A FAMINE OF THE WORD
I am indebted to brother James E. Farley of Louisa, Kentucky for the following poem which he has given me permission to use. It is an appropriate sequel to last week’s edition of “Hugh’s News & Views” titled “A Christian, But Not A Member Of The Church Of Christ?”
A FAMINE OF THE WORD!
By James E. Farley
I love to read the Word of God,
To learn of Truth and Right,
To meditate upon His law,
By day and then by night.
(Psalm 1:2) Continue reading
A CHRISTIAN, BUT NOT A MEMBER OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST?
Is it possible for one to be a Christian (what some often speak of as a Christ follower), and not be a member of His spiritual body, the church? Most people would say no, if one is a Christian that person is also a part of the universal spiritual body of Christ. At the same time, many people would say that one can be a Christian without being a member of the church of Christ, or, as they would likely write it, the Church of Christ, or the Church of Christ church or the Church of Christ denomination. This indicates that in the minds of many people two different things are under consideration when one speaks of “the one universal spiritual body of Christ” and when one speaks of “the church of Christ.” In the case of the latter, they are thinking of and viewing the church of Christ as a denomination, only a part of the much larger universal spiritual body of Christ. But is this in fact the biblical concept of the church of Christ? Is this the view of biblically informed members of the church of Christ? Let us study and think together on this vital question. Please note that the title of our essay is not an affirmation, but a question. Continue reading
SOME REMARKS REGARDING RACE
At the risk of rushing in where angels fear to tread, this week I offer some very personal remarks regarding matters of race. I do not do this to further “stir the pot” that has been boiling in our country over the past few weeks following the senseless killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis by rogue policemen (or at least policemen who, for the moment, lost their sense of responsibility as public servants). As a Christian, I should not have to say that I find that deed both despicable and unconscionable. Regardless of why he was in police custody, no person should be treated as George Floyd was treated by those policemen. Continue reading
THE JULY 2020 ISSUE OF THE SPIRITUAL SWORD
The July 2020 issue of The Spiritual Sword is a sterling edition of the quarterly publication having as its theme, “A Handy Guide To Pioneer Preachers.” Significantly, this issue completes a full fifty-one years that The Spiritual Sword has been in publication, all under the oversight of the elders of the Getwell Church of Christ in Memphis, TN. It also marks thirty-one years that Alan Highers has been at the editorial helm of this outstanding journal. Continue reading
In His infinite love for mankind and His desire for humanity to know His will, God has provided some important lists to which we would do well to pay attention. These lists do not provide the details of how the respective items are to be applied—not by any means—but they do encapsulate and serve as succinct summaries of a number of significant principles that are then “fleshed out” in the rest of God’s special and divine revelation to humanity, the Bible. Continue reading
The apostle Peter referred to “a more sure word of prophecy,” and spoke of “a light that shineth in a dark place” (II Peter 1:16-19, KJV). In his church bulletin, “The East Main Messenger,” of April 19, 2020, Wayne Lankford, my friend of almost 50 years and longtime minister of the East Main Church of Christ in Murfreesboro, TN, wrote: “What was a ‘more sure word of prophecy?’ And, what did ‘a light that shineth in a dark place’ have reference to? The Lord was aware of adversities and trials they (Peter’s original readers, hf) faced. The same is true with us. Yet, during those times, their character and faith were being tested, but not without hope in Christ. Prophecies of old were inspired (see 2 Peter 1:20-21). They also foretold of Jesus’ coming. Their words (writings) were as a light shining in a dark place (Psa. 119:105). Yet, their light was not as bright as the ‘day star’ that would bring light into hearts.” Continue reading
GOD’S WONDERFUL PLAN OF SALVATION
From time to time, at least twice a year, I try to present to my readers God’s gracious plan of salvation as set forth in the New Testament. A number of my readers have never obeyed the gospel of Christ and are therefore in a lost state (II Thessalonians 1:6-10). I have a deep and sincere love for them and their souls and a compelling desire to share God’s wonderful plan of salvation with them. I want all of them to hear and understand the pure gospel of Christ, as opposed to a perverted gospel (Galatians 1:6-9), and I want all of them to know God’s simple plan of salvation as opposed to corruptions of that plan by the doctrines, commandments, and traditions of men (Matthew 15:8-9; II Timothy 4:3-5). The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer,” currently being promoted on television by Franklin Graham, is a travesty of what God’s word teaches about salvation. I urge all to read all the passages cited in this essay. Continue reading
A WRITING MINISTRY
I enjoy writing and view it as an extension of my ministry of the gospel and the advancement of the cause of Christ. During my senior year of high school at Mars Hill Bible School in Florence, AL I was the sports editor of our little school paper. Being “editor” meant that I wrote the one sports story (maybe occasionally two) for “The Areopagite.” (You will need to read Acts 17:16-21, 34 to see the connection between the name of the paper and the name of my high school). As I recall, Larry Harper, who was a grade behind me, submitted the winning name in a contest to rename the school newspaper. “The Areopagite” only existed for one or two years before it reverted back to its former name, “The Flashlight,” but I liked the name “The Areopagite.” I also served as one of two associate editors of my high school yearbook “Mizpah.” (If you will read Genesis 31:48-49 you will understand the significance of that name). Continue reading
WHERE DO WE GO WHEN WE DIE?
Other than atheists and agnostics, most people are interested in questions about life after death. (They will be too when they die, but then it will be too late). When a loved one dies, people want to know where that person is. Does one go directly to heaven or hell at death? When an avid golfer dies is it correct to speak of him as now enjoying a round of golf on the heavenly links with his buddies who preceded him? When a “shop-aholic” dies is it correct to say she is now enjoying a big shopping spree up and down the golden street of heaven? When a famous musician dies is it true that he is now enjoying a big “jam session” up in heaven with his former comrades who preceded him in death? Was Tom T. Hall right when he wrote in “The Year That Clayton Delaney Died” that it “could be that the good Lord loves a little pickin’ too”? Continue reading
SOME THOUGHTS ON THE POST-CORONAVIRUS WORLD AND CHURCH
To paraphrase Amos, “I am not a prophet, or the son of a prophet” (Amos 7:14), nevertheless I have a few thoughts concerning some changes that I foresee coming in the post-coronavirus world and in the church of our Lord as to how we all might be forced to “do business.” Once again, I will remind my readers that these are “HUGH’S News & Views,” that they are only my thoughts, and are not intended to represent the thinking of anyone else. No one has to agree with me. And since I am not omniscient or divinely inspired, I may very well be wrong about some or all of my observations. Continue reading
BUY THE TRUTH AND SELL IT NOT
The above title is a direct quote from Proverbs 23:23. Truth is vital in every arena of life, but no more so than in religious and spiritual life.
God “brought us forth” as His children “by the word of truth,” (James 1:18). We purified our souls “in obeying the truth … the word which by the gospel was preached to you” (I Peter 1:22-25). In prayer to His Father, Jesus said, “Thy word is truth” (John 17:17).
To “buy the truth and sell it not” means to make whatever sacrifice is necessary to come to a knowledge and understanding of God’s word (His truth), and, having done so, to never under any circumstances abandon it. Continue reading
READING THE SCRIPTURES
In 2000, when I retired from the Houston Park Church of Christ in Selma, AL (and from full-time ministry after more than 42 years), Tom McLemore was chosen by the elders of the Houston Park church to succeed me in the pulpit. Tom has now been with the congregation for 20 years and has done a good work. He is an excellent student of the Scriptures and a good writer. For this week’s edition of “Hugh’s News & Views” I have chosen to run an outstanding article that Tom wrote and published in the April 2020 issue of the Houston Park church bulletin. I do so with his gracious permission. It addresses one of the most fundamental matters that can challenge our attention today, and I commend a careful reading of it by all. The scripture quotations in Tom’s article are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. His article is as follows. Continue reading
SAME NAMES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
In reading the Bible, it is obvious that several people had the same name, just as many people today bear the same name. A part of what is involved in understanding the Bible is being able to distinguish between the various individuals who had the same name. In our essay this week we will limit our discussion to some of the same names in the New Testament. We hope our readers will find it both interesting and informative. Continue reading
LEARNING FROM THE DENOMINATIONS
For over sixty years I had in my library works by various denominational writers. I read and received benefit from them. Since I retired from full-time local work (almost twenty years ago) I have greatly reduced my library, but I still have a modest one and have retained in it works by various denominationalists. I continue to buy and read books by denominationalists as well as by members of the Lord’s church. (How I do I detest the denominational use of “Church of Christ” or “CoC” to describe authors, scholars, preachers, colleges, etc., but I do not fall out with those who think they must resort to such sectarian and denominational terminology to express themselves). Continue reading
JOHN THE BAPTIST
In extolling the work of John the Baptist, Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he” (Matthew 11:11).
This is a strange statement, and on the surface it appears to be a contradiction. How is it possible for one to not be greater than John the Baptist and yet for the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven to be greater than he? Jesus was “born of a woman” (Galatians 4:4). Was/Is He not greater than John the Baptist? Continue reading