This blog has been on my mind for some time but this principle has hit home especially hard recently. When you’ve been in church long enough you learn lots of “church language” that is NOT found in the Bible. One very common example is the phrase “God works in mysterious ways.” This and many other things we hear regularly but ARE NOT TRUE. Actually God has very clearly revealed in scripture what he is doing. The fact that your preacher says things like this proves he does not understand his Bible properly. This phrase is used when something has happened and the preacher can’t explain it. When sickness comes in a person’s life and prayers are not fixing it, someone has to make excuses for why the sickness stays. Stop blaming God first of all. The Calvinistic theology you hear week after week teaches you that God is causing your sickness. This is NOT TRUE! God is NOT making you sick. The sin cursed evil world around you is making you sick. People around you make bad decisions and sometimes Christians get hurt. God did not cause that drunk driver to hit your loved ones car head on. The outcome of the false teaching you hear week after week that gives you the earthly promises that belong to Israel causes you to question God when the bad news comes. God DOES NOT promise you healing like the preacher tells you. God promises you GRACE as you go through the things we face on this sin cursed earth. Why do you or your children blame God and curse God when the bad news comes? Because you promised them Israel’s promises of earthly prosperity and healing and those things don’t come. So what are they left to do but blame God? This is one of the worst results of the spiritualizing of the Bible. We promise our kids and ourselves things Jesus said to Israel and then they don’t happen. Instead of evaluating our doctrine we ask God why me, and blame him for allowing things to come into our lives. God IS NOT causing drunk driving and sickness! This is an outcome of sin and the people around us making bad decisions. The benefit of blaming God or Satan for things they actually did not do is, we don’t have to blame ourselves. The fact of the matter is, many of the bad things that happen in our lives are a result of previous bad decisions we have made. But it’s far too easy to blame God or Satan for our bad decisions and Calvin has made this very easy. When you teach people that God is orchestrating every aspect of our lives then you can easily pass the buck on to someone else. Blaming God has caused countless Christians to give up on God and leave the church. Imagine if those people had been properly taught that God does NOT orchestrate everything, and that our decisions matter and have consequences. Imagine if they had been taught properly that God does not make us sick and cause us to lose our loved ones because this is a result of the sinful world around us. The promises you find in those prayer promise books are usually full of Israel’s promises. This of course explains why the promises most times don’t work. God is dealing with the world in GRACE right now. Paul clearly explains this. When God starts dealing with the world’s sin problem again you will not want to be here. If you are saved by God’s grace and by Christ’s finished crosswork you can be thankful that the things we go through here on earth are only temporary. Yes they hurt, and yes sometimes they are hard to understand but don’t blame God for things he had nothing to do with.
Jer 32:35 And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.
Man’s sin and pride cause him to devise all sorts of evil that God had NOTHING to do with. When your theology proves that it does not hold up, rather than giving up of God, maybe you should find a way that everything in the Bible proves itself true. This can only be found in rightly dividing your Bible as instructed by your Apostle Paul.
When you start searching the internet for information on Dispensational Bible study you will quickly run across people telling you that we “chop up the Bible.” Peter Ruckman’s book against what he calls Hyper-Dispensationalism even shows a blindfolded man chopping up the bread of life on the cover. I don’t mind at all reading information against what the Bible teaches literally because I’m after truth regardless of the outcome. Let’s put this label to the test. I am 100% willing to examine if I am chopping up the Bible, are you? As a right divider of the Bible, I believe the Bible is to be taken literally, exactly as it is written. In other words, I completely trust the Holy Spirit. What this means is I believe EVERY VERSE as it’s written. This means that when the writers of scripture address a specific group of people, I believe it. This means that the red letters in the Bible ARE NOT instructions for me in the age of grace we are living in now. So, when Jesus says baptism is REQUIRED, keeping the law is REQUIRED, selling your possessions is REQUIRED, giving away your coat and your money to ANYONE that asks is REQUIRED, following the people that sit in Moses’ seat is REQUIRED, enduring to the end is REQUIRED, I believe the verses AS WRITTEN TO WHOM they are written. I understand and believe ALL the red letters just exactly as the Holy Spirit put them in the Bible, do you? Jesus plainly spoke and clearly taught his earthly ministry was to Israel. I want to follow Jesus, so I believe him AT HIS WORD. Modern Christianity claims to be following scripture but what do they do with MANY of the things Jesus said? Churches are full of people claiming to follow the red letters, but they don’t know what they say. Preachers are hard at work giving “spiritual” applications to the things Jesus said literally. Preachers are hard at work explaining away the clear instructions Jesus spoke. You are told that Jesus didn’t really mean to give things away, but you should just not “love your money” and you should be “willing to” and have a “giving heart.” DO you understand there are many things found in the red letters that you are NOT taught literally, and you don’t follow? Here is the difference. I believe every word in the red letters EXACTY as they stand, word for word. I also understand to whom they were written, and I leave them to whom the Holy Spirit inspired them. We read, study and teach the OT as well as everything Jesus said here. Yes, ALL scripture is profitable, but this verse does not say ALL scripture is too me specifically. To the contrary, some scripture clearly claims to be to certain groups of people. Why are you changing it? Why do you sit in churches across America and listen to preachers change the clear teaching of scripture? I teach every word as written, most of Christendom picks and chooses which verses to use as a proof text based on the doctrines and beliefs they want to uphold. So, I ask you plainly, who is doing the chopping? Me because I let the words stand as written to whom they were written? Or you as you change the meanings, audiences, and applications so you can keep doing what you’ve been doing? If you claim that the red letters in the gospels are the direct instructions for you today, you are following the Allegorical interpretation of the Bible. Why, because Jesus never said his words were your instructions, someone had to teach you that because it’s not in the Bible. On the other hand, Jesus told Paul he was sent specifically to the Gentiles with new information for living in the age of grace. But you are never taught this. Why?
I’m sure you have probably heard the statement that the book of Acts is a historical book that tells how the church began and carried on its work. Maybe you even feel strongly this is correct. You would feel this way because you have most likely heard many people make this statement or have read it in books written by very smart people. As the title of this blog says, let’s state some very obvious things for you to consider. The book of Acts opens with a church (a called out assembly) already in place and one better that that, it is the assembly chosen and built by Jesus himself. To make up for this problem theologians that don’t take a literal approach to scripture will then use cute stories like the “boat” analogy. This analogy states that the church was built by Jesus and then “launched at Pentecost”. People sit in pews all across America and believe these stories because they sound good. The main problem with this false story is that you are NOT in view in the beginning of the book of Acts. You as a gentile are not view in the book of Acts till AFTER Paul gets knocked off his donkey in chapter 9. In Acts 1:6 the subject is the restoration of the kingdom to Israel. The oft quoted and so misunderstood 2nd chapter is VERY CLEARLY addressed to Israel in verses 5, 10, 14, 16, 22, 30 and if we tried a little harder we could probably find plenty more references to things pertaining to Israel. If Acts 2 is the birth of the church you are a member of why does much of Christianity not believe the signs and wonders are still happening? Why have you not sold all you possessions? Why I must ask you is the Holy Spirit not striking people dead when they fudge on their financial decisions? Why are prison doors not being opened in China, Saudi Aribia and other countries where Christians are being held captive? I understand this makes a good lyric for the gospel music singers, but the doors are STILL LOCKED and the Christians are still there suffering. Why is it that Peter says:
Act 5:29-31 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
Why do you still stubbornly hold to church tradition and claim this is your church and these words are for you? Either these words are correct and belong to Israel or you are denying the actual words in scripture to claim something for yourself. There is no other option. When confronted with the ACTUAL WORDS of the Bible, Christianity acts just like the Jews at Stephens defense before his accusers in chapter 7:8 and “always resist the Holy Ghost” Is this not the case? If scripture is clear and also different than the tradition you believe, are you still resisting that which the Holy Ghost wrote?
It is not till chapter 9 that Paul is told he will be sent to you. You can’t take what is given to Paul and force it backward into Israel’s program no matter how bad you want to. This is the cause of all the confusion today. Acts is NOT a history of the birth of the church, it is a history of the FALL OF ISRAEL. Why do the disciples continue to follow the law throughout the book? (Acts 21:20) Why does the church at Jerusalem follow Paul around and tell Paul’s converts they must follow the law? (Acts 15.) Why do the disciples continue to preach only to Jews?
Act 11:19 Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.
The sad thing is that most of Christianity does not pay any attention to these things. They are content to not worry about the things they don’t understand. These questions are NEVER ASKED much less answered. We would rather worry about the church softball league and the cantata coming up more than the actual words that you are relying on for your future in ETERNITY. You might blindly trust your pastor this much but just remember this:
Rom 14:12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
Your pastor will not be standing with you when you are giving account of YOURSELF and your method of PERSONAL Bible study. You will give account of yourself. Church tradition says Acts is the beginning of the church. The words themselves in the book of Acts and your Apostle Paul deny this. You would think this would be enough for Christians to reject tradition and start believing the Bible. Sadly in most cases you would be wrong. It is too much today to ask Christians to believe the words alone in the Bible, when people who claim to know better explain the words away to prop up whatever agenda they are selling. In today’s churches, stating the obvious is set aside to make room for tradition.
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.
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