1 Corinthians 13:10 is a passage often abused the Church of Christ. The verse reads as follows:
But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
According to the hardline Church of Christ this verse is about the completion of Scripture. It’s often used by the hardline Church of Christ to prove that certain Spiritual gifts have ceased ‘with the canonization of Scripture’.
The truth is Paul was not speaking of a ‘bible’ at all. The context for one is about love. Secondly, the perfection to come is when we see ‘face to face’ and no longer through a darken glass. We know in part in this lifetime but when we are ‘face to face’ we will know everything. This is not speaking about a bible but a life beyond this life.
My inside people tell me that he doesn’t come to our blogs anymore because he doesn’t want his people at ‘his Church’ to see another side other than what he teaches. Most, in fact, are not even aware of the division within the hardline Church of Christ, nor do they know that a progressive Church of Christ exist which are not legalistic. Well, that’s fine. My point here is to refute his “false teachings” (to use his lingo), and if he doesn’t want to come and defend his doctrine, that’s his prerogative.
I’ve decided that it’s too exhausting to try and watch and review each of their programs, as much as I enjoy picking their flimsy arguments apart with little defense from their side. So, the blog is going to go a little more generalized, where we will watch what they teach on ALL fronts – from their blogs to their websites ( oh they took them down hmm) to their radio and TV broadcasts, and we’ll be commenting on those things. Now, lest they think they’ve somehow claimed a “victory” by driving us away – we’re not going away, just changing things up a bit from the 2006 blog. I hear he has ran to Rocky Mount in hopes to find people unaware of their tactics.
That being said, if anyone would like to make a specific comment on something one of the “false teachers” teaches on one of their broadcasts, please feel free to add it as a comment and I’ll make a new post using your comments.
Let’s talk about a type of interpretive method common in hardline Churches of Christ (and definitely used in Johnny Robertson’s and James Oldfield’s television broadcasts). It basically states – every practice, thought, and value we hold must find within the New Testament (they excluded the Old Testament because they are Marcionites…oops…I mean because they are the Church under the NT constitution and not the OT – Israel’s constitution) a clear command, example, or necessary inference. If one of these three cannot be found, then what we are doing is considered “unauthorized” and thus a sin. This is how acappella Churches of Christ justify their doctrine when it comes to opposing musical instruments.
This interpretive method has been called PATTERNISM – the belief that there is a specific pattern (think…”BEHOLD THE PATTERN”) given to us in Scripture and there cannot be any deviation to be the true church (note that language…”true church”…ouch).
It seems to me that this interpretive method (patternism) falls under its own weight. No where do we see Jesus or the apostles adopting command, example, and necessary inference as their interpretive lens with their Scripture…thus it lacks a clear command, example, and necessary inference (e.g., Jesus’ participation in the synagogue, feast of Dedication…all of which have no “command, example, or necessary inference in the OT).
This interpretive method simply does not take seriously the complexity of many biblical passages. Command, example, and necessary inference do not contend with things that are cultural, things that are situationally-specific, or things that are coincidental in nature. For example, the NT clearly commands us to wash one another’s feet, greet each other with a holy kiss, and for women to wear head-veils. Yet, at least in how we actually lived, we never followed any of these very clear and direct commands! Why? We judged them to be culturally conditioned and not applicable to our day and age. Or, what about the fact that when the Bible tells us by example that there were seven deacons in the Church in Jerusalem according to Acts 6. We have no other mention of the number of deacons a Church ought to have. Does that mean that the Church can only have seven deacons because it is the only example we have? In this we have judged that the Acts 6 passage is situationally-specific. Or what about the fact that when the location of communion is mentioned in the New Testament, it is always in an upper room? No where do we read about the church taking communion on the first floor (at least not explicitly). In this we have said that this is simply coincidental.
In the end, I would say patternism has much that it lacks in regards to understanding and applying the Bible.
What the hardline Church of Christ today calls “Worship Service”, is neither worship, NOR is it service, but it is a ceremony that they act out every Wednesday & Sunday when they go to their Church building and sing songs of their pleasure, and listen to sermons ran by a one-man-show. Matter of fact, there isn’t a such thing in Scripture as the “Worship Service”, The whole concept called “Worship Service” is man-made.
The Church model in Acts is far removed from modern Church… no pulpit, no altar, no pews, no one man running things, no offering plate passed about, to name a few, were part of the early Church. Organized Church, as we see it today, spawned from Constantine. The hardline Church of Christ profess t not be a denomination yet their building mirrror the model of every other denomination.
It is certainly NOT worship, and it is definitely not service when we meet in our countless denominational buildings. Before I am taken wrongly, I am not condemning meeting in buildings. My beef is the hardline Church of Christ who give more homage to their buildings than they care to admit.
True Service is to offer your BODY as a living sacrifice to GOD, EVERY SINGLE DAY and to be abiding in JESUS. It is the complete transformation of the heart and of the mind. True worship is to OBEY THE LORD JESUS FULLY EVERY SINGLE DAY, IT IS NOT ABOUT OUR MAN-MADE CEREMONY nor about man-made organization built on personal understandings of what each denomination thinks the bible to teach which we divide into countless denominations, all professing to teach the truth yet each contrary to the other. May God unite us, is my prayer, and may God show the hardline Church of Christ that they too are a denomination.
