Monday, February 27, 2012

Print Page What's in a name?

Baptists have a long rich history which is seldom taught in Baptist churches any longer. I believe that is one of the reasons why churches, schools and organizations are removing Baptist from their names. Instead of embracing Baptist as a name, which represents centuries of persecution because our ancestors stood for Biblical truth, the name is thrown out to remove possible offense and get more people in the church.

As already mentioned the removal of Baptist is taking place at all levels. It happens with churches. It is not uncommon to hear a Baptist church remove Baptist from their name and replace it with something like Community, the name of the street they are on or city they reside in. It is also happening at the college and seminary level. For example Northland Baptist Bible College became Northland International University on April 7, 2009. Change is also taking place at the conference/convention level. In 2008 General Baptist Conference became Converge Worldwide. Also, as I type this, there is talk of the Southern Baptist Conference changing their name, some wanting to remove the name Baptist.

So what are the dangers of removing Baptist from your name? As Ernest D. Pickering in his pamphlet Should We Abandon The Name "Baptist"? put it:
Many who are forsaking the Baptist name today claim they can still hold all the Baptist distinctives without employing the name. My response to that is based on a good many years of observing  the ecclesiastical scene. Baptist churches that change their name (1) already have weakened Baptist convictions and have been slipping toward a broader position for years, and (2) will only see that process hastened by the change of name.
For example with Northland since the change you can see how the school has dropped previous convictions and have shifted over to the more liberal side. We must educate our church members on the rich Baptist history. I find the This Day in Baptist History devotionals a great place to start.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Print Page Sanctification - God's Work or Our Effort?

Most Baptist would agree that salvation is by faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). The problem lies in the fact that many believe sanctification is by works. Ryle, in his well known book Holiness says:

I ask, in the first place, whether it is wise to speak of faith as the one thing needful, and the only thing required, as many seem to do now-a-days in handling the doctrine of sanctification?—Is it wise to proclaim in so bald, naked, and unqualified a way as many do, that the holiness of converted people is by faith only, and not at all by personal exertion? Is it according to the proportion of God’s Word? I doubt it.

Time and time again Ryle tells us how we must work for our sanctification. This works based theology goes contrary to scripture. Our works are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). If we are going to use self effort we will fail time and time again and become frustrated to the point of giving up trying to live a holy life. This can lead to us doubting our salvation and others us telling us we might not be saved! What we need to do is have faith in what Jesus already did for us when he died on the cross for us. We are new men and we are in union with Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). We need to surrender our all to Jesus and allow him to live through us. This is the opposite of us relying on our own efforts.

When temptations come it is common to ask God for a way to overcome. This is no different than asking God daily for salvation. Salvation is a one time occurrence. It would be an insult to ask God for something he has already given you. Same goes with protection from sin. We have already been given a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). Our problem is when we do not claim the protection Jesus has delegated to us on this throne. We are never tempted beyond the point where we have to sin. It is a matter of yielding to God and his will or yielding to Satan and his will.

Once you understand this great Biblical truth you will see wonderful things Jesus can do through you. You will not feel the frustration of failing time and time again when trying to be holy. If you would like more information I highly recommend reading the articles at Revival Focus. Better yet, read the excellent book The Faith Response by John Van Geldren.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Print Page Does the Age of the Earth Really Matter?

Until the 18th Century most Christians believed in a young earth that was created in 6 ordinary days. Around this time Charles Lyle came on the scene promoting an earth that was millions of years old. Around the same time Charles Darwin published his famous book On the Origin of Species which promoted goo to man evolution. At this time Christians began compromising. Even though the Bible clearly speaks of a young earth as we'll later see, they didn't want to be mocked and instead wanted the respect of the atheists in academic circles.

I don't know of a way God could have been clearer that the days of Genesis 1 are literal 24 hour days.

Genesis 1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

Exodus 20:11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Mark 10:6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.

Exodus 31:17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.

Day comes from the Hebrew word YOM. It can have many meanings but when used with numbered days like we see in Genesis 1 it always means an ordinary day. When "evening" and "morning" are used with the word day like it is in Genesis 1 it always means an ordinary day. In 1984 James Barr, a Hebrew scholar at Oxford, in a personal letter wrote:
. . . probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis 1–11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that:
  1. creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience
  2. the figures contained in the Genesis genealogies provided by simple addition a chronology from the beginning of the world up to later stages in the biblical story
  3. Noah’s flood was understood to be world-wide and extinguish all human and animal life except for those in the ark.’
As you can see the Bible is clear on the days of creation. Not only is rejection of scripture a problem with belief in millions or billions of years you also will end up believing in death before sin. If you believe animals have been around for countless years before the fall of man you need to accept death and suffering took place before the sin of Adam and Eve. The Bible clearly tells us this is not the case:

Genesis 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. 

Genesis 3:17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. 

Genesis 3:18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field.

1 Corinthians 15:21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

1 Corinthians 15:26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

Romans 5:12 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:

Even though I don't agree with all of the doctrine of these organizations they have some great information on this topic:

Answers In Genesis
Creation Ministries International

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Print Page Bible Versions, Does It Matter?

  • ESV 2001, 2007 and 2011
  • NIV 1978, 1984, 2011
  • NASB 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977 and 1995

The ESV, NIV and NASB are probably the most popular modern translations of the Bible currently in use. Yet, as you can see by the listing above, they are always being revised. If you spent the last few years memorizing scripture it won't be long before an "improved" version comes out. So you need to spend the $15-$60 to buy the latest version and relearn the verses. Instead one could memorize the KJV that has not changed since 1611 (spelling and printer errors don't count). Yes, Bible versions do matter.


KJV - 1 Kings 10:8 Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom. 

KJV - 2 Chronicles 9:7 Happy are thy men, and happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and hear thy wisdom. 

ESV - 1 Kings 10:8 Happy are your men! Happy are your servants, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! 

ESV - 2 Chronicles 9:7 Happy are your wives! Happy are these your servants, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom!

As far as I know the ESV is the ONLY translation that I am aware of that changes it from the proper translation of men to wives based off of the LXX. This is an obvious contradiction. Yes, Bible versions do matter.


KJV - Romans 1:25  Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 

NKJV - Romans 1:25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

KJV - Judges 6:29 And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left. 

NKJV - Judges 6:29 And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars which supported the temple, and he braced himself against them, one on his right and the other on his left. 

KJV - 1 Corinthians 7:13  And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.

NKJV - 1 Corinthians 7:13  And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him.

Things that are different are not the same. Yes, Bible versions do matter.

Deity of Jesus:

KJV - 1 Timothy 3:16  And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

NASB - 1 Timothy 3:16  By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the fleshWas vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.

Baptism AFTER Salvation:

KJV - Acts 8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 

ESV - Acts 8:37 (missing)

Doctrine of the blood:

KJV - Colossians 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

NIV - Colossians 1:14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

These are just a handful of the doctrines that are weakened or removed by the modern versions. Also entire portions of the Bible are thrown out or put into question. For example the woman caught in adultery in John 7 shouldn't be in the Bible according to Bruce Metzger and many other scholars that are trusted by many Baptists and others:

Bruce Metzger
Although the committee [that is, the editorial committee of the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament] was unanimous that the pericope was originally no part of the Fourth Gospel, in deference to the evident antiquity of the passage a majority decided to print it, enclosed within double square brackets, at its traditional place following John 7.52.
Biblical scholars are nearly all agreed that the Story of the Adulteress (also known as the Pericope Adulterae or the Pericope de Adultera) usually printed in Bibles as John 7:53-8:11 is a later addition to the Gospel.
So contrary to common opinion Bible translations do matter. I recommend reading more at the 2 following web sites:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Print Page When Did the Church Really Start?

Today I will continue writing on the topic of churches. Many seminaries and books teach that the first church started at Pentecost. This in spite that there is not one verse that states this or even implies it! For starters at Pentecost the church was added to. You can't add to something that didn't already exist (Acts 2:41). In Matthew 18:17 church discipline is described by Jesus. In Matthew 16:18 Jesus tells us how he was going to continue to build his church which he already started.

You may ask "Why does it matter?". There are several reasons why knowing when the first church started matters. First of all the church ordinances of the Lord's Supper and Baptism were started before Pentecost and even before the crucifixion. Therefore those ordinances wouldn't be for churches if they were established before the church age. Second, the commission to go and make disciples was done before Pentecost. There are other reasons but I want to just give a brief summary of this Biblical Baptist view. Josh Davenport has a more detailed article that you can read here.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Print Page Church - Local or Universal?

A common word that is often misunderstood in Baptist circles is "church". To the Roman Catholic church is a Universal and visible body. To most protestants church is Universal and invisible but can also have a local meaning as well. These views can cause problems. Not only because it is simply unbiblical but because it also enourages ecumenism. If everyone is part of the same church then doctrine can take a back seat so it won't cause divisions "within the church". The Biblical Baptist view is that church is always local. Church comes from the Greek word ekklesia which means assembly. Assemblies are always local. Also, often in the Bible a church is specified with the city where that assembly is located. Eventually I plan on creating additional posts on this topic. In the meantime here is a link to an excellent article on the subject.