"THE SECOND EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY" Serving God With A Pure Conscience (1:3)


 Serving God With A Pure Conscience (1:3)


1. The apostle Paul often spoke of having a good conscience toward
   a. In his defense before the council - Ac 23:1
   b. In his defense before Felix - Ac 24:15-16
   -- He also makes mention of it in his epistle to Timothy - 2Ti 1:3

2. The role our conscience plays is often misunderstood...
   a. Some assume it is to be the final authority for what you do
   b. "Let your conscience be your guide" is the motto for many
   -- Yet your conscience can sometimes lead you astray!

3. The value of a good conscience is perhaps often overlooked...
   a. Some do not listen to their conscience when they should
   b. They think nothing of the consequences of violating their
   -- Yet ignoring your conscience can lead to sin, unbelief, and

[If we desire to serve God with a "pure conscience" like Paul did (2 Ti
1:3), then we do well to learn what we can about the conscience and its
bearing on Christian living.  A good place to begin is with...]


      1. "that process of thought which distinguishes what it considers
         morally good or bad, commending the good, condemning the bad,
         and so prompting to do the former, and to avoid the latter."
         - Vine
      2. Note carefully:
         a. The conscience is a process of thought that distinguishes,
            i.e., makes moral judgments
         b. But it distinguishes what one "considers" morally good or
      3. The conscience has the potential to be a great aid
         a. It can encourage us to do the good and avoid the bad
         b. But only if what one considers good and bad are actually
            good and bad!
      4. Thus the conscience is like a watch
         a. It can serve a useful purpose, but only if properly set
         b. If set incorrectly (i.e., if misinformed about what is good
            or bad), then the conscience will lead us astray!

      1. Paul had served God with a good conscience throughout his life
         - Ac 23:1
         a. Even at a time when he was persecuting Christians! 
             - cf. Ac 26:9-11
         b. He thought (his conscience guiding him) that he must oppose
            the name of Jesus
         c. His conscience worked properly, but it had been set
      3. Thus it is imperative that we ask ourselves:
         a. "Is what we 'consider' morally good or bad 'actually' good
            or bad?"
         b. "Are our moral judgments based upon God's absolute truths,
            or our own 'think so'?"
         c. I.e., "Has our conscience been properly 'set'?"

[While the conscience may not always be a reliable guide, God desires
that we have a good conscience regarding our faith, i.e., a pure
conscience (cf. 1Ti 1:5; 3:9).  So consider a few thoughts related


      1. We are all sinners, so how can we possibly have a pure
         conscience? - cf. Ro 3:23
      2. A clean conscience is made possible through Jesus' blood
         a. Old Testament sacrifices and ordinances were insufficient
            - He 9:9; cf. 10:1-4
         b. The blood of Jesus can cleanse one's conscience - He 9:14;
            cf. 1Pe 3:21
      3. Thus in baptism we make an appeal for a good conscience,
         trusting that the blood of Jesus will wash away our sins - cf.
         Ac 2:38; 22:16

      1. A good conscience is maintained by obedience to God's will
         a. Note that failure to do what we know is right is sinful - Ja
         b. Failure to abstain from what we know is wrong is also sinful
      2. Conduct with godly sincerity makes for a good conscience - cf.
         2Co 1:12
         a. Doing what you know is right with all sincerity develops
         b. Thus the more you do what is good and abstain from what is
            wrong, the better and purer your conscience will be!

[By God's grace, even the rankest of sinners can have their conscience
cleansed.  Through faithfulness to Christ, they can keep that conscience
pure.  But we should also note that it is possible to have...]


      1. We can violate our conscience, which is sinful - Ro 14:22-23
      2. We can defile our conscience, leading to unbelief - e.g., Ti
      3. We can sear our conscience, leading to apostasy - e.g., 1 Ti 4:1-2

      1. A guilty conscience can soon lead to a hardened conscience
         a. E.g., once our conscience is hardened regarding attendance
            - cf. He 10:25
         b. ...it is more likely to become hardened against doing what
            is right in other areas
      2. A hardened conscience can lead to a heart of unbelief - cf. He 3:12
         a. The deceitfulness of sin hardens one's heart
         b. A hard heart can begin to question what one once believed


1. Brethren, can we say together with...
   a. The writer of Hebrews:  "...for we are confident that we have a
      good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably"? - He 13:18
   b. The apostle Paul:  "I thank God, whom I serve with a pure
      conscience..."? - 2Ti 1:3

2. If not, and our conscience has not yet become so hardened that we
   will not heed, then we need to...
   a. Come to God's Son for the cleansing of our conscience through His
   b. Come to God's Word for the proper understanding of what is
      actually right and wrong
   c. Come to God's Family through frequent assembling to exhort us to
      do what is good

Why not serve God with a pure conscience today...?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Is the Seventh Day of the Creation Week Still Continuing? by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.


Is the Seventh Day of the Creation Week Still Continuing?

by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.


In discussions I have had with people who hold to an ancient Earth, the suggestion has been made, based on the passage in Hebrews 4:4-11, that the seventh “day” of Creation (i.e., God’s Sabbath rest) discussed in Genesis 2 still is continuing, and that it is in that seventh “day” that the time may be placed to accommodate an old Earth. Is this view correct?


