THE BIBLE OUR RULE BOOK
Barry M. Grider
In order to succeed in life, one must be willing to play by
the rules. This is a well observed principle in almost every area,
from business to baseball. However, the masses reject the idea of
playing by the rules when such pertains to
religion. In fact, in modern day Christendom,
the spirit of antinomianism (no law or rules) reigns supreme. Yet
the Bible is clear. The Ten Commandments were not just suggestions
for the children of Israel. Likewise, the Gospel is not just good
advice for those living today. Yes, the Bible is a guide, but more
than a guide. Man does not have the option of rejecting the Bible
and still be pleasing to God.
A RULE BOOK IMPLIES LAW
Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible and contains
176 verses. This chapter is a remarkable tribute to the Bible
itself. Likewise, it teaches strict adherence to divine precepts:
Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.
O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! Then shall I not
be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments
Furthermore, Paul stated, And if a man also
strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive
lawfully (2 Tim. 2:5). The Apostle makes clear, if one
is to compete he must do so by adhering to the rules. Can it really
be said that the Bible, especially the New Testament, is a book of
rules and regulations? Are we not now under grace? Did Christ not
bring about the end of law (Rom. 10:4)?
Grace is God's unmerited favor extended to all mankind
through His Son Jesus Christ (Titus 2:11). However, God's grace
does not nullify our obedience (Rom. 6:1-2). In fact, for a man to
appropriate the grace of God he must be obedient (Eph. 2:8-10).
God's grace teaches (Titus 6:12) through a system called the Gospel
(Rom. 1:16). Sometimes the word grace is used synonymously with the
Gospel. Furthermore, Romans 10:4 does not teach the end of law,
but, rather, that Christ was the aim or purpose of the law of
Moses. If one is to follow a set of rules, this means a standard
has been set. The word rule appears several times in the New
Testament originating from the Greek word kanon. Rule
denotes a standard, boundary, or a line drawn. And as
many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy,
and upon the Israel of God (Gal. 6:16).
Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by
the same rule, let us mind the same thing (Phil. 3:16).
A rebellious generation claims there is no law. Sin is the
transgression of God's law (1 John 3:4). Therefore, those who
engage in sin are guilty of lawlessness. The same is true for those
in the church today who seek to change God's immutable standard.
A RULE BOOK IMPLIES COMMANDMENTS
It was prophesied concerning the Messiah, The
scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between
his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of
the people be (Gen. 49:10).
Moses was a lawgiver and spoke of another who would come
who was similar to himself. The Lord thy God will raise
up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren,
like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken (Deut 18:15). In
every dispensation of man, God has given His divine law. Today,
living during the Christian dispensation, man is under the law of
Christ. Those who reject the notion of law under Christ need to
read the New Testament again. Paul said, Bear ye one
another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ (Gal.
6:2). James speaks of the law of Christ in the following passage,
But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and
continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of
the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed (James
Keep in mind that law is a rule of action. Christians are
to remain within the confines of the law of Christ. Furthermore,
one cannot have liberty without law. Law offers needed restraint,
else chaos and anarchy occur. One who refuses to heed the law of
Christ and one who is not restrained by the law of Christ will then
be in bondage to sin.
How important is the law of Christ? Remember Jesus shed
his blood for our sins (Matt. 26:28). Likewise, he died for the
church (Acts 20:28). In addition to this, Jesus went to the cross
to provide a new and better covenant. This covenant is parallel
with His law. And for this cause he is the mediator of
the New Testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of
the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which
are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For
where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of
the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead:
otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator
liveth (Heb. 9:15-17).
The law of Christ is important because it was established
through His precious blood! Therefore, one cannot take lightly what
the New Testament teaches concerning the plan of salvation, the
church, acceptable worship, faithful Christian living, etc. If a
person respects the blood of Christ he will respect the law of
Christ. Considering the New Testament is the law of Christ, it is,
hence, the Lord's rule book.
If the Bible is a rule book, and it is, thus, the rules are
equivalent to the commands of God. The idea that one must keep the
commands of God to be saved is repulsive to the liberal mindset.
Most liberals would rather be ruled by their subjective feelings,
not the Bible. Yet God demands obedience. And the Lord
God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou
mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and
evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day thou eatest thereof
thou shalt surely die (Gen 2:16-17).
THE BIBLE MEETS MY NEEDS
This statement, made by God, was His law, His commandment,
His rule. It is through the keeping of God's commandments one is
made righteous (Psalm 119:172). Still, some suggest that one cannot
know God by keeping His commandments. In reality, it is the
only way we can truly know God. It is true that some do not
worship and serve God with the heart, mind, and emotions. This is
obviously wrong. Isaiah records the words of Jehovah.
Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto
me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot
away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons
and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto
me; I am weary to bear them (Isa. 1:13-15).
The problem among God's people was their refusal to
worship God from the heart. Their worship, therefore, was
legalistic and ritualistic. It did not come from a heart of love.
Jesus excoriated the Pharisee by saying, Woe unto you
scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for ye pay tithe of mint and
anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the
law, judgement, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and
not to leave the other undone (Matt. 23:23). So even
though God does not desire worship and service that does not come
from the heart of man, obedience to His will is an absolute
necessity. Remember, Samuel informed King Saul, behold to
obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of
rams (1 Sam. 15:22).
How does one demonstrate his love for the Savior? Jesus
said to His disciples, If ye love me, keep my
commandments (John 14:15). Ye are my friends,
if ye do whatsoever I command you (John 15:14).
And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his
commandments (1 John 2:3; 5:2-3).
Furthermore, commandment keeping leads to life eternal.
Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may
have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates
into the city (Rev. 22:14). God's commands are His rules
and these commands must be carefully followed if one is pleasing to
the Heavenly Father.
While many religious people are searching for something
separate and in addition to the Word of God, the Bible is
sufficient to take care of every spiritual need. Peter wrote,
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things
that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him
that hath called us to glory and virtue (2 Peter 1:3).
Paul's classic statement on inspiration reads as follows,
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is
profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for
instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect,
throughly furnish unto all good works (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
The Bible is profitable for doctrine, which tells us what is right.
The Bible is profitable for reproof, which tells us what is wrong.
The Bible is profitable for correction, which tells us how to get
right again. The Bible is sufficient for instruction in
righteousness, which tells us how to stay right. What more do we
need to help us regarding spiritual matters?
The Bible is sufficient to convert the soul and to keep
one from sinning. David wrote, Wherewithal shall a young
man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy
word (Psalm 119:9). Thy word have I hid in
mine heart, that I might not sin against thee (Psalm
Just as the Word of God is sufficient to meet our needs
in this life, likewise, the Bible will sustain us on the Day of Judgment. Some books will be opened on that day. The Lamb's book
of life will be opened (Rev. 20:15). The book that each one of us
are writing which records the deeds of our lives will be opened (2
Cor. 5:10). Also, the Word of God shall be opened. Jesus said,
He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one
that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge
him the last day (John 12:48). Implied in this statement
is the fact some will receive His Word and therefore be saved.
James admonishes, receive with meekness the engrafted
word, which is able to save your souls (James 1:21). The
victory is ours through our obedience to the Word. Therefore, those
who heed our Lord's sayings are likened unto wise men (Matt.
Just as parents are disappointed when their children disobey,
so God is displeased by our rebellion to his prescribed will. Why
is this so? Both our earthly parents and our Heavenly Father
recognize the consequences that must be suffered by the
disobedient. Keep in mind that every time God says Thou
shalt, He is saying help yourself to happiness. When He says,
Thou shalt not, He is saying such is not for our good.
The Word of God is our guide book and rule book. Never
neglect studying it and always seek to apply it. Yours and my
soul's salvation depends on what we do with this precious product
The Forest Hill News
3950 Forest Hill-Irene Rd.
Memphis, TN 38125
Table of Contents
WILL GOD CHANGE HIS MIND CONCERNING MAN'S SALVATION?
James E. Farley
More and more we are hearing some members of the churches of
Christ say that it is possible that God could and
might save some who have not been baptized.
At a lectureship I attended, there was the typical
question and answer session. One rose from the assembly and asked,
What if a person really came to believe in Jesus, and what if
this person did indeed turn from their former life in true
repentance, and what if they were on their way to the water to be
baptized, and died in a car wreck, would God save that person?
The one who rose from the podium to answer the question
is a teacher at one of the universities associated with the
churches of Christ. He came to the microphone and said, I'll
tell you what, I'm just glad that I'm not the judge in such cases.
God will judge that one, and to tell you the truth, I just don't
know whether that person will be saved or not.
