Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 20, 1963
NUMBER 8, PAGE 2,11b

The Wisdom Of God

Warren Rainwater

In times past, God has shown his wisdom to us in many ways. It is known in creation and God's hand is in the affairs of life. In him we live and have our very existence. Without the wonderful blessings of God, we would not be able to live. We see his wisdom everywhere.

In this study, I want to point out some things concerning the wisdom of God as pictured in Eph. 3:10, "To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God." It is this wisdom which is known by the church and presented to us in the Word that shall be our subject.

The church is presented unto us as complete in every way. It would be foolish to think of the church as being anything but complete when we consider the price paid for it. How it could be viewed as just another institution among many is hard to understand by the honest seeker of Truth.

I am going to divide the study of the church — The Wisdom of God, into three sections or parts. Part 1 — The Organization; Part 2 — The Worship; Part 3 — The Work. It is easy to see the simplicity of the church viewed in this light. An understanding of the following points will go a long way toward unity and will correct many errors being taught in the church today.

Part One — Organization

The simple plan for governing the people of God and directing their work is noted by observing the organizational structure of the local fellowship. This local arrangement is all we can find in the New Testament. This unit is identified in Phil. 1:1, as having elders, deacons, and saints. Search but you will never find an organization larger than the local fellowship. This surely rules out societies which control many local congregations. This also smashes the idea of smaller groups within the church banding themselves together to perform in the name of the church. The forming of larger or smaller organizations to do for the church what it ought to be doing, is dangerous indeed and reflects on the wisdom of God. Who would dare do that?

It should also be noted that error is allowed to exist in the congregation by the eldership either overlooking it or actually giving endorsement to it. It is through the organization that error comes in and remains. Let us strive to have the full knowledge of the scriptures on the wisdom of God as it pertains to the organization of the church.

Part Two — The Worship

God's wisdom is again made known by the acts of worship pictured in the Bible. Even though it is simple in design, it is powerful in results. The Christian can find complete outlet for his inner self in the acts of worship. At we sing his praises, our hearts are overflowed with love and adoration to him and to our brethren in Christ. A Christian will be builded up by the teaching and admonishing expressed in spiritual songs. Singing is uplifting to the spirit. As we pray to God, we pour out our hearts to him in appreciation for his goodness and mercy and also place our burdens at his feet where they can be lifted from our souls Prayer is a maker of humble men. Prayer changes us to better Christians as we lift up our hearts together in thanksgiving. As we give of our means, we show our true love for what Christ has done for us. It is a means of expressing our love for his goodness. We express a desire to share our good with others so they might be partakers of our blessings. Man could not and would not work out such a simple program of worship. When he has put his filthy hand to the task of improving God's worship plan, he has always taken from it. The wisdom of God is made known to the world by the simple plan of worship to be followed by his servants. Who can improve upon it? The addition of the instrument is but a sly way of saying we can improve on God's way. Don't be taken in by this error. God's will must be first in all things.

Part Three — The Work

The simplicity of the work of the church in contrast to the plans of man again reveals the wisdom of God, Paul points out this simple plan in the 4th chapter of Ephesians. Briefly, it is preaching the word, helping those in need, and teaching self. We can search the scriptures from the beginning of the church to the close of the Bible and never will we find the church involved in playing games or anything other than the work assigned it — that is with God's approval. To add to this plan is to step in and say "I am wise." To try to restrict this plan is to manifest the same spirit. It requires the same "wisdom" for man to think he can add to the work of the church as it does to subtract. The adding of acts contrary to the divine will forces the child of God into the realm of iniquity. To put the church into activities unknown to the Word is to impose the wisdom of man on the manifold wisdom of God.

I have noticed, even though briefly, the church in its work, Worship and organization. It is now in order to make some observations and ask some questions for serious study. For these observations, let us suggest three congregations. One maintains purity of work and worship but is unscriptural in organization. Another maintains purity of organization and work but has corrupted the worship by adding the instrument. The third has maintained purity of worship and organization but has corrupted the work. Which would be the more sinful in God's sight? We certainly would not fellowship the congregation that has the instrument. Would we be right in worshipping and lending our support to a congregation that supports projects which are a departure in the work? What about these things? I believe we ought to give serious thought to it. We need to pray over the matter. I am not advocating error in any way but what is bothering me is the inconsistent position taken by so many on these matters. Is it not just as wrong to put the church into error in its work and organization as it is in the worship?

Now to another point in the study. Does the addition of the instrument to the worship make the worship vain? I say, yes! I cannot and will not condone such: Now another question. Does the addition of the instrument reflect all the way back and set aside the primary acts of obedience in conversion? Does it mean that the preacher who believes in and practices the use of the instrument in worship cannot scripturally baptize a person into Christ? If so, what about the preacher who believes in and supports error in the mission of the church? Does it mean he cannot scripturally baptize a person into Christ? If we must make a blanket rule and say that everybody not baptized by a "faithful" gospel preacher must be re-baptized in order to have fellowship with the saints, would that not also be required in churches who have gone away in work as well as organization? I think we need to do some study on this matter.

May I hasten to say here and now that I am opposed to "Christian Church Baptism." I don't know just what it is but I am against it! I am also opposed to "Church of Christ" baptism. I am opposed to all kinds of sectarian baptism. But I plead for and teach that a person must be baptized for remission of sins as taught by the apostles and given in the great commission. When a person obeys from the heart the form of doctrine delivered by the apostles, he becomes a Christian. If not, why not? God adds him to the church. God certainly knows whether I have or have not obeyed from the heart. So far as I am able to learn from the Bible, the condition of the heart of the man baptizing me had nothing to do with it. Let us carefully think on these thoughts because they are becoming more and more important as the church rushes head long into apostasy on every hand.

— 341 Southmore Street, Plainfield, Ill.