I Believe in the Holy Local Church

Every week, in thousands of church buildings around the world, and for hundreds of years, Christians have confessed, “I believe in the holy catholic (that is, universal) church.” That confession is true, but it is only part of the truth. It’s just as important that we recognize the role of the local church in God’s program. Here is a brief paper that discusses this important teaching.

No Comments »

Law and the Christian Life

For years, I’ve grappled with the question of the relation between the law and life under the new covenant. About six months ago, things began to come into focus. The paradox has been viewed as a theological one, with reformers lined up on one side and non-conformists on the other, each trying to set up a theological framework to disqualify the proof texts offered by the other side. Perhaps the paradox isn’t theological at all, but pastoral, growing out of some of the issues I’ve discussed in previous posts about Scripture as Food and Spiritual Growth. Here’s a paper that tries to pull it all together. If you read it, please share your comments.

No Comments »

Paul’s Disputes with the Jews

Paul’s instruction to Timothy (2 Tim 2:24) not to “strive” in conducting his teaching seems to run against his own example in Acts. Let’s consider two sets of passages, marked by two different Greek words.

Continue reading Paul’s Disputes with the Jews…

1 Comment »

How should we “Contend for the Faith”?

“The servant of the Lord must not strive.” When I first began to consider the implications of 2 Tim 2:24 to debate as a mode of teaching, I immediately thought of Jude’s exhortation to his readers:

Jud 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

Doesn’t this exhortation imply that we should boldly confront those who teach error?
Continue reading How should we “Contend for the Faith”?…

1 Comment »

Should Believers Debate?

A prominent feature of the current evangelical landscape is the popularity of debate as a mode of teaching. Some popular teachers, including Dave Hunt and James White, often engage in debates, sometimes with unbelievers, and at other times with those they would acknowledge to be Christians. The debate format is increasingly common as a means of interchange between believers and Muslims.

A lively debate seems a natural way of engaging people’s attention. The entire sports industry is based on the natural attraction of a good fight between skilled adversaries. Isn’t it wonderful that we can take advantage of this inborn interest to draw attention to the truth of God’s word?

Or is it? Just because something seems natural doesn’t make it right. Our natural state is dead in trespasses and sins, and many of our instincts require revision by the Spirit as we grow in Christ. Some exhortations in Scripture suggest that believers ought to be more cautious about engaging in, or promoting, staged controversies on spiritual subjects.

Continue reading Should Believers Debate?…


“Sound Doctrine” and “Health Food”

The notion of Scripture as food lends new insight to the description of teaching as “sound” or “wholesome” that appears frequently in  Timothy and Titus. Let’s consider this expression a bit more closely.

Continue reading “Sound Doctrine” and “Health Food”…

1 Comment »

How Shepherds Feed the Flock

In a previous post, I introduced the metaphor of food that Scripture uses for itself. One manifestation of this metaphor is the use of language appropriate to shepherds in describing teachers in the church.
Continue reading How Shepherds Feed the Flock…

1 Comment »

Have you eaten your Bible today?

The Bible uses many word pictures to describe itself. It is (among other things) God’s law, which tells us what he expects of us; his precepts, which guide us to prosperity; and his counsels, which teach us wisdom. A particularly common metaphor describes the word of God as food. This imagery sheds some important light on how we engage with it.

This topic is too large for a single post. In this one, we’ll look at summarize passages where the Bible calls itself food. Later posts will discuss  the “shepherd” vocabulary that describes teachers in assemblies of the saints, how this metaphor explains the meaning of the phrase  “sound doctrine,” and  the “spiritual physiology” by which spiritual food leads to spiritual growth.

Continue reading Have you eaten your Bible today?…


Do You Know Jesus?

It is commonplace among evangelicals to use the phrase “knowing Jesus” as a synonym for “being saved.” Recently, I’ve been challenged by some NT passages to think more carefully about what it really means to know the Lord Jesus. It’s a wonderful thing to pass from death into life, but there’s evidence that knowing our Savior means much, much more.

Continue reading Do You Know Jesus?…

No Comments »

Peter’s Planned Presentation

In a previous post, I suggested that Peter’s sermon in Acts 2:14-36 (along with many other biblical sermons) shows evidence of careful planning. A brother asked me to provide more explanation in the case of Peter’s presentation. The evidence lies in the very careful rhetorical structure of the presentation. Here are the details.

Continue reading Peter’s Planned Presentation…

No Comments »

WP Login