Archive for May, 2019

Does The Bible Teach Unconditional Election, Or Does God Want ALL Men To Be Saved?

May 30, 2019

God’s desire is for all to be saved, implying that all have the opportunity to be saved, which shows the particular (by name) forced unconditional predestination/election theory is false.

II Peter 3:9:The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

I Timothy 2:4: Who (God) will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

Who is the “all” in I Timothy 2:1-6?

• verse 1 – Should we pray for “all men” or just the elect?

• verse 2 – If “all men” of verse 1 is just “all the elect,” then that would mean all rulers without exception (“kings, and … all that are in authority”), including Hitler, are of the saved/elect.

Since God wants all men to be saved, but all men will not be (Matt 25:46), it necessarily follows that salvation is conditioned upon what a man does. Meaning, men choose to be, or not to be of the elect.

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Integrity

May 22, 2019

Have you ever asked someone for something or to do something for you, and they said they would like to think about it for some reason or another, and then they never get back to you with an answer? That is frustrating, and shows a lack of integrity of the part of the one who evidently was just making an excuse. But what exactly does “integrity” mean? It is kind of hard to define, but I think we know it in a person when we see it. Here are three pretty good dictionary definitions:

· steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code (The American Heritage Dictionary)

· moral soundness (WordNet – Princeton University)

· the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness (Oxford Dictionary)

The Biblical Job certainly had integrity. We read in Job 2:3 – “And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.” Consider these three passages encouraging integrity:

· Prov 11:3 The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.

· Prov 19:1 Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.

· Prov 20:7 The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.

Here are a few Bible traits that will characterize you if you are a person of integrity …

· always telling the truth of course, even if it might hurt someone’s feelings – Rev 21:8

· doing what you told someone you were going to do (keeping your word), or let them know why not – Rom 1:31

· willing to reveal the exact truth of a situation even when it puts you in a bad light – Exod 32:24

· owning up to something when it is your fault – Gen 4:8-9, James 5:16 (on the very first Andy Griffith Show episode, Aunt Bee admitted she accidently let Opie’s pet bird out of the cage, when she could have just as easily kept her mouth shut)

· telling someone “no” instead of just ignoring or avoiding them – II Cor 8:21, 13:7

· does the right thing even when no one is watching – Matt 23:3,5

· when people such as coworkers, neighbors, etc. always assume without hesitation that I will do the honest and “right” thing – Acts 6:3, I Pet 2:12, Eph 6:5-6

· stands the same way on issues when different types of groups of people are around – John 12:42, Prov 17:15

· when disagreeing with someone, not smoothing it over by talking only about what you agree on – Ezek 3:18, II Tim 4:2-4

· when what people think, promise, say, and do all coincide, they have integrity – Phil 4:9, Rom 2:3

· do not violate your conscience – Rom 14:23, I Cor 8:10

· consistently being true to your convictions (do not compromise principles) – Gen 20:5, Job 2:9

Here are a few practical examples of people showing integrity:

• return change if you receive too much Eph 4:28

• pay your debts Psa 37:21, Rom 13:8

• don’t seek/accept charity/handout II Thess 3:10 (except because of catastrophe, something out of your control)

• preach what is needed Ezek 3:18, Acts 20:26-27,31 – if we were to get a chance to preach at a denominational church, we would preach something they need (don’t already agree with); why not the same if we preach at a church of Christ?

• be willing to hear the other side to consider that you might be wrong Matt 13:15, Prov 18:17

• practice what you preach Matt 23:3

• don’t compromise your stand II Cor 8:21

• don’t use an argument that contradicts your position on another issue II Cor 13:7

• be willing to admit your position to someone you respect, but who disagrees with you Rom 12:17

• don’t make excuses for not doing something Luke 14:18

Back in 2005 a college football coach was convicted of drunken driving, and his athletic director put out a statement that he knew the coach as a man of “impeccable integrity.” This quote shows that some people have a misguided understanding of what integrity is.

Curtis Duncan gave me this example …

A good example of this and one that I admired for his action happened when I worked for Liberty National Life Ins Co. back in the sixties or seventies. One of my Supervisors was called on to teach an advance insurance class and one who passed would have that designation attached to his name like a nurse would who had training to be a Registered Nurse (RN). The Manager. who at that time, did not have that designation asked the teacher to give him the answers to the final test. The teacher did not give the Manager the answer sheet he had requested explaining that he was obligated to teach the class and give the required test with integrity and that to do as the Manager had requested would be dishonest. I hate to report that this teacher was then fired by the Manager.

All Christians should always act with complete integrity.

Taking A Position In Order To Help Fight False Doctrine

May 15, 2019

Many times I have seen preachers take a position on a topic or passage because they thought it would help them defeat a related false doctrine, and not actually because the merits of the case actually warranted them taking that position. First and foremost, this is an ungodly reason to take a position on a topic or passage. Truth is the truth regardless of what the consequences may be – John 8:31-32.

But quite frequently I have seen Bible teachers doing this when taking the incorrect view of a topic/passage actually hurt the cause of truth, not help it. The perfect example of this is when preachers fight the “Personal Indwelling Of The Holy Spirit” concept, the Biblical truth that all Christians even today receive a non-miraculous measure of the Spirit when they are baptized into Christ. Just a casual reading of Acts 2:38 would seem to prove this view that people today receive the Holy Ghost when they are baptized. But one gospel preacher recently wrote opposing this plain meaning understanding of Acts 2:38, in support of the view that Acts 2:38’s reference to receiving the Holy Ghost is miraculous and therefore does not apply today – “more importantly, this understanding of the statement … offers not one scintilla of support for the egregiously false blunderings of Pentecostalists and their supporters.” Do you see how this writer asserts that the “more important” reason to accept his position is that it will help us fight the false doctrine of the Pentecostals?

