A HERMENEUTIC OF INFIDELITY
For those who may not be familiar with the term, “hermeneutics” refers to “the branch of knowledge that deals with interpretation, especially of the Bible or literary texts.” Everyone who reads the Bible (or any other literary document) has a hermeneutic, a way of determining the meaning of what he or she is reading. It may be a valid hermeneutic or it may be an invalid one. It may enable the reader to correctly understand what he or she is reading or it may lead the reader to wrong conclusions. Continue reading
A MEDLEY OF MATTERS AND “ISSUES”
“There is an abundance of New Testament evidence for vocal music (in the worship of the church, hf); none for instrumental music. Jesus and the eleven apostles (without Judas Iscariot) sang a hymn as they left the upper room where the Lord had instituted the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26:30; Mark 14:26). James encourages singing as a means of expressing joy, and prayer as an appropriate reaction to suffering (James 5:13). Paul exhorts Christians to sing with grace in their hearts to the Lord (Colossians 3:16), and to sing and make melody in their hearts to the Lord (Ephesians 5:19). Continue reading
One of the most rewarding studies in which one can engage is of what the Bible teaches about “Faith.” The biblical definition of faith is found in Hebrews 11:1 where it is said, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” “Substance” is that which “stands under” and supports the spiritual realities we hope for. Faith gives substance to those invisible realities. Continue reading
(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