Family

In my mind this word conjures up scenes of family members around a dining room table. On that table sits a roast turkey, giblet gravy, mom’s homemade dressing, sweet potatoes, and grandma’s hot pecan pie. A thanksgiving prayer is said unto our Creator for the bounteous blessings he bestows upon us daily. A blessing is requested for those family members not able to be with us. And in that prayer, thanks is given for each family represented around the table.

Family values. Every one seems to claim them, yet not many seem to have them. I remember my mother taking my sister and me to the park. She taught us to read and write. She taught us to use our imagination and be creative. She taught us to be kind to our fellow man and have compassion on the weak. My father imparted to us the values of hard work, sacrifice, and discipline. He taught us how to live in the real world. He ingrained in us the important lessons of paying the bills on time and being honest with all men. Integrity, determination, and patience were his daily instruction to us. Above this, my father taught us what it really means to love. The sacrifice, devotion, and steadfastness which he had toward us in everything, showed his love for the family. Most importantly, mom and dad taught us spiritual values: to pray, read the Bible, and give praises unto the Sovereign Ruler of the universe.

Sadly, many families are not as fortunate as the one in which I was reared. The children grow up with no father to give them fatherly lessons. Their mother is off working, having little time to give her children. Or perhaps their father has abandoned them, and their mother collects a welfare check, not having the skills necessary to obtain a job. Some do not even have that much; the children are raised malnourished and hungry. Consequently, they grow up without family values. They join gangs to get a sense of what it is like to be in a family. They sell drugs because they think it is a quick way to a better lifestyle with little work. And some simply murder for money.

Now, let’s be honest with ourselves. Which of these two family scenarios do we want? Do we want our children to be nurtured by a loving father and mother? Or do we want them hungry, not knowing from where their next meal is coming? Do we want them to know compassion and kindness toward their fellow man? Or do we want them involved in crime and murder? Do we want them to pray for the welfare of their kindred ones? Or do we want them devising plots whereby they can revenge those who have wronged them? We know what family values are, but is there a way my children can learn these things? Is there a place I can find these values taught and practiced? There is a place. This place is within the family of God.

In this family, God is our loving Father and we are his children. “Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we dare” (1 John 3:1). Since we are God’s children, we are brothers and sisters and we love each other as such. For “we know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren” (1 John 3:14). We became God’s children through the suffering and death of our older brother Jesus the Christ. “For it became him (God), for whom are all things and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the author of their salvation (Jesus) perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth (Jesus) and they that are sanctified (God’s children) are all of one: for which cause he (Jesus) is not ashamed to call them brethren” (Hebrews 2:10,11). God is our Father; we are his children; Jesus is our brother, and we are all brothers and sisters through love. This is God’s family.

The New Testament tells us how to get along as God’s family and add new members to our family. It tells us how to behave as a household. One of Jesus’ apostles wrote, “…how men ought to behave themselves in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). The family, or house of God, is the church; and God has given His Son, Jesus, “…to be head over all things to the church which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” Thus, God’s church is the church of Christ.

The church of Christ is a family of people who have been called out of the evils of the world. They strive to have a loving family relationship, not a relationship that is built upon mistrust and selfishness. Each father strives to raise his children “…in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4), not to come home intoxicated and take out his frustrations on his family. Each wife/mother strives “…to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home” (Titus 2:4, 5), not to be full of selfish ambition in a career while ignoring the needs of her family to be loved and nourished. The children strive to “…obey their parents in the Lord” (Ephesians 6:1), not to run around with friends who corrupt their minds to steal or sell drugs.

The church of Christ is a family of people who have been called out of darkness into God’s light. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9). They show forth his praises in worship: by “…singing with grace in their hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16), not by playing pianos; by praying to their Father and asking for guidance and forgiveness; by giving “Upon the first day of the week,” as God has prospered him? (1 Corinthians 16:1,2); by partaking of the emblems of Jesus’ death, unleavened bread representing his body, grape juice representing his blood (1 Corinthians 11:23-28); and by letting God speak to them through the study of the Bible. These are the ways they worship God.

