Friday, October 26, 2007
My son was listening to the computer stream of classical music in our area---KDFC in San Francisco---and he came across on that website a clip from a television program in England called, I think, "Britains Got Talent," something like that. So. They were having auditions for this program and there appeared a mobile phone salesman, named Paul Potts, and he said he wanted to sing opera. OK. Right. I'll let you tell me what you think, but I want you to be honest with these reactions when you comment. And please do comment.
1. Did you get the chills?
2. Did hair stand up on your body?
3. Did your eyes mist up if not cry?
4. Were you surprised?
Answer those questions in that order for me. Watch Paul Potts.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Isaiah 44:3 For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring.Joel 2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions
And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.
John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. 5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. 6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? 7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
According to Rom 12:5, Paul was a member of the same body as the Romans: "so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another." Notice Paul includes himself as a member of the same body as the Romans--"so we...." Paul had never been to Rome so he could not have been a member of the local church in Rome.According to 1 Cor 12:13, Paul was a member of the same body as the Corinthians: "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit." Notice Paul includes himself as a member of the same body as the Corinthians--"we were...."
Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. 21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils. 22 Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?
And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us.
Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
More Words, Phrases, and Clauses of 1 Corinthians 12:13
"By One Spirit"
I saved this one for later for at least two reasons: first, it isn’t that important in determining the teaching of this text, and, second, it is a little more controversial mainly among local only proponents. Scripture can mean only one thing, but sometimes there are two interpretations that might both fit the context and neither change the doctrine of the passage, so both are feasible. I believe that someone can argue contextually and grammatically for two different views here. At the end, I’ll tell you what I prefer. In both cases, the positions are sometimes guided by one’s understanding of the preservation of Scripture. I believe God preserved His Words in the languages in which they were written and that the KJV is an accurate translation of those Words. Others place a higher degree of importance on the exact Words of the English of the King James. I don’t want to get into a KJV discussion right now, but I give that as some background information.
Universal Church People and "By One Spirit"
Before we look at the two possible views of "by one Spirit," we will consider how the universal church people take this. They take views sometimes significantly different. W. Harold Mare in Expositor’s Bible Commentary writes (p. 264):
The church, the invisible church, . . . . has been united by the one Spirit into one spiritual body in baptism.Bob Deffinbaugh says the same:
Our membership in Christ’s body begins at the time we are saved, and it is the work of the Holy Spirit, who baptizes us into the church by identifying us with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection.In a sermon series that is found online, John MacArthur agrees too with Mare and Deffinbaugh:
Paul is saying that the same Spirit has immersed every believer in the same unity with Christ that constitutes His body. The baptism Paul is referring to is a spiritual reality that brings the believer into a vital union with Christ. The word means "to immerse." And as somebody could be immersed in water, so somebody could be immersed in the body of Christ. In other words, you are in a new environment, a new atmosphere, a new union, a new identification, a new oneness with Christ.A little later in the same sermon, he says:
It is the fact that when you believe God, He places you into the Son by His Spirit. That is the baptizing by the Holy Spirit.This earlier MacArthur clashes with the later MacArthur commentary, in which he says that it isn’t the Holy Spirit doing the baptizing, but Jesus that is doing the baptizing. This is major, because it is a decision about Who is doing the baptizing, Jesus or the Holy Spirit. In his commentary (p. 312), he says:
Because believers are baptized by Christ, it is therefore best to translate this phrase as "with one Spirit." It is not the Holy Spirit’s baptism but Christ’s baptism with the Holy Spirit that give us new life and places us into the Body when we trust in Christ.So now MacArthur says that we are baptized by Christ. He didn't announce his change that I have ever heard. You see Christ baptizing in the verse, don’t you? You don’t? Why not? It isn’t in there. First he says that the Spirit baptizes believers in Christ, and now He says Christ baptizes with the Holy Spirit. Does the verse say that Christ is doing the baptizing? No. But MacArthur knows that the prediction in the Gospels and Acts made by John the Baptist and Christ says that Jesus does the baptizing in Spirit baptism. Therefore, even though 1 Corinthians 12:13 doesn’t say that we are baptized by Christ (Christ baptism), he reads that into the text. This is the same thing that Gordon Fee does in his commentary on 1 Corinthians (p. 606, NIC-NT Commentary). The baptism by Christ into the body of Christ is read into the verse to attempt to fit what we see in 1 Corinthians 12:13 with what we read in the Gospels and Acts.
Most universal church advocates say that Spirit baptism or Christ baptism, or whatever it is exactly to them, is the reception of the Holy Spirit and they will often reference Romans 8:9. I believe Romans 8:9 is the best verse in Scripture on the indwelling Holy Spirit. They therefore bring together the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the baptism of the Holy Spirit as the same activity of the Spirit. No verse in Scripture actually teaches this and you won’t find it in Romans 8:9, which simply says that the Spirit of God dwells in believers.
