Churches of Christ and the Challenge of Preaching

I must make a confession.  When hearing churches say they’re looking for a preacher/minister who preaches sound doctrine, I cringe.  In fact, to me that phrase screams “stay away.”

Why would any preacher feel this way?  After all, the phrase “sound doctrine” is in the Bible.  Perhaps even more germane to preaching and ministry, this phrase appears four times throughout those three New Testament books commonly called the Pastoral Epistles (1 Tim 1.10; 2 Tim 4.3; Tit 1.9; 2.1).  Yet what the Churches of Christ have historically meant by this phrase and what the Apostle Paul meant are two entirely different ideas.  The former understood this phrase as a referent to church doctrine while the later had in mind healthy moral/ethical living (see these two posts, here and here, by Bobby Valentine).  The real rub has been a history among Churches of Christ of denouncing as a false teacher anyone daring to question the assumed doctrines and practices regarded as sound (e.g., K.C. Moser, Rubel Shelly).

Thus, this phrase has often been misunderstood and misused.  This is unfortunate because one of the great instructions given to Timothy was to “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction.  For the time will come when people will when people will not put up with sound doctrine” (2 Tim 4.2-3, NIV).

One of the challenges of preaching and ministry among a church is to challenge in such a way that a congregation will continue to grow in faith.  Complacency is a deadly sin.  Yet there is not a single preacher in the world who can help challenge a church if that church believes it has nothing new to learn…no need for a change in the way it lives the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Does that mean that preachers should be heard and accepted without question?  Absolutely not!  Preachers, myself included, are not infallible and a church would be foolish just to accept what we preach and teach without discernment.  However, churches who only want a preacher to preach and teach what their ears want to hear–what is always safe and without challenge–are equally foolish.

What a church needs from a preacher/minister is someone who will preach the word or as the Apostle Paul says elsewhere, someone who will preach “Christ crucified” (1 Cor 1.23).  This is preaching that serves to teach and equip the church to faithfully continue living as disciples of Jesus.  Of course, this means that we preachers must be disciples of Jesus too.  This is the challenge of preaching we have before us.  It requires from both preacher and congregation a commitment of faith in Jesus Christ (not dogma but Jesus) and a commitment to scripture as God’s word to us and for us.  But it also requires enough openness to he word preached that God, through his Spirit at work among us, can still correct, rebuke, and encourage.

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29 responses to “Churches of Christ and the Challenge of Preaching

  1. The “sound” that “sound doctrine” makes isn’t always a pleasant one! Those “sound churches” do not always realize that they too can be the ones with “itching ears”, wanting to hear what is pleasing to them. That is usually what they already think they know about what OTHERS are doing wrong. If we stop learning, we stop growing.

  2. Bro. Rex, Go to any study Bible, and read what the commentary says about 1 Cor 1:23. One thing about the Bible, it is miraculously in perfect harmony with itself. How can you disregard everything else that the apostle Paul wrote. Or, consider what it would be like, for example, to baptize 3000 souls into Christ in one day. Paul was not diminishing baptism. The point is he needed to preach, and let others do the baptizing. One scripture, in John 3:22 says that Jesus baptized; and one would think that, until they got to John 4:1-2 where it is explained that it was actually the disciples who did the baptizing. Paul needed to preach, lest the baptizing be in vain, and people would believe that by merely be dunked in water by a baptizer they would be saved. –dc

    • Don, I don’t know why you are asking me “How can you [meaning me] disregard everything else that the apostle Paul wrote?” Read this post carefully again…I never once suggested that we disregard everything else the Apostle Paul wrote and I certainly did not suggest we disregard the practice of baptism.

      • Rex, Okay, I reread your post and I do note as stated there, that on the surface there is no problem. However; when it comes to talking and preaching about the church, church doctrines, worship, baptism and so forth, you often resort to “I just teach Christ crucified, not Christ–Plus!” –more in the tone of scripture a little higher up, in verse 17: “For Christ sent me not to baptize,…” and verse 14: “I thank God that I baptized none of you, but…” When you answer issues that arise about sound doctrine, with “I only preach Christ crucuified, –not Christ-PLUS!” have you not eliminated all sound discussions about christ’s church, worship, baptism, the Father, the Holy Spirit, the book of Acts, and all the New Testament doctrinal books, of which the Apostle Paul had much to say, and which is the inspired Word of God. Isn’t it best to let the BIBLE itself tell us how God wants us to worship and be, and to answer our questions. That is why the scripture says to “PREACH THE WORD…” (not men’s philosophies). –dc

      • Don,

        I think I understand what you are getting at. You are concerned that I appear to be eliminating the place for preaching/teaching about all the other aspects (i.e., Holy Spirit, Baptism, worship, etc…) that have to do with practicing the Christian faith.

