VIEWPOINTS

SILENCE OF THE SCRIPTURES

SILENCE OF THE SCRIPTURES
by Troy Spradlin
   As almost any parent will attest, when there is silence in a house full of playing children, that is usually a sign of trouble! As children become teenagers, they sometimes give their parents “the silent treatment.” This, too, is not usually a good sign. Well, the Bible is also silent in some areas and when people begin to manipulate that silence, it is not usually a good thing. Silence within the Scriptures is a common argument many like to use to justify various doctrinal beliefs. It is essentially the idea that if the Bible does not explicitly prohibit something, then it must be permissible. This faulty thinking can be easily exposed as error with just a few, rather simple, logical refutations and examples.
    Perhaps, the most popular example of using silence of the Scriptures as permission is in connection with worship. It has often been stated, “The Bible does not prohibit the use of musical instruments in the worship of the church, so there is nothing wrong with having them.” While this is a true statement, we must remember that the Bible doesn’t specifically prohibit the use of cake and milk in the Lord’s Supper either, but no one would suggest that should be acceptable. Jesus clearly stated what should be used. If God tells us what he wants, then it is not necessary to list everything and all that He does not want. To do so would be extremely difficult just in the printing alone for it would require thousands upon thousands of pages to be added to the Bible. God says very clearly what His will is and that is sufficient. That is why Noah only used gopher wood to build the ark and not pine, or cedar, or some other type of wood (Genesis 6:14). God did not say he was prohibited from using other wood types, He simply stated what the only acceptable material would be, gopherwood.
    We certainly understand this kind of thinking. To say otherwise is rather foolish. Consider an everyday occurrence where this same logic can be applied. Suppose a mother gives her child money to go to the store to buy milk and bread, what is that child supposed to do? Buy milk and bread. Does he understand that he can buy only those items and nothing more? Does that child have the right to buy anything extra that they want, because after all, mother did not say they couldn’t? You know the answer. You also know that the child would suffer consequences if they disobeyed by not following the mother’s commands to the letter. Or, what about a waiter in a restaurant? Does a waiter have the right to change your order since you didn’t say he couldn’t? You order steak and potatoes and he decides to bring you beef jerky and chips. They are the same thing, just in a different form. Do you see where we are going with this? Silence, or the lack of explicit prohibition does not equate to permission. Silence of the Scripture does not equate to Permission!
    The Bible states very clearly that singing is to be used among Christians and examples are given (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 14:15; Matthew 26:30; James 5:13). The question of does silence equate to permission can be answered by looking at the Bible itself. God has not been silent regarding the silence principle. In Deuteronomy 4:2 and Revelation 22:18,19 He said, “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.” – TS


