Published by
Mt. Baker church of Christ
Bellingham, WA (1860 Mt. Baker HWY)
(360) 752-2692

Editor/Evangelist  Joe R. Price
Volume VII,  Number 48
May 16, 2004

"All material is written by Joe R. Price, unless otherwise noted."

Times of services:

Bible Classes............9:30 AM
Worship......10:30 & 6:00 PM
Bible Classes............7:00 PM

Elders:       Morris Bass
                 Rick Holt
                 Joe Price

Web sites:

"And take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17)

In this issue:

Modern Versions and Perversions
Joe R. Price

     There are over 450 versions of the Bible in English alone.  New versions continue to be published, not all of which have as their primary interest that of being a precise translation of the ancient manuscripts.  In fact, very few have that as their intended purpose.  The September 25, 1995 issue of U. S. News & World Report carried an article entitled “Street Talk, Simplicity and PC” which reported the aim of many of the modern-day versions of the Bible is to make the “ancient scriptures more relevant and comprehensible to modern readers than the standard King James Version.”  I am all for comprehending the Biblical text and for using understandable translations that help us understand it.  Current language rather than archaic words and expressions can be very helpful toward that end.  At the same time we must recognize there are Bible “translations” that do not faithfully translate the ancient text.  Rather than producing faithful translations, such versions are “thought” translations, offering us interpretations of the text rather than translations of it.  These will not help us arrive at an accurate understanding of God’s word since their objective is not a word for word translation.  Such versions cannot be confidently relied on as God’s word. 

     Some attempts at modern language Bibles are nothing short of blasphemous.  THE NEW TESTAMENT AND PSALMS: AN INCLUSIVE VERSION, published by Oxford University Press, uses gender-neutral language and other departures from the original text.  God the Father is now the “Father-Mother” and the Son of Man is “the human one.”  So as not offend left-handed people, God’s right hand is now His “mighty hand,” and to avoid racial overtones, “darkness” is not used to depict evil.  Ah yes, politically correct scriptures yet woefully corrupt translations.

     Then there is the BLACK BIBLE CHRONICLES, a paraphrase by P. K. McCary, a Houston educator.  She has used slang to “liven up” Biblical narratives for African-American teenagers.  Here is her treatment of creation from Genesis One:  “Now when the Almighty was first down with his program, He made the heavens and the earth.  The earth was a fashion misfit, being so uncool and dark, but the Spirit of the Almighty came down real tough, so that He simply said, ‘Lighten up!’ And that light was right on time.”  McCary also offers a paraphrase of the gospel called RAPPING WITH JESUS.

     We can learn at least two things from this.  First, when we are not convinced the Bible is the verbally inspired word of God we begin to take more and more license with it.  We fail to respect it as we should.  We begin to shape it and mold it into what we want it to be, instead of conforming ourselves to it.  The Bible calls such manipulation of the scriptures sin that leads to destruction (2 Pet. 3:16).  Man has become the standard by which the Bible is judged instead of the other way around.

     Second, could it be that we have become so lazy in our reading and study of the Bible that we simply do not want to exert the energy and effort required to know and properly use it?  (2 Tim. 2:15)  We want all the work done for us.  We have become comfortable with mediocre Bible knowledge.  We should remember that Israel was destroyed for her lack of knowledge (Hos. 4:6).

     God’s word is “living and active” and “abides forever” (Heb. 4:12; 1 Pet. 1:23-25).  We should use a translation of the Bible we can easily read and that is faithful to the Hebrew and Greek text.  But we must not alter the text and meaning of God’s inspired word with “modern versions” that are really perversions (Gal. 1:6-9).


Baptism for the Dead
Joe R. Price

Mormons contend that the New Testament church practiced baptism for (on behalf of, in the place of) the dead.  Their attempted justification of this hinges, in part, on an understanding of 1 Corinthians 15:29.  However, their defense of baptism for dead people goes beyond that.  They affirm that after death one still possesses the ability to choose right and wrong.  To them, baptism for a dead person provides that person with the opportunity to choose whether they will accept its benefits and “progress to the celestial kingdom” (Mormon terminology for eternal life).  This is clearly against the meaning of Hebrews 9:27 and Luke 16:25-26.

