TEN COMMANDMENTS

A gracEmail reader asks, "Are the Ten Commandments binding on Christians? What about the Fourth (Sabbath) Commandment?" * * * Strictly speaking, the Ten Commandments were given only to Israel, as part of its theocratic covenant with God as his chosen People in the Land of Palestine (Ex. 19:1--20:17; Deut. 5:1-22). However, the Ten Commandments express the spirit of a morality grounded in the … [Read more...]

CHRISTIAN DIFFERENCES AND THE GOSPEL (2)

gracEmail subscriber writes: "I am concerned that people who claim to follow Jesus Christ do not understand the Bible alike on many topics. Are we right and others wrong, or vice-versa? Whoever is wrong cannot be saved." * * * Believers in the first-century Roman house-churches sharply disagreed concerning vegetarianism (illustrative of issues of personal piety) and the observance or … [Read more...]

CHRISTIAN DIFFERENCES AND THE GOSPEL (1)

A gracEmail subscriber writes: "I am concerned that people who claim to follow Jesus Christ do not understand the Bible alike on many topics. Are we right and others wrong, or vice-versa? Whoever is wrong cannot be saved." * * * What makes you think that our salvation depends on infallible understanding? If that were the case, not one of us would ever be saved. The best we can say is that all … [Read more...]

WHAT ABOUT A ‘JOASH CHEST’?

An Advent Christian pastor writes, "How far can we apply a Scripture text beyond its meaning in context? Before I arrived, our church already had a "Joash chest" (from 2 Kings 12:9-16) which we used to collect a special offering. Is this wrong? Should I tell them it is against the context?" * * * It seems to me that it is okay to "borrow" scriptural language or concepts, or to extend them for … [Read more...]

THE SUNDAY OFFERING — IN CONTEXT

Several gracEmail readers have asked about the Sunday church offering. Does First Corinthians 16:1-2 require it? Every Sunday? Only on Sundays? Does this text prohibit other fundraising projects by the church? * * * Although Paul was apostle to the nations ("Gentiles"), from the beginning of his ministry he emphasized the unity of Jew and non-Jew in Christ. As a demonstration of that unity and … [Read more...]

THE LORD’S SUPPER — FREQUENCY

A Church of Christ brother inquires, "I was taught to partake of the Lord's Supper only on Sundays, and only in the morning service, unless I was absent that morning. Are there biblical reasons not to partake of Communion on any day other than Sunday, or limiting it to Sunday morning?" * * * Although Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper on Thursday night before Easter, some today insist that … [Read more...]

SABBATH & EARLY CHRISTIANS

A gracEmail subscriber wrote: "I challenge Seventh-day Adventists to come up with one quote which shows that any Christians kept the Jewish Sabbath prior to Constantine." * * * According to Acts 21:20, many thousands of Jews believed in Jesus as the Messiah, and continued to zealously observe Torah. These Jewish believers naturally continued to observe the Sabbath, though now with new meaning in … [Read more...]

SABBATH AND SUNDAY

A gracEmail subscriber asks when the early church quit observing the Sabbath (Saturday) and began observing Sunday? This reader mentions Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1ff and Revelation 1:10 as relevant passages on this topic. * * * God commanded Israel at Mount Sinai to observe the Sabbath (Saturday) as a rest day, in remembrance of their liberation from slavery, to commemorate God's own … [Read more...]

SABBATH AND LORD’S DAY

Someone asks: "When did the early church actually make a shift from the Sabbath (Saturday) to Sunday? We see disciples meeting on Sunday in Acts 20, and a reference by John to the Lord's Day in Rev 1. Was this change commanded by God, or was it to celebrate the Resurrection and to honor Him because of that?" * * * The historical data is found in various books on the topic. Scripture gives no … [Read more...]