Fighting And Happiness

Fighting is a tough subject. Sometimes it’s appropriate to fight for things other times it’s not. People who never fight are people who have lost all hope or love. People who fight all the time have also lost hope and love, along with many other things too I would guess.

I came across this blog post on communication and how much fighting is juuuuust right.

Researcher John Gottman of the University of Seattle (“Why Marriages Succeed or Fail”) has been studying marriage for more than 25 years, watching couples interact, and tracking divorce rates. He has found that there is a “magic ratio” of positive to negative interactions. The ratio hovers right around 5 to 1: Five positive interactions to every 1 negative interaction.

Now part of this ratio is common sense. If your ratio is 2 to 1 or 3 to 1, you just don’t have enough that is positive in the relationship to counter the frustrations. But let’s say your ratio is 10 to 1, or even 100 to 1. Isn’t that ideal? You fight so rarely that you can hardly remember the last time?

No. In fact, couples who fight so little are actually significantly less happy in the relationship three years later, than couples who are closer to 5 to 1. Why? Most likely, you are avoiding the inevitable disagreements and disgruntlement that comes with a daily relationship. If you don’t put that on the table, it’s going to fester and disintegrate the relationship from within.

Interesting. The freedom to argue is a sign of good things. However, it should be measured out with lots of good talking.

When we consider the Church and our ability to retain unity, we must keep in mind that arguing will happen and it aint all bad. It may, in fact, be a sign of a healthy relationship.

If you aren’t allowed to argue with your church something is wrong. If all you do is argue with your church something is wrong. I have no further point, just thinking.

Nehemiah’s Wall Found

Apparently the wall around Jerusalem that was built under Nehemiah (well, not under him physically but under his direction) has been found. Cool.

The findings suggest that the structure was actually part of the same city wall the Bible says Nehemiah rebuilt, Mazar said. The Book of Nehemiah gives a detailed description of construction of the walls, destroyed earlier by the Babylonians.

“We were amazed,” she said, noting that the discovery was made at a time when many scholars argued that the wall did not exist. “This was a great surprise. It was something we didn’t plan,” Mazar said.

Authority To Teach

A question that has caused problems throughout Church History is—who has the authority to teach me? Maybe better phrased as, “Why should I listen to you?”

After Christ died people listened to those who were with Jesus. They did this so much that Paul struggled to get some people (see 1 & 2 Corinthians) to listen to him since he wasn’t with Christ on earth.

Then guys claimed to be in apostolic succession. “No, I didn’t know Christ, but I knew a guy who knew a guy who heard this one guy who knew this guy who said he was with Jesus, so listen to me.”

During the time of intense persecution, people began listening to the martyrs. Perhaps you think it’s hard to listen to martyrs since they would be dead, but alas, martyrs wrote before becoming martyred. If you wrote books on faith and then were burned at the stake suddenly you had authority. Everyone read what the martyrs said no matter how silly it may have been.

Once the world stopped persecuting the church the church began persecuting itself. This is where you see the weird ascetics and pole dwellers and various other forms of monkery begin. Guys who live in caves are like Jesus so we’ll listen to them.

Then, for awhile, people listened to guys who claimed to be infallible. “Wow, you are so smart you know you’re infallible so I must listen to you.”

Then the Reformers came along, risking life and limb. People began to listen to them, no matter how right or wrong they may have been. This is similar to the earlier martyr syndrome.

In recent history, the last 200-300 years, people listen to the educated ones. If you had a degree you were smart and smart people are never wrong because you’re to stupid to know if they are wrong or right anyway.

Now, since education is taking a hit, we concentrate more on money, prestige, number of followers, nice hair, etc.

It’s funny really, if it weren’t so sad, that not once in the history of the church have we ever, as a majority, listened to the people Scripture tells us to listen to—Titus 1:6-9.

History shows we listen to people who have cool experiences. We shy away from the Bible’s teaching that we listen to people who actually live godly in Christ Jesus. As Christ said, “you will know them by their fruits.”

It’s easier to be burned at the stake than it is to love. It’s easier to be with Christ than it is to live with Him now that He’s in heaven. It’s easier to get a degree than it is to be patient and gentle. It’s easier to put on a show than it is to duplicate the mind of Christ.

If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. It’s tough so it doesn’t happen often. But when you find that man who lives it, pay attention.

What Is Edification?

Reading the book on the Plymouth Brethren got me thinking about edification. Based on my non-denominational, Bible church upbringing, I always understood edification to be centered in learning. To be edified meant you were imparted spiritual knowledge that caused your knowledge to grow.

However, in looking at the word more closely, edification has more to do with the stuff you do. Allow me to illustrate:

“Knowledge puffs up; but love edifies”—1 Corinthians 8:1

“follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.”—Romans 14:19

“all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.”—1 Corinthians 10:23

“comfort yourselves together, and edify one another,”–1 Thessalonians 5:11

“Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.”—Romans 15:2

“we do all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying.”—2 Corinthians 12:19

“according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”—Ephesians 4:16

These verses all stress that what we do is what edifies, not what we know or what we teach. Now, there are a few other examples, such as 1 Corinthians 14 and Ephesians 4 where ministry and teaching do play a role in edifying.

In order to edify with love and works it is required that you know how to do it. It’s not that learning and knowledge don’t have a part, it’s that the part knowledge plays results in an action that results in people being edified.

The Brethren Movement has lots of knowledge and there’s also lots of puffing and division. Many Brethren churches view themselves as the only ones with the truth. It is my experience that those who view themselves as the “sole keepers of the truth” do very little. “We’re already preserving truth, what more could we do?”

Knowledge is never to replace love that edifies.

There were only a few of the prominent Brethren who lived biblical knowledge in action, such as John Darby who said, “[Believers] have to bear His cross and suffer with Him, separated from the world which has rejected Him”

By all accounts Darby did just that in knowledge and in action. Many were edified due to his consistent example. Many others followed what he knew but fewer and fewer followed what he did and division multiplied.

Knowledge puffs up; love edifies. Simply stated and it is to be simply lived.

A Historical Sketch of the Brethren Movement

Harry Ironside, an author I enjoy reading, was a Plymouth Brethren member and wrote a history of that group.

Brethren guys were often known as “walking Bibles” because they knew their Scriptures so well. John Darby was the formative figure in the movement. He popularized dispensations, the premillenial rapture of the saints and a better view of Christ’s work.

Unfortunately, as he got older and eventually died, the Brethren movement split and divided over everything. An argument over whether Jesus would die if he drank poison split the entire Movement! Silly stuff like that occurred bringing much disrepute on the entire movement and, unfortunately, on their doctrine, which was quite good.

Why did they split so much? The guys were too smart. Knowledge puffs up, always does and always will. Instead of emphasizing Christ, as Darby did, they emphasized themselves and their superiority.

Their notion of church structure (basically having as little as possible) also lead to many divisions that probably could have been handled better if they had better structure.

The book was rather tedious as it dealt with all these goofy divisions. It was quite sad as well. However, as a positive, John Darby really shines as a loyal follower of Christ. I have come to appreciate Darby and Ironside even more after reading it.

G. Campbell Morgan

I really enjoy reading G. Campbell Morgan’s books. He won’t blow you away with tremendous insights but he has a great way of saying things and puts things in an order that makes a lot of sense to me.

It also helps that he wrote a ton of books and I happen to have a half a ton of those books currently in my possession for various reasons, none of which included me purchasing them.

I would encourage all believers to read some of his books.

Here is a brief biography and information about the man. Enjoy.