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FAQ ABOUT FORGIVING OTHERS

October 21, 2017 Leave a comment

 

Dr. Mike Johnston

 

Being forgiven of our sin and given a standing of righteousness before God is a prerequisite for Heaven. But is forgiving others a foregone requirement for salvation like many have led us to believe? Scripture studied in context teaches it is not!

Jesus prayed: And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors (Matthew 6:12), and Paul wrote: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32).

I don’t see how it could be any more clear. Horizontal forgiveness (man forgiving man) is predicated upon and patterned after vertical forgiveness (God forgiving man).

 

What part does forgiveness play in a Christian’s salvation?

Again, bear in mind that forgiveness restores relationships. You can’t have a relationship with a person where unforgiveness reigns. Webster defines forgiveness as follows: “the pardon of an offender, by which he is considered and treated as not guilty.” This is precisely what happens through redemption in Christ:

 

  • We are born sinners and thus are separated from God (Isa. 59:2; Rom. 5:12).
  • We cannot go to Heaven while God holds these sins against us. We must obtain forgiveness which is offered through Christ’s blood (Eph. 1:7) to all who personally go to God through Jesus for it. It is not automatically extended (Rom. 10:9-10, 13; John 6:37).
  • We all continue to sin after we are saved and need forgiveness; not for redemption, but for restoration. Again, we are required to go to God and confess our sins in order to receive forgiveness and cleansing (1 John 1:8-9). It is not automatic.

 

Aren’t we told that if we don’t forgive we won’t be forgiven?

Yes. However, the teaching is taken out of context and misapplied causing undue guilt and self condemnation. Here is the verse often quoted in support of this: For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Matthew 6:14-15).

Here is the teaching in context: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him (Luke 17:3-4).

I don’t see how this could be any clearer. If he repents forgive him, regardless of how many times he repeats his offense. If he turns to you again and repents, honor the request and be restored to the relationship. That is the stipulation from Christ. The problem is that when quoting the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 6:14-15), the entire truth is not represented regarding forgiveness. The fact is that in every Scriptural instance where forgiving others is presented, it must be interpreted within the context of Christ’s teaching that forgiveness requires repentance. Anything else is not rightly dividing the Word of Truth (2 Tim. 2:15).

 

Are there examples in the Bible to prove what you are teaching?

Absolutely! I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish (Luke 13:3).

  • God is angry with the wicked every day (Psalm 7:11). The unforgiven aren’t given a free pass into glory they are judged and sent to the Lake of Fire for eternity (Rev. 20:15).
  • Jonah preached to Israel’s enemy Nineveh, if they didn’t repent they would be destroyed.  They did repent and were temporarily spared (Jonah 3).
  • David wrote what we call imprecatory Psalms where He invoked God’s wrath on his enemies (Psalm 7, 35, 55, 58, 59, 69, 79, 109, 137 and 139). While some water this down, the fact is, David was a man after God’s own heart, so was he wrong?
  • Jesus excoriated the Pharisees throughout His ministry for being hypocrites and sinners (Matt. 23). Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41). They weren’t forgiven because they hadn’t repented.
  • Paul complained about the problems Alexander the coppersmith caused him in his ministry right up until his final days (2 Tim. 4:14). If blanket forgiveness was in order, wasn’t Paul in danger of not having his sins forgiven as maintained by some today?
  • A quick look at the souls under the altar in Heaven cried out for vengeance unto the Lord. Instead of rebuking them for their unforgiving attitude, they were given white robes signifying purity and righteousness (Rev. 6:9-11; 19:8).
  • The tribulation is filled with judgments against men who refused to repent (Rev. 9:20-21; 16:9, 11).

 

But didn’t Jesus and Stephen ask God to forgive those who murdered them?

Yes (Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60). However, it wasn’t  meant as an exoneration of their sin (see Luke 12:47-48), or they would have been saved in a manner inconsistent with Scripture (Luke 13:3; John 3:16-18). Greek scholar AT Robertson says Jesus was asking that the sin not be placed on the soldiers who were merely obeying orders, but directly upon the powers who ordered it. Vincent renders Stephen’s words: “fix not this sin (permanently) upon them.” If it were, they would not ever be able to be saved. It is in this light forgiveness was requested.

 

How do we respond to someone who hurts us?

Go to them. If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him (Luke 17:3). The moment we are aware of a strained relationship, we need to initiate reconciliation (Matt. 5:22-24). “The goal” says Gary Inrig, “is not to express anger or get something off our chests, but to bring about repentance, restoration, and reconciliation.” [1] However, not every person you humbly approach in this manner will be receptive or restored. Pride will continually produce in them the fruit of the flesh, which is impervious to your love and is never good (Ga. 5:19-21).

Pray for them. Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you

(Luke 6:28; see also Rom. 12:14, 20). In Joseph we see the pattern given for not holding a grudge. He saw things from the divine perspective and God rewarded him. How much different his life and our world have been if he would have given his brothers what they really deserved for selling him out like they did, or for Potiphar’s lying wife for falsely accusing him?

As you know, we are far from perfect, and frankly we all struggle in some area. Obviously unforgiveness haunts you since you requested this info. While this subject is spoken of often in Scripture, the flesh cannot produce anything that comes close; in fact, it seeks retaliation and vengeance. God says: Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord (Rom. 12:9). The best brotherly advice I can offer is that you pray for reconciliation, take whatever humble steps you can to achieve it, and wait upon God to bring it about. In the mean time, let go of all bitterness or it will eat you alive: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled (Hebrews 12:15).

For further study, please write to RBC Ministries – POB 2222 – Grand Rapids, MI 49501-2222 and request What is True Forgiveness? #HP071

[1] RBC BOOKLET: What is True Forgiveness?

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New study shows myth of global warming

September 19, 2017 Leave a comment

Bill Wilson

Former Senator and failed presidential candidate Al Gore has written books about the world coming to an end because of climate change. Democratic Party politicians have schemed ways to tax us all to change the weather. Celebrities and the immediate past “president” have ridiculed “deniers” of global warming. The science community has censored fellow scientists who have challenged the concept. Fact is, the scientists at England’s University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU), the official source of climate change data, fabricated the data. Now British scientists have released a new study saying that because the modeling was wrong, global warming isn’t the threat it once was thought.

Largely ignored by Gore, politicians, celebrities and the news media, UK Telegraph Environmentalist reporter James Delingpole in 2008 blew the whistle on scientists after he obtained 1,079 emails and 72 documents from the CRU. He wrote in 2009 that scientists were practicing “Conspiracy, collusion in exaggerating warming data, possibly illegal destruction of embarrassing information, organized resistance to disclosure, manipulation of data, private admissions of flaws in their public claims and much more.” Also in 2008, Nobel Prize winner for physics Ivar Giaever said, “I am a skeptic. . . Global warming has become a new religion.”

