Archive for March, 2010

For The Young People by Greg Gwin

March 30, 2010

More and more we hear folks deciding to attend a certain ‘church’ because “there are lots of good activities for the young people”. Often it is the sole basis for making this important determination. ‘Pro­grams’, ‘activities’, and ‘groups’ for the young people – that’s the drawing card.

And, what activities are these folks searching for? Are we talking here about carefully arranged Bible classes that seek to instill an understanding of God’s word in the hearts of our young people? Is it sound teaching from the pulpit and scrip­tural practice in the way the church does its business so that the young folks can learn respect for Bible authority? Is it love between brethren that manifests it­self by each individual demonstrating “hospitality one to another” (1 Pet. 4:9).

Sadly, the answer is no. Instead, the activities that are desired “for the young people” are fun and games – ‘youth groups’ that sponsor parties, retreats, outings, camps, softball and basketball leagues, etc. The bigger the better and the more the merrier seem to be the rule.

Lest anyone misunderstand, let it be known that we love basketball, baseball, camping, parties . . . and fun and food in general! We strongly favor such things being provided as an avenue of ‘good, clean fun’ for our young folks. But we insist that there is no authority in the Bible for the church to provide such. Let parents who really care see to it that the kids have these needed diversions, and let the church keep to its important au­thorized work. There’s nothing better for our young people than this.

Methodist Changes On Divorce

March 27, 2010

Matthew 19:9: … 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.

Methodist Creed Book, 1896: No divorce, except for adultery, shall be regarded by the Church as lawful; and no Minister shall solemnize marriage in any case where there is a divorced wife or husband living; but this rule shall not be applied to the innocent party to a divorce for the cause of adultery, nor to divorced parties seeking to be reunited in marriage. (The Doctrines and Discipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church)

That looks just like Matthew 19:9, right?

Methodist Creed Book, 1914: The Ministers of our Church shall be prohibited from solemnizing the rites of matrimony between divorced persons, except in the case of innocent parties who have been divorced for the one scriptural cause.

Methodist Creed Book, 1940: No Minister shall solemnize the marriage of a divorced person whose wife or husband is living and unmarried; but this rule shall not apply (1) to the innocent person when it is clearly established by competent testimony that the true cause for divorce was adultery or other vicious conditions which through mental or physical cruelty or physical peril invalidated the marriage vow, nor (2) to the divorced persons seeking to be reunited in marriage.

Methodist Creed Book, 1960: In view of the seriousness with which the Scriptures and the Church regard divorce, a minister may solemnize the marriage of a divorced person only when he has satisfied himself by careful counseling that (a) the divorced person is sufficiently aware of the factors leading to the failure of the previous marriage, (b) the divorced person is sincerely preparing to make the proposed marriage truly Christian, and (c) sufficient time has elapsed for adequate preparation and counseling.

Methodist Creed Book, 1984: Where marriage partners, even after thoughtful consideration and counsel, are estranged beyond reconciliation, we recognize divorce as regrettable but recognize the right of divorced persons to remarry. We express our deep concern for the care and nurture of the children of divorced and/or remarried persons. We encourage that either or both of the divorced parents be considered for custody of the minor children of the marriage. We encourage an active, accepting, and enabling commitment of the church and our society to minister to the members of divorced families.

See the gradual, but drastic change?

Matthew 5:32: … whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

Romans 7:2-3: For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.

Almost all type churches have made similar changes on divorce, and on other topics:

• Romans 6:4 the Catholics changed baptism from immersion to sprinkling in the 1311 Council of Ravenna

• I Corinthians 14:34-35 almost all churches used to forbid “women preachers;” now almost all allow it

• Romans 1:26-27 just like many churches have changed on the marriage of divorcees, the same change is beginning on the marriage of homosexuals – it is just a matter of time

• many other changes/departures from the Bible over time

Is It Sinful To Wear Jewelry ?

March 25, 2010

Some believe I Timothy 2:9 and I Peter 3:3 condemn all wearing of jewelry. At first glance we might think such a position is correct, but let’s take a closer look. First, notice the last item condemned in I Peter 3:3 is the “putting on of apparel.” Surely I Peter 3:3 can’t be forbidding women from wearing any clothing at all, as that would contradict I Timothy 2:9 which says for them to dress in “modest apparel.”

A key to I Timothy 2:9 and I Peter 3:3 is to understand that both texts are in the classic "not this but that" form which is usually emphasizing the latter over the former, but not restricting the former as an absolute. John 6:27 (“Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life …”) is a good example of this type of wording that helps us see this point. Jesus is obviously not forbidding all labor for food as he commands us to earn a living in passages like I Timothy 5:8 and II Thessalonians 3:10. Instead, in John 6:27 Jesus is saying that spiritual work is more important than physical/secular work.

Likewise I Timothy 2:9 and I Peter 3:3 aren’t condemning all wearing of jewelry, but the over emphasis on it. Notice that I Peter 3 goes on to say in verse 5 that “for after this manner in the old time the holy women also … adorned themselves,” and Genesis 24:52-53 records for us that the holy woman Rebekah wore jewelry. So the example of Rebekah proves that I Peter 3:3 is not condemning all use of jewelry.

