Church of Christ
Mission USA

Respect of Persons

by Perry Sexton

            Mankind was created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26,27), but more importantly than this is the fact that Christians are the spiritual offspring of God (I Pet. 1:3).  This being so, we must take upon us the characteristics of our Father.  For example: "But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; {16} Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy" (I Pet. 1:15-16 cp. I John 2:29; 3:9; 5:18, etc.).  Furthermore, God is love (I John 4:8), therefore His offspring must have proper love (John 13:34, etc.).

            Our God, our Father is no respecter of persons (Duet. 10:17).  Therefore, we as His children must not have respect of persons (I Tim. 5:21; Jam. 2:1ff).  As in all areas of life we must give diligence to bring ourselves into harmony with God’s will in this matter.  To name just a couple of areas in which we must be very careful to watch: (1) Sometimes we may take “sides” with family members even though they are wrong – this is not godlikeness; (2) We may follow a school or some brother whom we respect (in a good sense) without “prov[ing] all things” (I Thess. 5:21) by book, chapter and verse.  This also is not after godliness. 

            It is good to seek the council of brethren of good reputation, but it is never good to accept any answer without book, chapter, and verse properly used (cp. Prov. 19:21)!  It is sad to see brethren blindly following brethren without proper Bible.  Yes I know Paul said: “Be ye followers of me,” but he further qualified that with: “even as I also am of Christ” (I Cor. 11:1).  Furthermore, if we follow Paul/Christ we will have book, chapter, and verse.  Some brethren wait and see what their “mentor(s)” says and then fall in behind them.  That “fall” may be of very serious and eternal consequences.

            Years ago a brother of some reputation responded to me that he “trusted his friends” (also of some reputation) not to lead him wrong in a matter of church discipline, but I believe they did.  It was a case of friendship through and through!  Are we not to love Christ more than these (cp. Luke 14:26).   Let us follow Paul as he truly followed Christ in this matter, note Paul’s attitude: "But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man's person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me:"(Gal. 2:6).  Paul, as the spiritual offspring of God was truly striving to be as his Father.  Let us all do the same.  Let us be very careful to be certain we have book, chapter, and verse for all that we do (Col. 3:17).  Do we respect God more than men (cp. John 12:42,43)? ♥

Why Is it Some Brethren Will Not Give a Plain Answer?

by Perry Sexton

            When a sincere Bible question is asked, should one not expect a plain Bible answer to it?  Yet some of our brethren will not give a plain answer to some questions, but seem to do everything to not let you know where they stand on certain matters.  It is called by many things such as “straddling the fence,” but it is nothing short of evading the question!  How can anyone imagine that this is pleasing to God?  Can you imagine the apostle Paul being “wishy washy” in some doctrinal matter?  Or the apostle Peter not speaking as the oracles of God (cp. I Pet. 4:11; cp. Paul in I Cor. 2:13)? 

            Yet some brethren expect you to accept their answers, without any Bible bases, as if it were from God!  It seems their “reputation” has lifted up their head to a level no one should desire.  They may claim to have answered plainly, but when no one can determine where they stand on an issue something is wrong. 

            If a non-Christian should ask “What must I do to be saved?” should we evade the question or speak clearly?  If one should ask about instrumental music in worship to God shall we give a Bible answer or keep him guessing as to where we stand?  And why should we be afraid to put our answers in writing?  It is amazing to me how many brethren will not put into writing what they believe on certain matters.  One can imagine how their preaching and teaching is on these doctrinal issues!  Or is doctrine no longer important to some?

            Brethren, if we cannot give book, chapter, and verse for what we believe something bad is wrong!  If we are not standing on a “thus saith the Lord” just where are we standing?  Where is our faith?  Who are we truly following? 

            Let us, in all truth, get back to “Speaking where the Bible speaks and being silent where the Bible is silent” (cp. Col. 3:17; I Pet. 4:11).  And let us speak the word of God in love (Eph. 4:15), knowing that people are lost without the truth and that includes brethren who are not walking uprightly.  We should speak the truth in boldness and in plainness (Acts 4:13,29,31; II Cor. 3:12; 7:4; Phil. 1:20).  We should be unashamed and unafraid (Mark 8:38; Rom. 1:16; Acts 18:9; Eph. 6:19).  God wants, and we need preachers and elders who will: "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and ... their sins" (Isa. 58:1).

            We should not be ashamed or afraid to put in writing what we believe and practice.  Can you imagine the kind of Bible we would have if some of our brethren today had written it (or rather had not written certain parts)?  Some, conceivably many, have the attitude that we should not speak/write on certain things because we may offend some (cp. Mat. 15:12).  Others do not want to speak or write on certain things because they are afraid they will hurt their reputation, their following (cp. John 11:48).  It is sad when brethren love “the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:43, context). ♥

Marks of Error

by Perry Sexton

            It is clearly seen in the denominational world and in the church alike!  When one is holding to an error the symptoms are the same whether they be brethren or not.  And what a terrible shame when brethren, who are otherwise sound (at least as much as we can tell), begin showing these ugly and ungodly characteristics.  Let us briefly notice a few of these marks of doctrinal error that are common with all who hold them.

            Perhaps the most common trait is they simply will not give you an answer.  And if they should give an answer it is very likely to be so confusing (this is a mark of error in itself) that one cannot tell where they stand!  In such cases you can know their stand is not with God!

            Perhaps the second most prominent mark of error is that they ignore the Scriptures you cite to them, with the prayer that their hearts will not be hardened to God’s holy and saving word.

            If they, who hold error (particularly brethren), should deal with the named Scriptures at all you will observe a great predicament which has been with man since the beginning of time: To choose good or evil!  It is sad to see brethren give up on sound biblical principles because they are not willing to give up on the error.  But yet, many will and do choose the wrong over the right (cp. John 11:47ff, they rejected the right way).

            Many brethren wax eloquently preaching on sound principles and even use those principles and Scriptures to refute error, but then refuse to do the same in their area of hang up.  I have seen it in the “one cup” issue, instrumental music, church funds, and other doctrinal matters.  How can brethren teach and use Colossians 3:17 (and others), but then turn their backs on it when it is not convenient?  We are to follow God all the way, yet many have rejected God’s word in certain areas because of their own selfish desires to please self or others.  Let it not be so with us, but hold onto the truth on every hand. ♥

Is it Scriptural for the Church to Accept Funds from a Denomination [The Organization] for the Lord’s Work?

            I first wrote about this in this publication in February of 2008.  I am leaving it open in case any of you would like to weigh on this important doctrinal matter.
See also:  2008, 2 SW     2008, 3 SW     2008, 5 SW