Monday, October 31, 2011

Covering a Bunch-a Stuff at Once Until I Write Something Really Serious

Sometimes I see bloggers cover all sorts of stuff at one time that they probly don't want to turn into individual posts.  I understand it.  I could expand each of these into full length like one of those NASA meals---a steak dinner capsule, or such.  And they might be important, but I can't make them seem that way because then someone will think I think they're important.  Some of the I-don't-know-how-you-have-time-to-write-blogs criticism does embed in a blogger's psyche, diminishing a perceived gravitas.  Alright you haters, I know you want to tell me I don't have any.  Go ahead.  Like the guy who recently wrote me, telling me that he thought I had a tumor in my frontal lobe---his words.

Here is a potpourri, cornucopia, chex party mix--- I don't know.  Overuse of the dash.  That I know.  Actually I like writing on these random mind chunks, so let's get them out of our system together in no particular order.  Does it matter that they are or are not in the right order, when they're just stream of consciousness-like?  I'm going to separate them by a centered stream of plus signs.  I think the word is "separators."  Yes.


You can listen to sermons (free) at our church website.  More (4-8) go up each week.


The left is loony.  Their world is tilted by their narcissistic, unbiblical view.  But now they are bouncing off the rubber walls like tigger on steroids with all their different attempts to explain the tea-party's excitement about Herman Cain.  They can't have the tea-party like a black man, one with two black parents.  Really they can't even have any black man be his own success without democrat help.  Why?  Because then the racist tea-party narrative loses its traction, which is, the tea party doesn't like President Obama because they don't like a black man.  Then they have their favorite candidate be a black man, who is more black then their guy.  When I say he's more black, I don't care and I don't actually think he is more black.  His skin is more black, but that's not what I mean, or what Thomas Sowell meant when he recently said that Cain is actually more black than Obama.  It's just that his personal story is more black.  He grew up in the South.  He rode in the back of the bus.  He attended an all black college.  His parents were poor.  That story, the one that normally counts for something, but in the case of Herman Cain, it can't, because he has tea-party type sensibilities.

If you read Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington, and you should at least once, you'll read Herman Cainesque thinking.   The school of thought had a large following at one time until Washington died at a young age and the W. E. B. Dubois school captured the imaginations of freedmen.  Again, if you do read Up from Slavery, notice Washington's account of the Dubois' philosophy seen by him at that time hovering around the nation's capital, when Washington made his famous trip there.

But back to the left and Herman Cain.  I've heard several explanations.  But before I mention those, a couple of things.  The strangest thing that I hear are black people themselves calling Herman Cain himself racist.  He's racist against blacks.  What?!?!  That is craaazy.  Another one is that liking Herman Cain is racist.  Racism is about, um, race, isn't it?  If you are a white racist, you really don't like Herman Cain and you don't want him as President.  The blackness of Herman Cain gets between him and white racists. So if you want him as President, that would indicate that you are, um, well, not racist.  Racism has definitely become a skewed insane tool if you're a racist when you're white and you want a black conservative to be your President.  The left is obsessed with race.  They love racism.  They want it to continue as the political tool they need it to be.

Alright, back to the weird commentary---they say.  Herman Cain is a cover for racists.  By supporting him, they can hide their racism.  Weird number two.   The racism that supports Cain is worse racism because it is a quiet, subtle style that hurts even more.  It is less overt, but more harmful.  How?  I don't know.  My guess is that the pain is that someone can't use racism as a political tool to play the victim any longer, so the pain is in that loss.  There is a tremendous power in hurt feelings.  Surely this is what Clarence Thomas knew he could accomplish by calling his confirmation process a "hi-tech lynching."  He was using their tactic against them, jockeying for greater victimization than that of Anita Hill.   The third weird is that Herman Cain is nothing more than a well-placed plant, funded just enough by rich Republican donors to take away the racism charge.  A fourth one I've heard is that you know how bad the Republican candidates are---so bad that conservatives would vote for a black man.   Does that get to count as a racist statement?  No, of course not.  All the former is a weirdness on the level of a picasso-like blood shot eye free floating above its owner.

I'm sure you've heard other weird charges and you are welcome to share them.  After I wrote the above, the sexual harassment accusations from Jonathan Martin at Politico came out.  I won't comment on them except to say that it seems that people must be afraid of Herman Cain now more than ever.


I ran track in high school and college.  I sprinted.  Never did I ever run any longer than 3 miles.  Every practice we warmed up with 1 1/2 miles, sometimes 3.  Then we would run 600s, 400s, 200s, and 100s.   I hated long distance.  Hated.  Last Monday I ran 4 miles.  I ran three on Wednesday and three more on Friday.  And I liked it.  If you don't understand that, I think I can help you.  It took me until recently to understand how someone likes running long distance.  Here are my keys for running long distance, not necessarily in order.

1.  Don't run fast.

I jog very slow.  Running fast is what causes me to get out of breath and want to stop.

2.  Get into a rhythm.

Some call this a pace.  Rhythm works better for me.  I use my arms to get into the rhythm.  I have my hands loosely clenched and my elbows tight and my arms rock.  They act as a pendulum for me as I run and this keeps me steady.

3.  Look down.

You might disagree. But I don't look around.  I look down just in front of my feet most of the time.  When I look up, that sense of distance doesn't work for me.  I don't want to know how far I've gone or how far I've got to go.

4.  Think about something else besides running.

I think about something else totally and lose myself in it.  The running clears my mind for some really deep thoughts about important subjects, usually about God.

5.  Every 400 to 800 meters, take a deep, cleansing breath.

That breath is like a vacation.  Fill up your lungs, expand them.

6.  Don't speed up if someone passes you.

You aren't competing, except with yourself.  If someone passes you, don't even let it interrupt your thoughts.

7.  Start slow.

I run the first mile slower until I get warmed up.  But also don't start with four miles.  Start with a half a mile, move to one, then two, etc.

When I ran the four miles, I could have kept going except for time, but I also noticed some pain in the ankles, knees, and hips.  I was also chafing.   We'll see what happens there.

If you haven't liked running, I encourage you to try this strategy and see what it does for you.  You won't need a gym membership to jog yourself  into shape.


Have you noticed a disconnect between the love for Tim Tebow from rank and file fans and those in the media?  Tebow has received more personal hatred than I have noticed for any professional athlete ever, even more than Michael Vick.  At the same time, there is more passionate love for Tim Tebow than I have ever seen for a professional athlete.  People love him with a white hot fan's passion.  And now many other NFL players have shown him more disrespect than I have ever seen for a professional athlete, likely because of a jealousy, an envy that comes from a popularity that I don't believe he has done much to engender.

Tebow wouldn't be loved or hated if he wasn't a good football player.  So it starts there.  He doesn't come across to me as a self-promoter.  His fame has come because people like him.  They want to like him.  They want more football players like him.  That's it.

Tim Tebow has the most dissected passing delivery in the history of football.  He is ridiculed for it.  The secular media resents him.  They don't like his beliefs.  They want him to fail.  They would love for him to fail.  His standard for success is higher than others.  He's played very little.  Many others have been give much more time than he to get good enough as a football player.  This all relates to a different standard because of his right beliefs, right beliefs that I, and many others, would share with him.

The secular news media hate Tebow like the secular new media hates other Christian figures.  They ridicule them. They target them.  In the secular world, this would be called bigotry.  They have a bigoted, prejudicial kind of hatred against him.  So now, even though I'm opposed to the Christian celebrity syndrome, and even for the idea of Christians playing pro football on Sunday or encouraging that, I am a big Tim Tebow guy.


One last thing.  About scoffing.  The world scoffs.  There is no problem with the left scoffing.   Hollywood scoffs.  Television scoffs.  Most comedians are left and scoff the right.  Scoffing doesn't fit how the right thinks or works. There are only a few who get away with it---Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter come to mind.  I've long known that scoffing from the right toward the left would and could always be funnier and have much more material available, but it isn't in the conscience or the DNA of the right.  But there is more scoffing and worse than ever coming from the left in my opinion.  We should all understand that this is how the left operates and they do so because of the intellectual and spiritual inferiority of their views.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Spirit Baptism--the Historic Baptist View, part 4

Spirit Baptism in the Gospels, part 1

The only references in the gospels to Spirit baptism[i] are found in Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; and John 1:33.  All of these are upon the lips of John the Baptist.  John, the first Baptist preacher, prepared the way for the Lord Jesus by preaching the gospel and immersing people who had been saved, preparing people for Christ’s coming and His gathering of the church during His earthly ministry.[ii] John’s baptism is that practiced by Christ’s church and perpetuated from the first century until today[iii] by true Baptist churches; his baptism was not some other sort of non-Christian baptism.[iv]  When “John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins[,] [a]nd there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins” (Mark 1:4-5), then the Baptist preached to those he immersed that “there cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost” (Mark 1:7-8).  John thus identified the recipients of Spirit baptism with believers who had received his baptism. Spirit baptism was not received only by the apostles, but was for the church as an institution, the entire body of immersed believers.  This was in line with Old Testament predictions, which affirmed that men and women, old and young, would receive Spirit baptism (Joel 2:28-29).  The context of Matthew 3:11[v] and Luke 3:16[vi] likewise identify those who believe the gospel and are immersed with the recipients of Spirit baptism.  When the Baptist, as recorded in John 1:19-33, specifically speaks to unbelieving and unbaptized individuals, to unconverted “priests and Levites . . . of the Pharisees,” he does not say that they will be baptized with the Holy Ghost.


