Tag Archives: Jon Mitchell

Good Stewardship, Financial Report, Coming Soon Next Year — Jon Mitchell, Editor (Editorial: November/December, 2014)

The Carolina Messenger has seen some changes over the past year. Several sound brothers in Christ were added to the board of directors: Michael Grooms, Steve Miller, Michael Morton, and Spencer Strickland. Terry Wheeler turned the chairmanship of the board over to Paul Kirkpatrick before leaving the Carolinas to pursue a good work in Florida, and we all wish him and his family the best. David Pharr retired as editor after many years of serving the publication in that role, and the board as well as our readership thanks him wholeheartedly for a job well done. After several months of Paul Kirkpatrick and myself serving as interim editors, the board recently asked me to serve as the publication’s new editor. It’s a privilege to take on this responsibility, one for which I am very grateful.

Under brother Pharr’s guidance as editor, the Carolina Messenger taught and edified many souls in the Carolinas and beyond due to his decision to publish articles written by sound men who taught biblical truth in a loving, balanced manner. I’m reminded of the words of the apostle Paul to the Corinthians: “This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy” (1 Cor. 4:1-2, ESV).   “Stewards” comes from the Greek word oikonomos, and is defined by Thayer’s Greek Lexicon in part as “a manager, superintendent.” David Pharr’s work as editor of this paper was the epitome of good, trustworthy stewardship, and my hope and goal is to follow in his footsteps by managing this paper in such a way that it continues to lovingly proclaim sound, balanced truth that will convict, encourage, edify, and admonish as needed. I ask for your prayers that our Lord helps me to do a good job so that his name and kingdom are glorified.

The scriptural principle of good stewardship applies not only to the work of Paul and his fellow workers, nor solely to those of us who preach and teach God’s Word from the pulpit or on the printed page. Christ’s parable of the talents as recorded in Matthew 25:14-30 teaches all Christians about the need of good stewardship over the abilities and opportunities our Master has placed before us in order to be fully prepared for the day he comes again. The three servants of were each given “according to his ability” varying amounts of “talents,” extremely large sums of money. The two servants who had each received a plurality of talents “went at once and traded with them,” doubling the amount originally given to them and thereby proving themselves to be “good and faithful” stewards or managers of what had been entrusted to them. However, the third servant who had been given a single talent “went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money,” thus proving himself to be a “wicked and slothful” steward in the eyes of his master, who upon returning and hearing of his poor stewardship “cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness.”

Christians, our Lord and Savior has entrusted with us the responsibility of being “blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:15). The need for us to be trustworthy stewards of this responsibility is very great.

Within the Lord’s church several deride and reject the concept of “follow(ing) the pattern of the sound words” (2 Tim. 1:13) and “have crept in unnoticed” (Jude 4), “draw(ing) away the disciples after them” (Acts 20:30). Indeed, more and more seem to be ignorant of even the basic teachings found in the sacred writings. Even among those of us who wish to uphold sound doctrine regardless of what persecution may come, a decidedly noticeable apathy exists when it comes to being as evangelistic and spiritual as God calls us to be. This issue lists some of the problems facing the church from within along with some of the ways all of us can easily bring the saving power of the gospel to more people.

Yet in spite of these obstacles, the church of Christ still stands, and will continue to stand regardless of these problems (Matt. 16:18; 24:35). Moreover, “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” continues to be found “in Christ” (Eph. 1:3-4), i.e., in his body which is his church (vs. 22-23). The Lord’s church continues to be a blessing especially for those who are a part of her, as this issue will also bring out.

The reason we as the church of Christ continue to experience these blessings from God comes from the power of his grace and providence, but also because of those of us who respond to his grace as he instructs us to do (Tit. 2:11-14). When we “renounce ungodliness and worldly passions” and “live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives,” we are proving ourselves to be trustworthy stewards of the privileges and responsibilities God has entrusted to us. When we “do good to everyone,” especially by bringing them the saving power of the gospel of God (Gal. 6:10; Mark 16:15-16; Rom. 1:16), we are good managers of what God has given to us and God uses us to be a blessing to many. However, we join the ranks of those with poor, untrustworthy stewardship when we allow ignorance, apathy, and worldliness to dominate our lives and hearts.

