Some interesting links…

Thanks to Randy for pointing out graceconversation.com.  This is a conversation that will be held between several different men from the churches of Christ – dealing with different issues, it seems.  Here is what Jay Guin has to say about it.

The conversation will begin with a statement of agreed principles. Phil and Greg will then take up the question of when does a Christian lose his soul — the apostasy question. Closely related, of course, is the question of fellowship.

You can read more about the plans for the site and about the participants here.

insearchofclipAlso, when I was reading about this new conversation, I was referenced to another website, In Search of the Lord’s Way.  I haven’t had time to really look through the site, but it seems to be a website for a church of Christ TV broadcast (sound familiar?) where the hosts spend most of their time talking about what they believe, rather than why everyone else is wrong (doesn’t sound familiar).  

I don’t think they sneak video cameras into other churches in an attempt to trap other Christians (although they probably also don’t think anyone is a Christian outside churches with the name “church of Christ” on the sign – would need to watch a few videos to see).  

While I disagree with some of their theology, I am totally in favor of their methodology.  Seems much more Christ-like than what we get around these parts.

Anyway, might be worth a gander.

Local church of Christ readers… be like this! Part τέσσερα

Church of Christ to construct/rehabilitate boreholes nationwide

standpip

 

 

 

 

(Ghana) The Church of Christ Rural Water Development Project (CoCRWDP), would drill 70 wells in guinea-worm endemic areas throughout the country this year.

Mr Nathaniel Nii Sasah Adams, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CoCRWDP, who disclosed this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency at Ashaiman on Friday when he threw light on the objectives of the project, said the same number of broken down boreholes would be rehabilitated.

He indicated that the vision of the project was to provide water for needy communities nationwide, especially those in deprived areas and to ensure quality human development.

For the full story of what the church of Christ is capable of when they are really seeking to be salt and light in their communities, read this article.

…wait a minute… they are actually meeting a need in the community, not trying to ambush people with video cameras?  Church of Christ folks in the WGSR viewing area… be like this!

Local church of Christ readers… be like this! Part drei

Counseling children is part of his lifelong ministry

COOKEVILLE — Church of Christ minister Douglas Downs may be in a secular environment as the guidance counselor at Northeast Elementary, but he views his relationship with the students he cares for as part of his “lifelong ministry.”

“It’s all about kids,” said Downs. “In a society where kids are often neglected, abandoned and mistreated, school counseling is one area of work where you can make a tremendous difference in the present and the future. I love kids. They give me energy, and I enjoy reaching out to them in times of need. I also enjoy the opportunity to influence their social and moral development at an age where it can still make a difference.”

t3-10-09downs_med1

 

 

 

 

For more information about this wonderful-sounding church of Christ minister,  read the story here.

…wait a minute… he is actually meeting a need in the community, not trying to ambush people with video cameras?  Church of Christ folks in the WGSR viewing area… be like this!

Local church of Christ readers… be like this!

Hey guys,

Put away your ambush video cameras, your constant attempts to argue people into your vision of the kingdom of God, your desire to “defeat destroy” your fellow followers of Jesus, and see what people in your particular stream of Christianity are doing with their energies.

Friday, it will be six months since Hurricane Ike blew through and destroyed Bridge City, a good portion of the Cove and other areas of Orange County. The area was quickly flooded with volunteers and donations. Today, most organizations have left the area, another is planning to leave as others still provide assistance.

The Church of Christ Disaster Response Team set up shop in the Bridge City-Orangefield Community Center soon after the storm. They said they would be here as long as needed and usually are at a site approximately one year. Two weeks ago, they had no deadline for leaving. Today, that has changed. The team’s departure has been set for March 31.

First, the organization offered hot meals, clothes, clean-up supplies and free labor to assist in tearing out damage in homes. They recently shifted their focus. No longer serving meals, they still distribute clothes but are not taking donations of wearables.

For more about this wonderful and inspiring work by people who are part of the church of Christ (which sounds a LOT more like what a church by that name should be about – as compared to what we get with the “What Does the Bible Say?” crowd), visit the story here.

Or, you can go directly to the horse’s mouth and read about the Churches of Christ Disaster Response Team at their website.