The church of Christ is a family of people who have been called unto the Christ. They have heard the message of Christ. They have believed this message and trusted in Christ. They have repented of their worldly sins which once controlled them against Christ. They have confessed that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God. And, they have been baptized into Christ, into the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, that they should no longer walk in sin, but being made new should live unto Christ (Romans 6:1-11). They are then added to the family of Christ and are accepted by the Father into the church of Christ there to be loved by their brethren in Christ. Family values come from the most valuable family-God’s family, Christ’s family, Christ’s church, the church of Christ.

At the church of Christ, we are a family of believers striving to do what God wants us to do in worship and service to Him. You can be part of God’s family today. Please talk with someone from the church of Christ. They can help your family be part of God’s family.

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Does Galatians 6:10 Authorize The Church to Give to Non-Saints? Part 8

March 20th, 2003

No, I do not think that you have been dishonest. I believe that you honestly believe the things that you set forth, I have just been trying to show some of the implications of the words that you have written down. I did get the impression from your comments regarding 1 Corinthians11 that if the writer is addressing the church then it is exclusively the church and I got the equal impression from Galatians 6:1-10 that it is exclusively the individual. It is from your comments that I came to the conclusion that IF (that is hypothetically) you were to accept Galatians 6:1-10 as speaking to the churches that you might (in your mind, hypothetically) exclude individuals from giving. So I was speaking in hypotheticals when I wrote that. Obviously, I don’t know what is in your mind, so I can’t judge what you believe from that perspective and that is why I asked you to correct me if that was not the case. So, the question that I was putting forward is this: Hypothetically, if you were to accept Galatians 6:1-10 as speaking to the church and as giving instruction to the church would that limit the individuals ability to give to others? I ask that question based upon your handling of 1 Corinthians 11 as exclusively applying to corporate worship. I hope that you can understand how I might be curious about that and I hope this explains why I would say such a thing. Thanks for clearing it up. I accept your explanation and am glad that you do not think that.

As to the second issue, I do stand by my words. I do not think that I am accusing you of being dishonest, but merely not justifying your conclusions. A person can be honest and yet not justify their conclusions. I am saying that your argument assumes the very thing that must be proved in this context. We have already seen that sometimes a New Testament writer can be addressing the church and yet speak to individual action (such as in 1 Corinthians11). So the presence of the singular number in the context alone does not justify concluding that therefore the whole context is speaking to individuals. This is the only argument that you have set forth in regard to your case and I was merely trying to show that it is not an argument at all, but an assumption that proceeds from the doctrine of saints-only itself. I am not questioning your sincerity or honesty, but merely trying to get you to set forth some kind of logical argument to justify your conclusion. What FORCES one to the conclusion that Galatians 6:1-10 can ONLY be speaking to individuals??? What is it about the context of these statements forces one to that conclusion??? It simply cannot be the singular number alone. That alone does not justify it, just as the plural number alone does not justify my case. My case is built upon MORE than just the plural number. It is built upon the 1) address of the epistle, 2) the purpose of the epistle, 3) the expectation that Paul had for the churches to deal with the problems they faced and 4) the plural number. All I am asking is for you to give me some additional reasons why I should conclude that Galatians 6:1-10 addresses ONLY individuals. I have not seen you do that and so I conclude that it is merely demanded by your doctrine and that is the only other reason that it could be. I hope that you can see that I am merely trying to reason about the statements that you have made regarding this passage and not trying to impugn your character or deal with you in a dishonest way. I have been rather blunt in an effort to try to get you to deal with the specific issues, but I have not received any response from you in those things, and so I have just assumed that you don’t have anything to say about them or can’t say anything about them. I invite you to prove me to be wrong about that.

In addition, I have set forth my case based upon the purpose of the epistle to the Galatians. You have never answered this particular argument. I would like to hear what you have to say about the purpose of the epistle to the Galatians. Why did Paul write that epistle? What did he expect the churches to do to resolve the problems that they had? This stuff is relevant to how we understand Galatians 6, but you have said nothing about it. Do you agree with me regarding the purpose of the epistle? Do you disagree? Do you think that Paul expected the churches to resolve these problems? Do you think that Paul wanted individuals ONLY to resolve these problems? I just don’t know what you think about these issues and I would like to know.

