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  • John T. Polk II 11:51 am on 2014-04-19 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , religion   

    Calendar Apostasy (finis) 

    Joseph, let me finish this conversation on “fellowshiproom.org” with some comments, and if you have further questions, we can privately discuss them.

    Original article:

    If they did so [continued celebrating Passover], it was without any authority from God. From Colossians 2:13-17 we learn that the cross of Christ: (1) “wiped out” Moses’ Law with none remaining (just like a sinner’s sins, Acts 3:19); (2) took Moses’ Law “out of the way” (removed it from further use, like sins, John 1:29); (3) “nailed” Moses’ Law at the same time (if there is no “judgment,” there is no law to enforce, Romans 4:15)

     You said: I think that’s a pretty radical reading of Colossians 2:13–17. [Joseph, it’s not “radical reading” to stress the exact words of the text, and then accept it’s teaching. You seem to resort to “radical reading” by looking into the words “bond,” “curse,” “elemental spirits” in passages you use. It is hardly objective to call my procedure “radical reading” and resort to the same thing yourself!] Let’s look at what the Scripture actually says (I’ll even be nice and use a good Protestant translation, the ESV):[What you term “a good Protestant translation” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s completely accurate. I find the NKJV a more consistently accurate translation.]

    You said: The “bond” is the record of those trespasses, which under the Law, we were legally bound to expiate. What Jesus canceled was not the Law, but this bond, and the legal requirements of the Law upon a Christian. [If what Christ “wiped out” was a written record of our personal sins, how would this prevent being judged “in food or in drink,” “a festival or a new moon or sabbaths?” And if that was the “shadow of things to come,” what was to come? Your interpretation is not consistent with this context. But if what Christ “wiped out” was Moses’ Law, then Christ’s death frees from personal sin and  the food and drink, festival, new moon, and sabbaths requirements of Moses’ Law. AND Christians should no longer follow the “shadow,” but the “substance” of Christ’s Law!] As he says in Galatians, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law” (Galatians 3:13) — He did not “wipe away” the Law itself. [Moses’ Law contained “the curse,”(Deuteronomy 21:23). Jesus became “the curse of the law” when He was crucified (Galatians 3:13-14). If the “curse” is removed, then the law with that “curse” is removed. If not, why not?] If that were the case, why would the Law itself (the Torah) still be an essential part of Christian Bibles? [“to bring us to Christ” (Galatians 3:19-29)]

     What is called a “Christian calendar” is the Catholic calendar of their designated times for spiritual emphasis. However, the New Testament church of Christ never re-enacted events in Jesus’ life, but preached His life, death, resurrection and ascension into Heaven,  that people could believe in Him (Luke 1:1-4; John 20:30-31; 21:25; Mark 16:15-16). Jesus was born, lived, and died under Moses’ Law (Galatians 4:4-5), but in His death, He removed that Law (Colossians 2:14-17; Hebrews 10:9-10). According to Hebrews 10:9, what “first” did Jesus “take away” and what did Jesus “establish” as the “second” which saves us today?

     It is easy to slip into unscriptural practices by imitating those who practice false religious ways, as Paul warned (2 Timothy 4:1-5), instead of imitating those who are pleasing to God (1 Corinthians 4:15-16; 2 Corinthians 10:18).

    —–John T. Polk II

     
    • docmgphillips 1:20 pm on 2014-04-19 Permalink | Reply

      I have followed this discussion with interest. Perhaps we are arguing semantics; perhaps not. I have never celebrated Christmas nor Easter as religious holidays. They definitely are NOT! However, I have always celebrated Santa Claus Day and Easter Bunny Day as secular holidays, and have allowed my children to do the same. They understood from early on that there was nothing sacred nor religious about those days. After all, we celebrate 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, and St. Valentine’s Day (wasn’t he a Catholic?). Personally, I see no harm in holidays as long as we understand that they have no religious connotation. We cannot control the world, but we can control what we, ourselves, believe.
      With that understanding, what is the problem? Can we not be “in” the world but not “of” the world?

      • RichardS 5:56 pm on 2014-04-19 Permalink | Reply

        When I was growing up my family celebrated Christmas, Easter, St. Patrick’s day, St.Valentine’s day, and halloween. However, as an adult Christian, I don’t see how I can observe or celebrate those days (which are steeped in pagan rituals) and be “unspotted from the world” (Jas 1:27) or not “conformed to the world” (Rom 12:2). The other national holidays that you mentioned, as far as I know, don’t involve any pagan rituals.

