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Monday, June 27, 2011

Style and/or Substance

By Jim Faughn

Not long ago, a sister in Christ made a comment to me that I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about. As I remember, she had gone online and had been listening to some sermons that were preached by some of our brethren a number of years ago. Some of the men to whom she had listened have long since passed from this life. The comment she made was due, in great part, to the fact that she did not have access to any videos of the lessons, only audio.

Her comment (as best as I can remember) was, “You know, when you can’t see the hair styles or the kind of clothing they had on, nothing much has changed.”

Every time I think of that comment, I do so with both regret and gratitude. My regret is due to the fact that some have changed much more than hair styles and wardrobes. There is no longer anything distinctive. The message, the worship, and (in some instances) even the name have all been modified in order to “meet the needs” of people who are thought to be much more enlightened than people of days gone by.

As much as I regret that, I have more reasons to be grateful. I am grateful to and for men who properly understand God’s message to mankind and who have not deviated from preaching it exactly as it has been revealed to us. Their clothing and hairstyles may or may not make them “stand out,” but their message does.

Secondly, I am also grateful for congregations that expect to hear a message from God’s word whenever a man preaches. The man may not look exactly like preachers of years gone by. His “preaching style” may even be different from theirs. He might use a computer instead of a typewriter or pen and paper to prepare his message. Something like PowerPoint, instead of a blackboard or chart, might be used as he presents that message. Even with all of these changes, the message is the same as faithful men of yesteryear.

Finally, I am grateful for each individual with an “…honest and good heart…” (Luke 8:15) who receives the gospel, obeys it, and becomes a member of the Lord’s church. That will never go “out of style.”

No, I’m not looking for potential members who might help me start “The International Society Devoted to Bringing Back the Leisure Suit.” To be honest, I’m kind of glad that style is out of style.

However, I am looking for people who have an interest in living lives of obedience and service to the Lord and spending eternity with Him. That cannot be accomplished with style. Only substance will do.

- Jim Faughn serves as an elder and preacher for the Central church of Christ in Paducah KY. He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

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