THERE IS ONE GOD. Everyone has the right to hear about Him. THERE IS ONE SAVIOR. No one can come to the Father except through Jesus Christ. THERE IS ONE FAITH, once for all delivered to the saints. Everyone has the right to be taught it. On this web site we seek to serve a cause greater than any of us. Our purpose is to faithfully take the word of the true God, about the true savior, to all the world, as it is written. Man made substitutes can not save. We will not offer them.

We do not have to choose between man made theories and organizations. We can be Christians, added by the Lord to His church. When the apostles preached this pure word of God and people obeyed it, the  Lord added them to the number of the saved. (Acts 2:41 & 47) People have the right to hear that message, that invitation today. We will try hard to faithfully deliver it to all our readers. This is the essence of loyalty as a Christian.

We will not offer you anyone’s opinion, ours or anyone else’s.  On every subject we will invite you to look at what the word of God says on that matter. Please read each article carefully with your Bible open. Check it for accuracy in comparison with that standard. It is the only measurement standard God has given us.

E-mail us at:  gospelen@cablelynx.com



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The Bible records that throughout history every time God sent forth prophets Satan also sent forth prophets, “false” prophets. The purpose was to sabotoge the message and produce a pseudo doctrine. The people had to recognize the difference and make a choice. According to 2nd Peter 2 we have that same situation. Peter said “There were also false prophets among the people even as there shall be false teachers among you.” So when God sent forth the NT Gospel via the Holy Spirit in the apostles, Satan did as he always has, sent out pseudo “false” apostles.


So now we have to face the fact that two “Gospels” are being preached, one that was”once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3) and one that was sent out by Satan. 2 Cor. chapter 11 describes this situation. It says we have the genuine and the counterfeit. Satan’s ministers are transformed as ministers of righteousness and Satan himself is transformed “as an angel of light.” As the people of God we have to recognize the differences and make our choice, just as did the Israelites in Canaan. This is why we ask “Are you saying what the pseudo gospel says?”

The vocabulary is the same in both camps. They share three words, “FAITH, GRACE, and LOVE.” The difference is in the meaning they assign to these words. (1) Faith: In the pseudo gospel “faith”is just an acceptance in the mind of certain statements. No action. In the real Gospel faith means to accept the statement and act on it. James wrote that “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:26) and Paul said that “neither circumcision avails anything nor uncircumcision, but faith that works by love.” (Gal. 5:6) (2) Grace: In the pseudo gospel “grace” means a gift without condition. In the genuine Gospel “grace” is said to teach us that denying unGodliness and worldly lusts we should live soberly, righteously, and Godly in this present age.” (Titus 2:11-12) The Ephesians were baptized a second time to get it right but they were saved by grace. (3) Love: In the pseudo gospel “love” as an emotion is said to fulfil the law. In the real Gospel the passage says love fulfills the law and it is because “love does no harm to the neighbor.” The bottom line is Satan’s message robs the gospel of content, of every kind of action.

Another complicating factor is the matter of disguises, “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” Satan does not come dressed in a red suit and carryng a pitch fork. He comes dressed in a suit and tie and carrying a Bible. I believe there are many sincere ones serving his cause who do not intend to do so. They don’t know they are. We can help them only if they will apply the same safe guard as we all do, check the message in comparison with the original, i.e. what is said in the Bible.

We need to recognize that GOD said “My ways are not your ways and your thoughts are not my thoughts.”(Isa. 55:8) And again, “There is a way that seems right to a man but its end is the way of death.” (Prov. 14:12) Paul told Timothy to “Preach the word” because the time would come when “They will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires will heap to themselves teachers….and be turned away from the truth and be turned to fables.” (2 Tim. 4:1-4)

That “according to their own desires” is the fundamental premise behind it. The pseudo gospel is shaped and molded according to the theories of men. No matter how clearly God’s word might state His command, it these men don’t like it they delete it. That is a disastrous mistake. Jesus said “If you keep my commandments you will abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” (John 15:10) This is clear enough. But men are preaching that “My relationship with Christ does not depend on commandment keeping.” This is the primary crux of the two concepts. To God obedience is the primary thing. Man says obedience is separated from salvation. That is how “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved” becomes “He who believes is saved and may be baptized later.” You will never make a more important choice than this. You have God’s original word. Please make the comparison.


