Index by Subject

Associate Editorial: Why Do We Try to Make the Bible Say Stuff It Just Does Not Say?

“Whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever.  Amen” (1 Peter 4:11, ESV).

Does that verse say what I think it says? Whatever it is we do or say, the purpose is to insure God gets the glory. “…in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ” is the text. That word “everything” is no slip of the tongue. The Holy Spirit knew what He was inspiring to be written and preserved throughout eternity. He said everything and He meant everything. We are to do, and God is to get the glory for His revealing to us what it is we are to do.

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Associate Editorial: The Simplicity of the Gospel

“What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law.  Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame” (Romans 9:30-33, ESV)

People stumble over the simplest of things. We stub our toes on the bed frame or the coffee table. We trip in the parking lot over a pebble. We sprain our ankles tripping over a small cavity in the back yard. People stumble.

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Associate Editorial: Is It Adultery? Or Isn’t It?

Recently I was asked about some remarks I had made characterizing false teaching on divorce as promoting adultery. The querist had known some of the men who had done the false teaching and reported that they had never heard someone actually promote adultery. I am sure that such is true. It is not wise, nor is it sound to come out blatantly and promote sin. Preachers usually cannot hold a job if they go about promoting adultery. Alas, however, it is being done all the time.

“The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?'” (Matthew 19:3).  The question, we all realize, is a simple one. It is the answer over which we have such a debate. “Is it lawful?” Even those Pharisees who asked the question with impure motives recognized that the law had to do with reason. What is the reason behind taking such radical action as the putting away or divorcing a mate?  “‘For the LORD God of Israel says That He hates divorce, For it covers one’s garment with violence,’ Says the LORD of hosts. ‘Therefore take heed to your spirit, That you do not deal treacherously'”  (Malachi 2:16).  God hates divorce. Enough said. Men are still asking the question, “Can we not do it anyway?” If we are going to do what God hates, we had better have a pretty good reason before we do it.

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Silence Never Authorizes

The primary difference between the Christian Church and the church of Christ that resulted in the division that remains to this day had little to do with the issues of the Missionary Society and the musical instrument. Though those issues were the lightning rod that effected the division, the real issue was the difference in view toward Bible authority and the silence of the scriptures. The same is true in the case of the institutional apostasy of the 20th Century. Identical attitudinal differences remain. These differences are highlighted by a very simple question asked by someone or some group wanting to justify some religious practice. The question goes something like this, “Where does the Bible say I cannot do it?” Such an inquisitor has usually already decided their course of action. They just want to have God’s word behind them if at all possible. Legitimate biblical support is not always necessary if they can frame an authority search by appealing to negative authority, what the Bible does not say. Generally, however, the Bible does not say you cannot do whatever you might think you want to do. The problem is that the one seeking negative authority is asking the wrong question. We ought to be asking, “Where does it say in the Bible that I can?”

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All Authority Resides in Christ

It is interesting to study and gain insight into people’s views of the Scriptures. Some see the authority principle clearly while others do not see it at all. From the beginning, God’s relationship with man centered around a loving and all knowing God relating from a position of power to His creation, man. “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth'” (Genesis 1:26-28).  God said what He intended to do and then did it. Though He said, “let Us,” He sought permission from no other power. He spoke and things were created. It all existed and came into being from nothing. “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3). This is the ultimate power.

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Associate Editorial: Sin is Never Conservative

“And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:18-19).  In this first Bible reference to “the church” Jesus promises to build it on the foundation of His deity. Having made a construction reference in regard to the church, he completes the figure by promising to turn over the keys to those who would live in that church. Interestingly enough, in verse 19, He does not call it a church again, but rather He uses a synonym for it and calls it “the kingdom of heaven.”  They are one and the same.

