The Wall That Encloses The Bride E. G. Cook

The Wall That Encloses The Bride
E. G. Cook
Former Pastor – Philadelphia Baptist Church
Birmingham , Alabama
(Now In Glory)
As is the case of all other great Bible doctrines, there is much speculation, and
a lot of false teaching concerning our Lord’s Bride. I want to say to begin with
that I do not know all about this great subject. But for a few moments may we
study this wonderful subject together.
In II Corinthians 11:2 Paul says, I am jealous over you with godly jealousy:
for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin
to Christ’. This word “chaste” comes from the Greek word HAGNOS which
means pure from every fault. So Paul is to present a bride who is pure from every
fault to Christ in the coming day. But in what sense, or in regard to what is she to
be pure from every fault? Paul tells us in no uncertain terms that he himself was
not a sinless person. He affirms that he was not yet perfect. And since he realized
so well that he was not pure from every fault in regard to sin, therefore, we must
look for this perfection elsewhere.
One of the most disgusting things we hear taught concerning the bride of Christ
is that when a person is born again he or she just automatically becomes a part of
it. Then there is another teaching somewhat similar to this one which says that all
saved people who are baptized into a Baptist Church become a part of the bride.
That is the teaching that I held to for many years. So far as I can recall, God
spared me from ever believing in this monstrous thing called the universal
church. Therefore, I have never believed in a universal bride. But for a long time I
did believe that all born again Baptists were a part of that bride.
In later years. however, I have come to believe that not only did our Lord
choose some from the masses of humanity to be saved, but that He chose some
from among those who were to be saved to be His bride. A person does not have
to be a part of the bride in order to be saved. That is plain universal nonsense. I
am beginning to believe more and more that we do not have any more to do with
our being a part of the bride than we do with our being born again. I hope to make
myself clear on this point as we go along.
I believe we have this fact set forth at least typically in the Scriptures. In Mark
3:13-14 we read, “And He goeth up into a mountain and calleth unto Him whom
He would: and they came unto Him. And He ordained twelve, that they should be
with Him, and that He might send them forth to, preach.” preach.” Here we see
Christ calling WHOM HE WOULD. Then we see those whom He called coming
to Him. Please note, it does not say that some of those whom He called came to
Him. And then we see Him ordaining twelve from among those who came. Then
in Matthew 17:1-2 we read, “And after six days Jesus taketh with Him Peter,
James and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,
and was transfigured before them: and His face did shine as the sun, and His
raiment was white as the light.” Here we see our Lord leaving the other apostles
at the foot of the mountain as He takes these three men with Him. Our Lord loves
every one of His elect people. There is not a single one of those whom He has
elected unto salvation that He did not love even before they were ever born into
this world. So he loves all of His people. But there are some of His people whom
He loves more than He does others of them. There are some of His people whose
fellowship He desires more than that of others, If that be not true, why did He
leave the other apostles at the foot of the mountain and cause them to miss that
glorious experience? I’m sure there was plenty of room on that high mountain for
every one of them had He wanted them along.
Then we find another notable incident in Mark 14:32-33 where we read, “And
they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and He saith to His
disciples, sit ye here, while I shall pray. And he taketh with Him Peter and James
and John.” Don’t tell me there was not room in that garden for the whole group.
They had all been there together many times. Judas had been there with them so
many times he did not have to hunt for our Lord when he was ready to betray
Him. He knew exactly where to lead the soldiers. But, if you notice, this time our
Lord leaves all of them at the gate of the garden except Peter, James and John.
Now this reminds us of Song of Solomon 4:12 where we read, “A garden
inclosed is my sister, my spouse.” Yes, Peter, James and John in that garden
while the others were outside speaks so clearly to me of our Lord’s bride enclosed
in a garden,
But, beloved, there was absolutely nothing in these three brethren that would
merit this special favor, no in no wise. It seems that every time Peter opened his
mouth he “stuck his big foot in it.” And our Lord knew full well before He
carried him up that mountain, or into that garden that he would deny Him three
times, and that with an oath. And James and John had, through their mother, tried
Articles By E. G. Cook – Sovereign Grace Landmark Missionary Baptist Pastor
to pull strings in order that they might have the highest place of honor in the
kingdom. No, the difference was not in Peter, James and John, but rather it was in
Him who made the difference.
