By Connie W. Adams
As Others See Us
I recently attended a gathering where I saw a number of my former school mates, some of whom I had not seen for awhile. Some of them are surely beginning to look old and wrinkled! Time takes its toll on eyesight, hearing, the gait and posture. Not to mention the memory. Some are battling debilitating illnesses. Some are bowed down with grief over the death of a spouse. Some have bounced back from bouts with cancer or other ailments. Conversations often turned to diets, medications and treatments. But growing older is part of life. “O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works. Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come” (Psa. 71:17-18).
Recently I had two good visits with my dear friend and brother, H.E. Phillips. At that time he was in the hospital in Tampa. Because of his diabetes, it was necessary to remove his left leg just below the knee and a few weeks later he right leg was removed. For over a year he has been on kidney dialysis three times a week. He has maintained an admirable spirit through it all. His mind was clear and we spoke again of what has always been on his heart — “things concerning the kingdom of God.” He, Polly and their daughters need your prayers. “The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (Jas. 5:16). (Brother Phillips passed from this life on April 5, 2000.)
It is interesting to watch the developing political scene. If one opposes the public record of his opponent or responds to charges of a foe, he is summarily accused of “bashing” his opponent in the race. The verb “bash” means to hit or smash. There is no doubt that sometimes politicians do exactly that. Sometimes they hit below the belt. But much of what is called bashing is not that at all. Which brings up another matter. Sometimes brethren are accused of bashing each other. Now it is possible to do that. But it is not bashing a brother to comment on, analyze, or even oppose what he has publicly taught which you believe to be erroneous. If you call in doubt a brother’s character, his honesty, integrity, or if you attribute to him sinister motives, then you have certainly been engaged in bashing. But much of what is being labeled with this odious term is not that at all and it is strange that some who complain the most about bashing have themselves become the worst offenders in that department. “Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself?” (Rom. 2:21). The Golden Rule applies in both directions.
Preacher and Congregation Converted
A recent letter from Edgar Samodal of Iligan City in Mindanao, Philippines is typical of many I have received over the years. I had the privilege of spending quite some time with him last year and hearing him present a very able gospel sermon. In telling of some recent activities, he reported the following:
December 3, we traveled again to answer an invitation for a gospel seminar hosted by a Baptist Church. They invited us because they wanted to hear the gospel fully. The Baptist denomination in Bobo-an is 350 kms. from Iligan City. Preachers who went with us are brethren Apatan, Armada and Calipayan. We are the speakers at the seminar which lasted two days. After question and answer it was successfully done resulting in 23 souls being baptized including their church “pastor.” As of now the sign board on their meeting house was changed to read “Church of Christ.”
Bobby and I spent more than 15 hours riding in the jeepney driven by Edgar. It was a was a thrilling experience to say the least. He maneuvered over bad roads through thickly populated areas with skill and speed. Since the speedometer was broken, we could not accurately determine the latter. But I nicknamed him “Jehu” of whom it was said, “He driveth furiously” (2 Kings 9:20). That is not the end of the story. When their fourth child was born, the son was named Jehu and Edgar now signs letters to me Jehu, Sr. We thank God for all the good being done by good brethren there.
Have you ever noticed that in cases where corrective discipline has become necessary in a congregation that the chastised sinner is portrayed, either by himself or some of his relatives as a victim and those who administer the discipline as the villains? Forget about the drinking, or the fornication, or the teaching of error. Whatever wrong has been done cannot equal the censorious, judgmental harshness of those who are trying to save the soul of the sinner and protect the congregation from his evil influence, while at the same time obeying the clear teaching of scripture. And how often is it heard, “It was not what they did but HOW they did it”? If someone ever discovers HOW to practice corrective discipline in such a way as to please every offender would you please publicize that information for the benefit of those of us who don’t know HOW?
I have not been asked to say this. But I want to say a word about the advantage of church ads, such as appear in the last pages of each issue of this paper and several others. We travel a great deal in our work. Every year we buy the new edition of the Directory of Churches published by Guardian of Truth Foundation and we use it. But we have found the ads of much greater help. Sometimes they have extra information which helps to locate the building. The schedule of services is especially helpful, plus often having a choice of phone numbers to call. Since brethren purchase this service they tend to do a better job keeping information updated than is the case with the directory. If the congregation is located near a university, military base, or tourist attraction, it would be helpful to many to be able to find your ad. If you are not taking advantage of this, why not look over these ads and consider placing yours with us. The cost is reasonable and the service of great value to those who want to find brethren with which to worship when away from home.
P.O. Box 69, Brooks, Kentucky 40109