WHAT COULD DENOMINATIONALISM
Roger D. Campbell
Few devices of the devil have been as
successful in blinding the eyes of men and
women as denominationalism has.
Denominationalism, as it is generally presented in our
society, is the concept that the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus
is made up of a number of different religious groups/churches, with
those different groups having different identities and different
organizational structures, believing different and contradictory
doctrines, teaching different and contradictory doctrines,
following different and contradictory doctrines, and worshipping in
different ways. Each denominational group is counted as one slice
of the whole "pie," with the general agreement being that no
denomination has the right to count itself as the exclusive church
of the Bible. This divide-em-up slicing of the "pie" into distinct,
no-two-alike pieces, is supposed to constitute Gods church and
be His idea of unity in Jesus.
Denominationalism has been a part of the United
States of America since our nations official inception in
1776. Denominationalisms history in Europe goes back hundreds
of years before that, with Roman Catholicism having its beginning
in the early part of the 7th century A.D. Some would suggest that
it started much earlier.
All Americans grow up hearing about and observing
denominationalism in action. I was raised in a denominational
environment. I observed it, endorsed it, and was sprinkled into it.
As far as religion was concerned, it was all that I knew at the
time. Later, like many of you, I was blessed to have people teach
me what the Bible says about the church of the living God and His
way of salvation. The New Testaments teaching about His church
is as far removed from modern denominationalism as night is from
There are some things that denominationalism could
ONE, denominationalism could never find Bible
authority for its existence. There is no denying the fact that
denominationalism exists. The question that must be faced honestly
is this one: Is denominationalism from heaven, or of men
(Matt. 21:25)? If it truly is from heaven, then it is from God. If
it is from God, you know what that means, right? It means we can
read about it in the Bible. The truth is, the Bible knows no such
thing as denominationalism! There is no Bible verse that commands
it, gives an example of it, or implies that it is part of Gods
will. Friends, there is no Bible authority for denominationalism to
exist. It is a man-made arrangement always has been and
always will be. Denominations exist because men want them to exist!
In contrast to that, the Bible teaches that Gods Son has all
authority, and He charges us to do all things by His commands
TWO, denominationalism could never trace its
existence back to the first century. The Lord Jesus promised
to build His church (Matt. 16:18). He bought that church with His
blood (Acts 20:28), and it was founded in the first century with
Him as its Head (Eph. 5:23). In the Book of Acts, we read about the
beginning of Jesus church in the first half of the first
century. In contrast to the Lords church, denominationalism
was never promised by Jesus, He did not pay for it with His blood,
He did not have one iota to do with its establishment, He is not
its Head, and we do not read about it anywhere in the New
Testament. Yes, as we have already noted, denominationalism has
been on the scene for a long time but not long enough, since
it was not around when the church of the Christ began way back in
the first century.
THREE, denominationalism could never prove that
it is the body of the Christ about which we read in the New
Testament. But I have always heard that the one universal
body of Christ is made up of all the different denominations, with
each different denomination being a member of that body, like 1
Corinthians 12 says. In 1 Corinthians 12:20 it is written,
But now are they many members, yet but one body.
Who or what are the members about which Paul wrote?
Was he speaking about denominations or disciples? He could not have
been saying that the first-century body of the Christ was made up
of different denominations, because there were none that existed
then! In verse 27 we read, Now you are the body of Christ, and
members individually (NKJV). By the Spirit, Paul told some
people that they were members of the body. To whom was
the Book of First Corinthians originally addressed? Answer:
Unto the church of God which is at Corinth (I Cor. 1:2).
So, not different denominations, but the individual members of
Gods church, they are the ones that made up the Lords
What do we expect to see in a human? Is it not one
head with one body, and one body with one head? Remember, the
Lords body is His church (Eph. 1:22,23). Gods arrangement
is for Jesus to serve as the one Head of His one church/body (Eph.
5:23). Denominationalism may try to claim Jesus as its head, but no
human being from the past, present, or future could ever prove from
the New Testament that Jesus has any connection to the man-made and
divisive setup known as denominationalism.
FOUR, denominationalism could never rightfully
claim that it helps people become saved and get prepared for
heaven. Denominations are active. Through their teaching and
benevolent programs, they influence multitudes. Some of them raise
large sums of money and draw huge crowds. We believe that the Bible
teaches that the Lord wants His people to be active, teaching, and
benevolent. He does not mind His church raising big amounts of
money and having large crowds, as long as it is all done in a
But, it is Gods truth that can set men free from
sin (John 8:32), not the commandments of men that turn people from
the truth (Titus 1:14). In order to be saved from past sins, a lost
person must believe in Jesus as the Son of God, repent of his
sins, confess faith in Jesus, and be baptized for the remission of
sins. That is a far cry from pray the Sinners
Prayer, which is the traditional denominational answer to the
question, What must I do to be saved? Advocates of
denominationalism encourage people to Join the church of your
choice. The Bible teaches no such thing. The Bibles
message is that God has made His choice: salvation is available in
the blood-purchased church of His Son (Col. 1:13,14).
Denominationalism propagates and supports man-made
messages, none of which are of eternal spiritual benefit to any
human being. Hearing, accepting, and obeying the teaching of brand
X denomination will make a person a member of brand X denomination.
On the other hand, when one hears, believes, and obeys the
gospel unto the salvation of his/her soul (II Thess. 1:7-9),
God adds such a saved person to His church (Acts 2:47), of which
Jesus is the Savior (Eph. 5:23).
Few devices of the devil have been as successful in
blinding the eyes of men and women as denominationalism has. I hate
abortion. I abhor the ideas of homosexuality and same-sex
marriages. In the same way and at least to the same degree, though
I love the precious people that are caught up in its error, I
detest denominationalism and all of its evil consequences.
Biblically speaking, there are many things that
denominationalism could never do. We have observed a few of them in
this article. Denominationalism, because it is not of God, is from
Satan. It is appropriate to point out the pitfalls of all forms of
spiritual darkness, including denominationalism. However, in
addition to showing from the Bible what is amiss in the religious
world, we must also make a diligent effort to present positively
the Light of the world and His gospel of light (II Cor. 4:4).
The apostle Paul was prepared to teach Gods
soul-saving Gospel (Rom. 1:15,16). Are we ready to do the same?
120 Will Lewis Dr. SE
Cleveland, TN 37323
Table of Contents
ANSWERING QUESTIONS ON SALVATION #5
Garland M. Robinson
This is the last part of a review of passages set forth
by faith only advocates in an effort to refute what the
Bible teaches concerning faith and obedience. The verses below are
used to support their man-made doctrine of faith alone.
Please refer to the earlier four parts to get a more complete
answer to their assertions.
I John 5:1, Whosoever believeth
that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that
loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.
Yes, believing in Jesus is essential to being born of
God. Jesus told Nicodemus that without being born again, no one
could see the kingdom of God (John 3:3). And then in verse 5, he
tells him what is involved in being born again. It is a birth (one
birth, not two) that is made up of two elements: water and the
Spirit. The only water we read of in the New Testament that is
connected with the kingdom of God is the water in baptism. This is
shown in Acts 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 16, 18, 19, 22, Romans 6, I
Corinthians 12, Galatians 3, Colossians 1-2, I Peter 3.
The word believeth is not followed by the word
alone. This verse does not say that those who believe
only (with nothing more involved) are born of God. Those who are
born of God are those who believe Jesus AND obey his will. This is
made clear in Luke 6:46, Matt. 7:21, Heb. 5:8-9. Faith only is dead
I John 5:11-13, And this is the record,
that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his
Son. He that hath the Son hath life; [and] he that hath not the Son
of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that
believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that
ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name
of the Son of God.
Belief sums up all that is involved in being
saved. This is faith, repentance, confession and baptism.
Faith is put for the whole. All that one does in obeying
the Lords commands is done in faith. Otherwise, all that we do
is vain, useless.
I remind the reader that what follows below was written
in answer to a gentleman who had asked us about the many passages
he listed in his letter. His point was that since all the verses he
listed speak of faith, then faith alone is all
that is required for salvation.
I wonder why you (the person who wrote the letter) have
searched fervently in order to list every passage that says
anything about faith and ignore all other passages? Surely
youre not trying to weigh some scriptures against other
scriptures. If you were to find 100 verses on faith and only 10 on
baptism, would that mean the 100 outweighs the 10? The Bible
teaches that ALL scripture is inspired of God (II Tim. 3:16-17).
Not one single verse is more important than another. No verse
contradicts another. The Bible is in perfect harmony. Every verse
compliments every other verse. Some verses explain other verses.
Some verses give more detail than other verses. But every single
one fits in with all the others. It is handling the word of God
deceitfully to try to make some verses contradict or counteract
FAITH sums up the entire process of ones salvation.
Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). For a
sinner to be saved, every act a man does is done in faith or
otherwise a sinner cannot be saved. No one can have forgiveness of
sins without REPENTING of their sins (Acts 2:38; 3:19; Luke
13:3,5). But, one must repent in faith or his repentance
is invalid. No one can have forgiveness of sins without CONFESSING
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (Matt. 10:32; Rom. 10:10).
But, one must confess in faith or his confession is
invalid. No one can have forgiveness of sins without being BAPTIZED
into water (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16; I Peter 3:21). But,
without faith, ones baptism is invalid and useless.
One cannot have continual forgiveness of sins without LIVING A
FAITHFUL CHRISTIAN LIFE (I John 1:7-0). But, living according to
Gods word is invalid unless it is lived in and by
I wonder why you did not list Mark 16:16? It certainly
requires believing (faith) in order to be saved. But, I suspect
why? It also requires baptism to be saved. And, baptism does not
fit your agenda. Im not going to argue with the Lord and tell
him he got it wrong in Mark 16:16. According to YOUR doctrine, you
would have the Lord say, He that believeth and is NOT baptized
shall be saved. Genesis 3:4 says the devil added the word NOT
to Gods Word when he said ye shall NOT surely die.
Im not going to be in his company. Why do you want to be
You ask me the question that if baptism
is essential to salvation, then why is it not mentioned in all
the verses you listed? (He is referring to a letter I
had written to him earlier). I can ask you the same question in
regards to repentance. If repentance is essential for
salvation (and it is), then why is it not mentioned in all the
verses you listed? If confession is essential to salvation
(and it is), then why is it not mentioned in all the verses you
listed? Repentance, confession and baptism is implied and included
in the word faith. Faith is only a saving faith WHEN it
OBEYS, WORKS, ACTS. We read of repentance, confession and water
baptism being essential to salvation in other verses such as: Luke
13:3,5; Acts 17:30; II Peter 3:9; Matt. 10:32-33; Acts 8:37; Rom.
10:10; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; I Peter 3:21.
You ask that if a man must be baptized to be
saved, then why do all these verses fail to say so? For example, in
Acts 10:43 why didnt Peter say, whosoever believeth in
Him and is baptized shall receive remission (forgiveness) of
sins? I call your attention to Acts 2:38 where
water baptism is included for the remission of sins. Does that mean
that Acts 2:38 contradicts Acts 10:43? Certainly not. Shall I hold
on to Acts 2:38 and dismiss Acts 10:43 because I like the one and
despise the other? Certainly not. I must rightly divide the
word of truth (II Tim. 2:15). I must let the Bible tell me
what is right. I must learn what Gods word says. To properly
understand Gods word I must take ALL it says on a subject. I,
nor you, can take just one verse and ignore other verses on the
same subject. God does not give us the privilege to pick and choose
the verses we like and ignore others.
When searching the subject of salvation (which by
necessity involves receiving the forgiveness of sins), there is no
ONE VERSE that tells us everything that is necessary to be saved.
For example, in John 8:24 we learn that unless I BELIEVE
in Jesus I will die in my sins. If that is all the Bible said on
the subject, then that is all one has to do. But, there are other
verses on the subject. We must accept them too.
Jesus said in Luke 13:3,5 that unless one
REPENTS of their sins, he will perish. If that is all the Bible
said on the subject, then that is all one has to do. But, there are
other verses on the subject. We must accept them too.