You can BET that if the hardline Church of Christ says; “Come to our Worship Service” that they are talking about the ceremony that they are proceeding to engage in. It is NOT about a relationship with Jesus for them, it is about a fraudulent ceremony.
There are lots of people visiting this blog now, and I don’t know who you all are, but you might be interested what roads to NOT go down when you are discussing the Bible with a hardline Church of Christ person.
When discussing denominations, don’t mention that John the Baptist is the proof of the Baptist denomination being found in the Bible. The hardline Church of Christ people will rightly tell you that “Baptist” was not the name of a church, but the activity of John. He was a baptizer, not a “Baptist” as in the originator of the Baptist church. This is a tree that just doesn’t need to be barked up. To my amazement, I have heard some people actually use John the Baptist to validate the Baptist Church.
The Church of Christ is a denomination. Now, they’ll say that they don’t have an organization, but I disagree, especially when you go to one of their websites and see that they advertise and link up with each other. It seems like at the least, the hardline Churches of Christ in this part of Virginia and North Carolina are “united in their adherence to their beliefs and practices.” Now, if that definition falls apart, look at the definition of “denominating” – to give a name to.
But, anyway, that’s a can of worms that they’ll be ready to answer should you decide to jump in.
The hardline Church of Christ have their arguments all lined up like ducks in a row re: this topic, and they’ll be ready to shoot down anything you say that disagrees with their interpretation of Scripture. So, if you’re going to get into this one, be prepared.
Musical Instruments in Worship
This was what first got me involved in conversations with our local hardline Church of Christ. I made the rookie mistake of calling up and talking about Psalm 150, which discusses the use of musical instruments in worship. Well, the hardline Church of Christ response to this is swift and merciless: that in the New Testament, the church wasn’t given permission to use instruments, so although the Old Testament has a number of examples of the use of musical instruments in worship, we aren’t allowed, and to do so is sin, according to the hardline Church of Christ view.
Now, also, if you mention the “psalms” of Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16, they’ll say that the word “psalms” (which in the Greek is from psalmos, “striking chords on a musical instrumet”) is indicating something that should go on in the heart – a striking of the chords on the strings of your heart. A bit of a stretch, but that’s fine. I will address this in future post.
See, if your interpretation of this passage is different than theirs, you are in sin and not saved. All because we’ve not been given permission in a way that satisfies their interpretation.
You can see where this is going. Anyone have anything to contribute?
The local hardline Church of Christ done a show called “God Calling Your Pastor”, and their thesis seemed to be that we shouldn’t just take a pastor’s word at face value. As their example, they referenced a local Baptist pastor, the pastor of Fairview Baptist in Gretna (a nearby community), who spoke about Cornelius and Peter in Acts 10 at his church. That pastor apparently talked about how Cornelius needed Peter to come and confirm the vision that Cornelius had, and how that is a picture of the way of things today, that if you have a vision, you need the pastor to come and confirm it. The hardline Church of Christ disagreed with this, and called into question the “calling” of pastors in the first place.
Now, I agree with the point that the hardline Church of Christ seemed to be making. I think that one of the biggest problems in the Church today is that we have pastors saying “God told me this” and “God told me that”, but pulling what God “told them” out of thin air. This is why we so often get ministers living in the lap of luxury – because they use their power to take advantage of others.
I agree with the hardline Church of Christ assessment of many of these pastors, and I think Jesus’ warning regarding false prophets in Matthew 7 is directly applicable to many of these men (and women): “by their fruits ye shall know them.”
But, I have an admonition for the hardline Church of Christ, too:
Be careful, that you aren’t doing like the lady in the picture below!
You see, I’ve known dozens of pastors in my day, in dozens of different denominations, and most all of the ones I’ve known have been men who didn’t presume to speak for God, but they pretty much across the board let God speak for Himself through His Word. Their interpretations of some things might be different, but their desire to be pleasing to God, and to stay true to what He says was sound.
The only real criticism I have is that the hardline Church of Christ seem to be acting in a rather disingenuous way with the folks at Fairview Baptist. First, they had their patented sneaky camera along, and apparently the good folks at Fairview treated him too kindly to get any good footage for the ardline Church of Christ. Second, in the snippet that the hardline Church of Christ played of them addressing the congregation there, they sounded almost ecumenical. They certainly didn’t sound the same as they did in the studio when they said about that same congregation, “we don’t think they are worshiping God.”
And the hardline Church of Christ wonders why they have to go all the way to Los Angeles to find a pastor willing to debate them? Truth is, people in Martinsville long ago learned to avoid the tactics of the hardline Church of Christ.
And you know, I think that it was interesting that at the beginning of the hardline Church of Christ program, they referenced 1 Peter 3:15 as his reason for going after folks the way he does. To remind you, that verse says, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [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.”
It seems like many in the hardline Church of Christ, when they go after these guys, are not being obedient to this Scripture. They’ve taken it upon themselves to force men to give an answer. As if their Bible says, “and [be] ready always to get an answer from every man…”
Does your Bible say that?