An open Letter by the Editor

by W.B. Screws

The Pilgrim's Messenger

"Have a pattern of sound words which you hear from me, in faith and love
which are in Christ Jesus."--11 Timothy 1:13
Published Monthly By W. B. SCREWS, Glennville, Georgia
Twenty-five Cents a Year

Volume XX

January, 1941

Number 6.

Entered at the postoffice at Glennville, Ga., as second-class matter.

Dear brother:

You sneer because our ecclesias worship in a humble manner, and have nothing about them to give one a high social standing.  You speak of us as "a little church."  You believe the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ is to the "church" of the present.  If it is, are you not inconsistent in sneering at what you call "the little church," in view of the words of Christ in Luke 12:32, "Fear not, little flock, seeing that your Father delights to give you the kingdom?"  If the church of today is to have the kingdom, will the kingdom not be given to the very ones at whom you sneer?  

I plead guilty, when you accuse me of worshiping in a manner that will not give me a high social standing.  I wonder if you have ever read, in Rom. 12:16, where we are besought to be not disposed to that which is high, but to be led away with the humble.  The word "humble," is the word for "low."  The man of low estate is the humble man.  Does this scripture register with you?  Does it mean anything to you?  Or will you sneer at it and go your way, seeking the high?  

Humility is a quality of heart, and affects the disposition.  It manifests itself in acts.  It is often found among the poor, although poverty alone does not constitute humility.  On the other hand, a person who is wealthy may, be humble in disposition.  If so, it will be manifested in his deeds.  

Since you are enlisted in making the church popular and in seeking to make Christianity a matter of high society, I wonder if you will consider with me, some things the Bible says about humility.  It will help us to understand the meaning of the term, if we consider Christ.  He says, in Matt. 11:29,  "I am meek and jumble in heart."  Suppose He were here now.  Would He feel at ease in your congregation?  Would He approve of the efforts of your church, to meet the demands of high society?  I think you must know that there are many thousands of so-called Christians who would feel ashamed to have the meek and humble Christ among them.  When you are striving to promote high society in your worship, you are slapping the humble Christ in the face.  

You know my contention that Paul is the apostle for us, and that the ministry of Jesus Christ, (while on earth), as well as the writings of Peter, James, John and Jude, and the Hebrew epistle, are for the Circumcision.  But I will not quibble over that, now.  I will admit, for the sake of the argument I am making, that all the scripture is to us.  Then I will proceed to show you what they say about being humble.  Follow me, please, and decide whether or not these passages mean anything to you.  

Not only is Christ meek and humble in heart, Matt. 11:29.  But Paul was humble, and showed it in his appearance, II Cor. 10:1.  Not only was his heart humble but so were his financial circumstances.  He couldn't dress to please high society.  Answer this question honestly: Would the poor, humble Paul feel at home among the gaudily dressed people who frequent the proud churches?  Suppose he were your preacher.  Would you feel ashamed of him?  James tells the humble brother to be glorying, 1:9.  Paul tells you to be led away with the humble, Rom. 12:16.  This does not mean to simply tolerate the humble.  In twentieth century Southern dialect, it means that we should be "carried away" with them.  In other words, that it should be one of our greatest delights to be associated with those who are humble.  Do you delight in their association, or do you consider it a bore?  

James, 4:6, says God is giving grace to the humble, and Peter tells the saints to wear the servile apron of humility, I Pet. 5:5.  Mary, the mother of our Lord, said in her song, Luke 1:52, that God exalts the humble and Paul says in II Cor. 7:6, that God is consoling the humble.  Christ humbles Himself, Phil. 2:8, and Paul tells us to let this same disposition be in us.  Luke 14:11 says that those who humble themselves shall be exhaled.  This exaltation will not come in this eon, for here, even our bodies are bodies of humiliation, Phil 3:21.  There is no difference on this respect, whether one is rich or poor; whether one is in high society or in humble circumstances.  

You imagine you are in the kingdom mentioned by Christ in His earthly ministry.  If you are, you are not as great as you think yourself to be, for Christ says, Matt. 18:4, that, in order to be great in the kingdom of heaven, one must humble himself, and in 23:12 He says the servant is the greater.  In other words, the humble is greater than the proud.  James, 4:10, says, "be humbled then, before the Lord," and Peter says, I Pet. 5:6, "Be humbled, then under the mighty hand of God."  

Paul slaved for the Lord with all humility, Acts 20:19, and he entreats us to walk worthily of the calling with which we were called, with all humility and meekness, with patience bearing with one another in love, Eph. 4:2.  My brother, if you have been called, you absolutely can not walk worthily of your calling, if you are proud and arrogant.  If you disdain the humble, you are far from walking in accord with the calling.  

