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

Sermon: Ethics (God VS Man)

Ethics

The views that men hold regarding what is right and what is wrong often are at odds with what the Bible teaches. This lesson seeks to note those differences in the realm of man’s treatment of animals. Emphasis is made on what the word of God teaches regarding man’s responsibility toward the rest of creation.

Audio

Powerpoint Slides

Sermon: Respecting the Sanctity of Life

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The lesson discusses the Biblical view of the sanctity of life, making applications with regard to the death penalty, abortion, euthanasia, and what constitutes murder.

Audio

Microsoft Word File

From the Preacher’s Pen: Dishonest Scales

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“Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight” (Proverbs 11:1).

Dishonesty and theft are unacceptable to Jehovah. In the same context, the wise man wrote, “The integrity of the upright will guide them, but the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them” (11:3). It is telling that honesty in a person is indicative of personal integrity, and that dishonesty indicates perversity and unfaithfulness.

The characteristics of honesty and integrity would go a long way to fixing the moral problems of our day. While all will claim that personal integrity is very important, our culture is rife with liars, thieves and politicians (sorry, couldn’t resist).

God demands honesty from His children. Jesus said, “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?” (Luke 16:10-12).

Stan signature

Christian Ethics

Image In previous decades, American society generally shared the same values that are currently held by Christians. Sexual promiscuity, moral excesses, and other vices were frowned upon. Even those who engaged in them understood that they were morally wrong, and hid their actions from plain sight. As time has passed, however, societal values have diverged from the Christian norm. Because of this:

Continue reading » Christian Ethics

In the News: Non-Religious Ethics

Image In doing some internet research on the subject of ethics, I came across an article by Rohana R. Wasala, a practicing Buddhist. In his article, titled Ethics and the non religious essence of Buddhism (lankaweb.com), Wasala advocated Buddhism over other religions, noting that Buddhism is not a religion in the traditional sense, in that it has its origin not in a supernatural being, but rather in a philosophy of self.

Interestingly, the author bemoans the fact that Buddhism, as practiced popularly, is not the same as “Pristine Buddhism.” To contrast the two, he states that Pristine Buddhism is free from the element of worship and prayer. He then stated that in contrast, “Unfortunately, Buddhism in popular practice is a different thing. It is today displayed by most followers as a religion.”

Continue reading » In the News: Non-Religious Ethics

Special Study: The Christian and Ethics

This lesson was given at the Woodmont church of Christ, quarterly study on September 20, 2014. The subject is ethics, with a contrast between the humanly devised philosophies, and the objective Bible standard of right and wrong. Four examples are discussed in application of the principles: 1) Abortive types of contraception; 2) Extramarital Sexual relationships; Corporal Punishment; 4) Slavery.

The materials consist of an 80 minute lecture, a 30 minute Question and Answer period, and the Powerpoint presentation utilized in the initial presentation.

Audio (The Christian & Ethics – 80 minute lecture)

Audio (The Christian & Ethics – 30 minutes Question & Answer)

Powerpoint Slides

Article (DOCX) (The Christian and Ethics)
Same article in PDF Format (The Christian and Ethics)

Podcast: We Have the Answer!

ipod

Podcast Number 33

Our society is presently plagued by many problems: Violence, sexual immorality, disease. Those who seek the answers to the problems are often looking in the wrong place. The Bible has the answers to society’s problems, whether men wish to accept it or not!

To listen to this Podcast, click here .

To subscribe to the podcast feed, click here .

In The News: The Tao of Willie

WillieWillie Nelson, the Country and Western singer with a liberal lean to his politics and an agenda to legalize marijuana use, recently published a book of philosophy called “The Tao of Willie.” In it he talks about everything from politics to God. In response to a question about leaving his Methodist upbringing in embracing new philosophies, Nelson said:

“I believe that all roads lead to the same place. We’re taking different ways to get there, but we all end up in the same place. It’s kind of like Kinky Friedman’s statement, “May the God of your choice bless you.” That’s the main thoughts that I have about life.” (Time Magazine, August 7, 2006)

Nelson, as is typical of many today, has remade God in his image. Scripture clearly reveals that there is one way to heaven (John 4:24), that not all of us are going to get there (Matthew 7;13), and that there is only one true God (Acts 14:15).

Yes, those are Willie’s main thoughts on life. God has given his divine comments on such thoughts, saying in Psalm 94:11, “The Lord knows the thoughts of man, That they are futile.”

In The News: Stem Cell Divisions Transcend Abortion Fight

inthenewsPresident George W. Bush may have cited his moral stance in vetoing a bill that would have expanded embryonic stem-cell research on Wednesday but the issue transcends traditional divisions over abortion rights.

