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November 07, 2015

Comments

Thanks for a great article. A question or two popped up;

Do we need a true understanding of God (Jesus) before any degree of idol worship can be eliminated?

Was Cain actually worshiping an idol through his carnal understanding of God?

In another thought;

“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.” (John 4:23)

So at least, the New Testament should hold our answer about how to worship since it is said to have existed during the ministry of Christ.

How do our typical "worship services" of today find any support from Scripture?

Appreciate the thoughts, and agree with the main point. I might quibble with the example of Cain, though. Hebrews 11 explicitly teaches that Abel's offering was acceptable because of his faith, not what he brought. One could argue that his faith caused him to bring an acceptable sacrifice, but this still misses the main point.

Cain wasn't sincere. He lacked faith.

I think the understanding on Nadab and Abihu was sincerely flawed, as well as Cain and Abel. Although I agree with his point, that God does not accept worship to other Gods, I think both of these passages have more to do with the hearts of these men than what or who they actually offered. Case in point, in the case of Nadab and Abihu, Aaron, after God kills them, decides to fast. He does this, not to break the law, but because it was the only option he had of mourning (by law the high priest could not touch the bodies or partake in the normal means of mourning). Aaron's heart was right, and so when Moses gets mad at him, he explains, and Moses was okay with it. The whole point is that Nadab and Abihu offered the wrong kind of fire, and it stemmed from an arrogant heart. Also, it appears that Cain offered the wrong kind of worship, not because he brought the wrong kind of thing, but because his heart was wrong in some way. Neither of these point to sincerity in worship, but they do point to a humble heart before God, and also to not make God into what you want Him to be.

Cain 'brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground ...'. Cain just grabbed what was handy; no mention of providing the 'firstfruits of the harvest'.

Abel 'also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions.' Abel is described as making an effort to provide the best of the best.

To me, that describes their heart attitudes as they approached the altar.

R.C. Sproul's "The Holiness of God" gives good treatment to this topic.

So, Jberr...when God gave the order for worship to Moses in detail and prescribed the manner in which the priest was to perform the duties in detail, if Nadab and Abihu had a right heart, God would've accepted the strange fire?

I wonder if you have considered Uzzah in 2 Samuel 6:

"1 Now David again gathered all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. 2 And David arose and went with all the people who were with him to Baale-judah, to bring up from there the ark of God which is called by the Name, the very name of the LORD of hosts who is enthroned above the cherubim. 3 They placed the ark of God on a new cart that they might bring it from the house of Abinadab which was on the hill; and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were leading the new cart. 4 So they brought it with the ark of God from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill; and Ahio was walking ahead of the ark. 5 Meanwhile, David and all the house of Israel were celebrating before the LORD with all kinds of instruments made of fir wood, and with lyres, harps, tambourines, castanets and cymbals. 6 But when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out toward the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen nearly upset it. 7 And the anger of the LORD burned against Uzzah, and God struck him down there for his irreverence; and he died there by the ark of God.

There were specific instructions in the handling of the Ark...God gave them to Moses in detail for a reason. In Lev. 10, read down to vs' 8ff [especially vs 11] and see that God sets a boundary between the holy and the profane.

Uzzah's hand was profane, even more than the dirt the Ark would have fallen onto...in fact, the dirt likely was not even profane at all.

Nadab and Abihu felt free to worship God in a way that seemed pleasing to them...they approached the Holy with profane worship...Moses delivered the prescribed pattern, they thought to do worship mans way.

Brad, I would say that if Nadab and Abihu had done things incorrectly, and it was a sincere mistake, that God would not have killed them. Aaron did not follow the law either, and yet nothing happened to him. The point of the story is that they thought of themselves as superior to God's power and word. And then the story continues with Aaron, clearly showing that that was the whole point.

Same thing with Uzzah. In this case, it was a corporate sin. The people had made light of God, and had disregarded Torah completely in this situation. It says here that Uzzah was being irreverent.

We could also point to Ananias and Sapphira in the NT. In all these cases, the attitude of the heart was the main problem.

