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The Clarion Herald
(A study, for the serious reader)

    When a person so abandons himself to Christ that he may truthfully say with Paul: "For to me to live is Christ", (Phil. 1:21), he may be called "A Christ Centered Man". His whole life revolves around the person, work and will of His Lord. Consider Paul's testimony regarding his life's relationship to the Living Christ.
    1. He regarded his CONVERSION as being by the grace of Christ, (Acts 9:1-25; I Tim. 1:12-16).
    2. His MISSION was one of faithful service to Christ, (Acts 26:16-l9; Rom. 1:l).
    3. His MESSAGE concerned the Gospel and Kingdom of Christ, (Acts 9:20; Rom. 1:14-16; I Cor. 2:2).
    4. His DYNAMIC FOR LIVING was the power of the enabling Christ, (Phil. 3:10; 4:13; Eph. 1:17, 19; comp. Matt. 28:18).
    5. His HOPE was inspired by the indwelling Christ, (Col. 1:27; I Tim. 1:1).
    6. His GLORY was in the cross of Christ, (Gal. 6:14). Thus, he joyfully identified himself with his Lord in suffering, (Rom. 5:3; 2 Cor. 11:22-12:10: 2 Tim. 2:7-12).
    7. His GOAL was to win Christ

and be found in Him,(Phil. 3:7-14).
    8. His VICTORY was a gift from Christ, (2 Cor. 2:14; Rom; 8:35-39; I Cor. 15:57).
    9. His TESTIMONY: "Christ IS ALL!" (Col. 3:ll).


    The rules of discipline, designed by an all-wise Lord for His church, were commanded that His body might remain united in heart & purpose; pure in life and action. Participation in the faithful exercise of these rules is the solemn responsibility of every member who would be faithful to his Lord. Fidelity in the discharge of this Christian duty involves a Biblically-directed attempt to rescue a faltering or fallen brother (or sister) from the deceitfulness and bondage of sin. Failure, refusal or careless neglect to carry out the instruction of the Lord in this matter involves disobedience of His Word and the breach of that covenant wherein, in the local body, we have pledged ourselves "to sustain its worship, ordinances, DISCIPLINE and doctrine".
    After a church has dealt patiently and lovingly with an erring member (and patience stretched beyond

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The Clarion Herald The Clarion Herald

a certain point becomes careless indifference to the honor, name and commandment of Christ), it is necessary to openly disassociate ourselves from the persistent, willful disobedience of the unrepentant.
    First, we must "judge ourselves" by confessing and forsaking our own sin -- rending our hearts and not our garments. Then, assembling in the name of the Lord, a charge is brought against the one who has refused to repent. A vote is taken wherein those who have repudiated their own sin NOW vote to repudiate that in the life of their brother which desecrates the name of Christ, puts the whole church to shame and casts a stumbling-block in the way of lost sinners.
    Under the Spirit's direction the decision is unanimous to publicly, openly withdraw ourselves from the sinning brother. Just as we VOTED, upon the profession of his faith, to RECEIVE him into our fellowship -- following his burial in Christ-

ian baptism, wherein he pledged himself to a walk of faith obedience -- so now the church votes to WITHDRAW that fellowship BECAUSE HE HAS REPUDIATED his baptismal pledge -- bringing into the body the leaven of wickedness that (if not cast out) will destroy the purity and testimony of the whole loaf.
    The vote to withdraw that fellowship is JUST AS BINDING as the one that confirmed his membership in the first place. This does NOT mean that the church makes the disciplined person a "lost sinner" any more than the original vote meant that the church "saved" him. It DOES MEAN that he is OUTSIDE the realm of covenant fellowship, outside the household of faith, outside the sphere of the Spirit's special "indwelling", and destined to walk in shame and nakedness at the Lord's appearing EXCEPT THIS ACTION OF THE CHURCH AWAKENS HIM TO AN AWARENESS OF HIS WRETCHEDNESS AND BRINGS HIM TO REPENTANCE.
    The necessity of such CHURCH ACTION is emphasized in:
    1. The teachings of Jesus, (Matt 18: 15-18).
    2. The teaching of the apostles, (Eph. 5:1-11; I Cor. 5:11-13; I Th. 3:6-7, 14-15).
    Forgiveness is in order ONLY where there is evidence of genuine repentance, (Luke 17:3-4; 2 Cor. 2:6-8). -- Eugene Garner

