Sunday, April 24, 2016

Busted! for Attempted High-Jacking!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pvC4VlTZvI&feature=youtu.be

(Highlight link, Right Click your Mouse and Click "Go to" in order to view)

“Busted! For Attempted High-jacking”

“From Ulster Plantation to the Carolina’s with the Gospel!” *

Russell H. McCullough / Archdale church of Christ, 2525 Archdale Drive, Charlotte, NC 28210
www.archdale.org / gospelcall.blogspot.com - Date:  24 April 2016

Text: Mark 7.9 - 13
Thesis:  A fine way to reject the commands of God is to establish one’s own tradition

1          Introduction - Review

A. The “chosen” did not need, ask for or even want forgiveness
B. The “chosen” presumed to brag before God of their “righteousness.”
             1) Luke 18.10 – 12
             2) Romans 2.17 - 23
C. The Pharisees were “Social Darwinists” 19 centuries before Darwin!
1) All life moves continually upward from the simple to the  Complex, they saw themselves as the “best and      brightest” of all those who had come before!

2        Establishing The Tradition of Moral Transference

A. “Bragging rights” trumped what “is right!”
B. The irony of Matthew 27.6!
             1) “Corban” (oblation, offering) used here and in our text
C. “The ends justify the means.”  Or…  “I’m doing this for the “greater good.”
             1) Elder abuse was wrong then and it’s wrong now even if
     one takes their abused parent to church with them!
D. Cloaking evil with “good” is much like having a golden trash can!
E. We are to love people and use things, not, love things and use people.

3        Establishing The Tradition of Allegorical Interpretation

A. They established their doctrine of “corban” by reading between the lines, as it were, in the Torah
B. Define allegory
             1) Hidden meaning
             2) Personally assigned interpretation
             3) A clear signal of agnosticism!
             4) A vehicle of rationalization and self-justification
C. Allegorical interpretation leads to rationalization, compromise, surrender, hypocrisy and ultimately disbelief.

4        Establishing The Tradition of Imagination as Truth

A. The dislodge of “old truth” demands creation of “new truth”
B. Since “old truth” is revealed, “new truth” must be created.
C. In order for “new truth” to be created, it must first be “imagined.”
D. Thomas Aquinas and the “6th sense.” – IMAGINATION!
E. The Pharisees “imagined” that elder abuse could be justified by “corban.” 
F. It is the “knowledge of the truth,” NOT the “imagining of the truth that “sets us free!”

5        Establishing The Tradition of Weaponizing Doctrine

A. In the movie “Hunt for Red October,” the Russian submarine is destroyed by its own torpedo
B. The Pharisees weaponized doctrine by transference, allegory and imagination only to have it destroy them and their nation 40 years later.
C. BEWARE!  The doctrine you shoot at someone else may just miss them and return to make you a target of God’s wrath!

6        The Meaning of the Text

A.   Handing down tradition voids the Word of God!

7         The Challenge of the Text

A. Morality and Doctrine must always be in sync in order to avoid hypocrisy
B. We must embrace the Scripture is its own Interpreter in order to avoid hypocrisy
C. We must never replace Truth by imagination in order to avoid hypocrisy
D. We must never weaponize Scripture in order to avoid hypocrisy




·         My fifth great uncle was Hugh Gaston who was rector at the Ballywillan Presbyterian Church (pictured above left) in County Antrim, Ulster Plantation (Northern Ireland) and wrote the most dangerous book of his time; Gaston’s Collections.  It allowed “the ploughman to know more Bible than his clergyman.”  Hugh fled to South Carolina where he died prematurely of the measles.  He is buried just one hour south of Charlotte in Chester County, S.C. in “Burnt Meeting House Cemetery.”   Uncle Hugh continues to inspire my ministry to this very day.  You can read more about Uncle Hugh here: http://www.ballywillanpci.org/rev-hugh-gaston
Ruins photo courtesy of: ballywillanpci.org.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Jesus and the Outlaws!



Image Courtesy of: Ballywillin Presbyterian Church PCI, County Antrim, Ireland

"From Ulster Plantation to the Carolina’s with the Gospel!” *

Russell H. McCullough / Archdale church of Christ, 2525 Archdale Drive, Charlotte, NC 28210
www.archdale.org / gospelcall.blogspot.com - Date: 17 April 2016

https://youtu.be/zlKDJpIZmS0 

Text: Mark 7.1 - 8
Thesis: Tradition is a False Guide, a “strong delusion,” making one an OUTLAW!

The Reenactment of the OK Coral!

1          Introduction

A. “The Talmud is the heart of Rabbinic Judaism; after the Bible, the Talmud is the book most studied by religious Jews and the Hebrew Bible is read and interpreted in light of the Talmud.” – Joe Carter in “Gospel Coalition” August 2014
B. We reviewed the theological approach of the Pharisees last week, essentially…what was important to the Pharisees was not the Bible but what the rabbis SAID ABOUT the Bible!
C. As forgiveness and salvation were not considered due to their “favored status” with God, they were most concerned with “Works of righteousness” that elevated them above other men in the sight of God.
D. The Pharisees and the Scribes saw Jesus not only as a heretic but as a threat to their hold on the people.  
E. This scene is full of high drama, much like a showdown in the “wild west.”
F. The consequences of this showdown are far more urgent than the consequences of every conflict in every time…rolled into one.
G. Leaving the Commandments of God for the Traditions of men is a false guide, “a strong delusion.”
H. II Thes. 2.7 – 12 – Literally “without law”
             1. I Corinthians 9.21 – “without law” - --- OUTLAW
I. JESUS IS STARING DOWN THE OUTLAWS OF JUDEA!

2        Of Hands, Cups and Couches – Mark 7.1 -  5

A. The tradition of Hand Washing
B. The tradition of Cup Washing
C. The tradition of Couch Washing
D. The Awkward Question

3        The Explosive Answer – Mark 7.6 - 7

A. Isaiah’s prophesy names you of hypocrisy for your embrace of tradition!
B. The embrace of tradition shows that the lips and the heart are not in sync, they are in opposition
C. Traditional worship is vain worship
D. The doctrine of men is NOT the Doctrine of God!

4        The Line in the Sand – Mark 7.8

A. When one leaves the commandment of God, he embraces the tradition of men.
B. When one embraces the traditions of men, he leaves the commandment of God.

5        The Meaning of the Text

A. “Argumentum ad antiqitatem” or Appeal to Traditon
B. Will we embrace tradition or will be embrace Christ?
C. The appeal to tradition is the same as leaving the commandment of God.
D. The embrace of tradition is a “false guide” and a “strong delusion.”
E. Tradition is a spiritual narcotic. 
1. Tradition numbs the mind
2. Tradition erases both guilt and duty towards a Holy God. 
3. Tradition will lull one into a deep spiritual sleep that will ultimately result in a fatal overdose.
       F. To embrace tradition is to become an OUTLAW
 G. To embrace tradition is to embrace death itself.

6        The Challenge of the Text

A.   Clearly understand the origination of all modern religious traditions can be traced to the Council of Trent in 1545 that declared that Tradition, Canon Law and Scripture are equal legs  that must all stand together equally. Roman Catholicism also declares the "Laws of the Church" to be of equal authority with Scripture.  Canon  252 Sec. 3 claims sacred tradition is the basis for dogmatic theology.
1.      "We confess that the Pope has the power of altering Scripture, or increasing and diminishing it, according to his will." --Article I, "Confessio Romani-Catholica - 1838 Tom. 2, p. 343
2.     "We confess that whatsoever new thing the Pope of Rome may have instituted whether it be in Scripture, or out of Scripture, its true, divine, and salvific; and, therefore, ought to be regarded as of higher value by lay people than the precepts of the living God." --Article IV,"Confessio Romani-Catholica - 1838 Tom. 2, p. 343
3.    "We confess that Holy Scripture is imperfect and a dead letter, until it is explained by the Supreme Pontiff and permitted by him to be read by lay people." --Article XXI, "Confessio Romani-Catholica, 1838 Tom. 2, p. 343

SOURCE: http://www.dianedew.com/traditn.htm

B. Clearly understand that the Council of Trent and the “Tradition of the Elders” are both cut from the same block of wood.
C. Clearly understand that the appeal to tradition among churches of Christ regarding the instrument, female leadership and changing the meaning of baptism stems directly from Satan via the Tradition of the Elders and the Council of Trent.

7         “The Gospel Call”





·         My fifth great uncle was Hugh Gaston who was rector at the Ballywillan Presbyterian Church (pictured above left) in County Antrim, Ulster Plantation (Northern Ireland) and wrote the most dangerous book of his time; Gaston’s Collections.  It allowed “the ploughman to know more Bible than his clergyman.”  Hugh fled to South Carolina where he died prematurely of the measles.  He is buried just one hour south of Charlotte in Chester County, S.C. in “Burnt Meeting House Cemetery.”   Uncle Hugh continues to inspire my ministry to this very day.  You can read more about Uncle Hugh here: http://www.ballywillanpci.org/rev-hugh-gaston

Ruins photo courtesy of: ballywillanpci.org.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Revelation 14, Part 2 - The Victory of the Lamb Over Satan, Rome and False Religion

REVELATION! - “Written To Us, About Us or For Us?” Lesson 45
Chapter 14 –Part 2 – Primary Sources: The Holy Bible
and Homer Hailey’s REVELATION: An Introduction and Commentary
 Archdale church of Christ 04.013.16


Image Courtesy - Bing Images

What are our 6 principles of understanding Revelation?  1) No CONTRADICTIONS  with other passages, 2) These events will take place SOON and 3) This letter is written to the 7 CHURCHES of ASIA  and are not written To US or About US.  4) Theses things are, however, written FOR us!  5) This letter is written in highly SYMBOLIC language.  6) One will find Revelation most difficult to understand, comprehend and apply without always having open the OLD TESTAMENT.
The contrast between Revelation 13 and 14 is the contrast between the ____________ and the __________.  John heard a ___________ from heaven that sounded like the ________________________________________.  The 144,000 are the ________________ and they are characterized as _____________.  They follow the Lamb wherever He _________ and in their mouths are found no ______________.
1.      Per vs. 6, what does John now see?
2.      He carries what for whom?
3.      What 3 commands are given in vs. 7?
4.      What 4 things did God create?
5.      How could “Babylon the Great” be spoken of as having “fallen” though Rome was still at her height of power?
a.       Isaiah 46.10 ___________________________________
b.       Isaiah 48.3. __________________________________
c.        Jeremiah 51.8 _________________________________
6.      What kind of message would this be to the 7 churches?
7.      What was announced as being the great sin of the Great Babylon?
8.      What does John now see?
9.      What is the fate of those who worship the Beast and receives his mark?
10.  Just what is the “endurance of the faith?”
11.  A voice from heaven commanded John to do what?
12.  What does the Spirit now say?
13.  What does John see in vs. 14?
14.  What 3 things describe the one sitting on this cloud?
a.       _____________________________________
b.       _____________________________________
c.        _____________________________________
15.  What does the 2nd angel now say to the one seated on the cloud?
16.  What now happens to the earth?
17.  Describe the next angel that comes out.
18.  Describe the 4th angel.
19.  What does he now do?
20.  How high and how wide was the blood of the wrath of God?

ONGOING LESSONS CAN BE FOUND AT: HTTP://GOSPELCALL.BLOGSPOT.COM REMEMBER TO INVITE YOUR FRIENDS AND COWORKERS TO THESE STUIES WHERE ALL ARE WELCOME

TEACHERS COPY
REVELATION! - “Written To Us, About Us or For Us?” Lesson 45
Chapter 14 –Part 2 – Primary Sources: The Holy Bible
and Homer Hailey’s REVELATION: An Introduction and Commentary
 Archdale church of Christ 04.013.16

What are our 6 principles of understanding Revelation?  1) No CONTRADICTIONS  with other passages, 2) These events will take place SOON and 3) This letter is written to the 7 CHURCHES of ASIA  and are not written To US or About US.  4) Theses things are, however, written FOR us!  5) This letter is written in highly SYMBOLIC language.  6) One will find Revelation most difficult to understand, comprehend and apply without always having open the OLD TESTAMENT.
The contrast between Revelation 13 and 14 is the contrast between the DRAGON and the LAMB.  John heard a VOICE from heaven that sounded like the ROAR OF MANY WATERS, LOUD THUNDER AND THE SOUND OF MANY HARPS.  The 144,000 are the REDEEMED and they are characterized as VIRGINS.  They follow the Lamb wherever He GOES and in their mouths are found no LIES.
1.      Per vs. 6, what does John now see?
Another angel flying directly overhead
2.      He carries what for whom?
An eternal or everlasting gospel for those who dwell on the earth
3.      What 3 commands are given in vs. 7?
Fear God, give God the glory, worship Him
4.      What 4 things did God create?
Heaven, earth, sea and the springs of water under the earth
5.      How could “Babylon the Great” be spoken of as having “fallen” though Rome was still at her height of power?
a.       Isaiah 46.10 – He declares the end at the beginning
b.       Isaiah 48.3 – “I announce and suddenly they are done”
c.        Jeremiah 51.8 – He announced once before that Babylon had “fallen” and she then she did!
6.      What kind of message would this be to the 7 churches?
Hope, faith, encouragement, triumph, victory, etc.
7.      What was announced as being the great sin of the Great Babylon?
Making religion one with the state and making sexual immorality one with the state religion
8.      What does John now see?
Another, a third, angel
9.      What is the fate of those who worship the Beast and receives his mark?
He will drink the wine of God’s wrath…at full strength
10.  Just what is the “endurance of the faith?”
Keeping the commandments of God and keeping faith in Jesus
11.  A voice from heaven commanded John to do what?
Write this
12.  What does the Spirit now say?
“Blessed indeed!”
13.  What does John see in vs. 14?
A white cloud with one like a son of man sitting on it
14.  What 3 things describe the one sitting on this cloud?
a.       He is like a son of man
b.       He has a crown on his head
c.        He has a sharp sickle in His hand
15.  What does the 2nd angel now say to the one seated on the cloud?
Put In your sickle and reap for the hour to reap has come
16.  What now happens to the earth?
The earth was reaped
17.  Describe the next angel that comes out.
He too had a sharp sickle
18.  Describe the 4th angel.
One who had authority over the fire
19.  What does he now do?
Called for the 3rd angel to gather the grape harvest from the earth
20.  How high and how wide was the blood of the wrath of God?
As deep as the height of a horse’s bridle and approx.. 184 miles wide (1,600 stadia)

Conclusion: Chapter 14 describes the total victory of Christ over Satan and his surrogates, the Roman Empire and it’s false religion of emperor worship.  Rome falls and the church of Christ lives forever!


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Groups, Ghettos and the Mega Church


Public Domain Image via Bing Images via shadowwings.com

11 April 2016 (Mint Hill, NC)  The so-called "Mega Church" movement is accelerating here in America.  What appears to be growth, strength and progress is in reality, shrinkage, weakness and decline.  It is no more than a modern day version of "circling the wagons."

We live on a "different planet" that that which I grew up on.  "Back in the day," what was characterized as "church growth" was individual, sacrificial and organic.  Instead of "seeking out a church home" that would cater to one's own narcissism, people would jump at the chance to build something from the ground up to serve the needs of others.  Individuals would work to build a congregation by sacrificing their own wants, wishes and expectations for the sake of others.  These were the days when there was no need to call for "volunteers," the work would have to be shared because there were always more of the "willing" than could be accommodated.  In other words, there were growing churches with deep benches as opposed to swelling churches with nearly everyone "sitting in the recliners."  Worship was a very public participatory event and not a time when one would privately view "professionals" do it all.  In short, the church of yesterday was a place of service.  The "mega church" of today, however, is a place to be "served."

What has changed?  A number of things but primarily just three.  First of all, people today no longer see themselves as the sinners that they are.  Its society that needs changing not individuals.  Secondly, only accomplished professionals should preach, teach and lead in worship.  This false humility has led to only those with extreme talent being allowed to "perform."  Finally, the one change that has led more to the so-called "mega church" movement than the previous two is that people no longer identify as individuals, they identify themselves as part of a "group."  (By the way..."groups" aren't as guilty sin as much as individuals are!)  Not only groups per se but groups that deserve to have "church" catered to them in a very precise and targeted way.

Whereas individuals see deficiencies as challenges to be overcome, groups see deficiencies as evidence of discrimination...the kind of discrimination that demands special treatment in repreation.  This change has come about as society has come to elevate opinion, toleration and diversity as somehow being virtuous.  No longer do people look to the "good of others," they demand to "have it their way."  This, of course, leads to a very "mobile church."  A mobile church is one that is made up of extremely sensitive people threatening continually to leave.  Should their ever changing "felt needs" be not catered to, they're gone to the next "retail outlet."  Not only do they demand that their "felt needs" be catered to, they demand that they be catered to in an ever increasing upward way, "continuous improvement" if you please.  If you "bring them in with hamburger, you'll have to keep them with steak!"

Churches used to have events a number of times a year.  These events, such as outings, picnics, fellowships, etc. were always for EVERYONE.  From the tiny infant to the most elderly, everyone came, no one was left out and no one was catered too.  "God is no respecter of persons" and neither was the church.  Today, people afflicted with what we will call "groupism" would be insulted if they were invited to an event that did not reflect their own perceived demographic preference.  Just look at where we've come!  There's "Kids Church," "Pre - Teens," "Teens," "College Age," "Young Professionals," "Families With Children," "Singles," "Divorced," "Empty Nesters," "Senior Saints" and the list just keeps expanding!  Of course the most damning "groupism" is that which is institutionally imposed upon many congregations by their own elderships.  Many formerly faithful congregations have been purposely divided into the "instrument" and the "non-instrument" factions. As displeased as God is with divisions that "just happen," how much more is He displeased when His own shepherds divide the flock on purpose?  Each group demands, not only their own separate activities, often they demand their own "paid professional" to continually pander to their ever increasing selfishness. Individuals serving others makes a congregation of God's people.  A collection of self serving groups is nothing more than the world gathered under the roof of a building.  The "mega church" movement is the Balkinization of God's people.

So...what does this look like in reality?  It DOESN'T look like that for which Christ prayed for in the garden; "...may they all be one in Me as I am in Thee."  It looks, instead, like that which Paul so strongly taught against to the Corinthians and the Galatians!   "...let there be no divisions among you but..be united in the same mind and the same judgement." ((I Corinthians 1.10b)  "...If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed."  (Galatians 1.9b)

Here's the bottom line...when congregations Balkanize themselves along the lines of demographics and preferences, they create spiritual ghettos within the church.  Ghettos, by definition, are cut off from the rest of the world - AND THEN THEY DIE.  Whether the ghettoization is forced from the outside or is a result of the desire of the group inside...the end result is the same.  The Mega Church is killing off the Body of Christ one ghetto at a time. 

Let us return to the "old paths."  Let us serve others as did Christ and rebury the old man of sin and selfishness.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

72nd Annual Carolina Lectures Address of 7 April 2016

“Forgiveness – The Defeat of Revenge & The Victory of Surrender”
Russell H. McCullough / 72nd Carolina Lectures / Mountain Island church of Christ

http://www.micoc.org/sermons/CL0709AM.mp3 

Text:  Matthew 6.14 – 15 (Context: 5 – 15)
Job 42.10 – “And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends.  And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.”
James 5.19 – 20
The IRONY of Christianity: The more we mature, the more we are aware of our own sins.  The more aware we are of our own sins, the more our need of forgiveness.  In order to receive more forgiveness, the more forgiveness we must give to others.  The only way that is accomplished is to be increasingly engaged in the lives of others.  AND the only way that is accomplished is to increasingly spread the gospel,
Thesis:  “Biblical forgiveness isn’t emotion, it isn’t action, it isn’t even theological – Biblical forgiveness is DEFINITIVE, it is who we are!
“In short, The Who of Forgiveness is ME, the What of Forgiveness is SURRENDER, the When of Forgiveness is NOW, the WHY of Forgiveness is God’s Will, and the Where of Forgiveness is EVERYWHERE.”
OBSERVATIONALLY:  Forgiveness is “Ify,” – I get what I give, forgiveness is necessary for OTHERS, forgiveness is necessary for me and…forgiveness is definitive of God!