Note that this complete study, with all it parts and with additional material not reproduced on this blog in this series,  is available by clicking here.

[i]   The phrase is employed only in these verses.  Luke 11:13 is also related, and will be discussed in later posts.
[ii] Christ started His church during His earthly ministry (Matthew 18:17) from people converted and baptized by John the Baptist (John 1:35-37) and promised that His assembly would overcome the powers of hell from that time to the end of the age (Matthew 16:18). Obviously already extant, the church was “added unto” on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:41, 47) with the conversion of three thousand men. The common idea adopted by UCDs that the church started on Pentecost is unbiblical.  No verse anywhere states that the church began on that day.  The Lord referred to His church twice in the gospels (Matthew 16:18; 18:17), without any indication whatever that it did not yet exist.  Jesus Christ, the Bridegroom, had the church as His bride before Pentecost (John 3:29; cf. 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:22-33).  “God hath set . . . in the church, first apostles” (1 Corinthians 12:28), but the Lord appointed the apostles far before Pentecost (Mark 3:13-19; Matthew 10:2-4).  Christ sang in the midst of the church (Hebrews 2:12), but His only recorded singing took place at the institution of the Lord’s supper (Matthew 26:30)—an ordinance given to the church before Pentecost (Matthew 26:26-31; 1 Corinthians 11:2, 17-34).  Before Pentecost Christ was the shepherd/pastor of His church (John 10:14), which was already His flock (a term for the church; Matthew 26:31; Luke 12:32; Acts 20:28-29; 1 Peter 5:2-3), until He appointed Peter to pastor His first assembly after His resurrection (John 21:15-17).  His church had a business meeting (Acts 1:15-26), a membership roll (Acts 1:15), a treasurer (John 12:6; 13:29), baptism (John 4:1-2), the Lord’s supper (Matthew 26:26-31), church discipline (Matthew 18:15-18), the power to bind and loose (Matthew 18:17-18), and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) before it was it was “added unto” on Pentecost (Acts 2:41, 47).  On the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 the church simply received the permanent indwelling of the Spirit and public recognition as the new institution for the course of the age of grace (cf. Exodus 40:35; the tabernacle; 2 Chronicles 7:1; Solomon’s temple; Ezekiel 43:4-5; the Millennial temple). 
In relation to the only really significant objection to a pre-Pentecost foundation of the church, the question of how the assembly could begin before the official inauguration of the New Covenant with the death of Christ, Dr. Ron Tottingham writes, “[The objectors ask how] could you have a ‘new program’ (church) until you have the shedding of the ‘the blood of the covenant,’ of He who is the Life and Head of a ‘new and living’ institution? . . . Hebrews 9:14-18 . . . What is the answer which those . . . would give . .  who would hold that Christ established the first Church during His personal ministry upon earth[?] . . . The New Testament Church [was not] ‘of force’ [Hebrews 9:17] until after the Resurrection.  Even Christ still went to the temple [during His earthly ministry]. . . . Hebrews nine only states that the covenant of the Levitical ordinances lasted until the true Blood of Christ was shed. . . . The New Testament Church could not be ready for service at its ‘baptism’ at Pentecost unless it was built, or ‘framed,’ prior.  Who ever heard of moving into a house [cf. 1 Peter 2:5] (the Holy Spirit moved upon and into the church at Pentecost) without a floor, frame, and more? . . . How then could the church begin before the New Covenant began?  By being built [by] the Master Himself during His own personal ministry upon the earth.  Then when he died as Testator of the New Covenant, His church of the New Testament (covenant) was ready and waiting to be ‘baptized’ [with] the Holy Spirit and begin [its] ordained service” (The Door-Step Evangel, 24:2 (March-April 2008) pgs. 1ff. (pub. Empire Baptist Temple/Great Plains Baptist Divinity School, Sioux Falls, SD)).
[iii] Christ promised that “the gates of hell shall not prevail” against His congregations (Matthew 16:18), but He would be with them “alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20, cf. 1 Corinthians 11:26), since God would get “glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages” (Ephesians 3:21; cf. also “The Great Commission in Scripture and History,” Thomas Ross.  Consequently, there has never been a day since Christ started His church in the first century that faithful assemblies of believers have not been upon the earth.  Any religious organization or denomination that originated in a period subsequent to the first century consequently cannot be the church that Jesus founded.  In addition to the unscriptural practices of Catholicism, it is evident historically that it evolved over a period of centuries and has very little resemblance to the church the Lord Jesus started;  it therefore cannot be the true church of Jesus Christ.  The various Protestant denominations, such as Lutheranism, Anglicanism, Methodism, and Presbyterian and other Reformed groups, came into existence nearly 1,600 years too late to be the church Jesus founded, and the various splinter groups that have emerged since the Reformation, such as the Pentecostal denominations (Assemblies of God, Church of God in Christ, etc.), the followers of Alexander Campbell (Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ, etc.), Mormonism, Seventh Day Adventism, etc. also negate any claim to be Christ’s church by their origin, as they do by their anti-Biblical doctrines.  However, assemblies that believed and practiced the Bible, as do good Baptist churches today, have maintained a continual existence under a variety of names (Anabaptists, Waldenses, Donatists, Novatians, Cathari, Christians, etc.) from the first century to the present.  They certainly did not originate at the time of the Reformation, as the following quotations demonstrate:  1.) Cardinal Hosius (Catholic, a member of the Council of Trent, A. D. 1560): “If the truth of religion were to be judged by the readiness and boldness of which a man of any sect shows in suffering, then the opinion and persuasion of no sect can be truer and surer than that of the Anabaptists since there have been none for these twelve hundred years past, that have been more generally punished.”  This Catholic prelate, living at the time of the Reformation, admitted that the Baptists had been around since A. D. 360;  of course, allowing them an origin any more ancient would make his position very uncomfortable. 2.) Mosheim (Lutheran, A. D. 1755), said, “The true origin of that sect which acquired the name of Anabaptists, by their administering anew the rite of baptism to those who came over to their communion . . . is hid in the remote depths of antiquity, and is consequently extremely difficult to be ascertained.”   3.) Dr. J. J. Durmont & Dr. Ypeig (Reformed writers specifically appointed by the King of Holland to ascertain if the historical claims of the Baptists were valid), concluded in A. D. 1819 that Baptists were “descended from the tolerably pure evangelical Waldenses. . . . They were, therefore, in existence long before the Reformed Church of the Netherlands. . . . We have seen that the Baptists, who were formerly called Anabaptists, and in later times Mennonites, were the original Waldenses; and who have long in the history of the Church, received the honor of that origin.  On this account the Baptists may be considered the only Christian community which has stood since the Apostles; and as a Christian society which has preserved pure the doctrine of the gospel through all ages.”  4.) Alexander Campbell (founder of the “Disciples of Christ” and “Church of Christ” denominations, A. D. 1824):  “I would engage to show that baptism as viewed and practiced by the Baptists, had its advocates in ever century up to the Christian era . . . clouds of witnesses attest the fact, that before the Reformation from popery, and from the apostolic age, to the present time, the sentiments of Baptists, and the practice of baptism have had a continued chain of advocates, and public monuments of their existence in every century can be produced.” See pgs. 83-96, A History of Baptists, John T. Christian, vol. 1 (Texarkana, TX: Bogard Press, 1922), and History of Baptists, G. H. Orchard (Texarkana, TX: Bogard Press, 1987), pgs. iii-xxiv, for the original sources of the quotations here listed, and further information. Quotations and other evidence from non-Baptist or anti-Baptist authors of like effect could be greatly multiplied (e. g., the Reformed writer Leonard Verduin stated “No one is credited with having invented the Anabaptism of the sixteenth century for the simple reason that no one did. . . . There were Anabaptists, called by that name, in the fourth century.” pg. 189-190, The Reformers and Their Stepchildren, Grand Rapids, MI:  Eerdmans, 1965).  Baptist historians naturally affirm their own succession as well. The historical fact that Baptist churches have existed from the first century to the present confirms the truth, established by their Biblical doctrine and practice, that they are the churches founded by the Lord Jesus Christ.  Consequently, all other “churches” are guilty of schism and division from the Lord’s true assemblies, and have no Divine authority to baptize, carry on the work of God, or exist at all.  Nor is it surprising that non-Baptists are mistaken on the doctrine of Spirit baptism, as the doctrine authenticates Christ’s true church, which they have no part in.
[iv] The New Testament dispensation began with John, not on the day of Pentecost in the book of Acts (Mark 1:1-4; Matthew 11:13; Luke 16:16; Matthew 11:5; Mark 8:35)—otherwise Jesus Christ did not preach New Testament doctrine, the four gospels are not for Christians, the apostles, who were obviously saved before the book of Acts (Luke 10:20), were not Christians, and other equally absurd conclusions follow. John the Baptist preached about the Deity of Christ (John 1:23; Isaiah 40:3), His substitutionary death (John 1:29), repentance (Matthew 3:2), hell (Matthew 3:10-12), Christ’s bride, the church (John 3:29; Ephesians 5:32), etc.  He required confession of sin (Matthew 3:6) and evidence of salvation (Matthew 3:8) before he would baptize people, so he baptized only believers, not infants.  He immersed, not sprinkled or poured (Mark 1:5, John 3:23, etc.), and his baptism pictured Christ’s coming death, burial, and resurrection (John 1:31).  He had God’s authority to baptize (Matthew 21:24-27), just as the church has that authority today (Matthew 28:18-20).  The apostles had John’s baptism (Acts 1:22), but were never “rebaptized” when some supposedly different Christian baptism originated—nor were any other converts ever “rebaptized.”  When Christ commanded His church to go into all the world, preach, baptize, and disciple converts (Matthew 28:17-20; Mark 16:15-16, etc.), He spoke to those who had received John’s baptism and were familiar with no other kind. 
The alleged support for a distinction between John’s baptism and Christian baptism in Acts 19:1-7 is invalid.  The individuals of Acts 19 were spurious “converts,” not real disciples of John the Baptist.  They did not believe in the Trinity, and so were unsaved (John 17:3), for they had never even heard of the Holy Spirit (19:2), although John preached about Him (Matthew 3:11).  Their spurious discipleship is indicated by the fact that the plural word “disciples,” mathetai, is nonarticular in 19:1—unlike every single one of the 25 other references in the book of Acts to the word (1:15; 6:1-2, 7; 9:1, 19, 26, 38; 11:26, 29; 14:20, 22, 28; 15:10; 18:23, 27; 19:1, 9, 30; 20:7, 30; 21:4, 16).  Paul does not tell these “disciples” that John’s baptism has passed away and Christian baptism has now been inaugurated;  he tells them what John the Baptist really said (19:4), upon which they believed John’s message as expounded by Paul and submitted themselves to baptism (19:5-7).  Note that a truly born-again man with John’s baptism is not “rebaptized” in the immediately preceding context (18:24-28), simply instructed in the further developments of truth (for the fact that the gospel dispensation began with John does not mean that everything about God’s new method of dealing with people was instantly perfectly developed).  Acts 18:24-9:7 supports, not undermines, the fact that Christian baptism is John’s baptism.
[v] In Matthew, the “you” baptized with water are the “you” baptized with the Spirit in Matthew 3:11.   Note the connection made by the me/n/de/ clause: e˙gw» me«n bapti÷zw uJma◊ß e˙n u¢dati ei˙ß meta¿noian: oJ de« ojpi÷sw mou e˙rco/menoß i˙scuro/tero/ß mou e˙sti÷n, ou∞ oujk ei˙mi« i˚kano\ß ta» uJpodh/mata basta¿sai: aujto\ß uJma◊ß bapti÷sei e˙n Pneu/mati ÔAgi÷wˆ kai« puri÷. While preaching to unconverted Pharisees and Sadducees does appear in the preceding context (3:7ff.), those baptized with water in Matthew are those of the multitudes who repent and confess their sins (Matthew 3:6), not the unconverted.  A comparison with the other gospel accounts confirms what can be deduced from the Matthean narrative.
[vi] One who would affirm that the preceding context of the verse refers to all the “people,” saved and unsaved, rather than to baptized believers alone, and thus does not make an association between the church and Spirit baptism, should consider that the “you” who are to be baptized “with the Holy Ghost” are the “you” who are baptized with water in Luke 3:16, and these are only the ones who bear the fruits of repentance (v. 8).  Furthermore, a reference to the “people” does not require that unbelievers in the promised land are included, since 3:21 refers to a time when “all the people were baptized,” and clearly Luke does not mean that, contradicting 3:8, John baptized pagans, the immoral, and, indeed, every last person in the whole region, converted or not.  The fulfillment of Spirit baptism as recorded in Acts fits the predictions in the gospels—Christ baptized with the Spirit believers who had already been immersed in water.  Compare endnote 69.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Is Certainty Hubris?

The new humility is doubt, except about certainty.  You can without doubt and yet with humility reject certainty.  However, if you are certain, be assured, today it must be hubris.  I was recently searching for something I had published online, and came across an exchange about this in a comment section with Phil Johnson, leader of Team Pyro and executive director of Grace to You.  This is the subject of the give-and-take.  I'm going to take you through the little conversation with some play-by-play commentary.

To Phil from Kent:  You are essentially with discernment drawing lines on what is culturally unacceptable and worldly in the way of contextualization. That's what I'm hearing from the other side. I think we should be drawing lines. These things in culture do have meaning. This is what David Wells is saying in his books if I'm reading him right. This does impact the gospel in a bad way, a negative way, and sometimes the gospel is just downright changed to fit into something, as you would say, "uber-hip." 

Here's what I notice though. You totally pooh-pooh people who do the same thing, if they are at the right of you. You mock them, ridicule them, in your own inimitable way. Now if Spurgeon is to the right of you, you don't do it to him, but you do it to living, breathing people. In one recent article, for instance, you bring up how that some woman got after you when you were in college at a fundamentalist college, probably Tennessee Temple, and she told you your wire rim glasses were worldly, or something like that. You threw all cultural separatists under the bus with your very, very strange example. It is an example of a rhetorical device, a kind of broad brush. You will likely deny it, but it is true. 

However, you don't like the line (and neither do I) that Mark Driscoll crosses and many others that are either emergent or very fond of them. I agree with you. 

The big HOWEVER is that it comes off as very subjective because of the way that you accept your social and cultural standards but you don't accept theirs. I agree that theirs are wrong, but why are yours right?

Phil chose out one line of those many upon which to concentrate his reply.

To Kent from Phil:   Kent: "I think we should be drawing lines." 

I don't. I think we should observe the lines God draws for us in His Word. That's pretty much the answer to all the questions you asked.

In my opinion, that's a snarky answer.  God draws all the lines.  We draw none.  I answered.

To Phil from Kent:  Phil,  

Very succinct. Let's assume that I meant draw lines at God's Word. So what is "fleshly lust" and "worldly lust" and "be not conformed to this world" and "the attire of a harlot" and "strange apparel" and "uncleanness" and "inordinate affection." Do you make applications there or are we UNCERTAIN about how to apply Scripture? I used caps to help you understand one of my points. 

Scripture, for instance, doesn't tell me that I can't have a Ronald McDonald-like clown dance around and sing the gospel like a Gilbert and Sullavin musical? So that means it's fine?

God draws all the lines.   Sure.   But what defines corrupt communication?  Do we have to draw that line?  Phil draws his line at certain language, certain four letter words, and is dogmatic in areas the Bible says nothing about. Of course we do, in application to Scriptural principle.  Phil knows this.  He is just getting smoked out on the inconsistency.  He replies.

To Kent from Phil:  Kent: 

My complaint with postmodernists and Emergents is that they tend to treat Scripture like nothing in it is clear and certain. My complaint with you is that in practice you tend to treat all your opinions and personal preferences as if they had unshakable biblical authority.

Virtually everything is clear and certain in your mind. The pomos' pathological uncertainty is in part a reaction to the unwarranted hubris of the rigid fundamentalist perspective you represent, and vice versa. 

Your argument starts with the same presupposition as the postmodernists, but you turn the conclusion on its head. They seem to think if we can't understand and be certain about every point of truth, we can't really know anythingfor sure. You likewise treat certainty and understanding as all-or-nothing propositions, but come to an opposite conclusion, loathing to admit that there's any uncertainty or ambiguity about anything you believe. I reject the presupposition, as well as the erroneous (albeit opposite) extremes that both you and the postmodernists' take it to. 

I would stand instead with Peter: "Some things in [Scripture] are hard to understand" (2 Peter 3:16). And I stand with the Westminster Confession: "All things in scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed, for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them" (1:7). 

...and if you can't find principles in Scripture that clear up the question of clown church for you, even in the absence of any explicit statement on the issue, you need to study Scripture more and seek a fuller understanding of it. There are scores of questions like that (some more subtle, some less so), and the answers to the various questions range from crystal clear to not quite so clear. We're not all going to agree on the answers to every question, but that should not preclude our discussing them carefully, and it certainly doesn't mean the person with the most rigid ideas should be the person who decides for everybody else, just because is perpetually cocksure that he is always infallibly right.

What do you think of some of Phil's language to me, his descriptors of me?  Where does God draw the line on "clown church."  He doesn't, of course.  He expects us to draw that line.  So does Phil, despite his first comment.  What a strange explanation for postmodern uncertainty Phil has.  It reminds me of Daniel Wallace's explanation of Bart Ehrman.  He blames the uncertainty of postmodernism on the certainty of Bible believers.  And Phil, of course, is certain that this extra-biblical speculation is the truth.  Ironic.  Phil's moderate uncertainty is a better friend of the postmoderns.  Does that seem strange to you?  I answered.

From Kent to Phil:  Phil, 

That was an absolutely rhetorically loaded few paragraphs. And you're dead wrong. You have brought up the point of due process. Due process deals with the point, but you instead say these things, inventing most of what you wrote: 

"you tend to treat all your opinions and personal preferences as if they had unshakable biblical authority"---(name one, I mean it)"unwarranted hubris""cocksure""the person with the most rigid ideas should be the person who decides for everybody else""rigid fundamentalist perspective""infallibly right" 

I repudiate as strongly as possible every one of those rhetorical techniques. Also you intimate that I have some predetermined standard and then look for principles later to back them up. I've preached expositionally for twenty years now through most of the Bible exactly because I don't believe in that. 

You intimate in the first paragraph of your comment that it is people like me ("fundamentalists") create pomos. No way. . . .  I think pomos are created the same way we see false teachers in Scripture are created. They won't hear His voice (John 10).

You say that you draw the line at the Bible. Beautiful. But yet you know that my Ronald McDonald example is wrong when the Bible says nothing about it. How? Principles. Which is exactly how we draw our lines. You can't have it both ways. You are drawing lines. You are getting criticized for it. God does expect us to judge culture. And we can be sure that it is wrong, despite the fact that some things are hard to be understood (in the context Paul's eschatological passages, which you can understand being difficult to Peter still). Some culture is going to drag down the name of Christ, to blaspheme Him and consequently affect the gospel. Do you understand that you are saying that those to the left are uncertain and I'm rigid because I'm on the right of you? You are perfectly balanced. How about let's just see what is Scriptural? I'm all for that. 

Not everybody to the right of you is some kind of raving, knee-jerk, with one blood shot eye in the middle of the forehead. Do you understand that this sounds just like what you are name-calling me and us? I call that carnal weaponry. Let's be all for using Scripture to judge the culture, eschew ourselves of some and hold on to the other. 

Now about wire rim glasses and flared pants....

Maybe I don't need to write much, because I answered it in the comment section to Phil's blog post.  The Peter passage about the 'hard to be understood' Pauline eschatalogical passages is used by both postmoderns and evangelicals like Phil in order to draw a truck through.  I'm saying Phil can't have it both ways.  He can't apply Scripture where it is silent and claim approved certainty and then accuse others of being too certain.   This is where I think Phil and others should look at historic theology.  What have Christians been sure has been a valid application of Scripture, and then why did those applications erode.  It was because of worldliness and the acceptance of it.  The worldliness, however, is part of the church growth methodology of Phil's and other evangelical churches.  They got where they were by both using and approving their own new measures and worldly behavior and worship.  Just a few days ago, Phil wrote the following:

We've had a standing challenge for six years for our critics to point out actual examples (with cut-and-paste quotes, not a skewed paraphrase) showing where they think we have breached the bounds of taste, propriety, Christian charity, or good manners.

The complaints-to-substance ratio currently stands at about 500:1. 

So I'll add another aspect to that challenge: I'll apologize and eat a worm if you can show one example where I have published watchblog-style criticism consisting of raw passion or verbal hysterics instead of rational or biblical arguments.

So what do you think?  Did we meet Phil's challenge?  He breached the bounds of at least Christian charity and good manners.  And there was no biblical argument, just speculation.

Monday, October 24, 2011

How Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism Are Teeming with Ecstatic and Demonic Influence part 2

When folks read the title of part one of this series or coming to it the first time right now, they might say, "That's extreme!" or "Oh brother, just like Brandenburg---he's just trying to get everyone's attention!"  Well, those would be wrong.  I agree with my title and even though I know it sounds extreme and maybe even impossible, that it is true and that actually there is even worse trouble than what I wrote in the first post.

If what I wrote was extreme, then what can we say about Paul's treatment of the church at Corinth?  It was a church that Paul started.  He loved it.  No doubt.  And yet he said some horrible things about it.  He didn't have a high opinion of it.   It wasn't because he wanted that church to suffer from his verbal barrage.  It was because he wanted the church to change.  Like I said, he loved it.  And so did God, even as God inspired what Paul wrote.

People today won't be honest about what is happening in evangelicalism and fundamentalism as much as Paul was about the church at Corinth.  They won't make the demon connection.  People want to paint a better picture, a more optimistic one.  But demon influence was the reality.

I've found that I'm done being concerned about trying to please people who won't listen.  It's also an apologetic position.  People's problem is mainly rebellion, not knowledge.  So I can try to win the argument with knowledge, but that won't solve the problem  I've decided I'll tell the truth and some people will listen and some won't.  The change will occur through supernatural intervention, not my manipulation.  I can't do anything about the people who won't listen.  Their changing will have nothing to do with my attempts to connect with them on their terms.  They'll read this and they'll believe it or they won't.  I don't want to spend too much extra time trying to persuade them individually.  I'll address this a little more later in this post or series (if it goes longer than this post).

The Corinthian church had become receptive to gross theological error that many might not even agree existed.  They wouldn't have known how bad things had gotten because they were deceived.  1 Corinthians 12:3 starts with this unusual statement:

Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed.

That seems rather obvious, doesn't it?  What good would this test be to a church?  They would already know this, wouldn't they?  They would have already known that the Spirit of God wouldn't author "Jesus accursed," wouldn't they?  So what's the deal here?

A church can become so lacking in discernment that it culminates with an inability to diagnose something this noticeable.  That is pinning the needle on bad.  It relates to the problem in Corinth that necessitated Paul covering spiritual gifts for three chapters (1 Corinthians 12-14).  The Corinthian association with the pagan mystery religion brought that experience into the church.  It validated ecstatic and euphoric feelings as coming from God, specifically from the Spirit of God.  They couldn't be natural, especially when they reached the bizarre.  But the more extreme, the more credible.

The mystery religion would be rejected by Christians out of hand.  But the new form of religion that brought the experience into the church would be accepted.  The Corinthians were accustomed to accepting ecstasy and euphoria, those feelings as coming from the divine.   They had a natural toleration for these things.  It was normal for them.  There were means by which the mystery religion produced or orchestrated the feelings that counterfeited the work of God.  Those means clashed with orthodoxy.  But they became tolerated within the framework of the church.

One of the enemies of discernment today is the unwillingness to call this ecstasy and euphoria what it really is.  One of the enemies of discernment today is the toleration of the means of reaching these experiences that identify themselves with God and the Holy Spirit.  One of the enemies of discernment today is the categorization of manipulated experiences as either a non-essential or neutral.

The idol, either wood or stone, was nothing.  The demon behind the idol was the power of the idol.  The idol is not limited to something stone or wood.  To the same church at Corinth in 2 Corinthians 10:5, Paul wrote:

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God,, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

We read the English word "imaginations."  The translators translated logismos "imaginations," because in the context those were products of people's thoughts that were idols.  They were images not of stone and wood, but of thoughts.  The tower of Babel couldn't reach to God, but the concept of reaching to God in the mind was an imagination that exalted itself against the knowledge of God.  No man could reach to God with a tower.  No man can reach to God with a manipulated human experience, and yet people are willing to believe it because of a convincing feeling.  People build their own towers of Babel, not reaching to God with brick and mortar, but with thoughts or emotions.  They are willing to accept that they have transcended the infinite chasm between them and God by means of a feeling.

This reminds me of the true evaluation of Jonah in Jonah 2:8, "They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy."  People want to believe their own experience and exalt it above Scripture.  It is a lying vanity.  So people are primed to accept a false experience as true spirituality even though it was manipulated by incense, alcohol, or music.

The neutrality of wood and stone was the Trojan horse that brought ecstasy and demonism into the church at Corinth.  The neutrality of notes and rhythm and composition are another Trojan horse today.  It's true that the wood and rock were nothing, but the demon wasn't nothing.  It was something.

I'm confident that "Jesus accursed" wasn't acceptable right away.  It took awhile before that height of error could be reached by a church.  But it was reached.

It probably went something like the following.  Of course, Christ is God.  He had to be.  His teaching and His miracles and the fulfillment of prophecy gave that away.  But all things, all matter, is so spoiled by sin that the body of Jesus must also have been affected.  Jesus was God, but only in that perhaps at the point of His baptism, He received the imprimatur of the divine and then lost it before he went to the cross.  After all, cursed is anyone who hangs on a tree, so God would not hang on a tree.  So even though Christ be not cursed, Jesus is accursed.  Christ is God, Jesus is man.  Jesus is accursed, not Christ.  Jesus is accursed because all matter is evil.  Gnosticism made its headway validated by choreographed spirituality in the form of euphoria and ecstasy.

Of course, the Spirit of God didn't reveal the false Christology, but when it was said under the state of euphoria or ecstasy it couldn't be denied.  The experience validated it.

At one time, Christians rejected rock music. They rejected the feelings that rock music engendered.  They knew it was flesh.  They called it demonic.  But feelings began taking an exalted place in churches, especially with the gradual acceptance of the Charismatic movement.

What were called spiritual gifts at the church at Corinth was often nothing more than ecstasy and euphoria borrowed from the mystery religion.  They wouldn't call it unorthodox.  After all the wood and stone of the idol were nothing.  And so they stopped discerning.  Churches have stopped discerning true spirituality from manipulation. And they use neutrality to argue it.  Music is neutral.  Games are neutral.  Promotion is neutral. Methods are neutral.

Paul was saying that rock and wood were neutral, but people miss the point.  I believe they are missing the point on purpose today.  They like the experiences. They love them. They have become what church is about.  The Corinthians loved their contrived spirituality.  They loved the bizarre nature of their gibberish, going louder and longer than someone to prove their reality.  Today people love what the modern experiences often produce by sound and light boards and computers and other gizmos do for their churches.  You really are out-of-it today if you can't get into these things that obviously make it for your church.  Even if you don't have a fancy building, you can bring your set pieces and costume (with soul patch) into your rental.  The grunginess of a rental might even help you with one demographic.  You could use that. Paul wasn't saying that there was nothing to the wood and stone---that it was the fooling powers of persuasion of a demon that were the danger.  And these things that the moderns and now postmoderns embrace do affiliate with demons---the same ones surviving except with another few thousand years on their resumes.

Evangelicalism and fundamentalism are full of manipulation.  A technique is used for a prayed prayer.  The crowd is stirred by the color scheme, the dynamics of a voice, or the rhythm of the instrumentalists.  They produce experiences like the world has produced them.  Except they are in the church, so they must be spiritual.  They seem supernatural.  What the church had correctly identified as pagan is now more authentic than what they once saw as true.

Those who deny or reject these experiences or feelings are divisive and intolerant and unloving and bigoted and even racist.  And they don't see how God is using the rock music in the churches.  The experiences are personal.  They are lying vanities.  Rejection of the experiences are a rejection of the people who experience them.  This explains the emotional response and the charged attacks against the unaccepting.  They will have their feelings tolerated.  They felt them.  Taking away those experiences is like taking away the food from your dog.  Even your own dog doesn't like having his food taken away, even by you.

Neutrality is one of the arguments for acceptance of experiences.  The stone and the rock of Corinth was nothing.  Rock music is nothing, except that there is something more than notes and instruments there.  These things are fooling people about their own spiritual experience.  They are replacing true spirituality with the placebo.  The placebo tastes good and goes down easy.  It can't be denied.

Fundamentalism has many other forms of manipulation that exclude rock music.  Both evangelicalism and fundamentalism have borrowed from the world's youth culture, not understanding the demonic influence upon the material things of all different kinds and their play with the flesh.  Lust in the church can count as an authentic spiritual experience.  But what the churches offer to attract a crowd and therefore validate spiritual success doesn't stop having its impact on Sunday.   Church members have no reason to see the same attraction as wrong during the week, so the members keep living for things.  The church is just competing with the world on the same carnal plane, yet with the added dimension of authenticating the Sunday version as a real spiritual experience from above.  Church ordained idolatry masquerades as the Holy Spirit's work.

More to Come.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Spirit Baptism--the Historic Baptist View, part 3

Spirit Baptism in the Old Testament

When the Lord Jesus baptized the church with the Spirit on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, Peter, in Acts 2:16-21, proved the legitimacy of the events of the day by quoting Joel 2:28-32:

28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. 30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. 32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.[i]

This text sets forth the Old Testament prediction of Spirit baptism.  Its exegesis consequently provides important insights for the understanding of Spirit baptism in its New Testament fulfillment.

One notes that the Old Testament prediction of Spirit baptism was not connected with regeneration, but with those who are already converted (and were thus the Lord’s “servants and handmaids” before the Spirit was poured out upon them). Spirit baptism, Joel predicted, would be connected with miraculous powers, signs, and wonders (2:28-30).  The fulfillment[ii] of Joel 2:28ff. in Acts 2 did not bring salvation and forgiveness to the 120 members of the pre-Pentecost church who received the baptism with the Spirit (Acts 1:15; 2:1), but brought, as promised, “power” (Acts 1:8; dunamis).  An analysis of dunamis in Acts demonstrates that it is always or at least almost always connected with Divinely bestowed miraculous power.[iii]  This is consistent with the fact that in Joel 2:28 the supernatural prophecy, dreams, and visions are a specification of the results of the prediction “I will pour out my spirit.”  The recipients of Spirit baptism in Acts two received supernatural powers to speak in tongues and do other miracles, and Peter employs the quote from Joel in Acts 2:15-21 to justify the Spirit-produced speaking in unlearned foreign languages (2:6-11) that had been going on to the wonder of the onlooking unconverted Jewish crowds (2:14-16).  Joel did not predict a Spirit baptism that was temporally simultaneous with the invisible inward works of regeneration, conversion, and justification, but a post-justification bestowal of power to do visible signs and wonders on those within God’s institutional covenant community.  This is what took place on the day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2.

Furthermore, Joel did not predict that the Spirit would be regularly outpoured upon individuals who, day by day, year by year, came to faith in the Messiah and were converted;  he predicted a massive, one-time outpouring[iv] of the Spirit upon the generality of the covenant community.  This does not suit the UCDs insistence that Spirit baptism takes place at the point of individual regeneration for all believers for the duration of the church age.  Nor does the PCPs belief that Spirit baptism continues to occur as individuals experience special post-conversion crises throughout the church age find support in Joel 2:28-32.  The text is, however, entirely consistent with the historic Baptist position that Spirit baptism was a first century gift from Christ to the corporate church, a completed event fulfilled in the first century as recorded in the book of Acts.

The only other two texts that connect the Spirit (ruach) and the verb rendered pour out (shafach) in Joel 2:28-29 are Ezekiel 39:29 and Zechariah 12:10.  Both texts refer to events that pertain to the eschatological future for Israel (as, indeed, does Joel 2:28-32 in its ultimate fulfillment), and neither contain an “all flesh” expansion,[v] as Joel 2:28 does, that reasonably incorporates Gentiles.  Neither Ezekiel 39:29 nor Zechariah 12:10 is referenced in the New Testament as being fulfilled in or relating to Spirit baptism, nor does anything in the New Testament indicate that the latter passages pertain to events in the church age.  Isaiah 44:3, which employs a different verb for pour (yatsak) than Joel 2:28-29, is also a promise to Israel (44:1) which relates to the Millennium, not to the NT church.  It has no necessary connection with the doctrine of Christian Spirit baptism as explicated in Acts 2 and Joel 2.  Other Old Testament texts likewise speak of special works of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 32:15; 34:16; etc.), but these are all also references to His blessings upon Israel, not the church. While a general analysis of the work of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament is a valuable and important task,[vi] it goes beyond the bounds of the current study, in which Old Testament passages are relevant only as they pertain to the New Testament phenomenon of Spirit baptism.  Consequently, while advocates of Reformed covenant theology can and regularly do,[vii] consistently with their theological system and spiritualization of Old Testament prophecy, employ texts that pertain to Israel as if they had to do with the NT church, believers who hold to a literal, dispensational hermeneutic, and who consequently recognize the Biblical distinction between Israel and the church, ought not so to do.

The Old Testament, as evidenced in an examination of the passage (Joel 2:28-32) Peter quoted in Acts two to explain the baptism of the Holy Ghost, supports the historic Baptist view of the doctrine, rather than the UCD or PCP position.  Spirit baptism was predicted as a post-conversion gift for the collective body of God’s covenant community, not an event simultaneous or synonymous with regeneration.  It would not apply the invisible grace of justification to the legal standing of sinners, but bestow power to perform visible miracles to saints.  It was not a personal, individual event that would take place regularly and gradually as individuals came to the Redeemer in repentance, but a one-time corporate gift for those already part of the people of God.  It was fulfilled in the church, in those who had already been converted and immersed upon profession of faith.

Note that this complete study, with all it parts and with additional material not reproduced on this blog in this series,  is available by clicking here.

[i] Quoted by Peter as Kai« e¶stai e˙n tai√ß e˙sca¿taiß hJme÷raiß, le÷gei oJ Qeo/ß, e˙kcew◊ aÓpo\ touv pneu/mato/ß mou e˙pi« pa◊san sa¿rka: kai« profhteu/sousin oi˚ ui˚oi« uJmw◊n kai« ai˚ qugate÷reß uJmw◊n, kai« oi˚ neani÷skoi uJmw◊n oJra¿seiß o¡yontai, kai« oi˚ presbu/teroi uJmw◊n e˙nu/pnia e˙nupniasqh/sontai: kai÷ ge e˙pi« tou\ß dou/louß mou kai« e˙pi« ta»ß dou/laß mou e˙n tai√ß hJme÷raiß e˙kei÷naiß e˙kcew◊ aÓpo\ touv pneu/mato/ß mou kai« profhteu/sousi. kai« dw¿sw te÷rata e˙n twˆ◊ oujranwˆ◊ a‡nw, kai« shmei√a e˙pi« thvß ghvß ka¿tw, ai–ma kai« puvr kai« aÓtmi÷da kapnouv: oJ h¢lioß metastrafh/setai ei˙ß sko/toß, kai« hJ selh/nh ei˙ß ai–ma, pri«n h£ e˙lqei√n th\n hJme÷ran Kuri÷ou th\n mega¿lhn kai« e˙pifanhv: kai« e¶stai, pa◊ß o§ß a·n e˙pikale÷shtai to\ o¡noma Kuri÷ou swqh/setai.
[ii] Acts 2 is a partial, but not the ultimate, fulfillment of the prediction of Joel 2:28-32.  The eschatological events of the Tribulation and Millennium, referenced in Ezekiel 39:27-29 and Zechariah 12:10, the only Old Testament references besides Joel 2:28-29 to the Spirit being massively poured out (Kpv), constitute the ultimate fulfillment of Joel 2:28-32 as well, when the Jewish remnant in mount Zion and Jerusalem will receive miraculous physical deliverance (The noun hDfyElVÚp, “deliverance” in 2:32, refers to physical deliverance, not spiritual salvation, in all 28 of its OT appearances, as does the verb flm in the Niphal, “delivered” in 2:32, all 63 times it is found in the OT) from the armies of the Antichrist (Joel 2:32; neither Joel 2:32 nor Romans 10:13 is a promise that unconverted sinners who say a prayer will be regenerated; see “An Exegesis and Application of Romans 10:9-14 for Soulwinning Churches and Christians,” Thomas Ross, The sun did not turn into darkness, nor the moon into blood, on the day of Pentecost—but they will in during the Tribulation period, the seventieth week of Daniel.  J. Dwight Pentecost explains well the fulfillment of Joel 2 in the Tribulation on pgs. 444, 486-490, Things To Come (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1958).
[iii] Acts 2:22; 3:12; 4:7-10, 33; 6:8; 8:10, 13; 10:38; 19:11; cf. Luke’s uses of the word in his “former treatise” (Acts 1:1; Luke 1:1-4): Luke 1:35; 4:36; 5:17; 6:19; 8:46; 9:1; 10:13; 19:37; 24:49; also 1 Corinthians 12:29, duna¿meiß, “workers of miracles”; cf. 1 Corinthians 12:10, 28; Hebrews 2:4; Matthew 11:20-23; 13:54, 58; etc.  This would be “the power that works wonders,” def. 1b in Danker, Frederick William (ed.), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, 3rd. ed. Chicago, IL:  University of Chicago Press, 2000 (henceforth cited as BDAG).  “du/namiß [like te÷raß, shmei√on, megalei√on, e¶ndoxon, para¿doxon, and qauma¿sion] . . . have this in common, that they are all used to characterize the supernatural works wrought by Christ in the days of his flesh; thus shmei√on, John ii. 11; Acts ii. 19; te÷raß, Acts ii. 22; John iv. 48; du/namiß, Mark vi. 2; Acts ii. 22; megalei√on, Luke i. 49; e¶ndoxon, Luke xiii. 17; para¿doxon, Luke v. 26; qauma¿sion, Matt. xx. 15; while [du/namiß, te÷raß, and shmei√on are] the most usual [and] are in like manner employed of the same supernatural works wrought in the power of Christ by his Apostles (2 Cor. xii. 12); and of the lying miracles of Antichrist no less (2 Thess. ii. 11). They will be found, on closer examination, not so much to represent different kinds of trades, as miracles contemplated under different aspects an from different points of view. . . . [M]iracles are also ‘powers’ (duna¿meiß =‘virtutes’), outcomings of that mighty power of God, which was inherent in Christ, Himself that “great Power of God” which Simon blasphemously allowed himself to be named (Acts viii. 8, 10); these powers being by Him lent to those who were his witnesses and ambassadors. . . . [In] our Version duna¿meiß is translated now “wonderful works” (Matt. vii. 22); now “mighty works” (Matt. xi. 20; Luke x. 13) and still more frequently “miracles” (Acts ii. 22; 1 Cor. xii. 10; iii. 5) . . . the word . . . point[s] . . . to new and higher forces (e˙ne÷rgeiai, e˙nergh/mata, 1 Cor. xii. 6, 10), ‘powers of the world to come’ (Heb. vi. 5), which have entered and are working in this lower world of ours. . . . With this is closely connected the term megalei√a, only occurring at Luke i. 49 (=‘magnalia’) and at Acts ii. 11, in which, as in duna¿meiß, the miracles are contemplated as outcomings of the greatness of God’s power and glory.” (pgs. 339-344, Synonyms of the New Testament, Richard C. Trench. London: 1880, elec. acc. Accordance Bible software).  This is not to say that the word is universally or only used of miraculous power; cf. Luke 1:17 & John 10:41; Luke 22:69.  See endnote 52.
[iv] The verb Kpv, employed in Joel 2:28, 29 (MT 3:1-2), does not “does not mean a gradual pouring as required, but rather a sudden, massive spillage . . .  this definition can be seen clearly in yIj…wr_tRa y;ItVkApDv Ezk 39:29, JKÚOpVvRa yIj…wr_tRa Joel 3:1-2 and …  NEj Aj…wr y;ItVkApDv◊w Zech 12:10 [the only OT references to Kpv in connection with Aj…wr]” (The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, Ludwig Koehler & Walter Baumgartner, rev. Walter Baumgartner & Johann Jakob Stamm, trans. & ed. M. E. J. Richardson. New York, NY: Brill, 2000, elec. acc. Accordance Bible Software).
[v] However, the “your sons and your daughters” of Joel 2:28 refers, in its original context, to Jewish sons and daughters.  This does not mean, though, that the sons and daughters of others are necessarily excluded, or that “all flesh” means only the physical seed of Abraham. 
Compare the giving of the Spirit to all the covenant community with the result of prophecy in Joel 2:28-32 with Numbers 11:24-29; in the Pentateuch Jehovah “took of the spirit that was upon [Moses] . . . and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit was upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.”  When Joshua wanted to forbid this prophesying, Moses said, “[W]ould God that all the LORD’s people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!”  Moses’ prayer is answered in the fulfillment of Joel 2:28-32, when all the Lord’s people have His Spirit and  therefore prophesy.  Consider also the typological aspect to Moses as a type of Christ when the seventy received the Spirit after the Lord “took of the spirit that was upon [Moses]” and gave it to them, as Christ received the Spirit from the Father and gave Him to the church (John 3:34; Acts 2:33).
[vi] cf. The Holy Spirit: A Comprehensive Study of the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit, John F. Walvoord (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1958), pgs. 18-54, 227-235.
[vii] This is evident in an examination of any of the gamut of Reformed commentators and writers; see, e. g., John Calvin or Matthew Henry’s comments on Isaiah 44.  Similarly, after employing Isaiah 44:3 and other texts as if they related to the work of the Spirit on Christians of the age of grace, and insisting that the Millennial vegetation described in Isaiah 35:1 is really speaking about the Holy Spirit making Christians grow, Arthur Pink laments, “the spiritual meaning of these [Old Testament] passages is commonly unperceived today, when carnal dispensationalists insist on the ignoring of all figures, and the interpreting of everything ‘literally.’” (pgs. 227-228, The Holy Spirit, Arthur W. Pink. elec. acc. Christian Library Series vol. 8, Arthur Pink Collection. Albany, OR: AGES Software (ver. 1.0), 2000).


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Thus Probably or Possibly Saith the Lord: The Ehrman-Wallace Debate

On October 1, 2011, at Southern Methodist University in Texas, Bart Ehrman debated Daniel Wallace on the reliability of the New Testament text.  For those who don't know, Bart Ehrman is the most renowned textual critic in the world and Daniel Wallace is the most renowned evangelical textual critic in the world.  The DVD or audio recording of the debate is not yet available (that I know of), so I read reviews of it by folks who were there (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, OK Enough!).  If this were James White, I would be savaged and name called and demeaned and humiliated (in a spiritual way, of course) for writing a post before I have seen or heard the debate.  But I believe this post stands in the spirit of textual criticism.  I have compared the various reports of those who heard the debate to arrive at what I believe was in the original.  I don't have to actually see the original, in other words, to know what it was.  That is what the adherents claim for the Word of God, so I feel safe in my initial observations about the debate.  I'm not really commenting on who won the debate anyway, just writing what I know I can report at this point in time (out of breath from attempts at explaining).

From culling through the debate reports, I found that those hearing it, who were supportive of Dan Wallace, thought that Ehrman and him agreed on the evidence. The Wallace fans are generally disappointed in Ehrman.  He doesn't come to the correct conclusions in their opinion, to conclusions that would be consistent with the kind and amount of manuscript evidence for the text of the New Testament.

Ehrman ends his scientific observations with maybe or possibly, which isn't good enough for his faith.  And then Wallace ends his forensics with a definite probably, which is ample evidence for him.  In the end, praise science and praise the textual critic.  Without any theological presuppositions, he allowed the evidence to take him to the highest possible percentage of the truth.

Wallace says that the two ditches you don't want your science to run you into are the ditch on the right side, that of certainty, and then the left sided ditch, the one that Ehrman has driven into, the ditch of skepticism.  Wallace, of course, sits on the middle road, the moderate road, that is neither certain nor skeptical.  And that is the position, we are to expect, rings true with God, because that's all that science will leave us with.  Again, hail be to science!

For a brief moment, I want us to consider why certainty would be a ditch.  I mean, I get why skepticism is a ditch.  You are a faithless apostate in that ditch.  That, my friend, is a ditch.  But if you believe in certainty, that seems to be what this Book we're talking about happens to teach.  It teaches absolute certainty.  How could what the Bible teaches be a ditch?  It isn't, of course.  Certainty is what God's Word itself teaches.  It must be a ditch to Wallace, because he doesn't have certainty.  And to Wallace, if you make certainty the standard, he himself would then be in the ditch of skepticism.  And he won't be in that ditch, even though, you know, you aren't supposed to allow theological presuppositions to lead you to the truth, that is, unless the truth is a muddled moderate kind of truth that has some error in it.

When you start with what the Bible teaches, you find that man's observations, well, science, are tainted by sin.  They are.  That's why we look to the Bible for our faith.  The Bible isn't tainted.  It's God's Word.  Everything is pure as it comes from God.  And this is why we preach the Bible to men so that they will be saved.  They have a rebellion problem that can't be moved by man's observation, by powerless external evidence, that is, by more knowledge.  Knowledge isn't the problem.  Rebellion is.  But when it comes to what the Bible is, for most all of evangelicalism and a huge swath of fundamentalism, science is what men are going to use to tell us what it is.

Many of the same characters will swear by man's depravity.  He can't come to anything of eternal value except by God's revelation and the Spirit of God.   Textual criticism is at least one exception there.  Why?  It seems like the best explanation to them.  A miracle, providence, whatever in the realm of supernatural, is too big a hurdle for their minds to accept.  No.  Plausibility.  Best guess.   And more data is being searched, discovered, examined, and catalogued. New conclusions are being reached and they're still tweaking the results.

And Wallace uses his knowledge to "persuade" Ehrman, just like James White did.  But knowledge isn't the problem for Ehrman.  Ehrman knows textual criticism.  Ehrman knows all the evidence that Wallace is showing him.  He's got best selling books on it.  But Ehrman also knows what Scripture says.  And Ehrman has looked at science and looked at Scripture and they clash on this issue.  Science doesn't tell him what the Bible does.  The Bible says about itself that it is perfect, that it is pure, that God would preserve it.  It makes sense that God would too, since He makes a big deal about both inspiration and inerrancy.  Ehrman can't reconcile the two and and he staggers in his unbelief.  Knowledge isn't the problem for Ehrman.  It's rebellion.  But Wallace gives Ehrman nothing that would help him with that, just a bunch more science.

Wallace claims still to believe.  It doesn't seem in the debate that he explains exactly how he is still able to do that.  Maybe he did.  From reading him, I know how he keeps believing.  He keeps believing by modifying his beliefs to fit his science.  He can't question what he thinks the science is, so he simply conforms his beliefs about inerrancy and authority and preservation to his science.  Science is what has led him to a big chunk of his bibliology.

Bart Ehrman has trouble with a Bible with errors.  He has a different standard for a Bible, something that would be called God's Word, than, say, Homer's Iliad and Odyssey.  A lot of trust goes into a book with miracles in it, most of which we are not seeing any more.  Ehrman seems to think that those manuscripts that we still possess actually promise preservation and that would be fitting for a book that God requires us to live every Word.   That's Ehrman's honest evaluation of it, and Ehrman cannot find his way to a perfect text through a morass of three or four hundred thousand textual variants, a gigantic round number that both Ehrman and Wallace agree upon (in case you were wondering).  Yes, that's right, Wallace isn't questioning the number, just the conclusion from the number.  Ehrman says, "That's a whoppin number!"  Wallace says, "A big number, good for us; it just so happens that means we've got lots of old hand copies of the Greek New Testament."

In the end, Wallace thinks that Ehrman is expecting too much from the Bible.   He thinks that, like him, Ehrman should diminish those expectations to preserve his faith.  That's what Wallace has done.  He has thrown some of the parts overboard in order to preserve the whole.  Someone could easily make a very feasible scientific explanation of the textual evidence to conclude a position similar to Wallace.  Probability is his resting place, actually in device, albeit not creed.  Wallace suggests that Ehrman, like he, should depend on a high estimation that we have a relatively reliable trajectory back to the originals.  Ehrman can't base faith on probability.  Probability is fine for Plato's Republic, but not for something that makes a big point about perfection to the very jot and tittle.  So the New Testament will continue to be nothing more than interesting literature to him, fun to earn a living talking about because of how dead serious so many are about it.  And so little assurance about the subject matter makes the perfect resume for the top professor of New Testament at University of North Carolina.

In the end, Wallace doesn't like how Ehrman allows his own theological presuppositions to spoil good science.   Sure, the earliest manuscripts are over a hundred years removed from the originals and could have been copied from a corrupt source, but that is probably not true.  And that probability is something you can rest your faith on.  Wallace has.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

How Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism Are Teeming with Ecstatic and Demonic Influence

The church at Corinth, the one begun by Paul in Acts 18, was a horrible mess.  Why?  There are many reasons, but a few crucial and insidious ones are seen in 1 and 2 Corinthians.

You read the following in 1 Corinthians 10:19-21:

19What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? 20But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. 21Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils.

All of life in Corinth was woven into its mystery religion, including business and labor.  Almost every industry had its own god or idol.  When a particular guild held a festival, the god was involved.  The idol was nothing---like Paul wrote, it wasn't anything.  However, also like he said, when the Corinthians sacrificed to their idol, they were sacrificing to the devil, the demon, behind the idol.  The danger of the association was not with the idol, but with the demon.  People didn't worship a hunk of rock or wood because one of those were so convincing, but because the demon was powerful and persuasive.  The system of Satan was behind idol worship, so attendance to a festival brought a Corinthian church member under demonic influence.  And then those members were bringing that into the church.

Demons are involved in the world.  Like Paul said in Ephesians 6:12, "we wrestle not against flesh and blood."   Believers in Corinth and believers in evangelicalism and many in fundamentalism see their associations with the world---its entertainment, its music, and its art---as neutral as the rock or wood of a Greek idol.  The notes, the celluloid, the canvass, the sounds of a steel stringed guitar---they are nothing---but there are the demons behind all of these.  He that thinks he stands, take heed lest he falls (1 Corinthians 10:12).  Satan ties believers up with their worldly associations.

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12:1-2:

1Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. 2Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.

He doesn't want the brethren ignorant about the gifts controlled by the Holy Spirit.  But how does that relate to "dumb idols"?

The Greek cities like Corinth were filled with the mystery religion, originating in ancient Babylon, which worship mainly consisted of manufactured ecstatic experiences, the more frenzied, delirious, and bizarre, the better.  Those had to be supernatural and superior at releasing the soul from bodily restrictions.  The euphoric feelings validated the genuineness of the spirituality.  This was just another dimension of the world that the Corinthian membership had dragged into their church.

When the Corinthians were yet unconverted ("Gentiles"), they were involved with a worship that carried them away and led them.  The ecstasy and euphoria and experiences and feelings that were part of the idol worship manipulated them.

The true worship of God, genuine spiritual worship, does not "carry away" with feelings.  That was the mystery religion of Corinth being brought into the church.  It was a worship of being carried away with ecstasy.  When that was brought into the church, the membership called it "spirituals" or "spiritual gifts."  The euphoria said it was genuine, and now the Corinthians couldn't distinguish what was real and what wasn't.  Paul is saying here that what is controlled by the Holy Spirit will not be marked by being "carried away" or "led."

Today's evangelicalism and much of fundamentalism looks to worldly means for enhancing a church's spiritual experience.  The world considers as authentic music that charges or seduces the emotions. The church has borrowed the world's music and methods to cause the same or similar euphoria.  The people are attracted to the feelings as a genuine means of spirituality.  When the people get "carried away," they think that something truly spiritual has taken place.

When the church brings in these modern dumb idols, they also bring in the deceptive demons.  The demons produce a deceitful counterfeit spirituality.  They work in harmony with the music and the methods.

When Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 6:16 about the agreement of the temple of God with idols, He wasn't talking about the rock and wood.  He was talking about the demons behind the idols.  The idols were dumb.  They couldn't talk.  They couldn't influence.  When he wrote in v. 17, "come out from among them, and be ye separate," he meant, "Don't bring the mystery religion into the church."  The mystery religion comes with its ecstatic experience.

Conservative evangelicals may not be Charismatic, but they have brought in the ecstatic experiences of the Charismatics into their own worship.  They have labeled the Jesus' movement with its own worldly trances and ecstasies as a genuine spiritual revival.  Don't think they haven't also brought in the demons that operate with the world's music and methods.  When the fundamentalists have brought in the worldly new measures of Charles Finney, they have accepted another kind of euphoria and religious enthusiasm in their churches.  In so doing, evangelicalism and fundamentalism are teeming with ecstatic and demonic influence.

If you are an evangelical, even a conservative one, or a fundamentalist, and this has been part of the operation of your church or group, what will be ironic is that you will likely defend your own brand of ecstasy or euphoria like a Charismatic will defend his less than scriptural spiritual experience.  After all, you felt it.  It was your own, as personal as a lip print.  And it also might help explain the growth of your church or even movement.  If you don't deny it, you can see your future shrinking numbers.  God is working.  How do you know?  Who can deny the results you've seen?  God must surely be doing something in your midst.  And it couldn't be dumb idols.  Those are nothing.

You have been deceived just like the Corinthians.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Spirit Baptism--the Historic Baptist View, part 2

While the prominence of the UCD (universal church dispensational) and PCP (post-conversion power) doctrines of Spirit baptism throughout the gamut of denominational affiliations within evangelicalism and fundamentalism leads to large amounts of interaction between their advocates, as manifested in books, journal articles, and other studies comparing the merits of the two, the modern restriction of the historic Baptist doctrine of the baptism of the Holy Ghost to the most conservative elements within the Baptist movement has led to most advocates of the PCP and UCD doctrines ignoring it, often because of ignorance of its existence. This is unfortunate, since, as later posts will demonstrate, the historic Baptist view, not the PCP or UCD doctrine, is taught in the Bible.

Indeed, such has been the falling away from the old Baptist doctrine of Spirit baptism that evangelicals affiliated with churches in bodies such as the modern Southern Baptist Convention are almost universally ignorant of its existence, as are many neo-fundamentalist and truly fundamental Baptist churches connected with larger bodies such as the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches or the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship, although the historic Baptist position remains dominant among the generality of unaffiliated Baptist separatists. Baptist pastors trained in parachurch institutions generally affiliated with generic fundamentalism (such as Bob Jones University) often are never even presented with the historic Baptist position, while those trained in church-run fundamental Baptist colleges and local-church specific Baptist Bible institutes tend to both learn about and embrace the historic Baptist position on Spirit baptism.

Baptists who read only neo-evangelical or non-historic Baptist compositions on Spirit baptism will probably never even have the historic Baptist position presented to them. For example, in critiquing the PCP position in favor of a UCD view of 1 Corinthians 12:13, the evangelical J. I. Packer wrote: “Can it be convincingly denied that 1 Corinthians 12:13 . . . refers to one aspect of what we may call the ‘conversion-initiation complex’ with which the Christian life starts, so that according to Paul every Christian as such is Spirit-baptized? Surely it cannot. The only [emphasis added] alternative to this conclusion would be to hold, as the late R. A. Torrey influentially did, that Paul here speaks of a ‘second blessing,’ not mentioned in his letters elsewhere, which he knew that he and all the Corinthians had received, though some Christians today have not” (pg. 163, Keep in Step with the Spirit: Finding Fullness in Our Walk with God, 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2005). Packer goes on to (effectively) critique the PCP view of 1 Corinthians 12:13. What is noteworthy is that he presents his UCD position as the “only” alternative. The historic Baptist position is entirely ignored. Packer is typical of evangelical books and articles on Spirit baptism, as even a cursory examination will verify. Journal articles such as “Dispensationalists and Spirit Baptism,” Larry D. Pettegrew, Master’s Seminary Journal 8 (Spring 1997): 29-46 ignore the historic Baptist view, despite historic Baptist acceptance of dispensational distinctions. Dictionary articles such as “Baptism of the Holy Spirit,” by Craig Blomberg in the Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology (ed. Walter A. Elwell. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1996) ignore the historic Baptist position. Evangelical books such as Baptism & Fulness: The Work of the Holy Spirit Today, John R. W. Stott, 2nd ed. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1978) and Holy Spirit Baptism, Anthony A. Hoekema (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1972) ignore the historic Baptist position. It is noteworthy, however, that Hoekema admits that the passages concerning Spirit baptism in the gospels, as well as Acts 1:5, refer to Pentecost alone, stating (pg. 17-20, cf. 15-29):

This outpouring of the Spirit on Pentecost Day . . . was a historical event of the greatest importance—unique, unrepeatable, once-for-all. It may be thought of as an event comparable in magnitude to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. . . . In Jerusalem the Holy Spirit was poured out on the 120 disciples . . . in fulfillment of the promise of the Father; this outpouring was a great salvation-history event[.] . . . In this sense, therefore, Pentecost can never be repeated, and does not need to be repeated. . . . [T]he expression ‘to be baptized in the Spirit’ is used in the Gospels and in Acts 1:5 to designate the once-for-all, historical event of the outpouring of the Spirit on Pentecost Day. In this sense the baptism of the Spirit is never repeated. 

However, Hoekema then argues for a UCD perspective based on Acts 11:16 and 1 Corinthians 12:13, interacting with the PCP doctrine but engaging in no interaction at all with the historic Baptist position. His bibliography (pgs. 94-95) lists no books by historic Baptists, so it appears that his affirmations on the Spirit baptism texts in the gospels and in Acts 1:5 agree with the conclusions of the classic Baptist doctrine simply from the force of grammatical-historical interpretation, and potentially without any knowledge on his part of the existence of the view.

Baptism in the Holy Spirit: A Re-examination of the New Testament Teaching on the Gift of the Spirit in relation to Pentecostalism Today by James D. G. Dunn (Chatham, England: SCM Press, 1970) may be considered as representative of treatments of Spirit baptism by those less conservative than historic Baptists, fundamentalists, or evangelicals. Dunn writes (pgs. 3-4):

Of particular interest to the NT scholar is the Pentecostal’s teaching about the baptism in the Spirit, for in it he claims to have discovered the NT pattern of conversion-initiation—the only pattern which makes sense of the data in Acts—and also the principal explanation for the amazing growth of the early Church. But does the NT mean by baptism in the Holy Spirit what the Pentecostal understands the phrase to mean? Is baptism in the Holy Spirit to be separated from conversion-initation, and is the beginning of the Christian life to be thus divided up into distinct stages? Is Spirit-baptism something essentially different from becoming a Christian, so that even a Christian of many years’ standing may never have been baptized in the Spirit? These are some of the important questions which Pentecostal teaching raises, and it will be the primary task of this book to re-examine the NT in the light of this teaching with a view to answering these questions. Put in a nutshell, we hope to discover what is the place of the gift of the Spirit in the total complex event of becoming a Christian. This will inevitably involve us in a wider debate than merely with Pentecostals. For many outside Pentecostalism make a straghtforward identification between a baptism in the Spirit and the Christian sacrament of water-baptism, while others distinguish two gifts or comings of the Spirit, the first at conversion-initation and the second at a later date, in Confirmation or in the bestowal of charismata. I shall therefore be defining my position over against two and sometimes three or four different standpoints. . . . I hope to show that for the writers of the NT the baptism in or gift of the Spirit was part of the event (or process) of becoming a Christian, together with the effective proclamation of the Gospel, belief in (ei˙ß) Jesus as Lord, and water-baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus; that it was the chief element in conversion-initation so that only those who had thus received the Spirit could be called Christians; that the reception of the Spirit was a very definite and often dramatic experience, the decisive and climactic experience in conversion-initiation, to which the Christian was usually recalled when reminded of the beginning of his Christian faith and experience. We shall see that while the Pentecostal’s belief in the dynamic and experiential nature of Spirit-baptism is well founded, his separation of it from conversion-initation is wholly unjustified; and that, conversely, while water-baptism is an important element in the complex of conversion-initiation, it is neither to be equated or confused with Spirit-baptism nor to be given the most prominent part in that complex event. The high point in conversion-initation is the gift of the Spirit, and the beginning of the Christian life is to be reckoned from the experience of Spirit-baptism.

One notes that Dunn equates Spirit baptism and the gift of the Spirit and adopts other elements of the UCD view while corrupting the doctrine of conversion by mixing in baptism in water and other heresy as a consequence of his non-evangelical, anti-inerrancy, semi-sacramentalist position. (Compare his statement that “[W]ater-baptism can properly be described as the vehicle of faith; but not as the vehicle of the Spirit. It enables man to approach God . . . but otherwise it is not the channel of God’s grace.” Pg. 100, Ibid. Dunn states that Paul’s sins were forgiven at the time of his baptism, pg. 75, and argues against the view that baptism is a sign of a conversion which has already taken place, pg. 145, 226-227. His acceptance of forms of higher criticism is obvious throughout his book.) Dunn also interacts with the PCP position and rigid sacramentalism in his book, speaking of his “debate with Pentecostal and sacramentalist” (pgs. 21, 170), but he never acknowledges the existence of the historic Baptist view. Advocates of the historic Baptist doctrine do not appear in his index of modern authors and works (pgs. 230-236). Non-evangelical writers, like many of their modern fundamental and evangelical counterparts, are entirely ignorant of the historic Baptist view of Spirit baptism.

Most ironically, the book Perspectives on Spirit Baptism (gen. ed. Chad Brand; authors Ralph D. Colle, H. Ray Dunning, Larry Hart, Stanley Horton, & Walter Kaiser, Jr. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2004) ignores the historic Baptist view, although it contains chapters presenting and then critiquing what are termed the Sacramental, Wesleyan, Charismatic, Pentecostal, and Reformed views of the baptism of the Holy Ghost. The book ignores the historic Baptist position despite asserting that it “presents in counterpoint . . . the basic common beliefs on Spirit baptism which have developed over the course of church history with a view toward determining which is most faithful to Scripture.” Amazingly, the book is edited by a Southern Baptist professor at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and published by the same Southern Baptist Convention that, only a half century earlier, had a president and long time professor at the very same seminary that advocated the historic Baptist view in the classic and widely circulated International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

Thus, as indicated, the historic Baptist position is advocated in the article “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” within the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (gen. ed. James Orr. orig. pub. Eerdmans, 1939; elec. acc. Online Bible For Mac software, Ken Hamel). The article’s author, E. Y. Mullins, was professor and later president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary at the turn of the ninteenth century, and, from 1921-1924, president of the very Southern Baptist Convention that in modern times either ignores or repudiates his doctrine of Spirit baptism. “The question is often raised whether or not the baptism of the Holy Spirit occurred once for all or is repeated in subsequent baptisms. The evidence seems to point to the former view to the extent at least of being limited to outpourings which took place in connection with events recorded in the early chapters of the Book of Acts. . . . [Evidence is then presented in favor of the conclusion that Spirit baptism was limited to the events in Acts.] . . . [N]owhere in the epistles do we find a repetition of the baptism of the Spirit. This would be remarkable if it had been understood by the writers of the epistles that the baptism of the Spirit was frequently to be repeated. There is no evidence outside the Book of Acts that the baptism of the Spirit ever occurred in the later New Testament times. In 1 Corinthians 12:13 Paul [makes] . . . reference . . . not to the baptism of the Spirit, but rather to a baptism into the church.

The historic Baptist view ignored by the modern Southern Baptist Convention was also affirmed by other prominent Southern Baptists in the time of Mullins, such as B. H. Carroll, professor of theology and Bible at Baylor University and Seminary from 1872-1905 and professor and president of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary from 1908-1914.

The historic Baptist view of Spirit baptism is, therefore, not widely adopted, not because it is contrary to Scripture, but because many ignore its existence, although it is, as subsequent posts in this series will prove, the clear teaching of the Bible.

Link to part 1.
Link to part 3

Note that this complete study, with all it parts and with additional material not reproduced on this blog in this series,  is available by clicking here.