Index by Subject

Signs Given for Faith and Salvation

God told Ezekiel that he would “take away from you the desire of your eyes with a stroke” (Ezekiel 24:16).  The “desire” of the prophet’s eyes was his wife.  The Lord further instructed his prophet not to cry or mourn the death of her.  God stroked Ezekiel’s wife the next evening and she died.  Ezekiel did not cry and neither did he mourn her death.  Ezekiel writes, “And I did in the morning as I was commanded” (Ezekiel 24:18).  The captives of Judah, who were now living in Mesopotamia, ask “Tell us what this means to us.”  Ezekiel tells them that as his wife died without his tears so will their sons and daughters die in the siege of Jerusalem and they will not cry nor mourn their deaths.  Rather than cry they would “pine away in your iniquities and moan one toward another” (Ezekiel 24:23).  The Lord then tells the people, “Thus shall Ezekiel be unto you a sign; according to all that he has done shall you do: when this comes, then shall you know that I am the Lord God” (Ezekiel 24:24). Continue reading » Signs Given for Faith and Salvation

Lording It Over

“Power tends to corrupt,” Lord Acton said, “and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

When greatness is defined by the acquisition of authority rather than the selfless regulation of its exercise, Acton’s observation is undeniable.

The Old Testament, for example, contains the biographies of many great men who regulated their divinely-lent authority with a selfless concern for the people they led. They were great men whom great power did not corrupt, men like Abraham, Moses, and Joshua.

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A1 – The Logical Consequence of Belief in God

Video Script: The Logical Consequence of Belief in God (A1)

Have you ever thought about the fact that atheists, agnostics and skeptics speak a different language than those who profess a faith in God?  A believer will look at the skies above and attribute the glories to His creator, the Almighty God of heaven.  He approves the sentiment of King David, who wrote the 19th Psalm, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.  Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge.  There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.  Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world” (1-4).

The skeptic attributes that same glory to chance and time, and denies that a divine hand is behind its existence. Continue reading » Video Script: The Logical Consequence of Belief in God (A1)

Creation, Faith, and the Authority of God

The author of Hebrews writes, “Without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing unto him; for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after him” (Hebrews 11:6).  What causes people to believe in God?  Parents play a great role in many people’s lives that come to believe in God (see Ephesians 6:1-2).  Sometimes preachers, friends, family members, or a spouse help us come to faith (2 Timothy 2:2).  What caused you to believe that God is?  Our Bibles reveal that creation is the central cause of man’s faith.  Creation establishes faith, the authority of God, revelation, and our responsibility to be obedient.  Creation ought to be the beginning point of study with unbelievers.

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“Paul, An Apostle of Jesus Christ”

Paul began his epistles in a manner that was common in his day. The typical introduction to first century letters consisted of three parts: the name of the writer, the identity of the recipients, and a greeting.

In most of his letters, the first thing Paul would do would be to identify himself as an apostle and state the source of his apostleship. In this article, we will consider exactly what Paul was saying about himself when he claimed to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, why he had the right to make this claim, and what the claim says about the letters that he wrote. Continue reading » “Paul, An Apostle of Jesus Christ”

General Truths in Proverbs

The book of Proverbs paints pictures of various topics that wisdom affects.  A primary focus in the book is the consequences of choices people make.  Proverbs reveals the grave consequences for rejecting wisdom.  Solomon writes, “Good understanding giveth favor; But the way of the transgressor is hard” (Proverbs 13:15).  The life of the fool is likened unto making your way through a “hedge of thorns” (Proverbs 15:19).  When a person rejects wisdom for foolishness they bring trouble (Proverbs 15:6; 21:23), destruction (Proverbs 13:13), mischief (Proverbs 28:14), and calamity (Proverbs 22:) to their lives and the lives of those they touch.  The foolish experience trouble, destruction, mischief, and calamity in life because of the poor decisions they make.  The fool will have evil companions (Proverbs 1:10-14; 4:14-19; 13:20; 20:19; 24:1-2; 28:9), participate in sexual immorality (Proverbs 5:7-9; 9:14-15; etc.), be too lazy to work (Proverbs 6:6-11; etc.), use filthy language (Proverbs 4:24-27; 8:7-9), hunger and thirst for riches (Proverbs 11:4-6, 27-28; 13:7-8, 11; 18:11, 23; 23:4-5; etc.), have an angry disposition (Proverbs 19:19; 29:11), bear false witness (Proverbs 19:5, 28; 25:18), seek revenge (Proverbs 20:22), scoff at others (Proverbs 21:24; 22:10; 24:9; 29:8), and harden their hearts against God’s laws (Proverbs 29:1).  All such foolishness brings regret, troubles, and sorrows now and forevermore.

