Donald Norbie

The Early Church - Chapter 4 - A Temple But No Walls

Chapter 4 - A Temple But No Walls There was much rejoicing among the Jews in 536 B.C. Cyrus, King of Persia, had signed a decree permitting and encouraging the Jews to return from Babylon to Palestine (Ezra 1:1-4). This was all in wonderful fulfillment of Jeremiah's prophesy that after seventy years God would restore His people to their land (Jer. 25:11, 12). The first Jews had been carried away captive in 606 B.C. by Nebuchadnezzar. A minority of the Jews in Babylon left the ...

The Early Church - Chapter 5 - Let Us Make Us a Name

Chapter 5 - Let Us Make Us a Name In the days shortly after the flood, some thousands of years before Christ was born, the interesting events of Genesis 11:1-9 took place. It is the familiar story of the tower of Babel. These were the thoughts of the natural heart in that day: And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven;and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered upon the face of the whole earth. (Gen. 11:4) Their aspir...

The Early Church - Chapter 6 - The Symphony of God

Chapter 6 - The Symphony of God There is a hushed silence as the curtain rises upon the symphony orchestra. The conductor enters with dignity, bows low and takes his place. His baton is upraised, commanding the attention of all. As he begins to lead the symphony, all are keenly aware of his leadership and direction. A vast array of instruments is spread before him. There is the violin and the cello, the clarinet and the oboe, the trumpet and the trombone, besides a host of others...

The Early Church - Chapter 7 - How is Your Breaking of Bread?

Chapter 7 - How Is Your Breaking Of Bread? Years ago many assemblies had their Breaking of Bread service in the morning at 11:00. After World War II many changed their schedule to have the Lord's Supper at 9:30 and a preaching service for adults with Sunday School at 11:00. Generally the feeling was that most people go to church at 11:00 and this schedule would attract outsiders. And in some cases it seemed to do so. Then some suggested having the Lord's Supper Sunda...

The Early Church - Chapter 8 - The Church in Thy Home

Chapter 8 - "The Church In Thy Home" These arresting words are found in Philemon 2 where Paul includes in his greeting "the church in thy house." The phrase is striking because the concept is so foreign today. As soon as a "church" is mentioned the image of a stately building with a spire pointing heavenward flashes upon the screen of one's mind. This image naturally will not fit into the average living room! Of course the enlightened know that Paul is greeting a company of be...

Biblical Eldership

First of all it should be mentioned that the idea of leadership by elders is not new. Down through the ages various reformation movements have inclined in that direction. The Presbyterian Church derives its name from its form of church government, leadership by elders (Gk presbuteroi). The pastor is called a "teaching elder" and the other elders are called "ruling elders" and are chosen by the congregation. In practice the system is similar to a Baptist church where they ...

Principles Shared by New Testament Assemblies

Articles have been written recently defining the characteristics of New Testament churches. Here are some of these principles which have been suggested: 1. The priesthood of all believers (1 Peter 2:5,9). 2. There should be no clergy-laity division. All are on the same footing as brethren (Matthew 23:8-11). 3. Leadership should be by a body of elders (Acts 14:23), not by one man. 4. Each assembly is autonomous. There should be no central governing body over the churches (Reve...

Reversing the Trend

"Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent." (Rev. 3:3). Perhaps you are in an assembly where gradual changes have been occurring. The Lord’s Supper is no longer viewed as very important. Attendance was down and the decision was made to appoint one man to orchestrate the service. It was also suggested that women be free to participate vocally. Now they seem to be more vocal than the men. Since the elders were not doing their wor...

Strong Men Needed

"The head of every man is Christ, the head of the women is man, and the head of Christ is God." 1 Cor. 11:3 "There is one unmistakable lesson in American history: a community that allows a large number of young men to grow up in broken families, dominated by women, never acquiring any stable relationship to male authority, never acquiring any set of rational expectations about the future - that community asks for and gets chaos. Crime, violence, unrest, disorder - most particularly the ...

Decisions!

What guides your decisions in life? Are you swept along merely by circumstances, or do you find direction in God's truth? Bethlehem was going through lean times. Bethlehem ("the house of bread") was held in the grip of a severe drought. It was too dry for the barley and wheat to germinate. The food supply was running low. Sheep and cattle were dying. Elimelech decided to move, along with his wife Naomi and two sons. Moab to the east was having abundant rain and the crops w...
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