Jesus said in Matthew 10:32 that unless one
CONFESSES Him, He will deny him before the Father. If that is all
the Bible said on the subject, then that is all one has to do. But,
there are other verses on the subject. We must accept them too.
In Mark 16:16, Jesus said that one must BELIEVE
and be BAPTIZED to be saved. If that is all the Bible said on the
subject, then that is all one has to do. But, there are other
verses on the subject. We must accept them too.
When we look at ALL that Jesus said on the subject of
salvation (the forgiveness of sins), we learn that one must
BELIEVE (John 8:24), REPENT (Luke 13:3,5), CONFESS (Matt. 10:31)
and be BAPTIZED (Mark 16:16). We cant take one passage
and ignore the others. That is handling the word of God
deceitfully. Why do you fight so hard against the words of the Lord
Jesus? Why wont you believe what Jesus said about salvation?
You mention again and again that if baptism were
essential to salvation, you would expect all these passages on
faith to include it. But, since they do not, then your conclusion
is that baptism is not essential to salvation. If we follow your
conclusions, when we read Hebrews 5:9, where we learn that Jesus
will save those who OBEY him, we would expect it to say that Jesus
is the author of salvation to all those who have FAITH ALONE.
Following your conclusions, we need to rewrite Hebrews 5:9. But, we
cant rewrite it. God said what he meant. Hebrews 5:9
contradicts the doctrine of faith alone because it
requires obedience to be saved. Faith alone wont
allow obedience, if it did, it would not be faith alone.
Faith alone excludes everything else.
Jesus taught in Matthew 7:21 that he would save those who
OBEY him. Why didnt he say that he would save those who
BELIEVE in him without anything more (faith alone)? These
multitudes had faith, and even more than faith alone.
They even did many wonderful works in Jesus name, but they
were not saved. Why? According to verse 21, they had not obeyed
him. They had not complied with ALL that Jesus required. They
stopped short (took from) or went beyond (added to) obeying him.
Obedience is not compatible with faith alone. Yet, obedience is
essential to being saved according to Matthew 7:21 and Hebrews 5:9.
Ephesians 2:8 says, For by grace are ye saved
through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast. Your question about
this verse is, why is there no mention made of baptism?
Why didnt Paul say, for by grace are ye saved through faith
and baptism? You fail to understand that saving faith
(New Testament faith) includes baptism. It includes repentance. It
includes confession as well. FAITH sums up mans response
(reaction) to Gods requirements.
You claim that water baptism is a WORK
(something that man does to please God), and yet the Bible teaches
again and again that a person is not saved by works.
Using your definition of work being anything that
man does to please God, then salvation cannot be by
faith. Notice this simple point according to your
explanation: 1) Everything that man does in order to please God is
a work and men are not saved by works; 2) Faith is something that
man does to please God; 3) Therefore, salvation cannot be by faith.
Faith itself is a work. A person has to do it. It is a
deliberate action taken by an individual. Faith is not done
to us, it is done by us. John 6:29 even tells
us that faith is a work. It is a work God commands men to do. So,
when a man believes, when he does the work God has commanded him to
do, has he earned his salvation? Certainly not!
Any action man does requires activity on his part.
Something as simple as faith requires activity. It is something
that man DOES. So, faith is a work. But, man did not design it. Man
does not earn salvation by having faith, even though it is
something he DOES to please God.
You and I both believe that man cannot earn salvation.
As a matter of fact, I have never talked to anyone who believed
they could earn salvation. Man cannot do anything to obligate God
and say God owes salvation to him. But, at the same time, God has
placed stipulations (conditions, demands) upon receiving salvation.
Let me illustrate it this way. Lets say it takes me an hour to
mow my yard. If I said I would give you ten million dollars to mow
my yard, and you mowed it, could you say you had earned ten million
dollars? Certainly not! You could say you did what I required to
receive the ten million dollars, but you could not say you had
earned it. No man could mow anyones yard and say they had
earned ten million dollars for doing so. The point is this, God
extends salvation to sinful man. He says he will give eternal life
to those who believe AND obey him (John 3:16; Mark 16:16; Matt.
