A Bible Q-n-A viewer sent me these questions that, to him, presented some consistency issues with his view of the church of Christ. As always, with questions like these, I cannot speak for every preacher or congregation claiming to be the church of Christ. There is no such thing as “church of Christ doctrine.” There is only Bible doctrine. One is or is not a faithful member of the church of Christ based on their adherence to Bible doctrine, not some “Church of Christ Manual” or “Church of Christ Creed Book.” The answers I will give to these questions are the Bible’s answers.
Q: Does Holy Spirit Baptism Still Occur? What Is The Baptism By Fire?
First we will deal with the baptism of fire. [Read more…]
I received the following comment in response to the video, “Exposing The Baptist Church – Pt. 1.”
FairCogent has made a comment on Exposing The Biptist Church – Pt. 1
Questions? I have questions, if I may be so bold:1 Scriptural authorization for church buildings?
2 Scriptural authorization for youtube broadcasts?
3 Scriptural authorization for song books?
4 Scriptural authorization for Wednesday night gathering?
5 Scriptural authoriazation for sola scriptura?
6 Scriptural authorization for NOT lifting holy hands (1 Tim 2:8)?
Scripture only please since we in the CoC don’t do opinions. (Hint: Maybe we don’t have it all figured out like we think?)
First, let me just say that this individual is apparently part of a congregation that only wears the name “Church of Christ” while failing to practice the true doctrine of Jesus Christ (cf. 2 John 9-11). That, or either he is wayward and his rebellious condition is unknown to the congregation with which he assembles. No faithful member of the Lord’s body would make such a feeble attempt at defending ungodly denominationalism.
With that said, I can very happily answer of the above questions with Scriptural authority.
Scriptural authorization for church buildings?
We have authoritative examples that the New Testament church in any given geographical area gathered together in one place for worship (Acts 2:41, 42; 20:7; et. al.).
We have authoritative inference that the New Testament church in any given geographical area gathered together in one place as the “assembly of called out people” (Acts 11:22, 26; 1 Corinthians 11:18; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Colossians 4:16; et. al.).
We have authoritative statements to be assembled together as the church (Hebrews 10:25; 1 Corinthians 11:18; 16:1; et. al.).
With this scriptural authority we know it is right and good for the church to assemble together in one place. However, there is no authoritative example, necessary inference or explicit statement as to where that general assembly should take place. That means that the where of the assembly is a matter of liberty. We know that some congregations met in members homes (i.e. Philemon 2). But we are not told the meeting place of every congregation mentioned in the New Testament. Should we think that the 3,000 plus Jerusalem congregation met in someone’s home?
From the example of the synagogue system, which was condoned by Jesus and the apostles by their assembling in synagogues (Matthew 12:29; 13:54; Mark 1:21; 6:2; Luke 4:16; et. al.), we know that God’s people were authorized to have a central meeting place in any given geographical area.
These points establish biblical authority for local congregations in any given geographical area to acquire facilities as a central meeting place in facilitating obedience to the command to assemble for worship. It also facilitates the command to be with the brethren and to spend time together in the study of God’s word, as we will discuss further under the question about Wednesday night Bible class.
When it comes to where a local congregation meets, it is a matter of liberty for that local congregation. They may choose to meet in members homes, they may choose to meet in some public facilities, they may choose to rent private facilities or they may choose to acquire their own facilities. Any of these options are expedient measures to carry out clear Bible doctrine.
Scriptural authorization for YouTube broadcasts?
Why not go ahead and include radio and TV broadcasts? If someone is going to take issue with my using YouTube, as regarding Scriptural authority, then they must have the same issues with radio, TV or any other form of broadcasting the gospel.
Now, there is an abundance of Scriptural authority for using mass media to broadcast the gospel.
Jesus commanded that his disciples preach the gospel to every creature under heaven and make disciples of every nation, teaching them to observe his doctrine (Mark 16:15, 16; Matthew 28:18-20).
The command was to “go,” however, the mode of going was not specified.
So, going by means of mass media is one way to facilitate the command to go and teach. Because these things; radio, TV, Internet, etc.; facilitate and in no way alter the command they are authorized by generic authority. I would encourage the reader to watch the video series, “Understanding Bible Authority,“ which discusses the principle of generic authority in more detail.
Scriptural authorization for song books?
- We are commanded to sing (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; et. al.).
- We are commanded to sing in the assembly (Hebrews 2:12).
- We are commanded to sing congregationally. In Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16, Paul describes the singing as “teaching and admonishing one another” and “speaking to yourselves.” In the original Greek these statements carry the meaning of every one speaking to every other one. The only way to obey that is in congregational singing.
The use of songbooks is an authorized expedient to obey the command of congregational singing. It does not in any way add to or alter the specific command to sing, rather, it facilitates its being obeyed.
We might also add here that God desires all things to be done decently and in order (1 Corinthians 14:40). The use of songbooks to help everyone sing together congregationally is a way to facilitate this part of our worship being done decently and in order.
Scriptural authority for Wednesday night Bible class?
We are commanded to be assembled together (Hebrews 10:25). In this verse a specific day is neither stated nor intended. The purpose for the being assembled together here is to encourage and edify one another in love and good works (Hebrews 10:24).
We have examples from the early church of their being assembled together daily (Acts 2:46; 5:42; Hebrews 3:13). So, does that mean we are authorized to assemble daily but not authorized to have a midweek assembly? Of course not!
Again, the midweek assembly is a matter of expedience to facilitate clearly stated biblical principles; viz., brethren should desire to be together (Romans 12:10), brethren should encourage one another in their spiritual growth (Hebrews 10:24, 25), brethren should desire above all else to spend time in the study of God’s word (2 Timothy 2:15; Matthew 6:33). Having a midweek assembly is in response to these and other biblical principles and in no way alters or contradicts any biblical principles. Also, the midweek assembly is in addition to spending time together in each others homes as a daily practice; not to replace or eliminate it.
Scriptural authorization for
First of all, for those of us who don’t speak Latin, let me translate sola scriptura into English. It simply means “by scripture alone,” and refers to the biblical principle that all authority in religion must be taken from the Bible. So, basically, what is being drawn into question here is the idea that the only source for authority in religion is the Bible.
The reason anything not found in the Bible, and more specifically in the New Testament of Jesus Christ, should be rejected is because Jesus said so (Matthew 15:9). There are two possible sources for doctrine, it either came from God or it came from men. If it came from God then it can be found in the Bible. If it came from men then it can’t be found in the Bible and must be rejected. He said he had been given all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). He said the Holy Spirit would guide his apostles into all truth (John 16:13-15; cf. 14:26). The apostles and those they enabled to write by inspiration through the laying on of their hands (Acts 8:18) wrote down the doctrine of Christ.
We are told to not go beyond what is written (1 Corinthians 4:6).
We are told to live by faith and not be sight (Romans 1:17; 2 Corinthians 5:7). Faith comes by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17). So, if we are supposed to live by faith and faith comes by hearing the word of God then the only way we can live pleasing to God is to live by the word of God (cf. John 15:7; 1 John 1:7; 2 John 2:9; et. al.).
We are told that it is the Scripture that will make us wise unto salvation (2 Timothy 3:15). It goes on to say that the Scripture thoroughly equips the man of God for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16, 17). So, if we are going to do the work that God wants us to do it must be authorized by the word of God.
We are told that salvation comes by obeying the gospel, the word of Christ (Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 1:21; 4:15; 1 Peter 1:23; et. al.).
We are told that we will be judged in the last day by the word of God (John 12:48; Romans 2:16).
If that’s not enough, we have the explicit statement to do all things by the authority of Jesus Christ (Colossians 3:17). In the name of means by the authority of the one named. It doesn’t mean we can just do whatever we want and say we are doing it in his name and that makes it OK (cf. Matthew 7:21).
I just have to ask, in closing this point, are you serious! Surely, it is not being suggested that we should look outside of Scripture for our authority in religion. Or is it that the very necessity for authority is what is being called into question? Is it being suggested that biblical authority is not required at all and so we can all just do whatever floats our boats? Surely not!
