THE BAR CHURCH
Victor M. Eskew
On Sunday, March 24th, the Bar Church will begin holding worship
services at 11:30am at the Memories Bar located at 541 China Street
in Abilene, Texas. The services will be brief consisting of prayer,
secular and spiritual music (including instruments), communion, and
a message from Gods Word. This work is supported by the
Southern Hills Church of Christ in Abilene. Ken Smith, a member of
Southern Hills, is the brain-child of this work. He is working
closely with Vann Conwell, the minister at Southern Hills, to bring
this to fruition.
Ken said that he got his idea for the Bar Church while he
was talking and praying with people over a drink. The articles that
report on this nontraditional church inform us that Ken
and Vann believe they are following the example of Jesus by
establishing the Bar Church. We felt like this is the sort of
thing that Jesus would be doing, hed be going to the places
where the people were who needed to hear about him
(www.houston.abclocal.com, Drink up: Texas church to Hold
Services in Bar). Another reason for choosing a bar as the
place for a worship service is because these men believe that many
people are interested in Jesus but are turned off by religion
or just the idea of walking into an institutional church.... At Bar
church, were interested in creating a place where any person
regardless of their background, accomplishments, failure, or
issues can experience friendship, acceptance, and the grace
that comes through Jesus (barchurchabilene.com).
It is very shocking to hear the words bar and
church used in the same name. The two concepts are
diametrically opposed to one another. A bar is a place where those
who are far from Jesus gather. These individuals come to the bar to
indulge their sinful desires. Smoking, gambling, cursing,
prostitution, and other sins are also associated with bars. The
church, on the other hand, is a place where individuals who love
Jesus supremely come together. They do not come together to fulfill
fleshly desires. Instead, they come together to praise the God of
heaven who washed them from their sins through the cleansing blood
of Jesus Christ. Yes, the name Bar Church is both
shocking and offensive.
It appears that those who are establishing the Bar Church
want to send a message to those whom might attend the services.
Part of that message is: We accept and love you. There is
another part of the message, however. Whether it is intentional or
not, the message is: You are free to continue in your sins
with no criticism from us. Those who support this work will go
to Memories Bar and shake hands and talk with those who come to the
worship services. At 12:00pm, the bar will officially open and
those who came for worship can order the drink of their choice.
Yes, they are accepted and they can continue in their sinful
We are told this is what Jesus did and would continue to do
today. Really? It is true that Jesus labored among those whose
lives were filled with sin. And it came to pass, as Jesus
sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came
and sat down with him and his disciples (Matt. 9:10).
Jesus, however, understood His purpose for being there. He went as
a Physician unto the sick (Matt. 9:12). Thus, He would in no way
encourage the continuation of sinful behavior. He would exhort
those who came to Him to repent of their sins. Matthew 4:17 reveals
that this was the precise message of the Christ. From that
time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of
heaven is at hand. When the woman who was taken in
adultery was left alone with Jesus, He did not say to her:
Lets go back to the brothel and talk about this.
Jesus commanded her, saying: go, and sin no more (John
If the Bar Church is a worthy concept, why not broaden the
concept to include other places where sinners can be reached? Many
young ladies go to abortion clinics to kill their unborn children.
Perhaps we need an Abortion Clinic Church to serve them. There are
multitudes of people who are addicted to crystal-meth. They
frequent the meth-houses in order to obtain their drugs. Maybe a
Meth-house Church is a good idea. Houses of prostitution also fill
our land. Maybe we could assemble a good crowd of ladies late on
Sunday afternoon at the Brothel Church. Gambling also has its fair
share of participants. A Casino Church could be started in a side
room of one of the casinos to serve these individuals.
Some may think we are being ridiculous, but, are we? The
individuals who frequent the above mentioned places of sin need to
be loved and accepted, dont they? Many of them are also
uncomfortable with religion and institutional churches, arent
they? If so, why not serve them where they are? Why are the
originators of the Bar Church free to open a church at a bar, but
those who want to serve other sinners are not free to establish
churches with similar intents?
Those who believe the Bar Church is a worthy idea really
need to go back to the Bible for further study. The New Testament
reveals that the church is composed of the called out
ones. Members of the church have been called out of the world
by the Gospel of Christ (2 Thess. 2:14). Places like a bar used to
be their sanctuary, but no more. They have been
translated into the kingdom of Gods dear Son (Col. 1:13). In
I Corinthians 6:9-11, the apostle Paul lists ten sins that filled
the streets of Corinth. He says that those who engage in such
practices will not inherit the kingdom of God. This used to be the
lifestyle of the members of the church in Corinth. They, however,
had changed upon their conversion. And such were some of
you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified
in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of God (1
Cor. 6:10). Can anyone imagine these individuals attempting to hold
their worship services at the temple of Athena on the Acropolis?
Would they dare call their precious gathering the Athena Church?
Dear readers, when one becomes part of the church, he is
part of the bride of Christ. Our Lord wants a chaste bride (2 Cor.
11:20). And, when Jesus returns in His glory, He will be seeking a
glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such
thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish
(Eph. 5:27). Knowing that holiness is a key concept of the church,
who would want to attach a bar to it?
In addition, those who are forming the Bar Church do not
understand the concept of the worship services. Worship services
are not an evangelistic tool. Worship is a time of edification for
the church (Acts 2:42). It is a time when the redeemed assemble to
praise God and provoke one another to love and good works (Heb.
10:24-25). It is a time when they receive instruction from the Word
of God (Acts 20:7). It is a time when they remember their
Saviors death on the cross of Calvary (1 Cor. 11:23-29).
Worship is for the church. It is not designed for those in the
Bars and churches just do not go hand-in-hand. The church is
the holy institution of the redeemed. A bar is nothing more than a
work of the flesh. As such, divine instructions regarding them are
clear. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of
darkness, but rather reprove them (Eph. 5:11).
13695 Covington Creek Dr.
Jacksonville, FL 32224
Table of Contents
Garland M. Robinson
Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my
There is never a time when the Bible is preached too much.
We can safely say, its all about the inspired Word of God. It
is the link we have with God in heaven above. That link does not
come about by feelings or sensations or emotions. These are all
subjective by their very nature. The Bible is the only
objective standard. No books written by men will ever rise
to the level of Gods Holy Word. It, and it alone, is the
absolute standard of right and wrong. Without it, we would not know
the nature of God (cf. John 4:24). We would not know the
will of God (cf. John 3:16-17; 1 John 5:3). We would not
know the love of God (cf. Rom. 5:8). We would not know how
to live in this world (cf. Matt. 4:4). We would not even
know what sin is if it were not for the Bible (cf. Rom. 7:7).
Romans 4:15 says, ...for where no law is, [there is] no
transgression. So, not enough good and right and true
things can be said about the Bible, the Word of God.
No wonder the author of Psalm 119 and especially verse 105
says the Word of God is a lamp unto my feet, and a light
unto my path. We stumble in darkness. We wander
to the right and to the left. We falter and stagger. We have to
grope and grapple and fumble around to find our way. Such is a way,
a path, that is unsure and full of danger. But, with a light, the
darkness is expelled. Gods word is that light!
Ephesians 2:1 says we are dead in trespasses and
sin. As a matter of fact, ...we are all as an
unclean [thing], and all our righteousnesses [are] as filthy rags;
and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind,
have taken us away (Isa. 64:6). For out of the
heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications,
thefts, false witness, blasphemies (Matt. 15:19).
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one ...
for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God
Without the Bible, we wander aimlessly in sin. Without the
light of Gods word, men walk in the vanity of their mind,
having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the
life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the
blindness of their heart (Eph. 4:17-18). For
[there is] not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth
not (Eccl. 7:20). All we like sheep have gone
astray; we have turned every one to his own way... (Isa.
53:6). So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those
things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants:
we have done that which was our duty to do (Luke 17:10).
Consider also Psalm 14:1-3 where it is said, The
fool hath said in his heart, [There is] no God. They are corrupt,
they have done abominable works, [there is] none that doeth good.
2The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see
if there were any that did understand, [and] seek God. 3They are
all gone aside, they are [all] together become filthy: [there is]
none that doeth good, no, not one.
But the Bible, Gods holy inspired word, is a marvelous
light that dispels all the blackness and darkness of ignorance. It
illuminates our path so that as long we follow its radiance, we
will not fail or be condemned. Its brilliance is magnificent
The Bible, Gods holy Word, is sweet to the taste
(Psa. 119:103). It is a lamp unto our feet and a
light unto our path (vs.105,130). It teaches us to
hate every false way (vs.104,128). It is upright (v.137),
pure (v.140), faithful (v.138), true (vs.142,
151) and everlasting (vs.144,160). Having been founded
forever from the beginning confirms the fact that it is
settled in heaven (vs.152,160,89).
We are to walk in the Word of God (Psa. 119:1,3,32).
