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AN OPEN LETTER TO THOSE AMONG US WHO BELIEVE THAT THE CHURCHES OF CHRIST ARE ALL WRONG

June 8 2004 at 1:26 AM
Tim Nichols  (no login)
from IP address 65.135.140.200

[The following article (LETTER) is cited from POWER, a monthly publication of the church of Christ in Southaven, MS. Emph. by D.C.]



AN OPEN LETTER TO THOSE AMONG US WHO BELIEVE THAT THE CHURCHES OF CHRIST ARE ALL WRONG


by Tim Nichols



If you are among those addressed by the title, I have some very sincere questions that I have long wanted to ask someone who might be willing to give genuine, transparent, and honest answers. The purpose of this article is not to try to convince you that you are mistaken or to solicit your explanations for why you believe as you do. We have devoted a good deal of paper and ink to these purposes over the past several years. Assuming that you have been around for these attempts at earnest discussion we conclude that you remain unconvinced after giving your best effort to considering the matter carefully. You still believe that the "traditional" doctrines and practices that are common among churches of Christ are mistaken. You believe that we are legalistic, exclusive, and unreasonably isolated from other religious bodies. You think that we misunderstand grace and that we have inflexible ideas about how one becomes a Christian. You are convinced that choirs and instrumental music in worship are not only allowable, but right and good. You feel certain that our hermeneutics are not accurate. You are confident that we are incorrect about the nature and identity of the church. You are convinced that we are simply one denomination among many and that we are no better (and probably worse) than the others.

I will preface my first question with a few comments designed to prevent misunderstanding. I am not really inviting you to leave us. If you are content to remain among us without creating division as you continue to study these matters, I would recommend that you do so. If your feet are firmly planted and your convictions are fixed, however, my question is this: Why are you still here? There are religious bodies in your community that believe, teach, and practice the very things you are seeking. They would applaud your liberation from legalism and welcome you with open arms. They would bathe you in love and acceptance. The tension that you feel within yourself and that you are creating within and between others could be alleviated in one swift and decisive move.

My second question: Why did you come among us? You knew who we were when you came. The church hid nothing from you. You came willingly whether you "grew up in the church" or, like me, sought out those who were following the Bible as you then understood it. If your reasons for entering are no longer valid, maybe it is time to resume your search elsewhere.

Are you still here because your parents or loved ones were (or are) members? If we had the right to grant all of the changes that you wish to make, you would not be a member of what they were members of, -- except for the name on the sign in front of the building. Do you really want the church of Christ to become something else, except for the name, only to accommodate your sentimental need to be associated with a "church of Christ" while, at the same time, having all that the denominations have to offer?

Would it not be more reasonable to join a denominational group that pleases you and then work to have them change their name to "church of Christ" while keeping all else the same? This would cause a good deal less disturbance than the other way around. It would seem to be a move more consistent with the kind of unity that you profess to believe in. Even if you, and others who are like-minded, are successful in convincing a number of people to adopt your ways you will not have contributed to greater unity. Those of us who are committed to what we sincerely believe to be the old paths will have to separate from you (or you from us) and you will have become the hammer that drove one more wedge of division (a thing that you profess to despise) into what you consider to be the larger body of Christ.

If you would be willing to answer these questions, please write. If you would not like to have your response published, please clearly indicate this when you write.

________________________________
Route 1, Box 206A
Burlington, WV 26710
E-mail: tnichols1@mindspring.com

 
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AuthorReply
Dave
(no login)
66.199.28.132

Disputable Matters?

June 9 2004, 12:57 PM 

Thank you Tim for writing because it has made me think about where I am, where the church is, and where God may want us to be.

First of all, I disagree with an underlying theme of your message, that there is a unified broad set of principles that are completely consistent, or at least were completely consistent throughout the churches of Christ. Due to the autonomous nature of our churches that is impossible. Only if there was a hierarchical structure that enforced a certain creed, would that be even a possibility. Many of the journals within the brotherhood were started because of disagreements between different influential members of the church. While the variations that exist today may be more extreme, they are nothing new. Indeed, nothing is new under the sun.

Even in the first century, variation of what was acceptable within the churches was a struggle. The church in Rome varied greatly from the church in Jerusalem simply due to the Roman or Jewish influences. The New Testament has stories of Christians who didn’t see eye to eye, whether it be eating certain meat, celebrating holidays, circumcision or who baptized you. The answers given in scripture weren’t always a required monolithic lock-step behavior of believers.

However, I do believe that there is a set of core beliefs that must be kept. The following set of beliefs is not comprehensive, just a good start: God created the heavens and the earth. Jesus is the Son of God. He came to earth, was crucified for our sins, and was resurrected on the third day. The Bible should be our only guide to determine what God’s will is for us.

I know of no one who believes that the church of Christ is all wrong. I believe from the most conservative to the most liberal church there are many tenets that we are all in agreement. The bigger questions are what are fundamental core beliefs and what are true disputable matters. The few articles I have seen on disputable matters list items such as time or length of worship service, order of worship, number of songs and the like. The problem with a list like this is that none of these are in dispute. Only the very argumentative would dispute by singing one less song or if the minister preached for 5 extra minutes that a church was no longer scriptural.

Not all change is good. We do not need to embrace every shiny new idea that comes down the pike. But if God fearing people like Stone and Campbell or even Luther and Wycliff did not see problems in their respective churches and risk change, it is unlikely that the brotherhood of the churches of Christ would exist today.

Over the years, my opinion has changed over a number of principles that were common in the church of Christ of my youth: King James is the only version that should be used, interracial dating is wrong, the six days of creation must be taken literally as six 24 hour days, among others. But if you and I have come to different conclusions on these and other topics, must we also disfellowship each other? Often it is stated that one hasn’t studied enough, or is deceived, or sometimes even evil…could it not be that two Godly people or elderships study an issue and come to different conclusions?

So many of our disagreements occur over style of worship which precious little is mentioned in the New Testament. Don’t you think there is a reason why the word sing is found less than ten times in the New Testament but love is found over 250 times? What are we emphasizing? Must every church come down on the same side of issues like Sunday School, clapping, or even praise teams to stay in fellowship? Especially when none of these things are even remotely addressed in scriptures. I have read arguments for and against these issues. I agree with some but have found none to be definitive. Do some churches struggle with turning worship service into entertainment? Yes! Do some churches struggle with immorality? Yes! Do some churches struggle with greed? Yes! Do some struggle with losing their first love? Yes! Do some churches struggle with pride in who they are like the Pharisee praying at the temple? Yes, and it may be all the same church, be it liberal or conservative! But can we not stay in fellowship as we struggle together to do God’s will?

I know of no church that has split where one side was innocent. Both sides are complicit in allowing Satan to divide the Lord’s church. We need to be very careful about divisions in the church. We need to examine ourselves that we are not still worldly with jealousy and quarrelling like Paul preaches against in 1 Cor. 3. I am not a Bible scholar and definitely do not have the answers to all the issues of the day. But I do not see how either side can be placed with the blame of being the hammer driving the wedge. The church of Christ is neither mine nor yours to keep, but is the Lord's. If the Lord is moving the church to change it will happen regardless of our theologies. However, if the changes happening now are not of God, He is able to maintain His church.

This website states as its purpose is to prevent churches from splitting. What I have found is that it has been used to make splits that have occurred to be as painful as possible. Not always, but often, I have seen how this website has been used by one side or the other to lash out at their former brothers. The level of smugness on both sides I found to be repulsive, even ungodly. Some of the discussions in the “Sunday School in Exile” section I have found to be informative and fruitful. I enjoyed debating with Dr. Crump (and others), whom I respect and have found to be respectful, about the movie The Passion of the Christ. Unfortunately, most of the discussion stays in the churches section where many times it is dated, inaccurate, or just name-calling.