Now the UK Telegraph reports “Climate change poses less of an immediate threat to the planet than previously thought because scientists got their modeling wrong, a new study has found. New research by British scientists reveals the world is being polluted and warming up less quickly than 10 year old forecasts predicted, giving countries more time to get a grip on their carbon output.” The Telegraph says experts are now predicting that there is a 66% chance of keeping global temperatures within 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels because temperatures are far cooler than thought in comparison to data from the mid-1800s. They also say the possible US pull-out of the UN climate accord will not make much difference. So, for now, the polar ice caps will not be melting and causing earth-destroying floods as once predicted.

Genesis 1:28 defines man’s role in the environment, “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion . . . over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”  And after the great flood of Noah’s time, God promised in Genesis 8:22, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” Jesus said in Matthew 24:4, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” Only God the Creator has power to destroy earth. Man is its steward. We should not be deceived by men who are using fear of the earth’s destruction to create a new religion, a new social order.

Have a Blessed and Powerful Day!

Bill Wilson

www.dailyjot.com

 

 

5 Theologians on the Child of Revelation 12

September 8, 2017 Leave a comment

 

August 30, 2017

Last weekend one of my favorite pastors implied that “Every conservative theologian that’s worth reading…” interprets Revelation 12 in a way contrary to how those of us following the sign do. Among other things this pastor was quite adamant that Revelation 12 is simply talking about the birth and ascension of Jesus Christ, and has nothing to do with the rapture of the Church.  In his words this view is “longtime held, conservative, orthodox eschatology.”

Well, I would like to address that statement…

Wait….who cares what I have to say?  How about we let some longtime, conservative, orthodox, eschatology teachers address the subject!  And when I say longtime, well, you’ll see what I mean…

  1. John Nelson Darby (1855)

“If the mighty man, the mystic man, the man-child of Revelation xii. is to act [in judging the world with a rod of iron], He must first be complete (of course He is so, essentially so, in Himself, but as Head over all things to the Church which is His body). The head and the body must be united before He can act as having this title before the world; because the mystic man as a whole cannot take it until the Church is taken up to Him. For not until then—until the Church, the body, is united to the Head, Christ, in heaven—is the mystic man in that sense complete; and therefore, the Church must be taken up before Christ can come in judgment. ”

And this…

“In the chapter we have read, you have first Christ Himself and the church, figured in the man-child; and then in the woman who flees from persecution for 1260 days you have the Jewish remnant, those who are spared in the time of judgment but are not yet brought into glory.”

And this…

“I have no doubt that the “man child” spoken of in the chapter that we have been reading includes the church as well as Christ. But it is Christ that is principally meant, for the church would be nothing without Christ; it would be a body without a head. It is Christ who has been caught up; but the church is included, for whenever He begins to act publicly, even as regards Satan being cast down, He must have His body, His bride, with Him; He must have His brethren, His joint-heirs.”

Reference: John Nelson Darby, Seven Lectures on the Prophetical Addresses to the Seven Churches (3d rev. ed.; London: G. Morrish, c. 1855)

  1. William Kelly (1870)

“On this principle then I cannot but consider that the rapture of the man-child to God and His throne involves the rapture of the church in itself. The explanation why it is thus introduced here depends on the truth that Christ and the church are one, and have a common destiny. Inasmuch as He went up to heaven, so also the church is to be caught up.”

Reference: William Kelly, Lectures Introductory to the Study of the Acts, the Catholic Epistles, and the Revelation (London: W. H. Broom, 1870)

  1. Richard Chester (1882)

“Now if the male Man-child of Rev. xii. is to be regarded as solely representing the Lord Jesus Christ ascended into the heavens, as some interpreters affirm; or as representing the visible Christian Church exalted into political power, as taught by others, it were not easy to establish any parallelism, or any correspondence whatsoever between Zech. iii. and Rev. xii. But if the Man-child represents, as is the belief of many students of prophecy, the entire body of “the dead in Christ” raised, and the living in Christ who shall be changed, and both together caught up to meet Him in the air—or if, as I have suggested in the article above referred to—he is to be rather regarded as a portion of the Jewish people—of “the remnant according to the election of grace” incorporated by conversion to Christ into the Church of this dispensation—and thus “brought forth”—“born again,”—and then, “caught up to God and to His throne,” in the rapture of the risen and living saints of 1 Thess. iv.—then, in either of these cases, I submit that this vision of Zechariah iii. corresponds most accurately.”

Richard Chester, “Old Testament Light on New Testament Prophecy,” The Prophetic News and Israel’s Watchman (December, 1882)

She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne,
Revelation 12:5

  1. Harry Ironside (1919)

“I have read or carefully examined several hundred books purporting to expound the Revelation. I have learned to look upon this twelfth chapter as the crucial test in regard to the correct prophetic outline. If the interpreters are wrong as to the woman and the man-child, it necessarily follows that they will be wrong as to many things connected with them.”

And this…

“If we allow Scripture itself to answer, we find there is a person and a company of people answering to this description. In the 2d Psalm Jehovah says to Messiah, “Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten Thee. Ask of Me, and I shall give Thee the nations for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel” (vers. 7–9). This, clearly enough, is our Lord Jesus Christ, who is soon to reign over all the earth, and undoubtedly He is primarily the Man-child who is to rule the nations with a rod of iron, and the special object of Satan’s malignity. But we have already seen, in Rev. 2:26–28, that when He reigns He will not reign alone. . . . Is there then any incongruity in understanding the man-child to represent both Christ Jesus our Lord and His church? Surely not, for He is the Head of the body, the church, which is the fullness, or completion of Himself, so that the title, “The Church” is applied to both head and body viewed as one in 1 Cor. 12:12. . . . We may then, on the authority of Scripture itself, safely affirm that the man-child represents the one New Man who is to rule the nations with a rod of iron—Christ, the Head, and the church, His body. If this be so, then it is impossible that the woman should symbolize the church.”

And this…

“We have seen that the man-child symbolizes both Head and body—the complete Christ. Therefore, as in other prophecies, the entire present dispensation is passed over in silence, and the church is represented in its Head, caught up with Christ. For immediately after this, Satan, again acting through the Roman Empire which is to be revived in the last days, turns upon the woman Israel and seeks to vent his wrath and indignation against her.”

