What An Imagination!
I remarked to a young
mother after service upon observing her son imagining different things, "They
say that imagination is a mark of intelligence and based on this, your son sure
appears smart." She was pleased with my statement. However, there is
a sense in which imagination is not good. When God specifies in his word, man is
not allowed imagination contrary to God's teaching. Consider Paul's
Dudley Ross Spears wrote the following, in which he demonstrated a rich imagination. I invite you to examine and analyze Dudley’s reasoning and dialectic process that culminates in such matters as the Guardian of Truth Foundation Lectureships ("gospel meeting) being justified:
"Individual Christians have the Lord's approval to engage in secular occupations in order to establish the cause of Christ (Acts 18: 3). Paul lived with Aquila and Priscilla and worked with them in the tent making business.…There is obviously nothing wrong with Christians joining together in a commercial business in order to cause the gospel to be proclaimed.
We have no
information that in the first century local or federal laws were enacted
allowing a business venture to be incorporated. Nor were there any provisions
for forming a business relationship into a ‘Foundation’ as a non-profit
The purest form of teaching is the distribution of the Bible. The Lord sanctions brethren working together in a commercial business. They have the right to take advantage of every legal benefit that doesn't conflict with God's law (Acts 25:11; 4:19-20). Men have divine sanction to form a company whose sole purpose is to translate, print and distribute Bibles. This is not an encroachment on any duly established and organized local church of Christ. Through their combined business arrangement they simply work together ‘in the gospel….’
Much good has been done over the years through religious publications. It was through the influence of the old Gospel Guardian I learned the truth on institutionalism and a number of other issues. I will always be thankful for that. Some religious periodicals are published by a religious bookstore. The publication serves two purposes. (1) Advertising the wares of the company and (2) presenting biblical writings designed to further the gospel.
Some religious companies employ an editor who in turn invites others to contribute biblical articles. Special issues of the periodical are published with specific topics assigned to selected writers. There is no material difference in the same religious bookstore providing a place where the same men are invited to deliver the same material orally. One may be legitimately called a Gospel Paper; the other a Gospel Lectureship. I see no significant difference" ("Evangelism – Congregation and Individual," Bible Matters, October 25, 2006).
Hence, we see how some are promoting and working in and through human foundations, allowing their overseeing board of directors to provide the oversight and the foundation treasury to finance them, etc. to corporately preach the gospel, thus, doing the work belonging to the local church. The only reason Dudley sees for the "entity" that he imagines existed with Paul, Aquila, and Priscilla not being something comparable to the Guardian of Truth Foundation is what he believes is the probable lack of civil incorporation provision in the first century. Since, he observed good being accomplished in his referenced example, such must be scripturally acceptable and brethren selling Bibles for profit is necessarily tantamount to such an entity as the Guardian of Truth Foundation. Combine a highly active imagination with such convoluted logic and such orders for corporately preaching the gospel as the Guardian of Truth Foundation are fully authorized by the scriptures, according to Dudley.
When God has spoken, we need to control our imagination. We are not to think above what is written, whether we are talking about music in worship of God, those subject to the gospel, or the fact that the local church is God's means of providing his people with the corporate or collective means of preaching the gospel. I would agree that an active imagination is a sign of intelligence, but when it comes to God's word, such an imagination is simply a sign of rebellion!