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EPHESIANS. And POSTMODERNISM By Roy H. Lanier, Jr. What We Face Today.

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Ephesians

EPHESIANS

And

POSTMODERNISM

By Roy H. Lanier, Jr.

Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


What we face today
What We Face Today

“It is one of the great conceits of our time to imagine that we can sweep away the past and simply begin all over again at the beginning. We cannot. For in a thousand and one ways (many of them unknown to us) our past and its traditions have made us what we are…” – Allen, Cruciform.

Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


What we face today1
What We Face Today

  • “Second, Churches of Christ began as a sect in the early nineteenth century and evolved into a denomination during the course of the twentieth century. The fact could hardly be striking, …were it not for the fact..rejected these labels…as pertinent to their own identity” – Hughes, Ancient Faith.

Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


Ephesians as a book
Ephesians as a Book

  • Ephesians was written about 62 A. D., during Paul’s Roman imprisonment, one of four such “prison epistles.”

  • Paul visited Ephesus twice – Acts 18:19-21; 19.

  • It has been called the “Alps of the New Testament” due to its sublime form.

Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


Ephesians as a book1
Ephesians as a Book

  • Key words include:

    • “in”

    • “grace”

    • “Spirit, spiritual”

    • “Body”

    • “walk”“heavenly”

    • “mystery”

Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


Ephesians as a book2
Ephesians as a Book

  • A brief outline could be:

    • Doctrinal – 1-3

    • Practical – 4-6

  • It has often been called the “church book,” due to its doctrinal emphasis about the body of Christ.

  • Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Ephesians as a book3
    Ephesians as a Book

    • A major theme was the “one body.”

    • There was not to be a Jewish church and a Gentile church; they were reconciled to God in one body through the cross.

    • Jesus Christ is “our peace,” the cornerstone of the fitly framed body composed of all believers regardless of race. – 2:14, 21-22

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Chapter 1 relationship
    Chapter 1 Relationship

    • Notice a relationship:

      • V. 3 - “every spiritual blessing in Christ”

      • V. 4 - “chose us in him”

      • V. 6 - “grace bestowed on us in the Beloved

      • V. 7 - “in whom we have our redemption

      • V. 9 - “purposed in him”

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Chapter 1 relationship1
    Chapter 1 Relationship

    • V. 10 - “sum up all things in Christ”

    • V. 11 - “in whom we were made a heritage”

    • V. 13 - “in whom…heard the truth”

    • V. 13 - “in whom…believed, sealed”

    • V. 20 - “wrought in Christ”

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Chapter 2 relationship
    Chapter 2 Relationship

    • V. 5 – “with Christ”

    • V. 6 – “with Him,..with him”

    • V. 6 – “in Christ Jesus”

    • V. 7 – “in Christ Jesus”

    • V. 10 – “in Christ Jesus”

    • V. 13 – “in Christ Jesus”

    • V. 13 – “in the blood of Christ”

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Chapter 2 relationship1
    Chapter 2 Relationship

    • V. 16 – “in himself”

    • V. 18 – “through him”

    • V. 21 – “in whom…holy temple in the Lord”

    • V. 22 – “in whom builded together”

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    How does one get into christ
    How does one get into Christ?

    • Acts 2:37-47 – Penitent baptized persons were added.

    • Rom. 6:3 – baptized into Christ

      Gal. 3:27 – baptized into Christ

      1 Cor. 12:13 – baptized into the body

      John 3:1-5 – birth of water and spirit

      1 Pet. 1:23 – begotten again by seed

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Extremely sectarian
    “Extremely Sectarian”?

    • “At times we have been extremely sectarian by effectively denying that anyone outside our churches could be a true Christian because we are the only ones who taught and practiced the biblical doctrine of baptism. At other times we have admitted there might be Christians in other groups….” (Crux, p. 124)

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Mean spirited
    Mean-spirited?

    • “…more and more of our members felt uncomfortable with what was, at times, a rigid, judgmental, and even mean-spirited view of others. This attitude did not square with what we were reading in Scripture.” – Crux p. 24

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Bible mean spirited
    Bible Mean-spirited?

