BulletinGold #37
October 5, 2003   Vol 3 #5
 

Editor's Remarks
----by Donna Richmond

In the September BulletinGold, I talked about why I believed Church
of Christ should be written with a capital "C."  Reasons included the
fact that as the church's name, it was capitalized as a proper noun,
and that's how we are listed in newspapers, telephone books, etc.  I
was surprised to receive a host of perhaps more scriptural reasons
from others.  These included:

I agree with your use of the capital "C" when using a proper name.
Here is what I do.
When I talk about a specific congregation (Athens Church of Christ) I
use the "C".
When I talk discuss the brotherhood (The general view of churches of
Christ is ...) I use the "c".

The whole discussion from those who refuse to use the "C" is more
symbolic than anything. They feel that if we use the capital "C" that
we have somehow become what we oppose - a denomination. The "C" does
not make us a denomination anymore than the use of "c" makes us non-
denominational. The concept of non-denominational Christianity is not
located in a capital or lower case letter. The spirit of keeping the
Lord's church non-denominational is in the understanding of:
 The New Testament church
 The historical development of denominations
 The reasons and history of the restoration movement
I recently read an excellent book on this subject - Recover the
Dream, by Jim Harris.
BTW - I am currently teaching on the subject of denominations. I
dealt with the background and development, some ways we (churches of
Christ) are similar to denominations, and the reasons for our refusal
to become a denomination. You can see this outline at the church
website - www.athenschurchofchrist.org and click on the class topic
at the bottom of the screen.

Manly R. Luscombe
Church site: http://www.athenschurchofchrist.org
Photos: http://www.athenschurchofchrist.org/Luscombe/index.html

**********************************************

Bill Graham wrote, "It appears to me that the church really doesn't
have a name, per se. I believe that it is referred to as the church
of Christ because it belongs to Christ. In Romans 16:16 for example,
all the churches of Christ, i.e., those belonging to Christ are
addressed. As you well know, the church is called by different names
in the NT. For example, it is called the church of God, church of the
first born, etc."  See Bill's article below.

***********************************************

"We have too long been bogged down with the "unimportant details" and
forgotten what Christ would have us to do in Matt 28:18-20.  I am
afraid we look through the eyes of a Pharisee.  Even if the "c"
debate were improper English, I believe the Lord has more eternal
things on His mind.  Besides, I don't remember that being one of
the "steps" of salvation."  I pray that we all focus on the eternal
things and not the temporal things." Ron Bradshaw, Minister,
Douglasville, Georgia

***********************************************

Roy Crutcher, who preaches in Olney, Illinois, wrote, ".couldn't
resist putting in my 2 cents worth.  Many [many, many], years ago
when I worked in an aircraft factory, I had a debate [on the job]
with a Baptist.  Among other things that we discussed - was
the "name."  I fought long and hard to convince him that the proper
name was "Church of Christ."  Then, when I got home, I was studying
[sharpening my debating skills, etc. - ha].  I began reading a book,
written by J. Ridley Stroop [I think the spelling is correct].  I
believe that he, at that time, was a professor at David Lipscomb. 
Anyway, to my great surprise, he had written something in his book
that totally killed my argument.  I was disappointed, but it made
sense.  He said that the church does not have a name!  That terms
such as church of Christ, church of God, etc. are not names but are
designations - showing to whom we [the body] belong.  Therefore, it
seems that it need not be capitalized since it is not a proper
name/noun, rather a designation."


Like I said, I was not trying to start a debate, and I don't believe
I did.  Rather, my readers have reminded me of some important facts. 
Thanks to all of you for your input.  Also, many thanks to those of
you who continue to send articles.  This month we are blessed to have
articles from new contributors.  

__________________________via BulletinGold

Panning for more Gold
---- preacher's articles this issue

Words used to identify the church named 
in the New Testament (KJV)

by: Bill Graham

It should be noted that the church doesn't have a name, per se.
Designations given in Scripture signify such things as ownership
(e.g., of Christ, of God, of firstborn) , location (e.g., in
Pergamos, of Asia) , state of being or characteristics (e.g.,
glorious, the pillar and ground of truth, in God the Father and in
the Lord Jesus Christ), composition (e.g., the saints, Gentiles),
number of assemblies (e.g. seven of Asia).