This is probably the last time I post on this website, since I’ve pretty much concluded that most have taken sides and few minds are willing to engage in honest discussion about issues in dispute. Hopefully my comments will prompt what I believe would be more fruitful conversation.

Tim, you are more than welcome to use my comments, as long as they are used in the manner that they were given. If you plan to edit my comments, I would appreciate if you would send me the edited version for my approval. (I’ll email you directly my email.)

 
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Donnie Cruz
(no login)
67.32.214.151

Re: Disputable Matters? (Dave, June 9 2004, 12:57 PM)

June 10 2004, 2:36 AM 

To Dave [last name unknown?],

I posted Tim Nichols’ “Open Letter” of May 2003, which was addressed to folks like you—exactly as described in the letter. I’m just letting you know in case he does not bother to respond to “Dave” … someone. Funny! You didn’t give Tim a chance to edit and approve your post above, but you would like to approve his edited comments first.

There’s nothing new about your version of “disputable matters.” Did you not notice part of the beginning paragraph that was bolded and highlighted in blue? These are REAL examples of issues. No conservative will dispute the items on YOUR list because they are non-essentials and are NOT doctrinal issues (including order of worship, time and length of the assembly period, number of songs, etc.) Give credit to many readers—they’re NOT naïve or stupid.

I’m time-constrained right now to address your post above, but I’m sure there are readers who believe that you deviated from the real content of the letter, and instead took the opportunity to present the culture-driven “change” agenda of the agents and their weak defense mechanisms. Let me be direct to you. Did you not take the time to ponder upon the fact that: “There are religious bodies in your community that believe, teach, and practice the very things you are seeking … would bathe you in love and acceptance…”?

So, the questions you refused to answer remain the same:
  • Why are you still here?
  • Why did you come among us?
  • Would it not be more reasonable to join a denominational group that pleases you … a move more consistent with the kind of unity that you profess to believe in?
I realize you said, “This is probably the last time I post on this website….” I wonder what the psychologist will have to say about that. But answering the questions above may prove to have some redeeming value for your sake.

Donnie Cruz

 
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Donnie Cruz
(no login)
65.135.141.49

Re: Re: Disputable Matters?

June 13 2004, 5:52 AM 

To Dave ____,

Just following up…. I have confirmed via e-mail correspondence with Tim Nichols that he has heard from you and that he has written you a brief response. [By the way, he thanked me for letting him know about posting his article and hoped that “it leads to something good”—and I believe it does!] So, it appears that one did not change the other’s mind concerning the “open letter” and your posted response to that letter.

I agree with you “that there is a set of core beliefs that must be kept”—we all know that. You then enumerated a few examples, as “a good start,” such as God’s wonderful creation and the coming of our Savior crucified for our sins—all related to the divine side. However, for whatever reason, you did not cite at least the human involvement in obtaining this free redemption that’s offered to all of mankind.

The changes are not all about “worship style” as the change advocates would have one believe. The issue may appear to be in the realm of “worship style” when in reality it is about “worship content.” Howbeit, the underlying problems or controversies have more to do with core doctrinal beliefs. A perfect example of several is regarding the purpose of baptism—the reason for my concern that you made no mention of how man is to obtain salvation. Baptism—whether or not it is (a) because sins have already been forgiven or (b) in order that sins are to be forgiven—is a very significant “core” belief.

I honestly believe that Tim’s message is clear—the church, the body of Christ, does not need transformation nor does it need to be subverted in order to be transformed. The change agents are well aware of the fact that there are denominations that believe as they do, for example, that baptism is simply an act of obedience only AFTER a sinner has already been redeemed by simply accepting Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. Wow! Speaking of a MAJOR doctrinal issue! Again, Tim’s message is clear—all the change agents have to do is join the denomination of their choice that would welcome them with open arms.

This post is short. It does not include several other major issues confronting the churches of Christ. But, hopefully, you understand the point. God’s will does not need improvisation.

Donnie Cruz

 
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Dave
(no login)
66.199.28.132

Re: Disputable Matters

June 14 2004, 5:14 PM 

Donnie,

Taking your advice, I hope that by answering the questions you posted will have some redeeming value.

Why are you still here? Why did you come among us? Why do you not join another denominational group?

I was born and raised in a church of Christ. It is my heritage. It is my family. I couldn’t leave it without leaving a part of me behind. Joining a denominational group would be like disowning my family. Just because I haven’t come to the exact same conclusions about every issue you have, doesn’t mean I don’t believe in restoration principles. “Speak where the Bible speaks, be silent where the Bible is silent” makes a lot of sense to me. By the way, I believe that baptism is essential for salvation, so we don’t disagree on everything. You seem no less defensive in your decision to stay when others ask “Why are you still at Madison?”

My point about getting permission for publishing my comments elsewhere wasn’t to edit anything Tim had to say, but permission on my comments, i.e. not to take one line out of context. I didn’t edit his article or take items out of context. For anyone interested , his article was plain to see above my post.

When you mention “No conservative will dispute the items on YOUR list…they’re NOT naïve or stupid.” I agree that a lack of intelligence or naivety is not a requirement for conservatism or liberalism for that matter. My point was that on this website I have found little if anything that we can agree to disagree on…i.e. clapping after baptisms, having a praise team, singing repetitive songs, having a more emotional service, etc. And if you have come to a different conclusion you are sinful, deceived, and/or perverted. About the only post I found on the site that listed items that are subject to change was entitled “SHALL WE CHANGE OUR WORSHIP?” by Roger D. Campbell that listed as changes that are acceptable as 1. Changing the times of services on the first day of the week, 2. Changing the order, 3. Changing the length of services 4. Changing the place of assembly. I should have mentioned this when I posted my comments. Here is a link to his entire article: http://www.network54.com/Forum/message?forumid=150389&messageid=1077782211

Donnie, I have a question I hope you will answer. Can you list one or more issues that you disagree (maybe strongly) with a more liberal brother but can still consider him a brother?

One of my biggest problems with this site is the pettiness and condescension that I find very unchristian. For example “To Dave [last name unknown?],” or “Dave (forgive my failure to use your last name, but you did not give it),” I don’t go to Madison, I don’t preach, and I have never met either you or Darin, so why be petty about my (and many other’s) desire to remain anonymous when posting to this and other sites? Similarly why did you include “I wonder what the psychologist will have to say about that.” other than to bait me into responding in kind? Can we not intelligently discuss and debate matters without acting like we are in middle school again? And yes I have seen many petty comments made by the liberal side as well.

As I said in my previous post. We need to be very careful about divisions in the church. We need to examine ourselves that we are not still worldly with jealousy and quarrelling like Paul preaches against in 1 Cor. 3. Are we truly speaking where the Bible speaks? What are the important issues? What are areas that we can come to different conclusions without breaking the bond of unity? Can we define ourselves by what we stand for not only what we stand against?

Dave

 
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Darin Chappell
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209.248.218.30

My good friend Tim may not see this, so please permit me...

June 10 2004, 6:02 PM 

Dave (forgive my failure to use your last name, but you did not give it),

You wrote, "First of all, I disagree with an underlying theme of your message, that there is a unified broad set of principles that are completely consistent, or at least were completely consistent throughout the churches of Christ. Due to the autonomous nature of our churches that is impossible. Only if there was a hierarchical structure that enforced a certain creed, would that be even a possibility." I have no doubt as to your sincerity, but please permit me to point out the one bit of erroneous information upon which you have established your disagreement above:

It is NOT true that congregations of the Lord's church are autonomous, and there IS a hierarchical structure in the churches of Christ!

