DAVID LIPSCOMB UNIVERSITY
CHRISTIAN SCHOLARS CONFERENCE
The Christian Scholars Conference (CSC) convened in June,
2008, on the campus of David Lipscomb University in Nashville,
Tennessee. With support from several sister schools, e.g.,
Pepperdine University, Abilene Christian University, Oklahoma
Christian University, and Harding University, it was
the twenty-eighth annual gathering of some of the most radically
liberal, self-designated scholars on the planet. There
were dozens of presentations (all of which were characterized as
high quality productions), delivered by both men and
women, representing sixty-eight colleges and universities, along
with twenty-four additional institutions.
The conference was a heterogeneous blend of sectarian
personalities (all of whom were identified as Christian),
combined with a conglomerate of digressives who have surrendered
virtually every vestige of interest in the restoration of New
Testament religion. Restorationism is not merely ignored,
it is repudiated emphatically.
The CSC platform affirms that it is
dedicated to the virtue of diversity which expands world-views,
fosters collegiality, demonstrates the highest quality of
scholarship, and provides opportunity for all Christian
The sacred Scriptures enjoin unity; the emerging
anti-restorationists applaud diversity. The lineup demonstrated how
very far from New Testament teaching this aggregation of
elitists has strayed.
One of the most startling participants was former
Abilene Christian University student, Jared Cramer. Cramer
is currently affiliated with the Anglican (Episcopal) movement
(working toward priesthood). On his blog the Reverend
Cramer (as he likes to designate himself) emphatically
declares he has abandoned the ideal of restorationism.
I dont believe in Restorationism or
Primitivism. I just dont. Its not Biblical,
theres no call to it. I dont care two bits
if todays church looks like the first
century church, and I dont think God does
The most stunning thing, however, was the topic for
which Mr. Cramer contended, with the obvious tolerance of the CSC
screening committee and/or those affiliated with this program.
According to an abstract that appeared on the Lipscomb University
website, the authors presentation was titled One New
Humanity: Reconsidering Homosexuality in Light of the Ecclesiology
of Ephesians. The abstract states:
Pauls letter to the Ephesians presents an
ecclesiology founded on unity in Christ
rooted in the fullness of God. Ephesians
builds on the fundamental truth that in
Christ, God has broken down the dividing wall
between Jews and Gentiles and is creating one
new humanity in place of the two. After
examining the ecclesiology of Ephesians, this
paper engages in a case study on the place of
gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered
(GLBT) Christians in the Episcopal Church.
Perhaps a deeper understanding of Pauls
message in Ephesians can lead to a renewed
perspective on the issues facing Christians
This may represent an all-time historical low as an
approach to Pauls Ephesian letter.
The material submitted to the CSC (with only a slight
alteration to accommodate a transition to the newer CSC format) is
a regurgitation of Cramers previously published views. His
position was set forth in an article titled Homosexuality: But
It was submitted in a more extensive format as a
thesis written while at Abilene Christian University and
presented to Dr. James W. Thompson, November 28, 2006 (see the
thesis at www.jaredcramer.com/wp-content/paulineecclesiology.pdf).
The CSC submission (June 27, 2008) is virtually a carbon copy of
his ACU thesis. It can hardly be claimed, therefore, that his
position caught CSC officials by surprise.
Cramer contends that his defense of homosexuality is
a response to an increasing number of questions he has received
regarding his position on this subject. Incredibly, the author
asserts that any discussion of homosexuality is shallow until
a person actually engages in an actual relationship with a person
of a different sexual orientation.
The main proposition the author attempts to argue is
that there is nothing wrong about a faithful, loving,
monogamous same-sex relationship. He says, I fail to see
what it is about homosexuality that declares it as inherently
evil (Homosexuality: But Why?
www.jaredcramer.com/?p=3D583). He contends that Pauls
oneness ecclesiology in the Ephesian epistle applies to
gays and straights just as it did to Jews and Gentiles!
If this is so, the apostle contradicted his earlier
instruction in both 1 Corinthians (6:9), Romans (1:26-27), and his
later letter to Timothy (1 Timothy 1:10).
