Interview of Phil Sanders of “In SEARCH of the Lord’s Way” on “Light From Above”

I was pleased to be able to interview Phil Sanders, Speaker on In SEARCH of the Lord’s Way on my TV program now called “Light From Above”.  Brother Phil was conducting a series of gospel meetings at the Vermilion Church of Christ where Mark Weaver preaches regularly.  He was our guest speaker at our area preachers/elders/men meeting and stayed long enough to go into the studio too.

You can watch this on WCTV’s portal with this link:


The Lord’s Day, The Lord’s Hour, The Lord’s Half-Hour, ….

Per request…

The Lord’s Day, The Lord’s Hour, The Lord’s Half Hour, ….
by David R. Kenney

Growing up as a child of a preacher, I have often heard the expression “This is the Lord’s Day”. I was sometimes confused by how a “day” in other contexts meant 24 hours, but on Sunday it was a shrinking phenomena from member to member in church. At one time, I heard a good man (whom I love) state that worship should be 60 minutes because it was “The Hour of Worship”. I laughed and said, “Are you serious with that?” I stopped laughing when I saw the expression on his face. How are we going to be able to withstand an eternity in heaven if we cannot bear the time in worship here on earth? If we are not better stewards of our time, we won’t have to worry about the answer to that question! I suspect we are too busy with too many other things (good and bad). You can crowd God out with other “good things” by failing to recognize the “better things” as Martha failed to do with her sister Mary and Jesus. Don’t make that mistake!

Alexander Campbell & Christian Sabbath

Alexander Campbell(1788-1866 )

Alexander Campbell
(1788-1866 )

I have been enjoying Eva Jean Wrather’s Alexander Campbell  — Adventurer in Freedom the past several weeks.  I have completed the first volume which covers Alexander Campbell’s birth, coming to American, printing of Thomas Campbell’s Declaration & Address, and his first debate which was with John Walker, Seceder Presbyterian.  I just finished her writing on the debate with W. L. MaCcalla in Kentucky, and Alexander Campbell’s launch of his new periodical The Christian Baptist in Wrather’s second installment of her Alexander Campbell Trilogy.

I can understand why Alexander Campbell’s writings generated so much controversy then, as I have been discussing various points of doctrine with friends who do not agree with my teaching’s of the New Testament.  I am struck by how forceful and powerful Alexander Campbell’s writings were in his day which motivates me to read more about him and his writings.  For example, Alexander Campbell attacked the Presbyterian Moralists Societies for their binding of Sundays as a “Christian Sabbath” even going so far as having people fined by magistrates for not adhering to their view on “Christian Sabbaths” and other matters.  If a citizen witnessed someone doing work on Sundays, then they could report them for a portion of the fine imposed.

Alexander Campbell’s essay on the subjection of “Christian Sabbaths” in 1823 was very powerful, and it would bring people to the discussion who may have otherwise never meditated on such matters.  Consider this statement from his essay:

“No two days are more unlike in their import and design, than the Sabbath and the first day. The former commemorated the consummation of the old creation, the cessation of creation work; the latter commemorates the beginning of the new creation. The former was to Israel, a memorial that they were once slaves in Egypt—the latter assures us that the year of release has come. The former looked back, with mournful aspect, to the toils and sorrows entailed upon the human body, from an evil incident to the old creation—trie latter looks forward, with en eve beaming with hope, to perpetual exemption from toil, and pain, and sorrow. The sabbath was a day of awful self-denial and profound religious gloom—the resurrection day is a day of triumph, of holy joy, and religious festivity.” 

(Alexander Campbell, Editor, “Address to the Readers of the Christian Baptist, No. 3,” The Christian Baptist, Vol 1, No. 7, February 2, 1824)


Requested article “Getting to Know God” by Randy Chapman & TV News

By request of the TFR’s J. Randal Matheny, I am pleased to post this article by Randy Chapman about “Getting to Know God” from our weekly eBulletin from the Wadsworth church of Christ Wadsworth eBulletin-12092012

If you would like to receive our weekly eBulletin, let me know and I will add you to our email DL.

