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Does "the Kingdom of God" Refer to "the Church of God (or Christ)"?

March 20 2013 at 5:39 PM
Donnie Cruz  (Login Donnie.Cruz)
from IP address

The following is a contemporary musical piece written by Ron Kenoly [?], an internationally known "worship leader" and song writer. (Now we know for sure that the concept of "worship leader" [one who leads "us" into God's holy presence] was acquired by certain churches of Christ from the denominational world):

We Declare That the Kingdom of God is Here
Ron Kenoly Lyrics

We declare that the kingdom of God is here (ladies echo)
We declare that the kingdom of God is here (ladies echo)
Among you (echo)
Among you (echo)

The blind see, the deaf hear, the lame men are walking
Sickness flee at his voice
The dead live again and the poor hear the good news
Jesus is King, so rejoice!

(Repeat chorus)

(Repeat verse 2 times)

(Repeat chorus)

We declare that the Kingdom of God is here
We declare that the Kingdom of God is here

I'm not certain as to the writer's interpretaion of "the kingdom" being "here" as being "the church."

Here is one [a much older version] written by Timothy Dwight in 1800. It is virtually in all of the hymnbooks used by churches of Christ. The Restoration Movement forefathers [and perhaps others from other religious groups] believe(d) that "the kingdom of God" is referred to as "the church of God" or "the church of Christ." I believe that the "kingdom of heaven" or "kingdom of God" is not referenced in the Old Testament. Here is the song:

I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord [6 verses]
By Timothy Dwight, 1800

I love Thy Kingdom, Lord, the house of Thine abode;
The church our blest Redeemer saved with His own precious blood.

I love Thy church, O God! Her walls before Thee stand,
Dear as the apple of Thine eye, and graven on Thy hand.

For her my tears shall fall, for her my prayers ascend;
To her my cares and toils be giv'n, till toils and cares shall end.

Beyond my highest joy I prize her heav'nly ways,
Her sweet communion, solemn vows, her hymns of love and praise.

Jesus, Thou Friend divine, our Savior and our King!
Thy hand from ev'ry snare and foe shall great deliv'rance bring.

Sure as Thy truth shall last, to Zion shall be giv'n
The brightest glories earth can yield, and brighter bliss of heav'n.

This is one of the hymns in our hymnbooks that are becoming "extinct." Especially in some of our "mega" congregations (progressive ones, i.e.).

The change agents operating in the brotherhood are subtly and gradually eroding certain beliefs and teachings in the church of Christ. If this trend continues, before long we will no longer recognize the New Testament church as that established by Christ, and we will no longer be able to differentiate it from the rest of the denominational world.

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Two Songs

March 20 2013, 6:47 PM 

The first song, the one by Ron Kenoly, equates Jesus being King with the "Kingdom of God." This might be okay, but it clouds it a little bit by saying that since the deaf hear, the blind see, and the lame walk, the dead live, and the poor hear the gospel, the the kingdom is "here". That is, maybe the kingdom is not here [the song implies], until these things happen. These thoughts are a reference to Matthew 4, where Jesus preaches that the kingdom "has come near." These thoughts are not necessarily contrary to thought that the kingdom is realized in the church, but it stops short of saying that the church is identical with the kingdom [it leaves the hearer in limbo]. This song is readily accepted by a generation that is strong in emotion, and weak in theology. It also tends to praise the work of hands, where a self-satified generation praises its own work--not something that was done long ago. [The idea that contemporaries think that older generations never accomplished much, might help explain some of these thoughts--although I am not making that charge emphatically, but it does appear to be compatible with the words. The fairly widespread view that previous generations were lacking is a prominent view of those who want change.]

The second song, the one by Timothy Dwight, clearly interchanges church with kingdom. It glorifies the church as a institution and gift within itself, as an entity that was given to glorify God, and it [the church] is exalted. This is a view that is historically more "high church" than "low church", more Catholic than Lutheran, more ecclesiastical than personal. Some are teaching that the church is not a central concept, but only a "personal relationship" with Christ. The teaching of "church" today is almost totally absent in the Sunday sermons. The teaching that the church is a "movement" is highly suspect. The second song says that the church is a "structure" not just a "movement."

The second song praises confession, communion, singing, salvation--all these occur through the church. This implies something that occurs outside the person--thought the gifts of the assembly--something Christians get through a structure.

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Re: Two Songs

March 20 2013, 10:43 PM 

What an astute observation -- that "[the first] song is readily accepted by a generation that is strong in emotion, and weak in theology."