This brief review is not designed as a comprehensive
rebuttal of the authors superficial treatment of the Scripture
texts that condemn homosexual conduct. He dismisses the biblical
data with a cavalier wave of the hand and his personal assertion
that some of the scriptural condemnations are conditioned by
time and culture; thus they are not relevant to todays
gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgendered phenomenon. Other texts, he
maintains, address abuses rather than loving homosexual
The following questions are appropriate: How
does a scholar determine it is wrong if: (a) a
homosexual relationship is breached by unfaithfulness
(b) is flawed when lacking love and is solely a matter of
lust; or, (c) is unwarranted if it is polygamous instead of
monogamous? How does one deduce that fidelity, lovingness, and
monogamy are to be preferred over their opposites?
Might someone not contend that Bible teaching about
faithfulness, love, and monogamy likewise are culturally flexible,
and thus promiscuity, lust, and multiple sex-partners are
permissible? These sexually inclusive attitudes and actions are
common in numerous cultures within certain segments of
the modern world.
One of Cramers arguments in defense of homosexual
relationships (as he ideally depicts them) is that gays, lesbians,
bisexuals, and the transgendered frequently bear all the
fruits of the Spirit (cf. Gal. 5:22-23), hence such must be
evidence of their approval by God. He contends that the
holiness seen in the lives of these Christians has stood in
stark contrast with many sinful patterns of sexuality
(e.g., promiscuity, prostitution, incest, pornography, pedophilia,
predatory sexual behavior, etc.) (One New Humanity).
The logic is unbelievable.
What is to be said regarding the atheist who loves his
wife, is joyful in his occupational employment, and is peaceable
with his next-door neighbor? Do these qualities demonstrate that he
enjoys the approval of the very God he denies?
What possible justification could David Lipscomb
University and its affiliates have for arranging and/or supporting
a program that embraces a defense of this debauched level of moral
What a disservice to the godly memory of the founder
of this school! If this does not awaken a somewhat lethargic
brotherhood to the gross level of corruption within a number of our
universities, could anything bring us to a state of
Article taken from www.christiancourier.com
PO Box 690308, Stockton, CA 95269
Table of Contents
ANSWERING QUESTIONS ON SALVATION #2
Garland M. Robinson
Several passages have been set forth by faith
only advocates in an effort to refute what the Bible teaches
concerning faith and obedience. They suppose these passages support
their man-made doctrine of faith only or faith
alone. We take in hand a brief examination of these passages
as was set forth in a letter we received some months ago. The
following was written in answer to this letter.
John 6:35, And Jesus said unto
them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never
hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never
The word faith or believeth
is used for everything that is necessary in obeying Jesus. It sums
up ones total involvement in being saved. To tie the word
only or alone to it, is adding to Gods
word. Faith in Jesus is essential to salvation, but nothing is said
in this verse about faith alone. Where do you read that
in the verse? Multiple verses are offered to support and defend the
man-made doctrine of faith alone, but not a one of them
says anything about faith alone. These verses make clear
that faith is essential in being saved, but they say
nothing about faith only.
If you are going to teach faith only,
then why dont you give the verse that says it? You and I both
know such a verse is not in the Bible. The only time you find the
words faith only in the Bible is in James 2:24 and it has
the word NOT in front of it. What would God have to say to get you
to believe that salvation is NOT BY FAITH ONLY? God plainly says
it, but you dont believe it. You insist the Bible teaches
faith alone, but wont give the verse that says so.
John 6:40, And this is the
will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and
believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will
raise him up at the last day.
This verse demands belief and connects it to
everlasting life, but it does not say believe only. That
is man-made doctrine -- the devils doctrine. The Bible
certainly teaches salvation by faith, but not by faith only. All
Bible believers accept that faith is essential to being saved, but
where does the Bible say one is saved by faith only?
Please list the verse.
John 6:47, Verily, verily, I
say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting
One must believe on Jesus to have everlasting
life, but nothing is said about believe only. The word
only or alone is added by man and; therefore,
stands condemned by God. The word believeth is used to
include ALL that is involved in mans response.