Having said all that, I Timothy 2:9 and I Peter 3:3 are teaching that Christians should dress modestly – and that means we should have enough clothes on to discourage lust, not wear expensive clothing in order to attract attention, and keep the jewelry down to a minimum. Our emphasis should not be on the outward appearance, but on the “hidden man of the heart” (I Peter 3:4). Unfortunately, many who claim to be Christians are violating these two passages without regard for spirituality.

The Scripturalness Of Public Religious Debate

March 23, 2010

Most so called Christians are against public religious debating. The question is why? Most see the value in political debates and debates on other important secular issues. Why would they be against debating on the most important subject of all – on questions that affect our eternal destiny? Is it because they know their position really can’t be defended, and so they only want to preach their theories when no one is there to respond and present the other side (John 3:19-21)?

Below are Bible reasons we should participate in and support public debates on religious topics. Don’t let the spiritually weak talk you out of supporting the practice.

· God teaches we should Jude 3, Acts 15:2,7, 17:17, 19:8-9, Matt 22:15-46

· To listen to the other side with an open mind Matthew 13:15

· To preach the truth as we presently understand it II Timothy 4:2

· To allow our position to be examined/tested John 3:19-21

· To seek religious unity Ephesians 4:3, I Corinthians 1:10, John 17:20-23

· To reach the lost Mark 16:15-16, II Corinthians 5:10-11

· To get an audience with those we believe need to be warned Ezekiel 3:18

· To encourage study of the word of God II Timothy 2:15

· To defend the gospel, the truth Phil 1:17

Does Romans 5:12-21 Teach “Original Sin” ?

March 21, 2010

Romans 5:12 reads, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”

Verse 12 and the context teach two indisputable facts:

1. Sin entered into the world through Adam, and death by sin. So men die spiritually due to Adam’s sin only in that he started it. He sinned, therefore he died spiritually. That opened the door for others to do the same. But they all die spiritually due to their own sin. That brings us to the second fact …

2. Death (spiritual) passes upon all men, because “all have sinned.”

Romans 5:12-21 blames Adam for the introduction of sin into the world, but puts blame on us for our own spiritual death.

Other verses in the context, e.g., verse 19 (“by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners”) are true in that through Adam, sin entered into the world. He got the ball rolling. But verse 12 adds that “death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” This point can be illustrated by the “Jackie Robinson” story …

A parallel to verse 12: “Wherefore, as by one man black players entered into Major League Baseball (MLB), and big money to black MLB players; and so big money passed upon all black MLB players, for that all black MLB players have played.” You wouldn’t think all the black players inherited Jackie Robinson’s salaries would you?

A parallel to verse 19: “For by one man’s play many blacks were made MLB players.”

Jackie Robinson paved the way for other blacks by being the first. He got it started; he got the ball rolling.

Adam paved the way for other people to sin by being the first to sin. He got it started; he got the ball rolling.

Romans 5:12b proves the Calvinist wrong: “death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned”!

Immodest Apparel by L.A. Stauffer

March 19, 2010

Sense of Shame

In a recent inteiview an actress who recently did yer first nude scene in a movie explained her discomfort the first time she disrobed on the set before the director, cameramen, and other members of the cast. She explained how reluctant she was, how awkward she felt — as though she at first felt a sense of shame. She then noted how much more comfortable she became and how much easier it was with each take and repeat of the scene as the director worked to get it just right.

This illustrates how in time, with continued practice, any person can become shameless and insensitive to shameful actions. It has happened in this country with fornicators, abortionists, homosexuals, lewd dancers, divorces for frivolous reasons, and nudity and filthy speech on TV and in the movies. Our sense of shame as a nation is all but lost and we, as Israel of old, no longer know how to blush (Jeremiah 6:15; 8:12).

But back to nudity. Shame has been associated with nakedness since the sin of Adam and Eve, who hid themselves in embarrassment and tried to cover their bodies with fig-leaf aprons. Jesus, in the book of Revelation, joins shame to nakedness a couple of times (Revelation 3:18; 16:15). And in the case of Adam and Eve, God replaced their inadequate aprons with coats of skin which, according to Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies, were garments that generally had sleeves and came to the knees (p. 81). It is also interesting that God made undergarments for the priests that covered the thighs to hide the nakedness that could be seen under their out garments when they climbed the high steps up to the altar (Exodus 28:40-42)

All of this should be put in the context of marriage — the honorable and pure relationship in which men and women may view one another’s bodies and join themselves in a one-flesh relationship (Hebrews 13:4). Jesus made it clear that viewing the body of one to whom you are not married and lusting after it is impure and adulterous in heart and thought (Matthew 5:27,28). Men and women are, as a result, responsible to clothe themselves in a way that such illicit thinking is not provoked.

This begins with a sense of shame, a sensitivity about exposing breasts, private parts, and thighs to someone other than your mate. This, we believe, is the meaning of nakedness in the Bible. Women need a sense of shame about wearing low-cut and short clothing which expose areas of their bodies that only their spouse has a right to look upon. And so it should be with the men.