Here's a brief narrative [from Wiki] of Ron Kenoly's background: Ron Kenoly ... is an American Christian worship leader, singer, and songwriter whose expressed mission is "to create an environment for the manifest presence of God". His musical style is one of jubilant praise and individual excellence on musical instruments ... he leads comfortably with his voice and is always backed up by musicians and a large choir. He holds ... a Master of Divinity from Faith Bible College, and a Doctorate of Ministry in Sacred music from Friends International Christian University.... He started out as a worship leader at Jubilee Christian Center ... was ordained and installed as Music Pastor ... became the shepherd over the entire music department at Jubilee.... In 1996, he received his Doctorate in Ministry of Sacred Music....

Many of the "Contemporary Christian Music" pieces are "emotionally-driven" (and guess what??? -- "weak in theology." Many pieces have been written with instrumental accompaniment in mind. That explains why they're often difficult to learn and involve handclapping and the Praise Team having to simulate/imitate instrumental sounds [noises] and Minnie Pearl's "howdee" tones.

The writer of "I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord" unequivocally identifies the kingdom as "the church our blest Redeemer saved" and positively asserts: "I love Thy church, O God!"

It will become more evident as we study further the "conversation" that Peter and the other disciples had with Jesus when he said, "... I will build my church ... I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven..." (Matt. 16:18-19), as well as other passages that pertain to the kingdom.

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Chuck Northrop [by D.C.]
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The Kingdom of God and the Church

March 21 2013, 2:12 PM 

Jerry Pence pointed out in his initial post, "People Change, Times Change, But the Lord's Church Will Never Change!" (Part 3), that:
  • "One of the deacons ... in the School of Religion at a local university ... taught that the kingdom and the church are not the same. He said the kingdom has not come yet, because every knee has not bowed. Two elders sat in the class while he taught the class without refuting his teachings.

  • "The same deacon also taught that the church of Christ was established during the restoration period, and not on the day of Pentecost."
That's really sad! This is exactly what the change movers would want the next generation to unlearn or reject as truth -- the truth being that the church of Christ is the kingdom of God. It coincides with their new campaign against the truth that the church of our Lord is not a denomination -- they're teaching the new generation the concept that the "Church of Christ" is just as denominational as the "other" denominations ... that the real spiritual "body of Christ" is comprised of all denominations that believe and preach Christ.

The following article by Chuck Northrop, "The Kingdom of God and the Church" is for your review.

Donnie Cruz

The Kingdom of God and the Church

Chuck Northrop

One of the glorious names or designations that God has given to the church is the kingdom of God. As with any name that God gives, this designation reveals some characteristics about the church. A kingdom is the dominion over which a king rules. Thus, the kingdom of God is the dominion over which God rules. For a kingdom to exist, there are certain criteria that must be met. First, there must be a king, and in the kingdom of Christ and of God, Jesus Christ is the King of kings and Lord of lords (Acts 17:7; 1 Tim. 6:15; Rev. 1:5; 17:14). Second, there must be territory, and within the kingdom of God, the spiritual territory is in the hearts of men (Luke 17:20,21; John 18:36). Third, there must be laws to rule over the kingdom which in the kingdom of God's dear Son is the New Testament (Rom. 8:2; Gal. 6:2; James 1:25). Fourth, there must be subjects or citizens within the kingdom, and in God's kingdom, Christians are the subjects (Eph. 2:19; Col. 1:13). Finally, there must be privileges afforded to the citizens of the kingdom, and so citizens of Christ's kingdom "receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting" (Luke 18:30).

Within the New Testament, the term kingdom is used in a variety of ways. It is used of the "kingdoms of the world" (Matt. 4:8; Luke 4:5) which are the various political systems of men. Also, it is used of Satan's kingdom. Jesus, when He was accused of casting out devils by Beelzebub said, "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?" Finally, the majority of the times that this expression is used is with reference to the kingdom of God. Interestingly, the term "kingdom of God" is also used in a variety of ways.

First, the term "the kingdom of God" is used of Israel. In Matthew 21:33-40, Jesus told the parable of the vineyard in which He likened God to a householder that leased his land to husbandmen and sent servants to receive the fruit of his land. But when his servants came, they beat one, killed another, and stoned another. So, he sent other servants and they did the same. Finally, the householder sent his son and they slew him. Obviously, the servants of the parable represented the prophets of old, the son represented the Son of God, and the husbandmen represented Israel who had rejected the prophets and God's only Begotten Son. Therefore Jesus said, "The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof" (Matt. 21:43). When Moses gathered the children of Israel at Mount Sinai, he said, "And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation" (Exodus 19:6). Now, Israel would no longer have the privileged blessing of being God's kingdom but the kingdom would be given to those who would bring forth the fruits of trusting obedience to Christ.

Second, the term "the kingdom of God" is used of the church. While in Caesarea Philippi, Jesus said, "That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." In this passage, Jesus used the terms "my church" and "the kingdom of heaven" interchangeably. He promised to build His church while giving Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven (i.e. the terms of admission).

In the Gospel accounts, the kingdom was yet in the future. John the baptizer, Jesus, the twelve, and the seventy preached "Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 3:2; 4:17; 10:7; Luke 10:9). Jesus taught the disciples to pray, "Thy kingdom come" (Matt. 6:10). When instituting the Lord's supper, Jesus said, "I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God...I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come" (Luke 22:16,18). Further, Joseph of Arimathaea "waited for the kingdom of God" (Mark 15:43; Luke 23:50-51). And finally, Jesus taught that there would be some who heard Him preach and teach that would "not taste of death, til they have seen the kingdom of God come with power" (Mark 9:1; Matt. 16:28; Luke 9:27).

Beginning in the book of Acts, the kingdom or church was a reality. Philip, the evangelist, preached "the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ" to the Samaritans and "they were baptized, both men and women" (Acts 8:12). Paul writing to the church in Colossae said that Christ had "delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son" (Col. 1:13). Please notice the tense in this passage. They were (past tense) delivered and translated. Further, Paul said that the Christians in Thessalonica were "called" (past tense) unto or into "his kingdom and glory" (1 Thess. 2:12). Hebrews 12:28 says, "Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear." Again notice the tense. This is present active. As the Gospel was being proclaimed, even in the midst of the various trials that they were undergoing, many were being added to the church. Thus, they were "receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved." Finally, John, the apostle of love, was "in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ" (Rev. 1:9).

The fact that the church and the kingdom of God is one and the same is further seen in a brief comparison of them.

  • Both have the same terms of entrance -- baptism (John 3:3-5; Acts 2:47; Titus 3:5).
  • Both have the same head -- Jesus Christ (Col. 1:18; 1 Tim. 6:15).
  • Both have the same laws -- "the perfect law of liberty" (James 1:25).
  • Both have the same subjects -- Christians (Eph. 2:19; Acts 11:26).
  • Both have the same seed -- the word of God (Luke 8:11; 1 Peter 1:22-25).
Furthermore, the church came with power as Jesus prophesied concerning the kingdom (Acts 2:2-4; Mark 9:1). And, the church was established in the days of the Roman Empire as Daniel prophesied concerning the kingdom that "the God of heaven shall set up" (Acts 2:5; Daniel 2:44). Too, the church came in the lifetime of those to whom Jesus taught as Jesus promised concerning the kingdom (Acts 2:14; Mark 9:1). To the honest and sincere student of the Bible, there could be no doubt that the church and the kingdom are one and the same.

Third, the term "kingdom of God" is used of the "heavenly kingdom." When Jesus entered into Capernaum, a centurion asked the Lord to heal his servant who was sick at home with the palsy. After the centurion's display of faith, Jesus commended him on his great faith and rebuked the lame faith of Israel saying, "Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matt. 8:10-12; See also Luke 13:28-29). Here, the "kingdom of heaven" has clear reference to the heavenly kingdom for it is contrasted to the "outer darkness" of hell. Also, notice the use of "children of the kingdom" which, again, refers to Israel. Later in describing the last day, Jesus made clear mention of the heavenly kingdom when Matthew records, "Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world" (Matt. 25:34). A final passage to illustrate this use is when Paul said, "And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen" (2 Tim. 4:18).

In these later two uses of the term "kingdom of God," we find that the term has both an earthly and a heavenly application. Interestingly, sometimes in scripture, both uses are found together. For example, in the parable of the leaven (Matt. 13:33- 43) Jesus said that the good seed are the children of the kingdom - - an obvious earthly application (v.38). Later in the explanation of the parable, He says, that "the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father" (v.43) which is a clear reference to the heavenly kingdom. Paul does the same in the great resurrection chapter. In 1 Corinthians 15:24, he writes, "Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power." Since the kingdom would be delivered up, it had to exist before the end of time. This kingdom is the church in its earthly state. Later in the chapter, Paul wrote, "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption." Since "flesh and blood" has part in the kingdom here on earth, then this must refer to the heavenly kingdom which fits the context well.