John 7:38-39, He that
believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly
shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the
Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy
Ghost was not yet [given]; because that Jesus was not yet
This verse says nothing about believe
only. That is man-made. Its not in the verse. Those who
keep on believing on Jesus, AS THE SCRIPTURE HATH SAID, out of his
belly shall flow rivers of living water. Ive never seen rivers
of living water come out of ones belly, nor has anyone else.
The phrase rivers of living water is a figure of speech,
where one thing is said but something else is intended. In this
case, the phrase indicates salvation. All should understand that.
But notice that Jesus said that one will only
experience salvation if he DOES what the Scripture says. The
Scripture nowhere says anything about faith only except
in James 2:17,24 and there it makes it clear that salvation is NOT
BY FAITH ONLY.
John 11:25-26, Jesus said unto
her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth
in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever
liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou
This is all true, but where does it say
believeth only. Notice that it says liveth.
That is, one keeps on living, obeying, the Lord. This is a living,
active, obedient, faith. Faith only is a dead, lifeless,
inert faith. Of course, this verse says nothing about faith
only, making it so that a person will never die.
John 20:31, But these are
written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ,
the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life
through his name.
This is true. I dont know anyone who denies
any of these verses. But, this verse makes it clear that life
through his name comes only to those who keep on believing through
his name. When one keeps on believing, he keeps on obeying, only
then is there life in his name. Faith only is not found
in this verse. Faith only wont bring life through
his name. Faith only keeps people from ever enjoying life
through his name. Faith only is a tragedy to mankind. It
nullifies the Lords suffering and death on the old rugged
cross. It prevents one from ever being raised with the Lord (in
baptism) to walk a newness of life (Rom. 6:3-6). Faith
only keeps people in their sins (James 2:24).
Acts 10:43, To him give all
the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth
in him shall receive remission of sins.
This verse is so true. What a comfort it is to
know that Jesus cares and that we can have forgiveness by believing
in him. But, this verse doesnt say anything about
believing only. This verse says believeth. That
is, one who keeps on believing. It is a faith that performs, acts,
obeys. It is a living faith. Faith only is a dead faith.
It does not perform, act, obey. One will never receive remission of
sins by faith only.
Acts 11:17, Forasmuch then as
God gave them the like gift as [he did] unto us, who believed
on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand
Those at the household of Cornelius believed on
the Lord. As a result, they did not claim faith only.
They gladly submitted to being baptized and therefore received
remission of sins (Acts 10:48; 2:38). Had they believed only, they
would not have been saved. Where does it say they believed
only? Its not there. Over and over again throughout the
New Testament, belief, faith, is used to indicate ones
obedience to the Lords commands. Faith sums up all that one
must do to become a Christian and live a Christian life to be able
to go to heaven someday. To rightly divide the word of
truth (II Tim. 2:15), makes it necessary that we take ALL the
Bible says on a subject and reason to a logical conclusion.
Faith only is a dead, devilish doctrine. No one has ever
been saved by it nor will anyone ever be saved by it. This verse
certainly does not teach otherwise.
--More to follow next month
Table of Contents
THOSE THAT ARE RICH IN THIS WORLD
Roger D. Campbell
In the New Testament, we read of individuals who
were in deep poverty (II Cor. 8:2). We also read about
those people who were very rich (Luke 18:23). While the
term middle-class is not used in the Bible, we would
imagine that a number of Bible characters whose financial standing
is not specified in the Scriptures, were somewhere in between the
status of being very rich and living in deep
We recognize that the expressions rich
people and poor people must be understood in the
context of the folks with whom they are being compared. One who is
counted as a rich person in the States, just might be considered a
poor man if he were to move to Saudi Arabia. On the other hand, a
family that has a household income that ranks in the bottom 5% of
the households in a more wealthy country, might be seen as rich by
those who live in a poverty-stricken, undeveloped nation.
