Friday, July 31, 2015

Should Christians Support Abortion?








 To start I want to make sure that I make it clear for those who have been through the tragedy of abortion that God loves you tremendously. He died on the cross to bring healing, forgiveness, truth, love, and mercy! If you have had an abortion God stands ready to heal and forgive with arms wide open! Click here to read more about this.

The primary factor in answering the question "should Christians support abortion" is whether or not an unborn child is considered alive in the Biblical sense of the word, in other words, "is an unborn baby considered a human being to God?" This is the primary factor because the Bible clearly states that we should not murder someone or shed the blood of an innocent person (Ex. 20:13, Prov. 6:16). So the two things we want to look at in this article are the Biblical data regarding how God views the unborn, and a couple of common arguments related to the abortion issue.

There are multiple scriptures that refer to the unborn Job 10:8-12, Isaiah 44:2, Psalm 139:13-16 , Psalm 51:5, Genesis 25:22, Hosea 12:3, Jeremiah 1:5, Luke 1:41, Matthew 1:18-20, each of these scripture references refer to the unborn as a person. When Elizabeth conceived John the Baptist the scripture called him a "baby" while he was still in her womb (Luke 1:41). This reference uses the same Greek word that the Bible uses for the word "baby" when referring to newborn children. So whether out of the womb or in the womb, God considers us human beings. We even find Mary from the time of conceiving Jesus to be "with child" (Matthew 1:18-20). This means that God considers us human beings from the moment we are conceived.

Since God considers the unborn to be human beings then it logically follows that we should not take the life that God gave them. Therefore, Christians should not support abortion. Some people support abortion because they believe that people will get abortions whether it is legal or not so we might as well make it a safer process for people who want to get one. The problem with this is that we are expected by God to protect the life of the innocent rather than make sure that those who seek to kill their unborn child have a safe way of doing so. This produces a trade off that amounts to trading protection for the innocent in order to provide protection for those who seek to harm the very ones we are expected to protect! Nobody wants women to be harmed, however people who seek to harm others should not have a free pass to do so.

One other common argument made for abortion is that countries who outlaw abortions have basically the same abortion rate as countries that allow them. This is just not true when you look at the data. In a recent study, 9 of 11 named countries which have made abortion illegal are in the bottom 75 regarding abortion rates. These include:


-Costa Rica 10%
-Ireland 5.8%
-Malta 0.9%
-Venezuela 0.8%
-United Arab Emirates 0.10%
-Mexico 0.09%
-Poland 0.09%
-Chile 0.02%
-Panama 0.02%


These percentages reflect the amount of pregnancies which end in abortion within the named country. As a reference point, the United States has an abortion rate of 22.6%. The statistics produce a trend which shows countries with pro-life laws having a lower abortion rate than countries with pro-abortion laws (http://fellowshipoftheminds.com/2011/11/01/abortion-rates-for-101-countries/). Now I do want to address the fact that some countries who have banned abortion remain somewhat higher on the list regarding the abortion rate (Brazil is one example). This is primarily attributed to lack of enforcement of abortion laws and lack of available birth control.

So as we can see Christians should not support abortion. The reason for this is because as Christians we are to look to God's Word for the answer to all ethical and moral questions. There is a lot to be done in order to address the abortion issue in our society including birth control issues, education regarding abstinence, greater available resources for adoption options, and etc. These other issues cannot be properly addressed if Christians do not bring moral clarity to an issue that is truly heartbreaking to God. May we all seek His wisdom as we advocate for the life of the unborn and the protection of the sacred relationship between mother and child. God bless!

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

What the Bible say about Hell, Judgment, and Eternal Punishment?