7:21; Heb. 5:9). What then does one have to do? What is involved in
obeying him? The first step is faith believing he is who he
claims to be and that he will do as he promised. Is that it? Is
that all? Is there nothing more? According to you that is all.
According to you, anything more is only done in gratitude for
already having received eternal life. That would be nice if you
could read that in the New Testament, but its not there. Jesus
says that a living faith includes repenting of sins (Luke 13:3),
confessing him as the Son of God (Matt. 10:32) and being baptized
(Mark 16:16). When all these things have been done, in faith, can
one say he has earned salvation? No, not at all. Has he even tried
to earn it? No. In obedience, individuals simply have met the
conditions God placed upon sinners to be a recipient of salvation.
Every act of obedience that God requires is a work that
GOD designed and requires man to do. Its not mans work,
its Gods work. Its the work God requires of man.
You say that salvation is not DOING something,
it is KNOWING someone. You dont believe your own
statement because you say that one must believe to be saved.
Friend, when one believes in Jesus he is DOING something.
Thats not hard to understand. I either believe or I dont
believe. I must decide whether to believe in Jesus or not. When I
decide to believe, I have DONE something. When I decide to repent,
I have DONE something. When I decide to confess, I have DONE
something. When I decide to be baptized, I have DONE something.
Salvation does not come by simply knowing someone. It
comes by BELIEVING in him and OBEYING his word. I Peter 1:22 says
ye have purified your souls in OBEYING THE TRUTH.... If
faith only were true, why doesnt this verse say we
have purified our souls in faith only, and then later we can obey
Romans 6:17-18 tells us that we become the servants of
God by obeying that form of doctrine which was delivered
you. That form of doctrine is water baptism that is discussed
in verses 3-6. It is THEN that we become servants of righteousness.
This does not override faiths role. It includes it and
Being saved involves being born again, for
without it, no man shall see or enter the kingdom of God (John
3:3-5). But being born again (the new birth) does not come at the
point of faith, it comes in the act of water baptism. Theres
no birth in faith? Theres nothing remotely connected with
birth in the action of faith. However, the new birth is connected
with baptism in Romans 6:1-18. The old man is buried and
a new man arises from the waters of baptism (v.6). The
new man arises to walk a newness of life (v.4). He
thereby is dead to sin (v.7). Being THEN made free from
sin (vs.17-18) one becomes a servant of righteousness. This is
what Saul of Tarsus did in becoming free from his sins. They were
washed away in the blood of Jesus when he was baptized (Acts
22:16). This is what those in Acts 2:38-41 did. They were baptized
FOR the remission of sins.
Isnt it interesting that in EVERY example of
conversion in the book of acts, baptism is always mentioned? You
dont always read about repentance or confession, but you do
water baptism. That does not mean that repentance or confession was
not present (done). When we read of someone being converted, it is
IMPLIED that the person repented and confessed, because they are
essential in being saved. If baptism is not essential, then why it
is mentioned in every case?
If repentance is essential in being saved,
then salvation is not by faith alone.
If confession is essential in being saved,
then salvation is not by faith alone.
Saving faith is an active, obedient faith. It is a faith
that trusts in God, not ourselves.
As you can see, I have taken considerable time in looking
at every verse you have listed. Ive honestly and sincerely
considered every word you have written. All I ask of you is that
you do the same. The beautiful picture of salvation is seen in the
New Testament. It is in perfect harmony with itself. The Devil is
sly and crafty. Let neither one of us fall into his trap. Our goal
is to please the Lord and no one else. He is the judge. He is the
one before whom we will one day stand to be judged. Lets honor
him by rightly dividing his word (II Tim. 2:15).
Remember, the ONLY time you find the words faith
only in the Bible is in James 2:24 and there they are preceded
with the word NOT. James 2:24 says, Ye see then how
that by works a man is justified, and NOT BY FAITH ONLY. The
works are works of obedience, the works God devised and
commands that we do.
I please with you to BELIEVE the truth and OBEY it before
its too late.
