Johnny, Billy, and the Preacher

Donald P. Ames
Aurora, Illinois

Johnny was a member of a denomination. He had had quite a few discussions with Billy, who was a member of the church. Billy was a busy worker, and had high hopes of someday converting Johnny. He worked daily on the importance of following the Bible in all that one does religiously.

One of the most common topics of their discussions was the creed book of Johnny's Church. Billy pointed out that the Bible was given by God as a perfect and all-sufficient guide to heaven. When Johnny objected that he believed in following the Bible, but that his creed book was merely a "modern means" of better setting forth Bible truths for the common person, Billy pointed out that that meant God had failed in giving a sufficient guide. He reminded Johnny that if man could improve on God's plan then God did not give a perfect guide, and that those men who tried, by their actions reflected on the wisdom of God. If man can improve on the Bible, then why did God give the Bible, he asked Johnny. Johnny found these hard problems to deal with.

Finally, Johnny consented to go to church with Billy one Sunday. He was greatly impressed with the services. He heard the preacher deliver an impressive sermon about the church. The preacher pointed out that Christ set up a perfect and all-sufficient church, one that was satisfactory to Him in every respect. The preacher went on to point out that when men left the congregational arrangement and began to set up synods and boards, as a means of "modernizing" the organization of the church, that their actions implied man could improve on the perfect plan Christ set up, a reflection on the wisdom of God. He continued to point out that the church was all-sufficient to do the work God gave it as God set it up, hence it was wrong for large scale organizations, or even a missionary society to be added to God's arrangement. The preacher pointed out that if the church could not do all God intended as He set it up, God failed in giving US a perfect and all-sufficient church.

Leaving the services, Johnny picked up a copy of the bulletin. He noticed the preacher had written an article in defense of benevolent societies. The article defended them as a "modern means" of better doing the work the church was given to do. It pointed out the church was unable to do what God gave it to do here, and that these benevolent societies were a "better and more satisfactory arrangement" for getting the work done.

Johnny thought about the sermon he had just heard. He thought about the bulletin. He thought about his discussions with Billy over his creed book. Maybe his creed book wasn't so bad after al I he too believed the Bible to be all-sufficient.

(NOTE: The above is, of course, fiction. However, for those contending for the all sufficiency of the church, yet trying to defend these benevolent societies let them ponder the thought. If one is imperfect and needs to be improved, then why not the other?)

Truth Magazine VII: 5, pp. 23-24
February 1963