Sunday, April 29, 2018

The Trinity And The Old Testament

  • The Old Testament Contains A Number Of References Where Plural Pronouns Are Applied Exclusively To God:
          -"Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” (Genesis 3:22)
          -"Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” (Genesis 11:7)
          -"Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8)

          If this is not evidence supporting the the triune nature of God, then why would He speak for Himself using plural pronouns?

          Moreover, the term Elohim, which is plural, is a name used frequently for the Lord throughout the Old Testament. Consider the following:

          "In the beginning God (Elohim) created [by forming from nothing] the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void or a waste and emptiness, and darkness was upon the face of the deep [primeval ocean that covered the unformed earth]. The Spirit of God was moving (hovering, brooding) over the face of the waters." (Genesis 1:1-2, Amplified Bible)

          Thus, it would be rational to deduce from this text that God as the three divine persons of the Trinity were involved in creating the universe. In other words, the Old Testament plainly vindicates the notion that there exists plurality within the Godhead. Also, the Old Testament confirms the fact that the triune God speaks as one:

           "For thus says the Lord of hosts, “After glory He has sent me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye. For behold, I will wave My hand over them so that they will be plunder for their slaves. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me. Sing for joy and be glad, O daughter of Zion; for behold I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” declares the Lord. “Many nations will join themselves to the Lord in that day and will become My people. Then I will dwell in your midst, and you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you." (Zechariah 2:8-11)

           Isaiah saw the Lord Jesus Christ as Yahweh (Isaiah 6:1-10; John 12:37-41). In fact, there are scenarios in the Hebrew Scriptures where the term Elohim is applied to two personalities:

           "You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of joy above Your fellows. All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia; Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad." (Psalm 45:7-8)

           "Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven." (Genesis 19:24)
  • How The Term Elohim Is Grammatically Plural:
           -"Interestingly, the word Elohim is grammatically plural rather than singular (the -im suffix in Hebrew indicates the plural form). The singular form of Elohim is probably Eloah. What are we to make of the plural? Does the plural form of Elohim imply polytheism? No, the Torah makes clear that God is one (Deuteronomy 6:4). Polytheism is expressly forbidden in the Old Testament." (Gotquestions, "What is the meaning of the word Elohim?")
  • Concerning The Uniqueness Of The Term Elohim:
           -"The name Elohim is unique to Hebraic thinking: it occurs only in Hebrew and in no other ancient Semitic language. The masculine plural ending does not mean "gods" when referring to the true God of Israel, since the name is mainly used with singular verb forms and with adjectives and pronouns in the singular (e.g., see Gen. 1:26). However, considering the Hashalush HaKadosh (Trinity), the form indeed allows for the plurality within the Godhead." (Hebrew4Christians, "Hebrew Names of God")
  • Even Hebrew Scholars Have Confessed That Elohim Suggests Plurality:
           -"Virtually all Hebrew scholars do recognize that the word Elohim, as it stands by itself, is a plural noun. Nevertheless, they wish to deny that it allows for any plurality in the Godhead whatsoever." (Jews For Jesus,"Jewishness and the Trinity")
  • Further Details In Regards To The Old Testament Usage Of Elohim:
           -"The Hebrew word translated "God" is the word El or Elohim. Elohim is the plural form of El. The plural form is used 2607 of the 2845 times the word "God" is used in the Old Testament. Not only is the word for God usually used in the plural form, but several verses refer to God as "Us". An example of how the Hebrew word Elohim is used in the plural is that it is translated "gods" (referring to idols) 235 times in the Old Testament. It is exactly the same word that is translated "God," referring to the Almighty. An example is given below: "I am the LORD your God [Elohim], who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. "You shall have no other gods [Elohim] before Me (Exodus 20:2-3)." (God and Science, "The Triunity (Trinity) of God in The Old Testament")

Pornography and Exploitation

"Pornography is the new frontier to explore and exploit in the name of liberation. It is the invention of totally deprived minds. Based on the dehumanization of women and the ridicule of the family, it represents the total absence of equality between men and women."

Hope MacDonald, The Flip Side of Liberation: A Call to Traditional Values, p. 112

Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Roman Catholic Misuse Of Moses' Seat (Matthew 23:1-2)

  • Discussion:
          -"After Jesus established His Church and gave Peter the keys to the kingdom of heaven, Peter’s chair became the new seat of authority under the New Covenant. This is why, when the Pope officially speaks on a matter of faith and morals with the intention of proclaiming a universal doctrine for the Church (which is rare), we say He is speaking “ex cathedra” (from the “chair”). Jesus’ use of the “chair of Moses” certainly shows a continuum of authority as the New Covenant replaced the Old." (

          What needs to be understood, however, is that the reference to Moses' seat was a symbolic expression of teaching the Pentateuch, which is the first five books of the Bible (Exodus 18:13-16; Luke 4:16-20):

          "Keep the charge of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His testimonies, according to what is written in the Law of Moses, that you may succeed in all that you do and wherever you turn." (1 Kings 2:3)

          Furthermore, this "Seat of Moses" would pertain much more to civil law than issuing religious dogma. Moses was judge; the priesthood constituted a theocracy. These Jewish leaders did not continually make up new laws, but rather upheld the laws that God had originally given to His people through Moses.

           Roman Catholics assume without proof that there exists a logical connection between Moses' seat and their chain of so-called apostolic successors. They simply commit eisegesis by applying Matthew 23:1-2 to their church hierarchy. They cannot produce a single inspired saying of Jesus Christ or the apostles that cannot be found in Scripture. The New Testament says nothing concerning a chair of Peter, let alone apostolic successors. Christ says nothing in Matthew 23:1-2 about adherence to extra-biblical authorities or traditions. There is no evidence for a tradition of successors from Moses' seat. Neither is there any evidence existing that the Jewish people attributed infallibility to their leaders. In fact, we know from Scripture that the Scribes and Pharisees did indeed promulgate doctrinal error. They were even once referred to by Jesus as "blind guides" and "hypocrites" (Matthew 23:16).

           Whatever teaching from the writings of Moses and the Prophets that the scribes and Pharisees had enforced, Christ instructed the people to obey. He told them to not emulate the moral and doctrinal error of these religious leaders:

           "therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them." (Matthew 23:3)

           These men made themselves appear extremely pious and zealous in their daily religious practices before others, but God knew that their hearts were in reality far from Him. He knew that these Jewish authorities were only seeking flattery from the public. Their worship of God was only outward, which is something that He absolutely detests. We should all take this passage of Scripture as a warning against arrogance.

            It is quite ironic to see that there exists striking parallels between the scribes and Pharisees back in the days of Jesus Christ's earthly ministry and the modern Church of Rome, which are anything but positive. Catholics appeal to a traceable lineage to lend credence to the veracity of their arguments, yet Christ rejected the Scribes and Pharisees who advanced the same logic (Matthew 3:7-9; John 8:36-45). The Church of Rome claims to possess divine oral tradition, yet Christ strongly rebuked the religious leaders of His day who made identical claims (Matthew 15:1-9; Mark 7:7-13). Roman Catholic officials unashamedly wield religious titles of honor, yet Christ expressed emphatic disapproval of the leaders who reserved such for themselves (Matthew 23:8-12). Just as the critics of Jesus asked by what authority He performed miracles (Luke 20:2), Roman Catholic apologists ask the same question in regard to us making interpretations of Scripture. Perhaps all of these likenesses are symptomatic of the Church of Rome being a hive festooned with pompousness and religious hypocrisy.

Christians And Conspiracy Theories: Discernment Or Distraction?

"Let’s acknowledge that there are unscrupulous people who, under the guise of "biblical discernment," engage in unbrotherly criticism. Their tactics often include innuendo, character assassination, guilt by association, and other dishonest methods. They weave conspiracy theories, sensationalize their attacks against others, and favor personal slurs over substantive doctrinal analysis. Militant fundamentalism has made this type of criticism its specialty. As a consequence, that movement has steadily lost its influence, forfeited its credibility, and fragmented into tiny, warring factions. My appeal for discernment is not a call to that sort of factious attitude."

