the FREE WILL of man will not be infringed

the MANIFOLD wisdom of God pt 5

the FREE WILL of man will not be infringed.

Some would have you believe that grace is Irresistible, and that grace is Limited to only those that the Holy Spirit saves.

Another way of saying this is; God has predetermined (predestined) those individuals who will be saved and those who will be lost.

Yet another way of saying the same thing; A person chosen to be saved by God cannot reject Him, and a person chosen to be lost by God cannot so act as to be saved.

Any rational thinking person can see that this is error to extreme proportions.

While it is true that God Calls [Acts 2:39], it is also true that the calling is done by the gospel. “Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” [2Thess 2:14].

Does God’s call go against a person’s FREE WILL? We shall show that God will never infringe upon a person’s FREE WILL to follow or reject Him.

We have been given the

Freedom to choose. Throughout scripture are examples of God presenting man with a choice, to follow or not. “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve,” [Josh 24:15]. “therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” [Deut 30:15-19]

It is possible to

Resisting the Holy Spirit is possible. Scripture teaches that it’s possible for a person to “resist the Holy Spirit.” Error says the His grace is irresistible.

“You always resist the Holy Spirit;” [Acts 7:51-55]

There has always been an

Expectation of God that all men repent. God does not will that any perish but all be saved. If it’s not possible to choose to walk away from God, then universalism (all saved) must be true.

Tit 2:11; 1 Tim 2:4; 2Pet 3:9

this idea of Irresistible Grace renders

EVANGELISM unnecessary. He that is drawn automatically by the Holy Spirit working directly on their mind against their will shall be saved. Why waste our time evangelizing if all is predestined. How can we know who to preach to? “Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” [2Thess 2:14; cf. Mat 28:18-20]

Irresistible Grace makes God a respecter of persons.

We’ve covered this in the last lesson, God is NOT a respecter of persons. [Acts 10:34; Rom 2:11-12; 1Pe 1:17] If He chooses SOME to be saved and the REST to be lost, then God is unjust.

“Why do you call me Lord & don’t do what I say?”  [Luke 6:46] This saying from Jesus will be spoken to some on the judgment day. If we are saved or lost against our will, this question makes zero sense.

Lose free will and God is responsible for my actions.

The devil made me do it? Nay, Nay; God made me do it!!!

“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” [James 1:13-15]. “We must all appear before the judgment that each may be repaid for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” [2 Cor 5:10]

We have free will and we are to

Learn of Jesus. Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me;” [Mat 11:29; cf. John 6:45]. We are drawn to God by HEARING (understanding through learning) the word of God. [Rom 10:17; John 20:30-31], we are called through gospel [1Thess 2:14] which some will accept, while others will reject!

Jesus & the Holy Spirit had opportunity to teach the Gospel to Paul personally, yet he had to hear the good news through the agency of the word through a person. [cf. Acts 8, 9, 10 et al.]

Scriptural Predestination is that God has predetermined HOW mankind will be saved. The method is predetermined, and all those that obey the Gospel shall be saved. [2Thess 1:8-9]

All MUST Obey the Gospel

MANIFOLD wisdom of God pt 1

All MUST obey the Gospel.

The first and foremost truth that will answer many objections is the fact that everyone MUST obey the gospel to be saved.

This is easily shown by looking at the New Testament Scriptures.

2Thess 1:8 …rendering vengeance to them that know not God, and to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus:

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

see also; Rom 1:5; 10:16; 16:26; [emph mine seb]

Denominational people will come to you saying

  • “Baptism is not essential to salvation.”
  • “No works of man can save you.”
  • “Ask Jesus into your heart and you’ll be saved.”
  • “What about the thief on the cross?”
  • “By grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.”

They will especially appeal to emotionalism

  • “Do you mean to tell me my mother, that godly woman, who was a (insert denomination here) all her life is lost?”
  • “What if you’re on the way to be baptized and you die?”

They may even quote a few scriptures out of context

  • Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
  • Rom 10:9 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.
  • Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
  • 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 believe all these passages, and I hope you do as well. However, I believe them in their context as well as in context with everything else Jesus said about salvation including baptism.

WHAT SAVES US?

Let’s answer one of the main objections to baptism. It is stated this way; “No work of man or from God can save you. If you get baptized, you’re working for & trying to earn your salvation.”

Colossians 2:11-14.

When you’re accused of salvation by ‘WORKS’ reply, “Yes, but it’s not me doing the work. Let’s look at Col 2:11-14.”

Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.”

“…the working of God,” [ASV]

First, It’s God who is WORKING when we are baptized. It is God’s work, [Isa 29:14; Hab 1:5; Acts 13:41]

“…raised with him through faith…”

Obedience to God’s command is never considered earning anything. He’s working through OUR faith, our trust in His working. Our obedience is part of faith. James wrote, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” [Jas 2:17]

wherein also ye are risen with Him…”

When we are baptized, we are being buried as dead sinners, then God’s working allows us to be RAISED with Christ being made alive, being forgiven of all our trespasses. [v13; Rom 6:3-4]

“…he make alive together with him;” [v13]

This scripture lets us KNOW what we’re doing in baptism, understanding that it is God working through our faith. It is not a blind faith, nor just a feeling. We may KNOW that we have eternal life. [2Tim 1:12; 1Jo 5:13]

“…having forgiven us all our trespasses;” [v13]

Lastly, because it’s God WORKING through OUR faith and that we are being RAISED with Christ, KNOWING we’ve obeyed the commands of God, we can be certain that we’ve worked out our SALVATION with fear and trembling. [Php 2:12; Acts 2:40] “Save yourselves from this untoward generation.”

The MANIFOLD wisdom of God

The MANIFOLD wisdom of God.

One thing that keeps us from talking to others about the Gospel of Christ is the fear someone will challenge us with something we don’t know how to answer. We are also afraid of steering anyone in the wrong direction, so we do nothing.

What if I told you that the vast majority of challenges you will encounter could be traced back to just a few simple principles? What if I told you that if you learned these handful of principles you could answer most OBJECTIONS to the gospel? How would that affect your confidence?

We need not study the teachings of denominations. If we study these few truths, we will be equipped.

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” [John 8:32] 

How would you like to learn just a few biblical truths and be able answer all these errors…?

COMMON ERRORS taught by denominations.

Saved by Faith only, Grace alone, Eph 2:8-9 only, There’s Nothing man can do to be saved, Baptism does not save, John 3:1-5 is physical birth, The Jailor was told to just believe, What if you’re in a desert without water, Infant Baptism, What if you’re on the way to be baptized and die, What’s in the water, It’s a good idea to be baptized but not necessary, The Bible Doesn’t say we can’t do ___, We have liberty to do whatever is not spoken against directly, We don’t have to be accurate with the word of God, You’re a Legalist, The End justifies the means, We draw people in with Bands, brews & burgers, varying Worship activities & practices, varying days of corporate worship, Tithing v giving, Rapture, TULIP (Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, Perseverance of the saints), Racial Prejudice, Men & women roles, women preachers / pastors, Popes, Cardinals & Priests, “God spoke to me,” Predestination, “I’m too sinful to be saved,” Marriage Divorce & Remarriage, Marriage perversions, Holy Spirit gifts, Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Mormons, Speaking in tongues, “God called me,” Seeing visions & dreams, Premonitions, mediums etc, Hardening pharaoh’s heart, Why does God allow evil, God is not good because of evil & pain, God isn’t good if He doesn’t end evil, God is not good if He can’t stop the evil, God has a plan for you, Demon possession, Direct operation of the Holy Spirit, Instrumental music in worship, David used instruments, Sabbath keeping, Feast days of the Old Testament, the 10 commandments, “What about the Thief on the cross,” “John 3:16 is all I need,” It’s just love, Love not Legalism, “You hate people because you judge them,” “there are Many ways to Christ,” God’s Love is so big that He has Many drawers (one for every denomination), Denominationalism, division in Religion, “God called you to your church and He called me to my church, Many churches, There are many ways to Christ, “many ships headed to one destination,” Institutionalism, Herald of Truth, In Search of the Lord’s way, Missionary Societies, church sponsored institutions, the sponsoring church, clothing rooms, general benevolence, “Christians aren’t supposed to debate,” “Let’s agree to disagree,” Once Saved always saved, Emotionalism, Gnosticism, “you think you’re the only ones going to heaven,” “You’re closed minded,” and more.

Yes, you can. By thoroughly learning a few foundational biblical truths, you can answer all of the above errors.

8 Foundational Truths

  1. Everyone MUST obey the Gospel to be saved.

[2Thess 1:8-9; Heb 5:8-9]

  • All AUTHORITY is in Christ, and His commands are written in the New Testament.

