|Live Services||The Word of God|
|Editorial||How Kind Are We?|
|Q&A||What did Paul mean when he told us to discern the Lord's body (1 Corinthians 11:29)?|
|The Work||Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock|
The Word of God
On December 31, 2005, Dave Harris will give the sermon, titled, “The Word of God.”
The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org at 12:30 pm Pacific Time (which is 2:30 pm Central Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.
How Kind Are We?
by Norbert Link
How many acts of kindness should we perform each day? The answer for
Christians should be obvious–as many as we possibly can and have
opportunity to. But sadly, in this selfish and unkind world, we often
fall short, being influenced negatively by our society.
be no doubt that especially our Western societies have increasingly
become more and more “unkind.” When I grew up, it was expected of
younger people, for example, to show kindness to the older generation.
When a young person sat in a public bus and an older person approached,
it was expected of the younger one to stand up and offer his seat to
the older person. Today, such conduct would be the rare exception,
because we have become more and more self-centered. Younger people are
not taught anymore to show love and kindness to others, including
showing respect and rising up before the hoary head (Leviticus 19:32).
Indeed, the perilous times just preceding Christ’s Return are described
in this way: “For men will be lovers of THEMSELVES… unthankful…
unloving… despisers of good…” (2 Timothy 3:1-4).
it is very much within our human nature to forget to show kindness to
others. Even though young Joseph, as a captive in an Egyptian prison,
prophesied to the imprisoned chief butler that he would be freed,
pleading with him, in return, to “show him kindness” and get him also
out of prison, the butler just forgot him (Genesis 40:14, 23). The
children of Israel did not remember God and refused to show kindness to
the house of Gideon, after his death (Judges 8:34-35). King Joash acted
in the same way, after he had originally done what was right in the
eyes of God (2 Chronicles 24:2). However, later in his life he failed
miserably: “Thus Joash the king did not remember the kindness which
Jehoiada his father [foster father] had done to him, but killed his
son” (2 Chronicles 24:22).
But people CAN be kind, if they want
to be. The unconverted “barbarians” showed Paul and his companions
“unusual kindness” when they were shipwrecked and escaped to the isle
of Malta, by kindling a fire and made them all welcome, “because of the
rain … and the cold” (Acts 28:1-2). How much more ought
Christians and their children show kindness to others! This includes
looking for opportunities to show and carry out acts of kindness. We
read that the “law of kindness” is in the mouth of the virtuous woman
(Proverbs 31:26). King David was willing to show “the kindness of God”
to one of Saul’s sons (2 Samuel 9:3), by restoring to him all the land
of Saul, and by letting him eat at his table (verse 7). In fact, we
read that God and men desire to see kindness in a person (Proverbs
Paul commended himself as a minister of God by showing
kindness (2 Corinthians 6:4, 6). He encouraged us to put on, as the
“elect of God,” “tender mercies [and] kindness” (Colossians 3:12), and
told us to be kind and tenderhearted to one another (Ephesians
4:32). Peter encourages us to give all diligence to add to our
Christian growth “brotherly kindness” (2 Peter 1:5, 7).
requires action! We need to be kind in thought, word and deed. Kindness
is defined as the quality of BEING kind, and includes kindly FEELINGS
as well as kind ACTS of service. When we realize how kind God is toward
us (Ephesians 2:4-7; Titus 3:4), we ought to be kind to others,
including, but not limited to, those who are showing us kindness (2
Samuel 10:2). We are to become like God the Most High, who is even kind
to the unthankful and evil (Luke 6:35).
When God’s love is in us,
we WILL BE kind (1 Corinthians 13:4), as the fruit of God’s Spirit
includes “kindness” (Galatians 5:22). Therefore, as we have
opportunity, let us do good to all, by showing kindness, especially to
those who are of the household of faith (Galatians 6:10).
This Week in the News
Spying on Americans
Germany’s left-liberal and highly popular magazine, Der Spiegel, made a very provocative and somewhat offensive statement in its online edition of December 22, when it titled its article: “Bush’s Impeachable Offense.”
