April 2014 Issue of Christian Worker

Here’s a link to the latest PDF issue of the Christian Worker.

Here are the topics that you will find:

  • What Church Membership Means (Don Prather)
  • Why I’m Rearing My children WITH Religion (Sam Willcut)
  • Some Do’s and Don’ts for Preachers (Carl B. Garner)
  • Young People and the Guarding of Their Influence (Roger Jackson)
  • Raising the Banner of Error (Kevin Cauley)
  • “What is RIGHT with It?” (Pat McIntosh)
  • “I Do Not Preach on That” (Rob L. Whitacre)
  • An Unnecessary Exercise (Dan Winkler)
  • All of Our Divisions (Don Prather)
  • The Parable of the Hammer

Christian Worker is an edification effort of the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas.

You can subscribe to the email version of the Christian Worker paper by clicking on the publications link on their website and then following the given instructions…or by clicking on the link provided here in The Fellowship Room under the “Friends” category to your right.

Copyright © 2014 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.

#children, #christian-worker, #church-membership, #division-within-the-body-of-christ, #doctrine, #error, #good-influence, #judging-others, #parenting, #pdf, #preaching

“Beardless Robertson brother” compares “Duck Dynasty” to Salvation Army and Vice-Versa

One of the great things about the Salvation Army and the Robertson family is we’re both trying to help people. Our family has been about reaching out and telling people about the good news about Jesus. And in essence, that’s exactly what the Army does,” said Robertson.”

The above is a quote from Alan Robertson, according to an article by Kyle Rothenberg published on April 09, 2014 on Fox News’ website, as he spoke to Fox News concerning his speaking engagement at a fund-raising event in Mississippi for the Salvation Army organization.

What caught my attention in the quote was the word “essence”. It’s interesting how the word “essence” can be used by some to completely slide (if not right out jump) over key doctrinal gaps, assuming that the doctrinal gaps exist between the guest speaker and the leadership of the hosting group. But I guess it would be “wrong” to tell someone you’re trying to raise money for that they’re wrong when it comes to the good news of Jesus and how to receive the benefits thereof.

Now don’t get me wrong in what I am saying; this is not a “bash the Salvation Army” post. I believe the “Salvation Army” does a lot of good. And I also believe that they are doctrinally sound in many areas of their teaching and understanding of the Bible. But, as far as this post is concerned, one area that I do not agree with them on is how a person must respond to the good news of Jesus in order to be saved. Sure, they believe that one is saved by grace through faith – but according to my understanding they do so to the extent that their version of salvation “by grace through faith” excludes the necessity of baptism when it comes to its role in the regeneration of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5, Acts 2:38). If I’m wrong concerning the Salvation Army’s stance, feel free to correct me. But if I’m correct in my understanding then it is the Salvation Army who stands in need of correction.

Furthermore, this is not a “bash the Robertson’s” post. I praise the Robertson’s clear and resilient stance against the homosexual agenda and their movement of intolerance, and for their stance on other moral issues and the importance of family in spite of their popularity. They have been given a national platform that few are willing to stand on when it comes to politically incorrect topics. But, as far as this post is concerned, going beyond the forces that seek their caving in to “political correctness”, my concern is that their popularity in the spiritual world will only lead to more and more caving in to a version of “spiritual correctness” that winks at what should not be ignored. Namely, what Jesus himself said when it comes to enjoying the benefits of his good news (Mark 16:15-16).

The spirit of unity and the unity of the Spirit should not be confused with one another. They are two different things (Ephesians 4:3-6), and they should be recognized as such.

Now, I believe building bridges is one thing, but helping to support bridges that blatantly teach false doctrines concerning the gospel of Christ and one’s salvation is a road that I wish the Robertson’s, at least to which family members it may apply, would not travel down, for good deeds do not necessarily lead to good results (Matthew 7:21-23), nor does the endorsement of another’s “essence” that resides in error (Romans 16:17). And this is something that I hope they would recognize when a comparison is made.

#doctrine, #duck-dynasty, #fellowship, #plan-of-salvation, #salvation-army

Progressive: a different marketing strategy

Progressives have always hung around the church. Keystones of the progressive agenda have been, and continue to be things like: (1) instrumental music in worship; (2) gender neutrality (read: women’s role in the church). Progressives really want one thing: control. And since they don’t have the satisfaction of God’s approval, they desperately crave yours. But they can’t just ask for it, so how do they get it?

Progressivism is sleight-of-hand. Progressives like to harp about things being archaic and outdated. They propose freedom from the shackles of religious tradition. They know the old saying, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” so they break things, and patent the fix. Watch carefully now, or you’ll miss the trick. Here’s how it works:

  1. Take an authorized biblical practice (a capella music in worship)
  2. Redefine it (label it “archaic tradition”)
  3. Design, package and sell a “better” product (instrumental worship)
  4. Put the icing on the cake: dub this “scholarship” (of course, anyone who disagrees is a dunce, and outdated.

This little trick will work on any doctrine or practice a person no longer endorses.

It’s not as if we weren’t warned:

“These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud- mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage. But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, ‘In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.’ It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit” (Jude vv.16-19; cf. Php. 3:18-19)

—Rick Kelley, Prestonsburg KY church bulletin

#doctrine, #marketing, #progressives

What Must They Do To Be Saved???

In the recent Christian Chronicle paper there was an article titled, “How the should we interact?” which discussed how certain congregations of the churches of Christ were interacting with three other churches outside their fellowship (a Baptist Church, a First Presbyterian Church and Methodist Church).

Several other issues aside, I want to quickly point out the futility of such work and worship arrangements between “us and them” by using a direct quote in the story.

On page 19 of the (February 2014, Vol. 71, No.2) story a “pastoral minister” for the Southwest Central Church of Christ said, “None of these [works] requires us to deny who we are or compromise what we believe…In a major urban area like Houston, it is not Churches of Christ against Baptists. It is Christians trying to share Jesus with Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Zoroastrians, Jews and cultural pagans.

Did you catch that? Because therein lies the problem. We can’t just simply “share Jesus” along side Baptists, Presbyterians and Methodists. Do you know why? Because we don’t agree, and rightly so, on what those Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Zoroastrians, Jews and cultural pagans need to do to be saved.

Do they need to say the sinner’s prayer? Do they need to simply “believe” in Jesus? Do they only need to confess Jesus and then all is well? Or do they need to actually obey the gospel?

After Phillip “preached Jesus” to the eunuch of Ethiopia the eunuch was left asking “where’s the water?” When such a one asks that of the Baptists, Presbyterians and Methodists in relation to the gospel of Christ they are told “the water is over there, but you don’t need that right now, we’ll take care of that next week, next month or maybe even next year; everything is alright, you’re saved just the way you are.” And even when they do get around to baptizing people it’s not for a scriptural purpose.

Now I don’t want to sound argumentative for the sake of being argumentative, but I came from the Baptist background. I have family that I love dearly who refer to themselves as Baptists. I have friends that I love dearly who refer to themselves as other denominational names. But my love for them, and even for others that I don’t know, has nothing to do with replacing the unity of the Spirit that Jesus wants for His church with a spirit of unity that does nothing more than ignore the important issues that must be settled, such as the answer to question of “What must I do to be saved?” For if we do not agree on such an answer then how could we possible “share Jesus” with others along with them?

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. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” (1 Corinthians 1:10-13)

Related Article:

#christian-chronicle, #denominationalism, #doctrine, #ecuminical-movements, #religion, #salvation, #unity, #unity-of-the-spirit

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

Answering Jehovah’s False “Witnesses” on What Happens to Us When We Die?

I found a pamphlet in my door the other day left by a neighboring religious group in my county. I’ve had a few conversations with them in the past, and I suppose I will do so again in the future if the opportunity arises, but this time I wasn’t home so the “paper work” got left behind.

The pamphlet addresses several spiritually natured questions inside. The title is actually labeled “Would You Like to Know the Truth?” So that at least lets me know what they intend for me to learn from its pages, and on the front page they do reference the right source for finding the truth (the word of God, the Bible – John 17:17) so I’ll give them that much – but one thing that the pamphlet does not give is the truth concerning the answers to the questions that it addresses.

For example, one question that it asks and answers is “What Happens to Us When We Die?” Here’s the excerpt from the pamphlet that deals with that issue:

WHY THE QUESTION ARISES: Most of the world’s religions teach that something inside a person continues living after death. Some hold that the dead can harm the living or that God punishes the wicked by condemning them to eternal torment in a fiery hell.

WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES: At death, humans cease to exist. “The dead . . . are conscious of nothing at all,” states Ecclesiastes 9:5. Since the dead cannot know, feel, or experience anything, they cannot harm-or help-the living. – Psalm 146:3,4.

see also Genesis 3:19 and Ecclesiastes 9:6,10

There is one statement/sentiment in this quote that I take no issue with. Although I strongly believe in life after death, I don’t believe in “ghosts” in the way most of the world believes in them so with I’ll agree with them on that topic for the most part. Although I do wonder how they deal with Acts 19:13-16. But anyways, that’s where the no issue and the big issues begin and end.

