MY USE OF THE INTERNET AND SOCIAL MEDIA TO ADVANCE, PROMOTE, AND DEFEND NEW TESTAMENT CHRISTIANITY
Since my retirement from full-time ministry 20 years ago I have actively used the internet and social media to advance, promote, and defend New Testament Christianity. I believe that as a steward of my time, opportunities, and resources, I am under divine obligation to do this. “Moreover, it is required in stewards that one be found faithful” (I Corinthians 4:2).
I am aware that some may not like my approach or my emphasis. That is alright. I will not fall out with them because they disagree with my approach and/or my emphasis. Others also utilize the internet and social media to present things that are important to them. Some of them also have a particular emphasis, but they seem to think that their emphasis is more important and significant than mine. The fact is, there are many great Bible truths and principles that are in dire need of emphasis in our time.
Some have said that they may agree with WHAT I say but not with HOW I say it. However, in all candor, I have observed that with some it is WHAT I say, not just HOW I say it. Deep down, I get the feeling that they really are not in agreement or sympathy with WHAT I say! The Bible teaching concerning love is often misunderstood to mean that religious error and false teachers are not to be “called out.” Such is a complete misapprehension of true Bible love. “But we don’t like the way you do it, brother Hugh.” To which I say: “I like the way I do it (imperfect as it may be) better than the way many do not do it!” To only slightly paraphrase F. B. Srygley, “Some feel that they are too good and too kind to call out false teachers and false doctrine, but they are not too good and too kind to criticize their brethren who do so.” The church of our Lord is too precious for faithful Christians to stand by and allow false teachers, smart alecks, and those who say they are scholars and are not to smudge the beauty of that blood-bought entity or to try to make it into something that it is not!
I spend a lot of time emphasizing the distinctive features of the New Testament church. I believe this is badly needed in our day. In reality, it has always been needed. I emphasize the plain, distinctive doctrine of the New Testament and point out false doctrine. I regret that some seemingly do not like this, and perhaps think that I am too negative, but they need to know that I do not intend to stop.
I am concerned about the future of the church. Some of my preaching brethren, especially some of the younger ones (and not a few of the older ones) worry me. Some seem all too quick to question certain basic Bible truths that God’s faithful people have emphasized from the beginning, and are equally quick to defend denominational preachers, denominational theology and thinking, and denominational terminology. I wonder why that is the case.
The apostle Paul was concerned about the church in his day. He spoke of his “anxiety (concern, NASB) for all the churches” (II Corinthians 11:28). He spent a lot of time warning about apostasy (Acts 20:28-31; I Timothy 4:1-3; II Timothy 3:1-9; II Timothy 4:1-5; II Thessalonians 2:1-12; et. al.). I am sure there were those who did not like Paul’s emphasis or his negative tone, but he did not let that stop him from warning God’s people of what lay ahead.
From time to time, I post various observations on my Facebook page. This week I share some of them with my “News & Views” readers. These are not dated, but have appeared at various times over the past few months. They express some of my deep concerns for the church of our Lord and the need for a pure faith and a faultless practice where apostolic Christianity is concerned.
A THURSDAY MORNING OBSERVATION: The Lord surely has a church (Matthew 16:18; Acts 20:28), but I am told by some that I ought not to speak of “the Lord’s church.” They say it is sectarian to do so, but they have never explained why that is the case. According to the New Testament, every Christian is a member of the Lord’s church. There are no Christians outside the church of the Lord because when a person is saved from his/her sins and becomes a Christian the Lord adds that person to His church (Acts 2:47).
Now, there may be some Christians, who, in addition to having been added to Christ’s church when they obeyed the gospel and were saved from their sins, have joined or been led into any one of hundreds of denominational churches that now dot the religious landscape, but it is for sure that it was not necessary for them to do that, and it is for sure that no Christian in New Testament times ever did that. Denominational churches did not exist in New Testament times or for several hundreds of years after the close of the New Testament. There was but one body (Ephesians 4:4), that one body was the church (Colossians 1:18), and all Christians were members of it alone.
I am a Christian and a member of the Lord’s church, but that does not make me either a sectarian or a member of a denomination. Today, as in New Testament times, one can become a Christian without ever joining any denomination (Catholic or Protestant), but if one has become a Christian (in the only way the New Testament instructs all to be saved and become Christians) that person is a member of the Lord’s church.
