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Beware The Extremist by Barney Keith (1963)

September 16, 2021

A very versatile word in the English language is “extremist.” Much like “legalist,” “radical,” and “hobbyist,” it can be called into play whenever desired. It would seem that ANY MAN could be called an extremist — it just depends on who is doing the calling and where he stands at the time. A sure way to prejudice unthinking people against a certain viewpoint or matter of doctrine is to charge, “That is an EXTREME view!” An effective tool for poisoning people against a preacher is to claim, “You know, he is an EXTREMIST!” Immediately the dull-witted close their ears to what he says. They make no effort to investigate the Word of God to determine whether it is the truth. All of us need studious minds, desire for truth, willingness to study for ourselves, and fair-mindedness in considering any matter. Above all we need respect for God’s Book!

STRANGE BUT OFTEN TRUE

Some very significant factors enter into this matter of irresponsible use of words, “He is just an extremist.”

· Somehow it is ALWAYS the other fellow who is extreme – NEVER the speaker.

· Frequently it is used by very “pious” men as a weapon to destroy another – as a prejudicial epithet.

· Often the speaker may not be overly-concerned with the basic question of right and wrong. Yet it is better to be extremely right by following the truth than to be extremely wrong by rejecting it.

· It may sometimes just be a self-protective device used by a person who is mortally afraid that HE may be identified with the extremists. Perish the thought! So, in accusing the other brother of extremism he implies – for his own safety – “I certainly am not like that. I am no extremist.”

NOT NECESSARILY SO

No one doubts that a man CAN be an extremist, but there are definitely some things that are NOT to be considered as marks of an extremist. If they are, the Bible is full of extremists (including God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the apostles, the prophets, etc.). Let us observe that:

· One is not an extremist because he insists on divine authority from Christ for teaching and practice. The Holy Spirit requires this. (Col. 3:17; Heb 8:5.)

· One is not an extremist because he rejects human traditionalism in religion – even though it may be “common practice of the brethren.” Jesus denounced such. (Matt.15:6-9.)

· One is not an extremist because he refuses to encourage false teaching and teachers in any way. (2 John 9-11.) Fellowship with God is at stake here.

· One is not an extremist because he publicly challenges men to give authority for their practices. Jesus did. (Matt. 21:24-27.)

· One is not an extremist because he is willing to meet another in public encounter (that is, before an audience) and challenge a brother for his departure from the truth. Paul did so. (Gal. 2:11-14; Acts 15:1, 2.)

· One is not an extremist because he calls the names of men who teach the churches error and cause digression. Paul sets the example for this. (2 Tim. 1:15; 2:15-18.)

· One is not an extremist because he presses the truth with vigorous contention for the faith. The apostles did and we are instructed to do so. (Jude 3; I Thess 2:1,2)

· One is not an extremist because he refuses to back away from the thick of a fight for truth. Paul says God has not given us “the spirit of fear” (cowardice). (2 Tim. 1:7, 8.) A gospel preacher should be ashamed to be a coward.

· One is not an extremist because he teaches faithful Christians to mark and avoid brethren who teach contrary to apostolic doctrine. This is demanded. (Rom 16:17,18)

· One is not an extremist simply because his teaching causes division. Jesus’ sword – the word of God – does some disturbing and dividing. (Matt 10:34-36.) Certainly not all division is laudable. Some of it is deplorable and sinful. It is always sinful to divide people by the preaching of error. On the other hand, division brought about by the proclamation of TRUTH – division that results when some men take their stand upon a “thus-saith-the-Lord” and others rally to their human traditions – is to be expected. It was so in New Testament days. It is true today. Men are OBLIGATED to teach the truth. And men are OBLIGATED to separate themselves from error. (Rom 16:17,18; II Cor 6:14-18)

THE REAL CONCERN

The real concern of every Christian should be to determine TRUTH. If one searches the Scriptures (Acts 17:11) and learns that a thing is taught of God, this truth is EXTREMELY right, and he must believe it, regardless of what others may say or do. To refuse to believe it simply because others may consider it to be extreme is to dishonor the Author of truth. When problems arise and when questions are raised about any matter, our interest must lie in the Word of God as an infallible, all-sufficient standard of correct faith and practice. As was stated before: IT IS BETTER TO BE EXTREMELY RIGHT BY FOLLOWING THE TRUTH THAN TO BE EXTREMELY WRONG BY REJECTING IT.