That being said, I wholly agreed with the author's point, and maybe would have used the story of Cain and Abel, but it sounded to me that the interpretation was off. Worshipping yourself is not pleasing worship to God, and that is the point of these stories.

dave,

I am intrigued at your challenge, and wish to pursue this line of thought.

>> How do our typical "worship services" of today find any support from Scripture?

We can only speak for our own liturgies and our own worship experiences. But I am always wondering how this worship is done in other Christian bodies.

As a Lutheran, I deal with the Lutheran liturgy, the heritage of the Deutsche Messe, Luther's revision of the Catholic Mass which removed items which held no Scriptural basis.

A brief outline of a typical Lutheran service (trying to avoid liturgical terminology here, just the basic liturgical practice:

-- Call on name of Triune God
-- Confession and forgiveness of sins
-- Official entrance into public worship with song of praise (Glory be to the Father ...)
-- Scripture readings interspersed with responsive praise. There is Old Testament reading, chanted psalm, New Testament epistle, and New Testament Gospel selections. Congregation stands for Gospel reading.
-- Hymn of day. Themes according to ...
-- Sermon
-- Responsive song to sermon (Create in me a clean ...)
-- Thanksoffering
-- Prayer for Church followed by communion in weeks Lord's Supper is offered
-- Closing hymn
-- Benediction

That's roughly what attends a Lutheran service. In line with Tim's post, what is presentable, what falls into the "Oh, that's how you do it" camp, the "why do you do it" camp, and the "how dare you do it" camp, depends on what we note is truly Christian worship.

Would love to see how the "other Christians" worship.

@ DGFischer

I notice a simplicity of worship in the New Testament house church (more of a prayer meeting) atmosphere that is missing in all the churches I've attended so far. In the New Testament, worship is a reaction to God's greatness and not a "mechanical action" performed every week from obligation. To some, even a "touching up" of their salvation using "worship" as the proper tool for the job.

“And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word. And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.” (Matthew 28:7–9)

worship in this case is more of a reaction than an action.

I see nothing anywhere in the New Testament representing what we have in the Post Roman Catholic era as compared to the pre-Roman Catholic era.

There are issues of worshiping in Spirit and Truth that I'm not mentioning at this point.

Dave-

NT house churches followed a pattern already established in Jewish synagogues.

This pattern has been adapted and honed over time until you get to the church service DGF just described in rough outline.

Catholic services follow a similar liturgy, except they always include communion. My own Lutheran Church also always includes communion. Also Confession and Absolution is done individually beforehand (which is actually a better way of doing things). In my Lutheran Church the pastors also hear individual confession and provide individual absolution. But we still do a corporate confession and absolution at the start of church.

There's nothing mechanical about it. Any more than it's just mechanical repetition to pray the Lord's Prayer.

@WL; Thanks for the reply.

I understand that virtually all the New Testament churches were Charismatic until the early part of the second century. And provided more of a shared ministry throughout the body of believers. Not actually the clergy/laity situation we have today. Also that according to some, Sacerdotalism didn't exist until the third century and morphed from there into similar forms throughout the churches of our time.

There was a simplicity in Christ Paul mentions that he feared our loosing sight of. I'm not convinced the "Liturgical Ceremonial" type of worship in some churches finds support in the New Testament. Again, I've always found it difficult to match up anything today, including the concept of denominations, with the New Testament.

Hi DGFischer we Reformed worship in what is sometimes called Covenant worship, it seems very similar to the Lutheran liturgy with particular mind to understand the worship service as covenant interaction making use of elements of the means of grace. I'll try to condense it as you have done.

Opening confession--spoken by God's man[pastor/minister]..."pastor"

Congregation answers "amen"

Call to worship--[this morning Psalm 24] Pastor speaking Gods word, congregation answering back every other stanza...on the final stanza, the pastor answers with the congregation[as though turning heavenward with us]

The Lord's Blessing...Rev1:4-5 then Opening Hymn of Praise [from the Trinity Hymnal]

Confession and Absolution:
The reading of the Law--meant as occasion to be confronted with our inability to obey completely
Corporate Confession of Sin
Silent Private confession of sin
Assurance of Pardon--Pure Gospel passage example Rom. 4:5

OT reading / NT reading--read to the congregation after which the Pastor/Elder says "this is the Word of God" then the congregations responds "Thanks be to God then a Hymn of Response.

