Volume VI, Number 36
December 29, 2002

Published by

Mt. Baker
church of Christ
Bellingham, WA
(1860 Mt. Baker HWY)
(360) 752-2692

Bible Classes..........9:30 AM
Worship............10:30 & 6:00

Bible Classes...........7:00 PM

Web sites:

Editor................Joe R. Price

"And take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17)

In this issue:

One Body
Steven F. Deaton

“There is one body...” (Eph. 4:4).

The body is the church.  “And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:22-23).  Therefore, there is one church. This comes as a shock to many people, but it is true.

False teachers have long told us there are many churches from which we may choose.  They have told us to pick one that best suits our tastes.  The problem is, all the various denominations are products of men, not God (cf. Matt. 21:25).  This means they do not please God and will one day be destroyed by Him (Matt. 15:1-14).

Contrary to the doctrines of men, the Bible teaches that we must choose God’s will above our own (Jn. 7:17; cf. Lk. 22:42).  That is, we are to choose the church of God’s choice, the body of Christ (Eph. 4:12; 1 Cor. 12:27). It was purchased by His blood and therefore belongs to Him (Acts 20:28).  This also means that it is valuable, precious and loved by the Lord (Eph. 5:25-33).  He is the One Who has the right to direct its affairs.  The church does not have the right to dictate to the Lord what it wants, nor does it have the right to offer anything it pleases to God (Eph. 5:22-24).  Rather, the body follows the directions of the head.

Further, we must carefully consider and accept the fact that salvation cannot be found outside of that one body.  The Spirit revealed, “and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity” (Eph. 2:16).  We can no more remove Christ or the cross, than we can remove the one body in God’s plan of reconciliation.

Just as surely as there is one Spirit, one Lord and one God the Father, there is one body (Eph. 4:4-6).  Reconciliation to God is found in that one body to which the Lord will add you when you are baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38, 47; 1 Cor. 12:13)

                                                          -The Gospel Teacher (Dec. 22, 2002)
                                              Published by the Loop 287 church of Christ, Lufkin, TX


“Conservative” and “Liberal” Churches of Christ
Joe R. Price

Some object to the use of the terms “conservative” and “liberal” churches of Christ.  They contend that these terms are not found in the Bible.  They say it is “name-calling” and “offensive” to Christian sensibilities.  Such characterizations could not be farther from the truth.  Although it is true the specific terms are not found in the New Testament text, the meanings they convey are certainly found there.  Therefore, it is speaking as the “oracles of God” to use such identifying terms concerning the teachings and practices of  churches (1 Pet. 4:11).  Allow me to illustrate.

For example, the term “gospel meeting” is not specifically found in the New Testament, but what the term describes - meetings of the church at which the gospel is preached - is certainly found in therein (Acts 5:12, 42; 11:26; 19:9). Therefore, it is not unscriptural to speak of a “gospel meeting” being held by a particular church  - it is to speak as the “oracles of God.”

In like manner, the use of the terms “conservative” and “liberal” help identify what a congregation teaches and practices.  A conservative church “conserves” the apostolic authority regarding the work and worship of the local church (Col. 3:17; 1 Cor. 4:6, 17).  A “liberal” church, on the other hand, has not restricted itself to the authority of the Bible in its teachings and/or practices.  (Liberal is defined as “broad-minded, especially not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or traditional forms,” Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary).  Hence, churches which introduce innovations in worship (such as the use of instrumental music) and/or local church work (such as the social gospel) are “liberal” in reference to New Testament authority.  Churches which oppose such things as the use of instrumental music in worship, the social gospel, general benevolence from the church treasury, church support of human institutions, the sponsoring church arrangement, etc. are “conservative” - they oppose and reject innovations which “go beyond” the doctrine of Christ (2 Jno. 9); which constitute a “different gospel” from the apostolic doctrine of the New Testament (Gal. 1:6-9); and which do not follow the “pattern of sound words” given in Scripture (2 Tim. 1:13; Phil. 3:17).  Thus, to speak of “liberal” or “conservative” churches is not unscriptural – it correctly applies scriptural guidelines to help identify a congregation’s teaching and practice.  It is speaking as the “oracles of God.”