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A reader asked, “Olan, can you give me a text or two that tell us we must restore something? That might help clear up this shoving match over the word “restoration.” Thanks.”

My response: That is a great question. I am very glad you asked it. It points us to what the Bible says or does not say. I believe its answer will clear up what “restorationism” is.

The answer is “YES -We find it in the Old Testament, in the New Testament, and in between.”
First the Old Testament: 2 Kings 22 and 23. In the reign of king Josiah “the book of the law” had been lost for many years. A high priest found that book in the temple. When it was read to the king he realized that Israel was completely astray from God’s way and he was upset. He sent out word to all the elders, priests, prophets and all the people of Jerusalem, and gathered with them “at the house of the Lord.” He read to them “the book of the covenant.” (23. 2) Then the king stood by a pillar and made a covenant with the Lord to follow precisely the words of that book, “to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book. (Vs. 3) The people saw the same truth – “and all the people took a stand for the covenant.” Josiah did what God wants His people to do in a case where they find themselves separated from His covenant. God’s approval of Josiah’s mind set is stated at 22:19f. The Restoration pioneers had the same.

Between the covenants: The mission of John the Baptist was to call backslidden Israel back to God. His was a baptism of repentance which would restore them to God (Mark 1:4)

In the New Testament: Revelation 2: Jesus commended the church at Ephesus for many good things. But then He said, “I have this against you that you left your first love.” How could it be that they were doing all these good things yet they they had left their first love? Notice that His answer to that problem was the same as in Josiah’s case and that of John the Baptist. “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; Repent and do the first works or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lamp stand from its place unless you repent.” (vs.5) Notice the “or else.” This is necessary. “Repent and do the first works” is restoration. In Josiah’s case they were to return to their original place of loyalty to their covenant with God. Their restoration was a return to accepting the covenant. This is what John taught the Jews to do, express their repentance and return to God in baptism. Here in Revelation 2 Jesus prescribed the same thing, return to “the first works.”

To understand what this is and how “your first love” is involved in it, think about this. We all know how it usually is when some one obeys the Gospel. They are at first enthused with love for the Lord and committed to obeying Him. But many times they later “cool off” as did the church at Laodicea. They may continue doing many good things, but more from a sense of duty than of love. In any case the instruction is always, when you find the word of God has been hidden, lost, or rejected, take action to return it to its rightful place as the supreme authority. This is not saying “recreate” it. It  is saying restore the one God created.

The American restoration movement: “The book of God’s New covenant” had been taken away from the people and chained to the desk of the priest. The later protestant “reformation” brought out the Bible again but their attempt to follow it was so corrupted with biased opinions that it produced a different kind of religion, still contradicting God’s prescription. The restoration ideal was to make the return to the scriptures actual and accurate. This is seen in the expressions that were put forth by these men. “We speak where the Bible speaks and are silent where the Bible is silent.” “The search for the ancient order of things.” “No creed but Christ.””No guide but the Bible.” “We are Christians only.” etc. It is not a matter of anyone claiming to be perfect. It is a matter of having the right authority standard and being loyal to it.


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How important is Restorationism?

Our previous article treated the question, “What is Restorationism? It was well received by many. In this one we treat a follow up question, “How important is it to embrace the ideals of restorationism?”We cited the Bible answer to our first question in three passages, one in the Old Testament, one in the New, and one between the testaments in the Gospels. Ironically our second question, before us now, is answered in the same three passages. (1) In 2 Kings 22 & 23, we  read about the restoration Josiah did. (2) In the Gospels the mission of John the Baptist to restore Israel back to God is recorded, and (3) in the New Testament, Revelation 2, the church at Ephesus was ordered to restore their first love and first works. Now let’s look at what these same passages say about the question “How urgent is that order?”

