Norm and Mark visit a Baptist Church

I just received this message from (I assume) the pastor of Vandola Baptist in Danville.  It is a first hand testimony of what happens when one of our three hosts pays your church a visit.  

“Our church, Vandola Baptist in Danville, was visited by Norm Fields and Mark McMinnis on Wednedsay, April 16. It just so happened that this particular night was the last night of our Spring Revival with Dr. Ron Crawford, a former pastor and current President of the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond. As you would expect there was a “discussion” with Fields and McMinnis after the service.

Let me share with you that from the very beginning of our worship service these two representatives of the churches of Christ displayed nothing less than utter contempt for our worship and our membership. We began the service with a responsive reading that was printed in our worship bulletin. The congregation stood for the responsive reading which was followed by a hymn (accompanied by musical instruments of course). Fields and McMinnis remained seated throughout all of this as well as at the conclusion of the service when we stood and sang an invitational hymn. I, by the way, went to the pew where they were seated toward the back of the sanctuary where I greeted them and sat with them during the preaching of the message by our guest speaker. Norm diligently wrote notes and I assume points of contention throughout the message.

As they left from the sanctuary, Norm asked Dr. Crawford if he could talk with him to inquire about some of the things he had said during the message. Dr. Crawford informed Norm that he was leaving to go back to Richmond as soon as he finished greeting folks but that he would consent to give him a few moments. Norm had already began questioned Dr. Crawford on the outside porch when I walked up. I interrupted them and asked Norm directly if he was using any audio or video devices to record the conversation and he responded that he was unable to bring either because of some malfunction with his equipment. He asked me if I was using such and I replied that I was not and if I had been I would have told him in advance that I was and that he should do the same whenever he used recording devices. (Should anyone see or hear a recording of this discussion that I am describing on any of the CoC broadcasts be sure to call on air and ask if deliberate lying is a teaching of Scripture.)

At any rate, it didn’t take long for Dr. Crawford to detect Norm’s attempt to haggle over perceived syntax errors and so Dr. Crawford dismissed him and said he would speak no further with him. Norm, of course, began his spill about “Crawford’s refusal to speak the truth of God”. Unfortunately, at this point, one of our not so diplomatic members spoke out of turn and said that he would be glad to meet Norm out back to take care of his questions to which Norm ask if the man was threatening him. I injected that no one was going to threaten him (I did notice that Norm left from the porch area where we were rather quickly). I attempted to explain to Norm that one of the reasons folks became so upset with them was certainly because of their blatant display of contempt in our worship service. I asked Norm why he had refused to stand and/or participate in our worship to which he responded that he could not (spoken with the perceived implication that he could not because our service was not true worship approved of God). As a result I asked Norm if that was the case, then why did he come then to our worship service knowing that he “could not” out of his pure conscience participate. He said he came to learn and to give us an opportunity to explain why we did what we did and what we believed. I refuted that notion with the comment that he already knew what Baptist taught, how Baptist worshipped and what Baptist believed and that the only reason he was there was to continue to show his disdain for Baptist people as he did each week on his broadcast program. With that we parted ways.

Can’t wait to see how this is presented on the CoC local broadcast. Should Norm be reading this blog, let me apologize to him for any perceived rude behavior on the part of any of our folks. We are not perfect people and there are still those who become easily angered and/or offended in spirited debate especially when agitated by those who know which buttons to push.”

 

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.

——

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.

Church of Christ Forum – Part II

Hope you folks have had the chance to visit the “Bible Study Forum”, and read through some of the conversations.  I noticed today that Norm has visited again, and is not just looking for financial support, but also looking for help in handling the “volume of comments” on his youtube site and his blogs.  

You can see Norm’s plea here. 

To be honest, I question Norm’s statement that his TV program “has a large audience”.  Has Star 39 ever done any ratings studies?  I’d be interested to know just how “large” his “large audience” is.  I personally think it’s “largely” made up of three kinds of folks:  

1)  Members of the Church of Christ.  Of course, maybe they have to watch.  I don’t know, but you can always tell these folks because they call in to tell the Guys what a good job they are doing, or to underline how unbelievable it is that denominations teach this or that.

2)  People who watch because they want to see just what nutty thing will be said next.  I’ve been this person before – you watch like someone might watch Jerry Springer.  Will someone call in and fall right into the doctrinal traps these men have laid?  Or, on a really good night, someone like the caller named “Billy” will call in and say something that is just completely off the wall – like when Billy asked James about “a quarter, a dime, a nickel and a penny”.  What?  The best part of those calls is watching the Guys when it happens.  James tries to be very patient with Billy, while Norm tries to get him off the phone as quickly as possible.  Great stuff.

3)  People who accidentally happen onto the program, thinking it’s a regular Bible-study program and then are shocked when they hear what Norm (and Johnny and James) teaches.  These callers are usually the ones who call in and make rookie arguments, like “What about the thief on the cross?”  It’s not a bad argument, but the Guys have a ready answer for that and don’t even need to think about it.  They’ll usually just respond, “What church are you a member of?” I think Dr. Saunders over at the 7th Day Adventist church was a viewer/caller in this third category.

There might be one or two other categories, like family members or something, but really – a “large audience”?   Really?  Compared to what?  The other programs on Star 39?

Anyway, we might start to see some new comments over on Norm’s sites from some of these men, but I doubt that they will say anything we haven’t heard before.

Nathan