In this life it is very easy to become secure in the fact that we are surrounded by many people of the same opinion. This security comes from the feeling that we must be correct because we are surrounded by so many people that believe the same thing. We look outside our group and wonder how people could not believe as we do. So, we decide that we are correct and fail to challenge or investigate our beliefs. This is the position I was in for many years. It’s easy to put your trust in the study of others and the knowledge other people seem to have. We tend to believe what the people teaching us believe. I feel this is the state of the vast majority of Christianity today. They don’t study the Bible. They are content to attend church several times a week and consider this enough “study” to feel confident in their choice of denomination or group. You might have heard the adage that 10% of the people in a church do 90% of the work. The adage you should pay more attention to is that 90% of preaching covers about 10% of the Bible. I grew sick of the fact that preaching is usually full of analogies, stories, and emotional jargon to tug at your heart. I became frustrated that the 90% of the Bible we never heard about is full of information and doctrine that many times does not line up with the few verses we hear recited week after week. But when you are sitting in a large sanctuary filled with people who all believe the same way, you can calm these feelings of doubt. If you had any clue about how little the people sitting in the pews with you really knew about the Bible based on PERSONAL STUDY, you would change your opinion very quickly. Friend, sitting in church week after week being told what to believe IS NOT STUDY. Reading an occasional book on prayer or some other common topic IS NOT STUDY. Pretending your current beliefs and interpretation of the Bible are correct because you are surrounded by people that think the same way is a false sense of security. Jesus himself walked the earth for 3 years preaching a literal interpretation of the OT prophecies about himself and his group of followers is called the “LITTLE FLOCK” of Israel. The vast majority of Israel, many of whom knew the scriptures themselves failed to believe Jesus himself. The apostle Paul who was called by Jesus himself and given a revelation of the mystery to dispense to the world at the end of his life concludes that there are few left that still believe what he is preaching. We can find other examples, but you get the idea. Christians today look around them and see the crowds in their church and feel security in numbers. This IS NOT the example left for us in scripture. Jesus had few followers that believed his message. Paul ultimately had few believers that believed his message. I contend that today there are very few people that believe everything the Bible has to say. They believe the 10% that supports their current beliefs. This is the 10% they hear preached and taught over and over Sunday after Sunday. When teachers get beyond the common verses, they teach them with a slant and use them to prop up whatever their chosen position is. Why not use the Bible interpreted just as Jesus and Paul did? Jesus and Paul believed the Bible literally just as it was written. Jesus and Paul left it alone. Jesus and Paul left Israel what belongs to Israel and did not steal verses that don’t belong to them. Friend when you start taking verses for yourself that the Bible applies to other people you can then make the Bible teach just about anything you want. THIS IS the position of Christianity today. This is why your kids leave the church! Their own personal lift experience teaches them that many of the things they were taught in church don’t work. This is why when your preacher teaches a lesson on prayer that he eventually has to teach a lesson on “When God doesn’t answer your prayer.” If prayer was taught properly from a Pauline perspective, you would not need excuses. Stop looking around at the crowd of people in your sanctuary or denomination and start looking into the Bible yourself to find out why there is so much you have never heard taught. Start following the example Jesus sent to you, the Apostle Paul. There were 12 Apostles for the 12 tribes, and 1 apostle for the “one body” of Christ. This simple logic has the power to open the bible up for you. Chances are this simple logic IS NOT taught in your church. We would rather look around us at the large numbers and get our security from that.
