Study Break – Ecumenism


Ecumenism is out of control.

ec•u•men•i•cal \ˌe-kyə-ˈme-ni-kəl, -kyü-\ adjective

[Late Latin oecumenicus, from Late Greek oikoumenikos, from Greek oikoumenē the inhabited world, from feminine of oikoumenos, present passive participle of oikein to inhabit, from oikos house—more at VICINITY] circa 1587

1: worldwide or general in extent, influence, or application

2 a: of, relating to, or representing the whole of a body of churches

b: promoting or tending toward worldwide Christian unity or cooperation—ec•u•men•i•cal•ly \-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

ec•u•men•i•cal•ism \-ˈme-ni-kə-ˌli-zəm\ noun

1888: ECUMENISM

Inc Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2003).

Why do I consider this a problem? Aren’t we supposed to be united as Christians, Christian brotherhood, you know, the Church?

Um… believe it or not, this doctrine – as we interpret it today – cannot be found in the Bible.

Before everyone starts opening their slower than molasses in January E-Sword program, let me explain.

There is indeed supposed to be unity within the church.

Define Church, first.

A visible, local assembly of born again believers.

Are the unsaved part of that?

No.

The definition of “Christianity” today is no longer “all the born again believers”, but “Everyone who calls themselves Christians, except for Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

20 years ago, the average Christian knew and understood that Roman Catholicism was a false religion, a cult – but today mention that, and it’s like you declared yourself to be a… wow, I have just run out of things to compare that to! Fifteen years ago, I’d have said “communist” there, but now Americans see nothing wrong with Communism.

Today, Christians link arms with Mormons, who are just GIDDY over the acceptance. They were a cult 15 years ago, they’re a cult today.

People who love God but have never been born again? “Christians.” And today’s Christians are offended at the thought of passing someone a tract who calls themselves Christian and love God, but have never been born again.

“We should major on the majors, and not on the minors!”

Sounds great! What are you talking about? Dcotrines? Sure! Show me in the Bible which doctrines are major, and which are minor. You must consider salvation a minor doctrine we should ignore, because you’re accepting people whose definition of “saved” is sprinkled with water as a baby, or immersed as an adult being REQUIRED for salvation. Church of Christ followers are in a cult, with damnable heresies. Lutherans who are not born again are not entering heaven. Baptists who have not been born again are not going into heaven. Methodists who have not been born again are not going to heaven.

None of these people can be called “Christian.”

“But I go to a Baptist church!” Yes, and ask your pastor! He’ll be the FIRST to tell you that if you are not born again, you are NOT going to heaven.

When I was a teenager, I heard ALL about being Born Again, and I knew what it meant. We have no excuse. And even more frightening, the Bible hints you can share in their punishment for even bidding someone Godspeed that you’re kicking out of your house for being a heretic! How much more will you face the music for embracing the unSaved as Christians?

It’s going to be a very uncomfortable time to say the least for a lot of today’s Christians at the Judgment seat of Christ.

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Hebrews Part 17


We need to address the sign gifts. I’ve addressed it several times in the past, usually in the context of the Word Faith/Charismatic/Pentecostal phenomenon. And Hebrews lends itself particularly well to the study of this, as we’ll get into.

When I deal with this, and people disagree, I bring up one question, which usually stumps people: “Who was Trophimus?”

“And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus.” (Acts 20:4, KJV)

He was a Gentile.

“(For they had seen before with him in the city Trophimus an Ephesian, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.)” (Acts 21:29, KJV)

Now for the verse I was getting at… And this will rock your doctrinal convictions to the core (I suppose that those words are going to upset a lot of Charismatics, as they tend to dismiss anything doctrinal…)

“Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.” (2 Timothy 4:20, KJV)

That verse has the same impact on Charismatics as does the Great Body of believers in Revelation does to Jehovah’s Witnesses. You have to repeat to them over and over again, “Where are they?” “On Earth.” “Where does the Bible say they are?” “In heaven… but they’re on earth.” “Let’s try it again…”

So… who is Trophimus? What did Paul have to do?

Leave him at Miletum.

Why?

He was… what?

Sick.

Paul needed the help. Trophimus had been faithful, and not left Paul. But they left him at Miletum. Why? He was sick.

