John the Baptizer came to make the Lord’s paths straight. How could he make them straight? Who made them crooked? God’s paths were straight when they were given to Israel.
The Children of Israel modified the paths of God to suit their own notion. They added one tradition after another. The commandments of God were made of none effect by their traditions (Matt. 15:6). In almost every case their tradition consisted of an addition to the commandment of God. In thus adding to God’s wavs they so crooked them that God would no longer fellowship these apostate Jews. Jehovah sent John to straighten out the paths.
He sent a circular letter to all priests and announced in all synagogues that he hoped to unite all factions among the Jews, the Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians, and requested that they gather in Jerusalem for a great “fellowship meeting.” Of course, God would not recognize these sects and said they were hypocrites but John would-he was big and broad.
The meeting resulted in a general good fellowship between them all—all who dared to go and those who refused to go were accused of not having any interest in unity. Let’s start a new paragraph.
It is evident that John did not use the above-mentioned method to straighten the paths of God. He came in the “spirit and power of Elijah” to turn the hearts of the fathers and the disobedient to walk in the wisdom of the just.” His call was a call to repentance.
The Pharisees who came to his baptism were called hypocrites. These Pharisees felt that they should be fellowshipped by John the Baptist. “We have Abraham as our father,” they said in their hearts, and we should be in full fellowship. John told them that was no advantage to them. “Ye offspring of vipers,” said John, “repent” and prove that you have repented, by bringing forth “fruit worthy of repentance.”
Since Jehovah will not fellowship apostate children until they repent why should we? If the members of the Christian Church desire fellowship with the church of Christ let them repent and bring forth fruit worthy of repentance.
Jesus said, “Every plant which my heavenly Father planted not, shall be rooted up.” (Matt. 15 : 13.) The Christian Church sheds tears over the restoration movement and the divided condition of God’s people yet, like Ephraim, they will not repent. It is their practice over which there is division, as their leaders thus admit. They also admit that the things they have introduced are unauthorized by the Word of God. C.C. Crawford, of St. Louis, Missouri, said to me under date of Mar. 15, 1935:
“I do not use them (the Psalms) as an authority for instrumental music in the worship.”
“How can one use the Old Testament, you ask, to substantiate the use of mechanical instruments of music in Christian worship. The answer is the same as T gave to question (1) above.”
“Upon what grounds may they be used ? I reply by saying that I consider their use justified solely on the Law of Expediency which covers all matters of custom.”
If they are so anxious for unity can they not give up a custom for peace in Zion? Let mechanical music, women preachers, women elders, majority rule in the church, societies, and such like be given up and then we may be ready to enter a fellowship meeting.
It is strange that some brethren will fellowship those whom God will not fellowship those who practice a corrupted religion. Like John the Baptist. they should straighten the paths made crooked by the additions of the Christian Church. These paths can be made straight only by repentance on the part of the people who teach and practice unauthorized things. “Repent ye therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out.” “Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths. where is the good way, and walk therein.”