Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

Index by Subject

In the News: Is the Pope Humble?

Image I am sure some who read this would object to the question. They might first object to any question of his humility as absurd. It has, after all, been his most commonly acknowledged attribute, proclaimed by the media which has covered each of his appearances in America. Others might object to the idea we might “judge” the heart of another. Who are we to deem the Pope as being anything other than what he “appears” or “claims” to be.

Of course, the judging of hearts is not appropriate. And, I freely admit that despite the adulation supplied him, his cloistered lifestyle, and his privileged existence, he continues to speak to and show compassion toward those who are poor and destitute.

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The Seed Principle

ImageThere is a simple, natural principle that has been used numerous times by the Holy Spirit to illustrate truth. We may call it the seed principle, and it was used (for example) by Paul when he wrote to the Galatians, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life” (Galatians 6:7-8). You reap what you sow — a sublime idea that has awesome implications regarding spiritual truths.

The idea holds with regard to amount, kind and the nature of the soil upon which the seed is sown. For example, Paul used the principle in exhorting the Corinthians to liberality in their giving. “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (2 Corinthians 9:6). Jesus, in His parable of the sower, indicated the importance of planting the seed (the word) upon good soil (the honest heart), referring to the honest man as one “who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” (Matthew 13:23). The seed principle even can be used to show God’s glory in the redemption of man. Paul deflected any personal glory in his work in preaching, saying to the Corinthians, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase” (1 Corinthians 6:7-8). All of these points can be illustrated equally by this simple, agronomic analogy.

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In the News: Guardians of Doctrine

Image On Thursday, the Catholic Pope released a text giving his view of who should be selected as Catholic bishops as the Catholic church goes forward in the 21st century. Of course, the Catholic church’s concepts of how bishops are to be selected, what their qualifications are, and the nature and extent of their rule are all contrary to what is revealed in the New Testament. In this short article, however, it is our intent to examine one aspect of the Pope’s message. Consider the following quote, taken from a report on the document:

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In the News: Queen of Vampires No Longer a Christian

ImageNEW YORK – Anne Rice has had a religious conversion: She’s no longer a Christian.

“In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control,” the author wrote Wednesday on her Facebook page. “In the name of … Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.”

Rice, 68, is best known for “Interview With a Vampire” and other gothic novels. Raised as a Catholic, she had rejected the church early in her life but renewed her faith in recent years and in 2008 released the memoir “Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession.”

Hillel Italie
Associated Press

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In The News: Chocolate Jesus?

ImageI came across a recent article indicating that Catholic churches in Germany were upset because an entrepreneur had begun selling chocolate Jesus figures, covered in gold foil. The picture at right is an actual example of the figure.

I went to the web site advertising the item, and was blown away by some of the reasoning behind selling the product. Note the following quotes from the site:

…In our time, Santa Claus has replaced Jesus for most people. Unfortunately!

From today on, however, “Sweetlord ®” and the “Original Chocolate GoldJesus ®” are being made to change this!…

…Eating Jesus?

The idea to eat Jesus may first appear shocking to some people – but is it really? Apparently, the tradition to include representations of Jesus in dessert preparations – apart from flesh and blood (altar bread and wine) – goes back centuries both in the old and new world. Among the most prominent examples are the American King Cake and the German Christstollen….

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In The News: Can A Christian Be President

inthenewsThe question of our title is similar to other questions that have been asked. Can a Christian be a lawyer? Or, can a Christian tend bar?

Those questions speak of the morality of the two occupations. While I believe that a Christian could certainly practice law, there are certain types of lawyers who seem, if they do their job successfully, to violate Christian morality.

However, when I ask the question, “Can a Christian be President?” I am not so concerned with the ethics of the job; rather, I am referring to the electability of a Christian. I am convinced that one who truly holds to the teachings of Jesus Christ would be considered an extremist, and would have no chance of being elected to the highest office in America.

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In The News: Lent and Fish Fries

ImageAsh Wednesday is February 6, beginning the Catholic observance of Lent in the six weeks preceding the observance of Easter Sunday.

If you aren’t familiar with the terms, it is not surprising. There is no reference in scripture to either Lent or Easter, and the practice has its origins in Catholic church tradition rather than in the word of God.

One of those traditions is the practice of abstaining from eating meat on Friday during Lent. In certain areas of the country, such as Wisconsin, the practice is pervasive. Notice the following from an AP article, posted Friday:

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In The News: LA Church to Pay $600 Million for Clergy Abuse

inthenewsLOS ANGELES – The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles will settle its clergy abuse cases for at least $600 million, by far the largest payout in the church’s sexual abuse scandal, The Associated Press learned Saturday.

