Index by Subject

Belief, Baptism & Signs Following – Still Today?

What follows is an exchange with a Pentecostal Pastor who wrote regarding our recent article on a snake handling preacher who was bitten and died.  The bulk of the correspondence appears in my second response to Mr. Bradshaw.  It includes material from an article written more than thirty years ago which dealt with the same question.

Continue reading » Belief, Baptism & Signs Following – Still Today?

Contending for the Faith: Another Snake Handling Preacher Died

We take no joy in recounting the death of yet another Pentecostal preacher, Dwayne Long, who died while handling a rattlesnake during Easter Sunday church services.  Said the Richmond, VA, Times-Dispatch:

Snake-handling preacher dies after bite from rattler.  The pastor refused medical treatment after a venomous bite during Easter services.

“Long, whose father was also a snake-handling preacher for more than 30 years, died at his home Monday after refusing medical treatment….‘There have been other members of that family who have died of snakebites in the past 30 to 40 years,’ added…Sheriff Gary Parsons….

“Snake-handlers defend the practice by citing Mark 16:17-18: ‘And these signs shall follow them that believe: in my name they shall cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.’

“The movement began in the early 1900s, and a Tennessee native, George Hensley, is considered the father of modern snake-handling.  According to some accounts, Hensley was preaching when someone dropped a box of snakes at his feet.  Hensley picked up the snakes and continued his sermon, and soon snake-handling spread to other churches.

“According to other accounts, Hensley brought the box of snakes to the pulpit himself as he preached from the book of Mark.  He died in 1955, of a snakebite.”

Another report of the incident from Roanoke, VA, said, “Serpent-handlers believe that when people die of a snakebite they receive during a service, it was simply their time to go….

Continue reading » Contending for the Faith: Another Snake Handling Preacher Died

Alexander Campbell Saved?

"I was wondering since Campbell was baptized by a Baptist how it is possible we have evolved to an understanding it is for remission of sins?  Understanding Campbell did not come to such conclusion till eight years after the fact and was never re-baptized for remission of sin. Was he too unsaved?" 

Reply: First, by reading pages 396-398 of Robert Richardson’s biography, Memoirs of A. Campbell, Vol. I, our querist might see Mr. Campbell’s view of the purpose of baptism when he was baptized by Matthias Luce.

Second, how one assesses the design of water baptism is not to be determined by a process of evolution.  Are not the Scriptures clear enough?

Continue reading » Alexander Campbell Saved?

Contending for the Faith: Baptist Baptism Delayed 20 Years

(A good friend and brother in the Lord, Don Craven, wrote concerning a Baptist preacher, James O. Newell, who was baptized recently during a Baptist service.  Several Baptists were confused about the matter and thought their preacher was being saved.  One Baptist approached Don and asked what he thought about it.  Don wrote the Baptist preacher and asked for an explanation.  Below is the explanation from the Baptist preacher and my comments on it.)

Continue reading » Contending for the Faith: Baptist Baptism Delayed 20 Years

Contending for the Faith: Baptist Baptism VS Bible Baptism

I’m a member of the lord’s church.  I’ve been ordering your sermons (www.biblework.com), and it is an honor to receive and view those sermons on the word of God.  I just received the Wilkin / Hafley debate on water baptism.  You most certainly CRUSHED his idea on faith only!

Larry, my wife and I often have discussed the topic of denominational baptism.   We were both baptized in a Baptist church.  At a later time, I came to the understanding that they (the Baptists) were in error, but my wife, on the other hand, feels that she was baptized for all the right reasons.  Although they teach faith only, she says she was baptized for the remission of her sins.  I told her that you could not be taught wrong and be baptized right. Continue reading » Contending for the Faith: Baptist Baptism VS Bible Baptism

Contending for the Faith: How Faithful?

Dear Larry, I have a question.  Is salvation based on being faithful? If so, how faithful?

