|Volume 20 Number 8 August 2018||
I once read an article in a well-published biblical archeology magazine that expressed disgust with God, because He doesn’t tolerate other gods! The writer didn’t seem to know the difference between Jehovah and the other gods.
Because humans have to worship something, we’ll make all-knowing, all-powerful beings out of anything: nature, sex, war, drunkenness, death, stars and moons, animals, and even heroes (dead or alive).
Manmade gods are limited to certain territories, cities or cultures. They can be stolen by other groups. Many demand horrible human sacrifices, self-mutilation and prejudice against females (even still today). Those gods practice all of the human evils. Their writings are full of error, which means they either lie to their worshipers or they don’t know the truth.
Out of the millions of gods that humans know, there’s only one that stands out. He says He is the only real God, and He claimed this thousands of years ago. Let me briefly introduce you to this unique Lord (Lord means master).
• His actual name is I Am Who I Am (Exodus 3:4); the Hebrew word for “who” can also be “what, that, because, why.”
• He has no beginning and no end (Revelation 21:6; John 1:1; Psalm 145:13).
• All of His revelations are accurate in every way (Psalm 119).
• He doesn’t live in a house or a city made with human hands (Acts 7:48; 17:24).
• He says He’s the God for all individuals, not prejudiced against any nation, sex, territory or language, and He treats women honorably (2 Peter 3:9; Acts 17:23-31).
• He’s not bashful about telling the truth (Deuteronomy 30:19-20).
• He keeps His promises, is pure, honorable and judges righteously (Proverbs 16:2; 1 Corinthians 4:5).
• He didn’t leave us to fend for ourselves (Hebrews 1:1-2).
I find that manmade gods do not deserve our worship, praise, honor or obedience. They are unreliable, childish and usually cruel. In spite of what learned archeologists think, I agree with Jehovah when He talks about His disgust with the other gods. Joshua asked the Israelites in Joshua 24:14-15 to choose who they would worship and serve, Jehovah God or the multitude of wicked gods from the other nations. Today, let’s choose to serve I Am, the Master, All-knowing One. He is worth it.
Martha Lynn Rushmore
We have heard for many years, you can go to or worship with the church of your choice. We hear this on the radio, on the television, by word of mouth and of course, in the newspaper.
My question is when we convert someone with the Gospel, and the Lord adds them to His church, why do these same people become hostile and even disown their own family who become members of the Church of Christ? Subsequently, many families are separated for the cause of Christ. If we are alike and all going to Heaven, as often is mouthed, then why do these families not continue to be loving and caring families for their own?
I believe there are many different reasons or excuses why this happens. We in the Church of Christ follow the Bible. In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said, “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock [your confession] I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” Jesus said, “My Church,” not my churches (denominations). He used the singular of establishing only one church.
In John 15:1-8, Jesus stated He is the Vine and God (His Father) is the Vinedresser. In these verses, Jesus talked to the individual apostles, not to whole congregations. He told them they were to abide in the Vine, and if they did, they could and would bear fruit. Also, Jesus told them if they did not stay in the Vine, they could not and would not bear fruit. John 15: 5-6 reads, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” Jesus told them He is the Vine and that individuals (today, Christians) are the branches. Denominational churches misapply this passage to teach that Jesus is the Vine and all churches (denominations) are the branches. Not only had the Lord’s church not yet been established, but denominations did not begin to appear until hundreds of years later. Clearly, Jesus was talking to the apostles (individuals) and not to churches. They each were held responsible for themselves, not for church or a denomination. Today, individual Christians are responsible for themselves, and our Lord’s words do not apply to churches (denominations).
The Church of Christ believes in the authority of the Bible. We teach what the Bible teaches (1 Peter 4:11). We are silent where the Bible is silent. We understand and have conviction that there is only one body or church as it says in Ephesians 4:4-6. “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Have you ever seen a head with two or more bodies? Christ is the Head of His body. If all denominations were a body, the Lord would look very abnormal or strange. Jesus Christ is the Head of His body the Church (Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:22-23). There is one body for one head!
So, let us all study the Bible with an open mind. We all want to go to Heaven, but God is the author of our salvation, and we Must obey His Word.
[Editor’s Note: Religious people strenuously object to the biblical convictions and consequently the exclusivity of the churches of Christ. We wear His name unashamedly (Romans 16:16) and sincerely endeavor to be the 1st century church in the 21st century. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]