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  • TFRStaff 6:31 am on 2014-09-23 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: church of christ, , ,   

    Hugh's News & Views ("If It Looks Like A Duck . . .") 

    “IF IT LOOKS LIKE A DUCK . . .”

    “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.”

    So goes the “Duck Test.” It is often used to suggest that an unknown subject can be identified by observing that subject’s habitual characteristics. It also is sometimes used in an effort to counter valid arguments that a thing is not always what it might appear to be to an undiscerning person. (More …)

     
  • J. Randal Matheny 1:43 pm on 2014-08-06 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , church of christ, ,   

    If you don't keep up, you can't operate 

    stay-up-to-dateIf you don’t keep up, you can’t operate. So I get a notice from Skype when I tried to log in this morning, in order to wish my mother a happy birthday, and the service wouldn’t let me connect. It told me to go get the latest OS X (Mac operating system) and update my Skype software. New hardware, new software, you have to stay up to date, or lose out.

    A few days ago, I clicked to open what was supposedly a super-spiffy Bible site. It told me to go update my system and then come back. Well! Imagine that! In order to read their material (the Bible, yet), I had to have up-to-the-minute software. (More …)

     
  • TFRStaff 4:18 am on 2014-07-22 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: church of christ, ,   

    Hugh's News & Views (Things I've Lived To See–Pt. 2) 

    SOME THINGS I HAVE LIVED TO SEE IN THE CHURCH (Part 2)

    Following are some of the things I have lived to see in the church of our Lord:

    • For many (including preachers) to view the church as just another denomination and to speak of it in denominational terms.
    • For people (including preachers) to leave the church for a denomination, believing that in so doing they had not left the spiritual body of Christ, His church, but had only “switched denominations.” (More …)
     
    • Jack 4:01 pm on 2014-07-22 Permalink | Reply

      Amen, and so what was prophesied has come to pass… 1 Peter 1:1-4

  • John T. Polk II 8:17 am on 2014-07-16 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , church of christ, fleshly recreation, , , hasty in words, , , , , , , , self-justified,   

    (#197) The Proverbs of Solomon 29:19-21-Are We Pampered Servants? 

    Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

    Proverbs 29:19-21: “A servant will not be corrected by mere words; For though he understands, he will not respond. Do you see a man hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him. He who pampers his servant from childhood Will have him as a son in the end.”

    The term “servant” indicates someone who works for someone else, and though Moses was “a servant” in God’s House, Jesus took “the form of a bondservant” (Philippians 2:7), He was “a Son over His own house, whose house we are” (Hebrews 3:5-6), that is, the church of Christ (1 Timothy 3:15; Ephesians 1:22-23). Jesus’ obedience under Moses’ Law (Hebrews 5:8-9) is our example for obeying Jesus’ Law (Matthew 28:18-20).

    It is a disobedient servant who will not follow carefully-worded instructions, so that “though he understands, he will not respond” with obedience. No one has become a servant of Christ by confessing to be saved before being baptized (buried) into the death of Jesus (Romans 6:1-7); no servant of Christ ever added mechanical instrumental music to the singing required in worship (Ephesians 5:19-20); no servants of Christ ever murdered to expand the church (John 18:37; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6); no servants of Christ enjoyed the recreation of fleshly appeals (Romans 13:13-14)!

    There is no hope for “a fool” (one who disobeys God) unless he/she repents and obeys God’s Will. One who is conceited must become humbled in order to learn obedience to God: “Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise” (1 Corinthians 3:18). The person who is “hasty in his words” is trying to justify him- or herself, rather than listening to what must be changed to please God. “He who answers a matter before he hears it, It is folly and shame to him” (Proverbs 18:13). No one can “testify” their way to salvation without doing what God says!

    A pampered servant will soon “think of himself more highly than he ought to think” (Romans 12:3). This is why all those who have been taught that once they’re saved, they’re always saved, and cannot lose their salvation become spiritually arrogant, thinking they are “bullet-proof!” “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12). Paul addressed that attitude (and doctrine!) when he wrote: “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace” (Galatians 5:4).

