Welcome to the website of the Navarre church of Christ
This church is patterned after the one you read about in the New Testament. It has no creed except the New Testament, no head except Jesus Christ, no organization other than that described in the Scriptures, and no political agenda except the proclamation of the Kingdom of the Son of God. We are not a denomination since no denominations were ever heard of in New Testament times. The worship here is centered upon the Scriptures and involves only those things authorized by the Lord and His apostles in the New Testament. You will not find innovations designed to appeal to the flesh and pride, or that tend to the exaltation of man. If you are looking to learn about Jesus Christ and become His disciple, we invite you to come learn with us.
Most Recent Articles
by Kieran Murphy
Throughout history many have boldly predicted the time of Christ’s second coming and the end of the world. The journalist, Jeffery L Sheler and Mike Tharp have written about the intense interest that each generation has had in this subject in an article in the Online US News entitled "Dark Prophecies."
America's fascination with apocalypticism begins in a sense with Christopher Columbus, a devout reader of biblical prophecies who is said to have believed the world would end in 1650. He considered his discovery of the "New World" part of a divine plan to establish a millennial paradise. "God made me the messenger of the new heaven and the new Earth of which he spoke in the Apocalypse of St. John," Columbus wrote in his journal, "and he showed me the spot where to find it."
Entire Issue of August 7, 2016
by William Thompson, Jr.
From several considerations the church of the Lord is distinct from the human organizations of men. One of the essential characteristics of the New Testament Church that differentiates it from Protestant denominationalism and Roman Catholicism is the mission. The divine institution had a divine origin and a divine destiny or mission to fulfill. Jesus taught that the basis of entrance into his kingdom was not physical, but a spiritual birth was necessary to citizenship in it. (John 3:1-5) Nicodemus was a Jew in covenant relationship with God under the Jewish economy, but that would not suffice for entrance into the kingdom of Christ. Nor is the church political in nature or purpose. "My kingdom is not of this world”, John 18:36. The business of the church is not to recreate or entertain, or educate in a secular sense. Other institutions have been established for the provision of those physical and mental needs. The church of Christ is not a benevolent society as such. Though that is a part of the work of the church it is not the purpose for which the church was established.
The primary mission of the church is to evangelize the world, to preach the gospel. For that there can be no substitute. No human organization can supplant the church of Christ for God's only missionary society is the New Testament church. There is no other institution that can give to men and women the spiritual blessings that are found only in Christ and the church. (Eph. 1:3, 23) Benevolence is done through many channels. The Community Chest with all of its various agencies and activities may clothe a man, bathe him, and supply other physical needs, but there is no substitute for the robes of righteousness and the bath of regeneration. For that purpose God's church was established, and through it the gospel is proclaimed.
Entire Issue of July 24, 2016
by Walton Weaver
A one who gossips is "a person who chatters or repeats idle talk and rumors about others" (Webster). The Bible describes the gossiper as a talebearer, whisperer, busybody, or slanderer. Even Christians who have not learned to control their tongues may be guilty of gossip. Much instruction is given in the New Testament on the proper use of the tongue. In one way or another we are often admonished to lay aside falsehood and "speak truth, each one of you, with his neighbor, for we are members one of another" (Eph. 4:25).
Sometimes Christians who are not especially gifted at being professional liars will without much thought repeat things that they do not know to be the truth. No matter what form it may take, Christians ought not to be found as slanderers or gossipers. This sin does not keep good company. It has as its friends strife, jealousy, angry tempers, arrogance, disputes and disturbances (2 Cor. 12:20), as well as unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil, envy, murder, deceit, and haters of God (Rom. 1:29-30).
Entire Issue of July 3, 2016
by David Padfield
In Matthew 10 Jesus sent out the twelve apostles and "gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease" (Matt. 10:1). This commission was limited in that they were not allowed to "go into the way of the Gentiles" or "enter a city of the Samaritans" (Matt. 10:5). Instead, they were sent "to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matt. 10:6). Our Lord also warned them that persecution would accompany their preaching (Matt. 10:16-22). As an encouragement in the midst of this persecution, Jesus told the disciples of His Father's care: "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows." (Matt. 10:27-31).
