Is Baptism a Work, Part 6

baptism of JesusBack in July 2014, I posted a series on baptism, and a subset of that series consisted of 5 lessons on “Is Baptism a Work?”

Here are the links:

Baptism: Is Baptism a “Work”? Part 5 (If Baptism Isn’t a Work … )

And for some reason, going back to July 2, 2014, Part 1 has generated nearly 400 comments, which is, I believe, a One In Jesus record. That’s a lot of time and lot of writing. But we seem to be reverting to old habits, old ways of thinking, and not making much progress toward truth. Continue reading

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Hans Rollmann’s Restoration Movement Site

waybackmachineFor many years, Hans Rollmann maintained a website with electronic versions of Restoration Movement texts, such as writings by Barton W. Stone, Thomas and Alexander Campbell, and many others.

The site went offline in 2011, and since then has only be available for brief periods of time. Fortunately, the site remains available at the Wayback Machine. Continue reading

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Buried Talents, Revised Edition, in Beta

buriedtalentsI wrote an eBook, Buried Talents, regarding the role of women of the church back in 1994. It’s been available at this blog for free download very nearly since the blog began, and it’s been downloaded many thousands of times.

But it’s been 20 years, and so I figured it was time to update the book to take into account what I’ve learned in the last two decades on the topic and to respond to arguments made by, for example, Everett Ferguson in his Women in the Church. Continue reading

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1 Corinthians 13: Faith, Hope & Love, Part 4 (Falling Away)

spiritual giftsAt this point, the way we lose our salvation should be obvious. If we enter by faith, we leave by giving up our faith.

As we covered in the last post, faith has three elements.

We even made up a cool chart (perfect for drawing on boards when teaching Bible class) —

Believe: Believe Jesus is the Son of God:      Jesus is Messiah:   Faith
Trust:    Trust Jesus to keep his promises:   Jesus is Savior:       Hope
Repent: Be faithful to Jesus:                           Jesus is Lord:          Love

So this what it means to become saved. Undo any of these three, and you fall away and lose your perfected state, free from condemnation. How does that happen? Well — Continue reading

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Ray Vander Laan Regarding Christmas

RVL2Longtime readers will know that I’m a fan of the teaching ministry of Ray Vander Laan.

A reader has pointed out to me this audio recording of Ray speaking on Christmas.


PS — Additional audio mp3s from Ray Vander Laan may be found here.

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1 Corinthians 13: Faith, Hope & Love, Part 3 (Salvation)

spiritual giftsSo we are saved by grace, and so long as we’re saved at all, we’re entirely saved.

(Heb 10:14 NIV) For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

So how might I fall from this state? Having been saved, what would make me no longer saved?

I think the answer is as simple as this: We leave the kingdom by the same path by which we entered. If we surrender those things that brought us into right relationship with God, we lose our salvation. The way out is the same as the way in.

So that brings us to much more familiar ground. What is the way in? Well, faith in Jesus. The Greek word is pistis, and pistis carries three related, overlapping meanings. Continue reading

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1 Corinthians 13: Faith, Hope & Love, Part 2 (Grace)

spiritual giftsSo in Part 1, we covered some of the reasons love is the greatest of all God’s gifts. We could go on, but we need to consider why faith and hope get added to the list. Why these two other gifts?

I see it in terms of atonement or, more technically, soteriology — the theology of how we’re saved.

Let’s discuss it in Church of Christ terms, and to do that, we need to dispense with certain false understandings. And because I’m writing on Championship Saturday (Dec 6, 2014) and therefore need to be finished in time to watch some football, I’ll repeat what I wrote in a recent comment (edited) — Continue reading

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1 Corinthians 13: Faith, Hope & Love, Part 1

spiritual giftsChapter 13 famously concludes with —

(1Co 13:13 ESV) 13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

What few notice is that this famous triad appears elsewhere in the New Testament —

(1Th 1:2-3 ESV) We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers,  3 remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

(1Th 5:8 ESV)  8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.

And less obviously in such passages as —

(Rom 5:1-5 ESV) Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,  4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,  5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. 

(Gal 5:5-6 ESV)  5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.  6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

(Eph 4:1-6 ESV)  I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,  2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,  3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  4 There is one body and one Spirit– just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call–  5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism,  6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 

(Col 1:3-5b ESV)  We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,  4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints,  5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. 

It’s clear that this is no mere rhetorical flourish! These three words stand at the very heart of Paul’s theology, coursing from his earliest to his later epistles. In fact, many commentators conclude that the three words were the core of Paul’s preaching (and I agree). Continue reading

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1 Corinthians 13-14 (On Prophecy and Tongues, Part 2)

spiritual giftsTongues in Acts

I take the gift of tongues in Acts 2 to have been the miraculous ability to hear in one’s own tongue — and I don’t know whether the apostles spoke in multiple languages or that’s how God allowed them to be heard, but it must have sounded odd or else why accuse the men of drunkenness?

But the tongues spoken by new converts in Acts — or “tongues and prophesying” — was surely ecstatic speech as in Numbers 11. For example,

(Act 19:6 ESV)  6 And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying.

Notice that the laying on of hands was used to commission for a task of office. Continue reading

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1 Corinthians 13-14 (On Prophecy and Tongues, Part 1)

spiritual giftsOne of great difficulties of interpreting chapters 11 – 14, is we really just aren’t that certain about what “prophecy” and “tongues” were. And the first step to a deeper understanding is admitting our lack of certainty.

It’s been traditionally taught (not just just in the Churches of Christ) that the New Testament prophets were given to fill the gap created by the New Testament not being yet complete. Congregations were equipped with prophets who taught doctrine and such until the canon was completed, and then the gift of prophecy was no longer needed.

Nice theory. Zero scripture to support it. In fact, the scriptures plainly contradict it! After all, no congregation had more prophecy that the church at Corinth. 1 Corinthians is likely the oldest book in the New Testament. But the Corinthian church was filled with prophecy — even the women prophesied in church (chapter 11!) — and the assemblies were evidently filled with so many prophecies that the problem was they kept interrupting each other! — so why did they need Paul to begin writing the New Testament by sending them his first epistle? If the prophets filled in for the missing New Testament, why did Paul have to write them two letters? Continue reading

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