“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

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(#162) The Proverbs of Solomon 23:6-8-Bar-B-Que Bait

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 23:6-8: “Do not eat the bread of a miser, Nor desire his delicacies; For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. ‘Eat and drink!’ he says to you, But his heart is not with you.  The morsel you have eaten, you will vomit up, And waste your pleasant words.”

Excesses are dangerous at the dinner table (Proverbs 23:19-21). In Proverbs 23:1-3, we are warned to not let appetite overrule our good judgment, or in other words, don’t let a politician buy our vote with bar-b-que! Then, in Proverbs 23:4-5, we are warned not to irresponsibly chase after “riches” as our only goal in life, for there is much more to a good life than that! Now, in Proverbs 23:6-8, we are again warned not to listen to a “miser” encourage us to “eat and drink” his food, because he begrudges every bit of what we would enjoy. His heart is not as open as his invitation! The guest’s “pleasant words” (table talk) will be wasted because the “miser” is resenting the guest’s enjoyment.

Contrast this hypocritical feast with the genuineness that Jesus teaches Christians to have: “Then He also said to him who invited Him, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:12-14). Jesus taught that there should be no underlying political motive for giving an invitation for a meal! “Now it happened, as He went into the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath, that they watched Him closely” (Luke 14:1). When it says “they watched Him closely” it describes their sidelong, judgmental observations just looking for a reason to condemn Him.

The honesty of a Christian invitation is seen that when a fellow-Christian is in wilful, deliberate sin, for which he/she refuses to repent, faithful Christians would refuse to extend social opportunity around the dinner table (1 Corinthians 5:9-13).

As Proverbs points out, good judgment should always take precedence over appetite and social fellowship!

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

#appetite, #bible-study, #fellowship, #invitations, #meals, #miser, #practical-lessons, #proverbs

EDIFIER

THE EDIFIER

1 COR. 14:26

“LET ALL THINGS BE DONE UNTO EDIFYING”

An E-Letter from Ted & Barbara Knight to our Romanian Family

Dear Brothers, Sisters, and Friends,

Today in America we are observing what our forefathers designated as a ‘Day of Thanksgiving.’ It is one of our favorite days of the year. School is dismissed, many people are not required to work, and families gather for a time of great food, fellowship, and pleasant memories. I am sorry that in the last few years more emphasis is placed upon shopping, which requires that all the stores are open, and other activities and it seems to me that the focus on ‘Thanksgiving’ is somewhat diminished. But, that is a choice that everyone makes for themselves.

Very early this morning My Lady and I lay in our bed and we began counting our blessings. It seems that the list would be endless and it really is, when you began to put those blessings into words to yourself and someone else, it really makes them come alive. We want you to know something; “Very close to the top of those blessings that we thank God for is our family of Christians and friends in Romania.” In 2014 we will begin our 20th year of work and association with the people of Romania. You will never know what an impact you have made on our lives. There are some people who go into another country and they come home and forget who they met and some of what they did. That is not true of us. We remember the first baptism of Horia and the second one was Ramona Manescu, followed by many others. We remember bible studies and many of you translating for us, the bus rides between Pitesti and Craiova, and the wonderful times of fellowship when our work was done at days end. We could write many pages from the memories that we have of all of you and the love that we have for you. So, on this Day of Thankgiving, please be assured that you are a vital part of our prayer of thanks to God and we pray that many more years of memories will be made.

We pray that God will bless you and keep you lovingly in His arms.

With Much Love,

Ted & Barbara

#fellowship, #missions, #thanksgiving

Ask for help

The other day, before I went to sleep, I set my glasses in a different spot than normal. The problem with that was when I woke the next morning, I forgot where I had put them. To make matters worse, apparently I am so blind I need my glasses in order to see where I set my glasses. So I spent the first thirty minutes of the day looking and feeling around for my glasses.

I finally had to swallow my pride and ask my wife for help. She found them in a matter of seconds. I probably would have spent all day looking for them and never found them.

Many of us have a sense of pride that keeps us from asking others for help. When it comes to small things—like looking for help finding my glasses—it’s not that big of a deal. The worst thing that might happen is I might be a little embarrassed.

When it comes to spiritual things, however, the result of not asking for help could be a lot worse. In Galatians 6:2, Paul tells us, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

This can happen only if we share our struggles and problems with each other. You might be like me and want to do everything on your own but, as Christians, we need to learn a different way.

Let’s share, not just in our blessings, but also share in our struggles—”and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

—Luke Bower, Baker Heights bulletin, Abilene TX

#fellowship, #mutual-support, #one-another

Oh, Blessed Moment with the Saints

A quick little poem I wrote this evening after church.

Oh, blessed moment with the saints,
For wearied hearts renewed!
We lay aside our small complaints,
For heaven’s wholesome food.

Assembled, we hear God’s still voice,
Reminded once again
That we have reason to rejoice
In Him the great Amen!

Together, tongues unite in song,
And wills in Jesus’ blend;
To these redeemed we all belong
For ages without end.

JRMatheny

#christian-poetry, #church, #fellowship

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(#40) The Proverbs of Solomon 11:15-Are You Sure, or “Surety?”

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 11:15: “He who is surety for a stranger will suffer, But one who hates being surety is secure.”

In our Lesson #15, the explanation for why being “surety” was dangerous was explained in Proverbs 6:1-5. The person who becomes “surety” (guaranty or collateral) for a friend’s (or a relative’s!) debt, has “come into the hand of your friend.” To obligate our self with another’s debt shows that we are “devoid of understanding” as to how these things work.

Other proverbs that cover this subject are: “A man devoid of understanding shakes hands in a pledge, And becomes surety for his friend” (Proverbs 17:18); “Take the garment of one who is surety for a stranger, And hold it as a pledge when it is for a seductress” (Proverbs 20:16); “Do not be one of those who shakes hands in a pledge, One of those who is surety for debts; 27 If you have nothing with which to pay, Why should he take away your bed from under you?” (Proverbs 22:26-27); “Take the garment of him who is surety for a stranger, And hold it in pledge when he is surety for a seductress” (Proverbs 27:13). If a stranger is faithless enough to go into “a seductress” (Proverbs 5-7), and you are left holding his “garment” as a “pledge,” then how much will he have left when she is through with him and you have his necessary clothing? “For by means of a harlot A man is reduced to a crust of bread; And an adulteress will prey upon his precious life” (Proverbs 6:26). We can become so over-obligated, we could lose our “bed from under” us. In our credit-riddled, debt-ridden society, these are words to heed!

To assume the debt of “a stranger” is to step into a bond with someone we may not know as well as we thought. This appears to be behind the statement to Christians by Paul: “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14), which he explains in 2 Corinthians 6:15-18. There must be a line maintained between caution and fellowship.

God prohibited taking a “neighbor’s” garment for collateral in Moses’ Law: “If you ever take your neighbor’s garment as a pledge, you shall return it to him before the sun goes down” (Exodus 22:26). This was his necessary clothing pawned for a debt; it was a “neighbor” who lived close by; and even Proverbs 17:18 warns of being surety “for his friend.” Those who mismanage their own finances, but never learn God’s Wisdom from their experiences, surely are disqualified at dealing with, or advising, everyone else!

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

#bible-study, #collateral, #credit, #debt, #fellowship, #harlot, #pawned, #pledge, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #stranger, #surety, #wisdom

Questions regarding 2 Cor 2:6

NKJV reads [with emphasis added]: “This punishment which was inflicted by the MAJORITY is sufficient for such a man.” ESV & NET also use “majority”. KJV & ASV use “many”.

QUESTION #1: Is is safe to conclude that NOT ALL of the Corinthian brethren obeyed Paul’s command in 1 Cor 5 (regarding withdrawing fellowship from the brother involved in sexual sin)? As I look at the Greek word pleion, this seems to be correct (but I’ll defer to the “experts” among us). Paul would have used a different term if ALL of the Christians in Corinth had heeded his command, right?

QUESTION #2: What about the FEW who did NOT obey (i.e., ones who did not withdraw from the erring brother after being commanded to do so)? We would understand this to be a sin, yet there is no instruction from the apostle to discipline them (not even a rebuke). What are we to conclude from this?

Any input is appreciated. This inquiry is more than hypothetical for me.

As a side note, our family trip out West was wonderful (Grand Canyon, Sedona, & Monument Valley were my favorite stops). All that being said, it’s great to be home!

#fellowship, #majority

Social Media and Fellowship

What role does social media have in Biblical fellowship? More specifically, what does it do to the lines between sound and unsound brethren? In the past, I have received Facebook friendship requests from false teachers who have dozens of sound brethren as “friends.”

Should we be Facebook friends with false teachers? Do we need to examine the Scriptures on fellowship through the prism of social media? I look forward to the discussion.

