From The Mailbag...
CHURCH COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES
I have just started receiving your publication and I find it
very refreshing and interesting. I have found all the articles to
be direct and to the point, balanced and with the appropriate
scriptures to back up the writers positions outlined in the
However, I find the shock and disappointment
expressed in some of the articles, mailbag and news brief sections
to be somewhat surprising when it comes to schools such as
Lipscomb, Harding, Rochester, Pepperdine and others. The fact
that these schools have drifted into secularism should not be a
surprise at all. After all, at the root of all these schools is the
fact that they are human institutions and therefore businesses.
The fact that they market to potential students (who are
members of the church of Christ) and their families with the
promises of a Christian based education is necessary only
to secure a consistent student base and therein lies the problem.
This base, although necessary to secure operating
revenue, is not large enough to meet their strategic business plans
and long term growth projections. Therefore, they find it necessary
to water down their religious teaching in order to
attract a broader student base (II Tim. 4:3-4). This new influx of
students has to come from somewhere and the denominational world
provides this need. As Paul stated, the love of money is
the root of all evil (I Tim. 6:10) and all we need to do
is follow the money in order to see one of the major causes why
these institutions have drifted away from the truth.
I would like to think that most of these schools started
with the best of intentions but like other institutions, and these
schools are institutions, they take on a life of their own. They
are overseen by a Board of Regents and/or Board of Directors with
only the best interest of the school on their mind and that means
revenue. These schools are no different from Harvard, Yale, Emery
and others that also started as religious schools but eventually
evolved into secular schools. Do we really think that Lipscomb,
Harding, Rochester, Pepperdine and others are any different given
their current direction and marketing approach?
In addition to the need for a larger, broader student
base, the image of the school is also of the utmost importance. The
schools Regents and/or Directors and staff are not concerned about
their image from the perspective of the brotherhood, but that of
academia and their peers. They can ignore the brotherhood, after
all, we still send our children to their schools and hire preachers
trained by them. Why should they be too concerned about us? As long
as the Regents, Directors, professors and staff have a financial
interest in seeing the schools grow (reputations, personal careers,
salaries, etc.), they will continue to become more secular and less
spiritual in their direction and curriculum.
So then, what are we to do? Church leaders and families
need to realize that spiritual growth is their responsibility
(Deut. 6:1-9; Prov. 22:6; Acts 20:8; Titus 2:1-8). Church leaders
and parents need to Seek The Old Paths in the area of
religious education as well. The truth is that most church leaders
and families do little to insure the proper religious training of
their children. Most find it too convenient to rely on schools such
as Lipscomb, Harding, Rochester, Pepperdine, etc. to do their work
for them. Elders of the church and parents must take control and a
personal interest in the education of the young men and women in
the church and not assume all is well because we send them to a
so-called church school. After all, where is the
scripture for church sponsored secular schools? There is
If we propose to follow the Scriptures, and we should, we
need to insure we do so in the area of religious education as well.
Anything less is negligence on our part and unfair to our children
and detrimental to the Lord's church. Paul states Be not
deceived, God is not mocked, for whatever a man soweth, that shall
he also reap (Gal. 6:7), and it appears in many cases we
are reaping what we have sowed.
Elders in the Lord's church need to train young men to
teach and preach God's word (I Tim 4:13-16). We should never expect
secular institutions with their own self-interests at stake to do
what the church is to do. If someone wants to send their child to
one of these institutions, they are free to do so, but they should
remember what they are, secular institutions. If the elders of a
congregation want to hire a preacher from one of these institutions
they are also free to do so, but those elders need to understand
what that preacher may have been taught and then remember their
responsibility to him and the congregation.
Obviously, it is always important to point out error no
matter where it is found, and that includes institutions of higher
education. However, it is and has always been the elders'
responsibility to shepherd the local church and not allow any
person or institution governed by men to improperly influence the
congregation they oversee. If we allow false teaching to enter
local congregations of the Lord's church, the fault would be solely
that of the elders, not altogether that of the secular institutions
Ernest N. Stacey, Jr.
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WHO SHALL BECOME YOUR TEACHER?