William

Dear William,

"How faithful" does your wife expect you to be to her?  That is what the Lord expects, too — "For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ" (2 Corinthians 11:2).  Your wife would not like it, if, after telling you that she has been faithful to you, you were to ask her, "How faithful?"

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Can a Saved Person be Lost?

I have a question, Is there any condition, when somebody has been saved, and they are a Christian, can that person get unsaved?  Thank  you, William

Reply:

Thanks for your question, William.  I shall seek to answer it with Scripture.  I will also send you some articles which apply to your question.  

First, there are those who believe there is not "any condition" which will cause a saved person to become lost or unsaved.

Continue reading » Can a Saved Person be Lost?

Contending for the Faith: Word Confirmed With Signs

The Lord promised the apostles that the Spirit would be with them and in them. That is, the Holy Spirit would give and guide them into all truth, and that he would attest to their divine direction by granting them the ability to perform miracles (John 14:17, 26; 15:26, 27; 16:13). The truth of the above facts is seen in what transpired. In other words, what subsequently happened defined and described what Jesus meant when he said the Spirit would testify and bear witness with them (Cf. "also," John 15:26, 27).

What followed these promises? What happened? "And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following" (Mark 16:20; Cf. Hebrews 2:4). Both the apostles and the Holy Spirit were "witnesses" of the death of Christ and the glory that followed (Again, see "also" in Acts 5:32; Cf. John 15:27, where "also" includes both the apostles and the Spirit). When Peter later says they spoke the gospel "with the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven," he was speaking of the fulfillment of these very things; namely, that the Spirit confirmed the testimony he gave the apostles by granting them the ability to work miracles (1 Peter 1:10-12). Or, as Scripture says, "And many wonders and signs were done by the apostles" (Acts 2:43). "And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 4:33, which is in accord with the plea and prayer of 4:29, 30). God "gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands" (Acts 14:3). These passages are practical exhibitions or demonstrations of the declarations and promises of John 14:26; 15:26, 27; 16:13, 14. It is to such things that Paul alludes when he speaks of "the signs of an apostle" (2 Corinthians 12:12).

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Contending for the Faith: That "Church of Christ Cultist on Osage St."

(Tim Cryer is a local Baptist with whom we had correspondence in the fall of 1999. ["A Baptist On Jeremiah 6:16," and "Baptist Preacher Responds To Our Review." E-mail me if you would like to have a copy of those exchanges]. Mr. Cryer never replied after the second review. However, he has written again. Below are the details about a young lady’s confrontation with "a Church of Christ Cultist on Osage St.")

Continue reading » Contending for the Faith: That "Church of Christ Cultist on Osage St."

Anonymous Prays for Pat Robertson

(Author’s Note: As you may recall, in the April 2003 issue of Watchman Magazine, an article entitled, “Pat Robertson’s Surgery,” appeared. The article asked why Pat Robertson, a noted Pentecostal, had not received miraculous divine healing, rather than undergo surgery. An anonymous objector has responded. Since his criticisms are fairly common, perhaps a reply might be helpful – LRH).

dear sir maybe you should read Ps105:15. and Matthew 7:1-2 as a matter of fact read the chapter.

what this man is or is not is Gods buisness. Rather than tear down a bretheren perhaps you should pray for Pat Robertson’s recovery. I know I will be.”

It is good to have a response, even an anonymous one, for no Pentecostal faith healer attempted to answer the questions posed by the article, “Pat Robertson’s Surgery.” Like Baal’s silence in 1 Kings 18, their muteness loudly proclaims their spiritual impotence. As the article said, if our Pentecostal friends had the powers they claim the Holy Spirit gives them, Pat Robertson would not have had surgery. He would have been miraculously healed. Continue reading » Anonymous Prays for Pat Robertson

Reply to Anonymous “Young Christian”

