Being a Christian – Saved church Membership


To be a member of a church, the only requirement is that you be saved.

You can ATTEND a church and be unSaved. Amazingly, we have entire groups of people who SERVE in churches and are unSaved!

We need to get those Deacons right with the Lord! 😉

The standard way to join a church is through Baptism. Get saved, find a church, meet with the pastor, ask to join, the church votes, and then you are Baptized.

But what if you move from one place to another? Or (more common today) the church apostates, and you have to resign and move out? How do you transfer to the next church?

The next method is by letter. Many say it’s Biblcal, but I really have to say I don’t see it directly addressed in Scripture. However, transfer of membership by letter is the usual way.

What if your church is apostating, and you don’t want any taint of that apostasy on you? Then the last method of transfer of membership is by personal statement, that you were a member of another church and have been baptized, and are a Christian.

If you are saved, you may join a New Testament church. But let’s say your spouse is not.

They may attend with you, but they may not join. An unsaved person may not vote in church meetings, nor partake of the Lord’s Supper.

Not fair? Look, Salvation’s a free gift! Nobody’s forcing you to join. But… we can’t risk someone who is unSaved voting in something, and afecting the direction of a New Testament church. It’s important.

So, if you want the benefits of belonging to a New Testament church… why not get saved?

Sure beats eternal suffering!

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Signs of the Times


Evangelicals have begun to oppose the Bible.

Evangelicals have begun to link arms with the unsaved.

Evangelicals are beginning to reject Fundamentalists, in favor of the unSaved, such as those who sprinkle babies and call it salvation. Such as Mormons. Such as Catholics.

We hear that over a billion people are Christians, and we assume that means people who understant “ye must be born again”.

While in Seminary, my teacher asked the rhetorical question of how many people were saved? He guessed 5%, and everyone in the class was scandalized.

I took the Operation World manual, and took their statistics. It was very simple. I took out all the denominations that assume you are predestined to be saved. Why? Because by the second generation, they are relying on their infant baptism as a sign of their “election”.

I took out all the Protestant denominations that believe that being baptized saves you.

I took out the Mormons.

I took out the Roman Catholics.

It left Charismatics and Baptists. I didn’t take out any of those numbers, because I was estimating a “fudge factor” of, “Some of those Protestants must have gotten saved despite their denominations’ stand”.

I ended up with 1.67%, if I recall correctly.

Right around 85 million people.

I did the statistics in reverse, and ended up with the same number. And now I’m thinking I was optimistic.

With that in mind, let’s look at the problem – Evangelicals prefer the company of all those people the Bible rules out as being saved.

15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1 John 2:15 (KJV)

1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 1 John 3:1 (KJV)

19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. John 15:19 (KJV)

The last verse is the bottom line. If you’re an Evangelical Christian, and you reject Fundamentalist as “pharisees”, and use phrases like “I don’t view the Bible as the fourth member of the Trinity”…

The Bible is saying you many not be saved.

Just saying.

First Principles 3


Why do we accept that his righteousness passes to us by Eating his Flesh and Drinking his Blood symbolically or otherwise?

I’m answering these not to fight with you – indeed, I’m not striving with you. I’m answering gently, understanding the pain of indecision.

His righteousness does not pass to us by the Last Supper at all. It passes to us by belief.

By acceptance.

Abraham believed by faith, and it was reckoned him as righteousness.

And that’s how God set it up.

It’s so easy, we instinctively believe it can’t be right. We WANT to be able to do it our way.

Why? Pride.

If I can earn my righteousness somehow, by crawling to the Ganges river on our knees, we can stand with pride, “I did it.”

Christians say, “I didn’t do it. Jesus Christ did it, and offered it as a free gift. I just took it.”

Why is pride wrong?

Becuase, as I heard in a sermon today, pride made a Satan out of Lucifer. Your hands are polluted, dripping with the bloddguiltiness of your own sin. Everything you put your hands to take that, like the leper in the Torah who had to cover his lip and call out, “unclean! Unclean!” His house bacame unclean. His clothes became unclean.

Everything I touched became unclean by my sin. So any deed I did, such as spinning a thousand prayer wheels like the Tibetan Buddhists, is unclean as well. “Our righteousness as as filthy rags.”

So, you are powerless to save yourself.

Caiaphas examined Jesus Christ and pronounced him fit to die for the nation. Since prophecy included the Gentiles in with the Jews, and since a mixed multitude went up out of Egypt and recieved the Law along with the Jews… Gentiles too are included in this Jewish religion.

Christ died for your sins. All you have to do, like Abraham… is believe.

You’re in agony over this. I understand. When I was in Judaism, I knew it couldn’t help me. I begged God for a way, I rejected the faith of my people, walked away, and began a search through every religion I could find out about in the books.

I became convinced that Jesus Christ was the only way. But I couldn’t wrap my head around the Trniity. Once I was able to do that, I was able to cry out, “Abba! Father!”

And Jesus Christ saved me.

My salvation night was horrific. I wept for hours. I begged for forgiveness for what seemed like hours. And then I reached a point where I could no longer strive with God all night, like Jacob. And like my great great grandfather Jacob, I too said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me!”

And He did.

Stop striving. Accept. Repent.

Believe.

And be free.

First Principles 2


If the bible says in several places that no one person can be punished for another’s sins, and that the sins debts of the father cannot be passed to the son, as the righteousness of the father doesn’t either…

Logical, but not what the Bible says.

Let’s review two of the fundamental laws on how to interpret the Bible.

  1. We must compare spiritual with spiritual – all scripture on a topic must be compared before we derive our doctrine
  2. Less clear passages give way to more clear.

These are well established rules of Biblical Interpretation, and the person speaking who I’m adressing is well acquainted with them.

Here’s what to take away from the passage in Ezekiel you’re reading. Part of what you’re struggling with is this – you keep talking about sin. Think about that.

12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: Romans 5:12 (KJV)

15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. Romans 5:15 (KJV)

The issue is, the existence of sin and the curse of death entered by Adam. However, Ezekiel, the passage you’re referring to, says you will die for your own sins.

4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die. Ezekiel 18:4 (KJV)

You are asking in effect, “Can I not then atone for my own sins?”

How?

22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. Hebrews 9:22 (KJV)

Without blood, without something dying in your place, your sins cannot atone for.

23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23 (KJV)

That’s why you cannot atone for your sins.

Then why do we believe in The Indwelling Sin Curse of Adam that passes to all humanity from birth?

That part already I’ve answered. I think what it is, is that you’ve had an incorrect understanding of atonement, redemption, propitiation, and sin. You’ve had, rather, the Roman Catholic understanding that we all are corrupt and will go to hell for Adam’s sin. Rather, the Bible says “…by one man sin entered the world.” This is the curse of sin, and the penalty of. Death. All will die, now that death has entered the world. And all will go into Hell, without forgiveness, atonement, and propitiation.

It sounds like semantics, but it’s not.

Why do we accept that our sins can be laid on another and paid for?

Why is it that in the OT the accepted sacrifice was fully consumed by either fire or eating, but christ was allowed to be resurrected and his body not destroyed?

You’re misunderstanding the offerings. We do not eat the sin offerings. THe blood of the sin offering, and certain parts of the sin offerings, were poured out onto the altar, and the fats burned. THe blood atoned for the sins, and the fats were as prayers, as God said it was a sweet smelling savour unto Him.

The offerings we ate were festival offerings. It was a communal meal, one with another.

Now, here’s the part that I never noticed while I was in Judaism. The blood atoned for the sins… but the Bible did not say “the blood of the bull will atone for the sins.”

The Bull or the goat died in your place. THe lamb died in your place. One offering could not, once and for all, take away all your sins. else the High Priest would have offered them once and for all. Indeed, before Aaron and his sons could function as priests, THEY had to be atoned for! So their ministry obviously was not a perpetual one. Their offerings were temporary.

