Roanoke Church of Christ

Month: June 2018


Paul told Timothy (11 Tim. 2:15) to study and handle correctly the word of truth.
My intention here is to ask how we too should handle scripture reasonablely, within its historical and cultural context.
Did the New Testament have a historical and cultural context? Yes. If you agree with that, and you may not, it has to be understood (handled) in that context. Which means there are some passages which should be understood in that framework. Which also means the application for the later (modern) reader may have no contemporary application at all, except to illustrate a given point in time and culture. .
The foundation for this is that the early (NT) Christians expected Christ to return soon, even within their lifetime. See I Thess. 1:9, 3:12, 4:16-17; James 5:1-11, I Cor, 1:7 and I John 2:28, 3:2,3 to name only a few.
Let’s look at I Cor. 7 for example, and ask if these instructions (commands) are conditional or contemporary?
The chapter opens with Paul addressing “matters about which they wrote”. He answers a “matter” by saying, “It is good for a man not to marry” (NIV) Other translations use other terms, but we’ll use this one. Do Preachers preach that today?
His response is that due to “immortality” it’s okey to marry. In v. 5 he says marriage is because of “your lack of self-control.” Is that what we think and preach today? Remember, it’s in the book!
The same lack of self-control is applied to all unmarried and widows.” V.8&9.
V.10 Paul says the Lord “commands” the wife not to separate from her husband, but if she does she must remain unmarried, or return to her husband. He adds that the husband should not divorce his wife. Notice that according to Paul, the Lord commands (allows) the wife to leave her husband as long as it is not to marry another man. No reason is given. (More about that later.)
In vs. 12-16 Paul tells how marriage to non-believers should be handled. If the woman has an unbelieving husband who is content to live with her, she should not divorce him because of his unbelief. This is to work both ways. (V.15) However, if the non-believer wants out of the marriage, let them go. “A believing brother or sister is not bound in such circumstances.” Meaning the marriage is no longer binding, i.e., can be dissolved. There is also the issue of the non-believing “husband” (partner) being sanctified, as well as the children, through the believing partner. (V.14). The answers (?)) to that are about as many as the stars in the sky! It should be noted that even if Paul is granting divorce for such a situation, under his previous advice, neither should remarry.
In vs. 17-31 he sets out his view on all of this by saying “Nevertheless.” His main principle is based on this thesis: “Let everyone retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him.” Which is better explained in v20. “Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him.”
So circumcised or uncircumcised, don’t try to change it. (Yes, there was a surgical attempt to make the circumcised appear uncircumcised.)
A slave? No problem, stay a slave, unless you can gain freedom.
A virgin? Forget marriage. Married? Forget divorce. Unmarried? Forget marriage, but if you do, it’s not a sin. If married, live as though single. (v.29) Mourning? Stop. Happy? Stop. Buying things is meaningless. (v.30)
Vs. 32-40. Unmarried men are more concerned about the Lord’s business. (More later) Unmarried women are better at the Lord’s affairs. Married women are not. Everyone must have undivided attention to the Lord.
If the man has a virgin-bride-in-waiting, who is getting on in years, it’s not a sin to marry her. But if marriage is not what the man wants, it’s not a sin to not marry the virgin-bride-in-waiting, but he does better if he doesn’t marry her. A widow can remarry, but only to a believer.
Let’s review. It’s better not to marry. This is stated several times. If one does, it’s due to a lack of self-control. (v. 5&9)
A wife can’t leave (divorce?) her husband to get another man, but she can leave him if she wants. No reason given. A man must not divorce his wife.
If married to an unbeliever and they are living in peace, no divorce. If the unbeliever wants out, let them go. The believer is not bound any more than if they died. Note v.39.
Each person should remain in the situation in which they were called, i.e., became a believer. Live like you are single if married and so on.
Conditional or contemporary? If contemporary, why does Paul want elders to be married, and doesn’t tell men to live like they are single in other writings?
As to women leaving (separating from) their husbands, if the Lord is expected so soon as to cause marriage to cease, perhaps these women wanted to be part of those single women who “worked for the Lord’s coming. (v. 34)
As to remarriage after the unbeliever leaves, this is not a contemporary discussion about divorce and remarriage. Paul has said it’s better not to marry (or remarry).
All of chapter 7 is conditional, because, as Paul says in vs.26, 29&31, “Because of the present crisis” “The time is short” and, “The world in its present form os passing away.” The expectation of Christ’s speedy return conditioned how Paul, at least at that time, instructed them to live. For us and the later believers, not so.
That being true, how much more of what we apply as instructions or beliefs is the result of the conditions and the culture of the New Testament period? To examine such questions is about handling the scriptures right.
CONCERNS: Judy Hall continues to improve each day. Lilly, the young woman who received a double lung transplant due to CF is now in rehab. Del Bolin’s mother, Carrie, spent some time in the hospital. Ellen Tidwell, Debbie McRoy’s sister-in law had a lump scan on Tuesday. Debbie’s has a cousin who is having health issues as well. Richard Foy (Chrone’s disease) Deanna McRoy; in cancer recovery. Joni and Alan Beach’s parents; Teryn Gaynor’s mother and step-father; a friend of Leena Bolin’s who is having stress problems. Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Melanie Gentry; Wayne Phlegar; Ray and Darnel Barns; Gil Richardson; (ALS) Jamie Cole; Jim and Mary Smit; Tim Elder, and Steve Fox a recently retired minister who is being treated for neurological issues.

