Thursday, September 30, 2010

What do you know about religion?

A new survey of Americans’ knowledge of religion found that atheists, agnostics, Jews and Mormons outperformed Protestants and Roman Catholics in answering questions about major religions, while many respondents could not correctly give the most basic tenets of their own faiths.

Respondents to the survey were asked 32 questions with a range of difficulty, including whether they could name the Islamic holy book and the first book of the Bible, or say what century the Mormon religion was founded. On average, participants in the survey answered correctly overall for half of the survey questions. Atheists and agnostics scored highest, with an average of 21 correct answers, while Jews and Mormons followed with about 20 accurate responses. Protestants overall averaged 16 correct answers, while Catholics followed with a score of about 15.

To the world, members of churches of Christ would be included with “Protestants,” making us statistically near the bottom of religious knowledge. Atheists and agnostics actually scored better! Does that apply to you? We are commanded to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15). It is shameful for someone who profess to be godly to not even have a basic knowledge of the Bible or what they believe. If we are going to be able to “rightly divide” the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15), we will have to be diligent to learn it and remember it!

Kyle Campbell

Monday, September 27, 2010

A pat on the back

In Luke 17:7-10, Jesus said, “But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.”

Everyone loves a pat on the back. In fact, humans blossom with affirmation and appreciation. Nevertheless, an important question to be asked is, “Is being appreciated a right?” Every child of God takes on the responsibility of a servant when they are saved. Whatever you do secretly as a servant of God, you will be rewarded (Matthew 6:1-4). Jesus is not demeaning servants in Luke 17, but through this parable He is emphasizing the proper servant attitude.

If we always are seeking the reward of men, the “pat on the back,” it can make us take our eyes off of pleasing God and try to please men (John 5:44; Galatians 1:10). If you have done something wonderful for the cause of brethren, your brethren (including myself) may not have given you the praise you deserve, and for that we are sorry. However, you will be one day rewarded (Hebrews 6:9-12). Keep your eyes on the right goal and you will always have the proper attitude of a servant.

Kyle Campbell

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Sabbath law was only for the Jews

A lot of people see the Seventh-Day Adventist church buildings with their full parking lots on Saturday and wonder why they have chosen to meet at an unusual time. They do so because they believe that the Sabbath laws are still binding for them. But are they?

The Sabbath law of the Old Testament was a sign between God and Israel, commemorating His bringing them out of Egyptian slavery, meaning it was specifically given to Israel, those whose ancestors had come out of Egypt. The Gentiles were never required to keep it. The following Bible passages will show it was for only Israel:

Exodus 31:13, 16-17: “Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations … Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, … It is a sign between me and the children of Israel.”

Ezekiel 20:10, 12: “Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness … Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them.”

Deuteronomy 5:15: “And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.”

The Gentiles back then were no more obligated to keep the Sabbath (or any part of the law of Moses) than we are obligated to build an ark today. No one today is under obligation to keep any part of the Old Testament law (Ephesians 2:14-16; Colossians 2:14-15).

Kyle Campbell

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Trying to discredit the Lord

The enemies of Jesus were always trying to discredit Him. They first claimed, in John 7:15, that He had no letters. This was the same as saying that He was unlearned or ignorant. Second, they tried to trick Him. The scribes and the Pharisees tried this tactic numerous times (Matthew 19:3-9; 22:41-46; John 8:1-11). They even tried with the apostles (Matthew 17:24-27). Finally, they tried to nail Him to a cross. Over those several hours He uttered seven sayings, each one full of beautiful meaning. He hung on the cross for all of us. He could have called legions of angels to assist Him and end the agony, but He refused(Matthew 26:53).

Through all of this, death couldn’t hold Him. He was resurrected from the dead, proving that He was the Son of God (Romans 1:4). A significant question for you to consider is whether you are trying to discredit the Lord. Are you willing to listen to Him and follow His word? Please don’t discredit Him by pretending to be His follower, yet living in a way that shows you are not transformed (Romans 12:1-2).

Kyle Campbell

Friday, September 10, 2010

“To give repentance to Israel”

The above phrase occurs in Acts 5:31, and a variant of it occurs in (2 Timothy 2:25). Furthermore, in Acts 11:18, the phrase, “granted repentance” is used. What is the meaning of these phrases? Do they mean that God has to give repentance to men because they cannot do it for themselves?

During the declaration that Jesus had been exalted a Prince and a Savior, “to grant repentance to Israel and remission of sins,” it is implied that repentance is in some sense granted to men. But to grant repentance cannot mean to give it to men without an exercise of their own will; for repentance is commanded upon men as a duty to be performed by them (Acts 3:19). How can that which is a duty to be performed be said to be granted to us?

We can easily answer this question by remembering that repentance is produced by sorrow for sin, and that it belongs to God to furnish men with the facts which will awaken this sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:9-10). Without revelation, men would never be made to feel the sorrow for sin which works repentance; but in the revelation of Jesus Christ we are furnished with this main motive, and because of this, he is said to grant repentance.

Kyle Campbell

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Archaeology: The arch of Titus

Carved in relief on the triumphal Arch of Titus, in the ancient Forum (public square) of Rome, is a scene of Roman soldiers on parade carrying items looted from the temple in Jerusalem in A.D. 70. These items included the Table of the Showbread, the Menorah (Golden Lampstand) and a scroll of God’s law.

When the gospel was spreading throughout the Mediterranean world, a major event occurred -- the Roman army, under General Titus, invaded Jerusalem. On the ninth of Av (a Jewish calendar month corresponding to June) in A.D. 70, the army destroyed both the city and the temple, carrying away sacred temple items. In the ancient Forum in Rome there still stands a triumphal archway commemorating the victory of Titus and his army (cf. Mark 13:2; Luke 21:6).

Kyle Campbell