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

Negative Examples

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We contend that the examples we find in scripture serve to establish authority. When we see Christians in the New Testament engaged in an activity with God’s approval, we know the activity to be authorized by God. We can do it as well.

An example, Acts 20:7. The disciples ate the Lord’s Supper on the first day of the week (Sunday). So, we are authorized to do the same.

Similarly, we are to learn from negative examples. Paul affirmed this in 1 Corinthians 10. He noted the sinful actions of the Israelites during their time in the Wilderness, saying, “But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness” (5). He then wrote, “Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted (6).

Four things are mentioned specifically: idolatry, fornication, tempting Christ and complaining.

Taking fornication as an example, we note that any sexual activity outside of marriage (heterosexual, as defined by God, cf. Genesis 2:22-24) is condemned (cf. Hebrews 13:4). As Paul wrote, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (12).

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The Bible View of Sexuality

Bible and Sexuality

We live in a promiscuous society. According to a 2008 survey reported by the Guttmacher Institute, 90% of single women between the ages of 20 and 44 are sexually experienced. 70% identified themselves as currently sexually active. Among teenagers for the past 15 years, the percentage of teenagers (15-19) who have had sex has remained fairly constant (44% of girls, 49% of boys, Resource Center for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention).

It should not be surprising that some churches are changing their teaching regarding premarital sex. One example of this is a recently published book by Bromleigh McCleneghan, a married mother of three, and “associate pastor for ministry with families” at the Union Church of Hinsdale in Illinois. The title of her book is, “Good Christian Sex”, with the subtitle, “Why Chastity Isn’t the Only Option—And Other Things the Bible Says About Sex.”

Continue reading » The Bible View of Sexuality

Sermon: The Wicked Bible Redux

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In 1631, an edition of the KJV was published with an error in Exodus 20:14, reading, “Thou shalt commit adultery.” This edition is known as the “Wicked Bible.” In our time, the “Wicked Bible” has returned as men disregard what the Bible actually says.

Audio

Powerpoint Slides

When Should You Have Sex?

ImageToday it is typical for couples in a monogamous relationship to engage in sexual activity as a part of that relationship. This has been so for some time, and it has even led to a change in the meaning of words. For example, no longer is a person single until he is married. He is single until he is in a monogamous relationship. Commitment is not seen in the positive answer to the question, “Will you marry me?”, but in the question, “Do you want to live with me?” A person is considered to be a cheater, not if they have had an extramarital affair, but if they have committed fornication with a person other than their “partner.” The list goes on and on.

To illustrate, I recently did an internet search of the question, “When should I have sex?” Though many sites cautioned against quick “hookups”, the reality is that many, especially in their 20’s, have sexual relations within the first couple of dates. In the advice I found online, the idea of limiting sex to a marital relationship was completely absent.

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Immorality Rages

Image From 1920 until 1933 it was against the law in the United States to manufacture, sell or transport alcohol. This time was known as Prohibition , and it was a wildly unsuccessful experiment, as laws were continually broken, especially in urban areas. People wanted to drink alcohol, and rather than making a large segment of the population criminals, Prohibition was repealed.

Today, not only is the manufacture, sale and transportation of alcohol legal, it is big business. Only the most radical of religious conservatives hold to abstinence as a moral conviction. In fact, the manufacture and consumption of marijuana is also legal in Colorado, and nationally 53% of all Americans support its legalization. Among 18-34 year olds that number rises to 68%.

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In the News: Are You “Single”?

Image Friday was Valentine’s Day. Some like it, and some don’t. Some view it as an opportunity to express their love for their spouses or “significant others”, and some think it to be a “made up” holiday designed by card companies, florists and confectioners as an excuse to rake in some extra money. To each his own.

What I noticed this Valentine’s Day, (and have noticed off an on for several years now), is the common use of the term “single” with regard to relationships. With the advent of MySpace, Facebook, and the changing attitudes of our society, the definition of “single” as it refers to relationships, has itself undergone a fundamental and rather unfortunate change.

Continue reading » In the News: Are You “Single”?

