Jump Starts Daily

Jump Start #3559

Jump Start # 3559

Acts 17:2 “And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures.”

 He carried a famous name and he was actually related to his name sake, Benjamin Franklin. But this Benjamin stayed out of politics and became one of the leading voices in the Restoration Movement, especially in Indiana. On eclipse day, last week, I happened to be in the area where he was buried. I have always wanted to make my to his grave. And, it was so fitting for the man who it honored. His grave stone looked like a pulpit with an open Bible on top. The years have weathered the inscription on his stone and it’s hard to make it out, but there is was, “Elder Benjamin Franklin.”

  He died in 1878 at the age of 66. What a powerhouse he was. Some called him an old fogie. He was so conservative that he was labeled “ultra conservative.” The periodical he started, American Christian Review, beginning in 1856, quickly became the most read publication by brethren. After the American Civil War, another civil war took place among the disciples. In the north, a progressive movement advocating a brotherhood missionary society and instrumental music in worship was gaining momentum. His paper, the Review, as it was commonly called, was seen as the last hope of saving the Restoration. He often title articles, “Is it right?” or, “Is it in the Bible?” At first, Franklin supported the missionary society. He even engaged in a debate defending them. But in time, through a careful study of the Bible, he realized that the church was capable of doing all that God expected it to do. Any organization larger than a local congregation was not in the plans of God.

  Franklin was a common man. His vocabulary was that of the man of the frontier. Not highly educated, he was often dismissed by intellectuals within the faith. He traveled extensively preaching the Gospel. It is thought that he baptized more than 10,000 souls and established many congregations, especially in Indiana.

  Preacher Franklin was a giant that stood for the truth of God’s word. There are many resources about his life and the early volumes of his Review have recently been reprinted. He pushed against the coming tide of change that was harming many churches.

  Our verse today, shows what Paul did for three weeks in Thessalonica.

· He went to them. He didn’t wait for them to come to him.

· He reasoned with them. He didn’t demand. He didn’t say it is so because I say it is so. He appealed to intellect, reason, proof and evidence.

· He reasoned with them from the Scriptures. That was his source material. That was the proof. He didn’t appeal to feelings. He didn’t appeal to culture. He didn’t appeal to what everyone else was doing. Scriptures. What does the Bible say?

  This is the same method that works today. 

  There are some important reflections about his life:

  First, there are always those who are not satisfied with God’s way of doing things. They invite change. They want to do things that are not found in the Bible. It was that way with the golden calf. It was that way with Solomon’s idols. It was that way with the missionary society. And, it’s that way today. Some like to dismiss the ancient ways as traditionalism and they want no part in that. Those who are bent that way are constantly feeding on a diet of false teachers, advocates of ignoring Biblical authority and dismiss the past as absolute failures. Moses fought that kind of change. The prophets fought that kind of change. Franklin fought that kind of change. We, today, are hearing similar voices that would rather match with the devil than walk with the Lord,

  Second, it is impressive to see that Franklin changed his views. What he once thought was right, wasn’t. He did not let pride, pressure or peers keep him for acknowledging what he knew the Bible taught. The “societies,” as they were referred to back then, were not way God chose to do things. Man must learn that we cannot improve upon God. What God states is always the best. It always works. It is sufficient to do just what the Lord wanted done.

  Some will never change. To change, one admits that what they thought was right, wasn’t. That’s hard for some to do. It’s humbling. But better right with God, than to hold on to your dignity and image and stand in the wrong line.

  Third, once he changed, Franklin became very vocal about whose side he was on. He blistered the progressives for their leaving the Bible only platform to embrace the societies. He didn’t hide in the shadows once he changed. Franklin was similar to the apostle Paul, who became so vocal and useful for the kingdom once he changed.

  Historically, one could say that Franklin didn’t stop the coming changes that the progressives wanted. In the north, in Indiana, more congregations accepted the missionary society and the instrument than stood against it. But does that mean all was in vain? It was a wasted effort? Look at the mission of Christ. He said that the way to destruction is broad and crowded and only few are on the strait and narrow. So, do we conclude that the mission of Christ failed? Do we say what the Lord did was in vain? It was wasted effort? Absolutely not.

  The evening that I stood at Franklin’s grave, I spoke to a gathering of men about preparing to be an elder. Men from several congregations in that area came for that. It was a good study and beneficial and a tribute to the fact that some desire to stand with the Lord and believe in His ways.

  The carved image of an open Bible on a pulpit marking the grave of one who dedicated his life to that is so fitting. I’m glad I finally made my way there.