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|Subject: Contemporary Issues|
Posted By The Crusader
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Date Posted: 19:33:25 09/21/02 Sat
by Oscar Woodall
As we are involved in the ministry, locally and travelling, we continue to observe how contemporary theological issues are impacting the Body of Christ. The following is a brief statement enumerating a few of the issues facing the church today and commentary concerning these issues as we see them at Eternal Life Ministries.
I. Where is the Word of God today?
Did God promise to preserve His Word(s) for today and forever? If so, where are they? These two question are the focus for the current debate concerning the inerrancy controversy. Although somewhat simplified, we find three basic understandings involving this issue.
There are those who say that Scriptural authority lies only in the "original" manuscripts. Since these originals no longer exist, the resulting position of this understanding precludes an existing Bible without error.
There are those who say that Scriptural authority lies in the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts extant. This position dictates a Bible available only to language scholars. It is deemed impossible for the "average" Christian to identify, or interpret, the "inerrant" scriptures for their lack of scholarship.
There are those that say that God has inspired and preserved His Word through time, and that for English speaking people we find the same (without error) in the King James Bible. Those who promote this view emphasize the issues of God's fidelity and man's faith.
The basic objections concerning the first two positions are glaringly obvious. Any discussion concerning the quality of the original manuscripts is moot because they no longer exist. The real issue is the accuracy and reliability of a text we can hold in our hand.
Those that promote the second position, above, refuse to acknowledge that there is more dissent concerning the variations in the existent Hebrew and Greek manuscripts than about the KJV. For many of us it is far easier to accept the texts that agree with our English Bible that to fall prey to the myriad of "alleged" language scholars.
We thank the Lord that, by faith, we have accepted the authority of the King James Bible. We rejoice that we need not defend it, but rather proclaim the same. Having observed God honoring this time proven translation by the saving of souls, and the establishment of saints, we are confident of the authority of the KJV.
II. Why the rebellion against Pauline authority?
We observe a great resistance and rebellion to Pauline authority. This is to say that few Believers (especially pastors and those involved in various seminaries) recognize that the commission given to the Twelve has been set aside. This commission, and indeed the entire prophesied Kingdom program, are in abeyance because of a later, and greater, commission given to the apostle Paul.
Our ascended Lord called out the "chief of sinners," Saul of Tarsus. This same man became "our apostle" as he was designated the "apostle to the Gentiles" (Romans 11:13), our "pattern" (1 Timothy 1:15-16), and the "wise masterbuilder" (1 Corinthians 3:10). It is he that we are instructed to follow (1 Corinthians 4:16; 11:1; & Philippians 3:17).
There is little hope for anything but confusion until, and unless, organized Christianity (so called) recognizes that not all of the Bible is written to us. While all the Bible is written "for" us, not all of it is "to" us.
III. Which gospel are we to proclaim?
As our apostle, Paul made the following clear:
We are saved by his gospel -- 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.
We are established by his gospel -- Romans 16:25.
We are judged by his gospel -- Romans 2:16.
With the clarity of God's Word concerning the issue of Grace, how is it possible that so many still confuse His program, and message, for the nation of Israel with what God is doing today? Romans 4:5; 3:23-24; 6:23; 10:13,17; 11:6; Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 Timothy 1:9-10; Titus 3:5-6, and other references make it abundantly clear that salvation is a matter of God's grace and man's faith. Human attempts at righteousness are totally unacceptable to God for He has made adequate provision for each and every sinner.
It is our prayer that many would proclaim the unadulterated gospel of the Grace of God in this present evil world.
IV. Why water baptism?
There is "one Lord, one faith, one baptism" Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:5. Despite this truth many preachers and teachers insist on a multiplicity of baptisms. This insistence constitutes a slap in the face of God for it demeans the operation of God (Colossians 2:12) as being insufficient. We are baptized by God the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13) and no ritual of man (though borrowed from God's earlier Hebrew program) can add anything to that.
Only seven years ago did Dorothy and I understand that God's Word means precisely what it says, to whom it is written. In our travels througout this country, and the world, we have found that water baptism is one of the mose confusing and divisive issues in the religion of mankind.
Dorothy was raised in a religion that water baptized her as an infant as a part of her "salvation." Woody was reared in a tradition where he was "immersed" at the age of thirteen (not for salvation but as a "testimony"). Neither of us understood God's grace, the assurance of sins forgiven, the one baptism, and the dispensation of grace until much later in our lives.
Having mentioned our travels, in these we have encountered some that would preach THREE baptisms, some TWO and some ONE for the current Church age. Some would sprinkle, some pour. Some would immerse two times forward, once backward. Some baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit while others do so in the name of Jesus only. Some baptize infants and others would baptize adults only. Some will say that you are not saved unless water baptized while others say that baptism is a testimony only.
How sad! What a blessing it is to understand that Paul's commission did not include the water rite of baptism (1 Corinthians 1:17). How reassuring it is to know that we are "complete" in Christ and that man can add nothing to our position in Christ nor take away any of our spiritual blessings "in heavenly places in Christ."
We set forth these issues in the hope that it might foster a greater understanding concerning the Word of God, and the principles of grace. Though some might consider these topics as controversial, even divisive, we see them as instruments of blessing and growth. If you have any questions, or comments, we would rejoice to communicate with you by letter, by phone or in person.
Eternal Life Ministries, Inc.
10818 Cherith Lane
Clermont, FL 34711
From Web-Site: Eternal Life Ministries
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