Continue reading » General Truths in Proverbs

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.

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Love Authority

In matters secular, political, social, and religious, we understand that authority is expressed through direct commands, existing examples and necessary inferences. Commands can be positive or negative; examples can be approved or disapproved; inferences are only authoritative when necessary, not as additions or amendments. Some, however, by appealing to emotion and opinion rather than Scripture and reason, desire to add another track of authority–love. What cannot be authorized any other way through the word of God is justified should we desire it if we can argue that it is motivated by love. This represents a fundamental misunderstanding, and even vilification, of the word of God. It is not necessary to designate love as a fourth track of Bible authority, for love is the objective of every command, every example and every implication.

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The Law of Equivalences

Studying the Bible is a great joy.  The truths that are found within the pages of God’s word have value that the world cannot measure with earthly things.  The excitement of unearthing these treasures is accelerated as each student detects the urgency in grasping its teachings.  Eternity is at stake.  Time does not stop so that I can perceive truths.  We are given one life and with that one life we must gain knowledge and wisely practice what we learn.  We must open God’s word, look to the context, consider associate passages, and reflect on what I call, “The Law of Equivalences.”

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Doing the First Works: The Mission of Christ and His Church

What Exactly IS the Mission of Christ and His Church? This seems like such an obvious question, yet there is so much confusion about such a simple and straight forward question. Is it possible to quickly walk through the clear steps listed in scripture, the book, chapter and verse, so to speak, to make easy understanding of this subject? I believe it is easy to do, if we give it even a few minutes of thought. Remember, every Christian is supposed to be able to describe this (1 Peter 3:15). Have you felt guilty because you never gave this even a little time to work this out? Continue reading » Doing the First Works: The Mission of Christ and His Church

Review of “Anti-ism — From God or Man?” (1)

Introduction

In 2006 the small group wearing the moniker “Spring Church of Christ” in Spring, Texas hosted their annual “Contending For the Faith Lectureship.”   In that year the topic under consideration was “Anti-ism—From God Or Man?”   In conjunction with the lectureship series, a lecture book was printed to help further the spread of their intended message.     I came into possession of this work, and spent some time at the wearisome task of examining the teaching therein.   What will follow is a series of articles reviewing portions of that lecture book.

Why only review portions?    As is so often the case, when those few institutional brethren who will discuss these issues take time to discuss them, they make attempts to tie them into some inane and obscure doctrines that are present among churches of Christ.  For instance, they will attempt to liken brethren who oppose the use of the collection to support human institutions such as orphans homes, preaching schools, etc., with those who oppose the use of separate Bible classes or who bind the idea that Christians must only use one container when partaking of the Lord’s supper.   Thus we see no reason to review articles that condemn ideas that we agree are not biblical. Continue reading » Review of “Anti-ism — From God or Man?” (1)

Exorcism And Demon Possession

The subject of exorcism has fascinated people for centuries. In our modern day, Catholic priests all over the world claim to exorcise demonic spirits out of the human body, as well as many Protestants and other spiritual individuals. In order for an exorcism to take place, a demonic spirit must be present. This statement leads us to several questions, all of which can be answered through a detailed study of God’s word. While undoubtedly demons at one time freely roamed the earth, is this still the case in our present day? If demons still possess humans today, do exorcists cast out demons with the authority of God? Do exorcisms work? Continue reading » Exorcism And Demon Possession

Should Christians Be “Sound” Or “Conservative?”

Do we realize there is a problem in asking if a church is “conservative” or “liberal” when the real question should be to determine if a church is “sound?” The word “sound” is actually used in scripture when the word “conservative” is not, though there is a sense that conservative is correct. Continue reading » Should Christians Be “Sound” Or “Conservative?”

Establishing Authority in the New Testament (2 of 2)

This is the second of two articles dealing with the subject of establishing Bible authority for all that we say and practice.  While the first article examines authority in the Old Testament this article shall look to the New Testament.  The importance of such a study cannot be overstated.  Many brethren have questions that demand answers. One brother wants to know if his marriage is right before God and another sister desires to know if there is any way for a woman to serve as a deacon in the church.  A brother from one local congregation hears that another local church sees no authority for serving the Lord’s Supper twice on Sunday.  On and on the questions go.  Once again this article will not deal with any one issue or question but will rather remind Christians of their responsibility to establish Bible authority for all that they speak and practice.  The Bible, in its entirety, depicts God’s expectation of man’s perfection in holiness.  His expectation is the highest of standards for the saint.  Those who do not meet the Lord’s expectation shall be eternally doomed.  Those who achieve holiness in this life will be eternally rewarded.