"Sparrow" is the name given to several different species of birds in the Bible -- they ate grain and insects and gathered in noisy flocks. Sparrows would often build their untidy nests in the eaves of houses, but were not driven away when they built their nests in the Temple (Psa. 84:3). These insignificant little birds were such social creatures that a lone sparrow was the symbol of deep loneliness (Psa. 102:7).
Entire Issue of June 19, 2016
by Dee Bowman
The human character never functions at a higher level than when it is involved in doing for others. In what is often described as the Golden Rule, Jesus spoke of doing for others as you would have them do for you. In His great commandment concerning discipleship, Jesus spoke of self-denial as the key element. The so-called greatest commandment of all, says that love your neighbor is like unto the love of God.
Giving is the highest essence of human endeavor. “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend” (John 15:13). The Epistles are replete with charges that Christians should place the good of others before themselves (Philippians 2:4; Romans 12:10, etc.). Selflessness is a fitting description of our Savior who gave Himself for our sins.
Entire Issue of June 5, 2016
by Luis Zamora
A disciple is a student, a follower, and an imitator of his or her teacher. Jesus said, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it” (Mark 8:34-35). The Lord expressed Himself plainly: disciples have work to do, and it will cost them something. It is only right, since He denied Himself and took up the cross on our behalf, that we serve Him thus.
The Scriptures also describe Christians as priests of the Most High God. “You…are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5). What is that sacrifice? “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). These passages indicate that Christians–all Christians–have a responsibility before God. Every one of us is a priest, and every one of us must offer himself or herself up as a sacrifice to Him by denying ungodliness and worldly desires–yes, and even denying ourselves!
Entire Issue of May 22, 2016
by Walton Weaver
The question concerning the beginning of the New Testament church should be of interest to all Bible students. Since the church was in God's purpose in eternity (see Eph. 3:9-10), we know that it was not simply an after-thought on God's part. God had planned to build the church sometime in the future, but when was He going to build it? Many different answers have been given to this question. Why is this true? Is it because the evidence is not clear? This can hardly be the reason for so many different answers to this question. Let's look at the evidence for the time of the church's beginning.
Entire Issue of May 8, 2016
The question of the Sabbath of the Law of Moses and whether or not it is still in effect today has taken much time, energy, ink and paper over the years. In this article we will consider what can be called the “Last Sabbath.” There is of course a caveat that needs to be noted concerning the “Final Sabbath” which is the rest for the people of God in eternal glory (Hebrews 3). We are concerned in this effort with just those Sabbaths mentioned in Scripture that pertain to earthly history.
If we trace the subject of the Sabbath in the Scriptures we find:
Entire Issue of April 24, 2016
by David Diestelkamp
Nobody knew Jim was the one who did it, so he just shrugged and turned away. He didn’t get far before there was a hard tap on his shoulder and, in an accusatory tone, some- one said, “But I saw you do it!” While still walking away, he mumbled, “It’s no big deal,” and when someone voiced an insistent, “What?!” he said, “It didn’t hurt anyone… everyone does it—in fact you’ve done it yourself!” Jim managed to avoid them for a while, and he hoped it was over.
Wait, wait, wait. Is that how we handle our mistakes? Do we deny them? Are we skilled at making excuses for what we do wrong? Is it our goal to escape facing problems we have caused and wish they will somehow go away? When we make a mistake - whether spiritual or physical, sin or just a slip-up - we need to stop and notice how we are dealing with it.
Entire Issue of April 10, 2016
by Dan S. Shipley
You wouldn't expect to learn much from garage wall graffiti, but this bit of scribbling caught my attention recently while standing around awaiting car repairs: "If you continue to think the way you've always thought, you'll continue to be what you've always been." Good graffiti for a change. There is a strong correlation between what one is and what one thinks. The Bible says so. "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he. . . " (Prov. 23:7).
