“Burdens Are Lifted at Calvary”

Posted: June 30th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

Few things symbolize hard labor or burdens in life as clearly as the word—“yoke.” The word yoke most commonly denotes a cross-bar or beam that attaches two items together. We usually think of it as joining two beasts of burden so they can together pull a plow to turn the soil. From a biblical perspective most Bible students think of oxen bound together for work in the fields. But the term is also used in the New Testament of the bar of a scale that joins weights on one end and a pan to hold commodities on the other (see Rev 6:5). There it is translated “balance.”

It is generally used metaphorically in the New Testament. It is, for example, employed to denote the master-slave relationship—that slaves by law in the Roman empire were bound to their owners and were burdened with labor at the demands of their masters (1 Tim 6:1).

A couple of times yoke refers to the Law of Moses to which the Jews were bound—a yoke of bondage that bound them to both sin and death (see Acts 15:10; Gal 5:1). This was an unbearable yoke from which there was no relief and no escape. The blood of bulls and goats could not take away sin of which every man was guilty and the wages of sin is death (see Heb 10:4; Rom 3:23; 6:23). What a prospect! What a thought! What a burden!

The other two uses of the word denote a disciple’s relationship to Jesus. Twice Jesus uses the word in an invitation that he extended to all men: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt 11:28-30).

Jesus here speaks of that inward burden men bear and endure in the soul. All men, as noted above, sin and their souls labor under the weight of both the guilt of sin and its eternal consequences. “And these,” Jesus says, “shall go away into eternal punishment” (Matt 25:46). But our Lord also promises that in Him the yoke of sin is easy: that he will lift and bear the burden and provide “rest unto your souls.”

The weight of sin and its consequences are too heavy for any man to bear. The relief available that Jesus promises is the grace of God, for “by grace,” Paul says, “have ye been saved” –freed and delivered from the weighty yoke of sin (Eph 2:5). Jesus, Peter says, “bore our sins in his body upon the tree, that we, having died unto sins, might live unto righteousness” (1 Pet 2:24).

Those, the scriptures teach, who are bound together with Jesus find the yoke “easy” and “light” because the weight of sin is removed by forgiveness (see Acts 2:38). This, of course, demands that every sinner be yoked or bound together with Christ by the obedience of faith.

The apostle Paul explains how this is accomplished: “For ye are all sons of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ” (Gal 3:26-27). And this, Paul explains elsewhere, occurs because as many as are “baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death” (Rom 6:3).

As the hymn says of Jesus, his death, and the shedding of his blood: “Burdens are lifted at Calvary” (see Matt 26:28).

-L. A.

 


Evangelism Report (June 2014)

Posted: June 30th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

Our personal evangelism class on Wednesday nights is about to come to a close. We’ve tried to drive home the importance of seeking and saving the lost. It’s the reason Jesus came to earth (Luke 19:10), it’s the reason you and I are here (Rom 10:14), and it’s the reason the sun rose this morning (2 Pet 3:9). We have attempted to provide some material that may equip you in teaching your friends or neighbors.

The question is, where do we go from here? Will the seed remain in the barn? Will the nets lay clean and mended upon the shore, never to be used? Or will we take action? Let’s see how many seeds we can sow. Let’s see how far and wide we can cast our nets. And when they come up empty, let’s cast them on the other side. It is our job to plant, water, and pray; God will give the increase (1 Cor 3:6).

To help us keep this important task before us as time moves on, I want to begin a monthly “Evangelism Report” in our bulletin. The last Sunday of each month, I will provide an update of our evangelistic work and some encouraging thoughts to keep us motivated. I want to keep the congregation informed and involved in our efforts to spread the gospel.

While I believe evangelism is especially my responsibility as the evangelist, it needs to be something that we are all working in together. The fields of harvest are too large for only a select few to be laboring in. I need your help in this work and I’m here to help you. I hope these monthly reports will help us keep one another motivated and accountable in this effort.

So, what is our plan of action? What are our goals? Let’s start with the short term. I am in the process of designing a congregational business card. It will have all the church’s information as well as a place for you to write your name and phone number. It will offer free home Bible studies and correspondence courses as well as invite people to our assembly. Start thinking about how you could put these cards to use—at the bank, your favorite restaurant, the hair salon, the grocery store, at work or school.

Along with that, we are working on picking out a good correspondence course to use. We have a few different courses that have been used in years past, but would like to settle on one and buy the first lesson in bulk. We could pass out these lessons along with a business card around the community. This doesn’t just have to be done in Kirkwood either. The wider we cast our net the better.

I also want to encourage you all to fill out the prospect evaluation forms available in the foyer. Just tell me who you want to reach with the gospel and how I can help. I won’t contact anyone unless you want me to. I would be glad to do anything from add them to my prayer list to come visit with them in their home. Just let me know how I can assist you in your efforts. Feel free to approach me with any questions.

What about long term goals? I’m starting to work on a set of evangelistic videos that we can put on YouTube and link to our website. I have all the equipment I need and have picked out 14 different video topics to begin with. Now it’s just a matter of script writing and shooting.

This is new territory for me, but I have a brother-in-law who works in videography. Given enough time, I’m hoping to come out with something relatively professional and attractive. Scott Bale is working on integrating our website with social media to help spread these teaching resources more effectively.

I’ve also begun looking into a local group organizing site called: www.meetup.com. This site informs people about groups meeting in their area to do anything from play board games to discuss politics. The site shows over 300 meetup groups within a 10 mile radius of our building. It would be great to start some small group Bible studies at public locations and advertise them on this site. Let me know if you would be interested in leading or participating in a study like this.

Hopefully these goals will get us started in the right direction. Next month I’ll try to report back on our progress. Our evangelism class may be ending, but let’s keep the dialogue open. Keep me accountable. Give me your ideas. And above all else, let’s get to work!

-Grady

 


Christianity Is Not a Detour

Posted: June 30th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

“I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one” (John 17:15).

When Jesus prayed for His apostles, He prayed that they might have the help they needed to survive the attacks of the evil one. Christianity was never meant to be a detour around the world—instead it is a particular path through the world, the only one that finally turns out to be safe. So Jesus prayed that while His apostles lived “in the world” (John 17:11) they might not be “of the world” (John 17:14).

Would He not pray the same for us? Since the world is the environment in which we must live, there is nothing much we can do about that. However, we must do what we can do, and that is to reject the spiritual values of the world. We can refuse to give these principles any place in our hearts. As an old sailor would say, a ship’s place is in the sea, but if the sea gets into the ship then there is serious trouble.

Devotion to God does not mean that we dispense with any regard for the world that God has created. The more reverent our regard for God, the higher will be the quality of our connection to the world. “Far from turning us away from the world, Christ directs us to it. He awakens within us an altogether new concern for it” (Paul Tournier).

As we live in the world without being of the world, we will look more respectfully upon all things that God has made, even upon those that have been broken and marred by sin. Like our Lord Himself, we will be moved by compassion to enter the world on our own missions of mercy.

Let us also remember that “sanctification” does not require secluding ourselves in private, though it would surely be a good idea for us to do that more often nowadays. To be sanctified, or “set apart,” does not mean physical separation as much as it means moral separation. Even more than that, it means separation from any use of ourselves other than the Lord’s use. To be His people, we must be distinct from the world, but it is in the world, after all, that the Lord intends to make use of His people.

“Consecration is not wrapping one’s self in a holy web in the sanctuary and then coming forth after prayer and twilight meditation and saying, ‘There, I am consecrated.’ Consecration is going out into the world where God Almighty is and using every power for His glory…” (Henry Ward Beecher).

-Gary Henry

 


As For The Lord

Posted: May 29th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

“Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.  Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance.  It is the Lord Christ whom you serve” (Col 3:22-24).

The master-slave relationship was one of the most common forms of employment in the first century.  Therefore, the employee-boss relationship of today should be governed by many of the same principles taught to slaves and masters in the New Testament.

In any work our hand finds to do we must remember who our true master or boss is, just like Paul instructed these slaves.  But what does working “as for the Lord rather than for men” really involve?

1, “Not with external service, as those who merely please men”

First of all, we must seek to meet God’s standards, not just man’s.  Man’s evaluation of our work is limited to the surface level.  They cannot see how we use every minute of the day.  They cannot always tell the amount of effort we are putting into our work.  But God sees our every action, word, and thought.  He sees every minute of every day.  He knows whether our heart is in our work or not.

And the Lord’s standards may differ at times from the standards of men.  God is not just results oriented.  The means do not always justify the end in His book.  God wants us to maintain a blameless character in the work we do, whether it is beneficial to productivity or not.  We must focus on passing His evaluation and strive to please Him in our work first and foremost.

