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Biblical “Scholarship”?

  

Yesterday, I ran across two different blogs that quoted Kierkegaard in regards to interpreting the Bible.  I have to admit I don’t know much about the man, but I found his statements thought provoking.  For those of us who love to study God’s Word and read scholarly books about the Bible, his quotes help to remind us what the goal is.

“The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obligated to act accordingly.

“Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world? Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship.

“Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close.

“Oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you? Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament.”

– Soren Kierkegaard from the Blog “Kingdom People”

This next section is from the Blog “Don’t Stop Believing”

I am reading Kevin Vanhoozer’s classic book, Is There a Meaning in This Text? (Zonderan, 1998), and I came across this timely parable on p. 16.

Kierkegaard said that some people read Scripture like disobedient subjects responding to their king’s decree.  Instead of obeying the word from their king, they set out to interpret it.  Every day they offer new interpretations about what the king meant, and soon they have so many possible renderings that they get lost in hermeneutics and ignore their need to obey him.

Here is Vanhoozer’s take on Kierkegaard’s point:  “The purpose of interpretation is no longer to recover and relate to a message from one who is other than ourselves, but precisely to evade such a confrontation.  The business of interpretation is busyness:  constantly to produce readings in order to avoid having to respond to the text.

What is the purpose of such interpretation?  Kierkegaard’s answer is cynical yet insightful:  ‘Look more closely, and you will see that it is to defend itself against God’s Word.’”

In our day and time, you can be a agnostic or even an atheist and still be a Biblical scholar.  In the end, their scholarship will never produce the desired results because the whole point of Bible scholarship is missed.

88 Responses to “Biblical “Scholarship”?”

  1. on 22 Mar 2009 at 4:44 pmrobert

    this is by far one the the most important post on this site.
    to understand the truth in the Word of God you first must hold every word to be true. this right here is the most pleasing thing you could ever do for God.
    by taken parts of the Word of God and then applying our life to it is where the interpretation begins. man can not apply his life to the Word of God because we are applying something not devine to something totally devine therefore allowing us interpretation for our own justification.
    but if you apply the whole Word to your life than you must hold it all as the truth which provides for Gods justification.
    either its all truth or its all a lie.
    every word God has ever spoken has meaning to every man that has ever walked on the earth or God wouldnt of spoken it.
    let faith do the interpretation.
    its time for man to put away his toys(which pleases man) and accept manhood as the Truth of the Word of God (which pleases God)

  2. on 22 Mar 2009 at 5:37 pmXavier

    I was told of an interesting site ran by a young MUslim man called muslim-responses.com. Which includes an excellent study on Ps 110.1 and the word adoni.

    Yet, i think to myself, its not only tragic but sad that most of the truth regarding the sound doctrine is being preached either by Muslims or so-called Atheists.

  3. on 22 Mar 2009 at 6:57 pmrobert

    doesnt matter how much truth is taught if it isnt the whole truth than its lukewarm.
    it better to have not seen the word and be cold then to have seen it and deny it.
    there is just a fine line between being cold and hot and its not lukewarm.

    God is asking you to walk with him but wont let you bring what you want with you.

    walk with God and you will be hot.

    Jesus did

  4. on 22 Mar 2009 at 7:01 pmSean

    I know of no scholar who does scholarship in order to confuse the meaning of Scripture or to evade living a Christian life. It’s so sad that Christians spend so much time focusing their energies in polemics against scholarship. Sometimes the atheist scholars are the best because they do not share the “orthodox” bias. Why not look at conservative and liberal scholarship as blessings. For hundreds of years all that existed was Catholic scholarship. I say thank God for the enlightenment and the reformation which grew out of it.

  5. on 23 Mar 2009 at 8:46 amJohnO

    I agree with Sean. Even in the case of scholars who take seriously whacked out claims, none of them are done with the aim to confuse, but rather to simplify what are commonly accepted as tough problems. The Bible is easy to read – that I will agree with. But if you are going to tell me that the Bible is easy to understand in its context, well then I don’t know what Bible you’re reading and what context you think it belongs.

  6. on 23 Mar 2009 at 8:49 amXavier

    enlightment and reformation??

    the only thing we got out of the [badly named] “reformation” were many more children [Protestans] begotten by the “great whore” [Rev 17.1,15].

    and from the so-called “enlightment” Darwinism and Science replacing creationism in schools.

  7. on 23 Mar 2009 at 10:49 amrobert

    God will never reveal any of the confusing to anyone till they accepted every Word is the truth, even then He wont reveal all unless its purposed.
    if you cant accept what is clear you have no chance of ever knowing what is confusing.
    everything in the Word of God that will provide for your salvation is perfectly clear.
    these things are:
    holding the Word of God as the truth whether you understand it or not.
    trying with the best of your abilities as a human to do all the things that please God. these things are so clear thru out the Word of God. Jesus confirms this with his testimony and does nothing unless it pleases God.
    no mans interpretation will ever provide for yor salvation.
    was adams sin eating of the fruit or not doing the one thing that pleased God. believing every word.

    what pleases God is the same for everyone and has never changed thru out the Word of God.
    Jesus will tell you he never knew you if you dont please His Father.

    Wake up you have slept long enough

  8. on 23 Mar 2009 at 10:57 amSean

    Xavier, I suppose you advocate returning to the Dark Ages where to disagree with the Pope meant execution by the church-state? Come on. We need to realize the renaissance, enlightenment, reformation developments did have some good. Of course, they produced new problems as well (like modernism, which has failed too).

    I was musing about translations and critical texts in particular and recalled the immense gratitutde we owe to biblical scholars. Our current Greek text (Nestle Aland 27 or United Bible Society 4) are based on the work of countless scholars. Without them we would be stuck with the Textus Receptus which is filled with errors. But even the TR was due to biblical scholars, and if we didn’t have them we would be stuck with the Vulgate or some update of it. But, then the Vulgate itself was the product of biblical scholarship (Jerome).

  9. on 23 Mar 2009 at 1:34 pmJohnO

    Even Jesus’ parables and Paul’s letters are the product of biblical scholarship.

  10. on 23 Mar 2009 at 1:49 pmSean

    that’s funny…because of course Paul was a biblical scholar! being a Pharisee!

  11. on 23 Mar 2009 at 5:17 pmXavier

    The evolution of the Greek texts did not come via the Reformation nor Enlightenment, but by people like Tyndale and Erasmus, Catholic bishops themselves.

    You guys seem to forget that there were reformers and “enlightened” figures way before these much honoured movements [Thomas Cranmer, Thomas Bilney, John Firth etc]. Movements whose popularity was due to the replacement gospel and false Jesus they continued preaching from their Catholic church days.

    I do not have anything against scholarship per se. But I am against the populist and poisonous nature of such movements who porduced monsters like Calvin and Luther.

  12. on 23 Mar 2009 at 6:14 pmBrian

    Although I did comment on the atheists and agnostics, my intent on posting this was more with the idea in mind of not thinking in terms of THOSE Bible scholars, but rather US Bible “scholars.” For those of us who study the Scriptures (to whatever limited or exhaustive extent that may be) I believe that there can be a temptation to get so caught up in the scholarship, that we can tend to forget that it’s about loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. I am very thankful for some of the Biblical scholarship that has been done and continues to be done, because I want to understand the Scriptures better. However, I do know some people who spend a lot more time reading the scholars rather than the Scriptures and are more excited about current scholarly debates than they are about loving God and serving the Lord.

    Sean, you wrote: “I know of no scholar who does scholarship in order to confuse the meaning of Scripture or to evade living a Christian life.”

    I think this statement expresses a naivete about people, especially those who would reject the God of Scripture. The Scriptures inform us of the state of those who would reject God (Romans 1) and it is not a pretty picture. I’m certainly not of the opinion that this is any majority position, and we can still learn from anyone who presents scholarly information, but I am always more “on guard” when I am reading someone who is coming from a position of unbelief.