Andrew D. Erwin
In hoping to aid fellow young men who are seeking to preach
the Gospel in what is ultimately their quest for preparedness, I
wish to submit for consideration the following thoughts concerning
our institutions of higher learning and consequently their
respective Bible Departments. To think that such consideration is
unnecessary or schismatic is likely the result of a lack of
knowledge or a lack of care for the present crisis facing the
church of our Lord, especially with regard to the aforementioned
institutions. It is with great sorrow and displeasure that such
efforts as this must be made. Nevertheless, any young man wishing
to make a life out of preaching like the Savior must be aware of
the doctrine (or lack thereof) that is being taught in our
When a young man is choosing an institution to attend,
that student is choosing who the men will be that help mold him
into the preacher that he will become. Such an important decision
as this should be made thoughtfully, prayerfully, and wisely. It
could indeed prove to be a costly mistake if a student chooses to
rush into something as important as his knowledge and ability to
understand the Sacred Oracles. May we never have a lackluster
attitude toward these types of decisions! Rather, let us act with
the deliberate intent and hope of working for the greater good of
the church and our fellow man.
A student of the Scriptures must seek out men like Paul.
We need to find those men who will take us beneath their wing and
commit unto us doctrine that is not only worth learning, but is
also worth repeating (2 Tim. 2:2). The wild ideas being taught by
many Bible Departments are hardly worth hearing and the only reason
they should be repeated is to warn others (Rom. 16:17)! Will your
mentors be men with proven track records for teaching and preaching
the Bible? Or, will you have some Athenian type nemesis (adversary)
of the truth who is always seeking something new (Acts
We should also consider how we will eventually look back
on our college days. Will we look back with fond memories of
beloved teachers who taught truth and were willing to help us to
teach others? Or, will we look back with frustration because we had
to spend our class-time arguing the case for the inspiration of the
Scriptures, the one true church, or proper Christian worship, etc.,
with an antagonistic professor of error? Personally speaking, I
would not listen to such thoughts for free, much less, pay someone
Herein lies the truth of the matter, there are
untrustworthy schools among us. And, if we examine them closely, we
will find they are not even claiming to teach sound doctrine. In
fact, they have done the exact opposite. They are placing known
menaces to the church in key administrative positions, and are
hiring notorious misfits of error to teach the Bible to often
unlearned minds, both in the classroom and in their lectureships.
In fact the most notable result of the work being done by such
places is not the training of solid Gospel preachers, but rather
contempt for the church and the truth she pillars. [For further
evidence visit the David Lipscomb underground website --
http://lipscombunderground.tripod.com]. These schools often scoff
at any inquires by the prospective student (or even the student's
parents) concerning whether or not the old paths will be taught.
Horror stories of their shame of conservative brethren, both past
and present, stagnantly surround their campuses as slime-ridden
motes to anyone who loves the men whom they question and the legacy
such champions of the faith have left behind. These people are
persistent to do what they want to do regardless of who they hurt.
Young men and parents, do you want to give your hard-earned money
to support such a work as that? They have made their position
known. It is time for young men of the church and their parents to
make their position known!
If we choose to be educated by one of these places and
become dissatisfied, then it is our own fault. We could not be
considered victims in such cases. In reality, we got what we paid
for. Who among us would pay for a bucket with a hole in it? Then
why will we pay for the words of broken cisterns? The prophet
Jeremiah cried out, My people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for
themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water
(Jer. 2:13). Have we become like those unfaithful children of
God in the long ago? What reason could we possibly have for
forsaking the opportunity to learn sound doctrine for the grief
that awaits us from hearing lies and hypocrisy? Surely such a
decision as this cannot be pleasing to God.
Young men of the church, who shall become your teacher?
Shall it be the word of God with all authority, or the opinions of
men? Do not feel like your decision to choose sound doctrine over
wishy-washy words will go unnoticed. If we stick together, I pray
that eventually these questionable institutions will notice that we
will not tolerate their error; the solid schools among us will
notice our appreciation for their work and be encouraged to
continue to fight the good fight; the church will notice the
renewed quality of the preachers returning from school; and
fervently I pray that our God and Father will notice that through
His help we would have prevailed yet again.