Scriptural authorization for NOT lifting up holy hands (1 Timothy 2:8).
Again, I have to ask, are you serious! Now I am being asked to give authority for a negative statement. Well, for the sake of the reader, let me just explain a simple rule of logic. The burden of proof is not on the negative but the positive assertion. That is, it is not the one NOT doing something that is in the place of proving authority for what he is not doing; it is the one asserting that a given practice is acceptable who has the responsibility to prove its acceptability.
So, first off, I would like to know what the questioner is referring to as “lifting up holy hands.” If he is referring to the common prayer posture of the ancient Jews – face turned upward with hands turned palms up and slightly raised as in expecting to receive that for which petition is being made – I would say that if he wants to pray that way go ahead. But if he is referring to the emotion based waving of the hands that usually accompanies the “concert” style of man-made worship I would say he cannot establish that such was ever practiced by the New Testament church as an act of acceptable worship.
Now, 1 Timothy 2:8 is using the term “lifting up holy hands” in a figurative manner to refer to the quality of man who is qualified to offer prayers to God. He must be a holy man. The emphasis is not on the hands but on the holiness of the person doing the praying. Just like with the “holy kiss” (Romans 16:16). The customary form of greeting at that time, and still now in some Asian cultures, is a kiss to the cheek. The emphasis is not on the manner of the greeting but the quality of the greeting. If Romans 16:16 were written today in our Western culture it would likely say, “greet one another with a holy handshake.” The handshake is our customary form of greeting but when people great one another in the fellowship of Christ as beloved brethren it is a “holy” handshake. Likewise, if 1 Timothy 2:8 were written today in our culture it would likely say something like, “bowing holy heads.” Closing the eyes and bowing the head is the customary prayer posture in our culture today but when those who have been cleansed by the blood of Christ and are living in harmony with his will bow their heads in prayer to the Father it is a “holy” thing.
Using 1 Timothy 2:8 as authority for the waving hands thing that people do today when they are listening to their “praise” concerts is a complete twisting of the Scriptures to say something that they don’t say. Welcome to Liberalville!
Now let me address the questioner directly.
Dear sir or madam, please do not include me with yourself as “we in the CoC.” Clearly we are not in the same place. I am a member of the Lord’s blood bought church (Acts 20:28), not a man-made denomination. It saddens me that you have been deceived into thinking that the church of Christ is some denomination that needs to just “go along and get along.”
Dear one, I have never claimed in any way to “have it all figured out.” But I know Who does and I know where He had it written down. I will always turn to the inspired word of God for what I do and I know that as long as I can verify what I am doing by that word, I will be counted faithful by He who gave it.
It saddens me greatly to see how you reject any biblical authority whatsoever and I can only conclude that you do so out of a desire to please yourself rather than God. I pray that you would repent and be truly converted to Christ before it is everlastingly too late. I would love to talk with you more about the salvation of your soul. Please contact me so we can discuss your spiritual condition further. It is clear to me from what you have written that you are lost and, because I love you, I want you to be saved.
This is a fairly common question and with good reason. When we read of God in the Bible we learn that he is completely good, holy, righteous, just and loving (1 Peter 1:16; Revelation 15:3; Matthew 6:33; Ephesians 2:4; 1 John 4:16). We also learn that he is all-powerful, all-knowing and everywhere present all the time (Psalm 139:1-16).
Many people struggle with this seeming contradiction between the character of God and the nature of what he has created. After all, how could an all-powerful and all-knowing God, who is loving and good, create a world filled with so much pain and suffering that is not good? The basic solution to the problem is that the world we see today is not the world as God created it.
When God completed his creation of the earth and the universe in six literal 24-hour days, he looked at everything he had created and said, “it is very good” (Gen. 1:31). That means that there were two things true of the new creation in relation to our question:
The pain and suffering that we see in the world today was not present then; and,
Some of the pain and suffering we consider to be “bad” or “evil” is not really “bad” pain and suffering at all.
