No Fury Quite Like It

Christians are a people who live in this world but are not of the world. Well, supposedly they are.  We participate in the societal structure of their community just like everyone else and this contribution takes on the form of holding jobs to support our loved ones. Christians also like to talk about how they’re affiliation with the faith makes them a unique type of professional. As an example, there are Christian barbers, evangelical bakers and plenty of Christian politicians. One that stands out on a personal level is a local used car company in my local community which advertises itself as a Christian business with old fashion values and while I’m sure there are intended ethical differences contrasting it from a secular used card lot, they still sell sub-level cars and service. I know this because I purchased one and have regretted it to this day. They sell awful cars much like the secular lot just down the road. But once they associate the term Christian with the sign, you are advertising your business and your faith as Honest Larry the sleezy Christian car salesmen. They produce services exactly like secular men/women but add the Christians tag to their role to excuse this sub-level amenity. This is especially alarming when a brother sells a brother a lemon.

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Mr. Suave’s Purity Performance

As I mentioned previously, interactions among Christians are significant to the spiritual health of a believer and further our fellowship together is a manifestation of our unity. These interactions are to be guarded and be pleasing to the Lord. We are sometimes so preoccupied in delving into political and social wars especially against the sexual revolution with the expectation to change the direction of the wind that we forget about cleaning our own room first. If we are going to push the sexual purity narrative against the sexual immoral, it needs to first happen within your heart and the walls of your local congregation.

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Fire Starters

Experiencing the great bride of Christ on earth is a wonderful encounter that has enriched me in many ways in my life. I’ve been a churchman for many years and take pride in partaking in the beauty of God’s assembly especially its head. The body of Christ is an ongoing growing body that has yet to reach maturity and let’s face it, it has a long way to go. When we consider the local church, there are many ways which it has matured since the days of the apostles, but in other ways it has stayed the same. But the survival of a local church relies upon maturity, or we end up with a nursery rather than a church! Some need to be more spiritually grounded than others or else how do we exercise the great commission? I say spiritually here because this is not about age, but about wisdom and scriptural/spiritual soundness. When Paul wrote to the local churches (and to some of his helpers), he didn’t do so to convey to them a bunch of trivial slogans but wanting to share the inspired wisdom of his age. He understood human interactions well enough to write a manual on ecclesiastical comportment in 2023. The apostle wrote for his day and God knew it would apply for the rest of history.

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Putting Your Pistols Back in Your Holsters

Guest Post by: The East Side Monergist

Recently, I read a piece by Carl Trueman titled Yes I am a Christian, just like those over there that really hit home in terms of the mindset among evangelical/protestant circles. So much of what I’m reading and seeing happening these days in Christendom is just reinforcing and incentivizing a need to be more gracious with each other as Protestants. We need to really look at different traditions with more focus upon unity rather than distinctives simply for the sake of solidarity and unity and strength based on first order issues. Over and over again, we’ve been spoiled or sinful or graceless enough to splinter ourselves and have become foolishly divided by secondary and tertiary order issues that we can’t even truly claim to be a part of or include others in the same faith. We spend so much time treating our brothers in the faith as though they are heretics and maybe even unworthy of the title Christian altogether all the while we see agnostics, atheists, wiccans and satanists grow in unity and solidarity. We are fighting our way into being arguably the smallest and most divided faith system in the world.

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An Intro to Discipleship

Through my many years of church membership, I’ve taken the bait to address internal hot topics with my brothers and sisters in Christ which at times have created a few fires that almost consumed my precious soul. While I never intended it to, it often blew up in my face! This is often the case because people are either a little too edgy when confronted with a different view or they see you as an intellectual windbag who they’re not going to let you get away with pushing your views. Of course, it could also be that I rub people the wrong way, but I’ll leave it with the Lord and pray that perhaps I’ve matured. The essence of these theological conversations was significant and, in my mind, worthy of address. We need to be concerned about what we believe and discuss amongst ourselves especially those items that have ecclesiastical significance.

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More on Unity

In my previous post on Edwardian prayer, I stressed the point that if the church is to have an impact in invigorating our troubled nation, it requires us to understand the significance of unity. In case someone hasn’t tuned in, we have little of it in both our society and even in our local ecclesiastical gatherings. I know I sound like a broken record, but I’ll drop the needle anyway, we love to focus upon what divides us rather than what unites us! Union between God’s people is crucial to the success of any work especially any external facing ministry. Brethren, linking arm in arm with faithful gatherings of believers has a greater impact upon the Great Commission than beating each other up over something like sprinkles and dips. The Psalmist saw the beauty of this unification: Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity! (Psalm 133:1) and I hope you do too. Now, let’s consider that the enemies of the church are doing just that, they’re uniting. They’re gathering around the campfire largely based upon identity politics. These distinct identifiers are creating a unison based upon distinctiveness from their enemy, which, if you’re not aware, is basically you and your church. They are making strides because they created a unified assault, and the morale is on the rise. While I believe that this unity won’t last, simply because there is no logical foundation to keep it together, we still must take this movement seriously. Movements that have no brakes lead to their own demise, but they tend to take everyone else with them. But our fate doesn’t need to be like theirs.