Reference: Harry A. Ironside, Lectures on the Revelation (New York: Loizeaux Brothers, 1919)

Quotes 1-4 were compiled by Dr Michael Svigel, a Department Chair and Associate Professor at Dallas Theological Seminary.  You can read more context surrounding those quotes (and many more which weren’t included) here:
Proof of the Rapture in Revelation 12

UPDATE: Unsealed.org just put up an amazing post listing 15 Conservative Scholars who agreed that the Male Child of Rev 12:5 Represented The Church. Be sure out that expanded list out as well!!

Here is the link:
http://www.unsealed.org/2017/08/conservative-scholars-agree-male-child.html

  1. Chuck Missler (approx. 2005) / G. H. Pember (1884)

We need one guy who is still living, don’t we?   One of the greatest teachers of our lifetime, Chuck Missler, says the following about Rev 12:5…  He references a fairly famous book written in the 1800’s by G.H. Pember:

“I always USED TO view that as the ascension of Our Lord.  But there is a guy by the name of Pember who wrote a book about Genesis, Earth’s Earliest Ages.  And it BLEW ME AWAY because he see’s this differently and I don’t know that he’s wrong.  He see’s… that child… as the Body of Christ.  He see’s in that The Rapture.   Isn’t that wild?  And it doesn’t alter the text because what happens from verse 6 on is Tribulational.”

Listen to the quote for yourself here: (58 seconds)

Source: https://rev12daily.blogspot.com/2017/08/5-theologians-on-child-of-revelation-12.html

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth- Dr. CI Scofield

September 6, 2017 Leave a comment

“Scofield, Cyrus Ingerson (1843-1921), Bible student and author, born in Lenawee County, Michigan, reared in Wilson County, Tennessee, and privately educated. Fought in the Civil War from 1861-1865 under General Lee, his distinguished service earning him the Confederate Cross of Honor. Admitted to the Kansas bar in 1869, elected to the Kansas House of Representatives where he served for one year. President Grant appointed him United States Attorney for Kansas in 1873. Worked as a lawyer in Kansas and Missouri from 1869 to 1882. Converted at 36, he was ordained to the Congregational ministry in 1882, and served as pastor of the First Church, Dallas, Texas (1882-1895), and again (1902-1907); and of the Moody Church, Northfield, Massachusetts (1895-1902). Later years were spent lecturing on biblical subjects on both sides of the Atlantic. The work for which he is best remembered is his 1909 dispensational premillenial Scofield Reference Bible.” (From “The Wycliffe Biographical Dictionary of the Church,” page 362, Elgin S. Moyer, 1982, © Moody Press, Chicago, IL)

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth by C. I. Scofield, first published in 1896, is a monumental work that explains the important divisions in scripture.

Click here to read C.I. Scofield’s “The Biggest Failure of the Church Age”


Table of Contents

Introduction

When Did the Church Body of Christ Begin?

September 6, 2017 Leave a comment

by Shawn Brasseaux

Was it Acts 2? Acts 9? Acts 13? Acts 18? Acts 28? Or later? In this Bible study, we hope to clear up the confusion surrounding this issue.

Nearly everyone in Christendom is convinced that Acts chapter 2 is “the birthday of the Church the Body of Christ” (here is a link to our study specially dedicated to refuting the “Acts 2” position, which is beyond the scope of this discussion). While there seems to be an anti-Acts-2 consensus within the so-called “grace movement,” there is often little clarity as to when the Church the Body of Christ did begin; that is, among grace believers, there is an overwhelming agreement that the Body of Christ did not begin in Acts chapter 2, but very few of these Christians can actually state with certainty when it did begin. Hence, the general term “mid-Acts dispensationalism” is applied, for some hold an “Acts 9” view, others believe in an “Acts 13” view, and still others an “Acts 18” view. There are even some who hold to “Acts 28” view, or something beyond Acts 28. It is very sad that many grace Christians seem to be guilty of being just as fragmented as the denominationalists they often deride. “When did the Church the Body of Christ begin?” is such a simple question with a simple answer, but it seems like very few are aware that God already settled the matter almost 2,000 years ago. Beloved, we grace believers must not allow denominationalism to divide us, lest we discredit ourselves and the message we so fervently claim to believe!

It is of utmost importance to our discussion to remember that the term “the Church the Body of Christ” is never found outside of Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon. James, Peter, and John never mentioned it in their epistles. In fact, Jesus Christ in His earthly ministry (recorded in Matthew through John) never mentioned it (the overwhelming Scriptural testimony is that Matthew 16:18 is not the Body of Christ). In his epistles, the Apostle Paul made over 20 references to “the Church the Body of Christ” by name (Romans 7:4; 1 Corinthians 12:4,5; 1 Corinthians 10:17; 1 Corinthians 12:12,13,14,15,27; Ephesians 1:22,23; Ephesians 2:16; Ephesians 3:6; Ephesians 4:4,12,16; Ephesians 4:16; Ephesians 5:23,30; Colossians 1:18,24; Colossians 2:19; Colossians 3:15). Save Paul, no other Bible writer uses the term “the Church the Body of Christ.” Since only Paul uses that term, he seems to know more about it than anyone else in Scripture, so should we not allow Paul to tell us when it began? Rather than blindly agreeing with a grace preacher or a grace church’s doctrinal statement, we need to believe what the Holy Spirit through Paul taught and believed concerning the beginning of the Church the Body of Christ.

1. PAUL’S SALVATION IS OUR “PATTERN”

The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 1:15-16: “[15] This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. [16] Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”

Notice the four very important words in the passage quoted above:

  1. “chief” — The word “chief” means “first, primary” (such as in Acts 14:12). For any “Greekophile,” the Greek word translated “chief” in 1 Timothy 1:16 is protos, meaning “beginning or foremost.” It does not mean “worst” as commonly thought.
  2. “first” — Means just what it says; it is the “earliest.”
  3. “pattern” — A “pattern” is “an example for others to follow.”
  4. “hereafter” — “Hereafter” is an adverb meaning, “from now on.”

These four terms are four different ways of saying the same thing—something new began with Paul. Paul was the “chief,” the “first,” the “pattern to them which should hereafter [that is, after Paul] believe on him [Jesus Christ] to life everlasting.” When Paul wrote, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief,” he was not saying that he was the worst of all sinners. In the context (look again at the four key terms highlighted above), what he meant was that he was the first of all sinners Jesus Christ saved. Yet, how could that be? What about the 12 apostles? Were they not sinners saved by God years prior to Paul? Yes, they were, but the manner by which Paul was saved, and the purpose to which Paul was saved, were different than those before him. Jesus Christ saved Paul and those after him with a special plan in mind.