Our generation can have a great effect on the future of
the Lord's church if we will act as God would have us to. We can
and must make a difference. Let us learn from, and give our full
support to, those institutions and schools of preaching that love
and honor truth. May we all grow in the grace and the knowledge of
our Lord (2 Peter 3:18). Dear brethren, may we become even stronger
in the Lord as years pass by learning to use sound judgment while
we are young.
7103 Varden Court
Fairview, TN 37062
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BEING SATISFIED WITH SO LITTLE
Bill Jackson, deceased
Those obedient to the Lord's will are those who have, and who
continue to cultivate, a spiritual appetite. Beginning as the babes
they are in Christ, they have a desire for the milk of the word
that they may thereby grow (1 Peter 2:2). All of their life
becomes, then, a hungering and thirsting after righteousness (Matt.
5:6), and never do they cease in their hunger or desire for the
things of God. Their desire is for more and more and more -- more
knowledge, more zeal, more faithfulness, more prayer, more study,
more giving -- always, more and more of God's things.
In view of those things, it is amazing in our time that
so many are satisfied with so little of the things of importance.
We have concern with these areas:
1) So many are satisfied with so little study and so
little acquisition of Bible knowledge. Jerusalem continued
steadfastly in doctrine (Acts 2:42) and the noble Bereans are an
example of those who give time to study DAILY (Acts 17:11). But so
many are satisfied with so little today. And thus they are not
informed and thereby armed when false teachers and false teaching
faces them. Without knowledge the people perish (Hosea 4:6). An
informed people become a strong people, and thus they can stand
faithfully for God and against all error. If they are satisfied
with very little Bible information, they will also be satisfied to
embrace and live with error.
2) So many satisfied with so little Bible preaching.
The New Testament emphasis is on PREACHING THE WORD (2 Tim.
4:2) -- yea, the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27). How can the
preacher be satisfied with polite little essays with little or no
Bible content? And how can the people in our congregations be
satisfied with so little Bible in the sermons presented before
them? One would think that those in the pews would be DEMANDING
Biblical content! Satisfied with so little!
3) So many satisfied with so little Biblical
oversight. To be sure, there is a great deal of attention
paid to the finances and business concerns, but what of overseeing
the flock in the watching for souls (Heb. 13:17) -- in guarding,
protecting, feeding, etc.? How can so many called elders be content
with so little effort on their part in studying, being informed as
to dangers, guarding and protecting the flock? How can so many in
the congregations be satisfied with so little Biblical oversight?
What is of great concern is that in being satisfied with
so little, we very soon lose sight of the need for what is already
in short supply, and can thus live without it. In that
turn of events, we then cease the study of the word entirely, cease
either desiring or wanting the Word of God proclaimed to us, and
cease to expect anything of our elders other than keeping the
checkbook balanced! Learning to be satisfied with so little will
finally, as we continue on that downward road, cause us to be
satisfied with none of it!
May the day be hastened when our people become, once more,
a people of the Book. May the day be hastened when our
preachers are once more known as talking Bibles. And may
the day be hastened when those appointed as elders are once more
known as true shepherds, fully equipped to exhort and convince
the gainsayers (Titus 1:9). If we had had more of those elders
in these last several years, we would have fewer of the trends of
liberalism in our midst. We are where we are because we have been
satisfied with so little of the things of God. We'll not be what we
should be until we once more develop that spiritual appetite that
demands MORE, not LESS!
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From the Mailbag...
I am a youth minister in the Kansas area. Often times at
youth events we will invite admissions representatives from
Christian colleges to seek our older teens. I myself am a product
of such education (Oklahoma Christian University, 99) and believe
it to be by-and-large beneficial to the continual spiritual
training of young men and women. Sadly, several of them (including
my own alumnus) have become hotbeds for liberal-minded change
agents to push their agendas.
For one local event I was going to invite a representative
from David Lipscomb University. After talking to one of our elders
he counseled strongly against inviting them. I dis-invited them
(because I'd already invited them) and told them I was against
advancing liberal thinking with our youth. Anyway, a rep emailed me
back and is saying that I have been misinformed. I searched your
website and found a few things the university has advocated which
I believe can be clearly shown:
1. They advocate using groups that use contemporary
Christian rock. (Oct. 12 2000).
