The Christian and Minimalism

Bible on desk with cup and clock

If you have spent much time online looking at articles and videos about personal development – how to make the best use of your time, get the most out of life, and focus on what is important – you have likely come across the concept of minimalism. Many self-help gurus promote this philosophy and there are a number of people who describe the benefits they have seen in their own lives by adopting its principles. There are some concepts found in minimalism that will be appealing to most people, even if they do not embrace it in its entirety.

What is minimalism? And what place, if any, does it have in the life of a Christian? Let us briefly consider this concept.Continue Reading

Taking Personal Responsibility

Pointing at ManIn a time of lockdowns, shelter-in-place orders, and social distancing, we are more cut off from others than we had been previously. Obviously, there are challenges to this type of social arrangement – including spiritual challenges. One such challenge is that it is increasingly important for each of us to take personal responsibility for our faith and our standing before God. Paul mentioned this idea in his letter to the brethren in Philippi:

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).

Paul wanted these brethren to maintain their faithfulness even when he was absent from them and could not encourage them in person. The reason for the lack of in-person interaction is different today. And, of course, Paul was only speaking of himself as being absent from them; the brethren in Philippi were still together. However, the challenge described by Paul is the same. We must maintain our faithfulness, even without the in-person encouragement we are used to receiving from other Christians.

In this article, we are going to notice why personal responsibility is important, some ways in which we are to take personal responsibility, and also why taking personal responsibility should never cause us to think that isolation from fellow Christians is to be preferred.Continue Reading

Can Christians Observe the Lord’s Supper Outside of the Assembly? (Episode 5)

Plain Bible Teaching Podcast

The question we’ll discuss in this episode was submitted to me by several people this week:

Can Christians observe the Lord’s Supper outside of the assembly?

As of right now, the situation with the global pandemic caused by the Coronavirus has caused many local churches to suspend their assemblies. In their place, many churches have arranged to have “virtual” assemblies. Others have opted to gather in homes with just family members or small groups. In either case, many are continuing to observe the Lord’s Supper even though they are not in the regular assembly of the local church. Is this authorized? We’re going to consider what the New Testament has to say to address that question.

Additional resources:

Do you have a question you would like to submit for a future episode? Fill out the Plain Bible Teaching Podcast question form.

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Walter Scott: “A Church That Is All Mouth”

Walter Scott: "A Church That Is All Mouth"

George Darsie (1846-1904) from Frankfort, Kentucky wrote a sermon entitled, To Every Man His Work, which was published in a book edited by J. A. Lord – On the Lord’s Day: A Manual for the Regular Observances of the New Testament Ordinances. In the sermon, Darsie illustrated the importance of Christians fulfilling various roles in the work of the church by telling of a visit by Walter Scott (1796-1861) to the Brush Run Church.

“Walter Scott, an associate of Alexander Campbell in the early days of our religious movement, one time went from his home in Pittsburg over to Washington County to visit and spend a Sunday with Campbell at the Brush Run Church. He found the church service quite lengthy, as every male member of the church was called on for a religious address. After long hours had passed and all had spoken, Scott was asked to make the closing address. He did so. But whether he was hungry for his dinner or worn out by the length of the service, his remarks, though quite pointed, were rather testy.

“‘Brethren,’ he said, ‘my Bible tells me that the church is like a human body, of which one member is a foot, another a hand, another an eye, and still another a mouth. That, in fact, it has, or should have, as great variety in its membership as the human body has. But I regret to see that you have reversed all this. You have here a church with but a single member. You have, in fact, a church that is all mouth!’” (On the Lord’s Day, p. 95)

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The Trend of Churches Offering Multiple Services, Sites, and Venues

Map of City

Churches built by men are constantly changing. What a particular church or denomination believes and practices today may not be what they believe and practice by the time the next generation comes along. The reason why these churches change is because they are trying to expand their reach and attract more people. As society changes, these churches must adapt. Too often, these changes are not in harmony with the teachings of Scripture.

Sometimes changes occur among a small minority of churches/denominations. Other times, there are trends that affect a large number of churches regardless of denominational affiliation. One of these trends that I have been hearing about more in the last few years has to do with churches offering multiple services, sites, and venues.

Thom Rainer, former CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, in a blog post titled, Nine Rapid Changes in Church Worship Services (published May 7, 2014), wrote the following:

“‘Multi’ is normative. Most congregants twenty years ago attended a Sunday morning worship service where no other Sunday morning alternatives were available. Today, most congregants attend a service that is part of numerous alternatives: multi-services; multi-campuses; multi-sites; and multi-venues.”

In a more recent post in which he projected what “healthy churches” would look like in ten years, he wrote, “The majority of healthy churches will be multi-site, multi-venue, or multi-day.” He went on to say, “As long as we don’t compromise biblical truths, we need to reach people where they are.”

However, is it true that a church can adopt a multi-service, multi-site, multi-venue model without compromising biblical truth?Continue Reading

Taking the Lord’s Supper Out of the Assembly

Communion Cup

Shortly before His death, Jesus instituted a memorial to help His disciples remember Him and the sacrifice He was about to make on the cross (Matthew 26:26-29). This memorial was later referred to as “the Lord’s Supper” (1 Corinthians 11:20).

In the first century, Christians “gathered together” to observe this memorial “on the first day of the week” (Acts 20:7). This memorial consisted of the bread which represented Jesus’ body and the cup (fruit of the vine) which represented His blood that was shed on the cross (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). Paul also emphasized to the brethren in Corinth that when they would “come together to eat” (partake of the Lord’s Supper), they were to “wait for one another” (1 Corinthians 11:33).Continue Reading

Being a Productive Christian

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Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).

There are many books, articles, and websites dedicated to the subject of productivity. People want to improve how they use their time and work more efficiently and effectively. While being productive is important in the realm of work and business, we should not limit it to those areas of our lives.

The Scriptures teach that we are to be productive in our spiritual lives. Though the word productivity is not used in the Bible, the concept is certainly discussed. In this article, we are going to see what the Bible says about how to be a productive Christian.Continue Reading