Often times the appeal is made for men to attend the church of their choice. While we certainly appreciate the noble sentiment behind this appeal, we deny that such is in harmony with the Word of God. What does the Bible say about attending the church of your choice? Continue reading » Attend the Church of Your Choice
From the biblical standpoint it seems very obvious that it has always been God’s aim to have His children be humble and unadorned by the typical failings of status conscious man. We are reminded of Job 32:21-22, where we read, “Let me not, I pray you, accept any man’s person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man. (22) For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my maker would soon take me away.”
Even the dire warning found in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, has the strong teaching that this prophecy will come to be because of the vanity and ego of man; “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” Such a desire to be exalted by other men is wicked and the Lord has been clear in His commands concerning this very thing (Matthew 23:8-11, “But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. 9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. 10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. 11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.”).
Continue reading » The Titles of Clergy: Are Gospel Preachers Pastors?
In 2008, Reuters disseminated photographs of a previously undiscovered tribe of Amazon Indians that had been pushed deeper into the jungle by encroaching civilizations.
Here was a tiny throng of human beings of which the world was mostly unaware and which was itself unaware of the world at large.
While their case is an extreme one, there was a time in the not-so-distant past that many people lived their entire lives with little personal awareness of the other side of the globe – and sometimes of the other side of the country. Airplanes, television and the internet have conspired to change that – mostly for the good – and that sort of provincialism has faded into the ether for all but the heartiest of tribes.
Continue reading » No Other Name: Christian Exclusivism in an Pluralistic World
I attended the preacher training program up in Ellettsville, IN in the summer of 2008. Upon hearing of my recent educational experience someone asked me if it would be appropriate to start calling me “Reverend”. I responded saying to not call me “Reverend” because that was a title reserved for God.
In Matthew 23:2, Jesus spoke to his disciples about how the scribes and the Pharisees had positioned themselves greater among the Jews; “…The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses”. Exodus 18:13 says that Moses “sat to judge the people”. He judged the people according to the law that God had revealed to him. During the time of Christ, the scribes and Pharisees had become the keepers and teachers of the Law, but there was a problem with them because they wanted “their deeds to be noticed by men” (Matthew 23:5). They did this by enhancing the appearance of their garments (Matt. 23:5), taking the best seats at banquets and in the synagogues (Matthew 23:6), and being greeted and called special names such as “Rabbi” by men (Matt 23:7). Jesus said “But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ” (Matthew 23:8-10).
Continue reading » Why I Am Not Called "Reverend" or "Pastor"
The Old Testament tells us about a preacher (prophet) who lied to a younger man (1 Kings 13). The lie was told in all good conscience. It was told with the intent of helping the young man (1 Kings 13:11-19). The young man believed the lie, benefited in an earthly way, but ended up losing his life (1 Kings 13:20-28). Thus, we know that religious leaders will sometimes tell a lie with the best intentions. We also know that religious followers will sometimes believe a lie.
How could the young man have avoided being killed by the lion? He could have rejected the lie. How could he know the lie was a lie? If he had stopped to consider that he knew what God revealed to him and what the old prophet said was contrary to it — let God be true and every man a liar (cf. Romans 3:4).
Continue reading » Scripture Studies: Does Your Preacher Lie to You?
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’
A quick perusal of the yellow pages reveals a plethora of churches to choose from: Advent, African Methodist, Apostolic, Assemblies of God, Baptist (ABA, Bible Fellowship, Independent, Independent-Fundamental, Missionary, Primitive, Reformed, Southern, Sovereign Grace), Catholic, Christian, Christian Science, Church of God, Mormon, Nazarene, Greek Orthodox, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Lutheran, Methodist, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Seventh Day Adventist, and Unitarian Universalist. And these are only a few. We live in a religiously pluralistic society. Today it is possible to find a church suited to every mindset and personal preference. Men seem to be pleased with this “buffet” approach to religion.
This writer once attended a baccalaureate service where a Protestant preacher prayed to God in this fashion: “God, I thank You that there are so many churches that exist today, where each of us can find opportunities and churches that we are comfortable and pleased with, as we offer worship to You.” The sentiment is often heard that upon salvation one should “attend the church of his choice.” Others say you should find a “Bible believing church”, though all the churches listed above would make such a claim.
Continue reading » Denominationalism
Under the headline, "Pro-homosexual Church Withdraws from CBF," the following article appeared www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?ID=11536, August 17, 2001.
"University Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, has notified the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) that they are pulling out of the national group because of its policy against homosexuals, according to a report in The American-Statesman.
"The CBF’s policy prohibits the hiring of non-celibate gays and lesbians, bars them from missionary work and does not allow the organization to give money to homosexual groups or causes.
"’We most deeply regret the condemning message you have sent in the name of Christ to all gay and lesbian persons by your action,’ wrote the Rev. Larry Bethune in a letter from the church Aug. 16. ‘Because it is God’s call for our congregation to minister with gay and lesbian Baptist Christians and their families, we cannot in good conscience support an organization which discriminates against our brothers and sisters in Christ … any more than we could do so if the CBF discriminated on the basis of race or gender,’ Bethune wrote.
"This isn’t the first scrape University Baptist has had over its policy of welcoming homosexuals. The Austin Baptist Association voted to oust the church in 1995 after University Baptist ordained a gay deacon. The Baptist General Convention of Texas’ executive committee voted to end its affiliation with University Baptist in 1998. University Baptist is a member of the American Baptist Churches, U.S.A., a Baptist denomination that continues to debate whether to take a stand on churches that allow non-celibate homosexual members."
First, how does the average Baptist regard the spiritual status of "the Rev. Larry Bethune" and the "University Baptist Church in Austin"? Are those who endorse and sanction homosexual behavior, such as they do, still in a saved state before God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)?
Continue reading » Contending for the Faith: Baptist Homosexual Dilemma
Gospel Guardian, May 5, 1949
(Gospel Guardian Editor’s note: Bonds Stocks, preacher for the Central Church of Christ in Jackson, Mississippi, has created no little stir in that section by his plain spoken preaching over a Jackson radio station. Refusing to accept the usual denominational designations for a preacher, he was called upon to offer an explanation. Here is a digest of the answer he gave over the radio.)
I am a preacher, a minister of Christ, and an evangelist; but I am not a pastor; I am not a clergyman; I am not a “Father”; and I am not a “Reverend.”
I am a gospel preacher in exactly the same sense that Paul was; I preach the same gospel he preached; I preach no other. Paul declared that he had been appointed a “preacher” of the gospel of Christ (1 Timothy 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:11). I am a minister of Christ in the same sense that Timothy was a minister of Christ (1 Timothy 4:6). The word “minister” literally means “servant”. Every one who serves Christ is actually his “minister.” It is a mistake to think of the gospel preacher as the only minister of Christ in any given church; all true servants are his ministers. I am an evangelist in the same sense that Philip was an evangelist (Acts 21:8). An evangelist is a herald or a proclaimer of good tidings. When I preach the gospel of Christ, I am an evangelist–a proclaimer of good tidings. It matters not whether I preach it from a thousand pulpits or preach it a thousand times from one pulpit; so long as I preach the good news of Christ I am an “evangelist”. Continue reading » Voices from the Past: Identifying the Gospel Preacher (Bond Stocks)
Last month’s issue of Watchman Magazine included a written exchange between myself and David Mathews. His article, entitled Slandering the Denominations, contained assertions I believe to be unsubstantiated and untrue. As a result, I wrote a rebuttal piece I titled Slandering the Brethren?
