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

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In The News: Bi-Directional Superstition

inthenewsLast week I came across a news article relating the exhumation of a body in Italy. The body is that of Francesco Forgione, a Capuchin friar, popularly known as Padre Pio. He died in 1968, and was ordained a Catholic “Saint” by Pope John Paul II in 2002.

Many Catholics believed that Padre Pio had the “stigmata”, the wounds of Christ’s crucifixion, appear on his hands and feet by a miracle. Though some believe him to have been a fraud, and it is suspected that he used carbolic acid to create the wounds, he remains revered by millions of Catholics. His body will be contained in a glass topped coffin, to be viewed by Catholics for several months.

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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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Thousands Flee Dangerous Volcano

Thousands of people fled the fertile slopes of Indonesia’s most dangerous volcano Saturday as glowing lava oozed down the side and ash and rock spewed from the mountaintop, leading authorities to warn that an eruption could come soon.

Villages on Mount Merapi were left virtually empty, although some residents returned to its slopes Sunday to tend their animals and crops…

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India Marvels at ‘Miracle Chapati’


Hundreds of Christian pilgrims and other curious onlookers have been making their way to a church in Bangalore in India to see a chapati which has the image of Christ burnt into it.

The chapati – a loaf of unleavened bread – is one of dozens that Shella Anthony bakes in her oven in Bangalore every day. But this one she thought was different.

Burnt into it was what looked like the image of the face of Jesus Christ.

Shella Anthony took the loaf to a local church and word spread like wildfire.

Church officials say nearly 20,000 Christians have already visited the Renewal Retreat Centre to pay homage in front of the chapati, which has now been mounted in a glass case, and to offer prayers.

Father Jacob George of the Renewal Retreat Centre is convinced it is a miracle.

Mixed feelings

“We believe in miracles. Devotees are feeling blessed on witnessing it,” he said.

Pilgrims have come from Bangalore and surrounding towns and villages, and it is not just Christians who have made the odyssey.

“Christians are coming here out of devotion, the others are coming out of curiosity,” said Anil Philip.

BBC Delhi correspondent Adam Mynott says that while some believe it to be a miracle others have ridiculed the apparition as a load of eyewash.

BBC News, November 16, 2002


I just wanted everyone to see the type of superstition that Bobby Holmes and I will be facing in our trip to India in November.

Of course, such superstition is not uncommon in backward societies, especially those where the Catholic church has a strong presence. We are hopeful that the naïveté of these people will make them responsive to the truth of the gospel. The challenge will then be to inoculate them against the religious error that can be so persuasive to the weak.

“That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head; Christ” (Ephesians 4:14-15).