You sir, like so many of those who see nothing wrong with the changes that are taking place in our very midst, have fallen prey to the idea that each congregation is autonomous in nature. Now, it's not entirely your fault, because many of our brethren have used that very word to describe the nature of congregational leadership over the years. Even so, it is a wrongful concept and as such, it ought to be corrected in your reasoning.

You see, the local congregation is not autonomous. It has a King. We are not self-rulers (as the term "autonomy" suggests), we are but humble servants of a King, who has given us His word whereby we might have access to all things that pertain to life and godliness (II Pet 1:3). It is by that same word that we know that we have the responsibility to follow righteous leaders (Heb 13:7, 17), not because those leaders have innate authority, but rather because of the authority of our King, who has instructed us to follow them. Even so, our following is to be done, having considered their lives as examples of faithfulness (I Tim 3:1-7), thereby implying that, while we must follow righteous leaders, we MUST NOT follow unrighteous ones! Why? Because we are not autonomous to do as we individually will ... we are servants in a kingdom that are to follow only those who lead us closer to the King according to HIS plan (Rom 6:16-17).

This then, meets the requirement that you set out for there to be "a unified broad set of principles that are completely consistent, or at least were completely consistent throughout the churches of Christ." Because this is the case, we find the apostle Paul declaring the truth of God's word to "all churches" (I Cor 7:17, 11:16, 16:1). By this principle, we can be joyful over those who share that "like precious faith" with us (II Pet 1:1), and this is all possible because the principles of THE faith was once delivered to the saints [implying ALL of them!] (Jude 3).

I do not count you as an enemy, Dave. Instead, I admonish you as a brother (II Thess 3:15). Please do not confuse the liberty we have in Christ with the autonomy of the self-ruled. We have a King to Whom we shall answer in that great and terrible day. A self-ruler answers to no one, but you and I both shall stand before His throne to answer for what we have done in this life, whether it be good or bad (II Cor 5:10).

 
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Chuck W
(no login)
68.116.221.73

Disputable Matters

June 14 2004, 3:56 PM 

I. Quoting Dave "Unified broad set of principles that are completely consistent, or at least were completely consistent throughout the churches of Christ."

RESPONSE: How many different congregations have you attended with the thought of making that congregation your home? I have attended 48 with this thought in mind. These 48 were in 5 different states. I found reason other than the basics not to attend - of which most was a lack of love - They all had the same basic believes that are what the church of Christ is known for:
a. GOD is "the" Father
b. JESUS is "the" SON
c. No man comes to the FATHER except through JESUS
d. the BIBLE is "the" word of GOD
e. the BIBLE is our "only" source for instructions from GOD and Man Made Doctrines are false
e. Baptism is a must for salvation
f. Musical instruments are not authorized for use in worship service
g. Leaders of the church are to be men and only men
h. Elders are to be selected from the congregation as the shepherds of the congregation.
i. Deacons assist the elders with specific duties being assigned to them
j. Preachers preach
k. The congregation members help with teaching, leading prayer, leading singing, etc
l. the Lords Supper is to be taken every Sunday in remembrance of JESUS
m. adding to the word of GOD is a sin
n. Worship service has a specific (detailed by GOD) acceptable format
o. but in all things The two greatest commandments are the most important.

This is what I believe TIM is speaking of.

Now we have many who have come among us who wish to change these things.
For Example:
1. Instruments in Worship
2. Female elders, deacons, preachers, lead prayer, lead singing, etc
3. AND as a result they are adding to the "WORD of GOD"

To this I also add to the Question Tim asked " Why are they still here?" and "Why did they come among us?"

These items above are the "true" foundations of the church. Those who want these things changed are not wanting GOD's truth. They want man's truth and the two are not the same nor are they compatible.

JESUS himself said there is truth and non truth;

The Children of the Devil

John 8:42 Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don't you believe me? 47 He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God."

Any one, including Tim or myself, that adds to or takes away from the word is adding to or taking away from "the" truth... GOD's truth and it is sin to do so.

I Corinthians 4: 6 "Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, "Do not go beyond what is written." "Do not go beyond" that means do not add too.

If a man (or woman) is not following GOD's word, if they are altering GOD's word, if they are not obedient to GOD's word, AND they refuse to change, they must be removed from GOD's church family before they corrupt others.

II. Quoting Dave - "I know of no church that has split where one side was innocent."

Because you don't know of this does not mean it didn't occur. Even in the situation that you know of personally. In every circumstance, when some one leaves or splits a church there is at least 1 side that is always wrong.

Separation from GOD's church is not healthy. Dividing or leaving a congregation is not healthy.

Regardless of who is innocent and who is guilty - the ones who are attempting to change GOD's instructions are wrong.

A preacher once said "While musical instruments in worship are not an issue of salvation - obedience is." AMEN! So I quote again - I Corinthians 4: 6 "Do not go beyond what is written."

III. Quoting Dave - "If the Lord is moving the church to change it will happen regardless of our theologies. However, if the changes happening now are not of God, He is able to maintain His church."

First -The LORD will NEVER move HIS church to a change that goes against the WORD HE has already printed - NEVER.

SECOND - We are his soldiers and we are NOT to allow changes that are against HIS word. If we stand by and let the lost become the leaders then we are as guilty as they are. Anyone who is deliberately, perpetually and arrogantly disobedient to GOD is lost. Any one. Baptized or not.

I'll not have my children and wife attend church anywhere that the absolute truth and nothing but the truth is observed, practiced and taught.

Make no mistake - I am not speaking of perfection or a lack of guilt. I am speaking of GOD's truth being the 100% desired goal. Seeking perfection in ourselves and others is guaranteed to fail. We can never be perfect BUT we can relentlessly pursue perfection and that's what teaching the absolute one and only truth is.

Members of the church of Christ, who want to add to what is written or take away from it, regardless of their reason, motivation, or influence need to repent,leave, or be asked to leave.

There are so many other religions that do any or all of these other things that they want, they don't need to cause dissension in the church of CHRIST by staying where they are - just leave.

I am a fifth generation member of the church yet I do not know the truth to be what it is because of this. I rebelled to the church's teaching believing that other religions had to be right too.

So until I was 24 years old I attended and even became a member of other religions and reluctantly, at 24 years old, walked into the church of Christ building because I knew that they taught the truth. EVERY other place I went did not.

The simple way to test the truth in any situation is:
1. ask a spiritual question
2. if the answer is "I believe" or "we believe" they have just told you that the answer is man's answer and not GOD's.
3. If the answer is GOD says and they are scripture and let you discern the truth for your self, then you now that they are at least seeking the truth.

If they cannot substantiate what they say by backing it up with scripture that say what they say - it cannot be the truth. It is that simple. GOD has not made HIS word so confusing that the average person cannot understand it. Any one can read the truth and know it's truth if GOD is their Father. This is JESUS words not mine.

John 8 47 "He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God."

In summation - my point and I believe Tim's point is - there is only one truth - GOD's truth. AND we, HIS children know this, accept this and as HIS children we must insist upon this.

Given the opportunity we will love, pray, and work with any who does not understand - to understand. BUT in the end if they do not understand - we must fall upon the truth - once again John 8 47 "He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God."

If they are not GOD's child they can only be the devils and the devil wants to drag the rest of GOD's children away from GOD. We are required to tell the devil to depart and this also goes for HIS children.

Do not be deceived - there is only one truth, one GOD, one Savior - JESUS - so there is only one way. GOD's way. I am writing a book entitled
" GOD's Word is Not Subject to Interpretation" - it is subject to understanding, acceptance, and obedience.

Enforcement of the truth can offend - many things JESUS said offended people. Once again the offended people were not GOD's children.

The truth is Dave - those of us who are GOD's children are fed up with those who want to pervert GOD's word. We want them to get in line or quietly go away. We are willing to acknowledge their right to believe what they believe. In return, they must let us believe what we believe and leave us as they found us. Living in GOD's truth.