Study your Bible to learn what people did in New Testament times to be saved and to stay saved. Do what they did and become what they became—nothing more, less, or other!
A THURSDAY MORNING OBSERVATION: In Scripture, the three members of the Godhead are all identified in the masculine gender: God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit (for the Holy Spirit, see John 16:13; et al). All of the apostles of Christ—those He chose while on earth and those chosen after He ascended back to heaven—were men. The one chosen to take the place of Judas Iscariot was a man, even though several women (including Mary the mother of Jesus) were among the 120 disciples meeting in an upper room when the selection of Judas’ successor took place (Acts 1:12-26). No woman was set forth as a candidate, only two men. It was specifically stated that “of these men” one must be chosen (verse 21), and it was a man who in fact was chosen—Matthias. All of the writers of the 27 books of the New Testament were men. Perhaps most significant of all, it was God’s only begotten Son, not an only begotten daughter, that He sent to earth to save us (John 3:16; Galatians 4:4-5; et al). Against the background of these “un-get-overable” facts (to use a word coined by N. B. Hardeman), it is neither difficult to understand nor difficult to respect and apply the biblical restrictions placed on women in the work and worship of the church (I Corinthians 14:34; I Timothy 2:11-14). No God-fearing woman, respectful of her God-assigned role in the home and in the church, would want it otherwise.
A FRIDAY AFTERNOON OBSERVATION: It amazes me that one could believe that one’s sexual orientation and practices, how many times (and why) one marries, divorces, and remarries, what kind of music (and singing IS music) we offer in worship to God, whether or not we have women preachers, when or how often we partake of the Lord’s Supper, which church one is a member of, and a host of other things that this post-modern generation thinks so little of just really do not matter… that one is free to believe and practice whatever he “feels is right” where these things are concerned. I sometimes wonder why God gave any instructions and information about these things to begin with. To some it makes no difference what He has said. In their own vaunted “wisdom” they plan to do as they please where these matters are concerned. Might as well say worship does not matter, respecting the Bible does not matter, doing God’s will does not matter, whether the Lord Himself established a church does not matter, how one becomes and remains a faithful member of that church does not matter. During some of Israel’s darkest days “everyone did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6; 21:25). Many are not too far—if any—from that same mindset today.
A FRIDAY MORNING OBSERVATION: Sadly, there are those (even alleged scholars) who cannot view the church of the New Testament much beyond that of a spiritual third grader (cf. Hebrews 5:12-14). Instead of letting the New Testament define the church and what is required to become and remain a faithful member of it, they let denominationalism (that arose far this side of the New Testament) define the church. Instead of letting the New Testament address the sin of denominationalism and its multiplicity of man-made doctrines and practices, they prefer to let denominationalism serve as the lens through which they view the church. To many, the church of Christ is just one of many so-called “Christian traditions” – “our tradition,” “our fellowship,” “our tribe,” “our little corner of the kingdom.” Their “blind spots” will not allow them to see it as being simply the church that Christ established, the church of which we read in the New Testament. They are embarrassed by the claim that we are the New Testament church and not a denomination. In a different context, Paul once asked, “Or do you despise the church of God?” (I Corinthians 11:22). There is more than one way to despise the church. One way is to despise its simple undenominational nature. Unfortunately, there are far too many who despise the church in this way. They are ashamed to be thought of as just the New Testament church. As I said, they are thinking on about a third grade level, allowing the religious world around them to shape their concept of the church instead of allowing the New Testament to do so.
I will close with the following interesting blurb from the July 18, 2020 edition of The Tennessean, Nashville’s daily newspaper, that I posted on my Facebook page a few Saturdays ago:
“After weeks of wrangling, the Pentagon is banning the displays of the Confederate flag on military installations in a policy that doesn’t say ‘ban’ or mention that flag … Signed by Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Thursday night, the memo lists the types of flags that may be displayed at military installations. The Confederate flag is not among them—thus barring its display.”
In other words, silence prohibits it! Even people of the world recognize the import and impact of silence, otherwise known as the rule or law of exclusion. Wish God’s people could learn the same. I have to wonder if someone on some military base will display the Confederate flag and then argue that the Secretary’s memo did not say NOT to display it?
Hugh Fulford, September 1, 2020