Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Should We Say "Jesus died for you" When Presenting the Gospel?

"Jesus died for you." Is this a legitimate statement to make in the context of presenting the gospel indiscriminately? The following biblical truths must be kept in mind in order to properly answer this question:

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Vanity of Earthly Pleasures - Elder James Oliphant

"Vanity of vanities, says the preacher, vanity of vanities. All is vanity." (Ecclesiastes 1:2)

Be Kind Yet Stand - Elder James Oliphant

"But speaking the truth in love may grow up into him in all things which is the head even Christ." (Ephesians 4:15)

The Savior left an example for us in this life in baptism and in the Lord's Supper. I think that he reminded us of our sins in a manner that is an example to us in our behavior one to another.

The Protection of Guiding Providence - Elder James Oliphant

"Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil." (Matthew 6:13)

Christ Our Hope - Elder James Oliphant

Christ has so much to do in our salvation. "I determined not to know anything among you save Jesus Christ and Him crucified." (I Corinthians 2:2) No blood but his would redeem us from our sins. If one man desired to die for another it would not be sufficient for it would not be a perfect sacrifice; and no one man is so related to another as to enable him to represent him in redemption.

We Establish the Law Through Faith - Elder James Oliphant

"Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid! Yea we establish the law." (Romans 3:31)

Paul anticipated an objection to the doctrine of grace that it would render the law of no use. Those who depend on works for salvation in whole or in part dishonor the law by presenting to it their imperfect obedience and expect it to be satisfied with that. But faith presents to the law a perfect righteousness, that of Christ, it expects no suspension of the law or relaxation of it. It asks no toning down of the law to meet the weak and imperfect obedience a fallen man.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Your Reasonable Service to God

A loyal and longtime follower of TETH's blog posted the following comment and question:
Thanks for another insightful commentary, TETH. Can you unpack exactly what you mean when you say, "...our reasonable service to God"? You often say this in reference to our response to the gospel as born-again believers. Would love if you could draw that out a bit. Thanks! 
That is a really important question and given the frequency with which I invoke that phrase it seems profitable to spend a moment providing some biblical thoughts on the matter. Our "reasonable service" to God has a several facets. Let's start by reading the full verse:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Give Diligence to Make Your Calling and Election Sure

In the first several verses of second Peter, the apostle speaks of the great and precious promises that have been given to God's people whereby we can escape the snares of this world (v3-4). He then goes on to make numerous exhortations to righteous living and the benefits of obedience (v5-8). He then turns his attention to the consequences of those who disobey such admonitions...
"But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:" (II Peter 1:9-10)

Monday, January 16, 2017


(n.) - a super-denomination which encompasses the overwhelming majority of those who profess faith in Jesus Christ. It is the belief that the death of Jesus Christ made salvation a possibility for all of humanity, but that salvation is only made an actuality for any individual when they ratify His work by either believing it or believing it and performing some additional act(s). They are often found engaging in vigorous theological debates regarding what beliefs or acts comprise the correct formula for eternal salvation, but are all in violent agreement that the blood of Christ alone, in and of itself, did not eternally save anyone, though they are often loath to admit it. The notion that the Lord Jesus Christ actually accomplished the salvation of his people apart from any actions on man's part whatsoever is highly offensive to all possibilitarians and they are known to stridently oppose it using any means at their disposal.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Plain Meaning, Right Division, and Feet Washing

I encounter a lot of Christians who insist upon the "plain meaning" method of interpreting the scriptures. They will often state things like,
You need to accept the 'plain meaning' of I John 2:2 - which says that Jesus Christ is the propitiation for the whole world. When you do that it is obvious that the atonement is universal. (common statement)

Do you see the Contradiction?

I found this statement under the heading of SALVATION on a variety of church websites...
Because people are unable to save themselves from their sinful condition, salvation is altogether the work of God. Neither good works nor self-improvement can make up for our sin. Salvation is the free gift of God. However, like any gift it must be received. This gift is received by faith, or by believing and trusting in Jesus Christ who died as our substitute that we might live. Through repentance from sin and faith toward God, we turn from our self-ruled life to trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Do you see the contradiction lurking in this statement? This sort of error is found all over professing Christendom in our time. Many have been pickled in these contradictions for so long they they are utterly unable to see the issue. To draw that out more explicitly consider the following:

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Christian Unity - Elder James Oliphant

"Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brother and to dwell together in unity." (Psalm 133:1)

The church suffers more from strife and confusion over matters which should be made matters of forbearance than from the opposition of outward foes. "If you bite and devour one another. Take heed that you be not consumed one of another." (Galatians 5:15) It is an honor to leave off strife (Proverbs 20:3) Where there is no talebearer strife ceases. (Proverbs 26:20) And where we are not troubled with a contentious spirit, we will not devour one another.

