THE CHURCHES OF CHRIST

TEACHING SOUND DOCTRINE
according to the Bible

Advocating the King James, and a setter forth of sound doctrine. HELPS?This website is undergoing a complete makeover in terms of layout, audio and textual materials: to include current, and future updates.



EVANGELIST JAMES DANIEL

The history of the church of Christ goes right back to the cross of Calvary - Luke 23:33And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left., not to mention, the foundation and rock of the faith - Matthew 16:18And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.. In fact, it was history in the making, in that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners - 1 Timothy 1:15This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief..

Now most people tend to misinterpret what is meant by the church, or churches of Christ - Romans 16:16Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.. Indeed fewer again seem to understand how one becomes a member. The church of Christ is not like other churches, for no one can join her. As for one becoming a member, rightly demands their obedience to the gospel. I suppose that is one of the reasons why church membership has declined. In any case, it is the Lord who does the adding. Read it for yourself - Acts 2:47Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved., 5:32And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him., Romans 8:9. Moreover, joining a church is not obeying what the gospel teaches. However, being added to the church, only compels one to obey the gospel - Acts 2:38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost., 22:16And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord., Mark 16:16He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned., Matthew 28:19-20Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.. That said, to teach anything other than Christ's blood for the remission of sins, let alone, baptism, is blasphemous. Mark 3:29But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation. reads, he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation. Therefore, membership of the church of Christ is dependant upon one's obedience to the gospel. There is no other way to become a member of the Lord's church, save the Lord's way. If you think there is, then you've done better than what the Bible teaches. I suppose you are also wiser than God?

WARNING ON BIBLE VERSIONS


Before we proceed, we need to address the matter of Bible versions. As some of us are aware of the many Bible versions we have to be somewhat exaggerated, we need to underscore this anomaly in light of the evidence before us. For not all Bibles are Bibles. Therefore, we must put to flight all who teach contrary to the word of truth - John 17:17Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth., that is, the Bible - Jude 1:3Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.. Now the word "Bible" means books, in which there are 66. 39 in the Old Testament, and 27 in the New. The 39 books of the Old Testament make up the 22 books of the Jewish Tanakh. The Tanakh is the Hebrew Bible, so to speak, and contains the obsolete Jewish law of Moses. Did you know that the law of Moses consisted of 613 individual laws? Contrast that with Galatians 5:3-4 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.. Of course the law of Moses never applied to the Gentiles, that is, non-Jews.

That said, not all Bible's are accurate translations, so that is why we recommend the King James. We must know the book to have faith, in order to please God. That is why we must pay close attention to what version of the Bible we use. Failure to do this, may well result in apostasy. Apostasy is the abandonment of a belief or principal. The Bible teaches, not to add, nor take from it - Proverbs 30:6Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar., cf. Deuteronomy 4:2Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.. For example, the Roman Catholic church add up to 10 doubtful books known as the apocrypha, to the Old Testament. The problem with that, is that the Jewish Tanakh, or Hebrew Bible, never contained those texts. Yet they are added to the Old Testament in the Catholic Bible. Not to mention, the irrefutable contradictions of purgatory, and praying for the dead - Ecclesiastes 9:5For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.. With that in mind, we can safely conclude the Catholic Bible as untrustworthy. We also urge those that use the New King James, NKJV, and the New International Version, NIV, to consider changing to the King James Bible.

There is no doubt that such translations are a diabolical cause of division, not to mention serpentine. They change the truth of God into a lie - Romans 1:25Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.. This is especially evident throughout denominational, and religious Christendom, even though they exist without God's authority. It's no great shakes when we hear of some in the Lord's church using the modern versions to convey what they claim to be God's word. For Paul warned of grievous wolves entering in among the flock - Acts 20:29For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.. Moreover, it is the duty of all honest Christians to militantly oppose the use of such violations, or to put it another way, manufactured versions. There is no need for them apart from malicious intent, that is, corrupting the word of God - 2 Corinthians 2:17For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.. There is no excuse for mishandling God's word, let alone, tampering with it. Such men are in violation of the Spirit and letter of the truth. What's more, they teach from corrupted versions as if they were the word of God. It's our responsibility to know the difference between what is reliable text, and what is not. Think on the Bereans of Paul's day! Did they not search the scriptures to see if such things were true? - Acts 17:11These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.. Are we not to try the spirits? - 1 John 4:1Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.. You either love the word of God, and know how to handle it, or you sin against it. It's as simple as that! - Matthew 12:31Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men., James 3:1My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation., cf. Psalm 119:11Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee..

