THE SEED PRINCIPLE
By W. Curtis Porter
(Porter-Myers Debate (pp. 124-127)
In the creation of the world God gave the immutable law of reproduction when he decreed that everything should bring forth after its kind. The germ of life by which a plant or a living thing is propagated was placed in the seed. The complete destruction of a plant would require the destruction of the seed by which it is reproduced.
For example, we might take the kingdom of wheat. What would be necessary in order to accomplish the destruction of the wheat kingdom? A group of men might destroy every stalk of wheat upon the face of the earth without destroying the kingdom of wheat. They would also have to destroy every life-possessing grain of wheat in existence. If somewhere they should leave the seed of the wheat, containing the germ of life, they would not completely destroy the wheat kingdom. This grain of wheat could be planted in the soil and the wheat kingdom could be reproduced — it would produce the same kind of plant which that type of seed had always produced. In view of the law of reproduction — that every seed should bring forth after its kind — this seed would not produce barley, rye or oats but would produce only the wheat plant. It matters not who might plant the seed, or where, the product of the seed would still be wheat. Wheat, therefore, as the circling ages pass, is reproduced by its seed.
Or the kingdom of oaks might be used as an illustration. To destroy the oak kingdom it would be necessary to destroy all life-possessing acorns, as well as all oak trees. Every oak tree upon the earth might be cut down and burned without destroying the oak kingdom. If somewhere there is left the seed of the oak — the acorn — oak trees can be reproduced. The acorn can be planted in the soil, and the immutable law of reproduction will bring forth another oak tree. It will not produce the sycamore, the maple or the poplar. It will produce the same kind of oak tree which that type of seed has always produced — the oak, nothing more and nothing less. And it matters not who or what plants the seed, it always produces the oak. If a woodpecker should pick up the acorn, fly across the country and drop it into a plowed field, where it becomes covered, and it there germinates and begins to grow, what will it produce? A woodpecker? No! Not that. Woodpeckers might be instrumental in planting acorns, but planted acorns never produce woodpeckers. Since a seed brings forth after its kind, the only thing it can produce is the oak. The oak kingdom, therefore, is reproduced by its seed.
These principles are also true concerning the church or kingdom of the Lord. Prophesying of this kingdom, the prophet Daniel declared that it “shall never be destroyed,” but “it shall stand forever” (Dan. 2:44). Although there was a falling away, an apostasy, there was not a complete destruction. If every citizen of the kingdom, if every member of the church, upon the earth were put to death, the kingdom or church would not be destroyed. In order to destroy any kingdom, the seed by which it is reproduced must be destroyed. But what is the seed of the kingdom? In the parable of the sower, which represented the kingdom of the Lord, Jesus plainly said, “The seed is the word of God” (Lk. 8:11). This seed must be destroyed before the church or kingdom is destroyed. But men have never been able to destroy the word of God. They have tried it through the ages but have failed. It is stated by the apostle Peter that “the word of the Lord endureth forever” (1 Pet. 1:25). Men, therefore, will never be able to destroy the word of God — the seed of the kingdom.
If every Christian — every member of the body of Christ — upon the earth were put to death, other Christians would be produced by simply planting the seed. When the word of God, the seed of the kingdom, was planted in the hearts of men in the days of the apostles, it produced Christians — members of the church of the Lord. When it is planted in the hearts of men today, it will produce the same thing, for every seed bears after its own kind. The unadulterated word of God, the seed of the kingdom, will not produce denominations — Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal or any other kind. It did not produce such, when planted in the hearts of men, in the days of the apostles, and it will not produce such now. It is the same seed now that it was then; and it will produce the same thing.
Furthermore, it matters not who plants it, nothing but Christians will ever be produced. In order to produce something else, some other kind of seed must be mixed with it. If, therefore, in any century since the first, no Christians were found upon the earth, Christians could be reproduced by planting the unadulterated word of God. If Barton Stone should plant that seed in the hearts of men in the century in which he lived, what would be produced? Stoneites? Not Stoneites but Christians. When Alexander Campbell planted that seed in the hearts of men, did it make Campbellites? Not any more than an acorn, dropped by a woodpecker, would produce woodpeckers. The unadulterated word of God — the word of God as the only rule — when planted by Campbell, Stone, Curtis Porter or anybody else will produce nothing but Christians, members of the church of the Lord. The seed does not produce according to the man who plants it but according to the nature of the seed that is planted. Nothing but the church or kingdom of the Lord can be reproduced by preaching the simple gospel of Christ. When a man, therefore, preaches that, it will not result in the establishment of a sect or a denomination — it will result in the reproduction of New Testament congregations. When such men as Stone, Campbell, Scott and others called men back from human opinions to stand upon the word of God alone as their standard in religion, they did not build a denomination. Such a stand faithfully followed could produce nothing but churches of the Lord. They who followed that plan in centuries past constituted the church of the Lord, and we who follow that plan now constitute the same thing. They who subscribe to a gospel perverted by human opinions are members of denominations, but we who obey the simple gospel as taught by the apostles are members of the New Testament church — the exclusive church of the Lord Jesus Christ. The seed of the kingdom produces now what it always produced — Christians, without any denominational aspect. If it ever produced anything else, let my opponent tell us what it was.
By Heath Rogers
The gospel has the power to beget or to regenerate spiritual life (Jas. 1:18). In the Parable of the Sower (Lk. 8:5-8, 11-15) the word of God is likened unto a “seed” that is sown in different kinds of soils (v. 11). Peter said that his readers had “been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1 Pet. 1:23).
It is very fitting that the gospel (God’s power to beget or to regenerate spiritual life) is likened unto a seed. A seed carries genetic information. When it is planted and germinates, new life springs forth and grows. The same thing is true with the gospel. When the gospel is accepted into one's heart, it will result in a new spiritual life.
On the third day of creation, God established the fact that plants will always reproduce after their own kind. “Then God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth;’ and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good” (Gen. 1:11-12). The plant that grows from a seed will always be in accordance with the genetic information that is found in that seed. If a farmer plants corn, he will get corn. If he plants watermelons, he will get watermelons. Etc.
The passing of time, even great amounts of time, does not alter this fact. For example, the seeds of an extinct date palm plant were discovered in an excavation of Masada (the desert fortress where, in 73 AD, ancient Jewish rebels chose suicide over capture by the Roman army). Because of the historical event that took place at this site, these seeds were known to be 2,000 years old. In 2005, some scientists planted these seeds. They germinated and date palm saplings began to grow. The seeds produced today exactly what they would have produced if they had been planted 2,000 years ago. Likewise, the gospel, which began to be preached 2,000 years ago, will produce today exactly what it did then.
Is it possible to be just a Christian like we can read of in the Bible? Is it possible to worship and serve God today without modern-day denominationalism?
Yes it is. If we will simply follow the Bible only we will be Christians only. Not only is it possible, friends, it is the only way to serve God properly today. – Knollwood church of Christ Articles, December 2011.