John MacArthur, "Divisiveness vs. Discernment"

Daniel 7:13-14: An Explicit Affirmation Of The Deity Of Christ

  • Presenting The Passage Of Scripture In Question:
          -“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed." (Daniel 7:13-14)

          This messianic prophecy articulated through Daniel emphatically describes God ("Ancient of Days") as sitting in judgement over the conquered nations of retaliation, represented in context as various beasts, alongside the establishment of the eternal throne of Jesus Christ His Son. He is clearly portrayed in this text as being sovereign over creation. He is thus a figure worthy of our worship. This vision reveals to us that both the Father and Son rule over all creation.

          Additionally, the text of Daniel 7:13-14 can be paralleled with Revelation chapters four and five, where we see the Lamb of God is found to be worthy of opening the scroll declaring the inheritance of the nations. This takes place when the evil kingdoms of this world get eliminated once for all. He has been given authority over everything. Our Lord Jesus Christ reigns with majestic glory for all eternity onward. He shares the throne of God. Christ is truly God incarnate. Reflect on some of the vivid language that Jesus employed in regards to Him being glorified as documented in the gospel narratives:

          "You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” (Matthew 26:64)

          "I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” (Mark 14:62)
  • Note The Words Of St. Jerome In His Commentary On Daniel 7:13: 
           -“And behold, there came One with the clouds of heaven like unto the Son of man.” He who was described in the dream of Nebuchadnezzar as a rock cut without hands, which also grew to be a large mountain, and which smashed the earthenware, the iron, the bronze, the silver, and the gold is now introduced as the very person of the Son of man, so as to indicate in the case of the Son of God how He took upon Himself human flesh; according to the statement which we read in the Acts of the Apostles: ‘Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up towards heaven? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him going into heaven' (Acts 1:11)”.
  • Further Insights By Prominent Evangelical Scholar Wayne A. Grudem On The Text Of Daniel 7:13-14 Being A Messianic Prophecy: 
           -"Someone who had heavenly origin and who was given eternal rule over the whole world. The high priests did not miss the point of this passage when Jesus said, ‘Hereafter you will see the Son of man seated on the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven‘ (Matt. 26:46). The reference to Daniel 7:13-14 was unmistakable, and the high priest and his council knew that Jesus was claiming to be the eternal world ruler of heavenly origin spoken of in Daniel’s vision. Immediately they said, ‘He has uttered blasphemy…. He deserves death’ (Matt. 26:65-66).” (Bible Doctrine: Essential Teachings of the Christian Faith)
  • Strong Evidence Exists Supporting The Historic Christian Understanding Of Daniel 7:13-14: 
           -"The earliest Christian writings outside the Bible also frequently point to this interpretation. Even the Jewish apocryphal "Book of Enoch," borrowing from Daniel, describes the "Son of Man" as an eternal, divine figure who is given the Messianic Kingdom by the "Head of Days," (who is obviously parallel to Daniel's "Ancient of Days"). While this book is completely apocryphal and carries no authority, it does show us that at least some Jews reading Daniel 7understood that both the "Ancient of Days" and the "Son of Man" must be divine figures worthy of universal worship, yet without violating biblical monotheism. The Christian understanding of this passage fully answers this conundrum in the doctrine of the Trinity and the incarnation of God the Son." (Luke Wayne, CARM, "Who is the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7?")

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

AMA Statement on Abortion

"There we shall discover an enemy in the camp; there we shall witness as hideous a view of moral deformity as the evil spirit could present…. Men who seek not to save, but to destroy; men known not only to the profession, but to the public, as abortionists….

“Thou shalt not kill.” This commandment is given to all, and applies to all without exception…. Notwithstanding all this, we see in our midst a class of men, regardless of all principle, regardless of all honor; who daily destroy that fair fabric of God’s creation; who daily pull down what he has built up; who act in antagonism to that profession of which they claim to be members….

It matters not at what state of development his victim may have arrived—it matters not how small or how apparently insignificant it may be—it is a murder; a foul, unprovoked murder; and its blood, like the blood of Abel, will cry from earth to Heaven for vengeance….

Every practicing physician in the land (as well as every good man) has a certain amount of interest at stake in this matter…. The members of the profession should form themselves into a special police to watch, and to detect, and bring to justice these characters. They should shrink with horror from all intercourse with them, professionally or otherwise. These men should be marked as Cain was marked; they should be made the outcasts of society."

American Medical Association 1871 statement on abortion, as cited by Randy Alcorn in "ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments," p. 217

An Argument That Backfires--Rebutting King James Only Claims Of "Missing Portions Of Scripture"

  • Discussion:
          -Members of the King James Version only camp commonly complain about supposedly removed passages of Scripture in our modern English translations. What they do not realize, however, is that their translation of dogmatic preference is also a product of textual criticism:

          "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it." (John 14:14, NASB)

          "If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it." (John 14:14, KJV)

          "and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 1:4, NIV)

          "And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:" (Romans 1:4, KJV)

          "Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does." (Psalm 145:13, NIV)

          "Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations." (Psalm 145:13, KJV)

          "Again, (amen,) I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father." (Matthew 18:19, New American Bible)

          "Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 18:19, KJV)

          "I know him, and if I say that I know him not, I shall be like to you, a liar; but I know him, for of him I am, and he sent me." (John 7:29, WYC)

          "But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me." (John 7:29, KJV)

           "But they are all gone out of the way, they are all together become abominable; there is none that does good, no not one. [Their throat is an open sepulcre: with their tongues they have disceaued, the poison of aspes is under their lips. Their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness, their feet are swift to shed blood. Destruction and unhappiness is in their ways, and the way of peace have they not known, there is no fear of God before their eyes.] Have they known me, that are such workers of mischief, eating up my people, as it were bread and call not upon the Lord? There were they brought in great fear [even where no fear was] for God is in the generation of the righteous." (Psalm 14:3-4, Great Bible)

           "They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the Lord." (Psalm 14:3-4, KJV)

           "they understood, and fled together to the cities of Lycaonia, and Lystra, and Derbe, and into all the country about [and all the country in compass]. And they preached there the gospel, and all the multitude was moved together in the teaching of them. Paul and Barnabas dwelt at Lystra." (Acts 14:6-7, WYC)

           "They were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about: And there they preached the gospel." (Acts 14:6-7, KJV)

Monday, April 23, 2018

Identifying The Consequences Of Addiction

  • Proverbs 23:29-35 Sets Forth Practical Reasons For Not Becoming Subdued By Sin (Drugs, Alcohol, Sex, Etc.):
          -It results in great sorrow, distress, and anxiety.
          -It causes contentions, groaning, anger, bitterness, and weariness.
          -It ensnares people/takes over their lives. Thus, we can deduce that addiction is a craving that is simply impossible to satisfy. This is the underlying reason for it correctly being deemed futile.
          -Addiction perverts our sense of perception, judgement, and reality.
          -Addiction distorts our sense of morality. It perverts holy conduct. It destroys good character.
  • The Apostles Rightly Commanded That We Flee From Evil. Consider, For Example, What The New Testament Says In Regard To Both Sexual Desire Outside The Marriage Framework And Idolatry:
          -"Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body." (1 Corinthians 6:18)
          -"Little children, guard yourselves from idols." (1 John 5:21)
  • Let Us Put To Death The Deeds Of The Flesh Through The Transforming Power Of The Holy Spirit: 
          -"for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live." (Romans 8:13)

Evidence For The Deity Of Christ In The Gospel Of Mark

          “Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You, Who will prepare Your way; The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make ready the way of the Lord, Make His paths straight.’” John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins." (Mark 1:3-4)

          First of all, it is vital to note how the author quotes two Old Testament prophets, Isaiah and Malachi. Following are the two scriptural references cited in the above excerpt from the Markan gospel account:

          "A voice is calling, “Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. (Isaiah 40:3)

"Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the Lord of hosts." (Malachi 3:1)

          These passages are obviously speaking of God the Father. But the New Testament applies both of these messages to Jesus Christ, as well.