Attorneys for the archdiocese and the plaintiffs are expected to announce the deal Monday, the day the first of more than 500 clergy abuse cases was scheduled for jury selection, according to two people with knowledge of the agreement. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because the settlement had not been made public.

The archdiocese and its insurers will pay between $600 million and $650 million to about 500 plaintiffs — an average of $1.2 million to $1.3 million per person. The settlement also calls for the release of confidential priest personnel files after review by a judge assigned to oversee the litigation, the sources said.

The settlements would push the total amount paid out by the U.S. church since 1950 to more than $2 billion, with about a quarter of that coming from the Los Angeles archdiocese.

By GILLIAN FLACCUS, Associated Press Writer


The Catholic church has been embarrassed by this scandal, as alarmingly large numbers of Catholic priests, (each of which has taken a vow of celibacy), have been exposed as criminally promiscuous. Priests have been convicted of charges of sexual harassment, rape, and pedophilia (with both boys and girls).

Continue reading » In The News: LA Church to Pay $600 Million for Clergy Abuse

In The News: “Limbo” is now in Limbo

inthenewsIn the May 11, 2007 edition of the Evening Bulletin (an independent newspaper from Philadelphia), writer Joe Murray reported on the recent results of the International Theological Commission, which is, “a pontifical commission of 30 international Catholic theologians that advises the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.” The question under consideration before the commission was, “whether salvation is attainable for babies who perished prior to baptism.”

The Catholic church has long maintained that babies who die without baptism spend eternity in a place called “limbo.” Limbo is “a concept that holds babies who perish prior to receiving the sacrament of baptism are not consigned to hell, but will remain in, for lack of a better term, limbo for eternity, absent communion with God.”

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Podcast: Catholic Attitudes Toward Scripture


Podcast Number 37

The Catholic church contends that it, as an institution, is the final arbiter and authority for all matters pertaining to the spiritual welfare and condition of man. A careful reading of the scriptures shows this claim to be invalid. God intended His word to be the final standard man must submit to religiously.

To listen to this Podcast, click here .

To subscribe to the podcast feed, click here .

In The News: The Patron Saint of Real Estate

In the Saturday, September 2nd edition of the Fort Worth Star Telegram, there was an article entitled, House sellers put their faith in saintly intervention. The article refers to the practice of burying a statue of St. Joseph upside down in the yard of a home for sale will bring good luck to homeowners desperate to sell. In looking for a representative statue to accompany this story, I came across this “kit” for sale for $4.95 at an online novelty store, with the accompanying caption and description:

St. Joseph – Patron Saint of Real Estate

Based on the circumstances surrounding them, some Saints become “patrons” of people, occupations, places or things. It’s never been easier or more affordable to bring the power of a Patron Saint to your aid. Each 3-3/4″ tall, hard plastic Saint comes with a 3″ stand embossed with the Saint’s name and a removable backdrop with the Saint’s title, patronage and a prayer to help invoke the power of that Saint.

The reference is to Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus.

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Symbols of Pope’s Reign Destroyed


CATHOLIC cardinals have destroyed the late Pope John Paul II’s ring and seal in a symbolic end to his authority before secluding themselves from the world to elect his successor. The cardinals will begin their conclave this week, and the Vatican said smoke signals would pour from a chimney above the Sistine Chapel twice a day to tell the world whether or not a new pope had been elected.

Overnight, the cardinals watched an ancient ritual marking the transition between two popes – the destruction of John Paul’s Fisherman’s Ring and his lead seal, two symbols of his authority.

During John Paul’s 26-year pontificate and his many trips around the world, countless pilgrims kissed the gold signet ring.

At 4.30pm Monday (Rome time, 12.30am Tuesday AEST), the 115 cardinals under the age of 80 with the right to choose a new pope will file in solemn procession into the Sistine Chapel, with its Michelangelo frescoes, where voting takes place. They come from 52 nations.

The cardinals will hold up to four ballots a day – two in the morning and two in the afternoon – until they elect the 265th pontiff.

Smoke signals above the Sistine Chapel – black smoke for an indecisive vote or white for a new pope – are expected around noon (8pm AEST) and 7pm (3am AEST) each day.

by Philip Pullella and Claudia Parsons in Vatican City
April 17, 2005,


A simple reading of this news report, which refers to the Pope’s “authority” and his “reign” show how very different the Catholic pattern is from the pattern revealed in God’s Word. Consider the following passages, contrasting the authority of Jesus with that of a bishop:

“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth'” (Matthew 28:18).

“Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away” (1 Peter 5:2-4).

God never intended for any man to have the authority or to experience the adulation and worship that is experienced by any man who is appointed as Pope in the Catholic church. A new Pope will be elected within a few weeks, but his reign and authority will not be ordained by God.