People who believe in what is known as the Day-Age theory (which teaches that the “days” of Genesis 1 were “ages” rather than normal 24-hour days) sometimes suggest that the seventh “day” still is continuing. Their argument is that since the phrase “evening and morning” is not used in regard to the seventh day, it must not have been a 24-hour day. Therefore, we are living in the seventh day—a position they must defend to remain consistent. There are, however, a number of serious problems with this approach. The first has been explained by Guy N. Woods.
Jehovah finished his labors at the end of the sixth day, and on the seventh rested. The narrative provides no basis for the assumption that the day he rested differed in any fashion from those which preceded it. It evidently was marked out and its length determined in the same manner as the others. If it was not a day of twenty-four hours, it sustains no resemblance to the sabbath which was given to the Israelites (1976, pp. 17-18, emp. added).
Moses’ obvious intent was for the reader to understand that God: (1) rested (past tense); and (2) gave the seventh day (the Sabbath) as a day of rest because He had rested on that day.
There is a second problem with the view that the seventh day still is continuing. James Pilgrim has addressed that problem.
...[I]f the “day-age” theorists accept day seven as an “age” also, we ask, “What about day eight, or day nine, or day ten...?” On the assumption that the earth is 7,000 years old (a most distinct possibility), let the “day-age” proclaimers put 2,555,000 days (7,000 years at 365 days per year) on a page. Now let them circle the day which began the normal 24-hour day. Let them also give just one scripture reference to substantiate the validity of that circle. Can they do it? No! Will they do it? No! (1976, 118:522, emp. in orig.).
The third problem with the idea that the seventh day is continuing has to do with Adam, as Woods has noted:
Adam, the first man, was created in the sixth day, lived through the seventh day, and into at least a portion of the eighth day. If these days were long geologic periods of millions of years in length, we have the interesting situation of Adam having lived in a portion of one age, through the whole of another age, and into at least a portion of a third age, in which case he was many millions of years old when he finally died! Such a view of course is absurd; and so are the premises which would necessitate it (1976, p. 18, emp. in orig.).
Whitcomb has explained why these things are true.
...Genesis 2:2 adds that He rested on the seventh day. That day also must have been literal, because otherwise the seventh day which God blessed and sanctified would have been cursed when God cursed the world and cast Adam and Eve out of the Garden. You see, the seventh day must have ended and the next week commenced before that Adamic curse could have come. Adam and Eve lived through the entire seventh day and into the following week, which is simply a confirmation of the fact that each of the days, including the seventh, was literal (1973, 2:64-65).
It also has been suggested that Hebrews 4:4-11, where the writer speaks of the continuation of God’s Sabbath rest, provides support for this unusual view. First, I would like to present the passage in question, along with the argument framed from it. Then I would like to offer an explanation of why the passage does not support the concept of the seventh day continuing, and why the argument based on it is faulty. Here is the passage.
For he hath said somewhere of the seventh day on this wise, “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works”; and in this place again, “They shall not enter into my rest.” Seeing therefore it remaineth that some should enter thereinto, and they to whom the good tidings were before preached failed to enter because of disobedience, he again defineth a certain day, “Today,” saying in David so long a time afterward (even as hath been said before), “Today if ye shall hear his voice, Harden not your hearts.” For if Joshua had given them rest, he would not have spoken afterward of another day. There remaineth therefore a sabbath rest for the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest hath himself also rested from his works, as God did from his. Let us therefore give diligence to enter into that rest, that no man fall after the same example of disobedience.
Here, now, is the argument. Proponents of the idea suggest that since God’s Sabbath Day (the seventh day of the creation week) continues to this very day, then it follows logically that the other days of the creation week were long periods of time as well (see Ross, 1994, pp. 48-49,59-60; Geisler and Brooks, 1990, p. 230). In support of this position, progressive creationist Hugh Ross suggested: “Further information about the seventh day is given in Hebrews 4.... We learn that God’s day of rest continues” (1994, p. 49).
Wrong! Here is the correct meaning of the passage. While the text speaks clearly of the cessation of God’s creative activity—beginning on the seventh day—it nowhere implies or states that God’s seventh day has continued from the past into the present. Nor does the passage speak of the duration of the seventh day. Mark Van Bebber and Paul Taylor have addressed this point.
Like David in the Psalms, the writer of Hebrews is warning the elect not to be disobedient and hard-hearted. Thus, he alludes to Israel in the wilderness who because of their hard hearts could not receive God’s promise of rest in Canaan. “Rest,” as used in these verses by both David and the writer of Hebrews, had a specific historic reference to the promised land of Canaan. The Hebrew word used by David for “rest” was menuwchah, which is a general term for rest which has a special locational emphasis (e.g., “the resting place or abode of resting”) [see Brown, et al., 1979, p. 629b]. This concept is echoed by the author of Hebrews who uses the Greek word katapausis, which also may refer to an abode or location of resting (Hebrews 4:1,3-5,8).
At the climax of this passage, the author promises a future day of rest (Hebrews 4:9, Greek: Sabbatismos). This is the only time in the New Testament that this word for “rest” is employed. It seems to be a deliberate reference to Day Seven of Creation. The author does not say, however, that the seventh day continues on into the future. He uses Sabbatismos without an article (like saying a Sabbath, rather than the Sabbath). In Greek, this grammatical structure would generally represent the character or nature of Day Seven, without really being Day Seven. That is, the context makes it clear that the future day of rest will be similar to the original seventh day. The task will be complete; we will live with Christ eternally—our work on earth will be done (1996, pp. 72-73, emp., parenthetical, and bracketed items in orig.).
The passage in Hebrews thus is employing the essence of the seventh day of creation to refer to the coming essence of heaven—i.e., a place of rest. It is not speaking about the actual length of that seventh day. Furthermore, the fact that God has not been involved in creative activity since the close of day six says absolutely nothing about the duration of the various days of creation. When God completed the creation, He “rested”—but only from His work of creation. He is very much at work now—but in His work of redemption, not creation. Jesus Himself said: “My Father worketh even until now” (John 5:17). While it is correct to say that God’s rest from creative activity continues to this very hour, it is not correct to say that His Sabbath continues. That was not the point the Hebrew writer was making, and to suggest that it was represents either a misunderstanding or misuse (or both) of the passage.
God was not saying, via the Hebrew writer, that He wanted to share a literal Sabbath Day’s rest with His creation. Rather, He was saying that He intended to enjoy a rest that was typified by the Sabbath Day’s rest. The Israelites who rebelled against God in the wilderness were not able to share either a “rest” by entering into the physical presence of the Promised Land or a “rest” by entering into the eternal presence of God. R.C.H. Lenski commented on the text as follows:
The point lies in taking all these passages together. The rest from which the Jews of the Exodus were excluded, into which we are entering, is God’s rest, the great Sabbath since the seventh day; of course not of the earthly days and years that have rolled by since then and are still continuing, but the timeless, heavenly state that has been established and intended for men in their glorious union with God.
These are not different kinds of rest: the rest of God since creation and a future rest for his people; or a rest into which men have already entered and one that has been established since the redemptive work of Jesus, into which they are yet to enter; or a rest “at the conclusion of the history of mankind.” The seventh day after the six days of creation was a day of twenty-four hours. On this day God did not create. Thus God made the first seven-day week (Exod. 20:8-11; 31:12-17), and the Sabbath of rest was “a sign” (v. 17) so that at every recurrence of this seventh day Israel might note the significance of this sign, this seventh day of rest being a typeand a promise of the rest instituted for man since the days of creation. Like Canaan, the Sabbath was a type and a promise of this rest (1966, pp. 132-133, emp. added).
Additionally, even if it could be proven somehow that the seventh day of creation was longer than the others (which it cannot), that still would establish only one thing—that the seventh day was longer. It would say absolutely nothing about the length of the other six days. And concerning those days, the Bible could not be any clearer than it is in explaining their duration of approximately twenty-four hours. Genesis 1 defines them as periods of “evening and morning” (1:5,8,13,19,23,31). While God’s activity within each literal day may have been miraculous, there is nothing miraculous about the length of the days themselves. They were, quite simply, the same kinds of “days” that we today enjoy. Attempts to reinterpret the message of Hebrews 4 do not alter that fact.


