By Sewell Hall
(This article was written by brother Sewell Hall, one of my heroes in the faith since I was a boy preacher. Forgive the personal nature of my observations about him, but I know of no man wiser in our time. This article was given to me by sister Carolyn Boyett. --prb)
I hate face masks. And apparently many share my dislike. I have learned of questions being raised in several congregations over the country regarding the right of elders to require them in the assemblies of the church.
States differ in their requirements. Surely wearing a face mask is not a sin and if the government authorities require it in church assemblies it seems to me that elders have no choice. The scriptures say, "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves" (Romans 13:1-4). We would expect elders to enforce ordinances against smoking in an assembly. And if we are to own a church building, we must comply with building codes that seem to make no sense at all.
In fact, whether elders require it or not, if it is a government ordinance, Christians should comply. "Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men" (1Peter 2:13-15).
And even when the government does not require them, there are often brethren who feel very strongly about it and are offended if some do not wear them. Some feel so strongly about it that they fear to attend a service if some are not wearing them. Perhaps this is a weakness on their part, but "We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, 'The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me'" (Rom. 15:1-4).
Jesus gave Peter reasons why He should not have to pay the temple tax, but said, "Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you" (Matthew 17:27).
Paul wrote to the Galatians, "In Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything" (Gal. 5:6). Yet, when he wanted to take Timothy on a preaching trip with him "he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in that region, for they all knew that his father was Greek" (Acts 16:3).
Paul practiced such accommodations himself. "For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some" (1Cor. 9:17-22).
"But I don't see any sense in wearing face masks." Perhaps not, but others do. "Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself” (Philippians 2:2-3). (Sewell Hall, firstname.lastname@example.org)
A Moments Wisdom
--You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.
--There are only two times in life: now and too late.
--Nostalgia: When you find the present tense and past perfect.
--For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: “It might have been!”
--Some choices we live not only once but a thousand times over, remembering them for the rest of our lives.
--Everything comes too late for those who only wait.
--When you realize you have made a mistake, make amends immediately. It’s easier to eat crow while it’s still warm.
--An apology is a good way to have the last word.
--Never ruin a good apology with an easy excuse.
Test Your Bible Knowledge of Salvation
1. Which step toward salvation requires a public declaration? __________
2. Which step toward salvation requires careful listening? __________
3. Which step toward salvation requires much water? __________
4. Which step toward salvation requires conviction? __________
5. Which step toward salvation requires turning? __________
6. Which step toward salvations can be safely omitted? __________
9/13/20 AM - Saving Lot’s Wife
PM - Mixed Blessings: Being Grateful in Want
9/20/20 AM - Making Jesus Sigh
PM - Mixed Blessings: Being Joyful in Sorrow
9/27/20 AM - You Cannot be Taught Wrong and be Baptized Right
PM - Mixed Blessings: Being Gentle in a Cruel World
10/4/20 AM - “Be Quiet, Bartimaeus!”
PM - Singing Service: Faith in the Providence of God
10/11/20 AM - The Grace of a King
PM - God and Providence, Part One
10/18/20 AM - Six Biblical Baptisms
PM - God and Providence, Conclusion
10/25/20 AM - “Without Love, I am Nothing”
PM - Stumbling in Only One Point of Law (Requested)
One Single Decision
On the top of a hill in a Midwestern state stands a courthouse so situated that raindrops falling on one side of the roof drain into the Great Lakes into the Atlantic, while drops landing on the opposite side flow toward the Ohio and Mississippi to the Gulf. Just a breath of wind one way or the other may determine whether a single raindrop will end up either in the Gulf or in the Atlantic. Even so, one single decision is enough to determine man's destiny, either heaven or hell. Have you made the right decision? (From Illustrations Unlimited by James S. Hewett, p. 153)
“By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward” (Heb. 11:24-26).