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THE PARABLE OF THE SHREWD MANAGER
Luke 16:1-15

By DEKE



 

In the Parable of the Shrewd Manager there are a number of things going on at once, and superficially there seem to be many contradictions. When first considered as a whole, the parable can be quite confusing. So, let us look at the factors, one at a time.


The Manager

This was a gentleman who you would not want to manage your cat's affairs, much less your finances. He was not the an example of a good steward. He was, in today's terms, the epitome of "enlightened self interest", who finding himself in need of work, sought to buy loyalty from and make beholden his boss' customers using his boss' money. He was a crook.

The manager's "generosity", of course, would endear him to the customers, but would tend to irritate his boss. Today his act of embezzlement would relegate him to the position of inmate in one of our fine penal institutions, but instead he was rewarded by his boss for his crime. How can this be? After all, he had stolen money from his employer.


The Rich Man

The rich man was no better a steward of God's gifts than was his employee. Remember Jesus' teaching about a rich man, a camel, and the eye of the needle from Matthew 19:24? The rich man of this parable was no exception to that rule. That is easily seen in his apparently confused reaction upon finding out about the actions of his manager. We wonder that since this man was RICH, he must not have been a financial fool. So, why would he approve of embezzlement?

The bottom-line (pun intended) motivation for this rich man was the bottom-line. It was the same as that of his manager: "enlightened self-interest." He realized that he was not going to be able to force his customers to pay the debts that the dishonest manager had forgiven because the manager had acted in his behalf. He could not "squeeze blood from a turnip" because, obviously, if the manager had any money he wouldn't have forgiven the debt and risked the not-so-kind punishments of his day. Since the manager was about to be in need a place to stay, so he was probably living "from coin- pile to coin-pile (they didn't have paychecks)." He had to buy favor from his boss' debtors.

So, the businessman had a decision to make: [1] Fire the manager for his dishonesty, have him thrown into jail, try to collect the forgiven debt, and lose business in the process. [2] Consider the manager's action as an "advertising expense", reward him for being an effective crook, and use his dubious talents to improve cash flow. The rich man, being a servant of money (unrighteous mammon), chose number two.

This rich man, in typically Biblical rich-man fashion, ignored the moral implications of his choice both for himself and his manager. He opted for the bottom line instead of the righteous line. His decision to retain the services of a criminal speaks eloquently to the depths to which his standards of right and wrong had descended. It seems probable that his intent was to employ this corrupt manager's talents to increase his wealth, most probably at the expense of his clients whose immediate favor his money had purchased. His concern was with money, not right and wrong. He sold out to "unrighteous mammon", and failed to be a good steward of God's wealth. Given these observations, it is possible to understand Jesus' commentary on the parable.


A Choice for Us

What can be understood now about the apparently contradictory text of verses 8 and 9? Is Jesus telling us to buy friends? Emphatically no! He is telling us that no more here than in the parable. Instead, He is telling us that generosity, the righteous use of what we have (which belongs to God anyway), is generally not employed as effectively by believers in reaching the hearts of unbelievers for God as it is used by unbelievers for their wholly selfish purposes.

When viewed from this perspective, Jesus' further comments in Luke 16:10-15 are clear, and in no way contradictory. Stewardship is like a two-headed coin. Good stewardship means either serving the selfish interest of the world (side one), or serving God's purpose (side two) which brings great responsibility to His servant. In the corrupt world the case of the "shrewd manager", side one of that "coin" has become obvious: a corrupt manager rewarding a corrupt servant for a corrupt act. As with the world, the believer must choose a side of that coin, or which "rich man" he will serve: God, the good and trustworthy "rich man", or Satan the false one. God leaves that choice and its consequences up to us.

May God continue to lead us to perform the job of a good steward for Him who is the righteous and perfect "manager" of His creation. May He bless us all with the wisdom to know and to take the right course of action which will be pleasing to Him.

Doulos kai Diakonos Christou Iesou

~~Deke

Bible Teacher and Editor
The Chrisitan Conservative Web Pages


Copyright 1996, 1997 Deke (a pseudonym)

This document may be reproduced and distributed freely if it is: [1] done without charge, [2] all sections of the entire text are reproduced exactly as they appear here, intact and without addition or deletion, and [3] it includes this copyright notice and the author's name. Short excerpts of this document for commentary are permissible.



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WOMEN AS TEACHERS OF THE CONGREGATION

By Deke



 

In laying a foundation that will answer the question of a woman's scripturally defined role in the church, you should get your Bible and turn to 1Timothy 2:11-15. This teaching is also echoed in 1Corinthians 14:34-35, but not in as great detail. Once you have reviewed those scriptures, then continue to read this paper, ignoring the RETURN TO Q & A INDEX links.

Before I go further, I will outline my approach to studying scripture so that you may understand how I have drawn my conclusions. The process which I follow is that of a simple hierarchy: where scripture is crystal-clear concerning any subject, it is to be viewed as superior in the hierarchy; all other related scriptures which are not as well defined are held to be subordinate to that scripture. The latter are interpreted and understood in deference to the former. This approach does not depreciate the validity of even one word of God's written Word, but it does provide a workable basis for our understanding of it as a unified whole instead of trying to force unrelated and out-of-Biblical-context Scriptures to agree together when they can not.

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When I study, I give the New International Version (NIV) and the New King James Version (NKJ) of the Holy Bible preference over all English translations. I also use the Nestle Greek texts to clarify New Testament (NT) passages and words that do not translate well into English, or which may have more than one in-context meaning. The use of the Greek text to clarify understanding of the English-only translations does not in any way reject the validity of other translations, most notably the King James Version (KJV). Instead, it enhances and amplifies understanding them.

I am aware of the criticisms which have be leveled at the NIV and NKJ, but I rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the Greek NT texts to reveal those passages which are difficult to understand. My primary objection to the NIV, as well as some other English translations, is the lack of capitalization of pronouns referring to deity, a practice which I always follow when referring to God and His Son.

Modern English translations are best for study. We are not 16th Century Englishmen. A easily-comprehensible text, devoid of antiquated or obsolete words and phrasing is preferable to Elizabethan English. So I use the NKJ and NIV. Supplemental to the NIV and NKJ translations, I regularly use a Nave's Topical Bible, Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, an interlinear transliteration in Greek and English. I frequently refer to the KJV to clarify passages since it is, generally, a very reliable translation if the superstitious bias of its translators isrecognized in the passages where they occur.

