Staff's ROD

Review of the Biblical data for elder qualifications, our 10th emphatic belief.

The Staff's ROD

a Review Of Doctrines held at Mission Bible Church

 

Our 10th emphatic belief states "that the Bible provides clear but strict rules for identifying and ordaining church leaders (married men with children in subjection; no women pastors, teachers or deacons)".  This week, we simply supply the Biblical data behind this strong stance, which is increasingly at odds with common church practices these days.

 

Quals per Tit. 1:6-9

Quals per 1Tim. 3:1-7

Reasons Given

Blameless (twice)

Blameless

As the steward of God

Husband of one wife

Husband of one wife

 

 

One that ruleth well his own house

 

Having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly

Having his children in subjection with all gravity

For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?

Not selfwilled

 

 

Not soon angry

 

 

 

Patient

 

Not given to wine

Not given to wine

 

No striker

No striker

 

 

Not a brawler

 

Not given to filthy lucre

Not greedy of filthy lucre

 

 

Not covetous

 

A lover of hospitality

Given to hospitality

 

A lover of good men

 

 

Sober

Sober

 

Just, Holy

 

 

Temperate

Vigilant (Temperate); of good behavior

 

Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught

Apt to teach

That he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

 

Not a novice

Lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil

 

Must have a good report of them which are without

Lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil

 

wives must be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things

 

Legend: Black = 1 mention, Red = 2 or more mentions given, Yellow Highlight = Reason given, Bold italic = Several of these!

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Explanation of our 9th empathic belief that we should sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.

The Staff's ROD

a Review Of Doctrines held at Mission Bible Church

 

Our 9th emphatic belief states "that psalms, hymns and spiritual songs should be used to regulate our worship, and to distinguish our gatherings from the world."  We also take exception to WCF's suggestion of exclusive Psalmody (WCF chapter XXI, para V), as noted by the phrase, "singing of psalms with grace in the heart".

 

We at Mission Bible Church employ what is known as the regulative principle of worship, meaning we allow Scriptures to regulate how we worship God.  If you've done any reading through the OT, Israel fell into great troubles with God when they messed up worship.  It's no different in the NT, as a review of the seven churches of Revelation reveals. This particular point of doctrine relates to music, which is always a touchy area.

 

Basically, we take Eph. 5:19 and Col. 3:16 as our guidance for music in worship, both of which instruct us to sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. We understand these to be three different types of music, and not only referring to Psalms, as some try to interpret it.  Psalms are to be sung by the congregation, because they're divinely inspired pieces of music.  (This should also include the song of Moses in Exodus 15, Deborah's song in Judges 5, as well as one in Habakkuk 3.) Why wouldn't we want to sing God's Words back to Him?

 

God also writes, sing unto the LORD a new songno less than six (6) times.  It was John Murray who won the day in a debate over exclusive Psalmody by asking, "Can I not sing in the name of Jesus Christ, Who was not known by that name in the OT?"  Hymns are traditional songs that glorify God, are time-honored, and have an external focus. Bernard of Clairvaux, Isaac Watts, John Newton, Horatius Bonar, and Martin Luther are a few men who wrote timeless hymns of praise to God our Saviour.  Spiritual songs are noted by their use of personal pronouns (I, me, my), being more testimonial and inward focusing.  Such belong to Fanny Crosby, John Peterson, Ira Sankey, and other authors of "hymns for informal worship".

 

It is hard to write a doctrinally sound piece of music that the congregation can sing.  We thank the Lord for the Trinity Hymnal.

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Explanation of our 8th emphatic belief that faith, not Moses' law, is our rule of life.

The Staff's ROD

a Review Of Doctrines held at Mission Bible Church

 

Our 8th emphatic belief states that "in the New Covenant, we walk by faith in God's promises, not by Moses' law".  This is a point of contention we have with some of the language in the Westminster Confessions, which repeatedly speaks of the law as the believer's binding rule of life (WCF XIX.6; LC Q# 93, 97; SC #40).  By "law", they mean "moral law", an extra-biblical term.  When the Apostle Paul speaks of "the law", he means "Moses' covenant".  This seems like hair-splitting, but God's Word informs us directly as to our rule of life, and we seek to use His language. 

