By Jimmy R. Mickells
“For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church” (1 Corinthians 4:17).
Do you think that Paul would be permitted to preach the things that he taught in the New Testament in churches throughout the world today? I don’t think so. I know there are things taught by various denominations that would contradict what the apostle taught on various subjects. Let me suggest just a few for your consideration.
What about baptism? Did you know that this apostle said that in baptism one can wash away his/her sins? When speaking of his conversion, in Acts 22, he told his audience what Ananias had instructed him to do. “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). Could he teach such a doctrine as this today in many of the churches across this land? No! They would not let such be taught. Many teach that you should be baptized, but that it has nothing to do with the forgiveness of sins. It is only an outward sign of what has already taken place inwardly. Paul said that the old man who is buried in baptism was dead in sin and that the one which comes forth from this watery grave was a new creature in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:1-18). Denominational baptism buries a man that they say is already alive (he has already been saved), not one who is dead. The Bible teaches us to baptize those who are dead in sin so that their iniquities can be forgiven (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38, etc.). We better listen to Paul.
What about singing? Paul taught that one is to sing Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:19 & Colossians 3:16). There was no instruction given about the use of instrumental music in our worship service to God. Yet the vast majority of churches today use some kind of instruments as they attempt to serve the Lord. Would the apostle be allowed to preach the truth on this subject, tell them they were just to sing, and then be welcomed back to preach at the next assembly? I suppose that some of the leaders would call him aside and say, “Now Paul, you know they had instruments in the Old Testament. If they could use them, surely it is alright for us to have the same. Above and beyond this, we like the way they sound and if we don’t have such we are going to lose our young people. We just can’t have such preaching here. You will have to find some other place to teach your opinion.”
What about the church? This great apostle said that there is only “one body” (Ephesians 4:4), and that the body is “the church” (Ephesians 1:22,23); Could he teach and preach that every where today? Such a message would not be very popular among the masses. It is generally believed and taught that there are many different churches today and that they are all pleasing to the Lord, though they advocate a host of different doctrines contrary to each other. Someone would probably tell Paul, “You and your kind think you are the only ones going to heaven.” Such truth is much to narrow for many.
What about purity of life? Do you think the apostle’s message against homosexuality would be well received in our society today? Notice what he said in his first epistle to the Corinthians, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9,10). He not only condemned the life style of the homosexual but also the fornicators, adulterers, drunkards, etc. There are some churches today that not only condone such immoral behavior but also encourage such by allowing their leaders and members to practice these very things. Paul you can’t preach such here, we’re open minded and willing to accept all regardless of their sexual preference and their choice of life styles.
I’m convinced that Paul would not be welcomed in the pulpit of many churches today simply because of what he preached everywhere he went. Would he be welcomed here? I certainly hope so. We had better listen to what the Lord has said to us through the writings of such men like Paul. He revealed the mind of God through the direction of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 1:11,12).