|Dr. Bill Crump|
Alleged Church of Christ Pet Doctrine # 2
|November 15 2006, 12:28 PM |
Harry Smith: Many people in the churches of Christ say that the only day to take the Lord's Supper is on the first day of the week. This is based on Acts 20:7 when the author was merely giving a statement of fact and not to establish a doctrine that must be strictly followed. Paul states in I Corinthians 11 that as often as [we] partake of the emblems of the Lord's Supper, [we] do it in remembrance of [Christ]. There is nothing wrong with having the Lord's Supper every day of the week.
John Waddey, a Church historian and church of Christ minister of the Gospel, puts this into better perspective in responses to others who have the same opinion as Harry Smith:
Dear Mr. Waddey: Could we take the Lord's Supper on other days in addition to Sunday? What about Acts 2:26 where the early church met daily and broke break? I looked up in Strong's Concordance and it's exactly the same words. So, how do you feel about on Sunday and on other days sometimes? I have some friends who take the Lord's Supper other days. Katherine.
Dear Katherine: Thanks for your note and questions. As to partaking of communion on days other than the first day of the week, Acts 2:46 cannot be relied upon to justify that, unless one really does not care to have Bible authority for what he does in worship. That bread which they broke daily was their food which they ate at home. In partaking of their daily bread they were glad and did so with a pure or single heart. They had their meals in their homes (Beck translation). They took their meals with great happiness and single-heartedness (Weymouth translation). To base one's practice of communion on Acts 2:46 is to build on a passage that does not clearly designate the facts they need. Acts 20:7 clearly says it was on the first day of the week that the disciples broke bread in their worship. JHW
Dear Mr. Waddey: Please explain why Churches of Christ commune each week. Jason.
Dear Jason: We are virtually unique among Protestant bodies in observing the Lord's Supper on a weekly basis. We do this because of our commitment to worship as did the earliest disciples. We call that restoring New Testament Christianity. In Acts 20:7 we read that the church in Troas gathered together upon the first day of the week, to break bread, meaning the holy bread of communion. At that time Paul preached to them. Their purpose for assembling on the Lords Day was to commune. Historically we know that in first several centuries of Christianity, all congregations communed weekly (Philip Doddridge). The purpose of the Lord's Supper is to remind us of what Christ suffered for us so we could be saved.. This weekly reminder helps us to keep our eyes focused on Christ and resist the temptation to turn away from him. Just as we give upon the first day of the week (I Cor. 16:2), so when we assemble for worship upon the first day we commune. Is it not strange that churches have no trouble understanding the importance of weekly contributions but see no value in weekly communion? Contrary to popular teaching we do not find that weekly observance of communion allows it to be commonplace and taken for granted. It is our primary reason for our assemblies. JHW
Note: We are given no biblical example to take the Lords Supper on any day other than the first day of the week. What is fallible is human reasoning which says that we may take it any time we like.
|Dr. Bill Crump|
Alleged Church of Christ Pet Doctrine # 3
|November 15 2006, 3:13 PM |
Harry Smith: Standard church of Christ doctrine states that miraculous gifts stopped after the last of the original apostles died. This is contrary to scripture where Paul states in I Corinthians 1:4-9 that all of the spiritual gifts are operational until the Lord's return. This passage convinced more than anything else that the charismatic gifts are relevant for today.
I dont know what translation Harry Smith used, but in the King James translation of the verses cited, there is nothing to suggest that spiritual gifts are still in operation today. In fact, verse 7 is the only one in this group cited that mentions any kind of gift:
So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Studied in context, in this passage Paul refers only to the Christian Corinthians here, not to Christians at large, and observes that these Corinthians wait for the coming of Christ. It is clearly understood here that the Christian Corinthians with gifts were waiting for Christ just like all other Christian Corinthians were also waiting for Christ but who were not blessed with gifts at the time. So there is nothing here to suggest that spiritual gifts were to continue. But once again, John Waddey provides the correct perspective and uses as an example the spiritual gift of healing:
Miraculous healing was a reality in the first-century church. No genuine miracles are performed by faith healers today! God gave miraculous gifts [healing was just one of them] that we might believe that Jesus was truly the Messiah and that the apostles were heaven-sent (John 20:30-31; Mark 16:20). The miraculous gift of inspiration enabled the apostles to record perfectly God's will for humanity (I Cor. 2:12-13). Miraculous power was given to the apostles and those upon whom they laid their hands (Acts 2:4; 8:17). Not every one had those gifts (Acts 8:18-19).
