Church of Christ (Dave Bell) versus Baptist (Damon Whitsell) Debate: IS FAITH A SYNECDOCHE?

The following debate happened between myself and Church of Christ member Dave Bell. “Faith is a synecdoche (please see opening statements for a definition)” is an argument that is often employed by Church of Christ preachers. The claim is often made without any substantiation. Therefore I am grateful to Mr. Bell for participating in this debate with me as it is the only one on this subject on the internet. – Damon Whitsell

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Opening Statement by Dave Bell

IS “FAITH” A SYNECDOCHE?

It has been said that “words written in truth are everlasting” and I believe that with all my heart. The question of this discussion is about the use of the word “faith” or belief and how it is used in scripture especially in regards to our salvation. Many contend that all one has to do is to believe or have faith in Christ and at that point one is saved and that it is by faith alone and nothing else since all other would be to add ‘works’ of our own to that salvation. In one sense that is true but it is only true if one realises that “faith is a synecdoche for the whole plan of salvation we must obey in order to be saved. So that is how am I using the word synecdoche here? We must define our terms for the discussion to continue.

Synecdoche: This word is from the Greek sunechdeechesthai meaning to receive jointly. It is usually spoken of as a figure of speech by which is spoken a whole by a part or a part by using a term denoting the whole.

All of us who read and study the Bible must remember that it is richly endowed with figures of speech and the synecdoche is one of the most common figures of speech used by the Bible writers under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. There fore we must read, recognise, and learn to correctly interpret synecdoche’s this is absolutely necessary if we would be faithful and accurate in drawing our conclusions on numerous passages and indeed subjects.

It is my contention in this discussion that “faith” of “belief” is a part put for the whole of the Gospel plan of salvation as it is presented in the New Testament that is all of the conditions of salvation are indicated by the use of one; generally that of faith this is the first one mentioned as without it nothing else would follow. The whole Gospel plan of salvation given is this: Hearing the Gospel, believing the gospel, repentance of sin, confession of Christ as Lord before men, baptism for the remission of sins, and living a faithful life until death. “Faith” involves all of these and is thus the synecdoche of salvation by Gospel obedience.

Men were to call on the name of the Lord in order to be saved (Romans10:17); they were to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in order to be saved (Acts 16:31); they were to repent of their sins in order to be saved (Acts 17:30); they were to be baptised in order to be saved (Acts 2:38; 22:16). It is common for us to see one of these mentioned without any reference as to the presence of any other. That is how I am using “faith” as a synecdoche in this discussion.

If we were to put the word “alone” with all of these component parts I think we can see what I mean. We are saved by “faith alone” but are we? We could do this with the entire component parts of the plan of salvation legitimately since all on their own are synecdoches. We could say we are saved by baptism alone since it saves us (II Peter 3:21). It was not however Peter’s intent to teach us that all one must do to be saved was to be baptised. Yet by parity of reasoning with the faith only error we could say that Peter does indeed teach this since we forget how to employ the synecdoche in our reasoning. Baptism (a part) is made to stand for the whole plan of salvation as faith is made to stand as a part for the whole plan of forgiveness of our sins.

We are then to recognize and understand the various synecdoches that relate to the terms of our forgiveness of sins and thus our pardon. If we can do this I think we will find a truly beautiful and harmonious picture in the plan of salvation given to us by God through the Holy Spirit in the word.

However if we do not recognize them it is not possible to understand fully what God requires from us in order to be is for the whole plan to be Obeyed, not just one part of it at the expense of the rest. To repeat it, the whole for which a single element (synecdoche) is made to stand in various passages consists of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance of one’s sins, confession of Christ as Lord before men, being baptised for the remission of one’s sins, and living faithfully until one dies.

Figures of speech are common in all languages and the Bible is no exception to this. Our New Testament was written in the common or koine Greek and the Greeks seemed to make a “science” out of figures of speech and we must learn to interpret those figures or “tropes” as they were called; tropes comes from tropos meaning a turn this is simply because these figures represented “turns” or variations from the normal literal meaning of words.