We might note that the term “denominational” church is not found in the Bible, either.  But, by that church’s alliance with a denominational body and/or its denominational teaching, it is proper and scriptural to identify it as a “denominational” church.  The principle that we know a person by his fruits is true of churches, too (Matt. 7:17-20).  To properly and factually describe a church’s fruit is certainly to speak as the oracles of God (1 Pet. 4:11).

Any church of Christ in the Bible that was faithful to the word of Christ and did not go beyond the doctrine of Christ was “conservative” in the sense that, like the church in Philadelphia, it “kept My word, and have not denied My name” (Rev. 3:8).

Christ said He will cut off His fellowship from the church that continues in false teaching and/or sinful practices (“remove your candlestick” refers to the removal of fellowship, see Rev. 2:5, 1; 1:12-13).  When an entire group of Christians (a congregation) falls away from the faith it has not remained in “the faith” that was once for all delivered to the saints (1 Tim. 4:1-3; Jude 3; John 8:31-32).  Truly, such are no longer faithful disciples of Jesus (Jno. 8:31; 14:23-24).  We can have no confidence of being in fellowship with Christ if we are not careful to “keep His commandments” - doing all things by His authority (1 Jno. 2:3-5; Col. 3:17).


You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS

Things to be in 2003

Scripture Reading:  Psalm 65

1.  The gospel calls us to excellence (Rom. 12:1-2; 1 Cor. 15:58; Phil. 3:12-14).
2.  As we leave 2002 behind & anticipate a new year, there are improvements to be made.  I NEED…

I.  TO BE MORE INVOLVED IN THE LORD’S WORK - Jas. 1:22-25; Eph. 5:16; Gal. 6:10.

II.  TO BE MORE DEDICATED TO OUR MISSION - Eccl. 12:13; Matt. 6:24, 33; Phil. 3:12-14.

III.  TO BE MORE AWARE OF THE DANGERS OF SIN - 2 Cor. 2:11; 1 Pet. 5:8.

  1.  Materialism - Col. 3:5; 1 Tim. 6:17-19.
  2.  Immorality - Titus 2:11-12.
  3.  False doctrine - Matt. 7:15; 2 Cor. 11:3-4.

IV.  MORE RECOGNITION OF WHO I AM - 1 Pet. 2:9, 11-12; 1:15-16 (Eph. 5:7-8).

V.   MORE ASSOCIATION WITH THE WORD OF GOD - 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Rom. 1:17.

VI.  MORE COMPASSION FOR THE LOST - Matt. 9:35-38; Lk. 15:20; Matt. 18:27.

VII. MORE INCLINATION TO SERVE OTHERS - Matt. 20:25-28; Gal. 5:13; 1 Cor. 9:19.

  1.  As a spouse, I need to be more understanding (1 Pet. 3:7).
  2.  As a parent, I need to be more patient (Col. 3:21).
  3.  As a child, I need to be more respectful of my parents & adults (Col. 3:20).

VIII. MORE LOVE (that honors God & man, Mk. 12:30-31) - 1 Cor. 13:1-3, 4-7, 8, 13.

IX. TO BE MORE LIKE JESUS - Lk. 6:40;  1 Pet. 2:21; Matt. 11:29.


You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS

Bible Question Box

Scripture Reading:  Revelation 5:8-14

·   Is it scriptural to pray to Jesus?

  1.  Disagreement among brethren on the subject.  We certainly won’t settle every issue tonight!
  2.  Balance is necessary in order to avoid extremes.
  3.  Consistency & harmony of scriptures crucial.
  4.  We can conclude that, while not demanding that we pray to Jesus, the scriptures allow for the action.
  5.  Conscience of brethren must be respected in the absence of an exclusive pattern (Rom. 14).


