Archive for February, 2015

Question For Those Who Are Gay – What Led To What?

February 27, 2015

Did your honest Biblical interpretation on this issue lead to your homosexual practice, or did your desire and practice lead to your “interpretation”?

All the testimonies of gay church writers that I have ever read, indicate that they first had the desire to be a homosexual and struggled against it (perhaps as a member of a denomination that taught against it). Then suddenly, when they discovered the gay church and its teaching, they suddenly “realized” that the Bible approved of homosexuality all along!

Don’t you see that this is desire driving interpretation? Our understanding of God’s word should control our desires and shape our practice, not the other way around.

I am kindly asking each gay reader to examine your heart. Do you really believe the Bible condones such behavior, or do you have an ulterior motive?

Please seriously consider passages like:

· II Corinthians 13:5: Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves …

· Romans 1:26-27 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. – ESV

Exactly WHY do you believe that homosexuality is right? Is it simply because you want it to be that way?

Is Romans 6:3ff Talking About Water Baptism Or Holy Spirit Baptism?

February 20, 2015

Romans 6:3 reads “… so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death.” We can see from this verse that sinners are:

· baptized into Jesus, meaning baptized into fellowship (saved relationship) with Jesus

· baptized into his death, meaning baptized into the benefits of Jesus’ death

So clearly, salvation occurs at this baptism.

To get out of the obvious force of this passage teaching we have to be baptized in water to be saved, many Baptists in recent times say this passage is talking about Holy Spirit baptism. But all through the years Baptists have correctly used Romans 6:3ff (against those who advocate sprinkling for baptism) to prove water baptism is a picture of the burial and resurrection of Christ (“likeness of his death” – verse 5) and is therefore an immersion. So it is contradictory / inconsistent for them then to turn around now and say Romans 6:3ff is talking about Holy Spirit baptism when arguing against the necessity of water baptism to salvation, at the same time using Romans 6:3ff to prove water baptism is an immersion when debating the Methodists.

The bottom line is Rom 6:3ff proves the baptism that pictures the burial and resurrection of Christ (which is water baptism) is necessary in order to get “into (fellowship with) Christ,” in order to get “into (the benefits of) His death,” that is, to be saved!

Baptism and Grace by L.A. Stauffer

February 13, 2015

The Old Testament tells the story of Naaman, an honorable man in the nation of Syria and captain of the army. But it also says that he was a leper. In one of his battles against Israel, Naaman had conquered a Jewish girl whom he had made a servant to his wife in their household. One day the Jewish maiden suggested to her mistress that if Naaman could be with the prophet in Israel, he would be healed of his leprosy. At the servant girl’s suggestion Naaman came to see the prophet and was met by one of his messengers who told him to dip in the Jordan River seven times and he would be healed. Enraged by such a strange idea, the honorable captain rejected the command. Later he was persuaded by one of his own servants to obey the command. After dipping the seventh time in the Jordan River, Naaman was healed (2 Kings 5:1-14).

Does anyone read this account and believe that Naaman merited or earned this gift of healing from God? Does anyone deny that the captain was healed by the gracious will and blessing of God? The goal of this event was to display God’s power and convince Naaman “that there is a prophet in Israel” (1 Kings 5:8). It was not to pay a debt or fulfill an obligation to Naaman for traveling from Syria to Israel and on to the Jordan to dip seven times. The prominent soldier was made whole by God’s grace—contingent, of course, on obedient faith.

How could anyone read this story and believe that men who obey God to be baptized have earned the forgiveness of sins? Why would they not agree that a baptized believer, in the same way as Naaman, is saved by grace? Does God owe a man salvation because he walks to the front of an auditorium or even ten miles to a river to confess Christ and be baptized? It takes a rather unusual kind of reasoning to draw this conclusion. The sense in which the Bible speaks of salvation by works is that God owes it to man as a matter of debt if man keeps God’s law perfectly. Otherwise, “Cursed is everyone who continues not in all things that are written in the book of the law to do them” (see Rom 4:1-8; Gal 3:10-11).

