James R. Horne
P. O. Box 650
Bessemer, AL 35021
The Church of God
197 Tillie Road
Cleveland, TN 37312
A Lift–or a Push?
James R. Horne, State Overseer
In this edition of the Alabama Evening Light, I feel led to reprint some editorials written by A. J. Tomlinson in the 1940s that were published in the book by Lillie Duggar, A. J. Tomlinson, pages 684-686. Let us prayerfully take these words to heart:
I have a kind of a giant feeling that we can keep out of the Church all poison and heresy that will work against the right. We are fighting for the right. We have had many kinds of wrong teaching introduced, and may have more yet, but if any makes its appearance, it should be exposed and put out of the way as soon as it is discovered. However, it always takes the very best wisdom and love to dig out the poison or wrong and save the person who has caught the venom. It would be a mistake to speak or preach harshly and thus often drive the one away that is affected. We must be kind and gentle, longsuffering and patient. And be sure that no one goes on extremes in any manner, and thus fail in winning those you are anxious to save from error. We must guard the doctrine but always be sure to do it in an effective manner as well as to save the person who has fallen into some of Satan’s traps. Always cling to that good doctrine that is the Bible rightly divided.
Offering criticism and doing what we commonly call “finding fault” with almost everything and everybody have ruined their thousands. Better to try to see the good than to search for the faults. It is vain to try to be a judge or a mote hunter. Jesus says, “Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Matt. 7:1). He also says, “first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye” (v. 5). In other words, if you are right you will scarcely ever notice the wrongs in others. The one that is at fault will see the most faults in others. Be careful lest your own faults will locate you if you talk too much. Look for the good and others will talk about the good in you. Love one another with pure hearts fervently.
I wish our people would not talk too much about members being backslidden. They may often be neglected and slightly discouraged more than backslid. Give them a lift instead of a push or a kick. I would have drowned once if the man that gave me a lift had given me a kick or a push. You do not always know how hard a soul is struggling to keep his spiritual life. Give him a word of cheer instead of talking about being backslid and you will more often save the struggling soul. Suppose we stop talking so much about our members being backslid. Cheer them.
I am afraid too many of our members have been excluded for trivial offenses. Even if they have done wrong, pray for them and save them and keep them in the Church. It is indeed a serious thing to turn anyone out of the Church. Read and ponder well the instructions given by John: “If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death…” (1 John 5:16). This is a positive statement. Prayer shall save a sinning brother when he has not committed the death sin. And this is the way John instructs to deal with the sinning brother instead of turning him out. For heaven’s sake, please stop turning so many of our sheep out of the Church. Only in extreme cases are we to turn any of our members out. The Church is to save people instead of turning them away.
March 8-13 – Revival in Moulton; Evangelist Nathan Cox, FL
March 21 – Soups & Singing in Alex City
March 27-29, 2015 – Men’s Retreat at Poplar Point Campground, Rockford, AL
April 4 – BTI Workshop in Goodwater
April 5 – Pastors’ Appreciation Day
April 12-18 - Youth Emphasis Week
April 15-19 - Revival in Bessemer with Harvey Anders
May 1-2 – Youth Convention in Bessemer