#facebook, #false-teachers, #fellowship, #scripture, #social-media, #truth

New discoveries when I’m teaching

fellowship

Here’s the pic from our pizza party Friday night in Taubate. Good friends here. I took this with Haroldo’s camera, so I had to tinker with it, since it had no flash. This was after we demolished the food. Nothing left.

The pics from the birthday party last night are here.

Did I tell you already that I’ll be away some from the Internet this week, as we travel? I can’t remember to whom I’ve said what. Such is the whirl of preparation.

Do carry on normally. More than normal. Take up the slack for me, please.

We saw the granddaughter tonight on skype, did the usual grandparent-baby-talk thing. My parents didn’t have that blessing when our kids were growing up on a different continent from them. They sacrificed a lot as we did our work. His work. And they did it gladly, mostly.

I preached this morning, taught our new Bible school this afternoon, led singing, also. I think I’ve finally gotten used to leading singing. At least, among the brethren here in Brazil. Don’t ask me to do it in the U.S. Scares me to death.

But I love to teach. Preach, also. The more the merrier. The interaction in teaching, though, is what makes it even more interesting to me. Love to draw people out. Make ’em think. Challenge in the best way possible, toward growth, toward love for the Lord, toward commitment to the Kingdom.

I often make new discoveries when I’m teaching — in the act of teaching, not just the preparation. The back-and-forth discussion seems to make that happen. Something about that dynamic. You know I’m not charismatic, nothing like that, but the Spirit of God moves powerfully to bring out his truth in such moments. Is it OK to attribute that happening to the Spirit? No miracles, no supernatural revelation, just God working, as he does everywhere, in everything.

Well, I have bags to pack. Or maybe I’ll sleep on it, and in the morning see what clothes fall in the suitcase during the night.

Say a prayer for our trip, please.

#bible-teaching, #fellowship, #preaching, #travel

In a troubled world

sufferingYesterday, Sunday, we spent from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. with saints. First, the meeting in SJCampos. Then, lunch, as usual, with Jorge, Paula, and Daniel, our coworkers in Taubaté. Then, at 4 p.m., the Taubaté meeting. After that, we treated Daniel to Pizza Hut back in SJCampos, for his twelfth birthday. Enjoyed visiting with that family until they took to the highway back home in São Paulo.

They’re going on vacation this week and won’t return before we leave to visit our families. So it will be nearly a month before we see them again.

• Saturday we wound our way through the capital to pick up The Maiden coming in from youth camp, having served as a monitor for the first week, ages 7-10. Seems they got some rounders this time. Was overheard that more kids not connected to church went this session, so that may explain part of it. Though I’ve seen some rowdy church kids. Won’t say to whom they belonged.

• Our good brother Mike R. is asking for some help. Please read this post and the one he links to. Mike is worthy of help, because (1) he’s a faithful brother; (2) he has a real need; (3) he has done much writing for the gospel online, not to mention his ministry locally.

• In a study Bible an author started a sentence with this phrase, “In a troubled world, …” I wondered if there were any other kind of world. But that’s probably what he meant, “In a troubled world like ours.”

• I was given free online access to that study Bible through a Twitter representative of the publisher. I’m still grateful for that kindness.

• Oh, my FMag article for today, “No automatic doors to heaven.” I even mention Harry Potter. Sort of. Good night!

#fellowship, #ministry, #youth-camp

Communion with the saints

Our preacher this morning seemed to get choked up near the end of his sermon as he talked about being grateful for finding the church. I’m not sure what prompted it, unless it was the support shown his family in the death of his father-in-law last Thursday.

Yesterday, we had four non-Christian couples to participate in our little get-together in Taubaté. Ricardo and Marilia did a great job putting it together. It was a three-in-one event: a couples’ shindig, a country party typical of June, and Valentine’s Day (June 12).

Coming up Saturday is our monthly advanced Bible study, part three of what I’m calling the “Theology of the Biblical Model.” The word “theology” is a favorite here, so I used it, for the first time, in the advanced study. I suppose it’s good shorthand for “What the Bible teaches about …” When I first put it together, it was seven pages of outline, and I’ve added to it since then. I might stretch it into July, but will probably need to give it rest after that.

Almost every Sunday we eat lunch with a Christian family, either here at home, when The Missus is able to get it together, or at a buffet restaurant. That, plus the meetings of the two congregations we work with, means we’re all day Sunday with Christians, which we enjoy. And sometimes after the second meeting, some opportunity comes up as well.