A special note of consideration ought to be made concerning the phrase "the kingdom of heaven." This phrase is uniquely used by Matthew thirty-three times. "The kingdom of heaven" refers to the place of God rather than God Himself. In the same way, we often refer to Washington D.C. as representative of the United States. Washington D.C. is the capitol -- the place of authority. Similarly, heaven is the place of authority (Matt. 21:23-27). It is the realm from which Christ exercises His authority as King over His kingdom. A close examination of the gospel accounts reveals that the terms "the kingdom of heaven" and "the kingdom of God" are used in the same way -- sometimes of the kingdom in its earthly abode and sometimes in its heavenly estate. Mark 1:14-15 is Mark's account of the preaching of Jesus. In this text, Mark records that Jesus came "preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." In Matthew's account, he records, that "Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 4:17). Other parallel passages establish the same. (A couple of other examples are: Matthew 5:3 paralleled with Luke 6:20 and Matthew 19:14 paralleled with Mark 10:14 and Luke 18:16.)

The heavenly kingdom consists of both Israel and the church. It is composed of the redeemed of all ages. Only those who are faithful unto God in whatever covenant they may live under will be a part of this marvelous heavenly kingdom. Jesus said, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 7:21). In these last times, only those who are obedient to the gospel of Christ, whom God has added to the church, and who are citizens of the kingdom will have entrance into the heavenly kingdom (2 Thess. 1:7-9).

[emphases by d.c.]
610 Elmwood Dr.
Cleveland, OK 74020

"Seek The Old Paths," Vol. 8, No. 9

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Ken Sublett
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Re: The Kingdom of God and the Church

March 21 2013, 4:08 PM 

If the "scholars" are right and they are still looking for the kingdom of God, don't they accuse Jesus of not only being impotent but pretty premature?

Matthew 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.

Luke 8:1 And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,

Luke 8:10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.

Jesus said that God HIDES from the wise or Sophists: self-speakers, singers and instrument players.

Luke 9:11 And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing.

If they are still waiting for the kingdom (within us) that pretty much invalidates all of the teaching and sacrifices of Jesus. And doesn't that invalidate all of the theologians who do not depend on the TEXT?

This message has been edited by Ken.Sublett from IP address on Mar 21, 2013 4:13 PM

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The "Kingdom of God" Is Used of Israel and of the Church

March 24 2013, 6:09 PM 

Interestingly, in the New Testament [KJV], the expression "the kingdom of God" is mentioned 70 times, mostly in the gospels of Mark and Luke; whereas the expression "the kingdom of heaven" is referenced 33 times -- ALL in the gospel of Matthew.

Neither "the kingdom of God" nor "the kingdom of heaven" is an expression referenced in the Old Testament [KJV].

However, we find "the kingdom of the Lord" in two instances in the O.T. (I Chron. 28:5; II Chron. 18:8); we also find "the kingdom of Israel" in three instances in the O.T. (I Sam. 15:28; I Sam. 24:20; I Kings 21:7).

In the study of "the kingdom" with reference: (1) to Israel and (2) to the New Testament church, we should consider a number of comparisons [or even contrasts] between the two in terms of the dispensation, administration, law, etc.:

  • (1) The kingdom of Israel --- vs. --- (2) the New Testament church
  • (1) Old covenant [Testament] --- vs. --- (2) new covenant [Testament]
  • (1) Mosaic or Jewish --- vs. --- (2) Christian
  • (1) Law of Moses --- vs. --- (2) law of Christ
  • (1) Law of bondage --- vs. --- (2) the law of liberty
  • (1) The first not faultless --- vs. --- (2) that he may establish the second
  • (1) Blood of bulls and goats --- vs. --- (2) the blood of Jesus
  • (1) Being under the [old] law --- vs. --- (2) being under grace
  • (1) The Ten Commandments --- vs. --- (2) the law of love [God and neighbor]

In Matt. 16, Christ promised to "build my church" and the keys of "the kingdom of heaven" were given. Such a promise was fulfilled when Peter first preached "that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ." Those that gathered were told to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins (Acts 2:37,38); those baptized were added to the church (Acts 2:41). Thus, "the kingdom of heaven," the New Testament church, was established in Jerusalem in the first century.

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Ken Sublett
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Re: The "Kingdom of God" Is Used of Israel and of the Church

March 24 2013, 6:48 PM 

I thought you might have been "raptured" and had been looking at the kingdom.

Jesus said that the kingdom is not of THIS WORLD. So, don't listen when they call you into a place: the kingdom of God is WITHIN YOU. That is the PLACE where we worship when we give attendance to reading and learning the Words of Christ in the Prophets and Apostles.

