Wednesday, June 08, 2016

An ICC-sold out Lead Evangelist leaves Kip McKean's Second Movement

Read about Gabriel Reed’s reasons for leaving the International Christian Churches (ICC)/Sold Out Discipling Movement – because we found the doctrine to not be sound or healthy for true Christians.

Some noteworthy conclusions by Reed:
It is happening again. The thing you fear the most is happening again. Our movement is crashing. There is no money and people are leaving faster than are being baptized

  • Gabriel Reed,
  • Living in The Book of Acts, Monday, April 25, 2016 

    To Every Other Disciple in the ICC Study these things out. Ask the questions. If it feels weird, it is because it is weird. You have the Holy Spirit, learn to trust it. The fact is the leaders need you more than you need the leaders. They need your money, your evangelism, your friends, your family, and your time. They [sic]only they have the authority you give them.
    Remember, I am not from the Old Movement. I was trained by the LA church. I was appointed by the LA church. And I was sent out by the LA church. Since I’ve left they’ve done exactly what I said they would. They’ve already began to soil my name with sin that they helped cover up. They are using manipulation and deceit to win the disciples after themselves. Soon will come a letter about marking and disfellowshipment (again) In reality, that’s all they can do. They cannot answer anything I am saying because they know its true. All they can say is that I’m evil and to control who talks to me on Facebook. They fear the people thinking for themselves. It’s too dangerous. They must protect themselves at any cost.
    This is what they do. They show up and you show up guarded and with questions. They tell you how awful it was that someone left the church. I've been on the phone with TK, "When I disfellowship a guy, I make the church feel like I'm sad. That's the most important thing bro. The church must believe that you're actually sad" This is what he said to me when other people left the church in Eugene. They tell you how sad it is that Satan got to that person. Then before you realize it, they're giving you an inspirational lesson about how we need to save the world. You laugh and get excited and by the end of it you're more fired up to give them more of your time and money than you ever had. And then you treat the person who left as if they had a disease. A week ago, this person was your best friend in The Kingdom. You were going to leave the Lord and they helped you keep your faith. And now they may or may not be a disciple. Then you with the leaders. They hang out with you, buy you lunch and you feel so loved. You're so enamored with their spirituality. This person could never have an evil bone in their body. After all the other guy left. (By the way, can someone explain the least hurtful way to leave the ICC? There isn't one because it's the only true church out there right?) And just like that all the questions and suspicions you have are gone. This is how we're trained in LA.
    But the reality is the ICC will cease to exist in less than 10 years. It’s crashing. It has no money and all the older mature disciples are leaving. Leaving only naïve, young campus students who they will dangle leadership in front of their faces so long that that’s all the young people care about anymore.

  • Gabriel Reed, Living in The Book of Acts, Monday, April 25, 2016

    Thursday, March 29, 2012

    The Disciple Doctrine: Part 2 – To be a Disciple; and not a Christian?

    The disciple doctrine seeks “eyewitness accounts” in the New Testament. They focus mostly on the Gospels in order to establish a ‘Christian lifestyle’ based on Jesus training His disciples. However, this teaching of discipleship ignores certain critical points regarding the chronological account of Jesus and his teachings.

    Supporters of the disciple doctrine become their own kind of “eyewitness.” They speak with a sense of authority on the subject of discipleship. However their facts often “distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.” (Acts 20:30)

    Let us investigate an important catchphrase used to entice Christians to be a “Disciple” and not a “Christian.”

    When did Jesus ask anyone to become a Christian?

    Instructors of the disciple doctrine enquire, “When did Jesus ask anyone to become a Christian?” Or they state, “Jesus never used the word; he never called anyone to be a Christian. He called people to be disciples.”

    Where do we go for answers? Instinctively we go to the Gospels because the central figure in these questions is Jesus. And here we will find that Jesus never referred to anyone to be a “Christian.”

    It seems to the supporters of the disciple doctrine that they have “discovered” something very important. Their discovery led them to believe that mainstream Christianity has overlooked the fact that Christ never spoke of Christians but only disciples. Therefore the disciple doctrine challenges mainstream thought on being a Christian because Christ never used that word. The disciple doctrine reverts to the term used by Jesus – disciple.

    First and foremost, nobody can challenge these observations made by the disciple doctrine because all above-mentioned issues are absolutely truthful. This is very important to understand.

    However, we have to bear in mind that while most observations made by the disciple doctrine are accurate, their conclusions often lead to distortion of “the truth”! We ought to know that it is the “truth” that becomes distorted; not “lies!” Hence many vulnerable people become disciples of the disciple doctrine. The case above is no different!

    Secondly, we ought to establish why Jesus never used the term – Christian. But for now, let us review the above-mentioned question and statements and provide them with our answers. We shall return to this checklist in order to see if our conclusions or the conclusions of the disciple doctrine are biblically sound.

    When did Jesus ask anyone to become a Christian? Answer: Never
    2. Jesus never used the word. Answer: True
    3. He never called anyone to be a Christian. Answer: True
    4. He called people to be disciples. Answer: True

  • Questions often asked by the disciple doctrine

  • The question alludes to a timeframe – “When.” It also refers to a point in time before which a period is reckoned “to become a Christian.”

    We know the biblical term “Christian” comes from non-Gospel sources (Acts & 1 Peter). Why did Jesus never ask anyone to become a “Christian” if the term is so firmly established later in the early church? (1 Peter 4:16)

    We would know precious little about Jesus if all we had were the non-Gospel sources. Fortunately the Gospel sources particularly the four canonical Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the New Testament provide us with much information. The documents although placed first amongst the 27 books of the New Testament and despite vividly describing the original followers of Jesus they were written 40 to 60 years after Jesus!

    More so, we should understand some critical points about the four canonical Gospels often ignored by the casual observer. They shed light on events covering the first third of the first century (4 B.C.E. - 36 C.E.). The Gospel writers in the final third period of the first century, c. 70-100 C.E. recorded these accounts. The original texts circulated anonymously. No one knows where the original texts were composed or who the original authors were. By the second century the traditional ascriptions “Matthew,” “Mark,” “Luke” and “John” were given.

    We should appreciate the fact that the New Testament recognizes that Paul was known to be a theologian (2 Peter 3:16). The bible warns Christians that Paul’s letters “contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.” Furthermore, Paul was an apostle of Christ “sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father.” (Galatians 1:1) His early Epistles precede the earliest Gospel – the Gospel of Mark by fifteen years! Paul was a contemporary of Jesus and his disciples. (Acts 9:17; Galatians 2:9) His first letter arguably Galatians (other scholars think it might be 1 Thessalonians) was penned by mid-century.

    Paul’s death is not recorded in the bible but according to church tradition Nero beheaded Paul in the mid-60s of the first century. The Gospel of Mark is recognized to be the earliest document of the four and was composed after the lifetime of Paul. It was composed during the period when the Romans destroyed the Jewish Temple (70 C.E.). Therefore, Paul the Apostle never read the actual Gospels!

    These critical points are extremely important in order to address the timeframe of the question: “When did Jesus ask anyone to become a Christian?”

    It is critical from our own viewpoint or own retrospective knowledge of the bible whenever studying religious texts such as the Gospels or central figures such as Jesus and Paul not to assume the bible facts we hold dearly like being a Christian were common knowledge to those we read about.