MEET THE SHANAHANS

MEET THE SHANAHANS
 
    Scott and Rebecca Shanahan have been serving as foreign evangelists since 2005. They spent twelve years serving the Lord and preaching the Gospel on the Pacific islands of Pohnpei, Kosrae and Chuuk. With the Lord’s help they baptized more than one hundred souls and planted two congregations. Scott and Rebecca speak the Pohnpeian language fluently. The vast majority of their teaching was done in the local language. The Shanahans preached the Gospel through: Gospel meetings, one on one in home Bible studies, a weekly radio program, Bible college classes, Vacation Bible Schools, and regular church meetings. While it would be impossible to state the exact number, it is safe to say that through their efforts thousands of people in Micronesia have heard the Gospel and been introduced to the church of Christ.    
    Scott was born in Nashua, New Hampshire, but grew up in Massachusetts. After serving three years in the United States Navy, he moved to Georgia where he was first invited to worship at the Forest Park church of Christ. Some of the members studied with him for a few weeks and he was baptized into Christ. He decided to become a full time missionary after going on a mission trip to Fiji. In July of 2002, he enrolled in the East Tennessee School of Preaching and Missions in Karns, TN. He married Rebecca (nee Wesson) while attending school and almost immediately after their wedding, they were contacted by the McDonough GA congregation to see if they were interested in working in Micronesia. They took a survey trip in October of 2003 and then decided to move to Pohnpei.
    Rebecca was born in upstate New York to Jim and Dianne Wesson. She lived in Tennessee from the time she was five until she and Scott moved to Georgia to raise funds for the Pohnpei work. Her father has been a Gospel preacher for over forty years. He currently preaches for the LaFollette TN congregation where he has preached since 2002. Rebecca is a graduate of Freed-Hardeman University receiving the Bachelor of Arts in Child and Family Studies, with honors.
    The Shanahan’s welcomed their daughter, Violet, into the world in 2013. After the birth of Violet they committed to the work in Pohnpei for an additional four years. While thinking about what the future held they heard that Ryan and Kelly O’Rourke were leaving the field in Galway, Ireland and were looking for replacements. Because of Scott’s Irish ancestry (all of his great-grandparents, except one, were born in Ireland) he was very interested in the work there. After much prayer the Shanahans decided that they would leave Pohnpei in 2017 and move to Galway in January of 2018. The Shanahans arrived in Ireland in January of 2018 and were blessed to conduct several Bible studies with: Irish, American, Brazilian, Nigerian and German non-Christians. They saw the worship attendance rise from an average of 8 upon their arrival to consistently over 20. They were blessed to baptize one individual into Christ.
    Just after their arrival, the Irish government released new regulations governing immigration for ministers of religion which disallows churches the size of the church of Christ to have foreign workers. The Shanahans were heartbroken by this news, but fully trusted in God’s providence to help them find a new work where they can share His word with the lost. God provided with a possibility of working in Italy! They began researching the work in Italy to answer two questions: Is there a need for the Shanahans in Italy? And, can they get a visa to live and work there? A trip to Italy answered both questions with a resounding, yes! There are some congregations of the Lord’s church in Italy, but by and large they are very weak and are on life support. In the city of Rome, which has a population of nearly four million people, there is only one congregation. They have a membership of about forty people and, most shocking, there were no children in attendance! How long can a congregation with no children continue to exist? Other cities in Italy have similar situations when it comes to congregations of the Lord’s church. The Shanahans are very excited about the work in Italy and believe that their experience, zeal for the lost, and ability to work with other cultures will enable them to help the desperate situation that exists in the country. The Shanahans have already begun a study of the Italian language and are confident that they will be able to share the Gospel with others in the language very soon. All they are lacking is an overseeing congregation to send them to the field. They are hopeful that Margaret Street will answer the call and help them to get to the field as soon as possible.


ARE YOU CALLING GOD A LIAR?

ARE YOU CALLING GOD A LIAR?
by Troy Spradlin
   In a recording I heard from 2006, a well-known preacher of a Church of Christ in North Texas claimed that the Holy Spirit had spoken directly to him while he was preaching a sermon. Could that be true? Is that even possible? Many denominational preachers make that claim all the time. Are they being honest? I have friends and acquaintances who have told me plainly and with all sincerity that God has spoken to them. Really? I’ve also read in the Bible where God or Jesus has, indeed, spoken directly to people, such as Samuel in the Old Testament (1 Samuel 3:9-11) and Paul in the New Testament (Acts 9:4-6). So, is it possible that God might speak to me one day? Is Jesus going to appear before me? Will the Holy Spirit guide me somehow, by speaking directly to me? How will I know?
   If you have been a Christian for any length of time, no doubt you have heard these claims. Perhaps, you’ve even asked yourself some of these same questions. What is the answer to all this? Let me share another experience with you. During a Bible study one evening, a very nice and chatty lady told me that God had spoken to her. She explained that He had revealed to her the true meaning of the Book of Revelation and other things. My eyebrows raised on my forehead, I smiled and simply said, “Interesting. Would you turn to Hebrews 1 and read verses 1 and 2 for me, please?” She agreed and proceeded to read the verses. But, before she finished the last few words, she suddenly stopped and said very sternly, “Are you calling me a liar!!” I was startled at her response, but then calmly replied, “Ma’am, I’m not calling you anything. But, I’m certainly not going to call God a liar.” Sadly, she ended the study right there and decided to leave. Perhaps, I could have handled the scenario better, but I simply took her to the Bible (her own Bible that she held in her hand) and let it speak for itself. She drew the conclusion for herself. Isn’t that what we are supposed to do when we read the Bible for ourselves?
   Consider carefully the words of the verse, “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,” (Hebrews 1:1). The word “spoke” is in the past tense meaning it is a completed action, while “times past” confirms when it was completed. It is not written in the present tense nor the perfect tense which would both indicate that God continues to do this today. Instead, it very plainly conveys that it is something that God used to do. The sentiment is further clarified by the following clause, “but in these last days has spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things,” (1:2). The presence of the conjunction “but” indicates a contrasting scenario. He no longer does that, or we might say, “He used to do it that way, but He has since done it this way.” The past tense used in the second clause, “has spoken,” is also a completed action, signifying God not only has ceased speaking to man by prophets, but is also finished speaking to man through His Son.
   Add to the fact that the Bible also states that our faith “was once for all delivered to the saints,” (Jude 3) which affirms Peter’s statement that we have been given “all things that pertain to life and godliness,” (2 Peter 1:3). Those verses express the finality of Scripture. 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 includes the end of miraculous gifts. Therefore, if we have everything we need within the Bible, then there is no longer a reason for God to speak directly to us. We have the Bible, so we need nothing more. No additional prophecy or special revelation is necessary, it is fully complete.
   Considering that Titus 1:2 says God cannot lie, aren’t we calling God a liar if we say He has spoken to us (directly or by Spirit) after it has been stated very plainly in the Bible that He no longer does that?


