C. D. Plum
"In vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matt. 15:9). Enough said. If it does not come from Jesus, it is dangerous. If it be a perversion of what came from Jesus it is dangerous. NO MATTER WHO IS BEHIND IT (Gal. 1:6-9).
Holy Spirit made elders, qualified by the word spoken by the Holy Spirit (1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9) are necessary and right. We should gladly live under the oversight of such men (Heb. 13:1'7). But even elders can go astray, and some did go astray "to draw away disciples after them." For three years Paul warned the elders at Ephesus against this very thing (Acts 20:28-31). This warning went unheeded.
Such elders feel their importance, and become as "LORDS OVER GOD'S HERITAGE;" Here in 1 Peter 5:3 lords "To lord it over one." (Young's mean Analytical Concordance) This is no reflection on faithful elders. But let elders everywhere realize the following:
1) Elders are not the Lord's legislators. They can make no laws. Elders err when they try to enforce their opinions, or the opinions of others, upon the brethren.
2) Elders are just men (good men, certainly, if they are faithful elders) but men, nothing more, nothing less. No power to bind, no power to loose. No power to say of themselves: "do this" or "do that."
A New Gimmick--BY Promoters
I do not know how old this new gimmick is. It is not as old as I am so it can not be very old. In fact so far as I know it is not even as old as the number of years I have been preaching. Did you ever run onto it, or did it ever run over you? But what is this new gimmick, brother Plum? Well, it goes something like this:
If I want to promote some opinions in the congregation, I first convert the elders concerning these things, so it will appear that I have a symbol of authority with me--MAKES OPINIONS LOOK PLAUSIBLE TO PEOPLE--you know. Then when I teach these things publicly or privately, I do so without fear for I can say the elders are backing me, Yes, this is the gimmick, "freeze them with fear of the elders." Make them he afraid to speak.
Look At This!
Instrumental music in church worship; colleges, societies, homes, Herald of Truth (human institutions) in church work came in through weak elders being pressured by strong preachers and teachers into opening up the church treasury for their life blood. No matter how many elders order the above things, every one of them is wrong. Preachers and elders should not preach their opinions either publicly or privately, for, says the Holy Spirit: "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God" (1 Pet. 4:11). Not if any man speaks, let him speak his opinions. If opinions were not preached, opinions would not have to be exposed. Therefore divisions would be avoided. Holding an opinion as faith does not make it faith. "Faith cometh by hearing the word of God." (Rom. 10: 17) Opinion is what one thinks where the word of God does not speak.
"Whosoever... abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth him God speed is partaker of his evil deed" (2 Jno. 9-11).
TRUTH MAGAZINE XIV: 22, p. 13
April 9, 1979