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 Vol. 9, No. 4 

April 2007

Since You Asked

~ Page 20 ~

Image Names may be included at the discretion of the Editor unless querists request their names be withheld. Please check our Archive for the answer to your question before submitting it; there are over 1,000 articles in the Archive addressing numerous biblical topics. Submit a Question to GGO.

Preaching in
Denominational Assemblies

By Louis Rushmore

Image Dear Sir: I am presently working here in Saudi Arabia and would leave the kingdom in the next few days. I used to be a member of Church of Christ (using Musical Instruments in Worship) when I was still in the Philippines. But when I arrived here in [city withheld by Editor] I found out about the Church of Christ (Non-Instrumental) which teachings I embraced for the truth sake. Now that I am leaving and wil be re-united with my family, my father who is an elder of the former church, but would love to convert them to the truthness of biblical authority in worship. I stand firm in the teaching that it is sinful to use musical instruments in worship. The question now is, will it be expedient if I will have fellowship with them having my purpose of trying to convert them and preach to them the biblical authority in worship? I know that my father will give me the slot to speak before them during the Bible Study and during the Sermon and I am thinking that it is but expedient to have fellowship with them with the purpose of preaching them the truth. Correct me if I am wrong, in the Book of Acts Paul upon returning to Jerusalem went into the Temple being asked by th Elders and worship as a Jew. [name withheld by Editor]

You are correct to seize opportunities to speak to persons in biblical error about the truth, as the apostle Paul did. The only modification of your representation of the scenario is that neither the apostle Paul nor you would be extending religious fellowship (partnership, unity) to those in error. Comparable to the Catholic wedding I attended a few years ago for my wife's niece, we were and you would be respectful but not participate in the religious error. We did not sing with the songs accompanied by instrumental music and we did not participate in the responsive readings. In your case, of course, it would be counterproductive for you to sing with the accompaniment of instrumental music and then proceed to preach against it. It would probably be best if you not Amen the prayers, partake of the Lord's Supper or give to the collection; otherwise, you will give the impression that they are at least enough right that the instrumental music is inconsequential.

Criticism, even by Christians toward Christians, seems to be a chief occupation of mankind, and someone will criticize the best efforts. Often the biggest critics are doing nothing to save souls and would prevent brethren from saving souls either. However, one must make sure that to the best of his ability that neither brethren nor those to whom we go preaching the Gospel misunderstand the reason for which we speak in a denominational assembly or church in error. Beyond those best efforts, any problems either have if we conduct ourselves respectfully and are loyal to God is their problem and not ours. I wish you well in your godly efforts.Image

Presiding at the Lord's Table

By Louis Rushmore

I have gone thru most of your articles on communion and have not found one dealing with those who preside over the table. Just what should be said and should it be a mini sermon. It seems to me that this detracts from the great memorial that Jesus commanded us to observe especially if the song leader has selected a song that puts us in rememberance of what we are about to partake of. A sister in Christ, Reva

Other than Jesus' personal references to how the bread and fruit of the vine represented his sacrificial body and blood, we have absolutely nothing in either the institution or the re-institution of the Lord's Supper or Communion that specifies what is to be said on that occasion beyond that thanks (prayer) was given (Matt. 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Cor. 23-25). The apostle Paul gives some additional information respecting the Communion (1 Cor. 10:16-17; 11:26-28), but nothing appears in Scripture as to what is to be said or how long or short the saying of it might be.

In a similar vein, the New Testament records nothing about prefatory remarks or even a prayer respecting the collection (1 Cor. 16:1-2). However, when is it a wrong time to pray in the midst of Christians? When is it wrong to speak a biblical lesson?

Consequently, though not specifically stated, typically brethren with whom I am familiar may say a few remarks before the collection and will usually offer a prayer. Likewise, the remarks that may precede observance of the Lord's Supper are discretionary as well, probably well advised to ensure that all present realize what is about to take place.

However, the amount of time spent making prefatory remarks before observing the Lord's Supper is a matter of local, congregational preference. It is not a matter of doctrine, but a matter of allowable local custom or tradition (does not conflict with divine instruction). Those customs or traditions can be changed according to the wishes of the leadership (elders) of a local congregation, or several members might urge the elders to make an adjustment in this area if such an adjustment accommodates the majority of the congregation.Image

Must a Minister or
a Preacher be Ordained?

By Louis Rushmore

Does a Preacher or if you will Minister have to be ordained? I didn't think they did. I know schooling helps but a friend of mine says a man has to be ordained to be a Minister. If so where is it at in the Bible.  I need an answer Thank You, Bonnie

Denominations commonly practice a ceremony of ordination of ministers, but several religious groups, including the churches of Christ, do not practice such a religious rite. The dictionary definition of "ordain" is: "to invest officially (as by the laying on of hands) with ministerial or priestly authority" (Merriam).

However, one really needs to evaluate what ordination means in a practical sense.

ORDINATION In the limited and technical sense ordination is the ceremony by which a person is set apart to an order or office; but in a broader, and in fact its only important sense, ordination signifies the appointment or designation of a person to a ministerial office, with or without attendant ceremonies. (New Unger's)

Hence, though the churches of Christ do not practice formal ordination ceremonies (and issue papers of ordination), any man appointed or recognized as a preacher of the Gospel or minister is essentially and informally ordained (appointed) by the congregation for which he preaches. The reason the churches of Christ do not practice formal ordination of its ministers is doubtless owing to the absence of such in the New Testament, by which we seek to guide ourselves religiously. "In the introduction of the Christian dispensation no exterior act of ordination was practiced by Christ. The calling, appointing, and commissioning of the twelve apostles was His personal act, unattended, so far as the record shows, with any symbolic act or ceremony" (New Unger's). "Some scholars doubt whether the solemn service we know today as ordination was practiced in the time of Christ" (Nelson's). "A scriptural investigation of this subject can hardly fail to impress any ingenuous mind with the great significance The fact that neither the Lord Jesus Christ nor any of his disciples gave specific commands or declarations in reference to ordination" (McClintock and Strong).

Since most religious groups practice a formal ordination, ordination has been written into some laws of the land (e.g., state licensing of ministers to legally officiate weddings). When necessary, ministers or Gospel preachers, recognizing that to ordain essentially means to appoint, must answer in the affirmative when asked by a judge or other legal representative respecting an application to solemnize weddings. Though not formally ordained, in the broader application of the word and informally, every minister is essentially ordained when appointed or recognized by those to whom he preaches.

Works Cited

McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 2000.

Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. CD-ROM. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 1993.

Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary. CD-ROM. Nashville: Nelson, 1986.

New Unger's Bible Dictionary. CD-ROM. Chicago: Moody, 1988.

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