Tags: churches of Christ, Family, Home, Husbands, Marriage, Wives
Tags: America, Blessings, Future, God, Lincoln, Past
The Truth Between Extremes Journal makes its debut. We are excited about this opportunity to produce a themed journal twice a month. The current issue focuses on America and the blessings she has received and also reminds us of God’s expectations to honor Him and be obedient to His Word.
Click the link below to begin reading:
Tags: Baptism, Mark 16:16, Plan of Salvation, Romans 6, Salvation
Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life (Romans 6:3-4).
Baptism is a burial in water for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). It is essential to salvation (Mark 16:16). “Therefore we are buried” (Romans 6:4) and, “Buried with him in baptism” (Colossians 2:12). Using our God-given reasoning powers and conclusive evidence in the New Testament; baptism is a burial in water.
An incident in the life of James A. Garfield, our twentieth President, brings out the fallacy of arguing against baptism as immersion. While at a young age, Garfield went to work for a farmer one summer. In the fall, he found himself in the middle of an argument on the subject of baptism:
James was digging potatoes in October, and putting them into the cellar. On going to the house with a load one day, he found a neighbor discussing the subject of baptism with his employer’s daughter. “Sprinkling is baptism,” James heard him say. “Immersion is no more. A drop of water is as good as a fountain.” “Sprinkling is not baptism, according to Alexander Campbell,” replied the young woman; “and I don’t see how it can be.” “I said, according to the Bible. I don’t care a fig for Alexander Campbell,” the neighbor rejoined. “That makes your position harder to support,” interrupted James, with the design of affording relief to the farmer’s daughter, whom he very much respected. “What do you know about it?” exclaimed the neighbor, somewhat annoyed at the boy’s interruption. “You know more about potatoes than the Scripters, according to my idee.” “You can’t prove that sprinkling is baptism, from the Bible,” added James. “That’s all you know about it,” retorted the man. “See here,” continued James, thinking he would surprise the disputant by his familiarity with the Scriptures; “how do you get along with this?” And he proceeded to quote from Hebrews: “Let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience.” “There you see it says ‘sprinkled,’” interrupted the neighbor, quite elated. “But, hold on!” replied James; “wait, and hear the rest of it. You are in too big a hurry.” And James repeated the remainder of the text: “and our bodies washed with pure water.” He laid stress on the word “washed,” adding: “Now tell me, if you can, how you can wash your body in a drop of water.” Without waiting for a reply, he hurried away to the potato-patch. (William M. Thayer, From Log Cabin To The White House, pp. 180-182)
We must remember that the Bible is the final authority. As James A. Garfield turned to the Scriptures in the above incident; so must we, in all things that pertain to life and godliness! (2 Peter 1:3).
Tags: Christianity, churches of Christ, Denomination, Restoration Movement
Do different denominations have a scriptural right to wear names unauthorized by the Bible, teach different and conflicting doctrines, and promote unscriptural practices?
What is a denomination? It is a religious organization larger than the local church, smaller than the redeemed in the aggregate. Therefore, it comes in between separate and distinct from the church of the Bible at both ends of the line. How is the church used? It is either a local congregation or it embraces all Christians. Now a denomination stands between these, and, therefore, it is a thing unheard of and unknown in the Bible; and, I say it cautiously, respectfully and yet firmly (Hardeman’s Tabernacle Sermons Volume 1, 1922. pp. 226-227).
A religious body with a distinct name and doctrine which separates it from other religious bodies that does not claim to be the church as a whole but only a part of it, or section of the body of Christ. We must be careful with using the terms “Undenominational” or “non-denominational” because they are are often used when “all denominational” is meant.
Denominationalism is unscriptural because:
It Opposes God’s Eternal Purpose and Plan to Redeem Man (Galatians 4:4).
It Destroys the Bible as the Sole Authority in Religious Matters (2 Peter 1:3).
It Creates Confusion, Making Jehovah Unreliable (1 Corinthians 14:33)
It Would Make Jesus A Hypocrite, Contradicting Himself (Matthew 15:7-9)
It Denies What the Bible Teaches About the Oneness of the Church (Ephesians 4:4)
It Makes the Lord’s Death Worthless (Acts 20:28)
Charles Hodge has reasoned:
Obviously God had a church in the Bible, the first century. Denominations of men (in error) came centuries later! So? Men made denominations. Then they came up with a definition as to what a denomination was. Then their definition is forced upon all. God’s church is rejected, put down, men’s denominations are promoted, glorified (Keynoter, 1996).
A man can do everything the Bible teaches him to do to be saved and never be a member of a denomination. He has to do something in addition to or instead of what the Bible teaches to be a member of a denomination. From Pentecost on no person in the Bible was ever saved outside of Christ’s church, and in the Bible no saved person was ever added by the Lord to any denomination.
Tags: clergy, denominational titles, Elders, Pastor, Preacher
It would be considered an unusual week for the church office not to receive a call from someone asking to speak to a “pastor.” The titles of “reverend” and “pastor” are liberally applied when someone speaks to a preacher. What’s the problem? Most people seem to believe that they are showing respect to those who minister on a full-time basis. Is it being too critical to call attention to the fact that the terms “reverend” and “pastor” are misused and misapplied? “But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call not your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven” (Matthew 23:8-10). Jesus answers the question! Where is the New Testament passage authorizing use of the term “reverend?” We should be interested in calling Bible things by Bible names and that includes using the appropriate, scriptural designations.
Our study briefly focuses on three passages of scripture. “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28, NASB). “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:11). “So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly” (1 Peter 5:1-2, ESV).
A word study on the term pastor: W.E. Vine: “a shepherd, one who tends herds or flocks (not merely one who feeds them), is used metaphorically of Christian ‘pastors,’ Ephesians 4:11. Pastors guide as well as feed the flock; Acts 20:28, which, with verse 17, indicates that this was the service committed to elders (overseers or bishops); so also in 1 Peter 5:1, 2, ‘tend the flock…exercising the oversight,’ this involves tender care and vigilant superintendence” (P. 167). The noun poimen (pastor) has a corresponding verb, poimaino (feed)in Acts 20:28). “The verb means “to feed, to tend a flock, keep sheep” (Thayer, p. 527). The one who does the work of feeding/shepherding is a poimen (i.e., the one who does the work of shepherding is a shepherd or pastor). Who is it that does the work of “shepherding the flock? The shepherds or overseers in the local congregation of the church of Christ.
J. W. McGarvey addressed the misunderstanding back in 1870.
“The evidence that this term designates the overseers or elders is conclusive and may be briefly stated. The Greek term for shepherd is poimeen, and the verb poimaino means to do the work of a shepherd. Now, he to whom this verb applies is a shepherd, just as he who sows is a sower, he who reaps is a reaper, he who speaks is a speaker, he who sings is a singer, etc.,etc. But Paul exhorts the overseers in Ephesus “to be shepherds to the church” Acts 20:28, and Peter exhorts the elders of the churches to which he writes, “Be shepherds to the flock of God which is among you, and promises that when the ‘chief Shepherd’ shall appear, they shall receive a crown of glory. They then, were shepherds and Christ the Chief Shepherd.”
“The term pastor, the Latin for shepherd, has come into common use from the influence of the Latin version of the Scriptures. There is one all-sufficient reason for preferring our own Anglo-Saxon term ‘shepherd’. It is found in the fact that ‘pastor’ has become perverted by sectarian usage, and designates in popular phraseology, an entirely different office from the one to whom it is applied in the Scriptures. It has become a synonym for a settled preacher, and is often used for the purpose of distinguishing the preacher from those who are scripturally called the ‘pastors’ of the church. It will perhaps be impossible to recover the term from this abuse, and therefore, it is better to throw it away.
Another good reason for preferring ‘shepherd’ is, that its primary meaning is familiar to the most illiterate reader, and the metaphor by which the overseer is thus styled is perfectly intelligible to every one; whereas, the term ‘pastor’ is known to the masses only in its appropriated sense (A Treatise On The Eldership).
It is one thing for individuals who are ignorant or indifferent of the teaching of the scriptures on the meanings of words as meant to be used by God to call a preacher “reverend” or “pastor” and quite another when members of the church who have been Christians for years to utter these titles!
Abortion is the planned, deliberate destruction of a human life while yet in the womb. “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13) has been a principle of every age. Proverbs 6:17 reminds us that God hates “hands that shed innocent blood.” This is a God issue that has been politicized and tragically viewed as nothing more than an election topic. Because of the Supreme Court of the United States ruling on January 22, 1973, over 50 million unborn children have been slaughtered in this country. Tragically, our President has been heralded as the most pro-abortion President ever. It should be no surprise to realize that God will not bless a nation that practices and promotes abominations. The discussion rages as people try to distinguish between the fetus and baby; between prenatal and postnatal life. Remember, our language is not in harmony with Bible language. The fetus is used in our society so as to deny that the unborn has life or is a baby. In Luke 1:41, it is said that John the Baptist as a “babe leaped in her womb.” The word “babe” in the original means “an unborn child, embryo, fetus; a newborn child, an infant, a babe.” – (Thayer. p.105). This word is also used in Luke 2:12 to refer to the Christ child in a manger.
HUMAN BEINGS DO NOT HAVE SOVEREIGNTY OVER OUR BODY. A woman may say, “It’s my body and I will do as I please with it.” But such is not the case. In the first place, it’s not her body that is being destroyed in an abortion. It’s someone else’s body. God said in Ezekiel 18:4, “All souls are mine”; soul being used for the total person. No, we do not have control over our bodies. We belong to God. As Creator, He must have the final say over our body. We must recognize His ultimate authority and power.
CONCEPTION IS A GIFT FROM GOD. Notice the following two scriptures: Genesis 4:1: “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.” Psalm 127:3: “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” According to Scripture, children do not just happen. God is involved in the process. They are His gift. Children are evidence that God condescended to spend personal thought and intimate attention with that one family. Can we afford to despise that which is evidence of His intimate thought and care?
GOD IS INVOLVED IN THE CHILD’S DEVELOPMENT. If God is involved directly with the development of the child in the womb, who would dare to presume to interfere with the wondrous work He is performing? “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:13-16). How awesome is this thought; God is busy in the womb, using skilled craftsmanship to design a great living work.
A CHILD IN THE WOMB IS A PERSON. The real issue to a Christian is what God reveals about the child in Scripture. How does God view that which is in the womb? Notice the following: “For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139: 13). David thought that what was in the womb was himself. David was covered in his mother’s womb. It did not become David at birth or right before birth. While the inward parts were being formed, David acknowledged that it was him. “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou calmest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations”(Jeremiah 1:5). Yes, it was Jeremiah in the womb. What is in the womb is a human being; a person in the sight of God.
Action Items: Be compassionate. Promote and support pro-life organizations. Vote. Pray. “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).