I was amazed! However, we are hearing such seemingly
humble platitudes more and more these days. The fact is, I'm glad
I'm not the judge in that matter too. The fact is, God will indeed
judge that person. But to humbly tell you the whole truth (John
8:31-32), GOD HAS ALREADY JUDGED IN THIS MATTER, AND IT IS REVEALED
FOR US IN THE WORD OF GOD!
How is it that we come to know about God? Well, we can
know there is a Creator because there is a creation. Design demands
a Designer. (Compare Psalm 19:1; Psalm 14:1; Romans 1:19-ff).
But, how is it that we come to know God's Will? How do we
come to know God's mind? He has revealed Himself to us through the
verbally inspired Word of God (2 Tim. 3:16-17). We can read it and
we can understand it (Eph. 3:3-5; 5:17)! The Word serves as a lamp
and a light as we walk through this dark world of sin and confusion
(Psalm 119:104-105). The apostle Paul clearly expresses the fact
that we come to know the mind of God through the Word given to us
through the inspired apostles and prophets (1 Cor. 2:9-16).
Our heavenly Father is the giver of all good and perfect
gifts (James 1:17), and He has given to us the perfect law of
liberty (James 1:25). He has given to us all things that
pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). How many things
is all things? What does it mean to be thoroughly
furnished unto all good works (2 Tim. 3:17)?
We have God's mind in human language via the New Testament
of Jesus Christ! We must look into it, continue therein, abide in
the doctrine of Christ, walk in the light, etc. (James 1:21-25;
John 8:31-32; 2 John 9-11; 1 John 1:7). We must never think of men
above that which is written (1 Cor. 4:6). The Word has been once
and for all time delivered unto mankind, and mankind will be judged
in the last day according to what is written in the Word (Jude 3;
John 12:48; Rev. 20:11-13). That judgment will be a righteous
judgment (Acts 17:30-31) because it will be a judgment based upon
revealed righteousness (Rom. 1:16-17; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Titus
Having now established these facts, let us consider what
God's revealed righteousness teaches concerning what an alien
sinner must do to be saved.
God says that a person must certainly hear the Gospel
in order to believe it. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God
(Rom. 10:13-17; Acts 4:4; 18:8). This necessitates, of course, that
the Gospel be preached to all mankind (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark
16:15-16; Luke 24:44-48). Men preached to men taught (cf.
John 6:44-45) must come to believe the Truth the Gospel
of Christ (Rom. 1:16-17; John 8:24). Men who believe must
repent of past sins (Luke 13:3; 2 Peter 3:9; Acts 17:30-31).
Men who have heard, believed, and repented are to confess Jesus
as God's Son and be immersed in water (baptized) for
the remission of sins (Acts 8:37-ff; Matt. 10:32-33; Rom. 10:9-10;
Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:37-38; 22:16). Those who have meekly received
and humbly submitted to God's Will (God's mind) are to arise from
being baptized and walk (live) in newness of life (Rom. 6:3-5; Col.
2:12; 3:1ff; 1 John 1:7).
The great God of heaven (the great giver of all good and
perfect gifts) has given these things that pertain to life and
godliness. We can know His Truth from the verbally inspired Word;
the same Word that will judge all mankind at the last day (John
8:31-32; 12:48). God has already judged the matter of man's
salvation from sin, and He revealed it in His Word for us to read
and understand. The only way a man can know that he knows God is
when he keeps His commandments (1 John 5:2-3). One cannot say,
Lord, I was really going to obey you. I had planned to obey
you. In fact, Lord, I was on my way to obey you, but....
Matthew 7:21-23 is still in the Bible.
How is it that some among us attempt to usurp God's
authority on the matter, and suggest that He might save some
who have not been baptized for the remission of sins? There is
no authority given for us to even suggest such a thing! All will
agree the overall cause of all religious division and problems is
a lack of adherence to the verbally inspired Word. We are to be
perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the
same judgment (1 Cor. 1:10) on such matters, but the
mind and judgment that we are to have is God's mind and God's
judgment! When men begin to give their personal feelings and
thoughts on such important matters, division ensues division
from God and division for one another (cf. Prov. 14:12).
To make this point clear, I have often used the tried and
true illustration of an engaged girl. Let us say that a young girl
finds a wonderful young man to marry. He asks for her hand in
marriage and she agrees. Is she his wife at the moment she agrees
to marry him? No! Let us say this man is a multi-millionaire, and
the young girl dreams of the wonderful life that lies ahead for
her. Just because she has such dreams, does this make her his wife?
