And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume X, Number 52 November 25, 2007
In this issue:
During October 23-November 19, 2007, I joined Bobby Holmes, Dan Torres, Justin Monts and LeRoy Klice on a trip to preach the gospel in India. Our journey has been safely completed, for which we thank the Lord.
Our plan was to teach two weeks of preacher-training classes in the city of Kurnool, India, followed by a gospel meeting in the city of Bangalore. With the Lord’s help, these objectives were met.
We set a goal of 200 preachers to attend the training classes. We did not quite reach that goal, but we had a total of 167 preachers attend the classes. Some were not able to come due to illness and other family situations. Still, we were pleased with this increase from 100 students who attended classes last year.
The first week was the BASICS classes, consisting of 88 students. The sponsoring church arrangement has funded preachers in India for decades. Along with this unscriptural organization have come abuses of power, control and money. These men are at various stages of learning and growth concerning this and other errors of liberalism in churches of Christ. Some of these students have already left liberalism, some are in the process of leaving it, and we pray these classes helped more to have the conviction to fully leave the false doctrines of liberalism and “hold fast the pattern of sound words” concerning the organization and the work of the local church (2 Tim. 1:13; Col. 3:17).
The BASICS class studies emphasized how to establish and apply Bible authority, answering the errors of liberalism, fellowship and the work of the evangelist. Brother Torres taught lessons each week on the Stewardship of Money and Time Management and Diligence. His lessons were much needed and well received.
The second week was for the ADVANCED classes, which had a total of 79 students. These men had attended last year’s classes, and so had already been taught the BASICS class lessons. Still, there was a need to review with them the basics of establishing and applying Bible authority. The classes I taught in the ADVANCED classes included the silence of the Scriptures, fellowship, boldness and the second coming of Christ. Justin Monts taught classes on 1 and 2 Timothy, and LeRoy Klice taught several lessons, including “Buy the Truth.” Brother Holmes taught classes that included material on bold preaching, fellowship and the second coming of Chris
Each week began with a session of all students in which brother Holmes presented an overview of the class objectives and our expectations from the students. One of the things he repeatedly emphasized was that we bring no money with us from America! We came only with the gospel; therefore, if any man was attending these classes with the expectation of obtaining financial support as a result, he was there for the wrong reason! Such an expectation would not be fulfilled. Some liberals have accused us of attracting preachers away from liberalism with money; such is a lie.
After brother Holmes’ introductory remarks each week, I addressed some questions and concerns that had come to our attention since last year’s classes:
1. Can fellowship continue with liberal churches once the truth has been revealed to them?
2. Do you have a responsibility to preach to a liberal church if given the opportunity?
3. Are schools of preaching right or wrong according to scripture?
4. Encouraged more details when sending reports to supporting churches or individuals.
5. The need for humility and always avoiding pride and jealousy.
Following these things (which took the first morning of each week), we divided the students into two groups, allowing for smaller classes and for greater use of teachers.
Every preacher attending the classes was given two lesson books (Bobby’s lessons and Joe’s lessons, containing about 18 lessons per book) and six Bibles (which had been donated by churches and individuals). Each was very thankful to receive the material and the Bibles. (Our thanks to all who helped supply the Bibles!)
It is not surprising that with the spread of sound doctrine comes corresponding opposition. Just as we were traveling to India in October, an open letter was sent throughout India by a preacher named Jacob Chukka, in which he accuses Bobby Holmes and his “American team” with “bringing divisions in well established churches in India”. (His open letter and our reply are available at http://www.bibleanswer.com/india2007 - then follow the links at the bottom of the page.) Mr. Chukka and others are feeling the pressure of divine truth as Indian preachers abandon liberalism and his control over them. Mr. Chukka, who preaches in Bangalore, is the director of a school of preaching that is supported by a liberal church in America. In addition, he directs a secular school, a children’s home, and he distributes support money from a sponsoring church in America to many preachers in south India. This work includes telling men where to preach and telling churches who will preach for them. Some preachers, who were previously been supported through Mr. Chukka, have now rejected this support and their fellowship with him and liberalism. In addition, brethren are learning and accepting the truth about liberalism. So, Mr. Chukka feels compelled to charge that “Anti Church of Christ people are coming and troubling us to divide the members from the congregation by offering financial support” (Report to Saturn Road church of Christ, March-May, 07). He says that we and faithful Indian brethren are dividing churches and “grabbing” preachers, converts, church buildings and properties. The record shows that it is he and other liberally-minded brethren who are controlling preachers and churches with money and unscriptural oversight.
On the final day of classes I presented Mr. Chukka’s entire letter along with a point by point response to it from God’s word and the record of our labor in India (this power point lesson is also available; follow the “An Open Response…” link on the page above). This reply was also sent to Mr. Chukka and to the church that supports him. He responded to our reply with more misrepresentations and attempts to intimidate faithful brethren. He has been marked for his false doctrine and practices, and our counsel is that of inspired Scripture: avoid him (Rom. 16:17). Like Alexander the coppersmith, the Lord will repay him according to his works; “you also must beware of him” (2 Tim. 4:14-15).
Gospel Meeting in Bangalore
Brother Torres returned home after the classes in Kurnool while the rest of us went back to Bangalore to preach a gospel meeting (Nov. 13-16). Several denominational people attend the meetings, as well as our driver Prasad, who is Hindu. Brother Holmes, who started talking with Prasad last year about the gospel, gave him a Bible to read. Prasad visited three of the meetings and promised he would read the Bible (he has already started reading Luke). He heard me preach a lesson on “The Unknown God” in which contrasted the true God with idols. (Hinduism honors literally thousands of gods.) He also heard a great lesson on heaven by brother Monts and on Lost Religious People from brother Holmes. We pray he will continue to learn the truth and have the courage to obey Jesus in spite of the clear obstacles that face him.
Our thanks to every one who helped make this work successful. Whether it was with financial support, your prayers or your expressions of interest, all your encouragement is greatly appreciated. Brother Holmes’ health will prevent him from returning to India in the foreseeable future, but the Lord willing, more trips will occur; planning has already started. Please pray for our Indian brethren and for the spread of the gospel in India.
The day after Thanksgiving in the United States is often called Black Friday, the day when retailers expect to meet annual profit goals. Billions are spent by Americans on this day as they prepare for the gift-giving season.
People spend time and money on things that are important to them; things to which they are committed and from which they expect to profit. This reminds us that Jesus said: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21). Where is your heart today? What is profitable to you? (Matt. 6:33; 16:26)
1) Is your heart given to learning the gospel? If it is, you will “spend” time reading, studying and learning God’s word (1 Tim. 4:13; 2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Pet. 3:15). What better use of your time than to grow in your “knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18)?
2) Is your heart given to spreading the gospel? If it is, you will “spend” your time teaching God’s word (2 Cor. 12:14-15). We have opportunities to tell others about the gospel; let us use them while we have the time (Jno. 9:4).
3) Is your heart given to worshiping God? If it is, you will not forsake “the assembling of ourselves together” (Heb. 10:25). The smallest excuse is enough to keep some from coming to worship services. God is not pleased with excuses that exclude worship from our lives (Jno. 4:23-24; Heb. 10:26-31).
4) Is your heart wholly given to the Lord? “If there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have” (2 Cor. 8:12). A devoted heart obeys God first, not last (Matt. 6:33; 1 Jno. 5:3; Lk. 6:46).
“For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:26)
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 11/24/2007
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA