By Paul R. Blake
When I was ten years old, I had a dog of dubious ancestry (a mutt) named Happy, and did his name ever fit him. To this day I have yet to find a friendlier dog or a pet more content to play with children from daylight to dark. Happy was always happy; except for one summer. Happy had been running loose in the woods and came home with a serious infestation of ticks. Within a short time, his head was covered with those little grey-brown lumps that are the bodies of ticks bloated with blood. I remember my Mom getting the ticks to back out of the flesh with a hot match head and picking them off with a pair of pliers. That experience with ticks has made me wary of them ever since. Today, ticks are even more dangerous as they are known to be the carriers of Lyme’s Disease. One should always be careful to check for ticks after spending any time in the woods.
It occurred to me recently that the forest isn’t the only place where one can encounter ticks. I have found that the religious world is rife with them. Religious ticks are even more dangerous than wood ticks. A wood tick can suck out about a teaspoon of blood and leave behind a few harmful bacteria and viruses. They can cause pain when removed and must be extracted carefully lest a more severe damage take place. Yet, this is mild compared the wanton devastation that can be caused by a religious tick. You say you have never heard of a religious tick? Well, let me introduce you to a few.
HERE-TICKS… A heretic is one who promotes a false doctrine leading and misleading the weak and untaught into error. Furthermore, the heretic is unrepentant and unwilling to listen to sound reasoning from the word of God. He has a pet doctrine or idea and sets about trying to adapt the scriptures to fit his thinking. With persuasive words, he offers plausible sounding explanations for the discrepancies in his dogma and thus delivers many souls into the kingdom of darkness. (Titus 3:10-11; 2Tim. 3:5-9)
FANA-TICKS… A fanatic is one who has no balance in his faith. His focus is on one aspect of truth and presses it to the point of neglecting the rest of truth. Fanatics in the first century were unbalanced concerning the resurrection. They gave away all of their possessions, sat on mountain tops and waited for the coming of the Lord. Jewish fanatics took a vow that they would neither eat nor rest until they had killed the apostle Paul. A fanatic does not see the whole of the scheme of redemption, only those parts that further his cause of drawing away a following of people who have not studied. (2Tim. 2:15; 2Peter 1:5-10)
AUTOMA-TICKS… Automatics are those who automatically accept anyone regardless of their belief or spiritual condition. God has put certain conditions upon receiving His promises and fellowship. If we want to walk with God, we must meet those conditions. One must never mistake unification with unity. (2John 9-11; Gal. 1:6-9)
AROMA-TICKS… Aromatics are at the opposite end of the spectrum from the automatics. Aromatics consider themselves to be the brotherhood bloodhounds entrusted by God to sniff out anyone and everyone whose understanding of the Bible doesn’t coincide with theirs. They “write them up” in magazines and bulletins thinking all the while that they are saving the church from the stench of error. Some have devised a de facto catechism by which they measure everyone with whom they have contact. Paul condemned those who create parties and factions in the Lord’s church. (Gal. 5:20-21; 3John 9-10)
ERRA-TICKS… Erratics are the kind of tick that one can never tell if they are a Christian or not on any given day. Their example, their faith, their giving, their attendance is spasmodic. They cannot be depended on for anything except to be undependable. To rely on this tick is to be disappointed sooner than later. (1Cor. 15:58)
Beware of ticks when you walk in the woods. Be especially careful of the “tics” in the religious world. If one of them bites into you, you will lose more than a teaspoon of blood; you could lose your soul.
Preserving the Soul
By C. D. Plum
While in Cincinnati, Ohio studying embalming, I met Brother Rowe and other good, big, kind-hearted brethren. We felt at home among them. I secured my license from the state of Ohio to embalm, but I went no farther. I felt all the time I was neglecting the call or desire from my youth. This is not a “divine calling,” brethren, to preach, because we have no such divine callings, but only “a realization of my duty to God and man.” Embalming of the dead beneficial for the purpose of “preserving, disinfecting, and beautifying” the dead (the ones we will see no more in this world), and in many eases absolutely necessary for the preservation of health and to prevent the spread of disease. This is accomplished by the injection of certain chemical fluids into the lifeless body.
But, brethren, here is my reasoning: If it be necessary (and it surely is) to embalm (preserve) the lifeless body for a time (to prevent disease) which only will return to the dust (Gen. 3:19), isn’t it much more necessary to embalm (preserve) the soul which will exist forever and forever after this world has passed away, either in a state of happiness or else in everlasting fire? (Matt. 25:34-41).
To have our souls preserved (embalmed as it were) to exist in a happy state with God, Christ, and the redeemed of earth forever and forever we accomplish it thus: The blood of Christ is the preserving (embalming) fluid. It, when properly applied, will cleanse our souls from the awful disease (sin) and will eliminate altogether the disease of sin from those who apply It to their souls. “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit,” etc. (1Peter 1:22). Thus in obedience this purification or preservation from sin takes place. Thus it was that in the death of Christ His blood was shed. So following out the commission (Mark 16:15-16) in being placed in the watery grave in the likeness of Christ’s death, we reach the blood of Christ (preserving fluid) by obedience to his commands and thus are made free from sin. (Read Col. 1:13-14; Rom. 6:17)
I will attend the Bible study at the Church of Christ, Thompson Avenue, East Liverpool, Ohio, beginning January 3, 1918, and continuing for ten weeks. After this study, God willing, I trust to hold a few meetings somewhere, wherever I am in demand. I expect I will teach school next winter again unless I am very much in demand. If I am, I must do my duty and let worldly things take care of themselves. Pray for me, brethren, in the efforts I make to build up the cause of Christ. (C. D. Plum, East Liverpool, Ohio. Taken from Brother Plum’s announcement that he was going to preach, as printed in the Christian Leader.)