Water Baptism, Mark 16:16

by William J. Stewart

Melton points his readers to what he calls “proof texts” used by the Church of Christ and seeks to demonstrate they do not say baptism is essential for salvation. The first text he addresses is Mark 16:16, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” His charge? We are “taking verses out of context and IGNORING the rest of the Bible.” How have we taken Mark 16:16 out of context? Apparently because we don’t “…cast out demons … speak with new tongues … take up serpents … drink anything deadly … lay hands on the sick…” (verses 17-18). First, whether we are doing the things listed in verses 17-18 or not doesn’t change what Jesus said in verse 16. Jesus still said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” How exactly is the truth of the statement modified by verses 17-18 to mean something other than what it says? Continue reading

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Water Baptism And Salvation

by William J. Stewart

Mr. Melton rejects the necessity of baptism for one to be saved, and in fact identifies it as an “ancient pagan belief.” How sad that he not only discounts the truth, but he calls what is specifically commanded in the Bible pagan.

The thief on the cross is the common battle cry of those who oppose the necessity of baptism. Melton is no different. Continue reading

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Resurrections & Judgments

by William J. Stewart

Melton calls the idea of “a GENERAL resurrection and judgment” for all mankind a “perversion of truth.” Has Melton never read John 5? Notice what the Lord said:

Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation (John 5:28-29).

If that’s not “a GENERAL resurrection and judgment” I’m not sure what it is. Jesus said ALL will be resurrected, both the good and the evil, and they will ALL receive either eternal life or condemnation. Continue reading

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The Lord’s Supper

by William J. Stewart

“The Church of Christ places far too much emphasis on the Lord’s Supper.” That is Melton’s opening statement on this topic. I disagree with his statement, but I congratulate him on finding the most over-the-top quote he could to support his statement. He cites a Fred Gardner pamphlet which basically makes a linear relationship between “fidelity to” the Lord’s Supper and a Christian’s focus on our first love and doing the first works (Revelation 2:4-5). Melton retorts, “Revelation 2:4-5 say nothing—ABSOLUTELY NOTHING—about the Lord’s Supper.” He’s right. But, may I also point out, Revelation 2:4-5 also say nothing—ABSOLUTELY NOTHING—about prayer, praise, reading the Bible, kindness, compassion, etc.. Are such things also unimportant and unrelated to faithfulness as a Christian? What proves too much proves nothing at all. Continue reading

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Music in Worship Service

by William J. Stewart

The author quotes from a Dub McClish publication which cites Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16, and then calls upon the reader to notice that worship in song is an activity “which all assembled worshippers are to be involved in.” Mr. Melton then emphatically tells us Paul’s instruction pertains to “PERSONAL FELLOWSHIP WITH CHRIST, not worship services,” and charges McClish and others of taking the texts out of context. We can do an extensive study on the context of both verses in a separate study, if anyone desires to do so, but let me point out two words that appear in the texts which reveal this is not about an individual worshiper engaged in private worship. The words are “one another.” Continue reading

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The Church Name

by William J. Stewart

Mr. Melton makes two false statements in his opening sentence to this section. He wrote:

“The Church of Christ claims to reserve for itself the ONLY scriptural name for a New Testament church, although the term ‘church of Christ’ is found nowhere in the Bible.”

I don’t know of anyone who would affirm that “Church of Christ” is the ONLY scriptural name for a New Testament church. The Lord’s church is referred to a few different ways in the New Testament: Continue reading

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What Is The Church?

by William J. Stewart

Mr. Melton begins by quoting a single sentence from a Delton Haun tract, and concludes from it, “The Church of Christ people fail to realize that the ‘true church’ is a spiritual organism, NOT a physical organization.” The citation says no such thing. Haun acknowledged the Lord’s promise to build only one church (which He did, Matthew 16:18), and that it is identified in Scripture as His body (which it is, Ephesians 4:4; Colossians 1:18). Continue reading

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The Alabaster Flask

by William J. Stewart

Approaching Jerusalem in the final days of His life, Jesus stopped at Bethany. There, He was in the home of a man recorded as Simon the leper (Matthew 26:6; Mark 14:3). While at Simon’s house, a woman, identified as Mary (John 12:3) came in with a sizeable amount of fragrant oil, broke open the flask, and proceeded to anoint Jesus with the oil. Some, most notably Judas Iscariot (John 12:4) spoke out against such a “waste” of this oil, reasoning that it could have been sold and used to care for the poor. Jesus rebuked His disciples, defending the woman, as she had “…kept this for the day of My burial” (John 12:7). Their concern for the poor was noted, but the Lord stated, “…the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always” (John 12:8). So great was this deed, Jesus said, “…wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her” (Mark 14:9). Continue reading

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The Sovereignty of God

by William J. Stewart

The sovereignty of God is a vital Bible doctrine. In fact, one’s understanding (or lack thereof) of God’s sovereignty will shape the rest of his religious convictions. What you believe of God’s sovereignty will determine how you understand the inherent nature of man, whether man has free will or not, how and who can become a child of God, etc.. A false concept of sovereignty will inevitably corrupt one’s understanding of these and other Bible doctrines. Thus, it is important to consider and comprehend what the Bible says about God’s sovereignty. Continue reading

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The Foolishness Of God

by William J. Stewart

There are many today who have no regard for the Bible. They believe the Scriptures to be a “crutch” for the weak, a book of “fairy tales.” They would be quick to declare the message of the gospel to be foolishness. The apostle Paul reveals that such a consideration by the opponents of the gospel is actually a demonstration of the manifold wisdom of God. Continue reading

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