11/27/15

From Mark Copeland... "ISSUES OF DISTINCTION" The Purpose Of Baptism


                                                             "ISSUES OF DISTINCTION"

                         The Purpose Of Baptism

INTRODUCTION

1. In this series we have surveyed the following "Issues Of
   Distinction":
   a. The Existence Of God - which differentiates between...
      1) Atheists and agnostics, who deny or question God's existence
      2) Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Moslems, Christians, etc., who
         believe in a Supreme Being
   b. The Identity Of God - which distinguishes between...
      1) Buddhists, Hindus, etc., who hold to many gods
      2) Jews, Moslems, Christians, etc., who believe in God of Abraham
   c. The Identity Of Jesus Of Nazareth - over which there is a 
      difference between...
      1) Jews, Moslems, etc., who may accept Jesus as a good man, 
         perhaps a prophet
      2) Christians, who believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God
   d. The All-Sufficiency Of The Scriptures - where again there is a
      difference between...
      1) Catholics, Mormons, JWs, etc., who deny the Scriptures are 
         all-sufficient
      2) Mainstream Protestants, Christians, etc., who profess the 
         principle of "scriptura sola" (the Scriptures alone)

2. Another "issue of distinction" is "The Purpose Of Baptism"
   a. Some say that the purpose of baptism has nothing to do with
      salvation
   b. Others say that baptism is an integral part in God's plan for
      saving man

3. In this study, we shall examine...
   a. The common view of baptism held by many denominations
   b. What the Scriptures themselves teach concerning baptism
   c. What difference does it really make

[We begin with...]

I. THE COMMON DENOMINATIONAL VIEW REGARDING BAPTISM

   A. THAT BAPTISM HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SALVATION...
      1. The view expressed by many Baptists is a popular one:
         a. "Baptists believe that no one is subject for baptism till
            he is already saved."
         b. "We believe it is a positive command, enjoined upon the
            believing, saved soul, and is essential to true, loving
            obedience."
         c. "Baptists believe that the immersion of a believer is an
            open declaration to the world that such a one is dead to
            sin."
         d. "Again, the immersion is a proclamation to the world that
            we believe in Him who died for our sins according to the
            Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again
            the third day according to the Scriptures."
         e. "So it is a proclamation of our belief that Christ arose
            from the dead..."
         -- What Baptists Believe And Why They Believe It, J. G. Bow
      2. My purpose is not to single out Baptists (my maternal 
         ancestors were Baptists)
         a. Not all Baptists would agree with the above view (see 
            comments below)
         b. But it is indicative of most Baptists, and is held by many
            Protestants

   B. THE PURPOSE OF BAPTISM FROM THIS PERSPECTIVE...
      1. Baptism is simply "a public declaration" of one's faith in 
         Jesus Christ
      2. It is a command to be obeyed AFTER salvation, similar to the
         Lord's Supper
      3. It is therefore non-essential to salvation:  "Is baptism 
         necessary for salvation?  I don't beat about the bush about it
         at all.  I come out with a plain, definite NO!  No, baptism 
         doesn't save, doesn't help save, and I'll go even further to
         say that it doesn't have anything in this world to with the
         saving of a soul."  Good News, Edward T. Hiscox, March 2, 
         1972

[Is this true?  Is the only purpose of baptism one of making a public
proclamation of one's faith in Jesus?  Is baptism for those who are
already saved?  Please prayerfully consider...]

II. THE BIBLICAL VIEW REGARDING BAPTISM

   A. IS BAPTISM "A PUBLIC PROCLAMATION ONE'S FAITH"?
      1. There is no teaching in the Bible that defines the purpose for
         baptism as such
         a. An appeal is often made to the example of Christ's 
            baptism...
            1) That Jesus was baptized to publicly introduce Himself to
               Israel as the Messiah
            2) And that therefore the purpose for Christian baptism is
               to serve a similar purpose; i.e., to publicly profess
               ourselves to the world as disciples of Jesus
         b. An interesting correlation, but one nowhere made in the 
            Scriptures!
      2. If baptism were solely a public proclamation of one's faith...
         a. What about the baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch? 
            - Ac 8:35-39
            1) When he asked what might hinder him from being baptized,
               why wasn't he told to wait until they got to town or 
               some public place?
            2) The fact that he was baptized when it was just he and 
               Philip would imply that there is some other purpose for
               baptism!
         b. What about the baptism of the Philippian jailer and his
            family? - Ac 16:25-34
            1) They were baptized "immediately", after midnight and 
               before daylight
            2) Why didn't Paul tell them to wait until a special 
               baptismal service could be held that was open to the
               public, or at least to the church?
      3. Both of these examples imply that the purpose of baptism is 
         for some reason other than a public profession of one's faith
         a. There was a sense of urgency in both cases
         b. Indeed, in every case where baptism is described in detail
            in the book of Acts, it occurs immediately after one 
            lesson!
         -- Whatever the purpose, it did not matter whether it was done
            in public or in private