2. They endorse Joe Beam (who advocates several
mis-teachings on the Holy Spirit, Demons, etc.). (Summer 1998).
3. They endorse Jeff Walling (who advocates
inter-denominational fellowship, letting women lead in public
worship, and believes baptism is stupid).
4. They endorse Max Lucado (who is a baptist).
5. They endorse Mike Cope (who traded pulpits with a
6. They endorse Rick Bundschuh (who is a pastor
at the Kauai Christian Fellowship) (October 1998).
(Items #3-5 were done at the Lipscomb sponsored Jubilee).
Is this a correct summary? Are there other transgressions
I do not know of that have occurred in the past few years? I would
like to state to them honestly and objectively why I do not believe
they are truly a Christian university.
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WHEN COMMON SENSE FAILS
We often hear people speak of one having common sense in
making judgments in their daily affairs. Indeed, common sense is
something to be desired by all of us. We should use common sense in
our daily decisions. But sometimes common sense isn't sufficient.
When it comes to matters of our obedience to God, we must not rely
only on common sense.
In 2 Samuel 7:1-12 we can see such an example. God had
delivered David and Israel from their enemies. There was peace and
David had constructed a fine house built of cedar. He and the
prophet Nathan were sitting in this fine home talking when David
remarked I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God
dwelleth within curtains. It seems that David was thinking the
ark of God should be in a house more fitting than the tabernacle.
Common sense would suggest that such was the case. Nathan agreed
that a house should be built. What is wrong in this case?
The problem lies within the fact that God was not
consulted about the matter. Notice 2 Samuel 7:7, In all
the places wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel
spake I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded
to feed my people Israel, saying, Why build ye not me an house of
cedar? As we read further, we understand that such a
house would be built when God chose to build it. That time would
come after the death of David.
Are we, today, like David? I believe that on many
occasions some fall into the same situation. Too many it seems
think it would be a good thing to build a gym or a ball field to
draw the lost to the church. Many times it may seem that we can
draw them in with entertainment or social events. Certainly it will
draw people to the premises, but will it draw them to Christ? Can
we find just one example of this in the New Testament?
Some seem to have lost sight of the scriptural means by
which men must be drawn unto Christ. Jesus said in John 12:32,
And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men
unto me. Do we not need to hold up Christ as saviour of
the lost? Raising the goal post isn't the way to do God's will. The
apostle Paul told the Thessalonians that they had been called by
the Gospel (2 Thess. 2:14). He also stated that the Gospel of
Christ is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). Is it not
time to proclaim the Gospel and cease to try to use gimmicks and
entertainment to bring the lost to Christ?
It is time for brethren to return to the Word of God for
guidance in making decisions. How can we obey Colossians 3:17 and
do ALL in the name of the Lord if we do not take the time to
consult His Word? We cannot! Some of our ideas may seem to be
common sense, however if we examine them in the light of God's
word, we may find that we have no authority to implement them.
David and Nathan found this to be true and if two prophets of God
can make this mistake, it is certain we can do likewise.
Brethren, is it possible that one day the Lord may ask us,
when did I ask thee why build ye not a gym for my
children? Is it possible we will be asked, when did I
tell thee to go play? Is it possible we will be asked,
why did you not go teach? Is it possible we will be
asked, why did you turn my house into a house for pleasure and
entertainment? Is it possible that we will be asked why we
have two or more preachers while many congregations have none? Is
it possible we will be asked why we built expensive buildings but
failed to feed the hungry both physically and spiritually?
Think on these things. If asked those questions, what will
your answer be?
Hatton Church of Christ
Town Creek, AL
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There are many good
web sites available we would like to let you know about. Many of
you may remember brother Jim Boyd's publication a few years ago
entitled: A Burning Fire. Many of those lessons are now
available in audio format as well as two of his books. Check these
out at aburningfire.net.
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TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE
By the time Abraham interceded, it was already too late for
Sodom (Gen. 18:32). By the time Ezekiel prayed, the chosen nation
had deteriorated so much that he was told: Though these
three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver
but their own souls by their righteousness (Ezek.
