A Problem and A Solution

Calvin C. Essary
Selma, Alabama

It is fully realized that a bookstore may not bear responsibility for all the material it offers for sale. However, it must at the same time be recognized that the church is responsible for the teaching it sends forth, for she is the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15). For that reason this article is written.

The issue of Truth Magazine dated November 30, 1972, carried on page eleven an ad for the R. B. Sweet Co. publication, "Now That I'm A Christian." Many congregations have practiced and do practice giving to each one baptized a booklet containing a record of the baptism and some instructive material designed to assist the new convert in adding to his or her knowledge of God's Truth. No doubt, other congregations might do well to consider such a practice. Many have made this use of the R. B. Sweet Co. publication already mentioned, and it does contain a good deal of scriptural information. I have personally signed and given to a number of the people I have baptized copies of this very booklet. That, however, was an act done in the past, which I could not now repeat in good conscience without at least some modification (James 4:17). I take this means of calling the problem to the attention of other faithful Christians.

The booklet, on page 25, begins a section entitled "The Work of the Church." In this section is the problem. (1) Beginning at line 5, page 26 one reads: "But is the church only to care for its members?. . . Emphatically, No!

If the author intends this to apply only to teaching the gospel, he should have specified such, lest an impressionable new convert be deceived into thinking the church's benevolent responsibility is to other saints, which it of course is not (2 Cor. 8.9, etc.). (2) However, the really flagrant misuse of Scripture is a little later in the same section. At about the middle of page 27. one may be astounded to read a paragraph purporting to discuss things in addition to preaching "  that a church is to do." Then, in this context of church action, fully quoted, the reader is presented both Galatians 6:10 and James 1: 27! This kind of thing is at the very root of the division that has been thrust upon us. These passages are to the individual, not to the church.

I submit, therefore, that this Sweet Co. booklet teaches the error of liberalism, and thereby aids and abets Satan in the sin of division by leading new converts (or others) away from the truth. The fact that this booklet teaches liberalistic concepts was first brought to my attention by Brother Donald Willis while we were both preaching in Kansas City, Mo., and I am deeply grateful to him for doing so. Perhaps this writing will, in turn, be of value to other faithful Christians. The booklet is not worthy of its recommended uses.

What can be done by those desiring to give to new converts a booklet containing a record of their baptism and some sound instruction for their consideration at that impressionable time? It has been my genuine privilege to come in contact with an attractive, well-prepared booklet meeting these needs, which is written by a loyal Christian. It is entitled "I Have Chosen Christ," written by our Brother Forrest Darrell Moyer. It is available from Brother Glen Lovelady; 416 E. Sepulveda; Wilmington, Ca. 90744, or probably through Truth Magazine Bookstore. "Try it; you'll like it."

TRUTH MAGAZINE XVII: 17, pp. 10-11
March 1, 1973