A necessary battle

The people of God in some regions of the world, Brazil included, are locked in a necessary battle for their identity. Within their midst false teachings have arisen. Such teachings may emanate from newcomers. Often, however, trusted brethren change their message. Where they once proclaimed the truth, now they preach a modified gospel, which is no gospel at all, but a distorted version of it. Continue reading

#corollaries, #sound-doctrine

Sharing what hasn’t been read, approving what lacks basis in Scripture

A Forbes article stated that “upwards of 60% of links shared on social media were posted without the sharer reading the article first.” Facebook is now tracking how long users look at posts as they look to control what they term fake news. https://seenthis.net/messages/561034

I’ve seen people make comments on social media links that had nothing to do with the content, just a knee-jerk reaction. The 60% figure is not surprising, therefore.

One wonders if people do similar things in God’s kingdom.

Do some saints recommend people and works that aren’t true to Scripture? Do they approve of things that have no basis in the Bible? Do congregations support efforts they really don’t know much about?

Are we ourselves guilty of giving a stamp of approval to false doctrine and teachers? 2 Jn 1.

“But examine all things; hold fast to what is good. Stay away from every form of evil” 1 Thes 5.21-22.

#examine, #sound-doctrine

Hugh’s News & Views (Shooting First . . .)

SHOOTING FIRST, THEN DRAWING THE BULL’S-EYE

The story is told of a stranger driving through a small southern town and observing that many of the large trees along the streets, as well as the sides of old abandoned buildings, had a “bull’s-eye” on them with a shooter’s mark in the dead center of every one of them. Thinking there must be a “dead eye” shooter in the town the stranger stopped and asked a local citizen about the matter. The local explained that what the stranger was seeing were the exploits of the village idiot who shot first, then drew the “bull’s-eye” around his mark!

The story reminds me of how some folks approach the study of the Bible: they decide first what they want to believe about a matter; then they find the text that “supports” what they have already made up their mind to believe about that matter. My “News & Views” of last week (“We Have Re-studied The Issue“) is a classic example of what I am talking about. A few churches of Christ have decided to begin using instrumental music in some or all of their services. Under the guise of a “re-study,” they adopt a course of action they had already decided on: “We intend to have instrumental music in our services”! Continue reading

#bible-study, #denominationalism, #hughfulford, #sound-doctrine

June 2015 Issue of Christian Worker (Preaching God’s Word)

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

Here are the topics that you will find:

  • “Preach in View of the Judgment” (Rick Brumback)
  • “Reprove…Rebuke” (Sam Willcut)
  • “Be Instant in Season; out of Season” (Al Macias)
  • Exhort (John Moore)
  • Preach with All Longsuffering (Wayne Jones)
  • Preach Sound Doctrine (Joshua Moore)
  • Who Are False Teachers? (Don Walker)
  • The Role of a Preacher (Dewayne Bryant)

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

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

Copyright © 2015 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.

#2-timothy, #christian-worker, #day-of-judgment, #exhortation, #false-teachers, #longsuffering, #preaching-the-gospel, #rebuking, #reproving, #role-of-a-preacher, #sound-doctrine

Grace removes the practice of sin, or it is not grace

grace-godlinessGod’s grace not only saves, but teaches. It will not save unless we are teachable. We cannot welcome saving grace without accepting teaching grace. Grace is not a blanket to cover sin that is present, but removes both its guilt and its practice.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to the intent that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we would live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify for himself a people for his own possession, zealous for good works. Say these things and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no man despise you.

This Paul says in Titus 2:11-15 (WEB). Grace comes with conditions. It is spiritual and moral. Holiness belongs to grace. If godliness is not present, neither is grace. Continue reading

#godliness, #grace-of-god, #sound-doctrine

Has Jesus Left Our Temple?

C.E.W. Dorris wrote these provocative words concerning Jesus’ departure from the temple in Mark 13:
“Sad the day for us when Jesus leaves our temple, and his voice is no longer heard pleading in our souls.”
His words evoke memory of Jesus standing at the door of the hearts of Laodicean Christians in Revelation 3. Do we sometimes ignore Jesus as we would an unwelcome guest? Do we mentally and spiritually pretend that we’re not home when our conscience senses his knocking?
Jesus calls us to follow him. That call requires attention in all areas of life, in making decisions and in forgiving as he forgives as well as in preaching sound doctrine.
Have we surrendered all? Is the voice of Jesus still pleading in our souls?

#ethics, #gospel-advocate, #jesus, #mark-13, #revelation, #sound-doctrine

Book, chapter, and verse

by Hugh Fulford

There was a time when all preachers in the church of Christ were known as “book, chapter and verse” preachers. By this it was meant that they endeavored to “speak as the oracles of God” (I Peter 4:11), and to prove every point they made by the Scriptures.They shunned the religious doctrines and commandments of men, they refused to preach their own opinions, and endeavored instead to set forth the will of God about any and every matter of which they spoke. I am thankful that we still have many such preachers, men who wish to be known simply as gospel preachers, men who can back up what they proclaim by a “thus saith the Lord.”

Unfortunately, “book, chapter and verse” preaching has sometimes been wrongly characterized as “proof texting.”Proof texting is an abuse and misuse of scripture.It ignores the larger context of a verse and uses the verse to “prove” a preconceived notion or point of doctrine. As someone has observed, a text taken out of context is a pretext. Every passage of scripture must be understood in the light of its larger context, including the total teaching of the Scriptures on a particular subject. For example, all the verses ascribing salvation to faith in Christ must be understood in the light of all that the New Testament teaches with respect to what one does in response to the saving grace of God. Continue reading

#preaching, #proof-texting, #sound-doctrine

No connection between salvation and the church?

