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When I Call to Remembrance

By Jim Bill McInteer

religion, articles, christianity

What I heard as a child does not make it right - but on reflection, it does grant me a sense of peace and a solace of soul.

What I was taught when I attended David Lipscomb College and later Harding College does not make it law and gospel, but as I reflect on those messages during the 30s and 40s, it gives me reason for thanksgiving for what those schools did for me. As you in turn recall the teachings that came to you when you were far younger than you now are, and if you were attending regularly those services of the church or classes in one of our schools, what do you recall?

Never did I hear anyone question the legitimacy of the divinity of Jesus Christ; the high honor of his virgin birth; the adoration that was due our God for sending him. The proof he offered of his Messiahship; without question, the validity of his miracles, the genuineness of every act of the Christ, and the complete triumph that was his over everything Satan could bring to him was gloriously proclaimed. That in turn gave a sense of gratitude to a young heart in knowing that he is worshiping the all­powerful God whose Son partook of the same characteristics.

I heard the story of baptism and its consequent necessity to every believer. I heard all those beautiful explanations of baptism being a burial - and the only thing that would meet the requirement of Scriptures was to see that baptism was immersion. None doubted its necessity. The promise of sin's remission and the gift of the Holy Spirit was consolingly heralded.

I was further taught where baptism placed me - namely, in Christ. I heard the moving story of the vicarious suffering of Jesus; that the Lamb of God came to this earth for the specific purpose of saving mankind from his sins. I reveled in the glorious good news that he "became sin" for me, the "one who knew no sin," that I might be made "the righteousness of God" in him. I sang the story of his amazing grace, was taught that "there was grace and power in the trying hour by the touch of his hand on mine." I was told over and over I was set free from the penalty of sin by the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ whose perfect obedience to his Father enabled God to be just and the justifier of those that believed in him. I was told the continuation of this faith was essential to my salvation. Heaven had one door of entrance for this sinner; namely, Jesus.

We sang the song of praise to the Almighty, and the only music that we knew to offer was that which was a Capella. I was told specifically that there were two kinds of music - one was a mechanical and one was vocal. I was reminded that had the Lord been generic and just said "make music," I could have used either or both - but that he in turn was specific. He said "sing" - thus that was the only kind that I was to offer. With the assurance of acceptability was the use of a Capella music. It was a thrill to me to learn that I was worshiping God with instruments not made with hands - but rather the human voice, and contrastingly whatever instrument it was, be it violin or any other conception of man, it could never equal the glory and the beauty of the human voice; nor did it have a place in the worship hour.

As a child in a country church house, I saw the table of the Lord handsomely prepared. A starched white linen cloth covered that table, on it was unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine. As a child, I saw there were two cups that sat beside a handsome silver pitcher (that had a top on it that resembled a little steeple). Another heavily starched cloth covered those emblems and godly men dressed in the best they had, whether it matched or not, tenderly removed those cloths, even with a sense of reverence attached, led the prayers, and served the waiting audience. A quietness and a stillness fell over that meeting house as godly folk engaged in a sweet hour of meditation uninterrupted by anyone else's voice in song or speech as they had the quiet time for remembrance. This was done every and only on the Lord's day.

I was further taught that I would do well to marry in the faith, and that a Christian college would be an excellent place to find someone of that like kindred faith. Those schools respected the will of the Lord, they taught that the Bible was inspired from Genesis to Revelation, and they pounded in my heart that this was our authority for things religious. I married a young lady of like kindred faith and in our home she allowed no book to be put on the top of the Bible, literally or figuratively, for it was the book of books and above any other messages that man could receive.

I was taught that the Devil was a person, a being, a personality, an actuality, and that his message was to keep me from going to Heaven. I was also taught he could be defeated and would be, if loyalty to the Lord was exercised. I heard about Heaven and I heard about Hell - I knew the fear of disobedience and the consequence of being rejected, I knew the righteousness of obedience and what it meant to be a child of the King.

These are just some not all of the things I remember - I remember these with profound gratitude, and I don't know any way we could improve on those messages today. Let's hear the same over and over, God willing. As we were taught to love one another, to forgive one another, and to find delight in each other's presence, I'd like succeeding generations to hear these same things and in their reflection in old age, recall with profound thanksgiving those who blessed them with their teachings, pointed them to an ever enlarging understanding of God's great truths, and blessed them with the sweet fellowship in the church of our Lord. May these days come again, and again, and again by the grace and goodness of God in compliance with His holy truth, as we share kindred remembrances.

Published February 1997