Posts by Bryant Perkins

Posts by Bryant Perkins

Blest Be the Tie

John Fawcett was an 18th century British preacher, theologian, and hymn writer. He was born in Lidget Green, Yorkshire in 1739 to impoverished parents; by the age of 12, he was an orphan. He was then apprenticed to a tailor in the city of Bradford, where he worked long, hard hours. But in his spare time, he learned to read, eventually completing John Bunyan’s devotional classic Pilgrim’s Progress. A short time later, at 16 years old, he was alongside about…

Sex and the Bible

For the past several months, we have been considering how to make moral choices on Wednesday evenings. Recently, we began discussing sexual ethics. There are few, if any, areas of culture that have experienced more rapid and dramatic change in recent years; there are few, if any, subjects that we are more uncomfortable addressing. (I suspect the title of this article alone caused a few raised eyebrows!) But the Bible far from embarrassed in tackling these issues. That should help…

Jesus Lived and Died

In our sermon this morning, we will look at the burial of Jesus. Mark records that a number of women had followed Jesus from Galilee and were present at his death, and he names three specifically: Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and Salome (Mark 15:40-41). The two Marys see where he is buried (v. 47). And then all three of them go to anoint Jesus’ body on Sunday morning and find the tomb empty (16:1-8). They…

My God, My God

The first line of Psalm 22 is the only word spoken by Jesus from the cross in Mark’s Gospel (Mark 15:34). On the one hand, it is a lament out of the depths of despair, expressing the abandonment that Jesus felt on the cross; he identified with the sense of alienation the psalmist experienced. On the other hand, we should note that this psalm ends with vindication and restoration: the cry of distress is motivated by the confidence that God—my…

Alexander Campbell’s Address on War

Alexander Campbell’s Address on War  In our Wednesday evening class on Christian ethics, we have spent the last couple of weeks looking at the issue of war and violence more generally. It comes as a surprise to most people to learn that, historically, there was a strong pacifist current of thought in churches of Christ up until the World Wars. More specifically, nearly all of the first generation of leaders in the Restoration Movement—including both Barton W. Stone and Alexander…

People of Truth

Our contemporary culture has a real problem with truth. The premodern view was that all knowledge was an attempt to seek after God; the 11th century theologian Anselm’s motto, “faith seeking understanding,’ sums up the idea well. Then the Enlightenment came and displaced God as irrelevant to our knowledge: human inquiry for the 300 or so years leading to World War 2 was focused upon an ever-increasing discovery of facts, rooted in an unbridled optimism that we could objectively define…

Civil Disobedience

In our Wednesday night Bible study this past week, we talked about civil disobedience. With so much recent talk about mask mandates and vaccine passports—or state laws prohibiting such measures—and the strong feelings they stir in many people, this is a timely question. And that is just one current example; this is an issue that is felt even more keenly by Christians under oppressive regimes, like those now facing the prospect of persecution in Afghanistan. What guidance does Scripture offer…

The Meanest Man in Texas

We have been studying Christian ethics on Wednesday evenings for several weeks now, with an emphasis on how we can make moral choices when faced with dilemmas in life. Last week, we talked about capital punishment. In discussing the possibility of repentance and reformation of life, I mentioned how the case of Clyde Thompson had strongly influenced my views on the subject. I told his story in a Sunday night sermon some years ago, but it occurred to me afterward…

Once Upon a Pew

I published this in the bulletin here before, a little over 3 years ago. But in thinking about our call for Bible class teachers (and Bible class attendance!), it came to my mind again. Of course, it goes beyond just Bible class—with restarting our Wednesday evening services this summer, our new Sunday night routine, and numerous other opportunities for service as we try to reengage after an unusual last 18 months, there are constant announcements made and items in the…

Wiser Than Socrates

Socrates was a Greek philosopher who lived in the city-state of Athens in the 5th century B.C. Most of what we know about him is due to the writings of his most famous student, Plato. In the Apology, an account of Socrates’s defense against charges of corrupting the Athenian youth, Plato records how Socrates acquired his reputation for wisdom in the first place. As the story goes, one day a friend of Socrates inquired of the Oracle at Delphi if…

Revive Us Again

We had Vacation Bible School this past week, as you all know, and we tried something different this time by having it in the evening. I was personally not sure how that would go for a variety of reasons: would we have as many children turn out at night as we do in the morning? Would we have many adults show up for a Bible class throughout the week? How would the year layoff impact things, given that COVID still…

Sluggards Need Not Apply

My parents came down to visit for a few days last week. While it is always good to see them, this was not primarily a social occasion. Instead, they were here so that my dad could help me construct a metal shed in my yard. We have been trying to work on this project for a few months, but endless rains and our schedules have kept getting in the way. But we finally found a week that would work for…