What Must Be Preserved of the Churches of Christ? (Singing, Part 2)

churchofchristSo in the last post I asked why God teaches us to sing as Christians. It’s not a test of our faithfulness. God teaches us to sing for a reason. And until we grasp the purpose of singing, we really have no business being doctrinaire about the rules for how to sing in church.

So let’s start with the lyrics. Obviously, if the songs are spiritual songs, hymns, or psalms, the lyrics will praise God or carry another spiritual message. The lyrics matter because they carry a rational message that those singing and those listening hear. Continue reading

What Must Be Preserved of the Churches of Christ? (Singing, Part 1)

churchofchristThe New Testament is clear that the early church sang in their assemblies. And contemporary scholars struggle to determine why that is.

Beginning sometime in the 19th Century, historians of the early church once thought that the early church adopted the singing of hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs from the Jewish synagogue, but recent studies conclude to the contrary.

You see, the synagogues did later come to adopt singing as part of their Saturday practice, but every record from the time before the Romans destroyed the Temple makes no mention of singing in the synagogues. There are plenty of references to the synagogues as places of study, especially study of the Torah, and as places of prayer, but precious little evidence that singing was a part of their practice. Continue reading

Out of Gas

out of gasI’m taking a few days off. Fighting a virus.

Not out of ideas — just don’t have the energy to write or comment daily.

See ya’ll in a few days.

What Must Be Preserved of the Churches of Christ? (Communion, Part 5)

churchofchristDenominations that only allow members of their own denomination (or certain approved denominations) to take communion with them practice what’s called “closed communion.”

Denominations that allow all other believers to take communion with them practice “open communion.”

As a rule, Christian denominations do not allow non-believers to take of communion. And most do not allow the unbaptized children of members to share in communion.

The Restoration Movement are somewhere in between open and closed, because they follow Alexander Campbell’s advice to neither “invite nor debar” visitors to or from communion. This is rather like Paul’s advice to the Corinthians not to ask whether meat they are offered has been sacrificed to an idol. Continue reading

What Must Be Preserved of the Churches of Christ? (Communion, Part 4)

churchofchristI want to focus on a phrase that is rarely discussed. It was said by Jesus at the institution of the Lord’s Supper but is not recorded in any of the Gospels, only in –

(1Co 11:25-26 ESV)  25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”  26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Jesus’ language could be taken as imagining the possibility that the meal might be taken other than in remembrance of him. Which certainly suits Paul’s point, but hardly would seem appropriate at the original institution of the meal.

Continue reading