Our thoughts today will be directed by Mike Branch. Our thanks to him for the message.

Out sympathy is extended to Lyn Jordan in the death of a cousin who died over a week ago. The funeral was in Knoxville, TN.

Today is Super Sunday. The fellowship meal will be in the annex following the service. Visitors are considered our honored quests. Please stay.

There will be a steering committee meeting in the library following the Super Sunday meal.

During the summer months many of our congregation will be traveling. If you are going to be away, let Keith know. In relation to that, the Susan Jordan (and sometimes Lyn) will be away for the rest of June. The Bolin’s will also be away in July. During one of those “aways” Del will be lecturing in Greece.

Mike Branch invited me (KW) to sit in on a scipe session with the daughter of Joy Johnson, the former director of the Rescue Mission, who is studying at Notre Dame. She is involved with the Mennonites. When asked about evangelism among that group, she said their growth comes from the members sharing how much they enjoy being part of their church. When I heard that I thought about those of our church who have come to us for the same reason.


(The following is email intercepted by Heaven Wide Security. How they reached me via the deep state is a matter of world-wide security requirements.)

Dear Beevil,
It has been several years since we had a summit on how the thing called Facebook has helped our cause. That being the case, the Great One says it’s time for those of us in the higher levels of our government to come together to review and plan for future.
The summit has been set for September of this year. The exact date will be forthcoming. It will be on the island of Banaba, which is part of Kiribati of the Gilbert Islands. Banaba has a population of about 300 or so. It is also on the equator, which offers those of us from the underworld, so to speak, a place of comfort while we work.
What I need from you is a report from your section of the underworld as to how well our work is doing on Facebook in your part of North and South America.
I would’ve called, but there are no longer any secure lines. Even this secure email is subject to hacking by those who seek to limit our influence.
You will also notice I am using a new code name. It is always important to keep changing your code name, and I would advise you to do the same.
Please respond as soon as possible.
El Lobos

Great El Lobos,
I am happy to say that since our last communication our work on Facebook has outperformed our wildest expectations! Now we have Twitter to add to that as well!
As you know, email worked well for it’s time. Facebook has surpassed that by far. Did you hear about the Russians? They used Facebook (and Mark Zuckerburg) to influence the elections in the United States!
All they had to do was buy space and then put out anything they wanted people to believe! No one seemed to know it was the Russians, nor thought to investigate. As you know, if it looks believable, those who want to believe it, will. In fact, it works so well that the fact-checking sites are doubted. People post things about who is checking the fact-checkers! So as long as the fact-checkers are not believed, we are in business!
As we have known since the beginning of time, humans are self-serving before anything else. Remember the Eden story? As long as they can find anything which will support their preconceived, prejudicial self-serving ideas, we win. Facebook has become the Garden of Eden for us.
You need to read some of the evil, ugly and nasty responses to about any and all posts. Some posters will go on and on. It’s easy to see how, if they were face to face, it would turn violent. In fact such violence has increased. Others seem to use it to vent their wicked side. Which, of course, makes us winners.
Facebook has given humans a place to express the very worst of humanity while being unexposed. They use this thing called “hash tag” to hide their identity. They seem to have no idea we know who they are. Of course, our adversary, you-know-who knows what they say as well. But it doesn’t seem to bother them, even the ones who use their own names, or refer to themselves as “Christians.” It’s as if they are in another world.
Now, Twitter is another thing. It allows people to communicate with their followers almost instantly.
What we’ve found is that the time telling others your thoughts and activities consumes an astounding amount of time. We have even begun to see Twitter addiction.
I would invite you to come above before the summit and see for yourself. Go into any home or public place and people who could be talking to each other are looking at some form of electronic device! This has become a virtual gold mine for us!
In closing, it seems that the Russian thing has caused Zuckerburg and others to try to tighten their security. Good luck! We will always find a way to bring out the evil in people.
Your always obedient and faithful servant,
PS. Next time I will be El-Toro

Dear El-Toro,
What a good name for you! Now, I want you to hack these Facebook and Twitter accounts for me. Coded: vxctqu, pnutzj, 8s7gcvx, talp666n. Send them ASAP!
I look forward to seeing you at the summit. By the way, how is the little woman and all the little devils? I wish the summit could be a little vacation for all of the Devils family, but we have to remain as inconspicuous as possible. We will be going as archaeologists.
Until then,

Announcements: Martha Albert
Serve Communion: James Downing
Megan Downing
Carson McRoy
Connie Crites
Usher: John Bolin
Communion Care: Susan Phlegar
Singing: Scripture:
3-Scott Blessing Judy McWhorter
10-Alan Beach Mark McRoy
17-Karen Branch Steve Gaynor
24-Del Bolin Holly Wagner
Communion: Nursery:
3-Wayne Flora Susan Phlegar
10-Abraham Sirgy Megan Downing
17-Scott Blessing Holly Wagner
24-Mike Branch Alisa Flora
If you can’t serve call Erma Williams
13-Michael Branch 13-Susan Jordan
21-Wayne Flora 23-Betty Billings
29-Joni Beach

CONCERNS: Judy Hall is recovering at home and has been able to attend services. Matha Foy’s brother and Larry’s son, Richard Foy is struggling with Chrone’s disease, and may require surgery. Deanna McRoy has been declared cancer free at this time. However, her cancer is aggressive and has returned before. Debbie McRoy’s sister-in law, Ellen Tidwell has a spot on her lung which is being monitored. Lilly, a double lung transplant due to CF, is in UVA Med Center. Keep Joni and Alan Beach’s parents, as well as Del Bolin’s mother and Teryn Gaynor’s mother and step-father in prayer. A friend of Leena Bolin also needs prayer for strength to cope, as does Steve Fox, a recently retired minister in WV known to Keith and others of this congregation. Sheila Jansen’s daughter, Amber Weaver, remains the same. She is paralyzed and unable to move or speak. Also Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Wayne Phlegar, Gil Richardson, Jamie Cole, Ray and Darnel Barns, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

Since we have had to say goodbye to so many people over the last few years, it is exciting to announce that Stephanie Dixon is returning to Roanoke after spending about two years in Florida. She has a nursing job at the Glebe in Daleville. She plans to be in Roanoke in a week or so. When she arrives she will need help unloading the truck. More information on the time and place will be announced.

A woman who lives at the Stratford Apartment on Brandon Ave,. Would like to come to services here. She does not have a car so she needs a ride to the worship service.
If you come that way just for worship, talk to Keith. Her name is Susan Kelly. Her Phone number is 540-355-6318.

For those of you who attend on Wednesday evening, it has been discussed that the “soup supper” before the class be discontinued. It can work a hardship on those who travel farther to get here. However, if enough of the class wishes to continue we will.
If enough are there this Wednesday we will try to make a decision.
While the Sunday evening storms caused flooding in the Cave Spring area, as far as we know, none of our members had any more than some water which leaked into their basements.

Mike and Karen Branch are away, as are the Beach’s and Erma Williams. It was good to see Scott Blessing and the family able to be with us last Sunday.