Now if you love the word of God as some claim, then you should make every effort to establish whether the Bible you use is a reliable text. Anything else displays a marred, and flippant attitude, not to mention, is a condition of the heart, blighted with the notion of goalongism. That's not standing for the truth, in fact, that's not standing for anything. That's worse than the "lukewarm" of Revelation 3:16So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.. With that in mind, we conclude the King James Bible to be the most trustworthy of all the English translations to date, and probably of all time.

THE CHURCH OF CHRIST


Now some mistakenly associate Roman Catholicism and protestant denominationalism with the Lord's church. Others say that the church had it's origins during the so-called "restoration movement of 1790-1840" in the United States, also known as "the Stone-Campbell Movement." This is a false presumption, and lacks any kind of biblical authority whatsoever. Indeed it fuels the so-called "placebo effect," that is, one religion is as good as another. Dissimulation in religion gives a negative connotation to the church, not to mention the semblance of something ugly and vile. Reckless religion on the other hand, only proves a complete disrespect for deity - Hebrews 10:29Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?. To say that the church of Christ is no different from any other, is to say that Christ died for nought. The fact is, whatever one chooses to believe will not change what the Bible teaches. Jesus said, Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away - Luke 21:33Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.. The Bible explicitly teaches that the church of Christ was established on the first day of the last Pentecost, shortly after the resurrection and ascention of Christ into heaven - Acts 2:41Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.. That renders any church that had it origins other than on Pentecost as worthless. There is no such thing as merely implying with scripture. The evidence points to one church, as much as it points to one God - 1 Corinthians 8:6But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him., 12:12For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.. The church has her foundation firmly in the doctrine of Christ - 2 John 1:9Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.. Indeed she is bound by law to preach no other doctrine, save Christ crucified - 1 Corinthians 3:11For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ., Ephesians 2:19-22Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit., Jude 1:3Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints., 1 Corinthians 1:23-24But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.. That means the church has no authority to teach anything other than what the Bible teaches.

As for her governmental structure, that was determined by God, not man - Colossians 1:18And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.. Elders (who are older men) have the oversight of local congregations, which in turn make up the church. Deacons (or younger men) serve under the oversight of elders. They also serve the church. Evangelists (or preachers) are public proclaimers of the gospel. Their role is to aid in converting men to Christ, teach the church, and defend the faith. Women on the other hand, are proscribed by law to remain silent - 1 Timothy 2:12But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence., 1 Corinthians 14:34Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.. The church has no authority to change what deity has set in place. Such are the marks that distinguish the Lord's church from all others.

The church is standalone with Christ at it's head. She has no authority or scholastic elite, nor does she bind religious customs such as the Bible never spake. The Lord alone has the oversight from heaven. No one man or group of men have authority over the church, but every man as God appointeth - Ephesians 4:11-12And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:. The church is not a building, but a body of people, hence Romans 12:5So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another., 1 Corinthians 12:27Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.. The church of Christ is a spiritual building, for God is a spirit - 1 Peter 2:5Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ., John 4:24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.. My friend, Christ the Son of God died for his church, not someone else's. The church of Christ is a biblical phrase denoting ownership, and not some random title coined by men. Now if Christ is the head of the church, and he is: who then has authority to challenge what he hath set in place? The Bible teaches about a great falling away from the faith in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. Many have fallen away from the faith since the time of the apostles, however, in our time the church is witnessing apostasy like has never been seen since the beginning. When the churches of Christ allow women to preach and teach, usurp authority over men, and use musical instruments in worship, then what have you? When the churches of Christ allow modern versions of the Bible to teach God's heritage, then you know the mystery of iniquity is at work - 2 Thessalonians 2:7. This is not the pattern of the New Testament church that we read about in the Bible. Is it any wonder that the seeds of apostasy are rife in the church when we see the likes of the NIV promoted by those that have the oversight? Shame on those that claim to preach the truth, yet the truth is so far removed it beggars belief.