Our steps are ordered (v.133) and guided by it (vs.5,
35,59). Therefore, we are to seek it (v.45), long for
it (vs.20,40,94,131), respect it (v.117), lay it up
in our heart (vs.11,30), rejoice in it (vs.14,111,162),
meditate on it (vs.15,23,48,78,97,99,148), delight in
it (vs.16,24,47,70,77,92,143,174), trust it (v.42),
love it (vs.47,48,97,113,119,127,140,159,163,167) and
keep it (v.2,4,8,17,22,31,33,34,43,44,55,56,57,60,63,67,69,
We are to be taught by it (vs.66,68,102,108,124),
learn from it (vs.7,12,71,73), heed it (v.9) and
declare it (vs.13,46,172).
It cleanses our way (v.9), strengthens us
(v.28), makes us wise (v.98), helps us (v.175),
delivers us (v.170) and makes us alive (vs.25,37,50,
We must not ashamed of it (vs.6,46), but instead
take comfort in it (vs.50,52,76). We must not be
afraid of it (v.120), but trust it (v.42) and
hope in it (v.43,49,74,81,114,147).
We must not forget it (vs.83,93,109,141,153,176) nor
wander or depart from it (vs.10,51,61,87,102,110,
It causes us to have peace (v.165) and thereby
praise God (vs.164,171,175).
We know it is right (v.75), therefore we must be
sound in it (v.80), stand in awe of it (v.161),
because by it we receive understanding (vs.99,100,104,130,
169). It is our song (v.54)! And, he who keeps Gods
word is blessed (v.1,2).
No wonder the apostle Paul said, ...I am not ashamed
of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto
salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also
to the Greek (Rom. 1:16).
We are not guided by a direct operation of the Holy Spirit
as so many suppose and teach. We do not receive the knowledge of
God and the way we should live by dreams, visions, nudges or
premonitions. We are led by the inspired writings of the apostles
and prophets (holy men of God, 2 Peter 1:20-21). Thats why
such emphasis is placed upon the word of God in the Bible. It is an
objective standard to which everyone can appeal. It is absolute and
God always communicates his will, in and by and through
WORDS the holy Scriptures. Thats why Philip was sent to
the man from Ethiopia (Acts 8), Peter was sent to Cornelius (Acts
10), Paul was sent on his missionary travels, and why the Great
Commission was given by the order of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matt.
28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16). The Holy Spirit caused Paul to write,
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the
excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us (2
For the WORD of God [is] quick, and powerful, and
sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing
asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is]
a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Heb.
Will you obey it? Believe (John 8:24), repent (Acts 2:38),
confess Christ (Acts 8:37) and be baptized for the forgiveness of
your sins (Acts 22:16). Live faithful all your life (1 Cor. 15:58)
and you will have a home in heaven.
Table of Contents
QUESTIONS ABOUT THE
ENGLISH STANDARD VERSION #3
Robert R. Taylor, Jr.
Here are four renderings of Romans 10:10. For with
the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth
confession is made unto salvation. (F)or with the heart
man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is
made unto salvation. For it is with your heart that you
believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you
confess and are saved. For with the heart one believes
and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is
The first two are alike and teach truth. Neither one teaches
justification at the point of belief or salvation at the point of
confession. Belief and confession are unto or traveling
toward a desired attainment.
The last two are very similar, each teaching that
justification is reached at belief and salvation is attained at
The first two are the KJV and the ASV. The last two are the
NIV and the ESV. Now, which two teach truth and which two teach
error? Saving truth is with the first two. Damnable error is with
the last two. To be in company with the NIV is not commendable at
all for the ESV people and patrons.
The ESV has one justified at faith, saved at the point of
confession and yet in Romans 6:3 and Galatians 3:27 has people
baptized into Christ! Just when is a person justified or saved? At
belief, at confession or when hearing, faith, repentance,
confession and baptism have all occurred? According to the ESV, one
is justified at belief. But it has people saved at confession and
an entrance into Christ is at baptism. If one is justified at
faith, then he would have to become unsaved prior to the confession
in order to be saved at confession. But again, he would have to
become unsaved subsequent to the confession and prior to baptism in
order to be baptized into Christ. And, this is a good translation
that we should begin to use? Not for me it is not!
Why in Romans 12:1 do we have spiritual
worship in the ESV text and rational service in a
footnote? The KJV has reasonable service and the ASV has
spiritual service. The NIV has spiritual worship. The
Living Oracles of the 1800s has reasonable service.
Were I an advocate that all of life is worship, I
would be happy and elated with both the NIV and ESV on Romans 12:1.
I would look no further for sustaining proof.
