Born of Water: Colossians 2:11-14

BaptismofJesus2Perhaps the argument most commonly used by those arguing for infant baptism or for the necessity of baptism is based on Col 2:11-14:

(Col 2:11-14 ESV) In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

In this passage, many commentators believe that Paul compares Christian baptism to the Jewish practice of circumcision. Circumcision goes back to the covenant God made with Abraham (Gen 17:9-14). The requirement to be circumcised was renewed in the Law of Moses (Lev 12:3). Circumcision therefore held a very high place in Jewish thought.

Perhaps Christian baptism is properly administered to infants, just as circumcision was. Perhaps baptism is just as essential as circumcision was. Not so.

In Paul’s vocabulary, “a circumcision made without hands … by the circumcision of Christ” can only refer to the Holy Spirit. After all, we use our hands to baptize converts! Recall the similar passage,

(Rom 2:25-29 ESV) For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. 26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. 28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

Paul is referring to God’s promise to circumcise the hearts of the Jews made in Deu 30:6, which the prophets interpreted to refer to the Holy Spirit, promised to be outpoured at the coming of the Kingdom.

(Deu 30:6 ESV) And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.

(Eze 36:26-27 NIV) I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

The point of the reference to baptism in Col 2:12 is not that baptism is like circumcision, but that baptism is when the Spirit is received, and therefore when the heart is circumcised by the Spirit as Paul describes in Rom 2:29 and Moses prophesied in Deu 30:6. Therefore, I’d understand the passage along these lines:

(Col 2:11-14 ESV) In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands [by God through the Spirit], by putting off the body of the flesh [our unregenerated, sinful natures compared to the foreskin, which is cut off and thrown away], by the circumcision of Christ [the circumcision of our hearts by the Spirit], 12 having been buried with him in baptism [which is when you received the Spirit and so when you received the circumcision of the heart], in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh [before being baptized, receiving the Spirit, and having your hearts circumcised], God made alive [fulfilling the promise of Deu 30:6 “that you may live” when your hearts are circumcised] together with him [Jesus], having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

Now, understood that way, in light of Paul’s understanding of the work of the Spirit to circumcise our hearts, obviously Paul is not saying that baptism replaces circumcision. After all, Paul argues in Rom 4 and Gal 3 that circumcision is not necessary for our salvation, but here the circumcision he is speaking of, results in our forgiveness. This is because Paul is referring to the receipt of the Spirit at baptism, not baptism itself.

Of course, this only changes the question. Rather than asking, “If baptism replaces circumcision, why isn’t it as essential for Christians as circumcision was for Jews?” we should ask, “If the Spirit is received at baptism, and if the Spirit is God’s means of circumcising our hearts and forgiving us, how can baptism be less essential than the Spirit?”

And that’s an interesting question to which we’ll return.

Profile photo of Jay Guin

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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18 Responses to Born of Water: Colossians 2:11-14

  1. Chris says:

    Great post Jay! Looking forward to part two. If this is the correct interpretation of the above verses, which I believe it is, (with some exceptions, by the grace of God, i.e. getting hit by a bus on the way to baptism, etc.), I say subject closed, class dismissed (or something to that effect.

  2. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    From a reader via the Contact feature:

    Jay, Can you please clarify your post from Nov 10, 2015, in light of today’s post (May 9, 2016), regarding faith, circumcision, baptism and forgiveness of sin. I’m a little confused. Thanks! Nov. 10, 2015: “Paul points out that God’s crediting of Abraham with righteousness came first — by many years. Therefore, circumcision cannot be an additional condition for forgiveness and grace. If circumcision wasn’t required for Abraham to be saved because he was circumcised after he had faith, then the same logic applies to baptism. In fact, Paul goes through his entire extensive argument regarding faith and works in Rom 1 – 4 and doesn’t once mention or allude to baptism — not until Rom 6. And in Rom 6 his point is that baptism should affect how we live as Christians. (Rom 6:3-4 ESV) 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. “Walk in newness of life” refers to how we live as Christians, not to our forgiveness. (Compare Paul’s use of “walk” in Rom 8:4; 13:13; 14:15.)”

  3. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Reader,

    1. These are essays taken from my ebook Born of Water, subtitled “Essays Pro and Con on the Necessity of Baptism.” I present arguments on both side of the divide. So I make no effort at consistency. Rather, I review both kinds of arguments and then draw conclusions.

    2. But I don’t see the inconsistency. Colossians does not compare circumcision to baptism and so we cannot conclude from Col that baptism is like circumcision as in, for example, being properly administered to infants. And Col certainly associates baptism with the receipt of the Holy Spirit (as does Acts 2:38 and, I believe, Tit 3:5 and even 1 Cor 12:13).

    The association of baptism with receipt of the Spirit certainly argues that water baptism is normatively also the moment of Spirit baptism — hence the “one baptism” of Eph 4 does not contradict the notion that Christians receive both water baptism and Spirit baptism normatively at the same time.

    3. On the other hand, Paul’s logic from Rom 4 regarding faith and circumcision argues against making baptism essential in the sense that the unbaptized are necessarily damned. After all, Abraham was saved by his faith years before he was circumcised. Therefore, Paul argues, faith is plainly sufficient for the Christian without circumcision.

    But Abraham was also saved without water baptism. Why doesn’t that equally argue that the absence of water baptism (assuming no rebellious intent) will not matter as faith is shown to be sufficient by God’s dealings with Abraham?

    The Rom 4 argument doesn’t proceed by assuming that baptism is like circumcision. Rather, the point is that neither one is faith, and faith was sufficient for Abraham without adding anything.

    Paul’s Rom 4 argument applies equally well to anything not naturally included within the definition of “faith” — whether or not like circumcision.

  4. Ray Downen says:

    What is made clear in Acts 2 is that God’s gift of His Spirit follows the person turning to Jesus as Lord and being immersed in water as commanded by Jesus for every new believer.

  5. Ray Downen says:

    And in a comment, Jay makes the unsupported claim that the gift of the Spirit given to new Christians is baptism in the Spirit. John makes clear that baptism in the Spirit leads to the apostles being able to remember all that Jesus had taught them, and it leads to the apostles being gifted with totally NEW knowledge. Baptism in the Spirit is not taught as being something for anyone other than the apostles. The GIFT of the Spirit is what Joel prophesied long before and what the apostles witnessed ON PENTECOST and what is seen in the lives of every believer who turns to Jesus as Lord and accepts the baptism in water commanded by Him for every new believer. This gift doesn’t turn us all into apostles. The apostles received baptism in the Spirit in dramatic displays including a crown of “flames” on each apostolic head and their ability to speak and be understood in other languages. And the apostles who had been baptized in the Spirit were promised they would be “led into ALL TRUTH.” Christians who have been baptized into Christ have no such promise. Obviously then, we were NOT baptized in the Spirit.

  6. Ray Downen says:

    Since the subject is baptism and receiving gifts from God, perhaps it should be pointed out yet one more time that those who are baptized do NOT receive special gifts of the Spirit. The promised new birth (by Jesus in John 3) is of “water and spirit.” Apostles explain this as repenting (changing masters of the human spirit) and being baptized in water as Jesus commanded for every new believer. The Spirit is not in any way involved in the new birth of water and spirit. God’s gift of His Spirit FOLLOWS the new birth of water and spirit. The Spirit IS involved in helping us tell others about Jesus and salvation, but what saves seekers is hearing about Jesus and believing about Jesus and obeying what is commanded by Jesus.

  7. Chris says:

    Thanks Jay. So, is it correct to assume that today’s post is the conclusion you have reached?

  8. Larry Cheek says:

    Jay,
    I am having a problem reading your comment. It appears to be somewhat unconnected, I’ll try to show you what I am misunderstanding.
    The comment, “12 having been buried with him in baptism [which is when you received the Spirit and so when you received the circumcision of the heart], in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh [before being baptized, receiving the Spirit, and having your hearts circumcised], God made alive [fulfilling the promise of Deu 30:6 “that you may live” when your hearts are circumcised] together with him [Jesus], having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands.”
    In verse 12 you added the portion within the [ ] which is explaining as I understand it that (you received the Spirit and received the circumcision of the heart at baptism). Then as you continued to comment in 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh [before being baptized, receiving the Spirit, and having your hearts circumcised]. To be consistent with the actions of the first statement, “should have been [before being baptized]”. Should have been rendered, “received the Spirit, and had your hearts circumcised during baptism”.
    In verse 12 you connected baptism with the action of receiving the Spirit and the circumcision of the heart. But, in the 13 verse there could be support for someone to believe that (receiving the Spirit, and having your hearts circumcised) could have been before baptism. It looks inconsistent with the first statement.
    I am hopeful that I am the only one who misunderstood.

