Friday, November 30, 2007

The Myth of the Harshness of Right Wing Tone or Hypocrisy from the Left on Tone or Attitude

I warn you that my tone might be sharp in this blog. Some also call it "interesting writing." However, I want to put a disclaimer on my own blog by saying that the tone that you hear here (luv those homonyms) will be sharper (not as in sharper iron) for effect.

Recently, the boys (and girls) at SharperIron (what I sometimes affectionately call "SharperSpatula") marked me for a difference than most of them on tone. Dave Barnhart, one of the SI moderators (who I think is also Anvil), wrote:

Well, for example, we would have a pretty good about their attitudes on separation, even if not on the specifics of what was separated from. And, as Joel said, the scale speaks more to "mood" than to certain exact positions. However, I'm sure you can always find specific cases for which the scale doesn't work very well. That still doesn't change its general usefulness. Further, it would be more interesting to me when those two meet how they would classify themselves. Personally, from what I know of both those men (and that is admittedly not as much as I probably should), I would classify Schapp as an A+ or A++ anyway. Interestingly, back when he was here, that was Kent Brandenburg's disagreement with the scale as well -- that he would be lumped in with the Hylesites when he was nothing like that. Although the positions (and probably methods) differ greatly, I think the "mood" would be pretty similar.
No one disagreed with him (not that anyone would defend me at SI) about my tone. Only because of my "tone," I'm categorized with Jack Schapp. How 'bout those apricots? Where can I get my official tone judge certificate? On a historical note, I was given a "guest" pass (no posting privileges) on SI by King Tone for identifying poor tone in one of their articles written by the mellowmeister himself, Douglas Kutilek. That's why Dave wrote, "back when he was here" in his comment, because I is not visibly there any more. Among other of his customary and egregious tone violations, Mr. Kutilek essentially called all King James Version supporters "lemmings." In a private note, the Tone CEO at SI said that he agreed with Doug's particular tone in his essay. They privately like harsh tone. Very fun when it agrees with them.

First, regarding the quote, I'm far different doctrinally than Schapp, further from them than SI. I would rate Joe Roof (one of the male moderators) a bedfellow doctrinally with the Hyles group compared to me based on most of what he says (for which he gets a free pass over there, incidentally [see political correctness {1}]). Regarding methods differences, Dave says "probably methods." Probably? "Probably" quite understates the western hemisphere, the solar system, that separates the Schapp and Brandenburg methodology. By the way, I don't put Jason Janz and Red Rocks as that far away from Schapp/Hyles in methods. I especially don't see very much at all different in methodology between Hyles and SI's beloved Dan Burrell. So, we get to tone, becoming the chief categorical factor (I think to myself, "are you kidding me?"). We pass doctrine and methods, don't even collect our 200 dollars, and go directly to tone.

Well, here's the difference between Schaap and me in tone. I give evidence. I open my Bible. I say it directly, but use the Bible, exegesis, that kind of thing. Schaap spews out propaganda, psychological warfare. Our sameness might be that we are both direct. In other words, we might say it right to the person (and I say "might" only because he "might not" go direct). Our sameness is that very likely he thinks he's right. I think I'm right. The left of us would say that they are nuanced. That they have a sophistication about them. They give latitude. They are accepting.

Well, I don't have the time right now, but I'm going to provide examples how that this "tone" thing is, well, garbage. It isn't even true. Both sides think they're right. It's just idealogical differences, really a worldview. Culture is more at the root of it. It's part of the culture war. Tone sounds better. But it isn't tone.

{1} Wikipedia says: "The term "political correctness" is derived from Marxist-Leninist vocabulary, and was used to describe the appropriate "party line", commonly referred to as the "correct line." Those people who opposed (or were seen as opposing) the "correct line" were often punished. A similar term has been used in communist countries, such as China."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Consider Little Jack Horner for a moment---he who sat in a corner. First, notice his situation---a corner---and ask yourself why? The TIME-OUT, of course, a failure of a discipline program. Rather than spanking the boy, they sit him down, separating him from others, making an example of him, all good and well. I can only speculate in saying that he needed to be in the corner for what others would creep up from behind and do to him out of retaliation. But I digress.

