Participation in the Public Worship of the Church

By Dennis G. Abernathy

There is a practice that I have observed in several congregations that, it seems to me, is out of harmony with the word of God. The practice is that of using young boys, who are not Christians, to take part in the services of the church (lead singing, give a talk, etc.). Now; if I might ask: Where is the Bible authority for it? Secondly, let me ask: What is the purpose for so doing?

One preacher said, “I feel it is no different from a visitor (not a Christian) asking a question or commenting in a Bible class.” Surely, he was not thinking when he said that! Would you want to call upon the visitors (not Christians) to get up and lead a song or preach a sermon? Suppose you have a man who is attending regularly, but has not yet obeyed the gospel, would you allow him to lead the church in worship to God? If a young boy, who has not yet obeyed the gospel, can lead the singing or give a talk in the assembly why , cannot a man who is thirty or forty years of age, but who has not yet obeyed the gospel do likewise? Where do we draw the line? Brethren, what are we thinking about-or maybe we are not thinking at all. Would you encourage the same young man (who is not a Christian) who can lead the singing -and give a talk, to partake of the Lord’s supper?

Leadership in the church of the Lord is for faithful Christian men, not children. We-, need to; teach our children the word of, God and ‘their, responsibility to Him through obedience to His will. e need to teach, young men to be faithful Christians so”they can take their place as song leaders, elders, deacons, preachers.

Brethren we need to be careful. Already the liberal brethren have their “Children’s church”. I believe it is just this kind of shallow reasoning that leads to that type of service. As Dillard Thurman, said in the publication of Gospel Minutes: “I can think of no situation in which the church must use children to do that which is committed to those in Christ;” Neither can this writer!

Truth Magazine XXI: 38, p. 600
September 29, 1977