The Scriptures could not be plainer that something new began with Paul’s salvation in Acts 9. Paul was the “first.” The first of what? The only sensible answer is the first member of the Church the Body of Christ (the only other group of believers God has in His Word is the redeemed nation Israel, and Israel is fallen at this point; the Church the Body of Christ had to be created in order to save Saul of Tarsus and make him Paul the Apostle). Paul was the first individual to be saved apart from Israel’s program. There had to have been a new program in Acts 9, otherwise Paul could not be saved unto eternal life (more on this later). The Holy Spirit said that Paul’s salvation is our “pattern.” Are we members of the nation Israel? No. Do we belong to Israel’s program? No. According to the Holy Spirit, and according to Paul himself, Paul was saved the same way we are—apart from Israel (1 Corinthians 15:8; Galatians 1:15) and apart from her program (1 Timothy 1:13-16 cf. Matthew 12:31-32; Romans 11:11-13; 1 Corinthians 1:17 cf. Matthew 28:19-20; Romans 6:14-15 cf. Matthew 5:17-19; et cetera).

2. PAUL COULD NOT BE SAVED IN ISRAEL’S PROGRAM

In Galatians 1:15-16, Paul writes, “[15] But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, [16] To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:…” In 1 Corinthians 15:8, Paul wrote, “And last of all he [the resurrected Jesus Christ] was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.” Paul was not a part of Israel or her program. God “killed” Israel, as one would take the life of a pregnant woman, and He delivered her unborn child, in this case, Saul of Tarsus (Paul). (Look at the “stillborn” birth Job longed for in Job 3:16, “Or as an hidden untimely birth I had not been….”).

The Lord Jesus said to the nation Israel in Matthew 12:31-32: “[31] Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. [32] And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.”

Saul/Paul encouraged the murder of Stephen, and he was guilty of blaspheming against the Holy Ghost. After all, Jewish Saul was leading the world’s rebellion against Jesus Christ (see Acts 7:57-60; Acts 8:1-4; Acts 9:1-5; Acts 22:3-7; Acts 26:9-11; et cetera). Paul wrote that he was a “blasphemer” in 1 Timothy 1:13. Paul was saved, but he blasphemed against the Holy Spirit! So, how was Paul saved, and yet, how could it not break Jesus’ words in Matthew 12:31-32? Paul could not be saved in Israel’s program, for it would contradict Jesus’ words in Matthew 12:31-32; nevertheless, God opened our Dispensation of Grace, a program separate from Israel’s program, in Acts 9, and saved Saul/Paul. Saul/the Apostle Paul could only be saved if God interrupted Israel’s program with a new program, and if he was placed into a new group of believers. Paul was saved in our dispensation, not in Israel’s program; he was saved in the Church the Body of Christ, not in the nation Israel. Certainly, a new dispensation was in effect in Acts 9.

3. NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN JEW AND GENTILE IN PAUL’S MINISTRY, WHETHER DURING ACTS OR POST-ACTS

When understanding the beginning of the Church the Body of Christ, we need to determine what the Church the Body of Christ is. From Paul’s epistles, we learn that it is a spiritual, invisible body of believers in Christ, whether Jew or Gentile, who have trusted exclusively in Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for their sins (Paul’s Gospel, the Gospel of Grace of 1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Consider the following verses found in Paul’s epistles:

Romans 3:22: “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:” (Written during Acts.)

1 Corinthians 12:13: “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” (Written during Acts.)

Galatians 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Written during Acts.)

Galatians 6:15: “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” (Written during Acts.)

Ephesians 2:11-17: “[11] Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; [12] That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: [13] But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. [14] For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; [15] Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; [16] And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: [17] And came and preached peace to you which were afar off [Gentiles], and to them that were nigh [Jews].” (Written after Acts.)

Colossians 3:10-11: “[10] And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: [11] Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.” (Written after Acts.)

The distinction between Jew and Gentile (“Greek” delineated the prominent Gentile nationality of that day, as in the Graeco-Roman Empire) was abolished with Paul’s ministry: “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference” (Romans 3:22). Paul was “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13)—Paul wrote Romans during the Acts period. Israel had fallen back in Acts chapter 7 and was now “diminishing” (see Romans 11:11-12), so any lost Jews were technically Gentiles. In Acts chapter 15, Paul agreed to minister to the “heathen” (Galatians 2:9)—this would be anyone who was not a member of Israel’s little flock, her believing remnant. A Jew who had not trusted Jesus as Messiah was still just as much a “heathen”—a child of the Devil, and an enemy of the God of the Bible—as a lost non-Jew (Gentile) (see John 8:44, Acts 13:10, and Ephesians 2:1-3).

Paul, as Saul of Tarsus, had been one of those Christ-rejecting Jews, a heathen just as sinful before God as a Gentile. Paul’s ministry and message were directed toward any Christ-rejecting lost people—Jews or Gentiles. This distinction of Jew and Gentile being done away could only be possible if Israel’s program were fallen; the distinction between Jew and Gentile is always indicative of “time past” (Ephesians 2:11-12). The Church the Body of Christ had to have begun at the very beginning of Paul’s ministry, otherwise those to whom he ministered could not be saved. Yea, Paul himself could not be saved if a new program (the Dispensation of Grace) and a new agency (the Church the Body of Christ) had not begun back in Acts chapter 9.

4. PAUL’S INCLUSION IN THE RAPTURE

Paul considered himself to be a member of the Church the Body of Christ because he mentioned himself in reference to the Rapture. The Rapture of the Church the Body of Christ does not involve Israel or her prophetic program; the Rapture actually prevents our mystery program from overlapping with Israel’s program. Had the Body of Christ began after Paul was saved in Acts chapter 9—such as in Acts chapter 13, Acts chapter 18, or Acts chapter 28 or beyond—it would make no sense for Paul to be including himself in the Rapture. Paul had a hope to be included with the members of the Church the Body of Christ at the Rapture. He says “we” not “you” throughout 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18—Paul included himself in the Rapture, which is exclusively Body-of-Christ doctrine (verses 15 and 17). In fact, remember what Paul wrote, “For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body…” (1 Corinthians 12:13)—Paul did not use the pronoun, “you,” indicating that he included himself in the Church the Body of Christ. Paul mentioned God blessing “us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3)—this is the Body of Christ doctrine, and when he wrote that God “blessed us with all spiritual blessings,” he included himself. “For we are members of his body” (Ephesians 5:30)—Paul included himself in the Body of Christ. To have the Body of Christ begin after Paul’s salvation is to ignore the many verses that indicate that Paul was a member of the Body of Christ.