2. “With sincerity of heart… do your work heartily”

If we are striving to meet God’s standards we must start with our hearts.  The condition of our hearts will determine what type of work springs forth from within (Prov 4:23).  We must be cultivating a genuine desire to do our work well and a positive attitude toward the tasks we have been assigned.  Our work should not just be a “have-to”, but a “want-to”.

Whether we’re flipping burgers or crunching numbers our work is an opportunity for us to glorify God.  Therefore, we must be motivated in our work, not just by the paycheck coming at the end of the week, but by the daily spiritual revenue being rendered to the Lord’s account.  This should help make us excited to come to work each day.

3. “Knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance”

We may not always get the recognition for our work that we feel we deserve.  But the praise of men is a short-lived reward.  If we are doing our work simply to be noticed and commended by men, we have our reward in full (Matt 6:1-4).  The praises of men are fickle and quickly pass away.  Commendation from one day can turn into criticism the next.  Trying to please everyone often turns into pleasing no one at all.

The praises of the Lord are not so fleeting and inconsistent.  His standard always remains the same.  He never fails to see the effort we are exerting or the sacrifices we are making.  He is understanding towards our short-comings and forgiving towards our faults.  And being pleasing in His sight comes with eternal rewards.


The Other Woman

Posted: April 13th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

After women entered the work force following World War II, the problem of the “other woman” (or the “other man”) became much more prominent. Men and women began working side by side, eating lunch together, and developing friendships often more intimate than with their mates at home. TV sit-coms and commercials in more recent years have glamorized sex outside marriage and, as a result, acts of adultery and the divorce rate have climbed at a startling and alarming rate. The problem of the “other woman” is not going away any time soon and God’s people are not going to escape the temptation it has created in society.

The most appalling aspect of this problem is that Christians are often deceived by it. Scores of Christians have been beguiled by the “attractiveness” of the “other woman.” The “other woman” is friendly, laughs at your jokes, doesn’t put her mother or children ahead of you, is ignorant of your boorish attitude and disgusting habits at home, isn’t guilty of spending your check before the next one arrives or running your credit cards up to the limt, doesn’t despise your mother or other family members, etc., etc., etc. Satan has not lost an ounce of ability to draw us away from God and God’s ways for a man and a woman.

The difference between the “other woman” and your wife is that you have to live with your wife. The problems mates have to deal with in an ongoing family relationship are trying, demanding, and sometimes agonizing. Disagreements demand communication and resolution; anger demands apologies and forgiveness; neglect yields unloved feelings that precipitate self-esteem problems; hurt feelings create hard feelings and indifference; etc. And often when these are handled one at a time the underlying problem or problems are never resolved and the cycle goes on and on. The time that “issues” in marriage will go away has not and will never come.

None of these things, however, comes between the man and the “other woman”––which makes the adulterous relationship not only attractive but deceptive. And what has been demonstrated again and again is that soon after a man divorces his wife and marries the “other woman” the problems of the first marriage will appear in the new relationship. The “fantasy” of the office romance one day becomes the old “reality” of the marriage one had left behind months before. And the strange phenomenon is that so many are naive enough to start the process all over again.

What all of this mean, brothers and sisters, is that the”other woman/man” is not the solution to life’s problems in marriage. The solution is character––love and devotion and care for one’s mate that exalts her/him above oneself and all others; honesty to face, discuss, and correct underlying problems that disrupt the relationship. This is the real world that leads to life. The fantasy world of adultery leads only to judgment and condemnation. As God says and Jesus repeats: “cleave to your wife,” an expression in Greek, and I understand also in Hebrew, that means “stick together like glue” (see Gen 2:24; Matt 19:5).


“It Bites Like a Serpent”

Posted: August 17th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

Christians who want to social drink occasionally ask: “What’s wrong with just one beer?” The very question by one of God’s servants shows that he either has a poor perception of the evils of drinking or of his responsibility to be seen as a light in the world.

“Even so,” Jesus said, “let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). Paul penned similar remarks to the Philippian brethren to tell them that they are to be “blameless and harmless, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom they are seen as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:15).

Social drinking, as a beer or two with some friends is called, involves far more than whether it is right to ingest alcohol into one’s body. Alcohol is frequently used in medicines. And the Bible commends this use of it (1 Tim. 5:23). Social drinking, however, is much more complex than this.