  13. on 23 Mar 2009 at 10:13 pmJohnO

    My only issue regarding reading scholarship – especially those of unbelief – is that we do not stoop to the level of committing ad hominem (e.g. I will not listen you, because of who you are, not what you are saying about a particular issue at hand).

  14. on 23 Mar 2009 at 10:34 pmXavier

    Brian: “I do know some people who spend a lot more time reading the scholars rather than the Scriptures and are more excited about current scholarly debates than they are about loving God and serving the Lord.”

    We do this in order to disprove those who “untaught and unstable…wrest the scriptures to their own demise” [2Pe 3.16].

    If we are honest and speak the truth in love [Eph 4.25], our words will be established, while those who lie, may momentarily deceive others. By doing this also we serve and honour our heavenly Father and His Son.

    Just as it pleases the Father to honor Him in those other ways [service, worship etc.] in accordance with the fruits of His spirit [Gal 5.22-23].

  15. on 24 Mar 2009 at 9:09 amSean

    Brian,

    Sean, you wrote: “I know of no scholar who does scholarship in order to confuse the meaning of Scripture or to evade living a Christian life.”

    I think this statement expresses a naivete about people, especially those who would reject the God of Scripture. The Scriptures inform us of the state of those who would reject God (Romans 1) and it is not a pretty picture. I’m certainly not of the opinion that this is any majority position, and we can still learn from anyone who presents scholarly information, but I am always more “on guard” when I am reading someone who is coming from a position of unbelief.

    Maybe I’m naive, but I figure that an agnostic who dedicates his life to studying Jesus or Paul is in it because he is fascinated by them, not because he is intentionally trying to confuse things. Of course, they have their bias, which we need to always be aware of, which is why I completely agree that we need to be on guard as you say. I’m equally on guard when reading evangelical scholarship because of their bias too.

  16. on 24 Mar 2009 at 6:48 pmrobert

    4 God forbid; yea, let God be true, and every man a liar, as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy words, and overcome, when thou art judged.Romans 3:4

  17. on 25 Mar 2009 at 11:40 amprita

    Bible doctrine without love is but a shadow of truth. –A.W. Tozer

  18. on 25 Mar 2009 at 6:13 pmrobert

    here in Isaiah 56 is a few things that pleases God so much that he will offer salvation for doing.
    remember God has appointed Jesus his salvation and as our king .

    the doing evil things are like worshiping satan,man, money,idols like the church buildings,steeples and the cross Jesus was hung on,also sexual misconduct , mans traditions and also changing His words.
    if you do any of the above He wont look upon you or hear your prayers.
    the rest of the evil things we dont do because we fear mans law. kinda messed up huh?

    God has never changed how he feels about His Sabbath, and Jesus never had the authority to change it.

    whats so hard about it.

    Isaiah 56
    The Rewards of Keeping God’s Covenant
    56Thus saith the Lord, Keep ye judgment, [1] and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. 2 Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.

    3 Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying, The Lord hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. 4 For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; 5 Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. 6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; 7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. 8 The Lord GOD which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.

  19. on 25 Mar 2009 at 7:36 pmXavier

    prita: “Bible doctrine without love is but a shadow of truth. –A.W. Tozer”

    Hosea: “There is no faithfulness, no kindness, no knowledge of God… My people are being destroyed because they don’t know me…O foolish people! You refuse to understand, so you will be destroyed.”

  20. on 17 Aug 2009 at 7:27 pmRandy

    Regarding #19, I have been searching for the thoughts of those who post here regarding the Sabbath. I have failed to see what you actually believe. Has it been replaced by Sunday worship and was it rightfully done? Sir Buzzard while a member of WCG worshiped on the Sabbath, does he now still do so? Would like to hear a comment on that.

  21. on 17 Aug 2009 at 7:56 pmrobert

    Randy
    Jesus observed and preached on the sabbath till he died, the disciples observed and preached on the sabbath. just because they came together to break bread( have supper) on the first day and Paul preached to the other disciples who had the holy ghost and needed not to be preached to ,most claim it has been changed. but then again the same people who say it was changed say it was done away with. go figure.
    Mr Armstrong started out as a man of God with true doctrine but fell later in his life to the temptation of satan and followed his own glory as a self proclaim prophet which time proved him false.
    best way to know is use whats clear thru out the NT

  22. on 18 Aug 2009 at 1:02 amWolfgang

    Randy,

    you mention above

    I have been searching for the thoughts of those who post here regarding the Sabbath.

    it may be interesting to first define what one is referring to with the term “sabbath”? Some use the term as if it were a synonym for “Saturday” (that is, a name of a particular day of the week), is this how the term is used in the Scriptures? Or does “sabbath” actually not a name of a day of the week but mean something different?

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  23. on 18 Aug 2009 at 6:26 amMark C.

    Sir Buzzard while a member of WCG worshiped on the Sabbath, does he now still do so? Would like to hear a comment on that.

    No, he doesn’t. After leaving WCG, he spent years studying the Scriptures and debating it with others, and came to the conclusion that the New Covenant has replaced the Old, and that observing the Sabbath is not a requirement for a Christian. You can read his writing about it here:

    http://focusonthekingdom.org/articles/sabbathbook.pdf

  24. on 18 Aug 2009 at 8:30 amJohnO

    The NT (especially Hebrews) suggest that the Christian has entered into the Sabbath permanently. Of course, Sabbath, as patterned on the creation story, means (in the ANE context) stability and order (against chaos). It is not a “God got tired and rested”, but rather “God completed his work of creating order in the world and now enters his temple.” Being that the actual community of Christians is the temple now, and stability and order is found in New Creation – we can understand why they would have written that the Christian has entered into the Sabbath permanently.

  25. on 18 Aug 2009 at 10:38 amSean

    I just recorded a Truth Matters episode where Sir Anthony Buzzard talks about his experience keeping the Sabbath for 14 years under the oppressive Worldwide Church of God organization. He even recounts a time when, at his aunts house, he finagled a savory piece of roast pork into his pocket and then flushed it down the toilet in order to keep kosher and yet not offend his aunt. It will be a couple of weeks before that show is available on the website (www.truthmattersradio.com), but suffice it to say that Anthony is squarely opposed to bringing people back under the yoke of Torah.

  26. on 18 Aug 2009 at 10:55 amWolfgang

    Hi,

    it seems to me from years of experience with Christians of various theological backgrounds that leaving the yoke of Torah behind and walking in the liberty of Christ is perhaps a step which only a few have taken.

    There are many yokes kept alive in Christendom … and in some cases it seems a few other things are turned into yokes and are added to the spectrum (e.g. different rituals of water baptism, vegetarianism, Sabbath day keeping, Jewish feasts keeping, continuance to adhere to the physical ‘foreshadows’ rather than recognizing the spiritual realities, sacraments, etc ….)

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  27. on 18 Aug 2009 at 11:54 amSean

    Wolfgang,

    physical is not bad

    do you believe in communion?

  28. on 18 Aug 2009 at 1:12 pmRandy

    Thanks to all you for your comments. Sean, especially like yours as you related that experience with Anthony. Wolfgang, what can I say but the depths of your thoughts and comments have to be as one might say, “slept on for a night or so” so as to meditate on them. I say that with a token of jest and realism.

  29. on 18 Aug 2009 at 5:39 pmMatthew Janzen

    Speaking about the torah as being a yoke is entirely unscriptural. I’m sorry to use such forthright language, but I do not know how else to describe it. All one needs to do is read Psalm 119; this clearly shows the Torah as liberty (specifically verse 45) which is the opposite of a yoke.