Local Church People and "By One Spirit"
One large segment of local church people teach that the Holy Spirit is one agency of water baptism. They teach that the Holy Spirit is responsible for the unity that occurs from water baptism. Forest Keener explains it this way:
It has been argued by some, who realized the error of the Catholic interpretation, that the Spirit here was "a spirit of unity," and should be translated spirit not Spirit. Such a conclusion is not necessary, and I do not believe it is either accurate or logically justified. The Spirit here is the Spirit of the context. He is the Spirit who, according to verse 3, leads one to confess Christ, in verse 4 bestows diversities of gifts, and in verse 7 manifests Himself for the overall profit of the church. He is the same Spirit who, in verse 8, gives the word of wisdom to one and the word of knowledge to another, and who in verses 9 and 10, gives gifts of faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, divers tongues, and interpretation. He is the same Spirit who, in verse 11, sovereignly divides gifts to men, individually as it pleases Him. It is, by every contextual standard of interpretation the "Spirit" of the context and thus, the Holy Spirit who is mentioned here.Then there is the position explained by A. W. Pink:
Pneuma is always written in the Greek with a small "s," and it is a question of exposition and interpretation, not of translation in any wise, whether a small "s" or a capital "S" is to be used in each instance where the word for spirit is used. In many instances it is translated with a small "s"—spirit, (Matthew 5:3, etc). In others, where the Holy Spirit of God is referred to a capital is rightly employed. Furthermore, the Greek word pneuma is used not only to denote sometimes the Holy Spirit of God, and at others the spirit of man (as contra-distinguished from his soul and body), but is also employed psychologically; we read of ‘the spirit (pneuma) of meekness’ (1 Cor. 4:21), and of ‘the spirit (pneuma) of cowardice,’ (2 Tim. 1:7,) etc. Again in Philippians 1:27, we read ‘stand fast is one spirit.’ Note that in Philippians 1:27 even the translators of the A. V. have used only a small "s" for ‘spirit—as they most certainly ought to have done in 1 Corinthians 12:13. One other point concerning the Greek: the preposition translated ‘by’ in 1 Corinthians 12:13 is ‘en,’ which is translated in the N. T. ‘among’ 114 times, ‘by’ 142, ‘with’ 139, ‘in’ 1863B. H. Carroll and Thomas Strouse agree with this view. They believe that "by one Spirit" should be understood as "in one spirit." Why? This exact Greek phrase is translated that way in Philippians 1:27 and means a "spirit of unity," which is the idea is being communicated in this context. As Pink says above, "in" is the vastly predominant translation of the Greek preposition en. The noun pneuma can be translated "spirit" or "Spirit" depending only upon the context. Since I believe in original language preservation, I can understand "by one Spirit" as "in one spirit," and that is what I believe. Strouse, who uses only the King James Version and believes in the perfect preservation of Scripture, writes concerning this phrase:
times. Comment is needless. ‘In one spirit were we all baptized’ should be the rendering of 1 Corinthians 12:13. The ‘baptism’ here is not Holy Spirit baptism at all, but water baptism. Note: Whenever we read of ‘baptism’ in the N. T without anything in the verse or context which expressly describes it, (as in Gal. 3:27; Eph. 4:5, etc.), it is always water baptism which is in view.
Paul employed the expression "by one Spirit" (en heni pneumati) in Phil. 1:27 as "in one spirit," referring to "the spirit of unity." Since pneumati is anarthrous in I Cor. 12:13, Paul differentiated pneumati ("spirit") from the seven previous articular references to "the Spirit" (to pneumati) as deity.Water baptism identifies a believer with one body of Christ. The baptism brings the believer, whether bond or free, Greek or Jew, into identification with one church.
Friday, October 05, 2007
By this time I know that universal, invisible church advocates will deny it, but 1 Corinthians 12:13 is the proof-text for their position. I’m starting with 1 Corinthians 12:13 because I believe that the perversion of its meaning has resulted in more damage to the cause of Christ than any of the others we’re going to examine in this series. The idea to do this batch of posts hatched in my mind with the thought of the distortion of 1 Corinthians 12:13. I also believe that the way this verse gets twisted is a case-study in interpretational fallacies. Studying how men wrest it from its proper and intended meaning is a model for how people do this everywhere else in the Bible. Men insert a universal, invisible church into this verse in order to get one out—it isn’t in there without reading it in (a practice called eisegesis). In 1 Corinthians 12:13 is an assembly of believers, the way "church" is used all 117 times in the New Testament, over 110 of which specifically referring to a particular church. I will explain how that a local church alone is in 1 Corinthians 12 and how that some kind of universal, invisible, mystical entity is not. In fact, the latter isn’t anywhere in the Bible.
Why do I think the perversion of this one verse is the worst? God designed the church to preserve doctrine (1 Tim. 3:15). The wrong view of church equals deterioration of all of the other doctrines. The universal church doctrine has done the greatest damage to all the other teachings of Scripture. Messing up the right belief about the church also does the most to impede Christian growth. It takes away more from the actual work of God on earth than any other twisting of what God said. Because of the importance of the false doctrine of the universal church, Satan does a lot to keep it alive. His battle against Christ’s church will manifest itself in hatred and vitriol against the truth found in this one verse. With that in mind, I suggest that personal attacks and ridicule will not add to one’s understanding of 1 Corinthians 12:13. We will flesh out the right interpretation by understanding the words, their meaning, usage, grammar, and syntax.
The Words, Phrases, and Clauses of 1 Corinthians 12:13
What kind of baptism is this? We have only two kinds of baptism in Scripture—water and Spirit. In no place in the Bible are water or Spirit baptism ever synonymous with or simultaneous with salvation. If 1 Corinthians 12:13 is talking about justification or salvation, then this is an all new doctrine being introduced here. If a new teaching did originate here, one would expect the verse to read like that. It doesn't.
If this is Spirit baptism in 1 Corinthians 12:13, then it should fit the pattern for Spirit baptism that we see prophesied in the gospels. We see Spirit baptism predicted in Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, John 1:33, and Acts 1:5. All five of these are the same, so you’ll get the same message in the others as you will in Matthew 3:11b: "He (Jesus) will baptize you with the Holy Ghost." In each case, Jesus is the Administrator, the Holy Spirit is the Medium, and already saved and water baptized individuals (the timing subsequent to salvation) are the recipients. Spirit baptism was fulfilled in the book of Acts when already saved and immersed people were immersed with the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus Christ was the Administrator of that baptism, the Spirit the Medium, and converted, baptized individuals the ones being baptized. If 1 Corinthians 12:13 were actually talking about Spirit baptism as taught by Christ and John the Baptist, then it should fit that model. It doesn’t. If 1 Corinthians 12:13 were teaching Spirit baptism, then we see the Spirit the Administrator, Jesus as the Medium, and the timing is not subsequent to salvation but simultaneous. In other words, since we don’t see the pattern of Spirit baptism already established previously to when this was written, we reject the idea of Spirit baptism for 1 Corinthians 12:13.
Another important hermeneutical point is how "baptize" has been used in 1 Corinthians itself. When you look through the epistle, you will see that in 1 Corinthians 1, we have water baptism. In 1 Corinthians 10, we have something akin to a physical and water baptism as the children of Israel passed through the Red Sea. And then we have 1 Corinthians 12. Those people reading this epistle in that day would not have been thinking of something spiritual, but of physical, water baptism. There should be some reason established in 1 Corinthians to think of this as Spirit baptism if that’s what it is. We have only water baptism up to this point, so that is what we should read here too.
"For" connects v. 13 to v. 12. V. 12, speaking of the human body, says "the body is one." "One" speaks of numeric one as the "oneness" of unity. Even though there are many body parts ("members"), those body parts are still "one body." The human body is being used here as a metaphor for the church. Is there only one human body on earth? No. So when v. 12 says "the body," it isn’t speaking of a universal, invisible entity.
In not just Greek grammar, but in all grammar, the singular noun is used two ways: particular or generic. There is not mystical or invisible, some kind of platonic usage, of the singular noun. We are required to make a choice: particular or generic. "The body" in v. 12 is not a particular body, but a generic one. Just because he is not speaking of a particular body does not mean that we don’t apply this teaching to ourselves. The truth of the generic is found in the particular. We understand the body parts analogy because we have a body with body parts.
V. 12 also says, "that one body," referring to the generic human body. "One body" doesn’t mean that there is one numeric human body on earth. You know there are billions. It doesn’t mean that there is a mystical, universal, invisible human body. It does mean that each human body has this in common—all the body parts, being many, are still one, that is, they work together in unity within the body. The point here is unity.
When Paul starts v. 13 with "for," he is connecting this point of oneness in the human body with the oneness in the body of Christ. He is showing how that the members of a church are unified through water baptism. Just because v. 13 says "one body" doesn’t mean that there is one church any more than there is one human body just because v. 12 says "one body."
"Into One Body"
Each body part is water baptized into one church ("body"). "Into" is the Greek preposition eis, which shows identification. The Greek preposition eis doesn’t show position, but identification. When someone is justified, he becomes "in (en) Christ." That is a spiritual position that a saved person has in Jesus Christ. The "in Christ" relationship is the salvation relationship. "Into" doesn’t show position, but identification. In light of the context, a believer identifies with the church by means of water baptism.
1 Corinthians 10:2 says, "And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea." When the children of Israel passed through the Red Sea, they were baptized unto (eis) Moses. Were the children of Israel placed inside Moses? Of course not. They identified with Moses as leader. In this same way, a child of God is baptized into one body. He identifies with the body of Christ, the church.
To Be Continued