Index by Subject

Desperately Seeking Relevance


The following article contains observations and perceptions that I have developed in the last few decades as a Christian and preacher.  The warnings are offered because of my concern and love for the people of God. I have tried to write cautiously, and to avoid inflamed rhetoric.  I pray my comments will be considered, and my intent understood.

Perhaps you have heard of the apocryphal “Chinese” curse, “May you live in interesting times.”  While it might seem to be a blessing, the phrase is most commonly used in an ironic sense.  It seems that times of physical peace and blessing are typically rather boring, but times of conflict and upheaval are, at least historically speaking, much more interesting.

It is our misfortune to live in interesting times!  We have rogue nations with nuclear bombs; a rapidly increasing world population, resulting in significant economic and ecological challenges; a militant faction of Muslims declaring jihad throughout the world; an extremely partisan spirit in Washington D.C. that has made our government ineffectual and unresponsive to the needs of the American people.  We have militant social activists seeking to disrupt and remake the norms of morality and decency.  We have racial unrest. Continue reading » Desperately Seeking Relevance

Quote From the Past:

“Christians Must Fight” by Foy Wallace, Jr.

“The spirit of pacificism is taking the fight out of the church. But the conflict between truth and error is unending. Victory does not come by truce. God’s terms are unconditional surrender…The church grew when the fight was waged and the battle raged. When the let up came in the fight, the let down came in the church. It is said that the sectarians do not fight anymore. That is because the church has quit fighting and they have nothing to fight. If gospel preachers will fight now as they fought then…and truth will triumph as it did then. Shall we yield to the line of least resistance, or shall we challenge error in its strongholds and citadels?”

(Why did I choose to “resurrect” such a statement that is more than 50 years old? We must observe from this quote a certain truth: this sentiment is rare in our time of extreme tolerance. Times have changed and many among us have changed with it. When the preaching of the gospel is done in our time, it is very rare to hear preachers express their desire to be militant in their expression of the gospel. No one relishes the concept of “fighting” in any religious sense today. Continue reading » Quote From the Past:

Associate Editorial: Response from Marty Pickup

Editor’s Note: Marty Pickup responded to brother Robert’s article, which appeared in the May issue of brother Robert’s mail out bulletin, The Communicator, and was reprinted in the June 2004 Issue of Watchman.  Brother Pickup’s response, and brother Robert’s rejoinder were printed in the July 2004 issue of The Communicator.  Since the initial article was published in Watchman, we thought best to publish this exchange as well.

Response From Marty Pickup

June 9, 2004

Dear brother Roberts:

Yes, you continue to grossly misrepresent me. I did not say, nor do I believe the false idea you attribute to me: “We should consider the account of the serpent was a pagan myth.” I never said in my FC lecture, nor do I believe, that the serpent of Genesis 3 might be a pagan myth. I never said, nor do I believe, that the serpent of Genesis 3 might be mythological. Such views are just as repugnant to me as they are to you.

Continue reading » Associate Editorial: Response from Marty Pickup


(A Departure from the Divine Hermeneutics)

Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8).

It is no small task to define Modernism, even though the movement and philosophy has been around for some time. Various descriptions and definitions can be found in the abundance of sources on the subject. The problem is that modernistic thought has manifested itself in so many different contexts; therefore, it is hard to give one encompassing definition. Yet, we must try to identify the key facets of modernism so that we can identify it when it does manifest itself.

Continue reading » Modernism

Intellectual Arrogance

A cursory reading of the New Testament reveals a distinct attitude taken by our Lord and his apostles regarding human wisdom. James went so far as to describe such wisdom as "sensual, demonic" and declared that it causes "envy and self-seeking… confusion and every evil thing…" (cf. James 3:15-16).

Jesus in his personal ministry dealt with men who were intellectually arrogant. This was a characteristic of both the Pharisees and the Sadducees. When Jesus had taught that eating with unwashed hands does not defile a person, defilement rather coming from within, his disciples informed him that the teaching offended the Pharisees. No doubt it did, as it set aside the traditions they held dear. Concerning them, Jesus said, "Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch" (Matthew 15:14).

Continue reading » Intellectual Arrogance

Jean’s Day

(Editor’s Note: The following two short articles were written by brother Reeves almost 2 years ago. I overlooked them for a while, and wanted to include them now. Though the reports they refer to are dated, the lessons found are timeless.)

Jeans’ Day

According to a televised CBS news report, Aug. 30, 1999, a privately owned Lutheran High School in Michigan demonstrated how it deals with teen violence: a strict dress code! Girls wear modest dresses; boys wear shirts and trousers—no jeans for either sex! One day out of the month both can wear jeans. The Principal reported that it is on that day (Jeans’ Day) that he sees more students in his office needing disciplinary action or lecturing. "You act according to your dress." Additional restrictions presented in the dress code were these: no pierced ears on the boys, no bright nail polish on the girls, no shorts on either sex.

No comment needed! You can’t argue with a demonstration.

Continue reading » Jean’s Day

Editorial: The Bible and Academia

The obligation to correct a brother who is entangled in sin is clearly revealed in scripture. In Galatians 6:1-2, Paul wrote, “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

This call to correct or restore the one caught in sin is in fulfillment of our responsibilities under Christ’s law. This law can be encapsulated in the command to love. If I truly love my brother, when I see his soul in jeopardy I will seek to warn and correct him.

James revealed the value of such correction while instructing brethren in this responsibility. He wrote, “Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:19-20). Surely all agree that “save (-ing) a soul from death and cover (-ing) a multitude of sins” is a laudable and important work. Continue reading » Editorial: The Bible and Academia

Evidences of Faith: Nero’s Scapegoats

We have all heard the tale that Nero fiddled while Rome burned. The Roman historian Tacitus, who was born ca. 56 AD and began his writing career shortly before 100 AD, tells us that Emperor Nero was a remarkably immoral man. In 64 AD, during Nero’s reign, a horrible fire – the worst in its history to that point – engulfed Rome. There were many who believed that Nero had commanded the fire to be set, because he wanted to build a new city bearing his own name. And, indeed, a rumor spread that while the city burned Nero took to the stage and sang about the fall of Troy.

Of course, the emperor needed to squelch these suspicions and rumors, or risk a revolt. So, he instituted great programs and projects to appease the people by providing for their needs. He also saw to it that the new city was in many respects grander than the one that had burned. And, of course, he offered conspicuous prayers and sacrifices to a number of prominent Roman “gods”. Continue reading » Evidences of Faith: Nero’s Scapegoats