Recently, I’ve read articles that explain why many young ministers are leaving denominations for ministry in independent churches. Through the decades I have watched as many talented ministers have separated themselves from the Church of God for a variety of reasons. I would like to offer an explanation of why I have not jumped ship.
As a child reared in Pentecostalism I was fed a steady diet of apocalyptic pre-tribulation rapture dispensationalism. As a young adult studying for ministry I read all of the required books to properly understand the “last days” – The Dake Annotated Reference Bible, the books of Hal Lindsey, commentaries by John Walvoord, and J. Dwight Pentecost’s Things to Come. By the time I was in my late twenties I had rejected the dispensational scheme.
I support religious freedom laws because I support the free expression of religion. The free expression of the Christian faith requires that I “show hospitality to strangers.”
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it (Hebrews 13:2).
This week I saw a “Jesus” (a man dressed in costume) walking the streets carrying a sign that declared, “Jesus shed his blood for you.” While I understand the significance of that profound statement, I am forced to wonder “What does that mean for someone who doesn’t know the story?” In other words, in our post-Christian, biblically illiterate, and theologically uninformed society how is that statement interpreted by unknowers and unbelievers? During this Holy Week and season of Easter, how can I best proclaim the Gospel?
The state of Indiana recently passed religious freedom legislation that seeks to protect Christians from being forced to participate in activity that violates their religious conscience. The law has been met with loud protest. The homosexual lobby insists that the law legalizes discrimination against them. Many states, including Georgia, have passed, or are in the process of writing, similar legislation. In fairness, it seems that objections have more to do with perceptions than realities (see here and here).
Quest to Restore God’s House: A Theological History of the Church of God. Wade H. Phillips. Cleveland, TN: CPT Press, 2015.
For years Charles W. Conn’s Like a Mighty Army has been the definitive history of the Church of God. Conn’s book offers an excellent telling from the perspective of an officially sanctioned publication. Mickey Crews’ The Church of God: A Social History offers a more critical telling of the early years of the Church of God movement. But neither can compare to the exhaustive volume produced by Wade H. Phillips – Quest to Restore God’s House: A Theological History of the Church of God.