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

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
-------------------------------------------------

"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.