Archive for July, 2016
The requirement of corrective discipline is present in every area of our lives. If the state does not exercise it there, will be anarchy in the land. If it is not exercised in the school system, the result will be confusion instead of education. If it is not practiced in the home, there will be sore and sad delinquency to follow. If individuals do not exercise concerning themselves, wasted lives will be the outcome. The church cannot be what it should be, maintaining its moral and doctrinal purity, its Christ-pleasing unity, and fulfilling its God-given work, without the Scripture-mandated practice of corrective discipline. Likely no Scriptural injunction has been more neglected in the church of Christ over the years than this directive. Indeed, so many of the grievous problems that beset the church of God can be directly traced to negligence toward or rejection of what the New Testament teaches on this subject. Some saints have lived to their mature years without ever seeing the congregation(s) of which they have been members withdraw fellowship from anyone. In some cases, their parents never did either.
The subject of baptism has long been one of controversy, especially in respect to its purpose and its action. I suppose that uninspired men have written at least hundreds of books and millions of words about baptism. Many of these things we could read to our profit, but those works will not be the subject of this study. Rather, we are going to study the only book (with the only words) on this subject that really matters—the Word of God. We will not quote from the Bible encyclopedias or dictionaries, the commentaries, the Greek Lexicons, or other books of that kind. We are simply going to examine what the Bible teaches about baptism.
The following exchange resulted from a lengthy message written in the “Guestbook” section of our Website, thescripturecache.com. I inserted all notes in brackets and between messages in an effort to clarify Mr. Clark’s wordings and omissions in various places. Dub McClish
A few years ago Hayes Carll wrote “Bye Bye Baby,” a country music song lamenting a broken romance. This title would serve well for a song about the Pharaoh who ordered the death of all Hebrew baby boys (Exo. 1:16, 22; Acts 7:19). It would also fit Herod’s decree that resulted in the murder of all the baby boys in and around Bethlehem (Mat. 2:16). Even irreligious folk right-y recoil at such inhumane blood lust.
To shallow Bible students, calling Jesus Christ “the great controversialist” might appear misguided, if not blasphemous. They would propose, contrariwise, that He is the source of peace, rather than of conflict, as controversialist implies. No serious Bible student will deny Jesus’ close linkage with peace. Isaiah titled Him “Prince of Peace” seven centuries before He was born (9:6). The angels proclaimed “peace on earth” at His birth (Luke 2:14). He is the “Lord of peace” (2 The. 3:16), and King Jesus reigns over a kingdom of peace (Rom. 14:17), which He governs by the “gospel of peace” (Eph. 6:15). He pronounces a blessing upon those who seek to make and keep peace (Mat. 5:9). His disciples are to live at peace with all men, as much as possible (Rom. 12:18). Jesus’ coming resulted in peace between Jew and Gentile (Eph. 2:14–15). All of these truths have their root in one great principle: “For God is not a God of confusion, but of peace” (1 Cor. 14:33).
In general, it is accurate to think of the book of Isaiah as dealing with both history and prophecy relative to the nation of Israel, its relationship to Jehovah/God, and the promise of the coming Messiah. In a larger context, however, Isaiah's writings may be seen as having relevance for God's people in any time period; emphasizing God's control over His creation and the ultimate triumph of His will. The last nine chapters of Isaiah are concerned with the wickedness of Israel as a whole, God's work of redemption, and the future glory of His people.
My assignment for this series of lectures centers around the issue of just how serious a matter is the doctrine of Premillennialism (from the standpoint of a person’s spiritual condition and destiny). Specifically, this presentation is concerned with the question, “Is the doctrine of premillennialism a ‘fatal error’?” This is a particularly timely and relevant matter, because the Doctrine has become extremely prevalent throughout the protestant denominational world in recent years. No longer is it confined to what we might call “fringe” holiness groups. Premillennialism can now be found in virtually all “mainline” denominations as well. In fact, it is not uncommon to encounter brethren, from time to time, who seem to believe that it’s a rather harmless theory (in the realm of opinion) and who don’t see any reason to get all that concerned about the matter.
The Lord’s church today is not the same body it was fifty years ago. My grandfather (an elder for forty years in central Texas) or even my father (whose more than thirty years of preaching ended in 1966) would not believe their eyes and ears were they to be “beamed down” into some present-day assemblies that still masquerade under the designation, Church of Christ. They would surely believe that someone had placed a Church of Christ sign on these buildings by mistake or as a prank. They would be struck by the gross contradiction between the sign out front and the preaching and practice going on inside.
It has become popular among numerous religious elitists to guffaw at the very suggestion that the original church has been restored to its pristine state in modern times. Such scoffers utter a resounding “no” in answer to the question of our title, believing that only Neanderthal nincompoops would even entertain the notion. Behind the restoration denials of many of these folk lie two even more fundamental denials. They deny both the need for and the possibility of restoration.