Many today revel in a perverse victim mentality, perking up their ears and focusing their eyes any time there is a possibility they can claim to have been offended and deserving of pity and apology.
Forget the defense industry–this is the offense industry and it is booming. Moreover, faith in Christ is often occasion for deep offense as well. The saints are offended, sometimes legitimately, sometimes gleefully, and sometimes necessarily, when their convictions or pride are wounded. The Lord warned us about giving offense, but clearly there are times when that risk is necessary and his own ministry is proof enough. Continue reading » Woe to Offenses
1 Kings 18 records a conversation between the great prophet Elijah, and Obadiah, the steward over the house of King Ahab. Despite his close association with the evil king, scripture describes Obadiah as a man who “feared the Lord greatly” (18:3).
Elijah gave Obadiah instructions to set up a meeting between him and the king. The two were mortal enemies, and Ahab had been searching for him ever since Elijah had instigated a drought in the land in response to Ahab’s evil practices. As Obadiah told him, “As the Lord your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom where my master has not sent someone to hunt for you; and when they said, ‘He is not here,”’ he took an oath from the kingdom or nation that they could not find you” (18:10). Elijah was now ready to reveal himself to the king, and recruited Obadiah to set up the meeting.
A number of lessons can be learned by becoming familiar with these two men, and examining the conversation they had on that eventful day.
Continue reading » Lessons to Learn from Elijah and Obadiah
A “red flag” of warning should arise every time we hear some call for “unity in diversity.” Some have even said that the “only kind of unity is unity in diversity.” We need to be very sure we understand what this catch-phrase really means and how it is used.
It is understood that a local congregation is filled with people at different levels of faith and maturity. Some will be babes in Christ, newly converted and needing to learn a lot about New Testament Christianity. Some will be farther along the path to maturity, but still unsure about some doctrinal matters and personal issues. Some will be “perfect” (mature, full-grown, Ephesians 4:13), Christians who have a settled faith and manner of life. Among these members, there will be matters of personal opinion and personal judgment that differ from Christian to Christian. The Bible recognizes this fact and addresses it in Romans 14-15. In the apostolic days, Jewish and Gentile Christians (who came from different backgrounds) had areas of differences in applying their common faith. It should be noted that the differences were sharp and contentious, capable of dividing congregations. The word of God provides the solution to this problem.
Continue reading » Associate Editorial: Unity In Diversity
Numerous times people have written, prayed, and preached words of thanksgiving for the various denominations so abundant in America. Although there is nothing wrong with our love for the religious freedom enjoyed in this country, Paul condemned party spirits and religious division when he listed dissensions among the works of the flesh. It is just as much a work of the flesh as fornication, adultery, drunkenness, murder, etc. Galatians 5:21 warns against practicing any of these: “…of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Since our soul will be in jeopardy if we are guilty of this sin it makes good sense to understand what it is.
Definition of “Dissensions”
Dichostasia (dee-khos-tas-ee’-ah) is found three times in the Greek New Testament: Galatians 5:20; Romans 16:17; and 1 Corinthians 3:3. Some disagree with the inclusion of dichostasia in 1 Corinthians 3:3 due to the lack of support from ancient manuscripts. It means “lit., a standing apart (dicha, asunder, apart, stasis, a standing),…” (Vine, p. 1008). Thayer defines it as “to cut into two parts, cleave asunder, dissever” (p. 158). The prefix “di-” means “to divide” in many words in numerous languages. As can be seen in the words “dialogue” (two or more speakers); “diameter” (cutting a circle into two equal parts); “dissect” (dividing an organism into various parts); etc. Thus, dissension takes place whenever two or more parties are created by drawing a line between what one believes. Dissension also encourages others to choose sides. Continue reading » Works of the Flesh: Dissensions