Friday, November 21, 2008

Gay marriage in Connecticut

A little over a week ago, Connecticut allowed same-sex unions. Between October 2005 and July 2008, there were 2,032 civil union licenses issued in Connecticut. Many plaintiffs openly conveyed how proud they are to be citizens of the state. Robin Levine-Ritterman said, "It's a great day for Connecticut."

It was only three months ago that I wrote on this blog about Ella and Portia getting married. The same points that I made then still apply to the situation in Connecticut. I understand that many people believe that same-sex civil unions are just a part of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," but mankind just cannot do anything they wish. Proverbs 14:34 says, "Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people." If something is against the will of God (and homosexuality is), they we cannot support and uphold it! We cannot encourage people who "glory in their shame" (Philippians 3:19). This goes not only for homosexuals, but for all who are in sin (no matter what the sin). Pray that they might see the sinfulness of their conduct and repent!

Kyle Campbell

My words

Jesus said in Matthew 12:36-37, "But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." We use words for instruction, edification, and encouragement, but we also use them for gossip, slander, profanity, lying, and inappropriate talk. We will be judged by our words!

For this reason, Paul said negatively, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers" (Ephesians 4:29), and positively, "Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man." Instead of talking about people, cursing, or telling dirty jokes, how about using your words in confession of sin and prayer (James 5:15-16). This is a good use of one's words.

Let's make sure our heart reflects the good words of David: "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer" (Psalm 19:14). Amen!

Kyle Campbell

Thursday, November 20, 2008

"You have faith and I have works"

Can you see happiness? You can see signs of it, but you cannot actually see happiness. You can see a smile. You can see the look in someone's eyes when things are going well in their day. Happiness, on the other hand, is an outward sign of something you feel. You can, in fact, be happy and have no one notice. A person cannot look at each other and see what they are feeling. They can see signs and make an educated guess as to what is going on inside the other's mind, but in the end it is only a guess.

The same can be said of faith. Faith is "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). It is something that you hold in your beliefs. One has faith in heaven because they cannot see it but believe it exists. Once again, a person cannot look at another and see a person's faith. We know that faith is essential to salvation because we are told in Hebrews 11:6: "Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." So how do we know if we or anyone else has faith?

The answer to the question is found in James 2:18-20: "But someone will say, 'You have faith, and I have works.' Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe -- and tremble! but do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?" James points out that it is impossible to show faith without working. He challenges anyone to show him faith without working and he will show his faith by his works. One's faith is the light they take into the world by their works, and if they are not working their light is as dead as their faith.

If someone says that they have faith in God they "do well. Even the demons believe -- and tremble!" The demons and servants of Satan believe in God and this belief moves them to shake in fear. This act of trembling is more than some who claim to be Christians today! Faith in God causes us to have godly fear and motives us to make our life right. This can be shown in two examples. On the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, the Jews that heard Peter and the rest of the apostles were "cut to the heart," and said, "Men and brethren what shall we do" (Acts 2:37)? When he commanded them to repent and be baptized, those who obeyed were saved. They had faith when they were "cut to their heart," but it wasn't until they were obedient to God's plan of salvation that they were saved. Those who did not adhere to God's commandment of repentance and baptism did not receive the remission of sins. The other example is in Acts 8 with Simon. Simon had believed and was baptized in Acts 8:13. As you continue to read in Acts 8, Simon sins by offering to buy the apostles' ability to lay hands and impart the Holy Spirit. He had not lost his faith but he was no longer being obedient like he should. Peter commanded him to "repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you" (Acts 8:22). He had his faith still intact, he had previously obeyed the gospel, but had stopped obeying God. He needed to return to his first works and he would be saved.

Today there are many who claim faith is the only thing essential to your salvation. In Acts 2 and 8, there were obedient acts they had to follow to obtain salvation. Those on the day of Pentecost were not saved by having their hearts cut and Simon was not saved by realizing his sinful state. Each had to perform works of obedience: the Jews had to become Christians through baptism and repentance and Simon had to repent and pray to God that he be forgiven. James writes, "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him" (James 2:14)? He brings up the example of the hungry. If someone is hungry and we tell them, "'Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead" (James 2:16-17). The only way to fix hunger is through eating and the only way to get to heaven is obedience.

It is easy to claim that you have faith because no one can see into you and prove it to the positive or negative. Many claim to be Christians, when in fact they are not. It takes one's faith and their works to save them. This does not mean that their works earned them salvation, but what it means is that their true faith motivated them to meet the requirements of salvation predetermined by God. When we come together as followers of God, not only do we test ourselves but we test each other. We can observe what each other is doing and weigh it with the scriptures. If one's light is not burning, some else lights it! In this way we draw strength from one another and we aid each other to get to eternal happiness and joy. Many do not like this process and try to disprove it, but now that we know the truth the question truly is, "But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?"

