Tag Archives: Melvin Sapp

Remembering C.C.S.O.P. – Jariell Cooper

In the 1990’s several preachers from the lower midlands area met on Saturdays teaching classes to members of surrounding congregations who were interested in more knowledge and training in the Scriptures. Several meetings were conducted to consider and plan a full-time school with Joseph Barr, Braker Carter, Roland Cumbee, Billy McVey, Melvin Sapp, Halbert Tucker and Larry Williams being present. Thus the Central Carolina School of Preaching was established in 1995 in the vicinity of Kingstree, South Carolina. In 2001 it was moved to the Kingsbury Road Church of Christ building in Sumter. The Central Carolina School of Preaching is currently under the oversight of the Kingsbury eldership (Claude Helton and Melvin Sapp). Melvin Sapp serves as director.

The school offers a two year program, which places emphasis on doctrinal soundness and absolute authority of the scriptures. Within this program are offered contextual studies of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Also other related subjects such as Bible Geography, Greek Language, Christian Evidences, Personal Evangelism, The Godhead, The Preacher and His Work and many more. The program is composed of 64 classes, each class lasting three hours Tuesday through Friday, with Monday being a study day. The school also provides a house to accommodate some of the students. The Central Carolina School of Preaching has a code of conduct which is based upon Bible teaching. All students are required to wear suits and ties to class.

I gained some wonderful experiences with the Central Carolina School of Preaching that will never be forgotten. I entered the school in 2012 after being baptized into the Lord’s church in 2011. Being a new convert there were many things needed to be learned. I had never preached or taught a Bible class anywhere. The Central Carolina School of Preaching provided all of those things that were lacking to become an effective gospel preacher.   I am thankful to God for this great institution.

Being a student at the Central Carolina School of Preaching was more than just being in a classroom.   A person doesn’t have to be in a classroom to be considered a student. The word “student” is defined as one who studies or learns. A learner is a disciple is a student. The apostles of Jesus were initially his students involved in a variety of activities. While students with the Central Carolina School of Preaching we had the opportunity to participate in funerals, food giveaways, teach Bible classes, attend many gospel meetings and lectureships, and take a trip to Trinidad and Tobago to help with personal evangelism (along with many other activities). All were wonderful experiences that I will never forget.

The Central Carolina School of Preaching provided us with a lot of information that was amazing regarding many things. One item that the school helped us with was the work of the Holy Spirit which is confusing to many today. Before I attended the school I held several false views on the Godhead such as that Jesus and the Holy Spirit were the same being. The school presented a proper comprehension of the Holy Spirit. The class entitled “The Godhead” expounded on the work of each member of the Godhead. Learning about the Godhead was vital especially in a society that needs to know about the Trinity. The information regarding the book of Revelation was also highly interesting. I learned that most of the events in the book are completed. Before attending the school I believed that most of the events in the book of Revelation were still occurring. What was taught in the book of Daniel was also amazing. It was surprising to learn that Daniel predicted many specific historical events of the ancient Mediterranean world as well as the kingdom of Christ.

There were some great experiences shared with fellow class mates while attending the Central Carolina School of Preaching. The friendship and fellowship that we developed for one another was astounding. It was encouraging to be among brethren who were endeavoring to do the same work. We were from different areas and getting to know one another was great. Sometimes we would dine-out and fellowship with one another. There were times we sang hymns and prayed together. We encouraged one another and visited various congregations together. We would study together and help one another with various assignments.

The Central Carolina School of Preaching provided us with a lot of advantages. Most of my instructors were gospel preachers for many years. Thus the experiences that they had as gospel preachers were shared with us. They were capable of answering all of our questions due to their many years of study. We had access to approximately 200 years of knowledge and experience from the instructors in the Central Carolina School of Preaching.

Being a student in the school of preaching provided me with a lot of time in the pulpit. There were several congregations that allowed me to preach for them.   There were at least ten different ones that allowed me to speak from time to time. Not being familiar beforehand with preparing and delivering sermons speaking in their pulpits was highly beneficial.

The school distributed a lot of material without any cost (which was a blessing). There was never a time when collections were taken in the school for the cost of books, paper, travels, etc. All the things that we received in the Central Carolina School of Preaching were free. There were several congregations that sent books to the school without any cost. Some preachers gave books to students. The school provided us with an abundant amount of material. And much of the material that we received was expensive.

If you desire to gain more Bible knowledge and/or to become an effective gospel preacher, the Central Carolina School of Preaching is certainly for you. It is superb in its training and distribution of knowledge of the scriptures. The school still adheres to the teaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The world needs more gospel preachers, who are willing to stand firm and boldly proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ without additions or subtractions. These are the kind of men that the Central Carolina School is developing every year. If you have any interest in the school we certainly would love to communicate with you. If you desire more information call the director, Melvin Sapp, at (803)-775-0510.


