“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
1) Do You Believe in Three Gods or One? (Dudley Ross Spears)
2) “Let Nothing Be Done Through Selfish Ambition” (R.J. Evans)
3) News & Notes
Do You Believe in Three Gods or One?
Dudley Ross Spears
Question: Our pastor says the Church of Christ believes in three Gods and he says the Bible teaches there is only one God. Why do you believe in three Gods? Don’t you believe the Bible?
Answer: Thanks for the question. No offense intended but your “pastor” is wrong. Yes, indeed, we believe every word of the Bible. It doesn’t matter what the “Church of Christ” believes; what matters is what the Bible teaches. We believe in the one true and living God because the Bible teaches it. Your “pastor” actually believes there is only one person of God. That person to him is Jesus alone, as the one person in the Godhead. The Bible teaches there is one God, but there are three divine Beings that make up the one God.
Notice how “one” is used in the Scriptures: Paul said in Romans 12:4, “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” Paul added, “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:12). You can see that one body does not mean only one person, but rather many persons making up one body.
Jesus taught that two persons are one without losing their individual identity. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate” (Matthew 19:5-6). You can clearly see that one here includes two persons. The same is true with the word God.
Jesus prayed that all believers might be one. Read John 17:20-22: “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one.” One in this passage cannot and does not mean only one person. Furthermore, Jesus prayed that his followers would be one AS (note the adverb of comparison) he and his father are one. “As” means “in this way,” or “in this manner.” Therefore one God does not mean only one person of God.
Paul spoke to the citizens of Athens, saying: “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device” (Acts 17:29). The word Godhead is also found in Romans 1:20 and Colossians 2:9. It means “Deity, the state of being God or divinity.” One God is the same as saying one Deity. The Bible says there is one God (Deity) but never says there is only one person who is deity. The Bible says a husband and wife are one, but they remain two distinct people. All believers are one in Christ (John 17:20) but not one person. If countless billions can be “one” and remain distinct human persons, three divine Beings can be one and remain distinct divine persons.
A United Pentecostal creed book reads: “We believe in the one ever living, eternal God: infinite in power, holy in nature, attributes and purpose; and possessing absolute, indivisible deity. This one true God has revealed Himself as Father, through His Son, in redemption; and as the Holy Spirit, by emanation. … This one true God manifested Himself in the Old Testament in divers ways; in the Son while He walked among men; as the Holy Spirit after the ascension” (Manual, United Pentecostal Church, page 17). Some of those who adhere to this creedal dictum explain it this way. “God is one person, who has manifested Himself in creation as Father, in redemption as Son, and in the Church as the Holy Ghost.”
This is false doctrine about God’s being. If God exists eternally as only one person, manifesting Himself in three different modes, He is not (and cannot be) a manifestation of all three simultaneously. Either God is Father (as Pentecostals say He was in creation) or He is the Son, as they claim He was in redemption, or He is the Holy Spirit now. He cannot be all three at the same time and be but one person. Thus, if Jesus was God manifest in the Son in redemption, but is now manifesting Himself as the Holy Spirit in the church, Jesus is not now the Son of God.
Those who deny that Jesus is (present tense) the Son of God are anti-Christ. “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: but he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also” (1 John 2:22-23). Those who affirm only one person of God but three separate manifestations cannot acknowledge the Son and the Father also and are forced to deny that Jesus is now manifest as God. It is just that simple — and is very serious. I urge to you and everyone else to reject this idea of “Only One Person in the Godhead” heresy.
— Via Articles from the LaVista church of Christ
“Let Nothing Be Done Through Selfish Ambition”
For a number of years our culture has had the philosophy of “have it your way” and “no one can tell me what to do.” This is strictly a selfish attitude that is usually fostered from early childhood onward. So many young people grow up getting everything they want and are not accustomed to being disciplined in any way. When these kind of attitudes start permeating a congregation, the local church will start having problems.
Our Lord taught the very opposite. Instead of seeking self interests first, He tells us to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matt. 6:33). Thus, we must always put Christ and the advancement of His Cause first and foremost in our lives. If we have created problems because we have to have everything our way, we need to humbly bow our heads in shame and repent of our selfish demands which have disrupted the peace, harmony, and progress of the church.
Our Lord was even willing to be abused and mistreated for righteousness sake—”who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Pet. 2:23). And just before the verse cited, we are told that we should look to His example and “follow His steps” (1 Pet. 2:21).
While living on earth, Jesus said of Himself, “I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matt. 11:29). Moses, God’s chosen leader of the Israelites, “was very meek, above all men which were upon the face of the earth” (Num. 12: 3). Likewise, the word of God teaches those of us who are Christians the following: “Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and clothed with humility, for God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Pet. 5:5-6).
Being a faithful child of God is a life of ministry and humble service to others. Jesus taught this throughout His earthly ministry; and at the end of His life, He demonstrated what He had been teaching by washing His disciples’ feet (Jn. 13:5). So the next time you selfishly feel it has to be your way, or no way, think of Christ’s example and teaching. We should give some serious thought to what the true spirit of service involves before we begin to assert our rights in the church by demanding that we have to have it our way in every matter. Like the Apostle Paul, we must be willing to forego our rights or liberties when we know that we are offending or upsetting other Christians by our actions (See 1 Cor. 8:12-13; 9;1-18; 10:32). Selfishness has no place in the service of the Lord!
— Via the bulletin for the Southside church of Christ, Gonzales, Louisiana, August 19, 2018
News & Notes
Shirley Davis is scheduled for surgery on her left knee October 30. Let us be praying that all will go well for her. (She will also have to have the right knee replaced sometime in the near future, along with her rotator cuff that is still giving her pain in her shoulder.)
Joyce Rittenhouse has recently been afflicted with Bell’s palsy, which is affecting the right side of her face. Let us pray that she will soon and speedily be healed.
Myrna Jordan and Melotine Davis have not been feeling well lately and can also use our prayers.
Others to also remember in prayer: Danny Hutcheson (who is almost totally paralyzed and with loss of speech for these last several months); Roger Montgomery (who is still in the hospital and not doing well after having a liver and kidney transplant); Jim Lively (who has often fallen and has collagenous colitis, which he is still seeking a cure for); Mary Aldrich (who has now been in rehab, following a burst bowel and a few weeks in the hospital); Bennie Medlock (who has an aortic aneurysm and back trouble), Deborah Medlock, Pat & A.J. Joyner, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Tommy Lindsey, Misty Thornton, Michelle Rittenhouse, and Mary Vandevander.
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).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
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://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)