   B. WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES ABOUT BAPTISM...
      1. When you are baptized into Christ, the Bible says:
         a. You put on the Lord Jesus - Ga 3:26-27
         b. Your sins are washed away - Ac 22:16
         c. Your sins are remitted (forgiven) - Ac 2:38
         d. You die to sin and are freed from sin - Ro 6:1-7
         e. You are baptized into the body of Christ - 1Co 12:13
         f. You are saved through the resurrection of Christ, as you 
            make an appeal for a good conscience - 1Pe 3:21
      2. Here are some thought-provoking quotations from George 
         Beasley-Murray, Baptist scholar, in his book, Baptism In The 
         New Testament:
         a. "In light of the foregoing exposition of the New Testament
            representations of baptism, the idea that baptism is a
            purely symbolic rite must be pronounced not alone 
            unsatisfactory but out of harmony with the New Testament
            itself. Admittedly, such a judgment runs counter to the 
            popular tradition of the Denomination to which the writer
            belongs..."
         b. "The extent and nature of the grace which the New Testament
            writers declare to be present in baptism is astonishing for
            any who come to the study freshly with an open mind."
         c. "...the "grace" available to man in baptism is said by the
            New Testament writers to include the following elements:
            1) forgiveness of sin, Ac 2.38 and cleansing from sins, 
               Ac 22.16, 2Co 6.11;
            2) union with Christ, Ga 3.27, and particularly union with
               Him in his death and resurrection, Ro. 6.3ff, Col 2.11f,
               with all that implies of release from sin's power, as 
               well as guilt, and the sharing of the risen life of the
               Redeemer, Ro 6.1-11;
            3) participation in Christ's sonship, Ga 3.26f;
            4) consecration to God, 1Co 6.11, hence membership in the
               Church, the Body of Christ, 1Co 12.13, Ga 3.27-29;
            5) possession of the Spirit, Ac 2.38, 1Co 6.11, 12.13, 
               and therefore the new life in the Spirit, i.e.,
               regeneration, Tit 3.5, Jn 3.5;
            6) grace to live according to the will of God, Ro 6.1ff,
               Col 3.1ff;
            7) deliverance from the evil powers that rule this world,
               Col 1.13;
            8) the inheritance of the Kingdom of God, Jn 3.5, and the
               pledge of the resurrection of the body, Ep 1.3f, 4.30.
               (pp. 263-264)
      3. Yes, when one comes to the Bible with an open mind, willing to
         consider whatever the Bible says about baptism...
         a. They will conclude with George Beasley-Murray that the idea
            baptism is a purely symbolic rite:
            1) Must be pronounced unsatisfactory!
            2) Is out of harmony with the New Testament itself!
         b. They will agree with Martin Luther, who...
            1) In answer to the question, "What gifts or benefits does
               Baptism bestow?", replied in his Small Catechism, "It
               effects forgiveness of sins."
            2) Also wrote concerning the sinner:  "Through Baptism he
               is bathed in the blood of Christ and is cleansed from
               sins."
            3) Again wrote: "To put it most simply, the power, effect,
               benefit, fruit, and purpose of Baptism is to save."
               (as quoted by Jack W. Cottrell in Baptism And The 
               Remission of Sins, College Press, 1990, p. 32-34)
            4) In his commentary on Ro 6:3, wrote:  "Baptism has been
               instituted that it should lead us to the blessings (of
               this death) and through such death to eternal life.  
               Therefore IT IS NECESSARY that we should be baptized
               into Jesus Christ and His death." (Commentary On Romans,
               Kregel Publications, p. 101)
         c. And they will concur with Augustine, who...
            1) Referring to the efficacy of baptism, wrote that "the
               salvation of man is effected in baptism"; also, that a
               person "is baptized for the express purpose of being 
               with Christ." (Cottrell, p. 30)
            2) With regard to the necessity of baptism, refers to the 
               "apostolic tradition, by which the Churches of Christ
               maintain it to be an inherent principle, that without
               baptism...it is impossible for any man to attain to 
               salvation and everlasting life." (ibid., p. 30)

[Indeed, along with the perspective of church history, the Bible 
clearly teaches that the purpose of baptism is one that relates to the
saving of one's soul, for as one is baptized they are by God's grace 
and power united with Christ and thereby receive all the benefits of 
His death!

If this be true, what are the ramifications?  Does it really make any
difference WHY one is baptized...?]

III. WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?

   A. SOME BOLDLY PROCLAIM IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE...
      1. That God will accept a baptism for a different purpose
      2. That while a person may mistakenly think they were saved at
         the point of believing, their sins are forgiven at the point 
         of baptism
      3. Isn't this rather presumptuous on their part?
         a. To speak for God?
         b. When the Bible does not say what He will or will not do in
            such cases?

   B. BUT THERE IS A DIFFERENCE...
      1. At best, it raises serious questions about one's obedience to
         the gospel
         a. Has one really obeyed Christ, if they responded to a 
            perversion of it?
            1) Today, most people are told to simply repent and pray
            2) But the apostles commanded people to repent and be 
               baptized - Ac 2:38
         b. Can a person be taught wrong, and baptized right?
            1) In Ac 19:1-5, we have a case of re-baptism...
               a) John's baptism did not qualify as meeting the 
                  conditions of Christ's baptism
               b) Even though John's baptism was the will of God for a
                  short time
            2) If John's baptism required re-baptism in the name of 
               Christ, how much more those who were not baptized for 
               the right purpose today?
      2. At worst, there are some serious consequences!
         a. People who sincerely think they are saved are still lost!
         b. Preachers and teachers who say baptism has nothing to do
            with salvation are teaching a perverted gospel! 
            - cf. Ga 1:8-9
      3. In any case, it will affect the way one preaches!  Here is
         Beasley-Murray again:
         a. "First, there ought to be a greater endeavor to make
            baptism integral to THE GOSPEL."
         b. "It is taken as axiomatic amongst us [Baptists, MAC] that
            the proclamation of the Gospel consists of making the
            redemptive acts of God in Christ known and calling for
            faith in Christ as the due response; baptism is then a
            proper subject for exposition in the enquirers' class,
            along with instruction as to the nature of the Church, of
            worship, of Christian obligation in the Church and to the
            world, etc."
         c. "Peter's response, however, to the cry of his conscience
            stricken hearers on the Day of Pentecost was not "Repent
            and believe", but "Repent and BE BAPTIZED"! (Ac 2.38).
         d. "Naturally faith was presumed in repentance, but Peter's
            answer told the Jews how to become Christians:  faith and
            repentance are to be expressed in baptism, and SO they are
            to come to the Lord."
         e. "Baptism is here a part of the proclamation of Christ. In
            an Apostolic sermon it comes as its logical conclusion."
         f. "An effort ought to be made to restore this note in our
            [Baptist] preaching." (Ibid., p. 393)

CONCLUSION

1. To restore this note in one's preaching will certainly make a
   difference!
   a. Our response to the question "What shall we do?" will be similar
      to Peter's response on Pentecost:  "Repent...and be baptized!"
   b. People will respond to our "preaching Christ" like the eunuch:
      "Here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?"

2. Yet today, rarely do you hear in many churches...
   a. A preacher commanding his audience like Peter did in Ac 2:38
   b. A listener who just heard a gospel lesson ask the question the
      eunuch did in Ac 8:36
   c. A teacher telling a penitent believer what Ananias told Saul of 
      Tarsus:  "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized,
      and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord." 
      (Ac 22:16)
   -- The reason should be clear:  Something's changed!

3. Yes, "The Purpose Of Baptism" is another "issue of distinction"...
   a. For one's view on the purpose of baptism make a great difference
   b. It affects our preaching, and it affects the souls of those who
      hear us!

4. We must therefore...
   a. Fully understand the distinction between such views on baptism
   b. Make certain that our understanding is in harmony with the
      Scriptures
   c. Lovingly reach out to those who are in error

What is your understanding concerning baptism?  Have you been baptized
for the purpose revealed in the Scriptures?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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The Mosaic Authorship of the Joseph Story by Dewayne Bryant, M.A.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=13&article=5218

The Mosaic Authorship of the Joseph Story

by Dewayne Bryant, M.A.

Article in Brief
[EDITOR’S NOTE: A.P. auxiliary staff writer Dewayne Bryant holds two Masters degrees, and is completing Masters study in Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology and Languages at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, as well as doctoral studies at Amridge University where he is a Ph.D. candidate. He holds professional membership in both the American Schools of Oriental Research as well as the Society of Biblical Literature.]
Few success stories in the Bible are more memorable than that of Joseph. Betrayed by his brothers and later accused of a crime he did not commit, Joseph narrowly avoided death on two separate occasions. In spite of the personal hardships he suffered, God had a plan to use him to save countless lives. Thanks to divine providence, he stood triumphant at the right hand of the pharaoh as one of the most powerful men, not only in Egypt, but in the world.
As with most of the early books of the Bible—particularly from Genesis to the early chapters of 1 Samuel—skeptics and critics label the Joseph story as the work of later authors (see Finkelstein and Silberman 2001, pp. 67-68). According to the documentary hypothesis (popularly known as the JEDP theory), the Pentateuch as a whole is composed of several different documents edited together by redactors, or editors. The Joseph story is no exception. Critics claim it is the product of multiple authors living between the 10th and 6th centuries B.C., if not later.
The Bible recognizes Moses as the author of the Pentateuch (Exodus 24:7,27-28; Numbers 33:2; Joshua 8:32; 2 Chronicles 34:14). Critics reject the Mosaic authorship of this material, with most denying the existence of Moses as well. This denial is built upon the assumptions inherent in the documentary hypothesis, whose adherents rarely take Egyptian evidence into account. The fine details of the Joseph story do not point to a Hebrew scribe writing in the 10th-6th centuries B.C. Rather, they point to an author who was intimately familiar with Egypt and who included Egyptian loanwords and other details of Egyptian culture in his work. To summarize some of the important Egyptian details in the Joseph story, consider the following points:
  • Joseph is sold for 20 shekels (Genesis 37:28). Babylonian records indicate that this was the average going rate for a slave in the first half of the second millennium (Kitchen, 2003, pp. 344-345), but later rose due to inflation. The prices given in the Bible in later texts correspond to the prices at the time those texts were written. At the ancient cities of Nuzi and Ugarit in the mid- to late-second millennium, the price was 30 shekels and more, which is reflected in the Mosaic law (Mendelsohn, 1955, p. 68; cf. Exodus 21:32). Still later in the first millennium, the price went up to 50-60 shekels, which seems to be reflected in the ransom for Menahem of Israel (2 Kings 15:20). Later authors would not have been able to research these minute details in order to make the account believable, nor would anyone have thought about doing so. If the Joseph story had been written when critics claim (closer to the 6th century B.C.), the price asked by his brothers should have been somewhere around 60 shekels instead of 20 (Kitchen, 2003, p. 345; cf. Kitchen, 1995, 21[02]). If the Joseph story was written after the exile, we would expect the price to have been as high as 90-120 shekels. On a further note, Leviticus 27:4 establishes the price of 20 shekels for a male slave younger than 20 years of age (Joseph was 17—Genesis 37:2; see Wenham, 1978, pp. 264-265).
  • Joseph is thrown into prison, which the Egyptians called the “Place of Confinement” (Aling, 2002, p. 99). These were rare in the ancient Near East and seem to have been found only in Egypt. The Mosaic Law never mentions prisons, and does not seem to have a close parallel to our modern concept of them. If later Israelite authors had invented the Joseph story, it would have been highly unlikely that they would have included this feature.
  • Joseph likely serves as an overseer (Egyptian imy-re per) in Potiphar’s house. His service and promotion fits very well in an Egyptian context (see the discussion of relevant titles for this office, as well as Joseph’s promotion, in Hoffmeier, 1996 and Kitchen, 2003).
  • Joseph is able to interpret dreams. This was a vital aspect of life in ancient Egypt. Those who did so were specialists who consulted dream books, examples of which have been discovered by archaeologists (e.g., Papyrus Chester Beatty III, currently housed in the British Museum). Joseph proves his superiority by interpreting the king’s dreams without any access to these reference works.
  • Joseph is brought before pharaoh after being shaved and dressed appropriately (Genesis 41:14), something that was done in Egypt but not among Semitic peoples (see Fried, 2007). The Beni Hasan tomb painting depicts Canaanite merchants around the same time as the patriarchs wearing beards and having full heads of hair. Although pharaohs were depicted wearing beards, it is clear that these were false (whether in paintings or on statuary, a close inspection will reveal the strap along the jawline that held the beard in place).
  • Jacob and Joseph are both embalmed or mummified. The text also mentions Joseph’s coffin (Genesis 50:26). Although extremely sparse, the details given in the Bible match what scholars know about the process from ancient records. The biblical text states that 40 days were required for mummification (Genesis 50:3). This seems to be a rounded number that agrees with an Egyptian text known as “The Ritual of Embalming,” which states that the beginning of the embalming process began four days after death and continued for 42 days (Brier, 1994, p. 45).
  • Joseph is described as being 110 years old. We know from ancient Egyptian records that this was the ideal age at the time of death, essentially a way of saying that a person had lived a rich, full life. The Bible later records this figure at 70 or 80 years (cf. Psalm 90:10). Over half of the references to this lifespan in Egyptian literature occur during the same general period as the one in which Moses lived (Kitchen, 2003, p. 351). Thus, this number preserves an expression that appears to have been the most popular during the period in which Moses received his education.
  • Linguistic clues provide important insight into when the Joseph narrative may have been put into written form. The word for the Nile River used in the text when Pharaoh discusses his dreams isye’or rather than the more common Hebrew term nahar. The word ye’or is an Egyptian loanword for “river” that was used in the Eighteenth Dynasty (1550-1295 B.C.) onward (Sarna, 1966, p. 218). Likewise, the term for the grass eaten by the cows is akhu, another Egyptian loanword. Sarna notes that the reference to cattle may be significant as well. They were an important part of the Egyptian economy, while sheep played a minor role. The situation was reversed in Palestine.
  • One of the supports for the early second millennium devotion to writing of the Joseph material is the phrase “the land of Rameses” (Genesis 47:11) which came into common use in the 13thcentury and fell into disuse after the 12th century (Kitchen, 1991, p. 118).
The Egyptian details of the Joseph story are what we would expect to find if someone educated in Egypt had been the one to put this story into written form (cf. Acts 7:22). Alan R. Schulman states: “It is quite clear that the person who either wrote, or wrote down, the Joseph sagas had an exceedingly intimate knowledge of Egyptian life, literature, and culture, particularly in respect to the Egyptian court, and, in fact, may even have lived in Egypt for a time” (1975, p. 236). This is precisely what we find in the Bible’s statements about the life of Moses. Put simply, the Joseph story could not have been the invention of a Hebrew scribe in the first millennium.
Taken together, the details above generate some important questions about the authorship of the Joseph story and the assumptions made by many modern interpreters. Why does the text include terms popularized in the Egyptian language during the time in which Moses would have lived? Why do Egyptian concepts fill these stories when they are absent in later texts that critics claim to have been written at the same time as the Pentateuch? Why is it that chronologically-sensitive details in the Joseph story fit well within a context of the early second millennium, while critics claim it was written in the early first millennium? These questions demand a reevaluation of the skeptic’s position, which tends to be haunted by the twin spectres of unfounded skepticism and anti-biblical bias. The Bible presents a far more believable author of this material than the contrivances of its critics.

REFERENCES

Aling, Charles (2002), “Joseph in Egypt: Part III,” Bible and Spade, 15[4].
Brier, Bob (1994), Egyptian Mummies: Unraveling the Secret of an Ancient Art (New York: Quill).
Finkelstein, Israel and Neil Asher Silberman (2001), The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts (New York: The Free Press).
Fried, Lisbeth S. (2007), “Why Did Joseph Shave?” Biblical Archaeology Review, 33[4], July-August.
Hoffmeier, James K. (1996), Israel in Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition(Oxford: Oxford University Press).
Kitchen, Kenneth A. (1991), “Israel Seen from Egypt: Understanding the Biblical Text from Visuals and Methodology,” Tyndale Bulletin, 42[1], May.
Kitchen, Kenneth A. (1995), “Patriarchal Age: Myth or History,” Biblical Archaeology Review, 21[02], March/April.
Kitchen, Kenneth A. (2003), On the Reliability of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Mendelsohn, Isaac. (1955), “On Slavery in Alalakh,” Israel Exploration Journal, 5[2].
Sarna, Nahum M. (1966), Understanding Genesis: The World of the Bible in the Light of History (New York: Schocken Books).
Schulman, A. R. (1975), “On the Egyptian Name of Joseph: A New Approach,” Studien zur Altägyptischen Kultur, 2.
Wenham, Gordon J. (1978), “Leviticus 27.2-8 and the Price of Slaves,” Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, 90.

Science: Instituted by God by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=4213

Science: Instituted by God

by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

Some contend that science is at odds with religion. They suggest that the scientific method requires empirical testing, but God’s existence cannot be empirically verified. Science supposedly proves the Big Bang, evolutionary theory, a very old Universe, and dinosaurs that never co-existed with humans, while the Bible mistakenly contends that the Universe was created in six literal, 24-hour days only a few thousand years ago, with humans and dinosaurs being created together on day six. Supposedly, science is based on verifiable evidence, whereas religion is based on “blind faith” and ambiguous “tinglies” attributed to the Holy Spirit. For such reasons, it is claimed that science and Scripture cannot be harmonized—that they are diametrically opposed to each another.
In reality, however, true science agrees perfectly with Scripture. Though God’s existence cannot be empirically verified, it can be easily verified through deductive reasoning from the scientific evidence available to us—in the same way forensic scientists use science to investigate events that they did not personally witness. While atheists have successfully created the mirage that science supports their theories, abundant scientific evidence exists which disproves the Big Bang Theory, evolutionary theory, an old Universe, and proves that dinosaurs and humans co-existed (see www.apologeticspress.org for more information on these matters). And yet, no scientific evidence exists that contradicts the true creation model. Rather, the evidence always supports it. The concept of “blind faith,” though championed by many who call themselves Christians, is at odds with Scripture, which defines faith as choosing to believe in something, based on the evidence that has been presented for it, and responding accordingly (see Miller, 2003). Atheistic scientists are simply wrong in their sweeping accusation that science and religion are at odds.
Though some theistic beliefs contradict science, when handled accurately (2 Timothy 2:15), Scripture and science compliment each other perfectly. For instance, science has shown us that matter is not eternal, according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and could not have spontaneously generated—popping into existence from nothing—according to the First Law of Thermodynamics. This fact indicates that matter must have been placed here by an Entity outside the physical Universe (see Miller, 2007). This truth, arrived at through science and deductive reasoning, is not in harmonywith atheism and much of today’s pseudo-science. But this truth is in keeping with the Bible, which says in its very first verse that God—a Being not subject to the laws of nature (i.e., a supernatural Being)—created the heavens and the Earth. Science supports Scripture.
Science has shown us that in nature, life comes only from life and that of its kind, according to the Law of Biogenesis. Again, this fact indicates that a Being outside of nature must exist Who initiated life (see Miller, 2012). This truth, arrived at through science and deductive reasoning, is not in harmonywith atheism and much of today’s pseudoscientific world which must contend, without scientific support, that life popped into existence from non-life. Rather, this truth is in keeping with the Bible, which says in Genesis 1:11,24 and 2:7 that God created life.
Science—the Law of Biogenesis and the Laws of Genetics—has shown us that living beings produce other living beings of their own kind (see Thompson, 2002). There may be small changes along the way (e.g., beak size, color, size, etc.), but the offspring of a bird is still a bird. The offspring of a fish is still a fish. Therefore, since there is no common ancestor for all living beings from which all species evolved, there must be a supernatural Being Who initially created various kinds of life on Earth. This truth, arrived at through science and deductive reasoning, is not in harmony with the teachings of atheism and much of today’s pseudo-scientific world, which argues against the evidence, that various kinds of living beings can give rise to completely different kinds of living beings. But this truth is in keeping with the Bible, which says in Genesis 1:21 and 1:24-25 that God directed living beings to reproduce after their kind.
True science is in harmony with true religion. Why would science lie? It does not have a mind of its own. It has no bias or agenda. It can certainly be misrepresented or its findings misinterpreted, but science is not the enemy of true religion. In fact, according to the Bible, God, Himself, instituted the field of science. When God created human beings on day six and told them to “have dominion” over the Earth and “subdue” it (Genesis 1:28), He was commanding mankind to do something that would require extensive scientific investigation and experimentation. If God founded science, why would science be at odds with religion? When God, through His servant Paul, said in Romans 1:20 that His existence and some of His attributes could be learned from His creation, He was putting His stamp of approval on the scientific study of creation. When He said in 1 Thessalonians 5:21 to “[t]est all things; hold fast what is good,” He was essentially summarizing the scientific method. Bottom line: God founded science. When legitimate scientific findings are interpreted properly and fairly, science supports the Bible and Christianity. It certainly is not at odds with the Bible.

REFERENCES

Miller, Dave (2003), “Blind Faith,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/article/444.
Miller, Jeff (2007), “God and the Laws of Thermodynamics: A Mechanical Engineer’s Perspective,”Reason & Revelation, 27[4]:25-31, April (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press),http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3293.
Miller, Jeff (2012), “The Law of Biogenesis,” Reason & Revelation, 32[1]:2-11, January (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press), http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1018&article=1722.
Thompson, Bert (2002), The Scientific Case for Creation (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).

Drawing the Wrong Conclusion: Squid Ink Cannot Last 150 Million Years by Kyle Butt, M.A.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=2782

Drawing the Wrong Conclusion: Squid Ink Cannot Last 150 Million Years

by Kyle Butt, M.A.

The sketch of a fossilized squid named Belemnotheutis antiquus is unremarkable in many ways. The “uninformed” observer would think that it is just another, everyday line drawing. What makes this sketch so noteworthy is the fact that the ink used to draw the creature was extracted from the creature’s own fossil—a fossil that, according to the evolutionary timeline, is supposed to date back 150 million years. Yes, the useable ink is supposedly 150 million years old.


Of course, when an evolutionist discovers that a substance as prone to decay as squid ink is still usable, it calls for an explanation. Phil Wilby, the researcher who led the excavation, commented: “Normally you would find only the hard parts like the shell and bones fossilized but there are a handful of locations around the world where soft preservation of the muscle, guts and gills has taken place” (as quoted in Wardrop, 2009). Wilby noted that these soft-tissues “can be dissected as if they are living animals, you can see muscle fibres and cells.” In what sounds like an astounding understatement, he stated: “It is difficult to imagine how you can have something as soft and sloppy as an ink sac fossilized in three dimension, still black, and inside a rock that is 150 millions years old” (as quoted in Wardrop). The word “difficult” does not seem to harness the concept of the leap that Wilby is asking observers to make. Words and phrases like “miraculous,” “impossible,” “beyond comprehension,” “outside the bounds of all known scientific laws” would seem to fit better in this discussion. Supposedly, a squid’s soft ink sac has lasted for 150 million years in such a well-preserved state that you can mix the ink with a little ammonia solution and use it to draw a picture. Such a conclusion is simply not feasible, scientific, or rational.
When this discovery was made, the millions-of-years dating so often relied upon by evolutionists should have immediately been called into question. But it was not. Instead, the evolutionary community said this miraculous preservation is an example of the “Medusa Effect.” How the Medusa Effect could preserve such tissue is not explained. Nor is there any discussion of all the physical and chemical barriers that would be insurmountable in preserving useable ink or soft tissue for 150 million years. Instead, the discovery is simply presented with a wave of the evolutionary hand as if to say, “Don’t think about this too much, just trust us when we say ink could last 150 million years.”
Surely, it is high time that the thinking population of the world quits “trusting” the evolutionary scenario when such direct evidence of its inadequacy is written in “black and white.” This new discovery stretches the “soft tissue” preservation myth back even farther than many of the dinosaur fossils that contain soft tissue (see Lyons, 2007; Butt, 2009). How refreshing would it be to see the scientific community truly follow the evidence where it leads by demanding that the alleged millions of years of Earth history be re-evaluated? It is sad to realize that a general population of honest scientists following the evidence where it leads is little more than a pipe dream, mired by the reality of virtually an entire community that has been deluded by the specter of evolution. What would it take to blot out the false notion that the Earth is millions of years old? How much more ink will have to be spilled on the subject before the billions of years of evolution history are jettisoned for their lack of validity? Too much. Far too much.

REFERENCES

Butt, Kyle (2009), “Recent Hype Over Dinosaur Soft Tissue,” [On-line], URL:http://www.apologeticspress.org/article/2745.
Lyons, Eric (2007), “More Soft Dinosaur Tissue,” [On-line], URL:http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3518.
Wardrop, Murray (2009), “Scientists Draw Squid Using Its 150 Million-Year-Old Fossilised Ink,”Telegraph, [On-line], URL: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/5794280/Scientists-draw-squid-using-its-150-million-year-old-fossilised-ink.html.

