Ask Your Preacher
THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH
You say you are a New Testament church and not a denomination, but isn't the Church of Christ just an offshoot of the Campbellite movement of the 19th century?
Dear Fess Up,
Historically speaking, the Restoration Movement (sometimes referred to as the Campbellite Movement because Alexander Campbell was a prominent preacher at that time) is a bunch of different churches that adhere to similar doctrines… biblically speaking, the movement to restore New Testament Christianity is a principle, not a denomination. The Monroe Valley church of Christ isn’t affiliated with any other congregation; we aren’t associated with a grouping of churches or national religious body. Our congregation is completely independent of all others – our responsibility is to the Lord and none other, just like the first-century churches (Acts 14:23).
In the darkest days of the nation of Israel, a young king named Josiah rose to power. The nation had reached such a state of wickedness that the temple was near ruins and in complete disrepair. Josiah made a decision to have the temple repaired (2 Kgs 22:3-5). In the process of repairing the temple, the workers found a copy of the Bible (2 Kgs 22:8). The Old Testament Law was brought to Josiah, and he read it for the very first time (2 Kgs 22:10). Josiah was mortified when he heard the words of the law; never before had he realized how wicked the nation was and how deeply entrenched in sin Israel had become (2 Kgs 22:11-13). Josiah decided then and there to simply return to doing what the Bible said. Josiah let the Bible be his guide in restoring the nation of Israel to what God intended it to be (2 Chr 34:30-31). That is the ideal of the Restoration Movement. Regardless of what man says, the church in Monroe is not a part of a denomination or some earthly hierarchy. We appeal to the New Testament as our guide and daily attempt to restore biblical Christianity in our little corner of the world. If other congregations around the globe take this same attitude, that doesn’t make us a denomination; that makes us brethren all serving the one true head, Jesus Christ (Eph 5:23).
When members leave the church, is it required for those members to inform the church that they are leaving?
Dear Still Here,
The Bible never specifically says that people need to inform a congregation when they leave and begin attending another congregation, but it does say that the elders of the congregation have a responsibility to watch over the souls of the saints in their local church (Heb 13:17, 1 Pet 5:2). Since the elders are accountable to God for these folks, it is useful to them if folks kindly let them know when they are moving.
If a man has been christian for many years and starts to miss services for many months, should he be called on to say a pray when he comes to services for the first time and has not asked to be back in fellowship with the local church? How should the elders approach him on this matter?
Perplexed From The Pew
Dear Perplexed From The Pew,
The elders should approach him with wisdom – and not approaching him might be the wise thing to do as well. The Bible tells us to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves (Matt 10:16). When someone is struggling in their attendance, the elders, as watchers of the flock (Heb 13:17), have a responsibility to help them. (Having said that, all christians have a responsibility to pull alongside those who are struggling – it is just that the elders have an increased responsibility). How the elders deal with that person is completely a matter of wisdom, and it will vary from situation to situation. For all you know, the elders already approached this man and have dealt with him privately – that certainly would be a biblical approach (Matt 18:15-17). The best thing to do is to either talk to this man yourself if you are worried about him, or if you are simply worried about the image of the church… talk to the elders.
I just want to ask if it is wrong if I often go to church and have my daily Bible study at home? And can you recommend a church to us; we live here at Yokohama, Japan? Thank you.
We aren’t sure if it is a typo or not, but if you are asking if it is okay to go to church often and study your Bible at home… the answer is ‘Yes!’. However, since you are looking for a congregation in your area, we are guessing that were asking if it is okay to study at home and not attend services. The Bible commands christians to not forsake the assembly (Heb 10:24-25). Though in some parts of the world it is difficult to find a faithful group, most countries do have congregations that follow the Bible, and they are often closer than you think. God never intended for christians to function without a local church.
We found what looks like a faithful congregation in Tokyo that teaches and preaches the Bible (we have no personal experience with them though); Tokyo isn’t too far from your location. Here is a link to their website – Ochanomizu church of Christ. It is significantly harder to find English-speaking congregations in non-English speaking countries. There may be a congregation even closer – contact that group, and they will probably have more information than we can provide. If any of our faithful readers have more specific information on a congregation near Yokohama, please send it to us at email@example.com. Also, if the writer of this question will e-mail us with their contact information, we can pass along any additional details we get.
America has me worried. I think the government is corrupt and society is immoral. I'm seriously thinking about taking my family and making a community like the Muslims have in some US states. We'd have our own law and law enforcement. No one could come in who wasn't a christian. What should I be looking for to know when to leave?
Not In My House
Dear Not In My House,
Christianity has suffered through quite a bit more than America has ever dished out. As the book of Hebrews says, “You have not yet suffered to the point of bloodshed” (Heb 12:4). No one would dispute that America’s government is corrupt. The question is whether a christian should flee a society as soon as it is corrupt. Biblically speaking, that is not the pattern we see. Christians didn’t flee Jerusalem until christians began to be killed (Acts 8:1). Paul wouldn’t leave a city until they forcibly persecuted him or sought his life (Acts 9:24-25).
There will always be corrupt governments, but within those nations are citizens who need the Gospel as much as everyone else. Christians are supposed to be in the world… but not of this world (Php 2:15). The answers to our problems do not lay in this life. In this life, we shall always have troubles, but Christ has overcome the world (Jhn 16:33). Our hope is in eternal life where God’s law will be the only law and only christians will be allowed in (Tit 3:7). Until then, we must live within the governments of this world (Rom 13:1-2).