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Victory In Jesus

Jesus gives us victory in sin*s forgiveness. Colossians 2:11 says, “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ.” Under the old dispensation, the covenant mark was the circumcision of every male member. This was a physical, outward sign that the male belonged to the Abrahamic covenant. But under the New Testament there was to be a new circumcision not made with hands. This was to affect the hearts of all members. The word circumcision literally means * a cutting round or off, and when used figuratively, it refers to the separation of a person*s sins from one*s life by his obedience. When is this spiritual operation completed? “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead” (Col. 2:12). The final act of the spiritual circumcision is by baptism, and men are said to be buried with Christ. This phrase is used because in baptism, the person is placed under the water and then raised again, thus going down and up in the form of a burial and resurrection. It is said to be with Him because He commands it, and also because He died and was buried and rose again. It was impossible for the Colossians to “walk in a new life having received Christ” until they had been buried. If such was true then, it certainly remains true for us now. How can we walk in a new life until we have died and have been buried with Christ? Should one be honest enough to sit down with Colossians 2:8-13 and read these verses without thinking of any pre-conceived ideas regarding how one is raised with Christ, the plain pattern of New Testament salvation would be unmistakable.

Under the Old covenant, the physical outward sign of the covenant was circumcision of the male. It was external surgery. It affected only a part of the body. It was done with hands and sin was not completely conquered. But under the New Testament, there was to be a new circumcision. It is internal surgery to the heart of man. It removes the whole body of sin. It is done without hands, and it enables us to be forgiven from our trespasses. He calls this the operation of God. God removes our sin, quickens us or makes us alive and forgives us. When does this operation of God occur? When does the circumcision of Christ happen? It occurs when we are buried with the Lord in the waters of baptism. When we are risen with the Lord, God*s operation has occurred.

The Greek aorist tense here puts the burial contemporaneous with the circumcision. Ye were circumcised when ye were buried. Notice this argument on when we are forgiven. (1) If the burial is contemporaneous with the circumcision, (2) and the circumcision is simultaneous with putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, (3) then the moment at which one is buried with Christ in baptism is the very moment when one*s sins are severed from one*s soul. The power is not in the water, but in God and the blood of His Son. Baptism will not remit sins by water, only by the blood of Christ. One is to be baptized in faith that the same God, who operated in power to raise Jesus from the dead, will likewise operate through the power of His Son*s blood to raise the spiritually dead from a watery grace of baptism to walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4).

Colossians 2:13 then says, “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses.” Death means a separation, and as long as these people were living in their sins, they were separated from God and were dead to him. They likewise were uncircumcised at that time since their sins had not been cut off. To be “quickened” means to be made alive, or to have the condition of death reversed by obedience to the gospel. “With him” means with Christ, which was done when they were buried “with Him” in baptism. When all of this was done, God forgave them their trespasses. Through Christ, this victory over sin is made possible. Only a gracious God has the right to forgive sins and this He is willing to do for those who hear the gospel, believe in Christ, repent of their sins, confess their faith and are baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins” (Is. 43:25).

Several years ago, a businessman found out about an elderly widow who was unable to pay her rent. Feeling pity for her, he went to some of his friends and asked them if they would be kind enough to contribute something to help pay her rent. They responded, and he got two months’ rent. He went to the widow’s house that week to deliver the money. Although he knew she was inside, when he knocked he got no answer. He knocked a second time and still no answer. He knocked a third time, still no answer. He knocked a fourth time. Not knowing what else to do, he returned to his business. A couple of days later, he saw her downtown on the sidewalk looking destitute. He walked up to her and said, “Ma’am, some friends of mine and I found out about your situation. We want to help. We got enough money together to give you rent money for two months. I came to your house to give it to you this week, but I knocked several times and got no answer.” She took a gasp of breath and put her hand to her face. She said, “Oh, I thought you were the landlord coming to evict me.” How many people turn a deaf ear to an opportunity to take care of the greatest debt of all, their sin debt? Will we turn a deaf ear to forgiveness?

Sometimes when we are preparing to bury that old man of sin in the waters of baptism, the song leader will get up and lead a song or two. I don*t think it appears in our songbook, but there is a song in several hymnbooks under the title, “Did you repent?” The song asks, “did you repent, fully repent of your past sins, friend; when you confessed his name on high? Another part of the song says, “did you obey what He commanded?” The song finally asks, “Did you repent all the way through?” And the man who led this song while a person was preparing to be baptized probably didn*t give much thought to the negative impact that the song could have on a person, but those who did got tickled. There is another song that is often sung following a baptism which has the same title as this article, “Victory In Jesus.” Will you not claim that victory today?

— Mike McDaniel

Tithing Or Free Will Offerings?

Often, this writer has found that people are greatly surprised by the fact that churches of Christ do not teach or practice tithing today. Tithing to most religious people, means to give ten percent of one’s income to a religious organization. Most people in Protestant denominations have been taught that it is their obligation to tithe. Because the emphasis on tithing is so great and so constant in Protestant denominations, most people are greatly surprised to learn that tithing is neither taught nor practiced in the church of Christ.

Of course, tithing was commanded and otherwise referred to numerous times in the Bible, in most cases, in the Old Testament. The first reference to tithing is in Genesis 14:20 in which Abram voluntarily paid tithes to King Melchizedek. This is referred to in Hebrews 7:4.

