The fourth Hardeman Tabernacle Gospel Meeting was October 16 – 31, 1938. It would be the last series delivered at the famous Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN by N. B. Hardeman. The focus of this series of meetings was more for members of the church. Concern had arisen that congregations in the Nashville, TN area were sliding with digression and some wanted to alert them to the danger and encourage them to return to solid ground. The church had been troubled by efforts of the premillennialists, which is a subject that is dealt with in this series of sermons. It was reported that interest among other congregations outside of Nashville and even Tennessee itself was reflected in the attendance.
The following is a list of topics from this volume of sermons:
- The Purpose of This Meeting
- Is the Bible the Word of God?
- The Reception of Any Truth Depends Upon Our Attitude Toward It
- Teaching the Word of God
- Is the Gospel, as God Gave It, Adapted to Man, as God Made Him?
- Unity Among Brethren
- Cost of Discipleship
- Essentials and Non-Essentials
- “The Spirit of Christ”
- The Blood-Bought Institution of the New Testament
- The Establishment of the Kingdom
- How God Speaks to Man
- The First Sermon Under the Commission
- The Church
- The Vine and the Branches
- Is Christ With Us?
- The Final Exhortation
Those words [Essential & Non-Essential] are quite common among many professed Christians. Some things are Essentials, some things Non-essentials. The fact is, I came up under expressions of that kind. The implication was that God had commanded lots of things, some of them were important and obligatory upon man; others, while in the Bible, and plainly taught, were just commands. The idea was that we can be saved as well without them as with them. Hence, they are Non-essentials. I think that is the idea of the world in general now. Of course, say they, there are things mentioned in the Bible, but you don’t have to respect all of them. Therefore, there are Essentials and Non-essentials. (Pages 99-100)
Hardeman then turns to the Great Commission and shows that God does not give non-essential commands. This is a message the religious world needs to be reminded of (even ones who are not part of the New Testament church). It has been reported that the reporter Ted Koppel stated that the Ten Commandments are commandments, not suggestions. Another way of phrasing that would be—Ten Essentials not Ten Non-Essentials. My concern is that those who claim allegiance to Jesus are minimizing, deflecting, reducing, ridiculing, detracting, and avoiding His teaching. We cannot say we love Christ and ignore his commandments by labeling some as “non-essential” (John 14:15).
Brother E. Claude Gardner wrote this in regards to the Hardeman Tabernacle Sermons, “His five Tabernacle Sermons conducted between 1922 and 1943 had a stabilizing influence in Nashville and in the brotherhood. He dealt with issues facing the church and he called for a return to New Testament Christianity.” As stated in prior reviews, the Gospel Advocate has reprinted the Hardeman Tabernacle Sermons in paperback and these are currently available.
Gardner, E. Claude, “N. B. Hardeman 1874-1965,” The Messenger, Knoxville, TN: East Tennessee School of Preaching & Missions, November 1997.