Posts from 2024

Posts from 2024

Believing What Christ Believes

If we claim to be Christ’s followers, we must, at the very minimum, believe what he believed when he spoke on earth. Jesus believed in . . . God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit Heaven and hellHis pre-existence with the Father AngelsSatan and demonsScripture, which “cannot be broken”A future resurrection of the bodyThe creation of man and womanNoah and the floodThe destruction of Sodom & Gomorrah Lot and the judgment on Lot’s wife The exodus from EgyptMoses’ leadership of…

The Way We Look – A Letter From Jim

Dear CCW family, It is an exercise in self-abnegation for me to show my driver’s license or passport, and I have to do it quite often. I am still hoping for somebody to say, “Wait, this doesn’t look like you!”  When comedic author Erma Bombeck handed her passport over for renewal, the man glanced at the photo and said: “Any person who looks like this is too sick to travel.” Paul had this to say about the way we look:…

Consider the Change

The transformation in true Christianity is supernatural and profound. Not everyone who professes to be a Christian has experienced it. But without such a change, there is no authentic Christian life or true hope. Consider that the change is From death to lifeFrom blindness to sightFrom slavery to freedomFrom rebellion to submissionFrom darkness to lightFrom dead spirit to new birthFrom self love to sacrificial loveFrom religious externalism to inner motivationFrom the lordship of our flesh to the lordship of Christ…

The Public Reading of Scripture: Is There Only One Verse About This?

The famous verse that speaks to reading Scripture in church gatherings is 1 Timothy 4:13: “Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.” However, throughout the Bible, God expected his people to hear his word read publicly, and we have a few instances of that happening. Below are most of the references to relevant passages and verses on this topic, with some brief comments. A Concise Biblical Survey Exodus 24:3-7 – The first…

The Elderly Mr. Phipp

James, the youth: Is affection necessary for true spirituality? I mean, can’t a man be Christian, yet cold as a stone emotionally? Mr. Brockton: Affection cannot be separated from true religion. James: But are we to strain to be affectionate toward God when it is not natural? Brockton: We are to strain to know God, and that is enough. Mr. Phipp will make my point for me. Hear his story: When the elderly Mr. Phipp lost his wife, he cried…

Silencing Deceiving Teachers

Polybius the historian was not fond of the people on the island of Crete. He stated that they loved money so much “that they are the only people in the world among whom no stigma attaches to any sort of gain whatever.” They were also liars. In fact, to “cretanize” was to deceive. Epimenides said, “The Cretans, always liars, evil beasts, idle bellies!” This is quoted by Paul in Titus. Remember this when the people in your part of the…

Vain Salvation – A Letter From Jim

Dear CCW family, A well-loved Christian conference speaker once posed this question to me after his message: “Is there any sin in trusting God?” Strange question, isn’t it? The answer has to be, “No.” I know that. You know that. The man who posed the question knew it also. He only wanted to emphasize that the best action all the time, regardless of the circumstance we might be in, is to trust God. But . . . is that what…

Pastors and Salary

It is very likely, despite the admonition to the Ephesians to support their pastors, that the New Testament church elders covered their needs principally through other means as they led house churches. Surely, as Paul appointed elders in nascent churches, he did not arrange a salary package along with the assignment. Only a few hundred years later, as church life was institutionalized, did churches with buildings and larger memberships have enough funds to give salaries to some of their pastors…

Memorized Scripture: An Aid to Ministry, Sometimes in Surprising Ways

Awhile back, I finished memorizing Philippians. Since that time, I have tried to keep those four chapters memorized — a harder task than I imagined! Also in the days after memorizing this little book, I have had three unexpected experiences that have shown me that memorizing Scripture is even more beneficial for church leaders than I might have originally thought. The first unexpected experience happened during an elders’ meeting. We were discussing an issue in the church when one of…

How We Use Our Statement of Faith

Churches have historically used confessions or statements of faith in order to summarize and clearly identify what they believe. Many historical confessions have been preserved, and are used by churches to this day. Instead of adopting an historical confession, we have chosen to use the following summary of biblical doctrine, entitled Holding Fast the Word of Life, as our statement of beliefs. Listed below are several important things you should understand about the purpose of our statement of faith, and…

Upon the Gibbous Moon

Upon the Gibbous MoonJim Elliff Upon the gibbous moonThe ward was lighted, clean;Outside were dark and gloomAnd aggravated fiends. “Now he, the boy, is born,”They said in muffled tones,Their face in furtive scornAnd gurgling up their moans Sweet mother rests her head,With evanescent smiles;Awhile she lay in bed,Who birthed the precious child. The child was gently placedInto his mother’s arms,Though all the vicious racedTo plot the baby’s harm And then, first signs were found And ancient lines reviewedThe entry first…

Some Comments on the Wretched Man in Romans 7

Romans 7:13-25 is a difficult passage, but many concerns vanish when chapters 6 and 7 are analyzed together. Four questions are answered that arise in the Jewish mind related to grace and Law (Rom 5:20-21). This is in a section principally addressed to Jew-born believers, but not without benefits for the Gentile believer. Each of the questions are answered by “absolutely not!”. Here they are: 1. Are we to continue in sin that grace may increase? Absolutely not!….Paul uses the…
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