Is it right to sue the church?

One might sue a church in a court of law, but it should be a case of last resort.  Unless some very grave injustice has been done that one has been unsuccessful in settling out of court one should not even think of suing a church.  Such a suit is going to automatically put the one suing in a bad light as far as the public is concerned.  Paul instructed Christians not to go to law against a brother before unbelievers but to settle the matter by taking the case before wise men in the church such as devout elders.  To sue in courts of law before non-believers puts the cause of Christ up to open shame and ridicule(1 Corinthians 6).  If it does not please God for brothers in Christ to sue each other why would it be acceptable for one to sue the church of which Christ is head?


Is the Calvinist understanding of Romans 9 correct? It just doesn't sit
right with me.

I suppose you have reference primarily to chapter 9:10-12. In working out
his plan to bless the world through the seed of Abraham, God selected Isaac
to be heir of the promise, and rejected the other sons of Abraham. The Jew
might say that as Isaac was the only son of Abraham's real wife, his
selection was natural and right. But it was different with his selection of
Jacob over Esau. Jacob and Esau were full brothers; and though they were
twins, Esau the first-born was the natural heir of the promise. Yet of the
two, God selected Jacob, even before they were born, and therefore before
they had done anything good or bad, "that the purpose of God according to
election might stand." The purpose inhered in the promise. God was
selecting his own instruments to work out his own plans.

In choosing Jacob, God chose his descendants; and every Jew gloried in that
choice. But the selection of Jacob and the rejection of Esau had nothing to
do with their salvation. If it had pertained to their salvation, there
would have been no point in mentioning the fact that the younger was
selected instead of the older; for even the most dogmatic predestinarian
would not say that the oldest son is the natural heir of salvation and all
the other sons reprobates. The fact is that the selection of Jacob was the
selection of a people rather than an individual. Had it been the election
to salvation, then the nations descending from Jacob were all elected to
salvation, and Esau's descendants were all lost. Jehovah's language to
Rebecca shows plainly that he was speaking of the descendants of Jacob and
Esau rather than of them as individuals: "Two nations are in thy womb, and
two peoples shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be
stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger"
(Genesis 25:23). Nor does the statement that the elder shall serve the
younger apply to Jacob and Esau as individuals for as individuals Jacob came
nearer serving Esau. However, it did come to pass that the descendants of
Esau serve the descendants of Jacob (1 Chronicles 18:12,13).
For a briefer answer, NO the Calvinistic interpretation on said passages is
not correct.


I have grown up in the church of Christ since I can remember but I didn't
know to much about the background. How it was established... and the events
that took place there after. what sites or were can I go to find that out?

Since the church of Christ is not a denomination and we have no earthly
headquarters, the best place to turn to find out the origin of the church is
the New Testament. Matthew's account of the gospel is full of references to
the kingdom that was to come. In fact in Matthew 16:13-20 you will find the
words church and kingdom used interchangeably. 

Men were looking for an earthly kingdom but Jesus constantly indicated that it was not to be an earthly kingdom with a head on earth. In Acts chapter one as Jesus spoke
concerning the kingdom the apostles wanted to know if he was at that time
going to restore the kingdom of Israel (their concept) verse 6. He then
tells them that they will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon them
and then they will go all over the earth with the message. Look at the
Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15,16; Luke 24:46,47. In Acts
2 we find the Holy Spirit coming upon them and their beginning to preach the
gospel for the first time. 
 
This marks the beginning of the Lord's church just as he had promised in Mark 9:1. If you will read and study the book of Acts carefully you will get a good view of the early history of the church.  Are we being proud or arrogant in claiming we are that church? I think not because when you teach and practice exactly what the Bible teaches you
cannot help but be reproducing the kingdom as is indicated in Luke 8:4-15
and pay particular attention to verses 10 & 11.

Does the Bible talk about the Muslim belief?
 

Muslim faith began with its founder, Mohammed (570(?)-632 A.D.). One must read the Koran to know about the Muslim belief.


"What do you know about the Pentecostal faith, and how do you counteract their beliefs?"
 

