Hugh’s News & Views (On Dead Men Climbing Ladders)

ON DEAD MEN CLIMBING LADDERS

In an effort to downplay the necessity of taking the steps necessary for being saved from sin and becoming a Christian, it has been asserted that “dead men don’t climb ladders.” But what proves too much proves too little! Using that same “logic,” dead men do not go to the mourner’s bench. Dead men do not “pray through.” Dead men do not kneel down by their radio or television set and “receive Jesus into their heart.” Dead men do not walk to the front at a “Crusade for Christ.” Dead men do not “just believe.” Dead men do not say “the sinner’s prayer.” Yet, all of these are taught as things that a person can do to be saved.

It is rather obvious that a person who is literally and physically dead can do nothing. Physically dead men don’t breathe, eat, think, talk, walk, or work! Neither do they read the Bible! And, it is true that the alien sinner (the sinner who has not been redeemed by the blood of Christ and who has not become a child of God) is said to be “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). But, the fact that a person may be spiritually dead does not mean that he is physically dead and therefore incapable of doing anything to save himself. A person who is spiritually dead but physically alive is capable of hearing, believing, and obeying the gospel which is God’s power to salvation (Romans 1:16). Continue reading

#calvinism, #hughfulford, #salvation

Hugh’s News & Views (The Indwelling Holy Spirit)

THE INDWELLING HOLY SPIRIT

The New Testament is quite clear in affirming that the Holy Spirit dwells in Christians, God’s children. Jesus promised, “‘He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those who believe in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified” (John 7:38-39). Peter affirmed, “And we (the apostles, hf) are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him” (Acts 5:32). Paul declared, “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’” (Galatians 4:6). (It is important to note that in this latter text Paul does not say that the Spirit was given to make us sons of God, but rather that the Spirit has been given to us because we have become Sons of God!) Continue reading

#holy-spirit, #hughfulford, #indwelling-of-the-holy-spirit

Hugh’s News & Views (Great Gospel Preachers . . . – Pt 1)

GREAT GOSPEL PREACHERS OF THE PAST

(Part 1: G. C. Brewer and H. A. Dixon)

(Note: A few months ago I wrote several essays on “Great Leaders of the Restoration Movement.” I now begin an intermittent series on “Great Gospel Preachers of the Past.” It is my plan to discuss two preachers in each essay. I hope you will find these biographical sketches both interesting and informative. “Remember those…who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct” [Hebrews 13:7]). Continue reading

#hughfulford

Hugh’s News & Views (Forty Things . . . Bible)

FORTY THINGS WE ALL NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE BIBLE

1. The word “Bible” is from the Greek word “byblos/biblos” and means “book.” Because of its divinely inspired contents the Bible is rightfully known as “the Book.”

2. The Bible is a divine library of sixty-six books. [more]

3. The Bible consists of two divisions—the Old Testament (consisting of 39 books) and the New Testament (consisting of 27 books).

4. The books of the Bible were written over a period of some 1600 years, from Moses (c. 1500 B.C.) to the apostle John (100 A.D.).

5. In all, some forty writers were engaged in the writing of the Bible, with eight of these (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James, and Jude) being responsible for the writing of the New Testament. The apostle Paul wrote at least thirteen of the New Testament books.

6. The Bible covers three major epochs (large time frames, sometimes referred to as dispensations) of God’s dealings with mankind: a) The Patriarchal Age in which the fathers (patriarchs) of families ruled (from Adam to Moses); b) The Jewish Age in which the Law of Moses governed the Hebrew/Israelite/Jewish people (from Moses to the death of Christ); c) The Christian Age in which the New Testament sets forth the will of God for all mankind (from the day of Pentecost [Acts 2] until the end of the world). Thus, the Christian Age is spoken of as “these last days” (see Hebrews 1:1-2).

7. The Bible also covers fifteen periods (smaller time frames) of God’s dealings with mankind: from the Ante-Diluvian (Pre-Flood) period (from the creation to the world-wide flood) all the way to the Early Church period (from the establishment of the church in Acts 2 to the close of the New Testament).

8. In reading the Bible, it is important to know in which of the above epochs (dispensations) and time periods one is reading.

9. The Old Testament consists of four major sections: a) Law (5 books: Genesis-Deuteronomy); b) History (12 books: Joshua-Esther); c) Wisdom Literature/Poetry (5 books: Job-Song of Solomon); Prophecy (17 books: Isaiah-Malachi).