Jeremy Ferguson

Monday, November 17, 2008

Why does God make me suffer?

You know the situation: someone dies unexpectedly in a car accident or catches a deadly disease and dies very young. The immediate response is, "God took him/her before their time." I want to respectfully challenge that assertion for the Bible teaches differently.

In Acts 10:38, people were "oppressed by the devil," not God. The same idea is found Luke 13:16, where Satan had "bound" a woman for eighteen years with an illness. In Job 2:6, God told Satan that Job was in his hand, not God's hand. So it is Satan who causes all the problems of mankind, not God.

The next time you hear of something bad or perhaps even something bad happens to you, you can know the real source of the problem: Satan. We can have power over Satan, not to alleviate bad circumstances or ailments, but in a spiritual sense through the blood of Jesus Christ. If you will obey His gospel, He will cleanse you of your sins and you can look forward to that time when He will "wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain …" (Revelation 21:4).

Kyle Campbell

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Compromise is defined as "an agreement that is reached by each side making concessions" or "the acceptance of standards that are lower than is desirable." Although compromise is normally used in politics and other situations, we cannot ever compromise the truth. We are to "hold fast the form of sound words" (2 timothy 1:13; 2:1-4; 3:14-17).

We always have to make sure where we stand. The religious world wants to compromise with the Lord by allowing the Lord's supper to be taken once a month or once ever three months; by using instrumental music in the worship of God; by refusing to impress upon people the need for obedience; and, by allowing divorce and remarriage for every cause. Sadly, these are only a few of the compromises that religious people make every day!

Show your love for the Lord and your devotion to His cause by refusing to compromise. The first century Christians followed a simple plan and were rewarded with eternal life. You can have it too if you will never compromise!

Kyle Campbell

Monday, November 3, 2008

Elements of proper baptism

Acts 16:13-15 is only one of the several examples in Acts of people believing the word and being baptized into Christ. Churches of Christ have insisted that immersion to a penitent believer is essential to salvation from past sins. When people begin to hold to the idea that we can go back to the biblical pattern and reproduce scriptural teaching and practice today, one of the characteristics of biblical teaching will be baptism for the remission of sins. Through a brief investigation, we can see that there are several proper elements of baptism.

The first element of proper baptism is the proper name. Baptizing someone in the name of Jesus means that we recognize His authority (Ephesians 1:22-23). So it is not what we say (like a specific formula), it is what we do (Acts 4:12). The "name" equals authority (Esther 8:8-11; 1 Samuel 24:5, 9; Philippians 2:5-11).

The second element of proper baptism is the proper medium. There is only "one baptism" (Ephesians 4:5), and that baptism must be water baptism. This is the only baptism that had a universal application (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:16). The baptism of John and Holy Spirit baptism did not apply to everyone, whereas water baptism is intended for every person who will accept the gospel until the end of the world.

The third element of proper baptism is the proper action. The word for baptism means to "immerse, dip, or plunge." No respectable biblical scholar will agree that baptism means sprinkle or pour. The two ideas are in juxtaposition in Leviticus 4:6 in the ideas of "dip" and "sprinkle." There's a distinct difference between the two. Baptism requires "much water" (John 3:23), "going to the water" (Acts 8:36), "going down into the water" (Acts 8:38), and a "coming up out of the water" (Matthew 3:16). It is furthermore described as a burial or an immersion in water (Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:12).

The fourth element of proper baptism is the proper subject. Only believers are to be baptized (Acts 8:37-38). Baptism is not for infants (Romans 7:9). Every instance of people being baptized in the book of Acts shows that they believed and had the capacity to repent and confess before they were baptized.

The fifth element of proper baptism is the proper reason. Baptism is for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 22:16). The word "remission" means "a dismissal or release." Many claim that baptism is simply "an outward sign of an inward grace." They say it is merely a token to others of what has already happened in the heart.

In light of this overwhelming evidence, who among us can deny that baptism is essential for our salvation? The pattern for salvation and conversion was the same in each instance relative to the matter of baptism. Baptism was required of each individual who wanted to move spiritually from an unsaved state to a saved state.

Kyle Campbell

Archaeology: the Pontius Pilate inscription

In 1961 archaeologists working at the Caesarea Maritima found a stone slab bearing the name of Pontius Pilate, who was involved in the trial of Jesus. The dedication states that he was the "prefect/governor" of Judea. The early governors of Judea were prefect rank, the later were of procurator rank, beginning with Cuspius Fadus in A.D. 44.

This is the oldest appearance of Pilate's name to be found, and it actually dates to the time of Jesus (Luke 3:1).

Kyle Campbell