Alexander Campbell & New Testamentism

Cool Alexander Campbell

“We have no system of our own, nor of others, to substitute in lieu of the reigning systems. We only aim at substituting the New Testament in lieu of every creed in existence; whether Mahometan, Pagan, Jewish, or Sectarian. We wish to call Christians to consider that Jesus Christ has made them kings and priests to God. We neither advocate Calvinism, Arminianism, Arianism, Socinianism, Trinitarianism, Unitarianism, Deism, or Sectarianism, but New Testamentism.”

Alexander Campbell, Christian Baptist, Vol. 1, No. 5,  1 December 1823 

#alexander-campbell, #quote

Alexander Campbell & the Godhead

Alexander Campbell on the Godhead1

“For the divine nature may be communicated or imparted in some sense; and indeed while it is essentially and necessarily singular, it is certainly plural in its personal manifestations. Hence we have the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit equally divine, though personally distinct from each other. We have in fact, but one God, one Lord, one Holy Spirit; yet these are equally possessed of one and of the same divine nature. Some conceive of God as mathematical unit; and as a thing cannot be both mathematically singular and plural, one and three, at the same time and in the same sense, they deny the true and proper divinity of the Son of God and of the Spirit of God. But it would seem to us, that they reason not in harmony with the sacred style of inspiration. But why should we imagine that there cannot be a plurality of personal manifestations in the divine nature any more than in the angelic or human, especially as man was created in the image of God?” — Alexander Campbell, The Christian System, p. 8.

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The Truth That Is True For All

THE TRUTH THAT IS TRUE FOR ALL

by David R. Kenney

In Bible class I asked whether or not barbeque sauce on hotdogs was good or bad. One of my children loves barbeque sauce on their hotdogs; the other finds it repulsive. You may hear people say “What is true for you is not true for me,” or “You have your truth and I have my truth.” Well, no further proof of the validity of such statements was needed than the facial expressions of my two children as to which one accepted this truth. This is the nature of subjective truth. Subjective truth varies from person to person. Subjective truth is variable and can cease to be true under various circumstances.

Objective truth is different from subjective truth. Objective truth is true for all individuals, always. Objective truth does not change under varying circumstances. Some may prefer the terms “absolute truth” and “relative truth”, but the concepts remain the same. Objective truth, or absolute truth, is true across individuals, circumstances, and other variables.

If one can grasp the definitions, differences, and implications of objective and subjective truth, then one can easily see that the same applies to the religious world as well. People say “Join the church of your choice” with the authority of subjective truth that “One church is as good as another”. One fundamental principle needs to be understood that is often dismissed—subjective truth never trumps objective truth. In fact, the only time that subjective truth truly rules is when there is no objective truth to contradict it. In this case, not all churches are the same so they cannot be “one as good as the other”. Let me give you an example.

In our local paper, The Wadsworth Post, there was a “Christmas Worship Directory” with a listing of various services from various religious groups to celebrate Christmas in a religious worship type setting. All those religious groups’ schedule of services were different from the other. Were any of them right or wrong in comparison to the others? Not if there were no absolute or objective truths in contradiction. Subjective truth would rule.

It was interesting to review the religious groups’ schedules with the students in class. One organization had a “Quiet Christmas” service for December 23; “Family Christmas – Christmas Eve” service for December 24; “Traditional Christmas Eve” service also for December 24; “Saturday After Christmas” service for December 26; and, finally, “Sunday after Christmas” service for December 27. Some only had various Christmas Eve services, and one had a single Christmas Eve service. (I found it interesting none had services for December 25th.) I asked them “Which group is more spiritual than the other?” “Which group is are more correct than the other?” “Which of these groups is true?” How would a person searching for the truth be able to determine? If there was only subjective truth on the matter, then one could rightly hold that all are equally good and valid; however, there is objective truth which makes such subjective truth invalid and consequently merely subjective.

We do not know when exactly Jesus was born. To focus our attention on December 25th is merely subjective because we cannot know. Also, there is no command or example of the early church celebrating December 25th as the birth of Jesus Christ. It was not celebrated as such until 336 AD. The Old Testament was very clear on the Jewish Holiday Calendar, both as to the when and how of various observances; however, there is no such Christian Holiday Calendar in the New Testament designating the birth of Jesus, commanding its observance, or instructing how to observe such. It may come as a surprise to some that various other days have been postulated as the birth of Jesus including: January 2nd, January 6th, March 28th, April 18th, April 19th and May 20th. When one looks at the evidence for the date of the birth of Christ, it becomes apparent that December 25th is subjective rather than absolute truth. The various services that some arrange to celebrate this subjective date are subjective as well. I am confident if you asked the other religious groups if one was more spiritual than the other based on their “Christmas Worship Directory”, their answer would be that all are equally true and spiritual. If it were not for these objective truths, their subjective estimation would hold; however, their subjective standards are insufficient.