    • Joseph Richardson 1:29 pm on 2014-04-19 Permalink | Reply

      So you said that you “stress the exact words of the text.” And I “look into” the meaning of the words. Is this not the same thing? Should we not take the words for what they mean, and understand the context?

      If what Christ “wiped out” was a written record of our personal sins, how would this prevent being judged “in food or in drink,” “a festival or a new moon or sabbaths?

      Who do you think is doing the judging here? This is not talking about divine judgment. Paul says, “let no one pass judgment on you.” He is speaking, as I’ve said several times, to the exact situation that was occurring with the Romans and Galatians. Judaizers — those who taught that observance of the Torah was necessary for salvation in Christ — were passing judgment on Gentile Christian believers, who did not keep such observance. Paul says that because Christ canceled the bond of debts, He set us free from the legal demands of the Law. We are no longer bound in Christ to keep the Torah.

      And if that was the “shadow of things to come,” what was to come?

      Salvation in Christ by faith. Is this not basic Christian theology?

      But if what Christ “wiped out” was Moses’ Law, then Christ’s death frees from personal sin and the food and drink, festival, new moon, and sabbaths requirements of Moses’ Law.

      Yes, exactly — Christ’s redemption frees us from the legal requirements of the Law, to keep festivals, etc. But it does not forbid them, which is what you care claiming.

      And Christians should no longer follow the “shadow,” but the “substance” of Christ’s Law!

      That isn’t what Paul says here at all. You are interpolating a meaning that is not there. As I have shown, Paul, a Jew, as well as other Jewish Christians, “kept the Law zealously,” and did not see any contradiction between this and their salvation in Christ. How do you explain this discrepancy?

      I find the NKJV a more consistently accurate translation.

      Fine. Let’s use that one. It says basically the same thing.

      If the “curse” is removed, then the law with that “curse” is removed. If not, why not?

      Why would it be? Jesus Himself said, “Assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the Law till all is fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:18) Are you contradicting the words of our Lord?

      I will not argue with you about “unscriptural practices” and “false religious ways,” since that is an entirely different argument. You are asserting meanings from Scripture that simply are not there.

      If you’d like to email me, my address is joseph.t.richardson@gmail.com. But I welcome any other input from the community and am perfectly content to keep the discussion here.

  • TFRStaff 4:25 am on 2014-04-15 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , religion,   

    Hugh’s News & Views (Cafeteria-Style Religion) 

    HUGH’S NEWS & VIEWS

    CAFETERIA-STYLE RELIGION

    In our increasingly eclectic, “many options,” postmodern world, religion is being reduced to a cafeteria-style approach. Just as one can go through a cafeteria line picking the food items he or she wants to eat and rejecting the rest, so many people approach religion in the same fashion: they pick from the Bible (and even from various World Religions) those ideas, notions, commands, and practices they personally like and agree with and reject the rest.

    George Barna, in his book If Things Are So Good, Why Do I Feel So Bad?, has correctly captured the contemporary attitude toward religious faith. He writes: “The prevailing concern of people is no longer, ‘Is my faith pure and true?’ The dominant concern today is ‘Does my faith make me feel good and help me understand the world in a way I find reassuring and personally beneficial'” (page 91). (More …)

     
    • Joe Slater 8:50 am on 2014-04-15 Permalink | Reply

      “Professing to be wise, they became fools . . .” (Romans 1:22).

  • TFRStaff 8:53 am on 2014-01-23 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , religion,   

    Living in the Athens of the first century today 

    “Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: ‘Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious.’” Acts 17:22.

    In many ways we are living in the Athens of the 1st Century today. Whether those around us who worship at their altars will admit to this or not, our culture worships many gods.

    There are the gods of hedonism (pursuing sensuality), materialism (pursuing stuff), and egoism (pursuing self). And then there are the postmodern (each is his own god) gods of human secularism (man is man’s savior) whose doctrines are evolution, tolerance, and militant intolerance towards truth.

    We could proclaim the same thing today: “Men of America! I see that in every way you are very religious.” The difference is that while the 1st Century Athenians were curious about Paul’s “preaching of the good news about Jesus and the resurrection,” the 21st Century Athenians believe it old news, outdated … and disproved by science and the advancement of human intelligence.

    Just as Paul was able to connect with the men on Mars Hill by proclaiming the “unknown god” to them, we must seek and fill the needs of those in today’s Aeropagus, never changing the gospel message, but repackaging it for our audience so they can see its enduring relevance.

