“What does the Bible say about anointing oil?”


THE WALL: a blog of Baptist Voice Ministries


Anointing oil, mentioned 20 times in Scripture, was used in the Old Testament for pouring on the head of the High Priest and his descendants and sprinkling the Tabernacle and its furnishings to mark them as holy and set apart to the Lord (Exodus 25:6; Leviticus 8:30; Numbers 4:16). Three times it is called the “holy, anointing oil” and the Jews were strictly forbidden from reproducing it for personal use (Exodus 30:32-33). The recipe for anointing oil is found in Exodus 30:23-24 and contained myrrh, cinnamon and other natural ingredients. There is no indication that the oil or the ingredients had any supernatural power. Rather, the strictness of the guidelines for creating the oil was a test of the obedience of the Israelites and a demonstration of the absolute holiness of God.

Only four New Testament passages refer to the practice of anointing with oil and none of them offer an…

View original post 182 more words

Posted in Uncategorized

“Does God still speak to us today?”


 

First, it is clear God has spoken on many occasions. He revealed Himself audibly to Adam and Eve (Genesis 3), Noah (Genesis 6:13-21), Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3), and many others. So, God can speak to people, even audibly, if He desires.

But does God still speak to us today? Yes, He does so in a variety of ways. First, God has revealed Himself through the created world: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard” (Psalm 19:1-3). This form of revelation is obvious to all people, yet is not as direct as the written Word of God.

Second, God speaks through the Bible. Second Timothy 3:15-16 notes, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” Scripture comes from God and is therefore one clear way in which God speaks to people today.

Second Peter 1:20-21 likewise notes, “No prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” The Bible is the perfect standard for determining what God has said, knowing His character, and evaluating other messages that claim to be from God.

In addition to the created world and the Word, God has also communicated in other ways throughout history. The Bible reveals that God has spoken through lots (Proverb 16:33; Acts 1:21-26), urim and thummim (Exodus 28:30), dreams (Genesis 20:3), visions (Isaiah 6:1Acts 11:3), angels (Daniel 9:20-21), prophets, events (such as in Micah 6:5), and Jesus (John 1:14).

God can and certainly does speak to people today in some of the ways mentioned in the Bible. However, some words of caution: First, anything God communicates to us will be consistent with what He has already revealed in the Bible. God is perfect, and He will not convey something that contradicts the perfect revelation He has already given.

Second, God often affirms His revelation through the wise counsel of other believers. When other godly people are involved in our lives, they can encourage us to pursue what God is leading us to do. Praise God for the gift of exhortation/encouragement (Romans 12:8).

Third, we must exercise caution when others claim God has spoken to them. The Bible says many “false prophets” will come who speak in the name of God (2 Peter 2:1). As a result, we are called to “test” to see if these people are truly speaking according to what God has revealed (1 John 4:1). Scripture says that those who claim to teach in Christ’s name will affirm that Jesus physically came to earth, died, and rose again (1 John 4:2-3). Those who hold to unorthodox teaching regarding the essentials of the faith cannot be trusted when they claim to speak for God.

Posted in Uncategorized

GRIN AND SHARE IT: “The Baptist Cowboy”


THE WALL: a blog of Baptist Voice Ministries

Baptist Cowboy

A cowboy walks into a bar in Texas, orders three mugs of Bud
and sits in the back room, drinking a sip out of each one in turn.
When he finishes them, he comes back to the bar and orders
three more.

The bartender approaches and tells the cowboy, “You know,
a mug goes flat after I draw it, it would taste better if you bought
one at a time.”

The cowboy replies, “Well, you see, I have two brothers. One
is in Australia, the other is in Dublin, and I’m in Texas. When we
all left home, we promised that we’d drink this way to remember
the days we drank together. So I drink one for each of my
brothers and one for myself.”

The bartender admits that this is a nice custom, and leaves it
there. The cowboy becomes a regular in the bar, and always

View original post 108 more words

Posted in Uncategorized

“Should we have a Christmas Tree?”


