All posts by BradleyCobb

Books for sale or trade (please read)

Howdy y’all. I realize I haven’t been as active posting here as in times past. Publishing books and writing articles for the Quarterly  and working at UPS and preaching full-time and … well, you get the idea.

Below is a list of books I have for sale–BUT I would also be open to trading for other books. I am specifically interested in Restoration Movement books, books dealing with American History, and biographies of notable Americans pre-WWII.

We can take checks or credit/debit cards or PayPal as payment. Prices don’t include shipping. Unless otherwise noted, the book is in either good or very good shape.

Leadership/Self-Help

Leading the Starbucks Way (Joseph A. Mitchell) HB/DJ – $4.00

Psycho-Cybernetics: A New Way to Get More Living Out of Life (Maxwell Maltz, M.D.) PB – $2.75

Well Done! The Common Guy’s Guide to Everyday Success (Dave Thomas of Wendy’s) HB/DJ – $4.00

Understanding Executive Presence and how to make it work for you (Paul Aldo, Ph.D) PB – $4.00

Life is What You Make It (Ronald Willingham) HB/DJ – $3.00

The Richest Man in Town (V.J. Smith) HB/DJ – $3.00

Henry Cloud – Boundaries (PB) – $2.50

Believe! Discover How you can attain success and personal fulfillment through belief in God and His Church, The American Way, Human Dignity, Free Enterprise (Richard M. DeVos) (HB/DJ) – $2.75

God

The Attributes of God (Arthur W. Pink) PB – $3.00

The Pursuit of God (A.W. Tozer) PB – $2.50

Tozer on the Almighty God (A.W. Tozer) PB – $5.00

Marriage

Making Love Last Forever (Gary Smalley) HB/DJ – $3.75

The Five Love Languages (Gary Chapman) PB – $3.75

Finances

The Undercover Economist (Tim Harford) PB – $3.00

The Top 10 Distinctions Between Millionaires and the Middle Class (Keith Cameron Smith) HB/DJ – $3.75

Debt-Free Degree (Anthony O’Neal) HB/DJ – $5.00

American History

Shades of Glory: The Negro Leagues and the Story of African-American Baseball (Lawrence D. Hogan) HB/DJ – $6.00

The Right Side of History: How Reason and Moral Purpose Made the West Great (Ben Shapiro) HB/DJ – $5.00

The Original Argument: The Federalists’ Case for the Constitution (Glenn Beck) PB – $3.75

Don’t Know Much About History: Everything you need to know about American History but never learned (Kenneth C. Davis) PB – $4.25

America’s First Dynasty: The Adamses, 1725-1918 (Richard Brookhiser) PB – $3.50

Indestructible: a Memoir of Iwo Jima (Jack H. Lewis) PB – $4.00

All the Gallant Men: Memoir of a USS Arizona Survivor (Donald Stratton) HB/DJ – $5.00

Restoration Movement

The Christian Messenger, Vol. 2 (Barton W. Stone) BRAND-NEW Paperback – $12.99 (retail is $19.99)

The Christian Review, Vol. 1 (Tolbert Fanning) BRAND-NEW Paperback – $12.99 (retail is $19.99)

Abortion

Abortion: What is the Bible Truth? (David Alsobrook) (PB) – $2.00

Academic Religious Studies

Liberal Learning and Religion (Ed. Amos N. Wilder) (HB) – $2.00

Afterlife

Is There Life After Death? (Paul Kroll) (PB) – $1.25

Anxiety/Depression

How to Win over Depression (Tim LaHaye) (PB) – $2.25

Winning Over Worry (Jack Exum) (PB) – $2.50

An Answer to Worry and Anxiety (Norman Wright) (PB) – $2.25

How to Cope (Dr. E. Harold Henderson) (PB) – $1.75

Apologetics

In the Beginning: A Study of Creation vs. Evolution for Young People (Rita Rhodes Ward) (PB) $0.75

Bible Dictionaries

Peloubet’s Bible Dictionary (HB) – $3.50

Nelson’s Student Bible Dictionary (PB) – $4.00

The New Compact Bible Dictionary (PB) – $3.00

The New Compact Bible Dictionary (HB) – $3.50

Bible Land/Customs

The Land and the Book: An Introduction to the World of the Bible (Charles R. Page, II/Carl A. Volz) (PB) – $4.00

Bibles

A Harmony of the Gospels for Historical Study (Stevens/Burton) (HB – 1904 Edition) – $4.00

New Living Translation NT (PB) – $1.00

New European Version NT (PB) – $1.50

Self-Interpreting New Testament (HB – Gospel Light Publishing) – $4.00

Today’s English Version NT (PB) – $0.50

King James Version (PB) – $0.50

New World Translation (Jehovah’s Witness) (HB) – $1.50

The Living New Testament Paraphrased (HB) – $2.00

Biblical Interpretation/Understanding

Biblical Truth and Modern Man: A Layman’s Guide to Understanding the Bible (Bruce D. Rahtjen) (PB) – $1.50

What You Didn’t Know About the Bible: Questions and Answers, a Comprehensive Guide to Biblical Knowledge (J. Carter Swaim) (HB/DJ) – $4.00

New Testament Survey (Merril C. Tenney) (HB/DJ) – $4.00

Biographies

For Freedom: The Biography of John Nelson Armstrong (L.C. Sears) (HB/DJ – Sweet Publishing, SIGNED BY AUTHOR) – $10.00

The Autobiography of Mark Twain (HB/DJ – LIKE NEW) – $6.00

The Dying President: FDR 1944-1945 (HB/DJ) Robert H. Ferrell – $4.00

Michael J. Fox: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future: Twists and Turns and Lessons Learned (HB/DJ) – $3.50

Christian Living/Growth

The Screwtape Letters (C.S. Lewis) (PB) – $2.50

Unexplainable: Pursuing a Life only God can make Possible (Don Cousins) (PB) – $2.00

Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus (Kyle Idleman) (PB) – $2.00

Sinai Summit: Meeting God with our Character Crisis (Rick Atchley) (PB) – $1.75

It Depends on How You Look at It! A Key to Practical Christian Living (Rusty Bolton) (PB) – $1.50

I Believe (Harold Hazlelip) (PB) – $2.25

Leaving Self Behind (Jack Exum) (PB) – $3.25

Email from God For Men (Andy Cloninger) (PB) – $2.00

Fighting the Good Fight (Reggie White) (HB/DJ) – $2.50

Reggie: You Can’t Change Your Past, but You Can Change Your Future (Reggie Dabbs) (PB) – $2.75

Searching for God Knows What (Donald Miller) (PB) – $2.50

God’s Psychiatry: Wisdom for today from the ancient teachings of the Bible (Charles L. Allen) (PB) – $2.50

Ordinary Days with Jesus: Experiencing the Reality of God in Your Everyday Life: Participant’s Guide (John Ortberg/Ruth Haley Barton) (PB) -$2.00

The Practice of the Presence of God (Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection) (PB) $1.25

The Purpose-Driven Life (Rick Warren) (HB/DJ) – $2.50

The Applause of Heaven: What You’re Always Dreamed, but Never Expected (Max Lucado) (HB/DJ) – $1.00

Situation Ethics: The New Morality (Joseph Fletcher) (PB) – $1.75

On Being a Christian (Hans Kung) (HB) – $3.75

Boundless Horizons: Meditations on the Christian Life (Oliver G. Wilson) (HB/DJ) – $2.75

Improving Your Serve: The Art of Unselfish Living (Charles Swindoll) (PB) – $2.75

The Church

The churches of Christ salute you (John B. White) PB – $2.00

Simple Studies About Christ’s Church (Rubel Shelly) (PB) – $3.00

The Church of Christ: A Presentation of the Distinctive Nature and Identity of the New Testament Church (Edward C. Wharton) (PB) – $4.50

Church Controversy

Putting the Church in Reverse: A Review of “The Church in Transition” (Ben. F. Vick) (PB) – $0.50

Church Growth/Evangelism

Go Ye Means Go Me (Ivan Stewart) (HB/DJ) – $4.50

The Small Sunday School: Its Plans and Work (L.F. Sensabaugh) HB – $1.75

The Sunday School Worker: His Life and Work (L.F. Sensabaugh) HB – $1.75

I Will! Nine Traits of the Outwardly Focused Christian (Thom Rainer) (HB) – $4.00

We Want You Here (Thom Rainer) (HB) – $4.00

I Am a Church Member: Discovering the Attitude that Makes the Difference (Thom Rainer) (HB) – $4.00

The Church in the Rural Community (Bishop William C. Martin) (PB) – $3.00

Church History

The Lost Books of the Bible (Clement/Shepherd of Hermas/etc) (HB/DJ) – $3.50

John Wesley: Holiness of Heart and Life (Charlest Yroigoyen, Jr.) (PB) – $3.50

Walking With Saints through the Best and Worst Times of Our Lives (Calvin Miller) (HB/DJ) – $2.25

The Church: From Pentecost to the Present (Carl S. Meyer) (HB) – $3.00

Commentaries

Leo Boles – Gospel Advocate Commentary on Luke (HC/DJ) – $4.00

Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (HC/DJ) – $4.00

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (HB—LIKE NEW) – $10.00

Matthew Henry’s Commentary in six volumes (HB) – $25.00 for the set

William Barclay – Philippians, Colossians, & Thessalonians (HB) – $3.50

William Barclay – Philippians, Colossians, & Thessalonians (PB) – $3.00

William Barclay – James & Peter (PB) – $3.00

William Barclay – Matthew, Vol. 2 (PB) – $3.00

William Barclay – Timothy, Titus, & Philemon (PB)  – $3.00

James Montgomery Boice – Genesis, Vol. 1 (PB) – $2.50

Be Loyal: A Commentary on Matthew (Warren Wiersbe) PB – $2.00

Be Dynamic: A Commentary on Acts (pt. 1) (Warren Wiersbe) PB – $2.00

Bible Study Commentary: Jonah (John Walton) PB – $3.00

The Pastoral Epistles (Garner-Howes) HB – $3.50

Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament: Vol. IV (HB) – $4.50

The Book of Acts: The Radiant Commentary on the NT (Stanley M. Horton) (HB/DJ) – $3.50