Christians are commanded to “Test all things, hold fast what is good” (NKJV) in 1 Thessalonians 5:21. Keep in mind that the term “test” means to approve or disprove. Such would be impossible if there were no objective truths to measure, compare or test to; but contrary to political and religious correctness of our day, there is objective or absolute truth—the Scriptures. When we examine the text, we find no command or example in the New Testament to celebrate the birth of Christ. So, can we honestly say we have held fast to what is “good”? Some will say “Well how can celebrating the birth of Christ be bad?” Interestingly, Jesus said just before using the illustration of the foolish man who built his house on the sand versus the wise man who built his house on the rock– “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46, NKJV) It may be easier for some to understand the sin of not doing what Jesus commanded, but it is also wrong to do what the Lord has not commanded too. Keep in mind the Scripture that warns about taking away from what is commanded also forbids adding as well—“and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:19, NKJV.) Some may attempt to dismiss the force of this by claiming it only applies to the book of Revelation; however, the same is found in Deuteronomy 4:2. Who can imagine that one cannot add/take away from one of God’s books but can do so with His other books? Keep in mind, the Bible is a collection of books. The wise man stated, “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar” (Proverbs 30:5-7, NKJV.) As Christians, we follow what Christ has authorized–“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17, NKJV.) It ought to be clear that we cannot do just anything and call it “good” merely by assigning Jesus’ name to it. Jesus’ name is only joined with our worship and service by doing what Jesus has authorized in the New Testament. It is not a matter of subjectivity but authority.

While illustrating the difference between subjective truth and objective truth, I cautioned the students that because something may be subjective does not mean that a person is not passionate about and emotionally committed to it in absolute terms. In our tolerant society, people become most intolerant when their subjective truths are rejected, based on the existence of objective truth which reduces what they hold as subjective truth to being merely subjective. We must be as kind and gentle with people as they sort out the differences between the subjective and objective. If I was to select an illustration of emotional igniter greater than Christmas as an example of the differences between subjective and objective truth, I am uncertain as to what illustration is more flammable (except maybe Easter).

We all have subjective truths, including those in the church. Subjective truths may hold provided these do not violate the absolute truths of God’s word. For example, when Jesus said for us to “Go into all the world…”, He did not specify the manner of going. We are free to subjectively choose which method we go, but we are not permitted to allow our subjectivity to negate the absolute truth of going “…and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15, NKJV.) These matters are not always easy to detect and require serious thought. We must be kind and gentle as to what the Lord commanded– “‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ Says the Lord, ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.’” (Isaiah 1:18, NKJV.) We must reason together with God, and the only way to so reason is to reason with His word as objective truth.

 

May we help others to be able to reason these matters through properly with the love in our hearts toward them as Christ loved them and died for them as well. We should be tenderhearted toward those who have not thought about these matters. We certainly do not intend to embarrass but encourage others to surrender their subjective truths for the absolute truths of God’s word.

2015 WCTV Clapper Awards

The WCTV Clapper Awards Ballot/Survey has been posted online for all to vote. The congregation where I preach is very small and few utilize the Internet. So, the only way “Light From Above” will win is if YOU vote. The deadline for voting is Sunday, October 25th. Since the shows are broadcasted via the Internet, WCTV allows anyone and anywhere to vote via the Internet.  I do NOT vote except for children’s show which is

8. Best Performing Arts — Studio Strings #8 – Stow Youth Orchestra (Deborah & James Kenney). Please vote for their show too if you like.

Here are the shows produced by Light From Above produced by David R. Kenney:

5. Best Documentary – Alexander Campbell (David R. Kenney). This was a full-length documentary made in cooperation with Historic Bethany, WCTV and the Gospel Broadcasting Network.

6. Best Religious Message — Light From Above #168 – Winford Claiborne & Warren F. Kenney (David R. Kenney). This show is a tribute show to both Winford Claiborne and David’s dad. Winford passed away in 2014 and Warren passed away in 2015. It includes footage of Warren delivering an after dinner lesson at the International Gospel Hour Banquet during the Freed-Hardeman University Lectureship.

15. Best Talk Show — Light From Above #165 – Interview with BJ Clarke (David R. Kenney). We had the privilege of having B. J. Clarke, who is the new Director of the Memphis School of Preaching, in our area thanks to the Streetsboro church of Christ. He was willing to come in an spend the morning with us at WCTV.

