June 14, 2018

Archival Series: Kevin Bauder, There He Goes Again, Redefining Fundamentalism

Pastor Marc Monte
In his recent essay, “Another One Bites the Dust,” Dr. Kevin Bauder, Research Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at Central Baptist Theological Seminary, analyzes the unfortunate trend of the dissolution of Fundamentalist institutions of higher learning.  Dr. Bauder is a brilliant man and prolific writer who has bequeathed a wealth of thought-provoking material to the Lord’s church.  His book, Baptist Distinctives and New Testament Church Order, is a poignant defense of the Baptist position concerning both the polity and the practice of Baptist churches.  This author uses Dr. Bauder’s book and he recommends it widely.

Dr. Bauder’s recent article seeks to address reasons for the demise of many prominent Fundamentalist colleges and seminaries.  Going beyond the standard arguments of cultural shift and constituency alienation (both of which, he postulates, are legitimate issues), Dr. Bauder presents additional, not-often-considered factors pertinent to the death of these institutions.  His analysis deserves thoughtful consideration as Fundamentalist institutions move into the “brave, new world” of the 21st Century. 

In such a thoughtful article, it is unfortunate that Dr. Bauder could not resist his penchant for trashing what he describes as the “King James Only orbit.”  It appears to this avid Bauder reader that the good professor harbors unreasonable angst toward fellow fundamentalists who hold to a view of manuscript evidences different from his own.  His classification, “King James Only orbit,” paints with a broad brush, thereby unfairly dismissing legitimate theological positions within that orbit.

More than most men, Dr. Bauder understands that precise theology is nuanced theology.   For example, Dr. Bauder would not accept the tenants of every form and presentation of Calvinism.  He would be careful to distinguish his brand of Calvinism from others, emphasizing the nuances of his position as opposed to others.  This author contends that the same careful, nuanced approach should apply to the “King James Only orbit.”  There are some within the “orbit” who hold to a false theory of double inspiration.  There are others, however, who simply appeal to the Textus Receptus manuscripts as their authority, rejecting other differing manuscripts as spurious.  Such a view is not heterodox.  It is a legitimate, nuanced theological position.  To hold such a position does not place one outside the fundamentalist theological sphere.  Indeed, the Lord’s church held to the infallibility of those apographs (manuscript copies) for over 1800 years.  Only in the late 1800’s did the text of the New Testament suffer significant destabilization with the publication of newly discovered, variant manuscripts.

Dr. Bauder’s most jarring and politically charged statement appears with his textual position playing loudly in the background:
The King James Only crowd likes to boast that schools like Pensacola Christian College and West Coast Baptist College are thriving, and that may be true. These colleges, however, are not representative of fundamentalist institutions, and their prosperity does not do anything to help normal fundamentalism.” (Emphasis added.)
Herein, Dr. Bauder grievously errs. To say that Pensacola and West Coast are not “representative of fundamentalist institutions” redefines, once again, fundamentalism.  Neither school denies nor do they adulterate any point of the classical fundamentalist credo.  Their doctrinal statements are readily available for anyone’s inspection.  In addition, both schools practice personal and ecclesiastical separation, the hallmark of fundamentalism. The fact that these schools specify allegiance to a specific Greek text in no way diminishes their fundamentalist credentials.  In addition, both schools have a strong fundamentalist heritage.  In the case of Pensacola, it has flourished within the sphere of fundamentalism for decades.  Many fundamentalist churches recommend both Pensacola and Bob Jones as options within the fundamentalist realm.  Dr. Bauder’s needlessly divisive statement lacks both theological and historical support.

The second portion of his statement is even more troubling:  The prosperity of these colleges “does not do anything to help normal fundamentalism.”  Frankly, this author could scarcely believe a man of Dr. Bauder’s intellectual stature would make such an all-encompassing, condemnatory statement.  To claim disagreement with a nuanced theological issue is one thing; but to claim that these schools do “not do anything to help normal fundamentalism” demeans the work and dedication of sincere servants of Christ.  His statement slanders thousands of pastors who recommend Pensacola and West Coast, classifying godly men as somehow as not “normal.” And his statement simply isn’t true.  Thousands of fundamentalist pastors find in these schools a place of believing scholarship for their students.  Both of these schools have sent out thousands of Christian workers into the harvest fields of the world.  Both of these schools proclaim and defend the “faith once delivered to the saints,” (Jude 3).  Both take missions, church planting, and evangelism seriously and both have seen stellar success in these areas.  Both are filling the fundamentalist pulpits of America with men sound in the faith and zealous for the redemption of the lost. 
Succinctly stated, Dr. Bauder’s declaration is both irresponsible and indefensible. 
While Dr. Bauder has presented much good analytical material in his article—material that deserves thoughtful consideration—he has, once again, marred his work with an unnecessary rant against Christian people—fellow fundamentalists—who love and serve the Lord.  He seems bent on making enemies where he could have found friends, and, in so doing, he repeats an error plaguing fundamentalism from its inception—an error which increasingly alienates intelligent young men and women from the fundamentalist movement.