The Old Testament: In the case of Josiah’s restoration we read that God showed His approval of what Josiah did. He said that because of it Josiah would not “see all the calamity that I will bring on this place.” (2 Kings 22:19-20) But be careful here to understand what it was that pleased God. The statement of the Lord was ”Because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants…” (22:19) So what Josiah restored was an attitude, that of humble submission toward the covenant, a vow to abide by it. The text says ”The people took a stand for the covenant.” (23:3) Josiah did not become super human and mistake proof. But he had an attitude. His heart was tender and he cared deeply about the covenant. God said it was because of this that God’s wrath was diverted from him. The idea of “restoration” is to restore that attitude, of humble submission to God’s will. How urgent was it? Those who did not give their heart felt effort to taking a stand for the covenant did not escape the calamity that was to come.

Everyone attempting restoration today is still imperfect. We do not claim that adopting the ideals of restorationism makes one perfect nor give anyone a reason to boast of themselves. It does not. What it does do is put in our hands the God given compass. It puts in place the right standard of measurement, the one God appointed. Honest efforts to humbly follow that, even if not perfectly, is what pleases God.

Between the Testaments: John’s mission to restore Israel back to God was received by some and rejected by others. Was that an important matter? A key point that Jesus brought up is that the baptism of John was from heaven, not of men. Thus those who rejected John’s message of restoration and the baptism it required, were rejecting God in so doing. In Luke 7:30 the scripture says, “The Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.” That is very urgent.

The New Testament: In Revelation 2 when Jesus said to the Ephesian church, “Rermember therefore from where you have fallen, repent and do the first works,” He added an “OR ELSE” to it. “or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.” (2:5) As the last verse of chapter one says, the lampstands represent the churches. So that church was in danger of losing its standing with Jesus as one of His churches. It depended on returning to the original.

What about the current need to return to the “ancient order of things”? If Jesus were on earth todsy would He not raise the same question? “Is it from heaven or of men?” How can we determine that? Only by comparing it with the word of God. It is not a matter of my theory versus your theory. It is not a matter of WHO is right. It is a matter of WHAT is right?

We have seen that what God wants is that anytime we find ourselves separated from His directives the answer is to adopt the attitude of returning to His written directives. John did not preach a doctrine of his own invention,but they killed him for saying it as though he was the author of it. Even so our pioneers said such things as “We speak where the Bible speaks and are silent where the Bible is silent,” “We are Christians only,” etc, yet those teachings, saying exactly what the Bible says,  are condemned by many who claim to be Christians. Those who do that have as a compass such writings as Pulpit commentary, the comments of Vincent, Adam Clarke and other theologians. They follow these even when they directly contradict the written word of God. Returning to the scriptures is urgent because of this fact, all of us will die and after that the judgment. (Heb. 9:27) That judgment will be according to what is written. (Rev. 20:12) How many will avoid that? Zero. None. Whether you call it a restoration movement or not, God said it is essential that we return to His word and that word says, ‘OR ELSE!”


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Al Maxey opposes restorationism

In Al Maxey’s writings he has said much in opposition aginst the restoration idea. He says that it once was  his heritage but that over a period of many years he has “studied his way out of it.” In a private message to me he said, “I no longer consider myself church of Christ.” “In his Reflections article “The great restoration fallacy” Al wrote this: “Dr. Leroy Garrett, in another book, observed, “Restorationist groups always divide again and again and again, for restorationism by its very nature is divisive.” Ironically, this is true, according to what Jesus said. “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I am come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter in law against her mother in law, and a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.” (Mat. 10:34-36) But it does not mean what Al thinks it does. It causes us to divide, but divide from what?

How is Jesus called “The prince of peace?” Why did He say, “I did not come to bring peace on earth” and then say “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you.”? (John 14:27) Now read the next line, “not as the world gives do I give to you.” So the Lord does not bring the kind of peace the world gives. He does bring the kind of peace God gives. The right question to ask here is, Where is the peace Jesus said He gives? A little later He said, “These things I have spoken to you that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Peace is in the Lord’s way, not in worldly compromise. God wants us to be united IN CHRIST, not in theories and opinions of men.