Numerous laws requiring the payment of tithes to God were common to the law of Moses. At Sinai, three specific tithes were bound upon the Jews as part of the Law of Moses. These three were (1) The Levitical tithe for the support of priests (Num. 18:21,24), (2) The Festive tithe for the feast days (Deut. 14:22-27), and (3) The third year tithe for the support of the poor (Deut. 14:28-29). They were also required to leave their land idle one year out of every seven and to forgive all their debts each fiftieth year, a year of jubilee. They were to leave the corners of their fields so that the poor might glean from them. In addition, there was the regular giving of animals for certain special sacrifices. Later, when the kingdom was established, they had to give another tenth to the support of their government (I Sam. 8:15-17).

When all of the things which they were required to give is added up, it is estimated that from thirty to fifty percent of everything that came into a loyal Jew’s hands was to be returned to God. Thus, from the Old Testament, we gather examples of people giving ten, often thirty, and up to fifty percent. Which one of these, if any, is our standard today?

Generally, modern religious groups have bound a 10% tithe on their membership. But there is neither example nor command in the New Testament for tithing. Since tithing was a part of the Old Testament command and practice and since the authority of the old law was taken away with the death of Christ (Col. 2:14), there is now no scriptural authority for tithing. It is because we rely upon the New Testament for our religious authority, that we do not teach or practice tithing. To bind the tithe or any portion of the Mosaic law on Christians is to fall from grace and be severed from Christ even as did those who bound circumcision on the saints in the first century (Gal. 5:4-6).

There are at least four different arguments which have been used to try to justify tithing today. First, it is argued from Hebrews 7:4 that Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek. The question is asked, “If Abraham, a type of the Christian, paid tithes to Melchizedek, a type of Christ, how can we who are the seed of Abraham not pay tithes to Christ?” But that question is not Paul’s argument in Hebrews seven. He was not trying to prove that Christians should tithe. The gift Abraham paid was voluntary. If this manmade argument is correct, it just proves that Christ does not demand a tenth, but if the Christian voluntarily gives it, He will accept it.

Second, it is argued that since Abraham gave tithes to Melchizedek before the Mosaic law was given, it is an eternal law and carries over to us today. But that argument does not account for the fact that when the law of Moses was taken away, all of the good about it was brought into the new covenant, the law of Christ. In fact, all that was good and right in all former dispensations was brought into it. But the law of tithing is absent in the New Testament. It was not a law repeated in the New Testament, and therefore, it is not binding on us today.

Here is a third argument which some use to try to justify tithing today. Some would go to Matthew 23:23 which says, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” During the ministry of our Lord, the eagle-eyed Pharisees searched constantly for wrong in Him, but never once criticized Him for failure to tithe, though this was immensely important to them, even to the tithing of the smallest of garden and medicinal herbs. Jesus approved their tithes, but denounced them for omitting the weightier matters of the law. But friends, it is a poor argument indeed to bind the tithe on the basis of Jesus’ practice, for He kept all the other ordinances of the law as well, including animal sacrifice. We are under a different law today than either He or the Pharisees.

Fourth, many turn to Matthew 5:20 and try to find justification for Christian’s tithing there. Matthew 5:20 says, “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Some have twisted this verse and interpreted it to mean, “the Jews tithed. They gave a tenth, and our righteousness must exceed the Jews by giving more and doing the same thing- therefore the Christian must tithe plus.” But this is a misapplication of the text. Tithing is no more a part of Christianity than any other element of Judaism. The Bible commands free-will offerings, but it does not command tithing. Paul wrote two whole chapters on giving (2 Cor. 8 and 9) and did not write one word on tithing. Why is that?

Friends, the truth is, the righteousness spoken of in Matthew 5:20 is self-righteousness or self-justification. The Pharisees were trying to save themselves through their own system of so-called righteousness. Paul speaks of how the Jews “being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God” (Rom. 10:3). Jesus Christ brought into the world a system of righteousness which differed from that of the Pharisees and exceeded it not in degree, but in KIND. It was the righteousness of God, God’s own system of justification through the gospel. Without this righteousness, no man can enter the kingdom of Christ. That is what Matthew 5:20 really teaches. What is lacking in all four of these popular arguments for tithing is actual authority for the practice.

What does the New Testament teach concerning our giving today? “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come” (1 Cor. 16:2). Here we see we are to give (1) periodically- “upon the first day of the week,” (2) personally- “Let every one of you”, and (3) proportionately- “as God hath prospered him.” “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7). Here we see we are to give (4) purposely- “as he purposeth in his heart,” (5) pleasantly- “not grudgingly or of necessity,” and (6) plentifully. “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully” (2 Cor. 9:6). We should give plentifully.

There is no set amount or percentage of one’s income that a Christian is commanded to give. Christ has placed us on the “honor system” in our giving, and expects us to give generously in proportion to our God given prosperity.

— Mike McDaniel

Understanding The Three Dispensations

Paul said to Timothy, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). Many preachers and teachers do not know how to rightly divide the Bible. They may just as soon turn to the book of Psalms to learn about conversion as to the book of Acts.

An understanding of the three dispensations of Bible history is important to a good Bible student. The word dispensation is used in this article as “a divinely appointed order or age.”

The Bible covers three dispensations of time, the Patriarchal, the Mosaical, and the Christian. It is imperative that we realize the fact that God has dealt with man in three different distinct systems of religion and that we live in the time of the third system. This fact is absolutely essential to understanding the Bible. In referring to these systems of religion, we generally use the word dispensation or age.

THE PATRIARCHAL DISPENSATION

(1) The Patriarchal age or dispensation gets its name from the father of the family or tribe. Patriarch means father. Under this system, the patriarch was prophet, priest, and ruler. He directed the affairs of his family both religiously and politically. God spoke to the head of the family, and he, in turn, spoke to the members of the family. The title of Patriarch is applied to Abraham in Hebrews 7:4, “Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.” Stephen spoke of this period in Acts 7:8 when he said, “…so Abraham begat Isaac, and circumcised him the eighth day; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat the twelve patriarchs.”

(2) This has been called a family system of religion, as each family received instruction from God. They had no written system of religion. What was a command unto one patriarch may not have been a law unto the other patriarchs. For instance, God commanded Noah to build an ark, but the other patriarchs received no such command. Abraham was commanded to make preparations to slay his son Isaac in order to test his faith, but the command was not applicable to the heads of other families.

(3) This system of religion lasted from Adam to the giving of the law of Moses at Mt. Sinai. Some believe that this system of religion continued for the Gentiles until the cross.

THE MOSAICAL DISPENSATION

(1) This dispensation grew out of the promise made to Abraham in Gen. 12:2-3. The Law of Moses was an outgrowth of this promise and was given four hundred and thirty years afer the promise was made (Gal. 3:16-17). That this promise might be kept, God gave them a government, the law of Moses, which guided them religiously and politically.

(2) Unlike the Patriarchal dispensation, during the Mosaic dispensation, the Jews had their own written law. Abraham*s descendants, in their exodus from Egypt, were led to the foot of Mt. Sinai, and God gave to them the ten commandments written upon two tables of stone (Ex. 19,20). He also gave them other laws for their good which Moses wrote by inspiration.

(3) One purpose of the Mosaic dispensation was to keep Abraham*s descendants a separate and distinct race until Christ, the promised seed, should come. The law of Moses served as a middle wall of partition (Eph. 2:14), for it separated the Jews from other nations.

(4) One evident weakness of the Law of Moses was that there was no complete forgiveness of sins provided by it. All of the many sacrifices offered by the Levitical priesthood upon the altar of God in the tabernacle and later in the temple resulted only in paying the interest on the debt of sin without completely removing the debt (Heb. 10:3-4).

(5) God intended for the Mosaic dispensation to be temporary. Galatians 3:19 says, “Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.” Since the seed refers to Christ (Gal. 3:16), the law was to be abolished at the coming of Christ. Thus, this age was to last until the fulfillment of the Abrahamic promise in Christ.

THE CHRISTIAN DISPENSATION

This period extends from Pentecost of Acts 2 to the Lord’s final coming. This period is the time in which we must hear Christ as He speaks to us through His New Testament. This is the time in which everything we do in religious matters must be authorized by the New Testament (Col. 3:17). During this time, Christians serve as “an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 2:5).

Under the Christian dispensation, we must obey Christ. Back during the Mosaic age, Moses had prophesied in Deuteronomy 18:15, “The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken.” In Acts 3:22,23, Peter teaches that this prophecy has been fulfilled in Christ and “that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.”

This was also affirmed at the transfiguration. Christ was transfigured, and Moses and Elijah also appeared. Peter wanted to build three tabernacles, one for each. But the plan was destroyed by these words of God: “this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased; hear ye him” (Mt. 17:5). There was a time when man was to listen to Moses and Elijah, but now he must listen to God’s Son. “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds” (Heb. 1:1-2). We are living in the Christian age and must do the will of Christ. Let us pray that we might always do His will.

— Mike McDaniel

Strengthening Our Marriages

None ought to think that they are immune to the possibility of divorce. Many people have been stunned, even shocked, to have a mate announce, “I want a divorce.” You may be quite content with your marriage, but that doesn*t mean that your mate shares your contentment. Here are some things that every husband and wife should do to strengthen their marriage against the ravages of divorce.

(1) Center your life in God (Mt. 6:33). Make obedience to his will the top priority of your life together. Remember the words of Ecclesiastes 12:13, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” Take time to pray together. Do those things necessary to grow spiritually and become a stronger Christian. The fact is that the more you become what God wants you to be, the more you become what your mate deserves, and the stronger your marriage becomes.

(2) Communicate with your mate. It involves listening as well as talking. There should be kind communication. Once a psychiatrist asked a couple, “What do you have in common?” The wife was not the kindest of communicators and she answered, “Just one thing: neither of us can stand the other!” Often we lose control and say things we regret later. Proverbs 15:1 says, “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” Let’s try the soft answer instead of the hard words that stir up anger.

(3) Commitment is the key. God hates divorce (Mal. 2:16), and allows it only on the basis of fornication under the law of Christ (Mt. 5:32, 19:9). One who is motivated by the spirit of reverence or respect for God, will be faithful to their marriage vows and will not have the possibility of divorce in the back of their minds as a possible future option. A wise and loving father wrote this to his daughter soon after her marriage. He said, “Likely you have already made this commitment (if not you should today): *I am married to Bobby for life. I will never consider breaking my vows, God being my helper. I will overcome every obstacle. I will survive every problem. I will never allow myself to consider the possibility of another mate while my husband lives. If my marriage fails, it will be in spite of me and over my strongest efforts.*” Perhaps if all marriages began with this type of commitment, this type of reverence for God and His marriage law, the statistics would not show nearly one out of every two new marriages ending in divorce. Our society today needs a good dose of Matthew 19:6, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

— Mike McDaniel

The Soul Of Man

The Bible informs us as to the origin and nature of man. Paul teaches that man’s whole nature is body, soul, and spirit (1 Thess. 5:23). The body refers to the physical tabernacle of clay in which the immortal part of man resides. The spirit of man refers to the immortal part of man. Spirit is a specific term for that part of man given directly from God and not susceptible to death. God is the Father of spirits (Heb. 12:9). The prophet Daniel said, “I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me” (Dan. 7:15). Zechariah 12:1 says the Lord forms the spirit of man within us.