        So let me say clearly that this is not what I mean nor what I believe the Apostle Paul means to preach “Christ crucified” (1 Cor 1.23). What I believe the Apostle Paul means (and subsequently what I mean) is to preach from the power of God’s wisdom, which is Christ crucified. Remember that in the context of this verse Paul is comparing God’s wisdom and power (Christ crucified) against what the Jews and Gentiles regarded as possessing wisdom and strength, which was the Law and philosophy. So in the world of the Jews and Gentiles, the way to address something such as moral issues pertaining to life was to do so either on the basis of the Law or from a philosophical basis. But such means of addressing issues that matter is pointless and powerless because God means of dealing with the world is Christ crucified.

        Thus, Paul’s point is, which New Testament scholar Ben Witherington III makes so well in his commentary on the Corinthian letters is, that he is opposed to any preaching which empties “…the gospel of it’s content and power and to any form of philosophy that did not comport with the counter-order wisdom…” (Witherington, Conflict and Community in Corinth: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on 1 and 2 Corinthians, 109). Do you see the point? Preaching must be depend on nothing else other than Jesus Christ crucified. This does not mean that preaching (and teaching) should never be done on issues facing the church or essential issues to the Christian faith. Instead we must address these issues from the vantage point of Christ crucified. For example, when preaching about something such as baptism or giving rather than just preaching that people need to be baptized and become cheerful givers, we must help people to see how baptism and giving are ways of following Jesus to the cross and participating with him in his crucified life. And Paul will do just this in the Corinthian letters when he discusses such issues as spiritual gifts, church unity, the Lord’s Supper, etc…

        Any ways, I hope this helps explain more of what I mean and what I believe the Apostle Paul means. Thank you for your kind dialogue.

        Grace and Peace,

        Rex

  3. The scripture says “how can you hear without a preacher?, and how can he preach except he be sent” . What a congregation should want is a preacher sent from God. Just because they ask for sound doctrine does not necessarily mean that they want sound doctrine. Preachers are made examples and laughing stocks everywhere. God calls and he saves.

    • It is interesting that after Paul quotes the prophet Isaiah in Romans 10.15 saying, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news”, the very next line in v. 16 says, “But not all the Israelites accepted the good news.”

      I guess the point is that just because God’s people have a messenger sent from God, it does not mean that God’s people will necessarily welcome the messenger’s message.

      • Rex, What you say here is true. “He (Jesus) came unto his own, and his own received him not.” (John 1:11). However; if you are referring to the church of Christ, this certainly is not true. It is all about by what authority is one teaching and preaching, and is what is being preached and taught actually the Word of God? We can also learn by inference and example of the early church, and the apostles themselves. For example, if one wants to know and understand, or teach and preach, the truth about baptism, or the early church, or about how people were taught the gospel and saved, or added to the Lord’s church (such as all the conversions shown throughout the book of Acts), or how the church of Christ, or Christ’s church, began, starting with the last chapter of Luke which leads directly into the book of Acts which shows us the start of the Lord’s church, which was 10 days after Jesus ascended into heaven, in Jerusalem, on the day of Pentacost, 33 AD. (–not 300 years later in Rome.) (nor centuries later the reformation movements starting with the Catholic, Luther; or the Presbyterian, Calviin.) Then we can enrich our understanding about baptism, for one example, by going to such scriptures (besides Acts 2:38) such as Col 2:12; 1 Peter 3:18; Rom 6:1-5; Mark 16:16, for a start. The point is that we let the Bible, the Word of God do the teaching. Anything a “messenger of God” as you say, is teaching and preaching, in New Testament times, it must be backed up and substantiated by the scriptures themselves. –dc

      • Don,

        I agree that preaching/teaching must be grounded in scripture. However, let me remind you that citing a lot of scripture does not necessarily make what we are saying actually biblical. We can make the Bible support just about anything we want by proof-texting scripture.

