Life, Theology & Discipleship with Wes Woodell

Actually, the moral laws of the Old Testament are not …

Comment on What’s the Difference Between the Old Covenant & New Covenant in the Bible? by G.

Actually, the moral laws of the Old Testament are not binding on us. They were replaced by Jesus with a higher standard. Instead of being commanded not to kill, He told us not even to hate someone. Instead of committing adultery, we should not even look at a woman lustfully….

Recent Comments by G

Why ‘Accepting Jesus into Your Heart’ is Superstitious & Unbiblical, and How Believer’s Baptism Can Be Equally So
So many excellent comments. It’s such a paradox that we could teach the right thing (baptism) but be so wrong in how we do it (not including repentance and discipleship as an integral part of the discussion). Yeah, we mouth the words and repeat the phrases, but living it out?… So sad, but that doesn’t happen as well as it should. I know of many rural churches in the north Alabama area that will staunchly stand against clapping while the church is assembled. (Mostly they mean during singing, but they would object to anyone celebrating a baptism by applause too.) They will get up in arms about all of that but aren’t bothered by “faithful members” who sit there with no expression on their face and no song on their lips. Sure, unless you’re a song leader you don’t see that since we’re all facing in one direction and no one dares look around lest they make eye contact… Point is they’re getting the forms down right, but discipleship is woefully lacking. A really disciple will be singing with a sincerity and a fervor that accomplishes the “teaching and admonishing one another” that Jesus intended.

Another thing too is that we don’t exactly understand repentance correctly. I’ve always heard that it’s a change of heart or a change of mind that leads to a change of direction — that your mind was hellbent on sinning so that’s the direction you’re walking, but you repent and change you mind / heart and decide to do right so you quit sinning and do a 180 and head back to God. That’s close, kinda. And if that understanding actually got someone to change their sinful ways then I won’t dispute it with them, but really it’s more significant than that. Repentance in the Greek is meta-noia, which means mind-change (kinda like it instructs in Romans 12:1-2). God is omnipresent, so we don’t have to turn 180 degrees to get back to him. We don’t have to turn 360 degrees or 37 degrees or 298 degrees. We have to have a radically different mindset. We have to think entirely different. Meta-noia would be like changing our direction to something perpendicular to the plane we walk in (kinda, it’s a spiritual endeavor so dimensions and their measurements don’t apply).

More from Francis Chan on Repentance, Baptism, & The Holy Spirit
Excellent. Good that you recognize instruments as an innovation from David; you’re halfway there. It seems you’re looking at a cappella singing as a tradition of men (specifically Church of Christ men [and women]), but if you’ll look at little further you’ll find it just as I stated. You state that God honored David’s instruments, but I don’t see that. If you have a specific Scripture in mind, I would be glad to consider it. I may be mistaken, but I can’t recall a verse that reads as you say — specifically honoring David and his instruments. Instead, I see a clear indication from the Old Testament that David added these instruments. And Amos (6:5) in condemning the prideful attitudes in Israel specifically references strumming on harps like David as evidence of complacency. (And like you said, God doesn’t change. So how did He honor David’s instruments in one instance and condemn them in another? Maybe he didn’t honor them in the first place.) Again, more I could say, but if you can present a verse (or some verses) that states things like you have asserted I would be glad to look at it. In that search, also look into what is specifically commanded when God gave the law to Moses and see what you find.

I applaud you in seeking to eliminate human traditions from your life. We all need to do that and guard against new ones creeping in. I don’t want to speak too broadly, but most everyone I know among the people who follow Wes’ blog are ones who would readily part with CoC traditions whenever necessary. But some traditions are actually good. I grew up being taught to insist on “book, chapter, and verse” for any teaching, and challenging the preacher (respectfully of course, you could be wrong yourself) was welcomed.


More from Francis Chan on Repentance, Baptism, & The Holy Spirit
The way you capitalized “Traditions of Men” makes me wonder if you’re referring to a specific organization, or maybe a book or something.

If the capitalization is unintentional and you’re meaning to equate a cappella singing as a man-made tradition then I would request you look into the matter a little further. The Churches of Christ reached that conclusion from insisting on a New Testament teaching for every practice. There wasn’t one to be found to authorize instruments in worship, so they stuck with the simple instructions given to “sing and make melody in your hearts.” Other than those coming from a non-religious / unbelieving perspective, pretty much everyone who joined the Church of Christ as it was being established in America would have left a group that used instruments. If you go back into the history of most groups in the Reformation, a lot of them (almost all) began with a cappella singing as a significant part of their teaching. If you go back even further, the early church sang a cappella. The etymology of a cappella reveals it to come from Italian and literally means “according to the style of the chapel” (i.e., like how we sing at church).

Now, all of that appeals pretty much to the New Testament, but (believe it or not) a cappella singing can readily be established from the Old Testament. Orthodox Jews sing a cappella too. It’s a long discussion (well, not that long), and I’ve already typed too long of a reply as is.

More from Francis Chan on Repentance, Baptism, & The Holy Spirit
Sorry for any confusion. I’m limiting my social networking these days for the sake of keeping my grad school work on a higher plane. I’ll only be here just a little while longer; I can blog and look at the book of faces plenty after that, but I can’t make up for poor performance there or go back and learn things only available in this specific environment. Still, I’m trying to maintain some spiritual interactions, and I enjoy Wes’ blog. Anyway, I wasn’t saying the diverging views on the time, place, mode, etc. of baptism were THE false teaching Paul warned against but putting it as a possibility or it accompanying what he specifically meant. Then again, he may have been nondescript on purpose… (Really, I think it was more likely the impending abuses and heresy of the Roman Catholic church. John seems to be more concerned with Gnosticism.) It’s hard to cover all the potentialities of what Paul and John meant (or the potential interpretation of my own meager attempts at using the English language) in a brief post. I was trying to throw out some food for thought w/o going into way too much detail… Forgive me if I misspoke. Now back to the grad school grind!

More from Francis Chan on Repentance, Baptism, & The Holy Spirit
Thanks for filling in my gaps, Terry. Yes, that is the author and book I was referring to. I could see the green cover with white type in my mind, but the name and title just wouldn’t come to me.

Regarding Rex’s hypotheses, a couple thoughts come to mind. Although the time frame would make those drifts to be contemporary, it may be that they were pocketed instances and just hadn’t reach John. That seems plausible, especially given the exile of his later years. Also, by this time the activity of the apostles had become limited, mainly because most of them had died with the exception of the “abnormally born” Paul and the Jesus-granted longevity of John. The church had pretty much been turned over to local elders at that time. And speaking of elders, Paul warned the Ephesian elders that false teachers would come up from their very midst, so it should be no surprise that his warning came true in terms of aspersion replacing baptism. Right around this same time (just a few decades later) is when infant baptism was also introduced.



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