    Will you stand up or shrink back?

    Doug Kashorek

    Plattsburgh church of Christ

    http://www.plattsburghchurch.com

    author of Kin of Cain

    a Christian historical fantasy

    http://www.douglaskashorek.com

     
  • Eugene Adkins 3:59 pm on 2014-01-18 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: God of the New Testament, God of the Old Testament, , , religion   

    It’s the other way around! 

    After reading through and comparing the Old Testament to the New Testament many people in the religious world believe that Jesus came to make God feel differently about humanity. Such is not the case! As God in the flesh Jesus came to make humanity feel differently about God.

    Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

     
  • TFRStaff 8:20 am on 2014-01-12 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , religion, ,   

    PRACTICAL FOR LIVING! 

    One evening, as I was leaving our seasonal Winter Shelter, one of the guests asked me of my perspective on religion as compared to certain practices he had observed. Part of my response to him was that religion — as it is expressed in the Scriptures — is not merely ritual, but is practical. It relates to accepting God’s authority for life, good living and helping to meet the needs of others. The questioner then responded, “You are doing that.”

    Someone has said, “A person’s most useful asset is not a head full of knowledge, but a heart full of love, an ear ready to listen and a hand willing to help others.” [original source unknown]

    The fact that living a life pleasing to God is more than ritualistic observance is made clear through various passages of Scripture. For example, in response to a questioner seeking to justify himself (Luke 10:29), Jesus told the parable of the good Samaritan. (Luke 10:30-35) The priest and the Levite appear to have been too focused on their ceremonial cleanness to help one who had A REAL NEED. To press the point we read. . .

    “(36) Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” (37) He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “YOU GO, AND DO LIKEWISE.”” (Luke 10:36-37 ESV)

    On another occasion, when Jesus’ disciples were accused of plucking heads of grain while walking through a grainfield on the Sabbath, Jesus reminded the
    faultfinders of David and his men having eaten the bread that was only lawful for the priests to eat. That bread was there was to MEET THE NEED at the time. (Mark 2:23-26) By the time of Jesus’ walk on earth, the “doctrines” of work on the Sabbath had been meticulously defined by the teachers of the law. However, in addressing the practicality, Jesus went on to state. . .

    “(27) And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”” (Mark 2:27 ESV)

    There are a number of other places Jesus addressed what was done on the Sabbath when He Himself was accused of healing on the Sabbath. In those cases Jesus drew attention to what His accusers were willing to do when it came to their own personal property (i.e. Matthew 12:11-12), exposing more interest in themselves than in being willing to reach out to meet the REAL NEEDS around them.

    Perhaps one of the most concise and clearest statements comes from James where we read. . .

    “(27) RELIGION THAT IS PURE AND UNDEFILED BEFORE GOD, THE FATHER, IS THIS: TO VISIT ORPHANS AND WIDOWS IN THEIR AFFLICTION, AND TO KEEP ONESELF UNSTAINED FROM THE WORLD.” (James 1:27 ESV)

    Living a “religious” life before God and man is both practical and holy. Purity of life is an issue to be taken very seriously. However, our interaction with others and willingness to MEET REAL NEEDS is also of extreme importance. Are we not glad we have a Heavenly Father aware of and willing to provide for both our spiritual and physical needs? May we be mindful of that with regard to others as we live through each day God provides.

    Have a great day PUTTING THE ASSETS OF HEART, EAR, AND HAND TO WORK TO THE GLORY OF GOD! – Carl Hanson

    (“teEn-MAIL” is sent out daily by Carl Hanson, preacher for the Church of Christ in Port Townsend, Washington, USA, located at 230 A Street, Port Townsend, WA 98368. Come visit us if in the area. http://www.porttownsendchurchofchrist.org)

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  • Eugene Adkins 7:19 am on 2014-01-07 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ecuminical movements, religion, , ,   

    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:

     
    • Jon Galloway 10:03 am on 2014-01-07 Permalink | Reply

      Good thoughts. It is more than interesting that we can have no unity with an agreement on baptism – see Ephesians 4:1-6. Because of the wholesale rejection of baptism by those who claim to be Christian, there is no basis for unity. Period.

      • Eugene Adkins 10:32 am on 2014-01-07 Permalink | Reply

        I hear you. I could’ve said more but I wrote that article up in about 10 minutes…it was time to go to work. And I almost used Ephesians 4:4-6 as my scripture text for the end of the article. I had it in mind when I referenced the unity of the Spirit. Thanks for commenting, Jon.

