The Church’s Problem Members

Barney Owens
May 1964



The church, or body of Christ, Is composed of many members as stated by Paul in I  Cor. 12:27, “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” We are all members of this spiritual body; just as our physical body has many members, so does the church. With each member doing his part, the church can grow. See Eph. 4:16.  But, as we all know some do not do their part, leaving a problem for the church. I should like to notice some of these problems. I do not expect to notice them all; however, I shall endeavor to consider some of the more prominent ones.


The Problem of Unconverted Members.

We read in John 6:66: “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” We can see that this was a problem from the first. The Master taught us in Lk. 13:3, “I tell you, nay: but,  except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” One then must repent or turn from the world and live for the Lord, lest he perish. This kind of member was also a problem in the life of Paul, as we read in I1 Tim.  4:16, “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.” Here, he is speaking of being on trial and those whom he had held as his friends had forsaken him at a time when he needed them most. This should encourage us today; as friends of the Lord, when life becomes difficult for us, let us not do as Paul’s friends, but stay by the Lord. A good motto is: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

The Worldly Member-

We read in James 4:4, ‘Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” James refers to them as “adulterers and adulteresses,” including spiritual adultery, by having excessive attachment to the things of the world. As Christianity is a sacrificing religion, this would be that state of worldly mindedness which will make no sacrifice for religion. It is true that most would profess to be children of God if this were not true. “The friendship of the world is enmity with God;” enmity means hatred, or whatever .is opposite to love. As the world is arrayed against God and refuses to submit to Him, those who love the world are against Him. “Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God;” enemy is an adversary, one opposed to the Most High, as those who become friends of the world are opposed to God, and His word. This, of course, is done of ourselves when we disobey His commands and yoke ourselves with the world. Notice the example of Demas, 1 Tim. 4:10, “For Demas hath forsaken me having loved this present world . . .” We read in Ex. 32:9, “And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people.” So, we can see this problem is not a new one, as these were stubborn, unyielding, or “stiffnecked.” Let us return to our Maker and cling only to Him. “. . . Ye cannot serve God and Mammon” (Matt. 6 24).


The Compromising Member –

Read II John 9-11. Those who do not abide in this “Doctrine of Christ,” we are not to receive into our house. I understand the church to be the House of God. We are not to receive them as a brother. Of course,  this does not mean that we are to bolt the door to keep them out; we are not to  allow them to teach their doctrine. Neither are we to bid them God’s speed, as he who would encourage or support anyone in this false doctrine would be just as guilty as the one actually in error. Paul warns us that false brethren unawares will come in to spy out our liberty. Read Gal. 2:4. Let us be ever alert!


The Lazy Member-

We are to study God‘s word, I1 Tim. 2:15. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God . . .” By studying, we are able to give an answer to every man that asketh us a reason of the hope that is in us. Read I Pet. 3:15. I do not believe this means that we will be able to answer any and all Bible questions, but that we all should be ready to answer every man concerning the hope which we all have. This is to be done in the right spirit “with meekness and fear.” Jesus taught us the works that one must do. Read Matt. 25:34-40. We should all strive to do all of these as often as they are needed. Notice, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren ye have done it unto me.” James 1:22 reads: “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves”-not a hearer only, but a doer.


The Contented Member-

The gospel, being the power of God unto salvation, Rom. 19:6, and being given to all men, Tit. 2:21, it is our duty to make it known to all the world. Mk. 16:15: “GO ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Matt. 28:19: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations . . .” Those who have supported the work in Africa and other fields are to be commended; it would be impossible for everyone to go, so by sending those who can go, we are just as much a part of the work.


The Problem of “Too Many Chiefs and Not Enough Indians.”

Many troubles arise in the local church today because we do not have the proper leadership. The church is to have elders to watch over the flock. Read I Pet. 5:1-4. They are not as lords but overseers, to take charge and to keep out the bitter foes. More of the men, especially the younger, should prepare for the office of a bishop, I Tim. 3:l-7. The question arises, what congregations which have no elders, such as those just starting, etc.? Often we make the mistake of helping a church get started, and then fail to provide the leadership needed. They struggle along never growing, with no interest, except for a few days a year during a gospel meeting or something of that nature. Is the Lord pleased with this? Paul wrote to Titus in Tit. 1:5: “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting and ordain elders in every city, as I have appointed thee:”-someone to care for and protect until the elders are appointed. This would take more time and more effort, but in the long run, would it not be better? May all of us be less, of a problem?



intellectual Leadership in the 21st Century Kingdom


Intellectual Leadership in the 21st Century Kingdom

Leadership is influence. The people that have the most influence in the church are thus the leaders. Perhaps someone sits in the church pew and is very quiet at church, but that person is very active behind the scenes, having a dynamic influence on the congregation. Such an unsung Christian is a leader. Unfortunately, influence can be of an evil nature. One primary reason that evil influence takes hold in the church is due to apathetic souls, unwilling to crave and fill the intellect with wisdom and knowledge.
J. P. Moreland speaks to the lack of intellectual endeavors among modern Christians in his book Love Your God With All Your Mind. Therein he states, “Whoever controls the thinking leadership of the church, in a culture, will eventually control the church itself,” (Moreland 24). Consider this in light of those who were leading the parties in Corinth. The Corinthian leadership elevated human wisdom over the wisdom of God. A corrupt church was the result, the fruit of a corrupt intellect. In response to this Moreland would respond, “If we are going to be a wise, spiritual people prepared to meet the crises of our age, we must be a studying, learning community that values the life of the mind,” (40).
The leadership of the church must have the same mission as Jesus Chris: seek, save the lost, and increase the disciple’s faith (Luke 17:5, 19:10). Jesus gave a Great Commission to do just that. He told his disciples to baptize and teach said disciples to observe all things He commanded (Mt. 28). However, just because a man stands in a pulpit offering emotional rhetoric, even advocating virtue, does not mean the church is being intellectually stimulated, and their faith (grounded in evidence) being built.
Knowledge is power, and leaders should have this power. “We give surgeons and not carpenters the right to cut us open precisely because surgeons have the relevant knowledge not possessed by carpenters,” (Moreland 28). Knowledge makes one bold and strengthens them in their conviction. And while that boldness can be wielded inappropriately to produce pride and condescension, society has relegated humans to the idea that any claim to spiritual knowledge whatsoever, is an automatic vice and show of pride.
Contrary to modern views of knowledge, “The spiritually mature person is a wise person. And a wise person has the savvy, and skill necessary to lead an exemplary life and to address the issues of the day in a responsible, attractive way that brings honor to God,” (Moreland 40). If our spiritual leaders sought the intellectual knowledge of God, while utilizing it with the wisdom of Solomon in Proverbs, this end could be reasonably achieved amidst those who would regardless doubt. Knowledge is valuable, knowledge in God’s will is the highest value, and to reason towards that knowledge should be the foundation for those who would be the church’s leaders.
In concluding these thoughts on intellectual leadership, consider one last quip from J. P. Moreland. “God is certainly not a cultural elitist, and He does not love intellectuals more than anyone else. But it needs to be said in the same breath that ignorance is not a Christian virtue if those virtues mirror the perfection of God’s own character,” (46). Realizing this truth makes it clear why Israel was destroyed for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6). So will the leaders and constituents of the 21st century church be laid to destruction if the apathetic intellect of American culture persists within this blood bought institution.

Moreland, J. P. Love Your God With All Your Mind, 2nd ed., NAVPRESS, 2012, pp. 24, 28, 40, 46.

Aaron Battey





Ronny F. Wade

(Proverbs 6:16-17) “There are six things which Jehovah hateth; yea, seven which are an abomination unto him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood…”

Each day in America over 3500 unborn babies are put to death. In a one year period, 115,000 cases of abortion were registered in New York City alone. This number is higher than the total number of Americans killed in the Viet Nam war. New York City officials predicted that the following year more than 600,000 abortions would be performed, with over 10 million nationally.

World-wide an estimated 40-55 million will die annually.

The victims will die without the benefit of trial or counsel. They are not convicted criminals, but innocent unborn human babies.