Church(s) or the Church(s) Most often the church is simply referred
to as "the church(s)" (at least 70 times). First found in Matthew
18:17.
Churches of the Gentiles - Romans 16:4
Churches of Christ - Romans 16:16
My Church - In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said, "I will build My church and
the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
Church(s) God - Acts 20:28, 1 Cor. 1:2, 10:32, 11:16, 11:22, 15:9, 2
Cor. 1:1, Galatians 1:13, 1 Thessalonians 2:14, 2 Thessalonians 1:4,
1 Tim. 3:5
Churches of the saints - 1 Cor. 14:33 Church of the firstborn -
Hebrews 12:23
The general assembly - Hebrews 12:23 Glorious church - Ephesians 5:27
House of God - 1 Timothy 3:15, Hebrews 10:21, 1 Peter 4:17
Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth - 1
Timothy 3:15
Church of the Thessalonians, in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus
Christ - 1 Thessalonians 1:1 & 2 Thessalonians 1:1
Church in thy house - Philemon 2 Church at Cenchrea - Romans 16:1
Church in their house - 1 Cor. 16:19
Church at Babylon - 1 Peter 5:13
Church of Ephesus - Rev 2:1
Church in Smyrna - Rev 2:8 Church in Pergamos - Rev. 2:12
Church in Thyatira - Rev 2:18 Church in Sardis - Rev. 3:1
Church in Philadelphia - Rev. 3:7
Church of the Laodiceans - Rev 3:14 & Colossians 4:16
Churches of Galatia - 1 Cor. 16:1, Galatians 1:2
Churches of Asia - 1 Cor. 16:19
Churches of Macedonia - 2 Cor. 8:1
Churches of Judaea which were in Christ - Galatians 1:22
Seven Churches of Asia - Rev. 1:4, 1:11
Seven churches - Rev. 1:20

Bill Graham is the Coordinator for the World Bible School Program at
the Main Street Church of Christ, Springfield, Tennessee.

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Forgiving on the Cross
by: Hardie Logan

A Preacher's View

Luke 23:34 34  Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do
not know what they do."  And they divided His garments and cast lots.

Many places in the New Testament show the love Jesus had for people.
In some places, we see Jesus taking risks because of His love for
people. For example, Jesus staying with Zacchaeus (Luke 19:5-7). The
people complained about what Jesus did, saying that Jesus was eating
with sinners. Jesus looked past what the man was and looked to what
the man could become. Jesus wanted to help the man become something
better than he was. That was always the case with Jesus. It should be
our case also.

Yet, many people want to say that Jesus forgave people of their sin
without the people having to repent. The argument many of them put
forth is Luke 23:34. The argument is that Jesus forgave them of their
sins when Jesus prayed on the cross, but is that true? Consider Luke
13:3.

Luke 13:3 3 "I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all
likewise perish."  By Jesus' own words, unless people repent, they
will perish. What Jesus was saying is simple. If a person is not
willing to repent of sin in their life, they cannot have eternal life
with God. They will perish forever, being without God and suffer the
punishment of an eternal hell. Think about this for a moment. If
Jesus taught that one must repent before they have eternal life, then
how could this same man, Jesus, forgive them of their sins while He
was hanging on the cross? If Jesus did such a thing, He would be a
hypocrite would He not?

Acts 17:30 30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now
commands all men everywhere to repent."  Not only would Jesus be a
hypocrite, Jesus would also be going against the Holy Spirit. The
Holy Spirit led the apostles in what they spoke and what they wrote.
Thus the Holy Spirit led Luke to write down Acts 17:30. If Jesus
forgave the men when He prayed on the cross then Jesus would be
teaching something different than what the Holy Spirit caused the
apostles to remember and to write for people today.
So, if Jesus didn't forgive them, what did He do? Jesus had
compassion in His heart. Jesus wanted all men to go to heaven. That
is the very reason He came to earth. Nevertheless, compassion for
someone and forgiving their sins is two different things. We are to
have compassion like Jesus. However, we cannot forgive sins against
God. We can certainly pray for God to forgive them like Jesus did,
but asking God to forgive them and forgiving the sin is two different
things. Let us pray to God to forgive all men and let us also pray
that all men will want to be forgiven enough to do what Jesus teaches
us to do to be forgiven. Repent.

We must believe, we must repent, we must confess Christ before men
and we must be baptized to have eternal life with God. These are the
teachings of Jesus. These are written down for us through the Holy
Spirit.

Hardie Logan is the minister at the Marshfield Church of Christ in
Marshfield, Wisconsin.

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Quick Riches
----misc. goodies this issue

Stand Firm and Tall
by: Larry Meissner

The air is cool, but still, and the flag hangs limply against the
pole.  Nothing of consequence challenges it; nothing lifts it out of
the doldrums of mere existence.  The colors and shape of the fabric
seem to melt into an indistinct, purposeless blob.  It seems drained
of energy and purpose.  It looks tired and insignificant. 

The people it represents, for the seeming lack of anything more
important, quibble over tax rebates and tax increases, budget
surpluses and shortfalls, granting and refusing of oil drilling
rights, and whether or not prayer should be offered in public.  They
are all discussions that will go on and on and on.  The career of a
congressman is destroyed over rumors and innuendo, not knowing and
maybe not caring, about the facts, and almost forgetting the young
woman whose disappearance started it all.