I love GOD and If I have said anything HE disapproves of, I ask HIS forgiveness and all others that I have sinned against.

Sincerely,
Chuck W

To All Christians - "A Little Less Conversation and a Little More Action Please" quote from Elvis Presley 1971

 
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H.Roberson
(no login)
64.42.137.168

Re: Disputable Matters

June 30 2004, 7:22 PM 

Hmm...'other than the basics...a lack of love.'

Perhaps Mr. Waddey doesn't grasp that love is a (if not the) basic characteristic of Christianity. Let's look at a couple of the author's points:

f. Musical instruments not authorized. Actually, they aren't mentioned in association with Christian assemblies. Neither are song leaders, located preachers, song books, or 4-part harmony. Simply because they are not mentioned does not mean they are not authorized.

i. Deacons assist elders. Actually, they serve the congregation. Assisting elders is an inference from our understanding of Scripture. Deacons actually assist the congregation.

j. Preachers preach. And they are normally required to teach a class or two, visit the sick, print the bulletin (also not mentioned in Scripture).

k. The congregation members....These folks also preach from time to time.

m. Adding to the Word of God is sin. Yes, but we must first deduce what constitutes adding to the Word.

n. Worship service format. Actually there is no format prescribed in Scripture. There are some assembly activities mentioned, but no format.

o. The two greatest commands. Here Waddey seems to remember that love has something to do with Christianity. It is hard however to square this apparent understanding with comments like: 'we are fed up' and 'get in line.' Or perhaps the insinuation that folks that differ from him are 'deliberately' and 'arrogantly' changing the Word of God.

Dave's point was that he 'did not come among you.' He was born into the church of Christ much like Mr. Waddey was (I suppose). Why is it that Dave must leave and not Mr. Waddey?

There are a couple foundations of the church...Jesus and the apostles, if we want to call things by Bible names. The other stuff above have not been called the foundations of the church. Therefore, those who may want to change these things are not seeking to change the foundation of the church or God's truth - necessarily.

It is interesting that Waddey's mark of a church he would attend would be that they let you discern the truth for yourself. Why would Waddey want that courtesy extended to him, but not want others to have that same courtesy?

His closing statements suggest that he may have sinned in writing his note, but that he expects God to forgive him for that. Wouldn't God also forgive others for doing something, based on their discernment of Scripture, but which was incorrect? If Waddey expects that consideration from God, he must extend the same to those that reach conclusions different from his.

H.Roberson




 
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william v
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4.232.150.244

stuck between the covenants

June 12 2004, 4:25 AM 

I grew up in the Church of Christ. It does not "remain silent where the Bible is silent", it condemns where the Bible is silent. It creates doctrine where doctrine does not exist. This is Adding to the Word. You teach the washing away of sins from Peter and Ananias, which was in effect at the time, until Paul was specifically chosen by God to learn His Will, hear words from God's mouth concerning the New Covenant, and pass on this info to others. (Acts 22:16) After Paul was taught by "revelation from Jesus Christ," he never taught the washing away of sins. He taught they were taken away at the cross. Peter and Ananias taught what was in effect at the time, that "before the coming of Christ John taught baptism for the remission of sins." Galations ch. 1 and 2 show it was 3 years Paul before Paul was introduced to Peter, and another 14 years before he first taught at Jerusalem. His teaching letters did not reach the churches for 40 or more years after the New Covenant began. The N.C. was in effect, but no one knew it until Paul was able to get teaching to them! Peter did not know the N.C. until he learned it from Paul. Ananias did not know it yet either. The Church of Christ gets it's doctrine from Peter and Ananias, rather than from Paul' teaching.

 
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Kenneth Sublett
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63.84.81.9

NOT three COVENANTS!

June 12 2004, 5:02 PM 

You will not find a pre- Baptist scholar who does not support the absolute Biblical truth that there is the OLD TESTAMENT which was a system of Law imposed because of transgression: that transgression being "rising up to play" which was a Dionysus like musical worship of the Egyptian (Canaanite, Babylonian, Catholic) Triad.

Paul leapfrogged over the MONARCHY which had nothing to do with the faith of Abraham. Abraham was justified by faith when he kept all of God's commandments.

The prophets make it clear that Messiah would come and the specific PREDESTINATED MYSTERY was that there would be NO separation between the Jews (sinners) and Gentile (sinners).
    Baptists deny this and call the Spirit of Christ who breathed on and in the prophets a premedited liar.

The direct commandment of Jesus was to go into ALL NATIONS and make disciples of believers (those with faith in the direct command to save through baptism). This was done by:
    Baptizing
AND
    Teaching that which Jesus taught
Baptists deny this and say that only Paul was sent to the Gentiles with a DIFFERENT coventant, a different gospel, a different baptism and TRULY a different Christ.

Next, a BELIEVER is always a baptized believer. And a disciple is not a charismatic worshiper but a STUDENT. What do STUDENTS do? Why they attend the ekklesia or synagogue which Jesus promised to build. There, those under the burden of the RITUALISTS cound find REST so that they can "come learn of me."
In the Greek literature the word REST or PAUO is highly biased toward the idea of SHUTTING DOWN the flute girls and rhetorical speakers.
    Making the FLUTE GIRL (or perverted boy) get out of the assembly when there was a wish to DIALOG or LEARN. "Make the flute girl get out" because she will cause us to DRINK MORE WINE.

    Making the RHETOR or sOPHISts (serpents) REST OR PAUO because "we DO NOT BELIEVE that they are real SORCERERS." Rather, everyone knew that the performers were PARASITES unless you were ready to get "fluted down with wine."

Only DISCIPLES were identified as CHRISTIANS. This was not a term of ridicule because it means followers or students of Christ.

Therefore, if words, the Bible and history have any meaning, only baptized believers (those who believe AND are baptized shall be saved). The term unbeliever does not mean that one has SAVING FAITH but has not yet been baptized: it means that one is a traitor and calls God in Christ a LIAR because they deny that HE THAT BELIEVETH AND IS BAPTIZED SHALL BE SAVED."

Paul insisted that he preached the SAME gospel and COULD NOT have preached a different gospel. Paul was not sent to baptize (only) but to preach the ONE gospel about the ONE Jesus Christ. He DID baptize but was not happy because they had not grasped the message that the GOSPEL was to show that only JESUS died for them. If Paul had taught a BAPTIST (pagan) baptism he said nothing about Jesus having to COME to a Baptist or have the Baptist believer ACTUALLY BECOME CHRIST and die for their own sins.

The Baptists baptism was taken from Zwingli who invented FAITH- ONLY and claimed that until 1525 NO doctor had the truth. Even so, Zwingly said that baptism did not regenerate in the sense that infants were baptized BEFORE they could believe. All of the "anti" baptism resources was an attempt to put down the claim that the CHURCH could regenerate in-womb infants by sprinkling THEIR water by THEIR hands and speaking THEIR words including EXORCISM. Both Luther and Calvin claimed that baptism saved because God put the power in the act. Both tippy tow around infant baptism.

