Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 28, 1959
NUMBER 4, PAGE 11-13b

"The Heaven Bound Express"

Guy McDonald, Beaumont, Texas

Many simple and profitable lessons were taught by our Lord by parables. He said the kingdom of heaven was likened to: "Sower sowing seed," "fish net," "vineyard", and many other things which were familiar to those who heard him. Man has learned to make practical applications by using them as examples. No man is able to give a true likeness to the kingdom in every respect as did the Lord, but many times we are able to portray a striking resemblance and help simplify the kingdom to others. Asking God and the brethren to forgive me if I am wrong in this, I would liken the kingdom to a passenger train:

The Train The train is made up of many coaches, each coach representing a local congregation. The Owner built it and paid for each and every part. The engine has just the right amount of power and speed and a head light that shines through the darkness. The coaches are designed for the safety of all the passengers, and are adequate for all their needs. The train was built for a special purpose and may not be used for pleasure (worldly) or any other whim or fancy of men. It will not run out of fuel nor break down unless tampered with by man.

The Track On Which It Runs

The track likewise was laid by the Owner and runs a straight course. The mountains have been made low and the valleys built up. There are no dark tunnels nor dangerous curves. It leads straight to the judgment.

There are many side tracks and derails which man has added, but all are clearly visible by the powerful light flashing on them. Men, at times, pile rubbish on the track and the train is slowed down or stopped in order to remove it. The track is built on a sure foundation and never needs repairs. It is so designed that man-made trains can not pass over it. When those on board fail to keep a coach in good order, it is set aside until order is restored. If this is never done, it will be destroyed when the true train reaches its destination. If there are those aboard a sidetracked-coach who are willing to abide by the rules they may get on board the original train.

The Passengers On This Train

The passengers are the souls of responsible people who have been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ. They were placed safely aboard at the Station Obedience. They are assured of a safe journey if they abide by the rules. There are certain instructions which they must follow, but they are not grievous. There are no special privileges for some while others suffer. They must all share and share alike. They must love one another, be of the same mind and the same judgment. They have duties to perform, for which they are accountable, and blessings to enjoy. There is no use to worry and fret, or guess about anything as the Rule Book furnishes them unto all good works. They are warned against any and all commandments and doctrines of man. The Owner ordained that there be overseers in every coach to watch for the passengers welfare, that the journey may be made without mishap. The overseers have authority only in the coach where they have been ordained. They cannot oversee the passengers of another coach.

The Journey

This journey is not a sight-seeing trip, nor for worldly pleasure, but to bring the passengers to a better understanding of the Owner's Will, and to make them partakers of His divine nature. The things behind (old life) are to be forgotten, and they are to place their affections on things above. All along the way they will have opportunity, yea are commanded, to teach others to become passengers on this train. One dare not get off the train at any time for fear of being lost. Each passenger is to bear his own burden and not try and shift it onto others. They are to preach the gospel, edify the saints and help the needy. Neither of these can be done by human trains which run alongside for a time and then vanish into the night. (Human organizations.)

Man has tried in every age to design a train that would do the work of this Express Train, but has failed in every effort. Many of these human trains seems to be good imitations, and many people can't tell the difference. This is the sad part. Hundreds, thousands, yea, millions, have boarded these counterfeit trains and rode happily to their doom. Also in every age (this age no exception) men have boarded the True Train and rode for a spell in peace and harmony with the others, and then decide to change things up a bit. They seem to (maybe I am wrong) become dissatisfied with the original arrangements and write their own rules. In almost every case these men are very intelligent and of great ability. They have plenty of zeal but not according to knowledge. On some occasions the entire train is affected by their thinking and teaching. Bro. Degrees has a way with Brethren Worldly Wealthy and Fellowship Frolic. He places them in high places as overseers and the way is paved for his worldly ambitions. Brethren W. Wealthy and F. Frolic soon become inflated and rise far above the other passengers. As soon as possible after they reach the state of infallibility they begin to separate the men from the boys. They get so carried away with themselves they think they are running the whole train. Their followers quickly band together and they are ready for the squeeze. They pass the word from coach to coach that they have a plan and if the whole train will cooperate they will put it into effect. They need large sums of money so send representatives to every coach in quest of it. These silver tongued orators are expert at this and play upon the sympathy of the passengers until they get their pet project into their budget. If any in a coach protest, or question their activities, they manage to pile on enough rubbish to stop the train and unload all those disagreeing with them. After a quick check-up they hi-ball the engineer, and think they are on their way. What they don't seem to know (some of them are bound to know) is: they have just made a flying switch and are on a side track. The coach is running wild but no one seems to notice. It is a lot more fun now that they have no opposition. The conductor, Dr. Degrees, comes forth now and assures all that the overseers are infallible, and if they will just do as they are told without asking questions, everything will be o.k. Bro. Degrees is a fine clean-cut, highly educated fellow; a good mixer and quite a comedian. He keeps everyone so happy with his jokes and sense of humor that they just love him to death. (Maybe they should). He preaches a social gospel, with emphasis on the physical. He seldom mentions spiritual things and never condemns error. He has learned to get along with the denominations and never hurts anyone's feelings. He tells the passengers the Rule Book does not set forth a pattern, and the examples found there are not binding. Why not enjoy this man and his doctrine, they have never had it so good before! They are allowed to dance now, and an occasional social drink will do no harm. Recreation is the order of the day; now Brethren W. Wealthy and Fellowship Frolic can really have a field-day. (And they do). What a sad day for the passengers who follow such men. If these fun-loving, worldly-minded, covenant-breakers would only be satisfied with their success (?) it wouldn't be so bad, but they are continually hounding those still on the True Train to get off and join them, or just plain get off. They not only try to get them off, but hurl false charges at Brother Faithful. They say Bro. Faithful is applying the brakes and will set the train back thousands of miles.

