By Connie W. Adams
Churches in Hiding
In spite of the fact that Jesus said his disciples should be lights, not hid-den under a bushel and as cities that are set on a hill (Matt. 5:13-16) and that Paul said we are to “shine as lights” in a world of darkness (Phil. 2:15), some congregations composed of such disciples have gone into hiding. You don’t think so? Then take one of the directories which is updated every year and see how many of these congregations you can find. Oh, I know you will find many of them. But on five occasions over the last few years we have searched in vain for congregations listed. We have usually found the ad-dresses given, but no congregation meeting there. We have driven many miles to get to a place to spend the night so we could worship with the brethren on the Lord’s day only to be frustrated by not being able to locate the congregation. There are no signs on the highways, nothing listed in the phone book, no advertisements at local motels or restaurants nothing.
Recently, we spent the night in a southern town expecting to find the church the next morning. We asked directions to the area listed, found nothing, were ready to give up when we saw a fire truck at a service station. The fireman found the address on his detailed map and told us how to find it. There were no signs at any of the turns but we finally found the meeting house at the dead end of a street in the woods. On the way, we passed several denominational buildings which were out on main roads where they could be found. What is wrong with brethren? Are we ashamed of the gospel? Paul said he was not (Rom. 1:16). Is the message we preach of such little importance that we have to whisper it to ourselves in out-of-the-way places? What is wrong with putting up some good, legible signs on main roads leading into town and at corners near the location? How about listing a phone number in these directories in addition to one at the building. Who will be there to answer it on Saturday night when visitors might be trying to find information? Or an answering machine at the building could give information about times of services, location, or another number to call for help.
In the meantime, if you have a street address but cannot find it, check with the fire department. We have found the ads in the back of Guardian of Truth and other periodicals to be helpful because they give a schedule of services and usually a couple of phone numbers to call. If you know of changes that ought to be made in the Directory of Churches of Christ which is published each year by Guardian of Truth, please notify O.C. Birdwell by mail at P.O. Box 858, Athens, Alabama 35611 or call 1-800-633-3216.
Sex Education Put into Practice
News reports this week register surprise, even shock, over a fourth grade class being found in various sexual acts in the classroom. The teacher had left the classroom for some reason and returned to find this scene. My question is: Why is anyone surprised? Videos, movies, and television shows leave very little to the imagination. Pornography is available on the Internet. We have had sex education for preschoolers and the primary grades. Condoms are available at many schools and instructions have been given on how to use them. It is reported that the classroom sex was “consensual” so that will rule out any rape or sexual harassment lawsuits. Well, it was just an “isolated incident” you say. But this, along with other “isolated incidents” such as school drug busts, armed guards patrolling hallways and monitoring bathrooms, lack of control in classrooms, principals, superintendents and school boards scared to death to exercise restraint for fear of lawsuits, it is no wonder that more and more concerned parents are turning to private schools and home schooling. In the meantime, my hat is off and my heart goes out to those teachers and administrators who are earnestly trying to do their work in the midst of these swirling currents of immorality. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Prov. 1:7).
A new periodical called Focus Magazine began in January 1997. It appears monthly and the first four issues have contained some interesting and useful material. David Posey, a friend of several years with whom I have worked in meetings in California, is the managing editor. David preaches for the good church at Folsom, California. Associate editors are Mike Wilson, who preaches at Garden Grove, California and Doy Moyer who preaches at Mill Road in Cincinnati, Ohio. Mike Wilson handles “Voices from the Past,” “Sermon Notes,” “Church History,” and “Book Re-views” while Doy Moyer will cover “Shop Talk,” “Worldviews,” “Archeology Updates,” “Woman’s Page.” The format is neat, eye catching, and readable. In the January issue, David Posey wrote:
Focus has no axe to grind, no dreams of grandeur, no cause to promote, other than the exalted cause of Jesus Christ. We do hope that we can offer some worth while reading material for both the Christian in the pew and in the pulpit. We hope to strike the elusive balance between these two goals scholarly but not stuffy, practical but not trite. You can expect longer articles that get to the heart of issues and shorter pieces that you can read while on the run.
This paper is a 24-page monthly. The subscription rate is $18 a year. Foreign subscriptions are $25 a year. Subscriptions should be addressed to: David Posey, 3834 Spine] Circle, Rescue, California 95672.
Where I grew up in Virginia, we raised chickens. We had a rooster who was overly protective of the chicken yard. A few times he chased, pecked, and flogged me when I would try to collect the eggs. My grandmother, who lived with us, decided to break him of his bullying. One day he attacked her. To his great surprise, she seized him, quickly stuck his head and neck under her arm and proceeded to take him to the horse trough (where we watered horses and cows) and dunked him about three times under the water. She then took him back and turned him loose in the chicken yard. He did amend his ways where she was concerned and stayed out of her way, but he was of the same opinion still regarding me and others who ventured into the yard. That wet rooster reminds me of some people I have met who have been baptized but remained of the same opinion regarding their old ways. Some have been baptized to please a girl friend or a wife, or a parent, some for business reasons, and others after insufficient teaching, but there is no discernable change in conduct. Repentance is a change of the will which results in a change in behavior. John called upon his hearers to “bring forth fruits meet for repentance” (Matt. 3:8). Paul wrote, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things that are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” (Col. 3:1-2). Unless there is change in action, then we are no better than that old wet rooster.
Guardian of Truth XLI: 13 p. 3-4
July 3, 1997