Strongly conservative Republicans who oppose abortion such as Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch have backed broader federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research for years, and more conservatives have come on board recently, including Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee.

The embryos at issue come from fertility clinics, where eggs and sperm are united in lab dishes. But many more are made than can ever be implanted in mothers’ wombs, and the leftovers are discarded.

The bill vetoed by Bush would have allowed federal taxpayer money to be used to do research on those embryos donated by the parents. It is not illegal to use private funds to do so, although some conservatives, such as Kansas Republican Sen. Sam Brownback, would also seek to ban this research.

The stem cells are taken from a ball of cells known as a blastocyst, which develops five to seven days after conception. These embryonic stem cells are pluripotent — meaning they can differentiate into all the types of cells that make up an animal, including a human being, but do not form placenta and cannot become a fetus.

Bush, an opponent of abortion, used his first veto as president to block the bill on Wednesday, saying destroying embryos for medical research “crosses a moral boundary that our decent society needs to respect.”

Many people who disapprove of abortion say they do not disapprove of experimenting on these embryos, which would otherwise be discarded.

“It’s very difficult to justify abandoning 7,000 to 20,000 in vitro eggs as medical waste,” Hatch told reporters recently.

REUTERS / Peter Macdiarmid

Analysis:

It is not uncommon for advocates of stem cell research to blur the lines regarding what constitutes life. In reality, man has no right to establish such arbitrary distinctions. From conception, an embryo is an independent, living organism. If it is not human, then what is it?

Understood in this light, the immoral nature of the aforementioned arguments becomes clear. For example, stem cell advocates are arguing that since we are going to throw living humans into the trash anyway, instead we ought to kill them through human experimentation.

Stem cell advocates are actually claiming to have the moral high road in this debate. Note the following quote from later in the article, “It is immoral for our families, neighbors and friends to be held hostage to chronic diseases when their treatments are within our scientific grasp,” June Walker, president of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, said in a statement. In reality, the call is for the sacrifice of innocent and vulnerable human beings to benefit others in society. The fact that stem cell advocates are unwilling to admit to the humanness of the embryos does not change the fact of their humanity. To sacrifice one segment of society in preference to another is barbaric, and without any moral justification.

“And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit” (Luke 1:41).

Dutch Pedophiles to Launch Political Party

inthenewsDutch pedophiles are launching a political party to push for a cut in the legal age for sexual relations to 12 from 16 and the legalization of child pornography and sex with animals.

The Charity, Freedom and Diversity (NVD) party said on its Web site it would be officially registered Wednesday, proclaiming: “We are going to shake The Hague awake!”

The party said it wanted to cut the legal age for sexual relations to 12 and eventually scrap the limit altogether.

“A ban just makes children curious,” Ad van den Berg, one of the party’s founders, told the Algemeen Dagblad (AD) newspaper.

“We want to make pedophilia the subject of discussion,” he said, adding that the subject had been a taboo since the 1996 Marc Dutroux child abuse scandal in neighboring Belgium. “We have been hushed up. The only way is through parliament.”

The Netherlands already has liberal policies on soft drugs, prostitution, and gay marriage, but the NVD is unlikely to win much support, the AD quoted experts as saying.

“They make out as if they want more rights for children. But their position that children should be allowed sexual contact from age 12 is of course just in their own interest,” anti-pedophile campaigner Ireen van Engelen told the daily.

The party said private possession of child pornography should be allowed although it favors banning the trade of such materials. The broadcast of pornography should be allowed on daytime television, with only violent pornography limited to the late evening, according to the party.

Toddlers should be given sex education and youths aged 16 and up should be allowed to appear in pornographic films and prostitute themselves. Sex with animals should be allowed although abuse of animals should remain illegal, the NVD said.

The party also said everybody should be allowed to go naked in public.

The party’s program also includes ideas for other areas of public policy including legalizing all soft and hard drugs and free train travel for all.

AMSTERDAM (Reuters)

Analysis:

It is a bit difficult to be shocked anymore when presented with examples of ungodliness and immorality in our world. I must confess, however, to being especially appalled at the reading of the preceding article. Pedophilia (sexual activity with children) has long had adherents (from ancient Greece until our day. But it seems pedophiles are becoming more vocal in the pressing of their peculiar agenda to be accepted by society.

One reason why such perverts are emboldened in their agenda to legalize such abominations is that a secular society has no sound foundation upon which to exclude any immoral activity. If God is not the arbiter in the questions regarding good and evil, who is? If men determine what is immoral and what is not, perhaps men will one day determine that pedophilia is wholesome and harmless. Farfetched? Hardly, as we see this is exactly what has been done with regard to homosexuality, abortion and euthanasia.

