Easy Believism vs. The Doctrine!
Modern Christianity often attempts to remove the absolutes of the scriptures. What I call easy believism seems to be the hallmark of many churches in this day. What do the scriptures reveal regarding this vital subject? What is doctrine? And what exactly is the Apostles Doctrine? Doesn’t doctrine tend to divide people? Can’t we all just follow the leading of the Holy Spirit? One fact is certain, and that is the 1st Century Church continued steadfastly in the Apostles Doctrine.
Many Christians tend to shy away from any discussion of doctrine. First off what exactly is doctrine? Well, it’s simple! Doctrine is simply a body of principles presented for acceptance of belief. In other words, it’s something that is taught; a teaching. No one can escape doctrine. Everyone, whether they know it or not, believes and practices some type of doctrine. And that doctrine may be true, or it may be false. The early church experienced explosive growth because of the apostle’s doctrine.
Early in the book of Galatians, Paul, the Apostle, pointed to a problem for the Galatian believers. What Paul identified was that some of the Galatian Christians wanted to impose Judaic customs on other believers. Some Galatians believed that Mosaic (Jewish) customs were essential to salvation while others claimed they were essential for spiritual growth. In Galatians, we see Paul strongly arguing against these ideas and teachings.
Paul starts his letter to the Galatians by defending the Gospel and his Apostleship. Paul reminds them that his salvation and growth as a Christian was independent of men and even separate from the Apostles in Jerusalem. Paul comes out against the teaching that Diaspora believers must become like Judaics to be right with God.
Paul makes it clear to the Galatians that the only true children of Abraham were believers in Jesus Christ whether they be Judeans or Diaspora believers. In fact, Paul states that believers in Jesus Christ are the true inheritors and heirs of the Abrahamic Covenant which includes all its blessings and promises.
Are there false Christs and prophets today? Of course, there are! What about in the first century? This article will explore that question. Jesus warned His first-century followers to “take heed.” The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke serve as warnings to the disciples of Jesus. Jesus was addressing His disciples in the first century.
Matthew 24:3-5 (KJV) – And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
Mark 13:21-22 (KJV) – And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not: For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.
Well, another year has come to an end. Once again it’s time to look back on the articles that were the most popular. The internet is an amazing thing. I’m able to look at each article and see how many unique visitors it received. What I’d like to do this year is look at the five (5) most popular articles posted in 2016.
Let’s start the count down.
- Preaching the Gospel – To the Whole World
Is it possible that the gospel was preached to the whole world in the first century A.D.? What the scriptures reveal is that the gospel of the kingdom was preached in the whole world just as Jesus had declared in Matthew 24:14. The preaching of the gospel to the then known world was a necessary part of God’s plan. Since the Jews had been scattered over the world (James 1:1), they all had the opportunity to accept the gospel or reject it. Once the gospel of the kingdom was preached in the whole world, the “end” would then come.
Webster’s Dictionary defines the word “Logos” as:
1: the divine wisdom manifest in the creation, government, and redemption of the world and often identified with the second person of the Trinity
2: reason that in ancient Greek philosophy is the controlling principle in the universe
John 1:1-4 (KJV) – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
John 1:14 (KJV) – And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
The Gospel of John begins, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Here John clearly states that this “Word” was not only with God, but this “Word” was God.
If you’ve ever attended a Christian Sunday school class perhaps you sang about “Father Abraham”. The song goes like this:
Father Abraham had many sons
Many sons had Father Abraham
I am one of them and so are you
So let’s all praise the Lord……..
Abraham is called the father of the faithful (Gal. 3:16-29; Rom. 4:11) and “the friend of God” (Jas. 2:23). He is an example to us in many ways, therefore, it is always good to study him and learn from that which the Bible reveals to us about him. The Biblical account of Abraham starts with God making the following promises to him:
- I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you;
- I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
- I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;
- And all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:2-3)
Genesis 12:2-3(KJV) – “And I will make thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curesth thee; and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
Genesis chapter 12 is often referred to as the Abrahamic Covenant.
A friend from India recently shared with me that he and his family were “Saint Thomas Christians”. At the time I had not known that Saint Thomas had evangelized the nation of India. I had assumed (wrongfully) that all Indians followed the Hindu religion or were perhaps Muslims. The Saint Thomas Christians refer to themselves in this way because their tradition holds that their ancestors, who all came from the high castes of Hindu society, were converted by the Saint Thomas (the Apostle), who landed in India around 52 AD. History tells us that Saint Thomas died a martyr’s death in India. Pilgrimages to his tomb have always been an important element in the religious life of the St Thomas Christian community. So in the first century A.D., from its’ origin in Jerusalem, the gospel had reached the people living in far away India! Saint Thomas was doing his part to spread the gospel of the kingdom throughout the world of his day.
The Nature of the Book
One of the most misunderstood scriptures in our Bible centers around Revelation 21:21. This is the “pearly gates”, “street of gold” scripture. Should we take this scripture literally? Let’s explore what the scriptures reveal.
Revelation is undoubtedly a unique book. While considered part of the New Testament, it is different from other books of the New Testament. More importantly, it is different from styles of writing used today. Revelation is apocalyptic. The word ‘revelation’ in Greek is “apokalupsis”, which means ‘an uncovering’ or ‘unveiling.’ Thus, Revelation is a book that was intended to reveal, not conceal! The book is an example of apocalyptic literature.
Apocalyptic literature is a literary style popular from 200 B.C. to 200 A.D. It is a style known for highly symbolic or figurative language written during times of persecution. It usually depicts the conflict between good and evil while encouraging the righteous to persevere.
As 2015 rapidly comes to a close its time to look back at our most popular articles of the past year. This website has been a labor of love for me. The articles represent some of the Bible topics I have been studying over the past year or two. My purpose has been to share and inform – not to argue. I’m honestly excited about what I have learned. Each article represents hours of study. Enjoy the following round-up of the ten most read articles of 2015.
10. Mystery Babylon
This article explores the identity of Mystery Babylon. Many were taught that Mystery Babylon is the Vatican in Rome, Italy. But is this really what the scriptures reveal? There are seven (7) important clues that point us to the true identity of Mystery Babylon.
9. The Kingdom of God
I got to say that I caught some flak over this article. What exactly is the “Kingdom of God”? What is the nature of the “Kingdom“? The book of Romans gives us a hint as to what the “Kingdom of God” is and what it is not.
The Word of God is amazing. Throughout the scriptures, there is patterns and symmetry that prove that it is inspired. We can see God’s designs and patterns not only through types and parallels but also in numbers and the meaning of names of people and places. I believe these are part of the “deep things of God”:
1 Corinthians 2:7-10 (KJV) – “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”
It is important to note that parallels and patterns should never be used to form doctrine.