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Finding and Following the Pattern

My mother came from a family with thirteen children. She had seven brothers-in-law. One of them, my uncle Clayton gave me my first model airplane, a Chance-Vought F4U Corsair, an airplane for which I still have great fondness. The model was made of plastic and had many parts that had to be cut apart and assembled together with glue. It was a beautiful radial engine WWII fighter with a distinctive gull-wing design that I still think is one of the best looking airplanes ever made during the 2nd world war.

Uncle Clayton was a master model builder. Every piece had to be authentic to the real airplane. After he completed construction of the basic model he researched the planes that had been produced. By using the photos of real planes, he reproduced squadron markings, tail numbers, and even battle damage, if any showed in the photo. If he built a model, it was as identical to the look of a real existing airplane as he could possibly make it. That’s a dedication to pattern authority.

As early as the 12th century, men were coming to see that the religious practices of the state-sanctioned churches were NOT compatible with the Bible. The Bible showed a very different kind of church with very different practices. Luther, Wesley and others made great efforts to reform the religious errors that they saw, but in the long-run they only succeeded in forming denominations with additional errors of both doctrine and practice.

They were starting in the wrong place; a different approach was needed. Across a wide variety of countries and locations a recognition was forming in the minds of many scholars that every church needed to be following the same practices and principles and doctrines that God had given through the Lord Jesus and his apostles from the very beginning. These men would not attempt to reform existing religious groups but would instead argue there must be a complete return to the N.T. practices of God’s original church.

It is not a difficult thing to find and follow the pattern for God’s church, if that is what one is trying to do. Most people are content religiously to seek or follow what they find comfortable. Paul told Timothy that he should hold carefully to the pattern of sound words that had come from the apostles (2 Tim. 1:13). Really, why would anyone want to do otherwise?

- Tim Orbison


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