Welcome to the PMI Center for Biblical Studies

PO Box 507
Arab, Al 35016
www.pmiministries.com 

We are an Independent, Fundamental, King James Bible Teaching Christian school offering College and Seminary level courses in Apologetics, Biblical Studies, Christian Education, Counseling (Nouthetic), Ministry, Prophecy, Old Scofield Bible, and Theology through distance education since 1981.

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Over 17,500 Men and Women Have Trusted Christ as Saviour Since 2008.

We are praying all these decisions for Christ will become disciples of Christ!

How long can a man or woman SURVIVE  in PRISON

without hope, and without a friend?


Let’s face the facts . . .

Prisons are colleges for crime!

  • FACT: There are over 2 million prisoners currently attending these schools!
  • FACT: Criminal skills are taught to willing students by seasoned cons
  • FACT: 95% of all “students” will eventually “graduate” to walk the streets of America
    better trained with improved skills
  • FACT: Prisoners that are abandoned by their family and friends seek companionship within the seedy prison elements that by default are prepared to totally radicalize them!

Consider this

  • American penitentiaries are breeding grounds for concentrated forces of evil
  • 85%- or more- of America’s prisoners– have no relationship with Jesus           Christ
  • Increasing numbers of prison administrations are opposing Christian ministries while becoming favorable toward Islam
  • Biblically ignorant prisoners are being recruited by gangs, cultists, and Islamists- at alarming rates!
  • Chaplains that should be preaching and teaching the Word of God are forsaking Christ to become ecumenical religious facilitators
  • Sodomy is occurring more frequently amongst professing Christian prisoners
  • Prison rehabilitation is a $60 BILLION dollar scam! Of the 95% of PRISONERS that will one day be released, 75% will be back in prison within 48 months! (read more)

Government or God?

Through the years it has become painfully evident: Government programs costing billions of dollars haven’t worked. God’s program does work because it is Bible based. We know from over 30 years of contending for the faith (Jude 1:3) that if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (2 Corinthians 5:17). That’s why the PMI Center chose in 1981 to provide life-changing TUITION-FREE distance Bible college level studies to prisoners in eight proven study program tracks (see Courses above menu) : Apologetics (4 years Biblical – Creationism), Biblical Studies (4 years), Nouthetic Counseling (4 years), Pastoral and Evangelism Ministry (4 years), Prophecy (4 years), Christian Educaation (4 years ), Old Scofield Bible (2 years), and Theology (2 year PhD option from Calvary Christian Seminary).  All are soundly fundamental in doctrine (we use the Authorized King James Bible), practical in structure, and underwritten exclusively by the generous freewill offerings of those who believe in what we’re doing and support us. We’re proud to say that many of our 30,000+ students have received their diplomas from PMI and degrees from our co-op colleges and have gone on to become devoted evangelists, pastors, teachers, counselors, church ministry workers, and all-around exemplary Christians. If you or an incarcerated loved one would like information on enrollment, please write to us today.

ENROLLMENT INFORMATION FOR PRISONERS AND NON-PRISONERS – Write and request the first of 8 in the Foundations of Theology prerequisite study project!

Recommendations from students:

I thank God daily for you and the truths that you teach. I will take them into the ministry with me and teach them to the church of God without apology and without compromise. I cannot express how grateful I am for this opportunity that God has given me to learn and grow in my faith and in God’s Word through PMI under your leadership. May God bless you always. Curtis Fairchild (South Bay, FL).

Brothers and sisters, PMI teaches God’s Word verbatim, the studies have enlightened me, uplifted me, encouraged me, edified me, qualified me, and called me to a higher calling in Christ Jesus. Waiting for the trumpet blast. Steven Collins, 2 Tim 1:7-8 (Springfield, TN).

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. My goal when I get out of here is to work with prison ministry. I have seen first hand now how much of a presence Satan has in a prison. Learning has never been so interesting. Your lessons have given me a new look at things I have read many times before. James George (Ayer, MA)

Recommendations from well known friends:

Van-Impe-Reese-Harrington

LUTHER RICE COLLEGE AND SEMINARY: After a thorough review of our courses, we received the following response from the President of Luther Rice College & Seminary, the undisputed pioneer in distance education:

Dear. Dr. Johnston, Thank you for the follow-up letter of October 3. I did, indeed, receive the materials you sent and found them quite impressive. Of all the ministries that I have written, yours comes closest to what I was hoping to find.

When I am advised of students who are looking for high quality theological education but are unable to meet the financial requirements of Luther Rice Seminary, I will certainly recommend Promise Ministries.

