August 31, 2014

Authority Of Scripture – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

More and more, today, we hear ridicule for “Bible Thumpers,” those “nuts” who insist on determining proper conduct and worship by Scripture only. Their attitude is unloving and not “Christ-like.”

We are sometimes told this outmoded attitude originated with Thomas and Alexander Campbell, who were “legalistic cranks,” who came up with the idea to “speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent” in the early 1800s.

Those who study their Bibles know this attitude is exactly what God’s Word requires.

When God gave the Old Law by Moses, He said…“You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.” (Deuteronomy 4:2) And He said “Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it.” (Deuteronomy 12:32)

When God gave the New Law by Christ , He said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” (Matthew 28:18)

Then Paul commanded, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus…” (Colossians 3:17)

John added, “Whosoever goeth onward and abideth not in the teaching of Christ, hath not God:…” (II John 9)

Or, as the same verse is expressed in the New Living Testament,

“For if you wander beyond the teaching of Christ, you will not have fellowship with God.”

John concluded the last chapter of the last book inspired by the Holy Spirit by saying, “…If anyone adds anything to what is written here, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book. And if anyone removes any of the words of this prophetic book, God will remove that person’s share in the tree of life and in the holy city that are described in this book.” (Revelation 22:18-19)

It should be obvious that a determination to, “speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent” is a scriptural attitude. It is a requirement of God, not man. I am confident that it was the attitude of the early faithful Christians. While secular history does not establish truth, the following quotes from early church leaders (Ante-Nicene Fathers) do confirm that such attitudes are not recent inventions.

“There will be no light punishment upon him who either adds or subtracts anything from the Scripture.” Irenaeus (c. 180, E/W), 1.559

“Those who are ready to toil in the most excellent pursuits will not desist from the search after truth until they get the demonstration from the Scriptures themselves.” Clement of Alexandria (c.195, E), 2.550.

“Now, what is there in our Scriptures that is contrary to us? What of our own have we introduced? Is there anything that we need to take away again, or else add to it, or alter it—in order to restore to its natural soundness anything that is contrary to it and contained in the Scriptures? What we are ourselves, that also is what the Scriptures are, and have been from the beginning.” Tertullian (c.197, W), 2.261

“If it is nowhere written, then let him fear the woe that comes on all who add to or take away anything” [from the written Word]. Tertullian (c.200, W), 3.490

“It will be your duty, however, to present your proofs out of the Scriptures, as plainly as we do.” Tertullian (c. 213, W), 3.605

“Brethren, there is one God, the knowledge of whom we gain from the Holy Scriptures and from no other source…” Hippolytus (c.205, W), 5.227

“I do not want to appear to build my assertions on the basis of inference alone, particularly concerning subjects of such importance and difficulty. Nor do I wish for my listeners to agree to what is only conjectural. So let us see if we can obtain any declarations from the Holy Scripture…” Origen (c.225, E), 4.258 p.601

“I will, as is needed collect into one collection whatever passages of the Holy Scriptures are pertinent to this subject. And I will manifestly harmonize…those which seem to be differing or of various meanings.” Treatise on Re-Baptism, Anonymous, (c.257, W), 5.668

“In all sincerity and with open hearts before God, we accepted all that could be established by the demonstrations and teachings of the Holy Scriptures.” Dionysis of Alexandria (c.262, E), 6.82

 

 

 

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August 24, 2014

Bear Attack – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

“Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up by the way, young lads came out from the city and mocked him and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead; go up, you baldhead!” When he looked behind him and saw them, he cursed them in the name of the LORD. Then two female bears came out of the woods and tore up forty-two lads of their number.” (II Kings 2:23-24)

Bears in Israel? Not any more. As in Arkansas, they used to be plentiful. (The original nickname of “The Natural State” was “The Bear State.”) The population has dramatically declined (not due to evolution). Israel’s bears are now gone, but were once used to teach that there are consequences for offending God.
Critics have delighted in bashing the morality of the Old Testament with this account, charging Elisha with peevish cruelty, sending bears to kill the little children (per KJV) who were making fun of his baldness. (Actually, it appears that it was God who sent the bears, not Elisha.)

Elisha did pronounce a curse, but it was not on little children. The Hebrew word for “lads” used with the phrase “young lads” can be applied to any child from infancy to adolescence. The word for the 42 “lads” torn by the bears, however, is a different word commonly translated “young men.” Actually, both words are used more often for young men than for little children.

