By Karl Diestelkamp
an education!” And so, many parents put great stress on their
children to get an education that will equip them to make a living
when they leave home. And while all would surely agree that education
is necessary, the emphasis on “the 3-R’s” and related subjects must not
overwhelm the first parental responsibility in educating their children.
The school I’m concerned about has little to do with where
a child gets its secular education. Wherever children get such
education, be it at home or in a private or public school, fathers and
mothers must personally know what their children are, and are not,
“Home” school, as I see it, is spiritual instruction in the family
where fathers instruct by word, by example and by their presence, in
addition to whatever other “book learning” is taking place.
Lord commended Abraham, saying, “For I know him, that he will command
his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way
of the Lord” (Gen. 18:19). Concerning the words of the Lord, the law of
Moses required parents to “teach them to your children,
speaking of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the
way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. And you shall write them
upon the door posts of your house, and upon your gates” (Deut.
Solomon wrote, “My son, hear the instruction of your father, and forsake not the law of your mother” (Prov. 1:8). These passages imply that a father is to actually give instruction. Mother also has a “law” to be heeded.
We are expected to “Train up a child in the way he should go”
(Prov. 22:6), and we cannot pass off this responsibility to the child,
or an educational institution, or the government, or even the church.
Neither is there some magic birthday, such as eighteen or twenty-one,
where godly parental responsibility ends and we are exempt from using
our good influence on our children. Eli had a responsibility to
“restrain” his grown sons (1 Sam. 3:13). So long as my father lived he
had a profound influence on my life, and he being dead, still
speaks—good influence lives on!
Fathers are charged to bring up
their children “in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).
There is no recess from this work at “home!” This involves us in real
instruction, communication, conversation and contact, as well as our
being examples of living “soberly and righteously and godly in this
present world” (Titus 2:12). And while we are at it, we need to teach
them good manners, to be patient, polite, thankful, courteous,
thoughtful of others, and to be friendly—all of which will cause them
to increase in favor with God and men.
“Home” school is always in session. Give us more Joshuas who will boldly say, “As for me and for my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:15).
8311 - 27th Ave., Kenosha, Wisconsin 53143
|Good Traditions of Men
By Al Diestelkamp
Bible speaks of two kinds of traditions: the traditions of the apostles
(1 Cor. 11:2), and the traditions of men (Gal. 1:14). We are told to
“hold” to traditions handed down from apostles (2 Thess. 2:15),
and to “beware” of some developed by men (Col. 2:8).
face it, not all traditions of men are bad. While we must rely on the
scriptures as our sole authority, much is left in the realm of general
authority, allowing for various ways of carrying out God’s will. With
any practice, after we have “done it that way” long enough, it tends to
become a tradition. Assuming a traditional practice is within the
bounds of general authority, it may well be a good tradition. However,
even a good man-made tradition becomes bad when it is bound.
brethren are very resistant to unnecessary change, while others seem to
desire “change for the sake of change.” The former use the “don’t fix
what isn’t broke” argument, while the latter argue that change is
needed to prevent human tradition from becoming “law.” When both
attitudes are prevalent in the same congregation there can be conflict
and the potential for sinful division.
certainly don’t consider myself to be a “traditionalist,” and am open
to scriptural change, but only with great care and concern for others
who may be resistant to change. I would also remind fellow
non-traditionalists that if we make a habit of pushing for “change for
the sake of change,” we run the risk of that becoming a man-made
tradition. What a dilemma that would be!
“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful...” (1 Cor. 10:23).
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P.O. Box 891, Cortland, Illinois 60112
Why Did God Save Us?
By Nathan Combs
answering the above question, many fervent believers will often
swiftly, joyfully, and accurately answer, “Because of His great love
for us!” Along these lines, a common song of praise which we regularly
sing in our assemblies answers the question with the compelling phrase,
“Because He loved me so.”
idea, of course, is verified countless times by God’s word. In John
3:16 and many other places, the scriptures clearly teach that God’s
abundant, overflowing love caused Him to save us from our sinful
degeneracy. Indeed, if the apostle John later wrote in 1 John 4:8,16
that “God is love,” it follows from that context that everything God
does must somehow be motivated by love, since that is a defining
characteristic of His nature and His modus operandi. Is God’s love for us, however, the only reason for the plan of salvation? Is it even the main reason?
the gift of salvation is discussed amongst Christians, the blessings
that humans obtain from God are often emphasized, and rightly so.