    Jesus Christ said to His disciples: “Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 13:16-17). Truly, as Paul wrote, “if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • TFRStaff 5:25 am on 2014-07-15 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: church of christ,   

    Hugh's News & Views (Things I Have Lived To See) 

    SOME THINGS I HAVE LIVED TO SEE IN THE CHURCH

    (Part 1)

    I have known and been associated with the church of Christ for over sixty-five years, since 1948, when my father left the Methodist Church, obeyed the gospel, and became a member of the church of which we read in the New Testament, the one spiritual body of Christ. For some sixty of those years I have endeavored to preach the gospel of Christ and to plead with people to be Christians only without denominational affiliation. (More …)

     
  • John T. Polk II 8:00 am on 2014-06-09 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , church of christ, , , hungry, make Jesus sick, , ,   

    (#184) The Proverbs of Solomon 27:7-Are You Too Full To Eat? 

    Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

    Proverbs 27:7: “A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, But to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.”

    When people are driven by hunger, it is surprising what they think is “sweet,” or tasty and edible, even something “bitter!” But when people feel full and “satisfied,” hardly anything would taste good, not even sweet “honeycomb!” Parents cannot make a child eat unless the child is hungry; food advertising is designed to create a sense of hunger; cultural dishes reflect how desperate the society was when the recipe was determined.

    This has tremendous spiritual application. After delivering the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, and providing for them 40 years in the Wilderness, God warned them as they entered The Promised Land: “When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you. Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, lest-when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied”…”then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’ And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth… “Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the LORD your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish ” (Deuteronomy 8:10-20). People who “have it good” don’t think they need God, but they do!

    The gravest danger to the church of Christ specifically, and America generally, is self-serving self-satisfaction and self-justification. People who have been convinced their own approval of religious practices is all that matters don’t seem to care whether God approves or not! They think they are “full” and even God’s blessings are not “sweet” enough to cause them to eat the Word of God! False preachers have convinced people they are saved before being baptized “into Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:3), and they think they are full with salvation and don’t need the baptism that saves (1 Peter 3:21)!

    Jesus’ disciples, however, are those who “hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Matthew 5:6), but those who make Him sick, say “‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17). These sickening Christians don’t see the need to attend Bible classes, hear sermons with an open heart (Luke 24:27, 32), or strive to learn more of God’s Word through “diligence” (2 Timothy 2:15). Bible preachers, accurate worship services, faithful good deeds, Jesus Christ, Himself, cannot draw people who are “satisfied” without them! Jesus must be lifted above all “satisfied” people in order to “draw all peoples to Myself” (John 12:32).

    Are you drawn to Jesus by the Word of God?

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 11:51 am on 2014-04-19 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , church of christ, , ,   

    Calendar Apostasy (finis) 

    Joseph, let me finish this conversation on “fellowshiproom.org” with some comments, and if you have further questions, we can privately discuss them.

    Original article:

    If they did so [continued celebrating Passover], it was without any authority from God. From Colossians 2:13-17 we learn that the cross of Christ: (1) “wiped out” Moses’ Law with none remaining (just like a sinner’s sins, Acts 3:19); (2) took Moses’ Law “out of the way” (removed it from further use, like sins, John 1:29); (3) “nailed” Moses’ Law at the same time (if there is no “judgment,” there is no law to enforce, Romans 4:15)

     You said: I think that’s a pretty radical reading of Colossians 2:13–17. [Joseph, it’s not “radical reading” to stress the exact words of the text, and then accept it’s teaching. You seem to resort to “radical reading” by looking into the words “bond,” “curse,” “elemental spirits” in passages you use. It is hardly objective to call my procedure “radical reading” and resort to the same thing yourself!] Let’s look at what the Scripture actually says (I’ll even be nice and use a good Protestant translation, the ESV):[What you term “a good Protestant translation” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s completely accurate. I find the NKJV a more consistently accurate translation.]

    You said: The “bond” is the record of those trespasses, which under the Law, we were legally bound to expiate. What Jesus canceled was not the Law, but this bond, and the legal requirements of the Law upon a Christian. [If what Christ “wiped out” was a written record of our personal sins, how would this prevent being judged “in food or in drink,” “a festival or a new moon or sabbaths?” And if that was the “shadow of things to come,” what was to come? Your interpretation is not consistent with this context. But if what Christ “wiped out” was Moses’ Law, then Christ’s death frees from personal sin and  the food and drink, festival, new moon, and sabbaths requirements of Moses’ Law. AND Christians should no longer follow the “shadow,” but the “substance” of Christ’s Law!] As he says in Galatians, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law” (Galatians 3:13) — He did not “wipe away” the Law itself. [Moses’ Law contained “the curse,”(Deuteronomy 21:23). Jesus became “the curse of the law” when He was crucified (Galatians 3:13-14). If the “curse” is removed, then the law with that “curse” is removed. If not, why not?] If that were the case, why would the Law itself (the Torah) still be an essential part of Christian Bibles? [“to bring us to Christ” (Galatians 3:19-29)]

     What is called a “Christian calendar” is the Catholic calendar of their designated times for spiritual emphasis. However, the New Testament church of Christ never re-enacted events in Jesus’ life, but preached His life, death, resurrection and ascension into Heaven,  that people could believe in Him (Luke 1:1-4; John 20:30-31; 21:25; Mark 16:15-16). Jesus was born, lived, and died under Moses’ Law (Galatians 4:4-5), but in His death, He removed that Law (Colossians 2:14-17; Hebrews 10:9-10). According to Hebrews 10:9, what “first” did Jesus “take away” and what did Jesus “establish” as the “second” which saves us today?

     It is easy to slip into unscriptural practices by imitating those who practice false religious ways, as Paul warned (2 Timothy 4:1-5), instead of imitating those who are pleasing to God (1 Corinthians 4:15-16; 2 Corinthians 10:18).

    —–John T. Polk II

     
    • docmgphillips 1:20 pm on 2014-04-19 Permalink | Reply

      I have followed this discussion with interest. Perhaps we are arguing semantics; perhaps not. I have never celebrated Christmas nor Easter as religious holidays. They definitely are NOT! However, I have always celebrated Santa Claus Day and Easter Bunny Day as secular holidays, and have allowed my children to do the same. They understood from early on that there was nothing sacred nor religious about those days. After all, we celebrate 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, and St. Valentine’s Day (wasn’t he a Catholic?). Personally, I see no harm in holidays as long as we understand that they have no religious connotation. We cannot control the world, but we can control what we, ourselves, believe.
      With that understanding, what is the problem? Can we not be “in” the world but not “of” the world?

      • RichardS 5:56 pm on 2014-04-19 Permalink | Reply

        When I was growing up my family celebrated Christmas, Easter, St. Patrick’s day, St.Valentine’s day, and halloween. However, as an adult Christian, I don’t see how I can observe or celebrate those days (which are steeped in pagan rituals) and be “unspotted from the world” (Jas 1:27) or not “conformed to the world” (Rom 12:2). The other national holidays that you mentioned, as far as I know, don’t involve any pagan rituals.

    • Joseph Richardson 1:29 pm on 2014-04-19 Permalink | Reply

      So you said that you “stress the exact words of the text.” And I “look into” the meaning of the words. Is this not the same thing? Should we not take the words for what they mean, and understand the context?

      If what Christ “wiped out” was a written record of our personal sins, how would this prevent being judged “in food or in drink,” “a festival or a new moon or sabbaths?

      Who do you think is doing the judging here? This is not talking about divine judgment. Paul says, “let no one pass judgment on you.” He is speaking, as I’ve said several times, to the exact situation that was occurring with the Romans and Galatians. Judaizers — those who taught that observance of the Torah was necessary for salvation in Christ — were passing judgment on Gentile Christian believers, who did not keep such observance. Paul says that because Christ canceled the bond of debts, He set us free from the legal demands of the Law. We are no longer bound in Christ to keep the Torah.

      And if that was the “shadow of things to come,” what was to come?

      Salvation in Christ by faith. Is this not basic Christian theology?

      But if what Christ “wiped out” was Moses’ Law, then Christ’s death frees from personal sin and the food and drink, festival, new moon, and sabbaths requirements of Moses’ Law.

      Yes, exactly — Christ’s redemption frees us from the legal requirements of the Law, to keep festivals, etc. But it does not forbid them, which is what you care claiming.

      And Christians should no longer follow the “shadow,” but the “substance” of Christ’s Law!

      That isn’t what Paul says here at all. You are interpolating a meaning that is not there. As I have shown, Paul, a Jew, as well as other Jewish Christians, “kept the Law zealously,” and did not see any contradiction between this and their salvation in Christ. How do you explain this discrepancy?

      I find the NKJV a more consistently accurate translation.

      Fine. Let’s use that one. It says basically the same thing.

      If the “curse” is removed, then the law with that “curse” is removed. If not, why not?