14:14). As the history of Bible peoples reveals, there comes a time
when it is forever too late our foolish mistakes to undo.
Sadly, it is now too late for many of our brethren. Time
to get ready has passed (cf. Matt. 25:8-10). The evil day has come,
and the pious unprepared are not able to stand (Eph. 6:13). Even
long time hearers of pleasant error now find themselves helplessly
horrified at at the end thereof they are witnessing (Jer.
5:31). There are, of course, valiant preachers who remain pure
from the blood of all men and throughout the churches there
are noble saints who have not defiled their garments
(Acts 20:26; Rev. 3:4). But in preaching, defending, and spreading
the truth, many churches of Christ already lie still beneath the
epitaph Too Little, Too Late.
Most congregations have warned too little against
falsehood and liberalism. As Isaiah said of Israel's preachers:
His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are
all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to
slumber (Isa. 56:10). There has been too little barking
from our pulpits, and too much howling at the moon. There has been
too little knowledgeable instruction, and too many shameless
displays of Biblical ignorance. This is so, in part, because there
has been too little attendance to reading, to exhortation, to
doctrine by those who would teach, and too much attendance to
tables (1 Tim. 4:13; Acts 6:2). Thus, the church's most serious
injuries have been healed only slightly and such bandaids
on cancers have proved too little, too late (Jer. 6:14).
We have also preached too little to our children and for
a coming generation it is largely too late. Too few have learned in
youth what is really involved in remembering the Creator, and too
many have been trained up in human philosophy, even at the church's
expense (Eccl. 12:1; Prov. 22:6). Immoral leaven has stifled church
discipline among us and permeated congregations with worldliness (1
Cor. 5:6). Too many youngsters who have seen it will perpetuate it,
for too few tears have been shed over it (Acts 20:31). As
there arose another generation after Joshua and the
elders which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had
done for Israel, so there is arising a generation that knows
only to look down on the kind of preaching that grew churches of
Christ in years gone by (Judges 2:10).
Sound missions have been supported too little and
preaching opportunities have been appreciated too late. Some have
scoffed at open doors of evangelism and horded local treasuries
lest an emergency arise (cf. 1 Cor. 16:10). We are not to
say to a needy neighbor, Go, and come again, and tomorrow
I will give; when thou hast it by thee (Prov. 3:28).
Much less should a congregation of God's children answer an eager
missionary in this way! The longer our silver rusts away in bank
basements, the more open doors we will have come too late to enter.
With missionary preaching we simply cannot afford to produce
too little, too late, for we may someday find ourselves
calling on converts to generously send missionaries to our land.
Because we have preached too little, for many it is too
late. God is not mocked and as we have sown to the wind,
we shall surely reap the whirlwind (Gal. 6:7; Hos. 8:7).
False doctrine will eat as doth a canker and
increase unto more ungodliness, while its promoters
wax worse and worse (2 Tim. 2:16,17; 3:13). Because our
agnostic preachers have hated knowledge, they shall
eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their
own devices (Prov. 1:29,31). But it is never too late for the
God-fearing. Wisdom cries whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell
safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil (Prov. 1:33). Let
those who so dwell preach the word and strengthen
the things which remain (2 Tim. 4:2; Rev. 3:2).
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THE CHURCH IN PROPHECY, PREPARATION, AND IN FACT
Long ago, a prophet of God stated, And in the days
of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall
never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other
people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these
kingdoms, and it shall stand forever (Daniel 2:44).
Daniel was speaking of the coming kingdom of our Lord. Jesus the
Christ identified the kingdom to be the church in Matthew 16:18-19.