This was the guy whose shadow made people well. Paul healed people everywhere he went.

The sign gifts were far more prevalent in 33-50 AD than they were in 66 AD. Why? What had happened in 16 years that hadn’t been there before?

The book of James. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. 1 and 2 Corinthians, Acts, 1 Timothy, Titus, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Galatians, Romans… as more and more books of the New Testament were written, the miracles and sign gifts began to disappear.

Hebrews 2 talks about them as if they are still active, still present. So, as Paul wrote Hebrews, there was still some… but 2 Timothy was Paul’s last book. You could tell from his very tone in 2 Timothy he knew he was about to die. Paul was unable to heal himself, and unable to heal one of the very few that had stuck by him in his last missionary tour.

The sign gifts are really only mentioned a couple of times in Hebrews. Compare that to 1 Corinthians, where there are entire chapters on them, and the abuses of them.

We derive our doctrine (our beliefs, our teachings) from Scripture – we do not impose them upon the Scriptures.

I want you all to start READING YOUR BIBLE. That’s why I’m teaching through Hebrews, and spent so many weeks this year teaching all of you how to do Bible study.

Hebrews Part 15


“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?” (Hebrews 2:1–4, KJV)

Argh. My computer is most definitely behaving oddly today. It’s making it VERY hard to switch between windows.

Anyway.

Paul has spent Chapter one proving that Jesus Christ is more than a man, indeed, higher than that of the angels. For this reason, when you get into study of Christology, you’ll find that Hebrews 1 is indispensible.

Right now, I’m involved in two studies at once, Galatians and Hebrews. I think I’ve made the point that there is connections between Romans and Hebrews, Galatians and Romans/Hebrews, Ephesians leads to Colossians leads to Galatians leads to Romans to Hebrews. When you study them in that order, you begin to notice things. Am I saying the books of the Bible should be rearranged? No, there’s reasons they’ve been put in that order. If God thought it important enough to change the order, He’d mave made sure we put them in that order in the first place.

What do we understand from these verses?

  1. The law was given by angels
  2. sins will be punished under the law
  3. The New Testament is of necessity better than the old (we’ll be dwelling on this point at length)
  4. If sins under the Old Covenant were punished, then how much more if we neglect to get saved? (K’al v’chomer argument – more on this later)
  5. The way of salvation was spoken of by the Lord at the beginning
  6. It was confirmed by signs
  7. The Holy Spirit was still involved in the sign gifts to some extent during the writing of this book of the Bible.

That’s a lot of information, in just a few verses.

Hebrews Part 14


“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?” (Hebrews 2:1–4, KJV)

Give earnest heed to the things we have heard

lest at any time we should let them slip.

προσέχειν, take heed, pay attention to.

EARNEST Sincerity and intensity of purpose or a deposit paid to secure a purchase.

Chad Brand et al., eds., “Earnest,” Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), 448.

To pay attention to these things we have heard with an intensity of purpose.

If you don’t, you will backslide.

A congregation hired a new pastor, and that Sunday he preached the Ressurection of Christ. Everyone congratulated him on the sermon, and left happy. The following week, he preached the same sermon, word for word. Everyone was puzzled, but shrugged. He was new.

The third and fourth week, he still was preaching the same sermon. One of the deacons decided to give him some advice to move on to other sermons. He went to the Pastor, and said, “Pastor, I notice you keep preaching on the ressurection.”

“Yes.” The Pastor answered.

“Well, have you thought of preaching on other themes?”

“First things first. When you all get that right and begin living like He is risen, then we’ll move on too.”

That’s a sermon illustration I made up. It’s one of those, “Ah hah hah hah, wait a minute.” kind of laughs.

to pay sincere attention with intensity of purpose to the things we heave heard. That means to live like it.

Christ is risen. What does that do for you? How does that change your life? Sharing your faith? In this day and age, I’d say doorknocking is done. People are so BUSY that door knocking now creates an intrusion that is resented. But you can advertise a Bible study, where you share your faith. I remember my old church where the pastor challenged us to come up with ways to get the unsaved to start attending. I suggested pizza and Bible. Literally. The unsaved man is not that interested in just a Bible study. Add pizza or coffee and danishes to it… hey!!!! Someone who’s on the ropes and considering maybe they should get right with God… that might be the way.

They decided instead to have everyone place their hands on a map of the city and recite, “Rabba-dabba-dabba-shondalalaika, whon-ga-la-laika!”

Did about as much for them as saying “Yabba. Dabba. Doo.”

But we dealt with this earlier on already.

The problem with the Hebrews of this epistle is this – they still were limping around with two opinions. They believed Jesus was Christ (messiah), but were unsure of His deity. Hence Paul’s dwelling on this at length in Chapter 1.

They also heard, and partially were ready to accept, that perhaps Jesus Christ was only a spirit or an angel. Chapter one dealt with that too.

Some believed he was just the human Messiah, and he was just speaking metaphysically. Hebrews 1 dealt with that.

Keep these things sincerely in mind with all diligence and intensity of purpose, lest you slip.

If you slip, it meant you weren’t saved in the first place. Paul is hinting this, which is why he’s insisting they keep dwelling on everything they were taught about the Messiah.

“Let’s get that part right first, and then we’ll move on to other things.”

Hebrews Part 13


“For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (Hebrews 1:5–14, KJV)

We’re dealing with a much larger chunk of Scripture now. A lot of this we’ve covered. “Unto which angel?” is a hypothetical question. One of the statements we’re testing is the statement that all the hypothetical questions in Hebrews have the answer “No” or “none”.

Allegorizing is a strict no-no in Biblical interpretation, so let’s deal with this first. Some of the passages quoted here are passages dealing with fallible men. “This day have I begotten thee” is from 2 Samuel 7:14, which is talking about Solomon.

So, is this a prophecy of Jesus Christ?

Yes.

But Solomon erred and fell.

Jesus Christ did not.

Matthew portrays Jesus Christ succeedingly as Israel in the wilderness (where Israel failed, the Lord succeeded), as Moses the Lawgiver (where Moses failed, Christ succeeded).

Now, Paul is portraying Jesus Christ as king. Whose the two wise kings? Solomon, and David. David was an adulterer. Jesus Christ is not. Solomon erred and fell, and the kingdom was wrested from his son.

Jesus Christ did not fail, and his kingdom is eternal.

The quotation would have been familiar to the Jewish audience he was speaking to at the time.

So these so-called allegorical interpretations of Scripture we find are not allegorical, but typology. Solomon is the type, Christ is the anti-type. Remember, a type is a picture. An anti-type is the person whom the picture portrays.

Unto what angel? None of them. Jesus Christ is more than an Angel. So was he just a human who kept the law perfectly, and was elected to the office of God? No, that simply doesn’t square up with how Scripture portray’s Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was in the beginning with God. Why, because He’s wisdom personified? No, that’s a heresy, as I pointed out in the last two days. Typology wise, yes, Jesus Christ is wisdom persnonified, but Proverbs 8 is not referring to Jesus Christ.

This is a seriously profound set of exegesis! Paul is approaching things from several issues:

  • The Messiah is supposed to be eternal. Jesus Christ is more, having always existed, and always will exist.
  • The Messiah is supposed to be king. Jesus Christ is more, since He is God, and thus the kingship is a theocracy. You can disagree with a human king, you cannot disagree with God.
  • The Messiah is supposed to judge. Jesus Christ is more, as He is God, and unto Him is committed not only rewards of the believer, but actually the decision of salvation vs damnation (an easy job, really – one of His, saved- not one of His, damned. And all that’s needed is repentence and faith). And unto Jesus Christ is even given the punishment of the wicked, how intense it will be. That’s a lot more than the Messiah is supposed to do!
  • The Messiah will be an expert in the law. Jesus Christ wrote it, and then fulfilled it so His followers wouldn’t have to bear its weight.
  • The Messiah will rule the world. Jesus Christ will rule the world, destroy Satan and his devils, destroy this present world and rebuild one without sin.

Jesus Christ cannot be an angel, as the angels are appointed to be His servants. And the Angels are also appointed to serve US! So gnosticism, theological liberalism and Arianism are done away with in this first chapter. tomorrow, Hebrews 2!

Hebrews Part 12


Learning a lot so far.

Bundled in my Logos package was a nifty little book… Here’s the exact citation of it.

Gromacki, Robert G. New Testament Survey. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1974.

If you’re using any other bible software (I recognize that for many readers, Logos is simply un-affordable – if it wasn’t for discount codes, my wife saving for my present, and some work that brought in extra money, I’d still be praying and wishing myself!)… make sure you get this little book. If it’s not available for your Bible software, consider going on Amazon and getting the hard copy. That makes it difficult in today’s digital age, as we tend to want all our library and tools inside our software. But this is a must get book.

I haven’t seen it question the Fundamentalist viewpoint of the Bible like a lot of Logos materials (most of the Faithlife stuff is very theologically liberal), but the way the author breaks things down was almost revolutionary. He’s obviously much farther along in the study of Biblical Contrastive thinking than I am.

Why did he have to show the superiority of Christ to the angels? In his first warning (2:1–4), he pointed out the difference between that “spoken by the angels” and that “spoken by the Lord.” Angels had a part in the giving of the law to Moses (cf. Gal. 3:19). Since those who disobeyed the Mosaic law were punished physically, is it not logical that those who disobey the word of Christ (and He is better than the angels) will receive a greater chastisement?

Robert G. Gromacki, New Testament Survey (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1974), 327.

You’ll save a lot of time by looking at what he has to say. It’s kind of like reading David Cloud – good to learn from someone who has most definitely spent a lifetime studying the Bible.

Something that Broadus mentioned was that our studies of the Bible draw upon the storehouse of all the times you’ve read it. Try not to read it like a Lubavitcher! It took me years to break that habit. To read like a Lubavitcher is to read through the Bible as fast as you can. Why? Lubavitchers have far more prayers to say than other Chassids, so they quickly get through the habit of reading as fast as you can.

I’m saying it now – if you’re in that habit, you might as well not even bother to read the Bible.

Remember this? “Lord, bid my brother divide his inheritance with me!”

What’s the response?

(insert Jeopardy theme here)

Time! You should have responded, “Who made me a judge over you?”

If you’re reading the bible quickly (just passing your eyes quickly across the page so you can get back to watching TV), nothing will happen. You’re probably not going to remember it. Read the Bible, or don’t read it at all. But don’t do fast reading and think, “I just read sixteen chapters of the Bilble!”

What did you read? What was it about?

“uhhh….”

Go back and do it again.

To really get a feel for what Hebrews is about, you should read the entire book at least five times. After a lot of reading, you can begin your study. We really haven’t done much in the way of interpreting yet. We’ve done reading.

So, create a new sermon plan in Logos. You want to read Hebrews every day for the next 5 days. Choose “documents” and “Generate a reading plan”, then “Read Hebrews by default in King James Bible every day and finishing in 1 session”. Then you go to the calendar view and add extra sessions.

This way, literally, logos will force you to read Hebrews every day for 5 days.

A proper understanding of Hebrews will do one thing, I guarantee it – you’ll stop worrying you can lose your salvation. Guarantee it. Remember, that Hebrews proceeds from the proposition that all its hypothetical questions are answered in “no”. this is something we’re going to test as we go along. People who’ve made a profession of faith, and walked away tend to avoid Hebrews for this very reason. We’re going to examine it, because after all, Peter denied Jesus Christ. Did he go to heaven?

The other apostles all abandoned Jesus Christ. Did they go to heaven?

Start your reading plan. See you tomorrow!

Hebrews part 16


Thanks to a peculiarity of how Thingamablog works… this one never got updated, but went in as a draft. But the things written in here are foundational to our study, so I’m throwing it up today.

“Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;” (Hebrews 1:3, KJV)

Sat down.

There’s no chair in the Tabernacle, or the Temple.

Why?

The Earthly high priest isn’t done with his work.

Our heavenly high priest is finished.

High priest, standing.

Jesus Christ, sitting.

Done.

sins are gone.

What sins of yours were in the future when Jesus Christ died?

All of them.

Purged and gone.

Whose salvation is it? Christ’s, to give to whom He wills. Who does He will it to? Anyone who will freely come, and recieve.

“And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words.” (Exodus 24:8, KJV)

Sprinkling isn’t enough. You have to be submerged in it.