    I have spoken to Anthony about this subject through email and over the telephone, and would be willing to have a public discussion with Anthony or anyone else who takes the position of the Torah being a yoke of bondage, or being done away with under the New Covenant.

    Matthew Janzen

  30. on 18 Aug 2009 at 7:14 pmRay

    It seems to me that in the old testament writings the law was not
    spoken of as a yoke, but in the gospel letters of Paul we see (in & under the new coveanant) that it is spoken of that way.

  31. on 18 Aug 2009 at 7:48 pmBrian

    Matthew,

    I am curious as to what your understanding is of the following verses in light of your comment

    Galatians 5
    1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
    2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
    3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
    4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

  32. on 18 Aug 2009 at 7:57 pmrobert

    the only yoke of the torah was the penalty for breaking it,but the New covenant done away with the penalty(curse) of the law not the law. GOD has let the body of Christ with Jesus being the head of the body judge and God will deal out the punishment not man.
    there were things done away with but the law was never a burden and has always been just.
    people being executed before they could repent was what was unjust because mens ego’s were ruling over that instead of the law. only a righteous man can pass judgement and there were none then and there is none now except for the true body of Christ and Jesus.

  33. on 18 Aug 2009 at 8:27 pmrobert

    Brian

    I think Jesus makes it clear that you have misunderstood the verses you quoted and i will take Jesus over anyone elses words because they were commanded of him by God to speak. Paul spoke the truth its just you that contradicts the words Jesus spoke

    Matthew 5:18

    For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled

    Luke 16:17

    And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail

  34. on 18 Aug 2009 at 8:39 pmXavier

    The Sabbath-keeping Christian debate is a matter of certain “Christians” simply not BELIEVING or accepting what Paul [cp. Rom. 2:25–29; 4:9–16; Gal. 2:3–5; 5:2–12; 6:12–15] and the other NT writers say regarding the ‘New Covenant’ theology under Messiah Jesus. Either recognize it as God inspired “Scripture” [on par with the Hebrew writings] or not!!

    The general consensus is that the “yoke” metaphor was a common Judaism idiom to describe what The Law [Heb. torah; Gk. nomos] had BECOME [Mat 23.4] due to the Jewish interpretation of the law, with its extensive list of proscriptions. Hence the ‘Jerusalem Council’ described in Acts 15:

    “…some men [Jewish Christians] came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, ‘Unless you are a circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved’…[Peter Stood up and said to them] ‘why are you putting God to the test a by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will’.” Acts 15.10-11

    “The rabbis often used the metaphor of a yoke with reference to the law, and Peter’s reference to “yoke” here refers not just to circumcision but to the whole of the Mosaic law (see note on v. 1). By speaking of the law as an unbearable yoke, Peter was not denying that the law was God’s gift to Israel. Rather, he was arguing that Israel was unable to fulfill it perfectly and that salvation could not be obtained through the law (cf. Rom. 2:17–24). Only one means of salvation exists for both Jew and Gentile: God’s “grace” (Acts 15:11) in Jesus Christ. Paul also refers to any requirement to keep the OT laws as “a yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1). By contrast, Jesus calls people to take his new “yoke” upon them, a yoke that is easy (cp. Matt. 11:29).” ESV study notes on Acts 15.10-11

    Now, if you disagree with this simple teaching don’t keep calling yourself a Christian. It is not only hypocritical but most importantly, does not truly represent the sound doctrine of the Lord Jesus:

    “Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has PROFANED THE BLOOD OF THE COVENANT BY WHICH HE WAS SANCTIFIED, AND HAS OUTRAGED THE SPIRIT OF GRACE?

    For we know him who said, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay.’ And again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Heb 10.28-31

  35. on 18 Aug 2009 at 9:13 pmrobert

    “Now, if you disagree with this simple teaching don’t keep calling yourself a Christian.”

    if you call yourself a christian then i think i might want to rethink what i call myself cause i dont agree with you and as far as i can see Jesus does not either.

  36. on 18 Aug 2009 at 9:36 pmKarl

    Now, if you disagree with this simple teaching don’t keep calling yourself a Christian.

    With this type of attitude it is understandable why Early Christianity quickly turned away from all things Jewish, even to the point of denying monotheism.

  37. on 18 Aug 2009 at 10:03 pmrobert

    “Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses.”

    i dont care if you have 100 witnesses, no one has the right to take a life for breaking any of the mosaic laws because GOD DONE AWAY WITH THE PUNISHMENT(CURSE) OF THE LAW NOT THE LAW.
    ALL PUNISHMENT IS GODS AND GODS ONLY.
    THE LAW NEVER JUSTIFIED BEFORE SO WHY WOULD IT NOW.
    IT JUST SHOWS WHO THE REAL CHILDREN OF GOD ARE.
    FAITH HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE ONLY MEANS OF SALVATION.
    BUT THOSE WHO ARE SAVED FOLLOW THE MORALS (LAW) OF GOD OUT OF LOVE FOR GOD.

    Romans 2:13

    (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

    Romans 7:12

    Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

  38. on 18 Aug 2009 at 10:09 pmSean

    Matthew,

    When I said Torah was a yoke I specifically had Acts 15.10 in mind, but Brian’s reference is equally valid.

  39. on 18 Aug 2009 at 11:50 pmRay

    It seems to me that when Paul told the people to not let any man
    judge them about sabbath days and such (Col 3:16) that it was because God would not be with any man who would judge them about those things. It would always be Satan working through people who are doing that, and not just some of the time, but all
    the time. It never would be the spirit of God working through such
    a man by Jesus Christ, ever.

    Let’s remember that this which was written (Col 3:16) was of Paul
    the apostle. He was not an apostate, but an apostle of Christ.

    Yet, some seem to think to have some greater revelation as if they
    are an apostle of Christ, being unwilling to submit to the Lord.

  40. on 18 Aug 2009 at 11:54 pmXavier

    robert and Karl

    You call yourself whatever you want to call yourself, its a free country. But i belief that whoever calls himself a Christian [and not a Judaizaer] by definition MUST adhere to the “law of Christ” and his apostles [Peter, Paul and the rest of the NT writers] and not the Mosaic “yoke”.

    If this “type of attitude” is not to your liking or belief it is separatist, then “anyone who does not gather with me scatters” [Mat 12.30; cp. Lu 9.40; 11.23; Mar 9.40]. This refers to a believer of Jesus who is outside of his circle.

    “But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, ‘It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles…But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and w drove them out of their district. But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium.” Acts 13.45-51

    “[Paul] reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks..Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus. And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, ‘Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles’.” Acts 18.4-6

    I guess the [Jewish] apostles were anti-Jewish as well???

  41. on 19 Aug 2009 at 12:52 amrobert

    “If this “type of attitude” is not to your liking or belief it is separatist, then “anyone who does not gather with me scatters”

    i think run would be more like it.
    believe what you will but for Gods sakes dont teach it because that is just plain murder of a soul

  42. on 19 Aug 2009 at 12:52 amrobert

    “If this “type of attitude” is not to your liking or belief it is separatist, then “anyone who does not gather with me scatters”

    i think run would be more like it.
    believe what you will but for Gods sakes dont teach it because that is just plain murder of a soul

  43. on 19 Aug 2009 at 2:46 amXavier

    robert,

    teach what?? what is “murder of a soul” exactly? your losing me here buddy.

  44. on 19 Aug 2009 at 2:55 amWolfgang

    Sean,

    you wrote above

    physical is not bad
    do you believe in communion?

    sure, physical is not bad … and a shadow is not bad either (especially when it’s hot) … BUT how do you view the shadow when compared to the reality that threw the shadow?