           It is abundantly clear that these texts, when connected, are saying that John the Baptist is the prophesied forerunner to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord God. Jesus is God in the flesh. God the Son is the promised Jewish Messiah.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

King James Onlyism And John 7:53-8:11

        King James only proponents commonly mention the fact that most modern English Bible translations place into brackets or footnotes the story of the woman caught in adultery, which can be found in John chapter seven verse fifty three through the eleventh verse of the next chapter. This group of professing Christians views all of these textual modifications to be part of a hostile conspiracy to pervert and destroy the Word of God. But an objective examination of the facts will plainly reveal otherwise, with this article serving as an example.

        The story of the woman caught in adultery most certainly wields intrinsic value because it firmly sets in stone the superiority of our Lord Jesus Christ over the Law and portrays the cross as being the fountain of mercy that washes away iniquity. It strongly emphasizes grace over law; salvation rather than condemnation. It reveals to us the indispensable role that Christ played in rescuing us from upcoming judgement according to the Father's perfect standard of conduct. The text of John 7:53-8:11 strongly conveys to us the message that the Lord has been compassionate to us. Thus, it is no wonder why Christians would want to preserve this tradition in writing. Furthermore, there exists no legitimate reason to deem this event of Christ pardoning a women who was about to be stoned for harlotry as being false.

        The oldest manuscripts available do not incorporate the text in question into John's gospel narrative. In fact, some manuscripts locate the passage of John 7:53-8:11 after John 21:24. There is one manuscript that has the passage inserted after John 7:36. Others have the story of the woman caught in adultery placed after Luke 21:38, or at the very end of Luke's gospel. There are many non-Johannine features present in the vocabulary and sentence structure of this passage. The motifs here are much more Lukan in nature (view source). It reflects characteristics of Luke's authorship. So John 7:53-8:11 would most probably read more naturally if placed at the end of Luke 21. There is nothing necessarily wrong with embracing the text as canonical Scripture, for it contains no doctrinal error and does accurately reflect the nature of Jesus Christ. It does not contradict any historical facts. Translators have simply reported their findings, namely that this text is missing from the oldest and most reliable New Testament manuscripts and is not found in the earliest translations. It simply was a scribal interpolation into the Gospel According to John.

Forgiveness Is Key

"If we are going to have any healthy, growing relationships in this world, then we must put those two magical words, “I’m sorry,” into our vocabulary and use them often. With these two words comes forgiveness.

Forgiveness is the ointment of love that brings healing to our marriages and to other relationships. Without it, relationships wither and die. It requires humility to ask for forgiveness, and it takes love to forgive. But it is the only pathway to restoration for the broken relationships we all encounter.

God doesn’t ask us to ignore the hurt or wrong done to us. He simply asks us to forgive one another. Forgiveness means giving up our right, something today’s culture tenaciously holds on to. 

Forgiveness means giving up our right to be right. And perhaps most difficult, it means giving up our right to our self. …

The essence of forgiveness is the willingness to let go of hurts and resentments. It is the willingness to show compassion and mercy. This is possible because we were shown the ultimate mercy, complete eternal forgiveness, at the Cross."

Hope MacDonald, The Flip Side of Liberation: A Call to Traditional Values, pg.87, 88

Saturday, April 21, 2018

King James Onlyism And The Doxology Of Matthew 6:13

  • Discussion:
          -King James Version only proponents oftentimes complain about how modern Bible translations tend to omit or place in brackets the doxology in the Lord's Prayer, which is presented as follows:

          "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen." (Matthew 6:13)

          This, of course, is an example of these people's attempts to demonstrate how modern translators have corrupted the Word of God, but they ignore the simple fact that a difference in manuscript rendering does not in itself constitute a difference in doctrine or corruption of the text. In other words, different translations have different renderings because they use different manuscripts. Not one reads identically in every place. Thus, this King James only argument has already been negated before the main talking points of the discussion have been set forth. Additionally, King James only proponents assume without proof that their translation of preference is the standard by which all others be judged, which is circular reasoning. It cannot be proven that textual criticism was supposed to stop with the King James Version. Nothing gets closer to the manuscripts, than the manuscripts themselves.

          To preface, it is widely known that the doxology translated into Matthew 6:13 of the King James Version existed in first century. However, there is evidence that the omitted phrase was simply an appendage by early Scribes to manuscripts for the express purpose of glorifying God. These words were adopted strictly for liturgical purposes in the early church. The doxology was essentially an oral tradition, not Scripture itself. Notice how it echoes very similarly the message from this Old Testament passage:

          "Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O Lord, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone. Now therefore, our God, we thank You, and praise Your glorious name." (1 Chronicles 29:11-13)
  • The Oldest And Most Reliable Manuscripts Do Not Contain The Doxology Of Matthew 6:13:
          -"Although a majority of manuscripts include the doxology, the most ancient and trustworthy manuscripts, like the fourth-century parchment codices Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, the fifth-century Codex Bezae, and most of the earliest Latin Gospel manuscripts as well as Hieronymus’s Latin Vulgate translation, lack the words. In addition, important church fathers like Cyprian, Origen, and Cyril knew the short version. The doxology is preserved in a number of different forms in the sources, which is not surprising: readers and users, especially in liturgical contexts, could have been expected to add a suitable doxology, which at some point (or at many separate times) entered the text and continued to develop." (Excerpt taken from Bible Odyssey, "Manuscripts of the Lord's Prayer")
  • The Doxology Did Not Become Prominent In Greek Manuscripts Until The Eight And Ninth Centuries:
          -"The clause is not present in earlier manuscripts. Nor is the phrase mentioned in any early Christian commentaries on the Lord’s prayer (of which there are several). The earliest this phrase occurs in the manuscripts is the fourth or fifth centuries (once), and is not prominent until the eighth and ninth centuries (in one manuscript from the ninth century, scribes specifically noted that the phrase was not found in important copies)." (Excerpt taken from Start 2 Finish, "Lost in Translation: Textual Criticism")
  • Further Insights On The Spurious Reading Of Matthew 6:13: 
          -"While it is true that neither Vaticanus nor Siniaticus attest to the doxology found in W at Matt, 6:13, the conclusion that the doxology was not original to the text of Matthew is hardly drawn from this fact alone. To say so is to ignore that the doxology is also not attested in Western (D), most of the Old Latin, and other MSS witnesses to the text of Matthew (i.e. f 1) or by such early commentators on the LP as Origen, Tertullian and Cyprian…And it is entirely fallacious to conclude, as proponents of the originality…when they do note that there MS evidence apart from that in Vaticanus and Sinaticus for Matt. 6:13 ending as Siniaticus and Vaticanus say it does, that when a majority of witnesses testify to a particular reading, that reading is indeed original.” (Excerpt taken from Academia, "Did the Original text of Matt. 6:13 contain a doxology?")
  • There Were Some Archaic English Bible Translations Which Included The Doxology Of Matthew 6:13, While Others Omitted It. One Example Of A Translation That Omitted The Phrase Is The Douay-Rheims Translation, Which Existed Prior To The King James Version: 
          -"And lead us not into temptation. But deliver us from evil. Amen." (Matthew 6:13)
  • Notice That The Latin Vulgate Does Not Include The Doxology:
          -"Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo. Amen." (Matthew 6:13)

          So, it would be nonsense to suggest that this omission was part of some sort of a conspiracy to attack the King James Version of the Bible. Translations contain slight differences because they use different manuscripts. That is the nature of the translation process, which is not simply a matter of matching words identically to an original sentence structure in a foreign language. They must also be accurate and coherent to the reader.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Evaluating Roman Catholic Claims Of Apostolic Succession

  • The Catechism Of The Roman Catholic Church Declares:
          -“In order that the full and living Gospel might always be preserved in the Church the apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them their own position of teaching authority. Indeed, the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved in a continuous line of succession until the end of time.” (CCC # 77)
          -"The Pope, Bishop of Rome and Peter's successor, "is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful." "For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered." (CCC # 882)
  • Additional Attestation From The New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia:
          -“…the Church is one moral body, possessing the mission entrusted by Jesus Christ to the Apostles, and transmitted through them and their lawful successors in an unbroken chain to the present representatives of Christ upon earth. This authoritative transmission of power in the Church constitutes Apostolic succession...Hence in tracing the mission of the Church back to the Apostles, no lacuna can be allowed, no new mission can arise; but the mission conferred by Christ must pass from generation to generation through an uninterrupted lawful succession.…Apostolic succession as an uninterrupted substitution of persons in the place of the Apostles…” (New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, "Apostolicity")
  • Presenting Biblical Arguments Against Roman Catholic Apostolic Succession:
          -Nowhere does Scripture say anything in regards to the Apostle Peter having a position of unique primacy, apostolic successors, and the concept of papal infallibility. He does not even say nothing about these concepts in his two New Testament epistles.
          -There is very little evidence that the Apostle Peter stayed in Rome, apart from the timing of his martyrdom. Nobody can rightly claim to have the same authority as the apostles, since they are not eyewitnesses to Christ's resurrection (Acts 1:22; 1 Corinthians 9:1).
          -The New Testament never records the apostles passing on their authority to successors. They say nothing about apostolic successors.
          -The original teachings of Jesus Christ, the apostles, and their closest associates have been accurately recorded and preserved in the New Testament. Scripture equips the man of God for every good work (2 Timothy 3:15-17). Truth can easily be determined when Scripture is exegeted in its respective context.
          -The determining factor of the trueness and faithfulness of a church is its adherence to God's will as revealed through Scripture (Acts 17:11-12). The Scribes and Pharisees claimed to have a physical, traceable lineage back to Abraham, yet Christ still rejected them (John 8:36-45). We do not need a chain of apostolic successors (Matthew 3:7-9; Galatians 3:7). They claimed to posses divine extra-biblical tradition, yet Christ publicly refuted them with Scripture (Matthew 15:1-9).
          -The only known historic record containing the inspired words of Jesus Christ and the apostles is the New Testament documents themselves. That is the remnants of apostolic authority.
  • Is Acts 1:15-26 An Example Of Apostolic Succession, As Roman Catholic Apologists Contend?: 
          -The context of this passage is talking *specifically* about the traitor Judas. Also, Acts 1:15-26 fails to mention anything about the apostles having future successors. If this passage proves anything at all, then it does not provide us with an argument for apostolic succession, but rather, provides biblical warrant for replacing ungodly and unfaithful church leaders with ones who are fit to serve God according to His will.
          -At this point, the apostles did not begin their apostolic ministry and did not even receive the power Christ had promised to bestow upon them earlier in the chapter (Acts 1:8). They did not receive it until the Day of Pentecost. Therefore, this is not an example of the apostles passing on spiritual authority to successors. The apostles did not have any power at this time.
          -This occasion was the actual replacement of an apostle with another apostle. This is very dissimilar with the Roman Catholic understanding of apostolic succession, considering that they teach that only the power is passed on (not the essence of the office itself). These so-called Catholic "successors" are not apostles, as was the case in the Book of Acts. Nor do we see Catholics casting lots in order to determine which man gets to be elected pope.
  • Does 2 Timothy 2:2 Provide Evidence For Apostolic Succession?:
          -The Apostle Paul exhorts Timothy to pass on the truth to "faithful men," not to "priests and bishops." We are called to proclaim the gospel to the world (Matthew 28:19-20; 1 Peter 2:5-9). This passage merely describes the simple process of discipleship and the passing on of apostolic doctrine ("what you heard from me"). In fact, this theme is echoed throughout the two epistles directed to Timothy (1 Timothy 4:6-11; 16; 2 Timothy 1:13-14; 3:14-15). There is nothing about passing on extra-biblical oral tradition or infallible teaching authority. Catholics simply read these concepts into texts like these, when in reality they are not present. Notice that Paul does not mention anything about a future successor, but rather points to Scripture as our rule of faith (2 Timothy 3:16-17). He mentions no other rule of faith to turn to in future times of deception. Thus, the apostle only points us to Scripture.
  • Apostolic Succession And The Early Church: 
          -When one finds references to apostolic succession in the earliest patristic writings, it is in reality quite different from how the modern Church of Rome perceives the concept. In other words, both use the term "apostolic succession" to mean two entirely different concepts. The earliest congregations occupied the term as a proof of the preservation of doctrinal truth, whereas the Roman Catholic Church has coined the phrase to describe the passing on of authority in a specific office. The use of apostolic succession as a preservation of truth given by the apostles was used by all of the churches that were established by the apostles in the first century. Apostolic succession was used as an argument against Gnosticism. The Jewish people had lists of successors for their priests and teachers. The pagans also had succession lists. So the early Christians would have already been familiar with such a concept.
          -The early church developed creeds which were all constructed on the principle of Scripture. In other words, doctrinal developments were formed on the basis of Scripture. These doctrinal developments were originally not foreign to Scripture. They were in perfect harmony with Scripture. These apostolic traditions were actually biblical doctrines. New ideas would be tested to see if they would contradict already established doctrines. If any new doctrinal developments would conflict with scriptural principles, then they would instantaneously be rejected.
  • The Papacy And Its Historical Development:
          -The most primitive Christians were not governed by an overarching church hierarchy headquartered in Rome. The emphasis of lineage in the early church was spiritual. Each congregation worked independently to preserve apostolic truth, but fellowshipped together and cooperated to settle disputes. In fact, it was not until 150 AD that the Roman church even began to develop a one-head bishop structure.
          -No available writings from the first and second centuries affirm that the Apostle Peter was appointed the first bishop of the Roman Catholic Church. The most primitive sources documenting the existence of the Christian faith say nothing about the necessity of believing in the primacy of Peter and the infallibility of the Roman Catholic Church. What is also interesting, is that the earliest pagans and heretics never objected to the existence of the Papacy in their dialogues with early Christian apologists such as Justin Martyr and Tertullian. What we do find in patristic writings is that congregations were governed by pluralities of elders.
          -For the first three centuries of Christianity, the Roman church was viewed with a position of honor among Christians (a position of honor but not of primacy). First of all, it was located in the capital of the empire, which was also known as the "Eternal City." This church was the largest, eventually totaling around 30,000 by the middle of the third century, despite the persecution by the Roman Empire. The church at Rome was the most prosperous church financially in the western world. It was a center of doctrinal orthodoxy. It was a center for charity. Its huge size greatly enhanced its impact. The Apostles Peter and Paul were viewed as the founders of the Roman church by the timing of the second century. Even though the Roman church was accorded high esteem, it possessed no more authority than the other churches for three centuries. Note that Rome was esteemed because it was custom, not owing to institution by Christ.
          -Roman Emperor Constantine moved the capital east from Rome to the city of Byzantium. It was given the name Constantinople. It was regarded as the “New Rome." The political focus of the Roman empire was moved to the east. Consequently, the bishop of Constantinople acquired the status of religious headship. A fundamental cultural dilemma which led up to the split of the Roman Empire was that Christians within the Western church spoke the Latin language and the Eastern church was Greek. This separation increased upon the death of Constantine in AD 337 as his two sons inherited a divided kingdom.
          -In 381, Roman Emperor Theodosius summoned an assembly, where he declared the bishop of Constantinople to be in a position of supremacy, as Constantinople was considered the New Rome. However, the church of Rome reacted in strong disagreement. The Roman bishop Damasus announced for the first time the supremacy of Rome, and argued in the same fashion as do modern Roman Catholic apologists who appeal to Matthew 16:18.
          -In Rome, the leadership position was passed along seven bishops after Damasus up to Leo, who was appointed bishop in 440. He afterward taught on the matter of the Christian church's authority being grounded in the Roman bishop because of the authority of the keys given by Jesus Christ to Peter on which it would be established (which was a gross misapplication of Scripture). Authority was wrongfully bestowed upon the bishop of Rome on this basis— 400+ years after the death of Christ. So, it was not the early church nor was it the apostolic church. The Papacy developed as a result of political tactics as the Roman Empire collapsed
  • Contradictions In Succession Lists Of Roman Bishops:
          -"There are contradictory late second century and early third century succession lists of alleged Roman bishops. Why is this so? Many scholars note it is because there actually was no succession of a single bishop until A.D. 150. This is why such later church fathers contradicted each other on who the earliest single bishops were. Writing around A.D. 180 Irenaeus wrote that Peter and Paul instituted Linus as the first Roman bishop and then Anacletus, Clement, Evaristus, Alexander, Sixtus, Telephorus, Hyginus, Pius, Anicetus, Soter, and Eleutherius followed (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 3.3.3). However, writing around A.D. 200 Tertullian offers a rival view. Instead of Peter and Paul instituting Linus as the first Roman bishop and then Clement being third in the list as Irenaeus claimed, Tertullian said Peter ordained Clement as the first Roman bishop. Clement went from being the third bishop of Rome to the first." (Keith Thompson, "Absence of Papal Views Among the Earliest Christians")
  • Vatican Forgeries:
          -The Donation of Constantine and Pseudo-Isidorian decretals are examples of fraudulent documents written and latter used by popes to bolster claims of their supremacy over the church.
          -The New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia online says that the, "Substitution of false documents and tampering with genuine ones was quite a trade in the Middle Ages." The Encyclopedia Britannica affirms that, "the origins of episcopacy are obscure." Joseph F. Kelly said, “The word ‘pope’ was not used exclusively of the bishop of Rome until the ninth century, and it is likely that in the earliest Roman community a college of presbyters rather than a single bishop provided the leadership.” (The Concise Dictionary of Early Christianity, p. 2, originally cited by James White)
  • The Ungodly Behavior Of The Roman Catholic Leadership:
          -Volumes have been written concerning the historical atrocities committed by the Roman Catholic Church. The myriad of pernicious actions perpetrated by the Church of Rome would include crusades, inquisitions, schisms, the burning of Bibles, and even occurrences of religious persecution. All these things were done in contradiction to the commandment of love which was set forth by Jesus Christ. The moral and political corruption that took place within the Catholic hierarchy during the Middle Ages was rampant. History reveals to us that the office of Pope was purchased, was forcefully revoked from predecessors by heathen kings, and even filled with prostitution.
  • We Know That Roman Catholic Apostolic Succession Is A Myth Because They Themselves Have Confessed To Not Knowing Exactly Who Was Pope Or Antipope At The Correct Time: 
          -“But it must be frankly admitted that bias or deficiencies in the sources make it impossible to determine in certain cases whether the claimants were popes or antipopes.” (New Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume I, page 632)