Colossians 1:12 Giving thanks unto the Father,
.....which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
Colossians 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness,
.....and hath translated us into the KINGDOM of his dear Son:
Colossians 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

Skotos or darkness of death probably speaks of the Jews (not our example) who had a covenant with death and hell. The word also speaks of death or the netherworld. Tartaron. Jesus doesn't even pray for the COSMOS: The NACC and Pepperdine are banded to hold a COSMIC WORSHIP by twisting all of the book of Revelation.'

Cosmos , metaph., of ornaments of speech, such as epithet hadumel k. keladein to sing sweet songs of praise, Pi.O.11 (10).13 (s.v.l.).

Cosmo-krator epith. of ouranos, Orph.H.4.3; Zeus Mitras Hlios k. Dam.Pr.131; hoi k. tou skotous toutou the cosmic rulers of this sinful world, Ep.Eph.6.12; hoi k. hoi ta hupo selnn stoikheia dioikountes

If the Kingdom of God in Christ has not been established then the "millennial" people are still participating in a covenant with death and hell and are still in darkness.

People thought that they could escape the DARK Kingdom you can see and smell and hear by composing songs: Weave out, sweet lyre, right now, [45] the beloved song with Lydian harmony,

If someone is successful in his deeds, he casts a cause for sweet thoughts into the streams of the Muses. For those great acts of prowess dwell in deep darkness, if they lack songs, and we know of only one way to hold a mirror up to fine deeds:

That is why the Levites in the kingdom with death and hell prophesied or "soothsayed" with instruments to drive out the evil demons and invite the good demons in the eat the fat

Ro.8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but IN the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

The Kingdom under God's SON in these last days seems to be absolutely excluded: the Kingdom of God does not come with religious observations which these days is heavily loaded with STAFF from the Kingdom of Darkness and Death.

The shadow or SKIA means "a totally erroneous system." That especially applies to the KINGDOM period which came about when the elders fired God and demanded a king like the nations. God knew that they wanted to worship like the nations. God said that would only last for a short time until the captivity and death sentence imposed at Mount Sinai could be carried out.

This message has been edited by Ken.Sublett from IP address on Mar 24, 2013 6:54 PM

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(Login Donnie.Cruz)

Re: The "Kingdom of God" Is Used of Israel and of the Church

March 24 2013, 9:34 PM 

Yes, the "millennial" or "premillennial" folks are looking forward to "the rapture" and the second coming of Christ -- LITERALLY to reign on earth. That will be a long, long wait. They will be looking for that kingdom "to come" that the so-called "Lord's Prayer" mentions -- "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." To them "the kingdom has not come yet, contrary to the promise of the church [kingdom] in Matt. 16 ... that was "at hand" (Matt. 10:7) and fulfilled in Acts 1,2.

Indeed, the "kingdom of God is within YOU."

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Tennessee, Digression and Foreign Missions

March 26 2013, 9:30 PM 

Yes, November 1997. Some 15+ years ago. The Change Agents were very heavily involved in restructuring the church of Christ without its founder's permission. Major Christian universities have gone their way. Certain mega churches of Christ have been "transformed" and have become "liberal" and "progressive." Their influences (of both the change agents and their mega congregations) upon the rest of the churches of Christ remain to be seen.

This article briefly mentions the foretold "kingdom" to be established -- the church. Can you find that reference in this article?


Tennessee, Digression and Foreign Missions

Jim E. Waldron

My wife and I rejoice that in April we were, after fifteen years, able to move back to our beloved Tennessee, which will now be our base for my work of training native Christians in other countries to reach their own with the Gospel. Of the last 30 years we have lived only five in Tennessee. Much of the time we have lived overseas.

I was born in Nashville in November, 1935. I attended schools in Davidson, Rutherford and Coffee Counties. I finished high school at Bellevue in Davidson County. Calvin Parker baptized me in August, 1953, at West Nashville Heights. I preached my first sermon at Old Charlotte Road west of Nashville in June 1955, and began preaching regularly at Five Points in Hickman County in 1956. I preached my first gospel meeting at Crewstown near Lawrenceville the same year.

My wife to be, Laura Gary, was born in a log cabin beside Plunders Creek on a Bon Aqua route in Hickman County in July, 1939. She grew up in Oak Ridge. We met at Lipscomb in 1957, and were married February 22, 1958.

