Category Archives: Doctrine

Regaining Our Certainty in Churches of Christ

We used to be a certain bunch. We were certain about pretty much everything. We were certain about our doctrine. We were certain about our identity. We had things locked down tight to a fault. Part of this had to do with a backwards hermeneutic that was self-perpetuating of our pre-determined conclusions that always guaranteed we had scripture behind our conclusions (while it was really in some instances our conclusion in front of scripture).

As many churches of Christ have become more grace oriented we have lost some of that certainty. Some of the certainty we lost needed to be lost. We needed to lose our exclusivity as the remnant that was the only truly right and pleasing group that could truly call themselves Christians. Other parts of our certainty were lost unnecessarily. There were more factors involved in the loss of certainty than just becoming grace oriented. A few of those factors involved a shift overall to a post-modern culture were certainty at large was discounted and deconstructed. A second was a change in our hermeneutic that took more into account than CENI was able to account for and that allowed for needed nuance in our interpretation in an attempt to get back to original meaning or authorial intent of the text…something CENI didn’t take into account.

I think it is important to regain our certainty in some areas and not be shy about it. Here are a few things that I would include on that list.

  • Jesus is the way to salvation.
  • The fact that as Christians we are indeed saved
  • God is real. God is active and involved in the world he created.
  • Scripture is the inspired word of God and has authority for our life and faith
  • Baptism should be a core part of our disciple-making process just as Jesus instructed
  • Assembling as a congregation and with a congregation is an essential part of our faith and spiritual development
  • Communion should be the central piece of our worship rather than the sermon
  • The Lord will return and bring redemption and restoration to his creation

The list could go on quite some time…at least it should because there are still many things we should be certain of as Christians. But if we are uncertain about things we need to study and pray and ask God for clarity and wisdom on these things. Without certainty we lack a foundation and I am convinced that it drastically reduces our effectiveness in outreach and evangelism because who wants to share a message they aren’t certain about much less share it with conviction? This doesn’t mean we end up locking in on every conceivable thing as scripture doesn’t speak to every conceivable thing but we should have a baseline of conviction…our non-negotiables that we hold with absolute certainty.

Christianity, Creeds and Churches of Christ…No Creed But the Bible?

The last post looked at who the inspired apostolic writers saw as “false teachers.” Next, let’s look at where things went after that in the early church and then spend a few minutes on Churches of Christ. This post is longer than usual but I hope by the end it has made sense out ofContinue Reading

What the Bible Actually Says About False Teachers, Heretics and Apostates

I have heard the words, false teacher, heretic and apostate more times than I would like to think about. These terms can have a place in our discussion but not typically in the ways I have seen those terms used. As best I can tell these words are often used as code for “anyone whoContinue Reading

The Church of Christ – Embracing Both How and Why Questions

In Churches of Christ we are well known for our discussions on “how”. How do you baptize, how do you sing, how do you interpret scripture? These are all very important things, things that should require study and prayer and the answers we reached must be firmly rooted in the pages of scripture. What IContinue Reading

What are the non-negotiables of the Christian Faith?

There is constant discussion online about who is in and who is out. There is discussion over certain issues that people conclude put people outside of fellowship because they have left the faith because a congregation has done, in their opinion, the unthinkable. Obviously, there are things that set apart Christians from the rest ofContinue Reading

Finding Grace in the Sermon on the Mount – Wrong Teaching Does Not Automatically Make One An Eternally Condemned False Teacher

In the previous post, I pointed out a few places where Jesus actually used the word typically translated “grace”. In this post, I want to point out a passage that I have read dozens of times but only recently has it stood out to me in an unexpected way. The verses I am talking aboutContinue Reading

God in a Box and Our Inability to Dream or Act

Have we locked God down so tightly in our logic and doctrine that there is no room left to dream…so developed the pattern and forumlated a “thus saith the Lord” on every conceivable matter so that there is no room left for wonder? Have we replaced all the “?” with “.”? In our desire forContinue Reading

The Art of Having Conciliatory Theological Discussions – Suggestions

It has taken me a while to figure a few things out when it comes to discussing a disagreement with someone. Here are a few observations I have made over the last few years that set a positive tone for a healthy conversation. Assuming the best until you find out different When we have theologicalContinue Reading

The Art of Having Conciliatory Theological Discussions – A Little Background

When I went off to Harding in 1997 I moved into Armstrong dorm with a roommate who I didn’t see eye to eye with theologically. One thing that brought our differences front and center was the fact that not only did we share a room but we also shared our very first college Bible classContinue Reading

Finding Our Way Out of Our Identity Crisis – Simon Sinek & Alan Hirsch Connected the Same Dots

In Simon Sinek’s TED Talk, “Start with Why” he talks about how organizations that thrive don’t just answer the “what?” and “how?” questions but also answer the most important question of all, “Why?” Why does the organization exist? That question drives what they do and how they do it. The organizations that thrive are theContinue Reading

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