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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Were the apostles baptized?

Were the apostles baptized? This is a question which starts a flood of speculations and assertions often with little or no support from the scriptures. Of course, for some Christians the difficulty about this question is compounded by the different and diverse use of the term baptism. There is the 1) baptism of John the baptist for repentance, 2) the baptism which Jesus commanded for forgiveness of sins, 3) the baptism with the Holy Spirit, and 4) the baptism by fire. [1] The latter two of these four were experienced by the apostles and they are related in the scriptures. These were the baptism with the Holy Spirit and baptism by fire, or the cup of suffering, just as Jesus told them they would indeed drink. It is the former two of these four baptisms which the scriptures relate partially. These are the baptism of John for repentance and the baptism commanded by Jesus for the forgiveness of sins. A good distinction between these two baptisms was made by the apostle Paul in Acts 19. Like many questions for which Christians seek answers there is no better understanding to be gained than to look to Jesus and learn the lesson from him. What are the lessons and implications for believers with respect to their own baptism?

Monday, June 26, 2017

Announcements, communion and reading in the assembly by women

The three items which make up the title of this article represent three areas in which my sisters in Christ will soon be active in the assembly of the saints. Our sisters in Christ are being called on by the anointed shepherds of the Lord’s people to make announcements concerning the congregation. They will assist and participate in serving the communion cup and bread as well as the collection. Additionally, they will read from the written word of God before the assembly of the saints. I commend and praise our elders for this decision which, even if it is with the understanding and conviction of the written word of God, there can still be an emotional struggle of the heart, both for leaders and those whom they lead. I do not speak for anyone nor does the content of this article reflect the understanding, convictions and expressions of anyone other than myself.

voices
It ought not to come as a surprise to hear different voices and reactions to such a decision.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Spirits now in prison

in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison 1 Peter 3:19

There is a popular view often heard on the passage above. Often it is seen as sort of a second chance for those who lived and died after a life of disobedience to God. However, this popular message represents a mistaken notion concerning those who lived a life of disobedience to the will God. According to this view the “spirits now in prison” received such a second chance when he (Christ, verse 18) went to make proclamation to them.

two presuppositions
There are two presuppositions which are made concerning this passage both of which are indisputable.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Baptism, baptism by fire, baptism with/in the Holy Spirit

The purpose of this article is to examine three separate and distinct references to baptism. Specifically, it is to be noted that the references by Jesus to these three is separate and apart from the baptism for the forgiveness of sins which he commanded his disciples to carry out as they went preaching the gospel into all the world. Furthermore, the baptism performed by Jesus and his disciples was the only baptism which was in effect at the time, namely, the baptism of John for repentance. The passages in the scriptures do not spell out the meaning of the words spoke by John or Jesus concerning either 1) baptism, 2) baptism by fire and 3) baptism with the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, the meaning is made  evident in the entirety of the life and message of Jesus and his relationship with the disciples. John’s words concerning baptism (1) were about what Jesus was to do in contrast to what John was doing. The words spoken by Jesus have to do with a baptism (2 & 3) of his own which he prophesies the disciples would also be baptized.

Monday, June 12, 2017

You Can Always Get What You Want

Yes, Stones fans. You are correct. The title of my article represents my take with apologies to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. It is taken from their song title, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” Americans of different and diverse socio, religious and political background clamor and protest for what they desire, that is, they want. Those desires and wants are not necessarily wrong, immoral, evil or illegal.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Charge of Heresy

This article examines the teaching concerning the sons of the kingdom. Also, it examines those who preach the message of the kingdom and how both message and messenger are sometimes lightly esteemed and mistakenly dismissed as heresy or a departure from scripture.

Jesus was accused of speaking blasphemy. Unlike heresy, which involves a thought out, albeit erroneous, message blasphemy may occur when one blurts out without thinking or necessarily believing what they have blurted out. Preaching the kingdom of heaven and the will of the Father was what consumed Jesus. He was forever about the Father's business. When he was pressed at his mock trial to answer the questions he replied that he had spoken his message openly to the world for all to hear. There was no need for him to answer so as to defend himself.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Jesus: The Father is Greater than I

Jesus declared in John 14:28 “the Father  is greater than I.” How is this so? This declaration by Jesus is seized as the dagger against deity claims and the scriptures by atheists, skeptics, Muslims, Jews and others. Others seize these words as a contradiction on the teaching of the scriptures. Still others, including so-called unitarians and so-called trinitarians, seize the deity claims of Jesus