Question 31. Where in the Bible does it identify the New Testament writings in a strict sense with the word of God?

Hopefully to assuage the reaction of any critics of my answer to this question let me say up front that I believe the New Testament writings to be the written word of God. I do not think though that the Bible identifies these writings in a strict sense with the word of God. I doubt if the authors wrote their letters with the knowledge that they would later be canonized and constitute what we call the New Testament, a part of the Bible, the written “word of God”.  When the New Testament writers used phrases like “the word of God” and “the Word” they did not refer to their writings, but to oral messages, the gospel, or to the person of Christ himself. Robert Richardson noted this in an article he wrote for “The Evangelist “in 1834. So this is not something I just dreamed up on my own. Continue reading

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Robert Richardson and “Reformation”

November, 2011

Dear brethren,

In more recent years I have become an avid admirer of Robert Richardson (1806-1876), biographer of Alexander Campbell, as well as his close friend and personal physician. Many years ago I read his Memoirs of Alexander Campbell and more recently his Communings in the Sanctuary. Right now I am working my way through a series of articles he wrote for the Millennial Harbinger entitled “Reformation”. The series was started in 1847 and continued into 1850. There were nineteen installments in all. In 1848 bro. Richardson was listed as a co-editor along with W.K. Pendleton. In 1849 and 1850 A.W. Campbell is also listed as a co-editor. Continue reading

Question 30. Where did we ever get the idea that we should take the safe course?

The first thing that came to mind when contemplating this question was an article a brother wrote a couple of decades ago in which he urged that we play it safe and not love our brethren too much. Yet that is the essences of God’s nature and our relationship to Him and our siblings in Christ. Remove the latter and you don’t have the former John tells us. You can’t love too much.

This kind of advice originates in fear motivated by a sectarian attitude. It is a fear which formulates unwritten creeds, divides brethren, stifles open study and the free flow of thought. It enslaves rather than frees. Continue reading

Positives of grace in contrast to legalism

October, 2011

Dear brethren,

Like many in the Church of Christ I was raised in a legalistic atmosphere. Probably one of the most legalistic sects of which this denomination is comprised. I didn’t know it though as I really didn’t know what was meant by legalism. If anything it meant to me strict law-keeping which it is not. Then in December, 1965, my eyes were opened in a situation somewhat embarrassing to me at the time. Continue reading

For Your Thought – 46 (Best Poem In The World)

Recently several friends have sent me the following poem. I have my doubts that it is the best poem in the world, but it does convey a significant message.

BEST POEM IN THE WORLD

I was shocked, confused, bewildered
As I entered Heaven’s door,
Not by the beauty of it all,
Nor the lights or its decor. Continue reading

California Letter: An Email Exchange

July-August-September 2011

Re: An e-mail exchange

Dear brethren,

Earlier this year I engaged in an e-mail exchange centering around the concept of “unity in diversity” with a brother-in-Christ in another state. That exchange constitutes the subject matter for this “California Letter.” He initiated the exchange as you will see below. I responded, including fourteen questions for him. He replied to my response by saying: “If I answer your questions forthrightly and candidly, will you respond in kind to a similar list of questions from me?” He sent me thirty. Ha! Continue reading

For Your Thought – 47 (A Contrast Of Christianity And Man’s Religions)

1.) In Christianity God took the initiative to save us by sending a Savior, seeking man through the gospel, whereas the founders of the major religions of the world were merely teachers telling man how to go about seeking God.

2.) Jesus came to do what we could not do for ourselves, pay the cost of our sins, whereas in the religions of the world man is told he must pay the cost, pull himself up by his own bootstraps, so to speak. Continue reading