The Fork in the Road: An Email from a Church of Christ Preacher, Part 1

forkintheroadI get emails –

_________________________

Jay,

The reason I am writing to you is because I have been doing much questioning over the past few years regarding “doctrinal” issues in the churches of Christ. I was raised in what is commonly known as the “mainstream” churches of Christ.

I have zealously and aggressively fought against any type of progressive movement. I would “mark” anyone who didn’t agree with my exact belief system as a heretic. Furthermore, if someone didn’t agree with me on everything, then certainly they didn’t love Jesus like I did!   Continue reading

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Apologetics: July 27, 2014 class (Reconciling the Big Bang with Genesis 1)

lapelmicHere are links to today’s class.

The materials may be found at –

Apologetics: The Bible and Science, Part 7 (Quark Confinement and Six Days)

Apologetics: The Bible and Science, Part 8 (the Finely Tuned Universe)

Apologetics: The Bible and Science, Part 9 (the Strong Anthropic Principle and Multiverses)

Apologetics: The Bible and Science, Part 16 (Echoes of the Big Bang)

And here is the audio for the class, to download or stream

July 27, 2014 class in .m4a format (22 MB)

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1 Corinthans 6:12-14 (“Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats”), Part 1

1corinthians[I've modified this since first posted to include v.14 and to delete "God shall destroy" as coming from Paul. I'll explain the deletion in the next post of this series.]

(1Co 6:12 ESV) “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. 13 “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”– and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power.

In the King James, this is a very confusing passage –

(1Co 6:12 KJV) All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. 13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. 14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.

The KJV omits the quotation marks found in most modern translations. The original Greek had no punctuation at all, and so this is not surprising — but it’s made for some really strange Sunday school class lessons over the years! Continue reading

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1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (“the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God”)

1corinthians

(1 Cor 6:9–11 ESV) 9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

After addressing lawsuits between believers, Paul dramatically changes the subject to moral sin, declaring that certain sins will keep the sinner from inheriting the kingdom of God. Some of these are obvious, whereas others are a tad more controversial, such as “men who practice homosexuality.” Continue reading

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1 Corinthians 6:4-8 (Taking a brother to court)

1corinthians

(1 Cor 6:4–6 ESV) 4 So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? 5 I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, 6 but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers?

The Jews did not take their disputes before pagan judges. The synagogues provided a private dispute resolution system, keeping the Jews out from under Roman scrutiny and a brand of justice that was foreign to Jewish sensibilities. Continue reading

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Tools of the Trade: Accordance for iOS

Accordance Bible SoftwareA few days ago, I reviewed the Windows version of Accordance Bible Software. Today I want to discuss the Accordance iPhone application.

The application is free, and once I entered my password, the software synced with my PC software, offering to download a copy of any of the resources (books) that I have in Accordance.

Well, I only have so much available space on my iPhone, and so I selected a few Bible translations, some Greek resources, and a couple of my favorite commentaries.

The next question was just how easy is the app to run. As I’ve said here before, I believe well-designed software should require no instructions at all for ordinary use. And so I opened the ESV with Strong’s numbers (a standard numbering system for each word in biblical Greek). With just a little fiddling, I discovered that I can get the Greek behind the text just by gently pressing on a word and holding my finger there for a second. Continue reading

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1 Corinthians 6:1-3 (We were saved to become kings)

1corinthians

(1Co 6:1-3 ESV) When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? 2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!

The primary question Paul is addressing here is whether a Christian may take another Christian before a secular court. That’s a challenging enough question, but perhaps even tougher is the logic by which he attacks the problem.

In v. 2, he asks what he surely intends to be a rhetorical question: “Do you not know that saints will judge the world?” Well, no, Paul, we did not. Where on earth are you coming from? Continue reading

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1 Corinthians 5:12-13 (What have I to do with judging outsiders?)

1corinthians

(1 Cor 5:12–13 ESV) 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

Now here we have perhaps the most disobeyed passage in the entire Bible (which says a lot). Paul could not be more plain:

* We have a duty not to judge those outside the church.

* We have a duty to judge those inside the church.

And we normally have this exactly backwards. We use our pulpits and the ballot box to condemn those outside the church, while tolerating dreadful sins within our congregations. Continue reading

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1 Corinthians 5:1-10 (Purge the evil person from among you!)

1corinthiansChapter 5 reflects a radical change in subject. After four chapters on the importance of unity and how very wrong — even damnable — division in the local church is, Paul shifts gears to discussion how the church should deal with incest among its members.

(1 Cor 5:1–2 ESV) 1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.

Since Paul referred to a man’s “father’s wife” and not “his mother,” many conclude that a member is having sex with his father’s second wife. Paul is paraphrasing –

(Lev 18:8 ESV) You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s wife; it is your father’s nakedness.

– which immediately follows condemnation of sex with one’s mother (Lev 18:7), so that it’s unlikely the man was sleeping with his mother. Continue reading

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Apologetics: July 20, 2014 (On How to Read the Old Testament)

lapelmicHere is the audio from Sunday’s adult Bible class.

The first two links download for listening as a Podcast, via iTunes, or on just about any mp3 or m4a player.

The media player will stream the audio from the website –

July 20, 2014 (22MB m4a)

July 20, 2014 (52 MB mp3)

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