[Mat 28:18; Luke 6:46; 1Cor 14:37]

  • God is NO RESPECTER of persons.

[Acts 10:34; James 2:1-12]

  • The INSPIRATION of the Holy Spirit is complete.

[John 20:30-31; Eph 3:3-4; 1Cor 13:8-13; 2Tim 3:15-17]

  • The FREE WILL of man is never infringed.

[Deut 30:19; Josh 24:15; Mat 15:14; Philemon]

  • The Old Testament Law has ended.

[Hebrews 7,8,9,10; Col 2:14]

  • LOVE does not mean the acceptance of sin or that repentance is not required of us.

[John 13:35; 14:15; 15:14; Luke 6:46; 1John 5:3; 1Cor 13]

  • There is only one DOCTRINE of CHRIST and we are not to change it by adding to it or taking from it.

[2John 9; Rev 22:18; De 4:2; 12:32; Pr 30:6]

These 8 truths, if learned well, will aid you in facing nearly all of the challenges you will face in your personal evangelism.

May God Bless you all.

MIRACLES in Acts?

A problem with many denominations today is the belief that God still uses Holy Spirit gifts [9 HS Gifts, 1Cor 12:7-11] through men today. The belief includes thinking that God is still speaking directly to individuals. They say things like, “God spoke to me,” “I’ve been called by God.”

While God is all powerful and can do whatever He wants, He is not still revealing His will and is not using men to do miracles today. Remember this verse:

And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” [John 20:30-31]

The miracles & the revelations to the Apostles recorded in Scripture are sufficient for us to believe, repent & obey [Eph 3:3-4]. The miracles in Acts will bolster this assertion.

The MiracleLocationVersePurpose & Result
Baptism of the Holy Spirit #1Jerusalem2:1-21to confirm the teaching at beginning of the church. John 20:30-31; Heb 2:3-4; Mark 16:17-20
Peter heals a lame manJerusalem3:1-11Teaching. 11-26; Belief John 20:30-31; Heb 2:3-4; Mark 16:17-20
Ananias & Sapphira struck deadJerusalem5:1-10Teaching at the beginning of the New Covenant. Cr. Lev 10:1-3
Apostles perform many wondersJerusalem5:12-1620 “go stand & teach”
PhilipSamaria8:4-13 8:12 But when they believed Philip preaching
Paul convertedRoad to Damascus9:1-9To call an Apostle out of due season. 1Cor 15:8
Peter heals Eneas of a palsyLydda9:33, 34Belief. John 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Peter raises Tabitha, or Dorcas, to lifeJoppa9:36-41Belief. John 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Gentiles receive Holy Spirit Baptism #2 (& last)Caesarea10; Acts 11 & 15Confirming God’s acceptance; Acts 2
Peter delivered out of prison by an angelJerusalem12:7-17Joh 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
God smites Herod, so that he diesJerusalem12:21-23Teaching at the beginning of the new Covenant. Cr. Lev 10:1-3. 24 word of God grew.
Elymas, the sorcerer, smitten with blindnessPaphos13:6-1112 astonished at the teaching. Belief Joh 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Paul heals a cripple Lystra 14:8-1017 witness. John 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Paul casts out a spirit of divinationPhilippi16:16-18Confirming Preaching. John 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Paul and Silas’s prison doors opened by an earthquakePhilippi16:25-34Lead to converting the Jailor
Paul communicates the Holy SpiritEphesus19:1-6Confirming the word before it was written. John 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Paul heals multitudesEphesus19:11,12Belief John 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Paul restores Eutychus to lifeTroas20:9-12Joh 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Paul shakes off a viperMalta28:3-6Joh 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Paul heals the father of Publius and othersMalta28:7-9Joh 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4

An honest review of the above list will show the student why the miracles were needed.

  • To Confirm the preachers and the teaching were from God.
    • John 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
  • For Belief, not for them alone, but for us in our times.
    • “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” [John 20:31]
    • Spiritual gifts were to edify in the absence of the written Word [1 Cor. 14:12-13,26; cf. 13:9]. The written Word is now completely sufficient to edify us [Acts 20:32; 2 Tim 3:16-17].
  • To produce Godly Reverence at the beginning of a covenant to demonstrate God’s displeasure. Not repeated for same error.
    • see Leviticus 10:1-3; Acts 5:1-10; Acts 12:21-23;

Spiritual gifts have fulfilled all three reasons for which they were given.

