Wednesday, August 29, 2012

DANGER: Church of Christ -Reply Part 2


DANGER: The Church of Christ
By David J. Stewart
Reviewed and Refuted by Terry W. Benton

 Part 2

David J. Stewart said previously: As we see in 1st Corinthians 5:5, some believers live in unrepentant sin; yet, they are still saved. -Unquote.

TB: Let us consider 1 Cor.5:5. Does this verse teach that unrepentant sinful believers "are still saved"? No! It speaks of the church taking a certain action "that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus". Without taking this action, he may not be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. What action were they taking? It is called "delivering such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh". What does that mean? It means to withdraw fellowship and tell him he is with Satan, not with them. When he is made to realize that he cannot practice his sin AND continue in fellowship with them and God, then it may cause him to give up and destroy the sinful, fleshly activity that is making him lose God and the brethren. Repentance destroys the fleshly power of sin in the blood of Christ, and as a result his spirit may be saved. So, this verse actually teaches the opposite of what Stewart is claiming.

Stewart says the verse means this:

1 Cor 5:5  - deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, because his spirit is already saved even to the day of the Lord Jesus. (David J. Stewart Version).

But, now notice the difference between David's version of the verse and what the verse actually says:

 1 Cor. 5:5  deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. NKJV

The word "that" means "in order that" pointing to desired goals or results. It is the same in the whole context.

1 Cor 5:2  And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that (in order that) he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.KJV

1 Cor 5:5  To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that (in order that) the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.KJV

1 Cor 5:7  Purge out therefore the old leaven, that (in order that) ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: KJV

So, once again, this man that calls churches of Christ a "damnable religion" from the "pits of Hell" is sure perverting and twisting a lot of scripture in order to promote his own "heresy". For him to abuse the Bible like this means that he is the one, in fact, who is working with Satan to "make you a victim of his damnable religion". If you read the book of Acts you will see how the early church was maligned and falsely accused in similar ways. Let us not allow someone like David J. Stewart to pervert the word and falsely abuse and misrepresent God's people.

If Stewart has been saved by “faith only” then we have too, and if by faith only we have all been “once-saved-always-saved” then Stewart should hold that there can be no “damnable heresy” to anybody who has faith and has been “once-saved-always-saved”.  He should view churches of Christ according to his own belief.  If he does not, then he is showing himself to be a very confused man who does not even believe his OWN teaching.  Clearly the problem is that this man is twisting the scriptures to his own destruction.  (2 Pet.3:17f). 

 (to be continued).

Terry W. Benton


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

DANGER: The Church of Christ -REPLY Part 1

DANGER: The Church of Christ
By David J. Stewart

Reviewed and Refuted by Terry W. Benton

Part 1

DS: The Church of Christ is a false church. They require good works for

TB: Would belief be a good work? (John 6:28,29). If so, then David Stewart is
falsely teaching that a good work is required for salvation. Would repentance be
a good work or a bad work? (Acts 17:30,31; Acts 2:38; Rom.2:4). If repentance
is a good work, then Stewart is teaching falsely that you must not repent for
salvation. Is it a "good work" to "say a little prayer"? If so, then Stewart is
telling you that you must not say a little prayer for salvation. On one post
Stewart said: "All that God REQUIRES of a man to be saved is that he "confess"
(admit) his sinful condition and turn to the Saviour in faith, that man does NOT
need to give his all." But, is confessing a good work or a bad work? If it is
a good work, then Stewart is shooting his own doctrine in the foot. He would
have to say that one must not confess or turn, since those are good works for
salvation. Work is defined as exertion or effort directed to produce or
accomplish something; labor; toil. Well, Stewart teaches that you must exert
effort to learn, believe, confess, and turn. All of that is work. Thus, Stewart
teaches false doctrine according to his own claim against churches of Christ.
Thus, Stewart shows that he is not going to be fair and honest right here in his
first two sentences.

DS: The Church of Christ is just as dangerous as Catholicism, Jehovah's
Witness, or the Mormons, because they claim to be "Christian"; BUT they are not!
Whereas religions like Islam and Black Muslim openly deny the Christian faith;
the Church of Christ claims to be Christian, and so Satan uses them to seduce
people into Hellfire.

TB: Well, if that is so, then David Stewart is used by Satan to seduce people
into hellfire because he teaches that one must do good works to be saved. He is
just as dangerous as Catholics, Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Mormons. He claims
to be "Christian", but he is NOT. Satan is using David Stewart to seduce people
into Hellfire.

DS: The following doctrinal statement is taken directly from the Church of
Christ website:

How does one become a member of the church of Christ?

In the salvation of man's soul there are 2 necessary parts: God's part and man's
part. God's part is the big part, "For by grace you have been saved through
faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift if God; not of works, that no
man should glory" (Ephesians 2:8-9). The love which God felt for man led him to
send Christ into the world to redeem man. The life and teaching of Jesus, the
sacrifice on the cross, and the proclaiming of the gospel to men constitute
God's part in salvation.

Though God's part is the big part, man's part is also necessary if man is to
reach heaven. Man must comply with the conditions of pardon which the Lord has
announced. Man's part can clearly set forth in the following steps:

Hear the Gospel. "How shall they call on him whom they have not believed? and
how shall they believe him whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear
without a preacher?" (Romans 10:14).

Believe. "And without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing unto him; for
he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them
that seek after him" (Hebrews 11:6).

Repent of past sins. "The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked; but now
he commandeth men that they should all everywhere repent" (Acts 17:30).

Confess Jesus as Lord. "Behold here is water; What doth hinder me to be baptized
? And Philip said, if thou believeth with all thy heart thou mayest. And he
answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God" (Acts

Be baptized for the remission of sins. "And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and
be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of
your sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38).

Live a Christian life. "Ye are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people for God's own possession, that ye may show forth the excellencies of
him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9).

SOURCE: Who are the churches of Christ?

There is much heresy in the preceding statement.

First, salvation is of God alone, and not men. This is plainly stated in
John1:12-13, "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the
sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of
blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." Man
has no part in God's salvation.

TB: Notice carefully the verse and then notice how David Stewart denied the
verse. The verse says that man has a part. Man has to "receive him". Those that
receive him are given power to become sons of God. Born of the will of man means
our parents wanted us to be born so that God would have another human to call
His. No, physical birth by the will of man does not make a child of God.
Stewart goes too far in saying that "man has NO PART in God's salvation". Man
cannot be born of God's will without some cooperation. If man has NO PART, then
only God is to blame if people are not His children. Stewart makes another
self-contradicting statement in another article of his. He says:

People go to hell for one reason and for one reason only, because they rejected
Jesus Christ as their own personal Saviour.-

But, if there is no WILL to reject or accept, and it all depends on God and "Man
has NO PART in God's salvation", then rejection is not man's fault. How can I be
blamed for "rejecting" when I was not given the power to reject or not reject?
Stewart is certainly twisting the scriptures to get himself in this mess.

John 1:13 is not saying that man has no part in his salvation. Man does have, at
the very least, a "cooperative" part. The text is best view this way:

John 1:13

therefore, neither the will of the flesh-anything that the corrupt heart of man
could purpose or determine in its own behalf; nor the will of man-anything that
another may be disposed to do in our behalf, can avail here; this new birth must
come through the will of God-through his own unlimited power and boundless
mercy, prescribing salvation by Christ Jesus alone.

(from Adam Clarke's Commentary)

John 1:13

[Nor of the will of the flesh] Not by natural generation.

[Nor of the will of man] This MAY refer, perhaps, to the will of man in adopting
a child, as the former phrases do to the natural birth; and the design of using
these three phrases MAY have been to say that they became the children of God
neither in virtue of their descent from illustrious parents like Abraham, nor by
their natural birth, nor by being "adopted" by a pious man. None of the ways by
which we become entitled to the privileges of "children" among people can give
us a title to be called the sons of God. It is not by human power or agency that
men become children of the Most High.