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MUST WE PERSONALLY GO TO FALSE TEACHERS
BEFORE REBUKING THEIR ERROR?
In todays world when false teachers are left alone,
they can literally propagate error around the world in a short
period of time. This puts countless souls in jeopardy of losing
their souls. By false teacher we mean one whose doctrine
is contrary to Gods word. This person may have been challenged
regarding his beliefs and practices but then again he may have
never been confronted. Admittedly, everyone makes mistakes. There
is however a recognizable difference between a man who is sound in
faith who is mistaken on a small point and one whose core beliefs
are wrong. The faithful Gospel preacher will readily admit his
mistake and correct it. Hopefully, the one teaching outright error
will graciously receive correction. When the faithful approach a
false teacher, it should be in the spirit of meekness and with the
desire to see this soul saved. The correction should never be done
in a mean spirit. Additionally, one should be sure of the facts in
Over the years, some brethren have misunderstood
and/or misapplied the Lords instruction on how to go about
rebuking those in error. A common idea is that before exposing a
false teacher and his doctrine, we must first personally address
the man. It is affirmed that failing to do so is actually sinful.
Where does such thinking originate? Usually, it is based on Matthew
18:15-17 which states: Moreover if thy brother shall
trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and
him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But
if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that
in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be
established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the
church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee
as an heathen man and a publican. Notice, however, that
this is not dealing with one publicly teaching error. Instead, it
is dealing with a personal transgression between two brothers.
While this passage does not deal with false teachers,
its principle can be applied. That is, if possible, it is always a
good idea to personally address one who is in error. Recall that
Paul withstood Peter to his face and even in the presence of all
the brethren (Gal. 2:11,14). While this encounter was personal in
nature it surely was not done privately. Was Paul sinning by doing
so? Certainly not. Jesus on several occasions exposed the error of
the Pharisees to their faces (e.g., Luke 11:38-45). However, he
also did so when they were not present (Matt. 16:5-12).
While it is a good idea to address these concerns
personally, there are numerous examples where correction was
offered from afar. Paul was not able to go to Corinth upon first
hearing about the number of doctrinal and moral problems within
that congregation. However, this did not stop him from writing a
letter to those Christians telling them to make much needed
correction. John was not able to personally confront Diotrephes yet
he still warned the brethren about this mans sinful conduct
(III John 9). Paul warned Timothy about the danger Hymenaeus and
Philetus posed because of their false teaching. The apostle
publicized their foolishness and made no apology for doing so. He
put it in writing that ...their word will eat as doth a
canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth
have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and
overthrow the faith of some (II Tim. 2:17-18).
Because false teaching can overthrow the faith of
some, it is imperative that error is exposed when first detected.
This is what Paul wrote about in Romans 16:17,18. Take the time to
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Table of Contents
Voices from the past...
THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH
B. C. Goodpasture (deceased)
Everything which God has made in creation and redemption
has a mission. Nothing walks with aimless feet in the economy of
God. The church is a divine institution it is of divine
origin. It, therefore, has a mission.
The building of the church was an expensive
undertaking. The Lord could create the heavens and the earth
without the shedding of a single drop of blood, but without
shedding of his own blood he could not establish the church.
Christ also loved the church and gave himself up for it
(Eph. 5:25). He purchased the church with his own blood (Acts
20:28). Even before his death, Jesus sacrificed for the church.
For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though
he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his
poverty might become rich (2 Cor. 8:9). He was rich in terms
of heavenly and eternal values, yet he became poor, emptied
himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness
of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself,
becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross
(Phil. 2:7,8). Surely Christ would not have made such sacrifices
for the church unless it was to have a mission in some measure
worthy of its cost. What, then, is the mission of the church?