Paul, whom we are told to imitate (1 Cor. 11:1), was a good steward of what God had given him. As 2014 ends and 2015 dawns, let us likewise work to be found trustworthy in the management of our own God-given responsibilities as Christians. — Jon


The board of directors and the writers of the Carolina Messenger would like to thank each of you for reading this publication. We also thank all of the congregations and individual Christians who financially supported our work this year. Without your generous contributions we would not be able to use this publication to bring the saving truths of God’s Word to so many in the Carolinas, the United States, and abroad. As many of you know, this publication is given free of charge to any who subscribe, and all who write for the paper do so without cost to the publication. We depend on the generosity of you, our readers, to be able to continue to print this paper and mail it to our subscribers. As 2014 ends and many churches, families, and individuals plan their monetary budgets for 2015, we ask that each of you consider contributing toward the support of the Carolina Messenger so we can continue to produce this publication for the benefit of the kingdom.

Below is the latest financial report of the Carolina Messenger (4/8/14-10/31/14):

Church contributions

Duncan, Wildwood, Mauldin, West Walker, Concord, Corinth, Charlotte Ave, Cape Fear, Meadowbrook Road, Cornelius: $3700.00

Individual contributions: $622.00

Total contributions: $4322.00


Bates Printing: $7226.34

Labels: $359.88

Accuzip: $1590.00

P.O. Box: $56.00

New checks: $26.85

Total expenditures: $9259.07

The Carolina Messenger currently has a balance of $9558.43 in our checking account. As our long-time readers know, we used to be able to produce 11 issues per year, but recently have had enough funds to produce only 7 issues in 2014. Our monthly expense to produce those 7 issues is about $922.00. The board of directors and many of our readers would like to be able to return to producing 11 issues per year. In order to do so and also pay postage, labeling, and banking costs, we need your help.

Please use the enclosed envelope to contribute to the Carolina Messenger and help the gospel reach more souls throughout this land while edifying your brethren in Christ. Again, thank you so much for your support. — Jon



The Carolina Messenger is not the only thing that has seen change in recent days. Christians have watched our society undergo numerous changes in the past year or so, not all of them for the better. The religion of Islam has gathered much attention recently from the terrible, murderous actions of ISIS overseas. In our own country, we have been saddened to see the sinful abomination of homosexuality become increasingly accepted by more in our culture, even among those who profess to follow Jesus Christ. Many among our brotherhood struggle to cope with these realities along with problems, and questions which Christians have faced for decades.

The mission of the Carolina Messenger is to teach God’s Word in love and in an understandable, balanced way that not only opposes error but also instills habits of thought which promote godly morality and Christian character. Thus, we will publish in 2015 articles that give a balanced, biblical approach to the following topics:

  • The need for evangelism
  • The religion of Islam
  • Christian apologetics
  • Works of the flesh
  • How to contribute to unity
  • Same-sex marriage
  • Godly leadership
  • Godly marriages
  • Avoiding foolishness
  • Lessons our youth need to know
  • Proper perspectives on prayer
  • How to react to persecution
  • The Christian’s involvement in politics
  • Spiritual gifts
  • And much, much more!!

We hope you continue to read and ask for your continued prayers that the Lord bless in 2015 both the Carolina Messenger, his church worldwide, and his disciples and their families. Lord willing, see you next year!! — Jon



The 16th Annual Carolina Men’s Fellowship

Saturday, March 14, 2015

9 AM to 3 PM

Location: Gold Hill Road Church of Christ, Fort Mill, SC

Questions? Call the Charlotte Avenue congregation at 803-327-7853 or email charlcoc@comporium.net or drpharr@msn.com


The 71st Annual

Carolina Lectures

April 5-8, 2015

Theme:  “What The Church Needs”

Location: Duncan Church of Christ, 1234 S. Danzler Road, Duncan, SC


Call the Duncan

congregation at 864-439-9263 or email


Reconciliation With God — Jon Mitchell, Interim Editor (Editorial: October, 2014)

The weeping prophet pleaded, “Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that we may be restored!” (Lam. 5:21). In a sense, the entire message of Genesis through Revelation can be summed up in the concept of restoration…Jehovah reconciling man to himself. We see God’s plea with us in the inspired pen of Paul when he wrote his second letter to Corinth: “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:20). His love for us is so great, his compassion so deep, his kindness so beyond comparison, that he was willing to give his only begotten Son for our redemption (John 3:16; 1 John 3:16).

Our Father is the source of “every good gift and every perfect gift” (James 1:17). His love for man is so far-reaching that he sends blessings every day even upon those of us who reject him and do not even try to follow his ways (Matt. 5:44-48), which in the end will be the majority of his creation (Matt. 7:13-14). The plate of food for which the atheist refuses to give thanks to a God he refuses to acknowledge, each breath of air taken by Muslims who adhere to corrupted views of their Creator…all come willingly and freely from a God who loves them in spite of themselves, a God who freely offers us all the gift of salvation and eternal life which none of us deserve (Rom. 6:23; Tit. 2:11).

