Imputation of Sin

Romans 5:13

The Imputation of Sin

Rom 5:12-14  “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:  (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.”

This concerns the imputation or (charge) of sin upon mankind in Romans 5:12-14; which is part of a lengthy parenthetical statement (verses 13-17). First, “imputed” is the Greek word “ellegeo,” and is used only one other time, in Philemon 1:18. In its two usages in the NT it appears to mean the charging of specific, defined debts to the debtor’s account.

To a degree it sounds like Paul is contradicting himself in this passage. Obviously, that is not the case. Tentatively, it sounds like Paul is stating a general principle (notice it says, “is not imputed,” not “was not imputed”), that specific sin is not charged to the sinner’s account when there is no law to define that sin.

“Nevertheless…” (verse 14), ante-Mosaic men died because of sin, showing that the penalty for their sin was in effect, even if a clear catalog or record of their sins as spelled out in the Law was not brought against them.

It regards something similar to the idea that you can’t hold somebody accountable for something they didn’t know was wrong. If there is no law in general (or even no Mosaic Law in particular), you can’t be charged with breaking it. However, Paul clearly argues in verse 14, that because mankind’s sin preceded the Law, we are ‘all guilty’ despite no legal imputation.

So, in effect, we all broke the “first law” or “offence” (“…thou shalt not eat of it…”) when Adam and Eve broke it.

and thus, “…all have sinned.”

 

The Keys Given

The Keys Given

Matthew 16:17-19

Jesus in speaking directly to Peter

Matthew 16:19And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Then speaking again two chapters later, Christ reiterated to the disciples (where the keys are NOT mentioned):

Matthew 18:17, 18 “And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.” Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

The words “thee” and “ye” are distinctly different. “thee” is singular object, while “ye” is plural. When Jesus said “I will give unto thee…” (Matthew 16:19) Christ is speaking in a singular object form. The only possible conclusions then are that He either gave the keys (a metaphor showing the passing of authority) only to Peter, or that He gave them to the disciples corporately; which makes no sense by definition.

What does it mean to bind and loose?

It seems quite clear in this passage the keys were given directly to Peter (“thee”). To bind is to forbid and to loose is to allow. Simply put, that is authority regarding discerning what should be allowed and forbidden regarding evangelism. It appears Christ in this passage gave transitional, apostolic authority to Peter. This does not take away the fact Christ had established an earthly institution (i.e., the church) to carry on the evangelism (Matthew 18:18, 28:19, 20; Mark 16:15,16; Acts 1:8), but it appears Peter was to ‘take the lead’ regarding the general activities of evangelism (i.e., The Great Commission) after Christ’s absence. If anything, this passage upholds pastoral authority.

Peter distinctively chosen

We can ascertain through certain passages as to Peter being ‘handpicked’ by the Lord.

  1. It appears Peter was a personal target of Satan. Why would that be? In Luke 22:31, 32 Jesus references that Satan desired to sift Peter as wheat, and that he was to “strengthen” his brethren (i.e., the other apostles, but by inference the disciples in general). Satan would have certainly recognized the leadership role Peter was to have as lead pastor of the church upon the Lord’s departure.
  2. In John 21:15-19 we see Jesus and Peter once again having an intimate exchange regarding what Peter must prepare to do regarding the church. Peter was to feed the flock, which is clearly the role of pastor.
  3. In Acts 1:15 we see that it is Peter who takes the lead regarding the events leading up to Pentecost, and on Pentecost itself.
  4. Regarding the role of the church evangelizing and accomplishing the task by reaching the various people groups mentioned in Acts 1:8; it was Peter who was present each time these groups (Jew, Samaritan and Gentile) received the Holy Spirit.

Confusion today

There is confusion among brethren today of who has authority, and what that authority is over.

Clear scriptural distinctions regarding authority are:

– Pastoral authority over local NT Churches (I Timothy 3:5; Hebrews 13:7,17; I Peter 5:1-4).

-NT Church authority over ‘false churches’ in evangelizing (Matthew 18:18; 28:19, 20; Mark 16:15, 16; Acts 1:8).

  1. Some take pastoral authority to an extreme: Making the office equivalent to that of an OT prophet, an aspect of reformed (covenant) theology that came out of the reformation. These individuals like power and want to be dictator. This is one reason of many, why I believe a ‘plurality of pastors’ is the scriptural norm for church leadership.
  2. Some take church authority to an extreme: The church has the sole authority, always usurping the pastor’s authority. Why then even have pastors? (I personally believe this is a symptom of interpreting Matthew 16:17-19 as ‘the keys’ being given directly to the church, and not Peter). A scriptural NT church only has authority over ‘false churches’ regarding the Great Commission. Nowhere, do I see authority over it’s pastors.

There is no denying the role and authority of each; especially when viewed properly as to what that authority is over.

Also, I believe part of the problem is a skewed approach to church government. Basically, is it a Congregational democracy?

No. Many think that for a church to be Congregational in form automatically makes it a democracy. That, I believe is not the case. We need to be careful in viewing the church as a democracy, which is a fundamental misunderstanding of the very nature of the church. The concern isn’t with congregationalism or the idea of churches voting on major decisions, but with the fact that understanding the church as a democracy makes us think of the church as being all about the people (democracy literally means “rule of the people”), whereas we must always remember that the church belongs to Christ and is ruled by Him, and Him only. Essentially, the democratic impulse formulates a desire to shirk responsibility and be our own highest authority. For obvious reason, pastoral authority is negated since the people; i.e., the church, always have the defining rule.

Conclusions on Peter and the Church’s role

  1. Jesus is clearly addressing Peter directly and solely after Peter correctly identified Jesus as the Christ (verse 17).
  2. Jesus uses singular pronouns throughout verses 18-19, showing He is referring to a singular object noun, i.e., Peter.
  3. Peter was given the keys “of the kingdom” (not of the church) indicating that his authority and responsibility lied in carrying out the Great Commission, not in having authority over the local congregation (It was Jesus’ church, not Peter’s).

Peter, in this passage, is apparently Jesus’ handpicked successor to pastor the Jerusalem church. Knowing that the pastor is responsible for bringing the congregation to maturity so they can carry out the Great Commission (Ephesians 4:11, 12), and that the congregation has the same “binding and loosing” authority and responsibility ‘in the Kingdom’ as the pastor leading them does (Matthew 18:18) shows that Peter, as the 2nd pastor at Jerusalem, would simply be responsible for ensuring the church carried out the Great Commission.

It in no way implies authority over the church beyond that (except as the pastor is the under-shepherd being led by, and directly responsible to Christ as Head of the church (1 Peter 5:1ff).

The Catholic argument (typically raised by those who believe “the keys” were given the church) is weak regardless. The problem is Catholics see Peter as “the rock” upon which the church is built. Ephesians 2:20 clearly says the church is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ being the Chief Cornerstone.

That is the closest Catholic doctrine can ever get to being correct.

The Act of Baptism

The Jews & John the Baptist

To the ‘Jewish mindset’ the act of baptism in water had to have meant something. John’s baptism appears to be an amplification of what the Law prescribed for those of God’s people who were unclean, either ceremonially, physiologically, or spiritually. To be made clean, they needed to wash themselves in water as a symbol for the washing away of their uncleanness before God. Similarly, when priests would begin their service in the Tabernacle and Temple, they would first wash all over before putting on their priestly garments. This symbolized their full cleansing to be able to stand before the Lord and be ready to serve.

Jewish tradition in the Talmud extended this to ritual weekly, and even daily, washing’s to ensure one was clean before the Lord. John’s baptism, performed as it was by a priest and son of a high priest dovetailed exactly with both the Law and the tradition. When the Jews came to John for baptism, they were seeking purification from uncleanness so that they could be pure before the Lord to serve.

This explains why nearly all Jews came to John the Baptist for immersion. It also helps explain why John told those who came to him for baptism that they were to “bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance” (Matthew 3:8). The expectation, then, was that those who came to be baptized were confessing their sins and repenting of them, so that the baptism was the means to provide ritual cleansing as outward evidence of an inward spiritual cleaning (salvation). Such spiritual cleansing would be expected to produce fruit “meet” (or appropriate) for the new life they were now professing.

John also pointed forward to a more significant baptism which would arrive with the coming Messiah: “I indeed have baptize you with water, but He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.” Jesus was the first to experience this when He submitted to John’s baptism “to fulfil all righteousness,” and immediately experienced the Holy Spirit descending on Him “like a dove.” Immediately after this Jesus could begin His earthly ministry, as led by the Holy Spirit.

To conclude, it appears baptism as an ordinance (rite or ceremony) of the local church may be a continuation of the immersive bathing performed by observant Jews to make themselves ritually clean and ready for service and holy living. John’s baptism, which to the Jews was a ritual bath, was accepted as baptism into the first church by Christ and His disciples, and later by the apostles in Acts, thus providing the connection between the Jewish practice and the Christian ordinance.

We should, I believe, as Gentile Christians, expand our view of baptism to include this. We know that baptism is a first act of obedience after salvation, our public testimony of our identification with Christ and His death, burial and resurrection (Romans 6:1-3,4). Perhaps it also is meant to symbolize a cleansing or washing to now be His ministers ready to serve.

 

 

A Wise Masterbuilder

Church Planting Needs A Solid Foundation

1 Corinthians 3:10-11

The apostle Paul used an analogy when speaking of the construction or building of the local church. In 1 Corinthians 3:10-11, he says:

According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

Now, Paul was concerned that the Corinthian church should be consciously aware of their foundational roots. It seems that certain individuals were introducing humanistic thinking saturated with fleshly motives as the basis upon which to build their ministry. This was totally inconsistent, however, with the way Paul had begun the work at Corinth. What these meddlers were doing was simply leading the church astray from its purpose of glorifying Christ. Paul wanted them to refocus on the foundation that had been laid for the church, and then to build a ministry that was consistent with that foundation; i.e., the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The word foundation in 1 Corinthians 3 is the Greek word themelios, which refers to a substructure—something put down as an undergirding for what would be built. The Greek comes from a root word that means to put or place something down, to establish something and fix it firmly. So, Paul was saying that there was a spiritual substructure to the church at Corinth that had tangibly been laid, upon which everything else was to be built. And that undergirding foundation was the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for which Paul had adamantly preached (Romans 15:20).

The point here is that a foundation will determine the type of building to be erected. Therefore, be careful when beginning to build. If Jesus Christ is the foundation, then everything should focus on Him and His Word. To build with mere human ideas and secular thinking is to ignore the foundation. Prideful leaders seeking to impose their own agenda upon the ministry of the church were to be shunned as diversionary and counterproductive. According to Paul, only that which glorified Christ and was in accordance with His Word was to be accepted and honored.

There is a lesson here for us. We as church planters today are still building upon the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets of the first century church (Ephesians 2:20). Consequently, our methodologies and procedures need to be continually reevaluated as to whether they are consistent with that foundation. Does what we do truly bring glory to Christ, or does it simply cater to popular interest and fleshly indulgence? Christ is the issue—not merely pleasing ourselves. Church planters need to “take heed!”

Paul said that there is only one foundation for the Church, and that is Jesus Christ. When the Word of Christ is faithfully taught with a central focus on glorifying Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, then the Church will be strong and vibrant. How we build must be consistent with the foundation that was laid. Jesus is that foundation!

 

Ordainment

“To be Scripturally Ordained” in the KJV

In the chart below, every occurrence of the English verb “ordain” is listed, along with its Strong’s number, its common translations in the KJV, who or what is ordained, and the entity doing the ordaining. Lines in bold are instances where a person, rather than an object, has been ordained.

The summary conclusion is, in cases where men (not objects) are ordained, the ordination or appointment is always by someone who has authority to ordain, and that the one ordained has an obligation, either commanded or implied, toward the authority of the one who has ordained him. That is, once one is ordained he is simply responsible to the one who has ordained him; he does not become independent of that authority. The ordainment can be for both short and long term periods. When a certain task is complete, that ordainment is then nullified.

Relative to the ordination of elders by the church, this does not make the elder subservient to the church. Rather, in the only instance in which it appears that ‘the church’ selected its own elders (Acts 1:22), only the “men and brethren” of that church were involved, and the context of the verse seems to indicate that all those involved in the selection were also potential candidates for the position themselves. Consequently, it was limited to a peer election rather than a church wide congregational decision.

 

Reference Strong Freq Tense Common KJV use What’s ordained? Who ordained it?
Num. 28:6 H6213 2632 Qal Do, make Daily burnt offering God at Sinai
1 Ki. 12:32 H6213 2632 Qal Do, make A feast King Jeroboam
1 Ki. 12:33 H6213 2632 Qal Do, make A feast King Jeroboam
2 Ki. 23:5 H5414 2014 Qal Give, put Idolatrous priests Kings of Judah
1 Chr. 9:22 H3245 43 Piel Foundation, lay Levitical porters David, Samuel
1 Chr. 17:9 H7760 588 Qal Put, make, set A place for Israel The Lord
2 Chr. 11:15 H5975 524 Hiphil Stand, raise up Idolatrous priests King Jeroboam
2 Chr. 23:18 Italics       Offices of the Temple Jehoiada
2 Chr. 29:27 Italics       Levitical instruments King David
Est. 9:27 H6965 627 Piel Stand up, arise Keeping Purim The Jews
Ps. 7:13 H6466 57 Qal Work, do Arrows The Lord
Ps. 8:2 H3245 43 Piel Foundation, lay Strength The Lord
Ps. 8:3 H3559 219 Polel Prepare, Establish The heavens The Lord
Ps. 81:5 H7760 588 Qal Put, make, set Praise to the Lord The Lord
Ps. 132:17 H6186 75 Qal Array, order A “lamp” for David The Lord
Isa. 26:12 H8239 5 Qal Set on Peace for Israel The Lord
Isa. 30:33 H6186 75 Qal Array, order Tophet (Gehenna?) The Lord?
Jer. 1:5 H5414 2014 Qal Give, put Jeremiah The Lord
Dan. 2:24 H4483 5 Pael Set, ordain Arioch Nebuchadnezzar
Hab. 1:12 H7760 588 Qal Put, make, set Chaldeans The Lord
             
Mk. 3:14 G4160 576 Aorist Do, make 12 apostles Jesus
Jn. 15:16 G5087 96 Aorist Lay, put 12 apostles Jesus
Acts 1:22 G1096 677 Aorist Be, be made, become Replacement for Judas Men of church
Acts 10:42 G3724 8 Perfect Determine, ordain Jesus God
Acts 13:48 G5021 8 Perfect Appoint, ordain Gentile converts God?
Acts 14:23 G5500 2 Aorist Ordain, choose Elders in Asia Minor Paul, Barnabas
Acts 16:4 G2919 114 Perfect Judge, Determine Decree Jerusalem elders
Acts 17:31 G3724 8 Aorist Determine, ordain Jesus God
Rom. 7:10 Italics       Commandment God
Rom. 13:1 G5021 8 Perfect Appoint, ordain Powers that be God
1 Co. 2:7 G4309 6 Aorist Predestinate, ordain God’s wisdom God
1 Co. 7:17 G1299 16 Present Command, appoint Instructions Paul
1 Co. 9:14 G1299 16 Aorist Command, appoint Preacher compensation The Lord
Gal. 3:19 G1299 16 Aorist Command, appoint The Law Angels
Eph. 2:10 G4282 2 Aorist Ordain before Good works God
1 Tim. 2:7 G5087 96 Aorist Lay, put Paul God?
Tit. 1:5 G2525 22 Aorist Make, ordain Cretian elders Titus
Heb. 5:1 G2525 22 Present Make, ordain Israelite high priest God
Heb. 8:3 G2525 22 Present Make, ordain Israelite high priest God
Heb. 9:6 G2680 11 Perfect Prepare, build Tabernacle stuff Moses,workers
Jude 1:4 G4270 5 Perfect Write, ordain before False teachers God, prophets?

 

Limited Atonement

Limited Atonement

Email response to a Calvinist

 

Regarding the teaching,

First, I believe the term “Limited Atonement” is a misnomer. To be “limited” in something is interpreted as being bound or restrained.  The only thing that limits, binds or restrains salvation is unbelief.  God provided unlimited atonement.  The wording of this teaching doesn’t sell me. Also, these tenets are “built upon” one another, to agree in one point you must agree in the others. Hence, five point. Just because I don’t agree with Calvinist theology doesn’t automatically make me Arminian either.

Again, I understand Limited Atonement is a logical extension of the first two points of TULIP.  If man’s depravity removes even his free choice, then he must be chosen to salvation and atonement must be limited to the chosen, otherwise God’s absolute sovereignty would be violated, and who would dare question God’s sovereignty right?

Second, I disagree with the Calvinistic teaching regarding repentance. I’ve heard the term “gift of repentance” which would naturally stem from Irresistible Grace (the Bible clearly teaches Grace is a gift Eph 2:8; Rom 5:15-21).  That gift is offered through Christ. The Holy Spirit convicts, but the problem is… nowhere in scripture is repentance called a gift.  If repentance is considered a gift as in… it is God that dispenses arbitrarily and therefore also withholds, that is not Bible my friend.  God has done His part and now Mankind must respond and make a conscious decision to repent and believe.  There is a duty for man to act and to make a choice, either to reject or accept Jesus Christ. God in His sovereignty has never dictated someone’s decision (2 Peter 3:9).

Some verses used by yourself and other Calvinists to prove repentance is given by God are Acts 5:31; Acts 11:18 and 2 Timothy 2:25.

However, in Acts 5, context is the giving or granting of repentance to Israel, and the Gentiles refers to the historical entrance of the ‘preaching of the Gospel.’  In Acts 11, Peter was being criticized for preaching to the household of Cornelius (verses 1-3).  After Peter recounted what God had done (verses 4-15), the church realized that the door of faith (thus repentance) had been indeed opened to the Gentiles as well.  Finally, the giving of repentance in 2 Timothy 2:25 comes as a result of the Spirit of God working through the teaching and instruction of the Truth (the Word of God).

Third, I disagree with the Calvinist philosophy of the ‘Will’ of man. Which in your view is the belief that a sovereign God can never will something that would not come to pass. By that reasoning, if God desires to save certain men then these men will be saved; if God is willing then man must be willing also. If man is unwilling, then it was because God was not willing for that man to be willing. The fact is, Scripture is rife with teachings that a man can willfully refuse that which God desires.

I understand Calvinism can get complicated, and there could be more touched upon, but there is really no need to go further. There are “degrees” of Calvinism, based ultimately on how one orders the divine decrees. Some Calvinists will argue against “Hyper-Calvinism” (aka Supralapsarianism), while defending “Calvinism” (aka Infralapsarianism). The distinction between them is important, because the latter position anticipates the need for evangelism to “find the elect.” Which is clearly your degree of Calvinism.

They’re both contrived, but at least Infralapsarianism (and its little brother, Sublapsarianism) pays lip service to human responsibility (this was Spurgeon’s presumed position).

The atonement of Christ was offered for all mankind, and is effective (salvation) to those who choose to repent and trust him (Rom 3:22; 1 Tim 4:10b).  God has not limited the atonement in its worth or sufficiency to save only those who repent and believe.  The availability of the total sufficiency of the atonement is for all people.  Whosoever will — whoever believes will be covered by the blood of Christ. Christ died for all people, and yes for all the same way!

By conviction I must speak the truth in love.  The teaching that God has predestined some to be saved, and others predestined to possibly “remain” lost is a false gospel.  So, what is the “true gospel then?”  It must be either one or the other, not both. Some false gospels are blatant and others more subtle, by being not so insidious looking “on the outside.”  What really matters to God is what is happening to someone “on the inside” when they hear a teaching. Therefore, I don’t see Calvinism ‘in any degree’ as being spiritually profitable.

Calvinism naturally embraces a fallacy through faulty exegesis of scripture.

Preachers, whether saved or lost will give account to God of what they preach and teach, and how it affects people spiritually.  Personally, and again by conviction, I don’t want to be held accountable to God regarding some 16th century Reformed Theology, but according to the Bible.

With this said, I don’t see it as profitable calling you a false teacher and xxxxx a false church, which is what you are attempting.  We have prayed for you.  If you are as confident in your doctrine as it sounds it doesn’t matter what I think, and any insecurity regarding that won’t be soothed even if I do say it.  In the end, what God thinks is what matters.

Regards,

Missionary Rob Johnson

Interpreting Prophecy

Revelation and Prophecy

Who wrote it and the Alexandrian influence

There has been some debate as to who wrote the book of Revelation. From the letter, we know the person who wrote the contents, was named John. (Rev: 1:1, 4, 9; 21:2; 22:8) Prior to the third century, there was no dispute of apostolic authorship.  The bishop of Alexandria, Dionysius (200-265 A.D.), was the first to raise questions about the apostle John being the author.  He claimed based on the writing style and the lack of an apostolic claim in the book, that John the Elder (Presbyter) was the author, not John the apostle.

Dionysius who studied under Origen also denied the teaching of a literal Millennium.  The teaching on the Millennium is based on a literal reading of the book of Revelation (Revelation 20:1-7).  The Alexandrian school taught scriptural symbolism and allegorical interpretation, therefore rejecting a literal interpretation of Revelation.  By questioning John the Apostles authorship of the book, their Amillennial view could have greater credibility.

In reality, the evidence against John the Apostle being the author is very minimal at best, largely based on grammatical and writing style differences when compared with John’s Gospel.

Four views of interpretation

There are four main views in attempting to interpret the book of Revelation and prophecy in general.  They are the Symbolic, PreteristHistorical, and Futurist.  Each view approaches the book from a different perspective.  There are two considerations regarding these views.

First, is the book of Revelation symbolic or literal?  Do the words mean what they say in a literal sense or do they imply another meaning.  For example, does Israel mean Israel or does Israel mean the church?

Second, and related to the first is the theological view of the church. Two views, Covenant and Dispensational, view the church as compared to Israel in two very different ways.

Covenant theology: views the church as the replacement of Israel in God’s covenant relationship. The church therefore becomes the “New Israel” in scripture.  Therefore, Old Testament verses referring to Israel in prophecy, apply to the Church, the “New Israel”.  The premise of Covenant theology is God has an implied covenant of grace, from Adam’s fall. God promised salvation through the Messiah.  This promise, first administered through Israel, now is administered by the Church, which includes believing Israel. This theological view is symbolic and allegorical in interpretation.

Dispensational theology: views the church and Israel as two distinct groups with separate dispensations. The word dispensation means administration (responsibility given by God). Dispensational theology, understands verses applied to Israel to mean literal Israel as opposed to a symbolic Israel, the church. The church in the current age has the role of dispensing or administering salvation on this age by proclaiming the Gospel of Christ.  This theological view is literal and futurist in interpretation.

Symbolic or Allegorical approach

Symbolic/Allegorical: The history of this view can again be traced to the Alexandrian School of Theology, represented by Origen, which regarded the book of Revelation as one great allegory, even going beyond natural symbolism.  The symbolic view was motivated by anti-millennialism (the rejection of a literal millennial earthly reign of Christ). The Alexandrian school claimed a true “spiritual” interpretation as opposed to literalism.

This method of interpretation finds ‘principles’ that work themselves out in history, rather than ‘actual historical events’ in symbolic language. The book of Revelation represents the struggle between the righteous and wicked; the City of God verses the City of Satan.

Preterist

Preterist (Past) Interpretation: This method of interpretation regards the book of Revelation as applying specifically to the problems and persecutions of the early church existing at the time of its writing. The symbolic expressions in the book represent devices to encourage the church through its suffering under the Roman Empire, and to prevent the book from being understood by those who are not believers. Nero for example is seen as Antichrist.

The Preterist views Revelation’s date of writing prior to A.D. 70, when the Jewish Temple was destroyed.  The abomination of desolation and the destruction of Jerusalem referred to by Jesus in the Olivet Discourse, Matthew 24:15 are mostly fulfilled in the Roman destruction of Jerusalem.

Preterism views the Church as the “New Israel” and thereby fulfilling verses applied to Israel in scripture. It embraces the Covenant Theology view.

Moderate Preterists need to be distinguished from Hyper-Preterists. Hyper-Preterists believe The Second Coming and the Rapture were fulfilled by A.D. 70.  This view, considered heretical even by Preterists, denies the physical return of Christ.

 Historical

Historic Interpretation: This approach views events described in Revelation as symbolic and represent chronological sequences of historical events from the time of its writing until the coming of Christ and the establishment of His eternal kingdom. References to Babylon and the Beast are associated with the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope. Other symbols are viewed as referring to Islamic and Napoleonic wars. The historical approach, like the Preterists, substitutes the church for Israel in verses referring to national Israel.

Futurist

Futurist Interpretation: This approach views Revelation as a prophecy regarding future events. The futurist views scripture from a literal perspective.  Words mean what they say unless otherwise defined within the context of scripture.

The book of Revelation reveals the details of end time events from chapter 4 until the end of the book. Chapters 2 and 3 deal with the Church, and chapters 4 to 19 deal with the tribulation period, followed by the Second Coming of Christ, and a literal one thousand-year period, the Millennium (Revelation 20:1-7). Since the futurist view looks to a future Millennium, the view is Pre-millennial.

The futurist view holds to a dispensational understanding of scripture, allowing for the distinction of Israel and the church in God’s end time program.

The Futurist approach is the most in keeping with a literal understanding of Bible.  God’s promises to the descendants of Jacob, literal Israel, are affirmed in the futurist approach.  With the Preterist and Historic views the Church must replace Israel and the promises of God are negated.

Conclusion: The distinction of Covenant Theology and Dispensational Theology, and either its acceptance or rejection is important to not only understanding the Book of Revelation and other prophecy, but the overall revelation of God to man in the Bible.

 

 

Things about which Independent Baptists differ

Things about which Independent Baptists differ

Bible

  1. How inspired is the KJV? Some say “the inspired Word,” others say “the preserved Word.”
  2. How to handle Bible discrepancies: Some say there are “scribal errors” which can be easily identified; others say all discrepancies can be resolved without resorting to the “scribal errors” answer, which creates an additional problem regarding inerrancy.
  3. Which version? Some use the KJV only; others use the NKJV or other new versions to clarify the “archaic” language of the KJV. (ALL agree the full verbal inspiration of Scripture).
  4. 1611 KJV or 1769/1850 KJV?
  5. Is knowledge of Greek and Hebrew necessary for understanding Scripture?

Lines not crossed in Bibliology: The verbal, complete inspiration of the Scriptures in the original autographs; and the ‘full preservation’ of those Scriptures into modern languages (the KJV being this in English).

Theology Proper

  1. Apologetics to defend the existence of God: Some think Christians should vigorously defend the faith through rigorous debate, while others see it as an “empty, philosophical waste of time” taking away from the carrying out the Great Commission.
  2. God’s sovereignty: This goes to the question of how Calvinistic someone is. How much in control is God?
  3. A literal, Dispensational or Covenant Theological approach to interpreting Scripture.

Lines not crossed in Theology Proper: The eternal existence of the Trinity; the full possession of all the attributes of Deity by all three Members of the Trinity; and the full rule of God over His creation (in contrast to “Open Theism,” which sees God as not fully in control); and anything other than a literal, dispensational and futurist means to interpreting Scripture.

Christ

  1. Of what did Christ empty Himself in Phil. 2:5ff?
  2. How much did Jesus know during His life on earth?

Lines not crossed in Christology: The full deity and full humanity of Jesus Christ; Jesus’ utter and eternal sinlessness; Jesus’ full understanding of humanity through His life and suffering; Jesus’ full payment for all sins for all time on the cross; Jesus’ literal death on the cross; the real, full and physical bodily resurrection of Jesus; His real, physical ascension to Heaven; and His real, literal, physical return to earth to reign.

Holy Spirit

  1. What verses in the Bible talk about the Holy Spirit? Some say just the verses where the name is capitalized.
  2. What is Holy Spirit Baptism? Some say it is the Holy Spirit baptizing the believer into the church (“Body of Christ”); others say it is a one-time event that took place at Pentecost to empower the church (there are other views as well).
  3. What ‘miraculous’ gifts of the Spirit are still active? Some hold to at least the possibility of tongues (known languages) and prophecy; others discount both in this age.
  4. What is the filling of the Spirit, and how is it accomplished? Some view it as a “second blessing” one must seek from the Lord; others see it as the normal walk with God of a spiritual Christian.

Lines not crossed in Pneumatology: The full Deity of the Holy Spirit; and the full Personhood of the Spirit (He is not just a force or influence).

Angels

  1. How much direct influence do angels have in believers’ lives?
  2. How much can demons (and Satan) get away with in a believer’s life?

Lines not crossed in Angelology: Christians CANNOT be possessed by demons or Satan.

Man and Sin

  1. What is the “Image of God” in which man is made?
  2. How much does sin affect our humanity (limits on free choice, etc)?

Lines not crossed in Anthropology and Hamartiology: Man is truly a sinner before a holy God (i.e., he’s not “sick,” or “ignorant” or anything else); and man is utterly incapable of saving himself by his own efforts.

Salvation

  1. Is the Law involved at all in the life of a Christian?
  2. How much repentance is required to be saved? What does it mean to repent?
  3. How much of salvation is dependent on God’s election (Spurgeon appears to have been Calvinistic). What does it mean to be elect or chosen?
  4. How much evidence is necessary in a convert’s life to “prove” his salvation? That is, how sanctified (separated) does he have to be, and what “questionable” activities are permissible and still be considered a Christian? (e.g., Can a Christian continue smoking and drinking and really be saved?)
  5. How “sinless” can a Christian become?
  6. How aggressive should a Christian be in soul winning?
  7. What’s the acceptable tipping point between seeking repentance in a lost person and pressing the person for a decision (i.e., when does so called “Easy Believism” start?)

Lines not crossed in Soteriology: Classical Calvinism; classical Arminianism; the removal of repentance from soul winning; and the disregard for a change of life to match the professed change of heart from a convert.

Church

  1. Is there a “universal body of believers,” and if so, should it even be called the Church?
  2. When did the church begin, with the first disciples (John 1) or at Pentecost (Acts 2)?
  3. What is the proper balance between church offices, and between the leadership and the congregation?
  4. Is there a Spirit baptism along with water baptism?
  5. Is the Lord’s Supper closed, close or open?
  6. Is tithing a Biblical concept still in operation, or an OT concept (regarding the Jews) which is no longer binding for believers today?
  7. How should the church discipline of Matthew 18 be carried out? Is “shunning” acceptable for the impenitent, at least until they repent?
  8. What should be included in carrying out the Great Commission (just preaching the Gospel and starting churches, or other activities such as medical missions, soup kitchens, etc.)?
  9. How does a Christian enter membership of a church?
  10. What baptism is acceptable?
  11. Must a local church be able to prove its lineage to be considered “properly constituted?” How far back must this go? (Landmarkism)

Lines not crossed in Ecclesiology: The primacy of the church; the main purpose of the church in carrying out the Great Commission; abridgment of any of the Baptist distinctives (notably Soul Liberty); the need for believers to be part of a church to be effective in their Christian life and service, and any teaching embracing a so-called Universal Church.

Prophecy

  1. Who constitutes the Bride of Christ?
  2. Who gets raptured?
  3. When does the Rapture occur?
  4. Can we identify the Antichrist, the time of the Rapture, etc., from current events?
  5. Are the churches of Revelation just churches, or emblematic of time periods during the present age?

Lines not crossed in Eschatology: Acceptance of either Postmillennialism or Amillennialism; denial of Christ’s imminent, bodily return; denial of the Rapture; confusion of Israel with the Church; denial of Israel’s literal part in the future; and anything other than a literal, dispensational, futurist interpretation of Revelation, Daniel and other “Kingdom” prophecies.

Miscellaneous

  1. What is fasting, and how long is enough?
  2. What is considered an effective prayer life?
  3. Are missions supposed to be indigenous?
  4. What is Biblical ordination
  5. Dating vs. Courtship
  6. Divorce and remarriage
  7. Various Biblical questions (who are the sons of God in Genesis 6; did Samuel really appear to Saul; was Saul saved; etc.).

I do NOT accept the proposition that there are insoluble contradictions anywhere in the Scriptures.

Baptists tend to completely break fellowship with other Baptists over these things listed. This is really unfortunate, unnecessary and quite common.  However, where distance will be required is in the actual work of the ministry. Fellowship with other brethren and working alongside them are distinct, and these differences will appear at some point.

How can a particular ministry be beneficial to the ‘people being reached’ if they are being taught different things by different people? There will only be confusion.

“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”

Amos 3:3

 

Opportunities abound!

Recently a group from a supporting church in the States came for 10 days of outreach. It was a blessing to be able to spend time with them, and watch as the Lord moved, reaching the people of Botswana. The next process now will be any follow-up to the outreach. Contacts have been coming in from day one.

It is exciting that not only are individuals (from villages to Gaborone) asking to learn more about God, but groups of people already meeting in Bible studies have invited me to come and teach. There are three various study groups, what an opportunity! It reminds me of Paul going to places where spiritual matters were at the forefront, even if it was in error, to give them the true Gospel.

This week is the 50th Anniversary of Botswana’s Independence. It is quite busy around here with people leaving for the villages, and with event after event occurring in the city. The plan is to work on follow-up after these events have ended and things have quieted down in October. In the meantime, I have spent a lot of time on the phone and WhatsApp, answering questions these men have about the literature we gave them.

Please pray that the people will be open to the truth of the Gospel by realizing it is not through some religious experience, which is common, but through the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

– Rob Johnson

Beware the PBA’s!

Beware The PBA’s!

Attributes in individuals that are Performance Based Acceptance (PBA) in character can stand out.

  1. Intolerable of Society or Authority
  • Critical
  • Proud
  • Hard to please
  • All law and no love
  • Mostly justice and little mercy
  • Challenging to live with
  • Hard on the kids
  • Sets a standard for others they can’t live up to
  • Can make a home tense
  • Eventually burns out
  1. Immune to Satisfaction
  • Fulfillment is always just over the hill
  • They set goals they can’t reach
  • Set themselves up for disappointment
  • Steal joy while promising a prize
  • Never fully gratified
  • Have never done enough
  • Become nervous of God
  • Strained relationship with God
  • Must continually deal with failure.
  1. Idealistic without Saneness
  • Values self by what he does, or has, instead of what he already is
  • Always behind and can never catch up
  • Tries to earn acceptance
  • Can never relax
  • Continually dealing with failure
  • Tends to ‘punish self’
  1. Inability to Socialize
  • In a ‘perfect little world’ syndrome, yet always discontented
  • Got to be ‘the best’ instead of just doing personal best
  • Can’t be happy when another is honored (their candle burns brighter when they blow someone else’s out)
  • Very insecure
  • Can’t handle criticism
  • Self-worth crumbles
  • Can’t handle a compliment because they should have done better
  • They don’t like their perfectionism exposed

No person is perfect! These represent ‘consistent’ character traits (what a person is known for). If a person says they are ‘called into the ministry’ it would be beneficial to ask some serious questions.