The question can be answered both negatively and
positively. It is not the mission of the church to furnish
amusement for the world or even for its own members. Innocent
amusement in proper proportion has its place in the life of all
normal persons, but it is not the business of the church to furnish
it. The church would come off a poor second if it undertook to
compete with institutions established for the express purpose of
entertaining people. It would make itself ridiculous if it entered
into such competition. Again, it is not the responsibility of the
church as such to furnish recreation for its members. A certain
amount of recreation is necessary to the health and happiness of
the individual. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, it is
said, and rightly said; but it is not the function of the church to
furnish the play. The church was not established to feature
athletics. Rather it emphasizes the principle that bodily
exercise is profitable for a little; but godliness is profitable
for all things, having promise of the life which now is, and of
that which is to come (1 Tim. 4:8). Sometimes one would
conclude, from the emphasis given to recreation, that godliness is
profitable for a little, and that bodily exercise is profitable for
For the church to turn aside from its divine work to
furnish amusement and recreation is to pervert its mission. It is
to degrade its mission. Amusement and recreation should stem from
the home rather than the church. The church, like Nehemiah, has a
great work to do; and it should not come down on the plains of Ono
to amuse and entertain. As the church turns its attention to
amusement and recreation, it will be shorn of its power as Samson
was when his hair was cut. Only as the church becomes worldly, as
it pillows its head on the lap of Delilah, will it want to turn
from its wonted course to relatively unimportant matters. Imagine
Paul selecting and training a group of brethren to compete in the
Isthmian games! Of his work at Corinth, he said: For I
determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and
him crucified (1 Cor. 2:2). What then, is the work of the
On the day of Pentecost, the birthday of the church,
we find it preaching the gospel. It is reasonable to
expect the church, under the leadership of the apostles, to be
engaged in its divinely-assigned work. Christ, before his
ascension, had laid upon his disciples, his church, the grave and
momentous responsibility of preaching the Gospel to every creature
in every age of the world (Mark 16:15,16). During the lifetime of
the apostles, the church was busily engaged in preaching the Gospel
to the remote ends of the earth. In his first epistle to Timothy,
Paul said, These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto
thee shortly; but if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how men
ought to behave themselves in the house of God, which is the church
of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth
(3:14,15). The church is the pillar and ground of the
truth not truth in general, but rather truth in
particular. The church must support and preach the Gospel always as
a part of its divine mission.
Further, the church in Jerusalem continued
stedfastly in the apostles teaching. In addition to
preaching the Gospel to alien sinners, the church taught and built
up its own members that they might grow in the grace and
knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).
The Lord has made ample provisions for the edification of his
people, the church. He gave some to be apostles; and some,
prophets; and some, evangelists; and some pastors and teachers; for
the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering, unto
the building up of the body of Christ: till we all attain unto the
unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a
fullgrown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of
Christ: that we may be no longer children, tossed to and fro and
carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men,
in craftiness, after the wiles of error (Eph. 4:11-14). It is,
therefore, the work of the church to promote the growth and
development of its members.
Finally, the church in Jerusalem ministered to
the material needs of its worthy poor (Acts 4:32-37; 6:1-6).
The Gentile churches sent help to the brethren in Judea (Acts
11:29,30; Rom. 15:25,26). Paul said that he was always ready to
help those in need (Gal. 2:10). It is a part of the work of the
church to help those who are in need, but the church is under no
obligation to help those who will not help themselves. If any
will not work, said Paul, neither let him eat (2
If the church will discharge its duty in preaching
the gospel, in edifying its members, and in helping the worthy
poor, it will not have desire or time merely to amuse and
(Gospel Advocate, May 20, 1948)
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Roger A. Scully, Jr.
As children are born into our homes, we understand that
the process ahead is a long one which will take great patience and
understanding. We learn that certain things cannot be helped, such
as waking at all hours of the night for feeding and changing
diapers. We take special care in the formula we use, the
environment in which we place our little ones, and the things to
which they are exposed. As they grow, we are patient with them as
they learn to walk, begin to eat solid foods, and the most
difficult act of all, potty training.
We watch our children grow with joy, continually
loving them, helping them to correct their mistakes, making sure
they are growing properly, and being incredibly patient as they
learn the manners of life. Sometimes we cry, most times we laugh,
we often get excited, but through it all we know that life is not
easy and that the process of growth is a long one. Living the
Christian life, dear reader, is no different.
