Law of Christ

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by Jarlaxle, Nov 27, 2002.

  1. Jarlaxle

    Jarlaxle
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    What is the "law of Christ"? Is it a set of rules, regulations, commands, etc.? If so, please list them:
     
  2. Carson Weber

    Carson Weber
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    Hi Jarlaxle,

    Christ's Law can be found in the Beatitudes, which he delivered near the Sea of Galilee on the Sermon on the Mount.

    You may read Jesus Christ's New Law in Matthew's Gospel, Chapters 5 through 7.

    God bless,

    Carson
     
  3. Jarlaxle

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    I attend a Church of Christ, and here is a list of rules I have found in several congregations. Granted, these rules are not specifically written down anywhere that I am aware of, but they are generally understood. However, no one congregation seems to be able to agree on all of them.

    The Rules & Pattern of the Church of Christ

    1 It must be noted immediately that this list is not to be construed as a written creed. No statement of beliefs or rules outside the Bible itself is permitted. However, it will be permitted that such lists of beliefs or rules shall be allowed if written in a church bulletin or other published material provided that such is clearly designated as not being a written creed. This list is here shared merely as a convenience and with the understanding that there is really no need for such since all these rules are to be found in a clear and unmistakable form scattered throughout the pages of the collected books of the New Testament. It is also to be believed that anyone who truly loves God and the truth will easily find these exact rules and consequently obey.

    2 By Scriptural definition (and for the purpose of applying these rules), a Christian is one who has done the following five acts of salvation (and in this order): hear, believe, repent, confess (a “Yes” response to the question “Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God?” shall be construed as a valid confession), and be baptized. Of the several purposes and benefits of baptism, one must know that baptism is “for the remission of sins” in order for God to consider it a valid baptism.

    3 A person who has completed the above five acts of salvation, but who comes to doubt the validity of their baptism (perhaps later thinking that he/she did not fully understand the primary purpose), shall be baptized again. One of the following scenarios must be adopted: 1) that the entire previous life of the person in question shall be considered as one outside of Christ and separated from God, thus only now becoming a new child of God; or, 2) that the person in question is being rebaptized “just in case”. In this instance, it shall be assumed that the person is doing so with the knowledge that baptism is generally “for the remission of sins”, even though he/she has may not be sure if such cleansing is really needed. Regardless, any rebaptism shall be preceded with the standard ritual of confession (one’s previous life as an apparent believing Christian shall not suffice as meeting this requirement).

    4 The Bible shall be considered as the standard of authority for every spiritual matter. It shall be interpreted using the approved method of “command, example, and necessary inference”. Silence of the Scriptures on any matter is to be construed as a forbiddance of such. However, this rule shall not be applied to matters considered to be helpful in obeying any other commands (such as church buildings and their necessary furnishings, etc.).

    5 Congregations shall name themselves according to the following guidelines: 1) the name shall be one that is found in Scripture and has within it the name of God or Christ (it shall be permitted that Paul’s use of the term “churches of Christ” in referring to various congregations may be used as a formal name and amended to “Church of Christ”); and, 2) the name may be preceded with a location description, that being the location of the church building, not necessarily the location of the church itself.

    6 All those congregations who use the same generic name (excluding the location part of the name) and uniformly subscribe to these rules shall be considered as “the brotherhood”; no other Christian (one who has believed and been baptized but does not subscribe to one or more of these rules) shall be considered as being a part of “the brotherhood”.

    7 Individual members of the church may be called by several different names that are found in Scripture (“disciples”, “saints”, “children of God”), but “Christian” is the preferred designation.

    8 The church shall gather every first day of the week for worship. (Note: Most calendars have Sunday as the first day of the week. Cultures whose calendars are different will have to decide whether to observe Sunday or their first day of the week; no further help here is given in making that decision.)

    9 The worship service shall consist of the following five acts of worship: praying, singing, giving, partaking of the Lord’s Supper, and preaching. The reading of Scripture shall also be considered as acceptable since it relates to preaching. No other acts (such as lighting candles, dramatic presentations or readings, etc.) shall be allowed in the service other than the following exceptions: making of announcements, recognizing of families who wish to place membership with the congregation, giving of Bibles to graduates or other special people, or other such special activities that shall be deemed as appropriate for the worship service.

    10 It is permissible for congregations to have salaried preachers and other paid employees (such as youth ministers, education ministers, secretaries, janitors, etc.).

    11 Acceptable designations for preachers shall be the following: “ministers”, “evangelists”, or “gospel preachers”. Generally speaking, all preaching can be called “gospel preaching” regardless of the subject. Sermons shall typically be ended with an invitation to be baptized or to rededicate one’s life to the Lord.

    12 The Lord’s Supper shall be observed every first day of the week, and it cannot be observed on any day other than the first day of the week (nor at any function other than one specified as a formal worship service). If the congregation chooses to have another worship service later in the day, the Lord’s Supper shall then be observed again. However, only those who were not at the earlier service (or who otherwise did not already partake) are expected to partake. These same persons are to be given the opportunity to put an offering in the collection plate. These two acts of worship can be done in the presence of others who merely watch, or it can be done in a separate assembly apart from other Christians.

    13 The Lord’s Supper shall consist of the following (and in this order): 1) a prayer of thanksgiving for the bread (which must be unleavened); 2) the distributing of the bread; 3) a prayer of thanksgiving for the fruit of the vine; and, 4) the distributing of the fruit of the vine.

    14 Those who have not been baptized shall not be allowed to conduct any public part of the service. There is one exception to this rule: young boys who have not yet been immersed may be permitted to read Scripture in the general assembly or to lead singing or prayers in a special assembly for the purpose of training such boys.

    15 Those who have not been baptized shall be allowed to participate in the worship by listening to the prayers and the preaching. They are further allowed to actively participate by joining in the singing and by putting money in the collection plate. They are not, however, allowed to partake of the Lord’s Supper.

    16 The music of the worship assembly shall be limited to the vocal expression of words. No humming or other non-worded sounds are permitted. The use of harmonious or other singing shall be deemed as fulfilling the pattern of chanting as found in the early church.

    17 No instrument of music shall be used at any time in the worship other than to play the first note or key of a song before the singing of that song. The use of a song leader is permitted, as is the use of a microphone for him. Song books or other such aids are also permitted. However, it is forbidden for more than one person to help in leading the singing, and no voice other than that of the one song leader’s may be amplified by artificial means.

    18 Singing shall at all times be congregational; at no time is it permitted for one person or group of persons to sing while another merely listens, other than at those brief times when a song is written accordingly. In other words, it is permissible for different people to sing different parts at different times during a song, provided that all members sing at some point during the song and it can reasonably be said that they all sang together.

    19 If a congregation wishes to permit a separate group (such as a chorus) to sing to the congregation, it must be done in a separate assembly, or at least after what is considered the closing prayer of the worship assembly. It is permitted for the chorus to sing, read Scripture, and end with a closing prayer, but this shall not be considered as a time of worship, nor shall any individual in the audience allow their thoughts or feelings to be intended as a worship unto God. It is merely a performance for entertainment value; the fact that songs, hymns, and spiritual songs are being sung is inconsequential. If a woman should be used to lead the group, she is not permitted to speak until after the close of this non-worship service.

    20 There shall be no clapping, raising of hands, or any other gesture or indecent or disorderly action during the worship service. However, a congregation is allowed to suspend this rule during special child-oriented services such as Vacation Bible Schools or Youth Rallies.

    21 During the worship assembly, men are allowed (but not required) to say aloud “amen” or some other similar word or phrase as long as such is done decently and in order. Expressions such as “Praise the Lord” would technically be permitted, but are not recommended.

    22 A collection of money is to be taken every first day of the week. Each Christian is to give as he purposes in his heart, keeping in mind the amount generally required under the Old Law. The money collected shall be put into a church treasury and referred to as “the Lord’s money”, but it can be used for a variety of purposes such as church buildings, utility bills, employee salaries, landscaping, etc. (all at the discretion of the elders). Funds cannot be obtained and deposited into the church treasury by any other means than by free will offerings. Fundraisers of any kind are forbidden.

    23 The elders of a congregation may choose to have more than one regular assembly during each week. If so, attendance by all members at all of these assemblies is required unless they are prevented from doing so due to illness, work, or some other good reason. Those who no longer attend any assembly on a regular basis shall be deemed as being unfaithful and shall eventually be disfellowshipped (this shall typically be comprised of declaring such in a worship assembly and in a letter sent to the person being disfellowshipped).

    24 Women are allowed to teach other women or children. They may not teach male children who have been baptized. Women may speak aloud in any Bible class (while still recognizing the authority of the man), but not during the formal worship service (other than during the announcement period).

    25 The business of each congregation shall be conducted by one of two methods: 1) a plurality of elders and deacons; or, 2) a men’s business meeting. The first is the preferred option, but it is not required if the congregation cannot find at least two men willing or able to fulfill the responsibility. Elders and deacons must fit the qualifications listed by Paul, the main difference being that elders have to have children who have been baptized, while deacons just have to have children. Those men who are needed to serve as deacons but do not technically fit the qualifications can still be used as long as their title is changed (“ministry leader”, etc.). Women may serve in an appropriate way but are not to be called deaconesses.

    26 There shall be no organization of the church beyond that of the local congregation. However, conformity of beliefs can be maintained through brotherhood lectureships, publications, universities, etc.

    27 Elders have authority only over the local congregation. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. An eldership can take upon itself (with approval by the other party or parties) the oversight of such things as congregations with few members considered to be in a mission area, church workers in mission areas, or other similar works deemed to be in need of the oversight of an eldership.

    28 A plurality of congregations may combine money from their respective treasuries for the purpose of evangelistic efforts in another location. At no time, however, can this effort be conducted or organized in such a way as to be construed as a “missionary society”.

    29 Divorced persons are to be a welcome part of the congregation. However, those divorced persons who wish to marry again, or those who have already been divorced and married again, must be investigated by the church (or its designee) in order to determine if their marriage (or pending marriage) has been preceded by a “Scriptural divorce” (that being one where the other person committed adultery either before or after the divorce). Those deemed to be in “unscriptural marriages” are expected to get a divorce in order to remain in good standing with God and the church.

    30 All major doctrinal issues must be understood and taught without error. This includes (but not necessarily limited to): that we are not predestined to salvation, that it is possible for a Christian to lose his/her salvation, that speaking in tongues and other such miraculous gifts came to an end at the completion of the writing of the NT, that there will be no Rapture nor 1000 year reign of Christ, and that Heaven and Hell are literal. However, this requirement of perfect understanding shall not apply to the issue of the indwelling and operation of the Holy Spirit.

    31 The preaching of these rules and correct doctrinal positions shall be deemed and denoted as “preaching the truth”. As noted above, people who do not understand these rules (and thus fail to follow them perfectly) shall be deemed as not truly loving God nor the truth.

    32 These rules shall be observed without variation of any kind. Anyone who fails to know and follow these rules perfectly is deemed to be lost eternally unless he/she repents. The grace of God shall not be thought to be extended for any misunderstanding or noncompliance. However, moral imperfection (sin) shall be excused (covered by grace) provided the person regularly prays and asks for forgiveness.

    33 Any group who fails to abide by these rules in their entirety is to be called a denomination. Anyone who attends a denomination is committing the sin of denominationalism.

    In addition, the following are yet more rules that are not as frequently debated:

    1. observing Christmas or other holidays
    2. fruit of the vine must be fermented/not fermented
    3. one cup vs. multiple cups
    4. no kitchen or eating in the building
    5. cannot give to non-Christians, orphan homes, etc.
    6. non-baptized not allowed to read Scripture
    7. no separated classes
    8. Bible versions
    9. taking of oaths
    10. serving in the military
    11. inflicting capital punishment
    12. using force to defend oneself or others
    13. serving as a government official
    14. lifting hands while singing
    15. joining a ministerial alliance
    16. how God answers prayer
    17. fasting
    18. who selects and appoints elders
    19. singing as the emblems are passed
    20. use of church buildings for secular activities
    21. building of fellowship halls, gymnasiums, etc.
    22. use of an instrument in "church" weddings
    23. youth directors, youth rallies, youth camps
    24. the six days of creation being literal days
    25. the operation of Christian hospitals
    26. ministers of education, ministers of music, etc.
    27. the baptismal "formula"
    28. formal confession before baptism
    29. dedicating babies
    30. signing contribution pledge cards
    31. women wearing shorts and slacks
    32. women working outside the home
    33. Children's Bible Hour
    34. bussing children to services
    35. degrees of reward and punishment
    36. dress code for men serving the Lord's Supper

    If anyone that reads this is a member of the Church, please help me add to this list any rules I have over looked.
     
  4. Star

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    I always thought the "law of Christ" was "love"... the Royal law. "Do unto others", "love your neighbor as yourself", "The whole world would believe if you had love for one another". "love does no harm to its neighbor", "love fulfills the law" etc. Love never fails.... Love (Gods nature birthed in us) As He is, so are we.

    Its simpler then a list of "must do's"

    Just my two cents
    In Him Kim
     
  5. Frank

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    Jarlaxle:
    I am a preacher at a congregation of the Lord's church. While I cannot speak for each congregation, let me say that your lists are based upon scripture. All language employs three methods to impart meaning. They are command, example, and implication. Your lists included teachings that are binding by using the scriptures in this manner.
    I would also encourage you to study I Cor 6:12 and the meaning of expedient. I will give you an example of an expedient or a thing that is lawful but not expressly stated in the Bible. By this, I refer to acts that carry out a command. For example, We meet in a building for our first day of the week assembly. However, we could choose to meet in a school, a warehouse, or under a tree though the Bible does not specifically teach the type facility in which to meet. The building is an expedient, a thing used to carry out the lawful command to assemble. Acts 20:7, I Cor. 16:1,2, Acts 2:42. The same could be said for a microphone, TV, song book.If you would like for me to address each of your list items,I will be happy to do so. Just let me know. You may contact me by e-mail if you wish.
    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving,
    Frank
     
  6. BobRyan

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    #1 Christ is God - His Law is God's Law.

    #2. Christ said that nothing He spoke was of His own- but as He heard from the Father He Spoke.

    #3 IN John 14 He says "pre-cross" "If you love Me Keep My Commandments". That is a reference to the commandments of God Himself. Christ never set himself in opposition to the Father - but always in complete unity "If you have seen Me you have seen the Father" John 14.

    #4. The Law of Love - quoted by Christ before the Cross was given by Him to Moses - Deut 6:5 "Love God with all your heart". Lev 19:18 "Love your neighbor as yourself".

    The Bible is of God - Christ and the Father are both God in the doctrine of the Trinity. Dividing God against God so that the Law of Christ is not the Law of God - is about as far from the teaching of Christ as you can get.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  7. Star

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    If the Law (by definition) is the POWER of SIN how can it be "The law of love"? Christ commandments were, "Do not judge" but by what standard? When the law itself was quoted to Jesus concerning the woman caught in adultery ( obviously being put to the test) according to that same law Christ says, "He who is without sin cast the first stone" (in judgement of her according to the law). Christ demonstrated the mercy which triumphs over judgement which is the very thing God desires. Even Paul said the commandments, "Thou shalt not covet" etc. produced in him every covetous desire. The law seemed to work against human nature.

    The law of love (to me) is void of self righteous, because of the work of the law in an individual being complete (in truth)so that no one can be confident in his flesh.

    A person walking in love will then walk in the obedience to Christ in that he/she will show mercy not judgement (which God desires). As Jesus Himself said, condemn not and you shall not be condemned, Judge not and you shall not be judged. THAT is a huge shelter. Its not... "lord I thank you I'm not like other men, look at my obedience to you" that statement in itself shows "self" righteousness. If one judges its by what? The Law. If you judge according to the law your not keeping it because everytime you point your finger at someone else you judge yourself, that makes sense in light of Jesus's words, "Judge not LEST you be judged".

    To me anything that is not of faith is sin in that I mean faith in the Son of God and His commandments. Remember they did bind themselves to a curse to walk in and obey the law, when in fact God bound all men over to disobedience, because the law made nothing perfect, but became to them the very power of sin itself. To uphold the law is to walk in love (or walk in Him).

    "All these have I kept" will always be defective (or fall short) at some point (as Jesus shows). I see no connection between the ten commandments and the law of Christ (which is the law of love). Law brings wrath is a far cry from "law brings love". Am I missing something?

    In Him Kim
     
  8. DHK

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    Gal.6:2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
    This is the only place in the Bible where the exact phrase "law of Christ" is used. It, of course, has to do with love. Jesus said something similar in John 13

    34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
    35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
    --This also may be considered the "law of Christ."

    That list that Church of Christ gave you are mostly man-made rules, many of them debatable, some of them unsupported by Scripture.
    DHK
     
  9. Frank

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    Jarlaxle:

    As a Christian, it is essential that we examine ourselves to know we are living in faith to Christ. Your list is quite a long one. The items you listed are, indeed, found in the teachings of the New Testament by direct statement, example or implied by the totality of the evidence on the subject.

    The second group of listings are items of judgement based on what is written or implied by the evidence. Others are matters of expedience.
    Some may,in fact, be misunderstood by some.

    Remember, the pattern for the church is divine. The individuals that comprise it are not.

    I would be happy to discuss these items with you at your convenience.

    Yours In Christ,
    Frank
     
  10. Jarlaxle

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    Frank, what are your thoughts on rule #33?

     
  11. DHK

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    </font>[/QUOTE]It means if they have a divorced and remarried couple in their congregation who have been divorced for any other reason than that given in rule #29, then they themselves have put themselves in the rank of denominationalism.
    DHK
     
  12. Frank

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    Jarlaxle:
    Christians must oppose false teaching and divisiveness. I Cor. 1:10-14. In fact, we should hate false teaching. The Psalmist writes in Ps. 119:104," Through thy precepts I get understanding, therefore, I hate every false way. I must hate the divisiveness of denominationalism but love those who oppose themselves.Luke 19:10,II Tim 2:25.
    A Christian who encourages or fails to correct the false teacher has become a partaker of the false teacher's evil deeds. II John 9-11. We are not to entertain false or divisive teachings but expose them. Eph. 5:11. We must as Paul says in II Tim. 4:1-4 reprove( expose), rebuke, ( Correct the error) and encourage them in the doctrine of the Bible. II Tim. 4:1-4, II Tim. 3:16,17.
    It is disturbing to me that some have fogotten this biblical principle in favor of " tolernace of the beliefs of others." Jesus did not tolerate false teaching or divisiveness. Mat. 23 is the best commentary I know on your question.
    One who is a Christian must contend for the faith once delivered unto the saints. Acts 11:26, Jude 3. He must defend the truth and oppose error whether it be in the denominational world or,perhaps, among his own brethren.Romans 16:17 Titus 3:10,11. Why?
    The souls of all men will be saved by the truth, not error. James 1:18, Rev. 16:12-16;20:10.
    It is not always an easy thing to do . However, it is the loving thing to do. Eph. 4:15.

    Yours In Christ,
    Frank
     
  13. DHK

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    Look carefully again at rule #29 and tell me that it is Biblical. Don't get me wrong. I am not in favor of either divorce or remarriage, but it happens. If in your church, per chance, you have a divorced and remarried couple with children, you would advocate to them to break up their family, find their original spouses (who also may be divorced and remarried, and have children through their second marriage), and each go back to their original spouses. The families would once again be broken up. The children would not know what to think. They wouldn't know who their parents were. Total chaos would ensue.

    Your God acting this way is cruel and vindictive. Is this how you picture God. My God is a fogiving loving God. He forgives sin, no matter how terrible it may be. God does not condone divorce and remarriage. But there comes a point where he does forgive and person has to start over. To try and go back again to former spouses is both agains levitical law, and utter s-t-u-p-i-d-i-t-y, to say the least. It is not God's will. You are right, the Church of Christ is not a denomination, it is a cult.
    DHK
     
  14. donnA

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    I heard of a COC here who got around this by putting a tape player outside the sanctuary window and playing their hymns on it.
     
  15. trying2understand

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    Sounds like nothing more than malicious gossip to me.
     
  16. blush

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    augh.... rebaptisms "just in case?" sorry, i find that horrifying. what better way to breed fear into members of the congregation. :rolleyes:

    my church name doesn't have the word "God" or "Christ" in it so i am eternally lost? Please! I agree with DHK, this sounds quite cultish.
     
  17. Star

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    Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven–for she LOVED much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little."

    The law Christ.

    Heres a law... If you forgive others their trespasses and sins your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you judge, condemn,or point the finger its measured to you.

    In reality I see this as someone extending the love of God toward others SENSE the love of God and begin to see Him as He is. But another might think their right as a christian is to judge and condemn others and so they sense a very real Judge with an Iron rod. This is where Jesus said, "Judge not LEST you be judged", condemn not (commands of Christ) lest you be condemned. Here is the "knowing others" by their fruits and their obedience to Christ comes into play in the big picture. The is no condemnation in Christ Jesus, but there IS outside Him.

    "What happened to all your JOY" is the meter for measurement... That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls us.

    Love... the GOAL of our faith
    Love... The fulfillment of the law
    Love... The Nature of God.
    Love... By this all men will know your my disciples.
    Love... the law of Christ.
    Love... God and man the two GREATEST commandments.
    Love... does no harm to its neighbor

    Her sins were MANY were forgiven her... for she LOVED MUCH.(simple)

    Look at all the things (spiritually speaking) you CAN HAVE yet have NOT love and be nothing.

    Getting back to the original purpose of this thread I believe the law of Christ is love.

    In Him Kim
     
  18. Frank

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    DHK:
    God's law fo marriage has not changed. Mat. 19:1-12. One may be forgiven of any sin if they repent. This requires a change of heart and action. Mat.3:8. Circumstances do not dictate the truth. God's word is truth. John 17:17. According to Jesus, any one who lives in unscriptural marriage is committing adultery. Romans 6:1-3 teaches us we cannot live as such and be pleasing to God. I suggest that God hates divorce because it divides families, not brings them closer together. Gen 2:24, Mal.2:16. God hates putting away. He allows divorce for ONE AND ONLY ONE REASON sexual immorrality. One who divorces and marries another for any other cause than sexual immorality committs adultery. The verb is in the present active tense which means he or she keeps on committing adultery.
    Adulterers will not enter heaven. I Cor. 6:9-11, Gal. 5:19-21.
    Again, you make statements that are not supported by scripture.
     
  19. Frank

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    Blush:
    Those in Acts 19:1-5 were " rebaptized". This was done because they had not believed and obeyed the truth. John's baptism had been superceded by the baptism of Christ which is for the remission of sins. Mat. 28:18-20, Act 2:38. One may not believe and obey wrong teaching and be considered righteous. What makes you think men today may believe and obey wrong and be right in the eyes of God. Book, Chapter and Verse, please.

    You make a statement without biblical support.

    The baptism of Christ requires it be for unto the remission of sins in his name and no other. Acts 4:12, Mat. 28:18-20, Acts 2:38, Col. 3:17.
     
  20. Frank

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    Katie:
    Just becaues people practice a certain thing does not in and of itself make it right or wrong. The question should be what has God said about it. The Bible teaches that music in the church should be by words of the mouth that teach a spiritual truth. The instrument to be used is the mind and the lips. Col. 3:16, Eph. 5:19, Hebrews 2:12, Acts 16:25, Romans 15:9, I Cor. 14:15, Mat. 26:30. The word declares we are to sing with words that teach one another. The example teaches us to do likewise. This is what is to be done in true worship to God.
     

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