Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 23, 1962
NUMBER 16, PAGE 7,10b

From A Preacher's Note- Book

James W. Adams

Contentions Of Brethren

"A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle." (Proverbs 18:19)

Any person who has had any experience either in family difficulties or church troubles knows the truth of this observation from practical experience. There is a sense of betrayal accompanied by outraged indignation connected with differences between brethren whether in physical or spiritual relationships which erect an almost insurmountable wall of separation between them. None can be more adamant; none can be more unreasonable; none can be more unrestrained in his expressions of contempt; and none can be characterized by more bitterness of heart than an offended brother. Brethren should, therefore, be slow to give offense to one another and slow to become offended with one another. Offenses are better handled before they occur.

"But Look At The Good We Are Doing!"

This has become the standard excuse among the churches these days for doing almost everything that is done for which there is not a "thus saith the Lord." This is but an expression of the age-old concept that "the end justifies the means." The story is told in Nuggets of an unsuccessful effort on the part of an English criminal to justify his deed on this basis: "The end does not justify the means. A judge in an English court refused to be lenient with a culprit who pleaded guilty to stealing a typewriter, but justified his theft on the grounds that he planned to write a new version of the Bible."

The thing often overlooked in this regard is that God is the one who is to be pleased in religion, and that what pleases man, or seems good to man, may not please and seem good to God. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord." (Isa. 55:8) What is good in God's sight and pleases him may be learned only from His word "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, net the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things which are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth: comparing spiritual things with spiritual." (1 Cor. 2:9-13) The mind of God is made known to man by the words of the Spirit-filled apostles and prophets of the Lord in the New Testament. If the New Testament not does authorize a practice, it neither pleases God nor is a good practice in religion. The so- called "good" one does as judged by man proves nothing.

There is hardly a religious body or religious practice that is not productive of some good. Judged on this basis, hardly anything would be wrong in religion. Judgment will be on the basis of the teaching of God's word. (Rev. 20:12; John 12:48)


"Begging" has become, in the past decade, an honored profession among the Lord's churches. When we use the term, "begging," we refer not to elders, preachers, and teachers emphasizing New Testament teaching on the subject of giving, nor even to their pleading with the constituents of their respective congregations, to sustain the program of work of the congregation with their material means.

We refer rather to those brethren and churches with grandiose schemes which far transcend the abilities and means of a single church, hence necessitates a planned program of "begging" among the churches for funds to sustain such endeavors. So many schemes of this variety have been hatched among the brethren that churches of Christ may soon be forced to resort to a plan similar to Christian Churches. Christian Churches have what they call, "United Promotions." This is an arrangement much after the order of "The United Fund" of community charities. "United Promotions" ascertain the needs of the various centralized projects among Christian Churches, totals the amounts, and seeks to raise the total figure among the churches and individuals. Its professional money-raisers (beggers) have only this task to perform. When the total sum is raised, each organization affiliated with it receives its proportionate share. Now, however, churches of Christ are plagued with a rash o! "beggars" sent out from each promotion to gather funds. We wonder how long it will be until a "United Promotions" will be suggested for churches of Christ.

All of this makes an item we recently saw in Nuggets most suggestive. The item originally was published in Capper's Weekly. A clergyman, famous for begging abilities, was speaking to a group of Sunday school children. When comparing himself — the pastor of a church — to a shepherd, and his congregation to the sheep, he put the following questions to the children: "What does the shepherd do for the sheep?"

To the amusement of those present, a little fellow in the front row answered, "Shears them!"

The itinerant sheep-shearers really abound among the churches these days. Every device known to promoters is employed by them to force their attentions upon the churches and to press their claims upon their treasuries. A mark of distinction among churches currently is to be a "beggar." The "sponsoring church," another expression for "beggar," is regarded as the "church on the march."

Meditating On God

Too many professed servants of the Lord feed themselves on the bitter herbs of self-pity in their hours of adversity. They remember with bitterness the oppressive heat of life's summer sun, the icy blast of life's winter winds, and the destructive force of her springtime storms. They whine and complain and often censure God for their lot.

Refreshing, indeed, is it to read from David the sentiments of his heart in one of the most tragic hours or his life. In the wilderness of Judah, where he had fled from Absalom, his beloved son, he sang to God: "My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth; shall praise thee with joyful lips; when I remember thee upon my bed, and mediate on thee in the night-watches." (Ps. 63:5, 6)

Few men have suffered the exquisite agony of the king of Israel. Conspired against by his own son, driven from his throne, exiled in the wilderness, fleeing for his life, his soul must have suffered the most excruciating pain. Yet, in this hour of adversity, he could "praise the Lord with joyful lips" and his "soul be satisfied as with marrow and fatness." He did not wet his pillow through the long hours of the night with tears of bitterness, but with quiet hours of remembrance of and meditation upon God.

God has so abundantly blessed each one of us. He has done so much for us. He has brought into our lives so much sunshine and happiness. The history of His dealings with His people is so replete with evidences of His care and concern with them. To remember Him is to "praise him with joyful lips." To meditate upon Him in our hours of greatest tragedy will calm the fevered brow and dry the tear-dimmed eye. Our souls will indeed be "satisfied as with marrow and fatness."

When adversity comes, and it will to each of us, and the night hours grow long and weary as we toss upon our beds, let us remember God and mediate upon Him. Let us remember and meditate upon his character. Let us think of His infinite wisdom, His immeasurable love, the unplumbed depths of His mercy and compassion. Remember with great gratitude the blessings and joys of the past and meditate upon the precious promises of His tender concern for and help of His people in their hours of need. God does not promise to spare His people adversity. He does promise to sustain them in adversity and to bless them through adversity. Hence, "let our souls be satisfied."

— 3105 N. W. 35th Place, Oklahoma City, Okla.