Here are my two articles for the next two weeks… hope you enjoy. I only have so much room on the paper we pass out before worship, so it forces me to be concise! 🙂
“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). “And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:32). What does Jesus mean by truth in these passages? I believe that He is talking about more than words and facts. In John 17:17, He says, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word (logos) is truth.” Jesus also said in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life…” So, what John is talking about is perfect union with God (John 14:23; John 17:21). He means having the spirit of Christ within one – complete transformation. In 1 John 2:21, He correlates rejection of Jesus as the Christ with having the spirit of an antichrist. He goes on to say that if you don't have the Christ (the Truth – what they heard from the beginning; 1 John 1:1-3), then they don't have God. [1/2]
[Continuing last week's article]. If the Truth is the Christ, then how do we tell if someone has the Truth? People can have correct knowledge but not be transformed by that knowledge. As Jesus said in Matthew 7:16-20, those who have the Truth versus those who do not are made known by their fruits. Later in Matthew, this is taught in the parable of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31-46). The thing that distinguishes the sheep from the goats is how they treated Christ. What Jesus means by that is how they treated other people. Likewise, Paul gave in Galatians 5 :22-23 clear indicators as to who is led by the Spirit and crucified with Christ (Galatians 5:18, 24). This means that people can believe incorrect things but still have the complete Truth because the Truth is Jesus.
4 Replies to “We Can’t Fellowship People who Don’t Have THE TRUTH”
Daniel not sure where you are going with this. Please consider the example of Cornelius, Acts 10, 11. Cornelius was a devout man, one who feared God with all his house and a man who gave much alms to the people and prayed to God alway. (Acts 10:2) In spite of all these “fruits” he was not a “saved” man, for he was instructed by the angel to send for Peter who would tell him, “what to do” (10:3) with words “whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.” (11:14) So it was two things Cornelius lacked, two things that would result in his lost condition (in spite of his fruits) being transformed into a saved condition. First would be the words spoken by Peter, a gospel sermon if you will, culminating in the “command to be baptized.” (10:48) . . . Had Cornelius rejected the gospel command to “be baptized for the remission of his sins,” all of his good fruits could not have save him.
I realize you are heavily involved in the Preterist movement with many and mostly denominational friends [friends who reject the doctrine of Christ of “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” (Mark 16:15; Acts 2:38) ] I first recognized your departure from the faith in a recent article where you endorsed the denominational practice of using instrumental music in worship to God as Scripturally authorized in Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16. Daniel, I admire your dedication to study and your search for the truth, along with your willingness to question “traditional church of Christ dogma.” I told you last July, in Ardmore, you remind me of myself, when I was your age, and a budding gospel preacher. Many years later I discovered the truth of full preterism through this spirit of “question everything” and “study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of God.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
While I believe in the Scriptural teaching of full preterism, I do not make it a matter of faith with others, within or without the church. But there are fundamental Scriptural teachings that are matters of faith . . . baptism and instrumental music are two of the most fundamental for me. I can agree with anyone on the teaching of preterism, but that does not mean I can extend “the right hand of fellowship” (Galatians 2:9) to anyone who rejects the gospel of Christ.
Eventually you will come to realize you will have to “choose you this day whom ye will serve . . . (Joshua 24:15) in your quest to “rightly divide the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
“And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22)
Hey Phil… a couple of things.
One, I believe that had Cornelius died prior to Peter arriving to his house that he would not have been punished forever. He had not heard the gospel as of yet, so I do not believe that He would have been judged for not obeying it (since he was never given the choice). Had Cornelius rejected the gospel that Peter preached, he would then have been rejecting the will of God, and, therefore, would not have been saved. His good fruits, or anyone’s good fruits, do not save them, but the grace and mercy of God does through the gospel of Jesus. This article is about who we can fellowship, and the answer, as I’ve stated elsewhere, is based upon the tenants found in Ephesians 4. Those seven ones are needed for unity. Instruments, frequency of the Lord’s Supper, etc. (though important issues) are not included in that list.
Most of the people with which I associate, like Michael Miano, have both believed and have been baptized, and they produce the fruit spoken of in Galatians 5, so I am in no position to deny their salvation.
Who’s faith have I departed from? Not the faith of Jesus or Paul because the use of instruments in Jewish worship was seen as valid, and they never said one thing about changing that.
I don’t see how you can equate instrumental music to the gospel of Christ and with fundamental teachings of the faith when the New Testament church said nothing of the subject even though it was prevalent in the only Scriptures they had before the New Testament was revealed.
If you do not think that preterism is a fellowship issue, which is mentioned on practically every page of the New Testament, then how can you consider instrumental music a fellowship issue, which is mentioned on none as being an issue. The writers of the NT mention sacrifice, offerings, washings, and so many other things as passing away, but they never mentioned instruments in worship except in a positive light symbolically in Revelation.
In the passage you cited from Matthew, there were clear commands as to what they were NOT supposed to do. No such condemnation exists for the instrument.
Daniel, you make many pertinent comments, relative to the discussion at hand. I see this as a question of how we understand the Scripture to be authoritative in conversion and sanctification. Let me briefly relate how I came to my own understanding of Scriptual authority in religion. I grew up in the church of Christ in Oklahoma City, and my father was an elder at the Wilshire Blvd. congregation. Later, as a student at Freed-Hardeman College back in 1974, I became influenced by Dr. Thomas B. Warren via his book “When is an Example Binding.” Through this book I clearly understood that interpreting the Bible correctly is what “Biblical Hermeneutics” is about. Only by interpreting the Bible correctly can one truly know the will of God. I would highly recommend this scholarly and logical discussion of Scriptural Authority to anyone, especially to our teachers, preachers and elders.
So Daniel, in your first statement about Cornelius, you make the same argument, in his defense, as do the Mormons, today, who believe one is not accountable for their sins, until they have the opportunity to hear the gospel, as depicted in the writings of Joseph Smith. And actually, not to worry, those who die without hearing the gospel, will get a second chance in hades, and those still living can be baptized on their behalf.
Now I know what you are thinking . . . you are in no way endorsing the Morman doctrine as the doctrine of Christ. However, in the case of Cornelius, you claim he was not lost yet, because he had not yet had a chance to hear the gospel, at least that is how I interpret your statement . . . ” I believe that had Cornelius died prior to Peter arriving to his house that he would not have been punished forever. He had not heard the gospel as of yet, so I do not believe that He would have been judged for not obeying it (since he was never given the choice.)” But the angel of the Lord clearly told him he was lost in Acts 11:14. We must apply the hermeneutic logic, outlined in brother Warren’s book, to understand the truth of my statement.
In the case of “music in worship” the heart is the instrument with which we are commanded to make melody, by singing. Again, correct hermeneutic logic applies here by excluding every other type of instrument, other than the one which was commended, ie. the heart, via singing. Brother Warren would reference the two sons of Aaron who were priests, Nadab and Abihu. This popular story amongst members of the church of Christ, found in Leviticus 9, demonstrates the authority of Scripture on the musical instrument question, by illustrating it with the Scriptural use of fire used to burn incense upon the alter, as commanded in the old law. God specified that the fire must come from off the alter. This command excluded all other sources of fire, with God having to mention all the other possible sources. Instead, Nadab and Abihu offered “strange fire” before the Lord and they paid for their sin with their lives.
Since the instrument of music, commanded in Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 is the heart of man, the same principle applies, as did the command for fire in Leviticus 9. If not why not.
How one can make instrumental music a part of the gospel and a matter of fellowship is absolutely amazing! It’s actually a perversion of the gospel. And the texts referenced have nothing to do with a “worship service.”