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    Baptists have long advocated the doctrine of "total hereditary depravity", but it is feared that our attempts to define the idea have been more confusing than enlightening. To state the matter candidly, there is a lot of pious nonsense talked about man's natural condition. Too many have assumed the right to "go beyond" what is revealed on the subject -- attempting to illumine it by an inadequately equipped imagination. This is always a dangerous policy.
    The Scriptures leave no room for doubt that ALL MEN are sinners by nature and practice. "There is none that doeth good", and "all have sinned". But just what may one understand such statements to mean? Is anyone really AUTHORIZED to declare that "every thought, word and deed of a lost man is sin"? By what authority? Is it REALLY sinful, as we have often been told, "for a lost man to stop beating his wife"? Is it sinful for such a person to do what is naturally and morally RIGHT?
    C. S. Lewis once observed that "nonsense remains nonsense even when we talk it about God". Too many talk nonsense on the subject of depravity because they fail to think things through to a logical conclusion. And there is no "merit"

bound up in inconsistency or ignorance. In fact, both involve one in positive sin; and being a minister of the Gospel does not give one a sort of "diplomatic immunity" from sin's consequences.
    "But surely" someone argues, "there can be no merit in anything a sinner does; to imply thatthere is suggests that one may work his way to heaven!" Well, what about the deeds of the saints? Is it possible for them to "accumulate merits"? May they do anything that obligates God? Does God reject one of them on this account? Then what is the point of such an argument?
    Has God REALLY "commanded all men to repent"? Does he exact responsibility where there is no ability? If one charges God with such cruelty and inconsistency, does he not "err, not knowing the scriptures"? Or, is he maliciously preferring to propagate some beloved "doctrine of men"? Is it a sin for one to repent in obedience to God's command? Is it possible for a lost man to do so? If not, then how may one explain God's command? Is it REALLY a sin for lost men to attend church, contribute of their money to support what they believe is a good cause, or to talk with a minister concerning their spiritual welfare? If your answer is "yes", then do you always discourage lost men from
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The Clarion Herald The Clarion Herald


    Few people know how to give reproof with propriety, still fewer how to so receive it. "Let the righteous smite me, it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head", (Psa. 141:5).
    How very small is the number who can sincerely adopt such language! What wounding of pride, what mortification and resentment are felt by most people when reproved for some careless word or deed. When one has so sinned as to deserve rebuke, he ought to humbly bear it with meekness. Should it be delivered in a weightier manner, or less affectionately, than he thinks proper, a penitential remembrance of the offence should prevent all feelings of irritation or resentment.
    The Scripture is very severe in its language to such as turn with anger, disgust, or simple neglect from the admonition of their brethren. "He that despiseth reproof sinneth", (Prov. 10:17). "He that hateth reproof is brutish", (Prov.

12:1. "He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy", (Prov. 29:1). Such as so "react" to reproof are guilty of great pride, neglect of God's Word, and contempt of one of Heaven's ordinances; thus, they injure their own souls by what was delivered for their benefit.
    Upon every pastor rests a special responsibility to "reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine", (2 Tim. 4:2). He must not he impatient or discouraged by the apparent failure of his obedience in this matter to produce immediate results. "Sharp rebuke" is designed to stabalize men in the faith, (Titus 1:13). And such rebuke is to be delivered, not with timidity and fearfulness, but "with all authority", (Titus 2:15). Receipt of such rebuke will increase a wise man's love for the one who faithfully delivered it, (Prov. 9: 8); a scorner or fool does not so regard it, for his way "is right in his own eyes", (Prov. 12:15).
    If, in meekness and love, we are admonished or reproved by a brother let us not act wickedly in turning away in indignation. Rather, let us thank him for his fidelity and profit by his kindness. One of the surest marks of Christian love, integrity and maturity is a willingness to receive reproof with meekness and to profit from admonition -- come from whom it may.
    "The faith that shuts the mouths of lions must be more than a pious hope that they will not bite."
    "Rarest gems bear hardest grinding --- God's own workmanship are we."