Over the centuries Hades, Eternal Judgment, and the Lake of Fire (which is the technical term for Hell) have been issues of great debate within various Christian circles. I myself have long had the struggle of trying to understand exactly what the Bible is attempting to communicate when it speaks of Hell and the eternal punishment of the wicked. This struggle is something that one would expect every Christian to undergo with immense carefulness and cautious openness to how God's word truly addresses it in the original manuscripts. In this paper I will discuss the historical views within the church regarding what hell will be like and also do an analysis regarding what the word “eternal punishment” means in the original language and exegetically.
Currently there seems to be three dominant views regarding the Bible's revelation of Hell and Eternal Judgment. Those views are as follows: Eternal Conscious Torment, Universal Reconciliation, and Ultimate Annihilation. The traditional view for the past several hundred years in the Church has been Eternal Conscious Torment and the alternate minority view has historically been ultimate annihilation, both are considered to be evangelical by most respected theologians. The Eternal Conscious torment view goes as follows: After the Great White Throne Judgment those whose names are not written in the Lamb's book of Life will be thrown into a lake (all-encompassing geographical location) of literal fire which is often depicted as being thousands of degrees hot (some writers compare it to the temperature of the center of the earth). After being thrown into this lake of literal fire unbelievers will experience the conscious torment of being encompassed by fire for all of eternity for the sins they committed in life. Traditionalists usually use scriptures such as Revelation 14:11 to support this view. This view was thought to have been first formally systematized in the early 400’s by Saint Augustine.
“In no way did Augustine “invent” the idea of Hell, this idea had been around in many cultures for centuries by the time that he wrote his most graphic, detailed arguments for a punitive judgment. The City of God, Books XX and XXI concern these topics, and were completed in 426, four years before his death, and so represent his mature thought. Book XX is an exhaustive examination of the theme of judgment, with the emphatic emphasis on its retributive nature. Ideas taken up at the height of Hellfire preaching by the likes of Jonathan Edwards some 1300 years later find their origin here.” (1. Patton, Nic. soundandsilience)
The Universal Reconciliation view has only recently begun to find traction in the Evangelical Christian world, influenced greatly through a book by Rob Bell called "Love Wins." In this view, advocates use scriptures such as Colossians 1:20 to justify the idea that after a period of time in a lake of "purifying fire" the wicked will then be allowed to come and join the righteous to partake in eternal life with them all. The problem I have with this view (among many things) is that the gospel is about being saved by grace in this life, not by a process of purification by hellfire which punishes us into changing in the next life. Secondly, Revelation 21:27 states that anyone whose name was not in the book of life cannot ever partake of the blessing given to the righteous by grace (paraphrased). When the method of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone seems to change, I usually have a very difficult time giving merit to the idea, which is ultimately why I reject Universal Reconciliation.
The Ultimate Annihilation view has actually been around for centuries. It has usually taken a minority position next to Eternal Conscious Torment (ECT) due to the seemingly clear depiction of ECT in Verses like Revelation 14:11. Nevertheless, Annihilationists have put forward quite a few good questions regarding the original usages of words translated "forever and ever" in our English Bibles, which are derived from Greek words that have often been used to mean "age" or "eon" rather than "time without end." The annihilationist view generally believes that the wicked will receive God's just punishment in proportion to their sins by a process of being totally destroyed by literal fire in hell (the lake of fire). Many traditionalists argue that this would take away the fear of hell in people, but on the contrary most annihilationists believe that each man will certainly suffer a wrathful punishment by hellfire (in accordance with God's holiness and the particular person's sins) of which the timeframe is undetermined, this process will eventually lead to total destruction of soul and body. Annihilationists use quite a few seemingly unambiguous scriptures in order to support their view, such as 2 Thessalonians 1:9- "They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might," the Greek word here for "destruction" is "olethron" which means " ruination with its full, destructive results." They also use scripture like Isaiah 47:14, Matthew 10:28, Matthew 7:13-14, Matthew 13:40-42, 2 Peter 2:6 to communicate the idea that at some point the punishment of the wicked will become complete. It's important to note that annihilationists believe that the term "everlasting punishment" means a finite (yet severe) punishment that has everlasting results, not a continual "punishing" from God that lasts forever without end. Ultimate Annihilation has held a minority evangelical position during the majority of church history.
The vast majority of Christian writers, from Tertullian to Luther, generally held to traditional notions of hell. However, the annihilationist position is not without some historical warrant. Embryonic forms of conditional immortality can be found in the writing of Justin Martyr. Ignatius of Antioch (d. 107) is also supposed to be a conditionalist according to some conditionalist writers. In his Epistle to the Magnesians, he wrote "Let us not, therefore, be insensible to His kindness. For were He to reward us according to our works, we should cease to be". (2. Theopedia)
In light of the top two of these three views (Eternal Conscious Torment & Annihilationism) we begin to see that the debate is rested on two main ideas: 1.) Is the soul naturally immortal or did the curse of death from Adam's sin only affect the body? That is, if the soul is naturally immortal, it would mean the soul of the wicked could be tormented forever, if not the fire "or the second death" would eventually destroy both soul and body, see Matt. 10:28.  2.) What is the duration of time that the wicked will be tormented in the lake of literal fire, will they eventually burn up as some scriptures seems to imply, (2 Thessalonians 1:9, Isaiah 47:14, Matthew 10:28, Matthew 7:13-14, Matthew 13:40-42, 2 Peter 2:6) or will they eternally experience the conscience torment of being encompassed by fire (Rev. 14:11)? I believe that the honest person after evaluating the original manuscript evidence and hearing both sides make their case, no matter which view they concede to, will have to admit that the answer to these two questions is very difficult to completely know from a Greek word meaning standpoint to say the least. Both sides present fairly persuasive scripture and Greek word meaning evaluations (based on my current observations) to support what they believe regarding the nature of hell. To me this begs the question, "What key components regarding hell do we need to be careful not to compromise no matter which view we concede to?"
I think the basic relationship between hermeneutics (proper interpretation of scripture) and sound doctrine gives us the answer that we are looking for. The fundamental principle of hermeneutics is to use what God makes clear in His word to interpret certain concepts or verses that tend to be unclear. In light of this, I will list a series of scriptures that clearly portray what eternal judgment in Hell will be like for the wicked:
-It will be extremely unpleasant:
Romans 2:9- "There will be trouble and distress for all who do evil."
-It will exclude the wicked completely from the Presence of God forever:
2 Thessalonians 1:19- "They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might."
-Each man will be repaid in exact accordance with the sins he committed:
Romans 2:6- God "will repay each person according to what they have done." (Considering the depth of mankind's sin, this is a terrifying thought that must not be taken lightly)
- It will be a terrible day for the wicked when God executes His justice on them:
Malachi 4:5- "See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and terrible day of the LORD comes."
Revelation 20:11-"Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them."
- It will be extremely painful:
Luke 13:28- "There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
-Every word we have ever spoken will be judged:
Matthew 12:36- "But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the Day of Judgment for every empty word they have spoken."
-Every hidden thing will be brought into the light:
Romans 2:16- "on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus."
Ecclesiastes 12:14- "For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil."
-None of the wicked will ever partake of the eternal blessings given to the righteous:
Revelation 21:27-"Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.
The wicked will be punished in a permanent way:
Revelation 20:15-"Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire." (see also Matthew 25:45-46)
The wicked will be punished with fire:
Revelation 20:15-"Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire." (see also Matthew 25:45-46)