There are a number of branches of Pentecostals and all of them are different in some ways, however, all of them are charismatic (claim to speak in tongues). They usually teach that they can heal the sick and do other miracles. Some of them believe one can be bitten by poisonous snakes and not get bitten and if they do it will not hurt them, and they seek justification for these practices in Mark 16:17-20. In reality Jesus was speaking of the apostles who could do those things, and they did, but ordinary Christians could not do those things unless they had received such
power from the apostles through the laying on of their hands. It is impossible in the little amount of space we have here to be able to tell you all that could be said to combat such false doctrine. However, look at 1 Corinthians 13:8-11; in this passage Paul is speaking of prophecies and tongues that were given them by the power of the Holy Spirit.

This power was to abide in the apostles and those upon whom they laid hands for the purpose of imparting the Spirit only until the need for such ended or they died whichever came first. Notice in verse ten where it states "But when
that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away." The complete revealed word of God was that which was perfect and when it was fully revealed the need for divine prophecies, tongue speaking, etc. would vanish. In 2 Timothy 3:16,17 Paul tells us that the scriptures are able to make man perfect, completely furnished to all good works. If the word can make one perfect it must be perfect, therefore, when the Word of God was completely revealed the need for divine prophecies and tongue speaking and other miracles were needed no longer and thus they vanished.  This will give you a start. Study the Acts of the Apostles carefully and Paul's epistles and these will help you combat Pentecostalism.


The churches of Christ claim that they "speak where the Bible speaks, and are silent where the Bible is silent," which also includes the law of exclusion. Is it not true that the law of exclusion speaks where the Bible is silent by manufacturing words like "only," always," and "never," and squeezing them between the lines? An example is sing means sing "only."

If the word "only" is used in regard to excluding items other than what is specified in the Bible, it is not an attempt to "manufacture words and squeeze them between the lines." In an attempt to communicate a concept clearly wording is used to clarify something as much as possible. If the Bible says to sing, what else could be said? That is the only option God has given. If the Bible says one is to be immersed in water for the forgiveness of sins, what else could be said? That is the only option God has given. If the Bible says that men are to serve as elders in the church, what else could be said? That is the only option God has given. If the word "only" is used, it is not an attempt to manufacture words to support a teaching, but it is merely a means to clarify what is taught.


In the Bible it says there is one church. In Acts Christians scattered forming new congregations which still made up the same church. Can we say that any one particular group is the one true church?

The Christians who were scattered according to Acts 8:4 went preaching the word. The result was that new congregations of the Lordís church were established. Wherever the word would be preached, as seen in particular with the missionary journeys of Paul, new congregations of the one true church would be established. That is the way it will always be. This is the same principle that operates in the plant kingdom. If you plant wheat seed, you get wheat. If you plant corn, you get corn. If one plants the truth of the word of God today, congregations of the one true church will be established. 

One can know if a group is the Lordís church by comparing it to what the Bible says about the church. Does it have elders and deacons, 1 Timothy 3:1-13? Does it sing without the accompaniment of instruments of music in its worship, Ephesians 5:19? Does it baptize for the forgiveness of sins, Acts 2:38? Does it partake of the Lordís Supper on a weekly basis, Acts 20:7? Is it totally independent with no earthly headquarters, convention or synod? Does it have the Bible only for its creed rather than something written by men? These are only a few identifying marks of the Lordís church. If a group meets these qualifications, as well as others given in the New Testament, then it is a congregation of the one true church.


Please give me examples of two points of religion from the Bible Ė once saved, always saved versus not once saved, always saved. If there are verses that support both of these beliefs I could use the information.

The Bible does not teach "once saved, always saved," but just the opposite. In Jesusí explanation of the Parable of the Sower, Matthew 13:3-8, 18-23, He describes the people of the rocky soil and thorny soil as those in whom the word took root and sprouted. However, persecution and the cares of the world and deceitful riches caused the person to turn away. In Matthew 13:41-42 Jesus describes his Second Coming. He says that He will send angels and they will gather out of His kingdom the things that offend and those who do iniquity and they will be cast into a furnace of fire, or hell. Can one be in Christís kingdom without being saved? In John 15:1-6 Jesus refers to Himself as the vine and His followers as the branches. 

