“The Bible says to greet one another with a holy kiss,” she said. The rest of us sitting around the table smiled. We were sitting in an ice cream shop in Cleveland, Ohio. We had wrapped up an outreach activity for a Christian student group at the college we went to, and now we were wrapping up our ice cream afterward. We smiled because of her tone of voice. It was that playful tone that half says, “I’m just throwing this out there,” and half asks us to get in on the joke. Who would greet one another with a holy kiss in this day and age?
In our local town of Tyrone, there is an ordinance that dictates the length of the grass that is considered acceptable on properties within the borough. If the grass gets too long, a resident can expect a notice from the code officer notifying them that they are not in compliance with the town’s ordinance. An ordinance is a law that is to be kept and observed.
When was the most recent "Anointing with Oil" practiced in your congregation? Of the seven ordinances mentioned in our Decrees for to Keep, "Anointing with Oil" is the least practiced in our congregation. In the three short years since I have been called to the work of a deacon, our congregation has witnessed four individuals experience Baptism, observed Communion and Feet Washing seven times, rejoiced in the Marriage of two couples, practiced the Christian Woman’s Veiling and Christian Salutation in every service, yet we have observed only one service of "Anointing with Oil. "Why?
Often, we hear comments made about baptism that would make the listener believe that the mode of baptism matters little, and further would lead you to believe the Bible has little direction to give.
I will not keep you wondering, I do believe the mode of pouring can be backed from scripture, and in the same sentence I will tell you I have respect for those who have been taught otherwise. Let’s look into scripture for direction on the subject.
For the disciples in the upper room, feet washing was not new. They knew the old custom of welcoming travelers by providing water to wash their feet. They had read the Bible stories of Abraham, Lot, Laban, Joseph’s steward, and the old man in Gibeah offering this service to their guests (Gen 18:4; 19:2; 24:32; 43:24; Jude 19:21). They knew that the job of washing feet was often assigned to slaves and was considered very lowly.
Communion is an ordinance that Jesus Christ instituted and commanded. Jesus and His disciples were gathered to observe the Passover. We can look in on this scene through the writings of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. At some point during the meal, Jesus took the bread, blessed it and shared it with the disciples saying, “This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19).
Ordinances are foundational to our Christian faith and practices. Understanding the spiritual meanings and principles in each ordinance is essential to keep spiritual life and vitality in the church today. This article begins a series on the ordinances.
Our Christian forefathers were dubbed Anabaptist during the Great Reformation. The name was full of reproach and mockery for those who refused to baptize infants and who requested adult baptism. “Ana” was a Latin term meaning “over again”—or re-baptized. Later the name became a label for groups holding to the doctrines of adult baptism, church membership of adult believers only, nonresistance, and the separation of church and state.
Picture with me a group of young people standing in the hallway of a large shopping complex. The singing is wonderful. The look on their faces shows an inner joy that cannot be hid. The Christmas hymns they are singing say nothing about Santa Claus or sleigh bells; Jesus the Christ Child is the message they bring. We notice the clean, well dressed young men, but our focus is quickly drawn to the young ladies. Their clothing is modest and simple, yet neatly made. But what are the little white caps that they are wearing on their heads?
O how we want to flee the possibility of that question being one that the journey of our life may bring us headlong into. “Is any sick among you?” We see James 5:14 bringing up this question for us to ponder. We cry out against the physical, emotional, and spiritual infirmities we face in our fallen humanity and long for the state of perfection as when God first created man. However, as a result of our sin we face these times of “weakness, feeble, without strength, powerless,” as Strong’s defines it. At times we are simply observers of others’ sicknesses.