  • John T. Polk II 11:15 am on 2013-12-03 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , New Testament outline, , religion, , , , , ,   

    Outline of the Book of Hebrews 

    There is an outline of the Book of Hebrews now available on: http://doverchurchofchrist.info/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Book-of-Hebrews.pdf

     
  • Eugene Adkins 7:14 am on 2013-11-05 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: apostle Peter, , , , , , Matthew 16, religion, , , the rock   

    The Real Rock of the Church 

    When Jesus came to the area of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They answered, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “You are blessed, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father in heaven! And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you release on earth will have been released in heaven.” Then he instructed his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ. From that time on Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and experts in the law, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” (Matthew 16:13-21 – NET)

    Unfortunately there are some in the religious world who completely miss the point of the above exchange between Jesus, the Son of God, and his chosen apostle, Peter. They sadly believe that these verses teach that the church of Christ, both locally and universally, was built upon Peter instead of what Jesus actually said the church would be built upon. Peter, along with the other apostles and prophets of God, helped to establish the foundation of the church through his teachings (Ephesians 2:20), but Peter is not the rock of Matthew 16:18 that the church is built upon.

    The rock of Matthew 16:18 that the church is built upon is the foundational principle of Jesus’ sonship, not Peter’s apostleship. Jesus is the rock of the church in every way. And keeping things in the context of the above quoted scriptures, how, outside of the Father’s verbal declaration (Matthew 17:4-5; 2 Peter 1:16-19) and the witness of the scriptures of God (Psalm 2; Hebrews 1:1-4), was Jesus proven to be the Son of God? It was by his resurrection from the dead!

    From Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God. This gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, concerning his Son who was a descendant of David with reference to the flesh, who was appointed the Son-of-God-in-power according to the Holy Spirit by the resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 1:1-4 – NET)

    This is why Jesus said the gates of Hades would not prevail or overpower the church’s foundation. Because death itself would not prevent the church from being built! The keys to the entrance of the kingdom were given to Peter (along with the other apostles, prophets and teachers of God) to use to let people into the kingdom, the church – but only Jesus has the keys to let people escape death, and their benefit is enjoyed through a belief in Jesus, the Son of God, and his conquering of death (John 11:25-26; Acts 2:22-41; Romans 10:9-10; Revelation 1:12-18).

    This is why the scriptures refer to the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:18-23; Colossians 1:12-18) as the “general assembly and church of the firstborn” (Hebrews 12:23) – because Jesus was, is and forever will be the firstborn from the dead, which is the foundational principle of the church’s existence.

    My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness and his victory over the grave as the Christ, the Son of God, and the rest of the church rests upon that rock for that is the rock, the true word of God’s grace, that Peter, James, John, Paul and the rest of the apostles and prophets built the church’s faith upon (Acts 20:32; 1 Peter 1:3). And to attempt to build the church upon any other foundation is to miss the foundation, the true rock, which was revealed to Peter by the Father through Jesus his Son in Matthew 16:13-21.

    We are coworkers belonging to God. You are God’s field, God’s building. According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master-builder I laid a foundation, but someone else builds on it. And each one must be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than what is being laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:9-11 – NET)

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:28 am on 2013-11-02 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , religion,   

    An Article that has an Interesting Perspective on Perspective 

    Here’s an article that originated with the E-mail Bulletin from the Lord’s Church in Wise, Virginia. The author (John Gibson) says several things that I have wondered about in relationship to the criticism one can receive when it comes to applying biblical principles to present day situations. I thought some here might find it interesting.

    STONES TO BREAD REVISITED by John Gibson

    But He answered and said, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

    Most readers will recognize those words from Matthew 4:4 as those spoken by Jesus when confronted by Satan in the wilderness and challenged to prove that He was the Son of God by turning the stones into bread. While I can’t imagine a Christian questioning Jesus’ answer, based on things I’m reading and hearing from some of my brethren, I’m convinced that if this had been said or written by a gospel preacher it would have been criticized in one or more of the following ways.

