House Church Talk - Baptisms and Administrations
bwood4d at hotmail.com
Sat Feb 7 14:20:33 EST 2004
Dear brother Ross,
I'd prepared a response to most of the second half of your e of yesterday
and then the power went off for an instant and I lost it all! Will try to
recap as briefly as I can!
Re. your claim that I Peter is addressed just to a Jewish audience:
- because of the similarities between 2:9 (chosen generation, royal
priesthood, holy nation and peculiar people) and Ex.19:5&6 (peculiar
treaure, kingdom of priests, and a holy nation) ...
-because references to Gentiles in the epistle contrast Gentiles with those
to whom Peter was writing...
I would remind you that Peter, Paul and John often use the term "Gentiles"
to designate unbelieving Gentiles, even when writing to primarily Gentile
audiences! So the contrast is NOT between "Jews and Gentiles" but rather
between believers and unbelievers! Jews are also "gentiles"! The Greek
word is ETHNOS which simply means a "nation".
I would also remind you that it was never God's intention that those things
(Ex.19:5,6 and I Peter 2:9) simply be true of Israel nationally. Rather as
Ex.19:5 makes clear, these things would be true FOR THOSE WHO WOULD OBEY HIS
VOICE AND KEEP HIS COVENANT, something Israel never has done nationally!
Rather, God has always intended to take out from a among the nations a
people for His name. See Acts 15- statements by both Peter 15:7-11 and James
15:13-17. One of the passages which you quoted in your last e (Acts
10:34,35) also bring this out very clearly.
But the final authority regarding who Peter was addressing in his first
epistle must rest with his own words. His second epistle is addressed to:
"them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the
righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." There is no way such a
description of people can ever be limitted to Jewish believers alone. But
then in II Peter 3:1,2, Peter informs us that he wrote BOTH epistles to the
same audience! "This second epistle, BELOVED, I write unto YOU; in BOTH
WHICH I stir up YOUR minds by way of remembrance: that YE may be mindful of
the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the
commandments of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:"
In your previous e, you asked me how John's baptism was distinct from the
baptism of the apostles. I gave you five clear distinctions from scripture.
You have not even acknowledged that I wrote such and yet you continue to
claim that the two were identical!(" John had a unique ministry but his
baptism is the same one that Christ commissioned his apostles to carry
out.") Even after I demonstrated that there was no baptism of priests under
the old covenant given at Sinai and that the Holy Spirit never designates
any priestly washing or sprinkling as a baptism, you continue to maintain
your claim that O.T. priests were baptized! Brother, you remind me of the
one who said, "Don't confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up!"
One cardinal rule of dispensationalism is to "distinguish between things
which differ"! So it is very strange that a dispensationalist would confuse
things which scripture clearly distinguishes! It is also very poor exegesis
of scripture to force words into texts (i.e. "baptism") where the Holy
Spirit of God does not! If John's baptism was simply the continuation of
"Jewish baptism for priesthood", John could have only baptized MALES, of the
tribe of LEVI, who were between the ages of 20 and 50!!! This was NOT the
case at all!
You wrote:"There is nothing in the Everlasting New Covenant that repeals or
negates that Israel had a priesthood under the old covenant arrangement, but
as a nation, they were to be a priesthood over the nations under the new
covenant. This all has to do with the yet open offer of the Davidic kingdom
to Israel, an offer which entails baptism (by sprinkling) to qualify people
to become priests."
Dear brother, I have not said that the new covenant negates what was true
under the old covenant! I have simply maintained that the old covenant
system of priesthood does not in any way continue into the new covenant!
That the old "decayed, waxed old, and vanished away" is very clear in
I am totally baffled by your next statement! Where in scripture is there any
statement to the effect that "the Davidic kingdom was "offered" to Israel"
or that such an offer is "yet open"?And where is there any scriptural
statement that teaches you that such an offer"entails baptism (by
sprinkling) to qualify people to become priests"??? It is just such
unscriptural statements made by many dispensationalists that has caused me
to reject any teaching that is not stated in the very words of scripture!
You also wrote:"Paul pronounces for the third and final time after the Roman
Jews reject the gospel of their Messiah that he would turn to the Gentiles.
>From his epistles, we learn that Israel has fallen and no longer has the
advantage. We also learn that the Davidic kingdom offer is put aside until a
future day, and for now, Jew and Gentile will approach God on equal ground
to make up a new corporate entity identified as the Body of Christ with a
place in the heavenlies instead of in the Davidic earthly kingdom."
I need to comment on a number of things here:
-Paul's 3 mentions of the gospel going to the Gentiles are NOT similar to a
frustrated parent's continual but unfulfilled threats to a disobedient
child! i.e. Paul was NOT saying, "If you continue to reject the Gospel, I'm
going to take the Gospel to the Gentiles." The Gospel going to the Gentiles
was not at all because the Jews rejected it! It was God's purpose all along
to send the Gospel to the Gentiles!!! This purpose of God is traced right
back through scripture all the way to Genesis 12!!! "In thee (Abraham) shall
all families of the earth be blessed." Gen.12:3 It is seen in Gen.49:10 in
Israel's prophecy concerning Judah: "The sceptre shall not depart from
Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet until Shiloh comes; and AND UNTO
HIM SHALL THE GATHERING OF THE PEOPLES BE.".