Seed Faith Commentary on the Holy Bible (Oral Roberts) (PB) – $1.75

New Testament Postcards (Charles Swindoll) (PB) – $1.50

Concordance

Cruden’s Concordance (HB) – $2.50

Denominational Doctrines/Cults

Luther’s Small Catechism: A Handbook of Christian Doctrine (HB) – $3.00

The Common Catechism: A Book of the Christian Faith (HB) – $4.00

Answers to Questions about Spiritual Warfare (David Jeremiah) (HB) – $2.00

From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained (Jehovah’s Witness) (HB) – $1.75

What Modern-Day Theologians are Thinking (Daniel Day Williams) (HB – 1952) – $1.25

The TRUTH About the Church of Christ (Dr. Hugh Pyle, Baptist) (PB) – $3.00

World Aflame (Billy Graham) (PB) – $2.00

Final Dawn Over Jerusalem: The World’s Future Hangs in the Balance with the Battle for the Holy City (John Hagee) (HB/DJ) – $3.00

The Book of Confessions: Presbyterian Church, USA (PB) – $1.75

The Confession of Faith of the Presbyterian Church of the United States (HB) – $3.25

The Truth that Leads to Eternal Life (Jehovah’s Witness go-to book) (HB) – $2.00

Eucharistic Miracles: Eucharistic Phenomena in the Lives of the Saints (Joan Carol Cruz) (PB) – $2.00

The Book of Mormon (PB) – $0.75

How to Get More Out of Being Jewish! (Gil Mann) (PB) – $1.50

Out of the Labyrinth: An Exposure of Catholic Doctrine (L.H. Lehmann) (HB/DJ) – $3.00

Devotionals

Abundant Living (E. Stanley Jones) (HB, 1942) – $2.50

Good Night, God: Nighttime Devotions to End Your Day God’s Way (Author unknown) PB – $1.50

Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul (PB) – $1.25

50 Days of Heaven (Randy Alcorn) (HB/DJ) – $2.50

You Can See Forever (Quotes Compiled) (HB) – $1.25

C.S. Lewis – The Business of Heaven (PB) – $2.50

Drugs/Addiction

Chocolate to Morphine: Understanding Mind-Active Drugs (Andrew Weil, M.D., & Winifred Rosen) PB – $3.25

Eschatology

What Really Happens when Jesus Returns? (Gary Frazier) (PB) – $1.50

Evolution

Heredity, Evolution, and Society (I. Michael Lerner) (HB) – $2.00

Naked Ape, or Homo Sapiens? (John Lewis/Bernard Towers) (PB) – $1.25

 

Family

Building Strong Families: Leader’s Guide (Royce Money) (PB) – $1.25

Christ and Your Home (Batsell Barrett Baxter) (PB) – $2.00

Grace

In the Grip of Grace (Max Lucado) (HB/DJ) – $1.00

History

Arkansas Historical Quarterly: Vol. 49, No. 2 (This issue deals with slavery and the Civil War) (PB) $3.50

Humor

Into the Twilight, Endlessly Grousing (Patrick McManus) (HB) – $3.00

Jesus

The Story of Christ and His Apostles (Rev. John Rusk, Ph.D) (HB – 1912 edition) – $4.00

The Coming King (James Edson White) (HB- 1898 Edition) – $4.50

A Layman Looks at the Lamb of God (W. Phillip Keller) (PB) – $3.25

Leadership

Patrick Lencioni – Silos, Politics, & Turf Wars (HB/DJ) – $3.00

Patrick Lencioni – Death by Meeting (HB/DJ) – $3.00

Patrick Lencioni – Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Field Guide (PB) – $2.00

Spencer Johnson – Who Moved My Cheese? (HB/DJ) – $1.75

Leadership Secrets of Atilla the Hun (Wess Roberts, PhD) (HB/DJ) – $3.25

The One-Minute Manager (Kenneth Blanchard/Spencer Johnson) (HB/DJ) – $1.75

The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player (John C. Maxwell) (HB/DJ) – $3.00

Developing the Leaders Around You (John C. Maxwell) (PB) – $2.50

Men’s Issues/Studies

Every Man’s Battle (Stephen Arterburn/Fred Stoeker) (PB) – $3.00

The Secrets Men Keep: How Men Make Life and Love Tougher than it Has to Be (Stephen Arterburn) (HB/DJ) – $3.00

Novels

The Five People You Meet in Heaven (Mitch Albom) (HB-Large Print) – $1.50

For One More Day (Mitch Albom) (HB/DJ) – $1.50

Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom) (PB) – $1.50

Through God’s Eyes (Harold E. Dye) (HB/DJ) – $1.50

Detectives in Togas (Henry Winterfeld) (PB) – $0.50

Prayer

Too Busy Not to Pray: Slowing Down to be with God (Bill Hybels) (PB) – $2.25

Praying in the Wesleyan Spirit: 52 Prayers for today (Paul Chilcote) (PB) – 1.50

Prayer: Conversing with God (Rosalind Rinker) (PB) – $1.00

All Things Are Possible Through Prayer (Charles L. Allen) (PB) – $1.25

Preaching

Why I Preach that the Bible is Literally True (W.A. Criswell) (HB/DJ) – $3.00

Salvation

Consolation for Christians (Leon Barnes) (PB) – $1.25

Song Books

Heavenly Highway Hymns (Stamps-Baxter) (PB – 1956) – $4.50

Sunlight Glees (1947, includes songs and music basics) – $2.00

Workbooks

The Life and Teachings of Jesus (Carroll C. Trent) (PB) – $0.50

Bible in Life: Romans & Galatians (George Snure) (PB) – $0.75

A Group Discussion Study of 1 Corinthians: Outlines for Group Leaders (Robert K. Oglesby) (PB) – $1.25

A Group Discussion Study of Philippians & Colossians: Outlines for Group Leaders (Robert K. Oglesby) (PB) – $1.25

Philippians: To Live is Christ and to Die is Gain (Matt Chandler) (PB) – $1.00

Worship

The Art of Group Worship (Robert Seneca Smith) (PB) – $1.75

Youth Work

‘Twixt Twelve and Twenty (Pat Boone) (HB) – $1.75

Ministering to Youth (David Roadcup) (PB) – $1.50

Other

How do They Do All That? Wonders of the Modern World Explained (Caroline Sutton/Kevin Markey) (HB/DJ) – $2.50

 

Shall We Do Away with the Church? (by Theodore Roosevelt)

In the latest issue of the Quarterly, we discuss some things that were taken from an article by Theodore Roosevelt, published in the Ladies Home Journal of October 1917. Because some will undoubtedly want to see the article itself, we are including it here for reference. We do not agree with everything he wrote here, but nevertheless we believe there are important and noteworthy things stated in this article (which some have said was his most important writing ever).

So, enjoy!

Shall We Do Away with the Church?

Theodore Roosevelt

RELIGIOUS formalism has been the enemy of religion from the days of the Pharisees to the days of those ultra-sabbatarian formalists who would turn the Christian Sunday into what they imagine the day was when the formalist priests of the Temple at Jerusalem revised the Mosaic law, in sharp antagonism to the prophets. Nevertheless, in this actual world a churchless community, a community where men have abandoned and scoffed at or ignored their religious needs, is a community on the rapid down grade.

It is perfectly true that occasionally individuals or families may have nothing to do with church or with religious practices and observances and yet maintain the highest standard of spirituality and of ethical obligation.

But this does not affect the case in the world as it now is, any more than that exceptional men and women under exceptional conditions have disregarded the marriage tie without moral harm to themselves interferes with the larger fact that such disregard if at all common means the complete moral disintegration of the body politic.

In the pioneer days of the West we found it an unfailing rule that after a community had existed for a certain length of time either a church was built or else the community began to go downhill. In these old communities in the Eastern States which have gone backward, it is noticeable that the retrogression has been marked and accentuated by a rapid decline in church membership and work: the two facts being so interrelated that each stands to the other partly as a cause and partly as an effect.

This has occurred not only in the “poor white” sections of the South, but in the small hamlets of the “abandoned farm” regions of New England and New York. As the people grow slack and dispirited they slip from all effective interest in church activities; and the building up of a strong country church or Young Men’s Christian Association in such a community often has an astonishing effect in putting such virile life into them that their moral betterment stimulates a marked physical betterment in their homes and farms.

FOR all those whose lives are led on a plane above the grimmest and barest struggle for existence church attendance and church work of some kind mean both the cultivation of the habit of feeling some responsibility for others and the sense of braced moral strength which prevents a relaxation of one’s own fiber.

The household in which Sunday is treated merely as a day for easy self-indulgence does not on that day offer an attractive spectacle. Nor in such a household is what occurs on that day a healthy stimulus toward right living for the children. In such a household the master of the house generally rises late. That is all right if his staying in bed means rest for him without meaning added work for somebody else. But, having risen, he merely dawdles half-dressed, smokes and reads the Sunday papers, lounges around the place if nothing more attractive offers itself, and finally goes off to the club or other lounging place.

The mistress of the household meanwhile, if like her spouse, stays in bed, too, with the Sunday paper, or with a cheap magazine or a cheap novel; then also lounges around the house before fully dressing, and finally visits or receives visits from some other women who also regard slipshod absence of effort as the proper characteristic of the day.

