Index by Subject

Are We Relevant?

Several times in the history of Watchman Magazine I have written articles explaining the present state of the effort, and desires for the future.  As many may know, Watchman Magazine is my personal project, for better or worse, and the ebb and flow regarding its relevance and prolificacy are almost entirely a result of my efforts or lack thereof.  That means that my organizational abilities, mental state, and life circumstances all play a part -both in my writing, and in my publishing of the magazine.

Watchman Magazine began in January of 1998, and continued a regular publication schedule, for the most part, through 2004.  Toward the end of this initial iteration of the magazine, publication became more sporadic, as I personally dealt with a bad case of editor/publisher burnout.  After a hiatus of several years, publication resumed in January of 2010, with several changes.  Primarily, the magazine took on a blog format, rather than maintaining a monthly schedule.  With the advent of social networking, and powerful blogging software platforms, I believe this change to be a positive one.  It has made it possible for the Watchman writers to post articles on their schedule, and my editorial responsibilities have lightened.  It is nice to no longer be responsible for coding HTML, and fighting the compatibility problems of earlier years.

Continue reading » Are We Relevant?

Video Script: What Now? (12)

You have heard the precious gospel of the Lord, and have responded in faith, repenting of your sins, confessing Jesus as your Lord, and have been baptized in water for the remission of your sins.

You have risen from that watery grave as a new creature in Christ. Your sins have been washed away, and your faith has been rewarded with the gift of salvation. You are now a child of God.

Now what? Well, the first thing is a natural response to your changed state. You rejoice! The Ethiopian Eunuch was in the same situation, and we are told in Acts 8 that after the evangelist Philip baptized him, they “came up out of the water”, and that the eunuch “went on his way rejoicing” (vs. 39). Continue reading » Video Script: What Now? (12)

12 – What Now?

Mingling With the Gentiles

Most will remember that the Israelites left Egypt under the command of God’s servant, Moses, who led them through the wilderness forty years until they finally reached the Promised Land.

At that point, Moses died and Joshua took charge, leading the people into battle to take control of their land. Because Jehovah’s religion was to have one Lord and be free of idolatry and superstition, the faith of the heathen was a great danger. God commanded that they should be eliminated, but they weren’t.

Today, our strategy in dealing with the world around us involves conversion rather than extermination, but immersion in this life affords us the same opportunities to influence for good or to be influenced for evil. What are the dangers when we mingle with the Gentiles?

Continue reading » Mingling With the Gentiles

I Grew up Church of Christ

Have you heard this said?  I have.  From time to time you have probably heard this statement.  When the person who says this realizes that you are a member of the Lord’s church they tell you this.  Why is that?  Is it an attempt at making some kind of connection of mutual attitude?  Is it an attempt by them to let you know they “know where you are coming from”?  If you “grew up” church of Christ what happened?  What event took place that caused you to out-grow the Lord’s church?  Where are they now?  What are their religious beliefs and practices?  Are there any at all?

Unfortunately, this is happening all of the time as people who were once a part of the Lord’s church, the church of Christ, leave for other pastures when they grew into adulthood.  Somewhere along the path of their life they either are lured away from Christ by the doctrines of man or they simply fall away, lured by the world and its lusts.
Continue reading » I Grew up Church of Christ

“Troubler Of Israel”

There are two truths which are confirmed by a multitude of scriptures in God’s holy word. The first truth is that God’s children have always been hated by the religious world. Those who have claimed to be the most religious have always been the greatest enemies to true righteousness, and to the people of God. Paul said in 2 Timothy 3:12, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” Acts 14:22 says that we “… through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” Many times the Lord and His apostles suffered by the hands of the Jews, the most religious group in Palestine. Continue reading » “Troubler Of Israel”

Conduct Worthy of The Gospel

One great concern that Paul shared with all of us who undertake some difficult and personally emotional objective is that the work might turn out to be in vain.

An account executive might work for months in an attempt to woo a client only to have another firm swoop in and steal him away. A doctor can labor in an operating room for hours only to have his patient die on the way to recovery. A Christian can study with an unbeliever for months, see him converted and then watch as he shrinks back into perdition. All are filled with a sense that their work was in vain as Solomon put it first (Ecclesiastes 2:11).

For example, Paul writes the Thessalonians: “For this reason, when I could no longer endure it, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor might be in vain” (1 Thessalonians 3:5). Learning from Christ’s parable, Paul understood that tribulation and persecution had the power to uproot faith in the sapling stage and destroy it (Matthew 13:21). Yet the Thessalonians were standing firm and Paul’s work was not in vain (2 Thessalonians 2:3-12). They continued to be examples of perseverance to others (1 Thessalonians 1:6-2:1). Continue reading » Conduct Worthy of The Gospel

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?

Solid Food: Let My People Go

Introduction

"I have surely seen the oppression of my people," said God to Moses while the bush burned. Thus begins the greatest rescue operation ever conducted on Earth as thousands upon thousands of slaves are removed from one nation to begin a journey to the land of promise.

