The Simple Gospel

A Literal and Narrow Interpretation

Steven F. Deaton


From time to time I will read through journals from years gone by to glean benefits of mature and experienced brethren. Often in the writings of yesteryear, one can find excellent examples of men fighting for truth during times of controversy. And, inasmuch as the arguments are the same with only the surface elements changing, one will find "jewels" that can be applied to current controversies. Note the following gem, spoken in 1966 by brother David Edwin Harrell, Jr.

It is reassuring to know that just a few years before I was born, men such as brother Harrell were reaching and teaching such applications of truth. The reason it is reassuring is the fact that the Bible says, "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son" (2 Jn .1:9). "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world...We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error" (1 Jn. 4:1, 6). Through my own study and meditation upon the divine revelation, the conclusion has been reached by this writer that any who do not have a "literal and narrow interpretation of the Bible as the Word of God" are in error and in danger of everlasting punishment (cf. Gal. 1:8-9; 5:10; Matt. 7:13-14, 21-23). This is a conclusion shared by those of "like precious faith." Let us notice some applications.

Baptism

The book of God says, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mk. 16:16). Baptists have perverted the passage to say, "He that believeth is saved, and can be baptized; but he that believeth not shall be damned." Which is correct? What is the condition of those who do not understand, teach, or practice the "literal interpretation" of that passage? As brother Harrell said, They are "wrong...sinful... and will go to hell."

"It is frequently assumed that...all who do not accept the truths which they find in the Bible" concerning baptism "will be lost. All members of the Churches of Christ do not have such an attitude, but I do."

One Church

By inspiration, Paul wrote, "...the church, which is his body...There is one body..." (Eph. 1:22-23; 4:4). Denominations of men say, "There are many bodies--branches of the vine." What is right? Is the latter a "literal and narrow interpretation of the Bible as the word of God?" In what condition are those who follow or promote such? As brother Harrell said, They are "wrong...sinful... and will go to hell."

"It is frequently assumed that...all who do not accept the truths which they find in the Bible" concerning the one true church "will be lost. All members of the Churches of Christ do not have such an attitude, but I do."

Music In Worship

The Holy Ghost revealed, "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord" (Eph. 5:19; cf. Col. 3:16). Denominations of men clamor, "Play the piano, jump, clap, shout, roll, rattle, etc., to the glory of God." What is the truth of the matter? How is one to view those who do not have a "literal and narrow interpretation" of this passage in their teaching and practice? Brother Harrell said, They are "wrong...sinful...and will go to hell."

"It is frequently assumed that...all who do not accept the truths which they find in the Bible" concerning music in worship "will be lost. All members of the Churches of Christ do not have such an attitude, but I do."

Marriage, Divorce, & Remarriage

Further, the infallible Word states, "But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery" (Matt. 5:32). "And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery" (Matt. 19:9). Men, even brethren, have perverted the word of the Savior to say, "Whosoever shall put away his wife before becoming a Christian, shall have the freedom to marry whomever they choose and shall not commit adultery." What is the "literal and narrow interpretation of the Bible" on this point? What conclusion is the faithful child of God left to reach about those who practice or promote such? Brother Harrell said in 1966, They are "wrong...sinful...and will go to hell."

"It is frequently assumed that...all who do not accept the truths which they find in the Bible" concerning marriage, divorce, and remarriage "will be lost. All members of the Churches of Christ do not have such an attitude, but I do."

Truthfully, brethren, are the above paragraphs and conclusions dealing with baptism, the church, and music in worship valid, but the ones dealing with marriage, divorce, and remarriage invalid?

The 31 year old quote from brother Harrell is truly a "jewel" because it reflects sound doctrine as revealed by the Almighty God (Matt. 7:13-14, 21-23). We lament that more brethren today are not echoing the same truth instead of condemning it. May God help us to endeavor to fulfill such service to Him.


e-mail this author at SFDeaton@compuserve.com

Return to Watchman Front Page

return to March index