We have received a great number of responses to the article “What Is the Christian Sabbath?” Almost half of the responses have been very positive. A few were more reserved, thanking us for the article and saying they would study into the subject further. But the remainder were negative comments from those who keep the seventh-day Sabbath. Somewhat surprisingly, we have received no negative comments from Sunday-Sabbath keepers or Lord’s Day keepers.
In what appears to be an increasingly hostile, divided, and hate-filled world, even we Christians can be tempted to disrespect, despise, or otherwise be hurtful to others—sometimes even our brothers and sisters in the Lord. Something that I think can help turn us back to love and respect is the report of an incident that took place on the day of Jesus’ Resurrection. We find it in Luke 24. It happened as two disciples were walking along the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus, a distance of about seven miles. I want to point out some things about this story that I hope will improve our understanding of the occurrence and will cause us to more highly esteem our brethren.
Of the Galatians, who were beginning to believe that they needed to perfect themselves through the law, Paul wrote, “I just want to learn this from you. Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now completed in the flesh?” (Galatians 3:2-3). The legalist Judaizers who were tempting them might well be called law mongers. They were purveying a method of salvation that said, Sure Jesus took care of our past sins, but now we must keep the law to remain moral. Too many people assert that the only issue among the Galatians was that they were being falsely taught to be circumcised. But this wasn’t the only issue.
“For sin will not have dominion over you. For you are not under law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under law, but under grace? May it never be!” (Romans 6:14-15). Many people read this, and then they tag on this assumption: Paul is saying that just because you are under grace doesn’t mean that you should not strive to keep the law to avoid sin. But nothing could be further from the truth! If Paul were saying this, he would be contradicting himself. He would be saying, you are not under the law, but you must keep the law to avoid sin. This would be putting us back under the law. It would give us freedom from the law with one hand while taking it away with the other. It would be saying, you are not under the law, but you are under the law. This would be nonsense.
A. It’s pretty common for preachers to say that Jesus raised the standard of the law or amplified or magnified it. This question is based on this belief that Jesus came to magnify the law. Those who teach that Jesus magnified the law usually cite Isaiah 42:21 and tie it to Matthew 5.
I used to do some freelance editing for a man who ran a Christian publishing, Internet, and speaking ministry. A few years before his death, he found that he was unable to, in good conscience, continue his membership in the church of which he had been a member and elder. Soon afterward, “Christian” forums had threads about him that went something like this: “Did you hear that so-and-so is no longer under the accountability of a church?” “What? Do you mean that he’s not under a church covering?” “This is outrageous! How can he continue his ministry while being unfaithful?” “Well, all I know is that as long as he’s not under the authority of a church, I’m not listening to him any more.”
Before I left the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) in 1991, I would have considered a website like this as just another attempt at persecuting God’s truth. In fact, since I was for ten years a writer in the WCG’s Personal Correspondence Department and Editorial Services, I might very well have been assigned the job of refuting the things said here.
I suppose it is part of our depraved nature that we humans have the tendency, when we are given a great cause, to institutionalize it and so alter it and drain it of life that it no longer resembles, and may even contradict the goals of, the original cause.
In the past couple of decades, home schooling has risen from the ranks of being considered the bizarre behavior of an obscure group of fringe extremists to being one of the major trends of our society. And is it any wonder? By now, most of us are at least casually familiar with the frequent reports of poor academic performance by public school children. And who can miss the appalling headlines of shootings, drug trafficking, and seedy affairs between teachers and students?
A. I have just read that the Duggar family of Springdale, Arkansas, is expecting its 19th child ( “Arkansas family prepares for baby No. 19” ). In case you don’t already know, the Duggars are headed by Jim Bob (a former Arkansas state legislator who is now a real estate agent) and Michelle. Why this story got me writing is that it reminded me of my promise to write an article about how people can afford to homeschool. You see, the news story points out that the Duggars “feed their entire family on less than $2,000 a month” while living debt free. The article also points out that all of the children are homeschooled. How is this possible?