GOD HAS SPOKEN TO US

What a sense of awe and wonder Moses must have felt, there in the silence of the wilderness, when God spoke to him from the burning bush! Can we even imagine the awful terror with which the Israelites waited to hear God speak from Mount Sinai--the mountain quaking, its form hidden by smoke, the air charged with lightning on a day as black as night? What awesome joy surged through Peter, James, and … [Read more...]

WHERE’S THE MEAT?

A gracEmail subscriber writes: "I see so many churches studying for the 'meat' of the Word of God, showing up Sundays to 'do church,' while not considering that feeding the orphans and widows, clothing the needy and sharing a cold glass of water is what it is all about. How do we make disciples without turning into over-studied yet under-acting professing Christians? How do we build new hearts … [Read more...]

UNDERSTANDING REVELATION

A gracEmail subscriber in England asks how we can understand the Book of Revelation, when interpreters differ so widely and when this portion of Scripture itself seems so difficult and foreign to modern ears? * * * We will not know fully so long as we live in these mortal bodies. However, we can make much progress in understanding by remembering two important truths about the Bible's final book. … [Read more...]

ACTS & HEBREWS STILL NEED STUDY

Someone studying the literature of Alexander Campbell observed that he quoted most often from Acts and Hebrews, and suggested that "our traditional strengths" in the Churches of Christ and the Christian Churches are those two New Testament books. * * * I agree that we have relied heavily on proof-texts from those books. But that is not the same as saying that we have listened carefully for the … [Read more...]

CHRISTIAN DIFFERENCES AND THE GOSPEL (2)

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." * * * 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...]

70 A.D. AND CHRIST’S RETURN

A gracEmail subscriber heard a preacher say that Jesus Christ returned invisibly and for the last time when the Roman army destroyed Jerusalem and its temple in A.D. 70. This reader asks whether we ought to expect Jesus to return visibly and in person at the end of human history. * * * Indeed we should. Both Scripture and church history tell me that the preacher you heard was mistaken. I will … [Read more...]

DISPENSATIONAL TRUTH

A gracEmail subscriber writes, "The last 10 years or so I have benefitted greatly from coming to a more dispensational approach to Scripture. I see Acts 9 as the start of the church which Paul proclaims. I would be interested in your opinion concerning the writings of such men as C. R. Stam, Charles Baker and others of this persuasion." And a different gracEmail reader asks, "Have you heard of … [Read more...]

GOSPEL AND DOCTRINE

A gracEmail subscriber asks whether gospel and doctrine are the same. If they are different, in what way, and how are they related?  * * * The Bible does not separate doctrine from gospel, but it certainly distinguishes between them (1 Tim. 1:10-11). The gospel is the good news of what God has done for us in Christ. Doctrine is divine instruction on how to live in response to what God has done. … [Read more...]

FAITH AND UNDERSTANDING (3)

A gracEmail reader writes concerning faith and understanding. His comments are in italics; mine are not. * * * Let me close with an example. I find it interesting that both "Reformists" and "Restorationsts" look at the same Scripture and use the same doctrine (issue) to condemn each other. What is it? Baptism, of course. We look at the same verses, come to differing conclusions and anathematize … [Read more...]