While at Lipscomb I frequently heard the beloved Marshall Keeble preach in meetings for the Jackson Street church. On one occasion in Nashville in 1956, I heard the venerable N. B. Hardeman speak. These two are examples of giants in Tennessee in this century who preached the urgency of holding to God's pattern for His church (2 Tim. 1:13) and who stood like the Rock of Gibraltar for the one original church of Christ against all denominationalism. They maintained it was the kingdom foretold by our Lord and the prophets (Matt. 16:16-19; Isa. 2:2-4; Dan. 2:40-44). Preaching in Nashville at that time was done with boldness and few if any in the church of Christ did not know the difference between it and any denomination .

Now, it is different. For an uncertain sound has, for some years, been coming out of Nashville via what is called, Jubilee. This year, 1997, was to be no different considering the featured speaker. Rubel Shelly announced in March: "Best-selling author Max Lucado will be in Nashville on Tuesday, April 22, and I want you to have the chance to meet him. Max will speak at a dutch-treat luncheon for area ministers that day at the Sheraton Music City." "Max will be speaking at the new Nashville Arena on July, 2, 3, and 4 this year. He will be the nighttime keynote speaker at Jubilee '97, an annual event sponsored by Churches of Christ. But we want to spread the word by means of this luncheon that Jubilee '97 is intended for the larger Christian community of Nashville." (Woodmont Hills' Letter, March, 11, 1997).

Brother Lucado is a known writer who also preaches for the Oak Hills Church of Christ in San Antonio, Texas. However, besides working with the church of Christ, he is also known for his work and co-operation with various denominations. He sometimes works with Catholic priests and even though Jesus commanded that no one should call any man "father" (Matt. 23:9), Max will use that title for priests when working with them. He also sings with their instrument (Behold The Pattern, Goebel Music, Colleyville, TX, pp. 113-118) and has told the Oak Hills church, "many of you know I have no trouble whatsoever with using instruments in worship."

Yet, he doesn't always line up with Catholics, for Max teaches Calvinism and John Calvin was a Protestant. As an example of such teaching, Max in his radio broadcast, called "Upwards" last December, 1996, over station KJAK from Lubbock, taught Protestant false doctrine which says a sinner can pray through to salvation. He then declared to the listeners: "I want to encourage you to find a church, be baptized, read your Bible. But I don't want you to do any of that so that you will be saved. I want you to do that because you are saved." Brother Lucado says this in spite of the fact that Jesus died for the church (Acts 20:28) and He said, "he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mark 16:16).

Max has co-authored a book on Easter with Billy Graham and others (Yokefellow, Knight Arnold Church of Christ, Memphis, Tenn, May & June, 1997).

Max addresses Protestant clergymen as "Reverend," swaps pulpits with them and promotes their campaigns. For example, on October 21, 1996, the Oak Hills church conducted a "Crusade Information Seminar" in San Antonio in order to promote the Billy Graham crusade, which was to be held this year in San Antonio -- April 3-6, 1997 (Ibid). Last Fall our brother Lucado wrote in the Oak Hills Church bulletin about Graham's upcoming crusade, "We heartily urge you to support and encourage this outreach any way you can" (Nov. 10, 1996). The Holy Spirit has said, "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them" (Eph. 5:11). Yet, Rubel Shelly, who himself works in harness with denominational clergy around Nashville, featured Max Lucado at his 1997 Jubilee. Such men are working to restructure the church of our Lord into a denomination.

The Spirit has also declared in conjunction with the work of elders, "there are many...whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake" (Titus 1:10-11). Have you and will you as an elder warn your flock against such false teachers? Space fails me to tell how the books and tapes of Shelly and others with the same liberal agenda are being distributed abroad among young Christians. Just this year we have lost three men from the Bible School in Kiev, Ukraine, due to such error. Beloved, I urge you to help stem this evil in our own beloved land.

[emphases mine, d.c.]
(Jim Waldron serves under the oversight of
Frankie Boynton and Barney Hollis,
elders of the Dunlap church of Christ
P.O. Box 123, Dunlap, TN 37327)

Seek The Old Paths, Vol. 8, No. 11 (November, 1997)

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(Login Donnie.Cruz)

Kingdom of God -- Is It the Roman Catholic Church?

March 29 2013, 4:23 PM 

In response to the initial post, Scripture posted that the song, "I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord," "clearly interchanges church with kingdom ... glorifies the church as an institution ... an entity that was given to glorify God ... a view that is ... more Catholic than Lutheran...."

The word "Catholic" is indeed attention-catching. With that in mind, this discussion can be very involved and lengthy as we are given the opportunity to expose Roman Catholicism and its teachings regarding the church and its foundation -- Christ vs. Peter (rock vs. stone), Peter as the first pope, the papacy, and the apostolic succession; etc.