Another thing, Brethren Degrees, W. Wealthy, and F. Frolic don't seem to realize is that they are no longer being pulled by the real engine, but by one borrowed from Rome. Rome and her daughters have stream-lined and painted their old engines over, and these passengers love the shiny things so much it is not likely they will ever give them up. Many who have been side-tracked are ignorant of what is happening. They just follow the leader and will be lost along with the others. If they had an opportunity, and would listen to Bro. Faithful, things could be different. A few of those on the coaches "On the Roll" will not participate in all things mentioned above, yet, but give them time, and they will. God forbid. Did this actually happen to the Heaven Bound Express? Isn't this just a bad dream or some cock-and-bull story someone thought up? Would to God it were, but if articles written by some in Bulletins and other sources are real, this is no bad dream. One man recently mailed out a letter to several people wanting to become the "Preacher Agency for the Church".

Some Safety Rules For All Passengers

Inside all the coaches the sign "WATCH" is continuously flashing on and off. It is visible to all who will look. Along the track are warning signals which the powerful headlight never misses. Side-tracks and derails are clearly marked, and unless some man throws the switch the Express stays on the "Strait and Narrow". Travelling at a safe speed the light brings into focus such signs as: Caution, Take Heed. Do Not Enter. Slow, Wolves in Sheep's Clothing, and Be Thou Faithful. At each of these intersections men are ever on the job with such suggestions as: Turn here. Joy Town near, Relaxation, recreation and fellowship for all, especially for the young folks. Be sure to take a collection before you leave the train and bring your treasury with you. Oh, we know some will object to this but there have always been a few cranks that do not believe in good works. Ignore them; they are only trying to start a fuss, and we have no time for such nonsense.

The Departure Of Our Loved Ones

After much persuasion, on the part of the faithful, the worldly minded group leaves the Express and boards the Hell Bound Express. With sad faces and broken hearts the faithful bid their loved ones goodbye and return to their duties again. The responsibility has increased now for each of them, as many workers have been lost. As each one diligently goes about his business, a man who should have gotten off with the others, comes through the train speaking words of comfort to those on board. He tells them their kinfolks are safe, that all these roads lead to the same destination — After all you tried to persuade them not to get off the Express. They wouldn't listen, why raise such a fuss over nothing? Why stir up trouble over incidentals? You will only tear up the Train. After all we are only told to go, we're not told HOW. Brother Faithful does not believe this fellow, but many of the unlearned swallow it hook, line and sinker. One of his converts also begins to speak and says, "I have been studying these issues and am persuaded we should not argue over such trivial matters. Bro. Faithful has a bad attitude and is causing division of the train. He knows he is guilty of causing trouble, and must prove himself innocent. Of course, we will not give him a chance to prove himself innocent by listening to him. He doesn't believe what he says anyway." And with sweetness dripping from his lips and a pious look on his face, he continues. "Judge not that ye be not judged".

Brother Faithful can keep quiet no longer and begins to rip some wool from his carcase, exposing the undercoating. Even some of those who stayed on the Express turn their heads, and won't watch Bro. Faithful undress him. If they would only look for a moment they would see his fangs ready for the kill. Passengers; this Express is no sleeper. "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead". Lookout! There is another sign. Put on your bifocals if necessary, but read that sign. It reads: "Preach the gospel and let others alone". I wonder how many will fall for that? Sounds good doesn't it? Help! some more are getting off. Grab them, hold on, don't let them get on that car it is "On the Roll"; and sure to be destroyed. That's a mirage; there is no bridge over that gorge. That train has no lights, and the brakes seem to have gone out. Wait! — Here comes one back; help him. What? He is bringing another with him? Good, there may be others also who have changed their mind and will come back. What about that fellow sitting straddle of the isle? He says he will stay a little longer and try to persuade others. Well, tell him not to stay too long or he may go down with the rest. Is he talking to anyone? From where I stand he seems to be pretty much at ease, just sitting there looking out the window, twiddling his thumbs. Try and arouse him; we don't have much time left. It's no use, the coach just vanished into the night. Gone, Gone forever! are those we loved so much.

The Heaven Bound Express rolls on. She lost several coaches, but this does not change her course nor purpose. Those left on board are not afraid to stand up and be counted. They are perfectly satisfied with all the arrangements, and rules given by the Owner. They are alert to every danger and eye, closely, the danger signals along the way. They refuse to be high-pressured into hiring their work done, and they will not turn it over to others to do for them. They are willing and able to cope with any and all problems that may arise, because they use the Rule Book. They refuse to let man side-track them with his sly tricks and doctrines. They long for their destination where there will be no more heart aches, sorrow, pain, separation and crying. They are sickened by what happened to the Express, or the passengers, and pray continually that those who departed will return.

You, brother, are on this train, if you are a Christian. Why not check your luggage and see that everything is in order? Everything may be o.k., and again it may not be. If you discover you have been sidetracked be sure to catch the Express at the earliest possible moment. "Don't miss the Train".