Every religious body associated with Christianity agrees that Christ is “the head of the church” (Ephesians 5:23; cf. Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 1:18); however, not every religious body associated with Christianity agrees on the form of governance that He authorized for the local church. Some employ a hierarchical structure of individual church leaders while others employ a hierarchical structure of church councils. The congregations associated with the Churches of Christ are considered unique because they appoint elders in the local congregation and believe that such leaders are the only biblically authorized form of church government under the headship of Christ. What is the basis for such a form of church government?
The show “House Hunters,” which premiered on HGTV in 1999, has produced over 1,700 episodes and spawned over a dozen “spinoff” shows in its 18-year run. Some of these recent spinoff shows include “House Hunters: RV Edition,” “Houseboat Hunters,” “Island Hunters,” and even “Tiny House Hunters.”
Question: Does this mean that normal-sized people are looking for tiny houses, or are tiny people looking for normal-sized houses?
Oh, who am I kidding; I would probably watch it either way.
It is undeniable that miraculous gifts—gifts such as the ability to heal the sick, work miracles, prophesy, discern spirits, speak in tongues, and interpret tongues (1 Corinthians 12:7-10)—were present in the early church (Acts 2:1-12; 3:6-7; 5:12-16; 8:5-24; 9:32-42; 10:44-48; 11:27-28; 13:1-12; 14:8-10; 16:16-18; 19:1-7; 20:9-11; 21:10-11). But does their existence in the first century necessitate their existence today? Must a church that seeks to emulate the first century church advocate the presence of miraculous gifts today? To answer this question we must examine everything that the New Testament has to say about miraculous gifts, and in so doing we will discover three important specifications about such gifts.
In Matthew 23, Jesus had some unusually harsh words for a group of very religious people who had gotten a lot of things “wrong.” He acknowledged that they had gone to the trouble to “tithe mint and dill and cumin,” but He also accused them of having “neglected the weightier matters of the law” (vs. 23).
The Bible indicates that salvation is received when one confesses his or her belief in Jesus as the risen Son of God (Mark 16:16; Romans 10:9-10), repents of the sins that he or she has committed (Acts 2:38; 2 Corinthians 7:10), and submits to baptism so that he or she reenacts Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection and, thereby, comes in contact with God’s grace through Christ’s blood which removes all sin (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Romans 6:1-4; 1 Peter 3:18-22). How salvation is received is a question of prime importance, and, once answered, it breeds a corollary question, which is, “Can salvation be lost after it has been received?”
Nearly every religious body associated with Christianity administers baptism in some fashion. Some believe it is an act of obedience that symbolizes a believer’s faith in Christ and death to sin. Others believe that baptism is simply the means by which a believer becomes a member of the church body. But the congregations associated with the Church of Christ are known for their insistence that baptism is an essential part of salvation. On what is this belief based?
Have you ever had a garage sale at your house?
Brooke and I have hosted a few successful garage sales during our 11 years of marriage, and by “successful” I mean that we are still married.
Garage sales are fun, aren’t they? When I say “fun,” I mean “awful.” The only part I don’t hate about a garage sale is the 4-inch stack of wrinkled one-dollar bills at the end that means we will get at least one sit-down meal at a semi-nice restaurant in exchange for all of our stuff and all of our trouble. Everything else about a garage sale is absolutely terrible. The worst part about a garage sale is the marriage-threatening process of deciding what to sell and what not to sell. These discussions always seem to end up on the level of hostage negotiations, and for some reason, my hostages always die. What’s the old saying? “One man’s treasure is another woman’s opportunity to make 75 cents”? Just because it’s at the bottom of a box in the basement with a family of spiders living in it does NOT mean that I don’t need it, woman!
As a member and minister of a congregation associated with the churches of Christ, I often encounter “why” questions—questions like “why do Churches of Christ lack instruments in worship,” “why do Churches of Christ forbid women from leading in the worship service,” “why do Churches of Christ observe the Lord’s Supper every Sunday,” and “why do Churches of Christ place so much emphasis on baptism.” Sometimes the questions are posed from those outside our fellowship, and sometimes the questions are posed from those inside our fellowship. Regardless of who is asking, it seems obvious that an understanding of the church’s distinct doctrine is lacking. Therefore, over the next several weeks I will be presenting articles that help explain the Biblical basis for our beliefs and practices by answering some of the more frequently asked “why” questions.
Timothy was unique as a minister because of his age, frequent illnesses, and what appears to be a timid spirit. Such obstacles could hinder many individuals from becoming successful ministers, but Timothy had a secret weapon named Paul.
Research has revealed that one of the most critical elements to preventing new converts from leaving the church is friendship. According to one study, “Each new person should be able to identify at least seven friends in the church within the first six months.” In other words, developing faith based friendships is critical to faith development.