That's why God says, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life" (Prov. 4:23). In this regard, keeping the heart is minding the mind. Physically, the heart is the central organ of the body. In its Biblical and figurative sense, it most commonly refers to the mind of man as the center of moral, spiritual and intellectual life. You might say that man is the living expression of what's in his heart. "All our actions take their hue from the complexion of the heart, as landscapes their variety from the light" (Bacon). Jesus reinforces this idea from the viewpoint of that which defiles a man. "But the things which proceed out of the mouth come forth out of the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, railings . . . " (Matt. 15:18). Clearly, the thought in the mind is the seed of the deed. As Jesus teaches, evil men think evil thoughts that produce evil words and deeds while good men think good thoughts that produce good words and deeds (Lk. 6:45).
Entire Issue of March 27, 2016
AUTHORITY is defined to mean, "The right to determine, adjudicate, or otherwise settle issues or disputes; the right to control, command, or determine." (The American College Encyclopedic Dictionary, page 84). The word adjudicate means, "To pronounce or decree by judicial sentence; settle judicially; pass judgment on; to determine an issue or dispute judicially" (ibid page 15). A careful student of the Bible is aware that truth settles issues (II Timothy 3:16-17); exercises control (II Peter 1:1-12); and determines right and wrong (Galatians 2:14). The title of our lesson rightly assumes that truth is authoritative. Hence, our task is to show that authority is established by proper understanding and application of that truth. Truth settles issues and exercises control. Truth also determines the right or wrong of any dispute.
How then can we determine when a matter has been authorized in the Scriptures? The Bible teaches us "explicitly", i.e., clearly developed with all its elements apparent," and also "implicitly", i.e., capable of being understood from something else though unexpressed." I do not believe the matter of implicit authority has received the recognition it deserves. Men do not seem to have difficulty in accepting the fact that the Bible teaches explicitly but ridicule the thought that it teaches implicitly or by implication. If the Bible does not teach us by implication then we are left without a shred of information as to how we are to serve God. Unless, of course, you read explicit instructions to you personally! Find your name on the Sacred pages! You must infer that certain matters apply to you. How do you know that anything God has said applies to you unless you infer it! The Bible does not infer for you. The Bible implies and man must infer. The idea has been suggested that we cannot bind, as matters of faith, anything that has to be determined by necessary inference. The reason is that we have to use "human reasoning" in inference. We also must use "human reason" in matters of precept. We must decide whether a passage is addressing us. To do this we must use "human reasoning."
Entire Issue of March 13, 2016
J.T. Smith, Editor Gospel Truths, April 1990
Part 2 Continued from last issue:
What Part Of The Bible Is Applicable To Us Today?
In Genesis 12:3 God made a promise to Abraham that through his seed, all nations of the earth would be blessed. In Galatians 3:16, Paul tells us that the "seed" is Christ. This does not, however, obligate man today to obey the specific things Abraham was told to do to be saved. After God spoke directly to the people in Abraham's time, Paul said the Law was added because of the transgressions till the seed (Christ) should come to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). The Law of Moses was not faultless (Hebrews 8:7), and thus Christ came to fulfill the Law and nail it to the cross (Colossians 2:14). "So," someone says, "you do not believe the Old Testament is worth anything today?"
Entire Issue of February 28, 2016
J.T. Smith, Editor Gospel Truths, April 1990
HERMENEUTICS is the science of interpretation. The word is usually applied to the explanation of written documents, and may therefore be more specifically defined as the science of interpreting an author's language." (The word hermeneutics is of Greek origin from ermeneuo, to interpret, to explain; thence adjective n ermeneutike (sc. tekene), that is, the hermeneutical art, and thence our word hermeneutics, the science or art of interpretation). (Biblical Hermeneutics, by Milton S. Terry, Page 17).
"Biblical or Sacred Hermeneutics is the science of interpreting the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments" (Ibid, page 18).
