The Holy Kiss – A Command, or Not?

From wikipedia

The holy kiss is a traditional Christian greeting. The term comes from the New Testament, where it appears five times.

holy kiss 

 Farewell of Saints Peter and Paul, showing the Apostles giving each other the holy kiss before theirmartyrdom. (Alonzo Rodriguez, 16th century, Museo Regionale diMessina).

It is mentioned in:

  • Romans 16.16a — “Greet one another with a holy kiss” (Greekἀσπάσασθε ἀλλήλους ἐν φιλήματι ἁγίῳ).
  • I Corinthians 16.20b — “Greet one another with a holy kiss” (Greekἀσπάσασθε ἀλλήλους ἐν φιλήματι ἁγίῳ).
  • II Corinthians 13.12a — “Greet one another with a holy kiss” (Greekἀσπάσασθε ἀλλήλους ἐν ἁγίῳ φιλήματι).
  • I Thessalonians 5.26 — “Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss” (Greekἀσπάσασθε τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς πάντας ἐν φιλήματι ἁγίῳ).
  • I Peter 5.14a — “Greet one another with a kiss of love” (Greekἀσπάσασθε ἀλλήλους ἐν φιλήματι ἀγάπης).

Superficially, there was nothing new in the practice of Christians greeting one another with a kiss: cheek kissing was the normal way that men in the ancient westernMediterranean would greet one another. However, the New Testament’s emphasis on its being a holy and love (agapē) kiss meant that it quickly developed into something more than a greeting. The writings of the early church fathers mention the holy kiss as forming the introduction to the regular Sunday eucharist in the early church. In this way it still remains a part of the worship in traditional churches (Eastern ChristianityRoman Catholic Church and liturgical Protestant churches), where it is often called the kiss of peace or sign of peace, or simply peace or pax. In these churches, it is usually performed before the preparation of the altar for the eucharist.

Presently, the greeting is not normally shared as a kiss in English-speaking cultures, but by shaking hands or performing some other greeting gesture (such as anembrace) more in tune with the culture and time. In fact, handshaking, which can seem quite prosaic today, was popularised by Quakers as a sign of equality underGod, rather than stratified system of etiquette of seventeenth century England.[citation needed] One could even say that the handshake greeting is also of biblical origin: it is mentioned in Galatians 2.9d: “They gave me and Barnabas their right hands of fellowship” (Greekδεξὰς ἔδωκαν ἐμοὶ καὶ Βαρναβᾷ κοινωνίας).

Different ProtestantReformed and Restorationist churches have readopted the holy kiss either metaphorically (in that members extend a pure, warm welcome that is referred to as a holy kiss) or literally (in that members kiss one another). This practice is particularly important among Mennonites.

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Isn’t it interesting that this command – which is found FIVE times in the NT, is ignored as a command by our CENI-happy friends in the hyper-conservative Churches of Christ?  Doesn’t the “C” in “CENI” stand for “command”?

This is one of my big criticisms of Johnny, Norm, and James (and like-minded others) – that they work so hard to bind others to their limited interpretations of Scripture claiming to be the NT church in the 21st Century – and then when you look closely, you’ll see that they cherry pick their doctrine as much as the next folks.

Dress to Impress

Chris Knight, over at theknightshift.blogspot.com, reports that Johnny spent some time on Sunday night’s broadcast talking about how important it is for people to “dress nice” for church.

I recently read this great story dealing with that issue in the CofC:

“One Sunday morning the congregation of a hyper-conservative Church of Christ had a stir. A man came in just minutes before the service was to begin and he was dressed horribly, was stinking, had on old boots, torn overalls, a dirty flannel shirt, and a dusty cowboy hat. The congregation was aghast! Many quickly sent notes to the minister about this concern.

At the end of the services the minister greeted the humbly dressed man and asked him if he enjoyed the service. The man exclaimed that he enjoyed it very much. The minister asked the man to consider possibly dressing differently, and taking a shower. He told him to pray to Jesus about how he would have him dress if he should return again. 

The next week the man returned. He was dressed the same and once again the congregation was disturbed. At the end of the service the minister greeted the man again and asked him what he had been told by Jesus concerning his how to dress for church. The man exclaimed. “I spoke with Jesus about this, but Jesus said he didn’t know how I should dress for “this church” because He has never been here.

“Found here

And to be fair, this story could be told for any denomination, not just the Church of Christ denomination. (I use that word purposefully, btw.)

A Great Article from churchesofchrist.wordpress.com

The guys at churchesofchrist.wordpress.com have written a great article dealing with the unscriptural exclusiveness of folks like Johnny Robertson, Norm Fields and James Oldfield.  Go over and take a look!

Here’s the link. 