Social drinking involves the use of alcoholic beverages in the presence of family, relatives, friends, business associates, and others with whom one may have occasional company. It is practiced for physical pleasure or relaxation, and for various ulterior motives. The ulterior motives may be to attain sexual ends, reach business goals, escape from reality, or any of many other purposes. These motives may be shared by one or more of the participants.

What should concern Christians is participation in a practice that commends or furthers the goals of Satan in particular and sin in general. Such behavior is, as Jesus and Paul teach, inherently sinful. Surely, it is not necessary to enumerate in detail all the evils that grow out of social drinking.

The fact is that just one beer begins the process of releasing inhibitions, which results in speech and behavior with less restraint. One loses some of the faculty to reason and make sound judgments morally, socially, spiritually, even physically and in secular matters. Lack of full control leads to automobile deaths, unethical business deals, poverty, occasional drunkenness, addictive drinking, malicious speech, child and wife abuse, fornication, adultery, murder, robbery, etc.

Commending social drinking because one does not engage in these immoral practices is naive and myopic. Social drinking encourages and supports others who do these things. Furthermore, one runs the risk that he may influence his wife/husband, child, grandchild, or fellow brother in Christ to practice any one or more of these sinful practices.

These evils are too widespread and so often related to drinking to deny a connection between social drinking and sin. The wisest man, other than Jesus, who ever lived wrote in the proverbs about a relationship between drinking and the woes that grow out of it.

Solomon wrote:

“Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who tarry long over wine; those who go to try mixed wine. Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like and adder” (Prov. 23:29-32).

Note what Solomon says about the results of tarrying long at the wine: it creates sorrow and heartache; it stirs up contention and strife; causes dissatisfaction and complaining about life; results in physical injuries, etc. And anyone of us, even Solomon himself, could have extended this list significantly. Make your own list.

But Solomon also offers a “do not” to this list to warn of the subtle, beguiling, dangerous, and destructive power of wine. “Do not,” he says, “look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder” (Prov. 23:31-32). Elsewhere the wise man said: “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler; and whosoever is led astray by it is not wise” (Prov. 20:1).

  1. He says man must not approach the drinking of alcoholic beverages casually. No one should take it lightly or view it as an innocent practice. Many agree that it tastes good, that it quenches the thirst, and is a delight to the eyes as it sparkles in its attractive container. But…
  2. But all of that, he says, is deceptive. Wine, beer, or the drink of your choice is a mocker! Its sight and taste give no hint of its destructive power. But when it enters the blood stream, reaches the mind, and alters one’s person, it robs its user of clarity of thought, rational control of emotions, firm command of speech, and restraint of behavior.
  3. In the end the drinker will get hurt. Wine and similar drinks will lead men astray. They do not see or they choose to ignore the “bite” its poisoning effects will inflict. Drinkers do not with that first drink think of the deadly “sting” that results in a few hours when an altered state of mind yields perverted behavior.

I marvel that society, including brethren, gets so worked up over heroin, marijuana, cocaine; that our nation has mounted costly campaigns against the “so-called” hard drugs; and then say so little about the deadly evils that alcoholic drinks inflict on our country. A beer here and a beer there, a sip of wine at noon, and a relaxing social drink at night have lead to the most abused drug in modern society––alcohol.

But what’s totally incomprehensible is that Christians––our brothers in Christ who are dedicated to the eradication of all evil––ask: “What’s wrong with social drinking?” “What’s wrong with an occasional beer?” What’s wrong? It’s addictive and possesses its user. It alters the mind and distorts man as God created him. It impacts and influences others, including family, who lack control. It gives help to Satan who uses it to destroy others. Whoever errs thereby is exceedingly foolish.


Lucifer and His Fall

Posted: January 29th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

Lucifer comes from a Latin word that meant “morning star” or “light bringing.” It is also used to denote the planet Venus when it appears as the morning star. Most of us are more familiar with its use as a name for Satan. English dictionaries define it as “a proud religious archangel, identified with Satan, who fell from heaven.”

The “name” has been associated with Satan for two reasons: One, “lucifer” is the translation of the Hebrew word heylel or helel in Jerome’s Latin translation of Isaiah 14:12 early in the fifth century A. D. The “old” King James Version transliterated the word into a proper name in this verse. Two, this translation in Isaiah 14:12 describes one who “has fallen from heaven” and been “cut down to the earth.” Because Jesus refers to Satan falling from heaven (see Luke 10:18), it has been assumed by many commentators that Isaiah is referring to the origin of the devil: a good angel who sinned and was cast out of heaven.

