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Title: ROMANS IN TODAY S WORLD Author: ROY H. LANIER JR. Last modified by: Smithson Created Date: 2/24/2002 1:00:29 PM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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  • In Light of Postmodernism
  • by Roy H. Lanier, Jr.

What the Church Faces Today
  • My heritage among Churches of Christ I view
    neither as a straightjacket that rigidly confines
    me nor as a light outer garment of no consequence
    that I can strip off at will. Rather, I view it
    as a worn but sturdy garment of faith that (with
    careful alterations) can yet serve me well.

What the Church Faces Today
  • It is one of the great conceits of our time to
    imagine that we can sweep away the past and
    simply begin all over again at the beginning. We
    cannot. For in a thousand and one ways (many of
    them unknown to us) our past and its traditions
    have made us what we are

What the Church Faces Today
  • and given us our identity. This book therefore
    rests upon the conviction that we will find
    freedom to change, grow, and respond to new
    challenges only as we care about the past and
    listen to its voices. C. Leonard Allen, The
    Cruciform Church, Preface, p. x.

What the Church Faces Today
  • Can we accept the fact that we, like every other
    human being, have a past and partake of its
    limitations? Or must we harbor the heady
    illusion of historylessness, the illusion that we
    have burst the bonds of finitude to soar above
    this mortal sphere? Allen, Cruciform, p. 9.

What the Church Faces Today
  • Second, Churches of Christ began as a sect in
    the early nineteenth century and evolved into a
    denomination during the course of the twentieth
    century. The fact could hardly be striking,
    were it not for the fact..rejected these
    labelsas pertinent to their own identity.

What the Church Faces Today
  • Indeed, their resolute rejection of these labels
    has been central to what Churches of Christ have
    been about for almost two hundred years. Since
    their denial of these categories flies in the
    face of social reality, their story is one of
    deep irony and absorbing interest Hughes,
    Ancient Faith, p.2.

Spectacles of John Locke
  • Our movement, in part as a result of its
    historical epistemology, thrived. We perceived
    reality through the spectacles of John Locke, as
    mediated through the Scottish Enlightenment
    Olbricht, p. 53.

Historical Perspective
  • For my people have committed two evils they
    have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters,
    and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns,
    that can hold no water Jeremiah 213.
  • The weeping prophet speaks to Israel.

Historical Perspective
  • Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from
    her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with
    me, O house of Israel, saith Jehovah Jer.

Historical Perspective
  • they committed adultery, and assembled
    themselves in troops at harlots houses they
    were fed as horses roaming at large every one
    neighed after his neighbors wife Jer. 57-8.

Historical Perspective
  • A wonderful and horrible thing has come to pass
    in the land the prophets prophesy falsely, and
    the priests bear rule by their means and my
    people love to have it so and what will you do
    in the end thereof? Jer. 530-31.

Romans as a Book
  • Romans was written in Corinth by Paul in 58 A. D.
    with Gaius as his host 1623.
  • He used an amanuensis, Tertius, and the letter
    probably was delivered by Phoebe 1622 161-2.
  • It is heavy on doctrine (1-11), followed by the
    practical (12-16).

Romans as a Book
  • Paul desired to visit Rome 110-13.
  • Perhaps this book took the place of a personal
    visit until he could come.
  • No record in the New Testament tells of the
    beginning of the church in Rome perhaps it was
    from events on Pentecost Acts 210.

Romans as a Book
  • Justification is the major theme of Romans.
  • A simple outline could be
  • Justification 1-5
  • Sanctification 6-11
  • Application 13-16

Romans as a Book
  • Great doctrines are taught and explained in
  • Justification
  • Law, law-keeping
  • Obedience
  • Faith
  • Fellowship
  • Sanctification

Romans as a Book
  • It has been called the cathedral of Christian
    faith, Pauls masterpiece, most profound work
    ever written, and the door to all the treasures
    in the Scriptures.
  • It answers the query, How can man be just before
    God? Job 92.