The keys to be used in entering the kingdom, or church, would also involve inherently that which fits in the figure of a kingdom, that of rule, or authority. The possessor of the keys would have power to bind and loose. That is a function of law, to restrict behavior or to allow behavior — binding and loosing — restricting, allowing. Law permits or prohibits behavior. Such is the basic premise of law. Those that want to contend that the kingdom and church are not the same neither understand law, construction, or grammar, much less the scriptures. Why would the Lord promise to build His church and then promise the keys to something else? When builders complete their construction, they turn over the keys to those who will use that which is built. Jesus promised to build His church and then promised to turn over the keys to that church to those who would use it first, the apostles. Peter opened the door of the kingdom, church, to jews first at Pentecost and then to Gentiles in Caesarea when he preached to Cornelius and his household. The same thing happened on both occasions. The keys were used, the door of opportunity was opened, and penitent, faithful believers went through the door through baptism into Christ. Acts 2:47 affirms that those entering the door were added to the church.

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Associate Editorial: 2 Peter 2 and False Teachers

“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep”  (2 Peter 2:1-3).

With these words, the inspired Apostle begins to show his and the inspiring Spirit’s total disgust with those who are called here “false teachers.” Where is the emphasis in this chapter so as to alert us as to the danger of the false teacher? Some have directed us to the word in verse one “secretly”. Certainly Peter would warn us of the motive of the false teacher, and I grant that most false teachers today as well as then were of the stealth kind wanting to worm their way in so as to have an evil influence on a totally unsuspecting audience. However, what follows in 2 Peter 2 is absolute evidence that the danger of the false teacher has little to do with his motivation or his method, but, rather, the results of his teaching.

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Associate Editorial: The Gored Ox

The old saying goes that “it all depends on whose ox is being gored.” Old sayings usually have a very strong element of truth in them as do the tales of the old wives. (How many of us preacher types could get along without the old wives?)

The gored ox problem is the problem of tolerance. We love to hear sin condemned from the pulpit, as long as our ox is not being gored, meaning that our sin is not being condemned. The employment status of many preachers, including this author, has changed when we have gored the wrong ox. (Wrong as it relates to the possessor of an ox, not wrong as in the eternal Judge of the universe). I personally have never owned an ox, nor do I desire one. It might end up being gored, and I might have to change my position on sin, God forbid, since my current position is that revealed by the Psalmist, Psalm 119:104, “Through Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way.” And Psalm 119:128, “Therefore all Your precepts concerning all things I consider to be right; I hate every false way.”

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God Understands Language

"For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words." (1 Corinthians 2:10-13, NASB)

From this passage we learn that God has revealed Himself through the work of the Holy Spirit to the chosen apostles of Christ. The apostles are said to teach in words, “…not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit.” It is only reasonable to assume that the revelation of the mind of God in words are words that man can understand, and understand these words in the same way that God understands them. The issue of understandable language gets to the very heart of the issue of faith. Do we believe the Bible? Is it God’s word? Is the Bible God’s complete and final revelation of God to man? Does Hebrews 1:1-2 mean what it says about God’s speaking to man in these last times? "God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world" (NASB). When you break down this statement without all the modifiers it says that God has spoken, that God has spoken to man, and that God has spoken to man through His Son. What do we believe?

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Associate Editorial: Bible Authority (Sermon Charts)

Bible Authority
How Do We Get It And Use It?

“By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?” But Jesus answered and said to them, “The baptism of John–where was it from? From heaven or from men?” (Matthew 21:23-25; NKJV)

Bible Authority
How Do We Get It And Use It?

  • The Nature Of Bible Authority Is Positive
  • Bible Authority Is Permissive
  • We Cannot Act So As To Please God Without His Approval

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Associate Editorial: Sermon Charts on the Church of Christ

The Church Of Christ

The Church And Salvation
What The Church Is Not
What The Church Is
The Work Of The Church
The Lord’s One Church