    The term “Christian” was in circulation and was well established long before the Gospels were written. However, the term was foreign to Jesus due to the time and space in which Jesus operated his earthly ministry. Fortunately, the New Testament verifies that Paul the apostle of Jesus was aware of the term – Christian (Acts 26:28). The Gospel writers like Paul were familiar with the term “Christian” as we are today, but none of the historical figures featuring in the documents of the four gospels could have known what a Christian is. Therefore Christ in the Gospels never defines the word Christian. We need to seek the correct historical boundaries for the term Christian. Here, it would be dangerous to assume that Paul was a “Christian” as we perceive it to be. Fortunately, the historical context of the term is documented in the New Testament in Acts 11:26.
    “The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.”
  • (Acts 11:26c NIV)

  • Jesus never dismissed the term – Christian nor could he because such a term and description for His disciples never existed at the time.

    The four canonical Gospels never referred to the term “Christian” in order to describe the disciples of Jesus because Jesus’ inner core of followers were still known as “Galileans” (Acts 2:7) who spoke Aramaic. However, the term “Christian” came later. It was applied to the disciples of Jesus in the post-resurrection era (Acts 11:26c; c.7-11) long before the first synoptic gospel was introduced – the Gospel of Mark (c. 65-70).

    Think about it in this way. Nobody had ever heard of an i-Pod or talked about it, not until it was finally established. Therefore, if you spotted an i-Pod in a movie that predated the arrival of such a devise it would be a classical anachronism. Likewise, although written late the Gospel writers never introduced the term Christian in the Gospel script despite knowing about it because it never concerned the people they wrote about.

    Only when we follow a proper trajectory of events in the New Testament do we realize that we have no choice but to accept the term Christian was something Paul was familiar with (Acts 26:28) and Jesus was not.

    After gathering all the facts and reading the whole New Testament we cannot conclude that the term Christian is irrelevant because Christ never spoke about it. Nevertheless this is exactly the conclusion of the disciple doctrine. They justify that rejection of the term Christian on account that Christ never spoke of it. Rather we should put our own retrospective knowledge of the bible aside when asking such questions.

    In the end, what Jesus means for the disciple doctrine is an entirely different matter to what Jesus means for mainstream Christianity.

    We conclude that the question is an anachronism. The term Christian cannot be applied in the historical context of Jesus in the Gospels. And it does not mean Jesus disapproved of being called a Christian! (1 Peter 4:14,16)

    Let us review those issues armed with this new insight (Ephesians 5:17).

    When did Jesus ask anyone to become a Christian? Answer: Never
    2. Jesus never used the word. Answer: True
    3. He never called anyone to be a Christian. Answer: True
    4. He called people to be disciples. Answer: True

  • Questions often asked by the disciple doctrine

  • Evidently nothing has changed. The observations made by the disciple doctrine are correct. Our conclusions remain the same. It harmonizes with the bible and historical context of the central figures.

    The problem arises the moment we force our conclusions into a timeframe alien to the central figures we discuss. This is precisely the mistake the disciple doctrine makes insisting calling Christians to be “Disciples” in order to support their theological framework of discipleship.

    However, Christians must be weary concerning the application of these critical points in the disciple doctrine. Here, the disciple doctrine concludes one must be a “Disciple” and not a “Christian.” In doing so, they distort the truth!

    If one understands the historical context of Jesus in the Gospels then issues like these should not upset our faith. Christians should “contend for the faith that was once entrusted to the saints.” (Jude 3)

    Saturday, March 10, 2012

    The Disciple Doctrine: Part 1 - When Christianity no longer tastes like Coca-Cola

    It is wrong when bible teachers from the disciple doctrine insist on separating the New Testament term – ‘Christian’ and ‘disciple’ from one another. This is in order to treat them as separate entities in order to define who rightly is a Christian. Let us investigate the matter.

    Evaluation of a Christian

    Teachers of the disciple doctrine have an ulterior motive before concluding a ‘disciple’ and a ‘Christian’ are the same. First they define the meaning of each concept before concluding they are the same. Secondly, they insist a Christian is not for real, unless they can confirm also they are a disciple of Jesus Christ. They ask: “What is a Christian? What is a disciple? Are you a Christian? Are you a disciple?” Here you cannot say ‘yes’ to one question and ‘no’ to the other. Nor can you plead ignorance. In the end, the questions are designed to plant the seed of doubt in the mind in order to question one’s salvation.

    Teachers of the disciple doctrine are persuaded to first analyse ‘what is a disciple’ before concluding ‘it is a Christian.’ This sort of hermeneutics leads to erroneous teachings based on the correctness of Scripture and leads to the wrong conclusions. These teachers do not rely on sound explanation – exegesis based on careful objective analysis, but rather own interpretation of eisegesis that leads to subjective, non-analytical reading, distorting the text to whatever they want.

    The disciple doctrine’s approach on how to assess if someone is a Christian is like this example from everyday life. It’s like trying to first establish if an ice-cold Coke standing in a fridge is for real! Is it the real deal? The bottle and package is from Coke (Christian), but what about that dark brown sugary liquid (disciple) inside the bottle?

    Imagine if before buying a bottle of ice-cold Coke an individual were to taste the contents in order to determine if it is the real deal! If not, the bottle is placed back into the refrigerator! In doing so, it is wrong!

    Likewise, the teachers of the disciple doctrine are highly sceptical about any individual’s salvation if they have not been trained to think and act according to the established principles of the disciple doctrine – “to make disciples” or have “close ‘discipling’ relations with other Christians”. Therefore they deem it necessary to analyse whether one has first met the requirements of discipleship before concluding one is a Christian. They will quickly establish all about a person’s church background and use whatever evidence to show such a person is not a Christian, not a disciple and not saved! The disciple doctrine questions whether Christianity as we know it is the real deal. They demand that Christians should be called disciples.

    What is ICOC Commentary’s view on being a ‘Christian’ and a ‘disciple’?

    A Christian is a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ. And a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ is a Christian. (John 8:31, 32; 2 John 9; Acts 26:28)

    A Christian is a disciple of Jesus Christ. And a disciple of Jesus Christ is a Christian. (John 14:6; Acts 9:1; 1 Pe 4:16)

    A Christian is a disciple. And a disciple is a Christian. (Acts 11:26c)

    Our definitions are biblically sound, but not exactly what the teachers of the disciple doctrine “want to hear.” Why not? Our examples according to the disciple doctrine lack a clear distinction between the two words – disciple and Christian. However, our definitions harmonize with the Scripture!

    The teachers of the disciple doctrine “want to hear” a clear distinction between the two. A Christian according to them is one thing while a disciple is another. Their teaching is like playing two chords on a piano, one chord representing – a disciple and the other – a Christian. Our definitions harmonize the concept into a single chord.

    The disciple doctrine is not from God and is easy to comply with in any belief system

    The disciple doctrine is nothing but a “wind of teaching” (Eph 4:14) that is blowing into many Christian churches. The bible teaches Christians: “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” (2 Ti 4:3 NIV)

    The winds that carried this teaching spawned the Shepherding/Discipling movement from the early 1970s. Influential teachers like Robert Emerson Coleman, Juan Carlos Ortiz, Watchman Nee, the ‘Fort Lauderdale Five’, Kip McKean, Mike Taliaferro and many more have influenced Christians to review their standing before God as Christians.

