Overcast skies marked the beginning of the Tuesday session of the Freed-Hardeman Lectureship in Henderson, Tennessee. Although weather predictions have been favorable it was easy to glance at the gray skies and wonder if snow and ice would soon come. They did not. The clouds broke and a beautiful day reigned.
Winford Claiborne or the International Gospel Hour and former director of the lectures led off at 7:30. Claiborne has suffered muscular problems in recent years and is now confined to a wheelchair. However, he speaks with as much power as he did 25 years ago when I sat in his classes here. His topic was Fear the Lord from Joshua 4:19-24. As one might expect, Claiborne used the topic to drive home important, present day truths. He sounded alarms at the many people who do not fear the Lord any longer and live without concern for the Lord or His judgement.
At 8:30, Alan Highers spoke of Israelite Judge Deborah and demonstrated her great power as a leader of God’s people. Although never serving as a Priest in the Tabernacle, she was a Judge, a prophetess and was considered a mother of the Israelites.
Eric Lyons of Apologetics Press addressed an oft ask question: How could a truly righteous and good God ordered the destruction of an entire nation. His examples included God’s commands to destroy the Canaanite nations utterly. Lyons observed that the destruction of the people was based only upon their horrible disobedience before God. Their destruction at the hands of the Israelites was a divine judgement against them which had been coming for many years.
Ralph Gilmore moderated a pleasant Open Forum and addressed a variety of topics including ways to hold to our young people as they become adults, elders and problems arising from within elderships and the topic of homosexuality. Gilmore sought to encourage the use of the phrase “those who practice homosexuality” rather than simply calling people a “homosexual.” He notes that many are struggling with this issue and need all the love, encouragement and prayer the church can offer. There was broad general agreement with his thinking. Of course, the Open Forum is not a governing council or body of the churches of Christ, we have no such. Instead it is a way of promoting critical thinking for individual Christians.
The day concluded with a rousing sermon from Memphis, Tennessee preacher John DeBerry. DeBerry is also a Tennessee State legislator and a member of the Freed-Hardeman Board of Trustees. His topic, “Everyone Did what was Right in his Own Eyes” was taken from Judges 21:25. DeBerry observed the similarity with events today in our nation and wondered how long God would continue to bless us. His preaching was powerful and the truth was well proclaimed.