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

Do Not Exceed What Is Written

Hand on Bible

Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other” (1 Corinthians 4:6).

Paul had to address several problems in his first letter to Corinth. One had to do with the brethren elevating men and regarding them as more important than they were. The apostle used himself and Apollos as an example in order to teach them “not to exceed what is written.” His warning was for them to not go beyond the limits of what God’s word allows. This principle is found throughout the letter. In this article, we will consider some points that Paul addressed in this letter in order to teach us – or remind us – not to exceed what is written and go beyond the boundaries of God’s word.
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Audio: Why Was Paul Amazed at the Apostasy in Galatia?

Paul’s letter to the Galatians was addressed to the churches of that region – Antioch of Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe. These churches were established during Paul’s first preaching journey (Acts 13-14). The Christians in this region experienced a lot of opposition to the gospel, yet this was not what caused them to slide into apostasy. Instead, their apostasy was caused by something much more subtle. This lesson examines the history of the establishment of these churches and what eventually threatened to lead them away from Christ.
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The Fall of Sidney Rigdon

Sidney Rigdon (1793-1876) was once a gospel preacher early in the Restoration Movement. Yet he is better known for his role in the history of the Mormon church. This man, who at one time was striving to preach the gospel according to the New Testament pattern, departed from the truth and became a prominent figure among the Mormons. How could such a thing happen?

Amos S. Hayden, author of Early History of the Disciples in the Western Reserve, provides some insight into the fall of Sidney Rigdon.
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Doctrinal Purity

Open Bible

Doctrine, as many would define it, is not popular in religion today. Many believe that doctrine is what divides us. The denominations mostly leave matters of “doctrine” to the heads of their denomination. The preachers/pastors then can limit their message to topics like salvation, grace, love, social issues, etc. In the Lord’s church, some are de-emphasizing “doctrine” so they can focus more on the “gospel” (a faulty distinction that is not made in the New Testament). But doctrine simply means teaching. Many passages in the King James Version that use the word “doctrine” actually have the word “teaching” used instead in some of the newer translations. There is not a complicated definition of the word “doctrine.” That which is taught in the New Testament is doctrine.

The intent of this article is to show the importance of doctrinal purity. In the previous paragraph we noticed what doctrine is – the teaching contained in the New Testament. Purity means it is unchanged, uncorrupted, and complete. So when I speak of the need for doctrinal purity, I am referring to the desire to learn and believe all that is taught in the New Testament and only that which is taught in the New Testament. Many find this undesirable or impossible, but the word of God teaches that this must be our goal.
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Doctrinal Unity

Many professing Christians are perfectly willing to admit that they have little or no interest in doctrine. They enjoy speaking and hearing of the story of Christ and the grace of God that was shown in His sacrifice. They desire to learn how to deal with the problems of life and how to be a good moral person. But there is less interest in doctrine because, allegedly, doctrine divides us. So they want to ignore doctrinal differences and unite on the basis of our common faith in Christ. This is the old “unity in diversity” mentality.

When we speak of ignoring doctrinal differences, what exactly does that mean? This may be a little hard to define, but things like the work, worship, and organization of the church would be considered matters of doctrine. Teaching on marriage, divorce and remarriage would be doctrine. How the Holy Spirit dwells in the Christian would considered doctrine. It seems as though almost anything that has the potential of causing division among those who believe in Christ is labeled as doctrine.
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Unity in the Ephesian Church

Unity is one of the predominant themes of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. In the second chapter, he wrote of the unity between Jews and Gentiles (Ephesians 2:11-22). Historically, there was hostility between these two groups, but Jesus came and “made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall” (Ephesians 2:14). They were reconciled in “one body” (Ephesians 2:16). Earlier, Paul indicated that this body is the church (Ephesians 1:22-23). Jesus did not establish a church of the Jews and another church of the Gentiles. He built one church (cf. Matthew 16:18). All men who will be faithful to Him “are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:22).

The fourth chapter also addresses the subject of unity. Paul instructed the brethren to be “diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). He wrote of one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father (Ephesians 4:4-6). A few verses later he mentioned different “offices” in the church (Ephesians 4:11) that were in place for “the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12). The goal of this was that we might “attain to the unity of the faith” (Ephesians 4:13).
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