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The North Charlottesville church of Christ is pleased to announce that have moved to:

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Beware the Extremist


By Barney Keith

A very versatile word in the English language is "extremist." Much like "legalist," "radical," and "hobbyist," it can be called into play whenever desired. It would seem that any man could be called an extremist — it just depends on who is doing the calling and where he stands at the time. A sure way to prejudice unthinking people against a certain viewpoint or matter of doctrine is to charge, "That is an extreme view!" An effective tool for poisoning people against a preacher is to claim, "You know, he is an extremist!" Immediately the dull-witted close their ears to what he says. They make no effort to investigate the Word of God to determine whether it is the truth. All of us need studious minds, desire for truth, willingness to study for ourselves, and fair-mindedness in considering any matter. Above all we need respect for God’s Book!

Strange but Often True

Some very significant factors enter into this matter of irresponsible use of words, "He is just an extremist."

a. Somehow it is always the other fellow who is extreme – never the speaker.

b. Frequently it is used by very "pious" men as a weapon to destroy another – as a prejudicial epithet.

c. Often the speaker may not be overly-concerned with the basic question of right and wrong. Yet it is better to be extremely right by following the truth than to be extremely wrong by rejecting it.

(click here for the entire article...)

"The House Church Movement"


By Wilson Adams

That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one might say, "See this, it is new?" Already it has existed for ages that were before it.
Ecclesiastes 1:9-10


The wise man was right. Each generation possesses an adventurous spirit for the discovery of things unique; believing they have found what no one else was smart enough to think of. Alas, in the passing of time and the gaining of wisdom, most discover the truth of Solomon—there is nothing new under the sun.

I am especially troubled these days by an attitude I see espoused by those who seek to mimic the house-church movement of "non-denominational" evangelicals. Some among us have discovered a "new and exciting" brand of Christianity that rises above the bland and boring worship they believe most of us experience. There are several underlying causes for the popularity of these groups that seem to thrive in areas where there is a large contingency of vulnerable college students—

  • There is the seed-thought planted by LaGard Smith (Radical Restoration) and other writers who raise more questions than answers and who seem to enjoy sarcastic jabs at anything that smacks of local-church tradition,

    (click here for the entire article...)

Peer Pressure

By Bob Waldron


Much of God's covenant with Israel of old dealt with human relations.  Various and sundry laws pointed out how the Jew was to conduct himself among his peers. One of these admonitions was, "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil" (Ex. 23:2). This was a very important decree; it showed the danger of peer pressure and pointed out very explicitly the dangers of being led astray by evil men. Peer pressure was an important factor in their lives; it has been from that time to the present. And perhaps as never before, peer pressure is an issue we have to wrestle with.

A leading educator noted that peer pressure is the strongest influence exerted on young people today. He stated that in most cases it is twice as strong as the  influence of home and family, and yields a far greater influence than religion. I share this educator's convictions. All young people want to be accepted by their peers. And if to do so means disobeying parents and selling out personal    convictions, some are willing to do so just to be a part of the bunch. In dealing with young folks and their problem of peer pressure, we often quote and expound on 1 Corinthians 15:33 -- "Evil companionships corrupt good morals." I contend this is a very important verse dealing with this subject. This admonition does caution against the dangers of peer pressure being exerted by those who are void of spiritual convictions and virtues. Let us continue to warn our young people of the dangers of their associates that rob them of their virtues.

But is all peer pressure centered in young people? Does this pressure cease when we become adults?  Well, certainly at all stages of life there are peer pressures put on us by those with whom we mix and mingle day by day. The Bible is not silent on this matter. Men and women of God have always faced immense pressures in dealing with their peers.  And when God has spoken, He has always done so with a stern warning against letting our associates rob us of our moral integrity.

(click here for the entire article...)

