You sneer because our ecclesias worship in a humble
manner, and have nothing about them to give one a high social
standing. You speak of us as "a little church."
You believe the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ is to the
"church" of the present. If it is, are you not
inconsistent in sneering at what you call "the little church,"
in view of the words of Christ in Luke 12:32, "Fear not, little
flock, seeing that your Father delights to give you the
kingdom?" If the church of today is to have the kingdom, will
the kingdom not be given to the very ones at whom you sneer?
I plead guilty, when you accuse me of worshiping in a
manner that will not give me a high social standing. I wonder if
you have ever read, in Rom. 12:16, where we are besought to be not
disposed to that which is high, but to be led away with the
humble. The word "humble," is the word for
"low." The man of low estate is the humble man.
Does this scripture register with you? Does it mean anything to
you? Or will you sneer at it and go your way, seeking the
Humility is a quality of heart, and affects the
disposition. It manifests itself in acts. It is often found
among the poor, although poverty alone does not constitute
humility. On the other hand, a person who is wealthy may, be
humble in disposition. If so, it will be manifested in his
Since you are enlisted in making the church popular
and in seeking to make Christianity a matter of high society, I wonder
if you will consider with me, some things the Bible says about
humility. It will help us to understand the meaning of the term,
if we consider Christ. He says, in Matt. 11:29, "I am
meek and jumble in heart." Suppose He were here now.
Would He feel at ease in your congregation? Would He approve of
the efforts of your church, to meet the demands of high society? I
think you must know that there are many thousands of so-called
Christians who would feel ashamed to have the meek and humble Christ
among them. When you are striving to promote high society in your
worship, you are slapping the humble Christ in the face.
You know my contention that Paul is the apostle for
us, and that the ministry of Jesus Christ, (while on earth), as well as
the writings of Peter, James, John and Jude, and the Hebrew epistle, are
for the Circumcision. But I will not quibble over that, now.
I will admit, for the sake of the argument I am making, that all the
scripture is to us. Then I will proceed to show you what they say
about being humble. Follow me, please, and decide whether or not
these passages mean anything to you.
Not only is Christ meek and humble in heart, Matt.
11:29. But Paul was humble, and showed it in his appearance, II
Cor. 10:1. Not only was his heart humble but so were his financial
circumstances. He couldn't dress to please high society.
Answer this question honestly: Would the poor, humble Paul feel at home
among the gaudily dressed people who frequent the proud churches?
Suppose he were your preacher. Would you feel ashamed of
him? James tells the humble brother to be glorying, 1:9.
Paul tells you to be led away with the humble, Rom. 12:16. This
does not mean to simply tolerate the humble. In twentieth century
Southern dialect, it means that we should be "carried away"
with them. In other words, that it should be one of our greatest
delights to be associated with those who are humble. Do you
delight in their association, or do you consider it a bore?
James, 4:6, says God is giving grace to the humble,
and Peter tells the saints to wear the servile apron of humility, I Pet.
5:5. Mary, the mother of our Lord, said in her song, Luke 1:52,
that God exalts the humble and Paul says in II Cor. 7:6, that God is
consoling the humble. Christ humbles Himself, Phil. 2:8, and Paul
tells us to let this same disposition be in us. Luke 14:11 says
that those who humble themselves shall be exhaled. This exaltation
will not come in this eon, for here, even our bodies are bodies of
humiliation, Phil 3:21. There is no difference on this respect,
whether one is rich or poor; whether one is in high society or in humble
You imagine you are in the kingdom mentioned by
Christ in His earthly ministry. If you are, you are not as great
as you think yourself to be, for Christ says, Matt. 18:4, that, in order
to be great in the kingdom of heaven, one must humble himself, and in
23:12 He says the servant is the greater. In other words, the
humble is greater than the proud. James, 4:10, says, "be
humbled then, before the Lord," and Peter says, I Pet. 5:6,
"Be humbled, then under the mighty hand of God."
Paul slaved for the Lord with all humility, Acts
20:19, and he entreats us to walk worthily of the calling with which we
were called, with all humility and meekness, with patience bearing with
one another in love, Eph. 4:2. My brother, if you have been
called, you absolutely can not walk worthily of your calling, if you are
proud and arrogant. If you disdain the humble, you are far from
walking in accord with the calling.