Many of us who do not count ourselves as being
in the category of the rich, will have to admit that we
do have an enormous amount of material blessings. Yes, we have
much, much more than we actually need in order to survive. We
would, then, be rich, would we not? For the purpose of
this study, we want to examine a portion of the message that the
Holy Spirit instructed Timothy to give to rich people. It is
recorded in 1 Timothy 6:17-19; Charge them that are rich
in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain
riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to
enjoy. That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to
distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for
themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they
may lay hold on eternal life.
When we break down these verses, we see in them
some Dos and Donts for rich
people. Let us look at them one by one.
1. Do NOT be highminded (haughty)
(v.17). Having a lot of money or an abundance of material
possessions does not make one a better quality person. Riches, or
a lack of them, have nothing to do with a persons character.
And, yet, many of the worlds wealthy are in love with
themselves and eaten up with arrogance as they look down their
snobby noses at others. Satan has convinced multitudes of people
that if they can just become rich, then they will be somebody.
Friends, the way to be somebody has everything to do with
being washed by the blood of the Lamb and having our names written
in His book of life, while being somebody has nothing to
do with how much money a person has!
2. Do NOT trust in uncertain riches
(v.17). There is such a thing as being spiritually rich (Rev. 2:9),
but here in 1 Timothy 6, the obvious reference is to material
riches. Notice how the Bible describes such -- uncertain
riches. What makes them uncertain? The fact that
there is no guarantee that they will still be in our possession
even an hour from now! A rich fool of a farmer said to himself,
Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take
thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry (Luke 12:19). What
a shocker it must have been to him to hear the Lord tell him,
Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then
whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided
(Luke 12:20)? Since money and material blessings are in the
now-you-have-them, now-you-dont category, they are
3. DO trust in the living God (v.17).
The Bibles message is plain: Trust in the LORD with
all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding
(Prov. 3:5). Every person of every economic status needs to
learn to say the following words with an honest heart: O
LORD my God, in thee do I put my trust (Psalm 7:1).
Sadly, riches are the god before which many bow, but there is only
one living God Who is worthy of our devotion. God is a refuge,
strength, and hope for those that trust in Him (Psalm 46:1). Money,
on the other hand, will never serve as a refuge or shelter which
can somehow save a person from every problem in life, including
sin. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to
deliver them in the day of the LORDS wrath (Zeph.
4. DO remember the source of your riches
(v.17). The text says, ...God, who giveth us richly all
things to enjoy. Yes, all things are from the
Lord. How much money do I have? Regardless of my answer, I must
never forget that every single portion of it came from God. He is
the Giver of life, breath, and all things (Acts 17:25).
5. DO do good (v.18). One
motive that a child of God should have in making money is to be
able to use it to give to him that needeth (Eph. 4:28).
That same Book of Ephesians reminds us that Christians are created
in the Christ unto good works (2:10). Yes, the Lord wants
His people to be zealous of good works (Titus 2:14).
While almost everyone has opportunity to show compassion and render
assistance to those that are lacking in material things, those that
are rich are especially blessed with the prospect of being able to
do more than others simply due to the fact of their abundance.
6. DO be rich in good works
(v.18). They should not dabble in helping others just to make
themselves feel good about themselves or to avoid the feeling of
guilt. Rather, those that are blessed with material riches are to
abound in good works. What a blessing those people who love to give
can be to a community and a congregation of Gods people.
7. DO be ready to distribute (give)
and willing to communicate (share) (v.18). Here we see the
mentality the rich need to manifest in the matter of doing good
works -- not unprepared and forced into it, but ready and
willing. Would this principal not hold true for all
Christians? And, would it not apply to the mind-set of those in a
congregation who make decisions about the help the church supplies
for those that stand in need?
8. DO store up for yourselves a good
foundation for the time to come (v.19). The Master said it
this way, But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not
break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will
your heart be also (Matt. 6:20,21). The only way to be
ready to live where there is no need for material possessions of
any type (which is heaven), is to recognize Jesus as the one
foundation (I Cor. 3:11), then serve Him as Lord by doing His will
(Luke 6:46). Yes, a wise man builds his house/life on the Lord
Jesus (Matt. 7:24-27).