    • 2 Thess. 1:7-9 – …”vengeance to them who know not God, and obey not the gospel, who shall suffer punishment, even eternal destruction”

    • Eph. 5:23 – Christ is the “saviour of the body.”

    • Heb. 5:9 – Christ is the author of eternal salvation to “all them the obey him.”

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Truth is still there
    Truth is Still There!

    • Mark 16:16 – “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned.”

    • 2 Cor. 5:17 – “…if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature….”

    • Anyone willing to affirm the non-believer and non-obedient will be saved?

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Chapter 2
    Chapter 2

    • 2: 8-9 – “for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, that no man should glory.”

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Chapter 21
    Chapter 2

    • Salvation by grace:

      • “Grace” is mentioned 12 times in Ephesians, 3 times in chap. 2.

      • Grace is often defined as “unmerited favor.”

      • Faith is the avenue; obedience is man’s part.

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Access and results
    Access and Results

    • Rom. 5:2 – “through whom also we have had our access by faith into this grace”

    • Eph. 2:10 – “For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them.”

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Grace questioned
    Grace Questioned?

    • “I spent too many years of my Christian life not knowing what grace was. The only thing I knew for sure was that ‘we’ didn’t believe in it” – Jim Hackney, Strait, p. 212.

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Grace questioned1
    Grace Questioned?

    • “In spite of years of negative, legalistic, ‘guilt-trip’ preaching, I discovered GRACE! I had absolutely nothing to do with my own salvation” – Jim Hackney, Handley Herald, Strait, p. 212.

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Grace questioned2
    Grace Questioned?

    • “Nobody has any right to preach anything other than the Gospel of pure grace. We are saved by grace plus nothing. You are saved by faith period. There is nothing you can do to be saved. There are no rules; there are no regulations in serving Jesus Christ” – Glen Owen, Strait, p. 212.

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Grace questioned3
    Grace Questioned?

    • “It is a scandalous and outrageous lie to teach that salvation arises from human activity. We do not contribute one whit to our salvation” – Rubel Shelley, Strait, p. 212.

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Grace questioned4
    Grace Questioned?

    • “For me, for years, Christianity was a moral code. It is now becoming a love affair. For years, there were rules and regulations, now, it’s a relationship” – Max Lucado, Strait, p. 212.

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Grace questioned5
    Grace Questioned?

    • “I believe deeply that the New Testament teaches that salvation is a free gift of God period. You are saved by grace alone….There is no human part of salvation” – Randy Mayeux, Strait, p. 212.

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Grace questioned6
    Grace Questioned?

    • “Grace and law are mutually exclusive” – Charles Hodge, Strait, p. 212.

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    God s grace always conditional
    God’s Grace Always Conditional

    • Noah found grace – Gen. 6:8

      • Faith was the principle that caused him to build the ark – Heb. 11:6.

      • Yet, he had to build an ark.

        Obedience was coupled with faith.

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    God s grace always conditional1
    God’s Grace Always Conditional

    • Jericho was God’s gift.

    • “See, I have given into thy hand Jericho” – Josh. 6:2.

    • Yet the Israelites were to compass the city for 7 days, blow the trumpets, and shout – 6:3-21.

    • Faith was coupled with obedience for the “gift.”

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Ephesians were saved by grace
    Ephesians were saved by grace.

    • They heard the gospel – 1:13

    • They believed the gospel – 1:13

    • They repented – Acts 20:21

    • They confessed – Acts 19:18

    • They were baptized – Acts 19:1-5

    • Yet they were the ones Paul said were saved by grace!

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Paul was saved by grace
    Paul was saved by grace.

    • “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not found vain:” – 1 Cor. 15:10

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Paul was saved by grace1
    Paul was saved by grace.

    • Paul heard Ananias preach the gospel –Acts 22:12-14.

    • Paul’s 3 days in Damascus show his penitence.

    • Paul preached confession of faith in Jesus as the Christ – Rom. 10:9-10.

    • Paul shared in the burial of baptism – Rom. 6:3-4.

