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Two Men React to Teaching on Morals
by Bill Hall
Two men listen to lessons on practical Christian living, but their attitudes differ greatly.
The first man views all such teaching as arbitrary "church" rules. Warnings concerning dancing, mixed swimming, general immodesty, divorce for every cause, drinking, etc. are all looked upon as "Church of Christ" standards, traditions being sustained by the old‑timers of the church who are out of touch with more up‑to‑date thinking on morals.
The second man is brought to understand that all such teaching is an outgrowth of genuine respect for the Bible; that warnings concerning the evils mentioned above are based on such scriptures as Matthew 5:27, 28; Gal. 5:19‑21; I Tim. 2:9; Matt. 19:9; and Rom. 13:12‑14; that they, therefore, are not arbitrary church rules, but are indeed a true picture of God's will for His people.
The first man hates this teaching. Of course he does! Doesn't he have just as much moral perception as another? Why should he allow some other man to decide what's right or what's wrong for him? He'll do what he pleases. Nobody will bind his thinking on him.
The second man, recognizing that the standards under consideration are God's and not man's, gladly complies. Jesus Christ is his Lord and King. He will live whatever life his Lord wants him to live. He will make every sacrifice his Lord wants him to make. His conformity grows out of a desire to please God, not man.
The first man may take the form of a teenager rebelling against parental authority; or the form of a man "raised in the church," whose church loyalty is beginning to wane; or the form of a new convert who is having difficulty defining modesty, decency, and lasciviousness in practical terms. The fault may lie within the person himself. He may be wanting to break away from all restrictions, thus refusing to view objectively Bible principles behind the teaching he is rejecting. Or the fault in some cases may lie in those who teach. They may be guilty of "establishing" their points along these lines through pulpit beating and foot stomping, rather than through sound reasoning from the scriptures; of unconsciously seeking for "church" loyalty or "preacher" loyalty rather than loyalty to the Lord. Either way, we are concerned for our first man's soul, for he is wrong in his thinking.
Let no one misunderstand. We strongly oppose every evil mentioned above. But the truth is‑‑no man is obligated to bow to anything we teach because we teach it; but, on the other hand, he is obligated to live by every principle that is truly established upon the word of God. It is the duty of every teacher, then, to warn of these evils, not on the basis of his own authority, but on the basis of God's authority. It is the duty of every hearer to consider them in the light of scripture. Greater God-consciousness‑‑on the part of both teacher and hearer‑‑is the need.
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