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Archive for the ‘Antinomianism’ 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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“Enemies of the Cross”

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In the mildest of his epistles (in terms of rebuke and correction), the apostle Paul nonetheless warned the Philippian saints of “enemies of the cross of Christ” (3:18–19), which he at one time was. He thereby vividly aligned those who lived contrary to the Gospel with the former Saul of Tarsus in his most zealous days of persecuting the Lord. Notably, Paul here made the cross the apex, summary, and symbol of Jesus’ earthly life and work (His purpose in coming, His doctrine, His church, et al.).

In this context the apostle specified three identifying marks of these enemies, who still thrive all about us:

  • “Whose God is the belly”—These are those who live only to satisfy fleshly appetites. They live by the philosophy, “If it feels good, do it.” The gross breakdown of sexual morality in our nation over the past half-century is a graphic manifestation of “belly-worship.” “Bibliolatry” also reveals itself in hedonisms ranging from road rage to alcohol consumption, drug addiction, gambling, and various criminal acts (some of which, politicians in the highest circles of power are guilty). As America has increasingly cast aside the Bible (and God with it), its righteous restraints of continence and self-control have increasingly vanished. “Belly-worship” is simply unmitigated selfishness, which is a good working definition of Secularism and Humanism.
  • “Whose glory is in their shame”Glory here refers to that of which men can justifiably be proud, thus things men ought to honor. The enemies of Calvary have turned things upside down, proudly parading behaviors which they should count disgraceful. No more apt description than this could be drafted of the homosexual practitioners and their defenders. In step with them are those who advocate removing all restraints in the entertainment media on nudity, sexual acts, and cesspool language. All who participate in and boast of any evil deed have thereby made themselves “enemies of the cross.”
  • “Who mind earthly things”—These live only for time, with little or no thought beyond (which is why their “bellies” are their god). Theirs is the old Epicurean credo: “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” (1 Cor. 15:32). Humanism, its modern incarnation, denies the immortality of the soul, the Resurrection of the body, and the realm of spirits.

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Love—A Fruit of the Spirit

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Introduction

Undiscerning and unscrupulous men have “wordnapped,” redefined, misused, and abused several rich and beautiful Biblical words. Among them are grace, faith, miracle, elect, and predestined. Love, which Paul names a “fruit of the Spirit,” is another of these words (Gal. 5:22).1 Unspiritual men have dragged this word through their secular and sensual gutters, effectively stripping it in the minds of the masses of its pure and altruistic meaning. If order of appearance in listing implies relative significance, we infer that love is the premier quality of all lovely character traits, for Paul placed love first in this list of spiritual fruit. One might also consider the implication that love, because of its principal position in the list, is in some sense the root and basis of all the other traits. The apostle Peter also emphasized the primacy of love, but he did so by making it the final and crowning grace of the eight “Christian graces” (2 Pet. 1:5–7).

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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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Why the Plan of Salvation Was Necessary

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Introduction

The Bible is a book about sin and a Savior. Paul announced wonderful news in this regard:

There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death (Rom. 8:1–2).

This grand statement at once calls attention to mankind’s need of a means by which he might be saved from “the law of sin and death” and to the fact that such a plan is available and operable. The need for salvation implies dire jeopardy of some sort and a cause for this danger. The cause of this irreparable loss is transgression of the law of God—sin: “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4, KJV). The jeopardy is loss of one’s soul in eternal separation from God in Hell—death in the ultimate sense.

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