REGARDING LARRY DAVIS
fromSPEAKING THE TRUTH IN LOVE
Maurice M Johnson
Ft Worth, August 1959
During Dallas Park Series
1 Corinthians 13th chapter, "Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, and have not love," you know in some translations of the Bible this word 'charity' in the King James ... the original language is rendered 'love'. I understand it's the same word or may be rendered just as accurately 'love', so I'm going to read it 'love'. "Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling symbol." How's God going to hear you and me? Now did He hear us last night? How did He hear me when I was preaching? And how did He hear you when you talked, some of you, to individuals, who prefer to talk to ones? How did He hear you? Are we anxious to tell people how much we know? Are we anxious to tell them that we're straight on ... we can rightly divide the Word of Truth.
Brethren and sisters, I'm getting deeply concerned about the ease with which we can soak up Bible doctrine and know from here up far more than has ever lodged in our heart and changed our life. Some of you know the young fellow Larry Davis. You heard him speak over tape recording I understand last week. There probably isn't a single person here that made any greater intellectual progress in Bible doctrine in the last two years than Larry Davis. He has memorized whole books. He amazed (I think I can say that without being extravagant), he amazed some of his former Campbellite friends and made appointments for me to go with him to meet four different preachers privately, one of them a president of a college in Long Beach, a so-called "Christian Church of Christ College", and I went. Larry had made the contact. He went to talk to a pastor, a minister of the First Baptist Church of Pomona, nearly 4,000 members. Larry didn't realize (he's just 19 years of age), he didn't realize properly that that preacher didn't become the pastor of a congregation of 4,000 members by being a dumbbell, by not knowing how to deal with young men psychologically. And Larry, with a knowledge that puffeth up ... remember the Scripture says, "knowledge puffeth up, but love edifies" or buildeth up. When Larry impressed the three Campbellite preachers and the fourth one that I met with him was a Seven Day Church of God preacher, when Larry impressed them with the fact that he had some things they couldn't refute, but he did succeed in getting them to agree to meet a preacher, minister, and I was privileged to be the one. Larry seemed to want help, he seemed to believe that he couldn't give those ministers maybe all that God wanted them to have and maybe an older man, a brother in Christ, could help. But when he met this Baptist preacher, the Baptist preacher sensed pretty quickly what kind of a chap Larry was, that he couldn't refute the doctrine Larry was giving so instead of exposing his great ignorance and his deliberate denominational bias, the Baptist preacher began to compliment Larry. "My that's remarkable, I want you to come again." And just as we read in the book of Daniel, the antichrist is going to destroy people with kindness, with peace. He's going to destroy them with peace.
Apathy is an act. Indifference is open hostility.
Oh when I've seen young men ... my heart all but bled, I had twelve hours with this young Larry Davis, a precious young fellow. The devil doesn't want anybody... Do we want to help people, or show them how smart we are? Do we want to honor the Lord Jesus Christ, or let people know that we really can defeat the preachers in denominations? I think Larry Davis was having secret thrills at backing preachers up in the corner in some of their unbiblical practices as he was able to. It's a very dangerous thing. It may be like a kid with a machine gun, and good hot rod. Got that machine gun in the back of his hot rod and he starts out. He's powerful. No he's not. He may be a contemptible, murderous weakling, but he's in control of a powerful weapon. The book is powerful. It's the hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces.
"Well I guess you brethren try to check everything out?" those boys said the other night, seminary students. "You think that everybody ought to agree with you, don't you?" And I turned to the other, "You agree with that?" "Yeah. Don't you think that everybody ought to agree with you? We don't believe like you, why we're wrong." And I waited a little bit. And I said, "Boys, you're absolutely right. Because Iím not a contemptible hypocrite. Of course I want you to believe what I believe. I'm not a hallelujah hijacker. Certainly I want you to believe what I believe."
I said, "You believe anything is true?" "Why certainly." "You want others to believe it? What are you studying for? What are you training for?" And yet that's palmed off as sensible talk. "Why you know one thing I don't like about that fellow Bob Thompson is that he preaches as though if you don't agree with him, you're wrong." I said to them, then, I said, "Boys, I sometimes say over the radio, "Would you like me better, would you think more highly of me if I'd say, "Now ladies and gentlemen, I don't want you to think for one minute that I believe what I'm preaching. Why of course not! I'm a merchant. Believe whatever you want to, that's what I do."."
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