Articles

Articles

The Gospel and Divine Visitation—An Indivisible Union

It was spring in 1630. A few ladies were traveling through the Scottish countryside near Shotts when their carriage broke down. Thankfully the minister of the Kirk of Shotts, John Home, was able to assist them in their predicament. Struck with the poor condition of his manse, these wealthy Christian ladies determined to build another one for this kind man. Naturally, the grateful Home asked if he could do anything in exchange for their generosity. The ladies asked if they…

Why Churches Lose Members

A church might lose members because its leaders are burdened with a new direction the people are unwilling to travel. Or, it might lose members because of natural calamities or factory closings. Perhaps the demographics of the community have changed, such as in rural areas where land that once used to be teeming with large families is now controlled by farming conglomerates. But often a church will lose members for less noble reasons. Some people will tell you to just…

How Inclusive Should the Local Church Be?

I once attended a Methodist church Bible study in another city. In the study I was verbally accosted in the class by the husband of the teacher for some things that I said. To my knowledge, I was only saying what any true believer ought to say, but he took exception. After the class we talked further about the different way we looked at the issue. At one point I asked him about an even more foundational matter: Do you…

The Heart of Family Reformation

When our children were younger we began the day with the hymn we are currently memorizing. When Laura was five, she sang for all of us the second verse of “I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord” by the Yale president of the late 1700s, Timothy Dwight. With a determined look, she sang out, I love Thy church, O God. Her walls before Thee stand. Dear as the apple of Thine eye, And gravy on Thy hand. My boys collapsed on the…

God Above All Governments

You may disagree, but I believe biblical history and subsequent Christian history demonstrates that radical internal holiness, godly enthusiasm to follow Christ, and courageous truth-inspired faith in him regardless of the societal externals or the diffidence and even hatred of those around us, do more to accomplish the will of God in the world than the seating of any government over the people. The government may or may not support the Christian viewpoint. It did not in New Testament days…

Above Reproach — But What About the Kids?

The wise Apostle Paul insists that overseers be above reproach. By overseers he means those who not only are called by that title, but also that of pastor or elder. These words are used for the same person. That person, that overseer, that pastor, that elder, MUST be above reproach. Between Paul’s words — “IF ANYONE IS ABOVE REPROACH” — and “AN OVERSEER, AS GOD’S STEWARD, MUST BE ABOVE REPROACH,” he brings the family into our perview. See what I…

Order our new book: My Preferred Way to Read the Bible

In this new book, Jim Elliff shares the Bible reading plan that has helped him the most over the last several years. Many have joined him in this approach and have experienced the same joy and discovery that has enriched his life. Jim encourages the believer to read one or two books of the Bible repeatedly as a way to understand the Scriptures on a new level. Practical advice is given, as well as guidance through some subtle distractions from…

Getting John 1:12 Right: Should You Invite Jesus Into Your Heart?

Is it useful to critique any person’s or ministry’s method of evangelism? For one thing, there are not enough people calling on others to follow Christ. Should I attempt to cripple anyone’s efforts in the slightest way, even for the few who might listen to me? I hope I will not. I would rather think that I’m improving our evangelism. And it does need improving. The apparent results of the method of evangelistic appeal built upon the verse in question…

The Lord’s Supper is a Meal, Part V

We have come to the fifth article in the series entitled, “The Lord’s Supper is a Meal.” Below are the links to all the articles written so far. I am also going to add Part VI in order to answer questions that have come to me during the writing of these articles or that seem appropriate for me to set forward in order to clarify.  Part I The Lord’s Supper is a Weekly Meal Part II  The Lord’s Supper is a…

Confessionism: The Misuse of 1 John 1:9

Do you believe that you must confess every known sin to God? For many years earlier in my ministry, I made statements such as the following: “In order to be restored to fellowship with God and to be filled with the Spirit you must confess every known sin to God.” What am I to think of such instructions now? Sadly, this teaching adds a layer of requirement for our forgiveness not intended by God. And it may lead to confusion…

The Lord’s Supper is a Meal, Part IV

Because I’m writing these articles first online (perhaps later as a small book), I will take the liberty to edit as I’m going. This happens as I realize the need for improvements in the writing or content, sometimes reflecting comments and questions being sent to me. Speaking of the questions that arise, I will also be able to answer some of them in the practical section about implementation, Part V, and in Part VI, a section I will add just…

Memories of Apartheid

Years ago in what was then called a “Colored Township” in Capetown, South Africa, I wondered at the hatred that caused that circular black burn mark on the street close to the front door of the gentle believers who had opened their hearts and home to me. What causes a person to “necklace” another with a flaming tire? In those days of both Apartheid and tribal strife, nerves were strained. Many mornings in that enchanting country we awoke to read…