Ps. Marc Monte
Faith Baptist Church, Avon
Originally Published on March 9, 2015.

For a continuation of this discussion from Pastor Monte, please see:

Related Reading:
Were Not Convinced Kevin Bauder is a Help to Fundamentalism

Previous Articles by Ps. Monte:
Muddying the Clearwaters 
Bauders position differs markedly from the strong stance of R.V. Clearaters. Doc, as he was called, had no trouble calling a spade and spade. Bauder struggles with that…. For reasons known only to himself, Bauder mocks those whose doctrinal concerns include bibliology, the blood atonement and sovereignty/free will.
Kevin Bauder: It Wont Fly With Those of Us Who Know
If Kevin desires to take Dr. Clearwaters venerable institution a different direction from the founder, he should do so without pretending to be the guardian of the legacy. I knew Doc well enough to know that he would not be at all happy with the direction of Central Seminary under Bauders leading.  Its bad enough that his school is headed in a decidedly leftward direction. Please, Dr. Bauder, dont make it any worse by pretending some affinity with one of the greatest separatist Christians of the last century.
 Genuine Integrity Demands a Simple Admission 
What troubles [me], however, is the nagging feeling that Jeff Straub was attempting to convey more than just mere admiration for stands well taken. His not-so-subtle mention that both of these pastors are entrenched in the SBC appears to lend tacit approval to the denominational organization…. Dr. Clearwaters was not one to speak well of the denominational machine.” Genuine integrity demands a simple admission from institutional leadership that they are moving from the separatist principles of their founders.
Related Reading:
A Letter From Dr. Richard V. Clearwaters to Kevin Bauder
Kevin, while reading your articles I have observed an inordinate affection towards pseudo-intellectual teaching, and a disdain for old-fashioned, confrontational Bible preaching.  Make no mistake, old fashioned, confrontational Bible preaching is exactly why I founded Central Seminary.  My burden was to train men with an air-tight understanding of the Scriptures, with the ability to stand in pulpits across the land and preach, thus saith the Lord,” with the desire to start churches and win souls to Christ.  To the contrary, I did not start the school over which you [Bauder] preside, for men to flounder in unbelief, for them to wonder for decades where they stand, or for them to be given to counseling, teaching and academic idolatry.  I often told the men I was training, We use the mind here, but we do not worship it.” Dr. Bauder, all given appearances seem to indicate that you are intentionally trying to lead those who follow your writings…away from the testimony upon which [Central Seminary] was founded and into the compromising orbit of protestant evangelicalism.
Piedmont/TTU: A Predictable Pattern of Mergers With Only One Survivor

What Do NIU, Pillsbury and (NOW) TTU Have in Common?

June 1, 2018

Surrender & Salvation: Q&A with Dr. John Van Gelderen

Dear Brethren:
Dr. John R. Van Gelderen
 
With this initial posting a Q&A Surrender & Salvation I am beginning to post articles, and related materials, from Dr. John Van Gelderen’s Revival Focus website.  Like so many believers around the world I trust you will be edified, encouraged and challenged by the written ministry of John Van Gelderen.


Question: In regard to salvation, what must be surrendered? Would it be accurate to say that one must only surrender his soul to be saved by Jesus?  And that surrendering anything else would be a works-based salvation? Isn’t this what lordship salvation teaches? You must be willing to surrender and be willing to turn from individual sins, pride, etc.? What is involved in “surrendering” to salvation? Would it be correct to say that the ONLY sin one must surrender would be the sin of unbelief (not trusting in Christ)? I have heard if one isn’t willing to publicly confess Christ, then they haven’t totally surrendered. But if that is the case, wouldn’t this be works based?
 
John Van Gelderen Answers:

Insightful questions! There is much misunderstanding in this area. Several questions have been submitted along these lines revealing the confusion that is prevalent. See also Question #14 and Question #18 among others.
 
The issue is not between soul and body. Soul-focus can be off-based too. The issue is the object of faith and the condition of salvation. The lordship salvation debate is not a debate on whether Jesus is Lord, but on what constitutes the condition of receiving salvation.