For this and the other reasons we have seen we must acknowledge that the Bible is replete with figures of speech. We must also learn to recognize when a writer or speaker is using figurative terms like the synecdoche, and to correctly interpret those terms as a failure to do so can lead to disastrous consequences for us especially in regards to our salvation.

If we look at a question such as “How long was Jesus in the grave?” we can see how a synecdoche works in practice. In Mark15:42-43; Luke 23: 50-54; and John 19:31, we can see that the crucifixion occurred on a Friday. Then in Matthew 28:1ff; Mark16:2ff; Luke 24:1ff; and John 20:1ff, we can see that the lord’s resurrection was on the first day of the week or Sunday.

Now even though these statements are clear there are many unbelievers who will tell us that Christ’s own words just cannot be harmonized with a sixth day crucifixion (Friday) and a first day resurrection (Sunday). The prophecy they will all go to is found in (Matthew12:40) where Jesus said that He would be three days and three nights in the grave. They are quick to show that part of Friday night, the entire day and night of Saturday and part of Sunday are equal to only ‘part’ of days and only two nights. I think that what is even sadder is that some who claim to be believers also make this argument and agree with the unbelievers.

Now if it be demanded that we take the Lord’s words strictly literally then we do have a problem as they would contradict what He had spoken in passages such as: (Matthew 16:21; Luke9:22; Mark 8:31; and John 2:19). Yet when Jesus said these things those who heard Him had no problem with them including His enemies.

All of these apparent difficulties melt away when we recognize that the three days and three nights are a synecdoche of time in which the phrase “three days and nights” actually refers to a part of that time.

If we go back nearly a thousand years and read (I Kings 12:5, 12) we can see the exact same figure used by Rehoboam; where he says to the people “Depart for three days, then return to me, so the people departed.” Then Jereboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the “third day” as the king had directed, saying “Return to me on the third day.” So we can see that this type of synecdoche was very familiar to the Jews and they would understand what Jesus had said to them hence they had no problem with His words at all and never made the argument the atheists and some “believers” make about ittoday. All that was needed was to understand the type of figure Jesus used and here it was a synecdoche and is an example to ustoday.

If we now look at some Biblical examples of salvation we might begin to see how this figure is used in scripture. The question we must ask ourselves regarding these synecdoches is this: Is this “all” or is it only a part of what God requires for us to be saved?

(1) (Titus 3:5) “According to His mercy He saved us.”

(2) (Hebrews 7:25) “He saves to the uttermost them that draw near to God.’

(3) (Matthew 10:22) “He that endures to the end shall be saved.”

(4) (Romans 10:17) with (Matthew 10:32 “He who confesses Me etc.

(5) (I Peter 3:21) “Baptism now saves us.”

(6) (John 3:16) “He who believes shall have eternal life.”

(7) (Mark 16:16) “He who believes AND is baptized shall be saved.”

I think when we examine these properly and interpret them right we must agree that all of these are synecdoches they are part of the plan of salvation that have been given to represent the whole of that plan of salvation.

This raises a question that I think demands an answer from us if we are to be logical in our interpretations and that is this: Should we now fault the Holy Spirit (who inspired the New Testament writers) for NOT stating ALL the conditions of salvation every time the subject occurs, both God and our part in it?

This in turn provokes (to me) another question which is this: Why is it that when the word “faith” appears in the New Testament that those who claim that this alone saves us feel that they must insert the word “only” after faith? We can surely all agree that what we have just looked at are indeed synecdoches yet with faith it suddenly changes here, why? I think that it has to be this way for the “faith only” corner because if they believe this doctrine then in order to be true and consistent to it they must then teach that faith is the only condition thus when it appears it simply cannot stand for anything else. This I deny.

The only place that the doctrine of faith only is discussed is in (James 2) and in that passage it explicitly states that faith according to the non synecdoche corner cannot and does not save us.