Miracles ceased when the New Testament was completed. Chapters 12 &13 of I Corinthians identifies those gifts and shows their partial and temporary nature. Paul states, When that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away (I Cor. 13:10). That which is in part was the miraculous gifts. That which is perfect is the New Testament (Jas. 1:25; II Tim. 3:16-17). The Bible was completed by 100 A.D. and miracles ceased. Historically this can be verified. Miracles were to reveal and confirm Gods message to us. Once the New Testament was recorded, confirmed and made available, the need for miracles was gone.
We believe that miracles were a reality in the days of Christ and his apostles. Even their enemies conceded that fact (Acts 4:14-16).
Christ and his apostles were able to heal all that were brought to them (Acts 5:16). Today's healers are content with a few results out of many attempts.
Modern healers blame their failures on lack of faith on the part of the sick. In only six of 36 cases of healing in the New Testament are the recipients said to have had faith.
Bible miracles were immediate. Today's healers send patients home to recover.
Bible miracles were to confirm the message spoken, never just to heal the sick. Paul, Timothy and Trophimus were said to be sick yet were not healed (II Cor. 12:7-10; I Tim. 5:23; II Tim. 4:20).
The apostles never asked for financial gifts of those who came to be healed. Faith healers do.
The apostles cured deaf-mutes, those with leprosy, blindness, deformity of bones, dropsy, palsy, hemorrhages, curvature of the spine and withered limbs. They cast out demons, raised the dead and restored a severed ear. These things modern faith healers cannot do.
Some folks are helped by going to faith healers, but not because a miracle was wrought. Many of our ailments and injuries will get well in time because God has made our bodies able to regenerate themselves from lesser injuries and diseases. Some 85% of our ailments are said to be psychogenic in origin, i.e., they are induced or worsened by worry, anxiety and stress. If the healer can convince the sick person that God has healed him, that alone can put him on the road to natural recovery. You likely have heard the expression the power of mind over matter.
Faith and determination are essential to physical and mental well-being. If the faith-healer inspires his patient to believe he can get well, he has helped him, but it is no miracle. Counselors, psychiatrists, psychologists, hypnotists, and preachers do this on a daily basis. Doubtless some of those who claim they can heal are sincere, though wrong in their claims. Many others have been found and proven to be charlatans and frauds who were enriching themselves off the religious gullibility of uninformed believers. JHW
Note: What applies to the absence of spiritual gifts regarding healing also applies to all other so-called spiritual gifts today.
|Dr. Bill Crump|
Alleged Church of Christ Pet Doctrine # 4
|November 15 2006, 5:25 PM |
Harry Smith: While we are talking about the Lords return many in the churches of Christ do not believe in the millennial reign of Christ when it clearly states such in Revelation 20:4-6 and in Zechariah 14:3-4 and Psalms chapter 2.
Again, I dont know where Harry Smith is getting his information, because I don't know of anyone in the traditional church of Christ who does not believe that Christ will return and reign a thousand years according to Scripture. Perhaps Smith is confusing the PREmillennialist views, which hold that Christs second coming will occur prior to His millennial Kingdom. Once again, John Waddey sets the record straight about premillennialism in an essay entitled Believing the Premillennial Lie:
Thinking folks are amazed at the wild speculation of the various teachers of premillennialism that seem to dominate the religious book market, the journals of most conservative denominations and the religious broadcast media. Almost weekly some new discovery is announced: the man of sin has been identified, Armageddon is just around the corner, the mark of the beast has been spotted, the State of Israel is ready to fulfill Bible prophecy. The date of Christ's return has been repeatedly set and then abandoned. The absurdity of this religious game-playing would be humorous were it not for the precious souls being led astray by its false teachers.
A few clearly stated Biblical facts forever refute this ancient heresy. God is omnipotent. Therefore, the Jewish nation could not thwart his plan to establish his kingdom in the days of the Roman kings (Daniel 2:44). Christ established his kingdom and first-century saints were citizens of it (Colossians 1:13, Revelation 1:6). Christ now reigns on David's throne in heaven (Revelation 3:7; Acts 2:29-33). No one knows the date of Christ's return (Matthew 24:36). When he does return there will be one general resurrection of the good and the evil (John 5:28-29). These and many other plainly stated Scriptural truths destroy once and for all the foundations of this false system.
Why is Premillennialism So Popular?
The burden of this lesson is to try to understand why this anti-Scriptural teaching is so widely received. It is startling to observe that it is the cause celebre of most of the evangelical churches. Generally speaking only the Lutherans, conservative Presbyterians, Mennonites and Churches of Christ are free from its taint. Most other bodies are infected to some degree.
The following reasons help to explain why this strange, contradictory teaching has such an attraction and hold on people's minds.