So, as you can see there are certain clear statements in the word of God regarding Hell and Eternal Judgment that we can be absolutely sure about. As I mentioned earlier in this paper two major elements of the implications of hell that are currently in debate between Eternal Conscious Torment and Ultimate Annihilation advocates are: 1.) Is the soul naturally immortal or did the curse of death from Adam's sin only affect the body? That is, if the soul is naturally immortal, it would mean the soul of the wicked could be tormented forever, if not the fire "or the second death" would eventually destroy both soul and body, see Matt. 10:28.  2.) What is the duration of time that the wicked will be tormented in the lake of literal fire, will they eventually burn up as some scriptures seems to imply, (2 Thessalonians 1:9, Isaiah 47:14, Matthew 10:28, Matthew 7:13-14, Matthew 13:40-42, 2 Peter 2:6) or will they eternally experience the conscience torment of being encompassed by fire (Rev. 14:11)?  Whether or not we ever get a clear answer to these two questions doesn't negate the fact that hell is MOST CERTAINLY depicted as a place where perfect justice will be rendered to the wicked. We can be sure that Hell is the most terrifying place that anyone could ever go to. We can be sure that the enemies of God will regret having ever set themselves up against Him. We can be sure that sin, Satan, death, and evil will never again have a part in the land of the living. Now let’s move onto discussing the meaning of the phrase “eternal punishment” in the original languages and exegetically.
Many Evangelicals may not realize that there is actually a debate taking place regarding the meaning of everlasting punishment. I mean, come on, how much clearer can it get right? At first glance it would seem like having a debate over such a seemingly clear concept found in scripture would be absolutely pointless. Nevertheless, an interesting question has surfaced in reference to this component of the final judgment, that question being: "Does everlasting punishment equate to unending continual and repetitive punishing, or does it equate to a punishment that has an unending result or consequence?"