New Book: Christ and the Continental Congress by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=2824

New Book: Christ and the Continental Congress

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Just over a year ago, Apologetics Press released a volume that depicts the heartbreaking shift occurring in America’s culture war, as God and the Christian religion are being systematically eliminated from the nation’s institutions. The Silencing of God: The Dismantling of America’s Christian Heritage is the coffee-table book version of the popular DVD seminar, The Silencing of God, which documents the sinister attempt to expunge America’s religious heritage.
The sequel to this volume is now available: Christ and the Continental Congress. This fascinating book answers the question: Did the Founders believe that the survival of the Republic depends on America’s acknowledgement of Jesus Christ? Revisionist historians, who now firmly dominate academia, answer that question with a resounding—“absolutely not”! But the truth is that the Founders stated over and over their deep conviction that, indeed, acknowledgement of God and the Christian religion are integral to the survival of the nation.
In the 15 supplication proclamations that they issued to the entire nation during the tumultuous years of the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress called upon all Americans to set aside entire days for the sole purpose of petitioning God. In those public pronouncements, they openly acknowledged Jesus Christ as “our gracious Redeemer” and advocated the exclusivity and priority of Christianity. They affirmed the critical importance of the Bible to the people and beseeched God to spread Christianity throughout the Earth. They requested that God establish American Independence on Christianity and Christian morality and urged Americans to keep all of God’s laws. They enjoined on Americans the practice of Christianity as the foundation of national happiness, and credited God with America’s military success and national prosperity. You must see for yourself the evidence that establishes these facts.
Like its prequel, CCC is filled with beautiful, colorful pictures and historical images. Placing these volumes in a visible location in your home will definitely attract attention from guests and visitors. Why not consider giving both books as gifts, and help to call people back to the God of the Bible and His Son?

Was Cainan the Son of Arphaxad? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


http://apologeticspress.org/AllegedDiscrepancies.aspx?article=668&b=Genesis

Was Cainan the Son of Arphaxad?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Luke 3:36 is the only verse in the Bible where one can read of the patriarch Arphaxad having a son named Cainan. Although another Cainan (the son of Enosh) is mentioned seven times in Scripture (Genesis 5:9-10,12-14; 1 Chronicles 1:2; Luke 3:37), outside of Luke 3:36, Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, is never mentioned. He is omitted in the genealogies of Genesis 10 and 11, as well as in the genealogy of 1 Chronicles 1:1-28. When the son of Arphaxad is listed in these genealogies, the name always given is Salah (or Shelah), not Cainan. According to some skeptics, either Cainan’s omission from the genealogies in Genesis and First Chronicles represents a genuine mistake, or Luke was in error when he wrote that Arphaxad had a son named Cainan.
One important thing that we learn from the various genealogies throughout Scripture is that sometimes they contain gaps—gaps that are intentional and legitimate. Thus, just because Luke 3 contains a name that is not recorded in Genesis 10 or 11, or in First Chronicles 1, does not necessarily mean that someone made a mistake. The fact is, terms such as “begot,” “the son of,” and “father”—which often are found in genealogies—occasionally have a much wider connotation in the Bible than might be implied when such words are used in modern-day English. Jacob once called Abraham “father,” even though Abraham was really his grandfather (Genesis 32:9). About 2,000 years later, the Pharisees also referred to Abraham as their “father” (John 8:39). The term “father” in these passages obviously means “ancestor.” In the first verse of the New Testament, Matthew wrote of Jesus as being “the son of David, the son of Abraham.” Obviously, Matthew knew that Jesus was not an immediate son of either David or Abraham; he simply used these words in the same flexible way that the ancients frequently used them. [Later in his genealogy, Matthew intentionally omitted some other names as well (e.g., Joash, Amaziah, and Azariah; cf. Matthew 1:6-16; 1 Chronicles 3:11-12). We do not know for sure why Matthew did not include these names in his genealogy (most likely it was for memorization purposes). However, we can be certain that if these gaps represented a legitimate discrepancy, the Jews would have brought it to the attention of Christians 2,000 years ago when they sought to discredit Jesus’ royal lineage.]
The simple fact is, just because one genealogy has more (or fewer) names than another genealogy does not mean that the two genealogies contradict one another. The controversy surrounding Luke 3:36 is readily explainable when one considers the flexibility that the ancients employed in recording the names of “fathers” and “sons.”
Still, the insertion of the name Cainan in Luke 3:36 may have a far different explanation— one that (in my mind) is more plausible, yet at the same time is more complicated to explain, and thus less popular. It is my studied conclusion that the “Cainan problem” is the result a scribal error made when copying Luke’s gospel account.
Realizing that the New Testament originally was written in Greek without punctuation or spaces between words, the insertion of the name Cainan easily could have crept into Luke’s genealogy. Notice what the original text (in agreement with Genesis 10:24, 11:12, and 1 Chronicles 1:18,24) might have said:
touserouchtouragautoufalektouebertousala
toukainamtouarfaxadtouseemtounooetoulamech
toumathousalatouhenoochtouiarettoumaleleeeltoukainan
touenoostouseethtouadamtoutheou
If a scribe happened to glance at the end of the third line at toukainan, he easily could have written it on the first line as well as the third. Hence, instead of reading of only one Cainan, what we read today is two Cainans:
touserouchtouragautoufalektouebertousalatoukainan
toukainamtouarfaxadtouseemtounooetoulamech
toumathousalatouhenoochtouiarettoumaleleeeltoukainan
touenoostouseethtouadamtoutheou
As you can see, it would not be difficult for a weary scribe to copy “Cainan” inadvertently from Luke 3:37 as he was copying 3:36 (see Sarfati, 1998, pp. 39-40; Morris, 1976, p. 282).
Although some apologists reject the idea that the insertion of Cainan in Luke 3:36 is a copyist’s error, the following facts seem to add much credence to this proposed solution.
  • As stated earlier, this part of Luke’s genealogy also is recorded in Genesis 10:24, 11:12, and in 1 Chronicles 1:18,24. All of these Old Testament passages, however, omit the Cainan of Luke 3:36. In fact, Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, is not found inany Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Testament.
  • Cainan is omitted from all of the following ancient versions of the Old Testament: the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Syriac, the Targum (Aramaic translations of the Old Testament), and the Vulgate (a Latin translation of the Bible completed sometime between A.D. 382 and 405) [see Hasel, 1980, pp. 23-37].
  • Cainan’s name is absent from Flavius Josephus’ patriarchal listing in his historical work, Antiquities of the Jews (see Book 1, Chapter 6, Sections 4-5).
  • The third-century Christian historian, Julius Africanus, also omitted Cainan’s name from his chronology of the patriarchs, and yet he had copies of both the gospels of Luke and Matthew (see his Epistle to Aristides, chapter 3, in Ante-Nicene Fathers).
  • The earliest known copy of Luke (a papyrus codex of the Bodmer Collection dated between A.D. 175 and 225) does not contain this Cainan (see Sarfati).
Many are quick to point out that the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament) mentions the name Cainan, and thus verifies that he was the son of Arphaxad, just as Luke 3:36 indicates. The problem with this line of defense is that theoldest Septuagint manuscripts do not include this reference to Cainan (Sarfati, 1998, p. 40). Patrick Fairbairn indicated in his Bible encyclopedia that this Cainan does “not appear to have been in the copies of the Septuagint used by Theophilus of Antioch in the second century, by Africanus in the third, or by Eusebius in the fourth” (1957, p. 351). He goes on to state that it also was left out of the Vatican copy of the Septuagint (p. 351). That “Cainan” was a later addition to the Septuagint (and not a part of it originally) also is evident from the fact that neither Josephus nor Africanus mentioned him, and yet all indications are that they both used the Septuagint in their writings. [They repeat too many of the same numbers of the Septuagint not to have used it.] Thus, as Larry Pierce concluded, “It appears that at the time of Josephus, the extra generation of Cainan was not in the LXX [Septuagint—EL] text or the document that Josephus used, otherwise Josephus would have included it!” (1999, p. 76). As Henry Morris concluded in his commentary on Genesis: “[I] t is altogether possible that later copiers of the Septuagint (who were not as meticulous as those who copied the Hebrew text) inserted Cainan into their manuscripts on the basis of certain copies of Luke’s Gospel to which they then had access” (Morris, 1976, p. 282).
Although it may be appropriate to view Luke 3:36 as supplementing the Old Testament genealogies, when all of the evidence is gathered, it appears that the name Cainan in Luke 3:36 was not a part of God’s original Word, but is the result of a copyist’ s error. And as we have discussed in other articles, errors made by copyists do not represent legitimate Bible contradictions. [Click the link for more information on copyists’ errors].
REFERENCES
“The Extant Writings of Julius Africanus” (1971 reprint), Ante-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), pp. 125-140.
Fairbairn, P. (1957 reprint), “Genealogies,” Fairbairn’s Imperial Standard Bible Encyclopedia (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan), 2:351.
Hasel, Gerhard F. (1980), “Genesis 5 and 11: Chronologies in the Biblical History of Beginnings,” Origins 7[1]:23-37, [On-line],URL: http://www.ldolphin.org/haselgeneal.html.
Josephus, Flavius (1987 edition), Antiquities of the Jews, in The Life and Works of Flavius Josephus, transl. William Whiston (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson).
Morris, Henry M. (1976), The Genesis Record (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Pierce, Larry (1999), “Cainan in Luke 3:36: Insight from Josephus,” CEN Technical Journal, 13[2]:75-76.
Sarfati, Jonathan D. (1998), “Cainan of Luke 3:36,” CEN Technical Journal, 12[1]:39-40.
Sarfati, Jonathan D. (no date), “How do You Explain the Difference between Luke 3:36 and Genesis 11:12?” [On-line], URL: http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs/3748.asp.
Lyons, Eric (2007), “Inspired Writers and Competent Copyists,” [On-line], URLhttp://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/608.