Separating What God Has Joined

(Note: The following article is written by one of the members at West Side, Justin Carrell. I commend it to you. SC)

Matthew 19:3-9

“And the Pharisees came near to him, tempting him, and saying to him, ‘Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?’ And he answering said to them, ‘Did ye not read, that He who made them, from the beginning a male and a female made them, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and cleave to his wife, and they shall be–the two–for one flesh? So that they are no more two, but one flesh; what therefore God did join together, let no man put asunder.’ They said to him, ‘Why then did Moses command to give a roll of divorce, and to put her away?’ He said to them–‘Moses for your stiffness of heart did suffer you to put away your wives, but from the beginning it hath not been so. ‘And I say to you, that, whoever may put away his wife, if not for fornication, and may marry another, doth commit adultery; and he who did marry her that hath been put away, doth commit adultery.’” (Young’s Literal Translation)

I’ve heard this scripture debated more than any other. We debate baptism with those outside the body, but this we debate without and within. Below are two arguments recently put forward to me, and my response.

Continue reading » Separating What God Has Joined

In the News: Olympian Promiscuity

inthenews

One of the definitions of the term olympian is “surpassing all others in scope and effect” (American Heritage Dictionary). This definition certainly applies to the sexual appetites of the athletes in the Olympic Village this week in Vancouver. Continuing the trend of recent Olympiads in Sydney (70,000) and Beijing (100,000), Canadian officials ordered and distributed 100,000 condoms to athletes for the Vancouver Olympics. That averages to 14 for each athlete.

In explaining the hedonism of the Olympic athletes, former Olympic skier Picabo Street said, “It’s hundreds of auras, which does lead to a huge movement of energy. It’s not normal, resting energy. It’s jacked-up, hyped-up, on-the-brink-of-my-dream-coming-true, got-to-get-it, got-to-do-it energy, and it’s there all the time.”

Continue reading » In the News: Olympian Promiscuity

In The News: Co-Ed Dorm Rooms

inthenewsIn the prim 1950s, college dorms were off-limits to members of the opposite sex. Then came the 1970s, when male and female students started crossing paths in coed dormitories. Now, to the astonishment of some Baby Boomer parents, a growing number of colleges are going even further: coed rooms.

At least two dozen schools, including Brown University, the University of Pennsylvania, Oberlin College, Clark University and the California Institute of Technology, allow some or all students to share a room with anyone they choose — including someone of the opposite sex. This spring, as students sign up for next year’s room, more schools are following suit, including Stanford University.

…Parents aren’t necessarily thrilled with boy-girl housing.

Debbie Feldman’s 20-year-old daughter, Samantha, is a sophomore at Oberlin in Ohio and plans to room with her platonic friend Grey Caspro, a straight guy, next year. Feldman said she was shocked when her daughter told her.

“When you have a male and female sharing such close quarters, I think it’s somewhat delusional to think there won’t be sexual tension,” the 52-year-old Feldman said. “Maybe this generation feels more comfortable walking around in their underwear. I’m not sure that’s a good thing.”

Still, Feldman said her daughter is partly in college to learn life lessons, and it’s her decision. Samantha said she assured her mom she thinks of Caspro as a brother.

“I’m really close to him, and I consider him one of my really good friends,” she said. “I really trust him. That trust makes it work.”

May, 3, 2008 ~ Associated Press

Analysis:

Young men and women who believe that they can live together, and not fall into temptation to sin sexually are most certainly (as mother Feldman in the article states) delusional. Such living arrangements ignore the dictates of the Spirit to “flee sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18); and to “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22).

Continue reading » In The News: Co-Ed Dorm Rooms

AOTS: The Twisting of Liberty

AOTS Number 76

Too many in our permissive society twist the concept of liberty to mean a liscense to do whatever they want. As Christians, we must become slaves to Christ, and be responsible in our actions.

 

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In The News: Revealing Photos Are Becoming Passe?

inthenewsTwo decades after a nude photo scandal helped cost a Miss America her title, Americans may be adopting a more ho-hum attitude toward people who bare it all for the cameras.

Some experts say the Internet and more explicit TV are fostering a more relaxed response by Americans to public displays of bare flesh, even if many people profess to be more conservative.

