People speak of the "the immortality of the soul," as if it were found on every page of the Bible. As a matter of fact, it is not found anywhere except in the theology of men.
Others tell us about "conditional immortality," as if one could pick up the Bible and find it at every opening. In truth, it is not in the scriptures at all. It exists only in the teachings of men.
Nowhere is it said that God is immortal. This proves that not all who have endless life are said to have immortality. A study of the occurrences of the word in the Greek scriptures, convinces me that it is not used of any, except those who have been mortal. Christ is the One referred to in the expression, "Who alone has immortality," I Tim. 6:16. Immortality is "UN-DEATH," in Greek. In usage it refers to those who have been mortal - dying - and have reached the point where they are neither dead nor dying.
God will live endlessly, but is not said to be immortal, because He has never been mortal. The messengers will not be dying, (Luke 20:36), but they are not said to be immortal. They have never been mortal. I made a mistake, several months ago, when I said, in the Messenger, that saints of Israel will not be immortal when they are resurrected for the kingdom. I thought this, because they are to be equal to the messengers, who are not said to be immortal. I now see that these saints will be immortal, because they have once been mortal. Being immortal, they will be equal to the messengers, who have never been mortal.
In that passage which deals with the vivification of all mankind, (I Cor. 15), Paul says this mortal must put on immortality, verse 54. No one is immortal now, except Christ. Therefore, the term, "the immortality of the soul," is wrong. All who are mortal MUST become immortal - not simply may do so, under certain conditions to be performed by them. It is an absolute necessity that all mankind become immortal. It MUST be so. Therefore, the term "conditional immortality," is un-scriptural.
The word seems to be closely connected with vivification. In verse 23, of the chapter under consideration, we find that Christ alone has been vivified. In Tim. 6:16, we find that He alone has immortality. In I Cor. 15:24, we find that those who are His will be vivified in His presence. These are the second class to be vivified, and, although there are a few years between the vivification of the saints of the body of Christ, and the vivification of the resurrected saints of Israel, yet both groups shall be vivified in His presence, and really constitute one class. When they are vivified, they shall be constituted immortal. At the consummation when death is abolished, all shell become immortal.
There is such a thing as being neither mortal nor immortal. This was true of Adam before the transgression. He was not dying, hence, not mortal. He could become a dying man, hence, not immortal. This was true of Christ, before He was made Sin for us. He was not dying; but, on the other hand, he could become a dying Man. So He was neither mortal nor immortal, until the time when He was made sin for us.
BROTHER SCREWS IN ACTION
I have had occasion to spend a few days with Brother Screws - the man whom even his nearest "church folks" don't know. But it is not his fault; it is theirs. I mean, they don't know what a struggle he has every day to carry on his ministry, and, at the same time, make a living.
Listen: Sunday morning he preached in Glennville; he drove 40 miles that afternoon and preached at 3:30; he visited saints fifteen miles from that place; he drove 30 miles and preached at night; he drove home.
Monday he was at the desk in a newspaper office, where he writes news and editorials, to try to help make a living. In the afternoon he was scouting for news to send to two dailies, for which he writes, still trying to make a living.
Tuesday he was pounding typewriter keys at the newspaper office early. At nine o'clock he was hunting news for the dallies. After writing it and mailing it, he drove 18 miles and ministered to saints until four o'clock. Then he was back at the newspaper desk for two hours. Then he drove 40 miles and preached; he reached his home at 11:30, and was so nervous that he could not fall asleep until nearly three o'clock.
Wednesday was spent in the news paper office and going into every conceivable place about town, trying to find something for the dailies. Part of this he sent by mail, and part by wire. That night he drove to a meeting three miles away, not neglecting to take some saints who have no car. He was in bed by ten o'clock, but did not sleep until midnight.
Thursday he gave the invocation at a meeting. Spent an hour gathering news, and half an hour writing it. A wire from a daily paper sent him scouting again. In the afternoon he drove a few miles in search of news. Later he thought he would rest, but another wire sent him again on the trail for news. Another attempt to rest. A telephone call from a daily paper routed him out. At 11:30 he retired; but did not sleep until long after midnight.