      Why would it be? Jesus Himself said, “Assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the Law till all is fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:18) Are you contradicting the words of our Lord?

      I will not argue with you about “unscriptural practices” and “false religious ways,” since that is an entirely different argument. You are asserting meanings from Scripture that simply are not there.

      If you’d like to email me, my address is joseph.t.richardson@gmail.com. But I welcome any other input from the community and am perfectly content to keep the discussion here.

  • John T. Polk II 10:33 pm on 2014-04-17 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , church of christ, , , , pagans,   

    Calendar Apostasy 

    God sent His people, Israel, into the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua, but with these “statutes and judgments” in Moses’ final declaration to them:

    “These are the statutes and judgments which you shall be careful to observe in the land which the LORD God of your fathers is giving you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth. You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. And you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and burn their wooden images with fire; you shall cut down the carved images of their gods and destroy their names from that place. You shall not worship the LORD your God with such things. But you shall seek the place where the LORD your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go. There you shall take your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, your vowed offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks” (Deuteronomy 12:1-6). The people in that land were pagans and idolaters who worshiped the Creation rather than the Creator. They worshiped the various “gods” which supposedly represented the powers involved in life on Earth. God did not allow His people to simply adopt, nor adapt, the Canaanites’ religious practices as worship to Him. All of: “the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods,” “their altars,” “their sacred pillars,” “their wooden images,” “the carved images,” were to be “utterly” destroyed so they would have no influence among the Israelites, whatsoever. Only the specified worship in the manner God described would be acceptable to God. The Israelites were not to be allied to the worship proscribed by the seasons, but that which was determined by God.

    After the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2 when the kingdom of Christ was established on earth, the Gospel of Christ was to be preached to every creature (Mark 16:15-16). While in Lystra, Paul healed a lame man (Acts 14:8-10), but then the idolaters sought to worship both Paul and Barnabas:

    “Now when the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, ‘The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!’ And Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, intending to sacrifice with the multitudes. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out and saying, ‘Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them, who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.’ And with these sayings they could scarcely restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them” (Acts 14:11-18). God’s inspired Apostle Paul stopped any idolatrous practice from being used as an explanation for, or an application to, Christianity. There is nothing in idolatrous teachings or practices which should be admitted or accepted by Christians.

    Catholicism, whether Roman or Greek, has incorporated idolatrous practices and seasonal calendars into what they call “Christian,” when all they have done is find some Scripture or event in Christ’s life with which to “tag” what would otherwise be a rejected practice. The disciples were called “Christians” by God first in Antioch (Acts 11:26), but Catholicism has spread the term, like an umbrella, over practices of paganism and idolatry. No Christian in the New Testament ever celebrated an “Easter,” “Christmas,” “Lent,” “Seder,” or any of the 40 days of mishmash found on today’s religious calendars, which are mistakenly termed a “Christian Calendar.”

    No denomination is “Protestant” that follows Catholicism’s religious calendar. “Seder” is simply a re-creation of the Jewish Passover, which Jesus died to remove (Colossians 2:14-16); “Yule” is from witches, “Eoster/Ishtar” is from idolaters, and “Fertility rites” demonstrated by rabbits and eggs, are the very things forbidden by Paul (Galatians 4:8-11); and “Lent” is hypocritical display of a misunderstanding of “fasting” condemned by Jesus (Matthew 6:16-18). The Lord’s death, represented in the Lord’s Supper, must be kept free from the impurities of falsehood (1 Corinthians 10:15-22). Everyone who keeps special days on a religious calendar did “not so learn Christ” (Ephesians 4:20).

    To be a disciple of Christ, one must believe the historical and factual evidence of His life found in the New Testament (John 20:30-31; 21:25) and obey His command to be baptized  “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). The only events in Christ’s life to be memorialized are: (1) His death, burial, and resurrection first, when a sinner repents and is baptized into death, Romans 6:1-6, then raised “in newness of life”; and secondly, when Christians observe the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:23-26); and (2) the day of His resurrection remembered each week when Christians assemble (“the first day of the week,” Luke 24:1-9; Acts 20:7). There are no other special or seasonal days for Christians, according to the New Testament. “The churches of Christ” (Romans 16:16) never observed a religious calendar that would lead them into apostasy (1 Timothy 4:1-3), because those who follow such stand contrary to inspired truth (2 Timothy 4:1-5). “The churches of Christ salute you” but we salute Jesus Christ above all.