I was recently sent a picture of a street preacher in Germany. On a big white sign with black and red letters it said that Hell was real. Of course I believe this statement to be true. Unfortunately from there on there were problems with the gospel this person was sharing. The sign mentioned a list of things to “do” to be saved. This is VERY common in Christianity. This man’s sign first mentioned the need to repent. You must be careful using the word repent as a prerequisite to salvation. You find this word used very often in the Gospels in relation to Israel’s need to change their mind about Jesus and their unbelief. You should be very careful using this word in this same context for salvation today. There is NO requirement of repentance prior to salvation today unless you are using this word in relation to what you currently believe about Jesus. An unsaved person today needs only to BELIEVE. Paul uses the words repent and repentance very rarely. The fact is, people claiming the need to repent today typically comes from reading the word in Matthew through John where Jesus is dealing with Israel’s unbelief and has nothing to do with salvation here in the age of grace. The next “to do” on this man’s sign was to be baptized. The fact is there is a required baptism in this age of grace but it has NOTHING to do with water, before, during, or after salvation. We are baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ and there’s not a drop of water that can do this. I sometimes feel surrounded by “to do” lists at work and at home, but the one place there is NO to do list anywhere involved is salvation in the age of grace we are living in. The gospel of the grace of God revealed by Paul only requires belief in what Christ accomplished on the cross plus nothing. When you force the gospel of the grace of God backward in your Bible into Matthew through John you end up mixing works with salvation. This is why thousands of churches add to do lists before or after salvation. Yes, things like water baptism and repentance were required by Jesus as he ministered to Israel during his earthly ministry. No, these things are NOT required today when we are saved by grace ALONE apart from the law and any other work you can think of. Ever wonder how there can be so much confusion about how a person is saved in churches today? The answer is easy. Mix the gospel being preached to Israel during Jesus’ earthly ministry with the gospel Paul revealed as a mystery and only confusion can result. When we use Paul as our example as we are instructed to many times in scripture salvation is clear and easily understandable. When we do the OPPOSITE of what we are instructed to do in scripture and preach the kingdom gospel that was meant for Israel ALONE the gospel can easily become a “to do” list of works.
2Co 1:12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.
2Co 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
It’s impossible not to notice that the world worships education. Politicians claim the answer to all of societies woes is education. Higher education pushes their fantasy that if we can only provide more education that the problems we see in the world would go away. This mindset has gradually taken over Christianity but in a different way. Today’s preachers and teachers claim their degrees and seminary training give them the ability to properly interpret the scriptures. Never mind the fact that every other preacher from a different denomination will give you a different opinion on the same verses based on his “training.” When I got serious about Bible study, I did what the vast majority of people do which is I started buying some books. Of course, I asked people within my denomination what books I should buy and of course they directed me to buy books from our chosen denomination. NEVER ONCE was I directed to buy books that teach opposing denominational views. This of course was intended to “build the team” and ground me in the teaching of the church I was a member of. This results in the sincere Bible student becoming grounded and settled in THEIR DENOMINATIONS position and NOT the Bible. Sure you think you are grounded in scripture because the books you purchase all say the same thing right? I challenge you, if you have the courage, to read the positions of ALL the other denominations on subjects like baptism, eternal security, tongues, healing, and then decide for yourself if Christianity really is in agreement. This is the point where you will find the education worshippers stand out. You will be told that you must have a firm grip on the original languages to properly understand the Bible. You will be encouraged to read things that prop up your chosen denomination. I, on the other hand, will encourage you to read every differing opinion you can get your hands on. You, as I did, will start to see how confused Christianity really is. The hope would be that you search out a way of Bible interpretation that actually makes the whole of scripture fall perfectly in agreement and harmony. You WILL NOT find this in the vast libraries found in most churches. Why? Because believing your Bible literally the way it is written is rarely taught in churches today. The mystery revealed by Paul is unknown in the seminary your preacher attended. Do you notice the word I underlined in the verses above? The word is SIMPLICITY. This word is not found in the commentary of many preachers and teachers because they find comfort and security in their education. Their education taught them to give spiritual interpretations to verses that you MUST interpret literally to understand the Bible properly. YES, this is the SIMPLE answer. Do not use a spiritualized answer to a question when there is a literal one in the Bible. It is disheartening at first when you see the simplicity that there is in scripture you have never been taught in the years you sat under highly educated people. You must understand they were taught as the professor they learned from to take the allegorical interpretation of scripture even though there is a MUCH simpler way. If they did not attend a seminary or Bible college, the books they read taught them to spiritualize the scriptures. I am not saying we should not study or read. I am 100% saying the VAST MAJORITY of books you will run across in Christian circles today DO NOT take a literal approach to the scriptures when it comes to God’s separate and distinct plans for Israel and the body of Christ. You will NO DOUBT be told that there is, but one gospel is the Bible when the Bible itself teaches that Jesus offered an earthly kingdom to Israel ALONE, and the gospel Jesus revealed to Paul was a secret not revealed before and was offered to ALL by grace alone. These are different! This is the literal interpretation. This is the teaching of scripture alone. The mixing of these two gospels in scripture is the cause of the confusion and denominationalism clearly seen in Christianity today. Won’t you have the courage to step away from the confusion being taught today to the clarity and simplicity the Bible actually contains?
