"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

An "Audacious and Astounding" Traditional Trap

I have spent the last few days researching three various topics of interest for Christians. My research has delved into the nature of hell, the dating of the book of Revelation, and the equality of men and women.

You might be thinking to yourself, "What? Do those topics even matter?"

Yes; they do. I'll tell you why. In reverse order, your marriage, your hope for a better world, and your concept of the nature of God are all affected by your take on these three topics.

Christians who believe the Bible disagree on all three issues.

I personally see the Bible teaching that only those "in Christ" receive the gift of immortality (not every person),  only those "in Christ" are the people of God (Jews or Gentiles), and that everyone "in Christ" is a spiritual equal under the authority of Jesus Christ (there is no inherent spiritual authority of males over females).

But the purpose of this post is not to convince you of my position on any of these three biblical issues. I'd just like to make an observation after listening to hours of Christian debate.

When you hear another person say...
"The church for 20 centuries has taught (such and such).... and for you to claim that the Bible teaches something else is audacious (to me), astounding (to me), and arrogant (of you)."
.... you can expect a weak argument is forthcoming from that person.

Traditional views on difficult biblical doctrines are never necessarily wrong because they are traditional.

But traditionalists who've accepted traditional views are often surprised by other Christians who can articulate from Scripture a differing viewpoint.

As a result, traditionalists may be unprepared to defend from Scripture what they've been taught to believe.

In such situations, a traditionalist will often resort to a sudden expression of incredible surprise rather than a sound exegesis of inspired Scripture. 

You should be very unimpressed what then happens.

Our commitment is to the inspired word of God, not to the traditions of men.

We must never waiver from what we see the Scriptures to teach; even when we come under the verbal assaults of recognized church traditionalists and scholars.

"Moses wrote of Me," Jesus said in John 5:46.

Our concern should be to speak and write in such a way that people are pointed to Jesus Christ through our faithful declarations of inspired Scripture.

When the "audacious and astounding" traditional trap is sprung, know that the Truth is very possibly beginning to prevail.

16 comments:

Tom Ross said...

Ephesians 4:17-24: - The New Man

17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the renewed man, which is remade after the likeness of God, in true righteousness and holiness.
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Man can set about renewing his mind but if he does not put on the refurbished spirit of a Godly man such that it becomes who he is, then all will be lost.
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Note: - In the above scriptures in verse 24 I have inserted my understanding, in the two highlighted portions of the meaning of the original Greek, in bold italics

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

I’m sorry ‘unknowing people’ have been giving you a hard time. Sometimes it’s like Jesus said, “shake the dust off…”

I’ve been studying this link: http://baptistbecause.com/Tracts/TrailBlood.pdf which has 24 pages on The Trail of Blood book by a Baptist minister James Milton Carroll. He list 76 historical books he has studied. He wrote that large churches began to claim authority over smaller churches such as recorded in Third John which states:

(3 John 1:5-10 NLT) “…TRAVELING TEACHERS…have told the church…I sent a letter to the church about this, but Diotrephes who loves to be the leader, does not acknowledge OUR AUTHORITY. When I come, I will report some of the things he is doing and THE WICKED THINGS HE IS SAYING ABOUT US. He not only refuses to welcome the traveling teachers, he also tells others not to help them. And when they do help, he puts them out of the church.”

I believe the author of the ‘three Johns’ was not John the Apostle but John the elder like he identified himself.

Could these ‘traveling teachers’ be the same ones Paul talked about in Galatians 2:4? “…Some so-called Christians there—false ones , really, …sneaked in to spy on us and take away the freedom we have in Christ Jesus They wanted to enslave us and force us to follow their Jewish regulations. “

Maybe Diotrephes put into action what Paul had said, “…If anyone [traveling teachers?] preaches any other gospel than the one you welcomed, let God’s curse fall upon that person.” (Galatians 1:9 NLT)

The small church was probably a Gentile Church started by Paul.

Wade Burleson said...

Rex,

Hard to say who the "traveling teachers' were. I've read J.M. Carrol's Trail of Blood many times. I learned a great deal of good history of the Anna-Baptists, Walensians, and other non-conformists - but in the end, I disagree with his view that the "true church" was started by John the Baptizer and is represented in Baptists. :)

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

I also disagree that Baptists started with John the Baptist, but this link quotes Carroll:
“...they were called Ana-Baptist. Near the beginning of the sixteenth century, the “Anti” was dropped, and the name shorten to simply “Baptist”...It is the distinguishing name of the forerunner of Christ, the first to teach the doctrine to which the Baptists now hold.”

I smiled when you quoted: “The church for 20 centuries has taught...” because that’s almost exactly in the Bible:

“For these laws of Moses have been preached in Jewish synagogues in every city on every Sabbath for many generations.” (Acts 15:21 NLT)

Looks like you’ve been walking in Paul and Peter’s shoes. :)

Wade Burleson said...

I'd never noticed that before, Rex (Acts 15:21). That's a cool scriptural anecdote.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

You said, “Hard to say who the "traveling teachers' were.”

How about “…when friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcison.” (Galatians 2:12 NLT)

And “…Are we like others, who need to bring you letters of recommendation…” (2 Corinthians 3:1 NLT)

I’ll bet James wrote the letters as in Acts 21 reveals. “The next day Paul went with us to meet with James and all the elders of the Jerusalem church…they said, “You know, dear brother, how many thousands of Jews have also believed, and they all follow the law of Moses very seriously.” (Acts 21:18-20)

Was James bragging or complaining?

