I remember where I was the day George Jones died. I was on my way to West Virginia with Joey Ferrell to participate in my first mission work in that area. Joey and I both were fans of the "Possum", Joey even had tickets to see George at the Bridgestone arena later in 2013.
One of my favorite George Jones songs is "Who's gonna fill their shoes?". In that song, he was reflecting on country singers such as Hank Sr and others who had departed this life. He asked who was going to fill the shoes and step up in the place of those men. It can be argued that not many have stepped up when it comes to Country music as many times I can't tell it apart from Pop music.
In the churches of Christ, there are many Gospel preachers who have gone to paradise. I think of men such as Winford Claiborne, Wendell Winkler, NB Hardeman, Foy Wallace Jr, and others who are no longer with us. Who will fill their shoes? I think of men such as James Watkins, Tom Holland, Gary Colley, Alan Highers and others who are older. They won't be with us forever. Who will fill their shoes? The same is said for faithful elders, who will replace them?
The churches of Christ are fighting a battle, there is no doubt about it. We are fighting a battle against sin and the Devil. We are fighting a battle against denominationalism, and we are fighting against liberalism( those who add to or take away from worship and God's word)and to a point legalism (those who would bind where God has not bound, "anti-ism"). Each week it seems, we are hearing about a congregation of God's people going down the wrong path. It was announced that Harpeth Hills in Brentwood will be adding an Instrumental service in August going against Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16. "Preachers" and "Elders" if you can stomach to call them that, are bowing their knees to Baal.
It is up to us now and in the future to stand for the truth in the churches of Christ. We cannot allow these ideas(among others) of women led worship, instrumental music, and even gay marriage ( Let's face it folks, there are congregations out there who will be bowing to that issue as well if they aren't already).
Some things that give me great hope for the future.
- There are plenty of good elders and deacons still out there. There are plenty of Elders who still love God's word and respect it. They still believe in the qualifications set forth in First Timothy Chapter 3.
2. There are more than plenty sound, capable men still presenting the Gospel and are not ASHAMED of it (Romans 1:16). They are preaching it in season and out of season ( 2 Timothy 4:2) or as the late Marshall Keeble said " Preach it when they like it and when they don't like it!".
3. There are still good schools out there training young men to preach. I know Lipscomb is gone, Pepperdine is gone and Abeline is gone. There are still good schools to train men. Memphis school of Preaching, Southeast Institute of Biblical Studies, Freed- Hardeman, Faulkner University, Bear Valley, Brown Trail all have produced excellent preachers. Are there exceptions? Absolutely. There are other smaller schools that are good as well. In my area there is the Nashville school of preaching, Middle TN school of preaching and the Chattanooga school of preaching. While I don't believe a man has to get a diploma or degree to preach, it doesn't hurt either. Notice what Paul said to Timothy in 2 Tim 2:2
"And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also"
4. There are good, sound events for Christians to attend. Polishing the Pulpit is a wonderful tool for the brotherhood. The Jacksonville church of Christ and its elders do a great job each year putting this event on. Great lectures and great classes. The Diana singing that I mentioned in my first post is a wonderful period of singing! CYC, Challenge youth conference, is a wonderful event for our youth with men who LOVE the truth and the Lord's church, not joke about it.
My point is, while there are some serious issues going on in the brotherhood. I am constantly reminded of the good. We need to continue filling the shoes of those before us. May our work for the Lord and zeal for his truth be so that the generations to come can look at us and say "Who will fill their shoes?" and better yet ask themselves "What am I going to do to help fill those shoes!?"