Efforts To Unify The Christian Church and Churches of Christ – Melvin Sapp

The church is a spiritual body of baptized believers who unite under the authority of Jesus Christ and his New Testament. This glorious body was in the mind of God the Father from eternity to contain the redeemed through the gospel of Jesus Christ (Eph. 3:8-11). The church is the house of God that was prophesied by Isaiah 700 years before its establishment upon the earth (Isa. 2:2-3) and was promised by Jesus (Matt. 16:13-19). Jesus built his church as promised and on Pentecost of 33 A.D. the terms of entrance were proclaimed to Jews gathered from every nation under heaven (Acts 2:1-5, 36-38). The gospel was preached to Jews first, then to the Gentiles and everybody were united in one body of Christ (Acts 13:42-48; I Cor. 12:12-14; Eph. 4:3-6; Gal. 3:26-28).

The church has gone through several apostasies and divisions over the centuries. Men in positions of leadership would introduce ideas and proposals that are of human origin and that conflict with the New Testament of Jesus Christ (Acts 20:28-32). One division that occurred in the 1800s was over the Missionary Society, mechanical Instruments of music and men fighting in the Civil War.

The first of these controversies was the Missionary Society. “Cooperation Meetings” were advocated for in the Millenial Harbinger by Alexander Campbell in 1831-32. The intent was to cooperate in supporting local evangelist where financial support was lacking. Walter Scott, Jacob Creath, Jr., Tolbert Fanning and others opposed these meetings as unscriptural and that the New Testament had ordained elders to oversee the work of evangelism, not a separate society. The Missionary Society was never fully accepted by the church but was tolerated as brethren differed on the subject.

The Civil War (1861-1865) pitted the Northern brethren against the Southern brethren as it required taking up arms against one another. The South seceded from the Union when Abraham Lincoln became president over fear of abolishing slavery, taxes and state’s rights. Many popular preachers taught that it was sin to fight in the military and others leaned on patriotism as justification for taking up arms. This farther divided the brethren as many from the North also supported the Missionary Society.

During the same time mechanical instruments of music were introduced at Midway, Kentucky by L.L. Pinkerton using a small melodeon in 1860. The instrument was being defended on the grounds of “expediency” to improve the singing. J.W. McGarvey, Moses Lard, Benjamin Franklin, David Lipscomb and others opposed their use in the worship of the church. Most of the churches that used the instruments were in the North and the combination of these forces brought a division what would later be recognized as two separate bodies, the Christian Church and the Churches of Christ.

In the 1900’s these bodies have grown even farther apart. Most Christian churches still support the various societies, use mechanical instruments of music, and have preachers who serve as “pastors” and wear the title “Reverend.” Women are ordained as preachers and serve in other positions of leadership in various organizations. In the latter part of the 1900’s unity summits were held in various places seeking to unite the Christian Church with the Churches of Christ. Most of these meeting brethren were invited who were willing to compromise on matters of faith for union. They treated matters of faith as if they were matters of opinion. The instrument was accepted as an opinion and those who opposed it were called legalist. Faithful brethren were willing to use the New Testament as our faith and pattern to determine fellowship based on truth (Rom. 10:17; Jno. 8:31-32). In matters of expediency, freedom is allowed as long as it is supported by a generic command. Those who have departed from the doctrine of Christ are encouraged to return for unity sake (II Jno. 9-11).

How has a desire for unity negatively affected the Churches of Christ in the area of evangelism?

Those who sought unity were willing to compromise on the fundamental teachings of the New Testament. Compromise seeks growth by union or by absorption. Union would bring congregations into our number without having to evangelize the “unchurched.” If union was accepted between the Christian Church and the Churches of Christ, compromises will have to be made on societies, instrumental music, women preachers, fellowshipping with denominations and organizations that are set up to do the work of the church. The Churches of Christ would look more like the Christian Church than vice versa. If we can fellowship the Christian Church with all of its innovations and perversions, why can’t we seek unity among denominations that have as many innovations? The Christian Church looks more like many of the mainstream denominations than it looks like mainstream Churches of Christ.

Another effect of the desire for unity with the Christian Church is the failure of many to recognize the saved from the lost. Jesus said that it is not enough to be religious, but one must be right (Mat. 7:21-23). Many who are religious are not doing the Father’s will, but what they want to do. Yet, Jesus will refuse to claim at the judgment those who have twisted, altered, perverted or changed the will of the Father. Paul exhorts us to prove all things before accepting them as doctrine and practice (I Thess. 5:21). The apostle John charges us to test, examine, scrutinize and try everyone who teaches the word of God (I Jno. 4:1). If we fail to see those outside the Lord’s church as lost, there will be no motivation or interest in doing evangelism. If God is going to tolerate the religious errors of the Christian Church, why would he not overlook the errors of the denominations?

We don’t have to be self-righteous or insulting to those who are lost, but we are commissioned to go to them and preach the gospel unto them (Mk. 16:15-16). Paul felt the urgent need to preach the gospel to the Jews who were religious, but ignorant of God’s righteousness (Rom. 10:1-3). He was just as eager to preach the gospel to the Gentiles as well (Rom. 1:14-16). Let us not allow compromise or apathy to hinder us from carrying out the “Great Commission” (Mat. 28:18-20)!

Melvin Sapp is the minister and an elder for the Kingsbury Road Church of Christ in Sumter, SC.  He is also Director of the Central Carolina School of Preaching.