Regular Christians (Part 11): Diotrephes

Regular Christians

Diotrephes was one who fell away because he wanted to have the preeminence. The only time we read about him in the New Testament is when John warned about him in his third epistle.

I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them [have the preeminence, KJV], does not accept what we say. For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words; and not satisfied with this, he himself does not receive the brethren, either, and he forbids those who desire to do so and puts them out of the church” (3 John 9-10).

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Hindrances to Evangelism

Invitation

Generally speaking, Christians recognize the importance of evangelism – the practice of taking the gospel to those who are outside of the body of Christ so they have the opportunity to hear it and obey it. Yet what often happens is that there are certain obstacles (real or perceived) that hinder our efforts in this vital work.

In describing the work of evangelism, Paul wrote, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:6). His point was that he and Apollos were simply to be engaged in the work and leave the “increase” (KJV) in the hands of God. The reality is that there are certain things that are out of our control – especially when it comes to the interest of those whom we are trying to reach. But Paul was not focused on final results, he was focused on his work – what he could control.

It is tempting to focus so much on results that we are either tempted to compromise the gospel in order to win more “converts” or we get discouraged when we do not see the fruit produced that we hope to see. Like Paul, we simply need to focus on our work. One of the ways we can do this is by trying to see what is hindering our work in evangelism. In this article, I want us to consider five of these potential hindrances and see what we may be able to do to overcome them.Continue Reading

The Problem with Division

Division

The first of many problems that Paul addressed in his first letter to Corinth was that of division. There were factions that had developed within the church as the brethren became loyal to different teachers (1 Corinthians 1:12). Paul appealed for them to have unity. He did so by explaining what the problem is with division.

Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10).

Let us consider what Paul taught in the passage above.Continue Reading

Why Being Non-Denominational Is Not Good Enough

Church steeple

In the past, more emphasis was placed upon one’s denominational affiliation. But for many today, this is less important. This shift in mindset has given rise to the number of “non-denominational” churches we see in the religious world.

For years, faithful brethren have rightly condemned denominationalism. So is the trend toward non-denominationalism a good thing? Maybe not. Why not? Simply being non-denominational is not good enough.

The church in Sardis was a dead church, though they had a reputation that they were alive. Jesus said to them, “I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead” (Revelation 3:1). This shows us that a church can seem to be good in the eyes of men, but in the eyes of the Lord, their status is completely different. In the eyes of many, “non-denominational” churches look appealing. But like the church in Sardis, many of these churches simply do not measure up to the Lord’s standard.
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The Problem with Denominations

Church building

Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it’” (Matthew 16:16-18).

In the first century, there were no denominations – only the Lord’s church (Matthew 16:18). Paul said there is just “one body” (Ephesians 4:4), and that body is the church (Ephesians 1:22-23).

But today, unlike the first century, there are thousands of denominations. Is this a problem? Many will say “no.” They have been taught to “join the church of your choice” because “one church is as good as another.” But the Scriptures teach that this is a problem. Why? In this article we will notice four reasons why denominationalism is a problem.
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Characteristics of Truth

Man Holding Bible

The sum of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting” (Psalm 119:160).

David affirmed that the entirety of God’s word – the sum, not just some – is truth. This is what we should expect since the word is from God (1 Corinthians 1:10-13; 2 Timothy 3:16) and “it is impossible for God to lie” (Hebrews 6:18; cf. Titus 1:2).

While it is important that we understand that the word of God is truth (John 17:17), it is also important that we appreciate various characteristics of truth. Certainly there are those who do not accept the Bible as truth; but of those who do (or claim that they do), many simply do not understand the nature of this truth. It is not whatever we want it to be. Truth is from the mind of God whose ways are infinitely higher than our own (Isaiah 55:8-9; 1 Corinthians 1:25). So let us consider some of the characteristics of truth.
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Book Review: Torn Asunder

Torn Asunder (cover)I recently finished reading Torn Asunder: The Civil War and the 1906 Division of the Disciples by Ben Brewster. The book is about the history of the Restoration Movement leading up to the officially recognized division between the Disciples of Christ and the churches of Christ in 1906. But the author took an interesting approach by looking at how the Civil War impacted this division. An excerpt from the book is below:
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