We are bringing you excerpts from the magazine’s articles, as well as from AFP, a French news agency. We are not taking any position as to whether or not the conclusions reached in the articles are factually or legally correct. It is, however, our commission to make you aware of this controversy, as it shows the ongoing and progressive deterioration between the United States of America and continental Europe. The reporting is indicative of how many Europeans view the current US administration with disfavor and disdain. As we pointed out before, this development was prophesied in God’s Word thousands of years ago. And it will continue, until the war of words will end up in a real–bloody and devastating–war between these two power blocs–unless the people of the United States of America, as well as countries such as Great Britain and Canada, repent of their sins against Almighty God.
Der Spiegel Online stated:
“Yes, the president committed a federal crime by wiretapping Americans, say constitutional scholars, former intelligence officers and politicians. What’s missing is the political will to impeach him… Norman Ornstein, a scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, said, ‘I think if we’re going to be intellectually honest here, this really is the kind of thing that Alexander Hamilton was referring to when impeachment was discussed.”… former Nixon White House counsel John Dean called Bush ‘the first president to admit to an impeachable offense.’… ‘The American public has to understand that a crime has been committed, a serious crime,’ Chris Pyle, a professor of politics at Mount Holyoke College and an expert on government surveillance of civilians, [said.] ‘Looking at this controversy objectively, you inevitably end up with a question of impeachment,’ says Jonathan Turley, a professor at the George Washington University School of Law…
“On Dec. 18, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., the highest-ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, released a 250-page report detailing Bush’s misconduct and, on his Web site, called for the creation of a select committee to investigate ‘those offenses which appear to rise to the level of impeachment.’… While noted experts — including a few Republicans — are saying Bush should be impeached, few think he will be… Similar fears are voiced by Bruce Fein, a former associate deputy attorney general under President Ronald Reagan. Fein is very much a member of the right… Suddenly, though, Fein is talking about Bush as a threat to America. ‘President Bush presents a clear and present danger to the rule of law,’ he wrote in the right-wing Washington Times on Dec. 20. ‘He cannot be trusted to conduct the war against global terrorism with a decent respect for civil liberties and checks against executive abuses’… What alarms Fein is not only that Bush has broken laws but also that he has repeatedly shown contempt for the separation of powers. Fein wants to see congressional hearings that would explore whether Bush accepts any constitutional limitation on his own authority… [Fein says:] ‘We just can’t sacrifice our liberties for ourselves and our posterity by permitting someone who thinks the state is him, and nobody else, to continue in office.’
“In fact, though, that may be EXACTLY WHAT AMERICA IS PERMITTING BUSH TO DO. ‘Politically, I see no possibility that impeachment will succeed,’ says Jonathan Entin, a professor of political science and law at Case Western Reserve University… ‘The only question here is the political one,’ says Pyle of Mount Holyoke College. A former military intelligence officer, Pyle blew the whistle on the U.S. Army’s domestic spying program during the Vietnam War. He believes that Bush has committed an impeachable offense — and that right now there’s no prospect he will be impeached. ‘This president has admitted committing the crime. He just claims he’s above the law,’ Pyle says. ‘So the issue is: Is the president above the law?’ If so, Pyle continues, ‘then we need not argue over the PATRIOT Act. We do not need the PATRIOT Act, because THE PRESIDENT CAN DO ANYTHING HE WANTS IN TIME OF WAR. He can ignore all the criminal laws of the United States, including the laws against indefinite detention and against torture. I don’t think we want to go down that road.'”
In a related article, Der Spiegel Online reported on December 22 that “Earlier this week, Judge James Robertson resigned from a special court that issues warrants for electronic surveillance and searches in terrorism cases, shortly after the New York Times reported that the National Security Agency had intercepted hundreds of phone calls and e-mail messages by American citizens without seeking permission from the court. Robertson was protesting President George W. Bush’s domestic spying policy, according to the Washington Post. Bypassing the special court may be an impeachable offense, but Bush and his Attorney General have claimed it was a legal measure to track down terrorists quickly after Sept. 11. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or FISA… is highly secret and tends to help federal officers do their work; but it needs to hear ‘probable cause’ before it issues a warrant. An emergency provision even allows warrantless eavesdropping for 72 hours in certain cases. Robertson, according to his friends, worried about the ramifications of fast-and-loose domestic spying in the name of fighting terrorism. ‘He would not want the process to be compromised,’ a lawyer friend of Robertson’s told the Los Angeles Times. Tainted or illegally-gathered information — lacking a judge’s authorization — CAN’T BE USED to prosecute terrorist suspects in an American court.”
The French-based AFP is still stronger in the way of their reporting. In their article of December 22, it was stated:
“For a week, Bush has been defending his secret 2002 order enabling the NSA to monitor, without a warrant, international telephone and electronic mail of US citizens suspected of ties to Al-Qaeda. Critics have charged that the unprecedented move is an abuse of power and a violation of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which requires a warrant to conduct wiretaps and electronic surveillance. The White House has fired back that Bush’s move is legal under the US Constitution and a congressional resolution, passed after the September 11 attacks, that authorized the use of force in Afghanistan. In 2004 and 2005, Bush repeatedly argued that the controversial Patriot Act package of anti-terrorism laws safeguards civil liberties because US authorities still need a warrant to tap telephones in the United States. ‘Any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires — a wiretap requires a court order,’ he said on April 20, 2004 in Buffalo, New York. ‘Nothing has changed, by the way. When we’re talking about chasing down terrorists, we’re talking about getting a court order before we do so,’ he added.”
Other American constitutional scholars and politicians maintain that President Bush’s actions were legal. However, many Europeans are convinced that they were not–and this fact, among many others, WILL influence European politicians in their dealings with the US Administration.
Turkey and the EU
The Associated Press reported on December 27 of another interesting development in Turkey, raising doubts that Turkey will ever become of full member of the European Union. The article pointed out:
“Turkish prosecutors said Tuesday they had begun an investigation to determine whether a European Parliament lawmaker should be prosecuted for insulting Turkey’s armed forces, a decision likely to further STRAIN THE COUNTRY’S TIES WITH THE EUROPEAN UNION. EU officials have already criticized Turkey for putting Orhan Pamuk, the country’s best known novelist, on trial on charges of insulting the country and have called on Turkey to do more to protect freedom of expression at a time when Turkey is seeking to join the bloc. A group of nationalist lawyers last week called for the prosecution of Joost Lagendijk, the head of the EU parliament’s committee on Turkey, who reportedly told Turkish journalists that the Turkish military was provoking clashes with autonomy-seeking Kurdish rebels… It is a crime to insult the army in Turkey.”
Europeans for Europe
The EUobserver reported on December 20, 2005, that “Europeans generally back the idea of an EU constitution and reject Turkish EU accession… Of the 25 member states, Austria and the UK appear the most eurosceptic, with just 32 percent of Austrians and 33 percent of Brits saying EU membership is a good thing for their country, followed by Latvia (36 percent), Finland (38 percent) and Sweden and Hungary (both 39 percent). On the other side of the coin are the union’s greatest supporters, Luxembourg (82 percent) and Ireland (73 percent)…
“Remarkably, in the Netherlands, a country that overwhelmingly rejected a European constitution in June, a whole 70 percent of citizens say that EU membership is a good thing… 63 percent of EU citizens believe that the EU will work better with a constitution in place… The number of Europeans opposed to further enlargement has grown since the spring, from 38 percent to 39 percent, with Austria, Germany and France in particular concerned about expansion, and Greece, Slovakia and Poland most in favour… Meanwhile, support for EU membership among Turks themselves has dropped from 66 percent in spring to 52 percent this autumn, while 77 percent of Europeans back Swiss and Norwegian accession.”