I would encourage the reader to read both of these articles before continuing with this exchange. If you are already familiar with them, then carefully read the following:
In my reply to Mathews, I used questions as a device to point out the inconsistencies and error of his article. The questions were rhetorical in the sense that those who accepted my argumentation would see his error through the questions posited. While not seeking to answer the arguments I made, David did choose to answer the questions. While this was a bit unexpected, we are grateful for his candor, as his answers serve to further expose the poverty of the position he advocates, and the falseness of the charges he makes. His answers are included below in green type, and my own comments follow. It is hoped that this format will be the most effective in presenting the final thoughts in our exchange. Continue reading » Editorial: A Final Exchange with David Matthews
This article is a review of David Mathews’ article, Slandering the Denominations.
David Mathews has written for Watchman before. He had an article in the November 1998 issue of the magazine, Neither Black Nor White which was a fine piece dealing with the sin of racial prejudice. However, since that time correspondence with David concerning material presented by others in Watchman revealed that he takes issue with our approach to the defense of truth. David submitted an article to this editor on February 7, 1999 which clearly expresses his convictions in this regard. In my estimation, his attitude toward controversy is shared by what is a growing number of Christians. He freely admits that this attitude is a change from that he held at an earlier time. While I found disturbing his previous attitude, (expressed in the first paragraph of his article), his present attitude I find alarming as well. Especially in that he is not alone in holding to it. Thus, I consider it appropriate to publish his article together with this review. All readers are encouraged to read both articles, and consider carefully what is written. Continue reading » Editorial: Slandering the Brethren? (A Review)
“He who digs a pit will fall into it, and whoever breaks through a wall will be bitten by a serpent.” (Ecclesiastes 10:8-9 NKJV)
For so many years I sought no contact with those among us which are labeled (or label themselves) “liberal” because they represented error, transgression and apostasy. Not willing to contaminate myself with false doctrine, I was not willing to read Gospel Advocate or visit a “liberal” congregation or treat a “liberal” Christian as a brother. My attitude toward these people differed very little from my attitude toward the denominations, though a little anger, sorrow or bitterness was mixed in because the “liberals” were perceived as traitors to the cause and now enemies of the church which Christ established and the truth which is found in the Bible. Lingering memories of the split in the church were taught by those who experienced the conflict, and their own bitterness about the behavior of some was taught to myself and many others. Separation and isolation over several decades instilled a tangible feeling of “us” verses “them.” None among us would speak about the “liberals” except to complain about their excesses or accuse them of sin or engage them in debate so that refutation of their error would follow. Contemplation of their condition led to speculation about what could motivate them to continue in error — was it ignorance, obstinance, or deception? Not even a hint of these faults were present among the “conservatives” or the congregations which I associated myself with. No potential existed that error or apostasy could occur among those which I trusted from my youth. The best motives were found within the leaders of the “conservatives” and they successfully resisted error and honestly sought the truth. I could read magazines such as the Guardian of Truth with confidence knowing that all these people adhered to the truth and maintained almost total agreement. I could attend a college such as Florida College knowing that it has the truth and teaches it accurately. I would listen only to those who were included among the authentic Christians because they knew the truth, taught the truth and protected the truth. If only more people would follow these error and division would not exist … Continue reading » Slandering the Denominations
Introduction to the Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery
BARTON W. STONE was born near Port Tobacco, Maryland, December 24, 1772; while yet an infant he was left fatherless. In 1779 his mother moved to the backwoods of Virginia, near Dan River, Pittsylvania county. “From the time I was able to read I took a great delight in books,” but books were scarce in those days, and his means limited; however, he says: “I determined to qualify myself for a barrister, and to acquire a liberal education to accomplish this, I stripped myself of every hindrance, denied myself of strong food and lived chiefly on milk and vegetables, and allowed myself but six or seven hours’ sleep out of the twenty-four.”While thus engaged a great religious revival swept over that part of the country. Many of the students of the Academy “got religion,” but he would have nothing to do with it, believing it would interfere with his studies. At last he was persuaded to go to hear Mr. James McGready. He was brought under conviction, and after a hard struggle between duty and inclination, finally decided to give up all his cherished plans, his friends, everything, and accept Christ. Continue reading » Voices from the Past: The Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery (With Introduction)