In the days of Noah we are told, “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). It seems that the world in our day is looking more and more like that ancient world. God destroyed that world by water. One wonders whether God’s longsuffering is nearing its end with us as well! “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10).

Generation ME!

Our young, spoiled, narcissistic, shallow Olympians better not be the best we’ve got.

The 1960 musical Bye Bye Birdie yelped “Kids! What’s the matter with kids today?” Back then not much, as a matter of fact. A lot, evidence suggests, nowadays. Torino’s Winter Olympics showed what’s the matter with kids: Many are rude, narcissistic, and spoiled to the gills.

The Olympics once represented the best of America’s best man- and maidenhood. Bob Richards: reverend and decatholoner. Rafer Johnson: sprinter and pioneer. Peggy Flemming: girl next door. Each etched deference, teamwork, and stoic heroism – we, not me…

…How did we plunge from then [sportsmanship in earlier Olympics] to this?

Begin with culture, as toxic as Love Canal. Self-esteem trumps the Golden Rule. Obscenity floods film. Most network television is a horror house. The Wall Street Journal reports: “New network [MY Network TV] Will Showcase Greed, Lust, Sex.” Spineless parents accept this trend; courageous parents don’t.

The National Survey of Families and Households finds children from traditional families less prone to fail in school, use drugs, or become coarse and profane (like today’s Olympians). A University of California at Berkeley survey of middle-class children from age 5 to their early 20s says that discipline helps manners and mores. Raised right, you act right.
If not – well, visit any mall to see the contrast. Teenagers jostle the elderly. Few boys open a door for girls. And girls are too busy dressing like an MTV Video “ho” to notice. Dialogue is a contact sport; English superfluous to profanity. What’s the matter with kids? Gaucherie is their DNA. Recently I called the wife of a national pollster “ma’am”; she reacted like Dracula at the sign of the cross.

Priorities have consequences. Americans in 2006 shout that money rules; ethics are situational; beauty is skin-deep; and humility is for squares. Diogenes sought honesty; we seek designer garb, an iPod, the latest DVD. “Style matters” – depth does not.

Many children are as honest, kind, and moral as children were a decade ago. Many more, I suspect, are not. Tom Brokaw deemed the adults of World War II “the greatest generation.” What if the Winter Olympics reveal a showboating, trash-talking, striving-pathetically-to-be-hip “worst generation” of kids?

Curt Smith
National Review Online

Analysis:

No analysis is really needed here. Just an “attaboy.” The writer rightly points out that children who are raised right, act right. In a society where most parents have abdicated their responsibility to bestow decent values upon their kids, Christian parents must raise their children to be faithful Christians, and honest citizens. Manners, humility, civility… all of these matter.

The apostle Paul wrote, “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (Colossians 4:6).

It’s a shame that in America, too often people follow the lead of such jerk athletes as Bode Miller or Terrell Owens rather than the Apostle Paul.

Embryonic Research Survey

inthenewsTwo-thirds of Americans, including half of conservative Christians, approve of stem cell research that destroys human embryos, according to a recent survey. The poll, sponsored by the Genetics and Public Policy Center, also revealed an American public that is concerned about protecting human embryos but even more supportive of research that results in their destruction.

Only those classified as “fundamentalist/evangelical” failed to achieve at least 55% approval for embryonic research-and 50% of fundamentalists/evangelicals supported ESCR, with 9% strongly approving and 41% approving.

The survey results, released Oct. 13, came as debate continues over the federal government’s role in stem cell research. There are efforts in Congress to liberalize funds for destructive embryonic stem cell research. The House of Representatives approved such a measure earlier this year. The Senate appears to have a majority in favor of that bill but has yet to vote on it…

…So far, embryonic stem cells have produced no treatments for human beings, while non-embryonic stem cells have provided therapies for at least 65 ailments, according to Do No Harm, a coalition promoting ethics in research. These include spinal cord injuries, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis and sickle cell anemia. Taking stem cells from non-embryonic sources – such as bone marrow and umbilical cord blood – does not harm the donor.

Baptist Press, via Pulpit Helps

Analysis:

First, the fact that a majority of Americans favor embryonic stem cell research does not make it right. Men have through the ages differed in their ethics with the Almighty.