The apostle Paul said the church is the body and Christ is the head
of it (Col. 1:18). Therefore, the kingdom can be
referred to as the church and also as the body
Isaiah, the city prophet, spoke of the church in prophecy
in Isaiah 2:2-4. He, through the inspiration of God, said the
church would come in the last days and would be established in the
city of Jerusalem. The Hebrew writer described the last days to be
in existence during the Christian dispensation (Heb. 1:1-2). The
last days began on Pentecost (Acts 2) and will remain until time
shall be no more. The last days were not to be found during the Old
Testament dispensation of time (Heb. 10:1; 8:8-13). Isaiah, as well
as Zechariah prophesied that the place for the establishment of the
kingdom/church would be in the city of Jerusalem (Isa. 28:16;
2:2-3; Zech. 1:16). The extent or domain of the kingdom would be to
all nations (Isa. 2:2). This would be in accordance with Christ's
command to preach the Gospel to all the world or nations (Matt.
28:19; Mark 16:15). The preaching of the Gospel to all nations
would not begin until Pentecost in 33 A.D. (Matt. 10:5-6). The
apostle Paul related in Colossians 1:23 that the Gospel was
universally proclaimed, thus fulfilling the prophecy given by
Isaiah (Isa. 2:2).
Reliable men of inspiration spoke of the church in the
preparatory stage in the Gospel record and shows it was not in
complete existence. John the baptizer spoke of the church as being
at hand (Matt. 3:1-2). Jesus the Christ spoke of his
church in the preparatory stage as he stated, That there be
some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till
they have seen the kingdom of God come with power (Mark 9:1).
The twelve were commissioned to preach the kingdom of heaven
is at hand (Matt. 10:17). The seventy were told to say,
the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you (Luke 10:9).
Some in the very age of the Christ still looked with great
anticipation toward the coming of the church in fact. The thief on
the cross, as well as Joseph of Arimathaea realized the church was
still in the preparatory stage (Luke 23:42; Mark 15:42-43).
Therefore, any church that came before Pentecost was much to early
and any church that came after Pentecost was much too late.
The church of Christ came into complete existence or in
fact on the day of Pentecost as the Gospel of Christ was being
preached by the apostles and obeyed by sinners on that glorious
occasion. Peter stood up and uncompromisingly proclaimed the Lord's
death, burial, resurrection and ascension (Acts 2:22-36). Those who
were pricked by the Gospel (Rom. 1:16), obeyed the Gospel and were
added to the Lord's church (Acts 2:47). The church of Christ spoken
of in prophecy and in preparation finally came in fact! The church
of Christ exists now wherever the pure and unadulterated Gospel is
preached and obeyed and lived! The church of Christ will never be
destroyed. It has weathered many violent storms over the ages, but
it remains! As Daniel, by inspiration said, it shall stand
forever (Dan. 2:44)!
The church of Christ as seen in prophecy, preparation and
in fact is the called out body of believers having been obedient to
the commands of the Gospel. Friend, will you become a member of the
church of Christ as scores of others have done throughout the ages
and remain faithful and true till death shall take you home? By
HEARING (Rom. 10:17), BELIEVING (Mark 16:16); REPENTING (Luke
13:3); CONFESSING the name of Christ (Acts 8:37) and being BAPTIZED
for the remission of your sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16), you can become
a member of the church that was prophesied, prepared, and is now in
existence -- the church of Christ!
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A week or so ago, I received an e-mail from my dad with Oak
Hill church's Mission Statement for 2003 attached. It would seem
that Max Lucado has had a vision (page 2, paragraph 2).
As the details of this vision crystallized for me,
I shared them with our elders. They prayed, pondered, and tested
the ideas and, ultimately saw them as God's will for Oak
Hills. (page 2, paragraph 3)
We call you to dedicate the next forty days (August
31 to October 9) to prayer, asking God to give us all strength to
obey his call. Like the Apostle Paul, we desire to say, '.I obeyed
this vision from heaven.' (Acts 26:19 CEV) (page 2, latter
part of paragraph 3)
Another major initiative is excellent pastoral
care. Our elders are facing their privilege with renewed
vigor. They are re-evaluating and re-organizing, seeking to
shepherd the church through Life Groups. (page 4, last
This document continues on with the different changes to
the various worship services that Oak Hills will provide. But the
most notable change is the following:
Let's seek to remove any barrier that would hinder
a person from hearing the Gospel. Our seventh initiative calls for
an alteration of our name. We can reach more souls by
modifying Oak Hills Church of Christ to Oak Hills
Church. We do this for two reasons:
To follow the New Testament example: New Testament
churches employed a variety of names, never clustering under a
common banner other than Jesus Christ (See addendum)
To reach more souls for Christ. While we deeply appreciate
our heritage in the Churches of Christ, we recognize the hindrance
the name creates for some. A common comment from new members is
this: We would have come sooner, but we had to get over the
name of the church. This is a barrier that need not be.
