On February 8, 2021, Herschel Bass, beloved gospel preacher, died at the age of 92 years and 5 months. (Luke 16:22; Luke 23:43). Much more could be said of Herschel than space permits. If God were writing the book of Hebrews today, He might add Herschel and Harriet’s names to the list we know as Hebrews 11, named by many as the faith chapter of the Bible. God might say, “By faith Herschel and Harriet Bass upon reading 2 Timothy 2:2, believed my word, and taught it to others to the saving of many souls”.
Herschel had a library which excelled most preachers, and he knew what was in the books. His knowledge was superior to most. However, one would never know it because he did not flaunt it. He was a humble and gentle man. If Herschel had a fault, and he did (Romans 3:10, 23), it was in his humility. He always remained in the background. This writer was blessed to be with brother Bass frequently in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Herschel could have rubbed shoulders with the most knowledgeable in the brotherhood, but his humility drove him to be with others. Herschel made others feel important. He could have been out front, but he chose to push others forward, remaining quietly in the shadows. He was embarrassed when he was praised. Like Franklin Camp said at the Freed-Hardeman Lectureship, when a dinner was given in his honor, and when many speakers praised him, “Whatever glory has been conferred upon me, I take it all off and lay it at the foot of the cross”. That was the faithful gospel preacher those who truly knew Herschel saw. In fact, could Herschel speak today, he would say, James, thank you, but you are too kind.
On two occasions while at Piedmont, Alabama, preachers conducting gospel meetings got sick. Brother Bass called this writer and asked him if he would fill in. This was done one night for brother Chapman, and three nights for brother Harris. Brother Bass could have done a much better job, but his humility and encouragement led him to do otherwise. The church then invited the writer to conduct a gospel meeting, without doubt at Herschel’s suggestion. The writer was invited to preach in a meeting where David preaches, most likely because of Herschel.
, but by no means least, Herschel and Harriet trained Trish, Mark, and David well. The boys (men) are faithful gospel preachers. Trish is the image of her mother in so many ways. These parents were so proud of them, and rightly so.
Prayer: God, give us more men and women like Herschel and Harriet Bass.
I asked God to take away all my trials and God said no.
“The trials you face on Earth will make you stronger and will help you learn more about the gifts that I have given you. Although I will not take away your trials, I promise that I will always be with you to help you to overcome your trials if you ask me”.
I asked God for wealth and God said no.
“The gold and silver that you gain here do not compare to the salvation that you can earn through my Son”.
I asked God to teach me about Him and God said no.
“I have sent you prophets, the Holy Ghost, and even My Son to teach you. Go and learn about Me from them”.
I asked God to heal my only child and God said no.
“I know your pain for I sacrificed My Son for you, but even as I had a plan for My Son, so have I for yours”.
I asked God if He loved me and God said yes.
“That is why I let My Son die for you, that is why I have been sending prophets to you, and that is why I will never leave you”.
I asked God to help me love others as much as He loves me and God said...
“Ah, you’ve finally got the right idea”
We live in a world that is highly secular. It wants nothing to do with things that are religious. When Christianity speaks out in this godless society, there are many who are quick to speak out against our message. They spew hateful lies and blasphemies seeking to intimidate us, hoping we will cease telling individuals about the good news of salvation in Christ.
In this society, it is very easy for Christians to doubt the things they believe. Is the church to which we belong really the church of the Bible? Is baptism really essential for salvation? Is the manner in which we worship on the Lord’s day really the worship God desires? Is Jesus really God incarnate who died on the cross of Calvary to save us from our sins?
Doubt is never a good thing. Doubt creates fear. Doubt leads to lack of faithful service. Doubt causes one’s prayer life to cease. Doubt can eventually lead to the destruction of one’s soul. So how do we reassure ourselves that we believe correctly? The answer lies in the title of this article: “We must read and trust.”
The Bible is the only book that comes from God (2 Tim. 3:16-17). It is the revelation of His mind to all mankind (I Cor. 2:9-13). It is truth through and through (John 17:17). God cannot lie (Tit. 1:2); therefore, when we read what is found therein, we can trust it with all of our being. Man can say what he will against it. God is still right.
When it comes to the church, we can read what the Bible says about it and trust it. Jesus said to Peter: “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). Jesus promised to build His church. Jesus promised to build only one church. Jesus promised that the most powerful attacks against the church could prevail against it. We read these words of our Lord and we trust them. Jesus spoke the truth. He is right regardless of what any man has to say.
In Ephesians 4:4-6, Paul lists the seven ones. He opens his list with this statement: “There is one body…” In the first chapter of Ephesians, he tells us what the body is. “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Eph. 1:22-23). Paul clearly reveals that the church is the body of Christ. If the church is the body, and there is only one body, then there is only one church. That is not something to be scoffed at. These are the words of an inspired apostle. His words are truth. We read them and trust them. We hold on to them regardless of the ridicule that we might receive from others.
In matters of salvation Jesus has spoken to us. He has told us that belief in Him as the Son of God is essential (John 8:24). He has revealed that repentance is essential to salvation (Luke 13:3, 5). Too, He stressed the need of confessing Him before men (Matt. 10:32-33). This same Jesus taught that baptism is part of the salvation process. “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15-16). We read these words and trust them. Man may reject the necessity of baptism. However, the believer knows that those who reject immersion for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16) do so to their own peril. What Jesus tells us to do to be saved involves absolute truth. We read His words and trust them.
With regard to our worship of God, we take the same “read and trust” approach. The first century church engaged in preaching the Word during their gatherings on the Lord’s Day (Acts 20:7). They partook of the Lord Supper on the first day of the week as well (Acts 20:7). They took up a collection on the first day of the week (I Cor. 16:1-2). In addition, they prayed (Acts 2:42). Too, they sang songs of praise unto God (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). Some will ridicule our determination to partake of the Lord’s Supper every Lord’s Day. Some will laugh at us for not using instruments of music in our worship services. Let them ridicule us and let them laugh at us. We have read the Scriptures and trust them. The first century church partook of the Lord’ Supper on the first day of the week. Every week has a first day. Therefore, we will continue to trust the Word. Too, there is no authorization for instrumental music in the New Testament. We read that we are to sing and make melody in our hearts to the Lord. What we have read, we will trust. Remember, the Bible is always right.
We could continue to this study for many more pages. Man has always rejected God’s Word. But, man’s rejection does not mean that God’s Word is not right. God’s Word is right and will always be right. Those who have read it and trusted it in the past have never been ashamed or disappointed. Paul commended the Thessalonians for their reception of the truth. He wrote to them, saying: “”For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh in you that believe” (I Thess. 2:13). Dear readers, if we will receive the word of God, and, if we will truly believe in it, it will effectually, powerfully work in our lives as well. In the end, we will not be disappointed that we read it and trusted in it rather than allowing the foolishness of man to cause us to doubt it.