While this may be true about the origin of Satan, it is not what Jesus is discussing and has nothing at all to do with what Isaiah foresees. Isaiah says plainly that his prophecy denotes the downfall of the “king of Babylon” (Isaiah 14:4). The prophet begins this oracle against Babylon in chapter 13 and continues his description of the fall of the nation and its king in chapter 14.

Isaiah employs a number of “stellar” and “heavenly” images in chapter 13 to portray the fall of the nation: “for the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give light; the sun shall be darkened in its going forth, and the moon shall not cause its light to shine.” This, he says, refers to the “day of Jehovah” that comes “cruel, with wrath, and fierce anger” to make the land of Babylon a desolation (Isa 13:9-10).

These portraits foresee the end of the exaltation of this nation used by God as a rod of His indignation against Assyria and His own people––Judah (see Isaiah 10:5 for God’s use of nations). God later explains to Habakkuk that Babylon was guilty of blood-thirsty cruelty in conquering these nations and deserves to fall from its exalted place (Hab 2). God describes this fall in Isaiah 14:12: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O day star [Lucifer, KJV], son of morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, that didst lay low the nations.”

Isaiah follows this verse by highlighting the arrogance of the king of Babylon as a “man” that boasted, “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; and I will sit upon the mount of congregation, in the uttermost parts of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High” (Isa 14:13-14). All this, as seen in Daniel 4, depicts accurately the pride of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.

The prophet sees the Babylonian king as one who exalted himself as the “morning star” but is humbled and brought low by the wrath and judgment of God. “Lucifer” is an unfortunate translation of the Hebrew word for “day star” as a personal name. But more than that, Satan is nowhere discussed in this prophecy. “Lucifer,” in the original King James Version of the Bible, is the king of Babylon—not Satan.


Has Science Disproved the Bible?

Posted: January 24th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

Bertrand Russell, British philosopher, logician, and activist of the twentieth century, said, “Religion is something left over from the infancy of our intelligence. It will fade away as we adopt reason and science as our guidelines.” Humanistic views such as this have gained momentum in recent decades. There are many, especially in the liberal, secular education system, who believe, as Russell, that religions, including Bible-based faith, will simply vanish away as naturalistic knowledge increases. A frequent charge made by atheists and agnostics is that science has disproved the Bible (and even the existence of God). This declaration can and should provoke serious investigation on the part of believers.

Science and Faith

To answer this indictment, it is necessary for the terms “science” and “faith” to be effectively defined. Yet in examining these two words, one must sift through prejudiced assumptions and statements (For example, Robert Ingersoll, an agnostic orator of the nineteenth century, insisted, “Our ignorance is God. What we know is science.” ). “Science” must be defined and understood by three limiting principles:

Principle #1: Science is limited to observable data. The simple definition of “science” is “systemized knowledge derived from observation, study, etc.” (Webster’s New World Dictionary). Geneticist John Klotz explained science as “man’s groping for truth.” He went on to say that “science deals only with the natural, with things that can be apprehended with the sense organs. Science deals with those things that can be measured.” Scientific information is thus confined to what can be observed and studied with the senses.

Principle #2: Science is limited to reproducible data. This means that tests and experiments must produce results that can be duplicated under different conditions, viz. different operators, apparatus, laboratories, and/or after different intervals of time (IUPAC Compendium of Chemical Terminology). The scientific method is not applicable to single, unique events.

Principle #3: Science is limited to naturalistic explanations. Since scientific research is restricted to that which is observed and measured with the senses, it cannot explain anything outside of natural law.

Just as the definition of “science” must be cleared of conjecture and presumption so must “faith” (Friedrich Nietzsche unfairly alleged that “faith” is “not wanting to know what is true,” and even the American Heritage Dictionary defines the word as “belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.”).

The Bible, which claims to be the word of God and the source of faith (cf. 1 Cor. 2:10-13; 2 Tim. 3:16; Rom. 10:17), testifies to a very different meaning of “faith”: Faith is the foundation of hope and the proof of the invisible (cf. Heb. 11:1). It can be these, because it is grounded in truth and confirmed by evidence (cf. Jn. 17:17; 1 Jn. 1:1-3). Jesus Himself did not expect anyone to believe without proof (cf. Jn. 10:37-38), yet John added that faith is possible even for those who have not viewed the evidence first-hand (cf. Jn. 20:30-31; 20:25-29; 1 Pet. 1:7-8). Faith is not “blind,” as Nietzsche and the American Heritage Dictionary malign it. It is based on the valid, historical evidence of eye-witness testimony and confirmed by substantial evidence (cf. Jn. 21:24; 2 Pet. 1:16; 1 Jn. 1:1-3).

Science Cannot Disprove the Bible

Due to the limitations of science, it will never be capable of refuting the inspiration and validity of the Bible:

The events recorded in the Bible cannot be observed or reproduced (Principle #1 and #2). They are historical events and are, therefore, non-scientific. This fact is even recognized by scientists: “Scientific study is limited to organisms and processes that we are able to observe and measure. Supernatural and religious phenomena are beyond the realm of scientific analysis because they cannot be scientifically studied, analyzed, or explained. Supernatural explanations can be used to explain any result, and cannot be disproven by experiment or observation” (The Living World, George B. Johnson). This does not mean that historical facts are any less true. For instance, the existence of Abraham Lincoln and his presidency cannot be proven through science, but the historical evidence–eyewitness testimony, written documents, structures, and archeological findings–confirms that he lived and served as president. Thus, science itself will never disprove the Bible, because the Scriptures’ account is non-observable, non-measurable, and non-reproducible.

The Bible testifies to supernaturalism (that which is above and beyond the natural realm). Unique, supernatural activities and persons (creation, miracles, God, Jesus, etc.) cannot be disproved by science, because they are outside of natural law (Principle #3). Any evidence against such must come from non-scientific sources.

Science Supports the Biblical Account

While scientific data can neither prove nor disprove the Bible, it can provide evidence for or against it. Many atheists and agnostics claim science overwhelmingly invalidates the Bible, but open-minded investigation shows the Scriptures to be completely accurate when it comes to matters both non-scientific and scientific. In fact, the Scriptures even mention things that have only recently been discovered by modern scientists. This is often called the “scientific foreknowledge” of the Bible. Consider the following examples:

- Five components of the universe: time, force, energy, space, and matter. Bible: Gen. 1:1. Science: Nineteenth century.

- Creation finished. Bible: Gen. 2:1. Science: Nineteenth century (First Law of Thermodynamics).

- Mankind of one blood. Bible: Acts 17:26. Science: Twentieth century.

- Earth wearing down. Bible: Isa. 51:6; Ps. 102:26; Heb. 1:11. Science: Nineteenth century (Second Law of Thermodynamics).

- Ocean springs. Bible: Gen. 7:11; Prov. 8:28; Job 38:16. Science: First century.

- Ocean currents. Bible: Ps. 8:8. Science: Nineteenth century.

- Ocean trenches or canyons. Bible: Job 38:16; 2 Sam. 22:16. Science: Nineteenth century.

- Water cycle. Bible: Ecc. 1:7; Amos 9:6. Science: Sixteenth century.

- Circumcision on the eighth day–the highest levels of Vitamin K in the body are present (without modern medicine) on the eighth day following birth. This vitamin produces prothombin which prevents hemorrhaging, making day eight the best day for surgical procedures. Bible: Lev. 12:3. Science: Twentieth century.

Not only do the accusations of critics that the Bible is proven false by science not hold up, they are demolished by the scientific foreknowledge of the Scriptures. The only explanation for this is inspiration. God alone knew and revealed thousands of years beforehand what man has only recently discovered.

“Has science disproved the Bible?” By no means. The Scriptures have not only held their ground, they have been reinforced by modern scientific findings. The word of God is living, active, and sharper than ever (cf. Heb. 4:12; 2 Cor. 10:3-6), and as Christians, we must be prepared to contend for and defend the faith and our hope (cf. Jude 3; 1 Pet. 3:15)


Unbelievers Shall Be Damned

Posted: November 1st, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

He that believeth not shall be damned is as forthright and clear as the first part of the gospel message in Mark 16:16 which says: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. Yet, oddly enough, some have argued that baptism is not essential to salvation because Jesus did not say “he that is not baptized shall be damned.”

That faith in Jesus as the Christ and as the Son of God is the foundation of salvation is too plain in Scripture to need proof (see John 8:24; John 20:30-31; Romans 1:16; Romans 5:1; etc). So the gospel unmistakably announces condemnation to those who believe not. Damned (katrino, Thayer 332) means to pass “judgment against” or “condemn” and states that unbelievers stand before God in judgment as guilty.

The meaning of “justification,” which is by faith (Romans 5:1), is essentially “not guilty,” so that those who refuse to believe on Christ and, as a result, fail to come to the blood of Christ by baptism through faith will be judged guilty and suffer eternal damnation or condemnation (see Romans 3:24-25; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9; Romans 6:3-4).

This raise the issue: but what of one who “believes” and is not baptized? Bible students must but remember that even the “demons” believe and recognize Jesus as the “Holy One of God” and as the “Son of God” (Mark 1:24; Mark 3:11; see James 2:19).

Faith that refuses to “obey” is as dead and lifeless as the body apart from the spirit (James 2:26). “Faith alone” is reformation theology, not biblical teaching. “Faith alone” would have left Abraham in Chaldea, Noah in the flood waters of destruction, and Moses in the king’s palace of Egypt––meaning there would have been no human race today, no nation of Israel through whom the Messiah would come, and no covenant people from which redemption would have been typified to bring men to faith (see Hebrews 11:7, 8, 24-25)

C. E. W. Dorris illustrates simply how little there is to misunderstand about this last phrase of the gospel in Mark 16:16. “He that pledges himself to be honest and will restore what he has stolen shall be pardoned, but he that will not make this pledge shall serve out his time in prison.” Dorris then comments: “None but a crazy thief could think that because restitution is not mentioned in the latter instance he would be pardoned without making restitution” (A Commentary on the Gospel by Mark, p. 388). So it is with baptism.

Please re-read and re-think the last phrase of Mark 16:16: He that believeth not shall be damned (The above taken and adapted from Truth Commentaries Mark, L. A. Stauffer)


Mark 16:16

Posted: October 2nd, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved is a simple straightforward message that every creature can understand. Only hardened hearts rendered insensitive by theological concepts can be blind or deaf to this command. A lesson from the hardness of the Jews against Jesus because of “Jewish theology” should be a warning to modern man not to allow theological systems to harden them against truth. Many today “see” but do not perceive and “hear” but do not understand what is said in this verse.

The apostles were to preach that those who “believe” and are “baptized” will be saved, meaning clearly that both faith and baptism are essential to salvation in Christ. Only the parsing of words and twisting of meanings can escape this simple fact. Few have problems with the idea that “believers” shall be saved, but to many of the same folks baptism is not essential.

R. C. H. Lenski, a Lutheran commentator, captures the thought of the commission message: “Faith and baptism are combined here as the means of obtaining salvation. For one thing, faith and baptism always go together; the moment a man believes he will want and will have baptism. By believing he clings to the gospel, and part of that is gospel is baptism. But believing is subjective, the act of baptism is objective. They go together in this way. Baptism cannot, therefore, be a mere sign or symbol that bestows nothing. If it were no more, it could not be so vitally connected with salvation. Baptism bestows, and the believing baptized person accepts and receives this great soteria [salvation] from the Savior. For anyone who comes to faith baptism is the great means of grace, that is, the channel by which forgiveness, life, and salvation are bestowed upon him. As he believes the word, so he will demand all that the Word promises in baptism and thus the baptism act itself. He who claims to believe but refuses and rejects baptism most surely deceives himself about believing; his could be only a highly pathological faith” (The Interpretation of St. Mark’s Gospel, pp. 766, 767).

Some scholars appeal to this verse as a “spurious” passage to avoid the truth about baptism. However the textual problem may be resolved, it is clear elsewhere in Scripture that “baptism” is for “the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38); that baptism is necessary to “wash away thy sins” (Acts 22:16); that baptism “doth now save us” (1 Peter 3:21); that out of baptism one arises to “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4) in the experience that Jesus called the birth “of water and the Spirit” (John 3:5); that baptism puts one into Christ Jesus where he becomes a new creature (Galatians 3:26-27; 2 Corinthians 5:17); and that baptism is into the Christ’s death (Rom 6:3), where his blood was shed “for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28).

That baptism is into the death of Christ shows that it, as Lenski says above, “is the great means of grace, that is, the channel by which forgiveness, life, and salvation are bestowed upon him” (Truth Commentaries Mark, L. A. Stauffer, pp 412-413)