Again, thank you for your concern and for the good work that you are doing.

In Him, J.M. Kinnebrew, Th.D.
Luther Rice Seminary

ENROLLMENT INFORMATION FOR PRISONERS AND NON-PRISONERS – Write and request the first of 8 in the Foundations of Theology prerequisite study project!

Categories: Misc, PMI Info

Why Should I Read the Whole Bible?

At PMI we require our students to read the entire Bible a minimum of once per year for every year that they are enrolled with us. I have talked to brothers in Christ before who do not see the value of reading the entirety of the Canon every year. Some of the reasons I hear are:

  • The whole Bible isn’t relevant to me.
  • If I focus on reading the whole Bible in a year then I am not able to study the Bible.
  • I just rely on the Spirit to guide me where to read from day to day.

I once knew a man who said that he put a sticky note in his Bible at the beginning of the Book of Romans and one at Philemon so he would have his parameters set for his reading. The Pauline Epistles are very important, especially for the Body of Christ today. It is from these 13 books that we get practically all of our doctrine for the church today. However, it is very shortsighted to leave out the other 53 books of the Canon. By reading the entire Bible every year a believer is able to see how that overarching story of God’s plan is first mentioned and we follow it through to its terminus in Revelation. The history that is learned is priceless as well. Not only do we see how history unfolds from the biblical perspective, but we see the errors of the people and have the opportunity to learn from them. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:11, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”

Reading the whole Bible every year helps you to know the Bible better. You are going to be more familiar with the whole story from start to finish. Knowing the whole story will allow you to look at the whole Bible in its proper context. Further, by reading the entire narrative, you will know why these stories you’ve heard about, happened, and will be able to answer questions about them for other believers and skeptics as well. In other words, a solid biblical foundation will help you as an apologist. We get that word apologist from the Greek apologia, which comes from 1 Peter 3:15 where we are told, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” Having a working knowledge of the entire Bible can help you in winning a soul to Christ.

The entire Bible can be read from cover to cover in one year by reading 4 chapters per day. To say that focusing on doing this will cause you to not be able to study because you are focusing on trying to just read the four chapters is a logical fallacy called the Either/Or Fallacy. This means a person is asserting that he only has the two options and can only choose the one. I have to emphatically state that reading the Bible IS NOT the same as studying the Bible. 2 Timothy 2:15 says to, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Studying the Bible is a completely different endeavor that we are commanded by Scripture to do. I would suggest having a pad and pen nearby when reading and then jotting down anything that stands out as needing to be studied more in-depth later in your study time.

Interestingly enough, the people who tell me that they just go “where the Spirit leads,” never seem to be led to the Old Testament. I don’t deny that the Spirit does lead the believer in matters, but the Bible is the Word of God and our final Authority in all matters. I find it hard to believe that the Holy Spirit would take objection to the believer having a committed, daily reading of the Holy Writ from cover to cover through each year. He is able to direct us to other areas of study in addition to our daily reading. If time is truly an obstacle keeping you from reading your Bible and studying it, take a look at what strongholds are in your life that could be eliminated to allow you more time for God’s Word. I firmly believe that just freeing up 30 minutes would make more than enough time. That’s just one half-hour sitcom.

Since I trusted Christ as Saviour in 2000 I have read the entire Canon twelve times and will have read it twice more before this year is out. Sadly, I didn’t see the value in reading the entire Bible until 2011 when the late Dr. Mike Johnston convinced me of the importance of it. So those numbers I posted reflect 14 full readings in 9 years. That takes effort, but is hardly impressive. Friend of the Ministry, Dr. Michael O’Neal finished his 108th reading of the entire Bible on June 28th of this year. That is in addition to studying for three sermons and a Sunday School lesson each week, studying to teach 4 lessons per week at his Bible Institute, and for 5 radio messages each week. At the end of the day there are many good reasons for reading through the Bible every year. Most of all, you will learn to see God’s sovereign planning and hand in the affairs of mankind and know that you are able to truly trust Him. You’ll also see as the disciples on the road to Emmaus did nearly 2,000 years ago, that the whole book is about the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Put away the excuses and find a reading plan today that will take you through the Bible in a year. There are plenty of them out there and we offer one on our website www.pmiministries.com. Dr. Mike used to posit the question, “What if all of God’s Word that you had access to in eternity was all that you availed yourself to while on earth?” Of course, that isn’t how it works, but what if? How would you do? Don’t put it off any longer. Get started today; you’ll be glad you did.

Categories: Misc

A License to Sin?

