Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Testimony of the Quran to the Bible, part 3

This is the last part of the evangelistic pamphlet for Muslims. Part one was published March 1, and part two was published on October 18. Get equipped to evangelize Muslims. You will need boldness, though, because some will be very angry with the content of part 3 (and the end of part 2). I have had credible threats of serious bodily injury or death for passing these out when in crowds of Muslims--it was more dangerous than evangelizing at the sodomite pride parade in San Francisco. However, "every creature" means what it says, and that includes Muslims, and God can protect you (He has protected me).

VI. Does the Quran Contradict Itself?
The Bible never contradicts itself, meeting a necessary standard of truth for the Word of God. The Quran contains many contradictions.
1a.) Pharaoh drowned with his army in the Red Sea: “And truly we gave to Moses nine clear signs. Ask the children of Israel: when he came to them, Pharaoh said to him: Lo! I consider you one bewitched, O Moses. Moses said, ‘In truth you know that none sent down these signs save the Lord of the heavens and the earth as proofs, and I consider you indeed, O Pharaoh, to be one doomed to destruction!’ So he resolved to remove them from the face of the earth: but we drowned him and those with him, all together. (17:101-103; cf. 28:40; 43:55)
1b.) Pharaoh did not drown with his army in the Red Sea: “We took the children of Israel across the sea: Pharaoh and his hosts followed them in insolence and spite. At length, when overwhelmed with the flood, he said: ‘I believe that there is no god except him whom the children of Israel believe in: I am of those that submit to him.’ ‘What! Now! When up to now you have rebelled and been of the wrong-doers? But this day we save you in your body that you may be a sign for those after you. Lo! Most of mankind are heedless of our signs.’” (10:90-92)
2a.) Noah and all his family survived the Flood: And Noah, when he cried of old, we heard his prayer and saved him and his household from the great affliction. (21:76)
2b.) One of Noah’s sons drowned in the Flood: “And it sailed with them amid waves like mountains, and Noah cried unto his son - and he was standing aloof – ‘O my son! Come ride with us, and be not with the disbelievers.’ He said, ‘I shall betake me to some mountain that will save me from the water.’ Noah said, ‘This day there is none that saves from the commandment of Allah save him on whom he has had mercy.’ And the wave came in between them, so he was among the drowned.” (11:42-43)
3a.) Allah created the earth before the heavens: “He it is who created for you all that is in the earth. Then turned he to the heaven, and fashioned it as seven heavens.” (2:29)
3b.) Allah created the heavens before the earth: “The heaven . . . he built[.] He raised the height thereof and ordered it; and he made dark the night thereof, and he brought forth the morn thereof. And after that He spread the earth.” (79:27-30)
4a.) Muslims that die in jihad will go straight to heaven: “And if you are slain, or die in the way of Allah, forgiveness and mercy from Allah are far better than all they amass. What though you are slain or die, when to Allah you are gathered?” (3:157-158)
4b.) Every Muslim will go to hell (for a time, at least): “Man says: ‘What! When I am dead, shall I then be raised up alive?’ But does not man call to mind that we created him before out of nothing? So, by your Lord, without doubt, we shall gather them together, and also devils with them, then shall we bring them forth on their knees round about hell . . . and certainly we know best those who are most worthy of being burned therein. Not one of you but will enter it; this is, with your Lord, a decree which must be accomplished.” (19:66-71)
5.) The Quran states that mankind was created from a blood clot (96:1-2), water (21:30), burned clay (15:26), dust (3:59), nothing (19:67), earth (11:61), or a drop of thick fluid (16:4; 75:37). Which is it?
These are only a few of the numerous contradictions in the Quran.
VII. Are There Factual Errors in the Quran?
The Quran contains severe factual errors. It teaches that meteors and comets are missiles fired at “satans” and jinn who try to listen to the reading of the Quran in heaven, and then pass on what they hear to men in surahs (37:6-10; 55:33-35; 67:5; 72:6-9). The fact is that meteors are chunks of matter that burn up in the atmosphere and comets follow regular orbits around the sun, rather than chasing evil spirits around. The Quran teaches that the earth is held down and kept from being moved around by mountains, as one might use bricks to hold the corners of a sheet on the ground during a windy day: “We set mountains upon the earth lest it should move away with them” (21:31; 16:15; 31:10), for Allah “made the earth as a wide expanse, and the mountains as pegs” (78:6-7) to hold the earth down. The Quran teaches that the world is not a sphere, but is flat: “[T]he earth . . . was leveled flat” (88:20), and Allah “made the earth for you like a carpet spread out” (20:53). Thus, when Allah in the future will “remove the mountains . . . you will see the earth as a level stretch” (18:47); when Allah will “break . . . the mountains . . . into scattered dust[,] [he] will leave [earth] as an empty plain, wherein you see no curve” (20:105-107). There are many further scientific errors in the Quran; one very blatant further example will be given. The Quran states that Alexander the Great (Dhu’l-Qarneyn), before travelling down a road to a land where people lived between two mountains and talking to them, followed a road to one end of the flat earth and saw the sun set in a muddy spring. He talked to the people that lived by where the sun set in the muddy spring, and then took a road to the other end of the flat world and found people who lived by where the sun rises and who could not get shelter from its heat as it started to go into the sky:
They will ask thee of Dhu’l-Qarneyn. Say: I shall recite to you a remembrance of him. Lo! We made him powerful in the earth, and we gave him means to accomplish everything he pleased. And he followed a road, until he came to the place where the sun sets; and he found it to set in a spring of black mud; and he found near the same a certain people. And we said, O Dhu’l-Qarneyn, either punish this people or use gentleness towards them. He answered, Whoever of them shall commit injustice, we will surely punish him in this world; afterwards shall he return to his Lord, and he shall punish him with a severe punishment. But whoever believes, and does that which is right, shall receive the most excellent reward, and we will give him in command that which is easy. Then he followed a road, until he came to the place where the sun rises; and he found it rising upon a people whom we had exposed to its flaming rays. Thus it was; and we comprehended with our knowledge the forces which were with him. Then he followed a road, until he came between the two mountains; beneath which he found a certain people, who could scarcely understand what was said. (18:83-93; cf. Hadith Bukhari 9:520).
The fact is that the sun does not go around the earth, nor does it fall into a pool of black mud at sunset. The earth and the sun are millions of miles apart in outer space. The sun is also far too large to fit into a spring of black mud. Alexander the Great did not go to either the end of the supposedly flat earth where the sun goes down or the end of the supposedly flat earth where the sun rises. Alexander the Great, the people who supposedly lived where the sun sets in the mud, and the people who supposedly lived where the sun rises from the ground would burn up because the temperature of the sun is many thousands of degrees. The scientific error here is monstrous.
VIII. Is There Any Proof that the Quran is the Word of God?
As noted above, the Biblical prophets were validated by astonishing miracles. The Bible also recorded many facts about the nature of the world thousands of years before they were discovered by modern science. The Bible contains hundreds and hundreds of detailed and specific prophecies that were fulfilled to the letter. In contrast, the Quran teaches that Muhammad did not do any miracles (3:183-184; 2:118-119; 6:37, 109; 20:133). There is nothing in the Quran like the astonishing scientific accuracy of the Bible. There are no predictive prophecies in the Quran. In short, there is nothing in the Quran that proves that it comes from God, while, as has been demonstrated above, there is overwhelming proof that it did not come from God. This is not surprising, since the last book of the Bible pronounces a curse upon anyone who would add anything further to the Word of God: “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Rev 22:18-19).
Further evidence that the Quran is not God’s Word comes from the fact that after a spirit being first appeared to Muhammad, he said, “Woe is me, [ecstatic] poet or [demon] possessed—Never shall [my tribe] say this of me! I will go to the top of the mountain and throw myself down that I may kill myself and gain rest.”[1] What prophet in the Bible thought that he was possessed by the devil and therefore contemplated suicide (as Muhammad did frequently) after receiving God’s Word? Does experiencing the true God lead to regular thoughts of suicide? Or is not such a sign of demon possession (Mr 9:22; Jn 8:44)? Muhammad also admitted that Satan interjected material into his prophecies from Allah. For example, Muhammad declared, as revelation from Allah, the following: “Did you consider the al-Hat and al-Uzza and al-Manat, the third, the other? Those are the exalted swans; truly their intercession is accepted with approval.”[2] This revelation, commanding people to serve three idols [al-Hat, al-Uzza, and al-Manat], shocked Muhammad’s disciples. He later withdrew his revelation, explaining that Satan had deceived him into making these prophecies. The Bible indicates that such an affirmation makes one a false prophet worthy of death: “But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die” (Deut 18:20). These facts contradict the idea that the Quran is a revelation from God.
IX. What Must I Do?
Every Muslim is bound to accept the Quran’s teachings that the Bible is the perfect revelation of God, preserved from the time it was given by God until today. Not only does the Quran assert this, but there is overwhelming evidence in favor of the truth that the Bible is God’s Word. The Bible is validated by miracles performed by the prophets who gave it, by astonishing scientific accuracy, and by many hundreds of specific prophetic predictions that have been fulfilled with pinpoint accuracy. Since the Bible and the Quran contradict each other, and the Bible is true, the Quran is not God’s Word. The Quran also contradicts itself, has no predictive prophecies, and contains blatant scientific errors. Not only did the prophet of the Quran, Muhammad, do no miracles, but he feared his original call came from Satan, not God, and he admitted that Satan could deceive him and that some of his revelations came from the devil. The truth is that the Bible is the perfect and pure Word of the one true God, while the Quran is an imperfect and impure product that did not come from God. You must receive the Bible and reject the Quran.
Having recognized that the Bible is the true and complete Word of God, you must immediately repent of the sin of following a god other than the one true God revealed in the Bible, and of following a false religion—for “idolators . . . shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor 6:9). You must also turn from all your other sins and trust the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, to save you from sin and hell. Will you this very moment turn to the crucified and risen Savior, Jesus Christ? “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (Jn 3:36).

For more information about the Bible, the Quran, salvation, and how you can know the one true God, please contact the Bible-believing church listed below, or visit If you have now trusted Jesus Christ as God, Lord, and Savior, the next steps for you are to separate from false religion (2 Cor 6:14-18), confess Christ publicly (Mt 10:32-33), identify with Him in baptism (Ac 8:12, 36-38), unite yourself with God’s true people (Heb 10:25), and begin to study the Bible (2 Tim 2:2) so you can fulfill your purpose in life—to glorify, serve, and fellowship with your loving Redeemer and new heavenly Father (Rev 4:11; Jn 17:3).

See this complete study--parts 1-3--by clicking here.

[1] Note that ecstatic poets were considered at the time to be moved by supernatural forces other than God, as were those openly possessed, so that a companion of Muhammad narrated: “As we reached the place known as Arj there met us a poet who had been reciting a poem. Thereupon Allah’s Messenger [Muhammad] . . . said: Catch the satan or detain the satan, for filling the belly of a person with pus is better than stuffing his brain with poetry” (Sahih Muslim 27.5611). Therefore “as for poets, the erring follow them” (26:224). Muhammad would hardly say “Woe is me—God has made me His prophet!” Obviously Muhammad thought that the supernatural spirits that had come to him were evil, and this thought led him to contemplate suicide.
[2] The Quran confirms that Muhammad believed that Satan inspired some of the words of his prophecies, but tries to affirm that all true prophets had Satan mix falsehood in with their revelations, in direct contradiction to the Biblical fact that anyone who states even one word from a false god is a false prophet (Deut 18:20)! “Never did we send a Messenger or a Prophet before you, but when he did recite the revelation or narrated or spoke, Satan threw some falsehood in it” (22:52). Can the Muslim know what else revealed to Muhammad was given by Satan? How can anything in the Quran be trusted? What if it all came from Satan?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


In just two weeks the second annual Word of Truth conference will be hosted by our church, November 10-14, Wed-Sun. If you are coming to the conference, and you read this blog, could you let us know you are coming and how many are coming with you? We know we will be having Pastor Mike Custer and his wife, Pastor Dave Mallinak, Pastor Thomas Smith, and then Pastor Bobby Mitchell and his wife, those four pastors. I'm not sure that our RSVP service has been working properly. We have sent out some emails. If you're coming either let us know here at the blog or by email, even if you have already told us you are coming! Thanks!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Something Almost Everyone Knows, But What Almost All Multiple Version People Must Deny

Read this article in a secular newspaper about what multiple versions are doing to people's trust in Scripture.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Testimony of the Quran to the Bible, part 2

On March 1 (yes, a long time ago!) I published part 1 of this booklet, which is designed to evangelize Muslims. If you have not read part one, you should do so here.

I have found that about 50% of Muslims take this booklet who are offered it, and since Paul internally critiques the false religions of those he evangelizes (Acts 17:23), such a methodology has clear Scriptural warrant. If you have a better resource to evangelize Muslims at your church, that is great. If you have nothing, you might want to consider this pamphlet. You can print them at the website here.
Anyway, here is part 2:

III. The Quran’s Declarations that the Bible is the Word of God are Confirmed by Overwhelming Evidence

As already noted, the Quran teaches that the Bible has been preserved free from corruption, and that it is the very Word of God. There is overwhelming evidence that the Quran is correct in affirming that the Bible comes from God. Three sorts of evidence will be briefly considered. [1]
First, the Bible is confirmed by many facts of science that were unknown or denied when it was written. The Bible affirms that the world is round (Is 40:22), the earth is suspended in empty space (Job 26:7) and rotates on its axis, producing sequences of day and night (Job 38:12-14), air has weight (Job 28:25), the ocean has currents (Ps 8:8; Is 43:16), the ocean floor has springs (Job 38:16), blood is essential for life (Lev 17:11), light travels and is moving, unlike darkness (Job 38:19), light can be parted into a spectrum, and light from the sun creates wind as it heats the earth (Job 38:24), the wind has circuits (Ec 1:6), and there are huge numbers of stars, far beyond what can be seen with the naked eye (Gen 22:17; Jer 31:37), which differ in brightness or magnitude (1 Cor 15:41). The Bible likewise presents the hydrological cycle (Job 26:8; 36:27-28; 37:11, 16; 38:25-30) and teaches the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics (Gen 2:2; Ps 105:25-27), among many other principles of modern science. The Bible also contains no scientific errors—or any other kinds of errors or contradictions, despite being penned by over forty different prophets over a period of some 1,500 years!
Second, the prophets who gave us the Bible confirmed their message by doing many miracles from God. For example, the prophet “Elijah . . . said . . . As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word” (1 Ki 17:1), and as a result, “it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And [Elijah] prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit” (Jam 5:17-18). When Joshua spoke “to the LORD . . . before the children of Israel, and he said . . . Sun, stand thou still . . . the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day” (Josh 10:12-13). Moses made the Red Sea dry up so that the Jews could go through on dry ground, and then had the waters come back and destroy the Egyptian army that was chasing them (Ex 14-15). Jesus Christ did tremendous miracles. He healed vast multitudes from all their diseases (Mt 12:15), proving the truth of His claims, because “the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, [and] the dead are raised up” (Mt 11:5). He took five loaves of bread and two fish and fed far over five thousand people, with twelve baskets full pieces of bread and fish left over (Mt 14:14-21). He raised many people from the dead, even, before many eyewitnesses, raising someone who had been decomposing for days (Jn 11). His enemies had to admit, “this man doeth many miracles” (Jn 11:47). Elijah, Joshua, Moses, other prophets in the Bible, and especially Jesus Christ did many other miracles, validating their message. The Quran also confirms that Jesus Christ, Moses, and other prophets did many miracles (5:110; 7:06-108, 116-119; 3:183-184).
Third, the Bible is absolutely unique in that it contains hundreds and hundreds of predictive prophecies. The God who gave humanity the Bible said that He would prove that He was the true God, and there was no other God, because He alone could predict the future (Is 41:21-24; 46:9-11). God challenges all false gods: “Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods . . . who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? . . . [T]he things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them” (Is 41:23; 44:7). The Bible has been validated by huge numbers of fulfilled prophecies, and not one Biblical prophecy has ever failed or been proven wrong. For example, around 700 B. C. the Biblical prophet Isaiah predicted that the Jews would leave the land of Canaan, go into exile in Babylon, and then be sent back by a king named Cyrus who would allow them to rebuild their temple (Isaiah 44:26-28). In 536 B. C., king Cyrus, the ruler over the land of Babylon, did exactly what Isaiah had predicted 150 years earlier. Can anyone besides God predict the actions and even the exact name of a world ruler 150 years in advance? The prophet Daniel predicted the rise and fall of the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek, and Roman empires (Dan 2, 7), and predicts with perfect accuracy specific actions of an entire series of kings that interacted with Israel for centuries (Dan 11), including Cyrus II, Cambyses, Pseudo-Smerdis, Darius I Hystaspes, Xerxes I, Alexander the Great, Ptolemy I Soter, Seleucus I Nicator, Ptolemy II Philadelphius, Antiochus II Theos, Ptolemy III Euergetes, Seleucus Ceraunus, Antiochus the Great, Ptolemy Philopator, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, and numbers of others. Many specific prophecies about Jesus Christ were made hundreds of years in advance. Over five hundred years before He was born, Biblical prophets predicted Christ’s birth in Bethlehem (Mic 5:2), His ministry in the region of Galilee (Is 9:2; Mt 4:13-16), His betrayal for thirty pieces of silver, that were later used to buy a potter’s field (Zech 11:12-13), many specific details about his life (Is 53), and even the exact year and day, March 30, A. D. 33, that He would officially present Himself as the Messiah by riding into Jerusalem upon a donkey (Dan 9:24-27; Zech 9:9; Mar 11:7-11; Lu 19:41-44)! Furthermore, we have discovered manuscript copies of the Biblical books that record these prophecies about Jesus Christ that were copied centuries before the prophecies were fulfilled. Nobody can argue that these predictions were added in after the events took place to create a false appearance of a prediction.
The evidence is overwhelming that the Bible is indeed the Word of God. Anyone who is intellectually honest must recognize that this is the case.

IV. Since the Bible is the Pure and Perfect Word of God, What Does it Tell us About Salvation from our Sins?

The Bible presents you with the wonderful truth that “ye may know that ye have eternal life” (1 Jn 5:13) and are in fellowship with God. Having eternal life is not just something you can hope for, the Bible teaches, but something that you can have certainty about. There are four things that you need to know to be certain of eternal life.

