Generally, we do not post these kinds of things here; however, the following defense of Christianity, especially non-denominational New Testament Christianity, seemed appropriate given current events. (Submitted to Nancy Grace via her CNN web-site and email on April 7, 2006.)
Open Letter to Nancy Grace
I was disappointed to read the broadcast transcript of the uninformed, yet negative criticism regarding the Church of Christ. I was most disappointed that truth found no justice in your court of public exposure, which proclaims to seek otherwise.
Nancy, do you believe truth exists? Objective, identifiable truth? Is there such thing as right and wrong? I am convinced you believe these things, since you were once a practicing attorney. If you do indeed believe these things, then please read on. If not, then please understand that I do not accept moral relativism or any other subjective basis for ultimate truth.
I am a member of the Lord’s church, based on the following logical progression. What do you think about these questions? Please notice that each of the following questions appeal to objective evidence, not pressure tactics, mind control, intimidation, or anything else that even remotely resembles a cult.
- Do you believe that a divine being exists, or that life sprang from the void? I believe in a divine being, because only nothing comes from nothing, and I am something (Logical argument from cause and effect.). The following verses summarize the conclusions that I have reached, given the global evidence, which I have come to accept (Psalm 19:1-4; Romans 1:20). I would part company with the atheist on this point.
- Do you believe that this divine being has revealed Himself to us? I see no evidence to modern day revelation. However, I believe the evidence suggests that God did speak in days past....
- More specifically, does the Bible, the Quran, the Book of Mormon, or any other sacred writing bear the marks of inspiration by a divine being? Do you believe the Bible is a revelation from God? The Bible alone contains hundred of otherwise unexplainable prophecies, many of them written hundreds of years before their fulfillment. God built His case for His own exclusive identity on His ability to foretell the future and bring it to pass (Isaiah 41:21-24; 42:8-9; 44:6-8; 46:8-11). Some prophecies even specify names of kings of empires that did not exist until hundreds of years after the prophecy’s writing (Isaiah 44:28-45:7). I would part company with the Jew, the Muslim, the Buddhist, and many others on this point, as would every other traditional Christian, who accepts the Bible as the inspired Word of God (II Timothy 3:16-17).
- Do you believe the Bible’s integrity has been preserved? The Bible has an impeccable textual pedigree with documents extant that date to as far back as the second century – within 150 years of Jesus. No other sacred book even comes close to this evidence, either in volume or proximity. The prophecies, the ancient miracles, the textual integrity, the external corroboration, the scientific accuracy, and the historical veracity are all unimpeachable. The possibility of the Bible being deceitfully crafted by humans in so short a time would be a miracle far greater than any ever recorded in the Bible itself. I would part company with more liberal Christians on this point, who have accepted modern, negative theories regarding the Bible’s integrity of transmission.
I stand apart from many other Christians, because I believe the Bible is the infallible Word of God, and I have come to trust it implicitly, because the evidence most strongly suggests this reality. What do you think about the Bible?
Mr. Tom Rukala accused the Church of Christ of exhibiting exclusive and condemning attitudes. This is simply not true, as are the rest of his accusations.
First, I have no judgment on the eternal well-being of any individual, be they Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, or whatever. Only God has the power and authority to decide and execute eternal judgment. My opinion is irrelevant. The question to be asked is not, What do you think?", but it should rather be, "What does the Bible say?". Of course, if you do not believe the Bible, then we need to back up to the above questions.
After reading passages, like John 8:24; 14:6; Acts 4:10-12, I immediately become concerned for all my atheist, agnostic, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, and Hindu friends, who do not believe in Jesus. I understand them to be in eternal danger, because the Bible speaks so clearly on this point; therefore, I seek to reason with all who would openly and objectively consider the evidence, as did ancient Christians (Acts 8:4; 17:2-5, 17-34; 18:4-6, 19, 24-28; 24:24-25). Yet, the final judgment belongs to God, and I would not dare presume to assume that role in offering eternal judgment on anyone (James 4:11-12). My only question is, "What does the Word of God say we should do?" That is all that matters, because that will be the standard by which all people will be eternally judged (John 12:48). We each need to compare ourselves to that standard (James 1:22-25), before it is too late, when God compares us to His standard one last time. God may choose to extend mercy beyond what He has promised, because He has done so in the past (Luke 23:39-43). If he extends unpromised mercy, I certainly won’t complain; however, I cannot promise you that He will, since He has nowhere promised that He will, much less detailed the grounds for such mitigating mercy. Therefore, one cannot act upon the basis of such mercy in good faith, because faith can only be based on God’s Word (Romans 10:17).
Intimidation and other tactics of human wisdom have no part in true evangelism, because the Lord is seeking volunteers (Psalm 110:3; Philemon 1:14; II Corinthians 8:1-5,12; 9:7). If people do not want to become a Christian, then that is between them and God (II Corinthians 5:10; Romans 14:10-12).
Second, baptism is clearly commanded in the Bible (I Peter 3:21; Acts 2:37-38; Galatians 3:26-27; Romans 6:1-6; Mark 16:15-16; Colossians 2:11-13). If that does not abide by some tradition of human origin, then I will here have to part with other Christians who maintain allegiances to human denominations, institutions, traditions, dogmas, creeds, and synods, which are not taught in the Bible. My only creed is the Bible, and my only head is Jesus, Who speaks through the Bible.
Which sounds more cultic to you? A denominational Christian who blindly accepts whatever compromise flows out of the most recent and popular convention? Or, a non-denominational Christian, who picks up the Bible, reads it for himself, and decides for himself what it says?
Female Leadership in the Church?
Who represents the Church of Christ?
The Lord’s church has no conventions, conferences, organizations, or other direct representation. No one represents the church of Christ – not me, not Tom Rukala, not Alexander Campbell, not Barton Stone, and not even Rubel Shelly (especially considering that he accepted the title of "Reverend" - Matthew 23:5-10; Psalm 111:9). The only one who speaks for members of the Lord’s church is the Lord Himself, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-2; Matthew 16:16-18; I Corinthians 1:10-13). His apostles and prophets were promised inspiration (John 16:14:25-26; 16:7, 13). They claimed to have received it (I Corinthians 2:10-16; II Peter 1:16-21). Their claims were substantiated by undeniable miracles, signs, and wonders (Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:3-4; II Corinthians 13:12; Romans 15:18-19; I Corinthians 2:1-5; Acts 1:1-3; 5:33-42). If we read the writings of Jesus’ apostles and prophets, then we can have the same understanding that they had (Ephesians 3:3-5; II Timothy 3:16-17). Therefore, if anyone wants to know about the church of Christ, all they have to do is pick up the Bible and start reading. :-)
The church of Christ is just one of the names used in the Bible to refer to Christians (Romans 16:16). Many other names were used and are just as applicable ("the church of God", Acts 20:28; "the church of the living God", I Timothy 3:15; "His body" (referring to Jesus), Ephesians 1:22-23; "the churches of God", I Corinthians 11:16, etc.). The church of Christ consists of individual members, who are patterned after the first century, New Testament church. They follow Christ and His Word alone. Since they strive to have no peculiar doctrine, organization, or practice of man’s origin or invention, then the age of this church would more nearly be estimated at 2000 years, not 150.
I look forward to hearing from you.
<Name removed to preserve site's facelessness>
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