Romans 1
  • Righteousness 116-17
  • Wrath and Judgment 18-32
  • Absolutes in morals 18-32

Romans 1 -- Righteousness
  • For therein is revealed the righteousness of God
    from faith unto faith, even as it is written,
    the just shall live by faith 117

Romans 1 -- Righteousness
  • Righteousness of God can have 2 meanings
  • 1. Gods holy nature within Himself.
  • 2. Gods justification done for man.
  • The word righteousness (dikaiosu/nh DIKAIOSUNE)
    is found 47 times in various forms in Romans.
  • All but a few refer to what God did for man.

Romans 1 -- Righteousness
  • The righteousness of God in 117 refers to an act
    that God has performed on man and for the benefit
    of man.
  • In a word, God has justified man.
  • Justify, justification can be used as synonyms
    throughout Romans.

Romans 1 -- Righteousness
  • The ground of Gods justification of man is
  • The meritorious cause is the blood of Jesus
  • Justification is apart from law-keeping.
  • Such was the hope of many Jews.
  • No such is found in Christ.

Faith unto Faith orRighteousness by Faith?
  • Gods righteous action, justifying sinful man, is
    by faith.
  • This righteous action, justifying sinful man, is
    able to be done on the principle of faith.
  • This righteous action cannot come from
    law-keeping, even perfect law-keeping.

Faith unto Faith orRighteousness by faith?
  • Faith does not obviate law.
  • Law of faith is the way Paul began the book of
    Romans, as well as ending the book Rom. 15
  • Abraham was said to have steps of faith 327.

Walk in the Steps of Faith
  • walk in the steps is an interesting concept.
  • Walk is stoixousin, stoikousin, 3rd person
    plural, present indicative of stoixe/w, stoikeo,
    which means to advance in a line met. To frame
    ones conduct by a certain rule Moulton,
    Lexicon, p. 377.

Walk in the Steps of Faith
  • Thus, walk means a continuous framing of ones
    conduct by the rule of the gospel.
  • Faith has steps of obedience and is consistent
    with the law of faith Rom. 327.

How is Righteousness Obtained?
  • It is announced by faith Rom. 117.
  • It was so in O. T. days Rom. 117.
  • It is a free gift Rom. 324 Eph. 28-9
  • Its merit is the blood of Christ.
  • It is given to the obedient Heb. 59.

Abraham is the Example Romans 41-25.
  • He was justified by faith 42-3.
  • It was while he was still in uncircumcision
  • It was not done through the Law of Moses 413.
  • His faith enabled him to perform 419-21.

Righteousness When?
  • At the first point of faith?
  • Abraham had prior faith, and was justified prior
    to offering Isaac.
  • This implies Abraham was walking correctly at
    that time.
  • His steps of obedience showed him qualified for

Righteousness When?
  • In our case today, our walk in faith means we
    repent and are baptized.
  • It does not mean the first point at which we
    believe Jesus to be Gods Son and the Savior of
    the world.
  • Gods willingness to justify us on this basis
    will encourage sinners.

Romans 118-32 Gods Perfect Wrath
  • Due to rebellion God gave them up vv. 24, 26,
  • 1. Sin deceives.
  • 2. Sin degrades the natural design by God.
  • 3. Sin depraves the mind.
  • 4.Sin deserves death.

Romans 1 Absolute Morals
  • 24 deviations from God are listed 118-32.
  • These morals have been Gods wishes from the time
    of creation.
  • Men knew about God, but chose not to glorify Him
    as God.
  • God therefore gave them up.
  • In effect, man became his own god.

Moral Truths Have Not Changed.
  • Every conceivable sin has been since Eden.
  • No new sins are found today.
  • Nor, or any sins absent today.
  • Moral truths are principles consistent with the
    very nature of God.
  • Violations of these principles are wrong because
    they are not like God.

Moral Truths Have Not Changed
  • Murder is still murder.
  • Stealing is still theft.
  • Adultery is still immoral mixing.
  • Fornication is still filthy.
  • Homosexuality is still aberrant and shameful.
  • Postmodernism wants tolerance of such immorality.

Tolerance of Immorality
  • Jesus Might Fit in at Cheers A fantasy
    article where Jesus appears in the last episode
    of the TV program cheers, strolls through the
    door, and has a seat on the barstool next to Norm
    Mike Cope, Abilene Reporter News, Sunday, May
    16, 1993.