By the way, personally, I don’t expect to be dealt with in any less vigorous a way than the way I try to deal with the arguments that you set forth. I WANT what I teach to be TESTED, PROVED, and TRIED by others, because if I am not teaching the truth, then I need to know it and I need to change. So I want others to bring the strongest possible arguments against what I am teaching. When this is done, I try not to take it personally, but do try to understand what is being said and see if my position can be defended based upon the arguments alone. That is all I am trying to do with your statements as well and I hope that you will take it in that spirit. I have no personal animosity toward you and believe that you have none toward me either. I hope this satisfies your questions that you have set forth below. If it does not, then ask some more questions and I will try to answer those as well.

End of discussion on Galatians 6:10

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Does Galatians 6:10 Authorize The Church to Give to Non-Saints? Part 7

March 18th, 2003

I think I understand what your point is, but we simply disagree. The premise that you are setting forth is that in ALL cases when the scriptures address individuals, that means individuals ONLY and in ALL cases when the scriptures address the church, that means the church ONLY. For you (in your mind) to accept that Galatians 6:1-10 is speaking to churches would mean that you (in your mind) would have to prevent individuals from doing benevolence. (If that is not correct, let me know). However, the hermeneutic here is flawed. The assumption from which you begin is incorrect. You fail to realize that the church is made up of individual members and as such individuals must always be involved when the church acts corporately whether that is through worship, evangelism, or benevolence and that sometimes individuals can act on the behalf of the church outside the context of the assembly (such as an eldership making a decision for the church or the preacher writing an article for the newspaper on behalf of the church).

To say that Galatians 6:1-10 applies to individuals ONLY is simply not warranted from the text (that was why I went through the text again and emphasized the plural number in my last e-mail). There is absolutely no way to prove that Paul was only addressing Christians on an individual level ONLY. The “proof” that you set forth is really a by-product of the doctrine of saints-only. It goes something like this: “The Bible teaches that the church may give money from the treasury to saints only. Therefore, Galatians 6:10 MUST be talking about individuals and not the church. This must be true or else my doctrine is wrong. It is impossible for my doctrine to be wrong, therefore it must be true that Paul is ONLY addressing individuals.” You assume this to be true because your doctrine demands it, not because the text warrants it. This assumes the very thing that you must prove. And that kind of reasoning is not sufficient to establish truth.

Additionally, to say that the actions in Galatians 6:1-10 were “individual, not corporate” implies that Paul wrote the letter to the churches but did not give the churches any corporate action which they needed to take to correct the problems they faced from the Judaizing teachers. It puts one in the position of affirming that Paul wrote to the churches to correct a problem that was in the church, but that Paul had no expectation of the church to take any corrective action in that regard. Such a position contradicts the purpose for which Paul wrote the letter to the “churches” of Galatia. I would really like to hear your answer to this particular item.

You have got to at least acknowledge that the general thrust of the letter was written to the CHURCHES, not to individuals. As such, when Paul uses the plural number the FIRST thing that we must expect is that he is addressing the church. Addressing individuals would, therefore, be an exception to the general thrust of the epistle and must be PROVEN to be addressed to individuals ONLY. So for your case to stand, you must prove that Galatians 6:1-10 can ONLY be addressed to individuals. It just is not sufficient to say, “I think,” or “It seems to me” or “It appears to be this way;” it must be PROVEN that individuals ONLY were being addressed in Galatians 6:1-10. This is impossible to do given the plural nature of the verbs in that chapter.

My argument from 1 Corinthians 11 is that just as the plurality of the verbs in 1 Corinthians 11 make that corporate action so also the plurality of the verb in Galatians 6:1-10 makes that corporate action. An inspired writer does NOT have to use the word “together” every single time he wants to indicate corporate action. The same elements in 1 Corinthians 11 that make the action there corporate are found in Galatians as well.

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