House Church Talk - Re: Baptisms and Administrations

Ross J Purdy rossjpurdy at
Thu Apr 8 15:58:38 EDT 2004

Hi Brother,

Bruce wrote:
> How do you know they came from Persia?  Scripture simply says, "the east".
> They testified that the reason they came was NOT "for we have heard
> prophecies of his birth from Israelites in Persia"!, but rather, "for we
> have seen his star in the east and are come to worship him."   They were
> unaware of his prophesied birth place etc !  So what makes you think they
> had gotten their information from the Jewish population in Persia???

>From the New Bible Dictionary:

"MAGI. The term is used in Herodotus (1. 101, 132) of a tribe of the Medes
who had a priestly function in the Persian empire; in other classical
writers it is synonymous with priest. Complementing this, Daniel (1:20;
2:27; 5:15) applies the word to a class of 'wise men' or astrologers who
interpret dreams and messages of the gods. In the NT the usage broadens to
include all who practise magic arts (cf. Acts 8:9; 13:6, 8).

"Both Daniel and Herodotus may contribute to the understanding of the Magi
of Mt. 2:1-12. Apparently the Magi were non-Jewish religious astrologers
who, from astronomical observations, inferred the birth of a great Jewish
king. After inquiring of Jewish authorities, they came to Bethlehem to do
homage. Whether 'the East' from which they came is Arabia, Babylon or
elsewhere is uncertain."

Daniel was put in charge of the magi and so there is a possible connection.
If they were from Arabia, here is a blurb from a theo journal (Bib. Sac.)

"Thus by the time of Christ the Jewish presence all over Arabia was an
established fact. Many Idumeans were converted to Judaism under John
Hyrcanus I around 126 B.C. and were fully integrated into Jewish life.
Furthermore a section of Iturea joined the Jewish faith also under
Aristobulus about 103 B.C. Later on, Ptolemy, son of Mennaeus, king of
Chalcis, the capital of Iturea, received the children of Aristobulus II, who
took refuge in his land, thus furthering the contacts between these peoples.

"With this brief survey of contacts between Arabs and Jews about the time of
Christ, it is not surprising to find Arabian Jews (of the diaspora) and
Jewish Arabs (proselytes) among those present in Jerusalem at the Day of
Pentecost (Acts 2:11)."

Thus the Jewish connection again.

Bruce writes:
> You (Ross) wrote:"ALL the 12 had a responsibility to baptize, but do we?
Where is
> it explicitly stated that WE are to go and water baptize? The command was
> a specific group who also were instructed to do other things and of which
> specific signs would follow. We are not seeing those signs today! Paul the
> apostle to the nations (since Israel would not serve God), UNLIKE the 12,
> was NOT sent to baptize, so why should we? There are no explicit
> that everyone should baptize, only those immediate disciples of Christ's
> earthly ministry were instructed to do so."
> Brother, with David A., I am left to wondering what (if anything) that
> taught and commanded his disciples, you think applies to us today??

Please see my response to David.

> Preaching the Gospel, praying in His name, loving one another, remembering
> him in breaking of bread, etc etc???  As for me, the Lord Jesus' statement
> to them in Mat thew 28 makes it perfectly clear: "make disciples of all
> nations, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded
> you."

He was talking to the apostles of Israel. Why did He not give the apostle to
the nations the same prescription if it is to be still followed? I am sure
the statement was perfectly clear to those to whom it was made. It is just
as clear to me that to follow the above instruction does not make any more
sense to me than to build an ark.