Jesus explains entering the family of God as being a
new birth in John 3:3-5. Christians are born of water and the
Spirit. Seeing as how water baptism is the only water connected
with the church and salvation, then we can easily determine that
the new birth about which Jesus speaks being of water, is baptism
for the remission of sins (cf. Rom. 6:3,4; Acts 2:38). Being born
of the Spirit speaks of complying with the Spirits revealed
terms. The Holy Spirit has revealed the Word to us (I Cor. 2:9-13;
Eph. 3:3,4). Jesus says we are born of the Spirit (John 3:5). Peter
writes that we are born again...by the word of God (I
Peter 1:23). Thus, it becomes clear that the Spirit, by means of
the word, begets Christians when they comply with the terms therein
revealed, being baptized into the family of God (Acts 2:41,47; I
When one is born again he is described as
being a babe in Christ (Heb. 5:13; I Peter 2:2). It is
now time to begin the growth process. A Christians growth is
guided by our heavenly Father through the pattern of His word (Heb.
8:5; II Tim. 3:16,17). Our Father, then, watches with patience as
we grow into adulthood, realizing the difficulties we face, and the
present need to be loved and chastened, For whom the Lord
loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he
receiveth (Heb. 12:6).
As we grow, we sometimes fall, for all have
sinned (Rom. 3:23; cf. I John 1:8), but we get up, wipe the
sinful dust from our body by repenting, and we continue to press
forward by walking in the light (I John 1:7,9). Sometimes
we make mistakes, sometimes we cause heartbreak, and other times we
simply act stubbornly, yet through it all we are not separated from
the love of God or from the love of our brothers and sisters (Rom.
8:35,39). Finally, after many struggles and discouragements, we
become of full age and are able to eat strong meat (Heb.
5:14). It is then that we look to our younger brothers
and sisters, those who are but babes, and with patience help them
grow, laughing with them, crying with them, and even becoming
aggravated with them. But we remember that we ourselves were once
but babes, in need of milk, and even now, as those who are full
grown, we still make mistakes and are in need of being chastised.
The next time you see your brethren falling short of
Gods glory, remember the weakness of their flesh, remember the
patience and love that has been expressed toward us, remember your
struggles through this burdensome life, and, above all, remember
that we are to help one another, not despise, reject, and shun one
another. Sure, there are times when the withdrawal of fellowship is
necessary (Eph. 5:11; II Thess. 3:6; I Cor. 5), but this is not
that about which I am writing. I am writing about our brothers and
sisters who are trying to be faithful with each step, yet are often
hindered by the bumps in the road. Remember, God
commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us...being now justified by his blood, we shall be
saved from wrath through him (Rom. 5:8,9).
917 Fig St.
Morgan City, LA 70380
Table of Contents
Thanks for a truthful paper ...Wilma Donaldson,
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which moved me immediately from a local liberal church. That
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NOBEL PRIZE WINNER SAYS MAN
IS DIVINE CREATION
Romans 1:20, For the invisible things of him from the
creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the
things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that
they are without excuse. When he was 17, medical student John
Eccles began asking questions about the nature of man, what is
thought, and what is the meaning of life? Fifty years later, after
he had become one of the worlds greatest experts on the human
brain, had become Sir John Eccles and had received the Nobel Prize,
he felt free enough to speak out about his studies. Sir John made
it perfectly clear that the purely materialistic and evolutionary
definition of man simply isnt supported by science. He pointed
out that his research has helped us describe in great detail what
happens in the brain, nerves, and muscles when you decide to move
your finger. But, he says, there is no material event that
describes how this complex sequence of actions gets started. Man,
he concludes, is more than tissue. Man has a non-material mind. He
thinks scientists who say that man can be fully explained by
materialistic principles are spreading a modern form of
superstition. He adds, Their beliefs are worn out, they lead
us nowhere. Materialism gives you a hopeless, empty life, one
without values. Sir John concluded, Each of us is a
unique, conscious being, a divine creation...it is the only view
consistent with all the evidence. At least to this last one
point we say a hearty, Amen! References: Jennifer Boeth. A
Scientific God. Dallas Times Herald, Feb. 3, 1983. pgs. 1 & 8
(Creation Moment email service).
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