Missionary Edgar D. Sullivan may be reached during this year:
      c/o Jimmy Nixon
      P. 0. Box 364
      Judsonia, Arkansas 72081


    A carnal Christian (?) is often hindered from rendering faithful service to God by both the "fear of man" and a consuming desire for his applause. Harsh as it may sound, he often allows his fear of man to crowd from his heart an adequate fear of God. Striving to be accepted by his fellows, he neglects even the basic principles necessary to maintain "right standing" with God.
    Whoever owns Jesus Christ as "Lord" obligates himself to render faithful service -- according to the expressed will of his Master. Whoever acknowledges Jesus Christ as the "wisdom of God" indulges in foolish and dangerous presumption whenever he questions or attempts to alter the divine order in ANY area of life. But with what difficulty do carnal men, softened and deceived bythe condescending and compromising voice of modern psychology, face up responsibly to the simple commandments of God's Word relative to a healthy "order" in home OR church.
    The training "rod" has been supplanted by the "parental psychologist" who marvels that his "buddy" kicks the pastor's shins, spits in the policeman's face, drives his teachers to an early retirement and blows up the public library. Substituting a similar philosophy for the "order of discipline" commanded of the Lord, and effectively practiced by true churches for 19 centuries past, he complains that "There is SOMETHING WRONG with our church!" And it is OBVIOUSLY a defect in those who faithfully assem-

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ble for worship, encouragement and instruction.
    Thus, the "church psychologist" concludes that it is time to devise a new "order of worship" -- one in which there can be more "dialogue"; communication must become so natural and free that everyone can "relate" to the "meetings". Perhaps this will "interest" some of those who have refused to participate in, or even to attend, the services (I mean "meetings"!) for months, or even years. It seems SO much "nicer" and "gratifying" to plan and scheme and dodge than to follow God's directions -- leaving the ultimate "results" to Him!
    But there comes a time (even in church life) when certain, definite and responsible action becomes necessary if our claim to be servants of Jesus Christ is to be credible -- however "hard" the Lord's requirements may be on our flesh. A church that neglects a faithful exercise of the New Testament order of discipline FORFEITS ITS RIGHT TO EXIST -- for it mocks and misrepresents the Christ. When a church caters to the doubts of the cowardly, or the whims of the unfaithful, it brings reproach on the name of its Lord and certain judgment on itself.
    A pastor may pray, teach and advise in such matters; but he is no "disciplinarian". Discipline MUST be practiced by the plurality of body members whose desire is to walk in the path of faith obedience. Those who deliberately choose to abandon this WAY -- neglecting the fellowship, instruction, encourage-

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ment and spiritual renewal that comes from a proper association with their fellow - body - members -- NEED TO BE DISCIPLINED (meaning, in such a case, severance from the body).
    Who can defend the hypocrisy involved in CALLING Jesus "Lord" while persistently refusing, neglecting, debating the wisdom of, or delaying to DO WHAT HE SAYS? -- EG
    "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me .... If a man love me, he WILL KEEP MY WORDS: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him & make our abode with him."
-- Jesus

    The swift passage of 1972 has brought each of us one more year closer to an ultimate meeting with the God of righteousness, truth and judgment. Last year's opportunities are gone forever. They may not be recalled, but must be faced in judgment -- whether faithfully used or shamefully neglected.
    It is sad to note that many have drifted far from the relationship they once knew with God and His people -- and this has happened in twelve brief months. Some are aware of their spiritual retardation; a sincere concern has been aroused in their hearts. But others are "faking" their way along life's ever broadening pathway --- unaware of their sad declension, or hypocritically attempting to cover their retreat from the eyes of their brethren.
    Each of us fail far too often; but we have a faithful and merciful God who is ready to forgive and grant us another opportunity to take the high road, the strait and narrow way, that leads to the fullness of life and blessedness in the City of God.
    The challenge and the opportunity of a New Year NOW lie before us -- for our eternal profit or loss. God has left us free to choose; let us be wise and choose to follow His direction EVERY STEP OF THE WAY!
    May the Lord be with every reader of the CLARION HERALD -- enabling each of you to fully commit your lives into His hands day by day. It will make a vast difference in the dividends at the end.