LEARNING FROM THE DENOMINATIONS
For over sixty years I had in my library works by various denominational writers. I read and received benefit from them. Since I retired from full-time local work (almost twenty years ago) I have greatly reduced my library, but I still have a modest one and have retained in it works by various denominationalists. I continue to buy and read books by denominationalists as well as by members of the Lord’s church. (How I do I detest the denominational use of “Church of Christ” or “CoC” to describe authors, scholars, preachers, colleges, etc., but I do not fall out with those who think they must resort to such sectarian and denominational terminology to express themselves). Continue reading
JOHN THE BAPTIST
In extolling the work of John the Baptist, Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he” (Matthew 11:11).
This is a strange statement, and on the surface it appears to be a contradiction. How is it possible for one to not be greater than John the Baptist and yet for the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven to be greater than he? Jesus was “born of a woman” (Galatians 4:4). Was/Is He not greater than John the Baptist? Continue reading
WORDS OF HOPE AND COMFORT
Every age of humanity has been infused with problems and troubles. Our age is certainly no exception. In the midst of our problems, troubles, anxieties, and frustrations let us turn to God and rely on Him. In His word, the Bible, He offers us hope and comfort. Reflect deeply on the following words of scripture.
“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him” (II Chronicles 16:9a). Continue reading
THE EYES OF THE LORD
“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him” (II Chronicles 16:9a).
As the years have come and gone, the above passage has become increasingly precious and meaningful to me. This week I want to write about this beautiful text.
First, it is important that the context be understood. The last half of the verse says, “In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars.” What is the significance of these words? Continue reading
THE NAME OF THE CHURCH
(Note: Periodically I write about the “name” of the church. It seems that such is necessary because there are those who want to give to the New Testament people of God a proper, patented, and official name to then be used in a denominational sense. Because of this, many view the church as a denomination, and many are only too glad to have it so. Please read and reflect once more on what the Bible says about the name of the church).
In our contemporary religious culture more and more churches are seeking to separate themselves from their denominational affiliation and to be non-denominational and independent. In attempting to do this they have come up with all kinds of ingenious names for their congregations. In the small city where I live there are many of these kinds of churches bearing such names as Godwhy Church, Agape Community, Celebration of Life Church, Freedom Church, Free Indeed Fellowship, Higher Ground Church, New Vision Ministries, First Apostolic Church, Truth Tabernacle Church, as well as various others. Continue reading
THE SIMPLICITY OF NEW TESTAMENT CHRISTIANITY
The church as established by Christ through the divine agency of His Holy Spirit-guided apostles and Christianity as revealed on the pages of the New Testament was simple and uncomplicated. The church consisted of repentant immersed believers who acknowledged Christ as the Son of God and their Savior and who were committed to following His teaching in all things. Their only organization was simple, autonomous congregations overseen by a plurality of spiritually mature men known as bishops/elders/pastors. They gathered on the first day of every week to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, to eat the Lord’s Supper, to pray, to study and be instructed in the word of God, and to give of their financial means for the work of caring for the poor and needy and for providing the funds needed to evangelize others with the gospel. Their objective was to observe all that Christ had commanded (Matthew 28:18-20), to continue steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine (Acts 2:42), to do all in the name of the Lord (by His authority and to His glory) (Colossians 3:17), to walk in the steps of Christ (I Peter 2:21), and to be conformed to His image (Romans 8:29; II Corinthians 3:18). Continue reading
A GREAT IDEA
Twice a year—in January and in July—the North Jackson Church of Christ in Jackson, Tennessee hosts a Saturday public Bible reading event that runs from 8 a.m. to 12 noon. The program is titled “Give Attention To Reading,” and the most recent event at North Jackson featured the reading of the gospel according to Luke and the book of Acts. Reading at a normal “pulpit rate,” the entire Bible can be read out loud in 70 hours and 42 minutes. By following the above format (four hours twice a year), the entire Bible can be read out loud in a little less than nine years. This would be in addition to all of the Bible reading done in sermons and in the Bible classes of the local church. Continue reading
WILL CHRIST REIGN ON EARTH FOR A THOUSAND YEARS?