Our sins can be laid on another because God said so. Your hand was placed upon the offering’s head, a prayer was said so that it was an effectual transfer, and then the animal died in your place.

Now, here’s what you’re asking.

“Jesus Christ was a man, so how could he die in my place?”

The obvious answer is – he wasn’t a man. He was fully man and fully God.

6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:6-11 (KJV)

Jesus Christ is both the party aggrieved, as He is God… and He is the atonement, the offering, the perfect man without sin. Thus, He was not only the perfect sacrifice, being utterly without blemish…

…but the High Priest even examined him, and pronounced Him fit for the sacrifice.

49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, 50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. John 11:49-50 (KJV)

We’ll finish this up tomorrow.

First Principles – Who is God?


Before I get into answering all of the other questions this person asked – let’s look at God. Who is God?

We can ignore the question of ‘if there is a God’. because the Watchmaker logic problem makes the demand. That’s another reason I started this with Pascal’s wager, by the way.

The watchmaker argument says… “If there is a watch, I know there is a watchmaker.” The standard cosmology arguments do not answer HOW the Universe is created. And Newtonian physics demand that an action has a source. The Universe is in motion, therefore, someone set it in motion.

So, we turn to the Bible. Who is God?

He is master. 13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. John 13:13 (KJV)

He is teacher. 2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. John 3:2 (KJV)

  • God is self-existent. Exod. 3:13-14 2.
  • God is self-sufficient. Ps. 50:10-12 3.
  • God is eternal. Deut. 33:27; Ps. 90:2 4.
  • God is infinite. 1 Kings 8:22-27; Jer. 23:24 5.
  • God is omnipresent. Ps. 139:7-12 6
  • God is omnipotent. Gen. 18:14; Rev. 19:6 7.
  • God is omniscient. Ps. 139:2-6; Isa. 40:13-14 8.
  • God is wise. Prov. 3:19; 1 Tim. 1:17 9.
  • God is immutable. Heb. 1:10-12; 13:8 10.
  • God is sovereign. Isa. 46:9-11 11.
  • God is incomprehensible. Job 11:7-19; Rom. 11:33 12.
  • God is holy. Lev. 19:2; 1 Pet. 1:15 13.
  • God is righteous and just. Ps. 119:137 14.
  • God is true. John 17:3; Titus 1:1-2 15.
  • God is faithful. Deut. 7:9; Ps. 89:1-2 16.
  • God is light. James 1:17; 1 John 1:5 17.
  • God is good. Ps. 107:8 18.
  • God is merciful. Ps. 103:8-17 19.
  • God is gracious. Ps. 111:4; 1 Pet. 5:10 20.
  • God is love. John 3:16; Rom. 5:8 21.
  • God is spirit. John 4:24 22.
  • God is one. Deut. 6:4-5; Isa. 44:6-8 23.
  • God is a Trinity. Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14

H. L. Willmington, The Complete Book of Bible Lists, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1987), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 121.

It may not seem to someone who is suffering through something that God is merciful. I once told my congregation, “If I were God, I would allow you one million times to sin. One million. And then my patience would run out, and I’d wipe you off the face of the earth.”

Assuming I sinned 50 times a day (a fairly low estimate, considering how Jesus Christ describes mild anger as being the same as murder, and coveting the same as theft) – you’d hit that total in 7.3 years. So, if the age of accountability was 8, then… nobody’d make it past 16 years of age.

God is merciful. You can sin again and again and again. God has amazing patience. Far more than I do. Yes, one sin will send you to Hell. But an examination of Adolph Hitler’s life, and Stalin’s life, shows that they lived to advanced ages – and God did not in anger wipe them off the face of the earth.

WHY???

Because God was hoping they’d repent. They’d realize their lost condition. That they’d repent, and ask God humbly to save them, to confess their sins to God. And beg forgiveness.

Church Planting – Church Programs


Today, everything I’m talking about in this last installment on church planting is re-visiting the programs. But this time, in light of – your church plant is now a year old, you’ve got five families or so, you’re looking into moving into a location.

You’ve already gone to Worthy of Praise for your church website, and installed that and a Pastor’s Blog. You should set up a page for each church program. The cheap way of a “church programs” page usually doesn’t get looked at.

What church programs should you have? Be aware there’s a fiscal amount to any program. If you try to do everything at once, it’s going to bankrupt your church plant.

My personal choice, right off the bat, would be a grief counseling service. Absolutely.

1 The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come. Isaiah 57:1 (KJV)

There’s a hint here, that as we get closer to the time of the Rapture, that many saints whom the LORD cannot bear to live in this evil world any longer, may well be taken by illness or accident. That’s how I’m seeing this verse. And listening to the prayer lists on Wednesday nights, it really sounded like 10% of the church seemed to have some form of cancer.

Another choice I would set up is “Recovery from Abusive churches and Cults“. Just call it the “recovery” class. There seems to be nothing more abusive or emotionally painful than a decision to leave a church. People who leave Ruckmanite churches often need about a year to recover from it, and a church program would really help. Also, anyone leaving Messianic Judaism or Jehovah’s Witnesses is going to need serious counseling. Serious. And support from other people. Just leave the meetings unattended until you get an email or a call about it, and then you’ll know – God is letting you start it.

Sunday School, of course.

And I think that the old concept of a “New Christians” class or a “First Principles” class should not be phased out. Baptist churches are dropping them like old rusty anchors, and it’s a BAAAAD decision to weed these out. All church members should go through the class. The Craig Ledbetter “First Principles” book is PERFECT for taking new Christians through. You may pick and choose chapters to go through, because after all, the next book you go through will cover some of the same ground again.

After that, I’d go through the “One Year Discipleship Course” by David Cloud. This book is a treasure trove. It teaches you how to be a Christian, how to study the Bible, how to be saved, proper doctrine, raising a Christian family, and a myriad other things. And it has a quiz at the end of every class, to see who was paying attention (I was surprised how much stuff I had completely lost by the time each class was over). The book also teaches you how to teach a Sunday School clss, by the way!

Once those are done, everyone can go off to Sunday School of their choice. In the beginning, it’s going to be two sunday school classes. One for the beginners, and then an advanced one, so people can learn their Bible. And again, David Cloud has done all the work for you. He’s putting a high priority on his ABSS, the Advanced Bible Study Series.

The first 12 weeks of the Advanced class would be going through the David Cloud “Essential Bible Student” video series as a class.

What other programs can your church do? Food Pantry. I don’t see this as optional, At all.

I’m not distorting the Bible into some kind of socialism, like many liberals do. But I just can’t turn my back on all those verses that say, and very plainly, that God’s judgment will include how we treat one another.

And there’s a very real possibility that if you were poor, and God has increased you suddenly, your sudden wealth may very well be entrusted to you for the purpose of feeding the poor. Does anyone besides me see this in the Bible? Yes I know – if a man does not work, let him not eat, to paraphrase. But have you ever lost it all?

Think about that for a moment, and go get your food pantry started. Leave comments. I’m raring for a debate on this one!!!!

There are many other programs, but don’t add more than one per year!

 

What is a Baptist Brider?


I thought I’d expand on this, because I touched on it yesterday.

The Baptist Brider is also sometimes called the Landmark baptist. They believe quite simply, the church at Jerusalem was started by the Lord Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry in Matthew 16.

No problem, that’s Biblical.

That will confuse a lot of you, because most people have been taught and believe in a universal, invisible Church that started in Acts 2. Both Matthew 16 and 18 are considered prophetic, and referring to Acts 2.

That’s what’s taught in the Schofield Reference Bible, and it’s what virtually everyone believes.

Except it’s not Biblical.

18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:18 (KJV)

17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Matthew 18:17 (KJV)

47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. Acts 2:47 (KJV)

Matthew 16 is indeed future tense.

Matthew 18 is PRESENT tense.

Acts 2 is Present tense, but referring to adding to something ALREADY in place! Just like Matthew 18.

So, when was the church created?

Immediately after the prononcement given in Matthew 16. Read the verses in context, you tell me. Open your Bible, and read.

Okay, now that we’re past that, we understand that the church was created by the Lord, during His earthly ministry.

The Brider teaches that unless your church can prove its lineage from that original church, its not a church of the Lord Jesus Christ. The exact terminology is that its one of the “daughters of the whore of Babylon” if it’s not planted by that authority. I think it’s pretty obvious that I don’t agree with that, and I think it’s a little bit far of a stretch from the Lord starting the church to making that kind of assumption. And certainly far reaching to base any kind of doctrines upon that.

If you join a Baptust church, and they start asking questions about who started that church, and who was their sending church (“Mother church”), and who was THEIR sending church (“Grandmother church”)… then wait for it… at some point the Pastor will make a comment about, “Well, we need to know if your Baptism was valid.”

Ding ding ding ding ding! Brider church.

Or the Pastor may make a comment about your old pastor, about “We don’t know if he had the authority to Baptize.” Or. “It matters who Baptizes you.”

Is a brider church bad? Depends on who you ask. Most of the time, no. My seminary, I think I’ve mentioned before, was Baptist Brider. It called for a serious hour of prayer whether I would continue with it or not. I finally was able to resolve it, and continued with it.

It just meant I rolled my eyes in exasperation A LOT when they talked about church successionism, authority to baptize, who started your church, etc. A couple of times I thought I’d have to go to the hospital to get my eyes back to normal!

Here’s the truth.

They’re half right. To a certain extent, we can trace the descent of the Jerusalem church to Antioch, and to Ephasus. Pudens and Claudia attended at Ephasus.

The first church in Wales was started by a man named Pudens, an old Welsh name. Claudia appears to ahve been a Roman wife he married. Pudens starting the first church in Wales, in the right time period, with a wife of the same name.

We can trace it that far.

The first Baptist church in America was started by John Clarke (not Roger Williams – there’s evidence that Williams knew of Clarke, and Williams started Providence Plantations. Clarke formed the first Baptist church in Newport the year before Williams). Most old Baptist churches in the US come from those two churches.

Both John Clarke and Roger Williams come from the UK. Wales is part of the UK.

That’s where it breaks down. There’s no real way to trace any link between the Welsh church and Clarke or Williams. As a matter of fact, the Briders like Clarke better than Williams, because they question Williams’ baptism.

Go ahead, roll your eyes. I know I did.

Briders admit all this. They accept there is no way to prove that their sending church came from Newport or Swansea Mass or even Providence. They admit there’s no way to prove that Puden’s Welsh church is in ANY way connected to Clarke or Williams.

They insist you have to take it by faith. I just can’t do that.

The problem is, I just can’t find their position in the Bible. There’s nothing in the Bible about “making sure your church is a true church”. There’s nothing about “making sure someone has the authority to Baptize.” There’s nothing about church successionism in the Bible.

I do see “Doctrinal succession” in the Bible. I do see much more emphasis on keeping doctrine pure, warnings that if your doctrines change that the Lord will remove your candlestick (make your church no longer a church).

That’s my position. If a Pentecostal church were to get a new pastor, or their current pastor were to stop and test EVERYTHING against scripture, and begin abandoning all things that were unBiblical, could they become a true Biblical and Baptist church?

Briders say no. The Pastor would have to go and get Baptized by someone with authority, then return and re-baptize everyone in the church. If this was so, then Paul would have baptized EVERYONE he converted.

I say – yes. If they truly abandoned the sign gifts that were put away, changed their doctrine to all Biblical, abandon anything unBiblical… separate from false teachers and false teachings… sure! They’d probably need to change the name from “Word of Faith Pentecostal” to “Faith Baptist”, though. And of course it would require testing everyone’s testimony against the Bible to verify if they’re saved or not. But that’s pretty much something I’d preach on very early in any church that hired me.

So, there you go. I’ve tried to write this article for several years, and I think I’ve summed up my posiition, and written it in a way where it won’t offend anyone.

Which pretty much guarantees it’ll offend EVERYONE.