The Bible contains a number of type and antitype situations. Isaac is a type of the antitype Jesus, as his father was willing to let his only son die. The salvation of Noah and his family through water is a type of the water baptism involved in the salvation of modern men (1 Peter 3:20-21).

In the exodus of fleshly Israel, the Lord provides us a type of the sinner’s departure from his own slavery to iniquity and the most wicked Pharaoh of all, Satan. God’s desire on either side of the Red Sea is answered in Exodus 6:6-7: "I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. I will take you as my people, and I will be your God."

Continue reading » Solid Food: Let My People Go

Intellectual Arrogance

A cursory reading of the New Testament reveals a distinct attitude taken by our Lord and his apostles regarding human wisdom. James went so far as to describe such wisdom as "sensual, demonic" and declared that it causes "envy and self-seeking… confusion and every evil thing…" (cf. James 3:15-16).

Jesus in his personal ministry dealt with men who were intellectually arrogant. This was a characteristic of both the Pharisees and the Sadducees. When Jesus had taught that eating with unwashed hands does not defile a person, defilement rather coming from within, his disciples informed him that the teaching offended the Pharisees. No doubt it did, as it set aside the traditions they held dear. Concerning them, Jesus said, "Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch" (Matthew 15:14).

Continue reading » Intellectual Arrogance

Assurance – Security

Authors: Bobby Holmes and Mark Roberts

I. Error

    • 1. “Some sins don’t separate us from God. Christ’s blood automatically covers sins of ignorance or inadvertence.
      1. 1 John 1:7-9; 5:16-17
      2. Romans 4:8
      3. 2 Corinthians 5:19
      1. Using a hypothetical situation to make you play God.
      2. “A man is a faithful saint for 50 years, gets splashed by mud on the street one day, curses, and then is hit by a bus. Will he be lost or saved?”
      3. Don’t play God! Clemency is up to the Judge. All we can do is quote the law!
  • A. Neo-Calvinists say:B. Passages Misused:

    C. Favorite Tactic:

Continue reading » Assurance – Security

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

Walking Worthy: Reaping Another Whirlwind

“They sow the wind, And reap the whirlwind. The stalk has no bud; It shall never produce meal. If it should produce, Aliens would swallow it up” (Hosea 8:7).

The minor prophet was excoriating the false religions which Israel dallied with in their temptation of God so many centuries ago now. Such false religions plant something without substance and produce something destructive. Their adherents are without moral compass, for false religion offers either none or one inferior to God’s and thus the challenges of the world and the worldly overcome them in time.

The prophecy bears some resemblance to Christ’s parable of the sower in Matthew 13. There also, three of four souls touched by the gospel did not endure in the faith because of persecution, trial or apathy. Today, so many churches of Christ are sowing the wind in their instruction of the young that we are nearly reduced to standing back and waiting for the whirlwind when the next, untaught generation assumes pulpits, pens and presbyteries.

Continue reading » Walking Worthy: Reaping Another Whirlwind

The Simple Gospel: Ex-Christian Association

It is not unusual these days to see a bumper sticker with some message indicating that the owner is an alumnus of some college, or member of a fraternal order or church group. Recently I saw one indicating that the driver of the car was an "ex-Ranger," probably a past member of the Rangers baseball club. This triggered a thought about the possibility of forming an association, complete with bumper sticker, of those people who used to be members of the Lord’s church and calling it the "Ex-Christian Association." Surely there are enough people around who qualify.

Continue reading » The Simple Gospel: Ex-Christian Association

Hebrews 7:25 & "Once Saved, Always Saved"

"Rev. Mack Jones," of Baytown, Texas, writes a weekly column in his church bulletin entitled, "From Your Pastor’s Heart." From it, we extract the following:

"We are often questioned about the eternity of our belief. People want to know if God will disown them. The emphatic answer is, no! By no means will God ever disown one of his children. Heb. 7:25 states this very clearly; ‘Hence, also, he is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them’ (NAS). We are saved forever. We draw near to God through Christ, and He makes intercession for us. This gives us great assurance of our faith in Christ" (Wooster Baptist Church Messenger, Vol. 29, Number 8, 2/20/01).

Review Of Mack Jones’ Remarks

It is to be doubted that folks question "the eternity of (their) belief." Faith, like hope, is not eternal. Both shall be swallowed up in the possession of "life and immortality" brought to fruition and completion. However, we shall let that pass and deal with the main thrust of Mack’s message.

Continue reading » Hebrews 7:25 & "Once Saved, Always Saved"

A Form of Authority

The veneration and exaltation of the Bible, that blessed old Book, is admirable and commendable if it be accompanied by understanding and application. But multitudes are deluded by a reverence that is nothing but superstitious sentimentalism. Souls in sectarian societies consider themselves members of the body of Christ because their "Pastor" is a "Bible toting, Bible quoting fundamentalist." The Bible is "interpreted strictly and literally" as their "only rule of faith and practice," so they think not to examine themselves whether they be in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5).