    The disciple doctrine has a great impact on Christians who are caught off guard with its intense work ethic that put ordinary Christian routines to shame. This is established after examining ‘what is’ a disciple. Here, an ordinary Christian will quickly assess how little ‘discipleship’ is taking place in one’s own church group! Initially some churches despite criticizing the disciple doctrine have even kept some views of the disciple doctrine‘– right or wrong in order to rectify a lack of ‘commitment.’

    Lately, many Christian groups have begun to embrace discipleship courses based on principles of the disciple doctrine. This doctrine places much emphasis on apparent “rediscovered truths long forgotten by orthodox Christianity,” which is a fallacy!

    In reality, the teachers of the disciple doctrine have redesigned these terms in a theological framework of their own making and to their own liking. This process developed in the 20th Century becoming very popular in many church groups.

    All kinds of church groups affected by this doctrine speak the same language, but may vary on its implementation. Even the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa has already allowed the disciple doctrine to infiltrate their churches. Here members adhering to the teachings of the disciple doctrine will inevitably form a church within a church scenario with dire consequences. Some members have implemented “discipling” courses and some even demand to be re-baptized by being fully immersed in water! This “wind of teaching” is adaptable in any church setting or belief system.

    Much wrong about the disciple doctrine taught by the former International Churches of Christ (ICOC) was exposed by former members, scholars and psychiatrists. Eventually the movement came to an end in 2002, but carried on along with teaching the principles of the disciple doctrine with the emergence of two distinctly factions formed in 2005. The importance of the disciple doctrine is emphasised in a quote from the Unity Proposal document of the ICOC Co-operation Churches (ICOC) who represent the majority of congregations of the former ICOC.
    “In order to best communicate our beliefs, we are striving both to articulate the theological framework of “the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3) and to reaffirm those truths and emphases[sic] that have particularly shaped our branch of God’s movement from the campus ministry days until now.”
  • Unity Proposal Document, March 11th, 2006, p.4

  • The teachings “from the campus ministry days” are none other than the teachings of the Boston/Crossroads Movement, which from the outset were highly controversial. It is based on the disciple doctrine.

    Semantically the disciple doctrine opposes the historically accepted meanings of biblical terms. Therefore it will be nearly impossible to communicate biblical concepts, unless one fully comprehends the teachings of the disciple doctrine because they speak not the vocabulary of the bible by definition.

    How does the disciple doctrine view a Christian?

    According to them, a Christian is a disciple, as we have determined, but the name Christian defines the life the disciple lives. They argue that the name Christian comes from a worldly perspective – what the world called Jesus’ disciples. Also the New Testament only mentions “Christian” three times! It seems to them the early Christians never really adopted the name. They strongly argue that Jesus never used the term “Christian” only “disciple.” Therefore they argue we should determine what Jesus teaches about being a disciple. Once they have established a clear definition of each term, they will join them as we have determined. But before that can happen they spread discord!

    In a nutshell, the disciple doctrine states – it is unscriptural to teach that a person can be a “Christian” and not be a disciple. Evidently, the disciple doctrine clearly distinguishes ‘what is’ a Christian and ‘what is’ a disciple. We have to ask and challenge if such an approach and viewpoint is biblically sound. What did Jesus and the Apostles teach?

    How do they do it?

    Teachers of the disciple doctrine marginalise the word “Christian” because it only appears three times in the New Testament. While the word “disciple” appears in the New Testament about 300 times.

    “There are many who call themselves by the name of Jesus Christ,” says Cooper P. Abrams III on his website, “they call themselves Christians, yet do not necessarily called[sic] themselves disciples.”

    The passage in Acts 11:26 is used by the disciple doctrine as a foundational scripture to enforce and establish new grounds or truths believed to be overlooked by Christianity.

    Acts 11:26
    • Is there is a difference between being a Christian and being a disciple?
    • Are you a disciple of Jesus? Do you consider yourself to be Christian?
    • Do you see how your answer to these two questions must be the same?

  • Making Disciples Core Studies of the Port Elizabeth Church of Christ: Discipleship, p9

  • Here the teachers of the disciple doctrine draw from biblical sources in order to substantiate truths. However they embrace ‘truths’ that are carefully redefined. In other words, they only read into the biblical text what their “itching ears want to hear.”

    Questions posed by the disciple doctrine forces Christians to think – and think hard! For example: The concept Christian is divided into 2 entities – Christian vs. disciple.

    The focus of questions after reading Acts 11:26 is on ‘what is’ a Christian, then the attention shifts back to being a disciple of Jesus Christ. In doing so ‘truths’ are established and simultaneously ‘doubt’ is sown in the mind of those being interrogated.

    The disciple doctrine admits that a Christian and a disciple of Jesus is the same thing. This concept is clearly understood by mainstream Christianity, but after some evaluation and thought a person will waiver from being called a disciple. Why? Most of the Christians don’t necessarily call themselves disciples. Nor do their lives reflect the “total commitment” of a disciple as the disciple doctrine defines. Some teachers of the disciple doctrine pronounce Christians who do not measure up to their definition being a Christian as not saved. But does it mean such a Christian is not ‘saved’?

    What does the bible teach about the word “Christian”?

    The bible has combined the terms to mean the same. That is exactly what mainstream Christianity teaches. And this is exactly what the disciple doctrine believes, but the disciple doctrine insists we must see ‘what is’ a Christian and ‘what is’ a disciple. Only after establishing such definitions according to them can one determine ‘what is’ a Christian in totality. Therefore they first breakdown what is a Christian as determined by the three bible passages (Acts 11:26; 26:28 and 1 Pe 4:16) that makes reference to the word – “Christian.”

    The first passage mentioning the word “Christian” is in the book of Acts – Acts 11:26.

    “The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.”
  • (Acts 11:26c NIV)

  • What does the scripture teach?

    Here, at the city of Antioch meaning a location or place, disciples of Jesus were first called Christians. It is a biblical fact. Not before, but after Jesus’ ascension more or less a decade ago disciples were called Christians first at Antioch. To be a Christian means to belong to Jesus Christ.

    The disciple doctrine eisegesis:

    Acts 11:26c serves as an important pretext for the disciple doctrine. The doctrine extracts a formula: disciple = Christian and teaches that to become a Christian one must first become a disciple.

    • Now who is being referred to here in Acts 11 as Christians?
    • The disciples were.
    • Was there a difference between the 2? No, biblically they were one in the same. So if one wanted to know what it was to be considered a Christian in the bible, what must one do?
    • Study out what it means to be a disciple.
    • Exactly.

  • Boston Church of Christ Campus Ministry: Repentance and Discipleship Study

  • Mainstream Christian exegesis:

    However, this is not what the passage says. Neither does this passage serve as a formula teaching: disciple = Christian = saved. However it teaches they mean the same! It does not teach that to be a Christian one must become a disciple first! The emphasis of “first” is location and nothing else!

    The second passage mentioning the word “Christian” is also in the book of Acts – Acts 26:28.

    Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?
  • Acts 26:28 NIV

  • What does the scripture teach?

    King Agrippa made reference – “to be a Christian.” This happens during Paul’s defence “against all the accusations of the Jews.” (Acts 26:2, 28)

    The disciple doctrine eisegesis:

    The disciple doctrine argues the word “Christian” was used in the early church by non-Christians and not by the early disciples. Also Jesus Christ never called anyone to be a Christian.
    King Agrippa using the name non-Christians called the disciples of Christ.

