THINGS TO CONSIDER
October 1, 1997 Issue
by Don L. King
In this issue of Old Paths Advocate, we have several topics under consideration. Johnny Elmore has written an excellent piece on I Timothy 2:11,12. This passage is often misapplied by those who seek to justify their women teachers in Bible classes. They maintain a woman is only forbidden to teach over the man and that she may teach in a Bible class provided she doesnt do that. We maintain that she is forbidden to teach (publicly) and she is also forbidden to "usurp authority over the man." We asked Brother Elmore to deal with the grammar here and expose the truth. Read it carefully. It is truly amazing what "notions" people get when they are determined to have their way over God. Brethren, we have some among us who do not understand these Bible principles. What a shame.
Brother Alan Bonifay begins a series on angels and "guardian angels" in particular. Yes, we are aware that some believe in these. Brethren for whom we have great respect and in whom we have confidence will differ with us, perhaps. Nevertheless, we believe Alans articles are worthy of prayerful consideration. Angels have long been a topic of huge interest for me. I have always wanted to preach about them. However, there has always been a great obstacle in my way. Much of what one can find about them and their feats is in the Old Testament. We all know about the angel and Balak; we know that two angels came to visit Lot in Sodom, etc. But, what about now? Do angels come here on earth today and do anything for us? Where is the passage teaching such? You ask, "Do you not believe in angels?"
"Of course, we do." However, it appears to this writer that their efforts for me (today) are in heaven. Speaking of the creative Christ, Paul said:" For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him." (Colossians 1:16) It is our understanding that principalities, powers, etc. refer to the various orders of angels. In other words, angels seem to be a part of that "invisible" creation.
Yes, angels are of great interest. However, it is very difficult (perhaps impossible) to nail down exactly what they do for us today. Some who believe in "guardian angels" assert they save us from injury, etc. What a wonderful thought! However, how can one thus explain the loss of brethren in horrible car accidents, etc.? Do they only help at certain times? Is it possible that only certain Christians have such to watch over them? Does God pick and choose which of His children have this sort of "secret service" to protect them? Who can believe it?
Then, the subject of the good confession is making the rounds now. Some say we ought to ask the person who is about to be baptized to confess that " Jesus is Lord, " (Romans 10:9, New International Version) We are reprinting (in two parts) George Batteys excellent article on this by request.
Some have noticed that in the 8th chapter of Acts, verse 37 is omitted in many of the Greek texts. This is not a real surprise. T. W. Brents (The Gospel Plan of Salvation) wrote a very interesting article about it in 1874. He made a very goad case, in our opinion, for the passage being left in the text. After all, it does fill in a noticeable gap in the narrative. Are we to believe that Philip and the Eunuch are riding along and after Philip preached Jesus to him and the eunuch asked to be baptized, Philip simply stops the chariot and with never a word puts him in the water? He never asked the eunuch if he believed? Thats hard to believe! Verse 37 is right in harmony with the context of the narrative. T.W. Brents wrote: "...Were it wanting in all the manuscripts of the first thousand years, and only found in such as are of modem date, (this is 1874, mind you. DLK) this would be a circumstance well calculated to cast suspicion noon it: but Dr. Hacket tells us the year 170..." (pg. 251).
At any rate, the Word of God does supply us with the same thing in other places. When Peter was asked what he believed, he answered, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." (Matthew 16:16) Here, the same grand truth that we believe the eunuch confessed was also confessed by Peter. Not only that, but Jesus affirms that His church is to be built upon that truth. In other words, it is the foundation of the church. Are we to believe that this wont do for our confession of faith? Notice 1 John 4:15: "Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in Him, and he in God." If this confession will do for God to dwell in me and me in Him, it must be the one I needed to confess when 1 obeyed the gospel 41 years ago. Look at I John 5:5: "Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God." If I believe it am I not to confess it?
When Paul wrote to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:12 he said:" Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses." The NIV has" ... Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses." That "good confession" must have been that Jesus Christ is the Son of god. That's the one, remember, that allows God to dwell in us! Well, of course, and who would believe otherwise?
Why do such things as these we have mentioned become a stumbling block for some? We confess, we know not. It is a fact, however, that I never, never expected to hear of brethren of the Church of Christ arguing over the good confession. Let us put this business to rest and get back to the work of saving souls.
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