    • “Sound doctrine” is when you let the BIBLE, through the Spirit, do the talking. What does the BIBLE (God’s word) say about such and such? In so doing in scripture one must consider the context, the history, who is being addressed, when, and for what purpose and why? Also, what else is written elsewhere in the Bible about that same topic. Satan himself quoted scripture, and Jesus replied, –“It is also written.” Jesus often quoted the Old Testament scriptures in his teachings. Otherwise; good old common sense.
      Now, let us let the Word of God talk to us here. The Word of God talks to me all the time through the scriptures I know, and if I don’t know than I can “seek and ye shall find.” (Mat 7:7) “These (the Bereans) were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11) –dc

  4. There is one human nature in which we all participate and so we are all creatures that not only respond personally to the Word, but have an impulse towards Tradition- for Tradition is the patterns of living that we share in common. The Christian Faith also has an authentic Tradition, and one to which Scripture also points- but for a man to be formed in Christ, He must have, not only the Word of God which is the Verbal Icon that points us beyond to the Living Word, but also the Tradition of Christ, that is the icon that points us beyond to the Common Nature, recapitulated for us who have been baptized under the headship of Christ.
    A problem therefore emerges when Christian men attempt to respond to the Scriptures yet do so from within a Tradition that is synthetic, not carrying forward the genetic material of the Church, from the Beginning to the Present… Lord have mercy on us sinners.

    • I certainly see value in knowing and listening to church tradition but the tradition has always developed among people making choices, some of which reflect the gospel and some of which reject the gospel. So I don’t believe we can speak of any “authentic Tradition.” Nevertheless, whatever deficiencies a gospel-community might have, if it’s possible for God to raise up children of Abraham from the stones (cf. Matt 3.9) then it’s possible for God to bring about his will even in communities who may not give proper attention to church tradition.

  5. The point I got from Rex’s post (and I agree) is that what many churches call “sound doctrine” is really “sound tradition”. Often that excludes exploring other possibilities…the possibility that we could be wrong about something we hold so strongly. It is not that “sound doctrine” is a bad thing (obviously not), but as a common BUZZ WORD (it’s common usage), it is a red flag that often means a church is not willing to explore the scriptures in any way except what they have already determined (or been taught) they mean and how they apply. If we do not think we could be wrong and are thus willing to learn and re-learn, we are not listening to “sound doctrine” but have become “doctrinally DEAF”.

    • You have understood me correctly. Thanks for your comments.

      • It’s not about not willing to learn, or listen What we do at churches of Christ is check the scripures (like the Bereans did in Acts 17:11) to see if what is being preached and taught is actually what God’s word says. What does the BIBLE say about about that teaching? I get upset when people try to lump the church of Christ into the Catholic Church, man made teachings, traditions, creeds and such reformation movements, and denominations. We are none of those, –and when you use the mistakes and errors of these Churches to define the church of the Bible, –the church of Christ, than you do not understand the church of Christ. Traditions are not a bad thing if they are actually founded on substance, by the word of God, by the inferences and examples of the early church. no, –these traditions are not “law” rivited in stone; but they can be helpful in having an orderly worship service and communion, and in obeying Jesus in what he instructed us in how he wants to be remembered and worshiped. Do you really think we should be making changes to our Lord’s church with the passing of each new generation? We need to be thinking about what God’s Word teaches us, not about what God’s word does not teach us. If we love God we will obey His commandments. We won’t be thinking about how far away from God we can get without losing our salvation, –but turned TOWARDS God and seeing how close we can get to Him. If you think God wants us to make changes, –show us the scriptures! Don’t you understand that we are ardent studious lovers of God and His Word (Jesus), now and all through the years and
        ongoing generations? There is only one true church of God, one Word, one God, one baptism, one body of Christ. Jesus Christ is the head of His church. Why is it so surprising that there are not changes to Christ’s church, after all these
        years? Has God given you new revelations to add to our Bible? Read the beginning of the book of Hebrews, if you need to know how God talks to us in these times. Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the “I am.” Yesterday, today and forever.
        God’s New Testament for us is SEALED by the blood of Jesus, God’s Son, on the cross. You can stake your life on the Word of God. It contains everything we need to know for life and godliness. Don’t mess with the Word of God, but learn and you will love it, not try to make changes, or think you can improve on it. Jesus has been given all authority in heaven and on earth, and we have His Word on how we should live, and what our mission is. Thank God for all His PROMISES to us, and blessings; they are the the Word of God. It is not the messenger we turn to for instruction, –but to God Himself, who loves you. Deal with it. –dc

      • Don,

        ??? You’re arguing about things that are not even being discussed in this post.

  6. Rex, About:

    “Don,
    I think I understand what you are getting at. You are concerned that I appear to be eliminating the place for preaching/teaching about all the other aspects (i.e., Holy Spirit, Baptism, worship, etc…) that have to do with practicing the Christian faith….”

    Good answer! Would you believe it? –I actually agree with you here! lol –dc

  7. Rex, About your reply: I totally disagree with you here when you say:

    “Don, ??? You’re arguing about things that are not even being discussed in this post.”

    I am answering in reply not only to you, but to the comments of others who are replying here as so posted. You have to go to the root of these matters and comments. The Lord’s church is not built on sand, but deep and strong rooted in a strong foundation, never changing. “”Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.” (1Cor 15:1-2). “I marvel that yue are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. AS we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you then that ye have received, let him be accursed.” (Gal. 1:5-9). I do not mean to imply here that you are preaching another gospel, but to show that the Word of God stands sound and firm, in a solid foundation. I am answering to what has been said here about the church of Christ refuses to consider anything new that a “messenger of God” brings to the table. My reply is that it is not that we are closed minded, but that we are grounded in the scripures, in the Word of God. If we are incorrect in our teachings and worship we want to hear about it, –but it cannot be accepted or even partly accepted if it does not come from sound doctrine, –that is the Word of God itself. We give our lives to the Word of God (Jesus) and noone else. Show us the chapter and verses that teach your new revelations, to what you are teaching,
    both in proper context and in completeness. We take the Word of God very seriously, and are always searching the scriptures in order to see if what is being taught is true. Is it no wonder, after all these years of doing this, that we appear to be rigid, and not quick to change by each new generation or preacher? Just look at all the smoke out there whan it comes to truth, all the opposing teachings and doctrines, and denominations, Churches and denominations all claiming to be teaching the truth about the Christian church, about the will of God, what our mission is, how we aught to worship and so on. So how can annyone sort out the truth from all the maze? How can anyone actually give their life to such a conglomeration of the teachings of men and the never-ending philosophies of men? How can we evangelize or bring anyone to Jesus Christ, our brother who is Truth and love, God Himself. We “worship God in truth and spirit,” as commanded. The only place we are going to find, keep, and maintain and grow our faith is to let the Word of God itself speak to us and teach us, that is for those who have the eyes and ears to see and hear. Let the Word of God itself ring out to all the world. There is only one name under that which we can be saved, and that is Jesus Christ himself. — dc

    • Don,

      Thank you for clarifying your views. Not everyone, including myself, agree with you on this issue. Nevertheless, we still be brethren.

      • Rex, yes; of course we are still brethren. I love you as my brother in Christ. Have I ever found myself wrong about something I believed? –Of course! It is all a learning and growing process. I could go into a lot of detailed stories here, but I won’t. I love to debate; but a lot of people don’t seem to be able to debate without ending up hating one another. That is really a shame, because we learn and grow when our faith is challenged and questioned. Just believing something does not make it true. we always need to be seeing and hearing, with eyes that see and ears that hear, as Jesus described. When it comes to life and death and truth, I certainly have no desire to make up my own truth, or to cherry-pick scriptures or to select God’s Word cafeteria style. When debating, I don’t care ‘who’ is right, –but ‘what’ is right. it is not a shoot-out at O.K. Corral.
        About your comment saying people can make the Bible say anything they want to. Of
        course that is true, the same as anyone can say anything they want to by cutting out words from a newspaper and rearranging them. That is why we need to be serious students, checking proper context, to who, what and why, and to study all the history and everything else that supports honest study. If I take you at what you just said, it would appear that it is vain to study the Bible ourselves, but rather pick a preacher of the day to put our trust in. No, we need to be like the Bereans in Acts 17:11 and check out what is being taught. And 2 Tim 3:16, using scripture to proof and correct. The only reason I am in the church of Christ today, is because I did just that. Also, because the CofC home Bible study group showed me the history of the church, in the Book of Acts, and the truth about what the scriptures teach us about baptism. (and not for infants) As a Lutheran, my church history started with Luther, and at the time, I felt the Lutheran’s were the closest to the Bible. Of course I still think kindly of the Lutheran Church, because it was a stepping stone for me. Any Church that teaches Christ can’t be

        all that bad; I don’t judge, but I have always gone where the scriptures (God) has led me. And I can tell you I have been around to a lot of places and seen it all, it seems. I love the Bible (God’s Word) –it is the only thing I trust. We all need to work out our own salvation.. ((Phil 2:12). –dc

  8. Well said brother Don! Amen!! Hang in there. Don’t be discouraged. Cling to the word of God. Hold us preachers and teachers accountable. Take hear, as there are plenty of preachers who clearly see the growing trend to devalue doctrine and make the teachings of scripture irrelevant or unimportant. (Now, Rex, who is my fellow preaching friend and former Harding classmate would probably strongly disagree with me on this view as we do on many viewpoints). But as biblical teaching is pushed aside, people are no longer standing strong in the Lord. In fact, it seems more and more from my personal work in evangelism and teaching and preaching now over 12 years in fulltime ministry in the Lord’s church that far too many have any concept of an immovable truth or even what spiritual maturity is all about.

    No, the truth is if you do not know the word, you cannot keep the word. (John 8:31-32; 17:17) And keeping the Word of God is the evidence that the love of God is in our hearts. (John 14:15; 1 John 2:3-5) The teaching of ‘devaluing doctrine’ has influenced the church greatly I believe through the emergent church movement, the seeker sensitive movement, the charismatic movement (“God is speaking directly to me”), etc. which too often has a pretense of sounding inspirational but are desperately lacking in truth.

    I see too much in the “new theology’ downplaying the value of scripture and shifts the focus on emotionalism and experiential Christianity instead of Christianity based on truth. What makes us feel good is not the measure of truth. Feelings sway with the wind of circumstances but the truth of God’s word stands as a solid rock that does not change.

    Indeed ignorance of truth is an open door to sinful doctrines and ungodly philosophies; however, we each have the God-given power and responsibility to search out truth and expose false doctrine. Sound doctrine is critical because it reveals to us how to know and relate to our Creator and Savior.

    And so, as we listen to the teachings of others, we cannot always know their motivations but we can know if they are teaching according to truth. It is the responsibility of every teacher and preacher to uphold the doctrines of scripture as they apply it first to their own lives and then to teach others how to seek truth and apply it for themselves. We don’t absolute perfect understanding and obedience to the will of God, but we can seek to know and claim the truth of Christ in our lives. And so it is the responsibility of every Christian to seek and know truth for themselves so that they can be thoroughly equipped for every good work and have true intimacy with God as they learn to conform to the example of Jesus Christ.

    Rex, my friend, I’m sure you will not agree with me also here. No disrespect is meant as I know you do love the Lord and want only to serve Him faithfully in your ministry for Him and to help churches of Christ in many ways be more of the kind of people God calls us to be. Indeed, we are not a perfect people!

    I do wish you the best in your new move and work in Maryland. Incidentally (doesn’t that remind you of Jimmy Allen), I saw where Neal Pryor passed away. The church lost a great one with him but He now enjoys his reward.

    On a side note, in less than two weeks I’m going on another misison trip to the Ukraine and we have a seven hour layover in Newark, NJ. Know any good eating places nearby?:)lol!!

    Take care,

    Robert Prater

    • Robert,

      It is good to hear from you and thank you for leaving your thoughts. While there are certainly examples of people who want to simply set aside scripture for a faith grounded in emotionalism and such, I really think your concern is more a straw man than reality. Nothing I have said in the original post or my comments have even remotely suggested that we set aside scripture for an emotionally driven faith. While recognizing our own fallibility as preachers, I am simply asking for an openness on the part of churches to biblical/gospel truth they may have never considered or hear of before.

      Further more, being able to amass a vast about of biblical proof-texts does not necessarily mean a person is clinging to the word of God or has a true grasp of God’s word. After all, even the devil was able to quote scripture.

      Any ways, I was saddened to hear about the passing of Neal Pryor. I actually opted out of taking my Pentateuch class in the SBS program and took the class through the College of Biblical and Religion so that I could have Neal Pryor as a teacher…and he was a great teacher.

