Saturday, August 22, 2015

Should the Bible be Taken as Literal Truth?

I heard a program recently where a Bible teacher expressed his distaste at some of the events portrayed in the Old Testament. Specifically, he was declaring that 1 Samuel 15, where God commands Saul to destroy Amalek to include men, women and children, should not be taken literally. The basic premise for this belief is the fact that, according to this individual, the revelation of God in Jesus would necessarily preclude us from interpreting such events literally. It is not possible, according to the teacher, for God to be the God of the Old Testament, if we are to interpret those events literally, and also be the God that was revealed in the New Testament in Jesus.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Hierarchy of the Early Church

In a fine article concerning the early church and its governing structure, Michael Kruger, the dean of the Reformed Theological Seminary and a noted expert in biblical canonical issues, wrote that the early church’s structure was composed of a plurality of elders in each congregation. These individuals were, in the words of the apostle Paul, the overseers of “the church of God which he purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). This was not only the biblical model (see 1 Timothy and Titus), but also a historical fact. The early church understood the guidance the apostles provided about such matters and strove to be faithful to it. But as with so many things in the church, however, this structure did not last.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Pitfalls of Verse Against Verse Hermeneutics

I ran across an article the other day on a website called The particular article centered on a question regarding whether the church of Christ is a “good” biblical church. The answer dealt with several different aspects that the author thought were important to the question, but one in particular caught my eye. The third issue identified by the author as being worthy of consideration when it comes to the church of Christ, dealt with baptism and its place in the church.

The article began dealing with this issue by saying, “A third and very important issue is the Church of Christ’s emphasis on baptism as being necessary for salvation. Church of Christ advocates point to Scriptures such as Acts 2:38, John 3:5, Mark 16:16, 1 Peter 3:21, and Acts 22:16 as biblical evidence that baptism is required for salvation.” So far so good, you will say. The problem comes as the author goes about trying to refute the idea that baptism is part of the gospel and initial entrance into the church. As with so many people who deny the essential nature of baptism and its place within the church, this individual attempted to dismiss the scriptures just cited by setting them against a number of others that seem to indicate that baptism is not part of the initial salvation experience. 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Dangers for the Church part 2

The last time, we discussed a couple of the most salient dangers the church in our age is facing. This time, we close with two additional dangers that assail and will be more threatening to the health of the church and its influence in the world.

Danger number three: Denying the authority of scripture – Similar to the last danger—lack of knowledge—this is an insidious and increasingly common trait in churches. To cite one example, the ever stronger homosexual movement has created an environment where adhering to the authority of the Scriptures is looked upon as antiquated and bigoted. As a response to this attitude, many churches have begun to “rethink” their stance, not only regarding matters of sexuality, but also questioning the authority and even more dangerously, the inerrancy of the sacred text.