9. Do NOT lose sight of what is most
important (v.19). You have probably seen it happen. Perhaps it
has even happened in your own life. What am I talking about? A
person can get so caught up in the possession of riches (and making
more!) that he/she loses sight of what really matters in life,
which is living in such a way that we can obtain eternal life. The
Holy Spirits message to rich people is for them to get it
right with their riches in order that they can lay hold
on eternal life (v.19). When our heart is more concentrated on
money matters than it is on eternal life, we are in trouble, big
trouble! Many saints of God who were once faithful in His service
have self-destructed due to the cares of this world, and
the deceitfulness of riches (Mark 4:19).
It is not money itself, nor the possession of it,
that is the root of all kinds of evil. Rather, it is the love
of money that has the distinction of being called the root of
all kinds of evil (I Tim. 6:10). A further point that needs to be
made from our text in 1 Timothy 6:17-19 is this: Gods charge
to the rich is not for them to become poor, but rather for them to
maintain a proper attitude toward their money and to be generous in
their use of it for good works. There is no message in the Bible
that says a person will be condemned for being rich. Instead, the
rich are given warnings, exhortations, and instructions about the
proper use of their funds and possessions.
The message we have considered from 1 Timothy
6:17-19 is a sobering one, not just for the filthy rich,
but for each one of us. May the Dos and
Donts we have studied about material riches be ever
clear in our minds. Let us all be grateful for the greatest riches
of all -- those spiritual blessings that we enjoy in the Son of God
(Eph. 1:3). And, would we not do well to imitate the attitude the
apostle Paul expressed? Speaking of his outlook, both past and
present, he wrote, But what things were gain to me, those
I counted loss for Christ (Phil. 3:7). Many of our
generation would exclaim, To me, to live is money. Not so
for the apostle to the Gentiles. Hear him: For to me to
live is Christ... (Phil. 1:21).
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Table of Contents
The Transitional Step
The subject of baptism has for many years been one of
great controversy. This controversy is not the fault of the
Scriptures. The fault is on the part of those people who do not
want to accept what the Bible so plainly teaches. It amazes me to
see how so many people who claim to believe the Bible, and who will
accept what the Bible says on other subjects, will reject what the
Scriptures teach about baptism. One reason for such rejection might
be a failure to recognize that a transition occurs when one is
baptized for the remission of his sins. A transitional step always
takes place when the sinner obeys the Gospel of Christ. Since the
Old Testament was ...written for our learning... (Rom.
15:4), the Israelites serve as an example from which we can learn
a lesson about making a transition.
When Moses led Gods people out of Egyptian
bondage, Pharaohs army followed in pursuit until they came to
the Red Sea. The Israelites were afraid they were about to be
overtaken (Exodus 14:9,10). The Bible says, And Moses
said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still and see the
salvation of the Lord... (Exodus 14:13). The
Israelites salvation was their physical deliverance through
the Red Sea. The Israelites made a transition from Egyptian bondage
when they passed through the waters of the Sea. It was only when
they were on the other side were they able to sing the song of
deliverance (Exodus 15). This transitional step is
referred to by the apostle Paul when he wrote, And were
all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea (I
Today, when one is baptized for the remission of
his sins, he makes a transition from his sinful past into Jesus
Christ, where he is cleansed by the blood of Christ and
raised to walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:3,4; Rev.
1:5). When the sinner is baptized his is ...delivered
from the power of darkness, and hath been translated into the
kingdom of his dear Son... (Col. 1:13). The key word is
into, a preposition indicative of a forward movement.
When the sinner is baptized for the remission of his sins, he makes
a transition by putting off the old man (his sinful past,
MK) and putting on the new man (Christ, MK). (See Col.
Have YOU taken that transitional step
into Jesus Christ? When one is baptized for the remission of his
sins, he enters into the body of Christ which is the church of our
Lord (I Cor. 12:13; Eph. 4:4; 1:22,23). Since salvation is in
Christ (II Tim. 2:10) and the only way into Christ is in the
transition (baptism) into him, it is imperative that we obey Him
today. Tomorrow may not come!
