A NEW BOOK
THE JESUS PROPOSAL, a book by Rubel Shelly
and John O. York, was published in the spring of 2003, by
Leafwood Publishers in Siloam Springs, AR. Most brethren know that
Rubel Shelly is a preacher for the Woodmont Hills Church of Christ
in Nashville. John O. York is Associate Professor of Preaching
and New Testament at Lipscomb University in Nashville,
Tennessee. He also shares the pulpit responsibilities with Rubel at
Woodmont Hills. The material in this book has been adapted from
sermons they delivered at the Woodmont Hills Church (p.21). (Note:
Woodmont's website says they are the Family of God at
Woodmont Hills and only use the words Church of
Christ in small print at the bottom of the page.)
Caleb C. Campbell
In the third verse of his inspired epistle, Jude sounds out the cry for Christians to earnestly contend for the faith. To contend is to strive, debate or fight. It is literally, to wrestle [Guy N. Woods, A Commentary on the New Testament Epistles of Peter, John, and Jude]. Jude was exhorting his audience of disciples to stand up and fight for the incomparable cause of Christ. They were to defend and proclaim their convictions regarding the Gospel of Christ.
The idea of fighting for and defending the faith is one that is unpopular in the feel-good Christianity of our day. It is deemed as un-Christ-like, and a mere sign of immaturity and maliciousness. Nevertheless, several times in the New Testament, various writers exhort Christians to do so. Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus, telling them to put on the whole armor of God (Eph. 6:11). He told Timothy to fight the good fight of faith (1 Tim. 6:12). He told Titus to rebuke false teachers sharply, that they may be sound in the faith (Titus 1:13). Peter told his readers to be ready to give an answer to every man that would inquire concerning Christianity (1 Peter 3:15).
Further, there are several inspired examples in days gone by of faithful prophets and preachers who contended for the cause of Jehovah. In the Old Testament, one can find Elijah challenging the damnable prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18). Other prophets, such as Jeremiah, fought false teaching and pled with God's people to be faithful and obedient to Him. The New Testament tells of John the Baptizer fighting for the kingdom (Matt. 3:1-12). Stephen, the first faithful martyr of Christianity, was one who engaged in religious dispute (Acts 6:9). Even our Lord Jesus Christ verbally fought for His own cause, as on several occasions He warded off the attacks of the Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians, and others.
The fact is, if we as Christians are to show our love for the Lord by obeying His will, we must contend for the faith. It is just as much an inspired command as to sing songs of praise (Eph. 5:19) and to partake of the Lord's supper (1 Cor. 11:23-26) in worshipping God. It is just as clearly stated as the need to flee fornication (1 Cor. 6:18) and not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together (Heb. 10:25).
The Christian, however, is not simply to fight for the faith. He is to do so earnestly. The word earnestly is defined by Webster as being serious and intense, zealous and sincere, with determination. It comes from the Greek word agonidzomai which includes the idea of striving for a cause.
This should in no way surprise us, for all that the Christian does is to be with his entire being. Our Lord despises one who is a lukewarm follower and does not devote his entire self to His cause (Rev. 3:16). Indeed, we as Christians are to be a truly zealous people. The area of defending the Gospel demands a special zeal, as we are not fighting for our own cause, or any kind of carnal institution/teachings, but rather the cause of Christ.
Having stated the previous, it must also be stated that while we contend earnestly, we are to do so with the proper disposition, attitude and motive. While many in the church today err greatly by not standing up and fighting false teaching, there are others who have reacted with another extreme: that of contending and fighting in an arrogant and uncaring way that does nothing but inflame the personal ego. We are to answer others with meekness and fear (1 Peter 3:15). We are never to fail to speak the truth, but do so in love (Eph. 4:15). The ultimate goal in contending is not to promote strife, but rather to lead others to the truth of the saving Gospel of Christ.