  • Christians are Disciples – The Lost Doctrine

  • Jesus never used the word; he never called anyone to be a Christian. He called people to be disciples.
  • Boston Church of Christ Campus Ministry: Repentance and Discipleship Study

  • Mainstream Christian exegesis:

    Notice that Paul did not object to the King’s reproach “to be a Christian.” Paul encouraged the whole Court “may become what I am, except for these chains.” What was Paul – a criminal or a Christian? Did Paul belong to a criminal network or Jesus Christ? Paul did not want people to become criminals, but Christians! It stands to reason that if non-Christians used the word “Christian” in order to describe disciples of Jesus Christ, then they are aware of the terminology. This is evident in the third passage!

    The third passage mentioning the word “Christian” is in the book of 1 Peter – 1 Peter 4:16.

    However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.
  • 1 Pe 4:16 NIV

  • What does the scripture teach?

    According to Clarke’s commentary on the bible: “Yet if - as a Christian - If he be persecuted because he has embraced the Christian faith, let him not be ashamed, but let him rather glorify God on this very account. Christ suffered by the Jews because he was holy; Christians suffer because they resemble him.”

    The disciple doctrine eisegesis:

    The disciple doctrine argues that the early disciples did not accept the word “Christian”. Outsiders mostly used it as a derogatory term. For example, for people who persecuted the early church. Therefore there is a negative connotation to the name of Christ – Christian.

    In 1 Peter 4:14-16 Peter's statement too is using the word from the world's perspective, "If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf." The title Christian through the world's eyes was on the same par as murderer or thief.

  • Christians are Disciples – The Lost Doctrine

  • Mainstream Christian exegesis:

    We should never forget. The disciple doctrine’s business is to marginalise the word “Christian” to sooth their itching ears in favour of the word “disciple” in order to emphasise discipleship principles.

    Although nobody with absolute certainty can state ‘whom’ and ‘why’ the disciples of Jesus were called “Christians” it does not matter because the bible teaches we ought to “praise God that you bear that name.” This instruction from this passage comes from a Christian to another Christian! God accepts this term without question! Christians called themselves “believers” (Acts 2:44); “disciples” (Acts 6:1); “brothers” (Acts 6:3) and “saints” (Acts 9:13). Outsiders called Christians “Galileans” (Acts 2:7) or “Nazarenes (Acts 24:5). Bottom line, a Christian shall not be ashamed if outsiders treat such a person like a criminal. Such a person shall not be ashamed of his or her faith so as to refuse to suffer on account of it, nor be ashamed that he or she is despised and maltreated.

    The “name of Christ” (1 Pe 4:14) is associated with being a “Christian” (1 Pe 4:16). The disciple doctrine cannot disapprove of people becoming Christians and being known as such.

    In conclusion, the disciple doctrine is wrong when it marginalises the word “Christian.” There is no negative connotation to the word today. Even when Jesus never used the term we know the New Testament bible endorses “that name” – “to become a Christian” and “to praise God that you bear that name.” The disciples of Jesus were called Christians. It is time for “disciples” to be called again “Christians.”

    Christians encountering the disciple doctrine should not deny being a disciple of Jesus, after all a Christian is a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ. And a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ is a Christian.

    Or, a Christian is a disciple of Jesus Christ. And a disciple of Jesus Christ is a Christian.

    And finally, a Christian is a disciple. And a disciple is a Christian.

    The bible warns Christians about teachers who will “say what their itching ears want to hear.” (2 Ti 4:3) The teachers of the disciple doctrine are no different. Teachers of the ‘disciple doctrine’ always question the motives of those who call themselves Christians. Then they proceed with new rhetoric.

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    Saturday, February 25, 2012

    Finally…Does the Bible Really Say… Part 3

    Trollip sends out a confusing message regarding Christian redemption and praying according to God’s will in the final part of his series: “Does the Bible really say…” despite giving a good account against prolific teachers of the Word of Faith movement such as Kenneth Hagin, Benny Hinn and Kenneth Copel.

    The focus is on “health and healing” as perceived by the Word of Faith movement and what the Bible says about it. The sermon shed light on three passages in the Bible, which are misunderstood by the Faith movement. They are Matthew 16:19, Galatians 3:13 and Isaiah 53:5.

    You know, there are a few other Scriptures I wanna share with you... just to prepare us... uhm, and to sensitize us to how.. you know, Scriptures can be... misunderstood/ misrepresented. And how we can also fall into those traps if we do not read, you know the word of God carefully and deeply. Okay? And seek to understand what it really says. I want to share three other Scriptures that are favoured to punt, to push the "health and wealth" gospel.

  • Neil Trollip, Does the Bible Really Say… Part 3, February 19, 2012

  • Addressing the faults regarding the Word of Faith’s interpretation of Galatians 3:13 the Christian message of redemption is not accurately conveyed by Trollip. Here, Trollip perceives redemption “has to do with righteousness before God through entering into the life of Christ.” A very peculiar statement, to say the least.

    You know, redemption in Galatians... uhm, has to do with one thing only. Redemption has to do with righteousness before God through entering into the life of Christ. Now that is the context of the Scripture.
  • Neil Trollip, Does the Bible Really Say… Part 3, February 19, 2012

  • What does Trollip mean whose righteousness before God?

    Who enters into the life of Christ?

    Man – there is no escaping this conclusion after listening to the audio statement by Trollip.

    The context of righteousness in the Scripture concerning redemption points to Christ, not man.

    But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came from Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. ../. To those who through the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:

  • Romans 3:21-24 / 2 Peter 1:1 (NIV)

  • What prompts Trollip to make such a statement?

    Interestingly, Trollip will agree whole heartedly that God will not pardon a sinner based on the sinner’s own righteous acts.

    However, Trollip will agree according to his disciple doctrine.

    A disciple-to-be (a sinner) before getting baptized (saved*) should fulfil the right things (repentance + discipleship) before God. * The Church of Christ, ICOC and ICC subscribe to baptismal regeneration – one is saved only at the point of getting immersed in water.

    Adherents of the ICOC/ICC* claim today, as in the past, that forgiveness comes through faith plus repentance, faith plus discipleship, faith plus baptism. * ICOC Co-operational Churches (ICOC) & International Christian Churches (ICC)

    It’s quite a thing to say ‘watch-out for other church groups doctrinal mistakes’ while falling “into those traps” of misunderstanding and misrepresenting Scripture.

    The former ICOC accurately defined redemption at least in theory despite relying on a work-related salvation, teaching a would-be disciple should become a disciple first before getting baptised.

    Tom Jones’s, thirteen-week study guide called Deep Convictions accurately describes Christian redemption: “Removing someone from a state of slavery and putting them in the state of freedom. In our case we were delivered from slavery to [sic] sin (Colossians 1:14).” Jones surely meant “delivered from slavery of sin? Even so, in the case of the former ICOC teachings we see a total disregard for the doctrine of justification by faith alone.

    Redemption is God’s work, not man’s. God paid the penalty for man’s sins through the sacrificial death of Jesus.

    Finally, Trollip links his conversion story in order to illustrate that “God used my physical sickness to make me turn to Him.” Meaning God was glorified through Trollip’s illness!

    Now, it is important to say, we should always respect people’s conversion stories. The same applies here. However, Trollip unfortunately made his conversion story central to countering Word of Faith teaching. Here, Trollip uses his sickness, while contrasting his condition with expectations and views by the Faith movement, which teaches people that they have the ability to manipulate the faith-force and become prosperous in all areas of life – even illness.

    What makes this account disturbing is the rationalization that it is God’s will for Christians in the ICOC to pray a prayer asking God to humble certain individuals in order for them to become saved. Trollip’s conversion seems no different.

    Let me share with you my story. And those of you ... uhm, who have been here a while know that I can relate my conversion story in twenty different ways... uhm, but it is the same story. You know in my mid-30s, I have experienced poor health. To put it lightly. Uhm,you know I suffered from high-anxiety syndrome for a few years, It was brought on by a very busy schedule at work. Uhm, bad relationships at work, with family... uhm, all over really. And I fought with God in those days. A number of men tried to study the bible with me... uhm, but I was not very responsive. Now my health deteriorated. And one day, I was rushed to hospital with a suspected heart-attack. My blood pressure was 180/120. I had pains all over my chest. My heart felt like it was pumping here somewhere up my throat. I just felt terrible. Uhm, luckily I didn't had a heart-attack or if I did it was a minor one. But they add me on ECG and all the specialists around me, monitoring me. It was a shock. You know to put it lightly. You know, I realize now that God was putting me through those testing times. To humble me and make me turn to Him. You know, which I eventually did. I was baptized in November 1996. And only afterwards, did I learn that Noeleen was praying... I don't know for how long, probably for a few years that God would humble me. That God would do whatever it took. That He would take away from me, whatever He needed to take away to help soften my heart. That's a brave prayer to pray for someone you love, hey? And I must admit, I wasn't very fired-up when I heard this when I was a disciple. For a while I thought. Mmm-ja, I don't know quite how to respond to this. But... you know I quickly realized that Noeleen did the right thing. Now, if Noeleen was under the influence of the Faith movement, the Positive Confession movement. She would have been confidently claiming my healing. You know, "in the Name of the Lord," she would have been claiming Neil would have been healed. What is God more interested in? What was God more interested in? God was far more interested in me being humble, getting convicted, repenting. That was God's interest in me. Thank goodness and I thank God for that. God was far less interested in my physical health. God used my physical sickness to make me turn to Him. Okay? So that... Noeleen's prayer was absolutely aligned with the will of God. If Noeleen was praying and praying that I would get well - I'm sure she did that as well, but if that was her only prayer she was praying that I would get physically well... I might not would have turned to God. Right? I needed that sickness. You know, and it took years to recover. I needed that to humble me and make me turn to God. You know God can and does use anything He needs to use to encourage us to reach out to Him including sickness.

  • Neil Trollip, Does the Bible Really Say… Part 3, February 19, 2012

  • Tuesday, February 14, 2012

    Does Trollip Really Mean What He Says?

    It is a much more relaxed Neil Trollip addressing his second sermon in a three part series: What Does the Bible Say… The previous sermon Trollip admitted to his audience feeling a bit nervous because of the topic. Here, in Part Two we find a more determined speaker that gracefully tackles issues pertaining to the Word of Faith movement.

    Go here, to compare what others say about the Word of Faith movement regarding Trollip’s second address.

    Part two contrasts sharply with the previous talk.

    Previously, Trollip exposed a local radio station – Radio King Fisher, whom he thought to be “infiltrated by the Word of Faith doctrine.” This time, Trollip from the onset made it very clear that he is not about knocking a particular church or movement. And he kept his word. Well, at least we know his intentions are to expose the teachings of the Word of Faith movement. Trollip made use of video and audio clips to demonstrate particular points about the Word of Faith.
    All right, good morning again and welcome! I see a few new faces. If you are visiting then you are our special guests. Uhm… We continue today with the series called: Does the Bible Really Say… And last week I’ve introduced the Word of Faith movement. Also called the Faith movement and the Positive Confession movement. And I just want to reiterate that… uhm… I’m not referring to a particular church or group of churches in the series. Instead we are looking at a set of beliefs that is present to a greater or lesser degree in many churches. So it’s not about knocking a particular church or movement.
  • Neil Trollip, Does the Bible Really Say… Part 2, February 12, 2012

  • Trollip has mentioned twice to his audience, particularly members of this church not only engage intellectually but also to really dig deep and test and question what you really belief about God and His promises.
    And my intention with the series is not only to inform us and to equip us to teach and help others… uhm… but is also to encourage us to do an honest self-evaluation of what we really believe about the nature of God and the nature of His promises… uhm, and His desires for His people. So I encourage you, not only to engage intellectually but also to use the opportunity to really dig deep and test and question what you really believe about God and His promises.

  • Neil Trollip, Does the Bible Really Say… Part 2, February 12, 2012

  • Which brings us to our point of commentary: Does Trollip really mean what he says? Here we are not questioning Trollip's sermon, per say, but we are perplexed – again, about what Trollip is trying to achieve by asking the audience to make an honest self-assessment of ones beliefs about God and His promises?

    It seems that Trollip desires that this group should think clearly and critically about complex ecclesiastical principles, forms or practices, not only in other movements but much closer to home. Does Trollip really mean what he says? Does he mean only checking out faults in other churches, like the Word of Faith movement whilst ignoring ICOC issues? Surely our bibles teach, “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matt 7:2) Surely Trollip meant what he said.

    What if a single member or a big group of the sisters, who make up approximately 66% of the Port Elizabeth congregation do develop critical thinking skills. What if they start breaking out of the mould of the relativistic thinking they encounter within the group? What if they discover what happened to the Indianapolis Church of Christ led by Ed Powers in 1994? How would the ICOC Co-operation Churches in South Africa react? Will they too pay attention to Trollip’s words in this sermon “to really dig deep and test and question what you really believe about God”?

    We all know that what has taken Trollip more than a year to study is readily available at the click of our fingers. Many have dealt with most of the issues pointed out by Trollip concerning the Word of Faith movement as illustrated with the link above. Similarly others have dealt with the doctrines of the ICOC. Surely, if Trollip continues with this line of preaching he might entice everyone to investigate the teachings of the ICOC. Not only from a one-side point of view, but also start listening to former brothers and sisters who left the group with their concerns about the ICOC contradictions and inconsistencies of beliefs.

    The call for discernment should not paralyse the quest to investigate one’s own doctrinal beliefs.

    Have any of these ‘truths’ and ‘absolutes’ become prevalent in your church group's set of beliefs after making the Bible your standard with the help of your church study guide, which prescribes the following convictions.

    One-on-one discipleship relationships is God’s will because it is based on ‘one-another’ passages found in the New Testament, teaching to become first a disciple before getting baptised, dating and marrying only members associated to this particular group, confessing your inner-most thoughts and sins to a ‘discipler’ in this particular group, personal decisions should be discussed with a ‘discipler’ in this particular group, attending only worship services and meetings in this particular group, contributing sacrificially time, energy, resources only to this particular group, learning to become and remain evangelistic every waking hour, reading without discretion any literature pertaining to this particular group, whilst judging others not affiliated with your group, persecution is slander and negative talk about your group by others like the media who don’t understand and appreciate your doctrine – to be expected because Jesus was persecuted, making this particular family group more important than your own family, telling or understanding in your heart your family and friends are lost because they’re not a disciple = Christian = saved as taught by this particular group, telling or understanding in your heart your family and friends are lost because they’re not baptised in this particular family group, telling or understanding in your heart your family and friends are lost because they don’t worship in this particular family group, you’re teaching and believing you may never leave this particular group otherwise you go to hell, you’re teaching and believing other churches who don’t baptise people are lost, you’re teaching and believing if we continue to sin we leave Jesus on the cross, you’re teaching and believing the idea of faith is a way to support God in achieving His plans (emunah).

    If you follow at least one of these ‘truths’ and ‘absolutes’ as part of your belief system listen to your own preacher’s encouragement. You should dig deeper, test and question it.

    Does Trollip really say such a person should dig deeper?

    Does Trollip really say such a person should put it to test?

    Does Trollip really say to question it?

    Yes he did!

    So I encourage you, not only to engage intellectually but also to use the opportunity to really dig deep and test and question what you really believe about God and His promises.

  • Neil Trollip, Does the Bible Really Say… Part 2, February 12, 2012

  • The bible teaches: "Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses" 2 Co 13:1 NIV and "Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes', and your 'No', 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one." Matt 5:37 NIV

    We at icoccommentary ask will Trollip continue unabated with such line of questions encouraging openness? Or will the Taliaferros and Renton's pull the plug? Only time will tell.

    Yes, you can! Weigh-up the scales by clicking here.

    Saturday, February 11, 2012

    Does the Bible Really Say… Part 1

    Neil Trollip has been leading the Port Elizabeth Church of Christ in South Africa since 2008, after Rod Fick, the group’s former evangelist, took his own life in November 2007. The internal church politics of 2007 undoubtedly led to Fick’s illness and subsequent suicide, which later prompted members of four families of this church to relocate to Perth, Australia. Nowadays this church group supports the ‘anti-McKean faction’ better known as the ICOC Co-operational Churches (ICOC).

    The Port Elizabeth Church of Christ during the month of February will reflect on “some of the teachings and the doctrine” of the Word of Faith movement in order to find out if it is biblically sound. For some background about the Word of Faith movement go here.

    Trollip has developed a three-part critique. He admitted in his first opening address that the topic makes him feel “slightly nervous.” The three part series is called “Does the Bible Really Say…” He even admitted detecting elements of the Word of Faith belief system in “our movement of churches” referring to the ICOC.

    Neil Trollip spent more than a year studying material about the Faith movement’s beliefs that according to his own words are “subtle, seeping and cause compromise.” The goal of his series is to inform the Port Elizabeth Church of Christ about the Word of Faith movement and the belief system that underpins it. He hopes to equip his church group through the series he developed as to what the bible actually says. Trollip hopes the series will challenge his group to look critically for signs of subtle or perhaps not so subtle Word of Faith beliefs and attitudes amongst members of the Port Elizabeth Church of Christ.

    Perhaps the upside of Trollip’s first message, which he professes to bring “in a way that is full of truth and grace” signalled to members to think for themselves. More so to “test” their “own belief system about God.”
    You know, please let not these lessons only improve your head knowledge. Please let these lessons encourage you personally. To test your own belief system about God. And your expectations… your expectations that you have as a Christian. Your expectations of life as a Christian against the truth of the Scriptures.
  • Neil Trollip, Does the Bible Really Say… Part I, February 5, 2012

  • Trollip dropped a bombshell at the end of Part I. He exposed heresies of the Word of Faith movement that allegedly have infiltrated all kinds of popular Christian media. A local Christian radio station – Radio King Fisher is named and shamed. According to Trollip this radio station is infiltrated by Word of Faith doctrine. Popular Christian Book Shops like CUM Books “best selling authors teach Word of Faith doctrine.” People receiving devotional downloads on their cell phones are at risk because Faith movement agents mostly sponsor the content. People should be careful when watching the Faith movement’s popular Christian T.V network – Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN).

    The definitive downside came in the closing statements of Trollip’s sermon in Part I. Here, Trollip relies on a typical interrogation tactic often used knowingly or not by ICOC preachers. He asks many rapid questions, one after another. The idea is to follow through with a burst of several questions at once, before the audience has the chance to begin to answer even the first. People holding a position of authority very commonly do it. Even mothers make use of such ‘interrogation tactics.’

    ‘Do you realize what time it is? Where have you been? Who was with you? Why didn’t you call me? Where are your shoes?

    This effect produces increases in stress through cognitive loading (the mental act or process through which knowledge is acquired, including perception, intuition and reasoning) and emotional pressure. Persons on the receiving end have no time to complete the answer before another question and another affects their need for completion, thus increasing their stress levels.

    A small child might be overwhelmed after such ‘interrogation’ and will simply cry. Often a mother will react quickly by deflating the levels of anxiety reassuring the child of her love. In the worst scenario she might say: “Go to your room!”

    In the same way, a preacher using such drastic tactics deflates the level of anxiety created by the rapid-fire questions by telling his audience what he thinks about the questions, thus sharing his own convictions on the matter. Hence, excluding anyone to investigate the matters further. The pulpit is often viewed as a sort of position of authority in churches. Members of the ICOC have a high regard for ICOC leadership. (He 13:17) The heightened tensions of fear and guilt experienced by the audience like the example of the mother-and-child last only for a moment, but in the long run this is effective in instilling an inner doctrine particularly suited for the particular needs within the church group.

    The call for discernment by Trollip has become an inner doctrine (something shared only to the group) – “to listen and read critically.” The question beckons if this call applies only to the Word of Faith or also to the ICOC teachings and doctrines?
    So, let me ask you church. You know, do you read... or let me ask you... what ... what other books do you read, what sort of commentaries do you read? What sort of devotions you rely on every morning? Do you watch TBN? Do you listen to King Fisher Radio? And if you do??? You know, do you read, watch or listen critically? Sifting out the good from the bad? Because there is always something good in it. But I think we are called. The call is 'discernment.' You know, to listen and to read critically. To hold up what is said against the truth of the Word. We got to get into the word of God. That's the only way. To rely on commentaries and TD Jakes, the best selling author and the like to teach us about God will result in a false view of God. We must be in our bibles. You know, do you have the heart of the Bereans that Paul commended in Acts 17?
  • Neil Trollip, Does the Bible Really Say… Part I, February 5, 2012

  • Monday, April 04, 2011

    What "kind" are the Churches of Christ?

    Booklets of the Churches of Christ ('C' or 'c') frequently state the original church was “merely the church” or the “church of the Bible” or the “Lord’s church.” Some Churches of Christ go on the offensive when pressing for an answer: “WHAT KIND?” Here, a number of Churches of Christ make a BIG DEAL over a non-issue. They state the first church established in Jerusalem was never a “kind” or any “brand.” “There was just the church!”

    Why do some of the Churches of Christ react like this?

    Denominational churches are the norm today. However, the Churches of Christ affirm original Christianity was undenominational and not supported by the Bible. These UNCONTESTED FACTS gave rise to the American Restoration Movement in the 1800s that eventually gave shape to the Churches of Christ who wants to bypass all forms of denominationalism.

    Unfortunately definitions and terms used by a number of Churches of Christ in their quest for undenominational Christianity are often TWISTED to support anti-denominationalism sentiment. Of particular interest to this article are the noun(s) – “kind” and “brand.” The Churches of Christ argue the original New Testament Christians and churches were of no particular kind.
    “You can be just a Christian – exactly like the original Christians – not any “kind” – just a Christian. You can be in the church – the original church – not any “kind” of church – just the church.”
  • Jim Massey, ‘You Can Be Just A Christian’, World Literature Publications, p2, 1991

  • In the New Testament, the church was merely the church. It is absurd to ask what kind of church it was, because there were no kinds. There was just the church! If we were to see the first automobile, we wouldn't ask what kind is it; for there were no "brands" of automobile. There was just an automobile.
  • Evangelism Handbook, The Church, Concord Road Church of Christ, Brentwood, TN

  • Jim Massey’s argument does not hold ground. Even here, Massey hints to a particular “kind” of Christian – “the original Christians” and a particular “kind” of church – “the original church”! Concord Road Church of Christ does not fare any better regarding the matter of the first automobile, saying: “we wouldn’t ask what kind”. The actual history of the early cars as we shall investigate is not as simple as the Churches of Christ make it out to be. But most importantly…

    We believe it is right to ask questions – no matter how stupid! The only stupid question is trusting not to ask! Any group having certain characteristics in common whether religious, political or social according to the DICTIONARY forms a “kind” while the definition of a “brand” according to the DICTIONARY means a kind or variety of something distinguished by some distinctive characteristic. There is no exception. Not even for a church group like the Churches of Christ who like to persuade people OTHERWISE. The Churches of Christ are not any “kind” or “brand” of church – just the “original church.”
    If I should come to your door with a new car, you would likely ask, “What kind?” Suppose I said, “No kind, just a car!” You would not believe me, since there are no cars today which are not “kinds” of cars.
    Our thinking is the same way about churches. If I say that I am a Christian you immediately ask, “What kind?” You cannot imagine a Christian who is not some “kind” of Christian. You cannot conceive of “the church” except as some “kind” of church.

  • Jim Massey, ‘You Can Be Just A Christian’, World Literature Publications, p1, 1991

  • The quote above is a man-made argument, whose aim is to RENEW THE LOGIC about our thinking concerning “kinds” of cars, churches and Christians. Here it is obvious that the Churches of Christ HAVE THEIR LOGIC: Suppose I said, “No kind, just a car! The defence of the argument is to bypass “kinds” of cars, churches and Christians and trusting people will accept the original is achievable. When a salesman knocks on your door and tells you something wonderful that sounds too good to be true – then it is! Always trust your initial gut instinct, as the quote above indicates: “You would not believe me.” The ultimate proposition by Churches of Christ is to avoid being labelled as a “kind” or to be identified as such.

    Therefore the next step is to override the meaning what defines the noun “kind” or “brand.” Here, the renewed logic of the Churches of Christ has REDEFINED the meaning of the nouns – “kind” and “brand” to JUST MEAN a type of denominational, interdenominational or even nondenominational Christian church.

    This peculiar plea merits an investigation.

    First and foremost it is important to distinguish that dictionaries define words like “kind” and “brand” and not pamphlets distributed by church groups. Words are what they are by definition according to the laws of language and not by redefinitions of any church group in order to support doctrinal viewpoints. Proper concern for the laws of grammar makes proper communication possible. No church group is in any position to abuse well-defined terminologies to showcase their agendas.

    The Churches of Christ apply the precise definition of terminology to many doctrinal viewpoints. For example the noun – “baptism,” which means: immersion in water. But argue that other well defined definitions like “kind” and “brand” in the context of the dictionary should never be applied to the Churches of Christ or the “original church” in the Bible. To ensure this won’t happen the Churches of Christ rely on the subtle art of redefinition.

    The subtlety lies in the truthful representation of the redefined idea. Any Christian denomination forms a “kind” or “brand,” but so does ANY GROUP having certain characteristics in common. Incredulously some Churches of Christ ABSOLUTELY REFUSE to be categorized as a “kind” or “brand”! Here we are not referring to denominational terms, but actually to the noun word of kind and brand.

    Nevertheless, the nouns – “kind” or “brand” should easily comply with a type of religious group like the Churches of Christ despite their objections. We know the Churches of Christ consists of many church groups. Each "kind" of Churches of Christ has certain characteristics in common that differs from another "kind."

    The Churches of Christ had to redefine these terms for members and outsiders in order to complement their man-made argument: NO KIND, JUST A CHURCH OR CHRISTIAN. The analogy of “the” original and only car is key to support their position, but it’s a fallacy.
    But the original car, the very first one, was not any “kind” of car. It was just a car – “the” car. People then did not think of “kinds” of cars – there were no kinds. There was just “the” original and only car.
  • Jim Massey, ‘You Can Be Just A Christian’, World Literature Publications, p1, 1991

  • No one can pinpoint so-and-so for being responsible for inventing the first original and only car. Furthermore, we are forced to ask: “What kind!” Early cars developed along the line of three different “kinds” of engines – steam, electrical and gasoline-engine cars!

    In the motoring world, some say that Karl Benz takes the honors for making the first prototype of the modern car (1885). The first Benz had only three wheels! On January 29, 1886, the Benz motor tricycle received the first patent (DRP No. 37435) for a gas-fueled car. By 1897 Benz produced 500 automobiles - daily! Even so, Benz was not the first to invent "the" automobile. On March 8, 1886, Gottlieb Daimler designed the world’s first four-wheeled car in 1886. Benz built his first four-wheeled car in 1891. Daimler and Benz invented and built cars that represent the cars we use today. But it is wrong to conclude either man invented “the” original and only car. It’s all a matter of opinions. The argument of the Churches of Christ sounds plausible, but ignores what led to the development of the steam, electrical and gasoline-engine cars! We have no choice in this matter to ask in the motoring world: “What kind of car?”

    Thankfully, the New Testament gives us an accurate picture and detailed description of the development of the early primitive church – starting from the original and only church in Jerusalem! Here, we can determine exactly after 2000 years “what kind of church it was.” It was a group of believers – supposedly “a undivided church” that initially excluded all Gentiles and in the end persevered with their unique Jewish customs (Acts 21:20-25)!

    The reformulated terms – “kind” and “brand” as used by many doctrinal booklets of the Churches of Christ could only refer to a Christian denomination.
    We have all grown up in a world full of churches. We didn’t start them, we didn’t cause them, we didn’t want them. We simply inherited them. Exactly as we think of cars, we think there are no churches except “kinds” of churches.
  • Jim Massey, ‘You Can Be Just A Christian’, World Literature Publications, p1, 1991

  • Since we have all grown up in a world of denominational churches, it is hard to think of the undivided church of the first century.
  • Jim Massey, ‘Was Original Christianity Denominational?’, World Literature Publications, p20, 1991

  • The Churches of Christ distort the meaning of the terms “kind” or “brand” as established in the dictionary to be understood sub-consciously only as “denominations.” The nouns – “kind” and “brand” become trigger words. This leads to confusion. The Churches of Christ’ vocabulary concerning the words – “kind” and “brand” is not the same language as stipulated in the dictionary. It is a form of trick terminology. A redefinition switch is produced when the terms “kind” or “brand” are associated with the term “a Christian denomination.” These associations of words immediately flash through the mind when the redefinition light is activated through booklets, conversations or sermons. The reformulated terms – “kind” and “brand” produce the redefined idea of denominational Christianity!

    Think about it! What do you put in a toaster?

    The aim of trick terminology is to overlook the obvious. The purpose of a toaster is making toast. To start the process you need bread! That is what goes in a toaster. What comes out is toast! Hopefully you came to the same conclusion! If you answered, “toast” then you have been tricked: Think again! What do cows drink? The obvious answer is water, but surprisingly many will first think milk! These examples show the power of word association and trigger words that can easily mislead us. Toast and bread are alike, but semantically they describe different nouns. Many people using toasters are happy to substitute the term “bread” with the term “toast” long before it is exposed to heat!