Muslims Wait for a Mahdi
The Christian Science Monitor reported on December 21, about the vivid expectations of many Muslims for the arrival of their Messiah–a Mahdi. The article pointed out:
“For those who believe, the devotion is real. Tears stream down the cheeks of 2,000 men ripe for the return of the Mahdi, the 12th Imam they expect will soon emerge to bring justice and peace to a corrupt world… Among the true believers is Iran’s hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who predicted with ‘no doubt’ his June election victory, months in advance, at a time when polls gave him barely 1 percent support… From redressing the gulf between rich and poor in Iran, to challenging the United States and Israel and enhancing Iran’s power with nuclear programs, every issue is designed to lay the foundation for the Mahdi’s return… The Mahdi’s eventual return is an article of faith for Shiite Muslims that taps deeply into Persian consciousness and mystical tradition.”
Wasps Fighting Terrorism?
In the Old Testament, God told ancient Israel that He would use hornets to fight against Israel’s enemies. Now, scientists state that in the near future, wasps could be used to fight terrorists. USA Today reported on December 27:
“Scientists at a Georgia laboratory have developed what could be a low-tech, low-cost weapon in the war on terrorism: trained wasps. The tiny, non-stinging wasps can check for hidden explosives at airports and monitor for toxins in subway tunnels… [Joe] Lewis [a U.S. Agriculture Department entomologist] and his partner, University of Georgia biological engineer Glen Rains, say their device is ready for pilot tests and could be available for commercial use in five to 10 years. Rains says the wasps could one day be used instead of dogs to check for explosives in cargo containers coming in to the nation’s seaports, in vehicles crossing at border checkpoints, at airports and anywhere else where security should be tight…
“The wasps may also be trained for medical uses, including detecting cancer or ulcers by smelling someone’s breath. They probably can be trained like dogs to find bodies buried in rubble, Rains says… When the wasps pick up an odor they’ve been trained to detect they gather by the vent–a response that can be measured by the computer or actually seen by observers. Lewis says the wasps, when exposed to some chemicals, ‘can detect as low as four parts per billion, which is an incredibly small amount.’ He says the ‘ability to capture nature and its marvels is … revolutionary.’ Rains says, ‘The sensitivity of animals (and insects) to chemicals in general is probably beyond what we can comprehend. We don’t really know what the limits are.'”
U.S. Birthright Citizenship
The Associated Press reported on December 26 about a debate in the United States pertaining to birthright citizenship. According to the law, each person born in the USA is automatically a US citizen, regardless of the citizenship of his or her parents. Other countries have different laws. In Germany, for instance, the place of birth is immaterial. Under German law, a person is only automatically a German citizen when at least one parent is German–even if he is born abroad.
The article of The Associated Press pointed out:
“A proposal to change long-standing federal policy and deny citizenship to babies born to illegal immigrants on U.S. soil ran aground this month in Congress, but it is sure to resurface–kindling bitter debate even if it fails to become law. At issue is ‘birthright citizenship’–provided for since the Constitution’s 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868. Section 1 of that amendment, drafted with freed slaves in mind, says: ‘All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States.’
“Some conservatives in Congress, as well as advocacy groups seeking to crack down on illegal immigration, say the amendment has been misapplied over the years, that it was never intended to grant citizenship automatically to babies of illegal immigrants. Thus they contend that federal legislation, rather than a difficult-to-achieve constitutional amendment, would be sufficient to end birthright citizenship.”
Some of those opposing such a change in the law point at the situation in Germany. As the article continued to explain:
“Lucas Guttentag, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said some Western European nations with different policies have suffered problems. ‘Look at Germany–the children of guest workers are not citizens,’ he said. ‘That creates enormous social and racial tensions. That’s the opposite of where we want to go.'”
Big Brother in Britain
On December 22, The Independent reported that “Britain is to become the first country in the world where the movements of all vehicles on the roads are recorded. A new national surveillance system will hold the records for at least two years. Using a network of cameras that can automatically read every passing number plate, the plan is to build a huge database of vehicle movements… cameras [will be able] to read number plates automatically night and day to provide 24/7 coverage of all motorways and main roads, as well as towns, cities, ports and petrol-station forecourts.”
Canada a New Haven for Pedophiles?
According to a shocking article by WorldNetDaily, which was published on December 27, 2005, Canada’s Supreme Court has given green light to sex clubs, involving boys and girls as young as 14, and has thereby opened Pandora’s Box for pedophiles. The article explained:
“The Canadian Supreme Court ruling that redefined obscenity for that nation and legalized group-sex clubs, combined with Canada’s unusually low age of consent–14–will result in an influx of pedophiles to America’s neighbor to the north, contends a former consultant to the U.S. Justice Department… [Judith] Reisman, [word-renowned scholar and author]… says the court’s decision sends a clear message to pedophiles: ‘You don’t have to go to Asia anymore. Pedophiles can have the blond, blue-eyed kids in Canada, too.’… The liberalization of the Canadian courts, the author contends, shows ‘that pedophiles or politicians who refuse to prosecute these types of crimes are in power more than ever in Canada.'”
Almighty God’s Holy Scriptures condemn pedophiles in no uncertain terms. God also holds those accountable who know of such deviant behavior and do nothing about it [and this does not exonerate or exclude political or church leaders], even though it would be within their power to stop it. God tells us that it will be HE who will intervene in due time, when man refuses to right the wrong, and that He will hold accountable both the perpetrator and the inactive observer.
Is the Pope Above the Law?
The Associated Press reported on December 23 about a deeply disturbing development in a civil sex-abuse lawsuit against a Catholic seminarian and his ultimate superior, the pope. As it was stated in the article, “A U.S. judge in Texas dismissed Pope Benedict XVI from a civil lawsuit accusing him of conspiracy to cover up the sexual abuse of minors by a seminarian, ruling Thursday that the pontiff has immunity as a HEAD OF STATE. U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal cited a motion filed by the Justice Department, known as a ‘Suggestion of Immunity,’ in which the government said allowing the lawsuit to proceed would be ‘INCOMPATIBLE WITH THE UNITED STATES’ FOREIGN POLICY INTERESTS.’ After a suggestion of immunity is filed, it is the COURT’S DUTY to surrender jurisdiction,’ Rosenthal wrote.
“Joseph Ratzinger–Benedict’s former name–is named as a defendant in the civil lawsuit, accused of conspiring with the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and some of its officials to cover up the abuse of three boys during the mid-1990s… Lawyers for one of the alleged victims argued in the lawsuit that a May 18, 2001, letter Ratzinger wrote to bishops around the world was evidence that he was involved in a conspiracy to hide [the seminarian’s] crimes and to help him escape prosecution…”
Daniel Shea, lead council for the plaintiffs, stated that an appeal was being considered. “‘I think it’s a setback for the American people that the administration ever gave the Vatican diplomatic immunity to begin with, and that it’s using that to shield them from the conduct that’s involved in here,’ he said. The pope’s lawyer, Jeffrey Lena, said the ruling was significant in that Benedict was identified as ‘head of a foreign state, the Holy See.’ Some plaintiffs have sought to identify Benedict as only head of a religious entity. Lena said Rosenthal’s ruling recognized that ‘the pope is entitled to immunity like any foreign sovereign without any special limitations imposed upon his immunity JUST BECAUSE HE IS A RELIGIOUS LEADER.'”
Archbishop Justifies Christmas
Even though the “Christmas Days” for 2005 seem to be past in most Western countries, the aftermath is still very much noticeable. Therefore, let us review the Catholic Church’s position on the matter–but let us do so with OPEN eyes.