Brown, Francis, S.R. Driver, and Charles A. Briggs (1979), The New Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew and English Lexicon (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson).
Geisler, Norman L. and Ronald M. Brooks (1990), When Skeptics Ask (Wheaton, IL: Victor).
Lenski, R.C.H. (1966), The Interpretation of the Epistle to the Hebrews and of the Epistle of James (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg).
Pilgrim, James (1976), “Day Seven,” Gospel Advocate, 118:522, August 12.
Ross, Hugh (1994), Creation and Time (Colorado Springs, CO: Navpress).
Van Bebber, Mark and Paul S. Taylor (1996), Creation and Time: A Report on the Progressive Creationist Book by Hugh Ross (Gilbert, AZ: Eden Communications).
Whitcomb, John C. (1973), “The Days of Creation,” And God Created, ed. Kelly L. Segraves (San Diego, CA: Creation-Science Research Center), 2:61-65.
Woods, Guy N. (1976), Questions and Answers: Open Forum (Henderson, TN: Freed-Hardeman University).

Is the Pope “Infallible”? by Moisés Pinedo


Is the Pope “Infallible”?

by Moisés Pinedo

One of the most treasured doctrines of the Roman papacy is that of infallibility. This dogma was issued by Pope Pius IX and was approved and defined by the Vatican I Council in 1870. The conciliar document declares that
when the Roman Pontiff speaks EX CATHEDRA...he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals. Therefore, such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the Church, irreformable (“First Dogmatic...,” 1870, 4.9).
In other words, papal infallibility means that the pope makes, or should make, no mistakes in matters concerning the doctrine of the Catholic Church. The Council even went so far as to state that “should anyone, which God forbid, have the temerity to reject this definition [of papal infallibility—MP] of ours: let him be anathema [condemned—MP]” (“First Dogmatic...,” 1870, 4.9).
For more than a century, this dogma has plagued many Catholics who have worked feverishly to try to harmonize the nature of the “infallible” dogma with the declarations, teachings, and revelations of the popes who lived before and after its establishment. After all, it is claimed that the Catholic Church does not create new dogmas; rather, it proposes eternal truths already contained in the “deposit of faith” (see “Roman Catholic...,” 1892, 8:772; Dixon, 1852, p. 197). Therefore, it could be said that, before the 19th century, every pope has been subject to “infallibility” without knowing it.
History militates against papal infallibility. For example, Pope Honorius I (A.D. 625-638) was deemed a “heretic” for many years after his death for espousing the doctrine of monotheletism (the doctrine that acknowledged two distinct natures within Christ, but only one divine will). He was censured by the Third Council of Constantinople in 680 (see “Honorius I,” 2001). Another pope, Eugenius IV (1431-1447), condemned Joan of Arc, considering her to be a participant of witchcraft, though Benedict XV canonized her as a “saint” in 1920 (see “Joan...,” 2001). Other popes, such as Paul III, Paul IV, Sixtus IV, Pius IX, et al., authorized, promoted, incited, and reinforced the “Holy” Inquisition for which the late Pope John Paul II had to apologize worldwide.
John Paul II himself (1978-2005) gave a fatal blow to the doctrine of infallibility. In opposition to the declarations of other popes and to Catholic doctrine itself, this pope declared:
  • The Spirit of Christ uses churches and ecclesial communities other than the Catholic Church as means of salvation (1979, 4.32).
  • People outside the Catholic Church and the Gospel can attain salvation by the grace of Christ (1990, 1.10).
  • People can be saved by living a good moral life, without knowing anything about Christ and the Catholic Church (1993, 3).
  • There is sanctification outside the Catholic Church (1995, 1.12).
  • The martyrs of any religious community can find the extraordinary grace of the Holy Spirit (1995, 3.84).
Furthermore, concerning the erroneous concept of organic evolution, on October 22, 1996, Pope John Paul II declared that “new knowledge has led to the recognition of the theory of evolution as more than a hypothesis” (see John Paul II, 1996). But if evolution is to be considered more than merely a hypothesis, Adam disappears! Ultimately, then, how can it be, as Catholics allege, that humanity carries the sin of the first man? Should they not say, instead, that humanity carries the “sin” of the last primate from which we “descended” (as if primates could sin!)?
Due to this obvious failure to satisfy the demands of infallibility, Catholicism has to explain, reformulate, and justify the dogma. Innumerable “clarifications” have been offered to calm Catholics and other religious people who question its veracity. Concerning the possibility that the pope could fall into heresy, Cardinal Cajetan, one of the most outspoken supporters of papal infallibility, maintained that “this only applies to the pope as a private individual, for then he is as fallible as any other person” (quoted in Fernhout, 1994, p. 106).
In a Web site devoted to Catholic apologetics, the following is said about the pope:
And if he is a heretic, at least he is not going to declare his heresies as part of the doctrine of the profession, that is, things which we are required to believe and observe. It was never permitted by the Holy Spirit (see Toth, et al., n.d).
Other apologists even have gone so far as to declare that
it is true that certain popes have contradicted other popes, in their private opinions or concerning disciplinary dogmas; but there was never a Pope who would officially contradict what a previous Pope officially taught about faith and moral matters. The same could be said about ecumenical councils, which also teach with infallibility. There was not an ecumenical council that would contradict the teaching of a previous ecumenical council concerning faith and morals(Keating, n.d., emp. added).
Now Catholicism proposes that, in reality, the pope can make mistakes in religious matters, but he never will do it officially. [This is very convenient, since Catholicism itself defines what is “official.”] In the same way, we are told that the councils invoked by the popes teach with infallibility and never contradict each other. But are these statements true? We are going to let the two last official councils of the Catholic Church answer this question.
In its Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith, Vatican I Council expressed the following:
The abandonment and rejection of the Christian religion, and the denial of God and his Christ, has plunged the minds of many into the abyss of pantheism, materialism and atheism, and the consequence is that they strive to destroy rational nature itself, to deny any criterion of what is right and just.... And so we, following in the footsteps of our predecessors, in accordance with our supreme apostolic office, have never left off teaching and defending Catholic truth and condemning erroneous doctrines (1870, 7,10, emp. added).
While Vatican I condemned erroneous doctrines such as the denial of Christ, Vatican IIdeclares:
The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all-powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth.... Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet (“Declaration Nostra Aetate...,” 1965, 3, emp. added).
But Muslims’ refusal to acknowledge Jesus as God is a denial of God and His Christ, and thus the heresy condemned by Vatican I.
In its canonic sentence on written revelation, Vatican I states:
If anyone does not receive as sacred and canonical the complete books of Sacred Scripture with all their parts, as the holy Council of Trent listed them, or denies that they were divinely inspired: let him be anathema [condemned—MP] (“Canons,” 1870, 2.4, emp. added).
However, Vatican II, in speaking about Hinduism, Buddhism, and other religions that discard much of canonical Scripture, declared that these religions
try to counter the restlessness of the human heart, each in its own manner, by proposing “ways,” comprising teachings, rules of life, and sacred rites. The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men (“Declaration Nostra Aetate...,” 1965, 2, emp. added).
On the permanence of the Petrine primacy of the Roman pontiffs, Vatican I, in its Pastor Aeternus, declares:
Therefore, if anyone says that it is not by the institution of Christ the Lord himself (that is to say, by divine law) that blessed Peter should have perpetual successors in the primacy over the whole Church; or that the Roman Pontiff is not the successor of blessed Peter in this primacy: let him be anathema (“First Dogmatic...,” 1870, 2.5, parenthetical item in orig., emp. added).
However, Vatican II claims:
The Church recognizes that in many ways she is linked with those who, being baptized, are honored with the name of Christian, though they do not profess the faith in its entirety or do not preserve unity of communion with the successor of Peter [that is to say, they do not accept the papal hierarchy—MP]. For there are many who honor Sacred Scripture, taking it as a norm of belief and a pattern of life, and who show a sincere zeal. They lovingly believe in God the Father Almighty and in Christ, the Son of God and Saviour. They are consecrated by baptism, in which they are united with Christ (“Dogmatic Constitution...,” 1964, 2.15, emp. added).
Now Vatican II has “united to Christ” the same people who, for refusing Petrine hierarchy, were condemned as anathema by Vatican I. Truth be told, the Vatican II Council, invoked by John XXIII, cannot coexist with Vatican I Council, invoked by Pius IX (the father of the dogma of infallibility). These two councils stand as permanent historical evidence of papal fallibility.
Upon analyzing the allegedly infallible history of the popes, we can arrive only at the same conclusion to which Adrian VI (another supposedly infallible pope) arrived in the 16th century: “The pope may err even in what belongs to the faith” (McClintock and Strong, 1867-1880, 1:83).
Certainly, the doctrine of papal infallibility has caused, and continues to cause, many people to accept false doctrines such as original sin, the assumption of Mary, the canonization of saints, the “factuality” of evolution, and even papal “infallibility” itself—doctrines that are completely lacking biblical foundation. Christians must understand that there is only one infallible truth—the Word of God (John 17:17). It is this truth from which we need to obtain the salvation of our souls. It will keep us away from error and apostasy. In the end, when our Savior returns in the clouds to reward and punish in a universal Judgment, it will not be the words of men’s fallible councils, but the Word of God, that will be open; then the Lord will give the “canonical” sentence.


“Canons” (1870), First Vatican Council [On-line], URL:http://www.ewtn.com/library/COUNCILS/V1.HTM#5.
“Declaration Nostra Aetate on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions” (1965), Second Vatican Council [On-line], URL:http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_ vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decl_19651028 _nostra-aetate_en.html.
Dixon, Joseph (1852), A General Introduction to the Sacred Scriptures (Baltimore: John Murphy).
“Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith” (1870), First Vatican Council [On-line], URL: http://www.ewtn.com/library/COUNCILS/V1.HTM#4.
“Dogmatic Constitution on the Church” (1964), Second Vatican Council [On-line], URL:http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ ii_vatican_council/documents/vatii_const_19641121_ lumen-gentium_en.html.
Fernhout Rein (1994), Canonical Texts: Bearers of Absolute Authority (Atlanta, GA: Editions Rodopi).
“First Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ” (1870), First Vatican Council [On-line], URL: http://www.ewtn.com/library/COUNCILS/V1.HTM#6.
“Honorius I” (2001), Encarta Encyclopedia 2002 (Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation).
John Paul II (1979), “Catechesi Tradendae,” [On-line], URL:http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/ john_paul_ii/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_jp-ii_exh_16101979_ catechesi-tradendae_en.html.
John Paul II (1990), “Redemptoris Missio,” [On-line], URL: http://www.vatican.va/ holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_07121990_ redemptoris-missio_en.html.
John Paul II (1993), “Veritatis Splendor,” [On-line], URL:http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/ john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_06081993_veritatis- splendor_en.html.
John Paul II (1995), “Ut Unum Sint,” [On-line], URL: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/ john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_25051995_ ut-unum-sint_en.html.
John Paul II (1996), “Truth Cannot Contradict Truth,” [On-line], URL:http://www.newadvent.org/library/docs_jp02tc.htm.
“Joan of Arc, Saint” (2001), Encarta Encyclopedia 2002 (Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation).
Keating, Karl (no date), Catholicism and Fundamentalism: The Attack on “Romanism” by “Bible Christians” [On-line], URL: http://apologetica.org/infalibilidad-keating.htm.
McClintock, John and James Strong (1867-1880), Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker), 1968-1970 reprint.
“Roman Catholic Church” (1892), Chambers’ Encyclopædia (London: J.B. Lippincott).
Toth, T. A. Hillaire, and A.L. Rascón (no date), “Reflections about the Church’s Infallibility” [“Reflexiones en Torno a la Infalibilidad de la Iglesia”], [On-line], URL:http://apologetica.org/infalibilidad.htm.

