Many churches have members appointed to an office or wearing a title called “deacon.” These churches have their own concept of what these individuals are and what they are supposed to be doing. In some churches deacons are the decision makers. In other churches deacons are nothing more than figureheads. The preacher is doing the work of the elders, the elders are doing the work of deacons, and the deacons are doing nothing.
Deacons have an important role to play in the Lord’s church. We know that God has set the church in order. He has put every part in its proper place. To understand what a deacon is, and what he is to do, we must understand what the Bible says about deacons. Continue reading » Deacons – Their Qualifications and Work
Foot-washing: Pro or con?
I for one am all for foot washing, daily, vigorous and lathery. Yet we know that some practice foot-washing as a religious ritual in this age and we are made to wonder what the New Testament requires. In the dusty first century, foot-washing was a matter of hospitality and hygiene, but today, when practiced religiously, it has naught to do with either. What was Jesus trying to teach when he washed his apostles’ feet?
The major text on foot washing, of course, is found in John 13:1-20. In this intimate gathering of Jesus and his closest friends, we see the Lord just hours prior to his arrest and execution. It is a time of bittersweet reflection, anxious anticipation and painful resignation. Never doubting his deity or earthly fate, Jesus finishes the preparation of the apostles for the momentous event to come.
Continue reading » Walking Worthy: Foot Washing
From our earliest experiences in Lithuania we have been confronted with the extreme poverty of many people there. While things have slowly improved over the years it is clear that the changes of the early 1990’s came too late for many Lithuanians. This is likely also the case in other East European countries. The majority of the people above the ages of 40-45 have found it difficult to adapt to life in a market economy. Pensions and social help pay the barest minimum. Work opportunities are scarce. Further, opportunities are certainly not abundant for those of a more marketable age. Meanwhile, all face the normal expenses life brings upon one. One sees many beggars on the streets. Also, street work, such as we do there, brings one into contact with all classes of people, including beggars. If there has ever been a visit there where I have not helped some poor person(s) financially it escapes me at this time. I always bring some of my own money (as apart from the money I raise from churches to pay my expenses) along when I go there with this in mind and helped several poor people during my most recent time there. Hopefully, the above lines have turned the reader’s mind to a subject that cannot help but trouble those who contemplate it – and that from several aspects. It is our purpose in this article to discuss different Bible texts and some facts relevant to the poor and the Christian’s responsibility to them in the mission field.
Continue reading » White Unto Harvest: "Ye Have the Poor Always With You"
We have had some few things to say in this publication concerning the practices of many so called churches of Christ. I would call those churches liberal not in a defaming way, but in a way to describe their actions, their practices, and their behavior. Labels and name calling are both non-productive means of dealing with controversy. However, identifying false teaching and erroneous practices is something that must be done in order to serve the people of God and to prepare them to meet the dangers that beset us all in this generation.
We are not immune from the digressions that have faced our brethren in years past. Ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance is the lack of preparation. Ill prepared people are people bound for destruction. When otherwise good people seek to do things without Bible authority, the rebellious attitudes are shrouded by the good deeds sought to be authorized. However, one cannot manufacture authority out of the seeming goodness of any action. Remember the scenario the Lord presented in the Sermon on the Mount? Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'” Jesus knew whereof He spoke when He said there would be many using the same argument. Ultimately Jesus said that no matter how wonderful the deed, action without authority is sin and will result in eternal departure from the presence of God. Continue reading » Associate Editorial: What About Pantries and the Local Church?