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Jerry Starling

Marion & Me with Our First-born - in 1966

Marion & Me with Our First-born – in 1966

You may contact me by replying to any post in a comment.

Or, for more private communication, you can email me at eemjerry at gmail dot com. (I express my email address this way to avoid getting “spam” from spybots!) If you prefer “snail mail,” my mailing address is 450 Spreading Oak CIR, Apopka, FL 32712-3441. This will also guarantee confidentiality of our exchanges (unless one of us violates the confidence).

Now past my “three-score and ten” years, I have been a member of the churches of Christ from childhood. A graduate of five Christian schools – (Mt Dora [FL] Bible School, Alabama Christian College [Now Faulkner University], Harding University, Sunset School of Preaching [now Sunset International Bible Institute], and Cincinnati Christian Seminary [now University] – I have spent much of my life as a Missionary (New Zealand) and preaching in Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Ohio, and Michigan.

I am now “retired,” but working with Eastern European Mission as Regional Coordinator [aka fund-raiser] for Florida. My home congregation now is the Central Church of Christ, Altamonte Springs, FLMy wife, Marion, and I met in New Zealand where she had immigrated with her family from England, so we each went half-way around the world to meet each other! We have a son and daughter, each with one daughter. We also have an adopted daughter who died just before her 33rd birthday in November 2000.

Theologically, I am conservative. That is, I believe the Bible is a genuine and reliable revelation from God. I believe Jesus is God’s Son, our Savior, and Lord. I believe the Holy Spirit guided men of God as they wrote the Bible and that He lives within God’s people today helping them to become more and more like Jesus.

Ecclesiastically, I believe in the oneness of the church as the body of Christ. The Scriptures reveal a church that focused on Jesus, not on itself. That is the way the church should be today as well. While I have no desire to recreate the cultural and incidental features of the church in the 1st century, I have every desire to see the church today possess the same qualities that made Christians unique in Bible times. (See my series on the Traits of the New Testament Church.)

While all groups (including families) develop traditions over time, I want to be able to discern the difference between tradition and God’s revelation. I have no serious problem in parting with tradition; I never want to leave God’s revelation behind. For more on my concept of truth (since my blog title says I am committed to it!) see About This Blog, What Is Truth? and Can the Average Person Discern Truth?

Reading my posts in this blog will reveal me more than any personal statement I may make. Will you find complete consistency in all of my writings? Probably not. I can be as mixed up in my head as anyone – though I try to be as consistent as I can be. My constant touch stone, though, is not what I have written but what I have read – in the Word of God. Will I be consistent with that? This is my constant goal and desire.

I have frequently said that I believe my opinions are the very best in the world – because as soon as someone convinces me he has a better one, I adopt it as my own! This does not mean that I adopt every hair-brained idea that someone floats. It does mean that I am willing to exchange my present ideas for better ones that are consistent with the revealed will of God as I understand it.

My aim in this blog is to explore truth, not only as doctrine but as a way of life. I state my reasons for writing in my first post, Hello World. My concept of Truth is in What Is Truth? and at this post.

For more of my personal history, you can see the post, My Influencer: Parker Henderson.

I have had inquiries about using some of this material. I have no objection to anyone using anything on this blog. However, I do request that (1) you not use it to sell without specific permission and (2) you give attribution to “Jerry Starling, CommittedToTruth.wordpress.com/” with or without the specific page URL.

23 Responses

  1. I was doing some reading on Jay Quin’s site and decided to click on the link to your site for a visit. I like the comments you make and decided I need to get to know you a little better. So, I notice that you are working with Eastern European Mission as regional coordinator . . . and want to say thank you. About 4 years ago a good friend of mine asked me to go with him to the annual dinner EEM hosts in Waco, Texas. I was impressed with the presentation and have been a strong supporter ever since.

    Anyway . . . thank you for your work supporting EEM, and I’m looking forward to reading your meditations for communion.
    Brent,
    Thank you for your kind comments – and welcome as a reader!
    Jerry

    • Your Blog is excellent. Thank you, Jerry. I appreciated your blog on the importance and centrality of baptism.
      Mike Armour told me that the subject of non-instrumental worship seldom arose in Eastern Europe, because of the long history of the Eastern Orthodox church, which has consistently taught that instrumental music is not authorized in the New Testament.
      God bless you,
      Willis Page

  2. Dear Jerry,
    I picked your blog out of the other CC blogs because yours is titled, “Committed to Truth”. I support your scriptural statement of faith.
    Perhaps you can help me understand why the CC, as a body, is embracing the Contemplative movement and desires to be known as an Emerging church?
    Thank you for your time.
    In His Love,
    Susan

    • Dear Susan,

      I appreciate your kind comments in your first paragraph.

      I’m not sure how to respond to your question. The Church of Christ is a loose network of independent congregations with no central headquarters, so we do virtually nothing “as a body.”

      The movements you ask about (the “Contemplative movement” and “Emerging church” are ideas that I know little to nothing about.

      Now, I’m a pretty small potato in the Church as a whole, though I do speak in several dozen churches each year in my work with Eastern European Mission and talk with many more. I also read several blogs regularly.

      I know those movements are not part of the thinking of the conservative, traditional, mainline Churches of Christ, and they are marginal (at most) among those congregations who consider themselves as “progressive.”

      Of course, there are several denominations who use the name “Church of Christ” in one form or another. Perhaps you are thinking about one of those.

      I am curious to know more about how you came to have this question.

      With joy, peace and love in Christ,
      Jerry

  3. Jerry,
    Great web site.
    Looking forward to participating in the discussions.
    Jack Jr.

  4. Hello
    While exploring your website, I meandered to Maxine’s page and the pictures do not show up. I thought you’d like to know and that perhaps you have some advice asa to how i can view the pictures on that page??

    Kay

  5. Jerry you have help me alot on all my bible questions,GOD BLESS YOUR MINISTRY

  6. Jerry,
    I just wanted to reply to your recent comment on Jay’s article, and say that what you had to say was quite good and thoughtful. Thank you for your continued work in the service of the Lord in reaching out to the lost in the former USSR… Keep in touch.
    Jack Exum jr.

    • Jack,
      You will soon be receiving notice (if you have not already) of our next Million Dollar Sunday for Bibles in the schools of two Ukrainian States scheduled for April 29. Things are happening in Ukraine that make us believe that there is a strong possibility that in the next few years we may have opportunity to place Bibles into the schools of virtually all of the 25 states in Ukraine. Please be praying to this end! I hope to be able to visit with the GCS church before then if at all possible.

  7. Hi Jerry,

    How refreshing to google a question and find someone from the Church of Christ giving the answer. I love it. I have been in the church for most of my life. Baptized at 10 and I am now 65. Thank you for giving me insight as to Abraham being a Jew. This just came up in a class and I was always under the impression that he was a Jew, I guess because his decendants were.(I like “Father of the Jews”) I believe you did a very good job of explaining it based on the scriptures, which is the only way to answer any Biblical question. I thought and hoped you might be a believer in the Church of Christ when I saw COMMITTED TO THE TRUTH. That is how we as a people should be known. Coincidentally, my wife and I were members of Bammel Road Church of Christ back in the 70’s when The Eastern European Movement and printing and distributing bibles was getting off the ground. Please keep up your good work in the faith.

    In Him,
    Larry Phillips

  8. where was the land of absha-ref to ancient egypt.

    • I could not find this name in the Bible after searching in about 15-18 different translations. I did find it on google. It is the name of a singing group – and there are quite a few Arabian horses with absha in their names. Some of these are located in Egypt – though the page on which I found information about 19 horses with this as part of their name was printed in Malay. I saw it translated into English. I also found a yellow-page listing for a company named Absha in Pennsylvania. Google the word and you will get more than 50,000 hits. I just looked at the first page of 10.

  9. I Love Your Photo with the darling, chubby Baby..Nice Glasses, cute..I remember the glasses..I used 2 live in Ft Myers- Florida..I really enjoy Your writing, especially on Father Abraham..Thanks Jerry..You are very SMART..Thank You 4 being a Missionary..God Bless You and Your Mrs..and The Kids, grandchhildren 2 always..