The opening words of this parable are, "Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away," vs. 2. His words in vs. 6 are, "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned." How could one be said to not be abiding in Christ except that at one point he was abiding in Christ? How can one abide in Christ except having become a Christian? Galatians 5:4, "ye are fallen from grace," and 1 Timothy 1:19, "which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck," were both written of Christians. To try to say that someone "wasnít really saved" just wonít wash. 

The Bible nowhere speaks of people like that. You were a Christian or you werenít. Unfortunately then, as now, some people turn their back on the Lord and unless they repent they will lose their souls. Also read the following passages for further confirmation: Matthew 25:14-30; 1 Corinthians 9:27; 10:12; 1 Timothy 4:1-3; Hebrews 2:1-4; 3:12; 2 Peter 1:10; 2:20-22; Revelation 3:16. This DOES NOT mean that one has to constantly live in fear of losing his salvation, for 2 Peter 1:10 cited above very boldly asserts, "for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall." Is this once saved, always saved? No, it simply reminds us that the Christian must live an obedient life and that obedience leads to security in oneís salvation.


With so many teaching in churches, which one can you believe?  Some say no earring, lipstick, no music, silence of women, are some of these false teaching?

The question is an excellent one.

Let me ask you a question. Suppose someone steals your car.  With so many cars on the road how would the police know which one was yours?  They would ask you some questions like: What color is your car...what year and make etc. They would want some marks of identification.  When you give them the marks of identification they would then look for a car that matched those marks.

The New Testament gives some marks of identification for the church Christ built. When you find a church today that matches those marks of identification you know you are right.  What are some of the marks of identification found in the Bible?

1. How did people become a member of the N.T. church?  See Acts 2:38 and 47. These people believed Jesus, who they had
crucified, was the son of God --now they wanted to know what to do to be forgiven. They were told to "repent and be baptized for the remission of their sins...then the Lord added them to his church (Vs 47) Find a church today that teaches what was taught in Acts 2:38 and you will have one mark of identification.

2. How did Christians worship in N.T. days? See JOHN 4:24.
To worship in Spirit is to worship God sincerely, from the heart, not just cold formal acts. To worship God "in truth" is to worship God as the truth, (God's Word John 17:17) directs us.
God has taught us to:
Pray Acts 2:42
Eat the Lord's supper Acts 20:7
Give as we have prospered I Cor 16:1-2
Sing, and make melody with the heart (not an organ etc) Eph. 5:19
Study God's word Acts 2:42
We know to do these things pleases God---we cannot know that doing more or lest is pleasing to God.  Find a church that worships like they did in the N.T. church.   As you read the N.T. you will find other marks of identification...find the church that has those same marks.  I believe the church of Christ is trying to be simply a copy of the N.T. church. That is why we speak where the Bible speaks and are silent where the Bible is silent.


With so many different beliefs out there, how do you know what the right one is?

We face a dilemma unknown in the first century. Today there are literally hundreds of denominations, many with similar doctrines and beliefs, all with differing doctrines and beliefs. This is not Godís will. In the garden before His arrest the Lord prayed that Godís people would all be one, John 17:20-21. This is what the Bible pleads for. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 14:33, "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints." Therefore God cannot be pleased with the religious world today. How do you know which is the right belief? Ask some questions. 1) What does the Bible say about something? Donít listen to just what a person or group says. Search the scriptures, Acts 17:11. 2)

What is a religious group’s attitude toward the word of God? Do they teach that it is the inspired word of God and all of it is true? Or, do they teach that some of it is fables? Do they follow the Bible and the Bible alone, or do they have a creed book or some other addition to the Bible? 3) What does the religious group teach regarding how one becomes a Christian? Do they teach a) that one must believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, John 8:24; b) that one must repent (change one’s way of thinking and acting in regard to sin), Acts 2:38; c) that one must confess their faith in Christ, Romans 10:10; and d) that one must be baptized for the forgiveness of sins, Acts 2:38? Or, do they teach that all one has to do in order to be saved is to believe in Christ? 4)

How is the church organized? Are there elders and deacons, 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9? Or, is there only a "pastor" or "bishop", with perhaps a board of deacons? 5) Is the Lord’s Supper, or communion, taken every week, Acts 20:7, or is it only observed once a quarter or yearly? These are just a few questions, but the point is, does a religious group do what the Bible teaches?


