The Reformation and the Restoration: A Tale of Two Movements

Martin Luther and Alexander Campbell

The New Testament repeatedly warns about drifting; in particular, drifting away from the faith. This can be done either individually or collectively.

  • The Hebrew writer warned the Christians to whom he wrote that they “must pay much closer attention to what [they had] heard, so that [they would] not drift away from it” (Hebrews 2:1).
  • The Lord Himself rebuked the church in Ephesus because they had “left [their] first love” (Revelation 2:4).

There is always a danger that any one of us – or any one of our churches – could drift away from the faith. However, Paul also warned about a great apostasy that was coming not long after his lifetime.

Let no one in any way deceive you, for it [the return of Christ, as] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things?” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-5).

Paul explained that this “mystery of lawlessness [was] already at work” (2 Thessalonians 2:7). As he described this “man of lawlessness,” he was not referring to one person, but an attitude. This apostasy would take place over some period of time. It was a spirit of error, an attitude that led Christians to depart from the pattern revealed in the New Testament. It was “restrained” for a time (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7) by the persecution from the Roman authorities. However, once that opposition was removed, the departures from the faith would increase exponentially.Continue Reading

Modern Methods of Giving

Texting

[Note: The following article was included in the updated edition of my study, Now Concerning the Collection: A Study of Giving. I am posting it here for the benefit of others who may be considering different methods of giving that have been made available by our modern technology.]

I wrote the original study, Now Concerning the Collection, in 2006 after preaching a lesson (by request) on the topic of giving. At that time, the standard practice for churches to take up the collection – at least the congregations where I had attended – was to pass a basket down each pew into which those in attendance would place their contribution, either in the form of cash or check. This was the way we took up the collection.

Over the fourteen years since then, we have seen many changes that have taken place in our world – including changes in how we use money and make transactions. Many churches now offer online giving that allows someone to give using a credit or debit card online. Other churches offer the option of text giving (via text message) or a mobile giving app.Continue Reading

Remember the Lawgiver

Moses and the Ten Commandments

After delivering the Israelites from Pharaoh and their bondage in Egypt, God gave them the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3-17). These commandments served as a foundation for the rest of the law.

Yet in a sense, this foundation also had a foundation. The Ten Commandments provided the basis for the law, but the only reason the law mattered was because of the one who gave the law. So who was the lawgiver? That was God. They needed to understand this in order to appreciate the importance of the laws that were given. They were reminded of this in the “preface” to the Ten Commandments:

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Exodus 20:2).

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Daniel Sommer: Two Classes of Disciples

Daniel Sommer: Two Classes of Disciples

Daniel Sommer (1850-1940) lived a long life which he devoted to preaching the gospel. He saw the controversy and division among brethren in the second half of the nineteenth century over the issues of the missionary society and instrumental music. Through his preaching and editorial work, he was a powerful influence in opposing such innovations. Yet before division started happening, Sommer could see the beginnings of it. In the excerpt below, he wrote about the different attitudes he saw among brethren while he was still in college at Bethany.Continue Reading

How Do I Know What Church to Join? (Episode 2)

Plain Bible Teaching Podcast

The question we’ll be considering in this episode was submitted via the podcast question submission form:

How do I know what church to join?

There are many different churches around us. How can we know which one we should be a part of? In this episode, we’ll examine what the Scriptures teach about the church and how we can determine what church we ought to “join” today.

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.

Thanks for listening!

If you found this episode to be useful, please share it with others. Thanks.

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

Identifying the Lord’s Church (Part 4): What Is His Church to Be Doing?

Identifying the Lord's Church

As we begin this final lesson in our study, let us be reminded of what we have learned so far. Jesus built one church and His church is to follow His will as it has been expressed in the New Testament. Those who make up the Lord’s church are those who have been added to it by God upon believing, repenting, and being baptized.

Once we are part of His church, we need to know the work in which the church is to be engaged. After all, it is His church and we are blessed to have been added to it; therefore, we should seek to do His will. So in this final lesson, let us consider the following question: What is His church to be doing?Continue Reading