July 2, 2019 1 comment

“By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

Romans Chapter 5, Verse 2

In these days of social media we find no shortage of theological opinion emanating from every possible medium available. To anyone who follows the doctrine of eternal security, an all too familiar accusation that is often expressed is that we are just giving people a license to sin. This is nothing more than an empty attack upon a doctrinal position that they have no understanding of. In fact, under examination, one can see that there is no foundation to this statement at all.

First and foremost, who needs a license to sin? We all sin anyway. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” We see in Romans 3:19 what the Law’s purpose is, “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” Everyone who has ever lived has sinned, with or without a license. If the people making the “license to sin” argument are honest with themselves, they know that they will still sin when they decide to, license or not.

You’re saying that I don’t get it. What they mean is that a person gets saved under that “damnable doctrine” of eternal security and they are ready to start living like the devil and head out to rob a bank and buy some drugs on the way home. The thing is – I have never known anyone who has heard the Gospel: that Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose on the third day to pay for their sins, and put their trust in that message as their only hope of Heaven, and then seen them get a glimmer in their eye and a smile on their face with the notion to go wild. What I have seen are babes in Christ whose sanctification happens at different rates. We grow according to how we yield to the Spirit’s leading. “Well, you tell them they can never lose their salvation and they just live how they want to!” But, I want to know “How are you wanting to live?” Does it make sense that someone has just trusted God to save their soul for eternity and what they are wanting is to immediately live contrary to God’s desires. It is very dangerous to confuse Salvation and Discipleship; Justification and Sanctification. One is instant, the other is a process.

It is true that we have an incredible amount of liberty and freedom by God’s Grace. And as we grow in that grace we learn that because we can, doesn’t mean that we should. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:12, “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” He repeats this again in 1 Corinthians 10:23, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” While this crowd sees only the freedom that grace gives us, they don’t understand the power that grace gives us as well. When we trust Christ as Saviour, we are crucified with Him; we are to reckon the old man dead and live by faith. Scripture is very clear on the matter of the power that we receive from grace to have victory over sin. Romans 6:1-14 says, “1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”

But what about the believer who willfully sins? We can’t ignore the fact that they do exist. There are believers who backslide. They don’t lose their salvation. Hebrews 10:39 says, “But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” There are also Christians who are very worldly. Paul refers to them as carnal; he also calls them brethren. When we trust Christ as Saviour, we are baptized into the Body of Christ; we become a child of God. If one of your biological children disobeyed you, what would you do? Would you cause them to become unborn? Of course not, that is impossible. You would do what God does to His children- you would discipline them. Hebrews 12:5-8 explains this principle, “5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” A Christian can live how he wants and not lose his salvation. However, a Christian CANNOT live how he wants and get away with it; that is all the difference.

God offers salvation as a free gift. The beloved Apostle tells us in 1 John 5:13, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life.” In that statement we learn that by believing on Christ we get eternal life that is, life that lasts forever, and we can know that we have it right now as a present possession. Jesus Himself assures us in John 5:24, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” This same God that prepared the ultimate plan of salvation for mankind and it includes no licenses to sin, rather every opportunity for His children to overcome sin and draw closer to Him.

About the author: Dr. Ted serves as the current Director of the PMI Center for Biblical Studies. Much of his time is spent working with the college and seminary-level students and training students to be soul winners. Promise Ministries began in 1981 as a correspondence ministry to inmates. Since specifically training associate evangelists in 2008, we have seen over 17,500 men and women trust Christ as Saviour.

www.pmiministries.com
www.eph289.com

Categories: Misc

Easy Believism

EASY BELIEVISM

Pastor Michael D. O’Neal, Th.D.

What is easy believism?

That depends on who is doing the talking about the subject. The term is not found in scripture. It means, therefore, whatever the user wants it to mean.

The “easy believism” that does not bring salvation, in scripture, is found in the book of James:

James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

Lost religionists (Church of Christ, Catholics, many others) use this verse to declare that a person is not saved by grace through faith ALONE. Some unlearned or unsaved Baptists do the same thing. However, the verse is not talking about believing on the Lord Jesus Christ and trusting Him who died for our sins according to the scriptures, was buried, and rose again the third day according to the scriptures. The verse is talking about believing “that there is one God.”

Faith that there is one God is not saving faith. God does not save through monotheism. Besides that, the statement is about devils. Christ didn’t die for devils, nor does He save devils.

However, there is (and always has been) differences of opinion about what it means to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and about what it means to repent. People who charge fundamentalists with easy believism usually mean that certain fundamentalists either 1. count someone saved who does a repeat-after-me sinner’s prayer and/or 2. encourage people to believe on Christ without requiring them to forsake their sin in order to be saved.

