Friday, December 28, 2012

"Social gospel" creep

A couple of years ago, I received an email from a friend who was forwarding me a link to a non-institutional congregation in Tennessee. Under the heading of “Event Notice” was a “Touch Football Day” at a local park. While institutional churches have long had no qualms about advertising social events, non-institutional churches have recognized that the church has no business promoting a social, non-spiritual event.

While I have no doubt that this congregation did not spend any of the money from its treasury, I am gradually seeing churches blend the spiritual with the social. Although they could say that they do not spend any of the Lord’s money, the lines will become gradually blurred and the next generation will not have a problem carrying this further, perhaps even coming full circle back to church-supported social events! This is the nature of apostasy. Jesus made a clear delineation between His spiritual kingdom and physical kingdoms of the world (John 18:36; cf. Romans 14:17). We need to keep the same distinction in our congregations today.

Kyle Campbell

Friday, December 21, 2012

Modern-day "apostles"?

Last year, the Houston Chronicle reported that the Mormon church named two men to leadership positions in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. David Bednar and Dieter Uchtdorf were chosen for the church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the top leadership council after the three-member First Presidency.

Mormons are told in their Patriarchal Blessing that they are descendants of the twelve tribes of Israel. In addition to this, a number of Latter-day Saints leaders have even claimed to be related to Christ. One of their “apostles” once wrote, “In this day and age true prophets will be members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Furthermore, it has also been stated, “One of the signs of the true Church of Jesus Christ is the presence of living prophets who direct its work under the guidance of heaven.”

Apostles in the New Testament were men chosen to preach after Jesus ascended into heaven. Apostles were given miraculous gifts (Acts 2:4; 2 Corinthians 12:12) and were inspired to write the Bible (Ephesians 3:3-5; 2 Peter 1:21). But once God’s revelation was finished, there was no further need to keep revealing God’s will. Therefore, we do not have apostles today. Paul said that miraculous gifts, including inspiration, would stop (1 Corinthians 13:8-10). Also, Paul said that one of the requirements of an apostle is that they had seen the Lord (1 Corinthians 9:1). Mormon “apostles” cannot make that claim. Mormons claim to restore the New Testament church; but they merely masquerade a false religion for the true one.

Kyle Campbell

Monday, December 17, 2012

That which is needful

“For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better: nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you” (Philippians 1:23-24).

Paul had physical ailments and trials in his life, many of which made him wish he could be in heaven where the former things have passed away (Revelation 21:4). But Paul realized it was better for the brethren’s sake to remain on earth, preaching the gospel and edifying them. Paul had a purpose in his life and he needed to work in the kingdom as much as possible before he died.

Sometimes, we may forget how important it is to fulfill our task in this life. We may get entangled with the affairs of this life and lose sight of our priorities. Like Paul, our job is to teach and edify as much as we can before we depart from this life. While our number one goal is getting ourselves to heaven, we must not forget all the lost souls around us who could obey the truth if we would only teach it to them. Understand that you have so much potential in God’s kingdom if you are a part of it. Don’t slack off your duties and be a disappointment to God! “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom. Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:1-2).

Jonathan Glaesemann

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Godhead

One of the most confusing aspect about God is the Godhead. This is the doctrine of God being comprised of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Godhead is specifically mentioned in the New Testament (Acts 17:29; Romans 1:20; Colossians 2:9). It is furthermore implied in God’s language (Genesis 1:26; 3:22; Isaiah 6:8). Jesus taught that there were three Beings in the Godhead when He stated, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost …” (Matthew 28:19).

From the following scriptures, one can see the distinct relationship of the Godhead: First, the Father is God (John 20:17). He is distinct from the Son (John 8:16) and the Holy Spirit (John 14:26). Second, the Son is God (Hebrews 1:8). He is distinct from the Father (John 8:16) and the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:38). Third, the Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4). He is distinct from the Father (John 14:26) and the Son (Acts 10:38).

So we see that God is comprised of not only the Father, but also a divine Son and Holy Spirit. The doctrine that denies that there are three distinct Beings which comprise God is false according to the Bible. Let’s make sure that we always uphold the proper teaching of God’s word.

Kyle Campbell

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Watch your thoughts

I saw this on Facebook the other day. “Watch your thoughts; they become your words. Watch your words; they become your actions. Watch your actions; they become your habits. Watch your habits; they become your character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”

Of course, we need to watch all of these attributes of ourselves, but where does it all start. Where does sin start? It starts with our thoughts! James 1:13-15 says, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” It all starts with the desire of our heart; this is where the evil begins.

Satan doesn’t know what’s in our heart, but is like a fisherman that has just come to a new fishing spot. He doesn’t know what the fish will bite so he opens up his tackle box and tries different lures until he finds the one that the fish desires. If our desires have anything to do with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, Satan will more than likely catch us. Examine your mind to see if there is any evil. If there is, put it out before it’s too late!

Jonathan Glaesemann

Saturday, December 1, 2012

How will you seek the Lord?

The Lord told His disciples in Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: …” When you think about it, it’s a wonderfully assuring promise which can greatly comfort us.

The Bible often presents stark contrasts. There are two ways to seek the Lord. In Acts 10:1-2, there is an example of a good way. Cornelius was a good man who prayed to God. John assures us that if one looks for the Lord according to His will, He will bless Him (1 John 5:14). In Acts 8:18-23, Simon is an unfortunate example of a bad way to seek God. The problem was that he refused to seek according to God’s will. For this he was sternly rebuked and told to repent of his wickedness.

Revelation 22:17 says, “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” God will certainly bless you if you will seek Him. However, you must seek Him correctly: “But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul” (Deuteronomy 4:29).

Kyle Campbell