If surrender is made to be anything more than the flip-side of faith, it becomes works. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin as the problem, judgment as the consequence, and the righteousness of Jesus as the answer. Being convinced of these three truths, when someone surrenders to them, they are trusting in Christ as the righteousness needed to be saved from sin and judgment. This is faith. Yet this is surrender in the correct sense. The only sin that cannot be forgiven is not believing in Jesus. Therefore, the core issue of surrender is believing on Jesus Christ.

When surrender is defined as turning from your sins or being willing to turn from your sins (your commitment to do right), grace is violated. This definition unwittingly places your dependence on yourself—your commitment to do right, your willingness to turn from your sins, instead of on Christ (the object of faith) to save you from yours sins. The focus of surrender must be on Christ, or the surrender becomes works-oriented.

Regarding the public profession of faith, what is stated above applies. Joseph of Arimathea was a secret disciple. This means he was in fact a believer, and his being labeled by the inspired text as a disciple was contingent on his faith in Christ, not his public confession.


John
 

FOOTNOTES
Question #14 Faith, Repentance & Salvation

Question #18 Secret Believers


 

April 24, 2018

A Revival M-O by Dr. Rick Flanders

“And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.  And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.  And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.  And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the people.  And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”

(The Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 2, Verses 42 through 47)

When God sends revival to a congregation of the saints, there is a natural interest in prolonging the good effects of what has happened.  One of the most important factors in extending the blessings of the revival is for the church to adopt what could be called “a revival M-O.”  Probably one of the unfortunate aspects of my childhood was that I watched too much television.  For a few years, the networks were airing a surprising number of detective shows, mysteries and crime dramas, and I watched a lot of them.  Anyone who liked the crime shows would pick up some of the supposed police lingo, and one of the terms often used by television cops was the “m-o” of a perpetrator of crime.  These letters abbreviated a Latin-based term for the criminal’s usual way of doing things, his modus operandi (means of operating).  His m-o often led to a criminal’s apprehension as investigators came to recognize his usual method of doing what he did, and were able to connect crimes with crimes.  Churches that have experienced a revival need to adopt a revival m-o, a revival-based way of doing things, in order to move forward in the way of revived Christianity.  Often the lifelessness, carnality, worldliness, and barrenness of churches in an unrevived state are caused by operating in an unrevived way.  So going forward in ministry in the new way requires a new m-o.

On the great Day of Pentecost, the church at Jerusalem experienced revival.  Not only was that day the day of transition from the Old Covenant to the New, with the coming of the Holy Spirit to live in believers, it was a revival for the one hundred twenty who waited before God the ten days before the Spirit came.  They were “filled” with the Spirit (Acts 2:1-4), and not merely “sealed” with Him (see the significance and distinction between the two by studying Ephesians 1:12-14, 4:29-30, and 5:18).  Not only did He come to dwell within them as part of the dispensational change, He took control of their lives and began to empower their witness for Christ.  They experienced a revival.  And the revival continued as the church adopted a revival m-o, described for us in Acts 2:42-47.

So what should change in a church when revival comes, so that the community will be impacted with the Gospel in the days ahead?  Right away the renewed church should adopt as the “new normal” the following things that the Jerusalem church followed:

1.       Revival theology.  The record says that they “continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine” (according to Acts 2:42).  That is what was supposed to happen.  Jesus had told the apostles that, when they baptized new disciples, they were to “teach them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20).  This was “the apostles’ doctrine (teaching).”  A certain kind of doctrine goes along with revival, generates it, and moves it along.  A very serious obstacle to revival in a church can be the doctrine that is taught.  But the apostles’ doctrine was favorable to the faith that is behind revival, to expecting the supernatural involvement of God in church life (see verse 43), to the ministry of the Holy Spirit (note verses 4, 17-18, 33, and 38-39), and to bold evangelism (verse 40).  A revived church will get a steady diet of revival theology from the pulpit.  For more than a century now, many Bible-believing churches have been scared away from preaching on the Holy Spirit because of the false teaching on this subject that has been spread by the Pentecostals.  But heresy about a certain doctrine is not effectively challenged by avoiding the subject.  False teaching must be met with the truth.  And spiritual Christians have always known and taught the basic Bible truths about the Spirit’s ministry, about faith, about answered prayer, and about the victory of Christ over sin and Satan, and a church today that will go forward in the revival mode must have this kind of teaching.  Fatalistic preaching that says, for all practical purposes, that “what will be will be” and that whether we pray or believe or repent or not, God will do what He was going to do all along, quenches revival fires.  We must learn again the truth about abiding in Christ (John 15) and about drawing nigh to God (James 4) and let it permeate all we do and say.

