GENERAL BAPTIST DOCTRINES
Victor M. Eskew
This article will contain a discussion of some of the general
doctrines of the Baptist Church. Before we begin, we want to make
some preliminary comments. First, each of the statements we
make will be made from evidence. In other words, if we make a
statement about a doctrine, we will have some type of documentation
to establish the truthfulness of the statement. In this case the
information is generally accepted as true, or, it comes from the
manual of the Baptist Church. We want to be truthful. We do not
intend to misrepresent anything that is said.
THE BAPTIST CHURCH IS A DENOMINATION
Second, there will be some individuals who will accuse us
of being mean spirited. There will be others who will say we are
not being loving. Others will attempt to belittle our actions as
being unkind. My friends, these are not our intentions. Any
statement to that effect is a plain, simple lie. Our intent is to
teach the truth. It is to help individuals see wherein their
doctrines stand in contradiction to the truth. Jesus said:
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you
free (John 8:32). Paul wrote that love rejoiceth in
the truth (1 Cor. 13:6). Our efforts are out of love for the
souls of mankind. We would not hesitate to go before God at this
very moment and be judged for the intents and motives of our
actions in this lesson.
Third, we are sure there will be some individuals who will
disagree with some of the statements we will be making. If you
disagree, we would love to hear from you. You can write us, and we
will be happy to discuss these matters in more detail. Two
contradictory statements cannot be true. Those who hold to the
contradictory statements should be willing to sit down and see who
is right and who is wrong. Possibly, both will be found to be
wrong. One thing is for certain, however, both cannot be right.
The religious group that we want to discuss is the Baptist
Church. One reason we have chosen to discuss this group is because
it is the largest religious group in the South. There are literally
thousands and thousands of individuals who have been influenced by
We want to discuss three general points about the Baptist
Church that do not harmonize with the Scriptures. These three
points have to do with the name of the institution, the manual
which the church has, and the fact that it is a denomination. As we
consider these three points, we want our Baptist friends to give
heed to a statement in their own manual. It says: The
contains the revelation of God to man. It is the supreme standard
of faith and practice. Whatever conforms to this standard is right
-- whatever deviates from it is wrong. It is a duty incumbent upon
all to search the Scriptures and learn what they teach.
cannot be faithfully performed unless prejudices and preconceived
opinions are laid aside (The Baptist Manual, J. M.
p.41). This statement is absolutely true. All we ask of you is that
you put it in practice as we go through this discussion. Be honest,
and listen to see if the things we are telling you are the truth.
The Baptist Church admits that it is a denomination. In
other words, they are just part of a whole. When all the Baptists
are brought together, they do not comprise the whole. A
denomination only makes up a part of the whole. They would also
include others in the group that makes up the whole. Their
denomination, therefore, is larger than the local congregation and
it is smaller than the church universal.
THE BAPTIST MANUAL
Our question is, Where is this arrangement found in
pages of Gods Holy Word? Is there a book, chapter and
the New Testament which authorizes a denomination? Can any of my
Baptist neighbors tell me where the word church ever
refers to a
denomination? Were Paul, Peter, James, John, the church in Corinth,
the church in Ephesus, and the churches of Galatia affiliated with
something bigger than a local congregation but smaller than the
My friends, the beast of denominationalism did not exist
the first century. It is a late-comer to history. In fact,
denominations have only come into existence since the 1500s. Many
individuals either do not know this, or, have chosen not to be
honest with the facts of history. Peter and Paul and the other
apostles knew nothing about a Baptist Church. Listen to that
statement again. The apostles knew nothing about a Baptist Church.
They only knew about one church (Eph. 4:4; 1:22-23). Their efforts
were to go forth into the world and attempt to get individuals to
become members of that one church.
A man I know that was once a member of the Baptist Church
heard a gospel preacher state this same point that we are making.
It infuriated him. He was so angry that he went home and began to
read his Bible. He was going to prove that preacher wrong. He read
and read and could not find the Baptist denomination in his own
Bible. He read the entire New Testament and did not find it. What
was he to do? He could just reject the truth, or, he could admit to
the truth. He did the latter. His honesty led him out of that
denomination. Today, he is a member of the church about which one
can read in the pages of the New Testament.
A second general observation that one can make about the
Baptist Church concerns its manual. The manual I have in my library
is entitled, Baptist Church Manual, Revised by J. M. Pendleton. It
is published by the Broadman Press in Nashville, Tennessee. It is
a small book and contains only 182 pages. On page 43, the book
states: The following Declaration of Faith expresses,
substantially, what Baptists believe concerning the topics
THE NAME OF THE BAPTIST CHURCH
The reason this manual exists is stated on page 42 of the
book itself. We quote: Different sects, professing to take the
word of God as their guide, contend as earnestly for their
distinctive views as if they had different Bibles. Various
constructions are placed on the teachings of the sacred volume, and
multitudes of passages are diversely interpreted ... As there is
such a diversity of opinion in the religious world, it is eminently
proper for those who appeal to the Scriptures as the fountain of
truth to declare what they believe the Scriptures to teach. To say
that they believe the Scriptures is to say nothing to the purpose.
All will say this, and yet all differ as to the teachings of the
Bible. There must be some distinctive declaration. The Baptist
Manual is the distinctive declaration of the Baptist Church.
The problem with the manual is three-fold. First, the God
heaven and earth never authorized a manual. The Scriptures are the
only manual for the church. They are complete and all-sufficient.
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 maybe perfect,
throughly furnished unto all good works (2 Tim.
Scriptures furnishes one completely. He does not need anything
else. The Bible is the only rule of faith and practice for the
church. If a manual exists and contains anything less than the
Bible, it is not needed. It contains too little. If a manual exists
and contains more than the Bible, it is not needed. It contains too
much. If a manual exists and contains exactly what the Bible says,
it is not needed. We already have the Bible.
The second reason it is wrong is because is erects an
obstacle for the unity of believers. If one adheres to the creed
book and the book contradicts the Bible, it is very difficult to
get him to give up his creed. For one to be a Baptist, he must
adhere to the creed of the Baptist Church. If the Bible contradicts
the creed, one will either have to cease being a Baptist, or reject
the Bible. This is an extremely difficult choice for many. If only
the Bible existed, then one would not have to give up a creed; he
would only have to read just his view of the Scriptures. The creed
book would not stand in his way of accepting the new truth learned.
The third reason the creed book is wrong is because it
plainly contradicts Gods word. We will not have time in this
lesson to prove this point, but we will make this the focus of
From whence does the name Baptist come? Some have
that it dates back to John the Baptist as being the beginning of
the Baptist Church. Others have said that it springs from the
concept that the Baptist church contends that one must be baptized
in order to hold membership in the Baptist organization. The
Baptist manual does not enlighten us. In fact, in every discussion
of the church in the manual, the name Baptist is omitted.
surprising to me that under the discussion of the church, they did
not once mention the name Baptist, nor did they give a
reference for the name. Why is this the case? Are they not the
church of the Bible?
Jesus said in Matthew 16:18, ...upon this church
will build my church.... Jesus is the builder. He gave
precious blood to purchase the church (Acts 20:28). He is the
owner. He took the church to be His holy bride (Eph. 5:23-32). He
is her husband. Since Jesus is the builder, owner and husband of
the church, shouldnt the church carry His name? Why would one
to attach the name of a man or a practice or a method upon the
church? Such is degrading to the One who is the Head of the body,
the church. It is His church. It is the church of Christ.
We urge all our readers to study these things in more
detail, especially those who are members of the Baptist Church. If
you have any questions, please contact us. We encourage you to keep
studying. It is the only way we can be workmen who are pleasing to
the heavenly Father (2 Tim. 2:15).
9664 Highway 49B North
Brookland, AR 72417
Table of Contents
DIVINELY SANCTIONED DIVISION
I was rummaging through my files on unity and
and came across an article that appeared in the Dallas Morning News
just over three years ago. The title of the article was Church
Alliance Proposed. Ill share with you the lead-in
The National Council of Churches is going to try to form a new
organization that would for the first time include all major
branches of U.S. Christianity, its board decided today.
This new organization is supposed to give birth to a
ecumenical future. I am not a prophet, nor am I the son of a
prophet, but I can assure you that this effort is doomed to
failure. Five hundred years have proven that all such
efforts that have their basis in human wisdom do not produce unity.
Unity can only come by compliance to the word of God. This
to a new ecumenical future is based upon compromise, not
submission to God and His will. The best that can be expected is a
loose form of unity that agrees to disagree. It is just another
step in an effort on the part of foolish men to erect a tower
Babel that will compete with Gods plan.
When will men learn that there is a far cry difference
between unity and union? Someone once said you can tie two cats
together by their tails and throw them over a close line. You may
have union, but you will not have unity.
