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Doctrinal Discussions

July-August, 2001

These studies examine the traditional doctrines held by the Church of Christ to see if they are actually taught in the scriptures. This is not an "anti-Church of Christ" site. I was reared in the Church of Christ and have been preaching since 1968 in the Church of Christ. My desire is that we walk righteously before God, not according to traditions of men.  Bernie Parsons

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High Time

By Bernie Parsons - July 26, 2001 (Rev. January 05, 2002)

And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. Romans 13:11 KJV

Hello, Family & Friends,

Romans 13:11-12 "And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light."

The church of the Bible is not much like the churches I see today. We have replaced the words of God with the traditions of men. We abuse certain scriptures while totally ignoring others. We have a tendency to condemn others while failing to live up to God's expectations of us. We value attendance over righteousness, crowds over the mission of the church, and baptism over obedience.

We gladly spend money to build bigger church buildings, or renovate existing ones--while the attendance dwindles--then we refuse to use the church collection to help our members in need, much less the needy of the community. When church attendance drops, we search for youth ministries and exciting activities to lure the young--yet we have lost a generation because we have not practiced what we have preached, nor preached what we have practiced. We say, "Speak where the Bible speaks, and remain silent where the Bible is silent", then proceed to violate our own motto. Those of us who have practiced what the Bible teaches have been afraid to preach it for fear of being ostracized--not an unfounded fear.

We strain out gnats while swallowing camels, unable to remove the speck of sawdust in our brother's eye because of the sawmill log in our own eye. . We argue over what might be permitted or disallowed, instead of investigating to see what is expected. We become the very Pharisees that Jesus condemned, touting the letter of the law while denying the Spirit. We fight among ourselves even though Jesus said that the mark of true believers is the love we have for one another.

We sit at home and let television fill our minds and hearts with lust, envy, and murder--then go to "worship services" where we look down at everyone else for not being as holy as we, after which we go home and ignore them the rest of the week. For our more worldly and "liberal" churches, we meet for a 20-minute "worship service" that often consists of comments on a poem or song, or perhaps a verse of the Bible, but get together throughout the week for ball games, scout meetings, and all manner of entertainment. In the "conservative" churches we apply "necessary inference" in an evermore restrictive manner until finally we agree with no one, declaring all others than ourselves unfit for the kingdom of heaven. (Have we forgotten the parable of the haughty Pharisee who declared himself more holy than the wretched, but repentant, sinner?)

We have succumbed to the message of the 1960's generation--what's in it for me? Our time is wasted, spent in rest and recreation, entertainment and leisure. We trust in material riches--Mammon--rather than God. We wear ourselves out working to buy things, then collapse, hypnotized and mesmerized by the electronic Cyclops that separates us from our hard-earned wages, and that baby-sits our children.While the world goes begging for spiritual food, we hide in our houses and hoard our spiritual fare in our church buildings. We have convinced ourselves, that like Noah, we are enclosed in the ark of safety, tossing on the turbulent sea of despair and despondency, resigned to the overwhelming currents of change. We have neglected the service to one another that Jesus taught and performed, while telling us to do the same. How many of us have ever washed another person's feet? We forget that our Lord tells us that it is more blessed to give than to receive. We are locked into a culture of instant, self-gratification. We think that Biblical Christianity is communism, and that the government is the answer to all our problems.We don't even comprehend the basic charity that is the under-carriage of Christianity--we disdain it as the tool of "false teachers", the cracking of the church door to admit mischief.

We have no backbone to wield the armor of God and the sword of the Spirit, no stomach to stand against the wiles of the Devil. We stand silently as millions of the unborn perish, so commonplace that we are no longer appalled by the abhorrent and abominable deed. We turn away from descriptions (we refuse to look at the photographs) of the horrific slaughter of God's most innocent creations, saying that it is a political matter, and we are not into politics. We shrug at the onslaught of the homosexuals as they work to outlaw the reading of the Bible, because it condemns them. We ignore the insidious inroads of the liberal activists as they commandeer our public schools, teaching our children and grandchildren that homosexuality is normal, abortion is a woman's choice, and sexual promiscuity is a part of normal adolescence. We sit in our entertainment-induced stupor as family life is destroyed before our very eyes. We stand silently by while professed Christians around the world are persecuted and executed. What shall we answer God--"Am I my brother's keeper?"

I usually have had little commentary in my writings, preferring to present the scriptures, teaching what our Lord taught, and what the Holy Spirit provoked the Apostles to teach. I thought that just exposing them to the truth of God's word would open the hearts of the church members to it. But, after 34 years in the ministry, I see no change in people professing Christianity who are satisfied to "play at church" without committing themselves to the Lord. They are ardent and venomous in their defense of traditional church doctrines, believing in things without even knowing why. They resist the very scriptures, preferring traditional church doctrine to the word of Almighty God.

Lord willing, over the coming months, I plan to target specific failings in the church that need to be corrected. This includes introducing some much-overlooked church history and taking a hard look at some of the accepted traditional doctrines that have supplanted God's very own word. I will attach more than my customary amount of commentary to these reviews.

Although I don't intend this as an attack upon the church of the beloved Son of God, I do mean it as a wake-up call to my brothers and sisters. We rapidly approach the time when we will each stand before the Lord to give account of what we have thought, said, and done while in this body.

Romans 14:11-12 "For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God."

The church that I see in the Bible promotes righteousness over religiousness, truth over tradition, and service to others over personal gratification.

God bless all!

Love, in Christ,


Revised August 9, 2001


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