L. F. Bittle: Lions and Skunks

L. F. Bittle: Lions and Skunks

L. F. Bittle (1833-1905) worked for about twenty years with Daniel Sommer in producing the Apostolic Review. Sommer described him as “the best educated and the most modest man I ever knew” (Daniel Sommer: A Biography, p. 153). On one occasion when he was challenged for a debate, Bittle gave the following response:

“We can imagine a man brave enough to go forth into the forest to hunt lions, but on his return that same man would step aside when he would be confronted by a skunk” (Daniel Sommer: A Biography, p. 158).

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Are We Putting Jesus First?

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[This article was written by Jeffrey Burnett.]

Maybe it is just the fact that I am getting older, but life truly seems to get busier every year. There is so much to do and so little time to get it all done and some things just have to be put off until a later time. Our lives are filled with legitimate concerns that we wrestle with each day often leaving little time for thinking of spiritual things, and that is precisely the problem.

Because every person has a different set of obligations it is difficult to place these concerns in any order of priority. God demands that we work with our hands in order to provide for ourselves and for the needs of others (1 Thess. 4:11-12; Eph. 4:28). Paul told Timothy that “if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8). Then there is the duty of parents raising children, not only being sure that they have clean clothes and good food, but bringing them up “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). This is a serious job that cannot be put off until tomorrow. Most of us, occasionally, need a break from work to simply relax or get some kind of recreation to just have fun. All of these things take up our time and somehow, we must find time to give to each item in keeping with its importance.Continue Reading

Shame: A Biblical Perspective

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Shame may be defined as “a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.” One can also be shamed or put to shame by others, causing him to feel ashamed.

Shame has a very negative connotation in our society today. Many believe that children should not be disciplined or corrected for fear that they might be made to feel ashamed. Sin is tolerated and even celebrated so that those who practice it will not feel shame for their actions. Behaviors that were once kept secret because they were shameful are now proudly announced to the world.

What does the Bible have to say about all of this? Let us consider shame from a Biblical perspective.Continue Reading

Social Issues: Conclusion

Social Issues

Many of the topics we have discussed in this study are controversial and can elicit strong emotional responses from individuals. Because of this, we may be tempted to avoid any type of discussion on these issues, especially if we know there will be disagreement.

However, as we have discussed, there are Biblical principles that apply to these topics. Therefore, discussions on these sorts of issues can provide a way to direct others – especially those who are not Christians – to what the Bible teaches. So we should not avoid discussing these things altogether, but we do need to understand the proper way to discuss contentious topics.Continue Reading

Social Issues (Part 13): Materialism

Social Issues

Materialism is about valuing physical things over spiritual things. This could be in the form of money or possessions. It is often associated with those who are rich, yet those who are poor can also be guilty of being materialistic.

Those who fall into the trap of materialism will find themselves in one of two categories: (1) they do not believe in God and, therefore, do not value the spiritual blessings and rewards He offers; or (2) they believe in God but do not recognize the danger posed by material things and how they can distract us from focusing on spiritual things. Regardless of the category in which one may be, the result is the same – a disregard of spiritual things in favor of physical things.Continue Reading

Tolbert Fanning’s Seven Rules for Studying the Bible

Tolbert Fanning: Study upon the Proper Plan

Most religiously-minded people will affirm that reading the Bible is vital. Many of these would also say that studying the Scriptures is important. Yet among those who read and study the Bible, there is usually a wide range of beliefs and practices that often conflict with and contradict one another. Is this to be expected and accepted? Or is that a sign that we should re-evaluate our approach in studying the Bible?

Tolbert Fanning (1810-1874) was a preacher from Tennessee who had a strong influence among brethren in the South. In his book The True Method of Searching the Scriptures, he outlined seven rules for studying the Bible. As we consider these rules, we will see that these are not just one man’s opinion; instead, these are some basic principles we need to apply if we are to understand God’s word in the way He intended us to understand it.

So let us briefly consider these seven rules for studying the Bible.Continue Reading

Social Issues (Part 12): Busyness

Social Issues

Busyness is familiar to all of us. It is the condition in which we have a great deal to do and not enough time to do it. This could be due to actual responsibilities, perceived duties, self-imposed obligations, and also time-wasting activities.

Those who argue in favor of busyness will often do so by contrasting it with laziness or idleness (even though these are not exact opposites). Those who view busyness as a virtue typically believe they are simply making the most of their time rather than wasting it.Continue Reading