Thursday, January 22, 2009

OBVIOUS

From Bible passages like John 3:16; 2 Tim. 2:4; Heb. 2:9 and 1 John 2:1, it is obvious that God is offering salvation to all men. It is not so obvious that, according to Calvinist doctrine, Jesus' death on the cross was a "limited atonement" for specially selected souls.

From Bible passages like Ezekiel 18:20,21, Rom. 2:6,7, and Rom. 5:12, it is obvious that God judges a man on the basis of his own sin - no one is lost because of his parents' or because of Adam's sins. The doctrine of "original" or "inherited" sin is not so obvious.

From Bible passages like John 12:48, John 14:6, and Acts 4:12, it is obvious that salvation is only in Jesus Christ - not in Allah. It is not so obvious that people can be saved if they have not heard the Gospel.

From Bible passages like Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21; and Colossians 2:12, it is obvious that Baptism is the point in time that a lost sinner becomes saved - not before or after. It is not so obvious that infants were baptized or sprinkled in the first century church and it is not so obvious that infants ever need[ed] salvation - they already have it.

From Bible passages like Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16, and Romans 15:9, it is obvious that God approves of singing by the church - playing instruments is not so obvious. It is not so obvious that the use of instruments in the Old Testament validates their use by the New Testament church. It is not obvious that references to instruments in the book of Revelation are anything more than symbolical of something else.

What else is obvious to us as we read the Scripture? It is obvious from Bible pasages like 1 Cor. 4:6, 2 Tim. 3:16, and Rev. 22:18,19, that the Gospels and the letters from the Apostles are not to be tampered with by being added to or taken away from - it is not so obvious that human creeds like the Apostles' or Nicene Creed are acceptable to God. It is not so obvious that catechisms are acceptable to God.

Do you notice how many things people approve of that are not so obvious in the Bible? To approve of the things that are obvious in Scripture is called faithfulness. To approve of things that are not obvious, and then to bind them on the church by making them part of the worship and teaching, is presumptuous and divisive. It is obvious that the church may speak on and approve the things that God gives approval to. It is obvious that approving "not so obvious things" is a stealthy way to add to God's Word.

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