Friday, September 7, 2018

Thy Kingdom Come - The Truth About the Rapture - The Introduction

Thy Kingdom Come

The Truth About the Rapture

Based Upon the Study Guide of the Same Title by: David R Pharr

Lesson #1 – Introduction – Archdale church of Christ


Thesis: “These studies will show why we are not praying “Thy Kingdom come.”  Instead, we are praying that people will come to the Kingdom.”    From the Introduction, pg. 10

1.    Matthew 4.23 – What did Jesus preach? – The gospel of the Kingdom

2.    Matthew 13.31 – What word does Jesus use for “metaphor?” - Like

3.    Matthew 16.18 – 19; 18.18 – What did Jesus anticipate regarding “the key?” – That it would be specifically implemented to lose and bind.

4.     John 3.1 – 7 – How would one enter Christ’s Kingdom? – Not by being born, but by being “born AGAIN.”

5.    Matthew 18.3 – 4 – Being “born again” is akin to what? – Entering the kingdom of God.

6.    John 18.36 – What did Christ tell Pilate that is central to this study? – “My Kingdom is NOT of this world, or else my disciples would fight.”,

7.    Matthew 4.17 – Christ taught that His Kingdom was what? – At hand

8.    Matthew 3.1 – 2 – Who else had this same message? - John

9.    Matthew 10.7 – Jesus taught His disciples to preach what? – That the Kingdom was at hand.

10.                       Mark 9.1 – Just how soon did Christ anticipate the Kingdom coming? - Imminent

11.                       Matthew 6.10 – What was one thing that Christ’s disciples were to pray for? – The coming of the Kingdom

12.                       Acts 2.30 – 36 – When did the Kingdom come? – The Day of Pentecost, 50 days after the crucifixion.

13.                       Daniel 7.13 – 14 – Who had prophesied this? - Daniel

14.                       John 6.15 – Who did the Jews want to rule over them in an earthly Kingdom and who would have none of it? – Jesus, Jesus

15.                       Luke 17.20 – 21 – Just where is the Kingdom of God located?

“What then is the Kingdom of God?  It is Heavenly rule in the Hearts of men.”

16.                       What passage is often twisted to support a coming earthly kingdom that would last 1,000 years? – Revelation 20

17.                       Titus 2.13 – For what do we look? – “The appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ”

18.                       Hebrews 9.28 – For what are we assured of? – His 2nd coming “to save those who are eagerly awaiting Him.”

Material Adapted by:

      Russell H McCullough

Friday, August 10, 2018

No Need of Salvation? - A Sampling of Websites Among churches of Christ

There was a time when nearly every Christian could share the gospel plan of salvation with anyone who would listen,  Not only that, numerous persons in every congregation were "at the ready" to study the Bible with anyone, anywhere, anytime.  Sadly, times may have changed.  For the last twenty years or so most every congregation has posted and maintained a website.  The website is a snapshot of one individual congregation of the churches of Christ (Romans 16.16) and is a reflection of the spiritual health and teaching found there.  

The other day, I viewed three websites of prominent "churches of Christ" (1) in three cities (2) that openly espouse Calvinist / Baptist error on the subject of salvation.  All three state without
equivocation that salvation comes to one without and prior to baptism.(3)  In other words, baptism is simply an "outward sign of an inward grace."  Disturbed, I began to wonder, "Just how prominent is this sectarian error among us?"  "How can we know?"  I needed a sample, a sample that everyone would agree that it was not random on my part.  Where would I find such an objective sample? I decided to list every congregation mentioned in the current issue of the Christian Chronicle for any reason.  Though my count may be off somewhat, I found 42 congregations mentioned by name.  I proceeded to look up the 42 congregations and discover for myself what kind of salvational message each one had on their respective websites.  I then grouped the 42 into 5 separate categories based upon what I discovered.  Here they are:

  1. NO - No website
  2. N/A - No salvational message of any kind
  3. AMB - A salvational message written in ambiguous language that contains some Bible and some Calvinism.  These salvational messages seem to want to have in both ways, "Calvin and Christ"
  4. BIB - A salvational message consistent with what the New Testament teaches.
  5. BAP - A salvational message clearly Calvinist and clearly anti-biblical.
The results are not encouraging.  Of those 42 congregations:

  • 11 congregations have a clearly articulated and biblical salvational message clearly stating that "baptism is for the remission of sins."  This is where the "good news" ends.
  • 11 congregations have no websites whatsoever.
  • 9 congregations have no salvational message of any kind.  In other words these 9 websites do not answer the question of the ages; "What must I do to be saved?"
  • 9 congregations have a salvational message that contains "some Bible" and some "Calvinism."
  • 2 congregations have a clearly articulated Baptist / Calvinist salvational message in clear contradiction with Scripture.

Here are the chilling conclusions:

  • In this sample, only about 26% of all the congregations mentioned by name in the current (August, 2018) edition of the Christian Chronicle have communicated the gospel message on their websites.
  • An equal amount of about 26% of the 42 congregations mentioned have no kind of website at all!
  • Another approx. 21% of the 42 congregations mentioned have no salvational message whatsoever!
  • Disturbingly, yet another approx. 21% of the mentioned congregations have an ambiguous salvational message, mixing Christ and Calvin.
  • At least honestly, an approx. 5% of mentioned congregations openly admit their Baptist / Calvin error by publishing it on their website in a "salvational message."

What does this say about churches of Christ in America?  Can God be pleased when 75% of these "mentioned congregations" either have no website at all, have no salvational message at all, have mixed "Christ and Calvin" in a synchronistic Yahweh / Baal kind of way, or have apostated completely from the Truth by teaching the "doctrines of men?"

Simply, these say that each and every eldership must monitor and revamp their website to biblically answer the question of the ages; "What must I do to be saved?"  Each and every eldership must purge it's website of all Calvinist teaching.  Each and every congregation must make sure that no elder, no deacon, no preacher, no Bible school teacher, or anyone else openly articulates Calvinistic error.  God help us!


(1)  Though their salvational statements are consistent with the teachings of the Baptist Church and other "evangelical" sectarian bodies, these congregations continue to promote themselves as what they once were but are no longer.... "churches of Christ." 
(2) These 3 are: The Providence Road "church of Christ" in Charlotte, NC, the Williamsburg "church of Christ" in Williamsburg, VA, and the Madison "church of Christ" in Madison (Nashville), TN.  
(3) Here are the specific links to which I refer:
a. - "If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and      Savior, then your are ready to be baptized,  Just like a bride and groom show others their love for one another by a wedding ceremony, your baptism is your opportunity to show others that you trust in Christ and are now walking with Him,,, It is a pronouncement of belief.  It is like preaching a visual sermon.  It is a public way of saying to everyone that you have decided to give your life to Jesus Christ... Baptism doesn't make you a believer it shows that your already believe.  The Bible teaches that faith in Christ is the source of our salvation.  Baptism is the biblical response to saving faith.  It is the visible symbol of the commitment you make in your heart....Does water baptism save me?  No.  Scripture is abundantly clear that only Jesus saves (Acts 4.12).  Faith in His actions is the heart of our salvation.  The work of salvation is a finished work by Christ on the cross (Hebrews 9.23 - 28; 10.10 - 14).  Baptism has no redemptive powers of it's own.  There is nothing special about the water in the river, pond or baptistery."
b.  - A very similar statement to Providence Road's appears on the Williamsburg website as you can see by the link.
c. "SALVATION BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH - We believe in the salvation of sinners by grace through repentance and faith in the perfect and sufficient work of the cross of Calvary by which we obtain remission of sins.  (Ephesians 2.8 - 9; Hebrews 9.12, 22; Romans 5.11).  WATER BAPTISM - We believe in the necessity of water baptism by immersion in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in order to fulfill the command of Christ. (Matthew 28.19; Acts 2.37 - 39; 19.1 - 6).

NOTE: Public Domain Image of John Calvin Courtesy of Wikipedia.  "Church of Christ" photograph courtesy of the Archdale church of Christ, Charlotte, NC.

Monday, June 18, 2018

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 essentially a sales training manual for people in the church business.  The PDC is a retelling  of a church-growth movement many refer to as "felt needs evangelism"  - find a person with a need, fill that need, and then share the gospel with them, they will be far more responsive...or so it is claimed.  It's an approach that "appears" to be working in the United States.  The religious landscape today is dominated by so-called emerging churches, so called mega-churches. and so-called progressive churches.  

The "felt needs" programs of the 1970's, 80's and 90's centered upon what was then called "family friendly" Christianity, most notably customized youth programs, community targeted bus programs, and catered senior activities.  It was all very "plug and play," just show up and plug in your kids here, plug in grandad and gramma there, and find your own plug for yourself!  When you're done, unplug everyone and head on home.  There were as many "small groups" as one could imagine where one could experiment with their ever changing "plug and play" desires!

Today, "felt needs" are no long family or even group centric.  They are individual centric.  "What's in it for me?" is the underlying current among todays "seekers."  "Felt needs" today focus on a repentless desire to be "accepted" regardless of one's sinful state.  "Coffee bars" entertain those who "tag along" but don't really want to engage in anything "Christian."  

Several years ago in Charlotte, one emerging church offered a cigar bar out in the parking lot on Father's Day!

People today want "high energy" worship full of visual and auditory stimulation.  Today's "seeker" is not seeking God, he is seeking an emotional experience with the God of his imagination.  Today's "seeker" is longing for something he calls "relevance."  He's a consumer of religious goods and services, those things that will make him more successful, wealthier, admired and personally valuable in his community.

There was no "felt needs" church growth in the 1st century

There IS, however, a church growth pattern in the New Testament. It is found in Acts, chapter 11.19 - 21 regarding the church of Christ in Antioch, Syria.  

1. Find a place no one else is interested in doing a church plant.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

More Blessed than the Apostles? - In One Way...YES!

Audio and Outline of a Sermon Rendered 3 June 2018, Morning Service, Archdale church of Christ, 2525 Archdale Drive, Charlotte, NC 28210 by Russell H McCullough:

Text: Luke 1.26 - 33; John 20.24 – 31
Thesis: We are more blessed than the apostles because we have only HEARD the testimony, never seeing it.
Introduction – Why does no one doubt the veracity of the existence of any other historical figure OTHER than Christ Jesus? 
• Who ever heard; “I would believe in the existence of Julius Caesar if only I could have seen him.”
• Who ever heard; “I would believe in the existence of Abraham Lincoln if only if I could have seen him.”
• Who ever heard: “I would believe in the existence of the law of gravity if only I can see it.”
• Today, people have more faith in the words of Charles Darwin than they do in the words of Jesus Christ!
• NO ONE here today has ever seen any of these mentioned.
1. We know of these and believe in their existence because of the testimony of the spoken word of 3rd parties.
a. People simply believe some 3rd parties and dismiss others.

I – Luke’s Testimony – Do you believe in angels?

a. Hearing is believing
b. Admiral Cochrane
• “Besides 9/11, the only other attack by an outside force on Washington, D.C. was in 1814 when Adm. George Cockburn of the British Royal Navy, literally walked into the White House, at Pres. James Madison’s dinner, drank his wine, and then sat fire to the place.”  DID YOU BELIEVE WHAT YOU HEARD OR NOT?

II – Luke’s Testimony – Do you believe in the virgin pregnancy?

a. Hearing is believing
b. Edwin Booth
• “Months before his assassination, Abraham Lincoln’s son Robert fell from a train platform in Jersey City.  The hand that pulled him to safety belonged to Edwin Booth, brother of John Wilkes Booth (Lincoln’s killer).”  DO YOU BELIEVE WHAT YOU HEARD OR NOT?

III – Luke’s Testimony – Do you believe in the eternal reign?

a. Hearing is believing
b. The Polish impostor
• “After a Polish impostor who claimed the throne of Russia was found out, he was executed, burned and had his ashes shot out of a cannon back toward Poland.”  DO YOU BELIEVE WHAT YOU JUST HEARD OR NOT?

CONCLUSION:  People believe what they want to believe without evidence and reject what they want to reject regardless of evidence!

 “The Gospel Call” – Acts 2.38 -

NOTE: Illustrations courtesy of “WTF Fun Facts”

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Proverbs Wednesday - April 18

Proverbs Wednesday for April 18, 2018 - Observations and Prayer


* Isolation seeks one's own selfish ambitions and opposes all wise judgement.  (The "anthem" of the recluse is "I Am A Rock" by Simon and Garfunkel):

* The lazy in work are the ally of destruction.

* "The Name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run to it and are saved."

* To interrupt another's speech is foolish and shameful.

* A good spirit will make a sick man well but a broken spirit will kill him.

* The wise heart accumulates knowledge and the wise ear looks for it.

* An offended brother is harder to win than a well fortified city.

* The produce of one's labors brings both life and satisfaction.

* A man of many contacts may come to ruin - BUT - a friend sticks closer than a brother!


