(Note: Rarely do I run an essay written by someone other than myself. I can remember only one or two instances in which I have done so. The essay this week was written by my friend David Tant of Roswell [Greater Atlanta], GA. I commend it to all for our thoughtful consideration.)
According to my 9th Grade Revised Latin, the title means “NO BACKBONE.” Physically, this devastates the body, making it impossible to function. This is tragic. But more tragic is spiritual “spina absentia.” This “spinelessness” is too common in the Lord’s body, and we need the “Great Physician” to stiffen the backbone so that the function of the body of Christ might not be impaired. Consider some of the disease’s symptoms.
FAILURE TO DISCIPLINE INFLUENTIAL MEMBERS – Many denominations are reluctant to practice discipline, for this may cause them to lose money, members and popularity. But could it be that some of us (in the Lord’s church, hf) have the same thinking? There are churches where influential members are guilty of flagrant sins, and nothing is done about it. Elders’ relatives, rich folks, preachers’ children, etc., are winked at in their sin because of a “don’t rock the boat” attitude. If such is not a “respect of persons,” and therefore a sin (James 2:1-9), then what is it? Continue reading
THE MINISTRY OF PRAYER
Preaching the gospel is a great ministry. When the problem of meeting the physical needs of the Grecian widows arose in the church at Jerusalem the apostles said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables . . . but we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry (preaching) of the word” (Acts 6:4).
Serving as an elder in the church and shepherding the flock of God is a tremendously important ministry (Acts 20:28; I Peter 5:1-4). Paul exhorted, “Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine” (I Timothy 5:17).
The work of teaching and edifying (building up) those who are God’s children is an indispensable ministry. When Christ ascended back to heaven, He gave gifts “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12).
Paying more for a riding lawnmower that we used to pay for a brand new car.
Paying more for a new car than we used to pay for a house.
Laundering bath towels. (Aren’t we clean when we use them?)
Why we men say we need a haircut. Do we pay a barber $15-$20 to cut a single hair, or do we not in fact get a bunch of hairs cut when we go to the barber shop? Continue reading
Tragically, our country, Western Europe, and, increasingly, the world as a whole, are divided between traditional values and postmodern values. This division is seen in all elements of our culture—political, religious, academia, social mores, et al. Partisanship and polarity, chaos and confusion seem to reign. In contrast to this is the peace that we all desire (or at least say that we desire) and that God alone can give.
Ronald D. Reeves, minister of the College Avenue Church of Christ in my boyhood hometown of DeFuniak Springs, Florida, in a recent issue of the church’s bulletin, called attention to a number of scriptures having to do with peace. I invite your thoughtful reflection on some of them. Continue reading
NOTES AND QUOTES
DAVID SHANNON SELECTED AS NEXT PRESIDENT OF FREED-HARDEMAN UNIVERSITY: I am thrilled with the choice of David Shannon as the next president of Freed-Hardeman University. I am confident that David is the very man needed to lead the school, and I join with hundreds of others in wishing him all the best in his new role. I am sure he will have the support and prayers of all of us who love Freed-Hardeman.
For the past 17 years, David has been practically a next door neighbor as he has served as the preacher for the Mount Juliet Church of Christ in Mount Juliet, TN. During his ministry the church has grown from some 500 members to over 1000. He is a master communicator and is as solid as the Rock of Gibraltar in “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” I am convinced that he will see to it that the university stays in “the old paths” of New Testament Christianity, something, sadly, that cannot be said of all the colleges and universities among us. Continue reading
SWIFT TO HEAR, SLOW TO SPEAK
Two weeks ago our “News & Views” essay posed some questions for Christians about the church. Last week we asked some questions concerning New Testament Christianity. The two essays were intended to complement each other and to allow us to check up on ourselves to see just how well acquainted we are with New Testament teaching about the church and the distinctiveness of New Testament Christianity. How did you do on those questions? Continue reading
QUESTIONS CONCERNING NEW TESTAMENT CHRISTIANITY
Last week we wrote under the caption “Questions For Christians About The Church.” This week, as a sequel, we write of “Questions Concerning New Testament Christianity.” Continue reading