Archive for November, 2016

Kneeling When Praying

November 29, 2016

The Bible talks quite a bit about kneeling when praying (Luke 22:41, Acts 9:40, 20:36, 21:5b, 7:60, I Kings 8:54, II Chron 6:13, Den 6:10, Ezra 9:5, , Psalms 95:6, Mark 15:19, Mark 10:17, etc.), and the songs we sing at church are full of references to it. If you don’t ever kneel when you pray, what are you thinking about when you sing those songs?

Are Christians Under Law Today?

November 25, 2016

The Old Testament law for the Jews is called the law of Moses in many cases in the scriptures. And the New Testament is also called a law in a few cases, and it only takes one case/verse to make something true, right? I Cor 9:21 specifically says we are “NOT without law to God, but under the law to Christ.” So that should settle our question – God has a law today He expects us to obey.

Besides calling the New Testament a law, what would we gather from passages like I John 5:3a (“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments”)? Don’t we get the idea that even though we are under a different dispensation, God still wants us to keep his commandments? That’s exactly what we mean when we say we under law.

James even applies the general principle, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” to the New Testament in James 2:10,12. If we offend the New Testament law in even one point, we are guilty of the whole thing. That shows the mega importance of being careful to try to keep every single law of Christ, does it not?

I suggest to you the “church at Birmingham” type philosophy runs counter to that. They think we are putting too much importance on obeying each and every particular detail of the law of Christ, and not enough emphasis on loving God. But actually the more we love and respect God, the more we will respect his law (his New Testament instructions). Am I correct on that? – doesn’t paying less attention to God’s law show disrespect for him? That’s the way it worked with not paying attention to our parents’ rules, didn’t it?

Some point out the New Testament deals more with the heart. I agree and that makes it even more important that we study God’s word very carefully to learn how to please him, not less important. In the six “ye have heard it said by them of old time, but I say unto you” cases of Matt 5:21-48, one of Jesus’ underlying points is that the New Testament deals more with the heart than the Old Testament. But Jesus doesn’t conclude therefore that we don’t have to be as particular about the outside – not at all. Jesus’ point is that we need to get the inside and outside right, not just the outside. And not just the inside either.

Some say only the big laws are really important, that only a Pharisee would be concerned with the small details. But when Jesus rebuked the Pharisees along that line, he did not say don’t get hung up on the little (the trees) so you can see the big (the forest). Instead he told them in Matt 23:23 to get the big and the little right.

It is a false dichotomy to say we should love God instead of being so diligent/careful about studying to obey his commandments. Why not do both? Really one should lead to the other – “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Conclusion:  We must obey God’s law today to be saved (John 14:21,23, I Pet 1:22a).

The Truth, The Whole Truth, And Nothing But The Truth

November 18, 2016

We have an expression in our courts – Do you agree to tell “The Truth, The Whole Truth, And Nothing But The Truth?”  The same principle is true in religion – we need to believe and practice The Truth, The Whole Truth, And Nothing But The Truth.

We see the utmost importance of “the truth” in a passage like John 8:32 “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  The context shows the verse is talking about being made free from sin, so the point would be that we can’t be saved from our sin by false religious teaching.  Believing and practicing the truth is absolutely necessary to going to heaven.

Now some are willing to preach the truth, but not the “whole truth.”  They limit themselves to preaching the parts of the truth their congregation already agrees with.  In this they do not follow the lead of the apostles.  Paul said in Acts 20:26-27 “… I am pure from the blood of all men.  For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.”  This reminds me of Ezek 3:18 “When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.”  Many preachers go for years without warning their audience of anything they are doing wrong, and God says they will be held responsible for such timid preaching.

And then you have those who are not satisfied to stay within the bounds of God’s truth.  II John 9 reads “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.”  So we must abide in, stay within the teaching of Christ or we won’t have God; we won’t be saved.

Col 3:17 also teaches we should be satisfied with “nothing but the truth” when it reads “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”  This passage is saying we shouldn’t do anything unless Jesus has told us to do it (without His authority).

Rev 22:18-19 says “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:  And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”  Taking away from God’s word would be not preaching the whole truth, and adding to God’s word would not be being satisfied with nothing but the truth.

An example of adding to God’s word would be practicing sprinkling for baptism.  Rom 6:4 says “we are buried with him by baptism,” and we all know what buried means.  Baptism should then involve us being buried in the water; saying sprinkling for baptism is also okay would be adding to God’s word.

A good example of taking away from God’s word would be like ignoring I Cor 14:34-35 to allow women preachers.  That passage reads “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.  And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”  The only way a congregation could allow a woman to preach from their pulpit would be to completely ignore texts like I Cor 14:34-35.  That’s not accepting the whole truth.

I Pet 1:22a says “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth …” This verse gets at the importance of truth.  We must obey it to have our souls purified, to be saved from our sins.  And that would mean we must obey The Truth, The Whole Truth, And Nothing But The Truth.”

Hardshell Baptists Claim Having To Believe Is Salvation By Works

November 11, 2016

Southern Baptists (and many others) accuse Christians of teaching a salvation by works because we teach a person must be baptized to be saved.

But I would like to know how such person would answer the Hardshell Baptist’s accusation that Southern Baptists teach salvation by works, because they teach a man must believe to be saved (the Hardshell Baptist does not).

Notice the following quote from Eddie K. Garrett in “The Hardshell Baptist” paper: “In trying to prove human instrumentality involved in regeneration … He … says, ‘The Scriptures recognize the voluntary activity of the human soul in this change as distinctly as they recognize the causative agency of God’ … This is salvation by human effort. Again he says, ‘Man is not wholly passive at the time of his regeneration … The influences of God’s Spirit require human agencies, and work through them’ this is salvation by works.”

How would the Southern Baptist reply to Mr. Garrett’s accusation, that saying a person must believe to be saved is teaching a salvation by works?

I would respond by saying our faith is not the earning basis of our salvation (the death of Christ is), but our receiving the benefits of the death of Christ is conditioned upon belief on our part.

I am confident a Southern Baptist would answer the same way. If he would, then he has his answer to his accusation that Christians teach salvation by works by requiring water baptism as Jesus did in Mark 16:16.

Many Denominations Say We Are Saved By Faith Only, But That Rules Out Repentance

November 4, 2016

Some think showing a passage that mentions faith but does not mention baptism (such as John 3:16), rules out baptism as being a necessary condition of salvation. But I ask → what about repentance? It’s not mentioned in those passages either. Is repentance therefore also ruled out as being a condition of salvation?

And does Matthew 6:14 (“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you”) make forgiving others the only condition that we must meet to be forgiven of our sins, thus ruling out both faith and repentance? Likewise I John 2:10 would mean all you have to do is love your brother to be saved – you don’t have to believe or repent. We see then that not all of the salvation conditions are listed (at least explicitly) in the faith passages (nor in Matthew 6:14 and I John 2:10). We must go elsewhere to learn that repentance is necessary.

And when we go elsewhere, we will learn that baptism is also necessary to salvation:

· Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved …

· Acts 2:38 … be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins …

· Acts 22:16 … be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord

· I Peter 3:21 … baptism doth also now save us …