The case is not bettered if the heads of the family possess more energy but use it merely for their own selfish enjoyment, as, for instance, if they habitually spend the entire day in the motor, or take part in some form of dress parade, or visit brightly lighted restaurants.

I SERIOUSLY doubt whether people such as these even achieve their purpose. I doubt whether the frank pursuit of nothing but amusement has really brought as much happiness as if it had been alloyed with and supplemented by some minimum meeting of obligation toward others. There are enough holidays for most of us which can quite properly be devoted to pure holiday making, and there are plenty of men and women whose week-day work is, on occasion, so exhausting that Sunday should then only be a day of rest and recreation for them; and we need have scant sympathy with the sour-hearted people who deny the former truth or do not understand the latter. But, as with all general laws of conduct, we are not primarily concerned with the exceptions: we are concerned with the ordinary cases.

In ordinary cases, as regards most men and women, the performance of their duties to the church, to themselves and to others, on Sunday, represents merely such “toning up” of their systems as will enable them to profit more by rest and amusement during the remainder of the day. Sundays differ from other holidays—among other ways—in the fact that there are fifty-two of them every year! The proper conduct for other holidays may be treated in itself as an exception. For Sunday it must be treated as a rule—a rule properly subject to exceptions, and perhaps to numerous exceptions— but a rule, nevertheless.

THEREFORE, on Sunday go to church. Yes—I know all the excuses. I know that one can worship the Creator and dedicate oneself to good living in a grove of trees, or by a running brook, or in one’s own house, just as well as in church. But I also know that as a matter of cold fact the average man does not thus worship or thus dedicate himself. If he stays away from church he does not spend his time in good works or in lofty meditation. He looks over the colored supplement of the newspaper; he yawns; and he finally seeks relief from the mental vacuity of isolation by going where the combined mental vacuity of many partially relieves the mental vacuity of each particular individual.

If toil is not exceptionally but habitually exhausting, so that the man when released from it at nightfall of each day or at the end of the week can do nothing but sink exhausted into a kind of lethargy from which he rouses himself only to meet the task of the new day or the new week, then there is something wrong in the social system so far as he is concerned; and the churches should take the lead in the effort to diagnose and remedy the wrong.

But if he has merely worked healthily hard, and is healthily tired, it will be from every standpoint an excellent thing for him to begin his Sunday by going to church. This means that he and all his family will have been up for breakfast—later than usual, very possibly, and quite properly, but in time to avoid that feeling of slackness and of being at loose ends which will demoralize anyone who habitually begins the day by spending a couple of hours more than he needs in bed, and then by lounging around the house half-dressed and doing nothing.

HE MAY not hear a good sermon at church. But unless he is very unfortunate he will hear a sermon by a good man who, with his good wife, is engaged all the week long in a series of wearing and humdrum and important tasks for making hard lives a little easier; and both this man and this wife are in the vast majority of cases showing much self-denial and doing much for humble folks of whom few others think, and keeping up a brave show on narrow means. Surely the average man ought to sympathize with the work done by such a couple, and ought to help them; and he can’t help them unless he is a reasonably regular church attendant. Otherwise he is an outsider, and is felt to be such, and the part he plays in useful church activities, in service by the church to its members and to the community at large, is only the part which an outsider can play.

BESIDES, even if he doesn’t hear a good sermon, the probabilities are that he will listen to and take part in reading some beautiful passages from the Bible. And if he is not familiar with the Bible he has suffered a loss which he had better make all possible haste to correct. Moreover, he will probably take part in singing some good hymns. He will meet and nod to, or speak to, good, quiet neighbors.

If he does not think about himself too much he will benefit himself very much, especially as he begins to think chiefly of others. And he will come away feeling a little more charitably toward all the world—even toward those excessively foolish young men who regard churchgoing as rather a soft performance, and feel superior and cynical when they utter, at the expense of some among the churchgoers, jeers and gibes which may be true, but which with even more truth can be applied to at least as large a percentage of any other groups of poor, erring human beings.

I ADVOCATE a man’s joining in church work for the sake of showing his faith by his works: I leave to professed theologians the settlement of the question whether he is to achieve his salvation by his works or by a faith which is only genuine if it expresses itself in works. Micah’s insistence upon loving mercy and doing justice and walking humbly with the Lord will suffice if lived up to; and Amos and Isaiah and the Psalms, and the Gospels and Paul and James will furnish sufficient instruction for both the men who are simple enough and the men who are wise enough. Let the man not think overmuch of saving his own soul; that will come of itself, if he tries in good earnest to look after his neighbor, both in soul and in body —remembering always that he had better leave his neighbor alone rather than show arrogance or tactlessness in the effort to help him.

The church, on the other hand, must fit itself for the practical betterment of mankind if it is to attract and retain the fealty of the men best worth holding and using. The betterment may come in many ways. The great exhorter or preacher, the Billy Sunday or Phillips Brooks, the priest or clergyman or rabbi, the cardinal or bishop or revivalist or Salvation Army commander, may, by sheer fervor and intensity, and by kindling some flame of the spirit which mystics have long known to be real and which scientists now admit to be real, rouse numbed consciences to life and free seared souls from sin; and then the roused conscience and the freed soul will teach the bodies in which they dwell how to practice the great law of service.

Such stormy awakening of the spirit, though often of high usefulness, loses all savor unless, in the times of calm which follow, the workaday body makes good in its round of life and labor the promise given by the spirit in its hour of stress.

FAR more often the betterment must come through work which does not depend on the gift of tongues, but on persistent labor conducted with wary wisdom no less than with broad humanity. This may take the old form of individual service to the individual; of visiting and comforting the widow and the fatherless and the sore-stricken. It may take the form of organized charity—a form not merely beneficial but absolutely essential where a dense population increases the mass of suffering and also the mass of imposture and of that weakness of will which, if permitted, becomes parasitic helplessness; but a form which needs incessant supervision lest it lose all vitality and become empty and stereotyped so as finally to amount to little except a method of giving salaries to those administering the charity.

Under the tense activity of modern social and industrial conditions the church, if it is to give real leadership, must grapple zealously, fearlessly and cool-headedly with these problems. Unless it is the poor man’s church it is not a Christian church at all in any real sense. The rich man needs it, heaven knows, and is needed by it. But unless in the church he can work with all his toiling brothers for a common end, for their mutual benefit and for the benefit of those without its walls, the church has come short of its mission and its possibilities. Unless the church in a mining town or factory town or railway center is a leading force in the effort to secure cleaner and more wholesome surroundings, moral and physical, for the people, unless it concerns itself with the people’s living and working conditions, with their workshops and houses and playgrounds, it has forfeited its right to the foremost place in the regard of men

By their fruits shall ye know them! We judge a man nowadays by his conduct rather than by his dogma. And, to keep its hold on mankind, the church must, as in its early flays, obey the great law of service; for the church shall not live by ceremonial and by dogmatic theology alone.

There are plenty of clergymen of all denominations who do obey this law; they rentier inestimable service. Yet these men can do but little unless keen, able, zealous laymen give them aid; anti this aid is beyond comparison most effective when rendered by men who are themselves active participants in the work of the church. Therefore every man who is a Christian at all should join some church organization—whether his orthodoxy is of the old-fashioned kind or whether his intellectual needs can best be met by Bade’s “Old Testament in the Light of To-day,” or his desire to work met by connection with such a body as Charles Stelzle’s Labor Temple.

INSISTENCE upon the new work imposed by the new conditions does not in the least mean abandonment of the old work —any more than in a public school the creation of a Boy Scout company means the abandonment of baseball. The Sunday-school class, the Men’s Bible Class and the like should be as prominent as ever.

Only, they must not represent the only activities, and membership in them should be accepter) not as excusing the participants from square treatment of others, but as grounds for believing that they will take the lead in and set the standard for disinterested, upright and earnest labor for their fellows. They create a fine feeling of fellowship.

Surely if our churches are not democratic the root of the matter is not in us; and therefore the church is beyond all other places that in which men of every social grade and degree of wealth should come together on a footing of brotherhood and of equality of rights and obligations.

In that place arrogance and envy are equally out of place; in that place every sincere man should feel stirred to exceptional effort to see questions at issue as his brother sees them, and to act toward that brother as he would wish, under reversed conditions, the brother to act toward him.

Surely half of our labor troubles would disappear if a sufficient number of the leaders on both sides had worked for common ends in the same churches, Young Men’s Christian Associations or other like organizations, and approached one another s positions with an earnest desire to understand them and, understanding, respect them.

One important thing for the layman interested in church work to do is to make the church an instrument for securing the healthy happiness of young people. The influence of the Puritan has been most potent for strength and for virtue in our national life. But its somber austerity left one evil: the tendency to confuse pleasure and vice, a tendency which, in the end, is much more certain to encourage vice than to discourage pleasure.

Let every layman interested in church work battle against this tendency. Let him proceed on the assumption that innocent pleasure which does not interfere with things even more desirable is in itself a good; that this is as true of one day of the week as of another; and that one function of the church should be the encouragement of happiness in small things as well as in large.

NO GENERAL rules can be laid down in such a matter; the customs and feelings and peculiar conditions of each community must be taken into account and so far as possible respected. I have known a village baseball nine which, after church on Sunday afternoons, held games in a field a mile away and was a potent help in keeping young men out of the “blind pig” saloons; and, on the other hand, I have seen Sunday professional baseball in a big city become a source of demoralization. Personally I believe that dancing, like all other healthy and proper pastimes, should be encouraged in the parish house; and this because 1 dread the professional dance hall, where liquor can be obtained and where foolish young girls go with foolish or vicious young men, while there are no older men and women to look after them.

If the natural desire of young people for pleasure is not given a healthy outlet it is only too apt to find an unhealthy outlet.

The man who does not in some way, active or not, connect himself with some active, working church misses many opportunities for helping his neighbors, and therefore, incidentally, for helping himself.

