by Al Maxey

Issue #362 ------- September 2, 2008
We are much like Pilate. We are always
asking, "What is truth?" and then crucifying
the truth that stands before our eyes.

Thomas Merton {1915-1968}
"No Man Is An Island"

Putting On Jesus Christ
An Examination of Romans 13:14

This past June 26, in Reflections #353 -- Immersed by One Spirit, I examined in quite some depth the apostle Paul's instruction in 1 Cor. 12:12-13 in which he declares to the brethren in Corinth, "Just as there is one body that has many members, and all of these many members of the body are one body, so also is Christ; for we were all immersed into the one body by the one Spirit, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free men; and we all have been given to drink of one Spirit" [Hugo McCord's New Testament Translation of the Everlasting Gospel]. As I sought to demonstrate within that previous study, it is my strong conviction that the "immersion" discussed is not water baptism, but rather represents a spiritual act performed BY the Holy Spirit, the purpose of which is to unite the many diverse parts (believers) into a unified, harmonious, functional whole body. The Holy Spirit spiritually plunges us into Jesus in an intimate relationship. I would urge a careful reading of the above study for a better appreciation of this doctrine, as it will greatly assist the reader in better comprehending this present exegesis of Rom. 13:14.

There are a couple of companion passages that I strongly believe provide us with some additional insight into the thinking of the apostle Paul on this vital matter. "For as many of you as were immersed into Christ clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is not male and female, for you are all united in Christ Jesus" [Gal. 3:27-28, Hugo McCord's translation]. Not a few translations render the final phrase: "For you are all one in Christ Jesus." This is essentially the same message as that found in 1 Cor. 12:13. Paul is stressing our very oneness, and a unity of diverse brethren which comes from this immersion by the Holy Spirit of these diverse elements into a spiritual union with Jesus Himself, thereby making of us One Body. When the Spirit plunges us into Him, we are thereafter fully "clothed" with Christ Jesus. The Greek word translated "clothed" is enduo, which signifies "to be arrayed, invested; to be clothed with." The Analytical Greek Lexicon states, "to be invested with spiritual gifts, graces, or character" [p. 138]. When the Holy Spirit plunges us completely and intimately into Jesus, we are so utterly immersed in Him that we are daily thereafter increasingly transformed into His character, overwhelmed with His grace, and endowed with His gifts. It is this immersion of which Paul speaks, NOT the rite of water baptism. It is an immersion performed BY the Spirit of God that incorporates us into the Son and thus not only unites us with Him, but also with all others who have been thusly incorporated by the Spirit into the Son. THEREIN is the basis of our unity and oneness!! Paul tells us that when this is our reality, we, in effect, have cast off our "old man" and have "put on the new self" who is being transformed into the very image of the One into whom we have been immersed -- "a renewal in which there's no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all" [Col. 3:10-11]. It is an immersion we dare not deny, and dare not diminish, both of which I believe we do when we seek to restrict the meaning of "immersion" in these passages to the rite of water baptism.

There are still those who will adamantly insist, however, that the phrase "clothed yourselves with Christ" in Gal. 3:27 (or "have put on Christ" -- KJV) may only be accomplished by water baptism. Their teaching is: when you submit to the rite of water baptism, you at that precise moment "put on" or "clothe yourself" with Christ Jesus. Indeed, some declare the phrase can mean nothing else. However, I would urge these people to consider Paul's teaching in Rom. 13:14, in which we find this phrase: "Put on the Lord Jesus Christ." This is exactly the same Greek word that is used in Gal. 3:27 ... and Paul is speaking here to Christians. "It is plain that this exhortation is addressed to Christians" [The Pulpit Commentary, vol. 18, p. 397]. These are men and women who are already in that intimate union with Christ, and yet we find Paul urging them to "clothe themselves" with Jesus. If that can only be done via water baptism, then what does Paul mean here when he urges those who have already submitted themselves to water baptism to "put on" the Lord Jesus Christ?! Evidently this particular phrase can, and indeed it clearly does, refer to something else entirely. Further, I believe that when we come to recognize Paul's actual teaching in this text, it will lend additional support to my above interpretation of 1 Cor. 12:13 and Gal. 3:27, neither of which, in my view, has water baptism primarily in view.

Does this perception in any way whatsoever diminish the place of water baptism as a visible demonstration of faith; as an evidence essential to our faith response? Of course not. I am in no way suggesting such a thing. I am merely suggesting that perhaps we have misapplied the above passages in our zeal to prove a particular doctrine and practice that, frankly, if one is not careful, can be easily given improper emphasis and thereby abused. Water baptism most definitely has its place in the process that leads us to and evidences our union with Christ Jesus. I fear, however, that too many for too long have elevated it to such a place of distinction that the work of the Spirit has been all but forgotten, if not replaced altogether. This is dangerous, and such a practice really needs to be challenged.

With all that said, let's notice the immediate context of Paul's statement to these Roman brethren in Rom. 13:14. He is urging these disciples of Christ to be alert, to rouse themselves from spiritual slumber, for they are no longer denizens of night, but citizens of light. Thus, they must increasingly put off the garments of darkness and increasingly put on the garments of daylight. One does not go about the city during the day in his pajamas, but dresses appropriately for the day's activities. As Christians, we are in a war with the attitudes and actions of the darkness that is all about us, thus we must "put on the armor of light" [vs. 12]. This will equip us for the battles ahead. "Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm" [Eph. 6:11-13]. The apostle Paul continues: "But you, brethren, are not in the darkness ... for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober ... since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation" [1 Thess. 5:4-8]. As you can easily see, this is a rather common theme with Paul, and he urges the saints to conduct themselves as warriors of the Light, and to shun the evil deeds of darkness.

This whole passage speaks of how the Christian is to clothe himself. Indeed, the term "put on" in both vs. 12 and vs. 14 is in the middle voice in Greek. "Voice is that property of the verbal idea which indicates how the subject is related to the action" [Dana & Mantey, A Manual Grammar of the Greek NT, p. 155]. "The middle voice is that use of the verb which describes the subject as participating in the results of the action" [ibid, p. 157]. In other words, the apostle Paul is clearly speaking of personal responsibility here -- we ourselves must lay aside the deeds of darkness, take up the armor, and put on both the armor and the nature of our Savior. Is there One who has been given to assist us in this determination? Yes, the Holy Spirit. Left alone, we would certainly struggle to achieve these goals, but with His loving assistance the clothing process becomes infinitely more attainable. Nevertheless, we still struggle with our human nature, and thus the challenge of the apostle Paul to these beloved brethren, as well as to us, to daily perceive we are of the day rather than of the night, and thus must behave accordingly ... and dress accordingly (figuratively and spiritually speaking).

Some Bible students are somewhat puzzled by the concept of "putting on" a person. Yes, we may put on armor or clothing, but what is meant by putting on another being? "The phrase to 'put on' a person, which seems a harsh expression in our language, was one not infrequently used by the Greek writers, and means to imbibe his principles, to imitate his example, to copy his spirit, to become like him" [Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible, e-Sword]. John Wesley, in his Explanatory Notes on this passage, observed, "It is a strong and beautiful expression for the most intimate union with Him, and being clothed with all the graces which were in Him. The apostle does not write, 'Put on purity and sobriety, peacefulness and benevolence,' but he says all this and a thousand times more at once, in saying, 'Put on Christ.'" Moses E. Lard declared, "Lay off the works of darkness, and put on Christ in their stead. Its meaning is: Let your whole exterior life, as seen by the world, be but a reproduction of the temper and conduct of Christ. Be Christ over again, both in the inner man and the outer life" [Commentary on Paul's Letter to the Romans, p. 409]. "So invest and identify yourselves with the spirit of Christ as to reproduce it in your outward walk and conduct" [Charles Ellicott, Ellicott's Commentary on the Whole Bible, vol. 7, p. 258]. "To put Christ on means the Christian changes his manner of life into a living sacrifice just as the life of Christ was a living sacrifice. Not as one puts Him on in baptism, but as a transforming by a renewing of the mind and a conforming to" His very nature and attributes [Lena Rea, Romans: From a Woman's Point of View, p. 134].

