"Nothing more impressive than an intellectual and spiritual approach to seeking truth and a willingness to embrace it unconditionally."

Friday, December 31, 2010

Long Hair: Cut or Uncut? Part 1

"but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering."
1 Corinthians 11:15 ESV

The issue of the Christian woman and her hair has been a fundamental tenant of separation among Apostolics for many years. While there are many facets of this issue that could be discussed, I have chose to focus on one. What does "long hair" mean? I have chosen to define it in two ways: 1. The Definition of the word itself. 2. Its usage else were in scripture.

LONG HAIR

Firstly, the Greek word for "long hair" is komaƍ. It means, "to let the hair grow." If one cuts their hair they are not letting it grow. This is evidenced by the fact that if a man has "long hair" it is a shame to him (1 Corinthians 11:14); that is if a man has uncut hair. Long hair on a man is uncut hair; therefore long hair on a woman would also be uncut hair. Uncut hair is a shame to a man and a glory to a woman. As John Gill said, "But if a woman have long hair,.... And wears it, without cutting it, as men do"

Secondly, the way long hair is used elsewhere in scripture would seem to demand the idea of uncut, or not trimmed.
"They shall not shave their heads or let their locks grow long; they shall surely trim the hair of their heads." Ezekiel 44:20
In this verse it is clear that trimming the hair would prevent it from being long. Long hair is untrimmed hair. This is not the only verse that indicates this.
"All the days of his vow of separation, no razor shall touch his head. Until the time is completed for which he separates himself to the LORD, he shall be holy. He shall let the locks of hair of his head grow long." Numbers 6:5 ESV
The command to the one under the Nazirite Vow is: "He shall let the locks of hair of his head grow long." This is set in contrast to, "no razor shall touch his head." Clearly the Nazirite vow prohibited any cutting of the hair. John Gill says, "he might not shave his beard, nor cut off his locks, and shave his head, nor cut short his locks with a pair of scissors, nor any with anything by which the hair may be removed, as Ben Gersom; nor pluck off his hair with his hands, as Maimonides says (x); but let it grow as long as it would during the time of his separation"

The traditional Apostolic view on uncut hair on women is correct and should be taught as doctrine. I am thankful for the Godly ladies in our churches, especially my wife, who honors God and their husbands by not cutting their hair. To all the Godly ladies of Pentecost I say, thank you.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Is That True or Truth?


"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
Philippians 4:8 KJV

I want to write something that is close to me through personal experience, as well as observation of personal friends, as well as personal failure on my part in not living up to what I am about to write about. I have had to repent for this failure more than once. It is easy to fall short in this area as evidenced by the frequency that it happens. If we will be honest with ourselves we would all have to admit that we have been guilty of this at some point.

What I am about to write addresses the issue of truth: How do we determine it? How do we perceive it? More importantly, how do we speak it and why? This is the heart of the issue. I intend to suggest that merely settling for the content of our speech being true without the intent of our speech being truth is not sufficient.

This is many times the justification for malicious gossip and character assassination; but what I said is true. True alone is not sufficient; truth is the objective. The question is, how do you make what is true, truth. Is there a difference?

Our text says: "whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just" This verse indicates at least subtle distinctions between what is true and honest, and what is true and just.

TRUE VS. HONEST

Firstly, the distinction between what is true and honest. Just because something it true does not mean it is honest. The wilderness temptation of Matthew 4 is the perfect illustration. When Satan quotes scripture he is saying what is true, but no one can say that he was honest. While the Devil can speak things that are true, there is "no truth in him (John 8:44)."

The Devil was manipulating what was true for his dishonest agenda. What he said was true, but it was not honest. What is true, but not honest is not truth.

TRUE VS. JUST

The ways of the Lord God are "just and true (Revelation 15:3 ESV);" not only true, but also just. It is true that Jesus was crucified, but it was not just. Obviously what is true and what is just is not the same.

CONCLUSION

The only way for what is true to be truth, is when what is true is also honest and just. Let this serve as a model to us in what we say about others. I know that what you said may have been true, but was it honest and just. What was your motive for saying it? Did the true thing that you said have honest intent? Was the desired end result of the true thing that you said just? If not, then don't call it the truth.

Only when what is true is spoken honestly with the desire for a just outcome is what is said "truth." Let's endeavor to not only say what is true, but tell the truth!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Stupidest Question You Can Ask About the Holy Ghost

The stupidest question about the Holy Ghost is not asked by the person who has never heard about it. The stupidest question is not, "Is it real?" The stupidest question is not, "Can I have it?" The stupidest question is not, "How do you get it?"

The stupidest question that I have ever heard about the Holy Ghost is from the person who knows from scripture that it is real and available, yet with hard and stubborn heart ask, "Do I have to have it to be saved?" "Will I be lost if I don't get it?" "Do you mean to tell me that I will go to hell if I don't get it?"

With something as great as the Holy Ghost, why does the question have to be, "Will I go to hell without it?" Whether or not a person has to have it to be saved should have no bearing on them wanting it. If it is a gift from God, why would you not want it? This question is like offering someone a rib eye that is grilled to perfection and them asking, "Will I starve to death if I don't eat it?"


"Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!" Psalms 34:8 ESV

Friday, December 3, 2010

In Memory of Jack Carter

I want to first speak to the family: Aunt Edith, Nick, Angie and Nieci. My love and prayers are with you in this time of pain and loss. Not only have I prayed with you, but I have also cried and hurt with you. As much as possible, having never experienced that loss, I empathize.