    • I noticed you quoted from the Septuagint, but are you sure it translated the Hebrew correctly here? The Septuagint is not a bad translation, but a lot has been learned about Hebrew in the last 250 years. Unless you have done sufficient research on the original language, I would be hesitant to rely too heavily on a translation that old.
    • Have you ever stopped to think that you are reading Deuteronomy as a 1st century inhabitant of Galilee when these words were spoken to a people who had been wandering in the Sinai wilderness for 40 years? To a people living in a barren land like that bread may have had a different meaning.
    • While everyone recognizes there are portions of the Scripture that contain Law, in Deuteronomy 8 Moses is telling a story, and it’s a perversion of the original to go over a narrative in that manner and pick commandments from it that you turn into law. In those sections we need simply to read the story and learn to be more like Moses and other faithful men and women who loved the Lord their God.
    • While your interpretation of Deuteronomy 8:4 has been the prevailing one taught in the stricter synagogues for some time, it is important that we be willing to challenge orthodoxy and not be trapped in a traditional mindset.
    • Why must you come across as so rigid in your approach to questions like this? I can understand why you may not be comfortable with the turning of stones to bread, and if that’s the case, then don’t do it. But why bind your interpretation on everyone else? (More …)
     
    • docmgphillips 11:05 am on 2013-11-02 Permalink | Reply

      Excellent! Thanks, Eugene, for bringing this back to our remembrance.

      • Eugene Adkins 6:44 am on 2013-11-04 Permalink | Reply

        Glad it was useful for you. I thought the writer did a good job of making some points that were worth looking at. It’s probably been a relevant topic for quite a while, and unfortunately will continue to be so.

  • Eugene Adkins 6:40 am on 2013-10-24 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , emptiness of life, , , , , , , religion,   

    “Bed Too Short and Cover Too Narrow” by Gospel Minutes 

    I talked to the editors at Gospel Minutes and I received their permission to put up a PDF of the article that I referenced a few days ago written by Clem Thurman called “Bed Too Short and Cover Too Narrow.” I encourage you to check it out if you don’t receive these papers through your congregation. Brother Thurman did an excellent job relating an “obscure” piece of scripture that’s thousands of years old to our modern-day mindset when it comes to finding fulfillment in the wrong places of life. Just click the link below!

    PDF of Bed Too Short and Cover Too Narrow

     
  • Eugene Adkins 7:35 am on 2013-10-23 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , religion, , , ,   

    A minister without the “title” 

    For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” (Hebrews 6:10 – NKJV)

    God isn’t impressed with titles. Titles bring responsibility (James 3:1) but they don’t get the work finished.

    People crave titles but God wants us to crave His work (Titus 2:14, 3:8; Galatians 4:18; 1 Timothy 3:1; Ephesians 2:10; Matthew 5:16).

    Liberals love to praise people who have pushed the envelope for titles for they equate titles with “equality” in the church. God praises people who work in His name and in His will, for He equates equality with being in Jesus and working within the bounds of the body of Christ (Galatians 3:26-29; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13:3).

    Conservatives love to praise people who have held firm to tradition for they equate tradition alone with working God’s will. God praises people who work within the tradition of the church’s faith through love, for God refuses to accept service done in His name if it’s not done in His will (Galatians 5:5-6; Romans 12:1-3).

    Let’s stick to the middle of the road (or the middle of the channel) and start showing more of a concern for rowing the boat instead of where we sit in the boat. An oar moving in unison with another oar will get much more done than an oar trying to go solo not matter how big the solo oar thinks it is.

    I may have gotten a little off track with the last three comments, but then again maybe not; either way let me bring it back to my original sentence: If we’re waiting around for a title to make our work have some sort of significance in the sight of man or in the sight of God then we’re not ready for that work – whatever the work is!

    And by the way, try looking up what the word “minister” actually means if you don’t already know and you might get what I’m trying to say.

    But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:8-12 – NKJV)

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:59 am on 2013-10-18 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: abused scripture, , Philippians 4:13, religion,   

    Is this one of the most abused scriptures in the New Testament? 

    I have a verse in mind when it comes to this topic that may not be close to what you’re thinking. It is a popular verse without a doubt; both with the church and the world – which may be why it’s possibly the most abused scripture in the New Testament. It at least has to be in the top ten!

    Here it is: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13 – NKJV)

    I’ve seen it on purses and in picture frames. I’ve heard it used in reference to football games and weightlifting aims. But are these the things that Paul that was talking about???

    In the midst of his closing statements to a congregation that labored in the gospel for Jesus, Paul thanks them from the bottom of his heart for the love that they had shown toward him during his trials for the Lord. And in the context of an exhortation concerning the physical condition of spiritual citizens, a content Paul reminds the church at Philippi that Jesus was his goal whether he was doing better than he deserved or whether he had seen far better days, but none-the-less their diligent gift which had surpassed the efforts of all other churches had lifted his heart and its heart-filling effect had actually reached the throne room in Heaven.