Kenneth Wuest, the renowned Greek scholar, stated, "When the Christian puts on Christ, he clothes his soul in the mortal disposition and habits of Christ" [Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek NT, vol. 1, Romans, p. 229]. The Pulpit Commentary suggests, and it does so rather poetically, that we are to be "pilgrims of the dawn," and that "the great business of these pilgrims is to occupy the precious moments of the morning in weaving into their nature the very character of Christ as the apparel" of our daily walk with Him [vol. 18, p. 406]. David Lipscomb observed within his commentary on Romans, "we put Him on in life and character by living the life He lived" [p. 242]. Adam Clarke declared, "To 'put on' the Lord Jesus Christ means to receive His doctrine, copy His example, and seek the things which belong to another life" [Clarke's Commentary, vol. 6, p. 149]. "This mode of speech itself is taken from the custom of stage players: they assumed the name and garments of the person whose character they were to act, and endeavoured as closely as possible to imitate him in their spirit, words, and actions" [ibid].

Again, some will insist that the concept of "putting on Jesus" signifies baptism in water, and only baptism in water. Many commentators noted that a few had indeed raised this concern, but they dismissed it as the protests of religious dogmatists. Dr. W. Robertson Nicoll, for example, in his classic work The Expositor's Greek Testament, noted, "The Christian life is not exhausted in this act (baptism), which is rather the starting point for a putting on of Christ in the ethical sense, a clothing of the soul in the moral disposition and habits of Christ" [vol. 2, p. 700]. Dr. Nicoll goes on to declare, "Every time we perform an ethical act of this kind (exhibiting the qualities of Jesus) we put on the Lord Jesus Christ more fully" in our daily lives [ibid]. "A slight difficulty meets us at this point, since believers have already put on Christ at conversion and baptism. But there is always room for decisive renewal, for fresh advance. To be clothed with the Lord Jesus Christ should mean that when the believer comes under scrutiny from others, he enables them to see the Savior" [The Expositor's Bible Commentary, vol. 10, p. 143]. What these various biblical scholars are really saying is: each day when we go forth into the world about us, we should make certain that we visibly array ourselves with the nature of our Lord Jesus Christ. Just as we take up our cross daily, putting self to death anew each day, so also do we daily put on our armor, take up our sword, and don the garments of His righteous nature. Dr. Paul Kretzmann stated that Christians "should continue to put on Jesus day after day, clothing our soul in His example and model, and following Him on the paths of sanctification ... adorned with the image of Jesus Christ as our greatest ornament" [Popular Commentary of the Bible: The NT, vol. 2, p. 72]. The Pulpit Commentary asserts that "there is no real contradiction" here at all, for Christians "are but exhorted to realize in actual life the meaning of their baptism" [vol. 18, p. 392]. In other words, if we have made that visible confession of faith in Him, evidenced through our baptism in water, then we must daily thereafter take up our cross and put on His nature. Thus, clothed in Him, arrayed in His character, we serve as lights in the darkness about us.

Down, But Not Out
A Study of Divorce and Remarriage
in Light of God's Healing Grace

A 200 page book by Al Maxey
Publisher: (301) 695-1707
Reflections on the Holy Spirit
A Published Tract by Al Maxey
Order From: J. Elbert Peters:
The Maxey-Broking Debate
on the Doctrine of Patternism

{This debate is now in progress}
Readers' Reflections

From an Elder in Kentucky:

Dear Brother Al, I have been reading your Reflections and other material on your web site for the past year or so. I have found it to be some of the best material I have ever read!! Thank you so much for sharing your insights into various areas. The study you did on the work of elders in the church is absolutely priceless, and it has been a great help to me, as well as to the other three elders here. I have not found anyone else who does the depth of study that you do, and who shares this information with others. I recently bought your book Down, But Not Out, and I am also reviewing your debates on MDR and patternism. Would you please add me to your list of email subscribers for your weekly Reflections. Thank you!

From a Reader in Georgia:

Dear Brother Al, I am behind in reading the debate, but am now reading Darrell Broking's 2nd affirmative and just had to stop so that I could mention this to you! I suspect, in light of his approach, that it will be very difficult for you to remember to respond to him with love. However, I encourage you to read between his words and see a soul. I encourage you to write as though you really could convince not only him, but the others who are reading what you write. I encourage you to write your responses to him as gently as the Holy Spirit allows you to, while still realizing that at times the Holy Spirit does expect us to speak boldly using firm words. I am praying for both you and Darrell, and for all who read this debate.

From an Elder in Oklahoma:

Dear Bro. Al, I was particularly impressed with this issue of Reflections ("The Bondage of Silence"). There is a book I think you might find interesting, if you do not already have it. The title is "Kingdom Ethics" by Glen H. Stassen and David P. Gushee. I am about a third of the way through it and have really been challenged. It maketh me think muchly!! Have a great day and may the Lord bless thee and thine.

From a Missionary in India:

Brother Al, Your last Reflections -- "The Bondage of Silence" -- was very good. Thanks. I am a Christian with an open mind!!

From a Reader in England:

Brother Al, Keep up the good work of making us all rethink/reexamine our personal beliefs!!

From a Missionary in Tanzania, Africa:

Bro. Al, Just a note to say hello and thank you for your continued efforts to advance the cause of Christ. Your teaching has helped me personally: helping me to see the operation of grace in a broader sense. We are on the same page, brother. May God continue to bless your mission. There are so many forces at work to defeat the message of Jesus that it sometimes seems like an uphill battle. And yet, even though battles may be lost, we all know Who wins the war!! God bless you.

From a Missionary in Rome, Italy:

Dear Bro. Maxey and Bro. Broking, I am an Italian missionary with the Mediterranean Christian Mission. I am also the legal representative of an Italian Christian publication called L'Appello Cristiano ("The Christian Call" --, in which we publish various Christian articles including some about the Restoration Movement. Recently, I have come across the debate on the biblical pattern for the church that brother Maxey has posted on his web site. As the legal representative of the above publication, I want to officially ask you if we may have your permission to translate your debate into Italian and publish it in L'Appello Cristiano. We believe that this type of debate, if done in Christian love, and with a common understanding that all of us are applying the Scriptures to our lives and to the church to the best of our abilities, can be both informative and helpful for those of us who are also debating in various ways these same issues and principles. Your permission, therefore, will be of some benefit to the Italian Christians. I hope and pray that God will continue to bless you and your efforts to please Him.

From a Reader in Texas:

Brother Al, Not too long ago I stumbled across a blog site created and maintained by a graduate of the Brown Trail School of Preaching. Unfortunately, I failed to note the address, and I also failed to note the name of the author. However, he had the following comment regarding the "law of expediency" --- "It is difficult to understand how the 'law of expediency' can at the same time justify all of one's own traditions and yet reject all of the innovations of another." Bro. Al, as for your debate and your writings on the "law of silence," keep on keeping on!! Thank you for continuing to preach the "law of specificity."

From a Reader in Alabama:

Al, Name one thing that I practice where the law of Christ is silent. If there are many, according to your writings, then it will not be hard to name at least one. YOU are the one who is practicing silence, since you hide behind your computer and quote atheists and all kinds of goofy people like Martha (sic) Luther King, and very seldom make your point using only the Bible. Why is that? I'll tell you why. You can't make your point only on the Bible. I really feel sorry for you and the people you have duped into believing your false teaching. You will regret your teaching one day, for sure!!

From a Minister in California:

Dear Brother Al, What a masterful description you have given us in your last Reflections of the insidious "Law of Silence." Thanks!!! Being from the Independent Christian Church fellowship, I have held the position that you've expressed for a good many years now. While we do have pockets of legalistic patternism among us, they have pretty much isolated themselves from the rest of us, and they are mostly a non-force within our fellowship. What you have presented in "The Bondage of Silence" is far more complete, thorough, studied and artfully presented than anything I have ever heard or found that debunks the ridiculousness of this "Law of Silence." And even better, how heart-warming to read the many personal testimonies of those you've led out of the bondage of silence! Truly, God has called you to this ministry, and many will rise up and call you "blessed." May God go with you, brother! Carry on!

From a Reader in Texas:

Bro. Al, Your latest Reflections was excellent, and very well-worded in my (not always) humble opinion! Keep it up, brother!

From a Reader in [Unknown]:

Dear Brother Al, Thank you for standing strong and "contending earnestly for the faith" in the midst of a "namby-pamby" atmosphere. I'm glad to be your brother in Christ!!

From a Reader in Texas:

Dear Brother Al, That was a great Reflections article on the "The Bondage of Silence." I really loved that last sentence!! By the way, one of the members of David Brown's ContendingFTF Internet group read my email to Darrell Broking that was placed on there, and he told me he is now starting to question the teachings of that group on the fellowship issue. He has begun to restudy this issue!! Al, the Truth is getting through to some of them via your debate!! Keep up the good work.

From a Reader in California:

Dear Brother Al, I often think of the issue of legalism and initiative in terms of a man who marries his employee. While she was a servant, he would leave a list of chores for her to do every day on the refrigerator, and she would fulfill them without resentment. It was her duty. Nothing more than the doing what was on the list was expected, and on her free time she could please herself. But after they were married, she was no longer a servant, no longer bound to follow orders. And on his part, he felt it would be inappropriate, a violation of his wife's status, to post any more orders on the refrigerator. Now he enjoyed seeing her innovate. He wanted her to have the freedom to show her love in her own way. She could remember from her past association what he had liked and disliked, and she kept this in mind as she innovated. But she was now able to go far beyond the "pattern of orders" in pleasing him. He loved being surprised. He loved seeing indications of her love. It would have pained him if his bride restrained her freedom, submitted to a list of orders, and continued to treat him as her boss only. He now craved unexpected indications of love. He did not hold it against her if she should innovate something he wasn't really fond of. If she made a mistake, then he was pleased anyway by her initiative. So it is in the Christian life. We are no longer slaves. We are the bride of Christ. We're no longer slaves to the law, though it is to our benefit to keep the spirit of it in mind. But, where the law leaves off, we can go far beyond with innovative ways to please Jesus.

From a Reader in California:

Hey Brother Al, "The Bondage of Silence" was a great article. Also, I am really enjoying the debate you are having with Darrell Broking. One thing that strikes me whenever I see the harsh, unwavering stance of the patternists is that they seem to put all of their faith in their own ability to get things just right, and to never make a mistake in their interpretations or understanding. How can that be?! I am SO happy that my salvation depends on the blood of Christ, and NOT on the perfection of my own scholarship.

From a Reader in Alaska:

Brother Al, I just finished reading your last issue of Reflections ("The Bondage of Silence"). What a pure pleasure it is to read you!! My wife and I stopped by your congregation last March for a quick visit, and I want to repeat our offer to you that we made at that time -- you may use our home here in Alaska as an "escape" for you and your wife when/if you ever get the "hankering" to see Alaska, or just to get away. Al, the way you used the "son to the store" story in your last Reflections was very moving, and I think it was very close to how God would feel. I just wanted to write and thank you for being you!! May God bless you richly.

From a Reader in [Unknown]:

Hello Brother Al, I grew up in a patternistic church, and over the years I have come to realize that we have freedom in Christ and the patternistic beliefs shackle us. I commend you on the good fight you are waging, and I pray that many eyes will be opened and many hearts changed. Thank you!!

From a Reader in [Unknown]:

Brother Al, I've been sitting on pins and needles waiting for Darrell Broking's next installment, wondering how he is going to close out his affirmative position. By the way, I'm not allowed on their ContendingFTF Internet group, so I'm curious about how they are handling the distribution of these posts on their end. May I just say that I have a lot of respect for what you're trying to do and the grace with which you go about it. You might even say that I'm a fan.

From a Reader in Arkansas:

Brother Al, I have no desire to become enmeshed in the ongoing Maxey-Broking Debate on patternism, but I must comment that Broking's fourth affirmative is such an affront to cognitive communication as to defy comprehension, including his gross assumption of God's prerogative of determining who He will save. Such a practice is clearly opposed by Rom. 14:4, which warns against man's predilection to play God. Broking apparently has no compunction against doing this! It is part of the broader heresy of Legalism in our fellowship, originally inspired by Daniel Sommer's "Address and Declaration" in 1889, which you describe in Reflections #213. I know you have your plate full responding to Broking's latest 39 page "affirmative" (do you really think it is even worthwhile doing so?!), but I will offer you one paragraph of what I have written earlier about this issue -- The future division in our brotherhood will increasingly be between those who believe we are made righteous by our correct works of obedience to God's law, and those who believe it is through God's grace by our limited obedient response of faith in Jesus Christ. I see the two schemes as diametrically opposed for the Christian. I can not have it both ways. I must trust in my perfect obedience or in my imperfect faith. To the disinterested observer my actions may look the same either way, but the difference is in the motives. One is obeying a "written code" in order to receive the reward of salvation and avoid condemnation by following the proper worship patterns. The other is responding to the "new life of the Spirit" out of gratitude for receiving the gift of salvation by grace through faith, realizing that there is "no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus." I may not be able to observe the difference, but God can, and I will leave it up to Him to judge.

From a Reader in Texas:

Dear Brother Maxey, Just a short note. I just read Darrell Broking's fourth affirmative in the debate. I hope that you can make some sense of it!! After reading his post, I did not understand about 75% of what he was saying (or trying to say). Maybe you can understand his ramblings more than I was capable of. Thank you again for trying to bring these narrow-minded people to God's Truth. May God bless you.

From a Reader in Texas:

Dear Brother Al, I read Darrell's 4th affirmative and was dumbfounded. You just have to wonder sometimes if he even speaks the same language as we do. But, as we all know -- it is the readers that really matter in this debate. Changing Darrell's mind is not really the goal. Nevertheless, as frustrating as it is for me to read his "logic," I can only imagine the depth of disgust that you are experiencing from having to wade through his ramblings. May our God give you strength, my friend.

From a Reader in Oklahoma:

Bro. Al, Can you believe that last affirmative by Broking?!! 39 pages!!!! I have tried to follow all these articles in this debate, but I only got through 10 pages of this one, then just scanned it to page 20, and after that just skipped the rest. Best regards to you, brother!

From a Reader in Manila, Philippines:

Dear Bro. Al, I have been doing research on the Internet and have come to know the writings of Carl Ketcherside, Cecil Hook and now of you. I am so glad that I am not actually alone in this sad journey of trying to live faithfully to the Lord and not be overcome by the "group think" affliction of too many in the church. Here in the Philippines, the "official" teaching of the Churches of Christ is that there is NO salvation outside of the Churches of Christ (non-instrumental). How Romanist this stand is!! They teach that all others are "hyphenated Christians" (i.e., Baptist-Christian, Methodist-Christian, etc.), and only they are the TRUE Christians. But the truth is: they are also hyphenated Christians. They are Church of Christ Church-Christians. By the way, I really enjoy reading your Reflections, so please keep up the good work.

From a Reader in [Unknown]:

Bro. Al, It took me quite a while to get through all 39 pages of Darrell's fourth affirmative. It was necessary for me to reread several parts to try and make some sense of it. It is amazing to me how someone can have spent so much time in study of Scripture, and yet remain so ignorant of its meaning!! He will start to make what seems to be a viable remark, and then turn right around and shoot himself in the foot. I have also come to the conclusion that Darrell pretty much accepts the KJV as the only "authorized" translation. I would like Darrell to sing Psalm 150, if he hasn't torn that one from his Bible. Al, I need your prayers to help me be more patient with "these types." I honestly don't know how you do it, except for the power given to you by the Master. Bless you, Al. You are doing a mighty work for the Lord, and if only one person sees the light from this debate, it was worth it. Thank you, brother.

From a Reader in Oklahoma:

Bro. Al, Your fourth rebuttal to Darrell Broking was clear, logical, well-organized, and fairly easy to follow. When compared to Darrell Broking's fourth affirmative, it is a shining example of good communication. Thank you.

From a Minister in India:

Beloved Brother Al, I loved your insightful lesson "The Bondage of Silence." I think now the time has come to change our stand from "We are silent where the Bible is silent" (which the legalists never are), to "Silence neither prescribes nor proscribes some action." Thank you.

From a Reader in the Philippine Islands:

My Dear Brother Al, Your masterful handling of the various facets of the issue on patternism in your debate with Darrell Broking is such a great encouragement!! You have done a great service to the Churches of Christ and to Christianity in general for your bold, well-reasoned interrogation of this form of legalism. I am one of those many throughout the world praying that your ministry will continue to help more and more believers to be set free from the dungeon of sectarianism. Like some of your other avid readers, I don't think this dialogue with Broking and his ilk will budge them from their trench of legalism, but I do believe that the discussion will eventually help others see the futility of fighting alongside commanders who are more interested in preserving a man-made religious system than in promoting Jesus' message of liberation. More power to you, brother!

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