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How Does One Become A Christian?

September 9, 2021

This article is intended to detail what the Bible says about how a person becomes a Christian. It will not deal with God’s part in man’s salvation, but suffice it to say the death of Christ is absolutely essential (Heb 9:22, Matt 26:28), or nobody would be saved. For convenience sake, we will present the conditions necessary to receive the (initial) salvation (and thereby become a Christian) provided by Christ in five steps.

Faith/Belief

When Hebrews 11:6 reads, “But without faith it is impossible to please him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him,” it teaches faith in God and His will is absolutely essential to salvation. In addition to believing in God (the Father), we must also believe in his son, Jesus Christ. John 3:16, which reads, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” teaches this fact in a most beautiful way. The great commission also makes the same clear when it reads in Mark 16:16, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be condemned.”

Love

Once we have the proper kind of faith, that faith begins to work “by love” (Galatians 5:6) to complete our initial salvation, and continues the rest of our life toward the goal of eternal salvation. James 1:12 shows the importance of the link between love and receiving this crown of life when it says, “… he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” Other passages to consider on this point are I Corinthians 16:22, John 14:21,23 and I John 5:3.

Repentance

Belief in and love toward the Godhead should result in sorrow for sin. Repentance then is listed as our third step. Acts 2:38 reads, “Repent, and be baptized every on of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Both the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Ghost are conditioned upon repentance (and baptism) in Acts 2:38. Another passage that lets us know the importance of repentance is Acts 17:30, “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent.”

Confession

Many passages teach that we must confess Christ with our manner of life, but Romans 10:10 (“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation”) teaches a verbal (it must be done with the mouth) confession is required for initial salvation (to become a Christian). The eunuch made this verbal confession before he was baptized in Acts 8:37 when he said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

Baptism

Galatians 3:26-27 ties baptism to becoming a child of God. It reads, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” The word “For” that begins Galatians 3:27 means “to introduce the reason.” Therefore Galatians 3:27 shows the reason that “ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus,” is that “as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” All that have been baptized have become children of God, and also all that have become children of God have been baptized. The same number of people, indeed the very same people, that have been baptized, have become children of God. In Acts 22:16, Ananias told Paul, “arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” This verse shows Paul’s sins were not forgiven at the point of his faith on the road to Damascus as recorded in Acts 9:5-6, but instead they were forgiven at the time of his baptism. I Peter 3:21 teaches that we must be baptized to be saved when it says, “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” This verse does not teach submitting to water baptism earns our salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9, II Timothy 1:9, and Titus 3:5 teach that no work can do that), but it does teach baptism is a condition that absolutely must be met in order to receive the salvation provided by Christ’s blood.

Conclusion

God’s plan of salvation is the story of how God brought Christ into the world to save sinners, and it climaxed with the death and resurrection of Christ. Wouldn’t you like to become a Christian and receive the forgiveness of sins provided for by that death? We urge you to do so. Believe on Christ, develop a love for God, and let that belief work through that love to lead to a sincere commitment to change your life (repentance from sin). Confess Jesus as the son of God, and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins. You will become a Christian, and be on your way to heaven.

Not All Congregations Have A Candlestick

September 2, 2021

Rev 2:5 reads “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”

Do you see how this congregation (in Ephesus) was in danger of losing their candlestick? Wouldn’t that mean God would no longer recognize them as being a church belonging to Christ?

I am told that in most congregations across America, about 30% of the adult membership are living in sexual sin in the sense they are living with someone they are not married to, or are in a second or third marriage that violates Matt 19:9. And some of their “pastors” are in the same situation. And going beyond just looseness on divorce and remarriage, many of the mainline denominations are now allowing gay marriage (Rom 1:26-27).

Do you think a church like that has a candlestick (is recognized as faithful by God)? Should we be part of such a congregation that stands for nothing?

