Israel Steinmetz

Is going to church necessary?

I don’t go to church anymore. I’ve been hurt too many times. Is church necessary?   Yes, it is — and not just for the many reasons explored in this issue. It’s also necessary because church hurts. Many people suffer in church from judgment, hypocrisy, and abuse. People experience physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and relational […]

Called Out, Sent Out

What is the nature and mission of the church? This is a huge question, but we can start to answer it by envisioning the church in two ways: as a people who are called out and sent out. Sadly, our focus is often exclusively on being called out, with little attention paid to being sent […]


Immanuel literally means “God with us.” What a word! What a concept! Isaiah prophesied that a virgin would give birth to a child who would be called Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14). According to Matthew, Jesus fulfilled this prophecy when He came to earth (Matthew 1:23). In Christ all the fullness of God dwelt bodily (Colossians 1:19; […]

Kingdom Loyalties

Dietrich Bonhoeffer begins his classic Life Together with these words: It is not simply to be taken for granted that the Christian has the privilege of living among other Christians. Jesus Christ lived in the midst of his enemies. At the end all his disciples deserted him. On the Cross he was utterly alone, surrounded […]

“Foot Washing: Empty Ritual or Full Symbol?”

by Israel Steinmetz From an outsider’s view, Christianity is full of strange rituals. Even in non-liturgical churches like ours there is plenty of strangeness. We gather groups of people who mostly cannot sing and sing together every week. We dunk people under water as an initiation rite. We have a specialized language and social structure. […]

The Baptized Life

I was baptized by my father and another minister in a frigid northern California mountain stream at a campmeeting site we affectionately called Heaven’s Hill. I was eight years old and had accepted Christ a few nights earlier at an altar call. In the twenty-six years since, I’ve lived in the light of that baptism. […]

The Ministry You’re Already Doing: The Top 4 Ministry Myths

I’d love to be involved in a ministry. My life is just so crazy right now. Or perhaps you think you don’t have the skills/gifts or you haven’t found the right place to serve. However, if you are a Christian, the reality is that you are probably already engaged in ministry! It may just be that […]

The Whore and the Bride

Ours is a time of fascination with sexuality and its myriad deviations. The “sexual revolution,” traced to the 1960s in the US, is entering its third generation.

Jesus on the Sabbath

    Growing up in Sabbathkeeping churches, I’ve heard hundreds of sermons dealing, directly or indirectly, with Sabbath. Most of these didn’t say much about Jesus and the Sabbath. Rather, they provided theological base, arguments for observance, and Sabbath rules from the Old Testament. From these sermons alone, one could suspect that Jesus rarely mentioned […]

Viewpoint: Grace and Truth Quest

What does John mean when he says the only begotten Son of the Father is “full of grace and truth” (1:14)?