 

We can't call the law our rule of life. The law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did. The promise to Abraham was not through the lawbut through the righteousness of faith. In fact, if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise. Paul boldly states that the law is not of faith, and that the law is not made for a righteous man. 

 

You probably know that by grace are ye saved through faith, that both Jews and Gentiles are justified by faithwe have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand and are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. It was unbelief, a life void of the rule of faith, which condemned many Jews, who sought righteousness not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law.

 

In addition, we are sanctified by faith in Christ Jesus, who is made unto us sanctification.  Consider Hebrews 11's list of Old Testament saints who lived victoriously by faith. When New Testament (NT) believers in Galatia started to revert to Moses' covenant, Paul asks are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? 

 

The Bible tells us our rule of life: we walk by faith and not by sight.  Paul, expert in Moses' law, said the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.  If ever there was a place to say, "Christians live by the law", he would have said so.  We live by faithstand by faith, and walk by faith. You will not find these phrases in the NT: "live by law", "stand by law", or "walk by law". Of course, if you preach this, men will accuse you of antinomianism (just like Paul was).  As we said before, we do not make void the law by faith, but establish it. 

 

Christians ask, "What would Jesus do?", not Moses.

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Explanation of our 7th emphatic belief regarding antinomianism and the moral law.

The Staff's ROD

a Review Of Doctrines held at Mission Bible Church

 

Our 7th emphatic belief states "that any teaching aiming to destroy the role of the law of God is incorrect."  This point addresses antinomian accusations before we get to our 8th point, which we explain next week.  So what is antinomianism?

 

Anti means 'against', and nomos refers to the law; hence, it is a system of teaching dismissing God's law from any role in a believer's life. Webster's dictionary defines it as "one who holds that, under the gospel dispensation of grace, the moral law is of no use or obligation because faith alone is necessary to salvation."  It is closely related to easy-believism (i.e., just believe in Jesus, no need to repent), but it is the total opposite of legalism.  What is at issue is the role of God's law for NT Christians.

 

The Bible is clear a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ. We are saved 1,000% by God's grace plus zero works.  This is the doctrine of justification.  The law (i.e. the Mosaic covenant) cannot save, as it was never designed to do so.  God through Paul wrote the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane.  The law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did.

 

He also asks, Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law. Believers "establish" (lit, cause to stand) the law by telling others how comprehensive it truly is, reaching into men's hearts and thoughts.  Believers see it, fear, and obey; unbelievers don't.

 

However, when you preach and teach this, you'll be accused of promoting a lawless lifestyle – just like the Apostle was (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say, Let us do evil, that good may come)!  No, true believers have a new-found fear of God and His righteous statutes, finding repentance a sweet and needful thing in their life.  The process of sanctification begins after their new birth.  They know they can't keep God's commandments perfectly, but it is their goal, and they agree with God that He is right. The Psalmist cries, O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. Their enlightened eyes know the law is our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, and they're happy for it.

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Explanation of our 6th emphatic belief regarding dispensationalism.

The Staff's ROD

a Review Of Doctrines held at Mission Bible Church

 

Our 6th emphatic belief states "that dispensational teaching, though containing much truth, fails to fully mesh significant doctrines of Scripture, particularly viewing some Old Testament Prophecies as unfulfilled".  What is dispensationalism, and why is it incorrect?

 

Dispensationalism divides redemptive history into distinct epochs, breaking up the unity of the covenant of grace. It holds that there are two parallel people of God (Israel, the church), with necessity of faith in Christ diminished for the Jews.  Many of the early dispensationalists (Scofield, for example) were Presbyterian, and Presbyterians as recent as James Montgomery Boice held to dispensational characteristics, such as prophecies fulfilled in the nation of Israel in 1948.  Scofield's KJV Reference Bible affected Presbyterians and Baptists alike.  Scofield clearly disagreed with the Westminster Confession on the covenant of works and grace. Consider this comment from his reference Bible out of John 1:17 (as cited from puritanboard.com): 

 

"As a dispensation, grace begins with the death and resurrection of Christ, Rom. 3:24-26 4:24,25. The point of testing is no longer legal obedience as the condition of salvation, but acceptance or rejection of Christ, with good works as a fruit of salvation, Jn 1:12,13; 3:36; Mt 21:37; 22:24; Jn 15:22,25; Heb 1:2; 1 Jn 5:10-12. The immediate result of this testing was the rejection of Christ by the Jews, and His crucifixion by Jew and Gentile, Acts 4:27. The predicted end of the testing of man under grace is the apostasy of the professing church °".  

 

Dispensationalism teaches God has a different plan of salvation for each dispensation.  Though verses are cited, this is wrongly dividing the word of truth. Compare this with the WCF VII. 5-6 (back page).

 

And what of Israel and the alleged unfulfilled land promises?  Joshua wrote the Lord gave unto Israel all the land which He sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein. And the Lord gave them rest round about, according to all that He sware unto their fathers: ° There failed not ought of any good thing which the Lord had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass (Josh 21:43-45; cp Neh 9:7-8). Yet, there remains a Jewish remnant according to the election of grace.

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Explanation of our 5th emphatic belief, regarding gifts of the Spirit.

The Staff's ROD

a Review Of Doctrines held at Mission Bible Church

 

Our 5th emphatic belief states "that the supernatural Apostolic gifts have ceased". We hold this because some believe the Apostolic-era gifts of miraculous healing, speaking in tongues, and new prophesies, to still be in operation today.  Appeals are made to passages in 1 Cor. 12 and 14, as well as Mark 16.  True, God may choose to heal when we pray for a loved one to get better, but that's not what we're talking about here.  The miracle God continues to provide, and of which we are in desperate need, is the healing of our sin-sick souls by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit.  

 

Consider these ten facts about apostolic miracles.  (i) Miracles validated the messenger as one sent by God (salvation ° spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us ° God also bearing witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, Heb 2:3-4; cp Jn 3:2). (ii) Jesus' supernatural miracles validated Him as the promised Messiah (But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, Mt 9:6; cp Jn 6:14). (iii) The Apostles and select disciples were granted the ability to perform supernatural miracles, not the entire church (Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and might deeds, 2Cor 12:12; cp Ac 5:12, 14:3). (iv) Paul's ability to heal apparently ceased before the close of the Bible (Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick, 2Tim 4:20; cp 1Tim 5:23).  (v) Paul said tongues would permanently cease (Gr. pauo, 1Cor 13:8-10), and our church fathers confirmed this ("In the earliest times, 'they spake with tongues' ° was done for a betokening, and it passed away", Augustine, 354 AD). (vi) Satan and his duped disciples come with miracles, especially near the end of time (Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 2Thes 2:9-10; cp Mt 7:22-23, 2Cor 11:14, Rev 16:14). (vii) The spirit of antichrist is already here (even now there are many antichrists, 1Jn 2:18; cp 1Jn 4:1,3). (viii) True signs are those recorded in, and preached from, the Bible (But these signs are writtenJn 20:30-31; cp Lk 11:29-30,32).  (ix) Miracles don't produce faith or salvation if men will not hear and obey God's Word (If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead, Lk 16:27-31). (x) Proof of God's Spirit isn't a miracle, but a life that reflects Jesus' character (i.e., fruit of the Spirit never lists miracles, Gal 5:22-23).

 

Does Jesus do miracles today?  Yes, in a very limited sense -- when we pray for a loved one and they become healed without any obvious explanation, I'd chalk that up to a miracle.  But there aren't any miracle workers today, who can unilaterally and always successfully, do miracles as the Apostles did.  Those foundational gifts have ceased, and you only lay one foundation.

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Explanation of our 4th emphatic point regarding baptism.