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Edwardian Prayer in Canada

Anyone who frequents a church for even a short period of time will come to recognize fairly quickly that the attendance of the meetings seems to fluctuate as the week goes on. Sunday mornings win the largest crowd, and it generally goes downhill from there. The bottom of the barrel in a traditional protestant church is the mid-week prayer meeting. While some souls will brave any weather condition or even government lockdowns to get to church to pray, many others seem less gallant in their effort. The reality is that if you can get half of your Sunday Morning group to attend the mid-week prayer meeting, you’re doing pretty good. Yes, this is actually a joke amongst those funny type Christians who enjoy a good laugh like your truly. At the same time, it is not a laughing matter!

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Beavers & Deceivers

One of my work colleagues was the proud father of two very nice boys. While they were growing up, they had a close relationship and part of what created this family tightness was their ability to play tricks on each other. One day, when the two boys were young, they were working on a school project on curling. My friend, a proud Canadian, decided to help them with a little historical insider content. He went about explaining the history of curling in quite some detail. He persuaded them that when the game was created, they didn’t use stones to slide on the ice because those weren’t invented yet. Instead, these innovative men from the north used to trap beavers, freeze them, and use them for their curling matches. He persuaded them that our curling forefathers would flip the frozen beaver on its back and use the tail as a handle to launch the beaver to the set goal. The next day, they presented their dad’s edition of the history of curling at school and things didn’t go quite so well. Let’s say that when they came home with death glares, their dad knew they’d taken the bait.

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Necromancer On A Hill

Awhile back, I joined a very good friend of mine in sipping on a Tim Horton’s coffee while conversing about his various ecclesiastical adventures. In between nips and laughter, our conversation extended to the topic of church hoppers and church shoppers. We knew many who were bouncing from church to church, living with discontent and in several instances causing such. Our discussion eventually took on a more personal tone, and we began to question what, if possible, would motivate a sudden exodus on our part from a congregation. What would be the proverbial last straw to persuade us to leave a church? We recognized and clarified that we had a responsibility to Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account (Hebrews 13:17).  We acknowledged that we have a certain required faithfulness to them and jumping the ecclesiastical ship is not something that should ever come lightly, and God expects our loyalty to our local congregation.

During our short discourse (if you want to call it that), we came up with a few items of controversy and a whole lot of potential doctrinal riffs that we felt might send us through the exit door.  The conversation became very real to me because, at the time, certain doctrinal matters were causing me to question my survival in this ecclesiastical environment. The thought of leaving had crossed my mind more than once.  My good friend beaming with Christian maturity said something on a whim that I’ve never forgotten. He said that he’d rather be in a Pentecostal church that practiced holiness than in a Church with completely sound doctrine that didn’t. Solomon couldn’t have said it better! In other words, he’d prefer to be among those whom perhaps he didn’t see eye to eye on every point but practiced a life of holiness, a longing for worship and a love for one another, rather than the theologically proper stiff-necks who were so high-minded that they did nobody any good.

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of Brethren Distinctives

I was approached recently about giving an overview of the church practices of the Brethren Movement since I was affiliated with them in the past. While gathering my notes, I noticed that I had enough content to write a little essay on the subject and with a little editing, here we are.

The Brethren Movement has been a tremendous blessing to me in my Christian walk. I was received in fellowship in a Gospel Hall in my hometown in 2005 and enjoyed the sweetness of their ranks until roughly 2011. I was active in teaching in the assembly on many fronts and met many wonderful followers of Christ during my stint. The Brethren are a theologically sound group of believers who are passionate about their Lord and strongly emphasize the saving power of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. They are an orthodox Christian fellowship, and I would heartily recommend them to someone who questioned if they should join their ranks.

My writing this short essay is not to render a critical review of the Brethren Movement but to identify some of their exclusive points of beliefs with an emphasis upon their Ecclesiology (Church Practice)[1]. The following article will be written from my personal experience with the open brethren who are within the circles of the Gospel Halls keeping in mind that not all assemblies are the same. While I have encountered and interacted with many fine brethren from the Exclusive side of the equation, I’m not prepared to offer a solid representation of their practices albeit, I believe they have many similarities.

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