-Brother, where in Paul's epistles do we read that Israel ever lost any
advantage that they had over others?? They never did have advantage over
others in a distinct way of salvation, or a distinct means by which they
could come to God which was not available to others! Their advantage lay in
the fact that unto them were committed the oracles of God. Romans 3:1. This
fact can never change! They certainly did lose out on many blessings which
could have been theirs because of their rebellion and unbelief! But that is
a principle that applies "across the board" to people of all nations!
-But I need to ask you: Where in scripture do you find any statement that
teaches that "the Davidic kingdom offer is put aside until a future day"?
Where do you find any scriptural statement that teaches you that "FOR NOW,
Jew and Gentile will approach God on equal ground...?" When has the
approach to God been different or "on unequal ground" for Jew and Gentile"?
You seem to indicate your belief that such unequal ground of approach to God
will again be truie in the future! How have you come to this conclusion?
Re. Ephesians 2:15 and Colossians 2:15 tou wrote:"They both mention the
abolishing of old covenant ordinances of which one was water baptism as I
have clearly shown from Scripture."
But brother, you have demonstrated no such thing! You have not shown EVEN
ONE use of the words "baptize" or "baptism" which designate an action upon a
Levitical priest! Rather you have simply demonstrated your ingenuity in
taking scriptural statements relative to "washing" and "sprinkling" and used
them to attempt to make them denote what they do not and never will, namely
You also wrote:"I think these Scriptures are clear that water baptism is not
for us today in contrast to its requirement for the Levitical priesthood up
through the royal priesthood in Acts."
Brother, how can you accept the idea that water baptism in the book of Acts
was connected with and a requirement for the Levitical priesthood??!!!
(1)The Levitical priesthood was only for Israelites of the tribe of Levi!
But by N.T. times very few , if any Jews could accurately trace their tribal
lineage at all! Furthermore the subjects of many baptisms in the book of
Acts were clearly GENTILES!!
(2)The Levitical priesthood was only open to males! But both men and women
were baptized by the apostles and others!
(3)The Levitical priesthood was limitted to males between the ages of 20 and
50. But no such restrictions applied to baptism of believers!
Brother,can you not see how far your dispensational theories have taken you
from the pure words of scripture?
You wrote:"I have shown from Scripture that up until Acts, that Israel had
an advantage over the Gentiles with respect to their relationship to God.
This advantage disappeared by the end of Acts where Paul abandons his
ministry "to the Jew first" and ministers to all with out preference. "
Brother, I don't recall that you ever set out from scripture what advantages
Israel once had which they subsequently lost! Paul teaches that they have
the advantage in that to them were committed the oracles of God. That is an
historical fact that can never be altered! Certainly, they could have
enjoyed many blessings of God which they actually forfeited through
rebellion and unbelief. But that principle applies to all people right
across the board!
Also, the idea that "to the Jew first" was a principle at one time which has
now been set aside, is NOT true! God never purposed to bless Israel with
the Gospel and not bless the nations as well. "To the Jew first" is NOT a
principle of national priority which has somehow been lost! Rather it was
simply a divinely ordered sequence of history and geography! When the Lord
Jesus told the Syrophonecian woman that he was sent to the lost sheep of the
house of Israel, He was not teaching that He would not minister to gentiles!
Far from it! Rather, the Lord Jesus was not sent by the Father to an eartly
ministry of international travel to the nations. His earthly ministry never
took him beyond the borders of Israel! But His love enveloped the world!
(John 3:16) So too, in the early days of his ministry, he commanded his
disciples to go exclusively to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. The
emphasis from Israel to the nations did NOT shift in Acts 28, but rather in
Mat thew 28 (make disciples of all nations")!!! That Gospel testimony should
be expanded and extended in an orderly sequence (historicly and
geographically) is demonstrated in a number of ways:
(1)In the Gospels: we see the progression starting from where people were...
outward. Jesus and the disciples started with the lost sheep of Israel and
progressed outward to the nations. Before the delivered demoniac could
participate in a wider ministry for the Lord, he was first assigned to "go
home to his friends and tell them what Jesus had done for him."
(2)In Acts 1:8 we see the same pattern in the Lord's instructions before he
ascended: "Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, the uttermost parts of the earth."
(3)Paul, in Romans, describes the same process in his own ministry. His
testimony and Gospel ministry began as it were, "in his own backyard" among
his own people and then extended out to "the regions beyond" where he strove
to preach "Not where Christ was named." He was a true pioneer in the
Such developments and progression do not indicate a "change of dispensation"
as dispensationalists claim!