Service is much broader than worship. I
remember some years back when several of us at Sharon, Tennessee,
helped a fellow member, who was seriously sick, pick his cotton
crop. This was before mechanical cotton pickers. We were rendering
him a service. But filling a cotton sack, weighing it and emptying
it into a wagon did not constitute worship such as singing,
preaching, prayer, Lords Supper and the contribution.
The ESV and the NIV are in the same translational bed on
Romans 12:1. Neither one did credit to a great passage of
The ESV misses the truth in 1 Corinthians 7:36-38 as
much as the RSV did in 1946 and the NIV did in the late 1970s. All
three of these speak of an engaged couple or the man toward his
betrothed. The KJV and the ASV treat the passage correctly as a man
toward his virgin daughter not his betrothed or the one to
whom he is engaged. The ESV has, If anyone thinks that he
is not behaving properly toward his betrothed, if his passions are
strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry
it is no sin. But whoever is firmly established in his heart
being under no necessity but having his desire under control, and
has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he
will do well. The NIV also depicts here an engaged couple
with the man engaged and not to a father-daughter situation where
the father senses it better to keep his virgin daughter and not
give her in marriage.
The ASV upholds the view that we have here a father-daughter
situation, not a betrothed or engaged couple. The KJV is less clear
than the ASV but is of the same view, a father toward his virgin
daughter. This is seen in that the father does not give his
daughter in marriage. In the first century it was the father who
gave his virgin daughter for marriage, not the engaged man. The
engaged man is the receiver, not the giver. The KJV does not
pervert this passage as some have contended. The RSV and the ESV
did pervert the passage. Translators of the RSV and ESV acted as
commentators on this passage, not translators.
Williams Translation has the father and his
virgin or single daughter in mind. The father does the deciding,
not the suitor.
The ASV has virgin daughter with daughter in italics. This
means daughter has been supplied. Brother Roy Deaver, a Greek
scholar in every sense of that term, deals with these verses in the
fourth annual Fort Worth Lectures in 1981. Brother Deaver sustains
his argument for father and his virgin daughter on gamidzo
in verse 38. He quotes Thayer as saying, ...to give a daughter
in marriage citing 1 Corinthians 7:38 as an example. He quotes
Williams on this word (page 372 of his translation) saying this
word is the key in understanding verses 36-38. He quotes
Robinsons Lexicon saying this word means to give in
marriage...e.g. ones daughter in 1 Corinthians 7:38.
Strongs Concordance on page 193 has father or guardian and his
daughter in mind. He says the idea of a couple living in some sort
of relationship is untenable. The father, not the suitor, makes the
decision touching whether he will give his virgin daughter in
marriage or keep her single. The distress of the time, in verse 26,
plays a vital part in the fathers decision.
The late and lamented Guy N. Woods had no superior, and
scarcely an equal, in Greek-English scholarship during the
twentieth century. In his famed Questions And Answers Open
Forum of 1976, on pages 88-89, brother Woods deals with this
very passage. Here are his seasoned and deeply scholarly remarks on
1 Corinthians 7:36-38. First he quoted these verses from the ASV
This passage thus translated, readily yields itself
to analysis, and the meaning is obvious. Under
consideration is a father and his unmarried daughter.
The daughter has reached and has passed the age when
girls ordinarily marry. If the daughter is to marry at
all, it is time that consent by the father be given and
the usual arrangements be made. This procedure is
entirely in order and violates no rule of revelation.
However, if the father (who in that day arranged for the
marriage of his children) chose to keep his daughter
single and at hone, in view of the trials soon to come,
was now (not) subject to criticism inasmuch as such a
course would likely work out to the advantage of the
daughter. Either course was proper, perhaps the better
one, because of impending persecution and trial, would
be for the daughter to remain unmarried. If the American
Standard Translation is correct, (and it is-RRT) the
foregoing is obviously the meaning of the passage.
McGarvey (ripest Bible scholar of his age in the late 1800s and
early 1900s) and Pendleton comment on this passage as follows,
Marriages in the East were then, as now, arranged by the
parents. If a parent saw fit to marry his daughter he had a perfect
right to do so, and was guilty of no sin, but if he heeded the
apostles warning as to the coming trials and kept his daughter
free from alliance, he acted more wisely (The Standard
Bible Commentary: Thessalonians, Corinthians, Galatians and
The RSV and the ESV are strikingly alike on 1 Corinthians
7:36-38. Brother Woods strongly objected to the RSV on this passage
and would do so today toward the ESV were he still alive. The ESV
takes the ridiculous position that the suitor here, not the father,
controls the woman the rest of her life. He could decide on
celibacy the rest of his life and consign her, by his arbitrary
will, to spinsterhood the rest of her life! Such ineptitude is
inexcusable on the part of the ESV translators. Are its defenders
among us ready to accept such a reckless and totally irresponsible
rendering? If so, they need more help on translational matters!!
