The Expository Files


The Thunderous Silence of God, by Joe Neil Clayton


In my earlier years of preaching, I depended on older preachers to recommend books and help me with useful resources. In the mid-1970’s, someone called my attention to the work of Joe Neil Clayton, “The Thunderous Silence of God.” It became a helpful resource for me and became valuable to many preachers of that time, in navigating various issues and concerns that arose concerning the work of the local church. Recently, I was privileged to meet brother Clayton and have lunch with him. Following that I downloaded and re-read the book. I want to recommend you put a copy on your Kindle.


The author does three significant things. (1) He helps us understand how issues unfolded over time, long before the publication date of the book. (2) He enables readers of restoration history to better understand the context of slogans. (3) He proposes right solutions to religious division. And (4) the author punctuates the book with emphasis on the objective exposition and use of Scripture.


This is not an extensive or sequential work on restoration history. Rather, a simple effort to supply context to slogans and take us to good, lasting solutions (no matter the specific issues).


Highlighted Quotes:

Whatever system of religion may be devised to the honor of God, it cannot demonstrate its respect of God, if it does not conform itself exactly to that which is revealed on the pages of the Bible. It will be an incomplete system, if it does not utilize all of the information there; and it is a perverted system, if it adds more to it that is not necessarily expedient.

If we presume that the New Testament is less demanding of obedience than the Old, we should read, “A man that hath set at nought Moses law dies without compassion on the word of two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, think ye, shall he be judged worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God. . ?” (Hebrews 10:28-29). Such passages as theses should make us tremble at the very thought of presuming to make any distinction between essentials and non-essentials, when God himself has apparently made none. The Old Testament is filled with examples of the attitude of God toward such presumption, and Paul says it was written “for our learning” (Romans 15:4). Well, let us learn, and cease our presumptions!


We can make no claim of ending the controversy over this vital subject in this short document. We are persuaded that the controversy will rage as long as there is any “movement” to restore the church of Christ to its apostolic simplicity. However, it is hoped that this treatise will point up the importance of the Restoration Movement slogan to the maintaining of the effort.


How can I get this book? Visit this site: Find on that site the “books” link and you’ll be able to get the pdf of The Thunderous Silence of God. For reading on your Kindle, send that pdf to your Kindle.

 By Warren E. Berkley
The Front Page
 Expository Files 23.9; September 2016