You also wrote:"1Cor 1 strongly implies Paul's cessation of water baptism
and this is reenforced by his further lack of preaching it in light of his
unifying message, and the fact that the apostles never really fulfill the
Mat 28 commission. How many years was it before we see any of the apostles
moving outside of Jerusalem to the uttermost parts of the world? How many do
we see ever leaving?"
Dear brother, the fact that Paul baptized only a few AT CORINTH where the
saints were so prone to form denominations around their favourite preachers,
does not at all imply that he ceased to baptize believers!!! I have also
shown in a previous post that the unifying message of one body composed of
Jews and Gentiles was not unique to Paul but was shared commonly by all the
apostles. Nor did this ministry commence after Acts 28 (A.D. 67). It had
become a common teaching long before this! Thus this dispensational theory
is clearly shown to be a fabrication of men of very recent origin and not a
scriptural docrtine whatsoever! Dear brother, thje close of the Book of
Revelation is not "The End of the Story"! The apostle's travels, many of
them to other continents are not recorded in scripture. But the Gospel being
taken to the ends of the earth continues to this day and will continue until
the Lord returns! It is for this reason that the Lord's command relative to
baptizing disciples is still incumbent on believers today!
You also wrote:"Paul is clear in saying he had a new administration to
administer in Eph 2 and 3. One in which the Jew and Gentile would by grace
both have access equally. This is in contrast to the situation in the Gospel
accounts and Acts where the ministry was to the Jew first. Acts covers the
history of Israels fall from favor with God as a nation.Acts shows things
happening in which Gentiles are given treatment unseen before. "
Brother, you seem to assume that the new revelation of the truth of the Body
(Jew and gentile united to Christ as one) means that before the Body became
a reality, Gentiles did not have the same access to God as did Jews!!
Please explain, in light of the above how Abel, Seth, Noah, Abraham, Job,
Rahab, Ruth, the Queen of Sheba etc (all Gentiles!) ever came into right
relationship to God, while many full blooded Israelites never did enjoy the
blessings of right relationship to God! Please specify 'the special
treatments" experienced by Gentiles which they had not experienced before!
(Actually, under the new covenant God extended "special treatments" of many
kinds to believers regardless of their nationality!!)
You wrote:"It is a history in which we see a transition from a purely Jewish
mission unto an international mission. This international mission was
supposed to happen through Israel but rather occurs in spite of them."
Brother, again this is a dispensational fallacy! God never had a "purely
Jewish mission"!! In fact one of the scripture passages you quoted yesterday
sets this fallacy to rest! Peter declared to Cornelius' household:"I
perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that
feareth him and worketh righteousness, is accepted of him." Acts 10:34,35.
Although this truth had just recently been revealed to Peter's prejudiced
mind (we all are brought up with a variety of prejudices!) it was a
principle that has been true of God from creation! It did not all of a
sudden become a new "modus operandi" in the purposes of God at the supposed
change of some imaginary "dispensation"! But what Paul did say was an
absolutely new revelation , never made known before, was that JEWS AND
GENTILES WOULD BE UNITED IN ONE BODY, ACTUALLY UNITED TO CHRIST! This was
absolutely new territory for BOTH Jews and Gentiles! Both had to overcome a
lot of prejudice in order to really wrap their minds and hearts around this
Finally, you wrote:" The practical application for "home church", for those
who think this discussion is irrelevent, is what are we supposed to be
modeling? Are we to model the Body of Christ before it was established by
Paul and mix in elements of a past dispensation, or are we to model the
established and fully matured body of Christ?
Dear brother, Paul never did "establish" the Body of Christ! God did! Paul
simply taught the truths that God revealed to Him about His new creation!
The Body was not established in Acts 13! The Ethiopian eunuch, the
household of Cornelius, and many other Gentiles were already members in the
Body of Christ. Some of them even before Paul, Himself!!!
Nor are we to "model the Body" at all! We are to function as the actual
members in the Body which God has made us! That involves each member being
obedient to the Head. Any member which, knowing a commandment of God but
refuses to submit to it is, not only disobedient, but thereby introduces
weakness and error into the Body and thus is a hindrance to the Body being
edified and growing up! Specificly, those who know ful well the command of
the Lord that disciples of His should be baptized by others in water, and
yet refuse to submit to His commands and instructions, are being a positive
hindrance to the Body. Any member in one's physical body which does not obey
the direction of the head, becomes a hindrance and a load upon other
members. So it is in the Body of Christ.
Dear brother, I pray that the Lord would help you to see the errors of the
teaching which you have received and embraced and that you would soon have
the joy of willingly submitting to and obeying the command of the Lord Jesus
relative to the baptism of believers. Could I appeal to you to consider
three scriptural questions and their answers relative to believer's baptism:
-"What doth hinder me to be baptized?" If thou believest with all thine
heart thou mayest. Acts 8:36,37
-"And now why tarriest thou? Arise and be baptized. And he received sight
forthwith, and arose, and was baptized." Acts 22:16; 9:18
-"Can any man forbid water that these should not be baptized, which have
received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be
baptized in the name of the Lord." Acts 10:47,48
Your brother in Christ,
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