September 19th, 2014 | By admin
by Paul Holland
Leroy Brownlow (1914-2002) did not grow up in the churches of Christ. He lived in Texas where his mother was a Presbyterian and his father taught Bible class at the Methodist church. His grandfather had been a Baptist preacher for 65 years. But during one summer, Leroy’s parents went to a gospel meeting at a local church of Christ. Each evening, they would go home and study their Bibles in light of what the preacher had taught.
Eventually, they concluded that Christianity, as it was taught in the New Testament, was not denominational. Leroy obeyed Christ at 17 and became a Christian. He attended Abilene Christian College. His first sermon at his “home” congregation was from Romans 1:16 – “I am Ready to Preach the Gospel.”
In the years 1941-1942, Leroy wrote a book titled Why I am a Member of the church of Christ. That book has influenced many, many people to leave their denominational churches and become a member of the church of Jesus Christ. They did this, based not on a made-up “sinner’s prayer” or the vote of other people, but rather based on his/her obedience to the Gospel.
That book has also grounded many people, including many teenagers, in fundamental truths of Christianity. So popular a tool has it been that some friends of mine and I, while in college, used to joke that it was our “creed” book. Brother Brownlow would probably not think that was funny as he wrote a chapter in the book, “[I am a member of the church of Christ] Because It has the Bible as its Only Creed, Confession of Faith or Church Manual.”
Brother Brownlow has written many books which are worthy to be in any Christian’s library. His son, Paul, gave our mission team permission to translate brother Brownlow’s books into Romanian. We started with Making the Most of Life from A to Z. There are others I hope we can translate one day.
Brother Jack Lewis, also from Texas, has recently written a book that would be a fine compliment to brother Brownlow’s book. Lewis’s book is titled simply Basic Beliefs, published by 21st Century Christian. This book begins with “Belief in God” and ends with “Heaven,” in 34 chapters.
Lewis covers topics such as revelation and biblical interpretation, grace, the plan of salvation, biblical authority, acts of worship, as well as some major doctrinal errors of the sects. As with all of Lewis’s writings, this book is characterized by liberal use and quotations of God’s word. There are also useful citations of early Christian writers, hymns, and some anecdotes. The material could be used in a Bible class, although there are not discussion questions at the end of each chapter as one would expect from a Bible class book.
The book is good for non-Christians as it presents basic Bible doctrine in a simple, straight-forward manner. It is good for Christians who need to be reminded of such doctrines. In a time when so many preachers are guided by “felt-needs” homiletic practices, the book is a good reminder that we do need to preach lessons on facts thatneed to be known. Young preachers would make wise use of the book to guide their own sermon planning.
The apostle Peter wrote, in 2 Peter 3:1, “This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder…” That’s why Lewis wrote his book. It would be worth your money and your time to read it (and reread Brownlow’s book).