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: Engaging the Community

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In the first century the church did not pander to the community, desperately seeking relevance or acceptance. Instead, the church proclaimed the gospel, infuriating some and saving others.

Audio

Powerpoint Slides

Liberal & Conservative

Image2016 is an election year. Though the national election will not take place until November, the political season is well underway. This is especially true with regard to the office of President. When you turn on the TV, you are inundated with political punditry, and the words liberal and conservative are bandied about with regularity.

The term liberal is defined by Webster as, “not opposed to new ideas or ways of behaving that are not traditional or widely accepted.” In the context of political discourse, a liberal believes “that government should be active in supporting social and political change .”

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The Patternists: “Liberals” and “Conservatives”

Patternist

Affixing labels is sometimes helpful. It can aid in quick identification. Politically, the terms liberal and conservative give a general, albeit imprecise, picture of the convictions a person holds.

The same can be true regarding spiritual beliefs. However, the spectrum is broad, and what may be “liberal” to one man may be extremely “conservative” to another. The terms are relative.

Instead, why not consider the following three possibilities:

  1. A person who binds where God has loosed…
  2. A person who binds where God has bound, and looses where God has loosed…
  3. A person who looses where God has bound…

Of the three, only the second, “A person who binds where God has bound, and looses where God has loosed,” is acceptable to God. We have no right to be more restrictive than God, nor do we have the right to be more permissive. It is our place only to obey His word, which thoroughly equips us “for every good work” (cf. 2 Timothy 3:17).

To obey may lead some to say we are liberals, or more probably for others to say we are conservatives. The less kind may call us legalists or antis! But, to obey is to please God, and that is our purpose. (cf. Galatians 1:10).

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Progressive VS Conservative

Webster’s Dictionary defines progressive as, (a) of, relating to, or characterized by progress; (b) making use of or interested in new ideas, findings, or opportunities. In relation to politics and societal trends, a progressive is interested in change. He wants to try new ideas, take advantage of new technologies, and is always trying to make the world a better place by replacing old ideas and ways with new ones.

One antonym of progressive, as supplied by Webster, is the word conservative. Again, speaking politically and societally, the conservative is wary of change. He embraces the way things have been done in the past, declaring them tried and true. He does not believe that change is for the better, and rejects new ideas and technologies as merely novel, fearing unknown consequences should they be adopted.

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Sermon: Move Not the Ancient Landmarks

Wayne Goforth emphasizes the importance of steadfastness with regard to doctrine and scriptural attitudes. He explains why digression has happened in the past, and warns of present indications of such digression repeating.

Audio

Powerpoint Slides

Sermon: Let Not the Church Be Burdened

Sermon by Wayne Goforth

The First lesson in our Fall Gospel Meeting. Wayne uses the text of 1 Timothy 5:16 to argue against all of the additions of Institutionalism. The work of the church is limited to Evangelism, Edification and a limited scope of benevolence. To add to these is to burden the church, and is unacceptable to God.

Audio

Powerpoint Slides

In The News: The Lord’s Church is Distinctive

inthenewsI was recently given a bulletin from a west Texas congregation. The front page of the bulletin had the order of service, including the preacher’s sermon topic for both Sunday services. The morning sermon was titled, “The Lord’s Church is Distinctive.”

The title is certainly true. The Lord’s church is distinctive, different, unique. It is seen in the worship we offer to God, the work that local congregations do in God’s service, and in the emphasis placed on the spiritual above the physical and social.

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In The News: Does the End Justifiy the Means?

inthenewsLast week a letter came in the mail, addressed to our congregation, from a group called “New Testament Church … Today.” The writer of the letter, Howard W. Norton, identified himself as the Chairman of the “Planning Committee.”

This organization describes itself in the letter as “a group of concerned Christians” meeting to “plan a Biblically-based search for the truth of God’s plan.” They call their efforts a “desire to educate congregations and Christians”, and the “touchstone” of their emphasis is the present “softening of a cappella singing in worship” that is happening in some of the more liberal churches of Christ. Notice the following paragraph:

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In The News: Churches Mix Faith, Football

inthenewsEvery month we get a copy of The Christian Chronicle delivered to our mailing address. It always makes for interesting reading, though it is disconcerting to see how steeped in liberalism many churches have become.

A few weeks ago we wrote an article on the subject of the “social gospel”, noting the fact that the paper was reporting on high school football as a part of the ministry of churches of Christ. I thought the article showed the upper limits of absurdity until I read an article in the October 2007 issue entitled, Churches mix faith, football, by Erik Tryggestad.

Tryggestad reported (favorably) upon various churches that are using football as a means of accomplishing spiritual gains. Note the following examples:

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In The News: Faith and Football

ImageOn the front page of the September 2007 edition of the Christian Chronicle newspaper, under the heading “Faith and Football” was a picture of high school football players, kneeling with their coaches in prayer, with the following caption beneath:

“Assistant head coach Ken Robinson leads Greater Atlanta Christian School’s varsity team in prayer at a camp at Georgia Tech. The Spartans, who have a 120-39 record since 1994, have advanced to the state playoffs 12 straight seasons. The team made it to the state quarterfinals last year, finishing 11-2.”

The Christian Chronicle calls itself: “An International Newspaper for Churches of Christ.” You may ask yourself, what does football have to do with Churches of Christ? Good question! The answer, of course, is nothing at all. But, that has not stopped those who wish to change the mission of the Lord’s church from securing the spiritual welfare of men, to securing their social welfare. This is the mistake of the social gospel concept. It trivializes the purpose of the Lord’s church.

