Archive for August, 2019

You Are Taking That Verse Out Of Context?

August 29, 2019

Many preachers use the charge “You Are Taking That Verse Out Of Context” as an excuse. When they are shown what the Bible clearly says on a matter, they will make such accusation, but they don’t really have any explanation for why accepting a particular verse at face value is taking it out of context.

I know many such preachers don’t really care about context because when we show them how the context rules out their position on certain “interpretations” of other passages, they pay no attention. For example in my public debates on Once Saved Always Saved, I Cor 3:15 is regularly used to try to prove a Christian can’t fall from grace. When it is shown that the works under consideration in the context of I Cor 3:15 are a teacher’s converts (see also I Cor 9:1), not his personal works, this teacher is not fazed. He has started with his preconceived view that a Christian can’t fall from grace (in spite of texts like Gal 5:4); he needs a verse to bolster his view; so he completely ignores the context of I Cor 3, even though at other times he will scream loud and long about how we must take things in context.

Many gospel preachers do the same. They are insistent that context must be considered (and rightfully so) when it suits their position on a topic, but when they are shown the context rules out their position on another topic, they are fine with just ignoring the context there. For example many gospel preachers have switched to the now popular position that Jesus in Matt 5:21-48 is just correcting false interpretations of the old testament law, but when you show them that everything in the context indicates Jesus is teaching new testament law in the section, they balk. For example just three verses prior to the beginning of the sermon on the mount, Matt 4:23 says “Jesus went about … preaching the gospel of the kingdom.” Though they will insist we must consider the context of other texts, since the context here consistently falsifies their position, they choose to ignore context here.

I Tim 2:11-12 is another example of such. Everything in the context of that chapter screams that the text also applies to secular matters, that women are not to teach or usurp authority over a man under any circumstance, but since most preachers believe it only applies to the church and perhaps Bible studies, most will ignore the context to protect their already existing practice. Write me if you want more details about the context on this point, but consider that no one thinks the two verses just previous (about Christians wearing modest clothing) only applies to the church and perhaps Bible studies, do they?

When we say “a verse must be taken in context,” let’s really mean that and do it every time, not just on passages where it helps our case. “You should take that passage in context” is not just an excuse to reject what we don’t want to believe, but is truly a valid and important rule for understanding God’s word, and should be applied across the board.

A Christian’s Body Is The Temple Of The Holy Ghost

August 15, 2019

I Corinthians 6:18-19 reads “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”

What is Paul’s simple argument here?. Our “body is the temple of the Holy Ghost,” therefore don’t defile the Holy Spirit’s temple by sinning with/against the body.

When we sin, the Holy Ghost (God’s “seal” of approval – Eph 1:13-14) has to leave us (see also Psalms 51:11b)

Verse 19 says “the Holy Ghost … is in you.” Many Christians don’t really believe the Holy Ghost is actually in them, do they?

Does I Cor 1:17 Say Baptism Is Not Part of the Gospel?

August 8, 2019

Some preachers claim I Corinthians 1:17 (“For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel) proves baptism is not part of the gospel, and therefore is not necessary to salvation.

But this passage is actually making a contrast between the physical act of baptizing and preaching, not baptizing and the gospel. Of course when we preach we are not baptizing, but scriptural gospel preaching includes preaching the necessity of baptism:

· Mark 16:15-16 “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel … He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved …”

· Acts 8:35-36 preaching Jesus included preaching baptism

I Cor 1:17 is a “not/but” passage. A “not/but” passage emphasizes one thing over another thing, but does not necessarily exclude the other entirely. John 6:27 (“Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life”) is another good illustration of such. It isn’t teaching we shouldn’t labor for physical food at all (II Thess 3:10), but is emphasizing that labor for spiritual food is more important than labor for physical food. Likewise, I Cor 1:17 is not excluding Paul baptizing entirely (that would contradict verses 14, 16, etc. that says he did baptize). It is emphasizing Paul’s preaching work over his baptizing work (which others could do just as well as he could).

In the context, the Corinthians were dividing up over (and following) who baptized them (verse 10ff). Paul’s contextual point then in verse 17 is that it doesn’t matter who baptizes you; that it only matters that you were baptized in the name (by the authority) of Christ.

So actually the context of I Corinthians 1 proves baptism is necessary:

· Paul teaches in verses 12-13 that for a person to be “of Paul,” (i.e., a follower of Paul), Paul must have been crucified for him, and that person would have had to have been baptized in the name of Paul.

· This necessarily implies that for a person to be “of Christ” (i.e., a follower of Christ, a Christian), Christ must have been crucified for him, and that person would have to be BAPTIZED in the name of Christ.

I Pet 3:21 says “… baptism doth also now save us …” – there is no way to get around that.

Billy Graham On Whether Jews And Muslims Are Saved Because They Believe In The God Of Abraham

August 1, 2019

The question has come up often on my Bible Crossfire radio program – “Will Jews and Muslims and those of other non-Christian religions be saved even though they don’t believe in Jesus?” Evidently Billy Graham thought so. Notice these two quotes from him:

· Whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world, or the Christian world, or the non-believing world, they are members of the body of Christ because they’ve been called by God. They may not even know the name of Jesus, but they know in their hearts they need something that they don’t have and they turn to the only light they have and I think they’re saved and they’re going to be with us in heaven. (interview with Robert Schuller, 5-31-1997)

· I used to believe that pagans in far-off countries were lost — were going to h-e-l-l — if they did not have the Gospel of Jesus Christ preached to them. I no longer believe that. … I believe that there are other ways of recognizing the existence of God—through nature, for instance—and plenty of other opportunities, therefore, of saying ‘yes’ to God. (McCall’s magazine, Jan 1978)

But what does the Bible say on the question?:

· John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

· John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

Who are you going to believe – Billy Graham or God’s word?

And if Billy Graham was willing to compromise on this issue, might he have compromised on other issues – teaching contrary to God’s word? I can think of at least two other major issues he compromised on. Write me if you want to know what they were.