What Is Wrong With Mixed Swimming?

I can’t speak for the ladies, but I can speak for the men. There’s not an ordinary man who can look at a woman clad in nothing but a bathing suit for any period of time without entertaining evil thoughts. ‘But,’ some will say, ‘it does not bother me.’ One who says that may be so young that his passions have not arisen, or he may be so old they have subsided, or he may be so ignorant he doesn’t know what is going on, or he may not be normal, or he may be lying. He fits into one of these five categories, or he may be a spiritual giant; but spiritual giants don’t spend time at mixed swimming parties. – selected

Do Humans Have A Sinful Nature ?

March 17, 2010

Eccl 7:29 teaches that infants certainly aren’t born that way: Truly, this only I have found: That God made man upright, But they have sought out many schemes. (NKJV)

But what about Eph 2:3 which says the Ephesians "were by nature the children of wrath"?

First if Eph 2:3 means that people are born sinners, then Rom 2:14 would teach that people are born righteous → but it can’t be both ways !

For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law

And if Eph 2:3 means that humans are born with a sinful nature, that would mean that Jesus (who was human, "born of a woman") was also born with a sinful nature. (the Catholic church had to invent the "immaculate conception of Mary" doctrine to get around this point)

Notice how Thayer defined this word "nature" in Eph 2:3 – "a mode of feeling and acting which by long habit has become nature"

Jer 13:23 talks about people "that are accustomed to do evil." That is all Eph 2:3 is talking about. After practicing something for so long, it just becomes “2nd nature.”

The Ephesians had “given themselves over unto” sin (Eph 4:19); they weren’t born that way. Eph 2:3 doesn’t have anything to do with inherited sin; instead it is simply saying that the Ephesians had been habitual sinners.

The following illustrations show a meaning for “by nature” other than “by birth”:

• New York City residents are by nature a more cautious people, due to the high crime rate in that area.

• Don Knotts played Barney Fife so much/well, the part became second nature to him.

The Ephesians were “by nature” the children of wrath, not by birth/inheritance, but for what they did (NASV):

verse 2 walked according to the course of this world

verse 3 lived in the lusts of our flesh

verse 3 indulging the desires of the flesh

The very point of Eph 2:3 is that the Ephesians were (past tense) by nature the children of wrath. But they weren’t anymore. So the Bible teaches people are not born with a sinful nature, but develop one by choosing a habitually sinful life. And that when they became Christians, they repent and get rid of their sinful nature (habits) and life.

Points to remember:

– we are not born with a "sinful nature"

– we develop a sinful nature as sinners through committing habitual sin

– as Christians we are not supposed to have a sinful nature anymore (Eph 2:3)

Does Ephesians 2:1 Teach “Total Depravity” ?

March 15, 2010

Ephesians 2:1 reads, “And you hath he quickened, who were DEAD in trespasses and sins.”

Does Ephesians 2:1 teach the Calvinistic doctrine of “Total Depravity” ?

Thayer defines the word “dead” in this verse as – destitute of a life that recognizes and is devoted to God, … INACTIVE as respects doing right → Not inability, but inactivity !

If Ephesians 2:1 means sinners can’t do right, then Romans 6 would mean Christians can’t sin:

verse 11 Likewise, reckon ye also yourselves to be dead (same Greek word, #3498) indeed UNTO SIN

verse 2 How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

Ephesians 2:1 says these dead sinners were quickened and Psalms 119:50b says that “thy word hath quickened me.” So obviously, sinners aren’t so “dead” they can’t respond to God’s word.

The Ephesians were “dead” in sin, not by birth, but for what they did:

verse 2 walked according to the course of this world

verse 3 lived in the lusts of our flesh

verse 3 indulging the desires of the flesh (NASV)

Limited Atonement – Part 3

March 12, 2010

The Calvinistic theory called the “limited atonement” says that Jesus did not die for the non-elect. But the following passages specifically refer to the non-elect (unbelievers, the lost) as being people that Jesus died for …

I Timothy 4:10 … we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.

I John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

Reminder – John Calvin taught that if one of the five TULIP points of his system is proven wrong, then all five points are proven false. They all sink or swim together. So God’s statements listed in the last three messages prove all five of Calvin’s following positions wrong:

– Total depravity

– Unconditional election

– Limited atonement

– Irresistible grace

– Preservation/perseverance of the saints (once saved always saved)

Limited Atonement – Part 2

March 10, 2010

The Calvinistic theory called the “limited atonement” says that Jesus only died for the elect/saved. But the following passages prove that Jesus died for all men, not just the elect/saved …

Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

John 6:51 … and the bread that I (Jesus) will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

I Timothy 2:6 who (Christ Jesus) gave himself a ransom for all …

Reminder – Calvinists admit that if you can prove one of the five TULIP points of Calvinism wrong, then all the five points are proven false. They all stand or fall together. The above three passages (and the three I sent in my last message) prove the ‘L’ point wrong, therefore all five points are thereby proven wrong.