And then the winds come.

The winds lift the flag, challenge it, attempt to destroy it, to
carry it away into oblivion; and yet it remains.  The red, white, and
blue banner takes on shape and distinction.  It stands out from the
pole stiff and straight, proud and purposeful.  The winds whip it,
the sun bleaches it, the rain and the ice may cause it to tear, but
still it remains.  It flies damaged, dirty, and torn above the
carnage, but proud and firmly anchored in its history, its
constitution, and most solidly in its people. 

And the people it represents are changed.  Old concerns remain, but
the perspective is different.  All the people are threatened.  Others
want to destroy them.  Rather than be defeated, they rise up, united,
strong, proud.  Rather than be cowed by fear, they stand firm. 
Prayer is offered in public without shame, without question.  Many
volunteer their very lives for the benefit of all - and some will
die.  But the challenges do not destroy; the threats do not
discourage.  Instead, they strengthen the resolve, the nerve, and the
very character of the people.

When struggles come, whether for the nation, or for you individually,
whether from some outside, unknown source, or from within your own
family or circle of friends, stand firm.  God is still there.  Your
faith is still there.  Your character, your values, the things that
make you who you are, is still there.  Use the challenges to make
you, as they have this nation, stronger, taller, and more capable. 
Draw on the strength and the compassion of others.  Remain anchored
in your faith, your character, and your purpose.  After the storm,
when the calm returns, your flag may hang limp, faded, worn and
frazzled, but having survived, you will be able to retire it to a
place of honored, treasured memory and replace it with a new flag of
brilliant color, heavier fabric and stronger seams.  You, like a new
flag, will fly with greater strength, greater sense of purpose,
greater confidence, greater honor, greater respect for yourself, and
greater respect for and from others.

And one other thing, when your neighbor's flag is worn and tired and
frayed and frazzled, help him lift it up, help him mend it and get it
flying again.

Larry Meissner preaches for the North E Street Church of Christ, San
Bernardino, California.

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Did God Make Everything?
Author Unknown

The college professor challenged the class with this question: "Did
God make everything there is?"  One student bravely
answered, "Yes!"  "Everything, young man?"  "Yes, He did, sir," the
young man replied.  The professor responded, "If God made everything,
then God made evil, and we can only create from within ourselves,
then God is evil."  The student did not have a response, and the
professor was happy to have once again proved the Christian faith a
myth.

Then another man raised his hand and asked, "May I ask you something,
sir?"  "Yes, you may," responded the professor.  The man stood up and
said, "Sir, is there such a thing as dark?"  The professor
responded, "Of course there is."  The student replied, "Actually,
sir, darkness does not exist.  Darkness is really only the absence of
light.  Darkness is only a term developed to describe what happens
when there is no light present."

Finally, the man asked, "Sir, is there such a thing as evil?"  The
professor responded, "Of course.  We have rapes, murders, and
violence everywhere in the world.  Those things are evil."  The
student replied, "Actually, sir, evil does not exist.  Evil is simply
the absence of God.  Evil is a term man developed to describe the
absence of God.  God did not create evil.  It isn't like truth, or
love, which exist as the virtue of light.  Evil is simply the state
where God is not present, like darkness without light."

The professor had nothing to say.

Editor's note:  I usually do not publish "Author Unknown" articles,
but this one gives much food for thought.  I hope the author does not
mind my using it. 

__________________________via BulletinGold

Hearts of Gold
----poetry this issue

On Becoming Enlightened
by: Rose Ann Noey

As I left the church-house door
Upon a Sunday morn,
I had a realization
That caused my heart to scorn.
 
I got nothing from the service -
No edifying lift,
No spiritual encounter,
No ego-boosting gift.
 
But, then, I had another thought
That stopped me in my track:
I put nothing in the service
So, what should I get back?
 
I'd relinquished thoughts of Jesus Christ
And thoughts of the Divine,
Replacing them with earthbound thoughts
Like "Will this end on time?"
 
My empty song held little praise;
My prayers were empty, too.
The sermon from the preacher left me
Squirming in the pew.
 
My worship should be full of zeal.
How did I let it slip?
But, now I want to praise my Lord
From heart, not just my lip.

Rose Ann Noey worships with the Church of Christ at Lincolnway in
Columbia City, Indiana.

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Gold Mines
----quotes & sayings for bulletins and signs this issue

When Satan reminds you of your past, remind him of your future.

Morality, like art, requires that a line be drawn somewhere!

If you're far from God in life, you'll be far from Him in death.

Opening and closing each day with prayer opens many doors.

Kind words are short to speak, but their echoes are endless.

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