Roanoke Church of Christ

Month: August 2011


Each month I receive articles and mail from those with whom I differ when it comes to God and the Bible. You might wonder why I don’t tell them I don’t want their stuff. Well, since it costs to mail me their papers it allows me to feel that I’m doing my part to shut them down.

In a recent editorial, the author, a man who is well-known for his narrow view of scripture, examined evangelism and benevolence. He said the “first priority of the church was to ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” He then described the gospel as, “conveying to the lost the will of Jesus on many things relating to salvation, including faith, repentance and baptism”. I’m not sure what he would include in “many things relating to salvation”.

He then began to warn of the return of the “social gospel”. He complained that at the turn of the twentieth century, some churches placed social concern ahead of evangelism, and that this had lead to straying from the path into social activities such as temperance, civil rights for minorities, women’s voting rights, early education, job training, etc., which, according to him, lead to political liberalism. He did not mention, but it could be assumed, that the opposite leads to political conservatism.

Of course, as we tend to do to prove a point, he quotes selected scriptures to back up his position, all of it defining the gospel as evangelism. He never seems to get what Jesus called the “good news”. He fails to mention that when Jesus announced his purpose for coming in Luke 4:14-21, he said, quoting from Isaiah, “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, and recovery of sight to the blind, to release the oppressed and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” The “evangelism” in that declaration is quite different from the man who wrote the article.

To justify his position, he sites J. C. Bailey, who was a missionary in India fifty or so years ago. He tells how Bailey and his wife started out relieving the hunger and suffering as much as they could. But then, Bailey, realized they were feeding people who would be “hungry again tomorrow.” They would be filled, but die lost. So he helped the poor as time allowed after preaching what he concluded was the “gospel” to them.

You see, that’s the problem with folks like him, it is either/or, instead or both/and. James 2:14-17.

When Jesus sent out his followers, every time they were told what the good news was. It was “The kingdom of heaven is near”. And in doing that they were to “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, and drive out demons”. Was that not a “social gospel”?

I know someone would remind me that Jesus said, “I must preach the good news to other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” Lk. 4:43. He said about the same thing in Mk. 1:38. However, these statements merely show that Jesus did not stop in one place with his message, the same message he said earlier in the Luke passage was his “good news”.

There is a place in the article where a Freudian aberration surfaces. The author, in defending evangelism as of first importance, says, “The very act of evangelism will help many people fare better in this life. In becoming Christians, sinners cast away many wasteful and foolish habits. Money once spent on alcohol or tobacco, gambling or mind-numbing drugs is now available for food and clothing. Time formerly spent in laziness or carousing is now available for earning a living.” Now we can see his real feelings. These “sinners” aren’t really poor or in need. They have what they need, but they are lazy and wasting it on drugs, alcohol, tobacco and gambling. While that could be true in some cases, the starving children in Somalia are not dying because the money (?) was spent on such things, although I can almost hear the author’s claim that it is somehow their fault.

Jesus refused on more than one occasion to assess fault in illness or human need. He even warned that in so doing, those who did it were in danger of perishing. Lk. 13:5. Jesus came to announce that God’s kingdom was coming to the earth. He said that we pray for God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. When he was able to display that kingdom, it was always about making the lives of the living, better, both physically and spiritually.

The gospel of Jesus can be found in any of the versions of the Sermon on the Mount, (Matt) or the sermon on the plain. (Lk.) It would be very difficult to love ones neighbor as ones self and be passive about their needs. We would not sit in church singing and praising God while the house of the folks next to the church burns down, saying, “Don’t bother me now! I’m worshipping God!”

When Paul is quoted, “We preach Christ crucified”, we need to ask what “Christ Crucified” means. Is that what Peter preached to Cornelius? What did that sheet let down in front of Peter mean if it didn’t mean social barriers were coming down and equality before God was going up? What about baptizing a eunuch? What about Paul integrating the Jewish church with Gentiles? What about, “In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”? These were major social issues that were always a point of contention as they are today.

What about social change like slavery? There was no immediate future for the first Christians. In I Cor. 7 Paul gives his rules for living in the present, soon to end, age. Read it. You will find he tells the unmarried to stay that way. He tells women they can leave their husbands, but not for another man. He tells everyone, including slaves to stay right where they are, because he says, “the time is short”. The imminent return of Christ influences the social view of the NT. But as time passed, Christians began to do the “gospel” on earth, as Jesus described it, while looking forward to heaven.

