Back to Jerusalem
By JOHN ALLEN HUDSON.
WALTER BARKER, STATION ROAD,
Prepared for use on the internet by
Arches church of Christ, Belfast, Northern Ireland http://members.tripod.com/~arches.
BACK TO JERUSALEM
By JOHN ALLEN HUDSON
SOME years ago, there lived in the antipodes a notable man, by the name of Stephen Cheek, who studied the Word of God and brought himself from sectarianism to the apostolic view of the Church, her work and worship. He wrote a defence of his action under the title, Hitherto; Or Our Journey to Jerusalem. With regard to his progress from sectarianism (Plymouth Brethren) to the New Testament pattern of things, his title was very appositely chosen. But it is my thought to address this treatise to those who have known, or at least have had in their heritage, a knowledge of the apostolicity and original purity of the Church of Christ. Hence, the title of this treatise is Back to Jerusalem. The reason for this is that, as I view the matter, there has been, and is now, a tendency to drift from the original pattern which was re-traced by the great preachers who began the Restoration Movement in the United States and in England. The greatest names of all to be conjured with are the Campbells, father and son. Then there are other such notables in this history as Barton W. Stone, Walter W. Scott, Benjamin Franklin, "Raccoon" John Smith, and in England, James Wallis, David King, and Lancelot Oliver. I feel justified in saying that were these great characters in the world to-day, to view the divided sentiment over issues the full consequence of which they could not in the nature of things anticipate, they would unsheath their swords in battle. I remember how Alexander Campbell engaged with Brother Ferguson, editor of the Christian Magazine, to stop, in its incipiency, a wrong move by some in the Restoration Movement, and by one effort (a debate in Nashville, Tennessee) put an end to that heresy. He was as valiant in defence of the truth in the ranks of the disciples as when he opposed an alien foe; and I cannot believe that David King, or Benjamin Franklin, whose swords were wielded so mightily against error, would rest content to let some modern heresies rend the ranks of the brotherhood. At least, they would have given these matters open and careful consideration, without the least quailing to face them, and would discuss what the consequences of such things might be.
It is but natural that in the process of more than a hundred years of history there should have come into the movement men who very imperfectly understand the original position. It is equally natural that some of these men should be strong personalities, filled with large ambition, who should seek to get to the head of things, and exert a wide influence. Mixing piety with ambition and imperfectly understanding what this movement for the restoration of apostolic Christianity should mean, there would come a development of corruption at the head of the movement. This is exactly what has happened. All the division and heartache that exist in a Brotherhood that now extends round the world are directly traceable to this very thing. They have not necessarily been unscrupulous men; on the contrary, they have possessed great piety, and thus have been the more dangerous. If piety could have been stripped from their ambition to lead and their desire to introduce alien and new things - so that in baldness and hideousness things could have been taken at their true values - their influence would have been but slight. In some instances they were men self-deceived and being but human could not anticipate the great evil they were doing to the purest movement introduced to the world this side of the apostles. Things in retrospect are much clearer in prospect, but the evil is not less because imperfectly conceived-of, gauged, and measured.
We must not fail to understand that in the days of the apostles there were heresies, misunderstandings and false leadings, even as we are facing them at this later day. The Apostle to the Gentiles, addressing the elders of the Church at Ephesus, said: "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock over which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God which he bath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them." (Acts xx. 28-30). That this has happened again, in this latter day, on wider lines, is evident when we consider the divided state of a once united brotherhood. It is traceable in this case, as in the former, to one thing, and one thing only - false leadership.
Many who sit in the seats of the mighty shall have a severer judgment. The cause of the Lord needs to be led by humble men, who can differentiate between their own sordid ambitions and the true interests of the kingdom of heaven.
But God vindicates himself and if self-constituted leaders guide parts of the movement astray in this generation, those elements which they lead will disappear as they sink into the sands of time and God will preserve a pure people at the same time. Such will not be apparent in the generation of departure Even the majority may be on the drift and think themselves the elect of God - man's capacity for self-deception is boundless - as in the case of the majority kingdom of Israel in the Old Testament. It is still true that every man's way is right in his own eyes, as it was in the time of Solomon. But if men stubbornly refuse to see the facts, facts they are none the less The majority argument is a baseless one. The minority may be right and survive. It has happened many times. So if a large body here or there, puffed up with pride over numbers, could possess the faculty of self-appraisement, it might stop a deal of ruthlessness that sometimes exists. But there is a more important point than this, and that is, that the principle actuating one group or the other may be wrong. Let us look into this.
INDEPENDENCY OF THE LOCAL CHURCH.
This was a basic doctrine of the Restoration Movement set forth by the Campbells, and ardently believed by them, on the subject of church government. Naturally, a subject of this kind had to be considered. How should the church be governed? What bound different congregations of like faith together, if anything? Any one reading the Memoirs of A. Campbell, by Dr. Richardson, is bound to be impressed with the way in which Thomas Campbell, in America, and Alexander, at Glasgow, under the teaching of Greville Ewing, were led simultaneously to the view that in the days of the New Testament each congregation was free from and independent of all others in the world. The church at Ephesus, for example, was not bound by the action of the church at Corinth, except in cases of a disciplinary character. Each local congregation was governed by two classes of officers - elders and deacons. Paul wrote to the church at Phillipi with its elders and deacons. He wrote of an existing state and organisation in that church, which was tacitly approved. Hence, the stamp of divine approval is placed upon that kind of organisation - a church that has two bodies of officers, elders and deacons.
Elders were the spiritual heads of the congregation. They had several other designations. They were sometimes called elders, bishops, presbyters, pastors, overseers, shepherds. (Acts xx. 17, 28; 1 Tim. iv. 14; Eph. iv. 11; 1 Tim. iii. 1-7; Titus i. 1-7; 1 Pet. v. 1-5). They were one and the same, through all these terms. Each term was descriptive of a different phase of their work and office.
The duties, as well as the qualifications, of elders are set forth in the Scriptures referred to already. Elders are to "rule" but not as lords over God's heritage; rather as examples unto the flock. (Heb. xiii. 7, 17; 1 Pet. v. 1-5). Their chief power was to be that of moral suasion, through example. Autocratic rule is tyranny. A person undertaking that is not, and never can be, a spiritual elder. He is a tyrant, even though very petty.
The rule is not the matter of a single elder, but of a plurality of them in the same congregation. Several by counsel together, in moderation, and because they command by a godly life the unbounded respect of the congregation, decide what is best to be done in the life of the church. They never have the right to alter a single command of Christ. Nor do they in any sense possess legislative power affecting worship, or the items of worship. They may in discretion model and arrange the order of service, so that things may be done "decently and in order," but they may not take away a single thing Christ has said nor add a thing which He has not commanded. They are also responsible for the membership of the congregation in private life as affects their morals arid spiritual growth. They must possess the power, as the spiritual heads of the church to teach, to convict and to rout the gainsayer.
In the nature of the case, because man must be governed in some manner, these officers should remain a permanent fixture in the life of the churches. Without them there would be anarchy. Every man would become a law unto himself. Any group needs some sort of responsible heads, even though those heads may govern only by the consent of those who elevate them to the position. Ultimately, and in any case, this is so Otherwise, there is a minor revolution - inevitably. Such is human nature. Elders therefore must always know what they can do with the consent of the church, and what, if done, will invite rebellion A man not acutely sensitive to this sort of thing could never be a scriptural elder.
Of course, a church can exist for a time, and can carry on the work and worship of the Lord without elders and deacons. But so soon as men shall have time to reach the qualifications laid down in the Scripture - working at self-development so as to reach this desired objective - then the divine purpose is that the congregation should have such men appointed to these offices and works. The congregations existed for a time in Crete before Titus was sent to ordain elders in every city, as Paul had commanded. When the leaders had become qualified for the office of elders or deacons, then the congregations were to have certain ones appointed
It is not my intention to give a thorough treatise on the subject of government. Only so much, in fact, as is required to get to the basic principle of independency of the local church. One interested in this theme further can read The Model Church, by G C Brewer, to be had from the Gospel Advocate, Nashville Tennessee.