This is because true faith produces and works through love (Galatians 5:6) if it does not do this then faith does not work at all. Further if we love God then (I John 5:3-4) will tell us that this is the love of God that we keep His commandments and that his commandments are not grievous for whatsoever is begotten of God overcomes the world, and this is the victory that overcomes the world (even) our faith.

The last question is has your faith overcome the world and if so how can it be “faith only?

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DEBATE: Is faith a Synecdoche?
Denial Opening Statement
by Damon Whitsell

Hello Dave, thanks for this debate and bringing up this interesting topic, it’s a new one for me. In researching for this debate I found many Church of Christ articles that claimed faith is a synecdoche. But they all just made the assertion without trying to prove or make a positive case for that assertion. I look forward to hearing your affirmative case and responding.

A Synecdoche, as I understand it, is a figure of speech in which a part represents a whole of something, or the whole represents a part of something, such as a “hand” represents a “worker”. And from our prior interactions and your posting in the group, I take it that by saying “faith is a synecdoche” you mean the word faith means to do or “obey” the “whole plan of salvation” which is “hear, repent of sin, believe, confess, be baptized for remission of sin and live a faithful life” (6 steps). I think you will have a hard time establishing the truthfulness of that claim and my reasons follow.

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GREAT ARTICLE: What does the Bible say about Animal Abuse?

‘The Average Dog is a Nicer Person than the Average Person” – 60 Minutes contributor Andy Roony

SOURCE: Does God hear the cries of those who do not communicate in human language? Does His heart respond to the fearful mewing of a motherless kitten or the exhaustion of a donkey staggering under a load far too heavy for it? Does He care about the animals that are bred in cramped quarters and exploited for profit?

God was so interested in the welfare of the animal kingdom that He created, that He even commanded Noah, in the time of judgement on the earth, to make the ark big enough to hold two of every kind of animal that existed.

The Bible actually has much to say in regard to animal abuse. In the beginning, God created the earth and all the creatures on it to be under the authority of humanity. He entrusted these beautiful elements of His creation to our care (Genesis 1:26). Our sinful nature causes us to abuse these things, sometimes without even realizing it. Yet, God expects the Christian, above all others, to be sensitive to all of His creation, knowing that exploiting or abusing it shows a disrespect for God Himself. Abuse of anything that God made is not the character of God, but rather of the Evil One.

Domestic Animals: “A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel” (Proverbs 12:10). Throughout the Bible, God shows how He expects us to care for our animals in practical ways. In the Law of the Israelites, for example, one of the purposes of the Sabbath year of rest for the land, was to let the land lie fallow–and so that the poor as well as livestock and wild animals could eat from it (Exodus 23:11 and Leviticus 25:7). The Sabbath day itself was not only for humans to rest. God also commanded us to give our animals rest on the same day. (Exodus 20:10). He also commanded the Israelites to help both their friends and enemies when their ox or donkey had fallen over, or was carrying a burden too heavy for it to bear (Exodus 23:5 and Deuteronomy 22:4). In addition, livestock were also allowed to eat as they worked (Deuteronomy 25:4). Finally, God says to us in Proverbs 27:23: “Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds.”

Part of the reason that God anointed young David to be king over Israel, was that he was a good shepherd and could be trusted with the sheep under his care, even risking his life for them when they were attacked by lions or bears (1 Samuel 17:34). God knew that if David had this sort of heart for his sheep, he would be a faithful shepherd over an even greater treasure–the people of Israel.

Wild Animals: His eye is on the sparrow: In addition to domesticated animals, God also watches over wild animals and commands us to do the same. In Deuteronomy 22:6-7, God promises a long life to those who will watch over wild birds. If we rape the land or the creatures in it, what will sustain us in the future? He allows for the taking of eggs, but commands that we release the mother bird to continue living in the wild and reproducing as He intended. In Job 38:41, God says that He hears the cries of newborn ravens crying to Him for food. Jesus went on to say that God supplies food for the wild birds and that not one of them falls to the ground without Him knowing it (Matthew 6:26, 10:29).

