Category Archives: 2015 – Jan/Feb

The Do’s And Don’ts Of Preaching – Justin Hatton

Imagine that as you near the end of your life you wish to pass on final instructions to your close associate of many years, a young man who will carry on the work you began. That is the context of Paul’s second letter to Timothy. He is to soon be executed and he wishes to tell Timothy one last time the essentials for being a good Christian minister.

Especially relevant to the discussion is the passage found in 2 Tim. 2:23-26. Paul was an inspired apostle of God to the Gentiles.   Timothy, probably about 30 years old at this time, had grown up studying the scriptures (2 Tim. 3:14-15) and had been the personal assistant to Paul for probably 15 years. Imagine the knowledge he had concerning the gospel of Jesus Christ! That is why Paul instructs Timothy concerning this knowledge. As a good gospel minister with deep knowledge of God’s word, there is one thing that should not be done with that knowledge and one thing that should be done with that knowledge.

Paul first tells Timothy what not to do with his knowledge, namely, do not waste it on “foolish and ignorant questions” (2 Tim. 2:23). It must be readily admitted that there are many questions about the Christian faith which are legitimate. Yet it is also true and important to recognize that there are questions which we cannot answer or which we cannot satisfy everyone’s opinion. Unfortunately, by using mental effort and time in attempting to address these questions, we neglect answering the essential questions others may have concerning more relevant, answerable, and eternally consequential topics.

It is sad to see members of the Lord’s church debate over issues which matter only in their own minds and not in the greater scheme of eternity. They do not take the loving path of Paul who said he was at liberty to do as he pleased concerning the eating of meat but that if such offended a weaker brother, he would not eat meat (1 Cor. 8:13). Instead, on account of the debate over such issues, strife is created, the very thing which is warned against in 2 Tim. 2:23!

Paul next tells Timothy what to do with his knowledge, which was to teach it in a loving manner (2 Tim. 2:24-25). Notice the words that are used throughout the passage: “not strive”, “gentle”, “forbearing”, “in meekness.” It is not enough to teach others; the teaching must be done in love, just as all Christian works should be done (1 Cor. 13). When we teach in love, we will look at the one we are teaching as a lost soul and not someone to win to our side of the argument. We will not be striving to teach them that they are going to hell because of an incomplete understanding of scripture. Instead we will gently and meekly encourage them to reap the rewards of coming to a more accurate knowledge of that scripture.

Sadly, this is not how knowledge is gained in our world in spiritual or earthly matters. It seems that the ones who scream loudest in convincing others their way is right are the ones who get the attention. Such an environment makes it more difficult to teach the truth in a biblical manner.

There is one final thing Paul instructs Timothy concerning the scriptural knowledge obtained by the young man. He taught him that it is not the Christian’s place to forcibly make anyone believe anything. This is such a difficult fact to grasp. We may think it easy for someone to read the scriptures and clearly see that they teach this or that principle. But there are other factors that may influence the way another sees those same scriptures and thus the principles they believe it imparts to them. That’s why Paul writes that it is God who may give the repentance and that it is the opposing individual who delivers themselves from the snare of the devil (2 Tim. 2:25-26). The Christian minister may throw the “eternal life buoy” to a drowning sinner, but it is the decision of the sinner to cling to that buoy or not.

While we should always rejoice when we convert someone to a knowledge of the truth by taking a stand for the truth, we should still rejoice even when we don’t convert them. Did not the apostles defend the truth before the council in Acts 5:17-41? Yes. Did they convert any member of the council? No. Did they rejoice for their defense of the truth? Yes (Acts 5:41). So too should we rejoice even when we do not convert the other.