Our Most Kind and Generous Holy Father;

All glory, power, and honor to Your most Holy Name!  May we reject isolation and instead embrace fellowship, friendship, and brotherhood in ever expanding hospitality.  May we reject laziness and instead embrace hard work and dedication to our vocation.  May this be always on our lips each day; "The Name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run to it and are saved."  As we speak with others may we cease interruption and answering out of turn for this is both foolish and shameful.  May Your Spirit infuse our souls so that we will live a sustained life here on earth.  May we all continually seek and accumulate knowledge until the day of our death.  May we seek never to offend others and work even harder to win back those whom we might offend.  May we dedicate ourselves to production of goods and services for this brings about profit, benefit, and satisfaction for both others and ourselves.  May we seek and keep real friends and never be satisfied with mere contacts.
Forgive us, Lord, when we fall short of these things.

In the Name of Jesus we pray; AMEN

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Ephesians 5 - The Great Mystery Chiasm

Ephesians 5 speaks about marriage, but it is not about marriage.  Ephesians 5 speaks about Christian living, but it is not about Christian living.  Ephesians 5 speaks about singing in Christian worship, but it is not about singing in Christian worship.  If it is not about these things, just what IS it about?

Ephesians 5 is about God's great mystery, the church of Christ.  It is illustrated here by Paul primarily by marriage and "clean" living which includes "singing to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs."

Ephesians 5 tells us primarily about Christ's relationship to the church which is a "great mystery."  Since Paul in several places reveals the mysterious church of Christ (the mystery is that the gospel is for all, not just the Jews) and makes sure by inspiration that the church of Christ remain a mystery no longer!

The Jews organized their writings (including Inspired Scripture) is a way unlike extant Westerners (shocking!).  Instead of lining up arguments in a line with a conclusion at the end, Hebraic literature would often have a thesis in the middle with arguments on the front end descending to the thesis and corresponding arguments ascending backwards to the thesis.  These "chiasms" rendered emphasis without repetition.  There also was an "internal tension" between the various top and bottom assertions.  For example, the "no uncleanness to be named among you" of Ephesian 5.3 - 5 is contrasted by Ephesians 5.31's "For this reason..."  It goes without saying that a faithful monogamous relationship will allow no uncleanness.  This "chiastic" outline gets its name from the Greek alphabet letter "X" (chi) as it looks like a cut in half letter "X."

Here is Ephesians 5 outlined chiastically.  As Paul did not leave us his outlines, this has been organized by me and me alone.  The Word is without error but my outline might not be!  Feel free to construct your own chiasm's to further your study of God's Word!

2        Walk as did Christ in love, sacrifice and offering
          3 – 5  No uncleanness to be named among you      
                   6        Be wary of deception
                             16      Redeem the time
                                      20 – 21        Submit to all with thanksgiving
                                           22 – 23 Christ is the head of the church – LEADER
                                                                     Christ is the Savior of the Body - SERVANT
                                      24a    The church is submissive to Christ    
                             24b    Wives are subject to husbands in everything
                   25 – 26   Husbands, love your wives AS Christ loved the church
          31      “For this reason a man should leave his father and mother and…
32      This is a great mystery BUT see Romans 16.25 – 26 & Colossians 1.26 - 29

This outline was presented to the Archdale church of Christ, 2525 Archdale Drive, Charlotte, NC 28210 on 11 April 2018 by Russell H McCullough

Sunday, April 1, 2018

The Hallowed Name of God

God is not limited to just one name.  The OT lists at least 21 formal names for God.  We serve and pray to a God who is intrinsically and definitionaly Holy.  Anything else and / or anyone else is only declaratively holy.  God must declare it to make it so.  Holiness can never be self obtained.  In this lesson on prayer, we learn that the God to whom we pray is the only Father, the only Hallowed One, and has many powerful Names for His Infinite Holiness.


Sunday, March 25, 2018

It's WHEN We Pray, Not IF We Pray!

LISTEN! to this sermon on SOUNDCLOUD!