The more I learned about reading and studying the Bible from a Bible believers standpoint the more I felt smothered by the denominational tradition I heard every week at church. It is disheartening and sad to listen to people obviously work to interpret a passage so it conforms to the position of the name on the building. I can’t explain to you the freedom you feel when you can sit down and read God’s word without constantly thinking about the position of the denomination you are a member of. When you learn to rightly divide your Bible and read it the way it was meant to be read, you can read with no fear of running across verses that teach something different than your chosen church agenda does. You can actually ignore the agenda of church tradition and be open to the actual teaching of the Bible whatever the outcome. Christians cannot be open to whatever they read because they read things all the time that don’t seem to teach what their church teaches and they have to ignore it and just pretend that their preacher knows best because he went to Seminary. Read what Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 3:1.
Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:
Does the word of the Lord have free course in your life? Seriously. I know how you answer this because we were brought up to know how to answer all these questions the correct way since we were little. I want you to really think about this question. Does the Bible have FREE COURSE in your life? In other words do you feel FREE to change your course at ANY given point in your life based on what you read in scripture? I can answer this for you because I spent about 40 years in the Baptist church. I know for a fact that when I asked questions they were always answered to line up with Baptist beliefs. You know this because whatever belief system you grew up under is the position you were taught and then you were told that your church is right and all the other churches don’t interpret the Bible correctly. If you are a member of a supposedly non-denominational church it does not matter. You will be answered in such a way that it lines up with the agenda of the pastor and the churches chosen beliefs. How is this letting the Bible have free course in your life? You already know ITS NOT. The Bible is taught to match the agenda. I simply ask you this: What happens to a Sunday school teacher that teaches something different than the denominational standard? You know what happens; he gets relieved of his duties by the pastor. What happens to a pastor that strays too far from the denominational tradition? You know what; the Deacons relieve him of his duties and ask him to leave. You know this is true because you have probably seen or heard of this happening in your church or close by. This IS NOT letting the Bible have free course in your life. This is putting yourself in a box and that box says on the outside in bold letters “TRADITION.” When you rightly divide your Bible by who is speaking, to whom and then asking yourself; am I in the audience, you can let every verse say what is says and just BELIEVE IT. This is FREEDOM from the tradition you get taught every week. This is truly letting the Bible have free course in your life. This is absolutely being open to letting scripture change the tradition you have been taught regardless of the consequences. Let me tell you from experience, the liberty you could have in Christ is worth it. The more I deal with people bound by tradition the more I am thankful for the freedom that can be found by being a Bible believer.
July 2nd marked 2 years for us here at Abundant Grace Bible Fellowship. I can’t believe how quickly the past year has gone. I was told just prior to starting our church that when I hear the cheers and applause to ignore it, and when I hear the boos and jeers to ignore that too. Just keep moving forward teaching the Bible rightly divided and believing the words left for us in God’s word. This advise has hit home several times recently as I continue to see, realize, and am amazed at just how committed Christians are to systems, denominations and traditions. What if we could just read the Bible free from all our preconceived agendas and systems? When you were done reading the entire Old Testament you would have clearly seen that God chose one man to establish one nation that he plans to work through to reach the world. You would be amazed at God’s longsuffering in dealing with this nation and his commitment to setting up a kingdom on earth. As you turn that blank page after Malachi and start reading Matthew, you see John the Baptist preaching about this earthly kingdom and the Messiah that is coming to sit on David’s throne here on earth just like the Old Testament teaches. When Jesus starts his ministry, he preaches the same message as John did, that Israel must repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Having just read the OT you would easily see Jesus is offering the only kingdom anyone knows anything about which is the literal physical kingdom foretold in the OT. Unbelievably, you would see the vast majority of Israel reject their King and send him to a cross to die. From the cross God’s longsuffering is extended once again as Jesus forgives Israel for crucifying him. Peter while preaching to Israel during the feast of Pentecost tells Israel that this kingdom is still available but within just a few chapters Israel is stoning Stephen even though they know he is filled with the Holy Ghost. You learn in Romans chapter 11 that God’s blinds Israel and sets them aside in unbelief, but not forever. With Israel’s kingdom program postponed you learn from Ephesians that the Gentiles now have “no hope” because we were strangers from the covenants of promise. Jesus himself then does an amazing thing, as he knocks Saul off his donkey and reveals to him a new message of grace alone that has never been taught because it was hidden in the mind of God since before the foundation of the world. Galatians shows that Jesus sent Saul/Paul to the wilderness for 3 years to teach him the gospel of the grace of God and sends him to the Gentiles with this new message that ALL can receive the gift of salvation by what Jesus accomplished at the cross. In Acts chapter 15 you see our Apostle Paul correcting the