About 15 years ago, I had the privilege of doing what my friend Jim does; leading a group of young singles in a Bible study, hoping to encourage them in the faith. By God's grace, many of them did grow in Him, leaving promiscuity for marriage, growing in evangelism, and more. Others.....not so good, sad to say.
One interesting thing, though, is that I could count on two or three of the young men to get into a discussion of God's sovereignty vs. man's free will just about every time. Neither had actually read Calvin or Arminius, of course, but that didn't stop them for throwing those names around for an hour or so each week. It got to the point where I simply attempted to guide the rest of the group through Hebrews while the argument raged.
What was at stake here? Well, arguably, the debaters missed out on...well, probably not the best discussion of Hebrews ever, but they were missing the fellowship, teaching, and application of Hebrews. Now contemplate other hobby horses; hymns vs. contemporary music, no drinking, no smoking, no dancing, KJV only, Landmarkism, "be there when the church doors are open," and so on. What's at stake?
Well, every minute spent on a hobby horse--especially the non-Biblical ones like "KJV only"--is a minute not spent discussing genuine theological issues. Every minute spent on the "Trail of Blood" or "hymns vs. contemporary music" is a minute not spent on what the Bible actually does say about stewardship, marriage, the church, and more.
The result, all too often, is divorced fifty-somethings with forty-something years in Christ and no retirement savings, or divorced seventy-somethings with sixty years in Christ asking the deacons for help paying the heating bill. By going off to hobby horses instead of teaching and preaching the whole counsel of God, many do incredible damage to the Bride of Christ.
The Flag - It was a hot, dry summer – like most summers in North Dakota, really – 39 years ago. I was going into seventh grade in the fall. But that was a few months...
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