The kind of “peace” some brethren are preaching is not what God commands. It is according to the world’s prescription, which amounts to unity in rebellion against God. In their concept you try to make peace with everything and everybody. You do not stand up against anything professing to be religious, you compromise with virtually all doctrinal opinions and never condem anything. This is contrary to God’s will for His people. His word calls us “the called out,” which the Greek word “ekklesia” literally means. and tells us to stand fast in the faith and against error regardless of who doesn’t like it. In fact outright division is commanded in some cases. “Therefore come out from among them and be separate says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean and I will receive you.” (2 Cor. 6:17) We are called to separate from every wrong thing. John wrote, “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him. For he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.” (2 John 10)

THE BIG DIFFERENCE: Yes the idea of restoring the ancient order of things is divisive in the sense that it is uncompromising. But it is unifying for faithful believers. It stands for what is good in a world where evil behavior dominates. God’s line of division is between right and wrong, good against evil, truth against false doctrines. Jesus approves the idea of testing everything and holding fast to the truth even when it means being divided from others. Al Maxey and his allies condemn this policy and propose unity in error. That is a huge difference. I will continue to side with God on this issue even if some folks despise me for it.



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A lot of arguing has been done about the word “denominational” and how it relates to the church Jesus built. Hugh Fulford in a very good article on the subject, said,“The church (the aggregate of all who have been saved by obedience to the gospel) is the spiritual body of Christ, of which there is but one (Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:4).” You would do well to read that entire article, lay aside your biases, and be reasonable about the premises laid out there. They are Biblically accurate. Surely you can’t fault someone for saying what the Bible says. But here are some further facts that also need to be considered.

Some insist that the church of Christ is a denomination. Their argument consists of technically defining the word. That misses the point. It does not prove that the church of Christ is one. It only distracts from the real questions at issue and leads to mistakes. The word itself means an identity that is named. The New Testament church is not named. Denominations presume to name it. But in its modern usage there is much more wrong with it than that. The word usually refers to a portion of the whole. The church is not that either. It is the whole and there is only one such “body of Christ.” What Christians reject is not the technical meaning of the word “denomination” but rather they reject what the denominationalism concept stands for in our time, the concept that flourishes today. It is a concept that refers to a group such as the Baptist, or Methodist, or Presbyterian denomination as a portion of the whole and gives to each a name chosen by men. It is a view that insists Christ is divided in that sense and that His church consists of many different factions or party groupings with differing doctrines.

This concept is expressly denounced in the Bible. At Corinth some brethren were thinking that way and Paul opposed it. (1 Cor. chptrs 1-3) Some were saying “I am of Paul” and others said, “I am of Cephas,” and some said “I am of Christ.” Paul’s objections centered around the same ones we raise today. He asked, “Is Christ divided?” and “Was Paul crucified for you?” This concept of a divided Christ with each segment headed up by a man or group of men, grew out of the protestant reformation movement around the fifteenth century. Jesus had already built His church centuries earlier and it excluded this concept.

As to Paul’s question, “Is Christ divided?” Denominationalism today says, “Yes.” The apostle Paul says “NO.” Is the apostle right or is denominationalism right? The fact that such an idea was rejected by an inspired apostle in scripture should settle the matter. That concept is unacceptable, not because of the technical definition of the word, but because it’s practices contradict what the Bible prescribes. “That you all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you but that you be perfectly joined toegther in the same mind and the same judgment.” (1 Cor. 1:1) If we follow the Bible only we will be Christians only. To be hyphenated Christians is to follow man’s opinions. We ought to stand with the apostle and reject that whole idea. .


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Scripture tells us to be concerned about persons who have been drawn away from the truth and try gently to restore them. (Gal. 6:1, James 5:19-20 etc.) The Bible says this is done by “holding fast the faithful word and by sound doctrine to exhort and convict those who contradict.” (Titus 1:9) With the following Biblical facts we ask you to consider what the “Salvation before baptism” doctrine means.

1. SAVED OUTSIDE OF CHRIST? The Bible says several times that we are baptized into Christ. Romans 6:3, Gal. 3:27 etc. If baptism is how we get into Christ and we are saved without baptism then we are saved without getting into Christ.

2. SAVED APART FROM HIS DEATH? Romans 6:3 says we are baptized into His death and Colossians 2:12 says we are “buried with Him in baptism.” If baptism is how we participate in His death and we are saved without baptism then we are saved separate and apart from His death.