Take, for example, the muted reaction to nude photos of 18-year-old Vanessa Hudgens, the star of Walt Disney Co.’s squeaky clean “High School Musical” franchise,

One day after the photos surfaced on the Web last Thursday, Hudgens issued an apology and family friendly Walt Disney Co. said it would continue negotiating her appearance in the third installment of the hugely popular series, one of the most popular programs in U.S. cable TV history.

While some expressed outrage, many fans pledged support on her MySpace page …

… Some lashed out at her critics.

“Quit moaning and if you have any kind of decent filtering on the computer, kids aren’t going to see it,” wrote one poster on a media blog Web site …

… It’s a far cry from the scandal in 1984 when Vanessa Williams, the first black woman named as Miss America, resigned after nude photos surfaced of her and another female model.
“I do think that general attitudes about nudity are becoming more relaxed, but these changes take time, which is why there’s still mixed responses,” said Paul Levinson, communication and media professor at Fordham University.

“We as a society are finally growing up and it’s a healthy thing,” he said.

Sex and nudity are also more prevalent on television, especially cable stations. Last week’s opening episode of the HBO drama “Tell Me You Love Me,” contained at least half-a-dozen sex acts.

Sue Zeidler, Reuters

Analysis:

Two peculiar things about this story. First, there is no outrage being heard about the 18 year old’s sexual relationship with her boyfriend. While some are upset that she took a nude photo of herself that, without her consent, became public; no one is condemning her for taking nude photographs of herself for her boyfriend, or maintaining a sexual relationship with him. Such has become so commonplace in our time that it no longer even raises questions in the mind of most.

Continue reading » In The News: Revealing Photos Are Becoming Passe?

In The News: Scandal and Immorality

inthenewsIt is apparent that we are living during a time of immorality and ungodliness. Worldliness has always held sway with the majority, but we are certainly in a cycle of excessiveness.

In Genesis 6:5-6 we are informed of an ungodly time, much like our own. “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. 6 And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.” That is not to say that there are only 8 righteous souls on the earth (the number spared in the flood). However, the evil nature of society is certainly similar to that of old.

The pagan society of Paul’s day was similar. Paul stated that “although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:21). Their foolishness led them to all types of debauchery, and Paul maintained that those who practice such things are “worthy of death” (vs. 32).

This past week I typed in the word “scandal” into an internet search engine, and came up with a sampling of the pervasive ungodliness that exists in our world today.

  • An NBA referee (Tim Donaghy) is being investigated by the FBI for both betting on and fixing NBA games in order to appease gangsters because of his gambling debts. The scandal is perhaps the most disturbing in decades in professional sports.
  • Some British politicians are presently embroiled in a scandal involving unethical campaign financing schemes.
  • A Catholic Cardinal in Los Angeles apologized last week to the hundreds of people affected by the sex scandal that has rocked the Catholic church. The church in L.A. is scheduled to pay $660,000,000 in reparations to victims.
  • Louisiana Senator David Vitter spent last week in seclusion after a raid on a prostitution ring in Washington D.C. turned up his phone number. He has acknowledged what he calls “a serious sin.”
  • In China a scandal surfaced last month after about 400 distraught parents posted a plea on the Internet about their children who had been sold into slavery in China’s northern Shanxi province and neighbouring Henan. It is estimated that over 1,000 people, many of them children, have been victimized by these crimes.

These are only representative of the literally hundreds of scandals that have been reported on in the news the past several weeks. They show a lack of integrity, conviction and morality that exists in the world today. Sex, gambling, corruption and man’s inhumanity to man are the norm rather than the exception. In fact, such are so common that it is probable most of the examples above are unfamiliar to most of the readers of this article.

In the face of such ungodliness, Christians are admonished by the Holy Spirit to, “become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I [Paul] may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain” (Phil. 2:15-16).

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

Analysis:

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: Model Gisele Slams Church

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Supermodel Gisele Bundchen stepped into the debate over birth control and sexual behavior in Brazil on Tuesday, saying Church opposition to condom use was ridiculous and women should have the right to choose on abortion.

Gisele is idolized by many young women in Brazil, the world’s largest Roman Catholic country, where debate over sexual issues has intensified around a visit by Pope Benedict last month.

