Monthly Archives: December 2014

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Why do people tend to be kinder, more pleasant and merrier around Christmas time? Is it not because, generally speaking, they believe that Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Christ and they want to exhibit more of a Christ-like attitude, regardless of how they have lived throughout the year? While some people are humbugs, fortunately, most people do exhibit a better attitude around Christmas.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people behaved the way they did around Christmas all year long? The world would be a much better place if we held the door open for ladies, if we said “Thank you,” and “You’re welcome” more often, if we smiled more often, if we were a little more considerate of the next person, if we willingly gave to each other more, if we went to worship services regularly, etc. If we can live a little more like Christ around Christmas-time, why not all year long. Wouldn’t the world be a much better place for it?

Though we are not authorized in scripture to celebrate His birth as a religious holiday (holy day), Christmas is, nevertheless, a wonderful time of year! It is wonderful because it does seem to bring out the best character of men and women. Therefore, as we close out the Old year with Christmas joy and happiness and with great expectations bring in a new, exciting year, may we strive to live more like Christ each day of our lives this coming new year!

I pray God’s blessings on you and your family this Christmas and the coming New Year. May you enjoy great happiness, find success, prosper beyond your expectations, experience the fulfillment of your dreams and excel in righteousness and godly living. May God keep you under the shadow of His sheltering wings.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Eric L. Padgett


This is the final installment in this series from the American Christian Review by J. R. Howard. While I cannot agree with everything stated in the original article, and some of the more objectional material was redacted from this presentation, the emphasis on the difference between the Lord’s church and the denominational world is worth noting. Would that there was this same fearless distinction made today.


We have now given the marks, or the most important marks, by which the true Church of Christ may be identified and recognized. Wherever they will all apply, that is most certainly the true Church–the only organization of the kind on earth that has the authority and approbation of God–that will prevail and triumph, and stand when all others shall fail, and the only one that the Lord Jesus Christ will own and receive as his bride, when He shall come again, “without a sin-offering unto salvation.”

It may be said to us, as it was once said to the Savior: “This is a hard saying, who can bear it?” And it may also be said to us, “You have unchristianized every Church in the land but one–but your own–and consigned them all alike to the disapprobation of God, disownment by the Lord Jesus Christ, and utter extinction and annihilation!” If so–if thus consigned–it is not we who have done it, but it has been done by the New Testament, by the WORD of God. If they are recognized by that, it is beyond our power to unchurch or unchristianize them; nor do we wish to do so. If they are not the true Church, or true Churches, of Christ, they can easily become such. Any Church can become the true Church by acquiring all these marks of identification, by parting with everything inconsistent with them, and by conforming to everything taught in the New Testament, as regards its constitution, organization, laws and regulations.

The Church which has all these marks, to the exclusion of what is inconsistent with them and the Bible, and claims to be the true,…Apostolic Church, has taken high and vantage ground in religion–the highest position on earth. She has taken ground that must be sustained at every point, which she must never abandon, and which, she must occupy worthily and improve perseveringly, in a manner that shall result in her own welfare and happiness, the glory of God, and her eternal happiness and salvation.

If she is no better than the sects around her, or perhaps not as good, in piety, temper, good works, the practice of Christian duty and keeping the ordinances of the Lord’s house, what will be the inducement to unite with or enter into her? Or what advantages will she possess by a mere external conformity to the Bible in all these marks of identification? The inquiry with her should always be, Wherein do we excel? Her members should indeed be “a peculiar people, zealous of good works,” and in obeying the commandments of the Lord Jesus Christ. They should endeavor to have ” a good report of those without,” or of the world–should avoid everything inconsistent with their high and holy profession and be found in the daily discharge of every duty–should be living epistles, known and read of all men,” and “walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly.” Then will the Church be “clear as the sun, fair as the moon, and as terrible as an army with banners “–” the pillar and ground of the truth.”

Eric L. Padgett


The following is the continuation 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. Please review the previous posts to get the complete context.


Such documents as human “creeds,” “Confessions of Faith,” “Disciplines,” “Articles of Faith,” “Abstracts of Doctrine,” etc., were totally unknown to the Apostles, never permitted by them, and have no authority whatever, not the least shadow of authority anywhere in the Bible or New Testament, but are subversive of its authority, full of evil tendencies, and supplant that volume by their uninspired, unauthorized human legislation, and usurping and nullifying the ordinances and commandments of God, by their assumed authority over the minds and consciences of men. “In vain do they worship me,” says Christ, “teaching for doctrine the commandments of men.” “Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.” “Making the word of God of none effect through your traditions.” These written and published creeds virtually “add to” or “take from” the Bible, and incur the Divine malediction for so doing, pronounced there for all such conduct. They create and continue parties, foment disunion, and keep up and perpetuate divisions.

The primitive Christians had no other creed but the Bible, nor did those who lived for ages after them. This alone kept them united for three hundred years, kept out heresy, and was all-sufficient to perfect them in holiness and character. And if the Bible was sufficient then for all these purposes, it is amply so now; and we have no need of human creeds.

The Church now which has no creed but the Bible, which owns and recognizes none other, whose motto is, “The Bible, the Bible alone, and nothing but the Bible,” is, all things else being equal, the true Church of Christ.


Another mark of the genuine Church of Christ is its unity… It was but one–a unit. Jesus calls it “my Church,” thus implying that it could be but one, a unit, and not “churches” in the plural. Wherever it is mentioned in the New Testament, in the general or abstract, it is only as one. “There is one body and one Spirit”–“the Church, which is his body.” “By one Spirit we are all baptized into one body.” “We have many members in one body.” ” Now they are many members, yet but one body.” “Ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” Hence the Church is composed of one general body, and not many sectarian bodies, and had no sectarian “branches.” How would a cedar tree look, with here an apple branch, there a peach branch, yonder a pear branch, and yonder a cherry branch? How odd, unnatural and grotesque would it appear! And how would the old Jerusalem trunk look, with a Roman Catholic branch, an Episcopalian branch, a Baptist branch, a Presbyterian branch, a Methodist branch, etc. What an odd, unnatural and heterogeneous appearance would it present? But it neither has, and never had, any of these sectarian branches growing from it. Its branches are all homogeneous with itself-—of the same nature, and nothing more than its members, or the organizations composing the true Church of Christ.

Eric L. Padgett