Tuesday, December 09, 2014


Titus 3:19

“Warn a divisive [hairetikos which means “heretic” in Greek.] person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them.” [NIV]

It seems to me that there a divisive attitude, maybe even anger, among Christians in our day about doctrinal issues that are not the gospel at all. Truth perhaps, but secondary truth to what is our basis of unity which is the gospel of Christ alone. 

I want to make some simple statements that I believe contain a few things that are often forgotten under the disguise of theological correctness.

1___We do not find anything in the text of scripture that allows for division or separation among believers over matters of general theology by charging them with being a heretic.

The word heresy, comes from the Greek hairesis, which means "division." This means that the noun, hairetikos refers to a "divisive person." [See text above]

So when Paul instructed Titus to reject a “heretic,” he meant to reject anyone set on creating disunity. Even then, the heretic was to be given two chances to repent from his divisive ways. [See text]

Heresy then, as biblically defined, is not a matter of wrong theology. Even what might be considered correct theology in the hands of a “divisive person” would cause the person to be deemed heretical biblically speaking. "Division" itself is the "heresy" warned about in the Bible.

This means that we must always remember that regardless of what we believe about…Scripture, creation, salvation, justification, baptism, spiritual gifts, God’s sovereignty, man’s free will, five points of Calvinism, the Church Universal or local…we have been commanded to remain united as believers. Our unity is around the gospel of Christ alone.

I repeat… The Bible never allows for division among believers over matters of theology.

2__The true gospel can be said to be certain things concerning Jesus Christ. 

If we look carefully those things that make up the gospel could be compiled into these five statements about Christ...

a_Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God (Matthew 16:16–18; John 20:31; 1 John 2:22–24; 5:1).

b_Jesus came to earth in the flesh (1 John 4:1–3).

c_Jesus is a descendant of David (2 Timothy 2:8).

d-Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and was raised on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1–4).

e_Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9; 1 Corinthians 12:3; Philippians 2:11).

All five of these statements are presented multiple times throughout the New Testament, but are clearly summarized and labeled as the “gospel” in the beginning of Paul’s epistle to the Romans seen here...

“This gospel (1)he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, concerning his Son (2)who was a descendant of David (3)with reference to the flesh, (4)who was appointed the Son-of-God-in-power according to the Holy Spirit by the resurrection from the dead, (5)Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 1:2–4, NET)

I repeat… The true gospel can be said to be certain things concerning Jesus Christ

3__The Bible does encourage ultimate separation from false teachers who preach another gospel.

Paul wrote that “even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8–9, ESV).

To be thoroughly biblical, we must limit our criteria for separating from people to be false teachers who teach a false gospel. While it is true that they can be identified primarily by their lifestyles, (see Matthew 7:15–20 and 2 Peter 2:14–19) they are also revealed as false teachers by their message of proclaiming a different Jesus. It is their different message about Jesus that makes for a false gospel and a false teacher.

Ray Stedman said it this way,  “The true gospel calls us back from following men to the Person of Christ and His cross. The cross of Christ cuts across all human value systems. It wipes out all the petty theological distinctions that men make among themselves. The cross strips away our illusions and brings the pride of men tumbling down from that high place where it exalts itself against the knowledge of God.”

This all makes me wonder if ‘Statements of Faith” might not do more harm than good seeing that so many people choose to dis-fellowship with others over ever imaginable doctrine. It isn’t “theological correctness” that is to unify us but “gospel correctness.”

I repeat… The Bible does encourage ultimate separation from false teachers who preach another gospel. 

Perhaps we should learn to say as Paul did, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it [and it alone] is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew and then to the Gentile.” [NIV] 

If we fellowship around this message then we can enjoy each other’s company even if we disagree on___well__you get the picture I’m sure.

Paul B. 

Friday, December 05, 2014


What follows is a profound statement by an unknown author.

Ministers are leaders in whatever their gifted areas might be. Leadership leads. But where leadership leads can be disastrous if people follow without question. Modern day ministers, as leaders, are making some huge mistakes in my opinion and I want to gently point out a few that I believe need to be examined carefully. 

Were someone to ask how huge I believe these mistakes are, My answer is...big enough to write about them and that may be because I think too many leaders seem to be followed without question with too many people following without asking those questions.

The first huge mistake ministers AND  congregations are making is viewing the role of the pastor as all important. The word "Pastor" only appears once [as a noun] in the scriptures [Elder and Bishop however appear over forty times each.] and out of all the letters written to churches none were addressed to the Pastor. They were generally addressed to the people as the church. 

In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find group of people in the New Testament who would think of a single person as pastor [local fellowships had a plurality of shepherds] and they certainly would never make the mistake of thinking of a single person, including a pastor, as the head of the church. That place was reserved for the Lord Jesus Himself. 

No one is disputing the need or purpose for having in the body some who shepherd the flock, but in the New Testament it was never to the point of one man/one teacher/one preacher in any gathered group. [Local Church]. That's a modern day mistake made by modern day pastors and the churches that follow them.

Where it has disastrously led us is to a completely unbiblical stance where a local body [church] is handicapped when they are "without a pastor" and cannot function in worship or training until one is "called" and sets out his "vision" for the church.

Do you see where this is going? We may not want to call a pastor the head of the church in Baptist theology, but we Baptists sure live like he is the head.

A second huge mistake made by modern day ministers and congregations is to think of political processes as the way to change people into what they ought to be. No one would disagree that things in America are in a mess socially. But attempting to change society into what it ought to be by legislating their particular Christian values and ethics through the legal processes is a colossal mistake.

In doing what I just described, Ministers/congregations are forgetting at best or even possibly purposefully ignoring the fact that New Testament believers lived under some horrible and oppressive political systems and yet never attempted to shame, condemn, change, or force their society to become what it ought to be by their Christian definition. 

They spent their time in obedience to their Lord, in loving their enemies, doing good to those who used them and, rather than attacking their enemies verbally, with grace, they presented the message of redemption that can be found in the person and work of Christ who is Himself God's Son and who came for fallen human beings. Yet, by any way you choose to measure it, they turned the world upside down with that simple methodology.

I think the simple reason is they never thought of the church as a business to be developed. To them, they were the Church, and the scriptures always spoke of them as a Body, a Bride, a Temple, a Holy Nation, a peculiar people, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, instructed by the Word of God, belonging to God and strangers to this earth and any era of time.

There simply was no sense in forming protest groups or establishing lobbying groups to propagate biblical truth in order to change culture or society. That lay in the realm of a returning Lord who will make right all things in its time.

Paul B.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


There is something about being around someone who LOVES what they are doing - at that moment - whatever it is. I love the following illustration of Sharing the Joy in whatever you choose to do - from SIMPLE TRUTHS:

Barbara Glanz is a speaker and author. After speaking to 3,000 employees of a grocery chain on customer service and creating memories, Barbara heard from a manager on how his store employees began putting their own stamp on their departments. The manager of the flower department began cutting off her broken flowers and finding an elderly lady to pin it on. The meat dept manager loved Snoopy and would bring in his favorite Snoopy stickers to stick on the packages. He would then go out and laugh with the customers. It seemed people were finding ways to become personally involved with customers instead of just doing the expected or the "asked".

How did this begin? It all started when Johnny, a bagger at the store, called Barbara after her talk and said, "Barbara, my name is Johnny and I'm a bagger at the grocery store and I have Down syndrome. I heard what you had to say about service and I liked it! But I thought - what can I do since I'm just a bagger? Then I got an idea!

I love sayings and thought that each day I could pick out my favorite saying and my dad and I could print it out on the computer. I could cut out the strips and sign the back of each one. Then, I'd fold each one up, and the next day, I'd drop it right in the customer's bag and say "I hope you enjoy my quote for the day. What do you think, Barbara?"

Barbara told Johnny she thought it was a great idea and just a few weeks later the manager called back and reported that after seeing the line in Johnny's lane being three times longer than anyone else's and the customers wouldn't budge even when prompted to go to a shorter line. One lady said she used to come to the store once a week but now finds herself stopping in 2 or 3 times a week just to see Johnny's quote for that day.

When we bring our heart to the task, not only will those around us feel special and served, but they may pass it on too!

May we SHARE THE JOY in all we do!

