Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 19, 1960

From A Preacher's Note-Book

James W. Adams, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Concerning Mottoes

Mottoes are excellent if they express truth and are based on righteous principles. Even in religion, they have their place. Members of the churches of Christ have for 150 years zealously proclaimed the motto: "We speak where the Bible speaks and remain silent where the Bible is silent." The sentiment of this motto is based on an inspired statement of the Holy Scriptures: "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God . ." (1 Pet. 4:11.) Acceptance with God, therefore, depends upon our recognition of and adherence to the principles set forth in the motto. Brethren still proclaim this motto, but in too many instances, they do not live up to the way of religious practice which it suggests. They include in their practice much for which they have no scriptural authority, generic or specific. We ran across the following poem in the April issue of Nuggets:

You may bring to the office, and put in a frame,

A motto as fine as its paint,

But if you're a crook when you're playing the game,

That motto won't make you a saint.

You can stick up the placards all over the wall,

But here is the word I announce:

It is not the motto that hangs on the wall, But the motto you live that counts.

If the motto says, "Smile," and you carry a frown;

"Do it now," and you linger and wait;

If the motto says, "Love," and you hate —

You won't get away with the motto you stall

For truth will come with a bounce.

It is not the motto that hangs on the wall,

But the motto you live that counts.

— Kalends.

The practice of the brethren along this line in our day suggested the following bit of doggerel from our own "poetic genius":

If the motto says, "Speak where the Bible doth speak, And silent thou be where 'tis still,"

And yet, in religion, your practice doth reek

With much that you, yourself, will,

Be assured the mere motto no virtue contains

To make you a SAINT — when you "AIN'T."

It is high time, brethren, that we begin living up to our mottoes or, in consistency, abandon them.


"Ye Are The Salt Of The Earth" Mt. 5:18.

Christians are supposed to be "the salt of the earth." Salt is universally used for seasoning food. It brings out the hidden flavors of the food that are otherwise lost. A Christian should in his relationship with his fellows bring out in them hidden virtues that otherwise would never be seen. Does your conduct as a Christian bring out the best in others or the base? Does your presence encourage the tendency to gossip and to slander? Does your presence bring to your companions' minds all of the obscene jokes that they have recently heard"

Does your presence depress? Does your presence generate animosity and hate? What do you bring out in others? Or, conversely speaking, does your presence bring, sunshine, love, joy, peace, wholesome conversation, and good deeds out in others?

James Russell Lowell is the author of a lovely little verse on this theme called, "Be Noble." It follows:

Be Noble

Be noble; and the nobleness that lies In other men, sleeping but never dead,

Will rise in majesty to meet thy own;

Then will thou see it gleam in many eyes, Then will pure light around thy path be shed

And thou will nevermore be sad and lone.

What sort of reaction do you get from others?

Could the trouble be you? (J.W.A.)

True Heroism

Let others write of battles fought,

Of bloody, ghastly fields,

Where honor greets the man who wins,

And death the man who yields;

But I will write of him who fights

And vanquishes his sins,

Who struggles on through weary years

Against himself, and wins.

He is a hero staunch and brave

Who fights an unseen foe,

And puts at last beneath his feet

His passions base and low;

Who stands erect in manhood's might,

Undaunted, undismayed,

The bravest man who ere drew sword

In foray or in raid.

It calls for something more than brawn

Or muscle to o'ercome

An enemy who marcheth not

With banner, plume, and drum;

A foe forever lurking nigh,

With silent, stealthy tread:

Forever near your board by day,

At night beside your bed.

All honor, then, to that brave heart!

Though poor or rich he be,

Who struggle with his baser part,

Who conquers and is free.

He may not wear a hero's crown,

Or fill a hero's grave,

But truth will place his name among

The bravest of the brave.

— Anonymous via "Facing Forward."

"The noblest standard ever erected had emblazoned on it these stirring words, 'I conquer myself!' "

— Wilson Williams.

"He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city." — Prov. 16:52

Lost Or Just Bewildered?

Daniel Boone was asked one time if he had ever been lost in the woods where he spent so much of his life. His laconic reply was. "No, I never got lost, but I was bewildered once for three days." I know what he meant. Several years ago, I became separated from some friends in Marshall Field's Basement in Chicago, and, while I don't think I was lost, I was certainly bewildered for a considerable period of time.

As we look about us in the "brotherhood" today, we wonder if the brethren are "lost" or just "bewildered." We recently ran across the following item in The Messenger, bulletin of the Pruett and Lobit streets congregation in Baytown, edited by our good friend and brother, W. R. Jones:

"On Tuesday morning, June 23rd, the ladies of the congregation will have privilege of hearing Rabbi Samuel Zakuto. Rabbi Zakuto, who will be accompanied by his wife, is associated with the local Jewish Orthodox Church. A period of fellowship and refreshments will follow the chapel service in order that the ladies might have an opportunity to get better acquainted with Rabbi and Mrs. Zakuto." — University Church of Christ, Austin, Texas.

Brother W. R. Jones had this caption above the item: "Signs of Digression... What next?" Brethren, is a church that would arrange such a meeting as this item suggests lost or just bewildered? We know the preacher of this church very well indeed as well as at least two or three of her elders. It amazes us that in the few short years since we were intimately associated with these men that they should wander so far from New Testament truth.

Have these brethren forgotten that Jesus said, "Be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ?" (Mt. 23:8-10.) It would be quite as proper and scriptural for a Christian to address a Roman Catholic priest as "Father" or a Protestant denominational bishop as "Master" as to address or present a preacher of the Jewish faith, "orthodox" or otherwise, as "Rabbi." Furthermore, it will be observed by the reader that these brethren in Austin had "fellowship" with the "Jewish Rabbi" and his wife. This despite the fact that the inspired Apostle John said, "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him Godspeed: for he that biddeth him God-speed is a partaker of his evil deeds." (2 John 10, 11.) The very doctrine to which John referred was the teaching that Jesus Christ was God in human flesh. For this teaching, the ancient fathers of this "orthodox Jewish Rabbi" of Austin, Texas demanded and obtained the crucifixion of our Lord on the charge of "blasphemy." Note: "For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus. Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist." (2 John 7.) Note also: "The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God." (John 19:7.) We ask again: Are these brethren lost or just Bewildered. (J. W. A.)