May 1, 1986 Issue
by Don Mc Cord

    The Sunday School again--- As long as innovations, and man's ways of doing things continue to impinge upon the word of God and His way of doing things; as long as such practices persist, so long will it be our responsibility to cry against them. Our much preaching, teaching, writing, pleading is not to belabor; it is not to major on minor things in which there is little profit, but it is the cry, "back to the Bible", "speak where the Bible speaks", "a thus saith the Lord", "you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (Jno 8:32); it is still appropriate that men "Stand- in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein" (Jer 6:16). This is still our plea, and will always be, I trust.

    That the Sunday School has been, and is, a divisive practice in the body of Christ is evident. I know whereof I speak; one of the saddest, most vivid memories of my childhood is the Lord's Day when it and its advocates divided the little congregation where I had obeyed the gospel, and where we were trying to worship right. This supposed system, arrangement, method of publicly (yes, publicly) teaching the Bible is not only divisive; it is unscriptural, anti-scriptural, with no basis in inspired fact. Reader, never, never forget the inspired record of public teaching among God's people; it has always been in one assembly, one man teaching at a time--both under the old and the new covenants. If this Biblical practice can be altered, changed, ignored, so can every other Biblical practice be altered, changed, ignored. For instance, if man can change the scriptural practice of public teaching, music in the church, the Table of the King, he can change such equally important matters as obedience to the gospel; that includes whether or not men believe, repent, and the practice of immersion for remission of sins can be equally ignored; if not, why not? When we leave one practice plainly taught in the Scripture, we get ourselves into lots of trouble there is no end to the changing, drifting, wandering.

    In the October 3, 1985 Guardian of Truth there are some interesting statements on the Sunday School. This publication is a proponent of the Sunday School; its affiliated preachers and congregations are preachers and practitioners of this innovation. The writer of the article preaches and practices it. so he must know whereof he speaks. His honest, sincere observations are noteworthy. He takes care to call the Sunday School, "Bible classes"; just like the rose, by any other name it is still a rose; so, the Sunday School, by any other name, it is still Sunday School, unscriptural in name, concept, practice. Here are some of the things the article says: "One mystery is why there is so little Bible taught in so many 'Bible' classes". "The 'helps' for small children, in some cases, seems unrelated to the Bible" "Remember also that classes are not just to entertain the children or to act as babysitters so the mothers can go to their own classes". "Ladies 'Bible' classes usually use books that contain very little Bible. They are usually some woman's ideas, which may be good, but are not as good as Christ's, Paul's, Peter's or Moses'. Such questions as 'What is your favorite dessert?' are hardly worth taking time which is set aside for Bible study to answer, and there is no real value in knowing the answer anyway. Such a question may serve as an 'ice breaker', but there must be some better way of introducing a Bible lesson". "The lack of Bible knowledge is alarming, so why do we not emphasize Bible in 'Bible' classes?".

    "A Movie Critic Speaks His Mind" -- this is the title of an eye-opening article in the Nov., 1985 Reader's Digest, condensed from San Diego Magazine. The writer speaks of his job responsibilities, and observes: "The job was mine for as long as I wanted. As it turned out, it was a matter of how long could I take it". He believed, as he said, "I believed that I could be of service by not accepting the barrage of filth and junk from Hollywood". He goes on: "For a while it worked. I was able to watch a movie, write my critique and seemingly wipe the memory from my mind. I believed I wasn't affected by what I was watching". "What caused me to say 'enough' was that the more movies I saw, the more I changed. It took progressively longer to rid my mind of disturbing images, language and emotions. I was often depressed and reacted angrily to the slightest provocation from my wife and children. Finally, I had to quit". "My last appearance as a film critic was in August, 1984. I have not been to a movie since."

    Surely the above observations from a man expert in the field should prompt Christians to think soberly about the movies. We too often hear of those in the church spending their time "going to the movies", where there is violence, immorality, pornography, homosexuality, adultery, fornication emphasized; and added to the awfulness of such sins, is the emphasis that such is right, normal, and "just the thing." I do not attend movies, so in this matter, as well as in all other matters, this writer is not an authority, but from what I read and what I hear from others, I am more convinced than ever that the movies is no place for the Christian. Whether these movies are shown in the theatre, or in the home by way of television, makes no honest difference. We as Christians need to read more often such scriptures as these: Jas 4:4; 1 Jno 2:15;Gal 5:17-21;6:8;2 Pet 2:10.

    "Should Couples Live Together First?" The answer to this question to folks knowledgeable in what the Bible says is real easy. To some, in these permissive times, it apparently is difficult. In so many things, if we would just let the Scriptures answer, be the infallible standard, how much easier would be the answer to our questions, and so much easier would be the solution to so many perplexing problems. This question is the title of a revealing article by Dr. Joyce Brothers in the October 20, 1985 Parade Magazine. In reference to a couple having a trial period of cohabitation, she observes this supposition: "They find Out before they marry whether they'll get along. And that should cut down on the divorce rate. Right?". "Wrong, say sociologists Jeffrey Jacques and Karen Chason of Florida A&M University". "The researchers suggest, based on their findings, that the types of learning that occur during cohabitation aren't as related to marriage as we usually assume." "Cohabitation as a testing ground for marriage hasn't really met the test". "Living together, it seems, prepares one for a future living-together arrangement with someone else. It appears to have little correlation with happiness in marriage." Then, there is this staggering statistic: "According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of men and women living together without the benefits of wedlock has more than tripled since 1970. That's close to 2 million, compared to 523,000 in 1970". Well, dear reader, adultery is still adultery, and fornication is still fornication, and it does not matter how we dress them up; and this is what "living together" outside marriage is. People seem to forget that God is the Creator of all things, and that includes the home. He made man and He made woman; He therefore knows our needs, and what is best for us. If "living together" before marriage were best for man and woman, that would have been His arrangement. I am convinced that He always knows what He is doing. I have noticed, too, that when man tries to prove that He did not, he fails miserably every time.

    Halloween again -- October 31 has passed once more with all of its Satanic, pagan overtones. What men call Christmas is nearing, and it, too, with its "man of sin", "the beast", Catholic and pagan overtones. In a Copley News Service release lately, the writer said: "Of all the holidays we celebrate, none has wilder, weirder, more soot-blackened history than Halloween". This was not a preacher preaching, and so far as I know not a Christian observing the matter, just a writer writing the truth.

The Bible--The number of languages in which the Bible is published has steadily increased since 1981. The source of these statistics is the American Bible Society. Languages in which the Bible has been published by the year follow: In 1981, there were 1,739; 1982, there were 1,753; 1983, there were 1,785; and in 1984, there were 1,808. How great it would be if people who have access to these versions of God's Word would read, study, and do what is written; how great it would be if those who propose to teach and preach it would teach and preach it right, and teach the importance of practicing, doing what is written!!

Comics can be more truthful than comical -- Most comic strips hold no appeal for this writer, but some do. "Family Circus", "The Born Loser" and "Frank and Ernest" teach a good lesson for me now and then, hence the appeal. On Oct. 19 last, in "Frank and Ernest", one of them adamantly said to the other, "Will you kindly stop referring to my moral principles as "hang-ups"? Most of us can surely relate to that, not only in moral principles, but in other important matters, too. Who of us has not had this experience? We have stressed moral excellence, opposed loose, worldly living, gambling, dancing, and have had someone irresponsibly say, "These things are your hang-up." We have stressed the importance of regular attendance at the assembly, every time the church meets; worshiping in spirit and in truth, with the music, teaching, the table all according to the pattern; insisted on the service of the church being orderly, reverent, impressive and had someone flippantly say "hang up". We have contended for elders to be just that, ordained just right, respected; have insisted that the headship and the covering as taught in 1 Cor. 11 is just what it says; that carnal warfare is not for the Christian, and have the gainsayer, having no other defense say, "That is just your ‘hang-up". Just as the comic strip teaches, there are things in this life that are not "hang-ups"; there are principles, precepts, practices. There may be "hang ups", but these are not among them, and just because some may say they are does not make it so.

Other OPA Article Links:

Innovations - "Sunday School"

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