A reader sent us the following article, introducing it as follows: “What a spin. Satan definitely has done a good job of deceiving this world!! “
Here are excerpts from the “spin”-article:
In the Catholic Sentinel, Archbishop John Vlazny wrote on December 22: “The origins of Christmas can be traced back to a Roman festival called Saturnalia. In the second half of December, Romans had a seven-day celebration in HONOR OF SATURN, the god of agriculture. Since the winter solstice fell around Dec. 25 on the Julian calendar, the Romans ENACTED RITUALS to commemorate the lengthening of days marked by this solstice. In St. John’s Gospel, the coming of Jesus is often described as the coming of the Light. The early Christians TOOK OVER THE FESTIVAL OF LIGHT FROM THE PAGANS and made it their own festival of Light, the Light… Jesus, the Christ. My CONCERN would be that we might not be on guard and thereby ALLOW THE FEAST TO BE TAKEN BACK BY THE PAGANS of our own day! No, I am not trying to make them celebrate Christmas. But I am very concerned that you and I continue to celebrate Christmas. After all, we are the ones who bask in the glow of the Light of Christ whenever we gather for Eucharist or hear the Word of God proclaimed. We are the ones who are called to be light for others. How could we ever celebrate ‘holidays’ instead of Christmas?… Gift-giving at Christmas is not a tradition of human origins. Gift-giving at Christmas traces it roots to the great gift of Jesus, sent by the Father, to rescue us from our sinfulness and suffering. God continues to share the gift of Jesus with the world through the church. When we exchange gifts at Christmas, WE ARE TRYING TO BE CHRIST for one another, a practice at the very core of Christian discipleship…
“With the celebration of Midnight Mass, we begin the great feast of Christmas. It doesn’t end the next day! NEW YEAR’S DAY, THE OCTAVE OF CHRISTMAS, THE FEAST OF MARY AS MOTHER OF GOD, is also our World Day of Prayer for Peace. The OFFICIAL CLOSING OF THE CHRISTMAS SEASON WILL TAKE PLACE ON SUNDAY, JAN. 8, when we shall celebrate the feast of the Epiphany. I encourage you to enjoy ALL THESE CHRISTMAS FEASTS and to make the most of the many graces shared among us in this holy season. Yes, it’s Christmas. For some it’s just another holiday. Too bad for them.”
But why shouldn’t we give “Christmas” back to the pagans, since it was admittedly taken away from them? After all, God COMMANDS His followers NOT to worship Him in the way in which pagans worshipped or worship their gods. He says that He does NOT accept that kind of worship! Also, in regard to the claim that gift-giving at Christmas traces its roots to the great gift of Christ, nothing could be further from the truth! This should be obvious when considering that in Catholic Italy, it is not even Santa Claus who brings gifts to the children on January 6 (!), but the old, ugly, “wise” WITCH Befana. She comes through the chimney and places her gifts in the children’s shoes (compare Bild Online, December 24, 2005).
However one wants to put a spin on things, Christmas celebrations are WRONG. Human traditions don’t tell you what is right or wrong. ONLY GOD DOES. But very few today are willing to listen to God.
No More Limbo
As UPI reported on December 28, “Theologian advisers to Pope Benedict XVI have disposed of the Roman Catholic doctrine of limbo started in the Middle Ages by St. Thomas Aquinas. Limbo is the place, Catholics have believed for centuries, to which unbaptized babies are consigned. While official Vatican removal of the doctrine could be a year or more away, the pope, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, said in 1984 that, ‘Limbo has never been a definitive truth of the faith,’ The New York Times reported. ‘Personally, I would let it drop, since it has always been only a theological hypothesis,’ the cardinal said while serving as Pope John Paul II’s doctrinal watchdog. Ideas about limbo have been changing since the 1960s Second Vatican Council. Pope John Paul II omitted the term from an updated catechism and, shortly before his death, asked the Vatican’s theological commission to consider the question of unbaptized babies, the newspaper reported.”
