Jesse Stuart, the beloved writer and educator from the hills of Kentucky, made a point of saving the best stories and essays that he had written in high school. Later, when he was working his way through college, he sometimes submitted these papers to fulfill college assignments. He recalled that one favorite paper, a story about a wild rooster called ``Nest Egg,'' earned him an ``A'' (the highest mark) from twenty-seven different teachers. He eventually sold the story to The Atlantic Monthly, and it has been reprinted in several short-story anthologies.

I do not know the whereabouts of any of my high school assignments, and I hope that no one else does either. I would probably be embarrassed to see them now. But I have saved a lot of notes from college classes that I have attended or taught and lectures and speeches that I have heard or delivered. They often come in handy later on.

Many of our readers will remember Spokesman Club, the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) men's club that was patterned after Toastmaster's Club. In Spokesman Club, members honed their public speaking skills by progressing through a series of twelve six-to-ten-minute speeches. Those who successfully completed the twelve speeches could pursue further training in a Graduate Club. Spokesman Club was often rather intimidating, both because of the formal structure of the meetings and because the speeches were carefully evaluated by other club members, including the club director. But it was also a wonderful vehicle for Christian growth and a great way to get to know a group of fellow believers. I am still grateful for my Spokesman Club experience whenever I am called upon to speak in a formal setting.

This issue of Grace and Knowledge includes  articles based on two of our favorite Spokesman Club speeches.  In ``Just What Do You Mean ...`Weaker Vessel?' '', Jared Olar takes a close look at I Peter 3:7, sharing with us an insightful  ``difficult scripture" sermonette that he gave  in Graduate Club several years ago.  And in ``An Egg's Testimony,'' I have written down a speech that I gave three times in Spokesman Club over the years-as a ``Get the Facts" speech in Philadelphia in 1979, an "Instruct" speech in  Halifax in 1984, and at my Spokesman Club graduation  in New Castle, Indiana, in 1985.  A simple hen's egg has much to tell us about the existence and mind of our  Creator, and it is as much fun for me to tell the egg's story  today as it was to speak about it years ago.  


Two Birth Announcements

Congratulations are in order for Jared and Christina Olar, who are the happy parents of a new baby boy, Alexander James Shaw Stewart Olar. Alex was born on July 13, 1999, and he weighed eight pounds, 1.4 ounces and was twenty inches long at birth. Sherry and I are looking forward to meeting Alex in late September at the Feast of Tabernacles.

I am also delighted to report that amidst the joys and the duties of fatherhood, Jared has somehow found time recently to complete two more installments of his fascinating series on the Apostles' Creed. Part Three, which appears on page 3 of this issue, discusses the Messiahship, Sonship, and Lordship of Jesus Christ. Part Four will be included in our next issue; it deals with the Virgin Birth, the Incarnation, and the Two Natures of Christ. In particular, Part Four investigates another birth announcement, Isaiah's advance announcement of the Virgin Birth in Isaiah 7:14.


The End of the Law?

The most controversial questions in the WCG today revolve around the relationship between the Old and New Covenants. We are not alone in agonizing over such questions; in fact, Christians have struggled with them for almost 2000 years. And I believe that these questions are worth discussing and arguing about in detail, because they are central to our identity as a fellowship. One of the main things that distinguishes the various Christian traditions is the way that they answer these questions.

A scripture that must be taken into account in any discussion of the Old and New Testaments and Old and New Covenants is Paul's statement in Romans 10:4 (KJV): ``For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.'' What did Paul mean by these words? On page 25, we present an in-depth study of Romans 10:4 that we think you will find enlightening and edifying.

Christians of all traditions agree that one of the most important things we can pass along to the next generation is a clear perception of the difference between right and wrong. This is especially true in today's ``post-Christian'' culture, in which moral relativism is predominant. A valuable resource to help us pass along God's truth to the next generation is the book Right from Wrong by Josh McDowell and Bob Hostetler, which is reviewed in this issue (page 17). McDowell and Hostetler remind us that biblical morality is grounded in the nature and character of God, and as such it constitutes an absolute standard of behavior. WWJD (``What would Jesus do?'') is indeed a key question.

The Sabbath commandment is generally recognized to be different from the rest of the Decalogue in that it includes a ceremonial requirement (resting on the seventh day) in addition to a moral principle. (Time is a gift from God, and some of it should be specially dedicated to Him.) In the WCG, we have come to recognize that the Sabbath should not be used as a way to determine who is a true Christian. Still, for human beings in our physical universe, the Sabbath is a great blessing, a welcome weekly appointment with our Creator, and a valuable spiritual discipline. It provides a much-needed respite from today's hectic pace of life, as well as a wonderful reminder of the rest we have in Jesus now and the rest that all will one day enjoy in the world to come. On page 22, John Klassek shares his personal thoughts about the value of the Sabbath in his article, ``The Sabbath Rest.''

We hope that you will find this issue of Grace and Knowledge to be beneficial in your Christian walk, and we welcome your comments.

P.S.    Do you have a favorite Spokesman Club Speech or sermonette that you would like to share with our readers? Send your manuscripts to any of the addresses listed on the inside front cover.


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