Pastoral prayer/Lords Prayer followed by offering and the Glori Patria

Sermon

Closing Prayer

Communion Hymn

Reciting of "The Great Thanksgiving" Pastor/Congregation speak/response format

Preparation of the Lord's Supper including fencing the table every Sunday

Hymn of Thanksgiving

Benediction

The Passing of Peace Phillipians 4:21 again Pastor / Congregation speak/response

Threefold Amen

BTW, the Liturgical service is a Participation, it is not rigid/boring/mechanical, it is loaded with the means of grace...the word, prayer, confession, the Lords Supper. Anyone who would think otherwise is ignorant of what is going on there.

For any interested, John Calvin had a lot to say about the "Regulative Principle of Worship" which is the guiding rule for Reformed Worship Services. One can look into this easily so as to compare with the modern Evangelical service...to see if it is even minimally that.

The OP is kind of baffling since there are no clear instructions on worship in the NT.

Study the Regulative Principle!

@ Brad B; I don't think we can support the "the means of grace" from the New Testament. At least I cannot. It seems that what most call the means of Grace are more the out workings of the fruit of the Spirit, Grace already having been communicated?

So, for example, Dave, when God was given four chances to say that the Bread and Wine are just symbols of the Body and Blood of Christ, He took a pass? He said instead, "This IS my body, the IS my blood" and decided we would sort of cotton on to the fact that He really meant "symbolizes"?

And when He said "Baptism now saves you" He didn't actually mean that baptism...you know...saves you?

@ Wl;

Jesus also told us to take up our cross and follow him.I don't see this to often except at Easter in the Philippines.

@WL;

“The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:” (1 Peter 3:21)


Saves = from having a defiled conscience = that would make faith imposible. I.e., since "Whatever is not of faith is sin".

We could also say repentance saves us from having a defiled conscience for the same reason.

“For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.” (1 John 3:20–21)

I take your points Tim. Do you have any NT equivalent examples of this immediate judgement in the context of worship? The only one I can think of is Annanias and Saphira. And this isn't really "worship" as such.
I wonder whether since we live now in a post-Cross, post-resurrection, post-Pentecost, our context is different? Of course God hasn't changed, but we can only now come to God through the blood of Jesus - the final, perfect spotless Lamb. Every other sacrifice before him was a shadow that was imperfect offered by imperfect people and mediated by imperfect priests.
We will always stuff up some part of approaching God, this side of heaven. I thank God that my life is hid in Christ!

Hi dave, so once you have your hellfire insurance that is it? No nourishment needed along the way?

Ongoing grace through the washing with the word, participation in corporate worship, the Lord's Supper, prayer, and the confession of sins are of no effect in sucessful christian life as they strive for holiness? I'm sufficiently shocked!

Means of grace are given to sanctify the saints progressively...we can get into scripture proofs later when [I'm not mobile] if you like.

@Brad B,

Means = Salvation by works. Holiness = fruit of New Birth.

“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5:4)

We don't get to decide how we will repent.

God decides how we will repent.

That's what the means of grace are. They are the means by which God has promised to save us.

Baptism is the answer of a good conscience toward God, not just a washing with water.

BTW, the passage is clear that Baptism is the thing symbolized or pre-figured (by the flood). It is, therefore, not a symbol itself.

"Christ told us to take up our cross and follow Him"

Which cross is it that you think is ours.

I only know one cross that is mine. And I eat the flesh broken upon it every Sunday. I drink the blood that drips from its nails. For that flesh is food indeed, and that blood is drink indeed.

Dave-

Who is it that you think is using the means of grace in our salvation? Us?

Holy Baptism, Confession and Absolution, the Lord's Supper, the Preaching of the Law and Gospel...these are the means by which God works salvation in us.

"For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5:4)"

So dave, I know I dont need to tell you where that faith comes from but somehow I think we should talk about Who upholds that faith ant that your ability to stay true [your faith] is a work if you do not realize it is Jesus' promise to hold true to deliver you through the world and overcome it...in that we trust alone...His faithfulness and by His means.

@ Brad B; WL;

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:22–25)

Faith is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. This means God must save you before you can believe or respond in repentance. It is the nature of the New Birth to produce Holy Living in us.

@WL;Re; Baptism;

We have many who believed before they were baptized in the NT. This can only mean that God regenerates people apart from baptism.

>> Means = Salvation by works.

dave,

General confusion here from the Lutheran camp. This linkage might be common to the Baptist mindset, but it is light years away from the understanding Luther had when he advanced the concept of "means of grace."

Means = vehicle, tool. The ways in which God is at work creating faith and promoting spiritual growth in the lives of believers.

Honestly, salvation by works is so foreign to the Lutheran mind. Even decision theology is repulsive, as if there was some measure of cooperation in achieving salvation on personal merit or choice. Works happen of themselves in Christian living, but are as memorable to one as breathing. That happens too, at least in living people.

The means of grace is those tools God uses to create faith. The issue of what is sacramental is a question of what God is capable of accomplishing. Faith comes by hearing. He commanded baptism in the Great Commission as an important facet of ministry. He gave body and blood in bread and wine on the night He was betrayed. What was God after in doing all this? He created the means for ministry, and it is not for the ministry to underestimate what God shall accomplish through the work of ministry.

To perceive of baptism and communion as sacrificial in nature, rites to mark our devotion to God might be such underestimating. Worship, after all, is to be God-centered. But too often it becomes man-centered, as if we contribute and assume God smiles at such efforts. Too often, worship is seen as our offerings to God. What are we missing out if at all this time it has been God offering to us?

Of course God regenerates people apart from baptism.

The contention is that Baptism is a means of grace, not that it is the only means of grace.

But your argument for your conclusion is defective. The fact that someone believes before they are baptized is no reason to think that God did not regenerate them through baptism.

Both the belief and the baptism are the work of God. It seems pretty clear to me that they are a single work. Take the Ethiopian Eunuch for example. Phillip preached to him, he was already searching the Scriptures. Then he was baptized. I think we may safely infer that this man was regenerated by God.

Now let's change the story a little. It starts out the same, but then when they come to water, it takes this twist:

Phillip: Here is water. There is nothing to prevent you from being baptized.

Eunuch: I don't need to do that, my belief is sufficient.

Phillip: He that believes and is baptized shall be saved. He that believes not shall be damned.

Eunuch: I believe, I don't need to do the whole baptism thing.

Phillip: You won't be doing anything. God does the work.

Eunuch: I'll be stepping into the water.

Phillip: It's not the stepping into the water that saves you, but I can pour water onto your head, you don't need to go all the way in.

Eunuch: The point stands that I will still be doing something. I will be going to the water for you to pour it upon me.

Phillip: It's not the going to the water that saves you. I can carry you to the water. Or I can bring the water here. You don't need to do anything, and anything you might do in being baptized has nothing to do with what God does for you with baptism. He makes you die and rise with Christ. The only thing you can do that has any bearing on God's doing this work in you is refusing to be baptized.

Eunuch: I see. Well, I thank you for your instruction. I don't really have time for this ritual, though it is a fine symbol. But as I said, I am a busy man...

Phillip vanishes in the middle of the word "busy". The Eunuch is at first dismayed by this, but by the time he gets home and is settling into a nice tub, he's convinced himself that he passed some sort of test.

What do you think? Was this eunuch regenerated? He did the minimum he needed to do right? He believed. Good for him. God saved the thief on the cross without baptism, why not the Eunuch?

Hi dave, grace is ongoing. Means of grace are given to nourish the spirit so that the fruit can become evident. He is the Vine, being in Him is a connection to life.

The flesh is getting nourishment through means, the spirit is getting nourishment through means. One has to participate in those means to get nourishment though. He gave the means so that we who have the Spirit of God dwelling in us would thirst for them...in order to be nourished for the battle against the world, the flesh, and the devil. To overcome, Christians need the Vine to continually nourish us[branches] so that we produce fruit.

When you read the scriptures, you are making use of one of the means of grace...it is not just an intellectual exercise. It would be for someone who doesn't have the Spirit of God...this is the same for the other means of grace. When you attend a worship service, you are making use of one or more of the means of grace. This all seems obvious to me.

As I understand it Baptism is the beginning of Repentance. Just as it produces a clear conscience (removing the obstacles that hinder faith), all other repentance does likewise.

We know God preached the Gospel to Abraham in the Promise. And just as with Lydia the seller of purple, the Lord opened his heart to believe Acts 16:14. We do not have any record of any "Means of Grace" or Sacraments in operation at this point, until six hundred years later at Sinai. But we do know God wrote the Law in the hearts of all He regenerated by the fact that they believed and by the fruit they bore. That would include Abel, Noah, Abraham, and all the way down to us who apprehend the things of God.

It was Abraham, not Moses, who was commanded to circumcise his boys. This was the means of grace in the OT that was replaced by Baptism in the NT. The covenant God made with Abraham was sealed with the sacrifice of an animal. The sacrificial system, instituted by Abel, was the means of grace in the OT that was replaced by the Lord's Supper in the NT.

God has always worked through means in bringing salvation to His people. The means changed after Christ came. They are and were, all of them, a participation in the work of Christ.

@WL;

True. But imported into the Law (no longer binding) by Moses.

“Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man. If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day?” (John 7:22–23)

@WL; (Continued)

The Church Council at Jerusalem knew nothing of what you say as being a course for the newly converted gentiles to follow. The only thing they required from them was this;

“But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.” (Acts 15:20)

Also, if Paul forbids Circumcision, why should we construct a symbol for it in Baptism, using that as a substitute for the very thing he forbids?

So Dave, you are saying that the Council at Jerusalem proclaimed that gentile converts did not need to be baptized?

You might want to re-think that.

Neither circumcision nor baptism are symbols. The one was, and the later is, a means of grace.

Paul forbids circumcision for the same reason he would forbid animal sacrifice. God does not work through that means of grace anymore, because Jesus.

@WL; Are infants really "baptized"? Jesus said whosoever believes [and = then] is baptized will be saved.

Isn't infant baptism more like the Evangelicals "dedicating babies" since there is nothing of it directly mentioned in Scripture, and only directly mentioned a couple of hundred years later in history?

Of course all believers are baptized, but if the first church council forbade circumcision, how can anything pertaining to it have not also been forbidden?

Hint; Baptism is not the counterpart of circumcision.

Hint; Baptism is not the counterpart of circumcision.
Except Colossians 2 says that it is...but other than that...

It is your human philosophy that tells you that infants cannot have faith.

I do not agree with that...and in fact notice that Christ Himself said that we must come to Him as a child, who said "suffer the paidia (the infants) to come unto me", who compares conversion to birth and so on.

If anyone can have faith, infants can.

Of course all believers are baptized, but if the first church council forbade circumcision, how can anything pertaining to it have not also been forbidden?
Dave, seriously dude, try reading. Asked and answered. They forbade it for the same reason they would have forbidden animal sacrifice. God is not working through the means of the old system any more. The veil of the temple was rent. The temple is finished. Christ tore the old temple down and built a new temple in three days in Himself. To put your trust in the means of the old temple and not in the means that God, in the person of Christ, has instituted to replace them is to invite damnation.

And just to anticipate another objection, the fact that baptism corresponds to circumcision in the old system does not make baptism part of the old system.

That objection would be like saying that because my ankle corresponds to the 'backward'-bending flamingo 'knee' that my ankle is part of a flamingo.

@WL;

Everything you say is an "interpretation". You haven't any direct Scripture references for infant baptism, Circumcision being "repackaged" as baptism for New Testament use. Or God infusing salvation through Sacraments. If Infants are regenerated through "sprinkling", why not feed them the Eucharist too, since they are supposedly "regenerated"?

Everything is an interpretation Dave, even my understanding of your comment.