A theory prevails in a good part of Christendom (a generic, catch-all term to include all who profess in any way to believe in Christ) that Christ will return to earth and reign on a literal throne in the city of Jerusalem for a literal one thousand years. The theory is known as premillennialism, i.e., pre—before, and millennium—a thousand years. Thus, the theory asserts that Christ will return to earth before the beginning of a millennial (thousand year) reign here on earth from the city of Jerusalem. Continue reading
TEXTS IN TENSION
(Note: An additional point was added to this essay after it was posted to four church websites early on Monday, February 10. The complete article as received by subscribers to my “News & Views” and as will be posted to my Facebook page follows).
In reading the Scriptures it is important to know that different texts often emphasize different truths about the same subject. Rather than being contradictions, they are inspiration’s way of teaching important lessons that complement the whole of God’s instructions to mankind. I refer to these as texts in tension. While the texts may seem to set forth opposing ideas, none of the texts is exclusive of the other, but all of them set forth essential truth about the subject under discussion when studied in their context. A study of some of these texts in tension should prove beneficial. Continue reading
THE LOVE, GRACE, AND MERCY OF GOD
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
“But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:4-5).
No one who believes the Bible to be the divinely inspired word of God doubts for a single moment the truthfulness of the above texts. No one believes (or should believe) that he or she can earn or merit salvation from sin and eternal salvation in heaven. These are possible only because of the love, grace, and mercy of God. But the love, grace, and mercy of God must be accepted in humble submission and obedience by the person who would be the beneficiary of God’s love, grace, and mercy (Matthew 7:21; Hebrews 5:8-9). Continue reading
THE DAY APPROACHING
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another so as to stir up to love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:23-25, NKJV). (Note: Neither the KJV, the ASV, nor the NASB capitalize the word “day” in this passage, though the NIV, the RSV, and the NEB do capitalize it). To what does “the day approaching” in this text refer? Continue reading
A. G. FREED
Arvy Glenn Freed was born August 3, 1863 in Saltillo, Indiana. His parents were Joseph and Elisa Hayes Freed and his mother was a relative of President Rutherford B. Hayes. He became a Christian early in life, but the date of his baptism into Christ does not seem to be known. Soon after obeying the gospel he began to preach.
A. G. Freed was educated in the common schools of Indiana and graduated with distinction from Valparaiso University. In 1889 he moved to Essary Springs, TN to help start Southern Tennessee Normal College. He began to preach and to debate extensively throughout west Tennessee and north Mississippi. On June 1, 1895 he married Cora Belle Baynham of Lafayette, KY, one of his former students. Two children were born to this union—Arvy Baynham Freed on August 10, 1898, and Martha Belle Freed Primme who lived for several years in New York City but whose date of birth I have not been able to identify. Arvy Baynham Freed lived only fifteen months and died on November 13, 1899. The baby is buried in Henderson, TN. Continue reading
Truth is a precious and indispensable quality in every arena of human endeavor. In a court of law a witness is required to swear or affirm to “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” A family cannot thrive where falsehood and pretense exist and truth and honesty are not practiced. In the fields of medicine, mathematics, physics, aeronautics, history, finance, and all other areas of human activity truth must be known and followed. A nation cannot long survive that is not dedicated to the pursuit of truth and righteousness in all things. Continue reading
WILD RESOLUTIONS FOR TAME LIVING
In almost 43 years of fulltime preaching, followed by 16 years of part-time preaching, near the beginning of a new year I would sometimes preach about New Year’s resolutions. One sermon that I occasionally preached had the above title. I do not know from whom I got the idea or the points for the sermon, but they were not original with me. I am using the sermon’s points for this week’s News & Views with the hope that they will stir us and spur us to a closer walk with God as tomorrow we enter a new year and a new decade (or at least the decade of the 2020s). In the coming new year I resolve to … Continue reading
From my earliest childhood I have always loved Christmas. Soon after Thanksgiving every year (but never before), my sister (two years younger than I), my brother (nine years younger than I), and I would start talking about Christmas. Within a few days, daddy would come home from work and tell us he had heard on the radio that Christmas was going to be cancelled that year. That became one of his standing jokes, and we soon learned to expect it every year. He sometimes teased the neighborhood kids with it, but the fact is that he enjoyed Christmas as much as anybody. Continue reading