Continue reading » Establishing Authority in the New Testament (2 of 2)

Establishing Bible Authority (1 of 2)

This article is the first of two that shall examine the subject of establishing Bible Authority.  A study of both the first and second covenants will yield a greater understanding of how authority works.  There are members of the body of Christ who continue to be confused about various questions such as whether or not there should be Bible classes or have a water fountain in the church building.  Others seem destined to be confused over the marriage, divorce, and remarriage issue.  Some have no idea how to answer the question of whether missing a Wednesday service is sinful or not.  The two covenants, who is a false teacher, and more recently the A. D. 70 Doctrine are other issues.  While confusion runs rampant our Bible tell us that God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33).  The objective of this study will not be to answer all your Bible questions and solve all the “brotherhood issues.”  The objective is rather to remind us all of the initial direction we must take when seeking out answers to Bible questions. 

As one studies both the first and second covenant laws an interesting fact comes to the surface.  Though the laws change God’s founding principles revolving around authority remain the same from Genesis to Revelation.  No matter what my approach or attitude is toward those founding principles they remain.  The Apostle Paul wrote, “Howbeit the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, the Lord knows them that are his: and, let every one that names the name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness” (2 Timothy 2:19).

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Shall We Have Elders?

This question should not be difficult to answer but unfortunately due to the will and whim of man some have a hard time in answering this.

Let me say clearly from the beginning that there is biblical example for elders.  In Paul’s letter to Titus Paul wrote, For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you (Titus 1:5).  The indication here is that one of the things that was lacking was the absence of elders.  This is also an indication that a church can function without elders; it is just lacking.  In Titus 1:6-9 and 1 Timothy 3:1-7 Paul gives the young preachers the qualifications for elders.

Why would Jesus gives us these qualifications if we do not need or cannot have elders today?

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The Open Ended Gospel

Although this nation that we live in is considered by most of the public as a Christian nation, the actual numbers and facts to those who really believe in the Bible and its teachings would prove otherwise. Our nation would reflect a vast number of people who make the claim that they believe in the scriptures, but their works and lifestyles would reveal a totally different focus.  We have in our nation the majority of people who live out a buffet religion, rather than the true faith that God longs for us to have. By using the phrase buffet religion, I simply mean that there are those who pick and choose certain things out of the scriptures in which they want to follow, and leave the rest, much like we do at a food buffet. We even have a certain select few who have taken scissors to the pages of their bibles and cut out sections that they disagree with!!! Now you tell me the difference between that and what Israel was doing with their idolatry that led them to Assyrian and Babylonian captivity! The principle is the same, that God was ignored and the things He has commanded forgotten. Jesus says that, “He who rejects me and does not receive My words, has that which judges him, the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (John 12:48).

We are not going to be able to rely on our smooth words or lavish looks when it comes to entering into heaven, it is going to be how well we followed God’s commandments for us. Obedience to the things God has spoken is an absolute must! Jesus would say in His conclusion to the sermon on the mount, “Therefore whoever hears these saying of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock, and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.” Now who does this reckon to? It is the person who hears of the things of God and obeys them. Now listen to what Jesus says of the disobedient. “But everyone who hears these saying of Mine and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand, and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, and it fell. And great was its fall” (Matthew 7:24-27). To all those who do not adhere to what the bible says, there will be no room for them in the kingdom of God.

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Reverence Is Not Legalism

The British have a strange form of government. They have a queen, but she does not exercise any real power. Her authority is only ceremonial and her crown is worth nothing more than the gold and jewels that compose it. The real power was stripped away from her family by the people and one of them, the prime minister, is now the head of English government.

Modern Christianity has done much the same thing to its king, Jesus Christ. While people still recognize his crown, they do not attach much significance to his exercise of authority in all matters of faith. Hence, various denominations proudly boast doctrines and missions growing out of their own interpretation of the Bible, most generally not a literal interpretation at all.

The last will and testament of Jesus Christ contains his decrees for his brethren, the redeemed, and the conditions placed upon them should they wish to attain the inheritance he left for them, a mansion in heaven for all eternity. As the monarch of a great universal kingdom, he and his ministers, the apostles, set down the law for his subjects in the New Testament.

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Editorial: God Breathed

In 2 Timothy 3, the apostle Paul penned a wonderful sentence that establishes both the precious nature of the words contained in our Bibles, and their efficacy in ordering our lives as His servants.

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (vs. 16-17)

The Greek word used in verse 16, translated “inspiration of God” is found nowhere else in scripture.  It is the term theopneustos. Vine gives the etymology of the word: (Theos, God, pneu, to breathe) and says that it, “is used in 2 Tim. 3:16, of the Scriptures as distinct from non-inspired writings” (Vines, Volume II, page 263).

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