I’m Confident You Will Do More Than I Ask (Philemon 21-22)

November 2, 2017

Paul has set a high bar for Philemon. Given Philemon’s social world, Paul’s requests are astounding. As Philemon’s slave, Onesimus has neither social status nor civil rights. Onesimus cannot sit at the same table with his master. He cannot marry whom he chooses, and he has no real options other than what Philemon decides. As […]


No Longer Just a Slave (Philemon 12-16)

October 16, 2017

Listening to this letter within the community of his own house church, Philemon hears Paul’s affection for Onesimus. He is not only Paul’s child but Paul’s own “heart.” “I am sending my heart back to you,” Paul writes. This simple statement has several significant rhetorical functions. First, Paul not only does not secretly hide Onesimus […]


What Does it Mean to Eat “Unworthily”? (1 Corinthians 11:29)

April 22, 2016

What does it mean to eat and drink “worthily”? The church has variously interpreted the term “worthily.” A primary misunderstanding has been to read the term as an adjective rather than an adverb. Some believe they must be “worthy” to approach the supper, that is, they must have lived a pure, exemplary life before coming […]


Resurrection Sunday: The Emmaus Experience (Luke 24:35)

March 27, 2016

On Resurrection Day, almost two thousand years ago, two disciples were transformed by their experience of the risen Messiah at a table in Emmaus. While walking to Emmaus, they heard the story of a Messiah who must first suffer and then enter glory. The stranger who walked with them expounded Scripture, and their hearts burned […]


Luke 15: Jesus Seeks “Sinners”

October 8, 2013

The book unChristian alerted Christendom that it had an image problem with millennials. Christians are perceived as insensitive, judgmental and hypocritical. Some responses to the book  were skeptical and defensive. Others not only agreed that Christianity had an image problem but they went further. Christianity has a reality problem, that is, contemporary discipleship is often […]


The Argument for Excluding Wine from the Lord’s Supper

January 26, 2012

Silena Moore Holman (1850-1915) was a remarkable women in the early history of Churches of Christ. Her father was killed in the Civil War and she began teaching at the age of 14. She married Dr. T. P. Holman in 1875 and mothered eight children. She exchanged multiple articles on multiple occasions with David Lipscomb […]


Mark 8:1-10 — Table Ministry Among the Gentiles

January 17, 2012

Jesus resumed his kingdom ministry when he returned to the sea of Galilee from the regions of Tyre and Sidon. After some time (“in those days”) Jesus was followed by a large crowd (4,000 people) into a remote place where food was not easily accessible. Mark describes this area as a “wilderness” (8:4) and uses […]


Lipscomb on the Bread and Wine (Yes, “Wine”)

December 28, 2011

If the facts of science should shape our interpretation of Scripture (see my previous post), how do we understand what is happening at the table of the Lord?  Lipscomb uses an argument below that is rooted in an optimistic empiricism but something even more profound as I will explain. See what you think. “But if […]


Intinction, the Lord’s Table and Sacramental Efficacy

December 26, 2011

On Christmas Eve, my wife Jennifer and I attended the communion and candlelight service at Woodmont Christian Church in Nashville.  The contemplative combination of Word and Table was what we were seeking that evening and it was a meaningful experience. The Table was served by congregants coming to the front and receiving the bread from […]


Mark 6:30-44 — A Missional Table

December 12, 2011

Jesus sent (apostellein) his disciples with authority over demons and diseases (6:7). The apostles (apostoloi) returned reporting what “they had done and taught.” They followed Jesus into the practice of the kingdom of God—announcing the coming reign of God and demonstrating that reign by wondrous acts of mercy. The twelve had become apostles (cf. 3:14—they […]