Instead of wallowing in our dead and debased spiritual condition, we
now enjoy life and the forgiveness of our sins. Instead of eternal
separation from God, we now have the promise of an eternal relationship
with God. Instead of giving up all hope, we now possess every reason to
hope. When considering the benefits of salvation from our human
perspective, the things that we have received from God sound like a
pretty good deal! But are the things that we gain, wonderful though
they are, the point of the plan? Is salvation intended to be considered
merely from our human perspective?
until the time of the Polish astronomer, Copernicus, the vast majority
of people in Europe believed in geocentrism—the theory that our earth
does not move and the universe revolves around it. This grossly
mistaken hypothesis was no doubt believed because the heavenly bodies
naturally appear to circle the earth and because certain Biblical
passages could be forced to fit the model, but this supposition was
also reinforced by the fact that human beings lived on the earth.
Surely it was reasonable to suppose that God had ordained the mighty
universe to move around the crowning glory of His creation: us! Of
course, not only is such a viewpoint utterly wrong scientifically, it
also seems rather arrogant to assume that the universe literally
revolves around us.
Unfortunately, many people (albeit
subconsciously) look at the plan of salvation in the way that medieval
Europeans used to look at the heavens. They have the notion that God’s
plan to save man was entirely concocted for the benefit of man.
Therefore, motivated by His great love, God conceived and executed a
rescue mission with the sole aim of resolving man’s problems, man’s
sins, and man’s depravity. But if that were the case, how does that
man-centric view of the plan fit into the Bible’s overwhelmingly strong
emphasis on the glory of God? If God’s designs for man merely provide
an opportunity for Him to give to us, why does He emphatically insist
that the Christian life must be given back to Him? Even though mankind
reaps the rich rewards of salvation, it seems myopic only to view God’s
plan through the lens of our own personal benefits. We are then brought
back to the original question: why did God save us?
no uncertain terms, Paul answers that question in the book of
Ephesians. Although Paul does mention that God saved us from our sinful
deadness “because of the great love with which He loved us” (Eph. 2:5),
the primary reason why God delivered us was so that humans (as
Christians) could live their lives “to the praise of His glory,”
reflecting a concept that Paul expresses three times in chapter one
adds a whole new dimension to the picture of man’s redemption. Paul’s
main emphasis in Ephesians is not that mankind has received the
incredible gifts of salvation, but that God chose to give us those
gifts in order to further His glory. Indeed, almost at the very instant
that Paul first brings up the subject of salvation, he describes the
primary purpose of the plan: “that we should be holy and blameless
before him” (1:4). Of course God desired to give us “every spiritual
blessing” as he says in that verse, but He did so in order to fulfill a
larger objective. Since it is completely impossible to glorify God
through a life that is full of sin and bent on serving Satan, the plan
for our salvation was created to enable us to fulfill our original
purpose as human beings. Ultimately, His brilliant plan was not enacted
for us, but for God.
us further consider the benefits of the plan of salvation from God’s
viewpoint. By making it possible for man to be forgiven of his sins,
God not only receives the eternal praise of a larger portion of His
creation, He proves once and for all that He is wise beyond degree.
Paul points out the purpose of the Lord’s church in Ephesians 3:10-11,
it seems much larger than the oft-quoted triad of “benevolence,
edification, and evangelism.” God’s ultimate plan is that “through the
church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers
and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the
eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord” [ESV].
The universal body of saints is intended to prove to all the hosts of
the heavenly realm that God is truly worthy of everlasting glory, thus
refuting for all eternity the vicious rebellion of Satan and his
If God is able to defeat the staunchest forces of
evil by continually using the lowliest of means, He is necessarily the
wisest being of all. If He can create a nation by enabling a
100-year-old man to father a son, lead that man’s descendants out of
their abject slavery under a powerful nation, sustain that tenuous
people through both prosperity and captivity, and ultimately conquer
sin through the hideous death and joyous resurrection of a lowly
carpenter from Nazareth, then God has unequivocally proven His supreme
wisdom. When He attracts humans to this lowly plan by faith, when He
displays to all the spiritual realm that man will indeed serve God “for
no reason” (Job 1:9) and endure persecution and pain for the cause of
the Lord, He has triumphantly whipped the devil with both hands tied
behind His back. God has demonstrated that He alone is the uncontested
ruler of the universe.
did God save us? Ultimately, He did it to magnify Himself, to show once
and for all His incomparable power and wisdom. Consequently, the most
wonderful thing about our salvation is not the blessings that we
receive from God. It is the glory that God receives from our obedient
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270 N. Tanzanite Trail, #2, Fayetteville, AR 72701
|50th Anniversary |
of 'The Pill'
By Andy Diestelkamp
Scriptures declare that children are a blessing from God (Psa.