 

Is this making everyone tired?

tired
photo by Ted Szukalski 

from http://www.digital-photo.com.au

 

 

We could expend a lot of energy with this mess – accusations, lack of trust, deceptions, etc.  But what good is it doing, for either side of the coin?  It’s just driving people away from both sides.  I know some of the more neutral people I’ve been in contact with over the last few days are irritated by both the Church of Christ and with us because of this. I know I’m tired of it.Let’s get back to discussing doctrine.  

If Johnny, Norm or James or even the copycat want to come here and discuss doctrine, I’m happy to have them.  If either of us feel like we have something to say regarding Scripture and our interpretations of Scripture, let’s get to that.  Let’s get our focus back.  

Why did I change my blog around – lose the pictures and all? I know I was pretty irritated by the copycat site, and that made me realize that rather than being a welcoming place for the three men whose teachings we want to discuss, my blog was an irritant.  It wasn’t very Christlike of me to try and irritate, and so I apologize for not being Christlike with it.  I should have taken the high road, but I didn’t. Hopefully, I’ll better represent Christ in future posts.

I know the copycat will probably come back with a mocking post that I’ve shown my true colours, or I’ve given in, or something.  But, that’s not the case.  I started this blog to discuss Church of Christ doctrine, and in my desire to triumph, I let my flesh get in the way.  It wasn’t right, but it happened.  

Sola Dei Gloria,
Nathan   

By the way, the photo that I used here was taken from the following website: http://www.digital-photo.com.au/

Thanks to Ted Szukalski for his excellent work, which perfectly illustrated how I felt when I made this post.

23 Good Questions to Ask a CofC Fundamentalist

Over at http://www.topix.com, at a conversation going on between a few Church of Christ fundamentalists and a few other folks, we had a list of some Very Interesting Questions posted for our Church of Christ friends to answer.  I put them here for your perusal, and invite you to put them on your list of questions to ask your own Church of Christ friends. 

1)  I was baptized at age 10 for the forgiveness of my sins (in a Church of Christ) what sins were I capable of committing at this point in my life? If I died before my baptism would I have gone to Hell?

2)  Where does the age of accountability for proper baptism appear in the Bible? Please provide book, chapter, and verse

3)  Is Matthew 28:19 proper baptismal instructions? Or did Jesus make an incomplete statement?

4)  Would you consider keeping another man as a slave to be sin?(Please keep in mind 1 Timothy 6:1-2, Ephesians 6:5)

5)  Is the apostle Paul accountable for his false teachings on “faith only” salvation in the books of Romans and Ephesians?

6)  Would Paul be allowed to serve as an Elder in your Church? Jesus is called the “high priest” for the Jewish audience in the book of Hebrews. Doe he fit the criteria to be an elder of a congregation?

7)  Is it better for a man not to marry? Would a preacher be more effective if he was not married? Should Paul’s thoughts on the subject be considered advice? inference? command?

8)  Is the Bible silent on the following issues? song leaders, song books, choirs, paid preachers, church supported colleges, proper dress attire in a worship assembly, Wed. night assemblies, organs, communion being part of a worship service, clapping in a church service, indoor baptisms, sitting and standing in unison during a service, proper methods of baptisms, singing songs written by members of differing denominations, women singing in a church service (are they silent?), youth ministers, church secretaries, and church buildings?

9)  If my eyes are causing me to sin should I gauge them out? Should this be taken literally? Why or why not? Is this instruction you would give another Christian?

10)  How many times does the Book of James mention Baptism as a necessary work? Does it mention it at all? What is the main point of the Book of James?

11)  How many times did Jesus address what proper worship in public assembly consists of?

12)  Where in the Bible (please provide book, chapter, and verse) is the Lord’s Supper set to consist of grape juice and crackers that must be observed every Sunday morning. 

13)  Please provide book, chapter, verse that bans alcohol drinking as well as dancing.

14)  Where does the idea of being “silent where the Bible is silent” appear in the Bible (please provide book, chapter, verse)

15)  Is gluttony a sin? If so, is eating fast food a sin; or is overeating fast food a sin?

16)  Was the original Lord’s Supper unscriptural occurring as a Passover dinner on a Thursday night?

17)  I have never seen any Church today conform to the clear pattern of practice set in Acts 2:44-45. Why is this clear example ignored?

18)  Why was Jesus baptized? 

19)  Did Jesus have any fears or doubts about his role? If he did would this make him “imperfect” or does it display his humanity?

20)  Who did Jesus butt heads with the most? Why?

21)  What does “infallible” mean to you? Please provide the book, chapter, verse that the Bible claims to be infallible.

22)  Where did the Bible come from? Who decided what books it should consist of? Were the men that decided this Christians? Was God guiding them?

23)  When did the church fall into apostasy? Has there been a time when the Church of Christ did not exist? Has there been a time when it was united?Thanks to “DMH” for the list of questions.

Johnny and James on youtube.com

youtube 

For those of you outside the Martinsville viewing area, you can see more about Johnny Robertson and James Oldfields on youtube.  Go to the following links:

Mitch’s youtube page – featuring bits of Johnny’s December debate with Armando.  
James’s youtube page – at least we think this is James’s page.  Anyway, it has a clip of James going into a church, Dateline NBC-style.  This is classic Johnny Robertson and James Oldfield material.  

Enjoy!

Church of Christ Forum

We’ve recently been visited by a Church of Christ man named David Hersey, who came to discuss the CofC doctrine of silence.  He also put a link to a site for Church of Christ folks, and out of curiosity, I went and poked around a bit.   Here is the link for their main board:

forum.preachersfiles.com

Now, initially, poking around, I thought that the folks posting sounded like believers from any tradition or background.  They are encouraging one another, challenging one another, praying for one another.  Good stuff!  Then I found two links that caught my eye.  The first one was just made a couple of days ago.  It’s entitled:

Support Needed for Danville, Va

Well, guess who? It’s our old friend, Norm Fields, trying to drum up support from the faithful for his broadcast!  It was ironic that he just made his first posting to this forum, so close to the date of my first visit.  Asking for support (financial, I assume), no less! We’ll have to keep our eye on his posts there.

The second forum that caught my attention was called:

Open Doors UK 

Now, this is a particularly interesting series of comments. Let me set the stage: this poor, unsuspecting person posts the link of Open Doors, an organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide, onto the forum for fundamentalist Churches of Christ. IMMEDIATELY, like sharks smelling blood, the good men started pummeling the original poster. You can almost smell his perplexity as he is questioned by these CofC men and the Open Doors ministry criticized (he’s probably NEVER heard Christians criticizing a ministry like Open Doors before). In the end, they lock the thread and invite the man to have a “Bible study” – which is Johnny and company’s way of starting the indoctrination process. If it wasn’t so sad, and disheartening, then it would almost be funny.

Below is Open Doors’ website, by the way. They look like a great organization.

Open Doors UK

Anyway, anyone who is interested in our discussions regarding the teachings of Johnny Robertson, Norm Fields, and James Oldsfield should pop over there and take a look. It’s an education.

Nathan

Why Do I Have This Blog?

I’ve been thinking about this question a lot recently, because it takes a bit of my time which could be used elsewhere, and it has since I started it a few months ago. If you just happened upon the blog, and wondered why someone would take the time to blog about the teachings of three men who nobody knows anyway, I suppose that would be a valid question.

To be concise, it is because I have seen the damage that these men do to people, and it makes me pretty angry. Now, I don’t mean that they set out to damage people – I think they think they are really “serving the Lord” (Rom 12:11). However, Jesus talks pretty seriously about being able to recognize people who are teaching Truth by their fruit (Matt 7:16). Let’s look at some of the fruit from Johnny Robertson, James Oldfield and Norm Field’s work in particular, and the work of the fundamentalist Churches of Christ in general.

The Mysterious Case of Jason Hairston

I mentioned Jason’s blog in my last posting, and I need to talk just a bit more about this, because it’s such a glaring example of rotten fruit. Now, you need to understand that my thoughts on this are not clear, because none of these men have come clean in public about the situation. My understanding from sources close to the subject is that Jason is really have trouble with his spiritual identity after his time spent with these fundamentalist Church of Christ men.

Unfortunately, this is not an exclusive result for exposure to men like this – just go over and take a look at the website for ex-church of Christ folks – click this link – you’ll see plenty of people who have been damaged in similar ways to Jason – some to the point of renouncing belief in God altogether.

If, by starting a blog like this that questions their teachings and examines their doctrine outside of their control helps even one person to NOT leave God as a result of confusion sown while under their influence, it will be worth the time spent.

Holding Them Accountable When Nobody Else Will
Now, given, this would be a task more easily achieved if the men would actually participate in our discussions, but I do my best to do this without them. I haven’t figured out the way to be the most organized about this, because over the past few months of study, I’ve realized that there are some pretty big errors in their teaching – mostly dealing with the bonds they put on others and themselves. And even their arguments for “speak where the Bible speaks, silent where the Bible is silent” (is that a creed?) are inconsistent when you put them under the microscope. Look at my discussions with Nova about Joshua and the city of Jericho to see an example of what I mean.