In his book on Exegetical Analysis Isaiah B. Grubbs said on page 1 under the heading Biblical Hermeneutics, "Hermeneutics is the science of interpretation, and Exegesis is the practical application of the principles of this science in ascertaining or in setting forth the meaning of a passage or a statement. These principles are founded on the laws of thought as related to verbal usage and find their justification in the dictates of common sense."
Entire Issue of February 14, 2016
by Larry Rouse
We would be wise to carefully listen to our Savior who came from heaven to show us the way to God. Throughout His ministry Jesus emphasized His relationship with the Father along with the kind of heart required to know God.
It would take great humility for the Jews that heard Jesus to understand that they really did not know God and that they needed to hear the One who actually had come from God. Jesus stated the obvious to the unbelieving Jews when He said: “You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form.” (Jn 5:37) Why would they resist listening to the One who came from Heaven and accurately testified of things that these men had never seen? They were blinded by their own relationships and religious pride so that they would not hear. “But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?” (Jn 5:42-44)
Entire Issue of January 31, 2016
Neh. 9:6 “Thou art Jehovah, even thou alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all things that are thereon, the seas and all that is in them, and thou preserves them all; and the host of heaven worships thee.”
When I went on my trip out west, I traveled through some of the prettiest and most awe inspiring country I’ve ever seen. The morning I drove west out of Albuquerque was just neat. I drove through a series of low mountain ridges with valleys opening up below and stand-alone mountains dotting the distance. There were mesas and multi-colored cliffs all along the way. I could see for miles across incredible vistas, sometimes, and sometimes I was traveling through a narrow pass and my view was limited (but still gorgeous). Of course, the most awe inspiring view was the Grand Canyon. Perhaps the most beautiful things I saw were the alcoves in the Carlsbad Caverns. The neatest things to see, to me, were the great sequoia trees.
Entire Issue of January 17, 2016
Traveling most weekends for Christian evidence seminars means I frequently find myself on airplanes. Planes are unique environments in that for several hours you are often sitting in very close proximity to complete strangers. Some individuals are “non-talkers” and will use the time to catch-up on work, sleep, or listen to media. Other individuals are “talkers,” and will talk to whomever they find themselves sitting beside.
Entire Issue of January 3, 2016
What do you do when sitting next to an enemy of Christ?
by Doy Moyer
“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 7:12).
Think about what this says regarding “the Law and the Prophets,” then add to this that the Law and the Prophets hang on the two greatest commandments: love God and love others (Matt. 22:36-40).
However we understand the Law and the Prophets, we need to see them through the interpretation given to them by Christ Himself. All the Law and the Prophets are summed up in the need to love God and to love and treat others properly. Any interpretation of the Law that does not take these into account will be flawed.
Entire Issue of December 20, 2015
Do you want to have fellowship with God? Do you wish to have a meaningful relationship with your Creator and the Designer of the entire universe? I sure do! I greatly look forward to that day, when I get to join that heavenly throng depicted here:
Entire Issue of December 6, 2015
by Jon Mitchell
I read a story once that says Satan once held a sale and offered all the tools of his trade to anyone who would pay the price. They were spread out on the table and each one was labeled – hatred, malice, envy, gossip, lust – all the weapons that everyone knows so well. However, off to one side lay a harmless looking instrument labeled DISCOURAGEMENT. It was old and worn looking but was priced far above the rest. When Satan was asked why this was, he replied, “Because I can use this one so much more easily than the others. No one knows that it belongs to me, so with it I can open doors that are bolted tightly against the others. Once I get inside, I can use any tool that suits me best.”
Entire Issue of November 22, 2015
by Robert F. Turner
"Now my idea about heaven is. . ." and then the writer or speaker reveals himself far more than he tells us about heaven. The materialist, sensual, mystical, aesthetic, and surrealist all have a field day with heaven. It is "pie in the sky" to those who ridicule its reality; and an extremely plush "paid vacation" for those who equate "real" with earthly literalism.