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In The News: A Famine of the Word of God

inthenewsCecil May is the President of Faulkner University, and holds meetings in institutional (liberal) churches throughout the nation. He has some conservative inclinations, and from time to time in his bulletin, Preacher Talk, complains about the direction that institutional churches are heading in attitudes and worship. The following recently came from his pen.

“‘Behold, the days are coming,’ declares the Lord God, ‘when I will send a famine on the land — not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord’” (Amos 8:11). While Amos was not talking about us or today, his words fit.

Many changes taking place today indicate a decline in appreciation for preaching.

Contemporary services typically focus on “praise and worship” and down-play preaching. Instead of two sermons on Sundays, Sunday night preaching is replaced by small group meetings. (These are not wrong in themselves and are often beneficial, but they do replace preaching.)

In the preaching that remains, popular demands are requiring shorter and shorter sermons. Film clips from television programs or movies replace significant parts of the sermons. Drama is deemed more effective than preaching. Preaching designed to make us feel good replaces preaching to convict and call to repentance.

The Bible still says, “How shall they hear without someone preaching” (Romans 10:14) and “It pleased God by the folly of what we preach to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21).

Cecil May, Jr.
Preacher Talk, Vol. 23, No. 1, pg. 2

Analysis:

When the movie The Passion of the Christ came out I wrote an article for the River Oaks News mentioning the furor surrounding the movie. (You may remember that certain representatives of the Jewish community took exception to the movie’s premise that the Jews were responsible for the death of Christ. I guess they would not appreciate Peter’s statement, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Acts 2:36).

Regardless, in the article I mentioned that I had no desire to go see the movie. I had the New Testament itself, and felt no need to see the dramatization of the words I had read. The editor of the paper and others in the office had watched the movie, were very moved by it, and were convinced that it would bring some to Christ. So, she feared some would be offended by my words, and declined to run the article.

The attitude is typical. But, the idea that we need to spice up and dramatize the words of God (if you carefully think about it) is rather insulting to the Spirit of grace. While emotion certainly has its place in the lives of Christians, it should be noted that the types of emotional responses which lead to true zeal, ardor and love come as a result of edification. And edification is the byproduct of preaching and teaching.

Churches that are interested in truly lighting a fire under members would do well to remember that a movie, play or skit may cause someone to walk out the door sad, happy, or angry (depending upon the purpose of the dramatics); but the preaching of the gospel of our Lord (if heeded) will lead to lifetime commitments and zeal. “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2). As always, God’s way is the best way!

Podcast: Why Institutionalism Is Wrong!

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Podcast Number 39

The doctrine and practice of Institutionalism is wrong, and has done much damage to the Lord’s church and the Lord’s cause. In this edition of Sound Teaching, the error of institutionalism is examined.

To listen to this Podcast, click here .

To subscribe to the podcast feed, click here .

Are We Growing?

Growing the ChurchThe Christian Chronicle claims to be “An international newspaper for member of Churches of Christ.” We have mentioned the paper in the past, noting that it chronicles the efforts and activities of the most liberal of congregations that go by the name “Church of Christ.”

In the last issue (February 2007) the Chronicle began a series entitled Are We Growing?, intended to run through the remainder of the year. In the initial article, statistics are cited to indicate that while the population of the United States grew 32% from 1980 to 2006, membership in the church of Christ grew only 1.6% in the same time.

It is not our purpose to discuss the methodology which led to the numbers cited, nor to determine the actual accuracy of the estimates. It is enough to note that in many instances the lack of growth is obvious. In fact, we should as a congregation redouble our efforts in this area. It would be a wonderful thing if we could substantially increase the number of souls who worship here, especially if said numbers came through the conversion of the lost.

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In The News: Upside Down Episcopalians

Episcopal shield; emblem of Episcopal church

There is a movement among Episcopalian leadership to evict congregations from Episcopal church buildings if the congregations have “abandoned Episcopalians”. If one were not aware of the liberal bent of the Episcopal church, it might be surmised that those accused of abandoning the Episcopalian Church would be those who are seeking to change long held doctrines and dogma. In fact, the opposite is true. Note the following quotes:

“In mid-January, Episcopal leaders in Virginia declared 11 congregations there, including some historic churches, to have abandoned Episcopalians. The congregations were instructed to surrender their assets. Similar actions are underway in numerous other states, and in some cases legal battles over church property have begun.

“As part of their rejection of new Episcopal teachings [emph. mine, SC], the traditionalists in Attleboro changed the name on the sign in front of their church from All Saints Episcopal to All Saints Anglican and, in September, they voted to join the Anglican Mission in America and place themselves under the supervision of Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini of the Anglican Province of Rwanda.” (Grant Swank, The Conservative Voice, 2/6/07)

What are some of these “new” Episcopal teachings?

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In The News: North Richland Hills church of Christ to Begin Using Instruments in Worship

inthenewsOn Saturday, February 10, 2007, the Richland Hills church of Christ will begin holding a weekly Saturday evening worship service that will include the use of musical instruments in worship, and an observance of the Lord’s Supper. Jon Jones, (the former “pulpit minister” and one of the elders), said that the elders “fully and completely” endorsed the decision. At an adult Bible study, he said, “There is unity in our eldership, and we are so thankful for that.”

However, two of the 17 elders serving resigned when the decision was made. Though there seems to be some “politicking” going on, and the two remain members of the congregation, Roger Dean, one of the remaining 15 elders acknowledged that the decision had prompted the two elders to resign.

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