    —–John T. Polk II

     
    • Joseph Richardson 12:08 am on 2014-04-18 Permalink | Reply

      Hey, whoa, slow down, man. Let’s think this through.

      The first Christians, I’m sure you realize, were Jews. They continued to celebrate the Passover (Pascha) and the Sabbath for at least the first century after Christ. Christ didn’t die to “remove” these things: He came to fulfill them (cf. Matthew 5:17). Paul says in Colossians 2:16 “let no one pass judgment on you” with regard to practices of Jewish festivals or traditions. This is essentially his message in Romans and Galatians — in which he does not condemn circumcision per se, or condemn any Jewish Christian who had received circumcision (for he himself had, as did Timothy, Acts 16:3), or declare that Jewish believers should no longer practice the traditions of their heritage. What he taught (in opposition to the Judaizers) was that no Christian was justified by the works of the law (cf. Romans 3:20), but rather by faith (Romans 3:20-26). Did God no longer justify believers who had been circumcised? Did Jesus “remove” the covenant of Abraham or of Moses? Can God go back on His promises, or nullify the covenants He has made? No, of course not. He justifies the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised by faith (Romans 3:30); and by faith in Christ, even the Gentiles become children of Abraham and heirs to God’s promises through him (Galatians 3:29).

      So to the idea that observing religious festivals is tantamount to idolatry: The first, Jewish Christians did, and their Gentile brethren followed suit; so this is a practice as old as the Christian Church. Jesus is our Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7) — so should Christians no longer care about the Passover? Are we not heirs to God’s promises then, too? Jesus presented Himself as the fulfillment of that sacrifice, even instructing us to keep a remembrance of it, in the very language of the Passover celebration (Exodus 12:24; 24:8, Luke 22:19). Paul, in reference to this, instructs us to “celebrate the festival” (1 Corinthians 5:8).

      For what it’s worth: The Resurrection of our Lord has only ever been called “Easter” in England and English-speaking countries (in both Greek and Latin, it was called “Pascha,” Passover, since the first century); and the Christmas season has only ever been referred to as “Yule” among Germanic peoples. So you may thank our Anglo-Saxon forebears for that “idolatry,” not the early Christians. The practice of fasting before celebrating our Lord’s Passion and Resurrection is by all appearances apostolic, in emulation of our Lord’s own fasting (Matthew 4:1-11), and He did not at all condemn fasting (in the very verse you cite, Matthew 6:16, he instructs us regarding “when [we] fast”).

      As for all your other charges of “idolatrous practices” and “doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1) — you should be prepared to back that up before lobbing such accusations at fellow believers. No one in the early Church read or applied these Scriptures the way you are applying them. There is nothing in Scripture that forbids remembering and celebrating the great events of the history of salvation — in fact, it’s an essential part of the faith and covenant we have inherited from our Jewish Lord. No, these things do not contribute to our salvation in themselves, and no one believes they do; but the calendar is, as it was for the Jews, an ancient model and pattern and custom for worshipping God, for setting our minds and our hearts on Him and on His promises — especially now, in the Christian caledndar, on Christ’s Incarnation, Passion, and Resurrection.

      I respect your position, brother, but I think you’re mistaken. If the Christian calendar so leads a believer away from Christ — why is every bit of it focused on Christ’s work of salvation in our lives? God bless you, and His peace be with you!

  • TFRStaff 8:11 am on 2014-03-20 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: church of christ, ,   

    Most think of Christianity in a way foreign to Scripture 

    buffet-religion“There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called—one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” Ephesians 4:4-6.

    Many like buffet restaurants that give us a good excuse to eat as much of our favorite foods as we want. We pick and choose what we like while rejecting what we don’t like.

    That’s how most think of Christianity—that Jesus is the vine and denominations are the branches. We think it picky to point out teachings that oppose other groups or the Bible because if you don’t like a particular dish, just load up your plate from another. (More …)

     
  • John T. Polk II 10:53 am on 2014-02-17 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: accompanying signs, , church of christ, confirm the word, , snake handling   

    “Snake Salvation” — Really? 

    ‘Snake Salvation’ TV star Jamie Coots dies after being bitten

    Feb. 16, 2014, 3:22 PM EST

    By Todd Cunningham
    TheWrap

    Jamie Coots, a star of the National Geographic TV reality series “Snake Salvation,” died Saturday after being bitten by a snake and refusing medical treatment.

    Coots was one of two pastors from a Pentacostal church in Middleboro Ky. featured on the show about snake handling at a sect of Christian churches in Kentucky, Alabama, West Virginia and Tennessee, where worshippers believe faith will protect them from the venom of poisonous snakes.

    Coots’ death was reported Sunday by Kentucky’s Lexington-Herald Leader.

    Coots was bitten on his right hand by a snake. An ambulance crew and firefighters tried to talk Coots into going to the hospital, but he refused treatment, according to the report.

    Coots had suffered serious bites twice before. He told the Herald-Leader that he nearly died in the early 1990s when a large rattlesnake bit him on the left arm, and in 1998, a rattlesnake he was handling suddenly struck the middle finger of his right hand.

    Coots refused treatment for the excruciating bites in both of those cases.

    “It’s a victory to God’s people that the Lord seen fit to bring me through it,” he said the day after the bite in 1998.

    The Real Victory Is Truth

    1. It is tragic that this man has died.

    2. It is even more tragic that he, like some others, are so ignorant of God’s Word. Jesus Christ said the Gospel should be preached to “every creature,” but that the “signs” proving the truthfulness of that Gospel were for “those who believe” (Mark 16:15-20). The “signs” were for the miraculous beginning of its spread, for the Lord was “working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs.” By the time the Book of Hebrews was written, the word “which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will” (Hebrews 2:3-4). All believers were never promised these “accompanying signs” because: (1) even though 3000 were baptized on Pentecost, miracles were only done through the Apostles (Acts 2:38-43); (2) even though Samaritans “had received the word of God” and been baptized, the Apostles, Peter and John, travelled to them and “laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit” (Acts 8:12-18); (3) Paul baptized Ephesians “in the name of the Lord Jesus,” but they only received the Holy Spirit “when Paul had laid hands on them” (Acts 19:1-7). Coots evidently didn’t understand that what Jesus had said about “signs” was not for Coots, but for the early Christians, and that only until the New Testament was completely written. The only example of a serpent bite, which Jesus had said would “by no means hurt them,” is in Acts 28:1-6, and it did not! The clue that Coots was not included in Jesus’ list of “signs” is that the article about Coots said he had had “excruciating bites” twice before! All miracles establishing the claim that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God” are written in the Bible (John 20:30-31), since “the faith” has been “once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). There is no miraculous working of the Holy Spirit today that would  “confirm” God’s Word, and “If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 14:37).

    3. It is even more tragic that the publicity given this incident will associate such ignorance with so-called “Bible-believers” throughout the world. The Apostle Paul rebuked the “spirit of divination” (associated with Python, a serpent or dragon guarding the mythological Delphi), casting it out of the “slave girl” (Acts 16:16-24). She was proclaiming, “These men [Paul and Silas] are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation” (Acts 16:17). The Gospel of Jesus Christ does not need, and should not tolerate, any false teacher’s endorsement, if for no other reason, because it would make a lying connection between Truth and error! “They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error” (1 John 4:5-6).

    Incidents like this that has happened to this ignorant practitioner must not go unnoticed and unexplained, for the Truth leads to God (John 14:6), not to an ignoble end!

    —–John T. Polk II

     
  • John T. Polk II 2:00 am on 2014-02-11 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , church of christ, , , , , ,   

    (#152) The Proverbs of Solomon 21:3-Why There Are Hypocrites In Church 

    Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

    Proverbs 21:3: “To do righteousness and justice Is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.”

    The worship gatherings of the churches of Christ are designed by God to bring the righteous together before the Lord to offer their sacrifices. “Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:4-5). The worship of the churches of Christ consists of offering sacrifices of: Lord’s Supper and preaching the Bible (Acts 20:7), contributions (1 Corinthians 16:1-2), prayers (Acts 12:5), and singing with the heart (Ephesians 5:19). Christians do not assemble because their lives are perfected, but because they need to remember that God forgives those who are “giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:12-14).

    There are, however, people who attend church to cover up their daily sins, but this proverb shows that church (“sacrifice”) can never take the place of daily commitment to obey God. In other words, God is not honored with sacrifices from someone who disobeys daily! God’s Prophet, Samuel, told King Saul: “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king” (1 Samuel 15:22-23). God’s Prophet, Hosea, told Israelites: “For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6). In the New Testament, Christians are told: “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Hebrews 13:15-16). All who try to use church worship as a cover for their daily sinful lives are the definition of “hypocrite.” Going through the motions of worship without devotion to God’s Law the rest of the time is rejected by God. “Sinners in the congregation of the righteous” (Psalm 1:5) will not be tolerated. Jesus Christ has said: “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men’” (Mark 7:6-7).