The work of the deacons, in the nature of the case, was more on the physical side of the life of the congregation. However, some in the days of the New Testament became notable preachers of the Word. The office has great possibilities, both in the service to be rendered and in other points of vantage to which it leads.
A one-man eldership (the very thought is a confusion in terms), a one-man bishopric, or a one-man pastorate is unscriptural. Keeping this point clear has been, and continues to be, a tremendous undertaking. This tract is written because of manifest abuses in several things. Hence the cry, "Back to Jerusalem!" Many are leaving Zion, as the capital of a spiritual religion and are trekking to the Babel of denominationalism in terms and practice The model church began m Jerusalem. We are not to model the church after the ways and thinking of men God in the New Testament has given us the kind of institution he wants us to have.
I have met the one-man pastor, in most cases a preacher. He is just as wrong in sort, if not in degree, as the Pope. There is no authority for a preacher to be called " pastor." The word pastor in Eph. iv. 11 is a term applied to the elders, and it is not used in the singular, but plural sense. Pastors and elders are synonyms. Again, some who started out on the right track are using the term "Reverend." The men who began this movement to restore the apostolic church saw that all artificial distinctions, and especially all unscriptural ones, must be abolished. How Campbell did inveigh against such artificial honours in the Christian Baptist! Shades of the illustrious dead! Campbell, were he to come back now and see how the movement which he so auspiciously began has adopted the very things which he so powerfully decried, would find one of the ironies of history.
We have reared up a generation that neither knows what this movement is nor respects the labours of some of the giants of the past. They like to sit in the chief seats and be called of men Rabbi, or "Reverend," or "Pastor." Yes, some have gone even further than this. Possessing honorary degrees (not earned) they want to be called "Doctor"! The Apostle Paul possessed great academic honours, but I have not read where he claimed the right to be called "Doctor" or "Reverend." Fie, and for shame! What children some men are! How worldly are their conceptions! Jesus gave the criterion of honour when He said, "Let him that is chief be the servant of you all." What servants were Peter and Paul! And they were never called these things. Let us get back to Jerusalem.
There is an unscriptural entity likewise, of whom I have heard in some other sections, called the Secretary. Now as record-keeper, duly appointed for the purpose by the leaders of the congregation, and actually keeping the records of the congregation, he would be all right, but when this 'Secretary" takes over the "arrangements" to fill the pulpit, to order the services, et cetera, he is just as unscriptural as the "Pastor" or "Reverend" who is the virtual head of the church. To what lengths will some go to avoid the very things the Lord ordained, elders and deacons, and get unscriptural entities for the work and service of the church! Let us get back to Jerusalem! If we are not going to be a church of the New Testament, and are determined to destroy the original model by substitutes, then let us also abandon scriptural names and practices. Having known the way of truth, ours is a worse case than the poor sectarian who never knew better. Let us quit playing at this matter. It is entirely too important to destroy by degrees in one little thing after another, the pure New Testament church. Such, some in many parts, seriously threaten to do.
It is perfectly evident from a close study of Scripture that with complete independency, and autonomy of the local church, there was no such thing as an ecclesiastical hierarchy at the beginning. Indeed, history is very specific as to the beginning of a sort of super-church government. In his history D'Aubigne tells us that in the great cities, following hard on the apostolic age ambitious leaders appeared, claiming the chief powers of the elderships from which they rose, and so the one-man bishopric developed. Then there began a rivalry among these bishops concerning who was the greatest of all. This continued for a few centuries, until finally the bishop of Rome won the contest and assumed the title of universal bishop, or Pope. It is natural for men to grasp after power. And the Lord made a system of government in which he kept reduced to a minimum the possibilities of such self-aggrandisement
Any legislative and executive position that, in any degree, would give to any single man a say in the life of more than a single congregation of Christians now differs only in degree, not in kind, from the assumptions sanctioned by centuries of tradition of the Pope.