Yes, our Lord says that His spouse, or His bride is a garden enclosed. And I am
persuaded that the wall that encloses this garden is more impregnable than the
wall that encloses the federal penitentiary. Someone may be saying, or at lease
wondering what this impregnable wall consists of. Beloved, I believe that wall is
made up of the great and profound truths in God’s precious Word, Let us not
think for one fleeting moment that every person in this vicinity who refuses, to
believe all the great truths this church stands for is a lost person. If we are not
very careful we will find ourselves saying that every saved person in reach of this
church should be a member of this church. But, beloved. I am fully persuaded
that there are quite a few saved people in reach of this church who have no more
business being a member of this church than Matthew, Bartholomew, Thomas
and the rest of the apostles had on that high mountain that day or in the garden of
Gethsemane that night in the long ago.
Yes, I am persuaded that our Lord not only chooses whom He wants in His
bride from among His elect people, but He says to the others. “You stay here.” He
does not say it audibly today as He did to the eight apostles at the gate of ‘the
garden of Gethsemane that night, but He says it, in essence, by His refusing to
open up some one or more of His great truths to them. Let us not think for one
moment that we came to see this truth, or that truth because we are smarter than
some of the others of our Lord’s people. No matter how smart you are, beloved,
you do not see these great truths until He opens them up to you.
There are many of our Lord’s saints who will rejoice in hearing you preach the
great truths of God’s Word until you come to Scriptures like John 1:13, “Which
are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of
God,” or John 5:21, “The Son quickeneth whom He will,” or Ephesians 1:4,
“According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world that
we should be holy and without blame before him in love,” or Acts 13:48b, “As
many as were ordained to eternal life believed,” There are some whom I believe
are the Lord’s saints who will not come back to hear you if you so much as read
those, and other related Scriptures, Then there are others who will continue to
come until you begin to contend for this great truth. So, the truth concerning
God’s sovereignty in the election, and in the salvation of the lost is the wall that
keeps many of our Lord’s saints out of the garden in which His bride is enclosed.
Then there are many of the saints who will rejoice greatly with you while you
preach God’s sovereignty and election. They will literally eat it up, and almost eat
you up. But when you begin to contend for church truths, and church authority,
they begin to wish they had eaten you up. These people will “Amen” you to death
almost while you read, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in
the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” They will tell you
that our Lord’s command to go is all the authority you need. And, to be sure, it
would have been all the authority we would need had our Lord not modified His
statement later on.
In Acts 1:4 He told His disciples to wait there in Jerusalem until they received
the promise of the Father. And, according to John 14:16, this promise of the
Father was the Holy Spirit. Then in Acts 1:8 we read, “Ye shall receive power
after (when) the Holy Spirit is come upon you.”
So the Holy Spirit came and gave this authority or power to act, directly to the
church at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, but that has never been repeated.
Those who tell you today that they received their authority directly from the Holy
Spirit are running without their having been sent. The Holy Spirit gives this
authority indirectly today through the churches. In Acts 13:2 the Holy Spirit told
the church at Antioch to separate Barnabus and Saul for the work whereunto He
had called them. Here in this precious Scripture (and it is precious because it tells
us in no uncertain terms just how we are to carry on our Lord’s work, whether it
be missions or any other kind of work) we see two great truths taught. The first is
that the Holy Spirit does the calling of the ones who are to do a special work for
the Lord, whether it be to preach the Word at home or abroad. The other is that
when the Holy Spirit has called a man, or men for a special work, the church is to
clothe them with proper authority and send them to the work whereunto the Lord
has called them. Then there are others who will rejoice with you in the preaching
of God’s sovereignty and election, and in the preaching and practicing of church
truth and church authority, but when you refuse to invite Grandpa and Uncle Joe
to partake of the Lord’s Supper with you, they have had it. Still there are those
who will help you preach and teach close communion, but when you refuse to
serve crackers and grape juice, they begin to look for a church that has a menu
more to their liking.
