Tuesday, September 30, 2008

When WAS Paul saved anyway?

Wow.. anyone who knows me knows I am not a fan of commentaries. Yet, I have read and will continue to read theological works - though no matter the subject or author I do so with the highest degree of skepticism.

All that being said, there are a few of our Brethren in the Blogosphere (is this the first time I've actually used this word here at OMW??) who have a talent for pointing out really cool things I haven't yet noticed. JP is the most consistent example of that. But today, Brother Dave dropped a tiny little bombshell on me as I was just checking out some comments at his blog. I really don't want to interrupt the budding conversation in my last post but this is really important. And I've just never heard anyone speak on this point before.

Here's the quote;
I read elsewhere in a blog that Paul was saved on Damascus road without believing that a Jesus died for him??? Paul wasn't saved there my friend but later:

Read Acts 22:16, (Ananias speaking to Saul) “And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on the name of the Lord.”

Compare that to 1st Corinthians 15:3 where Paul claimed that the message that he received was how Jesus died according to the Scriptures and now he preached to them as of "first importance."

Neat eh? How often have the Lordshippers used the story of Paul's "conversion on the Damascus Road" as an example of Lordship Salvation? Too often.

Here's the account from Acts 9

1 Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
3 As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. 4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”
5 And he said, “Who are You, Lord?”
Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”
6 So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?”
Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
7 And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one. 8 Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

10 Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.”
And he said, “Here I am, Lord.”
11 So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. 12 And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.”
13 Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.”
15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”
17 And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.
19 So when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus.

20 Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.
21 Then all who heard were amazed, and said, “Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?”
22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ.
Paul describes this in Gal 1:15-17
15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, 16 to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.
This topic deserves more discussion so let's get at it.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Is There Any Question?

In defense of their "Redifined Free Grace Gospel" members of the GES and it's community of sympathizers will often ask this hypothetical question;
"What if a person on an tropical island is only told that Jesus will guarantee their eternal life and they believe Him for it? Is that person saved by grace through their faith in Jesus?"
Then they ask who are we mere men to say the person could not be saved? *Edit: Note the question assumes the info shared does not identify Jesus as The Christ, by His Work on the Cross, by His identity as the Son of God, by His identity of God in the flesh, nothing other than that He can and will guarantee a person's Eternal Life. *End Edit And then they state that if this person could be saved, then reception of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not a requirement for Salvation. I've been overly dismissive of this question in the past. I've only paid lip-service to the topic on any occasion it's come up. However....

I was reading an article today, over at Brother Gordon's blog Heavenly Heartburn. He's getting to the "heart of the Gospel" and addressing this same question. As I took in his comments, and those of his guests I remembered a section of Scripture and a number of things hit me about this question I have so often heard asked by the people mentioned above.

Mark 4:21-25 came to me.
21 Also He said to them, “Is a lamp brought to be put under a basket or under a bed? Is it not to be set on a lampstand? 22 For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”
24 Then He said to them, “Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given. 25 For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”
And then I thought about the Eunuch that Philip was translated to preach to in Acts 8
26 Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert. 27 So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, 28 was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.”
30 So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 The place in the Scripture which he read was this:

“ He was led as a sheep to the slaughter;
And as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
33 In His humiliation His justice was taken away,
And who will declare His generation?
For His life is taken from the earth.”

34 So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. 36 Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?”
37 Then 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.”
38 So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. 39 Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea.
Now the thoughts were really coming... and I thought of Romans 1:18-24 (actually I was thinking all the way to verse 32, but up to 24 serves my purposes just fine)
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
And I began to see how God has revealed Himself in Creation, and on the Cross, and how He works with people all fits into this dilemma. That the Cross was a "public spectacle" where the Light of the World was lifted up on a Lampstand. That no one puts a lamp away, but instead they lift it up on a lampstand to make it completely visible.

See God gives people up to foolishness and His wrath is revealed through this when they disregard the revelation He gives us. But when we "receive" any of this revelation. If we "have ears to hear" or "eyes to see" and we do receive what He is revealing then He will give more. Even if it takes sending an Angel to an Evangelist to get someone to the person so they can hear "beginning with" where ever they are but ending up with the full preaching of Christ to them. Just like in Acts 8:35. And having had a preacher sent to them, and having heard (received), they can have faith and be saved unto Eternal Life.

