Category Archives: Articles on Church

The Infant Church’s Continual Commitments

The Infant Church’s Continual Commitments

Christ’s disciples obeyed his command to remain in Jerusalem until he sent them the Holy Spirit and formed his spiritual body. Acts 2 records the amazing event that occurred on the Day of Pentecost—the Holy Spirit descended upon them, attested by visible and audible signs, forming the church and empowering them to accomplish the mission… Continue Reading

Mission: Make Worshipers

Mission: Make Worshipers

After Jesus died and rose again, he appeared to his disciples and many others, beginning a short period of teaching before he ascended back to heaven. During this time, Jesus prepared his disciples for the mission he was giving to them, telling them, “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you”… Continue Reading

A Parable About Pop Music in Church

A Parable About Pop Music in Church

Christian 1: So I hear you have a problem with lollipops? Christian 2: Lollipops? No, I think they’re just fine. Christian 1: But you apparently won’t eat them for family meals. Christian 2: That’s true. I prefer my family eats some kind of meat, vegetables or healthier food for their meals. Christian 1: So you… Continue Reading

Beauty and Christianity’s Primary Endeavors

Beauty and Christianity’s Primary Endeavors

This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Once we understand that beauty is close to glory in meaning, we will without any difficulty find beauty at the heart of many Christian endeavors. The most obvious is worship. Worship is the act of returning to God affections corresponding to His beauty. Psalm 29:1-2 captures this: “Give unto the LORD, O you mighty ones,… Continue Reading

All Members Care for the Whole Body

All Members Care for the Whole Body

This entry is part of 8 in the series Diversity and Unity in the Body of Christ You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Paul clearly describes in 1 Corinthians 12 the core elements of a theology of unity and diversity withing the Body of Christ. God grants a diversity of ministry functions to the church, but because of Spirit baptism, people of diverse backgrounds and abilities are unified into one body. His whole purpose in this discussion is… Continue Reading

Two brief arguments for the baptism of children

Two brief arguments for the baptism of children

In this brief essay, I’m making several assumptions. The first is that baptism is rightly administered only to professing believers. I don’t intend to engage here with arguments for paedobaptism. The second is that baptism is a strongly ecclesiastical ordinance. Baptism is not a mere personal devotional experience; it is a public profession of faith,… Continue Reading

All the Members are Necessary to the Body

All the Members are Necessary to the Body

This entry is part 1 of 8 in the series Diversity and Unity in the Body of Christ You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Last week, I made the point from Paul’s discussion in 2 Corinthians 12 that all members of the church, because of their diversity, make up the unity of the body of Christ. And Paul specifically defends that notion beginning inverse 17 by considering, what would the results be if every member of the body had exactly the… Continue Reading

All the Members Make the Body

All the Members Make the Body

This entry is part 7 of 8 in the series Diversity and Unity in the Body of Christ You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

In his first letter to the Corinthian Christians, the apostle Paul emphasizes the functional diversity and spiritual unity of the Body of Christ. But Paul knows that based on how things naturally work, diversity of function within the body might lead to some people within body thinking that because their giftedness is different than others, then… Continue Reading

Identity in Christ Creates Unity

Identity in Christ Creates Unity

This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series Diversity and Unity in the Body of Christ You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Unity in the Body of Christ comes  due to the fact that Christ baptizes each believer with the Holy Spirit into his spiritual body. This is true for all Christians from the moment of their salvation and forevermore. And if this is difficult for us to wrap our minds around, Paul gives us one more… Continue Reading

A Tale of Two Sons

A Tale of Two Sons

A great king had two sons, who were come to the age where one should be named as the crown prince. The custom of that country was that the king would choose his heir directly, without weight given to birth-order. He was hard-pressed at the choice, for they both loved him and had noble and… Continue Reading

Elders in a Baptist Church: Plural, Yea; Lay, Nay (4)

Elders in a Baptist Church: Plural, Yea; Lay, Nay (4)

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Elders in a Baptist Church You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Our study of elders in New Testament churches has suggested that the concept of lay elders is not as self-evident as some of its advocates propose. Our argument consists of four premises. First, Scripture describes plural elders in first-century New Testament churches, but does not prescribe this plurality, removing the need to find and appoint… Continue Reading

Spirit Baptism Creates Spiritual Unity

Spirit Baptism Creates Spiritual Unity

This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series Diversity and Unity in the Body of Christ You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Despite the functional diversity of individual believers within the church, the church has unnatural unity. How does this happen? How are people of diverse giftedness and ability and background and status unified together in one body? Verse 13 of 1 Corinthians 12 tells us: “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.”… Continue Reading

Elders in a Baptist Church: Plural, Yea; Lay, Nay (3)

Elders in a Baptist Church: Plural, Yea; Lay, Nay (3)

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Elders in a Baptist Church You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

In considering the question of lay elders, we have seen that the New Testament describes but never prescribes a plurality of elders in a New Testament church. It does, however, prescribe the remuneration of elders that rule well. In part 2, we saw that ruling well is likely best understood as equivalent to laboring in the… Continue Reading

Spiritual Unity Is not Natural

Spiritual Unity Is not Natural

This entry is part 4 of 8 in the series Diversity and Unity in the Body of Christ You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Despite the God-ordained diversity of giftedness within the body of Christ, and even the providential diversity of gender, ethnicity, educational level, and socio-economic status, we are all members of one, unified body. Now, is this natural? It is not natural for there to be unity right alongside diversity. I mean, it would be difficult enough… Continue Reading

Elders in a Baptist Church: Plural, Yea; Lay, Nay (2)

Elders in a Baptist Church: Plural, Yea; Lay, Nay (2)

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Elders in a Baptist Church You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

In some cases, “lay” elders are introduced into Baptist churches because those doing so believe that a plurality of elders is an explicit or implicit requirement of the New Testament. Many believe a church with only one pastor has a sub-standard or sub-biblical ecclesiology, and the pragmatic solution to achieving this supposed requirement of multiple… Continue Reading

Spiritual Unity in the Church

Spiritual Unity in the Church

This entry is part 3 of 8 in the series Diversity and Unity in the Body of Christ You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul notes the beautiful of the church’s diversity, as the Spirit of God gifts each individual believers with particular functions within the greater church. But then with that as his foundation he moves on in verse 12 to his primary concern in the chapter: “For just as the body is one… Continue Reading

Elders in a Baptist Church: Plural, Yea; Lay, Nay (1)

Elders in a Baptist Church: Plural, Yea; Lay, Nay (1)

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Elders in a Baptist Church You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

I’ll sometimes hear the claim from some men that a plurality of elders, made up of “staff elders” and “lay elders” in a local church, represents orthodox, biblical ecclesiology and that any church (such as mine) with only one paid elder, several deacons and no lay elders represents a deviation from biblical church polity, or… Continue Reading

Functional Diversity in the Church

Functional Diversity in the Church

This entry is part 2 of 8 in the series Diversity and Unity in the Body of Christ You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

There is a lot of discussion about diversity and identity today, both in the wider culture and among Christians. Unfortunately, such discussions often are not informed by Scripture, even among Christians. Secularist theories and ideologies plague discourse about these subject in ways many Christians don’t even recognize. Any discussion of diversity and identity, however, must… Continue Reading

Thoughts on Local Church Membership, Then and Now

Thoughts on Local Church Membership, Then and Now

The body of Christ is something bigger than the local church, and believers should in theory be able to serve at one church just as at another. However, heresy, ecumenicism, ungodly living, misunderstanding, and disagreements abound in many churches today, making it necessary for a local church to spell out in detail its confession and… Continue Reading

Spurgeon Uncut and Unpasted

Spurgeon Uncut and Unpasted

Reading Spurgeon is a sheer delight to the heart. At the same time, it is often faintly discouraging to the preacher. How could a preacher manage such eloquence? His sentences are positively dripping with imagery, his prose saturated with trope and metaphor. It seems impossible for such poetic gold to have flowed from a preacher… Continue Reading