Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Blessed Are The Peacemakers

The art of peacemaking is an international concern and depends a great deal upon the type of hostility which exists. Studies in peacemaking are offered on the campus of every major university throughout the world. Hostility reduction is an entire field of study itself and one that every child of God should major in. Peacemakers, secular or spiritual; individual, national or international; base their work upon a self-evident principle: you cannot reduce hostilities without an understanding of the nature and background of the hostilities themselves.

Disagreements concerning the method of peacemaking generally depends upon the accepted standard. The Blackstone tradition of law, for example, argues that every law must have its underpinning upon an eternal foundation. According to Blackstone “they are to be found only in holy scriptures.” Again, “Men do not make laws, they do but discover them. Laws must be justified by something more than the will of the majority. They must rest on the eternal foundation of righteousness.” (Calvin Coolidge).

The following is a list of several types of hostilities that exist between man and his fellow man or between man and his God. Although there may be similarities in the process there are important differences which shall be noted in this article.

Alien Hostilities (Mark 16:15-16)
This hostility exists because of the nature of the two kingdoms; the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light (Col. 1:13; Phi. 3:20; Eph. 2:1—3, 18-19). In fact, Ephesians chapter two is an inspired thesis on divine peacemaking. Within the kingdom of darkness are individuals that are not citizens in the kingdom of God. They have not obeyed the gospel plan of salvation. The blood of Jesus has not washed away their sins (Rom. 3:23; Eph. 1:7). Therefore the wrath of God is upon them (Rom. 5:8-10). If one desires to be translated from the devil’s kingdom to the kingdom of God dear Son, he must be willing to submit to the blessed and only Potentate, Jesus Christ (1 Tim. 6:15). The will of Jesus must be preeminent (Col. 1:18).

Personal Hostilities (Mat. 18:15-17)
This hostility exists because one man has transgressed against another. The misapplication of this passage has made many a man skeptical about God’s pattern of peacemaking and going about to establish their own they have denied the beauty and majesty of God’s wonderful scheme of redeeming man to his former state with his fellowman. Even Eli of old understood the difference in an infraction between two men and one between a man and his God (cf. 1 Sam. 3:25).

Neglected Hostilities (Acts 6:1-8)
This hostility exists because of a carelessness or oversight of the Grecian widows in the church of Christ at Jerusalem. According to many Old Testament passages it is a serious breach of one’s compassion and his desire to be godly (Deu. 24:19-21; 26:12; Isa. 1:17; Mal. 3:5; Jas. 1:27).

Teaching Hostilities (Rom. 16:17-18)
This hostility exists because covetousness wherein teachers using feigned words would seek to make merchandise of the brethren (2 Pet. 2:1-3). Jesus is the first to describe the nature of the hostilities as deception; they are wolves who appear in sheep’s clothing (Mat. 7:15-20). Jude calls them “ungodly men turning the grace of God into lasciviousness and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 4).

Moral Hostilities (1 Cor. 5:1-13)
This hostility exists because of immorality accepted, tolerated or prided within the number of the disciples. It is the redefining iniquity in order to take pleasure in those things that God hates (Pro. 6:16; Isa. 5:20).

Disorderly Hostilities (1 The. 5:14; 2 The. 3:6, 11, 14-15)
This hostility exists because unruly men (cf. Acts 17:5; 19:21-34). Some of the Thessalonians were guilty of walking disorderly because they did not live nor govern themselves according to the principles of Christ (cf. Phi. 3:16; Gal. 6:16). Matthew Henry correctly observes, “It is required of those who have received the gospel, and who profess a subjection to it, that they live according to the gospel. If they do not, they are to be counted disorderly persons.”

Subverted Hostilities (Tit. 3:10-11)
This hostility exists because men would rather draw disciples away to themselves rather than converting men to Christ (cf. Acts 20:28-31). They would use whatever means at their disposal (good or evil) to accomplish this twisted plan to become leaders among men.

Understanding therefore the nature of the hostility is essential in dealing with the enmity that arises because of each.

Rick Popejoy

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Tree Fell in the Forest

A tree fell in the forest, but no one heard it—at least no one who reads the Christian Chronicle.

The fallen tree was the decision by the Quail Springs Church of Christ elders in Oklahoma City to add mechanical instruments of music to their worship.

When the Richland Hills Church of Christ in Texas decided to add mechanical instruments in December, 2006 the Chronicle rushed into print with a full report of that decision. ( In that story, Chronicle reporter Bobby Ross, Jr. wrote,

The Richland Hills church in Texas — the largest of the nation’s 13,000 a cappella Churches of Christ — has decided to add an instrumental worship assembly with communion on Saturday nights. Jon Jones, an elder and former pulpit minister at the 6,400-member church, told the congregation Dec. 3 that Richland Hills’ elders "fully and completely" endorsed the decision (ibid, “Nation’s Largest Church of Christ Adding Instrumental Service”).
But when Quail Springs, which is in the Chronicle’s own back yard, followed Richland Hills’ lead in January, 2007, the paper’s silence was deafening. The Chronicle’s parent company, Oklahoma Christian University, had Quail Springs’ preacher, Mark Henderson, as a chapel speaker on Monday, February 2, 2007, less than a week after he and the Quail Springs elders made their announcement to add mechanical instruments to their worship ( but there was nary a peep about mechanical instruments where Henderson preaches.

Neither Chronicle Editor, Lynn McMillon, nor Oklahoma Christian University President Mike O’Neal will take public issue with Quail Springs’ decision, which is, itself, public on the worldwide web, and although it’s been six months since Quail Springs made their announcement on January 28, 2007, Chronicle readers still haven’t heard that tree fall in the forest. Oh, by the way, Rick Atchley was also a chapel speaker at Oklahoma Christian University in the fall of 2006.

Jerry Brewer

Here is a very telling note from a Chronicle reader in response “Nation’s Largest Church of Christ Adding Instrumental Service”.

Here is a very telling note from Mike in response to the Richland Hills article:
“Way to go Richland Hills!!! We did this in Feb. of 2005. In 2006 we moved the service to Sunday nights.”