Is the church of Christ the only true church? Can I be a member of the Baptist church and be all right with God?

There is only one church, and that is the church of the New Testament. It is not a denomination, as some will sometimes indicate through the use of the designation church of Christ. For one to be all right with God one must be a part of a church that practices the following.

1) The church must have singing without musical accompaniment for worship, Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16.
2) The church must have scriptural leadership – elders and deacons, 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9.
3) The members must partake of the Lord’s Supper on a weekly basis, Acts 20:7.
4) The church must baptize for the remission of sins, Acts 2:38; 22:16; Romans 6:1-4.
5) The church must be called by the right name, Matthew 16:18; Acts 8:1; 1 Corinthians 1:2; Romans 16:16.
6) The members must be called by the right name, Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 15:6.
7) The church must teach that the kingdom of Christ has already been established, Colossians 1:13; Revelation 1:9.
 
This is what the Bible teaches. If the church of which you are a part does not do what the Bible, God’s word, teaches then you will not be all right with God. You need to change and start doing what the Bible says.

Religious division is talked about in 1 Corinthians 1:10.  1) Is this division referring to the difference between how one church worships our Lord and another?  2) Is this referring to debates among members of the same church?  3) Is God condemning the fact the we worship Christ Jesus in more than one way?

 The verse referred to reads as follows, ďNow I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.Ē  What is being condemned is the division among the people over various issues, some of which will be mentioned later in the book.  Included in that list will be spiritual gifts.  There were some who were jealous that they did not have a particular gift; others felt pride over a particular gift that they were given.  There is no place for any such divisions in the Lordís church.  Opinions (paint color, carpet color, times for services) may vary, but the truth of Godís word (Jesus is the Son of God, He died for our sins, we are baptized into Him for the forgiveness of our sins) is to be obeyed in all things.  By application, religious division among various groups is also condemned.  God has given one standard, the Bible, and that is what must be followed.  The Bible does not teach different things in regard to the Sonship of Christ, baptism, the Lordís Supper, whether or not the kingdom has been established, etc.  Truth is truth is truth is truth.  The Bible thunders out the idea of ONE.  See Ephesians 4:4-6.  How can that be misunderstood?  Division within the church is wrong.  Worldwide religious division is wrong.


I am saved but don't have a church yet. I am confused about denominations and want to choose the right one. You answered another persons question on this subject giving Eph 5:19 as proof of a "condition" for a church to be a true Christian church. You say a church should not have musical instruments in it's worship? I am confused. I don't get that at all from this scripture. It also says we are to speak to each other in psalms which is from the Greek word psalmoi meaning a poem sung to the accompaniment of musical instruments. All but a couple of the psalms are giving praise to God which IS worship! And of course David wrote more than half of them and he was a musician and most scholars believe he accompanied himself with that instrument as he sang his praises to the Lord.

In Ephesians 5:19 the passage reads, "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and
hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the
Lord" (KJV). In the NIV it reads, "Speak to one another with psalms, hymns
and spiritual song. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord". Yes
there is an instrument but the instrument in the human heart not a
mechanical instrument of music. The Greek word Psallontes that is used in
the verse indicates that the melody is made in the heart not on a mechanical
instrument that needs someone with extensive training and talent to be able
to perform upon it. Furthermore if this passage authorized mechanical
instruments it would necessitate each person playing an instrument. It is
true David used an instrument or instruments but even then it was
particularly unpleasing to God as we find mentioned in Amos 6:1-5. It is a
fact that you can check on yourself that the early New Testament church did
not use instruments of music in their worship even though they had been used
before that time. Instruments of music were not used for several hundred
years after Christ until the Pope was given a theater organ and it began to
be utilized eventually in Catholic worship. It is a fairly recent addition
to denominational worship. We do not use mechanical instruments because
they are not authorized in the New Testament. In 1 Peter 4:11 the apostle
Paul says, "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God..." The
oracles of God do not give us license to add mechanical instruments of music
to worship.