I do not claim to believe in “easy believism.” I believe in EFFORTLESS believism. If salvation were EASY, it is implied that there is SOME work that a sinner must do, just not MUCH. On the part of the sinner, salvation is not EASY. It is EFFORTLESS. The sinner can do NO work in order to be saved. The sinner MUST do NO work in order to be saved.

However, I plead guilty to point number 2. I do not require a person to forsake his sin in order to be saved. I encourage him to believe on the One who paid for his sins on the cross of Calvary. I encourage people to forsake their sins AFTER they are saved. I believe anything other than that is a perversion of the gospel.

The gospel is found in 1 Cor. 15:1-4. It is the fact that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures. Notice that the gospel says NOTHING about the work or of the responsibility of the sinner, but it says A LOT about the redemptive work of the Savior.

Church of Christ religionists will say, “You need to study what the Bible says about OBEDIENCE.” Well, we have. When it comes to being saved, the proper response, or obedience to the gospel, is FAITH. The Bible says in:

Romans 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

The quote from Isaiah is given to show what obedience to the gospel is. It is to believe the report.

The clearest instructions to an inquiring sinner are found in:

Acts 16:29-31 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?  31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

To believe on the Lord Jesus Christ is equated with “faith” in Eph. 2:8-9 and “trust” in Eph. 1:12-13. That is, a person gets saved by putting faith in what Christ did for him on the cross of Calvary.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

AFTER a person is saved, I teach him Eph. 2:10 and Tit. 3:8. The Bible says there:

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Titus 3:8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

However, those verses are talking about SERVICE, not SALVATION. Service FOLLOWS salvation. To mix those verses on service with the plan of salvation is to pervert the gospel.

For further information, see my two books:

WHAT IT MEANS TO BELIEVE ON CHRIST

REAL REPENTANCE

For an expose’ of the unscriptural tradition of the so-called “sinner’s prayer,” please see my book, called

THE SINNER’S PRAYER

You can order these books by going to this site: http://www.brothermike.com/study.html

Categories: Misc

Israel’s Tribulation is God’s Vengeance

December 14, 2018 Leave a comment

Deu 32:41, 43; Psa 58:10; Psa 94:1; Isa 34:8; Isa 35:4; Isa 61:2; Isa 63:4; Jer 46:10; Jer 50:15, 28; Jer 51:6, 11; Mic 5:15; Nah 1:2; Luk 21:22; 2Th 1:8; Heb 10:30

“If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me. … Rejoice, O ye nations, [with] his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, [and] to his people.” (Deu 32:41, 43 KJV)

“The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.” (Psa 58:10 KJV)

“O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thyself.” (Psa 94:1 KJV)

“For [it is] the day of the LORD’S vengeance, [and] the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion.” (Isa 34:8 KJV)

“Say to them [that are] of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come [with] vengeance, [even] God [with] a recompence; he will come and save you.” (Isa 35:4 KJV)

“To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;” (Isa 61:2 KJV)

“For the day of vengeance

[is]

in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.” (Isa 63:4 KJV)

“For this [is] the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries: and the sword shall devour, and it shall be satiate and made drunk with their blood: for the Lord GOD of hosts hath a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates.” (Jer 46:10 KJV)

“Shout against her round about: she hath given her hand: her foundations are fallen, her walls are thrown down: for it [is] the vengeance of the LORD: take vengeance upon her; as she hath done, do unto her. … The voice of them that flee and escape out of the land of Babylon, to declare in Zion the vengeance of the LORD our God, the vengeance of his temple.” (Jer 50:15, 28 KJV)

“Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this [is] the time of the LORD’S vengeance; he will render unto her a recompence. … Make bright the arrows; gather the shields: the LORD hath raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes: for his device [is] against Babylon, to destroy it; because it [is] the vengeance of the LORD, the vengeance of his temple.” (Jer 51:6, 11 KJV)

“And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen, such as they have not heard.” (Mic 5:15 KJV)

“God [is] jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and [is] furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth [wrath] for his enemies.” (Nah 1:2 KJV)

“For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.” (Luk 21:22 KJV)

“In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:” (2Th 1:8 KJV)

“For we know him that hath said, Vengeance [belongeth] unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.” (Heb 10:30 KJV)  

Israel’s Tribulation Trilogy

December 11, 2018 Leave a comment

Dr. Mike Johnston

FREE .pdf download

The entire book .pdf

https://pmicenter.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/israels-tribulation-trilogy_original_6x9.pdf

Categories: Misc

The Church by Clarence Larkin

December 7, 2018 Leave a comment

Clarence Larkin

DISCLAIMER: Larkin does not hold to the Mid Acts Dispensational position of PMI. Some editing in [brackets].

[God is overseeing two overarching programs for reconciling both earth and heaven to Himself. The prophecy program features Israel and a coming earthly kingdom having been spoken by the mouth of the prophets since the world began (Luke 1:70; Acts 3:21) and the mystery program featuring the body of Christ and our inheritance with Christ in heaven that was hidden until Jesus revealed it to Paul (Rom. 16:25).

“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all [things] he might have the preeminence.” (Col 1:18 KJV)]

  1. [The church] is not a continuation of the “Jewish Dispensation” under another name.

As we have seen in the chapter on the Jews, the Jews have been shunted to a sidetrack that the “Main Line” may be clear for the passage of the Church. Jesus said-“The Law and the Prophets are until John.” If the Scriptures put Moses and Law in one Dispensation and Christ and Grace in another let us respect the Divine order and not join together what God has put asunder.

  • It is not “The Kingdom”

John the Baptist came preaching that the “Kingdom of Heaven” was “at hand” and Jesus sent out the Twelve and the Seventy to do the same, but the Jewish people rejected their King, and the setting up of the Kingdom was postponed. There cannot be any Kingdom until the “Nobleman Farmer” who has gone into a “far country” to receive the Kingdom returns. Luke 19:11-13

  • It is a “Mystery”

The Kingdom was no mystery. The Old Testament prophets describe it in glowing terms. But there was something that was a Mystery” to them, and that was what was to come in between the “Sufferings and Glory” of Christ. 1Pet. 1:9-11.

That is, between the Cross and the Crown. Jesus intimated that there was to be something that He called the “Church, ” but He did not say when it should appear, or what it would be like. Matt. 16:13-15.

The “Mystery of the Church” was first revealed to Paul.

“For this cause I, Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, if ye have heard of ‘The Dispensation of the Grace of God’ which is given me to you-ward; how that by revelation He made known unto me ‘THE MYSTERY’ which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that THE GENTILES should be fellow heirs and of THE SAME BODY, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the Gospel….. according to the ‘Eternal Purpose’ which He purposes in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Eph. 3:1-3

  • It is a “Called Out” Body [Assembly]

The word Church comes from the Greek word “ecclesia” which means “Assembly” or a congregation of “called out ones.”

But the word is not used exclusively as to the Church. Israel was an “ecclesia” or an Assembly of people “called out” from other peoples and nations, and is called in Acts 7:38, “The Church in the Wilderness.”

Any Assembly of worshipers banded together as a church or congregation is an “ecclesia.” Matt. 18:17; 1Cor. 14:19, 1Cor. 14:35.

While Israel is a “called out body” it is a “National Body,” composed exclusively of the descendants of Abraham, but the Church is not a “National Body” for it is [a heavenly body] not composed of the people of any one nation, but of individuals from every kindred, people, tribe and nation.

That Israel and the Church are distinct and separate and cannot be blended, is clear from the fact that their “election” was made at different dates, and that the “election” of the Church antedates the “election” of Israel, for Israel was chosen in Abraham from the foundation of the world (Matt. 25:34), while the Church was chosen in HIM (Jesus) BEFORE the Foundation of the World. Eph. 1:4-6

  • It is the “Body of Christ”

In Eph. 1:22, 23 we read-

“And hath put all things under His feet, and gave HIM (Jesus), to be the HEAD over all things to the Church which is His BODY.”

The context shows (vs. 20), that this “Headship” was not possible until Jesus had been raised from the dead, and seated at the right hand of the Father. The Church, therefore, could not have been in existence before there was a Head, for God does not make headless things. The Church then is the Body of which Christ is the Head.

In 1Cor. 12:12, 13 we are told how this “Body” is formed.

“For as the body is one, and hath many members; and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into One Body, whether we be Jew or Gentile, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into ONE SPIRIT.”

From this we see that it is the “Baptism of the Spirit” that incorporates us into the “BODY OF CHRIST.”

Therefore there could be no Church until the “Day of Pentecost.” Acts 1:4-5; Acts 2:1-3

  • It is to be the “Bride of Christ”

At present the Church is a virgin espoused. Paul said to the Church at Corinth, “I am jealous over you with godly jealousy; for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste VIRGIN to Christ.” 2Cor. 11:2.

In Christ’s day an espousal was as sacred as a marriage. The First Adam had his Bride, and the Second or Last Adam must have His Bride. In Gen. 2:18, Gen. 2:21-23, we are told how the First Adam got his Bride.

“The Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and with the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made (builded) He a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman because she was taken out of man.”

Now Jesus during His life on the earth as a man, abode alone, but a deep sleep-the sleep of death-fell on Him, and out of His wounded side, as the result of the Atonement He made on the Cross, there came that from which the Church was formed, and to which the Holy Spirit gave life on the Day of Pentecost; so that, as Adam said of Eve-“This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh, ” so we can say of the Church-“We are members of His Body, of his Flesh, and of his Bones.” Eph. 5:29-31 [1]


[1] Adapted from Clarence Larkin’s great book, “Dispensational Truth” chapter 11 – edits in [brackets].

What’s Dispensational Bible Study?

November 4, 2018 1 comment

Shawn Brasseaux

BEHOLD THE CONFUSION: RELIGIOUS TRADITION

Have you ever wondered why there is so much confusion and debate among and within “Christian” circles and churches? These professing Christians all quote the Bible, they all claim to believe the Bible, and yet, it is quite a surprise to learn that they all disagree regarding what the Bible actually teaches! All 38,000-plus denominations in Christendom claim to be serving and following “Jesus Christ,” and yet, they all believe mutually exclusive doctrines and practice opposing rites and rituals. How can they all be following Jesus Christ while all doing different things?! The Church the Body of Christ is supposed to be united; nevertheless, schisms, strife, and contradictions abound. Why?

Let me give you some of the most popular examples of the literally thousands of major arguments in Christendom:

Many churches believe that faith and works are necessary for salvation, quoting Matthew 19:17 and James 2:24; the remainder of churches believe that salvation is by faith alone, using Romans 3:28, Romans 4:5, and Ephesians 2:8,9.

Some groups believe that water baptism is necessary for salvation, relying on Mark 16:16 and 1 Peter 3:21; others hold that it is merely a testimony of salvation, citing Matthew 28:19 and Acts 2:38; still others do not water baptize at all, relying on 1 Corinthians 1:17, 1 Corinthians 12:13, and Ephesians 4:5.

Some churches participate in “snake handling,” “devil exorcism,” “tongue talking” and “healing services,” citing Mark 16:17,18 and James 5:15; others completely reject those practices, quoting Romans 8:18, 1 Timothy 5:23, and 2 Timothy 4:20.

Some churches argue that we must observe the Saturday Sabbath, citing Exodus 20:8-11, while others believe there is no Sabbath day to keep today, quoting Romans 6:14 and Colossians 2:16. (There are even groups that argue that we must observe Sunday, the alleged “Christian Sabbath!”)

Some groups teach that Christians can lose their salvation, following Psalm 51:11, Matthew 24:13, and Hebrews 6:4-6; other groups believe Christians are eternally secure in Christ, relying on Romans 8:35-39, Ephesians 4:30, and 2 Timothy 1:12.

Some churches teach tithing, according to Malachi 3:8-11, while other churches believe that we are not under an obligatory giving system, citing Romans 6:14 and 2 Corinthians 9:7.

Some argue that we should confess our sins to God daily, quoting Matthew 6:12,14,15 and 1 John 1:9. Other groups believe that we should confess our sins to priests, using John 20:23 and James 5:16. Still, others believe that confession of sins is unnecessary because Jesus Christ died to pay for our sins and we are already forgiven of all of our sins, citing Ephesians 4:32 and Colossians 2:13.

Some groups say we are bound to keep the Mosaic Law, using Exodus 20:1-17 and 1 John 2:3,4, while others say we are under grace, not law, citing Romans 6:14 and Galatians 5:1-5.

Amazing huh? All of these groups are using Bible verses to support these opposing views!! How is this possible?! If the Bible has all of these conflicting views, then exactly what does God expect us to believe?! What is the solution to this abounding confusion and these so-called Bible “contradictions?” Firstly, understand that “God is not the author of confusion” (1 Corinthians 14:33). The problem is not God’s Word; God’s Word is infallible, perfect, and completely sound. Sinful mankind and Satan, not God, are to blame for the gross theological errors and false teaching in Christendom. Never, ever blame God for the confusion that Satan and mankind generate using religious tradition and human “wisdom.”

