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A Revival of Hope in the Heart of a Black Woman

As noted in my recent post on Facebook and in the introduction to my new article regarding male and female role relationships in the church, the article grew out of a midweek outline for a lesson I taught. One sister who heard the lesson, Demerris Johnson, wrote me an...

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Male/Female Role Relationships in the Church

Introduction After I wrote three books in early 2016, I felt somewhat in a vacuum afterwards because I didn’t have any other area to pursue about which I felt passionate. Through a series of events, I discovered one and that led me to start a blog on racial issues....

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Another Adoption of Another Kind

After Kelly Flores and I exchanged some Facebook posts on this Father’s Day, I thought of another of my adopted daughters who had texted me quite a message today also. (Kelly is the young woman described in the “Another Kind of Adoption” article on this website.)...

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Why Did My Savior Come to Earth?

An old hymn has a stanza that asks the question posed in the title of this article. That’s a very good question, with many answers, but at least four of them are of ultimate importance in truly understanding the gospel of Christ. I recently preached a series of two...

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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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FACEBOOK FEED

Here is a quote from my recent article about male/female role relationships in the church: "Much discussion about the woman’s role is taking place in most church groups today who are identified as biblically conservative. That is certainly true of the ICOC group of churches, although most of the present discussion is taking place among the membership (especially the younger people) rather than among the leaders. Thankfully, some leaders and groups of leaders are delving into the subject. Several aspects of the discussion are much more important issues than most imagine."

My take in writing this was that young people were the main ones doing such thinking, accompanied by the feelings that were prompting them to talk among themselves about this subject. The feedback to my last two articles is starting to come in increasingly, and here are two excerpts from another source – parents of those young people. The first is from a mother and the second from a father.

"Raising two girls in the Church has made me question this point many times. I, myself, have been challenged (and hurt) by a church leader telling me that I could not complete an action asked of me by another church leader strictly because of my chromosomes. I have been praying for just such a re-evaluation. Your article gives me hope."

"I was recently forwarded your excellent article on Male/Female Role relationships. This is a topic that has been regularly on my mind in the last couple of years. It's been an issue for me since my very young Christian days but is particularly amplified as my daughter, soon to be 21, has come into her young-adult years. I just can't ignore what I was able to set aside. I agree with your statement that the conversation on this topic IS actively taking place in the membership -- not only the younger 20-somethings, but also their parents. For me, it has reached a point of needing to act."

This one ain’t going away, folks, and we need to address it sooner than later. If you have not read my recent article, “Male-Female Role Relationships in the Church” on my teaching website (gordonferguson.org), please do so. If you would like an electronic Word doc format of it, just email me at gordonferguson33@gmail.com and I will send it to you. Thanks much and God bless!
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12 hours ago  ·  

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As noted in my post on Facebook recently about my new article regarding male and female role relationships in the church, the article grew out of a midweek outline for a lesson I had just taught. One sister who heard the lesson, Demerris Johnson, wrote me an email the next day that made my day! She has since read the much longer article I posted on my teaching website. Her heart-felt comments produced some special heart-felt emotions in me. She wrote about the racism and sexism she has experienced, of both overt and systemic types. More impressive was her description of how she has handled it all while fighting to maintain spirituality. She is an excellent writer and the contents of what she has written deserve a broader audience. I am posting it as a follow-up article on my teaching website (gordonferguson.org) and as a blog article on my blogsite (blacktaxandwhitebenefits.com). I am including a few excerpts from her vulnerable sharing to whet your appetite to read the rest of it. God’s blessings as you read!

Demerris

I've been a disciple of our Lord for 18 years now, and I've had countless struggles and an equal number of victories. I've endured extreme harshness and wrestled with my own value. I've dished out my own share of harshness and probably caused others to wrestle with their value. I lived in fear of "man" (or people) for many years, most likely due to my own upbringing and times of victimization, so there was a part of me who believed that this was the norm and just how I was treated. I thought I just needed to toughen up, but I just couldn't be that tough.

There are two things I really want to address in this email: One, I am a black woman who has often felt inferior or has been made to feel so in a white male dominated society, and at times felt unloved and unappreciated by my black brothers and hated by my black sisters, culturally speaking. Though I don't directly experience much of this anymore, I know that it's something my culture suffers, and from time to time, generations of oppression slip through the creases of today's fabric and it all comes flooding back as if I had been living in the 60's or sooner when racial tensions were high.

Two, I'm also a woman who has fought for her relationship with God, and I've sought understanding of some biblical concepts like the roles of men and women. Recently, I learned prior to your lesson on relationships and roles that the same word for helper in Genesis 2:18 was used to describe the Holy Spirit, and I was floored. Hearing you teach it just doubled the impact! I was soooo encouraged because I knew that God is just so much bigger than we are, and we can't begin to comprehend his heart and mind. See, God has slowly been moving inside of my heart, allowing me to grow through difficult times. He has been healing my heart; I've found my voice, and I’ve won over many people, disciples and non-Christians alike. I've gained the respect and trust of many men and women in God's kingdom (and apart from it), and I've been honored in many ways by no doing of my own. He has placed me in roles where I've been teaching men and women, but I don't deem that to be exercising authority over them. I've wrestled in my heart with this concept and tried to wrap my mind around it.

Now go read the full article! Thanks!
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1 day ago  ·  

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After I wrote 3 books in early 2016, I felt somewhat in a vacuum afterwards because I didn’t have any other area to pursue about which I felt passionate. Through a series of events, I discovered one and that led me to start a blog on racial issues. While I don’t think we have much overt racism in our fellowship of churches, I do think that we have far more systemic racism in our midst then we are aware of. Recently another series of events led me to delve into a similar area, that of systemic sexism. I agreed to be a sounding board and adviser to one of my sisters in Christ who was researching the subject, which started the ball rolling for me. To be honest, I was a reluctant adviser at the outset, but in time I became motivated to do a lot of my own study of male/female role relationships in the church.

Then, the region evangelist in my home region of the Dallas church, Derik Vett, asked me to teach a special series of midweek lessons on topics that he felt we really needed. One of these was on relationships in the church, and after we talked about my new area of interest, he encouraged me to make that aspect of relationships a part of the lesson. I just taught it Wednesday night. On the day before, I was finishing up my outline, which I write in some detail since we are sending them out via email after the lessons are taught. It occurred to me that such a detailed outline would be fairly easy to format into article form, which I did over the next few days.

You can find a copy of that article on my teaching website (gordonferguson.org) with the title, “Male-Female Role Relationships in the Church.” The segment in my oral presentation Wednesday night was not too long, although the outline provided was longer. The article is even longer by quite a bit. However, it is not an exhaustive study of the topic and certainly not intended to be the “last word” on it. But it is intended to prompt some reexamination of the subject, and I believe it will. A number of individuals and groups in our fellowship of churches are currently studying the topic with renewed interest because the need is pretty obvious to many. Some may not appreciate a deeper examination of our traditionally held positions and practices, but most will welcome it. With that as a backdrop, I invite you to read the article and encourage your friends to do the same. God bless!
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5 days ago  ·  

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During most of my 16 years in Boston, I was a Dallas Cowboys football fan. I later became a Patriots fan, of course. However, since I am back in Dallas and my son is still a diehard Cowboys fan (along with his wife – I converted their three boys when they were young!), I now say that the Cowboys are my NFC team and the Pats my AFC team (and my overall favorite team).

At any rate, one of my longtime Boston friends, Harold Barnes, recently sent me two very nice pieces of Cowboys memorabilia. One of them is the picture attached. Harold said that it reminded him of me. Can you figure out why? As a Boston church member and personal friend, Harold knew all about my sports affinities and my avid participation in the “Big Black Brothers’ Club.” You can read about that infamous club on my teaching website (gordonferguson.org) by looking for an article with that name. Those brothers are still very special to me and most of us do manage to keep in touch pretty well.

I very much appreciate Harold’s gifts and nice letter accompanying them, and I appreciate the special memories of my Boston days. Those memories include Harold and my BBB Club associates! There are good friends and old friends, but the best are good, old friends. Thanks for the memories!
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3 weeks ago  ·  

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After an exchange with Kelly Flores on this Father's Day, which she initiated, I thought of another spiritually adopted daughter from whom I received a note today. Michelle Garrett, who now resides in Colorado with John and her children, has been one of my "daughters" for well over ten years now. My story with Kelly is in an article on my teaching website (gordonferguson.org) and is entitled, "Another Kind of Adoption." I just posted a very similar one about me and Michelle, entitled "Another Adoption of Another Kind." Each of my spiritual daughters is unique as are our stories. Read them both and keep some Kleenex handy. Here is the note from Michelle that prompted the new article.

Happy Fathers Day!! For years of my discipleship, I wrestled with God as Father. With some professional help and a whole lot of God being patient the last couple of years, I've been able to settle into his wings and not just be okay but be proud that my dad is God Almighty. Throughout my years, even in my pre-disciple days, I see how God placed certain men in my life to father me, to show me more of Him. Some were for only seasons of life, and some will forever be near if I call. Thank you for taking your calling from God to be a Papa to many and yet make each of us fatherless girls feel closer to God. You and I are so similar in spirit, backgrounds and personalities that it makes me giggle at God. I love you, Happy Father's Day Papa! ️ Michelle
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1 month ago  ·  

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