No! The planned wedding day comes, and the bride is at the church
building with all her entourage awaiting the beautiful ceremony.
Does it make her his wife simply because she is preparing for the
ceremony and is dressed in a beautiful gown? No! The doors to the
auditorium open and there, holding on to her father's arm, is the
beautiful, blushing bride. The groom, and his groomsmen are all up
front awaiting the bride's walk to the front. As she gets halfway
down the aisle, the groom grabs his chest and slumps to the floor,
dead of a massive heart attack! What a terrible picture, but it is
one that can conceivably happen, right? The question is, will this
young lady inherit any of this dead rich man's fortune? Will she
benefit from being his fiance? The answer is a resounding no! She
is not his wife. Oh, she was to be his wife. She wanted to be his
wife. She dreamed and prepared to be his wife, but he died before
she became his wife!
Just so, one who believes that Jesus is the Christ, but
who has not completed his humble and submissive obedience to God's
Will, is not a part of the bride of Christ; not a part of the
church for which Jesus died. The church of Christ is the body of
Christ (Eph. 1:22-23). Jesus is the Savior of the body (Eph. 5:23).
We are to believe, repent, confess Jesus, and be baptized INTO
Christ into the body of Christ (Rom. 6:3-4; 1 Cor. 12:13;
Gal. 3:26-27). The church of Christ saves nobody. The church of
Christ is the saved. If one is not in Christ, in his body, he is
not a part of the saved.
You and I are not passing judgment upon a person who has
not been baptized into Christ. Oh, we can make a judgment
concerning whether or not he has been baptized, and therefore
whether or not he is a saved person. In fact, we are commanded to
make righteous judgment (John 7:24; cf. 1 John 4:1; Matt.
7:1-20). That which we are to use to make such judgment is God's
revealed righteousness, the doctrine of Christ (Rom. 1:16-17; 2
John 9). However, we are not passing judgment upon this one, for
the great God of heaven has already done that! Furthermore, He has
revealed this judgment to us in His verbally inspired Word.
One verse from the Bible sums up all that we have studied
here. It is Psalm 119:89, For ever, O Lord, thy word is
settled in heaven.
P.O. Box 285
Crum, West Virginia 25669
Table of Contents
WHO MADE YOU A WATCHMAN?
Sometimes people ask this question when shepherds of God's
flock or Gospel preachers sound out warnings against immorality or
false teaching. The inquirers seem to strongly dislike the concept
of watchman. What about it? Should a child of God be a
watchman in the 21st century?
1) In Old Testament terminology, a watchman was one
who guards a city or the headquarters of an army (1 Sam. 14:16; 2
Sam. 18:24-27). Such watchmen were set on city walls or on hilltops
(Jer. 31:6) [Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary, p.886]. The
Lord charged His prophet Ezekiel, I have set thee a
watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the
word at my mouth, and warn them from me (Ezek. 33:7).
Thus, the role of God's watchmen in the O.T. era was a noble and
2) Each follower of Jesus is commanded to watch.
Watch ye, stand fast in the faith... (1 Cor.
16:13). One that watches is a watcher or a
watchman, as it were. Therefore let us not
sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober (1
Thess. 5:6). The Holy Spirit instructed Timothy, But
watch thou in all things... (2 Tim. 4:5).
3) There is a blessing to one who watches.
Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth and
keepeth his garments... (Rev. 16:15). What about the one
who does not watch?
4) Our Lord wants each of us to be a good
soldier (2 Tim. 2:3). Therefore, we must always be alert
and watching out, not only for our own spiritual welfare and
potential dangers, but also for the good and safety of our
fellow-soldiers in Jesus' army.
5) If first century preachers like Jesus (Mark 13:33-37)
and Paul (Acts 20:31) charged the early followers of the Lord to
watch, then wouldn't it be a good thing for overseers, preachers,
and saints of the 21st century to also be concerned about watching
and exhorting the church to watch and be on guard?
Think about it.
Roger D. Campbell
Table of Contents
From the editor...
The manuscript to a new book was completed a few weeks ago
and is titled, Don't Ever Give-Up. The
13-chapter book addresses practical problems that Christians face
daily. Many different subjects are covered, like: Losing a child,
Losing a spouse, The trouble with human suffering, Suffering a
bedridden existence, Challenge of a caregiver, Facing disorderly
children, Trouble in the modern family, etc.