Here’s what I want you to get from the point that the pamphlet was trying to make. When a person has to lean heavily on the book of Ecclesiastes to support their doctrine concerning life after death and the condition of the soul that should be an indicator. I’m not putting down the inspiration of Ecclesiastes at all. I’m just saying that Christianity is a religion that is based upon a certain individual who died and then rose from the dead to die no more! You would think that this person’s point of view and teaching on the subject would carry a little more weight in this pamphlet. And I suppose it would if it weren’t for the fact that the words of Jesus would be too much weight for their answer to support.

Jesus himself drew a clear line in the sand when he boldly said, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28 – NKJV) Sounds like this one verse knocks out both claims: 1) something does in deed live on after death, and 2) there is a place of punishment for the wicked called hell.

But now you may be quick to point out that the pamphlet never denied that we will eventually live again after death, or that the pamphlet didn’t deny the existence of Hell, it only addressed the duration of it. Fair enough point, so let’s keep listening to what Jesus said concerning those two issues.

Continue reading

#bible-questions, #christianity, #death, #doctrine, #eternity, #false-doctine, #false-witness, #god, #hell, #jehovahs-witnesses, #life-after-death, #religion

Appeasement

“Appeasement does not protect one from danger; instead, it fortifies the danger itself.” —Jose Maria Aznar

When will some elders learn this truth?

 

#doctrine, #progressives

Is A Christian’s Salvation Ever On The Table?

For those who still care about little things like sound doctrine, the topic of apostasy, once-saved-always-saved and falling from God’s grace is still a vital subject to consider from time to time…we are talking about Heaven, Hell and eternity after all!

There are two opposite extremes when it comes to the issue, both of which have done great spiritual harm to many souls.

The first extreme is that a Christian can never so sin that it leads to he or she losing the reward of their salvation – hence the term “once-saved-always-saved.” This doctrine has managed to convince untold numbers of people that the numerous admonitions of God’s word concerning repentance, sin setting up shop in a believer’s heart and the importance of learning from the major errors of God’s people in the past are actually only hollow warnings for God’s “true” child will never fall into these traps. Unfortunately the very mentality that says there are no traps has become a trap (Jeremiah 16:10).

The second extreme is that a Christian must walk on eggshells and live in constant anxiety concerning one’s judgment and the punishment of Hell. This doctrine has managed to convince untold numbers of people that the numerous scriptures of comfort concerning the assurance that one can have with God and his or her salvation are only hollow promises. Unfortunately the mentality that revolves around this doctrine ends up robbing people of the blessing that relies upon God for his or her perfection and exchanges it with a worrisome and burdensome and impossible task of making one’s self perfect.

The truth of God concerning the doctrine of one’s salvation and the peril of sin lies in between the two extremes found above. Any sin can send a person to Hell – no denying that (Romans 6:23). But God’s grace is also a huge concept – a concept that’s large enough through the blood of Jesus to capture sins that we don’t even realize we’ve committed. Do we need to confess our sins to be forgiven? Absolutely! But must all of our sins be confessed in “numerical” order? Who could ever honestly do such a thing like that every time? The simple truth is that if a person strives to avoid a lifestyle of darkness, strives to walk in God’s essential light lit path, strives to have a willingness that confesses sin of the known and unknown nature, and strives to avoid a self-righteous, I’m above sin, I don’t sin mentality that relies upon the justification and cleansing power of Jesus’ blood then that individual’s salvation is secure in God. Want to lose your security? Then do the opposite! (1 John 1:4-10)

Is a Christian’s salvation ever on the table? Sure it is! But only when we put it on the table and give it up for the world, for the gift of God’s salvation is something that no man can take from us if we keep our heart set on Heaven.

Let your desire be for peace with all men, and to be made holy, without which no man may see the Lord; Looking with care to see that no man among you in his behaviour comes short of the grace of God; for fear that some bitter root may come up to be a trouble to you, and that some of you may be made unclean by it; And that there may not be any evil liver, or any man without respect for God, like Esau, who let his birthright go for a plate of food. For you have knowledge that even long after, when he was desiring the blessing for his heritage, he was turned away, though he made his request frequently and with weeping; because the past might not be changed…But you have come to the mountain of Zion, to the place of the living God, to the Jerusalem which is in heaven, and to an army of angels which may not be numbered, to the great meeting and church of the first of those who are named in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of good men made complete, And to Jesus by whom the new agreement has been made between God and man, and to the sign of the blood which says better things than Abel’s blood.” (Hebrews 12:14-17, 22-24 – BBE)

#apostasy, #assurance, #christianity, #doctrine, #extremes, #falling-from-grace, #once-saved-always-saved, #religion, #salvation, #security

Too Smart?

