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Hiram Hutto - El Dareer Debate - October 1974

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Bible Study   9:00
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Scott Richardson



Owen Griggs

Tim Hamilton

Jackson Drive


                                                                                                        February 14, 2016


The Divisive, Soul-Damning “Too Much” Philosophy

In 1Kings, chapter twelve, we read of a division among the children of Israel, led by Jeroboam, which lasted throughout the remainder of their national history. After the death of Solomon, his son, Rehoboam, became king. Numerous citizens, led by Jeroboam, requested relief from the burdens that had been placed upon them. Rehoboam listened to ill advice from younger men instead of the wisdom of older men, hence rejected the request made of him. The result was rebellion on the part of ten tribes, with Jeroboam as their king. Rehoboam was left with only Judah and Benjamin, reigning in Jerusalem.

In time, Jeroboam feared that if His subjects continued to go to Jerusalem to worship, as the law of God required, they might rebel against him and return to Rehoboam. To secure his own position, he proceeded to change the worship of the people, offering as an excuse, "It is too much for you to go to Jerusalem to worship." He then substituted two golden calves for them to worship, saying, "Behold the gods that brought you out of the land of Egypt.”

The “Too Much” Philosophy

Jeroboam indicated by his words great concern for the people. What was required by God was too taxing, too much trouble, and involved too many difficulties and hardships. So, the king was offering something better, more convenient, and much easier. Observe that the king did not say worshiping in Jerusalem was wrong, or that worshiping Jehovah was wrong. He simply said it is "too much," then introduced something new; something different from what God had said. He implied that God's way was too taxing—without proper consideration for the welfare of the people, so should be exchanged for something better which human wisdom suggested.

This philosophy has always been effective among people because man has ever sought for the easy way. If there is a shorter route, an easier course, a more pleasant way, this is the very thing many want and will immediately embrace.

This Philosophy in Today’s Religious World

It is obvious that this philosophy is accepted and followed by many today in their religious faith and actions. Let us observe a few examples of this philosophy at work in our day, and the division and havoc it brings.

It cannot be denied that BAPTISM is a commandment of the Lord, and a condition of salvation, according to the Bible. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:16). "Repent and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins …” (Acts 2:38). "And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord …” (Acts 10:48). In spite of these verses, there are those who say baptism is not necessary—is non-essential—one can be saved without it, etc. No one contends that it is wrong to be baptized or that the Lord did not command it. It is just suggested that it is "too much" to be baptized. When one is convinced that baptism is "too much," he is then ready to accept a substitute. The substitute for baptism is the doctrine of salvation by "faith only" or by "grace only." The implication is that the Lord commanded something that is really not necessary or important; is too taxing, so the easier way is offered.

Too, if baptism is going to be embraced, some say baptism (immersion) is "too much," so sprinkling or pouring is substituted in its place. Of course, the word of God says "buried with him in baptism" (Romans 6:3-4; Colossians 2:12), and the advocates of sprinkling never say it is wrong to be immersed. They just say it is "too much" and offer the easier, more convenient way.

Advocates of instrumental music in worship act upon the principle of singing being "too much." Singing requires learning to sing and putting forth an effort, which some claim is made much easier with the aid of an instrument. Too, the instrument can even be, and often is, substituted in the place of singing. It is never said that it is wrong to SING. The instrument simply represents an "easier way" or a "convenient" substitute.

Frequently, people are warned against the church of Christ with an appeal to this "too much" philosophy. "Stay away from those people for they require too much. They think you have to be baptized, have to assemble regularly for worship, have to eat the Lord's Supper every Lord's day, have to give as the Lord prospers, have to abstain from fleshly lusts, have to abide in the doctrine of Christ, etc." All this is thought to be just "too much" even though these things are plainly commanded in the word of God. Many are sold on the idea that there is an easier way to please God than doing what he says.

The “Too Much” Philosophy in the Church

This philosophy that has introduced so many strange and new things in the religious world about us, seemingly has "rubbed off” on some of those who propose to practice New Testament Christianity. Signs of apostasy are becoming more numerous, and the things advocated are actually substitutions supplied by human wisdom on the basis of what God requires being "too much.”

Most of those who believe in New Testament Christianity know that the Lord has spoken on how to give, or accumulate funds in the treasury of the church. Each Christian is to "lay by in store" (cast into the common treasury) on the first day of the week, as the Lord has prospered him. Each is to "purpose in his heart" and give "willingly, not grudgingly or of necessity" (1Corinthians 16:1-2; 2Corinthians 9:7). However, this is thought to be "too much," "too demanding. " The rummage sale, cake walk, raffle, bingo party, business project, entertainments, etc., are thought to be much easier and less taxing on each Christian than sacrificing and giving according to the Lord's word. So, many set aside God's law and put in its place the less taxing substitute.

The Scriptures abundantly teach that each Christian is obligated to "visit" the sick, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the fatherless and widows, giving things that are needful (Matthew 25:31ff; James 1:27). The Scriptures also teach that local churches are obligated to relieve their own needy as well as saints in other places (Acts 6:1-5; 1Timothy 5:16; Acts 11:28-30; 2Corinthians 8-9). But, some cry, "This is too much," and set about to substitute some organization, club, or institution to which they can make a token contribution, thus relieving themselves of their individual responsibility. It is not "too much" for you to act as did the good Samaritan and visit those in need personally and individually. This is what the Lord demands and you do not, and can not, discharge this responsibility by making a donation to some charitable organization, or even by contributing into the treasury of the church. Likewise, a church can not discharge its responsibility by contributing to some organization or institution. Men who imagine themselves engaged in a great work have set up numerous organizations, institutions, corporations, societies, and arrangements, saying to the churches, "It is too much for you to undertake your own benevolent and missionary work." "Behold our setup! Just send us your contributions and your responsibility will be discharged by us in a much easier, larger, and convenient way." Of course, no one ever suggests that it is wrong for each person or church to go directly to these works to the extent of ability; they just say it is "too much." Most people know that we have individual responsibilities. Bible students also know that a local church is the only organization for functioning revealed in the New Testament, and that each one is independent, autonomous, equal, and sufficient. It is not suggested, therefore, that it is wrong for each to independently function; only that it is "too much" and there is a "better, easier way.”

The Results of This Philosophy

Jeroboam's action in the long ago resulted in a man-made religion. God, and His ways were set aside for a substitution. Following this philosophy will result in the same thing today. Division was another result of Jeroboam's "too much philosophy and actions. The nation of Israel was never united again. The same results follow this thinking and action today. The ultimate result of Jeroboam's folly was the complete destruction of Israel. And, damnation is the ultimate result of "abiding not in the teaching of Christ" now. My friends, if the Lord authorizes something, it is not "too much.”

—Herschel Patton (Gospel Guide, February 1969)

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