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...]

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...]

SOMETHING AGAINST CHURCHES OF CHRIST?

A dear gracEmail subscriber writes, "I have been receiving your mail for almost a month now. I get the picture that you have something against the churches of Christ. Is that so? If it is, why?" * * * If by "churches of Christ" you mean the congregations of those who trust Jesus as Savior and who follow him as Lord, those assemblies mentioned in Romans 16:16, then I certainly hope not to be … [Read more...]

SECTS, DENOMINATIONS AND CHRIST’S CHURCH

A brother suggests that the mainstream of congregations calling themselves Churches of Christ are either a "sect" or "denomination," but that his associates (whose sign says "church of Christ") escape both those categories and any identification with founding fathers Alexander Campbell and Barton W. Stone. * * * Whether we spell "church(es)" with a capital or lower-case letter isn't nearly so … [Read more...]

WHY RELIGIOUS DIVISIONS?

A gracEmaiI subscriber writes: “I am a Psychiatric Social Worker and an avid reader. Only a few years ago did I learn of so many branches in our Restoration Movement heritage. That grieves me severely because it is contradicts Jesus' prayer for unity in John 17. Can you tell me how these divisions started?" * * * The Restoration Movement, like most tribes within the Christian church, began with … [Read more...]

THE RESTORATION MOVEMENT VISION

A gracEmail subscriber notes the divisions among Churches of Christ, a contemporary wing of the back-to-the-Bible movement led by 19th-century reformers Thomas and Alexander Campbell and Barton W. Stone. This subscriber asks whether the vision of this particular Restoration Movement is even viable, or if it is inherently self-destructive and doomed to failure. * * * Modern descendants of the … [Read more...]

SEEKING CHURCH HOME

A couple with roots in the Churches of Christ write that, while they love that fellowship, they no longer fit and feel compelled to go elsewhere. This thought makes them both sad and fearful, and they ask if I can offer any advice. * * * I empathize with your struggle and your search. Remember that before there were Protestants or Catholics, there were disciples of Jesus. Before there were any … [Read more...]

KICKING THE WALLS

A composite of comments from several gracEmail subscribers says: "I think you are a bit far-out to be a representative of the Churches of Christ. You seem always to be kicking the walls of what is generally accepted within the brotherhood. Might you simply be overreacting to some legalistic and sectarian extremes you have encountered in the past? Do you really think some other group has the truth? … [Read more...]

THE IDENTITY THAT MATTERS

In this increasingly post-denominational age, historic Christian groups often struggle to maintain their distinctive identities within the broader Christian church. I observe that general phenomenon as a teacher and elder within the Churches of Christ, among whom God has assigned me a home base. This fervor to perpetuate institutional identity is particularly ironic in my context, however, since … [Read more...]

FUZZY-HEADED EVANGELICALISM

Someone recently lamented that many in the Churches of Christ were turning to "fuzzy-headed evangelicalism," suggesting by this label that such a transformation might be less than desirable. In response, please allow this personal confession. * * * The term "evangelicalism" refers to a religious faith and spiritual life centered on and growing out of the gospel of Jesus Christ -- the good news … [Read more...]