Randy Chapman just completed an excellent series of lessons for our gospel meeting this Fall.  He was generous in going into the TV studio and recording these lessons for my TV program.  You can watch these lessons, while these are available, at the following links:

Bible Talk #36 Interview with Randy Chapman

Bible Talk #37 Discipleship by Randy Chapman

Bible Talk #38 Satisfied But Not Justified by Randy Chapman

Bible Talk #39 The Basis of Salvation by Randy Chapman

Bible Talk #40 Okay, I Goofed, Now What? by Randy Chapman

Bible Talk #41 I See That Hand by Randy Chapman

Bible Talk #42 God’s Dividing Line by Randy Chapman

Bible Talk #43 God Has Always Provided a Shelter by Randy Chapman

Also, thanks for all those who voted for Bible Talk on WCTV’s 2012 Clapper Awards program.  The program was awarded “Runner-Up” (2nd place) for best religious program in 2012.  The award was based both on popular vote and two independent TV programming boards (one in Toledo, Ohio and the other in Palm Beach, Florida).  I was extremely pleased and thankful to have received this award; especially since this is my first effort at television work and have been doing the program less than a year.  Thanks to all those who watch and voted!
David R. Kenney

Vote for Bible Talk TV Program on WCTV

I have not been able to post to TFR as much as I would like primarily because I have been busy in preparation for the weekly TV program I deliver here in Wadsworth, Ohio called Bible Talk.  The local station, WCTV, hosts an annual awards program, the Clapper Awards, and Bible Talk is on the ballot!  Voting is open to anyone on the Internet.  You do NOT have to be a resident of Wadsworth or Ohio

Here is the pertinent information:

Bible Talk is in the sixth category, BEST RELIGIOUS.  Other programs are competing including ones by the Lutherans, Catholics and others.  So, I am asking you to vote for Bible Talk.  I am asking you to pass this information onto others who would be in a position to vote online too, whether that is friends, family or other congregations.  I would request one thing, although it is not required to vote for the program.  I request you actually, at least one time, watch the program before voting for it.  Once you watched it, please vote for it as often as you like.  (Yes, you are able to vote more than once.)

Here is the link to the Bible Talk program on the ballot,
Here is the link to vote for the Bible Talk program,
The final decision is determined by two factors–popular vote and an independent panel of judges.  I am not as interested in the award for myself as the free press that the church will get in the community if we do win the 2012 Clapper Award.
Voting has begun and will end on October 28th at midnight.  Pass the word around


Martin Luther on the Meaning of Baptizo


Martin Luther (1483-1546) was one of the luminaries of the Reformation Movement.  While he was mistaken about some things in his pursuit to reform the Catholic Church, he was correct on several particulars. 

One particular that some may not realize was that Martin Luther did not hold the view that baptism was merely a washing that could be completed either by sprinkling, pouring or immersing.  He recognized that the Greek word baptizo was specific to the action of immersing to the exclusion of the other two modes.  There were other Greek words for sprinkling (rhantizo) and pouring (cheo), but these never applied to Christian baptism.

In a 1520 treatise entitled “A Prelude on the Babylonian Captivity of the Church” Martin Luther made the following observation about the meaning of the Anglicized word “baptism” in a section entitled “The Sacrament of Baptism”.  He wrote:

The second part of baptism is the sign, or sacrament, which is that immersion into water whence also it derives its name; for the Greek baptizo means I immerse, and baptisma means immersion.


— Martin Luther, “A Prelude on the Babylonian Captivity of the Church,” Lane Hall, Works of Martin Luther with Introductions & Notes, Philadelphia, PA:  A. J. Company, 1915,  pp. 226-227)

If one examines the history behind King James and the translation he commissioned, they will learn that the king restricted certain words from being translated.  Keep in mind one of the goals of the King James Version was to build a universal translation to harmonize the feuding religious factions in Great Britain in the various versions they used in their day; e.g., Geneva Bible, Bishop’s Bible, Miles Coverdale Bible and Matthews Bible.  Among these “hot-button” words included the Greek word baptizo.  King James insisted that this word was to be transliterated from the Latin Vulgate and Anglicized into English as “baptize”, not translated.  This may have increased the acceptance of the King James Version in that time period; however, the lack of foresight in this action has perpetuated one of the more glaring religious errors—that we can pick and choose what mode we use when we “baptize”—sprinkle, pour or immerse.  Baptism is a burial, and only one mode clearly matches that picture—immersion, not sprinkling or pouring (Romans 6:1-6).


