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.
Easter will soon be evident with dresses, decorations, cantatas, and sunrise services on most church calendars. No doubt many references to Mark 11:9 will be sung or preached on this most revered Christian holiday. I have sung “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” several times in Easter cantatas myself. Even the “once a year” church attenders can recite this phrase with little coaching. As with so much of Christianity today, the context of this phrase is never quoted, preached, or sung about because verse 10 does not support the narrative. Here are both verses for your contemplation.
Mar 11:9 And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord:
Mar 11:10 Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.
Why does verse 9 ring true to most every Christian? We have heard it sung and preached scores of times during our Christian life. Why have we never heard verse 10 mentioned in the context, sung about or preached? Verse 10 positively links Jesus and his ministry to the earthly kingdom that was promised to King David and Israel. This kingdom was an earthly kingdom and NOT heaven like your church probably teaches every Sunday. Following Christian tradition forces you to preach certain verses over and over and to ignore other verses. Why? Because tradition is followed instead of the Bible in most churches today. Verse 10 is definition for verse 9. Verse 9 is Christ coming. Verse 10 is exactly what Christ was coming for, the earthly kingdom promised to David in II Samuel 7:12-16. Why do you think Matthew 1:1 starts out the way it does?
Mat 1:1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
Why do you think the people following Jesus during his early ministry were asking the following question?
Mat 12:23 And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?
Why do you think Jesus did not have to explain his ministry to the Jews? His ministry needed no explanation because every Jew knew exactly what kingdom Jesus was preaching about. The Davidic kingdom promised to Israel and not to you as a Gentile. The Jews knew nothing of going to Heaven as you are probably taught week after week. All John the Baptist had to say was the kingdom of Heaven was at hand and every Jew knew exactly what he was talking about. The kingdom and the throne promised to Israel in hundreds of verses in the OT. You have never heard verse 10 of Mark 11 preached because it does not fit the traditional narrative that Jesus was really offering a “spiritual” kingdom. You are free of course to believe this but just remember that the words in the Bible itself do not teach this. Hundreds of prophecies in the Bible must be ignored and conveniently never taught for you to take from Israel what God gave to Israel. The words in the Bible itself teach the kingdom Jesus offered was earthly and was offered to Israel alone. You are taught week after week that we are building a kingdom now and Jesus is supposedly ruling in our hearts. This is church tradition handed down in seminaries and Bible colleges and is not supported by scripture unless you force the verses to say things they don’t. Christians today will eagerly stand up and fight for their tradition when challenged with the truth of scripture. How about you?
This might be a better question than you think. How about this one, would you trust someone that cheated on their spouse? How about a liar? We’ll get back to this in a minute. I just finished watching a video on YouTube that must have taken someone hundreds of hours to produce. This video shows 5 or more pastors trying their best to discredit dispensational Bible study. As a Bible believer, I don’t mind listening to my critics. The video does clearly show that dispensational Bible study is in fact taking what the Bible says literally and these pastors show their hatred of this type of Bible study in ways that the best CNN reporters would be proud of. This particular video was created by Baptist pastors in California, but the denomination really does not matter. I hope you understand that if we cannot agree that the Bible is our authority and is the source of all truth then we probably won’t agree on much else. I have no plans on calling these men names or playing spooky music while I talk about their theology which I know very well. I can only say that if the Bible says something different than what they preach every Sunday that I have made the conscious decision to believe what the Bible says over their preaching. If you have read my blogs, you know that I say it is usually asking too much to ask someone to believe their Bible over what they hear week after week from a pulpit. These men spent and inordinate amount of time claiming that John Nelson Darby invented dispensational Bible study and since Darby had issues, being a Bible believer must be wrong. Let’s go back to the question I started with. Would you trust a man that cheated on his wife and killed a man? If not then, you better stop reading the book of Psalms today because David did these things. I could easily find some news stories about some evil things some Baptist preacher did and then try to use that to say all Baptist preachers are bad, but we both know that argument and tactic doesn’t hold water. These men lambasted dispensationalists because many are King James only and then blasted Darby for translating the Bible when thousands of Baptist churches are filled with new versions and the KJV alike. Here is where the rubber meets the road. I don’t really care how many dispensations you think there are in the Bible. I teach dispensational Bible principles every Sunday, and I don’t need the word “dispensation” to do it. We teach by reading verses and believing what we just read. When you just believe the words as they are written, that’s enough. I teach the verses exactly as they are written to whom they were written to, and the Bible will take care of the rest. Every one of those pastors will preach John 3:16 regularly as our gospel message Sunday after Sunday. John 4:22 says that salvation belongs to the Jews, and John 5:29 says that our works determine where we spend eternity. Why do they never preach the context of John 3:16? The fact is I believe all three verses, and all three verses are in perfect harmony with the rest of the Bible when you rightly divide the Bible and follow Pauline doctrine the way you are instructed to in scripture. To try to say rightly dividing the Bible is wrong because Darby supposedly created it is foolish and a very weak argument. Why? The Bible itself teaches that there are dispensations. I see no need in picking on a certain denomination or group because the second you start interpreting scripture through ANY denominational filter you are wrong. I am perfectly ok with being called the horrible things these pastors called me. Why? 1 Cor 3:9-11 clearly states that we must be building upon the foundation that Paul built, and it’s not a coincidence that this is in context with the judgment seat of Christ, verses 12-15. I am building upon Paul’s foundation who built upon Christ. Please read these verses! Better yet, read these verses and then BELIEVE them. Christ does not judge you based on your denominational tradition, but how you built upon Paul’s foundation because these verses are clear that Paul is the wise masterbuilder. You cannot serve Christ our Savior properly without following Paul’s instructions and recognizing Paul as our example.
There are many questions that as Christians we should have asked ourselves at some point. Many of these questions we should have been taught at some point or at least recognized in scripture. The problem is that Christians don’t study much these days and if they do even read the Bible they fail to recognize or refuse to realize many perplexing things. Let me pose a question for you to think about. Why was Jesus alone at the tomb at the time of his resurrection? Why were there not hundreds or even a few thousand people present at the tomb on that third day waiting for him to rise again? I’ll bet many if not most Christians have never asked themselves this question or even heard it asked. According to main stream Christianity, Jesus was preaching salvation to all and his gospel is the same as that taught throughout Paul’s epistles. Unless you happen to attend a church that rightly divides the Bible, there is no doubt you have been taught that Paul took over from the disciples and preached the same gospel as Jesus and the 12. If Jesus was teaching his death burial and resurrection during his earthly ministry as your church probably teaches, why then was Jesus alone at his resurrection? Let’s look at how the Bible describes the scene.
Luke 24:1-4 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:
Here we see clearly that this was not hundreds of disciples waiting for Jesus’ resurrection but just a few and they were not there for a resurrection party. Did you notice the reaction? Was it a clear recognition of the resurrection they were supposedly expecting? Obviously not. The Bible clearly states the reaction: they were “much perplexed.” This of course does not match your theology if your church teaches that Jesus was preaching his death burial and resurrection during his entire earthly ministry. Jesus rises again alone, with no one there to see it. Strange isn’t it? It’s actually not strange at all to someone who studies their Bible according to Paul’s instructions to rightly divide. Why were they perplexed at Jesus’ resurrection? Luke clearly tells you earlier in his book exactly why.
Luke 18:31-34 Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again. And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.
Luke clearly tells you that they did not understand the resurrection and that the information was hid from them. How then is it possible that Jesus and the disciples were preaching the same gospel that our apostle Paul does when the 12 did not even understand the resurrection? It’s the same answer as to why Jesus was alone at his resurrection. Jesus preached a DIFFERENT gospel than Paul taught. Jesus offered the earthly kingdom to Israel. You have been taught that Jesus was here offering you as a Gentile eternal life when in reality he was offering ONLY ISRAEL the earthly kingdom. When Jesus forgives Israel from the cross he says “Father forgive them for they “know not what they do.” Jesus can say this because he is the one that hid the information from them. You were NOT in view or the audience of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Jesus sent Paul to you. Jesus was alone at the tomb because he WAS NOT preaching his death and resurrection as good news. When Jesus died the disciples were distraught and crushed, and they WERE NOT waiting for him on that third day because they did not understand it. When you choose to believe your Bible over what the seminary teaches, you will begin to see how easily the Bible can be understood. I am in no way claiming to be smarter than all the people you know who have seminary degrees. The Bible can defend itself against man’s education. Christianity has chosen to trust scholarship over the Bible. I have chosen to trust my Bible over tradition.
The division within professing Christianity is apparent. This division is not just between the most popular denominations but includes the non-denominational churches as well. I guess if I’m honest, I have to admit that rightly dividing the Bible according to Paul’s instructions might look like just another division. So what’s the difference? Denominational and Non-denominational “Protestant” churches have settled into one very loose but similar system of Bible interpretation. This system puts the church today into Israel’s program and into Israel’s promises. How far they insert themselves depends on the name on the church and the proof texts they claim for their doctrine. The divisions we see are a result of what verses they chose to be applied to us or not. The problem with this process is the total lack of consistency in choosing the verses. Christianity picks and chooses verses based on the tradition of their denomination. A Baptist picks certain verses to apply to himself that the Pentecostal might not and vise-versa. A person that grows up in either denomination is taught how to read the Bible from a denominational tradition. I know this system very well as I spent most of my life in it. This picking and choosing of proof texts is what separates all of Christianity. So what separates a right divider from the rest of Christianity? It’s actually very easy to point out and see. We have a VERY consistent way of interpreting the Bible. We NEVER pick and choose verses. We believe EVERY verses as it stands. We DO NOT need proof texts. We believe God meant EXACTLY what he wrote and all you need to understand exactly what he wrote is a King James Bible and a believing heart. This is EXACTLY what separates a dispensationalist from the rest of Christianity. Christianity is in utter confusion because they are trying to follow Jesus’ earthly ministry to the Jews when they were not the audience of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Christianity looks at the dispensationalist and scoffs because of our emphasis of following our apostle Paul even though Jesus himself gave Paul the office and the commission. A wise man once said “If the plain sense makes sense, seek no other sense.” The dispensationalist follows this mantra by choosing to believe the Bible over church tradition. By choosing to believe that the Bible itself is its own best dictionary. By choosing to believe that we must follow Pauline doctrine to be pleasing to God because this is EXACTLY what the Bible teaches. By reading God’s word and not picking and choosing according to denominational tradition but by believing ALL the words as written TO WHOM they were written. This strict method of just believing what God said exactly how he said it IS what makes me different. This method of TRUSTING GOD is exactly why the denominations can all “get along” with each other but don’t like a dispensationalist. It’s a beautiful thing to see people that were blinded by tradition their whole life begin to understand the Bible for themselves as God intended. How about you?
I recently had the opportunity to have a Bible study with someone that is interested in learning more about the Bible. This was a fun, refreshing and exciting time of Bible study because this person was not tied down and blinded by the tradition of a denomination. Since they were not currently attending any church, they were open to scripture and what it teaches for itself. When I was bound by the name on my church I was well trained to listen until the speaker said anything different than my denomination teaches, which of course kept me for far too long from understanding the Bible as God intends. What is missing in Christianity today is an understanding of God’s plans and purpose throughout the Bible. As we worked through the Bible over the course of several hours we just read verses and took them at face value. Taking verses at face value and just believing them has an extraordinary effect on people. When believed, the Bible can effect us. It can change us. It can direct us. It can clear up confusion. It can clear up doubt. I know this because I see this so clearly in the people that are willing to sit down and actually study their Bible without all their preconceived notions. Paul states this principle for us in Thessalonians.
1 Thes 2:13, For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
There is a liberating feeling when you come to understand that God expects us to understand the Bible and he wrote it in such a way that we actually can. This study plan is Bible belief. It is this simple. Let me ask you a question. When you read a verse and it clearly teaches something different that you are taught week after week at church, why is it that Christians over and over will ignore the verse and fight for their tradition? Shouldn’t we stop and question what we are taught instead of scripture? Shouldn’t we stop and give God the benefit of the doubt? Shouldn’t we ask ourselves why the preacher avoids verses and redefines verses to match his denominational agenda? Yeah, I know that was more than one question. Did you answer them? Honestly? I would challenge you to start where I did. When I noticed these things I started studying the theological positions of all the other denominations around me. I read Catholic, Charismatic, Pentecostal, Brethren, Church of Christ, Church of God, Nazarene, Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, and plenty more. Do you know what I found? NONE can explain the confusion among themselves! None of them can explain why the Bible seams to teach ALL these positions at the same time. They ALL sincerely believe they are right and the others are wrong. NONE of them have the answers that are so clearly written in the Bible that sits in their lap week after week. They are so blinded by the name of their church that they will not read the plain teaching of scripture. The answer? NONE of them rightly divide their Bible. Scripture itself clearly teaches that Jesus NEVER had a ministry to Gentiles while in his earthly ministry. Why do they not see this? Go back and read my blog named “Subconscious Deletion.” We were taught to change, skip, ignore, and rewrite verses and words in our head. When the final offer of the kingdom is rejected by Israel, Jesus called Paul (Saul) from heaven and gave HIM a ministry to us. A distinct, gracious, and merciful ministry of GRACE ALONE. Mix these two distinct ministries and you have what we see today, confusion. Separate what God separates and you see God’s purpose and plan working perfectly.
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