Unfortunately, some of
our own brethren need to learn this lesson. Attempts to join hands
with the denominations is futile, not to mention out of harmony
with Gods word.
Paul instructed us, And have no fellowship with
unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them
(Eph. 5:11). Why is that admonition so hard to understand? No
fellowship means no fellowship. Actually, I
dont think it is a
problem with understanding Pauls instructions. It has, rather,
do with willingness to obey that simple injunction. Fellowship with
the denominations is sinful.
But let me address another grievous error that is
the body of Christ from within. I think you will appreciate what I
have to say if I lay some background. The following incidents are
representative of the wrong attitude and the right attitude in
addressing this horrible injustice being perpetrated upon the bride
The first incident concerns a congregation with which I am
personally acquainted that has, through the years, struggled with
the liberal tendencies that all of us have faced since the early
80s. That congregation suffered a horrible split a little over a
decade ago. The liberal element packed their bags and
elsewhere. One would think, therefore, that their problems were
behind them and the future would be bright. But due to a lack of
proper leadership, they began to drift down the same old path until
they are once again plagued with the push for change by certain
elements within the congregation. Some concerned brethren have
shared with me their sorrow and dismay in what seems another
inevitable drift (more like a plunge) into liberalism. When I was
asked what might be done, I simply told them, Its time to walk
away and start another congregation. The response I received
such a suggestion? Well, we hate the idea of splitting the
The second incident has to do with a congregation just
southeast of Dallas, Texas that had reached the state of complete
rebellion against God and His pattern for worship. The story is
shocking, but not surprising. Elders upheld error, calling good,
evil and evil, good. Here was a congregation well known for its
zeal, dedication, and evangelistic spirit, that had in the space of
five or six years moved so far away from the truth that one wonders
why they simply did not pull the sign off the building and replace
it with some denominational title to their liking. But once again,
there were members who had built that congregation; members who had
sacrificed their time and finances to build a shining light in this
little central Texas city. Here were men and women who hated sin
and hated what it had done to the body of Christ. When things had
become so intolerable they decided that it was time to come
from among them, and be ye separate (2 Cor. 6:17). They
the undeniable truth that faithfulness to the Lord is not
faithfulness to some physical plant, but to the word that our Lord
gave to us. Consequently those faithful brethren who loved the
truth decided it was time to have no fellowship with the
unfruitful works of darkness (Eph. 5:11), and established a
congregation dedicated to doing all things according to the pattern
revealed in Gods word.
There is a false notion that division, any division, is
wrong. Some have the mistaken idea that brethren simply must
tolerate error and put up with the false teachers, unqualified
elders, and blasphemous and vain worship that is occurring and
simply love one another regardless of how far they might
away from the truth of Gods word. We must not forget that
warned His disciples, Think not that I came to send peace
the earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword (Matt.
10:34). Consequently, they, like those in the first incident to
which I refer, complain and moan about what is happening in the
Lords church (as they should do). But that is about as far as
goes. They continue to tolerate the error, contribute to the work
of that congregation, and wring their hands in utter despair at
what is happening.
On the other hand there are those who, thankfully, are
willing to walk away from error. They are not committed to
property, parent, or patrons, but to the Savior Who shed His
precious blood to build His church. I once preached for the church
that now tolerates error. In fact I worked with them in one
capacity or another for more than half a decade. This past weekend
I had the opportunity to preach for that new church that walked
away from error and, against the advice of their friends
family, started a faithful congregation of Gods people. My
ached as I listened to the sad plight of that once faithful
congregation, but I rejoiced in knowing that there are still
who have not bowed the knee to Baal. Now meeting in the local
school, with determination and zeal, they are prepared to march
forward for the cause of Christ. May their number increase.
Yes, beloved, there IS such a thing as Divinely sanctioned
PO Box 283
Talco, TX 75487
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WHY WEVE ALREADY WON THE MUSIC WARS
Conservatism, by definition, is slow to change. In fact,
conservatives are downright stick-in-the-muds when it comes to
certain core beliefs, and rightly so. Liberals, on the other hand,
value change as the summum bonum -- the Supreme Good.
change they seek rarely comes from a fresh analysis of where the
religious world might be going wrong with respect to Gods
Instead, its all about keeping up with the Pastor Joneses. The
latest fad down the road becomes the Next Big Thing for us too --
with the Community Church movement being but the latest example.