A similar form of authority has been espoused by Christians. Since we "speak where the Bible speaks and are silent where the Bible is silent," we need not question our practices. After all, the preacher is allied and identified with "our Christian Colleges," and the elders endorse and encourage all that we do, so what fear have we? Oh, of course, we raise an eyebrow at some things that seem out of harmony with the past, but the young people are interested, so it must be right — we are just not used to it. The sole, whole authority for minds that are thus steeped in church traditionalism is the fact that "we have always been a Bible-based people." That being true, as it is assumed to be, then we are justified.

Continue reading » A Form of Authority

Contending for the Faith: Should We Criticize Error?

(Correspondence on the Question)

(Editor’s Note: The following correspondence between Larry and a teenage girl’s grandmother may be helpful to other parents and grandparents as they try to teach their children.)

    Larry,

    We had a discussion with our 16 year old granddaughter yesterday, and she is very upset with us and wants an answer to the discussion other than what we gave her.

    The discussion was over the news report about 2 gay men who had adopted a little boy, and they forced his school to do away with making anything for Mother’s Day because it made him feel uncomfortable. (My husband) said it was wrong to force their ideal on everyone since they were living in sin. (Our granddaughter) said she thought we were gossiping and that we should not judge them and just pray for them and everything would be OK. (My husband) tried to tell her we were not judging them that God’s word was judging them.

    She left us this note. Can you help us give the very best answer possible. She is a prime example of the thinking of our "church kids" today. Her Question:

    "Could you show me the verse where it says we are supposed to point out the wrong? I am just wanting to read it."

Larry, we would really appreciate your help. We feel our answer can not be too lengthy or it will turn her off. She is 1st in her class in high school so she should be able to reason. It is very disturbing that our young people think, "Your OK I’m OK."

We will be waiting for your answer.

Response To This Request

Here are some passages which deal with her request:

Continue reading » Contending for the Faith: Should We Criticize Error?

Solid Food: The Religion of Syncretism

One of the crazes among people searching to regain a spiritual compass in their lives is what lexicographers calls syncretism. Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary defines it as “the combination of different forms of belief or practice.” It remarks about the verb form of the word, syncretize, “to attempt to unite and harmonize especially without critical examination or logical unity.”

Syncretism is popular because the two leading competitors for the hearts of men are less so. The first is the word of God contained in the Bible. Its popularity among men has waned because it is perceived to be antiquated and its texts unsatisfactory in meeting today’s concerns. The second is the religion taught in your public schools, secular humanism, in which each individual is instructed to be his own god and make his own standard of morality.

Humanism has been such a tragic failure in terms of increased drug abuse, laziness and uninhibited sexual experimentation that many baby boomers — the first generation spoon fed the stuff — are in search of something higher. Naturally, many turn first to the Bible, but its instruction is, for them, further in the opposite direction than they intended to travel. The magic solution is to mix the desirable liberties of humanism with the basic guiding force of the Bible. The product is a potluck night stew: prepared with a little of this and a little of that. Continue reading » Solid Food: The Religion of Syncretism

Are Those Who “Sleep On Watch” Traitors to the Cause of Christ?

There is no more despicable behavior among men of war than the traitor. A great gulf lies between the valiant warrior and the traitor.

Just think of the examples we can take from famous battles of true selfless devotion and sacrifice for the sake of others. Too numerous to count have been the lives that were freely given with the full knowledge that they themselves would die so that others might enjoy some benefit of their ultimate gift. We know this is the most noble sacrifice of all because our Lord offered Himself for us so that we might have eternal life. He respects this selflessness when shown in man, as well. John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” We too, are to display this greatest form of love and honor it highly.

Being a Texan, I always think of the Alamo and its place not just in Texas history but in the greater story of democracy for the entire American Nation. There are examples of battles from wars in ancient history that had even greater importance than those that usually come so easily to our minds. Continue reading » Are Those Who “Sleep On Watch” Traitors to the Cause of Christ?

Editorial: Targeting Our Youth

“Brethren, We Are Drifting”
Many of our readers are familiar with the sentiment that J.D. Tant made famous years ago as he ended many articles of warning with the phrase, “Brethren, we are drifting.” No doubt his pronouncement was a source of irritation to many who considered him a rather cantankerous sort.History has born out the relevant nature of his warnings. Indeed Christians were drifting from the straight and narrow paths of truth. Seeds of digression were being sown, which have since led to a full blown apostasy. The fact that many could not see the beginning of the drift does not change the fact that the warnings were needed. Those who heeded the words of brother Tant and his ilk were able to avoid the error that led to the digression of many congregations of the Lord’s people.In this article we will discuss the “social gospel”, a philosophy which sound congregations have always rejected. The specific application we will address is that aspect of the “social gospel” which is seen in the targeting of young people for special emphasis and focus. We shall begin in this article by looking at certain examples of institutional churches which have long embraced the concept of utilizing the “social gospel” to appeal to the young. We shall also see that some churches which once stood against such a philosophy seem now to want to embrace it. This constitutes a “drifting”, and we, as those of Tant’s time, are in dire need of warning. We fully recognize that many will be unable or unwilling to see the dangers. This in no way invalidates the need for sounding the trumpets of alarm in the face of another trend toward digression. Continue reading » Editorial: Targeting Our Youth