10. The New Testament consists of four major sections: a) Gospels/Life of Christ (4 books: Matthew-John); b) History of the Early Church (1 book: Acts of the Apostles); c) Letters to Christians (21 books: Romans-Jude); d) Prophecy/The Ultimate Victory of God’s People (1 book: Revelation).

11. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew (with some small portions being written in Aramaic, a dialect related to Hebrew). The New Testament was written in Greek.

12. From its original languages, the Bible has been translated into 2546 languages and dialects (as of 2009). (See Once Delivered Forever Established: The Certainty of the Holy Scripture, Dr. Doug Burleson, p. 83, a book I highly recommend for all who have an interest in learning more about the authenticity and reliability of the Bible.)

13. Some of the better known English versions of the Bible are the King James (1611), the American Standard (1901), the Revised Standard (1946, N. T.; 1951, entire Bible), the New International (1973, N. T.; 1978, entire Bible), the New King James (1972, N. T.; 1982, entire Bible), the New American Standard (1963, N. T.; 1971, entire Bible), the New Revised Standard (1989), and the English Standard (2001). The Douay-Rheims Version (1508, 1609, 1610) was long held as the standard English version for members of the Roman Catholic Church, but Catholic editions of some of the above English versions are used by many Catholics.

14. The books of the Bible were divided into chapters by Archbishop Stephen Langton, an English scholar, though Cardinal Hugo also has been given credit for doing this, both in the 13th century.

15. The chapters of the Bible books were divided into verses by a French printer by the name of Robert Estienne (Latin name, Stephanus) in 1551 for the New Testament and 1555 for the Old Testament. (Note: Chapter and verse divisions facilitate the location of particular passages, e.g., “John 3:16,” rather than, “The Bible says in John that God so loved the world . . .”

16. Year after year, the Bible remains the world’s best-seller. 100 million Bibles are printed every year and 20 million of these are sold in the United States.

17. The Bible is comprised of “all Scripture . . . given by inspiration of God” (II Timothy 3:16-17).

18. Though men were the human instruments used by God for writing the Bible, the Scriptures exist because “holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirt” (II Peter 1:21).

19. The writers of the Bible were conscious of the fact that they were writing the word of God (Exodus 17:14; II Samuel 23:2; Jeremiah 30:2; I Corinthians 2:13; I Corinthians 14:37; I Thessalonians 2:13; II Peter 3:15-16; et al.)

20. There are literally thousands of manuscripts and ancient versions that verify the accuracy of the Bible (more than 5300 Greek manuscripts for the New Testament alone), so that “The Christian can take the whole Bible in his hand and say without fear or hesitation that he holds in it the true word of God, handed down without essential loss from generation to generation throughout the centuries” (Sir Frederic Kenyon [1863-1952], British biblical and classical scholar, as cited by Dr. Neil Lightfoot, How We Got the Bible, Abilene, TX: ACU Press, 1986, p. 126).

21. Being the word of God, and because it is impossible for God to lie (Hebrews 6:18), the Bible is absolute truth (John 17:17).

22. Jesus relied on Scripture to resist Satan’s temptations (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13).

23. Jesus read and quoted the Old Testament Scriptures and recognized them in their entirety as being the authoritative word of God (Matthew 5:17; John 10:35; Matthew 19:1-9; Matthew 23:34-35 [the equivalent of saying “from Genesis to Malachi”]; Luke 4:16-21; Luke 24:44-47).

24. During His personal ministry Christ referred to and gave credence to the creation of man in the image of God (Matthew 19:4-6), the flood (Matthew 24:38-39), the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah (Luke 10:12; 17:28-29), the story of Jonah and the great fish (Matthew 12:39-41), the writings of Moses (John 5:46), the writings of Isaiah (Mark 7:6-8), the writings of Daniel (Matthew 24:15), and other Old Testament prophets and events. He did not view them as folklore, fairytales, myths, or legends.

25. Being comprised of “all Scripture . . . given by inspiration of God,” the Bible “is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for

instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (II Timothy 3:16-17).

26. In the Bible God has given us “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (II Peter 1:13).

27. The Bible sets forth the “one faith” (Ephesians 4:5), “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). There is no authentic revelation from God outside of the Bible.