    The Churches of Christ’ redefinition switch produces the same effect and will persuade the unaware to overlook the obvious. By definition the noun “kind” is a class or group of individual objects like people of the same nature or character, or classified together because they have traits in common.

    What “kind” are the Churches of Christ?

    A predicament arises the moment the Churches of Christ accepts the obvious to be classified as a “kind” or “brand” (1) according to the dictionary or by (2) their redefinition switch. Either way each step of acceptance would relegate them to a position within the body of Christ like any other Christian denomination. But they claim they are not just a part of the body of Christ, but that they are the body of Christ – the original church.

    The Churches of Christ argue the “original church” in the New Testament could not be a “kind” or a “brand”! According to them it is “absurd”!
    In the New Testament, the church was merely the church. It is absurd to ask what kind of church it was, because there were no kinds. There was just the church!
  • Evangelism Handbook, The Church, Concord Road Church of Christ, Brentwood, TN

  • Here we can see the Churches of Christ support the strange idea and teach “no kinds” of churches existed in the New Testament. Nor is it acceptable to ask: “what kind of church.”

    Why does it sound ridiculous to them? The moment when the redefinition switch for the noun “kind” is activated as seen below, it produces the concept of a Christian denomination!
    In the New Testament, the church was merely the church. It is absurd to ask what denomination of church it was, because there were no denominations. There was just the church!
  • Evangelism Handbook, The Church, Concord Road Church of Christ, Brentwood, TN

  • See how the redefinition switch dramatically alters the picture! Here, we connect on the same level with the noun “kind” and what it means to members of the Churches of Christ. A moment before it was a ‘strange question’ to ask “what kind of church” was the New Testament Church. Now through the help of the ‘redefinition switch’ we can clearly see why.

    Indeed it is ‘absurd’ to state that the first congregation of believers was a denomination. Anyone who wants to imply such ludicrous claims is sadly mistaken! Even so, we must not forget how we came to this conclusion. We have arrived with the help of the Churches of Christ redefinition switch. Cracking this redefinition formula of the noun(s) – “kind” and “brand” is almost as satisfactory as shuffling the name of Dan Brown to mean “Own Brand”! No pun intended.)

    The redefinition of the nouns “kind” or “brand” depending on their usage implicates a Christian denomination or a Christian from it. This is exactly what the Churches of Christ want to avoid. They don’t want to be called a Christian denomination or identified as such. Therefore they don’t take it kindly when asked what kind!

    Redefinitions create more problems down the line. The redefined noun “kind” not only obscures the proper well-defined terms in the dictionary but also enforces a metaphorical forked-tongue or double talk. Communication suffers when individuals are armed with a redefinition and others are not because the vocabulary is not like the vocabulary of the dictionary by definition. No wonder individuals of the Churches of Christ object being asked: What “kind” are the Churches of Christ? Obviously saying: “Not any kind” will lead to bewilderment. The conversation will go nowhere trying to establish “what kind” was the New Testament church. This cannot be. Any group – religious, political or social, sharing similar characteristics makes a kind!

    The Churches of Christ follow the path of established cults who all rely on redesigned terms of their own creation and preferences, which always contradict well-defined and accepted terminology.

    This man-made argument of the Churches of Christ surrounds two conflicting points. The New Testament church was NOT A KIND and NOT A DENOMINATION. This observation is twisted.

    It is twisted; because this observation of the Churches of Christ is absurd! It relies on a redefinition switch instead of the laws of language. The argument of the Churches of Christ insists on “what their itching ears want to hear.”

    It is twisted; because this observation of the Churches of Christ does not distinguish between the meaning of the noun “kind” and what a Christian denomination is. For them it is all the same. We can distinguish “what kind of church” was “the” original and only church IN JERUSALEM, but we cannot state it was a Christian denomination. Doing so is wrong.

    It is twisted; because this observation of the Churches of Christ relies on the support of man-made arguments. We can establish the progress of the early church from its humble beginnings in the New Testament, but unfortunately nothing can be said about the origins of the first car. We can establish “what kind of church” “the” original and only church in Jerusalem was, but to assume it was a denomination is wrong. No respected Christian denomination has ever made such claims to justify denominational Christianity. The Churches of Christ make a BIG DEAL of a non-issue.

    It is twisted; because this observation of the Churches of Christ does not take in account “what kind of church” the early church represents. It seems members of the Churches of Christ may not ask such questions. Clearly, the first disciples added to the Lord’s church were all Jewish believers. The ethos of the original church in Jerusalem never changed. It had certain characteristics in common, which makes them a kind of church. The congregation fled to Pella when Rome destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Overtime, “the” original and only church vanished. The Pauline churches ‘survived’. Today Christianity imitates the customs of Paul not what James, the Lord’s brother, followed in Jerusalem (Acts 21:20-25).

    It is twisted; because this observation of the Churches of Christ implies there was only “the” original and ONLY CHURCH. This is a dangerous assumption, which had led to the formation of the Roman Catholic Church. The structure of the early church (for two centuries) was holistic. Emphasizing the importance of the whole and the interdependence of its parts (Galatians 2:9). The New Testament indicates two separate ministries – one for the Jews and another for Gentiles. Thus two “kinds.” However, it is wrong to assume these different churches were denominations. The Bible mentions only one body, one church (1 Corinthians 12:13). But we are in the right to ask: What kind! Whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free?

    It is twisted; because this observation of the Churches of Christ forms an anachronism. If the Churches of Christ imply the early church was not any kind, they also mean not any denomination! We know Christian “denominations” only occurred as a by-product from the 16th Century Protestant Reformation period. Not before. Religious groups who rivaled the teachings of the New Testament were known as “sects” like the movements of the Gnostics, Marcionites and Montanism.

    It is twisted; because this observation of the Churches of Christ relies on double standards that lead to confusion.
    Just because men may call the church a division or sect does not make it one. … In like manner the church of Christ today may be everywhere called a denomination, but this does not mean that it is a denomination and calling the church a denomination does not make it one.
  • Jim Massey, ‘You Can Be Just A Christian’, World Literature Publications, p53, 1991

  • It is twisted; because this observation of the Churches of Christ can be proven wrong.
    Never are “kinds” of churches mentioned. Never in the Bible do we read of “different” churches teaching different doctrines.
  • Jim Massey, ‘You Can Be Just A Christian’, World Literature Publications, p48, 1991

  • Never say ‘never’! The conversation between James, the Lord’s brother, and Paul speaks volumes of “kinds of churches” and “different churches teaching different doctrines.” (Acts 21:21) To be of a “kind” or to be “different” does not change much! The characteristics of a lemon and an orange are similar. Yet, they are two kinds of citrus fruits. One is bitter the other delightful. The early church was a mixture between bitter-and-sweet kinds of Christianity. Paul’s Letters attest to it!

    Finally, it is twisted, because this observation of the Churches of Christ excludes other Christian denominations from the body of Christ. A predicament arises the moment the Churches of Christ accept to be classified as a “kind” or “brand” (1) according to the dictionary or by (2) their redefinition switch. Either way each step of acceptance would relegate them to a position within the body of Christ like any other Christian denomination. But they claim they are not just a part of the body of Christ, but that they are the body of Christ – the original church!

    The Churches of Christ reaction seems to emphasize that the Way, the Truth, and the Life is void in denominational Christianity. How can this be? Surprisingly the original founders of the American Restoration Movement never reacted like this.

    Next article: The concept of “kind” amongst the Churches of Christ

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