Keep in mind that "Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people" (Matt. 9:35). Jesus had already chosen the twelve apostles (Matt. 10:2-4). [Interestingly], when Jesus sent forth the twelve, he instructed them not to go "into the way of the Gentiles [10:5] ... but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel [10:6]." Very importantly, he told them to preach, saying, "the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 10:7). [NOTE the strong possibility that Peter, considered as founder of the Roman Catholic Church, was never involved in the "Roman church" and that it was Paul, an outstanding apostle to the Gentiles, who wrote the epistle to the Roman brethren.

There are doctrinal differences stemming from the same source or reference. I am quoting Matt. 16:18-19 from the Catholic edition of the NRSV [New Revised Standard Version]:

"And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."
Of course, the fulfillment of the promise of the kingdom "at hand" was fulfilled in reading the first chapters of the book of Acts.

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that Christ constituted St. Peter head of His Church, the chief ... foundation of the Catholic Church. The RCC interprets the passage: "You [Peter] are 'Rock,' and on this rock I will build My Church." [Shouldn't that make you wonder where Christ was pointing to between "YOU, Peter" and "on THIS rock."]

With that Catholic Church premise, we're led to various other issues, just to name a few:

  • ___ Is Christ "the Rock"?
  • ___ Is Peter "the Rock"?
  • ___ Is Christ the head of the church?
  • ___ Is Peter the head of the church?
  • ___ The keys of the kingdom [the church] were given only to Peter. Why?
  • ___ Acts 1,2 describes the fulfilment of the kingdom [the church] in Jerusalem.
  • ___ Acts 1,2 -- it was Peter that first preached Christ (oh, "the keys," remember?)
  • ___ Acts 1,2 -- it was in Jerusalem, NOT in Rome, and among the Jews
  • ___ Acts 1,2 -- it was Peter in Jerusalem, not in Rome
  • ___ Acts 1,2 -- it was the church of Christ in Jerusalem
  • ___ Acts 1,2 -- it was not the Peter's Roman Catholic Church in Rome
  • ___ Acts 1,2 -- Peter was in Jerusalem (not Rome); did be become the first pope there?
  • ___ Peter, as the first Roman Catholic pope, was married
  • ___ Why the "apostolic succession" or papal succession?

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March 29 2013, 6:38 PM 

The Catholic literature tries to trace the present Roman Catholic back to Pentecost, and so to say that the present Roman Catholic Church is identical to the church of Pentecost. This technique falls short since it overlooks "change" that occurred during the two millenia. In other words, there are so many differences between AD 33 and 2013 in belief and practice. So much, that the AD 33 church is not the same as the 2013 church. The only way to justify the differences, then, is to try to show that God gave authority to the bishops, archbishops, cardinals, and popes all through the centuries to make any change that they judged as approved by God.

This is where we differ most of all in any church that assumes there are rights to determine doctrine in and by any hierarchy. Jesus said that "all authority" had been given to him. The elders that we read about in the New Testament were to impart the pattern of sound words that they had received, and make no change in them, and to hand them down exactly as they were taught. For this reason, we must be careful to give a Bible reason for all that is done in today's church.

This is the great reason for the "restoration" of the church, and not its reformation. Reformation assumes that all that cannot be condemned in today's church must be allowed; restoration is based on what cannot be shown to be of New Testament practice should not be allowed. One argues from silence; another from pattern.

The movement of the Churches of Christ to a "personal salvation" stance has a shortcoming. It does not glorify the church as an institution (see Paul in Ephesians), but rather looks at Christianity as very person-centered. It leaves the "church" out in the cold, as not being very important. And so, some of our preachers get up in the church and announce that the church is a "movement" and not a structure. It is a sad day in restoration history when we ignore the structure called the "church."

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(Login Donnie.Cruz)

Re: Church

March 29 2013, 7:46 PM 

Thanks for making the differentiation between: (a) the reformation and (b) the restoration of the church -- the difference between: (a) what's allowed when not condemned and (b) what should not be allowed when the New Testament shows no proof.

I would like to say that the "reformation" proponents argue from "silence" based on how "the law of silence" is defined by the reformists. The change agents operating in the brotherhood fall in this category as they attempt to rewrite the history of the Restoration Movement on their terms or as they attempt to "reform" the Restoration Movement. The change agents' interpretation of "the law of silence" (contrary to that of their Restoration heritage) is exactly that of what you have identified as "reformation"; i.e., that what the New Testament does not forbid should be allowed.