Looking for the Galatians 5:22 Fruit
Now, you really need to get into a deep study of what the Law meant to the readers of the NT, but I think it’s important to say that you hear these men talk quite a bit about the restrictions placed on Christians with the NT, but you very rarely hear them (at least on their TV programs) talk about the following “Galatians 5:22 Fruit”:

A) It’s not a “Galatians Fruit”, but being FREE in Christ (occurs 59 times in Scripture) – John 8:32; 36; Rom 6:18; Gal 4:31; 5:1; etc.
B) The Joy of the Lord (occurs 165 times) – 1 Pet 4:13; 1 John 1:4; Gal 5:22; etc.
C) Hope (occurs 130 times) – 1 Pet 3:15; Heb 3:6; 2 Thess 2:16; etc.
D) Peace (occurs 429 times) – Mark 4:39; Luke 2:14; 2 Cor 13:11; etc.

You could go on.

Now, I can almost hear their rebuttal – and let me answer before it’s stated: men, I know that freedom without law is chaos, and that Scripture does have very serious things to say about the way we should conduct ourselves. That being said, however, I would think that a church that was truly living in the Truth (especially to the point of broadcasting that everyone else is living in error) would have a better grasp of the balance between the two.

If you go onto the websites of these men and watch some of their video clips, you’ll see that there is NOT a balance. The impression I get from watching these men is that they get their biggest joy from putting other people in their place. This is part of the reason that Johnny Robertson lost the debate with Armando Deloa. If he’d have demonstrated more of the character of God and less of the wrath, his arguments would be much more compelling. But, after interacting with Shawn Paden over at http://www.topix.com, I’m beginning to wonder if it is possible for these men to be able to show grace and mercy – or even to admit that they are wrong about something – not even doctrinally, but personally. That’s a big Matt 7:16 warning.

Well, that’s enough for now. I hope that it helps folks understand. Again, I don’t have a beef with all Churches of Christ – just these sorts who claim that if you aren’t in the church where they assemble, or if you aren’t in a church that teaches exactly what they teach, then you aren’t in the Lord’s Church.

As always…
Sola Dei Gloria!
Nathan

STOP THE PRESSES! James Oldfield’s Blog Updated!

James O 

It looks like James read our blog and took our advice.  His blog has now been updated to include a critique of the Seventh Day Adventists who recently backed out of a debate, and an article about John Hagee, with a clip from a show back in December.  You don’t need to watch the clip – it was pretty dull, and unless you are a fan of John Hagee, it will be meaningless to you.

And the best news?  James got a visit from our blog’s very own personal troll, Shawn Paden, where he told James:

“I am being bested by that guy over at ‘answeringchurchofchrist.wordpress.com’!  Tell Johnny I need help!  I tried leaving Johnny a message on his blog, but he never updates the thing! Tell him this: “Send in the CofC marines and special forces!”

Ha.  Just kidding.  He left James a very sweet little note.  Oh, if only he’d leave me sweet little notes rather than his insidious trolling and spam, my life would be complete.

So, well done, James!  Way to take our advice and start to catch up to Norm.  Now, if Johnny Robertson would get the lead out, you three might have some blogs to be proud of! 

The Thief on the Cross

TontC 

On a recent broadcast, Johnny Robertson was discussing the thief on the cross.  Lee, a regular poster here, wrote about the subject.  He says:

“A viewer called Johnny last night, he was telling him what a good job he was doing. One of his last requests was to have Johnny comment on the thief on the cross, to which he stated that the thief was under the Old Testament.

I couldn’t wait to call, but was unable to get on air as it was at the end of the show.  I did however speak to him off air.I asked him about his statement and he agreed that I heard him correctly.  I then asked if it was more than likely that the thief died after Jesus, he said it was possible.

I wanted to know how the thief was under a different plan of salvation than I was if we both lived after Christ’s death.  He said he didnt see the contradiction.   If that’s not one than somebody help me.”

Hey, Lee.  Good question.  Here’s my take – and others (including Johnny) should feel free to give their thoughts:

The thief was NOT under the Old Testament, but he wasn’t playing by the same rules as we are, either.  Why?  Because he died during the ministry of Jesus.  If Jesus saved him (“Today you’ll be with me in paradise”), then Jesus saved him.  It’s as simple as that.  If you are the CEO of a company, you get to decide who is hired into your company and who is not.  In the same way, Jesus had (and has) the power to save – which he did.

Now, I’ve heard Norm Fields make the claim on his broadcast that the thief was already saved – that the thief was already a follower of Jesus when he died, and that’s how Jesus was able to save him (he’s been baptized already?).  I debunked that theory pretty quickly on this blog.  You can look it up, or I can give my argument against that if someone would like.

Anyway, that’s my thought.  Anyone else?  Johnny?

Sola Dei Gloria,
Nathan