We don’t often post editorials over on Brotherhood News. Nor do we often post them on controversial topics, at least, that I recall, nor as lengthy as the one that appears today. So this rare bird might just be worth your while.
The Lord’s church is blessed not to be a company, nor to have a hierarchy where men lord it over others, nor even to have means to settle an issue across the brotherhood, but I play with the idea of naming “culture” as the word of the year, as one dictionary publisher has just done.
The wisdom of God has not lashed us together in such a way that if a few go astray, all sink with them them. What does unite us is the Lord Jesus Christ himself, who is our center and who permeates the whole out to the very edges. So my Forthright Magazine editorial goes, from yesterday.
Our times seem critical, but each age possesses its challenges. I long ago tired of presidential elections touted as being the most important ever, with more at risk than before. Perhaps. Or perhaps it’s a mere election tactic. Let us not fall for our own fearful thoughts that our age is worse and more critical than at any other time in history. Let us meet the progressives and counter as we may their influence, while we rejoice in the faithfulness of God toward his people in this and every age.
In the US, yesterday was Constitution Day. The country is in bad shape, in part, because it has gotten away from its founding document. When people want to vote for advantages for themselves, the politicians will oblige them, because they gain power by it. The characterization of the Constitution as a living document is nothing more than an effort to circumvent its original intent and make it say what people want it to say. Others discount it as a document no longer valid for modern times, preferring to pick and choose from so-called international law or from the laws of other nations.
Some might object to my evaluation that the US is in bad shape. By nearly every index that counts, in my book, however, the country has never been worse off: in work ethic, in morality, in justice, in integrity. Continue reading
Here’s an article from the church in Wise, VA that I put in the bulletin at Keltonburg several years ago. I thought some of you might find it useful, specifically during this time of “conclave”:
Does the church produce the Bible…Or does the Bible produce the church?
Perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions regarding the Bible is that it is a product of the church. Many reject the Bible as our sole source of religious authority and instruction and belittle us for believing in the “Bible alone theory”. Thus, there is a great need to discuss the relationship between the Bible and the church. As always, we will appeal to the scriptures as our only source of authority and not our own wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:6-7).
For one to understand that the Bible is our only standard for all religious faith and practice, one must understand the church is the result of the Bible and depends on it for everything it preaches and practices. In other words, the Bible produces the church, not the other way around. We are told by some that since the “church is the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15), the church itself establishes what truth is. On the contrary, truth emanates only from God (Psalm 86:11; John 1:17; 17:17). Or as Paul put it in Ephesians 3:10, “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in the heavenly places might be made known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.” The church, just like individuals, must appeal to the Bible as the only source of authority for it alone contains the manifold wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 2:9-13; Ephesians 3:3-5). Just as Moses was admonished to “make all things according to the pattern” (Hebrews 8:5); we must use the Bible alone to ensure we are following God’s revealed pattern for His church. Thus, we must speak where the Bible speaks, remain silent where the Bible is silent, do Bible things in Bible ways, and call Bible things by Bible names (1 Peter 4:11).
We read in Acts 16:5 that the “churches were established in the faith.” We would like to emphasize very kindly, yet very firmly, that the one true church is established in the faith; it does not establish the faith. The faith which is spoken of in Acts 16:5 is simply the revealed truth of the gospel which was “once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3) by the end of the first century. As beings created with rights of freedom and choice, why would anyone bind themselves to decrees, councils and conventions of men? “God forbid; yea let God be true and every man a liar” (Romans 3:4). – Ryan Thomas