Category: Doctrine

“It is finished.”
False Assumptions because of the Cross
Part One

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“It is finished.”
False Assumptions because of the Cross
Part One



Dr. Thomas Douglas
Pastor
Parkway Baptist Church
Kansas City, KS


Ever wonder how “people of the book” can get so far away from God?  Ever struggle with church members that cling to the old rugged cross to proclaim their forgiveness for continuing in their rebellious ways?  The greatest truth in all of Scripture is that because of Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross eternal life has been obtained for all who believe in Him as the Son of God (John 20:31; Hebrews 9:12).  No one can do anything to add to the finished work of Christ’s sacrificial death (John 19:30).

Unfortunately with this great truth comes great distortion.  Some who have claimed faith in Jesus do little to nothing to develop their spiritual lives.  They grow lazy and fat in their souls.  The idea of spiritual exercise is repugnant to them.  They have become pew potatoes and have no desire to lift a single finger for the kingdom.  When you dare ask these individuals about their spiritual life they claim their faith in Jesus as proof of God’s approval of them, sing a couple verses of “There’s Power in the Blood,” and go back to their worldly, spiritually apathetic lives.

Of course, today’s generation is not the first to misapply the message of God’s grace and love for the sake of worldly pleasure.  The Apostle Paul constantly battled against those that misapplied his gospel of grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.  In Romans, he builds his case against those that claim his teachings lead to lawlessness and increase in sin.  In Galatians, he strongly defends justification by faith alone and then follows it up with the fruit of the Spirit for guidelines on how to live out faith.

Over the next four articles I will identify 4 false implications or misapplications of the death of Christ and offer a contrasting alternative that leads to the abundant life and the eternal impact God desires for followers of Christ.  Conscious or not, those living by these false implications are in danger of trampling “underfoot the Son of God” and insulting the “Spirit of grace (Heb 10:28).”

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Calvin Is My Fallible Friend


By David E. Crosby, Pastor,
First Baptist Church,
New Orleans, Louisiana


The lapel buttons worn by a church staff displayed “WWCS.” I asked what the letters meant and they said, “What would Calvin say?”

My response: “Who cares?” Ever since I saw those buttons I have wanted to ask those fellows why they put Calvin’s name where the name of Jesus should be.

John Calvin is my friend, of course, as historic believers may be who have influenced us in positive ways. I enjoyed reading portions of his Institutes of the Christian Religion, and he has definitely influenced my thinking about God and salvation.

Calvin did continue to baptize infants (which I do not endorse), and at one time he ran Geneva like the city belonged to him, which seems to me to be a confusion between the city of God and the city of men. Most lamentably, he consented to the execution of Servetus in Geneva as a heretic. Executing anybody for their religious opinions should be off the agenda for followers of the executed heretic, Jesus of Nazareth.

Calvin was not perfect, we all would agree. He created an amazing systematic theology which is not perfect, either. The Bible is the infallible Word of God. The Institutes are not.

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Established Faith Begins at The Cross


By Bob Williford, former director of the Hope Migrant Mission Center at the Migrant Farm Labor Center near Hope, Arkansas (a ministry of the Arkansas Baptist Convention), and author of Fence Post Digest blog.


Colossians 2:7-15

7 having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.
8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. 9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 10 and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; 11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.

7 having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

 

Two very important aspects of the believer’s relationship with the Christ are given here:

Paul reminds us of the importance of being instructed in the Word of God. Every believer will demonstrate a commitment to the Father and following the instruction of Christ.

The instruction sets the standard for the faith of developing and sustaining a faithful relationship with Jesus. The believer cannot sustain a healthy faith without the support that is found in Scripture.

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God at Work in Germany: A Testimony


Recently, Barry King, pastor of Grace Baptist Church (http://tiny.cc/te1v3), Wood Green, London came into contact with some friends in Germany who are at the heart of a struggle for Biblical reformation in their land. The testimony of Anita Kupfermann is sending shock waves through the churches of Germany.  Her complete testimony was published in German in Bibel und Gemeinde in the October 2011 issue (pp. 9-14). This English translation is published here in hopes of encouraging prayer for Anita and others like her who are standing for Biblical orthodoxy in Germany.

Would you join him in prayer for God to continue to move among German Baptists?

– the Editors of SBC Today


My Life Changed! How God Gave Me Faith:
A Testimony



by Anita Kupfermann



Dear Reader,

Thank you for taking the time to read my story!

