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"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." (II Tim 3:16) "The sum of Your word is truth" (Psalm 119:160)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Troublesome Bible Examples

I have often wondered what would happen if Christians today were to actually follow the examples which we find in the book of Acts. I imagine that it would raise some eyebrows, and if it a minister was involved, perhaps it would even result in some disciplinary action. The teachings and traditional practices of many of the denominations today directly conflict with the words and/or actions of some of the men acting and/or speaking by inspiration in the book of Acts.

Example #1

In this example from the second chapter of the book of Acts, Peter gives his first sermon in Jerusalem. In this sermon he explains that Jesus, whom they had just crucified, was in fact the Christ, the Son of God (Acts 2:14-36). Those who heard him were convicted. Realizing what they had done, they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?' (Acts 2:37). And Peter said to them;
"If you believe these things then pray this prayer, 'Father in heaven, I come to you confessing that I am a sinner, completely lost and without hope. I repent of my sinful ways and ask for Your forgiveness. I believe in my heart that Christ Jesus is the Son of God, that He completely paid for all of my sins by His death on the cross, and that You raised Him from the dead. I confess that Jesus is my Savior and Lord. I trust in Him, and Him alone, for my salvation. I believe that through His shed blood I have eternal life. I will pray, study, meditate and live by Your Word the rest of my life. Father, I ask that You fill me with the Holy Spirit. Please come into my heart and save and sanctify my soul. I love you, Lord, and offer myself to You completely and without reservation. In the precious name of Jesus I pray. Amen.' Only faith in Jesus Christ alone can save you, and if you prayed this prayer, and meant it in your heart, you are saved."

This, of course, is not how Peter answered the question, but it is how a denominationalist minister today might have answered it. What Peter actually said is this, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). Can you imagine if a baptist minister were to respond with these words to a similar question posed by some individuals to whom he had just preached Jesus? Can you imagine if a minister, at the end of his sermon, offered an invitation which closed with the words, "Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name (Acts 22:16). Can you imagine the commotion, the whispers, the phone calls to other ministers, the demands from church members for an explanation? Why should it be the case that a preacher cannot say what those in the New Testament said, without some sort of addendum or disclaimer? Is it not an indication that something is amiss?

Example #2

In the eighth chapter of the book of Acts we find the story of Philip preaching to the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:25-39).

"Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him. As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, 'Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?' And Philip said, 'If you believe with all your heart, you may.' And he answered and said, 'I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.' And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him." (Acts 8:35-38)

Now, let's consider a modern day scenario. A preacher is fishing when he meets another man, and in the course of their conversation, he preaches Jesus to him. The man readily accepts the gospel and decides that he wants the preacher to baptize him then and there. Now, depending upon the denomination to which the preacher is attached, he might have to refuse to comply with the desires a man who simply wants to obey the gospel. Why? Because there are no witnesses present? There were none to witness the baptism of the eunuch. Because any baptism is contingent upon some committee's review of the testimony of the new convert and deciding whether the conversion is a valid one? There was no such process which preceded the eunuch's baptism.

It should be troubling to any who sincerely wish to follow the Scriptures if they have any reservations about following the examples which they find there in. The Scriptures should be our only map in all matters of faith and religion. When we find that the trail that we are trodding, no longer resembles the map, it is a sure sign that we have become lost.


Greywolfe said...

Wonderful post, brother! Love it. It is one of the reasons that I refuse to become a member of any denominational church. All are guilty of the things you wrote about. And those are just the easy ones.

Write about how the church is supposed to police itself and watch denominationalists squirm.

Sandra Cobb said...

Excellent post and I agree whole-heartedly!

"Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."
Philippians 2:12-13

Blog said...

Nice illustrations!

I'm not a pastor nor a minister but when my wife ask me to baptize her, I readily do it. My witnesses? My two kids who are 3 and 6 years old just swimming around in the beach, and the thousand angels shouting for joy. I did not baptized my wife on any denomination but only to Jesus Christ.

I hope a lot of main stream "Christians" can read your post.

Z said...

Hi, Da...I just saw your lovely comment to me re Mr Z and your meeting your love when you did..
I married Mr Z later in life...in some ways, it makes this incredibly devastating loss even worse.
thank you for your comment. May God bless you and your wife for many years to come.
Cherish her every single day...

collins Mbalo said...

i appreciate the fact that you believe the bible should be the authority and guide for true christian beliefs, but how many christians are willing to apply what the bible really teaches free from tradition, practise,emotions or the desire to be accepted? for example around this time many churches dorn nativity scenes with baby Jesus receiving gifts from "3 wise men".Where in the bible does it say they were 3, and did they arrrive there when Christ was still in the manger, were they wise men or magi....? why did God immediately warn Joseph to flee with "the young boy" immediately after their visit? why did Herod consult with them in a bid to harm the young boy?

It is interesting that God did send angels to sincere humble shepherds out in the field, is there a contrast here?This are sincere questions for meditation and sincere research in the scriptures devoid of religious tradition.

Greywolfe said...

Collins, you're being dense on purpose.... The word "Magi" has as a definition "wise men from Persia" as one of it's definition. 20 seconds with a search engine shows this up.

As to the number of 3 wise men, It is tradition to show each wise man giving one gift: gold, frankensense, and myrrh. What is the problem with tradition as long as it does not go against God's laws and commandments? I really don't see the problem. Tradition is a way of passing along information from one generation to the next.

The only traditions a person should be wary of are those that are contrary to what the bible teaches.

As for the reasons that God warned Joseph, it has nothing to do with the wise men and every thing to do with the wrath of Herod.

da patriot said...

Collins, your point about the involvement of emotion and a desire to be accepted as a catalyst in the continuance of unscriptural practices and traditions is well taken. And, you are quite right in pointing out that this time of the year is a perfect example of that. I plan to deal with the subject of the observance of Christmas in greater detail, but for now, I will say this; that there is absolutely no scriptural authority for it.

There is no evidence, scriptural or historical, which identifies Dec.25 as the date upon which Jesus was born, in fact the historical evidence points to late summer-early fall, as the time in which the Roman census which would have brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem to be counted.

But, more importantly, there is no scriptural authority, by direct command or example, by which we may justify the observance of the birth of Christ, at this time of the year, or any other. Since there is no scriptural authority for it's observance, we can not do it by faith, in as much as faith comes only through the word (Rom. 10:17).

Many Christians view faith as something that they feel in their heart, rather than a firm conviction in the teaching of God. It is the source of much of the unscriptural traditions which are practiced in Christendom - infant baptism is another good example. Since what we do in the practice of religion must be by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7), and since whatever is not from faith is sin (Romans 14:23), it is best for the Christian to err on the side of caution with respect to his participation in the tradition of Christmas.

Sandee said...

I have an AWARD for you. Participation is not mandatory though. :)

commoncents said...

THANK YOU for posting this! I love your blog!!

Common Cents

Francis R. Barbour said...

Keep going, Yahweh requires that you ask yourselves such questions and question anyone placed in authority over you. Yahshua didn't die to bring spiritual desolation and inactivity upon the Earth, but rather True Spiritual Growth and Completion.

Although you have much yet to acquire, you are on the right path for enternity. Do not hold back, but let His Spirit lead you continually towards Him. That is the purpose of His Spirit - to guide you into all things.

However, understand this.... There isn't much time, for The Seals have already been opening since 1914 and man has only one generation left to [now] seek Him.
Babylon The Great may be yet growing stronger, but it has already fallen In Truth!

Francis R. Barbour said...

Although you are probably not ready for this message, I shall give it anyway....

Know ye not, therefore, whom Christ was speaking to in Revelation when He said: "Come Out Of Babylon My People, Lest Ye Share In Her Plagues... For Her Sins Have Reached Up Unto Heaven?"

Who is: "Mystery, Babylon The Great, The Mother Of Harlots?" And who [therefore] are her daughters? If The Daughters also are harlots, then why would you fellowship with them? Think upon this....

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Francis R. Barbour said...

I know what you mean. Yahshua and His Apostles: Taught The Truth, Lived In Poverty, Provided For The Needy, and Kept Yahweh's Feasts... while Today's Churches: Teach An Abundance Of Lies, Raise Opulent Buildings, Take Care Of Their Own Hierarchies, and Celebrate The Pagan Holy Days Of Ba'al [Sunworship]!

While The Church Of Laodicea was clearly double-minded, Spiritual Babylon seems very clearly focused on something. I wonder what?