  A.  “Jesus Taught Disciples to Pray to God, the Father” – Matt. 6:9; Jno. 15:16.  {Apostles? – Acts 1:24; 2 Cor. 12:8-10; Rev. 22:20; cf. Acts 7:59-60}

    1.  Matt. 6:9 – Teaches us to  acknowledge/respect the paternity of God.  (cf. Isa. 9:6)
    2.  cf. Jno. 4:23 & Matt. 28:9; Matt. 6:9; Acts 1:24.

-Since we have evidence that prayers were, at times, addressed to the Son, we can’t establish an exclusively binding pattern of the Father only.

  B.  “We are to Pray in the Name of Christ to God the Father” – Jno. 15:16; 16:23-24.

    1.  Not liturgical formula for prayer (Matt. 28:19).
    2.  Recognition of Christ’s authority (Col. 3:17).

  C.  “Jesus is Our Mediator – We Go to the Father Through Him.”  1 Tim. 2:5-6; Eph. 2:18; Heb. 7:25.


  A.  Jesus is God (Deity).  Acts 1:24, 29
  B.  The Lamb of God is Worshiped With Songs and Prayers – Rev. 5:8-10, 11-13.
  C.  The Lord was Petitioned For Relief by Paul – 2 Cor. 12:8-10 (1:2).


  A.  No, Not Demanded, But the Scriptural Evidence Shows it to be Allowable - Rm.14:23,3.

Conclusion – Promote brotherly kindness & unity (Eph. 4:1-3).


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Playing God
Joe R. Price

A chemist declared today that a human clone had been produced: the world’s first cloned baby.  Brigitte Boisselier, chief executive of Clonaid, said the 7-pound girl has been nicknamed “Eve”.  Many scientists are skeptical.  We continue to be distressed over the foolishness and arrogance of man on display here.

Foolishness, because so many people refuse to know the true and living God (Rom. 1:20-23).  Instead, they trust in foolish and futile replacements.  Clonaid illustrates the point:

“Clonaid was founded in the Bahamas in 1997 by Claude Vorilhon, a former French journalist and leader of a sect called the Raelians.  Vorilhon, who calls himself Rael, claims a space alien visiting him in 1973 revealed that extraterrestrials had created all life on Earth through genetic engineering.”  (“Company Claims Birth of Human Clone,” Malcolm Ritter, AP Science Writer, Dec. 27, 2002)

Boisselier says she is a Raelian “bishop” and that “Clonaid retains philosophical but not economic links to the Raelians.  Rael is Boisselier’s “spiritual leader.”  “I do believe we've been created by scientists,” she said.  “And I'm grateful to them for my life” (Ibid.).  Is that foolish enough for you?!  

Arrogance, inasmuch as man continues to elevate himself to the position of God.  The chemist Boisselier said “If my science is giving babies to parents who have been dying to get one with their own genes, is my science worse than the one preparing bombs to kill people?…I am creating life.”  (Ibid.)  She fails to mention that life (fertilized embryos) is destroyed in the process.  Thankfully, not everyone sees it the Clonaid’s way:

“The very attempt to clone a human being is evil,” said Stanley M. Hauerwas, a professor of theological ethics at Duke University. “That the allegedly cloned child is to be called Eve confirms the god-like stature these people so desperately seek.”  (Ibid.)

Like the ancient tower builders who sought to “make a name” for themselves, these modern-day Babel builders arrogate themselves above God who “gives to all life, breath, and all things” (Gen. 11:4; Acts 17:25; Isa. 42:5; Zech. 12:1).  And, like their predecessors, the conceit of these present-day rebels will finally be their undoing (Gen. 11:5-9).

The power of life is in the hand of God, our Creator and Sustainer (Gen. 1:27; Psa. 139:14; Acts 17:28).  We ought to seek Him, not the arrogant foolishness of those “corrupted in mind and bereft of the truth”, who trust in what is “falsely called knowledge” (1 Tim. 6:5, 20).


Created by Chuck Sibbing.  12/28/2002

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