GENDER STRIFES


The Bible teaches, foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes - 2 Timothy 2:23. That simply means to avoid arguments over words, and unlearned, or illusive doctrine. Hosea 4:6 reads, My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. One example of gender strifes is found in Acts 15:1, when certain men which came down from Judea, taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. In this instance, the gender is both cultural, and religious, not to mention, illusive, and false. The rebuttal therefore: why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear. This is found in verse 10. You see then, how strifes, that is "conflict" emulated amongst the Jewish Christians over unlearned, and indeed, false doctrine. Gender strifes can result from dissimulation in religion, which in turn, can lead to spiritual adultery, and apostasy.

Another example of gender strifes, is the misnomer of calling someone a Christian outside of the Lord's church. For example, Roman Catholics refer to themselves as Christians, but they don't obey the gospel. They worship the mother of Jesus as the queen of heaven. Yet the Bible teaches, no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven - John 3:13. They also refer to the head of their church as "holy father." Yet the Bible teaches to call no man your father upon the earth - Matthew 23:9. Now if that's not enough, they also fail to acknowledge Colossians 1:18. In this instance, the gender is Christian, and the strife is failing to obey the gospel. What about the mishandling of Ephesians 4:11? The Bible teaches, that God is the one who appoints men to certain offices within the ranks of the church. But liberal teaching would have us believe that one needs a phd in spite of verse 11. In this instance, the gender is office, and the strife is binding the expedient, whether lawful or not - 1 Corinthians 10:23. When men bind what God has not bound, they add to his word.

A final, and more typical example of gender strifes, is the wrong use of words to prove fallacious arguments, in other words, sophistry. For example, Catholics claim that Peter was the rock that Christ built his church on. However, a closer examination reveals, that Peter (petros) means pebble, or small stone. In Matthew 16:18 we read, And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church. The word rendered rock is "petra," not "petros." Christ stated, He would build His church on the rock, not on Peter the pebble. Christ is the rock of Matthew 16:18, cf. Psalm 18:2. Now it seems that Christ mentioned verse 18 to other brethren before Peter, hence the use of the adverb "also." That alone puts an end to the claim of Peter being the first Pope, not to mention, the rock that the church is built on. You see then, how word's used wrongly can cause gender strifes?

My friend, it is sinful to pursue foolish and unlearned questions, let alone, strive about words - 2 Timothy 2:14, 23, Titus 3:9. If you want to answer questions, then learn the answers. The word of God puts it rightly, in that we must be instant, in season, and out of season, to give an answer - 2 Timothy 2:15, 4:2, 1 Peter 3:15. An honest heart for the things of God will not shy away from responsibility, let alone, accountability.

REPUDIATING FALLACIOUS APOLOGETICS


Have you ever heard the likes of it, defending the indefensible? Fallacious apologetics is the defending of religious positions that are wholly apocryphal. Fallacious apologetics will not defend the Bible, but the originator's own beliefs. Such apologetics are nothing more than babbling artifice, or anecdotal at best. It only serves to divide asunder, and negates any hope of unity in the faith. That said, the Bible says to preach the word, not impede the word - 2 Timothy 4:2Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.. Divisive apologetics is an affront to gross disobedience, not to mention, sophistry, which is the use of deceptive arguments. With cunningly devised tales, and subtle use of words - 2 Timothy 2:14Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers., many are deceived into thinking all is well with their souls, even though they have never obeyed the gospel. What's more, to accuse the Lord's church as being legalistic: is to say, those that obey the word of God, do not obey the word of God. If ever there was a definition for contrariety, there you have it. Such is to sin against the word of God - Matthew 12:31Wherefore, I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy of the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven., cf. 1 Samuel 15:22And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.. Disseminating animosity towards the Lord's church is to be found fighting against God - Acts 5:39. We must therefore reject the use of divisive apologetics, and focus more on study - 2 Timothy 2:15, if we are to preach as the oracles of God - 1 Peter 4:11If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen..

Denominational Christendom use such strategies to try and render what the Bible teaches to their own ends. It amounts to nothing more than tampering with the word of God. Those that do such things are guilty of judging God's word, and will give account on the day of judgement. The Bible alone, is the all sufficient in both doctrine, and authority, to the church. How denominations conclude to change any part of God's word, is a mystery in itself, not to mention, iniquity - 2 Thessalonians 2:7. In saying that, one has to wonder why anyone that supposedly loves the truth would want to change it - Romans 1:25. Such things are a sore reminder of our responsibility before God, and to man.

I, for one, do not apologise for preaching the word of God, nor will I remain silent. For to will, is to do.