“Speaking to one another…”

54804058gritsrappers1

Happened to catch a bit of “What Does the Bible Say” tonight, and couldn’t believe it when I realized what JR was doing.  He spent quite a few minutes lambasting a local church for having Christian rappers perform.  Then, he had the nerve to justify his argument by using the following verse…

“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Eph 5:19)

Does anyone else not see the irony here?  JR is saying that they are doing something sinful, when they are not using any instruments, but are speaking to one another.  That is what RAP is all about – the human voice.  

They just love to complain about everything, it seems.

I’m still on my hiatus, by the way – the blog is not opening back up for business yet.  I just had to write about this issue.  Someone has contacted me concerning the so-called “Religious Review”, by the way.  I’m thinking about whether or not to post what they wrote.  We’ll see.

Now back to my break…

What Does the Bible Say?

“People were bringing Pharisees to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the Pharisees come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not work their way into the kingdom of God like a Pharisee will never enter it.” And he took the Pharisees in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.” – Mark 10:13-16 

Oh – wait.  No, that’s not it.  Here’s what it actually says…

“People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.” – Mark 10:13-16 

Hosting this blog, dealing with the mindset of modern day Pharisees who are attempting to work their way into heaven, I have to remind myself often of the truth of the Gospel.  Thank God for His grace and mercy.  And let us all be like children in Christ.

Sunday, August 3 – Prayer Day for Johnny, Norm and James – Part II

As happened back at the beginning of June, recent events here have convicted me again to not allow this blog to degenerate because of the wild postings of a rambling man.  It is not what the blog is supposed to be, and it is not what I want it to become.

Here’s what I wrote back in June, and it’s being reapplied today, but updated:

When the people who represent the doctrine that this blog discusses are people who seem to revel in stirring things up and getting people riled up (regardless of what is motivating them to do this), then it is easy to find ourselves getting comfortably in a permanent defensive posture.  Johnny Robertson’s visit yesterday just underlines how easily that can happen.

I don’t want this blog to be a place that Johnny, Norm and/or James can give to their supporters and say, “Look at how I am being treated!  I must be doing something right if they are so upset at me!”  Rather, I want it to be a place where the three men would see the love of Christ exhibited.

I would ask my regular commenters to consider the following Scripture passages:

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another (John 13:34).

But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you (Luke 6:27-28).

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse (Romans 12:14).

We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it (1 Corinthians 4:12).

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:17-21).

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing (1 Peter 3:9).

Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble (1 John 2:9-10).

Now, I am not saying that any certain people who have been posting here about the three TV hosts have been acting improperly.  However, I want this to be a place where Jesus’ name is honored, and I think one important way we honor Him is when we act like Him.

So, I invite you all to join me on Sunday, August 3 as I pray for Johnny Robertson, Norm Fields and James Oldfield, “faithful”, “TD” – and all hyperconservative church of Christ folks in general, but specifically the Martinsville church of Christ, the Danville church of Christ, and the Reidsville church of Christ.  Some suggested things we can pray for them:

1.  For the well-being of their families

2.  For their health  

3.  For Godly wisdom for those in leadership as they attempt to lead the churches where they teach and preach

4.  That Christ would dwell in their (and our) hearts through faith.  And that they (and we), “being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that [they] may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”  Ephesians 3:17-19

5.  That they would experience the true freedom found in being a follower of Christ.  “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free… If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:32, 36

Won’t you join me in praying for these men this Sunday?

Thanks,

Nathan

Why Are You In A Church That’s Not In The Bible?

The title of this post is a question that hyperconservative churches of Christ (like the 3 TV hosts) love to ask.  The implication to their question is that they (the hypercons) are not just in a church that is in the Bible, but that they are in the only modern church that is in the Bible.  In other words, they are the only ones who are theologically correct (TC).  They are the only ones who are really Christians.  

Of all the arguments for tearing down the walls of denominationalism I’ve heard (and I’ve heard some good ones), this idea is to the Christian faith what New Coke was to soft drinks.

or the Yugo was to automaking.  

In other words, it’s a load of complete rubbish that deserves to become a distant memory in the minds of those who have heard of it.

Unity = Good

Understand that I am not arguing against unity.  Even a casual reading of the New Testament will yield to the reader that God desires for His children to be unified.  Here are just a couple of examples:

Jesus said, 

“I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me…May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:20, 21, 23). 