Resisting the Holy Ghost - Elder James Oliphant

"So the circumcision of heart referred to must be performed while they resist the Holy Ghost.
In this we see a strong statement of the doctrine of Primitive Baptists."
"You do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye." (Acts 7:51) They did not so resist the Holy Ghost as to hinder the Holy Ghost from carrying out his designs. If we remember that the Holy Ghost is God the maker of all things and these that Stephen addressed were men. It is plain that so feeble a being as man could not hinder God in any of his works. I cannot conceive of a sinner resisting the act of God in regeneration. This is a creative work and I cannot think of a matter refusing to be created nor is there room to think of a sin or refusing to be created by Christ Jesus regeneration is a life giving work. I cannot think of Lazarus refusing to be made alive. Nor can I think of a sinner refusing to be created in Christ or of refusing to be made alive or of his refusing to receive eternal life. The text cannot mean that sinners refuse to be regenerated. The new birth is "not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man" (John 1:13) and as it does not depend on the will of the sinner, it is plain the resistance here does not mean that sinners refuse to be quickened by the Holy Ghost.

Our Idea of Grace - Elder James Oliphant

"To the praise of the glory of His Grace wherein he hath made us accepted in the Beloved." (Ephesians 1:6) Our ideas of grace correspond with our ideas sin. One who thinks himself good and deserving will have diminutive ideas of God's grace in his salvation and one who regards himself as a poor unworthy sinner will have the highest ideas of grace. The Savior said he to whom most is forgiven will love most. So he that sees himself as most unworthy will love most and he will have the most exalted ideas of grace.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Pantheism - Elder James Oliphant

Pantheism is the doctrine that the universe is God a system of theology which maintains that matter is God. Ingersoll said, "Nature is God." Christianity maintains that the universe is a creature. "The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen being understood by the things that are made even his eternal power and Godhead." (Romans 1:20) The invisible things are not God nor a part of God. The Bible distinguishes between God and the universe. God is the creator and to all else it assigns the place of a creature. Elder Lemuel potter once asked, "Where did the Lord get his children?" He answered, "God made or created them." This view a scriptural. The Creator is infinitely above the creature. We are so far below God that our worship is due to him.

Salvation by Grace a Bible Doctrine - Elder James Oliphant

When I first joined the church I found I was not able to understand the Scriptures. I believe that all men are born with bias to conditionalism. This was "the first liquor put in the pot" and "the odor of it is often hard to get entirely rid of." It was so with me. "Choose this day whom ye will serve." (Joshua 25:15) It was some time before I saw that this text could be harmonized with the views we hold. Also "Work out your own salvation." (Philippians 2:12) I applied this to all men and it was hard for me to see that this text did not support the conditional theory. "Whosoever will" (Mark 8:34) was hard for me to see. I studied hard and things came right to me. I believe that the idea that there are two salvations helped me much to harmonize the Scriptures. "Give diligence to make your calling and election sure, for if you do these things you shall never fall." (II Peter 1:10) When I saw that these words applied to the children of God and not to the world it was all plain to me. I saw how it agrees with the doctrine of salvation by grace. "Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he had offered his son Isaac upon the altar?" (James 2:21) Had Abraham done this while unconverted it would teach different to what it does. "We see how then that a man is justified by works and not by faith only." (James 2:24) In some sense the people of God are justified by works. It took me some time to fully get this distinction but when I did get it, it served as a key to many texts.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Kingdom of Smiths

Mr. Smith was born into the Kingdom of Smiths. He did not do anything to become a Smith. His father was a Smith and thus he was a Smith from conception. This aspect of the Kingdom of Smiths was passively conferred upon him apart from anything he ever did or any action he ever took. It is the result of his father's actions, not his own. He can never lose this aspect of the Kingdom.