"Heaven" is a divinely revealed place, state, or condition; and we can know only that which is revealed about it in God's word. We say "place" with some hesitation, using accommodative language; for "location" is space related, and may lose its literal significance when applied to eternity. But God's word is directed to time and space related beings, and information about deity and eternity are necessarily couched in terms that translate into mental images. We can not truly imagine "eternity" or things eternal in nature, so we must expect the Bible to use anthropomorphisms: whereby things of God, totally incomprehensible to mortal man, are described in the time and space terms of man.
Entire Issue of November 8, 2015
by Robert Turner
Did you ever wear a starchy feedsack shirt? (I mean a real one, not the store-bought kind you see now-a-days.) Scratchy, ain't they? Can't you just imagine one made out of towsack? (Grass-sack, for some of us.) Well, wearing sackcloth had a special meaning at one time.
King Ahab, stirred by Jezebel, was an evil man. But when Elijah told him the dogs would eat Jezebel, he "rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly." And God said, "because he humbleth himself before me" judgment upon his house will be postponed. (1 Kings 21:27-29)
Entire Issue of October 25, 2015
by Walton Weaver
The reason God decided to destroy the world in the days of Noah was because "the earth was corrupt in the sight of God ...And God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth" (Genesis 6:11-12).
After God had purged the earth of wickedness, it was not long until moral corruption had filled the earth again. He had promised he would not destroy the earth again by water, and he chose Israel as the people through whom Christ, the seed of Abraham, was to come to save the world from sin (Genesis 12:1-3; John 1:29; 1 John 2:1-2). The Lord's servant of Isaiah's prophecy was to "restore the preserved ones of Israel" and to be "a light of the nations" (Isaiah 49:6). When Jesus came He said that when he was lifted upon the cross He would draw all men to Himself (John 12:32). He also claimed that he was the light of the world (John 8:12). Thus Jesus fulfilled the mission of the Lord's servant predicted by Isaiah.
Ideally speaking fleshly Israel should have been a light to the nations during the Old Testament period. Being in the unique role where God placed her, it was surely God's intention that she should be an influence for good among the nations. Paul found fault with the Jews of his day because though they were confident that they were a guide to the blind and a light to those who were in darkness, they did not even live up to the demands they made of others. Consequently, Paul says, the name of God was blasphemed among them (Romans 2:19-24).
Entire Issue of October 11, 2015
God does not waste words. It is a good idea to look closely at a passage when we think this may be the case. One such passage occurs initially in Amos 9.11-12, which is quoted by James during a gathering of the church in Jerusalem. The quote refers to the “tabernacle of David.” This article proposes to examine that reference and see if it can be determined what the Spirit of God was saying and what treasures of understanding can be had by the effort.
Entire Issue of September 27, 2015
by John Robertson
God told Ezekiel that he would “take away from you the desire of your eyes with a stroke” (Ezekiel 24:16). The “desire” of the prophet’s eyes was his wife. The Lord further instructed his prophet not to cry or mourn the death of her. God stroked Ezekiel’s wife the next evening and she died. Ezekiel did not cry and neither did he mourn her death. Ezekiel writes, “And I did in the morning as I was commanded” (Ezekiel 24:18). The captives of Judah, who were now living in Mesopotamia, ask “Tell us what this means to us.” Ezekiel tells them that as his wife died without his tears so will their sons and daughters die in the siege of Jerusalem and they will not cry nor mourn their deaths. Rather than cry they would “pine away in your iniquities and moan one toward another” (Ezekiel 24:23). The Lord then tells the people, “Thus shall Ezekiel be unto you a sign; according to all that he has done shall you do: when this comes, then shall you know that I am the Lord God” (Ezekiel 24:24).
Many, throughout Bible history, have lacked faith in God just as Judah during the days of Jeremiah and Ezekiel. God has always given man signs to bring them to confess that he alone is the Lord God Almighty. God gave the miraculous sign of creation to produce faith in man (Psalms 33:6-9; Jeremiah 32:17 and Romans 1:18-20). God delivered signs in Egypt so that Pharaoh and the world might believe that he is the one true God (see Jeremiah 32:17-22 and Romans 9:17). God gave signs in the form of catastrophic disasters so that men would come to know that he alone is God (see Ezekiel 4:3). God destroyed the household of Korah so that they may serve as a sign of what happens to those who reject the authorized will of the Lord (see Numbers 26:10 and Jude 7-11).