Two Men Attend Worship Services

By Bill Hall


Two men attend worship services. The first man attends wholly out of a sense of duty. He understands the teaching of Hebrews 10:25: "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,” and is determined to obey faithfully that teaching. He will not allow any-thing within his power to stand in the way of his attending the worship periods of the church.             

The second man recognizes his duty in this matter, too, but his primary motivation in attendance is his love for the Lord and his joy in blending his voice and heart with other Christians in praise and adoration to the Lord. He delights in worship and the spiritual strength he derives through worship.

The first man is mentally passive throughout the worship service. If the words of the song happen to catch his attention, he observes and appreciates them; otherwise, he just sings along with little concern for what he is singing. If the sermon is interesting, he listens; otherwise, he just relaxes, and hopes the time won't drag too badly. He does meditate briefly concerning Christ's suffering and death as he partakes of the supper, for somehow the importance of the memorial feast has been impressed upon his mind.

(click here for the entire article...)

The Thief on the Cross

By Larry Rouse


What kind of power does it take to change a man’s heart? Our society may pass all the hate laws they wish, and seek out political and university leaders who claim they can change men, but in the end it is the power of God that must be used to achieve this daunting task.

One of the greatest examples of change in the Bible, the apostle Paul, started a trip from Jerusalem to Damascus with a heart that was “still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord” (Acts 9:1). By the time he returned to Jerusalem he was now a Christian, motivated by the grace of God (1 Tim 1:12-14).

A great example of such a change in the ministry of Christ came during the final hour of Jesus’ life. Jesus was placed upon a Roman cross to suffer a shameful and torturous death in an execution that was reserved for only the vilest of criminals. Two other men were executed along with Jesus. They were described as “criminals” and “robbers” (Luke 23:22; Matthew 27:38).

In the beginning of these executions both thieves heard the Jewish leaders taunting Jesus and they too “reviled Him with the same thing” (Matthew 27:44). No doubt these men had hardened hearts, having come from a background where they would rob and harm others without a second thought. They were likely being executed that day because their presence on either side of Jesus would give an appearance of guilt to our Lord. These thieves were filled with anger, bitterness and cursing. The hearts of these men did not seem to be a place where change would come.

Examples are often more powerful than words, especially when you can be certain of the example. The news of the rushed, unlawful trials of Jesus was widely known. The mob that heard the innocent verdict of Pilate and then by their tongues successfully intimidated him into executing Jesus would have talked freely. How could an innocent man be executed? All it took was a washing of the hands for Pilate. These thieves would see Jesus’ reaction to these injustices.

(click here for the entire article...)

Have You Heard?

By Hiram Hutto


Have you heard about the group of Christians in this community that is not at all like the denominations so often encountered? Some have wondered about this difference and even remarked about it. This group is different in a number of ways but space permits us to consider only a few, and that but briefly.

1. Different, in attitude toward the Bible. These Christians believe the Bible to be the inspired, infallible, complete, authoritative word of God, and that the New Testament is the final expression of that word. This faith is based upon such scriptures as 2 Tim. 3: 16; 2 Pet. 1:3, 4, 21; Rev. 22:18, 19; Jn. 10:35. But, do not all Protestant denominations believe this? There was a time when they did, but now many of them will tell you unhesitatingly that they no longer do. Even those denominations which are known as "Fundamentalists" are guilty of dividing the commandments of Christ into "essential" and "non-essential" commands. This, in effect, nullifies the authority of the scriptures because it will let every man decide for himself what is essential and what is not. But not these Christians! They believe that man shall live "by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4). Is this what you believe?

2. Different, in attitude toward how to become a Christian. Since their faith in the scriptures is such that it will not allow them to divide the commandments of Christ into essential and non-essential commands, this group of Christians insists that because every man has sinned and separated himself from God (Rom. 3:23; Isa. 59:1, 2) man's only hope of benefiting from the blood of Christ is to do all that Christ has commanded men to do in order to reap these benefits. This, of course, involves faith in Christ as the Son of God (Jn. 20:30, 31; Mk. 16:16). But since the scripture says that our faith avails only when it works by love (Gal. 5:6; Jas. 2:24) they also repented of their sins (Acts 17:30), confessed with their mouth what they believed in their heart (Acts 8:37; Rom. 10:10) and gladly obeyed the command of Christ to be baptized, i.e. immersed (Rom. 6:3,4; Col. 2:12), in water (Acts 8:36) for the remission of their sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16) or to be saved (Mk. 16: 16; 1 Pet. 3:21). When one has done all these things--and not until then--the Bible reveals that he is saved, a child of God by faith (Gal. 3:27), and a member of the Lord's church (cf. Acts 18:8; 1 Cor. 1:1, 2). Is this what you did?

(click here for the entire article...)

Selecting A Companion

By Bill Hall


A happy home being with a wise choice of a marriage partner.  We therefore submit the following questions as a guide for our young people as they seek out their companion for life.

1. Is this person eligible for marriage?  There are those who have a right to marry according to the laws of our state, but who do not have a right to marry according to the law of God.  God's authority is supreme, and the Christian must abide by His law whenever there is a conflict between His law and governmental law.

God's law is that only those who are divorced for the cause of fornication have a right to remarry.  "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery, and whoever marries her ho is divorced commits adultery" (Matthew 19:9).  If one's marriage partner is guilty of marital infidelity, he can put that partner away for that cause, and marry another.  If the divorce is for any other cause, he is ineligible for marriage.

2. Is this person a Christian?  Many problems can arise when a Christian is married to a non-Christian, especially when it is the wife who is the Christian.  Before any young lady marries a non-Christian, she should consider the following problems which often face the Christian in a mixed marriage.

Problems in attending services

She should ask herself, "What will I do if my husband some Lord's day drives away in the car, leaving me with no transportation to the services?"  "What will I do if my husband announces that his company is moving us to some city where no church of the Lord meets?"  Many women have faced these problems.

Problems in giving

The young lady loves the Lord and His work, and wants to give liberally in support of it.  Her husband, however, does not share her convictions.  He feels that a dollar is plenty to give.

(click here for the entire article...)

There's More to it Than That

by Dee Bowman

The Bible is a book about people. It uses the lives of people to teach and illustrate truth and righteousness, rebellion and impiety. People are the ultimate products of God’s creation, the only part of His creation blessed with a sense of ought–the will to determine which way to go, what path to choose. He has set before man a blessing and a curse–a blessing if he seeks after the good, a curse he seeks after his own desires in preference to what God has commanded (see Deut. 11:26-28). Jesus spoke of this choosing when He described the two ways a man may choose: a broad way that leads to destruction, or a strait way that leads to life eternal (Matt. 7:13-14). It’s people who make these choices. They do it of their own free will.

God has given us great illustrations of faithfulness, couched in the character and personalities of men. For instance, have you ever considered:

The faithfulness of Abraham? Abraham left Ur of the Chaldees of his own free will, choosing deliberately to go out, “not knowing whither he went.” Think about that.

You want to talk about faith? “By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country,” (Heb. 11:9), “for he looked for a city which hath foundations whose builder and maker is God” (11:10). He saw, by the eye of faith, something better. Do you reckon we would have the courage to do as he did? Abraham’s faith is a model for us today. God treats our willingness to obey in the same way He did that of Abraham.

(click here for the entire article...)

The Foundation of Spirituality -- Honesty

by Larry Rouse

Why does the preaching of the gospel seem not to be effective in our society today?  We know that God’s word has not changed, nor has its power (Rom 1:16). We are assured by God that His word will never return to Him void, but it will always accomplish the purpose for which He sent it (Isa 55:11). Today, with this present generation, as it has in past generations, the word of God is able to expose hearts and allow men to choose light or darkness (Jn 3:19-21). This choice depends upon the kind of heart a man possesses. 

When Jesus described the kind of heart in which the word of God would be received and would prosper, He described it as “good and honest” (Lk 8:15 KJV). Will a man choose light or darkness, honesty or dishonesty? If a man decides that he “hates the light” then God will let him “believe a lie” and will not do anything further other than the presentation of His word (2 Thess 2:10-11).  

We must fight the temptation to be dishonest 

The battle for honesty lasts a lifetime. God emphatically warns the Christian to guard his heart and to keep it pure. “Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds” (Col 3:9). God has plainly told us: “He who works deceit shall not dwell within my house; He who tells lies shall not continue in my presence” (Psa 101:7). 

(click here for the entire article...)

When May a Christian Woman Speak?

by Tim Nichols

I have been asked to address this topic and I am pleased to do so. It may be that this will not answer some more specific questions that some would like to have answered. Although I am aware that questions exist in the minds of some, I have not yet been made aware of precisely what those questions are. So I will begin with a "shotgun" approach to the broader question in the hopes that more specific questions will be answered in the process. If questions remain I hope that they will be asked in more specific terms. We will be pleased to attempt an answer when such questions are received.

Women spoke with Divine approval on several occasions during the life of Christ. The woman of Canaan had a verbal and public exchange with Christ that demonstrated her faith and won the approval of our Lord (Matthew 15:21-28). Martha spoke to him in the context of a "Bible study" and received instruction (Luke 10:38-42). Jesus had another "Bible study" with the woman at the well in which she was free to ask and answer questions (John 4:7-29). Jesus had a verbal exchange with Mary Magdalene in which He instructed her to go and tell the brethren of His ascension (John 20:11-18). Many others could be mentioned (Mark 5:25-34; 7:25-30).

(click here for the entire article...)

Unity Through Restoration

by Colly Caldwell

"Unity through restoration" is a phrase which Christians have used to describe agreement to share spiritual relationship and activity based upon mutual understanding and acceptance of truth as taught in the Scriptures. "Restoration" is a word we have adopted to signify the recovery of first century faith and practice in later centuries. We unashamedly believe that the faith and practice of Christians in the first century, when recorded in the New Testament with Divine approval, forms the pattern for God's people until Christ returns (1 Cor. 4:6; Phil. 3:17; 4:9; 1 Tim. 4:6; 6:3-5; 2 Tim. 1:13; 2:2; 3:10,14; Tit. 1:9; 2 Jn. 9-11).

"Unity in diversity," on the other hand, is a phrase which has been used to identify agreement to share spiritual relationship and activity while disagreeing on what the Bible teaches about mutually shared items of faith and practice. The phrase often describes denominational acceptance of totally divergent and even contradictory positions considered significant enough to separate people into different "fellowships" or denominations. Baptists and Methodists, for example, consider one another Christians and share some activities (such as Easter sunrise services). They recognize that their faith and practice are sufficiently different to keep them from being together, yet they claim to be united. The phrase has also been used to call for the uniting of those who hold differing views in "Christian churches" and "churches of Christ." For example, advocates of "unity in diversity" want those who believe in using mechanical instruments of music in worship to join with those who do not, working and worshiping together in spite of their differences.

I have been asked to discuss which of these two approaches is biblical when we confront questions concerning divorce and remarriage.

(click here for the entire article...)

The Greatest Victory

by Cled E. Wallace

History abounds in its records of great achievements and victories of human celebrities. None excels the triumph of Paul, the apostle, described by himself on the eve of his "departure."

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give to me at that day; and not to me only, but also to all them that have loved his appearing." (2 Tim. 4:7, 8)

"I have fought the good fight." Men have fought for liberty, to satisfy selfish ambitions for conquest, to accumulate wealth and its attending power, and for other causes more or less great. Some have attained fame as heroes while others reaped a reward of infamy. Paul fought. He is not much of a man who will not. The kingdom of God is not a drilling ground for pacifists. It is organized for conquest. "The good fight" of Paul is the best sort of fight and challenges a most careful examination. The weapons of that warfare clearly exhibit the character of it. "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh (for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the casting down of strongholds); casting down imaginations, and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ; and being in readiness to avenge all disobedience, when your obedience shall be made full." (2 Cor. 10:3-6) The fight must be carried on by those of like mind with Paul as long as the imaginations, thoughts and plans of men mark out paths of disobedience to Christ, the Lord.

