On the Spirit’s Ordination of Elders

councilofelders I have a new article up at Wineskins: On the Spirit’s Ordination of Elders.

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What Must Be Preserved of the Churches of Christ? (Unity, Part 3)

churchofchristThe 20th Century Churches of Christ have staunchly opposed the ecumenical movement, largely because they saw the other denominations as lost and saw no hope of converting the others to their way of thinking.

In those days, the unity efforts largely were handled by negotiations among bishops and patriarchs and other high officials of the various denominations — with minimal success due to non-negotiable differences regarding the sacraments and church organization.

However, today, the real ecumenical movement is taking place in the pews, as church members reject the thinking of their leaders and insist on respecting baptisms and honoring faith in Jesus across denominational lines, with no concern for the ancient doctrines that have long separated denominations. Continue reading

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

churchofchristWe are continuing to consider the great slogans of the Restoration Movement.

No creed but Christ;
no creedbook but the Bible.

In the 19th Century, many denominations had written creeds that were used to define who could be a member and who could take communion.

Thomas Campbell had originally been a Presbyterian preacher in Ireland, where he fathered Alexander. He moved to western Pennsylvania for his health (I have no idea why that made any sense), leaving Alexander behind with his mother to complete his schooling. Continue reading

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

churchofchristI attended David Lipscomb College (now Lipscomb University) and managed to take a Bible class every day for the entire time and learn nothing about the Restoration Movement. That class was reserved for Bible majors and offered opposite key major courses for all others.

Later on, when I began to teach adult Bible classes at church, I decided to do a study of the Restoration Movement. I was fortunate that my church had excellent resources for Restoration Movement studies, by the standards of the day. Continue reading

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N. T. Wright’s “The Case for the Psalms” Chapter 3

caseforthepsalmsWe are considering and riffing a bit on N. T. Wright’s The Case for the Psalms: Why They Are Essential.

In chapter 3, Wright explains how the psalms “invite us, first, to stand at the intersection of the different layers of time.

(Psa 90:1-4 ESV) Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.
2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
3 You return man to dust and say, “Return, O children of man!”
4 For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night. Continue reading

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Noah

noahJohn Mark Hicks has just posted a two-part series on Noah — both the biblical account and the movie. Highly recommended.

Noah the Movie: Part I

Noah the Movie, Part II

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

churchofchristI’m not going to attempt a complete theology of the Spirit (pneumatology, technically), nor will I endeavor to suss out just what the Spirit does and doesn’t do today. I just want to offer the barest of introductions to a healthy understanding.

First, Jesus explained the working of the Spirit in enigmatic terms –

(Joh 3:8 ESV)  8 “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

– which parallels –

(Isa 40:13 ESV) 13 Who has measured the Spirit of the LORD, or what man shows him his counsel? Continue reading

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The Humility Bubble Lesson

humilityThis is one of the earliest posts on the blog — so early that I posted it as a .pdf because I didn’t know how to post HTML text. It responds to some of the comments recently made, and so I thought it was time to repost it in actual HTML.

The lesson was inspired by a talk I heard Joe Beam give in which he introduced the idea of humility bubbles.

 

 The Humility Bubble Lesson

The teacher begins class with his back to the class, marking on the board. Soon, the board looks like this— Continue reading

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

churchofchristIt’s easy to criticize some of the errors of the more conservative Churches of Christ. And the very natural, very human tendency is to lump all Church of Christ teachings together and reject them all.

And so, I think it’s important to occasionally step back and ask just what there is that needs preserving, indeed, that is precious not only to those of us who grew up in the Churches but to Christendom in general. Continue reading

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N. T. Wright’s “The Case for the Psalms” Chapters 1 & 2, Part C

caseforthepsalmsWe are considering and riffing a bit on N. T. Wright’s The Case for the Psalms: Why They Are Essential. The Psalms and Jesus Wright points out that the Psalms formed the core of the early church’s scriptural proof for Jesus as Messiah. The early gospel sermons recorded in Acts frequently cite the Psalms, because the Psalms speak so eloquently about Jesus.

The reason the Psalms do this, however, is not simply so that a few verses here and there point forward across a void to events in the life of Jesus (Psalm 2 to his baptism, Psalm 22 to his crucifixion, Psalm 47 to his ascension, Psalm 72 to his rule of justice and peace over the whole world, and so on). No: they resonate with Jesus because he was the one who stood, by divine appointment, precisely at the intersection of God’s time and ours, of God’s space and ours, and God’s matter and ours. Continue reading

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