Archive for Christianity

An Examination Of “The Lord’s Prayer” — Part 1

Posted in Bible, Christianity, Christianity, Bible, Truth, Prayer, Religion, Truth with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 11, 2011 by willnotbesilent

Prayer is an integral aspect to the Christian walk. It is how we communicate our thanks, requests, and praise to Him. It is a personal thing, in which God and the individual praying have communion through Jesus Christ. Throughout the Bible, and particularly the New Testament, we read a great deal about prayers and praying. Jesus prayed, as did the apostles and the great men throughout Biblical history. We are encouraged to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Because it is so important, we should be sure to understand it. Jesus’ disciples understood this when they asked Him to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1). Jesus responded to His disciples’ request with one of the most famous passages in Scripture.

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. — Matthew 6:9-13

And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. — Luke 11:2-4

The Lord’s Prayer has long been held up as a model for concise, beautiful prayer. Indeed, when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, the example he gave them was the absolute opposite of what a Pharisee might have done. It is the embodiment of humility, worship, penitence, and perspective. Jesus even warns the disciples against the loud prayers of the Pharisees, who prayed on street corners and in public places so passersby would be impressed by their piety — but Jesus enjoins silent, even secret prayer. (Matthew 6:6) Prayer is an intimate thing between God and the petitioner, something between the two of them alone. Anyone who may happen to hear the prayer has no role in this interaction.

Even today, people, particularly Catholics, recite the Lord’s Prayer word for word. But that this is not how Jesus intended it is evident by the fact that Matthew and Luke have varying versions of this prayer, as well as Matthew 6:7, in which Jesus prefaced His example with a warning against “vain repetitions”, as the nations employ. Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and many other religions rely heavily on chants and repetitions. The worshipers of Baal (I Kings 18:26) and the worshipers of Diana (Acts 19:34) also used repetition, and as Scripture illustrates, their repetition did no good.

Our relationship with God is like that of a father and his children. As a father myself, I am well aware of how annoying it can be when my children repeat something meaningless over and over and over. It gets old quickly! Soon I want them to simply be quiet and stop talking, rather than give them what they want. There is no reason not to place God in that same predicament when we fall into prayer patterns and vain repetition. God seeks earnestness. He wants us to come before him with our petitions, speaking from the heart with faith. “Ask, and it will be given to you.” (Matthew 7:7) If we pray the same prayer, word for word, in a mindless chant, rather than having heart and meaning behind it, God only considers it empty words.

Another thing that Jesus illustrates through His model prayer is that it is not long-winded and flowery, as were the prayers of the Pharisees and, sadly, are many prayers we hear today in churches of all denominations. It is to the point, and in being so concise, multiplies the power and beauty of its words a thousandfold.

  • Our Father which art in Heaven.

As I mentioned earlier, our relationship with God is as that of a father and his children. Romans 8:15 says that we have received the Spirit of adoption, by which we cry, “Abba, Father.”  (“Abba” is simply a transliteration of the Chaldee word for “father”). In Galatians 4:5, Paul reminds us that we were redeemed that we might receive the adoption of sons. When Jesus teaches us to cry out to God as “Father”, He emphasizes that we share with Him a special relationship with God, a relationship of glory as well as subservience. At the time of Jesus’ walk on earth, the usual address of Jewish prayer was, “Oh Lord God of our fathers”. Jesus is turning that on its head by showing that, not only is God the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but He is also OUR FATHER — not someone to regard in terror, but someone to whom we are free to run in times of trouble, who loves us and desires our good.

Jesus repeatedly made examples in which he compared God to a father (Luke 11:9-13, Luke 15:11-32), and repeatedly referred to God directly as the Father (Luke 6:36, John 6:37).

Now, we know that God did not beget Christ or Christians in the sense that our physical fathers begot us. Christ is an aspect of God — His Word — rather than an actual offspring or child, and has been with God since the beginning. Indeed, we are told that nothing exists that was not created THROUGH Jesus (John 1:3). Thus we know that God and Jesus, being one, have coexisted since past eternity. Christians, in similar manner, are not God’s children in the sense that you and I are the children of our own parents. Rather, our position as “begotten” or “sons” is something bestowed upon us by God Himself (Galatians 4:4-5).

God begets us when we obey Him. We are not His literal, biological children, but rather children of God through faith (Galatians 3:26). We are adopted as God’s children when we repent and obey. Notice that not until Jesus had “fulfilled all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15) by being baptized by John the Baptizer did God announce, “This is my only begotten Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).  Likewise, when we believe, repent, and are baptized into Christ, we become sons with Him (Romans 8:17).

“In Heaven” is a qualifier that sets God apart as a specific Father: The one who is in Heaven, the only one truly qualified to bear the title (Matthew 23:9). It signifies His majesty, placing Him high above all (Ephesians 4:6). Our prayer ascends to a place where we are not, to a Being far above us in every regard.

It denotes respect, as well as humility, acknowledging God’s far higher status and our own lowly, unworthy position. We come before God as sinners, penitent and humble — not proclaiming our own self-worth like the Pharisee in Jesus’ story (Luke 18:11). God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and magnificent beyond comprehension, while we are not even worthy of notice (Psalm 144:3).

We serve a mighty God. We must recognize Him as such.

 

In the next post on this topic, we will continue to examine “The Lord’s Prayer” and how it serves as a model for us to follow when we address our Lord. Remarks on this topic are welcome.

Advertisements

The Last Days: When Are They?

