THE RIGHT TRUE CHURCH — 2

THE TWENTY-SIXTH DAY OF JULY IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN.   A gracEmail subscriber has encountered at least two groups of Christians, each claiming to be the only true church. "What is that all about?" the subscriber asks. * * * The year 1054 is remembered in church history as the year Pope Leo IX excommunicated Patriarch Michael Cerularius of Constantinople … [Read more...]

THE RIGHT TRUE CHURCH

THE NINETEENTH DAY OF JULY IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN.   A gracEmail subscriber has encountered at least two groups of Christians who each claim to be the only true church. "What is that all about?" the subscriber asks. * * * Various Christian groups have claimed to be more true, authentic, scriptural, or historic than others, and therefore in some way … [Read more...]

Family Notes

THE ELEVENTH DAY OF FEBRUARY IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN   CHRIST AS SIN-OFFERING A good many years ago I discovered that I was not really preaching Christ. I was preaching only the conditions of salvation, just as though . . . the Lord’s visit to this earth [was] to set forth certain acts as conditions of justification. I was overlooking the importance of the cross … [Read more...]

WHAT MAKES A CHURCH OF GOD?

I had barely begun reading First Corinthians recently when a particular phrase caught my attention. Paul identifies his addressees as "the church of God which is at Corinth" (1 Cor. 1:2). The Greek text behind this phrase uses a participle and the phrase literally means "the church of God as it exists in Corinth." God's ekklesia or assembly is not composed of local churches or congregations but of … [Read more...]

Perspectives on infant baptism

A gracEmail subscriber requests some larger perspective on the differences among Christians regarding infant baptism. In the following answer, we will distinguish between Christians holding two points of view and practicing accordingly. PEDO- Baptists baptize babies; CREDO-Baptists baptize only professing believers. * * * In the Book of Acts, Luke tells how the Holy Spirit empowered the … [Read more...]

churches’ actions show real beliefs (2 parts)

Part 1 The good news is that in 2013, autonomous congregations affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) did what their name suggests and baptized more than 300,000 new converts by total immersion. The bad news is that the SBC baptismal tally during 2013 is down more than 100,000 from the number reported in 2009. The decline represents a 26% drop in yearly baptisms, and the lowest … [Read more...]

TIMES WHITE-HOT WITH PROPHETIC MEANING

When one comes to view human history as God views it, that person understands very well why our times fairly bristle with excitement. The mere mention of the ancient prophetic writings--their secrets long judiciously hidden, leaves us white-hot with apocalyptic expectation, eager to experience all that God has prepared for his People. That is not surprising considering the facts. Joined to Jesus, … [Read more...]

CHARISMATIC ‘PURITANS’

California fundamentalist pastor John MacArthur recently sponsored an anti-charismatic conference. His promotion of the event included MacArthur's blanket condemnation of Pentecostals and charismatics in general. Not only are charismatics the fastest-growing element in the global Church, they (and their sympathizers) are some of the most highly-respected evangelical pastors, teachers and other … [Read more...]

THE OLD PATHS

A brother in Singapore hears some persons urge that we should "follow the old paths" and resist changes in the church. He asks what Scripture says that and in what context. "Is there an 'old path' for us Christians today?" * * * "Ask for the old paths and walk therein" is a quotation from the King James Version of Jeremiah 6:16. By saying that, the prophet was calling the people of Judah back … [Read more...]

REFORMED AND NON-REFORMED

Several gracEmail subscribers have asked for some explanation of the difference between "Reformed" and "non-Reformed" theologians as mentioned in a recent piece. * * * "Reformed" sometimes means "Calvinistic" but I use it in the broader sense to refer to the general framework of understanding held by the principal reformers Luther, Calvin and Cranmer as well as Augustine long before them. It … [Read more...]