    When Paul said he could do all things through the one who strengthened him he wasn’t talking about making it through the minor inconveniences of life whether we’re a believer or not. Paul was talking about making it through the circumstances that came his way because of his faith in Jesus who is the Christ of God. And I don’t believe people are recognizing Philippians 4:13 for what it’s really saying, and that’s why I say that this verse may very well be one of most abused scriptures in the New Testament that people refer to.

    #abused-scripture, #philippians, #philippians-413, #religion, #scripture-study

     
    • Morris G. Monkus 7:18 am on 2013-10-18 Permalink | Reply

      Another one is Matthew 7:1

      Judge not, that ye be not judged.

      • Eugene Adkins 6:00 pm on 2013-10-18 Permalink | Reply

        You’re right. It rarely receives the balance of John 7:24 that’s meant to go along with it.

  • Eugene Adkins 6:52 am on 2013-10-17 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , religion   

    He’s not who they said he was after all! 

    For the last decade Muslims, at least in America, have gone to great lengths to try to convince Christians, among others, that Allah is the same person as the God of the Bible. Unfortunately for them, their own brothers in Malaysia have proved that teaching and stance to not be true, for a court in Malaysia has decided that no one in any religion other than Islam can use the name of Allah when it comes to religious conversations because, contrary to what they say and teach to non-Muslims, they don’t want Muslims thinking that Allah is the same person as the God of the Bible.

    According to this situation, it seems to me that Allah isn’t who they said he was after all!

    Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:8-12 – NKJV)

     
  • Eugene Adkins 7:08 am on 2013-10-02 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , religion,   

    What part of _____________ don’t you understand? 

    I had a person the other day try to tell me that he, me, you, the apostle Paul or any other “saint” couldn’t be sure about the eternal destination of the soul and that God’s people of the past never presumed to know where they were heading to after death.

    My answer to anyone who makes a claim like that is what part of 1 John 5:13 don’t you understand?

    The apostle of Jesus Christ whom we know personally claimed to be teaching the truth concerning our sins, Jesus’ death and the complete forgiveness that we can enjoy because of it plainly said:

    • “I have put these things in writing for you who have faith in the name of the Son of God, so that you may be certain that you have eternal life.” (BBE)
    • “I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (NET)
    • “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (NASB)
    • “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (KJV)

    On and on the translations go. The Greek is so plain and so closed to any type of “personal interpretation” that virtually any translation worth the smallest amount of salt at all will practically say the same thing!

    So now, can a person be sure they are saved? Absolutely they can. According to John himself that was the whole point of writing what he wrote. And to say otherwise due to some supposed oral tradition, written tradition or personal tradition is to break away from the clearly revealed “tradition” passed down from God’s apostle!

    Have faith! Read the rest of John’s letter for in it we can find the assurance that we need when it comes to our sins, Jesus’ death and the complete forgiveness that we can enjoy because of it. Be faithful! John’s letter reveals that the standard of faithfulness is not left up to the whims of culture or manmade leaderships, and his letter reveals that faithfulness comes with the promise of reward – a reward that we can be sure of just as the apostle Paul also taught (2 Timothy 1:12; 2 Corinthians 13:5).

    There is a difference between the doctrine of “once saved, always saved” and the doctrine of the blessed assurance that Jesus came to deliver through a covenant sealed with blood strong enough to completely blot out my sin no matter how I or anyone else feels about it!

    When we walk upon the sure foundations revealed by the word of God we won’t have to walk on eggshells, glass or pins and needles when it comes to salvation, for when we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus is always ready and capable of cleansing us from every sin; and therein is the difference between religion and relationship!

    If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:6-9 – NKJV)

     
    • Joseph Richardson 9:50 am on 2013-10-02 Permalink | Reply

      There is a distinction, too, that I think whomever you were talking to might have been making that you are not making. You talk about “being saved” largely in the present tense, and the possibility (or not) of “losing one’s salvation.” But the biblical authors write about salvation in several different tenses: for example, according to Paul, we “have been saved” (e.g. Eph 2:8), we “are being saved” (e.g. 1 Cor 15:2), and we “will be saved” on the Last Day (e.g. 1 Cor 3:15). And it’s true that Paul says he “does not even judge [himself],” that although he is not aware of anything against himself, it is up to God, “who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart” (1 Cor 4:4–5) to be his final judge.