The soul is harder to define because it is a generic word which refers to different things in different contexts. It can be used to describe the whole person as in Exodus 1:15. It can be used to denote the life that animates the physical body as in Psalm 78:50. In other places, the word “soul” and the word “spirit” are used interchangeably and seem to refer to the same thing (cf. Lk. 1:46,47). In Acts 2:27, it is obvious that the word “soul” is used to refer to the spirit or immortal nature of the Lord,..that part which did not die. And so in most places, any distinction between soul and spirit is very hard to make. However, Hebrews 4:12 states, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Evidently, while such a distinction can be made, this verse also expresses the difficulty of doing it. It is compared to dividing the joints from the marrow.

Understanding some of these things about the nature of man is vital to understanding death. James 2:26 says, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” James tells us that the body without or apart from the spirit is dead. The word death means “separation.” Death involves the separation of the spirit from the body. Life is their union, and death is their separation.

Ecclesiastes 12:7 says, “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” The body is mortal (Rom. 8:11). It returns to the dust from whence it came (Gen. 3:19). But the inward man does not perish as does the body (2 Cor. 4:16). The inward part of man does not continue its union with the body at death. After our earthly existence, a separation takes place. The body returns to the earth, but the spirit returns to the Father of Spirits who gave it (Heb. 12:7). The Sadducees denied the spirit (Acts 23:8), but Jesus plainly demonstrated to them that those whose bodies had long since decayed were themselves still alive because, “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (Mt. 22:29-32).

There is a soul that survives the death of the body, both of the righteous and the wicked.

Matthew 25:46 states, “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” Let us realize the value of our eternal souls. Jesus said they are worth more than the whole world (Mt. 16:16).

— Mike McDaniel

The Preaching Of Noah

The Holy Spirit guided Noah in his preaching. God has always given the message to be preached unto His messengers. Today, we have it in an inspired book. Then, they had it in an inspired man. In order for Noah to have something to preach, God must have given it to him. Second Peter 2:5 says, “And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly.” Noah was God’s preacher of righteousness in that world of unrighteousness. Yet, in Genesis 6:3 we read, “And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.” God says that during this time, His Spirit was striving with man. How was He doing that? I submit to you that God’s Spirit was striving with man through the preaching of Noah.

Was it not with Noah as it was with God’s people during the wilderness wandering? Of that period of time Nehemiah 9:20 records, “Thou gavest also thy good spirit to instruct them, and withheldest not thy manna from their mouth, and gavest them water for their thirst.” Later, Nehemiah 9:30 says, “Yet many years didst thou forbear them, and testifiedst against them by thy spirit in thy prophets: yet would they not give ear: therefore gavest thou them into the hand of the people of the lands.” God in His longsuffering strove with His people in the land of Cannan. How did God do this? He testified against them BY His Spirit IN his prophets! So it was in the days of Noah.

The longsuffering of God waited during the days of Noah for some 120 years (Gen 6:3; 1 Pet. 3:21). During this period of time God strove with the people by His Holy Spirit in Noah the preacher. Obviously, the Holy Spirit guided Noah in his preaching.

Was it not with Noah as it was with the other preachers and prophets of God? Peter wrote, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Pet. 1:21).

One final thought,…can we not say that God’s Spirit is striving with man today? Certainly so! The Holy Spirit is using His sword (which is the word of God, Eph. 4:11) to lead us to repentance. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). As God’s people use the word of God to convict the hearts of others, God strives with them. In His longsuffering, Christ has not yet come. But one day, those days of longsuffering will end just as they did in the days of Noah. Peter writes, “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men…The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness” (2 Pet. 3:5ff).

— Mike McDaniel

The Historicity Of Christ

The Tuesday before our Lord was crucified, Jesus asked the following all-important question, “What think ye of Christ? whose son is he?” (Mt. 22:42). They did not answer his question correctly because they did not understand the true nature of Jesus. But even today, this question demands an answer from each of us.

Christianity depends on the historical existence of Christ. The historical Jesus began a religious movement which has shaken this world as has no other. Yet some writers have actually denied the actual historical existence of Jesus of Nazareth. Around the middle of the 19th century, Bruno Barr, a German theologian and historian, taught that Jesus never lived. He said he was a mythical figure. [Wayne Jackson, Essays In Apologetics, vol. 2, Apologetics Press, 1986, p. 29] A Professor Macintosh of the Yale School of Religion, published a book in 1926 entitled, The Reasonableness of Christianity, in which he argues at length that “belief in the historicity of Jesus is not indispensable, logically, to the exercise of an essentially Christian faith or to the living of an essentially Christian life” (138-139). Thus, he says if Jesus never lived at all, we could still maintain the “Christian faith.” Of course, such a view is ridiculous!

In a debate sponsored by the Associate students of a Midwestern University, the opponent of Josh McDowell, a congressional candidate for the Progressive Labor Party (Marxist) in New York, said in her opening remarks: “Historians today have fairly well dismissed Jesus as being historical….” [Josh McDowell, Evidence That Demands A Verdict, Here’s Life Pub., 1979, p. 81]

The cover of the December 1994 issue of LIFE magazine revealed an artist’s rendering of Jesus with the question “Who Was He?” In a short article they stated, “to some, Jesus is the Son of God, born to a virgin….the anointed, the Christ. To others he is just a man who inspired, through his teachings and exemplary life, ‘several faiths now incorporated into Christianity’. And to still others he’s a myth, a novelistic invention of Paul, and then, the Gospel writers, who required a charismatic anchor for their nascent (early) churches. He is, they say, an idea.” In this issue of Life magazine they interviewed many eminent thinkers. One of them, Jon Murray, the President of American Atheists, stated, “There was no such person in the history of the world as Jesus Christ. There was no historical, living, breathing, sentient human being by that name. Ever. [The Bible] is a fictional, nonhistorical narrative. The myth is good for business.”