Why is will worship in Colossians 2:23 of
the ESV changed to self-made religion? Our older
translations, like the KJV, The Living Oracles and the ASV, have
stayed with will-worship. It is worship based on the human will and
not the divine will. The NKJV opted for self-imposed
religion and did itself no real credit in so doing. Why such
a yen for change? The new Bibles overflow with such!
In Hebrews 2:11 why have the sanctifier (the Christ)
and the sanctified (Christians) as all having one origin
instead of all of one? The NIV did better here than the
ESV. It did not opt for origin. Neither did The Living Oracles, the
KJV, the ASV and the NKJV. Here the ESV is in the same
translational bed as the RSV on the origin rendering.
Again I ask, Why the change from a rendering that has given us
no trouble through the years?
In Hebrews 10:9 the ESV has Christ abolishing the
first covenant when in Matthew 5:17 they have Christ to say He will
not abolish the Law or the Prophets. Do not such
contradictions in their translational product bother in the least
these makers of modern Bibles? Apparently not!
In Revelation 1:4, 3:1 and 4:5 why did the ESV
leave spirits in small caps when it is very evident the
fulness and perfection of the Holy Spirit is set forth with the
perfect numeral of seven? The KJV and ASV have Spirits,
not spirits. The ESV has Spirit in upper caps
in Revelation 1:10 and 22:17. Why not the same in Revelation 1:4;
3:1 and 4:5?
While you have read this review, perhaps you have thought,
Why all this ado over words here and there? Are the
objections really that valid and weighty? The Bible is a
word revelation and each one is important. Jesus thought so.
In Matthew 5:18, He spoke of the jot and tittle.
Jot or jod was the smallest letter in the
Hebrew alphabet. See what it looks like right before the tenth
section of Psalm 119. The tittle was a little bend or
point to distinguish Hebrew letters. It might be illustrated with
the small c and small e. Note how small the
little marking is. Jesus based an argument with skeptical Sadducees
in Matthew on is and was. God
is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob not
was. These three still lived in the spirit world.
In Galatians 3:16 Paul based an argument upon seed
(singular) as opposed to seeds (plural). Here, one
letter is of vast value.
I will not be vacating the KJV or ASV for the ESV. There is
nothing I need to know, believe, obey, preach and defend to please
God that I cannot find in my beloved KJV and the time tested ASV.
Thanks for pondering these series of articles. Many, many hours
have gone into the research for these articles and the writing of
3rd of 3
PO Box 464
Ripley, TN 38063
Table of Contents
THE GREATEST CRIME|
In the minute it takes you to read this, 2.3 infants will be
murdered in America. In the next 24 hours, 137; in the next 24hrs,
3,290; the next year, over 1.2 million. They will be hunted down
and mercilessly tortured in the most gruesome and inhumane ways,
ripping them limb from limb, cutting and slicing without the
slightest impulse of conscience. Standing ready to assist in this
massacre are doctors, nurses, clinics, politicians, judges,
lawyers, mothers, and the list goes on and on. Since 1973, over 55
million unborn infants have been sacrificed on the altar of
selfishness and greed. Where will it all stop!? What a perversion
of righteous behavior! God hates those who shed innocent blood
(Prov. 6:17). Thomas Jefferson once wrote, The care of human
life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and
only legitimate object of good government. Brethren, work and
pray that such will stop. Remember, we all will stand before God
Table of Contents
PRAYER IN PUBLIC WORSHIP
In has been accurately observed that the reading of the Bible
is Gods communication to man and prayer is mans
communication to God. Righteous people have always been people who
pray. In the Old Testament, faithful Abraham and courageous Daniel
were prayerful men (Gen. 20:17; Dan. 6:10). Both the devoted David
and the meek Moses were men who prayed to God (Psa. 51; Num. 11:2).
In the Gospel records of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, many
passages note the prayerful life of Jesus. In turn, Jesus taught
His disciples to pray (Matt. 6:9-13) and the early Christians
practiced prayer in the first century. The apostle Paul believed
and taught prayer also. The New Testament instructs Christians to
pray for laborers (Matt. 9:38), enemies (Matt. 5:44) and all men (1
WHAT IS PRAYER?
Prayer is a blessed privilege of Christians. No problem is too
great or too small to take to the Lord in prayer. Prayer is also an
important aspect in worshipping God. It is not merely a mechanical
part of worship. It involves: 1) the heavenly Father to whom
prayers are addressed; 2) the Son who mediates (1 Tim. 2:5); 3) the
Holy Spirit who intercedes (Rom. 8:26); and 4) Gods children
who are the petitioners. Prayer is more than just talking to God.
Prayer is not a substitute for speech making. It is the
sincere desire of the heart expressed in words unto God (Rom.
10:1). Prayer involves more than an attitude, it includes
expressing matters unto God.
From a positive standpoint, prayer consists of praise
(Matt. 6:9), thanksgiving (Eph. 5:20), confession of
sins (1 John 1:9), petitions, supplications and
intercessions (1 Tim. 2:1-3). From a negative standpoint,
prayer is not a substitute for obeying the commandments of the Lord
(Matt. 7:21). Someone has well said: Work as though everything
depends on you and pray as though everything depends on God.
Prayer is the recognition of mans dependence upon God.
Change of location does not change mans need for prayer.
Whether one is in the security of his home, confronting a crisis or
in the church building, the need to pray remains the same. Paul
exhorted that one should pray without ceasing (1 Thess.
5:17). One cannot pray too much or too often. Gods people
should always possess a prayerful attitude. Prayer should be a
spiritual habit. The Psalmist wrote, ...evening, and
morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear
my voice (Psalm 55:17).
When Gods children assemble together to worship in
spirit and in truth (John 4:24), there is always the occasion
and need to pray. Every person has a need to pray and an interest
in the prayers. The sick, chronically ill, the lost, the faithful,
the weary and the strong need the power of prayer. God will
strengthen his people in temptation (Matt. 6:13; 26:41), grant them
wisdom (James 1:5-7), forgive their sins (Matt. 6:11; James 1:17)
and give peace (1 Tim. 2:1-2). Only the ignorant or arrogant
express no interest in prayer unto God.
The command to pray is given by God, but the specific time to
pray is left to man. It is customary to open and close worship
services in prayer. Though some may consider this to be a tradition
and ridicule it merely because it has been practiced for years, it
continues to be practiced because it makes good sense. Just as a
person begins and ends his day by praying to the heavenly Father,
worship services are begun and ended by addressing God in prayer.
WHO SHOULD PRAY?
Worship services generate particular needs. News is learned
about the condition of the sick and elderly; therefore, there is a
need to pray for them (James 5:13-16). The Gospel preacher who
addresses the assembly with a Bible subject needs and wants the
prayers of his brethren (2 Thess. 3:1-2). Present in the assembly
are men and women who need to render obedience to the Lord as well
as wayward and weak members who need to return to their first love.
They need the prayers of the saints on their behalf. Various
programs of work in Gods kingdom are usually planned,
discussed and executed at worship services. God should be
petitioned on behalf of every good work (Matt. 9:38).
Everyone! Every man, woman and child should participate in
prayer. Who should lead public prayers? Women cannot lead prayer in
the presence of men. Paul instructed that women are not to
undermine nor usurp the authority of men. But I suffer not
a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in
silence (1 Tim. 2:12). However, this does not mean that
women have no part in public prayer. They are willing and voluntary
participants in that they acknowledge and express their sentiments
to God in their hearts as do all others who are being led in
HOW LOUD SHOULD WE PRAY?
As a suggestion to all men who lead in public prayer, please be
sure that you can be heard. All worshippers participate together in
their worship unto God. Prayer does little good if the person who
leads the congregation in prayer cannot be heard. While it is true
that God hears, and the person leading the prayer knows what
thoughts are being expressed, what about the rest of the church?
Paul wrote, What is it then? I will pray with the spirit,
and I will pray with the understanding also (1 Cor.
14:15). It is distracting and a hindrance to prayer when many are
trying to make out the words being spoken. Their efforts are often
in vain because they cannot hear. Imagine trying to listen to a
sermon when some in the audience are unable to hear the speaker.
All participants in acceptable worship must be able to hear and
Though many other things could be said about prayer, these
are sufficient to emphasize its importance in the lives of
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PETER WAS NOT THE FIRST POPE!
The oldest church in the world is NOT the
Catholic Church or any other denomination!
The oldest church in the world is the
church of Christ (Rom. 16:16)!
If asked to name the oldest church in the world, many would
instantly reply, The Catholic Church. Three possible
reasons for this response are: 1) lack of diligently searching the
scriptures, 2) constant bombardment of Catholicism by mass-media
and 3) they are members of the Catholic Church. Another factor that
enters into this equation is a lack of militancy in exposing the
dangers of Catholicism.