    As for communion, I certainly do NOT believe in it as being a sacrament or as some physical action by which mystically something supposedly spiritual happens … As I read the Lord’s words concerning the matter in the gospel records, I notice that he did not attach some miracle working power to it, nor did he use some kind of special holy bread or holy wine, nor did he mention anything mystically about it. He made no promises that eating said bread and drinking wine would produce any physical or spiritual healing or whatever for the person eating or drinking. He used the regular bread and wine available at that last evening meal he had with his disciples and asked them “to do this in remembrance of me”.

    Only in later times were such ideas and interpretations attached to the Lord’s words and a “sacrament” instituted. Interestingly, while the protestant reformation did away with several of the roman sacraments, they did keep two sacraments: holy communion and water baptism. Sort of like they did away with a few teachings, but kept the trinity doctrine as one of the main pillars of their faith.

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  45. on 19 Aug 2009 at 7:49 amKarl

    But i belief that whoever calls himself a Christian [and not a Judaizaer] by definition MUST adhere to the “law of Christ” and his apostles [Peter, Paul and the rest of the NT writers] and not the Mosaic “yoke”.

    Acts 21:20 And when they heard it they began glorifying God; and they said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed, and they are all zealous for the Law;

    I suppose these law-keeping Jews were by definition non-Christians?

    Read the whole chapter of Acts 21 where Paul takes part in a temple vow and sacrifice to prove that he himself “walks orderly, keeping the law.” (verse 24) Should we conclude that he was not a Christian?

    The truth is that most, if not all, the early Jewish Christians continued to walk according to the law of Moses. They saw no contradiction between walking in the customs of their ancestors and believing in Christ, just as you or I do not. To say that one cannot observe the law of Moses and the “law of Christ” is like saying that one cannot observe the law of Christ and the laws of the US government at the same time.

    Regarding the law of Christ, where is the law of Christ stated in scripture? What are differences between the law of Christ and the law of Moses that make it impossible to be an observer of both?

    I guess the [Jewish] apostles were anti-Jewish as well???

    Of course not.

    Perhaps I should clarify my earlier statement: “With this type of attitude it is understandable why Early Christianity quickly turned away from all things Jewish, even to the point of denying monotheism.”

    The early church quickly spread into all nations. There developed from a very early era different forms of Christianity: Roman, Armenian, Syrian, Assyrian, Greek, Coptic and Ethiopian Christianity. What you don’t see though is Jewish Christianity. That’s because Jews were eventually forced to choose between Christ and their national customs. The leaders of the church adopted your attitude: Christ or Moses, Jew or Christian, not both… However, gentiles developed a Christianity that was understood in their own cultural context. Jews, if they wanted to accept Christ, had to reject Jewish customs and then accept gentile ones. So once Jewishness and Mosaic institutions are repudiated, I do not find it surprising that doctrines like the Trinity became established in the church from a fairly early date. That’s just my interpretation of history though…

  46. on 19 Aug 2009 at 7:56 amMatthew Janzen

    Hi, Brian,

    This is a response to your question in post #31.

    Galatians 5:1-4 is specifically speaking about justification by the law, and using circumcision as one aspect. This has to be the case for Paul states that “if you be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.” If we take this as a “blanket” statement then Christ profits me nothing, and a whole host of other men I’ve met throughout the years who are all circumcised. Christ would profit Timothy (Acts 16:4) nothing as well.

    However, Paul is specifically talking about those who are placing circumcision or any other commandment as a means of justification. This is why Paul speaks of being a debtor to do the whole law. He is telling his audience that if they believe that justification comes by the law then they had better be keeping the entire law perfectly, i.e. sinlessly. Of course this was not being done by them, and neither can it be done by you or I. We are not justified by the law, but rather by our faith in Christ.

    It is definitely a yoke of bondage upon a person, when someone else tells them that they must keep the law in order to be justified/declared righteous in God’s eyes. What you are telling them is they must bear the weight of their own sins, which is an impossibility.

    Have a good day, Brian!

  47. on 19 Aug 2009 at 8:05 amMatthew Janzen

    Good day, Sean,

    This is a response to your post #38.

    Acts 15:10 doesn’t say anything about the Torah being a yoke of bondage. We should be good Bereans here. If we were standing there that day listening to a person talk about placing a yoke of bondage upon someone else we would never get from searching the scriptures (which would be the OT scriptures) that the Torah was a yoke of bondage. We would immediately think of Psalm 119:45 which says a man will walk at liberty because he seeks God’s precepts. We might also think of Proverbs 3:1-2 which speak of the law as bringing length of days, long life, and peace. Never would the Scriptures direct us to believe the Torah was a yoke.

    What was the yoke of bondage in Acts 15:10? It must have been the Jewish brethren (vs. 1, 5) which were trying to tell the Gentiles who believed that they must be circumcised and keep the law of Moses before they could be saved. This, too, would be contrary to Scripture, for our Father Abraham believed God in Genesis 15 and it was reckoned unto him as righteousness. He wasn’t circumcised until Genesis 17.

    Acts 15:11 sheds light on this, for it speaks of being saved through grace rather than the works of the law. Peter was simply saying that no one should require for the Gentile believers to be saved any other way than the rest of them had been saved, by grace.

  48. on 19 Aug 2009 at 10:04 amXavier

    Karl,

    I agree with you that most of “the early Jewish Christians continued to walk according to the Law of Moses” [including, it seems, the ‘elders’ of the Jerusalem Church]. But Paul’s anti-Judaizer stance is made very clear by the many references to the Law as a “yoke” and books devoted solely to combat it [i.e. Galatians]. It would be odd indeed if Paul suddenly were to support the very people he constantly criticizes and warns against. If anything, I believe Paul’s attitude is simply that of a peacemaker in order to keep “the bond of peace” among his fellow Jews. How else would you explain their attitude to Paul after he seemingly upholds Torah customs and practices [Acts 21.27ff]? I believe he is acting like a true evangelist and agent of Christ when he becomes a Greek for the Greek and Jew for the Jew in order to win those to Christ. Why else would he also seemingly follow Torah custom when he circumcises Timothy if not “BECAUSE of the Jews who were in those places” [Acts 16.3] and not because he agrees with the Torah and its requirements.

    The comparison you make between serving the Mosaic and Messianic laws with that of the ‘law of the land’ is not relevant either. Scripture does command us to obey the laws of the land but God’s instituted laws [through men like Moses and Jesus] are another thing entirely.

    So to answer your question [What are differences between the law of Christ and the law of Moses that make it impossible to be an observer of both?], Jesus’ saying “no servant can serve two masters” [Matt 6:24; Luke 16:13; cp. Rom 6:16; James 4:4] should be observed in this instance. Further, “you are SEVERED from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace” (Gal. 5:4).

    ‘where is the law of Christ stated in scripture?’ Mat 5.7ff; Gal 6.2:

    “The ‘law of Christ’ in a broad sense means the entire body of ethical teaching that Jesus gave and endorsed (1 Cor. 9:21)…Paul seems to distinguish between the Jewish law and something he calls alternately ‘the commandments of God’ (cf. 1 Cor 7:19) and ‘the law of Christ,’ which is of continuing validity for Christians, whatever their ethnicity.

    This second law appears to include the ethical teaching of Jesus as well as absorbing both the theological structure and many of the moral precepts of the Mosaic law. (See, e.g., Rom. 7:7, 12, 22; 13:8–10; Gal. 5:14; 6:2; Eph. 6:2) This ‘law of Christ’ today would also include the moral commands of the NT epistles, since in them the apostles interpreted and applied Christ’s life and teachings to the NT churches.” ESV study note

    We must accept and follow the rest of the NT authors as authoritative and God inspired [heance, ‘divine’] as that of our Lord Jesus!!! Something one of the apostles themselves recognizes:

    “…our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.” 2Pe 3.15-16

  49. on 19 Aug 2009 at 10:20 amXavier

    Matthew,

    so are you saying that we are NOT saved by Torah, yet we should keep it???

    if salvation is to be found “in Christ ALONE”, why should we ourselves obey and teach others to keep something [Torah] that will not bring us ANY profit??

    aren’t we Christians because we seek freedom from this “present evil age” and eternal life [ie. salvation] in the KOG to come???

    wasn’t the Law intitially given to Israel for their redemption and entrance to the KOG? According to Rom 10.4:

    “For Christ is the end of the Law [the limit at which it ceases to be, for the Law leads up to Him [Christ] who is the fulfillment of its types, and in Him [Christ] the purpose which it was designed to accomplish is fulfilled. That is, the purpose of the Law is fulfilled in Him (Christ)] as the means of righteousness (right relationship to God) for everyone who trusts in and adheres to and relies on Him [Christ].” AB

    “So that the Law served [to us Jews] as our trainer [our guardian, (schoolmaster, tutor) our guide to Christ, to lead us] until Christ [came], that we might be justified (declared righteous, put in right standing with God) by and through faith.” Gal 3.24

    Doesn’t obedience lie in the fact that we must understand and rely on the Gospel of the KOG and the name of the Lord Jesus Christ [Acts 8.12]??

    It seems to me that if we do not fully rely on Messiah Jesus we are not obeying YHWH!!

  50. on 19 Aug 2009 at 10:46 amrobert

    Jesus and His disciples mission was to bring about Faith so that a person could receive the Word of God written in the flesh(Holy Spirit) where it no longer could be corrupted by men. there was no reason for them to push the Morals of God because without Faith they meant nothing. the truth you receive upon the gift of the Holy Spirit will allow for you to be a doer of the law out of love for God not the love of your own flesh. the penalty(curse) of the law was only effective because men loved their lives more than they loved God. the Word becoming flesh was the better way that God promised through the Prophets. why should you burden someone with the law when upon receiving the Holy Spirit you will be compelled to follow all Gods Morals out of the Truth that is written in your Heart.
    it is your life in the kingdom thats important

    Xavier
    the last verses you wrote are so true, so follow what is says

  51. on 19 Aug 2009 at 11:06 amXavier

    robert,

    maybe its just me but you make no sense my friend…

    Good luck

  52. on 19 Aug 2009 at 11:24 amrobert

    maybe its you and thousands like you.after all thats how the trinitry exist.
    doesnt matter what false doctrine or how many you follow, it just takes one to disconnect you from God.
    oh maybe that makes no sense either

  53. on 19 Aug 2009 at 11:58 amSean

    Matthew,

    in regards to comment #47…

    You said that the yoke was the Jewish brethren and not the Law of Moses. I realize that your a priori pro-Law position colors your understanding of this (hence your quotation of Psalms and Proverbs). In fact, you believe that it is unthinkable to refer to the Law as a yoke. Even so, I find your hypothesis unconvincing. The issue at hand is that Gentile Christians (who were indisputably saved) were being told by Judaizers in Antioch that they also needed to keep the Law of Moses (including circumcision). Is this not precisely what you, yourself, teach? Maybe I’m just off here. But, as I understand your beliefs, you teach that Gentiles do need to keep the Law of Moses, not in order to become saved, but because they are already saved. I wonder, what is the consequence, according to your understanding, of a Christian Gentile not keeping the Law of Moses? Furthermore, is it not plain that the result of the Jerusalem council was that Gentiles need not keep the Law of Moses rather that they merely need to abstain from blood, strangled animals, and fornication? What about circumcision? What about shabbat? What about mixed fabrics? Surely the decision of the apostles needs to be taken seriously here, wouldn’t you agree?

  54. on 19 Aug 2009 at 11:59 amSean

    Xavier and Robert,

    Please be kind to each other.

  55. on 19 Aug 2009 at 12:37 pmXavier

    Sean,

    here’s a trustworthy saying…

    “You can please all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot please all the people all the time.”

    shulem

  56. on 19 Aug 2009 at 1:18 pmrobert

    very common saying

    heres one that would fit the time when most false doctrine was formed.

    If you cant please them kill them.

    the truth doesnt have to please and often doesnt when your whole life has been based on a lie.
    the truth should be spoken no matter who it pleases or hurts ,it is better than living a lie that will hurt more than anything you have felt in the flesh. i am speaking of when Jesus says he never knew you

  57. on 19 Aug 2009 at 9:43 pmRay

    About what Paul did in Acts 21, isn’t it like a man who eats with chop sticks when he is in some kind of restaurant where he would offend people if he didn’t, but when the man is walking his usual life he eats with a fork and spoon?

    Would it be fair to point to the man at a time when he ate with chop sticks in order to ‘paint the picture’ of him as a differnent man
    than he really was?

    Wouldn’t that be like taking a picture of a man when he’s doing something he usually doesn’t do, for the sake of showing everyone
    what he is like without showing the context?

    Who are the people who corrupt the word of God?

    Paul said by the holy spirit concering himself and his company:
    17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but
    as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.
    (II Cor 2)

    Should Christians listen to those who misrepresent the Lord’s apostle?

    You who live at times in those things which are of the Law, do you
    do so as Paul did in order to redeem them who are under the Law?

    If you are for the things which Paul did, why do you not do likewise? Why do you not follow him?

    What is hypocrisy but something to be redeemed from by the blood
    of Christ through repentance? (For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God)

  58. on 20 Aug 2009 at 12:37 amXavier

    Sean and Matthew,

    Hebrews 5.8-9 says: “Although he [Jesus] was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he [Jesus] became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him [Jesus]…”

    would you agree that obedience=salvation? or are these 2 distinct biblical principles regarding Jewish-Christian faith??

  59. on 20 Aug 2009 at 7:11 amMatthew Janzen

    Hi, Sean,

    Thank you for your kind response (#53).

    I believe the yoke spoken of in Acts 15:10 is not the Jewish brethren in and of themselves, but rather the statement that the Jewish brethren made in Acts 15:1. They were saying that except a man is circumcised according the custom of Moses (and keep the law of Moses, vs. 5) he cannot be saved. They were thus making the statement that people like Cornelius and other non-Jewish believers were not saved until they participated in full adherence to the law of Moses. What this does is places the weight of a man’s sin upon his own shoulders, and requires full or complete compliance in obedience to someone who is new to the Messianic faith.

    I do believe it is unthinkable to refer to the Torah as a yoke. Psalm 119:45 proves it is not a yoke, as does the entire chapter (Psalm 119). Think about this, when Yahweh brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, He brought them out of the house of bondage (Exodus 20:2). After this He led them to Mt. Sinai to give them the law; was this bringing them back into bondage? Not at all, yet this is the position one would have to take if they believe the Torah to be a yoke of bondage. There are numerous Scriptures (which is what we must search here – Acts 17:10-11) that disprove the idea that the Torah is a yoke.

    The issue in Acts 15 was not that the Jewish brethren taught that the Gentiles also needed to keep the law. The issue was that they were teaching that they must first be circumcised (and keep the law of Moses) in order to be saved. If the conclusion is that the Gentiles need not keep the law, why then give them four necessary laws that they must keep in Acts 15:20? Also, were these the only four laws that the Gentiles were required to keep? These four and no more? This is not the understanding, and that is why verse 21 is stated. The conclusion is that the Gentiles stop their most detestable habits for now (the 4 necessary things) because they will hear Moses being read in the synagogues as they attend service every Sabbath (vs. 21). They will learn the rest of the law as they grow in grace and knowledge, but to tell them they must be circumcised before they can be saved (Acts 15:1) or to place the entire law of Moses upon those who were turning/converting (Acts 15:19) to God is something that Peter and James nor their fathers were able to bear.

    You asked about the consequence of a Gentile Christian not keeping the law of Moses. The answer is that they will hear the words depart from ye you workers of iniquity, I never knew you (Matthew 7:21-23). Now Sean, please understand that I am not speaking of someone keeping the law perfectly, whether Jew or Gentile. I am speaking of someone that practices sin and shuns God’s law. The Bible makes it very plain that all have sinned (Romans 3:23), but when we are converted by grace through faith in Christ, God conforms us over time to the image of his dear Son. We grow in knowledge and mature in obedience. We may not have used to honor our parents, but we do now keep this law of Moses towards our parents, because God is working in our hearts. The same goes for laws like bearing false witness, committing adultery in our hearts, breaking the Sabbath, etc. We begin to have a deep desire to keep God’s law because it is written upon our hearts (Hebrews 8:8-10). This is truly what the New Covenant is.

    This is precisely what is being spoken about in Acts 15. The Gentiles needed to start following the four laws given in Acts 15:20 immediately. This must have been the sins they were the most steeped in, in their pagan culture. However, this did not mean obedience stopped there for them. They would continue to learn of God’s law (the law of Moses) as they attended synagogue service every Sabbath (Acts 15:21). In time they would cease to be a servant of sin and instead be a slave to righteousness.

    Thanks for your time Sean, and have a blessed day!

  60. on 20 Aug 2009 at 9:25 amXavier

    Matthew,

    do you exclude circumcision from your assesment of Acts 15?

    if so, do you advocate circumcision as part of your definition of “obedience to God’s law” and not salvation based on grace [Messiah Jesus]?

  61. on 20 Aug 2009 at 9:46 amSean

    Matthew,

    Just to clarify, I see two issues in the first century with regard to the Law of Moses. The first is the question as to whether or not Gentiles need to keep the Jewish Law. The second is whether or not Jews need to continue keeping the Law or are they freed now too? For this conversation you and I are most definitely focusing on the first issue here which is specific to Gentiles. It may be helpful to keep in mind that the covenant that God made through Moses with Israel was specific to that nation. It was just as much a constitution (involving many civil laws) as it was a moral and sacrificial system. This covenant was never made with other nations (i.e. Gentiles) though they could become proselytes, that is, they could undergo circumcision and micvah in order to become Jews. Quite a few Gentiles admired the Jewish religion but did not wish to take upon themselves the full yoke of Torah (including circumcision). (Btw, Jews themselves refer to the Torah as a yoke.) These people were called God-fearers and they attended synagogue throughout the Mediterranean world. These people in particular were the ones that the rabbis and elders in the synagogues lost to Paul every time he showed up to preach the gospel. Paul’s gospel did not include keeping the Law of Moses which made it uniquely qualified to reach these Gentiles. Thus, when they became Christians the Jews got mad at Paul and his companions and did whatever it took to get them out of the cities. (I’d be interested in your take on this interpretation).

    Also, you say that Psalm 119 unequivocally defeats the notion that the Law could be considered a yoke (despite the clear evidence in Acts 15.10 and Galatians 5.1-4). However, could it be that both are true? Could it be that the Law is both freeing in some ways and a yoke in others? There are many ways in which the Law brings freedom to people. For example, if my neighbor and I both live in a society where the law prevents theft, we have a mutual freedom to not worry (at least as much) about my neighbor stealing my car. He knows that if he stole it he would be investigated and brought to justice by the police, so even if he envies my car he will not steal it. The result is a freedom that is unavailable without law (that is, unless the two neighbors walk by the spirit which transcends law). Yet, the Law is also a yoke. Like the yoke on an ox it keeps someone going straightforward when he would want to turn. The yoke is a burden but it is a helpful burden. These functions are replaced in the New Covenant by the holy spirit which is why the Scripture says “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law” (Galatians 5.18).

    I’m still unconvinced of your interpretation of Acts 15. I do not quite understand the distinction you are trying to point out. At first I thought you might have been saying that Gentiles need not keep the law to be Christians (or to enter the kingdom) but it is advisable. But then you clearly stated that if Gentiles do not keep the Law then they will be damned on the Day of Judgment (i.e. they will not be saved). Please clarify. I’m really having a hard time distinguishing your own position from that of the Judaizers who said in Acts 15.1 “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” Is this not what you believe? Obviously circumcision is part of the Law. You said that if a Gentile did not endeavor to keep the Law then he would be condemned. Doesn’t this clearly mean that you believe precisely what the Judaizers of Acts 15.1 believed?

    Furthermore, when the letter was sent out by the apostles the text of it read:

    Acts 15.23-29
    23 and they sent this letter by them, “The apostles and the brethren who are elders, to the brethren in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia who are from the Gentiles, greetings. 24 “Since we have heard that some of our number to whom we gave no instruction have disturbed you with their words, unsettling your souls, 25 it seemed good to us, having become of one mind, to select men to send to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 “Therefore we have sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will also report the same things by word of mouth. 28 “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials: 29 that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell.”

    The Gentiles who heard this letter read to them would have concluded that they did not have to keep the Law of Moses but instead just keep these four things. The first three have to do with food and the fourth with sexual purity. Notice that the food laws for Gentiles are not the same as Leviticus 11. I have understood these injunctions to be practical requirements for Jewish and non-Jewish fellowship over a meal (especially communion). A Jew would not be able to share a meal with a Gentile if the food had blood in it or was sacrificed to idols, etc. Furthermore, in Paul’s epistle to the Corinthians (chapter 5) he says that Christians should not even eat with a so-called brother who is sexually immoral (i.e. fornication). So, my understanding is that these brief set of laws were so that Jews and non-Jews could worship and fellowship together as followers of Jesus.

  62. on 20 Aug 2009 at 11:53 amrobert

    Xavier
    You seem to believe that GRACE is giving freely, if this was so then what would be the purpose of being a Good christian when all have been saved by Grace without any requirements to please the One who is giving this Grace.
    From what i read i believe that Salvation comes through Faith and Works . Grace is Giving By God to those who seek to please God but come up short of perfection. Grace Forgives us for being made imperfect.
    yes Grace will save those seeking to please God, But there will be no Grace giving to those who use Grace as an excuse to continue sinning(practicing lawlessness).
    this is what mainstream christianity teaches which is completely false and seems to me what you believe.
    FAITH MUST COME FIRST AND WORKS SHOULD FOLLOW BECAUSE FAITH WILL DIE WITHOUT WORKS.
    GRACE WILL BE GIVING BY THESE 2 FOR SALVATION

  63. on 20 Aug 2009 at 7:27 pmXavier

    robert,

    “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ…For by grace you have been saved a through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Eph 2.4-5, 8-9

    Only one means of salvation exists for both Jew and Gentile: God’s “grace” (Acts 15:11) IN Jesus Christ. I do not believe that this grace should be taken advantage of or made “an excuse to continue (practice lawlessness)”, as you rightly say.

    “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and o do not practice the truth…If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us…By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him OUGHT TO WALK IN THE SAME WAY HE WALKED.” 1Jn 1.6, 10; Jn 2.5

  64. on 20 Aug 2009 at 7:55 pmrobert

    Grace is just the chance to be saved.
    Faith justifies that Grace(chance)
    works justifies the Faith.
    so it is true that by Grace we are saved cause without it no one would be saved.
    but on a personal level it takes Faith with the works to back it up. for without the works all faith is dead and there is no salvation for a man.
    Jesus say he never knew those who lived in faith in him because they did not walk in Gods ways which is works

  65. on 20 Aug 2009 at 8:05 pmBrian

    Matthew

    In comment 59 you wrote:

    Think about this, when Yahweh brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, He brought them out of the house of bondage (Exodus 20:2). After this He led them to Mt. Sinai to give them the law; was this bringing them back into bondage? Not at all, yet this is the position one would have to take if they believe the Torah to be a yoke of bondage.

    I couldn’t help but think of the following verses.

    Galatians 4:21-5:1

    Tell me, you who want to be under law, do you not listen to the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman and one by the free woman. But the son by the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and the son by the free woman through the promise. This is allegorically speaking, for these women are two covenants: one proceeding from Mount Sinai bearing children who are to be slaves; she is Hagar. Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother.
    For it is written,
    “REJOICE, BARREN WOMAN WHO DOES NOT BEAR;
    BREAK FORTH AND SHOUT, YOU WHO ARE NOT IN LABOR;
    FOR MORE NUMEROUS ARE THE CHILDREN OF THE DESOLATE
    THAN OF THE ONE WHO HAS A HUSBAND.”
    And you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise. But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also. But what does the Scripture say?
    “CAST OUT THE BONDWOMAN AND HER SON,
    FOR THE SON OF THE BONDWOMAN SHALL NOT BE AN HEIR WITH THE SON OF THE FREE WOMAN.”
    So then, brethren, we are not children of a bondwoman, but of the free woman. It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

    I don’t think that Paul is speaking only in reference to being saved by the law. The context of this section is speaking on much broader terms than that.

    Galatians 3:1-5
    1 You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain–if indeed it was in vain? So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?

  66. on 20 Aug 2009 at 8:28 pmRay

    It seems to me that God brought Israel out of the bondage of
    Egypt to bring them into the confines and servanthood to himself
    which would have been liberation from the flesh had they received
    by faith that gospel which was hidden in types and figures, and shadows, which was yet to be seen in the flesh till the future time
    when the Messiah would be revealed. However, very, very few entered into that rest. It seems to me that King David was one that
    did enter in through faith, though he did not see the fullness of that
    good news which was to come. Yet, he entered into some of it by
    faith. He did prophesy by faith that he would dwell in the house of
    the Lord forever, a scripture that after he said it, was to become fulfilled in Christ.

    To go back from where God brought the saints thus far in Christ,
    by the gospel, to the elements of the law often bring God’s people
    back into spiritual Egypt.

  67. on 20 Aug 2009 at 9:07 pmrobert

    Brian
    so you are saying that Jesus intended to make this man in Matthew 19 :16 be a child of the bondwoman.
    for if the law cause bondage when God gave them they would still do the same unless the curse(penality) had been abolished.
    the morals they were written from cause no bondage, the penality which was set for them which was agreed by the people who wanted their own nation was what created the bondage. so why should the gentiles be held to the penaty of the law when they are not receiving their own nation. they arent because this was the curse that was abolished not what the law was based on,
    Jesus proves that when he doesnt stone the adulterous women by which he only had the right to by the standards he set forth to the people who was going to stone her.

    Matthew 19
    16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. 18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, 19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

  68. on 20 Aug 2009 at 9:28 pmRay

    Jesus told the man in Matthew 19 the word of God that would help
    to keep him out of the bondage of the law which couldn’t save him,
    nor offer him salvation as it was weak through the flesh. In staying
    away from these sins he would not be corrupting his soul with the world and it’s ways.

    The law could offer him no sacrifice that would atone for sin. That
    he would come by through faith in Jesus Christ, if indeed he would
    continue in his word and find salvation through him who became
    the sacrifice of God for his sins.

  69. on 22 Aug 2009 at 1:41 amWolfgang

    Robert,

    you wrote above

    From what i read i believe that Salvation comes through Faith and Works.

    why would you believe what you say you believe when the following passage reads sort of contrary to what you claim you read?

    Eph 2:8-9
    8 For by grace are ye saved THROUGH FAITH; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
    9 NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  70. on 22 Aug 2009 at 4:11 amXavier

    Eph. 2:9–10 Salvation is not by works. If it were, then those who are saved would get the glory. created . . . for good works. Salvation is not based on works, but the good works Christians do are the result and consequence of God’s new creation work. [ESV study notes]

  71. on 22 Aug 2009 at 10:13 amrobert

    THE GIFT OF GRACE IS NOT OF WORKS ITS A GIFT
    YOU CANT EARN THIS CHANCE (THE GRACE) BUT YOU CAN RUIN YOUR CHANCE.
    FAITH is the only way to Salvation and Faith without Works is DEAD

  72. on 22 Aug 2009 at 11:11 amrobert

    The only thing these people done wrong was to work iniquity which throughout the Word of God describes not following Gods Morals which He commanded.
    this proves that Salvation isnt giving freely by Grace and proves that Faith requires more than just saying you believe, it requires you following Gods commandments which are the good works that were before ordained by God. If you follow the ways God set for us to walk then and only then will Jesus know you.
    Jesus is only following what God wants by only taking those who love God because those who love God will do His commandments.

    Matthew 7
    21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

  73. on 22 Aug 2009 at 12:51 pmRay

    Salvation is given freely by God’s grace. Because it is a wonderful
    gift of God which can not be earned nor bought, men do joyfully receive it after seeing the pending doom of righteous judgment which is coming upon all the workers of iniquity. There is no place for them to hide. They may find themselves hid in God’s grace
    which is freely given to them by Jesus for their protection, deliverance, and salvation by faith in him. Having done no work which may secure it for them, they find the work which was done for their salvation, was done by Jesus.

    Robert, though you say you have proof that salvation isn’t given freely by grace, (see post 72) the scriptures prove otherwise.

  74. on 22 Aug 2009 at 1:00 pmRay

    Robert,
    I refer you to Ephesians 2:8

    Eph 2:8
    For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. (1599 Geneva)

    There is a footnote on this verse in the 1599 Geneva that tells of
    how faith and grace (the gift of God) stand together and that they
    are contrary to being saved by ourselves or by our works. The question also asked in this footnote is: “Therefore what mean they
    which would join together things of so contrary nature?”

    Robert, What do you mean?

  75. on 22 Aug 2009 at 7:57 pmrobert

    Ray
    If what you and others claim was true then all ,even satan worshipors would enter the kingdom. even satan has faith in God.
    Jesus says this is not so and calls all that claim that false.

    these are the people who claim this lie

    Matthew 7
    22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

    heres what Jesus says

    23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

  76. on 22 Aug 2009 at 8:12 pmRay

    Robert,
    What I and others have claimed here as true is the scriptures.
    We have done so for the salvation of your soul. We have been doing so for your faith in Jesus, something which the devils have
    no part nor lot in.

  77. on 22 Aug 2009 at 8:34 pmrobert

    Sorry Ray i have come by the truth from a better source than here.
    there is only one part of the truth here but the truth needs the other parts to be whole.
    besides if what you claim is true then i was saved at birth and
    i can kill, steal,worship anything or hate anyone. thank God i dont believe you.
    you have nothing to provide for my salvation

  78. on 22 Aug 2009 at 9:54 pmXavier

    Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4.8

  79. on 22 Aug 2009 at 10:42 pmRay

    Robert,
    You say you are sorry when you are not. What we’ve been telling you is that you must be born again to enter the kingdom, and when
    one has been bought by the blood of Christ he no longer is his own. He can no longer live in sin and at the same time expect to
    be free from the flesh which has held him captive in his past. We’ve been telling you none of the things which you imagine and accuse us falsely of. You must come to repentance to enter the kingdom.

    It’s pretenders that tumble over the wall onto the path of life (that leads to heaven), without having entered in by the gate, that only
    pretend to go to Zion. Such are thieves and robbers. That gate is
    at the beginning of the journey. One must keep the light in his eyes and go toward it to find the gate. At the gate one will be instructed as to what he must do. He will be led to the cross by
    the grace of God should he continue to walk toward that light.
    There his burdens will fall off his back and he will rejoice in God his saviour and in his Lord Jesus Christ, for so it is with true Pilgrims.

  80. on 22 Aug 2009 at 10:45 pmRay

    Robert,
    Listen to the counsel of Xavier, for it is good.

  81. on 23 Aug 2009 at 3:18 amWolfgang

    Robert,

    you write

    Ray
    If what you and others claim was true then all ,even satan worshipors would enter the kingdom. even satan has faith in God.

    How would what I wrote above from Eph 2:8-9 have anything to do with satan worshippers entering the kingdom? Your idea is the result of conclusions based on a false understanding of “through faith”, as your comment “even Satan has faith in God” clearly shows.
    Scripture says that even devils believe that there is God and that He is one … BUT scripture does NOT say, that devils or satan “have FAITH [TRUST] IN GOD”.

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  82. on 23 Aug 2009 at 1:23 pmrobert

    Wolfgang
    My comment that “even Satan has faith in God” was in no way my belief. it comes from the claims of you and many other in this post. it was an example that if what you claim is true then even satan would be saved.

    as i said “thank God i dont believe you.”

    you can not quote Eph 2:8-9 without finding the context of it from verse 10. the only “GOD” before ordained good works that we should walk in are his Morals which His laws were created from

    10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained [2] that we should walk in them.

    How do you differ from the ones Jesus says He never knew????
    Just as they have great faith they still lack something very important like not believing Gods Morals are Just and Holy and that we should walk in them.

    Ray
    you have no idea what being born again means

  83. on 23 Aug 2009 at 1:34 pmWolfgang

    Robert,

    My comment that “even Satan has faith in God” was in no way my belief. it comes from the claims of you and many other in this post. it was an example that if what you claim is true then even satan would be saved

    ???? your comment makes no sense in light of what you wrote earlier …

    In addition, you seem unable to read and/or understand not only what others write but what you yourself have posted … thus I am finished.

  84. on 23 Aug 2009 at 1:44 pmrobert

    “If what you and others claim was true then all ,even satan worshipors would enter the kingdom. even satan has faith in God.
    Jesus says this is not so and calls all that claim that false.”

    Do you not understand the word “if” or the words “what you and others claim was true”

    you were finished when you accepted the false doctrines your claims come by

  85. on 23 Aug 2009 at 2:06 pmrobert

    Wolfang
    you seem to end all your discussions the same way after they find something you cant mold to your belief.

  86. on 24 Aug 2009 at 1:00 pmrobert

    I feel that i need to clarify because some claim that what i write is confusing.
    First thing I believe that Salvation to all is offered by Grace that is giving Freely by God, what I dont believe is by Grace only all are Saved .Being by Grace only would mean even satan would also be saved and this i know is not true.
    Second thing I believe is that through Faith we are able to receive Salvation but this Faith needs to be defined because if it was just Faith that there is a God YHWH and His Son Jesus(Yeshua) who now sits at the right hand of God had came in the flesh before his ressurection than this would also allow for satan to be saved because he has seen God and has spoke with God so therefore his faith doesnt deny this and it has also been proved that he does believe that Jesus came in the flesh and now sits at the right hand of God because he wouldnt of tempted Him if he didnt have faith in that.
    Third thing I believe that true Faith comes from Good Works that God had before defined that we should walk in. This is where satan now can not be saved because he doesnt believe in Gods ways, but believes that his ways are better and fits mankind better therefore thinking his ways exalts him above God because mankind chooses his ways for the most part.. This is just a delusion that God gave satan to test mankind to see if they would follow his ways when there was an option that would profit flesh in this life. while satan offers instant gratification with riches and power, God offers a deferred gratification if you follow his ways set forth in his Morals.
    What most do not understand is God used his Morals to create the laws that Israel was to follow. The only law that didnt come from his Morals was the one that was attached to all the other laws which was the law that man must deal out the punishment for breaking them. even though this law was Just and Fair it was a burden to those who had to follow it. This law was Just because for Israel to received there own Nation those that wasnt following the Morals of God who occupied the land had to be killed or removed and if they died or were removed for sinning then they had to accept the same if they defiled the land the same way. so this law was enforced by those who wanted to have their own nation and after they continued not enforce than as God promised he would bring about this punishment himself. For if God punished those before them to give them the land then they should also receive that punishment for the same. The prophets continually warned them that God would give them the same and also had many killed for teaching those this was not true. this law was no longer even in effect for some time before Jesus when the last of judah that returned fell into evil ways and was being misused by those who claimed righteousness and had been rewriitten to serve man’s purpose instead of Gods. Jesus proves this law was no longer to be enforced by not enforcing it with the adulturer and told her to sin no more because there was a greater punishment.
    The fear of God should be a much greater fear than what you fear from man and it should be the reason you follow Gods Morals not just because a man can punish you for it. Faith is believing Gods punishment is greater than any other you can receive and believing Gods ways(Laws, Morals) which is His Words giving to us to Live By.
    Live By doesnt just mean this life, it also refers to the one you will receive.
    Faith is believing everything ever spoke by God not just what you pick and choose to believe

  87. on 25 Aug 2009 at 8:16 amRay

    Robert,
    I refer you to Andrew Strom’s letter “Return Of The Judaizers??”
    which can be found on his site. http://www.revivalschool.com

  88. on 25 Aug 2009 at 10:15 amrobert

    Ray
    First thing is you need to understand the word Judaizer.
    a true Judaizer believes you attain salvation only through following all of the 613 laws of the Torah which is called legalism.
    I have never even came close to claiming this was true.
    I follow the whole Word of God to believe all that God spoke and have no problem finding many clear verses that God never abolished His Laws for His children to follow. the laws are not conditions for being saved and never were. Faith and Loving God have been the only Conditions for Salvation always. what i have been trying to say is those who are saved will show signs of loving God by following His Morals to the best of their human ability and those who have dead Faith will claim his Morals are unnecessary which Jesus and the disciples followed to the best of their human ability which Jesus was perfect in.
    it is not the 613 laws but the morals that they were created from and also the things that God wanted man to observe which are the things that he blessed and sanctified. One of the blessed things that he sanctified was the observance of the seventh day thus making it a blessed day which is what Sabbath describes. God blessed the seventh day long before the 10 commandment used the word sabbath to describe it. I do not believe that anyone has the right to force someone to obey the Morals of God but following the teachings of Jesus that it is necessary for the Body of Christ to point out the error of the ways of those that don’t find God Moral in every way. while i wouldn’t stone someone , i am instructed to rebuke those that believe that way. now if that is being a judaizer than i guess i am one, but i would rather be called that then be a paganizer of the Word of God and burn people at the stake (that those in history that believe the same as you did) for the offense of loving God.

    Continuance of observance of Torah by Jews who have (willingly or forcibly) converted to Gentile Christianity. This behavior was particularly persecuted between 1300 and 1800 under the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions, using as a basis the many references in the Pauline epistles regarding the “Law as a curse” and the futility of relying on the Law for attaining salvation, known as legalism. Thus, in spite of Paul’s agreement at the Council of Jerusalem, Gentile Christianity came to understand that any Torah Laws (with the exception of the Ten Commandments and Natural Law) were anathema, not only to Gentile Christians but even to Christians of Jewish extraction. Under the Inquisition, the penalty to a converted Jew for “Judaizing” was usually death by burning.

    Legalism, in Christian theology, is a sometimes-pejorative term referring to an over-emphasis on law or codes of conduct, or legal ideas, usually implying an allegation of misguided rigor, pride, superficiality, the neglect of mercy, and ignorance of the grace of God or emphasizing the letter of law over the spirit. Legalism is alleged against any view that obedience to law, not faith in God’s grace, is the pre-eminent principle of redemption. Its opposite error is antinomianism, which is alleged against a view that moral laws are no longer binding.

  

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