Categories
church worship

Should I Raise My Hands In Church (And Other Questions)

Should I raise my hands when I pray (or sing) in the local church? Which music should we use in our local church worship? Should my kids be allowed to dance during a good praise song at the assembly? Shall I be allowed to say “amen” after any song I feel particularly touched by during worship service? Can we change the complete structure of the meeting of the local church? Should we say the Nicene Creed at the gathering of the local church?

In all of these questions we’re really just asking, “What am I allowed to do?” I’ve said it in another post but before answering the questions you have to actually figure out why we come together at all. After you identify that purpose for gathering you then figure out your freedoms within that gathering. In other words, first you ask “why do we assemble?” then you ask, “What should I be doing when we’re assembled?”

Why we assemble is the main question to answer but I think Scripture would have us ask several probing questions that help tie down both the purpose of the church while examining any of our actions.

Categories
church history human

Sometimes, It Really Is Persecution

In recent days I have seen a circle drawn around the category of persecution that minimizes what some folk are going through. You’ll find that someone looks at Fox Book of Martyrs and defines “real” persecution as the things that those people had experienced.  You don’t have to run too far down the Internet—do a search for “real persecution” and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Categories
church

What Kind of Music Should You Use In Your Church?

Rap. Rock. Hip Hop. Jazz. Chants. Acappella. Choral. Guitars. Harmonicas. Pianos. Flutes. Organs. Drums. There are so many styles and ways of making music that the question comes up all the time: what kind of music should you use in church?

If someone hates a certain style, lovers of that style get personally offended—you’re judging them! Because of that, music has been at the heart of sometimes totally changing the local assembly and at other times splitting it right down the middle.

What I want to do is, beside touching the third-rail of Christian discussions, cut through the ways most people deal with this then move to where the questions really lie.

Categories
apologetics church personal

How People Are Allured By False Teaching

Here is an old joke that I vaguely remember my Father using: People tell me that on every public bus there is always one nut-job. A complete wacko. An absolute loon. Look around, they’d say, and you’ll always find one. So I keep riding the bus to find out, constantly looking for the one nut-job. I could never find him.

I’m going to be honest here. Just like the joke about being the one nut-job, I’m afraid of being the false teacher Scripture warns about. It is a creeping fear crowding behind me right up until I walk towards the pulpit.  Then, even when I open my mouth, I can feel the fear behind me whispering a warning: don’t fall into the false teacher’s trap.

Now, don’t start telling everyone “Rey says he’s a false teacher.” Hear me out.

The reason for my fear is that false teaching has an attractive pull in (at least) two directions. It not only draws hearers but it’s attractive to those who are handling the truth. And because it’s strong allure, I think it’s more pervasive than we think.

Categories
acts church human

The Fact of False Teachers

For years, Christian writers forced pens to bleed ink on the subject of false teachers. They warned, they begged people to be ready, they called out the false teachers, and they repeated the whole thing. We often nod, hum a hymn, and don’t give it much thought.

Let me put some meat on those bones.

At church, we are rightly warned about those wool-wearing wolves but we never think of them as already here, among us, teeth bared. We mention them in a nebulous sort of way, waving our arms in that direction over yonder, but most of us never stop and wonder if they’re sitting next to us, smiling and saying “amen” during the sermon. Or maybe, arms raised, leading the singing. Or possibly, speaking, behind the pulpit.

For most of us Christians, false teachers are a distant threat reserved for tele-evangelists.