Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Moment of Silence?!?!?

Wednesday night marked the first time since the Newtown tragedy for a school sporting event.  The Newtown High School girl’s basketball team hosted a neighboring school district at home.  Before the game it was announced that in “honor of the victims” that there would be a “moment of silence” before the game began.  How sad!  How tragic!  If the slaughter of 20 innocent children and 6 brave adults is not enough to turn us to prayer to God Almighty, what is?!
The public, the media and the “experts” are all wringing their hands asking; “Why?”  Sadly, these discussions are just so much “rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic.”  People are driven to just “fix” the problem, not solve the problem!  We don’t have a gun problem, a mental illness problem, a divorce problem, a video game problem, a school security problem…even a “moral problem.”  These are all unfortunate and tragic symptoms of THE REAL PROBLEM.  WHAT IS IT?  WE HAVE A SIN PROBLEM!  The sin dross of one young man’s heart murdered the innocents and the adults at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School.  The same sin dross has fueled every mass murder in American history since 1622 when 347 men, women and children were massacred at Jamestown, Virginia.  That same sin dross will fuel every future murder, mass and otherwise, until the end of time.
In the long ago, the God of Heaven answered the question “Why?”  “…your iniquities have made a separation between you and God, and your sins have hidden his face from you…” – Isaiah 59.2 (ESV).   As our Lord has often told us…unless we repent we will perish.  America, and all of mankind, is lost without hope in its separated state.  We must all “repent and be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” in order for true progressivity to take place in society.  “It is not within man to direct his own steps” as Jeremiah put it.
The entire nation should pray as Daniel did in the long ago; “…we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules.  We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.”
A “moment of silence” makes a mockery of the truth and to the memory of the innocents.  God must once again be held in the same high esteem as He once was for our nation to survive.  Adams put it best; “Our form of government is suited for a religious and moral people and none other.”  It is sheer folly to ask God to protect our schools when He is barred at the front door.
There is, however, GOOD NEWS!  God has solved our sin problem through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Sin and dross can be defeated through Him!  That message is entrusted to you and me, the church of Christ.  Truly, “Jesus IS the Answer!”  Let’s get busy in dispensing the salt and light of the gospel to a dark and deteriorating world.

Friday, August 10, 2012

BAAL - Found Alive and Well in America!

Many might say that the ancient Canaanite god known as “Baal” is long dead.  He is so dead that he is totally forgotten to the point that most people in America have no idea of who he was / is.  Having said that, Baal is very much alive and well in 2012 from every little crossroads to the biggest cities in America!  Here’s proof:

·   As a god, Baal was both a single god and multiple gods, ones choice.  In America we are extolled to “attend the church or synagogue of your choice this weekend.”
·     Every locality that wanted could have their “brand” of Baal.  One town’s Baal was different from every other towns “Baal.”  They had “unity in diversity.”  So does America, or so she thinks.
·    The theology of Baalism was interpreted individually by each adherents own experiences and “stories.”  He was not interpreted lineally but allegorically.
·        Baal worship was thought to “manipulate” the god into doing what the people wanted.  Today the so-called Word of Faith movement claims that we can “force” God into doing what we want as long as we say the
“right words” and the so-called “sinners prayer” commands Christ to “come into my heart and save me.”
·  Baal worship was extremely entertaining and very popular.  Narcissistic motivations are used almost exclusively among denominations and TOTALLY by the so-called “Emergent Church.”
·   Baal worship allowed and even encouraged sexual sin outside the marriage covenant in ways that we cannot even speak of.  Today it is increasingly common in denominational “churches” to accept and encourage fornication, adultery and even homosexuality.
·         Ultimately, Baal required the human sacrifice of innocent children in order that the worshippers might get what they wanted…prosperity.  A good crop was far more to be desired than the life of a child.  Not much has changed in America today, just ask people who “choose” death over life at the local abortion mill.

Is Baal alive and well in America?  Absolutely!  In EVERY way he is every as much alive as he ever was EXCEPT in name only.  Beelzebub lies about who he REALLY is.  Let’s reject Baalism and worship the One True God in Spirit and in Truth! 

Picture courtesy of:

Thursday, July 19, 2012

When and Where Was Saul Saved? - Acts 9 and 22

Yes, the question is; "Where and when was Saul saved?"  (In our next post we will examine the question; "How was Saul saved?")

Nearly  all people say Saul was saved on the road to Damascus.  But...was he?  Was Saul told to "pray through" or say the "sinners prayer?"  If so, whose version of that prayer was he to pray?  Did Christ or Ananias tell Saul to "say a prayer "something like this?"

Another presumed "truth" from Acts 9 is that "Saul was knocked off  his beast of burden."  But...was he?  The picture to your left illustrates it so but is it history or speculation?  We will not answer these questions by reason, logic, emotion, conviction or opinion.  Let's, rather, look at what the Scriptures say!
That's what the Bereans did in Acts 17.11, why not us?  First of all Acts 9 tells us that Saul simply "fell tot he ground."  It never says whether he was riding an animal or walking.  We simply don't know, the Scripture is silent on that account.  This account of Saul's trip to Damascus is one of the most misunderstood and, therefore, one of the most abused passages in all the New Testament.  Out of such misunderstandings come the nightmares of allegory, presumption and error.  

We will approach out subject like an interview.  Questions are asked of the Scripture and the Scripture answers.  We will not speculate, presume or spiritualize the answers...the answers will neither add to nor take anything away from the Word of God.  Here goes!

1. Was Saul saved when he was still in Jerusalem?  Were his sins at this point washed away?  Did he "call upon the Name of the Lord" at this point?  No.  Acts 9.1a - "But Saul still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord..."  Acts 22.4 - "I persecuted this Way to the death..."

2. Was Saul saved when he went to the High Priest for letters of extradition?  Were his sins at this point washed away?  Did he "call upon the Name of the Lord" at this point?  No.  Acts 9.1b fl. - "...(Saul) went to the High Priest and asked for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem."  Acts 22.4 - 5 - "...binding and delivering to prison both men and women as the high priest and the whole counsel of elders can bear me witness."

3. Was Saul saved when he saw the light and fell to the ground?  Were his sins at this point washed away?    Did he "call upon the Name of the Lord" at this point?  No.  Acts 9.4 - "...he heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting [present tense - RM] me?"  Acts 22.Acts 22.6fl - "As I was on my way and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me....And I fell to the ground."

4. Did Saul "know the Lord" on the road?  Were his sins at this point washed away?  Did he "call upon the Name of the Lord" at this point?  No.  Acts 9.4 - "Who are you, Lord?"  Acts 22.8 - "And I answered, "Who are you, Lord?"

5. Did Jesus tell Saul what he needed to do for salvation on the road?  Were his sins at this point washed away?  Did he "call upon the Name of the Lord" at this time?  No.  Acts 9.6 - "But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do."  Acts 22.10 - "And I said, "What shall I do, Lord?"  And the Lord said to me, "Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do."

6. Did Saul find salvation during the 3 days in Damascus?  Were his sins at this point washed away?  Did he "call upon the Name of the Lord" at this point?  No.  Acts 9.9 - "And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank."  Acts 22.11 - "...I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus."

7. Did God send a preacher to Saul?  Yes.  Acts 9.11 - "Rise and go to the street called Straight...for behold he is praying."

8. Was Saul saved when he was praying?  Were his sins at this point washed away?  Did he "call upon the Name of the Lord" at this point?  No.  Acts 9.12 - Jesus told Ananias that "...he (Saul) has seen in a vision a man named Ananias..."

9. Did Saul's vision of Ananias contain instructions for his salvation?  Were his sins at this point washed away?  Did he "call upon the Name of the Lord" at this point?  No. Acts 9.12 - "...and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay hands on him so that he might regain his sight."  (Note that the word "might" is conditional.)

10. Was Ananias' gospel message to Saul conditional?  Yes.  Acts 9.17 - "...(Jesus) has sent me so that you may (conditional - RM) regain your sight AND be filled with the Holy Spirit."

11. Was Saul saved when he received back his sight?  Were his sins at this point washed away?  Did he "call upon the Name of the Lord" at this point?  No.  Acts 9.18 - "And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight."  Acts 22.13fl - "....(Ananias) came to me, and standing by me, said to me, brother Saul receive your sight"  And at that very hour I received my sight and saw him."

12. Was Saul saved when he was baptized?  Were his sins at this point washed away?  Did he "call upon the Name of the Lord" at this point?  Yes.  Acts 9.18c - "...Then he rose and was baptized..."  Acts 22.16 - "And now why do you wait?  Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on His Name."

