The need of the hour

The need of the hour can color the approach a teacher takes to the runway of eternal salvation. Jude changed his writing topic, so urgent was the topic he was required to address. In Galatians, Paul charges quickly into his subject, skipping over his usual introductory thanksgiving for the readers.

Some might believe that in many places in the world today the church of God needs to hear a special message. Some are already speaking it, so these words join themselves to a growing chorus of speeches and words on the theme.

The church needs to return to its one subject matter: salvation from sin and eternal life in Jesus Christ. Continue reading “The need of the hour”

Mighty is the Lord God who judges

In times of crises and doubt, the book of Revelation is a wonderful reminder of the sovereignty and salvation of God. The times were far different, the suffering had a human cause, but the book highlights the concern of God, a reminder we urgently need today. Read with me, please, the eighteenth chapter of the book.

God caused the great fall of Babylon, in Revelation 18. The name of the city figuratively represented Rome. As the great capital of Babylonia had fallen, so would the center of the Roman empire, whence came the sufferings and persecutions of the saints to whom the apostle John had written. Continue reading “Mighty is the Lord God who judges”

Look to Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ is the complete answer of God for the problem and need of mankind. Our problem is not ignorance, which education will solve. Our problem is not poverty, which more robust social programs will eradicate. Our problem is sin. It’s consequence, eternal and spiritual, is separation from God, Isaiah 5.1-2; Colossians 1.21. We cannot now imagine the despair and suffering caused by our rejection of God. No human action will repair that damage. So God sent his Son to pay the price for our sins, 1 Corinthians 6.20. Our Lord declared time and again that he came to save us from ourselves, Luke 19.10. This is the great act of grace on his part, Titus 3.4-7. Continue reading “Look to Jesus Christ”

The big issue of fellowship

Fellowship is a big issue among us. Not a few books have been written about it to define what it is, to whom it extends, from whom it ought to be withdrawn.

Fellowship deserves attention. After all, we were created for it. Christ redeemed us so that it could be restored. A whole cluster of words describe it in Scripture. The noun for fellowship, communion, participation, koinonia, is found in the New Testament 17 times, but the teaching on it goes far beyond that group of terms.

In the first chapter of 1 John, the apostle states that our fellowship is with God, Christ, and one another. Continue reading “The big issue of fellowship”

Our duty to get up and take action

The columnists of Forthright have been invited to devote themselves during the month of June to the topic of duty. They are free to write about any topic. But we’ll highlight on the front page articles tagged with the word “duty.” A few articles of the past tagged this way are already at the top of the front page. Check them out.

The Old Testament speaks frequently of duties of the priest, Levites, and the king. The NLT has Shecaniah saying to Ezra the scribe, who was laid low by the sins of the people: Continue reading “Our duty to get up and take action”

A Texas church worthy of imitation

To hear news about churches who leave the ways of Christ is discouraging, but many congregations still adhere to the truth of the gospel and busy themselves with the divine project of salvation. We do well to remember them and emulate their faith. One such is the Baker Heights congregation in Abilene, Texas.

Yesterday morning I spoke at both meetings of the congregation. These fine folk here have partnered with us in the gospel since the beginning of our Brazil ministry in 1984. They are a church committed to God’s truth and to evangelism. Already this year over 30 people have been baptized locally through their efforts, according to elder Ron McElyea.

Their latest bulletin noted that eight people were baptized in the Taylor County Jail May 10. Established near the Dyess Air Force Base in 1961, the church continues to reach out and serve the military community as well. Because of such ministries, they have a high turn-over, but this also means that from them the gospel goes out to many places in the country and the world.

Yesterday, May 20, the congregation held a special missions contribution for needs and projects for works they support in Zambia, India, Australia, and Brazil, as well as stateside efforts in Plattsburgh, N.Y., and other ministries.

Baker Heights Christians are heavily involved in World Bible School, and many of them also travel to mission points they support to encourage and contribute to the work.

Larry Taylor, one of the shepherds, taught the auditorium Bible class on faith and works, using James 2 as his text. He provided a clear message on the need for works as evidence of a living, genuine faith and how they relate to grace.

Vacation Bible School preparations were being made in earnest. We could feel the excitement in the air. After the Sunday night assembly, deacon John Hanson was fitted out for pharoah’s headdress. The theme will focus on the Exodus from Egypt. We heard that the Red Sea would be parted in one of the hallways.

After the evening assembly, the 13 high school seniors were honored with a reception. The elders presented them with Bibles, thanked them for their example, and charged them with continued faithfulness, remembering Philippians 4.13.

Overseer Charles Beebe and his wife Jane are the publishers and editors of the print magazine, Bulletin Digest. They provide a wonderful service to church bulletin editors and to anyone looking for a judicious, edifying selection of articles.

At the end of the morning assembly, Ron made a statement to the congregation on behalf of the elders. In view of the American president’s statement the previous week in support of homosexual marriage, the elders wanted to let the congregation and the community know that the gospel would still be preached according to the Scriptures, regardless of the political or social winds.

The congregation has adopted Mark 10.45 as their theme for the year, together with the phrase, “Lord, give me a servant heart.” That theme is no empty wording, but represents these saints’ approach to work in the kingdom of God.

It’s a pleasure and a great encouragement to be associated with such a congregation. We pray for their growth and continued service in the Lord. May the Lord multiply their number.

New Forthright Magazine site enhances content, experience

UPDATE: It’s fascinating to see how Forthright has changed and adapted over the years. Most of these features below have ceased, and new ones — especially columnists — have been added.

The new Forthright Magazine website offers a ton of new features to enhance your online experience, as well as new content. And this is just our first count!

1. (We spun this off into a separate website: Believing Prayer.) Today’s Prayer resumes its place. It was on the old site, but had transitioned into United Prayer on Twitter. We’re studying how to meld the two, but the prayer has returned to its rightful place.

2. (No longer active.) Rob Lester has associated his Creation Faith Facts with Forthright Magazine. His faith-building material will be linked on FMag, and we’ll look at options on how to integrate further.

3. (Social media killed this, like many other good things.) The system of commenting has been installed; you should see the toolbar at the top. You can highlight words, sentences, and paragraphs as the focus of comments. It complements the normal comment system. This is experimental, to see if it will serve a good core group.

4. (Good riddance, Google! Hello, Telegram, Zap, and Mastodon!) Social media connections now facilitate sharing the articles, posts, and devotional material. We even have an option for Google+ at the bottom toolbar. The buttons and links are at top, along the bottom, in the right column, and at the end of articles. Maybe we’ve not overdone them.

5. (Don now has his own website.) Don Ruhl’s twice-daily devotional, which we call “Twice Blessed,” has been better integrated into the site. Don never misses a lick and always brings an edifying thought.

6. (Anybody heard from Mike?) As soon as we can get it set up, Mike Benson’s daily devotional KneEmail will be better integrated into the site than it was before.

7. (We let this one go, after starting up a website for it.) A feed for Quick Bible Truths has also been added to the site. These short daily zings will make you think.

8. (Still going! Use it!) The site features NET Bible Tagger, which pops up a Bible reference with a mouse-over. Then, with a click, you have at your fingertips a wealth of notes and 10 other versions on the text. Try it out on Hebrews 1:1-4.

All this means you have more and more content to build up your faith and a richer experience when you frequent the pages and posts of Forthright Magazine.

We’d love to hear your insights on the content and your perspectives on the site.

Just a reminder, also: you’ll have the best experience using browsers such as Firefox, Opera, or Chromium. (We now recommend Brave at the top of the list.)

Forthright makes changes, updates

by J. Randal Matheny, editor
update44.jpgOver the next several days, the editors and webmaster of Forthright Magazine will move the website to a new software. The site will be more responsive, and the format will get a facelift.
Expect some downtime. Any offline time, however, should be momentary. The email list will continue to function independently of the website.
The website domain address will continue the same at
The new WordPress software will provide greater flexibility and control. The old software has served us well since 2005, when Kevin Cauley and Eddie Watkins set up the ezine on the Berryville, Ark., church’s website, transitioning from the previous host at
In spite of the inevitable glitches, this move means another step forward to serve you better and to reach more students of the Word. May the Lord be pleased.