If people would simply use the Bible God’s way, all of the doctrinal confusion in Christian circles would disappear. Alas, people prefer their religious tradition, so they do not care to submit to God’s Word. The Lord Jesus Christ rebuked the religious leaders of His day: “Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition“ (Mark 7:9 KJV). These people approach God’s Word with denominational biases and reach denominational conclusions, instead of seeing what the Bible actually said and to whom it said it. What makes it all the more disturbing is that the pastors and teachers who should be dispelling confusion and doubt are only adding to the preexisting confusion by failing to use God’s Word God’s way themselves. These church leaders only teach God’s Word as their denominational system interprets it, instead of letting the Bible’s testimony speak for itself and mean what it says, where it says it, and to whom it says it.

BEHOLD THE SOLUTION: 2 TIMOTHY 2:15

If we use God’s Word, God’s way, there will be no contradictions and no confusion. The Bible will only make sense to you if you approach it the way God designed it to be studied (that is “rightly divided”). Read what the Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:15, as found in the King James Bible:

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

The only verse in the Bible that tells you to “study” the Bible tells you how to study it. When you “rightly divide the word of truth,” you are recognizing the distinctions/divisions that God has made in His Word. Through various dispensations (sets of directions), God gave different instructions to various groups of people. (For instance, compare the differing diets that God gave in Genesis 1:27-29, Genesis 9:1-4, Leviticus 11:2, and 1 Timothy 4:3-5.) We must be careful to never insert directions into the dispensations in which they were never given. Confusion results when we combine all of the Bible’s instructions as though they were spoken to one group of people. There are several dispensations in Scripture given to different people at various times and we must never confuse them. It is this very failure to rightly divide the word of truth that gives rise to all of the conflicting doctrines (what we discussed in our introductory remarks).

Let us now discuss the basics of “rightly dividing the word of truth.”

THE TWO PROGRAMS IN GOD’S WORD

Genesis 1:1 KJV, the first verse in the Bible, reads: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” God divides the heaven from the earth. (This is true even at the end of the Bible, in Revelation 21:1.) Furthermore, God has designed one program to operate in each of these realms. There are two programs in the Bible: the “prophetic program” and the “mystery program.”

The Apostle Peter says in Acts 3:21 KJV that he is preaching that “which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”

The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 16:25,26a KJV that he is preaching “according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest….”

Obviously, if words mean anything, Peter and Paul are speaking of two different things. Something “spoken since the world began” cannot be the same as something “kept secret since the world began.”

The prophetic program focuses on the nation Israel and an earthly kingdom (Exodus 19:5,6; Deuteronomy 4:20), where Gentiles (non-Jews) receive salvation through that kingdom (Isaiah 60:1-3). On the other hand, the mystery program focuses on the Church the Body of Christ and a heavenly kingdom (Ephesians 2:6,7; Ephesians 1:22-23), where Gentiles receive salvation without Israel’s kingdom (Romans 11:11,12,25). Surely, if we are to avoid confusion, we must keep those two programs and their respective directions separated (“rightly divided”).

Sadly, most of Christendom combines all of these Bible verses into one program, ignoring the differences between the program that involves Israel’s kingdom and the mystery program that does not involve Israel’s kingdom. Again, this haphazard handling of the Bible is the source of the spiritual confusion and the alleged Bible “contradictions.” They are mixing opposing directions God gave in different dispensations (these directions were not given in the same dispensation).

Today, the Apostle Paul writes that the prophetic program that was operating in the “Old Testament,” the Four Gospels, and the early Acts period is temporarily suspended. We are currently living in the “Dispensation of the Grace of God” (Ephesians 3:2), the mystery program, which the Lord kept secret in the Old Testament but has since revealed it to mankind through the ministry of the Apostle Paul (Romans 16:25,26; Ephesians 3:1-11). Why did God hide it prior to Paul? It was to keep the devil from knowing His entire plan, so Satan could crucify Jesus Christ, and thereby would actually defeat himself  (1 Corinthians 2:6-8)!

WHOM SHOULD WE FOLLOW TODAY?

It is often mistakenly assumed that we need to “follow Jesus” (that is, the red letters of the Four Gospels). Yet, when we consider the Scriptures, this makes no sense whatsoever. Can we sinners follow the sinless Lord Jesus Christ? OF COURSE NOT!

Romans 11:13 KJV says that Paul is “the apostle of the Gentiles.” As previously stated, the ascended Lord Jesus Christ revealed to Paul alone “the revelation of the mystery” (Romans 16:25,26), His secret (mystery) program to deal with the whole world (Jews and Gentiles) on the basis of grace and Christ’s finished crosswork on Calvary. On the other hand, the Lord Jesus Christ ministered to Jews only in Matthew through John (Matthew 10:5-7; Matthew 15:24; John 4:22; Romans 15:8). Jesus had no ministry to us Gentiles because He had to save Israel first! It is not until we come to Paul’s ministry when God begins to deal with Gentiles. This is one basic fact of Scripture that most church members have never been told.