History has not been kind to bandwagons, let alone what
might have to say on these matters. Our own innovators have tended
to jump on board just as their denominational counterparts are
fleeing like rats from a sinking ship. The Crossroads movement is
a classic case in point.
The Community Church movement aims to make our worship
services seeker friendly. We achieve that, so the market
and focus groups tell us, by adapting our worship forms and
practices to people who are essentially unchurched and
place to scratch their spiritual itches. This need will not be met,
so we are told, if our visitors are expected to sing unfamiliar
songs in four-part, a cappella harmony. Their
consumer-driven sensibilities must be served by solos (often sung
by women), quartets, choirs and, most recently, bands playing
full-out contemporary Christian music (often at a
evening alternate worship service).
We know this is a bad idea. We have known its a bad
for a very long time. The music of the New Testament church was
offered with the voice alone, and was something in which the entire
congregation participated (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). Despite rapid
changes in the post-apostolic era, a cappella singing
(meaning, literally, of the chapel) was the dominant form
sacred music up to and including the sixteenth century.
After enduring decades of ridicule from our religious
neighbors (Oh, you are the weirdos who dont use
and now our own brethren, there are denominationalists who are
finally saying Enough is enough. Dont get me wrong:
we are not
about to witness a mass defection of Baptist music directors. What
we are seeing, however, is considerable debate about the place of
entertainment-oriented praise music. People are asking themselves,
Why cant I participate in worship by singing
do they have to be sung for and to me?
is skepticism, also, about the value of making supposedly sacred
music sound exactly like the current Top 40. It is one thing for
Creed and Evanescence to sneak on to the pop
charts with thinly-veiled spiritual messages; it is quite another
matter to replace the music of the church with thinly-veiled
This disagreement has risen to the level of cultural
warfare. It has broken out all over the place. It is not merely
academic. It is not a small skirmish here and there, or confined to
one denomination or even one segment of Christendom.
battles have coalesced (merged) into what denominationalists are
calling the Music Wars.
The most cause for concern has emerged among what might
considered mainline denominations. These groups have had
history of compromise, and yet, there are those among their number
who think that a certain threshold may have been crossed. They fear
that too much of the spiritual and doctrinal store may have been
given away in an effort to reach anyone and everyone from a
population that knows, or cares, little about the
traditions and distinctives.
Carl Schalk, a well-known professor of music in the
world, criticized calls for a more pragmatic,
worship and church music as being more concerned with
and psychology than with theology (Christian Century,
March 21-28. 1990). He goes on to say that these changes in worship
styles are not theologically neutral. In other words, the
question of how we worship cannot be separated from the
question of Who we worship.
Similar complaints are being heard among Catholics. Lucy
Carroll observes that music in most parishes is straying away from
active participation by all members. Further, the kind of
being employed just doesnt sound like it belongs in the
If it sounds like a Broadway ballad, she says, it
Broadway, not the altar. If it sounds like a golden
it at home. If it stirs feelings of a non-sacred nature, it does
not belong in a sacred place. If [it] sounds like a rock group or
a mariachi band, then it may be fine for entertainment at the
parish picnic or in the gym, but not at Mass, and not in the temple
wherein the Sacrifice of Calvary is re-presented
Bulletin, 2003). Of course, we dont believe that the
itself is a sacred place, but we certainly believe that the people
who meet there should be holy, and the way they conduct themselves
before the Lord should be reverent in all respects.
Evangelicals also are struggling with contemporary musical
forms and practices. In some ways, this is quite surprising. After
all, Evangelicals have tended to shun ancient traditions and formal
worship styles. Now, however, a few among their number are
experiencing those very feelings of a non-sacred nature
Carroll alluded. While watching a recent performance of an
attractively dressed, handsome young woman, Steve Hutchens admits
that her singing had a different effect on me than I suspect
thought it would (Touchstone, May 2004). The song
brought him closer to Jesus, he thinks, but only by making him
realize the sin of lust that was growing in his own heart. For
consciences sake he had to avert his eyes until she was
Hutchens, an Evangelical, recognizes that these performances are
intended to reach the people, but what about those who have been
reached already? When do they stop being seekers and start growing
up in Christ? He fears that the young woman displaying herself
before the faithful with her sexualized -- and hence secularized --
...a faith in which the value of worship is
measured principally in terms of its ability
to excite the worshiper rather than give
glory to God, and in which it is assumed that
what satisfies the jaded church-attender,
always seeking new and heightened religious
experience, is what pleases the Lord. It is a
faith in which the Scriptures are honored in
word, but in which they have always been
freely altered, distorted or ignored to meet
the changing requirements of an unstable
Admittedly this is all anecdotal evidence, but the very fact
that denominationalists are wringing their hands over the nature of
sacred music is reason enough to question the wisdom of certain
trends in our own brotherhood. If the wheels are coming off the
contemporary music bandwagon in the broader denominational world,
then what makes us think that the church of our Lord should jump on
board for the ride?
Surely our own music styles and tastes have changed. On
given Sunday we may sing anything from Mosie Listers rousing
Where No One Stands Alone, to the Gregorian When I
Wondrous Cross. No doubt, future editions of our song books
feature new hymns reflecting more contemporary music styles. We may
incorporate new technology to raise our heads and our voices from
the pages of our books to the open air of the assembly. But none of
this need change the congregational, non-instrumental nature of the
Those within the church who wish to implement secularized,
entertainment-driven performances certainly have denominational
numbers on their side. But they are fighting a losing battle. In
their headlong rush to join the fray, they have failed to see the
stream of deserters heading in the other direction. Disenchanted
Catholics, Lutherans, Evangelicals and others have seen clearly
that worship needs to be offered by all the people, and
it needs to rise above the profane.
If we continue to emphasize the true purpose of praise in
song, then we have won the Music Wars already. For conservatives,
it has not been a matter of organs versus electric guitars, or
traditional hymns versus rock songs, or the teachings of a
denominational leader versus the findings of a market-research
firm. It has not even been about solos versus congregational
singing, or instrumental accompaniment versus a cappella.
Ultimately, the issue has been whether we were prepared to address
God in the way that He wants to be addressed. From the offering of
Cain to the strange fire of Nadab and Abihu to the divided
communion of the Corinthian church, man has always found a way to
satisfy his own needs. But as the saying goes, its not
all about you, or me. Does it involve man? Of course. Does it
produce spiritual growth in ourselves and those around us? One
would hope so. But those are happy side effects of worships
purpose, which is to acknowledge Gods preeminence in all
(Jude 25). Do we pull this off to perfection in every congregation
on every Lords day? Probably not. But if the struggle is to
God front and center in our psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs,
then the church of our Lord is miles above the cultural trench
warfare going on in the religious world below.
In fine conservative fashion, and for the churchs own
it should stay right where it is, for congregational, a
cappella singing is authorized in the Scriptures.
2781 Alkire Rd.
Grove City, OH 43123
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UNITED IN CHRIST
John D. Cotham
A grave responsibility of Christians is to cooperate with
other Christians. Man is usually a helpless creature when alone.
God did not endow us with the same natural instincts and abilities
as He did the animal kingdom. For this reason man usually learns to
depend upon and to trust others for help. Men seldom fight wars
alone. Even the bully is quiet when he doesnt have his cronies
back him up. There is strength in numbers. Solomon said,
are better than one (Eccl. 4:9). Ben Franklin said,
stand united; for divided we shall fall, but it was Jesus who
said, And if a house be divided against itself, that
cannot stand (Mark 3:25).
God has instituted a union or fellowship that gives the
Christian a place of safety, comfort and strength. It is called the
church. In order for the church to remain strong, it requires the
cooperation of all its members. One of the first problems Paul
dealt with at Corinth was their division, Now I beseech
brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak
the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that
ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same
judgment (1 Cor. 1:10). The church at Corinth was
because of division.
Paul teaches cooperative work by using the human body as
illustration, For the body is not one member, but many.
the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the
body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say,
Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not
of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing?
If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?.... And the eye
cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the
head to the feet, I have no need of you.... Now ye are the body of
Christ, and members in particular (1 Cor. 12:14-27).
Some members dont cooperate because they have the
disposition. In Pauls illustration of the bodys members,
underestimates its value because it is not the hand (v.15). The ear
has the same problem because it doesnt have the job of the
These kind of members dont do anything because they either
their time wishing they were as talented as another; or, are
jealous because they think someone else is going to get more glory
than they will. On the other hand, some have an opposite
disposition. These think they have no need for anyone else because
they think they are so much better than all other members (v.21).
