9/27/21

Beauty and something beyond the sky by Gary Rose

 

One of my favorite heavenly sights is that of a fire rainbow and this one is undoubtedly the very best one that I have ever seen. It really looks like that the rainbow is actually on fire; magnificent. As I looked at this rainbow, I remembered the words that John Denver sang in his “Rocky mountain high” song. I found this video on you tube with John singing and some beautiful pictures of Colorado – you might enjoy it, I did.

 


   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TN7M87Vc978


As beautiful as the rainbow is and those wonderful pictures of Colorado, I can only image the splendor of God in heaven and to be able to see Jesus, to look at him face to face and ask him questions. David, the great king of ancient Israel must have thought similar thoughts as he wrote the following…


Psalm 27 ( World English Bible )

1, By David. Yahweh is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? Yahweh is the strength of my life. Of whom shall I be afraid?

2, When evildoers came at me to eat up my flesh, even my adversaries and my foes, they stumbled and fell.

3, Though an army should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear. Though war should rise against me, even then I will be confident.

4, One thing I have asked of Yahweh, that I will seek after, that I may dwell in the house of Yahweh all the days of my life, to see Yahweh’s beauty, and to inquire in his temple.


And then, there is this passage from the book of revelation...


Revelation 1 ( WEB )

1, This is the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things which must happen soon, which he sent and made known by his angel* to his servant, John,

2, who testified to God’s word, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, about everything that he saw.

3, Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and keep the things that are written in it, for the time is at hand.

4, John, to the seven assemblies that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from God, who is and who was and who is to come; and from the seven Spirits who are before his throne;

5, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us, and washed us from our sins by his blood;

6, and he made us to be a Kingdom, priests* to his God and Father; to him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

7, Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, including those who pierced him. All the tribes of the earth will mourn over him. Even so, Amen.

8, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,*” says the Lord God,* “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

9, I John, your brother and partner with you in oppression, Kingdom, and perseverance in Christ Jesus, was on the isle that is called Patmos because of God’s Word and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

10, I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, like a trumpet

11, saying, “*What you see, write in a book and send to the seven assemblies*: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”

12, I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. Having turned, I saw seven golden lampstands.

13, And among the lampstands was one like a son of man,* clothed with a robe reaching down to his feet, and with a golden sash around his chest.

14, His head and his hair were white as white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire.

15, His feet were like burnished brass, as if it had been refined in a furnace. His voice was like the voice of many waters.

16, He had seven stars in his right hand. Out of his mouth proceeded a sharp two-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining at its brightest.

17, When I saw him, I fell at his feet like a dead man. He laid his right hand on me, saying, “Don’t be afraid. I am the first and the last,

18, and the Living one. I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. I have the keys of Death and of Hades*.


Now, we know that from Isaiah 53 that Jesus wasn’t an attractive man as men define beauty, but I like to think that his beauty of one of the inner spirit. Just consider the words of the Beatitudes and I think you will agree with me. As I consider these things, I have more questions than answers, and frankly, I can’t wait to see Jesus and ask HIM questions until eternity ends. How about you?


9/10/21

"The Sun Stood Still"—Really? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

 

https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=5529


"The Sun Stood Still"—Really?

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

In compliance with God’s will to punish the terribly wicked nations of Canaan (Deuteronomy 9:5; Joshua 10:8), Joshua and his army of Israelites engaged in battle with the “five kings of the Amorites” and their armies at Gibeon (Joshua 10:5,10). In the midst of the battle, which poured into other areas of southern Palestine, Joshua spoke to the Lord, saying: “Sun, stand still over Gibeon; and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon” (10:12). The inspired writer goes on to acknowledge: “So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped till the people had revenge upon their enemies” (10:13). Even more emphatically, the writer testifies: “So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. And there has been no day like that, before it or after it, that the Lord heeded the voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel” (10:13-14).

What does the text mean when it says, “the Sun stood still”? Did the Sun literally stand “still,” or did the Earth stop its approximate 1,000-mph rotation on its axis in order to give the Israelites more time to defeat their enemies? And what about the Moon; did it actually stop, too? What are we to make of such language?

First, is it possible that the same God Who miraculously created the entire Universe out of nothing could supernaturally (and literally) stop the Sun (or any other part, or all parts, of the Universe that He so chooses)?1 Could the same God Who made light, as well as mornings and evenings on Earth, without a Sun (on days 1-3 of Creation; Genesis 1:3-19)2 also cause the Moon to “stop”?3 Is it possible for the omnipotent Creator, Who currently “upholds the Universe by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3, ESV), to miraculously manipulate a day on Earth to His liking? Is it possible for God to refract light or to specially create some kind of light to illuminate a part of the Earth for a longer period of time than the normal daylight hours? Though skeptics often ridicule the idea of miracles, in truth, if a supernatural God exists, then supernatural miracles are possible. Could God Almighty work an astronomical miracle on behalf of the Israelites when they faced the armies of the Amorites if He so chose? Indeed, He could.

But how, exactly, could God have “stopped” the Sun and Moon? The fact is, we are not told how God could have worked such a miracle any more than we are told how He miraculously fed several thousand people with merely five loaves of bread and two fish (Matthew 14:13-21), how He made an iron ax head float in water (2 Kings 6:4-7), or how exactly Jonah could have survived for three days in the belly of a fish. The recognition of God’s unlimited knowledge and power should be a logically sufficient explanation.

Bible students must keep in mind that the book of Joshua is a historical composition, full of real people, places, dialogue, and events, and is written in ordinary language. Joshua is not a book of prophecy or poetry filled with extensive amounts of figurative language. Nothing in Joshua 10 suggests that we should interpret the account as highly figurative or symbolic. That said, one common element of normal, “everyday” speech and writing, both in Bible times and today, is the description of things as they appear (and not necessarily in the scientifically precise manner that we would expect in a geometry or chemistry classroom). Since to everyone on Earth (both in Bible times and today) it appears that the Sun moves from the east to the west, man has long referred to the Sun rising and setting (though technically what we see is the result of the Earth’s rotation on its axis). Could it be that the miracle God worked in Joshua 10 had less to do with the Sun than one might initially think? Certainly. As Hebrew scholar Justin Rogers commented: “Indeed, it appeared to them that ‘the sun stopped in the middle of the sky.’ This is clear use of phenomenological language, and it simply means this day was unusually long. Daylight was halted miraculously so as to allow God’s forces more time to conquer their foes.”4 God did not inform us of the precise manner in which He chose to work this marvelous miracle, but rest assured, it happened, and it was amazing. In fact, “there has been no day like that, before it or after it, that the Lord heeded the voice of a man” (Joshua 10:14).5

Endnotes

1 The Sun literally moves. It rotates about every 27 days at its equator (www.nasa.gov/sun), while traveling through the Milky Way Galaxy at an estimated 514,000 miles per hour (starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/StarChild/questions/question18.html).

2 Keep in mind that “the Father of lights” (James 1:17), Who is “light” (1 John 1:5), could create light easily without first having to create the Sun, Moon, and stars. Just as God could produce a fruit-bearing tree on day three without seed, He could produce light supernaturally on Day 1 without the “usual” light bearers (which subsequently were created on Day 4). For more information, see Eric Lyons (2006), “When Were the Sun, Moon, and Stars Created?” www.apologeticspress.org/AllegedDiscrepancies.aspx?article=1990&b=Genesis.

3 The Moon also rotates on its axis as it revolves around Earth (moon.nasa.gov/about/in-depth).

4 Justin Rogers (2017), “Does the Bible Teach a Flat Earth?” Reason & Revelation, July, 37[7]:74-77, apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=5428&topic=82, emp. in original.

5 A story has circulated on the Internet for many years that NASA discovered Joshua’s “missing day.” This story is a hoax. Although some (such as C.A.L. Totten and Harry Rimmer) have alleged to have discovered a “missing day” (in connection with Joshua 10), their calculations and differing conclusions are highly questionable and unproven at best and laughable at worst. Rimmer goes so far as to “arrive at the conclusion that the day of battle was Tuesday…July 22” [Rimmer (1944), The Harmony of Science and Scripture (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), pp. 251-283].

"Technicalities" by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

 

https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1258


"Technicalities"

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

“Are you telling me that just because I don’t belong to your church, or just because I haven’t been baptized into the remission of sins, or just because I use the instrument when I worship God, or just because I don’t attend every worship service, or just because I don’t partake of the Lord’s Supper every Sunday—that I can’t make it to heaven? I can’t believe that God would condemn me on a technicality! Besides, that’s legalistic!”

Many, many religious people are characterized by this attitude. Their perceptions of God and His grace serve to minimize the necessity of being overly concerned about strict obedience to every command of God. This attitude is manifested in the idea that arriving at correct doctrine is irrelevant to establishing a right relationship with God. But this is precisely what the Bible teaches. Doctrinal purity does not necessarily guarantee a right relationship with God, but a right relationship with God is impossible without doctrinal purity. Both “spirit and truth” (i.e., proper attitude and proper adherence to truth—John 4:24) are essential to a right relationship with God. Even if some religious individuals give the impression that they have gone “overboard” on truth, yet with insufficient attention to proper attitude, no solution is achieved by abandoning, compromising, or softening adherence to truth in an effort to accept those who are determined to remain unconformed to truth.

The very nature of God and truth is at stake in this discussion. Truth, by its very definition, is narrow, specific, fixed, and technical. God is a God of truth Who operates within the parameters of truth. Since He is God, He does not, and cannot, vary from truth and right. Man’s definition of what constitutes a “technicality” rarely matches God’s definition. More often than not, the very items that humans brush aside as unimportant and trivial, are those things upon which God lays great importance. Herein lies the crux of man’s problem. We decide what we think is important, and then proceed to structure our religion around those self-stylized premises, assuming divine sanction and “grace.” Never mind the fact that “it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). Never mind the fact that “the wisdom of this world” is foolish to God (1 Corinthians 1:20). And never mind the fact that such an attitude and approach betrays great arrogance.

In everyday living, we understand very well the principle that those things that appear to be trivial or mere technicalities can be crucial to survival. The incorrect dosage of medicine in a medical emergency—even milligrams—can mean the difference between life and death. One or two miles over the speed limit can secure the offender a ticket. Accidentally putting gasoline into a diesel engine can ruin an automobile. I suppose one could label each of these examples as “technicalities,” but doing so does not alter the magnitude of their importance or the extent to which they impact reality.

In biblical history, the same principle holds true. Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden for eating from one piece of fruit from one tree (Genesis 3). Nadab and Abihu—the right boys, at the right place, at the right time, with the right censers and the right incense—nevertheless were destroyed for incorporating foreign fire into their incense offering (Leviticus 10:1-2). Moses was excluded from entrance into the Promised Land because of his one mistake at Kadesh—striking a rock instead of speaking to it (Numbers 20:7-12). Saul was deposed as king for sparing the best sheep and cattle, and the life of one individual out of an entire nation (1 Samuel 15). Uzzah was struck dead for merely reaching out and steadying the Ark of the Covenant (2 Samuel 6:6-7). God rejected Uzziah because he entered the temple, merely to burn incense (2 Chronicles 26).

Many more examples could be considered. These are no more “technical” or “trivial” than New Testament regulations pertaining to vocal (as opposed to instrumental) music in worship (Ephesians 5:19), unleavened bread and fruit of the vine at the Lord’s Table (Matthew 26:26-29), and the qualifications of elders and deacons (1 Timothy 3:1-13). We must refrain from attempting to second-guess God, or deciding for ourselves what we think is important to Him—“that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15). We need to be attentive to “all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27)—even those portions that humans deem unimportant or peripheral. When people are clamoring, “Those matters are not salvation issues,” we need to reaffirm the words of Jesus, “These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone” (Matthew 23:23).

"Radical" Distortion of the Scriptures by Caleb Colley, Ph.D.

 

https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1319


"Radical" Distortion of the Scriptures

by  Caleb Colley, Ph.D.

The As Good As New version of the Bible, translated by former Baptist minister John Henson, and subtitled “A Radical Retelling of the Scriptures,” was released in June 2004 by an English group of self-confessed radicals who call themselves “One.” As Good As New might have gone largely unnoticed by the religious community, had England’s archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams (the leader of the Anglican church) not given the translation his enthusiastic stamp of approval (see “New Bible Translation...,” 2004). A press release from “Ekklesia,” a London-based theological think tank that supports the “One” translation, revealed the following:

The translation by John Henson from the organization “One” aims at a “new, fresh and adventurous” translation of the early Christian scriptures. It is designed both for mature Christians and for those who have limited experience of traditional Christianity or “may have found it a barrier to an appreciation of Jesus” (“The One Translation,” 2004).

However, it is apparent that Henson’s focus was not on giving his readers an accurate translation, but on making his radical readers feel comfortable, even if it compromises the real meaning of the Scriptures. One retailer wrote of As Good As New:

It also follows the cultural translation, where for instance “demon possession” becomes what it is as understood today, “mental illness.” It follows “contextual translation,” following the sense over longer sections. It is also “inclusive,” following the principles which Jesus adopted in relation to his culture. It is women, gay, and sinner friendly. Other radical departures reflect the need to demythologize in order to translate adequately into our own culture. For instance “Kingdom of God” thus becomes “God’s New World” (“A Radical and Readable...,” 2004).