Tolerance of Immorality
  • In 1979, an organization known as A Cappella
    Chorus was formed in Houston, Texas which
    claimed to be a fellowship of gay and lesbian
    members of the Houston area Churches of Christ
    Miller, Strait, p. 254.

Tolerance of Immorality
  • The breakdown in the moral fiber of our nations
    and the rejection of traditional American family
    values is taking its toll of members of the

Tolerance of Immorality
  • When one relaxes his or her doctrinal
    convictions, the temptation is equally strong to
    weaken ones views and behavior with regard to
    what we typically call moral issuesa tendency to
    soften and be open-minded on matters of
    morality Dave Miller, Stait, p. 234.

Romans 6
  • Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized
    into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
    We were buried therefore with him through baptism
    into death that like as Christ was raised from
    the dead through the glory of the Father, so we
    also might walk in newness of life vv. 3-4

Connected to the Cross?
  • Only those things that are connected to the
    core, the cross, are matters of fellowship.
  • Baptism is connected, as well as the Lords

Connected to the Cross?
  • The only thing that prevents the diversity of
    Scripture from collapsing into a jumbled mess is
    the Bibles center of gravity, its core

Connected to the Cross?
  • The core is summarized in the simple confession
    of the early church, the conviction expressed
    countless times at baptismour obedience to
    rules is not at the core Crux, pp. 170, 176

Connected to the Cross?
  • Habitual neglect of the doctrine of grace
    produces distorted versions of the storyexposed
    itselfwhen preachers cannot bring themselves to
    talk about confession and belief (Romans 109)
    without adding, but of course baptism is
    necessary, etc. Crux, p. 177.

Connected to the Cross?
  • There are some doctrines and practices, of
    course, which are non-negotiablebaptism by
    immersion for the forgiveness of sinsWe believe
    our weekly participation in the Lords Supper
    serves as an ongoing covenant to be people of the
    cross Crux, pp. 248-250

Connected? Then Why?
  • At times we have been extremely sectarian by
    effectively denying that anyone outside our
    churches could be a true Christian because we
    were the only ones who taught and practiced the
    biblical doctrine of baptism Crux, p. 124.

Connected? Then Why?
  • Our identity is definedby our attitude
    toward others. Though its painful to admit, our
    exclusive attitude may be the character trait
    most widely known among outsiders Crux, pp.

Baptism Near the Cross?
  • Upon what reasoning is baptism near the cross?
  • Who decides what principles are valid?
  • Does the fact it is a command of Jesus enter into
    the decision?
  • If so, what about other commands?
  • If not, how can one love Jesus John 1415?

Connected to the Cross?
  • Where does this leave adultery?
  • Where does this leave fornication?
  • Where does this leave murder?
  • Where does this leave theft?
  • What about lying?
  • What about gossip?
  • What about greed?

Connected to the Cross?
  • Where does this leave the church?
  • Where does this leave prayer?
  • Where does this leave women preachers?
  • Where does this leave giving?
  • What about instrumental music?

Connected to the Cross?
  • Is repentance not a matter of concern?
  • Does one have to confess faith in Christ?
  • Is sprinkling in lieu of immersion connected or
    not connected?
  • Is infant baptism near or far?

Connected to the Cross?
  • What happens to a heretic?
  • Is division of a congregation connected or not?
  • Is teaching about premillenialism near the cross?

Romans 6
  • For sin shall not have dominion over you for ye
    are not under law, but under grace (614).

Grace Without Law?
  • Grace and law are mutually exclusive Charles
    Hodge, Strait, p. 212.

Many Uses of Law in Romans
  • 1. Law of Moses - 212
  • 2. Law of faith - 327
  • 3. Any and all law (concept of law in the
    abstract) - 614 1310

Many Uses of Law in Romans
  • 4. Law of God in the inward man - 722
  • 5. Law of sin - 723
  • 6. Law of the Spirit of Life - 82
  • 7. Law of God 87

Depend Upon Law-keeping?
  • Abraham did not - Gen. 12 20.
  • Paul did not - Rom. 51-2 61, 14 1Cor. 510.
  • Why make the same mistake the Jews did - 103?

