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Scripture Studies: A Better Understanding

Since 1995, I have understood Bob Owen put matters of sin in Romans 14.  That year I received tapes of the sermons he preached on fellowship and Romans 14 at Concord, NC.  It seemed obvious he justified ongoing fellowship with those in sin, including men like Homer Hailey.  I understood this because, in the question and answer period, he said, "And there are some people who have been very critical of brother Hailey and I agree with those people who are critical of him on the Bible teaching with regard to divorce and remarriage.  But I differ with them on their interpretation and application of the fellowship issue" ("We Differ, Can We Fellowship?" Feb. 19, 1995.  Concord, NC).  The complete sermon transcript is available at:

On September 9, I was invited to Bryan, TX, to talk to brother Owen.  A member of the Twin Cities Church of Christ invited Lanny Parish (preacher at Pioneer Park,  Nacogdoches, TX), Wayne Moody (preacher at Twin Cities, Bryan, TX), and myself to talk to brother Owen.  Others were present as well.  After about two hours of discussion, I still understand brother Owen believes Romans 14 includes matters of sin.  However, I believe I have a better understanding of why he does.

Continue reading » Scripture Studies: A Better Understanding

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

The 14 Camels of Romans 14

In the beginning of Matthew 23, the Lord commended much of the Pharisee’s teaching. However, in verse 24, He draws attention to one of their major flaws. It was their ironic ability to consume whole camels, while simultaneously possessing the talent to “strain” even the smallest defilement.

We today, as the Pharisees of old, can swallow camels of magnanimous proportions in failing to rightly divide the truth, by (mis)using one divinely inspired passage to contradict another.

The focus of this article is to compare what Paul has written in Romans 14 with various other New Testament scriptures. These comparisons provide several compelling reasons that Romans 14 cannot involve matters of immorality and/or fallacious doctrine! Continue reading » The 14 Camels of Romans 14

Romans 14: It’s the Context

The unmistakable rumblings of division are currently being heard around the application of Romans the fourteenth chapter. An interpretation of God’s intentions in this passage has arisen, which, while sweetly compatible with the human yearning for acceptance and mutual harmony, cannot be reconciled with the overall message of the New Testament of Jesus Christ.

This interpretation, championed prominently on the pages of Christianity Magazine, holds that the tolerance of diversity commanded in Romans 14 must be extended beyond authorized liberties to matters of serious moral and doctrinal import.

This interpretation places a premium upon the tolerance of error while vilifying any attempt at public correction or opposition. Thus, an esteemed evangelist who teaches acknowledged error concerning divorce and remarriage is likely more welcome than one who would boldly speak in opposition to his error and actually deliver the truth himself. Continue reading » Romans 14: It’s the Context

Charts: Romans 14 and Fellowship with Sin

Unity of the Spirit VS Unity in Diversity

1. “By Grace Through Faith”

Fellowship in Christ Limited by God’s Holiness
(1 John 1)

God is Light
We Must Walk in the Light to be Sons of Light

Romans 14-15
Text and Context
Immediate Context
Distant Context

Opposing Theories
Calvinism (TULIP)
Abuse of Grace
Abuse of Romans 14

(Open-ended, Continual Fellowship in Sin) Continue reading » Charts: Romans 14 and Fellowship with Sin

Romans 14 and Fellowship With Sin

Unity of the Spirit VS Unity in Diversity

Outline of Lesson, December 5, 1998
Forest Hills church of Christ


The grace of God, through revelation, has supplied Divine wisdom by which the people of God are brought to maturity (2 Tim. 3:16-17; Eph. 4:13-16). We are not to be as children, continually tossed as in stormy seas, by every “wind of doctrine.” We are to “grow up” in Christ, reaching a “measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (vv. 13, 15). This grace of God teaches us how we ought to behave in the house of God (Tit. 2:11-12; 1 Tim. 3:15).

Consequently, we learn from the scriptures about things commanded and things forbidden; of things right and things wrong; of the “doctrine of Christ” in which we are to abide (2 John 9-11). In those areas of things required or forbidden, we learn obedience and submission (Heb. 5:8-9). To find unity, we strive to “speak the same things, have no division among us…but be joined perfectly in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10). It is a joy when peace, harmony, and spiritual fellowship is realized from our efforts. “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psa. 133:1). Continue reading » Romans 14 and Fellowship With Sin