The <i>Gospel Advocate</i> on Unity of the Spirit

[JFG: I apologize for the length of the article, but it seemed best to present this information in a single setting, as it all ties together so closely. A draft of this article was sent to the authors of the articles mentioned prior to publication with an offer of an opportunity to respond here and a request […]

Unity of Spirit

Stone’s point regarding our need for fire (Spirit) union leads inevitably to — (Eph. 5:18-21 ESV) 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, […]

Unity of Fire

The Restoration Movement, which gave birth to today’s Churches of Christ, was founded by Barton W. Stone and Thomas Campbell. Stone was earlier than Campbell by a few years, and worked in Illinois at a time when Illinois was the American frontier. Stone had been an ordained Presbyterian minister, but he was excommunicated when he began […]

Unity of Blood

The schism between the Catholic and Orthodox churches is over 1,000 years old. Ecumenical efforts have been attempted over the centuries, all to little avail. But things are changing thanks to — amazingly enough — persecution. According to Christianity Today, Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, the largest of the […]

Giftedness, Part 4: 1 Corinthians 12 on Giftedness and Authority

1 Cor 12 and giftedness Now that we have a better understanding of 1 Tim 2:11-14 and 1 Cor 14:33b-35, we can consider the significance of giftedness without feeling like we’re pitting one scripture against another. How does Paul say giftedness should be lived out in the church? The obvious place to look is 1 Cor 12 […]

Giftedness, Part 3: The Present Work of the Spirit in Christians

The missing Holy Spirit I couldn’t help but notice that Matthew’s article, arguing that giftedness does not provide authority, never once mentions the Holy Spirit or even uses “Spirit” or “spirit” in any form. How can someone write an article dealing with the question of giftedness and omit the member of the Holy Trinity — that part […]

Giftedness, Part 2: Further on 1 Cor 14:33b-35

What if the text is authentic and expresses Paul’s own teaching? How would we then interpret the passage? Reconciling with chapter 11 First, this passage can’t repeal the first half of chapter 11. And no matter how you exegete chapter 11, the fact is that women were praying and prophesying in the presence of men in […]

Giftedness, Part 1: Does Giftedness Give Women Authority to Speak?

In the September issue of the Gospel Advocate, Matthew Morine challenged the claim that women may be authorized to speak to a worship gathering including men because of their giftedness. The article is available on the Internet here. Matthew writes, The argument is that if God has “gifted” a woman with the ability to speak […]

May We Judge as Jesus Judged?

A few days ago, Matthew Morine published an article in the September issue of the Gospel Advocate about the role of women: “The Feminist Agenda Within the Churches of Christ.” Mike Cope has posted a response in Wineskins: “Judgment Free Disagreements: A Response to Matthew Morine.” I appreciate Matthew’s and the Advocate‘s willingness to post Matthew’s article on […]

Radical Reconciliation: “It is impossible … to restore them again,” Part 4

The bad news One more point. There’s an obvious temptation to rely on God’s grace to sin. (Don’t tell me the thought didn’t cross your mind as you read this post.) There are two serious problems with that attitude. The first is that this is exactly the attitude that gets people damned. God’s patience is […]

Radical Reconciliation: We Are Much More Saved

Growing up in the Churches of Christ, I well remember being taught about “grace.” Grace meant that God would forgive our sins at baptism. We had to first hear, believe, repent, and confess. But if we did all five steps, then our sins would be forgiven. Our slate would be wiped clean. We’d get an […]

Resurrection, Part 9: Conclusions

The resurrection is a big topic, and I’ve hardly exhausted it. Hopefully, I’ve shown that it matters both theologically and practically. It affects how we think of the church and how we live as Christians. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been in Bible class when someone argued against this or that good […]

Resurrection, Part 8: The Thief on the Cross and Lazarus

The thief on the cross I guess the most common remaining question I get on this material is based on — (Luk 23:42-43 NAS)  42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!”  43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me […]

Resurrection, Part 7: Why song leaders lead bad songs

Why is it that so many song leaders insist on leading songs with bad music? You’d think that worship leaders, of all people, would understand the importance of beauty in the melody and the arrangement. But in the Churches of Christ, we’ve adopted a form of Greek dualism, treating the words of the song as […]

Resurrection, Part 6: A New Hope

God speaks to us about heaven and judgment and the Second Coming in metaphors. The goal of this brief series has been to get the metaphors right — at least, closer to right than our usual readings. But of necessity, when it comes to the next age, the scriptures don’t answer every single question we wonder […]