Christ only is the Head of the church. No single man has a right to the direction of the affairs of more than one congregation, and even then he must be an elder (not the elder) in that one congregation. There is simply no place in the New Testament, that is with divine approval, for a Diotrephes.
One may, by a godly life and great Service come to receive honour from many congregations, but such will come naturally as a result from his life and work, and not because of any office in the church of the New Testament. There is no such office in the New Testament.
Co-operation is a New Testament principle however That is, more than one congregation could bend its energies to accomplish a common task. Such was done by the churches of Macedonia and Achaia. Upon the call from the Apostle Paul, churches of those provinces took up collections on each first day of the week for more than a year, and these resources were pooled and taken to the poor saints in Palestine, who were famine stricken. But there was no organisation, with a president, secretaries for districts, and executive, with each one having his hands greased with a nice salary from the amounts raised. All we read about are men called messengers, or bearers of the funds, who seem to have journeyed with Paul to deliver them. Nothing more. There were no officers given positions of permanency. No men were appointed by any general gathering in conference assembled, and set up as secretaries for this work. Instead, each messenger was sent from the contributing church - not from the Conference. This thing is being turned round and corrupted. THERE IS NO ORGANISATION INDICATED AT ALL THAT WAS BIGGER THAN THE LOCAL CHURCH!
Some years ago. I had a written controversy with one of the editorial writers of the Christian Evangelist, and he said that there was no "missionary technique" in the New Testament. I insisted that there is, but it is congregational, as in the case of Paul's being sent out from the church at Antioch. And to that church he always returned and reported. One needs only to read Acts of Apostles to see that this was true. I agreed with this writer that there is no technique for any man-made missionary organisation in the New Testament, and since the New Testament is a perfect guide, and sets forth the plan that enabled the Church of Christ in the lifetime of the apostles to cover the entire earth, we should be satisfied with the Lord's plan and not try to improve it. For when men undertake to do so they always fail.
Curiously enough, the first thing that brought about a division of sentiment, and later a divergence of ways (as in the days after the closing of the New Testament) was because men sought to organise something more than the church! In IndianopoIis, Indiana in 1849, after the movement to restore the church of the New Testament had got gloriously under way, a group of ambitious men assembled and made a missionary society. It has brought untold troubles and miseries, even to those who formed it, and to the ambitious men who through it have sought, like the case of the tail wagging the dog, to control the churches. In the first place, it split a once happy brotherhood, and now in the United States we have "Churches of Christ" and "Disciples of Christ." (Instrumental music is also to be considered as part of the trouble, and later treated in this tract). The Disciples of Christ are those having the society, now called after many years, having grown up, the "United Christian Missionary Society."
Yet the strange thing about it is that this division, with its powerful society, is not growing. It has practically ceased to grow. According to its own figures, reported in its own journal, twenty-nine thousand Sunday School students were lost last year, and it failed by more than six thousand to baptise as many as in the previous year, and lost thirty-eight churches and seventeen preachers. The society has defeated itself. It is not an expansionist organisation, but a weight which the groaning churches must carry. And high priced secretaries must be paid. Added to these serious, grave, and true charges, there is the fundamental one that it stifles initiative, which is the very thing that a church must have to grow. Now, the churches wait on the society. It kills personal responsibility, and finally defeats itself. This is what it is doing. In less than a hundred years, God has shown that when He made the New Testament church without a super-church government, but with simple independency (and He made one that overran the earth in one generation), He could do better than men could when they made what they thought they ought to have! And that is not the end of the matter. There is now a large group of the "Disciples," formerly supporters of the Society in America, led by the Christian Standard who have rebelled, and another open break (the second one over this man-made organisation) is just round the corner!
Some men have a perfect mania for organisation and power, and they are the ones who destroy the harmony and peace of a once united brotherhood. And they are the ones who have the effrontery to speak of a lack of charity! It comes with exceedingly poor grace. "Back to Jerusalem!" and the source of trouble on this organisational side will abolished.
