June 2012 Questions / Answers
The following questions are taken from emails and are printed below exactly as I received them. Names and contact information has been removed. The answers are in note form (sorry for any of my grammar errors) to be studied through. You’ll have to examine each Scripture below to see the points.
1. “While teaching a bible class the preacher of another congregation besides here where I am said; ‘Church of Christ’ is not the only name we could put on the sign outside the meeting place. We could just say for example, ‘Spring Street church’. One of the elders of that same congregation also said that it would be alright. He said, "In Revelation there are several names the church was called by. The church at Ephesus, The church at Smyrna etc. One couple who are members of that congregation strongly disagreed! They say that the preacher and elder can't get it in their head that those are all ‘churches of Christ’ in the various locations. What are your thoughts?”
Š First, there is nothing that requires any sign to say anything. It is matter of what is expedient in identifying who is assembling inside that specific meeting location. The fact is, in the first century, there were not Baptists, Methodists, Christian churches, etc. Therefore, it was not expedient and therefore not necessary that the distinction be made.
o While Christians did not only meet in homes, they did assemble in homes with no signs (Romans 16:3-5, I Corinthians 16:19, Colossians 4:15, and Philemon 1-2).
o In fact, there may be times wherein saints need to assemble in different places all of the time (Acts 8:1-4).
Š An assembly of Christians can be identified as the church of God (Acts 20:28 and I Corinthians 15:9) [though it may not be expedient for most do not realize that Jesus is God; cf. Romans 9:1-5], church of the firstborn (Hebrews 12:23; meaning Christ – Colossians 1:12-18), church of Christ (Romans 16:16), etc. The word church simply means "assembly".
Š What is necessary is that when an assembly of Christians CHOOSES to identify themselves, is that they do so plainly as to set us apart from the denominational world (cf. II Corinthians 3:12).
Š We must understand that there is something in a name (Acts 4:10-12).
Š While it is true that “the church at…” is a phrase used in the Scriptures (Romans 16:1, I Corinthians 16:19, II Corinthians 8:1, I Thessalonians 1:1, etc.); we must be reasonable and conclude that such a distinction is not clear in our day. Me saying, “The church in El Paso” means something to faithful brethren who know we’re the only congregation of the Lord’s people here, but it is very vague to anyone else.
Š Frankly, "brethren" have become so building minded that they completely misunderstand what the church is. Bricks or wood have nothing to do with the identity of God's people when they assemble (I Corinthians 12:27).
Š This discussion comes down to what is LAWFUL and what is EXPEDIENT. You can have having something lawful (i.e. “the church in El Paso”), but that does not mean it is expedient (cf. I Corinthians 6:12). Don’t lose your head here.
Š Here is a concern… It is a modern day false doctrine to be called “the church” or “a church” to incorporate other false ideas such as the “house church movement”. Be careful that this discussion is not intended to sneak in some error (cf. Jude 3-4).
Š Another caution, don’t allow this to become denominationalism wherein things become about a sign rather than the birth (John 3:3-5) and the teaching/practices (II John 9).
2. “If someone dies before they hear the word when we could have taught them is our hesitation, blood on our hands?”
Š We need clarity here on this question. Sometimes people won’t listen (Matthew 13:15-16) and we’re told not to teach them (Matthew 7:6).
Š If we’re talking about people who are willing to learn… Yes, blood is on our hands if we don’t teach them (Psalms 50:16-18, Ezekiel 33:8-9, and Acts 20:26-27; cf. Acts 8:13-24, Galatians 2:11-17, Galatians 6:1-2, and James 5:19-20).
3. “The COC loves to expose false teachings. But what about the false teachings within the COC? Why do you ignore Harding College denying Jesus Christ?”
Š I am going to have to assume that by saying “COC” you are talking about churches of Christ.
Š Faithful members of the Lord’s body do expose error within and without the body (Acts 13:6-12, Romans 16:17-18, Galatians 2:11-17, Ephesians 5:11, I Timothy 1:19-20, and III John 9-11).
Š I consistently expose error of all, including those who claim to be members of the Lord’s body (i.e. http://www.wordsoftruth.net/denom/denomexposed.html).
Š As far as Harding College is concerned, they have nothing to do with the REAL church of Christ. Any and all associated with this human institution or others like it, regardless of whom they claim to be “affiliated” with, are false. There is no authority for “Christian Colleges”. This is something I have exposed (http://www.wordsoftruth.net/studyofinstitutionalism.htm). Anything that exists without the Lord’s authority is wrong (Isaiah 8:20 and Colossians 3:17). That makes these things of human origin and that alone, because they claim to be of God, makes them false (Mark 7:7-9, Galatians 1:8-9, and Colossians 2:17-23).