Posted in Bible, Christianity, Christianity, Bible, Truth, End Times, Religion, Salvation, Truth with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2011 by willnotbesilent

In this era of political upheaval all over the world, of constant wars, of famine, disease, earthquakes, storms, and more widespread abandonment of God’s principles, many people are proclaiming our era as “the Last Days”. There is a great deal of debate over this. The return of Jesus Christ has been predicted for countless dates for a thousand years or more. In the case of each prediction, people thought their society had reached a moral and spiritual zenith, and that surely Jesus would come to take His kingdom back. Indeed, even during the days of the apostles, people were waiting for Christ’s return, as illustrated in Paul’s Second Epistle to the Thessalonians.

The question is, WHEN ARE THE LAST DAYS?

Some hold that the “Last Days” will begin once the “Rapture” has taken place, but as pointed out in my previous posts, the “Rapture” is a fallacy and a fraud. Some look for signs of the Antichrist, some mysterious individual possessed by the devil himself (We’ll go into the topic of the Antichrist in a following post). The most recent “prediction” for Christ’s return is May 21, 2011.

These folks who try to give an exact date are wasting their time. Jesus Himself said,

 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. — Mat 24:36
 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. — Mat 24:42
 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. — Mat 24:44

This is important to remember: ONLY GOD HIMSELF KNOWS WHEN JESUS WILL RETURN! Men cannot predict it through any means, whether theological, mathematical, or otherwise. God is the one and only being who knows when the Second Coming will take place. If anyone tells you Jesus is returning on a specific date, ignore them. They are mistaken, and arrogant to think they can discover what God has specifically kept secret.

But can we at least know when the Last Days are?

YES! In fact, we don’t need to speculate or wonder, because the Bible is very, very specific about exactly when the Last Days begin.

In Acts 2, when the apostles are baptized by the Holy Spirit (verses 1-4), they begin preaching to the crowds that have filled Jerusalem for the Day of Pentacost. When the people hear these uneducated Galileans preaching in various languages, they are skeptical, suggesting the apostles are drunk (verse 13). At this point, Peter speaks for all the apostles:

But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, “Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ ” — Acts 2:14-21

STOP! In quoting Joel, Peter says that all THIS which the people are seeing, only days after Jesus has ascended to sit at God’s right hand, is a sign of the Last Days!

The Last Days began roughly 2000 years ago, when the Holy Spirit was poured out and the Kingdom of Christ was established through the apostles. A sign of the Last Days is the opportunity for salvation through Jesus Christ.

So why are we wondering if we are in the Last Days when the they have been in full swing for millennia? Because false prophets have been preaching lies, telling us to expect a Rapture and support a political state of Israel, to watch for a mystical Antichrist and wait for a spaceship-esque New Jerusalem to descend from the sky. In actuality, THE LAST DAYS ARE NOW, which is why we are told to be vigilant and faithful. This is why we can expect Jesus to return when we least expect it.

So with this in mind, let’s focus on spreading the truth of the Gospel and preparing ourselves as a bride prepares herself for the groom. We don’t know when He’ll knock. But when He does, let’s make sure we’re ready, rather than simply wondering when He will return.

PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD!

Writing On The Earth

Posted in Bible, Christianity, Christianity, Bible, Truth, Law, Religion, Truth with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 27, 2010 by willnotbesilent

For a little change of pace, let’s back away from blasting tradition and just take a look at something fascinating in Scripture.

We’re all familiar with the story of the adulteress who was brought before Jesus in John 8:2-11:

And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and the Pharisees bring a woman taken in adultery; and having set her in the midst, they say unto him, Teacher, this woman hath been taken in adultery, in the very act. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such: what then sayest thou of her? And this they said, trying him, that they might have whereof to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground. But when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground. And they, when they heard it, went out one by one, beginning from the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the midst. And Jesus lifted up himself, and said unto her, Woman, where are they? did no man condemn thee? And she said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said, Neither do I condemn thee: go thy way; from henceforth sin no more.

Now here’s the Sixty-Four Million Dollar Question: What did Jesus write on the ground that affected the surrounding Pharisees so badly that they couldn’t stick around?

The account of John doesn’t tell us, of course, but amazingly enough, the answer is in Scripture!

O Jehovah, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be put to shame. They that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken Jehovah, the fountain of living waters. — Jeremiah 17:13 [emphasis mine]

What does it mean to be written in the earth? Well, what does it mean to be written in heaven?

Nevertheless in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven. — Luke 10:20

We all know that to have one’s name written in heaven is to be a partaker in salvation. Therefore, one can logically conclude that to have your name written in the earth bears the exact opposite connotation — condemnation.

JESUS WAS WRITING THE NAMES OF THE ADULTERESS’ ACCUSERS!

All the Pharisees, being intimately familiar with the writings of Jeremiah, knew exactly what Jesus was doing as He stooped and one by one wrote their names in the dirt. His words, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her” only emphasized his message: The Pharisees had forsaken Jehovah, the fountain of living waters — they themselves had committed adultery against God. And here they were, seeking to kill someone guilty of a crime they themselves had committed! Once again, Jesus was pointing out their blatant hypocrisy and reminding them of the condemnation they all faced.

Imagine how disturbing it would be if you were one of the adulteress’ accusers, familiar with the writings of Jeremiah, and you watched Jesus methodically write your name in the dirt, along with the names of all your cohorts. No wonder they left as their names appeared on the ground.

And then the story ends with the ultimate display of mercy. Jesus, the only one present who had no sin, who had every right to cast the first stone, finally rose to His feet.

“Woman, where are they? Did no man condemn thee?”

The woman, perhaps stunned that she wasn’t being stoned at this very moment, could only murmur, “No man, Lord.”

To which Jesus replied in all the love of a Father to a penitent child, “Neither to I condemn thee. Go thy way. From henceforward sin no more.”

Understanding what Jesus was writing in the earth lends a whole new perspective to the story that only magnifies the amazing omniscience, wisdom, and mercy of God. This is what Christianity is all about.

Now here’s the question we should all ask ourselves: If we had been present for the event of John 8:2-11, would Jesus have been writing OUR names in the ground?

What Is II Timothy 2:15 Really Saying?

Posted in Bible, Christianity, Christianity, Bible, Truth, Law, Religion, Salvation, Truth with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 10, 2010 by willnotbesilent

In II Timothy 2:15, the apostle Paul gives advice to a young preacher whom he has been mentoring. Among this advice, he gives a nugget of wisdom which, due to the archaic verbiage of the King James Version, is all too often misunderstood. I take the following from the KJV:

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Most folks use the opening of this verse (“study to shew thyself approved”) to emphasize that we are to study the Bible regularly. While there is no doubt that studying the Scriptures is a good thing for a Christian’s strength and growth, they are unfortunately using the wrong verse to prove their point.

The Greek word Paul used, and has since been translated into “study” is spoudazo, which, according to Strong’s Concordance, means “hasten, make haste; exert one’s self, endeavor, give diligence”.

When the King James Version was translated in 1611, the use of the word “study” was not inaccurate. At the time “study” did not refer specifically to educating one’s self or doing homework. It was more broadly intended to mean “work” or “be diligent” or “try hard”. As time progressed into our own times, “study” came to be equated with taking classes and delving into books. Its synonymous nature with “endeavor” was lost.

Today, people insist that this verse strictly means that we should read the Bible in an effort to understand it. While there is no doubt that studying in our current sense of the word is healthy for the Christian walk, that is not all Paul meant. He was telling Timothy to work hard to live a pure life, to overcome his flesh, and to live righteously and charitably. If we achieve this end, we can, as Paul said, shew (show, present) ourselves approved (pleasing or acceptable) to God, workmen that need not be ashamed.

We can thus gather from this verse that we must work hard to be good followers of Christ. If we are lazy and complacent, we run the danger of not being “approved” or acceptable to God. And we know the fate of those who are not acceptable or pleasing to God.

Peter also says in 2 Peter 1:10:

Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.

These are admonishments to Christians to be alert, to be strong in godly labor and righteousness.

Notice the grounds for another if/then logic scenario:

IF we shall never fall if we give diligence,

THEN we shall fall if we do not give diligence.

When we fall, we, as workmen, will have cause to be ashamed, as Paul said to Timothy.

And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him. — 1 John 2:28-29

John says that if we do righteousness we are born of Christ — born again. If we abide, or remain in Him, we will not be ashamed when He returns and the Day of Judgment arrives.

If we are ashamed before Christ at His return, does this still mean we will spend eternity with Him?

Jesus explains in John 15:6 that if we do not abide, or remain in Him, we will be cast away.

If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

It is up to us to remain in Christ, doing His work, laboring for Him, growing in spirit, bearing good fruit. Otherwise we are cast away into eternal condemnation, because we were useless to Him.

Therefore we see that not only is this verse often misused, but it is a powerful piece of evidence against the false Calvinistic doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints, or eternal security. Once completely understood, this apparently innocuous verse becomes a weapon against falsehood.

Thank God for the power in His Word!

Tithing & The New Testament Church — Part 1

Posted in Bible, Christianity, Christianity, Bible, Truth, Law, Religion, tithing with tags , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2010 by willnotbesilent

In nearly every church, the members hear their preacher (or minister, or pastor, or whatever they call him in that particular denomination) remind them frequently and adamantly that they must tithe.

Tithing, of course, being the practice of donating ten percent of one’s income to the church. At a designated time during the service, a church member or two will pass a collection plate. The congregation fills the plate with their tithes. Or the church has a locked and secured collection box near the entry where the members slip in their tithes.

From this money the building is maintained and — most importantly of all — their preacher is paid his yearly salary. And so the preacher consistently reminds them, often in a thundering voice, to pay their tithe. He usually sites verses such as Malachi 3:8-10

“Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In tithes and offerings, you are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you! Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.”

He emphasizes that to fail to pay tithe is to rob God, and will bring down curses — and if they pay faithfully, God will shower them with blessings. And so, fearful of being cursed, not wanting to rob God, and desiring blessings in abundance, the church members throw ten percent of their money into the plate or box without fail.

But is tithing applicable to Christianity and New Testament law? Is the practice of tithing money Scriptural? Let’s find out.

ABRAM AND MELCHIZEDEK

Tithing advocates reference the story of Abram and Melchizedek in Genesis 14, when Abram rescued Lot from four invading kings. Abram was victorious and brought back spoils of war.

Then after his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High. He blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered you enemies into your hand.” He gave him a tenth of all. The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give the people to me and take the goods for yourself.” Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have sworn to the Lord God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take a thread or a sandal thong or anything that is yours, for fear you would say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’ I will take nothing except what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their share.”

We know from the book of Hebrews that Melchizedek, king of Salem (later to be known as Jerusalem) was a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ, which is what preachers will often be quick to point out. “Abram gave a tenth to Melchizedek, just as we should give a tenth of all to Christ,” they might say. However, notice several points:

  • Abram did not give Melchizedek a tenth of his spoils until Melchizedek brought him food and drink and blessed him. It was a gesture of appreciation for Melchizedek’s aid and support — a friendly gift — not something done for religious reasons.
  • Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth voluntarily, and not because God commanded him to. Giving to Melchizedek was all Abram’s idea, and Abram’s alone.
  • Abram did not lay claim to the rest, but gave it all (ninety percent of the spoils) to the king of Sodom. So while Abram gave only a tenth to Melchizedek, priest of God, he gave nine tenths to the king of Sodom. If Abram’s actions are to be emulated by Christians today, would we not, after tithing to God, give the rest away? Remember, Sodom was a notoriously corrupt and wicked city. Should we give ninety percent of our increase to homosexual programs?
  • Abram was pre-Christianity, even pre-Mosaic law. His example is not like that of Jesus or one of the apostles, to be held up as something to be mimicked to be a good Christian. Abram burned sacrifices. Should Christians do that? After all, if we are to follow his single gesture of giving ten percent to a priest of God, then we should also follow his example of burning animal sacrifices. Would that not be reasonable logic?

So we see how flimsy this example is in supporting the concept of New Testament tithing.

JACOB’S TENTH

Another story used in an attempt to support New Testament tithing is the tale of Jacob. We are all familiar with the account of Genesis 28, in which Jacob dreams of the ladder ascending to heaven and God extends the same promise he gave to Abraham and Isaac.

Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” So Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on its top. He called the name of that place Bethel; however, previously the name of the city had been Luz. Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear, and I return to my father’s house in safety, then the Lord will be my God. This stone, which I have set up as a pillar, will be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to you.”

Again, we have points that must not go unnoticed in this passage.

  • The giving of the ten percent was not commanded of Jacob by God at any point. This was something done voluntarily, a token of thankfulness for God’s provision and protection as Jacob traveled.
  • This promise was given prior to the laying down of the Mosaic law, in which God does specifically command tithing. But as we will notice, since there was no Levitical priesthood in Jacob’s day, Jacob could not tithe in the manner described by God to Moses.
  • Again, if we are to hold up Jacob’s tithing as an example of what a godly person does, then should we not also build altars as God commanded him to do later at Bethel in Genesis 35? Why is tithing applicable to the Christian life, and not altars and burnt sacrifices?

“But,” some argue, “the fact remains that giving to God was something done by righteous men throughout Biblical history. Nothing says we are exempt.” True. I do not deny this. However, our concept of tithing has become skewed, as we shall see as we continue through this study. Shall we give our way, or God’s way? Which do you think God would prefer?

GOD COMMANDS ISRAEL TO TITHE

Finally we come to God’s commandments to Israel concerning tithing. The first time in Scripture that God commands tithing is in Leviticus 27:30-34.

Thus all the tithe of the land, of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s; it is holy to the Lord. If, therefore, a man wishes to redeem part of his tithe, he shall add to it one fifth of it. For every tenth part of herd or flock, whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to the Lord. He is not to be concerned whether it is good or bad, nor shall he exchange it; or if he does exchange it, then both it and its substitute shall become holy. It shall not be redeemed.

Let’s continue this system of taking these passages point by point.

  • Nothing in this commandment says anything about tithing money. Tithing, as far as we have read, has concerned “seed of the land”, “fruit of the tree”, and “every tenth part of herd or flock”. Tithing in this passage is strictly in reference to produce and meat.
  • A tithe could be redeemed (bought back) for the worth of the items tithed plus a fifth of its worth. If tithing involved money, how could a person buy back their tithe in this fashion?
  • Tithes were a tenth of everything produced, whether good or bad, regardless of its condition.

God goes into more detail about tithing in succeeding passages. Let’s read Numbers 18:21-32.

“To the sons of Levi, behold, I have given all the tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service which they perform, the service of the tent of meeting. The sons of Israel shall not come near the tent of meeting again, or they will bear sin and die. Only the Levites shall perform the service of the tent of meeting, and they shall bear their iniquity; it shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations, and among the sons of Israel they shall have no inheritance. For the tithe of the sons of Israel, which they offer as an offering to the Lord, I have given to the Levites for an inheritance; therefore I have said concerning them, ‘They shall have no inheritance among the sons of Israel.’ ” Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Moreover, you shall speak to the Levites and say to them, ‘When you take from the sons of Israel the tithe which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then you shall present an offering from it to the Lord, a tithe of the tithe. Your offering shall be reckoned to you as the grain from the threshing floor of the full produce from the wine vat. So you shall also present an offering to the Lord from your tithes, which you receive from the sons of Israel; and from it you shall give the Lord’s offering to Aaron the priest. Out of all your gifts you shall present every offering due to the Lord, from all the best of them, the sacred part from them.’ You shall say to them, ‘When you have offered from it the best of it, then the rest shall be reckoned to the Levites as the product of the threshing floor, and as the product of the wine vat. You may eat it anywhere, you and your households, for it is your compensation in return for your service in the tent of meeting. You will bear no sin by reason of it when you have offered the best of it. But you shall not profane the sacred gifts of the sons of Israel, or you will die.’ ”

Remember while reading this that the children of Levi did not receive a portion of the land of Canaan. They resided in cities. They did not farm or raise flocks. Their job was solely to be God’s ministers to the rest of the children of Israel. Now, notice the following:

  • Again, God says nothing about money. He is speaking strictly of food and drink.
  • The children of Israel supported the Levites through their tithes, since the Levites did not have land with which to raise their own food.
  • The Levites were required to tithe from what they received through the tithes of the rest of Israel.
  • Unlike the rest of Israel, the sons of Levi had to offer to God the very best of what they received through Israel’s tithes.
  • The tithes the Levites received were compensation for their ministry. They were supported in matters of food by the rest of the Hebrews.

We still have a couple more passages to examine, but keep all the above in mind as we continue.

Let’s jump ahead to the next book and read Deuteronomy 12:17-19.

“You are not allowed to eat within your gates the tithe of your grain or new wine or oil, or the firstborn of your herd of flock, or any of your votive offerings which you vow, or your freewill offerings, or the contribution of your hand. But you shall eat them before the Lord you God in the place which the Lord your God will choose, you and your son and daughter, and your male and female servants, and the Levite who is within your gates; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God in all your undertakings. Be careful that you do not forsake the Levite as long as you live in your land.”

This is where things start to get interesting.

  • The tithe again consists solely of food, not money.
  • The tither and his family were to eat of the tithe in a meal of rejoicing.
  • They were to eat of the tithe at a place of God’s choosing (to be later identified as Jerusalem).
  • They were to share the tithe with their local Levite as with their own family.

Remember, these are the laws God laid down concerning tithing. If we are to practice tithing in the New Testament church, should we not follow the rules God gave regarding the practice? Show of hands: Who has attended a tithing church where the tithes consisted of food, and those giving the tithes partook of the tithes in a meal of thanksgiving?

No one? Hmmm. Strange.

Let’s move on, still keeping the above points in mind.

Deuteronomy 14:22-29 wraps up the details on the tithing practice.

“You shall surely tithe all the produce from what you sow, which comes out of the field every year. You shall eat in the presence of the Lord your God, at the place where He chooses to establish His name, the tithe of your grain, your new wine, your oil, and the first born of your herd and your flock, so that you may learn to fear the Lord you god always. If the distance is so great for you that you are not able to bring the tithe, since the place where the Lord you God chooses to set his name is too far away from you when the Lord your God blesses you, then you shall exchange it for money, and bind the money in your hand and go to the place which the Lord you god chooses. You may spend the money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen, or sheep, or wine, or strong drink, or whatever your heart desires; and there you shall eat in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household. Also you shall not neglect the Levite who is in your town, for he has no portion or inheritance among you. At the end of every third year you shall bring out all the tithe or your produce in that year, and shall deposit it in your town. The Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance among you, and the alien, the orphan and the widow who are in your town, shall come and eat and be satisfied, in order that the Lord you god may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.”

Talk about wrapping it up with a bang! If you have been paying attention, you’ll notice none of this sounds like the tithing practiced by churches today.

  • Tithing was a yearly, not weekly practice. It was a tenth of what came from the field and flock or herd — again, not money.
  • The tithe was to be eaten in the presence of God, at a place of God’s choosing (later to be Jerusalem).
  • If Jerusalem was too far to carry the tithe, the tither was allowed to sell the tithe, take the far more portable money to Jerusalem, and there buy whatever he wanted to replace the sold goods. This is the only instance in which tithing ever involved money — and the money was to be used to buy food for tithing, not given to the temple.
  • Tithers are again reminded to remember to give to the Levites.
  • Every third year, the Hebrews did not have to bring their tithe to Jerusalem. They simply brought it to the nearest town and left the tithe there, where not only the Levites but strangers, orphans, and widows could come and eat.

Again, this sounds nothing like the tithing we see in churches today! In fact, the above passage makes tithing sound a lot more like the American tradition of Thanksgiving Day! And notice the part about every third year. Do tithing churchgoers contribute a tenth of their earnings to charity every third year? Think about it.

TITHING AS GOD ORDERED IT

So, based on the above information, here is how the system of tithing really worked:

The Hebrews set aside a tenth of their flocks and herds for tithe every year at harvest. They then took the tithe to Jerusalem. If the tithe was too much to carry such a distance, they could sell the tithe, take the money to Jerusalem, and buy food and drink to replace what they sold. Then they gathered at the temple to participate in a feast of thanksgiving to God. Now, obviously they couldn’t eat the entire tenth of their produce at one sitting — therefore, once they had finished their feast, the rest went to the Levites so they would have sustenance.

The Levites, in turn, had to select the best tenth of what they received, and offer it to God. This was in the form of the food offering, which consisted of wave offerings and the like, which God laid down in His laws regarding food offerings. The rest they were free to do with what they desired.

Every third year, the Hebrews did not take their tithes to Jerusalem, but rather piled them in their towns so the needy, as well as the Levites, could eat and be satisfied.

Remember, doing something God commands requires doing it the way God requires — otherwise, we are not doing God’s will, but our own. In order to tithe properly, according to the way God laid down in the Mosaic Law, we would need to observe the following:

  • We would tithe with food, not money.
  • We would be sure the tithe went to the Levites.
  • We would take the food to Jerusalem every year.
  • Every third year we would pile the food in our local town for the needy.

Do you see the problem with this?

  • Most of us aren’t farmers anymore. We buy our food at the supermarket more often than not. This presents a problem to the average non-farming individual who wishes to tithe.
  • Nobody knows who is of the tribe of Levi anymore. Bloodlines within the Jewish circle have, for the most part, been mingled, muddled, or lost. This also poses a dilemma for the person who wishes to tithe.
  • Jerusalem is halfway around the globe for many of us. If we were to tithe properly, we would have to fly to Jerusalem every year — the cost of which would be prohibitive for most of us.
  • Again, since so many of us do not farm, how could we pile our tithes in the local food pantry? We would have nothing to contribute unless we went to the store, bought a bunch of groceries, and delivered them to the soup kitchen downtown.

But have you ever seen any hardcore, Bible-thumping, diehard tither of today do any of the above? I highly doubt it. Their tithe is always a wad of bills or a check that they drop into the collection plate every Sunday — and that money goes toward the building, their minister’s salary, and/or church projects.

This “tithing” is not, by any stretch of the imagination, the tithing God commanded of the children of Israel. And yet that is what they call it. Tithing.

TITHING UP TO THE NEW COVENANT

A cursory reading of Scripture will show that the way tithing was practiced throughout the Old Testament never changed.

In II Chronicles 31:4-7, we read about King Hezekiah restoring the observance of the Law in Israel after a long period of godlessness.

Also he commanded the people who lived in Jerusalem to five the portion due to the preists and the Levites, that they might devote themselves to the law of the Lord. As soon as the order spread, the sons of Israel provided in abundance the first fruits of grain, new wine, oil, honey and of all the produce of the field; and they brought in abundantly the tithe of all. The sons of Israel and Judah who lived in the cities of Judah also brought in the tithe of oxen and sheep, and the tithe of sacred gifts which were consecrated to the Lord their God, and placed them in heaps. In the third month they began to make the heaps, and finished them by the seventh month.

No money involved here. Food was brought and laid up in heaps, exactly the way God commanded it be done in Moses’ day. Hezekiah and the people of Israel are in this passage adhering to tithing as it was originally intended.

When Israel returned from captivity in Babylon, the prophet Nehemiah was in charge of reestablishing the practices of the Mosaic Law. Throughout Nehemiah 10-13, he restores temple practices, the observance of the Sabbath, and tithing. You will notice that again, tithing always consisted of food, and never money.

In Malachi 3:8-10, we find the passage that ministers and preachers of today pound into their congregations’ heads on a regular basis.

“Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In tithes and offerings, you are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you! Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.”

Read this passage again, slowly, keeping in mind everything we learned from the passages above. Do you notice something that emphasizes that tithes consist of FOOD and not money?

That’s right. “Bring the whole tithe into the STOREHOUSE, so that there may be FOOD in my house.”

God doesn’t say, “Bring the whole tithe into the treasury (or bank, or collection plate) so that there may be money in my house.” He is talking about food! He is talking about the same tithing practice he commanded of the children of Israel so long ago! The practice of tithing, of giving thanks for the year’s produce, of contributing to the Levite’s welfare, of giving to the needy NEVER CHANGED!

The Old Law was still in effect while Jesus walked the earth. During this time, tithing remained in practice. Jesus condemned the Pharisees for their hypocrisy in following the rite of tithing to the letter but neglecting to lead a truly godly life in Matthew 23:23

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.”

So we see that tithing — with food — was still in force at that time.

But Jesus was about to be crucified and rise again to sit at the right hand of God. The Law of Moses was about to be fulfilled.

Things were about to change.

 

The next post will wrap up this exploration of tithing and reveal some of the greatest misconceptions regarding tithing today. Watch for “Tithing & The New Testament Church — Part 2”!

Acts 2:38 — Satan’s Favorite Verse?

Posted in Baptism, Bible, Christianity, Christianity, Bible, Truth, Religion, Salvation with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 12, 2010 by willnotbesilent

While surfing the internet for various viewpoints regarding baptism and salvation, I discovered the following link:

http://www.biblebelievers.com/jmelton/acts2.html

Below, you will find this article again, this time with my response woven into it. I tried to send it to him in an email, but all I got was a failure notice. I was a bit disappointed, but decided to share the following here.

——————————————————————————————————————

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38)

The above verse of scripture is a favorite among many religious groups. One can hear it several times on Sunday morning radio programs, as well as from the pulpits of numerous groups, and it can be found in much religious literature. The verse is a favorite because, on the surface, it seemingly states that one must be baptized in order to be saved, and without baptism one is not saved. So, those who believe that water baptism is essential for salvation make it a regular habit of using Acts 2:38 as scriptural support.

The problem is that Acts 2:38 isn’t the only verse in the Bible which deals with salvation. (True — it certainly isn’t.) While many claim to “speak where the scriptures speak and remain silent where the scriptures are silent,” they practically ignore most of the New Testament teaching on salvation. (That is hardly the case. Proponents of water baptism can find a plethora of verses, not to mention Old Testament types, that point to baptism and its relation to salvation.) The only verses that such false teachers quote and reference are the ones they feel they can use to promote their “water gospel.” (Which is every single verse in the Bible that relates to salvation.) The fact is that most of what the New Testament says about salvation doesn’t include baptism at all! (John 5:24, John 11:25-26, John 14:6, Romans 4:5, Romans 10:9-13, Eph. 2:8-9, etc.), (Many verses that speak of belief and salvation don’t mention repentance — does that mean we shouldn’t repent? And there are verses that speak of confessing or repentance that do not mention belief — does this mean we don’t need to believe?) and the few places that do mention water baptism do not include it as part of one’s salvation (then what do you do with Mark 16:16 or I Peter 3:20-21?). Water baptism follows salvation as one of the first steps of obedience for the new believer.

In spite of this obvious truth, the cultists remain steadfast in their heresy, insisting that Acts 2:38 sets forth water baptism as a requirement for salvation. Thus, this verse of scripture has become Satan’s favorite Bible verse (SATAN’S? So if you are baptized, you’ll go to hell?). In fact, many are trusting water baptism alone for the salvation of their souls!  (This is hardly the case. People who believe in water baptism rely on Jesus’ blood, to which they gained access through belief, repentance, confession, and submission to immersion. Without the blood of Jesus, none of these things would have any power.) Indeed, Satan has deceived multitudes by his perversion of Acts 2:38. (Well, your “Satan” has a lot more Scripture to back him than you do.)

Rather than ignore Acts 2:38 by quoting “our favorite verses” instead, it is more appropriate to face this popular verse of scripture and see if the cultists are right in what they claim it teaches.

The Truth about Acts 2:38

First, please notice that verse 38 isn’t the only verse in Acts 2. In Peter’s message, a great deal was said before verse 38 came out of his mouth. In fact, he even told his listeners how to be saved before verse 38! In Acts 2:21, Peter quotes from Joel 2 and says, “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (This is true — if one believes, they will be saved — if they don’t believe, they simply won’t. God has never saved anyone who did not believe.) His words preceding verse 38 were so convicting that his listeners were “pricked in their heart” in verse 37. (They believed and asked, “What shall we do?” This implies that they are terrified of judgment, not relieved that they were safe. “Pricked in the heart” means, terrified, horrified. Would they be feeling these emotions if they were saved? If they were, Peter would have told them they were all okay. But he didn’t. He instead told them what to do.) So, to use verse 38 out of its context causes a misrepresentation of God’s word. (True — but the context actually lends strength to the interpretation.) The verse does not stand alone, and, in fact, a totally different meaning is conveyed when one makes it stand alone.

Another error that many make with Acts 2:38 is the error of assumption. It is assumed that the word “for” must mean “in order to get.” That is, being baptized “for” the remission of sins supposedly means to be baptized “in order to get” remission of sins. However, a closer look at the scriptures will reveal that this isn’t the case at all.

Notice Luke 5:12-14: “And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him. And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.” Jesus made this man clean in verse 13, yet in the next verse, verse 14, Jesus tells him to go offer a sacrifice “for thy cleansing” as a “testimony.” Here the word “for” cannot mean “in order to get” because he had already gotten his cleansing in verse 13! It obviously meant “because of” his cleansing. If a man goes to jail “for stealing,” then he goes there “because of” the stealing that he’s already done, not “in order to get” a chance to steal again.

Some like to argue that the Greek word “eis” means “in order to,” but this isn’t always the case. Jesus said in Matthew 12:41, “The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at (eis) the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.” The Greek word for “at” is “eis.” Does this mean that the men of Nineveh repented “in order to get” the preaching of Jonah? No, they repented “because of” the preaching of Jonah. So, even “the Greek” doesn’t demand the popular interpretation of Acts 2:38. The word “for” can be used different ways, not just one, so it is wrong to assume that it must mean “in order to get” in Acts 2:38.

(Okay, let’s assume you’re right, and that “eis” in this case means “because of” rather than “to the end of”. Consider these points:

  • To command the 3000 to repent and be immersed BECAUSE their sins were already forgiven, Peter would be telling them, not only to be baptized because their sins were forgiven, but to also REPENT of sins that had already been remitted. This, of course, is absurd.
  • It contradicts an obvious fact. It makes Peter command those who asked, “What shall we do?” to be immersed because their sins were already forgiven, while it is an indisputable fact that their sins were NOT yet remitted. In actuality, those who were pierced in the heart with guilt and were asking what to do were trying to learn how to obtain the very remission this interpretation assumes they already had.)

Another factor which is commonly ignored is the JEWISH factor. Every person in Acts 2 is a Mosaic law observing Old Testament Jew. In fact, they are all gathered together to observe a JEWISH FEAST called Pentecost (verse 1). A fair reading of the whole chapter (especially verses 4, 14, and 36) will clearly reveal that no Gentiles (non Jews) are present. Since this involves Jews, it involves a NATION (verse 36!!), not individuals. No one asked, “What must I do to be saved?” The question asked concerned the NATION of Israel: “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (verse 37) Not, “What shall I do,” but rather, “What shall WE do?” Acts 2 presents a NATION of people who come to realize that they have murdered their blessed Messiah and they’re asking what THEY must do. It’s a question concerning NATIONAL salvation. Isaiah 66:8 says, “. . . shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.” The “nation” is Israel! Romans 11:26 says, “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” Acts 2:38 is dealing with NATIONAL salvation. The Messianic Kingdom is still available to the Jews (until Acts 7:60 when they kill Stephen), so national salvation remains an issue until then.

(Okay, but surely there were more Jews in Israel than the 3000 Peter addressed. Jews killed Jesus. Peter has just convicted the Jews of killing the Son of God. They are horrified at what they have done, and also afraid of the consequences. Wouldn’t you expect something terrible from God if you learned you were guilty of killing His Son? You’d want to know what to do as well.)

This is clear from what follows Acts 7. In Acts 8, an individual from Africa is saved (before baptism) (BEFORE? Really? Then why was the eunuch so eager to be baptized right away? Why did he wait to “go on his way rejoicing” until AFTER he’d been baptized?). In Acts 9, an individual from Asia is saved (before baptism). (Saul believed, and Jesus told him to go into Damascus where he would be told what to do. What did Ananias tell him to do? “Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” If his sins had yet to be washed away, after belief and three days of praying, then he was not yet saved. He had to do what Ananias told him what he must do.) In Acts 10, an individual from Europe is saved (before baptism). (The whole point of Acts 10 was to point out that Gentiles had just as much access to salvation as the Jews. Peter, very much biased in favor of the Jews, needed to be shown that these people were just as acceptable to God as Jews. This is why, when the Holy Spirit descended on Cornelius and his household, Peter cried, “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Spirit just as we [the apostles] did?” In other words, if God gave them the greater baptism, we should not deny these people the way to salvation. This is also the only place in Scripture where anyone received the Holy Spirit prior to baptism. God was making a point to Peter that He is no respecter of persons.) Why didn’t these individual conversions occur before Acts 7? Because the first seven chapter of Acts deal with Israel (1:6-8; 2:36; 3:12; 4:8-10; 5:31; 6:7-14; 7:1-60). The question of INDIVIDUAL salvation is asked and answered in Acts 16:30-31: “. . . Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (And in verse 33, the jailer and his household were baptized “straightaway”. They lost no time! Why? Because he believed, and wanted to be saved! If he had not believed, he would never have been saved.) Those who fail to make this distinction are guilty of violating II Timothy 2:15 where we are told to RIGHTLY DIVIDE the word of truth. (Remember that.)

The Bible says the gospel is to go to the Jew FIRST (Rom. 1:16), so they are the FIRST to receive the gospel in the book of Acts (chapter 2), but they are not the last to receive it. Acts doesn’t end with chapter 2, so we should be cautious of anyone who develops their doctrine in Acts 2 while practically ignoring the next 26 chapters! (Ah, but proponents of water baptism actively employ the entire book of Acts!) If God didn’t stop in Acts 2, then why does anyone else? Could it be that the later chapters in Acts contain information which the cultists want hidden from us? (Pardon me, but you failed to mention a lot of verses regarding baptism — in context — could it be that there are verses and passages which the “faith-alone” cultists want hidden? Namely, James 2:24 or I Peter 3:20-21 or Romans 6?) Could it be that there are other scriptures in Acts which do not agree with the wording of Acts 2:38? (Not that I’ve found so far.) Could it be that Peter himself, the one preaching in Acts 2:38, says something different when speaking to individual Gentiles like you and me? (Definitely not! It is one way, one salvation, for all men, Jew and Gentile.) One only has to read Acts chapter 10 to get the answer. Peter is preaching again in Acts 10, except only to individual Gentiles, and something very interesting occurs. In Acts 2:38, the Holy Ghost was promised to be given to the converts AFTER they were baptized, yet in Acts 10:44 the Holy Ghost falls upon the Gentiles BEFORE they are baptized! (As I explained, God was making a point to a very prejudiced Peter. This event does not EVER happen again in any of Scripture. In fact, in Acts 19:1-6, believers did not receive the Holy Spirit and its gifts until AFTER they had been baptized in the name of Jesus Christ) Now, Paul tells us in Romans 8:9, ” . . .if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Having God’s Spirit is synonymous with belonging to God or being saved (John 3:6-8), so the Gentiles in Acts 10 were saved BEFORE they were baptized in water. Why don’t the Acts 2:38 cultists ever point this out? Answer: It destroys their perverted doctrine that water baptism is essential for salvation. (Actually, the story of Cornelius supports baptism for the remission of sins.)

The fact is that Acts 2:38 is NOT the “model” plan of salvation, nor are any of the other “water verses” which the cultists use. Only by taking such verses out of their context can one teach such heresy. All of the Bible is true, not just the favorite “proof texts” of the cults (including the “faith-only” cult). Baptism saves no one (I Peter 3:20-21). It only serves as a testimonial picture of the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ AFTER one has believed on Christ (Acts 8:36-38). Paul said in I Corinthians 1:17 that “. . . Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.” This “gospel” is defined by Paul in I Corinthians 15:1-4, and it does NOT include water baptism. (Ah, but Paul DID baptize converts, as proven by the previous verses, I Corinthians 1:10-16. His main duty was to preach, while others who accompanied him, such as Peter and Apollos, performed baptisms. You have just taken Scripture out of context to prove a point. A bit hypocritical, no?) The dying thief was not baptized, yet Jesus saved him (Luke 23:42-43) (Jesus, being God, had the power to forgive sins while on earth — and the New Testament and its salvation had not yet been instituted), and John wrote that we are washed in the BLOOD of Christ (Rev. 1:5), not in the water. In fact, the saints in Heaven claim to have gotten there by the blood of Jesus (Rev. 5:9), not by water. By faith in the blood of Jesus Christ one is saved (Rom. 3:25). (True, water has no power in itself. But the obedience of submission to baptism in water for the remission of sins is a clear prerequisite laid down in the very first preaching of the gospel and throughout the epistles. Jesus’ blood is what lends its power to belief, repentance, confession, and baptism.) Water baptism only follows this faith as an outward step of obedience.

Friend, if you have fallen for the water gospel, why not repent of your sin and trust Jesus Christ alone? Acts 10:43 says, “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” Why not believe on Christ 100% right now and quit trusting something you DO for salvation? (Trusting is something you DO . . . believing is something you DO . . . repenting is something you DO . . . confessing is something you DO . . .to “be baptized” is something you RECEIVE, something to which you SUBMIT! A convert does not baptize himself. He IS BAPTIZED by a Christian. Baptism is the most passive thing in the entire list. You are rejecting something received as a gift from God [through the hands of a Christian] as something which you must do yourself! Don’t you see the irony here?) “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 5:1) Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Romans 10:9-13 says,”That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Why not right now?

Mark 16:16; Romans 10:9-13; Acts 10:43; II Corinthians 7:10; I Peter 3:20-21; Acts 22:16

Which of the above verses is valid, and which of these verses shall we reject? Or, shall we accept them all? Read them carefully in context, and decide.

You do not understand that against which you speak. I believe every single verse in Scripture, including those that teach the heresy of water baptism. Which ones do you believe?

Also:

Which of the following does Mark 16:16 say? Which do you believe?

  • He who does not believe and is baptized will be saved.
  • He who does not believe and is not baptized will be saved.
  • He who believes and is baptized will not be saved.
  • He who believes and is not baptized will be saved.
  • He who believes and is baptized will be saved.


Which of the above is the Word of God? Which is the truth? Which is a fabrication of man?

An Attempt To Explain Away Acts 2:38 — FAIL!

Posted in Baptism, Bible, Christianity, Christianity, Bible, Truth, Religion, Salvation with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 12, 2010 by willnotbesilent

Here’s an article I found online that I thought I would share. Notice that the author emphasizes that we must be wary of a doctrine that directly claims that a statement in the Bible is untrue. When preachers of the “faith-only” doctrine say baptism does not save, or that it is not for the remission of sins, they are taking affirmative quotes from the Bible and contradicting them. Keep this in mind at all times when you hear someone speak on the Scripture!

http://grandoldbook.com/baptismfortheremissionofsins.pdf

%d bloggers like this: