Articles of Note
Many of these articles were originally published in The Restoration Herald. Others have been posted with the author's approval. For more articles like these, click here to subscribe to The Restoration Herald.
A Brief History: Ebb and Flow of this Movement Today and Where We are Going
"Context is the backdrop of all historical and religious events" so said the American Historian Henry Steel Commager. To properly position my remarks today, I want to see if we can understand the environment of early 19th century America. It is important to cite this perspective as one discusses Cain Ridge, Kentucky and the context of the frontier of Daniel Boone and Simon Kenton. People were flooding into Kentucky and Ohio for land and opportunity. According to the U.S. Census Bureau records, the Kentucky population stood at 221,000 by 1800. However, the spiritual aspect of the frontier had become pathetic. Michael Hines notes one Colonial Historian that said, "By the turn of the century (1800) the first great awakening had become a great sleep." . . .But what was the catalyst that united the ideas of revival on the frontier and moved whole families to embrace such a movement . . .
In Matters of Faith, Unity; in Matters of Opinion, Liberty
In this essay I am analyzing the first two statements of the venerable Restoration Movement [RM] slogan, "In matters of faith, unity; in matters of opinion, liberty; in all things, love." . . . I am not a fan of this slogan. Correctly interpreted and understood, it can be valid and useful. But its terms are so ambiguous that (in my opinion!) in recent times it has not been understood and used correctly. Let me summarize the problem.
Increasing Access to Ministry Training
In recent discussions of ministry training, it is observed that, because of the escalating costs of college education, students are tending to graduate with greater levels of debt load. This is tending to exclude lower-income students, those who historically have made some of the greatest contributions to ministry. This increase in the cost of Christian higher education has been the result of the tendency of Christian colleges to migrate toward being Christian liberal arts colleges rather than strictly Bible colleges. Here I offer a plan . . .
Examining some of "the winds of change wafting across Christian Churches (independent) in the realm of biblical scholarship."
A wife of a church member was coming to church regularly. One day she asked me, as the preacher there, if I would come to her home to talk to her about "joining our church." She told me that she had been immersed in a local lake years ago by an Assembly of God minister, so I knew her method of baptism was correct — immersion. Then I asked an absolutely essential follow-up question . . .
The Christian preacher had just given the invitation inviting people to come to Christ for salvation. He had quoted Mark 16:16, encouraging them to believe and be baptized. Now it so happened that a Baptist heard the message. He and his wife lingered at the door till everyone was gone. He then confronted the minister.
First, doctrine is fundamental, not auxiliary. Christianity without doctrine does not exist. Word has somehow got out that orthodox doctrine is the enemy of spirituality. Doctrine is an embarrassed intruder in many congregations.
Walter Scott was a great evangelist and he led many to Christ. He was famous for his "five-finger exercise" in helping people to become Christians. He would say, "Now beginning with your thumb repeat . . .
Unity is taking the center stage in this session and our task is to shine the biblical spotlight upon her. It is not the first time that she has been center-stage, and probably not the last time. In fact, each generation must view her in her proper context in order to have the appreciation of her that it should.
What's wrong with this scenario? "The local Christian church's high school youth group has just raised $600 for World Vision."
How Has It All Happened? Like a wolf in sheep's clothing, the Emergent Church Movement has crept into the church, bringing New Age teaching wrapped in mysticism. Much of the church has become susceptible to variant forms of false teaching from Emergents because of a slippery slope away from a Biblically-and-God centered theology.
Those who do not embrace Islam are regarded as blasphemers in countries dominated by the adherents of that religion. The prophet Muhammad commanded his followers to wage a holy war (Jehad) against such blasphemers. If the "blasphemers" accept Islam, they live. If they do not, they die.
Dr. P. H. Welshimer was senior minister of First Christian Church in Canton, Ohio. Each year during most of that time, he preached on Children's Day a sermon he called "Why I Did Not Baptize The Baby." As a young preacher, I obtained a copy of Dr. Welshimer's outline and followed his example. The majority of the material presented here is his. To keep the work contemporary, I have revised it somewhat but the message remains the same. I present it here for the reasons he gave in his introduction: