Property and Christianity

“And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and they sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all, according as any man had need. And day by day, continuing stedfastly with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread at home, they took their food with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to them day by day those that were saved” (Acts 2:44-47 ASV).

On a Campaign for Christ in Northampton, England (1980) I was studying with a Brit, when as we were reading Acts 37–47, he became excited saying: “It’s there, they said it was, and there it is!” I had no idea what he was referring to, so I asked. “Communism,” he said, “Communism is in the Bible.” Turned out, he was a member of the Communist party of England. Continue reading “Property and Christianity”

Never had it so good

Israel didn’t know how good they had it.

In making covenant with God, God had declared: “And ye shall serve Jehovah your God, and he will bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee. There shall none cast [miscarry -spw] her young, nor be barren, in thy land: the number of thy days I will fulfil” (Exodus 23:25-26, ASV, consider also Deuteronomy 7:12-15 & 28:5-8). Continue reading “Never had it so good”

Covenant principles

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said: “Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets: I came not to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the law, till all things be accomplished” (Matthew 5:17–18, ASV).

The Old Testament pointed to Jesus as the promised Messiah; Jesus would not destroy that which affirmed his messiahship. The Covenant Law of the Old Testament would later be replaced by the New Covenant of Christ, as predicted in Jeremiah 31:31-34, and affirmed as changed in Hebrews 8:6-13 (see also Romans 7:6-7; Ephesians 2:11-16). But, at the time of this sermon, the Law of Moses is still in effect, and Jesus fulfilled the covenant perfectly. Continue reading “Covenant principles”

Principles behind our responses

Jesus rebuked the Pharisees saying, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye tithe mint and anise and cummin, and have left undone the weightier matters of the law, justice, and mercy, and faith: but these ye ought to have done, and not to have left the other undone” (Matthew 23:23, ASV).

With the “weightier matters” of justice, mercy and faith, Jesus lays out some guiding principles for his followers. While it might be nice if the Scriptures laid out a specific response to every single thing that might ever happen in the course of a lifetime, they don’t. Often we’re left to discern for ourselves what course of action we ought to pursue when the Scriptures don’t specifically address the situation in which we find ourselves. Principles act as beacons to guide us toward the appropriate action, even if they don’t always reveal a specific path. Continue reading “Principles behind our responses”

God, or the cultural status quo

Recently a “preacher” has gained a lot of publicity referring to the Bible as “irrelevant letters from 2,000 years ago.” But consider:

Before God made covenant with the people, he grounded it in the nation’s founding story. “I am Jehovah thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage” (Exodus 20:2, ASV). Continue reading “God, or the cultural status quo”