Is the Book of Mormon from God? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Is the Book of Mormon from God?

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

How may a person distinguish between truth and error? Can a person   know   which religion is right? Must a person rely on     subjective    inner inclinations and feelings? Or is religious truth ascertainable and knowable based on   objective   assessment? Most religions (e.g., Buddhism and Hinduism) base their credibility on some mystical or transcendental experience. Even some “Christian” groups (e.g., Pentecostals, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, et al.) claim that their credibility and authenticity may be established on the basis of the Holy Spirit Whom, they say, gives them their assurance. But when the Bible is examined, no such role is assigned to the Holy Spirit. Mystical religions have always existed, and have insisted that they were the recipients of leading and guidance from superior forces that are “better felt than told.” The God of the Bible, on the other hand, always offered evidence—proof—of the divine origin of the message before He expected people to believe (e.g., John 10:37-38; 20:30-31; 1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1; Deuteronomy 18:21-22).
The nature of truth is such that it does not depend upon subjective human experience for its veracity. Rather, God created human beings with minds that were designed to function     rationally. We humans have the capability, if we maintain an honest heart free from bias, to consider and weigh evidence, and to draw correct conclusions. As Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). The truthfulness of religious claims is   verifiable  on the basis of evidence and rational thought. Humans can reason logically, and distinguish between truth and falsehood.