Here's what Colossians 2 actually says:

For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
What is this circumcision made without hands...this circumcision of Christ. The passage is pretty clear...it's baptism, whereby we are buried and raised with Christ.

Could you interpret that differently? Of course. You could interpret it to mean "My dog has fleas". But the plain meaning is just what I said.

I grant that it is an annoying interpretation to those who despise the sacraments.

God infusing salvation through Sacraments
Who said anything about infused grace? Grace is imputed...through means.
why not feed them the Eucharist too, since they are supposedly "regenerated"
The Eucharist comes with a warning (I Cor. 11). Baptism does not, Confession and Absolution does not. The Preaching of the Word does not. This is why we catechize our children before or as we start communing them. But we baptize them as infants; we let them confess as soon as they can speak the words, and we let them hear the preaching of the Word even before our 'science' tells us that they can understand it.

Hi Dave, it seems to me that you have been using a flawed hermeneutic all along. I can appreciate the use of the scriptures to press your point but it seems that you're ignoring context. The scriptures are a coherent and cohesive whole, the message runs through so it is just bad biblical interpretation to make one verse say too much to the exclusion of the rest of the scriptures.

You even admit that "circumcision" includes all that goes with it which WisdomLover has argued for. Paul is correcting error where the possibility that people might look back. In other places, he calls non beliving Jews "the Circumcision"...that would be those who still were making use of the OT sacrificial system. So Paul was prohibiting circumcision OT inclusion into covenant, not covenantal inclusion rite into the New Covenant.

So, you also brought up Abraham, that covenant was a unilateral covenant, [promise by God, oath sworn by God]. The rite with the split animals withs the smoking pots passing through was God saying "if I dont perform, do as to me as was done to these animals. Abraham was well aware of the rite since it was common in Near Eastern treaty making between kings.

The point of this is that God is a God of covenants, the covenant with Abraham was [as Galations 3 illucidates] the promise of Jesus' coming. Jesus, was prefigued by many things [signs/symbols] in OT Israel, when He came, John didn't want to baptize Him because his baptism was a baptism of repentance. Jesus told him to suffer it since He was coming and covenanting with sinners. These rites were not merely empty symbolic pretenses for some allegorical story to tell and neither is baptism and the Lord's Supper.

Jesus is the Mediator of a new covenant, by His blood. When He says in John 6,

"So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you."

Was Jesus just using allegorical language? When He was in the upper room and said "This is my body, and this is My blood", was this allegorical? Something is going on there...dont forget that early church members were accused of being cannibalistic. They taught real presence.

Bapbtism is a sign of covenant inclusion, it is also acknowledgement of the promise made to Abraham where in Acts 2 Peter

Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

Now this promise was made long before, sworn by God Himself to perform it. Those who lay hold of the promise, make use of it by participating in a rite that God ordained would happen as He holds His promise.

I rambled a bit to finish with this: why would God be so covenental all along in the OT with signs accomplished much and that pointed to Jesus and then not also be signifying His inward covenental work in the NT? Covenantal relationship with the Spirit is marked by meaningful participation, not bare symbolism.

@Brad B; And WL;

We are still "interpreting" passages to fit our expectations. Please quote direct reference.

Is there a direct reference to quote for the Trinity, or do you reject that doctrine also by the same reasoning. Necessary inferences to resolve tensions are used in biblical exegesis.

I am wondering[not that I expect answers]
Do you go to church?

Who's authority do you submit to?
iow...Who has God given over you as your shepherd?

Do you believe you have been called to officiate ala Eph. 4 pastor/teacher, evangelist, prophet.


@ Brad B;

The Trinity is clearly displayed in Scripture. Only that name used to describe God is a human fabrication.

The problem is that you ignore the clear statements of Scripture, as it relates to our present discussion, in favor of supporting denominational theories. Relying on the less clear passages that are easily molded and massaged for the purpose. Thus, we have denominations and division.

We are still "interpreting" passages to fit our expectations.
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The problem is that you ignore the clear statements of Scripture
Dave, you've given zero references to support your view. What are these clear statements of Scripture?

