Most Divisive Doctrine?
Last week here at Grace Bible Study we started studying what is arguably one of, if not, the most divisive doctrines in Christianity. There are several on this list, but you have to agree that baptism is at or near the top. Each denomination has their traditional opinions about the subject, and each one uses the Bible to prove their point. Did you see my point in the last sentence? Every denomination uses the Bible to prove their position about baptism, and each one thinks the others are wrong. Church members are fed the proof texts of their “Biblical” position, and each group goes on stubbornly claiming why they are right, and why everyone else is wrong. Satan sits back with a grin on his face viewing his job well done. This division is not God’s plan, but a direct result of Satan’s plans. Look around and you cannot help but see the confusion and strife that abounds in churches today over the subject of baptism. This is a direct result of the failure of Christianity to study scripture as God told us to. No doubt you cannot help but think that this debate will continue until we are called off this earth because there is no end in sight. Do you want the answer? Most people don’t because most people are so tied to their traditions and water ceremonies. Here is the answer: Ephesians 4:5 “One Lord, one faith, one baptism,” we teach Bible belief over tradition. We teach that words matter. The answer is literally this simple. Paul teaches us that in this age there is “one baptism.” Your church no-doubt teaches at least two or maybe more. If Christianity would just take their Bible literally and spend the time to see what the “one baptism” that Paul teaches is, we would see this division in Christianity dissolve overnight. I know you find this hard to believe because you have been taught differently your whole Christian life. It is hard to believe the Bible over tradition because your whole Christian life you have been taught by hearing your denominations position and then you are given the proof texts for that position. God is NOT pleased with the divisive doctrine of water baptism as taught in Christianity today. Your proof texts for water baptism come from Israel’s kingdom doctrine, NOT from Paul’s gospel of the grace of God. Ephesians 1:13 says you are sealed by the Holy Spirit when you believe the gospel of the grace of God. I Corinthians 12:13, Galatians 3:27 and Romans chapter 6 clearly explain Paul’s one baptism into the body of Christ sealing you eternally “in Christ.” According to the Bible, this Spirit baptism is the ONLY baptism you need. There’s not one drop of water in any of these passages, but you were probably taught there is. When you rightly divide Israel’s prophecy information from our mystery information the Bible becomes clear and understandable. When you mix the two, you end up teaching two baptisms which is clearly a contradiction to the direct teaching of the Apostle Paul. Why do churches today continue to teach there are 2 or more baptisms when the Bible tells us there is 1 for this age? Unfortunately, Christianity is equally, if not more, committed to its old testament legal ceremonial washings than the one baptism of the Holy Spirit that seals us eternally into Jesus Christ.
The Same Mind
If you have read much on this website, you know I mention the confused and divided condition of Christianity quite a bit. Some time ago I had a conversation with an individual about this exact topic. During this conversation I was told that maybe God intended Christianity to be the way it is with many differing viewpoints. I knew at this point I was not going to make any headway and decided to move on. I’ll take the time now to give some Biblical principles worth reading for yourself.
Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
1 Cor 1:10
There is no possible way that God intended for Christianity to be so confused, divided, and stubborn of their religious position. I was appalled quite frankly when this person said what they did. I am in NO way pushing for the ecumenical movement type of coming together which teaches no doctrine and never says anything negative to gain a crowd and tickle ears. I am for the Bible method of coming together. I am for following exactly what scripture tells me to do.
Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
The same person that told you very clearly that we should ALL speak the SAME THING, that there should be NO DIVISIONS, to all be of the SAME MIND and in the SAME JUDGEMENT told you exactly how. I understand this plan is not taught at your church or in the seminary your pastor attended, but it is clearly taught in the Bible. If Christianity would choose to follow their Apostle Paul and study their Bible the way he instructs them to we would see the unity that the Bible says there should be. Read Ephesians 4:3 and 4:13 for the “unity of the Spirit” and the “unity of the faith.” The only unity there is today is the unity of the denomination. It is possible to teach doctrine continually and there still be unity in an assembly of believers. It is only possible to have this unity and the peace that accompanies it when we are following that little two letter word in Philippians 4:9. Did you look for it? The word is “do.” What are you supposed to do? The things you have LEARNED and RECEIVED and HEARD and SEEN in PAUL. You will ONLY be approved by God by following him HIS WAY. (2 Tim 2:15) His way is clearly seen in Phil 4:9. Rightly dividing the Bible is the only path to unity in the body of Christ. You following the person that told you about the body of Christ is the key to righty dividing your Bible. These two are inseparable. And yes Paul was the person to reveal the mystery of the body of Christ.
Today, July 2nd is the one-year anniversary of Grace Bible Study. It has been an exciting year filled with much study, teaching, and learning. In Christianity, success is mostly measured in numbers. The first question you are asked about a church is “how many are you running?” This question is automatic because today you are measured by the seats filled not by the doctrine taught. Most people want to know what kind of music you have and not what doctrine you teach. They want to know if you use one of the new versions of the Bible so it is “easy to read” and not what you believe about the actual words. Many people today come to church to be entertained and not edified. Our focus here is being rooted, built up and stablished in the faith. This can only be accomplished by teaching God’s word from a Pauline perspective. Yes, this will keep us relatively small in comparison to the denominational churches, but God does not measure by numbers, he measures by obedience and belief. God measures by faith in what HE said, because this is all that really matters. As a right divider, I believe every word in my King James Bible as written, believing that God can handle inspiring, and preserving it for my use. I trust every verse in its dispensational context because this is the ONLY way every verse in the Bible can make complete sense and be in perfect harmony with every other verse in scripture. We don’t spend an inordinate amount of time during our services killing time, rather we spend almost every minute letting God’s word lead, guide and direct us as it can so clearly do when studied correctly. We don’t sit around and wait for God’s will to be revealed to us by some circumstance that happens around us, we read, study, and believe God’s will as he spoke it in his word. This probably sounds like a lot of work and yes, it is, but understanding things in scripture that you have always wondered about can be very exciting. Learning that God meant for you to understand his word and that you can understand his word makes the work much easier. I don’t mean just the verses you have heard your whole life, I mean the verses the preacher never preaches and the teacher avoids because they don’t agree with your agenda or denomination. We are about one thing, letting God’s word direct us, not going to God’s word to prove our position. This stance requires letting God be true and every man a liar. Inherent to properly understanding your Bible is separating what God has separated and separating it the way he did. It requires keeping the distinction between Israel and the church that God put in place. It requires seeing the obvious difference between prophecy and mystery that God put in the Bible. It requires NOT pulling verses from anywhere in scripture to try to prove yourself right. It requires following the Apostle that Jesus Christ our Savior called and sent to you. It requires NOT avoiding the verses that don’t agree with your agenda. The outcome of these things is an understanding of scripture you never thought was possible. YES, God wrote his word so you can understand it, but you never will until you stop following the Greek experts, scholars, and commentators and put your faith in what God said. Yes, you will understand concepts, doctrines, and Biblical principles but you will not understand God’s entire plan and purpose throughout the ages. This past year has flown by. How much more do you understand about God’s word now than you did a year ago?
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