Alexander Campbell & Systematic Theology



Alexander Campbell had completed a tour of eastern Virginia.  In the May 1856 issue of the Millennial Harbinger he delivered a report of his tour.  In the course of the report, he made an important statement which should serve as a reminder to us, including myself, when we pursue various works under the theme of “Systematic Theology”:

I also added, that I was led by parental authority to memorize much of the Christian Scriptures, and especially the Epistles of Paul; and pre-eminently, that to the Romans and that to the Hebrews. These were my systematic theology, or, rather, my doctrinal Christology, to which I owed more than to all my memorizing of the creeds and catechisms of the present Scotch orthodoxy. To this faith I pertinaciously adhered, and on it alone I founded all my future prospects, in time and eternity. 

— Alexander Campbell, Millennial Harbinger, Volume 6, Number 5, May 1856


Thomas Campbell’s Resignation from Presbyterian Church

After spending some time reading & researching the lives of father and son–Thomas & Alexander Campbell, I noticed that Alexander Campbell was often displayed as bold, masterful at polemics and willing to take a firm stand. Some portray Thomas Campbell milder, softer or even quieter.  That he would rather demure than take a stand. It would be a mistake to underestimate the strength of Thomas Campbell or his power with the pen.

After attempting to defend himself against the charges of libel made against him to the Chartiers Presbytery, he was suspended.  Recognizing the injustice of the situation, Thomas decided to appeal, but with no satisfaction, to the North American Synod of the Seceder Presbyterian Church.  After tolerating a censure and admonishment from the Synod, he returned to expect preaching assignments forthcoming.  However, after the abuse of two hearings, censure, admonishment and given the “run around”, he could tolerate no more from the circus they were putting him through.  He wrote his resignation letter to the Presbyterian Church never to return. Think Thomas Campbell could not deliver a proverbial punch with the pen? Here is part of what he wrote on September 13, 1808:

“It is with sincere reluctance, and, at the same time, with all due respect and esteem for the brethren of this reverend Synod who have presided in the trial of my case, that I find myself in duty bound to refuse submission to their decision as unjust and partial; and also finally to decline their authority, while they continue thus to overlook the grievous and flagrant mal-administration of the Presbytery of Chartiers. And I hereby do decline all ministerial connection with, or subjection to, the Associate Synod of North America, on account of the aforesaid corruptions and grievances; and do henceforth hold myself altogether unaffected by their decisions. And, that I may be properly understood, I will distinctly state that, while especial reference is had to the corruptions of the Presbytery of Chartiers, which constitute only a part of this Synod, the corruptions of that Presbytery now become also the corruptions of the whole Synod; because when laid open to this Synod, and protested against, the Synod pass them over without due inquiry, and without animadversion.” – Memoirs of Elder Thomas Campbell

Prior to writing this letter to the North American Synod, he had begun perhaps the greatest literary masterpieces of the Restoration Movement.  Drawing from the culmination of disappointments, frustrations and aggravations of his experiences with creeds, religious hierarchies of denominations and combined with his careful study, meditation and desire to please the Lord, he formulated a blueprint to help people find their way out of denominationalism and back to the New Testamentism.

Among many of the powerful statemens in the Declaration & Address is one  at the beginning:

“From the series of events which have taken place in the churches for many years past, especially in this western country, as well as from what we know in general of the present state of things in the Christian world; we are persuaded that it is high time for us not only to think, but also to act for ourselves; to see with our own eyes, and to take all our measures directly and immediately from the Divine Standard; to this alone we feel ourselves divinely bound to be conformed; as by this alone we must be judged.”  Thomas Campbell, Declaration & Address
On September 7, 1809, Thomas Campbell’s Declaration & Address was published and a movement launched on the Wester Reserve.


Are You Fully Committed?

