And take…the sword of the Spirit, which  is the word of God.   Ephesians 6:17


Volume 15, Number 01

Published by
Mt. Baker
church of Christ

1860 Mt. Baker HWY
Mailing Address:

       P.O. Box 30821
Bellingham, WA 98228
       (360) 752-2692

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Worship..10:30AM; 6:00PM

Bible Classes.........7:00 PM
All sing last Wednesday

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Editor......Joe R. Price

Morris Bass
Rick Holt

Aaron Bass
Rich Brooks
Mike Finn
Dan Head


In this issue:

In Defense of Denominationalism
Joe R. Price

     One of the prevailing notions of Protestant denominationalism is that different faith groups (i.e., denominations) bring vitality and diversity to Christianity. Years ago, Billy Graham likened it to men and women wearing so many different hats:

Whenever anyone points a critical finger and demands to know why there have to be so many different churches all serving the same God, I am always tempted to point out how many different styles of hats have to be designed for both American men and women.  We all belong to the same human race, but we all have enough physical differences to make it impossible for us to wear the same style of hat with equal satisfaction.” (Peace with God, Billy Graham, 193)

     A more recent defense of unity in diversity (which is the essence of denominationalism) compares the differences that exist between Bible-believers to different accents within one language. The Christian Reformed Church offers this support of each “accent” of faith:

While all Bible-believing Christians share one single language of faith, as Plantinga points out, we all speak it with our own accent. Be proud of your accent. Thank God for it. Add yours to the rich diversity of tongues that speak of the great things God has done.” (“What is Reformed”, Christian Reformed Church website,

     Have you ever noticed that when we try to defend a teaching and practice that is not in the Scriptures we invariably resort to using illustrations (like hats and languages) that appeal to human rationale and wisdom? It is simply not true that there is only “one single language of faith” among the denominations (their use of “Christians” is denominational, not Biblical). The Christian Reformed Church is Calvinistic in its view of God, man, sin and redemption. Naturally (being Protestants), they reject the authority of the Roman Catholic Church (which speaks a very different “language of faith” than Protestantism and vice versa).

     The Scriptures affirm there is “one body” and “one faith” (Eph. 4:4-5). There is no Scriptural mandate for the church of Christ to be subdivided into different religious heritages or points of emphasis. (The church of Christ is composed of Christians, not churches, Acts 2:47). New Testament Christians endeavor to “keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3). Christians are under commandment to “speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10). The denominationalist has abandoned the unity taught in Scripture for the cheap counterfeit of agreeing to disagree – and calling it “unity” (Jno. 17:20-21; Acts 2:42; 1 Jno. 1:1-7).         (Continued on page 2)

     We continue to plead with those caught up in the division of denominationalism to come out of the deceptive clutches of unity in diversity. It has been shaped by the wisdom and will of men, not the word of God (Col. 2:8). Through the gospel that reveals God’s grace, you can be saved in Christ and be united with the saints (Rom. 1:16-17; Gal. 3:26-27; Eph. 2:19-22; Acts 2:41-42).

     Consider how the Christian Reformed Church views its role in advancing their form of unity among the Protestants:

Where does that leave us? We need to stay true to the teaching of Scripture. That’s the only way we can stay in Christ. However, we should always, always be looking for opportunities to join with other Christians. We should work with them even if our differences will not allow us, yet, to routinely worship with them. We need to keep reaching out to each other as we continue to reach for our Bibles. We may not always agree on doctrine or on how to worship. But there’s plenty we can agree on that God wants us to do in this impoverished, sin-wracked world. So let’s join efforts and do what needs doing together. Let’s make our own unique contribution to God’s mission, using the particular gifts God’s Spirit has given us. That way we may be the hands and feet and voice of our Savior for those who need to share in his goodness. Then we’ll still be functioning as Christ’s body. And the world will experience God’s reconciling love.” (Ibid)

     We agree that staying true to the teaching of Scripture is the only way we can stay in Christ (Gal. 5:4-7). But, staying “true to the Scriptures” would put the CRC and all the other Protestant and Catholic churches out of business, since they cannot be found in the Scriptures (Matt. 16:18; Eph. 1:20-23; 4:4; Gal. 1:6-10).

     Those who defend denominationalism urge working with other Christians (i.e., those in other denominations) “even if our differences will not allow us, yet, to routinely worship with them”. What Scripture says Christians may work together but not worship together due to differences in doctrine? (We are discussing matters of revealed truth, not differences over authorized liberties, 2 Jno. 9; Rom. 14:1-5.) The very reason James, Cephas and John gave Paul and Barnabas “the right hand of fellowship” was because they were united in doctrine and its practice (Gal. 2:7-10).

     The word of God says not to have fellowship with those who conduct and teaching goes beyond the doctrine of Christ (2 Jno. 9-11). The stated reason is because they do “not have God” (2 Jno. 9). So, an effort to reach out to them must be based on teaching them the truth and warning them of their error (Eph. 5:9-11). The apostles of Christ did not defer to error “for an hour” because to do so would compromise the truth of the gospel (Gal. 2:4-5).

     This defense of practical denominationalism by the Christian Reformed Church sounds eerily familiar. More and more brethren in churches of Christ now worship with those they know are teaching and practicing error. For example, the false doctrines on divorce and remarriage have been clearly shown and are on the record, yet a growing number of brethren no longer make this an issue of fellowship (if they ever did). Some take comfort in their compromise by using the same kind of reasoning held by the denominationalists: “We may not always agree on doctrine or on how to worship. But there’s plenty we can agree on that God wants us to do, in this impoverished, sin-wracked world. So let’s join efforts and do what needs doing together.”

     We are not immune from the sin of accommodative fellowship witnessed among the denominations. If we practice the same thing we are also guilty (Rom. 2:1). We also need to be warned of the unity in diversity deception fostered by the churches of men (1 Cor. 10:12). Unity in Christ is built upon God’s truth; nothing more and nothing less (Jno. 17:17, 20-21). 


You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS

The "Benefits" of Hell

Scripture Reading:   Mark 9:42-48

1. Hell is a real place; Jesus said so!
2. God does not want any to perish, 2 Pet. 3:9

Some things you will not have to do in hell:


  A. No Worship Schedule to Keep Anymore, Rev. 14:11.
  B. Worship will no Longer a Burden to Bear, Rev. 21:4-8; 1 Jno. 5:4.


  A. No More Singing, Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; Rev. 14:3.
  B. No More Prayers to God, 1 Ths. 5:17; Phil. 4:6-7 (1 Tim. 4:4-5).
  C. No more Sermons, 2 Tim. 4:2-4; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 1:21; Isa. 30:10; Psa. 119:11-12.


  A. You Will be Completely Alone with No Comfort, Matt. 7:12; Lk. 16:19, 23; 1 Tim. 6:18-19.


  A. No More Pleas to Obey God’s Commands, Jno. 14:15; 1 Jno. 5:2-3.
  B. No More Urgings to Sacrifice, Rom. 12:1-2
  C. No More Excuses for not Studying the Bible, Psa. 119:97-104.
  D. No More Appeals to Walk by Faith, 2 Cor. 5:7.


  A. Facing Ridicule for the Truth will be a Thing of the Past, 1 Pet. 4:4; Matt. 10:28
  B. Weariness over Fighting the Good Fight of Faith will End, 1 Tim. 6:12; Jude 3.


You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS

"Here I Raise My Ebenezer"

Scripture Reading:   1 Samuel 7:7-13

1. Israel had been defeated by their enemy and the ark of God captured (1 Sam. 4:1-11). Over 20 years later God gave Israel a victory over them and Samuel raised a memorial stone called “Ebenezer” (the stone of help, 1 Sam. 7:11-12).
2. Song: Come thou Fount of Every Blessing.
3. Let us “raise our Ebenezer” to honor God.


  A. God is our Creator, Provider and Sustainer, Acts 17:24-28; 14:15; 7:50; Col. 1:17; Jas. 1:17; Matt. 6:25-34; 7:7-11.
  B. Raise Our Ebenezer: God is our Helper in Life (Eccl. 12:13), Rom. 1:18-23; Deut. 8:11-20; Acts 17:29-31.


  A. We Need Saving from Our Sins, Rom. 3:23; 6:23 (Jer. 10:23).
  B. Our Salvation is from God, 2 Tim. 1:9; Titus 3:4-7; Rom. 5:6; Eph. 2:1-9.
  C. We Must Live and Promote a New Way of Life, Tit. 2:11-12; Eph. 4:17-24.


  A. Christ is in the Midst of the Churches, Rev. 1:12-13, 20; 2:1; Phil. 1:3-6; 2:12-13.
  B. Blessings from God’s Hand in this Church.
    1. Consistency in giving.
    2. Unity of the church, 1 Cor. 1:10; Eph. 4:3.
    3. Scriptural leadership (elders) and faithful service, Heb. 13:17.
    4. Work of every member is strengthening the church, Eph. 4:15-16.
    5. God must be thanked, respected and honored for His help, cf. Eph. 3:20-21

     Psalm 121; 1 Cor. 15:10


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Same-Sex Marriage Legalized
Joe R. Price

The state of Washington legalized same-sex marriage this week when Governor Christine Gregoire signed “marriage equality” legislation into law. Gregoire said the day marked a “very proud moment”. God said, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34). This law, which is expected to be challenged by a referendum on the November ballot, is a shameful disgrace for the state of Washington, not a moment of glory.

     Same-sex marriage distorts the history of marriage. Marriage is not the result of the sociological evolution of human beings. We did not invent marriage; God gave it to us (Gen. 2:23-24). Marriage is more than a legal contract. It is a covenant of God between a man and a woman that is made in the presence of God and under His approval (Matt. 19:4-6; Prov. 2:17; Mal. 2:14). A marriage that does not have God’s approval is adultery, even though the state may give it legal status (Rom. 7:2-3; Mk. 6:17-18).

     Same-sex marriage corrupts the moral purity of marriage. God gave human beings marriage to avoid fornication, and that purity is accomplished and maintained in the marriage bed (Gen. 2:25; 1 Cor. 7:2; Heb. 13:4). Homosexuality perverts the natural use of the body and therefore is not a moral expression of love (Rom. 1:24, 26-27). It is sexual immorality, the gratification of sinful lust - regardless of what respectability civil government and society attempts to give it (1 Cor. 6:9-10; Jude 7; Isa. 5:20-21).

     Same-sex marriage defies the domestic purpose of God-approved marriage. God’s marriage arrangement provides a moral family relationship framework from which children result that gives stability and continuity to society (Gen. 1:27-28). Same-sex marriage can never propagate the race. It cannot give children the male and female parentage they need to thrive in their God-given family roles, the church and the community (Eph. 5:22-6:4). 


Created by Chuck Sibbing.  02/20/2012

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