We recognize the emotional struggle this decision spawns
for some. Please know this choice came after careful, extended
prayer and thought. (pages 11 & 12)
I would like to express my appreciation to Max for finally
dis-associating himself from the church of Christ. Now maybe the
brotherhood can finally breath a sigh of relief knowing Max Lucado
has finally shown his true self to the world.
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MARRIAGE, DIVORCE, AND THE LAW OF THE EXCLUDED MIDDLE
God has given man the ability to reason things through. There
are certain laws which men inherently use when they think
rationally. To deny these laws of rationality is absolutely absurd
and would involve men in numerous self-contradictions. One of these
is the law of the excluded middle. Simply stated, this
means that something either possesses a certain characteristic or
it does not -- something is either true or it is is 'non-true'
(i.e. 'false'). For example, I may say that a pencil is either
wood, or non-wood. There is no middle ground to such a statement.
There is no quality somewhere between being wood and non-wood.
Now let us apply this to God's law on marriage and
divorce. In Matthew 19:9 Jesus said, And I say unto you,
Whosoever shall put away his wife, except for fornication, and
marry another, committeth adultery.... Our Lord is
telling us that ANY man, putting away ANY woman to whom he is
married, and marrying ANY OTHER WOMAN, enters into the act of
adultery (he is actually living in a state of adultery since the
verb is a present tense verb). There is, however, one exception to
this law. If a person's spouse commits fornication, then the
innocent party can put away his wife/husband and marry another
WITHOUT committing adultery.
Now let us apply the law of the excluded middle. When a
couple splits the blanket, files for divorce and dissolves their
marriage, it is either because of fornication or it is because of
non-fornication (some cause other than fornication). Since Jesus
made the only exception to His law on marriage and divorce to be
fornication, then anything that falls into the realm of
non-fornication is not acceptable in His sight.
Unfortunately there are a great number of foolish men who have
taken the position that except for fornication actually
means except for fornication and, in some cases, except for
non-fornication. Given their position, the law of Jesus on
marriage and divorce is meaningless. Can you imagine our Lord
saying, If any man puts away his wife, and marries another, he
commits adultery. There is, of course an exception to this rule,
and that is if the man puts his wife away for fornication, or, for
non-fornication, then he does not commit adultery. Yet this is
precisely what the position of some imply of our Lord when it comes
to the subject of marriage and divorce. Such a position actually
nullifies the law itself. Hence, men have made void the
commandments of God by their traditions.
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The Tara church of Christ in Jonesboro, GA is looking for a
sound Gospel preacher. If you know of one please have them contact
Jim Lester at (770) 471-7300 (building) or (770) 603-7468
(home). Thank you ...Max Fisher, Jonesboro, GA.
I see in the Sept/2003 issue of STOP that one Steve DeVore of
Idabel, OK does not want STOP mailed to him anymore. He is
evidently neither physical nor spiritual kin to me. I want to
continue receiving STOP! ...Larry R. DeVore, Wooster OH.
I read in the LIPSCOMB NEWS that Pat Boone will
be performing during homecoming. Perhaps some of you remember when
Pat and his wife left the church in the '60's. He got involved in
tongue speaking (so called) and various neo-pentecostal
meanderings. But why should we be surprised to see him at DLU? He
is already on Pepperdine's board of directors. The apostasy
continues! ...Roelf L. Ruffner, Carlsbad, NM. I
have returned to full-time work and relocated in Eastern Ohio. I
have always appreciated you and your loyalty to our Lord and His
church. Please place me on the mailing list of S.T.O.P.
Also, my son-in-law and daughter. Thank you so much!