Take a look to see that Believer's Baptism does not mean that the Baptists baptize those who have "faith." They claim that they are saved the INSTANT they believe in Jesus Christ. However, the "key" is to confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. When He comes again it will NOT be with a sin offering for refusniks. Within the context of the Great commission they must ALSO believe the direct command and "gospel" for those who cannot die for themselves: He that believes and IS baptized shall be saved."

http://www.piney.com/BapPagan.html

Next, the Old and New Testaments are filled with proof that both Jews and Gentiles were subject to the same gospel, the same faith and the same baptism.

http://www.piney.com/James-Melton-Acts2-38.html

When you deny Christ by claiming that He has to personally die for you (like the Eucharist or Mass) truth gets shut off. That is why a fundamental SAVED BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH begins by a form of BAPTISM. See

http://www.piney.com/Ephesians.Two.html

Baptism is not a PUNCHED TICKED TO HEAVEN: baptism is where God in Christ "sprinkles" your heart or spirit much like sweeping out the "demons." However, the possessed needs to request help by calling on the name of the Lord:

This sanctifies or makes your own spirit A holy spirit. Then and only then does God SEEK you in the new place of your own SPIRIT and only in connection with THE TRUTH or the Word. If you are doing BODY WORSHIP God or saying "lord, lord" then God DOESN'T KNOW YOUR NAME. Paul's UNIQUE worship word in the assembly or synagogue was to GIVE HEED to the WORD of Christ. There is NOT command to sing or make music in the external sense. The command is to SPEAK, TEACH OR PREACH "that which is written," the "Spirit," or the "Word of Christ." Jesus said MY WORDS are SPIRIT and LIFE.

By becoming a DISCIPLE by baptism God gives you A holy spirit or A good conscience or consiousness or a "co-perception." Then, since He is the only RABBI, He teaches you ONLY to the extent that you can recite or speak the "word as it has been taught" and only if you can say: "Thus saith the Lord." This is prophesying and makes you a prophet when you speak as an oracle of God.

Everyone knew the CONCEPT of baptism: before John the tentmaker accepts you as a disciple or apprentice tentmaker HE must wash you and give you a NEW NAME. Jesus did not RADICALIZE this meaning. Therefore, the message is that LORD, LORD SAYERS or confesing believers are saved but those who DO NOT CALL Me a liar by rejecting the METHOD by which He will wash our spirits so that HE can indwell as the Spirit of Truth. God saves by faithfulNESS and not by faith only which REPUDIATES the clearest statement in the Bible and church history just before the time John Smyth (named his church the Church of Christ) fell into Zwingliism.

I would worry if I had to defend the LARGEST PROTESTANT system, which had over 300 DENOMINATIONS after the "First Great American Awakening" and some can still count about 146, had built such an institution of central headquarters, colleges, universities and "churches" on the FOUNDATION of having to EXPLAIN AWAY all of the Bible and church history. Harold Bloom does an excellent job of defining the "instrumental churches" and the Baptists as a PURELY AMERICAN RELIGION. He claims, and there is lots of proof, that they are a GNOSTIC system. According to Bloom these groups have NO HISTORICAL CONNECTION with the historic Christian Religion. Trying to invent TWO NEW TESTAMENTS and TWO GOSPELS and, in Believer's Baptism, two christs would not let me sleep soundly. To top it off, churches which have remained faithful are identified as CULTS.

I don't meant to be unkind but the PURE BULK and control of the FAITH- ONLY system means that it CANNOT be the persecuted church and the suffering servant of a tiny remnant of believers who are "despised and rejected of men." Jesus said that you have to COME LEARN OF ME and Paul said that to find Jesus you have to "go outside the camp or city." That EXCLUDES physical places and acts. NOT in places made by human hands or by ACTS of human hands. What about the church? Worship at the church is possible only to the extent that everyone sits dow, shuts up, pray their own prayers and LEARN Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs as DISCIPLING. This allows you to sing and make melody IN THE PLACE OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT OR HEART which is the ONLY place God will be looking for you. People went to church, learned Biblical prayers and hymns, went home and made melody in their hearts in the kitchen or fields. History records that to be EXACTLY what the early assembly or synagoguges did. The Jews then and now thought of worship as Bible Study!

Ken

 
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John Waddey
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68.154.166.16

A Copy of My Letter to The Chairman of ACU's Trustees

November 1 2004, 1:51 AM 



-----Original Message-----
From: JOHNWADDEY@aol.com [JOHNWADDEY@aol.com]
Sent: Saturday, October 30, 2004 5:04 PM
To: [Star Bible Publications, Inc.]
Subject: A Copy of My Letter to The Chairman of ACU's Trustees



Oct. 29, 2004

Mr. Don Crisp
Chairman of the Board
ACU Box 29100
Abilene, TX 79799

Dear Bro. Crisp:

Thank you for sharing with me the response of the ACU Board of Trustees to the petition we recently presented for your consideration. I respectfully ask your indulgence to consider my reaction to your letter.

You say, "Churches of Christ have reflected a growing diversity of thought and practice. The university does not escape the influence and impact of such diversity." Since there is but one body, one Lord, one faith, one baptism (Eph. 4:4-5), should Christians meekly succumb to society's clamor for diversity or should we labor to call men out of their many diverse ways to the one way of Christ?

You say, "Students enrolling in the university bring with them the full range of thought found in our fellowship..." The implication is that you must try to accommodate all of them. I ask who was it that founded and funded ACU? Was it those from the fringes of the brotherhood and denominationalists, or those from the broad middle of the churches of Christ? Rather than trying to accommodate every wind of doctrine, would it not be more biblical to "teach them the way of the Lord more perfectly?" (Acts 18:26). This is what you would do for the student who comes with unacceptable views about race or moral matters. We do not expect ACU to be as narrow as the most ultraconservatives among us, nor do we expect her to be as liberal as the most extreme of that element. We expect you to represent the mainstream of the church as was done in days past. The fact is, your current administration has embraced and is embraced by the most liberal element among our people. ACU is the engine driving the change movement that is wreaking havoc among our churches. I think you, your board and the administration and faculty of ACU know this.

You say, ACU "is not the church although it serves the church." It is true she was founded for that reason. Now we have good reason to doubt if she is dedicated to serving the church. The conduct of her administration and Bible faculty suggest that she sees herself as the mistress of the church who exists to serve her.

You mention the words etched in the cornerstone of the Administration Building, "We believe in the divinity of Christ and the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures." When those lines were engraved there was no shadow of doubt about the commitment behind them. Now we are not so sure. From our denominational neighbors we have learned that a man can use those very words and teach things that deny them. They have their own definition of "divinity of Christ" and "inspiration" of Scriptures. Can you assure us that all of the faculty view the New Testament manuscripts as the inerrant Word of God? That the New Testament of Christ is the absolute and final authority for all matters relating to the faith, worship and practice of the church? Are the words etched in stone, etched in the minds and hearts of all who lead and teach at ACU?

You say, "we will...seek unity through....inclusion..." But whom do you include? Do that mean you include visiting representatives from other religious bodies?

You say, We also "believe the New Testament clearly prohibits us from pronouncing eternal judgment on other seekers of God" Does this mean that the administration and the faculty of ACU cannot bring themselves to say that the "seekers of God" in the Mormon Church, the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Roman Catholics, The New Age Cults are in need of salvation? Is this what you are instilling in our young people?

You say, We are "mindful of the legacy of the founders and great leaders who have gone before." I accept that you are mindful, but are you respectful of their intentions and goals for the school? Can you say that ACU occupies the same kind of relationship to the great body of churches of Christ that she did fifty years ago? I urge you to read the history of your school and those who led her in days past and make the comparison.

You cite Bro. Royce Money, "We will not promote a spirit of isolationism, but promote...a spirit of unity and conversation with those who claim to be followers of ...Christ." It would be most helpful if we could hear from Bro. Money what he truly believes about the Church of Christ of which he is a member. Is that body of believers the church Jesus established or just another denominational body?

Thank you for taking time to consider my concerns. I am no enemy of Christians Schools. I hold a degree from one of our schools and all my daughters attended Christian schools. We need strong, faithful schools to assist the church in her never ending mission of evangelizing the world for Christ and bringing our sons and daughters to Christian maturity.

Sincerely in Christ,


John Waddey, minister

 
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Rodney Pendell
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152.163.100.132

Psalms and Hymns....

January 2 2005, 8:48 PM 

I have always wondered why churches of Christ so emphatically deny that instrumental music was used in New Testament worship, then proceed to quote Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16, both of which mention "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs".