Friend, churches of Christ stand ready to assist
you in your obedience to the Gospel. If you believe
Jesus Christ is Gods Son (John 8:24), and have repented
of your sins (Acts 17:30), wont you confess
your faith in Christ (Acts 8:36,37) and then take that transitional
step into Christ by being baptized for the forgiveness of
your sins? Do so today! You may not have another tomorrow. Think
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Table of Contents
TRUE BRANCHES OF CHRIST
Marvin L. Weir
The fifteenth chapter of John portrays Christ as the
true vine and individual Christians as the branches. One who obeys
the Gospel is a branch in Christ. Man-made denominations are not
the branches spoken of by John as is made clear in verse five. The
disciples who are followers of Christ are the branches under
discussion. Each child of God has the responsibility to produce
fruit as a branch in the kingdom.
Denominations teach that these branches
are different churches in a futile attempt to justify
denominationalism. The context, however, will not allow such an
erroneous interpretation. It is individual people under
consideration and not different religious groups. Man-made
religious bodies are desperate to find New Testament Scripture to
back up their existence but they will search in vain. There is only
one body (Eph. 4:4), and one does not mean
Only those who obey the Gospel (Rom. 1:16) are
branches in Christ (II Cor. 5:17). One puts on
Christ in the act of baptism (Gal. 3:27). A penitent believer who
obeys the Gospel plan of salvation is baptized into
Christ (Rom. 6:3) and raised to
walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4).
One who does not bear fruit is not maturing in
Christ. The apostle Paul identifies the fruit that every child of
God is to produce as being love, joy, peace,
longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness,
[and] selfcontrol (Gal. 5:22-23). The Christian who
is bearing fruit for the Master will continue to mature as Peter
demonstrates in saying, And beside this, giving all
diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And
to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to
patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to
brotherly kindness charity (II Peter 1:5-7). A Christian
will also strive to teach others the Gospel in planting and
watering as the opportunity arises (I Cor. 3:6).
When the Word of God is proclaimed, the seed of
the kingdom is sown (Luke 8:11). The Gospel is still to this very
day Gods power to save souls from sin (Rom. 1:16). No one has
ever been saved by the wisdom of man (cf. I Cor. 1:20-25), and this
truth strikes a deathblow to all the gimmicks that are employed
today by religious shysters to draw a crowd. A true follower of
Christ who is bearing fruit for the Lord will preach the Word and
be content to let God give the increase.
The Word of God has the ability to clean and make
pure. The apostle Peter says to brethren, Seeing ye have
purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto
unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with
a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed,
but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth
for ever (I Peter 1:22-23).
It has already been noted that a person puts on
Christ at the point of immersion into Christ (Gal. 3:27). One who
is in Christ must choose to continue to abide in
Christ (John 15:4). If one fails to walk in the light as
he is in the light (I John 1:7) or goeth
onward and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ (II
John 9), he does not abide in the vine (John
15:4) and cannot bear fruit. Many today pretend to be
branches while refusing to do the Lords will. Jesus
notes this truth in saying, Not every one that saith unto
me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that
doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me
in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in
thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful
works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart
from me, ye that work iniquity (Matt. 7:21-23).
May we submit to the Masters commands so
that we will not hear Him say at the judgment, And why
call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say
(Luke 6:46)? John 15:6 says, If a man abide not in
me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather
them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
This makes it clear that Jesus is speaking of individuals and not
churches. One is obligated to remain in the vine.
Whatever is required to do he must do or be purged from the vine.
This shows that man can apostatize and lose his soul.
Different fruit does not come from the same vine.
Religious division is contrary to Jesus prayer (John
17:20-21). All branches in Christ are to produce the same
fruit. In other words, each Christian is to speak the
same thing...that there be no divisions...be perfectly joined
together in the same mind and in the same judgment (I
One cannot claim to follow Christ while
refusing to obey His commands. A true branch of Christ abides in
His Word and enjoys fellowship with the Father and the Son and all
others who are content to abide in the teaching of Christ. May we
strive to be true branches of Christ!