These small, but kind and practical commands written throughout the Bible give us good insight into how God expects us to treat animals. Surely we will have to answer to Him for any abuse that we have committed against them. God created animals for us to love and to learn from. In them, we see our own dependance upon God illustrated in their dependance upon us. We can also see elements of our foolishness manifested in them (who has not seen a crowing rooster and laughed at the comic caricature of ourselves crowing to all the world in our foolish pride?) In addition, God also tells us to learn from their wisdom:

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34,000 Differing Denominations OR Unity Within Diversity by Damon Whitsell

This question was asked of me, “there are 34,000+ different Christian denominations today. Who is to say which churches constitute the congregations of ‘true Christians’?” My response was…

I saw someone else make a similar statement about two weeks ago and have not had time to comment but would like to do so now. The post I am commenting about used 19,000+ as the number of Christian Denominations.

I would like to postulate a question that I believe statements like this beg to ask. I believe this is what people mean when they make such comments, “With between 19 and 34 thousand different Christian denominations, is it not ludicrous to think there is anything but confusion among Christians as to what Christianity is? Why should I consider joining such a confused bunch? Is there really any logical reason to consider Jesus Christ?”

It is my belief that people who make such claims, as there being between 19 and 34 thousand denominations of Christianity, in the sense that there are that many different versions are really saying, “you guys are fools and can’t even figure out ya’lls own religion”. Some may actually believe that there are many different versions of Christianity, but I believe that most prop up such bogus ideas in their head to justify their denial of Jesus Christ.

FALSE TEACHERS, PROPHETS, GOSPELS AND A DIFFERENT JESUS

Every New Testament book except Philemon contains warnings against false teachings, false prophets and false gospels that teach a different Jesus and a different Spirit. Paul said there were false teachers among the Corinthians and Jesus said “beware for many come false teachers have come to lead you astray”. We are told that there are men who secretly introduce destructive heresies and that Satan and his ministers masquerade as Servants of Righteousness. We are even told that there are Doctrines of Demons.

To the church in Galatia Paul said “you are being thrown into confusion by people trying to pervert the gospel of Jesus Christ, I am astonished that you so quickly turn from the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel”. We are told not to accept any other gospels than the one preached by the Apostles, even if they come from Angels or the Apostles themselves.

Satan is rightfully descripted as “adversary”. But Christianity is not dualistic (there is not a bad god and a good god battling it out) and because God is sovereign, Satan cannot be rightfully viewed as an adversary to God. He is just a created fallen angel. Satan opposes God’s plan of redemption. He does this by perverting the simple Gospel of Grace and certain truths about the nature of God, Man, Angels and Salvation.

ORTHODOXY VERSES HETERODOXY

The New Testament and church history shows that Christianity has always made a valiant effort to keep the Gospel from being perverted in the midst of constant attempts to redefine the essence of Christianity. The book of Galatians notes that some were trying to lure the Christians in Galatia back into the legalistic systems of Judaism, and the epistles of John tell us that Gnostic Teachings where already on the rise.

Detractors always like to claim that Christianity was not a codified belief system until the creed producing church councils, which they wrongfully say was the beginning of what we call the Church. Dan Brown claims that it was at these councils that Christianity was invented. But anyone who knows church history will tell you that these councils where required because false teachings came to attention and had to be dealt with. The church councils where not held to establish real or essential Christian doctrine, but to refute false heretical teachings that had risen up in the church. Establishing Essential Doctrine was a byproduct of some of these councils, and as Gnostic writings continued to appear on the scene these councils also established what is the Cannon (measure of, or for, inspired scripture). Christians have always struggled to keep out the heterodox beliefs and to the keeping in of the orthodox.

