city of Nain. The only son of a widowed mother had died and was being carried to his burial. The funeral procession was passing out the gate of the city as Jesus approached. He saw the sorrowing mother and had compassion on her and said to her: Weep not! He came and touched the coffin and said: Young man, I say unto thee, Arise." Immediately the dead came to life, began to talk and joy was brought to the mother. Then, too, we recall that Lazarus, a close friend of Jesus, died. He was not present when the event occurred. After four days Jesus arrived at Bethany, the home of Lazarus and Martha and Mary. Being directed to the place of his burial, Jesus stood beside the tomb and wept. After addressing his Father in heaven Jesus said with a loud voice: 'Lazarus, come forth.' And the dead man arose."

"Not only was Jesus interested in the bereaved of his day but likewise were his apostles interested. We read in the book of Acts of a certain disciple at Joppa named Tabitha or Dorcas. She had been known for her good works and alms deeds. But she died. Peter was at Lydda, a town not far away, and he was sent for to come without delay. When he arrived he was shown into the upper room and the widows stood by and showed him the garments Dorcas had made while she was with them. He put them all forth, kneeled down and prayed, and turned to the dead body and said: Tabitha, arise.' She opened her eyes and sat up."

"We are gathered on a similar occasion today. A young man has died and his body lies before us now. If I had the power that Jesus had, or if I had the power that the apostle Peter had, I would approach this casket today and say: Young man, I say unto thee, arise.' And the young man would immediately come to life and I could present him to his sorrowing relatives. But I do not have that power. No man on earth today has that power. Such things have not been done since the complete revelation of God's will has been made and spiritual gifts have been removed."

I did not say that the preacher who was on the stand with me claimed to have that power and should proceed in the manner. But I hoped the audience would be able to get the point. Somehow, I believe many of them did.