Of course this is my method of study. You should choose the translation or translations with which you are most comfortable. Just be aware that every translation includes the bias of the translators. We are all human, and do put everything we read through our "bias filters." Praise God that He has given us the Holy Spirit to reveal the deeper meanings He breathed into Scripture. Without His leading, the richness and depth of Scripture, most certainly, would be entirely missed. RETURN TO Q & A INDEX

Now, back to the issue of women as teachers. Women do have a vital teaching ministry that is outlined in Titus 2:3-5, as teachers of young women and children. That ministry is clearly given to all women who are called to it. Women, however, are forbidden by Holy Scripture from teaching in the congregation in authority over men.

In Acts 18:24-26 we find Prisca (Priscilla) and her husband Aquila teaching Apollos, a learned man and Jewish convert. It might be interpreted from the verses in Acts that women can teach in the congregation, but that extrapolation would be a gross error. The reasons that I call it gross error I will outline next, following the hierarchy principle outlined above.

First, in the context of Acts 18:14-26 is that of the woman, Prisca instructing Apollos in her home. There is no indication whatever in any of the translations, or in the Greek, that they were functioning either in the broad setting of a church meeting, or before the church body as leaders.

Second, there are indications of "The Way", the first church, meeting in women's homes in the Books of Acts, Romans, 1Corinthians, and Colossians. There is no indication at all that any of the women who owned those homes, or any other woman for that matter, taught in leadership positions during those meetings. The context of each of those scriptures is a greeting to the church which met in the homes. Claims to the contrary are simply specious speculation founded in rebellion against God's authority. RETURN TO Q & A INDEX

Finally, the hierarchy principle mentioned in the third paragraph, the scriptures in 1Timothy and 1Corinthians clearly deny women ecclesiastical authority over men because there are no other scriptures that deal with that issue in clearer terms. These scriptures are unmistakably candid. That is especially true of 1Timothy 2:11-15 in which Paul indisputably declares the reason for the prohibition of women as leaders or teachers in the church. There is further evidence of the breadth and importance of this doctrine of "headship" in the Biblical teaching on marriage, which reinforces the 1Timothy teaching.
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There may be an argument, however, as to how the church and authority are defined: In relationship to a woman as teacher, is the church only to be considered "in session" during a formal worship service, or is it in session even during a Bible study? Jesus taught that where two or more are gathered together in His Name, he would be there in the midst. This casts serious doubt on the scriptural authorization for a woman to teach with authority even in a Bible study when men are present. Sharing faith, and discussing scripture is certainly permissible, but the position of leadership authority must be avoided. In fact, I will not participate in a Bible study where a woman is the leader, nor will I ever approve ordination of a woman by the church. A woman's position in the congregation is well defined by Titus 2:3-5, and must never go beyond that. If this is a "sexist" position, then I must side with the Creator and admonish all believers to follow His law. If God is "sexist" in the eyes of any human, I wholly agree with His "sexism." He is perfect, I do not judge His standards, and I refuse to be blackmailed into committing heresy by any raving humanist's accusations.

There is one superficially rational argument based on Acts 18, which seems to allow a woman to teach in the presence of a male believer. The problem with the argument is that the event recorded in Acts 18 where Prisca (Gk.) and Aquila "inform" Apollos does not impute authority over a man to Prisca. In fact the opposite is true. Prisca " . . . . EXPLAINED to him (Apollos) the way of God more adequately. . . ." (NIV) in the presence and under the authority of her husband, Aquila, humbly giving Apollos the information that he needed to fulfill his calling. There is no implication in the Greek that I can find which indicates that she, in any way, "taught" Apollos with authority. Meekness is the feeling of this passage, not power. If Prisca had "taught" Apollos with authority, her actions and her husband's support of them would clash with Paul's later teaching in 1Timothy. Despite the efforts of the Antichrist and his slaves to prove otherwise, the Bible does not conflict with itself. RETURN TO Q & A INDEX

God did make exceptions for women in the Old Testament, and by His sovereign authority He placed some Old Testament women in positions of great power. It must be remembered, however, that these were exceptions which occurred in extraordinary situations, and can not be considered in any way a general rule of conduct for women. Again, the 1Corinthians teaching is crystal clear, and even though God did make exceptions, they were extremely rare. God alone has the authority to grant exceptions to His law, and the declarations of man are powerless and dead if they conflict with His Word.

I have no quarrel with women declaring the Word of God to anyone except in the church or congregation, in a position of authority over men. If I did I wouldn't be here writing to you, because a former sysop and brother in Christ once a dear sister in Christ a conference on his BBS which I later ran. That was in 1994. She left us late that year, and the system closed in 1996. I personally miss her gift of good counsel, and would have no objections to her doing the same again. She was a gracious, and humble counselor.

So, the leadership of any church would be in gross error if they allowed a woman to teach any class that has or might have a man as a student. If you have encountered this situation you should discuss it with the church's pastor. If the answer you receive conflicts with Paul's teaching, you should seriously consider finding another church in which to serve. If the root is corrupt, so is the entire tree. I know that this is a difficult teaching for many to accept, but it is consistent with the written Word of God. You must be very careful as you grow in the Lord not to be misled by what Jesus calls "blind guides." Study your Bible; test what I have written to you. Test all that you have heard, and all that you will ever hear according to the standard of God's Holy Word. Do not test by the standards set by any man, mine included.

Doulos kai Diakonos Christou Iesou
(Koine Greek: a slave in Christ Jesus)

~~Deke

Bible Teacher and Editor
The Christian Conservative Opinion Pages


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Copyright 1994, 1997 Deke (a pseudonym)

This document may be reproduced and distributed freely if it is: [1] done without charge, [2] all sections of the entire text are reproduced exactly as they appear here, intact and without addition or deletion, and [3] it includes this copyright notice and the author's name. Short excerpts of this document for commentary are permissible.




Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ have read my statements about the direction and purpose of this ministry posted on another page. I have, however, received some criticism or reservations about the teaching methods I use despite that explanation. This is not a recent phenomenon, and is generally founded in a misunderstanding of my motives, or a misunderstanding of Scripture. Many times it is both.