1.) You are a sinner

God’s standard is “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Mt 5:48). God does not simply command you to do good things and hope that your good deeds outweigh your bad ones. He commands you to be perfect, as perfect, pure, holy, and sinless in your actions, thoughts, and nature as He is Himself. Sin is every failure to match up to that standard (1 Jn 3:4), and you have not even come close. This is why the Bible states: “[A]ll have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. . . . There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Rom 3:23, 10-12). In fact, you can say, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Ps 51:5), for God reveals to us that all people were born with a sinful nature. In fact, you sinned in the first man, Adam (Rom 5:12-19), and possess a “heart [that] is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer 17:9). Your sinful nature makes you “as an unclean thing, and all [your] righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Is 64:6). It only takes one sin to keep you out of God’s presence: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (Jam 2:10), but you have committed numberless sins, every one of which is written down in God’s books (Rev 20:11-15). The Lord Jesus Christ said that unjust anger is murder (Mt 5:21-22), and a single lustful thought is adultery (Mt 5:27-28), so you are a murderer and an adulterer. You have lied (Pro 6:16), been proud (Pr 6:16-19), bitter (Ro 3:14), unthankful (2 Tim 3:2), covetous (2 Tim 3:2), and hypocritical (Is 33:14). You have broken the greatest commandment of all, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Mt 22:37). You have broken the second greatest commandment, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Mt 22:39). Indeed, until you have had all of your sins removed by God, you “cannot please God” (Rom 8:8) in any way, but are “defiled and unbelieving” with “nothing pure; but even [your] mind and conscience is defiled” (Tit 1:15). Because of your sins and your sinful nature, this very moment, “the wrath of God abideth” on you (Jn 3:36). You are “condemned already” (Jn 3:18). You “have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out” (Num 32:23).

2.) You Deserve a Penalty for Sin

God’s law says, “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them” (Gal 3:10). You have not continuously and perfectly obeyed, so you are cursed. Since “the wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23), you are subject to physical death, the separation of your spiritual part, your soul, from the body (Heb 9:27). You are also subject to spiritual death, the separation of a person from God. You are currently “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph 2:1), your “damnation is just” (Rom 3:8), and you are consequently headed for the second death, eternal separation from God in the lake of fire: “This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev 20:14-15). In the lake of fire you will “drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and [you] shall be tormented with fire and brimstone . . . and the smoke of [your] torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and [you will] have no rest day nor night” (Rev 14:10-11).
The question arises: “How can ye escape the damnation of hell?” (Mt 23:33).

3.) Jesus Christ Died To Pay For Your Sin

Jesus Christ is not just a prophet. He is “God manifest in the flesh” (1 Tim 3:16). Hundreds of years before He came into the world, Old Testament prophets predicted that He would be the everlasting God: “unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given . . . and his name shall be called . . . The mighty God” (Is 9:6); “But thou, Bethlehem . . . out of thee shall he come forth . . . that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Mic 5:2). The Bible teaches that there is one, and only one, God (Deut 6:4), but it also teaches that the one essence of God exists in three eternal Personal distinctions, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit (1 Jn 5:7). We may not be able to understand how God can be only one essence but yet be three Persons, but we have no right to reject what He teaches us in the Bible simply because it is hard for us to understand. God says, “my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa 55:8-9). How dare we, as sinful, limited, feeble creatures, sit in judgment upon what God has revealed about Himself? Our responsibility is simply to receive what He has told us about His nature. God’s Word teaches that there is “but one God” (1 Cor 8:6), but at the same time it speaks of “One God and Father” (Eph 4:6), identifies Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as “Lord and . . . God” (Jn 20:28), and identifies the “Holy Ghost . . . [as] God” (Ac 5:3-4). Jesus Christ is called the “Son of God” many times in the Bible. His followers “worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God” (Mt 14:33). In fact, one of the reasons the Bible was given to us by God was “that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (Jn 20:31). The fact that God is the Father and Jesus Christ is the Son of God does not by any means indicate that God, who is an infinite, everywhere-present Spirit (Jn 4:24) and therefore does not have a body (Lu 24:39) somehow had physical relations that led to a pregnancy and a son coming into the world. Such a repulsive idea is totally contrary to the Biblical presentation of the one God as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Biblical truth that is simply that the one true God exists in three eternal personal distinctions, and we must receive what He has said as true without trying to limit His nature with our sinful and incorrect reasoning.

The Son of God, Jesus Christ, who existed from eternity past with the Father and the Holy Spirit, united to His Divine Person a human nature when He was conceived in the womb of the virgin Mary, so that, although He was still 100% God, He became 100% Man as well. He lived a sinless life and then died on the cross, where His Father “made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Cor 5:21). Nobody was secretly substituted for Jesus Christ, so that He did not die—He died a real death, paying the penalty for our sins. His death for the sins of the world and resurrection from the dead were predicted in the Old Testament hundreds of years before He was ever born. In 700 B. C., the prophet Isaiah predicted Jesus Christ’s sinless life, death as an offering for sin, burial, resurrection to life, and future rule over the earth when He returns from heaven: “[H]e was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin [note here He dies as a sin offering, but then in the next phrases He rises again, prolongs His days, justifies many, and rules the earth], he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail [suffering] of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isa 53:8-12). The entire system of animal sacrifices God ordained in the Old Testament pointed forward to the death of Christ to pay for sin (Heb 10:1-14). The Lord Jesus Himself regularly spoke about His coming death and bodily resurrection while He was with His followers on earth: “they shall mock him, and shall scourge [whip] him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again” (Mr 10:34; Mt 20:19; Mr 8:31; Lu 18:33; 24:7). If He did not actually die and rise, not only would Jesus Christ not have been the Son of God, He would not have been a true prophet at all—He would have been a false teacher and a deceiver. The followers of Jesus Christ unanimously testified of His death, resurrection, return to heaven to sit at the right hand of God, and the certainty of His coming again in the future to rule the world. He was seen by many groups of people after He rose from the dead—once over 500 eyewitnesses saw Him at one time (1 Cor 15:6). The center of both the Old and New Testaments is Christ’s death for the sins of the world and His resurrection from the dead. Also, if Jesus Christ had not died, nobody could be saved from his sins, because both the Torah and the Gospel agree that “without [the] shedding of [Christ’s] blood is no remission [of sin],” (Heb 9:22-23) and “it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (Lev 17:11). In light of the overwhelming evidence that the Bible is the Word of God, we must believe its testimony to the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension to heaven of the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ the Son of God.