elders at Jerusalem, the disciples that Jesus himself taught, that there is now a new gospel and Peter admits Paul is correct and Peter’s ministry fades into history. Paul calls his message a mystery and clearly outlines that he received his new message by direct revelation of the risen Christ. Paul teaches us to righty divide this mystery information from the prophetic information that was promised to Israel. Paul writes 13 epistles full of doctrine for the body of Christ and you wonder why you rarely ever hear this information taught. The Hebrew epistles and the book of Revelation show that God is not done with Israel and will fulfill his promises to them someday. What would happen if Christians would dare to read their Bible free from denominational agendas and theological systems? Salvation by grace alone apart from works would never be in question. The struggle over water baptism would disappear overnight. The real purpose and subsequent decline of the sign gifts would be clear. The false teachers claiming physical healing and prosperity would once and for all be exposed and silenced. False systems like Calvinism would fade into obscurity. You would stop praying for God’s will and instead start doing God’s will. You would stop making decisions based on circumstances and start being stable by following the Bible rightly divided. Instead of praying that God blesses what you are doing, you would start doing what God is actually doing now and has already promised to bless. These and many other things can be true in your life when you become open to the Bible’s teaching TO WHOM it teaches it. I understand completely why we as Christians today want to assume all the earthly promises God gave to Israel, but the fact remains that, they were not and are not promised to you. The church has not replaced Israel. We have our own purpose and our own promises in God’s Purpose. Christianity is divided because Christianity fails to divide what the Holy Spirit divided in the Bible, God’s prophecy program for Israel and God’s mystery program for the body of Christ. Separate these as a literal reading of scripture will do and get on board with what God is doing now. Yes, it is this easy. Might you be called a heretic for believing the Bible as it is written in plain English? Yes. Might you be called unorthodox for not following church tradition? Yes. Might you be told “well done” by the creator of the universe for believing what he said over man’s wisdom? Yes. Your decision.
We have started an interesting study here at church over the past few weeks. We are reading a book written specifically to counter the idea of dispensational Bible study, or at least more dispensational than the author. There are plenty of people out there that take a stand against the literal interpretation of scripture. So it’s not hard to find opposition against rightly dividing your Bible. The main reason for this is that right division of the Bible changes many of the religious traditions being taught in fundamental churches today. For this reason, writers will defend their tradition regardless of how clearly the Bible teaches something different. Why? This is the million dollar question isn’t it? The word heresy is thrown around a lot in Christianity. You can easily find people from any denomination calling people from other denominations heretics. I’ve been studying the Bible long enough to have read and heard this many times. This might be one reason why many Christians never study the position of other denominations. Here’s an idea worth considering. Maybe when someone calls you a heretic, you actually consider that person could be correct, and then you take a look at what they believe and why they believe differently than you. This involves work, study and if you actually want the truth it involves a ready mind that is willing to consider you might be wrong. Do you realize different does not equal wrong? I have told people about being a Bible believer and they hop on the internet and in 30 min they are experts on everything I have been studying for many years. What they did was see some things explained differently than their position and instantly wrote it off as wrong. This is because the majority is always correct, right? If something has been taught for many years in Bible college that makes it correct, right? If someone from your denomination tells you everyone else is wrong that makes you correct, right? If you have heard a Bible doctrine taught a certain way your whole life that makes it correct, right? I hope you are honest enough to have actually answered these questions with a no. In the book we are reading I am described as teaching heresy for teaching Bible belief from a literal position. This is the position that the actual words in the Bible are to be believed exactly as they are written. So, I am a heretic for trusting that the Holy Spirit actually inspired the correct words as they are printed in my Bible. We started yesterday’s lesson by looking at the word heresy. Since I am teaching heresy according to this denominational defender I wanted to get a good Bible definition for heresy. Why? Why would I look into this? Because I want to teach EXACTLY what the Bible teaches TO WHOM it teaches it. I am completely willing to admit that I can be WRONG. This is a trait that is unrecognizable in many Christians today. So, what did I find by starting a study on the word heresy? I found that it is used ONE TIME in my King James Bible. I found that it is used by my Apostle Paul. The Apostle that Jesus sent TO ME. Why did Jesus need to call Paul and send him to me? Because Jesus did not come to me, he came to Israel and Peter and the other disciples did not go to me, they were sent to Israel. When I read the ONE VERSE in the entire Bible where the word “heresy” is used I was pretty much overwhelmed. After reading this verse I realized that heresy is a PERFECT Bible word to explain what I am teaching. Paul speaking in Acts 24:14 says this:
But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:
I found that Paul was said to be teaching heresy for believing his Bible. But it goes beyond this. Everyone claims to believe their Bible. HOW MUCH of Paul’s Bible did he believe? How much? ALL Paul was called a heretic for having the audacity to believe EVERYTHING that was written in the law and the prophets. So, The writer of the book says I teach heresy because I am a right divider of scripture as taught by the Apostle Paul. Paul himself is called a heretic for actually daring to BELIEVE God’s words. I have concluded that I am 100% COMPLETELY ok with people that love their denominational traditions calling me a heretic, because I’m in pretty good company. I have been teaching ONE THING for the 2 years that Abundant Grace Bible Fellowship has existed. That ONE THING is that for Christians to properly understand their Bible they must believe ALL OF IT. Did you notice the three words in this verse “they call heresy?” Paul’s message was DIFFERENT. Is this not all the proof you need? I ask you again does different equal wrong? That depends on how open you are to the clear teaching of the Bible. God himself put up a wall between Israel and you in Genesis. This wall was STILL UP in the Gospels. Hundreds of prophecies prove Jesus was coming to Israel to be their earthly king and you would only be blessed after this kingdom was established ON EARTH. I believe this exactly as Paul did. You hear week after week that the prophets were wrong and Jesus actually came to rule and reign in our hearts. I wonder who is going to step forward and ask God why he lied about that stuff in the OT? I wonder who is going to step forward and ask Jesus why he lied to the disciples about them ruling on 12 thrones over the 12 tribes or Israel? Or is it actually possible that the things that Paul believed and I teach every week. The things for which you say I teach heresy…… just might be true? I have chosen to put my faith and trust in ALL that the Bible teaches, EXACTLY as the Bible teaches it, TO WHOM it teaches it. This very clearly defines what rightly dividing your Bible is. When you change the ALL, the EXACTLY, or the TO WHOM from this you end up with confusion.
I stumbled across a video on YouTube the other day titled something like “Why I became an atheist.” This subject has been on my mind recently, so I decided to see what this girl who appears to be about 20 had to say. This video turned out to be somewhat of a “testimony” of the struggles she encountered in church life and the issues that drove her to atheism. She outlined many of the questions she had while attending and being very involved in her church and youth group. Her frustration with the lack of depth to the answers she received was apparent. She felt reprimanded or chastised by her friends in church because she was asking so many questions and told to just “have faith.” She was looked upon as a bad Christian for not just believing everything she heard without any logic or understanding. If you have never watched some of these videos I would recommend you do. There are probably thousands on YouTube. The fact is most Christians won’t do this. Most Christians never see what the “other side” thinks. Most Christians never challenge what they believe. Truth is the goal isn’t it? If truth is the goal, why do we as Christians never investigate what everyone else thinks? Why are we content to sit in church every week, service after service telling ourselves we are right, and all those other denominations out there are wrong? Fact is, most Christians never ask the questions about why others believe differently or come to different conclusions. We were taught to sit and listen to OUR position and to ignore what others think. I remember many years ago seeing an add in the sword of the Lord newspaper for an “Independent Baptist Commentary” and I thought; why would I want a commentary that by the name on the cover tells me it has a slant? What Christians would find if they would challenge their faith is the fact that all those other denominations out there have verses in the Bible to prove why they are different. Why is this? Why can different denominations BOTH have verses that seem to clearly teach different positions? These are the questions most pastors don’t really want you asking. Why? They really don’t have answers for many of these verses. It boils down to which verses a person chooses to believe. Christianity is divided by the verses they pick and choose to put more emphasis on and the ones they choose to avoid. Like the girl who has decided to become an atheist, many people who try to use logic when they were taught to spiritualize the Bible find themselves very frustrated. It is a very hard thing to apply logic to verses that you have been taught to spiritualize your whole life. You will always find yourself at a dead-end road with someone telling you to just “have faith” and you are then expected to just believe what the pastor says. Don’t you see that you can’t use logic with verses that have been given a “spiritual” meaning? You must understand that when you took the entire earthly plan God had for Israel and spiritualized it then gave it to yourself that you can’t then go back and use logic when reading the verses? There’s no logic left in the verses because you don’t believe what they say. You believe what someone told you “they mean.” If someone tells you, they can explain what a verse “really means” you should be suspect. The Holy Spirit actually does just fine with words and language. Why might you ask are there so many verses that are not taken literally in church these days? Because the literal meaning exposes so many “Christian” doctrines as merely tradition. The girl in the YouTube video seen the facts that I truly believe many Christians see but don’t have the guts to admit. The fact that under logic, scrutiny and life experience many things we are taught just don’t seem to hold water. These are the things that can be clear when the Bible is rightly divided and believed literally. The marching orders for the body of Christ are found in the information Jesus gave to Paul. The lack of emphasis on Paul’s mystery information is the reason behind the errors in church doctrine we see today. I challenge you to read the first 3 chapters of Galatians, Ephesians and Colossians and try to figure out a way to tell me I’m wrong. Paul’s information was a secret before he revealed it, as he clearly tells you. Understanding this secret, and keeping it separate from God’s plan for Israel, is the key to Bible understanding.
