Archive for the '2006' Category

It’s No New Doctrine: Surveying the History of Biblical Separation

feature-article.gifThose who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. Believers should take this well-worn admonition to heart as they view from religious history the overall downward trend to eventually deviate from God’s truth. Based on lessons from the past, believers ought to be saddened, but not surprised, when God’s Word calls them or their churches to separate from what is impure. Historical honesty requires us to recognize that wholesale religious compromise with unbelief is not new to our generation. Likewise, responding to religious compromise with biblical separation is something God’s obedient people have always practiced.

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The Ohio Bible Fellowship and Resolutions

feature-article.gifDuring the business sessions of the Ohio Bible Fellowship’s quarterly meetings resolutions are read, considered, and acted upon by the Fellowship’s members and delegates. These resolutions are published in the Visitor, and depending on the particular subject matter, sometimes they are also read and addressed during church services. You may have wondered what exactly is a resolution, why the OBF considers and adopts them, or how they are composed and considered.
A resolution is simply a formal motion in written form. Through these formal, written motions, the OBF sets forth and conveys its opinion and position regarding important and significant issues. Resolutions are also written to influence others with regard to the particular subject being addressed. The basis by which the particular subject of a resolution is evaluated is the OBF’s constitution and commitment to militant, separatist fundamentalism.

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Showcase the Gospel

Sound Words graphicWhat do people see when they watch us? The answer to that question is important because our lives should showcase what God has done. We know this to be true, and yet it is something we need to be reminded of constantly.

Why is that? The problem is not that we are ignorant, but that over time we forget what we have learned. In Titus 3:1–8, Paul gives three reminders that will help us stay on track.

First, he reminds us about our testimony (vv. 1–2). Our attitude toward authority and other people can either be a great addition or a horrible subtraction from our spoken witness.

Second, he reminds us of our past (v. 3). Too often we are amazed at the actions of lost people and wonder how they could be so foolish. During times like that, we need to remember our own sinful past.

As we do, we will have a greater appreciation for Paul’s final reminder about our salvation (vv. 4–8). As sinful men and women, we were without hope until the mercy of God was revealed to us through Jesus Christ. What a blessing to remember what God has done for each of us! But if we are not careful we may forget these wonderful truths.

Let us be careful to meditate daily on our salvation and then live in such a way that our lives showcase the life-changing message of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

November 2006

Happy Anniversary?

feature-article.gifThis past summer my wife and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary. Each anniversary is a special occasion for us to celebrate another year together as a married couple. When a couple reaches their golden or 50th wedding anniversary, that’s something really special.
This month another anniversary will be celebrated, but of a different sort—for 50 years the magazine Christianity Today has been published. During this time it has served as the “voice” of new evangelicalism, opening a window into its soul. Anniversaries are supposed to be special times of celebration, but this one really provides nothing for Christ’s church to be happy about.

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Desperate Times and Normal Measures

Sound Words graphicThe question of how the church can impact a decadent culture is the source of a never-ending dialogue. How can we reach Baby Boomers? Baby Busters? Gen Xers? Gen Yers? Postmodernists? Regardless of the culture being discussed, the answer is often this: “The times are changing. We need to change with them. We must keep current. We must be relevant.”
How might Paul have responded to that thesis? You need not guess, for he provided his answer in Scripture. In 2 Timothy 3 and 4, Paul teaches young Timothy how to minister in “perilous times.” He writes, “Timothy, these days are evil (3:1). You’re living in an increasingly wicked world (3:1–13). Beyond that, you’re surrounded by an increasingly worldly church (4:3–4).”

Paul’s instructions for ministering in a wicked world are crystal clear: “Keep doing what you’ve always done. Even as the world keeps getting worse, you (emphatic) stick to the Holy Scriptures (3:14). Preach the Word (4:2). Patiently confront people with biblical truth (4:2b). Explain the Bible. Make the point of the text the point of your sermon or conversation. Why? Because only Scripture can bring men to salvation (3:15). Only Scripture is God-breathed and (therefore) profitable to help people grow and become prepared for ministry (3:16–17). Your words can’t do that. Fables can’t do that (4:4). Scripture can. Nothing is more relevant and life-changing than truth.”

Are the times changing? Perhaps. But our message and method must not.

October 2006

The Christian and Alcohol

feature-article.gifFor decades, alcohol has been considered entirely “unchristian.” Christians, it was commonly assumed, were “teetotalers,” abstaining completely from drinking alcohol. Bending beneath the world’s unending parade of television commercials and billboards touting the joys and excitement of alcohol, the Christian community has become ambivalent about its relationship to alcohol in recent years. Questions that were once taken for granted are now open for discussion. What about social drinking? How much is too much? When must a person say “when”? Is there a place for alcohol in a Christian’s life?

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Let Him Go

Sound Words graphicChrist’s dealings with the rich young ruler in Matthew19:16–26 provide an interesting example of the centrality of repentance in the gospel message. A young man came to Christ with questions about eternal life (v. 16). Apparently, he knew that he lacked peace with God (v. 20). He appeared to be “ripe for the picking.” Chalk up another decision! Yet, when Christ put his finger on the man’s idol (v. 21) he refused to relinquish it (v. 22; cp. I Thess 1:9). It seems that while he desired eternal life (and who doesn’t?), he was unwilling to turn from his own way and thoughts (Isa 55:7). The result? Christ let him go away unsaved and unhappy.

How many such men have been led in a sinner’s prayer that salved their consciences but didn’t save their souls? How many have thus been unwittingly inoculated against the truth? How many have left churches lost and relieved rather than lost and sorrowful?

We, of course, lack Christ’s omniscience; we cannot see a sinner’s heart. However, that fact should make us more careful in our dealings with men, not less. Rather than promising life to an unrepentant sinner, we must trust the Holy Spirit to do a miraculous work in his heart and bring him to repentance and faith (v. 26). In short, we must let him go. He may be sad, but at least he will know that his soul is not yet right with God.

September 2006

OBF Visitor Website

The OBF Visitor is the official publication of the Ohio Bible Fellowship. Feature articles from past issues of the Visitor are made available here for your use. You may read, distribute, and use this material as long as you do so in its entirety and without modification. All articles © The Ohio Bible Fellowship.


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