Second, consider his superstition. Simply because he puts in a thumb and pulls out a plum (not personally a plum fan here), somehow this is a sign to him. A sign. Sigh. A sign. An evil and adulterous generation seeks after signs. Put away your superstition, Jack! Please, before it is too late! And those reading, let this be an example of how your superstition will corner you every time.

And lastly, let us see his self-esteem. Despite the corner situation and the nefarious superstition, Mr. Horner proclaims for all: "What a good boy am I?" My head is wagging here. Sad. Just sad. No man is good. None. Little boy. Little girl. Mincemeat eaters. Celery eaters. Plum eaters. Reese's Peanut Butter Cup eaters. A good boy---NOT. I don't care what kind of supposed good works he thinks he's done. This is sheer psychological manipulation. Even at his best state, Jack is only vanity. Vanity! I don't know. Perhaps he heard the Jesse Jackson speech, "I am somebody!" Jack is a lover of his own self. Put away the self-esteem Jack! Or hit the road! Get yourself back to the table. Your seat is empty, but the table is full.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Proof-Text Perversions: 1 Corinthians 12:13 (part six)

What About Some History of 1 Corinthians 12:13?

In 1611, the King James translators translated 1 Corinthians 12:13:
For by one spirit are we all baptized into one bodie, whether wee bee Iewes or Gentiles, whether wee bee bond or free: and haue beene all made to drinke into one spirit.
Do you see their small "s" "spirit?" They didn't take the position of "Spirit baptism."

John Wycliffe (1330-1384) translated 1 Corinthians 12:13:

For in o spirit alle we ben baptisid `in to o bodi, ether Jewis, ether hethene, ether seruauntis, ether free; and alle we ben fillid with drink in o spirit.
It is difficult perhaps to understand Middle English, but you can see again that we have a small "s" "spirit. He didn't take the position of "Spirit baptism."

Not that I fully endorse him, but Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-211/216) gave 1 Corinthians 12:13 this reading in his Paedagogus:

For by one spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free, and we have all drunk of one cup."
Do you see the small "s" "spirit?" He didn't take the position of "Spirit baptism."

John T. Christian in his History of Baptists, writes:

In the second and third decades of the Reformation Simon Menno became the leader of the Baptists in the Netherlands. He was born in Friesland, in 1492, and died in Holstein, January 13, 1559. He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest; but he became a convert to the Baptist faith when, in 1531, Seike Feerks or Sicke Snyder was burnt at the stake. On his conversion he at once preached Jesus and soon became a conspicuous leader among the Baptists.
Simon Menno references 1 Corinthians 12:13 in these of his writings:

Moses believed the word of the Lord, and erected a serpent; Israel looked upon it and was healed, not through the virtue of the image, but through the power of the divine word, received by them through faith. In the same manner salvation is ascribed In scriptural baptism (doope) Mark 16:16; the forgiveness of sins, Acts 2:38; the putting on of Christ, Gal. 8:27, being dipped into (indoopinge) one body. 1 Cor. 12:13 (Menno, Wercken, 14).
Menno says, as you can see, that 1 Corinthians 12:13 means, "being dipped into one body."

So we can go a long ways back to see something other than the Protestant "Spirit baptism" position for 1 Corinthians 12:13. Where did the false view come from? I've said many times that the universal, invisible body concept originated with Augustine. That's what we're talking about here with Spirit baptism. However, Augustine highly respected Platonic philosophy like several of the patristics, including the aforementioned Clement of Alexandria, who is one of the first noticed to have brought in the invisible church concept. Chrysostom broadened the concept of the body, when he wrote in his Homily:

[T]he Church amongst you is a part of the Church existing every where and of the body which is made up of all the Churches: so that not only with yourselves alone, but also with the whole Church throughout the world, ye ought to be at peace, if at least ye be members of the whole body.
Chrysostom (349-407) was an archbishop of Eastern Catholicism in the imperial city of Constantinople. Of course, the whole universal church concept originated in Roman Catholicism. Augustine (354-430) popularized the invisible church concept in his well-known argument with the Donatists, a group of Bible-believers in Africa who challenged the orthodoxy of Catholicism. One of their major criticisms was the impurity of Romanism. The ecclesial and theological claims of the Donatists were that if the bishops and members were not pure, then there could be no church. Augustine developed the Catholic concept of an invisible church within the visible to combat their teaching. Augustine enjoyed and respected the Greek philosopher Plato and his concept of the higher reality of ideas, drawing his invisible church concept from this realm of the ideals.