Thinking about what to say I was reminded of a text of scripture:

A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of birth. Ecclesiastes 7:1 ESV

What determines a good name is not its spelling or verbal pronunciation, rather the acts associated with the person who bears the name. It is neither the spelling nor pronunciation of the name that makes Delilah, Jezebel, Satan, Lucifer or Judas bad names. It is the acts associated with these names that make them bad. No one names their daughter Jezebel, or their son Lucifer.

On the other hand it is neither the spelling nor pronunciation that makes the names Abraham, Paul, Peter, Elijah or Jesus good names. Again, the acts associated with a name are what makes it great. That is why the name Jesus is “the name above every name.

The same applies to Uncle Jack. I can’t help but remember the continued and faithful support that Uncle Jack has shown my family over the years. He has always demonstrated great respect for my father as a man of God. He was never anything but respectful.

I also remember a visit my family made to Uncle Jack and Aunt Edith’s home, and Uncle Jack hired me to clean up some junk from the yard. As a kid who traveled with his father on the evangelistic field, any extra monies that I personally received were greatly appreciated. To me, the name “Jack” will always be a good name.

To his family he was a great provider, hard worker, and a husband and father who cared deeply for his family. Over the years he demonstrated that love by just being there. In a world where dead-beat dads and missing mothers are becoming the norm, he was committed. In situations where leaving would have been easier, he stayed. To the Carter family: Edith, Nick, Angie and Nieci, and all the grandchildren, “Jack” should always be a good name.

The Value of Friendship


Run your car off the side of the road
Get stuck in a ditch way out in the middle of nowhere
Or get yourself in a bind lose the shirt off your back
Need a floor, need a couch, need a bus fare

This is where the rubber meets the road
This is where the cream is gonna rise
This is what you really didn't know
This is where the truth don't lie

{Chorus}
You find out who your friends are
Somebody's gonna drop everything
Run out and crank up their car
Hit the gas, get there fast
Never stop to think 'what's in it for me?' or 'it's way too far'
They just show on up with their big old heart
You find out who your friends are

Everybody wants to slap your back
wants to shake your hand
when you're up on top of that mountain
But let one of those rocks give way then you slide back down look up
and see who's around then

This ain't where the road comes to an end
This ain't where the bandwagon stops
This is just one of those times when
A lot of folks jump off

{Chorus}

When the water's high
When the weather's not so fair
When the well runs dry
Who's gonna be there?

{Chorus}

You find out who your friends are
(yeah, yeah)
You find out who your friends are

Run your car off the side of the road
Get stuck in a ditch way out in the middle of nowhere
(Well man, I've been there)
Or get yourself in a bind lose the shirt off your back
Need a floor, need a couch, need a bus fare
(Man, I've been there)

Pardon the reference to a secular song, but the message is incredible. The value of a friend is priceless. A friend who is truly loyal. A friend that will face you when you are wrong, but will not forsake you when you are wrong. All of us want a friend like that. The best way to gain that kind of friend is to give that kind of friendship. I will write on this again so this will suffice for now.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Excerpt From "Born Crucified" By L.E. Maxwell

"DURING THE CIVIL WAR, George Wyatt was drawn by lot to go to the the front. He had a wife and six children. A young man named Richard Pratt offered to go in his stead. He was accepted and joined the ranks, bearing the name and number of George Wyatt. Before long Pratt was killed in action.

The authorities later sought again to draft George Wyatt into service. He protested, entering the plea that he had died in the person of Pratt. He insisted that the authorities consult their own records as to the fact of his having died in identification with Pratt, his substitute. Wyatt was thereby exempted as beyond the claims of law and further service. He had died in the person of his representative."

What a beautiful picture of the cross!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Matthew 19:9: Espoused or Married Wife Part 2

In recent discussions with various friends on the subject of divorce and remarriage the issue of Matthew 19:9 came up. As I am aware there are only two ways to view this verse: 1. The wife of Matthew 19:9 is the espoused wife (Deuteronomy 22:23, Matthew 1:18-20). 2. The wife of Matthew 19:9 is not an espoused/betrothed wife, rather she is a married wife (Deuteronomy 24)1. Let me state here, in case you have not read my other blogs on this issue, I hold to the second view.

Two things should be noted about the first view: Why they conclude that Matthew 19:9 is the espoused/betrothed wife and not the married wife. The way they arrive at that conclusion. The why and the way are important to understand. The way they arrive at their conclusion is baseless. The why is equally unwarranted.

Firstly the why. The reason why they conclude that the wife of Matthew 19:9 is the espoused wife, and not the married wife, is to avoid the obvious implication that infidelity on part of a married person is grounds for the innocent party to divorce and remarry. However, this is the necessary implication of this text if a married wife is under consideration as I contend.

Secondly the way. The way they attempt to prove that the wife of Matthew 19:9 is the espoused wife, and therefore hold to a no divorce and remarriage for any reason view, is by appealing to Matthew's use of the word fornication. Among those who reject that the exception clause of Matthew 19:9 applies to married persons there are two arguments made about the word fornication: 1. Married people cannot commit fornication; therefore the term fornication demands that the Matthew 19:9 wife is an espoused wife. 2. The word fornication, if used alone, can include adultery; however, when both fornication and adultery are used in the same context they are being contrasted and cannot refer to the same thing. I have responded both of these arguments in other blogs. 2, 3

When you look at the context of Matthew 19 you readily understand that the married wife is the kind of wife that is under consideration:
  1. With the wife under consideration they had been "joined together" by God, and they had become "one flesh," an obvious euphemism describing sexual union (1 Corinthians 6:16).
  2. The wife they were discussing had to be given a bill of divorcement as prescribed by Moses. The only possible law they could be appealing to is Deuteronomy 24:1. The wife of Deuteronomy 24:1 was the married wife; when she was given the bill of divorcement by her husband he "sends her out of his house, and she departs out of his house." Surely no one would suggest that this describes the espousal period, as cohabitation would not have been permitted by the law.
These facts demand that the married wife be under consideration in Matthew 19. To consider otherwise is, in my opinion, not being honest with the context.