The key word in all of this is "psalm". As a student of the Bible AND of music, there is no doubt in the mind of ANY scholar that the word "psalm" refers to "songs accompanied by INSTRUMENTS". Go ahead...do a word study in Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. You won't find any evidence to the contrary of this fact. This was true all through history, and was certainly true when the New Testament writers penned the verses named above. Why deny that instruments were used in the New Testament church when the very verses you quote mention them?

The other thought here concerns the context of the verses above. Churches of Christ do not object to musical instruments in general...only when used in worship. The problem is...the verses in Ephesians and Colossians have NO contextual mention of a worship service. The verses deal with a Christian's daily walk with God. If the word "psalm" is ignored, as it obviously is by church of Christ leaders, then surely the context of these verses would not go by unnoticed. In fact, if the context of these verses is taken into account, then the church of Christ would actually be taking the OPPOSITE position from their own view of these scriptures...instrumental music would only be proper DURING a worship service, and at no other time!

I know that no member of the church of Christ who fears going to hell for using instruments will agree with this. But why continue to deny that instruments, which were used throughout all of history to praise God, are suddenly improper? Nothing in the New Testament forbids their use, and to say otherwise is patently ignorant of the accuracy of New Testament scripture, and completely ignores the historical importance instruments have always played in the worship of God.

Rodney Pendell, Church Organist
Psalm 150

 
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Dr. Bill Crump
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207.69.48.191

RE: Psalms and Hymns

January 3 2005, 3:08 PM 

Rodney's message here is similar to that which he posted in the forum "Authority: 'He Didn't Say Not To.'" For a response, see my message in that forum entitled "RE: Ephesians 5:19."

 
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Tim
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166.102.83.245

Come on people now......smile on your brother

January 7 2005, 7:18 PM 

The writer of the challenge above asks "why are you still here?" Good question. A question I have asked myself as I have languished among other postings of this silly little website. "Why am I here?" I guess because I read my Bible and get a different view of things than the creed of the church of Christ denomination. Yes denomination. For you have a set of beliefs that define you and you alone. It would be different if you truly spoke where the Bible speaks and are silent where it is silent. Unfortunately you don't and you, as one brother posting here so eloquently stated it "you condemn where the Bible is silent."

Like many, I grew up in the Church of Christ and even attended a church of Christ college. Over the past 25 years I have studied my bible and found a different gospel than that which was given me. It is a gospel of a righteousness from God that comes by faith. A gospel of grace. And a gospel of freedom. Freedom from the pharasaical restrictions that Jesus so violently opposed. Freedom of opinion in disputable matters. And freedom to offer our whole body mind and soul as a living sacrifice of worship.

In my study I learned something of incredible value from a dear friend and minister. The value of understanding context when reading scripture. Understanding what the writer was bringing to the table in terms of culture, bias, frame of mind, reason for the writing as well as what the person of the day that was reading what was written. How would the reader take the message given his/her heritage, religion, social status, world view. Understanding context made the scripture come alive with meaning I had never seen. And it brought to mind how silly it is when we try to insert a meaning or significance into a passage that does not fit its context and is not what the writer was saying at that time.

When I read my Bible, especially the letters of Paul I was struck at how often he wrote of freedom of the believer in disputible matters.

Romans 14

1Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.

Here Paul talks about meat from animals offered to idols which was sold in the meat market. It bugged some "weak" Christians who could not see that it was a disputable matter. It says that we should not condemn one or the other, because they are already children of God.

4Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

Here is a warning not to judge one of God's servants on disputable matters.

5One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.

Here Paul gives another example that fits here, that of someone holding a special day, possibly a Jewish special day, which is up to the concience of the individual Christian.

7For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
9For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. 10You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat. 11It is written: “ ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will confess to God.’ ”[a] 12So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.
13Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way.

More talk on judging.

14As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food[b] is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. 15If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died. 16Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. 17For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.

Here Paul states that there is nothing inately unclean or bad or evil or sinful about any food. Then he gets into not flaunting our freedom to make a weaker brother stumble.

19Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.
22So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

The "weak" Christian is the one that can't see that the meat is no a matter of faith. The strong Christian understands, but does not flaunt this. I have actually heard it proposed by a certain K.S. on this site that the weak christian is weak because he hasn't been indoctrinated to think like us. Oh me oh my!

In first Corinthians 10 Paul expands on this.

23“Everything is permissible”–but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”–but not everything is constructive. 24Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.

Again don't flaunt our freedom.

25Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, 26for, “The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it.”

Here there is nothing bad, unclean, wrong or sinful with the meat.

27If some unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. 28But if anyone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the man who told you and for conscience' sake[d]– 29the other man's conscience, I mean, not yours. For why should my freedom be judged by another's conscience? 30If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?
31So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God– 33even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

Again the christian is called to a higher calling of not using his freedom to hurt someone.

In another passage in first Timothy Paul gives a warning of people who do not answer to this higher calling and impose their opinions on other christians.

1 Timothy 4

1The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.

Here again Paul speaks of restrictions on foods, but also to not marry. The description of these people in verses 1 and 2 show the seriousness with which Paul held these people. These are purely items of opinion and not items of faith that he is warning against. He is not talking about faith, grace, redemption or the resurrection of Christ. Just disputable items of choice and opinion.

4For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

Verses 4 and 5 are earth shaking verses. Everything created by God is good - he's not just talking about food, but also the institution of marriage. So we see this teaching on food, marriage, and observation of special days. Can we apply this to other things with no inherint evil, that were created by God, that are recieved with thanksgiving. I think so. Many things. Look at Romans 12.

Romans 12

1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual[a] act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Here we are urged to offer our bodies and mind as a living sacrifice of spiritual worship. What a beautiful image of the body mind and spirit being offered to God as worship. What does this mean? He immediately tells us to humbly examine ourselves for the gifts and talents that we can offer to God as our spiritual worship according to the "measure of faith" God has given us. He wants the whole of our spiritual gifts and talents.

3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his[b]faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.


Look at what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9

19Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. 22To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

In this awesome passage Paul gives up his freedom and changes his way of dealing with the lost according to their background. He acts like each of these examples so that he might reach some. He has become all things to all men for the sake of the gospel. He does not change the gospel but he does change how he delivers the gospel. I'll say that again. He does not change the gospel but he does change how he delivers the gospel.

Read 1 Corinthians 9 19-23 and then try to say "seeker friendly" is not scriptual. That delivering the gospel in a way that will reach the lost is not scriptual.

And now to colossians 3
15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

The church of Christ has so mangled this verse to outlaw instruments that the power has been lost. What beautiful words....the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.....you were called to peace......be thankful......let the word of Christ dwell in you richly........teach and admonish one another...... sing.....with Gratitude in your hearts to God.......whatever you do in word or deed........do it in the name of the Lord Jesus.....giving thanks. What beautiful and encouraging words.

The most commonly accepted and reasonable translation of "psalmos" or psalm is a song, possibly with instrumental accompanyment. Add this to one of Pauls lists of disputable matters and let's go on.

may the peace of Christ rule in your hearts

Tim Farmer
Dalton Ga





 
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Donnie Cruz
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68.154.169.26

“This silly little website”

January 9 2005, 5:04 AM 

Tim,

You said, “… I have languished among other postings of this silly little website … I read my Bible and get a different view of things than the creed of the church of Christ denomination. Yes denomination. For you have a set of beliefs that define you and you alone….”

Well, you must be angry, Tim. Why don’t you tell us about a website that is not silly and little? Why don’t you let us know about the church—perhaps your church—that matches or meets your doctrinal and salvation needs? Frankly, I don’t know where to begin responding to your “silly little postings” on this “silly little website.”

You know, Tim, you certainly noticed the question posed in the original post of this thread, “Why are you still here?” I know, too, that you tried your hardest to answer that question. However, did you consider or would you respond to his subsequent statements, as follows:
    There are religious bodies in your community that believe, teach, and practice the very things you are seeking. They would applaud your liberation from legalism and welcome you with open arms. They would bathe you in love and acceptance. The tension that you feel within yourself and that you are creating within and between others could be alleviated in one swift and decisive move.
From silly little me,

Donnie

 
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Tim
(no login)
67.140.120.136

whitewashed tombs

January 11 2005, 5:54 PM 


Donnie
Languished in a sea of narrow mindedness, misuse of scripture, reading scripture out of context, condemning where the Bible is silent, ridiculous perseverations linking every word in the Bible to satan, lucifer, prostitutes, Zeus. Placing children's worship, power point, worship leaders, worship teams, clapping, holding hands high, seeker friendliness, and a never ending list of minutiae that you people insist on placing on a parr with the One Baptism, One Faith, One Lord and ascribing hell to those who think differently from you.

Angry? Mostly sad. But one thing that does make me angry, as it made Jesus and Paul angry is people imposing their traditions and opinions onto people and insist on them as binding and tests of the faith. The same anger I get when I am watching a patient dying because he has a religious belief that blood transfusions are a sin and watching the Jehovah's Witness Medical liason smile smugly while the patient's wife weeps. Yes religios arrogance and small mindedness angers me. I have see the damage that religious leaders can inflict by their arrogance.

Sad because the bible is full of teaching on the freedom of the believer in disputable matters, or matters where there is no clear statement in favor or against. Paul gives clear guidelines on how to manages issues like these. This is not the way.

Sad that the church of Christ is against acceptance, love, touching, feeling and the joy that comes from presenting your entires body mind and spirit in sacrificial worship. In giving to God all that is good within you.

I don't believe my postings are silly. If you have read them you will see that I quote scripture instead of another man's writings or the handbook on demons and goddesses. Silly is the growing list of issues that you people get the heebeejeebees about.

As I have said, this version of the Church of Christ is not reaching the lost. They have no interest in this kind of negativity and judgemental attitude. If we would just be like Paul who did all things to become like his listeners without changing the Gospel, but changing the delivery so that he might by all means save some. THAT is the spirit of worship.

Tim Farmer

 
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B
(no login)
67.64.15.71

That is the spirit of worship?

January 12 2005, 2:19 PM 

No Tim, that might be the spirit of evangelism, but it's not the spirit of worship. Worship should always be first and foremost about God. Our likes and dislikes are irrelevant. What we conceive to be reasonable is irrelevant.

What God desires in worship to him is the only thing that matters.

I think both of this discussion are painting with too broad a brush. Musical style (contemporary praise songs or tradition hymns) and instrumental vs. non-instrumental are two entirely different issues. One has a biblical and historical context worth considering, while the other seems to be more a matter of personal taste.

Whatever you think of the instrumental question, ask yourself if it is even possible that God does not authorize it. That possibility combined with the ease with which it could have been made clear (there would have been much clearer ways than "psalmos") combined with its abscence in historical worship from the time of Christ until hundreds of years later is reason enough to take the issue seriously. I know without a doubt that a capella singing is O.K. with God. I can't say that for singing accompanied by instruments.

As for the praise team/contemporary music/worship leader issue, I think many on this site have done the true scriptural issue of a cappella singing a disservice by muddying the waters with those matters.

I hope in whatever we do, we are seeking God's will ahead of our own desires (even if those desires are for him).

 
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Dr. Bill Crump
(no login)
207.69.51.145

RE: Whitewashed Tombs

January 14 2005, 1:36 PM 

Dr. Farmer,

After having read a number of your messages in the different forums here, I understand that you once embraced the Church of Christ but no longer do so. Although you also state that you do not hate the Church of Christ, you would have us change our ways in order to purge ourselves from “unscriptural narrow mindedness.” You’ve outlined what you regard as our greatest stumbling blocks, and you’ve outlined measures which we should take to correct them. I summarize these below. I do want to be most accurate, so please make any appropriate corrections:

1. Being “free in Christ,” we may now incorporate anything that makes our worship more meaningful and pleasant, as long as the Bible does not strictly forbid it. If it’s not forbidden, it’s acceptable.

2. To justify our negative biases, we created the so-called “Law of Silence” and gave God the credit for it. This “law” appears nowhere in the Bible.

3. Do whatever is necessary, say whatever is necessary, and use whatever means are necessary to win souls to Christ. Be pragmatic and incorporate whatever will get the job done. The end justifies the means.

4. No single Bible translation is superior to any other as far as accuracy of Scripture is concerned. The King James contains archaic wording and is harder to read; the modern translations are easier to read because they provide language structure which is more understandable to modern society. Reading different translations provides fresh insight and allows us to see beyond any biases which the translators may have had.

5. Concentrate more on the concept of “one Lord, one faith, and one baptism”; that is, unity. Don’t worry so much about the fine points of doctrine, because much of it is “disputable” anyway; that is, left to our own consciences or free will.

6. We must see ourselves as just another denomination, for we have our own set of creeds and principles to follow, just like all the other denominations do.

7. We must stop condemning, criticizing, and judging all those who do not worship or believe exactly as we do, for no one belief system has a monopoly on faith or heaven. There are many paths to heaven, and we are just one of them, a small part of the “big picture.” This is what is meant by “unity in diversity.” We should be tolerant of the beliefs of others and accept them as our brethren by not forcing our beliefs on them. Thus, we should let others alone.







 
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Kenneth Sublett
(no login)
63.84.81.24

BODY WORSHIP?

January 12 2005, 1:49 PM 

When Jesus said that God only seeks worship IN THE SPIRIT He meant in the PLACE of a person's own spirit MADE HOLY at baptism. If the body is DEAD to the world Paul would hardly command that we worship God WITH THE BODY.
    I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. Romans 12:1 (I.e. crucify the flesh)
The blood of the animal had to be shed and the flesh burned before the blood could be taken into the holy precincts. Therefore, Paul is saying that BEFORE you can worship in the PLACE of your SPIRIT or MIND you have to put the flesh to death. By being IN Christ you can go into the Most Holy Place of your human SPIRIT but any singer or musician who entered even to clean out the garbage would be executed.
    But if Christ is in you, your body is DEAD because of sin,
    yet YOUR SPIRIT is alive because of righteousness. Romans 8:10NIV

Just how is it that you are going to worship a Holy Spirit God In your HEART if the body is DEAD. Remember that Paul is speaking parable language which Peter warned is hard to understand and people WRESTLE it to the destruction of the CHURCH. Sacrifice is:
    Thusia (g2378) thoo-see'-ah; from 2380; sacrifice (the act of the victim, lit. or fig.): - sacrifice.

    And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. Ep.5:2

When the INCENSE or prayers were offered looking INTO the Most Holy Place there was TOTAL SILENCE because "The Lord is in His Holy Temple [me] so let all the earth keep SILENCE before Him." When the people HELD their harps they DID NOT PLAY them.
    Thuo (g2380) thoo'-o; a prim. verb; prop. to rush (breathe hard, blow, smoke), i.e. (by impl.) to sacrifice (prop. by fire, but gen.); by extens. to immolate (slaughter for any purpose): - kill, (do) sacrifice, slay.
Logical is SPIRITUAL which pertains to the human SPIRIT: You cannot DO spiritual or logical worship when MUSIC shuts down the rational power of the BRAIN. The NIV which you probably LOVE proves it:
    Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Rom 12:1NIV

    Logikos (g3050) log-ik-os'; from 3056; rational ("logical"): - reasonable, of the word. 3056 is LOGOS the WORD ONLY.