DISINHERITING CHURCH CENSUS


There is a foolish notion amongst certain in the church of Christ, in that, some claim to have knowledge with regards to church numbers, or members. The problem I have with such claims is that the record is in Heaven - Acts 2:47, 5:32. How some claim to know the details is beyond me. None of us know for sure who is saved, and who is not; but we can know somewhat by their fruit. Thank goodness, the Lord looks not on the outward appearance, as men do, but on the heart - 1 Samuel 16:7. However, this is not a measure we can rely on. The Lord is the one who adds the saved to the church, therefore, only the Lord knows the true number of the saved. In any case, we are not obligated to procure such knowledge, let alone, wasting time trying to procure it.

In my opinion, there are ulterior motives behind such claims. Such are the fallacious assertions of liberal-minded Christians, who are so out of touch with what the Bible teaches, one can only wonder.

GENERIC DOCTRINE


The Bible teaches, that every plant which the heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up - Matthew 15:13. With all due respect, any man that teaches other than scripture, shouldn't be teaching at all. The Bible says, they received not the love of the truth - 2 Thessalonians 2:10. I wonder why? To love the truth is to do the truth - James 1:22. Some say, we really cannot know anything for sure. If that is so, how do they know for sure, that we cannot know anything for sure? Such affirmations resemble the rants of postulating at best. In spite of that however, and contrary to what many people believe, the church that Christ established is still here today. To say anything else is to make Christ a liar - Matthew 16:18.

Mind you, nowadays is not so far removed from the days of Noah, when the end of all flesh had come before God - Genesis 6:13. They refused to listen to the preaching of Noah, just like some refuse today - Galatians 4:16. 2 Thessalonians 3:6 commands in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that we withdraw ourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly. With all the false teaching we have, and all the false brethren that promote it, one can only surmise the measure of the cup of God's wrath in such matters. To refuse the gospel of Jesus Christ, is to refuse God's offer to save.

As for the church in matters of doctrine, the weight of responsibility rests on the body for what is taught from the pulpits. The simple answer: is to preach the word - 2 Timothy 4:2, learn the word - 2 Timothy 2:15, and understand the word - Proverbs 4:7. Have you not read, that we shall all give account of ourselves to God? - Romans 14:12. Have you not read, that we shall be judged by the word? - John 12:48. If this is true, and it is, then what will be the outcome of those unprepared to meet God at death? Furthermore, false teachers arise because weak and unlearned brethren allow them. Discipline is a rare commodity in the church. Moreover, refusal to administer discipline is a violation of the law of Christ. Read it for yourself - 1 Corinthians 5:11-13, cf. Matthew 18:15-17. Is it any wonder then that some in the church have gone astray? Now we need to address women preaching in the church of Christ. There is no question as to what the Bible teaches. Women are not permitted to teach scripture. However, some ignore Paul's warning, and using sophistry, usurp the authority of scripture. But that is to sin against the word of God - Matthew 12:31. Read it for yourself - 1 Timothy 2:12, 1 Corinthians 14:34.

The Bible teaches that we can know them by their fruits - Matthew 7:16. The word of God is the all sufficient authority in both doctrine and discipline to the church. When the church deviates from the pattern found in the New Testament, the sounding thereof is become unknown - 1 Corinthians 14:8. Now many presume a form of self-righteousness by quasi-measurable effect, such as, when Paul persecuted the church according to the Jews religion - Galatians 1:13. As we know from Paul's experience, the reality might well be contrary to one's personal, or religious beliefs. Presumptuousness, as most of us know well, is sinful in itself - Psalm 19:13. Moreover, it profits very little, and will in the end lead one to hell. Therefore, there is of necessity authority in religion. Without authority, none would be accountable, even to God. Authority produces accountability, therefore rendering all accountable - 2 Corinthians 5:10. In any case, all authority lies with God by virtue of his nature.



A LITTLE BACKGROUND


The first Bible I was introduced to if you could call it a Bible, was the New International Version, or NIV. It seemed to be a favourite of many in the Pentecostal church during the 1990's, and I'm sure little has changed since then. Although I was very much ignorant of scripture in those days, it didn't stop me from asking questions. In any case, I was none the wiser with some of the answers I got. Looking back, I can only wonder at what I was called out of, thank God. The nearest thing I could liken the Pentecostal religion to, is spiritual adultery. If I ever witnessed religious whoredom, then I've witnessed it in the Pentecostal church. As for Roman Catholicism, well, that speaks for itself. Now if religious Christendom is not a mark of putting lesser things first, there's not a Jew in Jerusalem.

