The Center for Disease Control and Prevention posted an article on their website entitled, “Insufficient Sleep is a Public Health Epidemic,” which documented research from the past decade on sleep-related behaviors. According to their research, thirty percent of adults report getting an average of less than or equal to six hours of sleep per night when they actually need at least seven to nine hours of sleep per night. In other words, many people fail to get the rest they need even though it is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, and I would contend that many Christians fail to get the rest they need because they fail to recognize that rest is an expectation of God.
Although the Thanksgiving holiday traces its roots back to the 17th century and was first observed nationally under the presidency of George Washington, it did not become an annual holiday until 1863 by proclamation of Abraham Lincoln. In Lincoln’s address regarding the Thanksgiving holiday, he noted that all blessings “are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.” His statement is reminiscent of Habakkuk 3:2 in which Habakkuk prayed, “LORD, I have heard of your fame, I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.” It is only fitting that recalling God’s awesome blessings and seeking His constant mercy, like Habakkuk, should ignite within us a heart of gratitude. But are we constantly grateful or does the thanksgiving mentality only impact us once a year?
The congregations associated with the Church of Christ have always identified themselves as non-denominational. For centuries this was a peculiar identification, but in recent years it has become very popular for congregations to claim that they are non-denominational, especially among the community church movement. According to a June 12, 2015 Christianity Today article, “over the last four decades, there has been more than a 400 percent growth in Protestants who identify as non-denominational.” With the growing popularity of non-denominational congregations it is important for us to consider what that means, and why the churches of Christ have maintained that identity.
Why Does the Church of Christ Teach Definitive Parameters on Marriage and Divorce?
Earlier this year, we presented a series of articles about the beliefs and practices of the churches of Christ that were thematically arranged around “why” questions, such as “Why Does the Church of Christ Believe That Baptism is Essential to Salvation,” "Why Does the Church of Christ Lack Musical Instruments in Their Worship Services,” and “Why Do Churches of Christ Observe the Lord’s Supper Every Sunday.” Since the writing of those articles, it has become evident that a few more “why” questions need to be addressed, the first of which deals with the subject of marriage and divorce.
Christianity’s stance on marriage and divorce frequently finds itself in opposition to culture’s stance on marriage and divorce. This is because one’s stance on marriage and divorce is predicated on who or what one deems to be the authority on the subject. The congregations affiliated with the “Church of Christ” acknowledge that marriage is an institution established by God, not by man; therefore, He is the authority on this subject. And the churches of Christ acknowledge God as the authority on marriage and divorce because Jesus acknowledged God as the authority on marriage and divorce. In Mark 10:2-12 (and its sister passage Matthew 19:3-12), Jesus was asked by the Pharisees to weigh in on a doctrinal dispute regarding marriage and divorce. Jesus responded not by consulting cultural practices or government standards, but by referencing the expectations instituted by God when He established the first marriage. Notice what He said in Mark 10:6-9.