    A great deal is said in the Word of God concerning human weakness. The word translated "weakness" in the New Testament (astheneia) suggests "lack of strength, indicating an inability to produce desired results". It is frequently rendered "infirmity".
    Every person ought to face the fact of his weakness. No one is capable of directing his own steps, (Jer. 10:23; Rom. 7:18). Nor do any of God's people ever, in this life, become self-sufficient; all of us NEED the help of God AND of our brethren, (2 Cor. 2:14-16; 3:5; 4:1-7; Rom. 15:1-3).
    Nor has God forgotten "that we are but flesh". When His own Son was made in our likeness, He too was subject to weakness, (Matt. 26: 41; Heb. 2:14-18; 4:15). Still, by total reliance on the Heavenly Father, He triumphed over every enemy and temptation that we will ever be called on to face, (Luke 4:1-13).
    God has made adequate provision for our weaknesses. His Word records the testimonies of many who have found him faithful, (Psa. 116:6; 40:1-4). His own Son "took our infirmities", (Matt. 8:17; Rom. 5:6 Heb. 4:15; 5:7-9; Matt. 9:36; 2 Cor. 13:4).
    'He is my strength,
       From day to day,
    Without Him I would fall.'
    The Holy Spirit helps our weakness, (Rom. 8:23-28). And our strength is "renewed day by day" as we "wait on the Lord", (Isa. 40:31; Lam. 3: 22-27; Isa. 64:4; Rom. 8:24-25; Heb. 11:34; 2 Cor. 4:16-18; Rom. 8:l6-l8; Heb. 12:12-13; Psa. 37:23-28; 62: 1-2).
    It is important that we take a

proper attitude toward our weaknesses. In this connection it is worthwhile to consider Paul as a man, like ourselves. He was subject to weakness, (I Cor. 2:3). But he came to realize that God had a purpose in keeping him aware of his weakness; nor were his ideas merely theoretical, (I Cor. 1:27; 2 Cor. 11:22-23). He not only learned to live with his weaknesses; he came to rejoice in them. He came to recognize this as a part of His Father's wise plan, and that it brought glory to God, (2 Cor. 12). At first he was irritated by this infirmity; it almost drove him to despair. But he learned the sufficiency of God's grace and, thereafter, gloried in his infirmities.
    Paul prayed that his brethren might be "strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man", (Eph. 3:16-21; 2:19-21). How wonderful it would be if we could develop such an attitude as this be loved apostle manifested:
(1) Toward his weakness, (2 Cor. 13:9; I Cor. 8:22), and
(2) Toward God, (I Cor. 1:25-31; Rom. 11:33-35; 8:32-39). And it is important that we hear his word to others, (Heb. 10:32-39).
    Could we all learn to commit our souls completely into the hands of a faithful and loving heavenly Father, it would surely make a vast difference in our living. Therein our souls are safe! Instead of constantly doubting our Father's love, would it not be better that we admit the weakness of our faith and say, with the brokenhearted father who brought his son to Jesus for healing, "Lord, I Believe, HELP THOU MINE UNBELIEF!"? And He will! Your FAITH will be strengthened, and your JOY will be full.


doing such things? Whose side are you really on?
    Frankly, brethren, it is obvious that no person may obtain the forgiveness of sins except through the provision made by Jesus at Calvary, and on His merit. No saint or sinner may obligate God in any way. But please excuse me from the pious double-talk that encourages lost men to be unconcerned about their spiritual needs until "sovereign grace" unconditionally "regenerates" them -- thus enabling them to "repent and believe". This hyper-Calvinistic idea IS the logical conclusion to the too - commonly - accepted ideas concerning man's depravity. But it is not the truth.


    Let every member of Landmark be reminded that we have a Quarterly Business Meeting this Saturday at 7:00 P. M. Every member should be present for this important part of our church life.
    May we seek God's face, so as to have unity in all things.

    Bro. Jim Nixon, of Judsonia, Arkansas, recently called and asked that I publish a notice of their intent to organize an independent Missionary Baptist Church there on the last weekend in October. It is my understanding that they plan to organize the church on Saturday and possibly have an ordaination service for Bro. Wayne Ruff on Sunday following.
    This work is being sponsored by the Corinth Missionary Baptist Church of Dry Prong, Louisiana. It is my understanding that the church will be organized on their authorization. There are some splendid brethren at Judsonia who, in the past, have been the victims of some very poor leadership. They have insisted to me that this new organization will be in opposition to no one but the Devil --- certainly not in opposition to beloved brethren with whom there may be varying shades of disagreement.
    May the Lord prosper this endeavor to His own glory, and to the salvation of many precious souls!

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