Over the years I've both handled, and read of, various Bible versions that seemingly imitate the word of God, except for the obvious doctrinal variations, that is. Unless you haven't noticed, they stand out like a sore thumb. Now as luck would have it, if you will, I found the King James Bible in the midst of vexation of spirit. I queried why one Bible differs so much from another, but who would answer? Yet it was said, that the King James Bible was old fashioned, and for the most part, archaic, or obsolete. Did God decide that? Now many claim that the (Authorized) King James is difficult to read, let alone understand. But I disagree! Those that say such things speak with motive, and not honest intention. Such claims amount to nothing more than a feeble attempt to subvert the tried and trusted. That is to say, refute an accurate and trustworthy translation that has proven the test of time. For example, Matthew 5:27-28, "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." My friend, understandest thou what thou hast read?

Today's society is geared more towards appeasing the homosexual, shooing children off to child minders, and the God hating feminist: than to honour the family with respect for authority. It seems that even God's word is not safe, when you have the likes of militant Jews translating certain versions of the Bible with denominational dogma, not to mention, omitting the deity of Christ, and what have you? Contrast that with the fallacious claims of liberal preachers, that all Bible versions are the word of God. Well that's the same as saying unity in diversity. You know, one can see union in a bag of dog's and cat's, but where is the unity? My answer is, thank God for the "King James Bible." The thing about the King James Bible is that it won't allow for apostasy. That is one of the reasons why it lacks desirability I suppose. As pertaining to the doctrine - Jude 1:3, you won't find any sounder, that's for sure.

IS THE BIBLE FOR MAN TODAY?


Well, to ask is to answer, my friend. The Bible is for man today, and is the sole authority in doctrine and discipline to the church. When one is taught wrong, he will believe what is wrong. The Bible alone contains the word of God, and is the measure by which we will be judged - John 12:48. There is no other text that compares to what the Bible teaches in all the writings of history. The Bible teaches the gospel message to mankind. The Bible is God communicating with man. Now many have tried to refute the Bible, and several have claimed it to be obsolete. However, not one man has ever proven that to be so. The Bible serves it's purpose whether men want to believe it or not. In any case, that will not change the fact that one needs to hear the gospel. Nor does it ignore our responsibility from hearing the gospel - James 1:22. The scriptures put it right, in that God's word does not return empty - Isaiah 55:11. Now it seems for the most part that people would rather to remain ignorant of what the Bible teaches, and one can only wonder why? Whether one chooses to believe the Bible, or not, has little effect in negating their responsibility before God. In spite of that, some men continue on as if without consequence. Yet Paul besought, that we receive not the grace of God in vain - 2 Corinthians 6:1. As I said before, scripture is not a matter of hear now and do later, for what man knoweth what tomorrow may bring - Proverbs 27:1, cf. James 4:16. The Bible is our only guide to a life pleasing to God. Unlike anything else, the Bible saves.

Many a man has read the Bible, but not all men understand it - 1 Corinthians 2:14. Any man can read the Bible, as he would a newspaper, but not all men study it - 2 Timothy 2:15. That is why God appoints some as teachers and preachers - Ephesians 4:11. Remember the story of the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:26-40? Whilst Philip heard him read the prophet Esaias, he said, Understandest thou what thou readest? On answering Philip, the eunuch said, How can I, except some man should guide me? You see then, how God uses faithful men to teach others? This expedient is lawful, as long as men are faithful in their handling of God's word. Therefore, we need to understand that Christianity is a learned religion - John 6:45, and not something we strive headlong, or in ignorance. The conclusion therefore, God is a spirit, his church is spiritual, and his word is spiritually discerned. Honestly, who can believe that the Bible is not for man today?

CAN A MAN JOIN THE CHURCH OF CHRIST?


