The Christian Studies Blog


3 Challenges of the Church after "Gay Marriage" Law

Posted by Dr. Jim Reynolds on June 27, 2017 at 9:30 AM

In order to  set out the challenge of kingdom living  at this time consider the following:

The kingdom of God has come in Jesus Christ the Lord right in on top of the kingdoms of this world. We live in the tension of the “now and the not yet” of the kingdom of God. This means the  U. S. Constitution  is not our  Bible; the pledge of allegiance does not replace or even rival the confession “Jesus is Lord;” the U.S.  is not  the  light-filled church community sitting on the hill; the Declaration of Independence is not our call to discipleship; we do not live to pursue happiness, but to pursue the kingdom. The Bill of Rights has no  authority  over the Sermon on the Mount.  The  U.S Supreme Court judges are not my ultimate  judge- Jesus is! The 14th amendment’s rights to equal  protection and due process  do not replace  “all things are legal but not all things are helpful.”  

This Kingdom moment with the legalization and celebrating of "gay marriage" in the Obergefell et. al. vs. Hodges U.S. Supreme Court case in 2015 calls for considerable discernment within the church as to our competing allegiances in the time of the “now and not yet.” From the very beginning of the church’s  life under King Jesus, there have been three connected, yet distinct issues in church:

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Topics: On-Topic Today, Relationships, Politics

Download New Issue of Christian Studies Journal

Posted by Dr. Keith Stanglin on June 22, 2017 at 9:30 AM

From the early days of the Restoration Movement, Churches of Christ and Christian Churches distinguished themselves from their near neighbors on the American frontier with a noticeably robust ecclesiology, reflected in, among other things, the theology and practice of baptism.  Alexander Campbell and Walter Scott’s “high” view of baptism stood out in the context of the Second Great Awakening, wherein salvation often came to be connected to a subjective experience of the Holy Spirit that was externally manifest in ways other than baptism. 

For evangelists like Charles Finney, someone could respond by approaching the “anxious seat.”  All of this took place apart from water baptism.  Campbell’s association of believers’ baptism with salvation was denigrated by most evangelicals as “baptismal regeneration” and seen as a regression to salvation by works.  In the eyes of many evangelicals today, baptism “for the remission of sins” is still regarded as a false teaching that undermines justification by grace through faith.

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Topics: About Austin Grad, Church History, Restoration Movement, Christian Studies Press, Baptism

How To Become A Person With Soul In The Game

Posted by Greg Neill on June 20, 2017 at 9:30 AM

In his provocative book, Antifragile, Things That Gain From Disorder, Nassim Taleb describes three types of people in society (p. 376-377). 

There are those who are described as having “no skin in the game.” According to Taleb, these are those who seek to benefit from others, regardless of the harm that might be caused. 

A second type of person is described as having “skin in the game.”  Those with skin in the game assume their own risks and neither benefit from nor harm others. 

A third type of person in society is described as having “soul in the game.”  These people are willing to take risks on behalf of others.  Those with “soul in the game” are committed to an idea and translate this commitment into actions, especially for the sake of others. 

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Topics: How To, Relationships, Evangelism

The Greatest Invitation from God to Israel and to Us Today

Posted by Dr. Tom Nuckels on June 15, 2017 at 9:30 AM

Mike Cope tells the story of how Don Jackson, an elder in the church, served part of his career in government as senior U.S. liaison officer to the Court of Saint James. Listen to his personal description of being invited into the presence of the queen of England:

“I was aware of a commotion outside of my office window at the American Embassy in London. I looked out the window and saw a royal carriage painted red and gold and drawn by four magnificent , matched, dapple-gray horses, and accompanied by a troop of Royal Grenadiers. I returned to my desk, and shortly my secretary appeared at the door and said, "You have a guest." She stepped back to reveal a gentleman dressed in red and gold, highly bemetaled, bewigged, and carrying a mace which he pounded on the floor three times. Then he unfurled a scroll and began to read: Elizabeth, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and her other realms and territories, Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith…commands the Lord Chamberlain to invite Dr. and Mrs. Don Jackson to an evening reception at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday, 26ffi November 1980, at 7:30 p.m. Evening dress with decorations. Again he pounded the floor three times and stepped back. Then another gentleman, also in royal uniform, appeared in the doorway and identified himself as the Royal Marshall of the Diplomatic Corps and may he please have some of my time, he asked. We sat down, and he instructed me for over an hour on how to be presented to Her Majesty, the queen.”

That would be an exciting "invitation" to receive! It's one that you would never forget that's for sure!

Some invitations are exciting. Others are meaningful, like, “Will you marry me?” Some we never tire of hearing, "Play ball!" At other times, though, there are invitations that we become so accustomed to, we tune them out and it's time to get out the song book at the conclusion of a sermon...time for making plans about lunch.

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Topics: Scripture Passage, Old Testament

How Should the Bible Be Understood?

Posted by Deanna Munger on June 13, 2017 at 9:30 AM

Students in Mark Shipp's Spring 2017 class "Interpreting the Bible" wrote brief essays on their personal approach to the interpretation of Scripture. Deanna Munger's essay states succinctly some of the basics of hermeneutical philosophy in a simple and compelling way and is presented here for readers of the Austin Grad Christian Studies blog. 

Besides being a graduate student at Austin Grad and a full-time wife and mother, Deanna teaches Bible studies at the University Avenue Church of Christ in Austin, Texas.

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Topics: About Austin Grad, Personal

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