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Archive for the ‘Authority’ Category

The Principle of Restoration in the Battle for Truth

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Introduction

This subject deals with attitude. Neither restoration nor maintenance of the church of Christ is possible apart from the proper and wholesome attitude toward Truth. Paul wrote of the crucial importance of one's attitude toward the Truth:

And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness (2 The. 2:10–12).

Notice that twice in this remarkable passage Paul emphasized the importance of proper attitude toward the Truth in the phrases, received not the love of the truth and believed not the truth. The sentence upon those possessing such blasphemous attitudes is manifold: (1) deception through unrighteousness, (2) belief of error (i.e., "strong delusion," "a lie"), (3) taking pleasure in unrighteousness, and, at last, (4) perishing, being lost, and damned.

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Unity in (Spite of) Diversity

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Introduction

Is a renewed and intensified “unity” initiative with the Independent Christian Church (ICC) underway? Abilene Christian University had an ICC preacher on its lectureship not very long ago. The Tulsa Workshop had two ICC speakers on its program last year. Even more recently, the December 2004 issue of The Christian Chronicle gave major ink to two news stories and an advertisement, all of which seem to point in this direction.

News Story Number One

Page 1 carries the headline, “Church of Christ, Christian Church leaders test waters.” The article, written by Chronicle staffer Lindy Adams, tells of ”Ministry Impact ’04,” an October meeting “for dialogue and fellowship” in Grand Prairie, Texas (near Dallas), involving 350 men from the ICC and churches of Christ. Adams, in typical liberal jargon, refers to us, to the ICC, and to the Disciples of Christ as “three streams” of the “American Restoration Movement” and of the “Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement.” (Note: I am not a member of a “movement,” but of the church of Christ, to which He added me when I obeyed the Gospel plan of salvation [Acts 2:38–41, 47].)

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From Heaven or From Men?

[Note: This MS is available in larger font on our Brief Articles page.]

            In His immortal Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said:

Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many mighty works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you:  depart from me, ye that work iniquity (Mat. 7:21–23).

            This passage teaches a great and fundamental Truth: the vanity, presumptuousness, and danger of doing anything that Jehovah has not authorized. In His sweeping principle, the Lord embraced every item that one might list as an ingredient of faithfulness to God and His Son. If one has his heart set on doing "all in the name of the Lord" (Col. 3:17), he will be faithful in all things.

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Denominationalism—Its Causes, Contradictions, Consequences, and Cures

[Note: This MS is available in larger font on our Manuscripts page.]

Introduction

The Apple Online Dictionary defines the religious connotation of denomination as “a recognized autonomous branch of the Christian Church.” The honest and perceptive student of Scripture realizes that Christianity in the days of the apostles was vastly different from the maze of today’s conflicting, confused, and convoluted denominational structure commonly called “denominationalism.” An unknown (but appreciated) author has given us the following incisive description of denominationalism:

A denomination is a religious body with extra-Biblical peculiarities distinguishing it from the church revealed in the Bible. It is utterly impossible for any denomination to exist without men believing something, doing something, being something, saying something, or having something that is not in the Word of God. All denominations teach more or less of what is in the Bible. However, the things they teach that are in the Bible do not make them denominations, but the things they teach that are not in the Bible.

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Will God “Understand”?

[Note: This MS is available in larger font on our Brief Articles page.]

In God’s inspired Word, the Bible, He has revealed everything anyone can know about His mind and will. Either He means what He says in His Word, or He doesn’t. If He doesn’t, the Bible is merely advice that we may ignore with impunity. However, if He means what He says, our eternal destiny depends upon giving His Word “the more earnest heed” (Heb. 2:1).

While God is the God of grace and mercy (Tit. 2:11–3:7), He no less expects His creation to respect and obey His will, to which each one will be called to account (2 Cor. 5:10). Men have no right to presume upon God’s grace by thinking He will “understand” our blatant failures to love others as ourselves (Mat. 22:39), treat others as we desire to be treated (7:12), help the helpless (Gal. 6: 10), and to fulfill other such duties toward our fellow men. While many seem to make this application in matters relating to social responsibilities, they often go no further. The attitude of most (including religious leaders) toward the Bible seems to be that we should honor its moral/social precepts, but its “religious” doctrine is quite elastic.

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