  9. “…He made us accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6b – read 1:4-14 for God’s work).
    “…He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1).
    “…you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God” (Col. 2:12).
    “…according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).

    These passages tell us that salvation is God’s work.

    Baptism is NOT like circumcision. Circumcised Jews were baptized (immersed) in water. Jesus (to fulfil all righteousness) followed that model (see Luke 2:21; Matt.3:13-17). God works on our hearts when we determinedly decide to forsake our sinful nature — “…by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ” (Col. 2:11b) and by being “buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead” (Col.2:12).

    Christ circumcised us. He cut off our fleshly inclination to sin when we were buried with Him in baptism; when we submitted to Him beneath the water through faith in the working of God to change, renew, and regenerate us (resurrect us from the dead), just as He resurrected Jesus from the dead. [This is how I understand Colossians 2:11, 12.]

  10. In Colossians 2:11, 12, Paul is talking of a spiritual circumcision. God renews our hearts (minds). “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2); “be renewed in the spirit of your mind” (Ephesians 4:23). By the Christ, His life, the Cross, resurrection, and ascension, God causes a paradigm shift in our minds.

  11. eddodds says:

    I suspect that these commentaries are derived from a rationalistic 1st world view rather than the supernatural one which permeates Christian scripture (they are chasing a red herring and missing the actual psychological need which is being addressed by infant baptism). I say this to mean that infant baptism (often) isn’t strictly about “salvation” but about the psychological need of parents “to bring their children to Jesus” ie to receive his blessing (his promise of PROTECTION). In a world where so many children die at an early age or are stricken with various illness (and at the mercy of demons and unclean spirits, human tyrants, etc.), rather than heed Jesus’ words to allow the children to come him, Protestant churches have argued fine points of theology rather than create a uniform Dedication ceremony tradition for the little ones (or more precisely, for the benefit of their parents).

  12. Jeff Richardson says:

    The Spirit in Romans 2 represents what the Spirit delivered. He delivered all truth, truth of the New Covenant between God and man. And it is this truth that will cut men’s hearts, We allow ourselves to be spiritually circumcised, when we are willing to repent, turn from our old selves putting off the old man of sin. We receive forgiveness of our sins in baptism, it is where our sins are washed away. We are raised to walk in a new life. When we see those in the New Testament receiving the Holy Spirit, it is clear that the miraculous is under consideration, Acts 8,10, 19. and there needed to be an Apostle present to lay hands on them. Why Jay do you assume, that Acts 2:38 is non-miraculous, automatic and for everyone who is baptized? In Acts 19:1-6 Paul came across those whom he believed were “believers”. He asked them if they had received the Holy Spirit. If it’s automatic why ask such a question? They were taught and were baptized in the name of Christ Jesus. Then Paul laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. They then spoke with tongues and prophesied. We can see clearly what it meant and means to “receive” the Holy Spirit.

  13. Dwight says:

    Eddodds, while in the past I used to be against infant baptism, I have now come to see it as not sinful, even while it may not save the soul of the child. If they would have raised their child into the air and prayed to God, it would be a similar message of dedication to God. In performing circumcision the parents dedicated their child to God and God’s law. Now admittedly I would make it know that it cannot save the child, as the child must know sin and know God and have faith. But as much as it doesn’t save anybody, it doesn’t damn anybody either. Having something that engages the parents in their child’s spiritualness would not be a bad thing.

  14. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Jeff R wrote,

    When we see those in the New Testament receiving the Holy Spirit, it is clear that the miraculous is under consideration, Acts 8,10, 19. and there needed to be an Apostle present to lay hands on them. Why Jay do you assume, that Acts 2:38 is non-miraculous, automatic and for everyone who is baptized?

    It’s a mistake to start with the assumption that every conversion follows the same pattern. Patternism is an imposition on the scriptures. If you start with that as an assumption, then you’ll find everything contorted into that shape — but it’s all circular. You cannot begin with what you want to prove.

    What do we know about the recipients of baptism in Act 2 — from the text?

    * They were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ into the forgiveness of their sins.
    * They received the gift of the Holy Spirit.
    * God added them, not to the church (KJV is based on faulty manuscript evidence) but “to their number” (most modern translations). Not a big difference, but we should not quote bad translations.

    Now, what is the gift of the Holy Spirit? As argued here countless times, it’s the Spirit himself. Just read the whole sermon in context. The sermon begins with Joel 2:28-32a, a promise of the outpouring of the Spirit (not gifts of the Spirit, the Spirit) and Peter says the prophecy is fulfilled — the Spirit himself is being poured out “on all flesh” — not just the 120 disciples but more. Who? “All who call on the name of the LORD” would seem the fairest reading of Joel. Those who are saved = the recipients of the poured out Spirit.

    (Joel 2:28-32b ESV) 28 “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. 29 Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit. 30 “And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. 32 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

    So did those baptized receive tongues or gifts of prophecy immediately upon baptism? Well, the text says no such thing. It says they ate together, prayed, studied the scriptures … but no mention of mass miracles.

    Read the rest of Acts. It’s clear that in Jerusalem, the miracles that were done were done by the apostles and not just any Christian —

    (Acts 2:42-43 ESV) 42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.

    Now, Luke routinely records when converts speak in tongues or prophesy upon baptism, but he says nothing of the sort in Acts 2. In fact, it would seem that he should have, as it would have fit Joel’s prophecy so well. But he limits the miracles to the apostles.

    What showed that the 3,000 received the Spirit? Well, they ate together, had everything in common, prayed — they were changed and obedient, just as the prophets promised the Spirit would do (Jer 31:31 ff, for example, but many more).

    Then we read,

    (Acts 5:12 ESV) 12 Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico.

    Again, the miracles are done by just the apostles, not the thousands of converts.

    But this was not a “pattern.” As you point out, there were occasions where tongues and prophecy immediately followed receipt of the Spirit (Cornelius), laying on of apostolic hands (Samaritans), baptism (Ephesians) — all to mark salvation and God’s approval. Compare Num 11, where the newly appointed judges prophesied upon being ordained and then no longer prophesied — just to show God’s acceptance and commissioning of the judges.

    (Num. 11:25 ESV) 25 Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. And as soon as the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied. But they did not continue doing it.

    To me, Num 11 is the template for the conversion accounts in Acts where tongues and prophecy immediately followed conversion/faith/baptism/hands — and God seems to go out of his way not to follow a pattern. Each account is different. We aren’t even told that Apollos in Acts 18 we re-baptized, although he’d only received the baptism of JTB.

    Hence, the last thing you’ll find in Acts is a pattern for how and when gifts of the Spirit appear. They sometimes followed laying on of apostolic hands, as in the case of the Samaritans, but this is likely not universal. After all, Cornelius received the same manifestations (tongues/prophecy) without hands.

    Romans 12 records many gifts of the Spirit among those Christians, and yet no apostle had ever been there.

    In 1 Cor 12, Paul says the members receive gifts as the Spirit chooses, not as he, as apostle, chose. It’s unlikely that if he didn’t baptize (to avoid giving the distinction of an apostolic baptism) that he’d lay hands and give gifts to some. Nothing in 1 Cor remotely suggests that only those converted when Paul was present had miraculous gifts. In fact, the text says quite the opposite —

    (1 Cor. 12:4-13 ESV) 4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. 12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body– Jews or Greeks, slaves or free– and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

    Imagine if some could do miracles because Paul had laid hands on them and others had no gifts at all because Paul had left Corinth before they were converted. Could Paul have written the quoted text? I don’t see how.

    Therefore, most scholars reject the “apostolic hands” theory of J W McGarvey and take Paul at his word: the Spirit apportions gifts as he wills.

    Furthermore, as I’ve argued more than once here, the historical evidence we have shows no cessation of gifts when the last apostle died. In fact, the church leaders saw gifts as continuing and weren’t surprised.

    The first suggestion that miracles died with the apostles is from Augustine, who later recanted after he investigated and found miracles to be ongoing in the church.

    So to receive the Holy Spirit is to receive the Spirit as promised by the prophets (whom my more conservative brothers insist on ignoring, as though the OT has been repealed).

    (Ezek. 36:26-27 ESV) 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

    (Ezek. 37:1-14 ESV) The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. 2 And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. 3 And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord GOD, you know.” 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. 5 Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the LORD.” 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8 And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them. 9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord GOD: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army. 11 Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel. 13 And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. 14 And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the LORD.”

    A student of Eze would conclude that the marks of the Spirit are not tongues and prophecy (although these would be quite possible) but a transformed heart and resulting better manifestation of obedience. And, of course, this is exactly where we see at the end of Acts 2. Indeed, if we read Acts 2 in light of the kingdom prophecies, we see the converts living like kingdom-people. They share. There’s no poverty because they share. They eat together. They live in a community filled with the knowledge of God and mutual love. The fruit of the Spirit are manifest — as are the marks of the promised kingdom.

    (Jer. 31:31-34 ESV) 31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

    Jeremiah promised an egalitarian kingdom, where even the least know God. To a Jew, to “know” God was not about book knowledge but interpersonal knowledge. They knew God because Jesus brought them near — and hence close to one another as well. And they obeyed as transformed people: new creations. Not just forgiven — forgiven for sure but also transformed by the placement of a new, softer heart by the Spirit’s work within them. If you believe Ezekiel. And Jeremiah.

  15. Jeff Richardson says:

    Jay, show me a man who has never studied the bible and knows it inside and out. Show me the man who can raise the dead, show me the man who can replace a missing limb or eye. There was a purpose for miracles as John 20:30-31 informs us. there was a purpose for spiritual gifts as well., to bring them to maturity. Again, each example that we have of anyone receiving the Holy Spirit, they received spiritual gifts, they received what he brought. They then spoke in different languages, prophesied etc. the examples that we have, we see that it took the laying on of hands of an Apostle for them to receive these gifts. It doesn’t matter what the “scholars” have decided, we have the proof in the text. And you a lawyer, should demand proof. And by proof I mean from the text itself. I know your use to calling “expert” witness, but the only experts I’m willing to listen to are the inspired men of the Bible who were directed into ALL truth by the Holy Spirit. We have to let the bible interpret itself. I’m glad to see now clearly that you believe that the miraculous age has not ended. What a dangerous position to take. That’s why the Bible is NOT all sufficient to you. You want something more, you want to be led directly by the Holy Spirit. This is why we have so many different denominations, all teaching something different, all claiming to be led by the Spirit, all getting different messages. Why can’t we all see and understand the words of Jesus. in John 17:14, Jesus said to the father, I have given them your word. Verse 17, Sanctify them by your truth, your word is truth.” I might add, why were the Jews in Jerusalem in Acts 2? They had come from all over Judea as required. Then what happened? They all went home didn’t they? Possessing abilities to function as a Christian and as local congregations. There was no need for them to use their gifts in Jerusalem, because the Apostles were there. Proclaiming the word of God, with signs and wonders. Who can do that today Jay? For those today who desire the miraculous, how are they any different than Simon the sorcerer?

  16. Dwight says:

    If one has cancer and we pray for them to be healed (we must think that they will be) and they are without medical explanation, do we give the glory to God and was it miraculous? Jesus just happened to heal hundreds of people from compassion, as healing one would have proved his deity. If pray is to be trusted and used, then we must believe in God’s ability to step in and alter the course of nature due to His willing compassion for man.
    Now do I believe in people healing each other and raising others from the dead? No, as I believe that I Cor.13 indicates that miracles would end or at least the miracles coming through man.
    But miracles coming from God through the HS by prayer, that I will not reject.

    The reason we have so many denominations is that we all don’t understand the scriptures the same on every point and man often interjects his own interpretation into the scriptures to deal with this. In the case of the coC we use RP and CENI to accomplish this and it has nothing to do with God or miracles or being led by the HS. Even those that don’t believe in guidance from the HS can alter and give an interpretation that is not Godly.

  17. Mark says:

    “I’m glad to see now clearly that you believe that the miraculous age has not ended. What a dangerous position to take.”

    Jeff, Why is this dangerous?

  18. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Jeff wrote:

    I’m glad to see now clearly that you believe that the miraculous age has not ended. What a dangerous position to take. That’s why the Bible is NOT all sufficient to you. You want something more, you want to be led directly by the Holy Spirit.

    Jeff, so do you consider yourself in fellowship with Jay? Do you consider this a difference of opinion, or do you consider this a difference of faith that is fatal error?

    Your criticism of Jay desiring to be led by the Spirit is interesting given these passages:
    Rom 8:14 – For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
    Gal 5:18 – But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

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