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Chapter 3
    Chapter 3

    Revelation was given to Paul.

    Paul wrote it down in a few words.

    Readers can perceive Paul’s understanding.

    Truth is knowable and absolute.

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Truth was revealed and written
    Truth Was Revealed and Written

    • 3:3-5 – “how that by revelation was made known unto me the mystery, as I wrote before in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye can perceive my understanding in the mystery of Christ;”

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Truth is knowable
    Truth is Knowable

    • Paul wrote his inspired knowledge in a few words, and readers can understand what he wrote.

    • “Which things also we speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth” (1 Cor. 2:13)

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Truth is knowable1
    Truth is Knowable

    • “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Tim. 3:16).

    • “…the things which I write unto, that they are the commandment of the Lord” (1 Cor. 14:37).

    • “For no prophecy ever came by the will of man, but men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:21).

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Ephesians is the know book
    Ephesians is the “know” book

    • Paul said 11 times truths were to be known: the mystery (1:9; 3:3, 5), hope and riches (1:18), wisdom of God (3:10), the love of Christ (3:19), morals and inheritance (5:5), good thing (6:8), the Master in heaven (6:9), my affairs (6:21, 22).

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Ephesians affirms one faith
    Ephesians Affirms One Faith

    • 4:5 -- “one faith”

    • 2 Cor. 13:5 – “whether ye are in the faith”

    • Gal. 3:23 – “before the faith came…shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed”

    • Jude 3 – “the faith…once for all delivered”

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    No pattern
    No Pattern?

    • “…patternism assumes… assortment of specific rules dictating belief and practice in select areas…patternistic reading is inconsistent with the Bible’s full aim and form” (Crux, p. 159).

    • “A patternistic hermeneutic tends to blind us to these dimensions (salvation as a state and process both-RHL) of the Bible’s teaching for the church” (Crux, p, 158).

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Not addressed to 21 st century
    Not Addressed to 21st Century?

    • “We are not the original audience…nor is it essentially a book of ordinances immediately portable into our setting…no verse of it was originally composed directly to address the needs of a twenty-first-century church in America” (Crux, pp. 162-163).

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Distance gap
    Distance Gap?

    • “The distance of language, history, culture, and the fact that we are indirect recipients of literary texts originally aimed at someone else, all create a gap between us and the text” (Crux, p. 163).

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Hermeneutics set aside
    Hermeneutics Set Aside?

    • “…but any conclusion reached by such a process (hermeneutics – RHL) should not be made a test of fellowship” (M. Phillips, Image, pp. 5-6).

    • So, what does one do with sprinkling, Lord’s Supper on weekdays, women preachers, even support of preachers?

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Slaves to a blueprint
    Slaves to a Blueprint?

    • “Many of us grew up believing that God is just a heavenly prosecutor…” and that one sees “in Scripture a vibrant pattern for our lives, but not an exact blueprint that is to be copiously and slavishly followed” – M. Cope, Wineskins.

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Spectacles of john locke
    Spectacles of John Locke

    • “Our movement, in part as a result of its historical epistemology, thrived. We perceived reality through the spectacles of John Locke, as mediated through the Scottish Enlightenment” – Olbricht, Hearing God’s Voice, p. 53.

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Holy fire or unholy flirtation
    Holy Fire or Unholy Flirtation?

    • “Today’s readers may ask ‘modern’ questions that may not help us arrive at the theological message of the text. We ask, what really happened? Why do Egyptian records contain little or no mention of the plagues or the escape of slaves?” (M. Hamilton, Holy Fire, p. 99)

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Holy fire
    Holy Fire?

    • “When did the exodus occur? Did natural phenomena (volcanic eruptions, red tides) cause the plagues? How many people left Egypt, millions or thousands?…All of these are legitimate questions for historians, and scholars, Christian or not, come down in different places on them” (M. Hamilton, Holy Fire, pp. 99-100).

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Holy fire1
    Holy Fire?

    • Are our Bibles the result of mechanical dictation or human research? (J. Thompson, Holy Fire, p. 30-31)

    • Where is God’s control and influence?

