Monthly News Roundup (06.24.21)

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Plain Bible Teaching Podcast

This is the last episode for the month of June – time for our monthly news roundup. In this episode, we’ll be talking about the number of Americans who are reading the Bible, the Department of Education and transgender students, and the effects of the pandemic on our emotional well-being.

STORY #1 –More Americans Are Reading the Bible

“The latest State of the Bible report from the American Bible Society finds that 181 million Americans opened a Bible in the past year—up 7.1% from the previous year.

“When thinking about their own usage, 24% of Americans say their Bible reading has increased this year compared to last. Around 2 in 3 (63%) say it has stayed the same, while 9% say it has decreased.

“In January 2020, 48% of Americans were considered Bible users by the American Bible Society—the lowest percentage in the 10 years of the study. That number rebounded, however, in January 2021 as 50% or 128 million Americans are Bible users this year—the highest percentage in four years and the most in raw numbers since 2014.”

[…]

“Even as fewer Americans are avoiding the Bible completely, not enough are reading it on a regular basis. Around 1 in 10 (11%) say they read it daily, and another 5% say they read it four to six days a week.

“That combined 1 in 6 Americans who read Scripture at least four times a week is an important number. Extensive research of the impact of Bible reading shows that is the amount necessary to see significant life change. People who engage with Scripture one to three days a week demonstrate the same effect on the personal lives as those who don’t engage with it at all. Those who read the Bible four days a week or more, however, see radical, life-altering effects.

“Unfortunately, even among churchgoers regular Bible reading is not common enough. Close to a third (32%) of U.S. Protestant churchgoers say they read the Bible every day, according to a 2019 Lifeway Research study. Including the 27% who say they read it a few times a week, fewer than 3 in 5 churchgoers read the Bible more than once a week. A full 12% say they rarely or never read the Bible.” (Lifeway Research)

Related material:

STORY #2 – Department of Education Says Sports, Bathrooms Must Be Open to Transgender Students

“On Wednesday, the Department of Education said public schools cannot discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity under a new Biden administration policy that will impact such contentious issues as sports and the usage of bathrooms and locker rooms.”

“The Department of Education’s decision impacts multiple hot-button issues, including the use of bathrooms and locker rooms by students who identify with the opposite gender. It also affects athletics and the controversy over biological boys competing in girls’ events. In its new policy, the Department of Education says it will ‘fully enforce Title IX’ to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity ‘in education programs and activities.’ The latter term includes sports.” (Christian Headlines)

Related material:

STORY #3 – 44% of Americans Hit ‘Lowest Emotional Point’ of Their Lives During Pandemic

“If there was a growing mental health crisis before 2020, a new study finds the coronavirus pandemic may have sent it spiraling out of control. Half of Americans feel they lost complete control of their lives during the last year.

“A survey of 2,000 people reveals 47 percent feel helpless, while 44 percent say they hit their lowest emotional point within the last year. Since last March, Americans report struggling more with anxiety (42%), depression (37%), and loneliness (31%) than ever before.” (Study Finds)

Related material:

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I.B. Grubbs’ Six Rules of Biblical Hermeneutics

I.B. Grubbs, rejecting legalism

When it comes to studying the Bible, it is common for people to come away with their own understanding of the word of God. Many see nothing wrong with this, despite the varied and sometimes conflicting interpretations people have of the Scriptures. However, when Paul wrote to the brethren in Ephesus, he said, “By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ” (Ephesians 3:4). He did not expect each of them to have their interpretation of the epistle he wrote by inspiration. Instead, he expected them to have the same understanding as he did. The only way this could happen is for each one to follow a common set of principles as they try to determine the meaning of a particular passage under consideration.

Isaiah Boone Grubbs (1833-1912) was a preacher and also a professor at the College of the Bible in Lexington, KY at the end of the nineteenth century and into the early part of the twentieth century. In the introduction to his material on the epistles of First and Second Corinthians and Galatians,* he outlined six hermeneutical rules that would allow students of the Bible to properly interpret the text. (Hermeneutics simply means “the study of the methodological principles of interpretation (as of the Bible).”**) These principles are not unique to Bible study; rather, they are the same principles that can be used to correctly identify the meaning behind any body of instruction or teaching.

