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I Have Lost My Faith! (in coincidences)

Today, as I begin this article, it is April 8, 2018 – one day after my son Bryan’s 50th birthday. I spoke in a part of the Dallas East Region of the Dallas/Fort Worth Church, a part that has most of our East campus students in it. Our oldest grandson, Bryce Gordon...

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American Slavery and the Bible by Richard Rodriguez

Biographical Sketch I was baptized into Christ at the Crossroads Church of Christ of Gainesville in 1981. There I studied the Bible with Dan Davis out of Reese Neyland’s bible talk and counted the cost with Sam Laing. As God would have it, Sam also performed my...

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The Theological Basis for Discipling Relationships

Special Note: This material once comprised a chapter in my book entitled Discipling (1997). This longer book was condensed into a shorter version called The Power of Discipling - now in its second (slightly longer) edition. A number of chapters from the original book...

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Regaining Our First Love

Revelation 2:1-7 1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot...

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Matters of Conscience − A Deeper Look

I wrote this article back in 2007 and included it as an appendix in the second edition of Prepared to Answer. At that particular time, it seemed to be quite in vogue to object to countless issues in our movement of churches, claiming that those things violated one’s...

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Grace, the Holy Spirit and Heaven by Jim McCartney

“But when the goodness and love for man appeared from God our Savior, He saved us – not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to His mercy, through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. This Spirit He poured out on us...

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The Fallacies of Popular End-Times Teaching

I was exposed to the now popular futurist teaching as a young person and accepted it as being true for many years. I did not know an alternative was available, and being biblically ignorant, saw no reason to question what I was taught. However, I did not like the...

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When is a Person Ready to be Baptized?

The title reflects a question that people often have, both those who are studying and contemplating being baptized and those who have already been baptized and now are studying with others. Biblical concepts give us direction, along with common sense based on the...

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The Problem of Pain

One of the most popular Christian writers of last century was C.S. Lewis. He wrote a book with the title that I’m using for this article. Pain is a problem. It is a problem physically to be sure, but it is a bigger problem emotionally and spiritually. It can fill up...

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ICOC 3.00 by Jim McCartney

The energy and enthusiasm around the recent ICOC 3.0 initiative are impressive, and I respect and appreciate all the work that is going into it. As a local church Board member, I was able to participate in the New England/New York meeting in Hartford CT and was...

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New Testament Teaching on Women’s Role

(From the Appendix of Prepared To Answer, by Gordon Ferguson) NOTE: This article was originally written long before the newest version of the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible was published. I have substituted the 2011 version for the older version that...

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How Important Are Doctrinal Differences?

 Introduction Let us begin by making it clear that doctrine is very important to God. The basic Greek term for doctrine is didaskalia, and is translated in the more modern versions simply as “teaching.” With either translation, the word most often refers to God’s...

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The Mystery Solved!

The Mystery Solved! I first met the group of churches in 1981 that was later to be called the ICOC movement (International Churches of Christ). I was highly impressed with their evangelistic effectiveness and level of commitment, and figured out almost immediately...

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Was Apollos Re-Baptized?

Most Bible readers assume that Apollos was re-baptized as a part of being taught the way of God more adequately by Priscilla and Aquila.  Let’s begin by reading the end of Acts 18 and the beginning of Acts 19. 24 Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria,...

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The Young Saul: Zeal or Anger?

Introductory Note: This article is actually an excerpt of the first few pages of my book, "The Apostle Paul: Master Imitator of Christ." The book is one of my longest (272 pages) and also one of my most in-depth. Greater spirituality must include greater knowledge,...

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Facebook, Politics and the Bible

Like many readers of Facebook, I have tired of reading about politics long after the last election was held. Each of us has a right to our political views and preferences, and each of has the choice to vote or not vote as American citizens. We are never going to agree...

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The Holy Spirit and Man’s Salvation

The Indwelling Spirit of Promise Ezekiel 36:26-27, in an apparent Messianic prophecy, gives a wonderful promise of the Spirit’s presence in our hearts and lives as Christians.  “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart...

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The Big Black Brother’s Club

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26-28). Spiritual...

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FACEBOOK FEED

I just posted another article on my blogsite (blacktaxandwhitebenefits.com) entitled “Two Sources of Wisdom.” In my recent blog post, “Slavery and the Bible,” I had a few things to say about the inability of political solutions to effectively deal with the problems of society that are rooted in sin, and that includes the sin of racism. My reasoning was that while politics may well produce legislation, it cannot produce love (often quite the contrary). Hate cannot be outlawed, although acts of hate can. Nor can love be demanded by law. Further, since our most basic human emotional needs are all about love, respect and acceptance, politics will always come up short in providing what the human soul most desires.

In that recent article, I used some material written by Michael Burns, adopted and adapted from an email. As I prepared for a trip to the East Coast to teach about racial issues, I spent much time re-reading his book, “Crossing the Line: Culture, Race and Kingdom.” To be honest, my human nature would like to legislate the reading of this book by all disciples of all colors! Of course, that urge is not realistic and not particularly spiritual either. I think it does illustrate the fact that our very strong feelings to make something happen often go in the wrong direction and are not very effective in bringing about the desired results at the heart level. With Michael’s permission once again, I quote fairly extensively from his book in exploring the difference between God’s wisdom and human wisdom. Enjoy the read!
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1 week ago  ·  

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Several weeks ago, I had a very unusual experience. It started with me preaching what turned out to be an emotional sermon for me, and for the audience. After the service was over, I took a long drive in the countryside to talk with God about things stirred up in me by the sermon. I returned home to write for hours about the whole experience, which included a good deal of reminiscing about the early years of my life.

When finished, I felt that what I had written was just journaling between me and God and should be left at that. However, I later started feeling that perhaps I should view this fairly long piece of writing as an article to post on my teaching website (gordonferguson.org). It was in a sense a prequel to what I have written in the first section of “My Three Lives” and to our earliest married days described in “Fairy Tales Do Come True.” Both of these books are among my three most recent ones, having been written in 2016. They contain many details of a personal nature, as this article most certainly does.

I vacillated between keeping the article contents private and publishing it. After a couple of weeks passed, I sent the article to two of my fellow authors and close friends, asking their opinion. Tom Jones had this to say: “Very good piece that makes a vital point. Those who are fans of yours (a considerable number, including me) will especially enjoy more details from your life, and in the process, hear the heart of your message.” Steve Kinnard wrote (while on vacation): “I used my morning of leisure (no theme park today) to read your article. I really enjoyed it. I think you should publish it for a larger audience… People would be inspired by it. I was.”

Since I am tired of vacillating, and trust these brothers who know me well, I just posted the article. Its title is, “I Have Lost My Faith! (in Coincidences)”
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2 weeks ago  ·  

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My most recent blog article on my racial issues blogsite (blacktaxandwhitebenefits.com) was on the subject of slavery and the Bible. Interestingly, one of the members of our Diversity Committee in the ICOC churches is quite the expert on the subject. Richard Rodriguez, a brother in the South Florida Church of Christ, wrote both a thesis for his Master’s degree in History and a dissertation for his PhD on related aspects of American Slavery.

I asked him some time ago to write an article or series of articles about the main themes of his academic studies to use on one of my online sites. The end result was a seven-part series, which was too long for my blogsite, but fine for my teaching website (gordonferguson.org). I am posting a biographical sketch introduction to Richard himself and to his material on my blogsite, and will include it as an introduction to the series, which will be on my teaching website.

I have combined the longer series into one article, which is still longer than the normal article on that website, yet it contains some valuable material, complete with source documentation, for those who desire to dig deeply into a topic that has shaped so much of the American society in ways that we usually don’t realize.

His thesis dealt with the concept of the ideology of Divine retribution for slavery, something that many figures of history saw as a distinct possibility (including Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln). His dissertation delved into our national history of how the Bible was the cornerstone of the abolitionist argument against American slavery – in spite of the fact that the Bible was used also as support for same. Please go to my blogsite and read Richard’s biographical sketch, and then you can decide about reading the much more in-depth synopsis of his graduate research! Thank you, Richard, for your contributions to the world of academia and to our spiritual heritage!
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3 weeks ago  ·  

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I just posted a new article on my blogsite dealing with racial issues and diversity -- blacktaxandwhitebenefits.com (Blog 33). It is entitled "Slavery and the Bible." Since I started my blog, I have known that I needed to address the issue of slavery and the Bible. It is a fact that the Bible does not forbid any and all slavery, but rather regulated it among God’s followers in both Old Testament and New Testament settings. That fact is especially difficult to accept for those who have even a reasonably good understanding of how slavery was practiced in the United States for centuries. It was, with relatively few exceptions, applied in the harshest and most damaging ways imaginable. Further, the Bible was used to justify the institution, no matter how harsh these practices were. Just how are we moderns to view all of this? Please read the article for some very important answers. ... See MoreSee Less

1 month ago  ·  

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I just posted another article on my teaching website (gordonferguson.org). It is entitled "The Theological Basis For Discipling Relationships." The first paragraph of introduction I will drop in here, but suffice it to say, it addresses a much needed subject. I would perhaps put it at or near the top of all the articles I've ever written on the subject -- although it was written some years ago as a chapter in a book. Here is that introduction explaining the origin of the material:

Special Note: This material once comprised a chapter in my book entitled Discipling (1997). This longer book was condensed into a shorter version called The Power of Discipling -- now in its second (slightly longer) edition. A number of chapters from the original book were omitted in the shorter one. I added back two of these chapters in a condensed combination (about group discipling and family discipling) in the second edition of the shorter version. Another chapter omitted in the original is this one, now published in a standalone article. It is in some ways “deeper” than the material in other chapters of the book, being more theological in nature. Newer disciples may find it more difficult to understand, but along with more mature disciples, all will find it highly stimulating and challenging if read carefully. In re-reading it now, over twenty years after I wrote it originally, it is hard to believe how relevant it is right now compared to its earlier setting. Our churches and our members need it – badly!
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1 month ago  ·  

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