Editorial, March/April, 2013; Charles A. Pledge

This issue is on the theme of The Kingdom of God and
Godliness. Godliness is the state of being godly. Godly is an
adverb describing the manner of being. Godliness, the state of
being godly, then is primarily about manner; disposition; spirit.
That is what we must consider in this issue, and especially in
the issue of life.
The primary problem of mankind is the heart problem. The
heart given over to worldliness is the heart which its owner
knows not, Jeremiah 17:5-10. He who trusts in the material; the
physical; the here and now does not understand the deepest
thoughts and feelings of his own heart. Yet these are the people
who are usually relied upon to rule over God’s people. God’s
people have always loved to have it so. It is only fitting that this
issue deal with God’s kingdom and godliness.
The disposition of the heart shall determine the final outcome of
life. It is the disposition which bends the thoughts of the mind
into their mold and creates habits and patterns of life which are
followed to their extreme ends. The ends are the final results of
applications of the thoughts which rule and remain easily
accessible to our memory. We shall in this editorial deal both
with specifics and principles in general.
Many among us are awakening to the fact that all is not well. I
am reading of “Church of Christ Books,” “Church of Christ
Articles,” “Church of Christ” this and other. I made a remark on
Facebook in February that we have “churched” ourselves to
death. It takes a wrongheaded mentality to emphasize the
“Church” over godliness, righteousness, and many other matters
of salvation. We rarely hear the word Christian used to identify
God’s people. What we are hearing more and more at funerals
and in other settings is that “He/she was a member of the
Church of Christ,” as if that explains everything.
-1- Editorial Gospel Standard, March/April, 2013, Charles Pledge, Editor
Christian is the only proper noun name God has given to his
children in this age. A new name was prophesied to be given by
God, Isaiah 56:4-8; Isaiah 62:1-2. In Acts 11:26 the disciples
were called Christians first at Antioch. The word called is from
a compound word used to describe a divine calling, or a call, or
word from God. Nothing remotely similar to this may be said
concerning “Church.”
The reality of this matter is that pagans used the word church to
identify their houses or building in which their gods were
worshiped. This is why the Greek word for temples is translated
in the KJV as “churches” in Acts nineteen. The KJV translators
no doubt were smarting under the injunction laid upon them to
not tamper with the word “church,” and showed a bit of
upmanship in scholarship and did what they were told not to do
under the banner of this is the way it is supposed to be.
But what has this to do with the kingdom and godliness. In the
first place, the word church demands a concept of control. By
control we do not speak of leadership, but rather dictatorship, or
lording it over. The use of “Church” also demands a tolerance
of sin. After all, church revolves around a physical plant;
buildings. With a building someone must have the authority to
speak and be obeyed. The eldership in Scripture is not about
authority, but leadership. The passages in Hebrews thirteen
often quoted as grounds of authority are passages referring to
the apostles. Context demands apostles in those passages and
one must strain to get elders there. Elders must lead by example
and teaching, showing and convincing others what Christianity
is all about. Their godly lives are to assure others of their
sincerity, and their ability in teaching Scripture shows them to
be sincere in both word and deed, thus generating the kind of
following good pastors exercise.
Godliness must be an obvious part of life in order for
Christianity to work. Those principles which we call Beatitudes
-2- Editorial Gospel Standard, March/April, 2013, Charles Pledge, Editor
in Matthew chapter five are principles by which God exercises
his goodness and grace. These principles permeate his character
so they are obvious in his actions. The same must be true of his
children, Matthew 5:44-48. It is just here that people balk and
scream legalism and Phariseeism at those who attempt to teach
and practice it. It is at this point that modern elders will tell
their preacher that if you make it too strong, then we will have a
mass exodus of members. I was told by three elders of a
congregation (not where I preached) in Michigan several years
ago, that if they tried to practice what I preached they would not
have two members left. I told them knew their song leader, an
elderly, godly man, and his equally godly wife, and thought
they might be two who remained. They failed to appreciate my
When social drinking, gambling, crooked business standards,
fornication and more, are openly practiced by members, and the
rest tolerate it, that is corruption. When it not only is tolerated,
but also encouraged, then that is deep corruption. The latter is
the general picture in religion today and such is admitted by
honest people who know the lives of others. Yet, such is
tolerated without as much as a whimper of open protest.
Corruption is rampant. Godliness is disappearing.
I have been told by elders (again, not where I was preaching)
that there is nothing they can do about it, yet they can withdraw
from a God fearing man or woman who protests the toleration
of evil in their midst, and they call that rebellion against the
eldership. I call it rebellion against the toleration of sin. But,
again we have differences of opinions. Mine has no weight of
authority in the eyes of worldly people.
Now that we have your attention, we wish to emphasize that
this issue is about the difference between the kingdom of God
and godliness and the modern church as it is known in this
century. The church as known and practiced today is not the
-3- Editorial Gospel Standard, March/April, 2013, Charles Pledge, Editor
kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is the rule of God in the
heart. The modern church is not the rule of the heart, only the
control of many of the activities of life. The fundamental
difference between kingdom and church is that “Church” is not,
nor ever can be the rule of God in the heart, while that is the
definition of the kingdom of God. This might raise the
eyebrows of “Traditionalists” who depend upon the teaching of
man for guidance, but among those who rely upon a study of
Scripture to learn God’s will, we shall see nods of approval.
The end result is obvious: the total outcome of life. The end
result of application of Scripture is seen in 1 Timothy 1:5,
“Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure
heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.” That
translates into godliness abounding in the life of that one. The
opposite end of the spectrum is “Church life.” This is the life of
toleration of sin and making excuses for failures to try to please
God rather than self.
We do not wish to “kick a dead horse too hard lest the
corruption splatter on us.” However, it seems that a majority of
preachers have refused to see why so many in the world have
rejected the modern church. Rather than understand the
fundamental principles of triviality and corruption as rampant,
heads are stuck into the sands of ignorance and false
accusations flung at those who have rejected what God rejects.
There will be a payday someday and those who have sowed the
wind shall reap the whirlwind of judgment. Then, there is that
final judgment awaiting all who disobey God. Then, those who
have today closed their minds to all except what they have been
told by men shall wish they had listened to the Scripture, and to
those faithful to it.
We prefer to be spurned by those who consent with sin and the
sinners and accepted by God, than to enjoy widespread
popularity with men and rejection by God. In the case to be
examined in this issue, we believe the reader can easily identify
-4- Editorial Gospel Standard, March/April, 2013, Charles Pledge, Editor
with this conclusion. We commend the next article of brother
Melvin Elliott to you.
-5- Editorial Gospel Standard, March/April, 2013, Charles Pledge, Editor


About charlesbooksaready

80 years old, Author, Editor, Publisher (C & W Publishers), Internet bookstore (www.booksaready), happily married, two sons living, 5 grandchildren, one great ganddaughter, friends in many parts of the world, and in most states of USA. Pro God; Pro Bible; Pro family; Pro Kingdom of God. I have faith, but not the bragging kind. I daily pray for more faith.
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