When Jesus died on the cross, God the Father laid your sins upon Him, and He suffered to pay your sin debt. God’s holy Law demands perfect righteousness for entry into heaven, but Christ died as your Substitute so that His death and shed blood could pay for your sin, and you could have His righteousness put to your account and be counted perfectly righteous in God’s sight for the Savior’s sake. You can be saved, not through your own works, but through His work; not by your attempts to obey the law, but His perfect obedience to it and death to satisfy it. “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us” (Gal 3:13). “Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but [made alive] by the Spirit” (1 Pet 3:18). Since by “one offering he hath perfected for ever” those that are washed in His blood (Heb 10:14), there is nothing that you can do to save yourself, or to keep yourself saved—Jesus Christ has done it all. “Salvation is of the LORD” (Jon 2:9).

4.) You Must Turn From Your Sin to Trust in Jesus Christ to Save You

To have the Lord Jesus’ Christ’s blood wash away your sins, you must place your faith in Him. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Jn 3:16). A thousand years before He was born, king David wrote of Him: “Kiss the Son [submit to and be ruled by Him, Gen 41:40], lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him” (Ps 2:12). Saving faith in Jesus Christ involves:
a.) Repentance. “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Lu 13:3). “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out” (Ac 3:19). In repentance, you agree with God that you are as bad as the Bible says you are, you agree that you are headed to hell and justly deserve everlasting punishment for your sins, and you turn from your sins, including every false religious system that disagrees with anything written in the Bible, to submit unconditionally to God as your Lord and trust in Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus said, “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life [wants to live his own way and will not turn to God’s way] shall lose it [in hell]; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:34-36).

b.) Faith, which is trust in the Lord Jesus and His death on the cross to save you from your sins. You must come to a specific point in your life where you see yourself as a lost, helpless sinner, you turn from your sins, and you trust solely in the Lord Jesus for eternal life. You cannot place your faith in Jesus Christ to save you if you think that any good deed you have done, are doing, or will do helps save you, or if you believe that any religious ritual you may perform has a particle to do with your salvation. God’s Word states, “For by grace [undeserved favor] are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph 2:8-9) If salvation is “by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” (Rom 11:6). “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us” (Tit 3:5). “[A] man is justified [declared righteous on the basis of Jesus’ death and shed blood] by faith without the deeds of the law . . . to him that worketh not, but believeth on him [Christ] that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. . . . God [credits] righteousness without works . . . being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 3:28; 4:5-6; 5:1). The fact that righteous actions do not bring anyone eternal life explains why Jesus Christ promised sinners who trusted in Him, “Thy faith hath saved thee” (Lu 7:50; 18:42), but He never said that attempts at obedience could save anybody. Saving faith is also not just mental assent to facts, and nobody can say that he has always believed in Christ. You must, at a particular time, consciously forsake all confidence in your supposed goodness and your religious rituals and place your confidence in the Savior’s blood and righteousness alone. Then, when you stand before God, you will be “found in him [in union with Christ], not having [your] own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith” (Phil 3:9).

If you will turn from your sin to trust in Jesus Christ for salvation, He will keep you saved; no one who has ever truly believed in Him can perish (Rom 8:28-39). You do not save yourself, and you do not keep yourself saved—the Lord Jesus Christ is a Savior who “is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him” (Heb 7:25). Once you are saved, you are always saved, both from sin’s penalty, eternal damnation, and from sin’s power. If you turn from all dependence upon any supposedly good works you have done, to rely on Jesus’ death and shed blood alone to save you, God promises: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them” (Eze 36:26-27), since “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor 5:21). If you will repent and believe in Jesus Christ, He promises you everlasting life with Him in heaven upon His return or your death, and a holy life on earth now, freed from bondage to sin. You also will be able to have personal fellowship with the living God—He will not be some distant Being that wants nothing to do with you, but He will become your loving heavenly Father, and you will become His dear adopted child (Gal 4:6). You will be able to say to Him, “Our Father which art in heaven” (Mt 4:6). You will be able to say with all those who have been washed in the blood of Christ, “truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 Jn 1:3) and you will know “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost” (2 Cor 13:14). You will “joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement [reconciliation to God]” (Rom 5:11). You will be able to sing, with all those that belong to Him, “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (Rev 1:5-6).

You need to repent and believe in Jesus Christ immediately to save you from your sin. Turn to Him today—tomorrow it may be too late. “Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth” (Pr 55:6-7). You can be certain of heaven forever—you can be freed from the power of sin—you can have intimate, personal fellowship with the living and loving God! The risen Savior, Jesus Christ, has promised: “him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (Jn 6:37). Will you come in faith to Him right now?

V. Do the Bible and the Quran Contradict Each Other?

We have seen that the Quran teaches that the Bible is the pure, perfect Word of God. We have seen that the fact that the Bible is the Word of God is also supported by overwhelming evidence. We must now ask whether the Bible and the Quran contradict each other. Since (as we saw in section I) the Quran states that the Bible is the Word of God, and the Quran claims to confirm the truth of the Bible, if the Quran is true, it must agree with the Bible. If the Quran agrees with the Bible, it may be true, although it would not necessarily be true (as it is a simple fact that all books that do not contradict the Bible have not been given to humankind by God—otherwise cookbooks, phonebooks, all summary statements about Biblical teachings that are accurate, and every other work that does not contradict the Bible would be the Word of God). However, if the Quran contradicts teachings and statements in the Bible, the Quran must be false, because: 1.) If the Quran is true, the Bible must be true, for the Quran claims that the Bible is true. 2.) If the Bible is true, the Quran cannot be true, for they contradict each other. 3.) Therefore, the Quran cannot be true. We must ask, then: Do the Quran and the Bible contradict each other?

1a.) The Quran teaches that Jesus Christ was not crucified: “They said in boast, ‘We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary . . . but they slew him not nor crucified him” (4:157).
1b.) The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ’s crucifixion was a sacrificial death to remove sin’s penalty: It is “Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Cor 2:2) “in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph 1:7).

2a.) The Quran teaches that salvation is received if “those deeds that are good remove those that are evil” (11:114), so that “those whose balance of good deeds is heavy—they will be successful. But those whose balance is light, will be those who have lost their souls; in hell will they abide” (23:102-3).
2b.) The Bible teaches that “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 6:23) and that believers are “saved . . . not according to [their] works, but according to [God’s] own purpose and grace” (2 Tim 1:9).

3a.) The Quran teaches that “if anyone attack you, so attack him as he attacked you” (2:194).
3b.) The Bible teaches: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Mt 5:44).

4a.) The Quran teaches that only if one dies in jihad can one have anything like a certain hope of heaven: “And if you are slain, or die in the way of Allah, forgiveness and mercy from Allah are far better than all they could amass.” (3:157)
4b.) The Bible teaches that everyone who has come in faith to Christ and had His blood wash away his sins is certain of eternal life: “you that believe on the name of the Son of God . . . may know that ye have eternal life” (1 Jn 5:13). “I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (Jn 10:28).

5a.) The Quran teaches that Allah can take things in his revealed word that are not very good and replace them with better truth, or cause the things that he has revealed that are not very good to be forgotten: “Nothing of our revelation do we abrogate or cause be forgotten, but we bring in its place one better or the like thereof. Do you not know that Allah is able to do all things?” (2:106)
5b.) The Bible teaches that “The law of the LORD is perfect” (Ps 19:7) and therefore “ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it” (Deut 4:2). It will never be replace or forgotten, for “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Mt 24:35).

6a.) The Quran never commands husbands to love their wives, but it does command husbands to beat them if they suspect they will do something wrong: “As for those [wives] from whom you fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and beat them” (4:34).
6b.) The Bible commands, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Eph 5:25). Men must not beat their wives, but have the tender, self-sacrificial love for them that the Lord Jesus Christ showed in dying to save the ungodly and rebellious human race (Rom 5:8-10).

7a.) The Quran teaches the legitimacy of polygamy, the legitimacy of some adultery, and allows child molestation. Muhammad, who the Quran says had excellent morals (68:4) and is a “good example” (33:21), when he was in his mid-fifties, married a six year old girl named Aishah and consummated the marriage—or to be more plain, began to molest her sexually—when she was nine.[2] It is therefore not surprising that the Quran contains no condemnation of child molestation. On the contrary, it permits men to have and molest “wives . . . who have not yet menstruated” and even indicates that such little girls can be divorced, and then remarried after three months to another man who can likewise begin to molest them (65:4; cf. 33:49). Muhammad also had over a dozen wives and concubines—including his daughter-in-law, which the Quran states is “no sin” (33:37). The Quran allows Muslims to “marry of the women, who seem good to you, two or three or four” (4:3), supporting polygamy. (While other Muslims could only marry up to four women, Muhammad declared that Allah gave him a special exemption to marry as many women as he wanted, 33:50-51.) In addition to up to four wives, any Muslim man can have physical relations with as many slave girls as he desires, 4:3. The Quran similarly states, “And all married women are forbidden unto you, except those captives whom you own as slaves” (4:24; cf. 70:30), so adultery with women who are slaves is acceptable.
7b.) The Bible teaches that child molestation or marrying a child is an abomination (1 Cor 7:36; 6:9), and that God’s will is monogamy, for one man to be united to one woman in marriage for life (Gen 2:24; Mr 10:1-12). God states that “fornicators [those who engage in physical relations outside of marriage] . . . shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor 6:9). God likewise states that He “hateth” divorce (Mal 2:16) and Jesus Christ prohibited all divorce, as well as remarriage before the death of a spouse (Mr 10:11-12). As recorded in the Bible, God commands: “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Ex 20:14)—no exception for slave girls. In fact, the Bible teaches that those enslaved in the Roman culture of New Testament times were equal in Christ to everyone else (Gal 3:28), and Scripture indicates that people who become Christians should rather set their slaves free (Phm 21) than take advantage of them to abuse them sexually. The Bible declares, “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge” (Heb 13:4).

These are just a handful of the many contradictions between the Quran and the Bible. If the Quran is true, the Bible must be true, for the Quran claims that the Bible is true. If the Bible is true, the Quran cannot be true, for they contradict each other. Therefore the Quran cannot be true.

See this complete study--parts 1-3--by clicking here.

[1] For more evidence that the Bible is the Word of God, please read Bible Studies #1 & 4, as well as the work “The Book of Daniel: Proof that the Bible is the Word of God” by clicking here. Much of the material summarized below is explained in greater detail in these resources.
[2]—warning: the website may give more proof and detail than you want to know.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Meaning of Ekklesia....Hmmmm, Yes

This little video provides a couple of points in my opinion. One is that it shows the fellowship between these three men, one of which, Dever, who will also be appearing at an upcoming conference in Lansdale with Dave Doran and Kevin Bauder. Second, I'm amazed at how ridiculous the other two sound in their defense of what they do. Obnoxious. Third, Dever at 1:00 to about 1:20, to explain why he doesn't multi-site says, number one, the meaning of ekklesia in the New Testament is "assembly." That's my main, if not entire point for posting this. Three evangelicals not attempting to make any kind of significant point about ecclesiology and Dever says, "Ekklesia means 'assembly.'" That's right. If we're going to be honest with our understanding of "church," then we, like Dever, will say the church is an assembly. So there is no universal church. That is a contradiction in terms. Thank you. The other two try to argue Dever away with their hypotheticals and rhetoric. They laugh off his scriptural explanation. Dever sounds like he wants to give a real scriptural answer, but they just talk over him and disallow him from even giving his reasons. You can see that he decides at that point to become the interviewer and ask them questions. They don't want to let him talk anyway.

Assemblies assemble. That's what they do. That's what's wrong with multi-site, according to Dever. But Dever mentions the usage of ekklesia. He brings up Acts 18, wanting to be honest with the text. There is no universal church. The church is an assembly. Come on, folks. Plain meaning of the text.


One more thing. Dever asks MacDonald a little ways in, why not go and make that an evangelistic event? Good question. Why are you going to start a church? Aren't we supposed to evangelize first? It's out of those converts that come a church. That would be "gospel-centered," wouldn't it? But they are franchising their group in different places. I like when MacDonald says he is nothing there in Florida. So he's something in Chicago? Something to be seen there. He also says "I build." He's building something, it's true. It would be better if it were God that was building something. Both the sower and the waterer are what? They are nothing. They are irrelevant. MacDonald is nothing in Chicago too. He just thinks he's something---hence the need, in his opinion, for multi-sites. I've been harping on the Luke 10 approach over at Jackhammer.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Horrible and Yet Typical Ecclesiological Explanation

I get the Baptist Bulletin, a bimonthly magazine published by Regular Baptist Press. A regular feature (no pun intended) is the Q & A in which Norm Olson for many, many years, well, answers questions. I pulled my recent Baptist Bulletin from the mailbox and I went to the Q & A to see what question Norm would answer this time. Here was the Q:

Recently I came across a person who insists that Baptists are the only true church because only Baptists can trace their heritage to John the Baptist. Is this Scriptural?

Very interested. Really want to hear Norm's answer. I read the answer. Ouch. Terrible answer. Garbage answer. Norm was just preaching to the choir. I want to go through his answer paragraph by paragraph to show how awful it is, starting in detail with the fourth paragraph.

The first three paragraphs poison the well about the people Norm targets. He isn't trying to make them look credible, so he spends the first three paragraphs with a subtle smack down in general. The question itself is loaded. The term "landmarkism" itself is being used as a pejorative. He suspects that few want to be known as a "landmarkist." And then I don't know of anyone who even believes like the very question represents. In other words, I know of no one who insists that Baptists are the true church because they can trace their heritage to John the Baptist, as if "the Baptist" is the important factor in the search for the true church. That right away creates a bit of a straw man. However, I want to look at the basic doctrine itself, which he starts dealing with in the fourth paragraph.

As my most fundamental criticism, Norm Olson does not take a grammatical-historical understanding of "the body of Christ." This is his downfall. He writes near the end of the third paragraph: "we believe that all true believers compose the Body of Christ." That's what he will have to prove if he is going to debunk local only ecclesiology. Just before writing this paragraph, I read this:

[W]e should seek the meaning of the text that: (1) it had at the time it was written; (2) is found in the words chosen and arranged by the writer; and (3) is consistent with the overall message and doctrine of the Scriptures. The technical way of saying that is that we should use the historical, grammatical, theological method of interpreting Scripture.

I enjoyed those two sentences written by Dave Doran. It's exactly how I want us to work on this subject. Unfortunately, it is not the method employed by Norm Olson in his answer to the question. It is not how most people come to their position on their understanding of "the body of Christ." They've heard a point of view and then try to fit it into Scripture. What Olson does in this article is a good example of that.

Fourth Paragraph

In the fourth paragraph, Norm Olson expresses a desire for us to look at some passages "that refute Landmarkism," and he refers first to "Ephesians 2." He uses Ephesians 2:19 to say that "all (emphasis his) born-again believers compose the household of God." I don't have a problem with someone saying that "all born again believers" compose the household of God, but I wouldn't make that point from Ephesians 2. Ephesians 2 doesn't say that. Paul writes that "ye are . . . of the household of God." When a person exegetes, he makes the point from Scripture, unlike what Olson did here. Paul excludes himself by saying "ye." That doesn't mean that Paul isn't in the household of God, but the text does not say that he is in the household. The Greek term translated "household" is found three times in the New Testament. In 1 Timothy 5:8, in the KJV it is translated "of his own house," or in other words, family members.

In the Greek, Paul is actually utilizing a pun here. These saints of the church at Ephesus were not "foreigners" (paroikoi--those who are around or outside the house as non-family members), but instead were "of the household of God" (oikeioi), that is, they were family members. Paul isn't talking about "the church" with his "household" metaphor, but the family of God. "Family of God" is a soteriological designation (cf. John 1:12), not an ecclesiological one, so it proves nothing about the nature of the church.

Olson goes to Ephesians 2, and especially verse 19, to say that "the body of Christ" is all believers. His evidence is found in this sentence: "This chapter also presents the Body of believers as something beyond the local assembly." Where? If you want to disprove something, you've got to do better than that. You've got to show something from the Bible that proves your point. Olson doesn't do that.

Then he states: "Hebrews 12:22–24 bears out this truth as well." That is, the "truth" that "the Body of believers" is something beyond "the local assembly." Really? If you look at Hebrews 12:22-24, you'll see that "body of believers" or even the word "body" isn't found there.

Olson ends that paragraph with this: "we still recognize the Biblical truth that all believers everywhere and in every age do compose something—the Body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22, 23)." I agree that "all believers" compose something---the family of God. All believers everywhere and in every age are not "the body of Christ." He refers to Ephesians 1:22-23, which doesn't show the body of Christ to be "all believers." Those two verses say nothing about that.

Fifth Paragraph

In the fifth paragraph, Olson moves to Ephesians 4:1-6. He simply asserts that the "one baptism" of v. 5 is not water baptism, but "the baptism of the Holy Spirit." Why is it "the baptism of the Holy Spirit?" No reason. It just is. Worse than that though, he says that believing that "baptism" there is water baptism "positions the movement dangerously close to those who embrace baptismal regeneration." That's a false and ridiculous statement. He then says that the failure to believe that "baptism" is not water baptism, but spirit baptism, "keeps the movement from realizing that not just Landmarkers have been baptized into Jesus Christ." Using the term "movement" itself is a smear. What basis is there for calling this a movement? He doesn't explain. What Olson fails to recognize about those who believe the church is local only do not believe that spirit baptism is for today and it has little to do with their view of Ephesians 4:1-6. However, what Olson should reveal is how that Ephesians 4:5 says "one baptism," but that there actually are "two baptisms," water and spirit. I'm confident that Olson believes there is water baptism. So if there is also "spirit baptism," that would mean "two baptisms." That deserves an explanation.

The last sentence of the fifth paragraph is this: "Water baptism does not place a person into one Body (1 Corinthians 12:13); the baptism of the Holy Spirit does." He just states this with no proof. 1 Corinthians 12:13 says nothing about "placing a person into the body of Christ." It does say that "by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body." The terminology "baptism of the Holy Spirit" isn't anywhere in the Bible, and especially isn't in 1 Corinthians 12:13. I believe it is "water baptism" in 1 Corinthians 12:13. I'm not going to argue for that here (though I have here), but Olson doesn't prove anything with his statement.

Sixth Paragraph

Olson states this: "Landmarkers hold that a believer’s water baptism isn’t legitimate unless one of their men performs it in one of their churches, and they will not accept for membership someone from another Baptist church even if that person was baptized by immersion after salvation." I've never ever either read or seen the situation he describes here. It's sheer propaganda to make these churches sound like a cult. There are situations where churches will not accept someone's baptism, but this is a total misrepresentation of the type of position that I've read.

Then Olson says that Paul condemned this unscriptural attitude, referencing 1 Corinthians 1:10-17. The attitude in 1 Corinthians 1 was an attitude among various men in one church, that was causing division in that one church. It had nothing to do with not accepting someone's baptism because a church does not believe the church performing the baptism was an authoritative church. Many churches believe that proper authority is a requirement for biblical baptism, which is why Jesus walked 70 miles to receive His baptism from John the Baptist, who had received his baptism from heaven.

Seventh Paragraph

Olson criticizes a "closed communion" position, and then he represents it in the worst way possible. Our church practices closed communion. This doesn't mean that we don't fellowship with believers outside of our church. What it does mean is that we believe Scripture teaches closed communion. We think we should practice what the Bible teaches. The Lord's Table is the communion of the body of Christ and the body of Christ is the church, which is local only. We limit the Lord's Table to our church because Scripture limits the Lord's Table to the body of Christ.

Norm Olson should look at 1 Corinthians 12:27, where Paul gives a definition of the body of Christ, when he writes to the church at Corinth: "ye are the body of Christ." Are all believers in Corinth? If the body of Christ is all believers, we would think so. But we know that there are believers in other places. So the body of Christ is local, or else Paul would have said "we are the body of Christ." He didn't.

Olson finishes with this: "We have no right to bar an immersed, doctrinally sound believer from obeying the Lord by observing His Supper." A believer can obey the Lord by partaking of the Lord's Supper in his own church. A church isn't holding anyone away from the Lord's Table by not allowing non-members to partake. They are practicing like they see the Bible teach it.

Eighth Paragraph

Olson's next to last paragraph says that the church started at Pentecost, not with John the Baptist. He gives no proof except for some references. The church didn't start on Pentecost. Jesus sang in the church (Heb 2:12). Those saved on the day of Pentecost were added to the church (Acts 2:47). Jesus talked like the church already existed (Matthew 18:15-17). There are other good exegetical proofs that the church existed before Pentecost. We believe that the church started with John the Baptist in an embryonic form. There were already immersed believers gathered around him. They were an assembly. No doubt Jesus is the Head of the church. Scripture says that, but that doesn't mean that the church isn't traced back to John the Baptist. And it has nothing with the name "Baptist."

Ninth Paragraph

The last paragraph is absurd, bizarre. He writes: "Examples of a group thinking it is the only true church have existed through time. Roman Catholicism is one example." None of these Baptist groups think of themselves as the only true church. They believe there are true churches since Christ. The Bible backs that up. Olson makes the pathetic parallel of these Christians with Roman Catholics. It's a desperate criticism from someone who offers no biblical basis to believe differently. It's also ironic coming from Olson. He believes the true church is a catholic church, when the Bible teaches something just the opposite. That is not how the word "church" is used in the New Testament.

Norm Olson does a bad job of answering this bad question. But you might not expect otherwise, because Norm Olson has not come to his understanding of "body of Christ" or "church" from the Bible.

Monday, October 04, 2010

New Work in Sacramento

We had a first meeting in the Roseville/Citrus Heights/Granite Bay/Sacramento Area yesterday. We had 16 attend with 9 being folks not already from our church. We're going to keep meeting on Sunday afternoons at 3pm. Our goal is to go and preach the gospel to that area of our state capital to expand the ministry of our church in El Sobrante. We passed out 2,000 flyers to announce the meeting. None came from the flyers. That didn't surprise me. The 9 were all related in some way to folks in our church---friends, co-workers, etc. I was happy about the meeting, a good start.

Marlowe and Becky Robles rode up with my wife and me. We are meeting in a care home with a capacity of about 25-30, that is owned by members of our church. The Robles' brought their piano to the home to leave there for this start, so we had piano the first gathering with our singing. Afterward we went out evangelizing for an hour.

We switched things around at our church. I am now teaching in Sunday School, continuing my series in 1 Kings. Pastor Sutton at our church is preaching his Nehemiah series now on Sunday night. We leave for Sacramento right after the morning service, arrive at 2:30pm, have the meeting from 3:00 to 4:15pm, talk to folks afterward, then begin evangelizing at 4:30 every Sunday night. We'll leave back to the Bay Area at about 6:00pm to get back home at 7:30pm.

Marlowe has a good part time job, teaches violin, and then teaches a little in our school. Becky also teaches a few classes in our school. Marlowe is in his third year of graduate training with me at what we call Bethel Advanced Pastoral Training (BAPT). David Warner is here doing about the same thing as Marlowe. We meet every week for class instruction. It includes historical theology, apologetics, systematic theology, biblical languages, counseling, etc. I also direct their reading and their research/papers. They do a lot of teaching and preaching. If you are interested in this kind of training, which I think is a M. Div. equivalent, but very hands-on under a seasoned pastor, it is available for you. There is no tuition, but you have to work hard.

Are we starting a church? We're evangelizing with hope for a church in the future. My wife and I went to two doors. The first was not home. The second was a Jehovah's Witness who invited us in, and we talked for an hour. Marlowe and Becky covered five or six houses, talking to someone at every one. That's how we're going to get it done. When someone is converted, one of us will start discipleship with them during that 4:30-6:00pm time, while the other is evangelizing. Some folks from our church may travel up to evangelize at certain times. If the number of new converts and interested believers grows, a church may come out of that.

You can pray for the future of this church and the new work that is being done. We have two goals. We want to provide a place for saints in this populated area to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth. And we want to preach the gospel to every creature that lives there. We want to see the same kind of work start in other places in Northern California and the San Francisco Bay Area.