Then there are those who want no part with you because you refuse to accept
those wonderful people who have Campbellite baptism. They will say, „I think
we should be satisfied with their baptism if they are.” They do not stop to think
that our Lord is the one who is to be satisfied. And since He walked some sixty
miles in order to receive Baptist baptism, we should not accept anything less. So
if our Lord says to someone. “You stay here,” that is, outside the enclosed garden,
we had better leave them there, unless we are hankering for some good old honest
to goodness heart-ache and misery.
Now you may differ with me when I say that I am persuaded that there are
some of our Lord’s born-again, blood-bought saints who just simply cannot be a
part of your church if you contend for the truth of the eternal security of the
saints. Scriptures like “I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish”
or “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out,” and a lot of others on the
subject mean absolutely nothing to them. And until our Lord opens up these
Scriptures to these people, this great truth will continue to be a wall to keep them
out of His enclosed garden.
Then, if there is any one truth in the Bible that keeps more of our Lord’s people
out of His enclosed garden than any other, yea, possibly more than all the others
put together, it is that found in I Corinthians 14:34, “Let your women keep
silence in the churches.” If you contend for that truth you are not just a fanatic,
you are an enemy to the Lord’s work in the eyes of the great majority of the
Lord’s people. The arguments set forth by the Lord’s own people against this
Scripture are not only pathetic, they actually border on fantasy.
When I stop to think of the wonderful women, not only in my own church, but
in many of yours, whose zeal and love for our Lord, and for His precious church
puts so many of us men to shame, I will have to admit that if I had been the one to
write this Bible, I would have left that verse out. And I believe Paul would have
done the same thing had it been left up to him.
I have heard Baptists whom I have reason to believe were born-again Baptists
who, in their desperation concerning this Scripture, say that Paul, being an old
bachelor, just naturally had it in for the women. Saying a thing like that is not
only pathetic, it is dangerous. But the Lord’s people do dangerous things
sometimes, If you say that Paul wrote this statement because he had it in for the
women, you should not argue with the Catholic when he says that John 3:16 is
probably the reflections of the evangelist. Yes, those who deny the inspiration of
I Corinthians 14:34 should give others the privilege of denying the inspiration of
any other teaching they do not like, or agree with.
But probably the most popular argument against this truth is that found in the
glorious training course books (?] of the Southern Convention, that is, they were
having trouble in the church at Corinth and Paul told the women of that church to
keep quiet until they got the trouble settled. It seems that the one who started this
rumor overlooked a major and all important factor concerning this Scripture. If he
had studied his English grammar just a little more he would have been able to see
that the word “churches” is plural, and, therefore, it could not possibly be
speaking of just this one church. One translation I have says, “Thus I likewise
teach in all the churches of the saints, let the women keep silence in the
churches”. Another translation I have says, „As in all congregations of God’s
people, women should not address the meeting.” But when Baptists want to
disbelieve something they see in the Bible, they do not have to have too much
I once thought that when a person was born again and was indwelt by the Holy
Spirit he was capable of understanding any and all Bible doctrines. But, as of this
moment, I am convinced that though a person is saved, and though he has the
Holy Spirit abiding in Him for ever, he must still have the Scriptures opened up to
him. And I further believe that our Lord by refusing to open up some of the
Scriptures to the majority of His people, keeps them at the foot of the mountain,
or at the gate of the garden while His chosen bride goes all the way with Him to
the top of the mountain apart, or into the garden enclosed.
Then to sum it all up, I believe that in order for a person to be a part of the bride
of Christ he, or she, must be a member of a sound, New Testament, Baptist
Church. And, furthermore, that person must embrace every doctrine that is taught
in the Bible. If every one included in the bride does not embrace all the doctrines
taught in the Bible, the bride will be divided and, therefore, she cannot be a chaste
virgin, that is, pure from every fault.
Some have asked, “What about the new converts who have not been taught all
these doctrines when the rapture comes?” All I can say is that our Lord will take
good care of that situation. Who knows that some of those new converts will be a
part of the bride? He formulated His plans concerning Hit bride long ago, and
those plans will be carried out to the tenth degree. So let us say amen to it.
We know this bride cannot be pure from every fault in the sense that she is
sinlessly perfect. Therefore, the only way she can be pure from every fault would
be in regard to the teaching of the Blessed Bridegroom.

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