Since brother Bob Spurlin's confinement in 1995, many of
these topics have become more relevant to him and to others as
well. It is his intent that the book will satisfy a need in our
brotherhood. Thought questions come at the close of each chapter
making it beneficial for a quarter's study in the Bible class
curriculum. The book would also be profitable for individual study
as well. The cost is $10.00 and with shipping charges it is $11.50.
A case of books is $300.00 even. This is the third book brother
Spurlin has written since his illness: Tackling Life's
Troubles, Dial 911: Essentials to Living Life in The 21st
Century, and Don't Ever Give-Up.
This new book would be well worth your reading and study; and, it
would help the Spurlin family during this time of trial.
You can order the book from: Bob Spurlin, 2101 Glenwood
Dr. SW, Hartselle, AL 35640. You can also visit them online at:
Table of Contents
PEPPY LEPUGH AT LCU
Roelf L. Ruffner
My acquaintance with Lubbock Christian University (LCU)
goes back nearly forty years. Members of my family were at the
ground breaking ceremony of Lubbock Christian College in a cotton
field on the edge of Lubbock. Two of them latter attended school
there. LCU has always been associated with churches of Christ and
New Testament Christianity. This is why I was dismayed to read a
March 6, 2003, LCU news release entitled Betenbough Lectures
to Bring in Duffy Robbins (March 26-27). The article went on
to say that the University was hosting a series of lectures by
Duffy Robbins, Chairman of the Department of Youth Ministry at
Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania, is a twenty-four
year veteran of youth ministry. These lectures were to be
focused upon those studying to be youth ministers. Further research
revealed that Mr. Robbins is not a New Testament Christian and
Eastern University is affiliated with the American Baptist
denomination. (His Eastern University colleague is Tony Campolo, an
American Baptist minister, who spoke at a chapel service at
Abilene Christian University in January, 2003).
Brethren, the Bible tells us that we should not fellowship
false teachers, which includes denominational preachers. In fact we
are to mark them (Rom. 16:17). They are purveyors of
false doctrine. They are wolves in sheep's clothing
(Matt. 7:15). The denominational preacher is particularly
loathsome. They deprive the sinner of all the counsel of
God (Acts 20:27). Many know what the Bible teaches about
baptism, authoritative worship, fellowship, religious unity, etc.
But they refuse to proclaim the Truth that will set men free (John
8:32). Yet LCU actively promotes this false teacher. They do not
even mention that Mr. Robbins is a denominational preacher.
Brethren, you can take a skunk and tie flowers around his neck,
paint his white streak black and even rename him Peppy
LePugh, but he is still a SKUNK!
Notice this little ecumenical statement from the news
release: All faiths are being invited to come. This will
provide an opportunity for all faith groups to interact and perhaps
share insights into youth ministry in the 21st Century. The
New Testament teaches there is only one faith (Eph. 4:5)
or system of belief the one the Bible teaches. The writer of
this news release seems not to agree. They equate all
faiths (the morass of confusion the world calls
Christianity) with the one true faith Jesus died for.
This ecumenism is as far from the principles of New Testament
Christianity as you can get. And have no fellowship with
the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them
Lubbock Christian University is taking the same road as
other of our schools the path of liberalism. In the
last few months, Abilene Christian University and
Lipscomb University have also invited sectarian hirelings to
speak in chapel and preaching seminars. Apparently these brethren
are so enamored with denominational teaching and gimmicks that they
fail to see the difference between truth and error. They don't even
give a second thought about inviting a false teacher to come to
teach their young people and to fellowship with them. Have they
forgotten the Scriptures? If there come any unto you, and
bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither
bid him God speed: for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of
his evil deeds (2 John 10-11).
My contention is that the faithful disciple of Jesus
Christ cannot support those who fellowship false teachers. Why send
your children and your money to such expensive institutions of
higher learning so they can be influenced by apostasy?
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old,
he will not depart from it (Prov. 22:6)?
3418 Meadow Lark Lane
Carlsbad, NM 88220
Table of Contents
REPOSITIONING DENOMINATIONAL ERROR
Joe E. Galloway
Why anyone who has committed himself to preaching the pure
Gospel of Jesus Christ would be attracted to denominational error
is a mystery to me. Yet, at various times over the years it has
become evident that some have been feeding their minds on
denominational teachings so steadfastly that they have, themselves,
begun believing and teaching an adaptation of such error. One
example of this is those among us (a few years back) who began
teaching a direct operation of the Holy Spirit (separate and apart
from God's Word) in the lives of Christians. Denominationalists of
a Calvinistic background have for years taught such a direct
operation of the Holy Spirit (separate and apart from the Word) in
converting sinners. While rejecting their claimed direct operation
in conversion of sinners, some among us reworked their arguments to
teach error regarding the Spirit's work in Christians. In both
cases, the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit works today through
means of the written Word.
A more current example of the repositioning of
denominational error in the teaching of some among us is in the
area of salvation by grace. All of us have heard various
denominational preachers deny that man needs to obey the Lord
(especially, to be baptized) to be saved. They say that we are
saved by grace, so man can do nothing to affect his salvation. That
we are saved by God's grace, the Bible clearly teaches and we
gladly acknowledge (Eph. 2:8). But we deny that this cancels man's
need to obey God. The same Bible teaches that Christ saves
them that obey him (Heb. 5:9) and that such obedience
requires baptism (Mark 16:16). God's grace which brings salvation
teaches us (Titus 2:11-12). It not only caused Christ to die for
our sins, but also caused Him to reveal to us in His New Testament
what we must do to receive the salvation His blood purchased. So,
the New Testament is called the word of his grace (Acts
20:32; 14:3). God's grace to us is in vain if we refuse to do our
part by obeying His will (2 Cor. 6:1-2). Those who obey not
the gospel will be everlastingly lost (2 Thess. 1:8-9).
Few among us would teach the grace only doctrine
regarding alien sinners, denying their need to obey the Gospel, but
some are now teaching the same basic idea regarding grace and
Christians. Some are claiming that those who have obeyed the Gospel
are under the covenant of grace, or the umbrella of
grace, and so may teach and practice various false doctrines
with impunity. This idea has been applied to those who teach error
regarding divorce and remarriage, premillennialism, and
instrumental music in worship. The claim is that Christians can
believe, teach, and practice these things and that, although they
are mistaken in them, God's grace will nevertheless cause Him to
accept these who are sincerely mistaken. However, the Bible no more
teaches that God's grace will cause Him to overlook wrongdoing and
false teaching on the part of a Christian than that it causes Him
to overlook lack of obedience on the part of the alien sinner!. In
both instances God's grace blesses through His revealed Word. Both
saints and sinners must believe and obey the Word of God's grace to
receive God's acceptance and approval. If this is not so, why all
the warnings about and condemnation of false teaching in the New
Testament? Are we to understand that those who brought in
damnable heresies and those who followed their
pernicious ways (2 Peter 2:1-2) were only condemned because
they were insincere doing this with their eyes open? Would
they have been protected by the umbrella of God's grace
had they taught these things with honest hearts?
Christians are under God's grace in that we have been
saved by it and continue to have our sins forgiven by its
provisions; but our continued cleansing by Christ's blood is
conditioned on our walking in the light, as he is in the
light (1 John 1:7). What of the claim that God's grace
will cause Him to accept us when we are sincerely in the wrong (in
darkness)? If we say that we have fellowship with him,
and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth (1
John 1:6). Denominational error is still just as fatal when
reapplied to the Christian life as when applied to the process of
becoming a Christian. Let God be true, but every man a
liar (Rom. 3:4)!
The Edifier, Denton, TX
Table of Contents
THE CHURCH OF CHRIST
And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art
thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed
it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say
also 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 (Matt. 16:17-18).
These words of Jesus Christ are given in answer to Peter's
confession of Christ as the Son of the living God (v.16). We
notice from this text that: 1) The church at that time was yet in
the future and 2) Jesus promised to build ONE church which would
bear his name, and 3) Hades would not overcome the divine
institution known as the church of Christ. The second chapter of
Acts reveals that Peter preached the Gospel and the church was
established that day. This church is distinct in that it is the
only body where true salvation is found. Pioneer preacher, T. B.
Larimore, penned the following about Christ and the church:
Now it was in the coasts or suburbs or immediate
presence of this rockbounded, rock-founded,
rock-builded, rock-surrounded, rock-protected,
rockshadowed city that Jesus, the Rock of Ages, the
Rock for sinners cleft, said to Peter, the
rock to Cephas, the stone
in reference to that spiritual institution that
had been represented by Daniel, in the then long,
long ago, by the little rock cut out of the mountain
without hands and subsequently filling the earth;
that divine, spiritual institution, every member of
which is called in the Bible a lively stone
or a living stone: Upon this rock I
will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not
prevail against it (Letters and Sermons of T. B.