When we consider the RM's definition of the law of silence, I think it would be accurate to say that both "silence" and "the pattern" are both marks that are easily identifiable with the Restoration Movement. Contrary to the change agents' definition of "the law of silence," the RM definition of "the law of silence" is described in the famous statement or quote: "We speak where the Bible speaks and are silent where the Bible is silent." To me that eliminates the reformists' notion that where it's not condemned, it is allowed. The RM's emphasis on following the New Testament "pattern," of course, is the other mark or identity of the Movement.

Scripture, would you further explain whether or not the "shortcoming" in the Restoration Movement began occurring at some point [and when] in its history? I agree that the significance or identity of "the church" has not been emphasized any longer as it is being influenced by external "religious" forces where a "personal relationship with God" saves, but not being converted and added to "the church" and remaining faithful.

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March 30 2013, 12:02 AM 

Explaining the failure of the church to insulate itself against unnecessary change will take some consideration, and I'll try to reflect on this before I post any comments. The change from emphasis on the "church" to that of "salvation" [alone] is the particular issue being discussed. It appears the changes that are occurring so rapidly, have their origins in the last 60 years or so. The loss of confidence in institutions (all outside the individual) has an origin that precedes the last decade.

I did notice that Dr. J. E. Choate, of Lipscomb University, died on March 2, 2013, at age 97. His identification of the problems of the church with postmodernism are well-known. This places the problems in the church to the wider postmodern culture, and not just a problem in our immediate fellowship. Also Perry Cotham deceased on January 5. And Basil Overton on February 28.

This generation is quickly passing.

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March 30 2013, 8:55 AM 

The Roman Catholic Church claims that revelation is ongoing, that Peter's seat was reoccupied by a succession of popes and cardinals, has led to changing and "evolving" doctrines across the centuries. But persons wanting to restore the ancient order reject doctrines that lie outside the New Testament period, regardless of whether they come from papal encyclicals, Protestant creeds, Joseph Smith, or oral creeds.

There is little difference, however, in popes and cardinals fueling "evolving" doctrine, and one getting up in the church, and says that the elders are going to "evolve" a worship format in their worship periods, without changing "one salvation issue." Obviously, doctrines are evolving right in front of our eyes. "But not one salvation issue has been changed." Just forget it elders, if cheap grace is taught, or if the membership has no idea in what Testament the books of Moses rest, or if works ride on the back of faith. Just so that we don't change "one salvation issue."

Forget it church, if we dismantle you completely, and in search of growth we install all types of "attractive" devices. Modify or reject every church tradition, and keep the salvation issues. This is like not changing the heartbeat, but failing to practice hygiene for the body, failing to brush one's teeth, and taking baths. "We haven't changed the heartbeat one bit," but you don't need to brush your teeth, take baths or it doesn't hurt to do drugs, so the elders may be saying.

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(Login Ken.Sublett)

Re: Church

March 30 2013, 3:36 PM 

Not wanting to upset the good dialog:

I have added some notes about Lipscomb and others which I thin proves that all recorded history is a lie or we see the kingdom of Satan (the worship of the starry host) KNOWING THAT IT'S TIME is short is working really hard trying to remove CHRIST from the throne.

My review by request of "Oil Rig" of Keith D. Stanglin at Harding University uses Xn for Christian: I have put Christ back in charge in my review.

It seems that Keith is using the old "navigating the winds of change witchery." Lynn Anderson advising that you weave back and forth from what is lyingly call "traditionalism" and the desired change. He recommends that you upset comfort zones and drive people as close to the edge as you can without getting fired. If you go to far, just back off and teach "save doctrine" until time is right for another lurch forward.

All of the terms are derived from Wicca or Witchcraft.

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Church and Kingdom

April 22 2013, 10:47 PM 

Is there are difference in church and kingdom, or are they the same?

Since the church is so faulty, how could it be the kingdom?

Matthew 16 seems to point out that the kingdom and spoken in the same breath.

Jesus said that "look not here or there, for the kingdom is (will be) within (among) you."

The millenial brethren in the Churches of Christ are now included not with an "MI" designation, or as the mutual edification brethren (ME), in the register of the Churches of Christ.

A change was also made to not exclude the instrumental Churches of Christ, reversing a policy of just a few years.

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...........................THE BOOK

What Happened at the Madison Church of Christ?

There are thousands of churches being taken over across America.

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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.

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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.

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5 Godly Elders
10 Not so Godly Elders
120 "Deacons" (allegiance unknown)
2,800 - 4,000 church "members"
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Unknown number of "demons" (Flying everywhere, to many to count)

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