2.       Prayer meetings.  They also continued in “prayers” (verse 42).  Pentecost was preceded by ten days of prayer.  And the prayer meetings continued afterward.  Prayer and prayer meetings played a big role in the life and work of the first church.  Find Peter and John going to the temple “at the hour of prayer” (in chapter 3).  Find the church gathered for prayer in the face of difficulty and persecution (in chapter 4).  Find them coming together for prayer again to heal and energize the Body for renewed evangelism after a trial of discord (in chapter 6).  Find them gathered in prayer meetings all over town in chapter 12 to get Simon Peter out of jail, and to save his life.  Prayer meetings were the means of the church getting things done, as Jesus taught them that they would be in Matthew 18:18-20.  Every revived church will be empowered, guided, driven, and regularly impacted by prayer meetings.  The pastors must learn to lead them in a spiritual and Biblical Matthew 18 way, and members must get into the habit of participating in them.  New Testament churches engage in prayer meetings.

3.       Healthy church life.  We find that the revived church at Jerusalem engaged in warm fellowship together (verse 42), observing the Lord’s Supper regularly (verses 42 and 46), bearing one another’s burdens (verses 44-45), and coming together often for church (verses 46-47).  Church is really good for Christians, if the church is on the right track (although we must heed the warning in First Corinthians 11:17-22). The church should pray and plan to connect the members’ lives and families together for ministry (read First Corinthians 12:12-27).

4.       Revival campaigns.  For a while, they had church every day: “continuing daily with one accord” (verse 46). Eventually the main meetings of Christians were held on Sundays (Acts 20:7), but sometimes, such as the days that followed Pentecost, they met every day.  Such protracted meetings provide believers an opportunity to exhort one another regularly and raise the spirituality of the congregation (read Hebrews 3:12-13 and 10:24-25).  So revived churches should plan to have special meetings to revive the revival.

5.       Fervent praise.  All the time, the practice of praising God was common when believers gathered together.  The church meetings were characterized by “gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the people” (verses 46-47).  They were happy and exuberant meetings, not dull and formal.  The Holy Spirit “livens up church.”  “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:6).  Church meetings should always be orderly (First Corinthians 14:26, 32-33, 40) but they should also be alive (verses 23-25).  Attention must be given to encouraging praise and testimony when we come together, letting the Lord fill the room with joy and gratitude (Ephesians 5:19-20).

6.       True Christianity.  It was the real thing that these Christians practiced.  See how they loved each other in verses 44 through 47.  Tradition must give way to scriptural reality.

7.       Ongoing evangelism.  “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”  It was every day that the congregation took in new members who had just come to Christ.  The harvest of souls that began at Pentecost continued as the evangelization of the city (Acts 1:8) continued.  Both public and personal proclamation of the Gospel got the message of salvation to everyone in town (look up Acts 5:27-29 and 42).  A revived church must operate as an aggressively evangelistic church, with everybody witnessing and bringing people to Christ every day.
When God sends revival to a church, the people and their leaders should take a good look at how they have been doing things.  Ministry methods based mainly on public relations, hard work, manipulation, promotion, and worldly wisdom should be re-examined, and unspiritual philosophies and practices dropped.  The mission of the church must be adjusted to match Acts 1:8 and the methods book of Acts.  The people should learn to hold prayer meetings in order to cooperate with God and to get things done.  The preachers must examine their teaching in the light of revival truth.  The church should get ready for scriptural change, and be excited about it.  Everybody should re-dedicate his life to the service of Christ, and lean on the Holy Spirit for the power to spread the Gospel in the town and to minister to the needs of the saints.  Let’s have revival the way we are told in James 4:8-10, and plan to go forward on the higher plane to which we have been lifted!


Dr. Rick Flanders
Revival Ministries

March 12, 2018

Why Your Town is so Hard

Across the nation, pastors and the members of their churches have convinced themselves that the

reason that they are not reaping a spiritual harvest that could be called “plenteous” is that their town is hard, and unusually unresponsive to evangelism.  It is as if we think that souls could be won and churches could be built some places, but not in our town.  It is true that for various reasons response to the Gospel differs from place to place.  We cannot expect that evangelism will produce the same exact results from house to house, individual to individual, and even from city to city.  Yet we are still looking at promises from our Lord that “the fields…are white already to harvest” (John 4:35), and that we can expect to “bear much fruit” (John 15:1-8), based not on any favorable circumstances in the world, but rather on the continuing realities of Christianity.  Paul expressed hope that he would indeed bear much fruit from evangelism in Rome, a city he had never visited before (read Romans 1:13-15).  “I am sure that, when I come unto you [he wrote to the Roman Christians], I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ” (Romans 15:29).  To the church at Colossae he said that “the truth of the gospel…is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it” (Colossians 1:5-7).  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is powerful, and brings results wherever it is spread, and to blame the fields for the failure of the harvest is not consistent with the Word of God (read again Matthew 9:37-38).  Actually there are other reasons why we are having trouble reaching people.  It is not that our town is too hard to reach.

1.       BECAUSE IT’S NOT REALLY BEING EVANGELIZED!

In Jerusalem the Christians were accused of saturating the city with the Gospel.  The authorities complained to the apostles, “Ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine” (read Acts 5:17-32).  This should be the goal of people who were commanded by Jesus to “preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).  The fact is that most cities that are labeled by the church as Gospel-hardened are really Gospel-ignorant.  In Ephesus (read the story in Acts 19 and 20), the Gospel was spread “publicly, and from house to house” so that “all that dwelt in [the province of] Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus” in two years’ time.  What about your town?  Has every home received an evangelistic visit?  Has the city been covered with Gospel literature?  How many evangelistic meetings were held in the last year to which believers were actively urging the attendance of unbelievers?  Is witnessing a part of the pastor’s life, and does his example, encouragement, and instruction help his members be soul winners?  The truth is that very little spreading of the Gospel is going on in your town, and there is something you can do about it.  It isn’t the town that’s so hard; the problem is that the church is not really evangelistic.
 
2.       BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT REALLY FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT.

Our witness to Christ is supposed to be given in the power of the Spirit of God.  The Lord Jesus made this clear before He went back to Heaven.  Remember that on the Mount of Olives, His parting words were, 

“Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
(Acts 1:8)

In the book of Luke we are told that we must preach “repentance and remission of sins…among all nations,” but that in order to accomplish this mission, we must be “endued with power from on high,” referring to the power of the Spirit (read Luke 24:46-49).  Speaking of spreading the Gospel, Simon Peter testified, “We are witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey Him” (Acts 5:32).  The night before He died on the cross, the Lord introduced His disciples to the new ministry of the Holy Spirit which would begin on the day of Pentecost.  He would live within them, and would act as their “Comforter” (Helper), giving them the power to obey the commands of Christ (see John 14:15-17). He explained His role in our witnessing with these words:
 
“When the Comforter is come, Whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me: and ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with Me…It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you [believers]; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you.  And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment…”
(John 15:26-27 and 16:7-8)

The Holy Spirit in believers will reprove the world and prepare lost men to receive the Savior.  With the Holy Spirit testifying to the truth as we witness for Jesus, sinners will see their need of Jesus.  In this way we can expect to bear fruit (read again John 15:1-8).
 
Now every Christian got the Spirit when He believed in Jesus (Ephesians 1:13), but every believer, thus sealed with the Holy Spirit, is commanded to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18-21).  That happens when we surrender to obey the Lord Jesus, absolutely (see John 14:15-17 and 15:14).  Before fulfilling our horizontal duty to evangelize, we must address the vertical issues we have with God, just as the first Christians in the days before Pentecost.  When we line up with Jesus and are thus abiding in Him we are filled with the Spirit for evangelism and our witness is made effective.

Spirit-filled Christians have power in their witness, and men will saved (look at Acts 4:31-33).  God gave us all we need to meet the needs of our town (Luke 11:1-13), but the town seems hard when sins and rebellion keep us from being filled with the Spirit.  We need to get on our knees before we start blaming our town.  That’s what the first Christians did.

3.       BECAUSE SATANIC INFLUENCES ARE NOT BEING RESISTED.

Often we fail to fix spiritual problems because we fail to take into account activity in the invisible world.  We are told, 

“Stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day…”
(Ephesians 6:11-13)

Not every spiritual problem is caused by Satan, but there is a hierarchy of evil powers active in this world that must be confronted by anyone who wants to do any good for God.  We must “resist the devil” for him to “flee” from us (see James 4:7 and First Peter 5:8-11).  Sometimes the problem in our town is in the invisible world.  Perhaps we are opposed in our work of evangelism by satanic principalities and powers.  Thankfully, the Lord Jesus Christ defeated the devil and his angels (Ephesians 1:15-23), and we can stand against them successfully in the authority of our Lord.  And we must do it in order to reach a community blinded by the god of this world.  In prayer, let’s bind them, fight them, cast them out, and bring them to defeat.  It can be done, and generally must be done before the truth can advance.

