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...]

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...]

BITTER TOWARD CHURCH – 1

A gracEmail subscriber is struggling with bitterness toward his church heritage. He loves God and reveres Jesus as Savior but has lost interest in attending public worship, reading the Bible or praying. If he leaves the church in which he was raised, his father would consider him lost to God. He is silently resentful when his children come home from Bible class and relate their lessons with which … [Read more...]

PUTTING IT TOGETHER, TOGETHER

Someone asks how it is that I do not fit the mold of any particular denomination, and agree at times with various groups across Christendom. Is not that being unfaithful to the tradition in which I was reared and to which I belong? * * * I am convinced that each major Christian group began by a move of God's Spirit to recover, renew or restore some element of Christian teaching, life or … [Read more...]

ALIKE OR DIFFERENT?

Every Christian denomination, nondenomination or subgroup faces the constant tension between a desire to focus on Jesus Christ, the core gospel, and the truths which Christians share alike, and a desire to emphasize its own history and purpose and the issues which distinguish it from other Christians. This is particularly true when the group was founded to reform or to renew the existing church, … [Read more...]

THE SHADOW OF SECTARIANISM

Churches in Hawaii and other exotic locations regularly see a considerable number of visitors, often outnumbering the local residents. One Sunday this month (September 2009), our Maui assembly included vacationers from Churches of Christ in Oregon, Texas, Tennessee, and California, holding doctrinal opinions as diverse as the places they called home. It is a joyful thing to receive … [Read more...]

FINDING A CONGENIAL CHURCH HOME

A Southern gentleman who calls himself a "born-and-bred" member of the Churches of Christ "of the 'everybody's going to hell but us' school of thought," but who personally renounced that thinking 30 years ago, writes to say he is seeking a church home. He lives 100 miles from a congenial Church of Christ. Nearby Christian Churches and Disciples of Christ are "few and basically lifeless." He loves … [Read more...]

CHOOSING SIDES

"He who is not with me is against me," Jesus once warned some skeptics who accused him of expelling demons by the power of Satan (Lk. 11:23). No one can encounter the Son of God and remain neutral about his identity. His radical claims will not go away, nor will his call to life-giving, life-absorbing and life-changing discipleship. To meet the Christ is to face a crisis. His very presence demands … [Read more...]