Paul said,

“We were all baptised by one Spirit into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink” (1 Corinthians 12:13)

Unity is a good thing.  But the proponents of the “where’s your church?” idea aren’t interested in unity.  They are interested in conformity – to their limited interpretations of Scripture.   

Conviction = Good

Understand, also, that I’m not arguing against having convictions.  I agree completely with the old expression that goes, “you have to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything”.  Or, as Scripture says, “But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.” (1 Corinthians 2:15)   

The problem I have is this idea that the name of your church is enough to condemn or save you.  “Why are you in a church that’s not in the Bible?”  The hyperconservative asks.  Well, why are they in a church that’s not in the Bible?

Churches That Are In The Bible

The churches in the Bible were located in the modern countries of Israel, Turkey, Italy, etc – in other words, in countries that are near and around the Mediterranean Sea.  Did the person who asked this question pack up his or her things and move to this region?  No?  Then guess what – they aren’t in a church that is found in the New Testament.

In fact, you won’t even find the exact phrase “church of Christ” in the Bible at all!  I’m still waiting for someone to answer the challenge to find “church of Christ” in the Bible.  If they find it, I’ve got $1000 that I will give them.

But That’s Not What We Mean…

“But we mean why are you in a church that doesn’t act like the church in the Bible,” they might respond.

First, if you mean that, then why don’t you say that?

Second, my hypercon friends, I hate to tell you this, but you are also not in a church that acts like the church in the Bible.  Let’s look at three basic ways in which you join the rest of us by not acting like the church we find in the New Testament:

1.  The infamous holy kiss.  

Hyperconservative churches of Christ don’t do this.  Check here for more explanation.

2.  Women and Head Coverings.

1 Corinthians 11:5-6 says:

“But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved.  For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered.”  

Hyperconservative churches of Christ don’t follow this.  At least not the ones in our area.

3.  Tongues and Prophecies.

Sorry, I couldn’t find a good picture.  We’ll just let Scripture speak for itself.

“Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues.” (1 Corinthians 14:39)

Hyperconservative churches of Christ forbid people from speaking in tongues.

So, gentlemen, I ask you… why are you in a church that is not in the Bible?

Wait!  Stop!  Let me give you the answer to that question.

The Answer 

It doesn’t matter whether or not you are in a denomination.  It doesn’t matter whether or not you can “find your church in the Bible”.  All followers of Christ are in Christ’s church and we are all called to be a part of something that transcends differences – that transcends denominations.  

The churches that existed in the first century, that Paul and the other NT writers were addressing, were all different.  They were dealing with different issues.  They lived in different cities with different cultures and values.  

Where did they find their unity?  In the words of the New Testament?  No, because they didn’t have the New Testament.  They had the words of the ones who taught them, the letters from various NT writers, what we call the Old Testament (if they were Jewish), and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Their unity was in the Gospel of Christ.

“…[S]tanding firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”  (Philippians 1:27)

This is at the heart of the New Testament – the Gospel of Christ.  What is the Gospel of Christ?  The hypercons would, by necessity, link baptism to the Gospel.  And while Baptism plays a part in the life of a Christian, baptism is not the Gospel (1 Cor 1:17).  

So, what is the Gospel? 

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.  For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”  Romans 5:8-10

Like the church of the first century, this is where we find unity.  We don’t conform to the teachings of a few hyperconservative church of Christ TV host/pastors, or Baptist pastors, or Lutheran pastors, or [fill in the blank] pastors… we conform to Jesus, and Jesus alone.  

And there – in that conformity and only in that conformity – will we be a part of the Lord’s church – a part of the worldwide churches of Christ as found in Scripture and through the last two thousand years.

No matter what the sign outside reads, or whether or not we are in a church that’s “not in the Bible”.

Interesting Local cofC Blogging Development…

Visit local church of Christ TV host Norm Field’s blog here for an interesting development.  Norm has removed the URLs to Johnny Robertson’s and James Oldfield’s blogs (fellow hyperconservative church of Christ TV hosts) from his blog.  They used to be found on the side panel, but now they are gone.

I’m not surprised.  Norm is Mr. Blog, and it must have been frustrating for him to be linking to two blogs that have not been updated in over a year (in JR’s case) and in a few months (in JO’s case).

Way to be a good blogger, Mr. Fields!  We, your fellow bloggers, appreciate your consistency.

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.