Hugh’s News & Views (Why Do People Leave . . .)

WHY DO PEOPLE LEAVE THE CHURCH FOR A DENOMINATION?

Prior to the mid-20th century seldom did one hear of a member of the church of Christ leaving the church to join a denomination. There were, of course, exceptions because throughout the history of the church there have been defections from the one faith (Ephesians 4:5). Still, it was a rare thing for one to leave the church for a denomination. Continue reading

#church, #denominationalism, #hughfulford

‘Does the church have electricity?’

church-lightA brother in Florida mentioned Saturday that the electricity in his home was supposed to be restored in a few hours, after Hurricane Matthew swiped the Atlantic coast headed north. A person asked, “Does the church have electricity?”

The person was referring, of course, to the building where the church met. That’s unfortunately language, but you figure out how to get people to change their vocabulary.

Her question, however, invites reflection on the state of our congregations. Continue reading

#church, #enthusiasm, #life, #zeal

We show who we are in our meetings

Praying

We meet together today as God’s holy people, purified by his word of truth and cleansed by the blood of Christ in baptism.

“He did it to make her holy. He made her clean by washing her with water and the word” Eph 5.26 NIRV.

Our meetings reflect our character, which in turn determines our thoughts given to the mercies of Christ, our gratitude thrown upward to God, our praises louder for new life in the Spirit, our prayers fervent that others might come to this knowledge.
Continue reading

#church, #meetings, #worship

Be there. For them. For Him.

Church is not only an event, but a people. Church is definitely not a place, though time and place are essential. In church activities happen, but it’s more, a realm of Being.

Having said that, we go to church (that’s a very biblical phrase, BTW) to give, more than to receive. (More blessed, remember?) We go for our brothers and sisters in Christ, for their edification. We go for God, to meet him in a sacred moment, to glorify, and glory in, him; we go for Christ, to obey and find him.

Church is not a ritual to satisfy a legal demand, but one of many acts of obedience. There, life is found and lived and rejoiced in.

Be there today.

#church #Sunday

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2-19-2016 Why People Don’t Come To Church

Why do people not “go to church?” Probably for the same reason that, when Adam & Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, and thought God was near, they “hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:8 NKJV). When people sin today, they think by staying away from “church,” they are hiding from God. But like Adam & Eve found out, “there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13 NKJV). It is when “an unbeliever or an uninformed person” attends church, that “the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God” (1 Corinthians 14:24-25 NKJV). The churches of Christ invite you to come.
This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#adam-eve, #church, #hid, #sin

Hugh’s News & Views (Two Sermons)

TWO SERMONS OUT OF THE PAST

Sixty years ago Bill Humble delivered a lecture at Freed-Hardeman College titled “The Church of Christ is Different.” The outline of the lecture was published in the 1956 book of lectureship outlines. Brother Humble preached for several congregations of the Lord, taught at Florida College in Tampa, and later at Abilene Christian College (University) in Abilene, Texas where for a period of time he also served as a high ranking administrator. He is now retired and living in Amarillo, Texas.

Brother Humble’s masterful lecture at Freed-Hardeman consisted of three major sections, each supported by several points. They were as follows:

  1. The church of Christ is different (a truth). Brother Humble pointed out that Christ’s church is different from paganism, Judaism, Roman Catholicism, Protestant Denominationalism, and the irreligious.
  2. Why the church of Christ is different (a reason). Humble said it is different because we believe the Bible is a blueprint or pattern for the church in every age; that we must know what the blueprint calls for (teaches); and that we have a duty to follow it.
  3. Let’s keep the church of Christ different (a plea).

Brother Humble pointed out that our preaching must be distinctive; our practices must be scriptural, not denominational; our faith must be unmarred by modernism (earlier he had mentioned the modernists among us who have already departed from the faith); and our plea must be for a restoration of New Testament Christianity. In his conclusion, he reminded his hearers that God has a pattern, and we must follow it. He said that if modernism ever robs us of this conviction, the battle is lost and our faith in the deity of Christ and other fundamentals cannot long survive. He emphasized that if God has a pattern (and He does), we must speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where it is silent. He said that if the New Testament is not a pattern, then we must admit that it matters little what we speak or whether we speak at all. It truly was a masterpiece of a lecture!

In that same time frame (about 1958 or 1959) I heard Harold Hazelip in a gospel meeting at the Haldeman Avenue church in Louisville, Kentucky, the church where the great M. C. Kurfees preached for 45 years (1886-1931). One evening Harold preached a sermon on “Why Not Denominationalism?” Harold also preached for a number of local churches and went on to teach at Harding Graduate School of Religion (now Harding School of Theology) in Memphis. He later served as that School’s Dean, and still later served for about a dozen years as President of Lipscomb University in Nashville where the School of Theology is named in his honor.

Harold’s Louisville sermon title was not a rhetorical question, suggesting that we should accept denominational status. Rather, it was a well-reasoned and clearly-articulated presentation on why we should be undenominational Christians. First, responding to the various efforts made to defend denominationalism by philosophical, emotional, and scripture “defenses” (Harold showed that the various scriptures used to defend denominationalism were actually taken out of context and abused), he then gave six reasons for rejecting denominationalism and refusing to become denominational:

  1. It exists without the authority of Christ,
  2. It causes infidelity,
  3. It confuses men,
  4. It cultivates carnality,
  5. It retards evangelism,
  6. It divides.

I took copious notes on this sermon. The outline itself was simple, but the message preached was profound.

My question now is, are the things that Bill Humble and Harold Hazelip preached 60 years ago still true? If not, why not? How many of us still believe what they said? How many of us who preach still preach the biblical principles contained in those messages? Why do we now have members of the church (including preachers) saying the churches (they would write it Churches) of Christ are a denomination and that we cannot avoid being a denomination? Are some among us now ashamed of our undenominational stance? Have some among us allowed their denominational and scholarly peers to intimidate them into thinking and speaking of the church as if it were a denomination? Have some among us now abandoned the biblical concept of the church? Did some, in fact, ever really have a biblical concept of the church to begin with? Have some never really been able to view the church in any way except through the “eyes” of denominationalism and their denominational friends (e.g., “I’m Baptist,” “I’m Methodist,” “I’m Lutheran,” “I’m Church of Christ”)?

Are there those among us who want to bring the churches of Christ into a kind of amorphous, generic “Christianity”? Does the church of Christ have anything distinctive and definitive to offer that cannot be found in the religious evangelical world? If so, what is it? A proper view of grace? A true understanding of the place of baptism in God’s scheme of redemption? A correct biblical hermeneutic? A respect for the biblical organization of the church? The proper role of women in the work and worship of the church? True worship? The need for strict adherence to the word of God as the only authority in religion? Would the world lose anything if the churches of Christ ceased to exist? Can one find elsewhere what the churches of Christ have to offer? Given what I understand to be the thinking of some, if one left the church for a denomination or for Catholicism or for one of the so-called world religions, would that person still be alright in the sight of God? If so, why?

Yes, two great sermons out of the past of which the truths set forth in each have not changed and to which we would do well to still pay attention.

Hugh Fulford
Speaking Schedule:
February 10: Nashville Road Church of Christ, Gallatin, TN.

#church, #denominationalism, #hughfulford

The truly inclusive church

Limiting oneself to 140 characters, as Twitter requires, is a challenge. One must reduce to the bare essentials, which often makes for positive results. (Stay with me, this will be worth it, I think.)

I started Quick Bible Truths on Twitter. With the undesirable tendencies and directions it has taken, I moved the primary content generator from there to a Hubzilla installation. (Unfortunately, not my own, but hosted by another, but he’s a good type.) Continue reading

#church, #holy-nation, #inclusiveness, #people-of-god, #repentance

I Want a Church that Meets My Needs

By William Woodson — The statement made in the title is not only the desire of many in the religious world, but it is becoming the philosophy of many Christians, because many of us are seeking a religion that “meets my needs.” The phrase itself has virtually become a new religious term. Many persons praise or blame a particular congregation because it is or is not “meeting my needs.”

Let me hasten to say that if the phrase means that we need to satisfy spiritual hunger, then it is a good expression, for surely everyone ought to be in a Christian community where his/her deepest spiritual longings are being addressed. Continue reading

#church, #needs, #service

First day of the week is special for Christians

Today, the first day of the week, is a special day for Christians. On this day Jesus Christ arose. On this day the Lord appeared to his followers. On this day he ascended into heaven.

One wonders if on this day he will return to claim his people. Continue reading

#church, #first-day, #sunday, #worship

Hugh’s News & Views (“Name” Of The Church)

THE “NAME” OF THE CHURCH

(Note: This essay was planned for a later date but because it dovetails so well with last week’s article I have decided to run it this week. hf)

On one occasion, Leonard Johnson, one of the founders of what is now FaulknerUniversity in Montgomery, Alabama, was preaching in a gospel meeting in a small Alabama town. One night he preached a sermon on the church. In the midst of his sermon brother Johnson said, “Now within the next four to five minutes I am going to tell you everything the New Testament says about the name of the church.” For the next four to five minutes brother Johnson was completely silent. He did not utter a word. Then he said, “There you have it everything the New Testament says about the name of the church!” Continue reading

#church, #hughfulford

We need them all

The Lord Jesus Christ taught multitudes, discipled small groups, talked one-on-one. He also took time away from people to be with his Father.

His followers do likewise. They find time alone with their God. They shine their light in the midst of a dark world. They make it a priority to meet with their family in Christ. Continue reading

#church, #divine-gifts, #grace, #service

Mama said, "Everybody needs a church home…"

Mama didn’t have a high school diploma, but she was wise beyond her years. I’ve often thought had she been allowed to go to college, she would have been a great success at whatever she chose to do. With 17 brothers and sisters, she had to stay home after finishing the ninth grade to help out with things around home. She and I went to the same country school.

One of the things mama taught me as a teenager was the importance of having a church home. I recall we were in the kitchen of our small country home when she said, “Everybody needs to be a member of a church. Then if they have a death or some trouble, they will have people who will help and support them. People that don’t have a church family don’t have people to help when they have trouble.”

She had already taught me the distinctiveness of the church of Christ. She said, “Jesus built one church. There’s just one.” I knew early on the church He built was the One that wore His name, and the only one we can read about in the Bible. Denominations hadn’t come into the picture when Jesus established His church, the first church. She taught me this long before we started going to worship regularly. That’s a long story, and for another time.

It’s true. Everybody needs a church home and for multiple reasons. Let’s consider some for a minute.

1. We need a church home for salvation. Jesus gave His life as a sinless sacrifice for us that we might live with Him eternally in heaven one day. We can’t separate Christ and the church (Acts 5:23).

2. We need a church home for fellowship. Christians are like family members. They laugh with us when we laugh, and they cry with us when we cry. They will stand beside us all the way. People seldom get into trouble when fellowshipping with followers of Jesus (John 17:12; 1 John 1:3).

3. We need a church home for spiritual growth, to learn more of God’s word. Preachers and teachers spend endless hours preparing Bible lessons to teach others about the Lord, to increase the listener’s knowledge. We need a church home to be built up in the faith (Acts 2:42-47).

4. We need a church home to obey the command to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25). David said, “I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord” (Psalm 122:1).

5. We need a church home for comfort in difficult times (2 Corinthians 1:3-5; 1 Thessalonians 4:18; 5:11).

The Lord intended the local church to provide much of the support and encouragement we need as His disciples.

#church, #death, #encouragement, #heaven

Things that go bump in the church (video sermon by Steve Higginbotham)

#church, #sermons, #video

Some church members are not so much concerned…

Some church members are not so much concerned with walking in the light as they are with performing in the limelight. They have never got a handle on the fact that God has no sons that are not servants. They go to church regularly enough and are actively involved, but going to church will no more make you a Christian than going to the garage will make you an automobile. To be born again, you must be converted and become as children–humble and lowly. The self-seeking Christian is like the mythical unicorn – there “isn’t” any such animal! We have too many saints in stained-glass windows and not enough of them in shoe-leather. This is Just-a-Minute

#christian, #church, #just-a-minute

One church

Mark T. on a church discussion list responded to a sincere, but doubting question about “the” church and there being only one. Mark’s reply shows how simple the truth is.

Colossians 1:24 – the church is also known as the body.

Ephesians 4:1-6 – there is only one body, so there must be only one church.

I Corinthians 1:10 – there are to be no divisions among believers – all are to speak the same thing.

Galatians 1:6-9 – there is only one gospel; all others are to be rejected regardless of their source.

Matthew 7:21-23 – many who think that they’re saved will be surprised that they’re lost.

The current denominational system is NOT what Jesus intended to establish.

#church, #doctrine, #truth