Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 20, 1958
NUMBER 45, PAGE 13b,14c

Key Of Knowledge Taken Away

J. W. Jackson

NOTE: This article is from the book Living Words and was published in 1902. The article is also apropos in our day, when so many are manifesting disrespect for the authority of God's word.

The language of Jesus, Luke 11:52, is easily understood. The religious teachers, or expounders of the law, had taken away from the people the means by which that knowledge might be obtained which would give them access to the Kingdom of God. These teachers has acquired the ascendency over that people by a show of wisdom and piety, and the people, thus deceived, were disposed to accept such teaching as the oracles of God. Thus God's word was made of no effect. (Mark 7:13) Tradition, commandments of men, speculations and theological inferences so filled the minds of the people that the plain teachings of God's word were set aside, neglected, not obeyed. Jesus came according to promise and prophecy, but though the law and the prophets were read in their synagogues every Sabbath, the people did not recognize nor receive Him. "He came unto His own, but His own received Him not." (John 1:11) The people did not understand the things that were written in the law, the prophets and the psalms concerning Him. (Luke 24:44) Their hearts had become sensual, and they closed their eyes and shut their ears to the teaching of Jesus, and to the testimony by which He was shown to be the promised Son of David. (Matt. 13:15) The teachers of the people were the cause of this; they had taken away the key of knowledge. Tradition, speculation, and the commandments of men will always produce the same result, viz., hearts full of sensuality. Not necessarily those gross and bestial forms of sensuality found in the slums of a city, but that sensuality which seeks the friendship of the world; that loves the things of the world, ease, vanity, vain glory, etc., which can be seen in the erection of costly houses of worship, richly furnishing them with carpets, cushioned pews, organs, parlors, etc., and filling them with fashionable worshippers bedecked with jewels and silks to be catered to by a salaried pastor whose chief glory is to so entertain them as to "hold his situation" and draw his pay. This is no overdrawn picture. In fact it does not go far enough.

It fails to enumerate those things done by the professed followers of Jesus Christ, some of which would cause a blush of shame to mantle the cheek of the poor despised heathen. Festivals, fairs, bazaars, all sorts of so-called socials, kissing bees, old maid' auctions, leg shows, etc., etc., all done "in the name of the Lord Jesus" for "sweet charity's sake." This is inexcusable sensuality and will certainly bring upon the people the vengeance of an insulted God. For this state of things the religious teachers are largely responsible. Like their prototypes, the lawyers, they have taken away the key of knowledge. Creeds, speculations, theories, and expedients have superseded God's word and made it of none effect. The preacher who now pleads for the gospel of Christ "as it is written," and who will teach that sobriety, righteousness, and godliness, that God requires of man, is regarded as a "crank," an "old fogey," a "hobbyist," a "back number." He must give way to an "up-to-date" preacher; one who can play the orator; and who is "broad enough" to bid God-speed to every ism' that has stolen the name Christian wherewith to cloak its spiritual deformity. If this be doubted, let some preacher visit one of these fashionable churches, and preach to them the gospel of Christ "as it is written." Try the experiment, my brother, and you will see how quickly you can empty a house, or be emptied from it yourself.