Roman Polanski Speaks Out
In a rare interview with Der Spiegel Online, popular and oftentimes controversial film-maker Roman Polanski (“The Pianist”) talked about his experiences as a nine-year-old boy in Poland during World War 2. Polanski (72) stated in the article, which was published on December 25:
“The real pain was my separation from my parents… I did not know that my mother was murdered a few days after her arrest in Auschwitz. I only learned after the war that she was pregnant… I hid in a stable. It belonged to a terribly poor Catholic farmer who did not know that I was Jewish… I was lucky that I did not look like a Jew. Otherwise, he [and his wife] would have reported me to the Germans… All Poles were anti-Semitic.This was a part of their culture after one thousand years of Vatican propaganda. Every farmer would have slain you with his ax if you had told him that Jesus was a Jew. It is unimaginable what they would have done to you, if you had told them that the Virgin Mary was Jewish… I watched [from the outside] through the wired fence [movies which were shown to the prisoners in the concentration camp.]… Between the movies, paroles were broadcast, such as, ‘Jews=lice=typhus.’… Later, all children in the Ghetto were shot.”
Earth Created For Life
The Russian paper, Pravda, published an interesting article on December 28, claiming that the “Latest geophysical discovery [is] to overturn all concepts of Earth’s history.” In the article, it was pointed out:
“Our planet assumed the present form 4.5 billion years ago. It has not virtually changed the original appearance ever since. Earth was suitable for conceiving and developing life forms from the first moments of existence. A team of Western researchers reject the theories about Earth being completely covered with oceans before the first marine species stepped onto the shore… ‘Looks like Earth formed in the wink of an eye,’ says one of the researchers, Dr. Steven Moses at the University of Colorado. ‘If the theory proves to be right, all today’s concepts concerning the formation of Earth will have to be completely revised… According to researchers, the new findings indicate that the earth’s crust, its oceans and atmosphere existed from the very beginning, and the planet Earth was suitable for life in those prehistoric times.'”
What did Paul mean when he told us to discern the Lord's body (1 Corinthians 11:29)?
In the passage in question, Paul was addressing the yearly Passover
ceremony. Beginning in 1 Corinthians 11:23, Paul reminded the disciples
of the event when Christ instituted the New Testament symbols of bread
and wine at the annual Passover service (compare verses 23-26). He then
“Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup
of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood
of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the
bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy
manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s
body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.”
Sacrifice of Jesus Christ includes His death for the forgiveness of our
sins, as well as His suffering for our physical healing. While the
symbol of the wine points to Christ’s shed blood for the forgiveness of
sins, the symbol of the bread points to His physical suffering for our
Passages regarding the forgiveness of our
sins, by our acceptance of His supreme Sacrifice, can be found in
Isaiah 53:12; Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 9:11-14; 1 John 1:7; and Romans
Passages regarding our physical healing, by our
acceptance of His supreme Sacrifice, can be found in Isaiah 53:3-5;
Psalm 103:1-3; and Matthew 8:16-17. The symbol of the broken bread,
pointing to Christ’s wounded, torn body and His stripes, stands for our
When Paul talked about the need that we
discern the Lord’s body, he was addressing Christ’s PHYSICAL body which
was beaten for our physical healing. Some have said that Paul was
talking about Christ’s SPIRITUAL “broken” body, the Church. They claim
that Paul wanted to make reference to the broken, shattered condition
of the Church (having in mind many different corporate Church
organizations). They teach that we don’t experience physical healing if
we are responsible for any of the divisions in the different Church
organizations, thereby failing to “discern” the spiritual body of
Christ–the Church. It is true that we cannot expect to be healed, if
we refuse to be spiritually reconciled or “healed” with God and with
His people. It is also true that we cannot expect physical healing if
we don’t repent of our sins and trespasses or refuse to forgive our
brethren their trespasses against us (James 5:13-16). However, this
does not mean that Paul was addressing our discernment of the Church,
as Christ’s body, in 1 Corinthians 11. Rather, he spoke clearly of the
idea that we must consider the totality of Christ’s
Sacrifice–including His broken PHYSICAL body–if we want to experience
Let us again notice the context: Paul quotes
Christ in verse 24, saying that we are to eat bread, “which is [or,
which symbolizes] My body which is broken for you.” We are obviously
not to “eat” the Church, but we are to internalize Jesus Christ in our
lives so that He can live in us continuously (compare Galatians 2:20).
