Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 22, 1970
NUMBER 24, PAGE 8-9a

Are You Willing To Study?

Larry A. Bunch

I stand amazed at the attitude religious peoples manifest toward studying the Word of God with someone not of their persuasion. Too many times when I approach someone about studying only the Word of God they reply that they are "satisfied" and think the church where they worship is "all right." Some refuse to even get that far in conversation with me. They simply refuse to accept anything I try to say or give them (as, bulletins, tracts, etc.) saying, "We are not of the same belief and it would be useless to discuss these matters with you."

But... would you believe brethren possess the attitudes manifested above? They do! In preparing for our gospel meeting, I went through our mailing list and selected the names of brethren living in the area surrounding the meeting house and visited every one to invite them to the meeting. Most of them were very nice. Some didn't say anything; others indicated they would come (though none did except for one Lawton preacher and a boy he brought with him.) One family indicated they were satisfied where they attended and that they thought the church there was all right. One brother (?) would not even take the bulletin I offered or my little "business" card with the times of our services, etc. on it, at the same time expressing the sentiments in the last sentence of paragraph one!

All I want to do is study. What kind of attitude should we have toward studying with someone else?

** Isa. 1:18 "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord:" I heard of a church that carried this statement on their bulletin until someone offered to study with them — then they took it off!

** Acts 17:2 "And Paul... reasoned with them out of the scriptures."

** Acts 18:4 "And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath," vs. 19 ". . . but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews." I can't even get the churches here to let me come into their assemblies to reason with them! I understand the plea has been, in times past, to "show us where we are wrong and we will change." Pulpits were open to anyone with the stipulation we would take equal time to answer the material presented by those disagreeing with us. My preaching brethren in Lawton do not believe this. Pulpits are closed to all who disagree with them!

** Acts 15:6 "And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter." We would like to have a debate here in Lawton (one preacher has agreed — it remains yet to be seen whether it will materialize) so everyone can come together to consider the things that divide us.

** Prov. 15:28 "The heart of the righteous studieth to answer:" 2 Tim. 2:15 "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." What about brethren who will not even consider? Will not even study? Will not let us study with them and seek the answer to the problems causing division?

Brother, where does this article find you? Are you willing to study? Do you have an open mind? Will you accept only the word of God? Or does the description of God's people in Isa. 1:3 fit you? ("The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.")

Sad to say, too many brethren are grouped with the latter description (Isa. 1:3). Some are in a worse condition! Jer. 5:31 "The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof'?" You say, "Brother Bunch, no one today would be guilty of that!" Are you sure? Look at Paul's description of those calling themselves Christians: (2 Tim. 3:1-5) "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." "But brother Bunch, members of the church of Christ would not be guilty of these things! "Look at 2 Tim. 4:1-4: "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom, Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they ("they" who?? Christians! members of the body of Christ!) will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;" What did they do under the Old Law? The prophets and priests taught falsehoods and the people loved it! What does Paul say they will do under the law of Christ? same thing? Hire a preacher who will tell them what they want to hear!

Now, I don't want to accuse any of you of loving falsehoods. But when you refuse to consider, when you refuse to study, what is the matter? Apostasy comes about because brethren are unwilling to study and do not love the truth ( 2 Thess. 2:10 ". . .them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.")

We believe there are some who want to study. We are persuaded there are those willing to stand firm on the truth of God's Word. We stand ready to "Preach the word; be instant (ready) in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." Will you let us study with you?

— 7317 NW Compass, Dr. Lawton, Oklahoma 73501