By Johnny O. Trail — On March 14, 2018, Stephen Hawking died. After his passing, his remains were cremated, and his ashes were buried between Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin. It seems ironically fitting that his remains would be placed between a brilliant scientist who believed in God and a man who stole another’s research and established the framework for evolutionary theory.
Newton believed in God and his belief informed his study of science. It is strange to think that this man who was lauded for his great scientific mind, wrote more about theology than science. One writer avers, “For Newton the world of science was by no means the whole of life. He spent more time on theology than on science; indeed, he wrote about 1.3 million words on biblical subjects. Yet this vast legacy lay hidden from public view for two centuries until the auction of his nonscientific writings in 1936.” To put it mildly, Newton was a believer.
Contrariwise, Darwin was a quasi-scientist who stole much of his research from a contemporary and co-opted it for his own. Many are surprised to learn that Darwin was originally a creationist who believed every word of the Bible. One biographer writes, Continue reading
By: Johnny O. Trail — These suggestions are intended to be twofold in nature. Some of these suggestions are intended for teachers and some are intended for parents and adults who are in our Bible study classes. These suggestions are intended to enhance our study of God’s word and to demonstrate the significance of God’s word in our lives.
A teacher needs to understand that the greatest privilege we have in this life is to teach God’s word to children and adults. No other work we seek to accomplish has eternal consequences. Thus, we must note that our teaching and associated attitudes impact a person very deeply. To that end, we might make a few suggestions to enhance the experience for those in our classes.
Be prepared and on time for you class. Most people are woefully unable to deliver a lesson “off the cuff.” Sometimes this is unavoidable; especially when you are asked to teach a class at the very last moment. That fact not typically being the case, teachers need to have their materials ready and their lessons studied before walking into the classroom. When one is perpetually late and unprepared, it demonstrates that Bible class is not a priority in their lives. Kids and adults pick up on this non-verbal message and immolate what they perceive. Continue reading
By Johnny O. Trail — We are continually looking for ways to share Christ with those around us. In the name of evangelism, some have pursued ways of attracting crowds of people with very little attention to God’s word (Col. 2.23). Suffice it to say, we should never compromise the truth or the practice thereof. It is not within our purview to contradict the authority of God’s word.
Nonetheless, we want to communicate with our friends, family, and neighbors about Jesus (Matt. 28.19). The god of this world has blinded the minds of many who might have otherwise obeyed the word. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 says, “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” Given the current climate and the postmodern mindset, how does one effectively communicate with others about Jesus? Continue reading
By: Johnny O. Trail — I typically do not listen in on conversations. To be honest, it is rather hard not to hear someone who is speaking loudly in a restaurant at a table adjacent to yours. If I am completely honest, I must admit that my ears perk up when any person starts talking about God, religion, or the Bible. That having been said, I just recently overheard a conversation at a restaurant that piqued my interest. Continue reading
By Johnny O. Trail — It is amazing to consider what one can learn from a children’s book. At one time my son, Noah, liked for me to read from his book Groundhog Gets A Say. Since February is when we celebrate Groundhog Day, I took special notice of what Noah’s book had to say about groundhogs. As I read to him when he was younger, I was convinced that Christians need to be more like groundhogs.
Did you know that groundhogs move about seven hundred pounds of rock and dirt a day? No one should ever accuse a groundhog of being lazy (Swallow 2007). Many farmers have complained about the manner in which their barns and hay sheds have been undermined by families of groundhogs. It is amazing to think of such a relatively small animal moving such a large volume of dirt and rock. There are two principles that Christians can glean from this fact. Continue reading
By Johnny O. Trail — The term fellowship has come to mean numerous things to various people. Some of the ideas put forth regarding the nature of Christian fellowship are truly sectarian in nature (Romans 16.7; cf. John 17.21). Any view that contradicts the biblical definition of fellowship should be rejected. Suffice it to say that one must ascertain what the Bible teaches about true fellowship. To that end, it becomes apparent that one can be in fellowship with God, Christ, and fellow Christians. Continue reading
By Johnny O. Trail — Spiritual growth has always been a problem in the Lord’s church. The New Testament has several passages where the inspired writer addresses that very issue. Sadly, immaturity still plagues the church today. Immaturity can rear its head in varied ways but generally stems from ignorance of God’s word. Continue reading
By Dr. Johnny O. Trail, LMFT — Proponents of transgenderism and many from the LGBTQ+ community have been arguing for some time that gender is more fluid in nature than previously believed. Researchers have formulated their agenda in concise terms by saying: Continue reading
By Johnny O. Trail — After a lengthy discussion over divorce and remarriage, the couple we were studying with determined that they would examine “other teachings” on the topic. They were not pleased with the answer that was given to them. Matthew 19.9 says, “And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”
Instead of accepting this answer, they determined to visit a Christian bookstore to see what else they could find on the topic. In our follow up emails, they were “surprised to find the large number of notable church of Christ ‘pastors’ who had varying views on marriage, divorce, and remarriage.” While this response is pregnant with denominational language, I understood what they were saying. It is not hard to find people who are writing materials that provide “alternative” views of God’s marriage laws. Continue reading
By Johnny O. Trail — I have a manner of packing after a vacation that I suppose is like the method many other people use. When I leave to return home from vacation, I have one goal in mind—getting home. To that end, I am not always discriminating in the manner of packing up that I engage in to go home. My mantra “Find an empty space and shove it in.” This is especially true when it seems that we always leave with more than we arrived with initially.
Just recently we returned from a vacation in Florida. One of the tasks to be completed before leaving our condominium is cleaning out the remnants of our refrigerator. To this end, we filled a trash bag half full of left over yogurt, chicken salad, sandwich meat, and other sundries. While this was happening I took a load of luggage and other items down to our van for final packing. When I came back to the room, I found the bag of trash and carried it to the van. I did not realize that it was in fact a bag of trash. We occasionally pack unsecured items in trash bags, and I reasoned that the kids had already taken the trash out of the condominium. Continue reading
By Johnny O. Trail — Humankind made the decision to follow after its own way from the dawn of creation. When Adam and Eve violated God’s will regarding the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil when they partook of it, from that time down to this very age, human beings conduct themselves as if God and His commands make absolutely no difference.
God’s longsuffering with the Israelites was coming to an end. Jeremiah 7:23-26 says, “But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you. But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward. Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them: Yet they hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers.” No reasonable person could look at God’s relationship with Israel and accuse God of not being patient with them. The Jews had no excuses, and they were about to be taken into Babylonian captivity. Continue reading
By Johnny O. Trail — Our family has a dog named Sadie. It is a running joke in our family to regularly say, “Sadie is a dog.” It is a statement of an obvious truth. She looks like a dog, barks like a dog, eats like a dog, and acts like a dog. She is a dog.
Lately, we have been reassessing this conclusion. One of our sons has said, “Sadie is a goat.” Another child has said, “Sadie is a cat.” Still, another son has stated, “I don’t really know what she is.” Of course, we do all of this in jest. My children know the differences between a cat, a goat, and a dog. They also know what defines a dog as being a dog.
Suffice it to say, there is plenty of evidence to demonstrate that Sadie is a dog. If enough evidence exists to prove something as being factual, then it must be accepted as the truth. One cannot deny that our dog, Sadie, is a dog. There is too much evidence to refute that fact.
The same principle is true in regards to scriptural considerations. If there is enough evidence to demonstrate that something is being accurately and truthfully represented from God’s word, it must be accepted at fact and practiced as outline in the Bible. That is, there are truths in God’s Holy Writ that are undeniable. Continue reading
By Johnny O. Trail
Women are an important part of the body of Christ. Indeed, many efforts that are attempted in the Lord’s church would fail miserably if godly women were not dedicated to supporting the work of the church.
God, through His word, selects people to serve in various ways in the body of Christ. The word of God is prohibitive in regards to the works of an elder and a deacon inasmuch as it outlines the requirements that one seeking such a work must satisfy to serve in such a capacity. If one is not qualified, he should not serve. All workers in the Lord’s church must seek authority for their actions and words whether male or female, elder or otherwise.
These things being said, God loves all people equally—men and women. John 3.16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Galatians 3.27-28 says, “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” God does not love an elder any more than He loves a preacher. Nor does He love a man more than a woman. Simply stated, there is a distinction in the works they are authorized to be a part of in the church (Ephesians 4.11). Continue reading