      And John tells us that absolutely, we can have assurance that we have been saved, that we have eternal life, that Jesus has washed away our sins. But even you seem to admit the possibility of walking away from that salvation and eternal life (correct me if I’m wrong). John exhorts his readers to “abide in Him” (e.g. 1 John 2:28), and that “whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God” (1 John 3:10): for John, we can have assurance that we have eternal life but we still must abide in the light.

      The person you were talking to (a Catholic, I suspect?) would probably readily say that he has been saved through Baptism, through which Christ washed away his sins and through which he has been born again to Christ’s new and eternal life. The difference is the emphasis he was making, and I think you may have been misunderstanding each other. Just as Paul can say he has been saved but yet cannot presume to judge himself before the final day, we can say that we have been saved, and have assurance of that, and yet we cannot have absolute assurance that we will still be abiding in Him up to the end.

      • Eugene Adkins 10:13 am on 2013-10-02 Permalink | Reply

        There was no distinction to make. His position was that you could have no confidence/assurance in your salvation and that I was making myself a pope for having any other belief.

        If he would be honest enough to be consistent with his position he would take issue with the first sentence of your second paragraph.

        I’m not seeming to admit anything. I’m plainly saying that there is a world of difference between the assurance of salvation and saying anything close to once you’re saved you’re always saved. I’ve done several posts, posts that you have even commented on, that say this much.

        As to your last comment I would again ask, “What part of 1 John 5:13 don’t you understand?” John says he wrote what he wrote so Christians could be certain that they had eternal life. I don’t see what’s so hard to understand about that to anyone who actually takes the time to read 1 John.

        There was no misunderstanding on my part for I do not believe in once saved always saved, but I do believe that a person can be sure of his or her salvation because the Bible says we can, and that’s what he was saying isn’t possible.

        • Joseph Richardson 10:35 am on 2013-10-02 Permalink | Reply

          So then, I don’t understand the distinction you are making. What is the difference between “one saved, always saved” and “being sure of one’s salvation”?

          • Eugene Adkins 10:39 am on 2013-10-02 Permalink | Reply

            You already referred to it once. It’s the principle that John was teaching in 1 John 1:6-9. A principle that in no way affects believing that a person can know he or she is saved and also a principle that warns about the danger of sin, which is a danger that is completely ignored by the doctrine of once saved always saved.

        • Joseph Richardson 10:42 am on 2013-10-02 Permalink | Reply

          So then, we agree? Why are you arguing with me? We can have assurance that we have been saved, but that still leaves the possibility of “losing our salvation” through sin. Are we not saying the same thing?

          • Eugene Adkins 11:16 am on 2013-10-02 Permalink | Reply

            Um, who’s arguing with who here???

            To say that, “…we can say that we have been saved, and have assurance of that, and yet we cannot have absolute assurance that we will still be abiding in Him up to the end” has nothing to do with what I was taking about in the post. It’s a different topic and not even a statement that I necessarily 100% agree with but regardless you can say that to a certain extent about everything in life (James 4:13-15). The post had to do with a person saying that a Christian can never have assurance in his or her salvation. And the Bible is too clear – God does not want a person walking around on eggshells when it comes to being in a right relationship with Him through Jesus (John 8:31-32).

            You can never be good enough or do enough good works to ever say “now my salvation is secure” but you can, according to the Bible, abide in Jesus and be completely comfortable with knowing where you’re going when you die. I John 5:13 is too plain to say otherwise and it does not subtract anything from what 1 John 1:6-9 is saying because that’s exactly what he’s pointing back to. John said “he wrote these things” which includes all of what we call the 5 chapters that make up the letter.

        • Joseph Richardson 11:30 am on 2013-10-02 Permalink | Reply

          Well then, that’s exactly what I’m saying also. We are in complete agreement. I’m not sure to whom you were talking and replying to in this post, and they may very well misunderstand. The distinction I am talking about is exactly the same distinction you are making, just using different language. You talk about being assured in one’s salvation but still being warned of the danger of sin. Catholics (at least, Catholics who know what they are talking about) make a distinction between initial, progressive, and final salvation — as Scripture does itself (we have been saved, we are being saved, and we will be saved). We can have assurance of the first two but not of the last.