THE WALL: a blog of Baptist Voice Ministries


 The modern custom of a Christmas tree does not come from any form of paganism. There is no evidence of any pagan religion decorating a special holiday tree for their mid-winter festivals, although the Romans celebrated the winter solstice with a festival called Saturnalia in honor of Saturnus, the god of agriculture. They decorated their houses with greens and lights and exchanged gifts. Late in the Middle Ages, Germans and Scandinavians placed evergreen trees inside their homes or just outside their doors to show their hope in the forthcoming spring. The first Christmas tree was decorated by Protestant Christians in 16th-century Germany. Our modern Christmas tree evolved from these early German traditions, and the custom most likely came to the United States with Hessian troops during the American Revolution, or with German immigrants to Pennsylvania and Ohio.

There is nothing in the Bible that either commands or prohibits Christmas…

View original post 302 more words

Posted in Uncategorized

“How can we be happy in Heaven if all of our loved ones are not there?”


THE WALL: a blog of Baptist Voice Ministries


It’s hard to imagine that we can be happy in heaven if we have an awareness that those we loved on earth are not present. We do know that when we arrive in Heaven, we will not have anything to be saddened by. Revelation 21:4 tells us, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Missing our loved ones would presumably fall under the category of pain or mourning. Perhaps we will have no knowledge or remembrance of them at all. Perhaps we will have come to see things from a heavenly perspective and will understand why our loved ones not being there somehow glorifies God and will rejoice. We do know that we will finally see everything from God’s perspective, something which is impossible now. “Now all we…

View original post 200 more words

Posted in Uncategorized

Are any black people mentioned in the Bible?


 The Bible does not specifically identify any person as being black-skinned. The Bible also does not specifically identify any person as being white-skinned. The vast majority of the Bible took place in the Middle East, in and around Israel. Neither “black” nor “white” people are common in these regions. The vast majority of the people in the Bible were “Semitic,” light to dark brown in complexion. Ultimately, it does not matter what skin color the people in the Bible had. Skin color is meaningless in the message of the Bible. We all need to take our eyes off of the skin and focus on the soul.

Some scholars guess that Moses’ wife Zipporah might have been black since she was a Cushite (Numbers 12:1). Cush is an ancient name for an area of Africa. The Shulammite may have been black (Song of Solomon 1:5), although the context indicates that her skin was dark due to being out in the sun. Some propose that Bathsheba (2 Samuel 113) was black. Some believe that the Queen of Sheba who visited Solomon (1 Kings 10:1) was black. The Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:37 was likely black. Ethiopians are mentioned about 40 times in the Bible, and the Prophet Jeremiah asked, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin …” (Jeremiah 13:23). “Simeon called Niger” in Acts 12:1 may have been black. The Bible, though, does not specifically say that any of these people were black.

Most Bible teachers believe that black people are descendants of Noah’s son Ham (Genesis 10:13-20), but we cannot be sure since the Bible does not specifically say. Why aren’t there more black people in the Bible? The vast majority of events in the Bible took place in the land of Israel. Although black people were common in many regions nearby Israel, Israel has never been an area where many black people have settled.

Posted in Apologetics, Guest Contributors

“What is the difference between Catholics and Protestants?”


Answer: There are several important differences between Catholics and Protestants. While there have been some attempts over the last several years to find common ground between the two groups, the fact is that the differences remain, and they are just as important today as they were at the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. The following is brief summary of some of the more important differences:

One of the first major differences between Catholicism and Protestantism is the issue of the sufficiency and authority of Scripture. Protestants believe that the Bible alone is the source of God’s special revelation to mankind and teaches us all that is necessary for our salvation from sin. Protestants view the Bible as the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured. This belief is commonly referred to as “sola scriptura” and is one of the “five solas” (sola is Latin for “alone”) that came out of the Protestant Reformation as summaries of some of the differences between Catholics and Protestants.

While there are many verses in the Bible that establish its authority and its sufficiency for all matters of faith and practice, one of the clearest is 2 Timothy 3:16, where we see that “all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” Catholics reject the doctrine of sola scriptura and do not believe that the Bible alone is sufficient. They believe that both the Bible and sacred Roman Catholic tradition are equally binding upon the Christian. Many Roman Catholics doctrines, such as purgatory, praying to the saints, worship or veneration of Mary, etc., have little or no basis in Scripture but are based solely on Roman Catholic traditions. Essentially, the Roman Catholic Church’s denial of sola scriptura and its insistence that both the Bible and tradition are equal in authority undermine the sufficiency, authority, and completeness of the Bible. The view of Scripture is at the root of many, if not all, of the differences between Catholics and Protestants.

Another disagreement between Catholicism and Protestantism is over the office and authority of the Pope. According to Catholicism the Pope is the “Vicar of Christ” (a vicar is a substitute) and takes the place of Jesus as the visible head of the Church. As such, the Pope has the ability to speak ex cathedra (with authority on matters of faith and practice), making his teachings infallible and binding upon all Christians. On the other hand, Protestants believe that no human being is infallible and that Christ alone is the Head of the Church. Catholics rely on apostolic succession as a way of trying to establish the Pope’s authority. Protestants believe that the church’s authority comes not from apostolic succession but from the Word of God. Spiritual power and authority do not rest in the hands of a mere man but in the very Word of God. While Catholicism teaches that only the Catholic Church can properly interpret the Bible, Protestants believe that the Bible teaches God sent the Holy Spirit to indwell all born-again believers, enabling all believers to understand the message of the Bible.

Protestants point to passages such as John 14:16-17 “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” (See also John 14:26 and 1 John 1:27.)

A third major difference between Catholicism and Protestantism is how one is saved. Another of the five solasof the Reformation is sola fide (“faith alone”), which affirms the biblical doctrine of justification by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-10). However, Catholics teach that the Christian must rely on faith plus “meritorious works” in order to be saved. Essential to the Roman Catholic doctrine of salvation are the Seven Sacraments, which are baptism, confirmation, the Eucharist, penance, anointing of the sick, holy orders, and matrimony. Protestants believe that, on the basis of faith in Christ alone, believers are justified by God, as all their sins are paid for by Christ on the cross and His righteousness is imputed to them. Catholics, on the other hand, believe that Christ’s righteousness is imparted to the believer by “grace through faith,” but in itself is not sufficient to justify the believer. The believer must supplement the righteousness of Christ imparted to him with meritorious works.

Catholics and Protestants also disagree on what it means to be justified before God. To the Catholic, justification involves being made righteous and holy. He believes that faith in Christ is only the beginning of salvation and that the individual must build upon that with good works because God’s grace of eternal salvation must be merited. This view of justification contradicts the clear teaching of Scripture in passages such as Romans 4:1-12, Titus 3:3-7, and many others. Protestants distinguish between the one-time act of justification (when we are declared righteous by God based on our faith in Christ’s atonement on the cross) and the process of sanctification (the development of righteousness that continues throughout our lives on earth). While Protestants recognize that works are important, they believe they are the result or fruit of salvation but never the means to it. Catholics blend justification and sanctification together into one ongoing process, which leads to confusion about how one is saved.

A fourth major difference between Catholics and Protestants has to do with what happens after death. Both believe that unbelievers will spend eternity in hell, but there are significant differences about what happens to believers. From their church traditions and their reliance on non-canonical books, the Catholics have developed the doctrine of purgatory. Purgatory, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, is a “place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God’s grace, are not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions.” On the other hand, Protestants believe that because we are justified by faith in Christ alone and that Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us—when we die, we will go straight to heaven to be in the presence of the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:6-10 and Philippians 1:23).

One disturbing aspect about the Catholic doctrine of purgatory is the belief that man can and must pay for his own sins. This results in a low view of the sufficiency and efficiency of Christ’s atonement on the cross. Simply put, the Roman Catholic view of salvation implies that Christ’s atonement on the cross was insufficient payment for the sins of those who believe in Him and that even a believer must pay for his own sins, either through acts of penance or time in purgatory. Yet the Bible teaches that it is Christ’s death alone that can satisfy or propitiate God’s wrath against sinners (Romans 3:23; Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:2; 1 John 4:10). Our works of righteousness cannot add to what Christ has already accomplished.

The differences between Catholicism and evangelical Protestants are important and significant. Paul wrote Galatians to combat the Judaizers (Jews who said that Gentile Christians had to obey the Old Testament Law to be saved). Like the Judaizers, Catholics make human works necessary for one to be justified by God, and they end up with a completely different gospel.

It is our prayer that God will open the eyes of those who are putting their faith in the teachings of the Catholic Church. It is our hope that everyone will understand that his “works of righteousness” cannot justify him or sanctify him (Isaiah 64:6). We pray that all will instead put their faith solely in the fact that we are “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith” (Romans 3:24-25). God saves us, “not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:5-7).

Posted in Apologetics, Guest Contributors