Such make Pharoah’s extermination of Hebrew boys appear as only a ripple on the ocean of time. The slaughter of babies in Bethlehem by Herod would not equal one abortion clinic’s daily quota.

Question That Demands an Answer

Is the fetus a human life? Is that which is growing in the mother’s body alive? The answer to this question will help us in determining the truth on this subject. What the Bible Says…
Some basic facts:

1. Life is a gift from God. (Acts 17:25) “He giveth life and breath to all things.
God alone has the right to take man’s life. (Genesis 50:15-19) Only human life is made “in the image of God.” (Genesis 1:26)

Because of this, human life is elevated to a plane above all other forms of earthly life.

2. Christ taught the value of human life. (John 3:16; Mark 16:15-16) Little children were precious to Him. (Matthew 19:14)

3. No distinction in the Scriptures between babes in the womb and those born.

The word Brephos used to describe the baby in Elisabeth’s womb is used interchangeably for both prenatal and postnatal babies. (Luke 1:41) It means “an unborn child, embryo, fetus, a newborn child, an infant, a babe.” (Thayer p. 105)

Anyone who questions this should ask themselves, “Was it the Christ-child in Mary’s womb or a lifeless blob of fetal tissue.

The following scriptures teach that the unborn child is a human being:

(Jeremiah 1:5) “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee, and before thou comest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee.”

If Jeremiah’s mother had chosen to have an abortion, she would have killed Jeremiah.

(Isaiah 49:1, 5) “Listen, O isles, unto me, and hearken ye peoples, from far; Jehovah hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name… and now, saith Jehovah that formed me from the womb to be his servant.”

This indicates that Isaiah was a person before birth.

(Job 3:11) “Why did I not die from the womb? Why did I not give up the ghost when my mother bore me?”

If the fetus had died in the womb, it would have been a person. – Job

4. The scriptures teach “Thou shalt not kill”, i.e. “thou shalt do not murder.”

The deliberate taking of human life without provocation or just cause is murder. Abortion intentionally kills a human life. The abortion victim is totally innocent, having done no wrong towards the mother, doctor or society.

What abortionist doctor would want a corrosive poured over his body and forced into his lungs and stomach and then be left to convulse for hours ‘til death? This is the baby’s fate in the salt- poisoning abortion. What nurse who attends in abortions would want to be ripped apart by a powerful suction machine? By the time early abortions are performed (8 -12 weeks) the baby has his entire organ system in place and has sense of pain.

(Psalms 139:13-16) “Thou didst knit me together in my mother’s womb.”

Obviously testifies to the fact that the fetus is a person at the time of conception.

(Luke 1:15) An angel promised Zacharias that his soon to be born son would be “filled with the Holy Spirit, while yet in his mother’s womb.” If a fetus can have the Holy Spirit, it surely must be a person.

(Luke 1:41-44) “the babe (John the Baptist) leaped in her womb for joy.” The unborn child is a person.

Just Suppose: Joseph and Mary discover she is with child. Joseph thought she was guilty of fornication, and sought to put her away privately, lest he embarrass her publickly.

Suppose Joseph and Mary had listened to the advice given many today. Mary could have had an abortion to get out of this humiliating situation. In doing so, she would have killed our saviour. (Matthew 1:21).

Murderers Will Be Punished

(Exodus 20:13) “Thou Shalt Not Kill.”
(Deuteronomy 27:25) “Cursed be he that taketh a bribe to slay an innocent person.” (Proverbs 6:16-17) God hates “those who shed innocent blood.” God hates abortion.

What does God think of the premeditated taking of a child’s life? We cannot take the sin of abortion lightly; “Lo children are a heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” (Psalms 127:3)

Everyone should give serious thought to what God says about abortion. He will not let this grevious sin go unpunished. If God will not permit us to kill a child already born and get by with it, neither will he let us get by with killing an unborn child. Abortion is a sin, murder in the first degree.

The psychological effects upon the woman who has an abortion are often devastating and far- reaching. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to forget the unborn child that has been murdered. In years yet to come, this woman will be haunted by such questions as, “Was it a boy or girl?” “Would she be like me or he like his father?’ “Today would he be going to school?” etc., etc.