Monthly Archives: October 2014


The following is an extract of an article written by J. R. Howard and originally published in the American Christian Review, edited then by elder Benjamin Franklin (not the statesman). I will present more of this article at a later time. It would behoove us to have more of this kind of plain preaching in the Lord’s church today concerning the church!



Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God…Upon this rock I will build My Church; and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it.—Matt, xvi, 16, 18.

SUCH were the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, in reference to the foundation and perpetuity of His Church…These words of Christ, above quoted, were spoken by Him in reference to the reply of the Apostle Peter, who had anticipated the other Apostles in assenting and confessing the great cardinal truth, that JESUS CHRIST is THE SON OF GOD. It was upon this grand, comprehensive truth that Jesus declared He would build His Church; and that the powers of the unseen world should not prevail over it; but that it should continue to exist through all future time, amid the origin, progress and decay of all other systems and organizations, whether civil, ecclesiastical, political or philosophical; and amid the rise, existence and fall of republics, kingdoms and empires.

In accordance with this prophetic declaration of the Messiah, His Church was founded upon this ROCK by His Apostles—His inspired and divinely authorized ambassadors and ministers plenipotentiary to the world; and they left it pure, uncorrupted, undivided, and in unity. It was at first a unit—but one; one body,” animated by “one spirit”—the Holy Spirit; and of which body Christ was the great head, and “Lord of the Spirit,” and His disciples the members. But how is it now? Corruption and disunion have been doing their sad work for thirteen long centuries or more, and reverse and disastrous change, schism and division have been the lamentable result! Instead of the one Church of Christ, there have been and are now more nearly a thousand and one sectarian Churches!

This is indeed an age of “Churches,” all claiming to be orthodox, founded on the Bible, and appealing to its authority; and all busily engaged in making proselytes to their different systems, and in rivaling each other in power, influence and numbers. The sincere inquirer after truth is frequently perplexed and at a loss to know to what Church or denomination to attach himself; and generally aims to find the Church which he conceives to be nearest to the Bible. Why not endeavor to find the true Church at once—the one founded on the Bible—and enter into that? since there must be a true Church somewhere, as Jesus declared that “the gates of hades should never prevail against it;” and as that alone is to triumph, and all others are destined to be utterly destroyed and annihilated! But a question of great importance may arise here, one involving a most interesting inquiry, and that is—where is the true Church now to be found? and how shall we be enabled to know it, to identify and recognize it?

Now, there were certain marks by which that Church could be known and identified in the days of the Apostles. These marks are now to be found in the New Testament as plain and distinct as they were then; and where they will apply, that is the true Church of Christ, and all other Churches are spurious, mere counterfeits of the genuine, and not to be found in the Bible, or only predicted there as emanations from the great apostasy, the harlot “mother and mistress of all” apostate “Churches,” and as her daughters, granddaughters and their progeny. It is impossible for all the different sects, or even the self-styled “evangelical denominations,” to be the Church of Christ, as they are many—” their name is legion”—and that is a unit, but one; nor are they “branches” of it, for it never had, and can not have, any of these sectarian branches. Branches they may be, and no doubt are, but not of the Church of Christ— branches of some other body from which they have originated, of the parent trunk that sprung up at Rome, or at least the most of them. But let us examine the different marks of the Church of Christ, in order that we may identify it, and ascertain where it is now to be found. There are several of these, and among them we will begin with…

To Be Continued….

Eric L. Padgett


Can anyone doubt that there is evil in the world? Look around. Muslim groups like the Islamic State are rampaging through and terrorizing countries like Iraq and Syria and are threatening to come to America. In fact, they, or at least their sympathizers, are killing people here in America and in Canada, though authorities refuse to call it terrorism. Americans and others are being beheaded. Our borders are wide open to anyone who decides to come in, bringing in diseases we have never had to tackle. Ebola is ravaging some African countries and has now been brought to America. There are riots in our streets. The tensions between the races has risen to a new boiling point.

Morality is a relic of the past, it seems. Movies and television are laced with profanity and promiscuity. Little girls are used to blurt out profanity in support of the feminist agenda. The sacred institution of marriage is in shambles with men working that which is wicked with men and women doing the same. The roles of mothers and fathers are being distorted and ther family is being turned into something unreconizable. God is being taken out of our schools and every vile thing is being put in His place. Can anyone doubt that there is evil in the world? So we think we know what evil is, but what does the Bible says about evil?