What About These Laws?
  • law of faith Rom. 327
  • under law to Christ 1 Cor. 921
  • fulfill the law of Christ Gal. 62
  • perfect law of liberty James 125
  • royal law James 38

Romans 614 Has an Ellipsis.
  • Pauls context is about justification.
  • He has shown when, how, and where the change
    takes place (baptism).
  • He is affirming ye are not under law for the
    purpose of justification, but under grace
    (italics mine RHL).
  • Paul does not deny law, rather, he puts it in its
    proper place.

Romans 614 Has an Ellipsis
  • A person is justified by grace, not by perfect
  • A common error, particularly among the Jews, was
    that they could do enough, obey enough, keep the
    law well enough to be justified.

Romans 614 Has an Ellipsis.
  • Paul stays true to the context by using an
  • Jesus used a similar ellipsis John 627.
  • Today, there are voices of error, distorting the
    doctrine of grace.

Grace Questioned?
  • I spent too many years of my Christian life not
    knowing what grace was. The only thing I knew
    for sure was that we didnt believe in it
    Jim Hackney, Strait, p. 212.

Grace Questioned?
  • In spite of years of negative, legalistic,
    guilt-trip preaching, I discovered GRACE! I
    had absolutely nothing to do with my own
    salvation Jim Hackney, Handley Herald, Strait,
    p. 212.

Grace Questioned?
  • Nobody has any right to preach anything other
    than the Gospel of pure grace. We are saved by
    grace plus nothing. You are saved by faith
    period. There is nothing you can do to be saved.
    There are no rules there are no regulations in
    serving Jesus Christ Glen Owen, Strait, p.

Grace Questioned?
  • It is a scandalous and outrageous lie to teach
    that salvation arises from human activity. We do
    not contribute one whit to our salvation Rubel
    Shelley, Strait, p. 212.

Grace Questioned?
  • For me, for years, Christianity was a moral
    code. It is now becoming a love affair. For
    years, there were rules and regulations, now,
    its a relationship Max Lucado, Strait, p.

Grace Questioned?
  • I believe deeply that the New Testament teaches
    that salvation is a free gift of God period. You
    are saved by grace alone.There is no human part
    of salvation Randy Mayeux, Strait, p. 212.

Distorted and Anemic Gospel?
  • In view of the displacement of the crosswhat
    was left was a distorted and anemic gospel. The
    gospel of grace became the gospel of duty, law,
    and perfect obedience. Covenant, we might say,
    became a contract Allen, Cruciform, p. 122.

Gods Grace Always Conditional
  • Noah found grace Gen. 68
  • Faith was the principle that caused him to build
    the ark Heb. 116.
  • Yet, he had to build an ark.
  • Obedience was coupled with faith.

Gods Grace Always Conditional
  • Jericho was Gods gift.
  • See, I have given into thy hand Jericho Josh.
  • Yet the Israelites were to compass the city for 7
    days, blow the trumpets, and shout 63-21.
  • Faith was coupled with obedience for the gift.

Ephesians were saved by grace.
  • They heard the gospel 113
  • They believed the gospel 113
  • They repented Acts 2021
  • They confessed Acts 1918
  • They were baptized Acts 191-5
  • Yet they were the ones Paul said were saved by

Paul was saved by grace.
  • I am what I am by the grace of God 1 Cor.
  • Have we thought of tracing his conversion to
  • Was he saved in some special way?
  • Was he saved by the special appearance of Jesus
    to him?

Paul was saved by grace.
  • He heard Ananias preach the gospel.
  • His 3-day episode in Damascus showed his
  • His teaching about confession implies that he
    confessed Rom. 109-10.
  • He shared a burial in baptism with the Roman
    Christians Rom. 63-4.