But this reason for taking his position on the issue boomerangs back on itself. The very opposite is true; if we take the position the “gift of the Holy Ghost” in Acts 2:38 refers to the miraculous measure, that actually helps the Pentecostals, not hurts them. Because the very next verse makes it perfectly clear the verse 38 promise is to every Christian for all time – “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” The phrase “unto you” refers to the Jews, “to your children” would get all Jewish descendants, “to all that are afar off” would refer to all the Gentiles (Eph 2:13,17), and “as many as the Lord our God shall call” would get all Christians for all time (II Thess 2:14). So if the “gift of the Holy Ghost” in Acts 2:38 refers to the miraculous measure of the Spirit, that would prove conclusively that people today can perform miracles, the very doctrine preachers are taking an incorrect position on Acts 2:38 to try to avoid.

In addition, if we say the “gift of the Holy Ghost” does not apply today (because it refers to the miraculous measure), then we have just opened the door wide open to the dispensationalists who say the “baptized … for the remission of sins” part of Acts 2:38 does not apply today either; that it only applied to the Jews at that time, and so baptism was at one time “for the remission of sins,” but it isn’t for that reason today. Do you see how taking an incorrect position on the personal indwelling view leads to the conclusion that baptism “for the remission of sins” was only a temporary thing, and is not valid today? If receiving the Holy Ghost in Acts 2:38 was only for that day, then the rest of the verse would logically only be for that day also.

Conclusion: What we should do is just believe what each Bible text leads us to believe, and let the chips fall where they may. Not only is that the only Godly way of learning from the scriptures, but won’t get us into trouble by helping any false teachers. Why? Because the Bible is super consistent. Trust the Bible, instead of manipulating it to try to make it consistent with our previous views.

The Secret Things Belong To God

May 8, 2019

Deut 29:29 reads “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.”

Not only does this passage tell us we don’t know things pertaining to the true God’s religion that are not revealed by His word, but it sort of tells us to leave any such ideas alone. I am not sure how to put it into words, but the text says the “secret things belong unto the Lord our God,” as if we should not teach on those concepts; they belong to God.

Perhaps I could illustrate with a silly analogy. I am confident God could choose to look ahead and see the winner of next year’s Alabama-Auburn game if he wanted to, but he certainly hasn’t revealed the outcome to us if he has. So we might could say in a teasing sort of way that that future outcome of that game is a secret thing. Now is it wrong to speculate about who might win? I don’t think so; but if we were to teach who the winner is going to be as part of our gospel message/presentation, then that would not be letting the secret things belong to God.

But now let’s be serious. There is much speculation about what Paul’s “thorn … in the flesh” (II Cor 12:7) might have been, but unless I am mistaken, the Bible never reveals what the exact problem was. I don’t suppose it is wrong to speculate about what it might have been, but when we make our guess part of preaching the gospel, then it seems we are not letting the “secret things belong unto … God.”

The same thing is true about who the human pen was for the books of the Bible where such is not revealed. For example, I have seen almost whole Bible class periods spent on discussing who the author of Hebrews is. Again, wouldn’t that be not letting the “secret things belong unto … God”? Since the inspired text does not say, we ought to just say God is the author and leave it at that.

The same is true about the date of the books of the Bible. For example, the Bible does not tell us the year (or even a range of years) for when the book of Revelation was written. To teach the “date of the book of Revelation” as part of the gospel is ignoring the fact that the date is unrevealed and as such is unknown. It would be similar to the date of Jesus’ return (unrevealed Mark 13:32), so we recognize that we don’t know and shouldn’t teach a when.

Rev 1:10 mentions the “Lord’s Day.” Many Christians assume John means the first day of the week by that / others assume it refers to the Sabbath, but there is no scriptural proof for either. We don’t even know that it was a once a week thing; the Bible just not reveal any details about it. As such, it is a secret thing that we ought to let belong to God. We should just say we don’t know when the Lord’s Day was/is; it doesn’t matter anyway.

Have You Ever Wondered Why People Assume A Bad Motivation?

May 1, 2019

Have you ever wondered why some people assume bad motivations for scriptural actions? Texts like I Cor 13:7 (“Charity … thinketh no evil, … believeth all things, hopeth all things”) teach we should always assume the best of motivations, because we cannot read another man’s mind (I Cor 2:11).

Is it possible that some people wrongly assume that other people necessarily think like them, and therefore have the same bad motivations for their actions that they do? Why else would they assume a particular motivation for another’s action unless that would be their motivation in the same situation? If that is true, then whenever a person judges another’s heart and assumes a bad motivation for an action, it reveals that the person making the false judgment has that bad motivation whenever they perform the same action.

It may be hard to believe for some, but there are actually a number of Christians out there that try to emulate what Jesus and Paul did for the exact same reasons that Jesus and Paul did it – basically because they love God and their neighbor (Matt 22:36-40) and therefore want to help them. I guess people without an “honest and good heart” (Luke 8:15) just can’t imagine that ever being the case.