1 Corinthians 14:1-13 (Tongues and prophecy in the assembly)

spiritual giftsIt’s time to finish the series on 1 Corinthians from a few months ago. We left off ready to begin chapter 14.

Chapter 14 is famously difficult for us in the Churches of Christ because it deals with spiritual gifts such as prophecy and tongues, and we aren’t even entirely agreed on what these gifts were — or whether they’ve died out.

We covered much of this back in the materials on chapter 13, especially — Continue reading

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Resurrection: Series at Wineskins

emptytombPart 2 of the series on resurrection is up:

Resurrection, Part 2: The early church fathers; Asking better questions.

This continues the series beginning with Resurrection, Part 1: A Definition. The rest will appear every other day.

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Resurrection: Series at Wineskins

emptytombI’ve just begun posting a 9-part series on the resurrection at Wineskins. I know that sounds like a lot, but the topic covers not only the resurrection of Jesus but also the general resurrection of the saints.

I delve into N.T. Wright’s views found in The Resurrection of the Son of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, Vol. 3) and Surprised by Hope, and the resurrection’s implications for the church.

The first post went up this morning: Resurrection, Part 1: A Definition. The rest will appear every other day.

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Happy Easter!

Yes, I really am that far behind. Dealing with back issues (fourth back surgery set for late May). Busy at work. And spending time with grandchildren, which is even more fun than blogging. But it’s mainly the back thing.

So to put you in a proper Easter frame of mind, here are some photos of my one-year old granddaughter and nearly three-year old grandson taken by my daughter-in-law, who has a flare for finding the perfect moment for a photo — Continue reading

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SOTM: Matthew 6:25-34 (Worry)

SOTMJesus spoke these words:

(Matt. 6:25 ESV)  “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34   “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” 

Umm … I read these words and I worry about my inability to live them. And then I worry about my inability to stop worrying about that. In fact, this is my least favorite passage in the Sermon on the Mount. And I worry about that. What to do? What  to do? Continue reading

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SOTM: Matthew 6:24 (Mammon)


It’s been a while, but I need to get back to the Sermon on the Mount.

(Mat 6:24 ESV) “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

Scot McKnight helps us see how the world would have looked to Jesus —

The Jesus we follow seems to have had nothing. He lived in a dry, hot, and dusty world. What food he ate he received by fishing, by farming, or by donations. The summers were long and filled with famine-causing heat; the houses in places like Capernaum were made of black basalt and were sturdy but hardly cool enough to make life comfortable. To cool off people waded into the Sea of Galilee. He lived on little; he lived from the generosity of others; he undoubtedly knew some hunger and thirst. Continue reading

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The Progressive Churches of Christ: Sinking into the Body of Christ, Part 3

progressive[I apologize for the length of these posts, but I’ve decided it’s best to lay out the entirety of the argument at once.]

A couple of readers have written extensive, thoughtful comments regarding my last few posts. I’ve addressed many of the comments in yesterday’s post, but not all. This is a comment from reader Zackary

But I really think this is a naive position to believe that “we can just love them so much that they couldn’t treat us as separate.” As Monty mentioned in an earlier comment, the early restoration leaders learned very quickly that melting together with the denominations would not be possible. Why would it be different today?

I really can’t buy the assumption that although unity is commanded, having tried it once and failed, we are now excused to never try again. Things have changed. The Baptists, Presbyterians, and many other denominations are not nearly as sectarian as they were 200 years ago. Continue reading

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The Progressive Churches of Christ: Sinking into Unity with the Body, Part 2

progressiveLet’s start with the obvious. The church is called by Jesus and God to be united. Moreover, this unity is part of our testimony to the truth of the gospel. Disunity is sin.

(John 17:20–21 ESV) 20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

“So that the world may believe” was a major theme of the early Restoration Movement, and the goal wasn’t merely that this new denomination be united, but that “those who believe in” Jesus be united — just as Jesus prayed.

How is this to be accomplished in a world in which the church is divided into warring denominations, dividing from each other and dividing within each other? Continue reading

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Progressive Churches of Christ: Taking a Sabbath

I posted two posts the same day yesterday by accident. That gives me the day off.

And that leaves time for some of the greatest music of all time —

Bach composed for a limited ensemble of instruments. The piano had not yet been invented. Many orchestral instruments were in a relatively primitive, limited form. And Stokowski brought his orchestrational genius to Bach. So much better than a harpsichord or organ.

For those who wonder why there is pressure now for instrumental music in the Churches of Christ, it’s not the Emerging Church, moral relativism, or a desire to be like “the denominations.” It’s the fact that organs have been replaced with better instruments.

(And, yes, my musical taste was heavily influenced by Disney’s Fantasia as a child.)

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The Progressive Churches of Christ: “Seek the welfare of the city”


(Jer 29:1-7 ESV) These are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders of the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. 2 This was after King Jeconiah and the queen mother, the eunuchs, the officials of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the metal workers had departed from Jerusalem. 3 The letter was sent by the hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan and Gemariah the son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. It said:

4 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”

The background of this letter is well explained by John Calvin —

Here the Israelites, plundered of all their property, torn from their homes, driven into exile, thrown into miserable bondage, are ordered to pray for the prosperity of the victor, not as we are elsewhere ordered to pray for our persecutors, but that his kingdom may be preserved in safety and tranquillity, that they too may live prosperously under him.

John Calvin and Henry Beveridge, Institutes of the Christian Religion (Edinburgh: The Calvin Translation Society, 1845), 3:550. Continue reading

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