5. THE DANGERS OF STARTING THE BODY OF CHRIST AFTER ACTS 9 (SUCH AS ACTS 13, ACTS 18, ACTS 28, OR BEYOND)

To begin the Church the Body of Christ at some time other than Acts chapter 9 is to ignore the foregoing verses and passages. Furthermore, a non-Acts-9 view of the Body of Christ will introduce increasing confusion into your Christian life and the lives of those around you. You lose Paul’s salvation as your pattern, you make your Christian life less clear, and you make the transitional period of Acts more confusing. Without going into too much detail, we will briefly comment about the “Acts 13,” “Acts 18,” and “Acts 28” positions:

ACTS 13.

This position is taken because Paul began his apostolic journeys at the beginning of this chapter. Furthermore, Acts 13:46 is used to justify this position: “Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.” Some use this verse to contend that Paul will go unto Gentiles from this time on, so the Gentile body of Christ could not begin until Acts chapter 13. Still, we understand that Paul was considered a Gentile because he had rejected Jesus Christ and was a “heathen” (Israel had fallen in Acts 7, see Point #2, “Paul could not be saved in Israel’s program”). Moreover, the Body of Christ had already begun with Paul’s salvation in Acts 9 (see previous comments). Had the Body of Christ begun in Acts chapter 13, Paul could not have been saved unto eternal life. The clear teaching of Acts 13:46 is this—it was Paul’s announcement to unbelieving Israel in Asia (modern-day Turkey) that God had now changed His dealings with mankind, that Israel was now fallen and diminishing. Nothing more.

ACTS 18.

Acts 18:8 is used to teach that the Gentile Body of Christ began in Acts 18: “And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean; from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.” Yet, by this time, Paul had already gone to Gentiles—he spoke with the pagan Greeks in Athens in Acts chapter 17. In Acts 18:8, Paul was not saying that the Body of Christ was now beginning. He was simply announcing in a new region (Europe) to unbelieving Israel that his ministry was amongst Gentiles. He was speaking to a new Jewish audience to inform them that JEHOVAH God had now changed His dealings with mankind, that Israel was now fallen and diminishing. To begin the Church the Body of Christ in Acts chapter 18 is to divorce ourselves from Paul’s earliest epistles—Thessalonians and Galatians.

ACTS 28.

Acts 28:28 is used to support the Acts 28 position: “Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.” This does not say that God’s salvation will go to the Gentiles; by this time, we have seen that it has already gone to the Gentiles and is going to the Gentiles (recall our earlier comments). The Body of Christ had begun long before Paul announced those words in Acts 28:28—some 30 years earlier actually. Acts 28:28 was Paul speaking in Rome, the world’s capital at this time. “Acts 28” is a particularly dangerous position to take because it divorces you from Paul’s Acts epistles (Galatians, Thessalonians, Corinthians, and Romans) and makes you believe they are not to or about you—Paul never divides his epistles between one section of the Body of Christ in Acts and another section of the Body of Christ after Acts. The admonition in 2 Timothy 2:15 refers to all of the Bible, and does not teach “rightly dividing” Paul’s epistles.

Acts 13:46, Acts 18:8, and Acts 28:28 are not the beginning of the Body of Christ and, despite what some “grace” people may tell you, they are not indicative of such. These three verses should be considered one unit, for they comprise a three-fold announcement that the Apostle Paul made to unbelieving Israel in three separate regions. God was now going and had gone to the Gentiles, and Israel’s prophetic program was diminishing. By the time of Acts 28, that transition period was over. How clear, how simple!

CONCLUSION

We so-called “mid-Acts dispensationalists” agree that the Church the Body of Christ did not begin in Acts chapter 2 (as “traditional dispensationalism” teaches). Yet, there is often great confusion and doubt concerning when it did begin (hence the broad term “mid-Acts”). Some say it was Acts chapter 9, others Acts chapter 13, still others Acts chapter 18, and some even say Acts chapter 28 or later. Indeed, it sounds just as bad as denominationalism in Christendom! Mid-Acts dispensationalists often blame traditionalists (denominational people) for holding to the “traditions of men” to advance a particular church’s viewpoint regarding Scripture. Sadly, however, some so-called “mid-Acts dispensationalists” are just as guilty of this error. One glance at the “Acts 9/13/18/28” controversy demonstrates that religious tradition and preconceived notions often deceive, divide, and defeat us “mid-Acts dispensationalists” just as it does denominational Christendom.

Honestly, some years ago, when I first learned of the Acts 9/13/18/28 division within “grace circles,” I grew very discouraged. I had left my religious confusion in a denominational church behind, only to wind up with more confusion parading as “grace doctrine.” I wanted to know when the Church the Body of Christ began so that I could then determine what parts of the Bible on which to focus the most. It took me at least two or three years to finally learn the truth about the matter (during that time, many “grace people” were telling me different things, and they seemed to be just as confused as I was). When I finally studied the Scriptures on my own, I was thrilled to see how clear the Bible was regarding the issue. Acts chapter 9, the Apostle Paul’s salvation, was the beginning of the Church the Body of Christ; to say otherwise is to cause abounding confusion.

Dear friends, the fragmentation of grace believers regarding the beginning of the Body of Christ, often aids the Adversary’s cause in keeping God’s truth hidden. Having struggled with this issue myself, I can personally testify to that. Furthermore, this Acts 9/13/18/28 conflict affords our denominational critics another reason to undermine our stand on Paul’s special apostleship/ministry to us Gentiles and our stand in the Gospel the Lord Jesus Christ committed first to his trust. Thus, the question, “When did the Church the Body of Christ begin?,” is one of the most important questions the Bible student will face. He or she must answer it using Bible verses, not religious tradition (even if that church tradition parades under the guise of “grace doctrine!”).

If we are to be a pure church, we too must discard traditions, even if “grace” brethren believe and teach them! No question about it, the Apostle Paul was the first member of the Church the Body of Christ. It is not that difficult to understand unless we refuse to see it for sake of keeping our own traditions.

Source: https://ambassadorsfortherisenchristministries.org/2014/07/29/when-did-the-church-the-body-of-christ-begin/

Eternal Security Brief

September 2, 2017 Leave a comment

 

Dr. Mike Johnston

The following factors underwriting eternal security are expressive rather than exhaustive.