127:3-5). The reproductive process was designed by God for the marriage
union (Gen. 2:18-24; 3:16; 1 Tim. 5:9-14; Heb. 13:4). Our Creator knew
that it was in the context of a committed and loving marriage that
those created in His image would have the best opportunity to thrive
(Eph. 5:22-6:4) . Unfortunately, many in our world do not believe these
The May 4, 2010, cover of Time
magazine calls to our attention that our culture has been using “the
Pill” now for half a century. The article inside gives a brief history
of birth control and the debated effects of liberating women from the
fear of unwanted pregnancies. I hoped the article would share current
information on how the pill actually works. I was disappointed. Clearly, most users are satisfied that it works with much less concern for how it works.
Long time readers of Think
may recall that I have occasionally waded into technical territory as I
explored and questioned the mechanism of hormonal birth control methods
(Vol. 22, No. 1 bitterpill.pdf; Vol. 28, No. 1 bckissu28_1.html#anchor270525; Vol. 28, No. 3 bckissu28_3.html#anchor1538096). I am no medical expert, but I can
read. Many couples have assumed that their birth control pills only
work by preventing the monthly release of an egg (ovulation). However,
this is not what the experts say. For example, consider the following
statements which are from sources not affiliated with the “pro-life movement.”
a 2008 document entitled “Hormonal contraception: recent advances and
controversies,” the American Society for Reproductive Medicine said
regarding oral contraceptives, “Their mechanism of action include
inhibition of ovulation... and/or modification of the endometrium, thus
preventing implantation” (http://www.asrm.org). A current website promoting the use of the
Pill and explaining how it works says, “Oral contraceptives employ
synthetic hormones that mimic the properties of natural estrogens
and/or progesterone to ‘fool’ the female reproductive system...In
addition to the inhibition of ovulation, the constant level of an
estrogen and progestin in the body cause insufficient thickening of the
endometrium, which prevents attachment of the egg” (http://www.oralcontraceptives.com/about_cvc.asp).
the extent that the Pill keeps a woman from ovulating, it prevents the
fertilization of an egg (conception). This is its primary function.
However, the above quotes state that in the event that ovulation and
fertilization take place, successful implantation is not likely because
the complex hormonal trickery employed by the Pill has not properly
prepared the womb to receive a fertilized egg. To those who have no
concern about protecting the newly conceived child prior to
implantation, this potential “back up” method is an added benefit to
“preventing pregnancy.” (Many people do not equate conception with
pregnancy but define pregnancy as beginning at implantation.) However,
to those who desire to honor human life in all its developmental stages
(from fertilization to implantation to birth and beyond), the
acknowledgment of the Pill’s potential to abort has moved us to inform
women of this possibility.
1984 I have been aware of the Pill’s abortive potential. Recently,
however, I have learned that there are some doctors who question
whether the Pill is responsible for making the womb inhospitable to
implantation if ovulation and fertilization occur. This is contrary to
what has been asserted for years as illustrated in the previous quotes.
At the heart of the debate is whether or not the circumstances that
allow ovulation to occur (and the hormones released naturally at that
event) are sufficient to properly prepare the womb for implantation
despite the Pill’s attempted hormonal deception. Some doctors say yes,
but many doctors and others remain unconvinced, myself included. So,
where do we go from here?
Shall we follow the lead of the U. S.
Supreme Court as it wrestled with the knotty question of abortion?
Justice Blackmun, writing for the majority in Roe vs. Wade in 1973,
said, “We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins.
When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine,
philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the
judiciary, at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not
in a position to speculate as to the answer.” Essentially, the court
played dumb and, despite its alleged uncertainty, decided that the
unborn are not human lives worthy of protection.
all know where that kind of reasoning has led us. In matters of alleged
liberty, the claim that there is not enough evidence to know for sure
should be an obvious call for caution, if not prohibition, until we can
act with confidence. This is a biblical principle (Rom. 14:23). The
court did just the opposite on the subject of abortion.