          Your presumption that Catholics believe we “have to be good enough or do enough good works” to be saved is where you are misunderstanding us, I think. That’s not what we believe. To say that we don’t have assurance of our final salvation is not to say that we think Christ’s salvation is any less perfect and absolute — it’s only having the humility to say that we are not above sin and that we could still screw up. And the distinction the person you were talking to seems to have been making is that — and it does seem this way to many if not most Catholics (especially those who have never been Protestants) — it seems like great hubris to say that one has absolute assurance that one will be saved. Because to a Catholic, that sounds not as if one is trusting in God for salvation, but as if one is trusting in himself.

          • Eugene Adkins 11:43 am on 2013-10-02 Permalink | Reply

            Your presumption that I’m talking to Catholics is your presumption. In the post I said that I was talking to anybody who made the claim that people cannot be sure of his or her eternal destination. The person I was talking to was arguing against that fact, and I guarantee according to the major attitude they were showing toward me, and if they were consistent in their position with you, that he would tell you that he knows what he’s talking about and that I have made myself a pope for saying otherwise, so if you agree with me then I guess you’re a pope too whether or not you knew it.

        • Joseph Richardson 11:49 am on 2013-10-02 Permalink | Reply

          You’ve given every indication that you were talking to a Catholic, and haven’t denied it when I’ve suggested it above. The idea of “making oneself a pope” itself suggests that you were talking to a Catholic. But I’m sorry if I’m mistaken. And, I’m sure you’ll readily admit, not everyone who claims to know that they’re talking about, knows what they are talking about. 😉

          • Eugene Adkins 11:59 am on 2013-10-02 Permalink | Reply

            Yes, the original conversation was with a Catholic, but the post that I wrote wasn’t “targeted” at any one person but rather at one personal belief that says a person can’t be sure that he or she is saved. I am fairly confident, and you’re more than welcome to point it out if I’m wrong, that I used a variety of words to make sure that my “target” for the post was very broad in scope.

  • TFRStaff 6:34 am on 2013-10-01 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , religion, , ,   

    What Are You Hungry For? 

    Dennis the Menace once said, “I said I’m hungry enough to eat a horse. I didn’t say nothin’ about carrots.” At times our hunger is more for what tastes good to us than what is good for us. Fran Lebowitz noted, “Mealtime is the only time of the day when children resolutely refuse to eat.” They often hold out for a “Happy Meal” or something sweeter to the taste than carrots or spinach, etc.! The burning question for millions in our culture is not, “Are you hungry?” but “What are you hungry for?” We have to get that worked out because practically every town and city in our nation offers a plethora of places to eat. Do you want Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Mexican, even Thai? Will it be fish tonight, or pork, or a steak, or chicken? Sushi anyone? Maybe spaghetti or pizza? In our “go out to eat” culture, the choices are seemingly endless, and so, to reiterate, we often hear the question, “What are you hungry for?” Investigative journalist Eric Schlosser revealed that we often opt to feed on “fast food.” In his 2001 best selling book Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, Schlosser reported that Americans spend more money on fast food than on higher education, computers, computer software or new cars. In fact, according to Schlosser, we spend more on fast food than movies, books, magazines, newspaper and recorded music — combined. That’s a lot of Big Mac’s and Krystals and Chic-Filets and Frosties and tater tots.

    So, what are you hungry for? Americans crave a fast fill-up for all kinds of hungers — fortune, fame, fun, power, possessions, sensual pleasure, etc. But Christ challenges us to think outside the Big Mac box when He says in Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.” These words compel us to think beyond the felt, physical needs of the body to the deeper spiritual needs of the soul. God wants us to experience a hunger and thirst for the holy. In a world with more appetite for what feels right than for what God says is right, Christians must maintain an acute appetite for righteousness and the things that feed it. I grew up on a farm where we had cows, ponies, chickens, and even a few pigs to tend and feed. One thing became clear through my experiences on that farm — if a cow or horse or pig is healthy, it has an intense appetite for the stuff cows and horses and pigs eat and drink — clover, crushed corn and grain sorghum, other grains, hay and, of course, water. And they stayed busy feeding their hunger and slaking their thirst. You never had to brow beat them or preach sermons reminding them to eat and to drink the things that livestock are supposed to eat and drink! Their appetites and how and what to feed them came built-in. Now, there are no “holy cows,” but Christians are called to be holy and love what is right. Do you hunger and thirst for the holy? Are you on a diet that feeds righteousness — Bible reading, prayer, worship assemblies, etc.? What are you feeding and drinking into your mind and heart and home? Just what are you hungry for? Think about it.

    “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and He who believes in Me shall never thirst” – Jesus Christ, John 6:35

    Dan Gulley – Smithville Church of Christ

     
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