> You also wrote:"We have no responsibility under the New Covenant, it was
not > made with the nations, it was made with Israel. Since Israel has not
> properly accepted Messiah, there is yet to be an actual (legal?)
> implementation of the New Covenant. Neither Israel nor the nations are
> the New Covenant now. There is no New Covenant responsibility today. But
> there will be when Israel is restored in the future. The blessings that
> nations enjoy today are based on Christ's work even as the New Covenant
> but we receive them purely by GRACE and not by Covenant; the only
> responsibility that entails is righteousness and conformity to Christ, not
> ANY typical shadows now past and yet to be fulfilled."
> Dear brother, when Jeremiah and the writer to the Hebrews write:"I will
> a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of
>    they are NOT saying that God had no intention of also making that

I do believe it was to be made applicable to Gentiles under the priesthood
of Israel and the New Covenant. That is not relevant to us today though
since Israel is not functioning as priests to the nations.

> The Lord Jesus' command, "This do in remembrance of me" (Luke 22:19)
> involved partaking of the cup of the new covenant in His blood!  This was
> one of the commands which they were instructed to teach disciples of all
> nations to observe.
> Also Paul,  in II Cor.3,  wrote to Gentile believers at Corinth concerning
> the new covenant written in THEIR HEARTS!

This was written during the Acts and the New Covenant implimentation was
still a possibility until Paul finally pronounced a turning away from Israel
unto the Gentiles. This turning to the Gentiles would be according to a new
dispensation as Paul states in Ephesians.

> Dear brother, when you wrote, "There is no New Covenant responsibility
> today. But there will be when Israel is restored in the future.",  it
> that you are not reading the same "new covenant" that is stated in my

> responsibilities for keeping it are concerned!  Not one promise or
> of the new covenant is made to be a responsibility of new covenant
> believers!

> There is not a single term of the new covenant which places any
> responsibility on new covenant believers!!!

On 3-5-2004, you wrote: "But the subject of our discussion (the baptism of
believers in water) a baptism which is commanded and which is the
responsibility of men under the new covenant is the one upon which we do not
seem to agree."

Bruce, you were the one who said man had a New Covenant responsibility.

> This idea, as well as the one that "water baptism has nothing to do with
> belivere today" are the results of a similar approach to scripture as that
> taken by Robert Anderson, i.e. coming to scripture with a pre-supposition
> never stated in scripture and seeking to prove such a presupposition by
> dishonest dealings with what scripture actually SAYS!  The presuppositions
> that require such dishonest dealings with the Word of God are the very
> tenets of dispensationalism which are never taught in scripture! If one
> purposes to teach what scripture SAYS, they would never teach what is
> commonly referred to as "dispensational truth"!   If it is the truth, it
> Your brother in Christ,
> Bruce

Bruce, I don't agree with everything every dispensational teacher says. Sir
Robert has no monopoly on the dispensational hermenuetic so guilt by
association won't fly; there is way too much variety among
dispensationalists to put them in any group of boxes let alone a single box.
Are you implying that they all are dishonest? I might believe that about a
few teachers in any movement but I will try to give most the benefit of the
doubt until proven otherwise. I think that is being fair and honest! I can
only declare that my intents are honest and I aim to let scripture form any
pre or post supposions I have. I have no loyalty to any particular teacher
except God through scripture. I have nothing to gain or lose by convincing
others of my convictions except to challenge them with the truth. There is
nobody I have to impress or shame except my Lord and I don't intend on being
ashamed when I do answer to Him.

Again, everyone has pre-suppositions which must, of course, be tested
against scripture. Bruce, you are in the same boat as the rest of us. I am
reading the very same words you are, Brother.

I believe dispensationalist teachers HAVE created distinctions where there
are none and the result has been a loss of unity in scripture. But the
solution is not to pretend that there are no distinctions at all or that
there are only a couple distinctions and then wink at the rest as if they
are not there. I think that to take the distinctions that are in Scripture
and pretend that they are not there is really a dishonest handling of the
written Word.

2 Timothy 2:15 WEB

(15) Give diligence to present yourself approved by God, a workman who
doesn't need to be ashamed, properly handling the Word of Truth.

The above verse is one that I think directly applies to us today and I
desire to honor it.

In Christ,

Ross Purdy

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