[But of God] That is, God produces the change, and confers the privilege of
being called his children. The heart is changed by his power. No unaided effort
of man, no works of ours, can produce this change. At the same time, it is true
that no man is renewed who does not himself "desire" and "will" to be a
believer; for the effect of the change is on his "will" (Ps 110:3), and no one
is changed who does not strive to enter in at the strait gate, Phil 2:12. This
important verse, therefore, teaches us:

1. that if men are saved they must be born again.

2. that their salvation is not the result of their birth, or of any honorable or
pious parentage.

3. that the children of the rich and the noble, as well as of the poor, must be
born of God if they will be saved.

4. that the children of pious parents must be born again; or they cannot be
saved. None will go to heaven simply because their "parents" are Christians.

5. that this work is the work of God, and "no man" can do it for us.

6. that we should forsake all human dependence, cast off all confidence in the
flesh, and go at once to the throne of grace, and beseech of God to adopt us
into his family and save our souls from death.

(from Barnes' Notes)

John 1:6-9

Believers are further described in terms of what God does for them. They are
born . . . of God. This is not a natural process such as brings people into the
world-not of blood (literally, bloods), suggesting the mingling of paternal and
maternal strains in procreation. The will of the flesh suggests the natural,
human desire for children, as the will of man (the word for husband) suggests
the special desire for progeny to carry on a family name. So the new birth,
something supernatural, is carefully guarded from confusion with natural birth.

(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary)

John 1:13

There is a progress of thought in the three following clauses, describing the
proper origin of a believer's new life. Children of God are begotten, not of
blood, nor of the will of man. "The new birth is not brought about by descent,
by desire, or by human power" (Westcott).

(from Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament)

So, Stewart has misused John 1:12-13 to teach that man has NO PART in the
salvation process. If that is so, then it cannot be man's fault if he remains
lost. If it is totally up to God, then it is totally up to God, and man cannot
be faulted for not being among the arbitrarily selected ones. Stewart teaches
"unconditional election" and "limited atonement" and "irresistible grace" which
means that God arbitrarily selects the individuals he wants and rejects the
rest. They can do nothing about it. The selected cannot resist salvation and the
rest cannot desire and get it. Yet, Stewart wants you to think that the Churches
of Christ are teaching false doctrine when the fact is that Stewart is teaching

DS: In Philippians 2:12 the Apostle Paul states, "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye
have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence,
work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." Carefully notice that the
Bible says "work out YOUR OWN salvation"; it does not say anything about God's

TB: Your own salvation is what God has given you. When God gives the gift of
salvation TO US, then it becomes OUR OWN salvation. The gift of salvation is a
package of things: 1) remission of our past sins, 2) the blood to use when we
need it for new sins we will commit, 3) the hope of heaven, 4) the access to the
throne of grace in the name of Jesus to find help in time of need. How do we
"work out our own salvation"? We use the tools He gave us. Stewart is wrong
about this passage as well.

DS: When God saves a man, it is then up to that man whether or not he is going
to obey God or not. God saves us by faith, but then it is up to us to allow the
Lord to live the Christian life through us.

TB: Stewart sounds very confused. He speaks as though "it is NOT up to man"
whether God will save him, but then after saving him against his will, Stewart
then speaks as though NOW it is "up to us" whether to allow the Lord to work out
our salvation by obedience. Stewart is struggling with this passage also.
Obviously these brethren have a part in their salvation to both accept initial
salvation from sin AND continuing the salvation by yielded obedience.

DS: This has nothing to do with salvation. So many heretics today are trying to
add holy living to faith for salvation. No sir! As we see in 1st Corinthians
5:5, some believers live in unrepentant sin; yet, they are still saved.

TB: Once again David J. Stewart is denial of the word of God because it does not
agree with his Calvinistic doctrines. He says salvation is "NOT up to man" but
totally up to God, and then says is "up to us" whether we allow the Lord to work
out our salvation, and then says Phil.2:12 "has nothing to do with salvation"
even though it says "salvation". Perhaps Stewart's dilemma is increased by the
fact that the Bible uses "salvation" in two ways: 1) Salvation from past sins
and condemnation due, and 2) Salvation from a corruptible body and a world of
temptation. So, one can be saved from sin, but need to work out making sure
that we stay saved by faithful obedience so that we can reach the goal, eternal
salvation (1 Pet.1:5-10;Heb.5:9).

But did you notice David J. Stewart's contradiction above? If "some believers
"live in unrepentant sin" and yet they are still saved, then one sin they can
live in is the sin of heresy. He cannot say that we who have believed in Jesus
for salvation are now lost. He teaches that "some believers live in unrepentant
sin; yet, they are still saved." So, at best that is all he can say about the
churches of Christ. Yet, he is in contradiction of his own doctrine because he
calls these believers a heresy that is "damnable". AT the end of his article he

The Church of Christ is straight from the pits of Hell. I plead with you not to
become a victim of their damnable religion.-Unquote.

But, all members of the church of Christ believe in Jesus Christ. We believed
even before we were baptized. Thus, Stewart would have to say that we are saved
at the moment of faith exactly as the Jews in Acts 2:37. What we do and teach
after that point cannot effect our salvation (according to his doctrine of
Once-Saved-Always-Saved). His misuse of 1 Cor.5:5 should be apparent to all. So,
Stewart is claiming a group of believers today is not saved by faith only, and
not "once-saved-always-saved". Stewart cannot have it both ways. Either the
churches of Christ are still saved by faith only and "once-saved-always-saved"
regardless of false teaching, OR the doctrines of Stewart about salvation by
"faith only" and "once-saved-always-saved" are false. Stewart cannot have it
both ways.

(To be continued). Terry W. Benton

Friday, August 24, 2012

Is Salvation Given in a Metaphorical Baptism?

Is Salvation Given in a Metaphorical Baptism?


(This a letter I sent to a brother years ago).


Dear Keith,


     I appreciate you meeting and discussing these vital topics of eternal value.  I truly believe that you are doing the right thing in discussing and testing the validity of concepts held by others as well as self.  I appreciate anyone who can and will take the time to discuss spiritual things in an effort to tear down walls of misunderstanding and establish the truth more firmly in one's mind and heart.  Sometimes the process can be long, but we are commanded to be "longsuffering as we teach the word".


I'm afraid that the vast majority of religious people today are not inclined to see how their own views could stand under cross-examination.  Those who are truly interested in the truth of God's word are not afraid to change their mind for the sake of pleasing God.  With this attitude any two people who disagree on the Bible, can begin little by little to chip away at the walls that divide them. It seems that real Biblical "love" urges this upon us. So, in response to your thanking me, the pleasure is mine and the feeling is mutual.



     You bring up Luke 12:50 again, and I must say something that I did not get to say the other night.  Yes, I agree that baptism can sometimes be used to refer to some kind of metaphorical submersion, immersion, or overwhelming.  I certainly agree that the context is the determining factor as to how any given word is used.  I don't think I said that baptism is always a word that talks about immersion in water.  It means immersion, which normally implied water, but that does not mean that it might not at times be employed in another way.


  In this case, it is the context which shows that Jesus was speaking metaphorically. In any other context, we would think Jesus meant that he needed to be baptized (and we would automatically think of immersion in water because that is its normal significance).  Even you would have thought that in another context.  What about this context makes us think of some other submersion?  Notice the statement that joins itself to the 50th verse. "I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!"  It is obvious that He is not talking about literal fire, but metaphorically speaking of the fire of religious passion and zeal.  But such fire would not be kindled until after Jesus was flooded(baptized) with suffering.  His suffering in the garden, His crucifixion, and His resurrection, kindled the fire in the disciples' hearts and they said "Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?"(Luke 24:32).  The fire was kindled after Jesus was bathed or flooded with suffering. "So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood"(Rev.12:15).  Metaphorically then, Jesus was baptized by Satan in his attempt to wash away the worlds' only hope, seeking to destroy Jesus in the suffering and death of the cross.  But, Jesus then crushed the serpents' head when He was raised from the dead.  The disciples would also experience an immersion in sufferings for the cause of Christ, but the "gates of Hades would not prevail" against the church.