This finally brings me to the purpose that I am writing this particular blog. In response to my argument, based on Deuteronomy 24, that the wife of Matthew 19 is the married wife and not the espoused wife, a friend of mine argued that "uncleanness" in Deuteronomy 24 cannot be sexual in nature. I want to try to honestly set forth his argument and then give a response.

My friend's argument is: uncleanness in Deuteronomy 24:1 cannot be sexual because the punishment for uncleanness is she is put out of her husband's house; however, the punishment for sexual sin demanded she be put to death (Deuteronomy 22). If the sin of uncleanness was sexual, she would be put to death, not merely put out of her husband's house. His argument is that death was mandatory for sexual sins, therefore "uncleanness" could not be sexual.

If I can demonstrate a single case which shows this premise to be false, then his argument fails. One of the cases that carried the death penalty was the unfaithfulness of a betrothed woman.
Deuteronomy 22:23-24 ESV
23 "If there is a betrothed virgin, and a man meets her in the city and lies with her,
24 then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman because she did not cry for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbor's wife. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.
This describes a situation where a betrothed virgin willingly lies with a man other than her intended, and her penalty was that she was to be put to death. Is death the only option for the betrayed husband? No. If the betrayed husband finds out about the unfaithfulness of his betrothed must he have her put to death? No. Is there ever case where the betrothed betrays and is spared death? Yes.
Matthew 1:18-20 ESV
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.
19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.
20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
It must be pointed out that when Joseph realized that his betrothed was with child, the only logical answer in his mind was betrayal. He was unaware that a miracle had taken place. It was only later that he was visited by the angel and became aware of this fact. He decided, while fully convinced that she had been unfaithful, to "divorce her quietly." You mean there was an option other than death that was available to him? Yes.

So, it is entirely possible, as we have an example, that a wife could commit an act punishable by death and merely be "put away (KJV)," and not "put to death." Therefore, uncleanness could include something of a sexual nature. The same would also have to be true of the other cases in Deuteronomy 22. I will examine this in more depth in a later post.

Secondly, it would not matter if uncleanness did not include a sexual sin. Let's say that it does not. Jesus contrasted what He taught with what Moses taught and narrowed the parameters. The original question in Matthew 19 was, "can a man put away his wife for ever cause?" Jesus said they could not, "except for fornication." Therefore, even if uncleanness was term used to apply to nonsexual things, Jesus restricts the bill of divorcement to fornication alone and not other causes.

What this does serve to prove, and that the no divorce and remarriage view cannot handle, is that the discussion in Matthew 19 was concerning the married wife of Deuteronomy 24, and consequently proves the wife of Matthew 19:9 is the married wife. This without question allows for divorce and remarriage for fornication.

I just finished this at 1:11am. It probably makes no sense. Please feel free to ask questions for clarification.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fornication: What does It Mean? Part 3

I have already addressed this in two previous posts (Fornication: What Is It? Part 1 & 2), but wanted to come back and revisit this issue one more time and address the idea espoused by some that fornication cannot be committed by a married person. I want to examine this in light of Matthew 19:9.

Based on the argument that fornication cannot be committed by the married, it is argued that Matthew 19:9 is the espoused and not the married wife. I will show the inherent contradiction of this view.

"And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery." Matthew 19:9 KJV

Those who argue that Jesus using the word "fornication" here proves they were just espoused and NOT married has a problem they must address. If they were never married, therefore the use of fornication, how is it that they commit "adultery" if they marry another? Can a person who has never married commit adultery?

One can not say that they were not fully married because they committed fornication, and then turn around and say they were married enough that if they marry someone else they commit adultery. That is an attempt at eating your "wedding" cake and having it too!

The same person who is put away for fornication (something they say only non-married people do), commits adultery (something they say only married people do) if they marry another. How can both be true at once?

This post is just a conversation starter. If someone pics up the conversation we can discuss it further.

Friday, November 26, 2010

You Might Be a Dispensationalist IF:

You Might Be a Dispensationalist IF: http://againstdispensationalism.blogspot.com/2009/07/identifying-dispensationalists.html

If you like to chew gum constantly so that your ears won’t pop in case of the Rapture.

If you subscribe to the newspaper simply to keep up with biblical prophecy.

If you always leave the top down on your convertible — just in case.

If bar code scanners make you nervous.

If you have been a Christian for less than one year and you have already studied through the Book of Revelation twelve times.

If you attend a church that sings as a Christian hymn the 1960s pop song "Up, Up and Away."

If you think general revelation is the Commander-in-Chief of the armies of Armageddon.

If you can name more dispensations than commandments.

If you forget your wife’s birthday, but you know the latest predicted date for the Rapture.

If you have already forgotten the last date predicted for the Rapture but you are excited about the most recent prediction, confident that "this is it!"

If you are a book collector and you long to locate a copy of The Late Great Planet Earth in the original Greek.