1          Intro: “Forgiveness in the Pharisee’s Theology”

A.   The Pharisee followed, not the Law and the Prophets, but the Oral Law of the Jews…what is now known as the TALMUD.
1.      The TALMUD is a written commentary by many Rabbi’s over about 400 years beginning about 200 B.C and ending about 200 A.D.
2.     By the time of Christ these “traditions” had become superior to the Scriptures themselves.
3.    In truth, the concept of “forgiveness” was nearly foreign to the Pharisees theology.  As he saw it, he didn’t NEED forgiving!  Why?

             He was of the chosen race
             He was the child of Abraham
             He was the possessor of the Law
             He was the possessor of the Land
             He was the possessor of the Temple
             He was the possessor of the Promise
             He was the possessor of the Mark of God
             He was the possessor of God’s blessings of health,
             wealth, power and position
             His atonement was accomplished in Babylon
             His restoration was accomplished upon the return
             Forgiveness was only for others beneath his station
             not himself
             Forgiveness was only for those who asked him for it
             Forgiveness was given by him only to others who
             deserved it
             Forgiveness was only for those poor and sick
             Forgiveness was a quid pro quo, reciprocity,  
             transaction where the giver got something of “equal or
             lesser value” in return

2        The Meaning of the Word “Forgiveness” in the NT:

A.   The Root Word for “Forgiveness” is Translated 3 Ways:
1)     Matthew 26.28 – “Remission”
2)    Mark 3.29 – “Forgiveness”
3)   Luke 4.18 – “Liberty”
B. THAYER – “Release from bondage or imprisonment.  Forgiveness or pardon of sins (letting them go as if they had never been committed), remission of the penalty.”
C. STRONG – “Freedom, pardon, deliverance, forgiveness, liberty, remission.”
D. In reality, forgiveness defined is a process.
             1) Defeat one’s “right” of revenge
             2) Seek the good of one’s adversary
             3) Pour out the gospel of forgiveness
             4) Achieve victory for both you and your adversary by your
                   surrender to the will of God - 
“Forgiveness – The Defeat of Revenge and the Victory of Surrender!”

3        What Does Forgiveness Look Like to JESUS?

A.   Forgiveness is EXEMPLARLY – Luke 23.34
B.   Forgiveness is PURPOSEFUL – Luke 4.18 - 19
C.    Forgiveness is REACTIVE – Matthew 5.43 - 46
D.   Forgiveness is PROACTIVE – II Corinthians 5.10 – 11a
E.    Forgiveness is CONDITIONAL – Matthew 6.9 - 15
F.    Forgiveness is COMMANDED – Matthew 28.18 - 20
G.   Forgiveness is REWARDED – Matthew 6.19 - 21

4        The Meaning of the Text

A. The longer one lives, the more forgiveness one needs!
B. The way to receive more forgiveness is to give more of it away!
C. The more forgiveness one gives away, the more one receives!

5        The Challenge of the Text

A. II Corinthians 5.16 – 21 – Surrender to one’s calling
B. Seek out the enemy
C. Surrender your “rights”
D. Engage the enemy through love and caring
E. Pour out the sweet wine of the gospel from your vessel to theirs.

6        “The Gospel Call” – Defeat Revenge, Find Victory in Surrender, Find forgiveness by giving the gospel away to the enemy”

Church Growth 1st Century Style

Public Domain Image Produced before 1923 A number of years ago I read a book entitled The Purpose Driven Church .  It was essent...