Friday morning he was serving others before I got up. By 9:30 he was at his desk writing for The Messenger. Later he went in search of news. In the afternoon he will drive a hundred miles form there, where he will hold meetings over the week end. Monday he will return home, and the grind again.
In all this he finds time to study the scriptures, and to respond to every call made by those in need of his evangelical ministrations. How he does it I don't know. I don't see how six men could do what this one man does. In addition to the work I have mentioned, he preaches regularly at about a dozen places, and serves as secretary of the Glennville Chamber of Commerce.
All this secular work he does in an attempt to make a living. But he can't last. His body and nerves are not made of steel. He will be 55 years of age August 30. Some day he will crack up. No man can do the work he does and not become a wreck.
You saints at Grace Tabernacle and in Glennville, you don't know this man, although he has lived here for many years, and has proven himself ready to minister to you day and night. He tells me that most of you have never been in his home. Certainly you don't know how hard he has to work, to eke out a living. He receives but little for all this labor, but he has to keep it up to live.
You can rest after your midday meal; he cannot. You can retire early; he cannot; you can sleep; he cannot. You don't know the struggle he has. His faithful wife does everything possible, She hoes the garden, digs weeds, washes and irons clothes, scrubs floors, cooks, sews.
Why does Brother Screws have such a struggle? Because the saints he serves in the evangel do not do what they could do to supply his needs. Not a one of them ever asks what he needs. Saints who live hundreds of miles away give him more - much more - than the saints he serves in person, give him. He told me so.
Brethren and sisters, I am one of you, for he preaches at the ecclesia where I worship. We do not appreciate Brother Screws in Augusta, Ga. I know we think we do. We don't want to hear anybody else preach. And this is not the right spirit. But, with all our partiality toward Brother Screws' preaching, we don't appreciate him. I am ashamed of the whole lot of us. We are letting him wear himself to a frazzle, to be able to serve us. If God were not so merciful, He would never let Brother Screws preach another sermon to such unappreciative people. He would move him to some locality where he would be appreciated.
Every ecclesia that Brother Screws teaches could double their donation, and be the better for it. Brother Screws finds his work irksome. He would rather be studying the scriptures, than pursuing a news story. He would rather be meeting with the saints, than with the Chamber of Commerce. He does these irksome things, to keep the wolf from the door. Not a saint that he serves, works half as hard as he does.
Brother Screws has promised to print this in the Messenger, I hope he does.
Yours in Christ,
J. A. WEBB,
1826 Greene St.
"I CAN'T BE BOTHERED"
In plain United States language, this means, "Go on and let me alone. I don't want to be bothered."
This is becoming more and more the attitude of people in regard to visitors. Already, in many places, even saints are not wanted in the homes of their brethren and sisters. They just "can't be bothered."
Southeast Georgia has been singularly free from this spirit. But it is creeping on us, like paralysis. There are places where a preacher may go and minister to saints, and not receive an invitation to the home of more than two or three families - sometimes not that many.
Are you one of those who can't be bothered?
REMARKS - I am not sure of the propriety of publishing Brother Webb's letter. He thinks it will do good. If he has used strong language, remember, he feels strongly about the matter.
Since the last issue, I have received favors by mail, from Mrs. Margaret Zink, Louise Stein, Emil Wuinee, Mrs. E. McKenzie, C. H. Byrd, Elliott H. Thompson, Mrs. L. Crosthwait, J. N. Needham, some saints in Augusta, Ga., Mr. and Mrs. W. S. Bagley, Mrs. Jessie Wesley, Jessie Wesley, Jr., Los Angeles Ecclesia, Kansas City, Ecclesia, Elizabeth Gerdes, Rose Cottis, W. E. Snavele, Ray Weigold, W. H. Moore, John Kouski, Edina E. Parr, V. E. Olin, S. T. H. Berry, J. E. Carson, E. T. Collum, James H. Gunter, B. F. Holstein, Mrs. J. M. Benson, Mrs. W. J. Deckert, Dr. J. L. Rogers, C. B. Green, Anonymous from Swainsboro, Ga. This is my acknowledgement and thanks. Brother Webb's letter tells you why I can't do better.