Not often do I get stern about false teachers among us, but yesterday’s Forthright Magazine article, “Pull the Plug on Progressives,” touched on the harm they’re doing in, among other places, Brazil.

• Evangelicals are loathe to see a connection “between soteriology and ecclesiology.” Salvation and the church, never the twain shall meet in the Protestant mind. So they certainly don’t mind making up rules about what you must do to get in their churches. One writer, in an otherwise good article about new members’ classes, doesn’t blink an eye about making such classes requirements for membership. Never mind about binding what hasn’t been bound in heaven, or in the Bible.

• In the Lord’s church, progressives have bought into this evangelical garbage. They are determined to remake the church and get it to swallow this poison. And some supposedly faithful brethren are giving them a hand, holding the equipment as false teachers get the saints to imbibe of it.

• We can’t have it both ways, friends. We will either go the way of the general religious world or we must fight tooth and nail for the truth. It is not a battle we want to fight, but it is one that has been foisted upon us, and we must not shrink from it.

• While the battle seems lost from the start, and the numbers of the enemy swell, we will find strength in weakness and solace in our God that the cause of truth is right and worthy of our every effort.

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#church-of-christ, #false-teachers, #salvation, #sound-doctrine

The road will be long and hard

I’ve mentioned before that the World Convention, an ecumenical movement involving Disciples of Christ, Christian Churches/Churches of Christ, and progressives in the Lord’s body, is coming to Brazil next year. Some congregations here are already promoting it. Its goal is to lay aside doctrine as a barrier to fellowship and to interface with the wider religious scene in Christendom.

Let no one say they did it from ignorance. But many churches, even supposedly faithful ones, are participating in efforts with progressives here. They think they can do it and still remain pure. “Take what is good, and spit out the bones,” one Brazilian elder told me, who sought me out to persuade me to participate in and approve of the Brazilian version of ACU’s ElderLink. They brought down an evangelical to speak for that.

The Brazilian ethos is to avoid conflict. One of our challenges is to teach that one cannot be a Christian and approve of everyone’s behavior, not even in the church. Many want to continue fellowship with those who bring another teaching, and think that they won’t be affected, nor will such teaching spread. Such people are ignoring clear instructions from God.

It pains me to see, and I agonize over how much and how far to speak. I certainly teach these things in the congregations where I work and in the venues where I am invited to speak. This issue affects so many even there in the U.S., some of the most conservative supporting churches and most respected brethren are turning a blind eye to it. Let us pray that the Lord may preserve his people, for the road will be long and hard.

#brazil, #missions, #sound-doctrine, #world-convention

A different Jesus

The reading of the New Testament, done humbly and with an open heart, transforms the soul and changes the thinking. Some people like to read only the gooey parts, all love and joy and happiness, and when they come across the warnings, commands, and condemnations, they soft-soap them or restrict their meaning. Others, it must be said, seem to be stuck on Jude 3.

Balance is needed. The spirit must always be humble, while courage must be ready to stand and proclaim the truth.

We make every effort to season our conversation with salt, to make it palatable to the reader and hearer, while putting forth the gospel. It’s the truth-in-love combination of Eph. 4:15. However trite we’ve made that verse by overuse (and perhaps, just perhaps, as a cloak for harshness), that great principle still shines splenderifously.

So in that context one can read passages like this week’s text, 2 Corinthians 10-13 (Monday through Thursday, actually), and verses like these:

For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will correspond to their actions.
2 Cor. 11:13-15 NET

If such passages were rare in the New Testament, it would be easy to read them lightly and hurry to the next, more positive pericope. But they are not rare. Such texts are ubiquitous, about like McDonald’s in the U.S., or your local padaria in Brazil. On every corner, nearly.

But we still tend to squirm and move on. For they bring a responsibility, a burden, a charge, to know, to identify, to remove. We know what cost is necessary, what messiness is ahead, what trouble awaits those who are willing to confront with hopes to restore, but with sad results that sometimes happen when there’s resistance to correction.

Just as there are more passages that deal with false prophets, apostles, and teachers than is often acknowledged, there are more of the wolves in our midst than we’d like to admit. We keep trekking to church on Sundays and Wednesdays and hope they’ll get tired and move on. Down the road, we discover we’re the ones who have to move on after the congregation has been lost to progressives and the debaucherous.

We wonder what happened, where and when things went wrong, and often enough the fault lies with ourselves. Afraid of falling into the class of heretic detectors, we turn away when a “different spirit” appears (2 Cor. 11:4), like the wife who refuses to see the signs of infidelity.

Two more days of this section of 2 Corinthians, then into the gospel of John, where the conflict ceases entirely and no untruths appear, right?

#2-corinthians, #false-teachers, #sound-doctrine

Say or do

Rather than sending this phrase to my Portuguese-language twitter account, I accidentally sent it to my personal English account. This latter account is also posted automatically on Facebook, where it generated a bit of discussion, more on the point of languages than the content, but perhaps the Kingdom was served by all that.

There are people who say they’re concerned about sound doctrine, but support false teachers and spread their works. Should we believe what such people say or what they do?

The question is rhetorical.

#sound-doctrine