SOLA SCRIPTURA

History shows that Christianity was institutionalized as the state religion of the Roman Empire by Constantine. The Christians had been persecuted, even to death, for their beliefs about Jesus for many years, and the reprieve was welcomed but wrought its own problems. The major problem was that religious belief cannot be mandated by a state since religious belief is soulish in nature, and law cannot dictate personal belief. You can make a pagan say he believes in Jesus but you can’t make him actually believe in Jesus through force. In the generations after Constantine people were said to be Christian by virtue of the place of their birth (i.e. in Rome) not by virtue of their beliefs. All roman citizens were decreed to be Christians because of their birthplace, but that did not make all Romans non-pagans or actual Christians. Christianity was temporarily redefined by some.

I am not at home so I don’t have the specifics handy, but at one point a Pope made a decree that church tradition would be given as much emphasis as scripture regarding Christian beliefs. By elevating church tradition to the level of scripture as the authority for defining and living the Christian faith, the Catholic Church perverted the gospel as it had never been perverted before. The deification and worship of Mary, salvation by penance and works, and many other heretical beliefs arose which required the protesting of the Protestant Movement. Once perverted the Catholic Church remained apostate and Christians required a separation and reformation. It was a return to the Essential Doctrines of Jesus and the apostles themselves.

UNITY WITHIN DIVERSITY

A few months ago, I was engaged in debates at Factnet (a cult watch ministry) with followers of Arnold Murray and the Shepard’s Chapel. They can be called a Christian Cult because they do not hold to Essential Doctrine. They cannot be called a denomination or a true church. They have nothing in common with others that call themselves Christian, except for the name Christian. They hold an unorthodox view concerning the nature of God, Man, Sin and Salvation. From non-essentials such as the heresy of pre-existence, to the heresy of anglo-israelism, to the essentials of God, Man and Salvation by grace, not works or genetics, they are unorthodox to the core. They are not Unified Within Diversity as real Christians are. They are isolated and don’t have unity with those who hold to Essential Doctrines. Let me explain what I mean by Unity Within Diversity.

My phone book list about 20 different local Christian Churches. Among them are denominations and non-denominations and Christian Cults. I can go to most of those churches and have much unity in beliefs with them, especially concerning Jesus. As many have said “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty and in all things love”. Some I could not attend at all because they are diametrically opposed to essential orthodox Christian beliefs, but we must remember that they are Cults by virtue of their unorthodox teachings.

Christians churches and denominations enjoy a shared Unity Within Diversity about beliefs concerning God, Man, Sin and Salvation amongst all non-cult denominations and non-denominational churches. But a follower of Arnold Murray and the Shepard’s Chapel cannot enjoy that same unity with other local churches. To fellowship they have to travel to Arkansas or do their fellowshipping online with other Shepard Chaplers. They are isolated, exclusive and authoritarianist because of their beliefs.

There are beliefs that are essential to Orthodox Christianity. There are beliefs that are important, but not essential. And there are beliefs that have no relevance at all concerning orthodoxy such as eschatology. Because most of these churches hold to Essential Doctrines, they could be called essentially Christian. But some would have to be called Christian Cults because they are not Christian by virtue of the essence of their beliefs about Jesus Christ, yet still apply the name Christian to themselves.

THE VISABLE AND INVISABLE CHURCH

Who is to say which churches constitute the congregations of ‘True Christians’?

I think it is fair and right to say that there are two real churches of Jesus Christ. The visible and the invisible. The cooperate and the spiritual. We must realize that the church is personal and spiritual, and it is not an institution. There is not one denomination that is totally doctrinally correct. Denominations arise out of non-essential matters such as which day is the Sabbath (SDA), and should we be baptized by immersion (Baptist) or sprinkling. If a denomination arises out of a misconstrued essential doctrine, it is not a denomination but a Christian Cult.

It is safe to say that no church organization has the corner on True Christianity. There are true Christians within all Christian denominations and non-denominations. There are false Christians within all denominations and non denominations. But there is exactly zero false Christians in the invisible church.