Since the late 1960s and early 1970s, very little has been
written exposing the fallacies of Catholicism. Unfortunately, the
prevailing attitude of many members of the church is to ignore, not
expose, any and all false doctrines. This has resulted in a weak,
compromising mind-set throughout the Lords church. Brethren
need to be reminded we are to stand against the wiles of
the devil (Eph. 6:11) [and to] earnestly contend
for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints
Toleration of error weakens the body of Christ. Weak
brethren soon, if not careful, compromise truth, adjust and
eventually accept that which they once opposed!
It might be very surprising for many to learn that the
oldest church in the world is NOT the Catholic Church or any other
denomination! The oldest church in the world is the church of
Christ (Rom. 16:16)! This is the one and only church Jesus
said He would build (Matt. 16:18), and was established on the first
Pentecost following His resurrection (Acts 2:47)!
The heart and core of Catholicism is the supposed primacy of
Peter. According to Catholicism, Peter is considered superior to
the other apostles and the first Pope. Note the following quote:
The Catholic Church teaches also, that our Lord
conferred on St. Peter the first place of honor and
jurisdiction in the government of His whole church, and
that the same spiritual supremacy has always resided in
the Popes, or Bishops of Rome, as being the successors
of St. Peter. Consequently, to be true followers of
Christ, all Christians, both among the clergy and the
laity, must be in communion with the See of Rome, where
Peter rules in the person of his successor.
(Faith of Our Fathers, James Cardinal Gibbons,
one hundred and tenth edition, p.78).
Catholics insist that Peter was the rock/foundation of the
church. Their so-called proof is Matthew 16:18, And I
say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build
my church: and the gates of hell shall not prevail against
it. A close examination of this verse destroys the false
doctrine that Peter was the rock upon which Christ
promised to build His church. The word translated rock is
petra which means a huge massive rock. Whereas the word
Peter is petros which means a small stone or
pebble. Thus, our Lord was telling Peter: Thou art petros (a
small pebble) and upon this petra (massive rock) I will
build my church. That upon which Christ built His church was His
divinity, the truth of the confession made by Peter: Thou
are the Christ the Son of the living God (Matt. 16:16).
Catholic scholars often state Peters supremacy is
verified in the first twelve chapters of Acts where his name occurs
fifty-three times. The absurdity of this argument is quickly seen
in the last sixteen chapters of Acts where Pauls name is
mentioned approximately 130 times and Peters name is referred
to only twice. Does this mean Peter relinquished his supremacy to
Paul? Peter was even rebuked by Paul in Galatians 2:11. But
when Peter was come to Corinth, I withstood him to the face,
because he was to be blamed.
The fact is, Peter was just one of the apostles. Simply
because his name heads various lists and events does not make Peter
superior to the other apostles. Furthermore, one can search in vain
and never find one instance where Peter was called Pope! As pointed
out by brother Ben Vick, If Peter were the first Pope, why did
he refuse to let Cornelius worship him? (Acts 10:25-26). However,
the Pope today does not prohibit individuals from bowing to him.
Evidently, Paul did not know Peter was the first Pope, because he
rebuked Peter before all because he was to be blamed (Gal.
2:11-14). (The Informer, Is The Catholic Church The
True Church of Christ? Ben F. Vick, July 15, 2007).
Furthermore, the Pope is not holy, nor is he my father! The
Lord said, And call no man your father upon the earth: for
one is your Father, which is in heaven (Matt. 23:9). There
is no doubt that the one Paul has reference to when he wrote,
Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called
God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple
of God, shewing himself that he is God (2 Thess. 2:4) is
The Catholic doctrine of Peter being the first Pope is
without biblical support! Christ and Christ alone is the only head
of the church (Eph. 1:22-23)! He alone stands between God and man
(1 Tim. 2:5)!
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Well be most appreciative if you will print the following
advertisement in your next issue of S.T.O.P.: Weaver church of
Christ, a small congregation (60-65 membership), is searching for
a preacher who is seasoned and sound in doctrine to come and work
with the Lords church here. Were located in East Central
Alabama between Anniston and Jacksonville. Please email with
references to firstname.lastname@example.org ...Weaver Church of Christ,
Weaver, AL. Youre are a bright light to all who want
to see. We appreciate the TRUTH that is being taught through this
publication. We eagerly await its arrival each month and read it
from cover to cover. May God our Father continue to bless you in
all your efforts for the kingdom. With much thanks and a common
love for Christ, thank you ...Micheal & Cheryl Cook,
Adrian, MI. In todays society, you may hear how many
different choices you have to choose from. But is that truly
correct? In actuality, according to the Bible, we only have two
choices to be concerned with. In Matthew 3:12 we read, His
winnowing fan is in his hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His
threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will
burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. Here, John the
Baptist tells us we will be either wheat or chaff, which represents
the saved and the lost. The choice is ours. To be the wheat, we
have heard the Word and have obeyed. To be the chaff, we have heard
and disobeying, and we are given the consequences of disobedience.
