Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 23, 1961

When Diseases Are In The Body

C. D. Plum, Paden City, West Virginia

Which bodies? All bodies, of course. Specifically, this lesson deals with two bodies, the physical and spiritual — man's body and Christ's body. A disease is an abnormal condition in any body. There are physical abnormalities, and spiritual abnormalities. When these abnormalities exist in man's body and Christ's body, the right attitude is to bring each body back to a state of normalcy.

The Physical Body

What do we do when disease strikes our physical body? Do we ignore it? Probably we may try some home remedies first, if it isn't too severe. The old stand-by soda, or molasses and sulphur, or a laxative. If these fail to relieve, away to the physician we go. We submit to minute examinations, x-ray, etc. We have fills on pills, we diet, we exercise, we rest. Sometimes we allow ourselves to be hospitalized. Sometimes a doctor removes our appendix, cuts away a part of our colon or stomach, removes our gall-bladder or kidney, etc. No physician worth his salt believes the way to treat these diseases (real abnormalities) is to ignore them. Patients do not close their eyes to these ailments. Ignore them we don't, and we usually do not let others have a chance to ignore our ailments. We talk about them. Honestly now, don't we?

The Spiritual Body

What do we do when diseases (sins, spiritual abnormalities) lurk in Christ's body, the church? Do we ignore such diseases? Too many times I am afraid we do. At least some do. Sometimes the elders do. Sometimes the preachers do. Sometimes the pews do. Do we close our eyes against such sins and take the attitude that if the sin is present, I won't try to restore spiritual normalcy? If you were called to preach where the members were afflicted with the disease of dancing, would you ignore it? If you were called to preach where the church was full of clubs (church clubs) would you ignore them? If you were called to preach where the church from her treasury was supporting the gospel through the missionary society (or its equivalent, the sponsoring church), or supporting the needy through the Red Cross (or its equivalent, the benevolent home), what would you do? Would you fail to try to restore scriptural normalcy here, just because the sin is present? Would you make no mention of it to the brethren either publicly or privately, just because it is present? Does the presence of sin justify its existence and seal the mouth of the preacher? If so, why do brethren name cut tobacco, smoking, snuff rubbing, dancing, women going without a hat (covering) to worship, mixed bathing, and what have you? Every congregation has some of this in it. Yet preachers lay down the law on this, though these things are present. Their mouths are not sealed on this. And preacher brother you know it too. Why not try to correct all diseases in the body of Christ? Why give some sins that are present the silent treatment, and give other sins that are present the public treatment? Have we lost all respect for the scripture that says, "Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear." (I Tim. 5:20) I don't mean be an old meany in attitude, or in presentation of God's truth, but to be kind, and present God's truth in love — but present it.

It is not enough to cry the truth aloud on Coon Run, or Dog Hill to a little group where it is not needed, at least not as badly as elsewhere. Pressure should never be allowed to cause us to "smooth our tongues" when we have honestly, kindly, candidly spoken or written the truth. "The truth shall make you free." (John 8:32) Truth cost Jesus his life. Truth lost Jesus his audience. (John 6:66) Heaven means more than a few choice meetings. Remember, we have to "suffer with Jesus" if we are ever "glorified with Jesus." (Rom. 8:17-18) Remember, too, "A double minded man is unstable in all his ways." (Jas. 1:8) Remember, Jesus is the great physician, and his word is his medicine. "Unto God be glory in the church," it says. (Eph. 3:21) This rules out all human organizations for giving God glory, even though they be organized by our brethren. Even Bible colleges cannot glorify God, nor can they do the work of the church — scripturally.