CONCERNS: Wilma Cullum now has a private room. It is room 22, South Roanoke Nursing Home, 3823 Franklin Rd. SW, 24014. Eleanor Crush, Helen Nicklas, Wayne Phlegar, Two of Connie Crites brothers has cancer. One is waiting while the doctors look at available treatments. The other is receiving chemotherapy. Her father is about the same as he deals with his heart. Keep the daughter of Judy McWhorter’s friend in your prayers. Her name is Tooney, and she has cancer. Also Alma Martin, Mike Breeding and his wife, Joni Beach’s mother, Jenni Cullum, Randy Conner, Tim Elder and the work at the Ezell Clinic, the children at the ABC program and Bread For A Hungry World and Roger Fisher and Teryn Gaynor.

Monday: Hosea 11:1-9
Tuesday: Matthew 10:24-39
Wednesday: Exodus 16:1-36
Thursday: Luke 7:36-50
Friday: John 13:31-38
Saturday: Psalm 103:1-22

Monday: Matthew 6:1-18
Tuesday: Psalm 96:1-13
Wednesday: Matthew 6:19-34
Thursday: Luke 23:26-43
Friday: James 1:5-18
Saturday: Romans 8:26-39

Our sympathy is extended to Teryn Gaynor in the death of her father. He died on August 12, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The body was cremated. The family will have a memorial service Labor Day weekend.

This weekend the young people are at the Floras enjoying another annual Crazy Country Christian Challenge. It started on Saturday, August 20, at 9:30 AM and will conclude this afternoon. If you want some idea of what they will be doing, see the pictures on the downstairs wall.

It’s just about two weeks until the Bar B Que. We plan to start cooking even earlier this year so the meat can be slow cooked, smoked and tender. There will be beef brisket, pork and chicken. Some of our regulars are going to be out of town this year, so please let us know soon how many of you are attending. A sign-up sheet is on the foyer table. We will eat about 4:00 o’clock. Remember to bring all the fixin’s and we’ll provide the meat. It all takes place on Saturday, September 3.

The stack of peanut butter for the local food bank is growing. It will be delivered at the end of the month. When you shop, pick up a jar and place it on the table in the foyer, or the one downstairs This is one other way we can help feed those in need in our area.

We now have a contact in Afghanistan through Erma Williams. We will be sending such items as individual packets of water flavors, crystal lite, etc., slim jims, wet wipes, cracker snacks, small toys for the children and of course, home made cookies. We already have a contribution for this and so we are moving ahead.

Today 8/21 is Super Sunday. Our monthly meal will follow the service. If you are a visitor, please consider yourself our special guest for this meal.

Mike, AC and Susan are back safely from working at the Ezell Clinic and we hope to have a report from them very soon.


Did you know God has expanded his business? We know he is supposed to be in the prayer answering business. (I wonder how badly God wants us to answer his prayer, you know, “thy will be done” and all that?) We also know, according to TV evangelists, that God is in the money business, you know, just waiting to make us rich. It’s the old “hundredfold, heaped up and pressed down” approach. Too bad the apostle Paul and the others didn’t know about that. We also know that God is in the calling business. Even though no one else seems to hear the call except the one who said God called. And we are now hearing that God is busy calling certain people to the political arena, not to be confused with the arena well-known to the early Christians. We also know that God is in the planning business, i.e., making sure everything we do in our life is actually God’s plan for us.

It is out of this last one that now, at long last, God has opened the whole new business of match making. That’s right, God is now making sure Mr. and Miss Right get together. If you go to the internet, or watch television, you will see advertised “Christian dating services”. You will actually hear someone say that you can find God’s match for you at their service.

Now, I know God is big enough to handle a dating service, while at the same time dealing with the massive starvation, wars, political corruption, power and greed in the world. It is even possible that a match-making service would be a snap compared to the rest of it, but I doubt it. After all, all that other stuff seems to be completely out of control, and marriages aren’t doing that well either.

God, as a loving God, wants to love us and bless us. The problem comes when we tell God how to love and bless us. We can be like the child who says, “If you love me, give me what I want.” Or if we want blessed, we want to tell God when and how. Of course we want God’s blessings. We know there are things beyond our control or ability, so we ask for help from the one who has no limitation. What we need to feel is that since God does loves us, we can trust God to always do the loving thing. That also means we cannot expect God to show partiality in his love. He gives the rain to both the just and the unjust. It is not that God gives what we want, but that God gives what we need. And even there, if you are a mother in Somalia who is looking at her starving, dying child due to the drought, that hardly answers her need. Such questions are avoided by those who know God’s business.