  10. Hi Jerry. Thanks for giving us a great resource for study and preparation. Your efforts are most appreciated.
    It’s also great to make the EEM connection. My wife is a youth camp volunteer now for 4 years running.
    Blessings.
    Scott M.
    Winston-Salem, NC

  11. Hello Jerry,
    You have created some questions in this post, I felt that I would rather discuss with you not necessarily the whole blog of Jay’s.
    Larry,
    Further to what you just said, remember that when Ananias went to Saul in Damascus he said Jesus sent him that Saul might receive his sight and that he might be filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:15). Perhaps if we focused more on being filled with the Holy Spirit (which leads to the life of a disciple) and less on the forgiveness of sins (which points to our past life of sin), our converts just might be disciples instead of church members!
    Jerry
    I being a member of CoC for over 50 years almost all considered conservative can understand fully now that we have neglected the teaching of the Holy Spirit. I truly thought that while attempting to teach Christ to a lost individual, we fully conveyed the fact that once they committed and were baptized those past sins were forgiven and remembered no more, that meant we also must not act in a way to indicate that we still remembered the sins we knew about. The dwelling on this subject does not apply to Christians but to those that are in need to become Christians, or be forgiven of their sins, those who are where we at one time were. In all the years that I have spent attempting to convert the lost to Christ, I thought that we were attempting to make disciples (Christ followers) not just church members. In fact, I never considered that we could make church members (add to the church), I thought that the scriptures stated that God was in charge of that, and anyone that we lead to commitment we were bound by God to accept as members, brothers. It almost appears to me as you stated above, and of course you should be able to understand that many on the blog have attempted to remove baptism completely from the equation, I did not understand you to be indicating that action. What I hoped that you are stating is that after becoming Christians and receiving the Holy Spirit we should have moved on in our life through the Holy Spirit.
    I do believe that there is strong evidence in the actions of Paul with those in Ephesus that they believed and committed to Christ in a way that Paul saw acceptable, but as his own communication with them portray, the reason that they had not received the Holy Spirit was not being baptized into Christ. This was the only thing that was lacking, if it was not that why didn’t he go ahead and except their baptism and lay hands on them giving them the Holy Spirit? I have not found any scriptures that would portray a message or an action that is not in support of Paul’s actions, if you have relay that information to me.
    Thanks for your comments.

    • Larry,

      You are correct in observing that I am NOT trying to remove baptism from the equation. My Master’s Thesis (written in 1976) is titled, The Use of Baptism in Exhorting Christians. In every mention of baptism in the epistles, when the apostles were addressing Christians, it is used to exhort Christians in the new life that is in Jesus. In Romans 6, for example, Paul points back to baptism as their crucifixion with Christ – but he also reminds them that in being buried with Him, they were also raised “to walk in newness of life,” which is life in the Spirit.

      When we only stress the remission of sins with little (or no) talk about receiving the Spirit and what that means for us as God’s children, we breed complacency among our converts. If we treat salvation as merely a matter of having our sins forgiven, many people will feel that once they have been baptized they will have their ticket punched all the way to heaven. I realize that I exaggerate in saying it this way. I overstate what most (at least most today – as I was growing up in the 1940’s & 50’s, it was not not an exaggeration) are teaching. Yet, even among those who talk about the Holy Spirit there is reluctance to accept that the Spirit really is given to us that we might bear the Fruit of the Spirit in a way that makes a real difference in our lives.

      That is why I suggested that we need to talk about the Holy Spirit so that church members will really be disciples of Jesus instead of being content just to be baptized and come to church.

  12. Jerry,
    It has taken me a long time to get back on your site, I am proud of your comments here. As you notice on Jay’s site I seem to run into many comments that are vastly different than I have encountered elsewhere. Until the last few years (obtaining a fast enough internet connection and a little more time to devote to quality communications). Most all of those that I was able to study with or even communicate with were the local preachers that it appears were really programmed and could not study to learn for themselves. We all have experienced what occurs when someone attempts to test the messages that have been delivered and approved. It’s easy to see how the church has been controlled by professional educators, who were controlled by their superiors. Oddly enough sometimes I had opportunities to converse with educated Christians that were not under the control of our sect, most times we could agree on subjects that were not presented the way we saw them.
    Sure is good to be able to communicate and learn without being condemned.

    • Larry,
      I know the lone-wolf feeling you describe above! There are so many “issues” that are sacred cows and simply not to be questioned! I have lived much of my life not raising those questions. Now that I’m in my twilight years (I turned 73 this month – but my parents are both still living at 92 and almost 94), I have begun to speak out at least a little more. As a result, I have been branded a heretic, though I’ve never tried to insist on any congregation or person accepting my views – and the meaning of “heretic” is one who is schizmatic.

      I rejoice in the on-line community of disciples where serious questions can be asked and discussed openly.

      Welcome to the conversation!

  13. Looking forward to you being with us October 27.

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