4.       BECAUSE NOBODY YET HAS HAD THE PATIENCE TO PREVAIL.

Persistence is an essential element in winning spiritual victories.  Have you run across the scriptures that call on us to persist and not give up (such as Matthew 15:22-28, Luke 11:5-8, and Luke 18:1-7)?   In the New Testament, the work of evangelism is compared to the work of farming.  We plow and sow and water and reap, and it is God that gives the increase.  Farming requires patience and persistence (be sure to read Matthew 13:1-9, Mark 4:26-29, and First Corinthians 3:6-9).  We must stay at it if we are to reach our town: stay at evangelizing, stay at praying, stay at seeking the Lord, stay at letting God lead us, stay at living for Jesus, and stay at believing for results.  When our church persists in such things, it looks like the church in Acts! Often a town gets the reputation of hardness because nobody has stayed at it long enough to reap a harvest.  The city of Ephesus finally saw the triumph of the Gospel only after several years of sowing the seed in the power of the Spirit.  Read the story again in Acts 19:1-20.  Somebody will have to persist in the important work of getting the love of Jesus to everyone in your town, and sticking with people until they are made into His disciples!

It never helps to make excuses for the lack of results, especially when the Bible promises them.  Let every preacher and every witness for Christ focus scripturally on spreading the Gospel, learning to be filled with the Holy Ghost, standing against the powers of darkness, and persisting in the work until we see a powerful, soul-saving work done in our own town.

 
Dr. Rick Flanders
Revival Ministries

February 5, 2018

Ancient Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus, by Dr. Rick Flanders

Anyone with a Bible can verify the most amazing facts of human history, as well as the foundational truths of what we can know about God and eternity.  He can do this by examining the prophecies made in the Old Testament scriptures, indisputably written centuries before He was born, that were fulfilled in the coming and ministry of Jesus.  To see this astounding and unmistakable fulfillment of propheciesis to prove not only that He is the promised Savior, but also that the Bible is (what it claims to be) the very word of God, and that there really is a God.  Take a Bible and take a look at these predictions and see how Jesus fulfilled them.  There are many more such Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament the portion of the Bible written before Jesus came, but those listed here can be classified as outstanding examples of prophecies of Christ and were written and read long before Jesus lived.

THE SEED
Promises of a Savior begin to come all the way back in the garden of Eden, where Adam’s defiance of the Creator brought about the curse of sin that has plagued mankind ever since.  In the book of Genesis, written by Moses more than fourteen centuries before Christ, God tells the serpent that tempted the first man and woman, and precipitated their fall (the words are recorded in Genesis 3:15),

“I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
This prophecy says that the woman’s seed will bruise or crush (a fatal blow is implied) the serpent’s head, while the serpent himself will injure the heel of her seed.  First of all, it is strange, and perhaps unique to this passage, to refer to the offspring of a woman with the metaphor “seed.”  That term is nearly always a reference to the male part in human reproduction.  It is curious to refer to the seed of a woman.  Bible students infer that this is a reference to the virgin birth of Christ, and that the bruising of the Seed refers to the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary.  The Seed will eventually destroy the serpent and undo the damage he has done.

