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Archive for June 2009

Wide Open Spaces

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I just read Jim Palmer’s “Wide Open Spaces” and it is saying many of the things that I am trying to say on this blog.  This book is one of the best books I have read in awhile about the true essence of Christian Spirituality.  I’m looking forward to reading his former book “Divine Nobodies” and any other book he puts out.  Jim Palmer seems like he is one of those special teachers that really gets what this Christianity thing is all about.
I just read Jim Palmer’s “Wide Open Spaces” and it is saying many of the things that I am trying to say on this blog.  This book is one of the best books I have read in awhile about the true essence of Christian Spirituality.  I’m looking forward to reading his former book “Divine Nobodies” and any other book he puts out.  Jim Palmer seems like he is one of those special teachers that really gets what this Christianity thing is all about.
I just read Jim Palmer’s “Wide Open Spaces” and it is saying many of the things that I am trying to say on this blog.  This book is one of the best books I have read in awhile about the true essence of Christian Spirituality.  I’m looking forward to reading his former book “Divine Nobodies” and any other book he puts out.  Jim Palmer seems like he is one of those special teachers that really gets what this Christianity thing is all about.
I just read Jim Palmer’s “Wide Open Spaces” and it is saying many of the things that I am trying to say on this blog.  This book is one of the best books I have read in awhile about the true essence of Christian Spirituality.  I’m looking forward to reading his former book “Divine Nobodies” and any other book he puts out.  Jim Palmer seems like he is one of those special teachers that really gets what this Christianity thing is all about.
I just read Jim Palmer’s “Wide Open Spaces” and it is saying many of the things that I am trying to say on this blog.  This book is one of the best books I have read in awhile about the true essence of Christian Spirituality.  I’m looking forward to reading his former book “Divine Nobodies” and any other book he puts out.  Jim Palmer seems like he is one of those special teachers that really gets what this Christianity thing is all about.
I just read Jim Palmer’s “Wide Open Spaces” and it is saying many of the things that I am trying to say on this blog.  This book is one of the best books I have read in awhile about the true essence of Christian Spirituality.  I’m looking forward to reading his former book “Divine Nobodies” and any other book he puts out.  Jim Palmer seems like he is one of those special teachers that really gets what this Christianity thing is all about.
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Written by freeinchrist