In spite of these preceding quotes, most respectable scholars, and serious historians do not question the historicity of Jesus. As F. F. Bruce has written, “Some writers may toy with the fancy of a ‘Christ-myth,” but they do not do so on the ground of historical evidence. The Historicity of Christ is an axiomatic for an unbiased historian as the historicity of Julius Caesar. It is not historians who propagate the ‘Christ-myth’ theories” [Evidence That Demands A Verdict, p. 81].

There was a real historical person named Jesus of Nazareth who lived, had a tremendous influence upon people and died by crucifixion. To prove this, notice three lines of evidence.

In the first place, notice the New Testament as evidence of the historicity of Christ. The New Testament documents present to us the historical Jesus, They give us an accurate portrait of Him. Since the historical evidence for the New Testament is overwhelming, its portrayal is historical. The Scriptures representation of Christ cannot be rationalized away or dismissed with a wave of the hand. While lecturing at Arizona State University, lecturer Josh McDowell was approached by a professor. He said, “Mr. McDowell, you are basing all your claims about Christ on a second-century document that is obsolete. I showed in class today how the New Testament was written so long after Christ that it could not be accurate in what it recorded.” The Professor was incorrect. In the 20th century, archaeological discoveries have gone a long way in confirming the historical accuracy of the New Testament manuscripts and their first-century origin. Discoveries of early papyri manuscripts (the John Rylands manuscript of 130 A.D., The Chester Beatty Papyri of 155 A.D., and the Bodmer Papyri II of 200 A.D., helped bridge the gap between the time of Christ and existing manuscripts from a later date [Roy Abraham Varghese, ed., The Intellectuals Speak Out About God, p.265, 267].

The evidence for the New Testament is much greater than the evidence of classical writers. For example, at least 24,633 manuscripts and portions of the New Testament have been documented. In all of ancient history, the second book in line after the New Testament in manuscript testimony is The Iliad by Homer. Yet, it has only 643 surviving manuscripts. Dr. Clark Pinnock concluded after extensive research: “There exists no document from the ancient world, witnessed by so excellent a set of textural and historical testimonies and offering so superb an array of historical date on which an intelligent decision may be made. An honest person cannot dismiss a source of this kind. Skepticism regarding the historical credentials of Christianity is based upon an irrational bias” (Clark Pinnock, Set Forth Your Case, Craig Press, 1968, p. 58).

The New Testament gives an accurate picture of Jesus Christ to us as Son of man and Son of God.

In the second place, notice these Jewish writers as evidence of the historicity of Christ. Josephus, a Jewish historian, lived from around 37 to 100 A.D. He spoke of John the Baptist. He also wrote, “Ananius, the high priest, assembled the Sanhedrin of judges and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called the Christ, this brother’s name was james, also some of his companions, and, when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he had them stoned” [Jewish Antiquities, XX, 9.1]. In another passage he wrote: “Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew many after him both of the Jews and the Gentiles. He was Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the chief men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that had previously followed him did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive on the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and many other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named after him, is not extinct at this day” [Jewish Antiquities, XVIII, 3.1]. Some have questioned this passage as a possible interpolation. In defense of the passage it does appear in every copy of Josephus that has come down to us and was quoted twice by Eusebius as early as 315 A.D.

The Jewish Talmud is the civil law of the Jews consisting of the Mishna (text) and the Gamara (commentary). In the Talmud there are some occasional references to Jesus but most of them are vulgar and unquotable. They are deliberately intended to contradict events in the gospel accounts and attack the Lord’s credibility. However, the fact that the Jewish rabbis from the close of the first century on down have attempted so many attacks upon Jesus helps to prove the reality of his earthly life. In their attempts to deny his divinity, they prove his historicity!

In the third place, notice these Roman Writers as evidence of the historicity of Christ. It is true that we do not have a large number of references to Christ and even to Christians outside of the New Testament in the pagan literature of the first and second centuries. This is not because Christ and Christians were not in existence. Lots of factors may be attributed to this including prejudice, indifference, a total lack of interest, or the early seeming insignificance of Christ and Christianity to much of the world. Literature of this period is scarce anyway and much of it consists of biographies of the rulers of that time and court records. Nevertheless and fortunately, there is preserved some evidence of the historicity of Christ by Roman historians. Tacitus was a famous Roman historian who lived from around 55 to 117 A.D. Around the turn of the century he wrote his Annals in which he discussed the burning of Rome in A.D. 64. At this time Nero had been accused of having burned the city. “To suppress the rumor, Nero falsely accused and punished, with the most acute tortures, persons who, already hated for their shameful deeds, were commonly called Christians. The founder of that name, Christus, has been put to death by the procurator, Pontius Pilate, in the reign of Tiberious; but the deadly superstitution, though repressed for a time, broke out again, not only through the city (Rome) whither all things horrible and vile flow from all quarters, and are encouraged” [Annals 15:44].

Suetonius, another Roman historian who lived from around 65 to 135 A.D. wrote in his “Life of Claudius,” “Because the Jews at Rome caused continuous disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from the city.” This passage undoubtedly confirms Acts 18:2 that Claudius commanded all Jews to leave Rome. This included Priscila and Aquila and proves there were Christians in Rome as early as Claudius. It is well known that the name “Chrestus” was sometimes used of the heathen people for our Savior.

A Roman by the name of Pliny who lived from around 62 to 114 A.D. wrote to Trajan, when Pliny was Governor of Bithynia, to ask what he should do about the Christians. “They affirmed that the sum of their guilt or error was to assemble on a fixed day before daybreak, and sing responsively a hymn to Christ as to God, and to bind themselves with an oath not to enter into any wickedness, or to commit thefts, robberies or adulteries, or falsify their work or repudiate trusts committed to them: when these things were ended, it was their custom to depart and on coming together again, to take food, men and women together, yet innocently.”

