Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 26, 1955

Teachest Thou Not Thyself?

Billy W. Moore, Portageville, Missouri

For many years brethren have made the appeal to our denominational friends "Search the Scriptures." We have preached the gospel in its purity and proudly proclaimed that we "Speak where the Bible speaks, and are silent where the Bible is silent." We have challenged sectarian preachers to give the book, chapter, and verse which authorizes their particular doctrine. Again and again gospel preachers have pointed out how those of Berea "were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." (Acts 17:11.) All of this has been good and we should continue to make these appeals to our religious neighbors. However, some brethren can no longer make this appeal and remain consistent, since they fail to give book, chapter and verse for some of the things they teach and practice, with reference to the "sponsoring church" method of congregational cooperation. In fact, some of the champion defenders of this method of congregational cooperation have admitted that there is no New Testament command, approved example, or necessary inference which authorizes such method.

I have been greatly disappointed in some of my brethren who have attempted to justify the "sponsoring church" by appealing to "past practices" or to "the good it is doing." But when these same brethren are discussing the plan of salvation with a Baptist preacher or with a denominational friend they make an appeal to "Search the Scriptures," and rightly so; for we should teach and practice only that which is authorized in the New Testament. But how can they continue to ask the sectarians to "search the scriptures" when they have attempted to justify their practice by everything but the scriptures?

Some in Rome, evidently, were very inconsistent. Thus Paul asked, "Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself?" (Rom. 2:21.) When I teach men that they should not steal, I certainly should be teaching myself not to steal. When I teach others to "search the scriptures" and "speak as the oracles of God" I should be teaching myself to do the same. Some who for many years have been teaching others the importance of searching the scriptures have not learned the lesson themselves, at least they do not practice it, for when their practice is questioned they appeal to "past practices" and to "the good that is being accomplished" rather than doing that which they have taught others to do — search the scriptures — speak as the oracles of God. May we learn from Paul that when we teach others we are teaching ourselves, and having taught the necessity of "speaking as the oracles of God," let us put that into practice in our own lives. And may we remove from our teaching and practice that which is not authorized by command, approved example or necessary inference.