"Take care then how you hear," said Jesus (Lk. 8:18). Why? Because Christianity and Christians are threatened by "false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves" (Mt. 7:15).
Some Assembly Required are the most horrifying words in the male language. Fathers whose children are opening Christmas presents and husbands whose wives have just returned from IKEA know that they are in for trouble. Although some present parts and some furniture components are pre-assembled, other parts and components require that fathers and husbands take out their tools and put in some put-together time.
Given the choice between "yea" and "nay," New Testament writers elected to say "meh." Then as now, politics were tense. Now as then, the corporate voice of the Church of Christ needs to remain silent on the subject.
Muscle and Shovel tells the story of an evangelistic conversion from the perspective of one who was taught and baptized. The author, Michael Shank, became a Christian as the result of the efforts of a Christian co-worker who prodded and poked him into Bible study. The title derives from the effort required by the author to study himself out of denominationalism. The image of back-breaking, even heart-breaking mental and spiritual work is played out as Shank describes his struggle out of his Protestant traditions and into the teachings of the New Testament.
Must We Attend Every Meeting of the Church?
Two extremes are typical of answers to the question, "Must we attend every meeting of the church?" While some regard any absence from any service as a mortal sin, others are indifferent or even disdainful of attendance and regard the regular meetings of the church as entirely optional. As is typically the case, the better answer lies somewhere between mortal sin and optional meetings. This article is written against the extremes and in favor of a better answer.