MEN AND WOMEN FROM MANY CONGREGATIONS MAY NOT MEET AND TRANSACT BUSINESS FOR ALL THE CONGREGATIONS THEY REPRESENT! Churches cannot delegate their powers to any organisation larger than the local church. When this is done, the independancy of the local church becomes a matter for serious concern.
May congregations co-operate? Certainly. How? Not through something not mentioned in the Bible, but through the labours and recommendations of the officers named in Scripture - elders and deacons! If a missionary is to go out from some congregation as Paul did from Antioch, and that congregation cannot support him alone, the leaders of that congregation may make known their need of assistance, and co-operation of other congregations invited until the needs are met. When this is done, men do not get together and make something that God has not mentioned in Scripture. Remember the Bible is the guide and it is adequate. Well, one asks, what would be wrong in doing something else? First, either an ignorant or blatant disregard for holy things; second, as already instanced, trouble in the future.
Churches of Christ in America have many missionaries on many foreign fields, and they have created nothing extra-scriptural in character After a big fight, the Christian Standard, splitting off from the Society, has adopted this scriptural method. (It is a bit curious and strange that the first man to lead in the struggle to get the Society created and functioning was the editor of the Christian Standard, while the man most vehemently opposing it now from the inside - at least once did oppose - is the editor of the same journal, and a blood-relation of the former editor).
This is the day of preventative medicine. Doctors have found it easier to prevent disease than to cure it. The time to stop this mania for organisation is before it gets held of the brotherhood. Once started trouble is to pay. GODS WAY IS BEST! "My way is not your way saith the Lord, neither is your way my way." (See Isaiah lv. 8). "There is a way that seemeth right unto man (and many think the society or organisational way is that way) but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Prov. xiv. 9).
FOLLOWING THE WRONG LEAD.
Impurities in work and worship by the people of the Lord in every age have come about because the Lords people have been prone to copy their neighbours. This is manifestly wrong, from the scriptural viewpoint. We are commanded to be separate from the world. "Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed, by the renewing of your mind; that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable and perfect will of God." (Rom. xii. 2).
In the Old Testament, we have this constant struggle of the people of the Lord to keep themselves pure from heathen practices. The great sin of Balaam, which he taught Israel to sin, through the inveiglement of the lovely women of the enemy, Moab, (Numbers xxv.) was in making them accept the practices of a heathen religion. In every age it has been a prodigious struggle to keep the chosen ones separate. Many among them, being worldly minded, have ever turned toward the "leeks and garlic of Egypt," and have wanted, like the children of Israel, to go back to worldly practices. It is because such are but partially converted; because, while they have started a journey toward the eternal city, they can never forget the city of Mansoul. Here lies the difficulty.
In the time of Samuel, the people of Israel, looking at the nations round about, reached the point of losing pride in their great distinction, and began to want to copy the nations. Hence they asked Samuel to talk to the Lord about making them a king. Please read the eighth chapter of I. Samuel carefully and prayerfully. God was governing them through Judges, while He himself was the head of the nation. It was a pure theocracy - God the head. But Israel wanted a king like the nations of the earth. Hence their request. Samuel was grieved. He thought the people were tired of him. Being selfish, he felt that his fine labours were being overlooked. God then spoke to him and told him that he was not the one being rejected, but that the people were rejecting God. Yes, when they wanted to throw up the rule of God for the rule of a king, to be like the nations round about, the people were rejecting God. That is always what it amounts to when a people, forsaking the Bible in their religious lives, want to adopt worldly practices, such as instrumental music in divine worship. It is wholly a worldly sentiment. It is always an unconverted sentiment. It is always a harking back to the world, as the children of Israel turned back in their thoughts to the "leeks and garlic of Egypt," after Moses had led them out.
