From time to time there comes along some religious humbug, as Andrew Fuller, proposing to "Bring the Baptists up from the dung-hill." If the dung-hill was where the Baptists were, then this might be a reasonable proposition. Since, however, the Baptists of the Bible have been established on The Rock, and not on a dung-hill, we may safely dismiss this ranting notion with little fear of evil consequences. Our present circumstances though, do not involve the notions of Fuller, now long dead. Today's crop of will-o'-the-wisp reformers may be found in our very midst.
All too often we hear the appeal for Bible Studies among our churches, as if something "organized" could accomplish what the Lord has instructed His little lambs to attend to in a more simple manner; as is related in the following text: "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (II Tim. 2.15)." There is not even a trace of organization hinted at in this simple and pointed text. The Apostle gave his emphatic directions to young Timothy alone, as is seen by the word thyself. We consider the text applicable as well to all others the Spirit of God applies it to, as they also are blessed to read the pages of the Sacred Volume. Had the Lord intended this word of exhortation to involve some elaborate plan for a Sunday- School, or a similar Bible-Study, surely this, or some companion text would have revealed it, but they are nowhere to be found.
Consider the Bereans. "These were more noble than those in Thessaslonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so (Acts 17.11)." At least two things stand out clearly in this text; the first being the Bereans looked to the scriptures on a daily basis, and took no action towards organizing a "Sunday" inquiry of the Word. Second, they gave evidence of being totally suspicious of anything they could not find in the recorded Word. So should we. Like Sunday schools, Bible studies, and similar creature contrivances.
Practically all the major religions plying their trade in this nation have Sunday schools or Bible studies. Should we then be like the daughters of Babylon, and adopt their practices, or remain as we have been since the King of Saints announced the building of His Church? "And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God (Luke 16.15)." Is it not a fact that the Sunday school/Bible study system is highly esteemed among men? Is it not touted as a cradle for the church; as a source of much soul-saving, money raising and so on? Then it must be an abomination in the sight of God according to this clear text! This, we believe, is a fair appraisal of the matter.
We wish not to be thought of as opposers of the pursuit of Bible knowledge. Far from it. We are all too aware of the scant amount of time many spend in the Word of God. Nor do we covet criticism for opposing a gathering of believers to converse on the holy revelation of God to men. Our strenuous objection is aimed at the attitude of "needing a plan" the Lord has not instituted. Has not the Church of the Living God done well enough over the passing centuries without auxiliaries to the order? Yes, we are aware that the complaint is at this moment on the lips of some that "the church is dying out, so we better do something fast."
Are we to suppose, then, that the introduction of an organized Bible study will stay the hand of God, and prevent the execution of His will? The advocates of this line of reasoning are holding a viper to their bosom, called "Carnal Reasoning." We decline their company, and their doctrine. It would be our pleasure to meet with one or two, or a host, in the searching of the Scriptures. But, we would not cross the street to be numbered with those who would propose a plan the Lord has not equipped us with.
Elder James F. Poole
Volume 5, No.6
November - December, 1991