This video is 8 hours long because it is a debate set over a number of sessions. It is worthy of your time to view this in order that you may know how to prove that God exists.
According to the apostle Paul “God is not the author of confusion” (I Corinthians 14;33). Yet, today, there are hundreds of sects of “Christianity” all claiming to follow Jesus Christ and most if not all have a variation upon that theme. Is this how God wants it? Is this a “true and undefiled religion” (James 1:27)?
Listen to this preacher, Michael Hatcher and see if his lesson answers those questions.
I thought of starting the new year with a posting of a site that gets you thinking about where you are regarding what is to come for all man-kind – eternal life.
I Shall See God
Job, that ancient patriarch and prophet issues forth words of confidence that the grave is not the end of life with these words: “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me” (Job 19:25-27). How could this man, whom modern scholars wrongly consign to a people of superstition and ignorance, know about a redeemer who would buy back his soul in an all too obvious resurrected form? I say obvious because the man himself says his skin will be destroyed. Could it be that the Hebrews’ writer has, among others, Job in mind when he pens, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets” (Hebrews 1:1)? Could it be that Job, like his fellow patriarch Abraham, was confident of mind “… that God was able to raise… even from the dead…” (Hebrews 11:19)? The answer to these questions is the same as that recorded in faith’s chapter of fame in Hebrews 11 that each of the faithful have these precursory words “By faith” attached to their actions. By faith Job knew there would come a time when a High Priest will come and sympathise with our weakness because he would be tempted “as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15) and therefore have all the necessary qualifications to redeem. By faith Job knew as the only way to please God, for “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6), for this it has always been “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17; cf, Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 10:17).
Our confidence in the resurrection is boosted by this man of knowledge so-much-so that we, too, “shall see God” by following the words of Christ “…whom [God] hath appointed heir of all things…” (Hebrews 1:2). He is the “chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded” (I Peter 2:6). The apostle Paul maintained that the resurrection was at the heart of the Christian faith. He questioned the futility of some by taking on the way without this fundamental objective in mind by saying, “if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain” (I Corinthians 15:13-14). Paul’s confidence was firmly entrenched in the resurrection of a man’s soul with these words: “Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus… For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (II Corinthians 4:14; 5:1). This should not surprise us since Jesus emphatically promised such to those worried they might not find the way home to heaven, for after assuring them He was going to prepare for them a place to reside in the resurrection, He promised, “I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:3). Oh, and just in case you need a little more reassurance then, “Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing” (John 20:27). For the apostle Paul, the resurrection of Christ is solid proof that He will indeed keep His promise, for he says that Christ not only appeared to the twelve apostles but “…he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time” (I Corinthians 15:6-8). Jesus said he that “seeth” (John 6:40) is one that is able to discern God is proved as unchangeable in the past (Hebrews 6:17) and will prove unchangeable in raising the faithful to an imperishable state in the future according to I Corinthians 15:33, for we that “seeth” trust by faith in the witness of God’s word that “…blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29).
The ancient paths of the Bible conscript men and women of faith in all dispensations to testify of the resurrection’s reality. Just as they had faith and confidence in seeing God so too, we, through faith can confidently say, “I will see God”.
Comparing Theology With What The Bible Actually Says
I want to ask you, with all due respect, have you been duped by religious theologians regarding the purpose of baptism? The line that follows may be familiar with you: salvation is by faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9), not as a result of being baptised. If you believe this to be true, then the scriptures the Holy Spirit moved men to write in the first century (II Peter 1:21) are at serious odds with this all too familiar statement. Please, with an open mind, consider the following scriptures:
Mark 16:16 “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Jesus said this is the “gospel” that must be preached (v.15). Parsing the text will reveal that faith i.e. “believeth” and full immersion in water i.e. “baptized” is not only a one time combined action but precedes the rescue from sin i.e. “saved”.
Who are you going to believe; the theologian or Jesus Christ?
Matthew 28:19 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” Jesus leaves instructions on how one is to be taught in order to become a disciple of Christ, for Jesus said, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed” (John 8:31). Conversely, if one does not abide in the word of Christ but say in some other’s teaching they cannot be said to be in Christ (cf II John 9). The “twelve” at Ephesus found this out when they met the apostle Paul in Acts 19:1-7 and were consequently instructed to leave John the Baptist’s instructions for they had been superseded at the time the twelve obeyed them (cf Mark 1:4 John taught a “baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” applicable to the Jews prior to the cross upon which the instruction subsequently died along with the law and the prophets, Colossians 2:14). When the twelve “heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:5). Wayne Jackson has well quoted Danker’s 2005 Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: the phrase “in the name of” signifies to “become the possession of and come under the dedicated protection of the one whose name they bear.” These men had faith in John which Paul said must change to faith in Jesus then be baptised into Christ if they are to be saved.
Now, whose word is authority regarding baptism; the theologian or Jesus Christ and His apostles?
Acts 2:38 “…Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…” The delinquents who had within the past 50 days done to “that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified” (v.36) been convicted by the Holy Spirit inspired sermon preached by Peter and realised their guilt. They wanted to know what they needed to do to be forgiven for doing such a heinous thing. Repent and be baptised and as I noted before it is a one time combined action that precedes forgiveness that God promised to bestow. Clearly, the theologian is at odds with the grammar and implications of this verse and will even go as far as to say so. A.T. Robertson, a well respected Baptist theological word scholar had this to say: “One will decide the use here according as he believes that baptism is essential to the remission of sins or not. My view is decidedly against the idea that Peter, Paul, or any one in the New Testament taught baptism as essential to the remission of sins or the means of securing such remission” (Robertson Word Pictures).
However, who would you much rather believe, the theologian with traditional bias or the apostle who was moved by the Holy Spirit whose promise was “when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come” (John 16:13)?
Acts 22:16 “…arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord”. Paul is here recalling the events that occurred to him on the road to Damascus (cf Acts 9:1-19). It is three days since his encounter with Jesus and he is busy “praying” (Acts 9:11). Here we see a picture of a believing man yet; clearly an unforgiven man for his sins had not yet been washed away. What is going to wash away his sins i.e. make him a saved disciple of Christ? Why it is baptism. In fact the verse says the act is to call upon the name of the Lord, “the answer of a good conscience toward God” says Peter in I Peter 3:21. For God to declare via Ananias that Paul needed to be baptised in order to be forgiven yet then have that same Paul, according to theologians, declare salvation is by faith without the need for baptism is “not being straightforward about the truth of the gospel” (Galatians 2:14) and smacks of hypocrisy and partiality both of which are condemned by God (cf Matthew 23 et al; Acts 10:34).
Who is more trustworthy in respect of the truth about baptism; the theologian or the scriptures themselves?
Romans 6:3-4 “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Clearly, baptism is a symbol of the grave that figures the death of the old man of sin and heralds the new man raised up, forgiven i.e. “newness of life”. Note: just as God raised up Jesus, so too, God raises up the forgiven but only after baptism.
To ignore the clear statement presented here is to take sides with the theologian rather than the plain, simple metaphor presented by God’s ambassador.
Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Salvation is a result of God’s grace and man’s faith. Paul also states in Ephesians 5:26 that salvation i.e. “cleanse” is a result of “the washing of water by the word”. The use of water is conceded by commentators including John Calvin, Thayer, Danker and even the Baptist theologian A.T. Robertson as referring to full immersion which is the proper rendition of the transliterated word, baptism. Besides, Ephesians 2:5 says Christians are those who “were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ”. The word “quickened” means “to be alive, have intelligence” and is therefore the opposite to being dead. This verse corresponds exactly with that which Paul mentioned to the church of Christ in Romans 6:3-4 and Colossians 2:12 where Christians are those who have been “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.”
Ask yourself the question, who is more reliable to give you the answer to what you must do to be saved; the theologian who cannot bear the thoughts of being wrong regarding his or her traditional thought on the matter or the Bible writers guided to write down the very thoughts of God Himself?
There prevails in so-called mainstream Christianity a theological bias that overwhelmingly denies the Holy Spirit moved men who spoke and wrote the word of God (II Peter 1:21) regarding the essential ingredient and purpose of biblical baptism. I implore you, dear reader, to shrug off this man made tradition that theologians have embraced and hold close those scriptures I have mentioned and many others that for brevity sake have not been mentioned.
When Jesus opposed the Devil in Matthew 4:1-11, He says Scripture speaks with loud authority over and above that of any theologian’s pen. Take a cue from the noble people of Berea (Acts 17:10-11) and examine and study the Scriptures I have presented to see if these things are so.
Graham Walker, Timaru 10 June 2010
God’s Plan For Religious Unity
In the first century there was not all of the division among those who profess Christ as there are today. In that the church is made-up of fallible humans while the apostles were still living there were both error taught and unauthorized practices. Probably the church at Corinth was at the top of the list of digression. Among other things that congregation had factions within it caused by those who were attempting to show allegiance unto mere humans. The Apostle Paul condemned this in no uncertain terms at First Corinthians 1:10-13.
Such division is still condemned in the inspired Word of God. Even the very night in which the Son of God was betrayed by Judas Iscariot our Lord was concerned those who professed Him would become divided. At John 17:20-21, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” You and I know for a fact that those who profess Christ are divided into hundreds of different religious organizations. The Lord’s prayer will not become reality of all who profess Him as long as there is conflicting doctrines among what is referred to as Christendom. Just to agree to disagree will not unite those who profess Christ. You might have a form of union, but not unity. If someone tied the tails of two live cats together you would have a union but not unity.
What is the answer to this dilemma? It will be necessary for each religious group to cast off its peculiar doctrines and embrace only a “thus saith the Lord,” the Bible. Each religious group will not accept the creeds of others, but all acknowledge the Bible as the inspired Word of God. Our Lord declared at: Matthew 15:9, “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” The seven principles of unity acceptable unto the Lord are stated by the Apostle Paul at: Ephesians 4:3-6, “Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Anything less than all seven of those basic truths will not provide the unity pleasing unto the Lord.
Dub Mowery (Preacher and a very wise man in the church of Christ)
Every now and then a new opportunity comes along that has the potential to set you alight with enthusiasm. Recently I have had just such an opportunity. It involves promoting the concept of motivating parents to finance their children for future higher education so that one day their children may have the opportunity attend some form of tertiary education later on in life via a scholarship provided through the interest from investments that a vast membership is able to provide. This is even more important in this day and age where successive governments are cutting grants and charging parents with the responsibility of providing for their own children to attend higher education along with the resultant ever increasing burden of student debt falling on the shoulders of an already worried job seeking graduate. I believe the concept to be wonderful and much needed for I testify along my wife that we became members of this society some 15 years ago for the benefit of our youngest son who will now use the contributions we made over the years to fund his poly tech course next year. What I think is really neat is that I now have the chance to encourage other young families to also think ahead using the same not-for-profit friendly society that runs the programme in my country which is, by the way, the only organisation to do so in New Zealand.
Now Paul had a similar concept in mind for the church situated in Colossae only his thought was for motivation to obey the gospel and the spiritual well-being that comes as a result. In Colossians 4:2-3 his desire is for the gospel of Jesus Christ to be spread so that many others may enjoy the fruits of eternal life in heaven along with the Divine Godhead and the throne of obedient throughout the ages. This, he believed, could be accomplished by praying to God that “God may open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ.” You see, it is only through the word that can we know why and how we need to be saved because “faith comes from hearing and hearing by the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). The word received is that which saves (James 1:21) from which man finds the only way in which the burden of sin may be lifted from his shoulders.
A new opportunity exists and abounds every day to motivate us to this higher thought; the trick is to take that motivation and use it to benefit souls for eternity.