Editor’s Note: The following article has been featured at the Truth Magazine website for a while now.  It has engendered much discussion, and brother Hafley sent it for inclusion in Watchman as well.  Though we are a bit “behind the times” reprinting it, for those Watchman readers who may not have read it on the Truth Magazine site, here it is.  We appreciate brother Hafley’s kindness and candor in dealing with this young person. Continue reading » Reply to Anonymous “Young Christian”

Pat Robertson’s Surgery

Presidential candidate, Senator John Kerry, is not the only one who recently had surgery to remove a cancerous prostate gland.  Pat Robertson, he of the 700 Club, a socio-politico, religious television news program, had prostate surgery on February 22.

Mr. Robertson often has endorsed modern day miracle claims and has featured faith healers on his television program.  One wonders why this man, who believes in the miraculous, divine healing power of the Holy Spirit today, needed to have surgery for his ailment.  Seems to me that this would have been the perfect time for one of his miracle working preacher friends to have laid their hands on him and healed him.  Since he surely had sufficient faith to be healed, why did he not call one of the prominent healers of this generation (Oral Roberts, for example), and ask them to rid him of his malady?

Continue reading » Pat Robertson’s Surgery

Contending for the Faith: "The Four Gospels Are All We Need"

Larry, do you have any material or thoughts when one says that the 4 gospels are all we need, and that Paul was corrupt and did not preach what Jesus said?

First, though I understand what you mean, and often use the term myself, it is actually one gospel with four different records of it.

Second, if the four gospel accounts are all we need:

  1. Why did the Lord say that he that heareth you heareth me (Lk. 10:16)? More was to come to the apostles, for they could not grasp it all then (Jn. 16:12, 13). But why speak of that which would be revealed if the gospel accounts are all we need?
  2. Why did Jesus speak of some who would believe on him through their (the apostles’) word (Jn. 17:20)? Why speak of “their word,” which would be given later to them, if the gospel accounts are all we need (Jn. 16:7-14)?
  3. Why did Jesus speak of the apostles doing greater works than he had done (Jn. 14:12)? Since they did not do them during the gospel accounts, when did they do them and why, if the gospel accounts are all we need?
  4. Why did Jesus, in the gospel accounts, speak of the Holy Spirit convicting the world of sin, if they (the gospel accounts) alone are sufficient (Cf. Jn.7:37-39; 16:8; Acts 1:8; 2:4, 36-41)?
  5. Why did Jesus speak of the gospel being “preached in the whole world” (to Jew and Gentile) if the gospel accounts are all we need (Matt. 26:13–“whole world”)? This preaching of the gospel was not done prior to the great commission of Matthew 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15, 16; Lk. 24:46-49; Acts 1:8; 2:4). This preaching to the “whole world” was after Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the Father (Acts 2:30-36). So, why did Jesus refer to it, IF the gospel accounts alone are sufficient?
  6. If Paul was corrupt and “did not preach what Jesus said,” so was the gospel which Peter preached, for they both spoke the same thing (dispensationalist doctrine to the contrary notwithstanding).
      (A) In Galatians 1:23, Paul said he now preached the gospel which he once opposed. What gospel did he once oppose (Acts 8:1-3; 9:1, 2)? He once opposed the gospel Peter preached, and that gospel was that of the resurrection of Christ (Acts 4:2, 33; 14:3). If Paul’s gospel “was corrupt,” so was Peter’s.

      (B) in 1 Corinthians 15:11, Paul said, “Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.” As context clearly shows, “they” included Peter and the other apostles (15:5-11). It made no difference whether one heard Paul or Peter, true gospel faith and salvation resulted, no matter which one they heard. If Paul’s gospel was corrupt, so was Peter’s.

      (C) Paul worked the signs of an apostle (2 Cor. 12:12). The things he wrote were “the commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor. 14:37; Eph. 3:5). These were things delivered to the “holy apostles and prophets” (Cf. Eph. 3:3-5, 8-11; 2 Pet. 3:1, 2). Peter could do more than work “the signs of an apostle,” so if Paul’s teaching is “corrupt,” so is Peter’s.