...Jack Openshaw, Hanoverton, OH. Thank you so very much
for sending the publication to the church that meets in Allenhurst,
GA. Please accept the enclosed check to be used in whatever way you
deem best in publication and distribution of this outstanding
publication. Keep up the good work. May God continue to bless your
efforts ...Bob Miller, church of Christ, Allenhurst, GA.
We are a small congregation in need of good Gospel
literature such as you provide. We would all appreciate being
placed on your mailing list. Thank you! ...Crossroads
church of Christ, Lynn, AL. My husband is deceased but I
would like to continue to receive your paper S.T.O.P.
Enclosed you will find a small contribution. Please use it where
needed. Thank you so much for the work you are doing
...Margaret Wittig, Bizbee, AZ. You are doing a great job
writing Seek the Old Paths. Keep up the good work. I am
thankful for your keeping us informed. God bless. Thanks
...Charles Maxwell, Cookeville, TN. We appreciate your
stamina and persistence in proclaiming the truth. God bless you in
your efforts ...Donald White, Purcell, OK.
Enclosed is a check to help in teaching of God's word. Enjoy
the paper very much and the sound articles you print. Wish all of
the bulletins by other people could be this sound. May God's
blessing always be with you in your efforts to teach his word as it
is written ...Thresa Weir, Sulphur Springs, TX.
Please stop all mailing to this address. Thank you
...Oliver Seat, Batesville, AR. I am a member of the
Harmony church of Christ in Saratoga, AR. I read one of your mail
outs Seek the Old Paths and it was a joy to read after
being told so many times that we are outdated and should change,
but GOD's word has not changed and I am proud to see someone that
stands on that principle. If possible, I would like to have 10
copies of Seek the Old Paths for our members
...Harmony church of Christ, James Vaughn, Saratoga, AR.
We were recently given several copies of this pamphlet and
were certainly impressed with each article's clarity and
truthfulness always giving Scripture to uphold the truth of God's
Word. Please include us on your mailing list. We received Jan.
2003, and would like Feb. 2003 issue. Also, do you have a bound
volume of 2002? May God bless you in this good work
...Charles Nicks, Hayesville, NC. [NOTE: Bound volumes are
available for $5 each.] Would you please add me to your
mailing list? I recently was handed a copy of Seek the Old
Paths and found it very enjoyable. I would appreciate
receiving it on a regular basis ...Jesse A. Baird, Jr.,
Jacksonville, FL. 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. I read your Dec. 2002, which
I got from Van Nuys church of Christ. 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 Weir and Steadfast for the Lord by
Charles Box. I read also at your mailbag two preachers from the
Philippines, Serafin Calixto and Tito Peralta. I know them. I hope
that not only these two Christ preachers from Phil. 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. Amen. 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 USA 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 am very
happy in touch with you through this letter and it is very glad to
me in the Lord, to meet you by way of correspondence. First, we
thank God and Christ (Eph. 5:20) and to you, and to our most
beloved brother James D. Cox of Southern California School of
Evangelism. The same brother sent me a copy of your printed page.
We thanks to James D. Cox a good and productive servant of God, who
is a great source of strength, and gift of God to us. We appreciate
him, and love him. Myself and our brothers enjoyed the articles
very much, and we discussed some of the contents in our regular
Bible Classes. Thank you very much to you that you evangelizing and
strengthening the preachers, Bible Class Teachers, and brother and
sisters all over the world by the way of your printed page, with
the blessings of the Lord. We pray that, it should be widely used
for the Lord's service to spread the Kingdom of our Lord. God bless
you all those, whose efforts are collectively brought up in the
form of STOP. I would so much appreciate having copies
of the previous and present, to be mostly used in the church
services as well as share them with others too. It is very pleasure
to us, we shall be added to your mailing list. We are very grateful
to you, sending of your STOP for which I shall be
thankful to you brothers. I will pray for you the brethren, there
and ask that you do the same for us ...K. M. Ratna Kumar,
India. God Bless You ...W. A. Washington,
Houston, TX. May God bless you and your work to further
the Gospel message ...Name Withheld.
The 2000 & 2001 Bound Volume can be ordered from:
Old Paths Publishing
2007 Francis Ferry Rd.
McMinnville, TN 37110
$5 postage paid
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