Suppose the humble, meek, lowly Paul should ask permission to preach in your church.  Wouldn't you feel like he needed some brushing up first?  Would not your proud congregation feel outraged to have such a man in the pulpit?  We are besought to have a humble disposition, deeming one another superior to ourselves, Phil. 2:3.  

I have said that poverty does not insure humility.  There are some poor people who are arrogant.  If they move to a city they will join the most fashionable church, and they burden themselves with the effort to "keep up with the Joneses,"  as the comic artist say.  On the other hand, humility is sometimes found among the well-to-do.  There are people of wealth, whose hearts are humble, and who dislike to be mixed up with the effort to use religion as a stepping stone to high society.  They find their highest pleasure among the humble, where the truth is taught and loved. 

Paul speaks of two ideal conditions for the evangel, when he said, "A door has been opened for me, great and operative, and many are opposing,"  I Cor. 16:9.  He did not say, "BUT many are opposing," as if the opposition nullified the fact of the open door.  No; he used the word AND.  In other words, he needed two things - an open door and much opposition.  The worst thing that could happen to our work, would be popularity.  When a preacher becomes popular, he has the sweetest morsel human pride ever tasted.  It is so sweet to him that he will no more let it go, than will a starving child deliberately throw away a stick of candy.  Popularity would soon make our work and worship rotten.  May God save us from it!  

I deeply sympathize with the scores of men I know, who love the truth, and would find great pleasure in simple worship, but who are held in the high society churches by their wives.  They are bossed by their wives, who must keep up appearances.  They are miserable.  

In our worship we do not put a premium on loveliness.  We teach that everyone, even the poor, should be clean and neat in appearance.  But we put no stress on fine dress.  A man in overalls is just as precious in our sight as is the one who is able to wear tailor-made clothes.  The woman, in calico is not one whit beneath the one dressed in silk.  

Our preachers are not fanatics.  They use good language and do not go into a tantrum in their sermons.  And we teach that everyone should live above reproach, as far as possible.  Yet we are kind to the erring, and want to help them.  

While God wills all mankind to be saved, and will certainly carryout His will, yet He has not designed that all shall be saved now.  Some times one among us become discouraged and say "The people are not ready for the truth."  How true this is!  As a whole, they will never be ready for the truth, until that day when God saves them all, and brings them into a realization of the truth, I Tim. 3:3-6.  

Why do we wish that all might see the truth now?  Is it a desire for their blessings, or is it because we want to escape persecution?  I try to get the people to ponder this question.  

One of the most gracious gifts of God, is the opportunity to suffer for the sake of Christ.  "To you it is graciously granted for Christ's sake, not only to be believing on Him, but to be suffering for His sake also," Phil. 1:29.  The pastor who is popular, and receives a handsome salary, and has no struggle in any respect, who even has a religion that has the approbation of the world, certainly cannot suffer for the sake of Christ.  Members who go along with such a religion do not suffer for His sake.  But preachers who are unpopular because of the truth - those who, many times, do not know where the next dollar is coming from - those who are trying to defend the truth in the midst of a hostile religious world - certainly know what it is to suffer for Christ.  And those who worship in this way, in humble surroundings, know what suffering for Christ means.  The wives of these unpopular preachers suffer most.  They stay at home and care for matters and try to help made a living, while giving up their husbands to go and teach the truth of God.  Some day, in front of the dais of Christ, I suspect these very women are going to find, to their astonishment, that there are large wages awaiting them.  

My brother, when will you ever learn that a teaching that is popular with the world that does not love Christ, cannot be the truth of Christ?  

High society is rotten.  If it approves your teaching, Christ does not!  If it honors your church, your church is not the pillar and base of the truth.  If it does not persecute you, you are not living devoutly in Christ Jesus.  

Pride is classed with the sins that are recognized as being the vilest, Mark 7:22; Rom. 1:30; II Tim. 3:2; God is resisting the proud Jas. 4:6; I Pet. 5:6; and scatters the proud, Luke 1:51.  In the face of this, you make yourself believe that pride properly belongs to the worship of God.  


Readers of the Messenger have a rare treat awaiting them.  If they will send for the Unsearchable Riches, published at 2823 E. 6th St., Los Angeles, California.  Brother A. E. Knoch, the editor, is the greatest student of the scriptures, of which I have any knowledge.  He is now writing some excellent editorials on Daniel.  Address the Concordant Publishing Concern, at the address given above.  The magazine is $1.00 a year. 

Have you paid up recently? 

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