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New Horizons

May, 2001: The Glorious Body of Christ

New Horizons Cover


The Mother of God's Children

If God is your father, then who is your mother? No one, you say? Well, God tells us something different in Galatians 4:26—"But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother." "The Jerusalem that is above," Paul tells us, is the "mother" of God's children. But what is "the Jerusalem that is above"?

It can't be the physical city of Jerusalem, for Galatians 4:25-26 says: Read more

Sola Ecclesia: The Lost Reformation Doctrine

With which of the following statements do you most agree?

  • "Every day people are straying away from the church and going back to God."
  • "Away from [the church] one cannot hope for any forgiveness of sins or any salvation."
Read more

The Church and Her Ordinances

The apostle Paul instructs husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church:

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her; that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless" (Eph. 5:25-27). Read more

"I Don't Want to Join the Church!"

I have frequently been asked, by someone who either sees no need to become a church member, or who even claims to have conscientious scruples against becoming a member of a particular Christian congregation, "What is the biblical basis for the idea that every Christian should be a member of a Christian church?" Below is a letter I once wrote in response to such a question. I have reproduced it here in case it might prove helpful to others.

Dear ___________, Read more

Becoming an Israelite

"These are the regulations for the Passover: No foreigner is to eat of it.... It must be eaten inside one house; take none of the meat outside the house.... An alien living among you who wants to celebrate the Lord's Passover must have all the males in his household circumcised; then he may take part like one born in the land.... The same law applies to the native-born and to the alien living among you" (Exodus 12:43-49).

If you were asked how people under the Old Testament became Israelites, you would probably answer: "By being born an Israelite." Yet, this would not be completely right, for there was provision in the law for a foreigner to become an Israelite. Read more

Zion's Progress

Norman Rockwell produced a painting that brings back childhood memories. A mother in her Sunday best, with children in tow, sets out for church while Dad sits in pajamas, reading the Sunday paper. A tinge of judgmentalism is seen on the faces of Mom and her two daughters. The youngest child, a boy, looks slightly quizzical. Dad is slouched down, almost hiding from the rest. I still remember wishing I could stay home like Dad and not get all dressed up. This was particularly true on those Sundays when I was pressured to be in the children's choir and had to wear a sissy costume that made me look like a dwarf Episcopalian priest.

I had ambivalent feelings about church in those days. Church was an indefinite thing, a vague culture that was roughly equivalent to "religion." I was not comfortable with it. I did not want to be told to be a good boy or to be in a society where fine manners were routinely expected. Yet the thought of learning about that mysterious entity called God was intriguing. Church seemed to offer the best hope of learning anything about God, since it was one place where talk about such things did not seem too weird. My interest in God took a major step forward when the church's venerated Scottish minister held a communicants' class for the seventh graders. He spoke like God was truly real—not just an idea. He seemed to know God personally. But then, he was a minister. Ministers seemed kind of mysterious, too—especially Scottish Presbyterians. Read more

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