      Grace and Peace,

      Rex

    • Brother Prater, Aaaahhh –how refreshing your post is. I love it. If outsiders are reading these blogs, I hope they will take note, that although certain brothers in Christ may get into some hefty debates sometimes with one another; it by no means implys that we do not love one another. I thought bro Rex would pick up on what you have written here, because you said it so well, –but alas. Down the road we will all understand why…and we know that all things work together for good to those who love the lord and are called.. Of course I am not to judge, but in this regard, I believe that down the road, probably in a few years or so, as Bro. Rex gets a little more experience under his belt, and working in a CofC that has two or more Elders and a strong foundation, he will began to see the light, –remember these debates, and as a result HE will be the STRONG ONE, and it will show up strongly in his teaching and preaching, and many souls will be brought to Christ because of it. I really believe that. Then he will probably say, “Thanks bro Don (and Robert Prater) for loving me enough to not just sit in the pews as a lump.” (Well, something like that.) Speaking for myself, I love honest feedback; because we do have the option to accept it, or leave it. I learn skills in a big way through trial and error, and from feedback. Once, I gave a sermon I had put much hard work and weeks into preparing, and I thought to myself that it probably wasn’t too bad, although later I realized it was over the heads of everybody but our regular preacher who was in attendance. Nobody knew what I was talking about. I had taken for granted that most of the congregation would already be familiar with the scriptures I was using to make my points. (I am not a professional preacher). Anyways, one of the brothers in Christ, afterwards in private, told me, “Don, that is the worst sermon I ever heard.” I love him to this day (and I never let him forget it) for having the guts to tell me. Did that deter me from ever wanting to preach again? –Absolutely NOT. He told me just what
      I needed to know! How else would I ever have known? –dc

  9. Hi Rex,

    On the matter of “sound doctrine,” conservative churches of Christ (CCOCs) are much like ancient Jews who based their identity on scrupulous adherence to certain stipulations of the Mosaic Law that had been prominent in their conflicts with outsiders.

    Those stipulations included such things as Sabbath observance, circumcision, food laws, and marriage.

    Those were the hot-button issues that had caused them so much trouble throughout their history.

    And so naturally those were the things that had become “boundary issues” between observant and non-observant Jews, or more pointedly, between patriots and traitors to the faith.

    Moreover, those were also the things that functioned for them to effectively reduce the Mosaic Law to something more like an ethnic religion than a religion devoted to the one true God.

    And most tellingly, those were the things ancient Jews had come to trust for their justification before God.

    The point here is that the very same things are true of CCOCs except that

    1. The religion in question is not Judaism but Christianity.

    2. The “ethnic” group is not Jews but a certain demographic within the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement (SCRM).

    3. The “works of the law” are not Sabbath keeping, etc. but keeping “the pattern.”

    See my article that suggests the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement represents a form of scholasticism centered around what Mark Noll call’s the “republican, evangelical hermeneutic.”

    http://historeo.com/web/?p=1313

    Regards,

    Bill Brewer

    • Bill,

      I think you make a very good comparison between ancient Judaism and the conservative CoC. I recall hearing many sermons describing the New Testament Pattern for the church as “the law of Christ.” There are two problems with such a claim. First, the phrase “law of Christ” is used once in the New Testament (Gal 6.2) and it has to do with Christians carrying the burdens of each other and nothing to do with keeping some supposed church pattern. Second, while the grace of God in Christ is not a license to lawlessness, turning the New Testament into a second-type of law reveals a misunderstanding of grace. One of the accomplishments of Jesus’ death on the cross was to liberate people from bondage to the law. The law, however, was not the problem; there was nothing wrong with the law, it was perfect and good (the problem was our inability to keep the law). So if God’s redemption in Christ was to simply keep believers in Christ under law, the Torah was already available.

      Any ways, thanks for stopping by the blog to read and comment. I also appreciated your article which you linked to.

      Grace and Peace,

      Rex

  10. Speaking of sound doctrine, has any of you ever read the book by Franklin Camp: The Work of the Holy Spirit In Redemption.? You all sound as if you know what is meant by “in the Spirit” etc. Do you? Hmmm.

  11. Hi Brian,

    Yes, I read Camp’s book shortly after it came out.

    I believe he is correct. “In the Spirit” equates to “inspired.”

    I would be more provocative and say the NT church was a charismatic church, and to understand what the NT really says, we have to read the it like charismatics. That’s not to say we have to “be” charismatics today because the indwelling spirit was a figure pointing to a deeper fulfillment. That figure had a “telos” that point to a different indwelling.

    I would also recommend a study of the hendiadytic/epexegetic use of “kai” in such phrases as “full of wisdom and the spirit,” where the second noun “explains” the second; e.g., “inspired wisdom” for the example at hand.

    For more stuff like that, see the FAQs in my post on “four views of the Spirit” at

    http://historeo.com/web/?p=799.

    Thanks for reminding of Camp’s book!

    Peace,

    billb

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