Jude gives his readers a specific message to contend for: the faith. Faith is indeed one of the great themes of the New Testament, and for that matter, the entire Bible. The vast majority of the Christian world recognizes the importance of faith and its role in the salvation of man. Yet, the faith spoken of here by Jude is not one's personal faith that leads an individual to salvation (John 3:16; Rom. 5:1; Heb. 10:38). He is speaking rather of THE faith, the summation of the Gospel. He was not speaking of a vague, subjective thing that varied from person to person, but was exhorting Christians to unite behind the one faith of Ephesians 4:5, the summation of the Gospel of Christ. It was the faith that priests had obeyed (Acts 6:7), that Paul had preached (Gal. 1:23) and that had arrived to replace the imperfect law of Moses (Gal. 3:23-25).
This faith had been once for all given to the saints (ASV). The clear meaning in light of the original Greek language is that the faith had been completely given in its complete form. Brother Guy N. Woods again stated, The meaning is that truth is delivered for all time; it is a permanent deposit, it will never be superseded, amended, or modified.
The implications of the above are incredible in light of the state of the religious world today. First, it is clear that God has revealed His will to man. Those that believe and teach that man cannot know the will of God are obviously in blatant contradiction with Scripture (John 8:32). Second, the will of God has been completely revealed. If truth has been once for all delivered, then there is no new truth to be revealed! When someone today claims to have a new revelation from God, he is obviously mistaken and in danger of adding to the word which God has given (Rev. 22:18,19). Third, it is clear that since God has revealed His complete will for man, it is an objective standard that must be followed. Jesus Himself claimed that we have truth, and that it is the word of God (John 17:17).
The world has tried to make Christianity an abstract religion based on the subjective feelings and intuitions of individual human beings. Jude, however, reminds us that there is an objective standard -- a pattern -- that we are to follow in the realm of religion. This pattern is that which can save us (Rom. 1:16) and that which will one day judge us (John 12:48).
Are you contending for the faith?
844 18th St.
Calera, AL 35040
Table of Contents
PREACH THE WORD
Roger D. Campbell
2 Timothy 4:2 -- How many times have we heard it
quoted and mentioned in public lessons? Its clear message reads,
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season;
reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
What word is it that God wants His servants to preach? It is
the message of the Holy Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:15), the inspired
message of God's word (2 Tim. 3:16).
James W. Boyd
Brethren be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things (Phil. 3:17-19).
As astounding as it might sound to the faithful child of God, there are those who choose to be enemies of the cross. History tells us of events in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries called the Crusades. They were certainly not Christian in the Biblical sense of the word. They were a fanatical series of military conflicts between Christian Europe and the Mohammedan world for control of Palestine. In Europe, where Catholicism ruled and placed such emphasis on relics, the Christians wanted possession of what some considered to be the greatest relic of all, the Holy Land, and sought to deliver it from those they considered to be enemies of the cross.
The result was several military efforts, each with declining success, to capture and control Palestine, liquidate all enemies and infidels, whether Jewish or Mohammedan, all heretics (which meant anybody who questioned papal domination and authority).
There is no question that Jews and Mohammedans are
enemies of the cross of Christ, but neither is there any doubt
that those who instigated and executed these Crusades were not
Christians as the Bible teaches. Such warfare is not the way that
Christianity is to advance.
Pagans and heathens and their idolatrous gods are enemies
of the cross of Christ. Any religion that teaches there is
more than one Deity (Godhead) is an enemy of the cross of Christ.
In Athens, Paul said, For as I passed by, and beheld your
devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To The Unknown
God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
God that made the world and all things therein, seeing he is Lord
of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with
hands... (Acts 17:23,24). But they mocked the truth that
he preached (Acts 17:32).
Enemies of the cross have arisen through the years of
ecclesiastical history. There are vicious, potent and diabolical
enemies now. Modernism, atheism, secular humanism are the
most deadly facing the truth today. These philosophies deny
everything the Christian cites as authority. They reject the Bible,
the Deity of Christ, life after death, the existence of God,
miracles, the virgin birth, the spirit of man, the resurrection of
Jesus, the efficacy of his blood, whatever.
But not all enemies of the cross of Christ are outside the
church. One deadly enemy is the division and schism
that exists. While there is much religious division outside
the church, the church bleeds internally for the same reason. One
truth we need to understand is the following: those who cause
trouble in the church are those who (1) teach false doctrines and
practices, or (2) those who demand conformity to their opinions in
matters of opinion. Those who resist the invasion of false
doctrines and false teachers, and who insist on allowing what God
allows are not those who create havoc for the church. Error, not
truth, causes division among brethren.
We have in the church a scholastic elite who have
been schooled in liberalism and modernism who have been pouring
their errors into the church, even in schools where they teach as
much as any other one source. The compromising religious
politicians and liberal editors have aided and abetted them in
their goal of restructuring the church to be more acceptable to the
world. Their tactics include ridicule, intimidation, threats, lies
and character assassination in order to promote their heresies.
But what can be done? To bemoan bad situations is not enough.
Nothing will be done until another enemy, the enemy of lethargy,
indifference and inaction, is removed from the hearts
and lives of brethren. This let-the-other-fellow-do-it
attitude has put many to sleep and they are content on the
sidelines. Spectator religion is all they have. They just
watch, but not participate! That is the way it is with many. The
only time they get aroused is when somebody says they ought to act.
They never speak up, stand up, or can be counted for truth.
Winfred Clark, deceased
When we speak of denominational films, we mean those which
feature men like Swindoll or Dobson. Neither of these men are among
us. They are denominational preachers who are speakers on films
that focus on families and related topics. They are now receiving
acceptance among churches of Christ along a broad front. Local
advertising in some cities promote these without any reluctance.
George W. Lambroff
Webster defines an oxymoron as: acutely silly:
a figure of speech in which opposite or contradictory ideas or
terms are combined. It is important that Christians have a
proper understanding of the meaning of oxymoron, since on occasion
we find ourselves using an oxymoron, we must be prepared to admit
that we are guilty of uttering a statement that within itself
becomes self opposing. Many times, Christians offer cliche's that
incorporate the use of an oxymoron.
Herewith is my little contribution for STOP, small amount, but
it's deep in my heart. May you receive more and more of God's mercy
and love. God bless us all. Your works will be honored by God
...Corazon Santiago, Van Nuys, CA. Thanks for your
help. Without you, Seek the Old Paths would not be
possible ...Name Withheld, Saltillo, MS. I would
like to begin receiving your publication. I have been reading my
daughter's copy for some time now, but she wants to send her copies
to a friend several states away. Your articles are always very
timely and applicable. Please add me to your mailing list. Thank
you and God Bless! ...Ann Lowman, Cabot, AR. I
just received my STOP today and thank you so much for keeping us
informed on the churches that are departing from God's Word. I pray
God may continue to bless you in this wonderful work
...Georgia Dashner, Verona, MO. Just take me off of your
mailing list ...Charles Dyer, Louisville, KY.
May our God continue to help you in your effort to proclaim
His Truth. Christians have their work cut out for them in their
attempt to retain a pure and wholesome doctrine. May our God
continue to bless your work ...Harold & Kitty Wood, Mt.
Pleasant, TN. Enjoy STOP so much. Hope this contribution
will help to keep it being printed. May God bless you in your
work ...Rube & Lorene Wilson, Binger, OK.
Seek the Old Paths is certainly what is needed today. We
are getting away from the truth. I look forward to receiving this
publication. Thank you ...Harriert Reddens, Dayton, OH.
Thank you for the excellent paper. Please continue my
subscription. Keep up the good work ...Wayne Crum,
Caledonia, OH. Thank you for sending me the past issues.
I have been reading it and I am preparing lessons from each issue.
I treasure this paper so much because it is a sound publication. It
informs us and gives us warnings about liberalism, it provides us
more information about important issues/topics like
authority, leadership, etc. It is a very good
tool for Bible studies, sermons and good material for gospel
meetings. STOP is one of my dearest reading materials in my library
along with the Spiritual Sword. Thank you for including me
in your list. Keep up the good works. God bless ...Tito
Perazta, Philippines. The written word is so powerful.
Keep on with the excellent articles ...Tommy Exum,
Nashville, TN. I enjoy the paper. It is needed
everywhere ...Bob Heflin, Vichy, MO. Enclosed is
a small gift to help with the paper. I certainly do not want to see
this excellent paper stop. I look forward to it each month. Also
have been using some of the articles on our church internet web
page ...Wesley & Naomi Snyder, Mexico, MO. I
have received the paper for several years and enjoy it very much.