Well, much of me and we here tonight. Let me end with this:

Communion with saints is always sweet,
And all the more in trials;
In church with faithful friends we meet,
Who’ll walk with us for miles.

#church, #communion, #fellowship

Your Favorite Sermon

I don’t remember anything else that happened that day. And honestly, I can’t even recall the week, month, or year. I’m not for certain which Bible verses he used or what song we sang before or after but I’ll always remember my favorite sermon. The preacher (I won’t mention his name due to the fact that he would much rather have people remember the message and not who delivered it) wore a nice suit.

He stood at the front of the packed auditorium and spoke about hypocrisy. He mentioned how often we strive to look like we’re following Christ but sometimes our hearts are far from him. I was going through a difficult time in my life and knew that I needed to get right with God. The message hit home and I got back on the path I needed to be on.

When the speaker concluded his sermon, he took off that nice suit coat and underneath was a ripped, torn, and filthy dress shirt. It didn’t take long for those of us sitting in the pews to realize and soon everyone began to chuckle. But the point was made and will stick with me always.

If you’re like me, then you’ve probably heard thousands of sermons. Some at lectureships, workshops, Gospel meetings, or your weekly church gathering so I’m asking, what sermon has made an impact in your life and why?

What’s your favorite sermon?

#fellowship, #sermons, #word-of-god

On Thanksgiving day, my wife and I will …

On Thanksgiving day, my wife and I will visit the home of one of our members, who through her generosity, and the generosity of her three sisters will have plenty of food and fellowship.

#fellowship, #food, #generosity, #home, #member, #plenty, #sister, #visit, #wife

Small town atmosphere

Preacher Alan Smith writes Thought for the Day, often starting with a humorous story or joke to make a point. You might enjoy it. Here’s the latest:

=====  Thursday’s Thought For The Day (September 23, 2010)  =====

SMALL TOWN ATMOSPHERE

You know you live in a small town when…..

  • Third Street is on the edge of town.
  • You don’t use your turn signals because everyone knows where you’re going.
  • A baby born on June 14 receives gifts from local merchants as the first baby of the year.
  • You speak to each dog you pass by name and he wags his tail at you.
  • You dial a wrong number and talk for 15 minutes anyway.
  • You can’t walk for exercise because every car that passes you offers you a ride.
  • In order to paint traffic lines, the road has to be widened
  • The Mayor is also the Sheriff, Town Council and street sweeper.
  • There is no town idiot — everybody has to take turns.
  • You can name everyone you graduated with.
  • You have to drive an hour to buy a pair of socks.
  • You get a whiff of manure and think of home.
  • You fix yourself up to go buy groceries lest anyone starts the rumor that you have gained weight or quit taking care of yourself.
  • Friday nights fun consisted of standing in line for the one-screen theater and when it is sold out, watching truckers and drinking coffee at the truck stop (the only place open after 10).
  • Someone asks you how you feel and listens to what you say.

There are certainly some disadvantages to growing up in a small town, but some advantages as well.  Especially when it comes to having people around you who truly care.  In a large city, it’s easy to find yourself surrounded by a sea of nameless faces.  That is something that we dare not allow to happen in the church.

The 16th chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans is important, though you may have previously overlooked its significance.  The chapter consists of a series of greetings, most of them to people whose names we can’t even pronounce.  No less than 28 members of the church in Rome are mentioned by name.  Why?  Perhaps Paul wanted to remind this group of Christians in a large city that they were not nameless faces — they were part of God’s family.  We not only mean something to God, we mean something to one another.  It’s a “small town atmosphere” even in a “large city church.”

“Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren who are with them.  Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them.   Greet one another with a holy kiss. The churches of Christ greet you.” (Rom. 16:14-16)

Have a great day!

Alan Smith
Helen Street Church of Christ
Fayetteville, North Carolina

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#fellowship, #romans, #thought-for-the-day

What Are You Talking About?

ISTM, that I’m sitting and reading FB and TFR and HSuite before I get back to 1 Pt.

Many of us may understand what these acronyms mean, but this is a public forum and we cannot assume that everyone else will. Moreover, we have an international readership, so we must be aware of colloquial phrases that can be confusing to our non-English speaking readers. If we want an insular site, we can speak in code and outsiders will not feel welcome. However, if we wish to be open to all, we need to be warm, friendly and engaging. The latter is enhanced by writing in a way that all can understand. Thanks!

#fellowship, #writing