But no man, other than Jesus, has lived perfectly under God’s law. “All have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God” and His perfection (Rom 3:23). This means that all men by works are under God’s curse and, as Naaman, must come to God’s prophet to receive cleansing. The prophet of God today is Jesus (Heb 1:1-2; Acts 3:22-23) and all who come to Him must believe and be baptized. Jesus Himself said: “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16).

The man who walks into the waters of baptism does exactly what Naaman did. First, he believes both the promise and command of God. Secondly, he submits to God’s will and obeys him. This is what Paul in the epistle to the Romans called the “obedience of faith.” He tells the recipients of this letter both at the beginning and end of the letter that the scriptures were revealed to bring the “obedience of faith” to all nations and that he was commissioned as an apostle to teach all nations the “obedience of faith” (see Rom. 1:5; 16:26). When he proclaims in this letter the gospel as God’s power “unto salvation to everyone that believes” (Rom. 1:16), he has no intentions of eliminating obedience to baptism or of teaching the reformation theology of “faith alone.”

But someone might ask: what does being dipped in water have to do with forgiveness? And what, they could also ask, did dipping in the Jordan River seven times have to do with being healed of leprosy? The connection is that men manifest before God the “obedience of faith” when they keep His commandments. And men who by faith are baptized obey God’s command and receive His promise of forgiveness (see Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16).

But beyond this, note that baptism puts believers into Christ: “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ”—who Himself is the “gift” of God’s grace (Gal 3:26-27; Rom 5:15). And, secondly, those “who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death”—where His blood was shed (Rom 6:3-4). When sinners by faith are baptized into Christ and into His death, they come to the cross—the ultimate expression of God’s grace (Eph 2:13-18). It is in Christ Jesus that sinners are redeemed and forgiven by the riches of God’s grace through the blood of Jesus (Eph 1:7).

Conclusive Proof That Swearing Is Always Wrong

February 6, 2015

You would think all Christians would understand all swearing (oath taking) is wrong considering Jesus said in Matt 5:34 “Swear not at all.” But some are not fully convinced.

They say Jesus is making a contrast with the false teaching of the Pharisees who incorrectly said Jews didn’t always have to do what they swore they were going to do, and so Jesus’ point is that we always must do what we swear we are going to do. But that is exactly where the mistake is made. And that’s why it’s so important we understand what the true contrast is in verses 33-34 (and the rest of the context).

It is true the Pharisees taught Jews could go back on some things they swore to do, depending upon how they framed the wording of their oath (Matt 23:16-22), but that is most definitely not the contrast of 5:33-34. Here Jesus is contrasting his teaching with what the law of Moses actually said (the truth of the Old Testament) – that it was okay for the Jews to swear, but they were always to do what they swore to do. The phrase “You shall not swear falsely” (NKJV) in verse 33 is a direct quote from Lev 19:12 “ye shall not swear by my name falsely” (see also Num 30:2, Psalms 15:1,4b, Deut 6:13, 10:20, 23:21-23, and Eccl 5:4). So what Jesus is doing here (as well as with the other five cases in the context) is contrasting His New Testament teaching with the true Old Testament teaching that people should keep their oaths. He is not contrasting with the false teaching of the Pharisees. Knowing that is the contrast, then it cannot be in verse 34 that Jesus is only teaching that we must perform our oaths today, as that would not contrast with what Jesus was really referring to in verse 33.

Now this is conclusive proof that all swearing is sinful today. It is not like some Bible subjects where no absolute conclusion can be drawn either way, so evidence (but not proof) is presented for both sides. The contrast Jesus makes in Matt 5:33-34 shows beyond any shadow of a doubt that all swearing today is wrong. If Jesus’ sermon on the mount teaching is contrasted with “always do what you swear you are going to do,” then His teaching can’t also be “always do what you swear you are going to do.” Instead His teaching is plain and simple “swear not at all” (don’t ever swear to start with). As James 5:12 puts it – “swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay.”