The Church Of Christ

One Cannot Be Saved
Outside The Church

Ephesians 5:23
Acts 2:47
Ephesians 1:22-23
2 Timothy 2:10

Continue reading » Associate Editorial: Sermon Charts on the Church of Christ

The Miller – Streutker Debate

September 24-25, 2001
Cincinnati, Ohio

In May of 2001, a David Steinmann challenged Tom Roberts concerning what Steinmann called “baptismal regeneration”. Tom, of course, had only stood for the truth of God’s word that Jesus commanded and His apostles taught water baptism for the remission of sins. Both Stan Cox, editor of Watchman Magazine and myself, as Associate Editor supported Tom and answered Mr. Steinmann through several e-mails. In an e-mail of May 26, under the subject line “Pony Up Stan” Mr. Steinmann offered a challenge to a public debate. His challenge was very weak, but did produce a serious response from Stan Cox:

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Associate Editorial: Faith – The Key to It All

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. (Hebrews 11:1-8)

There is not, nor can there be successful refutation of the fact that the center of the religion known as Christianity is based on faith.

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Theme Editorial

It is August 1, 2001 when this issue of Watchman Magazine is published. Most who will read this article, but hopefully not all, are residents and citizens of the most affluent country in the history of the world, The United States of America. In the United States, we are protected by what I believe to be the greatest legal document produced by man in the history of the world, The Constitution of the United States, including its first ten Amendments, commonly called the Bill of Rights. The First Amendment says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” No law is therefore allowed to prohibit the free exercise of religion. We have the freedom of religion. We are protected by law to follow our faith in whatever course that faith may direct us. That freedom we enjoy so much and for which so many have sacrificed even to the point of death to maintain allows us to make our own decisions in matters of faith. This is altogether good, as God will judge us on how we make those decisions. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). Lest we forget, in our freedom, we owe our lives to God.

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Associate Editorial: Genesis (A Book of Beginnings)

VBS Curriculum, 2001

(1) The First Seven Days

I. Introduction

A. Read Text – ALWAYS Read the Text FROM THE BIBLE

1. Genesis 1:1 – Genesis 2:25

B. Memory Verse:

1. Genesis 1:1 (3rd Grade and down)
2. Genesis 1:26 (4th Grade and Up) THIS WILL TAKE SOME CLASS TIME TO WORK ON IT!!

C. Lesson readings – Use as you will

1. Colossians 1:9 – 18; Romans 1:20
2. John 1:1-4; Hebrews 11:3

D. Retell the Story of Creation in your Own Words: Continue reading » Associate Editorial: Genesis (A Book of Beginnings)

The Simple Gospel: God is No Respecter of Persons

The Bible quotation that is the title of this article is language used in the King James Version of Acts 10:34. There, Luke records, “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.” KJV). Modern translations would use the phrase that God “shows no partiality” (NKJV) or “is not one to show partiality” (NASB). Just for clarity’s sake, understand that the modern translations more accurately state the premise. Some have misunderstood the ancient language to mean that God has no respect for mankind indicating some disdain for man. Nothing could be further from the truth. God sent His only begotten Son to the earth in order to save man. God so loved the world, not disdained it.

That initial point dealt with, let us now look into what Peter said and why. The situation in Acts 10 is the record of the conversion of the first Gentile to the gospel of Christ in the person of Cornelius, a Caesarean army officer, a centurion. This was a man of a good reputation as well as powerful military rank. For verification of these details, please see and read Acts 10 and 11 in their entirety. The significance of the events recorded in these two chapters is seen in that up to this point in time the apostles and the initial converts maintained their Jewish bias against all Gentiles and considered them unworthy of a relationship with God, and certainly not with themselves, as the Jews were the chosen people of God. This bias was misapplied, but God had a plan to overcome their prejudice and show them a better way. Peter, a servant of God, an apostle of Jesus Christ as well as a devout Jew, was a tough nut to crack. This would not be the only time he had a problem with prejudice against Gentiles (See Galatians 2, beginning at verse 11). God had a way of dealing with tough nuts, too. Continue reading » The Simple Gospel: God is No Respecter of Persons

Associate Editorial: Bearing Fruit

I must begin by saying up front that I am not a farmer, nor a gardener, nor anything else that may faintly resemble either of those noble professions or avocations. I am a city boy, born and raised. Having said that, however, after almost 25 years of preaching the gospel, I have picked up enough information along the way to be able to address this topic. Watchman is a webzine dedicated to the truth of God’s word, so we will limit our remarks to His revelation and not any personal frame of reference.

The theme of this month’s issue is on the “fruit of the Spirit” from Galatians 5. I am certain that Stan and the writers who have contributed to this issue have done a superb job of putting before us the issue of “bearing” that fruit in accord with the will of God. Of that fact I have no doubt. In this article, I want us to focus on three passages that have to do with the general topic of bearing fruit and see what the Lord says about this important task.

“By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples” (John 15:8). Discipleship is demanded of the Lord. The goal of the Great Commission was to “make disciples” (Mathew 28:19). It was the “disciples” who were called “Christians” (Acts 11:26). The obvious point is that if we are going to prove to be disciples, we must bear fruit, and, not only that, but, as Jesus said, bear much fruit. Continue reading » Associate Editorial: Bearing Fruit

Associate Editorial: The Nature of Man’s Flesh

Think of an animal in the wild. What is it doing? Whatever it wants to do is the answer. What does it want to do? Whatever comes natural to that particular animal is the only thing that it can do. What does it need to do? It needs to do whatever it takes to satisfy its life sustaining needs, to gratify its fleshly desires, and to protect itself from harm and attack from some other force which may be out to do it harm. If an animal is hungry, what would you expect that animal to do? The natural course of action is to find food. What if it required the killing of another animal in order to provide that food? Would we find it strange for an animal to kill another animal in order to survive? Of course not. Such is the nature of flesh. Flesh lives to continue living. Flesh seeks its own gratification by nature. If it is hungry, it seeks out food. If it is thirsty, it seeks out water. If it is cold, it seeks shelter. If there is a sexual arousal, it does whatever is necessary to satisfy that lust. Flesh is flesh. “All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds” (1 Corinthians 15:39). Man is not an animal, even though we are of flesh. Continue reading » Associate Editorial: The Nature of Man’s Flesh

Associate Editorial: The Conversion of the Ethiopian

In the 8th chapter of Acts, we find the record of the work of Philip the Evangelist in Samaria, and as he was called by an angel of God for a special mission to preach to one man (Acts 8:5; Acts 8:26). He preached to multitudes in Samaria with great success. Philip was not an apostle, but was obviously a gifted teacher and preacher of God’s word who had the gift to do miracles but not the apostolic privilege of passing on his gifts to others (Acts 8:7, 13, 18).

In the case of both circumstances where Philip preached, people were baptized into Christ (Acts 8:12, 13, 38). The record tells of his preaching “the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 8:12) and simply preaching “Jesus” (Acts 8:35) both of which resulted in the baptism of those who heard him preach and believed what they heard. All of this was in keeping with the command of Jesus given first to His apostles to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and in baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16). Continue reading » Associate Editorial: The Conversion of the Ethiopian

Associate Editorial: An FC Father Speaks Up

Elsewhere in this issue of Watchman, you will find a response from Bill Reeves to the Chairman of the Department of Biblical Studies at Florida College on the latest controversy surrounding that institution and the tolerance position it has taken on the teaching of false doctrine in that Department. I commend brother Reeves for his stand for truth. In an earlier letter to the President, brother Reeves had this to say, “All eight of my children graduated from FC (and now, two of my grandchildren). If I had a ninth child, as matters stand today, as I write, I would not be of a mind to send him to FC, for the simple reason that the policy and attraction of FC for the first eight would not be there for the ninth!”

What is a father to do?

My daughter is scheduled to enroll this month for her second year at Florida College. She is an honor roll student attending FC on an academic scholarship, which covers some but certainly not nearly all of her costs. I have wrestled long and hard for the past several months over whether or not I could in all good conscience send her back to Florida College knowing what I know about the current controversy and the Administration’s failure to deal with the problem at hand. My real tendency is to do as brother Reeves suggested and not send her there. Were it not for her Christian maturity and full awareness of the situation extant, there would be no question about her plans to return. She would not go. Continue reading » Associate Editorial: An FC Father Speaks Up