1 Corinthians 12:14-26 (unity in diversity)

spiritual giftsPaul next offers a powerful metaphor — a comparison of a congregation to a human body, indeed, the body of Christ —

(1Co 12:14-17 ESV) For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?

It’s a familiar lesson to anyone who’s spent much time in church, and as a result, we often don’t hear the fullness of what is saying. N. T. Wright offers some insights that carry us beyond most commentaries. Continue reading

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Second Post Up at Wineskins on Inerrancy

wordJust posted the second of a five-part series on inerrancy over at Wineskins.

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New Post Up at Wineskins on Inerrancy

wordJust posted the first of a five-part series on inerrancy over at Wineskins.

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1 Corinthians 12:13 (baptism and Living Water)

spiritual gifts

(1Co 12:13 ESV)  13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — Jews or Greeks, slaves or free — and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

I interrupted the series on 1 Corinthians because I thought much of the material in Scot McKnight’s latest book Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church would give us a deeper grasp of chapters 12 and 13. They are speaking about the same things.

We in the Churches of Christ see 1 Cor 12:13 as a proof text on the necessity of water baptism. And while the verse unquestionably is important in understanding baptism, we really need to be able to read it in context for the point Paul was intending make. Continue reading

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Thanks!

thanksJust a note to express my deep appreciation to the readers. Readership has doubled in 2014 despite my health problems and many weeks away from the keyboard — and I am more grateful for your time and attention than I know how to express.

Jay

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Kingdom Conspiracy: Thinking It Through, Part 6 (Murder)

KingdomConspiracy2We’re discussing Scot McKnight’s latest book Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church.

I’m not going to work my way all the way through the Sermon on the Mount. Rather, I just want to point out a reading of the text that fits well within McKnight’s theses.

(Mat 5:21-22 ESV) “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’  22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.”

Now, we tend to teach this as ethics, which isn’t wrong. Yes, we should not murder, and yes anger and insult are to be avoided. Let’s do better. Next verse. Continue reading

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Kingdom Conspiracy: Thinking It Through, Part 5 (Light)

KingdomConspiracy2We’re discussing Scot McKnight’s latest book Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church.

(Mat 5:14-16 ESV) “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.  16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Very properly, many who argue for kingdom works speak in terms of being salt and light. Amen. But notice this. We’re light because we are very visible. Like a city on a hill, our light can be seen for many miles. Continue reading

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Kingdom Conspiracy: Thinking It Through, Part 4 (Blessed)

KingdomConspiracy2We’re discussing Scot McKnight’s latest book Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church.

(Mat 5:1-10 ESV) Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.  2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: 
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. 
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

So how does the church become the church? How does the kingdom partly realized become the kingdom in its fullness? Well, here’s a pretty good place to start. But it’s not  that easy, because of a translation problem. The word translated “blessed” has no English equivalent. Continue reading

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Kingdom Conspiracy: Thinking It Through, Part 3 (Stanley Hauerwas)

KingdomConspiracy2We’re discussing Scot McKnight’s latest book Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church.

So back to Hauerwas —

“The heart of the gospel is that you don’t know Jesus without the witness of the church. It’s always mediated.”

You see, the gospel is the “good news of the kingdom” (Matt 4:23: 9:35; 24:14). And so if the church doesn’t demonstrate the good news, there is no good news. To the extent we Christian fail to live Acts 2, we contradict the gospel. Hence,

“The first task of the church is to be the church.”

Continue reading

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Kingdom Conspiracy: Thinking It Through, Part 2 (Adding to the Church)

KingdomConspiracy2We’re discussing Scot McKnight’s latest book Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church. And I’m still on break. Subject to exceptions.

So this is not from McKnight, but I think it fits pretty well with his ideas. Let’s take a look at Acts 2 —

(Act 2:42-47 ESV)  42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 

43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.  44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common.  45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.  46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,  47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

So I’ve been wondering just what Luke meant in v. 47 by “the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” Traditionally, in the Churches of Christ, we’ve interpreted this as accounting. That is, we emphasized the fact that God adds the saved to the church, rather than our choosing to join a church. And that’s true. Continue reading

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