Comment Policies, A Reminder

A reminder of long-standing policies –

Moderation

* Christians will be held to higher standards than non-Christians. I expect believers to be familiar with the New Testament’s instructions on how we treat others, especially fellow Christians. There is evidently a segment who feel there’s a implied exception for when we have very strong feelings on the subject. The fact is that the requirement to be gentle, kind, loving, and slow to anger applies especially when we’re upset or feel indignant. No one here is Jesus or enjoys apostolic inspiration. Therefore, everyone has to begin with a spirit of humility – Continue reading

Posted in Commenting, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

What Must the Church of Christ Do to Be Saved? How Does a Christian Fall from Grace? Part 1

We’re working our way through Leroy Garrett’s book: What Must the Church of Christ Do to Be Saved? The paperback is $7.95, but it’s also available in Kindle edition for $0.99. For $0.99, it’s really an offer you can’t refuse!

Now, by “saved” Garrett doesn’t mean that he questions the salvation of the individual members of the Churches of Christ. Rather, he is concerned to save the Churches of Christ as a “viable witness to the Christian faith. What must it do to escape extinction in the decades ahead …?”

Everyone — the readers, me, Garrett — all agree that faith in Jesus and repentance are boundaries of the Kingdom. We further agree that baptism is a boundary marker, but disagree as to just how scrupulous someone’s adherence to the practice of baptism must be in order for God to save.

So we now need to consider the salvation those who have genuine faith, repentance, and a sufficient baptism — however that may be defined. At this point, nearly all would agree that someone meeting those three tests would be saved. But what happen after he steps out of the baptistry? What if an organ is playing? What if communion isn’t served for another 90 days? What if his congregation doesn’t wear a “scriptural” name? Is he damned, faith, repentance, and baptism notwithstanding? Many would say so. Indeed, many would argue that worshiping God with an instrument casts one out of the Kingdom and into the realm of Satan. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized, What Must the Churches of Christ Do to Be Saved? | 73 Comments

Tidwell named Editor of the Gospel Advocate

MagazinesMany readers here know Gregory Alan Tidwell from his occasional comments here. He was also one of the original participants in the GraceConversation dialogue. Greg has long been an associate editor and frequent contributor the Gospel Advocate.

The Brotherhood News website has just reported that Greg has been named editor of the Gospel Advocate – the seat held by such influential men as David Lipscomb, H. Leo Boles, Foy E. Wallace, Jr., BC Goodpasture, Guy N. Woods, and most recently, Neil Anderson.

It’s a huge honor, and I’m pleased to share this news. As I’ve often said, Greg is my favorite conservative preacher. And although we disagree about some very important things, I think he’ll do very well in that position.

I figure the most important quality we can ask for among the conservative Churches of Christ is a willingness to engage in genuine dialogue, and Greg fits that bill. It’s a precious quality, and so we should celebrate that the influence of the Advocate is being steered by Greg.

 

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What Must the Church of Christ Do to Be Saved? The Baptism Question, Part 3

Anne asked,

I’m kind of wondering why we don’t just cut baptism out of the Bible since it evidently isn’t necessary for anything.

I’m responding to Anne’s question here because it reaches to the core of what grace means. The same questions have been asked going to back to Paul, who repeatedly had to explain why his view of grace doesn’t lead to lawlessness and license, that is, antinomianism.

And this is one of the key forks in the road between conservative and progressive theology — the conservatives insisting that the progressives repeal commands when they find grace for violating those commands. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized, What Must the Churches of Christ Do to Be Saved? | 52 Comments

Religious Affiliation State-by-State

A faithful reader pointed out to me that USA Today has published the breakdown of religious affiliation state-by-state using a very cool Flash graphical display. Just put your cursor over a state to see the breakdown.

The most important category, to me, is “unaffiliated,” which would indicate the most “unchurched,” although a person might self-identify as “unaffiliated” and yet have grown up in a church, and someone might self-identify as “evangelical Christian” despite not having been to church in years.

It’s a fascinating tool.

Posted in Church Trends, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

What Must the Church of Christ Do to Be Saved? The Baptism Question, Part 2

We’re working our way through Leroy Garrett’s book: What Must the Church of Christ Do to Be Saved? The paperback is $7.95, but it’s also available in Kindle edition for $0.99. For $0.99, it’s really an offer you can’t refuse!

Now, by “saved” Garrett doesn’t mean that he questions the salvation of the individual members of the Churches of Christ. Rather, he is concerned to save the Churches of Christ as a “viable witness to the Christian faith. What must it do to escape extinction in the decades ahead …?”

The comments in this series have largely focused on the baptism question — which is inevitable given that Garrett is urging us to fellowship denominations other than the Churches of Christ. The comments follow very much along the traditional lines, and I’d urge us to think of the question in some different ways. After all, people have long-ago stopped listening to the traditional arguments — on both sides. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized, What Must the Churches of Christ Do to Be Saved? | 48 Comments

Bible Software

A reader emailed me asking for my recommendation on Bible software. I’m not the expert, and so I thought I’d ask the readers for their advice while sharing what little I know.

First, you have to decide whether you need Greek and Hebrew resources. If you don’t need the original languages, there are plenty of inexpensive or even free products that may work very well for you, such as eSword, a free download with considerable capabilities.

Second, what are you willing to pay? It’s a fairly efficient market, meaning that you get what you pay for, and what you really want is likely a little more than what you’d prefer to pay. Continue reading

Posted in Bible Study Resources, Uncategorized | 14 Comments

What Must the Church of Christ Do to Be Saved? The Baptism Question, Part 1

We’re working our way through Leroy Garrett’s book: What Must the Church of Christ Do to Be Saved? The paperback is $7.95, but it’s also available in Kindle edition for $0.99. For $0.99, it’s really an offer you can’t refuse!

Now, by “saved” Garrett doesn’t mean that he questions the salvation of the individual members of the Churches of Christ. Rather, he is concerned to save the Churches of Christ as a “viable witness to the Christian faith. What must it do to escape extinction in the decades ahead …?”

The comments in this series have largely focused on the baptism question — which is inevitable given that Garrett is urging us to fellowship denominations other than the Churches of Christ. The comments follow very much along the traditional lines, and I’d urge us to think of the question in some different ways. After all, people have long-ago stopped listening to the traditional arguments — on both sides. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized, What Must the Churches of Christ Do to Be Saved? | 34 Comments

A Cappella “Music” in a Mainline Presbyterian Seminary

It’s a Romans rap! It’s a Romans rap!

YouTube Preview Image

Is this contextualization?  Or what?

Knowing a little Calvinism and the attitude of the Presbyterian Church toward [censored] helps. There’s an inside joke or two buried in the lyrics.

But, you know, at least it’s a cappella.

Now, who among us would be willing to teach Romans this way?

Posted in Instrumental Music, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Thought Question: The Church Between Gospel and Culture

The Church Between Gospel and Culture (Gospel & Our Culture)This is a quotation from The Church Between Gospel and Culture by Hunsberger and Gelder –

Our current movements to convert and make a difference generally do not arise from such a way of life. They are too much marked by a failure to recognize as intrinsic to our faith a fundamental departure (over against comfortable accommodations to the culture) and a sacrificial immersion (over against sectarian withdrawals from the society). As Donald Posterski has put it, we have ironically done what is seemingly impossible. We have inverted the dictum of Jesus: we are of the world but not in it. We have become “both captured and intimidated by the culture.” In our minds and hearts we have not sufficiently departed to the loyalties of the gospel, and with our hands and feet we have not become deeply enough immersed on behalf of the gospel.

What do you think?

Posted in Thought Questions, Uncategorized | 7 Comments