Beware of Those Who Worship to Entertain

Standing at the back the gymnasium, a “praise team” of teenagers were organized to display their praise for the first time before the Christian high school where I served as a Bible teacher. Knowing the words of Christ, I was not happy. With my arms crossed in confusion over this contradiction, the worship director called me out before the student body for being so displeased. He knew why, and I remained cold. I wondered, “Why Christ’s teachings about true worship were disregarded to make a show out of worship?” I was not standing alone among other teachers and students, who were also concerned about this. That event led to the school president requesting my resignation to which I did not consent, so I remained to finish the year. Therefore, I have always been concerned about sincere Christians being led to worship God for the display and amusement of others.

Jesus taught not to give benevolence or worship for show to be seen before others (Matt. 6:1-7). Jesus also warned of spiritual leaders, who went around in long robes, loved greetings with titles, wanted the best seats at spiritual gatherings, and made a show of their worship (Mark 12:38-40, cf. Matt. 23:6-11). Was this only a first century occurrence or do religious men do the same today? Are churches not led by such examples now?

Religious television testifies of the existence such worshipers. From traditional to contemporary and from highly ritual to charismatic “healing”, many churches have been seen for making a show out of their worship. Why then do churches permit their “pastors” special titles, set “choirs” in robes, give these the best seats before everyone, and make a show out of worship? Why do churches have “praise teams” in which many dress in edgy contemporary clothing, who sing praises for display? Do these churches not mimic in modern pattern the behavior of the scribes and Pharisees that Christ spoke against? Did Jesus not warn us about religious leaders, who make a show out of their worship?

By the tradition of men, the grand churches fill their assemblies with the old pomp of Continue reading

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Did God Command Believers to Murder Babies and Little Children?

“God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5, cf. 4:8, 16). The Bible teaches that God does not slay the righteous with the wicked (Gen. 18:25). Yet, God does slay the wicked. Such accusations that God kills the innocent with the wicked are false and those, who claim such should be called out immediately for not using a historical or scriptural interpretation. God commanded Israel to not slay the innocent and the righteous (Exo. 23:7). What would motivate someone to misinterpret the Bible, so that person could convince others to reject the Bible along with oneself?

God judged corrupt child-sacrificing and sexually perverted nations of Canaan, and He ordered Israel to war against such nations. God was patient for 4 centuries waiting for these nations to repent (Gen. 15:16). Because they did not repent, God commanded that these nations be slayed by the assimilation of men, women, and children among the other nations. God commanded Israel to drive them out of the land “lest they teach you to do according to all their abominations which they have done for their gods, and you sin against the Lord your God” (Deut. 20:18). Today, Christians do not conduct such physical warfare. Christians are commanded to engage in spiritual warfare by pulling down strongholds, casting down towering arguments against God, and taking every thought captive into the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:3-6).

God’s command for Israel to slay and put a nation to death meant to war and drive that nation out of their land. These nations were to be dissolved into nonexistence and assimilated into other nations. Among some of the charges against God is the accusation that He commanded believers to murder babies in passages like Continue reading

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True Worship & an Open Letter to Christ’s Church in Jacksonville, FL

Here is my sincere plea to Christ’s Church of Jacksonville, FL. With kindness and love, this letter pleads with every believer of Christ’s Church to reconsider their worship. To every reader, this exhortation is intended to be an introduction and basis for a Biblical study of Christ’s words about the age of true worship as read in John 4:21-24. This letter was sent via mail and intended to be posted here and read by all. May God bless every reader. Your kind and respectful comments and questions are welcome.

28 March 2014

To Christ’s Church with your elders and deacons:

With great hope, I write to you thanking God for our common faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are blessed to be united for the sanctity of life and the institution of marriage. Your faithful diligence is commendable for holding to baptism’s necessity for forgiveness, partaking of the Lord’s Supper every Lord’s day, and being a church led by elders. By these common convictions, I write for you to consider further worship in the words of the Christ, who is infallible, and with those words Christ gave to His Apostles and prophets (John 15:20, 16:13, 17:8).

While congregations are not perfect being made of imperfect Christians, we know that if we continue in the faith, then Christ presents us holy, blameless, and without reproach (Col. 1:21-23). While imperfect, Christ rebukes and chastens those, whom He loves (Rev. 3:19). He called five of the seven churches of Asia to repent (Rev. 2-3). Likewise, Continue reading

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Church Organization & Leadership while without Elders

In 55-57 AD, the letters to the churches in Rome and Corinth do not mention these congregations having elders yet. How did the congregations without order maintain order? The following was proposed when our eldership ceased and we were without qualified men to be elders (1 Tim. 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9).

With or without elders, a congregation must work together and make decisions together. Paul wrote to the Philippian congregation including the elders and deacons, so that the Church at Philippi received instruction together (Phil. 1:1). Even with elders and deacons, there are decisions made with the whole congregation. When Paul and Barnabas came to give a report of their work, they gave the report to the whole congregation and not just to the leadership (Acts 14:27). The churches at Colossi and Thessalonica received Apostolic letters, which were to the whole congregation and not only their leaders (Col. 4:16, 1 Thess. 5:27). Paul also wrote the Christians at Ephesus and the churches of Galatia without mentioning their elders, which they had (Eph. 4:11, Acts 14:23). A congregational meeting was also gathered of the Church in Antioch where there would have already been elders since the Galatians had elders after them (Acts 14:27-28). Decisions were made by congregations with their leaders rather than the leaders alone. Even when decision was made “the apostles and elders, with the whole church” agreed (Acts 15:22-23).

With or without elders to lead, these congregations were instructed and encouraged by Christ’s Spirit, and they still had the responsibility of serving God together (Eph. 4:16). The Corinthians do not appear to have elders when Paul wrote them, and the congregation was instructed to be united in the same mind and judgment (1 Cor. 1:10). Congregations are to “be in subjection to such and to everyone who works together and labors” (1 Cor. 16:15-16). When elders were to be selected, Paul and Barnabas called together the congregations to establish elders (Acts 14:23). By the Spirit of Christ, Paul wrote to Titus instructing him to appoint elders in every town in Crete, because without elders, a congregation is lacking (Titus 1:5).

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Was the Resurrected Messiah a Pagan Myth?

One of the claims of atheists and unbelievers is that the Messiah was a pagan myth. Some even claim that Jesus never existed and that He was made up. Doubters can simply listen to an outspoken agnostic to find that every historian accepts that Jesus did exist and that the Bible’s Messianic prophecies are not pagan in origin. That agnostic is Bart Erhman, who Kyle Butt will debate on April 4, 2014. In Ehrman’s article, “Did Jesus Exist?” (2012), Ehrman stated,

“Moreover, the claim that Jesus was simply made up falters on every ground. The alleged parallels between Jesus and the ‘pagan’ savior-gods in most instances reside in the modern imagination: We do not have accounts of others who were born to virgin mothers and who died as an atonement for sin and then were raised from the dead (despite what the sensationalists claim ad nauseum in their propagandized versions). […]

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Do David’s Instruments Have a Place in True Worship?

Before David, God had not commanded musical instruments to be used in worship to Him.  Five hundred years after Moses received the Law from Mt. Sinai, God commanded King David to use musical instruments when he brought the Ark of the Covenant and all the worship of Moses’ Law into Jerusalem (1 Chron. 16).  David was instructed to establish worship with “the musical instruments of God” (1 Chron. 16:42).  Until this point, there was no mention of instruments in tabernacle worship under Moses for 500 years unto David.Musical Instruments  In Moses’ Law, God only commanded the use of 2 silver trumpets for Israel’s call to worship (Num. 10:1-2, 9-10).  Only prophets are mentioned to have worshiped with instruments before King David instructed musical instruments for worship in Jerusalem.

When Solomon dedicated the Temple, the Levites worshiped with “instruments of the music of the LORD, which King David made to praise the LORD” (2 Chron. 7:6).  God commanded David to make specific instruments to be used only by the Levites in worship to God (2 Chron. 7:6, 29:25-27, cf. 8:14).  The instruments were the harp, lute, lyre, cymbal, tambourine, and horn (Psa. 150).  No one could change these instruments.  These were God’s instruments that God commanded David to make.  When worship was restored over 500 years after David, no one took from the instruments of contemporary culture, but instead King Hezekiah before captivity and the priests returning from captivity restored only David’s instruments to worship (2 Chron. 29:25-27, Ezra 3:9-10, Neh. 12:27, 36).  They respected God’s command, and did not add or take from them (Deut. 4:2, 12:32).

If today people seek to worship as David did, should they restore all of God’s commands back to David? Continue reading

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Why Do the Churches of Christ Not Use Musical Instruments?

Originally posted on Seeing God's Breath:

May God bless us all to seriously consider the music in worship that is the true worship in spirit and truth that God desires. May God bless us all with an honest mind to reconsider our worship in the light of His Word.

The simple answer to “Why do churches of Christ not use musical instruments in worship?” is because Christ defines what is worship and He commanded only singing in worship. Christ never commanded by His Spirit that musical instruments be used in worshiping God. Jesus was clear that worship was no longer in JerusalemTrue Worship where David brought and enhanced worship from Moses’ law (John 4:21). True worshipers worship in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24). is with the right spirit and by the Truth of God’s Word.

The Church of Christ will no more change the music that Christ commanded than change the elements of the Lord’s Supper. The…

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How Much Should a Christian Drink?

Originally posted on Seeing God's Breath:

There is a lot of confusion about what the Bible teaches about drinking intoxicating drinks. Some see nothing wrong with drunkenness and others believe all drinking is sinful. Some make grander defenses of drinking in moderation than they have ever done so in proclaiming Jesus Christ. Those advocating for moderation are irritated with the many, who declare that there is not one positive statement about drinking alcohol in the whole Bible despite what others think. Those warns about the evils of drinking are concerned for those, who contend that drinking in moderation is permitted and encouraged by God in the Bible. With all honesty, Christians must allow the Bible to answer these questions and clarify God’s Will.

For the position advocating moderate drinking, their points are made in the following questions. Did not the high priest Melchizedek honor Abraham with bread and wine (Gen. 14:18)? Why does God tell the…

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