The pain and suffering that we see in the world today was not present then.
One of the true facts about the creation God looked upon and pronounced to be “very good” is that it was very different from the world we see today. When we read the overview of creation in chapter one and then the details of day six of creation in chapter two, we then come to a cataclysmic world changing event in chapter three of Genesis. Satan deceived Eve into transgressing God’s law, and Adam didn’t protect her from such deceit, and sin entered the world. From that point forward we have been dealing with a world tainted by sin. God dealt with what Adam and Eve had done and we see the first prophecy of God’s scheme of redemption in Genesis 3:15. The rest of the Bible is the record of how God brought the scheme of redemption to fulfillment in Christ Jesus (Romans 16:3-5).
A few chapters later, in Genesis chapter six, we see the world having become so corrupted by sin that God said he would destroy the world by a universal flood. Only Noah and his family were spared God’s wrath upon sin and the world was destroyed.
When we look at the causes of pain and suffering in our world today, a great deal of it can be traced back to that tragic event of sin entering the world and growing to such horrible corruption that God had to destroy the world by the flood. There is no record of natural disaster before the flood, not even rain. Before sin entered the world there was no human death. Before sin entered the world no one made choices that caused the pain and suffering of themselves or others.
Someone may ask the question, “if God is love then why didn’t he stop man from sinning and bringing so much pain and suffering upon himself?” The answer to the question is in the nature of love itself. If God did not give us the ability to choose to serve him or to choose to disobey him then it could not be said that anyone served God out of love. Love would have nothing to do with it. We would just be like robots, hardwired to carry out our programming and nothing more. Never being able to achieve and grow to the heights that only true love can attain. The only way God could demonstrate his love toward us was to create us in such a way that we have freedom of choice, and to be prepared to pay the price when we made the wrong choice (Romans 5:8; 1 Peter 1:19, 20). The only way we can demonstrate our love for God is to exercise our free will and choose to serve him because we want to honor and glorify him (1 John 5:3).
So, this form of pain and suffering is the result of man misusing and abusing his God given free will. People suffer because of their own personal misuses of free will and some suffer because of the wrong choices of others. From natural disasters to wars to personal tragedies, pain and suffering is not God’s fault it is the fault of sin.
Sometimes people suffering because they exercise their free will in such a way that their choices contradict God’s natural laws. For us to live in an orderly creation natural laws must be maintained and obeyed. For example, can you imagine the chaos if God suspended the natural law of gravity or the physical laws of matter every time someone made a choice that would cause them pain and suffering by violating these laws?
The natural law of matter says that no two objects can occupy the same space at the same time. When people make choices contrary to this law or choices that bring them into conflict with this law, like drunk driving, many times they cause suffering upon themselves and others. A person who makes a choice contrary to the law of gravity is taking a chance of causing pain and suffering upon himself and others resulting from falling objects, like himself if he steps off a cliff.
Not all pain and suffering is actually “bad.”
Sometimes pain and suffering is actually for our good. For example, when a person has a health problem, many times the only way the problem is discovered and treatment is sought is because we feel some pain.
Without pain and even some suffering, when we received an injury we would not know to look after it. One of the things that makes leprosy so deadly is that the pain receptors in the nervous system stop working and the person gets an unknown injury and it gets infected to the point of being deadly.
God created us with pain receptors in our nervous system as a means of self preservation. If there was no fear of pain we would take no measures to protect ourselves.
This question of pain and suffering in the world is one that many have struggled with for a long time. But when we see that pain and suffering, to a large degree, comes from our rejection of God’s will and what God was willing to sacrifice to give us hope beyond this corrupted world’s pain and suffering, we see a very powerful demonstration of God’s love for us. He loved us so much that he was willing to give his Son to be the sacrifice for our sins (John 3:16), so that we could be saved through his blood (Acts 22:16; Revelation 1:5). When we have the remission of our sins we can say that the pain and suffering of this world is without comparison to the glory we shall have with God when this life is over (Romans 8:18).