(click here for the entire article...)

The Folly of Worldliness

by Jere Frost

God calls upon us to be spiritually minded, to abhor what is evil and to cleave to what is good (Romans 12:1, 2). Yet temptations, both brazen and subtle, seek to steal away our hearts from the beauty and simplicity of divine truth and holy living. It was love for this present world that caused Demas to forsake the right way (2 Timothy 4:10).

Many professing Christ have been similarly enticed and enthralled by worldly desires. John gives us five reasons why it is sheer folly.

``Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever'' (I John 2:15-17).

1. He alienates himself from God. ``If any man love the world, the love of the father is not in him.''

It is impossible to love God and the world at the same time for they are utterly incompatible. Though we have the capacity to love either, seeing we have the power of choice, there is no way we can love both. The love of one precludes love of the other. The language can be even stronger.

When we walk in sin we not only demonstrate a lack of love for God, but we make ourselves an enemy. Note in the following passage that God is not set forth as the enemy of the sinner, but rather the sinner in his own mind is set forth as the enemy of God.

(click here for the entire article...)

Why Did You Send for Me?

by Connie Adams

On the instruction of an angel of God, Cornelius, the Roman centurion, sent men to Joppa to locate Simon Peter and bring him to the house of Cornelius. Peter himself had received a vision in which he was told not to call common or unclean what God had cleansed. The next day, Peter and six Jewish brethren accompanied these messengers to Caesarea to the house of the centurion. Upon arrival, they found a collection of kinsmen and friends of Cornelius. Peter said, "Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me?" (Acts 10:29).

That was a fair question then and it is a fair one now when brethren send for a preacher either to come and live along them or for a gospel meeting. Sometimes the expectations of the preacher and those of the people who sent for him are not the same. Therein lies the cause of misunderstandings, friction, and sometimes division.

Why He Did NOT Send For Peter

Peter did not come to be idolized and venerated and to establish a cult built around his personality. In fact, when Cornelius fell down before Peter when he arrived, Peter quickly told him to "stand up; I myself also am a man" (v. 26). There is no indication that Peter delayed for a few moments to savor this adulation. If a preacher comes to a place expecting to be put on some sort of pedestal to be adored but never questioned, then there are going to be some rough times. There is something wrong with the general view that the preacher alone is responsible for the success or failure of the work. He may well be a contributing factor in either case, but the work must not be built around him. Peter was a messenger of the gospel. The message was not his. He was obligated to deliver it without change.

(click here for the entire article...)

"Forbid Him Not"

by Tim Nichols

These verses are in the context of a discussion that Jesus was having with the twelve apostles. They had been arguing among themselves about who among them "should be the greatest" (Mark 9:34). Human ambition was even a problem among those closest to our Lord. Jesus explained to them that those who would be "first" would have to give up all effort and desire to be elevated above others and, instead, become the servant of all. To illustrate the point, Jesus set a child in the midst of them, took the child in His arms, and said,

Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name , receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me (Mark 9:37).

This scene ought to have a great impact upon our own minds. Those who would seek to become "big men in the brotherhood" should either change their goal or leave the brotherhood of God's children. The world has corporate ladders to climb, fancy titles to offer, lofty positions for which to compete, and abundant opportunities to become distinguished above your fellow, -- but the ground is level at the foot of the cross. All available positions are positions of humble service. Those who stoop to help others are those who stand tallest in the sight of our Father. Selfish ambition must be surrendered at the door of the kingdom for selfless service.

(click here for the entire article...)

Awareness of Weakness is the Key to Strength

by Tim Nichols

The world has it all backwards. Most seem to think that we can accomplish great things when we become the strongest, wisest, smartest, and most beautiful. Worldly achievement may well depend on some of these things to some degree. Even there, however, there is room for using the principles that we will discuss here.

Our work for the Lord is not in the same category and the approach that we take in that work is altogether different from what many would commend in worldly pursuits. Here, the principle might be stated something like this: Recognize that you are weak and unable to do it alone, trust God, and set out to do it.

The notion that we ought to wait until we, ourselves, are wise enough or strong enough before we set out to obey God is simply unbiblical. Although it is right and reasonable to obtain training and to prepare ourselves as best we can, it is also true that the time to begin doing the will of God is the moment we learn what that will is regarding any matter. God will guide, strengthen, and comfort us by His word, assist us by His providence, and bless our efforts with success. He will give the increase.

When God told Moses leave the desert to go back to Egypt and lead the children of Israel out, Moses protested that he was not equal to the task. God did not argue with that point. Instead, He promised to go with him and assured him of success. In effect He said, "I will meet you back here with My people!"

But Moses said to God, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?'' So He said, "I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain'' (Exodus 3:11, 12).

Joshua, as great a man as he no doubt was in his person, was not equal to the task of conquering the land when that assignment was given to him. God seems to have suggested that inherent in the command to act is the promise of aid.

(click here for the entire article...)

The Light Near Damascus

by W. Curtis Porter

Not long after the church was established in Jerusalem a great persecution arose that scattered the disciples abroad. The opposing Jews wished to stamp out the religion of Jesus Christ, and they expected persecution to accomplish their desires. But the dispersion of the church meant the increase and growth of the Lord's cause.

In the work of persecution no name is more prominent than the name of Saul of Tarsus. "He made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison" (Acts 8:3). He was not content to persecute the Lord's disciples in his own city, but went even to strange cities. On a mission of persecution we find Saul, with some companions, on the way to the city of Damascus. As they neared the city, there was a great demonstration. In the language of Saul himself, we have it related this way: "And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light about me" (Acts 22:6).

With respect to this heavenly light, the questions are often asked, "What was its purpose? Why did this light shine about Saul?" Some have thought it was evidence of his salvation and they have often insisted that such has been experienced by them. This, however, is a mistaken idea. The light did not shine around Saul as an evidence of his salvation. Neither did it appear for the purpose of saving him. I know that this heavenly light led, even directly, to his conversion, but that was not the purpose of the light. To understand the purpose of this light, we must keep some divine statements in mind. These may be found in the following:

(click here for the entire article...)

Do We Love Each Other as we do Ourselves?

by Chris Carter

In today’s church there is increasing evidence that spiritual love is in serious decline among the brethren. Our attitude toward one another should one be of deep concern and love, for our brethren are a spiritual family and worthy of this honor (Rom 12:10). By frequently and sincerely demonstrating love we not only edify ourselves individually and each other collectively (Rom 15:2) but also perform an important work expected of the Lords church. As members of His church we set an example to each other and to ourselves that builds us up in the kind of love that God showed towards all men, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for our sins. We know that God showed His love for man by sending His Son to die for all, and Jesus showed His love by suffering and dying for all. What then can possibly be expected of God’s children other than to treat each other and those outside of salvation with the same love God showed to us, who also once were without hope? If we set the proper example through sincere love (Rom 12:9) not only will we be built up and edified (Rom 15:2) but the world will “see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Mt 5:16).

We should have the willingness to drop our schedules to aid, teach and edify each other, the courage to confess our sins one to another or pluck one from the fire if they are lost, and to esteem others greater than ourselves, as we are commanded to do. We must want to know our brothers and sisters, and be willing to pray without ceasing for them, and serve them without thought of recognition. In doing these things we will give and receive all the benefits that come from Godly behavior, and glorify His name.

(click here for the entire article...)

The North Charlottesville church of Christ


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