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Table of Contents
On The Brink Of Disaster
Which will it be? The way that leads to God or the way that
leads away from God? Everyone has their own ideas about social
issues (which make no difference one way or the other). But
Biblical issues do not fit into that category. What the Bible says
makes all the difference in the world the difference between
heaven and hell. Unless the citizens of this land and its governing
officials turn from their present course, destruction will be the
final outcome. God declares, righteousness exalteth a nation:
but sin is a reproach to any people (Prov. 14:34; 11:11). As
Christians, our job is to pray and work to promote righteousness;
not lend a hand to hasten our own destruction. Its far past
time to get our mind set on things ABOVE, not on things of this
world (Col. 3:2). In which direction are YOU pushing this county,
toward God or away from God?
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MAY I SPEAK TO THE PASTOR?
Almost daily I receive a phone call which goes
something like this: Hello, Morgan City church of Christ.
Hi, my name is ____ and I am wondering if I may speak to the
pastor? Surely I am not the only one who receives such a call.
This question is a manifestation of a false denominational teaching
which has plagued our world for years. It is the teaching that the
man who preaches is the pastor. This concept is
not unique to denominations, however, for many of our brethren have
the same concept, which is revealed in a two-fold manner: (1)
thinking that the preacher is the boss, and (2) actually thinking
like those of the denominational world that the preacher really is
the pastor. Despite the thinking of many, the Bible teaches
something much to the contrary. We now call attention to what the
Bible teaches concerning pastors.
The Bible does, in fact, describe an office of
work in which men pastor. This same office is recognized
as being the work of elders, who are also referred to as
bishops. Though these three terms describe the same
office of work, they are used to show different aspects of the
work. The term elder is descriptive of one who is older
or aged, thus has experience. Bishop refers to the
actual work of seeing that things get done, and done properly.
Pastor refers to the tending process involved in the work,
which is expressive of seeing to it that Christians are being
edified. Let us now look more closely at how these terms are used
to describe the same office of work.
The first section of Scripture to which we call
attention, wherein all three terms are used, is Acts 20:17-28. It
is said that Paul sent to Ephesus, and called the
elders of the church (v.17). Notice closely who he
called -- the elders. The term is translated from the Greek word
presbuteros, which means one of age, one with
experience. As one continues through the context he will notice
that once these men (the elders) were come to him that
Paul said unto them (v.18). Paul continues to speak to
them through verse 35. In verse 28 Paul says, Take heed
therefore unto yourselves, to whom is he speaking? In view of
the context he is speaking to the elders of the
church. He continues, and to all the flock over the which
the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers....
The Greek word translated overseers is
episkopos, which means a man who is charged with seeing
that things are done and that they are done correctly. This same
word is translated bishop in 1 Timothy 3:1,2 and Titus
1:7. Paul is speaking to the elders, but now tells them that they
are bishops. Paul uses similar language in Titus 1:5,7 when he
said, ...and ordain elders in every church...for a bishop must
be.... Again, Paul is speaking of elders, but then calls them
bishops. Is this double talk? No, for Paul understands, and is
explaining, that elders and bishops are, in fact, the same
Now, back to Acts 20:28. After addressing the
elders, calling them bishops, Paul says they are ...to feed
the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
The term feed is a verb in English. It is translated from the Greek
verb poimaino, which means to rule or govern, to tend,
to feed. The noun form of this word is poimne, which
means one who rules or governs, one who tends (feeds). The word is
translated pastors in Ephesians 4:11 (the only time the
term pastor is used in the New Testament).
The next section of Scripture, 1 Peter 5:1,2,
uses all three terms. Verse one says, The elders which are
among you.... The term elder is translated from the
word presbuteros. Peter continues in verse two by saying
to the elders, feed the flock of God which is among
you.... Feed is translated from the term
poimaino, meaning to pastor. Finally, he says, taking
the oversight.... From what word is oversight
translated? It is the verb episkopeo, which is the verb
form of episkopos, meaning the act of seeing that things
We have one section of Scripture describing one
office of work and using three terms: elders, bishops and pastors.
What conclusions can we draw from this? Elders, bishops and pastors
are the same. These are different terms used to describe the same
office of work, each term showing a different aspect of the work.
