12-16-2015 Whose Denominations Are They?

“For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints” (1 Corinthians 14:33 NKJV). Then, who is? Jesus had prayed over the Apostles: “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:20-21 NKJV). The Apostle Paul wrote to the church of Christ in Corinth: “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10 NKJV). If there are splits, divisions, or denominations among believers, they are NOT OF GOD!

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#believers, #confusion, #denominations

So should we be like the religious groups out there or not?

In what ways can we be like other groups?

In what ways can we be like other groups?

We in the church don’t realize how Catholic we are. Recently, a friend quoted a teacher of his in training school to that effect. By that the professor apparently meant that we still suffer much influence from the Roman church in the way we act and speak. Whether or not he is talking mainly of the Brazilian church or included the American servants and congregations he knows, I can’t say.

I also don’t know if he was referring to non-essentials or to teachings and practices he considers essential. Without a context, it’s hard to know what he meant by it. But in some significant and disturbing way, apparently, the teacher thinks we need to get away from such influence. Otherwise, he probably would let it slide and not disturb the students’ peace of mind. Continue reading

#contextualization, #corollaries, #denominations, #worldliness


This is Sunday.  How many times did you attend services today?  Most of us had the opportunity for Bible study, Sunday AM worship and Sunday evening worship.  Most of us will also have the opportunity of mid-week-night Bible study.  That is a total of the possibility of four times to fellowship with those of like precious faith, to worship God, and to learn more about His Word and His will for us.

So what is my point?  Too many of us today do not take advantage of all the opportunities we have.  If you are not interested in being with the brethren to edify each other and to worship God, why do you think that you will enjoy being with the brethren continually in Heaven…or, perhaps a better question, what makes you think God will want you there?

#bible, #christianity, #denominations, #god, #religion-and-spirituality, #study-bible, #sunday, #sunday-school



A good study of the New Testament helps us to see there is a role for works and a role for faith. Without faith as the underlying foundation in place, the role for works would be useless. The significance of this point is found in relationship to the apostle Paul, James, and many in the denominational world.

Paul, in the context of his letter to Rome, argued that man is justified by faith apart from works (Romans 3:28). In this con-text, it is important to know exactly what Paul had in mind with the word works. It seems that some in the denominational world, reacting to Catholic teachings with regard to works, insert the word alone after faith, thereby giving us the unbiblical doctrine of salvation by faith alone.

One can turn the pages of the New Testament forward from Matthew to Revelation, start again and do the same, and not find anywhere where it is taught by the Lord (or any who represent Him) that man is saved by faith alone. What he will find, however, is that man is saved by faith apart from works (as Paul declared); the word works as used by Paul in Romans is associated with the Law of Moses. In other words, Paul is making clear that justification is by faith apart from the works of the Law of Moses.

In comparison with what Paul said, James said that man’s works bring about God’s declaration of “righteous” (James 2:22-23). The word “works” as used by James (2:14-26) is not the same as the way Paul uses it.

How do we balance the two ideas? To begin, we see there is a difference between the two men in how the word works is used. Let us not misunderstand what Paul had in mind when he said what he did in Romans. If one would be pleasing to God, under the old covenant, then faithful obedience to the Law of Moses was paramount (crucial). Without the foundation of faith in place, obedience to anything the Lord said would not actually be obedience at all, but a mere doing, acting, or complying with some outward requirement, not properly brought about as a result of loving God. This in no way pleases the Lord!

Note how these two ideas play a crucial role in one’s salvation. In Genesis 15, the Lord declared Abraham righteous as a result of his faith (Genesis 15:6), and in Genesis 22:12, the Lord said with regard to Abraham’s work (and faith) “now I know…” The idea is this: faith has a starting point, but obedience to the Lord’s will and deeds (works) of charity bring that faith to a completion, a goal. Thus, when the Scripture says that Abraham was justified by his works, it was in relation to doing the Lord’s will.

When you hear (or read) of a denominational teaching like justified by faith alone, you can be sure that it is not from Scripture, but one’s personal theology (opinion). Yet, the Scriptures teach that, “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11). One can’t go wrong doing such things as this. RT


#denominations, #faith, #faith-alone, #james, #paul, #works

Fashion show for clerical robes, anyone?

#anglican-church, #clergy, #denominations

“Compelle Intrare”

In Jesus’ banquet parable (Luke 14:12-24), the master sent his servant to gather up guests for the feast. His instructions were, “Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled” (v. 23, ESV).

