Having considered the broader context of John 4:23-24 in the last post, let’s now look at the context in John’s Gospel.
In chapter 3, John had just related the story of Jesus and Nicodemus (“born of water and Spirit”), and earlier John had quoted John the Baptist –
(John 1:33 ESV) 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’
The indwelling Spirit is a major theme of the preceding chapters of John.
Early in Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman, Jesus offers here “living water,” which is the indwelling Holy Spirit. John makes certain we don’t miss this later in the Gospel – Continue reading
I’ve written on John 4:23-24 several times. It’s a critical passage in understanding the New Testament’s doctrine of worship — and much, much more. And it’s one of those passages that is almost always misunderstood because we come to looking for answers to the wrong questions.
(Joh 4:21-24 ESV) 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
In many denominations, especially those who teach the Regulative Principle, the passage is explained as a contrast between the Jews and Samaritans. The Jews have the truth (meeting in the right location according to the right rules) but lack the spirit (have hard hearts). The Samaritans lack the truth (once worshiped on Mt. Gerezim) but have the right spirit (have tender hearts anxious to worship). Jesus, it is argued, therefore wants use to have both the right rules and the right hearts. (And the rules will be found by applying CENI and the Regulative Principle). Continue reading
We pick up with Minghui’s responses to my examples for authorized things that do not meet the standards of CENI.
(For those readers coming in late, I’m attempting to show that CENI/the Regulative Principle are not real rules, and indeed foreign the scripture, by showing what would happen if we were to consistently apply them. To do this, I take on the role of someone willing to let CENI take him wherever it leads.)
[JFG:] “There is no authority for church buildings to be owned by a church. And yet the rightness of the practice is widely accepted by even the most conservative Churches of Christ.”
[Minghui] There is authority for us to assemble. The exact location is not specified; we have the liberty to decide to assemble at someone’s house, at a church building, at a rented place, etc. Continue reading
Last week, I posted “An Email about Authority and Mathematics” in response to a question I received re a young brother, a mathematician, with questions re certain traditional Church of Christ teachings.
On Tuesday, my mathematician brother, whom I now know as Minghui, responded in some detail.
I will repost his entire response, with my comments inserted throughout.
I am the young brother. Thank you for your article. The logic is mathematically very clear. Continue reading
A.J. McCarron is, famously, the starting quarterback for Alabama, winner of second place in the Heisman, proud owner of three national championship rings, and the boyfriend of Katherine Webb, Sports Illustrated swimsuit model.
He is also the friend of A.J. Starr, an Alabama student with cerebral palsy. You’ll enjoy watching the video. I guarantee it.
And you’ll also appreciate this story about Leonard Fournette. Leonard is generally considered the best high school player in the country — and he is being recruited by just about every college with a football program. Continue reading
If it were wrong to cry out to G-d, why did He listen and answer their cries? And if lament is part of the Canon and worked, then how can it be wrong?
Or did it become wrong after the Resurrection?
The only verse (probably taken out of context) that I ever heard regarding lament or complaining was “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Philippians 4:11 KJV
Basically, complaining was deemed unacceptable under any situation no matter how bad.
Thanks for a great question. I’ll try to answer it, and I’m going to answer some questions you didn’t ask but that must be answered to explain my response. Continue reading
John Mark Hicks is a professor at Lipscomb University (my alma mater, but he arrived after I was graduated) and one my most favorite bloggers — because I learn so much studying at his feet.
As I mentioned in the last post, John Mark introduced me to the doctrine of lament, indeed, to the idea that the Scriptures anticipate that God is big enough to complain to. God is not so thin-skinned that he can’t take it — and sometimes we created-beings desperately need to express our feelings to God. Continue reading
Most readers are likely aware of Les’s story. His blog, “Desperately Wanting to Believe Again,” offers intensely personal insights into his struggles to cope with horrific personal tragedy in light of his faith in Jesus.
From Les Ferguson, Jr.’s November 7, 2013 article “I Don’t Know Where I Fit In” –
Along the way, a funny thing happened (here’s where I probably lose the next preaching job or opportunity). As I became intimately involved with the lives of hurting broken people—as I came alongside them with the brokenness and hurt of my own life, I found it harder and harder to maintain some of my positions. Continue reading
Continuing with comments that really should have been posts (this combines two) –
Charles asked, “Is there something about a 2,000 person congregation that is inherently superior to 10 200-person congregations?”
Yes. Economists would call it economies of scale. Others might say “efficiency.” Others yet would say “avoiding spending all our money on buildings and preachers.” Continue reading
I am again borrowing from the comments, this time from a series of comments by me under Paul and the Faithfulness of God: Baptism and the Eucharist.
For a little background, I reference N. T. Wright’s point that baptism serves a community purpose, as baptism announces to the church that the convert has faith and made a commitment to Jesus as Lord.
I think that’s obvious, but evidently because I didn’t also say “and washes away sins” I’m a Baptist or Calvinist or something worse — although I tried to carefully nuance my writing to say that baptism does more than that.
In fact, Wright recently retired as an Anglican bishop, and the Anglicans take a very similar view of baptism as the traditional Church of Christ view (except they baptize babies). They baptize “for remission of sins.” We did not patent that one. Continue reading