Eternal Security


Eternal Security, or Perseverance of the saints, maintains that none who are truly saved can be condemned for their sins or finally fall away from the faith. 

Discuss.

By the way – please avoid cutting and pasting arguments of other writers from other sites to prove your argument.  If you want to cut and paste a bit here and there, that is fine, just put the URL where you got the info.  You can also reference another URL, too, if you want us to go there to see what that writer says.  Thanks! 

Christian Unity

This looks like an interesting blog from a church of Christ elder from Georgia, Alan Rouse.  The title of the blog is “Christian Unity”, and it seems that, unlike the hyperconservatives in our area, when he says “unity” he doesn’t mean “uniformity” (thanks, Katherine).  He means actual unity.  Look for his blog to be added to the blogroll!

I would encourage his posting entitled “Advocating Against Unity“.

For any of our local hyperconservatives who may click over to look at the blog, please note that the man is very much Biblical in his arguments, and he seems to have a very Christlike attitude.  Take notes!

For those who didn’t grow up in a church named “church of Christ”…

If you are trying to understand where these folks are coming from, I would highly recommend spending some time on the ex-church of Christ website – especially in the “Church of Christ: Doctrine & Culture” board.  There are some insight into this culture for those of us who weren’t raised in it.  

It’s really interesting to me as a person who was raised in a different faith tradition, and you might find it to be so as well.  At the least, it is informative to understanding any hyperconservative churches of Christ that might be in your community.

The DVD That Wasn’t Seen

In case you were wondering what was on that DVD that Chris didn’t show on Sunday night, he has uploaded it to the internet and given us permission to embed it here for your viewing pleasure.

You can comment here, or directly to Chris over at his blog: The Knight Shift.

A Bit of Real-time Discussion

“faithful” quoted Matthew 11:16-19:

“But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.  For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil.  The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.”

“faithful” wrote:

“In these verses Jesus was saying his critics would never be satisfied. You all won’t be either. I don’t believe you’re interested in the truth , only hiding the gospel and getting as many people to go to hell with you as possible.”

“Answeringchurchofchrist” responded:

“Point of clarification. We are all interested in understanding God and the Truth. What exactly is Truth? Or, who, to be more exact?

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6

That’s what it all boils down to, my friend. Not the name on the sign in front of the place where you worship, not whether or not you use a piano in worship, not the frequency of your observation of the Lord’s Supper – but Jesus.

Now, as to our interest in hiding the gospel, we need to ask… what is “the gospel”?

It’s pretty easily found in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4:

“Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”

Nobody here is trying to hide that Good News.

As to the part about going to hell, well, I put my trust in Jesus (Eph 1:13), and so I am counting on his work to keep me from that terrible place. I hope to help as many folks as possible to escape that fate as well.”

An interesting video from a former CofC person

Thanks to Katherine for the heads up on this video. Thoughts?

“Churchgoers will be the sermon”

I came across a report of a wonderful community event that involves Church of Christ people and Baptist people, working together to help their community in Abilene, Texas.

“On Sunday, 1,750 Abilene churchgoers will leave the brick and mortar of their familiar buildings behind. Dressed in work clothes, not their Sunday best, they will spread out across 110 work sites.

They will not listen to a sermon that day. Instead, they will be the sermon, doing good deeds for neighbors living in difficult situations.

The date marks the fourth consecutive year churches in Abilene will participate in We Are The Sermon Day.”

Go here to read the rest of this uplifting story about Christians from different church backgrounds, working together for the betterment of their community, all in the name of Jesus Christ.  What an inspirational way to share the Gospel!

Southern Hills Church of Christ website – the church that started the event in 2005.  I like especially the sentence on their “what we believe” page – “We are Christians only, but not the only Christians.”  Good stuff.  

“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.  And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:  I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”  John 17:20-23

Man-Made Doctrines in the Hard-Line Church of Christ

This came from a discussion going on elsewhere, but I thought they brought up great points.  Typically, the hard-liners claim that denominations are wrong because they use man-made doctrines.  But, what doctrines do the hard-liners follow that are manmade – personal interpretations?  This is a list that several commenters came up with:

1. the Bible commands us to take the Lord’s Supper every Sunday morning. Those who do not do so are not following the Lord’s command
2. It is a sin to drink alcohol
3. “Church of Christ” is the best name for the church
4. The “Church of Christ” of today existed before the American Restoration movement
5. It is a sin to dance
6. If a divorced person is remarried, and the prior marriage ended for a reason other than sexual sin, he must divorce his current wife to be allowed in the Church – God hates divorce, so we must create two divorces
7. all other denominations are wrong in their interpretion of the Bible
8. It is wrong to have a choir in worship service
9. It is wrong to use instruments in a worship service
10. one must have mental awareness that they are being baptized for their remission of sins at the time of baptism 
11. baptism is by emersion only
12. it is wrong to use congregational money to support orphan’s homes and CoC colleges (this does not apply to all CoCs)
13. the COC is not a denomination
14. all first century churches were identical in form and practice
15. God commands us to conform to the 1st century church
16. They were talking about grape juice in the bible not literal alcoholic wine.
17. It is sinful to clap during singing.
18. Women can not stand at the table to pass out the Lords Supper but they can do it sitting down passing it left to right.
19. There is absolutely nothing about the bread or fruit of the vine being placed on a table in front of the auditorium (sanctuary)(Nothing wrong with it, buts its a man-made tradition.)
20. There legally is a certain pattern to follow in worship.
21. The thief on the cross did not have to be baptized because he was under the Old Convenant.
22. You can only be called a preacher, a minister or an evangelist. Calling a preacher a pastor or a reverend is WRONG!
23. God allows songbooks and song leaders as necessary expedients, even though they are not authorized by scriptures. 
24. Attempting to authorize the use of musical instruments by quoting Old Testament scripture is wrong because we are not under the old law. However, the Lord’s doctrine of silence is clearly illustrated in the Old Testament stories of Noah, Nadab and Abihu, and Uzzah to disprove instrument worship!
25. The New Testament is littered with 1st century churches using spiritual gifts. These gifts have gone away. Anyone that views this differently is either dishonest or mislead.
26. Baptists believe you can do whatever you please due to the once saved always saved doctrine.

Thanks to DMH and JPManzi for giving this list over at topix.

Anyone have any other ideas for the list, or responses to them?  I’ll even allow Shawn to post his responses, if he agrees to adhere to the blog standards, which he knows well.

My Kind of CofC Attitude

In my daily online readings, I found a blog from another CofC preacher with whom I could fellowship.  Thank goodness for CofC men like this!  They give me hope for the Church of Christ folks out there.

He wrote:

“I make the case for a cappella music in the assembly like Everett Ferguson makes it. He examines the NT passages, considers the life of the early church, and considers any theological significance to the practice. The New Testament delivers and reflects apostolic teaching, and playing is not mentioned. For 600 years instruments were not used. Jesus alwasy led us to the heart of the matter and perhaps the theological significance of apostolic teaching reflected in the epistles is the heart involvement in singing.

I make this case. And I believe it. I believe and teach that instrumental music in the worship assembly is outside of God’s will.For many people, the case for a cappella music is strong and convincing. I am among them. Many of these people I have found have a heart for God, a great desire to please him, and their lives reflect their commitment to godliness.

For many people, the case for a cappella music is weak and unconvincing. Many of these people I have found have a heart for God, a great desire to please him, and their lives reflect their commitment to godliness.

Those who contend so vigorously against the case for a cappella music would do well to admit that those of us who believe it are not stupid, we are not all legalists, and we don’t come to our conclusions without evidence.

Those who contend so vigorously for the case of a cappella music would do well to admit that simply on the basis of godly people who don’t believe the argument, the case is not as cut and dried for some as it is for others. It is not like the works of the flesh that are obvious. Instrumentalists are not stupid, self-centered, nor do they draw their conclusions without evidence.

At the end of the day, many of us are going to believe just as we believed at the beginning. Some of us are going to have been convinced to change our minds in both directions. And we are going to have to deal with the bigger question of what do we do with each other; and the answer is going to refelct what Jesus is going to do with both of us.

Father, please deal mericfully with me. I want to do right, but I’m sure I’ve got some stuff wrong. Father, please help me deal mercifully with other children of yours who disagree with me.
In Jesus Name,
Amen

Found here.  

“Church of Christ Doctrine”

In my daily internet sifting, I came upon this recent blog entry from a veteran Church of Christ pastor.  While he and I might disagree on several things, I am very glad that he recognizes the CofC inconsistencies that we discuss on this blog all of the time. 

The article reads: 

In May of this year I will celebrate 51 years of ministry among churches of Christ. In the first forty years of my ministry, when someone asked me if I taught “Church of Christ doctrine,” my stock reply was, “I do not teach ‘Church of Christ doctrine.’ I teach only the Bible.” I was convinced that my statement and practice was true.

However, as the years passed, I realized that there was a “Church of Christ doctrine” and it was not Bible! There was the doctrine taught by some that if you had a preacher working with an established congregation, doing all of the preaching each Sunday, that you were in fatal error. There was the doctrine taught by others that if you used more than one cup in serving the fruit of the vine in the Lord’s supper, you were hell bound. There was the doctrine preached and debated by others that if you had Sunday school you were practicing the devil’s doctrine. I could go on, but this is sufficient to prove my point that there is “Church of Christ doctrine” and it isn’t anymore biblical than the doctrines taught by others which denominate one person from another.

During those first forty or so years I justified myself by believing those brethren were preaching non-biblical doctrines, but I was preaching nothing but the Bible. Since I was preaching nothing but the Bible, I was not guilty of following man made teachings nor guilty of following traditions. One can blind himself by his own error.

In the late sixties I was working with the Ellendale congregation on Highway 70 in what is now Bartlett, TN. We had a highway sign that could contain a four line message on both sides. Above that area was the name of our congregation, “Ellendale Church of Christ.” One day I put up the sign, “We are also the church of God.” That sign didn’t last long. Someone removed it that night and neatly stacked the letters in front of the sign on both sides. I never did know who. However, it would not surprise me if some well meaning brother was not the culprit.

You see, one “Church of Christ doctrine” is that the only name we can be identified by in our advertisements, highway signs, VBS signs, and etc., is “Church of Christ.” In fact, if one will go back and look at some of the propositions in our debates with others, they will see that brethren defended the name “Church of Christ” as being “scriptural in name.” Notice it is singular!

Yet, the name “Church of Christ” is never used in the Bible to describe a single congregation. Yes, Paul did refer to all congregations as the “churches of Christ” in Romans 16:16, but he nor any other inspired writer ever used the singular expression. Yes, I know the argument which states, “If there were ‘churches of Christ’ in the plural, then a single congregation would have been ‘the church of Christ.’” However, since the Bible is silent in referring to a single congregation as “the church of Christ,” why would that silence not eliminate that designation from being used as the primary designation today? Our signs are actually our “Church of Christ doctrine” rather than specific Bible teaching!

Any teaching which is more important than the unity of the body of Jesus and which promotes division, is nothing less than a “Church of Christ doctrine” rather than the good news of Jesus Christ. It is a tradition of man that is loved and preferred more than a loving relationship with one another. Too often what we have become comfortable with becomes our doctrine rather than “a thus saith the Lord.”

Question: When our comfort zones become our standard of what must be, what makes us any different from those who are comfortable with their traditions which we condemn? Comfort zones are seldom a “thus saith the Lord” much less “good news.”

Allow me to give just one example of comfort zone religion. In some black churches of Christ, when a person, male or female responds to the invitation, that person is given the opportunity to express why they responded. In most white churches, the person is obligated to whisper their purpose in a preacher or elder’s ear. He then announces why the person came. Where is that procedure demanded in the Bible? We will allow that same person, when they respond to be immersed, to audibly announce that they believe Jesus is the Son of God. What is the difference between a woman announcing that she believes Jesus is the Son of God and one asking the congregation for prayers due to her sin of gossip? In both she is speaking. If she doesn’t sin by doing one, she doesn’t sin by doing the other. This is just another one of our inconsistencies built on our tradition and based solely upon our comfort zones as our authority.

So much of what we do is based upon Protestant or Catholic tradition brought into the Restoration movement by early pioneer preachers. We blind ourselves to this fact by continuing to dogmatically proclaim that we do not preach “Church of Christ doctrine, we only preach the Bible.”

This article was found here