In Latin, “compel people to come in” is written, “compelle intrare.” From early centuries of church history through medieval times and beyond, the Roman Catholic Church leaned on a grotesquely twisted interpretation of “compelle intrare” in Luke 14:23, concluding that governmental authorities had the right to coerce people into the church. In a perverse marriage, Catholicism and the state were so tied together that the former could dictate the latter use deadly force against the church’s enemies. And, the church’s enemies included whatever men and doctrines were not in lock step with what the Catholic Church taught. Forced conformity to Catholicism was the glue holding society together. Naturally, if people were allowed to study the Bible for themselves, voluntarily practice what they believed from their own study, and freely preach their views, it would be a fundamental threat to the church’s power (and the crumbling of society, as they knew it).

Reformers such as Martin Luther are often hailed for their courage in confronting the status quo in religion (i.e. Catholicism). Yet, what they created in the Reformation was simply another state religion like Catholicism—only with certain different doctrines. In other words, while Luther opposed the Catholic Church, he very much endorsed the idea that the Reformed church could use force against its own enemies.

While the reformers (such as Luther, John Calvin, etc.) were battling Catholicism, there were others insisting that both sides were wrong in their concept of a church which forced itself on everyone in a given locale. The view of these objectors was that the church of Christ consisted of voluntary believers, and that it had no connection to the state; nor was it biblical to use force in spreading the gospel. They studied their Bibles and clung to their convictions. They also found themselves mercilessly persecuted by both the Catholic Church and the Protestant Reformers.

Martin Luther commissioned his friend, Urbanus Rhegius, to fight those who were calling for a church formed only of voluntary believers. Rhegius said:

“The truth leaves you no choice; you must agree that the magistracy has the authority to coerce his subjects to the Gospel. And if you say, ‘Yes, but with admonition and well-chosen words but not by force’ then I answer that to get people to the services with fine words and admonitions is the preacher’s duty, but to keep them there with recourse to force if need be and to frighten them away from error is the proper function of the rulers….What do you suppose ‘Compelle intrare’ means?” (quoted in Leonard Verduin, The Reformers and Their Stepchildren, p. 74).

Those who thought the church and state were separate, that the state should not interfere with the church, and that the church should be organized along New Testament lines, were considered radicals and hated as enemies. One of them was Felix Manz, of Zurich, Switzerland. His goal was “to bring together those who were willing to accept Christ, obey the Word, and follow in His footsteps, to unite with these by baptism, and to leave the rest in their present conviction” (ibid.). In other words, Manz was opposed to coercion and held that the church should consist of true believers—those who wanted to accept and obey the gospel.

For his “heretical” ideas, Felix Manz had his hands tied around his bent knees, with a big stick shoved between his elbows and knees so that he could not move his arms. He was put in a boat and rowed into the Limmat River, where he was thrown into the frigid water to drown. The date was January 5, 1527.

Over the recent centuries, both Catholicism and Protestantism have had to back off of “compelle intrare,” but neither the former nor the denominations that sprang from the latter have gone all the way back to the primitive church’s organization and practice. Therein lies their insuperable problem.

If we, in the church of Christ, had lived back then, we would have been hunted like dogs by both Catholics and the Reformers. We are still at spiritual war with their religious descendants, but, thanks be, at least they cannot come after us today with a death warrant.

#catholic-church, #catholicism, #denominations, #felix-manz, #john-calvin, #martin-luther, #protestant-reformers, #protestantism, #reformation, #roman-catholic-church, #urbanus-rhegius

Churches of Christ were right, says Methodist prof

Dale Jenkins just shared this link, “Why the Churches of Christ Were Right After All,” by a Methodist professor at SMU after he visited one of our congregations. It makes for a fascinating read.

#church-names, #denominations, #one-church

The Fundamentals – The Church

The other day I received in the mail Ministry magazine, a publication of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. It comes free to the office (how we begin to get it, I do not know). In the publication was an article titled, “Find the right church” (January 2011, pp. 13-16). The focus of the article was on helping “pastors” find the right church for them with respect to employment. The title, however, is more illustrative of a frame of mind.

From this I gave thought of how a great many people view the church. The church is an institution that one can take or leave, depending upon the whims of the person. Since they think in a denominational sort of way, this is not far from the truth of the matter. However, when one thinks in terms of a biblical position, those who leave the church or take it somewhere the Lord did not purpose for it to go, this is a catastrophic sentiment. Since the Lord established the church (Matthew 16:13-19), only He can determine anything about it. Those who have false ideas about the church need to consider all over again what the teachings of Scripture.

Such a teaching that we are part of a larger denominational entity is biblically false! The Lord’s church is strongly opposed to denominationalism for by its very nature denominationalism is fragmented into to contrary doctrines: contrary to Scripture and contrary to one another. There is more to the Lord’s church than just believing Jesus is Lord, that He died and was resurrected, and His second coming is pending.

