Is Playing Ball Conforming to the World?

Paul says (Romans 12:2), “Be not conformed to this world,” and John says (1 John 2:15): “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

Now, I am well aware that there is a line of distinction between the world and disciples of Christ; but just where, in all cases, I do not know. For instance, there is here in Midway a baseball club, and they meet Saturday evenings to play. I do not belong to the club, though I have played a few times, and I find it excellent to develop one’s muscles. For no other purpose would I participate. It has its evil associations; but they play here in town, so there is very little ungentlemanly behavior. Now, do I cross the bounds of a Christian life when I share the sport with them? Am I “conformed to this world” in so doing?

 

We were never in a baseball club, and know but little about them, but suppose the right or the wrong would depend largely upon the sort of people that compose them and the manner in which they are carried on. If decent, well-behaved young men that are most of their time confined to indoor work, as clerks, get together occasionally and in a gentlemanly manner, so that nothing improper shall be said or done while the game is going on, we do not see that there would be any more harm in that than in the jovial running on, extravagant talking and laughing, and slang style that is usually indulged in by young people when they are together. But where wicked, profane, and obscene young men get together in such plays, we think Christians should keep out of them; and not only out of such plays with young men of that character, but Christians ought as far as possible to keep out of the society of such men at all times, except to endeavor to teach and influence them to better things. Just simply as a matter of pastime, Christians should not associate with such people. Their own morals will be corrupted by such association. Every child of God should be striving every day not only to grow better himself, but to make others better, to exert an influence over all around for good. But there is a lack among the members of the church in these matters when with the wicked, the vulgar, and the rude. Instead of exerting an influence over them for good, they are too apt to partake with them in their wild ways, rather than so act as to win others from their folly. We think whether a young man who is a member of the church should play in a baseball club, or others of a similar character, or not, should depend upon his own character as much almost as theirs. If he can go among them and improve them by his association with them, he might without impropriety go among them, and might even, do good in so doing.

But if a Christian is disposed to love wild company him­self and to fall into the habits of the low and vicious, then for his own sake he had better stay entirely away from evil influences. A Christian should be careful never to go into any societies unless he can either receive good from them or impart good to them. If no good is to result either way, then make that a reason for staying away. Nothing is more blighting to a Christian’s character than evil associ­ation, unless he has strength enough in himself, derived from God’s divine appointments, to overcome the evil. If he is weak enough for the worldly influence to overcome him, he had better always keep away from them. Before a young Christian goes into a baseball club, or any other social club, he should consider first whether he be able to resist any bad influence any association with them might bring upon him and come out unscathed. In the next place, he should consider whether he is able to exert any good in­fluence upon them that will have any tendency to elevate them and turn their attention in any wise to the religion of Christ or not. If he decides that the character of those persons is such that they are beyond the reach of good in­fluences, he should keep away from them.

Elisha G. Sewell

Asking, Seeking, Knocking

What is meant by saying: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you?” (Matt. 7:7.) Who is he talking to? Also please explain verse 11 and Acts 2:41.

It seems to me three plainer sentences cannot be found in the Bible. They mean exactly what they say, meaning always, as Christ so often declares, that we shall ask according to God’s will, seek where he has directed, and knock at his appointed door, and the blessings asked, sought, and knocked for shall be obtained. There is nothing mysterious or singular or difficult to understand that we can see. This is laid down as a general principle. Many specific directions involving this same principle, with the modifications, are presented in the Bible. “If we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us.” (I John 4:14.) “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss.” (James 4:3.) “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are.” (Luke 13:24f) These show that the asking, seeking, knocking must be done according to the will of God, else they cannot meet the promise. Verse 11 cannot be made plainer. It says God is more ready to give good things to his children than we are to ours. Acts 2:41 says those who received the words spoken by Peter were baptized as he directed, and three thousand were added to them (the disciples).

Were the Apostles Baptized?

I am requested to ask Brother E.G. Sewell to write a piece in regard to the proof of the baptism of the apostles.

Regarding John the Baptist it was said: “And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:16f) John was to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. How did he do this? Answer: “And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” (Luke 3:3.) Every man that heard and believed the preaching of John, repented, and was baptized by him, received remission of sins, and in this way was made ready, prepared for the Lord. But those that refused to be baptized of John, rejected the counsel of God against themselves. (Luke 7:30.) When Christ came and selected his apostles, they were from among his disciples, and his first disciples were assuredly of those baptized by John, and were thus made ready for him. Therefore, the apostles were baptized by John in Jordan.

To suppose that the Savior would select his apostles from among men that rejected the baptism of John, when John’s mission was to make ready a people prepared for the Lord, is preposterous, especially so when those that rejected John’s baptism rejected the counsel of God. And would Jesus have selected his apostles from those that rejected his Father? Impossible, because Christ says of the apostles in his prayer to his Father: “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.” (John 17:12)

God gave the apostles to Christ; and can anyone believe that God – after sending John the Baptist before Christ to prepare his way, to make his paths straight, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord – would then give him the apostles from among those that refused John’s baptism, which means they had refused God himself? The man that could believe that is not to be reasoned with. Moreover, God required Christ, his own Son, to be baptized of John before he had showed himself to Israel and before he owned him as his Son in the presence of the people; and Christ recognized the authority and will of the Father in the matter of baptism when he said to John: “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.”

Thus it was the will of God that Christ should be baptized. Now, will anyone say that God, after requiring Jesus to be baptized, having also sent John before him to make ready a people for him, would then select the apostles out of a lot of men that had already rejected him in refusing John’s baptism and give them to his Son as rebels against himself, when he did not own his own Son in the presence of the people till he was baptized? A man that can believe this could very easily believe any error that has ever been taught by man, even down to the effusions of Robert Ingersoll. But surely these reasons are sufficient to convince anyone that believes the Bible that the apostles were baptized by John.

Elisha G. Sewell

Why was Able accepted and not Cain?

Please explain why Abel’s offering was accepted and Cain’s rejected.

In general terms, it was because Abel’s offering pleased the Lord and Cain’s did not. Abel’s pleased him because it was according to his will and Cain’s was not. Did they know this will that is, had God given commandment concerning these offerings? It is nowhere said he had; yet it is hardly reasonable that God placed a penalty on a course without giving man warning of the evil he would incur. We think it not probable that man would have brought an offering without a command from God. If he commanded the offering, he doubtless gave commands as to the kind of offering that would please him. The reason the lamb was pleasing to God was because without the shedding of blood there was no remission.