    • Straw-man is built up as if these extremes are the only answers.

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Holy fire2
    Holy Fire?

    • This definition of inspiration has at least 13 negatives:

      • 1. It took human mediation – p. 30.

      • 2. Passages are ambiguous – p. 32.

      • 3. Translators have no insight into intent of the author – p. 32.

      • 4. There are multiplied textual differences – p. 33.

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Holy fire3
    Holy Fire?

    • 5. It is a mystery how the books were collected – p. 33.

    • 6. The collection emerged only by a sifting process of churches – p. 34.

    • 7. The human element of style, education, culture, research, etc. can only admit errors --. 34-35.

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Holy fire4
    Holy Fire?

    • 8. Consulting other sources, research leaves open for many errors – p. 35.

    • 9. Bible is written only to specific situations, so cannot fit current churches – p. 36.

    • 10. 2 Tim. 3:16 is uncertain in its translation - p. 37.

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Holy fire5
    Holy Fire?

    • 11. Inerrancy is not a helpful concept – pp. 39-44.

    • 12. The Bible is not accurate scientifically, nor in historical record, nor in sequence of events – pp. 39-42.

    • 13. Ancient writers worked with standards not our own – p. 41.

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Holy fire6
    Holy Fire?

    • “The ultimate challenge is not then our definition of inspiration, but our willingness to hear the Word of God as it addresses God’s people” – J. Thompson, Holy Fire, p. 45.

    • The Bible then, contains truth if one can only find it!

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Holy fire7
    Holy Fire?

    • “This book, purporting to encourage and guide the reader in studying the Bible, in fact is very dangerous for the faith of young and old alike. Upon reading, one will quickly see this book, instead of strengthening faith, will diminish if not destroy faith in the Bible as the inspired, inerrant word of God…”

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Holy fire8
    Holy Fire?

    • “…One wonders how a university can have such professors on its faculty and why its presses are used to provide such a threat to faith!” (William Woodson, Spiritual Sword, 34, 1, p. 19)

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Problems with postmodern approach
    Problems with Postmodern Approach

    • 1. It basically denies inspiration.

    • 2. N. T. writers warped by culture.

    • 3. It says we are so wrapped up in our culture that we cannot see truth.

    • 4. It denies the power of the seed.

    • 5. It downgrades the writings of Paul, Peter, James and John as less important than the “core” gospels.

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Chapter 4 pattern of unity
    Chapter 4 – Pattern of Unity

    • 4: 4-6 – “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as also ye were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all.”

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Chapter 4
    Chapter 4

    There is one faith, only one faith.

    This faith is the body of truth.

    This faith is complete and without error.

    It was once for all times delivered.

    It was given by inspiration.

    It is the seed of the kingdom.

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Chapter 41
    Chapter 4

    • There is one body, only one body.

    • The body belongs to Christ Jesus.

    • He is the head of that body.

    • That body is composed of many members.

    • Christ is the saviour of that body.

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    There really is the lord s church
    There Really is the Lord’s Church!

    • Matt. 16:18 - Jesus promised to build the church.

    • Acts 2:41, 47; 3:4; 5:11; 6:7; 9:31 – many were added together in the church.

    • Epistles were written to churches.

    • 1 Thess. 2:14 - If Thessalonica could imitate the churches in Judea, why cannot we?

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Lineage of the church
    Lineage of the church?

    • “Churches of Christ belong to the lineage of the Protestant Reformation. Those great-grandparents in the faith caught a vision of what the church should be in contrast to the way they saw it in their day.” – Crux, P. 81

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Early parents
    Early Parents?

    • Our early ‘parents’ in the Stone-Campbell Movement struggled to understand God’s will in their own time and place…they formed a new branch of the family tree (tree of Protestant denominations – RHL)…carried the traits of their ancestors with them” – Crux, p. 103.

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    American born
    American born?

    • “…created a mentality that led many, especially in Churches of Christ, to assume …accomplished that full restoration…other voices challenged that arrogance…They continued to see the church as God’s creation, much larger and more universal than one American-born body.” – Crux, p. 116

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    American origins
    American Origins?

    • “…we do have a theology, and this theology has a context – a long and rich history that stretches back even beyond our American origins two hundred years ago.” – Crux, p. 127

    • “…by the early 1900s Churches of Christ were…moving ahead…in authentic intentions of its founders.” – Crux, p.114

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Born in american restoration movement
    Born in American Restoration Movement?

    • “Our Background and Commitment is to the Church of Christ that was born of the American Restoration Movement. Our goal is to move that group closer to the church of Christ revealed in Scripture.” – Wineskins, May, 1992, p. 6

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Founding fathers
    Founding Fathers?

    • “Yet we came into existence without any such notion…but the claim to be the only Christians never crossed the minds of the founding leaders …Crux, p. 150

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Our movement
    “Our Movement”?

    • “Our movement began with the idealism that people could become simple New Testament Christians and that all Christians could be unified on the basis of the Bible if all human creeds were repudiated” – R. Harris, Wineskins, Vol. One, Number Nine, p. 8.

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Exist only three centuries
    Exist only Three Centuries?

    • “We came into existence without any such claim (to be the only Christians - RHL) and have continued to exist in three centuries without the necessity of it.” – Crux, p. 135, 138.

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Church of christ versus church of christ
    “Church of Christ” versus “church of Christ”?

    • “As surely as there must be individuals who hold membership in groups called ‘the Church of Christ’ in the Yellow Pages who are not members of the church of Christ whose membership roll is kept in heaven,…

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Church of christ versus church of christ1
    “Church of Christ” versus “church of Christ”?

    • “…surely also there must be individuals who are not identified with the Yellow Page group called the ‘Church of Christ’ but whose names are nevertheless entered in the heaven-kept role [roll?] of the church of God” – Shelley, Just A Christian, p. 69

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Participate with all believers
    Participate with all believers?

    • “Without the burden of believing ourselves to be the only true Christians, we will be able to participate in and contribute substantially to the larger conversation among all followers of Christ and learn some things from it without feelings of betrayal.” – Crux, p. 151

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    God among other believers
    God Among Other Believers?

    • “Old sermons on ‘identity marks of the church’ – usually meaning distinctive identity that sets us apart from other religious groups…result of this preaching has been a narrow, reactionary, divisive theology..the ‘new hermeneutic’ includes an appreciation for what God is doing among other groups of believers…” – Cope, Wineskins.

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Question the validity
    Question the validity

    • “It is time to reexamine the pluralistic tendency …The ‘Restoration Plea,’ still considered valid by most members…must reflect on the dangers involved in multiple religions…It is one of the ironies of history that when a group needs its historic plea the most, some, scholars first, begin questioning its validity.” –Bill Jones, Forces, p. 118

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Where then denominations
    Where Then Denominations?

    • The New Testament mentions not a single one.

    • Denominations all begun by men.

    • Begun years later than apostles’ time.

    • Sets own rules and doctrines.

    • Entrance requirements not found in New Testament.

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Where then denominations1
    Where Then Denominations?

    • Should then the Lord’s church be in fellowship with any man-made denomination?

    • On what Biblical basis?

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Straw man
    Straw-man?

    • What our postmodern brethren are doing is building a straw-man.

    • The straw-man is their own invention.

    • They build up a false case of supposed facts, distorted and misapplied.

    • Then, they proceed to tear the straw-man all to pieces.

    • How easy! How simple! How untrue!

    • Yet, How very beguiling!

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Postmodern straw man
    Postmodern Straw-man

    • The modern Church of Christ began in the Stone-Campbell Movement.

    • For forty years we knew everything right and practiced everything right (20’s-60’s).

    • It is Pharisaic exclusivism to reject fellowship with denominations.

    • We are mean-spirited and judgmental.

    • Many leaving due to these attitudes.

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Postmodern straw man1
    Postmodern Straw-man

    • Patternism is unsophisticated legalism.

    • The New Testament is not our pattern.

    • We cannot get out of our history and culture in understanding the Bible.