  1. We are saved as a result of the finished work of Jesus Christ at Calvary (John 17:4; 19:30; Heb. 4:3). If it depends on us in the least little bit, we become Co-Redeemers with Him.
  2. It is believing, not performing, that saves us: (Eph. 2:8-9).
  3. If our faith fails, His sustains us: (2 Tim. 2:13).
  4. Salvation by faith alone glorifies Christ who died for us and will one day present us to the world as trophies of His grace: (Eph. 5:25-27).
  5. It is Christ, not ourselves, who makes us acceptable before God: (Eph. 1:6).
  6. Redemption is a present possession of every born again believer in Christ: (Eph. 1:7).
  7. If the dos and don’ts of the Mosaic Law didn’t save anyone then, why would any set of dos and don’ts save anyone, or keep anyone saved now (Rom. 3:19-20; 10:3-4)?
  8. Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Rom. 10:13). If salvation can be lost, this verse is not true.
  9. We are born again (regenerated) from above: (John 3:3-5). There isn’t a verse anywhere in the Bible teaching this process can be reversed!
  10. We have been redeemed by His blood: (Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14). Redemption means to be purchased, like from a slave market.
  11. It is Christ’s righteousness not our own, that provides us right standing before God: (Rom. 3:21-28; Phil. 3:9; Titus 3:5).
  12. We have been forgiven all sin: (Rom. 4:7; Eph. 1:7).
  13. We are now and forever, the children of God: (John 1:12).
  14. We are never to be condemned: (John 3:18; 5:24; Rom. 8:1) This includes future condemnation in Hell, dear friend.
  15. We can’t be lost by Christ: (John 6:39-40).
  16. If salvation can be lost, how strange that no theologian in the history of the church has ever been able to set forth the precise moment is will be taken from us.
  17. We are in Christ’s hand and in the Father’s hand never to be removed (John 10:28-29).
  18. Verses promising everlasting life to those placing faith in Christ must be extracted from Scripture is salvation can at any point, for any reason, be forfeited.
  19. We are reckoned by God to be sinless: (Rom. 4:7-8; 8:33; Col. 2:13).
  20. We are citizens of Heaven: (Eph 2:19; Phil. 3:20).
  21. We have entered into His rest: (Heb. 4:3).
  22. We have been made perfect forever by the offering of Christ: (Heb. 10:14).
  23. We can never ever be snatched out of Jesus’ hand: (John 10:28)
  24. We can never ever be snatched out of the Father’s hand: (John 10:29)
  25. We have been delivered from the wrath to come: (1 Thess. 1:10)
  26. We are dead: (Col. 3:1-3). Death permanently removes us from the earthly realm as Paul explains in this passage of Scripture.
  27. We have been justified (declared not guilty of all sin) by faith: (Rom. 3:28) If right living got us declared not guilty, Christ died for nothing – (Gal. 2:21).
  28. We furthermore, have had all charges dropped against us: (Rom. 4:7-8; 2 Cor. 5:19; Col. 2:13-14; Heb. 10:17-18).
  29. We are (spiritually and positionally) in Christ: (Ephesians 1:1,3,10,12,20; 2:6,10,13).
  30. We are being kept secure by God: (Phil. 1:6; Col. 3:3).
  31. We are sanctified (set apart permanently): (1 Cor. 6:11; Heb. 10:10).
  32. We are seated in Heaven with Christ now: (Eph. 2:6; Col. 3:1-3). Nowhere in Scripture are we ever removed or unseated from this lofty position.
  33. We are sealed unto the day of redemption (Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30). The redemption spoken of here is the ultimate deliverance of all believers by the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:14).
  34. We are a brand new creation; a new person: (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15; Eph. 4:24).
  35. We have everlasting life as a present ongoing possession: (John 3:16, 36; 5:24; 6:47) Greek scholar AT Robertson’s Word Studies says that we have this here, and now, and for all eternity.
  36. We are as righteous as the Lord: (1 Cor. 1:30; Rom. 3:25; 2 Cor. 5:21) Righteousness comes purely from believing in God, not in doing a thing- (Rom. 3:22). It gives us the same standing with God as Christ has with Him, since His righteousness has been transferred to us through faith (Rom. 3:25).
  37. We are saved completely by grace apart from personal worth, merit, or ability (Rom. 1:15; 4:16; Eph. 2:8-9).
  38. We were chosen to be saved on the basis of God’s foreknowledge (Rom. 8:29-30) before God created the world (Eph. 1:4) If we could lose our salvation, then God is not omniscient in that He made a mistake choosing us.
  39. We are preserved in Christ: (Jude 1:1) The Greek word here, according to Strong is tay-reh’-o, and it means to guard from loss or injury, properly keep an eye on; in other words they live in complete protection. Scofield wrote: “Assurance is the believer’s full conviction that, through the work of Christ alone, received by faith, he is in possession of a salvation in which he will be eternally kept.”
  40. For every verse submitted by limited security advocates to “prove” salvation can be lost, a plethora exist to contradict it.

THE SCOFIELD BIBLE and C. I. SCOFIELD

September 2, 2017 Leave a comment

By Glenn R. Goss, Th. D.

Professor of Bible Philadelphia College of Bible

 

The year 1909 (almost 90 years ago!) was quite a year. Louis Bleroit of France piloted a small monoplane across the English Channel; homesteaders began to arrive in Montana; the NAACP was founded; Al Capp, creator of Li’l Abner, was born; Einstein became a leading scientific thinker in Europe; Grand Prairie, Texas, was incorporated; the first Siberian huskies were introduced to Alaska; George Sargent won the U. S. Open in Golf; Pittsburgh beat Detroit 4-3 to take the World Series; and, of great importance but little noted, Oxford University Press published The Scofield Reference Bible. It was released to the public in January, 1909, and revised by Scofield and his team of consultants as the New and Improved Edition in 1917. Now, almost 90 years later, the 1917 edition is still being printed by Oxford University Press, and the 1967 edition, the Scofield Study Bible (the title today) is offered in four versions: the King James, the New International Version, the New American Standard Bible, and the New King James Version. The first million copies were printed by 1930. Since then the number published has escalated, and so has the diversity in versions and languages. The Scofield is now printed in at least seven languages other than English.

 

But who is C. I. Scofield? Many know there is a Scofield Memorial Church in Dallas. What is the connection between the church and Scofield himself? How did the Scofield Reference Bible come to be? And why is the Scofield Study Bible so loved by some and so disliked by others?

 

Cyrus Ingerson Scofield was born in Michigan in 1843. When the Civil war began, he was in Tennessee with his sisters. While there, he enlisted in the Confederate army. Military records show he fought in the Confederate Army for over a year in 1861-1862, then was discharged by reason of not being a citizen of the Confederate States, but an alien friend. Scofield told his biographer Charles Trumbull that he served through the war, and that he was awarded the Confederate Cross of Honor. After the war, Scofield located in St. Louis, married, and had a family of two daughters and a son. His wife was from a French Catholic family, and she and her daughters remained in that church till their deaths. His son died as a young boy. He joined a law firm, read and studied to be admitted to the bar. In 1869 he and his family moved to Kansas, where he was admitted to the bar to practice law. He was elected twice to the Kansas legislature, in 1871 and in 1872. President Grant appointed him as the United States District Attorney of Kansas June 9, 1873. He affirmed, in the oath of office, that he had never voluntarily born arms against the United States . . . He evidently had no problem with that claim, even though he had fought in the Confederate Army. He resigned December 20, 1873, amid charges and counter-charges of political corruption. That ended Scofield’s political career.