You do NOT need a login or a password. You do NOT need to put in your name or address (That is OPTIONAL at the end of the ballot.) All you need to do is go to this link, vote, submit, and repeat (if you are so inclined).  Here is the link:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/23ZK95K

I have been able to place each year thanks to all those who have voted.  I thank you for your voting for my shows.  It does result in higher visibility of the church in the Wadsworth community.  David

#light-from-above

Alexander Campbell & Inward Call of Holy Spirit

Alexander Campbell

Alexander Campbell

“But let me ask, and seriously ask these inward called saints, who have heard some other voice of God than the word of God, What did that voice say?  Any thing different from that which is written?  If so, how did you judge it?  To what standard did, you refer it?  If it said any thing to you different from what is written, you dare not hearken to it:  for the written gospel, Jesus declared, will judge you at the last day.  If it said nothing different from the written gospel, it must have repeated the same, and what was the meaning of repeating it?  Does the word of God derive power from mere repeating it?  Does the word of God derive power from a mere repetition of it; or must God, like men, use frequent repetitions to supply the lack of power?  Can the voice of God have more power in one language, than another-at one time than another-at one place than in another?  You cannot answer, Yes.  What do you mean by an inward call?  If there be a word spoken it must be what is written or what is not written.  And you must see that either hypothesis issues in that which is inadmissible-in that which is absurd.” 

Alexander Campbell, “The Voice of God and the Word of God.  The Gospel Now The Word of God,”  Millennial Harbinger, 1830, pp. 126-127.

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Alexander Campbell & Pursuit of The Truth

Alexander Campbell

Alexander Campbell

“OFTEN have I said, and often have I written, that truth, truth eternal and divine, is now, and long has been with me the pearl of great price. To her I will, with the blessing of God, sacrifice every thing. But on no altar will I offer her a victim. If I have lost sight of her, God who searcheth the hearts knows I have not done it intentionally. With my whole heart I have sought the truth, and I know that I have found it. Not all truth but the lifegiving truth of Jesus. But I ask no man to take my word for it.  Neither my devotion to the truth professed, the earnestness nor the industry with which I have sought it, the sacrifices which l have made in the pursuit of it, nor any aid supernatural which I have received in the discovery of the truth, shall ever be plead by me as reason why any person should receive any single saying of mine upon my authority.  Nor shall I plead the success which has attended my labors, the great revolution in sentiment, feeling, and practice, which is every day progressing, as a proof, or as any evidence of truths for which I am the humble advocate. No authority of great names, no authority of great success, no authority of great devotion, no authority but that of the Apostles and prophets shall ever be urged by me in proof of any proposition respecting the religion of Jesus Christ.”

— Alexander Campbell, Millennial Harbinger, Vol. 1, No. 3, March 1, 1830

#alexander-campbell, #truth

Warren F. Kenney Appears on Light From Above Discussing "The Christian Man"

Warren Kenney Light From Above

David R. Kenney and his dad, Warren F. Kenney, on the set of “Light From Above” at WCTV Studio. The tabletop pulpit was made by David’s dad for the program.

John Madding and Dad

John Madding who is Cable TV Programming and Access Manager for WCTV and Warren F. Kenney. Dad really liked John commenting on how wonderfully patient he was. John liked him as well. John commented he expected dad to arrive in a black suit…he was pleasantly surprised. They hit it off well.

In the Spring of 2014, my father came to Wadsworth, Ohio to deliver a series of lessons on “The Christian Man”.  He presented these lessons in some form back in Martinsburg, WV some years ago, but I wanted him to come to WCTV studios and record them for others to profit from.  I was also able to get his parents to be interviewed as well to discuss their many years of service to the church.

I am thankful to the wonderful staff at WCTV in Wadsworth for assisting in accommodating the studio and schedule for my parents.  My father is battling GBM brain tumor and my mother has been fighting MS since 1982.  They have fought the good fight together for nearly 50 years!

Also, I appreciate the poem on the flyer written by Karen McCoy which reads:

My Hero

I’ll follow in your footsteps Dad
I want to be like you
You know you are my hero
My love for you is true.
 
I feel safe when I am with you
You are so brave and strong
You stand by when I am happy
You hold my hand when things go wrong.
 
So make your footsteps smaller
So I can keep up with you
Then some day when I’m a Dad
I’ll be a hero, too.

— Karen McCoy

I have created a Playlist on YouTube so you can see these videos.  Here is the link.