If you believe that the term "Early Church Fathers" refers to J. N. Darby, C. I. Scofield and Lewis Sperry Chafer.

If you would like a copy of Hal Lindsey's personal study Bible with penciled in corrections.

If you have on your den wall a framed, aerial photograph of Jerry Falwell.

If in casual conversation with friends and fellow employees at work you begin every sentence with: "According to biblical prophecy...."

If more than one of your children is named Ryrie, Chafer or Darby. (However, you may deduct this from your overall score if you have a child name Calvin.)

If you get excited when you see a sentence with a parenthesis.

If your license plate reads: "IM PR TRB." (You get extra credit if you have a friend who actually knows what it means -- and wishes he had one.)

If you believe the musical "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" contains an apocalyptic message. (You get extra credit if on the basis of the coded message you have sold your house and cashed out your retirement investments and moved to the top of some mountain -- on the side facing towards Jerusalem.)

If you ever thought you sealed a victory in a theological argument by introducing your rebutal by stating: "Nevertheless, as Tim LaHaye has saliently argued...."

If there are more underlined sentences in your copy of Late Great Planet Earth than in your Bible. (You get extra credit if you have a thumb-indexed edition of Late Great Planet Earth.)

If your Pastor gives a sermon exclusively from the Scofield Reference Bible study notes. (You get extra credit if he doesn't realize he has done so.)

If you own a leather-bound, red-letter edition of the Left Behindseries.

If you have to have a full-color foldout chart before you can understand salvation by grace through faith.

If you’ve ever had more than three candidates for the AntiChrist at one time. (You get extra credit if you justified it by arguing from the doctrine of the Trinity.)

If you can read Stephen King novels and chuckle, but you see 666 on a cash register receipt and you run screaming out of the store, crying out: "I told you so!"

If you took Hal Lindsey’s advice forty years ago not to make any long term plans and are now broke, uneducated and in a dead-end job. (You get extra credit if your sanctification is such that you are not miffed at his raking in millions and investing them in long-term real estate ventures.)

If you always make sure there’s at least one non-Christian pilot on every flight you take. (You get extra credit if you discount the argument that: "If God had meant for us to fly he would have given us tickets." You must deduct points, however, if you are convinced Matt. 28:20 is a compelling argument against Christians' flying, because you understand that in this passage Jesus warns that: "Low, I am with you always.")

If you believe the concern about "population explosion" refers to Muslims blowing themselves up on a daily basis to make a salient theological point, and you are convinced there must be a verse in Revelation that mentions it (because explosions produce fire, fire occurs often in Revelation, and Revelation contains the letters "M," "U," "S," "L," "I," "M" scattered throughout the text).

If you still hold a lingering suspicion about Gorbachev’s birthmark on his forehead. (You get extra credit if you never confuse the shape of his birthmark with a map of Texas.)

If you believe that Grant Jeffrey, Dave Hunt, Hal Lindsey, or John Hagee is a theologian.

If you know the location of the European Central Bank because you believe you have properly exegeted Revelation 13:17 from the original Belgium version.

If you count trampoline aerobics as "Rapture Practice" in your 4:00 am devotions each morning. (You get extra credit if you believe the neighbors who live in the apartment below you are non-Christians and are persecuting you because they complain.)

If you think Texe Marrs’ books belong in the "Reference Works" section of your local Christian bookstore. (You get extra credit if you think they belong in your Christian bookstore at all.)

If you look for Chick Tracts in the "Theology" section of your local Christian bookstore. (You get extra credit if you shop at a Christian bookstore that actually has a "Theology" section. Note: The WWJD supply section is not considered a "Theology" section.)

If you ever stand on your head out of the fear that the Rapture will occur when Jesus returns over China, because you are confident of your exegesis of Rev. 9:16 regarding the battle involving 250,000,000 million Chinese soldiers. (You get three extra points if you can name each one of the 250,000,000 million soldiers without making the sound of a spoon hitting the floor.)

If your baby’s stroller has a break-away sun bonnet. (You get extra credit if it also has a bumper sticker on it stating: "In case of Rapture this vehicle will be unbabied.")

If you have five children, but refuse to buy life insurance on yourself because "I won't be needing it."

If your personal hymn favorite is: "My hope is built on nothing less, than Scofield's notes and Moody Press."

If Clarence Larkin is your favorite artist and you scoff at Norman Rockwell's meager artistic attempts.

If you think there are only two millennial positions: Pre-Trib and Liberal.

If your favorite party game is "Pin the horns on the Beast."

If your favorite Christian TV game show is: "Name that Antichrist."

If after reading the Left Behind series you file formal legal papers leaving your body to science fiction. (You must deduct points, though, if you realize the error of reading too many dispensationalist books and you donate your eyes as an organ donor before you die.)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Great Thanksgiving

My family and I had a wonderful Thanksgiving day. I have a great deal to be thankful for: I am loved by God, I have a great wife, wonderful foster children that I would love to adopt, the greatest parents in the history of humanity, equally great parents-in-laws, a fabulous church and church family, and the greatest friends life has to offer.

My family and I were honored to spend thanksgiving with our friends, the Plowman's; great food and fellowship.

Got lots of texts and calls from friends around the country wishing us a Happy Thanksgiving. I don't have a single bad thing to say about this wonderful day.

"O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!"
Psalms 8:9 ESV

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Baptism for the Dead: What Does That Mean?