This is clearly a metaphorical use of baptism, but not the normal use.  The question you have to answer Keith is which of the following passages take on a metaphorical meaning rather than its normal meaning?


Matt.28:19?  Mk.16:16?  Jno.3:22,23?  Acts 2:38? Acts 2:41?  Acts 8:12,13?  Acts 8:36-38?  Acts 9:18? Acts 10:47-48?  Acts 16:33?  Acts 18:8?  Acts 19:5?  Acts 22:16?  Rom.6:3,4? 1 Cor.1:13-17?  I Cor.12:13?  Gal.3:27?  Col.2:12?  I Pet.3:21?


You will have to take each passage and demonstrate when and why the context changes the normal use into a metaphor.  This is the area that you and I need to have/take time to discuss more thoroughly.


  The baptism of the Great Commission (Matt.28:19; Mk.16:16) was performed by the disciples "in the name of Jesus Christ"(Acts 2:38;10:47-48; 8:12,13), in "water"(Acts 10:47-48; 8:36-38), "for the remission of sins"(Acts 2:38; 22:16). You cannot demonstrate a single person in the New Testament (after the Great Commission began to be carried out) that thought they were saved before and without baptism in the name of Jesus Christ.


  We can dream up situations all we want, but when it comes back to looking at what the Bible says, salvation and the joy attendant to that experience always followed baptism.  That does not necessarily fit what I would like to believe, but I cannot get over the fact that God did not ask me what I wanted to believe about His terms of entrance into the body of Christ.  It seems clear that baptism was certainly involved in the salvation process (Mk.16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; I Pet.3:21), and it takes some fantastic ingenuity of logic to remove it from that process. I hope I can see it if it is true.


     The other area of discussion is the area of "faith versus works". It is not a discussion of faith versus activity, but a discussion of faith(what is involved in following Christ) versus Works(what one would have to do to be justified before God should that person not believe in Jesus).  There are works that demonstrate the reality and life of faith (Jas.2:19-24). Without this activity, the faith is no good, it is dead.  The works of which Paul says a man might boast, is the imagined works that some of the Jews apparently felt they could have by meeting the full demands of the law(Acts 13:38,39;Rom.2:17-23; 3:19-24).


 The faith was always an active faith, "obedience to the faith"(Rom.1:5; 6:17,18; 16:26), a "walking in the steps of Abraham faith"(Rom.4:12).  Abraham was not justified before he demonstrated faith. Neither are we.  The point and act of demonstration may be different, but the faith is the same.  There is no doubt that had God told Abraham to believe in Jesus and be baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of sins, that Abraham would have done that without question.  Had Abraham questioned God or said that he didn't see any sense in His commands, then Abraham would not have been justified by faith.  He would be demonstrating a LACK of faith.  This issue of salvation by "faith only" is thoroughly denounced by James and never advocated by Paul or any other inspired man.  It was imagined by Luther, Calvin, and others, but not taught by the scriptures.  We will need to spend more time on this subject as well.


     I am looking forward to our next period of discussion. I too enjoy it so much when we get together.  I thought I would ask if you would like to correspond on these matters in the mean time?


     Again, thank you for your love and concern for me and your willingness to bear with the challenge that such studies naturally bring.  It can only do good as long as our spirits are tempered with the desire to help each other make it to the wonderful Promised Land.




                                  Terry W. Benton


Thursday, August 9, 2012

When God Is Silent

When God Is Silent

It has always been the case that when God was silent about what He wanted, man is not to presume that he can guess his way into pleasing God.  When David presumed that he could carry the ark on the ox-cart, he soon found out that he should have consulted God about what God DID say about the transporting of the ark.  God had not been silent (1 Chron.15:13), but David had forgotten to check God’s will in the matter.  People are often reckless regarding God’s word and the authority it possesses over our every move and decision.   The fact that God had spoken meant that only what God specified could be used in transporting the ark. The fact that God had spoken about a specific way and was silent about any other possibility meant that everyone was restricted to what God said. When God specified, there was no general authority to give other options.