The Difference Between The New Testament Church And Most Modern Day Churches

August 26, 2021

The main difference between the church in the Bible and almost all churches today is the emphasis in God’s word that obedience is necessary to salvation. Almost all current day churches compromise that truth. Many times this results in teaching that baptism is not necessary to salvation, and that once saved always saved is true. If obedience is not necessary to salvation, those false doctrines would be true, but …

· Heb 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.

· Matt 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven

· I Pet 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth

· James 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

· II Thess 1:8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

· Rev 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life.

· II Cor 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

Gal 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. (NKJV)

Nobody Will Be Lost Based Upon Doctrinal Issues Good Brethren Disagree On?

August 19, 2021

One thing that is so appalling in the religious world today is that denominational churches are not just compromising their stand on what the Bible teaches, but they are openly admitting they are not following the Bible anymore. When the Episcopal Church ordained their first gay bishop Gene Robinson, one thing Robinson said to justify such was “Just simply saying it departs from … Scripture does not necessarily make it wrong” (The Birmingham News, Aug 6, 2003). See how the Episcopal Church is admitting Scripture does not define right and wrong for them anymore? (if it ever did) About the Presbyterian Church USA, we read in Time Magazine (5-6-91) “The church should ‘re-evaluate its definition of sin to reflect the changing mores of society.’” So churches have redefined sin. Instead of sin being a transgression of God’s law (I John 3:4); sin becomes a violation of the norms of our society. True Christians are shocked by such statements.

But aren’t some Christians saying the same thing in effect? A gospel preacher in Madison, Alabama told a number of us young people in 1987 that nobody would be lost based upon what they practiced on the covering issue (I Cor 11:2-16) because “good brethren disagree on that question.” Isn’t that saying the same thing in principle as the previous quotes? Just substitute “the brotherhood” for “society” in the Time Magazine quote above. Don’t a lot of our brethren really believe the same thing, that “sin is the transgression of what our NI brotherhood as a whole believes” instead of a transgression of God’s law? Isn’t that in effect what the Madison gospel preacher was saying in 1987?

Is it okay to teach the commandments of men (Matt 15:9) as long as our society disagrees on the issue?  If not, then why would be okay to teach the commandments of men as long as our brethren disagree on the issue?  If we say it is okay with God for us to disagree on issues that brethren disagree on but not okay to disagree on issues that separate brethren from the denominations, then aren’t we showing favoritism? – James 2:9, Acts 10:34-35, I Cor 1:10.

Tongues – Human Languages Or Just Gibberish?

August 12, 2021

Were the tongues in the Bible just gibberish like what we see in so called “Pentecostal” churches today? I’ve been to a number of services where people were claiming to speak in tongues, but it sure sounded like a bunch of gibberish to me. Is that what we see in the New Testament? Let’s answer that question from the Bible.

Acts 2 would be a good place to start as that is the first place we see Christians speaking in tongues in the New Testament. Verse 4 in the NKJV says the apostles spoke with “other tongues.” I am currently studying via phone with a lady who has spent her entire adult life in New York, but she was brought up in the country of Columbia. She speaks English very well, but if I were to ask you “What is her native or mother tongue?,” how would you answer? “Spanish,” right? You see how we use the word “tongue” to refer to a human language?

And the same thing is going on in Acts 2. As we said, verse 4 says the apostles spoke with “other tongues.” That would mean languages other than what the apostles were used to speaking in. We know that from verse 6 because it says their audience (from “every nation under heaven” – verse 5) heard the apostles speak in the listener’s “language.” So the apostles spoke in tongues but “every man heard them speak in his own language.” See how “tongue” means human “language” here, not just gibberish?

Continuing on, the audience says in verse 8 they were hearing the preaching in their own “language” while the same audience says in verse 11 they were hearing the preaching in their own “tongues.” Again, do you see how the words “tongue” and language” (referring to an actual human language) are used interchangeably?