They had just told Paul: “The Jewish believers here in Jerusalem have been told that you are teaching all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn their backs on the laws of Moses. They’ve heard that you teach them not to circumcise their children or follow other Jewish customs.” (Acts 21:21)

In the Old Testament to break the Law of Moses meant death. (Getting firewood on the Sabbath) Would Paul being accused of preaching against the Law of Moses result in the same thing?

I believe this meeting is the most overlooked, most misunderstood meeting in the whole Bible. The key is verse 22: “What should WE do? They will certainly hear that you have come.”

Paul and James are both in a tight spot. Paul is in danger of death by the congregation which would mean the Gentile churches would revolt against “traveling teachers”.

With the same breath that James warns Paul, he has a plan but that’s another story.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

My memory’s not what it used to be. Yesterday, three of us tried a long time to remove an electric ‘lift chair’ from our bedroom. It was being given to the widow of Dan Ray (missionary to Korea 30 years) who was the son of Rex Ray (missionary to China 30 years and Korea 6 years).

Judy came by and told us to put it in the reclining position and it was easy to remove. We thought she was a genius until she said she remember how I had gotten it in there. :)

Acts 15 records the first church council deciding how Gentiles were saved. Pharisees, who had become Christians, demanded Gentiles had to be circumcised and obey the Law of Moses.

“At the meeting, after a long discussion, Peter stood and addressed them...why are you now challenging God by BURDENING the Gentile believers...We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the underserved grace of the Lord Jesus. Everyone listened quietly as Barnabas and Paul told about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done...” (Acts 15:7-12 NLT)

The topic was decided; all agreed except I believed James and the Christian Pharisees were convinced against their will and still had their same opinion.

I believe if the meeting had closed all Christians would be Baptist, but James was the last to speak.

“...Brothers listen to me...my judgment is [who made him the judge?] that we should write and tell them to abstain from eating food offered to idols, from sexual immorality, from eating the meat of strangled animals and from consuming blood.” Acts 15:13-20 NLT)

Now here is one of the best sales pitches I believe in the Bible:

“For these laws of Moses have been preached in Jewish synagogues in every city on every Sabbath for many generations.” (We must follow tradition!)

Then James really nails the lid down in Acts 15:28; “For it seemed good to the HOLY SPIRIT and to us to lay no greater BURDEN on you...”

WHAT? Are God and the Holy Spirit disagreeing? How can God condemn putting a BURDEN on Gentiles (verse 10) and James says the Holy Spirit is in favor of putting a BURDEN on the Gentiles? (verse 28)

Wade Burleson said...

Rex,

That is the BEST biblical argument for why traditions are not always right to follow.

Thanks.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

Thank you for your reply.
(The ‘booger’ is on ‘Male vs. Female Post’; next to last comment) :)

Rex Ray said...

Of course he probably will just put his garbage somewhere else. I can’t figure out how to apply Proverbs 25:21-22 or Romans 12:20.

Christiane said...

I must plea some confusion and ignorance of the debate on the approx. date that the Book of Revelation (Apocalypse) is supposed to have been written AND the resulting implications for the Faith.

So the mention of it in the blog was somewhat cryptic to me.

?

Christiane said...

Hello there, REX RAY

I love the picture of you and Mrs. Ray by your car. You both look happy. Stay well.

Wade Burleson said...

Christiane,

If Revelation was written pre-70 AD, then Revelation is a prophecy about the end of Old Covenant worship (the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, the end of the sacrificial system, and the end of the old Jewish way of worshiping God). That means "The Kingdom of Christ" is established now, and believing the Good News of the risen King is the entrance into His Kingdom, and your life lived now is all about His Kingdom.

If Revelation is written after 70 AD, then it is a prophecy about the end of the world, and the KINGDOM of Christ which is still to come - and not yet here.

In a nutshell, that is the debate.

Rex Ray said...

Hello yourself CHRISTIANE,

The picture improved greatly when my stepson added his mother’s picture. She has two sons. I have two sons and a daughter. We were both married 55 years before we lost our mates.
She still had a jewelry box I’d made. Carved on the lid is: “Judy 1956”.

I took a picture of it and carry both pictures in my billfold.

On the back of the jewelry box picture is written: “I hired an agency to learn if a former sweetheart was alive. We’d not communicated in 57 years. She still had a jewelry box I’d made. Inside was my picture. We married July 2015.”

We agreed to live half the time in Dallas and the other in the country. After the first week in the country, she said she wasn’t going back to Dallas. :)

She caught her first fish on her birthday from our ten acre lake while fishing from a floating deck with 20 barrels. We’re very happy.

Christiane said...

Rex Ray, this is so special!
"On the back of the jewelry box picture is written: “I hired an agency to learn if a former sweetheart was alive. We’d not communicated in 57 years. She still had a jewelry box I’d made. Inside was my picture. We married July 2015.”"

May you both have many years of happiness together. God Bless!

Christiane said...

Hello Wade,

Thanks for the information. I never did understand all the business about the many 'end of the world' beliefs that have proliferated among some evangelicals and fundamentalists.
I supposed that this all grew out of strict 'literal' interpretations of the Book of Revelation.