June 28, 2009 at 8:00 am

Experiential Baptism: Ephesians

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Ephesians 4:4
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
This is another passage that is often thought to be about water baptism that is actually more about Spirit baptism.  Many hear this and don’t believe it (I didn’t used to believe it either) but let me try to explain why this can’t be about water baptism (besides the reasons that are obvious from reading the previous posts in the series).
All of the things mentioned here are Spiritual realities.  We are told first that there is one body and one Spirit.  This is true and important.  The one body is the Church and the one Spirit is (of course) the Holy Spirit.  These two are connected.  The Church is the people who have the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is indwelling the Church.
“…just as you were called in one hope of your calling” is talking about how we all accept the same gospel (and this is where we enter the one body through the one Spirit).  These are all connected.
In English, when you have a comma and a semi-colon surrounding a set of words that is telling you that the sentence is still true if you were to lift that part out.  “…just as you were called in one hope of your calling” is a clarification saying that accepting the same gospel is how we receive the Spirit and enter the body.  This means that this could read “There is one body, one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
This means there is: one body (the Church), one Spirit (the Holy Spirit), one Lord (Jesus Christ), one faith (Christian Spirituality), one baptism (?), and one God (who is above all, through all, and in all)
I hope you can see how Trinitarian this verse is.  It is saying that our unity as Christians is based on the unity of Father, Son, and Spirit.  We are one just as They are one (which is the same thing Jesus prayed for in John).  You see, the body is the body of Christ and Christ is part of the Trinity.  The Spirit is part of the Trinity.  God is part of the trinity.
When it says that God is “above all, through all, and in all” it is saying that He is above, through, and in the body, the Spirit, the Lord, the faith, and baptism.  It is saying that all of these things are connected to God and to one another through Him.  The unity of these things to one another is where we find the basis for our unity as Christians.
The “one faith” may not seem to fit this theme but it really does.  Christian Spirituality (my term for the faith) is how we live in union with the Trinity (through the body, the Church).  The faith is the truth that has always existed among the Trinity and is the nature of the Trinity.  The essence of the faith is love and the Scriptures tell us that God is love.  It doesn’t say that God is “loving” but that He IS love.  That means that the faith (which is love) is God (in a sense) because God is love.  This means that to have union with God we must be love and the one faith is love so the faith is actually connected to the Trinity (and everything else in this list).
But where does that leave the “one baptism”?  Can this really be water baptism?  Is water baptism connected with the Trinity and the Church and thus a basis for our unity with God and with others?  I don’t think so.  I can see how Spirit baptism could be said to be part of this (because Spirit baptism connects us with the Trinity and the body) but I can’t see how water baptism would fit into Paul’s argument.  Even if he meant water baptism, he would be speaking experientially so there really wouldn’t be any problem but this verse shows that our unity with each other is based on our unity with the Trinity and their unity with each other.  This unity of the Trinity is one of the most important aspects to understanding Christian Spirituality and our place in it.
4:4
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
This is another passage that is often thought to be about water baptism that is actually more about Spirit baptism.  Many hear this and don’t believe it (I didn’t used to believe it either) but let me try to explain why this can’t be about water baptism (besides the reasons that are obvious from reading the previous posts in the series).
All of the things mentioned here are Spiritual realities.  We are told first that there is one body and one Spirit.  This is true and important.  The one body is the Church and the one Spirit is (of course) the Holy Spirit.  These two are connected.  The Church is the people who have the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is indwelling the Church.
“…just as you were called in one hope of your calling” is talking about how we all accept the same gospel (and this is where we enter the one body through the one Spirit).  These are all connected.
In English, when you have a comma and a semi-colon surrounding a set of words that is telling you that the sentence is still true if you were to lift that part out.  “…just as you were called in one hope of your calling” is a clarification saying that accepting the same gospel is how we receive the Spirit and enter the body.  This means that this could read “There is one body, one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
This means there is: one body (the Church), one Spirit (the Holy Spirit), one Lord (Jesus Christ), one faith (Christian Spirituality), one baptism (?), and one God (who is above all, through all, and in all)
I hope you can see how Trinitarian this verse is.  It is saying that our unity as Christians is based on the unity of Father, Son, and Spirit.  We are one just as They are one (which is the same thing Jesus prayed for in John).  You see, the body is the body of Christ and Christ is part of the Trinity.  The Spirit is part of the Trinity.  God is part of the trinity.
When it says that God is “above all, through all, and in all” it is saying that He is above, through, and in the body, the Spirit, the Lord, the faith, and baptism.  It is saying that all of these things are connected to God and to one another through Him.  The unity of these things to one another is where we find the basis for our unity as Christians.
The “one faith” may not seem to fit this theme but it really does.  Christian Spirituality (my term for the faith) is how we live in union with the Trinity (through the body, the Church).  The faith is the truth that has always existed among the Trinity and is the nature of the Trinity.  The essence of the faith is love and the Scriptures tell us that God is love.  It doesn’t say that God is “loving” but that He IS love.  That means that the faith (which is love) is God (in a sense) because God is love.  This means that to have union with God we must be love and the one faith is love so the faith is actually connected to the Trinity (and everything else in this list).
But where does that leave the “one baptism”?  Can this really be water baptism?  Is water baptism connected with the Trinity and the Church and thus a basis for our unity with God and with others?  I don’t think so.  I can see how Spirit baptism could be said to be part of this (because Spirit baptism connects us with the Trinity and the body) but I can’t see how water baptism would fit into Paul’s argument.  Even if he meant water baptism, he would be speaking experientially so there really wouldn’t be any problem but this verse shows that our unity with each other is based on our unity with the Trinity and their unity with each other.  This unity of the Trinity is one of the most important aspects to understanding Christian Spirituality and our place in it.
Ephesians 4:4
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
This is another passage that is often thought to be about water baptism that is actually more about Spirit baptism.
Many hear this and don’t believe it (I didn’t used to believe it either) but let me try to explain why this can’t be about water baptism (besides the reasons that are obvious from reading the previous posts in the series).
All of the things mentioned here are Spiritual realities.  We are told first that there is one body and one Spirit.  This is true and important.  The one body is the Church and the one Spirit is (of course) the Holy Spirit.  These two are connected.  The Church is the people who have the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is indwelling the Church.
“…just as you were called in one hope of your calling” is talking about how we all accept the same gospel (and this is where we enter the one body through the one Spirit).  These are all connected.
In English, when you have a comma and a semi-colon surrounding a set of words that is telling you that the sentence is still true if you were to lift that part out.  “…just as you were called in one hope of your calling” is a clarification saying that accepting the same gospel is how we receive the Spirit and enter the body.  This means that this could read “There is one body, one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
This means there is: one body (the Church), one Spirit (the Holy Spirit), one Lord (Jesus Christ), one faith (Christian Spirituality), one baptism (?), and one God (who is above all, through all, and in all)
I hope you can see how Trinitarian this verse is.  It is saying that our unity as Christians is based on the unity of Father, Son, and Spirit.  We are one just as They are one (which is the same thing Jesus prayed for in John).  You see, the body is the body of Christ and Christ is part of the Trinity.  The Spirit is part of the Trinity.  God is part of the trinity.
When it says that God is “above all, through all, and in all” it is saying that He is above, through, and in the body, the Spirit, the Lord, the faith, and baptism.  It is saying that all of these things are connected to God and to one another through Him.  The unity of these things to one another is where we find the basis for our unity as Christians.
The “one faith” may not seem to fit this theme but it really does.  Christian Spirituality (my term for the faith) is how we live in union with the Trinity (through the body, the Church).  The faith is the truth that has always existed among the Trinity and is the nature of the Trinity.  The essence of the faith is love and the Scriptures tell us that God is love.  It doesn’t say that God is “loving” but that He IS love.  That means that the faith (which is love) is God (in a sense) because God is love.  This means that to have union with God we must be love and the one faith is love so the faith is actually connected to the Trinity (and everything else in this list).
But where does that leave the “one baptism”?  Can this really be water baptism?  Is water baptism connected with the Trinity and the Church and thus a basis for our unity with God and with others?  I don’t think so.  I can see how Spirit baptism could be said to be part of this (because Spirit baptism connects us with the Trinity and the body) but I can’t see how water baptism would fit into Paul’s argument.  Even if he meant water baptism, he would be speaking experientially so there really wouldn’t be any problem but this verse shows that our unity with each other is based on our unity with the Trinity and their unity with each other.  This unity of the Trinity is one of the most important aspects to understanding Christian Spirituality and our place in it.

Written by freeinchrist

June 27, 2009 at 8:00 am

I Like Things Better This Way

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I LIKE THINGS BETTER THIS WAY
I am constantly hearing about how bad America is becoming and about the moral decline of people and how nobody respects God anymore.  I hear people talk about restoring America to its roots as a “Christian nation”.  This kind of talk really annoys me.
Don’t they realize that the America of yesteryear was all fake and based on fear?  People were just as immoral as they are today; they just had more social pressure that made them want to hide it.  They did things behind closed doors that today are being done out in the open.  I don’t believe there has been a moral decline in this country as much as a moral revelation.  It isn’t that people are more immoral it is that now we know they are.
The other change has been people becoming more honest with themselves.  Instead of acting like we are holy when we are not, we have begun to try to be who we really are.  This is real, yesterday was not.  People tried to act like they had it all together when they didn’t.  The rise of the porn industry, for example, is not because people are more sexually immoral (they have always been) it is because they are no longer afraid of a social stigma that buying porn used to bring.  This country wasn’t holy; it was just oppressed by social control.
Also, this nation was never a “Christian nation” and can never be one (no matter how holy it may become).  The Church is God’s nation and there can be no other.  God designed the Church to be His nation and it is the only one that He wants.  Peter called the church “a holy nation” and he meant it.  America cannot hold this place.  The big secret is; Christians aren’t Americans.  The two things counteract.  Christians have their citizenship in heaven, not on earth and they have it now.  There really is no such thing as “dual citizenship” as is taught in many churches.  Dual citizenship is really just another way of saying “we serve two masters”.  I’m not willing to do this.  I hesitated in telling you because it is so controversial and will get you in a lot of trouble if you live in it but that is how truth works.
You see, I like things better this way.  I would rather people be honest about the sin in their lives and to live it out in the open.  I think Jesus agrees when He said “be either hot or cold but not lukewarm”.  The old way was lukewarm, but Jesus wants you to be all in or all out.  He wants you to follow Him or decide not to.  He’s not interested in people who try to be “on the fence”.  I agree with that.  I like things better this way.
I LIKE THINGS BETTER THIS WAY
I am constantly hearing about how bad America is becoming and about the moral decline of people and how nobody respects God anymore.  I hear people talk about restoring America to its roots as a “Christian nation”.  This kind of talk really annoys me.
Don’t they realize that the America of yesteryear was all fake and based on fear?  People were just as immoral as they are today; they just had more social pressure that made them want to hide it.  They did things behind closed doors that today are being done out in the open.  I don’t believe there has been a moral decline in this country as much as a moral revelation.  It isn’t that people are more immoral it is that now we know they are.
The other change has been people becoming more honest with themselves.  Instead of acting like we are holy when we are not, we have begun to try to be who we really are.  This is real, yesterday was not.  People tried to act like they had it all together when they didn’t.  The rise of the porn industry, for example, is not because people are more sexually immoral (they have always been) it is because they are no longer afraid of a social stigma that buying porn used to bring.  This country wasn’t holy; it was just oppressed by social control.
Also, this nation was never a “Christian nation” and can never be one (no matter how holy it may become).  The Church is God’s nation and there can be no other.  God designed the Church to be His nation and it is the only one that He wants.  Peter called the church “a holy nation” and he meant it.  America cannot hold this place.  The big secret is; Christians aren’t Americans.  The two things counteract.  Christians have their citizenship in heaven, not on earth and they have it now.  There really is no such thing as “dual citizenship” as is taught in many churches.  Dual citizenship is really just another way of saying “we serve two masters”.  I’m not willing to do this.  I hesitated in telling you because it is so controversial and will get you in a lot of trouble if you live in it but that is how truth works.
You see, I like things better this way.  I would rather people be honest about the sin in their lives and to live it out in the open.  I think Jesus agrees when He said “be either hot or cold but not lukewarm”.  The old way was lukewarm, but Jesus wants you to be all in or all out.  He wants you to follow Him or decide not to.  He’s not interested in people who try to be “on the fence”.  I agree with that.  I like things better this way.
I LIKE THINGS BETTER THIS WAY
I am constantly hearing about how bad America is becoming and about the moral decline of people and how nobody respects God anymore.  I hear people talk about restoring America to its roots as a “Christian nation”.  This kind of talk really annoys me.
Don’t they realize that the America of yesteryear was all fake and based on fear?  People were just as immoral as they are today; they just had more social pressure that made them want to hide it.  They did things behind closed doors that today are being done out in the open.  I don’t believe there has been a moral decline in this country as much as a moral revelation.  It isn’t that people are more immoral it is that now we know they are.
The other change has been people becoming more honest with themselves.  Instead of acting like we are holy when we are not, we have begun to try to be who we really are.  This is real, yesterday was not.  People tried to act like they had it all together when they didn’t.  The rise of the porn industry, for example, is not because people are more sexually immoral (they have always been) it is because they are no longer afraid of a social stigma that buying porn used to bring.  This country wasn’t holy; it was just oppressed by social control.
Also, this nation was never a “Christian nation” and can never be one (no matter how holy it may become).  The Church is God’s nation and there can be no other.  God designed the Church to be His nation and it is the only one that He wants.  Peter called the church “a holy nation” and he meant it.  America cannot hold this place.  The big secret is; Christians aren’t Americans.  The two things counteract.  Christians have their citizenship in heaven, not on earth and they have it now.  There really is no such thing as “dual citizenship” as is taught in many churches.  Dual citizenship is really just another way of saying “we serve two masters”.  I’m not willing to do this.  I hesitated in telling you because it is so controversial and will get you in a lot of trouble if you live in it but that is how truth works.
You see, I like things better this way.  I would rather people be honest about the sin in their lives and to live it out in the open.  I think Jesus agrees when He said “be either hot or cold but not lukewarm”.  The old way was lukewarm, but Jesus wants you to be all in or all out.  He wants you to follow Him or decide not to.  He’s not interested in people who try to be “on the fence”.  I agree with that.  I like things better this way.
I LIKE THINGS BETTER THIS WAY
I am constantly hearing about how bad America is becoming and about the moral decline of people and how nobody respects God anymore.  I hear people talk about restoring America to its roots as a “Christian nation”.  This kind of talk really annoys me.
Don’t they realize that the America of yesteryear was all fake and based on fear?  People were just as immoral as they are today; they just had more social pressure that made them want to hide it.  They did things behind closed doors that today are being done out in the open.  I don’t believe there has been a moral decline in this country as much as a moral revelation.  It isn’t that people are more immoral it is that now we know they are.
The other change has been people becoming more honest with themselves.  Instead of acting like we are holy when we are not, we have begun to try to be who we really are.  This is real, yesterday was not.  People tried to act like they had it all together when they didn’t.  The rise of the porn industry, for example, is not because people are more sexually immoral (they have always been) it is because they are no longer afraid of a social stigma that buying porn used to bring.  This country wasn’t holy; it was just oppressed by social control.
Also, this nation was never a “Christian nation” and can never be one (no matter how holy it may become).  The Church is God’s nation and there can be no other.  God designed the Church to be His nation and it is the only one that He wants.  Peter called the church “a holy nation” and he meant it.  America cannot hold this place.  The big secret is; Christians aren’t Americans.  The two things counteract.  Christians have their citizenship in heaven, not on earth and they have it now.  There really is no such thing as “dual citizenship” as is taught in many churches.  Dual citizenship is really just another way of saying “we serve two masters”.  I’m not willing to do this.  I hesitated in telling you because it is so controversial and will get you in a lot of trouble if you live in it but that is how truth works.
You see, I like things better this way.  I would rather people be honest about the sin in their lives and to live it out in the open.  I think Jesus agrees when He said “be either hot or cold but not lukewarm”.  The old way was lukewarm, but Jesus wants you to be all in or all out.  He wants you to follow Him or decide not to.  He’s not interested in people who try to be “on the fence”.  I agree with that.  I like things better this way.
I am constantly hearing about how bad America is becoming and about the moral decline of people and how nobody respects God anymore.  I hear people talk about restoring America to its roots as a “Christian nation”.  This kind of talk really annoys me.
Don’t they realize that the America of yesteryear was all fake and based on fear?  People were just as immoral as they are today; they just had more social pressure that made them want to hide it.  They did things behind closed doors that today are being done out in the open.  I don’t believe there has been a moral decline in this country as much as a moral revelation.  It isn’t that people are more immoral it is that now we know they are.
The other change has been people becoming more honest with themselves.  Instead of acting like we are holy when we are not, we have begun to try to be who we really are.  This is real, yesterday was not.  People tried to act like they had it all together when they didn’t.  The rise of the porn industry, for example, is not because people are more sexually immoral (they have always been) it is because they are no longer afraid of a social stigma that buying porn used to bring.  This country wasn’t holy; it was just oppressed by social control.
Also, this nation was never a “Christian nation” and can never be one (no matter how holy it may become).  The Church is God’s nation and there can be no other.  God designed the Church to be His nation and it is the only one that He wants.  Peter called the church “a holy nation” and he meant it.  America cannot hold this place.  The big secret is; Christians aren’t Americans.  The two things counteract.  Christians have their citizenship in heaven, not on earth and they have it now.  There really is no such thing as “dual citizenship” as is taught in many churches.  Dual citizenship is really just another way of saying “we serve two masters”.  I’m not willing to do this.  I hesitated in telling you because it is so controversial and will get you in a lot of trouble if you live in it but that is how truth works.
You see, I like things better this way.  I would rather people be honest about the sin in their lives and to live it out in the open.  I think Jesus agrees when He said “be either hot or cold but not lukewarm”.  The old way was lukewarm, but Jesus wants you to be all in or all out.  He wants you to follow Him or decide not to.  He’s not interested in people who try to be “on the fence”.  I agree with that.  I like things better this way.

Written by freeinchrist

June 26, 2009 at 8:00 am

Experiential Baptism: Galatians

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[I found nothing in 2 Corinthians to contribute to the discussion.  If you find something, let me know]

Gal. 3:27
As many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
How are we “baptized into Christ”?  I answered that in my post about 1 Corinthians.  Paul says that it is “by the Spirit” we are baptized into “one body”.  You are baptized into Christ by Spirit baptism.  We experience this in baptism but this verse is not about water baptism.
Gal. 3:27
As many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
How are we “baptized into Christ”?  I answered that in my post about 1 Corinthians.  Paul says that it is “by the Spirit” we are baptized into “one body”.  You are baptized into Christ by Spirit baptism.  We experience this in baptism but this verse is not about water baptism.

Written by freeinchrist

June 25, 2009 at 8:00 am

Experiential Baptism: 1 Corinthians

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1 Cor. 1:17
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.
This verse doesn’t have much to say about the meaning of baptism but it does say something about what baptism is not.  It is not the gospel.  There is a difference.  To most church of Christ preachers teaching baptism is “preaching the gospel”.  Paul says “no”.  Baptism is a response to the gospel but it is not the gospel itself nor is it “obeying the gospel”.  The gospel is to be believed, not obeyed.  The gospel is news and you can’t obey the news but you can believe it and respond.
1 Cor. 6:11
And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
Some think that this verse is about baptism as well but it really isn’t.  You could say that you were experientially justified at baptism but that doesn’t appear to be Paul’s point.  He even says that these things are “by the Spirit of our God” and this is true.  These are Spiritual realities that are done by the Spirit, not by water baptism.
1 Cor. 12:13
By one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
Many people believe that this verse is about water baptism but it isn’t.  It says “by one Spirit” we were all baptized into one body.  It is Spirit baptism that does this, not water baptism.  Are unity is based on the fact that we all have the Spirit.
1 Cor. 1:17
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.
This verse doesn’t have much to say about the meaning of baptism but it does say something about what baptism is not.  It is not the gospel.  There is a difference.  To most church of Christ preachers teaching baptism is “preaching the gospel”.  Paul says “no”.  Baptism is a response to the gospel but it is not the gospel itself nor is it “obeying the gospel”.  The gospel is to be believed, not obeyed.  The gospel is news and you can’t obey the news but you can believe it and respond.
1 Cor. 6:11
And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
Some think that this verse is about baptism as well but it really isn’t.  You could say that you were experientially justified at baptism but that doesn’t appear to be Paul’s point.  He even says that these things are “by the Spirit of our God” and this is true.  These are Spiritual realities that are done by the Spirit, not by water baptism.
1 Cor. 12:13
By one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
Many people believe that this verse is about water baptism but it isn’t.  It says “by one Spirit” we were all baptized into one body.  It is Spirit baptism that does this, not water baptism.  Are unity is based on the fact that we all have the Spirit.
1 Cor. 1:17
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.
This verse doesn’t have much to say about the meaning of baptism but it does say something about what baptism is not.  It is not the gospel.  There is a difference.  To most church of Christ preachers teaching baptism is “preaching the gospel”.  Paul says “no”.  Baptism is a response to the gospel but it is not the gospel itself nor is it “obeying the gospel”.  The gospel is to be believed, not obeyed.  The gospel is news and you can’t obey the news but you can believe it and respond.
1 Cor. 6:11
And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
Some think that this verse is about baptism as well but it really isn’t.  You could say that you were experientially justified at baptism but that doesn’t appear to be Paul’s point.  He even says that these things are “by the Spirit of our God” and this is true.  These are Spiritual realities that are done by the Spirit, not by water baptism.
1 Cor. 12:13
By one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
Many people believe that this verse is about water baptism but it isn’t.  It says “by one Spirit” we were all baptized into one body.  It is Spirit baptism that does this, not water baptism.  Are unity is based on the fact that we all have the Spirit.

Written by freeinchrist

June 19, 2009 at 8:00 am

Am I Setting Myself Up?

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A little background and then a question.
About a month ago, I reconnected with an old friend of mine from high school and he had been through some tough times.  I won’t go into details but he had asked me about my faith because he remembered that I used to go to church and stuff like that (I was still very traditional church of Christ at that time) and was interested to see if I was still following Christ.  He was surprised at the changes I had made and made a few of the same ones himself which led us to further discussion into the wee hours of the night.
I don’t want to relay that conversation, but I guess I made him think; which is good.  Last night, though, I ran into him again and he said something really interesting (and I quote): “me and my brother and one of his friends want to get together for some intelligent conversation.  Will you come?”
I agreed to this but now I am sort of afraid.  Why would he want to bring more people into this?  He seemed pretty supportive of what I was saying.  Will the other two be as supportive? Am I there to try to convince them?  Are they going to try to ambush me with questions?  Could I answer them if they did?  Do they genuinely seek information about their Spiritual lives?  Are they trying to challenge my belief in God? Why should they care what I think?  Do they care what I think?    Am I in over my head?
I don’t really have anything prepared so I’m just going to have to go off the cuff.  Anything they want to know and I just have to give the best possible answer.  None of these people go to church, none would call themselves Christians, most of them (they may bring others) don’t believe in God at all.  All are college educated, informed, intellectual people.  Am I ready?
Am I Setting Myself Up?
A little background and then a question.
About a month ago, I reconnected with an old friend of mine from high school and he had been through some tough times.  I won’t go into details but he had asked me about my faith because he remembered that I used to go to church and stuff like that (I was still very traditional church of Christ at that time) and was interested to see if I was still following Christ.  He was surprised at the changes I had made and made a few of the same ones himself which led us to further discussion into the wee hours of the night.
I don’t want to relay that conversation, but I guess I made him think; which is good.  Last night, though, I ran into him again and he said something really interesting (and I quote): “me and my brother and one of his friends want to get together for some intelligent conversation.  Will you come?”
I agreed to this but now I am sort of afraid.  Why would he want to bring more people into this?  He seemed pretty supportive of what I was saying.  Will the other two be as supportive? Am I there to try to convince them?  Are they going to try to ambush me with questions?  Could I answer them if they did?  Do they genuinely seek information about their Spiritual lives?  Are they trying to challenge my belief in God? Why should they care what I think?  Do they care what I think?    Am I in over my head?
I don’t really have anything prepared so I’m just going to have to go off the cuff.  Anything they want to know and I just have to give the best possible answer.  None of these people go to church, none would call themselves Christians, most of them (they may bring others) don’t believe in God at all.  All are college educated, informed, intellectual people.  Am I ready?
Am I Setting Myself Up?

Written by freeinchrist

June 18, 2009 at 8:00 am

Experiential Baptism: Romans

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Romans 6:3-4
Do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
This is one of the most complicated verses when discussing baptism so I will do the best I can with it.  I really do think that Paul is talking about baptism experientially here.  The complicated part is that he is connecting the experiential part (water baptism) and the Spiritual part (Spirit baptism) in the same sentence.  That is exactly what you can do when you view baptism experientially.
Remember, Paul has just finished talking about justification by grace through faith and doesn’t contradict himself here.  Paul never waivers in the fact that we receive (procure) the forgiveness of sins by grace through faith.
First of all, Paul is pointing them to their water baptisms to remind them of Spiritual realities that took place.  This it totally right (and totally what we should do in similar situations) because Paul is using the experiential function of baptism: it shows us what we didn’t see happen in the Spiritual realm.  Paul seems to be saying (exactly what I’m saying) that the Spiritual realities are experienced through water baptism (although not caused by it since we have already shown that this isn’t true).
We didn’t see ourselves enter the body of Christ (this was done by the Spirit…we will discuss this in Galatians) but we did experience it in baptism.  We didn’t KNOW we were in it until baptism even though God could have added us before.
We didn’t see Christ’s death for us or how it benefits us in the Spiritual realm but we did get to experience it in baptism.  The forgiveness of sins is by grace through faith but we don’t see that.  We must point to our baptisms as this event.
We weren’t buried in the tomb with Jesus or see how it benefits us in the Spiritual realm but we did get to experience it in baptism.  We were buried in baptism though, which is our reference point for this event.  We could not see it any other way.
We weren’t raised with Christ physically or see how it benefits us in the Spiritual realm but we did get to experience it in baptism.  The only resurrection we can see right now is baptism and this is why Paul points to it when discussing the new life that Christians have in Christ.  This is a Spiritual reality that we must have a way to put our minds around.  Paul uses baptism to help them “see” what they otherwise could not.  This is the point of baptism.
To sum up, Paul is speaking of Spiritual realities using the gift that God gave us for this very purpose; baptism.  Paul is connecting the Spiritual with the experiential in a way that we should also do today.  He is not connecting them because they happen at the same time or because water baptism causes the Spiritual realities to happen.  He has to connect the physical with the Spiritual because it is only the physical that can be seen and explained.  They didn’t have the Scriptures yet to determine if these things were true, they had to trust in God’s gift of baptism to give them the answers.  We should do the same and not rely on our own understanding of doctrine to determine our own salvation.  Baptism was designed to communicate unseen Spiritual realities to us in our fleshly nature.  It does not affect those realities.
I hope I am doing a good job of explaining Experiential Baptism in a way that makes sense.  Let me know how I am doing.  
Romans 6:3-4
Do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
This is one of the most complicated verses when discussing baptism so I will do the best I can with it.  I really do think that Paul is talking about baptism experientially here.  The complicated part is that he is connecting the experiential part (water baptism) and the Spiritual part (Spirit baptism) in the same sentence.  That is exactly what you can do when you view baptism experientially.
Remember, Paul has just finished talking about justification by grace through faith and doesn’t contradict himself here.  Paul never waivers in the fact that we receive (procure) the forgiveness of sins by grace through faith.
First of all, Paul is pointing them to their water baptisms to remind them of Spiritual realities that took place.  This it totally right (and totally what we should do in similar situations) because Paul is using the experiential function of baptism: it shows us what we didn’t see happen in the Spiritual realm.  Paul seems to be saying (exactly what I’m saying) that the Spiritual realities are experienced through water baptism (although not caused by it since we have already shown that this isn’t true).
We didn’t see ourselves enter the body of Christ (this was done by the Spirit…we will discuss this in Galatians) but we did experience it in baptism.  We didn’t KNOW we were in it until baptism even though God could have added us before.
We didn’t see Christ’s death for us or how it benefits us in the Spiritual realm but we did get to experience it in baptism.  The forgiveness of sins is by grace through faith but we don’t see that.  We must point to our baptisms as this event.
We weren’t buried in the tomb with Jesus or see how it benefits us in the Spiritual realm but we did get to experience it in baptism.  We were buried in baptism though, which is our reference point for this event.  We could not see it any other way.
We weren’t raised with Christ physically or see how it benefits us in the Spiritual realm but we did get to experience it in baptism.  The only resurrection we can see right now is baptism and this is why Paul points to it when discussing the new life that Christians have in Christ.  This is a Spiritual reality that we must have a way to put our minds around.  Paul uses baptism to help them “see” what they otherwise could not.  This is the point of baptism.
To sum up, Paul is speaking of Spiritual realities using the gift that God gave us for this very purpose; baptism.  Paul is connecting the Spiritual with the experiential in a way that we should also do today.  He is not connecting them because they happen at the same time or because water baptism causes the Spiritual realities to happen.  He has to connect the physical with the Spiritual because it is only the physical that can be seen and explained.  They didn’t have the Scriptures yet to determine if these things were true, they had to trust in God’s gift of baptism to give them the answers.  We should do the same and not rely on our own understanding of doctrine to determine our own salvation.  Baptism was designed to communicate unseen Spiritual realities to us in our fleshly nature.  It does not affect those realities.
I hope I am doing a good job of explaining Experiential Baptism in a way that makes sense.  Let me know how I am doing.  

Written by freeinchrist

June 17, 2009 at 8:00 am