The Bible tells us that there are two kinds of evil in the world. First, there is extrinsic or physical evil. We all call a tornado that kills people evil. But the tornado, if it makes a path through territory that is uninhabited, is not called evil. We call it evil only because it takes human life or valuable property. When Joseph’s brethren were going to cast him into a pit, they were going to say some “evil beast” devoured him (Gen. 37:20). But the beast was not evil in and of itself, only as it took innocent human life. The same would be true of an earthquake or storm or some other such event. These events are not evil in and of themselves but only as they cause misfortune to human beings.

But the Bible also describes intrinsic, moral evil. This is evil in and of itself. God is good (Psalm 107:1). His word is good (Heb. 6:5). It is God Who declares what is good and what is evil (Is. 45:19). Anything that goes against the will of God, then, is evil in and of itself. Anything! Adam sinned and committed an evil when he ate of a tree that God commanded him not to eat. Because of this transgression, sin was brought into the world and all men have suffered the consequences ever since!

We recognize that things like murder or theft are wrong and evil. We see these things as “major” evils. But do we also recognize that things like the instrument in worship is evil because it, too, goes against the will of God (Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:19)? Many will dismiss this as balderdash. They will argue that using an instrument and murder have nothing in common. But, I ask, is playing an instrument in worship really significantly different than eating the fruit of a forbidden tree? Both would seem to be innocuous, innocent actions. But the thing they both have in common is that they violate God’s express will and are therefore evil.

What we usually classify as evil, extrinsic, physical evil, came about as a consequence of intrinsic, moral evil. Extrinsic evil came about as a result of a violation of the will of God. God told Adam that they day that he ate of the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he would surely die (Gen. 2:17). This was the divine, legal penalty for sin (Rom. 5:12). Since death was the penalty, whatever brings about death also resulted from sin. Before man violated God’s law, there were no tornadoes, at least none that took human life or caused damage to man’s property. Before man violated God’s law, there was no disease, or sickness. These were the result of sin. Before man violated God’s law, there were no flesh eating parasites or carnivorous animals. These all resulted from eating of a tree that God commanded them not to eat.

The next time you are tempted to violate a command of God, think again. Do you really know what evil is?

Eric L. Padgett

As Ye Have Received Christ, So Walk

The church at Colossae was facing the insinuation into it’s sphere of influence the insidious doctrine of gnosticism. Many call it the Colossian Heresy. Regardless of whether it was in it’s incipient form or was full blown gnosticism, certain fatal errors were being thrust upon the congregation there that were corrosive to the well being of the brethren and antithetical to truth and Paul was attempting to thwart it’s advancement among them. In verse six of chapter two, Paul warns them, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him” (2:6).

In this statement, Paul reminds the brethren there to remember from whence they came, to remember the truths they were taught and to continue to abide in those truths. There was a danger of drifting from those established truths into something much more speculative and different than what had been originally delivered to them. This warning is not unique or novel to the brethren in Colossae.

For instance, Paul warned the brethren at Thessalonica, “Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more” (I Thess. 4:1). He follows this by saying that they knew the commandments given them by the Lord (2:2). In his second epistle to them, he warned them once again to “stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle” (II Thess. 2:15). Paul warned them not to change or leave the truth as it was delivered them.

These passages can be multiplied many times over. I Cor. 15:1-4: “Keep in memory what I have preached to you”; Gal. 1:6-9: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel, which is not another; but some would trouble you and pervert the gospel of Christ” (Gal. 1:6-9); Heb. 10:23: “Hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering”; John 15:5-10: “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” On and on the list could go and the lesson to be learned is clear enough.

Maybe it is the spirit of the times. There are those even in the United States who want to either tamper with the Constitution or disregard it altogether. They don’t care for the way the country was founded in the first place. But the constitution, even though it is a great document, is a human document. The scriptures are not, however! They are of divine origin! They should neither be altered nor disregarded but respected and treasured and strictly followed.

We would be wise to heed the inspired admonition to walk in the truths as they were delivered to us, neither adding to them nor taking from them (Prov. 30:5,6; Rev. 22:18,19). When I read the New Testament I find a pretty simple plan for the Lord’s church. There is but one church, one head, one means of entrance, one mission, one plan of organization, and one means of fellowship. After I obeyed the gospel, I also learned these things when faithful men of God taught me and reinforced these truths. I think I can say that today I stand exactly where I stood after I matured as a Christian years ago. Unfortunately, some are no longer walking as they received Christ.