The nature of truth is such that it does not contradict itself. After literally centuries of scrutiny by hostile skeptics and unbelieving critics, the Bible has been found to be completely consistent with the nature of truth, logic, and the laws of thought. On the other hand, uninspired documents cannot stand up to such scrutiny. The Book of Mormon is one such document. It lacks the marks of inspiration that characterize the Bible. In an official publication of the LDS (Latter-day Saints), 31 conditions are identified as necessary in order to produce an inspired book. Condition #9 says, “You must not make any absurd, impossible, or contradictory statements” (see “The Challenge...,” 1990, p. 1). This affirmation is a self-evident truth. Yet, the Book of Mormon is guilty of violating this very criterion.
In the first place, much of the King James Version of the Bible has been reproduced   verbatim  in the Book of Mormon—at least 25,000 words. For example, Mosiah 14 is a reproduction of Isaiah 53. 3 Nephi 13:1-23 is simply Matthew 6:1-23. Moroni 7:45 is copied from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Moroni 7:48 is 1 John 3:2. Moroni 10:8-17 is taken from 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. Alma 5:52 is Matthew 3:10. 2 Nephi 14:1-3 is Isaiah 4:1-3. The author of the Book of Mormon obviously had before him a copy of the King James Bible, and simply copied many sections directly from it. But this is only half of the problem on this point. The KJV is an   uninspired    translation  of Hebrew and Greek manuscripts into the English language of the turn of the seventeenth century, completed in 1611. But God gave the Old Testament to the Israelites in their native language (Hebrew), and He gave the New Testament in the first century in the   common language  of   that  day (Greek).Question: why in the world would God give His Word to Joseph Smith in   nineteenth-century America  (1830), not in   American   English, but in    the British language of seventeenth century England? The obvious answer to the question is that   God would not do so. This absurdity is inconsistent with the nature of God.
The reproduction of so much of the KJV in the Book of Mormon raises four additional concerns. First, Mormons frequently attempt to establish the superiority of the Book of Mormon over the Bible by insisting that the Bible has been corrupted through the centuries in the process of translation (a contention similar to Islam’s defense of the Quran). But if the Bible has been so adversely affected, why does the Book of Mormon quote so much of the King James Version? Apparently, at least   those portions of the Bible  are to be considered accurate!
Second, all textual critics (those who study the original manuscript evidence that attests to the text of the New Testament) know that   textual variants    exist in the extant manuscript evidence. The vast majority of these discordant readings are resolved when all of the textual evidence is considered (e.g., Metzger, 1968, p. 185). If the Book of Mormon were inspired, not only would it refrain from incorporating the King James Version within its pages, it also would not include in those sections   the manuscript errors  that have crept into the text. Here was the perfect opportunity in 1830 for God to correct the mistakes that had accumulated during the previous 200 years (as well as the 1,500 years prior to the KJV). Instead,    the mistakes were perpetuated!
For example, several textual variants occur in Matthew 6—a chapter that was reproduced in 3 Nephi 13. In Matthew 6:4, the Textus Receptus (the Greek text upon which the KJV was based) contained the words “himself” and “openly.” These insertions were perpetuated by the author of the Book of Mormon in 3 Nephi 13:4, as was the word “openly” in verses 8 and 16 of Matthew 6 (and 3 Nephi 13). Likewise, the Trinitarian ascription in 3 Nephi 13:13 and Matthew 6:13 in the KJV (“For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen”) is not supported by the earliest and most important manuscript witnesses to the text of the New Testament. Subsequent translations, including the ASV, omit the sentence altogether, or, in the case of the NASB, place it in brackets. The manuscript evidence simply does not support these additions as being in the original, inspired autograph authored by Matthew. Many additional instances of the same type of faux pas can be cited. The one who was responsible for producing the Book of Mormon in these cases unquestionably (1) relied on the KJV and (2) demonstrated his ignorance of textual criticism.
Third, in addition to errors that are due to textual variants, the KJV also made    grammatical and stylistic  errors that were naively copied by the Book of Mormon. For example, in Hebrew, singular masculine nouns are changed to plural by appending “im” (pronounced “eem”)—the equivalent of “s” or “es” in English. The Hebrew words “cherub” and “seraph” are singular nouns. The plural forms of these words are “cherubim” and “seraphim.” The  KJV  translators mistakenly added an “s” to these terms to denote a plural form (e.g., Genesis 3:24; Exodus 25:18,19,20,22; Isaiah 6:2,6; Hebrews 9:5). Alluding to cherubim, Clarke explained: “[T]o add an s to this when we introduce such words into English, is very improper; therefore the word should be written   cherubim, not   cherubims” (n.d., 1:56, italics in orig.; cf. Lewis, 1991, p. 59). Yet the original 1830 Book of Mormon   reproduced the same mistake as the  KJV  in this regard (Alma 12:21; 42:2,3; 2 Nephi 16:2,6), though corrections were made in later editions. The unbiased observer is forced to conclude: God knows Hebrew; the author of the Book of Mormon  obviously did not.
Another sample of stylistic error is the use of the expression “it came to pass.” This expression is a   Semitism, or Hebraism, i.e., an idiomatic oddity or peculiarity of the Hebrew language that has no corresponding equivalent in English. Newer translations either drop it completely or render it with an approximate English equivalent like “it came about” or “it happened.” The KJV simply transferred the Semitism directly into English and, under its influence, has caused the expression to be naturalized into English religious usage. Nevertheless, it is not an idiom that is native to English. The Book of Mormon    is literally inundated with the expression—as if the author was deliberately attempting to make his writing    sound    biblically or divinely authentic. In reality, he was unwittingly making it sound Semitic in seventeenth-century English! But God would not have communicated with Americans in 1830 through the convoluted pathway of Hebrew, to seventeenth-century British English, to nineteenth-century American English. Likewise, the peoples of the specific historical periods that the Book of Mormon claims to be depicting (e.g., the Nephites) would have had no earthly reason to have spoken in Hebrew themselves, nor to have their history reported in Hebrew phraseology and Semitic idiom. Apparently, later Mormon authorities, unable to completely eradicate this stylistic feature due to its extensive occurrence, were nevertheless so uncomfortable with the overuse of the phrase that they have deleted some of its occurrences when so many were used in close proximity with each other. For example, in Alma 14:7, the original Book of Mormon had three occurrences of “it came to pass”—in the same verse! Current editions have only one.