From Jim McGuiggan... NO GOING BACK

NO GOING BACK

The believer’s baptism into the Lord Jesus is the completing moment of his/her commitment to Him and their announcing a definitive goodbye to and their triumph over “the world”. 1 The believer takes his/her peculiar place within a narrative—a narrative that includes his personal salvation but also includes God’s way of working with a human family he wishes to bless.
You understand it is more than a commitment to live in moral uprightness—it isn’t less that that, but it’s more. It is a rite of passage into another life, another world, a world that is created and shaped by the Holy Father. The faith-filled one being baptized is not claiming that she is morally superior to all those who are outside of Christ or that in committing to Jesus as Lord that she automatically is made morally superior. Nor has she entered a moral competition with “outsiders”. That’s not it at all.
The believer who is baptized into Christ becomes part of an unfolding divine drama and takes his stand within that unfolding and commits to living out his place within that Story, keeping in mind the Author’s purpose and plot.
There’s no going back! It’s a commitment to life in the Lord Jesus; it’s a commitment to the person and work and method of God’s redeeming work in the world as he brings his eternal and creative purpose to its fulfillment in a coming day; a fulfillment that’s exhibited at present solely in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ whose life and purpose is rehearsed in the life of the Church which by his indwelling Spirit he has made to be his Body.
A talented but tormented soul [surely he must have been] wrote a poem about Paul, that driven apostle of God, who when asked why he was spending his life in ceaseless service for Jesus Christ said, “The love of Christ leaves me no choice.” The poet speaks about Paul and puts marvelous words in his mouth: 2
He who hath felt the Spirit of the Highest
Cannot confound or doubt Him or deny
Yes, with one voice, world, thou deniest
Stand on that side—for on this am I    
 ………………………………..
Yea, though they should strike him from his glory
Blind and tormented, madden’d and alone
Even on the cross he would maintain his story
Yes, and in hell would whisper, I have known.
The poet has Paul saying: Come what may—there’s no going back! If the big round teeming world had one voice and its billions denied what I proclaim about God in Christ I’d say to that world, ‘Stand on that side—for on this (side) am I.’ And if it were to turn out that I suffered in shame, blind tortured, crucified I'd still tell my Story—yes! And even if I found myself in hell I’d whisper, ‘I have known!’
And where would Paul have gained such a life and made such a commitment? In Acts 22 he meets the once slain and now risen Lord Jesus who tells Paul what he is called to and when Ananias tells him, “Have yourself baptized and wash away your sins,” 3 Paul did just that. And in doing that in trust and commitment he chose union with the death of Christ that he might share in the resurrection of Christ and be the servant of Christ for the human family.
Tomorrow, millions of us will gather together and Supper with the living Lord and proclaim his future Return.
The Lord is risen!
1. See this developed especially in Romans 6:1-12 when Paul responded to a perversion of the truth of the gospel that would have people choosing to live in sin and thinking they were pleasing God. Paul forbids such perverse thinking by focusing on the meaning and significance of the believer’s baptism that brings them into union with Christ and all he means. If baptized into Christ he wants to say, they have been baptized into the “sin-destroyer”. In being raised in union with the risen Christ they have severed ties with sin and are raised to live in newness of life [Romans 6:9-12]. The “world” the believer says “goodbye” to is not the planet or the human family. The “world” in a number of texts speaks of organized evil; it speaks of the re-visioning and restructuring of reality without God. It’s that world that the believer conquers through faith in Christ. 1 John 2:15-17; 5:4-5. 
2. F.W.H. Myers. An obviously troubled soul. I'm persuaded that the poem had autobiography in it though it was of a tragic nature rather than glorious.
3. Acts 22:16, has the middle voice which says that the subject in some way contributes to the event.
Spending Time with Jim McGuiggan

From Roy Davison... Are we a church of Christ?



http://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Davison/Roy/Allen/1940/arewethechurch.html

Are we a church of Christ?