There are too few today who are seeking the old paths. What a
shame. I got to hear Bro. Robinson speak at the Banner of Truth
lectures and enjoyed it very much ...Gary Price, Murray,
KY. We appreciate the work you and the congregation does
for the Lord's cause ...Jerry & Judy Powell, Morrison, TN.
Always look forward to Seek the Old Paths and
I pass it on to others. Always spreading the truth. All Christians
need to read. Would like to see it continue ...Wilma
Danielson, Wewoka, OK. Thank you for your fine paper.
Every article enforces the word of our Lord ...Art Rocco,
Toms River, NJ. Please accept this donation to your great
work. It is truly one of the greatest publications in the
brotherhood today. May God continue to bless your work
...Loyd & Joanne Waldron, Whitleyville, TN. I receive
your monthly publication. It is a wonderful magazine. I enjoy
reading it each month. Please keep me on your mailing list
...Martha Hudgins, Centerville, TN. I read your
publication Seek the Old Paths on the internet and find
it timely and informative. I am enclosing a donation to help
support your efforts ...L. Douglas Power, Houston, TX.
We enjoy and are blessed by the edification we receive
from the articles which appear in it. After we read it, we pass it
on to some other brother or sister in the Lord to read also
...Marvin Mathis, Newton, KS. Thank you for your
publication. Thank you for all you do. Please continue to stand
strong ...Phillip Vanwinkle, AR. I have truly
enjoyed reading Seek the Old Paths monthly publication.
It has helped my family and I to grow and absorb the meat of the
Word. It has been one of the media that has encouraged us to be
sound, steadfast, and immovable for Christ. Keep the Faith!
...De'Angelo Brown, Durham, NC. I just received the
July issue. It contains information that should be disseminated as
widely as possible. I refer to the articles The Gospel is
Not Enough and Coming in Through the Back
Door. Of course, all the information published in every
issue should be so circulated, but this is especially urgent. I am
including in this letter the names of a number of individuals that
I'd like for you to add to your mailing list. These are men who may
not want the information contained in STOP, but in my opinion they
desperately need it. I might add that these individuals are elders
and preachers of a congregation that they have taken into apostasy.
Each of them (with one exception) are men who I like personally but
I hate what they have done to the church and to those whom they are
leading into perdition. I have no objection to your publishing this
letter but for obvious reasons I'd prefer to remain anonymous
...Name Withheld. We have been receiving and enjoying
your publication for several years and look forward to each issue.
Hope the publication will continue for many years. It's much
needed ...Hugh Word, Russellville, AR. We enjoy
your publication and would hate to see it stopped because of a lack
of funds ...Pete & Colleen Anderson, Flint, MI.
I appreciate the work you do for the cause of Christ by
publishing Seek the Old Paths. I have been receiving the
publication for several years and look forward to its arrival each
month. I thank you for the splendid articles and the stand you and
the East End congregation have taken to uphold the truth. You are
truly an anchor, steadfast and true! Please accept this small token
of my admiration and use it as you see fit to continue the
publication of. May God bless you with many more years of this
work. We need to continue every work that upholds the truth in this
time of compromise and unfaithfulness ...Joe F. Travis,
Angleton, TX. We appreciate the sound paper you publish
and the hard work that goes into it. May God continue to bless you
as you continue to stand for the truth ...Name Withheld.
The brethren at Chinquapin church of Christ want to help
you with your publication this month. Keep up the good work
...Chinquapin church of Christ, Batesville, AR. I
would like to thank you, the elders and the brethren at East End
for all of your hard work. I greatly enjoy reading Seek the
Old Paths and listening to the lectureship tapes each year.
I do hope that one year my family and I will be able to be in
person at the lectureships ...Jason & Cindy White, Fort
The 2000, 2001 and 2002 Bound Volume can be ordered from:
Old Paths Publishing
2007 Francis Ferry Rd.
McMinnville, TN 37110
$5 postage paid
Home | Table of Contents | Bible Page |
Seek The Old Paths | East End Church of Christ |