    NO ONE is a hypocrite just because they attend church—hypocrites are life-long sinners who use church to mask their sins!

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • TFRStaff 5:03 am on 2014-02-05 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: church of christ, ,   

    Graffiti 

    by Steve Vice preacher/elder Forest Park church of Christ

    Graffiti is done by gang members to mark territory. It is also done by artists who either do not have canvas or just want to rebel, showing themselves to be disrespectful of other people’s property. Most often graffiti is written on places that belong to others. It is, most of the time, illegal.

    Just because you may not like the name “Kroger” does not give you the right to go and spray paint over that name and give it a name that pleases you. It is recognized that only the owner of a property or organization has the right to name that property or organization as he or she sees fit. It is illegal to change the name without the owner’s approval. (More …)

     
  • J. Randal Matheny 6:44 pm on 2014-01-20 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: church of christ, ,   

    The church at the center of God’s plan is a necessary topic in evangelism 

    During one of my classes this past weekend on the NT church, good brother Alex Soares commented that Paul said in Ep 5.25, “Christ loved the church and gave himself for her.” That puts the church squarely at the center of God’s plan.

    The church is the object of Christ’s love and sacrifice. When the question is asked, “What did Christ accomplish by his death?”, the church must be mentioned. How then can one talk about Christ’s sacrifice to non-Christians and not mention the church, as some propose?

    That same day or the next, someone read from Ac 20.28, where Paul speaks of “the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son.” The text reinforces the Ephesians passage.

    Those who urge leaving out the church when speaking of the gospel have an agenda that is not reflected in Scripture. Either that, or they are ignorant parrots of progressive mouths.

     
  • J. Randal Matheny 3:44 pm on 2014-01-15 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: church of christ, , , The Way   

    Bible verse and lesson outline from Judges: quickly turned aside 

    judges-israelJudges 2.17 will be a major passage that I’ll work with this weekend at the northeast lectureship, as a I teach on the NT church as The Way:

    But they did not obey their leaders. Instead they prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them. They quickly turned aside from the path their ancestors had walked. Their ancestors had obeyed the Lord’s commands, but they did not.

    Some of the points are: (More …)

     
  • John T. Polk II 2:00 am on 2014-01-15 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , church of christ, , , , , , , Palestinians,   

    (#137) The Proverbs of Solomon 18:19-Can You Forgive Your Brother? 

    Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

    Proverbs 18:19: “A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, And contentions are like the bars of a castle.”

    Contentious statements that divide brethren are “like the bars of a castle,” that is, they defensively fortify brothers from each other. Enemies can be converted and changed more easily than a relative, and it seems the nearer the relationship, the more difficult it is to effect that change! The first brothers, Cain and Abel, were separated by Cain’s anger that his brother obeyed what was right (Genesis 4:1-12; Hebrews 11:4) but Cain was evil (1 John 3:11-12). Jacob and Esau were separated by Esau’s profaning his birthright (inheritance, Genesis 25:29-34), Jacob’s deception to receive that birthright (Genesis 27:1-46), and Esau’s bitterness and hatred for his brother. They were separated for years before they could reconcile (Genesis 33:1-15), but reconcile they did! Since the Jews come from Jacob, and the so-called “Palestinians” come from Esau, the modern-day Middle East should read the Bible and reconcile their differences as their progenitors did! Brethren in the flesh can be meaner, more violent, and destructive to each other than their enemies who are not related!

    Spiritual members in a church of Christ can become as bitter as Cain, and hateful as Esau, toward their brethren. The reason is the same, they have developed “an evil heart of unbelief” and departed from the living God (Hebrews 3:12). Their contentious words become “bars” to keep them inside their castle of ugliness. “Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:13-15). This brings eternal damnation upon the contentious brother. No amount of attendances, giving, singing, or prayers can disguise the real intent of wrong brethren. “We love Him because He first loved us. If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also” (1 John 4:19-21).

    The message of Jesus Christ, to His churches of Christ, is that of “reconciliation.” “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19).

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
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