  7. Where do we learn of local church organization, of elders and deacons? Certainly not in “the 4 gospels”!
  8. Where do we read of a church receiving funds to do its work? Again, not in “the 4 gospels”!
  9. Where do we see that the Lord’s supper is to be eaten “upon the first day of the week”? Do any of “the 4 gospels” speak of Christians partaking of it on that day?
  10. Where do we learn that Holy Spirit baptism, tongues speaking, and spiritual gifts have ceased? The gospel record of Mark ends with language which, without other testimony, particularly that given by Paul, sounds as though such miraculous works continue in perpetuity. How do we know they have ceased and that men are not being so led today without the testimony of Paul? (If one argues that Paul’s denial that such gifts continue is part of his corruption, it follows that if a person cannot work miracles and perform the signs, he is an unbeliever, according to the gospel records (Mk. 16:17-20). Will those who say “that the 4 gospels are all we need” accept that consequence?)

Third, those who make the charge that Paul “did not preach what Jesus said” need to offer proof of their charge. He did speak Jesus’ words and exhorted disciples to “remember the words of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 20:35). Further he said, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom” (Col. 3:16). He said that in Christ were hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col. 2:3-8) These are strange words coming from a man who allegedly did not “preach what Jesus said.” So, what is there about Paul’s gospel that is deficient or corrupt? We need specifics, not general accusations.

    (A) If Paul’s word was “corrupt” why did Peter refer to it with approval (2 Pet. 3:16)?

    (B) If Paul’s word was corrupt, why did Peter, James, and John extend to him the right hand of fellowship (Gal. 2:7-9; Cf. Acts 15:12)? If Paul was corrupt, their acceptance of him would have made them partakers of his evil deeds and doctrines (2 John 9-11; Cf. 1 Jn. 4:1, 6; 2 Cor. 6:14-17; Gal. 1:6-9; 3:1-5; 5:7).

Methodists OK Weekly Communion

The headline read, "Weekly Communion Backed." The article said, "Although many Protestants celebrate communion monthly or quarterly, a study committee of the United Methodist Church has endorsed weekly observance….The committee said weekly practice would enrich worship and fit the practice of Methodist founder John Wesley, though it does not plan to seek legislation mandating it, United Methodist News Service reported" (Houston Chronicle, 2/16/02, 4F).

Imagine that-Methodists eventually may forsake a common Protestant practice and actually break bread as those non-Methodist, New Testament disciples did (Acts 20:7)! What’s more, the "weekly practice" would not only "fit the practice of Methodist founder, John Wesley," but it also would "fit the practice" of the church of Christ’s founder, Jesus Christ (Matt. 28:20; Acts 2:42; 20:7).

Continue reading » Methodists OK Weekly Communion

There Is … One Baptism

A reader asks for clarification:

"The Bible speaks of two baptisms – baptism with water and baptism of the Holy Spirit. Both are referred to on several different occasions, so both are essential (a few examples include Matt. 3:11, John 1:3, John 3:4, Acts 10:34-38).

"Ephesians 4:5, however, speaks of there being one baptism. Since the Bible actually mentions two of them, then this must mean that one of the baptisms takes precedence over the other. …which baptism is referred to here? Explain what it means to have [either] one superior to the other."

Baptisms Of The Bible

Actually, the Bible speaks of more than "two baptisms." It speaks of a baptism of suffering (Mk. 10:38, 39; Lk. 12:50), "the baptism of John" (Matt. 21:25), a baptism of fire (Matt. 3:11), and a baptism "unto Moses" (1 Cor. 10:2), as well as the aforementioned baptisms of water and the Holy Spirit.

Continue reading » There Is … One Baptism

Contending for the Faith: Catholicism Negates Jesus’ Death, New Birth

From an article by Alan Cooperman in the Washington Post, and published in the Houston Chronicle, (8/18/02, 4A), it appears that "a committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has negated the death of Christ, and invalidated his declaration, "Ye must be born again" (Jn. 3:3-7).

"Campaigns that target Jews for conversion to Christianity ‘are no longer theologically acceptable in the Catholic Church,’ a committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has declared.

"Summing up a series of Vatican pronouncements since 1965 that has reversed the church’s historical approach to Judaism, the bishops said last week that the Old Testament covenant between the Jews and God is valid and that Jews do not need to convert to Christianity to be saved. While the Roman Catholic Church ‘must bear witness in the world to the Good News of Christ…this evangelizing task no longer includes the wish to absorb the Jewish faith into Christianity and so end the distinctive witness of Jews to God in human history,’ they said.

"….Eugene Fisher, director of Catholic-Jewish relations for the bishops’ conference, said the document contains ‘no new doctrine’ but ‘distills a lot of things that have been said and steps that have been taken’ since the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s. Fisher noted, for example, that in the 1970s, the church changed its official prayer for the Jewish people, which used to call for their conversion. Now the prayer, recited on Good Friday, asks God to help Jews intensify their faith in their covenant, he said.

"While the Southern Baptist Convention and other evangelical groups run campaigns to convert Jews, the Catholic church gradually has abandoned such efforts. ‘If an individual Jew wants to convert to Catholicism, that can still happen,’ said Monsignor Francis Maniscalco, spokesman for the bishops’s conference. ‘But the point is that proselytizing campaigns are not compatible with the respect with which we hold Judaism.’

"The document makes clear that this attitude is unique. ‘Though the Catholic Church respects all religious traditions…and though we believe God’s infinite grace is surely available to believers of other faiths, it is only about Israel’s covenant that the Church can speak with the certainty of biblical witness,’ it says.

"Although he played no role in drafting the document, Rabbi Arnold Resnicoff, director of interreligious affairs for the American Jewish Committee, hailed it as ‘groundbreaking,’ Some Catholic leaders have renounced proselytizing among Jews in the past, but ‘this is the first time the Catholic leaders of a whole country have stated it officially,’ he said."

Old Testament Not Nailed To The Cross?

The law of commandments, contained in ordinances, has not been "nailed to the cross if those bishops are correct; but, they are not, and it has been (Eph. 2:15; Col. 2:14). Though the Hebrew writer argues that God has taken away the first covenant that he may establish the second, this committee of Catholic bishops says "that the Old Testament covenant between the Jews and God is valid." Do these bishops read the book of Hebrews?

Continue reading » Contending for the Faith: Catholicism Negates Jesus’ Death, New Birth

Contending for the Faith: Answering a Baptist Preacher’s ‘Unanswerable Questions’

COMMON SENSE QUESTIONS A "CHURCH OF CHRIST" PREACHER CANNOT CLEARLY ANSWER

By Pastor David Martin
Solid Rock Baptist Church

David Martin is pastor of the Solid Rock Baptist Church, 5893 Old Brownsville Rd. E, Bartlett, TN 38135 USA; phone: 901-634-1622. He is a 1984 graduate of Pensacola Bible Institute of Florida, and was ordained to the gospel ministry in 1986. He has been in his current pastorate for eight years. His article on the Church of Christ cult is the result of in-depth personal conversation with a Church of Christ elder that led to a 3-day public debate with a Church of Christ evangelist in 1997. The debate was attended by 250 people nightly from within a 300-mile radius of Memphis, Tennessee.This is one of the most controversial articles on the church of Christ you will find anywhere. No church of Christ preacher can satisfactorily answer any of the questions posed by Pastor Martin.

Continue reading » Contending for the Faith: Answering a Baptist Preacher’s ‘Unanswerable Questions’

Contending for the Faith: Speaking in an "Unknown Tongue"

(The anonymous note below arrived via e-mail. It is published as it came to me. –LRH.)