Larimore, p.359, 1900).
The Lord's church is called out of the world. Who
hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated
us into the kingdom of his dear Son (Col. 1:13). People
who have been added to the body of Christ by the Lord (Acts 2:47)
are a cleansed people who have been washed by the blood of Christ.
The apostle Paul revealed, That at that time ye were
without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and
strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and
without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes
were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ (Eph.
2:12-13). Once we were without the salvation that is found in Jesus
Christ, but now we are cleansed and purified by the blood of
The church of Christ is in opposition to
denominationalism. The church of Christ is distinct because its
founder and builder is Jesus Christ (Matt. 16:17-18). How many
churches did Jesus say he would establish? The Bible clearly shows
that ONE CHURCH is all that He promised to build. This promise came
true in Acts chapter two. Someone asks, Well what about the
denominations? Did Jesus build the denominations? No!
Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build
it... (Psalm 127:1). The Bible and history clearly show
that the churches of men (denominations) were not founded or
established by Christ. Many People in the world and many in the
church do not understand that there is one distinct body of
Christians, practicing only what the Bible authorizes in every
aspect of their lives.
It is disturbing to hear members of the Lord's church
refer to people in the denominations as brothers and
sisters in Christ. The only way to be a true New
Testament Christian is to abide in the doctrine of Christ (2 John
9-11). If the denominations are right, then why do we preach the
one church; the Gospel plan of salvation; and the way to heaven as
revealed in the Bible if the people in the denominations are saved?
Why do we want them to come over to us if they are going to be
saved in the spiritual condition they're in?
The truth is, those in the denominations will be lost
eternally for not doing the will of God (Matt. 7:21). Brethren, no
matter how many denominations there are; no matter how many
millions of people are members of them; no matter what someone's
opinion is concerning religion; the truth is there is ONE body of
distinct people who are called Christians (Acts 11:26)!
316 4th Street
Paintsville, KY 41240
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Please stop sending your publication ...Darren Bruce,
Jacksonville, FL. Thank you and may the Lord bless you as
you continue to serve Him ...Bronwen Gibson. I
appreciate so much the intent of the paper you edit and the
contributions those who supply the articles for publication are
making in defense of New Testament Christianity ...William
Coates, West Helena, AR. Please put us on the mailing
list for this publication. We previously worshipped with the Forest
Park Church in Atlanta, Ga., where the publication was made
available to us. We really miss it. Thank you for preparing such a
sound publication for the brotherhood ...M/M Glen Morgan,
Clinton, TN. Peace, love, grace and mercy be unto us in
the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior. I am 58 years old,
a Filipina and a U.S. Immigrant and attending my Sunday worship at
Van Nuys church of Christ, Van Nuys, CA. In the Philippines, I am
a member of San Guillermo church of Christ. I read your Dec. 2002
Seek the Old Paths. I was so grateful that I found a
publication like this. This publication is what I am longing for to
make my faith strong. I like all the topics in this issue
especially the Boldly Proclaiming the Glorious Gospel of
Christ by Marvin L. Weir and Steadfast for the Lord
by Charles Box (Dec/2002). I read also at your mailbag two
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Peralta. I know them. I hope that not only these two Christ
preachers read your publication but all churches of Christ
preachers in the Philippines must read and subscribe your
publication to avoid division and conflict of the churches with
regards to our teaching and doctrine. Thanks God, your publication
meets the need. May the Grace of God be unto us in the name of our
Lord Jesus Christ, our very own SAVIOR ...Corazon G.
Santiago, Los Angeles, CA. To God be the glory, and to
you peace, grace and love be with you all in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Am glad to see some of your hand-outs. They are rich and educative
as well. I thank you so much for the great work you had been doing
for God both in U.S.A. and in other nations to win souls for Christ
our Lord. I earnestly appeal to you to consider me to be one of
your students in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. I still
need some Bible literatures and tracts for the ministry work in
this area, if it is possible. Am one of the ministers in the church
of Christ in Delta State. Am looking forward to see your reply soon
by God's willing ...Moses O. Agofure, Nigeria, West
Africa. I have been receiving STOP now for 2 years and so
appreciate you and your elders effort to remind us of solid Bible
teaching and refute the liberal movement in the church
...unknown. I work and worship with the Lord's church in
Calhoun, Georgia, at the Northside congregation where David B.