Just for fun, here are the passages you've actually quoted in this thread. Most of the passages seem completely unconnected to the current discussion almost as if they were picked by the open-and-stab method of Biblical study. Where a passage is relevant, I add comments:

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. (John 4:23)

And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word. And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. (Matthew 28:7–9)

The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: (1 Peter 3:21)
I'm not sure what exactly you are looking for. Baptism now saves you. No, it's not simply the water that does it...something no one believes. That is, after all, just what the passage above says. Somehow, baptism and faith go hand in hand. Baptism is the answer of a good conscience to God.
For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. (1 John 3:20–21)

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. (1 John 5:4)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22–25)

...mention of Abraham and Lydia as somehow counting against circumcision and baptism...
Abraham was circumcised and Lydia was baptized, so what your point is here is mysterious. It is certainly not something where one simply reads a doctrine off the pages of the Bible...and if there is anything to be read, it is the necessity in the OT of circumcision and in the NT of baptism, not your despising of them
Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man. If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day? (John 7:22–23)
Again, what are we to get from this other than that circumcision was required of the people of God in the OT?
But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. (Acts 15:20)

...mention of Paul's teachings against the Judaizers
The last two were supposed to show, I think, that circumcision is no longer used in the NT...something no one denied, and something that has no bearing whatsoever on whether it is a correlate of baptsim and whether it is a means of grace...That is is both can virtually be read from Colossians 2...something you failed to address.
Which of these passages is supposed to speak against the means of grace?

Hi dave, I am trying to understand where you are coming from. In what way [as you understand it] does your system account for Jesus' mediating the New Covenant? What is it that Jesus is doing?

@WL; and Brad B;

We are now turning things around, ignoring the lack of Scriptural support for the views of your denominations. Requiring me instead to post mine. All I'm saying is that I cannot find anything in the New Testament to reflect what I've seen in the churches I've attended.

You both began with a discourse on "Means of Grace" and the "Eucharist and Baptism", unsolicited by me, that I've requested clear Scriptural references for, and have yet to receive.

I said Jesus told us that whoever believes and (= then) is baptized will be saved. This alone refutes both positions you are offering, since as I pointed out faith is a fruit of the Holy Spirit which we must have before we can believe. That is, we must already be saved before we can believe.

We also touched on hyper literal interpretations of the Eucharist but this is easily disposed of when considering other metaphors used in the Scriptures.

Hi dave, for me this has nothing to do with soteriology. Regeneration preceeds faith, no issue there. Jesus didnt just come and make a sacrifice, He lived so that we might live...not just in an instance of rebirth, but to keep on living In Him . If you cant see why I am asking you what it is that Jesus is doing, we have a lot more prior theology to establish before proofing scriptures for sacramental efficacy.

I said Jesus told us that whoever believes and (= then) is baptized will be saved. This alone refutes both positions you are offering
Heh! Funny Dave.

It refutes your position...even with your addition to Scripture of "then". It looks like baptism is needed for salvation. You have to do both, or, at least, if you want to be sure, you'd better do both: believe and be baptized. If you want to insert a temporal order there, you really don't gain anything.

FWIW, though, the Greek is simply "kai" which means "and". Of course that term has all the ambiguity that "and" has in English...so it can mean "and then". But there is certainly no preferred reading of it that way. In spite of your attempt to smuggle that in.

But as I said, it doesn't really help you.

faith is a fruit of the Holy Spirit which we must have before we can believe.
Well since "faith" and "belief" are the same thing, this sentence says that you have to have faith before you can have faith. I hereby declare this thesis poppycock.
hyper literal interpretations of the Eucharist but this is easily disposed of when considering other metaphors used in the Scriptures.
You mean like when God said four times "This.Is.My.Body" without once saying that it is a symbol. And like when He said "My flesh is food indeed". You somehow know that, for all of that, He actually meant "Not Really". In fact, you know this easily. To put it in your words, you can easily dispose of these words of Christ.

Are there any other words of Christ you'd like to dispose of?

You know, Dave, you can go on and on about how you are simply reading Scripture, and I'm applying some heavy-handed denominational interpretive grid, but that's just clearly nonsense.

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