    As newborn babes, desire the SINCERE milk of the WORD, that ye may grow thereby: 1Pe.2:2

Now, we have shown you that we must SACRIFICE the flesh and that includes SELF-WORSHIP through MUSIC and imitate Jesus Christ who STOOD UP to read the WORD and then had the uncommon decency to SIT DOWN and discuss. And guess what, that is exactly what the REST OF THE MESSAGE proves:
    And be not conformed to this world: but ye transformed by the renewing of your MIND, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2
The MIND cannot be RENEWED by music. There is not a church scholar who does not know that MUSIC is for entertainment and has NO. LASTING VALUE.
    Ye who are approaching the evil day, who are drawing near and adopting false sabbaths; Amos 6:3LXX

    who sleep upon beds of ivory, and live delicately on their couches, and eat kids out of the flocks, and sucking calves out of the midst of the stalls; 6:4 (stolen by the tyrants)
      who excel in the sound of musical instruments;
      they have regarded them as abiding,
      not as fleeting pleasures; 6:5 LXX

    Or: who excel (marginal "applaud") in the sound of musical instruments; they have regarded them as abiding, not as fleeting pleasure." Amos 6:5 LXX (Jesus did read this version).

    Pepys, ravished (raped) by the sound of wind music in the theatre, was reminded of the time when he was in love with his wife.

    "For some people this is the height of enjoyment, provided the music presents no problems. But it is neither a substantial nor a lasting pleasure, and it is limited by the endowments of individual performers."

It does not EDIFY which means to EDUCATE and Paul outlawed anything which does not EDUCATE or EDIFY:
    I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then
      with the MIND I myself serve the law of God;
      but with the FLESH the law of sin. Romans 7:25

    THERE is therefore now no condemnation to them
      which are in Christ Jesus,
      who walk not after the FLESH,
      but after the SPIRIT. Ro.8:1

    For they that are
      after the flesh do MIND the things of the flesh;
      but they that are after the SPIRIT, [do mind] the things of the spirit. Ro.8:5
I say with complete confidence that you have CONFESSED to wanting to do BODY WORSHIP. That is rank LEGALISM.
    Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Mic 6:6

    Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? Mic 6:7

    He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? Mic 6:8

    Take with you words, and turn to the Lord: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips. Ho.14:2

Contrary to the FALSE ACCUSATIONS of LEGALISM, NOT falling sucker to MUSIC does not ADD anything which contradicts two thousand years of history. Neither does it IMPOSE anything as a LEGAL OBLIGATION which MUSICIANS do when they say GET WITH IT OR GET OUT.


You will never find a conservative preacher stalking a weakling musical COMMUNITY CHURCH seeking to INFILTRATE and divert them and TAKE AWAY THEIR instruments. You may think STEALING churches from weeping widows is HIGH SPORT but it is a fatal OPERA, buster.

Ken

 
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Tim Nichols
(Login Donnie.Cruz)
ConcernedMembersMadison
67.32.211.228

Faultfinding and Righteous Judgment Are Poles Apart

December 31 2007, 6:38 PM 

Faultfinding and Righteous Judgment Are Poles Apart

By Tim Nichols



Faultfinding is easy work. Those who set out to find fault with their fellowman will never be disappointed. These can easily establish their own arbitrary standards and then judge the actions of others according to them. Arbitrary standards can be established either before or after the other person acts. Such rules are, by their nature, portable and easily exchanged for other arbitrary decrees. They can be completely inconsistent with each other and yet remain in the same carrying case. The arbitrary judge carries with him ammunition for any side of any battle.

After he decides to either attack or defend he can select the arbitrary standards that work in his favor and apply them to his advantage. He can justify any evil and vilify any good by the skillful application of his homemade rules. He can paint matters that are morally neutral with the black brush of contempt or with the pure white brush of virtue at his own choosing. His arbitrary judgments, though, are condemned by God.

"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck out of your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother's eye" (Matthew 7:1-5).

"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight!" (Isaiah 5:20, 21).

Jesus and John the Baptist were both plagued with arbitrary judges who were able to use their changeable rules to find fault with opposite behaviors!

"But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their companions, and saying: 'We played the flute for you, And you did not dance; We mourned to you, And you did not lament.' For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Look, a gluttonous man and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' But wisdom is justified by her children" (Matthew 11:16-19).

Learn to ignore such critics unless you are able to find something valuable in what they have to suggest. If such men are numbered among your "friends" you will want to keep an eye on the relationships and avoid having them take your "side" in any dispute. Their syllogisms are slippery, their logic is leaky, and their reasons are unreliable. Their "assistance" will sabotage the cause of truth every time and your association with them will rob you of your influence for good.

God's standards are revealed, fixed, and unchanging. He has defined right and wrong. He has revealed what is good and evil and He has placed His standards in an inspired volume for all to read. His children are those who have discarded their own notions about what they, and others, ought to believe and do, -- and they have replaced them with God's. When they apply what God has revealed to men's lives (first to their own, and then to others) they "judge with righteous judgment" (John 7:24). They apply God's wisdom and not their own. They see and know what God has given them the standards to judge (Matthew 7:15-20).

Learn to listen to all that God's word has to say concerning your life and conduct. Those who can and will show you your errors according to God's standards are your friends and ought to be treasured as such. Those who know God's standards and who will not show you your errors according to God's word cannot reasonably be considered your friends or God's servants.


________________________________
Route 1, Box 206A
Burlington, WV 26710
E-mail: tnichols1@mindspring.com

 
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...........................THE BOOK

What Happened at the Madison Church of Christ?


There are thousands of churches being taken over across America.

This book is only about one of those churches. It's about the Madison Church Of Christ. By studying the methods used here along with the resource references you might be able to inoculate your church. At the very least you will recognize the signs early on.

Many of the current members of the Madison Church of Christ still don't know what happened.
Some never will know! This book is for them as well.

Madison Church of Christ was a 60 year old church. At one time it was one of the largest churches in the US, and the largest Church of Christ.

It thrived for many years on the vision of it's elders and those of it's ministers. Those visions undoubtably came from the the inspired word of Jesus Christ.

At sometime in the last 10 years there was a deliberate plan by a majority of the elders to take the Madison Church of Christ into a more worldly realm.

They used secrecy, covert planning, and outside sources to scheme and to change the format and direction of the Madison Church of Christ.

The Elders knew that the membership would never approve such a plan. Using the tools of the "Community Church Movement"(consultants, books, seminars, meetings,planters,seeders) they slowly started initiating change so it was never noticed by the members until it was too late.....

At the heart of the plan was the fact that old members were going to be driven off so new techniques could be used to go out and reach the unchurched through new "Contemporary Holy Entertainment" methods developed by the "Community Church Movement"

Old members had to be kept on board long enough to get their plans ready, or the funds would not be there to pay for the new building. So by the plans very nature, it had to be secret.

The church had no plan in effect to renew or approve elders. There was never any need. The elders had always been "as approved by God". 10 of the last 15 elders would begin to shed some doubt on that.

The Elders did not even need a majority at first, because some of the elders went along unwittingly.

This edition starts shortly after some of the members begin to smell something strange in January 2001. Later editions may go back and fill in some of the timeline.

To even start to understand whats happening here, you must read the background materials in the first of the book.

This is only the first edition, and not the end. New editions will be printed as needed. To keep abreast of current changes, please visit our web site; http://www.concernedmembers.com/madison

Here is the list of players;

5 Godly Elders
10 Not so Godly Elders
120 "Deacons" (allegiance unknown)
2,800 - 4,000 church "members"
2 "teners" (people who have publicly confessed to have broken all ten commandments)
Unknown number of "sinners" (This is what the 10 elders call us.)
Unknown number of "demons" (Flying everywhere, to many to count)
 

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