Romans 6:23, Paul tells us, For the wages of sin
[disobedience] is death. That is, separation from God FOREVER.
Lord, help us to know your word and obey, and thus hear from you,
well done ...Del Brantley, Salem, KY.
Keep up the great works. Have a great year! Thanks
...Name withheld by request, TX. I have received your
publication for some time now and always look forward to getting
it. We need more men like you who are not afraid to speak the
truth. Our preacher is one of those and he truly stands firm in the
Bible. Unfortunately, too many are looking for an easy going, good
feeling church and not necessarily a true-to-the-Bible church.
Please keep up your good and godly work. May we all make it through
this life to a better life with our Savior in eternity
...Charlotte Rauchle, Bartlett, TN. Greetings from the
church that meets in Allenhurst, GA! Thank you so much for the work
you are doing in publishing STOP. It is certainly a blessing to
have your sound publication that all can read and find Bible truth.
We have been receiving your publication for some years. We request
that you continue to send us a bundle each month. Please accept the
enclosed check and use it in whatever way you deem best for the
publishing and distribution of this good work. May God continue to
bless you in this noble effort ...Bob Miller for the
church, Allenhurst, GA. Would you please put me back on
your mailing list? I enjoy your paper so much and love the truth
you print. I miss your articles tremendously. Enclosed is a check
for a small amount to help with the cost. Thank you so very
much ...Gail Nelson, Montrose, WV. Thank you for
having the courage to say what needs to be said. The December 2012
issue said it plainly what led up to the slaughter of 1st graders.
God and his workers have been or are in the process of being cast
out of public schools. Bibles are not allowed to be distributed in
any form or to be read from. Some seem to be ashamed of God and
Jesus in this world. Sadly, some are in leadership positions. All
of this is left off in soft preaching. Jesus did no
politically correct/soft preaching in any of the four
Gospel accounts. He spoke vividly of hell and heaven. We enjoy each
issue of STOP ...Jack & Marilyn Langford, Sparta, TN.
Thank you ...McMinnville, TN. Thank you for
helping me in growing while seeking the old ways of truth
...Jeffery Wyatt, Chattanooga, TN. Dear elders of the
Leoni Church of Christ, my family enjoys every issue of Seek
The Old Paths. We are sending a small donation and would
like two people added to your list. The December 2012 issue is such
an eye opener for all of us! Satan is working overtime. Thank you
so very much ...Shady Valley, TN. Great issue
(Dec. 2012). Jim Blankenship and your article, both outstanding.
God bless you in your work at Leoni and Seek The Old
Paths. God bless you! ...Larry Acuff, Lithia
Springs, GA. Estelle Chaffin has passed away
...Baxter, TN. Ive just been reading the January
(2013) issue of STOP. I want to commend your pertinent and
insightful editorial, Evil Condemned. Im in 100%
agreement. This editorial should have come out before the election.
Maybe it would have prevented some of our brethren from voting for
Barack Obama since he is a pusher of the gay marriage, homosexual
agenda and a supporter of murdering babies in their mothers
wombs. Brethren who vote for candidates of either party who support
such ungodly things need to repent for they have bidden godspeed to
those who practice these evils. I also want to commend the
excellent front page article entitled Progressivism Is Not
Progress. Can you tell me who the author is? His address is
given as Benton Harbor, Michigan but his name cannot be found.
Im assuming the author is Rusty Stark who preaches in Benton
Harbor, but I would like to be sure before I quote from the
article. I appreciate the two bundles you send each month to
Gatlinburg. We put them out at our two main entrances but few pick
them up. Brethren just dont read any more. One of your elders
from Leoni led singing for us a couple of weeks ago. He did a great
job. God bless you and your family in His work ...Rod
Rutherford, Gatlinburg, TN. [NOTE: Rusty Stark is the author of
that article. I apologize for the ommission.]
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Bound Volumes (with a complete index) for the years
1995-2002 can be ordered from:
Old Paths Publishing
2007 Francis Ferry Rd.
McMinnville, TN 37110
$5 postage paid
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