We should allow plain passages of Scripture help explain the more difficult ones.  While 1 Corinthians 15:29 admittedly presents certain challenges of interpretation, the meaning of the passage is within our reach.  While establishing the truth of resurrection from the dead, the apostle offers a motive for baptism that is nullified if there is no resurrection from the dead.  That motive (for being baptized of which Paul speaks) is the death of saints who willingly give their lives for their faith.  Stephen comes to mind, as do other Christians who died at the hand of their persecutors (Acts 7:57-60; 26:10; Rev. 2:13).  Their deaths helped motivate others to be baptized into Christ.  Paul’s point is this:  “if the dead are not raised, why then are they baptized for them?”  If there is no resurrection, to be baptized only to experience martyrdom without future hope of life is indeed futile and foolish (1 Cor. 15:17-19).

The word translated “for” in 1 Corinthians 15:29 is the preposition huper, and can mean “on account of” (example can be found in Acts 15:26; Rom. 1:5).  Notice that Paul makes ascending application in his remarks:  “they” (15: 29), “we” (15:30) and “I” (15:31-32).  His summary is that “if the dead are not raised, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” (15:32).  To conclude that “baptism for the dead” in verse 29 can only be proxy baptism fails to consider the circumstances that give context and explanation to Paul’s statement.

There is another reason to conclude Paul is not advocating the practice baptism in the place of the dead.

The New Testament teaches there is only “one baptism” (Eph. 4:5).  Mormonism has added another baptism to the great commission baptism commanded by Jesus (Matt. 28:19; Mk. 16:15-16).  When we compare LDS baptism for the dead with the great commission baptism, it becomes apparent that LDS baptism for the dead is the result of human additions to the word of God. 

Please note these differences between the baptism preached by Christ’s first century apostles and the one preached by the 21st century Mormon apostles:

·   GREAT COMMISSION BAPTISM is for the living, is personal and is for the remission of sins.  It is Biblical and true (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).

·   LDS BAPTISM FOR THE DEAD is for the dead, is in place of someone else, and allegedly provides the dead with a choice to accept or reject its benefit.  It is non-Biblical and false.  This LDS doctrine and practice changes the apostolic gospel of the first century; something Galatians 1:6-9 warns us we must never do.

Remember, the living have time and opportunity to obey, praise and serve God, but the dead await God’s judgment for the deeds done while in the flesh (Isa. 38:18-19; Heb. 9:27; Lk. 16:19-31; Heb. 3:7-11).  “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10).  Utilize the time you have to believe and obey the gospel of Christ; now is the day of salvation (2 Cor. 6:2; Eph. 5:16; Jas. 4:15-17).


You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS

The "No Pattern" Theory (1)

Scripture Reading:  2 Timothy 1:8-14

1.  God deals with men in patterns – Psa. 119:160 (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
2.  More & more brethren reject the concept of Bible patterns.
3.  Fundamental difference in how we view & apply divinely given patterns is central to why God’s people have & are divided (why churches of Christ are divided, 1 Cor. 11:19).


  A.  There Were Patterns in the Old Testament.
    1.  Noah – Gen. 6:22.
    2.  Moses – Exo. 25:8-9, 40; 26:30; 27:8; Heb. 8:5 (Acts 7:41, 44).
    3.  Nadab & Abihu (Lev. 10:1-2); Saul (1 Sam. 15:3, 8, 22);        Jeroboam (1 Kgs. 12:28-33); Solomon (1 Chrn. 28:10-12, 19-20 (29:1).
  B.  There Are Patterns in the New Testament – Rom. 6:17-18; 2 Tim. 1:13; Phil. 3:17 (Tit. 2:7-8).


  A.  How Scriptural Authority is Established.
    1.  Direct command / statement (1 Cor. 11:24-26).
    2.  Approved apostolic example (Acts 20:7).
    3.  Necessary inference (Acts 20:7; Exo. 20:8).
  B.  Scriptural Authority is Revealed & Applied in Generic & Specific Terms.









River Jordan



Preach gospel






Local Church


  A.  The Pattern will be Revelation from God – Gal. 1:6-10; Col. 3:16-17.
  B.  The Pattern will be Universal – Mk. 16:15; 1 Co. 4:17; 7:17; 11:16; 14:33.
  C.  The Pattern will be Apostolic – 1 Cor. 14:37; Gal. 1:8; 1 Jno. 4:6 (cf. 1:3-4; 2:19).


You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS

The "No Pattern" Theory (2)

Scripture Reading:  Psalms 119:153-160

1.  What are the patterns for us today? – 2 Tim. 1:13
2.  If one says the Bible teaches there are no patterns, doesn’t that make the Bible a pattern for “no patternism”?
3.  No stopping point once “no pattern” theory is accepted.

-The pattern of sound words for…


  A. “ No Patternism” Would Demand that Jesus of Nazareth is not the Only Savior – Jno. 14:6 (Acts 4:12)
  B.  “No Patternism” says No Plan of Salvation.
  C.  Pattern for Gospel Obedience – Rom. 6:17-18; 1 Tim. 1:16.  (H-B-R-C-B)


  A.  “No Patternism” says no Pattern for Local Church Organization.
  B.  NT Pattern:  Acts 14:23; Phil. 1:1.


  A.  “No Patternism” used to Justify Instrumental Music in Worship.
  B.  God’s Pattern:  All He Reveals About the Church’s Worship – Jno. 4:24 (Col. 3:16-17).


  A.  “No Patternism” Says Whatever You Can Conceive is Acceptable.
  B.  God’s Pattern for the Work of the Local Church:  Care for needy saints (1 Ti. 5:16); Evangelism (1 Ths. 1:8); Edification (1 Cor. 14:26).


  A.  “No Patternism” Says There is No Binding Pattern of Congregational Cooperation in the NT.
  B.  God’s Pattern for Congregational Cooperation in Benevolence, Evangelism & Edification. 


  A.  “No Patternism” used to Justify “Moral Relativism.”
  B.  God’s Pattern - Rom. 12:1-2; Tit. 2:12.


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Tall in Stature
Joe R. Price

     The Vietnamese Physical Training and Sports Institute wants to increase the average height of its nation’s 20-year-old citizens by more than one inch by the year 2010.  (“Nation Frets That Its Young Are Not Tall Enough,” Reuters News Service, May 7, 2004).  The director of the institute proposes the government spend $40 million on nutrition and exercise programs for Vietnamese school children to meet this goal.

     The glory of youth is their strength and vigor.  But, death is stronger and physical strength fades; thus, wisdom is to be preferred (Prov. 20:29).  Physical height is not the actual measure of a man.  Goliath was a giant among men but his defiance of the living God brought his demise (1 Sam. 17).  Saul stood head and shoulders above his peers yet he is remembered for his disobedience and rejection (1 Sam. 10:23; 15:1-23).  On the other hand Zacchaeus, who was “of short stature” displayed such zeal for righteousness that he is remembered as a giant of faith (Lk. 19:1-10).  It is far more significant to be tall in faith than in physical stature.

     Young and old alike pursue bodily fitness through exercise and nutrition, and God does not rebuke such endeavors.  But, He does remind us in our pursuit for physical fitness that we are mortal and that the more valuable and enduring fitness is godliness (1 Tim. 4:8).  To “exercise…toward godliness” requires good nutrition (a steady and well-rounded diet of the word of God, Heb. 5:12-14) combined with the exercise of living by the faith God’s word produces in us (Rom. 10:17; 2 Cor. 5:7).  Young people who “flee youthful lusts” and pursue “righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness” will be spiritually fit – tall in spiritual stature (2 Tim. 2:22; 1 Tim. 6:11).  The same holds true for people of all ages.

     Some Vietnamese are willing to invest $40 million to grow taller.  Are you dedicated to investing your time and strength to grow in faith to be of great stature in the sight of the Lord?

Created by Chuck Sibbing - 03/11/2009

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