In the Lord’s church today I see the use of translations from the pulpit that were exposed for their errors and weaknesses years ago by sound brethren. I see activities being countenanced that were once seen as superfluous and beyond the mission and purpose of the Lord’s church. I see a few blurring the lines of fellowship that once would have been denounced. I worry that many are no longer walking as they had received Christ.

Eric L. Padgett

Christian Toolbox

Every now and then, something around the home will need repairing. A door will have to be replaced, a chair leg fixed, or even a wall removed or a room remodeled. Most homes have a toolbox somewhere on the premises for occasions such as these. The toolbox usually contains the basic tools needed for repair on the home or for the use on household projects. Similarly, every Christian should also have a spiritual toolbox that has the basic tools needed for Christian growth. These tools are very similar to the ones found in the toolbox in the home.

For example, on many occasions around the home a ruler is necessary to take measurements. A length may need to be figured, a distance measured or dimensions taken. If you are building something from scratch or repairing something already in existence, somewhere along the process you will need to take a measurement. In order to measure properly, you will have to have a standard ruler or tape measure. This ruler cannot be arbitrary or of your own creation. If you have a different measure than what the plans call for, then what you are building will be different than the plans or the existing structure. Too, if you change your measuring unit in the middle of the work, then your work will turn out very badly and might possibly be unusable.

Too many Christians fail to use the correct spiritual measuring unit when they work on their life. Some will use their feelings, some will use their family traditions, some will use opinions of people they respect, or some other faulty, human measure. We must be careful because if we use the wrong measure we will find ourselves being measured by it again (Matt. 7:2). Those who make up their own measuring unit, Paul says, are not wise (II Cor. 10:12). In fact, “divers measures” are nothing short of an abomination to the Lord (Prov. 20:10). What we need to use is the “measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us” (II Cor. 10:13). The only true measure is the word of God, for it is by His word that we shall be measured in the end (II Tim. 3:16,17; Rev. 20:11-15).

But once we have measured the material we are using around the home we may find that it does not fit as it is. It may be too long or too wide. We may have to cut it. For that we need some kind of saw. And so in our own life we may find that after we have measured ourselves with the word of God there are some things that do not fit and need to be spiritually trimmed. We may have to cut them off to fit. If we lie, we have to cut that off (Eph. 4:25). If we become angry to the point of sin, we have to cut that off (Eph. 4:26). If we steal, we will have to cut that off (Eph. 4:28). If our hand or foot offend us, that is, cause us to sin, we have to spiritually cut them off (Matt. 18:8,9). A spiritual saw is a handy thing to have!

Another basic tool that is needed is a level. If you have ever tried to put in a new door frame in an old house, you know well that the old house is not always exactly square! Sometimes you have to shim the door frame and square it so the door will open and shut properly. Or, if you are putting in a concrete drive or sidewalk, you have to keep the forms level or at a particular angle. In a similar fashion, spiritually, we sometimes get out of kilter, we get our priorities wrong. Jesus gently warned Martha about getting her priorities straight because she considered many things more important than doing God’s will (Luke 10:38-42). She was out of level. Jesus said no man putting his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9:62). If we use the spiritual level of God’s word we can get our life back in order.

Another important tool to have around the house is a good wrench. Sometimes things come loose! If there is a leak in a drain or a water line you might have to tighten a nut. When you assemble an appliance, you might need to use a wrench. Sometimes in our own life we have the right parts and they are the right length and are level but they just need to be tightened a little. As time goes by, we sometimes loose our zeal and our intensity. We sometimes loose our faith. When this happens we need to tighten things up. Paul warns us to examine our self to see whether we are in the faith (II Cor. 13:5). He warned the Galatian brethren who were trying to be justified by the law that they had fallen from grace (Gal. 5:4). We can loose our grip! If you find yourself slipping a little, take out a wrench and study to show thyself approved unto God (II Tim. 2:15).

A clamp is another necessary tool. A clamp holds on to things or holds things together. If you have ever worked with wood, you know how indispensable a clamp really is. As Christians, we also need to hold on to certain things or hold things together. For instance, we need to hold fast that which is good (I Thess. 5:21). We should hold on to sound words (II Tim. 1:13), the profession of our faith (Heb. 10:23) and lay hold on to eternal life (I Tim. 6:19). At the same time, as brethren, we should be perfectly joined together in the same mind and same judgement (I Cor. 1:10). As the church we are framed and builded together for a habitation of God (Eph. 2:21).