So let us briefly consider these six rules for Biblical hermeneutics.Continue Reading

Monthly News Roundup (06.03.21)

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Plain Bible Teaching Podcast

We missed the last episode for the month of May, so we’re doing our monthly news roundup here. In this episode, we’ll be talking about a denomination’s first transgender bishop, assisted suicide, and the number of people who prefer either a print or digital version of the Bible.Continue Reading

Chinese Government Removing Bible Apps (05.20.21)

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Plain Bible Teaching Podcast

This week we’re going to be talking about the Bible app on your phone. Many of us have smartphones now and have one or more apps through which we can read the Bible on our phones. This is very convenient, and these apps have become quite popular. But what if these apps disappeared? We’re going to consider this in our episode today.Continue Reading

“Raccoon” John Smith: Alexander Campbell Was a Fool

"Raccoon" John Smith and Alexander Campbell

“Raccoon” John Smith (1784-1868) was one of many preachers in the 19th century who saw the division in the religious world and the departures from the New Testament that had occurred. As a result, he became associated with an effort to restore the doctrines and practices of the New Testament.

Smith was also known for his quick wit and colorful statements. One example of this was in a conversation with a certain Baptist preacher who wanted to discredit another well-known preacher associated with the Restoration Movement – Alexander Campbell – by exposing an inconsistency in his teaching. He planned to point this out to Smith and boasted to his brethren that Smith would never be able to answer it.

“‘How does it come to pass,’ observed Elder F—, addressing Bro. Smith, ‘that Alexander Campbell in his debate with McCalla took the ground that Paul was really pardoned when he believed, but formally pardoned when he was baptized, and in his debate with Mr. Rice affirms, in substance, that no man is really pardoned until baptized? Here is a glaring contradiction—an irreconcilable inconsistency. What will you do with it, my brother?’

“Bro. Smith looked the Elder full in the face, and instantly replied: ‘When Alexander Campbell said that Paul was really pardoned when he believed and formally pardoned when baptized, he was then debating with Wm. L. McCalla in the year of our Lord 1823, was a member of the Baptist Church, and just about as big a fool as you are. Now, sir, any further contradictions? If so, I am ready to reconcile them.’

“The Baptist brethren roared with laughter, and Elder F— proposed no further puzzling questions on that occasion.” (Recollections of Men of Faith)

Continue Reading

Progressive Christianity and the Inspiration of the Bible (03.11.21)

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Plain Bible Teaching Podcast

This week, we’re talking about “progressive Christianity” and why it must, by necessity reject the inspiration of the Bible. Sadly there are some “churches” that promote this ideology that is rooted in our secular and godless culture. We need to understand why progressivism is dangerous. In this episode, we’ll discuss seven reasons why we must guard against it.

STORY – “Progressive” Church in Nashville Says Bible Isn’t “the Word of God…Inerrant or Infallible”

“A so-called progressive ‘church’ in Nashville is drawing opposition after posting a message on social media stating that the Bible isn’t ‘the Word of God … inerrant or infallible.’

“The organization, calling itself ‘GracePointe Church,’ led by false teacher Josh Scott posted the disturbing message on Facebook on Sunday, February 7. The post related to a message he delivered on YouTube called ‘What Is Progressive Christianity?’ as a part of GracePointe’s online service.

“‘As Progressive Christians, we’re open to the tensions and inconsistencies in the Bible. We know that it can’t live up to impossible, modern standards. We strive to more clearly articulate what Scripture is and isn’t,’ the organization posted before citing what they claim the Bible isn’t and is.

“‘The Bible isn’t: the Word of God, self-interpreting, a science book, an answer/rule book, inerrant or infallible,’ it listed. ‘The Bible is: a product of community, a library of texts, multi-vocal, a human response to God, living and dynamic,’ it continued.” (Christian News)

Another report on this:

“When interviewed about the controversy, the church’s pastor, Josh Scott, argued that the Bible is at times inconsistent with the ‘character of God.’” (Disrn)

Related material:

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Abortion Deaths, Bible Sales, and a Revamped PBT Podcast (01.07.21)

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Plain Bible Teaching Podcast

Today’s episode of the Plain Bible Teaching Podcast marks another “relaunch.” Though this was not previously announced, it has been something I’ve been thinking about doing for quite some time. The podcast will now focus on discussing current events from a Biblical perspective. Listen to this week’s episode to learn more about the new format.

STORY #1 – Abortion Is the Leading Cause of Death in 2020

“Data provided by Worldmeter revealed that as of December 31, there were 42.7 million unborn babies killed by abortion in 2020. […] Worldwide, abortion caused more deaths than cancer, smoking, alcohol, HIV/AIDS, malaria, automobile accidents, and COVID-19 combined.” (Disrn)

Related material:

STORY #2 – Bible Purchases Increase Significantly Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

“Despite the coronavirus outbreak, according to Lifeway Christian Resources, Bible sales increased across the globe this year. Lifeway Christian Resources…noted in a new report that Bible sales between April and June increased significantly.” (Christian Headlines)

Related material:

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