The situation evidently involved a gang of young hoodlums of various ages, led by the older ones. All of them were, no doubt, strongly influenced by the pagan priests and idolatrous citizens of Bethel. The bears that suddenly emerged from the woods “tore” (not necessarily fatally in all cases) 42 of the older hooligans.
While it was not the case here, we do read of the sentence of God’s righteous judgment on whose “iniquity was full,” including the destruction of entire families, even unaccountable children. Our worldly minds may fail to consider that their precious souls would almost certainly be lost, if left to grow up in such a polluted circumstance. Exterminating the community would save the souls of the children from an eternally tragic end.
The “lads” of our text appear to be fully accountable. The jeering ridicule, “go up, you bald head” was designed to be both a sarcastic reference to Elijah’s supernatural ascension in the fiery chariot, as well as an insult to God’s present prophet. The conduct of these young men was a denial of the work of God and abuse of His minister.

Paul spoke of those who were “to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.” (I Timothy 5:17) He told the brethren at Thessalonica of their responsibility to “esteem them very highly in love because of their work.” (I Thessalonians 5:13)
The attitude of these young men toward a teacher of God’s word, was opposite of what God required and the Judge decided it was so offensive that the just judgment demanded, could not wait. So God made good—in miniature—on a warning issued long before:
“‘If then, you act with hostility against Me and are unwilling to obey Me, I will increase the plague on you seven times according to your sins. ‘I will let loose among you the beasts of the field, which will bereave you of your children…” (Leviticus 26:21-22).
It is entirely unacceptable for young or old, to insult the true God, His Word or His ministers. God will, sooner or later, judge those who are guilty.

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris

August 10, 2014

Afraid of the Truth – Jacob Stringer

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

In Acts chapter 7, we have a classic example of a group of people who have completely denied the truth. After hearing an excellent and stirring testimony from Stephen, a powerful figure in the early church, they “were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth,” (Acts 7:54). Then, when Stephen makes an exclamation about a vision of the Lord, “they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord,” (verse 57). They then stoned Stephen to death, making him one of the first Christian martyrs. The text tells us that they were cut to the heart, which is the exact same phrase used in Acts 2 when the apostles preached to the crowds at Pentecost. However, they had a much different reaction, and were convicted by the words of the apostles. If this is the case, then the phrase “cut to the heart” must signify how convicted the people must have felt, in both circumstances. However, while one group changed according to their conviction, the other covered their ears! As strange as it may seem, there are thousands of people today doing the same thing.

1 Timothy 4:1-3—“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.”

2 Timothy 4:3-4—“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”

It seems that time has certainly come. It seems like everywhere we look there are people who seem to almost tune out the truth, believing only what sounds good to them and makes them feel most comfortable. The truth that is so hard for people to believe is that sin kills us spiritually. So many wish to think that sin and God can somehow coexist; however we know that sin is against the very nature of God. We must reject this way of thinking. Jesus died on the cross to save us from sin, not to let us live in it without consequence. We can’t be afraid of the truth. Let us uncover our ears and listen honestly to what the Bible says, not what the false teachers do.

 

August 3, 2014

Obeying God Rather Than Men – Jacob Stringer

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

In the news today, we see all kinds of terrible things happening around the world. It seems as though there is never anything positive or uplifting to report, but rather that there is only violence, hatred, and sin happening all around us. We see acts of terror committed against Christians in places like Iraq, where people are threatened by Islamic terrorists with the ultimatum: convert or die. We also see things here at home that cause concern, like the movement away from biblical principles and the promotion of “tolerance” of things that are clearly sinful, such as gay marriage and people seeking sex changes. With all the negative things happening in our world and within our own country we can only anticipate that things will get worse. There are so many things happening within our government that are hostile to our faith, and we need to stand prepared for the day that our freedom to worship the Lord will be infringed upon. The early church certainly suffered at the hands of the authorities, and were still instructed to “Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king,” (1 Peter 3:16). While we might not agree with every decision made by our government, we must still remain in subjection as long as the law doesn’t contradict our Law, the Law of Christ. However, when the day comes, as it already has in many parts of the world, that we face prison or poverty or death because of our faith in Jesus Christ, we must stand firm like Peter and John in Acts 4:18-20—“So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.’”

Let us be strong and courageous in this wicked world. Those who are of this world may hate us or call us ignorant or intolerant, but in truth it is they who are ignorant and intolerant of what God’s word has to say about sin. As followers of Christ, we are to give Jesus our all just as He gave His all for us. Let us not be discouraged by the world around us, but rather be encouraged by the Holy Spirit through God’s word.