Next we ask: Who can serve as an elder, bishop
or pastor? Despite popular belief, the preacher is not necessarily
one who is a part of this work, though he can be. A preacher can be
an elder, but not all elders are preachers, though they are to be
apt to teach. The Bible sets forth, in 1 Timothy 3:1-7
and in Titus 1:5-9, the qualifications a man must meet in order to
serve in the capacity of an elder/bishop/pastor.
Included among the qualifications is a man who
is married, having believing children. Also included in these
qualifications is the fact that there must be more than one man
serving in this office at a time. There must be two or more, but no
less than two. The words elders, bishops and pastors, always appear
in the plural, never the singular. Even though the word elder
(singular) appears in 1 Peter 5:1, it is obvious that he is one of
a group. For example: sent it to the elders (Acts 11:30);
and when they had ordained elders in every church (Acts
14:23); go up to the apostles and elders (Acts 15:2);
let the elders that rule well (I Tim. 5:17); ordain
elders in every city (Titus 1:5); the elders (I
Peter 5:1). The only time the word pastors is used in
the New Testament it is plural. So, then, a man serving in this
role must meet these qualifications, and must be joined by at least
one other man, in a local church, who also meets these
qualifications. These men are identified as elders, bishops and
Let us do away with this denominational
misrepresentation of biblical terminology. Let us call Bible things
by Bible names and do Bible things in Bible ways.
917 Fig St.
Morgan City, LA 70380
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For many years I have received 10 copies of Seek The Old
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articles and the soundness of the teaching. I moved last January
and need to have my mailing address changed ...Joe F.
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ENTER NOT INTO THE PATH OF THE WICKED
There is not much in this world that is so baffling as random and
senseless violence. We recently learned of a gang of youth on the
West coast who broke into a high priced home, not to steal, but to
vandalize. The house was trashed (as per the news
report). Walls were kicked in, furniture destroyed, fixtures and
appliances ripped from the wall and cabinets. Indeed, these things
cause the sensible and sane to marvel at the extent men will go
when under the control and power of Satan. The Proverb writer has
given us some insight into the mind set of such wicked
individuals that we would be wise to note. For they sleep
not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away,
unless they cause some to fall (Prov. 4:16). Adam Clarke
had these interesting comments relative to this verse: The
night is their time for spoil and depredation. And they must gain
some booty, before they go to rest. I grant also that there may be
some of so malevolent a disposition, that they cannot be easy
unless they can injure others, and are put to excessive pain when
they perceive any man in prosperity, or receiving a kindness
(page 712, Commentary on Proverbs). One can scarcely imagine such
depths of depravity, but inspiration tells us that men CAN arrive
at such a state, and experience teaches us that an ever increasing
number ARE DOING SO! There are two or three truths which we must
not miss here. First, one can become just as zealous for evil as he
can for good. To be sure, it is a progressive thing, but it is
possible nonetheless. One does not become wicked and vile
overnight, nor is he born that way. Sin is progressive for the
simple reason that it does not satisfy the deep needs of the soul.
Second, one can become so steeped in sin that wickedness is his
very nourishment. Verse 17 tells us that such individuals
eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of
violence. Depravity has reached such a point in their
lives that they feed on those things that are wicked. Third, the
best way to avoid such a state of depravity is to avoid the path
that leads thereto. Enter not into the path of the
wicked, and go not in the way of evil men (v.14). Avoid
the path, and you avoid where the path leads! We are told to
enter not, avoid it, pass not by it,
turn from it, and pass away. Many a hardened
criminal has lamented his past life with the ever familiar words,
If someone had just warned me. Well friend, someone IS
warning, shouting from heaven itself, Enter not into the
path of the wicked... Men are just not listening! --Tom
[From the EDITOR: Occasionally, we receive an anonymous letter
with the request that it be printed. Im sorry, but we do not
print anonymous letters. We dont want to acknowledge that it
was received. As a matter of fact, many times when we see there is
no name on it, the letter is never even read. Why would someone be
ashamed of what they have written?]
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