April 2016 Issue of Christian Worker (How to Study the Bible – Part 1.)

Here’s a link to the latest PDF issue of the Christian Worker.

Here are the topics that you will find:

  • Studying with the Right Attitude (Johnie Scaggs Jr)
  • The Importance of Effective Bible Study (Cody Westbrook)
  • Understanding Bible Authority (Kevin Rhodes)
  • The Silence of the Scriptures (Steven Lloyd)
  • The Importance of Context (Rick Brumback)
  • Types and Shadows (Don Walker)
  • Understanding the Covenants (Clay Bond)

Christian Worker is an edification effort of the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas.

You can subscribe to the email version of the Christian Worker paper by clicking on the publications link on their website and then following the given instructions…or by clicking on the link provided here in The Fellowship Room under the “Friends” category to your right.

Copyright © 2016 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.

#authority-in-religion, #authority-of-the-scriptures, #bible-ignorance, #bible-study, #biblical-covenants, #characteristics-of-the-bible, #christian-worker, #context, #heart-and-mind, #inspiration-of-the-bible, #rightly-dividing-the-word-of-god, #sufficiency-of-the-bible, #types-and-shadows

Sometimes you have to explain it a little better

The other night I told my 4-year-old to pick up the tablet that was on the floor.

She looked at me and said, “That’s not a tablet.”

Was I wrong? Was she right? Not a chance! We just had a little misunderstanding.

You see, when I told her to pick up the tablet I was talking about that thing that consisted of a stack of papers bound together with a spine. You old people know what I’m talking about right? When my daughter heard tablet, well, because of her age and life experience, all she thinks of is an electronic piece of equipment.

The point that I want to make is that many times in life (spiritually speaking), we may take our knowledge and understanding for granted when we mention things like church, baptism, sin, being saved, and what righteousness is all about.

Remember, there are a lot of people out there who think Christ is Jesus’ last name!

This is why I had a teacher tell me one time that, while teaching and preaching, I should never underestimate the ignorance of the listening audience. It’s a lesson worth remembering for all of us.

So the next time you mention a biblical principle to someone and they make a weird look with their face – they may not disagree with you; they just may not understand what you’re talking about.

So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him.” (Acts 8:30-31)

#bible-ignorance, #bible-knowledge, #spiritual-illustrations, #teaching, #understanding

Why Ridgedale church of Christ Is Getting Slammed

In the greatest sermon ever preached, Jesus wrote, “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Mat. 5:12-13).  Persecution takes many forms, but if you want to see one form of it simply go to Ridgedale’s Facebook page and look at the dozens of examples of tolerance from broad-minded people as they help that congregation face what the world thinks of them.

An article by Kevin Hardy in today’s Times Free Press online (http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2013/aug/21/repent-or-leave/), which reflects some basic ignorance of what the Bible teaches about church discipline, unleashed a firestorm of hateful response by readers who are on Facebook and who in turn posted their remarks on the aforementioned page.  My prediction is that things will get worse before they get better for the good people at Ridgedale.  Understanding that we do not have all the facts of the case and would not expect a person in the world to give them to us, what we should do is focus on what is alleged.  A professed lesbian’s family that attended Ridgedale was approached by church leaders after the woman’s mother publicly supported her daughter as she sought same-sex benefits from the city of Collegedale.  As the family’s support of their daughter was public, the church felt compelled by scriptural mandate to ask the family to repent or be subject to church discipline.  The family publicly made their exit and a congregational matter is now being splashed across news outlets.  But, why is this congregation facing such an outcry and disapproval?  The answer will differ from individual to individual, but here are some broad reasons evidenced from people’s responses.

Ridgedale is getting slammed because of the cultural sickness of subjectivity.   One woman writes, “I think the decision makers of this church will one day pay for their sins…” Another woman writes, “I think the Cooper’s will be far better off without a church who punish’s them for not turning their back on their child….” Another puts it, “In my world, my God accepts, doesn’t judge and loves all his children!” Still another says, “Wow! I guess we know different Gods. My God offers unconditional love and tells me not to judge others….” (misspellings and grammatical errors made by the original writers). Others’ subjectivity is more subtly expressed, but here is the common thread.  People think they get to co-opt God and make Him over in their image.

