"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS" Christ Did Not Send Me To Baptize (1:14-17) by Mark Copeland


              Christ Did Not Send Me To Baptize (1:14-17)


1. An objection commonly raised concerning the necessity of baptism is
   based on Paul's statement to the church at Corinth - cf. 1Co 1:14-17
   a. Note Paul's words:  "For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to
      preach the gospel..." - 1Co 1:17
   b. From which some conclude baptism must not be essential to

2. However, when one takes into account the context...
   a. The immediate context of his words in this epistle - 1Co 1:10-13
   b. The remote context of Paul's ministry in Corinth  - Ac 18:1-18
   -- Paul preached baptism, and his comments should not be taken out of

[In this study, let's take a closer look at the context in which we find
Paul's statement.  Note that...]


      1. They were divided - 1Co 1:10-11
      2. Their division was a result of "preacher-itis" - 1Co 1:12
         a. They were claiming, "I am of Paul", "I am of Apollos", etc.
         b. As Paul expounded later, they were thinking too highly of
            the different preachers
            1) Their attitude was a mark of carnality - 1Co 3:3-4
            2) Preachers were simply fellow servants - 1Co 3:5-9
            3) Thus they were not to boast in men - 1Co 3:21-23

      1. As indicated by Paul's rhetorical questions - 1Co 1:13
      2. E.g., "Were you baptized in the name of Paul?"
      3. Some evidently claimed to be disciples of those who personally
         baptized them

      1. Thankful that he baptized only Crispus, Gaius, and the
         household of Stephanas
      2. Lest any should say that he was baptizing in his own name
         - 1Co 1:14-15

[So Paul was addressing a problem at Corinth.  Are we to construe from
this that Paul didn't preach baptism, or didn't think it necessary?  To
the contrary...]


      1. How he worked with Aquila and Priscilla - Ac 18:1-3
      2. How he reasoned in the synagogues, testified that Jesus is the
         Christ, and persisted despite rejection by unbelieving Jews
         - Ac 18:4-7

      1. Crispus, ruler of the synagogue, and his household believed on
         the Lord (and whom Paul personally baptized) - Ac 18:8; cf.
         1Co 1:14
      2. But also "many" of the Corinthians believed and were baptized
         - Ac 18:8

[Though Paul personally baptized few, his preaching resulted in many
baptisms!  Baptism must have played a significant role in his preaching.
That is one reason why we must not twist Paul's words to the church at
Corinth as implying that it was not necessary.  As we return to 1Co 
1:13, we should also note that...]


      1. For one to call himself after Paul (or any other man) required
         two things:
         a. Paul would have to be crucified for the person - 1Co 1:13
         b. One would have to be baptized in the name of Paul 
            - 1Co 1:13
      2. Neither happened, of course, which is why they should not be
         calling themselves after men

   [But consider what Paul's argument means positively...]

      1. Christ would have to die for the person (which of course He
      2. The person would have to be baptized in the name of Christ!
         a. Have you been baptized in the name of Christ?
         b. If not, then you cannot rightfully be called a Christian!

[In the very context of a passage which many use to claim that baptism
is not essential, Paul implies one cannot be called a Christian unless
they have been baptized in the name of Christ!

How then are we to understand Paul's statement ("For Christ did not send
me to baptize, but to preach the gospel...")?  The answer is easy...]


      1. As an apostle (which means "one sent"), Paul's role was to
         proclaim the gospel
         a. As explained to the Ephesians, he was given the task to
            preach "the unsearchable riches of Christ" - Ep 3:8
         b. Which he did by inspiration - cf. Ga 1:11-12
      2. Though his preaching resulted in baptism (cf. Ac 18:8), it was
         not imperative that he do it
         a. Others could easily do the baptizing (such as his traveling
         b. Which happened at Corinth, for while many were baptized, he
            personally baptized few

      1. Notice the words of Jesus in Jn 6:27...
         a. "Do not labor for the food which perishes"
         b. "but for the food which endures to everlasting life"
         c. Jesus was not saying one should not work, but rather was
            emphasizing the importance of seeking after spiritual food
            over physical food
      2. In a similar way Paul says 1Co 1:17...
         a. "For Christ did not send me to baptize"
         b. "but to preach the gospel"
         c. Paul was not saying he was not to baptize, but that his role
            as an apostle to preach the gospel was more important!

      1. "That is, not to baptize as my main business.  Baptism was not
         his principle employment, though he had a commission in common
         with others to administer the ordinance, and occasionally did
         it." - Barnes (Notes, on 1Co 1:17)
      2. "According to Semitic idiom, 'not so much to baptize, as...'.
         The word 'sent' involves the meaning 'made me an apostle'.  The
         primary function of an apostle was 'to bear witness'." - Farrar
         (Commentary on 1Co 1:17)
      3. "Baptism was not his principal work, not the main business for
         which Paul was sent, it was part of his work, otherwise he
         would not have baptized Crispus, or Gaius, or 'the household of
         Stephanas,' but preaching was his principle work." - Poole
         (Annotations, 1Co 1:17)
      4. "...bearing mind Paul's other utterances about baptism, v.17 is
         to be interpreted in the light of the Semitic manner of laying
         stress on an issue:  Christ sent Paul to preach the gospel
         rather than to baptize.  But this is no depreciation of the
         value of baptism." - Beasley-Murray (Baptism In The New
         Testament, p.181)


1. When one considers all the evidence we have about the situation at
   Corinth, we learn...
   a. Many were baptized as a result of Paul's preaching - Ac 18:8
   b. Paul was glad that he did personally baptized few, because of the
      problem that later arose in Corinth - 1Co 1:14-15

2. In the passage so many use to say that baptism is not important...
   a. Paul emphasizes his role as an apostle - 1Co 1:17
   b. Paul's reasoning implies the necessity of baptism (to be called
      after Christ, one must be baptized into the name of Christ)
      - 1Co 1:13

Can you rightfully be called a Christian?  True, Jesus Christ was
crucified for you; but have you been baptized in the name of Christ...?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

eXTReMe Tracker 

Are Jesus’ Words More Important than the Bible Writers’? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Are Jesus’ Words More Important than the Bible Writers’?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Occasionally, Christians will make the statement that “Jesus’ words are more important than the words of the Bible writers.” Allegedly, the words of Christ deserve greater attention, allegiance, and admiration than the inspired words of Paul, Peter, James, and every other Bible writer. Some even go so far as to say, “Jesus’ teachings must be obeyed, while the teachings of the Bible writers could be overlooked.” After all, Jesus is the Son of God (Acts 9:20). He died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3). He saves us (Luke 19:10). The Bible writers were merely men—fallible men who made numerous mistakes in their lives, and whose salvation, like ours, comes only through Jesus Christ (John 14:6). So why should we consider their teachings on par with the teachings of Christ?
It clearly needs to be established that no one is on par with God. The Creator and Sustainer of the Universe is infinite in all of His glorious attributes. He alone is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. The Son of God is the only accountable person never to sin (Hebrews 4:15). It has always been wrong to attempt to put men, even Bible writers, on par with God (cf. Genesis 3:5; Ezekiel 28:1-8). Only the wicked try to elevate themselves to the status of deity. King Herod, for example, flirted with self-deification—and died in a horrific manner as a result (Acts 12:21-23). This incident stands in stark contradistinction to the reaction of a Bible writer, Paul, when the heathen at Lystra attempted to worship him. Rather than accept worship that is reserved only for God (Matthew 4:10), Paul and Barnabas refused it and rebuked those who attempted such worship (Acts 14:8-18).
Jesus, as God in the flesh (John 1:1-5,14,17), rightly accepted, and still accepts, His followers’ worship (John 9:35-38; Luke 24:52; Revelation 5:8-14). However, the fact that the words of the Bible writers deserve the same level of attention and allegiance as the words of Christ has nothing to do with attempting to put weak, finite, sinful humanity on par with God. To say that all of the words of the Bible deserve our utmost respect and attention is actually in harmony with what the Bible itself teaches.
First, the only reason we have the words of Christ is because God used men to write them down. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all wrote about the life and teachings of Christ. The apostle Paul also quoted Jesus occasionally (2 Corinthians 12:9; 1 Timothy 5:18; Acts 20:35; 22:7-21). To say that the words of Christ deserve man’s ultimate respect, while the words of the Bible writers warrant less appreciation, is to ignore the fact that God gave us the teachings of Christ through inspired men (Galatians 1:12; 1 Thessalonians 2:12).
Second, at times in the gospel accounts there is no clear way to know for sure if the Bible writers were quoting Jesus or simply narrating the inspired story. As commentator Leon Morris concluded:
All are agreed that from time to time in the Gospel [of John—EL] we have the meditations of the [e]vangelist, but it is difficult to know where they begin and end. In the first century there were no devices like quotation marks to show the precise limits of quoted speech. The result is that we are always left to the probabilities and we must work out for ourselves where a speech or quotation ends (1995, p. 202, emp. added).
For example, we cannot say for sure if John 3:16—arguably the most frequently quoted Bible verse in the world—is a direct quotation of Jesus or a comment by John. The great thing is, we do not have to know this in order to know the teachings of God. Whether John 3:16 is a direct quote from Jesus or not, it is from God, and thus divinely authoritative. [NOTE: A person should be careful not to assume that red-letter Bibles have all of (and only) Jesus’ direct quotations printed in red. Judgment calls must be made by publishers as to which words they put in red and which words they do not. The fact is, whatever color publishers make the words of Jesus and the Bible writers, all of them deserve our utmost respect because all of them come from God. As the psalmist proclaimed: “The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of your righteous judgments endures forever” (Psalm 119:160, emp. added).]
Third, consider also the fact that Jesus quoted from the Old Testament numerous times throughout His ministry. He quoted from Deuteronomy (6:13,16; 8:3) when tempted by Satan in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). When the Pharisees connivingly asked Jesus a question about divorce (Matthew 19:1-10), the master Teacher directed their attention to God’s plan for marriage as recorded in the first book of the Bible (Genesis 1:27; 2:24; 5:2). When dying on the cross (Matthew 27:46), Jesus quoted from Psalm 22:1. Genesis, Deuteronomy, and the book of Psalms did not become authoritative when Jesus quoted from them; they were already authoritative, because they came from God. After quoting from the relatively obscure words in Psalm 82:6, Jesus said, “the Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). That is, it is impossible for Scripture to be annulled, for its authority to be denied, or its truth to be withstood (see Warfield, 1970, pp. 138-140). “It cannot be emptied of its force by being shown to be erroneous” (Morris, 1995, p. 468). Why? Because it was the authoritative, inspired, inerrant Word of God, even before Jesus quoted from it.
Indeed, the fact that Jesus quoted extensively from the Old Testament, appealing to it as the authoritative “Word of God” (Mark 7:13; John 10:35), is further proof that all of the Scriptures—not just the words Jesus spoke while on Earth—deserve our utmost respect. It is illogical and without biblical backing to suggest that the “Word of God” (whether the book of Genesis or the book of James) is somehow inferior to the “words of the Son of God.” [NOTE: Since Jesus fulfilled the Old Law (Matthew 5:17), taking “it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross,” God’s people have been amenable to the New Law (Colossians 1:14; Hebrews 8:7-13). Regardless of what law man is under, however, it is still proper to acknowledge that all Scripture should be respected because it is all God’s Word.]
Fourth, Jesus and the Bible writers even referred to narrational comments, and not just direct quotations from God, as being God’s Word. For example, when Jesus reminded His hypocritical hearers of God’s original design in marriage (Genesis 1-2), He quoted from Moses in Genesis 2:24. Yet Jesus explained that “He [God] who made them at the beginning…said” the words (Matthew 19:4-5). How could God have “said” this statement when Moses was not directly quoting God? Answer: If it is in Scripture, it is “God’s Word” (i.e., it was given by inspiration of God). When the writer of Hebrews quoted from the words of the psalmist (95:7-11), where nothing was said about this psalm being inspired by God, the Hebrews writer noted that these words were from “the Holy Spirit” (Hebrews 3:7-11). Why? Because the Holy Spirit guided the psalmist in what he wrote.
To treat the words of Moses, Paul, Peter, and other inspired penmen as “second class” Scripture is equivalent to saying that “God’s Word is not as important as God’s Word.” The fact is, “AllScripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16, emp. added). Paul quoted from Jesus and the God-inspired prophet Moses when writing to Timothy and elevated both as “Scripture” (1 Timothy 5:18). Therefore, whether we are reading a direct quotation from God the Father (Matthew 3:17), or a statement made by God the Son, or a truth revealed by God the Spirit through one of His inspired spokesmen or penmen (1 Corinthians 2:10-16; 2 Peter 1:20-21), allof Scripture should be respected and rightly divided (2 Timothy 2:15). “I love Your commandments more than gold, yes, than fine gold!... Consider how I love Your precepts… My heart stands in awe of Your word. I rejoice in Your word as one who finds great treasure… I love your law… My soul keeps Your testimonies, and I love them exceedingly” (Psalm 119:127,159-163,165,167).


Morris, Leon (1995), The Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), revised edition.
Warfield, Benjamin (1970 reprint), The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible (Philadelphia, PA: Presbyterian & Reformed).

American Astronauts: From Belief to Unbelief by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


American Astronauts: From Belief to Unbelief

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

The “space race” between the Soviet Union and the United States was in full swing. I was four years old when my father took me outside on a dark Arizona night in October 1957, to peer upward in hopes of catching a glimpse of the first manmade object to orbit the Earth—Russia’s Sputnik 1. Sure enough, it streaked across the heavens as a pinpoint of light. By April of 1961, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to travel into space aboard Vostok 1. Peering through the window of his spacecraft, Gagarin was reported to have made the comment, “I don’t see any God up here” (“Yuri Gagarin...,” n.d.). [NOTE: Yuri’s colleague and good friend, Colonel Valentin Petrov, later insisted that Yuri never made such a statement, though it came to be attributed to him, but was actually the result of a comment by Russian Premiere Nikita Khrushchev in an anti-religious propaganda speech before the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party: “At that time Khrushchev gave all the Party and Komsomol organizations the task to promote this propaganda and said: ‘Why should you clutch at God? Look, Gagarin flew in space and saw no God’” (“Gagarin Never Said...,” 2006).] Russian astronaut Valery Bykovsky told newsmen in 1963 that no Soviet cosmonaut believed in God and none of them had seen anything to change their minds during their space flights (“Soviet Cosmonauts...,” 1963, p. D7, emp. added). At the time, the spiritual and religious sensibilities of most Americans were shocked by such blatant, unmitigated unbelief.
Indeed, a sharp contrast may be drawn between the Russians and their American counterparts. For example, it was Christmas Eve,
Apollo 8 crew just after splashdown
Photo Credit: NASA
December 24, 1968 when Apollo 8 entered lunar orbit on the first manned mission to the Moon. Before retiring that evening, the astronauts did a live television broadcast to Earth, showing pictures of the Earth and Moon seen from their space capsule. They concluded the broadcast in the following fashion. Lunar Module Pilot William Anders said: “For all the people on Earth the crew of Apollo 8 has a message we would like to send you.” He then began reading from the Bible, specifically Genesis 1:1-4. Command Module Pilot Jim Lovell then continued the reading with Genesis 1:5-8. Finally, Commander Frank Borman completed the reading with Genesis 1:9-10, and then closed the broadcast with the words, “And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you—all of you on the good Earth” (Williams, 2007).
Seven months later, on July 20, 1969, with the largest worldwide television audience in history watching, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong became the first two humans to visit another world when they stepped onto the Moon from their Apollo 11 Lunar Module Eagle. Since the infamous atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair had filed suit against NASA (a suit eventually rejected by the courts) due to the Apollo 8 crew reading from Genesis, Aldrin was asked to forego his plan to read publicly from the Bible while on the Moon’s surface. Nevertheless, while still on the Moon, he radioed to Earth the following: “Houston. This is Eagle, the LM Pilot speaking. I would like to request a few moments of silence. Over. I would like to invite each person listening in, wherever and whomever he may be, to contemplate for a moment the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his own individual way” (“Apollo 11 Astronaut...,” 2007). While still on the Moon, Aldrin read John 15:5 to himself and then observed the Lord’s Supper (2007). During a television broadcast by the astronauts the evening before splashdown, Aldrin quoted Psalm 8:3-4—“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou has ordained; What is man that thou art mindful of him? And the Son of Man, that thou visitest Him?” (2007).
Two years later, astronaut James B. Irwin walked on the moon during the Apollo 15 mission in July 1971. Concerning that lunar mission, Irwin declared, “I felt the power of God as I’d never felt it before” (Wilford, 1991). At the end of the first day of exploring the rugged lunar highlands, Irwin said he was reminded of “my favorite Biblical passage from Psalms,” which he then quoted by radio to Mission Control in Houston: “I’ll look unto the hills from whence cometh my help” (Wilford).
Of course, America’s brave astronauts merely reflected the religious convictions shared by the bulk of American culture at the time—extending all the way back to the beginning of the country. Tragically, that spiritual conviction, so characteristic of American civilization then, has since experienced extensive erosion. Contrast the astronauts in the early days of America’s space program with more recent ones. Returning from a 16-day mission in March 2008, crew members of Endeavor stated that as space exploration forges ahead, they believed the human race will find life elsewhere in the Universe (“Astronauts Say...,” 2008).
Buzz Aldrin on the Moon
Photo Credit: NASA
Mike Foreman, a mission specialist on the Endeavor, said, “If we push back boundaries far enough, I’m sure eventually we’ll find something out there” (“Astronauts Say...”). Such thinking is typical of evolutionists who must look elsewhere for their faltering theory of evolution (cf. Richard Dawkins in Expelled; Stein and Miller, 2008). Foreman continued: “Maybe not as evolved as we are, but it’s hard to believe that there is not life somewhere else in this great universe” (“Astronauts Say...”).
Another astronaut, Gregory Johnson, asserted: “I personally believe that we are going to find something that we can’t explain.... There is probably something out there but I’ve never seen it” (“Astronauts Say...”). The crew commander, Dominic Gorie, compared their space adventure to explorers in past eras who knew not what they would encounter when they sailed the uncharted seas of the Earth. “As we travel in the space, we don’t know what we’ll find. That’s the beauty of what we do. I hope that someday we’ll find what we don’t understand” (“Astronauts Say...”). Richard Linnehan, a fellow mission specialist, admitted that it could take a while before human beings come into contact with extraterrestrial life (“Astronauts Say...”). Here is yet another indication of America’s drift from God in exchange for fanciful theory and meaningless pursuits. Rather than being dazzled by the marvels of the Universe and acknowledging God as the great Creator, some of our astronauts now are filled with thoughts of little green men. Paul’s words form a sad commentary on the transition that has transpired:
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, 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. Professing to be wise, they became fools (Romans 1:20-22, emp. added).


“Apollo 11 Astronaut Buzz Aldrin’s Notes on Handwritten Card Offered by Auction House” (2007), International Herald Tribune, September 19, [On-line], URL:http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/09/19/america/NA-GEN-US-Astronaut -Auction.php.
“Astronauts Say There Must Be Life in Space” (2008), Space Daily, May 12, [On-line], URL:http://www.spacedaily.com/2006/080512063010.m60tu6xh.html.
“Gagarin Never Said He Did Not See God in Space—His Friend, An Air Force Colonel” (2006), Interfax, April 12, [On-line], URL: http://www.interfax-religion.ru/orthodoxy/?act=interview&div=73 &domain=1.
“Soviet Cosmonauts Called Unbelievers” (1963), The Washington Post, p. D7, December 11, [On-line], URL: http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/washingtonpost_historical/access/179980282 .html?dids=179980282:179980282&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&date= DEC+11%2C+1963&author=&pub=The+Washington+Post&desc=Soviet +Cosmonauts+Called+Unbelievers&pqatl=google.
Stein, Ben and Kevin Miller (2008), Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Premise Media).
Wilford, John N. (1991), “James B. Irwin, 61, Ex-Astronaut; Founded Religious Organization,” The New York Times, August 10, [On-line], URL: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE3DD173DF933A2575B C0A967958260.
Williams, David (2007), “The Apollo Christmas Eve Broadcast,” NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, [On-line], URL: http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/lunar/apollo8_xmas.html.
“Yuri Gagarin Biography” (no date), Biography Base, [On-line], URL:http://www.biographybase.com/biography/Gagarin_Yuri.html.

Take Bible Literally? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Take Bible Literally?

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Recently, when an ABC News reporter asked President Bush if the Bible is “literally true,” the president responded that he is “not a literalist,” and that one can read the Bible and not take it literally (Escherich, 2008). Sadly, many Americans have been duped by over a century of propaganda perpetrated by higher critics who seek to undermine confidence in the inspiration of the Bible. Nevertheless, the evidence is decisive: the Bible possesses the attributes of inspiration that prove its divine origin (Jackson, 1982; Butt, 2007).
To suggest that the Bible is not to be taken literally is nonsensical. True, the Bible contains much figurative language, i.e., it includes figures of speech (e.g., simile, metaphor, hyperbole, metonymy, synecdoche, etc.)—just like our own English language (e.g., “quit cold turkey,” “stretch my legs,” “died laughing”). But figurative language still communicates meaning that can be comprehended. Did the ABC News reporter’s questions communicate “literal truth” that the president could grasp? Of course. And so does the Bible. Any diligent student can ascertain the original intent of the divinely-guided writers. Could it be that the “can’t take the Bible literally” crowd simply does not want to be restrained by the Bible’s admonitions to “deny ungodliness and worldly lusts” and “live soberly, righteously, and godly” (Titus 2:12)? Could it be they do not want to hear that “fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4), and the “sexually immoral...shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone” (Revelation 21:8)?


Butt, Kyle (2007), Behold! The Word of God (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Escherich, Katie (2008), “Excerpts: Cynthia McFadden Interviews President George W. Bush,” ABC News: Nightline, Dec. 8, [On-line], URL: http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/Politics/story?id=6418908&page=1.
Jackson, Wayne (1982), The Holy Scriptures—Verbally Inspired,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/rr/reprints/holyscri.pdf.

Did Jesus Christ Exist in the Form of God While on Earth? by Wayne Jackson, M.A.


Did Jesus Christ Exist in the Form of God While on Earth?

by Wayne Jackson, M.A.

Some conservative writers have attempted to defend the idea that the second Person of the Godhead, at the time of the “incarnation” (i.e., when “the Word became flesh”—John 1:14), laid aside “the form of God.” They contend that the concept of an infinite God being clothed within a human body is illogical. Though these authors undoubtedly mean well, their position is quite erroneous as to the nature of the incarnate Christ.
Several arguments have been employed in attempting to buttress this position. For example, it has been argued: (a) God cannot be tempted (James 1:13); but (b) Jesus was tempted (Hebrews 2:18). The conclusion is thus supposed to be: Jesus did not exist in the form of God.
The logical consequence of this position is that Jesus Christ was not deity in the flesh. Advocates of this view usually do not mean to affirm explicitly that conclusion, but that is where such reasoning leads. What these writers have failed to realize, with reference to James 1:13, is that God the Father—not Christ the Son—is in view in that context. James was not discussing the nature and/or role of Christ. Thus, it is improper to generalize regarding the nature of the Lord from this brief reference.
The text commonly appealed to as proof that Jesus did not exist on Earth in “the form of God” is Philippians 2:6. Here is the full context of what Paul wrote:
Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross (Philippians 2:5-8, ASV).
But the position advocated is incorrect for the following reasons.
In Philippians 2:6, Paul spoke of Christ as “existing in the form of God.” The term “existing” is not a past tense form. It translates the Greek term huparchon, a present tense participle. The present tense reveals that the Savior’s existence, in the “form of God,” is a sustained mode of being, not one that was interrupted by the incarnation. A.T. Robertson called attention to the difference between the present tense, huparchon (denoting “eternal existence in the morphe[form] of God”), and the Lord’s “becoming” (aorist tense) in the likeness of man (1931, 4:445). There was a time when the second Person of the Godhead did not exist as man; there never has been a time when He was not in “the form of God.”
W.E. Vine commented that this grammatical form denotes “an existence or condition both previous to the circumstances mentioned and continuing after it” (1991, p. 279). Another scholar noted that the word expresses “continuance of an antecedent state or condition” (Abbott-Smith, 1923, p. 457). Hendriksen was quite correct when he asked: “[O]f what did Christ empty himself? Surely not of his existence ‘in the form of God’ ” (1962, p. 106). Wuest amplified the present tense form of the participle by suggesting that Jesus “has always been and at present continues to subsist” in the form of God (1961, p. 462). It is unnecessary to multiply additional examples.
Contrary to the evidence, however, it has been alleged that whereas Christ existed in the form of God prior to the incarnation, He divested himself of that status while on Earth. Finally, according to the theory under review, Jesus resumed the form-of-God nature when He returned to heaven. There is no biblical support for this concept, which violates the explicit testimony of Scripture.
The Greek word for “form” is morphe. This term denotes that which is “indicative of the interior nature” of a thing (Green, 1907, p. 384), or as Kennedy observed, morphe “always signifies a form which truly and fully expresses the being which underlies it” (1956, 3:436). Trench commented that “none could be en morphe theou [in form of God] who was not God” (1890, p. 263). All of this simply means that if Jesus gave up the “form of God” when He became incarnate, then He ceased being God at that time. This is equivalent to the doctrine advocated by Jehovah’s Witnesses, namely, that Christ was “nothing more than a perfect man.” I must say, in the kindest way possible, that the position under review is unrepresentative of the teaching of the New Testament.
But it is alleged that Jesus could not have existed in “the form of God” because the New Testament speaks of the Lord being led of the Spirit, protected by angels, etc. Obviously, therefore, Christ was not “infinite God.”
The thing that seems to be at the root of this misunderstanding is a failure to recognize that the Lord’s earthly limitations were not the consequence of a less-than-God nature; rather, they were the result of a self-imposed submission reflecting the exercise of His sovereign will. Of what did Christ “empty” Himself when He became flesh?
A.H. Strong expressed it well when he noted that, by means of the incarnation, Jesus “resigned not the possession, nor yet entirely the use, but rather the independent exercise, of the divine attributes” (1907, p. 703). To say the same thing in another way, the Lord’s incarnate status involved, not a divestiture of divine form/essence or attributes, but rather a subordination of those attributes to the Father in terms of role function. When Jesus affirmed, “[T]he father is greater than I” (John 14:28), He was not disclaiming divine nature; rather, He was asserting that He had subjected Himself voluntarily to the Father’s will.
Think about this for a moment: How could Christ be void of the divine attributes, and still be divine? A thing is the sum of its attributes. This is an insurmountable difficulty for those who argue that the incarnate Christ was not in the “form of God.”
If Christ was not fully God, i.e., existing in the “form of God,” exactly what was He? Quasi-God? Half-God? Merely appearing to be God (as certain Gnostics held)? Only perfect Man? What?
Moreover, if Jesus did not exist in the “form of God” while He lived on Earth, how could He claim to be “one” (neuter gender, suggesting unity of nature) with the Father (John 10:30)? Why did the Lord allow Thomas to call him “God” (John 20:30)? Why did Jesus accept worship (Matthew 8:2), when He plainly taught that only God is worthy of worship (Matthew 4:10)?
Finally, if it is to be argued that Christ laid aside His status of being in “the form of God” by virtue of His humanness and His subordination to the Father, then one must contend, to be consistent, that Jesus does not possess the “form of God” now, because as our Mediator He is “the man, Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5), and He still is in subjection to the Father (1 Corinthians 15:27).
Some may feel that this is simply a matter of inconsequential semantics. However, sometimes semantics is quite important. Gospel truth is a message of words, and the Christian teacher needs to be accurate in the language he employs. May the Lord help us to be precise in the expression of biblical truth.


Abbott-Smith, G. (1923), A Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark).
Green, Samuel (1907), Handbook to the Grammar of the Greek Testament (London: Religious Tract Society).
Hendriksen, William (1962), Philippians, Colossians, Philemon (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Kennedy, H.A.A. (1956), “Philippians,” The Expositor’s Greek Testament, ed. W.R. Nicoll (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Robertson, A.T. (1931), Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman).
Strong, A.H. (1907), Systematic Theology (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell).
Trench, R.C. (1890), Synonyms of the New Testament (London: Kegan, Paul, Trench, Trubner, & Co.).
Vine, W.E. (1991), Amplified Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (Iowa Falls, IA: World Bible Publishers).
Wuest, Kenneth (1961), The New Testament—An Expanded Translation (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).

"Those Ignorant, Stupid, Insane, Wicked Creationists" by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.


"Those Ignorant, Stupid, Insane, Wicked Creationists"

by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.

The attack is on. It’s not the first time. And if history teaches us anything, it will not be the last. Evolutionists are mad. But they do not intend to just “get angry”; they intend to “get even.” The walls of their Neo-Darwinian Jericho are crumbling around them. They know it. They’ve known it for a long, long time. The problem is, now other people are figuring it out as well. A lot of other people! The time to act has come. Take off the gloves. Get down. Get mean. Get dirty. Win—at all cost!
Creationism has been making far too much headway, in far too many places—with far too much favorable publicity. Sound the battle call. Rally the troops. Call out the reserves. Enlist the allies. Engage the enemy. Press forward. Refuse to retreat!
What enemy? The late Stephen Jay Gould of Harvard referred to that enemy as the “militant fundamentalists who label themselves with the oxymoron ‘scientific creationists,’ and try to sneak their Genesis literalism into high school classrooms under the guise of scientific dissent.” Dr. Gould complained: “I’m used to their rhetoric, their dishonest mis-and half-quotations, their constant repetition of ‘useful’ arguments that even they must recognize as nonsense.” Yet, he explained to his fellow evolutionists, “our struggle with these ideologues is political, not intellectual.” And last, he said he refused to engage in dialog with creationists, but rather chose instead to deal with “our allies among people committed to reason and honorable argument”—a description that, from Gould’s vantage point, apparently would exclude creationists by definition (1987, 8[1]:64, emp. added).
And it gets worse. Richard Dawkins, the enraged evolutionist of Oxford University, put it this way: “It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid, or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that)” [1989, p. 3, emp. added].
Now comes John Rennie, the editor of Scientific American, to enter the fray. In the July 2002 issue, Mr. Rennie penned an article titled “15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense” in which he caricatured creationism, while feebly attempting to bolster the increasingly faltering theory of organic evolution. Joining Mr. Rennie is Thomas Hayden, a staff writer for U.S. News & World Report who authored the cover story of the magazine’s July 29, 2002 issue (“A Theory Evolves”)—a feature plainly intended to “strike back” at creationists, as Hayden made clear when he echoed the evolutionists’ party line: “The evidence against evolution amounts to little more than ‘I can’t imagine it.’ That’s not evidence. That’s just giving up” (133[4]:50).
Well, gentlemen, I have news for you. We are not giving up! You have thrown down the gauntlet; we will not hesitate to pick it up. You have drawn the line in the sand; we will not shrink from crossing it. Your bullying tactics and name calling may intimidate some and impress others. It accomplishes neither with us. We know what you are trying to do, and we know why you are trying to do it. We know about your “hidden agenda.”
Your compatriot, geneticist Richard Lewontin of Harvard, let it slip in his 1997 review of Carl Sagan’s posthumously published book, Billions and Billions, when he admitted that evolutionists “have a prior commitment, a commitment to naturalism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door” (1997, p. 31, emp. added).
Just as we thought all along! You must find a way—organic evolution—to rid yourself of that “Divine Foot in the door.” Nice to see you finally admit it. Well, once again, gentlemen, I have news for you. God’s foot is in the door, whether you like it or not—all your attempts to prevent it notwithstanding. And there is nothing you can say or do to stop it, because neither He, nor we, will be going “quietly into the night.” Not now. Not ever. Yes, the attack is on. But we are at the vanguard of that attack. You are losing the battle—and you will lose the war! Truth always triumphs over error.


Dawkins, Richard (1989), “Book Review” (of Donald Johanson and Maitland Edey’s Blueprint), The New York Times, section 7, April 9.
Gould, Stephen J. (1987), “Darwinism Defined: The Difference Between Fact and Theory,” Discover, 8[1]:64-65,68-70, January.
Hayden, Thomas (2002), “A Theory Evolves,” U.S. News & World Report, 133[4]:42-50, July 29.
Lewontin, Richard (1997), “Billions and Billions of Demons,” The New York Review, January 9.
[NOTE: Our responses to both U.S. News & World Report and Scientific American in this issue of Reason & Revelation are the abbreviated versions. To view or download the complete, uncut versions, please click here for the U.S. News & World Report refutation, or click here for the Scientific American rebuttal.] — Bert Thompson

A.D. and B.C. are no Longer P.C. by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


A.D. and B.C. are no Longer P.C.

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Seemingly never satisfied with the successive gains made in their relentless assault on the Christian religion, the social engineers of “political correctness” are even unhappy with our calendar. There appears to be no end to their capricious desire to sanitize our society by expunging every indication of America's Christian heritage. Western civilization's reckoning of time is based on the Gregorian calendar that reflects a Christian worldview by dating the whole of human history in terms of the birth of Christ. “B.C.” (“Before Christ”) refers to the years that preceded the birth of Christ. “A.D.” (Anno Domini—Latin for “year of our Lord”) refers to the years that have transpired since the birth of Christ.
For years, academicians have solved the “problem” by embracing the designations “C.E.” and “B.C.E.,” i.e., “Common Era” and “Before the Common Era.” Of course, such attempts to restructure our values are designed to avoid “offending” or being “insensitive” to those who do not share the Christian worldview. But the efforts are fraught with self-contradiction, and cannot be sustained consistently. While resorting to C.E./B.C.E. may be more palatable to Jews, atheists, agnostics, Hindus, and Buddhists, what will be done to accommodate the 1.2 billion Muslims—who are immigrating to America in increasing numbers? Their calendar reckons time based on the designation A.H. (after the Hegira). Hegira in Arabic means “flight,” and refers to the year (A.D. 622) that Muhammad fled Mecca and went to Medina, marking the beginning of the Islamic era. Muslims will never be fully content with any other means of reckoning time. Pluralism and “political correctness” are self-contradictory.
Many of these ardent zealots insist that they are merely championing the will of the Founding Fathers, who, they maintain, intended to establish a religionless society in which all religions and philosophies receive equal standing and consideration. They insist that the Constitution enjoins “separation of church and state” in which no one religion is given public sanction—certainly not to the exclusion of any other religion. But this claim is complete nonsense and historical bunk. Though these social liberals have been rewriting American history, obliterating public allusions to Christianity, and capitalizing on nationwide ignorance for over 40 years, the truth is still existent for those who wish to examine it.
Were there no Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, or atheists in America at the time the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution and launched the great American republic? History shows that there were! While these minority viewpoints were not persecuted, the Framers did not adjust their own belief system to accommodate those who held opposing worldviews. As a matter of fact, they did not advocate pluralism. As U.S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story (one of two men who share the title the “Father of American Jurisprudence”) declared in his monumental multi-volume Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States:
The real object of the [First A]mendment was not to countenance, much less to advance Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment which should give to a hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government (1833, 3:728, emp. added).
Indeed, the Founders were adamant in their insistence that Christianity must remain the foundation of America. For example, after serving two terms as president of the United States, in his farewell address to the nation, George Washington explained:
Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens.... Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle (1796, emp. added).
To what religion did Washington refer? One of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, Charles Carroll, in a letter to James McHenry on November 4, 1800, expounded further: “Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure…are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments” (as quoted in Steiner, 1907, p. 475, emp. added). Another Founding Father, Noah Webster, in an October 16, 1829 letter to James Madison, likewise insisted: “[T]he Christian religion, in its purity, is the basis, or rather the source of all genuine freedom in government...and I am persuaded that no civil government of a republican form can exist and be durable in which the principles of that religion have not a controlling influence” (as quoted in Snyder, 1990, p. 253, emp. added).
The second president of these United States held the same viewpoint. After serving two terms as vice-president alongside President George Washington, on October 11, 1798, John Adams affirmed: “[W]e have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion.... Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other” (1854, 9:229, emp. added).
Observe that these Framers and Founders went on record, stating that should this nation ever abandon the Christian religion and Christian morality, the nation would be subject to inevitable collapse. Their words were prophetic. Calvin Coolidge, the 30th president of the United States, expressed the sentiments of the Founders when he stated: “The foundation of our society and our government rests so much on the teaching of the Bible that it would be difficult to support these foundations if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country” (“Coolidge-Bible,” 2004, emp. added). As French historian Alexis de Tocqueville observed in his remarks regarding America in the 1830s: “How is it possible that society should escape destruction if the moral tie is not strengthened in proportion as the political tie is relaxed? And what can be done with a people who are their own masters if they are not submissive to the Deity?” (1945, p. 307). The moral tie of America has experienced significant erosion over the past 50 years. If Tocqueville, and these American predecessors were correct, America is moving swiftly toward destruction.
So should we abandon B.C. and A.D. in deference to those who reject the Christian worldview? To do so would be to abandon the very foundations of American civilization. It would be to abandon the foundational document of the country—the United States Constitution. How so? Just prior to the listing of the 39 signatories—men who placed their signatures on this paramount document as indication of their approval of its contents—the Constitution's own closing remark reads:
Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth. In Witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names (“The United States…,” emp. added).
Will the Constitution be censored and altered to incorporate “C.E.”? Will the ACLU and the liberal social engineers attempt to remove this unmistakable allusion to the Framer's Christian orientation as well?


Adams, John (1854), The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, ed. Charles Adams (Boston, MA: Little, Brown, and Company).
“Coolidge-Bible” (2004), Minnesota Family Council, [On-line], URL: http://www.mfc.org/contents/transcript.asp?id=996.
Snyder, K. Alan (1990), Defining Noah Webster: Mind and Morals in the Early Republic (New York, NY: University Press of America).
Steiner, Bernard (1907), The Life and Correspondence of James McHenry (Cleveland, OH: Burrows Brothers).
Story, Joseph (1833), Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States (Boston, MA: Hilliard, Gray, and Company).
de Tocqueville, Alexis (1945 reprint), Democracy in America (New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf).
The United States Constitution, [On-line], URL: http://uscode.house.gov/pdf/Organic%20Laws/const.pdf.
Washington, George (1796), “Farewell Address,” [On-line], URL: http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/washing.htm.

Did All of Saul’s House Die Together? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Did All of Saul’s House Die Together?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


According to 1 Chronicles 10:1,6, when “the Philistines fought against Israel…. Saul and his three sons died, and all his house died together.” Second Samuel 2:8-10, however, indicates that Saul’s son Ishbosheth was still alive after Saul’s death, and, in fact, reigned over Israel for the two years following the death of his father. How are these accounts not contradictory?


The reason that some contend these passages are incompatible (e.g., Wells, 2014) is because they assume that the phrase “all his house” (Hebrew kaal beeytow) must include every one of Saul’s sons. However, such an assumption cannot be proven anymore than it can be proven that “all his house” included Saul’s daughters, Michal and Merab. (Most people understand that his daughters would not have been fighting the Philistines on the battlefield and would not have been included in “all” of Saul’s house.)
The parallel passage to 1 Chronicles 10:6 is 1 Samuel 31:6, which states: “So Saul, his three sons, his armorbearer, and all his men died together that same day” (emp. added). Saul actually had four sons (including Ishbosheth—2 Samuel 2:8), but the phrase “his three sons” is stated to specify the ones who were actually in the battle with their father against the Philistines. (We are not informed why Ishbosheth was not there.) Similarly, the phrase “all his men” obviously did not mean every servant of Saul’s in the Kingdom of Israel, but all of those servants who were with him in the battle at that time and place.
As is used “all the time” in 21st-century America, the Bible writers often used hyperbole. For example, Luke wrote that prior to the birth of Christ “a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered…. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city” (Luke 2:1,3, emp. added). It should be obvious that Luke did not literally mean that every single person in every country on Earth was expected to be registered, but that most people in the Roman Empire (with surely at least some exceptions) were registered.
If I told someone that “all” of the Apologetics Press employees and their families came to a fish fry this past summer, would anyone accuse me of lying if the “all” did not include one of our employees who works from an office three hours away from Montgomery? Most likely, “everyone” would understand and accept the truthfulness and sincere intention of such a statement. One wonders, then, why 2 Chronicles 10:6 is so difficult for some to accept as a truthful declaration.
Finally, even if it could be proven that the chronicler literally meant that every single person who lived in Saul’s physical house died on the same day Saul perished, such an interpretation still could not be proven to contradict the fact that Ishbosheth remained alive. Why? Because it could very well be that Ishbosheth, who was 40 years old at the time (2 Samuel 2:10), no longer lived in Saul’s “house.” If David’s sons Amnon and Absalom had their own “houses” during David’s reign as king (2 Samuel 13:7-8,20), could Ishbosheth not have had his own house during his father’s reign? To ask is to answer.
Once again, an alleged Bible contradiction is demonstrated to be merely an unproven, unfair accusation. Why not be as fair with what the Bible writers penned as we are with what people write and communicate in the 21st century? One cannot legitimately charge the Bible with error when there are perfectly reasonable explanations for the alleged contradictions.


Wells, Steve (2014), “Did All of Saul’s Family Die with Him?” The Skeptic’s Annotated Bible, http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/saul_fam.html.