 David was confronted about another issue of silence.  David was feeling guilty that he himself had a nice house and that God was still in a tent, a lesser house.  In this regard God said to David:

Wherever I have moved about with all Israel, have I ever spoken a word to any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd My people, saying, 'Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?'"'( 1 Chron.  17:6-7NKJV)

God’s point to David is that if God had wanted a house of cedar He would have “spoken a word” about it to others long before now.  The fact that God did not say a word about it was all the proof anyone needed to conclude that God did not want a cedar house up till now.  The silence meant that God did not want it.  People need to learn this.  Now, keep in mind that a dwelling for God such as a tabernacle or temple has to be commanded.  A building for people to meet in, such as a synagogue, is not a dwelling place for God, but a place for people to meet.  If God commanded the priests to make arrangements for teaching, then a place is generally authorized to facilitate that command. Building a synagogue to carry out the instructions to teach God’s word throughout Israel is not the same as building a gymnasium to do something God did not command the priests of Israel to do.  Likewise, a church building to facilitate doing something God has commanded us to do (meet for worship and edification) is not the same as building kitchens and gymnasiums to do something God has NOT commanded us to do.  The synagogue for the Jews was an aid to do what was commanded.  Likewise, when persecution is not a factor to consider,  local churches are authorized to choose anything that expediently aids them in assembling.  An addition would be to determine a work that has not been given to the church, such as games, social and recreational activities, and then adding facilities to accomplish what has not been commanded. 

God had Not Commanded

Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them. 2 So fire went out from the LORD and devoured them, and they died before the LORD. (Lev 10:1-3 NKJV)

The fact that God had not commanded the kind of fire or source of fire they used, was enough.  God does not have to give a long list of forbidden things.  When He has spoken specifically, we are limited to what was specified and cannot presume upon His silence.  Silence is not automatic permission.  In fact, it should throw up a red flag. Silence is not permission.

 Who is he who speaks and it comes to pass,

When the Lord has not commanded it?  (Lam 3:37 NKJV)

Jesus Did Nothing of Himself

Then Jesus answered and said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. (John 5:18-20 NKJV)

This principle of respecting the silence of God is seen in Jesus.  He did not act unless He had authority.  We should be careful not to do anything when it is merely a personal desire from within.  Jesus did not act that way, and it is certain that we cannot follow Jesus and do differently.

We Gave No Such Commandment

It was considered into the evidence of the discussion in Acts 15 that we cannot bind upon brethren what had not been bound by the apostles from the beginning.  The silence of God was reason to reject allowing anyone to make circumcision a church ordinance.  But, God is also silent about infant baptism, instrumental music in worship, popes, Cardinals, human names and organizations, and a lot of other things that were not taught by the original apostles of Jesus.   When we see that the silence of God was considered on “proving” this issue of circumcision in the church, we know that we should take into our consideration the fact that God never commanded that and other similar matters.

Prove All Things

All matters must be tested as to their divine authority (1 Thess.5:21).  Only after it can be proven good, and scriptures furnish us unto “every good work”(2 Tim.3:15-17), can we “hold fast” to that tested and proven thing.  This alone demonstrates that we cannot presume upon the silence of God’s word.

Prove What IS Acceptable

Silence is not proof that something is acceptable.  The burden to prove all things and to prove it IS acceptable places us all under personal responsibility to not act unless and until we have proven that something is acceptable to God.  That means that we have to gather the evidence, test the evidence, and draw the necessary conclusions from that evidence.  That process is not optional.  Even though many brethren are now denying the process, there is still the obligation to “prove what is acceptable” to the Lord (Rom.12:1-3; Eph.5:11). You simply cannot use silence AGAINST something to prove that it IS acceptable to the Lord.  Human desire and imagination is not proof that God accepts something. 

So, when God is silent, we must not act. We must act with caution, and seek to prove what is acceptable to the Lord before we get others on board to do something with us that has not gone through the proving process.   Beware of those who are not so inclined to be cautious with regard to the authority of God’s word! – Terry W. Benton

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Did Jesus Speak About Homosexuality?