Paul says each member should supply its part,
whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that
which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in
the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the
edifying of itself in love (Eph. 4:16). This
teaches both individual and cooperative activities for the good of
the whole (whole body fitly joined together and
supplieth and maketh increase of the body). The
functions of the
various parts of the human body brings to mind a story of a blind
man and a cripple man who wanted to go to a certain place: The
crippled man climbed onto the strong back of the blind man and
started their journey. The blind man did the walking, and the
cripple man did the seeing. Through cooperation, they both got to
Solomon teaches the wisdom of cooperation by referring to
the locust, The locusts have no king, yet go they forth
of them by bands (Prov. 30:27). Man has hardly seen any
destructive insect than the locust, all because they work so well
together. Gods people should be banded together with such
upon the world. If we did, billions more could hear the Gospel of
The first place Gods people must be united is in His
Paul began to handle the division of the Corinthians by first
reminding them to be united in teaching, mind and judgment,
Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus
that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions
among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same
mind and in the same judgment (1 Cor. 1:10). What they
to speak was the pure word of God.
Gods people are to walk by the same rule (Phil. 3:16).
are to earnestly contend for the faith which was once for
delivered to the saints (Jude 3, ASV). There cannot be
right union nor proper cooperation without strict adherence to
2632 Highway 133
Shady Valley, TN 37688
Table of Contents
In The News...
More From Oklahoma Christian University
Jerry Brewer of Elk City, Oklahoma writes...
Heres an interesting item from Oklahoma
University website. Seems they never heard a word about
unsound preachers and practices that some have voiced in recent
months. Especially note the following excerpts:
Acappellas 2001 tour had the group
traveling in the northeast U.S. that fall,
and God used Acappella to minister to people
after the tragic events of September 11.
Comment: God used...? How do they know that? Did God tell them?
the Spirit nudge them? Did they see a vision of a man
York saying, Come over and help us? Did an angel appear
Was that message communicated in a sheet let down from heaven? They
need to let us know how they know God used
minister to people after the tragic events of September 11.
Acappella contributed to Oklahoma Citys
healing process following the bombing of the
Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April
19, 1995. The group members, in town for a
previously-scheduled concert nine days after
the bombing, spent time downtown singing and
ministering to rescue workers and other
volunteers. Their concert at the Civic Center
was switched from a ticketed to a free event,
with a love offering taken to benefit Feed
the Childrens Disaster Relief Fund.
Now theyre bidding God speed to a denominational preacher
Jones of Oklahoma City) who has made a large fortune with Feed
Children. Jones is a graduate of Oklahoma City University (a
Methodist school) and is a denominational preacher. Love
offering? More Ashdodic expressions for sure.
Our main goals are to plant the seeds of
the Gospel in hearts that havent heard yet,
and to encourage and strengthen the Body of
Christ in their faith, said founder and
producer Keith Lancaster.
If these people plant the seeds of the gospel with their
productions, instrumental music sounds made with their mouths and
lyrics that do more for the toe than they do for the soul, then
there isnt a word of truth to Pauls statement that,
pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that
believe (1 Cor. 1:21). And...I dont believe Paul
a head to plant the seeds of the gospel.
Face it. Oklahoma Christian(?) is another
of us who love the truth need to make it known far and wide that
this school has no association with us -- especially
that they are associated with churches of Christ. That
true, and certainly isnt the case today.
308 South Oklahoma
Elk City, OK 73644
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THE HOLY MINI SKIRT?
Michael S. Hatley
To elders everywhere, bare thighs do not make us look
set apart for a divine purpose.
Why take a firm stand against immodesty and nakedness?
Elders boldly ask members to refrain from gossip, drinking and
gambling. Elders should be equally demanding about the way members
dress, because immodesty and nakedness are public sins which bring
public shame upon Christs church, set a sinful example, and
fellow Christians to commit the sin of lust. Which of the following
activities would you publicly allow during the worship service and
not put a firm, decisive stop to: viewing of pornographic
magazines, stealing from the contribution plate, or quietly playing
poker for money on the back row? The one difference between these
sins, and the sin of immodesty, is that immodesty is socially
acceptable to many Christians. Do you think God sees it as an
Is the church viewed as different from the world? Bare
thighs, shoulders, bellies, and backs do not make us look like we
are set apart for a divine purpose.
Are Christians who dress immodestly, pure and
from the world? Of course not. They need to know Gods word on
subject. Their salvation depends on it. Some who practice nakedness
and immodesty are unaware that it is sinful. Many women truly do
not understand how easy it is to encourage impure thoughts in a
mans mind. Why do we risk allowing them to spend eternity in
by not giving clear, firm teaching against these sins? They need
your help to see the truth. Elders owe this to them.