Pattern Orthodoxy?
  • The first thing to say is that our early
    leaders, like many Protestant theologians of
    their day, naturalized the Bible as a scientific
    book of facts. To do this they drew
    uponBaconian Philosophy, the
    seventeenth-century pioneer of the scientific

Pattern Orthodoxy
  • One can hardly exaggerate the significance of
    Baconian inductive method, for it gave rise, a
    generation after Campbell, to stringent pattern
    orthodoxy that has formed the very identity of
    Churches of Christ down to recent years.
    Allen, Cruciform, pp. 28, 29.

Violate the Character of the Bible?
  • (2) By elevating scientific models of thinking,
    our traditional approach violated the historical
    and literary character of the Bible(3)has
    restricted our spiritual resources for dealing
    with the advanced secularization of our time
    Allen, p. 32.

The Deception of Core Doctrine
  • The Crux affirms that baptism and the Lords
    Supper are near to the cross, connected to the
    cross, therefore they are core doctrines that
    cannot be left off.
  • What about other teachings of our Lord?

The Deception of Core Doctrine
  • Who is to decide what is core and connected?
  • Upon what basis are such distinctions to be made?
  • Is this inductive reasoning?
  • If so, why can these authors use such reasoning
    but deny it to others?

Receive One Another Romans 157
  • Does this refer to all believers in Jesus as
    Gods Son?
  • Does this refer then to Roman Catholics?
  • Does it refer to most denominations?
  • Does this refer to the Disciples Christian
  • Just to whom does this refer?

Receive One Another?
  • In context it completes the argument of chapter
  • Chapter 14 explains matters of liberty and
    opinion that must not divide the congregation.
  • Eating meats, any kind, not just what is offered
    to idols.
  • Eating only vegetables.

Receive One Another?
  • Christians have their individual choices.
  • Such choices must not hurt one another.
  • Such choices must not divide the church.

Receive One Another?
  • This does not have to do with worship.
  • These things are between individual persons.
  • These matters are not about corporate body
  • These are actions left to personal choice and
    conscience (faith).

Receive One Another?
  • The Lord has no specific instructions about these
    choices except such should not destroy any
  • If one applies this to fellowship with
    denominations, then it is taken out of context
    and misapplied.

Receive One Another?
  • These matters are not Kingdom matters according
    to Paul Rom. 1416-17.

  • What our postmodern brethren are doing is
    building a straw-man.
  • The straw-man is their own invention.
  • They build up a false case of supposed facts,
    distorted and misapplied.
  • They re-write history.
  • Then, they proceed to tear the straw-man all to

  • How easy!
  • How simple!
  • How Untrue!
  • But, O how beguiling?

Postmodern Straw-man
  • The modern Church of Christ began in the
    Stone-Campbell Movement.
  • For forty years we knew everything right and
    practiced everything right (20s-60s).
  • It is Pharisaic exclusivism to reject fellowship
    with denominations.
  • We are mean-spirited and judgmental.
  • Many leaving due to these attitudes.

Postmodern Straw-man
  • Patternism is unsophisticated legalism.
  • The New Testament is not our pattern.
  • We cannot get out of our history and culture in
    understanding the Bible.
  • Reliance on facts of the Bible blinds.
  • The core is more important than epistles.

Postmodern Straw-man
  • Our history and culture will not let us restore
    the church of the N. T.
  • Which church would you want to restore?
  • (Corinth, Ephesus, Colossae?)
  • Changing human conditions demand response

Postmodern Straw-man
  • Reliance on commands, examples, and inferences is
    unsophisticated and unreliable.
  • Members would be better off leaving Bible
    interpretation to scholars (a subtle
  • Our scholars are highly educated, more so than
    our forefathers or preachers, so listen to them.

What Is the Bottom Line?
  • If, however, Campbell got out of his culture and
    went back to the N. T. why cant we?
  • Hundreds of groups in other countries in our
    lifetimes have done so, though never hearing of
    Stone or Campbell!
  • Postmodernism affirms we are just one
    denomination that began in the Stone-Campbell

What Is the Bottom Line?
  • The power of the gospel is denied Rom. 116-17.
  • The principle of seed is denied Luke 811 1
    Pet. 122-25.
  • The true meaning of the vine and branches is
    perverted John 151-6.

What Is the Bottom Line?
  •  Is the body of Christ singular? Eph. 122-23
    44 1 Cor. 1212, 20.
  • Is the temple of God plural? 1 Cor. 316-17
    Eph. 221-22.
  • Are there many holy nations, elect races,
    several peoples for Gods own possession? 1
    Pet. 29.

What is The Bottom Line?
  • Many of our scholars in the church today can no
    longer affirm this?
  • Most of them dodge, waffle, and use words with
    different meanings than we do.

What Is the Bottom Line?
  • Thessalonica imitated the churches in Judea (1
    Thess. 214).
  • This was written in 53 A. D., 20 years after the
    church began in Jerusalem.
  • If Thessalonica could imitate, or restore, why
    cannot it still be done in all generations?

What Is the Bottom Line?
  • Should we restore Corinth, Ephesus, or Laodicea
    with all their faults?
  • How ridiculous is this question!
  • We can restore the ideal of the church.
  • We can restore what Jesus built, of what he is
    the head, the bridegroom, and the savior, that
    precious one body.

Restoration is Valid
  • Josiah restored the Passover by going back to the
    Book of the Law 2 Kings 22-23.
  • Ezra and Nehemiah restored the Feast of the
    Tabernacles by reading and obeying the Law
    Nehemiah 8.
  • Whenever the gospel is read and followed,
    restoration can occur.

Restoration Is Valid.
  • Cox Mountain, Jamaica
  • 1962
  • Personal visit
  • Group found with no previous contact with any
    members of the church or any materials.
  • They just read and obeyed the Bible.

  • In whose hands is the Bible to be left?
  • Are we to leave the Bible with the scholars, the
    intelligentsia, the sophisticated?
  • What has happened to the idea of the common
    person picking up a KJV of the Bible, reading it,
    and going to heaven?
  • What about non-USA churches?

  • Did the Lord leave us with an instruction book
    that can only be read properly by scholars?
  • Or, did He leave us with the Truth, which we
    can know, and by which we can be made free?
    John 831-32.

I Am Puzzled!
  • Can an ordinary person still pick up a KJV, read
    it, understand it, follow it, and go to heaven?
  • Or, does he need the interpretation and aid of
    our Postmodern scholars?

I Am Puzzled!
  • What about all those congregations that have been
    found in other countries?
  • They know not the Stone-Campbell Movement.
  • Can they be accurate?
  • Can they go to heaven?

I Am Puzzled!
  • Our postmodern scholars do not answer my
  • The Lord does!
  • If ye abide in my word, then are ye truly my
    disciples and ye shall know the truth, and the
    truth shall make you free John 831-32.
  • AMEN!

  • C. Leonard Allen, The Cruciform Church, (Abilene
    Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, 1990)
  • Jeff W. Childers, Douglas A. Foster, Jack R.
    Reese, The Crux of the Matter, (A. C. U. Press,
    Abilene, Texas, 2001).

  • Richard T. Hughes, Reviving the Ancient Faith,
    (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand
    Rapids, Michigan, 1996). 
  • William E. Jones, Forces At Work, (Resource
    Publications, Searcy, Arkansas, 1991).

  • Dave Miller, Piloting the Strait, (privately
    published, Bedford, Texas, 1996, pre-publication
  • Harold K. Moulton, The Analytical Greek Lexicon
    Revised, a revision of Bagsters Analytical
    Greek Lexicon, 1852 (Zondervan Publishing House,
    Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1978).

  • Thomas H. Olbricht, Hearing Gods Voice, (ACU
    Press, Abilene, Texas, 1996).
  • William Woodson, Change Agents and Churches of
    Christ, (School of Bible Emphasis, Athens,
    Alabama, 1994 printed by Sain Publications,
    Pulaski, Tennessee).

  • Mike Cope, A Purpose Statement, Wineskins,
    Volume One, Number One, p. 6, and Traumatic
    Winds of Renewal, Volume Four, pp. 5-6.
  • Randall Harris, An Open Bible, Wineskins,
    Volume One, Number Nine, p. 8.
  • Marvin Phillips, Free To Differ, Image,
    May/June, 1990, pp. 5-6.