From the Comments: Further on whether the scriptures are sufficient

HolySpirit7Following up yesterday’s post, reader David commented,

If there has been no personal indwelling of the Spirit directing and guiding Christians since the death of the apostles then, the New Testament is highly suspect. Early churchmen collected, sifted, and sorted through hundreds of writings for three hundred years or so to finally settle on the canon of Scriptures we have today. Some of the writing of the NT were never doubted, but some were. There is no good reason to accept the complete NT we have today as the word of God except by faith in the Holy Spirit’s guidance of men of the church. Deny the personal indwelling of the Spirit in Christians, you undercut faith in the Bible as God’s word.

I thought this was an excellent point. I added, Continue reading

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Divorce & Remarriage: Reading in light of covenant theology (Part 2)

divorce5

Reader Gary mentioned an article by Hugo McCord on Matt 5:32, which neither of us has found. I responded —

Gary,

I can’t find the McCord article, and what I have found from McCord is rife with legalistic assumptions.

Nonetheless, all commentators note that Matt 5:32 says, in the English and the Greek, that the first husbands “makes” the wife he puts away an adulteress (passive voice). Even without the passive voice, the “makes” plainly places the moral fault on the first husband. Only a rank legalist would then impose penalties on the wife for actions that Jesus says are not her fault.

We think she sins because she’s still married to the first husband, which Jesus not only doesn’t say, he says she’s married to the second husband — which we deny to fit our legalistic theories, preferring theory to scripture (not you, the traditional school of thought). Continue reading

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Bear’s Den: “Elysium”

Brother do you believe in an afterlife
Where our souls will both collide
In some great Elysium
Way up in the sky
Free from our shackles, our chains
Our mouths, our brains
We’ll open all the gates
And we will walk careless
Straight into the light Continue reading

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Divorce & Remarriage: Reading in light of covenant theology (Part 1)

divorce5In response to the readers’ questions, I wrote a series of comments dealing with how we should read the Bible’s passages regarding divorce and remarriage in light of the covenant theology we covered in last year’s series on “How to Study the Bible.”

That is, we must not assume that Jesus repealed the Torah and enacted a new law. Rather, in the Gospels, Jesus is interpreting Torah — not under the new covenant but as it should have been interpreted then and there.

In 1 Cor 7, Paul takes the teachings of Jesus and applies them in the Christian context — but Paul is also not making new law. Rather, he taking the principles found in Jesus’ words and applying them in a world where some people aren’t children of God and some are, where one spouse is and one spouse isn’t, etc.

The rules don’t change. Rather, different covenants present different circumstances for applying the same principles. Continue reading

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From the Comments: Aren’t the Scriptures All-Sufficient?

HolySpirit7Jeff R asked,

It’s the one’s that believe that this indwelling is personal and DIRECT, meaning that the Spirit directly influences them apart from God’s word that I have a problem with. They in effect are denying that the word of God is all sufficient. The Bible teaches us that it is. Why do people like this idea of a direct operation of the Spirit for mankind today?

Jeff argued from,

(2 Tim. 3:16-4:1 ESV)  16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,  17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.  

Continue reading

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Divorce & Remarriage: 1 Cor 7:10-11

divorce5Christopher writes,

One thing you have failed to do in your responses, Jay, is explain how 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 squares with your theology.

Here are two earlier posts on that subject: here and here.

(1 Cor. 7:10-11 ESV)  10 To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband  11 (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife. 

These offer a much more thorough explanation than I’ll offer here, but because I’m sure other readers have had the same question — here’s the short version: Continue reading

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From the Comments: Is direct operation of the Spirit essential? Part 2

HolySpirit7As is so often the case, the OT sheds light on the NT.

As we covered in a series of posts last year called “The Salvation of the Jews,” we concluded that the Jews, just like the Christians, are saved by the terms of God’s covenant with Abraham. They were saved by faith just as we’re saved by faith. (I’m not going to repeat the argument here in the comments.)

But in the OT, the Spirit was only given to prophets, judges, kings, and a few artisans. Most people did not receive the Spirit. Was the Spirit essential to the Jews’ salvation? Well … what’s the story? Continue reading

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Robbie Seay Band: “Baptize Me in the River”

 

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Canyon City: “Flicker”

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From the Comments: Is direct operation of the Spirit essential? Part 1

HolySpirit7Jeff R asked,

Do you believe in the Calvinist doctrine, that it takes a direct operation of the Spirit to influence the heart of an alien sinner? I believe that it’s the word preached that influences that heart, causes it to be pricked. It’s the human heart that must decide if it will believe the message given and obey.

I do not believe in Calvinist double predestination. I’m an Arminian. Ish. Not exactly Arminian, but close enough.

Why then must there be a direct operation of the Spirit to keep the Christian faithful?

Why must there be a “must” in your question? Why must something be essential to be true? Why do you assume a black and white world? Continue reading

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