Fourth, in 3 Nephi 20:23-26, Jesus is represented as the speaker, and He applies to Himself the prophecy that Moses made in Deuteronomy 18:15,18-19. Yet, the author of the Book of Mormon    unquestionably was relying on Acts 3:22-26, where     Peter  paraphrased the Deuteronomy passage, and then added   his own comments. The Book of Mormon    mistakenly   has Jesus including Peter’s appended comments   as if they were part of Moses’ words  in Deuteronomy.
In addition to the absurdities and contradictions that exist within the   Book of Mormon in its close reliance on the    KJV, contradictions also exist within and between the Mormon scriptures themselves. Consider, for example, the serious contradiction in the promulgation of polygamy. The Book of Mormon  condemns the practice of plural marriages in no uncertain terms:
But the word of God burdens me because of your grosser crimes. For behold, thus saith the Lord: This people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the scriptures, for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son. Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was   abominable   before me, saith the Lord.... Wherefore, I the Lord God will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old. Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have   save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none; For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts (Jacob 2:23-24,26-28; cf., 1:15; Ether 10:5; Doctrine and Covenants 49:16).
These referenced verses from the Book of Mormon  enjoin    monogamy  with uncompromising vigor. Yet the Doctrine and Covenants flatly contradicts the Book of Mormon on this point:
Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Joseph, that inasmuch as you have inquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I, the Lord,   justified  my servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as also Moses, David and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines—Behold, and lo, I am the Lord thy God, and will answer thee as touching this matter. Therefore, prepare thy heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you; for all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same. For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an    everlasting    covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory.... David also received many wives and concubines, and also Solomon and Moses my servants, as also many others of my servants,   from the beginning of creation until this time; and   in nothing did they sin  save in those things which they received not of me. David’s wives and concubines were given unto him of me, by the hand of Nathan, my servant, and others of the prophets who had the keys of this power; and    in none of these things did he sin    against me save in the case of Uriah and his wife (132:1-4,38-39, emp. added).
Two serious contradictions are evident. First, the Book of Mormon clearly condemned plural marriage as one of the “grosser crimes” and “whoredom”—at least among the Nephites. It specifically singled out the plural marriages of   David and Solomon, denouncing them as an “abomination.” Yet Doctrine and Covenants insisted that David and Solomon were completely   justified, and   committed no sin    in having multiple wives and concubines. If the author of the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants (allegedly Joseph Smith) had worded it differently, saying that God enjoined plural marriages at one point in history, but chose not to enjoin the practice at another point in history, or if he had said plural marriages were to be practiced by some people early in history but not by others later in history, then no contradiction would exist. For example, God enjoined animal sacrifice in the Old Testament, and then forbade its use in the New Testament.   But this is not what Joseph Smith did! He   specifically  identified the polygamy of   David and Solomon, and then made the mistake of both approving    and   condemning it! This constitutes a flat contradiction. Two statements are   contradictory  when they   cannot both be true (cf. McGarvey, 1974, 3:31). [NOTE: Yet another indication of Joseph Smith’s uninspired status was his allusion in the above quotation (Jacob 2:27) to a man being permitted only one wife, but “concubines he shall have none.” This reference betrays an ignorance of the use of biblical terminology. A “concubine” in antiquity was a   wife—not a    mistress  (unmarried sexual partner)—despite popular misconception (cf. Victor P. Hamilton’s article, “pilegesh,” 1980, 2:724)].
Second, Doctrine and Covenants stated that the practice of plural marriage in this life is an    everlasting    covenant. The term “eternal” or “everlasting” as used in the Bible can sometimes be abbreviated to refer to a period of time of limited duration (e.g., Jonah 2:6). However, when additional terminology is employed that reinforces the primary meaning of “forever,” an abbreviated period is excluded. Terminology used in the Book of Mormon   shows that “everlasting,” as applied to the covenant of plural marriage, was intended in its ordinary meaning of   forever. Its application included one’s    entire earthly  sojourn, since the text says Solomon, Moses, and many others had practiced it “from the beginning of creation until this time.” Other references confirm this understanding: “both as well for time and for all eternity” (D&C 132:7); “in the world” (D&C 132:15); “on the earth” (D&C132:46,48). Even Joseph Smith’s wife, Emma, was commanded to accept the additional wives given by God to her husband (D&C 132:52). Section 132 of Doctrine and Covenants claims to have been revealed to Joseph Smith in 1843. Yet 47 years later, on September 24, 1890, President Wilford Woodruff issued an official declaration on the matter:
We are not teaching polygamy or plural marriage, nor permitting any person to enter into its practice.... There is nothing in my teachings to the Church or in those of my associates, during the time specified, which can be reasonably construed to inculcate or encourage polygamy.... And I now publicly declare that my advice to the Latter-day Saints is to refrain from contracting any marriage forbidden by the law of the land” (“Official Declaration1” in Doctrine and Covenants, 1981, pp. 291-292).
In excerpts from three addresses that he delivered regarding this manifesto, Woodruff explained that if they continued to practice plural marriage, temples would be confiscated by the civil authorities, and the First Presidency and Twelve, and family heads, would be imprisoned. If, on the other hand, they ceased the practice, in order to abide by the law of the land, they would be able to continue the duties and ordinances of the church (including baptism for the dead). Question: Why would God refer to plural marriage as a   perpetual practice  that would bring damnation upon those who fail to practice it, and then call for Latter-day Saints to   refrain  from such marriages? God is timeless, and would have known ahead of time that the American government would reach a point at which it would call the Mormon practice of plural marriage to account. Therefore, He would not have enjoined the requirement as “everlasting” if He later intended to cease the practice. Nor would God have withdrawn one of His “everlasting commandments” simply because the law of the land by a pagan government made the commandment illegal and implemented persecution!   When in all of human history has God ever bowed to civil government in its opposition to His will?