28. The Bible sets forth commands to be obeyed (I Corinthians 14:37; John 14:15; I John 5:3), examples to be followed (I Peter 2:21; I Timothy 4:12; II Timothy 1:13), warnings to be heeded (Acts 20:31; Colossians 1:28), and promises to be enjoyed (II Peter 1:2-4).

29. The Bible is not to be tampered with by addition, subtraction, substitution, or modification (Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6; Revelation 22:18-19; Galatians 1:6-9; Psalm 119:89).

30. As the word of God, the Bible is “a lamp to [our] feet and a light to [our] path” (Psalm 119:105).

31. We should love the Bible, read and study it, memorize great portions of it, laying it up in our hearts so that we will not sin against God (Psalm 119:97, 11).

32. The word of God is the sword of the Spirit with which we are able to conquer all moral and spiritual foes (Ephesians 6:17).

33. God’s word (the Bible) is “living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword . . . and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

34. The Bible is like a mirror into which one may look to see what changes he/she needs to make in order to be right with God (James 1:18).

35. God’s word is “like a fire” and “like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces” (Jeremiah 23:29).

36. The word of God “is able to build [us] up” spiritually (Acts 20:32).

37. It is through the word of truth (the Scriptures/Bible) that one is “brought forth” (born again) to be “a kind of firstfruits of His (God’s) creatures” (James 1:18; cf. I Peter 1:22-23; John 3:1-5).

38. The Scriptures are to be studied and searched diligently to see if the things that are taught and believed religiously are so (Acts 17:11; cf. I Thessalonians 5:21; I John 4:1).

39. The word of God is indestructible (Matthew 24:35) and will be the standard by which all will be finally judged—not our opinions or what we have always felt, thought, believed, or been taught (John 12:48; Romans 2:16).

40. In summary, the Bible is not a self-help book designed to make its readers healthy, wealthy, happy, or successful (though within its overarching purpose there are broad principles that contribute to these matters). It is not a book of “codes” and “prophecies” as to when the second coming of Christ will occur and the world will end. Neither is the Bible a disjointed book of disconnected and unrelated documents. Rather, it is a book that gradually and systematically, from beginning to end, sets forth God’s grand scheme of human redemption from the time of its conception in the mind of God before the foundation of the world (Titus 1:1-3; II Timothy 1:8-11; Romans 16:25-27), through its being made known by Christ, the gospel, the church, and the New Testament (Ephesians 3:1-12; I Corinthians 2:1-13), to its ultimate fruition of the redeemed in heaven—“receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls” (I Peter 1:9).

Hugh Fulford

September 18, 2018

Speaking Schedule:

September 21-23: Gatlinburg, TN

#bible, #hughfulford

Hugh’s News & Views (How To Stay Married . . .)

HOW TO STAY MARRIED FOR SIXTY + YEARS

On September 7, Jan and I celebrated sixty-one years of marriage. We were married in Loudon, Tennessee in 1957 by James Matthews, professor at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and minister of the Loudon Church of Christ. How do people stay married for sixty or more years? I do not have all the answers to this question, but by virtue of having been married that long, perhaps I have a few insights that will be helpful. Continue reading

#hughfulford, #marriage

Hugh’s News & Views (A Father’s Toolbox)

A FATHER’S TOOLBOX

(Note: Only rarely have I used an essay written by someone else. The following article was written by Edd Sterchi of Campbellsville, KY and appeared in the July 8, 2018 bulletin of the Watertown, TN Church of Christ. It contains great spiritual truths, and in the light of Labor Day I think it is appropriate). Continue reading

#fatherhood, #hughfulford

Hugh’s News & Views (A Few Personal Matters . . .)

A FEW PERSONAL MATTERS AND UPDATES

KARNS CHURCH OF CHRIST, KNOXVILLE, TN: On Sunday, August 19, I had the privilege and honor of speaking at the Homecoming and Open House of the Karns Church of Christ in Knoxville, Tennessee. The church was celebrating sixty-five years of existence as a congregation and also hosting an open house for their newly expanded auditorium and a new two-story classroom and office building for the Southeast Institute of Biblical Studies, a work of the Karns church under the oversight of its six very wise and capable elders. Continue reading

#hughfulford

Hugh’s News & Views (Parachurch Organizations)

PARACHURCH ORGANIZATIONS

Several months ago, a faithful and able preacher of the gospel emailed me about his concern over the direction the Lord’s church is taking with reference to parachurch organizations. I hasten to say that this brother is not a reactionary, a hobbyist, a crank, an opposer of good works, or one who is hypercritical. He is a veteran, seasoned, balanced gospel preacher who spent several years teaching Bible in a Christian high school. But he is concerned about the direction he sees the church going in “outsourcing the work of the church to human organizations.” Continue reading

#hughfulford, #parachurch-organizations

Hugh’s News & Views (Requirements, Expedients, . . .)

