Authority, Law, and Love

Much of the discussion over my authority posts of a few weeks back centered on the question, “Do I have to?”  Everybody agrees that the Bible says certain things.  All the disagreement emerged over the extent to which those commandments, examples, etc. are binding on us today.

Perhaps the problem is that we’re asking the wrong question.  “Do I have to?” implies coercion, the enforcement of a law on an unwilling subject, and for disciples of Christ, that’s a shoe that should never fit.  For Christians, the right question ought to be, “Should I want to?”  Continue reading


More Bible or Better Hermeneutics?


As I noted yesterday, my recent claim that more Bible is the solution to the problems of the church attracted some disagreement.  The comments I fielded in that blog post were similar to each other, but this one makes a different kind of argument.  It reads, Continue reading

More Bible or More Virtue?

Last week, I wrote about the problem of the development of authoritative tradition within churches of Christ.  Though I don’t believe that either I or anyone else know the extent of this problem, I think few would dispute its existence.  I suggested that the cure for the disease was, simply, more Bible.  The more we are willing to return to the word and the word only, the more we are willing to follow wherever it leads, the more we will move away from human tradition.

As a rule, simple solutions to complicated problems are either elegant or (more commonly) simplistic.  Not surprisingly, I collected some thoughtful comments that suggested that I had fallen into the latter error.  With the commenters’ permission, I’m going to address two of them in this post.  They are as follows: Continue reading

Replying to “Why I Left the Church of Christ”

Image result for why i left the church of christ

Yesterday, Shawn sent me a YouTube link to a video entitled “Why I Left the Church of Christ”.  I’m not going to link to it here, but if you search YouTube for the title, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding it.  He said it raised his blood pressure, and he figured that meant I would probably want to watch it and write about it.

He was right, so I clicked on the link and started watching.  After a few moments, I said to myself, “Hold on a sec!  That’s Amber Head!”  I’ve never met the sister (I don’t think, anyway), but I do know her husband, who has also left the faith.  He’s described his spiritual journey at considerable length online (I’m a fine one to talk, I know), so I suppose it’s not surprising that she would want to do the same. Continue reading

Three Bases of Biblical Unity

The other day, I opined that unity in a local congregation doesn’t require perfect agreement on every doctrinal concept.  This is true even for churches like the churches of Christ, churches with a high view of Scripture that demand Biblical authority for religious practices.  In fact, I suspect that doctrinal disagreement exists in every church of Christ with more than three members.

Unanimity of belief is not the foundation of congregational unity.  Instead, I think these three things are: Continue reading

Bible Authority and Church Unity

A few days ago, in the midst of one of those authority-driven blowups that happen on Facebook every so often, somebody linked to this article. I read it, and my brow furrowed.  I didn’t agree with the conclusion, but even more than that, I had trouble figuring out where the author was coming from.  He insists that unity based on a shared understanding of Bible authority was impossible, but he never specifies whom this understanding could unite.  Is he talking about brotherhood unity?  Congregational unity?  Both?

Rather than engaging in a point-by-point rebuttal, then, I thought it would be worth setting out my own understanding of unity from the beginning. Continue reading

Problems with “Chairs”

Sometime in 2010, Rick Atchley, preacher for what was then the Richland Hills Church of Christ and is now The Hills Church, produced a YouTube video called “Chairs”.   In it, he presents his argument for rejecting the traditional Restoration view of Bible authority.  It generated lots of discussion back in the day, and it continues to pop up on Facebook from time to time.

Recently, I was asked what my perspective on “Chairs” was (honestly, I thought I’d already written about it, but apparently not).  Let’s start with the good.  I give Atchley all the credit in the world for being a smooth, plausible, even funny speaker.  Unfortunately, he uses his considerable skills to promote false doctrine.  He distorts the Biblical truth about authority in a way that will cause souls to be lost, and I think he does so knowingly.  The problems with “Chairs” are legion.  Here are the four I think are most significant. Continue reading