The point of speaking in tongues was so a person who had never studied a particular foreign language could be miraculously enabled to speak in such foreign language so he could immediately communicate the gospel to an audience that didn’t speak his language. The people claiming to do that today never speak in an actual foreign (human) language; instead it is just a bunch of non sensical syllables strung together randomly. Plain and simple – it is gibberish. It is not even a second cousin to the miraculous tongues we read about in the Bible that ceased when the New Testament was completely revealed and put together according to I Cor 13:8-13.

Baptism For The Dead In I Cor 15:29

August 5, 2021

I Corinthians 15:29 reads “Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead?” The Mormons take that to mean a live person can be baptized for a never baptized dead person, and that will count for the dead person’s baptism. I could see how one might come to that conclusion from just a surface reading of the text, but the Mormon’s understanding of I Cor 15:29 and “baptism for the dead” is contradicted by many passages such as II Cor 5:10 which tells us each person is going to be judged based solely upon “things done in his body” (his own life), not someone else’s. Our eternal fate is sealed at our physical death – Rev 14:13.

But what exactly does I Cor 15:29 teach then? If you think about it, Paul is not really giving credence to the teaching that people were baptizing for the dead at that time; instead he is just using their (false) practice to make an argument for the resurrection. I like the point Jim Stauffer makes on this – “Paul uses the pronouns we, I and you to identify himself and the Corinthians until he gets to verse 29. Then he uses “they” to address those who are practicing this kind of baptism. Following that logic it seems he is referring to some folks who believe and practice this who may or may not be members of the church.”

Paul’s argument is essentially this – why would people be baptized for the dead if the dead will never be raised to live again? This would be similar to Jesus’ use of the dishonest action of the unjust steward to make a point in Luke 16:1-9, and God’s use of Rahab in James 2:25 to make a point without specifically condemning her unchaste sexual behaviour. Paul is not condoning the practice he is referring to in I Cor 15:29; instead he is just using the existence of the practice to make his overall point in I Corinthians 15 – that the dead will be raised.

Genesis 1: Literal Days or Long Ages? by Greg Gwin

July 29, 2021

The ‘Day/Age’ Theory argues that each of the days in Genesis 1 were actually long ages of time. This, of course, is an attempt to harmonize Biblical teaching of a young earth with the false claims of some scientists who claim our earth and universe are billions of years old. Here are some simple affirmative arguments to prove that the days of creation in Genesis 1 were literal 24 hour days rather than long ages of time:

1) God defined His own terms in Genesis 1:5. “And God called the light Day and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” A period of light followed by a period of darkness constituted a day. Unless someone wants to argue that it stayed light for long periods and then stayed dark for long periods (which, of course, poses huge difficulties), we will have to stand upon this clear statement and conclude that the days really were literal 24 hour days. Furthermore, Genesis 1:14-18 mentions the sun and moon and stars, and says they were made to be “for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.” If we are to believe that the days were actually long ages of time, then what were the seasons and years?

2) Romans 1:20 says, “Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made” (NIV). This verse claims that someone has been here to see and understand God’s power ever since the creation of the world. This poses no problem to those of us who believe that man was created within the same actual week that everything else was created. But, those who want to believe that each day represents a long “age” have a problem. If man was created eons after the other elements of creation were formed, then this makes no sense. This line of reasoning is confirmed by Jesus’ own statement in Mark 10:6. “From the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.” The day/age theory places man at the end of millions or billions of years of geologic time. It light of these verses, it cannot be true.

3) If the days were actually long “ages”, then we have the wrong chronological order of events. For instance, plants were created on day three, but insects were not created until day five or six. But many plants depend on insects for cross-pollination, etc. How did plants survive for long “ages” without their needed counterparts in the insect world? Other similar problems of chronological order exist that strongly argue against the day/age theory.

We know that this day/age theory is commonly held by many who teach the false doctrine of theistic evolution. It is not true, and is actually an unnecessary attempt to compromise the truths taught in the Bible with the unproven claims of some scientists. They teach that we live in an ancient universe, while in actuality we live in a relatively young universe that was created in six literal days by our omnipotent God.

I Peter 3:21 Says Baptism Saves

July 22, 2021

When God said in I Peter 3:21 “baptism doth also now save us,” He meant what He said. We have to be baptized to be saved. I Peter 3:21 does not mean we merit our salvation by being baptized. First, that would contradict the “salvation is not by works” passages (like II Tim 1:9). And second, the blood of Christ is what actually earns our salvation. But I Peter 3:21 does mean we have to be baptized in order to be saved. The salvation provided for by the death of Christ is conditional, and God has a right to place any conditions on that salvation that He wants to, doesn’t He?

Some say baptism only saves figuratively because that word is found in the verse. But I Peter 3:21 does not say baptism is a figure. The figure is Noah and his family’s salvation thru water. Baptism is the real or antitype (defined by The Random House College Dictionary as “something that is foreshadowed by a type or symbol, as a NT event prefigured in the OT”). The following shows as much:

· NKJV translation – There is also an antitype which now saves us, namely baptism

· New Testament in Modern Speech – And, corresponding to that figure, baptism now saves you

· Thayer defines the word as, “a thing resembling another, its counterpart; something in the Messianic times which answers to the type prefiguring it in the Old Testament, as baptism corresponds to the deluge.”

· Vincent’s Word Studies says it is to be read as “which, the antitype or as an antitype; i.e., which water, being the antitype of that water of the flood, doth now save you, even baptism.”

· Arndt and Gingrich’s Lexicon – Thus in I Peter 3:21 … means baptism, which is a fulfillment (of the type), now saves you, i.e., the saving of Noah from the flood is a …, or ‘foreshadowing’ …, and baptism corresponds to it.

· NIV – “and this water symbolized baptism that now saves you also” (baptism is not the symbol, but is what is being symbolized, the real).

If baptism is the type/figure, then the eight souls being saved thru water would have to be the antitype/real, which is absurd. The NASB translates the phrase, “And corresponding to that, baptism now saves you.” That should be easy enough to understand.

The former is a figure of the latter in that both involve water and both involve a salvation. The first involves a physical salvation (from drowning) while the second involves a spiritual salvation (from sin). Notice the latter part of verse 21 lets us know water baptism does not provide physical cleansing (“not the putting away of the filth of the flesh”) but spiritual cleansing (“an appeal to God for a good conscience” – NASB).

Many have in effect changed the word “now” to “not” so the phrase would mean “baptism doth also not save us.” But isn’t that just like Satan adding “not” to God’s words telling Eve in Genesis 3:4 that if she ate of the forbidden fruit “Ye shall not surely die”? Throw off any preconceived ideas on every Bible subject and accept what the scriptural texts plainly say!

Proper Uses Of The Old Testament

July 15, 2021

Both Heb 7:12 and Gal 5:3 prove conclusively we are under the New Testament law (of Christ) exclusively. If one tries to bind any part of the OT law, he loses his salvation (Gal 5:4). But obviously there are still some proper uses for the OT law (Rom 15:4). Illustrations …

We don’t learn how to worship God today from Lev 10:1-2 (the NT never tells us to burn incense in worship), but we can learn from that story that if we don’t worship God the way He has specified today, God will be displeased.

The NT never tells us to touch or not to touch the ark of the covenant (most likely it has long since been destroyed … unless Indiana Jones finds it), but we can learn from I Chron 13:7-10 that if God tells us not to do something, we shouldn’t do it even if we think we are helping God’s cause by doing it.

John 3:14-15 compares our looking to Jesus on the cross for spiritual healing to the Israelites looking to the lifted up bronze serpent in the wilderness for physical healing, but how are we going to completely understand the analogy unless we are familiar with this Num 21:4-9 story?

Other examples: I Tim 2:9-10 tells us to dress modestly; the OT (like in Gen 3:7,10,21) helps define for us what modest is. I Tim 2:8 shows we should lift up holy hands in prayer; the OT tells us what that means. Revelation 20 talks about a 1000 year reign of Christ; the OT helps us to see 1000 is not usually used literally in the Bible, but mostly used to denote a large number. Jesus talks about the sign of Jonas in Matt 12:39-40; the OT book of Jonah helps us understand what Jesus is talking about there.  The NT instructs Christians to fast (Matt 6:16-18, etc.); the OT gives us more information about when, why, and how long to fast.