No matter how one decides to interpret the words of Genesis 3:15 (which does apply to the “enmity” between people and snakes, but also seems to have a deeper meaning), a reading of the rest of the Hebrew scriptures (the Old Testament) makes it clear that the sacred writings focus on a particular linking of seeds down through the years.  It is the family line that will produce the Savior.
Eve had many sons and daughters, but “in process of time,” she and Adam brought forth a son they named Seth (read Genesis 4 and 5).  His name means “appointed,” for “God, saith she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel” (the righteous son who had been murdered by his evil brother Cain).  Clearly, Eve took seriously the promise of her “seed” given in Genesis 3.
In Genesis 12, a descendent of Seth through Noah and Shem, named Abraham is given a promise that will bring blessing to “all families of the earth” (read it in verses 1 through 3).  This covenant with Abraham will be kept with his son Isaac “and with his seed after him” (follow Genesis 12:7, 17:19, 22:16-18).  Abraham had two sons, but the blessing was bestowed on Isaac (look at Genesis 17:19 again, and then chapter 21, verses 1 through 12).  Isaac ended up having two sons also, but God ordained that the blessing would be put upon Jacob and his seed (read Genesis 25:20-26, 27:28-29, 28:1-4, and 28:12-14), rather than on his brother Esau and his family line.  Jacob had twelve sons, and before his death the patriarch clearly designated his son Judah (not really one of his most upright sons) as the one who will inherit the blessing of the promised seed (see Genesis 49:8-10).  Up to this point in the scriptures, the focus is on one family, the family of the promised seed.  From Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob, to Judah, the narrative finds its emphasis.  Other family lines related to the patriarchs are summed up and dismissed at a certain point (Ishmael in Genesis 25, and Esau in Genesis 36).  Then the story returns to the line of the Seed.  As Genesis closes, the narrative turns to the growth of Jacob’s family into a nation as they lived and suffered in bondage in Egypt.  The subject of the promised conquering Seed is obscured for a while until it is brought up again in the books of Ruth and First Samuel.  The scenes move to Bethlehem, and the family followed is that of Jesse and his son David.
In Second Samuel 7, we are told that the promised “seed” is to be that of David (verses 12, 16, and 25 through 29).  The Messiah is to be the son of Jesse and David, according to the prophets (Isaiah 11:1-5, for instance), and the New Testament verifies that Jesus was a descendent of that family.

The royal line of David (kings of Israel and Judah) is listed in the first chapter of the New Testament scriptures, Matthew 1.  Notice that this passage is called the “book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham,” referring back to similar designations in Genesis 2:4, 5:1, 10:1, 11:10, and 25:19.  Notice that the royal family line includes “Jechonias” (Jeconiah or Jehoiachin, verse, referring back to Second Kings 24:8, First Chronicles 3:16, and Second Chronicles 36:8) who is cursed in Jeremiah 22:28-30 with the words, “no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David.”  This means, among other things, that a man in the royal line of David cannot be the Messiah.  Joseph was in that royal line, and provided Jesus with his official, legal family, but of course he was not His biological father, cursed with this curse.  The family line of Mary is given in Luke 2 and also goes back to David, but not through his kingly son Solomon.  The biological line of Jesus through Mary came down through an otherwise unknown son of David, Nathan (see Luke 3:31 and compare Matthew 1:6), and was not cursed, so that He can one day rule from the throne of David as the Messiah (Luke 1:3-32).

THE LAW
When God delivered Israel out of bondage in Egypt, He gave the nation laws that they were to observe as they settled in the land He had promised them.  Many of these laws were rules of religious observance and ritual unique to the nation of Israel.  In the ceremonial law (given to us in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy), we find a number of references to Jesus in type and symbol.

The animal sacrifices that were offered in the Tabernacle of Congregation and in the Temple at Jerusalem all carried the idea that atonement for sin can be made by the sacrifice of the innocent for the sins of the guilty.  Animals were sacrificed with their blood shed out to picture the atonement for sin provided in the sacrifice of the One Who would be “the Lamb of God , which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29-34).  Read the very interesting instructions concerning the offering of certain sacrifices which are found in Exodus 12:1-27, Leviticus 1:1-9, and Leviticus 16.  The animal to be sacrificed is to be a male in the prime of life, totally unblemished, and he shall bear the iniquities of the people, and die to make atonement for them, with his blood being shed and sprinkled.  Of course, all of these sacrifices speak of Jesus dying for our sins on the cross.
THE PSALMS
The collection of divinely-inspired songs for use in worship by the Israelites, make up the longest book in the Bible, the book of Psalms.  Many of them had David as their human author whose seed was to bring the Savior (see Second Samuel7:12-13, 18-29) and refer very clearly to the coming Savior.  Any objective reader of them can see that the references are to Jesus, Who came centuries after they were written.

Psalm 2 (written by David—look at Acts 4:24-26—about a thousand years before Jesus was born) says that God’s “anointed” (Hebrew, Messiah) will rule as King from Zion (Jerusalem), that He will be the Son of God, and that “they that put their trust in him” will be blessed.
Psalm 16 (also written by David) clearly indicates that Messiah will rise from the dead.  The one praying in the words of this song says that “my flesh also shall rest in hope” because God was not going to “suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” (decay).  Peter used Psalm 16 on the Day of Pentecost to prove that Christ, the son of David, must rise from the dead.