Well, I let the cat out of the bag in my last blog, so I am going to have to clarify. I regularly define water baptism as one of the most divisive doctrines in Christianity. I’ll not revisit the reasons for this statement now. In my last blog, I mentioned the scriptural mode for water baptism is SPRINKLING. No, I’m not a Catholic, but I am a Bible believer. It takes very little study to see how clearly the Bible itself describes water baptism. Those of you that would fight over your immersion have no clue that the Bible DOES NOT support water baptism by immersion. You must understand NO water baptism is required in this age of grace, so I am not saying anyone should be sprinkled or immersed, but you should at least know the truth. You have most likely been preached at and taught your whole Christian life that scriptural water baptism is immersion. There is NO PROOF for this in scripture! I spent 7 weeks teaching specifically on water baptism, and the TRADITION being taught by pretty much every denomination and non-denominational church today. The handful of phrases used as proof texts by immersionists today can quite easily support sprinkling as well (“in Jordan” “much water” “down both.”) The truth is, there are NO verses to support baptism by immersion in scripture and there are dozens of verses to support SPRINKLING. Why don’t you know this? Ask the people you listen to and trust to teach you every week. The book of Hebrews was written to explain Israel’s new covenant (8:6). Hebrews explains baptism clearly as the “divers washings” Israel had to do under the law. Israel’s “washings” are very clearly explained as baptisms. It’s even the same Greek word. Hebrews 9:18-19 and 10:22 say in clear black and white that they were SPRINKLING! The OT set the precedent very clearly starting in Ex 12:22-24 that sprinkling would be an important part of Israel’s ordinances. Lev 14:1-7, + 49-53, Num 19:4-21, Ps 51:1-7, and other places are clearer than day. The OT formula for baptism was using a branch of Hyssop to SPRINKLE. In MANY sections of scripture, sprinkling is the common denominator. In Matthew 15 when Jesus corrected the Pharisees on the subject, the Disciples in verse 12 were quite alarmed that Jesus had offended them. Today when I show the clear teaching of scripture ALONE, many will also be offended at me. Why? Christianity will fight for its tradition and ignore the clear teaching of the Bible on the subject of Immersion. When John the Baptist shows up baptizing, he is following the OT example of Baptism which IS dipping Hyssop in the river and SPRINKLING hundreds of people at a time. How else can one man baptize the entire city of Jerusalem, Judaea, and the surrounding area? (Matt 3:5) I understand the immersionists will say that John’s disciples helped him. I have talked to enough Christians in the last few years to VERY CLEARLY understand that it does not matter that the Bible DOES NOT teach water baptism by immersion because most are unwilling to believe for even a minute that they could be wrong. If you have an interest in learning about this subject, get your concordance out and start studying “Hyssop” “sprinkling” “water of separation” and some of the other words I used in this blog. Don’t bother looking for “immersion” because it’s not in the Bible. I leave you with this to think about: John the Baptist was the forerunner to Christ and Baptized with water. Jesus then shows up as the one to offer the New Covenant to Israel as prophesied in Jer 31:31, and water baptism was part of his ministry and REQUIRED by him!! Ezekiel 36 very clearly identifies the baptism that would be part of this offer.
Eze 36:24-27 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
Baptism by immersion has no Biblical support. Sprinkling is clearly taught in scripture over and over. Why then do you still sit and listen to people telling you that you must be immersed either to be saved or to join a church? We teach how to believe your Bible literally every Sunday. Tradition has sunk its claws into almost all teaching and preaching today. Why don’t you come learn what the Bible teaches for itself?
I recently watched an interview Bill Maher did where he supposedly talks with an “intelligent” Christian. If you don’t know, Bill Maher is a talk show host for an HBO program where he regularly and quite easily ridicules and mocks Christians. In this interview the Christian author he interviews supposedly does a good job sidestepping Maher’s jabs. This was accomplished by pretty much agreeing with Maher’s Atheist points and then attempting to massage the Bible into just a bunch of moral ideas that are relative and subjective. I wanted to throw up. Most Christians today would sit around talking about how horrible a person Maher is. There is a MUCH bigger picture that Christianity today is oblivious to. Christianity as it stands today in fundamental churches CREATED people like Maher! The Christian author and supposed expert enables Maher to be an atheist! Pastors EVERY SUNDAY read verses in their Bibles and then teach a Denominational position based on the tradition they were taught in seminary instead of leaving God’s words alone to stand ON THEIR OWN. God can handle writing his word. Stop changing it! Christianity today ENABLES people to become atheists because it is far more concerned with fighting for its pet tradition than believing the words AS WRITTEN. I ask you one very simple question to make my point. If God promised Israel an earthly kingdom throughout the ENTIRE Old Testament, how in the world can you let your preacher continue to tell you that Jesus is offering you a Gentile heavenly streets of gold in Matthew – John? Either the Holy Spirit is a liar or your preacher needs to start believing his Bible as God wrote it. If you have an ounce of curiosity, then just read Luke 1:67-77 and try to find yourself in what Christ came for. Yes God had a plan to save Gentiles but it’s most definitely NOT the plan your Sunday school teacher teaches every week. Bill Maher can easily mock and ridicule Christians because Christians DO NOT take the bible literally! I understand you probably think you do but, maybe you should start reading all the verses that get skipped and spiritualized every Sunday from the pulpit. Bill said something very logical and TRUE as he easily made this Christian look FOOLISH. He said “if it’s not all true then it all falls apart” This is a FACT! Maher the atheist is more logical than most professing Christians because he understands this fact. Why then do Christians choose to believe the allegorical interpretation of scripture as taught in seminaries today rather than to believe the actual verses in scripture? Satan has infiltrated the doctrine of Christianity as a whole and we all fell for it. Maher can easily poke holes in “Christian” doctrine week after week and Christians point the finger at him. Christianity is at fault! Christianity enables atheists to stay atheists by the false covenant position taught weekly in fundamental churches today. Why do you claim Jesus was speaking to you in the Gospels when he said he wasn’t? Why do you bicker and fight over water baptism when Paul said he was not sent to baptize. Why do you fight over water baptism being immersion when the bible clearly teacher is was SPRINKLING in scripture (Eze 36:24-28) Why do you try to hide the biblical FACT that almost everything Jesus taught about salvation contradicts what Paul taught about it? If you think this last statement is heresy it proves you have NEVER read all the things Jesus said about his gospel. WHY DO YOUR KIDS LEAVE FOR COLLEGE AND RETURN PRACTICALLY ATHEISTS THEMSELVES OR LEAVE THE CHURCH AFTER GETTING AN EDUCATION? I could go on with the questions but my point is clear. You have taught your kids tradition that they can’t successfully defend themselves. Why? I leave you with another Bill Maher quote: he said “the Bible is not intellectual” Why is this true in Maher’s eyes? Please just have the guts to ask yourself this question. Because he is using his head and he sees you spiritualizing all the verses to make them say what YOU want them to say! This enables him to stay an atheist and for good reason. Because you’re making up your religion! Bill can visit 100 churches within 20 miles from where he lives and hear 100 preachers promising their congregation things that the Bible NEVER does. God has TWO programs in scripture very clearly defined but never separated in Christianity today. One is earthly and revolves around ISRAEL. One is heavenly and revolves around the body of Christ. These are separate and distinct in scripture, just not in what you hear week after week. Why then must you continue to take what you want from Israel and claim it for yourself? This mistake is the reason Bill Maher can mock, ridicule, and laugh at YOU week after week on his show. You don’t believe your bible, you believe your denomination. Study your bible intellectually the way God wrote it by reading the words to whom they were written and you will stop supplying Maher with ammo to fire at Christianity. Keep teaching your own doctrine into the bible and atheism grows by the thousands day by day. Your choice. The decline in Christianity and the explosion of humanism proves who is winning this fight. Most will continue to point fingers at Maher when the problem faces you in the mirror each morning. The Bible is the most intellectual book ever written. Why must you continue to give a “spiritual” meaning to clear words that the Holy Spirit simply asks you to read and believe?
Our apostle Paul mentions his desire that we might be “rooted and grounded in love” in one of the most informative chapters in all of scripture. Chapter 3 of Ephesians is so full of vitally important doctrine for the body of Christ it cannot be over emphasized although dispensationalists are criticized for doing just that. Paul gives us the key to comprehend “the breadth, and length, and depth, and height” and to know the love of Christ in this chapter. The first 19 verses of Ephesians chapter 3 are filled with Pauline doctrine unknown to many Christians today. In verse 16, we read about a strength that comes from knowing the knowledge shared in Paul’s epistles. Jesus sent Paul to you, but you hear less preaching of Pauline doctrine in churches today than just about anything else. In verse 12, we read about a boldness that comes with the confidence gained by knowing the eternal purpose verse 11 mentions. Christians today don’t know the great purposes found in scripture. Christians today can’t articulate the difference between God’s earthly purposes for his earthly people contrasted with the heavenly purpose for his heavenly people because modern Christianity blends God’s purposes together, so they both lose their true meaning. Verse 10 tells us God has an intent for the mystery revealed by Paul that all of creation would know the manifold wisdom of God. You CANNOT understand the manifold wisdom of God revealed in scripture without understanding the mystery revealed by Christ and ministered to us through Paul. This mystery so clearly revealed in verse 9 but never preached by modern Christianity. This mystery was “hid in God” and revealed by Paul and then is utterly rejected by Preachers today in favor of denominational tradition and proof texting. Verses 7-8 clearly tell us Paul is the minister of this mystery, and these riches are “unsearchable” prior to Paul revealing them to those who had no hope prior because Jesus had NO ministry to Gentiles. Verses 5-6 reveal what is “now” revealed that in Christ we are a new creature, and a new body made up of Jew and Gentile which was NEVER revealed on the OT or the Gospels. In verses 3-4 Paul makes it very clear that the mystery was his to reveal, and his revelation came directly from the risen Christ. This knowledge was revealed to Paul for us and was not known or preached by ANYONE prior to Christ revealing it to Paul according to verses 2-3. Why? Verse 1 tells you: Paul was the prisoner of Jesus Christ for the Gentiles. The exact same people John the Baptist, Jesus, and Peter DID NOT minister to. Why don’t you hear these verses taught and preached from the pulpit at your church? Because these verses don’t fit the tradition your denomination is married to. You are taught scripture through the filter of your chosen agenda. Scripture is explained to you week after week, so it fits your religion and chosen denominational tradition. Why does Paul over and over call his message in his 13 epistles a mystery that was NOT made known before him, and your preacher tells you that Paul just continued what Jesus started? Don’t you realize one of the two is wrong? Either Paul is wrong, or what you hear week after week is wrong. There is a reason Paul’s books are doctrine from cover to cover. This is because today’s Christians need doctrine more than ever, so I beg you to learn the doctrine passed down to you from your Apostle Paul and ignore the modern preachers of today that tell you that doctrine just causes division and stirs up confusion. I am acutely aware of the fact that I’m in the minority by asking you to believe scripture AS WRITTEN, TO WHOM it was written to, but I still beg of you to just trust God that he was able to write scripture exactly as it needed to be written so when Jesus says he was not sent to the Gentiles you MUST believe it to understand scripture properly. When Jesus says he was here to fulfill the promises made to ISRAEL, you need to believe it because you will never understand God’s purposes until you believe the Bible AS WRITTEN. I have become keenly aware of the fact that Christians today for the most part refuse to believe the Bible literally when confronted with it. The main thing rooted and grounded in churches today is TRADITION.
Steve Schoenberger is a student of the Bible and the teacher at Abundant Grace Bible Fellowship, A Mid-Acts Dispensational Bible church teaching the Bible rightly divided according the the revelation of the mystery delivered to the Apostle Paul