    • Reliance on facts of the Bible blinds.

    • The “core” is more important than epistles.

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Postmodern straw man2
    Postmodern Straw-man

    • Our history and culture will not let us restore the church of the N. T.

    • Which church would you want to restore?

      • (Corinth, Ephesus, Colossae?)

  • Changing human conditions demand response changes.

  • Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    What is the bottom line
    What Is the Bottom Line?

    • If, however, Campbell got out of his culture and went back to the N. T.; why can’t we?

    • Hundreds of groups in other countries in our lifetimes have done so, though never hearing of Stone or Campbell!

    • Postmodernism affirms we are just one denomination that began in the Stone-Campbell Movement.

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    What is the bottom line1
    What Is the Bottom Line?

    • The power of the gospel is denied – Rom. 1:16-17.

    • The principle of seed is denied – Luke 8:11; 1 Pet. 1:22-25.

    • The true meaning of the vine and branches is perverted – John 15:1-6.

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    What is the bottom line2
    What Is the Bottom Line?

    • Thessalonica imitated the churches in Judea (1 Thess. 2:14).

    • This was written in 53 A. D., 20 years after the church began in Jerusalem.

    • If Thessalonica could imitate, or restore, why cannot it still be done in all generations?

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    What is the bottom line3
    What Is the Bottom Line?

    • Should we restore Corinth, Ephesus, or Laodicea with all their faults?

    • How ridiculous is this question!

    • We can restore the ideal of the church.

    • We can restore what Jesus built, of what he is the head, the bridegroom, and the savior, that precious one body.

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    What is the bottom line4
    What Is the Bottom Line?

    • Those who deny the restoration principle cross a line of authority that opens up any and all ideas of men.

    • If it is impossible to restore, then men are free to choose their churches, its work, its worship, etc.

    • This is the seedbed of denominations.

    • Man becomes his own authority, in actuality, his own god!

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Restoration is valid
    Restoration is Valid

    • Josiah restored the Passover by going back to the Book of the Law – 2 Kings 22-23.

    • Ezra and Nehemiah restored the Feast of the Tabernacles by reading and obeying the Law – Nehemiah 8.

    • Whenever the gospel is read and followed, restoration can occur.

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    Puzzled
    Puzzled?

    • Can only scholars, sophisticated, and highly educated understand the Bible?

    • What happened to the idea that the common person could pick up a KJV Bible, read it, understand it, live by it, and go to heaven by God’s grace?

    • What about non-USA churches?

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    References
    References

    • C. Leonard Allen, The Cruciform Church, (Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, 1990) 

    • Jeff W. Childers, Douglas A. Foster, Jack R. Reese, The Crux of the Matter, (A. C. U. Press, Abilene, Texas, 2001).

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    References1
    References

    • Kenneth L. Cukrowski, Mark W. Hamilton, James W. Thompson, God’s Holy Fire, (ACU Press, Abilene, Texas, 2002). 

    • Richard T. Hughes, Reviving the Ancient Faith, (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996).

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    References2
    References

    • William E. Jones, Forces At Work, (Resource Publications, Searcy, Arkansas, 1991). 

    • Dave Miller, Piloting the Strait, (privately published, Bedford, Texas, 1996, pre-publication manuscript).

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    References3
    References

    • Thomas H. Olbricht, Hearing God’s Voice, (ACU Press, Abilene, Texas, 1996). 

    • William Woodson, Change Agents and Churches of Christ, (School of Bible Emphasis, Athens, Alabama, 1994 printed by Sain Publications, Pulaski, Tennessee).

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    References4
    References

    • Mike Cope, “A Purpose Statement,” Wineskins, Volume One, Number One, p. 6, and “Traumatic Winds of Renewal, “ Volume Four, pp. 5-6.

    • Randall Harris, “An Open Bible,” Wineskins, Volume One, Number Nine, p. 8.

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


    References5
    References

    • Marvin Phillips, “Free To Differ,” Image, May/June, 1990, pp. 5-6.

    Roy H. Lanier, Jr. - Southern Ridge Church of Christ - December, 2002


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