Let us all be encouraged to use the knowledge God has given us in those ways that glorify Him and do good for our fellow man. Anytime we use our knowledge simply to cause strife or turmoil, we do not please God…even if our knowledge is correct. By doing so, we ourselves may be “taken captive by him (the devil) to do his will” (2 Tim. 2:26).

jhatton06@gmail.com

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“To Him That Overcometh” – Scott Klaft

It’s an unfortunate fact that we of the modern era have a difficult time relating to Christians who lived in the first century in order to learn by their example. We can hardly relate to the generation that founded the United States just two hundred forty years ago, much less the vastly different culture in a distant part of the world nearly two thousand years ago. Thus, when we arrive at passages that speak of their “present distress” (1 Cor. 7:26) – i.e. the persecutions that came upon the early Christians at the aggression of the Jews and pagans – our minds almost subconsciously set aside the point being made as though it has no modern application.

No, we are not being arrested for believing in Jesus Christ or being thrown to the lions for sport…at least, not here, in the United States. Not yet. There is a universal principle, however, that we need to remember. Just as Paul called upon Timothy to remember his own example of enduring persecutions, naming several instances of them (cf. 2 Tim. 3:10, 11), he informs Timothy of an unchanging truism: “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12).

If we are not suffering some form of persecution for the faith, there is likely something wrong with our attempts at living “godly in Christ Jesus.” The evangelistic nature of our responsibility to “preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15), and to commit the teachings of the faith “to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2) inevitably causes some amount of conflict in our lives with people. Mentioning the exclusive nature of the church belonging to Christ – that it is the only religious group that even has a hope of being saved from the effects of sin – tends to rub people the wrong way when they do not accept the need for change. They don’t always want to hear what we have to say.

The devil’s persecution of those living godly today is a bit more subtle than it once was, but it is all the more effective. Our loved ones are being used against us. The laws of the civil government no longer have an appeal to a higher authority to establish right or wrong. The modern Christian struggles to maintain purity in their home. They have problems with modern dress-styles, music, television (programming and advertising), magazines, the forcible removal of religion from public schools and its curriculum; external conflicts with scoffers; internal conflicts within the church; multiple, but different, versions of the Bible causing confusion…the list is extensive.

In reality, the persecution against modern Christians is coming at them from every possible angle. Often this results in the individual Christian growing weak and potentially indifferent at the very least. Such indifference is not looked upon favorably by the Lord. He tells a congregation that had grown “lukewarm” that He would “spew them out” (Rev. 3:16). That is the picture of apostasy, right where the devil wants us.

All of the letters dictated by Jesus to the apostle John to the “seven churches of Asia” (Rev. 1:4) contain similar messages to each. The Lord asserts His authority by some description of Himself. He makes them aware that He is aware of their works, problems, trials, and persecutions. Some of them need to make some corrections. But all of them receive some form of encouragement to remain faithful by the offer of a reward “to him that overcometh” (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21).

Each of the blessings offered to the overcomer represent the full meaning of life and hope in Christ. By that we gain an understanding of who the overcomers are. When does any person overcome the trials, persecutions, and threats of this world, whether ancient or modern? Do we ever “overcome” of our own ability? Of course not. It is only by being “in Christ” that anyone may overcome the ultimate threats of this life.

Jesus encouraged His disciples just prior to His crucifixion by saying, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). The question is not, “How do I overcome my trials and persecutions?” Rather, we should ask, “How do I get ‘in Christ’ and remain ‘in Christ’?” When we get “in Christ” is the moment we start being one who overcomes resurrection (Rom. 6:3-5; Col. 2:12). “Being then made free from sin” we become “the servants of righteousness” (Rom. 6:18); and as “servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life” (Rom. 6:19). The offering of blessings to those who “overcome” is an encouragement to remain faithful to Christ from the moment one becomes a Christian in biblical baptism.

We may indeed overcome our own individual persecutions by “looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2).

It is Christ’s victory over all persecutions that we are offered to enjoy (1 Cor. 15:57). Those who continue to remain faithful to His name and His faith, those who continue to “overcome” are promised to “eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God” (Rev. 2:7; cf. Gen. 3:22). They “shall not be hurt of the second death” (Rev. 2:11; cf. 20:6, 14; 21:8). They are permitted to “eat of the hidden manna” (Rev. 2:17; cf. John 6:47-58; Matt. 4:4; Heb. 13:10), and they are given a “white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it” (Rev. 2:17; cf. Isa. 62:2; Acts 11:26).