 

Scofield probably moved his family back to St. Louis, for his son Guy died in December, 1874, and was buried in St. Louis. But by 1879 his life had deteriorated to the extent that he drank heavily and was involved in several questionable court cases. For most of this time, his wife and daughters were back to Atchison, Kansas. Mrs. Scofield filed for divorce in 1881, but that case was dismissed. A second filing of the case resulted in a divorce decree in 1883. These and other legal actions involving Scofield, and several notations in city directories, provide some of the only evidence about him during the time from 1873 to 1879.

 

A published account of Scofield’s life in can be found in The Life Story of C. I. Scofield by Charles Gallaudet Trumbull, published by Oxford University Press in 1920. An unpublished Master Thesis, “A Biographical Sketch of C. I. Scofield” was written by William A. BeVier at Southern Methodist University in 1960. Both of these are complimentary of Scofield. Joseph M. Canfield wrote and published, The Incredible Scofield in 1988. This book is very critical of Scofield’s theology and personal life. Due to the lack of existing records, and the lack of information in records that do exist, both BeVier and Canfield make much use of terms such as “it seems,” “probably,” and “evidently.” Trumbull, on the other hand, writes factually, since much of his information came directly from Scofield himself. But even Trumbull passes over the period of 1873 to 1879 with nothing more than a reference to Scofield’s habit of drinking. Though not much is certain about this period, one thing is clear. A change was needed in Scofield’s life. Both Canfield and BeVier agree with Trumbull that a conversion did take place. Canfield questions if it was real, at least at first, and he does not agree on the time. But all recognized that Scofield needed a change in his life. And, God had prepared a man to meet that need.

 

Enter Thomas McPheeters, a Christian businessman who knew and served the Lord. He bluntly asked Scofield one day in September, 1879, why he was not a Christian. The following discussion brought conviction, repentance, and a change of heart. Scofield was born again! He began to learn about, live for, and serve his new-found Lord. He lost his desire for alcohol completely. Also, he spent much time with Dr. James H. Brooks, a prominent pastor and Bible teacher in St. Louis. He served the YMCA and was licensed to preach by the Congregational churches of St. Louis.

 

In 1882 Scofield was asked to move to Dallas, Texas, and take charge of a struggling Congregational mission church there. After some time, he consented, and arrived in Dallas Saturday, August 19. He preached the next day to eleven people who came. That evening two of them accepted Scofield’s invitation to believe in Christ as Savior. He began cottage prayer meetings, led the church to adopt a constitution and bylaws, and was called as the full time pastor and ordained in 1883. He married Miss Hettie Hall Wartz in 1884, and the church sent Miss Eva Smith, its first missionary, to India in 1885. The only child of this union, Noel Paul, was born December 22, 1888. In 1889 a new building was begun at Bryan and Harwood, to seat 600. A mission church later called Grand Avenue Congregational church, was begun in South Dallas in 1890. Scofield started the Central American Mission (now CAM International) that same year. Church membership was noted as 355 in 1892, 550 in 1894, and 812 in 1896.

 

In 1896 Scofield accepted a call to pastor the Trinitarian Congregational Church in Northfield, Massachusetts, D. W. Moody’s home church. He remained there until 1903 when he returned to Dallas hoping for more free time to work on the Reference Bible. He spent nearly a year in Switzerland in research, but was back in Dallas in 1905. Scofield acted as an absent pastor, and continued his research with another trip to Europe. In 1908, the church withdrew from the Lone Star Congregational Association, and in 1909, following his resignation as pastor, Scofield was appointed Pastor Emeritus. The church name was changed in 1923, two years after Scofield’s death, when the congregation approved a change of name to Scofield Memorial Church.

 

The Reference Bible was not his first work. Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth was published in 1888. In 1890 came the Scofield Correspondence Course, which later was turned over to Moody Bible Institute in 1914. As of 1998, over 100,000 students have been enrolled in that program.

 

The Reference Bible plans came to light in 1901 at a summer Bible conference in which Scofield and A. C. Gaebelein were ministering. Scofield told Gaebelein his plans, but noted that financial backing was the main drawback. The next year at the conference Gaebelein sought and gained sufficient support for Scofield to move ahead with the work, and Scofield returned to his pastorate in Dallas with the desire to begin the work. The Reference Bible could not be too bulky, but it had to include the tools to Bible study along with a clear summary of the Bible so that it would meet the need of someone who was just beginning to read the Bible. He determined to find and state exactly what the Bible itself had to say and not to add philosophical or theological definitions. This would provide a wider acceptance and usage.

 

Scofield traced key subjects and teachings through the Bible with chain references. Each Bible book was to have a simple, clear introduction. Paragraph headings were introduced, at the suggestion of Dr. R. A. Torrey. From his experience in teaching the Bible in both oral and written form, he desired to include helps where readers might have questions, though constantly refusing to allow the notes to become commentary on the text.

 

Scofield and his wife went abroad in 1904 to work on the notes for the Bible. In England he visited his friend Mr. Robert Scott of Morgan and Scott, publishers of religious books. When Scott learned of Scofield’s project, he introduced Scofield to Henry Frowde, the head of Oxford University Press. Preliminary acceptance was soon granted, and the matter of a publisher was settled before the Scofields arrived in Montreaux, Switzerland where they planned to work. Large wide-margin notebooks were prepared, each large page having a page from the Bible pasted in the center. On these pages the Reference Bible took shape. This trip lasted about eleven months, and resulted in the preparation of the introductions and the book analyses.

 

The Scofields went to Oxford, England, after a short visit to the church in Dallas. The time was spent at Oxford University conferring with other scholars and continuing the work on the notes and references. The Scofields came to America again, and went to Michigan to continue the work. Another stay in Montreaux, Switzerland in 1907 brought the work to completion. It was now ready for final review and printing. During the summer of 1908 the Scofields were in New York City, proofreading the printer’s proofs. Publication followed in early 1909.

 

A copy of the 1909 edition is very difficult to find today. Some copies exist, but Oxford no longer has records of how many were originally printed. In recent years the Barbour Company reprinted the 1909 edition, though with some changes and corrections in the notes. It is not, therefore, a true copy of the original. Evangelical Word (Wheaton) also published in 1987 a translation of the 1909 notes in a Russian Bible. Over 400,000 of these have been printed for distribution in Russia.