The Staff's ROD

a Review Of Doctrines held at Mission Bible Church

 

Our 4th emphatic belief is "that the mode of baptism should not serve as a litmus test for fellowship or church membership".  But wait, isn't baptism important to the church?  Yes, it is, but don't make the amount of water your "golden calf." My wife and I were shocked that a church would not permit us to partake of the Lord's Supper, because she had not been fully submerged at her baptism; yet, they would acknowledge she was a bona fide born-again Christian.  Really!

 

Though we appreciate Baptists in the reformed camp, and those who valiantly hold to the KJV, yet we take exception to their modal stance. According to James M. Boice, Baptists insist on immersion based on archaeology: "The clearest example that shows the meaning of baptizo is a text from the Greek poet and physician Nicander, who lived about 200 B.C. It is a recipe for making pickles and is helpful because it uses both words. Nicander says that in order to make a pickle, the vegetable should first be 'dipped' (bapto) into boiling water and then 'baptised' (baptizo) in the vinegar solution. Both verbs concern the immersing of vegetables in a solution. But the first is temporary. The second, the act of baptising the vegetable, produces a permanent change."

 

But therein lays the problem.  This is called "drowning" or "submersion."  Last time I bought a jar of pickles, they were still wet. Charles Hodge notes "the words bapto, baptizo, and their cognates, are used with such latitude of meaning, [that to] assert the command to baptize a command to immerse, is utterly unauthorized and unreasonable." 

 

There are several notable places where baptism cannot be immersion.  For instance, when Jesus went to dine with a Pharisee, he marvelled that He had not first washed (baptizo) before dinner.  Mark notes when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things ° as the washing of °tables. Hebrews tells us there are diverse washings in the OT, where baptism started. The children of Israel were cleansed by Levites who would sprinkle water of purifying upon them. Isaiah said Christ would sprinkle many nations, which was read by the Ethiopian eunuch whom Philip baptized in the desert.  Paul baptized the Philippian jailer's house at night, at home.  The watery symbol of baptism as a cleansing agent is the point of the sign, not the amount of water used.

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Explanation of why a literal flood matters to Christians.

The Staff's ROD

a Review Of Doctrines held at Mission Bible Church

 

It's needful to discuss a key doctrine related to the Bible's (and our) position on a literal six days of creation; namely, the flood of Noah's day. Ken Ham in his 2010 Genesis Answers Book 3 provides good summaries of these concerns, which we selectively excerpt below.

 

"Many Christians and their leaders believe that it is not relevant whether the flood of Noah described in Genesis 6-8 was global or localized. After all, they say, it's not relevant to salvation.  However, whether the flood was global or local in extant is a crucial question, because what's ultimately at stake is the authority of all of God's Word."

 

"Secular geologists interpret the fossil-bearing sedimentary layers, such as those exposed in the walls of the Grand Canyon, as having taken millions of years to form.  ° The various layers we now see stacked up on top of one another thus supposedly slowly accumulated as sea creatures were progressively buried. Secular geologists' guiding principle of interpretation, 'the present is the key to the past', limits their explanations to current, non-catastrophic mechanisms. Any suggestion of a global flood is totally ruled out before any geological evidence is even examined."

 

"On the other hand, the description of the flood in Genesis 6-8 is not hard to understand. We are told by God that the all the fountains of the great deep burst open and poured water out onto the earth's surface for 150 days (5 months).  Simultaneously, the windows of heaven opened, producing torrential global rainfall.  The combined result was that the waters destructively rose across the face of the earth to eventually cover all the high hills that were under the wholeheavenThe mountains were eventually covered fifteen cubits upwardso that every creature in whose nostrils was the breath of life perished. Only those on the ark were saved."

 

"Based on that clear description of this real historical event, it is very rational to conclude that we should expect to find evidence today of billions of dead things buried in rock layers composed of water-deposited sand, lime and mud all over the earth. Indeed, that's exactly what we find."

 

These rock layers are a sobering testimony to God's wrath against sin.  No wonder that man the sinful creature despises a global flood.

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Explanation of literal six-day creation, our 3rd emphatic belief.

The Staff's ROD

a Review Of Doctrines held at Mission Bible Church

 

Our third of 13 emphatic beliefs affirms "a literal six-day creation."  Millions of Years (MoY) thinking, necessary to justify evolution, runs contrary to several important Bible doctrines.  Creation Ministries International's Creation Answer Book illustrate the problems with MoY.

 

Bible Account Of Creation 

Evolution/Long-Age Speculation 

Earth before the sun and stars 

Stars and sun before Earth 

Earth covered in water initially 

Earth a molten blob initially 

Oceans first, then dry land 

Dry land, then the oceans 

Life first created on the land 

Life started in the oceans 

Plants created before the sun 

Plants came long after the sun 

Fish and birds created together 

Fish formed long before birds 

Land animals created after birds 

Land animals before whales 

Man and dinosaurs lived together 

Dinosaurs died out long before man appeared 

 

The book points out five faith-shattering impacts of MoY thinking, as well as issues with fuzzy theology such as the framework hypothesis, theistic evolution or progressive creation.  Such views undermine –  

 

(1) Genesis-based Doctrines – The Bible's teachings on marriage (from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female), the moral law (for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is), the wearing of clothing, and meaning and purpose of our existence are all based on the literal history of events in Genesis.

(2) Hermeneutics (how we understand the Bible) – If Genesis isn't real history, how should we understand any Scripture? Where does history begin?  If Genesis is a metaphor, was there a real Adam?  If Jesus said the flood came and destroyed them all, was He lying?  Perish the thought!

 (3) The Gospel – God through Paul concludes that since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. The meaning of Jesus' death and resurrection depends on real history in Genesis 1-3.  If death over MoY was a part of 'creation', how can it be the last enemy?

(4) End-time Doctrine – We, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth. If God 'created' with death and suffering intrinsic to the universe, why would God destroy it and create a new one?  What will that fix? Shall we be 'restored' to MoY of death and suffering?

(5) The Goodness of God – How can we believe God is love when there's so much suffering in the world, if suffering was an initial condition?

 

Fooey on MoY. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.

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Explanation of TR-only, and not KJV-only (2nd emphatic point).

The Staff's ROD

a Review Of Doctrines held at Mission Bible Church

 

We wrote about the Textus Receptus (TR) briefly last week in our second of 13 emphatic beliefs.  This week we discuss the ending phrase, which says "we are not KJV-onlyists."  Aren't we a KJV-only congregation?  Yes we are, but that's not what that phrase refers to.

 

The classic KJV-only position holds a double-inspiration view of the KJV Bible, asserting both the underlying TR as well as the English translation were immediately inspired by God. Peter Ruckman and Gail Riplinger hold this view.  In an attempt to identify perfect preservation, the translation was deemed inspired, not the transmission of the apographs (or, the copies). The Westminster Confession of Faith I.8 rightly identifies Scripture in the original languages as the inspired authentic source material for translations and dispute resolution, and their apographs are "kept pure in all ages". God preserved His Word in the TR by freezing it in two dead languages: OT Hebrew and NT Koine Greek.  Because those languages are not spoken any more, the meanings don't change, and we have a sure foundation. Translation work continues because the target language changes, and not all nations yet have God's Word in their native tongue.

 

More importantly, God says this about His Word: The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it.  There will be a single baseline (the word), and it would be published. Paul told Timothy thou hast known the holy Scriptures (grammata; lit. letters) and all Scripture (grapha, meaning the written copies) is given by inspiration of God.  Timothy did not possess the originals, but he had copies (not ideas or concepts) which, down to the letter, were inspired.  Thus, the copies that made Timothy wise unto salvation were the preserved equivalent to inspiration. This allows us to check out the translator from a pure base.

 

Denying individual words of Scripture remains Satan's most effective tactic.  In Luke 4:4, Jesus told the devil, It is written, (gegraptai, lit. it was written and still is written) That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. Jesus believes God's Word is available, preserved and unchanging.  Ironically enough, nearly all modern translations, including the ESV, omit the phrase, but by every word of God.  Talk about proof of the devil's hand in the critical text! Who else would reject that phrase?  Learn more at HoldingFast.net/Critical-Text/.

 

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