    To someone who has never experienced speaking in what we as Pentecostal some time call an unknown tong.It doesn’t surprise me that you don’t believe. I could give you vers,but I am sure you would counter them with other vers.
    I speak from experience. I was not raised Pentecostal. But I can tell you it real and when I speak in that heavenly language it not jibes it the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in me and through me to edify the Church. In my life time of be used in this gift of God it has never brought harm are confusion to the Body of Christ
    I have never see Jesus face to face. But I know he real and he has saved me from death and given me hope of an eternal future with him.
    Seek and you to will fine that some things are not debatable but excepted that we may better serve God.

Reply: First, since the author did not say, I do not know what I have said that has brought his reaction. It would help this reply if I knew the material to which he is objecting.

Second, it should be noted that, whether right or wrong, I have set forth my views openly and plainly, not anonymously. If the author truly has the spiritual gifts he claims to have, why should he be afraid? Why should he hide behind the cloak of anonymity? Of what does he have to be ashamed? Those who had certain miraculous gifts in the New Testament spoke "with all boldness" (Acts 4:29, 33; 14:3; Eph. 6:18-20). If he has what they had, why does he not do the same?

Continue reading » Contending for the Faith: Speaking in an "Unknown Tongue"

Contending for the Faith: Thoughts on Speaking in Tongues

The following request recently came to me:

    Would you mind sharing your thoughts on 1 Corinthians 13:1; 14:2 and the issue of speaking in tongues. My brother is a Pentecostal, and we have discussed this issue (along with several other issues) at length. I have pointed out that tongues is being able to speak in other languages, which he agrees with but then he says it is also speaking in the tongue of angels — saying his spirit is speaking to God — as he points out in the verses above. Can you offer some insight on what the "tongues of angels," 13:1, and "For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men, but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries," 14:2?

First, though Paul is using hyperbolic (exaggerated) language to stress a point in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, he gives no comfort to modern Pentecostalism. Men do have tongues, or languages (Acts 2:4, 6, 8, 11; 1 Corinthians 13:1). Those tongues, or languages, are not incoherent, multi-syllable jibber jabber. Rather, they are coherent, comprehensible languages, as Acts 2 and 1 Corinthians 14 clearly show.

(Compare Cornelius and his household who spoke in tongues. Those present knew the languages spoken, for they knew they were magnifying God [Acts 10:46]. However, they could not have known if they were magnifying or maligning God if they had not understood the languages. See 1 Corinthians 14:9, 16 "except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken….how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned [‘the unlearned’ one is simply the one who does not know the language spoken-LRH] say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?" Further, we know the languages spoken by Cornelius ["the Gentiles"] were understandable, for Peter said it reminded him of "the beginning" at Pentecost, and we know those languages were understood by those who heard them [Acts 2:4-11].)

Continue reading » Contending for the Faith: Thoughts on Speaking in Tongues

Short Gems from Larry’s Pen

“Give Satan An Inch”

On the sign in front of the Baker Rd. Baptist Church, Baytown, TX, the following maxim recently appeared: “Give Satan An Inch, And He’ll Be A Ruler.”

The expressed sentiment is true, for “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin” (John 8:34). “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness” (Romans 6:16)? However, the message on the sign is contrary to Baptist doctrine. Here is how.

First, Satan cannot become a “ruler” to the lost, to alien sinners, for he is already their ruler, their “father” (John 8:38, 41, 44). Hence, since he is already their ruler, it cannot be said to sinners that if they give Satan an inch he will be their ruler.

Second, since Baptists do not believe that a child of God can fall from grace, it cannot be said that Satan will be “a ruler” of the saved. If he were, the saved would be of Satan. As such, they would be lost, for “He that committeth sin is of the devil” (1 John 3:8). Continue reading » Short Gems from Larry’s Pen