That is why we read in John 6:48-58 that we need to partake of the
annual Passover symbols of bread and wine to have a continued part with
Christ. We are also told in 1 Corinthians 11:26 that we proclaim the
death of Christ until He returns, when we eat the bread and drink the
wine on the annual occasion of the Passover service. Obviously, Paul
was not addressing the Church in verse 26, but the body and blood of
Jesus Christ. Paul continues with the same theme in verse 27: “Whoever
eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy
Again, there is no hint that Paul was suddenly
talking about anything else but Christ’s physical body–it was CHRIST
Who was tortured and killed. Verse 28 continues that we must eat the
bread and drink the cup after self-examination. Verse 29 warns us that
we eat and drink judgment to ourselves, if we don’t eat the bread AND
drink the wine in a worthy manner, “not discerning the Lord’s body.” It
is still the same theme and context; to say that Paul suddenly
addressed the Church as Christ’s [spiritual] body, while still talking
about eating the bread and drinking the wine, is introducing a thought
which is clearly not contained in that passage. After all, if the
“Lord’s body” was suddenly meant to refer to the spiritual body of
Christ–the Church–are we to EAT the CHURCH (verse 29)? And what would
the meaning of the “blood” be in that context (same verse)–as we are
to eat AND to drink? It is obvious that the analogy of Christ’s body
referring to the Church simply does not fit in 1 Corinthians 11:29.
Bible Commentary: Revised agrees: “Every Christian is unworthy, but
Paul defines his meaning as not discerning (lit. not distinguishing)
this bread as signifying the body… of the Lord. Some think body here
refers to the church (cf. 10:17), but a change of meaning from v. 27
Matthew Henry’s Commentary concurs: “The
Corinthians came to the Lord’s table not discerning the Lord’s
body–not making a distinction between that and common food.”
Bible Handbook explains the meaning of the passage in this way: “in an
unworthy manner … means in an attitude of unconfessed sin, and thus
being guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, transgressing against
the very essence of the meaning of Christ’s death… Self-examination
is necessary… to avoid condemnation and consequent chastening,
entailing physical weakness, sickness and even death.”
conclusion, when we partake, during the annual Passover ceremony, of
the bread and the wine (as well as the preceding footwashing ceremony,
compare John 13:1-17), we must understand and accept, in faith, the
supreme meaning of the totality of Christ’s Sacrifice. If we discern
Christ’s body, with the knowledge that CHRIST was severely beaten and
then killed on our behalf, we understand that we can have forgiveness
of our sins, as well as physical healing, because of what Christ did
for us: “…having made peace through the BLOOD of His cross… now He
has reconciled [you to the Father] in the BODY of HIS FLESH THROUGH
DEATH, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His
sight–if indeed you CONTINUE in the faith…” (Colossians
1:20-23). And: “By that will [of God the Father] we have been
sanctified through the offering of the BODY of Jesus Christ once and
for all” (Hebrews 10:10). And finally 1 Peter 2:24: “… who Himself
bore our sins in His own BODY on the tree, that we, having died to
sins, might live for righteousness–by whose stripes you were healed.”
message rings loud and clear: As Christ suffered and died for us in His
own body, we are to discern His sacrifice and let Him live in us, so
that we can live for Him.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
The hard copies of our new booklet, “Are You Predestined to be Saved?” were sent out Tuesday.
How This Work is Financed
This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.
Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson
Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank
Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.
While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.
Donations should be sent to the following addresses:
United States: Church of the Eternal God, P.O. Box 270519, San Diego, CA 92198
Canada: Church of God, ACF, Box 1480, Summerland, B.C. V0H 1Z0
United Kingdom: Global Church of God, PO Box 44, MABLETHORPE, LN12 9AN, United Kingdom