Yet it takes two for complete reconciliation to occur. God’s hand has always been outstretched from Eden until today, and will continue to be held out for us until the day of judgment. Are we willing to take his hand and allow him to pull us back to his side? We are given the choice as to whom we will serve (Josh. 24:15). The Almighty is pleading with us to make the right choice. The apostle wrote, “Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain” (2 Cor. 6:1). God loves us with all his being, and only asks that we do the same by submitting our lives to his will (Matt. 22:37; John 14:15; Rom. 12:1-2).

How Satan tries to deceive us into thinking that we can offer God less than our all and still be restored to him…and how sad it is that he succeeds more times than not! From the beginning God’s followers have often wrestled with the sin of giving him lukewarm, mediocre service (Rev. 3:14-22; Mal. 1:6-9). We love the idea of God saving us from our sins by his grace…and yet we also love to follow own desires instead of his! This leads us to believe Satan’s lie that we are still reconciled to God even if we unrepentantly and rebelliously usurp his authority and turn away from his commandments (Rom. 6:1-2; Heb. 10:26-31; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).

Friends, our Father in heaven has done and continues to do more than enough to bring us back to him. His hand is outstretched. We must take hold of it by giving to him what is rightfully his…our lives, our service, our obedience.



Unconditional Election – Jon Mitchell

If one holds to the doctrine of Total Hereditary Depravity and thereby believes that all of mankind is so utterly depraved that they cannot respond to the grace of God, one has to believe in the Calvinistic doctrine of Unconditional Election in order to have any sort of hope for salvation. John Calvin knew this. He said, “Predestination we call the eternal decree of God, by which he has determined in himself what he would have to become of every individual of mankind. For they are not all created with a similar destiny; but eternal life is fore-ordained for some, and eternal damnation for others. Every man, therefore, being created for one or the other of these ends, we say, he is predestined either to life or to death.”

In other words, we cannot respond to the grace of God due to being totally depraved and lost in sin. Therefore, the only way any of us have any hope of salvation is for God to have already made up his mind to step in and choose to disregard the sin of some of us and give them salvation anyway. This doctrine, sometimes called the doctrine of predestination, is the basis of the Calvinistic tenet of Unconditional Election: the idea that God chooses some of mankind before they are born to be saved unconditionally.

However, the Scriptures teach that God shows no partiality (Acts 10:34-35; Rom. 2:11; 10:12; Eph. 6:9). He shows no favoritism of any kind. This goes against Calvinism’s teaching that God has chosen only some of us for unconditional salvation rather than all of us. If both Calvinism and the Word of God are true, why would God have chosen only some of us for unconditional salvation instead of everyone? Isn’t that showing partiality?

The Scriptures also teach that God wants everyone to be saved (John 3:16; 1 Tim. 2:4; Tit. 2:11; 2 Pet. 3:9). If John Calvin’s doctrine of Unconditional Election is true, God has chosen only some of mankind for unconditional salvation, not all. Logic dictates that if God has determined some of us to be predestined for salvation, he has also predetermined that the rest of us are destined for an eternity in hell. If both Calvinism and God’s Word are true, why wouldn’t God choose to save all of mankind unconditionally if he wants us all to be saved? Why would he have already decided that some of us will spend eternity in hell if he doesn’t want anyone to go to hell?

Any serious student of the Bible is familiar with the numerous warnings found within its pages. We are warned about Satan and his deceptions (1 Pet. 5:8; Eph. 4:27; 6:11; James 4:7). We are warned to avoid sin in order to avoid eternal punishment in hell (Matt. 5:22, 29-30). Christians are warned about the possibility of losing their salvation through unrepentant sin (Heb. 10:26-31). However, if Calvin is correct and God unconditionally elects some of mankind to be saved, then why would any of these warnings be in the Bible? Why would God tell those whom he has already chosen to be unconditionally saved to be on the alert for Satan? After all, if he has already decided that I’m going to be saved unconditionally, what can Satan do about it? Why would God warn those whom he has already decided are going to spend eternity in hell that they better not sin or else hell will be the result? Why the warnings about falling away from one’s salvation? If he’s already decided that hell is going to be where I end up, then it doesn’t matter what I do or don’t do. In fact, if God has already decided that I’m going to be saved no matter what, then why in the world would I even need to bother to go to church, read my Bible, obey the gospel, or uphold any sort of morality?

This reveals one of the major flaws in the doctrine of Unconditional Election. Under Calvinistic predestination, it would be possible for salvation to be given to a sinner who has never read the Bible or been part of the church. It would be equally possible for eternal condemnation to be given to a Christian who has read the Bible repeatedly and done his or her absolute best to faithfully live by all of its tenets and principles. In this way Calvinism really tries to make Christianity like Islam. Nonetheless, the Bible doesn’t teach what Unconditional Election proposes. One cannot hold to Calvinism and the Word of God without contradicting one or the other. Since God’s Word is truth (John 17:17), Unconditional Election is false.

However, Calvinists try to hold to both anyway. They cite Romans 8:28-30 as support for their doctrine of predestination: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified” (ESV). Calvinists cite the mention of predestination in this passage as proof that God unconditionally predestines some of salvation. However, such notions are proven erroneous when this passage is considered alongside the entirety of Scripture (Ps. 119:160).

Paul is telling us that God causes all things to “work together for good” (which would include obtaining eternal life in heaven) for two specific groups of people: “those who love God” and “those who are called according to his purpose.” One cannot love God without choosing to obey his commands (John 14:15; Josh. 24:15); our works of obedience, along with faith and God’s grace, justify us (James 2:24; Tit. 3:7). Likewise, the purpose for which God called those for whom he will cause all things together for good is to follow Christ’s example of doing good and enduring suffering as a result (1 Pet. 2:20-21). God calls us through the gospel (2 Thess. 2:14), which calls us to obey Christ (Matt. 28:19-20). Therefore, Paul in Romans 8:28-30 is referring to those who love God by their obedience, those who faithfully and obediently respond to the gospel call.

God did not randomly predetermine some of us for unconditional salvation and others for unconditional condemnation. He HAS predetermined that those who obey his gospel and obey his Son will be saved (Heb. 5:9), not the lucky few randomly selected for unconditional salvation. This is why we are to proclaim his gospel to all (Mark 16:15).


Calvinism — Jon Mitchell, Interim Editor (Editorial: September, 2014)

The doctrine known as Calvinism has permeated the foundational theology of much of the denominational world for centuries. Initially conceived by Augustine in the fourth century A.D., the doctrine was popularized in England, Ireland, and Scotland by John Calvin in the sixteenth century. Puritans and Presbyterians brought it to the New World in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, where Jonathan Edwards and others made various modifications to the theology. Today one will encounter various tenets of Calvinistic doctrine in various sects of the Baptist, Presbyterian, and Reformed Churches, among others.

The acrostic “TULIP” reveals the fundamental tenets of Calvinistic theology: Total Hereditary Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints. Each one of these false teachings are contingent upon each other. If man is in fact totally depraved due to inherited sin, he cannot respond to God’s grace. Therefore, God must have predestined who would be saved and who would be condemned. Christ’s death on the cross would atone only for those to whom God had already decided to grant salvation. Since God had already determined before they were born that the saved would be saved, it would be impossible for the saved to sin in such a way so as to successfully resist the grace of God and lose their salvation.

By themselves, the separate tenets of Calvinism show a logical thought progression. However, each of them falls short when compared to the totality of teaching in Scripture. The purpose of this issue of the Carolina Messenger is to examine each foundational tenet of Calvinism in light of the doctrine found in the Bible. I encourage the reader to pay close attention to the passages of Scripture brought out by each writer to combat the erroneous doctrines of man promoted by Calvinism. Study what the Bible says and commit these passages to memory in order to be better prepared to bring the gospel to the lost in your lives (Ps. 1:1-2; 2 Tim. 4:2; 1 Pet. 3:15). It is highly likely that any religious person with whom you study will have been taught one or more of these doctrines of Calvinism, and will have blindly accepted them as truth. If they are to know the actual truth of God’s Word which will set them free from the bondage of sin (John 8:31-37; 17:17), you must “explain to (them) the way of God more accurately” (Acts 18:26).

If there is anything the overwhelming acceptance and popularity of the false doctrine of Calvinism proves, it is that ignorance of Scripture does in fact destroy us (Hos. 4:6). Sadly, biblical ignorance is at an all-time high in our society currently. A recent article published by Biola Magazine titled “The Crisis of Biblical Illiteracy” states: “Christians used to be known as ‘people of one book.’ Sure, they read, studied, and shared other books. But the book they cared more about than all others combined was the Bible. They memorized it, meditated on it, talked about it and taught it to others. We don’t do that anymore, and in a very real sense we’re starving ourselves to death.”

Tragic, isn’t it? Does this tragedy describe you, friend? Know this: God expects you and me to continually grow in our knowledge of him and his Word if we want to spend eternity with him (2 Pet. 1:5-11). When we replace biblical knowledge and obedience with feelings and suppositions, we fall prey to false teachings like those of Calvinism, and will lose the salvation God offers to us (2 Tim. 4:3-4; Acts 20:29).


Look for the articles written about each facet of Calvinism in September’s issue to appear on this blog starting tomorrow!


“Grace Be With You”: The Editor’s Page – Jon Mitchell, Interim Editor

The Carolina Messenger is a publication with a rich heritage. I first had the inclination that this was so eleven years ago after moving to the Carolinas and reading my first issue. Over the years as my involvement with the paper grew through writing articles, guest editing, and serving on the board of directors in various capacities, I came to value and cherish the paper more and more for the great and needed work it provides in the kingdom of God.

After becoming a member of the board of directors, the expressed goals of the paper as decided by the board were shared with me. “To teach the Word of God plainly and clearly in every article.” “To uphold the Bible as the verbally inspired Word of God and our authority in all matters of religion.” “To please God rather than man.” “To instill in people habits of thought that promote good morality and Christian character.” “To oppose error either within or without the church.” “To be open to discussion of biblical questions and to hear each honest question with love for the questioner and love for the truth.” “To teach the truth in love.” “To have positive Bible-centered lessons that impart faith-building knowledge to the reader.”

These goals, all of which could be summed up by the inspired words of Paul in 2 Timothy 2:22-26 and 4:1-5, are at the forefront of my mind as I serve as interim editor for the Carolina Messenger. This is true for my fellow board members also, of whom several have contributed articles for this issue. Several of them have just been added to the board, and some of them are relatively new to the Carolinas. Their contributions to this issue are our way of introducing them to you. The work they put forth for both the Messenger and especially the kingdom of heaven are greatly appreciated.

As interim editor, my responsibility is to find writers who will help the publication put forth articles that will spiritually benefit our readers. If you are a faithful saint in the church of Christ who has some experience in writing or would like to get some experience, and if you share the same goals for the paper as stated above, please write me or e-mail me and I will share with you more details about submitting an article to be considered for publication.

Before moving on to address the theme of this issue, let me on behalf of the board and all of our writers give a word of thanks to you, our readers and subscribers. Your dedication to the paper as shown through your kind feedback, generous contributions, and continued readership encourages us greatly. This publication exists to serve God by serving you, to help you as his followers grow closer to him and stay on that narrow path which leads to salvation. The writer of Hebrews said, “…let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works” (10:24). Our prayer is that these articles will do exactly that in your hearts and minds. Thank you for reading. Please continue to support us, and share this paper with others so they may benefit from it as well!

“For I Am Not Ashamed Of The Gospel”

Paul’s words as stated in Romans 1:16 are known by many of us today, but do we consider the high cost he paid to say them? A simple perusal of 2 Corinthians 11:23-28 shows us the great trials and hardships he went through because he was not ashamed of the gospel. Indeed, 2 Timothy implies and history reveals that Paul paid for his allegiance to the gospel of Christ with his life.

Christian, do we join with Paul in standing firm behind the gospel? If there is any question upon which our salvation depends, this is it. We are saved by the gospel which we received…so long as we stand in it by holding fast to the Word of God (1 Cor. 15:1-2). Are we holding fast?

The articles in this issue give the basic principles and commands of the gospel which is “the power of God for salvation” (Rom. 1:16), commands which if not obeyed result in eternal condemnation (2 Thess. 1:7-9). However, if we obey them we receive eternal salvation by the grace of God (Heb. 5:9; Tit. 2:11-13).

Reader, have you obeyed the gospel? Have you become a Christian and obtained salvation by washing your sins away through penitent baptism into Christ that comes from a faith-filled heart? If not, please read these articles with an open and honest heart and bear the fruit God wants from you (Luke 8:15).

Christian, are you standing in the gospel? Are you defending it and proclaiming it (1 Pet. 3:15; Mark 16:15)? Are you showing it through a God-centered life which focuses on repentance of sins and letting your light shine (Matt. 6:33; 1 John 1:7-9; 2 Cor. 7:9-11; Matt. 5:13-16)?

Are you not ashamed of the gospel of Christ?

Jon Mitchell is the pulpit minister of the Duncan Church of Christ in Duncan, SC, and can be reached by email at carolinamessenger@gmail.com.