Let’s look at the most common scripture we find regarding this topic:


Matthew 25:45-4- "Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”


Before getting into the particularities of the debate itself I would like to uncover the basis of what exactly is being debated in this passage of scripture. The two words that seem to be in question in this portion of scripture are the words "everlasting" and “punishment." What I mean by "in question" is that these two words, depending on their meaning and usage, could absolutely mean two different things. So the debate centers on what the proper exegetical interpretation of everlasting punishment truly means. Let’s look at the Greek meanings:


Everlasting- Derived from the Greek word "aiōnion" which is used 45 times in the Greek Manuscripts of the New Testament. Aiōnion is derived from aiṓn which means "an age, having a particular character and quality." So aiōnion means properly, "age-like," "like-an-age," "age-characteristic," (the quality describing a particular age) or "relating to an age/ ages." If we combine this definition with the context of the 45 passages we find it in, we can be fairly confident that the word does tend to favor the words "eternal" or "everlasting." One must admit though, there is a marginal measure of ambiguity in asserting that aiōnion definitely means everlasting, I see a slight possibility that it could mean "age-long" or "a measure of undetermined time." (3. Strong’s Concordance 166)


Punishment- Derived from the Greek word "kolasis" which is used twice in the Greek Manuscripts of the New Testament. Kolasis is cognate to the latin word colaphus which means "a buffeting, a blow." Kolasis is thought to be derived from kolazo which means "to lop, prune, as trees, wings," this brings to mind the imagery of Matthew 13:30 where the weeds are gathered up from all of the Earth and burned. Kolasis is thought to properly mean (according to HELPS Word-studies), punishment that fits/ matches the one punished." (4. Strong’s Concordance 2851) Based on this definition, one could make a fairly persuasive argument regarding the justice of God revealed in Romans 2:6- "He will render to each one according to his works." This argument would state that if each person will receive a different measure of punishment according to their sinful deeds, then how could every one of them be punished unendingly? I have seen conditionalists make a good case by arguing that "eternal punishment" refers to the outcome of a finite process of punishing rendered in the lake of fire according to each person's deeds.


So, in essence this debate typically takes place between advocates of Eternal Conscious Torment (the traditional view of hell) and Evangelical Conditionalists (the annihilationist view of hell). The traditionalists would argue that punishment really means an infinite recurring level of torment, while the conditionalist would argue that punishment means a finite penalty which results in an eternal outcome. In this regard I remain undecided as to which view is ultimately correct. It seems to me that you would almost have to change the word "punishment" to "punishing" in order to accomplish the traditionalist interpretation, but then you would have to explain how phrases like "forever and ever" in other parts of the Bible that speak about hell means a “period or age” of time in order to accomplish the conditionalist interpretation. Nevertheless, the debate rages on.


In this paper we discussed a brief history of the different views of hell in the church. The scripture is clear that hell will be a tormenting, excruciating, and terrifying place of punishment for the wicked, but there seems to be at a consistent evangelical debate over the centuries regarding the duration of hell to the point where I feel it wise not to carry a heavy dogma regarding the issue. I would rather stress the perfect justice of God and how horrible it will be for those who reject Christ however long the duration may be. We also discuss the meaning of eternal punishment from a word meaning and exegetical perspective. This paper was intended to approach the topic of hell, justice and eternal punishment, from a balanced Biblical perspective, and I pray you were bless while reading it’s content!

Written by: Kyle Bailey, M.Th.


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SOURCES:

1. https://soundandsilence.wordpress.com/2009/01/13/eternal-punishment-in-augustine%E2%80%99s-the-city-of-god/

2. http://www.theopedia.com/annihilationism

3. http://biblehub.com/greek/166.htm

4.http://biblehub.com/greek/2851.htm

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

What is the Baptism in the Holy Spirit?

The Baptism in the Holy Spirit means literally "to be fully immersed in the Holy Spirit." The Greek word for baptize which is "baptizo" means "to dip or immerse." Jesus described it to His disciples as an empowerment they would receive which would fully equip them to be witnesses on His behalf. Luke 24:49 KJV says, "and, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high."  So the specific purpose of this baptism was to "endue us with power from on high." The Greek word used for "endued" is "enduo" which means "to be fully clothed." The Greek word for "power" is "dunamis" which means "supernatural power to achieve by the Lord's inherent abilities," it is the root word from which we get the English word "dynamite."

So apparently this baptism is related to an equipping to do supernatural things for the glory of God. We see the fruit of this empowerment manifesting in various signs, wonders and supernatural occurrences all throughout the book of Acts. There are two main positions in modern Christianity regarding when the Baptism in the Holy Spirit occurs for the believer. One is that every believer is automatically baptized in the Holy Spirit as soon as they receive Jesus Christ, and the other is that believers receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit subsequent to receiving Christ conditioned upon their seeking it. To start let's take a look at the explanation and Biblical data for the first position:

In this position we find the primary assertion to be that every single believer is baptized in the Holy Spirit from the moment they believe the Gospel. This would imply that each believer is fully immersed with dynamic power from the Holy Spirit from the moment they are born again and they immediately have all that they need to do supernatural feats for God's glory. This view is predicated upon 1 Corinthians 12:13 which says, "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit." The problem with using this scripture to teach that believers always receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation is that it is saying something completely different. It says "we were all baptized into one body," this is referring of the baptism into the Body of Christ not necessarily into the Holy Spirit's dunamis power. It reads literally "we were all dipped/placed into one body." Now make no mistake the Holy Spirit is the one who places us into the Body of Christ when we believe and takes residence in our soul and body, but this doesn't mean He always immediately endues us with special power to achieve supernatural feats. The scriptures give examples of both immediate baptism in the Spirit and subsequent baptism in the Spirit.

Here is the key: when a person believes the Gospel they are immediately indwelt by the Holy Spirit (see Ephesians 1:13), when a person believes for empowerment they are immersed in the might of the Holy Spirit. This can occur simultaneously or in the following order: 1.) Indwelling of the Spirit 2.) Immersion of the Power. I will give three examples from scripture, one in which the indwelling and the empowering happened simultaneously, and two in which the indwelling happened first and the empowering happened subsequently.

Example 1- The household of Cornelius:

Acts 10:44-46-"While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God."

In this passage Peter preached the Gospel to an entire family and the "gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out on them." This language is referring directly to the words of Jesus and the outpouring of the baptism in the Holy Spirit in Acts chapter 2. So it serves to show a very clear instance in which God poured out Holy Spirit power upon a group of people as soon as they believed.

Example 2- The Samaritan Disciples:

Acts 8:14-17-"Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit."

In this passage the Samaritan disciples had already believed the Gospel and became born again, but they had not yet had "the Holy Spirit fall on any them." This is the same language once again from Acts chapter 2 regarding the baptism in the Holy Spirit. So although they were already born again, they had not yet been empowered until the apostles prayed for them.

Example 3- The Apostles of Christ:

John 20:19-22- "Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.”When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit."

In this passage we have the apostles gathered in a room just after the resurrection of Christ. Jesus appears to them and they immediately fulfill the NT requirement for salvation which are: 1.) Confess with your mouth "Jesus is Lord.(Rom. 10:9)" (The apostles had already made Jesus their Lord by following Him and calling Him Lord frequently), and "believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead (Rom. 10:9)" (This is the first recorded appearance of Jesus to the disciples in which they would now believe He was raised from the dead). Therefore, Jesus breathed on them and said, "receive the Holy Spirit." At this moment the disciples were indwelt by the Holy Spirit and considered born again believers. But they had yet to receive the power of the Spirit, so Jesus later tells them this:

Acts 1:4-5-"And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said,“you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
So we can see that although the disciples had received the Holy Spirit when Jesus breathed on them they had yet to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit which would "endue them with power from on High." As a matter of fact the disciples spend many days praying and seeking God for His empowering before attempting to enlist into the battle for souls against Satan. We ought to take this example to heart and apply it to our own lives. Do you seek God for His power regularly in order to be a faithful witness for Him? I pray you will. Let's now take a look at the explanation and Biblical data for the second position that we discussed earlier in this article:

In this position we find the primary assertion to be the Baptism in the Holy Spirit happens only subsequent to receiving Christ conditioned upon their seeking it, which is true in some cases as we have shown earlier. But Pentecostal and some Charismatic churches take it even further to say that the sole evidence of this Baptism is that the one receiving it speaks in tongues as a result. The reason that they come to this conclusion is because in the majority of occurrences in which a person was baptized in the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts we see the gift of tongues accompanying it (Acts 2:4, 4:31, 8:12-17, 10:44-46, 15:7-9, 19:1-7). The problem with this interpretation is that while the gift of tongues was present in MOST of these instances it was not present in ALL of these instances. We also see other gifts such as prophecy, speaking the Word of God with boldness, and magnifying God being present in these different examples. We also see two examples in Acts 4 & 8 where the gift of tongues in not even mentioned. Therefore, we cannot build a concrete doctrine which asserts that tongues is the sole evidence of one being baptized in the Holy Spirit. For more information on the gift of tongues CLICK HERE.

Biblically speaking, one has been Baptized in the Holy Spirit if they have been empowered by the Holy Spirit to be a witness on behalf of Christ, regardless of whether or not that particular person speaks in tongues (this is coming from someone who does in fact speak in tongues). Does this mean that speaking in tongues doesn't accompany the Baptism in the Holy Spirit? Not necessarily, there are FREQUENT examples in scripture where this does happen, but scripture does not specify that it is the sole evidence, and not all examples in the Bible manifest this particular gift alone. In other words, tongues CAN accompany the Baptism in the Holy Spirit but that doesn't mean it absolutely WILL accompany the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. If tongues was the sole evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit God is thorough enough to make that a plainly taught doctrine in His word, whereas for the Pentecostals they must make an assumption based upon a collection of verses in Acts that are inconclusive on the matter.

In closing I want to reemphasize the Biblical view regarding the baptism in the Holy Spirit in a concise manner. The Baptism in the Holy Spirit is an empowerment from God that uniquely equips the believer for witnessing on behalf of Christ. It is commanded to be received by Jesus. It may or may not accompany the gift of speaking in tongues as observed in scripture.This baptism may happen at the moment a person believes the Gospel or subsequent to when they believe the Gospel as observed in scripture. All in all I encourage everyone from any denomination to discuss this topic with the whole of scripture in mind, and seek God for this empowerment every day of their life. I pray you were blessed by this article!

Written by: Kyle Bailey, M.Th.

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photo credit: http://www.freedomandjoy.org/2014/04/

Monday, July 6, 2015

What did Jesus say about homosexuality?


Several proponents of the movement to try to make homosexuality compatible with scripture have often claimed that "Jesus did not say anything about homosexuality, therefore it's not something we should forbid in the New Covenant." Is this true? Did Jesus give a free pass on the sin of homosexuality? I would like to start by saying that this approach is both deceptive regarding the teachings of Jesus in His ministry and completely misrepresentative of the doctrine of the scripture's infallibility.

Firstly, Jesus explicitly affirmed the Biblical definition of marriage as God's plan for sexually intimate relationships:

"‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder" (Mark 10:5-9)"

We also find Jesus explicitly condemning all forms of sexual immorality after His resurrection when He spoke to the Apostle John in the book of Revelation:

Revelation 2:20-"But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols."

In Revelation 1:17-18 Jesus appeared to the Apostle John and began giving him directives regarding what to write to the churches in that present time, when Jesus began to address the church at Thyatira He directly condemned sexuality immorality. Sexual immorality is defined very clearly in the Bible as adultery, homosexuality, fornication, bestiality, and all other forms of sexuality outside of heterosexual marriage. Simply put, Jesus not only condemned homosexuality in Revelation 2:20, He also condemned all other forms of sexual relations outside of Biblical marriage. 

Whoever started this "rumor" that Jesus never said anything about homosexuality is either ignorant or flat out lying in order to promote a personal agenda within the Christian world. It denies the areas in scripture where Jesus does address it, and it also undermines the reality that the entire Bible is inspired by God, not just the parts referring to Jesus' earthly ministry. The New Testament is comprised of every inspired writing that the early church included in it's Holy Scriptures, the canonization of these texts were simply the affirmation of inspired writings that were already universally affirmed by the early church. Among these Holy Scriptures that we now call the Bible are numerous verses condemning homosexuality:

Romans 1:26-27-"For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error."

1 Corinthians 6:9-10-" Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."

Galatians 5:19- " Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,"

These are just a few of the scriptures in the Bible that clearly prohibit homosexuality as it does other sin. My reason for writing the article is not to express a harsh, mean spirited attitude toward gay people. My reason is to address the deceptive rumor that is floating around the internet which claims that Jesus never dealt with the topic, He did. For more information about the homosexual issue CLICK HERE.

Written by: Kyle Bailey, M.Th.

For more inspirational content SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel.