Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 19, 1953


Cecil B. Douthitt, P. O. Box 67, Brownwood, Texas

Fellowship And Worship With The Christian Church: Is It Scriptural?

Dear Brother Douthitt: In a discussion in a Bible class over prayer and instrumental music a preacher here has caused many to become unsettled over these questions. He has encouraged elders in a meeting to call on members of the Christian Church to lead in prayer. He argues if you could call on them at your table at home that you could call on them in church services. He said that in traveling, if there was no church of Christ near that he could stop and worship at a Christian Church and could sing with the musical instrument in their service. He has caused much confusion over the question. Will you write an article on it in the Gospel Guardian or answer in your question section as soon as possible? Members of the congregation as well as the preacher get the Guardian and I believe it might change their thinking as they regard you as sound in the faith in answering questions. These are the questions.

1. Is it scriptural or expedient to call upon members of the Christian Church to lead public prayers when they attend our worship? Could calling on them to lead in prayer at your table at home be an example for calling on them to lead in prayer at public worship?

2. If I am traveling and not near a church of Christ, could I scripturally worship with the Christian Church and sing with the instrument?

3. If I can do these things with the conservative Christian Church, where can I draw the line with those in religious error?

Please answer soon as this is very important to us here.

Signed: A Truthseeker, Indiana Instrumental music in Christian worship is sinful and no Christian can worship God acceptably where it is used, regardless of how far he may be from the meeting place of a church of Christ.

I have a sixteen page tract on Music Divinely Appointed For True Worshippers, in which I have tried to show that singing the right kind of songs is the only kind of music acceptable to God in worship. If Truthseeker will send me his address, I will send him several copies of the tract for free distribution among the brethren disturbed by the erroneous teaching of the preacher mentioned in his letter.

Instrumental music is not the only thing wrong with the Christian Church. It is an apostate order as far from the truth and authority of God's word as almost any other man-made system of religion. Like all the other denominations it is wrong in origin, doctrine and practice. Its worship is a mixture of Paganism, Judaism and a little Christianity. Faithful followers of Christ should have no part in its worship, its societies, its institutionalism and its worldliness. They should be separate from such. (2 Cor. 6:14-18)

Member of the Christian Church and members of all the other denominations are lost in a labyrinth of error without which there could be no denomination. It is not scriptural, and therefore could never be expedient, to call on a denominationalist to lead a prayer for true and informed Christians in the home, or in public worship, or anywhere else.

Elders: How Selected And Appointed?

"I enjoy the Guardian more all the time. The articles are well selected, instructive and timely. I have noticed several articles in the past in reference to the duties and qualifications of elders, but never have I seen, that I recall, articles in reference to the ways and means of a church selecting and ordaining elders for the first time. I am aware that there are various ways that perhaps are all right, but I believe some suggestions from some of the more experienced brethren as to the way it is done with the most decency and order would be very helpful to smaller congregations that are ready to set things in order."

At least ten different Greek words, no two of which have exactly the same meaning, are translated appoint in the New Testament. About twenty different Hebrew words are translated appoint in the Old Testament. Different Greek words with different meanings are used for the appointment of elders in the New Testament church.

It is said in Acts 14:23, "And when they had appointed for them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they had believed." The word appointed or ordained in this passage is from the Greek word cheirotoneo which primarily means to choose by stretching or pointing out the hand. While in Titus 1:5, where it is said that Titus was left in Crete to "appoint" or "ordain" elders in every city, a different Greek word is used; in this passage the word appoint or ordain is from the Greek word kathistemi which means literally to place or set down. This same Greek word is translated make eight times in the New Testament.

By using a concordance or reference Bible one may see that the English word appoint has many meanings in the Bible. These different meanings of the English word, and the many Greek words with different meanings, from which it is translated, is definite and convincing proof that the New Testament contains no divinely prescribed ceremony or formula for the appointment of elders, deacons or any other workers in the church.

Therefore we conclude that any method of appointing elders and other workers in the church is acceptable, if the method does not violate some other New Testament principle. When partisanship, or envy, or prejudice, or a desire for authority, or love of pre-eminence, or unauthorized religious ceremony is involved in the method employed, then a New Testament principal is violated and that method of appointment is unscriptural and wrong. A group of Christians free from these evils, and with a sincere desire to please the Lord, may follow the method of their own choice in the selection and appointment of elders, if any men among them are qualified for the work. No method of appointment can succeed, if the men appointed are not qualified. An evangelist of experience and good judgment should be of valuable aid in the selection and appointment of bishops. (Titus 1:5)