Another legitimate affirmation listed in “The Challenge” is condition #10: “When you finish in 60 days, you must   make no changes in the text. The first edition must stand forever” (p. 1, emp. added). “Houston, we have a problem.” Informed students of the Bible are well aware that no original autographs of the Bible are extant. We are completely dependent upon copies of copies of copies. Not so with the Book of MormonThe original 1830 first printed edition of the Book of Mormon exists! In the words of Latter-day Saints President Wilford C. Wood in 1958: “I do testify that the uncut sheets of the complete First Edition of the Book of Mormon have been reproduced in its original unchanged condition; that this is a correct and perfect restoration of the First Edition of the Book of Mormon as received by the Prophet Joseph Smith and printed in Palmyra, New York in 1830” (prefatory material). Latter-day Saint authorities have repeatedly affirmed that the original Book of Mormon   contained no errors. In 1883, a member of the First Council of the Seventy, George Reynolds, stated: “It was done by divine aid” (p. 71). Reynolds refers to the eyewitness account of Martin Harris—one of the scribes who participated with Joseph Smith in the translation of the Book of Mormon (p. 91). Joseph Smith claimed to have found gold plates that he translated into English using an instrument known as the “Urim and Thummim”—two white stones fastened together by a casing of silver, comparable to spectacles. Smith would hold the stones between himself and the gold plates. In 1881, the sixth president of the Mormon Church, Joseph F. Smith, explained the translation process (as reported by Oliver Huntington):
The Lord caused each word spelled as it is in the Book to appear on the stones in short sentences or words, and when Joseph had uttered the sentence or word before him and the scribe had written it properly, that sentence would disappear and another appear. And if there was a word wrongly written or even a letter incorrect the writing on the stones would remain there. Then Joseph would require the scribe to spell the reading of the last spoken and thus find the mistake and when corrected the sentence or word would disappear as usual (n.d., p. 168).
This procedure, that guaranteed complete accuracy of transcription, was further verified by David Whitmer. Whitmer, who continues to be listed in currently circulating copies of the Book of Mormon as one of the trio that constitute “The Testimony of the Three Witnesses,” described the process of translation in the following words:
I will now give you a description of the manner in which the Book of Mormon was translated. Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and    when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man (Whitmer, 1887, emp. added).
In view of the specific procedures by which the gold plates were translated, the Book of Mormon   ought to be perfect. Yet, when one compares the original Book of Mormon with a currently circulating edition, one observes that   many changes have been made in the    Book of Mormon since the original 1830 edition. This circumstance is completely unlike man made translations of the Bible. All translators of the Bible are    uninspired    in their translating efforts. Joseph Smith, on the other hand, claimed to have been   supernaturally guided  in the process of translating the Book of Mormon, and preserved from making any errors. One official explanation as to why the original 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon    was filled with grammatical mistakes and content blunders is—“printer’s errors.” This claim, of course, contradicts the above claim of President Wilford, who vouched for the authenticity of the existing 1830 edition and even included in his reproduction of it a “memorandum” by one of the original printer’s associates—John Gilbert. The memorandum recounts the care given to insuring accuracy in the printing of the manuscript that was brought to the printer by Hyrum Smith (Joseph’s brother), who, along with Martin Harris, supervised the project. Hence, the claim that “printer’s errors” are responsible for the errors in the original 1830 edition would be a suitable explanation if it fit the facts, but it simply cannot account for the types of mistakes contained in the Book of Mormonthe types of mistakes printers do not make.
Consider a few of the estimated 4,000+ grammatical mistakes that have been corrected in subsequent editions. The original 1830 Book of Mormon in Jacob 7:24 read, “but it all were vain.” Alma 48:25 read, “for the promise of the Lord were…” Alma 53:5 read, “it were easy to guard them.” 1 Nephi 5:11 read, “Adam and Eve, which was our first parents.” All of these errors have been corrected in more recent editions.
Consider also a few of the many changes that have been made that correct    content   mistakes. In Mosiah 21:28, “Benjamin” has been changed to “Mosiah” (since king Benjamin was already dead at this point in the narrative—Mosiah 6:4-5). In Alma 37:21, “directors” has been changed to “interpreters.” In 1 Nephi 13:32, “woundedness” has been changed to “state of blindness.” In Mosiah 27:29, “wrecked” has been changed to “racked.” In Alma 13:20 and 41:1, “arrest” has been changed to “wrest.” In Alma 17:13, “arriven” has been changed to “arrived.” The original 1830 title page listed Joseph Smith as “Author and Proprietor.” Now he is simply “translator.” In 1 Nephi 20:1, the phrase “or out of the waters of baptism” has been inserted. It was not in the original 1830 edition.
Printers occasionally transpose letters or garble a word or insert the same line twice or omit a word or two, perhaps a line here and there. But the above changes are not the kinds of errors that printers make.
An honest and humble appraisal of these discrepancies should create great concern in the heart of one who believes Mormon documents to be inspired. Many criticisms have been leveled against the Bible over the centuries, yet have been answered decisively. If the Book of Mormon were from God, it, too, could be defended and its divine authenticity substantiated. However, the lack of adequate explanations to clarify such problems compel the honest individual to conclude that the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenantsare not from God.


