A Bible Believer?
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.
I recently read some research that was put out by the Creation Museum that you can find in their little book called “Gospel Reset” by Ken Ham. The title caught my eye since many Christians cannot accurately tell you exactly what the gospel is. Research in this book shows that 61% of millennials that grew up in church leave the church by their twenties, and only 20% of kids that were in church as a teen are still active at age 29. The book goes on to suggest that we need to change the way we share the gospel since today’s millennials don’t know “church language." I do agree with the premise of the book that we need to share the gospel differently today, but what this book should be about is sharing the gospel clearly, and you can ONLY share the gospel clearly by sharing Paul’s gospel of the grace of God without mixing it with the kingdom gospel Jesus and the 12 taught. Young people are leaving church because they have not been fed meat, and the few scraps of meat they do get from the pulpit today is under-cooked. Churches are all failing today for the simple reason that none of them are growing from new converts. Growth comes from having better music and more entertainment to pull people from smaller churches with less money. Kids are not taught doctrine because pastors and youth leaders don’t know how to rightly divide their Bibles. They preach Calvinistic doctrine and Israel’s earthly promises, and the kids quickly figure out that God lets them down. The fact is that God did not let them down, maybe we shouldn’t have promised them things the Bible does not! Here’s one clear example: My whole life I was told that God has a mate already picked out for me and he will “show me” whom I’m to marry. This sounds very spiritual and sure preaches well; unfortunately, the Bible DOES NOT say this, so now you have a teenager who believes God is going to show them who their soul mate is, and they look for circumstances to show them God’s will and get married. I ask this question: What is the divorce rate within the “church?” You probably already know the statistics are the same as in the world at right around 50%. Now, your early twenties children believe God has let them down because their mate cheated on them, and their life is a mess. If that same pastor or youth leader would learn how to rightly divide his Bible, he would have taught those kids that God is not showing you things through circumstances today like he did for Israel. God directs us through his completed word the Bible if you rightly divide it and follow the principles contained in it. So what happens to the kids that believed God would “show them” who their perfect mate was? They leave church because their own life experience, or the life experience they see with their own eyes does not match up with the false Calvinistic denominational teaching they were taught. The sad thing is marriage is only one example of the proof that we are setting our kids up to become disillusioned with church and leave in their twenties. They are taught that God is answering prayer just as he did in the OT and during the Acts period and they quickly learn from life experience that God is not answering prayer the same way regardless of what the pastor says, so when that loved one dies even though they prayed so fervently they lose hope in God and leave the church. Here are the FACTS, God IS NOT picking a mate for you because he gave you a mind and clear Biblical instructions to follow in his word on how to go about doing this. I am not saying not to pray about it, but I am saying stop looking for circumstances in this sin cursed world to direct you. Here is another fact, God IS NOT answering prayer today like he did during the OT and the Acts period because we are NOT his earthly people with earthly promises. We are his heavenly people, and we ARE NOT promised deliverance from sickness and distresses like Israel was. We are promised GRACE while we are IN our troubles and trials. We need to stop watching Christian movies and start studying our Bible the way our apostle Paul told us to. IF we do this, we will see our kids stay in church because rightly dividing your Bible has the answers. The ecumenical preaching found in the vast majority of churches today is setting our kids up for failure because they go off to college, and the atheist professor seams to make more sense than what they learned growing up in church. What happens when you blamed God for picking the perfect marriage partner and then you end up divorced? What happens when you tell someone God is healing today because he did it back in the gospels, and the sickness does not go away? There are probably dozens of examples like these we could find to show the way churches today are prepping kids to leave. The proof is in the numbers, and you can’t discount the numbers. Kids are leaving church at a staggering rate. Teach them right division, so they can actually UNDERSTAND the Bible, what they believe, WHY they believe it, and can actually STAND UP for the truth. Are your kids worth it?
Looking forward to the cross?
If you’ve been in church long enough or read enough you will eventually hear someone say that people in the Old Testament were saved by “looking forward to the cross.” I have personally heard this taught and read this in the past. This is a ridiculous notion and just one more myth that is perpetuated again and again by those repeating what they have read in a theology book or were taught in a Bible class. When you are told this, you will undoubtedly be quoted a verse about Abraham. Abraham was justified by faith yes, but in a future cross? Abraham was required to have faith in WHAT WAS REVEALED TO HIM. The cross was in NO WAY revealed to Abraham. Abraham proved his faith by leaving his home. Abraham had to DO something to prove he was faithful. Was it enough for Abraham to just take Isaac up the mountain? Abraham proved his faithfulness once he lifted the knife. Do you expect me to believe he was thinking of a future cross when he was lifting that knife? Of course he wasn’t. Abraham was being obedient to what he was told AT THAT TIME, and AT THAT TIME he knew NOTHING of the cross. As a matter of fact, you will be hard pressed to find any OT scriptures about being “saved” that does not relate to deliverance from Israel’s enemies. NO Jew ever expected to go to Heaven. The doctrine of the OT focuses on God’s judgment and the earthly kingdom. It takes men with a preconceived agenda to say people in the OT were saved by looking forward to the cross. I ask you to read three verses, Matthew 16:21-23. This is the record of the FIRST time Jesus mentions he is going to die to his disciples. Do they respond indicating they knew about the cross and were expecting Jesus to die soon? Of course not, Peter himself rebukes Jesus for even bringing it up. So here is a good question for all those who believe People in the OT get saved just like we do, or by looking forward to the cross. Matthew 16 is well into Jesus earthly ministry and all his disciples have been preaching the gospel of the kingdom for some time now, so how is it that Jesus JUST NOW mentions he is going to die? How could anyone in the OT be saved by the cross when the disciples themselves don’t know or understand ANYTHING about the cross as late as Matthew 16? The obvious answer is, they can’t be. Why? Because Jesus’ preaching was not about him dying on a cross! Jesus’ preaching was about Israel’s king is here and Israel’s earthly kingdom was at hand. We were taught to believe men’s opinions and denominational agenda’s. I’m asking you to learn how to rightly divide your Bible so you can believe the WORDS ALONE in your King James Bible AS WRITTEN and then just believe them. Interested?
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 revelation of the mystery delivered to the Apostle Paul