BACK ISSUE - October - November - December, 2005


 Volume 36 October - November - December, 2005  Number 4


A graduate student, working on a study about juvenile delinquency, reported in a sociology seminar that he was having difficulty collecting data. His project was to telephone a dozen homes around 9 p.m. and ask the parents if they knew where their children were at that hour. "My first five calls, he lamented, were answered by children who had no idea where their parents were." - Readers Digest

Divide and Conquer - Al Diestelkamp
Evolution vs. Design - Andy Diestelkamp
'Of Such is the Kingdom of Heaven' - Frank Vondracek
Go Kill a Bear - Leslie Diestelkamp
Just Who is Serving Whom? - Rick Liggin

By Al Diestelkamp

There is little doubt that one of Satan's tactics, in his effort to "kill and destroy" (Jn. 10:10), is to divide and conquer. He knows that if he can get Christians to "bite and devour one another" (Gal. 5:15) that he will not only win the parties involved, but will also turn others away from Christ.

Satan doesn't care whether the division among Christians arises from personal disputes, cultural differences, or doctrinal issues. He's willing to use any and all avenues of driving wedges and splintering the body of Christ, one congregation at a time.

Knowing this to be one of Satan's devices should motivate Christians to foil his plan by being determined to "be of one mind" (2 Cor. 13:11). Of course, in order to do this we must have "compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous" (1 Pet. 3:8).

Diverse personality traits will sometimes provoke disputes among brethren. When that happens we need to remember that we are commanded to "pursue peace with all men" (Heb. 12:14). That means work at it! Otherwise, it is bound to result in bitterness, which will "cause trouble, and by this many become defiled" (Heb. 12:15).

The handling of doctrinal differences is another area in which we need to work hard in order to maintain, if at all possible, peace among our brethren. There is no doubt that we must be willing to "contend earnestly for the faith" (Jude 3), but we can do that without being contentious. Our defense of the truth must be accompanied by a sincere desire to "keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph. 4:3).

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By Andy Diestelkamp
The current public debate over the legitimacy of various theories on the origin of life and whether or not they should be taught as science is healthy. At least in debate there is the opportunity for ideas to be considered and compared; which is something that most atheists, agnostics, and even some religionists are apparently not willing to tolerate in the context of a science classroom. Why?

The National Academy of Sciences explains its view in the conclusion of its 1999 publication, Science and Creationism: "The claim that equity demands balanced treatment of evolutionary theory and special creation in science classrooms reflects a misunderstanding of what science is and how it is conducted. Scientific investigators seek to understand natural phenomena by observation and experimentation. Scientific interpretations of facts and the explanations that account for them therefore must be testable by observation and experimentation."

The Academy further clarified: "Creationism, intelligent design, and other claims of supernatural intervention in the origin of life or of species are not science because they are not testable by the methods of science.... This contrasts with science, where any hypothesis or theory always remains subject to the possibility of rejection or modification in the light of new knowledge."

That last quote seems so objective and open minded. Yet, those who contend that the spontaneous generation of life from nothing is good science are quite intolerant to suggestions that we are here by design. They claim that their intolerance is because designer theories are not science which can be observed and tested. Yet, the Academy also wrote: "Science is not the only way of acquiring knowledge about ourselves and the world around us. Humans gain understanding in many other ways, such as through literature, the arts, philosophical reflection, and religious experience." Is it possible that there are things outside of their narrow definition of science that might actually be helpful to science?

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By Frank Vondracek
Jesus, the King, said, "Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 19:14). In another place, the Bible records Him to say, "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whoever, therefore, shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 18:3-4).

There can be no doubt to the discerning reader that little children were used by Jesus to illustrate aspects of the kingdom He was sent by His Father to establish and build up. "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God," confessed Peter, and Jesus responded, "Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:16-18). On the day of Pentecost the Lord kept His word, "And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved" (Ac. 2:47). The apostle Paul later wrote, "to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse," that God "hath delivered us from the power of darkness and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins" (Col. 1:2, 13-14). So, without a doubt, Jesus Christ has a church in existence, and it shall remain on earth uninterrupted until He returns (Dan. 2:44; Isa. 2:2-4; 1 Cor. 15:24-28).

What is there about little children that the Lord was so impressed by their example with reference to the kingdom of heaven?

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GO KILL A BEAR! By Leslie Diestelkamp
No doubt, most readers have already heard the following story: A very large man and a very small man were talking. Admiring the size of the larger man, the smaller one said, "Man, if I were as big as you, I wouldn't be afraid of anything. I'd go out in the forest and find the biggest bear and tear him limb from limb."

The large man replied with a smile, "There are a lot of small bears in the forest, too, you know. Why don't you go tackle one of them?"

The story has a point that is badly needed right now among the people of God. Many Christians stand on the sidelines and tell what they would do if they were as strong as others. Some like to tell what they would do if they were elders of the church. Others would surely do a better job if they were the song leaders. Some would sure like to get into that pulpit and 'tell it like it is!"

Some preachers boast of what they would do if they were preaching for the big church on the hill instead of the little one in the valley. Other preachers insist on telling us just what they would do if they ever got into one of those new fields of the world! But there is work in the kingdom for everyone. There are a lot of us little fellows who need to quit coveting the strength of others and who need to go out and tear some little bears apart!

An additional thought needs to be injected right here. How can one ever qualify himself to fight big bears if he hasn't first tackled the little ones? In other words, as Christians, how can we ever expect to succeed in great battles for truth and righteousness if we haven't learned to do the smaller things that seem somewhat insignificant? Most of us could start on the road to success by just bravely facing up to the tasks that already are altogether suited to our "size," spiritually.

The lesson herein also applied to churches. Some congregations may be doing almost nothing except "keeping house for the Lord" because they think they are not big enough for greater things. They may look upon the large congregations with envy, and they may be satisfying their consciences by reflecting upon what they would do if they were big like some other congregations.

But the big church can't do any more than the little church, proportionately. The church is people, and a few people can each do as much as each one in the larger groups.

Together, the few can do just as much as the many in proportion to their numbers. Perhaps the church where you worship needs to simply go out and find some small bears to engage in battle for truth and holiness. Try it. You'll like it!

This article first appeared in THINK,
Volume 4, Number 5, dated July, 1973

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Worship Services
By Rick Liggin

It is not uncommon for us in churches of Christ to refer to our regular worship periods as "worship services"--and I personally do not have a problem with that. Admittedly, it is not a Biblical expression; there is no place in Scripture where an assembly of saints is called a "worship service." But I do believe that the phrase does express a Biblical concept. When the church assembles itself together for worship, it does offer up a service to God! We do serve God in our worship! And so, the point of this article is not to oppose the use of this legitimate phrase.

My concern is that some of us have developed a wrong view about the "worship services." In fact, there's a real sense in which, I fear, that some of us have gotten things completely invertedor turned around!

You see, when we normally think of "services," we think of buying the services of some company or taking advantage of (using) the services offered by some institution. The point is that when we speak of "services," we most often think of services rendered to us. And that's where my concern is raised.

I am afraid that some of us have come to think of "worship services" as a time of worship when we are served!

Now, it's not that we think that we are worshipped! We know better than that! But the point is, I fear, that some of us get the aim of the "worship services" inverted in our minds: we begin to think of "worship services" as being something designed to serve us! And folks, that's just not the case!

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About Think's Editor - Al Diestelkamp