It is befitting at this time to make a few statements from the historic standpoint on this subject. History is just as explicit about the introduction of instrumental music into divine service as it is about the Crusades, the triumphs and defeats of Oliver Cromwell, the wars of William of Orange, or the American Civil War. Just as explicit and definite. We have no more right to call in question one than the other. We know of the exploits of the characters mentioned from reliable chronicles of the past. And we know of the introduction of instrumental music in divine service from chronicles of the past. The first organ introduced into worship was in 655 A.D. It was given by the Emperor of the East to the Western Church, and, being accepted, was introduced into the church, being the gift of an emperor. John F. Rowe, in his History of Reformatory Movements (published by the Christian Leader, Cincinnatti, Ohio), places all the facts in the case before the reader, and his account cannot be impeached. It is authentic - as reliable as the story of the Crusades. That means - and it must be true, seeing that such things were never mentioned as being in use in the church of the New Testament - that instrumental music came in more than five hundred years after the time of the apostles. It makes no difference how many centuries may have placed approval upon it by its use, it still remains post-apostolic, and therefore not scriptural. Since the test is not what history can produce (it can produce almost anything, from the burning of incense to baptising stark naked; from the black arts of the Middle Ages to the heathenism of a semi-converted reign of the Borgias), but what the Bible teaches, it remains a clear fact that instrumental music in divine service does not have the sanction of the inspired apostles That is enough to make it forever unscriptural.
There are three words that may be thought about in this connection; scriptural, that is, found in scripture; unscriptural, that is, not in Scripture; and anti-scriptural, that is, against scripture. Anything not in scripture is either unscriptural or anti-scriptural, and may be both at the same time. Instrumental music is not in scripture, therefore it is unscriptural, and it's inclusion in practise violates the plain command that is given on the kind of music to make, that is singing. (Eph. V.19; Col. iii. 16; Heb. xiii. 15). Singing is not playing, and playing is not singing. The merest tyro knows they are not equal, and that they are actually not dependant one on another, but are different kinds of music. Since the Lord chose the definite kind of music, that is singing, and commanded it, it follows that to do something else, even though it be an addition, is to be guilty of infraction of the command the Lord has given. That is why instrumental music becomes not only unscriptural, but anti-scriptural. It breaks down reverence for the exact command and encourages a disregard for the Lord's plan.
And the apostles, who were guided by the Holy Spirit into all truth (Jno. xvi. 24-26), did not understand that it would be right to use instrumental music as an aid to the command to sing. Therefore they did not add it.
It is argued that they did not prohibit it directly by saying not to use it. Nor did they command people not to baptise babies, nor to baptise for the dead, nor to pray souls out of purgatory, nor prohibit the use of images and crucifixes, and a thousand and one things that the world has brought into use since the time of the apostles. That means that the argument that if a direct prohibition must be found to keep out instrumental music, then all these others will have to be admitted too. One has no right arbitrarily to draw the line. He must be fair and admit infant sprinkling if he admits instrumental music, seeing that both are without New Testament support.
Again, the wisdom of this world that says the instrument ought to be used sets up the one so contending as believing that he knows more about what the church ought to have than the apostles who laid the foundation stone of the church. Such becomes effrontery, bald irreverence. It is the sort of thing that denies leadership where God has established it in inspired men, and seeks to turn the forces of righteousness back to the Egypt from which the people are supposed to have escaped. It is rebellion to Christ and the apostles, just as Kora, Dathan and Abiram, and others opposed Moses, and made the united leading of the people of the Lord impossible. Rebels ought to be purged out the cause of the Lord. Through Christ and the apostles, or Christ through the apostles, the law has been established. What cannot be read therein cannot be done. "In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men," said Jesus. Either Christ or men will lead. Which will it be ?
That the apostles, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, started the church in the very shadow of the temple, where instrumental music had been heard for a thousand years, and yet never included it in divine worship in the church is an argument that can never be overcome, though sophistry may try to defeat it. It remains a stubborn fact, and says more than any mere man now contending for what he wants after the flesh can say.
It is not a mere question of instrumental music. We plead for more than that. It is a call for the people of the Lord to go back to Jerusalem, not to the Rome of the Dark Ages, for the sanction of their practices. If we have forsaken so much of a popular character to be right, let us be right altogether. If not, then let us take up just anything that comes along, and not profess any need for divine authority for our actions. Which shall it be? Jerusalem, or a heathen Rome of the Popes? (It is significant that the first Pope was crowned in the year 606 A.D., and that the first organ was introduced half a century later! Consistency here - seeing such authority only exists for its use - would compel the acceptance, if we were fair, of the claims of the Pope-ists!)
It has been contended, by some sophists in this latter day that a word used by the apostles in the command to sing in Eph. v. 19 - the word psallo - means to play on an instrument. Now if this were so, seeing the apostles used the word, and interpreted their meaning in its practice and did not play on instruments of music in divine service, they show by the Holy Spirit that such is not true. There needs not another word to be said. This says it absolutely all, and anyone contending against their interpretation of practice as concerns the word makes himself a mere knave or charlatan in the use of words and their meaning. He puts himself up against centuries of accepted practices and twelve men inspired by the Holy Spirit! He is more than has been said He is brazen.
Let him come out boldly and say that he wants it on the authority of man, seeing that is all the support it has. Then he meets the statement, "In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."
Green, in his life of John F. Rowe, says that the argument on Psallo was not introduced until 1871, and that was after instrumental music was introduced, splitting the ranks of the Restoration Movement. Necessity was again the mother of invention. Certain worldly minded persons, being determined to have instrumental music, introduced it, and then felt that they should seek some sort of scriptural support for it. The wish being father lo the thought, they rushed wildly at the poor word psallo and loaded their unscriptural practices and sins of. innovations on it. But, alas, there is not a single projecting point in the word to support them! Thayer, in his Greek New Testament Lexicon, says that, in the New Testament the word meant to sing. (Battles have raged about this word, the poor innovators not being willing to leave it, for then they have left every semblance of divine authority behind. Any one wishing to examine the point further should read the Hardeman-Boswell Debate published by the Gospel Advocate, Nashville, Tennessee or Foy E. Wallace's sermon on instrumental music, which is in circulation round the world).
"Back to Jerusalem!" What cannot be ascertained as in actual practice in the days when God governed the church, and gave it it's everlasting charter in the form of the New Testament, through the inspired apostles, who were moved in their action and words by the Holy Spirit - whatever cannot be ascertained, I say, from the New Testament, let it be dropped immediately; and if we can learn anything that was in practice which we have not now in use in the church, let us adopt it. "Back to Jerusalem" for our music, for our co-operation, and for all that we do. The loyal hearts who will thus turn will yet save the cause in the different parts of the earth, and through the loyal ones God will preserve a pure worship and a pure church. As for the others, who will not have the guidance of the Bible, and who will not return to Jerusalem, God will destroy them by merging them into sectarian bodies, and by driving them, through their wantonness, further and further from the truth. He has always done this. He did it with the ten tribes. If He do it not immediately, He will do it none the less.
Let them gallop on. Who is hindering them? But this is a call for the loyal ones to stand firm. Through them, He will preserve His cause.
Back to Jerusalem!" The church with its organisation its worship, and its work, is to be found in it's entirety there. We must fight the worldliness by which the devil in every age has sought to destroy the cause of Christ. He deceives by it. But let us not be deceived. Let us be children of the light. "Prove all things. Hold fast to that which is good." (I. Thess. V. 23). "For all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto every good work." (2 Tim. iii. 16, 17). "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness." (2 Pet. i. 3). "To the law and to the testimony: If any speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." (Isa. viii. 20). "Whoso transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God." (2 Jno. 9). "Though we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that you have received, let him be accursed." (Gal. i. 8, 9). Rome indeed? And Rome of the Dark Ages for our practices? Never! "Back to Jerusalem!" The Word of God is the guide. It must support every practice, or the practice is not of God. What cannot be read therein as being done by inspired men must never be adopted.
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