How to Kill A Church, Specifically, An Open Brethren Assembly

There are plenty of ways to destroy a church. Vandalism aside, you can put into practice any of the age-old heresies so that the church goes into the abyss at full stride. You can stop preaching the Gospel. You can even just all stop coming. Thing is, I don’t only want to talk about how to destroy a church but rather how to destroy a distinct type of gathering of God’s people—the Open Brethren assemblies.

Open Brethren have historically been committed the centrality of Christ, the weekly declaration of the Lord’s death and resurrection, a high commitment to Scripture, commitment to missionary work, and to pursing the simplicity of worship of Christ found in the principles afforded to us within the New Testament. This last bit dovetails back into the Lord’s Supper and (what other Christians might call peculiarities, but we call) brethren distinctives. It’s why Open Brethren for years gathered outside of other denominations to proclaim the death and resurrection of Christ in obedience to his command “This do in remembrance of me.” It’s why the Open Brethren don’t even like to use that term, but rather pin “so-called” in front of it. We’re largely committed to just calling ourselves “brethren” according to the principles we see laid down in Scripture.

There’s a way to kill all of that.

In a few easy and non-ordered steps (so far numbering six, the number man), I’ll show you how one can go about murdering a ministry and a movement of a local church. It should only take a little bit of time but, if you go about it the right way, you can deeply injure the believers who have been trying to faithfully gather in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.


Obedience to the Word of God: What It Looks Like

Christians, hearing the phrase “obedience to the Word of God” might be quick to assume that this is a call to obey what the Word of God has to say. They’ll hear the words and think that there is some command, or some passage of the Bible, that is not being obeyed and this is the reason for the call that we need to be obedient to the Word of God. Indeed, there are many passages that highlight the importance of obeying what God has to say: we must submit to what He says. He is the master; we are the servants.

That said I like Paul’s example of how one ministers in obedience and subjection to the Word of God. In Colossians 1:225-28 he sees himself as completely swallowed up in the mission and calling of the church. The church, he knows, is to suffer so he happily rejoices in suffering for her. Christ’s body is to be continually afflicted and, in obedience to the word of God, Paul tries to take on what is lacking in those afflictions. God commissioned him to do the work and he sees himself as a complete servant that is wholly given to that work so as to present the word of God in its fullness.

But the obedience to the word of God is also seen in the future reality of the church. Let me explain.


How To Give Your Testimony: A Primer for Christians

Testimony, even rephrased as bearing witness, is for court-room dramas and evangelical fundamentalist Christians circles. It shouldn’t be though. Peter tells us to be ready to answer any person who asks us why we believe (1 Peter 3:15). Simply put, giving your testimony is telling your story to answer the question of how God has worked, and continues to work, in your life.

Many Christians, are afraid of the “telling” bit (since speaking in front of people is horrifying). Others fear the “story” thinking that their testimony is boring. Some folk don’t know how to do it and others just do a bad job. This post will teach you how to give your testimony in any situation.

church study

Biblical Requirements and Responsibilities of Deacons in the Church

Scripture tells us almost nothing about the selection, work, and office of the deacon.

In the early church, deacons were church officers—third to bishops and elders—and they had to be obeyed and respected “as Jesus Christ.”  (Tabb, B. J. (2016). Deacon.) Mounce (Pastoral Epistles) points out that at one point the deacon was over the church serving the bishop (Pastoral Epistles, 210) instead of serving the church. Today, a deacon is everything from a trustee to ordained ministers who are a step down from priests.

We need to dig deep.


Should Christians Anoint the Sick With Oil?

Are Christians throughout time, before the return of Christ, to anoint the sick with oil to bring about healing? After all, it is a practice common to Christendom even when Christians don’t believe there is a promise of healing tied to the practice. Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans, Charismatics, and various forms of the most Fundamentalist Christians (yes, even some Plymouth Brethren) all do it with various degrees of expectation (or not). The early Disciples did it (Mark 6:13) and James 5:14, the text in question, seems to command it.

Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord;

Notice that it’s not a finished thought. The sentence carries the topic down to verse 20. Because of that, I’m going to take this piece-meal, asking questions, and often looking at the context.