 

The New and Improved Edition was published in 1917. This edition included dates at the top of the center column, and comments in the book introductions as to the time of events, according to Ussher. A number of corrections and additions were made to the notes and references, and Arabic numbers were used in place of Roman numerals in the cross references. Sale of the Scofield Reference Bible grew, and by 1930 it became the first book published by Oxford University Press to attain the one million mark in sales. Oxford renewed the copyright in 1937 and 1945, and then dropped the description, New and Improved Edition. About 1990 the name was changed to The Scofield Study Bible, and it continues in print today. In their latest Bible catalog, it is called The Old Scofield Study Bible to distinguish it from The New Scofield Study Bible which was published in 1967. The New Testament alone was printed and released in 1920. A number of printings of this edition were released. The 1917 edition of the Scofield Bible was published in Spanish in 1987, a Swahili edition was released in 1993 (NT) and 1994 (whole Bible), and a bi-lingual edition with both the text and the notes in Spanish and English in 1996.

 

After nearly forty years, the New and Improved Edition was ready for revision. In 1954 Oxford University Press chose E. Schuyler English, who had already edited The Pilgrim Bible, a student Bible based on The Scofield Reference Bible, to serve as chair of a revision committee. The committee included William Culbertson, Charles Feinberg, Frank E. Gaebelein, Allan MacRae, Clarence E. Mason, Jr., Alva J. McClain, Wilbur M. Smith, and John F. Walvoord.

 

The revision, called The New Scofield Reference Bible, was published in 1967. The King James Version (KJV) was used for the text, though it included such word changes in the text as will help the reader. Archaic words, words whose meaning had changed, and some pronouns were replaced. Introductions to the books were brought up to date, and over 700 new footnotes and over 15,000 more cross references were added. The new and the revised footnotes held to Scofield’s original plan that these notes should not be commentary on the text, but helps where readers had questions. The name has now been changed to The New Scofield Study Bible.

 

As contemporary versions of the English Bible gained popularity, the Scofield material was adapted to these versions. First came The Oxford NIV Scofield Study Bible (now called The New Scofield Study Bible NIV) in 1984. Three faculty from Philadelphia College of Bible were consultants in the process of adaptation: Clarence E. Mason, Jr. (a member of the Editorial Revision Committee for the 1967 edition), W. Sherrill Babb, President, and Paul S. Karleen, Chair of the Division of General Education.

 

The next adaptation was The New Scofield Study Bible NAS in 1988. Paul S. Karleen and Glenn R. Goss, Professor of Bible at Philadelphia College of Bible, served as consultants. The fourth adaptation was The New Scofield Study Bible NKJV in 1989. Arthur L. Farstad , Executive Editor of the New King James Version, was the consultant. The New Scofield Study Bible has been published in several languages. A French edition was released in 1975 (40,000 were printed), the Portuguese edition in 1986, and an edition of the annotations only in Hungarian in 1993. Two German editions have been published (over 65,000 printed), a new French edition has been released, an Italian edition is in preparation, and a new Spanish edition is in preparation also. Spanish Publications Inc. has prepared a number of these editions. Mrs. Erma Walker (President of Spanish Publications, Inc) and her late husband, William, missionaries with CAM International, began by translating the Scofield materials for the Spanish Bible. They directed the work on the publications in Spanish, Portuguese, French, Russian, and Swahili, and the organization now has requests for the Scofield Bible in over a dozen more languages. One of the requests is for the Scofield in Arabic.

 

After The New Scofield Reference Bible was published in 1967, Oxford released A Companion to The New Scofield Reference Bible by E. Schuyler English in 1972. Paul S. Karleen authored The Handbook to Bible Study with a Guide to the Scofield Study System, published by Oxford in 1987. This latter volume is a complete and very helpful guide to the Scofield Bible, and assists the reader to understand the approach of the Scofield system and the doctrine of the Scofield Bible.

 

In 1967, E. Schulyer English wrote that the sales of the Scofield Bible had topped three million copies. Now, the number hovers near the five million mark with all language editions. That testimony itself demonstrates the appeal, approval, and usefulness of the Scofield Bible. Though Study Bibles are being published now at an astounding rate, between five and fifteen new titles a year in the last decade, the new and the old Scofield Bibles show a consistency in demand. And many have not just one, but several Scofields, for as one wears out, another is purchased to take its place. And why is the Scofield loved? Because no other Bible provides the clarity and consistency of comments that help the reader to understand God’s revelation to humans in the broadest sense, and how that revelation relates to every day Christian life.

 

But not all love Scofield. Some call his teaching heresy, socialist, communist, Zionist, or that which has been the leading cause for the fall of American civilization because it presents, from their point of view, an antinomian view that rejects the moral law of God (as given in the Old Testament) as the standard for living today. Also, some claim that it believes the church is weak, ineffective, and failing because the hope is in the coming of Christ for His own, rather than in a victorious church. Some look at Scofield as a drunkard, liar, adulterer, and perjurer, and note that such a one can produce only that which is evil and heretical. Are these criticisms valid? No, for Scofield was born again after Thomas McPheeters confronted him with the claims of Christ, and he began to grow in Christ. All branches of Christianity can identify persons who, having been regenerated, turned and followed Christ into significant service for the Lord. Also, the ministry of dispensationalists shows a great concern for the world’s peoples and a growing ministry to them. Scofield’s own CAM International has built, strengthened, and provided leaders for the church in Latin America. This is one example among many of certainly believing in, supporting, and building the church in this age (see Mt. 16:18). Further, the charge that dispensationalists are “antinomian,” or against the moral law of God, is in error. In response to the same charge by Dr. John H. Gerstner in his book, Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth, John Witmer in his review responds: “Concerning this charge Gerstner concedes, ‘We notice, with relief, that many dispensationalists are better Christians than their theology allows'” (p. 250). This concession helps explain how a theology supposedly so heretical could produce such exemplary Christians as Brookes, Scofield, Gaebelein, Chafer, Pettingill, Trumbull, Ironside, DeHaan, and a host of others including many dispensational leaders living today. In fact the daily Christian living of most dispensationalists is indistinguishable from that of most followers of covenant theology. This clearly raises the question as to whether dispensational theology is as antinomian as Gerstner claims, since he would certainly agree with Jesus’ observation that “the tree is known by its fruit,” (Matt 12:33; cf. 7:15, 20). Indeed, many have been saved through reading the Bible and the Scofield notes. And many have been called to serve Him through reading that Bible. The Scofield Bible stands as a source of help and blessing to untold millions who have read, heard, and profited from it. And that was the goal of Scofield himself, “The completed work is now dedicated to the service amongst men of that Loving and Holy God, whose marvelous grace in Christ it seeks to exalt,” (Introduction, 1909 edition).

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