In Joy,


Monday, November 17, 2014


"Love not the world, neither the...things...that are in the world." 1 Jn 2:15
"Know His will and approve the...things...that are more excellent. Rom 2:18 
"But the natural man receiveth not the...things...of the Spirit." 1 Corth, 2:14 
"Set your affections on...things...above not on the...things of the earth. Col. 3:2 
"For they that are after the flesh do mind the...things...of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the...things...of the Spirit." Rom. 8:5
"Let no man glory in man, for all...things...are yours," 1 Corth. 3:21 

After writing the last verse mentioned above Paul made a partial list of the things that were theirs. [The Corinthian Christians]  Paul/ Apollos/ Cephas/ World/ Life/ Death/ All things present/ All things to come..were on the list.

But I'm a little bit confused. What are the "things" of the world/earth/flesh as opposed to the "things" of the Spirit? Where do I get my list of each? And if "all things" are presently mine as a gift from God, to which list is that referring. What are we to make of all this?

I did a study of the "things" of the world and the "things of the Spirit one time and found something that was a bit surprising to me. It appears to me at least that they are ALL THE SAME THINGS.

During my study I remembered a couple of facts from scripture. One is that the word "world" and the word "flesh" both had a neutral and an evil meaning when used in scripture. The neutral use of words like world/flesh is seen when it is  referring to creation and people. "God so loved the world..." But both can refer to evil as well. "Love not the world..." shows this. 

However, that was not a "thing" in scripture but an "attitude about things." John referred to it as "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life." The key word here is "lust". It is taking some "thing" and using it for an illegitimate purpose. "Self" is that illegitimate purpose.

That brings me to the second point I had to bear in mind and that is "self" is simply independence from God. So any "thing" I use or view independent of who God is, as He reveals Himself to be, is a "thing" of the flesh. But any "thing" I use or view dependent on who God is, as He reveals Himself to be, is a "thing" of the Spirit.

So, here are some lists of mine that illustrate the point I saw in scripture. [A partial list only.]

The "things" of the world list.

My Job
My Marriage
My Recreation
My Food
My Church attendance
My Bible reading

The "things of the Spirit list

My Job
My Marriage
My Recreation
My Food
My Church Attendance
My Bible Reading

Let me explain if I can. My Job, be it law, medicine, home making, or ministry is a thing of the flesh/world OR a thing of the Spirit/heaven DEPENDING ON MY MOTIVE. If it is a way to make money for things I want only or to get my strokes from people if I do well, or to show how good I am at what I do, it is a "thing" of the world/flesh. But, if it is, to me, a way of providing for my own and extending the Kingdom of God and enjoying that Kingdom reality, it is a "thing" of the Spirit/heaven.

My marriage. If it is a "thing" that gets me sex, or security, or love, or comfort, it is a "thing" of the world/flesh. But, if it is to me, a "thing" that pictures Christ and His Church relationship, or a way to be a loving and gracious resource to another person, or a way of enjoying Kingdom reality, it is a "thing" of the Spirit/heaven.

My recreation. If it is a "thing" that shows off my abilities, or to get the praise of men, or to prove I'm better than anyone else, it is a "thing" of the world/flesh. But, if it is a "thing" that enables me to keep the Temple of God fit, or to accomplish personal/team goals that are healthy, or to enjoy a respite from work, it is a "thing" of the Spirit/heaven.

My Church attendance. If it is a way for me to get acceptance from people or God, or a way to check off a list that shows I'm better than those who don't attend, it is a "thing" of the flesh/world___you see the point___don't you?

So in reality, every "thing" I do whether attending church, preaching sermons, motorcycle riding, making money, reading my bible, eating with friends, has the potential of being a "thing of the Spirit" or a "thing of the world." Since "all things" are mine according to Paul the Apostle maybe the only question is why I'm doing it, not what I'm doing. That's the determining factor of its nature whether good or evil, flesh or Spirit, earthy or heavenly. 

So I'm just celebrating the reality of God as He has revealed Himself to be in every "thing" in life.

WOW, that means the lists can be forgotten as a standard of behavior and all of life is spiritual. It's my motive/heart in what I do that makes it evil or good [the issues of life thing].......I wonder if this applies to blogging??

Paul B.