Back in September I found out that a congregation I care about was going to have a tie to an erring congregation in our area. In efforts to familiarize myself with the current errors of “A Church of Christ” (as their sign says in front of the place they assemble in), I listened to several sermons the false teacher Joe Wright has on their website (http://elpasochurchofchrist.com). This article is born out of a statement I heard in one of those sermons. I am writing it for various reasons. For one, for our awareness of this error that adds to the many we are already aware of from that apostate church (Matthew 7:15-20, Romans 16:17-18, Ephesians 5:6-11, Colossians 2:4-8, and II Timothy 4:14-15). Secondly, I hope some of the ignorant people there will someday read this and depart from those they are erringly in fellowship with (II Corinthians 6:14-7:1). Finally, I am writing this because I am fired up (Psalms 119:104; 128; 139, and John 2:13-17).
Here is the quote: “How does unity, and faith, and judgment, and mind look to us? Is it cookie cutter? Well, when I read that chapter in Matthew you better come to the same conclusion I come to buddy or we don’t have unity (said with sarcasm). Well, what if half of the brethren come to one conclusion and half the brethren come to another. (Joe laughs here) You know what chapter I’m talking about, right? In Matthew. Is it about the end of the world or is it only about the destruction of Jerusalem? Somebody asked me that one time. Is this about the end of the world or the destruction of Jerusalem? And I said, ‘WHO CARES?’ What’s the message of Matthew 14 (note from B.Y. - he should have said Matthew 24)? I don’t care about historical events when it comes to faith and the salvation of the immortal soul. I care about what the lesson is. The spiritual lesson that we can learn. You and I disagree on dates, historical facts, and the color of somebody’s tunic. I don’t care” (start listening at the 29:00 for context; http://elpasochurchofchrist.com/sermons/1-corinthians/divisions-1-cor-1.html). (Note: if this sermon disappears from their website at some point, I have uploaded it to my website here: http://www.wordsoftruth.net/JoeErrorOnUnity.mp3). Now let’s dig in!
What Is Being Discussed In Matthew Chapter Twenty-Four?
Before you proceed in this article, read Matthew 23:37-25:46. You should have noticed that the context reveals that Jesus is talking about the destruction of Jerusalem (Matthew 23:37-24:2). That caused the disciples to ask some questions (Matthew 24:3). They wanted to know when Jerusalem and the temple therein would be destroyed and what would be the sign of the coming of the Lord. Jesus began answering their questions with a warning to them that they should let no man deceive them (Matthew 24:4). He then gave them signs that would all come to pass in their generation concerning Jerusalem (Matthew 24:5-34). After that, He unmistakably shifted His teaching to talking about His return and the end of the world. He stated that our Heavenly Father is the only one that knows when that will happen (Matthew 24:35-25:46). To teach otherwise is to twist those Scriptures unto your own destruction (II Peter 3:15-17). So, it DOES matter and we MUST care what the context was/is teaching.
Consider Why It Matters What Matthew 23:37-25:46 Is Teaching
Joe Wright is a false teacher, spending around 60 hours a week teaching high school (start listening around 36:30; http://elpasochurchofchrist.com/sermons/1-corinthians/flee-run-1-cor-6.html). So-called “preaching” is just what he does for easy money since he spends so little time doing it. The congregation there has many false doctrines therein from the belief of a city-wide eldership, the Lord’s Supper differences, continual cleansing, no congregational discipline, etc. Thus, Joe does all he can to keep their false practice of unity in diversity for easy money (II Peter 2:1-3). He has to say Matthew 24 doesn’t matter in context because members there believe false things concerning that chapter. If it doesn’t matter, here is where you end up.
If all of Matthew chapter twenty-four is about the end of the world, then there are signs of when it will occur. That would make statements in that context, and other inspired statements, false (Matthew 24:36; 42; 44; 25:13, Mark 13:31-32, I Thessalonians 5:2, II Peter 3:10-14, etc.). If Joe is right, it would also mean that I Corinthians 12:31-13:13 is yet to be fulfilled. Why? If all of what Jesus said in Matthew 24 was about the end of the world, miracles through the hands of men would still exist until the world ends (Matthew 24:11; 24).
A proper understanding of Matthew 23:37-25:46 is necessary to properly understand other New Testament contexts. When you read the context, you saw that the saints would be able to see the signs that the destruction of Jerusalem was near. Saints in the first century knew that was “the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25). Think about how Paul taught that no man can escape the judgment of God (Romans 2:1-3). If a person believes Matthew 24 is all about the end of the world and the Judgment Day, they are going to think they can run away from that Judgment (Matthew 24:16-20). That contradicts Paul’s teaching. We have to care what the context of Matthew chapter twenty-four means.
Let’s learn from Joe Wright NOT to mishandle the Scriptures (I Timothy 1:3-7, II Timothy 2:14-18, and II Timothy 3:1-7). They have many impure motives. Learn from him and his church (literally) how that approaching the Scriptures dishonestly causes many false conclusions to arise. Learn from Matthew 24:35-25:58 to be prepared to be judged by Christ!