Finally, a hammer could be the most versatile tool we have. It is naturally used for pounding things, particularly fasteners like nails, but it can also be used to loosen things, or pry things apart, if you have a claw hammer. A hammer can even test for solid surfaces behind the wall. Jeremiah described God’s word like a hammer. He wrote, “Is not my word like as a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?” (Jer. 23:29). Sometimes we need to use God’s word like a hammer to break hardened hearts with th truth (Acts 2:37).

You can have a toolbox full of tools, but if you do not know which tool to use, the toolbox and it’s tools are useless. If your tools are not kept up, then they also become useless. Let us fill our toolbox full of useful tools that we may be ready for the task (I Cor. 15:58).

Eric L. Padgett


The computer that sets here before me has many applications on it. These applications allow me to do different, amazing tasks. With these I can write, draw, search, learn, create, make music, etc. Each of these different applications work because there is a set of instructions or code, a program of information that directs the computer hardware what to do. These sets of instructions are sometimes very simple, but many times they are extremely complicated rulebooks that govern what the computer does depending on what commands are entered. We are truly blessed to have this technology.

These sets of instructions that run a computer or it’s programs are based on a very basic binary alphabet of two numbers: 1 and 0. Every letter and number is represented by a combination of these two numbers. These programs have scripts that operate different functions. But if someone were to alter the code that runs the scripts, it would have deleterious effects on how the program functions. If certain parts of a line of code is altered, then part or all of the program would either cease to work or work incorrectly. Depending on what kind of change is made, the program could give bad results or not work at all. This is because the application’s code is the designed product of intelligence and random changes do not produce good results.

As technology has advanced, one of the things that scientists have learned more about is the cells in our bodies. What they have found is that at the center of each cell, there is a nucleus. In that nucleus is a virtual book of information known as DNA. This book of information also has an alphabet that is made up of four chemical letters. Every cell in our body has this book of information that describes how our body is to be built. Incredibly, if you were to stretch out the single strand of DNA in a single cell, it would be about six to ten foot long. If you magnified the strand of DNA a thousand times, it would be 4.5 miles long. If it were as thick as a pencil, it would stretch from New York to London. If you were to set all of the DNA in the human body end to end, the total length of the DNA would stretch from the earth to the sun and back seventy times.

The information code that makes up this book in our cells is very complicated. It is vastly more complex than the most complex computer code man has ever written. That fact alone should cause every man and woman to realize that if the information in a computer code, as complex as it is, needs an intelligence to write it and make the hardware that will read it, then surely the more complex information code that resides in the cells in our bodies must also require an even greater intelligence to write and create the hardware, our bodies, to read the code.

Sometimes mistakes happen in the copying of this book of DNA. In it there are a series of letters that form genes, which control certain functions in man’ body. When that happens, when there are alterations in the genetic code, then there are problems. There are various kinds of mistakes that happen and since the code itself is designed to correct itself, these mistakes don’t always amount to much. But when there are serious mistakes that aren’t corrected, the results can be very bad for an individual. Sickness, deformity or death can be the result. Some men have attempted to tamper with this genetic code. While we are learning more about it, man is still quite ignorant about how DNA affects a person completely.

There is also an information code, a set of rules, that govern the birth and growth of a Christian. It is called the Bible. In English, the alphabet for this code is twenty-six letters long. When this set of instructions is left unchanged and is followed, it produces healthy and happy Christians. But when it is altered, it produces something other than healthy Christians. Just as DNA is generally self-correcting, God’s word is designed to remain unchanged (Ps. 12:7), but sometimes men tamper with it in order to change it. When this happens, the results can be deadly for the soul of man.

The Bible makes clear the vital importance of this set of God-given rules. Prov. 30:5: Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. II Tim. 3:16, 17: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. II Peter 3:18: But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Those who place more importance on feelings or emotions, on human traditions or creeds, or personal wants and desires than on a “thus saith the Lord” and book, chapter and verse in effect dismiss the importance of this spiritual DNA. They are like mad scientists who want to alter man’s DNA to create some monster. The genes of the Christian’s DNA are doctrines. Doctrine is what controls us as Christians and what keeps us connected to the Lord (II John 9-11). When the genetic doctrine is corrupted, then there is sickness or death in the spiritual body. In Genesis 3:1-24 we have an example of what tampering with the God-given DNA produces–sin!

Christians need to regain an understanding of the importance of the purity of the doctrinal DNA of scripture. God does not allow us to believe and hold to just any view, but our doctrine must be of divine origin (Matt. 15:7-9). When it comes to matters of obligation, there is no option.

Eric L. Padgett