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Most of the articles on these WebPages have been written by godly men with a central belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. However as with most of us, they may have different beliefs concerning some particular doctrines. These articles have been made available for the purpose of “gleaning the good” where good can be found. I do not necessarily endorse all that is written by others, anymore than I expect others to endorse all that I write.

   Morning Thoughts by Elder Philip Conley

Song of Solomon 6:9, "My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and blessed her; yea the queens and the concubines, and they praised her."

This morning, our world has become a "tolerance society." It seems that the only thing not worth tolerating is someone else's intolerance. Therefore, our world does not desire things that point out right from wrong. The Bible is scorned as it points out absolutes that either should be absolutely followed or absolutely avoided. Likewise, the Lord's church is considered the filth of the world (with her ministers as the offscouring of all things), as she bears the light in the world that men hate and prefer darkness rather than light. So, people today desire "churches" that allow them to continue in the "way that seemeth right unto a man" and still be a part of the group for amplifying their social standing and influence. 

However, the true church (I will say the only church) of the Saviour calls upon men to repent and turn from
their wicked ways as the things that defile should be kept out of God's vineyard and pasture.

In speaking with people today about "church," most do not get too bent out of shape if you believe that you are the church. The problem arises when they discover that you believe that they are not the church. What we mean by the church (in this case) is that it is the place that the Lord set up for us here that follows after the Saviour and worships the Father in spirit and in truth. Now, while some groups in the world seem to have a genuine spirit and earnest zeal, I firmly believe that they are in error, for if I did not, I would have to be a part of them and not where I am now. When two groups are at odds with each other (whether it be in belief, practice, doctrine, order, etc.), both groups may be wrong, but both cannot be right. So, when two churches believe different things, both may be in error but both cannot be the true church as the Lord set her up in this earth.

In our verse above, Solomon is describing how the man (Jesus) thinks about His bride (the church). He speaks in plain unequivocal language that she is but one. While we understand that there are different local bodies that worship in different locales, there is but one true faith and order of service as an assembled body. Even though unpopular today, I declare wholeheartedly that the folks I am privileged to be a part of (Primitive Baptists) are the church as the Lord set her up in this world. If I did not have the conviction that such is the case, I would be seeking to find the folks that I believe do have the church. Recalling to mind those that have come among us from different orders or "off the street" as it were, I am always amazed at the providence of the Almighty in the answer of their inquiring petition. 

They were seeking something, and they did not know where to find it. But, when they found the pearl of
great price in the field, they purchased the whole field for that single pearl of great price.

Since we have now laboured to prove that the true church is singular in scope (only one), let us look to see how it is that we should approach her. Our Lord's perspective of her should give us insight as to how we should view her here. He speaks of her in the highest tones and warmest feelings. Later in this book, the
bride will sing back to her Husband by saying, "I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me." (Song of Solomon 7:10) That simple statement shows that the desire of the Lord is lovingly upon His bride. He watches over her, cares for her, sustains her, protects her, and guides her. When looking at the bloody pages of church history, surely none could deny that were it not for the Lord's providential care, she would have been overcome in this world many centuries ago. Her existence today shows forth that He will not let the powers of hell completely overthrow her while this earth stands. (Isaiah 33:20)

Seeing then that the Lord cares for her in this richest fashion, may we ever seek her good and welfare. Too many times, individual's shortcomings lead men to think that the church "needs changing."  We, as individuals, need to continually address our shortcomings, cleave to that which is good, abhor that which is evil, and seek the Lord's face in our every endeavour. But, our personal progress need never extend into "church progress." The reason it cannot extend into that realm is that the Lord's church does not need fixing. Should we say that He left something out, we charge Him with shortchanging His bride all these years. Should we say that He gave her something she does not need, we charge Him with overburdening her for 2000 years. Each scenario is void of Scriptural logic in the workings of God Almighty. He does everything just right, with nothing being too much, too little, too fast, or too slow.

Finally, let us not ever feel embarrassed for our earnest contention for these things. Our Lord promised us that if they hated Him, they will hate us as well. His teachings reproved the world's desires, and if we teach the same things, our teachings will be met with the same unkindness. Still, an old saying from my departed father comes to mind, "If I am standing in a certain place for a certain thing and 100 people out in the world are standing against it, odds are that I am standing as I should. However, if I am standing in a certain place for a certain thingand 100 brethren in the church are standing against it, odds are I am in error in my thinking and ways."

While the teachings of Zion are not favourable to the world's eyes, they are favourable by those that are of
like faith and order. So should our thinking meet with the overwhelming disapproval of Zion, we need to
consider and examine ourselves to see whether we are in the faith.

Lastly, the way we look upon Zion will affect us in other ways. Should we look harshly upon her with non-tender emotion, we will show that forth in other areas of our lives: our families especially. One of the chief reasons (I believe) that the qualifications of a bishop and deacon include such specific items about his conduct with his family is that it will bring to bear how his conduct is with the church. For example, if the man of God deals unkindly with his wife, he will deal unkindly with the church. If his discipline is lacking at home, it will be lacking at church in the same vein. May we look lovingly upon Zion, and keep in frame that our Husband looks lovingly upon her as well. May we seek her good, improve our ways, cleave to her teachings, and zealously pursue the glory of God in our efforts. In doing so, we will show forth His Light in our lives, and His church will continue to bear out the love of God and show how great things He has done for us.

In Hope,

Bro Philip