Second, the fact that so many Americans are in favor of embryonic stem cell research indicates just how ungodly is the nation in which we live. The interesting note that while Americans agree with the need of protecting embryos, they more strongly agree with ESCR, indicates a disturbing ability to rationalize away killing. In effect, they are saying that human life (in the form of an embryo) is worth sacrificing if the benefits to humanity is sufficient. Not to be too alarmist in our rhetoric, but that is exactly the rationale used by the Nazi’s for their human experimentation during World War II. Further, if we are willing to sacrifice some humans (embryos) for the “greater good”, what will keep us from later including the handicapped, the very young, the sick or the elderly?

Third, the fact that even 50% of “fundamentalist/evangelicals” are in favor of ESCR is an indication of just how pervasive societal influences can be. And, Christians are not immune to such ungodliness either. Remember the troubles in the Corinthian church due to the ungodliness in the community surrounding them? Remember God’s exhortation to, “Come out from among them and be separate… Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.” (2 Corinthians 6:17).

Your Morals – Or Mine?

inthenews[The following opinion piece, (edited for space) which appeared in the Arizona Daily Wildcat, written by columnist Matt Stone, establishes a typical flawed view of morality.]

Moralism represents the self-understanding of what constitutes decent and indecent behavior – each person one’s own judge and seeking respect in the appraisal of others.

Of course, the perception of “decent” or “indecent” behavior is fluid, allowing open-endedness for society to shape its own moral code: Whereas we abhor polygamy today, it was yawningly normal for Moses to have multiple wives. Dynamism, self-respect and the dignity of the individual are the cardinal tenets of moralism.

Continue reading » Your Morals – Or Mine?

Genetic Map

inthenews

A COMPREHENSIVE chart of the genetic differences between human beings has been drawn up for the first time, promising breakthroughs in the hunt for the genes that influence common diseases such as cancer, asthma and diabetes.

The International Haplotype Map, or HapMap, provides an index to the human genetic code, allowing scientists to identify inherited variations that affect human health with much greater speed and simplicity…

…While the Human Genome Project has sequenced the 99.9 per cent of DNA that is shared by every person, the HapMap has started to plot the other 0.1 per cent – the individual idiosyncracies that make people different and often underlie ill health.

“The human genome sequence provided us with the list of many of the parts to make a human,” Peter Donnelly, Professor of Statistical Science at Oxford University and one of the project’s leaders, said.

“The HapMap provides us with indicators – like Post-It notes – which we can focus on in looking for genes involved in common disease. This report describes a remarkable step in our journey to understand human biology and disease.”

Panos Deloukas of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Centre near Cambridge, which conducted much of the work, said: “Humans are genetically 99.9 per cent identical: it is the tiny percentage that is different that holds the key to why some of us are more susceptible to common diseases such as diabetes and hypertension or respond differently to treatment with certain drugs.”

The Times OnlineBritain, October 27, 2005 ~ Mark Henderson

Analysis:

Two things stand out whenever I read articles such as this, detailing the amazing progress being made in genetics research.

First, such discoveries underscore the obvious divine fingerprint that is on human life. All life, in fact. The DNA sequence is as complex as any computer code, and governs every aspect of human appearance, health, and physical characteristics. The DNA “code” demands the recognition of a “code writer.” It is ever more obvious that life is not a chance event. “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).

Second, the ethical quandaries men face continue to multiply. Just because men have developed the ability to accomplish a scientific task (stem cell research and cloning come to mind) does not mean that they have the right before God to exercise that ability. While I am certainly for progress, a willingness to brush aside questions regarding the ethicality or morality of such experiments is troublesome. Christians need to be aware of such dangers, and speak out against unethical practices that are defended by an appeal to “progress” and “the common good.” The end does not justify an unethical means.

Stem Cell Legislation at Risk

inthenews

Promising but still unproven new approaches to creating human embryonic stem cells have suddenly jeopardized what once seemed to be certain Senate passage of a bill to loosen President Bush’s four-year-old restrictions on human embryo research.

The techniques are enticing to many conservative activists and scientists because they could yield medically valuable human embryonic stem cells without the creation or destruction of embryos.

Embryonic stem cells are coveted because they have the capacity to become virtually every kind of body tissue and perhaps repair ailing organs, but they are controversial because days-old human embryos must be destroyed to retrieve them.

”The new science that may involve embryo research but not require destruction of an embryo is tremendously exciting,” Senate majority leader Bill Frist, Republican of Tennessee, said recently. ”It would get you outside of the boundaries of the ethical constraints.”

Ceci Connolly and Rick Weiss
Washington Post

Analysis:

We have written about the morality of stem cell research in the past. While there is some evidence that the research can benefit and potentially cure some individuals suffering from paralysis and a number of other diseases, the process of extracting stem cells from human embryos results in the destruction of the embryo.

Continue reading » Stem Cell Legislation at Risk