“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
1) The Weightier Matters (Doy Moyer)
2) Pillar and Ground of the Truth (David Riggs)
3) News & Notes
The Weightier Matters
When we think of “doctrinal” issues, we tend to think of matters like marriage and divorce, the work of the church, baptism, etc. We work hard to try to get these right, and there are often sharp disagreements over the nature of these “doctrinal” matters.
“Doctrine” means teaching, and anything we teach is, definitionally, doctrinal. We often elevate the word “doctrinal” to some special status to mean the really important teachings, whereas “non-doctrinal” means those areas that we can disagree about. Then, we arbitrarily assign the various teachings in Scripture to one or the other status. Never mind that we can’t find this kind of use of “doctrinal” or “non-doctrinal” in Scripture.
Yet there is something else we may be missing. Do we realize that issues like loving neighbor as self, treating each other as we want to be treated, forgiving others, seeking peace, doing justice, and showing mercy are also doctrinal matters? In fact, so great are these teachings in Scripture that our own salvation depends on our actions relative to these issues. If I don’t love my neighbor, I am in violation of the most significant teaching that relates to how I think about other people. It is second only to loving God (Matt 22:36-40). If I don’t treat others as I want to be treated, I am guilty of injustice, failing in the most basic task of seeing others as made in God’s image (Jas 3:9). If I don’t show mercy, I won’t be shown mercy (Jas 2:13). If I don’t forgive, I won’t be forgiven (Mark 11:25). If I am not seeking peace, I am not standing for Christ and His kingdom (cf. Rom 14:17).
Can it get any more important than that? We need to know that being wrong about these doctrinal matters most certainly puts our souls at eternal risk. We often stress the works of the flesh that will keep us from inheriting the kingdom of God (Gal 5:19-21), yet failing to love, forgive, and show mercy will have the same effect. If we are not bearing the fruit of the Spirit (i.e., love, joy, peace, etc.), then the Spirit of God is not in us. We are lost.
I’m not saying that other doctrinal matters aren’t important — if Scripture teaches it, who are we to downplay it? Yet let’s not forget that love and mercy are at the heart of what it means to be servants of Christ and others. These are, indeed, the weightier matters, and the last thing we want is to find ourselves to be the hypocrites of Matthew 23:23: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!”
Christians, we need to shine right now. The world is in desperate need of the light of Christ. Love one another. Love your neighbors. Treat others as you want to be treated. Be merciful. Be forgiving. Do justice. Seek peace. Pray hard. May God forbid that we neglect these doctrines through mistreating others.
— Via Doy Moyer’s Facebook site, June 6, 2020
Pillar and Ground of Truth
Catholics sometimes quote I Timothy 3:15 which states, “…The church of the living God, the pillar and mainstay of the truth” to prove that the church is invested with authority to legislate in divine matters (See Father Smith Instructs Jackson, p. 35; The Question Box, p. 96).
The phrase “pillar and ground of the truth” does not mean that the church is the originator of truth or that it can make or change the laws of God. It simply means that it is the upholder, defender and proclaimer of the truth. The apostles often praised churches for proclaiming the truth, “for from you the word of the Lord has been spread abroad” (I Thess. 1:8). They commended them for defending the truth, “partakers with me . . . in the defense and confirmation of the gospel” (Phil. 1:7). However, there is not a single verse in all of the Holy Scriptures which indicates that the church has the authority to originate truth or to decree laws for God.
The apostles and prophets (and they alone) were commissioned by the Lord, not to originate truth but to reveal the truth. “For ever, 0 Lord, thy word is firmly fixed in the heavens” (Psalm 119:89 Catholic Edition RSV). Their task was once and for all completed for they gave us the written New Testament of Christ.
The responsibility of the church today is simply to follow, defend and proclaim the truth which they revealed. The Catechism for Adults, page 54 says, “The Catholic Church alone has the authority to rule and to teach.” However, the authority is not in the body, but in the Head (Eph 1:22,23; Col. 1:18). The ruling is not in the kingdom, but in the King (Heb. 7:1 2; Rev. 1:5 6). The authority is not in the church, but in Christ (Matt. 28: 18; 1 Pet. 3:22). The church is not the Savior, but simply the body of the saved (Acts 2:47; Eph. 5:22-24).
— Via The Beacon, April 26, 2020
News & Notes
Folks to be praying for:
Cheryl Corbitt was tested last Wednesday for the coronavirus and found out Friday that the test result was positive. She is experiencing the symptoms of being fatigued, running a low-grade fever, and having lost the sense of smell and taste. She is also without much appetite, but tries to eat a little each day. She also requests prayer for all those at the nursing home.
Joyce Rittenhouse returned home from the hospital Thursday, but still experiencing weakness, nausea and vertigo, which she is on medication for. On a good note, she is no longer septic, has no blockages, had no stroke, and her white blood cell count of 14,000 when she was admitted to the hospital was down to 7,000 when she left. She will have a follow-up this Tuesday.
Joyce’s brother will be having a follow-up from his CT-scan June 12 and then have his heart surgery the following week.
Doyle Rittenhouse will be having a follow-up this Tuesday to determine if the area where a recent abnormal growth was removed will require an additional procedure or not. On June 17, he will also receive an epidural for his constant back pain.
Michael Rittenhouse will be seeing his doctor June 9 to find out more about his present health. He is not feeling up to par, but has returned to work.
Bud Montero will be having a follow-up on June 11 for the procedure he had a few weeks ago.
Congratulations to Jonathan and Anita Abbott! Their daughter Emily Cox gave birth to a healthy baby last Tuesday! The delivery went very well for the mother and baby Sadie.
Let us also continue to remember the following in prayer: the family and friends of Andy Berendt, Elaine Abbott, Ray Daugherty, Rick Cuthbertson, James Medlock, Rex & Frankie Hadley, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Shirley Davis, John Bladen, the Medlock family, and Kerry Williams.
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Jesus Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; Col. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation.
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
http://thomastedwards.com/go (older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)