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