There are some out there who consider themselves too smart to believe in the doctrine of the virgin birth. The “enlightened” say modern science says it can’t happen and no doctor in the world would ever agree with the idea.

My answer to such an “educated” stance is 1) science deals with the natural and God (who created the natural) knows how to deal in the supernatural which overrules the previous, and 2) one of the writers who recorded one of the gospels which contains the account of the virgin birth was a doctor (Colossians 4:4)! It’s true there were no MRI machines or even thermometers some 2,000 years ago, but doctors have understood for a very long time where babies come from. Doctor Luke believed in the evidence presented and in the sign promised by God so long ago, so there’s no reason that some “educated” mind can’t do the same today.

If we want to receive the benefit of knowing that God is with us and that He’ll deliver us (the very purpose of the virgin birth – Immanuel/Jesus) then we’ll have to show our faith in the gospel…including the way it begins. If one can believe that water was turned to wine, that people were healed by touch and great distances, that thousands were fed by a few pieces of food, that people were raised from the dead and that the very child who was born of a virgin, grew up, was betrayed, was crucified, was buried and was risen again the third day, then why should one wonder about and stumble His birth?

If we don’t have the faith that it takes to believe God and His word then we’ll give into all the skeptics, critics, naysayers, joke makers and unbelievers who will try to drain us of our faith; because at the end of the day, unless we believe in the sign revealed at Bethlehem we won’t believe in the One who the rest of the signs point toward (John 20:30-31).

There may be some out there who are too smart – but they’re too smart for their own good.

For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God — and righteousness and sanctification and redemption — that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-31 – NKJV)

#christmas, #doctrine, #jesus, #virgin-birth

Quick Answers to Common Objections

Those who adhere to “faith only” when it comes to salvation often disagree with the necessity of baptism by offering very common objections. Here are three, followed by very quick answers according to the scriptures of God.

Objection 1: Baptism is a work of man that violates Ephesians 2:8 which says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,”

Quick Answer: Whoever said baptism is a work of man? Sure it’s something that a person must submit to, but since when has submission ever earned anyone any thing? Baptism is a work of God and hence, it is not a work of man that earns us anything. “In [Jesus] you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.” (Colossians 2:11-12)

Objection 2: Baptism is to show one is already saved, not to be saved. The “for” in Acts 2:38 is past tense. A person who is wanted “for” robbing a bank is wanted because they robbed a bank in the past, not because they’re going to rob it in the future.

Quick Answer: When a person ignores context they can make a pretext out of almost any scripture! Acts 2:38 says, “Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Look at the two things the first “and” connects there. A person no more “repents” because they have been saved anymore than they are “baptized” because they have been saved. Repentance always proceeds salvation for the lost as does baptism. “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31) And by the way, does a person who’s going to the store “for” a loaf of bread go because they already have it, or because they need it? Just asking.

Objection 3: Jesus condemned the lack of faith and not the lack of baptism in Mark 16:15-16 when He said, “…Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”

Quick Answer: Jesus no more had to condemn the lack of baptism than He did the lack of repentance or confession or faithfulness. Are not these also necessary to be saved? Of course they are! No matter what an unbeliever does they are not saved because they are an unbeliever. Why would anyone want to baptize an unbeliever for the remission of sins when he or she doesn’t even believe in the sins they would be baptized for? Unbelief puts one in a condemned state regardless of anything else. That’s the reason why John 3:18 says, “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” In Mark 16:15 baptism still comes before salvation, like it does in the rest of the scriptures for people who lived after the giving of the Gospel of Christ.

Much, much more could be said, but then the answers wouldn’t be so quick would they?

Related articles:

#baptism, #doctrine, #questions-and-answers, #salvation

Jehovah’s ‘False’ Witnesses

I found a little book placed in my front door the other day. It was the August 1, 2012 issue of the “Watchtower.”

Inside the booklet there are various topics ranging from miracles to new graduates of the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead. One topic in between those two addressed the question, “When did Jesus become King?” The given answer was:

God enthroned Jesus as King in heaven in 1914, exactly 2,520 years after Jerusalem’s destruction. Jesus’ first act as King was to expel Satan and his demons from heaven. (Revelation 12:7-10) That event was invisible to human eyes, but it resulted in a visible crisis for mankind. (Revelation 12:12) Events since 1914 confirm that Jesus became King in that year. Read Matthew 24:14; Luke 21:10, 11, 31. (Watchtower, August 1, 2012, p. 17)

These witnesses miss the mark in the first sentence. Perhaps I’ll do another post that’s a little more in-depth about this topic later but to reveal the falsehood of the statement I only have to use one single verse from the Bible – “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,” (Colossians 1:13).