Smith preaches. Thank you for the fine work you do in exposing the
error in the brotherhood. My family and I finally got our heads out
of the sand about three years ago and pray that we'll never 'go to
sleep' again. Since we didn't have the kind of preaching that God
requires, we became 'at ease in Zion' and didn't realize how far we
had slipped into liberalism. Thanks to faithful men who teach the
truth (like you have writing the articles for your paper and others
like them), we finally began to hear the kind of preaching that
caused us to 'come out from among them' and we never want to go
back again! We want to stay informed and we know your good paper
will help us accomplish this! Thank you ...Mitchell
Holbrook, Calhoun, GA. My friends receive your bulletin.
I would like to receive it also. Could I receive a bundle of 10 in
order to hand them out at our church assembly? Please start with
the one that includes the article on taking the Lord's Supper at
Weddings & Funerals. Thank you ...Sharon K. Higginson,
Dixon, KY. Enjoy your paper very much. Here is some help
with postage ...Gene Butler, Brookhaven, MS.
Greetings to you all, through the precious name of our Lord
and Savior Jesus Christ. Brethren, I write to solicit for an
opportunity that if I may gain favor before you, please you grant
that I be among those benefiting from the enrich publication you do
mail to fellow-workers. I wish to state that, I am the Gospel
preacher. I look forward to your consideration. Thank you
...Artimas D. Maikano, Adamawa State, Nigeria. I really
enjoy your monthly publication and may I continue to receive it.
May God richly bless and reward your evangelism efforts. Keep up
the good work and continue to boldly proclaim the Gospel without
mixture ...Michael Hall, Galveston, KY. Please
continue sending us 20. Really enjoyed the last bunch you sent. It
was our first ...Pernell church of Christ, Elmore City,
OK. Brethren, please find enclosed check for $30 to help
in the work. Much appreciated ...Bill & Kay Williams, East
Wenatchee, WA. I would like to get your monthly
publication of Seek the Old Paths. I'm incarcerated and
trying to get stronger in my faith in God. I'm also going to get
baptized in the church of Christ. But I would love to know all I
can know. I know there are a lot of false teaching and I wouldn't
want to go the wrong way. And I know everything the church of
Christ knows come from the Lord's book. Thank you and God bless
you ...Charles Lupez, Hondo, TX. Can you please
send me your monthly magazine? I got a copy from a friend and I
think this is a great magazine with important issues that must stay
with the scriptures. Thank you so much for putting me on your
list ...Ken Mittler, Ft. Pierce, FL. I am now
receiving Seek the Old Paths . Please continue sending it
to me and any other articles you print ...Howard & Martha
Haynie, Ashland City, TN. I have just finished reading
Seek the Old Paths, a wonderful monthly publication,
defending and standing for the word of God. We have too many
powderpuff preachers and elders afraid to stand and defend the word
of God because they will lose their job. How sad! The true body of
Christ is hard to find. Church worship has turned into Drama
(clapping hands, etc.). I like what I read and it's the truth.
Continue to stand for the word of God. Elders and preachers are
weak in this area (standing & defending) ...Reba Miller,
Plumerville, AR. I am writing to you to tell you how much
I enjoy reading your publication and I appreciate so much that you
are sending it to me. I also wish to be left on your mailing list
for the year 2003. Thank you again for sending your
publication ...Charlie Turner, McMinnville, TN.
Please add these names to your mailing addresses because these
individuals need to read of the wonderful articles of truth. First,
let me say I've been a member of the Lord's church for 13 years and
a minister for twelve years and your paper has helped me so much.
Keep up the good work ...John Jenkins, Fort Deposit, AL.
A brother from Magnolia, Arkansas, brought a copy of
Seek the Old Paths to our church for the brothers to read. I
enjoyed it so much and would like to be placed on your mailing list
for your monthly publication ...John H. Lewis, Saratoga,
AR. I appreciate very much your stand for and defense of
the Truth for so many years. I pray that you are able to continue
to publish STOP for many more to come. I thought some of your
readers would like to know that the Dalraida congregation in
Montgomery, AL is having a 50th Anniversary and Homecoming on July
13. Tom Holland will be the guest speaker. They can get specific
information about the day-long event by calling 334-272-2561
...George Pudzis, Montgomery, AL.
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