GOD HAS A PURPOSE FOR YOUR LIFE?

GOD HAS A PURPOSE FOR YOUR LIFE?
by Troy Spradlin
   Most of us have heard the phrase, “God has a purpose for your life.” Sometimes, we even question or try to discern exactly what God intends for us. Perhaps, a loved one, a friend, or even someone on television has stated that everyone has a purpose in this world, so we need to find it and adhere to it in order to please God. In reality, this quest for discovering our “purpose” stems from the age-old question of man asking himself, “Why am I here on this earth?”
   Have you ever considered if there actually IS a specific reason, or purpose you are here? If so, what is it? Is it true that each individual has a determined purpose that they alone must fulfill? To add to the confusion, a wildly popular book titled, “The Purpose Driven Life” was published in 2002 by Rick Warren. It sold more than 30 million copies within the first few years and has had a major influence on beliefs of not only our denominational friends, but also the mindset of members of the Lord’s church. Unfortunately, it has had a negative influence because it espouses an ideology not completely consistent with the Bible. I’m not going to use this space to go into a deep theological critique of Warren’s book, (see me personally if you need more details) but suffice it to say he quite often incorrectly cites verses from the Bible to justify his erroneous doctrine. In other words, he does not “rightly divide the word of God,” (2 Timothy 2:15). Instead of listening to what some man has to say, why not just consider what God says, directly from His word?
   First of all, there is no verse anywhere in the Bible that says God has a singular plan or purpose for each and every individual on the planet. In fact, what is said is “there is no partiality with God,” (Romans 2:11). This would certainly indicate that God expects the same from every single person and not some unique objective for every human being. That is why the apostle Paul said, “God commands all men everywhere to repent,” (Acts 17:30) and went on to write that God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth,” (1 Timothy 2:4). So, instead of an exclusive purpose for each individual, there is a specific expectation for the entire human race.
   Second, the wisest man that ever lived stated this, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all,” (Ecclesiastes 12:13 – NKJV). The last part of that verse has been translated in other versions as, “for this is the duty of all mankind,” (NIV); “this is the whole duty of man,” (ASV, ESV, KJV); “because this is all that we were created for,” (GNB); and “This is what life is all about,” (CEV). Is that not perfectly clear enough for us to understand? We were created for one very specific purpose and nothing more – to bring glory to God. His intention for you, the reason why you are here, and your purpose on this earth, is to simply, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength and love your neighbor as yourself,” (Mark 12:30-31).


SEEING SOULS

SEEING SOULS
by Troy Spradlin
   I believe most Christians understand what evangelism is. We wouldn’t be Christians if someone hadn’t evangelized us. I also believe most Christians understand that evangelism is a duty commanded by our Lord Jesus that must be executed by each of His disciples (Matthew 28:19,20). We understand that it is communicating the Gospel message, that Good News about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). We understand that it is about saving one from the condemnation of sin, to the glory of eternal life (Matthew 25:46; Romans 6:23). However, do we all truly understand that the Gospel is for every single person? Do we honestly want to see everyone saved? I’m sure your answer is, “Yes!” at this moment, especially if you are genuinely concerned about evangelizing the lost.
   Nevertheless, even the most dedicated evangelist can lose sight of the objective, if they aren’t careful. Think about this, when someone on the road cuts you off, rather abruptly and rudely in traffic, do you suddenly think to yourself, “I need to evangelize that poor soul!” Or, do you get upset and focus on their worldly actions, instead of their spiritual needs? Most of us will get upset. What about your next-door neighbors? How many times have you waved, smiled, or even greeted them over the years, but have never invited them to church? Aren’t you concerned about their soul just as much as any other? How about the girl at the checkout counter you see every other day? The boy who changes your oil at the garage? The mailman? Your hairdresser? Your waitress? Your _______ … this list is almost endless. Are we truly concerned about all those people’s souls? If so, then why aren’t we talking to them about Jesus?
   The trouble with fulfilling the Great Commission is this, although it is a Christian’s duty, many often feel it is only that, a duty and nothing more. We don’t seem to sense the urgency to rescue those around us. We don’t genuinely see their souls in danger. Most often, it’s because we are not be thinking about their souls! Brethren, we need to train ourselves to always see souls! Paul wrote that “There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil,” (Romans 2:9) Every soul. This implies that we must warn people about that danger! Paul goes on to say, “but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God.” (Romans 2:10-11). Everyone means every single soul. It doesn’t matter what their socio-economic status is, what their religious background is, or what their political affiliation is, there is no picking and choosing, no bias is to be considered. We must simply see everyone’s soul as one that is in need of being saved!
   I need to improve this area of my life. I’m going to start focusing more on seeing souls everywhere. I’m going to make an effort to start a religious conversation with everyone I meet, somehow, someway. That’s what Jesus expects of me and I’m running out of time. How about you? Will you start seeing souls? – TS


WHY ARE SOME VERSES MISSING?

WHY ARE SOME VERSES MISSING?
By Troy Spradlin
Pick up your Bible and turn to Acts 8:37. Is it missing? In most modern Bible versions, it is not there. Sometimes, depending on the version you have, even the verse number is skipped over. Now look at Matthew 17:21, 18:11; and Mark 7:16. Were they missing, also? There are many others we could list here which are like these, often having a footnote that reads, “The oldest manuscripts do not contain this verse.” Or, perhaps, “the earliest and better manuscripts exclude this verse.” Hopefully, your Bible has these footnotes (some don’t)! Have you ever wondered, “Why?” Why do some versions of the Bible leave out some verses while others do not? While the full answer is rather long and complicated, let’s see if we can answer that question in a more simplified manner.
 
The first thing we need to acknowledge is that there exists, essentially, two major collections of ancient Greek manuscripts from which all scholars have used to translate every version of the Bible. The first collection (also called “text-types,” “text witnesses,” or “text families”), was discovered primarily around Antioch of Syria, while another body of manuscripts was discovered hundreds of years later around Alexandria in Egypt. A manuscript, from the Latin words manu (hand) and scriptum (written), is any ancient book, codex, scroll, or fragment, that contains written portions of the Bible on it. There are more than 5,700 Greek manuscripts that have been discovered and cataloged, each being a copy of its original exemplar. No originals have ever been found.
 
The second point to recognize is that all New Testament translations produced from the Reformation Period until recently were made from the Antioch text family, which is also commonly referred to as the “Textus Receptus” (Latin for “Received Text”), or the Byzantine text family. This collection makes up about 95% of all the manuscripts ever discovered. The King James Version (KJV), ASV, and NKJV were all translated from the Antioch/Byzantine collection. In 1880, however, the Alexandrian manuscript collection began taking prominence among scholars and translators. Since the manuscripts in the Alexandria text group are older (circa 100 to 200 AD), than the Antioch text group (circa 300 to 1200 AD), it is commonly believed to be more superior, because “it is closer in time to the originals.” Today, all modern versions of the Bible are exclusively translated from the Alexandrian text. These include the NIV, ESV, ISV, RSV, CEV, ERV, NLT* and many more. If you have one of these, the verses missing in your Bible are not there because the Alexandrian manuscript collection does not contain those verses. That is why they are left out. Earlier Bibles translated from, or with, the Antioch collection do include those verses. (The NASB uses brackets, insead of footnotes, to identify the questionable vers).
 
However, an older text doesn’t necessarily mean it is more correct, or superior! Considering that all the original letters and first copies originated in and around the region of Antioch and then later would have been carried to Alexandria, means that location of discovery should have a bearing on a manuscript’s veracity. None of the Bible’s inspired writers were based in Egypt! There are thousands more copies in the Antioch group than in the Alexandrian because the majority of the early churches were founded in the region of Antioch. The fact is, no one knows exactly which one is perfectly correct. It is a mistake and grossly irresponsible for translators to think they should rely solely on one manuscript family, while excluding the other. If a verse exists in a verified manuscript (and all those missing verses have many manuscripts to support them) then, the translators should just include it in every version! Something to think about!
 
*(If you do an Internet search of these letters, followed by the word “Bible,” it will explain which version it is.)


THE MARKS OF JESUS

THE MARKS OF JESUS
by Troy Spradlin
    Perhaps, you have heard the word “stigma” used in various phrases, such as, “Alcoholism carries a certain social stigmawith it.” Or, “There is no longer the same stigmaattached to being divorced.” We use the word to mean that there is a negative mark, or a sense of disgrace and shame to be associated with the object to which we are referring. But, did you know that the word is also used in a positive sense? The word “stigma” is actually a Greek word found in the New Testament. Depending on the translation you use, it is sometimes translated as “scars, marks, brand, or brand-mark.” Paul used this word to describe a certain characteristic about himself, “for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus,” (Galatians 6:17 – NKJV). Or, consider this rendering of the verse, “because I carry the scars of Jesus on my own body,” (ISV). What, exactly, is Paul saying here?
   In the context of the verse, Paul is denouncing those false teachers that were claiming one must first become a Jew in order to become a Christian. Their reasoning was this, since Jesus was a Jew, who was circumcised under the law, and that Christianity came to the Jews first through the Jews, then everyone who desires to be a Christian must first become a Jew. It was a big issue for those legalistic Judaizers of Paul’s time. But, their true motives were not pure. Paul is writing to help Christians understand that what really matters is not what we outwardly do in keeping the law, such as those religious ceremonies, but what God does within us – making us a new creation (Acts 2:47; Romans 6:1-6). Those bodily marks, or scars do not make you a Christian. What makes you a child of God is what happens within your heart.
   Most all of us have scars of some type on our bodies. We get them from accidents, surgeries, and even purposefully. We also get emotional scars when we experience heartache, trauma, or something similar. Scars serve as a reminder of a specific event within our personal history. Paul certainly had his share of bruises, injuries, and scars from all of his experiences and encounters (2 Corinthians 1:23-28). Jesus, Himself, bears the scars of His crucifixion in His hands, feet, and side (John 20:24-28). However, the “marks (scars) of the Lord Jesus” that Paul is referring to were not those scars similar to Jesus’ wounds, or even his own. Instead, these were marks that identified Paul as a follower of Jesus. In Paul’s time, slaves were branded upon their skin with the name of their master. The brand was a mark that showed ownership. In this passage, Paul is saying that the scars he received from the things he had suffered for Christ is a brand that identifies Jesus as his owner. Paul’s scars told a story, a story of an obedient servant. They were his stigma. In this case, it was more of a badge of honor, than a disgrace or shame.
   What about you? Do you bear the marks, the scars, of our Lord in your life? Do you have the stigma of being an obedient servant to Jesus Christ? I pray you do! TS


HISTORICALLY UNPRECEDENTED

HISTORICALLY UNPRECEDENTED
by Troy Spradlin
 
   Depending on which news outlet you tune into, there has been no shortage of positive and negative opinions espoused regarding the recent peace summit between President Trump and North Korea’s, Kim Jong Un. Whatever your stance may be, there has been one thing that all the news sources did agree upon, it was an historically unprecedented event. No one can argue that President Trump was able to do something that no other president before him was able to accomplish, whether it was a Republican or a Democrat. He managed to get a one-on-one meeting with the ruthless and reckless dictator of North Korea to at least sit down and discuss measures of peace. That is what makes the event truly historical and unprecedented. The outcome of the event could go on to save thousands, perhaps millions of lives, by avoiding a war.
   
   All of this reminded me about another historically unprecedented event that took place some 2000 years ago, with which the recent peace summit pales in comparison. Allow me to explain why. For thousands upon thousands of years before the major event I am referring to occurred, man had witnessed his fellow human being reach the end of their days and pass from this life, never to be seen or heard from again. Once a man died, that was it, there was no continuation of conversation, no more personal interaction, nor evidence of presence. He ceased to exist upon this earth. While painful and even dreadful at times, it was simply a fact of life. Until, “the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,” (Galatians 4:4). His Son came to this earth and became a human being, (John 1:14). He lived and breathed in the same manner that all humans do. Yet, He had a very specific purpose and different ending.
 
   Jesus stated, “I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me,” (John 6:38). He went on to say, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly,” (John 10:10). But the most shocking and significant statement He made was this, “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day,” (Luke 9:22). This is exactly what happened. Jesus was arrested, falsely accused and tried, then crucified to death upon a cruel cross. They took His lifeless body off of that cross and placed it in a tomb, just like they would for any man who had ever perished from such a fate. That typically, would be the end of the story. But then, an historically unprecedented event took place, Jesus arose from the dead!
 
   “He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once,” (1 Corinthians 15:5,6). No man had ever done that! No man will ever do that again! That’s what makes it unprecedented and historical. This is also why we call it the Gospel, which means “Good News!” The good news is, “by which also you are saved,” (1 Corinthians 15:2) This historically unprecedented event has gone on to save millions of lives and will continue to do so until the Lord comes again!


MISUNDERSTANDINGS

Misunderstanings
by Troy Spradlin

  People are often afraid of what they do not know or understand. They also frequently misunderstand that with which they are not familiar. This becomes especially apparent when listening to denominational preachers, or perusing some of their websites, which attempt to denounce the church of Christ. It usually doesn’t take long to identify blatant errors in their arguments and gross misrepresentations in their “facts.” They simply misunderstand what the church of Christ is about, where it came from, and what it practices. Personally, I find it rather humorous and ironic that a supposed “Bible scholar” of a denomination would ever attempt to fault a church that so openly states it bases everything it stands for on book, chapter, and verse of the Bible. One would think that those supposed scholars would have an appreciation for such a Biblical approach. Yet, they don’t understand what they don’t know.
   Paul dealt with this same issue during his time, also. He contended with those who desired “to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm,” (1 Timothy 1:7). He encouraged the faithful to, “no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart,” (Ephesians 4:17-18). We can see from these passages, this isn’t a new problem!
  For example, one such website, “Church of Christ Exposed!” stated that our headquarters was based in Cincinnati, Ohio. The web page also cited, Mead’s Denominational Handbook, which claims that the Church of Christ began in 1832 (also known then as the Christian Church and Disciples of Christ). However, both claims are based on faulty premises. No church of Christ, that practices New Testament Christianity, claims to have an earthly headquarters, nor having begun in 1832. The fact is this, we are simply trying to follow the example of the first century Christians as described in the Bible, nothing more, nothing less. We are not a new church, we are a continuation and replica of the original church. The church of Christ, as seen in the New Testament, is composed of the saved, gathered into autonomous congregations that make up the “body of Christ,” with Jesus as the head (Colossians 2:18). The Bible teaches there is no headquarters, nor a supreme leader upon this earth. That’s what we practice! The church Jesus established 2000 years ago is called the “church of Christ” (Romans 16:16). We did not begin in 1832, we began around AD33.
   What’s not to understand? If you have all the blueprints and details for a house that was constructed some 2000 years ago, could you not build that same exact house, to the same exact specifications and size as the original house – anywhere, at anytime in history? Why, YES, you certainly could. That is what we strive to do within the church of Christ. Furthermore, if Ephesians 4:4 is correct in that “there is one body and one faith,” then the multitude of denominational churches, with all their different traditions and doctrines, cannot possibly be the right church. We shouldn’t be surprised they don’t understand. Jesus said, “The gate is narrow and difficult is the way that leads to life and there are few who find it,” (Matthew 7:13,14).


MAY WE USE INSTRUMENTS IN WORSHIP?

MAY WE USE INSTRUMENTS IN WORSHIP?

by Troy Spradlin

   Most people are surprised by the lack of a band, or musical instruments, when they come to visit the church of Christ. By some, we are known as “that church that doesn’t use the piano.” For others, we are known as the church that sings a’cappellahymns in worship. In almost every case, it becomes a controversial subject. But, why? Why should it be that way? If we truly love God and we call ourselves Christians, shouldn’t we worship Him in the same manner as those first Christians did in the Bible? There, we find our first century brethren singing in every case. Not one single instrument is ever mentioned in worship.

   “But what about the Old T estament? There were instruments used in the temple!” might be the reply. Indeed, there were, but these were not what God had ordained. They were introduced into worship by man, a man named David, to be precise (Read 2 Chronicles 7:6; 29:25-27). We are under the New Testament now. Our worship is different than temple worship and, again, no instruments are mentioned.

   Here’s a thought. If God doesn’t reside in temples made with hands, nor is He worshiped with men’s hands (Acts 17:24,25) then, why would God want to listen to something man created (like an instrument) instead of what He, God, has created – that being man’s voice? Consider that point when someone says, “But I liketo hear musical instrumentsin worship.” It’s not about what we may want, but it is about what God wants. – TS