Entire Issue of September 13, 2015
A few years ago I was listening to the radio and a powerful preacher was proclaiming this idea:
"Accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, and let him come into your heart, and you will BE SAVED."
This sounded good, so—
Entire Issue of August 30, 2015
by Sewell Hall
Probably no charge creates more prejudice against a group of people than the charge that they think there is only one church that is right. This fact clearly indicates that most Americans consider all churches right. Is it possible that only one church is right?
At least three other questions must be answered before this one can be answered intelligently.
Entire Issue of August 16, 2015
by Robert Turner
Does man need a personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit; (1) to overcome his inherited sinful nature; (2) in order to (a) understand the Scripture, (b) be converted, and (c) to live a sanctified life? I am especially thankful that this special issue is planned, for our generation is not well schooled in logical consequences of Total Hereditary Depravity. Also, sometimes our own brethren have accepted specific concepts that logically derive from depravity, and when they try to defend their careless statements they are drawn deeper into the fatal web. In order that you may know we are not "shooting in the dark" we will cite recognized sources for these doctrinal concepts.
Entire Issue of August 2, 2015
by Robert Tuten
There is much confusion in the world today about who is a Christian. In this respect the confusion of ancient Babel is still modern history. The word "Christian" appears only three times in the N. T.—Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Pet. 4:16. In each of these cases the word appears as a noun, never as a verb [or adjective]. In each of these cases it belongs to individuals. By Divine authority there is no such thing as a "Christian nation" or a "Christian church." It is no more correct to refer to the Lord's body as a "Christian church" than a "Saint church" or "Disciple church, " for like the words "disciples" and "saint", "Christian" refers only to individuals in the Lord's church (Acts 11:26; Phil. 1:1).
Who then are Christians? It is well for us to look at the question from a negative standpoint. If we can first determine who is not a Christian we can better determine who is a Christian.
Entire Issue of July 19, 2015
by W. Frank Walton
"If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come" (II Corinthians 5:17).
The Bible says salvation from sin is only in Christ (Acts 4:12). The most important commitment you'll ever make is deciding to become a true Christian.
What “steps” are revealed in the Gospel to pass from death to life in Jesus Christ the Savior?
Have you done what the Bible teaches to insure you're right with God?
Have you obeyed, in penitent faith, the original gospel of Christ? Jesus is "the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him" (Hebrews 5:9).
Entire Issue of July 5, 2015
Edward O. Bragwell, Sr.
Someone coined the expression, “the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed,” a long time ago. It is a good and true saying. The story of man and his relationship to God and vice versa begins in the opening pages of the Old Testament and quickly turns into a story of man falling out of fellowship with God due to sin and of God’s plan to reestablish that fellowship through the seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15). The story of the redemptive plan intensifies with the call of Abraham (Genesis 12). God gave Abraham a threefold promise concerning his seed. Two parts of the promise were physical while the third was spiritual.
(1) Through his seed there was to be a great nation (Israel)formed to be God’s own nation, who would receive
(2) a great land (Canaan), both of which were fulfilled according to the Old Testament revelation.
(3) Then there was the third promise which was spiritual in nature – that through his seed all nations would be blessed. The great nation is formed in Egypt and brought out and received a covenant with laws through Moses, God’s chosen deliverer and lawgiver, that was to last until the ultimate Deliverer (Christ) would come to make a New Covenant that would include all nations (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:6-13; Isaiah 2:2)
Entire Issue of June 21, 2015
To trace the development of the word from which we discuss worldliness (kosmos) is an interesting, if somewhat disappointing, exercise. Initially it meant an ornament, then the ordered or beautiful arrangement of the universe, next the earth, then the inhabitants of the earth - most of whom are bad, and thus finally the evil that characterizes the world. It started out beautiful and attractive, but ends up bad and ugly. Most sin is that way. It can take something good and lovely and misuse it so that the result is evil. And this is doubly demonstrated in the title of this article. Doubly, because it takes something good and misuses it; but then to compound the tragedy, the bad is endorsed and becomes respectable so that something evil is portrayed as something good! "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil" (Isa. 5:20). But perhaps you wonder: Just what is respectable worldliness?