The archbishop has praised Henson for replacing “the stale, the technical, the unconsciously exclusive words and policies” of the Bible, with modern phrasing (not to mention modern teachings, which differ from the plain teaching of the original Bible authors) [“New Bible Translation...,” 2004]. Few have a problem with those who merely want the Bible to be understandable (though it certainly is understandable in more traditional versions), but after considering the lengths to which Henson went to morph the Bible into something he considers “readable,” reasonable readers will reject it. Keep in mind that a “community” of random religionists, who happened to take interest in Henson’s translation process, provided contributions to this work. Apparently, the group of contributors in translation was not composed strictly of Greek or Hebrew scholars, but of “whoever” happened to contribute.

Henson and company have not given readers merely an English “translation” from the original Bible languages. (As Good As New is a translation only in the sense that “One” calls it a translation. Henson did not seem concerned about the actual original words themselves [see “The One Translation,” 2004], but only the “sense” of various collections of those words, so “paraphrase” would better describe what “One” has produced.) In short, Henson has attempted to rewrite the Bible.

For example, in an attempt to include only what “One” deems to be “the selection of books which were held in the highest esteem by the early Church in the first two centuries,” the book of Revelation has been excluded, and has been replaced by the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas (“A Radical and Readable...”, 2004). In their efforts to eliminate all “big words” from scripture, this vaguely defined group of translators has given modern nicknames to many of the Bible’s characters. For example, the apostle Peter is “Rocky,” Mary Magdalene is “Maggie,” John the Baptizer is “John the Dipper,” Aaron’s name is shortened to “Ron,” and Nicodemus becomes, simply, “Nick.”

“One” has subverted plain Bible texts in order to make the Gospel more politically correct. According to London Times religious correspondent Ruth Gledhill, “Instead of condemning fornicators, adulterers, and ‘abusers of themselves with mankind’ [as Paul did, through inspiration, when he wrote 1 Corinthians 6:9—CC], the new version of Paul’s first letter to Corinth has Paul advising Christians not to go without sex for too long, in case they get ‘frustrated’ ” (as quoted in “New Bible Translation...,” 2004). Instead of properly translating Paul’s command (recorded in 1 Corinthians 7:1-2) that, to avoid fornication, every man should have his own wife, and every woman should have her own husband, As Good As New has Paul writing: “My advice is for everyone to have a regular partner” (quoted in “New Bible Translation,” 2004).

The perversion does not stop there. “Heaven” becomes, in the new translation, “a world without time and space.” “Parables” are called “riddles.” In an effort to find favor with women, the contributors to As Good As New chose to render “Son of Man,” a title Jesus often called Himself, as “The Complete Person,” and “Father,” one of God’s scriptural titles, as “All Loving God.” Also in order to please women, Jesus is not called the “Son of God,” but rather “God’s Likeness.”

Such perversion is what one might expect from an organization that lists in its top five priorities, not to teach or defend the truth, but to “challenge oppression, injustice, exclusion and discrimination,” to “accept one another, valuing their diversity and experience” (“Who We Are,” 2003). Members of “One” commit themselves to accepting one another “in Christ,” to “support actively those doing Christ’s work inside or outside this institutional church,” and to combating “poverty, racism, and oppression through social and political action” (“Who We Are,” 2003, emp. added). One does not have to examine much of the “One’s” published material before he realizes that the primary purpose of the group is not to teach people how to be saved, but rather to push a leftist agenda down the throats of religious people. For “One,” a major step toward accomplishing that purpose would be widespread acceptance of As Good As New.

Accordingly, archbishop Williams hopes the new translation will spread “in epidemic profusion through religious and irreligious alike.” However, reasonable people will realize what As Good As New is: a twisted perversion of the Holy Scriptures. Henson, Williams, and the members of “One” and “Ekklesia” should fear for their souls, because they not only are teaching things that are contrary to plain Bible teaching (even though they do so by attempting to deceive people into thinking just the opposite), but also promoting exactly what the inspired apostle John forbade: “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him he plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19).

The truth is that we can know, without a doubt, what books belong in the Bible (see A.P. Staff, 2003) and that the Bible is understandable. Because of the work of respected Greek and Hebrew scholars, we can understand, in English, just what God wants us to know. For example, the King James Version is on a 12th grade reading level, the New American Standard Bible is on a 10th or 11th grade level, and the New King James Version on an 8th or 9th grade level (“English Bible Translation...,” 2004; “Reading Levels of Various...,” n.d.). Religious people do not need a dangerous distortion of the Bible in order to overcome a perceived problem in comprehending the Gospel. People have been reading, understanding, and obeying the Bible for almost 2,000 years, with no help from John Henson or his makeshift group of translators.

REFERENCES

“A Radical and Readable New Translation” (2004), John Hunt Publications, [On-line], URL: http://www.o-books.net/goodasnew.htm.

“English Bible Translation Comparison” (2004), International Bible Society, [On-line], URL: http://www.gospelcom.net/ibs/bibles/translations/index.php.

“New Bible Translation Promotes Fornication” (2004), [On-line], URL: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=39114.

“Reading Levels of Various Bible Translations,” (n.d.), [On-line], URL: http://www.bridgebuilders.4mg.com/bibles_reading_levels.htm.

A.P. Staff (2003), “The Canon and Non-Canonical Writings,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/1972.

“The One Translation” (2004), [On-line], URL: http://one.gn.apc.org/Translation.htm.

“Who We Are” (2004), The “One” Council, [On-line], URL: http://one.gn.apc.org/whoweare.htm.

"Not Under Bondage" by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

 

https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1081

"Not Under Bondage"

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

“But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace” (1 Corinthians 7:15).

A current misconception with regard to divorce and remarriage is the notion that 1 Corinthians 7:15 is a “later revelation” that “modifies” or “clarifies” Matthew 19:9. It is argued that 1 Corinthians 7:15 permits the Christian, who is deserted by a non-Christian mate, to remarry on the sole ground of that desertion. On the other hand, it is suggested, Matthew 19:9 (which permits remarriage only on the ground of fornication) applies strictly to a Christian married to a Christian, and therefore is not to be considered applicable to the Christian who is married to a non-Christian. Several factors make this position untenable.

First, the context of Matthew 19 is divorce (Matthew 19:3), while the context of 1 Corinthians 7 is not divorce but the propriety of marriage (1 Corinthians 7:1ff.). Jesus applied God’s original marriage law (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6) to the question of divorce and remarriage (Matthew 19:9). But Paul applied God’s marriage law to several different questions that related to celibacy and the legitimacy of marriage for widows/widowers, Christians/non-Christians, and singles.

Second, it is incorrect to hold that if 1 Corinthians 7:15 pertains to a Christian married to a non-Christian, then Matthew 19:9 must refer exclusively to a Christian married to a Christian. Matthew 19:9 was uttered in context to a group of Jews seeking an answer to their question concerning Jewish divorce (Matthew 19:3). Jesus gave them an answer that was intended for them, as well as for those who would live during the Christian age. He appealed to Genesis 2, which resides in a pre-Jewish context and clearly applies to all people—i.e., the totality of humanity. Genesis 2 is a human race context. It reveals God’s ideal will for human marriage for all of human history—pre-Mosaic, Mosaic, and Christian.

Though divorce and remarriage for reasons other than fornication was “permitted” (epetrepsen—Matthew 19:8, though not endorsed) during the Mosaic period, Jesus made clear that the Jews had strayed from the original ideal because of their hard hearts. He further emphasized (notice the use of de—“but” in Matthew 19:9) that the original marriage law, which permitted divorce and remarriage for fornication alone, would be reinstated and would be applicable to all persons during the Christian age. Prior to the cross, ignorance may have been “unattended to” (huperidon—Acts 17:30), that is, God did not have a universal law, like the Gospel (Mark 16:15-16), but with the ratification of the New Testament, all men everywhere are responsible and liable for conforming themselves to God’s universal laws of marriage, divorce, and remarriage. God’s original marriage law was, and is, addressed to all people (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6). Christ’s application to the question of divorce was implied in the original law, and is addressed to all people (Matthew 19:9). Paul’s application to questions of sex, celibacy, and non-Christian mates is addressed to all people (1 Corinthians 7). Scripture harmonizes beautifully, and God treats all impartially. Thus the phrase “to the rest” (1 Corinthians 7:12) cannot be referring uniquely or solely to non-Christian marriage relationships, since Jesus already referred to all marriages (whether Jew or non-Jew, Christian or non-Christian).

Third, 1 Corinthians 7 does not address different “classes” of marriages. The Corinthian letter was written in response to correspondence previously sent to Paul by the Corinthians (cf. 1:11; 5:1; 7:1; 8:1; 12:1; 16:1). Thus, 1 Corinthians amounts to a point-by-point response to matters previously raised by the Corinthians themselves. When Paul referred to the general question of sexual activity/celibacy (7:1), he was alluding to the method by which he organized his remarks in direct response to questions asked by the Corinthians. Thus, “to the rest” (7:12) refers to the rest of the matters or questions about which the Corinthians specifically inquired (and to which Jesus did not make specific application while on Earth). These matters (not marriages) are easily discernible from what follows. The “rest” of the questions would have included the following:

  • Should a Christian male who has a non-Christian wife sever the relationship (vs. 12)?
  • Should a Christian female who has a non-Christian husband sever the relationship (vs. 13)?
  • Are Christians somehow ceremonially defiled or rendered unclean by such relationships (vs. 14)?
  • Are children born to such relationships ceremonially unclean (vs. 14)?
  • Is a Christian guilty of sin if their non-Christian mate severs the relationship (vs. 15-16)?
  • Does becoming a Christian mean that one should dissolve all conditions and relationships that were entered into before becoming a Christian (vss. 17-24)?
  • What should be the sexual and/or marital status of virgins and widows in light of the current period of distress (vss. 25-40)?

All of these questions may be answered in light of, and in harmony with, Jesus’ own remarks in Matthew 19. Jesus did not specifically make application to these unique instances (vs. 12—“to the rest speak I, not the Lord”). He did not address Himself to the application of God’s general marriage law to every specific situation (specifically to the spiritual status of a Christian married to a non-Christian). Yet, His teaching applies to every case of marriage on the question of divorce.

Fourth, the specific context of 1 Corinthians 7:15 relates to the person who becomes a Christian, but whose mate does not. The unbeliever now finds himself married to a different person (in the sense that his mate underwent a total change and began to live a completely different lifestyle). The unbeliever demands that his mate make a choice: “either give up Christ or I’m leaving!” Yet to live in marriage with an unbeliever, who threatens departure if the believer does not capitulate to the unbeliever (i.e., compromise Christian responsibility or neglect divinely ordained duty), is to be involved in slavery (i.e., “bondage”). But neither at the time the marriage was contracted, nor at the present time (the force of the perfect indicative passive in Greek), has the Christian been under that kind of bondage. God never intended nor approved a view that regards marriage as slavery. Christians are slaves only to God—never to men or mates (Matthew 23:10; Romans 6:22; Ephesians 6:6; Colossians 3:24; Philemon 16; 1 Corinthians 7:15). So Paul was saying that although a believer is married to an unbeliever (and continues to be so), the believer is not to compromise his or her discipleship. To do so, at the insistence of the unbelieving mate, would constitute slavery that was never God’s intention for marriage.

To suggest that dedoulotai (“bondage”) refers to the marriage bond is to maintain that in some sense (or in some cases) the marriage bond is to be viewed as a state of slavery. But God does not want us to view our marital unions as slave relationships in which we are “under bondage.” We may be “bound” (1 Corinthians 7:27,39; Romans 7:2), but we are not “enslaved” (1 Corinthians 7:15). So Paul was not commenting on the status of a believer’s marital relationship (i.e., whether bound or loosed). Rather, he was commenting on the status of a believer’s spiritual relationship as a Christian in the context of marital discord that is initiated by the non-Christian mate. Paul was answering the question: “How does being married to a non-Christian affect my status as a Christian if he or she threatens to leave?” He was not answering the question: “How does being married to a non-Christian affect my status as a husband/wife (and the potential for remarriage) when the non-Christian departs?” Jesus already answered that question in Matthew 19:9—divorce and remarriage is permitted only upon the basis of sexual unfaithfulness. Paul, too, spoke more directly to this question earlier in the chapter when he ruled out remarriage: “Let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband” (vss. 10-11).

To summarize: although God’s marriage law is stringent (for everybody), and although God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16), nevertheless, there are times when an unbelieving mate actually will force the believer to make a choice between Christ and the unbelieving mate. To choose the mate over Christ would be slavery (i.e., “bondage”). Yet, the believer is not now, and never has been, in such enslavement. Thus, the believer must let the unbeliever exit the relationship in peace. The believer must “let him depart”—in the sense that the believer must not seek to prevent his departure by compromising his loyalty to Christ. Of course, the Christian would continue to hold out hope that the marriage could be saved. If, however, the non-Christian forms a sexual union outside of marriage with another, the Christian is permitted the right to exercise the injunction of Matthew 19:9 by putting away the non-Christian on the sole grounds of fornication, and may then marry another eligible person.

One final factor needs to be addressed. Verses 17-24 cannot be requiring an individual to remain in whatever marital state that person is in at the time of conversion. Paul used the examples of slavery and circumcision to show that merely because a person becomes a Christian, he or she is not absolved of pre-Christian circumstances. If a person is a slave prior to baptism, that person will continue to be a slave after baptism, and should not think that becoming a Christian gives one the right to shirk legal status as a slave. This is why Paul instructed Onesimus to return to his position of servitude (Philemon 12). Thus Paul was encouraging the person who becomes a Christian, but whose mate does not become a Christian, to remain in that marriage rather than think that becoming a Christian somehow gives him or her the right to sever the relationship with the non-Christian mate. Being married to a non-Christian mate is not sinful in and of itself (see Miller, 2002).

Paul was not placing his stamp of approval upon relationships, practices, and conditions that were sinful prior to baptism; nor was he encouraging Christians to remain in those relationships. Such would contradict what he later told the Corinthians concerning unequal yokes (2 Corinthians 6:17) and repentance (2 Corinthians 7:8-10). Rather, he was referring to relationships and conditions that were not sinful prior to baptism, and was telling Christians that they still had the same obligation to conduct themselves appropriately (i.e., according to God’s laws) within those situations, now that they were Christians. Such instructions apply to any relationship, practice, or condition that was not sinful (i.e., in violation of Christ’s laws) prior to baptism. But it does not apply to any practice or relationship that was sinful prior to baptism (i.e., adultery, homosexuality, evil business practices, etc.; cf. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

May God grant us the humility and determination to conform our lives to His will concerning marriage—no matter how narrow it may seem (Matthew 7:14). May the church of our day be spared any further harm that comes from the promotion of false theories and doctrines that are calculated to re-define God’s will as “wide” and “broad” (Matthew 7:13). May we truly seek to please, not men, but God (Galatians 1:10).

REFERENCES

Miller, Dave (2002), “Be Not Unequally Yoked,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/1802.

"Falling Away from Grace"? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

 

https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=5983

"Falling Away from Grace"?

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

One of the doctrines of Calvinism that has created a considerable stir through the years has been the notion of the “perseverance of the saints”—commonly referred to as “the impossibility of apostasy” or “once saved, always saved.” In his epistle to the churches of the Galatian province, Paul wrote a remark that calls that doctrine into question. The King James Version reads: “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” Most versions have a similar reading. The NKJV and NASB also have “fallen from grace.” Quite a few translations add the word “away” in their rendering—“fallen away from grace”—including  the ASV, ESV, RSV, NRSV, NIV, CEB, CJB, ISV, MOUNCE, NET, TLV, WEB, WYC, and YLT. The word “away” may leave the impression that persons were heading toward the state of salvation but, prior to achieving that state and entering into it, they veered away from it (see Figure 1).

The Greek term translated “fallen” is from the verb pipto meaning “to fall.” In Galatians 5:4, the word has the preposition ek prefixed to it. This Greek preposition means primarily “out of.” Ekpipto, then, means literally “to fall out of.”1 One would need to be “in” a realm or sphere in order to “fall out of” it (see Figure 2). In the case of the Galatians, they had been converted to become Christians (Acts 18:23) and were counted as being in Christ’s church (Galatians 1:2-3).

Baptist Greek grammarian A.T. Robertson explains the language: “Ye did fall out of grace,” “ye left the sphere of grace in Christ and took your stand in the sphere of law as your hope of salvation.”2 Mounce adds: “to fall from, forfeit, lose.”3 Meyer noted: “Ye have forfeited the relation of being objects of divine grace.”4 And Eadie explains: “Christ’s method of justification is wholly of grace, and those who rely on law and merit are in opposition to grace—are fallen out of it.”5

These observations are buttressed by the fact that in the same verse, Paul says to the Christians: “You have become estranged from Christ.”6 The word means to “dissever from.”7 In addition to “estranged,” other translations have “severed” (ASV/ESV/RSV), “alienated” (NIV), and “cut yourselves off from Christ” (NRSV). Therefore, it is possible at one time to be within the grace of Christ and thereby saved, and then to so conduct oneself as to be severed from, to fall out of, and forfeit that grace.

Endnotes

1  Joseph Thayer (1977 reprint), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker), p. 198.

2 A.T. Robertson (1931), Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press), 4:309, emp. added.

3 Robert Mounce (2006), Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan), p. 1137.

4 Heinrich Meyer (1884), Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the Epistles to the Galatians (New York: Funk & Wagnalls), p. 222, italics in orig.

5 John Eadie (1979 reprint), A Commentary on the Greek Text of the Epistle of Paul to the Galatians (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker), 1:384.

6 Frederick Danker, et al. (2000), Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press), p. 526.

7 Wesley Perschbacher, ed. (1990), The New Analytical Greek Lexicon (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson), p. 226.

"Calling on the Name of the Lord" by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

 https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=775

 "Calling on the Name of the Lord"

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Considering how many people within Christendom teach that an individual can be saved merely by professing a belief in Christ, it is not surprising that skeptics claim that the Bible contradicts itself in this regard. Although Peter and Paul declared, “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21; Romans 10:13; cf. Joel 2:32), skeptics quickly remind their readers that Jesus once stated: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21; cf. Luke 6:46). Allegedly, Matthew 7:21 clashes with such passages as Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:13 (see Morgan, 2003; Wells, 2001). Since many professed Christians seem to equate “calling on the name of the Lord” with the idea of saying to Jesus, “Lord, save me,” Bible critics feel even more justified in their pronouncement of “conflicting testimonies.” How can certain professed followers of Christ claim that they were saved by simply “calling out to Christ,” when Christ Himself proclaimed that a mere calling upon Him would not save a person?

The key to correctly understanding the phrase “calling on the name of the Lord” is to recognize that more is involved in this action than a mere verbal petition directed toward God. The “call” mentioned in Acts 2:21, Romans 10:13, and Acts 22:16 (where Paul was “calling on the name of the Lord”), is not equated with the “call” (“Lord, Lord”) Jesus spoke of in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:21).

First, it is appropriate to mention that even in modern times, to “call on” someone frequently means more than simply making a request for something. When a doctor goes to the hospital to “call on” some of his patients, he does not merely walk into the room and say, “I just wanted to come by and say, ‘Hello.’ I wish you the best. Now pay me.” On the contrary, he involves himself in a service. He examines the patient, listens to the patient’s concerns, gives further instructions regarding the patient’s hopeful recovery, and then oftentimes prescribes medication. All of these elements may be involved in a doctor “calling upon” a patient. In the mid-twentieth century, it was common for young men to “call on” young ladies. Again, this expression meant something different than just “making a request” (Brown, 1976, p. 5).

Second, when an individual takes the time to study how the expression “calling on God” is used throughout Scripture, the only reasonable conclusion to draw is that, just as similar phrases sometimes have a deeper meaning in modern America, the expression “calling on God” often had a deeper meaning in Bible times. Take, for instance, Paul’s statement recorded in Acts 25:11: “I appeal unto Caesar.” The word “appeal” (epikaloumai) is the same word translated “call” (or “calling”) in Acts 2:21, 22:16, and Romans 10:13. But, Paul was not simply saying, “I’m calling on Caesar to save me.” As James Bales noted:

Paul, in appealing to Caesar, was claiming the right of a Roman citizen to have his case judged by Caesar. He was asking that his case be transferred to Caesar’s court and that Caesar hear and pass judgment on his case. In so doing, he indicated that he was resting his case on Caesar’s judgment. In order for this to be done Paul had to submit to whatever was necessary in order for his case to be brought before Caesar. He had to submit to the Roman soldiers who conveyed him to Rome. He had to submit to whatever formalities or procedure Caesar demanded of those who came before him. All of this was involved in his appeal to Caesar (1960, pp. 81-82, emp. added).

Paul’s “calling” to Caesar involved his submission to him. “That, in a nutshell,” wrote T. Pierce Brown, “is what ‘calling on the Lord’ involves”—obedience (1976, p. 5). It is not a mere verbal recognition of God, or a verbal petition to Him. Those whom Paul (before his conversion to Christ) sought to bind in Damascus—Christians who were described as people “who call on Your [Jehovah’s] name”—were not people who only prayed to God, but those who were serving the Lord, and who, by their obedience, were submitting themselves to His authority (cf. Matthew 28:18). Interestingly, Zephaniah 3:9 links one’s “calling” with his “service”: “For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, that they all may call on the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one accord” (emp. added). When a person submits to the will of God, he accurately can be described as “calling on the Lord.” Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:13 (among other passages) do not contradict Matthew 7:21, because to “call on the Lord” entails more than just pleading for salvation; it involves submitting to God’s will. According to Colossians 3:17, every single act a Christian performs (in word or deed) should be carried out by Christ’s authority. For a non-Christian receiving salvation, this is no different. In order to obtain salvation, a person must submit to the Lord’s authority. This is what the passages in Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:13 are teaching; it is up to us to go elsewhere in the New Testament to learn how to call upon the name of the Lord.

After Peter quoted the prophecy of Joel and told those in Jerusalem on Pentecost that “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21), he told them how to go about “calling on the name of the Lord.” The people in the audience in Acts 2 did not understand Peter’s quotation of Joel to mean that an alien sinner must pray to God for salvation. [Their question in Acts 2:37 (“Men and brethren, what shall we do?”) indicates such.] Furthermore, when Peter responded to their question and told them what to do to be saved, he did not say, “I’ve already told you what to do. You can be saved by petitioning God for salvation through prayer. Just call on His name.” On the contrary, Peter had to explain to them what it meant to “call on the name of the Lord.” Instead of repeating this statement when the crowd sought further guidance from the apostles, Peter commanded them, saying, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (2:38). Notice the parallel between Acts 2:21 and 2:38:

Acts 2:21 Whoever Calls On the name of the Lord Shall be saved
Acts 2:38 Everyone of you Repent and be baptized In the name of Jesus Christ For the remission of sins

Peter’s non-Christian listeners learned that “calling on the name of the Lord for salvation” was equal to obeying the Gospel, which approximately 3,000 did that very day by repenting of their sins and being baptized into Christ (2:38,41).

But what about Romans 10:13? What is the “call” mentioned in this verse? Notice Romans 10:11-15:

For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” 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? 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!” (emp. added).

Although this passage does not define precisely what is meant by one “calling on the name of the Lord,” it does indicate that an alien sinner cannot “call” until after he has heard the Word of God and believed it. Such was meant by Paul’s rhetorical questions: “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?” Paul’s statements in this passage are consistent with Peter’s proclamations in Acts 2. It was only after the crowd on Pentecost believed in the resurrected Christ Whom Peter preached (as is evident by their being “cut to the heart” and their subsequent question, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”) that Peter told them how to call on the name of the Lord and be saved (2:38).

Perhaps the clearest description of what it means for an alien sinner to “call on the name of the Lord” is found in Acts 22. As the apostle Paul addressed the mob in Jerusalem, he spoke of his encounter with the Lord, Whom he asked, “What shall I do?” (22:10; cf. 9:6). The answer Jesus gave Him at that time was not “call on the name of the Lord.” Instead, Jesus instructed him to “arise and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all things which are appointed for you to do” (22:10). Paul (or Saul—Acts 13:9) demonstrated his belief in Jesus as he went into the city and waited for further instructions. In Acts 9, we learn that during the next three days, while waiting to meet with Ananias, Paul fasted and prayed (vss. 9,11). Although some today might consider what Paul was doing at this point as “calling on the name of the Lord,” Ananias, God’s chosen messenger to Paul, did not think so. He did not tell Paul, “I see you have already called on God. Your sins are forgiven.” After three days of fasting and praying, Paul still was lost in his sins. Even though he obviously believed at this point, and had prayed to God, he had yet to “call on the name of the Lord” for salvation. When Ananias finally came to Paul, he told him: “Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (22:16). Ananias knew that Paul had not yet “called on the name of the Lord,” just as Peter knew that those on Pentecost had not done so before his command to “repent and be baptized.” Thus, Ananias instructed Paul to “be baptized, and wash away your sins.” The participle phrase, “calling on the name of the Lord,” describes what Paul was doing when he was baptized for the remission of his sins. Every non-Christian who desires to “call on the name of the Lord” to be saved, does so, not simply by saying, “Lord, Lord” (cf. Matthew 7:21), or just by wording a prayer to God (e.g., Paul—Acts 9; 22; cf. Romans 10:13-14), but by obeying God’s instructions to “repent and be baptized…in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins” (Acts 2:38).

This is not to say that repentance and baptism have always been (or are always today) synonymous with “calling on the name of the Lord.” Abraham was not baptized when he “called upon the name of the Lord” (Genesis 12:8; cf. 4:26), because baptism was not demanded of God before New Testament times. And, as I mentioned earlier, when the New Testament describes people who are already Christians as “calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 9:14,21; 1 Corinthians 1:2), it certainly does not mean that Christians continually were being baptized for the remission of their sins after having been baptized to become a Christian (cf. 1 John 1:5-10). Depending on when and where the phrase is used, “calling on the name of the Lord” includes: (1) obedience to the gospel plan of salvation; (2) worshiping God; and (3) faithful service to the Lord (Bates, 1979, p. 5). However, it never is used in the sense that all the alien sinner must do in order to be saved is to cry out and say, “Lord, Lord, save me.”

Thus, the skeptic’s allegation that Matthew 7:21 contradicts Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:13 is unsubstantiated. And, the professed Christian who teaches that all one must do to be saved is just say the sinner’s prayer, is in error.

REFERENCES

Bales, James (1960), The Hub of the Bible—Or—Acts Two Analyzed (Shreveport, LA: Lambert Book House).

Bates, Bobby (1979), “Whosoever Shall Call Upon the Name of the Lord Shall be Saved,” Firm Foundation, 96:5, March 20.

Brown, T. Pierce (1976), “Calling on His Name,” Firm Foundation, 93:5, July 20.

Morgan, Donald (2003), “Biblical Inconsistencies,” [On-line], URL: http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/donald_morgan/inconsistencies.shtml.

Wells, Steve (2001), Skeptic’s Annotated Bible, [On-line], URL: http://www.Skepticsannotatedbible.com.

 

"THE BOOK OF ACTS" Letters To Theophilus (1:1)

 







 

"THE BOOK OF ACTS"

Letters To Theophilus (1:1)

INTRODUCTION
  1. The New Testament is a collection of 27 books...
    1. Containing gospels, history, epistles, and prophecy
    2. Some written to people at large, others to individual Christians and churches
  2. It may surprise some that over one fourth of the NT was written to one individual...
    1. Luke and Acts contains more than 27% of the total words in the NT
    2. Both were addressed to a man named Theophilus - Lk 1:1-4; Ac 1:1-3

[With much of the New Testament written to just one man, it may be of interest to further examine the relationship between the author and his recipient, and the two letters between them...]

  1. THE AUTHOR OF THE LETTERS
    1. THE GOSPEL OF LUKE...
      1. Though unnamed, church tradition supporting Luke as the author is both early and unanimous - ESV Study Bible
      2. Luke was a physician, thought to have been a Gentile, possibly from Antioch - Co 4:14; cf. Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History,
      3. 4.7
    2. THE BOOK OF ACTS...
      1. Also unnamed, but obviously the same author as Luke's gospel - cf. Ac 1:1 with Lk 2:1-4
      2. The "we" sections require a companion of Paul, and Luke is mentioned in Paul's epistles - Col 4:14; 2Ti 4:11; Phm 24

      [The "beloved physician" who often accompanied Paul in his travels had ample opportunity to collect the information shared in the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts. As for...]

  2. THE RECIPIENT OF THE LETTERS
    1. THE GOSPEL OF LUKE...
      1. Was written to "most excellent Theophilus" - Lk 1:3
      2. Theophilus means "loved of God"
      3. The appellation "most excellent" suggests a government official - cf. Ac 23:26; 24:3; 26:25
    2. THE BOOK OF ACTS...
      1. Was written to "O Theophilus" - Ac 1:1
      2. Note that the honorific title "most excellent" was dropped, about which we will comment later

      [Not much more is known about the identity of Theophilus, but what is said about him has led to some interesting possibilities about...]

  3. THE PURPOSE OF THE LETTERS
    1. THE GOSPEL OF LUKE...
      1. "that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed" - Lk 1:4
      2. Theophilus had undoubted heard many things about Jesus and his followers - Lk 1:1; cf. Ac 17:6-7; 28:22
      3. There is evidence that Luke composed his work partially to prove that neither Jesus nor his followers were politically dangerous to the Roman government - ISBE, "Theophilus"
    2. THE BOOK OF ACTS...
      1. To continue the story begun in the gospel of Luke - Ac 1:4
      2. Some have concluded that Theophilus was the magistrate who heard Paul's case in Rome and that Acts (and Luke) was a legal brief in Paul's defense - ISBE, "Theophilus"
      3. The abrupt ending of Acts prior to Paul's trial before Caesar lends support to the idea that it may have initially served as a "legal brief" in Paul's behalf - cf. Ac 28:30-31

      [Luke's purpose in writing these two letters to Theophilus was to inform him about the life of Christ and the growth of the early church. How were these letters received by Theophilus...?]

  4. THE EFFECT OF THE LETTERS
    1. THEOPHILUS' CONVERSION...
      1. We noted that Luke dropped the honorific title "most excellent" in his second letter - Ac 1:1
      2. This has led many to conclude that Luke's relation to Theophilus had changed, that receiving Luke's gospel resulted in Theophilus' conversion
      3. For Christians did not use honorific titles to address one another - cf. Mt 23:8-12
    2. PAUL'S RELEASE...
      1. There is evidence that Paul's first appearance before Caesar led to his release
      2. After which he had time to travel, according to his plans written in his prison epistles - Php 2:24; Phm 22
      3. During which he wrote his first epistle to Timothy, and the one to Titus

      [Even if the letters were originally intended for Theophilus, may have even served as a "legal brief", their inspiration by the Spirit of God has long been acknowledged. Leading one to inquire about...]

  5. THE VALUE OF THE LETTERS
    1. FOR CREATING FAITH IN CHRIST...
      1. Many have used Luke's gospel to introduce people to Jesus Christ
      2. It is the most extensive of the four gospels, written in chronological order - Lk 1:3
      3. Penned by a professional man (physician), with a view toward historical accuracy - Lk 1:4; 2:1-2; 3:1-2
    2. FOR OBEYING THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST...
      1. Luke records many examples of conversion in the book of Acts - e.g., Ac 2:36-41; 8:30-38
      2. We read of the evangelistic methods and message of the early apostles and preachers
      3. For assurance of our own salvation, we can compare our own conversion experience with those in Acts; were we told the same gospel, did we respond in the same way?
    3. FOR UNDERSTANDING THE CHURCH OF CHRIST...
      1. Acts contains the only record of the first thirty years of the early church
      2. It describes establishment, growth, organization, and worship of the church - e.g., Ac 2:42; 14:23
      3. Comparing Luke's record in Acts with the religious world today, we can see how far people have drifted from following Jesus as the Way
CONCLUSION
  1. Two letters, written to one man, sometime in the early 60s A.D....
    1. Who would have thought a simple correspondence would have the impact it did
    2. Of course it is due to their inspiration and preservation by the Spirit of God!
  2. Have you given yourself the opportunity to read these two letters? Do so, and you...
    1. Already have read one fourth of the New Testament!
    2. Will have the opportunity to learn much about Jesus, His salvation, and His church!

Along with the rest of the New Testament, you can "know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed"...

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2021
eXTReMe Tracker

"THE GOSPEL OF JOHN" What Is Truth? (18:37-38)

 








"THE GOSPEL OF JOHN"

What Is Truth? (18:37-38)

INTRODUCTION
  1. When Jesus appeared before Pilate, the subject of truth was discussed...
    1. Jesus claimed to bear witness to the truth - Jn 18:37
    2. Pilate raised the perennial question: "What is truth?" - Jn 18:38
  2. Today, many people sound a lot like Pilate...
    1. A Barna Research Group survey on what Americans believe asked the question, "Is there absolute Truth?"...
      1. Sixty-six percent of adults responded that they believe that "there is no such thing as absolute truth; different people can define truth in conflicting ways and still be correct"
      2. Seventy-two percent of those aged 18 to 25 expressed this belief
    2. In a series of more than twenty interviews conducted at random at a large university, people were asked if there was such a thing as absolute truth - truth that is true across all times and cultures for all people. All but one respondent answered along these lines:
      1. "Truth is whatever you believe"
      2. "There is no absolute truth"
      3. "If there were such a thing as absolute truth, how could we know what it is?"
      4. "People who believe in absolute truth are dangerous"
      -- Info from http://www.christianity.co.nz/truth1.htm

[What is the Christian perspective regarding truth? Is truth whatever you believe? Can we know what is absolute truth? Let's first summarize two basic views regarding truth...]

  1. TWO VIEWS OF TRUTH
    1. TRUTH CORRESPONDS TO REALITY...
      1. Commonly called the "correspondence view" of truth
      2. A statement is true if and only if it corresponds to or agrees with factual reality
      3. This view presupposes a law of logic called the law of bivalence
        1. Any unambiguous, declarative statement must be either true or false
        2. It cannot be neither true nor false; nor can it be both true and false
        3. E.g., the statement "I am standing in front of you"...
          1. Is true only if, in fact, I am standing here in front of you
          2. Must be either true or false, it cannot be both true and false
      4. The correspondence view of truth holds that propositional or declarative statements are subject to verification and falsification
        1. A statement can be proven false if it can be shown to disagree with objective reality
        2. E.g., the statement "The world is flat"...
          1. Is either true or false, it cannot be both
          2. Photographs from space have falsified flat-earth claims
          -- This view of truth was held by the vast majority of philosophers and theologians throughout history until recently
    2. TRUTH IS RELATIVE, NOT ABSOLUTE...
      1. Commonly called the "relativistic view" of truth
        1. What is true depends on the views of persons or cultures
        2. Not on whether statements correspond to objective reality
      2. For a statement to be true simply means that a person or culture to believes it to be true; people with this view of truth say things like:
        1. "Well, if that's true for you..."
        2. "We can't judge other cultures"
      3. Poet Steve Turner wrote a parody of this attitude and called it "Creed". In part he said:
        I believe that each man must find the truth that is right for him. Reality will adapt accordingly. The universe will readjust. History will alter. I believe that there is no absolute truth excepting the truth that there is no absolute truth.
      4. When truth is deemed dependent upon the person or culture holding the belief, anything can become "true"); for example...
        1. One person can say "Jesus is Lord" and another can say "Allah is Lord"
        2. Both statements will be true, if they accurately express the sentiments of the speakers
        3. This view seems to advance tolerance and civility, but it does so at the expense of logic
        4. The very definition of "Lord" precludes the possibility they are both "Lord"
      5. Those who say there is no absolute truth make decisions every day based things they believe are true or false; for example...
        1. They turn on a light believing in the reality of electricity
        2. They drive a car believing in the effectiveness of the engine
        3. No one flying would want to be directed by a navigator who did not believe in the truth of his instruments
        4. No one undergoing brain surgery would want to be operated on by a surgeon who did not believe that some things about the brain were true and some not true
      6. If there are no absolutes, there is no right and wrong
        1. I can kill you, steal from you, lie to you, and you can't say it is wrong
        2. Because if I believe I should do such things, and succeed, then it works for me and it has become my personal truth (and who are you to judge me?)
        3. "In the absence of truth, power is the only game in town." - Richard John Neuhaus
        -- Despite its absurdity, this view of truth has become the darling of all who want to be free to "do their own thing"

      [Christians have historically affirmed the "correspondence view" of truth. For good reasons, because it is consistent with...]

  2. THE BIBLICAL VIEW OF TRUTH
    1. BIBLICAL WORDS FOR TRUTH...
      1. True (alethes) - "unconcealed, manifest...actual, true to fact" - Vine
      2. True (alethinos) - "denotes 'true' in the sense of 'real, ideal, genuine;'" - ibid.
      3. Truth (aletheia)
        1. "objectively, signifying 'the reality lying at the basis of an appearance; the manifested, veritable essence of a matter' (Cremer)" - ibid.
        2. "subjectively, 'truthfulness,' 'truth,' not merely verbal, but sincerity and integrity of character" - ibid.
        -- When the Bible speaks of truth, it describes that which corresponds to reality, what is factual and absolute, not relative
    2. BIBLICAL STATEMENTS REGARDING TRUTH...
      1. God is a God of truth - Deut 32:4
      2. Jesus is the truth, and full of truth, and spoke the truth - Jn 14:6; 1:14; 8:45
      3. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, and guided the apostles into all the truth - Jn 14:17; 16:13
      4. The Word of God is truth - Jn 17:17
      5. The judgments of God are according to truth - Ps 96:13; Ro 2:2
      6. Christians should walk in the truth as revealed by Jesus, including the standard of morality He taught - cf. Ep 4:17-32; 5:1-17
      7. Christians should patiently teach others the truth - cf. 2 Ti 2:23-26
      8. Many will turn their ears away from the truth - cf. 2Ti 4:1-4
      -- Much more could be said, as the Bible reveals so much about what is truth
CONCLUSION
  1. What is truth...?
    1. Truth is what is real
    2. God is real, and reveals what is real
    3. God is truth, and what He says is the truth
  2. Call yourself what you may, but you cannot be a Christian unless...
    1. You hold the correspondence view of truth
    2. You believe in moral absolutes of right and wrong
    3. You accept Jesus and His Word as the ultimate source of truth, especially in regards to morality and salvation

For those willing to accept Jesus as the ultimate source of truth, they will be greatly blessed... - cf. Jn 8:31-36

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2021
eXTReMe Tracker