The Lord’s church is a necessary institution because 1) Jesus established it (Matthew 16), 2) it was in the mind of God in eternity (Ephesians 3), 3) by it the manifold wisdom of God is declared to all creation (Ephesians 3), 4) through it the local members receive much edification (Acts 14:22), and 5) its benevolent spirit radiates the glory of God (Galatians 6:7-10).

It is a shame when men and women, professing to be Christian, do not know what the Lord said about His body, the institution of which they are, supposedly, members. The church is the blood-bought institution of the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who are saved are members of His body and members of no man-made institution. It is a challenge to each of us to faithfully live the life of Christ, to faithfully speak the words of Christ, and to cheerfully, lovingly, gently, but firmly share the message of Christ with others. Remember, only those who are members of His church will be saved because there are no saved people outside the Lord’s church!

#church, #denominations, #jesus, #lord, #saved

Deaver-Hoffman Debate on Baptism

The video of this debate can now be found on the website of the Schaumburg church of Christ, which sponsored the event in 2006 in the greater Chicago area. David Hoffman is a Baptist preacher who denies immersion is necessary in salvation. I was moderator at Dad’s table. Feel free to advertise the link, if you like.

Ron, is this when we first met, or was it at the near-debate of 2008?

#baptist, #christianity, #churches-of-christ, #david-hoffman, #denominations, #religion-and-spirituality, #schaumburg, #united-states

Invite religious people to pray together?

A friend asked me to share this in order to seek opinions. Here it is:

In an effort more effectively reach out to the community, a congregation begin looking for  families in need. One family identified is described as follows:. This family is not affiliated with any religious group; nor does anyone with the local congregation have any relationship ties to this family. Their 35 year old son has gone missing for several months, many suspect foul play. A contact was made and the family liked the idea of a prayer session. Upon returning from the family meeting, a question was asked, should we enlist the local “religious people” to also partake in this prayer session? The questioner’s rationale was, this can show the family that it is a community wide desire to help this family, plus, possibly a way to reach out and start a dialogue with these religious people who teach error. So, the question is, is there anything scripturally wrong with inviting these “religious leaders” to pray during this prayer session. I have my thoughts, but welcome that of others.

If your contribution is a major one, you can make it a separate TFR post.

#denominations, #prayer

Christianity Upsets The Religious Apple Cart

Christianity turned the first century “world view” upside down because it challenged and changed the commonly held religious thought of that day in a drastic way. It taught that all Christians are priests. It taught that Gentiles were acceptable before God. It taught that the attitude and actions of man as he worshiped God are important and NOT the physical location of worship. It taught that the inward man needed to be cleansed as opposed to the outward physical man. It taught that the kingdom of God is spiritual and not earthly. It taught the end of the Jewish nation as God’s kingdom. Most Jews rejected Christianity for this very reason.

Today is no different. True Biblical Christianity challenges the commonly held beliefs of “Christiandom”. It teaches there is a heaven and a hell and that ALL will be judged and sentenced according to their actions on this earth. It teaches that salvation is exclusively in Jesus Christ and that Atheists, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Wiccans, and the like will be lost. It teaches that the church is the exclusive body of Christ and that only those in the church will be saved. It teaches that faith is not a mere mental assent that Jesus is God’s son; true Biblical faith requires obedience. It teaches that one can so sin as to lose his own salvation. It teaches that God has specified how He will be worshiped and anything outside of that is vain worship. It teaches that man cannot live however he pleases; he must repent — he cannot continue to live in sin and expect a home in Heaven. All of these things are contrary to the teachings of one denomination or another — today’s religious apple cart. True Biblical Christianity is being rejected today, just as it was by the Jews of the first century, because people do not want their “world view” turned upside down.

#atheism, #buddism, #denominations, #islam, #judiasm, #religious-thought, #world-view

Confused Folks

We have a church of some kind across the street from our church building. When we arrive on Sunday morning, they are in full bloom with their loud instruments. Their auditorium is very small, yet their preacher needs a loud sound system and preaches to the drummer’s back beat.  We can hear most of what they say and sing all the way across the street, even if we can’t understand the words. The people inside must be nearly deaf.  For the record, false doctrine isn’t any more true if shouted.

We also have a billboard less than a mile away boasting a start-up church where their husband and wife pastor team proclaim their motto for the year:  “No Sin in 2010.”

How long do you think that lasted? (Romans 3:23; 1 Peter 5:8).

It is heartbreaking how confused people are in the religious world. *sigh*

#church, #denominations, #truth