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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Christ Did Not Send Me to Baptize

Because of Paul's statement in 1 Cor. 1:17 where he says, "Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel" (NKJV) some have been inclined to believe Paul felt baptism was not essential.  A careful reading of the context should make one reconsider.  Just 4 verses earlier he asked the Corinthians to whom he was writing, "were you baptized in the name of Paul?" (1 Cor. 1:13 NKJV)  Paul knew they had been baptized in some name for if they had not the question is foolish. 

Just as Jesus is said to have baptized disciples (John 4:1) and we then read in the next verse, "though Jesus himself did not baptize, but his disciples" (John 4:2 NKJV) just in the same manner we suspect that in Corinth though Paul himself actually baptized very few personally (1 Cor. 1:14-16) yet the work was done through helpers of his and through other preachers and teachers.  "And many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized." (Acts 18:8 ESV)


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

If the Bible is Not True

I quote from Alexander Campbell, "If the Bible be not true … there is no God … nature ends in ruin … there is no reason for anything—man lives for no purpose—no kind intimation has been given him of any great and good first cause; which is but equivalent to saying there is no good being above man." (Christian Baptism, page 11)

If it be true there is no God then worldly people have cause for rejoicing, at least for the short run.  It would mean there is no ultimate accountability; it means one can indulge every lust and desire without fear of eternal retribution.  Man can live just to please himself with the only restrictions on his conduct being the law of the land and perhaps the disapprobation of his family (if he cares).  And, of course, it means one man's opinion is as good as another's and the only thing that determines right is who has the power to enforce his will over the other.

It would mean other things as well.  Death is inevitable and one can only be unconcerned about it for so long.  All there would be to look forward to after a certain number of years, as the clock winds down on you, would be gloom and doom—the grave.  It would be life without hope. 

Man has some natural fear of death.  The Hebrew writer speaks about this in Hebrews 2:14-15, "Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." (underlining by me—DS)

The Bible gives a man hope.  Take away the Bible and there is no hope, just a grave awaiting.  As for me I want a Bible.  I want hope.  I do not want to despair which is where you are at without a Bible deny it if you will. 

P.S.  I am 66 years old and this is the first book I have ever read by Campbell and I have just started it.

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Sin of Being Deceived


1 Tim. 2:12-14 has always troubled me a little.  It reads, "And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.  For Adam was formed first, then Eve.  And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression." (NKJV)

Paul says elsewhere, "the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness" (1 Cor. 11:3 NKJV) which Eve herself admitted in Gen. 3:13 when she said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." (NKJV)

I would have thought that sinning with one's eyes wide open (Adam) would be worse than sinning because one was deceived (Eve).  Of course I understand both suffered the same penalty for sin so in that sense it mattered not but it does seem that Eve was to be blamed in a way Adam was not and for the worse, not for the better.

Eve's sin was that she was willing to believe one who contradicted what the word of God said and act on it.  That ought to be a lesson for us all male or female for that was the road that led to her ruin.  You can read in 1 Kings 13:1-33 about another person who did the same thing, a man described as a man of God, and who likewise suffered for it.  God does not give mankind a pass for being honestly deceived.  He does not look with favor on those who will take someone else's word over his own.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Did God Know Adam and Eve Would Sin?

Paul tells us he did.  In 2 Tim. 1:9 he says God has "saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began." (NKJV)  You did catch that did you not—"before time began."  John refers to Jesus as "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." (Rev. 13:8 NKJV)

In Eph. 1:4 Paul says we Christians were chosen "in him before the foundation of the world." (NKJV)  The prior verse makes it clear Paul is speaking of "in Christ."  Peter says Christ was "foreordained before the foundation of the world." (1 Peter 1:20 NKJV)

In Ephesians 3:10 Paul speaks of the "eternal purpose" that was accomplished in Christ Jesus.  If God is all knowing then why should we be surprised that he has foreknowledge?  Is it hard to understand?  Certainly, but remember we are, after all, talking about God.