Index by Subject

Attend the Church of Your Choice

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

No Other Name: Christian Exclusivism in an Pluralistic World

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

Unity in Diversity Error

None So Blind As Those Who Will Not See

Even though you soberly warn people of the dangers which are down the road that they are traveling, even though you tell them over and over what the consequences of their doctrinal choices will be, even though you fervently plead with them to realize that they are being deceived, even though you remind them of the vivid history of digression that cries out for them to examine and evaluate the path which they have chosen to walk, it is clearly obvious that many will absolutely refuse to look at the evidence and refuse to open their eyes to the apostasy that they, without any hesitation, seem to have bought in to – hook, line, and sinker!  Indeed they choose to remain blind and they willfully refuse to open their eyes to see!  Our frustration is almost beyond bearing when we see our own brethren in Christ, many of them the loved ones of our own families, who are not willing to listen to warnings or open their eyes to see the precipice of sin and digression which is only steps away from where they are walking.

Continue reading » Unity in Diversity Error

The Simple Gospel: Doctrinal Unity

Is it possible to have unity in doctrinal matters? It is increasingly proclaimed that we cannot all believe the same things and practice the same things in doctrine. Thus, the need for “unity in diversity.” What used to be a voice from ultra-liberalism has now become a common theme among more conservative brethren. “We cannot have unity in doctrine; the only unity we can have is unity in Christ.”

Years ago, there was a small core of radical brethren who tried to make a distinction between “gospel” and “doctrine.” Their “gospel” was defined to be 7 core facts about Jesus: birth, life, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, coronation. We were told that so long as one believed in the 7 facts about the deity of Jesus, salvation was assured. “Doctrinal” matters were not salvation matters. Thus, so long as one accepted Jesus Christ as the Son of God, it did not matter if one accepted premillennialism, instrumental music, the Lord’s supper on days other than the Lord’s day, etc. Doctrine, we were told (any doctrine), was not a salvation matter. We were urged to “accept into fellowship every believer in Christ, regardless of doctrinal beliefs.” If a belief was not a “salvation matter,” we were told, we should not make it a test of fellowship. One man taught that every believer in Christ was a “child of God in prospect and a brother in deed” (Carl Ketcherside). He finally gave up the “doctrinal” teaching on baptism and accepted as his brothers those who rejected baptism for the remission of sins.

Continue reading » The Simple Gospel: Doctrinal Unity

Associate Editorial: Unity In Diversity

A “red flag” of warning should arise every time we hear some call for “unity in diversity.” Some have even said that the “only kind of unity is unity in diversity.” We need to be very sure we understand what this catch-phrase really means and how it is used.

It is understood that a local congregation is filled with people at different levels of faith and maturity. Some will be babes in Christ, newly converted and needing to learn a lot about New Testament Christianity. Some will be farther along the path to maturity, but still unsure about some doctrinal matters and personal issues. Some will be “perfect” (mature, full-grown, Ephesians 4:13), Christians who have a settled faith and manner of life. Among these members, there will be matters of personal opinion and personal judgment that differ from Christian to Christian. The Bible recognizes this fact and addresses it in Romans 14-15. In the apostolic days, Jewish and Gentile Christians (who came from different backgrounds) had areas of differences in applying their common faith. It should be noted that the differences were sharp and contentious, capable of dividing congregations. The word of God provides the solution to this problem.

Continue reading » Associate Editorial: Unity In Diversity

Voices from the Past: Students and Today’s Issues (C.G. "Colly Caldwell, III)

Gospel Guardian — June 1, 1975

I suppose students have always had a bit of what our Tennessee grannies used to call "devilment" in them. During the last twenty-five years of his teaching life at the College of the Bible in Lexington, Kentucky, J.W. McGarvey became increasingly deaf and therefore was compelled to use a rather awkward ear-trumpet to hear his students. The ear-trumpet was a kind of goosenecked horn approximately the size of a small teacup attached to a rubber tube about three feet long. Brother McGarvey put the tube into his ear and the students recited their memory work for the day into the ear-trumpet at the teacher’s desk. That, of course, suggests all kinds of possibilities for fun-making and nearly all of them were apparently tried by brother McGarvey’s students who nonetheless loved him dearly.

One day McGarvey asked Hiram Brown to recite. Brown was in the back of the room and noticing that McGarvey did not have his ear-piece in place stood up and said, "Good morning, John." All laughed loudly but were quickly quieted when John McGarvey said in return, "Good morning, Hiram." The students were amazed to realize that their wise old professor had somewhere along the way become quite adept at reading lips. Thereafter they were more careful to cover up their pranks.

Continue reading » Voices from the Past: Students and Today’s Issues (C.G. "Colly Caldwell, III)

Charts: Divorce, Remarriage and Fellowship

Unity of the Spirit VS Unity in Diversity

1. Introduction to Lesson 6 Charts:
Journey Toward Jesus, Or Journey Away from Jesus

The following quotes from “Journey Toward Jesus” record a journey away from Jesus into sectarianism. These quotes are used in this lesson to illustrate a doctrinal and moral movement away from New Testament Christianity. Nothing reflects this movement away from Jesus and his teaching any more than the rampant divorce and remarriage issue. The events recorded in the exchange between Edward Fudge and Bruce Edwards are indicative of the critical movement typified in the divorce issue. If any lessons may be learned from any journey it should be a resolve not to depart from the old paths, whether it be “Unity in Diversity”, or “Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage.” Continue reading » Charts: Divorce, Remarriage and Fellowship

Divorce, Remarriage and Fellowship

Unity of the Spirit VS Unity in Diversity

Outline of Lesson, December 6, 1998
Forest Hills church of Christ

Intro: A myth has been promoted in many areas about God’s teaching on marriage, divorce and remarriage (mdr) that it is too difficult to understand, that there is a lack of clarity concerning it, and that there are so many divergent views none can be sure about the actual truth. This is fallacious and a charge against the integrity of the inspired message of God. The Holy Spirit speaks to reveal, not conceal; to edify, not confuse; to unify, not divide. God has revealed the whole truth (Jn. 14; 16); it is understandable (Eph. 3:4; John 8:32), and we are foolish if we don’t understand it (Eph. 5:17). Additionally, some claim that “honesty of heart” is a defense for the right of some to hold erroneous views. Being honestly wrong is not a license to teach or fellowship error (Acts 23:1).

The denominational world makes the same charge against other Biblical doctrines as does some of our brethren about mdr. Baptism, the church, instrumental music, imputed righteousness, the Lord’s supper, etc., are all controverted subjects with diversity of views. They, too, plead for the right to practice error for the same reasons. Have you never heard: “It doesn’t make any difference what you believe if you honestly believe it?” Our brethren are now singing the same denominational tune. Continue reading » Divorce, Remarriage and Fellowship

Charts: Is Doctrinal Unity Possible?

Unity of the Spirit VS Unity in Diversity

1. The True Church
The Church of Christ
The New Testament Church
(Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:4; Acts 2:47)

Eternal Purpose in God
Ephesians 3:8-10

Preparation for kingdom / church
Matthew 3:1-3; Matthew 4:17; Mark 9:1; Acts 1:5-6

Beginning of Kingdom / church
Acts 2

Historical References: Colossians 1:13; Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2; Philippians 1:1

Falling Away Foretold
1 Timothy 4:1 Continue reading » Charts: Is Doctrinal Unity Possible?

Is Doctrinal Unity Possible?

Unity of the Spirit VS Unity in Diversity

Outline of Lesson, December 6, 1998
Forest Hills church of Christ

Intro: What saith the scriptures? For generations, we have approached our denominational neighbors with the intent of sharing New Testament Christianity with them. As we have surveyed the division that is characteristic both philosophically and practically of sectarianism, we have told them of a better way. We refer to the unity that is in Christ, manifest by the Spirit, and guided by the inspired message (Eph. 4:1-6). We are not the first to believe and work for doctrinal unity based upon faith in Jesus Christ and the finality of scripture as the supreme court of our faith and practice. Continue reading » Is Doctrinal Unity Possible?

Charts: Understanding Christ and the Church (Gospel and Doctrine)

Unity of the Spirit VS Unity in Diversity

1. Looking for a Perfect Church in an Imperfect World
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

But We Have:

    Perfect Head
    Perfect Revelation
    Perfect Law
    Perfect Foundation
    Perfect Plan of Salvation

That We May Become Perfect Continue reading » Charts: Understanding Christ and the Church (Gospel and Doctrine)

Understanding Christ and the Church (Gospel and Doctrine)

Unity of the Spirit VS Unity in Diversity

Outline of Lesson, December 6, 1998
Forest Hills church of Christ

Intro: “What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder” (Gen. 2; Mt. 19). While this has specific reference to marriage, there is an underlying principle that applies to anything God has seen fit to joint together. Man has no right to loose what God has bound (Mt. 16:19).

We can see this principle in the relationship of the Old Testament to the New Testament. Truth has been revealed through the ages by the same Spirit of God and it is one seamless depository of truth from Genesis to Revelation. Yet God has divided that truth and applied it as it suited His purpose (Heb. 1:1-3). The Jewish nation was bound to the Law of Moses, but all men are now loosed from it (Col. 2:14). We are taught to learn from it (Rom. 15:4) but it has no authority over us as does the law of Christ (Rom. 8:1-3). Continue reading » Understanding Christ and the Church (Gospel and Doctrine)

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
Gnosticism
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