Notes on 2 John 12-13 (Comments and Critiques Welcome)

Conclusion (12-13)

(12) Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.

Having many things to write to you…

This letter is extremely short. Here, at the end of the letter, John is saying there are several things he could have added to the letter.

I’m not willing to write them with paper and ink

Another way of saying this is that there were many things he could have added, but he didn’t want to write them. The reason for this is made quite clear when he says he wants to come speak to them face-to-face. There are some things much better said face-to-face instead of in a letter.

But I trust that I will come to you and speak face to face

When you speak face-to-face with someone, as opposed to through a letter (or text message, or email, or some other written form of communication), it shows you care. Also, in person your tone, body language, and emphasis comes through. John may have had something very unpleasant things to say to them (see 3 John 9-10). John may have needed to talk to them about some things difficult to understand (see 2 Peter 3:15-16). He may have needed to have a discussion with them, to ask them questions and understand some things going on there. All of these things are much easier to do in person than by letter.

John had confidence, trust, he would be able to come see them. It is certain John prayed about it (James 4:15). We should follow the same example.

So that our joy may be full

The purpose of John’s planned face-to-face visit was to bring joy to them and to himself. We are given a clue in verse 4 about this. John rejoiced that the Christians were walking in truth. However, he didn’t say “all” of the Christians were walking in truth. Some of them were, but others were not. His plan was to go visit them, and possibly bring the wayward back to Christ. This would cause him great joy, but also bring great joy to the congregation as well. John’s joy always seems to center on the truth being followed (see also 1 John 1:1-4, especially verse 4).

(13) The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen.

The children of your elect sister greet you.

Since the “elect lady” of verse 1 is the church (perhaps specifically the congregation in Jerusalem), the “elect sister” would be the congregation where John was. Her children would be the members of that congregation.

They all send their greetings. This is the same word translated “salute” in Romans 16:16 (the churches of Christ salute you). It is more than just saying “hi.” It’s a greeting of friendship and fellowship.

Amen

This means “so be it,” or “I agree.” However, it is also used at the end of some of the Biblical letters to bring the letter to a close. It is a final re-emphasis of what’s been said, and showing John meant all of it.

Notes on 2 John 10-11 (Comments and Critiques Welcome)

How to Treat False Teachers (10-11)

(10-11) If there comes any unto you, and brings not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that bids him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

If anyone comes to you, and doesn’t bring this doctrine…

The Jews of the first century were extremely hostile towards Christians. As the end of the Jewish system got closer and closer, there were some who declared that the apostles made up the story of Jesus Christ. They said that Jesus was nothing more than a cunningly devised fable (2 Peter 1:16-18). That he wasn’t real! The Jews were doing everything they could to undermine Christianity.

This helps us understand why First John starts off with a defense of the reality of Jesus Christ’s coming to earth. John declares himself an ear-witness (“that which we have heard”), an eye-witness (“which we have seen”), and a hand-witness (“our hands have handled”).

So here in Second John, he is alerting the Christians to the Jews who were going around denying that the Christ had even come. This had the potential to destroy people’s faith, and therefore this threat must be taken seriously.

Don’t take him into house

Most translations have the word your inserted into this sentence, making it read, “Don’t receive him into your house.” However, the word your is not in the original. This is actually significant to understanding this verse.

The typical understanding of this verse is that if a false teacher comers around, don’t even let him into your house! This verse is used by some as justification for not allowing a Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness to cross the threshold of their doorway. But that’s not what John is saying.

The early church met in houses, in the home of one of the members. John is telling the Christians not to allow the false teachers to have access to the congregation. Don’t let them into the congregational gatherings. Don’t let them into the house where Christians are meeting.

The application for us today is that we should be aware of what others believe and teach before we welcome them into the congregation. We cannot give false teachers access to the congregation, because they have the potential of destroying the faith of some of the weaker or newer members.

It’s because of things like this that the early church sent letters of recommendation with members who were traveling or moving (I Corinthians 16:3, II Corinthians 3:1). This isn’t such a bad idea.

Don’t say God-speed to them, either

The word translated as God speed in the King James Version is translated as greeting in James 1:1, and as farewell in II Corinthians 13:11. But the vast majority of times, it is translated rejoice (as in Matthew 5:12). John even uses it that way in verse 4 of this letter.

This means don’t wish them well on their journey. Don’t say “good luck” to them as they go out spreading false doctrine. Don’t pray for their efforts. Don’t say anything to them that would make it seem like you approve of what they are doing. Why not?

Because the one who says God-speed to him is a partaker of his evil deeds.

Even if you don’t allow the false teacher access to the congregation, the instant you wish him good luck as he goes along destroying souls, you’ve shown your approval for his actions. And approval of sin is the same as if you had committed the sin (Romans 1:32).

But there is another way that you would become a partaker in their evil deeds. If you wish them well, they will go to other places and bring up your name as well. “Brother So-and-so wished me good luck.” And all of a sudden, your name has become attached to them and their teaching.

Be very careful about who you recommend and who you approve. When you show approval for someone, you are also showing approval for what they teach and what they do. This is most important in showing approval of Christians and recommending them to others.

But this principle also applies in other areas of life. When you vote for someone—especially if you encourage others to vote for him—you are showing approval for that person and the things he stands for. Obviously, you can’t know everything that person thinks, believes, and will do while in office. But if you know ahead of time that candidate supports homosexuality and abortion, and then you vote for him (bidding them God-speed), that makes you just as guilty.

Be very careful who you bid God-speed to.

 

Greatly Expanded (and mostly organized) list of books for sale

If this list is helpful in any way, thank my daughter, who spent a couple hours typing it all…

Items marked *NEW* are brand-new from Cobb Publishing (or donated by another publisher), but discounted to make more space.

The books in bold font are by members of the church of Christ.

Items in RED FONT are new to the list as of May 28.

Prices do not include shipping. We can take check, Paypal, or credit/debit card. Just email with the books you want, or call/text 479.747.8372 (Yes, this is the correct number this time). I will try to keep this list up-to-date as requests come in.

Thank you!

Abortion

Abortion: What is the Bible Truth? (David Alsobrook) PB $1.00

Anxiety/Worry/Suffering

Winning Over Worry (Jack Exum) PB $1.25

An Answer to Worry and Anxiety (Norman Wright) PB $0.75

How to Win Over Depression (Tim LaHaye) PB $2.50

Consolation for Christians (Leon Barnes) PB $1.50

How to Cope (Dr. E. Harold Henderson) PB $1.25

Apologetics/Hermeneutics

In the Beginning: A Study of Creation Vs. Evolution (Rita Rose Ward) PB $1.00

Situation Ethics: The New Morality (Joseph Fletcher) PB $2.00

The Bible

Why I Preach the Bible is Literally True (W.A. Criswell) HB/DJ $2.75

Biblical Truth and Modern Man: A Layman’s Guide to Understanding the Bible (Bruce D. Rahtjen) PB $2.00

Bible Background

The Land and the Book: An Introduction to the World of the Bible (Charles R. Page II & Carl A. Volz) PB $3.50

Bible Dictionaries

Nelson’s Student Bible Dictionary – PB $2.00

The New Compact Bible Dictionary (T. Alton Bryant) HB $2.00

Bibles

The New Testament: New European Version $1.00

Knowing Jesus Personally: New Living Translation NT PB $1.00

Self-Interpreting New Testament (Compiled and Arranged by Ashley S. Johnson) HB $2.50

Christian Living

Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus (Kyle Idleman) PB $1.75

On Being a Christian (Hans Kung) 700 pages HB $2.75

A New Kind of Christian (Brian McLaren) HB $2.00

Boundless Living: Meditations on the Christian Life (Oliver G. Wilson) HB/DJ $2.00

Answers to Questions About Spiritual Warfare (David Jeremiah) HB $1.75

The Church

Simple Studies About Christ’s Church (Rubel Shelly) PB $2.00

Why I Am A Member of the Church of Christ (Leroy Brownlow) HB $3.25

The Churches of Christ Salute You (John B. White) PB $0.75

The TRUTH About the “Church of Christ” (Hugh Pyle, Baptist) PB $2.25

Church History

Civil War

Our Man in Charleston: Britain’s Secret Agent in the Civil War South (Christopher Dickey) HB/DJ $4.50  $3.75

Chasing Lincoln’s Killer (James L. Swanson) HB $2.00

Commentaries

New Testament Postcards (Philemon, Jude, 2 John, 3 John) (Charles Swindoll) PB $1.75

Philippians: A Study Guide (Matt Chandler) PB $1.50

Moments on the Mount (R.B. Sweet) PB $2.50

Titus, Philemon, and James (J.W. Roberts) PB $2.50

The Parables of Jesus, part 2 (Neil R. Lightfoot) PB $2.50

The Gospel of Christ TV Transcripts [1 Thessalonians – Philemon] (Ben Bailey & Timothy Sparks) CB $1.50

The Gospel of Christ TV Transcripts [Hebrews – James] (Ben Bailey & Timothy Sparks) CB $1.50

The Gospel of Christ TV Transcripts [1 Peter – Revelation] Ben Bailey & Timothy Sparks) CB $1.50

The Gospel of Christ TV Transcripts [Matthew – John] (Ben Bailey & Timothy Sparks) CB $1.50

Culture

World Aflame (Billy Graham) PB $0.75

Debates/Controversy

A Review of “Shall We Splinter” (Robert R. Taylor, Jr.) PB $1.75

Putting the Church in Reverse: A Review of “The Church in Transition” (Ben Vick Jr) PB $0.50

Denominational Doctrines

The Common Catechism (an ecumenical collaboration between Catholics, Lutherans, and Presbyterians on common beliefs) 690 pages, HB $2.00