Most frequently the opposition or reservations are expressed by those of you who are Arminian in your theological persuasion, supporting a doctrine of free will. You hold that it I am making grave error by impeding a sinner's "coming to Christ" with my style of teaching. Worse, you may believe that I could cause this potentially repentant sinner to turn from salvation to be condemned to hell. Be assured none of those things are possible. God is sovereign, and no one can thwart His will. This is the point I wish to address, but before doing that, I must lay a Scriptural foundation that will clarify my motivations and methods.
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First, keep in mind that God spans all of eternity at this moment, He is omnipresent, He is absolute existence, the I AM of whom Moses told to Pharoah. His omnipresence will help you to understand how He has used predestination to save his chosen people from hell. Remember: the Bible DOES NOT CONTRADICT ITSELF!

More than 70 New and Old Testament Scriptures verify the Biblical dual-doctrines of predestination and election. Access your own Nave's Topical Bible if you doubt it. Those doctrines do not negate the cross as you may have been led to believe, they are part of the Bible, and the Bible harmonizes with itself for those who can understand its truth. In fact, both doctrines enhance and validate Jesus' sacrifice for the sins of the elect. Remember: sin separates the sinner from God. Rebellion against God begins in the womb (Psalm 58:3). A man's efforts at righteousness are of no more value than used menstrual cloths (Isaiah 64:6). All have sinned and are slaves to the law of sin and death (Romans 3:23), are totally separated from God (Romans, chapters 1-8), and can not comprehend Him (Romans 8:5-7), and can not know or understand God (1Corinthians 1:21-24; 2:13-16 [esp. v. 13-14] ). The sin-slave may hear God's word, but can not understand it (Matthew 13:14).

There is only one way that any human being, enslaved to sin and separated from God, can have any hope of redemption. God gave Himself as His Son, Christ Jesus, a living sacrifice for His elect (His chosen) [John 6:37-45, esp v. 37]. Salvation comes only from God, not from prayer, being good (no man can do that), being baptized in water, or any action or thought man can accomplish. Faith is impossible all of sin-enslaved mankind because they are separated from God. Only God's sovereign election of a few of mankind (many are called, but FEW are chosen) saves any of us. It is that election, that sovereign exercise of God's authority, which makes the Cross of Calvary available to His chosen people. There is NO other way for any sinner to approach and be acceptable before Him. The rest are condemned by that same sovereign and omnipresent authority to hell. God is in control, you are not.

Predestination and election DO NOT negate evangelism. We are commanded to evangelize the world. The pages you are reading are evangelistic. They will awaken to help to awaken God's chosen people. Isn't this page proof enough that we Calvinists evangelize?

If you can not understand the simplicity of this message, then you are in deep trouble or need more study. God in His sovereignty declared that He would go to the cross to suffer for the sins of those He has chosen (John 6:37-45, esp v. 37). God's will CAN NOT be negated; those He has called can not resist His sovereign authority. They will follow Him no matter what roadblocks are placed in their path. That is the wonder and power of Almighty God. Of course, there is also God's loved toward the world (His chosen people). Jesus' sacrifice for your sins is a necessity declared by Almighty God who is present at all places and times, right now, into the eternal past, and into the eternal future. If you have belonged to Him from before the creation of the cosmos, the sacrifice at the Cross of Calvary is your redemption; it is the way God chose to reconcile you to Himself. If not, you are not among His elect, and you have no hope.

If "contradictory" passages have relentlessly rung in your mind, you have been indoctrinated. Remember: The Bible does not contradict itself. It is incumbent upon you, if you believe that you can "accept Christ" and become "born again" here and now, to reconcile that to the reality of Hebrews 6:4-10 which clearly shows that a so-called "born again" Christian can lose his "salvation." Never forget that endurance to the end will PROVE your salvation. Nothing else can.

Note: This issue will be dealt again in this thesis. RETURN TO Q & A INDEX

There are several issues regarding sinners and salvation which form the Scriptural basis of my teaching methods. Foremost among them is that I am probably 99 percent Calvinist (the rate continues to increase). I reject the notion that any sin-enslaved human being can ever "come to Christ" by their own efforts unless God calls him. I wholeheartedly accept, endorse, and teach the Calvinist doctrine of Total Depravity. No one ever comes to Christ save through God's sovereign authority. He determined before the foundations of the earth who will be condemned, and who will not. God made this abundantly clear when He declared, "Jacob I loved, Esau I hated" (Romans 9:10-15). It is only through God's choice and election that anyone can ever be saved ( Matthew 20:16; John 15:16 and 17:6; Romans 3:23) because the heart of man is desperately wicked and does not seek God on its own (Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:10-18, 4:15-23 esp. v.20-23), and is sin- enslaved from birth (Psalm 58:3). There is nothing decent, good, or one bit righteous about any human being. God compares the worth of a man's righteousness to that of used menstrual cloths (Hebrew, Isaiah 64:6). So, given these Biblical truths, it is clear that only God can bring a sinner to Himself. He accomplishes that process of salvation through His sovereign choice, permitting those He has chosen to be saved by the spilled blood of His Son who was also God incarnate (John 10:30; Hebrews 1:3; Exodus 3:14 compare John 8:58). Even babies like Esau are not exempt from the law of sin and death. Babies die in utero as a direct consequence of that law. On the other hand, God's elect are saved from before the foundations of the earth. Their eternity is predestined. No one can thwart God's sovereign will, His omnipresence, or His omnipotence. What He knows MUST be. Many are called, but FEW are chosen.

There is also more discussion of the Biblical doctrine of eternal security and Paul's teaching of it in Romans 8:10-25 on this web site's Bible Answers Page . You can also find additional material on this subject on this page, below.

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We can not affect in any fashion the salvation of any man, salvation is God's sovereign choice. Nevertheless, God commands all of us to spread the Gospel (Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:15). He also requires that we do not allow His truth to be perverted by heretics (Titus 2:9 and 15). This being said, it might seem academic that any Believer should want to move forward with a ministry. After all, if God has chosen and elected us, predestining us to our fate according to His sovereign will, why bother? The answer is simple. First, as you have seen, He tells us in His written and breathed Word, the Holy Bible, that the Gospel is to be carried to a sin-enslaved world (Matthew 24:14; Mark 16:15 [Mark 16:15 is not included in some ancient texts] ). That is His command; ALL Christians must obey it. Why? Those He has chosen and given the power to hear (comprehend) His Word must have the opportunity to hear and respond to hear it (Romans 10:17-18). These things are His sovereign decision, His unavoidable command to all of us.

So, although we know that we can do nothing to save ourselves, and we know that no one else can either, we must reckon that we have in some inexplicable way a measure of volition as His elect which God uses to bring others elect people to Him. That is one meaning of His elect's FREEDOM IN CHRIST (Romans 6:16-20; Galatians 2:4;5:1), a freedom which is NOT available to slaves bound by the Law of Sin and Death. As you have already seen, Biblical doctrine teaches that they are unable to overcome their bondage so that they can access salvation. Salvation is ONLY possible through God's sovereign will. There is NO other way to access the Cross of Calvary.

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God has commanded His Diakonos, His teachers, to defend His teachings against heretics and false teachers (Psalms 51:13; Isaiah 62:6; Romans 12:9-14; 1Corinthians 9:20-23, 15:58; Ephesians 6:10-18; Philippians 1:27-28; Jude 22; Titus 2:9-15 [esp. v.15]). The decetful teachers come in many forms, many call themselves "Christian." An ignorant world is ready for them (Hosea 4:6; Proverbs 1:22, 29-31; Romans 1:22-32) . Some wicked deceivers will take the pulpit. Some will talk quietly in well-lit rooms to poor souls who will swallow the poisonous lie for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6), and some will spread their evil while hiding in the shadows. Others will spread heresy and wicked "new revelations" with crafty rhetorical questions and elegant arguments which disguise death. That latter type is most dangerous because so few in our nation are trained or have learned to identify, much less combat, that form of wicked "evangelism." It is the form that I encounter most frequently in this ministry. In exposing them, we must follow Christ's command from Matthew:10:16, "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."

As you have seen from my teaching style, I will not tolerate dissemination of un-Biblical doctrine. I would hope that you follow my example in this. We should find especially reprehensible those who use crafty rhetorical questions to spread their heresy. So, taking a cue from Jesus' command, employ the heretic's tactics to expose him as a liar. We should not be the least bit concerned with "converting" him. We must know we can do nothing which will save him. Only God can save a sinner. That decision belongs to Him alone, according to His purpose and His sovereign will. Neither should we be concerned about offending a deceiver's defenders, nor those who seek to "convert" him. Instead, we must be far more concerned with the effect of these "ravening wolves" who appear to be God's servants have upon our weaker brothers as well as those who have not yet responded to God's call and election.

The Scriptures are quite clear about hell-servant deceivers, and they are just as clear about the consequence of their deception. Matthew 18:6-9 makes the terrible judgment that these liars face. Yet, the most miserable fate they could possibly endure as human beings is nothing compared to the punishment they will endure under the judgment of Almighty God. It is partially for this reason that we must adopt the standard that Paul set for his ministry, become all things to all men (1Corinthians 9:22). In some cases I am a gentle teacher, in others I am a harsh drill instructor, and there are times when it is necessary to take up the scourge and drive the deceivers out. If it is not a violation of your conscience, you should do the same.

Christians, both teachers and lay, are NOT to be tolerant of anti-Christ (heretical and unbiblical) teachings, teachers, and believers. We are not to allow them to teach us. God gives us the following instruction:

Deuteronomy 13:1-3:
1 "If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you     a sign or a wonder,
2 "and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying,     'Let us go after other gods'-- which you have not known--' and let us serve     them,'
3 "you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for     the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your     God with all your heart and with all your soul." (NKJ)

God commands all Christians to reject and not associate with heretics and unbelievers. We are to abandon those who bring unbiblical doctrines:

Titus 3:10-11
10 Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition,
11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self- condemned.      (NKJ)

2John 1:10-11:
10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him      into your house nor greet him;
11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds. (NKJ)

We live in a society infected with terrible, corrupt forces. They demand our acceptance of their sin. Wickedness has invaded the church in the name of tolerance. That MUST be stopped. All Christians must realize that tolerating heresy, heathen religion, false (unbiblical) doctrines, and wickedness of all kinds endangers the whole church. In 1Corinthians 5 the Apostle Paul first rebukes the church for tolerance of corruption, and then teaches the correct way to respond to it:

1Corinthians 5:4-7:
4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along    with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
5 deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be     saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the     whole lump?
7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly     are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. (NKJ)

God is NOT politically correct. His standards of behavior, acceptance, and rejection are NOT NEGOTIABLE. Christians obey God's command. If we do not, we have no right to call ourselves Christian. Those who reject His commands and do not obey Him are not His people, they are wicked servants of hell. They are destined to spend eternity in hell. Those who compromise with heresy and unbiblical doctrine are deceivers and are on the freeway to hell. It is written:

Romans 6:16 "Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to       obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to       death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?" (NKJ)

Politically correct tolerance is deadly foolishness. The liar, the heretic, the homosexual offender, the adulterer, the slanderer, the gossip, the false teacher, all are poison in the body of Christ (His church). It may feel good to be tolerant of other lifestyles, deathstyles, and religions, but God forbids our supporting them. Feeling good about what God has declared corrupt is a warm-and-fuzzy way to die -- eternally. God Himself tells us:

Proverbs 14:12;16:25: "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is       the way of death." (NKJ)

It is inescapable that anyone who advocates tolerance, walking hand-in-hand with corruption, is no servant of God. That person is just as corrupt at those he seeks to appease. He is no Christian.

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It is that latter case which is the focus of this message. The Apostle Paul wrote the Epistles under God's direction for our edification, not just rules, but principles for righteous living. It is one of those fundamental principles expressed so well in Romans 14:13-18 and in the entirety of 1Corinthians 8 which founds both my own ministry and my reaction to heretics and deceivers.

If taken literally, Paul's teaching that he would give up eating meat sacrificed to idols is most certainly the reaction of a true Believer to the needs of his weaker brethren. Paul recognized the consequence of leading one of God's chosen into sin, and would not do anything which would cause his weaker brother to fall. He was willing to sacrifice his personal preferences to prevent a weaker brother's failure. Applying broadly the principle Paul taught in 1Corinthians 6:12 to this example, he (and we) do have freedom in all things, but doing some things like eating meat sacrificed to idols not beneficial if it causes a weaker brother or sister to stumble and fall into what is sin for them. That is the obvious lesson, but there is another important extension of the principle involved in these passages which founds the methods I use in my ministry.

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It has already been explained that it is the duty of every teacher to root out evil and expose the teaching of false doctrine. The issue becomes one of the teacher's methods as well as his motivation. Motivations are the sole territory of the personal relationship between God and the teacher. The teacher's motives can not be hidden from Almighty God. Teachers are responsible to Him for their errors, and He will judge false teachers very harshly (Titus 2:1- 15. esp. v.9; James 3:1, 13-17). That is part of the reason that I attack false teachers and heretics without mercy. I do not desire that anyone be condemned to hell. The other reason goes full-circle back to the principle of eating meat sacrificed to idols.

The Holy Bible is a dynamic, living entity. It has proven adaptable to all of mankind's cultures throughout the millennia, bringing to Him those He has chosen and elected. God necessarily made the Holy Bible that way because as His breath is in it (2Timothy 3:16), and as an extension of His omniscience, it is adaptable to what He has created and foreseen. Therefore, to attack the principles, truth, and inerrancy of the Holy Bible is not to attack the teacher, but to attack God Himself. I am a teacher, and I will unmercifully return the "favor" of any attacker, not matter how deceptive his methods, no matter what he claims to be his motives. That is, again, because of the principle of eating meat sacrificed to idols: We must not do anything, or permit anything to be done which may cause a weaker brother to stumble and fall into sin. In taking that attitude we not only give a helping hand to our weaker brothers and sisters in Christ, but teach a lesson to the liar and fulfill God's instruction to me not to allow His Gospel to be maligned (Psalms 51:13; Isaiah 62:6;Ro 12:9-13;1Corinthians 9:20-23, 15:58;Ephesians 6:10- 18; Philippians 1:27-28;Jude 22; Titus 2).

So, in whatever venue you find me writing, please understand that everything I write is part of my ministry. I do not differentiate between my calling as a teacher of the Gospel and going to the store, walking down the street, writing a personal letter, or talking with my neighbor. Everything that I do which engages the attention of another human being is inseparable from God's gift of teaching which He provided for me, his undeserving servant, through His infinite wisdom and mercy. Everything that I write reflects the principles of that ministry, and that awesome responsibility God has given to me. You will do well, and will be a blessing to your brethren, if you follow that pattern.

Hence, if I discover someone declaring false doctrine, whether or not he claims to be a teacher, and no matter the circumstances, teaching is what he is doing. He can deny that his rhetorical deception is not teaching, and that he is only asking questions, but if those "questions" are proposed in a way that causes them to be understood as statements and declarations about Biblical principles, and not questions, I will vehemently and without quarter expose the false teacher-cum-questioner as a deceiver. God grant that you can be steadfast in His way.

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I do use many techniques to expose deceivers and heretics whom I deem worthy of the effort based upon the experience that God has allowed in my life. That I am opposed or criticized by a brother or sister in Christ for using that experience and the methods it has generated to expose a heretic is important to me. Nevertheless, I can not alter my ministry to satisfy them, but if my brethren can learn how to handle the heretic and the liar I am justified in my actions. Neither should a brother or sister in Christ follow this example if it is sin to them. On the other hand, if my brethren can accept this aggressive ministry, at the very least I have succeeded in both defending the Gospel, and in edifying my fellow Believers.

The ultimate goal of this ministry is to hold up a mirror while praying that God will allow those hell-bound heretical souls to see in themselves what He has allowed me to see in them. If they can not see themselves reflected in that mirror, may God have mercy upon them. I will be praying for their redemption by some other means, and for God's mercy upon them. If they do open their eyes, then I have been permitted to be an instrument in His hands, beginning the process of shaping that previously useless vessel according to His will. In all of this I offer no apology for my methods; I am responsible only to God for them. I am deeply concerned that my brothers and sisters in Christ understand what I am doing, but I will not allow their theologies, convictions, or misunderstandings of God's plan to thwart the direction He has so clearly pointed out to me since I was a child.

Doulos kai Diakonos Christou Iesou
(Koinean Greek: A slave and servant in Christ Jesus)

~~Deke
Bible Teacher and Editor
The Chrisitan Conservative Opinion Pages


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©1998 Deke (a pseudonym)

This document may be reproduced and distributed freely if it is: [1] done without charge, [2] all sections of the entire text are reproduced exactly as they appear here, intact and without addition or deletion, and [3] it includes this copyright notice and the author's name. Short excerpts from this document for commentary are permissible. All rights reserved.
 
 



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SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN .... TO COME UNTO ME

-OR-
The Child's Simple faith: A Type of the Believer
Matthew 18:1-4 and 19:13-14



 

Note: our brother in Christ, Theophilus (a pseudonym) posted a Sunday School lesson to the Michael Reagan threaded forum on Sunday, March 15. 1998. His lesson was an in-depth, traditional study of God's salvation and Jesus' offering it not just to adults, but to children as well. After reading his teaching, I responded by examining "another side of the coin," another lesson from those passages. My reply follows:


Thanks, Theo, for the Bible lesson. I am in total agreement with your teaching about our most precious responsibility, our children. There is another message -- not an opposing message -- within some of those same Scriptures.

Jesus teaches His disciples yet another lesson in Matthew 18:1-4, "At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, 'Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?' He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: 'I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.' " (NIV) In this passage Jesus also examines the little child's attitude and uses it to illustrate the simple faith and humility that is the measure of a Christian adult's spiritual growth, and the adult's motives for following Him.

Now consider that standard in relation the same Biblical truth, unspoken but nonetheless present, in Matthew 19:13-14, "Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.' " (NIV) Again He was speaking not just to His disciples, but about them. In this latter passage He again instructs His disciples about the attitude they must have, and the attitude required of those who were to follow in their footsteps.

The Apostle Paul sums up Jesus' teaching in 1 Corinthians 1:27-31 "But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things-- and the things that are not- - to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God-- that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: 'Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.' " (NIV) That teaching, in turn, meshes with your lesson about the little children. No one sinner is better than the next; none are to be ignored by the true Christian.

Thanks again, bro., for an insightful Bible lesson. I'm looking forward to your next post.


Copyright ©1998 Deke (a pseudonym)

This document may be reproduced and distributed freely if it is: [1] done without charge, [2] all sections of the entire text are reproduced exactly as they appear here, intact and without addition or deletion, and [3] it includes this copyright notice and the author's name. Short excerpts from this document for commentary are permissible. All rights reserved.



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ETERNAL SECURITY:
A CHURCH DOCTRINE IN CONFLICT WITH BIBLICAL INERRANCY
-OR-
RECONCILING JOHN 3:3 AND 16 WITH ROMANS 8:10-39
AND HEBREWS 4:6-10


When I was a "babe in Christ," as my co-worker Baptist brethren called me, I was forced to face a terrible experience which raised far more questions than either I or my elder brothers and in the church hierarchy could adequately answer. I was working in a position of great trust. I was certain that God had placed me there for a reason because it was on that job that two of my brothers in Christ led me to a "saving knowledge of Jesus Christ." Within only a few days of making a public confession of Christ as my Savior, I was drawn irresistibly to study God's inerrant written Word, the Holy Bible. While I was learning, a tragedy occurred that was destined to change my then-certain theological perspective.

A co-worker and friend of mine had publicly declared that he was a Born-Again Christian shortly after I had made the same confession of Christ as Savior. He was baptized before his congregation, and confessed Christ before men. I rejoiced because I knew that the Jesus said in Matthew 10:32: "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven." ." Jesus also promised in John 3:16, "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."
I was about to be shocked.


THE PROBLEM


Only a few weeks after his public confession and baptism, my friend caught his wife in adultery, stole a co-worker's service revolver, murdered her lover, shot her, drove twenty miles to a parking lot and blew his brains out in front of two teenagers. I was in shock; in fact I confess that I still do not clearly remember which of the two he murdered. My new-found faith was facing a massive theological crisis: He did the required acts of faith, and then committed murder and suicide. Did his acts of faith save him as I had been taught, or was he condemned to hell? After all, I had been taught the born- again Doctrine of Eternal Security: once the confession of faith in Christ is made, we are saved for eternity, and can not be separated from God (Romans 8:38-39). But my born-again friend committed the murder and suicide AFTER he had been saved. I was unable to reconcile his act with that doctrine because Scripture was crystal-clear that a murderer shall not enter the Kingdom of God. Clearly, something was wrong, but I knew the problem was not with the Bible.

Principle: The Bible does not contradict itself! But there was the inescapable example of my murdering born-again friend, running headlong into a Scriptural wall in the Book of Revelation 21:8, "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." and 22:14-15: "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie." Clearly, the Word of God had sealed the fate of my friend to the lake of fire.

But, again, came the words given by God to the Apostle Paul that tell us nothing can separate those who are saved from the love of Christ, Romans 8:38-39, "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." My friend had made a public confession and was baptized. He was, according to the born-again Doctrine of Eternal Security, born again (John 3:3 and 16), but was condemned by Revelation 21:8 and 22:15. What was I to think? Was the Bible in conflict with itself? I had to answer "NO!" I knew better!


GOD'S WORD IS TRUSTWORTHY; MEN MAKE MISTAKES


It was clear given the case of my late Born-Again Christian friend that my church's doctrine conflicted with the Bible. I had to resolve that "tension." Was the Bible wrong? Did it have, as the scoffers claim, obvious conflicts? If those conflicts were there, how could it be the inerrant Word of God? History and archeology showed that the Bible is true and accurate. The truth prophesies proved their worth in the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ Jesus. The value of the Bible's legal principles were reflected in the founding documents that led to the United States Constitution, and the nascent and enduring democracy. So, why did it tell me that my Born-Again Christian friend was condemned to the lake of fire?

There was only one possible conclusion: The Bible was right. He murdered and he was NOT saved. Revelation 21:8 and 22:15 made that abundantly clear; he WAS condemned to hell, not by me, but by Almighty God who declared it so in His inerrant written word, the Holy Bible. So, now the Doctrine of Eternal Security became highly questionable, theologically out-of-sync with the Bible, and might even be heretical. I was fairly certain that it wasn't wholly heretical, but it was clear that there was a fundamental flaw in the doctrine.

First I considered why had I believed that my late friend, and I for that matter, were eternally saved when we made the public confession of Christ as our personal Savior? Obviously I had been listening to teachers who, like the majority of teachers, place CHURCH doctrine above the Written and Breathed Word of God. I know that they are in grave error doing that because 2Timothy 3:16-17 teaches, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." They were teaching the born-again version of the Doctrine of Eternal Security, but their doctrine is clearly un-Biblical at best because it could not be reconciled to Romans 8:10-39 and Hebrews 6:4-10.


AVOIDING THE PROBLEM DOES NOT SOLVE IT


After a little independent examination of the Holy Bible it became apparent why those teachers had avoided Scriptures like Romans 8:29-30, "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." It was clear why they excused themselves from responsibility of squaring theology with Scripture by saying, "That Scripture gives us trouble," when challenged with the contradiction of the born-again version of the Doctrine of Eternal Security provided by Hebrews 6:4-10, "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister."

When the born-again's reliance on their Doctrine of Eternal Security was challenged with Scripture, my once-saved-always-saved Bible teachers would promise, "We will ask the Pastor." and do a nice "Shuffle-off-to- Buffalo" through the front door. They NEVER came back with an answer. Were they tacitly lying? Possibly. At the very least they were deceptively side-stepping the issue. It was obvious that they did not want to confront the reality that their doctrine was in irreconcilable conflict with the Word of God. So, the tragic murder and suicide, sadly, had some value to me. It pointed out with agonizing reality the worthlessness of man's doctrines, the absolute truth of God's Holy Bible, and the blindness of leaders who chose their doctrine over Biblical truth, placing their sin-enslaved human mind's ideology above the Word of Almighty God.


A SECOND OPINION


It had become incumbent upon me to re-evaluate those Scriptures those so-called teachers had avoided (hence, so-called teachers). I was what they called a "new Christian" or a "babe in Christ," but I had quickly uncovered some disturbing truths about why they used those misleading and stifling titles. They didn't want to be questioned so that they could indoctrinate me; perhaps in some of their cases, before I had the chance to discover the flaws in their doctrines. To paraphrase Tweetie-Pie from the old Warner Bros. cartoons, "They didn't know me vewy well, did they?" I knew that the Holy Spirit would help me. Given His help, I had to perform an informal exegesis (I didn't know what a exegesis was at the time) that would reconcile the ENTIRE Bible, including eternal salvation through Christ, with Romans 8:10-30 and Hebrews 6:4-10, both of which SEEMED to conflict with Romans 8:38-39 which teaches, "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Was the Apostle Paul just stating his own ideas? No! I knew better than that, all Scripture is God- breathed (2Timothy 3:16). THERE IS NO CONFLICT IN THE BIBLE!

I began by carefully re-studying the Book of Romans, repeatedly praying for God's guidance and wisdom through His Holy Spirit. As I began reading Romans Chapter 8, a pattern "opened" to me that I had never seen before. Every study I had done with my born-again brethren quickly glossed over those passages. This time it was different. The pattern I found made the reason for their quick side-step clear. Romans 8 didn't say what they thought it did.

It was God's teaching through the Apostle Paul that was the key. We have the HOPE of sonship as taught in Romans 8:24-25. We wait for it because we don't yet have it. Simply, God expects us to trust Him ALONE to deliver us from hell through the sacrifice of His son, Christ Jesus, on the cross.

Now I began to re-think Hebrews 6:4-10 in relation to the born-again Doctrine of Eternal Security (once saved, always saved, right now). THE BIBLE DOES NOT CONFLICT WITH ITSELF! Hebrews 6:4-10, obviously, can't have been saying that salvation can be lost, but that was implied if I accepted the born-again version of Eternal Security; salvation was lost for my murdering, late friend. The born-again version immediately conflicted with Romans 8:38-39, "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." It could not have been speaking of those who have the Holy Spirit because they are God's chosen (John 14:16-17 [Jesus to His disciples] esp. v.17; Galatians 3:2; 1Corinthians 2:10-14, esp. v.14;). It could not have been speaking of sinners because the Holy Spirit is not given to sinners, who are God's enemies (Romans 8:7; 1Corinthians 2:14- 16), but to those who obey God (1John 3:21-24); so, Hebrews 6:4-10 MUST have been speaking of someone else, but of whom? The answer eluded me for a very long time.


THE SOLUTION: SIMPLICITY WITHIN COMPLEXITY


Finally, a brother provided the answer. It was so simple that I had missed it. Hebrews 6:5-6(a) ". . . . (5) And have TASTED the good word of God . . . ." There it was, they had TASTED, they had NOT ACCEPTED the good word of God. The answer, really, lay in my Nestle Greek text. It reads "For it is impossible [for] the [ones] once being enlightened and tasting of the gift heavenly and sharers becoming Spirit of [the] Holy and the good tasting of God word and powerful deeds of a coming age, (6) and falling away, again to renew to repentance . . . ." More, the NIV translation was superior to the KJV. "It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have TASTED of the heavenly gift, who have SHARED in the Holy Spirit, who have TASTED of the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back [Gk: "to be renewed to"] repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again [Gk: "crucifying for the Son of God for themselves again"] and subjecting Him to public disgrace." Those who taste and share do not HAVE, theyonly vicariously experience the good gift of God's word. They then turn away WITHOUT EVER HAVING BEEN ELECTED by God Almighty, although they did respond to His CALL. That is the reason that Jesus teaches in Matthew 20:16(b)* that, ". . . .MANY BE CALLED, BUT FEW CHOSEN." (KJV) *

The apparent "believers" of Hebrews 6:4-10 have a veneer of righteousness, a patina of the presence of Christ reflected from the influence of the elect company they keep, but it can not be sustained because they utterly lack the indwelling Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:10); their spirits are dead. They will be unable to "endure to the end" to be saved (Matthew 10:22). They are reprobate. They are condemned. They will join and have been joined by my murdering late friend. The Scriptural conflict is solved. PRINCIPLE: THE BIBLE DOES NOT CONTRADICT ITSELF!


CONCLUSION AND FURTHER STUDY


So what will befall my friend who murdered? I can only base my opinion on Scripture. It seems that he is condemned. Nonetheless, it is up to Almighty God to judge him. Only God knows what was truly in his heart. I pray that God will be merciful to him.

I have concluded that the born-again version of the Biblical Doctrine of Eternal Security conflicts with the Bible. There is, however, a Biblical Doctrine of Eternal Security. It is not for this time in our Christian lives, as our born-again brethren believe. We have HOPE of, not a guarantee of, salvation. The guarantee of salvation is for those whom God has elected, not just called. God's sovereign choice in that regard has not yet been revealed. The Biblical doctrine of Eternal Security is explained in Romans Chapter 8, starting with verse 10. It militates against the born-again version of that doctrine. I have also addressed portions of Romans 8:10-25 in another article on this page, above.

There is a more thorough discussion of Romans 8:10-25 in reply to a letter from a believer on this web site's Bible Answers Page , and an in-depth analysis of two here-and-now eternal security refuting Bible Passages on our Six Postulates page.

Doulos kai diakonos Christou Iesou
~~Deke

NOTES:

* Note that the NIV does not include this in its translation. Since this is not a formal exegesis, its presence or absence is not of vital concern to the topic of this informal exegetical work and critique. There is more than sufficient Scripture to support the position presented here without Matthew 20:15(b).


Copyright 1997 Deke (a pseudonym)

This document may be reproduced and distributed freely if it is: [1] done without charge, [2] all sections of the entire text are reproduced exactly as they appear here, intact and without addition or deletion, and [3] it includes this copyright notice and the author's name. Short excerpts of this document for commentary are permissible.



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IS WATER BAPTISM REQUIRED FOR SALVATION?


Two dear Baptist brothers awakend me to God's call, or at least they agitated and challenged me enough that I moved. I had felt His call since I was a small child, probably under eight years of age. Yet almost as soon as I responded to God's call, I began asking questions which were not really appreciated.

One of those early questions, concerned Matthew 3:11: "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." and Ephesians 4:4-5: "There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism;"(NKJ)  My question to the Baptist teachers was, "Which is the baptism for Christians, that of John, or that of the 'Holy Spirit and fire'? There is an obvious difference." The reply was, "We will ask the Pastor." I NEVER received an answer. Now I know they didn't have one!

It was obvious that John the Baptist drew a clear distinction between his baptismal practice and the one he prophesied was to come, that of Jesus Christ. The "baptism of John" was a physical act performed in water for the remission of sin. The Baptism into Christ, which John prophesied, was to be different from John's in that would not be a physical act, but it would also include the remission of sin. Unlike the "baptism of John" in water, I understood that the Baptism into Christ which John prophesied would be into the Holy Spirit, and into an element of lifelong testing in "fire."

Each time I asked tough questions of the Baptist brothers and Bible teachers who were "discipling" me, the questions challenged their interpretations of Scripture, or questioned the doctrines of their Baptist leaders. There was a pattern: They either gave "rote" answers, or they didn't answer if my questions demanded examination of Biblical doctrine which conflicted with that of their theologians. In the latter case they gave me the "stall," obviously hoping that the question would go away. I posed questions about predestination, election, and reprobacy, God's omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence, and if symbolic water baptism is really required given the reality of Christ. I asked if God's sovereignty negates the concept of "conversion," the WORK of "asking Christ into my heart." Those issues gnawed at the very foundation of their theology. They stalled relentlessly. It was easier to hide than to answer. Ultimately I began studying Scripture to ferret out bottom-line answers for myself, including answers about baptism.

I decided to ignore Christian traditions of every kind and stick with the Bible and the Greek alone, an application of the philosophical standard called Occam's Razor. I wanted to know "the bottom line." My first objection, that baptism is a work, was already decided. There was no disagreement among the conservative Baptists who first taught me; baptism was a work, and I agreed with them. That was not enough. I wanted answers to the questions they could or would not address. I found many answers, raised new questions, and found the Bible answering them.

The Greek word for baptize is bapto. It originally meant to "overwhelm" or "to cover over with." I began my study with that fundamental idea rather than Christian tradition. It was clear that dipping, sprinkling, or immersing, or any part of baptism having to do anything with water became part of Christian tradition, grew from First Century practice. It quickly became a source of division within the First Century church. The question became, "If God requires water baptism, why did it begin to divide the church?"

As I studied the issue of water baptism a series of Scritpurally- based conclusions relating to the spiritual value of water baptism became a focal point, and have remained so. Each of those points is enumrated below, with "Link to Notes" and a "Return to Text" options to provide supporting Scripture(s) and return you to where you were reading. The Scriptures provided in support of the points are not the only supporting Scriptures in the Bible, but they are the most clear.

I have selected quotations from both the New King James and the New International Version, whichever give the clearest interpretation of the Greek. The conclusions are:

1)  The requirement of water baptism was "fulfilled" (completed) when Jesus        was baptized.
Link to Notes
 

2)  We are saved by God's grace through Christ's faith, not our faith or our       works, including water baptism.
Link to Notes
 

3)  It is the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ and not water baptism which is        the proof and hope of our salvation and the remission of sin.
Link to Notes
 

4)  The reality of Christian Baptism is produced by the presence of the Holy       Spirit, the Spirit of Christ and His righteousness in us, and not the use of       water (a work).
Link to Notes
 

5)  God's elect are baptized (whelmed / immersed) INTO that Spirit of Christ by        His Word , and NOT INTO water (water baptism is ok, but unnecessary for        salvation).
Link to Notes
 

6)  Continuation of the practice of water baptism led to division in the First       Century church.
Link to Notes
 

7)  Paul stopped baptising in water and continued to preach the Gospel based       on Christ Jesus' sacrifice.
Link to Notes
 

8)  The reality of Christian baptism (whelming) into God's Holy Spirit, and not       John's baptism in water, stands the "test of fire". endures to the end, and       brings salvation.
Link to Notes
 

9)  Endurance of testing thoughout life is the evidence that one is saved, and not       the work called water baptism.
Link to Notes
 

10) Although God seems to command water baptism, it is really a spiritual         baptism (whelming) INTO Christ which He commands. That baptism, and         not the baptsim of John, brings salvation.
Link to Notes
 
 


CONCLUSION


So, given the foregoing, is water baptism not just unnecessary, but forbidden? Emphatically NO. Water baptism is a confession of Christ, sometimes the only confession of Him that some make in their lifetimes. I do not oppose its use unless it becomes a point of division. At that time, just like Paul, I would rather abandon water baptism than to abandon Christians to arguing over who or what church baptized them. There are other ways to declare Christ before men.
 
 


PROOF TEXTS AND NOTES:


I. THE FULFILLMENT (COMPLETION) OF JOHN'S RIGHTEOUS BAPTISM

Matthew 3:15: "But Jesus answered and said to him, 'Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.' " Then he allowed Him." (NKJ)
Return to Text
 
 
 

II. THE VALUE OF OUR ACTIONS (WORKS)

Ephesians 2:8-9
8  "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it      is the gift of God,
9  not of works, lest anyone should boast."(NKJ)
Return to Text
 
 
 

III. WHAT WATER BAPTISM IS AND IS NOT

Matthew 26:28: "For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (NKJ)

1 Peter 3:21: "and thiswater symbolizes baptism that now saves you also -- not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ," (NIV)
Return to Text
 
 
 

IV. THE INDWELLING SPIRIT OF CHRIST

Romans 8:10: "and if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness." (NKJ)
Return to Text
 
 
 

V. THE PROCESS AND PROMISE OF AWAKENING

Ephesians 1:13-14
13  "In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your        salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit        of promise,
14  who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased        possession, to the praise of His glory." (NKJ)
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VI. WATER BAPTISM AND DIVISION IN THE CHURCH

1 Corinthians 1:12-15:

12  "Now I say this, that each of you says, 'I am of Paul,' or 'I am of Apollos,' or       'I am of Cephas,' or 'I am of Christ.'
13  Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the       name of Paul?
14  I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius,
15  lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name." (NKJ)
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VII. PAUL'S RESPONSE TO DIVISIONS IN THE FIRST CENTURY             CHURCH

1 Corinthians 1:17: "For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect." (NKJ)
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VIII. THE TEST OF FIRE

Hebrews 12:6-8:
6  "For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He      receives."
7  "If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is     there whom a father does not chasten?
8  But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you     are illegitimate and not sons." (NKJ)

1 Peter 1:7: "that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, " (NKJ)
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IX. ENDURANCE THROUGH TESTING IS THE PROOF OF GOD'S GIFT            OF SALVATION.

Matthew 10:22: "And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved." (NKJ)
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X. THE GREAT COMMISSION AND WATER BAPTISM

Matthew 28:19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them INTO the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," (NKJ) (note: the Greek preposition eis is equivalent to the English preposition into)
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MORE INFORMATION ON WATER BAPTISM:
E. Calvin Beisner, A Critical Analysis of the Doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration



 
 


©1999, 2001 Deke (a pseudonym)

This document may be reproduced and distributed freely if it is: [1] done without charge, [2] all sections of the entire text are reproduced exactly as they appear here, intact and without addition or deletion, and [3] it includes this copyright notice and the author's name. Short excerpts from this document for commentary are permissible. All rights reserved.



©1999 Deke (a pseudonym)

Any article on this page may be reproduced and distributed freely if it is: [1] done without charge, [2] all sections of the entire text are reproduced exactly as they appear here, intact and without addition or deletion, and [3] it includes this copyright notice and the author's name. Short excerpts from this document for commentary are permissible. All rights reserved.
 


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