3.SAVED WITHOUT REMISSION OF SINS? Acts 2:38 says that baptism is “unto the remission of sins” and Acts 22:16 says that baptism is how sins are washed away. If baptism is how sins are washed way and we are saved without baptism then we are saved without our sins being remitted, or “washed away.”

4.SAVED WITHOUT BEING SAVED? Jesus said the Gospel should be preached in all the world and “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved, and he who does not believe will be condemned.” Mark 16:15-16. So if we are saved without being baptized then we are saved without having the salvation Jesus spoke about. The fact is Jesus said this is not possible. “Except a man is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” John 3:5.

Those who preach that we are saved first and then obey afterward need to face up honestly to these questions.

1. Is anyone unsaved? Will anyone be declared lost at the judgment? Yes or no.

2. If some are saved and some are lost, what will be the difference between the saved

and  the lost? If some are lost, what will be the reason they are lost?

3. If anyone is saved, when did he become saved? Was he saved before he did

anything or was he saved at the point where he did something, perhaps believed?

4. When the person did whatever it took to become saved, did he thereby earn salvation?

I suggest it is not logically possible to make the “saved before obedience” doctrine add up. It simply is not rational. It contradicts both the scriptures and common sense logic. Consider this. If that doctrine is true then if some are saved, whatever caused them to be saved could not have occurred after they were saved. If obedience is what one does after he is saved and is, as these men are saying, “the fruit of our salvation,” then at the point where a person is saved there can not have been a response to God in any way. Salvation cannot bear fruit until salvation itself happens. If the person believes, that would be obedience and therefore has to come after he is saved. If he repents, that is obedience and cannot precede salvation. If a person does anything to be saved, if he believes, or if he prays the sinner’s prayer, or obtains a rabbit’s foot, or whatever, does he thereby earn the salvation?

You say this is foolishness, nonsense? Yes! It certainly is. The Bible states the truth clearly on each of these points. Turning aside from Biblical truth is what Paul referred to as turning to “fables.” (2 Tim. 4:4) It makes no sense to turn aside from the clear word of God to such nonsense. It is not possible to accept what the Bible says on these questions and at the same time accept the assertions of men that contradict it. God said, “As the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isa. 55:9) We would be wise to keep this in mind, just accept what God said, and make a reasonable effort to conform to His way.


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Each time I think Al Maxey has gone as far out as he can in denying scripture he takes another step even further. In past issues of his “Reflections” he has denied virtually all Biblical specifications, the meaning of the assembly, the purpose of baptism, the significance of the Lord’s Supper, the value of works of obedience, that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, and virtually everything stated in the Bible. Why? Now in his most recent issue, #623, he goes after the plan of salvation.

In this one he wrote, “The “plan of salvation” is not a series of steps the lost must take so as to merit salvation, but the step the Father took in sending His Son to atone for the sins of mankind. It is a gift of grace, and it is for all who believe in what He has done for them. That belief/faith, if genuine, will motivate them to live for Him every day of their lives, submitting to His will and seeking to become more like their “great Example and Pattern” in their daily walk. In this way, you and I become ambassadors of grace as we reflect the Light sent forth into the darkness. Thus, the most effective method for evangelizing the lost is simply the testimony of our lives lived visibly and boldly in relationship with our Lord.” This “plan” so differs from God’s plan one would think the writer has never seen a Bible.

The writer of Hebrews said this of some: “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God…” (Heb. 5:12) This is that kind of  case. The Bible gives what we need to look at, the ABCs of the story of God’s plan developing over time. Each of the key players in this drama had a role to play and they had to do it. None of them had an assignment of inactivity.

First there was GOD. Was His part to just exist and be inactive? No. Scripture refers often to the fact that the plan for saving man was in God’s mind before the world began and He acted on that plan.

God raised up Moses. Was the assignment of Moses to just stand there? Certainly not! He led the Israelites out of bondage and he was the first law giver. Temple worship began under his direction.

After that God sent many prophets. Was their assignement to just exist? No. Each one of their revelations was an important part of moving the plan of God forward toward the coming messiah.

Then came Jesus Christ. Did He come to earth and just stand there? John wrote that “God so loved the world…”(John 3:16) but He didn’t just love the world emotionally and do nothing. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son..” This was action beyond comprehension. When you read the New Testament record of what all He did, what He suffered, and His eventual death  on the cross, you have to wonder how in the world anyone could voluntarily submit to what He did.

Then came the apostles. In God’s plan was their assignment to just exist and wear the name? Certainly not! Their role was absolutely vital to the furtherance of God’s plan. Jesus said it was written and thus it had to be that He would suffer and then be resurrected, and that “repentance and remission of sins would be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:46f)

Then came “the world” to whom this message was to be preached. Did God’s plan assign the hearers to be inactive, passive? Ask Jesus. Fortunately Nicodemus asked about it so we have the Lord’s answer. He said, “Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) This was something one had to choose to do. Nicodemus did not understand how one could do that so Jesus further explained it this way, “Most assuredly I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” (Vs. 5) Note, it isn’t just difficult, Jesus said it cannot be done. When they carried out the orders of Christ at Jerusalem, the command was “Repent and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38) The text says 3,000 souls were added to the Lord that day via that process.

SATAN’S LAST SHOT AT YOU: Satan has only one point of vulnerability to attack. He could not stop this plan at its beginning. God would not fail to act. He could not stop it at the prophets. They did not fail to act. He could not stop it at Jesus. Even with such an extremely difficult assignment, He carried it out. The apostles also did not fail to deliver the plan to mankind. The only point in the process where Satan can stop this plan is with man’s assignment. He can get man to believe that his assignment is to do nothing and thus fail to act. He knows that being born of water and the Spirit is the only way in. So if he can get people to reject that, they are his. So he focuses on that. He builds an elaborate doctrine of salvation without baptism and gets men like Al Maxey to preach it. They see mankind as the only player in this scenario whose assignment is inactive. This is why they must deny everything the Bible says on the subject.




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About religious freedom and the government 

In a letter to a friend Jefferson said that his words about the rights of conscience were constantly being misinterpreted. That certainly is true now.“This I now send you as the only discharge of my promise I can probably ever execute.  And in confiding it to you, I know it will not be exposed to the malignant perversions of those who make every word from me a text for new misrepresentations and calumnies. I am more over averse to the communication of my religious tenets to the public, because  it would countenance the presumption of those who have endeavored to draw them before that tribunal, and to seduce public opinion to erect itself into that inquisition over the rights of conscience which the laws have so justly proscribed.”             Letter to Dr. Benjamin Rush 1811

What Jefferson said about the compatibility of religion and government, the opposite of separation of church & state:

“We have solved by fair experiment the great and interesting question whether freedom of religion is compatible with order in government and obedience to the laws. And we have experienced the quiet as well as the comfort which results from leaving every one to profess freely and openly those principles of religion which are the inductions of his own reason and the serious convictions of his own inquiries.” (Letter to the Virginia Baptists, 1808).

Not only compatible but Christianity is government’s best support:

“Among the most inestimable of our blessings is that…of liberty to worship our Creator in the way we think most agreeable to His will; a liberty deemed in other countries incompatible with good government and yet proved by our experience to be its best support.” (Reply to Baptist Address, 1807)

Intention to protect the church from the government, not the government from the church:

“No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the power of its public functionaries, were it possible that any of these should consider a conquest over the conscience of men either attainable or applicable to any desirable purpose.” (Letter to Methodist Episcopal Church, New London, Connecticut, Feb. 4, 1809). His letter to Danbury Baptist convention (1802) applied the phrase “wall of separation” to this point, protection of the church.

Independent of the power of the federal government: (Not non-present)

“In matters of religion, I have considered that its free exercise is placed by the constitution independent of the power of the federal government. I have therefore undertaken, on no occasion, to prescribe the religious exercises suited to it; but have left them, as the constitution found them, under the direction of state or church authorities acknowledged by the several religious societies.”

(Jefferson’s Second Inaugural Address).

The constitution gives no power to any public functionaries to injure these rights:

“In justice, too, to our excellent Constitution, it ought to be observed, that it has not placed our religious rights under the power of any public functionary. The power, therefore, was wanting, not less than the will, to injure these rights.” (Letter to the Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Pittsburg, Dec. 9, 1808).


The constitution’s first amendment:

“Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”


Congress legislated “separation of church & state” in Jefferson’s name. 