A. Paul writes of people who believe a lie, because they receive not the love of the truth... but had pleasure in unrighteousness (II Thessalonians 2:10-12). Those who have had much experience in trying to teach people who hold this view have observed this amazing lack of interest in those plain, simple truths of God that nullify the premillennial heresy. Jesus spoke of a kind of person who seeing, saw not and hearing, understood not. For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest haply they should perceive with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart
B. Some folks are attracted to the bizarre and incredible. The more unbelievable the proposition the more eagerly they rush to embrace and then cling to it. We see this spirit demonstrated in the huge crowds lined up to view the freak shows at the fair and the masses that pay their money to see movies based upon the occult, the ghoulish and the impossible. Perhaps the human race is not so far removed from the primitive superstitions of yesterday with witches, ghosts and apparitions of demons. Premillennialism abounds with spicy fruits for the superstitious souls.
C. Premillennialism appears to answer questions of the unknown future. Men have always had an insatiable desire to know what lies beyond the curtain of tomorrow. With its predictions of the date of Christ's return and the end of the world, it attracts these date seekers even as does astrology its disciples.
D. There are people who relish the thought that they have discovered a mystery that others have not found. This, in their proud minds, elevates them and makes them superior. The infamous Gnostics of the early Christian centuries suffered from a similar illusion. Thus false pride and superior attitude is at least one of the many causes. It will not take many encounters with such teachers to see this elitist attitude demonstrated. Paul warns against being lifted up with pride lest we fall into the condemnation of the devil (I Timothy 3:6).
E. Some folks are prone to be naive and gullible in matters religious. They do not like to expend the mental energy required to think for themselves. They reason, Let the preacher do the studying and then explain it to me. Thus they are like baby birds, they trustingly open wide their mouths to whatever the preacher brings them. Such people need to take heed to all those verses that stress individual responsibility for faith. Study to show yourself approved unto God, rightly dividing the word of truth (II Timothy 2:15). The Beroeans were commended because they searched the Scriptures daily to see if the teaching was true (Acts 17:11). In judgment each one of us will give account of himself before God (Romans 14:12).
F. Some people believe this lie because they have been told that they are supposed to believe it in order to be faithful. They have the sheep complex; they blindly follow their leaders. They should remember that the Judas goat leads the flock into the slaughter pens. God never intended for his people to be blind followers of blind teachers. He warned us that both will fall into the pit (Matthew 15:14). John admonishes us, Beloved, believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits, whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world (I John 4:1).
G. Some blindly hold to premillennialism because they have heard it proclaimed in a bold, matter-of-fact way all their lives and they have never thought to question it. Long ago the propagandists learned that a lie oft repeated is soon held to be truth by the thoughtless masses. The early church had men miraculously endowed by the Holy Spirit to be discerners of spirits (I Corinthians 12:10). Though inspiration has past, each of us needs to measure what we hear by the infallible Word of God. Jesus warned, Take heed what ye hear (Mark 4:24).
H. There are some Bible students who have fallen into the trap of premillennialism because they have failed to rightly divide the word of truth (II Timothy 2:15). By that we mean that they co-mingle Old and New Covenant promises. They have not compared Scripture with Scripture to learn of God's fulfillment of his promises to Israel. They fail to distinguish between figurative and literal language. It has well been said that a correct hermeneutic will destroy the premillennial doctrine.
I. Most believers in Premillennialism have not taken the time to review the spotted history of the many millennial movements and thus to discover their numerous false predictions and contradictions. Most glaring are the predictions of Christ's return by William Miller of the Adventists and Judge Rutherford of the Jehovah's Witnesses. One of the recent mistaken premillennial prophets is Hal Lindsey who has repeatedly set dates for the Master's return, only to see them proven false. Moses said, When a prophet speaketh in the name of Jehovah, if the thing follow not nor come to pass, that is the thing which Jehovah hath not spoken; the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously
J. Shrewd false teachers have taken advantage of the ignorance and credulity of the believing masses. They feed them their sorry diet of speculation for the notoriety and wealth it brings them. By their smooth and fair speech they beguile the hearts of the innocent (Romans 16:18). They are false teachers, who... bring in destructive heresies... bringing upon themselves swift destruction (II Peter 2:1). They make merchandise of non-discerning believers.
Brethren it is not enough that we do not believe these strange doctrines of men. Our task is two-fold:
a). To fortify the faith of our brethren lest they be led astray.
b). To liberate those held captive to this false system of premillennialism.
May God give us wisdom to understand the issues and the courage to press the battle in Jesus name. JHW