Jesus Christ urged His followers to obey the Mosaic Law, and commanded them to teach others to do the same (Matthew 5:17-19). Contrariwise, God through Paul tells us, “ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14,15). Obviously, we cannot follow both of these instructions. We cannot follow Jesus’ earthly ministry because we are not Jews. Furthermore, “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more” (2 Corinthians 5:16). We do not know Jesus Christ after His earthly ministry (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). Rather, we follow Him according to His heavenly ministry (as He is revealed in Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon).

God set forth Paul to be our “pattern” as to how we receive salvation (1 Timothy 1:15,16). In addition, Paul writes, “Be ye followers of me, even as I am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). In the Christian life, we follow Paul as he follows Christ. In Paul’s epistles alone we find the doctrine, duty, walk, and destiny of the Church the Body of Christ. Paul is God’s spokesman to you, just as Moses was God’s spokesman to Israel. If you want to learn what God has to say to you today, you must go to Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon. To reject Paul is to reject Christ who sent Paul to you, and to reject Christ is to reject God the Father (Matthew 10:40; John 13:20). Paul wrote: “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 14:37). The test for spirituality today is NOT following Jesus in His earthly ministry, but obeying what God the Holy Spirit says today through the Apostle Paul.

YOUR CHRISTIAN LIFE AS A MEMBER OF THE CHURCH THE BODY OF CHRIST

We are not the nation Israel, for in our dispensation, Israel is temporarily “fallen,” “cast away,” and “spiritually blinded” (Romans 11:11,15,25). We Christians are members of the Church the Body of Christ, where there is neither Jew nor Gentile (Galatians 3:26-28; Ephesians 1:22,23). What God has to say to us is different from what He told the nation Israel in the “Old Testament,” the Four Gospels, and the early part of Acts. It is important to understand how your Christian life operates as a non-Israelite, as a Gentile living in the Dispensation of the Grace of God and a member of the Church the Body of Christ. If you want to be spiritually “edified” (“strengthened”) and spiritually “perfected” (“matured”), you need to study and believe the Pauline epistles of Romans through Philemon (Ephesians 4:12).

God wants to “stablish” (stabilize) your Christian life and inner man by using a three-fold process. God wants you to understand the life that He has given to you in Christ Jesus, so that you can better understand what He is doing today, and then you can, by faith, follow Him and do the same. This is how we discover and do God’s will for our lives. The Bible says in Romans 16:25,26 KJV:

“25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:”

Notice the three-fold process of Christian edification:

“my gospel“—Paul’s Gospel, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, is the foundation of the Christian life

“the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery“—this is Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon, the sound doctrine (building materials) which we use to build on that foundation

“the scriptures of the prophets“—this is all of the Holy Scriptures, in light of the doctrine revealed to Paul.

This is why studying the Bible rightly divided is so important. We study all of the Bible, Genesis through Revelation, but we follow the design of Christian edification as laid out in Romans 16:25,26. If we refuse to follow the dispensational layout of Scripture, and most people do refuse it, then we will be going against what God is doing today, and our Christian lives will be in shambles (which is why Christendom is in such pitiful shape!).

DO WE ONLY STUDY PAUL’S EPISTLES? (NO!)

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16). All of the Bible is God’s Word, so we study all 66 books of the King James Bible (Genesis to Revelation). But, unlike most churches and professing Christians, we study the entire Bible according to the “revelation of the mystery,” (in light of the Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon). All of the Bible is for us, but not all of the Bible is to us and not all of the Bible is about us (remember, most of the Bible is written to and is about the nation Israel, not us). We follow God’s design for Christian edification, and we seek God’s approval, not man’s approval (2 Timothy 2:15).

When studying a particular Bible passage, you first need to establish the following, in this order:

  1. who is writing/speaking,
  1. to whom are they writing, and
  1. what are they writing.

Again, keep in mind that Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon are what God has to say to you, and the rest of the Bible deals with another program, Israel’s program.
 If Paul does not instruct you to do it, then God does not expect you to practice it in your life.

WHY HAVE I NOT HEARD THIS BEFORE?

Are you shocked by what you have just read? Does the Bible make more sense now? So, why have you never heard this before? I would strongly suggest that you ask your pastor, Bible teacher, or priest why he never told you any of this. You might be surprised at his answer! [1]

[1] Copied from https://ambassadorsfortherisenchristministries.org/whats-dispensational-bible-study/

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