Psalm 22 (again written by David) presents a detailed description of the crucifixion of Christ a millennium before it happened.  The opening line is “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” which, of course, is what Jesus was heard to say from the cross.  Verses 7 and 8 say, “All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him,” which is just how the religious leaders mocked Him while He was dying.  Verses 12 through 15 (read them) describe in detail what we know happens physically to a person suffering in a crucifixion (a means of execution not even invented until long after the psalm was written and began to be sung).  Verse 16 speaks of the hands and feet being pierced.  Verses 17 through 18 describe the famous casting of lots by the soldiers for the vesture of Jesus.  Verse 15 says that the Victim will be “brought…into the dust of death.”  In verses 19 through 21 He cries to God for deliverance, and God hears His prayer.  Beginning in verse 22, it is obvious that He has risen from the dead (read through verse 25).  Verses 26 through 30 say that the need of the meek will be met by what this One has done, and that those who will be saved will be “accounted to the Lord for a generation.”  The psalm ends with these words (verse 31):
“They shall come, and will declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.”
Here is a reference to the preaching of the cross by Christians throughout the world.  “They,” this “generation” of the saved, “will declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done THIS”: died by crucifixion and rose again to give us eternal life (verse 26—“your heart shall live for ever”).   Psalm 22 is one of the most remarkable examples of fulfilled prophecy the world has ever seen, and it focuses on Calvary!

 THE CHILD
The prophet Isaiah preached to the errant and hypocritical people of Judah during the reigns of four kings.  His inspired book was written seven centuries before Jesus, but he very clearly spoke of Him.  In chapter seven, he tells the royal house of David that a special child will be born in their family, and would be destined to rule the world and provide salvation to God’s people.

“Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Read chapter 7, verses 1 through 16)
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”  (Read chapter 9, verses 1 through 7)
“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse [the father of David], and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: and the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD…” (Read chapters 11 and 12)
“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  But he was wounded for our transgressions, and he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” 

(Read chapters 52 and 53, and see that the Servant of the Lord, the Child grown up, would offer Himself a sacrifice for the sins of His people; the references to Jesus and to Calvary are evident)

THE WISE MAN
In the book of Daniel (written more than 500 years before Christ) we meet a Jew that was taken captive when the Babylonians conquered Judah and destroyed the city of Jerusalem.  Daniel, and three of his companions, were trained and placed into a class of public servants that were called “the wise men.”  As a wise man, Daniel got to serve the ruler of the known world as a counsellor.  In that capacity he was given by God the prophetic gift and gave to the emperor some of history’s most amazing prophecies, several of which relate to Jesus.

In chapter 2, you can find where he predicting centuries ahead of time the rise and fall of each of the major world empires of ancient times: the Babylonian, the Persian, the Greek, and the Roman.  In that amazing prophecy, he refers to coming of the kingdom of heaven.  It will come some time after the first four have fallen, and when the fourth one (the Roman Empire) shall be divided.  The divided Roman Empire will end up as a collection of kingdoms, some strong and some weak, but never re-united until the Kingdom of God comes (look over verses 40-44).  Of course this prediction describes precisely what has happened in Europe over the centuries since the fall of Rome.
In chapters 7 through 9 we read again about the coming of Christ and His Kingdom, and even find an indication of the time when He will appear.  Find that in Daniel 9:24-26 (which refers to both the first and the second coming of Christ).  This prophecy and others were the basis of the visit of the “wise men” to find the Messiah in Matthew 2.  They realized that the time had come, based on their study of the writings of the great wise man, Daniel.

THE KING
More details of the life of Jesus are given by the prophets as they spoke of Christ as the coming King of Israel and Ruler of the world, as well as the promised Savior.

He will be born in Bethlehem.  “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2).
He will come into the city riding an ass’s colt.  “Behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon and ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” And He will be sold for thirty pieces of silver (Zechariah 9:9 and 11:12).

When He comes to set up His Kingdom, His family will regret their rejection of Him at His first coming, and repent for crucifying Him.  “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierce, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born.  In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadad-rimmon in the valley of Megiddon.  And the lad shall mourn, every family apart: the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart: the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; all the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart.  In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness” (Zechariah 12:10-13:1).  The names listed as heads of branches of the Messianic family are from the obscure line of David descended from his son Nathan, and can be found in the list of the ancestors of Mary and Jesus in Luke 3.  It is said that when the house of David turns to Jesus that a fountain of cleansing and salvation will be opened to them, just as the fountain of salvation is open to penitent sinners today.  Anybody who studies the evidence of fulfilled prophecy can see that Jesus is the Christ and the promised Savior.  You can come to the fountain and drink of the water of life today.  Hear the voice of God calling you in Isaiah 55 and in Revelation 22, and come to Jesus for your salvation.  He will receive you when you receive Him.
 
Dr. Rick Flanders