Hegesippus, in writing of Domitian who reigned between 81 and 96 A.D. says, “There were at the time yet remaining the kindred of Christ the grandsons of Jude, who was called his brother according to the Flesh. These come accused as being of the race of David, and Evocatus brought them before Domitianus Caesar; for he too, was afraid of the coming of Christ, as well as Herod.”

Lucian, lecturer, author, master of wit and sarcasm and called the Grecian “Mark Twain” is believed to have been born around 124 A.D. He wrote that the founder of the Christian religion was a man who had been fixed to a stake in Palestine, and was still worshipped because he had established a new code of morals.

What is the value of these statements of famous Jewish and Roman writers? They are valuable because they help to show absolutely that Jesus of Nazareth was a historical figure. Such evidence is not necessary to one who accepts the New Testament as historically true. But since there are those who will boldly assert that Jesus never really lived among men, this additional evidence proves that such an assertion is completely false.

Friends, Jesus of Nazareth really did live. He is a historical figure. And the historical evidence about the life of Christ and His message gives us every reason to accept the gospel accounts of His life, death, resurrection, and ascension unto Heaven above.

“What will you do with Jesus my friend? Neutral you cannot be: Someday your heart will be asking, O friend, ‘What will He do with Me?'”

— Mike McDaniel

The Greatest Gift

Karen Cogan wrote, “Wanting to personalize my daughter Tiffany’s holiday gift for her Sunday school teacher, I decided to make homemade Christmas cookies. I baked the cookies a few days in advance, storing them in a recycled margarine tub in the refrigerator. The Sunday before Christmas, I hurriedly grabbed the container, wrapped it, and added a red bow. When we returned home from church, my husband John began digging in the refrigerator for lunch possibilities. “There’s some leftover tuna in a container,” I said. A minute later, he emerged with a puzzled look. “The only container I can find is full of Christmas cookies.” My daughter’s teacher ended up with festively wrapped tuna.

The greatest gift we have ever received is that of our Savior. Of course, many people will celebrate the giving of that gift on December 25th. However, we do not know exactly when He was born. From the few references made in the Bible to the time of Jesus’ birth, it seems highly unlikely that it was in the winter time. It would be unreasonable for the government to require people to travel long distances during the winter season to be taxed. It is also unlikely that shepherds would be out in the fields at night with their sheep (Lk. 2:8). During the winter months, sheep were kept in pens at night. There is other Biblical evidence surrounding the Levitical priestly course of Zacharias which seems to point more to the month of September or possibly to March. But the Bible does not tell us specifically the birthday of Christ. The Lord did not see fit to share that date with us, nor did the Lord authorize any special celebration of His birth on any single day. To do so in some special way on a specific day is not to do so in the name of Christ or by His authority (Col. 3:17).

The date of His birth is unimportant. It is the fact of the incarnation that counts. “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law” (Gal. 4:4). We rejoice in that fact always regardless of the exact date.

Simeon had the wonderful opportunity to behold the greatest gift. Luke 2:27-29 states, “And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word.” To the mass of people swarming through the temple that day, Jesus was just another baby nestled in the arms of a young mother. No one would have noticed him * no one, that is except Simeon. The prayer of Simeon was answered when he saw Christ in the temple. How Simeon recognize this infant as the promised Savior we do not know. But the moment he saw His face, he knew. And he took Him up into his arms. What a touching scene this is: an aged man holding the baby Jesus in his arms and praising God knowing the significance of this moment in time. He blessed or thanked God for keeping His promise of sending the Messiah and giving him this special gift of seeing Him before he died. He was ready to die and die happy because He had seen the promised Messiah come to earth. Here is a man that could sing, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come.” He needed nothing else to convince him.

You may feel that Simeon was more blessed than we are because he had the privilege of actually holding Jesus as a baby. Truly, this was a special gift for a special person. But we must realize that even Simeon was exercising faith. He was holding in his arms an infant born to a couple that perhaps, he had never met before. His assurance came through the word of the Holy Spirit. You and I today depend on that same word of the Holy Spirit not in dreams or visions, but in written form as the basis of our faith. Near the end of our Lord*s time on earth, when He appeared to His disciples after His resurrection, He said to Thomas in John 20:29, “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” Through the eyes of faith, we need to see the Savior, believe in Him, and be satisfied like Simeon.

There will be people today who will not be satisfied with their Christmas gifts. There are many people today who have a longing to be fulfilled. As people rush through life * hurrying from paycheck to paycheck and from job to home and then doing it all over again * many of them feel empty inside. What are you looking for? A satisfying life? A meaningful life? A fulfilling life? A happy life? Many long for something to make their existence more meaningful and fulfilling. Unlike Simeon, many people don*t know what will bring happiness. The Holy Spirit had told Simeon that he would not die until he had seen the promised Messiah. When that extraordinary day came and Simeon came to the temple to meet the promised Messiah, his satisfaction was guaranteed. There is a longing in every heart that only Jesus can satisfy. As someone has written: “Now none but Christ can satisfy, None other name for me; There*s love and life and lasting joy, Lord Jesus, found in Thee.”

— Mike McDaniel

Are The Ten Commandments Binding Today?

Many people think that the ten commandments are binding today, but such is simply not the case. Some have failed to learn that the ten commandments were a covenant made exclusively for Israel. Moses was in the perfect position to know the answer to the question, “To whom were the ten commandments given?” God called him to the summit of Sinai to receive these ten commandments written on two tables of stone. Furthermore, it was Moses was inspired to write the two wherein we read of these ten commandments. Exodus 20 is when they were first given. Deuteronomy 5 is when Moses repeated them for the sake of the new generation soon to inherit the promised land of Canaan. “The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. The Lord made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day” (Deut. 5:2).

One of the ten commandments involves the keeping of the Sabbath day (Deut. 5:14). To whom did God give the Sabbath? Did he give it to the whole of humanity or to a part of humanity? In the latter part of Exodus 31:17, God said the Sabbath was a sign between Him and the children of Israel.

In Second Corinthians 3:7, Paul talks about the two covenants and contrasts them. We do not have to be in doubt as to what that the old covenant included. “But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away.” What was it that was written and engraven in stones? We read in Deuteronomy 5 how God wrote the ten Commandments on tables of stone. Concerning that law written in stones Paul affirmed that the law written on tables of stone is “done away” and is “abolished” in Second Corinthians 3:11,13. How could Paul have been any clearer? Colossians 2:14 says the old law was nailed to the cross. Hebrews 10:9 settles the matter once and for all time to every Biblical believer, “…He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.”

There is also the common fallacy that to say we are not under the ten commandments is to say that we can commit these sins or could not condemn sin in our world. When you present the case from the Bible that we are not under the ten commandments the response that you will often hear is: “Then are you not saying we can worship idols, profane God’s name, dishonor parents, murder, commit adultery, steal, bear false witness against others and covet?” Such does not follow.

In the new covenant which God has made, we find nine of the points covered by the ten commandments incorporated and enlarged upon. They are binding; not because they were in the Old Covenant, but because they are in the New Covenant. Commandment 1 prohibited having any other Gods save the one and true God. “Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve” (Mt. 4:10). Commandment 2 prohibited idolatry. “Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (1 Jn. 5:21). Commandment 3 forbade taking God’s name in vain. Jesus said, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name” (Mt. 6:9). Commandment 4 commanded Sabbath day keeping. Neither Christ nor any of his apostles ever enjoined Sabbath keeping on us. If they did where is the book, chapter, and verse? But friends, if the TEN commandments are still binding, then we are obligated to keep the Sabbath day or Saturday holy, with all that entails. Commandment 5 commanded honoring father and mother. Paul wrote, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise” (Eph. 6:1-2). Parental honor, respect, and obedience are demanded by Christ and His apostles. This is why such is to be obeyed today. Christ, not Moses, is our lawgiver today. Commandments 6 & 7 legislated against murder and adultery. In the sermon on the mount, Jesus cut off murder and adultery at their infamous roots- anger and lust (Mt. 5:21-30). Commandment 8 forbade stealing. Paul said, “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth” (Eph. 4:28). Commandment 9 prohibited bearing false witness. “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds” (Col. 3:9). Finally, Commandment 10 prohibited covetousness. “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Col. 3:5).

Why are we not free to murder, steal, lie, or covet? Because Christ prohibits all these acts in the thinking, in the planning, and in the action thereof. Under Christianity, these sins are attacked at the point of origin, at the heart! We respect these principles of morality because they are part of the law of Christ under which we live today. Our Law is the law of Christ and not the ten commandments.

— Mike McDaniel

Shall We Sing During The Lord’s Supper?

As one of the moderators of the television program, A Bible Answer [cf. www.oabs.org], it appears that this issue must be of concern to many people due to the volume of questions received concerning it. This issue is not of recent origin. For example, it was hotly debated in the pages of the Firm Foundation in 1961.

I was recently told that a number of years ago, this practice was introduced in a certain congregation, and it was only after several members left or threatened to leave that it was finally terminated.

In Matthew 26:26-30, we read the following:

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom. And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.

Thus, our Lord sang at the last meeting with His disciples before His death. We are not told anything concerning the beauty of our Lord*s voice, but it must have been a touching joy to have been present on that occasion and to hear them sing together.

In an article appearing in Words of Truth (July 2, 1993) brother Flavil Nichols pointed out that the night Jesus instituted His supper, He and the apostles sang an hymn AFTER, not during the Lord*s Supper. And although hymns are right at other times in the worship, at this particular time * during the communion, Jesus said of the bread, “THIS do in remembrance of me” (Mt. 26:24). He did not say SING at this particular time, in remembrance of me. Of the supper He said, “THIS do ye as oft as ye drink it in remembrance of me” (Mt. 26:25). He did not say at this point in worship * Sing in remembrance of me.

While there are those among us who may be engaging in this practice of singing during the Lord*s Supper, this writer does not believe such a practice is authorized, practical, or orderly.

 

(1) SUCH A PRACTICE IS NOT AUTHORIZED

How does the Bible authorize? First of all the Bible authorizes by direct statement. We used to say simply by command. However, there are some direct statements which authorize which are not in the form of a command. There is no New Testament command or direct statement to sing while eating the Lord*s Supper.

Second, the Bible authorizes by implication. This used to be called necessary inference, but over the years we have found that it is more properly called implication. Inference is something we do. Implication is something God has done. It is upon the basis of what God has done that we have authority, not on the basis of our inference or reasoning. There is no New Testament implication from which a necessary inference must be drawn which demands that we sing during the Lord*s supper.

Third, the Bible authorizes by approved example. Our obligation is to ascertain when accounts of action in the Bible constitute a pattern for us today. But when we look in the New Testament, we find NO example of any congregation singing while partaking of the Lord*s Supper.

Fourth, the Bible authorizes by expediency. “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not” (1 Cor. 10:23). An expedient is that which expedites or helps to carry out a lawful obligation. It is that in which there is some advantage and which may be selected by the elders of the church in carrying out any obligation of the church * that obligation growing out of that for which there is Bible authority by approved example, an implication, or a direct statement. But when we talk about singing, we are talking about an avenue of worship that has been commanded, that has been mandated for worship and not a mere expedient. So this writer*s conclusion is that there is absolutely no Bible authority for singing while the Lord*s Supper is being eaten.

 

(2) SUCH A PRACTICE IS NOT PRACTICAL

It is simply not practical from a physical standpoint. Do you remember what your mother used to tell you about talking with your mouth full? Would you like to try singing with your mouth full? Is that really something God has planned for us to do? So this is a practice that is not practical from a physical standpoint.

It is also not practical from a mental standpoint. In this regard, brother Guy N. Woods wrote, “Worship, in order to be acceptable to God, must be performed in the right spirit and from proper motives and in harmony with the expressed will of God (Jn. 4:24). It is utterly impossible to engage in singing and partake of the Lord*s Supper at the same time and follow these divine guidelines.” (Questions and Answers, Vol. 2, p 38).

Brother Woods further explained in an earlier volume that “Observance of the Lord*s Supper and singing are two separate and distinct acts of worship, involving very different, physical, mental, and spiritual participation (Questions and Answers, Vol. 1, p. 336). Let us expand upon this theme.

We know that singing necessitates thought. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Col. 3:16). There are four important divine purposes which quickly come to mind concerning singing. (1) One of the divine purposes for singing is to bring praise to God (Rom. 15:9; Eph.5:19). This requires mediation or thought. (2) A second divine purpose for singing is to admonish others to righteous living (Col. 3:16). This requires mediation or thought. (3) Another divine purpose for singing is to communicate ideals. Singing conveys our heart’s feelings, morals, and thoughts to others. This also requires thought. (4) Another basic divine purpose for singing is to teach and instruct (Col. 3:16). Brethren, it is evident that all four basic divine purposes of singing require thought. Paul said, “What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also” (1 Cor. 14:15). If we are going to sing with the spirit and with the understanding, then we must give attention to the lyrics, and we must follow the music to which the lyrics are set in order to properly sing in unison with others. You see, even the mechanics of singing requires mediation and thought.

When we consider the Lord*s Supper, we realize that it also requires thought and meditation. We should look at the Lord*s Supper in four ways. First, there is the inward look in that we examine ourselves in the act of observance (1 Cor. 11:28). Second, there is the outward look in that we proclaim the Lord*s death by our participation (1 Cor. 11:26). Third, there is the backward look in that we remember and mediate on the events of Calvary (1 Cor. 11:25) Fourth, there is the forward look in that we keep alive in our hearts and before others, his second coming (1 Cor. 11:26) (Cf. Guy N. Woods, Questions and Answers, Vol. 1, p 336).

It should become obvious to us that neither singing nor partaking of the Lord*s Supper can be properly engaged in while attempting the other. One simply cannot do these two acts of worship at the same time acceptably for each of them requires meditation, thought, and undivided concentration.

 

(3) SUCH A PRACTICE IS NOT ORDERLY

There can be no doubt that churches of the first century maintained an orderly procedure in their public worship. After much instruction relative to the Lord*s Supper, Paul said, “And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come” (1 Cor. 11:34). Again he said, “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Cor. 14:40). In order means everything in its place and in its time. Most of our congregations have followed an orderly sequence in their worship. They recognize that there is a time and place for congregational singing, a time and place for prayer, a time place for the contribution, a time and place for the sermon, and a time and place for the Lord*s Supper. The order may differ from congregation to congregation, but worship should be done in an orderly fashion. It would be out of order to sing while the public prayer is being worded for the congregation. Someone says, “Well you can sing a prayer.” And that is true. But surely we can see that there is a difference in singing a prayer and singing during a publicly led prayer. It would be out of order for a song leader to get up and lead a song at the same time the preacher is preaching. Likewise, it is simply out of order to sing during the communion. It is confusion. “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints” (1 Cor. 14:33). That word translated confusion means a state of disorder. But the word for peace in that verse means good order. It is the very opposite of the Greek word translated confusion (cf. Thayer*s Greek-English Lexicon, p 21, 182).

This writer relishes the peaceful, personal, intimate, quiet time with our Lord as we partake of the Lord*s Supper in memory of Him. It is a beautiful time. Years ago, brother Batsell Barrett Baxter asked more that 500 college students to evaluate their own activities in worship. A vast majority indicated that their worship felt most meaningful in the eating of the Lord*s Supper. In this activity, they felt a higher degree of intimacy with God than in any other act. This is not to say that it is more important, but it is different. It is personal. It is intimate (Batsell Barrett Baxter, The Family of God, p 117). Friends, God designed it to be that way. Why intrude on that? To intrude would be rude.

Brother Tillit S. Teddlie was one of our greatest song-writers. Brother Teddlie wrote a couple of very good articles on this subject for the Firm Foundation in 1961. In one of them, he wrote the following: “The Lord*s Supper needs no embellishments, no ornaments, and no fanciful decorations to make it more beautiful, more solemn, or more sublime. The simplicity of the Lord*s Supper adorns it with a divine beauty. One might as well try to aid the sun on a clear noonday by striking a match and holding it aloft, as to add beauty to the Lord*s Supper by singing a musical accompaniment.” He went on to say, “Four part harmony adds beauty to the song service, but singing during the communion service does not add beauty to it, but confusion. Singing, however beautiful and harmonious, is out of time and place during the Lord*s supper” (Tillit S. Teddlie, “Singing During The Communion Service,” Firm Foundation, July 18, 1961, p. 454). To brother Teddlie*s comments, let us say, “amen.”

— Mike McDaniel