There we have it!  Saul was saved in Damascus.  His salvation took place AFTER the light, AFTER the voice of Christ, AFTER three days of prayer and fasting, AFTER he received back his sight and AFTER he heard the Word of God preached to him by the preacher Ananias.  Saul was saved when he was BAPTIZED when his sins were WASHED AWAY which, together, constitutes CALLING UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD!  Though nearly everyone denies the reality of where and when Saul was saved, the Word of God makes it "calls upon the Name of the Lord" in baptism which "washes away sins!"  Where was Saul saved?  In Damascus.  When was Saul saved?  When he was baptized, washing away his sins and "calling on the Name of the Lord."

Monday, June 11, 2012

The POWER To Arise!

Image Courtesy

It was 46  years ago.  I should not still be so affected by an event nearly 5 decades in the past.'s Father's Day again and I remember that morning, January 10, 1966.  It was a morning like any other for a 14 year boy in junior high school.  I was still half asleep while my Dad was finishing his breakfast and preparing to head off to work.  He and I had a "conversation" but I don't remember the specifics.  We both fully expected to see each other again that evening.  It was not to be.  In a moment, in the "twinkling of an eye," he was gone.  The "why" questions still cascade from my mind.  "What if...?"

For years to come I have a recurring dream.  It is winter, cold and dark.  There is a terrible snow storm and my Dad is delayed in coming home.  Just before despair sets in, I look out the window and see his car swing into the driveway as always.  I am elated in my dream, Dad is coming home after all!  Then I wake up and the reality of his passing presses down once again on my soul.  My mooring is gone and I am adrift on my own.  God began that day in 1966 to call me to become the mooring in his place.  Over the years He has, and continues to give me the power to be a mooring to others.  That power He gives, not only to me but to all of us who call Him Father.  He gives us all the power to arise.

I grew up in Hampton, VA, just 8 miles from the Chesapeake Bay.  Hampton is located on a peninsula with water on 3 sides making it possible to hear the fog horns nearly every night.  Moorings for all kinds of boats, ships and barges are everywhere up and down the shoreline.  Moorings are the connection to safety for any water craft.  They are rock solid, unmoving and nearly indestructible.  From the smallest of row boats to the mighty carriers of the Atlantic Fleet...all vessels rely on a strong mooring.  However, time and weather deteriorate even the most solid of moorings.  Alongside the newer moorings made of steel and concrete are the remains of earlier, now abandoned, moorings of yesteryear.  One is reminded that a mooring is reliable for just a span of time and eventually must be replaced.  Around Hampton one can see several generations of moorings now little more than shadows of their former strength.  Since the early 17th century the moorings of Hampton have seen ships go from wood to steel, from sail to nuclear and from the 120 ton Susan Constant  of 1607 to the 106,000 ton modern day U.S.S. Harry Truman super carrier.

A mooring must be stronger than that what ties to it, always available and reliable at all times.  It is no less true for our "spiritual moorings."  Just as off Hampton, as we grow, older moorings are replaced by newer and stronger ones.  Finally the time comes when we no longer are called to be tied to a mooring, we become a mooring for others who would "drift out to sea" otherwise.  Such was the case with Joshua when Moses, the great mooring of the Exodus, died.

For the first time in his life, Joshua was alone.  For 40 years he was the faithful servant of Moses.  He was defined, not by leadership, but by servitude.  Now it was all different.  HE was now, not the servant, but the leader.  He was no longer tied to a  mooring, he WAS the mooring!  Moorings do not come on line by themselves, there is a process of preparation.

God prepared Joshua to become a mooring for all Israel in Joshua 1.  Those "mooring preps" are still valid today as God prepares each of us to moor others so that they can more still others in the future.  Here they are:



Friday, June 1, 2012

Are You "Bowling Alone?" - Part II

God has always called his people to community.  He called Adam and Eve to a community called marriage and family.  He called Noah and his family to survival in a community called an ark.  He called Abraham and his descendants to a family called Israel.  Today God calls everyone to a community known as the church, the church of Christ.  By God's design we are all interdependent and complimentary.  In fact, cut off from community fellowship with God becomes, if not impossible, then extremely difficult.  Here are two biblical perspectives:

1)  The individual melts into the community for the good of all:

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--Jews or Greeks, slaves or free--and all were made to drink of one Spirit.  For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?  But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be?  As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.  The eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you," nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you."  On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. - I Corinthians 12.12 - 27 (ESV)  [Text courtesy of]

2) Fellowship with God is permanently linked to fellowship with one another:

 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life-- the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us--  that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.  And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. - I John 1.1 - 7 (ESV)  [Text courtesy of

It is as God said in the beginning; "it is not good for man to be alone."  God created us as social beings in community, not as isolated islands in a sea of humanity.  God is community.  Satan is isolation.  God calls us to community, Satan calls us to isolation.  Satan caused Eve to sin by causing a separation (isolation) from God and from her husband.  Sin is separation from God, pure and simple.  He told us so in the long ago:

Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. - Isaiah 59.1 - 2 (ESV) [Text courtesy of]

Our challenge as the church of Christ is to attract people in sin, separation and isolation to the community, the Body of Christ.  Not only will they find salvation, they will find fellowship, friendship, happiness and contentment in community.  It is THIS challenge we will discuss Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. at the Archdale church of Christ, 2525 Archdale Drive, Charlotte, NC 28210.  Reject isolation that night and be in community instead!

In preparation for this important discussion, you can obtain a copy of Putnam's book to read very inexpensively from  Here is your link:

We will look forward to seeing you there!  Questions?  Just e-mail Russ McCullough at

Friday, May 18, 2012

Are You Bowling Alone? (Part 1)

Photo Courtesy of:

In his iconic 2000 book, Bowling Alone, Robert D. Putnam asserts that America is in decline because America is abandoning her "social capital."  "Social capital" is the ability and desire to publicly interact with other people by means of family, church, civic organizations, sports and politics.  This kind of interaction has been in steep decline since the 1980's and is now reaching alarming new lows.  America, instead of interacting as she once did, is "cocooning."   The author came to his books title by discovering that even though interest and participation in bowling is near all time high levels, the percentage of people participating in bowling leagues is falling off the charts.  People no longer prefer to bowl together...they prefer to bowl alone.  Americans, it appears, are preferring to do most everything alone and interacting when there is no way to avoid it.  Not only does this trend indicate a danger to society as a whole, it has potentially disastrous implications for the Lord's church.  Satan, as it were, is moving in through the side door unnoticed.  His lies are convincing more and more of us that we can be "solitary Christians."  But can we?

Before we discuss the spiritual implications of these matters, let's observe the spectrum of human preferences regarding a total solitude mindset on one extreme and a total community mindset on the other.  In the center is total neutrality towards both solitude and community.  

Serving as examples: total solitude is very clearly illustrated by life in New York City on the one hand and the Amish community clearly illustrates total community on the other.  New Yorkers have little social interaction, spend as much time as possible alone and avoid contact with strangers.  They cherish their solitude and avoid community.  Quite the opposite, the Amish treasure interpersonal interaction in nearly every activity of life.  They eat together, work together, play together and worship together.  They cherish their community and avoid solitude.  For our purposes we will call these two extremes "Solitude:"and "Community."  We will construct a graph to illustrate.  Here we go:

  NYC  1       2       3       4       Neutral       (4)       (3)       (2)       (1)  AMISH  

Here's the graphs representations:

Solitude (NYC)
1 Withdrawl from Community
2 Fear of Community
3 Discomfort with Community
4 Preference for Solitude
(4) Preference for Community
(3) Discomfort with Solitude
(2) Fear of Solitude
(1) Withdrawl from Solitude
Community (AMISH)

In the long ago God issued a prime directive regarding the optimum condition for mankind.  "It is not good for man to be alone." - Genesis 2.18b  There we have it.  Community is normative and solitude is not.    Jesus Christ on occasion sought solitude but he aggressively sought community far more often for as he said; "I am come to seek and to save that which is lost."  What is lost?  Mankind.  Though man needs rest and solitude on occasion, it is within community that God calls him to live for the majority of his time here on earth.   The very first community was composed of God, Adam and Eve in what we today call the marriage covenant.  Later God called His chosen people to a community that met God publicly at the "tent of meeting" a.k.a. the Tabernacle and later at the Temple in Jerusalem.  After returning from Babylonian captivity God's people met weekly in what we today call the Synagogue.  Finally, since the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God calls all of us everywhere to community with Him in the ecclesia, the church of Christ.  Why?  "It is not good that man be alone!"

On Tuesday night, June 26, 2012, there will be a group discussion of the book Bowling Alone by Robert D. Putnam.  The discussion will begin at 7 p.m. and will be held at the Archdale church of Christ, 2525 Archdale Drive, Charlotte, NC 28210.  The public is invited.  We will focus on just how does the community of Christ's church address the growing trend among Americans to isolate themselves from personal interaction.  In preparation for this important discussion, you can obtain a copy of Putnam's book to read very inexpensively from  Here is your link:

We will look forward to seeing you there!  Questions?  Just e-mail Russ McCullough at


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Who Are the Unbelieving (apistos) of Revelation 21?

A Word Study in Context

The purpose of the exposition of Scripture is to teach doctrine which has as its purpose to “fall backward, break us, take us and ensnare us” for God.  This is detailed by the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 28.13;

And the word of the LORD will be to them precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little, that they may go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

God is planning on separating His people from their home for 70 years so that He will have their complete attention so as to instruct them fully in His doctrine.  That is how we should study His Word as well.

The original word. Apistos [pronounced app-i-stos], means (A) – without + (Pistos) – faith.  Succinctly, it is “active unbelief” or a state of unbelief beyond credibility in the light of the facts.[1]  Whoever the “unbelieving” (faithless ESV) are, they shall not inherit the Kingdom of God and instead will experience the “second death” and be thrown into the “lake of fire and brimstone.”  The NT uses this word elsewhere and collective usage gives us a very good idea of its meaning in context.

(1)        Act 26:8  Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?

The word translated “incredible” is apistos.  The Jews rejection of the Resurrection was an active unbelief that was shocking to Paul.

Conclusion: Those who reject the reality of the Resurrection are part of the apistos.

(2)        Mat 17:17  And Jesus answered, "O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me."

The word translated “faithless” is apistos.  We learn in vs. 19 that Jesus rebukes his disciples, not for their “active unbelief” but for their “unbelief” by default.   Apistos in this context can apply to those who have some measure of faith but a faith that is lacking.

Conclusion: Believers who are content with a state of doubt demonstrate a fruitless faith to the outside world.  Such are in danger of not pleasing their Lord and “may” become fully apistos.

(3)        Mar 9:19  And he answered them, "O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me."

A parallel passage to Matthew 17 noted above, Jesus uses the same apistos word.  Again, it is used in a warning sense that even the apostles were in danger of choosing the way of unbelief and faithlessness.  In fact, ALL the apostles…to one extent or another…became apistos during the passion of the Christ.  Fortunately, they all returned from the brink save one, Judas Iscariot.
Conclusion: Even those strong in pistos “may” become apistos.  Truth be told, we all flux between faithfulness and faithlessness much of the time.  We need to take these warnings to heart.
(4)        See also Luke 9.41 for the 3rd parallel of this event

(5)        Luk 12:46  the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful

In Luke 12, Jesus contrasts His servants various stages of readiness at His return.  Some are and some are not.  In fact, some are so apistos as to take extreme advantage of other servants as the Lord’s return is delayed.  Their fate?  Metaphorically “cut into pieces” and then numbered with the apistos where they will be cut off from God for eternity.

Conclusion: The apistos include some servants of Christ who abuse their fellow servants while in this lifetime.

(6)        Joh 20:27  Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe."

In this passage the resurrected Christ appears to the apostles, this time including Thomas who was absent previously.  It is made plain that being either faithful or faithless is a conscious choice to be made by free moral agents.
Conclusion: Whether one is pistos or apistos, it is a clear, conscious and un - arbitrary choice we all make.  No one is “sent” to hell, it is full of those who choose it.

(7)        1Co 6:5  I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers,
1Co 6:6  but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers?

Paul here is exhorting the Corinthians to stay out of secular court with their disputes.  He enjoins them to settle them within the confines of the body of Christ rather than to drag them before the apistos, the unbelievers.

Conclusion: The apistos contains all those outside of the church, the body of Christ as used in this context.

(8)         1Co 7:12  To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. 1Co 7:13  If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. 1Co 7:14  For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 1Co 7:15  But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace.

Paul is commanding the Corinthians concerning the disposition of marriages between the pistos and the apistos.  One has become a Christian and one has not.  Paul allows for a separation in such cases “IF” the unbelieving partner insists upon leaving.  The so called “Pauline Exception” does not, however, allow for any remarriage except by death or by sexual immorality as does our Lord  in Matthew 19. 

Conclusion: The apistos contains those who have rejected the gospel, any person choosing NOT to be baptized in the Name of Christ for the remission of sins.

(9)        1Co 10:27  If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience.

Paul is here presenting biblical principles for Christians who were wrestling with whether or not to eat meat that had been part of a pagan sacrifice.  That is how meat came to market in the ancient world.  The apistos here refers to the non-Christian, any unbaptized person who invites the Christian to dinner and serves what is ordinary and common in that place and time.

Conclusion: The apistos includes all un-believers, all unbaptized persons of accountable age.

(10)     1Co 14:22  Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers. 1Co 14:23  If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds? 1Co 14:24  But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all,

In this passage Paul is contextually calling upon Mark 16.20.  The reason tongues existed in the 1st century was to confirm the Word.  The apistos here are those persons, currently unsaved, who are being urged to become Christians and are witnessing “signs and worders” confirming the veracity of the words spoken by the Christian(s).

Conclusion: The apistos includes those who are close to becoming Christians but have not made the decision to become such.  These were in need of further encouragement.

(11)     2Co 4:3  And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. 2Co 4:4  In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Paul describes the reason as to why many continue to rebel and reject Christ.  These unbelievers continue to have their ears stopped to the gospel.

Conclusion: The apistos includes those who are spiritually blinded by the lies of Satan.

(12)     2Co 6:14  Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 2Co 6:15  What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?

An encouragement to Christians not to partner with those belonging to false religions.

Conclusion: The apistos includes the adherents of false religions.

(13)     1Ti 5:8  But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Paul names the Christian who refuses to support his family as a “denier of the faith” and is considered worse than an unbeliever.

Conclusion: The Christian who denies the faith by neglecting his family is not only apistos, he is WORSE than apistos.

(14)     Tit 1:15  To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled.

Paul tells Titus that “to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure but THEIR minds and THEIR consciences are defiled.”  The unbelieving are part of a group identified as “THEIR.”  Who, therefore, is THEIR?  Paul contextually defines “THEIR” as Christians who teach false doctrine concerning circumcision in vs. 10.

Conclusion: The apistos includes those Christians who are willingly engaged in the promotion of false doctrine.

(15)     Who, then, are the “unbelieving” of Revelation 21?

a.   Those who reject the resurrection
b.   Those are content in a state of doubt
c.   Those who remain fruitless
d.   Those who abuse their brothers and sisters
e.   Those who refuse belief in the face of the facts
f.    Those who are outside of Christ for whatever reason
g.   Those who reject the gospel as presented by those that love them
h.   Those adhering to any other faith outside of Christ
i.     Those who have been shown the gospel but are hesitating submitting to it
j.    Those who are spiritually blinded by Satan
k.   Those who adhere to false religion
l.     Those who refuse to love and protect their families
m. Those who openly promote and teach false doctrine

Lesson Sheet Handout:

Revelation 21 Revisited – Who Are The Unbelieving?

1.  What is the purpose of exposition?
2.  What is the purpose of doctrine?
3.  What is the process of teaching and learning of Scripture?
4.  The word translated “unbelieving” in Revelation 21 is the Greek word A____________ which is the combination of two words which mean what?____________________________
5.  What will happen to those so designated?
6.  The NT’s collective usage of this word does what for our study?
7.  Acts 26.8 Description:______________________________
Acts 26.8 Meaning: ________________________________
8.  Matthew 17.17 Description:__________________________
Matthew 17.17 Meaning:____________________________
9.  Mark 9.19 Description: _____________________________
Mark 9.19 Meaning:________________________________
10.              John 20.27 Description: ________________________
John 20.27 Meaning:___________________________
11.              I Corinthians 6.5 Description: ___________________
I Corinthians 6.5 Meaning: ______________________
12.              I Corinthians 7.12 Description:____________________
I Corinthians 7.12 Meaning: _____________________
13.              I Corinthians 10.27 Description: __________________
I Corinthians 10.27 Meaning: ____________________
14.              I Corinthians 14.22 Description: __________________
I Corinthians 14.22 Meaning: ____________________
15.              II Cor. 4.3 Description: _________________________
II Cor. 4.3 Meaning:____________________________
16.              II Cor. 6.14 Description: ________________________
II Cor. 6.14 Meaning:___________________________
17.              I Timothy 5.8 Description: _______________________
I Timothy 5.8 Meaning: _________________________
18.              Titus 1.15 Description:__________________________
Titus 1.15 Meaning: ____________________________
19.              Who are, then, the “unbelieving” of Revelation 21?
c. ________________________

[1] Source: Spiros Zodhiates, Gen. Ed. (The Complete Word Study Dictionary New Testament, AMG Publishers, Chattanooga, TN, 1992) pg. 214, entry 571

Friday, April 27, 2012

I'm Not O.K. and Neither are You! (Without Christ)

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When  I attended Oklahoma Christian College back in the early 70's General Psychology was required course for my field of study.  One of the required books to read for that course was the blockbuster seller of the time; I'm O.K - You're O.K. by Dr. Thomas A. Harris.  The books quotes Jesus so it had to be correct, didn't it?  Sadly no.  None of us are o.k.  "IF" we were all "o.k." why did Jesus have to die for us all?  Comparative "goodness" is no good.  For example; taking Hitler and Stalin, who was the "better" man?  Or, between Mussolini and Napoleon, who was less "righteous?"  Harris' "transactional analysis" had the effect, whether intended or not, to make one feel good about themselves while in their sinful (and damned) spiritual condition.  It was, and is, a wildly popular idea.  If anything is needed today, it's this....I'm not o.k. and neither are you without Christ.  

We are not asserting opinion here.  We are not impugning Dr. Harris' professional qualifications.  None of that matters.  What we are doing is calling on God's Word to tell us just what our real condition is without Christ.  Anyone old enough to know the difference between right and wrong, that has not repented of all their sins, confessed the Name of Christ before witnesses and been baptized for remission of sins in the Name of Jesus Christ is NOT o.k.  However, those who have, very much are!  NOT on the basis on their own merits, but by virtue of being "in Christ."  He is the ONLY man ever to live that was "O.K."  Paul tells us in Romans 3.10 -18 just what man's true condition is without Christ:

- None is righteous, no not one
- No one understands
- No one seeks for God
- All have turned aside
- Together (all) have become worthless
- No one does good, not even one
- Their (everyone) throat is an open grave
- They use their tongues to deceive
- The venom of (snakes) is under thier lips
- Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness
- Their feet are swift to shed blood
- In their paths are ruin and misery
- The way of peace they have not known
- There is no fear of God before their eyes
No, none of us are "O.K." without Christ!

                                                    - Russ McCullough / 27 April 2012

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Righteousness or Bigotry?

On May 8 North Carolinian's will vote on Proposition One:

“Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.”

 If I listen to two former Charlotte mayors, Harvey Ghant (D) and Richard Vinroot (R), I will likely vote against Prop 1.  Why?  Because these two men consider any prohibition of homosexual marriage to be little more than hatred, discrimination and bigotry.  Their views are sadly predictable.  Life long politicians follow the path to money and votes.  All other considerations aside, the homosexual demographic has plenty of both.  Sadly, both parties are anxious to get their money and their votes.  These two lifetime professional politicians have teamed up to make a television commercial in order to suppress the pro Prop One vote. They do so by insinuating that anyone so voting is uneducated, narrow-minded, intolerant, bigoted and hateful for wanting to deny the "right" to marriage to two people of the same sex who want to be married.

On the other hand, if I listen to Jesus Christ, I will assuredly vote FOR the proposition.  In Matthew 19 Jesus makes very clear that God blesses sexual union ONLY between one man and one woman for life with two exceptions - death and adultery.  All other sexual unions are, therefore, outside of God's Will.  This would include ALL forms of immorality, including but not limited to, fornication, adultery, incest, bestiality et. al.  "From the beginning" God made the familial model of one man with one woman for life with children the basic building block of society.  Our Founding Fathers understood this.  John Adams, signer of the Declaration and our 2nd president, said; "Our form of government is for a moral and religious people and none other."  To discard this marital model is to invite chaos and destruction to the Republic.

We all have a blessing, opportunity and an obligation to vote FOR Proposition One on May 8.  This is not a political issue though it is debated in the political arena.  It is not a Democratic Party or a Republican Party issue for both parties are both pandering to immorality.  It IS an opportunity to "proclaim liberty throughout the land" for morality, marriage and fidelity protect and enhance all other freedoms - freedoms given to us by God and not by man as stated in the Declaration.

As for me and my house, I will vote for righteousness on May 8 though many may "call" me a bigot.

                         - Russ McCullough / 11 April 2012

Friday, April 6, 2012

Holy Week or Holy Living?

All over our fair city one is finding advertisements for many “holy week” observances such as “Good Friday” and “Easter Sunrise Services.”  We must, therefore, ask the question; “Are these celebrations biblical?”  Did Jesus and His Apostles command such celebrations?  Did the Apostles celebrate these things themselves?  Did they even infer that such celebrations were allowed?  The answer is a resounding, NO!

From Matthew to Revelation we find nary a trace of anything called “Holy Week.”  To add such celebrations to the Holy Scripture would be presumptuous, arrogant and wrong.  How, then, did the several observances of “Holy Week” come into being?  The so-called “Holy Week” has six components:

·         Ash Wednesday
·         Lent
·         Palm Sunday
·         Maundy Thursday
·         Good Friday
·         Easter Sunday

What do all of these celebrations have in common?  They are all Roman Catholic in origin and have “meanings” that are allegorically assigned.   Allegorical interpretive methods were adopted by the apostate church beginning in the 2nd century based most notably upon the teachings of the so-called “church father,” Origen.  Origen taught that all Scripture has multiple meanings and each individual can interpret the Scripture based upon their own individual experiences, understandings and stories.  The RCC then began to assign “meanings” to Scripture erroneously (in error.)  Strangely, even the Catholic Encyclopedia admits that these celebrations were unknown in the first century:

…there seems much to suggest that the Church in the Apostolic Age designed to commemorate the Resurrection of Christ, not by an annual, but by a weekly celebration.[1]

Here is a short history of these allegorical additions to God’s complete Will…“the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”  -  Jude 3 (KJV):

1)   ASH WEDNESDAY – Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the 40 days of Lent.  The name comes from the practice of taking the ashes from the previous years burnt palm leaves form “Palm Sunday” and spreading them on the foreheads of parishioners in the form of a cross.  This is said to be representative of “mourning and repentance.”  This supposedly prepares the adherents for the 40 days of Lent following. Historically, Ash Wednesday was first celebrated annually beginning around the year 960.

2)   LENT – The word “Lent” is from the old English word lencten which means to “lengthen” and was used to describe the longer days of the spring season.  The time span of “Lent” was totally allegorical and imaginative.  It was based upon the fact that Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness as He prepared for His temptation.  Other allegorical assignments were also made:

The duration of the season of Lent is based on the ancient church custom of requiring catechumens to undergo a forty-day period of doctrinal instruction and fasting before being baptized on the evening before Easter This probationary period was called the quarantine (from the Latin word for forty). [2]

The annual celebration of Lent dates to the mid 5th century and is noted by several church historians of that time; Leo, Socrates and Jerome.

3)   PALM SUNDAY – Palm Sunday was never celebrated in the apostolic era and apparently not annually celebrated until the 6th century at the very earliest.[3]

4)   MAUNDY THURSDAY – Thursday is the traditional day of the Lord’s Supper.  “Maunday” comes from the Latin term mandatum novum, meaning new commandment.  It is also known as “Holy Thursday” or “Green Thursday.”

Zelený čtvrtek (Green Thursday) is how the Czechs and Moravians refer to Maundy Thursday. One explanation is that in many places, before the thirteenth century, green vestments were used for the Mass that day. Another is that this is a reference to "the Green Ones," the penitents who, being re-admitted to the Church, wore sprigs of green herbs to express their joy. 

5)   GOOD FRIDAY – The annual celebration of both Good Friday and Easter date to, at the earliest, the 2nd century A.D.  Though unknown in the 1st century, these two festivals were the earliest of practiced “Holy Week” observances from a historical standpoint.

6)   EASTER – The word “Easter” comes from the old Anglo-Saxon word, eostre.  The word generally came to refer to the “spring season.”  It has clear pagan overtones since the word was the name for the so-called goddess of spring:

This mythical figure is said to have been the goddess of the sunrise and the spring. She is the Teutonic goddess of the dawn. The direction of the sunrise, East, is named for her. In Norse mythology, the name is spelled Eostare. Another considered the Norse/Saxon goddess of spring is Ostara. Eastre is believed to be an ancient word for spring.[4]


Any and all “Holy Week” celebrations are at best extra-biblical and at worst un-biblical.  They are all allegorical, presumptuous and self centered.  They were created by men for men and do not glorify God in any way, shape, matter or form.  We were called, not to “Holy Week” but to holy living!  We celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ EVERY Lord’s Day during the Lord’s Supper and not during an annual celebration of so-called “Holy Week.”  For a biblical perspective, read I Corinthians 11. 

– Russ McCullough – 8 April 2012

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