Christian

Singing

After mentioning that we all should examine what goes on in our churches to see if it is scripturally sound, I thought I would make that the subject of my previous post and the next few following posts. This post will attempt to cover singing.

Romans 15:9 KJV And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.

Ephesians 5:19 KJV Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

Colossians 3:16 KJV 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.

I believe both a cappella and singing with musical instruments are appropriate during services. While there is no verse in the New Testament which directly says, use musical instruments while singing, there are ample verses of their use in the Old Testament. Here the Church of Christ denomination is following the traditions of man rather than exercising discernment. Old Testament verses include:

Exodus 15:20 KJV And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.

1 Chronicles 13:8 KJV And David and all Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets.

These are just a few. I think something of interesting note in mentioned earlier in Col. 3:16 is: teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns.

I think the intent here is that we should all be active in what is sung in our churches. Many churches such as the one I attend use a standard hymnal and the songs don’t seem to change much from Sunday to Sunday. Isn’t Col. 3:16 expecting more? Is it hoped we should write new songs, person specific songs, educational songs?

Keep in mind singing, giving, and praying need not be limited to the interior of churches.

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Christian, Inspirational

A Prettier Pan

Is it easier to give at a building? Is it easier to give to someone on television? Are these things easier than giving to someone on the street?

James 2:2-4 KJV For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; [3] And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: [4] Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?

Cant these verses apply to giving as well? When certain men panhandle for thousands or even millions of dollars and begrudge the man on the street ten or twenty dollars it gets under my skin. See my previous post.

In that post, I also stated that we should be prepared to exam all things that occur in our churches. We should be aware of the history of giving at churches and how our money is spent. To just tell ourselves we are giving to God may be irresponsible.

The early tabernacle of the Lord began with Moses and the Jews after leaving Egypt. Offerings were made for sin and the tithe was often of first fruits. What did this mean? The Levites had food to eat and were supported by the larger group of Israelites. The job of the Levites was care, upkeep, and transportation of the Tabernacle. When the Israelites later built a temple and moved into the promised land these same practices were followed similarly. The Levites were given land and divided among the various cities. They had rotating duties at the Temple.

What does this mean today since the Temple of God no longer exists? When you contribute at the modern church you pay for the support of the preacher and the maintenance of the Church building. 

Things you should know and question. What is the preacher paid? Does the preacher consistently preach the truth? After paying the salary of the preacher and building expenses how much is left? How much of the money you give on Sunday actually goes to charitable purposes, i.e. the poor or missions?

The Church of Christ denomination claims biblical support of all they do. Since they claim we only follow the New Testament this biblical basis should be found in the New Testament. Their biblical claim for passing the plate every Sunday is 1 Corinthians 16:2 KJV 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.

What they ignore is context. This instruction was given by Paul to collect an offering to give to the saints at Jerusalem. It was not and is not an instruction to modern churches to take an offering every Sunday.

It’s your money, when you give be aware of where it might do the most good. Giving directly to the poor should never be frowned upon. It might mean survival to that person. It might mean their only meal that day.

When giving to your church or a charity be aware of administrative fees. How much of your money actually reaches the intended recipient?

A handy tool for charities is charitynavigator.org. At your local church you may have to ask for a copy of their budget.

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Christian, Inspirational

Hurdles

I have had a few conversations recently that disturbed me. One was that all Catholics are going to Hell. The other was that unless you’re Church of Christ you’re unrighteous.

My viewpoint is that God’s chosen, Christ’s Bride will be taken from among various denominations. These chosen are people that learn the Word and follow it. Nonetheless there are people attending certain denominations which have greater hurdles to overcome to be among those going to Heaven.

Catholics – The greatest challenge is proper baptism. Sprinkling water on babies or baptizing children with no understanding does nothing. Children must be able to understand who Jesus is. Repenting of their sins requires knowledge of sin. Proper baptism is confession of Jesus as Christ, repentance of sin, and being completely immersed in water, or baptized, by another in the name of Jesus or in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Another concern is praying to Saints and Angels instead of Jesus only. Confession is appropriate, but penance in the form of repeating prayers is not scriptural.

Church of Christ – Believing in the power of God and discerning the law of Jesus. They misinterpret 1 Corinthians 13:10 to mean an end of miracles. They cannot read New Testament commands such as those found in Corinthians. Additionally, they do not understand the Lord’s Prayer, nor can they see that all the Ten Commandments are still to be followed.

Baptist – Again baptism is an issue. From my understanding they consider it a public profession of Christ. It is more than that. It is being baptized into the family of Christ and being forgiven of previous sins by his blood. They also do not offer the Lord’s Supper every Sunday.

Mormon – I am convinced there are decent Mormons, but they face a large hurdle. They follow a false prophet and a false book. I think to obtain salvation their best course would be to leave the Mormon Church.

I realize there are many more denominations, but one of the hurdles listed above probably applies.  It bothers me greatly that one denomination or preacher should say to all others – we are going to Heaven and everyone else is going to Hell. Take a good long look in the mirror. To those that have shall be given more. To those that have not, even what they think they have shall be taken away.

I do not know if people with partial deafness can make it to Heaven. Remember 1 John 1:9. It is the only opportunity for forgiveness after receiving water baptism. When you find the strength correct others with the Word. Hearing comes by the Word of God. If they do not listen, you did your part and yet remains James 5:20!

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Discernment

Hebrews 10:16-17 KJV

This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; [17] And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.

Which laws do you allow God to write on your heart?

The Church of Christ denomination says it is a command to sing and to sing a capella. As God loveth a cheerful giver, He surely appreciates the cheerful singer. Musical instruments? Psalm 150. Maybe God enjoys a capella, but I don’t think it’s a matter of righteousness, it’s more a matter of your lack of understanding. It is in my opinion a tradition of man, an idea of early Church of Christ preachers.

The Church of Christ spends hours out of every year claiming holiness in a capella, yet the COC denomination cannot read and understand 1 Corinthians 14:34-38. It is clearly a New Testament command and one that no churches keep. If you are ignorant of these verses, skip them, but read on.

Neither can the Church of Christ denomination comprehend all of the Ten Commandments. They do not keep the Sabbath, nor believe it should be kept. 9 out of 10? Maybe. I would argue it’s a slippery slope. All ten are incorporated into the New Testament.

So what part of the Law of Jesus is in your heart and on your mind?

I believe what you let the Lord write there, he will also help you to keep. Discernment is a gift of God.

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