REQUIREMENTS, EXPEDIENTS, AND VIOLATIONS

(Part 1)

Through His word, the Bible, God has set forth His will for mankind. By various kinds of statements (declarative, imperative, hortatory, interrogative, etc.), approved apostolic examples, and implications (from which we draw logical inferences or conclusions), God has communicated in an understandable way what He expects of us as rational, responsible, and accountable human beings. “So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:17, NASB). Continue reading

#expediency, #hughfulford

Hugh’s News & Views (Am I A Member . . . ?)

AM I A MEMBER OF A DENOMINATION?

(Note: This week’s essay is pursuant to a sermon I preached this past Sunday morning, June 3, at the Mitchellville (TN) Church of Christ on the question, “Why Do You Say That The Church Of Christ Is Not A Denomination?”) Continue reading

#church, #denominationalism, #hughfulford

Hugh’s News & Views (A Biblical Concept . . .)

A BIBLICAL CONCEPT OF THE CHURCH

(Note: The following was posted on my FB page on May 10. With a few emendations, I send it out as this week’s edition of “Hugh’s News & Views.”)

When a person says he (or she) left the church of Christ (which they often will think/speak/write in terms of “Church of Christ”) to join the Baptist Church or the Catholic Church or the Episcopal Church or whatever the denomination might be so that they and their spouse “would be members of the same church” (or for some other “reason”), I immediately know that they do not have a biblical concept of the church of Christ, nor are they and I “on the same page” when speaking of the church of Christ. They have one concept in mind, and I have an entirely different concept in mind. (Note: Contrary to the thinking of some, “Church of Christ” is not “the fellowship’s name,” as the editor of one publication recently asserted. In reality, the church of the New Testament does not have an official, exclusive, patented “name,” but, instead, it is identified by a number of descriptors of which “church of Christ” is but one). Continue reading

#church, #hughfulford

Hugh’s News & Views (The “Before” And The “After” . . .)

THE “BEFORE” AND THE “AFTER” OF GOD’S ETERNAL PURPOSE

As a sequel to our two previous essays on God’s eternal purpose, it will be highly informative to observe the contrast of the before and the after of the making known of His eternally purposed scheme of redemption. This involves not only the status of the purpose itself, but also of humanity. Continue reading

#gods-eternal-purpose, #hughfulford

Hugh’s News & Views (God’s Eternal Purpose – Pt. 2)

GOD’S ETERNAL PURPOSE (Part 2)

“Before time began” God promised eternal life through Christ and the gospel (Titus 1:1-3; II Timothy 1:8-12). This is known as God’s “eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:11). Throughout the ages of the Old Testament this purpose remained hidden (a mystery), but it “has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (II Timothy 1:9-10). Continue reading

#gods-eternal-purpose, #hughfulford

Hugh’s News & Views (God’s Eternal Purpose)

GOD’S ETERNAL PURPOSE

(Part 1)

According to the Holy Scriptures, God in His infinite wisdom and marvelous grace conceived and formed an eternal purpose to redeem fallen mankind through Christ Jesus our Lord (Ephesians 3:11). This purpose was formed “before time began” (Titus 1:1-3; II Timothy 1:8-12), and was gradually revealed down through the ages until it came to fruition in Christ, the gospel, the church, and the New Testament. To see the unfolding of this grand purpose is one of the most thrilling, exciting, and informative studies in which one can engage. Continue reading

#eternal-purpose, #hughfulford

Hugh’s News & Views (Forty Things . . . Christian Living)

FORTY THINGS WE ALL NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CHRISTIAN LIVING

The followers of Christ were first called Christians in Antioch (in Syria) in c. A.D. 41-43 (Acts 11:26). By the preaching of the apostle Paul, Agrippa, a Jewish king, was almost persuaded to be a Christian (Acts 26:28). The apostle Peter said, “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter/name” (I Peter 4:16[NKJV; cf. ASV]). Continue reading

#christian-living, #hughfulford