Is the church the light of the world? Yes, but how
much brighter will we shine when we stop publicly displaying our
immodesty and nakedness?
Are we the salt of the earth? What good does it do for
us to teach our teenage boys in Bible class that they shouldnt
have posters of scantily clad women on their bedroom walls, while
we do nothing about the teenage girls they see in mini-skirts and
sun dresses at the worship service? Salt preserves, but the
immodesty that has grown unhindered in some congregations of
Christs church is a spiritual decay.
Some will be angry if the elders take a stand against
immodesty. It is still the right thing to do. Christianity is a
religion of love, but that does not make it a popularity contest.
Look at the preaching of Jesus. He preached what needed to be
taught whether it angered His audience or not.
Some might be so angry that they leave the church.
this happens, those at whom the anger is directed must ask
themselves, Do I need to repent and ask forgiveness for the
I did to make them mad at me? Hopefully, in such cases, we can
always answer no, because we realize the offended person
not due to sin on our part, but rather, due to their own
unwillingness to accept the truth. It is sometimes necessary for
the good of the church, to make decisions that will anger some
members, even to the point that they leave us to worship elsewhere,
or as depressing and discouraging to us as it may be, stop
worshipping altogether. We are commanded to reprove, rebuke, exhort
with all longsuffering. Where is the clause excusing us from this
command if it will make someone angry?
We are to be a peculiar people. The immodesty
by many Christians is certainly not peculiar. In fact, it looks
amazingly similar to the immodesty we see nearly everywhere else in
the world. Faithful Christians should strive to be peculiar in that
thighs, cleavage, backs, shoulders, and bellies are carefully
concealed, not exposed.
To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and
dominion and power, both now and for ever. Amen (Jude 25). How
we serve such a God while allowing the sin of nakedness, which
encourages the sin of lust, to be publicly flaunted during our
worship to Him? He deserves better. The church you shepherd
deserves better. Visiting Christians from other congregations
deserve better. Visitors, unfamiliar with Christs church
better (Exodus 28:42; Isa. 47:2-3; Matt. 18:7; 5:28).
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DENOMINATIONALISM JUSTIFIES EXISTENCE BY THE BRANCHES OF JOHN 15:5.
BUT WHAT ARE THE BRANCHES?
A certain, widely-held concept of the New Testament church
is based upon a fallacy and fostered in ignorance.
In this article I trust prayerful consideration may be
focused in three directions: 1) toward a sectarian fallacy; 2)
toward a perversion used to sustain this fallacy; 3) toward a Bible
parallel deadly to denominational churches.
Sectarian Bible students confidently affirm that modern
denominations constitute the branches of Christs body.
Consequently, they affirm that the sum total of all denominations
equals the church universal. It is, therefore, common for one to
hear another speak of the Baptist branch of the church, the
Methodist branch of the church, etc., etc.
Students of denominational theology suppose that John 15:5
sustains their concept of the New Testament church. In this verse,
Jesus says, I am the vine, ye are the branches....
at least two reasons, it is certain that branches in this
can have no reference to the denominations: 1) no modern
denominations were in existence during the life of Christ, or,
indeed, for some six hundred years after His death; 2) Christ makes
it certain in John 15:6 that the branches are
Consequently, men, or Christians are the
branches of the
Sometimes it is admitted that men or Christians are the
branches of the vine, but that different groups of Christians or
branches constitute the denominations or lager limbs or
If this be true, denominational preachers should clarify
their phraseology and call the denominations clusters of
church, instead of branches of the church. And besides,
denominational concept of John 15:5 makes the passages picture a
vine bearing clusters of different kinds of fruit. And who ever
heard of a fruit tree bearing a cluster of apples and a cluster of
peaches, both neighbors on the same limb?
In Pauls day the church at Corinth was divided four
there were Paulites, Apollosites, Cephasites, and Christians.
Doubtless, each of the first three of those groups claimed its
people were Christians. But no doubt each group affirmed that its
people were Christians of a certain kind. Paul rebuked that sort of
Christianity, and reminded the Corinthians that Christ is not
divided (1 Cor. 1:10-13).