Let it be noted to begin with, by respectable worldliness I do not mean that such is respectable with God. The very concept behind worldliness eliminates any idea of God's approval of it. John tells us that it "is not of the Father" (1 John 2:16), and James says, "friendship with the world is enmity with God" (James 4:4).
Entire Issue of April 26, 2015
It seems that the more you study with people the more you realize that many of them are more interested in what they think of what God has commanded than what God has commanded. It is almost as if they wonder at the fact that God did not first consult with them before issuing His decrees.
How many times has someone said something like this: “I can’t believe that God requires that when it would (fill in the blank with “condemn the person who comes to faith in Christ on his deathbed and can’t be baptized” or “condemn all the good and sincere people who may not believe that” or any number of other scenarios they can dream up that seem good objections to them). Here is a news flash for you; God did not consult with man before issuing His requirements for salvation from sin and hell. Nor will He consult with you about it. Get used to it, and get over it.
Entire Issue of April 12, 2015
There are three times in the Bible when it is said that we are made, being made, or will be made in the image of God. One time would have been sufficient to get our attention, but the promises and meaning of the other two are just hair-raising!
Created in His Image
The first, of course, is in the Creation, when it is said that God said “Let us make man in Our image, after our likeness” Genesis 1.26.
What exactly does this mean? Does God stand erect as He made us to do, unique among all His creation? It is interesting that the word “upright” is used in the Scriptures to denote righteousness, godliness. But God is spirit (John 4.24) and so any comparison of our God-given physical features with His own appearance, can only be based on the comparisons we read of in the Bible, and no more. We are told that God sits (Psalm 9.7;29.10), and He also stands (Amos 9.1). He is spoken of as having arms (Num 11.23), hands (Isa 59.1-2), fingers (Psalm 8.3) feet (Ex 24.10), face (Gen 4.14), hair (Dan 7.9) and other characteristics like those of man. In all of these, there is little to make us absolutely sure of God’s actual appearance, and so we must turn to other comparisons.
Entire Issue of March 29, 2015
James W. Adams
For one to assume that he knows the unknowable in religion is the greatest ignorance and the grossest presumption and arrogance. True indeed is the statement, “Wisdom is knowing when you cannot be wise” (Paul Engle). Some have erroneously concluded that Revelation precludes mysteries. To us finite human beings, the omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, absolutely perfect God revealed in the Bible, being infinite, of necessity must be incomprehensible in many aspects of His nature and operations. Only that knowledge of God which is necessary to enable humans to glorify Him in their present earthly environment and to fit them to live with Him eternally in the world to come is revealed in the Bible. To perfectly comprehend God in His nature and operations one would have to be Deity himself. The most perfect revelation of God to man is Jesus Christ and His teaching as set forth in the New Testament.
Recognizing man’s inability to comprehend perfectly and to be able to explain and vindicate God’s nature and operations, Moses said, “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong to us and our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deut 29:29). Jesus voiced the same sentiment when he said, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons which the Father has put in his own power” (Acts 1:6). Paul enlarges on the matter by saying, “Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory,” (1 Timothy 3:16). When Paul wrote, these facts had become matters of revelation, but in Old Testament times they were mysteries of Messianic prophecy. In the Bible usage of the term, any unrevealed thing is a mystery.
All of this is noted to emphasize the fact that there are things about God which are not clearly revealed to us, hence are mysteries. The silence of God in reference to such matters must be respected. This precludes speculation and fruitless and divisive wrangling.