1973, science has further confirmed that human life begins at
conception; but thus far that biological fact has struggled to override
perceived liberties, and the practice of aborting human life at all
stages of gestation continues to be a protected right. Similarly, birth
control has become so entrenched in our culture that all its forms are
assumed to be inalienable rights regardless of their questionable
methods of action. Our culture has affected us, and perhaps we are all
too quick to hear what we want to hear when it comes to our personal
recognize that it is not the intent of Christians who use the Pill to
endanger any newly conceived offspring. I appreciate this. However, I
also recognize that the strongest proponents of birth control in all
its forms have more concern for the planet or their pocket books than
they do for the unborn made in God’s image. I am concerned that in the
name of liberty, we have preferred convenience over careful
consideration in our choices, and in so doing we have blindly followed
the godless into their ways of thinking. Let us beware, brethren.
323 E. Indiana Avenue, Pontiac, Illinois 61764
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By David Diestelkamp
people today wouldn’t have listened to the peculiarly dressed John the
Baptist (Matt. 3:4). Many would not have endured the packed crowd at
the house in Capernaum to hear Jesus teach (Mk. 2:2). Others wouldn’t
feel comfortable meeting with the church in someone’s house like
Nymphas (Col. 4:15). And Paul—who would want to listen to a preacher
who admits he isn’t very eloquent? (1 Cor. 2:1). Timothy would seem too
young to preach to some (1 Tim. 4:12), John would be too old to others
(2 Jn. 1).
What’s happening to us? It seems that the message is
getting lost in the messengers and the environment in which it is
Think of it like this: Suppose the “whole counsel of
God” (Ac. 20:27) is presented in an accurate and understandable way. Is
that enough? What if the speaker is not very polished—what if he
doesn’t have any stories that make you cry and he has no visual aids?
Is it enough? What if, for whatever reason, there isn’t a nice building
to assemble in—no paved parking lot, no comfortable seats, no air
conditioning or nice carpet on the floor? Is it enough? What if there
aren’t any people in this group you have a lot in common with in life?
What if there are few or no kids your kids’ ages? Is the pure teaching
of God’s word enough?
The fact is, most people who visit us from
the denominations struggle to get past the externals to hear the
message. Sadly, many claiming to be members of the Lord’s church
measure congregations the same way. Even sadder is that we have
brethren advocating that we resolve this problem by polishing the
messengers and environment. We are told that preachers and preaching
must be professional and facilities should reflect current trends and
feelings about church buildings.
I am not suggesting that
speakers shouldn’t try their best and that buildings shouldn’t be
functional, but I am saying that the saving power is in the gospel
(Rom. 1:16), not in the speaker or building. The carnal mindset of
unbelievers (and some believers—1 Cor. 3:1-3) is going to cause them to
overemphasize and over-value physical things.
The solution to
this is not to cater to their carnality, even if by doing so we might
have the opportunity to teach them. It was to the carnal thinking
Corinthians that Paul wrote that the “weapons of our warfare are not
carnal” (2 Cor. 10:4). His solution? He went back to basics (milk—1
Cor. 3:2)—“For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus
Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). Our solution? Teach people what
the gospel is all about so that physical things won’t be a stumbling
block to listening to the truth.
Paul taught a Christ centered
gospel that isn’t seen to be enough in our me-centered society. So,
people choose a church based on where they feel they can be serviced
rather than where they can best serve God and others.
start being attracted by buildings and teen groups and friends and
speaking abilities something has gone wrong. If it is all about the
Word of God, if that is really enough, then what we will see first and
will matter most is that someone is speaking “the utterances of God”
and “serving by the strength God supplies” (1 Pet. 4:11, NASB). Is
God’s Word really enough or not?
940 N. Elmwood Drive, Aurora, Illinois 60506
Chicago's Loss is Louisville's GainAs
this issue goes to press, Ray and Charlene Ferris are relocating from
Normal, Illinois to Louisville. They are not only part of our spiritual
family, but also of our physical family, and supporters of this paper.
By Al Diestelkamp
preached his first sermon in 1948. His first work was with a church in
Richmond, Virginia. In 1955 he moved to the upper midwest, where he has
labored in the Lord ever since. He has worked primarily with churches
in Wisconsin and the northern half of Illinois. His teaching has
provided a strong conservative influence, especially in the Chicago
area. Ray was among a group of gospel preachers who began to publish Truth Magazine in 1956 when the controversy over church support of institutions was at its peak in the upper midwest.
move was prompted by Ray and Charlene’s recognition of the limitations
their age has placed upon them. They will share a residence with their
eldest daughter, Marilyn. Ray is still quite capable of preaching and
teaching, and will no doubt be an asset to brethren in the Louisville
area. Nedless to say, they will be greatly missed, here in the
Their new address is: 7000 Brook Bend Way, Louisville, KY 40229.
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