The simple answer is no! In terms of salvation, most people appear to overlook the fact that one cannot join the Lord's church as he would a regular church. Membership is not a matter of creed, but rather faith, repentance, and obedience - Acts 2:38, cf. 1 Samuel 15:22. Nor indeed does man answer to man as one that hath authority above the gospel. No man has that authority, save Christ - Colossians 1:18 and Acts 2:47. Now notice in the previous verse, "...such as should be saved." That simply refers to those that have obeyed the gospel, and continue to - cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:8, John 13:17 and 2 Peter 1:10. Nevertheless, there are some that employ the pulpit to preach of themselves, and speak things that are foreign to what the Bible teaches. One can only wonder if such men think they will escape the judgement of God? There is no question that false teaching produces false brethren, and especially given the lack of knowledge that exists amongst many that profess themselves as followers of Christ - Galatians 2:4 and 2 Corinthians 11:26, cf. Hosea 4:6. Paul admonished in Galatians 1:11-12, that the mystery of iniquity was already at work in his time - 2 Thessalonians 2:7. That was two millennia ago, and should serve to warn us with whom we are dealing.

Our time is not so far removed from the time of Christ in the sense of false teaching, and religious overlording. In terms of sin however, it appears that men continue to invent. And as for the faith that was once delivered; few are faithful, let alone, honest in handling it - cf. 2 Corinthians 11:4, Galatians 1:8-9, John 10:1. Now Christ taught monotheism: that is, one God, one Christ, one faith, one baptism, one way - Ephesians 4:5-6, 1 Timothy 2:5 and 1 Corinthians 8:6. When faithful men preach Christ, they preach after a godly sort. Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me - John 14:6. There's an old saying, that its better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

The Bible only, produces Christians only, but only when it is taught correctly, and of course rightly divided - 2 Timothy 2:15. Anything else will produce something else, but not of the faith that was once delivered - Jude 1:3. And as I said earlier, the Bible teaches one church (body), one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God, and so on - 1 Corinthians 8:6, 12:12, and Romans 12:5. The Bible however, does not teach a polygamy of churches, as if to say, Christ has more than one bride. Yet that is what we see throughout false Christendom. Why some men tend to overlook the fact that scripture is absolute in all points of doctrine is beyond me. Does God need our counsel? For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? - 1 Corinthians 2:16. Now the previous verse was quoted in part in that it serves to admonish those that think they are somewhat wiser than God. When men deviate from sound doctrine, we are left with no option but to conclude them as heretics. John wrote of such in 1 John 2:19. It seems that another spirit is at work amongst certain that profess to preach Christ. Paul admonished in Romans 8:9 that if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. Therefore, we need to determine how one has the Spirit of Christ? The obvious answer is found in Acts 5:32. Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams - 1 Samuel 15:22. The problem today is that too many follow after their own lusts than to obey God. Such men are fickle, dishonest with their use of scripture, and for the most part fail to keep with the whole counsel of God - Acts 20:27.

My friend, false teaching is like water, it always finds a way. Having said that, we can liken it to the old adage, "We can't always stop a bird from landing on our head, but we can stop it from building a nest there."

IS THE BIBLE ABSOLUTE?


The simple answer is yes! The Bible is the absolute authority in all things to the church. It contains the full counsel of God - 2 Timothy 3:16-17, cf. 1 Peter 4:11. The Bible conveys God's word to the church, and to the world. It contains the will of God for man. However, many have abused the Bible, and merchandised the "perfect" on the backs of the poor, and ignorant. What's more, what we know today as religious Christendom is based wholly on conjecture, and not the truth of God's word. Man teaching man the ways of man. We have denominations as a result of contempt for what we know to be divinely inspired, and even though the Bible is said to be the standard of authority in all things religious, there is absolutely no evidence of this being endorsed, let alone acknowledged. The very existence of Christian denominations amounts to nothing more than the blasphemous attempts of men to equal themselves with God - Mark 3:29. Denominational Christendom has no part in the church of Christ, that is to say, numbered amongst those who are saved - Acts 2:47, but are of the contrary part, as like unto the sons of Aaron - Leviticus 10:1-2.

The methodology behind most of what appears to be Bible teaching, and especially amongst denominational churches; is nothing more than sectarian antagonism at best. They teach the doctrines of men above that of God - Matthew 15:9. They preach a false sense of security, and holdfast to religious traditions above the faith that was once delivered - Jude 1:3. And whilst some have departed from the faith entirely; e.g. (Roman Catholicism), others claim that one can be saved outside the commandments of God. A prominent archetype of this anti-fundamental doctrine is found in Baptist theology. For the most part, they teach that one can be saved outside of baptism, or in other words, the complete antithesis of the divine standard. Try teaching such foolishness with the apostles looking on. One really has to wonder about the honesty of some people. In any case, it seems rather odd that they call themselves "Baptists," and deny the Holy Ghost - Acts 2:38, 22:16, and Mark 16:16. Such teachings forsake the foundational doctrines that the church is built on - Ephesians 2:20. Such teachings amount to nothing more than the doctrines of devils - 1 Timothy 4:1. My friend, thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble - James 2:19.

Another problem with unlearned Christianity is that many people engage in wishful thinking. And without further ado, they strive headlong in ignorance, not weighing the cost of what it means to be a Christian. For many, this is the ignorant pattern they follow. When a man is taught in part, then he only knows in part, but what part of what he knows keeps him faithful? Therefore, it could be said, truth in part. Yet there is no such thing as truth in part when rightly handling the word of God - 1 Corinthians 13:10. The point I'm making is this: a man need not know everything to know something. However, concerning the implicit's and explicit's of inspired doctrine, we have no excuse, but to know all the counsel of God - Acts 20:27. Now there are 8,760 hours in a year, so who answereth God on this wise? - 2 Timothy 2:15.

My friend, we must use the Bible in the context it was given, for God is not the author of confusion - 1 Corinthians 14:33, nor is he responsible for what men bring upon themselves - Matthew 18:7. Man is a free moral agent, in that God gave him the volition of will. However, with the freedom of will, there are consequences - Galatians 6:7. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God - Romans 14:12. There is no escaping the fact that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgement - Matthew 12:36. Peter said, If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God - 1 Peter 4:11. I cannot stress enough our responsibility when handling the word of God. James admonished, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation - James 3:1. The word "master" in the King James refers to someone that teaches.

Now as concerning the Lord's table, there seems to be some confusion as to how one partakes of the cup of the Lord. Some say, the administration is performed by means of a single vessel, or "one cup." And in an attempt to bind this religiously, they have caused division within the household of God. Therefore, we need to look to the word of God for our answer, lest we too bind what God has not bound. Paul said, All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not - 1 Corinthians 10:23. Notice in Luke 22:17 however, "He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves." To divide something is to separate, or be separated into parts. Drinking from "one cup" is not separating in parts per se, but consuming in part. Nevertheless, the expedient is not unlawful, nor the preferred binding.

There's another false doctrine that has troubled me for some time now: in that Christians are not under law; but grace. Now the grace they refer to is "grace only." But the Bible doesn't teach that. There is no such thing as grace only in the Bible, that is, unless you put it there yourself. To say that we are saved by grace alone, is the same as saying 1 John 3:4 is a mistake. To teach such things, even under the pretense of "hermeneutics," is nothing more than an idiotic attempt to undermine God. Jesus said, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God - Matthew 22:29. Now it goes without saying, that some people are impossible to teach; for as like unto Pharaoh in the days of Moses, they refuse to listen - Exodus 7:14. The grace of God is broad term, yet concise. There are several conditions associated with God's grace, for example, repentance - Luke 13:3, Acts 3:19, Luke 5:32, and Acts 2:38. God's patience is another form of grace. If we consider the balance between life and sin, most people weight in on sin. Yet God affords every one of us the opportunity to put things right. This is made possible through Christ - Romans 10:9-10. The problem is that most people tend to overlook those conditions. The conditions are there because God put them there. I wonder what Samuel would have answered to the question of obedience? - 1 Samuel 15:22. My friend, has there ever been a time in history that God has left it to man to set the standards? Well you won't find them in the Bible.

HOW IS ONE ADDED TO THE CHURCH OF CHRIST?


The simplest answer is by obeying the gospel. One needs to hear the gospel, believe it, and obey it - Romans 10:17, James 1:22. The duty of a Christian is to guide those that do not understand, in other words teach them - Acts 8:31. And so that we do understand, no one has ever joined the Lord's church, but is added - Acts 2:47, 5:32. The churches we see today are the works of men, and not of Christ. In other words, every man does that which is right in his own eyes - Judges 21:25. That gives the impression that God has to conform to the ways of men. However, one thing is overlooked, God is the one that does the saving. Now if you think you are wiser than God, go ahead and find out. For as Paul once said, "Do I now persuade men, or God? - Galatians 1:10. The Bible teaches to hold fast the faith that was once delivered - Jude 1:3. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble - James 2:19. Just believing in God is not enough to save one's soul. If that was the case, the devils would be saved. There are several conditions that must be met in order to be added to the company of the saved. You will never read of any of the conditions as standalone. We must meet them all if we are to be saved. Choosing one above the other has no place in the plan of salvation. The word of God is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart - Hebrews 4:12. With that in mind, we can safely conclude that God's way is the right way.

Now the Bible teaches quite a bit about following the crowd - Matthew 7:13-14, cf. Exodus 23:2. And for the most part that is what we see today. Most people tend to follow false teaching because it's more akin to their natural state - Romans 3:23. Many have been deceived by religious Christendom in following the doctrines of men, than of God - Mark 7:7. Jesus said, many would be on the broad way that leads to destruction - Matthew 7:13. Unless a man is willing to give the truth a fair hearing, little more can be said to persuade such a one. Let me illustrate using 1 John 4:6. He that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. As I said before, what one chooses to believe won't change what the Bible teaches. When a man refuses to hear the word of God, let alone obey it, he has judged himself unworthy. One day, in the not too distant future, he will die and face the judgement of God. The fact that all men are destined to die once, and then the judgement, is irrefutable - Hebrews 9:27.

On the day of Pentecost several thousand people were gathered together, and hearing Peter preach on the kingdom of heaven, and salvation: they asked, what they had to do to be saved? Then Peter answering said, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls - Acts 2:38, 41. Now notice how one is added to the church through repentance and baptism. Such are the conditions that God has determined. No one man or group of men can change a single condition of salvation, let alone turn a hair on their head white or black- Matthew 5:36. Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life - Romans 6:3-4. We reach the saving blood of Christ through baptism. At baptism our past sins are forgiven, but we need to be cautious in our understanding of future sin. The Bible teaches no such thing as baptism washing away future sin. If we continue in sin after baptism we transgress the law of Christ - 1 John 3:4. Jesus said, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish - Luke 13:3. In other words, if we continue to sin wilfully after baptism, there remains no more sacrifice for our sin. Read it for yourself - Hebrews 10:26. It is certainly true that we all sin, even after baptism, but to wilfully sin is another matter entirely.

What about sinning ignorantly? If we are unaware of our sin, are we still accountable? My friend, that is why we have the word of God to teach our ignorance - Hosea 4:6. David lamented in Psalm 19:12, "Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults." Are we not to examine ourselves? - 1 Corinthians 11:28. We are all accountable for what we say and do - 2 Corinthians 5:10. There was a time when God did overlook certain things, but now commandeth all men every where to repent - Acts 17:30.

HOW DOES ONE GROW SPIRITUALLY?


There is no question as to how one grows spiritually. Notice 1 Peter 2:2-3. As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be, ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. It's absolutely hideous to observe any man that calleth himself a Christian, to lack in the knowledge of that which will judge him in the last day (the Bible) - John 12:48. How can one be a follower of Christ when he knows little of whom he follows? Unlike the Christians' of the first century, we have so much available to us in terms of learning, it beggars belief, that some will go so far as to ignore the word of God from one end of the week to the other. Others of course, milk the word to their own end. Why some remain ignorant of scripture only proves their lack of love for God in the first place - 2 Thessalonians 2:10. However, Jesus said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment - Matthew 22:37-38. Jesus went further in saying, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him - John 14:23. Its odd that the vast majority of those that profess Christ make little or no effort to keep his commandments - John 14:15.

FINAL ADMONISHING


Our expository should suffice in procuring what is necessary for sound doctrine. Most people are confused by what it means to obey the gospel, and whilst some ignorantly presume by private interpretation, others rob God by defrauding Christ of his testimony. This ought not to be! Christ is the standard for all that profess to be Christian. His word is absolute, and his way unchanging - John 14:6. Therefore we need to understand that Christianity is a learned religion - John 6:45, and not something we strive headlong, or in ignorance. We must know to do the will of God, and that will only be accomplished through proper study - 2 Timothy 2:15. In 1 Corinthians 2:14 we read, "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." Can you see why Bible study is so important? With all due respect, if a man lacks in the knowledge of God's word, of what use is he to the Lord? or to put it another way, a man need not know everything to know something.

In saying that however, ignorance of scripture will never warrant an excuse before God - Acts 17:30-31, inasmuch as unforgiveness of sin is to them that make for nought the kindness of God. Jesus said, "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day" - John 12:48. The word that shall judge us in the last day is the Bible.


My friend, the church of Christ is like no other church, in that she is the church of God!




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