Those who overcome are those who keep faithful to the Lord’s work, and He gives them “power over the nations” (Rev. 2:26), and “shall rule them” by use of the unbreakable word of God as “a rod of iron” (Rev. 2:27; cf. Matt. 19:28, 29; John 10:35; et. al.). These are also given “the morning star” (Rev. 2:28), which is Christ Himself (cf. Num. 24:17-19; Mal. 4:2; Luke 1:78, 79; 2Pet. 1:19; Dan. 12:3; 1Jn. 5:12, 13; Jn. 1:9).

Those who continue to overcome “shall be clothed in white raiment” (Rev. 3:5; cf. 3:18; 4:4; 2Cor. 5:1-4 – a spiritual covering of purity), and their names will remain in “the book of life” (Rev. 2:5; cf. Phil. 4:3; Isa. 4:3; Rev. 13:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27). The Lord Himself “will confess his name before [His] Father, and before his angels” (Rev. 3:5; cf. Matt. 10:32, 33; Rom. 10:10, 11; Heb. 2:11; 11:16). They are made “a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out” (Rev. 3:12), the picture of immoveable confidence as solid as the existence of objective truth (cf. 1Tim. 3:14, 15; 1Cor. 15:58; Eph. 3:1; Heb. 3:14; 10:35; 1Jn 3:21). The Lord Jesus will honor them by writing “upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and… [His] new name” (Rev. 3:12; cf. Phil. 3:20, 21; Gal. 4:26; Heb. 12:22; Rev. 22:1-4).

Those who overcome are granted to sit with Jesus in His throne even as He overcame and is sat down with the Father in His throne (Rev. 3:21; cf. John 16:33; Heb. 1:3, 8; 4:16; 8:1; 12:2; Matt. 19:28; Luke 1:32, 33; Acts 2:30; 7:48, 49; Rev. 22:1-3). If they continue to overcome all of their trials, and persecutions in this world by remaining faithful to Christ are promised that they “shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son” (Rev. 21:7; cf. 2 Cor. 6:17 – 7:1).

There is no doubt, trying to live a godly, humble, God-fearing, God-loving life, constantly in the service of others is not always easy. It is a burden likened unto bearing a cross (cf. Luke 9:23); but, in comparison to the burden of sin (cf. Rom. 6:23), we ought to be happy to recognize that His “yoke is easy” and His “burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30). Are not all of those incentives quite enough to keep us going? Shall all of those “spiritual blessings in Christ” (Eph. 1:3) be offered for nothing? Shall we not “consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest [we] be wearied and faint in [our] minds” (Heb. 12:3)?

Take heart, true yokefellow. Keep on overcoming by living in the faith of Christ. Know that God keeps His promise to make us partakers of all those blessings given To Him That Overcometh.

sklaft@yahoo.com

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Members of the church of Christ know the only way to get “in Christ” is by obedience to the gospel (2 Thess. 1:9; 1 Pet. 4:17), in belief with one’s whole heart (Acts 8:37), repentance (Acts 2:38), confession of faith (Acts 8:37, Rom. 10:10), and baptism in the likeness of Jesus’ death, burial, and

Mark 16:9-20 And New Testament Canonicity – David W. Hester

Editor’s Note: Dr. Hester is a lecturer at Faulkner University and co-director of the university’s annual Bible Lectureship. This article is a summation of brother Hester’s dissertation, “Does Mark 16:9-20 Belong In The New Testament?”, published later this year.

Mark 16:9-20 is a passage that has been debated over for many decades. In the larger religious world, most theologians and commentators reject it as being from the hand of Mark, while still including it within the Gospel. This is based in part on the passage’s absence from two of the oldest manuscripts of the New Testament—Vaticanus and Sinaiticus—as well as testimony from a fourth century Christian, Eusebius, who wrote that the passage was missing from some manuscripts. The passage is also missing from various manuscripts from all four textual “families” of the Greek New Testament. Several ancient versions of the New Testament, dating to the third century, also do not include the passage.

Additionally, internal evidence from the passage itself seems to indicate that the passage was written by a different hand than that of John Mark. Various Greek words are used only in 16:9-20. Some grammatical and verb structures in the passage are not employed elsewhere in Mark. Yet, the passage itself surfaced early—at least in the second century. Many scholars accept 16: 9-20 as “canonical,” but not from John Mark; yet, as the late Paul Harvey said, we need to see “the rest of the story.”

Mark 16:9-20 also has ancient attestation. One of the three oldest manuscripts—Alexandrinus—contains the passage. It is present in all four textual “families” of the Greek New Testament. Irenaeus and Justin Martyr, two second century Christians, quoted from the passage and attributed it to Mark. A second century document, “The Epistle of the Apostles,” quotes directly from the passage.

Tatian, who wrote a mid-second century harmony of the Gospels called the “Diatesseron,” quoted from Mark 16:9-20. Several third century witnesses also either quote directly or allude to the passage. Mark 16:9-20 is present in 99% of the surviving copies of the Greek New Testament. Numbers of manuscripts do not prove that a passage belongs; yet, Mark 16:9-20 at the very least has ancient witnesses testifying to its authenticity.

On December 30, 1965, the Society of Biblical Literature held its annual meeting at Vanderbilt University. Kenneth W. Clark delivered the Presidential Address. While not arguing for the acceptance of Mark 16:9–20 as genuine, Clark said: “On the other hand, the restoration of the traditional ending of Mark is a wholesome challenge to our habitual assumption that the original Mark is preserved no further than 16:8…Witnesses both for and against the restoration as genuine are early and impressive, and we should consider the question still open and perhaps ‘insoluble at present.’” (Clark, 9-10) Over the next 47 years, much work would be done in the scholarly world revisiting the passage.

Bruce Metzger did much work during those decades in clarifying external evidence that had been cited against the passage. In 1964, Metzger’s position concerning the passage was not significantly different from the near-universal scholarly view. It was during this time—while he was on leave from Princeton Theological Seminary—that he began preparation on what would become A Textual Commentary of the Greek New Testament.

In the midst of his work on the project, he encountered “every so often…some question—whether great or small,” which had to be resolved. As it happened, 16:9–20 was one of those problems. Metzger’s comments concerning some of the research done up to that point of time in the Ethiopic manuscripts are revealing: “Previously published statements by generally careful and reliable scholars were inadequate, confused, and contradictory. The same manuscripts were cited as containing or as not containing these verses, with or without a shorter ending standing between verses 8 and 9” (Metzger, 167).

Commenting on the Greek text of the passage in 1971, Metzger stated concerning NT Greek Manuscript 2386: “Although the last page of Mark closes with έφοβοΰντο γάρ, the next leaf of the manuscript is missing, and following 16.8 is the sign indicating the close of an ecclesiastical lection, a clear implication that the manuscript originally continued with additional material from Mark” (Metzger, 122f1). Metzger had thus affected the evidence that supported omission, taking away one piece that had up until his time been cited frequently.

In 1972, Metzger announced a discovery he made concerning the aforementioned Ethiopic manuscripts: “The present writer, having examined the ending of Mark in sixty-five Ethiopic manuscripts, discovered that none, contrary to the statements made by previous investigators, close the Gospel at xvi.8, but that most (forty-seven manuscripts) present the so-called shorter ending directly after vs.8, followed immediately by the longer ending (verses 9–20)” (Metzger, “The Ending”). This also affected the evidence for omission in that it clarified one of the sources often cited against the validity of the passage. While Metzger still did not accept it as being from Mark, he accepted the passage as being “canonical.”

When all the external evidence is considered, several things are clear. First, there was an issue with the Greek text at the ending of Mark, possibly as early as the second century. This is borne out by the number of references to manuscripts ending at verse 8, damage to several other manuscripts at the end of Mark, the two oldest manuscripts not containing 16:9–20, and the patristic witnesses who call attention to copies of Mark ending at verse 8.

Second, Mark 16:9–20 was in circulation; this is seen by its acceptance of some patristic witnesses as part of Mark and written by Mark, and accepted by the early church in the second century. Third, the evidence both for and against inclusion of the passage is represented by all Greek text-types. Thus, external evidence by itself cannot definitively solve the problem of whether or not to include Mark 16:9–20—though the external evidence for inclusion is stronger than has been presented by some scholars in the past.

Concerning the internal evidence, one must first consider whether Mark could have ended at verse 8. No ancient book ends with γάρ (“for”); and, no paragraph in the Gospel of Mark ends with γάρ. Since the arguments in favor of such an ending have a distinctly twentieth―twenty-first century flavor, one is compelled to reject them. How would first century readers of the Gospel have reacted to an account of the life of Jesus—written by a close companion of Peter—without an account of the resurrection from the tomb? Such an approach to the book virtually ignores not only the evidence from the text, but also the first century setting of the Gospel. There must have been more to the text of Mark 16. Additionally, Mark 14:26 points to a post-resurrection meeting of Jesus and the apostles at Galilee. Without Mark 16:9–20, such a meeting is not included.

What of the words and phrases used in the passage that are not employed in the rest of the Gospel? Given that NT authors had the intellect and ability to write in different styles, it is not difficult to consider 16:9–20 utilizing different words and phrases—especially if the passage was not the intended finished product, but a preliminary draft. Instead of a copyist in the early second century constructing Mark 16:9–20, an alternative theory is feasible for the similarities between Mark 16:9–20 and the other accounts of Christ’s post-resurrection appearances.

The author’s familiarity with the same events which the other authors independently recorded could account for the parallels. Also, there are similarities between Mark 16:9–20 and the rest of the Gospel. If one allows an author the ability to write in different ways (as is the case with John—in his Gospel and in Revelation), or in summary fashion, then it is feasible that Mark wrote 16:9–20.

Since Mark was a companion of Peter, and his Gospel parallels Peter’s sermons in the book of Acts, it is reasonable to assume that Mark took notes of Peter’s own words of his eyewitness accounts—all under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Mark would then use those notes to construct his finished Gospel. Mark 16:9–20, seen in this light, is thus a summary of what Peter preached and taught concerning the last days of Jesus on the earth.

A point that must be stressed is the reception of changes to a text accepted as apostolic. Most scholars agree that Mark 16:9–20 was very early in origin, and that the abrupt ending was also early. If it was known that the Gospel—ending at verse 8—was in circulation prior to Mark’s death, then how could the second century church have allowed an ending to be added by an anonymous author (or authors) which was not clearly apostolic (as many scholars claim), and how could it have gained such wide acceptance in subsequent years?

Those who claim that the ending is independent of Mark and not apostolic in origin have the burden of answering those questions. It is inconceivable that such an important event as the alteration of a biblical text—much less a Gospel—would have been kept secret in the early church (especially in light of biblical admonitions not to alter the Scriptures in any way). If, as some claim, the passage was crafted by an anonymous author who was not connected with the apostles, then how does one reconcile the acceptance of 16:9–20 with the subsequent rejection of pseudonymous second and third century documents which had no connection to the apostles?

This is further complicated by the fact that second and third century writers cited 16:9–20, and attributed it to Mark. If it was known that this ending had been supplied by another hand (or hands) separate from Mark, such would have been significant. Some maintain that the passage is an early attempt to harmonize the Gospels. Yet there is no evidence in the Greek manuscripts elsewhere of any type of harmonization of the Gospels in one document. It seems reasonable to assume that 16:9–20 was at the very least connected with Mark—if not written by Mark himself.

Mark 16:9–20 was part of the notes Mark had written, intending to finish the Gospel at a later point. If an associate of his placed the passage at the end of the Gospel following Mark’s death, this would explain the apostolic connection—it was widely known that Mark was a constant companion of Peter. The notes Mark had taken, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, accurately summarized the conclusion of the sermons Mark had heard Peter preach concerning Jesus Christ. He had already circulated the Gospel which ended at verse 8.

For some unknown reason, Mark was prevented from utilizing his notes to complete it. Mark’s associates published the Gospel ending at 16:8 after his death or imprisonment. His companions subsequently placed 16:9–20 at the end of Mark, thus producing a second edition. The two ancient textual traditions are a result of two editions. The first was circulated by Mark’s associates around the time of his death or imprisonment, while the second edition was circulated after his passing with Mark’s appended notes.

The time interval between the two editions was very short. This accounts for the two equally attested external traditions as well as the stylistic differences and similarities with Mark 1:1–16:8. Second to fourth century attestation of Mark 16:9–20 testifies to its acceptance by the early church. Thus, modern day readers of the Gospel of Mark should use the verses as part of Scripture.

dhester@faulkner.edu

The Joys Of Sharing The Gospel – Adam Carlson

The greatest thing one can do in life as a Christian is help a lost soul come to obedience to the gospel message. The Lord has given each of us a divine responsibility to share the gospel message (Matt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15-16). As followers of Christ this should not be viewed as a burden to bear, but rather as a joy to bring the message of redemption through His blood (Col. 1:13-14). “Where sin as gone must go His grace, the gospel is for all,” as we sometimes sing. We are the ones who must share that message because those lost and dying in their sin won’t know about God’s salvation and their need to obtain it unless they’re told by us (Acts 8:30-31; Rom. 10:10-14-15).

There is great joy that comes from helping one obey the gospel! By our continual teaching, those whom we convert will be empowered to share the gospel with someone else. Continual teaching is something which should be done if the church is to thrive (2 Tim. 2:2). The apostle John said, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 4). Another positive effect received from sharing the gospel is that we ourselves learn more about God and His will for us. Continual study of scripture will always reveal something new, regardless of how many times one has read a particular passage. Just as Ezra read the Law of Moses for the people (Neh. 8), Christians must constantly give heed to teachings of scripture. When we discover something in the Bible we had not known before, we should cling to it with all our being (Prov. 23:23).

There will be even more great joy when one realizes there is truly only one name by which one can be saved (Acts 4:12). There is much confusion in the religious world today due many “preachers” tickling the ears of their listeners with “feel good” messages while lining their own pockets. Many today are searching for the truth. We must be the ones willing to step up and share this great message of Christ’s death (1 Cor. 2:2), which will save those who are willing to heed and obey it!

Joy also occurs when one seeks opportunities to share the gospel. Many in the world are ready and searching for the truth (Matt. 5:6; 9:37-38; Jn. 4:35). While we should pray for those who do the work, we must also have the attitude of the great prophet Isaiah who said, “Here am I. Send me” (Is. 6:1). Like the Macedonian, there are many who are asking us for help (Acts 16:9-10). Opportunity can come in many forms; it’s our job to be able to see them when they arise. Let’s always be alert!

Some are reluctant to share the gospel for a variety of reasons. For some it’s fear of rejection; others join Moses in having a fear of speaking. However, we don’t need to be afraid because we have the complete word of God to guide us. Let me share with you some ways to help you overcome any reluctance to share the gospel with others.

When sharing the gospel, it would be wise to take someone with us who has more experience in Bible studies so we can learn from them. Remember that the Lord sent His disciples in pairs (Luke 10:1).

Boost your confidence by engaging in steady study by yourself so that you can be a teacher, rather than someone have to teach you (Heb. 5:12-14) and can be ready to answer questions that will arise (1 Pet. 3:15).

As Christians we are to be gentle and patient (2 Tim. 2:24-25). It must be remembered that not everyone is on the same level of understanding and knowledge or from the same background as us, so we must be patient as we lead them to the gospel. It must also be realized that a lot of people aren’t going to obey after the first study (cf. Acts 17:32).

It is also imperative to simply listen so we can learn where to begin as they start their spiritual journey. James reminds that we are to be quick to listen rather than speak (Jas. 1:19). A major error commonly made is to make assumptions about someone’s beliefs should not be made. This is why listening before speaking is so important. We can’t speak about what we don’t know (1 Tim. 1:5-7).

Remember that Jesus as a boy both listened to and asked questions of the Jewish teachers in the temple (Luke 2:46).This is a good example to follow because it’s a good way to open dialogue to determine the spiritual state of the one with whom you’re studying (1 Jn. 4:1). Don’t be afraid to be open for questions yourself either (Acts 17:11).

Remember there are different ways the gospel can be shared. The Lord simply commanded us to teach the gospel (Matt. 28:18-20). How we do so is a matter of judgment as long as long as truth is taught. When one obeys the gospel it brings us great joy. I can only imagine the good feelings Philip and Ananias felt when the eunuch and Saul rendered their obedience to the Lord’s plan (Acts 8:38-39; 9:18). We likewise will experience great joy in knowing that we have fulfilled what the Lord has asked of each of us.

There is much work to be done until the Lord returns. It must be done with urgency as if souls depend on it…because they do! “As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good” (2 Thess. 3:13). Our work isn’t done when one obeys the gospel. No, it’s only just begun!

adamcarlson130@hotmail.com

Editorial: Some Guided By Feelings Over Women’s Role Controversy (January/February, 2015) – Jon Mitchell

Much discussion and debate erupted online among the brotherhood on December 3, 2014, after a YouTube video surfaced which showed the 4th Avenue church of Christ in Franklin, TN, hiring Lauren King, a young Christian woman from Lipscomb University, as their preaching intern and having her preach to the entire congregation on a Sunday morning. As I watched the video (which has since been made private by its owners), wrote an article about it which immediately received numerous comments, and read the many other blog articles and online discussions among brethren about it, I could not help but notice the sharp divide between those who applauded and defended Miss King for using her obvious talent for public speaking to serve God and those who were very concerned and upset about hers and other’s blatant dismissal of clear scriptural commands prohibiting sisters in Christ from teaching men in the church (1 Cor. 14:34-35; 1 Tim. 2:11-12; cf. 3:14-15).

Miss King defended her actions by stating that “the Lord made it very clear” to her “through a lot of discernment and prayer” that she was on the right path. She claimed to be “perceiving the Lord’s voice” whenever she “(had) peace when I walk through open doors” and also said, “If I have peace about where I’m going, that’s the Lord telling me yes…” I observed the majority of her supporters making similar statements about their beliefs which held no common ground with very plain scriptural commands and principles about women preaching and several other topics.

While condemning those who looked at the Lord’s Word as “an object of scorn,” Jeremiah warned, “They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace,” and exhorted Benjamin to “ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it…” (Jer. 6:10, 14, 16). I feel nothing but deep concern, compassion, and sorrow for this young lady and the numerous others who allow their feelings of peace to guide them instead of God’s Word (Prov. 14:12; 28:26; Jer. 10:23; cf. 2 Tim. 3:16-17). I pray Miss King and her supporters will see their error, repent before it’s too late, and then use their talents and great passion for God with proper knowledge and in obedience to his will.

Preachers, we have our work cut out for us. The large number of misguided supporters of this error and others like it make it very clear that our pulpits must preach Bible instead of buncombe, scripture over stories, and facts instead of feelings (2 Tim. 4:1-5).

Pastors, you have your work as elders and shepherds cut out for you. All of you must “hold firm to the trustworthy word” and “build up the body of Christ” so that “we may no longer be children…carried about by every wind of doctrine” (Tit. 1:9; Eph. 4:11-14).

Parents, we have the most important job of all, the job of training our children daily to have the Bible as their sole authority (Deut. 6:4-9; Eph. 6:4). If not, feelings will lead them astray too.     — Jon