The Gospel Observer (January 1, 2017)

1) Political Correctness and the Christian (Doy Moyer)
2) Counting the Cost (Carey Scott)
3) News & Notes
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Political Correctness and the Christian
Doy Moyer

Christians increasingly must deal with political correctness (PC). This is the idea, according to the online dictionary (.com), of “avoiding vocabulary that is considered offensive, discriminatory, or judgmental.” They even add that PC is tied to “demonstrating progressive ideals,” and particularly involves “race and gender.” PC is quite pervasive these days, and at times it feels like we are walking on egg shells just to avoid offending anyone. How ought Christians to look at this issue?

Look at it through a biblical lens, not merely a political or social lens. It’s easy to fall prey to political propaganda today, but this issue must not be decided politically. We must see matters through the lens of Scripture and let that be what determines what we do. Understand the biblical principles by which we operate. There are several, so let’s be reminded of a few:

First, be dedicated to spiritual truth. Our salvation depends on it (1 Tim. 2:4; John 8:31-32), and this dedication is bigger than whatever winds of change happen in culture.

Second, and no less than the first, be dedicated to loving both God and others (the two greatest commandments, Matt. 22:36-40). “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law” (Rom. 13:8).

Ephesians 4:15 puts truth and love together. “Speaking the truth in love” helps us mature in both doctrine and attitude. One without the other is futile. Where political correctness violates either of these, then we must avoid it.

Third, we should, as Paul, strive to become all things to all people (1 Cor. 9:19-23). Paul’s purpose for doing this was “so that I might win” others, “for the sake of the gospel,” to Christ.

Fourth, understand the limitations. We are to discern right from wrong (Heb. 5:12-14), which also means discerning what is morally or spiritually necessary from that which is not so.

Fifth, approach the world with wisdom. “Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person” (Col. 4:5-6). This should be a major factor in how we consider our reaction to PC.

Correlating to the above, then, here is what we can gather for practical application:

1. If speaking politically correct involves compromising God’s truth (e.g., by refusing to talk about sin), then it must be avoided. Truth is more important than anyone’s agenda, and truth will often be offensive to those who don’t want to hear it. This is what Jesus faced: “Then the disciples came and said to Him, ‘Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this statement?’” (Matt. 15:12). Paul faced it, also: “So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?” (Gal. 4:16). If speaking truth means the world is offended, we must never give up the truth to placate the world.

2. If our actions that involve political correctness (to whatever degree we practice it) are not motivated by love, then we are not doing anyone any good (1 Cor. 13:1-3). If we purposively speak politically incorrect, not from teaching the gospel of truth, but in order to push buttons and irritate those with whom we disagree, then we are being divisive and acting in a way that will likely drive people away from Christ.

3. Becoming all things to all men means that we try to understand our times, understand where others are coming from, and purposively act in a way that points them to Christ. There may be matters of PC that we personally dislike, but if it is not sinful, and if it helps to provide more opportunities for teaching about Jesus, then we should, in such cases, act lovingly and speak without trying to offend. The gospel makes people Christians, not Americans, so if our motivation is just to act like patriotic Americans, and in that process become unnecessarily offensive, we have missed the point that we are citizens of a much greater kingdom that takes precedence (Phil. 3:20-21).

4. If the PC issue is not a matter of moral or spiritual necessity, then what is our purpose for being stubborn about particular terminology? If someone is offended by being called a certain term, for example, and it really boils down to a preference, then why would we purposively keep speaking offensively? That is just being obnoxious, not spiritual.

5. We should always consider the wisdom of speaking in a manner that is not offensive to others, given the other caveats above. We are told to speak with grace, to act with wisdom, to respond appropriately to each person. If we know something is offensive and yet doesn’t violate the above principles, then wisdom tells us to be gracious about it. Give up what is offensive if possible. “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men” (Rom. 12:18).

The goal, as always, is to glorify God. Seek the wisdom of His word, and let the biblical principles guide us in how we act toward the world.

— via Bulletin Articles of the Vestavia church of Christ, September 11, 2016
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Counting the Costs
Carey Scott

Anything that is of value will cost something. It will be money or time or some sort of effort on our part. An education will take time and money and lots of effort. A marriage will be successful with the same ingredients along with love, devotion, and understanding. Operating a successful business requires the same ingredients. Most people understand this and willingly apply these things to whatever they choose to do. But we want to consider what salvation and Christianity will cost us in simple terms, and we will encourage you to make the right choice.

Becoming a Christian may cost us something in our human relationships. Jesus must come first and be more important than even our family and closest relationships. While those relationships are important, we cannot allow those ties to keep us from serving God. Obedience to the gospel can cause a strain on a relationship, because the elements of such relationship have changed. While one may be desiring to serve God, a loved one may not choose to do so. If you want your loved one saved, you may have to put a lot of effort to bring them to Christ, and we know that many people are not interested in spiritual matters, and they may choose a different path. Some people have been shunned by their entire families, and in some cultures, have been killed for leaving their former belief system.

It could cost us financially to become a Christian. There are many ways to make money, and it seems like the most lucrative professions are also the most sinful ones as well. Many people are not willing to become paupers for the cause of Christ. They enjoy their luxury and their excess. Christians are giving people, and that does not limit their giving to the contribution plate passed on Sunday. The Bible tells us anytime we see a need, we should help with whatever ability or resources or money we have. We should give as we have been prospered, because we are concerned for the work of the church in the local area. We should want to participate and support activities that could help others get to heaven.

It may cost us something as Christians to stand firm for the truth. There have been times when the truth was preached, that the preacher lost his life. Stephen’s preaching of the gospel angered the Jews, and they stoned him. The early church suffered persecution (even death) at the hands of those who had been given the word of God, but failed to recognize the grace of God of the gospel. Today, it is not much different. Many people hate it when a preacher points out their sins. And you don’t have to be a preacher to tell someone they are wrong in something, they will still despise you for saying so.

Following Christ will cost us our own selfish will. We are to become new creatures with new desires and new goals. We learn that we are not as important as we think we are, and that we should treat others as more important than ourselves. One might look at all the vices that are offered in this world and think that they have to miss out on all the fun. Well, the reality is that the moments’ pleasures usually have consequences that are often hard to bear. To party in excess usually ends up in hangovers and throwing up, and feeling bad all day, not to mention realizing some of the stupid things one did, and who they might have hurt or killed in their drunken stupor. One might think that using foul, vulgar language makes one popular, but only with a group that chooses that kind of language. In all, the cost of discipleship is very high, but extremely worth it.

— Via The Elon Challenger, January 2017, Volume 14, Number 5
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“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesian 3:20,21, NASB).
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News & Notes

We were sorry to hear of the sudden passing of Brian Keith Corbitt (with whom Cheryl had been married for 31 years). He was only 53 years old. Let those of us who are Christians continue to remember all his family and friends in prayer.

An update on Camp Tatum made Friday says that “Yesterday’s scans were the worst news we’ve gotten so far. … Camp’s MRI was showing so much disease in his brain and spine that they didn’t even do the lumbar puncture. … What we saw on the scans was new tumors everywhere that the spinal fluid flows. They are surrounding his brain, in the fluid-filled spaces in his brain and along his spine.” Pain and headaches have been getting worse for him. Let us also continue to pray for this young child and his family.

I (Tom Edwards) saw a doctor recently about a hernia problem that had started getting worse these last few months, and will soon be having a CT Scan to better determine the condition.

Also for prayers: Shirley Davis, the Medlocks (Bennie, Deborah, Penny, and James), Kay Byars, La Donna Andrews, Lexi Crawford, Kelli Fleeman, Jim Lively, Brianna Mackey, James “Buddy” Gornto, Ray Richards, and Mary Vandevander
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The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
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Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 5 PM (worship)
Tuesday: 7 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

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