How to Get More Out Of Being Jewish Even If: A. You are not sure that you believe in God, B. You think going to the synagogue is a waste of time, C. You think keeping kosher is stupid, D. You hated Hebrew school, or E. All of the above! – Updated 6th Edition (Gil Mann) PB $1.75

Out of the Labyrinth (the autobiographical story of a priest who left Catholicism and became a protestant) HB/DJ $3.75

The Book of Confessions (Presbyterian Church USA) PB $1.50

The Westminster Confession of Faith of the Presbyterian Church in the United States, Together with the Longer Catechism and the Shorter Catechism (1947 Printing) HB $2.25

Eucharistic Miracles and Eucharistic Phenomena in the Lives of Saints (Joan Carroll Cruz) PB $1.25

The Truth that Leads to Eternal Life (Jehovah’s Witness Guidebook for their one-on-one Studies) HB $1.50

Detective Novels

*NEW* Rick Wade Investigations Book 1: Murder in the City (Bill Howard) PB $4.00

*NEW* Rick Wade Investigations Book 2: The Case for Sarah (Bill Howard) PB $4.00

*NEW* Rick Wade Investigations Book 3: A Time to Heal (Bill Howard) PB $4.00

*NEW* Rick Wade Investigations Book 4: A Time to Reap (Bill Howard) PB $4.00

Devotional reading

Good Night, God: Nighttime Devotions to End Your Day God’s Way (David C. Cook?) PB $1.00

Abundant Living (E. Stanley Jones) HB $1.25

Chicken Soup For the Christian Soul: 101 Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit (Jack Canfield; Mark Victor Hansen; D. Van Dyke, etc.) PB $0.75

The Purpose-Driven Life (Rick Warren) HB/DJ $0.25

50 Days of Heaven: Reflections that Bring Eternity to Light (Randy Alcorn) HB/DJ $1.25

Eschatology

What Really Happens When Jesus Returns? (Gary Frazier) PB $1.50

Evangelism

You Can Have Successful Gospel Meetings (Alan M. Bryan) PB $0.50

We Want You Here (Thom S. Rainer) HB $3.50

The Church in the Rural Community (William C. Martin) PB $2.00

I Could, I MightI CanI Should, I Will!: Nine Traits of the Outwardly Focused Christian (Thom S. Rainer) HB $3.50

*New* Casting Down of Strongholds: To Satan and Back – The True Story of My Experiences in the Occult , and How and Why I Left it. (Kyle D. Frank) PB $4.00

Home/Family

The Christian Home (P.D. Wilmeth) PB $2.50

Christ and Your Home (Batsell Barrett Baxter) PB $1.75

Building Stronger Families: Leader’s Guide (Royce Money) PB $1.25

Religious Education in the Family (Henry F. Cope, University of Chicago Press) HB $2.25

Humanism/Modernism

Hymnals/Song Books

Sunlight Glees: A Complete Treatise on the Fundamentals of Vocal Music (Hartford Music and Printing Co., 1947) PB $2.00

Leadership

Good to Great (Jim Collins) HB/DJ $3.00

Lectureship Books

Men’s Struggles

Novels

Through God’s Eyes (Harold E. Dye) HBDJ $1.00

Prayer

Praying in the Wesleyan Spirit: 52 Prayers for Today (Paul Chilcote) PB $0.75

All things are Possible Through Prayer (Charles L. Allen) PB $1.25

Prayer: Conversing with God (Rosalind Rinker) PB $1.00

Too Busy NOT to Pray (Bill Hybels) PB $1.75

Preaching

Psychology

Chocolate to Morphine: Understanding Mind-Active Drugs (Andrew Weil, MD & Winifred Rosen) PB $2.25

Restoration Reprint Library

Self Help/Self-Improvement

Reggie: You Can’t Change Your Past, But You Can Change Your Future (Reggie Dabbs with John Driver) PB $1.50 $1.00

Fighting the Good Fight (Reggie White) HBDJ $2.00

Believe!: Discover Success Through God and His Church, Free Enterprise, Human Dignity, and the American Way (Richard M. DeVos) HB/DJ $2.25

Walking With Saints: Through the Best and Worst Times of our Lives (Calvin Miller) HBDJ $2.00

A Funny Thing That Happened on the Way to the Future: Twists and Turns and Lessons Learned (Michael J. Fox) HBDJ $1.50

Sermons

*New* Sermons on First Corinthians (George W. DeHoff) PB $4.00

*New* The Lost Sermons of H. Leo Boles (Compiled by Kyle Frank) HB $4.00

Preach the Word… (Arthur Calvin Fulbright, Th.D.) PB $2.00

Studies for New Christians

*NEW* Father, I Have Sinned (Bill Howard) PB $2.50

*NEW* Whom Seek Ye? (Bill Howard) PB $2.50

*NEW* Believest Thou This? (Bill Howard) PB $2.50

Basic Bible Studies (Howard Winters) PB $1.25

Worship/Lord’s Supper/Music

The Art of Group Worship (Robert Seneca Smith) PB $1.75

Workbooks

Group Discussion Study of 1 Corinthians (Robert K. Oglesby) PB $0.75

Group Discussion of Philippians/Colossians (Roberk K. Oglesby) PB $0.75

God’s Way for Man: The Church (Carroll C. Trent) PB $1.00

The Life and Teachings of Jesus, Part 3 (Carroll C. Trent) PB $0.50

Romans and Galatians: Bible in Life Workbook (George Snure) PB $0.50

Into Our Hands: A Study of Christian Stewardship (Edwin Broadus) PB $0.75

Gospel Advocate Adult Gospel Quarterly – Fall 1981 PB $0.50

Truth For Today – The “Today” Series Book One (???) PB $0.50

Ordinary Days with Jesus Participant’s Guide (John Ortberg) PB $0.75

The “I haven’t categorized them yet” section:

What present-day theologians are thinking. (Daniel Day Williams) HB, $1.75

Heavenly highway hymns (Stamps-Baxter shape notes songbook 1956) PB $2.00

Unexplainable: pursuing a life only God can make possible (Don Cousins) PB $1.50

What you didn’t know about the Bible: a Comprehensive Guide to Biblical Knowledge (J. Carter Swaim) HB/DJ $3.50

It Depends on How You Look at It! A Key to Practical Christian Living (Rusty Bolton) PB $1.50

Sinai Summit: Meeting God with Our Character Crisis (Rick Atchley) PB $0.50

A Layman Looks at the Lamb of God (W. Phillip Keller) PB $1.25

The Lost Books of the Bible (Shepherd of Hermas, Polycarp, Barnabas, I and II Clement, etc.) – HB/DJ $3.50

Final Dawn Over Jerusalem (John Hagee) HB/DJ $1.25

Practice of the Presence of God (Brother Lawrence) PB $0.50

Liberal Learning and Religion (Edited by Amos N. Wilder) HB $1.25

God’s Psychiatry: Wisdom for Today from the Ancient Teachings of the Bible (Charles L. Allen) PB $1.50

Your Greatest Power (J. Martin Kohe) HB/DJ $2.50

The Sunday School Worker: His Life and Work (L.F. Sensabaugh) HB $1.00

The Small Sunday School: Its Plans and Work (L.F. Sensabaugh) HB $1.00

Is There Life After Death? (Paul Kroll) PB $1.00

Things Surely Believed Among Us (Paul Rogers) PB $1.25

Email From God for Men (Andy Cloninger) PB $1.50

Leaving Self Behind (Jack Exum) PB $1.75

Lessons For Living (Mrs. Carroll Trent) PB $0.75

Sketches from the History of Collectivism (James D. Bales) PB $1.25

I Believe (Harold Hazelip) PB $1.50

My Daily Walk with God (Charles B. Hodge, Jr) PB $2.50

Great Biblical Doctrines (John Allen Chalk) PB $2.00

You Can See Forever (Compiled by Caesar Johnson) HB $1.25

The Coming King (James Edson White) HB $1.50

Twixt Twelve and Twenty (Pat Boone) HB $0.75

Heredity Evolution and Society (I. Michael Lerner) HB $1.00

Notes on 2 John 7-9 (Comments and Critiques Welcome!)

Description of False Teachers (7-9)

Starting with this section, John explains why he is reminding them to walk in the commandments of God (verse 6).

(7) For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

For

John had just reminded them—begged them, actually—to love one another and to walk in the commandments of Jesus Christ. But why? Why was it so important for John to remind Christians about this? The word for in this verse means because. What follows in this verse is the specific reason why they needed to be reminded—because false teachers are here!

Many deceivers

Deceivers have existed for thousands of years. Jacob deceived Isaac into thinking he was Esau in order to steal the firstborn’s blessing (Genesis 27:19-29). Simon the sorcerer deceived the Samaritans into thinking he was a truly powerful person from God (Acts 8:9-11). But the deceivers John is discussing are not simply those who misrepresent themselves. These deceivers could cause someone to lose their soul.

There were many of these deceivers going about during the time of John the apostle. False teachers were prevalent then, and they are prevalent today as well. We would all do well to realize not everyone speaks the truth. We should be like the noble Bereans who searched the Scriptures daily to make sure what they were being told matched up with God’s word (Acts 17:11).

Are entered into the world

This is spoken of in the past tense. It has already happened. This is not a warning of something yet future, but it is a warning of a very present danger. These deceivers were out in the world already deceiving people. The time to be aware of false teachers is now.

Who do not confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.

These liars (deceivers) did not confess Jesus actually came in the flesh. There are differing views as to exactly what this means.

Most believe this is a reference to the Gnostics, a group of false teachers who were prominent in the second century. The Gnostics promoted (among other things) the idea Jesus just appeared to come in the flesh, but was actually just a spirit who appeared to be flesh. Why would John warn Christians about these false teachers? If their doctrine was true, then there really wasn’t a death on the cross, nor a resurrection. And, as Paul said, if there is no resurrection, then we are still lost in our sins (I Corinthians 15:17-18). This doctrine denies the very thing upon which the Christians’ salvation rests: the death of Christ on our behalf.

The Gnostics were not prominent until the 2nd century, though the seeds of their doctrines would have been sown much earlier. However, it is difficult to believe full-blown Gnosticism was already a present problem in 67-69 AD when this book was written (see introduction for a brief discussion of the date of 2 John).

It is more likely the Jews, the constant thorn in the side of first century Christians, had begun going out and telling people Jesus was a made-up character. The apostle Peter had to deal with this same issue. He stated “we do not follow cunningly devised fables [made up stories]” (2 Peter 1:16). Instead, Peter says he was an eyewitness to Jesus Christ and His transfiguration (2 Peter 1:16-17). Peter, in the mid-60s AD, had to counteract false teachers who were teaching the story of Jesus was a cleverly designed fable. This accusation said Jesus did not come in the flesh. It is worth noting John begins his first epistle with a defense of the historical truth of Jesus’ physical coming (1 John 1:1-4). If Jesus never existed, then our sins are not forgiven. Truly this is a damnable heresy (2 Peter 2:1).

This is a deceiver

If it wasn’t clear with John’s first statement about many deceivers, he clarifies it here. The people who teach Jesus didn’t come in the flesh are liars. Literally, this verse says, “This one is the deceiver [or, the deceiving one].”

This is…an antichrist

If it wasn’t clear to Christians that these liars, these false teachers should be avoided, John uses the word “antichrist.” “Antichrist” is not a name of a person, nor is it a title. It is a description. “Anti” means against, or opposed to something. “The antichrist” is literally translated as “the one opposed to Christ.” In the entire Bible, this word appears in just three other verses:

Little children, it is the last time [literally: final hour]: and as you have heard that antichrist shall come, even now there are many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. (1 John 2:18)

Who is a liar but her that denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denies the Father and the Son. (1 John 2:22)

And every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of antichrist, whereof you have heard that it should come; and even now already it is in the world. (1 John 4:3)

When you read these verses—the only times in the whole Bible the word “antichrist” appears—it should become obvious John was talking about something taking place when he wrote. After all, the fact these “antichrists” (plural) are on the scene was proof the final hour (the destruction of Jerusalem—see Matthew 24:24) was near. The ones who say Jesus didn’t come in the flesh are deceiving and opposed to Christ. To accept their doctrines is to also be opposed to Christ. To be opposed to Christ means eternal destruction (Hebrews 10:26-31, 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).

Within the last 150 years, many doctrines have cropped up about a future person described as “the Antichrist” who will come to power and deceive many shortly before Jesus comes again and sets up an earthly kingdom. This verse proves all those theories false.

Remember the following:

  • These deceivers had already (past tense) come into the world and began their work of deceiving in the first century. John is not speaking of some future character (especially not one 2,000 years away from his own time).
  • There were many deceivers, not just one.
  • These deceivers who existed in the first century are the antichrist.

Any doctrine that denies the antichrist was a first century reality is a false doctrine which should be flatly rejected.

Some well-meaning Christians have said the phrase “the antichrist” never appears in the Bible. While this is true in the King James Version, it is not true in the original Greek. This verse in Second John does indeed say “the antichrist,” or literally “the one opposed to Christ.”

(8) Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.

Look to yourselves

A recurring theme in the Scriptures is the need for constant self-evaluation. Paul says “Examine yourself, whether you are in the faith” (II Corinthians 13:5). Here, John tells Christians there is an important need to look within. Look to yourselves to make sure you have not bought into the false doctrine peddled about by the deceivers and ones opposed to Christ (see notes on previous verse). John expresses the need to examine ourselves, and then gives two reasons why we should do it.

That we don’t lose the things which we have accomplished.

The Christian life is not an easy one (Luke 9:62). It takes work (James 2:24). But the work builds up treasure in heaven (Matthew 6:20, 19:21). If someone were to spend his life obeying Christ’s will, and building up treasure, but then fell prey to these false teachings stating Jesus never came in the flesh, those treasures would be lost. Frequently, people will claim “once saved, always saved.” John says those spiritual things which we worked so hard for can be lost. Who will you believe? An inspired apostle or an uninspired denominational “pastor”?

Receive a full reward.

By continuing to examine ourselves frequently to make sure we have not fallen prey to false teachers, we keep a hold of the treasures we have laid up in heaven. Eternal life is the full reward being spoken of. Jesus phrased it this way, “be faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).

Denominational teachers frequently say “Not of works! Not of works!” But the inspired writers say justification (being made right in God’s sight) is by works, and not by faith only (James 2:24). Here, John uses the word reward. A reward is something given based on the actions of someone else. The Greek word means payment, wages, or reward. Truly, the inspired apostle John didn’t believe or teach the false doctrine of “faith-only salvation,” or “once-saved, always saved.” For John spoke of a wonderful payment awaiting faithful Christians. The Scriptures teach we will be judged eternally based on our works we do while on earth (Revelation 20:12-13).

(9) Whosoever transgresses, and abides not in the doctrine of Christ, has not God. He that abides in the doctrine of Christ, he has both the Father and the Son.

Whoever transgresses

The word transgresses means to go beyond something. The idea here is of a set boundary. Everything inside the boundary we’ll call “the doctrine of Christ.” Once you go outside the boundary, you have transgressed, or gone outside the borders of Christ’s kingdom. In short, you’ve left Christ behind. John clarifies the thought a bit further by saying transgressing is “not abiding” in the doctrine of Christ.

And does not abide in the doctrine of Christ

This means he does not stay in the doctrine of Christ. This is talking about someone who was saved, who became a Christian, who was in the church. This person, once saved, has left the doctrine of Christ. No one can forcibly take you out of God’s hand (Romans 8:34-39), but you have the freedom to leave on your own.

…the doctrine of Christ

Some have argued over this short little phrase. Is this the doctrine taught by Christ, or is it the doctrine about Christ?  In order to satisfactorily answer this question, let’s consider the context. (1) John mentions antichrist, (2) describes the antichrist as anyone who doesn’t confess Christ came in the flesh, (3) then discusses the ones who don’t abide in the doctrine of Christ. The other times antichrist is mentioned, the same points are brought up (see 1 John 2 and 4).

So, there is no doubt the context is talking about the doctrine Jesus Christ came in the flesh. It is the doctrine about Christ.

But what are the logical implications? If we accept Jesus is the Christ, and He really did come in the flesh, that requires we follow His teachings (John has already made this clear in verse 6).

So, is this the doctrine about Christ, or the doctrine taught by Christ? The answer is both. You can’t have one without the other. We have to remain in the teaching about Christ as well as Christ’s teaching.

Notes on 2 John 4-7 (Comments and Critiques are Welcome!)

Walking in the Truth (4-6)

(4) I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.

I rejoiced greatly

John frequently speaks of rejoicing. This fact alone should make us examine our lives. Are we the joyful people we should be? Do we rejoice in suffering (Acts 5:41)? Do we rejoice when we learn the truth (Acts 8:39)? Do we rejoice when we read the eyewitness accounts in the Scriptures, knowing we can have confidence in their accuracy and truthfulness (I John 1:1-4)? Do we rejoice when we hear about other Christians remaining faithful (III John 4)? Christians should be the most joyful people on the planet!

I rejoiced…that I found your children walking in truth

John’s specific reason for rejoicing is Christians were continuing to live faithfully. People frequently drift away from God’s word and place their opinions as the standard. Whether those opinions are binding where God never bound or loosing where God never loosed, or completely changing the message—either one means that person is no longer “walking in truth.”

Walking in truth is the same as “walking in the light” (I John 1:7). The inspired Psalmist said, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105). It means you, dear reader, must base your life upon God’s precepts.

One man described it this way: God’s word lights the one and only path leading to heaven. You are wandering about in a world of darkness. Then you see this one lighted path. In that path is safety. In that path, you can see where you are going. It is a difficult path, to be sure, but it is well-lit. The light is God’s word. Walking in the truth or the light is the equivalent of following God’s commands from the heart. Only by that path can anyone reach the Promised Land of heaven. Why is it so many people choose to stay in darkness?

Why did this cause John to rejoice? When someone is “walking in the light” (I John 1:7) or “walking in truth,” he can have full assurance of heaven because all of his sins are forgiven him. John is rejoicing because he knows they will be in heaven! Wasn’t the entire point of the apostles’ mission to “go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15)?

The word found is the Greek word euraka (we get our word eureka from this). With all the people who had been falling away (see 2 Timothy 1:15), John rejoiced to hear of Christians remaining faithful.

Walking in truth…as a commandment of the Father

Walking in truth is not just something we should do; it is something we are commanded to do. John says walking in truth is a “commandment from the Father.” This should come as no surprise. It has been this way since the beginning. Adam and Eve were commanded to obey (Genesis 2:17). David said God’s grace is upon those who “walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11). There must be a renewed emphasis on teaching others about the necessity of obedience. That does not mean we will ever obey perfectly; but if we do not obey at all, we are not walking in the light. If we are not walking in the light, our sins are not forgiven (I John 1:7). If our sins are not forgiven, we have no hope of going to heaven.

(5) And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.

I beseech thee

To beseech is to beg, to plead, or to urge someone to do something. It is not a commandment, as can be seen from Philemon 8-9, but instead an earnest request. It is interesting to see John begging them to keep the commandment of Jesus Christ: to love one another. He’s not commanding them to obey Jesus, but begging them to.

Not…a new commandment

John is not revealing something new to them. Like the prophets of the Old Testament, there were not new commandments for the Israelites to obey, but instead they were reminded to “remember the Law of Moses” (Malachi 4:4). In this letter from John to Christians, he is not giving them some new commandments, but telling them to “remember the law of Christ.”

From the beginning

This language is very similar to 1 John 2:7, “Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which you had from the beginning…”

Here in this passage, john says this commandment is something we (John, as well as the Christians he’s writing to) have had from the beginning. The Old Testament gave the command to “Love thy neighbor as thyself” (Leviticus 19:18). This command also became part of the New Testament. This one statement summarizes many of the Ten Commandments (Romans 13:9, Galatians 5:14). James called this the “royal law” (James 2:8).

This commandment was heavily emphasized in Jesus’ ministry. However, when Jesus gave this commandment, He called it a “new commandment” (John 13:34). The reason is, it is an even deeper, more powerful love commanded. Jesus said to “Love one another, as I have loved you.” Instead of just treating others the way you want to be treated, this new commandment was “be willing to die for each other.” Most people would not willingly die for a friend, let alone a total stranger. But this is the kind of love Jesus commands His disciples to show for each other.

John said which you had from the beginning, and he’s referring to either (1) the beginning of their Christian walk, (2) the beginning of Christianity itself, or (3) the beginning of Christ’s earthly ministry. The gist of his saying this, though, is to tell them this isn’t something new to them. It’s something they should already be doing, because they already knew it.

Love one another

As stated above, this commandment isn’t new, but is found clearly stated in the Law of Moses (Leviticus 19:18) and intensified in the New Testament. Jesus made this the badge of a true disciple (John 13:34-35). If one does not love his brother, he cannot honestly claim to love God (I John 4:20). Love for other Christians was also emphasized by John in verse 1 (see notes there).

(6) And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.

This is love

The word “love” here is agape, a Greek word which describes sacrificial love, a mindful love. Agape doesn’t describe warm, fuzzy feelings towards someone else. Instead, it describes the conscious decision to put someone else first no matter what may come. John frequently writes about love, and every time, it has reference to putting someone else ahead of you.

That we walk after His commandments

Jesus clearly stated, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Many in the world of so-called “Christendom” claim all you have to do is accept Jesus into your heart and then you are saved forever. Will Jesus save someone who refuses to keep His commandments? If you love Jesus, you will keep His commandments. If you don’t keep His commandments, then you hate Him. There is no third option.

Many people want to show the world how “loving” they are by accepting everyone and everything, and never speaking out against sinfulness or against those who are not in obedience to Christ’s commands. However, the Bible defines love as keeping the commandments. In Mark 10:21, Jesus looked at the rich young ruler; and the Scriptures plainly state Jesus “loved him.”  As a result of loving this man, Jesus pointed out where he needed to change. Love will not accept people in their sins, but will point out their sins so they can change. If we love others, we will point them to the truth and the need to obey His commandments.

That, as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.

This walk is not a one-time event. It is a continuous lifestyle of obedience to Jesus Christ. All those who become Christians do so after hearing the gospel (Romans 10:17). But every New Testament writer emphasizes the necessity of continuing to obey. 1 John 1:7 says, “If we walk in the light…the blood of Jesus Christ…cleanses us from all sin.” Literally, it says “if we are walking [presently, continually] in the light…the blood of Jesus Christ…is cleansing us [presently, continually] from all sin.”

These Christians (and all Christians) heard these things from the beginning of their conversion. All Christians must continue to walk in these commandments if they expect to have their sins forgiven.

Notes on 2 John 1-3 (your comments and critiques welcome!)

Salutation (verses 1-3)

(1) The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;

The Elder

The apostle John here does not identify himself by name. This follows the pattern laid out in the other writings which we call by his name (the Gospel of John, I-III John). Instead, he refers to himself as “the elder.” Some have taken this to mean John was old when he wrote this letter. In the first century, people were considered “aged” when they were in their 60s (see Philemon, verse 9). It is also possible John means he holds the office of an elder. He was, after all, a pillar of the church in Jerusalem (Galatians 2:1, 9). Peter, who was also mentioned as a pillar in the church in Jerusalem, later called himself “an elder” (I Peter 5:1). While it may indeed reference the age of the apostle, we should not ignore that John may have been an elder in the church in Jerusalem and identified himself as such.

The Elect Lady and her children

“The elect lady” has been the subject of some debate over the years. Who exactly is this elect lady? Is she a literal woman? Or is it a figurative way of describing the church? The most prominent possibilities, along with the pros and cons, are listed below.

Possibility #1: The elect lady is Mary, the mother of Jesus. This option obviously assumes the “elect [literally “chosen”] lady” is a literal woman. Mary was indeed chosen by God to be the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:26-28). First, given the timeframe of writing (67-69 AD), Mary would be over 80 years old if she is still alive at all. Secondly, John had taken Mary in as his own mother according to Jesus’ wishes from the cross (John 19:26-27), so it seems strange that he would write a letter to someone he was caring for. Also, John mentions everyone who has known the truth loves both her and her children. One would be hard pressed to prove everyone who became a Christian even knew about all of Jesus’ brothers and sisters, let alone loved them. It is unlikely Mary is the one under consideration.

Possibility #2: The elect lady is some prominent Christian woman who John knew in the first century. Some say her name was Kuria or Kyria (the Greek word translated “lady”). Some have pointed out Kuria is the Greek form of the Hebrew name “Martha” and suggest that as her name. It is difficult to believe some woman, unknown to us today, could be so prominent that every single Christian not only knew of, but loved her and her children. If such a woman existed, she and her children surely would have been mentioned in Scriptures.

Possibility #3: The elect lady is the bride of Christ, the church (Ephesians 5:25). In this understanding, the children would be the members of the church. In the Old Testament, Jerusalem was often pictured as a woman (Jeremiah 3:1 Ezekiel 16:30-32), and the inhabitants were described as her children (Joel 3:19, Jeremiah 3:14). The church is the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:9-10), so it makes sense if the church is referred to as a lady and her inhabitants as her children. Every single person who knows the truth should love the church (collectively) and the members (individually). Opponents of this view point to the “children of thy elect sister” (verse 13). This leads us to the next option.

Possibility #4: The elect lady is an individual congregation of the Lord’s church. Her children, then, would be the members of that congregation. The question, then, would have to be, “What congregation was so well-known John could say every single Christian loved it and the members thereof?” Some have suggested the church in Jerusalem, with the apostles as members, would fit the bill. Others suggest the mission-minded congregation at Antioch. Still others suggest Ephesus. This would also help to explain John’s closing statement, “the children of thy elect sister greet thee” as being the congregation with whom John was worshiping. If one specific congregation is under consideration (and it seems to be the case, because John wishes to speak to them face to face), it is impossible to know exactly which one it is without knowing where John was writing from.

This writer holds that the letter was addressed to a specific congregation (like most of Paul’s letters), but was intended to have a widespread distribution, and thus was also applicable to all congregations. Thus, it was both written to a specific congregation and the church in general at the same time. So, the best option seems to be a combination of numbers 3 and 4 above.

The Truth

Something often overlooked in this verse is this: John clearly states it is possible to know the truth. It seems everywhere you look, people say you cannot know anything for sure about God or the Bible (or anything else, for that matter). But the Bible tells us, “you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). If it is not possible to know the truth, then it must follow that it is impossible to be free.

We should take great comfort in knowing God has made His truth available through His word, the Bible. God wants us to know the truth. God made it possible for us to know the truth. That should give us great cause to rejoice! On the opposite side of the coin, however, it also places a responsibility upon us to seek the truth, read the truth, and obey the truth. Jesus said, “Seek and ye shall find” (Matthew 7:7). The truth is not going to just magically get zapped into your head. You have to actively look for it in God’s word.

But as you seek for God’s truth in His word (John 17:17), you can rest in confident assurance—knowing the truth is possible!

(2) For the truth’s sake, which dwells in us, and shall be with us forever.

For the truth’s sake

It is for the sake of the truth (or because of the truth) that all Christians should love the church (as a whole) and the members thereof (individually). Because Christ died for all of us, purchasing the church with his own blood, we should place great value on each Christian as well as the church itself as an entity.

What is “the truth” spoken of in these verses? Is it the truth that the earth is round? Is it the truth that the world was created in six literal days? What truth is being spoken of when John says “the truth”?

The truth is God’s word. Specifically, John has reference to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The truth is to be obeyed (Galatians 3:1). It includes those things placing one into Christ (faith – Hebrews 11:6, repentance – Acts 2:38, and baptism – Romans 6:3). But also, it includes those things which one must continually do after becoming a Christian. Stated concisely, the truth is the commands of Jesus Christ which must be followed from the heart and which will result in a home in heaven. The commands are all summed up in the phrase, “walk in the light” (I John 1:7).

Truth…which dwells in us

The truth dwells in us. At least it should. Since we have accepted the Bible as God’s word, we should constantly read it and apply it to our lives. The apostle Paul said, “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Colossians 3:16).  When people cease reading and applying the Scriptures to themselves, they slowly slip away from being the follower of Christ they should be. Eventually they may find themselves one day completely away from Christ with no idea how they got there. Most people don’t get up one morning and decide, “I’m going to quit being a Christian.” Usually it is a gradual decline. That is the reason Paul reminded the Corinthians to “examine yourselves, whether you are in the faith” (II Corinthians 13:5). Later on in this very book, John stresses the need to “look to yourselves” (II John 8).

Truth…shall be with us for ever

Truth is eternal. John says the truth shall be with us forever. There will never be a time when God’s word does not exist and apply. Jesus said heaven and earth would pass away, but his words would not pass away (Matthew 24:35).

(3) Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

Grace

This was the common Greek form of greeting during the first century. It was a wish of favor upon people. It is similar to saying, “good morning.” We may not think of it much, but we are wishing favor upon people when we say that. Grace is getting something good we don’t deserve or haven’t earned. Generally grace is described as “unmerited favor.”