In Patrick Morley’s book, Devotions for the Man in the Mirror, he touches on a point that I have often thought about relating to commitment.  He writes:  “Over the past few decades, many of us started off on the wrong foot with Jesus Christ.  It is the proposition that Jesus can be ‘Savior” without being ‘Lord’.   It is the idea that one can ‘add’ Christ, but not ‘subtract’ sin.  Many of us have merely added Christ to our lives as another interest in an already busy and otherwise over-crowded schedule…” (pp. 13-14)

 When my son was learning to walk, we would walk behind him with our arms stretched out like  guard rails with hands at the ready to catch him if he stumbled.  We would wobble behind him as  he wobbled across the floor for the first times.  Eventually, we did not need to follow behind him any longer in this fashion.  Why?  Because he learned to walk on his own.  It would be an odd sight for me to walk behind him in that fashion now.   In fact, if I did he would probably say “Cut that out!”

 When people first become Christians, they need mature Christians to walk beside them as I walked alongside my son ready to steady him if he stumbled.  Just as babies learn to walk  on their own as their bodies physically develop, so should new Christians be able to walk spiritually on their own.  They ought to be able walk with Christ on their spiritual journey to live in the heavenly home with Him.  They should not require the same level of “hand holding” from other Christians.  Now, I am not speaking about needing encouragement.  We all could use  encouragement from fellow Christians—one of the reasons we assemble together.  But there comes a time when we ought to be able to stand and walk on our own.  We ought to become the mature Christians walking with new converts as they start their spiritual journey.  If not, then something is wrong and out of place just as if I was still following my 11 year old son around as if he was 11 months old.

 If a person is not maturing the way they should, then what might be the problem?  Maybe they thought, as Morley suggests, that they accept Jesus as their Savior but were not looking for a  Lord.  Perhaps they need to be reminded that Christianity is not just something one adds to their digital calendar when they can fit it in.  Christianity is a transformation of one’s entire life (Romans 12:1-2).  If our calendars are just too busy for worship and service in the church, then we need to clean our calendars!  Perhaps we need to be reminded that Jesus will not accept a life partially dedicated to Him!  “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33, NKJV.)  “And another also said, ‘Lord, I will follow you, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.’  But Jesus said to him “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God’” (Luke 9:61-62, NKJV.)  We need to remember that people are judging our commitment to Christ…they are watching us.   Also, Jesus is judging our words, actions and our heart—“These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me” (Matthew 15:8, NKJV.)  If you are able to do more for the Lord and His church, then do it!  If you have to be asked to attend services, participate in the worship, teach class, or get involved, then perhaps you are not maturing.  Could this stem from a commitment problem?  Jesus is both the Lord and Savior of mankind!   Be fully committed and dedicated!

Barton W. Stone on Worldliness in the Church

Barton W. Stone (1772-1844)

“Another thing which checks the work of religion every where…is extravagance in worldly things. Thousands of bethren there are wasting the Lord’s goods. They seem to have forgotten, or never have been taught, that they themselves are living sacrifices to God. If they are Christians, their whole soul, body, and spirit are his, and all the substance they possess. They are but the Lord’s stewards, to manage to his interest and glory what he has entrusted them, and to render a just account to him in the day of judgment. Dare we then waste it, or sped it in the pride of life, and to please the lust of the flesh and of the eye? O, what an awful reckoning there will be at the last day! There must be a reformation here, else all our labors will be lost, and the work put into more faithful hands.” (The Cane Ridge Reader, p. 96)


Jesus’ most striking phrase

What phrase of Jesus is the most striking?

There are three I would like to make mention of and integrate them for impact. 

The first phrase that comes to my mind is in John 8:58.  In this context, Jesus is explaining that Abraham longed to see Jesus’ day and was glad to see it.  The Jews mocked Him, saying that could not be since Jesus was not even fifty years old and could not have lived in Abraham’s day.  Jesus then responds, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58, NKJV).  Some miss the significance of this statement.  It is reminiscent of what God answered Moses when asked what name he should give for the God who sent him to deliver Israel.  God responded, “’I AM WHO I AM.’ And He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:14, NKJV).  The name “I AM” speaks to God’s eternal divinity in all His glorious attributes.  When Jesus made this statement, He was claiming to be of the same nature, thus have the same authority as God Himself.  The Jews, failing to recognize Jesus’ divinity, picked up stones to stone Him for blasphemy (John 8:59).  This was a very striking statement to them and to many today who see Jesus as less than the Son of God.