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

Russell H. McCullough / Archdale church of Christ, 2525 Archdale Drive, Charlotte, NC 28210 / - Date:  25 March 2018

Text: Matthew 6.5 - 13
Thesis:  Prayer is to the soul as breathing is to the body.  Breathing is not optional, and neither is prayer!
          Sing: “How Long Has It Been?”
          Read the Words to the Song
          Luke 11 – “Teach us to pray”
          Matthew 6 – In the middle of the Sermon on the Mount
* Prayer is to be taught but more important, it is to be lived.
F. B. Meyer – “The greatest tragedy of life is not unanswered prayer, but unoffered prayer.”
Please stand:

Our Most Kind and Gracious Heavenly Father;
As we study the prayer that Jesus taught us, may we with broken and contrite hearts seek Your Presence in prayer with the breath of our lungs as we receive the Breath of Your Word from the Scriptures.  Forgive us not for what we say in prayer but, for not saying it more often.
In the Name of Jesus Christ;
And All the church said; AMEN
Please be seated:
William Law – “Prayer is the nearest approach to God and the highest enjoyment of Him that we are capable of in this life.”
          Jesus makes 3 points as He introduces the Disciples Prayer
1.   It’s WHEN not IF
2.   Don’t Pray like this
3.   Do Pray like this
I It’s WHEN not IF We Pray!
A.  That Christians not pray is not in the equation of Christ at all.
B.  The question before us today is NOT “when should we pray?” but rather, “when should we NOT be praying[RM1] ?!”
C.   The fact remains though, we are not typically praying people.  Why not?
D.  Why do Christians fail to pray?
1.   They don’t really believe.
a.   God and / or prayer
b.   We really don’t believe “that God is and He is the rewarder of those that diligently seek Him.”
2.   They neglect the assembly
a.   I Corinthians 11.30 – “That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.”
1)  Dead people don’t breathe, dead Christians don’t pray.
3.   They feel guilty about something.
4.   They are afraid God is angry with them.
5.   They feel awkward.
6.   They feel embarrassed
7.   They don’t know what to say or how to say it.
8.   They are afraid God won’t answer their prayers.
9.   They are afraid God WILL answer their prayers!
E.   George Herbert: “Prayer is the key to the day and the lock of the night.”
II Pray Not Like This – READ Matthew 6.5 - 8
A.  We automatically discount this portion for no one in our society is admired for public praying.
1.   BUT, should we ignore this?
B.  When praying publicly, we often word things in certain ways so we will meet 3rd party expectations.
C.   When praying either publicly or privately, we often say things in such a way to make sure we “say it the right way” so God won’t “hang up the phone on us.”
D.  When praying publicly, we often word things in such a way so as not to offend someone in our hearing[RM2] , or to please someone in our hearing.
E.   We must pray always regardless of how we feel spiritually, physically, mentally, psychologically or any other way and NOT give in to changes based upon any other person’s expectations.
F.   Albert Mohler – “Authentic prayer is never about impressing anyone (for any reason.)”
III Pray Like This – READ Matthew 6.9
A.  Charles Sprugeon, the English Baptist preacher of the 19th century once said; “I would just as soon pray with a machine as to sing with one.”  
1.   Rout praying, like an instrument, is mechanical.
2.   Mechanical prayers are liturgical.
a.   “The Book of Common Prayer”
3.   There is no kind of liturgical worship patterned for us in the New Testament.
4.   The Disciples Prayer is not liturgical and was never meant to be by Jesus.  It was instead, a guide for spontaneous, heartfelt, and sincere prayers for the saints of all time.
5.   How do we know this?
6.   We know this because of Jesus’ very precise use of the compound Greek word, houto, rendered “like this,” “in this manner,” or “after this manner.”
a.   Per Strong’s: “In this way, after this manner, like, on this fashion, in like manner, thus.”
b.   Christians are not robots and Jesus did not teach us to pray like robots.

Let us pray:

Our Most Divine and Majestic Heavenly Father;

May we this day and every day pray to You often as we should.  May we never seek the favor or permission of any human for what we say to You in private or in public.  May we pray as Jesus taught us to.  May our prayers never be mechanical or artificial.  May we approach You in prayer always even if we are fearful.  Even if we are feeling awkward.  Even if we feel guilt and remorse.  Even when the words won’t come.  Even when we are embarrassed.  Even when we are weakened by fear and doubt.  May we hurry to prayer especially when we are tempted by our weaknesses.  Forgive us Lord and draw us near to Your heart.

In the Name of Jesus, we pray;

And all the church said; AMEN


The Word of God is our conclusion today: “The Lord is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous.” – Proverbs 15.29


“The Gospel Call” – If you are not a Christian, you cannot pray “Our Father.”  Therefore: “Repent, everyone of you, and be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” – Acts 2.38

·         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:
Ruins photo courtesy of:

Thy Kingdom Come - The Truth About the Rapture - The Introduction

Thy Kingdom Come The Truth About the Rapture Based Upon the Study Guide of the Same Title by: David R Pharr Lesson #1 – I...