Peace

This was the common Hebrew greeting. It is the word Shalom (or Salom, or Salem). It was common for Hebrews to include a wish of peace to those they met or corresponded with. This word was integrated into various names in the Old Testament.  Melchizedek was called the “King of Salem, which is, the King of Peace” (Hebrews 7:2). Jerusalem was originally called Jebu-Shalom, or “the peace of the Jebusites” who originally lived there. Absalom and Solomon both have this word as part of their names.

Mercy

Like Paul, John wishes the blessing of mercy upon those he writes to. Mercy is not receiving the bad things one deserves. In court cases, someone who is guilty may beg for the mercy of the court. That means, “Don’t give me what I deserve, please!” If we all got what we deserved, we’d all be struck dead like Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11).

From God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father

While Grace and peace were common greetings, John doesn’t give them their common meaning. Instead, John is clear to say he was wishing them the grace, mercy, and peace that only comes from God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Therefore, John wishes God’s favor upon them. John wishes the mercy of God upon them. John wishes the peace of God upon them (see Philippians 4:7). The only source of true grace, mercy, and peace comes from the Father through the sacrifice of His Son.

John also makes a point to show the deity of Christ as “the Son of the Father.” Some religious groups (most notably the so-called “Jehovah’s Witnesses”) claim since Christ is the “Son of God,” He can’t be God, or be deity. However, He’s also the “Son of man.” Does that mean Jesus wasn’t a man? Of course not! The son of a human is a human. He will share completely in the nature of being human. The Son of God is also God, deity. The Son of God will share completely in the nature of being God.

In truth and love

As can be seen throughout this short letter, John emphasizes the importance of truth. This verse makes it very clear that the grace, mercy, and peace of God are found inside truth and love. Outside of the truth, these blessings of God cannot be found. Since the truth is to be obeyed (Galatians 3:1), these blessings cannot be found outside of obeying the truth. Ephesians 1:3 tells us all spiritual blessings are “in Christ.” That means there are no spiritual blessings outside of Christ. Jesus Christ is the author of eternal salvation to all those who obey him (Hebrews 5:9).

John goes on to say in this letter that love means keeping the commandments (II John 6). Some people wish to claim Jesus without following His words. They claim to love God, yet they live their life as though God doesn’t matter. Jesus said, “This people…honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me” (Matthew 15:8). John, in this verse, makes it clear: love and truth are interconnected. And without both (the love of God and following the truth), there is no grace, mercy, or peace to be found.

An Introduction to Second John

Greetings, friends.

Over the next several days, I will be posting sections of my unpublished commentary on Second John, titled “The Truth and the Liars,” for your consideration. Today’s installment is the introduction to the letter.

If you find any mistakes, clunky wording, or areas needing clarifying, please feel free to email me, and let me know so I can take care of those issues before issuing a final version of it.

Thank you!

The letter we call II John has an older man writing to encourage people to continue walking in the truth so they can be prepared to recognize and avoid false teachers.  The apostle John is usually referred to as the apostle of love, but in this book John’s focus is on knowing and living the truth.  This should come as no real surprise, because Jesus said, “if you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).  Knowing and living the truth will protect us from false doctrine that exists in the world.

The Writer

The apostle John (the son of Zebedee, and brother of the apostle James) has long been acknowledged as the writer of this and four other New Testament books (The Gospel of John, I John, III John, and Revelation).  Most biblical language experts agree the same person wrote all the books bearing John’s name because of the striking similarity in style and substance.  Therefore, we should conclude whoever wrote one of those books/letters wrote them all.  In the Gospel of John, the writer clearly states he was a disciple of Jesus Christ (John 21:20-24).  This disciple was also present at the Last Supper (John 13:23), which was only attended by Jesus and his twelve apostles (Matthew 26:19-20). I John 1:1-3 also makes it clear the writer claimed to have been a close disciple of Jesus.  Unless the writer of these books is a liar, we can know he was one of the twelve apostles.

In the book of Revelation, the writer gives his name as “John” (Revelation 1:1, 9).  Only one of the apostles was named “John,” eliminating anyone else from consideration.  The apostle John is the writer of this book.

There are those who, based on a fragment of a 4th century quotation of a 2nd century writing, claim all the books which bear John’s name were written by another disciple of Jesus named John who they call “John the Presbyter.”  The above evidence including the writer of John being present at the Last Supper should eliminate this idea from consideration.

To Whom was it Written?

There is debate as to who the “elect lady” mentioned in II John 1 is.  While this will be discussed in more detail in the comments section on that verse, we shall here give a brief overview of the main candidates for the “elect lady.”

  1. Some believe the “elect lady” is a literal woman. Among this group, some believe it is Mary, the mother of Jesus, who is being addressed.  Others believe it is some woman unknown to us, but possibly named Kyria (the Greek word translated “lady”).  Still others hold it is some woman John held in high esteem, but whose identity we will never know.
  2. Others believe the “elect lady” is speaking of the bride of Christ, the church. Among this group, some believe it was written to the entire church as a whole.  Others believe it was written to a specific congregation of the Lord’s church.

Regardless of the original recipient(s) of the letter, all can agree it was written to Christians, and as such has value and application for all Christians today.

The Date of Writing

It has become very popular in the last 50+ years to say all of John’s writings were done in the last ten years of the first century.  However, the evidence says otherwise.

Historically speaking, the apostle John is said to have been so infirmed near the end of his life he had to be carried everywhere and could hardly make out any more than the words, “love one another.”  It is hard to picture this man then giving the statement about Diotrephes, “Therefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he does…” (III John 10).  If John expected to be able to travel and stand up to the bully of the congregation, it must have been before he became so old he couldn’t even walk.  Also, in Revelation, John is told, “You must prophecy again before many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings” (Revelation 10:11).  It is hard to imagine an almost 100-year-old John who could barely speak or move being able to go around prophesying to different nations.  Historically and biblically speaking, the “late date” theory doesn’t make much sense.

There is almost universal agreement that all the books bearing John’s name were written around the same time period, whenever that may be.  So, if we can deduce the date of one of the books, then we have a very good idea when the other books were written.

One writer said it is amazing the single most climactic event in the area was never referred to as a past event in Scriptures.  He is referring to the absolute destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.  It is prophesied by Jesus in the gospel accounts, but none of the writers ever say, “and it happened just like he said it would.”  Because of that fact, A.T. Robertson, a self-proclaimed liberal, said he had no choice but to date the entire New Testament prior to AD 70 when Jerusalem was destroyed (A.T. Robinson, Re-Dating the New Testament).

In I John, the apostle says, “Little children, it is the last time [literally “it is the final hour”]: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now there are many antichrists, whereby we know that it is the last time [final hour]” (I John 2:18).  John basically tells the people, “You heard when the antichrist came, the last time would be here.  I’m telling you now there are many antichrists, so you know that time is now!”  An inspired apostle is telling them the last time is then a present reality.  Since we still exist some 1900+ years later, we must ask, “What is he talking about?”

Jesus, in Matthew 24, describes the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 and says one of the signs the end of Jerusalem is near is “false Christs” shall arise (Matthew 24:23-25).  A false Christ says “I am the Christ,” as though he was Jesus, returning.  So, when John said antichrists were around when he wrote, therefore they could know it was the last time, he was talking about the same thing Jesus mentioned:  Jerusalem is about to be destroyed.  In II John, the antichrists are mentioned again as a present reality (II John 7).  If we put all of these things together, we must come to the conclusion I John and II John were both written close to the time before the destruction of Jerusalem, probably between 65-69 AD.

This matches with the Old Testament foretelling the end of prophecy (that is, inspiration and miracles) would take place sometime between the death of Christ and the destruction of Jerusalem (see Zechariah 12:10-14:2, especially 13:2).[1]

[1] For a fuller examination of this topic, see the author’s The Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts, Appendix: The End of Miracles.

A Reply to an Objection on “How Old Should an Elder Be?”

Occasionally, we get comments on older posts.  One of those came in last month, responding to my 2014 article, “How Old Should an Elder Be?” The comment read (in full):

So what you are saying is an unmarried man or a married man with no children can NEVER be an elder no matter his age. By this standard, Jesus Christ was not considered an elder nor qualified to Shepard a flock and many of his Apostles also were not qualified to Shepard the flicks and could not have been considered elders. I find your conclusions severely flawed.

Below is what I offered in reply:

So what you are saying is an unmarried man or a married man with no children can NEVER be an elder no matter his age.

First, let’s be honest with each other. It doesn’t matter what I say. It matters what God says. And God is the one who said an elder MUST (that is, it is a necessity, a non-negotiable) be the husband of one wife. So it is GOD who is saying an unmarried man can never be an elder. God is also the one who said an elder MUST have faithful children. So it is God who says a married man without children cannot be an elder.

Do you believe the words that God wrote?

By this standard, Jesus Christ was not considered an elder nor qualified to Shepard a flock and many of his Apostles also were not qualified to Shepard the flicks and could not have been considered elders.

Jesus wasn’t an elder. And it is His church, therefore His rules. He is the one who says an unmarried man cannot be an elder in the church.

All of the apostles, except for Paul, were married (1 Corinthians 9 says this). John was an elder, as was Peter. We aren’t told whether the others ever served in such a capacity. Paul is the one that wrote that an elder “MUST be the husband of one wife.” He understood the words he wrote down, as they are very clear and straight-forward.

Do you believe the words that God inspired Paul to write down regarding elders?

I find your conclusions severely flawed.

By that, I assume you mean you disagree with what God put in the Bible regarding an elder having a wife and children. I recommend you open up your Bible and read what is actually written in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. Then ask yourself, did God mean what He said when He said an elder “MUST be the husband of one wife”?