Some Who Should Not
"Go Into All the World"
This article is being written as
the build up for the assault on Iraq seems to be nearing its
completion. The U.S. and Great Britain have assembled many of
their best troops to accomplish their mission. While not much
is said about it, there are vast numbers of people in both countries
of acceptable age who are not taking part in this effort. Among
this number would be those unfit for military service due to some
physical or mental condition. Likewise, those with a crippling
fear of war or those unable to conscientiously take part in military
service would not be found among the ranks in the Gulf. Suffice
it to say that not everyone can go fight in war. There is a
spiritual application of this truth.
The Lord gave the greatest
commission of all time (Matt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15-16). It is
vitally important that the lost learn about the grace of God
manifested in Christs blood that they may be saved from eternal
damnation (Rom. 3:23-25; Eph. 2:8-9). Much effort, in both the
first century and since, has been put into carrying out this
Great Commission (Acts 2-19; Col. 1:23). In light
of all this, it is sad to say that, just as in the case of important
military service, there are those unfit for duty in carrying out the
Great Commission. Let us pause to reflect on the necessity of
noting this fact.
The main purpose of this Watchman
feature is to help in the spread of the Gospel. A mere man, no
matter how well he is intentioned, supported or educated, can not
answer the crying needs of lost souls without preaching the saving
gospel of Christ and living his life in harmony with it (Mk. 16:15;
Rom. 1:16; 1 Tim. 4:16). In spite of his desire to go and
churches willingness to support him in his going, it can be
worse than just an exercise in futility if he does not preach and
live as he should. Hence, it behooves us to give careful
consideration before encouraging or supporting a given brother in
foreign or, for that matter, any preaching effort.
Hopefully, this article will be a helpful contribution to this needed
area of study. Let us now note some brethren who are unfit for
preaching the gospel.
Those who teach error.
One would almost have to be a universalist to ignore the effects that
the teaching of error has had on the church in this generation.
There are many brethren today who have no business teaching anyone
their convictions with regards to the Bible (Rom. 16:17-18).
The missionary zeal of such a man in error, while commendable in and
of itself, should no more commend him to us than should the zeal of
the Jehovah Witnesses commend members of that cult. Let us not
be deceived by the current opinions of some brethren. Rather,
let both those who would go preach and those who would undertake
their support read and heed the Bibles warnings on those who
teach error (Gal. 1:8-9; 2 Jn. 9-11). Error, no matter how
nicely it is packaged or how much temporal good it may do, will damn
and not save (Matt. 15:14). Those who teach error on divorce
and remarriage, the days of creation, fellowship with error, the work
of the church, etc., have no business masquerading as being involved
in the Lords business anywhere. Our next point is
related to this one.
Those who fellowship brethren
who teach error. Much has been taught by men like Ed
Harrell, Bob Owen, Harry Pickup, Jr., Steve Dewhirst, Ferrell Jenkins
and others to make teachers of error seem acceptable. The
Bibles teaching stands in opposition to this idea (Matt. 7:15;
Rom. 16:17-18; Eph. 5:11; 2 Jn. 9-11). Many brethren in foreign
fields, while believing the truth themselves, have invited teachers
of error to be a part of efforts to preach the gospel in different
places. Surely we can all see the problem with this by
considering a prominent false doctrine among us, that of error on
divorce and remarriage. What will happen when a brother
who teaches error on this subject meets someone who is living in
violation of the Bibles teaching on the matter (Matt. 19:9)?
(We have met such people in our work in Lithuania.) He will
teach them that they are acceptable in that state rather than
teaching them their need to repent and get out of their sinful state
(Acts 17:30). Brethren who go out to preach the gospel should
have settled convictions about the state of such teachers of error
before they enter the mission field (Titus. 1:10ff; Phil. 3:2).
Churches involved in the support of such men should pay attention to
co-workers invited to work in their mans location.
If you do not know where a brother stands on a given issue there is
nothing wrong with asking him (1 Jn. 4:1-3).
Men who cannot control their
fleshly desires. The Bible counsels self control as
something in which a Christian must grow (Gal. 5:23; 2 Pet.
1:6). Much damage has already been done to the Lords
cause, both at home and abroad, by men who have become too familiar
with those of the opposite sex. If one has shown a weakness for
improper or unlawful relationships with women he will do better to
spend some time working on himself before he goes off somewhere to
work in preaching word of God (1 Tim. 4:16).
Those who find it difficult to
get along with others. A brother who has a hard time
getting along with those of his own nation is going to have a harder
time with proper relationships when dealing with those of a different
nation and language. Misunderstandings due to translation and
cultural differences will only multiply the basic difficulties which
confront such men. Again, it is better for these brethren and
for the Lords cause if such men first work on overcoming their
own shortcomings before they embark on efforts to reach people with
the gospel (2 Tim. 2:24-26).
Gossips and slanderers.
The Bible warns again slander, deception and false accusation (the
words whisperings, backbitings, and
prating in 2 Cor. 12:20 and 3 Jn. 9 should be studied in
connection with this point). Pauls work suffered untold
harm because of gossips and slanderers who sought to undermine him (2
Cor. 10:10; 12:20). Likewise today, a brother who has such
problems with his tongue will often hurt the reputation of faithful
preachers in eyes of those who heed his words. Thus, the work
of the Lord will be hindered in that people seeking to serve him will
be led to think ill of faithful men who may help them in their
relationship with God. A man known for such sinful talk has no
place in any pulpit whether at home or abroad. This is
one reason that brethren should follow up on stories they hear about
other brethren. They can thereby learn if the source of these
stories has problems with his mouth.
Just as there are men who need to
go out preaching the gospel, there are others who should not.
May we all recognize what a serious matter preaching the truth is and
make sure we do not encourage an unworthy or unprepared preacher to
enter the mission field. Further, may all who desire to do
mission work soberly consider what we say herein. If we will be
fit for the masters use there are things of which we must purge
ourselves (2 Tim. 2:21-22).
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