Because the REAL questions, the ones we find in Scripture that relate EXACTLY to this subject are found in Romans 10:13-17;
13 For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”
14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:

“ How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things!”
16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “LORD, who has believed our report?” 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
When I ask "Is there any question?" the answer is these questions;
How can they call on Him if they have not believed? And how can they believe in Him if they have not heard? How shall they hear without a Preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?
The false premise of the question asked by the GES and it's sympathizers assumes that God will not give further revelation to the person who is seeking. But everything we know about our Graceful God tells us otherwise. We are told that "he who seeks will find" and we are told that God put Christ's work on the Cross on public display. We are shown that God will send the preacher to the one who has received just the little bit they are given.

The idea that God would allow someone who is seeking to go without the full Gospel is repugnant and reduces God to a mere idol, powerless to carry out what He has promised to do.

I can say, based solely on Scriptures, that it is impossible to believe in what you have not been told, and that it is reception of the Gospel that brings about Salvation, and that any who have not believed will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Robb's A Law-Keeper!

Has Robb flown the Grace-Coup? Who can tell unless they check out the latest edition of Good Morning, Jesus Christ!

Rom 3:19 Moreover, we know that whatever the Torah says, it says to those living within the framework of the Torah, in order that every mouth may be stopped and the whole world be shown to deserve God’s adverse judgment.
Rom 3:20 For in his sight no one alive will be considered righteousn on the ground of legalistic observance of Torah commands, because what Torah really does is show people how sinful they are.

–Complete Jewish Bible.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

URGENT prayer request

If you are reading this and you are a Christian please pray for my dear friend and brother in the Lord's son. Cory the founder and president of The Cross Current has a son named Joshua. This little guy preaches the Gospel in purity and completeness even though he's only 7 years old. Josh has been suffering some strange attacks that present like severe shock. I'm not going to detail all the symptoms but he has just been taken to the Hospital again, this has happened several times but this time seems particularly serious.

Please pray for his healing, and strengthening, protection and really protection and faithfulness of Cory and his wife Dawn as they face this situation with the Lord. Please do this right now, the moment you read this.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Big Week For Me & TCC

Well it's been busy! Crazy busy! This week we produced part 2 of our series on Aliens entitled TCC Phone Home! This episode is called Life, The Universe, Anything? This series marks the first time we've started the shows with dramatic intros. So far it's been pretty fun, and since we're interviewing Amazon.com top 50 best selling author Gary Bates about the expertise he has demonstrated in writing Alien Intrusion it's been very informative too. Did you know that there are 150 UFO sightings around the planet EVERY DAY? Well about 90% of them are explainable by man made and natrual events but that last 10% is the tricky part. We're working our way through the topic towards that last 10%. So far we have talked about the science of science fiction, and the likelyhood of extra-terrestial intelligent life from both a scientific and Biblical points of view. Next week we'll be talking about space travel. And then in part 4 we're going to be talking about that scarey last 10 %.

As if that wasn't enough I've also just submitted the first official draft of TCC's teaching on False Teachers to our staff for review. I can't wait to publish this document.

And that's not all! This week the TCC Board of Directors met and have reorganized the ministry so that our Founder is now the President, and I have been promoted to the Vice Presidency (please no Sarah Palin jokes... yes they have already started... lol) but importantly both of us have no vote with the Board of Directors. As we continue to build this ministry up in it's proper position in the Church we are thankful that TCC is not about a couple of guys running the show. We have a group of godly men who love the Gospel, are desperate to see the lost saved, eager to help dress the Bride of Christ in the purest of white, and ultimately completely sold out on the fact that we exist solely to exalt the Glory of the Lord God Almighty. So both Cory and I have been promoted in the ministry but we have also become less in "control." God is doing good things in our ministry and to Him be all praise and all glory!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Good Life

I wonder how many times people have told me they think Christianity is a crutch for weak people. I guess the really funny thing is that there is some truth in the statement, even though not at all in the way it is meant when it's said that way. Everyone is too weak to save themselves, and becoming a Christian through faith in Christ is any person's only hope.

But you know the more I live the tougher this walk gets. Got a..... ok I'm just gonna say it.. stupid situation going on at my work. I got angry... though I remained reasonable.. I still got angry. Now it's a matter of interpretation by people who were not present if I actually was reasonable or not. I've examined this from every direction I can think of. I have not been told I did anything wrong but my employer is "looking into it" to see if I have.

It may not seem like a big deal to most people.. angry.. who cares right? Well anger is a big deal in the sight of the Lord. And it doesn't make you look very good.. even if you're right.

Anyway... I'm sick to my stomach over this... the idea of having to defend myself due to something so trivial is frustrating.. but the damage to my witness and the interruption in my work production is really making me sick. Not to mention the frustration I have over the way this was brought up to my employer and the way it's being handled. Long story short... the story of what supposedly happened has significantly changed several times and yet I'm still expected to submit to the "process."

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Is Evolution Pseudoscience?

I'm dealing with a frustrating situation at work right now and it has been taxing my energy. So there haven't been many posts.. but here's something you all find neat.

Is Evolution Pseudoscience? You've heard it all before... Creationism is just pseudoscience... I'd disagree, but that's neither here nor there. What about Evolution? How does it stand up to the same attacks that are posed against some people's ideas of what Creationism might be? CMI has given us just a glimpse.
The Skeptic’s Dictionary contains an entry on ‘pseudoscience’ that includes ten characteristic fallacies of pseudoscientific theories. The list’s compiler clearly did not have evolution in mind, as the very first group the article identifies as pseudoscientific is ‘creationists’. Ironically, evolution has almost every characteristic on this list.
Read the whole article at CMI.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Right & Wrong

Is there such a thing as right or wrong? Or is it all perspective... I'm on a "conflict resolution" course this week and as far as I can discern so far the way of conflict resolution is to realize there is no right or wrong so we can all get along....

I truly do feel like "a stranger in a strange land" these days. I found myself wanting to vomit as I sat and listened to the words of people speaking... it's "wrong to limit people" but there is "no such thing as right and wrong, it's just how we perceive things"...

It got so bad I asked the class how many bottles of water I had on my desk.. they argued about what a bottle of water might be.......

I was in a room full of professionals. People who's pilot's lives depend on them obeying the exacting specifications and procedures that ensure that aircraft stay in the air... it's a good thing that these people don't actually believe what they preach because aircraft (which really do obey absolute truth) would be falling out of the sky constantly because of some technician deciding that his idea about aircraft maintenance is "right for him" and that no manual was going to "decide what is true for him."

Friday, September 05, 2008

The "only" Biblical Way To Evangelize?

Brother Robb is reporting tonight how Ray Comfort has stepped across a line he ought not to have. I am a graduate of Mr. Comfort's training, as is Robb. The ministry I am part of was seeded out of what we learned from Mr. Comfort - though we have departed in many ways from his teaching, tone and style. I'm terribly saddened by what I have just read. Mr. Comfort has gone from leaving holes in his teaching that has allowed much error to creep in to the fellowship around his training but I can easily forgive a man for that. Who is perfect? Who can control everything everyone thinks you said? I separated from his training because I could no longer endure the errors. But I have still harbored a love for the man who introduced me to Evangelism, something that now defines my life.

Mr. Comfort's method (his followers hate it being called that) is fairly common, though he has popularized it. He calls it "The Way Of The Master" many have questioned if it actually reflects the way the Master preached at all.. many (not all) of the questioning is valid in my opinion. But I have long loved the man who loves God and who shared with me that passion of seeing lost people freed from their direct path to an Eternity in the Lake of Fire.

However, tonight I find myself reading a paragraph that shocks me. Not only is Mr. Comfort encouraging people to only use his method - which has ALMOST (but not quite) been his character until now - but tonight I read what he himself has typed that his method is the ONLY Biblical method to Evangelize.

I'm saddened. And scared for those who follow him more closely than they do the True Master.

Here is the paragraph in full so you can see the context. I am sad.
This is why I don’t spend too much time trying to convince anyone that there is a God. To do so is to waste time and energy. What sinner’s need isn’t to be convinced that God exists, but that sin exists and that they are in terrible danger. The only biblical way to do this is to go through the Moral Law and explain that God considers lust to be adultery and hatred to be murder, etc. It is the revelation that God is holy and just, and sees the thought-life that convinces us that we are in danger of eternal damnation. That’s what sent me to the cross for mercy and that’s what sinners need to hear. So never be discouraged from preaching the gospel, and don’t get sidetracked by the rabbit trails of issues that don’t really matter.
Here is a link to the post at his blog, Atheist Central. Beware, a script at that blog managed to crash my normally unstoppable Firefox browser.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Proof-Texting The Gospel?

This is an adaptation of what I thought would be a good reply to a question regarding the validity of saying that 1 Cor 15:1-11 fully defines the Gospel as it is in whole, indivisible, irreducible, and missing no part.

The question was actually a number of statements but they really all dove-tail into one distinct question or statement, which the author actually ended up posing in clear writing. Is saying that “The Gospel” is represented in it’s entirety with no extra information included beyond the scope of the actual “Gospel” that must be received to be Eternally Saved actually just Proof-Texting? Well, “Proof-Texting” which is a real concern of mine, and it affects almost every theological “system.” If you’ve read any amount of my writing you should know that I detest the practice.

I know it’s Wikipedia that I’m linking to but I really like the short description they have of Proof-Texting
…the practice of using decontextualised quotations from a document to establish a proposition rhetorically an appeal to authority. Critics of the technique note that often the document, when read as a whole, may not in fact support the proposition.
So the two questions I need to answer are these – is using anything less than the whole of Scripture to define something always Proof-Texting, and if it is not then does THIS instance of using a portion (instead of the whole) to define something actually Proof-Texting. To answer these I will test this instance against the definition I have just quoted above.

How do we know that God created the Heavens and the Earth? Because in Gen 1:1 it says In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. There is a multitude of information in the Bible about Creation and all of God’s purposes in it. But we can define that Creation was Created by God from this one verse. It is a declaration of a fact. The context is not abused, and the remainder of Scripture does not change the context of that single verse being used in isolation. In short this being true is not dependent on other Scriptures, but other Scriptures are absolutely dependent on it being true. This may seem like an overly simplified example but it actually matches our topic completely (at least as completely as I can see at this moment).

So I have established that something can be defined, or declared, by just a portion of Scripture without it being Proof-Texting. So we must now move on to question if defining The Gospel by 1 Cor 15:1-11 is Proof-Texting or not.

At this moment I feel prompted to make this comment. I am not mocking anyone who has thought these thoughts, or questioned this way at all. This is a valuable question that has been asked by many people in various ways. I have not answered it, and I have not seen it answered to date. I've decided to make this an article so that everyone can be exposed to it. I think it's a very valuable conversation to have.

The Apostle Paul spent much of his ministry defending his Apostleship. He said that his Gospel, and the entirety of the “revelation of the mystery” was given to him directly from the Risen Christ. Gal 1:11-12; Eph 3:1-7 Scripture declares Paul’s authority and his ministry to the Church. It would take up needed time and space to defend this at this point. I will assume your agreement as I go forward and I will lean on the fact of his confirmed authority and his fidelity in preaching the Message received directly from Christ Himself.

1 Cor 15:1-2 in the NKJV reads as the following.
1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
There is a TON to cover in these two verses that relates to our discussion. Forgive me if I fail to encompass it all.

Paul says he’s going to declare the Gospel which he had preached to them in the past. He is going to “define” it to them again with great knowledge and understanding. They had come to question parts of it. His purpose in defining it to them again was to bring them out of their questioning and back into proper fellowship – their Sanctification was his purpose as he declared to them again how they were Justified.

He reminds them that they had received this message. They had “obeyed the Gospel” because they believed it, they received this Truth and accepted it as such. Rom 10:16 2 Thes 1:8

He then assures them that it is in this message that they are caused to stand. It is this message that provides their standing before God.

He then declares that it is by this message that they are saved now this is an important word for a number of issues. This word, in the declaration of the purpose and effect of The Gospel provides undisputable proof of Eternal Security and at the same time shows that the Apostle is declaring a message of Eternal Salvation and not Temporal (or Progressive) Sanctification. If we look at the “form” of the word in the Greek we can see the following at Blueletterbible.org.

The Tense is Present The Voice is Passive and the Mood is Indicative

This tells us that Paul is making a statement of absolute truth, a statement of fact, of their condition right now of something they have received – not achieved, or arrived at. By this we know Paul is speaking of Eternal Salvation and not progressive Sanctification which can only be absolutely true (complete) when we are in resurrected in Glory. Philippians 3:12

Paul then returns to his purpose in declaring these this Truth, their holding to it and being Sanctified (separated from the World) by saying “if you hold fast what I preached to you” Not that their salvation is conditional on “holding fast” but that he is looking for their return to agreement with this thing he has stated as fact. This interpretation is confirmed with his next words – “unless you have believed in vain.” He defines vain belief in 1 Cor 15:12-19, it is not a failure to “really believe” , it’s a belief in something that isn’t true. If the Gospel is not true then we are all the most pitiful of men. Further indication that while his purpose is to return these believers to full fellowship (Sanctification) he is actually declaring the message that saves Eternally is found in that same section of Scripture 1 Cor 15:19. The hope (assurance that something is actually going to happen because God said so) is beyond this present life.

Paul then goes on to give the details of The Gospel of Jesus Christ in 1 Cor 15:3-8 Finally he closes the doctrine as a complete message in verse 11
Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
This is what was preached by the Apostles, this is what Paul received, this is what Believers receive.

So far I have shown that Paul is making a declaration based on in-depth knowledge and in full authority. And that reception of this message results in a secure Eternal Salvation. And, since I have defined what Paul is doing, now I must determine if using only this declaration to define the content of “The Gospel” qualifies as Proof-Texting or not. This is no small task. I have to admit that from my own point of view I think that it’s clearly not, since the Apostle himself is declaring it.. would Paul be doing something akin to proof-texting himself? But my point of view is not what is needed.

First is the content exhaustive? Does it cover everything that any and all other Scriptures having to do with attaining Eternal Salvation require. It would be well beyond my time constraints to list and examine every verse that deals with this. I’m sure as the conversation progresses through comments that most, and maybe even all of them, will be discussed and what I write here can be vetted against them. For my defence of how exhaustive Paul’s Gospel declaration is I offer part of a document I prepared for TCC. This was entitled “A Semi-Detailed View Of The Gospel” it is not intended to cover every bit of what is contained but it ought to server for our purposes of showing the scope of what Paul wrote in these few verses.
Verse 1:
“In which you stand” We are held by He who is able to keep us from
stumbling. Jude verse 24.

Verse 2:
This is the "Gospel" (Good News) that saves.

“If you hold fast” Paul is re-explaining the Resurrection of Christ to the
Corinthians. We see in verse 1 that they “received” this teaching from him. He's saying you know we stand in this if you still believe what I told you before. Not that we are only saved as long as we “hold fast”.

“unless you believed in vain” if we don't “stand” in this, if it doesn't save then we have all believed in vain. If the Gospel is powerless to save then we are the most pitiable men (1 Corinthians 15:19)

Verse 3:
“First of all” the Gospel is what makes a person a Christian. It is what we
bring first. It is of “first importance” but it is also the first thing we talk about.

“Christ” - God's Anointed because God gave Him for this purpose and God Himself because all of Creation was cursed to suffer death so the person who died for all sins legally could not have already been under a sentence of death (Genesis 3:14-19; Romans 8:20-22).

“died for our sins” we are each sinners. The righteous requirement to satisfy God for our sins is death (Genesis 2:17; Romans 6:23; Hebrews 9:22). This did satisfy God (Ephesians 1:7, Colossians 1:14) and is provision for forgiveness for all persons. Anyone can have this forgiveness applied to them (1 John 2:2).

“according to the Scriptures”, Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 are prophecies of
this and, it happened exactly when God said it would (Daniel 9).

Verse 4:
“buried” means He was really dead.

“rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (Psalm 16:9-11). Corruption starts on the fourth day (such as with Lazarus John 11:39). We are risen up in Christ's rising (Pauline Epistles) so Hosea 6:2 is also prophecy of this. Then the Sign of Jonah (Matthew 12:38-40; Jonah 1:17)

Verses 5-10:
He was seen alive after His resurrection in the flesh by real people. Over
five hundred on some twelve occasions. At the time of the writing of this
letter most of these people were still alive.

Verse 11:
“so we preached, so you believed.” Paul closes the Gospel with the

statement that no matter which of the Apostles preached to them (the Corinthians were torn between the Apostles in their loyalties), this is the Gospel they preached and this is what Christians have believed. This along with Verses 1& 2 closes the doctrine of the Gospel. Nothing can be added or taken away from this message detailed in these few verses.
For a much more exhaustive look at the contents of these 11 verses I suggest a reading of Free Grace Free Speech’s articles on the content of the Gospel. I hope this will not be seen as an “appeal to authority” I’m not looking for those articles to prove my point but simply to complete the information that I can not provide here but that the more noble minded reader would use to aid his or her examination of the subject.

We find in various areas of the NT that belief that Jesus is “The Christ” brings Salvation. That believing He is the Son of God brings Salvation. That belief that Jesus is God brings Salvation. We read that obeying – believing – the Gospel brings Salvation. I think of sections like John 20:30-31 Rom 10:8-13 Rom 10:16 2 Thes 1:8 I don’t want to get to deep into repentance in this post, but let it suffice that Repentance Unto Salvation is a requirement, it is the change from disbelief to belief. It is “afterthought” or a “change of mind.” You hear the Word of God and you repent from unbelief to belief. Rom 10:17 Eph 1:13 come to mind.

We read much about the testimony of Christ in the NT. This is here to prove to the Jew and the Gentile Who He is. These proofs are not part of The Gospel, they are things that demonstrate Christ’s qualification to carry out the work of the Gospel. John 20:30-31

So… given all of this does citing 1 Cor 15:1-11 as the definition of the Gospel of Jesus Christ qualify as Proof-Texting? I will remind you of our working definition of this practice.
…the practice of using decontextualised quotations from a document to establish a proposition rhetorically an appeal to authority. Critics of the technique note that often the document, when read as a whole, may not in fact support the proposition.
The quotation of 1 Cor 15:1-11 as The Gospel does not abuse the context, it echoes the Apostle’s own words.

It does not attempt to establish a proposition rhetorically through an appeal to authority. Mainly because the authority in this case gives the direction. This quotation is not in support of my idea, my idea is driven only by the Apostle’s declaration. Just exactly the same way that my idea of God being the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth is not supported by Gen 1:1, it is driven by it.

Finally, the rest of the Document (the Bible) confirms there is no other content required to know and that each of the points in 1 Cor 15:1-11 is required for belief. It identifies the person, character, qualification, and completion that is in Christ Jesus. There are many things in Scripture which are dependant on this section being The Gospel, but other than the statements actually being true (unless our belief is in vain) The Gospel is completely true independent of the rest of the NT. If one only had the Gospel and they believed it they would be saved.

Therefore after all of this I submit that quoting 1 Cor 15:1-11 does not qualify as Proof-Texting and is self-evidently, and also established by God given authority, to be The Gospel that saves eternally.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Is 'The Gospel of Jesus Christ' definable?

Dear Brethren, at the request of a newer visitor I'm going to open up some discussion about the Gospel and the "Crossless Gospel." If we can have genuine conversation on the topic that honors God, edifies believers and removes stumbling blocks then I'll engage in such.

Please all be aware that my time is very limited and my passion right now is to deal with the errors of Lordship Salvation. I have quite a few things that are of more immediate concern and so I may not be able to engage quickly or consistently in this thread. However I open it in the hopes of helping a few.

I believe the Apostle Paul defines the Gospel of Jesus Christ in 1 Cor 15:1-11. This may sound less than gracious but once read, I can't find a reasonable reason why the Believer could think otherwise. I make this statement known because it must be said that I do not decide what to believe, the Word of God has declared what I must believe. I have tested the Word of God in many ways, so has the World. This series of letters, books and prophecies has been poked and prodded since the first word of it was written down and it has yet to ever be shown to be in error or to fail. I will endevour to submit my thinking to it always.
1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.
9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 11 Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
I have moved a portion of a comment by our newer visitor to this thread so as to start the conversation.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Position Vs Condition

Earlier today I asked JP to do a more in depth instruction based on a comment he made. He wasted no time in getting to it and has quoted Scofield's teaching on the subject.

I would like to direct the reader to JP's post (LINK REMOVED), and also to CH Mackintosh's Sanctification: What Is It?

Understanding the difference between position and condition is vital for assurance, and assurance is vital for true victory over any worldly condition. Putting the cart before the horse will not make the off-loading go any quicker because the horse will never leave the starting point.... get my meaning?

Follow The Lodestar

Alright! My Brother had the spelling incorrect last time but his new blog is opened - yet empty at the time of this posting. Thanks for all who welcomed him at the last url, he mentioned to me how warm the reception was. Please welcome him anew at his new blog Follow The Lodestar!

Thoughts on moderation here at OMW

Some recent incidents at mine and other blogs I frequent have caused me to consider the impression people might have when they see comments deleted and/or ignored. I try to moderate as little as possible. My primary concern will be protecting the weaker brethren from heresy or influential false teaching. If I delete something, it's probably because it's there is a high probability it would have harmed a weaker Brother or Sister.

If I ignore a comment... or an argument it may be for any of several reasons. Most often it is because "I've been down that trail before.." Not every argument needs to be answered every time. Not every complaint or topic is brought up to drive the conversation forward. With the very few people I have had any contention with I have found they often bait on side issues and cause conversations to drift in to long bouts of exposition instead of staying focused on the issue. In the future I hope to be more balanced in my response to this. It's important that real questions get real answers, but it's just as important that readers don't get lost in a swamp of smoke and fog.

So please participate, but remember most of the "hot topic" issues like Lordship Salvation and the Crossless Gospel and many others have been discussed here and elsewhere many times.