See this complete study--parts 1-3--by clicking here.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
See this complete study--parts 1-3--by clicking here.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
See this complete study--parts 1-3--by clicking here.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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
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.