CONCLUSION

My conclusion is that it is not appropriate to say there are many Christian denominations and try to link any and all proclaimed denominations with true Christianity. The Bible is full of warnings about false teachings, prophets, gospels, spirits and even false Jesus’s. The Bible even claims that it is a fallen angel’s agenda to pervert the truths contained in the Bible. History shows the fight to keep Christianity from being redefined. It is absurd to say “I will not consider Jesus because there is no unity in his followers” because there is Unity Within Diversity among the people of Jesus.

There are many individuals and groups that call themselves Christians, but you don’t become a car by parking in a garage. You have to become a car to be a car by nature. A Christian is a Christian by virtue of what they believe about Jesus Christ. I have avoided defining what is Essential Christian Doctrine because I don’t have time, but I will say it is safe to say if you don’t think Jesus is The Way, The Truth and The Light, you’re not a real Christian. It is safe to say that not all, but close to all Christian churches listed in my phone book believe He is The Way, The Truth and The Light. It is safe to say that of 19-34 thousand alleged Christian denominations that there is only one true church, and it is called the Body of Christ, of which Jesus is the head. The True Church is not a denomination. The true church are people that hold to Essential Christian Doctrine.

It should be no surprise that there is Unity Within Diversity within true Christianity. To be otherwise would be authoritarianism.

My Note on James Chapter 2 by Damon Whitsell

A foundational and basic error of interpretation lies in thinking that James 2 is the go to place in scripture to clarify what salvation is. CoC’ers that oppose salvation by faith alone seem to think James was teaching differently than Paul and the rest of scripture. But he is not. Paul is the apostle to the gentiles and James was a Jew speaking to Jews. They were speaking to two different audiences and emphasizing two different types of Justification. Paul said Abraham was justified by faith and had nothing to boast about before God. He was showing justification before God. Yet James said “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. (James 2:18). He is speaking about justification before men. And both Paul and James agree and said that Abraham believed God and it was counted or credited to him as righteousness..

To see the two different kind of justifications see (Rom 4:2) “For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God”. If Abraham was justified by works, as James at first glance appears to assert he is, he can glory before men but not before God. Romans 3: 19-20 says “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” The law makes all men “guilty before God” and “in his sight”, but we can be seen as just to men by observing and keeping the law and doing good works. This has to be the true understanding of James2:24 because the scripture is clear in so many places that we are saved through faith and not by works. James cannot be speaking in contradiction to the rest of scripture.

PARENTS: Talk to your Young Children about Sex and Porn (Porn is more of a Danger to Your Children than You Think)

Pollsters say there are 22,000,000 Porn Addicts in America and unfortunately some of those porn addicts are as young as eight years old. Even for those who are not addicted, regular porn use or a compulsion for porn can be very harmful to them, their relationships, our families, our communities and also Our World. The intention of this writing is to alert parents to the danger of porn to their children and our relationships and communities, and to provide anyone who would like to know about the dangers of porn addiction with the resources they might need to be aware of how harmful porn addiction is, and resources on how to fight and beat porn addiction.

Actor Terry Crews “came out” some years ago about his “porn addiction” and says it was a “major problem” in his life that “changed him” and almost caused him to get divorced from his wife Rebecca. Surprisingly many celebrities have also came out publicly about their porn addiction and have been advocating to make people aware of the danger that porn was to them and to warn others that the normalization of porn in our world is a “dirty little secret” that harmed them. And they are concerned enough to share their stories and struggles with porn addiction with others in hopes that it will help others beat their porn problems, compulsions or addictions. Besides Crews, one of the other very famous celebrities to come out about his porn addiction is Chris Rock. (Please see the many resource article links below this post to learn more about how porn is a danger to children and adults, how to spot porn addiction in children, to what extent porn is a problem in our world, how porn is harmful to our brains, our relationships, our families and communities – how anyone can effectively fight porn addiction – and more celebrities that have come out publicly about their porn addiction to help others.)