I suppose God was waiting for the internet to come along so he could get into the match-making business. Even God can sell no line before its time. So in helping all those who have God on their side in this endeavor, I offer the following theme song. If you are old enough, the tune is to “Mr. Sandman”. And don’t forget to put in the “Bung, bung, bung, bung” at the end of each verse.

Mr. Godman, bring me a dream,
Make them the cutest that I’ve ever seen.
Give them two lips like roses and clover,
And let them read their Bible over and over.

Mr. Godman, bring me a dream,
Don’t have nobody to call my own.
Please, according to your plan,
Mr. Godman do what you can.

Mr. Godman, bring me a dream,
Make them so cute and squeaky clean.
Give them the word that I’m not a rover
Then tell them that their lonesome nights are over.

Mr. Godman, I’m so alone,
Don’t have nobody bone of my bone.
Please, while the grass is still green,
Mr. Godman bring me my dream.

Mr. Godman, bring me a dream,
Give them two eyes like peaches and cream.
Give them a heart as big as the ocean,
Come on, get this match-making thing in motion.

Mr. Godman, just someone to hold,
Would be so great, before I’m too old.
Please, please, please, I pray,
Mr. Godman, bring me a dream.

All major credit cards accepted.


CONCERNS: Eleanor Crush is now under hospice care. Wilma Cullum is now at the Roanoke Nursing Home, room 5-A. Jenni is still at Pheasant Ridge. Helen Nicklas is doing some better. Teryn Gaynor’s father has terminal cancer and has only a short time to live. Wayne Phlegar was to have back treatments for pain as soon as it could be arraigned. Two of Connie Crites’ brothers are being treated for cancer. The daughter of a friend of Judy McWhorter’s will have her cancerous thyroid removed soon. Her name is Tooney. Keep these folks in your prayers as well: Alma Martin, Connie Crites’ father (heart problems) Mike Breeding and his wife, Joni Beach’s mother, Randy Conner, (cancer) Jenni Cullum, Tim Elder, our folks who are in Guatemala working with Health Talents Int. at the Ezell Clinic, the work of Bread For A Hungry World.

MONDAY: John 8:21-47
TUESDAY: Luke 22:14-30
WEDNESDAY: Luke 12:13-34
THURSDAY: Psalm 51:1-19
FRIDAY: Acts 4:32-5:11
SATURDAY: Psalm 99:1-9, 100:1-5

MONDAY: Isaiah 6:1-12
TUESDAY: Matthew 13:1-23
THURSDAY: II Samuel 12:1-15
FRIDAY: Ephesians 6:10-20
SATURDAY: Psalm 104:1-35

Our hearts and prayers go out to Roger Fisher and the rest of his family with regard to his son, Shawn, who experienced multiple organ failure last week which makes his death immanent. Roger has been by his side since he was notified of the situation. Shawn lives in Erie, PA. More details when Roger returns.

It’s not dangerous, but it is explosive, meaning the second annual Crazy Country Christian Challenge, to be held at the Floras. It will be Saturday and Sunday, August 20-21. It starts at 9:30 on Saturday morning and will conclude on Sunday afternoon at 3:00. A big thanks to Wayne, Alisa and Nathan for all the work they put in to making this a really fun weekend for our young people. There are pictures on the wall downstairs from last years outing.

The Labor Day weekend is fast approaching. There is a sign-up sheet on the foyer table. Let us know as soon as possible if you plan to attend. We will eat on Saturday, Sept. 3, about 4 PM. This year we will be slow cooking all night, starting the evening before. Each year we try to improve the taste and quality of the pork, beef brisket and the chicken, so don’t miss it!

We once again have the opportunity to help those now serving in Afghanistan. Erma Williams has a contact there. We will be collecting individual packets of water flavors, crystal lite, etc., slim jims, wet wipes, cracker snacks, small toys for the children like hot wheels and balls, etc., and, of course, homemade cookies.

Remember to but a jar of peanut butter when you shop. The local food bank has asked our help in doing this. If you pick up specially marked jars of Peter Pan, there is a sticker on the lid. If you send the code on the label a family will be fed by the company that makes Peter Pan. Of course any good brand will do, but buy the brand you would use at home.