450 Grandview Drive
Cookeville, TN 38506
"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world,
and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15).
Cutting and Burning God's Book
Church of Christ
In Jeremiah 36 God told Jeremiah, “Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day” (v. 1). God’s reason for this was, “It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them; that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin” (v. 2). Instead of bringing about repentance, when the roll was read we are told, “Now the king sat in the winter-house in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him. And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth” (vv. 22-23). We cringe at that, yet others have opposed God’s Word and tried to destroy it. How have they opposed it?
By refusing to preach God’s Word or portions of it, they preach a selected Gospel. Yet Jesus, in giving the great commission, stated, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matt. 28:19-20). Paul’s instruction to Timothy, and thus to all preachers today was, “Preach the word” (II Tim. 4:2). That command cannot be obeyed by selective preaching. How many preachers today shy away from such needed subjects as marriage, divorce and remarriage, or social drinking? How many have quit preaching on indecent dress, dancing, partying, and gambling? And the list goes on. Selective preaching and refusing to preach “all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27) is as destructive to the Word of God as cutting it and burning it like the king did in our text.
By rejecting the Bible as divine revelation, men more subtly attack the Scriptures. Some flatly deny inspiration; others teach partial inspiration; some claim to believe in inspiration, but they have a completely different definition of inspiration than that of the Bible (II Tim. 3:16-17). The Bible teaches complete verbal inspiration, yet many deny this (I Cor. 2:9-16; II Pet. 1:20-21).
Men have tried to destroy God’s Word by persecuting the faithful men who proclaimed it. This goes back to Peter, John, Stephen, and Paul. Jesus had warned that this would happen (John 16:1-3). This persecution has not stopped today; it may have taken different directions, but it is still present as men “heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears” (II Tim. 4:3). In the past 35-plus years, as liberalism ravaged the church, many a faithful proclaimer of God’s word has been fired for preaching what God demands that he preach. Elders who have done this might as well have taken the penknife and cut and burned God’s roll. Shame on the ones who are charged to “feed the flock” (Acts 20:28) and yet try to prevent the flock from being fed properly from God’s word!
(To be continued)
Paul M. Wilmoth