The Pope stressed the Church’s firm opposition to abortion and contraception and railed against sex outside of marriage.

The Brazilian beauty, one of the world’s top models, told Folha de S.Paulo newspaper in an interview that when the Church made its laws centuries ago, women were expected to be virgins.

“Today no one is a virgin when they get married … show me someone who’s a virgin!” she said.

Asked about abortion, she said a woman should have the right to choose what is best for her.

“If she thinks she doesn’t have the money or the emotional condition to raise a child, why should she give birth?”

Analysis:

There is a great deal interesting about this article. Notice first of all Gisele’s statement that “when the Church made its law centuries ago, women were expected to be virgins.” In fact, it has only been a few decades since women stopped being expected to be virgins. And by the way, it was not the Church that determined that women should be virgins, but rather God, as revealed in His word! “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4).

Second, note that Gisele is “idolized” by many young women in Brazil. It is interesting how much influence and authority that the world places upon a model — a person whose job is to don the most scandalous of outfits (fashion models exhibit no modesty), and pose for pictures. There is obviously no premium on intelligence, and the lifestyle of a top fashion model is one characterized by debauchery and excess, and yet she is idolized and mimicked by millions of women! Note in contrast the true beauty of the godly woman, “Rather let it [adornment] be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God” (1 Peter 3:4).

Third, if a woman doesn’t have the money to have a child, or the emotional condition to raise a child, then why in the world is she engaging in activity that will cause her to conceive a child. In effect, Gisele is saying that a woman (and man) should have the right to act in inappropriate, immoral and immature ways, and not have to pay any consequence for the sin. Rather … kill the innocent, unborn child!

While it is not common today for people to remain sexually pure until marriage, and those who do are considered peculiar, it remains that God intends such faithfulness from His children. Gisele is wrong, and it is a shame she is listened to by so many. She is not wrong because the Catholic church says so, or the pope, she is wrong because the Holy Spirit says so!

In The News: Harry Potter Strips

Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe has got some parents steaming over his racy new stage play role.

One of the publicity photos for the play shows a topless and buffed Radcliffe being hugged by a naked woman. Another shows him leaning against bales of hay as he stares up at the topless woman. A third has him posing in front of a white horse.

The pictures have been released ahead of the opening of Equus, a controversial Peter Shaffer play showing at London’s Gielgud Theatre from next month.

Radcliffe,17, plays a troubled stablehand who one night blinds six horses with a hoofpick.

He features in numerous nude scenes with co-star Joanna Christie, the woman in the publicity shots.

The UK’s Daily Mail reports that Harry Potter fan sites have received emails from concerned parents…

…The play’s producer, David Pugh, told the Daily Mail that Radcliffe had been rehearsing the nude scenes with Christie for more than a week and had overcome his initial shyness.

The young actor’s spokeswoman, Vanessa Davies, said: “Daniel does not want to step away from Harry Potter but he does want to show he is a rounded actor capable of very different and diverse roles.”

“He has tremendous support from Harry Potter fans,” she said.

Jano Gibson
Sunday Morning Herald

Analysis:

It is shameful that the young actor who plays Harry Potter feels that to prove his ability as an actor he must appear in nude scenes on stage, and scenes depicting sexuality. In fact, it is sad that any 17 year old would do so, and likewise a sad commentary that such a move is lauded as “brave” and “daring.”

While it is a bit presumptuous for Radcliffe’s publicist to claim that he has “tremendous support from Harry Potter fans” (many are shocked and dismayed at what he is doing), nevertheless it is true that others are taken with his lewd turn. In fact, many fans admire the publicity photographs released for the play. One female fan said, “When I saw it I couldn’t breathe for a moment … I like it … They’re awesome!”

This is just another example that in the midst of our ungodly society, sex sells. Of course, the Bible has something to say about such ungodliness. “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).

While the world is characterized by such ungodliness, the Christian should be clear of it. Both in his personal life and conduct, and in his approval of the same. Remember the apostle Paul’s condemnation of the ungodly in Romans 1, “Who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them (vs. 31). We must be sure not to approve of that which God clearly and forcefully condemns. Think about it!