When Roman Catholics assemble, it is called a Roman Catholic Church. Baptists assembled are called a Baptist Church; Lutherans, a Lutheran Church; Methodists, a Methodist Church; Pentecostals, a Pentecostal Church; etc.
What do you call it when Christians assemble?
We call ourselves a ‘church of Christ’. What does this mean? When people hear this, they often mistakenly think: “Oh, a denomination called the Church of Christ.” Simply being a church of Christ is so foreign to most people’s thinking that they have difficulty comprehending the concept.

Why do we call ourselves a church of Christ?

We wish to indicate that we are a local congregation of the church that Jesus built (Matthew 16:18). Jesus promised: “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). We want Jesus to be in our midst, so we assemble in His name as a church of Christ.
As Christians, how can we be anything other than the church of Christ? Biblically speaking, there is only one church, the one that belongs to Christ. “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:4, 5).

But are we a church of Christ?

It is easy for us to call ourselves a church of Christ, but is it true? How can we know whether we are really a church of Christ? The core of the answer is given in the passage we just read.
If we are in subjection to the one Lord, if the Spirit of the one true God dwells within us, if we hold to the one faith and have been baptized with the one baptism, then we are in the one body of Christ, His church! The one faith is the faith “which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). The one baptism is Christian baptism as defined in the New Testament. The one body is the church of Christ as defined in the New Testament.
“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body - Jews or Greeks, slaves or free - and all were made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:12, 13 RSV).

Are we being presumptuous when we call ourselves churches of Christ?

When we define ourselves as churches of Christ we are sometimes asked: “Is that not arrogant to call yourselves the church of Christ? Do you think that only members of the church of Christ will be saved?”
If we are not the church of Christ, it is indeed arrogant. If by the grace of God we accomplish our purpose of being churches of Christ, it is not arrogant. If we belong to Christ we must confess that we are His!

All the saved are added to the church of Christ.

The church Jesus built consists by definition of all the saved. No one will be saved without being a member of the church of Christ because God adds everyone who is saved to His church (Acts 2:47). When one understands what we mean by church of Christ, no offense may be taken when we say that only members of the church of Christ will be saved.

Is it possible to be a church of Christ?

Of course, most who accuse us of being arrogant, do not believe that we really are the church of Christ. We must examine their criticisms carefully and heed Paul’s admonition: “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves” (2 Corinthians 13:5).
In many cases, however, their accusation is merely the result of their own sectarian view of the church. Although Jesus prayed for unity among His followers on the basis of God’s word in John, chapter 17, they mistakenly believe that it is acceptable to God for believers to be divided into many conflicting denominations.
If they admit that it is possible to simply be Christians and churches of Christ, they condemn themselves for being something other than a church of Christ! In New Testament times it was possible to be churches of Christ (Romans 16:16), so it is possible now if we accept the New Covenant as the prescriptive standard.

What are distinguishing marks of the church of Christ?

We already saw that we must confess the one faith and be baptized with the one baptism to be in the one body of Christ. What does this entail?

Christ is the only head of His church.

“He is the head of the body, the church” (Colossians 1:18). God “put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body” (Ephesians 1:22, 23). He is the one shepherd of the one flock (John 10:16). We must submit to the one Lord. Submission to centralized ecclesiastical organizations is rejection of the headship of Christ.

Leadership positions must be limited to those Christ has given to His church.

“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11, 12 ESV).
The apostles and prophets, with Christ as cornerstone, form the foundation of the church of Christ: “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11). “Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:20).
We build on this foundation - not by falsely appointing modern-day apostles and prophets - but by continuing steadfastly in the doctrine of the original apostles (Acts 2:42; Revelation 21:14).
The doctrine of Christ (revealed to the apostles and prophets in the first century) is now made known to all nations through the Holy Scriptures. The church is now established by “the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith” (Romans 16:25, 26).
For building up the church, Christ has given us evangelists, shepherds and teachers. To be a church of Christ, our leadership must comply with the New Testament. If we have unscriptural offices, or if we appoint leaders who do not meet the Biblical qualifications (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9), how can we be a church of Christ?

To be a church of Christ we must remain within the doctrine of Christ.

“Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son” (2 John 9). We must “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). We must continue “steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine” (Acts 2:42).
The most common cause of apostasy is a rejection of the normative nature of the doctrine of Christ by using some of His teachings to concoct a sauce to flavor and disguise teachings and traditions of men. 
There is no excuse for going astray since God has informed us in the Scriptures how we are to conduct ourselves “in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15).
By definition, a church of Christ must be a bulwark of the truth. We are “sanctified by the truth” (John 17:19). To be saved we must “love the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:10), “believe the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:12) and “obey the truth” (Romans 2:8; Galatians 3:1). We must “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). How can we be a church of Christ if we preach something other than the truth?

To be a church of Christ we must bear fruit.

Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). We must bear the fruit of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22, 23).

To be a church of Christ we must worship acceptably.

We must worship the Father “in spirit and truth” (John 4:23). We must “serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” (Hebrews 12:28).
If we worship according to our own preferences or according to the traditions of men, we are not the church of Christ but are under the same condemnation that God pronounced on Israel: “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:8, 9). How can we be the church of Christ if our service and worship are built on the sand by following the teachings and traditions of men?

Let us glorify God as churches of Christ.

Let us submit to Christ as our only head. Let us hold to the one faith and practice the one baptism so we can be in the one body of Christ. Let us abide in the doctrine of Christ and have leadership that complies with the word of God. Let us bear the fruit of the Spirit and worship acceptably with reverence and godly fear. Then God will recognize us as His church. No other recognition is required!
Ephesians 3:21 - “To Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
Roy Davison
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982,
Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers unless indicated otherwise.
Permission for reference use has been granted.

Published in The Old Paths Archive
(http://www.oldpaths.com)