Spiritism versus Spirituality

by Terry Wane Benton Spiritism is occultic, feeling and mood-based, and imagination-based, whereas “spirituality” is revelation and scripture-based. Those who are truly “spiritual” will acknowledge that the things Paul wrote are the commandments of the Lord (I Corinthians 14:35f). Spiritism is trying to contact the dead, spirit world through imagination and feeling-based seances. Here, you…

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Preach the Word

by Jefferson David Tant “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not…

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Love versus Trust

by Terry Wane Benton Jesus loved everyone, including the Pharisees, but Jesus did not entrust Himself to everyone He loved. Otherwise, He would not have exited their presence those several times they wanted to capture and kill Him. Dying was on Jesus’ schedule when the time and place were right. Therefore, He loved and wanted…

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Painful Truths

by Zeke Flores Sometimes, the truth hurts. You’re losing your hair. (Ouch!) You’re a little overweight. (Double ouch!) You’re in sin. (OOOWWW!) We’ve heard it said, “The truth hurts.” Who hasn’t been stung when the truth is critical to us personally or contradicts us in some way? The truth can tend to expose our deficiencies…

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Kept by the Power of God

by Terry Wane Benton Peter makes a wonderful comment about how Christians are “kept by the power of God” (I Peter 1:4). However, the statement goes on to say that this keeping is “through faith.” So, God’s power to keep us is through this channel of connection. We can cut off this channel or connection…

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Jesus and Baptism

by Doy Moyer On the third day of creation, God separated the dry land from the waters, and life came through the water (Genesis 1:9-13). This pattern was seen again when life came through the waters after the flood (Genesis 8:6-12). Again, it was seen when the children of Israel passed through the Red Sea…

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Dissipation

by Terry Wane Benton Paul mentions that drinking wine involves dissipation and that instead of doing that which dissipates good moral judgment, one should instead be “filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:17-18). Being filled with the Spirit is the opposite of what alcohol or drugs do to the sober thinking part of our brains. One…

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Accepting God’s Work

by Doy Moyer God doesn’t need our defense (as though He needed anything (Acts 17:25)). When we accept God in total — that, for example, He is all-knowing, all-wise, all-understanding, all-powerful, all-loving, all-just, all-gracious, all-righteous, all-good, owner of life and death, etc. — then we won’t feel like He owes us explanations for everything He…

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We Need a Proof-text, Don’t We?

by Terry Wane Benton Some may misuse a text, and if that text is not carefully examined, it becomes a “proof-text” that sounds, on the surface, to support the user’s point, and that is not good because they have used the Bible to legitimize a point not made or implied by that particular text. So,…

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Religion

by Terry Wane Benton I keep hearing people talk about “religion” as a bad thing. I hear some say things like, “I believe in God but not religion,” or “I accept Jesus but reject all religion.” It’s as if they have a concept of “religion” that is all negative, but Jesus is all positive. There…

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Unapproachable Light

by Chadwick Brewer “Who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen” (I Timothy 6:16). Millions of people will stop their daily lives to go and stare at the spectacle of an eclipse. Yet, they will do this…

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Hard Words

by Doy Moyer Somewhere along the line, our culture has been convinced that insulting people is the way to win others to their way of thinking. Harsh words that disparage intelligence coupled with character-destroying insinuations have become embedded in our arguments and disagreements. This is the way of the world, a path lacking grace and…

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As the Holy Spirit Says

by Terry Wane Benton When the topic of “inspiration” (breathed of God) is brought up, some will argue that we don’t know how the Scriptures are “breathed of God,” but we do know that the words of the Scriptures were delivered from God’s mind to the mind of the writers of the holy Scriptures. Whenever…

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Not Peace but a Sword?

by Terry Wane Benton What did Jesus mean here? Does it contradict other verses that show He came to bring peace on earth? “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father,…

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Your Taste Buds

by Frank Jamerson The word taste is used in many different ways. It may refer to sampling (I’ll taste your dessert), preference (that house fits my taste), ability to recognize (she has a taste for men’s clothes), or to experience (he had a taste of freedom). The context in which it is used often determines…

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What Shall We Do with Jesus?

by Doy Moyer Jesus does not allow us to be neutral about Him. We are not left with the option of just calling Jesus a good man while denying His claims. If He was not who He claimed to be, He was delusional at best and a lying manipulator at worst. Or if, as some…

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The Winning Side

by Doy Moyer “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death” (Revelation 12:11). Revelation employs the imagery of the red dragon (Satan) who underlies the opposition to God and His people. The…

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Imagined Obstacles

by Ray Warfel, Jr. “Praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned” (Colossians 4:3). I wonder if there is a play on the language here.…

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My Voice

by Chadwick Brewer “Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:19-20). Have you ever wondered why God never asked us to have choirs…

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One Reason Congregations Fail

by Perry Hall Why are congregations failing? If one answer can be given, groups rely on man’s wisdom rather than God’s. An example of this faulty thinking is found in the eldership. A common model for choosing elders and how these elders “rule” is the business model. The misaligned thinking is if they are successful…

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Does God Give Us a Pattern to Follow?

by Terry Wane Benton The total evidence of scripture is that God is a God of order and expects us to follow the pattern of sound words in everything we do (II Timothy 1:13; Colossians 3:17; ICorinthians 14:33ff). God’s Patterns Noah had a pattern to follow in building the ark (Genesis 6:22). He had to…

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Looking for a Man

by Dene Ward via FlightPaths.org Sometimes, I wish we had taught classes in our churches specifically about what to look for in a mate. I have seen too many young people looking at only the outer man to decide whether he is suitable to marry. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got…

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Of Necessary Inferences Again

by Terry Wane Benton All my detractors say they believe in necessary inferences, but then they act like I made some point that was counter to their understanding of necessary inference. So, I will define my terms and show that all I have said is beyond dispute on any legitimate level of common sense reason.…

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Jesus, the Master Teacher

by Doy Moyer Teaching is hard work. Trying to determine the best approach to teaching a variety of people from diverse backgrounds brings many challenges. What appeals to one group might not appeal to another. Some will hear what others will not, and Scripture anticipates this (e.g., Isaiah 6:9-10). Add to this the ample warnings…

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Was Acts 2:36 a Necessary Inference?

by Terry Wane Benton Peter presented many powerful points of evidence from the Jews’ own scriptures and eyewitness testimony in Acts 2:22-35, and he brought his presentation of evidence to a conclusive “therefore.” This word signals that he draws necessary inferences from the facts presented. “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly …”…

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Possible Inference Versus Necessary Inference

by Terry Wane Benton It is “of necessity” (necessary) “a change of the Law” for Jesus to be a priest since He was not a Levite (Hebrews 7:11f). In other words, the evidence of Psalms 110 and Jesus being that priest after the order of Melchizedek forces the necessary implication that the Law of Moses…

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The Providence of God and Miracles

by Osamagbe Lesley Egharevba via Unmasking Sophistry, Vol. 4, No. 2, April-June 2024 It is a common teaching among the Pentecostals that miracles exist today. We often hear various claims among different churches about certain miracles that were performed. Sadly, even among some members of the churches of Christ, there seem to be those who…

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The Reformation Movement

by Andy Sochor via Unmasking Sophistry, Vol. 4, No. 2, April-June 2024 In terms of general “church” history, it is difficult to overstate the importance of the Reformation Movement. As we have already studied, the Roman Catholic Church dominated the world – religiously and politically. As “Christianity” became the official religion of the Roman Empire,…

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Misconceptions About the Lord’s Supper

by Osamagbe Lesley Egharevba via Unmasking Sophistry, Vol. 4, No. 2, April-June 2024 One of the acts of worship the New Testament church engaged in was the Lord’s Supper. It is also called “the breaking of bread” (Acts 2:42; Acts 20:7), “the Communion” (I Corinthians 10:16), or “the Lord’s table” (I Corinthians 10:21). In Acts…

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Teaching the Old Lessons

by Mark White Occasionally, some well-meaning but misguided brother will chide us for teaching the old lessons. He will say, “You are answering questions no one is asking any longer.” By this, he means to squelch our teaching on the first principles of Gospel obedience and salvation by grace through faith; the nature, organization, and…

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Four Challenges of Evangelism

by Andy Cantrell There are countless reasons why Christians struggle with evangelism, but I believe the following four categories cover most, if not all, of those reasons. They are Care, Consciousness, Courage, and Craft. Most of the excuses we are willing to vocalize come from the last three areas. We are willing to admit we…

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The Sabbath

by Terry Wane Benton The Sabbath day was for Israel to have a day of rest. Paul, by the Spirit, said that sabbaths, among many other things, were a “shadow” of the good things to come (Colossians 2:13-16). Since the shadows lead up to the substance that cast the shadow (Jesus), the substance takes preeminence.…

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The Gospel Perverted

by Terry Wane Benton It wasn’t that the Judaizing teachers did not believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. They did. So, how were they “perverting the gospel” (Galatians1:6-10)? They were adding to what the apostles preached. They demanded that circumcision and old law typology be brought in with what the apostles preached…

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Jesus, Alive Forevermore

by Doy Moyer “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades” (Revelation 1:17-18). This is how Jesus described Himself after John saw the great vision of “one like…

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Theism

by Zeke Flores Theism is alive and well. Aside from those religions that venerate men (Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, and Islam, to name a few), some worship supernatural deities (Greek mythology, Hinduism, and many other Eastern religions). There are gods of our own making (money, sex, relationships) which we hope will save us from _________ (fill in…

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Is God Responsible for Ahab Doing Wrong?

by Tommy Peeler Is God responsible for Ahab doing the wrong thing? Ahab is ready to go to war without inquiring of God (I Kings 22:4-5). When 400 prophets tell him that he will take Ramoth-Gilead, Ahab is content, but Jehoshaphat wants to inquire of a prophet of the LORD (I Kings 22:6-7). Ahab does…

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The Reliability of the Bible

by Zeke Flores There are several ways to establish the reliability of the Bible. One is by manuscript evidence. There are thousands of manuscripts, both whole and partial, of Old and New Testament books that provide harmonized agreement on the teaching of the Bible. Though the original documents are long lost, many of the copies…

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The Solution for Sins

by Jeffrey W. Hamilton Text: I Corinthians 6:9-11 Sin was a big problem in the church at Corinth. It is a big problem worldwide and throughout all time. But Jesus offers a solution to sin: Washed Sanctified Justified Cleansed Set apart for a holy purpose Made right before the law   Justified When we sin,…

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Time to Reflect

by Terry Wane Benton If you are bored, you are not studying and thinking about the rich treasures available to be enjoyed in Christ. When Paul and Silas were in prison, do you think they had time to be bored? Reflect on what gives you purpose and drive. Do you have a proper hunger and…

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Denominationalism

by Doy Moyer Denominationalism today is not just about one particular doctrine but a mindset that relates to how we think about the Lord’s body. Denominational thinking perceives the church (universal) as comprised of an interconnected web of congregations instead of seeing the church as comprised of individual Christians without respect to time or location.…

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