Suppose the humble, meek, lowly Paul should ask
permission to preach in your church. Wouldn't you feel like he
needed some brushing up first? Would not your proud congregation
feel outraged to have such a man in the pulpit? We are besought to
have a humble disposition, deeming one another superior to ourselves,
I have said that poverty does not insure
humility. There are some poor people who are arrogant. If
they move to a city they will join the most fashionable church, and they
burden themselves with the effort to "keep up with the
Joneses," as the comic artist say. On the other hand,
humility is sometimes found among the well-to-do. There are people
of wealth, whose hearts are humble, and who dislike to be mixed up with
the effort to use religion as a stepping stone to high society.
They find their highest pleasure among the humble, where the truth is
taught and loved.
Paul speaks of two ideal conditions for the evangel,
when he said, "A door has been opened for me, great and operative,
and many are opposing," I Cor. 16:9. He did not say,
"BUT many are opposing," as if the opposition nullified the
fact of the open door. No; he used the word AND. In other
words, he needed two things - an open door and much opposition.
The worst thing that could happen to our work, would be
popularity. When a preacher becomes popular, he has the sweetest
morsel human pride ever tasted. It is so sweet to him that he will
no more let it go, than will a starving child deliberately throw away a
stick of candy. Popularity would soon make our work and worship
rotten. May God save us from it!
I deeply sympathize with the scores of men I know,
who love the truth, and would find great pleasure in simple worship, but
who are held in the high society churches by their wives. They are
bossed by their wives, who must keep up appearances. They are
In our worship we do not put a premium on
loveliness. We teach that everyone, even the poor, should be clean
and neat in appearance. But we put no stress on fine dress.
A man in overalls is just as precious in our sight as is the one who is
able to wear tailor-made clothes. The woman, in calico is not one
whit beneath the one dressed in silk.
Our preachers are not fanatics. They use good
language and do not go into a tantrum in their sermons. And we
teach that everyone should live above reproach, as far as
possible. Yet we are kind to the erring, and want to help
While God wills all mankind to be saved, and will
certainly carryout His will, yet He has not designed that all shall be
saved now. Some times one among us become discouraged and say
"The people are not ready for the truth." How true this
is! As a whole, they will never be ready for the truth, until that
day when God saves them all, and brings them into a realization of the
truth, I Tim. 3:3-6.
Why do we wish that all might see the truth
now? Is it a desire for their blessings, or is it because we want
to escape persecution? I try to get the people to ponder this
One of the most gracious gifts of God, is the
opportunity to suffer for the sake of Christ. "To you it is
graciously granted for Christ's sake, not only to be believing on Him,
but to be suffering for His sake also," Phil. 1:29. The
pastor who is popular, and receives a handsome salary, and has no
struggle in any respect, who even has a religion that has the
approbation of the world, certainly cannot suffer for the sake of
Christ. Members who go along with such a religion do not suffer
for His sake. But preachers who are unpopular because of the truth - those
who, many times, do not know where the next dollar is coming from - those
who are trying to defend the truth in the midst of a hostile religious
world - certainly know what it is to suffer for Christ. And those
who worship in this way, in humble surroundings, know what suffering for
Christ means. The wives of these unpopular preachers suffer
most. They stay at home and care for matters and try to help made
a living, while giving up their husbands to go and teach the truth of
God. Some day, in front of the dais of Christ, I suspect these
very women are going to find, to their astonishment, that there are
large wages awaiting them.
My brother, when will you ever learn that a teaching
that is popular with the world that does not love Christ, cannot be the
truth of Christ?
High society is rotten. If it approves your
teaching, Christ does not! If it honors your church, your church
is not the pillar and base of the truth. If it does not persecute
you, you are not living devoutly in Christ Jesus.
Pride is classed with the sins that are recognized as
being the vilest, Mark 7:22; Rom. 1:30; II Tim. 3:2; God is resisting
the proud Jas. 4:6; I Pet. 5:6; and scatters the proud, Luke 1:51.
In the face of this, you make yourself believe that pride properly
belongs to the worship of God.
BROTHER KNOCH'S WRITINGS
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