The second striking phrase by Jesus is “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32, NKJV).  Notice that the definite article “the” is utilized which indicates there that truth exists and is exclusive.  Not only does “the truth” exist, it is also liberating from bondage.  Some fail to realize that they are enslaved to sin.

The third striking phrase by Jesus is “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6, NKJV).  Here is probably the most striking phrase of our day.  One cannot claim Jesus and maintain beliefs in other world religions outside of Christianity.  Of course they can “claim” such, but claiming such and obtaining such are two different matters entirely.

When you combine these three phrases, it delivers a coup de grâce to universalism, pluralism, ecumenicalism, post modernism, and a whole host of other –isms.  Contrary to popular philosophy…

  • the truth exists
  • the truth is exclusive
  • the truth is definable
  • the truth is discernable
  • the truth will set us free IF we know the truth
  • the truth will cause us to be lost IF we refuse to know

 Jesus is the only way to the Father, Jesus’ word is the only truth and outside of His word is spiritual death.  These three statements probably would rank at the top of the list as offensive to today’s world.

#new-testament, #nudge, #quotes-from-jesus, #words-of-jesus

Favorite Non-Biblical Quote

 “It is no coincidence that our present troubles parallel and are proportionate to the intervention and intrusion in our lives that result from unnecessary and excessive growth of government. It is time for us to realize that we are too great a nation to limit ourselves to small dreams. We are not, as some would have us believe, doomed to an inevitable decline. I do not believe in a fate that will fall on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing. So, with all the creative energy at our command, let us begin an era of national renewal. Let us renew our determination, our courage, and our strength. And let us renew our faith and our hope.” — Ronald Wilson Reagan, 40th President of the United States of America, First Inaugural Address, Tuesday, January 20, 1981

#favorite-quotes, #nudge

What would be a recent question for God?…

What would be a recent question for God?

The question I would select is neither novel nor has it just been asked once, but I still ask it as the Psalmist and the writer of Hebrews did so long ago:

“What is man that You are mindful of him,And the son of man that You visit him?” (Psalm 8:4; Hebrews
2:6, NKJV).

I ponder that question often as I consider all that God has blessed me with in my life and wonder just how much the scales are lacking on my side.

#nudge, #questions

Favorite Corinthian verse

There are several verses one could pick, but for me, none surpasses this one–“The last enemy that will be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15:26, NKJV.) Death is an enemy that will be destroyed by Christ!

It reminds me of the promise Jesus made about the church–“I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18b, NKJV.) The gates of Hades are the gates that hold the righteous and unrighteous dead. When I compare these two verses, Revelation 20:12-15 has even more intense implication–“And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and the books were opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were judged in them. And they were judged each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (NKJV.)

Perhaps all of us have heard lesson about the severity of punishment of the rich man who mistreated Lazarus. I recall, before I became a Christian, shifting in my seat as I had it brought to bear on my mind the agony of the rich man. I was impressed that he wanted Abraham to send Lazarus back to warn his household not to make the same mistake–“I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment” (Luke 16:27-28 NKJV.) I reflect on Abraham’s reply after the rich man said Moses and the prophets were insufficient of warning–“If they not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rises from the dead” (Luke 16:31, NKJV.) Think of that–since that time Jesus actually triumphed over the tomb and has warned us, but people still reject Him.

When I preach/teach on this subject, I make sure to point out that as hot as the fire was for Lazarus, the eternal fires of hell are such that these will burn up Hades! May God give us the opportunity and courage to speak to those we have access to warn them that they are not just merely lost but the worst of fates await them as they continue to put off obeying the gospel, resist being added to the church, and forfeit living in the abode of the righteous.

#1-corinthians, #end-times, #favorite-bible-verses

What is my favorite Bible book to teach?…

What is my favorite Bible book to teach? I have always enjoyed studying and teaching Hebrews. It has so many pertinent concepts that need reinforced continually–Christianity is superior to Judaism, there has always been a pattern for God’s people to follow, the lessons of the Old Testament are relevant for us today, the old covenant has been replaced by a new covenant, this new covenant is special in that it is a testament of Jesus Christ, and others points that the world need to hear proclaimed. I was blessed to have Clyde Woods (AKA Doc Woods) for this class at Freed-Hardeman University. I never tire of studying from this epistle.

#bible-books, #bible-teaching, #nudge