The Christians at Colossi were members of Jesus’ kingdom before Paul ever wrote his letter to them, and I guarantee he wrote the letter before 1914! You can’t have a kingdom without a king and you can’t be a king without a kingdom! That “math” is too simple to deny.

Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?”Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” (John 18:37 – NKJV)

#doctrine, #false-doctrine, #jehovahs-witnesses, #king-jesus, #kingdom-of-god

Don’t Move Away from the Truth (Charles Box)

Just before giving in to the pressure of the crowd to crucify our Lord Jesus Christ, Pilate asked one of the most tragic questions of the Bible. In a very cynical way he asked, “What is truth?” In John 18:37-38 we read,

“Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.”

How tragic and disturbing that Pilate spoke of truth but he had no interest in the truth. How could Pilate judge with truth when he did not know the truth?

“These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates.” (Zechariah 8:16)

It would have been great if Pilate had been interested in truth and when he learned it to act accordingly. The same is true of us! “Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.” (Proverbs 23:23)

Don’t move away from the truth that the Bible is the word of God. Continue reading

#bible, #charles-box, #christ, #church-of-christ, #doctrine, #forgiveness, #truth, #worship

Funny Way to Make A Serious to Point

Here’s a short, but good and funny article from Harry Middleton of the Lebanon Road church in Nashville, TN.

It’s titled: Search the scriptures!!! I thought someone may want to use it for a reference or a bulletin article.

Great truths may sometimes be stated in amusing ways. I found the following statement of truth amusing and thought provoking. It is taken from “Wells of Thought.”

Jacob Ditzler and J. S. Sweeny were having a debate on the scriptural mode of baptism. Ditzler showed a secondary meaning of the word BAPTIZE to wash or sprinkle.

In reply, brother Sweeny showed that a secondary meaning of BELIEVE was to have an opinion and a secondary meaning of SAVE was to be pickled.

Then he gave the resulting translation of Mark 16:16, “He that hath an opinion and is sprinkled shall be pickled.”

He then raised the question, “Is it our aim to see what we can make out of the scriptures, or is it to find out what God has said?”

#baptism, #biblical-interpretation, #doctrine, #humor, #illustrations

Few people realize that ideas have consequences Sometimes…

Few people realize that ideas have consequences. Sometimes, I hear Christian’s say “I don’t want to study doctrine, I want to study the things that I deal with in day to day living.” That sounds good but the fact is people live the way they think. It is not enough to merely talk about how we ought to act in this or that situation. We need to understand the underlying motives. If you look at the writings of Paul, you will see that he spent much of his time on doctrinal truths. Every doctrinal teaching has a “therefore” that applies directly to Christian living. But rob the house of its foundation and it soon falls: “Being good for goodness sake” may work around Christmas time, but if it is not bolstered by an understanding of what’s behind it, it will wear thin after awhile. It is not enough to know that racial prejudice is sinful. We should also understand that all men were created equal and that the reason for that is the Creator is just. Things are not right because we all agree that they are right; they right because they are right. This is Just-A-Minute with Ed Boggess

#doctrine, #just-a-minute

Just a Simple-Minded Christian

Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil.” (Romans 16:17-19 – NKJV)

The plain gospel doesn’t have enough flavor for those who are sensually minded, so they believe they must spice it up to be enjoyable. Paul says the gospel hasn’t been served to please the palate! It’s been served to nourish and give holy wisdom to the soul, and we’re to mark those who change the recipe for they have no interest in the well-being of others. They are interested in satisfying their own appetites and in finding those whose “spiritual taste buds” are weak and susceptible to being deceived.

Paul’s admonition to the brothers and sisters at Rome was to avoid being simple-minded (harmless, pure, unskillful) in evil actions and intents, while remaining wise (skillful, cultivated, educated) in the good things of God’s will so they could avoid being of the mindset that opened the door of their heart to deception…think the Garden of Eden for a moment.

There is a difference in being simple-minded (uneducated) toward the evil that allows us to be destroyed from a lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6), and in being simple-minded (deeds done with holy motivations) in our actions and works. We must strive to be one without becoming prey to the other (Hebrews 5:14; Matthew 7:15; 2 Timothy 4:2-4).

#christianity, #doctrine, #false-teachers, #knowledge