Did Jesus Speak About Homosexuality?

I keep seeing statements about Jesus and the Bible that are not actually true.  Those trying to support the gay right to marry are sometimes seen making a statement like “Jesus did not say anything about homosexuality because he did not care about this issue because he did not see it as sin”.  I want to address this misguided idea because I do not like to hear people misusing the information we have about Jesus.

 Jesus stood for the Law of Moses and ALL it said until His death.  The Law of Moses was clear about the sin of homosexuality.  It was a national law for Israel and it carried the sentence of death.

 Leviticus 18:22 - "Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable." (NIV)

Leviticus 20:13 - "If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads." (NIV)

This was to be carried out by a witness system of two witnesses. Mosaic regulation stated that a person could be executed only if there were two or more witnesses to the crime (Deuteronomy 19:15). One witness was insufficient to evoke the death penalty (Deuteronomy 17:6).   So, it was not common to catch people in the act. Such sins were in the closet. People were hiding fornication, adultery, and homosexuality, and so it was not brought commonly into the public eye or brought to the death sentence.  That did not mean that God would not bring such sins to judgment. It only meant that such sins often escape the temporal earthly hand of the Law.  It may not be considered a crime in our country or other countries, but God will bring it into final judgment. Those who practice such things “will not inherit the kingdom of God”(1 Cor.6:8-10).

Homosexuality as a SIN was so clear that while Jesus was preaching in Israel he did not run into this as a common problem that He needed to address.  There were no groups of people openly trying to teach that it was a righteous thing to do.  However, Jesus did address it in indirect ways when He spoke of “fornication”.  Fornication is a general word that covers all unlawful intercourse outside the rightful place of marriage between a man and a woman.  In Matthew 5:32 and in 19:1-9 Jesus addressed “sexual immorality” as sex outside a lawful marriage, and He clearly endorsed the concept of marriage “from the beginning” (Mark 10:1-4).  God’s arrangement for “marriage” was and always will be one man and one woman for life.  God never authorized sex between a man with a man, or with an animal, or a woman with a woman, or with an animal. 

The fact that Jesus did not address homosexuality directly does not mean it was not considered a sin. It means only that it was not a common problem He needed to address in specific terms. He was already upholding all that was true to the Law of Moses.  But, let us remember that Jesus said there were things He did not address that the Holy Spirit would expand upon (John 14-16) and that the Spirit would guide the disciples into “all truth” that He did not get around to addressing.  This means that the epistles were extensions of Jesus’ full teaching.  The epistles are in full agreement with Jesus.  If a person does not believe the epistles and other Spirit-guided letters that form the New Testament, then they simply do not believe JESUS.  Jesus said the Spirit would guide the apostles into “all truth”.  If you do not believe that, you do not believe Jesus at all.

Therefore, when Paul writes, he writes “the commandments of the Lord”(1 Cor.14:33f). When he writes, he writes as he is guided by the Holy Spirit to write (Eph.3:3-5).  The Spirit was telling the will of Jesus Christ.  When Paul wrote about the sin of homosexuality in Romans 1 and 1 Corinthians 6, he was telling us the things JESUS wanted the Spirit to say through the apostles and prophets of the New Testament.

Let us be careful to be honest with God’s word.  Whether people like it or not, the issue is settled by holy writ.  We cannot bend it or ignore it or twist it.  To do so will be to our own destruction (2 Pet.3:16f).  We must speak the truth in love. We must not compromise the truth to appease men, for that would not be love at all as God defines love.  

Now, while I am addressing this issue, it is because some are trying to justify this sin.  Adultery is also a sin that will condemn us.  If someone tries to justify adultery, we will have to teach what the Bible actually says on that issue as well.  We are not to pick on one kind of sinner and ignore other sins. We are only addressing this particular sin because many are trying to justify it by distorting the truth about what Jesus believed about this sin.  That attempt is not honest with God and His word, and therefore we are to expose this sinful distortion of Jesus and the New Testament.  Love demands that we defend the truth of what God’s word says.  Terry W. Benton