Thomas Jefferson would roll over in his grave.


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Most denominational churches are right on half of the Bible message. From those pulpits the people hear legitimate truths about daily Christian living, being kind, benevolent toward the needy, tolerant etc. But the half of the Bible that gives instructions about getting into Christ, making a covenant with God, is omitted and often outright denied. I meet many members of those churches and find them to be spiritual minded, self sacrificing, and committed to practicing real Christianity. It is sickening to see good, well meaning people being misled about the vital matter of how to be saved. The most sickening of all is what too many of us are not doing to help. Frankly, we are letting them down and in so doing we may be letting ourselves down also. If one could be saved by good deeds they would be saved and it wouldn’t matter. But good deeds can’t save. Being in Christ is the only salvation.

Jesus showed the urgency of being in Him when He said that at the judgment He will say to many “I never knew you. Depart from me.” (Mat. 7:23) The previous verse tells us that this will be said to people who had “prophesied in His name, cast out demons in His name, and had done many wonderful works in His name.” They had that half of it right. Why then did  Jesus say to them, “I never knew you, depart from me”?

Earlier in that context Jesus cited the problem as He warned about “false prophets that come to you in sheep’s clothing.” (Verse 15) These people who will be turned away at the judgment are people who were misled by false prophets. Then Jesus said that you don’t get into the kingdom by saying, “Lord, Lord” but by obeying the will of the Father in heaven. (vs.21) These folks had been taught, as so many have today,  that the “sinner’s prayer,” (Lord, Lord, come into my heart and save me) is the way to prepare for eternity. They had not obeyed Jesus and thus He didn’t know them. The Bible says, “He became the author of eternal salvation to those who obey Him.” (Heb. 5:9) What does it mean to obey Him?

When Jesus sent out His disciples to preach the Gospel to every person, He prescribed exactly what they were to teach people to do, “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved. He who does not believe will be condemned.’ (Mark 16:15-16, Mat. 28:19-20) ) Does this mean that baptism has the power to save us? No. He did not say that. What He did say was that He will save those who obey His command. It was in this sense that the apostle Paul said that being baptized puts one into Christ. “As many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ,” (Gal. 3:27) Have you realized that baptism is the only act of which the Bible says it puts us into Christ? On Pentecost day (Acts 2) when the people asked “What shall we do?” the inspired apostle Peter said, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”(Acts 2:28) How could words say it any plainer?

But Satan has ministers also and their specialty is countering God’s provisions for saving man. (2 Cor. 11:15) He deceives people on this point by blurring the distinction between being saved “not of works” and being saved “without works.” These are not the same. The Bible says we are saved “not of works,” (Eph. 2:8) that is, works do not earn salvation. It also says we are not saved “without works.” The Bible says “Faith without works is dead.” (James 2:19) By confusing these two Satan gets many well meaning people to apply man’s idea of how to get into Christ instead of God’s idea.

Now, why would anyone who knows this truth decline to try and help those who do not know it? The most frequent reason is we are afraid it might offend them. So not offending them becomes more important than their souls’ eternal destiny. In fact, there are now many preachers among us who not only refuse to tell them the truth, they re-enforce their error by actually teaching the same thing that Jesus said condemned them, “lawlessness.” (vs. 23) These men are betraying them.

Considering that sad scene, people being turned away at the judgment, if you could talk to those people before that day, what would you say to them? Wouldn’t you tell them what Jesus said, that lawlessness is not the way? We will all be there, standing before the judgment seat of Christ. (2 Cor. 5:10) How would you like to be standing there, watching these people being turned away to be lost eternally, and have them turn to you and say, “Why didn’t you tell me?” This is what I mean by “We may be letting ourselves down too.” We do have the chance to talk to them before that day. Let’s tell them the truth now.


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Today’s church of Christ bashers includes some of our own members. Accusations are being tossed around without regard for the facts. They misconstrue what we who claim membership in the church of Christ believe and they seem not to understand what questions are at issue. To make responsible judgments we need to know where of we speak. Whether you embrace our message or reject it you need to get the facts straight so that your judgment is not based on propaganda. Look now at some examples of what I refer to, some  facts about what we in the church of Christ believe and do not believe.

First: what we do NOT believe about baptism and the salvation procedure: 1. We do not believe that baptism is a “sacrament.” This word conveys the idea that something God appoints becomes “sacred” and then has magical powers. To illustrate, emperor Charlemagne, king of the Francs, when he conquered the Saxons, marched that army down to the sea shore and forced them at sword point to be baptized, thinking thus to save them. He believed baptism was a “sacrament.” We do not believe that baptism has any power within itself. 2. We do not believe in “works salvation.” The Bible is clear that we are saved “by grace, through faith, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9) Baptism does not pay for our salvation nor does anything else we do. It is a condition on which Jesus promised salvation. 3. We do not believe in “water salvation.” The Bible says baptism saves, yes, but then adds, “not the putting away of the filth of the flesh but the answer of a good conscience toward God.” (1 Peter 3:21) That seems clear enough. The colossians were buried with Him in baptism and also “raised with Him,” not through faith in the water but “through faith in the working of God.”(Col. 2:12) 4. We do not believe in “baptismal regeneration.” Regeneration is not baptism’s purpose. The Bible is also clear on how that is accomplished. “Be not conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind...”(Romans 12:2) The step called repentance would have more to do with this and the “gift of the Holy Spirit” would also help us achieve it.

So we do not believe baptism is a sacrament, we do not believe in works salvation, we do not believe in water salvation, and we do not believe in “baptismal regeneration.” You need to understand this, and especially so if you feel like passing judgment on the people who claim to be members of the church of Christ.

What we do believe about the salvation procedure: 1. We believe that Jesus gave to believers the power to become children of God, ”even to those who believe on His name.” (John 1:12) This ability is valid because He paid for it at the cross. According to the scriptures Jesus did not make them children of God at the point of believing but rather He gave them the power to become that. This is what John 1:12 says. He did not give them power to become what they already were. The text says that at the point of being receptive to Christ He gave them the power , or right, to become children of God. 2. We believe that Jesus specified exactly how that “power to become” is to be applied. This again, is specified in the Bible text. He said,“Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized shall be saved. He who does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:16) He told His disciples to “Make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Mat. 28:19-20) That is how disciples are made. On Pentecost day (Acts 2) Peter told them how to use this “power to become.” He told them to repent and be baptized in Jesus’ name for the remission of sins. In so doing he said, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” (Verse 40) They could choose to do that upon believing. 3. We believe that saving faith requires us to believe two things, (1) that HE IS and (2) that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Heb. 11:6) We believe this because it is what the Bible text expressly says. Thus we believe Jesus’ promise will be kept. He will reward everyone who submits to His commands. (See Heb. 5:9) 4. We believe that Jesus warned about substitute procedures that will not save. In His warnings about false prophets he mentioned specifically the so called “sinner’s prayer.” He said, “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord,Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but He who does the will of my Father in heaven.” (Mat. 7:21) He then said that at the judgment He will say to many “I never knew you. Depart from me you who practice lawlessness.” (verse 23) Verbally inviting Jesus into your heart is not the procedure God appointed. It is a human invention. 5. We believe that while we are not saved BY works we are not saved WITHOUT works. Jesus said again and again that He will reward each one “according to his works.” (Mat. 16:27, John 5:29 etc) One of His final statements on earth was, “Behold I come quickly and my reward is with me, to give to everyone according to his work.” (Rev. 22:12) At Revelation 20:12 John saw prophetically that “the books were opened” and the dead were judged by the things written there “according to their works.” Paul pictured it this way, “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in this body, according to what he has done, whether it is good or bad.” (2 Cor. 5:10)

The church of Christ did not write these passages, the Spirit of God did. Neither the church nor any group of men has authority to delete them. Those who negate them with faulty human arguments will answer to God, the one who did write them. At the judgment these Bible statements will still say the same thing they say now. The Bible says the “books” will be opened and we will all be judged by what is written in the books, according to their works.” (Rev. 20:12) Instead of fighting against them we ought to join with Paul whose next statement was, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord we persuade men.” (Vs.11) Bashing the church of Christ will not prepare anyone for the judgment. Persuading people to accept the truth of God’s word will.



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