Ridgedale is getting slammed because of society’s warped view of tolerance.  Certainly, so many who commented on that page are not tolerant of anyone who interprets Scripture literally.  They are not tolerant of this congregation’s autonomy. They are not tolerant of the view that homosexuality is a sin.  It is abundantly clear from the comments.  You will read such slurs as “bigot,” “hoping the church burns in hell,” “Scumbag Church,” “group of horrible people,” and more.  This is dripping with irony.

Ridgedale is getting slammed because the average person does not know the Bible.   People speak of God loving unconditionally, Jesus accepting everyone, and that one’s sexuality does not matter.  There is a famine of hearing the words of the Lord in our land (cf. Amos 8:11). Such lack of knowledge will destroy a people (Hosea 4:6).  God’s unconditional love does not mean unconditional acceptance if someone lives in rebellion to His will.  Jesus will not accept everyone.  To the majority, He will say, “Depart from Me” (see Mat. 7:13-14, 21-23).  Apparently, one’s sexuality does matter (see 1 Cor. 6:9-11). But people are grossly uninformed about the only book that reveals the heart and mind of God.

Please pray for Ridgedale.  Encourage them and show them love.  The detractors are popular and validated by a world separated from God.  Let us have the courage to stand by God’s people who are willing to stand up for His will. – Neal Pollard

Neal Pollard preaches for the Bear Valley church of Christ in Denver, Colorado. His blog can be viewed by clicking here.

Related Article:

#bible-ignorance, #church-discipline, #controversy, #criticism, #current-events, #homosexuality, #news, #tolerance

They Rattle their Tail for a Reason!

It’s a shame really, but it’s happened again! Some poor soul’s ignorance concerning the scriptures has cost them their life by “handling serpents.” One of the most amazing things to me about it is that this man should have known better. “Why’s that?”, you may ask. Well, other than the obvious, it’s because his father died doing the same thing almost 30 years ago! It goes to show the validity of my last post.

Of course the story quoted that the man, along with the church he belonged to, believed in a literal translation of Mark 16:17-18. The crazy thing about it all is that I believe in a literal translation of Mark 16:17-18 too! But believing in a literal translation doesn’t mean I believe Christians reveal their faith today by handling snakes! I believe if one attempts to do such a thing they are revealing their ignorance in no less than three ways.

One – People need to rightly divide the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). People must realize that what Mark 16:17-18 speaks of is as true as when Paul brought Eutychus back to life through God’s power after he took his deadly second story flight out a window. But the reality is that the days of handling snakes is over as much as people being miraculously brought back to life. Christians are called to crush the snake through our faith in the gospel – not handle a snake to prove our faith!

Two – People need to realize that the protection of God’s Spirit that was given to the early Christians was not meant to be a circus sideshow. It was given to those whom God desired according to His will. It was not given to those whom desired it according to their will.

Three – People need to understand what the scriptures mean when they say, “do not tempt the Lord your God.” People who do such things today, as they have for many generations now, abuse the fact that Mark 16:17-18 says what it says. These people need to read Matthew 4:5-7 again! Jesus was in the wilderness being tempted by Satan when Satan challenged Jesus to prove who He was by setting Him up on the highest point of the temple and telling Him to JUMP! One may very well say that Satan was challenging Jesus’ faith in the scriptures by quoting scripture that said Jesus would be okay if He jumped. Jesus responded by saying, “It is written again, “You shall not tempt the LORD your God.” What was Jesus saying? He was saying a person doesn’t intentionally put themselves in harm’s way and then say, “Okay God, it’s your responsibility to save me; after all Lord, you know Mark 16:17-18 says….” That’s putting God to the test – not putting one’s faith to the test.

A rattler has a rattle for a reason and we’d be wise to recognize it for such!

To be honest, I care very little for the site’s religious section, but I provided the link to where I found the story incase someone wants to read the details for themselves.

#bible-ignorance, #miracles, #religion