(The blog this picture was taken from)
"Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?" 1 Corinthians 15:29 KJV
I received a call tonight, as I have on several occasions, asking what my view on 1Corinthians 15:29 is. What did Paul mean by referring to baptism for the dead? The obvious abuse of this text is by the Mormons who baptize on the behalf of people who die unbaptized. The above article does a good job of highlighting their misguided practices.

One commentator says that there have been over 30 explanations given as to what Paul meant. Whatever explanation you chose, the one thing that is clear, the Mormon explanation is heretical. I have a couple explanations that I really like, which I will detail for you a little later, but first I am going to prove why it cannot mean what the Mormons say it does.

WHAT IT DOES NOT MEAN

It cannot mean that a person can be baptized on behalf of an unbaptized dead person and their sins be forgiven. We can know this because of the scriptural prerequisites for baptism, which a dead person cannot meet.
  • FAITH: Faith is a prerequisite for baptism. No one can to come God apart from faith (Hebrews 11:6). This is a very general view of the necessity of faith preceding baptism; however, the scriptures very specifically demand faith on the part of the person the baptism is for at the moment of their baptism. The Ethiopian eunuch asked, "what doeth hinder me from being baptized (Acts 8:36)?" Philip answered, "if thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest (Acts 8:37)." In other words, if the eunuch did not believe he would be hindered form being baptized. No one else could believe for him; Philip said, "if THOU believest, THOU mayest." The one that baptism was for was the one that had to believe. Faith is always a prerequisite for baptism (Mark 16:16). The dead cannot exercise faith.
  • REPENTANCE: Repentance is also a prerequisite for baptism. When the Pharisees and Sadducees came to the baptism of John he demanded proof of repentance before he would baptize them (Matthew 3:7-8). Repentance is the death of the old man that must be buried with Christ in baptism (Romans 6). Living people are not buried; therefore death through repentance must precede baptism's burial. The dead cannot repent.
THE FINALITY OF DEATH
Another reason that 1 Corinthians 15:29 cannot teach that a living person can be baptized for the forgivness of a dead persons sins is because only the judgement follows death.
"And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment," Hebrews 9:27 ESV
Death is final; there is no opportunity for changing the condition of the soul after death. The only thing left after death is the judgement. If you die a sinner that is how you will remain; if you die a saint that is how you will remain.

EXPLANATION 1

I have just listed a couple reasons why 1 Corinthians 15:29 cannot support the Mormon view. I believe that these reasons that I listed above are the "death blow" to their "grave" error (pun intended). There are literally dozens of explanations as to what Paul meant, so feel free to take your pick.

My personal favorite of all the explanations is as follows: Paul is not stating that this is a practice of his or the Corinthian church, rather this is a practice that "they" do. The "they" must be understood with in the context of the entire chapter. There is a "we" and "they" being discussed in the chapter. The "we" is obviously Paul and the Corinthian Christians, and the "they" are those who say, "there is no resurrection of the dead."

The purpose of 1 Corinthians 15 is to rebut "they" who say there is no resurrection. Multiple times Paul states their position and then offers a rebuttal, or demonstrates an unacceptable or contradictory conclusion inherent to their position. So, he states their view, then rebuts it.

In verse 16 Paul argues, if there is no resurrection as "they" say, then Christ is not risen. Again in verse 35 Paul states their opinion when he says, "but some will say." He is stating what "they" say in order to refute it . It is my preferred opinion that this is what Paul is doing in verse 29 when he says, "Else what shall THEY do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are THEY then baptized for the dead?"

Paul was not saying that we baptize for the dead, he was saying that "they," those who deny the resurrection from the dead, were baptizing for the dead. He then asks, why would "they" baptize for the dead if the dead is not raised? That would be a colossal waste of time.

EXPLANATION 2

If I viewed the text as Paul discussing a Christian practice of "baptizing for the dead," then this would be my preferred view. Since the topic of 1 Corinthians 15 is the resurrection, Paul is making the point that baptism points us to the resurrection. In Romans 6 Paul uses baptism, as a type of being buried and raised with Christ; therefore baptism points to resurrection.

Here in 1 Corinthians 15 Paul is arguing that the resurrection of Christ that we share in through baptism is the earnest, or first fruits, of a final resurrection at the second coming of Christ. So, if our baptism looks forward to resurrection, and there is no resurrection, then why are we baptized for the dead.

So that the dead that we are baptized for, or in reference to, are the dead in Christ that shall be raised in the resurrection. So, if baptism looks forward to resurrection, and there is none, then baptism is a waste of time.

It is late so I hope I am making sense. Make up your own mind. Chose any one of the many possibilities that are available as long at it can be harmonized with the whole of what the Bible teaches about baptism.

My Favorite Woman Preacher

The story of Jonah from Corinth Baptist Church on Vimeo.



Monday, November 8, 2010

Women Laboring in the Gospel!

"And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life." Philippians 4:3 KJV
There can be no dispute about whether women can labor in the Gospel, Philippians 4:3 says that they can. The question is, what does "in (Greek "en") the Gospel" mean? I think there is strong evidence to suggest that "in the gospel" is a euphemism for preaching. Whatever it means, one cannot dismiss it as: washing clothes, cooking meals, cleaning the church, or any number of other activities that have been suggested as the explanation for laboring "in the Gospel."

I am going to approach this in to ways: 1. I will show how the phrase is consistently used throughout scripture. 2. I will show how Paul uses different language in Philippians to show the relationship of the ministry to the Gospel, and the relationship of saints to the Gospel.

CONSISTENT USE OF "IN THE GOSPEL"
"For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;" Romans 1:9 KJV
Paul states that he serves "in the gospel" of God's Son. What does Paul intend to convey by this statement? I think that Paul is using the phrase "in the gospel" as a euphemism for preaching. This seems to be the natural conclusion to be drawn from even a surface reading of the text.
  • "he served him in it, by preaching, spreading, and defending it." -John Gill
  • "In making known the gospel, or as a minister of the gospel." -Albert Barnes
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"What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel." 1 Corinthians 9:18 KJV
  • ABUSE MY POWER IN THE GOSPEL: "whilst he was preaching the Gospel" -John Gill
  • "so that I cannot be charged with abuse of my privileges as a Christian preacher." -WNT
  • "not to use the privileges that are mine because I am a preacher." -CEV
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"And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches;" 2 Corinthians 8:18 KJV
Here it is said of Luke (Tradition) that his praise is, "is in the gospel." It would be impractical for me to quote all the commentaries demonstrating that his praise "in the gospel" is referring to his commendation as a preacher, so I will just cite the ESV.
  • "With him we are sending the brother who is famous among all the churches for his preaching of the gospel." -ESV
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"And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith:" 1 Thessalonians 3:2 KJV

Timothy labors with Paul "in the gospel." How did he do this? He does this by preaching.
  • "one that laboured in the word and doctrine, that studied to show himself a workman, that gave himself wholly to meditation, reading, exhortation, and doctrine, and preached the word in season and out of season and was a fellow labourer with him who laboured more abundantly than any of the apostles" -John Gill
Clearly when Paul speaks of someone as his fellow-laborer "in the gospel" he means that they preached the gospel with him. This is the precise language that he used about women. I think that this is a strong indication that women were involved in ministry.

CONTRAST OF LANGUAGE

When Paul speaks of preaching, or others who preached with him, he calls it laboring "in the gospel;" however, when he speaks to the local congregation and their relationship to the gospel he says they labor "for the gospel."
"Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;" Philippians 1:27 KJV
Paul viewed the Philippian saints as striving together "for" the gospel, but he viewed certain women as having labored "with" him "in" the gospel as he did Timothy and other men.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Urgency of Baptism: Why Tarriest Thou

Over the years that I have been in Pentecost I have witnessed thousands of people baptized in hundreds of churches. Much of this goes back to the days that I traveled with my father as kid growing up on the evangelistic field. I have seen all sorts of approaches and ideas concerning when to baptize someone. Please indulge me momentarily as I "immerse" myself in this issue.

There are some that are very quick to baptize people, while others are very hesitant to baptize people. I have seen pastors who have refused to baptize people for a while, even after they have repented and received the baptism of the Holy Ghost.

This is done for various reasons, but mostly because of certain outward standards that are not immediately in order. Sometimes a person would be made to wait until the following service because the baptistry was not prepared. This ought not ever be the case in an Apostolic church; we of all people out to have our baptismal tanks ready at all times.

Whatever the various reasons were, I have been amazed at times at the lack of urgency in baptizing people who have truly repented. Let me make it clear that I wholeheartedly believe that repentance is a prerequisite for baptism. I also wholeheartedly believe that the fact that God has filled a person with the Holy Ghost is the ultimate proof of repentance (Acts 5:32; 15:8-9), and therefore immediately qualifies them for baptism. Peter makes this very argument in defense of his baptism of the household of Cornelius.
"And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. 16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. 17 Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?" Acts 11:15-17 KJV
I like how the following commentaries put it:
Since God Himself has put them on a level with ourselves, by bestowing on them what the Lord Jesus pronounced the higher baptism of the Holy Ghost, would it not have been to withstand God if I had withheld from them the lower baptism of water, and kept aloof from them as still ‘unclean?’Jamieson, Fausset, Brown
"or hinder the baptism of these persons in water, whom God baptized with the Holy Ghost, and who believed in Christ Jesus: from whence it appears that the Spirit of God is a gift, which he bestows on whomsoever he pleases,...as on the apostles, so on Cornelius and his house: and hence they became qualified for the ordinance of baptism" John Gill
If their repentance has satisfied God's requirements to the point that He has baptized them with His Spirit, then their repentance ought to have satisfied our requirements to the point that we will baptize them in water. We should never place more requirements on water baptism than God places on Spirit baptism. According to Peter, to refuse water baptism to someone that God has given Spirit baptism is to "withstand God."

I want you to notice the kind of language that the book of Acts used in defining the urgency of the Baptism.
  • The same day-Acts 2:38-41
  • Here is water, what hinders me from being baptized-Acts 8:31
  • The same hour of the night and straightway-Acts16:27-33
  • When they heard-Acts 19:4-5
  • Why do you tarry? Arise and be baptized-Acts22:16
If Larry the Cable Guy was a preacher he would say to the person who had repented, concerning baptism, "Git 'Er Done!"

NOTE: This post was inspired by Pastor Pixler's sermon today.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Why Did the Devil Tempt Jesus If He Could Not Sin?

"If Jesus could not sin then why did Satan tempt him?" This is a question that is frequently asked by the Peccability camp. I am going to make an argument that when Satan tempted Jesus he was not fully convinced that he was the Son of God. I will make this argument based on how the devil addresses Jesus before and after the wilderness temptation.

IF THOU BE THE SON OF GOD

"If thou be the Son of God," is the question Satan asked during his temptation of Christ (Matthew 4:3, 6). What does this phrase mean? We are going to examine it from two perspectives: 1. How is it used else where in scripture? 2. How does Satan address Jesus post temptation?