Entire Issue of March 15, 2015
All sin takes its origin from a false view of things. Our first parents, Adam and Eve, would never have sinned had they not been deceived by the tempter. Eve saw that the forbidden fruit was beautiful, and she was persuaded also by the good food, that was pleasant to the taste and nutritious. Here was a deception. This fruit was never intended for nourishment, whatever might have been its flavor. It was intended for trial, and not for food.
Sin is very deceitful, alluring, and trapping. Hebrews 3:13 says that we are to "Exhort one another daily…lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." With many people sin is first despised, then as people become more comfortable with it, sin is tolerated, and then it is embraced.
Entire Issue of February 22, 2015
Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
This promise is found throughout the Scriptures and is intended to instill in us the hope that God can and will save us, if we will turn to Him. Yet, among professed Christians today, this statement is the source of confusion and debate; many affirm that calling on the name of the Lord simply involves faith accompanied by repentance and prayer—specifically a “sinner’s prayer.” But is this what the Bible teaches? What is meant by calling on the name of the Lord?
We note, first, that calling on the name of the Lord is not merely a New Testament concept; it is rooted in the Old Testament. It is first mentioned in Genesis 4:26, but faithful individuals, like Abraham, David, and Elijah, also called on the Lord for salvation and blessing, and in worship (see Genesis 12:8; Psalm 18:6; 1 Kings 18:24). Yet, such was not simply making a request; it required seeking God, forsaking evil, and returning to the Lord (see Isaiah 55:6; Jeremiah 29:12-13). In essence, it meant, by faith, doing whatever God expected.
Entire Issue of February 15, 2015
by Edward O. Bragwell, Sr.
A new and dangerous dogma seems to be surfacing in the church. It is really old liberal denominational dogma in new garb. It seems to thrive more near college campuses, but is by no means confined there. We have detected it in the writings, speeches and conversations of some brethren lately. Some consider its promoters to be intellectuals. Fortunately, its influence has been felt but little in the average congregation.
These folks are similar to the Pharisee of old, but a little different. They trust in themselves that they are highly spiritual, humble and thank God that they are not as their brethren, proud, narrow, legalistic, negative, partisan, pharisaical and fossilized. They read their Bibles often, gaining new insights into its meaning to their lives through rapport with those of "other fellowships." They have learned that there is more to learn at the feet (or from the books) of theological liberals than from those who demand a "thus saith the Lord" for all things. They use some old words to most members of the church, but with new connotations.
Entire Issue of February 8, 2015
by Irvin Himmel
Nothing is more clearly revealed in the Scriptures than our dependence on God's grace for redemption. Paul said to the saints at Ephesus, "by grace are ye saved" (Eph. 2:5). Everyone who is permitted to enter heaven will be there by grace.
Today there are teachers, even in the church, who have warped conceptions of grace. Some seem to feel that grace is the big "cover-up" for whatever they want to allow that is not taught in the Bible. There is endless speculation about what grace may do. Having no desire to join the ranks of the conjecturers, I offer the following facts revealed in God's word
Entire Issue of February 1, 2015
by Edward O. Bragwell, Jr.
I often hear people say that the Bible cannot really be understood. One reason some give is that the Bible is a mystery that no one can understand. As proof they point to the fact that the Bible sometimes refers to itself as a mystery. Now it is true that in many passages the Bible does characterize the things within it as a “mystery,” The question that must be asked is if these things continue to be a mystery. Let’s first look at what is meant by the word mystery. A mystery is “something unexplained, unknown, or kept secret.” (Webster’s New World Dictionary) The Greek word “musterion (moos-tay-ree-on)” which is translated mystery in the New Testament literally means “to shut the mouth” and means “a secret” according to Strong. So the things that are contained in the Scriptures are things that at least at one time God kept His mouth shut about or kept secret. But the question is whether these things are a mystery or secret any longer or has God made His will known to us so that we can understand. A careful consideration of a few Bible passages should give us the answer to this.
Entire Issue of January 25, 2015