Book of Mormon (1981 reprint), (Salt Lake City, UT: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).
The Challenge the Book of Mormon Makes to the World (1990), (Euless, TX: Texas Fort Worth Mission).
Clarke, Adam (no date), Clarke’s Commentary: Genesis-Deuteronomy (New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury).
Doctrine and Covenants (1981 reprint), (Salt Lake City, UT: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).
Hamilton, Victor P. (1980), “pilegesh,” Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, ed. R. Laird Harris, Gleason Archer Jr., and Bruce Waltke (Chicago, IL: Moody).
Huntington, Oliver B. (no date), Oliver Boardman Huntington Journals, 1842-1900 (Salt Lake City, UT: Utah State Historical Society).
Lewis, Jack P. (1991), The English Bible From KJV to NIV (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker), second edition.
McGarvey, J. W. (1974 reprint), Evidences of Christianity (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate Company).
Metzger, Bruce M. (1968), The Text of the New Testament (New York, NY: Oxford University Press).
Reynolds, George (1883), The Myth of the “Manuscript Found,” (Salt Lake City, UT: Juvenile Instructor Office).
Whitmer, David (1887), An Address to All Believers in Christ, [On-line], URL: http://www.irr.org/mit/address1.html.
Wood, Wilford C. (1958), Joseph Smith Begins His Work (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret News Press).

The Name of the Church by Trevor Bowen


The Name of the Church 


The Bible teaches that local church which we should attend, will have certain essential characteristics.  One of these is the name of the church.  However, before we study such an issue, we must first recognize that there is indeed a pattern for the church that God expects us to follow, and we must also understand some basic concepts about the church.

Names of Human Origin and Basis

The Bible does not consistently use a specific title to refer to the local church.  However, the Bible does always use a certain kind of reference.  Both the universal church and local churches are always named after the being that loved us and died for us, Jesus Christ.
The Bible strictly condemns dividing into sects, or denominations, based upon following a certain man.  Consequently, it also condemns being named after certain man, besides Jesus.  Please read Paul's rebuke to the Christians at Corinth who made this very mistake:
"Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and the same judgment.
"For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe's household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, 'I am of Paul', or 'I am of Apollos', or 'I am of Cephas,' or 'I am of Christ'.
"Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?"
... "But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God - and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption" (I Corinthians 1:10-1330)
It is by Jesus' name we should be called, since He is the one that was crucified for us.  Moreover, it is by His authority, or by His name, that we are baptized.

Christ is Head of the Church

The Bible teaches that Christ is currently the head of the church.  This position was given to Him at His resurrection by God, the Father (Ephesians 1:22-23).  However, the Bible teaches that after Judgment Day, Jesus we will return rule back to the Father (I Corinthians 15:20-28).  All of the details about this transfer of rulership are not revealed, and those revealed are difficult to understand.  However, it is clear that Christ is currently the King of the church by the Father's authority.  And after the end of time, Christ will return the kingdom's rule to the Father.  But, for the time being, Christ is the head, so the name should reflect His rule.

Examples for Names of the Church

In addition, all of the examples of references to the church mention Jesus Christ as its owner and head.  Please consider the following examples:
In all of these cases, it is either obvious, or it can be established, that the ultimate subject is Christ.  The Bible teaches that Christ is God - deity, a member of the Godhead (John 1:1-18Colossians 1:13-202:9-10).

Geographical Designation

Churches in the first century were often noted as belonging to a specific city or location (Acts 8:111:2213:1Romans 16:15I Corinthians 1:2II Corinthians 1:1Colossians 4:15-16I Thessalonians 1:1II Thessalonians 1:1Philemon 2Revelation 1:11-122:1812183:1714). Consequently, many local churches today include some physical description of their locale, which also helps to identify the assembly location and promote clear communication (I Corinthians 14:7-113340).


Based upon these three points, the church should bear the marks and name of Christ, the one who died for it and now reigns over it.  The varying examples found in the New Testament teach there is no exact title, but the name should reflect the churches relationship to its Savior.  An optional label designating locale or geography is also authorized by Biblical example and often proves helpful, especially to visitors.  Any of the above names could scripturally be used.  There is nothing wrong with using any of the names above. 
From this list of examples, the designation "Church of Christ" is often used.  It is often selected simply because it simply and clearly expresses the church's necessary relationship to its Savior.  It also avoids confusion concerning which member of Godhead is head of the body.  Consequently, many churches often use this name on signs simply because of these reasons and the association often made with this designation that those who there worship “try to only teach what the Bible teaches”.

Trevor Bowen