AN ANALYTICAL EXEGESIS OF ROMANS 14:1-15:7

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

Charts: Misuse of Grace to Cover Sin

Unity of the Spirit VS Unity in Diversity

1. UNIVERSAL NEED OF GRACE
(Never Tire of Preaching It!)

Perfect Law-keeping Cannot Save Jew or Gentile: “All have sinned”
Introduction to Gospel of Grace:
AbrahamGospel of Grace:PERFECTING
REMEDIAL
REDEMPTIVE
ATONING
RECONCILING
IMPUTES RIGHTEOUSNESS Continue reading » Charts: Misuse of Grace to Cover Sin

Misuse of Grace to Cover Sin

Unity of the Spirit VS Unity in Diversity

Outline of Lesson, December 4, 1998
Forest Hills church of Christ

Intro: The pioneer preachers who blazed the trails in truth that we have come to regard as the “Restoration Movement” were able to do so only as they wrestled with sectarian doctrines and creeds and returned to the “old paths” of Bible truth. Much of the religious error of early America with which Barton W. Stone, Walter Scott, James O’Kelley; the Campbells, Ben Franklin and other noble preachers contended was that known as Calvinism.

So far as the churches of Christ are concerned, the fundamental teaching of truth during the Restoration Movement was so effective (cf: “The Scheme of Redemption,” by Robert Milligan) that it eradicated practically every vestige of Calvinism among Christians. From the early 1800’s until our generation, classic Calvinism (Tulip) has been recognized as the error it is and has not been a source of internal strife (must less a cause of division) within local congregations. However, history will record that it has become the task of our generation to combat these errors again. Continue reading » Misuse of Grace to Cover Sin

Charts: Historical and Biblical Fellowship

Unity of the Spirit VS Unity in Diversity

1. “The Right Hand of Fellowship”
(Galatians 2:9)

Fellowship In Christ
Limited By God’s Holiness, Possible By Forgiveness
(1 John 1)

God Is Light.
We Must Walk in the Light To Be Sons of Light

Opposing Theories
Gnosticism
Calvinism (Tulip)
Abuse of Grace
Abuse of Romans 14
Unity in Diversity
(Open-ended Fellowship in Sin)

Bizarre Theme For Christians To Discuss Continue reading » Charts: Historical and Biblical Fellowship

Historical and Biblical Fellowship

Unity in the Spirit VS Unity in Diversity

Outline of Lesson, December 3, 1998
Forest Hills church of Christ

Intro: What this series of lectures is all about (chart). Fellowship with God and with brethren is desired among all faithful brethren. All should decry partyism, sectarianism, etc.(cf: 1 Cor. 1:12; modern parallels with papers, colleges, sections of the country). As Paul, “give diligence to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3). However, apostasy is an ever present danger and we ignore it to our folly. History is a harsh teacher, looking back over the ruins of fellowship and shattered congregations. Every generation must face this danger or be destroyed, affecting future generations.

Before apostasy becomes a reality, brethren should explore every avenue of Bible study and brotherly controversies with patience and longsuffering (1 Thess. 5:14; Jude 19-23). There should not be a rush to judgment (prematurely drawing lines) or failure to address our differences (ignoring serious issues). Continue reading » Historical and Biblical Fellowship

Associate Editorial: Introduction to this Issue

Unity of the Spirit VS Unity in Diversity

“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to have a walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3, NKJV).

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in me through their word; that they all may be one, as you, father, are in me, and I in you; that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that you sent me” (John 17:20-21).

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity” (Psalm 133:1).

There is no truer foretaste of heaven’s peaceful harmony than that of Christians whose unity in local congregations reflect the “mind of Christ” (Philippians 2:5). In local churches, as well as in the “general assembly” (Hebrews 12:23), the “brotherhood” (1 Peter 2:17), it is a wondrous thing to have hearts and mind that “speak the same thing,” (1 Corinthians 1:10), being “perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” Continue reading » Associate Editorial: Introduction to this Issue

Biblical Principles of Unity and Fellowship – Part 4 of 4

Editors Note: Watchman Magazine is running the following series of articles in the July, August, September and October issues of the Magazine. This month’s article finishes the series. Combined, these four articles represent a very thorough study of the subject. Enjoy!

Judging Motives vs. Judging ActionsIn contrast to making motive assessments in order to determine fellowship, the Bible says we must make objective comparisons of what men teach with the revealed word – the apostolic teaching (cf. 1 Jno. 4:1, 6). Nothing is found in this passage about the teacher’s motives or attitudes. Instead, the teacher’s teaching is put to the test of apostolic doctrine (v. 6). Subjective qualifications and conclusions about determining fellowship are not in harmony with what the objective standard of truth says on the matter. The Bible teaches us to test men’s doctrine and practice – not their motives (their heart) – when determining our fellowship with them (2 John 9-11). This is what the Bereans were commended for doing in Acts 17:11. God will commend us, too, when we follow their worthy example. Continue reading » Biblical Principles of Unity and Fellowship – Part 4 of 4