Š On one other note, I personally hate having to expose error. That means people are lost and that breaks my heart (cf. Romans 9:1-3).
4. “Our church is small and doesn’t have enough money to have a preacher working with us. What are some ways we can get some money to have a preacher? A good preacher at that.”
Š The only way the local church is authorized to have funding for her work is through the collection on the first day of the week (I Corinthians 16:1-2).
Š If you just used some bad wording in saying “our church” and you are really a Christian and thus a member of the body of Christ, money will not be the issue in finding a preacher to work with you.
o The first reason I say this is, there aren’t many faithful preachers right now.
o The second reason I say this is, if you do find a faithful preacher he will not allow money to stand between himself and his working with you. This may mean he will have to obtain financial support from other brethren (II Corinthians 11:8 and Philippians 4:11-16). Preachers are worthy of adequate support (I Corinthians 9:6-14). Therefore, while a preacher may have to temporarily obtain secular work (II Thessalonians 3:7-9), be sure that the brethren there do all they can to support him.
Š I have no idea what you mean by a “good preacher”. If you’re speaking as Paul did (I Timothy 4:1-6), that is great. If you’re talking about a man who will preach the word as it out to be preached, that’s great (I Corinthians 2:1-5, I Thessalonians 2:1-12, II Timothy 4:1-5, Titus 2:1, Titus 2:15, etc.).
Š If you are just looking for a “good orator”, that is the wrong conclusion (I Corinthians 2:1-5).
Š Sound preachers are not going to want exalted (Acts 14:11-18).
5. “From 2 Cor. 6:14 I thinks that a Christian should not go in business with a nonchristian. Am I right?”
Š Scriptural wisdom says if you are entering into a business partnership do so with faithful brethren (Acts 18:1-3).
Š That does not mean things will be smooth, for sometimes Christians err and defraud their brethren wherein you’d have to take the loss (I Corinthians 6:1-8).
Š Having said all of that, you cannot say that it is wrong to engage in a business relationship with an unbeliever. I know this is right for there are two principles to consider.
o You can do business with people in a worldly marketplace (I Corinthians 10:25).
o You’d have to leave this world not to have dealings with worldly people (I Corinthians 5:9-12).
Š Logic also defies this idea. For, to be in business, you have to have partnerships with ungodly people (i.e. suppliers, customers, banks, etc.). We have to be cautious in all of these points.
Š II Corinthians 6:14-18 and a host of other Scriptures (Proverbs 4:14-16, I Corinthians 15:33, and James 4:4) teach us to LIMIT our relationships with the world. This would result in us having limited pools of worldly people to even consider as “business partners”.
Š Again, please maintain a balance here!!! If you go too far on these things, one way or the other, consistency would demand you apply those principles in other areas of life. Again, I Corinthians 5:9-12 applies.
6. “Is there a verse that says man will never know the truth until Jesus returns?”
Š What you need to know is revealed already and is written so that you may know those truths (John 8:32, John 21:30-31, Ephesians 3:4, II Timothy 3:16-17, and II Peter 1:3-4).
7. "How should a Christian view bodybuilding / weightlifting?"
Š We must make sure I Corinthians 6:20 balances with I Timothy 4:8! In clear terms, it is fine to work out your body, but don’t allow such to be your focus in life.
Š If a man or woman is shaping his or her body just to “look good” or to wear immodest clothes, that is a whole different issue (cf. Ephesians 4:17-19 and I Peter 2:11).
Š What you need to really be concerned with is your spiritual life (Ephesians 4:23-24).
8. “If our salvation is eternally secure, why does the Bible warn so strongly against apostasy?”
Š Ummm… Because our salvation IS NOT eternally secure. In other words, we can fall away (Luke 8:13, Acts 8:12-24, I Corinthians 9:24-27, I Corinthians 10:12, Galatians 5:4, Galatians 3:1, Galatians 5:4, Galatians 5:7-9, I Timothy 4:1, Hebrews 3:12-13, Hebrews 6:4-6, Hebrews 10:26-31; 38, II Peter 2:20-22, Revelation 2:1-7, and Revelation 22:18-19).
9. “Okay. I know we can eat meat. Does that mean that I have to eat meat? Can I be a vegetarian and still be faithful to God?”
Š You most certainly do not need to eat meat to go to Heaven (I Corinthians 8:8 and Hebrews 13:9).
© 2012 This material may not be used for sale or other means to have financial gain. Use this as a tool for your own studies if such is helpful! Preachers are welcome to this work, but please do not use my work so that you can be lazy and not do your own studies. – Brian A. Yeager