Censorship

Atlen McDonald

Are you guilty of censoring God's Holy Word? Some people are! Do you worship with a group where only one side of a question is "allowed" to be taught? Some people do! Do you worship with a group where one man (be he a preacher, elder, or preacher-elder) speaks publicly from the pulpit with no one questioning him from the audience; who teaches what HE believes is the truth, but who will not give to others the same chance to present their views to this same audience, allowing the audience to heat' all sides of a question, and then, with their private study, "work out their own salvation with fear and trembling?" Most of us do!

Why would someone, anyone, censor God's Word, when it is such a "fearful thing to fall into the hands of' the living God?" Could the reason be that such a person feels that he is as certain, as God Almighty, about what truth is, and that there is no need to "come, let us reason together?" Do we hear someone say, "But we must guard God's Truth." However, in the "guarding," is he not in reality, suppressing God's Word, by censorship? Does such a person really believe that God was not serious when He said, "Do not lord it over MY heritage?"

What has fostered such audacity in this kind of mind? Listed below are some of the reasons I feel causes one to practice censorship.

1. The Preacher System

Have we not blown up the ego of the "pulpit minister" until he feels he need not answer to anyone for what he teaches, or fails to teach, except to "his elders?"

Customarily, no one questions the public speaker from the same audience, but waits until after "church" when no one is around to hear the question, except the speaker. Many times the group leaves the assembly with a one-sided view of the lesson, again "proving" that what the speaker said is from God.

2. The Elders

To question an elder today, or "call one on the carpet" for something he taught publicly is almost considered a mortal sin. The ecclesia has been taught by man that group obedience to the elders in all things is from God. What power engulfs mere men when the group believes this! They are taught that to question elders is to question Almighty God. Does this sound unlikely? Then try questioning them on a tradition held and taught by them.

If you do get brave enough to question an elder about what he believes and teaches, no doubt you will be called into a meeting of the "eldership" to "give an answer" asto why you questioned. You will find that when you have tried questioning an elder that he believes he cannot answer as one elder to a "follower" but that all the elder's must act as a "board of elders" on all matters. Personal responsibility is not a trait found in individual elders. Oh, if only they, as well as we, realized that the elders are individual spiritual leaders, and will answer to God individually as to how they fulfilled their role as an individual spiritual leader of God's elect. The word "eldership," or the concept of "eldership," is found no where in the New Testament, that I can find.

3. The Pew Packers

Where does the blame really rest? With all Christians everywhere, who are followers of mere men, and not of God. Where are the "Bereans" among us? The Bereans searched the scriptures to see if what the apostles taught was the truth, and God called them "noble." They wanted to see all sides of an issue, lay them on the "table top" and then, after their personal study, work out their own salvation.

Are you a "Berean?" Or, do you feel that others (elders, preachers, etc.) are to work out your salvation for you, and that when you stand before the Great Judge some man, or group of men, will stand with you, helping you "give an answer" for what you believed, taught, and allowed to be taught?

Not so! You will stand alone, as will we all. God will call YOU to account for any censoring of His Great Word YOU have done, or YOU have allowed to be done.

It will not only be the Catholic hierarchy who will have to give an account for censorship. We have it today, in the family of God.

May God forgive us for our stupidity, and lack of knowledge of His will.