A perfect parallel exists between the conditions of the
Corinthian church and modern denominationalism. The only difference
is a difference of magnitude: we must say with deep regret that the
Corinthian attitude has become world-wide, and that the Paulites,
Apollosites, and Cephasites, have become, in a figure, Baptists,
Methodists, Presbyterians, etc., etc.
Today, Christendom, so-called, is divided into multitudes
sects which are recognized by human titles. Doubtless, each of
these religious groups claims its people are Christians, basically.
But each group affirms that its people are Christians of a certain
As Paul rebuked the Corinthians, so he would rebuke
denominational people today. And he would remind them that Christ
is not divided; that we should all be of Christ, just Christians,
nothing more, nothing less.
29511 Bock St.
Garden City, MI 48135
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Blinded To The Truth
Marvin L. Weir
The apostle Paul stated that the god of this world
hath blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the
gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not
dawn upon them (2 Cor. 4:5). So many in this world
believe in God, but their actions belie their profession. How can
people claim to be obedient to the Lord and then pick and choose
only those commands they desire to obey? It is because
they have allowed themselves to be blinded to the truth.
Most denominations teach that baptism (immersion) is
not necessary for salvation. There are even those who claim to
be members of the Lords church who espouse that baptism is not
essential for salvation. What is the truth regarding this
matter? The Bible declares the Word of God to be true (John 17:17).
In fact, the apostle Paul admonished, let God be found
but every man a liar (Rom. 3:4). Unless one has been
to the truth, he will always accept Gods Word over mans
Billy Graham, champion of Baptist doctrine for years, calls
on people to repent to be saved, but denies they must be
baptized to be saved. Is Billy Graham correct or is God
correct? They both cannot be correct because they differ with one
another on the question of what one must do to be saved.
The apostle Peter rightly accuses the Jews of crucifying
Christ (Acts 2:36). Divine inspiration then records, Now
they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto
Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do? And
Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized
every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the
remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the
Holy Spirit (Acts 2:37-38, emph. MLW).
Billy Graham and those of his persuasion are right
when they say people must repent of their sins but, they are
wrong when they say baptism is not necessary for forgiveness
of sins. The conjunction and clearly shows that remission
is reserved for those who repent and are baptized.
One cannot be baptized without repentance or repent without
being baptized and expect to be saved. God has spoken regarding the
matter, and His Word takes precedence over the word of any man.
Those not blinded to the truth of Gods Word will
submit to what the Scriptures teach regarding salvation. Please
note the following Scriptures and examples that prove baptism is
essential for salvation.
First, the apostle Peter states that baptism saves
a person (1 Peter 3:21). How can what Peter declares be true
if baptism is not necessary for salvation?
Second, baptism is the act that puts one into
Christ Jesus. Paul says, For as many of you as were
into Christ did put on Christ (Gal. 3:27). If baptism
one into Christ as Gods Word teaches, how can one be
saved without being baptized (outside of Christ)?
Third, baptism is a burial (not a sprinkling) and
those who are baptized should then walk in newness of life (Rom.
6:4). False teachers declare that men are saved and have newness of
life before they are baptized, but the Word of God truthfully
teaches that newness of life follows ones baptism. Those not
blinded to the truth will accept the Word of God instead of the
word of men.
Fourth, the great commission states, And
said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to
the whole creation. He that believeth and is baptized
shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned
(Mark 16:15-16, emph. MLW). To repent of ones sins is
believe and obey the Lords command, and to be
baptized is to believe and obey the Lords
In the latter part of verse 16 it is not necessary to say he
disbelieveth [and is not baptized] shall be condemned because
who does not believe will not obey the Lords commands. Thus,
who refuses to be baptized to be saved does so because he does not
believe baptism is necessary for salvation. It is simply a lack of
faith -- a failure to believe the Word of God.
Fifth, some 3,000 on Pentecost repented
and were baptized in order to be saved (Acts 2:37-41).
Sixth, those in Samaria who believed the
preaching of Philip were baptized (Acts 8:12).
Seventh, the eunuch believed the
teaching of Philip, made the good confession, was
baptized, and then went on his way rejoicing (Acts
Eighth, Cornelius believed and was
baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 10:43-48).
Ninth, the Philippian jailor believed
and was baptized; Lydia was also baptized (Acts
One is simply blinded to Gods truth who allows himself
believe the false doctrine that the act of baptism has nothing to
do with his salvation. It does one absolutely no good to claim to
believe God but refuse to obey Him!
5810 Liberty Grove Rd.
Rowlett, TX 75089
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