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Archive for the ‘The Church’ Category

Avoiding New Fads

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Introduction

The worldly, fashion-mad nature of humankind has changed little through the centuries. Luke provides an interesting description of the philosophers whom Paul encountered at Mars Hill in ancient Athens: “Now all the Athenians and the strangers sojourning there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell or to hear something new” (Acts 17:21).[1] The word new  in this passage comes from the root word kainos, which means “that which is unaccustomed or unused, not new in time, but new as to form or quality, of different nature from what is contrasted as old.”[2] This definition tells us that those Athenians were always looking for something different, new-fangled, novel, modern—some new gadget or fresh gimmick. In short, they were fad-mad!

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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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Church Renovation

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

“Church Undergoes Renovation,” the newspaper headline read. The words were positioned above a photo of a church building surrounded by scaffolding, with workmen on its roof. The article described the modernization of a church building, which the article referred to in common—albeit mistaken—parlance as a “church.” A church, however, is a group of people drawn together by distinct doctrines and practices that meets in a building.

From reading the New Testament and even a smattering of post-Biblical church history, it is clear that “the church” most people know today is not the church as Jesus built it (Mat. 16:16–19). His church underwent—and continues to undergo—major “renovations.” The simple beauty of the original church has been lost in endless complex, corrupt, and unauthorized changes.

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Grapes of Thorns?

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

In the process of warning about the grave dangers of listening to false prophets, Jesus said, “By their fruits ye shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” (Mat. 7:15–16). Jesus made a spiritual application of this general, axiomatic principle, which has been in effect from the creation: Each form of life reproduces after its own kind and only after its own kind (Gen. 1:11–12).

The apostle Paul stated it succinctly: “For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal. 6:7), again applying the principle to a spiritual issue. Just as briars do not produce grapes, nor thistles figs, monkeys do not come from snake “seeds,” and men do not come from monkey “seeds.” God placed the power of life in the seed of each kind and species.

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What Is the Biblical Name of the Universal Church?

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

The title above is one of several questions a visitor to my Website, TheScripturecache.com, submitted on December 28, 2017. His reading my MS, “The Church of Christ Is Not a Denomination,” provoked the questions (obviously disagreeing with my MS). I have not revealed his name since it is not relevant either to his question or to my response (I will identify him to individual inquirers). Below is the querist’s full response to my MS:

Isn't it true that the phrase "church of Christ” isn't in the Bible? How can the one and only church be called something that even God never called it? Isn't it true that "churches of Christ" refers to LOCAL churches just as in the same context of churches of the Gentiles? What is the Biblical name of the universal church?

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