There are many verses that are conveniently ignored these days. If you were to try to list them all, you would have to choose large portions of many chapters. Sadly Paul’s books would probably be at the top of the list in many churches. Here is one verse that undoubtedly receives little study or attention in many churches. Of course I don’t know what every church teaches every Sunday so why would I say such a thing? Because churches teaching their Bible literally today are few and far between. Read the following verse found in the middle of the book of Acts.
And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles. Acts 14:27
You might wonder why I chose this particular verse. Notice the word “opened.” If something was just opened then it would be stating the obvious to say that it was closed before, would it not? The literal interpretation of the Bible is regularly criticized by many Christians today. If you doubt this, do a few searches on dispensational Bible study and you will quickly agree. To this I just point to my Bible. But you do have to go a little further because everyone has a verse to prove anything they want to believe and teach as truth. What’s the difference? When dealing with doctrine for TODAY, I only point to scripture written for me to follow today. So what about this verse? Paul refers to the door of faith being opened to the gentiles. This should come as strange to you because you most likely hear teaching and preaching every Sunday from scripture PRIOR to this point in the Bible. You most likely accept many of the things Jesus said as information to the church today. If Paul said the door was being opened to the Gentiles in the middle of the book of Acts and even Peter was astonished with what happened at the house of Cornelius in Acts chapter 10, why then do I get called so many bad names just for teaching what the Bible teaches? I NEVER ask anyone to believe just what I say. I ask them to believe what the Bible says TO THEM. A simple concept that could open up God’s word to you like you can’t even imagine. But this concept is ridiculed, scorned, scoffed at and called every word your pastor learned in seminary. Every cult uses the Bible. Every denomination other than yours uses the Bible. Every JW that comes to your door has a Bible. Again I ask you what’s the difference. All pick and choose verses from wherever in the Bible they want if it seems to help their agenda. All these ignore the simple concept of not reading yourself into portions of scripture that says for itself that it was written to someone else. I would again call your attention to Acts 14:27. Why, when the Bible in the middle of the book of Acts very clearly says the door to the Gentiles was being opened can you claim that the information prior to this point is written directly to you?
This is a simple question that should have a simple response, “I Don’t” In the vast majority of churches today this is not the answer you will receive. Replacement theology and tradition has robbed Christians of the simplicity with which they could understand their Bible. This simplicity has been replaced by commentaries, preaching, and teaching that forces you into Israel’s program and Israel’s promises. Sure these promises sound great and I would love to have them to. But the Bible does not give these promises to you. God gave the earthly promises in the Bible to his earthly people Israel.
This might be an interesting question for you. There’s a good chance you have no idea why I might ask you to choose between confirmation and revelation. These two words describe two ministries found in the Bible. If you read the Bible free from preconceived agendas and modern theology you will notice that these ministries are distinct from each other. Read a description of Jesus’ earthly ministry in Romans 15:8.
Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:
There can be no doubt but that this verse is describing the promises given to covenant Israel.
Of this man's seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus: When John had first preached before his coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. Acts 13:23-24
The ministry Jesus was fulfilling while he walked this earth was to confirm the promises given to ISRAEL.
If Christians could just be willing to believe the Bible as it stands we could have the unity and communion scripture says we should. Instead week after week we hear verses plucked from this confirmation ministry and twisted to apply to us today. I ask you a simple question. Why is it that the promises given to Israel and that Jesus was CONFIRMING TO ISRAEL have been taught to you since childhood as belonging to you a gentile? The answer: Christianity as a whole has adopted the allegorical interpretation of scripture.
So what about the revelation ministry I mentioned earlier? This is the ministry you most likely have never been taught or read about even if you love theology.
But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. Gal 1:11-12
Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, Rom 16:25
For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Eph 3:1-7
Paul was given a ministry by directly revelation of Jesus Christ. This is the HEAVENLY ministry of Jesus that was never prophesied in the Old Testament. This is the ministry that offers grace to both Jew and Gentile based on what Christ accomplished on the cross. This gospel is called the gospel of the grace of God in scripture. This ministry is separate and distinct from the confirmation ministry Jesus performed while on earth. This is the only literal interpretation of scripture. When you mix these two ministries, BOTH loose significance. Jesus’ gospel of the kingdom is erased and Israel’s glorious future is stripped from them. Paul’s gospel of GRACE ALONE is mixed with required works found in the gospels and you end up with a Christianity filled with hundreds of denominations and factions.
I asked you about confirmation or revelation because chances are, you have been a Christian for many years and have never heard the difference between the two. Why?
The explanations for so many of the conundrums found in Christianity could be easily explained if Christianity had not been duped by the allegorical interpretation of scripture found in every major denomination today. Many of the verses that have been fought over and interpreted in so many different ways would no longer be a controversy if Christians would have the guts to actually believe the Bible as it reads and not fight over what they want it to say. I give you one example of many we could discuss. Read Matthew 16:18.
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
If you have been in church very long you already know what the controversy is over this verse. If not, I’ll give a brief explanation. The Catholic Church uses this verse to claim that Peter was the first pope. Then of course, their tradition teaches that the Catholic Church can trace themselves back to Peter. From this they claim to be the only true church. Because of this traditional teaching of the Catholic Church other churches break their necks trying to make this verse say something else. Growing up Baptist I have heard the Catholic position refuted many times as I’m sure many other denominations do also. To this I would say: how is tracing yourself back to John the Baptist much different? When you refuse to take EVERY verse in your Bible literally, you find yourself in “doctrinal” arguments all the time for NO REASON. Here is the explanation that all the denominations have wrong. From the context it is VERY CLEAR that Jesus has great plans for Peter and the following verses give PETER binding and loosing power. So, stop fighting over the verse and let it say what it says! But the “fundamental” churches can’t have this because this makes the Catholic correct. WRONG! Once again the failure of the Catholic Church as well as ALL fundamental churches to rightly divide their Bible CREATES fights that are not there. Jesus was sent to ISRAEL and the disciples were sent to ISRAEL. YOU were not the audience of Matthew 16:18. You ARE NOT part of the church mentioned in Matthew 16:18!!!!!!! This church was composed of JEWS. Why? Because Jesus’ earthly ministry was NOT TO YOU, it was to Israel. When you place yourself into verses that are NOT to you or about you YOU create confusion and controversy that is not there. Both the Catholic Church AND fundamental Christianity are wrong! Because both DO NOT follow a consistent method of Bible interpretation. BOTH pick and choose. BOTH read themselves into verses in which they DO NOT BELONG. Peter can be the head of the church just fine, it does not matter because THIS CHURCH ended with the disciples. The Bible calls this church the “little flock of Israel.” Does this make the Catholic Church correct? Of course not. So what about the fundamentalists that break their necks to make this verse say something it doesn’t? They are also wrong in their effort to refute the Catholic claims. Once again we are NOT part of the church in Matthew 16, we are part of the “body of Christ.” This is the church found in scripture that INCLUDES anyone! Paul is the Apostle to teach about this church. This is the consistent LITERAL interpretation that is NOT based on Catholic or denominational tradition. Why do I so confidently say we are NOT part of the church in Matthew 16? Because I believe Jesus AT HIS WORD, and he clearly teaches his earthly ministry was confined to Israel. I see NO controversy over Matthew 16:18, the rest of Christianity has battled over this verse for about 1500 years. Christianity’s stubborn refusal to believe the Bible as it is written is the reason for all the confusion.
Tonight I sit at my computer having just attended the funeral of Pastor Preston Richardson. I served under Brother Preston in several capacities including Youth Church Director and Deacon. He was a man that inspired greatness in many. Not necessarily in words alone, but in his actions and the example of hard work and dedication he set for those around him. His enthusiasm and desire to serve the Lord was unwavering. The example he set many young pastors would do well to emulate and learn from. Even though my discovery of right division and dispensational Bible study would cause us to disagree doctrinally on some issues, my love and respect for him has not faded. One thing Brother Preston used to say was “you have time to do the things you really want to do”. Isn’t this so true? We can find time for soccer practice, Monday night football or whatever steals our time during the week, but what about eternal things? Why is it so much more convenient to run that errand on Sunday instead of Saturday? Right division clears up many confusing things Christians struggle with in scripture but we still need dedicated people that are willing to work, serve and set an example for others to look up to and follow. The Bible tells us very clearly that the Apostle Paul is our example to follow but remember Paul was constantly training people under him to teach right doctrine and to live a godly life. Jesus would have you follow Paul, this is clear in scripture. But there are men who through their uncompromising life and the example they set for us give us examples of how to serve the Lord not just out of duty, although that is reason enough, but out of a loving and grateful heart. Brother Preston was this kind of example.
Php 3:17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
What about you? Does your walk and work warrant others to follow your example? Scripture tells you to follow Paul and clearly shows that some men around him were worthy of following also. A good start would be to learn how to be a Bible believer. This means to believe your Bible exactly as it is written, to whom it is written, regardless of what anyone else says. Paul wrote 13 books of doctrine that are addressed to you as a gentile to live by in this age of Grace. Start here and learn what God is doing now in this age.
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?
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