Papal Infallibility Exposed As An Absurd Doctrine

          "The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful--who confirms his brethren in the faith--he proclaims by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals...The infallibility promised to the Church is also present in the body of bishops when, together with Peter's successor, they exercise the supreme Magisterium," above all in an Ecumenical Council...This infallibility extends as far as the deposit of divine Revelation itself." (CCC # 891)

          If the pope was meant to be the infallible speaking instrument of the church by authorization of the Lord Jesus Christ, then why did so many church councils have to assemble (for periods of many years) to resolve doctrinal disputes? What was stopping the pope from resolving those matters once for all by simply making ex-cathedra statements?

          If the Church of Rome truly believed that we needed to be guided by its allegedly infallible interpretations of Scripture, then why has it dogmatically interpreted only a handful of passages throughout church history?

          Why did it take nearly 1,500 years for the Church of Rome to officially declare the apocrypha as canonical?

          If the church was meant to be infallible, then why is it that the Apostle Paul exhorted his younger companion Timothy to watch and guard his doctrine?:

          "Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers." (1 Timothy 4:16)

          "Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you." (2 Timothy 1:14)

           Is it reasonable to uphold the Roman Catholic dogma of papal infallibility in light of the fact that the pope can officially be deemed a heretic?

           Why is it that papal infallibility was not officially considered a dogma until 1870? Following is an excerpt from A Doctrinal Catechism, authored by Stephen Keenan, bearing the Imprimatur of Scotch Roman Catholic Bishops, prior to 1870:

           "Must not Catholics believe the pope himself to be infallible? This is a Protestant invention; it is no article of the faith; no decision of his can oblige, under pain of heresy, unless it is received and enforced by the teaching body, that is, the bishops of the church."

           This question and answer section bears significance because it was removed from Keenan's catechism after 1870.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Historic Roman Catholicism And Private Interpretation

        Historically speaking, the Church of Rome has displayed unreasonably hostile opposition against the personal ownership of Bible translations. For centuries, the average laymen were forbidden by the hierarchical structured Church government to interpret Scripture independently of its intense supervision and restriction. There were times when circulated Bibles would even be burned. The Roman Catholic Church demanded unquestioning loyalty of adherents. Even in modern times, devout followers are indoctrinated from childhood to submit to the allegedly infallible, God-ordained Papacy. Dissuasion of personal Bible study has lessened somewhat within the past few decades, around the timing of the First and Second Vatican Councils (part of its Ecumenical agenda). Thus, Roman Catholics have been instructed to defend "Mother Church" at all costs, even at the expense of contradicting plain scriptural teaching.

        While the apologists of Roman Catholicism may contend that their Church's prohibiting the reading of Scripture was never meant to serve as a permanent establishment, the decrees issued by councils such as Toulouse and Tarragon were essentially unconditional prohibitions on Bible reading. During that time, the only way that a person could actually read the Bible was if they had obtained special permission from the local bishop. In fact, most members of the laity could not even read Latin! Men such as Tyndale and Wycliffe were killed simply because they wanted to translate the Bible into the common language. Pope Innocent III (1161-1216) likened teaching the Bible to casting pearls before swine. The Council of Trent had placed the Bible in its list of forbidden books. Pope Leo XII (1760-1829) expressed condemnation of Bible societies in his encyclical titled Ubi primum. All of this could be elaborated in much more detail. In short, harsh penalties were imposed on those who challenged the authority of the Roman Catholic Church:

        “In the West, the clergy had begun to assert an exclusive interpretive, indeed custodial, right to the Bible as early as the ninth century; and from about 1080 there had been frequent instances of the Pope, councils and bishops forbidding not only vernacular translations but any reading at all, by laymen, of the Bible taken as a whole. In some ways this was the most scandalous aspect of the medieval Latin Church. From the Waldensians onwards, attempts to scrutinize the Bible became proof presumptive of heresy - a man or woman might burn for it alone - and, conversely, the heterodox were increasingly convinced that the Bible was incompatible with papal and clerical claims.” (Paul Johnson, A History of Christianity, p. 273)

        If these bans on Bible reading by Rome were only supposed to be temporary, then surely, successive popes would not have repeatedly issued them. Quotes on the prohibition of personal Bible reading from sources do not seem to indicate anything about being "temporary." If the motives of the Papacy were really to preserve doctrinal purity, then it would most certainly would have published and circulated doctrinally safe translations, rather than forbade them. Consider, for example, canon fourteen from the Council Of Toulouse which was assembled by Roman bishop Folquet de Marselha in AD 1229 for the express purpose of forbidding the laity access to the Holy Scriptures in vernacular languages:

          "We appoint, therefore, that the archbishops and bishops shall swear in one priest, and two or three laymen of good report, or more if they think fit, in every parish, both in and out of cities, who shall diligently, faithfully, and frequently seek out the heretics in those parishes, by searching all houses and subterranean chambers which lie under suspicion. And looking out for appendages or outbuildings, in the roofs themselves, or any other kind of hiding places, all which we direct to be destroyed. Directs that the house in which any heretic shall be found shall be destroyed. We prohibit also that the laity should be permitted to have the books of the Old or New Testament; unless anyone from motive of devotion should wish to have the Psalter or the Breviary for divine offices or the hours of the blessed Virgin; but we most strictly forbid their having any translation of these books." (Canons 1, 6, 14)

        How come Jesus Christ and the apostles never took the scrolls from the Scribes and Pharisees who obviously promulgated doctrinal error? Why would any genuine Christian argue against translating the gift of God's Word for other people? Whatever happened to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44)? Why has Rome stopped persecuting so-called heretics today? Obviously, the Roman Catholic Church would have to admit that its conduct was evil. It would not pass the examination of knowing people by their fruits (Matthew 7:20). Rome is a bad tree which refuses to accept reproof. It is an arrogant church. It is a center for moral corruption.

        If it were not for the invention of the Gutenberg Printing Press in 1436, then, most likely, Bible translations in the common tongue would not exist today. If the Church of Rome truly was confident in possessing the truth, then it would never have raised opposition to people examining its claims in light of an objective standard. If Scripture is understandable, then why would we need an infallible interpreter in the first place? Even today, there are strict restrictions placed on Bible translations:

        Can. 825 § 1. "Books of the Sacred Scriptures cannot be published unless they have been approved either by the Apostolic See or by the conference of bishops; for their vernacular translations to be published it is required that they likewise be approved by the same authority and also annotated with necessary and sufficient explanations."

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Is Jesus Michael The Archangel?

  • Defining The Issues:
          -The Jehovah's Witnesses and Seventh-Day Adventists believe that Jesus Christ and Michael the Archangel are the same person.

          Jesus Christ cannot simply be Michael the Archangel because the angels worshiped Him:

          "You are My Son, Today I have begotten You”?...And let all the angels of God worship Him...Your throne, O God, is forever and ever...You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the works of Your hands... But to which of the angels has He ever said, “Sit at My right hand, Until I make Your enemies A footstool for Your feet”?" (Hebrews 1 paraphrased)

          Thus, the author of Hebrews clearly distinguishes between Christ and the angels. Consider also the following passages of Scripture:

          "And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.” And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped." (Revelation 5:13-14)

"And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people; and he said with a loud voice, “Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.” (Revelation 14:6-7)

          Scripture forbids the worship of mere creations, which includes angels:

          "You shall fear only the LORD your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name." (Deuteronomy 6:13)

          Therefore, the Lord Jesus Christ must not be an angel, but God Himself. He is co-eternal with the Father:

          "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being." (John 1:1-3)

          For those who object to the citation of John 1:1-3 as a proof-text for Jesus being God, notice how Scripture plainly identifies Him as the Word incarnate:

          "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:12-14)

          "He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God." (Revelation 19:13)

          If Michael the Archangel was Jesus, then why is it that he had to call upon the name of the Lord in order to cast judgement on the devil?:

          "But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you." (Jude 9)

          Our Lord Jesus Christ openly rebuked the devil without invoking any name of authority because He is God in the flesh:

          "and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only." (Matthew 4:9-10)

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Sabbath Keepers Refuted

          Jesus Christ never taught that keeping the Sabbath was the most important commandment, ergo Seventh-Day Adventists are wrong:

          "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40)

Disemboweling Catholic Answers' Logical Case For Purgatory

  • Discussion:
          -Following is a syllogism provided in an article from Catholic Answers titled The Logical Case for Purgatory, which attempts to demonstrate how Purgatory is logically necessary:

          "There will be neither sin nor attachment to sin in heaven. We (at least most of us) are still sinning and are attached to sin at the end of this life. Therefore there must be a period between death and heavenly glory in which the saved are cleansed of sin and their attachment to sin."

         The underlying problem with such reasoning is that it completely ignores a quintessential truth of the gospel, namely that our Lord Jesus Christ paid the full penalty for our sin via atonement on the cross at Calvary. In other words, He has already accomplished purification for sin on our behalf. Christ is the one and only remedy for the problem of sin. He is our Purgatory. We are made complete in Him. His expiatory work is absolutely sufficient in itself. He cleanses us from every sin. God does not impute sin to believers. He does not count sin against those who have been forgiven in His sight. The blood of Christ is applied to believers by faith:

          "By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified." (Hebrews 10:10-14)

          If we truly must make amends for any of the sins that we have committed in this lifetime, then how does it not follow that Christ's work was insufficient to atone for our sins? How is that the forgiveness of sin? The Scriptures clearly teach justification by faith, apart from the merit of all good works:

          "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)

         Jesus Christ once said of His atonement sacrifice, "It is finished" (John 19:30). This utterance certainly bears significance, considering that the Greek word for this phrase is tetelestai. During New Testament times, this message would be imprinted on business records and receipts whenever a transaction would be completed successfully. The Greek term tetelestai simply indicates the full payment of a bill. Respectively, that is what Jesus affirmed regarding the completion of His earthly mission. He paid our sin debt in full, thereby enabling us to enter directly into the Father's presence. James G. McCarthy notes the significance of the Greek as it relates to this passage:

          "The Greek verb here is in the perfect tense. "It implies a process, but views that process as having reached its consummation and existing in a finished state." In other words, the saving work of Christ was completed on the cross and continues in a state of completion. The verse can be translated: "It has been finished and stands complete" (John 19:30)." (The Gospel According to Rome, p. 163)

          It is impossible for man to make reparation for sin. We can neither compliment nor supplement what He has accomplished on our behalf. We are forgiven by Christ's wounds and not anything done on our part (1 Peter 2:24). It is solely by the grace of God that we can be saved from eternal condemnation. Thus, the Roman Catholic doctrine of purgatory utterly misunderstands the nature of the biblical atonement. It would be an offense to the utmost for us to try to pay back a debt that God Himself has already paid in full. The necessity of purgatory can only make sense in a works-based justification theological framework, which is flatly contradicted by Scripture.

          The reasoning comprising the logical syllogism employed by Catholic Answers is deceptive at best. It is highly fallacious, for it draws a conclusion that simply does not follow from the two mentioned premises. This is known as a non-sequitur. Catholic Answers presents to unsuspecting readers a false dichotomy, assuming that purgatory must be the only logical conclusion. But that is simply not true. The idea does not even have scriptural backing. The blood of Christ cleanses believers from all sin. Purgatory is a perfect example of philosophy gone wrong:

           "See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ." (Colossians 2:8)

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Information Is Nonmaterial

"The genetic information system is is the software of life and, like the symbols in a computer, it is purely symbolic and independent of its environment. Of course, the genetic message, when expressed as a sequence of symbols, is nonmaterial but must be recorded in matter and energy."

Hubert Yockey, Information Theory, Evolution, and the Origin of Life, p. 7

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Is It Wrong To Pray To Jesus Christ?

Even though there are sound reasons for praying to Jesus, a caveat is needed. This qualification arises from carefully reading Scripture from Genesis to Revelation to discern where the accents fall. My wife is a fashion designer and tells me you need to listen to the fabric talk. For example, you don’t sew leather with an ordinary needle. Leather is tough material, so you need a special needle; otherwise, the needle will break. The responsible Bible reader listens to the Scriptures talk and talk in its own terms as its storyline unfolds from beginning to end. What does such listening reveal?

By the time we’ve finished listening to the entire story we find that Jesus is the one mediator between God and ourselves. He’s the go-between in God’s plan. Paul captures this idea well in his first letter to Timothy: “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time” (1 Tim. 2:5-6). As we saw above, the Book of Hebrews captures this same idea in presenting Jesus as our great high priest set over the household of God.

It’s no surprise, then, that Jesus taught his disciples to pray to the Father in his name: “Pray then like this: Our Father in heaven” (Matt. 6:9). In praying to the Father, Paul, too, adopts the protocol that befits the presence of great majesty: “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father” (Eph. 3:14). He was mindful, though, that this can only happen through the Son and with the enablement of the Holy Spirit: “For through him [Jesus] we both [Jew and Gentile believers] have access in one Spirit to the Father” (Eph. 2:18). The Holy Spirit’s role is to give us such an affection for the Father and the Son that we’re motivated to approach the Godhead in this way. Prayer to the Father, it must be acknowledged, is where the weight of emphasis falls in the New Testament revelation.

If the fundamental blessing of the gospel is our justification, then the preeminent one is our adoption. We are children of God and joint heirs with Christ. Paul puts it magnificently: “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God” (Gal. 4:4-7). Abba, a word Jesus himself used in his own prayer life (Mark 14:36), is intimate but reverent. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Christian as a child of God is caught up in the communion of the Son with the Father.

We see two important truths, then, in prayer to the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit. First, Christian praying is Trinitarian praying. This is deeply important, for much Christian praying in my experience is Unitarian: “Dear God. . . . Amen.” Unitarian praying makes it hard to see why there’s any real difference in praying to the God of the Bible as opposed to praying to the God of, say, the Qur’an. Second, Christian praying exhibits the very structure of the gospel. Jesus stands at the center as the mediator, the Father as the addressee, and the Spirit as the enabler.

So can you pray to Jesus? Of course you can [since He is God]. But let me suggest if this is the predominant way we pray we may lose something of enormous importance. We may lose sight of the glorious gospel with the Father as the architect of our salvation, the Son as the achiever, and the Spirit as the applier.

Indicators Of False Witnessing

  • Notice The Inspired Remarks Of The Apostle Paul Within The Context Of 1 Thessalonians 2:3-10 In Regards To The Nature Of False Preaching:
          1.) It stems from doctrinal error.
          2.) It revolves around impure motives; teachers glorify themselves rather than Christ.
          3.) False witnessing involves deceit; twisting Scripture, faulty logic, and manipulation.
          4.) False witnessing includes pleasing people through flattery and teaching what itching ears want to hear.
          5.) False teaching involves selfish gain; profiting from the gospel.

          The people whom these factors are applicable have proven to be burdensome to the church, especially to Christians who are new or lacking in discernment. False teachers need to be rebuked sharply and avoided.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Wall Of Shame?

"I wonder if an invisible wall of shame is being built around this nation in the name of liberation. Have we fallen for a counterfeit freedom that is locking us into a prison of hopeless depravity? Are we becoming a people ruled by the ever-changing winds of general consensus in which each person does what is right in his or her own eyes?

In this liberated age have we forgotten that freedom by itself is never free—is never enough? It must always be accompanied by responsibility. No society in history ever survived when its rights became separated from its responsibilities. Has our nation’s newly acquired lifestyle enticed us into a perverted sense of freedom so that now we are held fast in a prison of liberation?"

Hope MacDonald, The Flip Side of Liberation: A Call to Traditional Values, p. 14

Monday, April 9, 2018

Mormon Quotables

  • A Look At Joseph Smith's Cosmology:
          -"The inhabitants of the moon are more of a uniform than the inhabitants of the earth, being about six feet in height. They dress very much like the Quaker style and are quite general in style or the one fashion of dress. They live to be very old; coming generally, near a thousand years."
  • A Quote From Mormon President Brigham Young In Regards To Cosmology:
          -"So it is in regard to the inhabitants of the sun...Do you think there is any life there? No question of it; it was not made in vain." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 13, p. 271)
  • Mormonism Preaches A Works-Based Gospel:
          -"One cannot get into the kingdom of God upon the principle of faith alone, or repentance alone, or receiving the Holy Ghost alone. He will have to be baptized, go down in the water, and come up out of the water, and have hands laid upon him for the gift of the Holy Ghost. That is the procedure that was followed by the apostles of Christ. That is the procedure of the Church today. It is the only way." (Rudger Clawson, Conference Reports, October 1932, p.9)
  • An Example From The Book Of Mormon Revealing Mormonism's Racist History On Native American Indians:
          -"they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them." (2 Nephi 5:21)
  • Mormons Celebrate The Disobedience Of Adam And Eve: 
          -"And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the Garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end. And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin. But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who oweth all things. Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy." (2 Nephi 2:22-25)
  • The Incredible Arrogance Of Joseph Smith: 
          -"Come on! ye prosecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on top at last. I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet...When they can get rid of me, the devil will also go." (History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 408, 409)
  • Mormons Believe That The Garden Of Eden Is Located In The State Of Missouri: 
          -"The Garden Of Eden was in Missouri. Noah was taken to the old world by the flood. This teaching was given by Joseph Smith and is still accepted as true doctrine. Given this teaching, Mormons have to accept the flood as a global phenomena" (Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, "Adam-Ondi-Ahman", p. 19-20)
  • Remarks From Joseph Fielding Smith, The Tenth Mormon President, On Man Reaching The Moon: 
          -"We will never get a man into space. This earth is man's sphere and it was never intended that he should get away from it. The moon is a superior planet to the earth and it was never intended that man should go there. You can write it down in your books that this will never happen." (Honolulu Stake Conference 1961)

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Christ's Resurrection Was Not An Elaborate Hoax

"If Jesus remained dead, how can you explain the reality of the Christian church and its phenomenal growth in the first three centuries of the Christian era? Christ's church covered the western world by the forth century. A religious movement built on a lie could not have accomplished that...all the power of Rome and of the religious establishment in Jerusalem was geared to stop the Christian faith. All they had to do was to dig up the grave and to present the corpse. They didn't."

Henry Schaefer III, Chemist

Friday, April 6, 2018

Constructing A Case For Paul's Apostleship

  • Defining The Issues:
          -There is a theory that the Apostle Paul was a false teacher, a false prophet who corrupted the original teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ as revealed through the New Testament. It is claimed by some that present-day Christianity has fallen victim to the allegedly apostate theology of Paul, namely regarding his teachings on Christians not being under the Mosaic Law system and the deity of Christ. These kinds of arguments are generally circulated by members of the Hebrew Roots Movement and Black Hebrew Israelites. Muslims also make the claim that Paul was a false apostle. However, it is not difficult to pit two individuals against each other (Paul vs. Jesus) by taking their statements out of context. The Apostle Paul did not contradict the teachings of Christ, but rather, delivered and elaborated on His teachings both in writing and in speech. There is no doctrinal diversity existing throughout the books which comprise the New Testament canon. The evidence in favor of Paul being a genuine apostle is so strong, that any attempt to discredit his apostleship as being fraudulent should be deemed intellectually dishonest at best.
  • Luke Records Eye-Witnesses Being Present During The Time Of Saul's Conversion--Our Lord Jesus Christ Directly Commissioned Him To Preach The Gospel To The Gentiles:
          -"Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one." (Acts 9:3-7)
  • Notice How Both The Apostles Paul And Barnabas Preached The Gospel: 
          -“Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses...As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people invited them to speak further about these things on the next Sabbath. When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God." (Acts 13:38-39, 42-43)
  • God Specifically Told Ananias, A Disciple, That He Had Chosen Saul To Be An Instrument In Proclaiming The Gospel To The Lost World:
          -"But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel." (Acts 9:15)
  • The Apostles And Elders Embraced Paul As Authentic, Who Also Preached Against Christians Maintaining Mosaic Customs:
          -"But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved...But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses...And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers...that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”...Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brothers, with the following letter: “The brothers, both the apostles and the elders, to the brothers who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greetings. Since we have heard that some persons have gone out from us and troubled you with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions, it has seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth." (Acts 15:1, 7-11, 22-27)
  • The Apostle Peter Believed Paul To Be A Beloved Brother Who Produced Inspired Scripture:
          -"And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures." (2 Peter 3:15-16) 
  • The Apostle Paul Had Supernatural Abilities Like That Of The Other Apostles:
          -"The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works." (2 Corinthians 12:12)
  • The Apostle Paul Preached The Full Gospel:
          -"Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures." (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Do John 3:5 And Titus 3:5 Prove Baptismal Regeneration?

          V. John 3:5 and Titus 3:5

          “Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’” (John 3:5)

          “he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,” (Titus 3:5)

          1. Right off the bat, we most note that neither of these passages mention baptism in connection with “water” (in John 3:5) or “washing” (in Titus 3:5). Thus right away we must question the insistence of baptismal regenerationists that these texts are even about water baptism.

          To insist that “water,” “washing,” and any related words must refer to physical water is arbitrary and absurd. Can we honestly say that the following texts refer to physical water?:

          “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:6)

          “These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved.” (2 Peter 2:17)

          “and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith.” (Acts 15:9)

          “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:8)

          “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)

          Regarding John 3:5 in particular, when one insists “water” self-evidently must refer to physical water, one faces a serious problem in the very next chapter:

          “but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)

          Also consider another nearby chapter:

          “On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, “Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”’” (John 7:37-38)

          Now, to consistently maintain his argument that the word “water” self-evidently refers to physical water, will one who holds to baptismal regeneration really argue that Jesus is saying salvation depends on drinking physical water, which will literally become a physical spring within one’s insides “welling up to eternal life,” or will literally become physical rivers flowing from one’s heart?

          No, to avoid appearing foolish a baptismal regenerationist must equivocate and say, “well, the meaning of water must depend on the context.” Once he does this, he surrenders any hope that the context of John 3:5 demands a baptismal regeneration reading.

          2. Let us focus specifically on Titus 3:5. Again, it reads:

          “he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,” (Titus 3:5)

          Again, the only hope for a baptismal regenerationist reading is that “washing” refers to physical water—but nothing in the context demands this to be the case. Now here are two reasons within the text itself why a baptismal regeneration reading is impossible:

          A. It says, “he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness ….”

          The Bible considers water baptism a work, since:

          (1) Romans 4:1-12 considers circumcision a work. If circumcision is a work, so is water baptism, since both are external marks of the church, with water baptism replacing circumcision in the New Covenant era.

          (2) Consider also Matt. 3:14, 15:

          “John would have prevented him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’ But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he consented.”

          Jesus considered His water baptism as part of fulfilling all righteousness. Is not fulfilling all righteousness works? Compare “fulfill all righteousness” with “he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness,” in Titus 3:5.

          Thus, Titus 3:5 denies water baptism’s role in salvation even before the verse gets to “the washing of regeneration.”

          B. Now, as far as “the washing of regeneration” is concerned, consider the following from Gordon Clark:

          “if [water] baptism caused, or was, regeneration, the phrase would have been ‘the regeneration of washing.’ The actual phrase ‘the washing of regeneration’ indicates that regeneration washes, not that washing regenerates.” (Gordon Clark, Commentary on Titus, )

          In short, Titus 3:5 does not teach that external washing (from water baptism) causes regeneration, but that regeneration causes an internal washing: One is saved by “the [spiritual] washing of regeneration”—not by “the regeneration of washing [by water baptism].” Gordon Clark writes, “The washing effected by regeneration is the renewal, that is, the renewing the Spirit does to us” (Ibid.).

          3. Now we move on to John 3:5, which reads:

         “Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’”

         We have already demonstrated the absurdity of insisting this passage must speak of water baptism simply because it mentions “water.” We only need to go to the very next chapter (John 4:14) to show this.

          There are several proposed interpretations of this text, and since the Bible uses the word “water” with more than one meaning, we have already cast in doubt the interpretation that says water baptism saves.

          Moreover, it should be enough that from front to back the Bible teaches salvation by grace through faith and not by works (cf. Romans 4:1-12 and Ephesians 2:8, 9), so unless we want to say the Bible contradicts itself, we must rule out immediately any salvation by water baptism interpretation.

          But beyond this, all we need to do is examine the surrounding context of John 3:5 to rule out such an interpretation.

           A. Just three verses after John 3:5, we read:

           “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (Jn. 3:8).

           On this passage Robert L. Reymond writes:

           From the analogy which he drew between the wind’s natural operation and the Spirit’s regenerating work (John 3:8), Jesus taught, in addition to the facticity (“The wind blows”) and the efficacy (“and you hear the sound of it”) of the latter, both the sovereignty (“The wind blows wherever it pleases”) and the inscrutable mysteriousness (“you cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes”) of the Spirit’s regenerating work. (Robert L. Reymond, A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith, p. 720).

           This makes clear man cannot be born again because of his water baptism. He cannot have water sprinkled or poured upon himself, or immerse himself into water, and expect the Holy Spirit to save him as a consequence. The new birth is a sovereign act of God, on God’s timetable; the new birth cannot be programmed by water baptism.

           Otherwise, instead of saying “The wind blows where it wishes,” it would say, “The wind blows where man wishes” (i.e., the Holy Spirit must save man out of compliance with man’s wish to be water-baptized). And, instead of saying “but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes,” it would say, “but you do know where it comes from or where it goes” (since in this scenario man would know exactly when he is regenerated: right after his water baptism).

           B. Verses 6-8 rule out water baptism by emphasizing only the Holy Spirit. Sam Storms writes (this is not an endorsement of Storms himself, as we disagree with some of his theology).

           Just as v. 5 is explanatory of v. 3, vv. 6-8 further develop the idea set forth in v. 5. But note: in vv. 6-8 “water” is conspicuously absent; there is mention only of the Spirit. Note again in v. 6 and v. 8b – why just “born of the Spirit” and not “born of water and the Spirit”? The answer is that “Spirit” is fundamental and “water”, whatever it means, must be subsumed under or defined as an elemental part of the operative work of the Spirit in regeneration. Had our Lord regarded “water” as an independent agency in regeneration and important in itself (i.e., as distinct from the agency of the Spirit), he surely would have mentioned it again and given it more prominence. Instead, he describes the birth “from above” as effected by the Spirit alone and wholly outside the sphere of the “flesh” (v. 6).

           This is consistent with John 1, which likewise describes regeneration as an act solely by God, outside the realm of man and man’s works:

           “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12, 13)

           Here we have it: there is nothing man can do to cause the new birth. Hence he can neither “will” himself to be born again by getting water baptized, nor “will” himself to cause others to be born again by baptizing them in water. Contrast the denial of man’s will in causing the new birth in John 1:12, 13, with the affirmation of the Holy Spirit’s will in causing the new birth in John 3:8.

            Moreover, John (the author) regularly describes the new birth as an act solely of God. Storms writes,“John typically describes regeneration not in terms of repetition but as a divine birth, something that finds its source or origin in God. It is of God, being heavenly; not of man, who is earthly (cf. John 1:13; 1 John 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:1,4,18).”

            C. One cannot make an inseparable relationship between water baptism and Holy Spirit baptism in John 3:5. Consider this: The only two possible water baptisms John 3:5 can refer to (if it does at all) are Christian baptism or John’s baptism. However,

            1. It cannot refer to Christian baptism, since it wasn’t instituted until the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19). Sam Storms writes, “Would Jesus have rebuked Nicodemus for ignorance of an ordinance about which nothing had yet been said?” (John 3:10).

            2. It cannot refer to John’s baptism, since, as Sam Storms writes, “the text clearly coordinates water and Spirit whereas John uniformly contrasts his baptism, which is in water, with the baptism of the Messiah, which is in Spirit (cf. Mt. 3:11)” (Storms, Ibid.)

            On the unitary nature of “water and Spirit” in John 3:5, Storms also writes:

            The “begetting” or regeneration of which Jesus speaks is unitary, that is to say, there are not two births experienced, each with its respective agency, one by water and another by the Spirit, but one birth “by water and Spirit” in which the Spirit is the dominant factor. The text does not say “born of water and of Spirit” but “born of water and Spirit.” One preposition (ek) governs both nouns. It is a single “water and Spirit” birth.[2] Hence “water” is to be understood as coordinate with the “Spirit” rather than independent of or contrasted with it. (Storms, Ibid.)

            And one cannot argue that those who received John’s baptism would in time inevitably receive Holy Spirit baptism. Prior to Holy Spirit baptism which commenced at Pentecost, it was believers—not those baptized by John—who were promised Holy Spirit baptism:

            “On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:37-39)

            D. The Jesus in John 3:5 is the same Jesus who saved people without requiring them to be baptized in water. Consider the following:

            “And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.’”(Matthew 9:2)

            “‘Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.’ And he said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, ‘Who is this, who even forgives sins?’ And he said to the woman, ‘Your faithhas saved you; go in peace.’” (Luke 7:47-50)

            “And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, ‘Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.’” (Luke 19:8-10)

            And so the question is, if Jesus teaches salvation by water baptism in John 3:5, is this a different Jesus in the passages above, since he saves these people without water baptism? Of course not. Jesus saves without water baptism, as the passages clearly indicate. And by implication, the passages rule out the view that John 3:5 teaches salvation by water baptism.

            We must note how the Luke 19 passage above mentions, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Jesus did not baptize Zacchaeus in water. And yet Jesus saved him.

            In light of this consider that John 4:2 says, “(although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), …” One would think that if water baptism is necessary for salvation, then Jesus would have baptized those He saved during His earthly ministry.

            But the way Jesus sought and saved men during his earthly ministry (as well as today) is through the internal cleansing of the word, not external cleansing of water baptism. Jesus says in John 15:3: “Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you”—He does not say, “Already you are clean because of water baptism.”

            When we miss this important distinction between internal and external cleansing, we are no better than blind Pharisees. As Jesus scolded the Pharisees of His day:

            “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.” (Matthew 23:25, 26)