Hebrews 6:1-3

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, September 13, 2021 2 comments


by Katie Erickson

“Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.” -Hebrews 6:1-3

Last week in Hebrews 5:11-14, we discussed the concepts of elementary teachings and maturity. There, the author addressed his audience as not yet being ready for spiritual food but still immature and in need of milk, so we may expect that “milk” is what he’ll give us here. But, that’s not the case! He helps them move toward maturity by giving them some “solid food” teaching.

This passage begins with a concise summary of what we are called to do: “Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity” (verse 1). We are not called to stand still in our faith but to move forward toward maturity. He considers “repentance from acts that lead to death” as elementary teaching; don’t lay that foundation again, but move beyond it. We still need that foundation of repenting from our sin as the basis for our mature faith, but to be a mature believer, we should have already accepted, understood, and applied that concept in our lives.

“Faith in God” is also considered elementary teaching, not because it’s not important because it is the most foundational aspect of being a follower of Jesus Christ. This means more than simply acknowledging that there is a God; it means living our lives in a manner that shows we trust Him in all things. We as Christians often stress “faith in Jesus” whereas the author of Hebrews calls out “faith in God,” but since Jesus is God, this is emphasizing that we need to be having a personal relationship with all of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The word “instruction” at the beginning of verse 2 begins a new part of the author’s list. The Greek word that the NIV translates as “cleansing rites” is the word for baptism. But it’s plural here, which indicates that it’s referring to other purification ceremonies and not Christian baptism. Jews had a variety of purification ceremonies in their practices, as did many religions of the day. Therefore, one elementary teaching for people to become Christians would be to learn the distinction between Christian baptism and all those other purification ceremonies.

Next, we see “the laying on of hands.” This was a common practice in that era. This act was often associated with the commissioning of a person for some new adventure. We see it illustrated in Scripture with laying hands on new converts (Acts 8:15-17) and laying hands on Timothy by the leaders (1 Timothy 4:14) and by Paul (2 Timothy 1:6). A new believer would have likely been prayed over with the laying on of hands when they came to faith in God, and so this would have been a foundational concept for them.

The final two topics of this list, “the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment” go together. These are a reminder that this life is not all we will ever experience. While we will die a physical death in this body, that is not the end; we will be raised to life again because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We will all be judged one day for our actions in this life, and our eternity will be based on that judgment. One foundational reason to have faith in the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus is so that our eternal judgment is that we spend eternity in heaven with Him and not separated from God in hell. This, too, was elementary teaching of coming to faith in God.

Verse 3 concludes this section: “And God permitting, we will do so.” This verse expresses two things. First, the believers were determined to help new believers move beyond these elementary teachings and into maturity. Second, it is only with the help of God that they can do this. All of this is impossible without God’s involvement in it. We can be as determined as ever to become mature in our faith, but it is impossible for us to do this on our own without the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The author of Hebrews and his audience realized this, and the author wanted to affirm this before moving on in his letter.

So, the list of elementary teachings is: repenting from our sin, having faith in God, and being instructed regarding cleansing rites/baptism, the laying on of hands, and resurrection and eternal life. Where are you at on these elementary teachings of the faith? Do you believe all of them? Have you received instruction on them and feel like you grasp them all well?

If you don’t feel like you’ve grasped these well, then perhaps you’re still at the “milk” stage of your faith. That’s perfectly ok! Don’t let anyone look down on you because of where you’re at in your faith; we all have to start somewhere! The important thing is to recognize where you’re at and take the appropriate steps to move forward toward maturity. Talk to your pastor or a spiritual mentor (and if you don’t have one, find one) and ask for instruction wherever you feel weak in these areas.

If you have grasped these foundational concepts, then you may be ready for “solid food” in your faith. Don’t feel like you have “arrived” because of this; even at the “solid food” stage, we all have more growing to do! No one will ever reach full Christian maturity while on this earth, but we can all strive to become as mature as we are able. The important thing is to keep moving forward and growing in your faith. Make sure you are continuing to receive instruction that helps you to grow and mature.

This week, take stock of where you’re at in your faith, and I encourage you to take whatever steps are needed for you to grow just a little bit more. God permitting, we will do so!

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Apologetics 6: 2 Timothy 2

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, September 10, 2021 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

“And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.”
~2 Timothy 2:24-26

Last spring, I was going through the New Testament looking for any Scripture verses that did not make sense without the straight-forward reading of Genesis, and I came across this passage. It did not relate to my study, but it stood out and I knew I had to deal with it. I immediately put it in my notes to write on this and I’ve been chewing on it since. When I started working on this apologetics series, I knew it was time to get into this passage. Then in June, I took a personal retreat and took a more thorough examination of the surrounding context and I was just blown away. I’ll be blunt here: this has been a VERY difficult thing for me to practice. So, in this post, I am writing specifically to Charlie Wolcott, because yours truly needs to hear this message more than my audience. I’ll take as much time as I need to unpack these three verses and the surrounding context because there is a LOT of content here.

I watch “The Chosen,” and I need to give a spoiler here on Season 2. In Season 2, Episode 1, Jesus has been sharing with James and John that they will soon have the power to heal people as He does while they were in the Samaritan town of Sychar. But towards the end of the episode, some Samaritans pass by them and mock them, spitting at them. James and John go after them, all for defending Jesus’ name, and Jesus has to physically restrain them while the two brothers ask Jesus if they could call fire down from heaven. Jesus gives them a stern rebuke and dubs them “Sons of Thunder” at that point. But one thing that caught my attention was how Jesus rebuked them for thinking they were special because Jesus had chosen them, but then He told them flat out that they weren’t special at all. I felt that rebuke.

I grew up in the church and on the mission field. I don’t know what it’s like to be pulled from the mire. I don’t know what it’s like to have been indoctrinated into false teachings and have God rescue me from it. I’m glad He preserved me from that because I would have fallen for false teachings if it was simply “the rule” for when I was growing up. It wasn’t until the last 10-15 years that I learned that Christians do interpret the Bible differently (some cases are legit, but many are not). I was stunned to learn that there were Christians who did not read Genesis plainly (it still baffles me why they could consider this to be a valid option). Yet I am still one of the ones God has chosen for His kingdom work in this generation. That fact needs to humble me more than it has.

When it comes to standing for the truth and for sound doctrine, there are two major categories of people: Pharisees and Bereans. The Pharisees were known for their adherence to sound doctrine, but they totally missed the point of it all. They added their own traditions as equal to the Law, and yet in their zeal to carry on their traditions, they rejected the heart and intention of the main Law itself. The Pharisees are often considered the picture of “legalism” because of this (though Jesus called them out on hypocrisy more). The Bereans were believers who heard Paul and Silas speak and instead of merely taking them at their word, they went through Scripture and tested and searched to see if what they said was true. It is easy to confuse these two, on both ends. It is easy for the apologist to think he is being a Berean and cross the line into Phariseeism. But it is just as easy for someone who is in error to hear a Berean say, “Hey, this doesn’t line up,” and accuse the Berean of being a Pharisee. We have to remember that we can only control our side of things. We can’t control what people think of us or how they read us.

When we deal with apologetics, our ultimate goal and purpose in life is to glorify God. I was taken aback when I heard Paul Washer state in one sermon excerpt that he is not as concerned about whether someone goes to Heaven or Hell as he is that God is glorified in any of it. Evangelism and apologetics in particular have lost their purpose in their role. Today it is about numbers and converts, and for the most part, the Gospel has been watered down to make it more “palatable” to the heathen to make the numbers look good. This is unhealthy. We must do things God’s way, proclaiming God’s message as God gave it, and also in the manner in which God told us to do it. The question that remains is this: is what we are doing glorifying God or not? It only glorifies God if it is God’s message and proclaimed in God’s manner.

After glorifying God, the other primary purpose in this text is that we are to rebuke and teach so that the other person may find repentance. My next several posts will explain how and why the lost are lost, and that will showcase why Paul gives us why we should be nice to the enemies of sound doctrine. But this should be our motive for apologetics: to teach the truth so that people may find repentance. No one embodies this better today than Ray Comfort. You may not like his style or his apologetics, but I don’t know of anyone who longs to see people saved more than he does. Instead, what we end up seeing is, “This is wrong, this must be marked out, and that’s the end of it.” I can see a lot of that in me, hence the need for me to write this to myself. Or we see, “No one is perfect, and we don’t know the truth, so no one should proclaim it as exclusive.” That is just as wrong and marking error without correction than. So how do we deal with all this? Next week, we’ll explore the four characteristics of the lost from this passage as a whole before digging into each one in detail. After that, we’ll look at the Christian methods to deal with them.

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Unspoken Prayer Requests

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, September 7, 2021 0 comments


by Chad Koons

Have you stopped believing in “unspoken prayer requests”? If so, then you are in good company. Let’s cut to the chase and review 5 great reasons why unspoken prayer requests should be forever stricken from our vocabulary.

1. Unspoken requests are simply not Biblical. This sounds heavy, but it’s true. A great example for this point would be the Apostle Paul. Paul requested prayer many times – Romans 15:30-32, Ephesians 6:18-20, and Colossians 4:2-4, just to name a few. Since he lived within the ancient world where letters and messengers were the means of correspondence, Paul’s prayer warriors didn’t always know every detail of what was going on with him. Yet Paul knew his situation and therefore gave them direction in how to pray! Read the passages above and you’ll see that Paul made specific requests. You will never find where Paul told the churches that he has an “unspoken request.” Paul’s prayer warriors knew what to pray because he told them! If we are wise, we will follow this example.

2. If it’s worth asking for prayer, then it’s worth being selectively transparent. Often, we use the unspoken prayer request because of privacy. And rightfully so, because not everyone should know your business! But some people should know what you’re going through, especially if you are asking them to pray for you. We all have a circle of family and friends who love and care for us. These are the people with whom we must be vulnerable; we should be transparent enough to share our specific prayer requests with them. Forget the unspoken, social media, shotgun blasts; instead, we need to confide with those whom the Lord has given us. Trust them with the information they need to go the Lord on your behalf! Paul had relationship with those whom he asked for prayer, and he put much faith in their specific prayers. Which brings me to #3…

3. We need to respect our prayer warriors. Whenever someone asks me to pray for their unspoken prayer request, it’s always an awkward feeling. I am left wondering and pressured with, “So… what should I pray for?” I cannot go to the Lord unless I know what I’m going to Him about. I’m not going to waste my time, or worse yet fumble around before the King of all kings! I take prayer seriously, as we all should. I’ll pray for you, sincerely I will, but if you can’t tell me what I’m praying for, then maybe I’m not the guy to do it. Think about this: when you ask for prayer, you are asking someone to present themselves before the throne of God Almighty on your behalf. Do we realize the gravity of this? Unspoken requests put your prayer warriors in awkward position, somewhere between sympathy, bewilderment, and struggle. This is not something I would ask anyone to experience on my behalf. Your prayer warriors are going before the Lord for you, so make sure that you have respected their time, fervency, and faith by not putting them in that awkward “unspoken” position.

4. Recognizing the gift of prayer itself. Within earthly kingdoms, it is a fearful and honorable thing to be summoned before the king, and nobody treats that summons lightly. In the same way, prayer is a fearful and honorable thing. It is an awesome gift from the Lord, so please ask for and use it wisely. The Lord calls us to come boldly before His throne (Hebrews 4:14-16), so we must respect this holy opportunity. When the apostle Paul considered the prayer of those supporting him, he approached it with the utmost respect. “For I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance” (Philippians 1:19). Paul understood the gravity of the gift of prayer. He realized that it was not mere good vibes, positive thoughts, nor was it something to enter into flippantly. He recognized that prayer was a holy endeavor where we meet with our King, that prayer is a vehicle through which much power is made available! Unspoken requests are vague and not developed enough to bring before the Lord. Which brings me to my last point…

5. Prayer must be specific and based on His Word. Did you know that there is a protocol when it comes to prayer? When we pray, we must pray according to His will and know that He hears us (1 John 5:14-15). We cannot do this unless we know the will of God. What is God’s will? It’s actually not mysterious; God’s will is found in the Bible! The Bible is specific about many things, therefore you must find out what the Bible says about your situation before you go before the Lord with it.

Instead of issuing a non-specific “unspoken prayer request,” begging God, or giving up, how about doing what it takes to search the Bible regarding your situation? Take the time, put in the effort, and even Google it if you need to. And once you know what the Lord has said about it, then you can pray boldly, specifically, and according to His will! What is God’s will? Again, God’s will is found within His Word.

Now for a practical example. Since many people battle anxiety, let’s just use that. If you battle anxiety, you would need to search the Bible and find out what it says about anxiety. You will find verses in Matthew, Philippians, 1 Peter, and 2 Corinthians that talk about anxiety and how to deal with it. Now that you know what the Word of God says regarding anxiety, you can take those Scriptures before the Lord. Having armed yourself with the will of God, here’s what you could say:

“In Matthew 6:25-34, the Lord Jesus commanded me to not be anxious or worry, therefore I realize that I must obey that command. Philippians 4:6-7 tells me not to be anxious about anything, but instead to tell the Lord what I need and to be thankful, and then the peace of God will guard my heart and mind. According to 1 Peter 5:7, I now know that the Lord doesn’t want me to keep my anxiety, but instead He wants me to cast my cares upon Him because He cares for me! 2 Corinthians 10:5 says that I am to destroy every argument and opinion that is contrary to the knowledge of God, and that I am expected to take every thought captive and make it obey Christ!”

Now that I know the will of God regarding anxiety, I will now pray according to the Word and will of God:

“Lord, I will no longer be anxious. You said to cast my cares upon You, so here are my cares, I cast them upon You (taking a moment to tell him what your cares are). I thank You for hearing me and I thank you because you are taking them away from me! Because I cast my cares upon You, I believe that Your peace will now guard my heart and mind. I will obey your command and I will no longer worry. I will focus instead upon You and Your Kingdom. I refuse and destroy every anxious thought that comes against me because they go against the Word of God. I will take my thoughts captive and I will make them obey Christ in Jesus’ name!”

It’s not magic. It’s not positive thought. No, it’s far better; it’s praying specifically according to the Word of God! Prayers like this get answered. They are specific, based upon the will of God, and full of faith.

This, my friends, is so much better than non-specific, wishy-washy, half-hearted prayer. When you search the Bible to see what He has to say about it, then you may go before His throne and pray with boldness according to His will!

So please, never again utter the words, “I have an unspoken prayer request.” Confide in those whom the Lord has given you, find out what the Bible says about it, and go before the Lord with this awesome gift of prayer! The Lord is waiting.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.

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Hebrews 5:11-14

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, September 6, 2021 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

“We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” -Hebrews 5:11-14

Have you ever been reprimanded by a teacher? I’m sure we all have at some point in life. The feel of this section of Hebrews 5 is like that; the author is reprimanding his readers because they are not at the point of maturity where he thinks they should be.

It is disputed by scholars whether verse 11 should go with this section of verses or with the previous section. Does the phrase “We have much to say about this” mean the previous thought, or the upcoming thought? It could really go either way. But regardless, the author is essentially calling his audience lazy. People are often lazy and want to take the path of least resistance; we often want to do the minimum in order to get by. That place is often comfortable for us, because we’re not challenged there.

The author is saying that his audience doesn’t even bother to try and understand what he’s trying to teach them. The NIV tries to make this reprimand a bit nicer by saying “you no longer try to learn,” but the Greek word used here means slow to learn, lazy, or sluggish. He literally writes, “You have become slow to learn/lazy/sluggish for hearing.” That’s a bit harsh!

But rather than leave it at that insult, the author then explains where he feels that his readers have fallen short. In verse 12, we see that he believes the readers should be more mature than they actually are. They have apparently been followers of Jesus Christ for quite some time now, and they should be teaching others by this point. That doesn’t necessarily mean the audience of this letter is all teachers, but rather the author is emphasizing progressing and maturing in the faith. There comes a point when the student needs to become the teacher, and the audience of this letter to the Hebrews has apparently surpassed that point in the author’s view.

They have not even mastered the “elementary truths of God’s word.” This phrase in the Greek would be like us telling someone they haven’t even mastered their ABCs yet; it refers to concepts that are that simple and foundational. They need to go back to the very beginning – again. They have already been taught these elementary truths, but they’re clearly just not getting them and not maturing from them.

Just like the flowing of a river, a follower of Jesus Christ does not stand still in his or her faith. We are either moving forward and growing more mature, or we are slipping backward and declining. The author here is drawing attention to the fact that his readers did not move forward onto solid food; they slid backwards into needing milk instead. The “milk” represents elementary and foundational instruction in the ways of following Jesus, whereas the “solid food” is more advanced instruction. You wouldn’t teach a high schooler the same content as you’d teach a first grader; the high schooler would be bored and not learn anything new. Similarly, mature believers should be instructed with mature teaching adequate for their level, not the “milk” of new believers.

In case the readers didn’t understand this analogy with milk and solid food (they are apparently immature believers, after all), he explains it a bit more in verse 13. Any believer who is still learning the elementary truths of the faith must be treated as such; you wouldn’t feed a newborn solid foods, they can’t handle it. Infants are not capable of understanding complex human speech, and spiritual infants are not capable of understanding complex spiritual truths. They may be able to understand some basics, but nothing beyond that.

In contrast, mature believers need solid food (verse 14). The word for “mature” here is teleios, which has the idea of being mature, complete, and whole. This is in stark contrast to the infants. The infants are not learning anything, and perhaps have even slid backward in their faith, whereas the mature believers are constantly using and training themselves in the faith. They are able to do what immature believers cannot do – distinguish good from evil. When a person can do that, he or she will more often do the right thing, because they know what is right and what is wrong. Those who are spiritual immature don’t necessarily know right from wrong, so they won’t be able to serve God as well as those who know the right thing to do.

Where are you at in your faith? Are you still in spiritual infancy, or are you a more mature “adult” Christian? But more importantly than where you are at currently, where did you come from? Were you more mature then backslid and have gone back to the “comfortable” place of drinking milk where you don’t have to be challenged and grow? Or are you moving forward to a place of more maturity?

It’s not about where you’re at; it’s about which direction you’re going.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.

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Apologetics 5: Conviction, Candid, and Willing to Engage

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, September 3, 2021 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

"To be an effective warrior in the battle for truth today, several old fashioned, Christlike virtues are absolutely essential: biblical discernment, wisdom, fortitude, determination, endurance, skill in handling Scripture, strong convictions, the ability to speak candidly without waffling, and a willingness to enter a conflict."
~John MacArthur: The Truth War, page 146

This is the last post on this quote from John MacArthur from his book The Truth War, but I’m not done with dealing with apologetics after this. I will hit three subjects today: having strong convictions, speaking candidly, and being willing to engage in combat. I’ll start by saying we have a great model for these three virtues in the Apostle Paul. He was so adamant, so strong, so candid, and so zealous that when the Gospel began moving through him, cities would gather to riot to try to stop him. So, let’s dig in.

We must have strong convictions. There is one question that puts this virtue to the test: “Could you be wrong?” You have to be careful with this because this is a trap question. It doesn’t matter how you answer it, and you are in trouble. If you answer yes, then you lost the sting of your message and you have surrendered any prospect for why anyone should listen to you. If you answer no, then you are perceived as being a close-minded bigot who isn’t open to “other options.” Well, just in case you haven’t picked up on it, truth is exclusive. It’s not open to “other ideas.” Any “other idea” is a lie. Anything other than the truth is a lie. It’s not hard to see this, unless you’ve bought into the lie of relativism, which is a very strong aspect of our post-modern society. We must have strong convictions. Our message is that Jesus is the only way. He is the ONLY option. The world hates that message because it means they can’t do it their way. We have to be so convinced that Jesus is the only option that the mere thought of any other way is absurdity at best. Understand this: most of your “debate” opponents KNOW this is what our claim is. They want to see if you actually believe it or not.

There is a great appeal to showcase false humility in our culture today, both socially and religiously. The false humility I am taking about is what reduces our convictions to mere opinions. This is the approach of many of the “Emergent Church / Progressive Christian” teachers and many other intellectual skeptics/scoffers. They will appear humble. They will be nice and seem genuine, yet everything that comes out of their mouth is “Did God really say?” Let me also make this clear: they believe they are right. They will pretend to be humble and say, “We really don’t know…” but they actually are coming from a position of knowledge that what God said isn’t true. They, too, are dogmatic and close-minded to “other ideas,” especially ideas that are true. Paul Washer said this in the “Unpopular” documentary: “All the religions of the world believe they’re the only way, or they’re not really teaching anything.” Why does anyone believe anything they claim? It’s simple: they believe they are right. If they are allowed to believe they are right, why can’t we do that about our own beliefs? We must have strong convictions if we are going to go out an proclaim it. The Apostle Paul was convinced – so convinced he went above and beyond, crawling across glass so that some might be saved. He would not budge, and that conviction was needed for his mission.

We must be candid about what we believe. This follows the paragraph above. We have to be upfront and real about what we believe. If we believe Jesus is the only way, we can’t go about saying “that’s just my opinion.” If we really believe Jesus is the only way, and we believe what the Bible says about what happens to those who don’t submit to Christ, then our zeal for evangelism will be ever so heightened. One of the reasons so few evangelize is because the reality of Hell is far from our minds. When that happens, we aren’t being honest with our own beliefs.

We have to be upfront, candid, and frank about what we believe when we defend our position. We also have to call out opposing ideas for what they are. We can’t sugarcoat anything. The Bible doesn’t let us share “our opinions.” We must share God’s message, or we are being false witnesses if we say we are proclaiming Christianity. Christianity FOLLOWS Jesus; it’s not opinions about Him. And we must declare Him as He is, not as we’d like Him to be. The Apostle Paul refused to sugarcoat anything. He told the elite Athenian philosophers in front of everyone that they did what they did in ignorance and were wrong in their doing. Paul had to be candid about his faith because if he waivered even in the slightest, it would be a result of pleasing men, not God.

Finally, we have to be willing to enter conflict. We have to be wiling to stand up to false teachings and those who bring them, even if they come from other believers. Paul stood up to Peter to his face for separating Jew and Gentile based on audiences and who was present. When Paul went to Athens, it was after escaping riots in Thessalonica and Berea that tried to shut him down. Yet even in Athens, his spirit was provoked and when he was supposed to be resting and escaping trouble, and he went right back into the heat of the battle and proclaimed Christ. Paul was stoned outside the city gates of Lystra and popped back to life and went right back into the city. While he loved peace and sought peace, he was not afraid of an argument or making a stand against false teachings.

Today, we have to be willing to enter a conflict. Peace often cannot be had unless we pass through a war. There is no pacifism in Christianity. We are to be “peace-makers,” not “peace-lovers.” The former goes out and makes peace happen, often by striking down wolves. The latter refuses to make a stand and at the slightest hint of trouble, they raise the white flag. The people of Jabesh-Gilead surrendered when Nahash came to take them, submitting to terms of having their right eyes gouged out. King Saul got word of it and by the Spirit’s leading, he mustered the troops and rescued the town. Peace followed on the other side of the war. But as long as our enemy is out and about, there will be no peace until he is driven back. As long as lies and false teachings are being taught within the church, there cannot be peace. We MUST be willing to stand up to those false teachings and those who bring them.

Next week, I’ll move on from this quote, but I’ll add on something that I’ve been struggling with and that I know God wants to work into me: to defend the faith in such a way that we lead the other person to repentance from their errors.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.

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Hebrews 5:1-10

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, August 30, 2021 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

“Every high priest is selected from among the people and is appointed to represent the people in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people. And no one takes this honor on himself, but he receives it when called by God, just as Aaron was.
In the same way, Christ did not take on himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him, ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father.’
And he says in another place, ‘You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.’
During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.”
-Hebrews 5:1-10

The theme of Jesus as our great high priest is one of the main themes of the book of Hebrews, and it’s one that’s only found in this book - nowhere else in the Scriptures. This topic was introduced in last week’s passage of Hebrews 4:14-16 and continues through today’s passage.

Though the concept of a high priest would have been very familiar to the author’s original audience, he still explains it for the reader’s benefit and to make sure everyone is on the same page with what that role looked like. His description points to the ideal high priest, not one of his contemporary high priests who were likely falling short of this ideal.

We see in verse 1 that the office of the high priest has a component of mankind and a component of God. He is selected from the people and represents the people. He is their link to God. He is the one who is able to offer sacrifices for the people’s sins – something that only God can do, but the high priest is His appointed earthly mediator for that role.

Verse 2 describes some of the moral qualities of this ideal high priest. When dealing with those who do not obey God and His rules for them, he does not have an uncaring attitude of indifference but rather he “deals gently” with them. This word in the Greek refers to a middle ground between being angry and being apathetic. He recognizes that is not the perfect model of obedience, so he’s able to use his own weakness to relate to the people. He, too, needs God’s forgiveness for his own disobedience, just as the people do.

Similarly, verse 3 explains how he is in need of sacrifices for his own sins, just like the rest of the people. The high priest was chosen from among the people and is still one of them in standing before God. Leviticus 16 provides the detailed guidelines that the people were supposed to follow for the annual Day of Atonement, and Leviticus 16:11 tells how Aaron (the first high priest) also needed that atonement: “Aaron shall bring the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household, and he is to slaughter the bull for his own sin offering.”

No person can choose to be the high priest; he must be appointed by God (verse 4). The pattern for this appointment was set by Aaron in Exodus 28:1-3. Aaron’s appointment is the only specific one recorded in Scripture, but his calling also included his sons and their descendents. There are examples in Scripture of people who were punished for trying to appoint themselves to this office; see Korah in Numbers 16, Saul in 1 Samuel 13, and Uzziah in 2 Chronicles 26:16-23.

Now that the author has established what the earthly office of the high priest looks like, he turns his attention to Jesus Christ in verses 5-10 and how He fulfills that same office. Jesus goes way beyond the human qualifications for high priest because He is also God.

Jesus Christ, of course, has the qualification of being called and appointed by God. In verse 5, the author references Psalm 2:7, which was a messianic prophecy that had not been fulfilled when that psalm was written. We see this being fulfilled in the life of Jesus both at His baptism (Matthew 3:13-17) and at His transfiguration (Mark 9:2-13). In both of those situations, God verbally declared Jesus as His Son.

The next Old Testament quote, in verse 6, is from Psalm 110:4. You may be wondering who Melchizedek is; that’s a very good question, and we’ll get to him more in Hebrews 7, so stay tuned. It’s important to note here that this prophecy refers to Christ as a priest “forever.” Every earthly priest was limited by his lifespan, but Christ lives forever, so He is a priest forever.

Remember how the office of the high priest has a component of mankind and a component of God? We just saw how Jesus fulfills the God components, and now in verse 7 we see the mankind component. We see how Jesus was a genuine human; He prayed, He cried, and He was heard. Jesus lived a life in the flesh, just as we do.

Just as we humans need to learn obedience through discipline and suffering, Jesus did too (verse 8). This does not mean that Jesus was ever disobedient; He wasn’t. But He learned obedience by actually obeying God, and He did suffer in the process of being obedient even unto His death on the cross. Similarly, verse 9’s phrase of “once made perfect” does not imply that Jesus was ever imperfect; rather, His perfection was manifested in the suffering and obedience that He accomplished. Because of that perfection, He is the source of eternal salvation for all.

Verse 10 concludes this passage by wrapping it all up. Jesus shared our human life with us. He was qualified to be a high priest because of His calling by God. Because of His perfect life, He is qualified to not only be A high priest but THE high priest - the one who lives forever and perfectly fulfills the requirements of the high priest’s office.

What does this mean for us? It means that the system of annual sacrifices that the high priests of Israel had to perform is completely unnecessary. Jesus was the one perfect sacrifice, the only one that is ever needed for full repayment of the sins of all people at all times and in all places. He is the perfect high priest, and He has already fulfilled His duties. All we need to do is put our faith and trust in Him!

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Apologetics 4: Skill in Scripture

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, August 27, 2021 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

"To be an effective warrior in the battle for truth today, several old fashioned, Christlike virtues are absolutely essential: biblical discernment, wisdom, fortitude, determination, endurance, skill in handling Scripture, strong convictions, the ability to speak candidly without waffling, and a willingness to enter a conflict."
~John MacArthur: The Truth War, page 146

When we deal with apologetics, there is nothing more important in terms of your knowledge than skill in Scripture. The rest of the virtues have to deal with character and mindset. This one is the only of MacArthur’s list that deals with actual content. When I opened this series, one of the statements I made is that apologetics must have one of two goals if not both: 1) to proclaim from Scripture or 2) to show the reliability of Scripture, then in all that to reveal Christ. If we aren’t doing these two things, we may be able to present truth about the existence of God or good political talk, but we’ve completely missed the point of doing apologetics. If our apologetics point to and praise the works of men over God, we preach a false position. As much as I love listening to men who preach the truth, I must be careful about idolizing them. While I can learn truth from those who speak it, the only value they have is when they speak the truth of Scripture. The same is true about me. The only thing of true value that I know is that which has its source in Scripture, in the words of God. As much as I love science and I love to talk about science, that is a very weak source when compared to the Holy Scriptures.

Voddie Baucham gives an excellent analogy for this issue. He describes two knights going head-to-head in a duel. Knight 1 draws his sword. Knight 2 proclaims, “I don’t believe in your sword.” Knight 1 has three options: 1) put his sword away and don’t use it b) put his sword down and explain why his sword is dangerous to the other knight, or c) hit Knight 2 anyway and ask, “Do you believe in it now?” What is Baucham addressing here? He is answering the ludicrous idea that if someone doesn’t believe in the Bible, you can’t use it as your authority. Why? Why let them dictate the “rules”? I reject the principles of naturalism and uniformitarianism. I reject the premise that “science” is the only valid way to know if something is true. I reject the premise that ANY authority that man has discovered or contrived has any influential say on what Scripture states nor can it override what Scripture states.

So, what does that say about the person who rejects these things? If someone rejects the Bible, perhaps we should throw their own argument back at them. “I don’t believe in your ‘scientism.’” Make them answer for their own standards. In all, the Bible is our authority as Christians and it saddens me how few actually use it as such, especially in apologetics. When I first tried my hand at apologetics, I thought I could prove a young earth without the Bible (and I parroted Kent Hovind’s presentations). Needless to say, I didn’t get far because I didn’t understand how the arguments or authorities worked. The Christian apologist needs the Bible as their primary authority, and then they need skill in using it.

As I’ve written about the Armor of God, when I talk about the “feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of peace,” I describe how in any sport or activity, footwork, proper footwear, and having grip of the ground are the most important thing. If your feet are in the wrong place, if you don’t have traction, if they are heavy and don’t move, you are toast. The same is true in the spiritual battle field. You must know the Scriptures, and you must be able to “rightly divide” the Word of God. No one on this planet today is ever going to get it 100% correct, nor will anyone ever exhaust the mine of truth it contains, but we must know what it says and how to use it.

We must have proper exegesis. The Bible is not a book you “interpret” based on what you think or what you know. The true Christian doesn’t “read the Bible.” The Bible reads the true Christian. It’s the instruction manual for life. It’s the mirror that shows you who you truly are. It’s the lens through which we can see reality. If you want me to tune out of anything you have to say about the Bible, open with “I think.” The Christian is not to operate that way regarding the Bible. When we put our opinions about things to the Bible, we are putting our intellect and our ideas and our thinking as the authority over Scripture; enabling us to pick and choose what we like, and what we don’t like. Instead, we must submit to Scripture. We don’t dictate what it says; it tells us what it says.

We must have more than mere surface level understanding of Scripture. I need to make this clear: different does NOT mean deeper. In a debate between Kent Hovind and Hugh Ross, someone in the audience suggested that “day” meaning ordinary day is the initial meaning, but then meaning long period of time is a “deeper meaning” and offered that as a solution to the YEC/OEC debate. The true answer to this suggestion is that any deeper meaning MUST be in perfect agreement to the initial meaning. Just as calculus is a deeper level of math than addition and subtraction, if the calculus denies basic arithmetic, it’s not math. Likewise, ANY model that suggests “day” is not a normal day (as the language commands) is not a deeper understanding of anything. It’s an entirely different construct.

I have had conversations with some people who proclaim Christ, but their knowledge of the Gospel is very superficial and surface-level at best, and they are trying to “educate” me about theology and tell me that I need to listen to the Holy Spirit. If someone picking your brain on a topic can only get to the surface level and not get further, then you don’t know it well enough. My former pastor told me after hearing me speak that if someone were to pick my brain, they would not be able to hit the bottom in Bible knowledge and general apologetics. But there are fields where I am not afraid to admit that my knowledge doesn’t go very deep on that field. I also don’t talk about those fields very much. On the other hand, I have had people tell me that their theology is far more important than their studies of geology, yet when they talk, they are extremely articulate in geology and can’t or won’t dig into the theology of their claims. Which one have they really studied?

We must be skilled in Scripture. Jesus was a master of it. He didn’t merely have it memorized; He knew precisely what it said, what it meant, and how to use it. We should learn from His model. Study Scripture and keep studying Scripture. Get to know the author through Scripture. It will not merely help you through defending your faith; it will help you live your life. Next week, I will conclude my study of this MacArthur quote with the last phrase: “having strong convictions, speaking candidly, and being willing to enter a conflict.” After that, we’ll take a thorough examination of 2 Timothy 2:24-26 and the surrounding context.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.

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