People protecting an invisible church are warring for a concept not found in Scripture. It originated with Augustine, was passed down through Romanism, and then passed through the Reformers, who were former Catholics and lovers of the writings of Augustine. It continues today spread around through academia and through the graduates into churches. Augustine's invisible, catholic church will find it's reality in the one world church of the Antichrist.

The Damages of the False View of 1 Corinthians 12:13

I'm not going to expand on these bullet points, but each could be a few paragraphs. They are consequences of this eisogesis of 1 Corinthians 12:13.

  • Unfaithfulness to the Local Church

  • Loss of Genuine Separation

  • Loss of Purity

  • Dumbed Down Doctrine

  • Multiplying False Doctrines

  • Loss of Discernment

  • False View of Unity

  • Resource Draining Existence of Parachurch Organizations

  • Unscriptural Methods of Ministry

  • Misinterpretation of Scripture

  • Distrust in the Church
In my opinion, it is possible that no false interpretation of Scripture has caused more damage than this one.
A Recap

1 Corinthians 12:13 teaches the water baptism of the believer into the membership of the church. This corroborates Acts 2:41 where it says that those that gladly received His Word and were baptized were added to the church. Baptism portrays the unity between believers in Christ's assembly no matter what the ethnicity or socio-economic level.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Proof-Text Perversions: 1 Corinthians 12:13 (part five)

Universal church advocates take 1 Corinthians 12:13 as their proof text. Perhaps we could say that "by one spirit of fallacy they read into this passage one numerical, universal, invisible, mystical body." They commit this hermeneutical blunder against the context of the Bible and the epistle, and now we look at the chapter.

The Context of 1 Corinthians 12

1 Corinthians 12 begins a treatise by Paul on spiritual gifts. He would not have us be ignorant (v. 1). Everyone is different spiritually---there are diversities of gifts. However, there is one Spirit. As much as everyone has a different spiritual giftedness and even a different manifestation of that giftedness, he has the same Holy Spirit (vv. 4-11). The text implies that if everyone had the same gift, a church wouldn't have unity. All of the various gifts enable one body of Christ (v. 12).

The church at Corinth fought over almost anything. Gifts were no exception. They sought after the most self-promoting gifts for themselves (v. 31). However, the gifts were not to divide, but to unify. The act that brought them into identification with the church itself pictured this unity. People of various ethnicities ("Jews and Gentiles") cultural and socioeconomical backgrounds ("bond and free") were all brought into the assembly by means of baptism. No individual would be excluded from the group based on such tangential and temporal criteria. The ordinance of baptism brought many into one (Acts 2:41). Their selfish infighting wasn't in fitting with their initiation into the Lord's body. The waters of baptism welcome anyone in Corinth who received Christ.

The Corinthian Church was dis-united over the practice of baptism (1 Cor. 1:11-17) and the "drinking" relative to the Lord's Supper (1 Cor. 11:18-34). Not only baptism, but also the ordinance of the Lord's Table symbolized this unity. The Corinthian believers had been made "to drink into" (eis) or with reference to "the spirit of unity." The unity of the church is testified by the Lord's Supper, whether bond, free, Jew, or Gentile. We see this same concept about the Lord's Table earlier in 10:16, 17.

As you read along in 1 Corinthians 12, you'll notice that the body being described is a local entity. A hand, eye, and foot are all local and visible, not universal and mystical. They must be in one location to work together---they wouldn't work together spread out.

Verse 25 says there is to be no schism in the body. There are multiple and constant schisms, divisions, between professing believers. Divisions are required. 1 Corinthians 11:18, 19 says they're necessary. Many other places require separation from believers (2 Thess. 3:6-15). Only if the body is local could there be no schisms. God has designed the church to settle disputes and confront sin in various manners (1 Cor. 6; Matthew 18:15-18). So v. 25 makes sense only if the body is local and visible.

In v. 26, how could a fellow believer in America be suffering out of sympathy for an unknown believer in Africa? The assumption here is that these people are in the same spot, so are able to comfort one another in this close proximity. We can feel each other's pain within a local church just like in a real body. The suffering of another church member affects other church members since they are all body parts of the same body.

1 Corinthians 12:27 clinches it when Paul writes: "Ye are the body of Christ." In the context of 1 Corinthians 12, the body is the church at Corinth, which is local and visible. Believers joined that church by means of water baptism, publically identifying with Christ and His body. If the body of Christ was all believers, Paul would have written, "We are the body of Christ."

What we see occurring in 1 Corinthians 12 doesn't fit with something universal and invisible. The chapter does fit with the church of Corinth, and, therefore, any local church. Each genuine church is the body of Christ. Saints are admitted a part of His body through water baptism, unifying with that particular church.

Is Water Baptism in 1 Corinthians 12:13 a Historical Understanding?


The very early Schleitheim Confession of 1527, written by anabaptist Michael Sattler, clearly reflects this plain teaching of 1 Corinthians 12:13 in two of the articles:

II. We are agreed as follows on the ban: The ban shall be employed with all those who have given themselves to the Lord, to walk in His commandments, and with all those who are baptized into the one body of Christ and who are called brethren or sisters, and yet who slip sometimes and fall into error and sin, being inadvertently overtaken. The same shall be admonished twice in secret and the third time openly disciplined or banned according to the command of Christ. Matt. 18. But this shall be done according to the regulation of the Spirit (Matt. 5) before the breaking of bread, so that we may break and eat one bread, with one mind and in one love, and may drink of one cup.

III. In the breaking of bread we are of one mind and are agreed (as follows): All those who wish to break one bread in remembrance of the broken body of Christ, and all who wish to drink of one drink as a remembrance of the shed blood of Christ, shall be united beforehand by baptism in one body of Christ which is the church of God and whose Head is Christ. For as Paul points out, we cannot at the same time drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of the devil. That is, all those who have fellowship with the dead works of darkness have no part in the light. Therefore all who follow the devil and the world have no part with those who are called unto God out of the world. All who lie in evil have no part in the good.

Therefore it is and must be (thus): Whoever has not been called by one God to one faith, to one baptism, to one Spirit, to one body, with all the children of God's church, cannot be made (into) one bread with them, as indeed must be done if one is truly to break bread according to the command of Christ.

E. T. Hiscox in the The Standard Manual for Baptist Churches (1894, p. 22), wrote:
In the Apostolic age when there was but 'one Lord, one faith, and one baptism,' and no differing denominations existed, the baptism of a convert by that very act constituted him a member of the church, and at once endowed him with all the rights and privileges of full membership. In that sense,'baptism was the door into the church.'
A. W. Pink said:
[T]he "baptism" by which one enters "into" a New Testament church is water baptism, for the Holy Spirit does not "baptize" anybody into a local assembly.

What Others Say

Albert Mohler in “The Biblical Basis for the Baptist Vision of the Church (as a Body of Baptized Believers)”, (The Baptist Messenger, July 11, 2006), wrote:
[T]he common experience of believer’s baptism is central to the unity and identity of the church. In Ephesians 4:5, Paul writes of the church as constituted by “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” In 1 Corinthians 12:13, Paul reminds us: “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.” Thus baptism is presented as a necessary act of obedience to Christ that marks the believer’s incorporation into the church as the Body of Christ. Put simply, the New Testament has no concept of an unbaptized Christian, much less an unbaptized church member.
B. H. Carroll wrote:
[T]his verse has no reference whatsoever to either the Holy Spirit or Holy Spirit baptism. Paul was writing to saved persons, members of the Corinthian church who had been baptized into that church, which is the only scriptural way of entrance into any sound church.
Water baptism into a local church is a historical view of 1 Corinthians 12:13, no private interpretation.

We'll probably be done next time with some practical ramifications.