WHAT MORE SHOULD WE SEEK? When you review both the Old and New Testaments, considering the time frame of the writing, you’ll discover that the Miraculous is quite rare. Additionally, you’ll see that God is very patient and longsuffering [2Pet 3:15]. You don’t see God constantly striking people down. “Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.” [1Cor 10:6]

God has completed His revelations to us, and He confirmed them through the various signs, miracles and wonders. As you read the last chapters of Acts, you’ll see fewer and fewer miracles. Even Paul, Timothy, Trophimus & Epaphroditus did not perform miracles on each other to cure their pains. [cr. 2Tim 4:20; 1Tim 5:23; 2Cor 12:7; Phil 2:25-27].

The Miracles in Acts show us how and why miracles were done. They were done primarily to confirm the Word that was spoken through the Apostles. These signs were referred to, NOT REPEATED, in Acts 15:7-12 to show the others God’s approval of their activities. Now that the Scriptures are complete and the church has been built, what further need do we need of Miracles?

“…thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

[2Tim 3:15; cf 16-17]

The Book of Acts, a book of conversions

Conversions in the Book of Acts

A mistake that is made in learning what we must do to be saved is by consulting only the books written to the saved without looking at what else is said in Scripture.

For example, many will quote the book to the Roman Christians; (Rom 10:9) without considering what Paul taught the Romans when he dwelt there for two whole years. [Acts 16:30]

They will quote the book written to the Ephesian Christians; (Eph 2:8-9) without considering what Paul taught the Ephesians [Acts 19:1-5].

These two examples show us why we must look into the book of Acts to see what lost people did. Those who heard the gospel and either obeyed it or rejected it. This is why it could be called the book of Conversions.

Let’s examine just a few of the conversions in this book to see how they responded to the preaching of the Gospel as commanded by Christ Jesus. [Mat 28:18-20]

Jews at PENTECOST [2:14-47] This represents the first gospel sermon after the DBR of Christ. The beginning of the church that Jesus promised to build [Mat 16:18] and the first example of those being saved. “Be saved from this perverse generation.” What happened? They HEARD the gospel [22-36]. They believed [37]. It must be inferred that they CONFESSED Jesus as the Christ the Son of God [Mt 10:32]. They were told to ‘REPENT & be baptized’ [38]. They were BAPTIZED into Christ [41] and 3,000 were added to the church. Then we see them ‘CONTINUING steadfastly in the Apostles Doctrine, which is from Christ [42; cr. John 14:26; 15:26; 16:13; 1Cor 14:37].

THE ETHIOPIAN EUNUCH [8:26-39] This man is reading from Isaiah and struggling with its meaning. Philip approaches him and is invited by the Eunuch to explain the passage. We then are told, “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.” What Happened? He HEARD the gospel of Jesus [35]. He BELIEVED [36-37] It is inferred that he REPENTED [Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30]. He CONFESSES that Jesus is the Christ [37]. He is BAPTIZED with water, by immersion, into Christ [38-39 cr. Rom 6:3-4; Gal 3:27]. He went away REJOICING [39].

The Apostle PAUL (Saul of Tarsus) [9:1-18; 22:6-16; 26:12-19]. While on his way to persecute the church of Christ, Saul saw Jesus risen from the dead. He HEARD & BELIEVED [9:5-6]. He was REPENTANT [9-11]. He CONFESSED [5-6]. He was BAPTIZED [18]. When retelling of this event, he states that baptism was the moment his sins were washed away [22:16].

CORNELIUS [10:1-11:18] This story tells of the first Gentile conversion. We must read chapters 10 & 11 to get the full picture. They were told to HEAR and they HEARD [6, 22, 33-43; 11:14]. It is inferred that they REPENTED & CONFESSED [Luke 13:3; Act 17:30; Mat 10:32]. They were BAPTIZED in water [47]. They received remission of sins [43].

Chapter 11:1-18 contains the retelling of this event by Peter to those of the circumcision who contended with him about being with gentiles. This retelling is necessary to show that God had made the same gospel plan of salvation available to every nation [Mat 28:18-20]. Up to this point, the preaching had been only to the Jews. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” [Rom 1:16] The “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” only occurred twice, here and at Pentecost. It was done to show God’s approval at the beginning.

As you can see, the book of Acts shows people obeying the Gospel. The same method can be applied to…

LYDIA [16:14-15]

THE JAILER [16:25-34]

THE CORINTHIANS. [18:8]

THE EPHESIANS [19:1-5]

The same Gospel requires all after Pentecost to HEAR, BELIEVE, REPENT, CONFESS, be BAPTIZED in water & have FAITHFULNESS. God shows no partiality, no bigotry. The Gospel is for all and all must obey the Gospel in the same way. God is no respecter of persons.

He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,” [Hebrews 5:9; cr 2Thess 1:8-9; 1Cor 15:1-4] –Spencer

What made the Wise Men WISE?

What made the Wise Men WISE?

FOLLOWING THE STAR…

We know not the date of His birth

We have no command to celebrate it.

We have no idea how many Wise men.

Mat 2:1-12 Wise men following the star

Following the star, what made these…

WISE men? Matt 2:1-12

What can we learn from these WISE men?

It’s WISE to

WORSHIP. Mat 2:11.

When Christ was born, all the angels of God worshipped Him. (Heb 1:6)

John 4:24 must, in spirit and in truth.

It’s WISE to

INVEST in Christ. Mat 2:11; 6:20

GIVE. Gold = King; Fran = Priest; Myrhh = Burial.

GOD has always required it.

Deut 14:22-29 (1st Tithe, Lev 27:30-33; 2nd & 3rd Tithe Deut 14:22-29

Abraham gave; [Heb 7:4].

Give of yourself first! 2Cor 8:5

INDIVIDUALLY, directly. Luke 10:33.

The judgment scene, Mat 25:31-46

VOLUNTARY. 2Cor 8:12, 9:7

EVEN a cup of water. Mr 9:41 For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name,

It’s WISE to

SEEK Christ. What GUIDE to use?

Those with lessor wisdom seek the perishing things. Col 2:22-23 perish with using.

They had a divine GUIDE, the star.

Mat 6:33 seek ye first. Col 2:1-2 seek, set…

Emotionalism. Deceived, joy or hurt. Consider Jacob about Joseph. Gen 37:34; 45:26

A painful or joyful falsehood, if believed by us, will affect us in the same way.

Wise men depend not on uncertain guides.

DIRT man wisdom.

Mars Hill Men’s IGNORANCE. Act 17:22,23

Man’s wisdom doesn’t know God. 1Cor 1:21

The wisdom from above is not within man. James 3:17; Jer 10:23. Judges 21:25

INSIDE your conscience? consider Paul.

Ac 26:9 I verily thought with myself, contrary

His conscience was perfectly clear. Act 23:1

A Conscience trained in the truth urges.

A conscience untrained cannot bear the truth.

Rom 2:15 conscience accusing or excusing

Weak (1Cor 8:12), Defiled (Titus 1:15), Seared (1Tim 4:2), Evil (Heb 10:22).

Wise men depend not on uncertain guides.

UNIVERSE, nature?

While the heavens declare (Rom 1:20; Psa 19:1)

Nature as a sole guide makes sun, river, moon, animal worshippers. EGYPT.

We can learn from nature… Prov 6:6

Nature alone doesn’t lead us to know God.

Wise men depend not on uncertain guides.

NOT… Emotion, Dirty man, Inside us, Universe…

The wise men followed a divinely created star, the only divine guide for today’s wise man is

GOD’S revealed, inspired word.

Ps 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Pr 6:23 For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:

John 8:33 The truth shall make you free. John 17:17

2John 1:9 abide not… hath not God.

Mat 7:21-23; Luke 6:46

It’s WISE to go the

ENTIRE way.

The wise of the east did not stop until they reached.

Far too many stop SHORT of reaching Jesus…

SCRIBE was close. Mar 12:34 Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.

HARD sayings stop some short. Joh 6:60-66

One w/ greater sin, Judas. Mat 26:14-17; John 19:11

RULER so young, lacked one thing. Mark 10:17-22

TURNING back once the hand is at the plow… Luke 9:62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

ENDURE unto the end.

“But he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.” Matthew 24:13

Ad Hominem & other Attacks p7, You’re not SMART enough

The Bible’s Marvelous Unity

We’re addressing how to answer Ad Hominem ATTACKS; Ad Hominem means; in a way that is directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining.

Christians are to expect ATTACKS both personally & physically. “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” [Mark 13:13]

Today’s attack is arrogant and full of pride. “You’re not SMART enough to understand.” We know what God says about pride; “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” [Proverbs 16:18]

The SEVENTH ATTACK sounds like this: “Religion is a crutch for the weak minded.” Another way this attack is framed; “You’re not SMART enough to understand.”

This attack is used by both unbelievers and denominational believers alike. Jesse ‘the body’ Ventura said this, “Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers. It tells people to go out and stick their noses in other people’s business. I live by the golden rule: Treat others as you’d want them to treat you. The religious right wants to tell people how to live.” (If you believe Jesse, please ignore the part about the golden rule, which is from Matthew 7:11-12)

Another fellow said to me, ‘you need to be reading more difficult books.’ He is a denominational believer (2Cor 11:4) and was being critical of a group of us that were studying just the Bible.

“You’re a SPIRITLESS church” is another way this attack is stated. Supposedly, according to the attacker, if the worship is without instrumental music, hand clapping or other bodily gyrations & speaking in tongues, then the Holy Spirit is not with you and is proof that you’re wrong. This line of reasoning ignores the Scriptures about the operation of the Holy Spirit, and substitutes bible study for emotionalism. [cr. 1Cor 12, 12, 14 for a more complete understanding of the operation of the Holy Spirit]

Atheists are prone to say that we ignore the MATERIAL evidence supporting evolution. This is a presumption on their part. Many of us have looked at the same MATERIAL evidence and are compelled to believe in a Creator. [Romans 1:18-20]

Others will frame this attack by saying we’re heartless ANTI’S, because we don’t help people with their physical needs the way that they do. Once again, this is a presumption on their part because they don’t know the scriptures nor the power of God. [Matt 22:29; cr Matt 7:21-23]. We in the church of Christ are very benevolent. The difference is we follow the doctrine of Christ about HOW & WHO is responsible for it. They have shifted the work of benevolence from the shoulders of those responsible, according to the scriptures, to the ‘NEW CART’ of institutionalism. [cr. 2Samuel 6:1-9]

Still others accuses us of being irrational or having a ‘blind faith.’ I’ll readily admit that many denominational errors are completely irrational and foolish. Paul stated this in 1Corinthians 14 verse 23, “will they not say that ye are mad?”

If you deny the truth because of the abuses and errors of denominationalism, that’s on you. Don’t call good evil because someone is doing it wrong. We’re as much against irrational faith as the next. Irrational faith is more common among denominational believers and atheists than it is in the Lord’s church.

God’s word is very RATIONAL. The internal evidence of the Bible is very compelling and the faith we hold is not without evidence. [Hebrews 11:1]. The evidence of UNITY is very compelling. Written over 1600 years, by about forty men in separate intervals of time and place, under varying circumstances and without contradiction, yet one crimson thread (the theme of human redemption) runs throughout the entire 66 books. The other evidence from prophecy, scientific accuracy before scientific discovery and its indestructability just add to a RATIONAL faith.

Lastly, we hold the rational position that there is one TRUTH. The attacker often claims many truths (ie; your truth, my truth) much of which is contradictory. The TRUTH of God’s word has stood the test of time. “Sanctify them in the truth: thy word is truth.” [John 17:17]

The TRUTH of God’s word is transparent and available to all. Unlike those bodies that keep secrets [Jude 1:3]. It is researchable by all [Acts 17:11]. It has universal application to all men, for all time, in all places [Mark 16:15]. The bible is expansive to all levels of thinkers. From the least to the greatest of minds, the wisdom is undeniable [Proverbs 1:4-6]. Lastly, the words of scripture are heaven sent, they come from God.

Never believe it when someone says you’re not SMART enough to understand. Becoming a Christian is the SMARTEST thing anyone can do.

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without variance, without hypocrisy.”

[James 3:17]

–Spencer

Ad Hominem & other Attacks p6, women’s ROLES

WOMEN NEEDED IN THE CHURCH

We’re addressing how to answer Ad Hominem ATTACKS; Ad Hominem means; in a way that is directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining.

Christians are to expect ATTACKS both personally & physically. “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” [Mark 13:13]

One thing you’ll notice in these attacks is the complete lack of scriptures in defense of their position. We must always respond with biblical truth, and the best way to do this is to open the Bible and let them see it for themselves.

The SIXTH ATTACK sounds like this: “You hate women because you won’t let a woman preach.” Another way this attack is framed; “Paul was a misogynist.”

This is a highly charged and emotional attack against God. In light of current cultural beliefs, many will avoid giving any kind of defense [cr. 1Peter 3:15]. We need not be afraid; the scriptures reveal great things about women. Why would we hide these powerful examples?

The objection is stated in a way that makes it appear that God, and by extension the church of Christ, places a lower value on women. This is patently false. God highly esteems women and so do we.

The true defense to this attack is by reframing the discussion to be about the various ROLES God has given us, both male & female. There are roles for men, for women, for children, for servants, for Elders, for teachers, for masters, for younger, for older etc. To claim a person is less of a person because of the different roles assigned is to be ignorant or dishonest with the word of God. Let’s examine the ROLES of women.

The wife being in subjection to her husband has been the RULE from the beginning [Gen 2, 3; 1Tim 2:9-15], and still continues [1Cor. 11:3; 1Tim. 2:11-12; Eph. 5:22-24; Col. 3:18; 1Pet. 3:1]. However, if we stop there we will miss the whole truth. Many overlook many passages that gives a complete picture.

The wife hath not power over her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power over his own body, but the wife.”

[1Cor 7:4; cr. 1Pet 3:1-9; Eph 5:22-23].

Those who give this attack are also unaware of the OUTSTANDING women examples in scripture. Here’s a list of some of the named OUTSTANDING women:

What these folks fail to see is that God has assigned roles to people and these are simple LABOR DIVISIONS. He gives His rationale for women’s roles in 1Timothy 2. The man was created first [1Tim. 2:13]. Woman was created afterward for a helper and companion to man [Gen. 2:19-25]. She is to be in subjection to man; he will rule over her [Gen. 3:16]. But this labor division doesn’t make her any less of a person. There are many labor divisions in scripture for all sorts of people, both male & female.

Women & men are EQUAL in the eyes of God. “There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither bond nor free, there can be no male and female; for ye all are one man in Christ Jesus.” [Gal 3:28; Gen. 2:22; 1Cor. 11:7-9].

The SAD reality is that those who press this false narrative are actually harming the women they’re seeking to help. Many women who want to be homemakers are disliked, despised or strongly prejudiced against for their choices by those who think the church is keeping them down. On the contrary, the word of God clearly demonstrates the STRENGTH of women. –Spencer

Ad Hominem ATTACKS pt5; Your mind is CLOSED

What are the pros and cons of a Fixed Mindset vs a Growth Mindset? - Quora

An open mind doesn’t mean acceptance of error.

 

The FIFTH ATTACK sounds like this: “You already have your mind made up. It’s obvious you’re CLOSED minded.”

Objectors (whether atheistic or religious) to Biblical truths will say that they’re objective and open minded, that it is people in cults like the church of Christ that are CLOSED minded. They may use words like; ‘fanatical’ ‘legalist’ ‘rigid’ ‘without grace.’ Is this true and is it fair? How could we answer this attack?

First, it’s important to note that they are just as CONSTANT in their position as you. Is it only the other guy that is closed minded? How come I’m the one that’s closed minded when they’re the ones arguing against the bible? Does the one who gives the attack first get to be the open minded one?

One of the ways to prevent this attack is to LISTEN before you respond. So often we begin answering before we even understand what the other person is asserting. “He that giveth answer before he heareth, It is folly and shame unto him.” [Prov 18:13]. It’s key that we LISTEN to understand them before we’re able to answer them effectively.

I am OPEN MINDED. I left the world and became a Christian based on the evidence for God, both internal scriptural evidence and external evidence. I am OPEN MINDED because I’ve accepted their challenges, listened to every one of their discussion points and then asked questions about them, citing scriptures. I am OPEN MINDED because I examine the scriptures daily to see if these things are so. [Acts 17:11; 1Thess 5:21] I am OPEN MINDED because I examine myself, whether I’m in the faith. [2Cor 13:5]

Being ‘CLOSED MINDED’ is the terminology used by the antagonist. The Bible uses the word ‘STEADFASTNESS.’ We are to remain steadfast in our faith. “Fear not the things which thou art about to suffer: behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days. Be thou FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH, and I will give thee the crown of life.” [Rev 2:10] Steadfastness, faithfulness will be perceived as being closed minded to the unbeliever. “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, be ye STEDFAST, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not vain in the Lord.” [1Cor 15:58] How this verse sounds depends on the hearer, whether they believe the scriptures or disbelieve. (emph. mine seb)

Being closed minded is approved in other areas of life. There are EXAMPLES of their minds being made up. Are you closed minded against 7×7=28? Are you closed minded against the idea of a flat earth? Are you closed minded in favor of the idea that man went to the moon? Are you closed minded for the truth that George Washington was a real person?

DO NOT GET ANGRY and do not take it personally. Ad Hominem attacks usually come at the end of a person’s ability to defend their position. Maintain a positive and friendly demeanor as the scriptures say, “but speaking truth in love, we may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, even Christ;” [Eph 4:15] Always remain calm. If the person had a scripture, they’d produce it. The ones they do produce are taken out of context & distorted to prove their point. This is predictable, so prepare for it. “…as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; wherein are some things hard to be understood, which the ignorant and unstedfast wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” [2Peter 3:15]

Finally, we’re not here to win arguments, we’re trying to win souls to Christ, to show people the way to heaven. Always remember that.

–Spencer

 

“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not LOVE, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not LOVE, I am nothing. And if I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but have not LOVE, it profiteth me nothing. LOVE suffereth long, and is kind; LOVE envieth not; LOVE vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not its own, is not provoked, taketh not account of evil; rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. But now abideth faith, hope, LOVE, these three; and the greatest of these is LOVE.

[1Cor 13:1-7, 13] ASV

Ad Hominem & Personal Attacks pt 4 Campbelite

We’re addressing how to answer Ad Hominem ATTACKS; Ad Hominem means; in a way that is directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining.

Christians are to expect ATTACKS both personally & physically. “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” [Mark 13:13]

We must always remember not to respond in kind with our own personal attack. This would not be the example that Jesus gave when He responded to His attackers. [1Peter 2:23; Isa 53:7]

The fourth ATTACK sounds like this: “Your method of determining AUTHORITY (Command, Apostolic Example, Necessary Inference and the prohibition of Silence [CENIS]) are made up by Alexander Campbell who is the founder of the church of Christ.”

I’m blending 2 separate attacks into one as they’re related. 150 years ago, until about 30 years ago, the attack focused on calling members of the Lord’s body, ‘CAMBELLITES.’ (this is why we’re putting this as an ad hominem attack) The attack was an attempt to show that the church of Christ in America was founded by Alexander Campbell. This is easily refuted noting that Campbell never sought to START a new denomination, rather that he sought to RESTORE the church we read about in the New Testament. Evidence exists that shows the church of Christ was small but already present in America before A. Campbell was even born!

In more recent years, this argument still exists but focuses on the fourfold pattern of how to determine Scriptural Authority (Command, Apostolic Example, Necessary Inference and the prohibition of Silence [CENIS]). The objectors say that Alexander Campbell invented a new Hermeneutic (a method or theory of interpretation). This short article will show that CENIS is the way people communicate.

HOW WOULD YOU ORDER A PIZZA?

COMMAND. A direct command is to give an authoritative order of what you specifically desire. “I want a pepperoni pizza.” This direct command eliminates all other variety of toppings. When specifying a thing, you automatically eliminate all other unstated options.

EXAMPLE. “one that serves as a pattern to be imitated or not to be imitated.” Miriam-Webster. Another way of saying example is with the word “show.” When ordering a pizza, I can show you a picture or description of it from the menu. This becomes the “approved example.” There may be other examples on the menu, but those are unconnected to the command.

NECESSARY INFERENCE. To infer is what we do when another implies (to express indirectly) in their communications. It’s implied in my ordering a pizza that it will be a round bread, with Italian style sauce and cheese baked in an oven. The remaining toppings to be specified by direct statement. We Necessarily Infer when we have only one option available from the indirect command. We necessarily infer bread, sauce & cheese unless otherwise indicated.

SILENCE. That means absence of direction. When you order a pepperoni pizza, your silence about soup, salad or other items prohibit their inclusion. Would you pay a bill, charging you with extra items for which you didn’t order nor desire? You would very likely REFUSE them altogether. Silence is not a blank check to do whatever you want. “You didn’t say not to” is not a viable excuse.

Some argue that we can do whatever God hasn’t specifically prohibited. Try ordering a pizza by listing all the things you DON’T WANT. People communicate by stating, showing & implying what they DO WANT. Silence prohibits.

If this is wrong, please educate me without Telling me (command), Showing me (example), or Implying (we infer).

Alexander Campbell didn’t invent this, God did. He created humans and communication, therefore He created this logical reasoning on how to know what He wants. What He orders is much more vital to our life than pizza. [Matt 4:4]