My name is Anita Kupfermann and I would like to tell you about my time studying theology.  It is my hope that this little account of my experiences will serve as a warning and an encouragement to you. I would like to warn you of how the so-called “Higher Critical” (Historical Criticism) method left my relationship with God, and therefore my entire life, severely damaged. Yet I equally hope to encourage you! I can testify with great joy and thankfulness that the Lord Jesus Christ, during my time at university, healed my unbelief and called me to follow Him.

I hope and pray that God will be glorified through these pages and that you, the reader, will be encouraged to fully trust the Word of God.

My Time At Theological College & the Higher Critical Method (HCM)

Through my parents I was confronted with the Christian faith at an early age. I regularly went to Sunday School and was baptized at the age of 14.

A full ten years later, whilst working at a nursery, I was gripped by the desire to do something else with my time, something equally meaningful.  I wanted to submit myself to the Word of God and reflect on my walk with God. Although I had been baptized, I realized that I did not know the Bible. I couldn’t say I had a living relationship with God.  I longed to know God better, to better understand what being a Christian meant. So, I decided to attend a theological college for ten months. My hope was that these ten months would supply what was missing in my faith.

Right from the beginning of my time at theological college I was confronted with Biblical criticism in the form of the “Higher Critical” method, (HCM). The HCM is the current philosophy of understanding and explaining Bible passages at German universities, as well as at many free-church theological colleges. According to this philosophy the Bible is not understood to be the inspired Word of God but a contradictory, mistake-prone, human work. Just like any other piece of literature it must be critically questioned and examined. This method of approaching the biblical texts normally leads to rejecting the historicity of the Bible – in other words, the historical accuracy and reliability of the Bible is questioned. Simply put, the Bible’s stories are just myths that never happened.

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The Geisler-Licona Controversy:
Part 1: What Is This All About?

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The Geisler-Licona Controversy:
Part 1: What Is This All About?


by Steve Lemke, Provost, Professor of Philosophy and Ethics, McFarland Chair of Theology, and Director of the Baptist Center for Theology and Ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.


A debate has been swirling in Apologetics circles (particularly the Evangelical Philosophical Society) between two well-known and effective Christian apologists, Norman Geisler and Michael Licona. We at SBC Today have been aware of the debate for some time, but withheld comments on it in hope that a resolution amenable to all parties would take place. After the EPS meeting in San Francisco earlier this month, it has become apparent that no such reconciliation is likely. Therefore, we want to describe our understanding of what has happened (in Part 1), particularly for those of you who were not previously aware of this controversy. In a future post (Part 2), we would like to attempt to provide some perspective on the debate.

The subject of this controversy is Mike Licona, a Christian apologist who (until recently) served as Apologetics Coordinator for the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as a research professor at Southern Evangelical Seminary in North Carolina. He has spoken and debated on behalf of positions held by evangelical Christians in numerous venues – regional Baptist meetings, evangelism conferences, scholarly meetings, and college campuses. He is a member of the Evangelical Philosophical Society, which requires an affirmation of the inerrancy of Scripture as a prerequisite for membership. So, to summarize, Licona is a conservative evangelical and inerrantist who has served the SBC effectively in addressing Apologetics issues in conferences, churches, and college campuses.

The focus of the controversy is several pages in Licona’s new book, The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach (Downer’s Grove: IVP, 2010). The overwhelming majority of this book is very positive, presenting a careful and well-researched scholarly defense of the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus. However, it is just a few pages (pp. 185-186, 548-553) out of this 718 page book around which the controversy has swirled. On these pages Licona addresses “that strange little text” (p. 548) in Matt. 27:52-53, which describes six events after the crucifixion – darkness, an earthquake, the tearing of the temple veil, rocks splitting, the opening of tombs, and some saints coming to life from the tombs. Licona mentions this scriptural account while addressing John Dominic Crossan’s hypothesis that these events were associated with the “harrowing of hell” (1 Pet. 3:19-20, 4:6). Licona suggests that apocalyptic events such as these were claimed in Greco-Roman literature at the death of kings (Romulus, Julius Caeser, Cladius, etc.) and similar significant events. Indeed, Licona notes, the Roman historian Lucian openly admitted that he embellished his stores “for the sake of ‘dullards’” (p. 549).

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