Terry Crews made a videos series he entitled “Dirty Little Secret” that is available on his Youtube Channel. In the seven 10–15-minute videos Crews talks about how porn was such a problem for him. Part seven is testimony from his wife Rebecca and they both testify how they both had to get therapy and make life style changes for Terry to beat his porn addiction and “save their marriage.” They both share tips, strategies and the actions they took to save their marriage and be a happy couple again.

Here is the playlist of Terrys’ “Dirty Little Secret” videos I made. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4krRkO4sHc&list=PLRwxWDQhxh1_FnqfGCOIIKrBO9bey1mWC). The video titles are… (1) Dirty Little Secret – Part 1 (2) Dirty Little Secret – Part 2 (3) Dirty Little Secret – Part 3 (4) Dirty Little Secret – Part 4 – SHAME! (5) Dirty Little Secret – Part 5 (REBECCA SPEAKS!) (6) Dirty Little Secret – Part 6 – ACTION! (7) Dirty Little Secret – Part 7 – SELF-DISCIPLINE vs. WILLPOWER!

I’m sure some of you are now thinking “Porn is not a problem, it’s just adult entertainment” or “Porn is a healthy alternative to being promiscuous.” Some of you might be thinking “I watch porn and it’s not a problem for me” and you might be right. But I would challenge you to visit the Facebook group Overcoming Pornography Addiction (a link to OPA will be in the comments below) and ask those that admit porn is an addiction to them, ask them “When and how did you discover you are addicted to porn?” and most of them will tell you “I never knew I was addicted to porn or that porn was a problem for me until I tried to quit watching porn”.

I would also challenge you to take the “90-Day “NoFap”/No Porn Challenge” (again, a link to the Challenge will be in the comments) from the mmindblowing website. (NoFap is a website and community forum that serves as a support group for those who wish to give up pornography and masturbation. Its name comes from the slang term ‘fap’, referring to male masturbation. While reasons for this avoidance vary by individual, the main motivation cited is attempting to overcome addiction to pornography or other compulsive sexual behaviours.) You’ll never know if porn is a problem for you unless you can see the harmful effects porn might be having on you, and most likely you will not know porn is a problem and be able to see the harm it might be causing you and you relationships, until you try to quit and possibly realize you cannot complete the 90-Day NoFap/NoPorn Challenge. If you cannot stop watching porn for 90 days, you should seriously consider that you might have a porn problem and look into the next important resource I found (that will also be linked in the comment section below).

The best learning material I found on the harmful effects of porn is a 3-part video series titled Brain-Heart-World produced by the Fight the New Drug Organization whose stated mission is “Fight the New Drug is a non-religious and non-legislative organization that exists to provide individuals the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding pornography by raising awareness on its harmful effects using only science, facts, and personal accounts.” They derive their name from the fact that many phycologists and psychiatrist say that porn is as addictive as any drug and that porn is the “new drug” that they are most concerned about. In fact, porn addiction is now a DSM-5 sub-criterion for the diagnosis of Hypersexual Disorder according to the American Psychiatric Association.

The 3 videos of the Brain-Heart-World series are named Brain, Heart, World, because those are the 3 areas that porn causes so much damage. The Brain-Heart-World videos are free to watch here https://brainheartworld.org

The 30-minute video entitled “Brain” cites of slew of scientific studies on how porn changes, and “rewires”, children’s and adults’ brains and the way they function, just like hard-core drugs do. That is why pornography is so addictive to so many children and adults. And the studies show that regular porn use and addiction changes the way humans behave that have detrimental effects on our families, our communities and our world, thus making porn considered to be a public health issue to some psychiatrists and psychologist.

The 30-minute video entitled “Heart” shows in great detail, again through scientific studies, how porn changes the behaviors, personalities and the relationship abilities of both children and adults. This greatly effects all regular porn users and addicts’ families and communities. Thus, making regular porn use and addiction, especially among children, a public health issue of great personal concern to those who are aware of the harmful effects of pornography.

The 30-minute video entitled “World” shows again through scientific studies how regular porn use and addiction gravely effects our whole world because it increases sexual abuse, sexual violence and sex trafficking all across the world. In this video you see testimonies of former porn actors and how involvement in the sex industry personally and drastically affected them in very harmful ways. And the video has a heart-wrenching testimony of a lady that was a victim of sex-trafficking as a child. There is even testimony from Elizibeth Smart who is maybe the most famous victim of kidnapping and sexual abuse. She talks vividly about how her assailant would view porn before raping her and would show her porn telling her, this is what I am going to do to you. She was 14 years old when this tragedy happened to her.

Thank you if you have taken time to read all of this. I would again encourage or challenge you to read some of the resource links I have included in the comment section below, if you think they might be helpful to you. Also, if I can help you in anyway, please feel free to send me an email @ damonw_25@yahoo.com and I will try my best to help you in any way I can.
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PUTTING GOD IN A BOX: the result of the personification of the Bible as the Holy Spirit. By Damon Whitsell

In the last two years, I have met about 10 Church of Christ Members online and exchanged dialogue with them. I have found that about half of them deny the Trinity by saying the Holy Spirit is not God. They justify this by personifying the Bible as the Holy Spirit. They turn a person into a thing. And they call an imperfect thing, the Holy Spirit. But only God is Holy. And the Holy Spirit is said to be Holy because he is God. There is no translation of the bible that is 100% correct from start to finish. I believe the KJV is very close to inerrant. But I no longer believe it to be totally inerrant.

Lets look at an illustration that points out how these Church of Christ members (later called COC) put God in a box

1. If there are tribes in the remote jungles of the Amazon region, that still have not been discovered (and I heard it said by some that it is most probable) then according to the COC conclusion that it is the bible that saves and not the Holy Spirit (called the HS hereafter) it would be an impossibility for them to be saved if they do not have a Bible in their hand. I heard it said that there are still some languages that still have no bible translation in those languages.

2. Lets say that I charter a deep sea boat to go fishing with just me and a captain. We had a fire and had to abandon ship, but I did not have time to get my bible before I jumped ship. Then while the captain and I was in the raft awaiting possible rescue, he informed that that he had never read the bible but sensing the seriousness of the situation, wanted to know the bible truth and to do what it said to be saved.

According to the COC member that personifies the bible as the HS, this man could not be saved. Because it is the bible that saves, not God. And in this very matter, you see the Palagianism of the COC smack ya right in the face. According to their beliefs about the bible and the HS, they would conclude that this man cannot be saved by my witness, or any other means that God could employ to reach the man. But if he just had a Bible, he could read it and grasp it under his own will to be saved. The COC believes just like Pelagius in that they do not think that it is God that saves by drawing men unto himself and authoring and finishing our salvation.

Back in the good old days before pelagianism made a comeback in the Restoration Movement and the restorationist religions that it created, God used to do it all in salvation. From point 1 to infinity and He got all the glory.

BEFORE GOD WAS IN A BOX.

God didn’t used to have to have a bible to reach men. He reached Abraham, Noah and Moses all without any written scripture. He spoke to them through miracles, dreams and visions. He spoke to their hearts and wrote his law on their heats. He drew them to himself very easily without any written revelation. The NT says that we can have the “mind of Christ” And there is no verse that says that you cannot get the mind of Christ only by reading the written word. Why do you think we are told to go into the world and make disciples, and not, go into the world and pass out scripture.

It is no surprise that the COC puts God in a box. I think the JW’s do the same thing with the personification of the bible (their version) as the HS. If you do a study on legalism (in particular legalism in the COC) you will see that it is so common among legalist to adhere to the letter of the law and not the spirit of the law, that you have to conclude that it is pandemic among them. They also put more emphasis on the written word than they do the God that wrote it.

WHY DO THEY PUT GOD IN A BOX???

(THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN MANY YEARS AGO)