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Volume 16, Issue 1: Meander

Cool Ovens Cook No Bisquits

Douglas Wilson

You can contact them at, and not surprisingly the band is called Brother Down. Their album is called To the Black Land, and is a compelling musical mix. Unlike much of contemporary Christian music, the lyrics here are intelligent and have a backbone. Not surprisingly, this is because the songwriters in this band are intelligent and have a backbone. Not only that, the harmonies are tight, and the combination of acoustic rock and haunting violin arrangements really works.

An old blues song puts it well. Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.

A certain man lived in a small town, a long way from any large city. One day, the Lord told this man that He wanted him to prepare a glorious barbeque that would feed everyone in that town. Shall I send out invitations? the man asked. The smell of the meat cooking will be the only invitation necessary, was the answer.

From this the man assumed that everyone in town would be happy to come, but he soon learned his mistake. On the appointed day, the smell of the cooking filled the whole community, and almost instantly, the town was divided into two factions.
Of course, many of the neighbors came over immediately. Their questions were, Can I help? What can I bring? My cousin is visiting from out of town. May I bring him? Because of this, the manís back yard, which was very large, was soon filled with happy people, and the barbeque promised to become a great event.
But sadly, the same aroma affected some others in the town quite differently. Some of them went down to the courthouse to see if anything could be done legally about the stench that was filling the town. Others circulated flyers speculating wildly about how animals had been cruelly tortured before they were killed and butchered. Still others came by the house and said they would be willing to come if the menu were changed to barbequed tofu.
The host shook his head sadly. That is not what I was told to serve, he said. And besides, tofu doesnít smell nearly as good.

Couple of must-read books for you. From Apostles to Bishops by an RC writer named Sullivan, provides outstanding support for a Protestant understanding of apostolic succession. And What Went Wrong? on the decline of Islam is really first rate. The latter book is by Bernard Lewis.

There is a fine line between following the leaders of the church faithfully, which Scripture requires (Heb. 13:7,17), and mindlessly going along with whatever the leaders might cook up, which Scriptures forbid (3 John 9). One of the issues that accompanies this is the necessity of godly followers asking questions of godly leaders. How is this to be done? How not done?

One obvious danger sign is when leaders pull rank in order to discourage the asking of questions at all. But another problem, even more dangerous, occurs when the questions are asked in the wrong way, with unscriptural assumptions. The leaders of the church must never discourage honest inquiry (Acts 17:11), and to do so is the sure mark of an abuse of authority. But the leaders must discourage inquiries that are not honest, as biblically defined. There are many principles here, but they can be summed up in this way. When someone has come to his conclusions (whether settled or tentative) before he asks his questions, he has violated numerous scriptural principles (1 Tim. 5:19; Prov. 18:13), and the duty of the leaders of the church is to help him see this error.
Here are two examples. The first is a healthy question, and the second is not.
John, yesterday I heard Henry accusing our elders of planning to abolish the church constitution secretly. I know there has to be more to the story, but I didnít know how to answer him. Can you help me out?
John, I am very upset about the plan to abolish the church constitution. How could you?

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