I will first show you how this kind of language is used in scripture. It will be clear that this phrase is used from a position of unbelief. The scoffers and unbelievers at the cross said, "If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross (Matt 27:40)." One of the soldiers MOCKED him saying, "if thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself (Luke 23:37)." Again, one of the malefactors RAILED on him saying, "if thou be the Christ, save thyself and us (Luke 23:39)." It is clear that this type terminology is always used from a position of unbelief.

The second thing that I want to point out is how Satan's language changes from, "if thou be the Son of God," to, "I know thee who thou art," after the wilderness temptation. The devil never again says, "if thou be the Son of God," when addressing Jesus.

Notice the difference in language:

Satan's next recorded conversation with Jesus in Matthew, after the wilderness temptation, goes something like this, "what have we to do with the, Jesus, thou Son of God (Matthew 8:29)?"

After Mark's account of the wilderness temptation Satan's next recorded words to Jesus are, "Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God (Mark 1:24)."

Luke records is exactly as Mark does, "Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God (Luke 4:34)."

It appears that Satan leaves wilderness having been totally convinced that Jesus is the Son of God. Never again does he ask, "if thou be the Son of God." There was something that changed in Satan's mind after the wilderness experience. Perhaps Satan was testing Jesus as he had all of the false Christs that had came before him; he found all of those others to be weak and frail, but not this man Jesus, for had had done what no other had done, resisted the "wiles of the devil."

If you argue, "no, Satan knew exactly who he was," then the question is moot. For if Satan knew exactly who he was, then he would have also known that he would not fail (Isaiah 42:4). Tempting a Jesus that you know for sure will not fail is as equally a waste of time as tempting a Jesus that cannot fail. For all practical purposes the result is the same. So I ask, "If Satan knew Jesus would not fail, why tempt him?"

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

John 14: A Different Perspective

Written By Rev. James Groce

Thoughts on the "we" and "our" of John 14:23-24

23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.
KJV


The nouns and pronouns can easily be mixed up in John 14:23 and a wrong rendering of them can change the complete meaning of the verse.

First notice that Jesus' discussion is "If a man" and "love Me" -- this is a one-on-one discussion.

Notice also "My words" - again a singular possessive state.

Now read the verse while obeying the grammatical rendering of the comma enclosed phrases. "Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words" -- thus far this is VERY plain. One-on-one.

Now the remainder of the verse ended in a colon (a mark indicating an effect or a logical conclusion of the former statement.)

:and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

Now the sequence is: My Father will love "him" -- the individual that "keeps My words."

and "we" -- the only TWO persons in the discussion - Jesus and the one who keeps His words.

... will come unto HIM -- indicating the Father (No one can come to God but through Jesus Christ).

... and make OUR (Jesus and the keeper of His words) abode with Him (The Father).

Why? Because of the CONTEXT...... remember this is a continuation of:

Joh 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
Joh 14:2 In my Father's house are many mansions: (ABODE) if it were not so,I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
Joh 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place (ABODE) for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

The first 3 important parts of scripture interpretation is
1 - context
2 - context
3 - context

Jesus Christ did not only have actions in 2 different realms as God and as Man .... but His language was often coming forth from either of the two.... that is why, to understand the duality of Jesus Christ, it is imperative to understand from which realm He is speaking from when we read the scriptures. It is obvious that "I thirst" was from the human realm while "Peace, be still!" was from the authority of God. Trinitarians never sense these differences at all.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Genius of Sarcasm

By LEE BOWMAN
SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE

Sarcasm is lost on many people, in some cases more than others, because they may be missing part of a complex set of cognitive skills based in specific parts of the brain.

A new study by Israeli psychologists, using patients with damage to different parts of their brains, details an "anatomy of sarcasm" to explain how the mind puts sharp-edged words into context.

The psychologists write in the May issue of the journal Neuropsychology that for sarcasm to register, the listener must grasp the speaker's intentions in the context of the situation. This calls for both sophisticated social thinking and appreciating a "theory of mind," that different people think different thoughts.

"To detect sarcasm, irony and jokes, and to better understand what people mean when they talk, we must have empathy," said researcher Simone Shamay-Tsoory of the University of Haifa and lead author of the study.

The right hemisphere of the brain generally handles emotional processing, and the prefrontal cortex -- the part of the brain just behind the eyes and forehead -- deals with personality and social cues.

So the researchers expected that people with damage to the right frontal lobe of the brain would have the most difficulty comprehending sarcasm.

To test this, they did experiments with 25 patients with damage to the prefrontal cortex, 16 patients with damage to the posterior lobe of the brain and 17 healthy controls.

All were read brief scripts presented in both a sarcastic and literal vein.

For instance, in the sarcastic situation, a man arrives at work and instead of starting his job, sits down to rest. His boss notices his behavior and says: "Joe, don't work too hard!" -- meaning, of course, just the opposite.

Then, in a neutral counterpart, Joe arrives at work and immediately goes full speed ahead, and his boss cautions him: "Joe, don't work too hard!"

Following each presentation, the researchers asked a factual question to check if the subject understood the story, and an "attitude" question to check if he or she appreciated the boss' true meaning. If they got the facts of the story right, but the attitude wrong, they got an "error" score for identifying sarcasm.

To measure the ability to have empathy and infer another person's thoughts, the researchers read another set of anecdotes like this: Two boys in a school bathroom talk meanly about another boy, who suddenly emerges from a stall, where, unknown to the first two boys, he was listening.

The researchers then asked the participants questions such as whether the boys said something they shouldn't have and why they said it.

The patients with prefrontal lobe damage had difficulty comprehending the sarcasm as well as feeling empathy, while the other two test groups had no such problems. And those who had damage in the right rear part of the prefrontal cortex had the most faulty "sarcasm meters." The worse the damage was, the greater the impairment.

Shamay-Tsoory said that damage in each region of the network "can impair (understanding of) sarcasm, because if someone has a problem understanding a social situation, he or she may fail to understand the literal language. Thus, this study contributes to our understanding of the relationship between language and social cognition."

THE BRAIN AT WORK

A group of Israeli psychologists mapped out this pathway through the brain to appreciating sarcasm:

  • First, the left hemisphere of the brain that processes language kicks in to establish the literal meaning of what's said;

  • Second, the frontal lobes and right hemisphere process the intentional, social and emotional context of what's been said, identifying the contradiction between what's going on and what was said;

  • Finally, the right rear part of the prefrontal cortex integrates the literal meaning with the social and emotional knowledge of the current and previous situations to help the listener appreciate the true meaning.

  • Friday, October 29, 2010

    Poem By Judge Roy Moore

    America the beautiful,
    or so you used to be.
    Land of the Pilgrims' pride;
    I'm glad they'll never see.

    Babies piled in dumpsters,
    Abortion on demand,
    Oh, sweet land of liberty;
    your house is on the sand.

    Our children wander aimlessly
    poisoned by cocaine
    choosing to indulge their lusts,
    when God has said abstain

    From sea to shining sea,
    our Nation turns away
    From the teaching of God's love
    and a need to always pray

    We've kept God in our
    temples, how callous we have grown.
    When earth is but His footstool,
    and Heaven is His throne.

    We've voted in a government
    that's rotting at the core,
    Appointing Godless Judges;
    who throw reason out the door,

    Too soft to place a killer
    in a well deserved tomb,
    But brave enough to kill a baby
    before he leaves the womb

    You think that God's not
    angry, that our land's a moral slum?
    How much longer will He wait
    before His judgment comes?

    How are we to face our God,
    from Whom we cannot hide?
    What then is left for us to do,
    but stem this evil tide?

    If we who are His children,
    will humbly turn and pray;
    Seek His holy face
    and mend our evil way:

    Then God will hear from Heaven;
    and forgive us of our sins,
    He'll heal our sickly land
    and those who live within.

    But, America the Beautiful,
    If you don't - then you will see,
    A sad but Holy God
    withdraw His hand from Thee..

    ~~Judge Roy Moore~~

    Thursday, October 28, 2010

    Practical Oneness: How The Oneness of God Applies to Everyday Life-2 The Work Place

    Italic
    The Oneness of God and the Work Place
    "one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." Ephesians 4:6 ESV
    "Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, 6 not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. 9 Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him." Ephesians 6:5-9 ESV
    This is my second post on the topic of Practical Oneness; I wanted to come back and visit this issue again. I feel that it is important to examine the practical implications of the Oneness of God and not just the theological implications of the Oneness of God. For too long the Oneness of God has been mere theology that we debate over, but not a principle to live by.

    Our text here in Ephesians 6 shows us how the Oneness of God applies to our secular work place. Paul is writing in chapter 6 still in the spirit of what he says in chapter 4: "one God and father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." In other words, the Oneness of God not only applies to worship, but to work. In reality our secular work is worship; therefore we should serve on our job "as you would Christ," or as the KJV says, "as unto Christ."

    To many times we as Christians separate our lives in to a spiritual-secular dichotomy and things like the Oneness of God is relegated to worship/spiritual and therefore has no bearing on work/secular. As a result Christians sometimes make lousy employees. Paul makes the argument that on your secular job that you are really a "servant of Christ (vs. 6)," and you are "doing the will of God (vs. 6)." We must understand that on the job, and not just at church, you are a Oneness Pentecostal. This is going to affect every aspect of your employment.

    THE WORK PLACE & ATTENDANCE

    By attendance I mean both showing up, and showing up on time. There are a lot of people who would not think about laying out of church, or being late for church; however they are always calling off from work or showing up late for work on the slightest whim. They feel justified in doing this because after all church is worship, and the job, well that is just work. But you have to remember that there is only one God that you serve (Matthew 4:10), whether serving the Lord's Supper at the Lord's table, or serving a Grand Slam at Denny's table. Be faithful and prompt!

    THE WORK PLACE AND ETHICS

    When you realize that you are serving God on the job, and not just your boss or a Corporation, it will affect your ethics. When the manager puts pressure on you to fudge the numbers, or lie to a client, you understand that you are the "servant of Christ (vs. 6)," and as such you seek to please Him and Him alone.

    THE WORK PLACE AND THE OPPRESSIVE BOSS

    There are times when a Christians has to work where there is an oppressive boss in the work place. What is he/she to do in a situation like that? What is the answer? The Oneness of God is the answer according to Paul: "Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him (vs. 9)."

    There is One God that is both your master, and the master of the oppressive boss. And there is no partiality with God. God does not play favorites! He does not let a manager who is harsh get away with his harshness just because he is in a position of authority. Just realize that your manager is also employed by your Master and your Master is fair. There is a complaint department that you can go to called prayer that is more effective any Human Resources department in any Corporation in the world.

    CONCLUSION

    There are many more applications that could be made here, but I will not bore you with them all. I hope that I have made my point with clarity and that you realize that there is more to the Oneness of God than theology, but that the Oneness of God has very practical implications as well; it must affect how you live.