Asking the Right Questions
In these times that try men’s souls, I have a most pressing question. While listening to Michael Reeves’ “Authentic Ministry” on Canon+, which was excellent by the way, I couldn’t help but notice that he said “two” Corinthians rather than “second” Corinthians. The only other person I’ve ever heard say this before was very orange and very bad, which was naturally met with derision and scorn. So which is it? Do we use the ordinal number for these books of the Bible, or should we just simply say 1 or 2? Is there a . . . third way?!?
Tim, saying 2 Bible Book instead of Second Bible Book is a Brit thing. The scorn that was directed at our former president was because nobody thought that he had been listening to too many Martyn Lloyd-Jones sermons.
Renewing Your Vows
What are your thoughts on the concept of renewing your wedding vows? I’ve known of people doing this for a variety of reasons, though most of them don’t make sense to me. My close friend, however, renewed her vows with her husband after an instance of infidelity. This seemed like a good idea to me at the time considering what had happened and what this renewal was supposed to represent. But does a renewal of vows actually mean anything? Is there even a biblical argument in favor of it? Or is it just an emotional thing to do when you come out of a hard season in your marriage? If there is some validity to it, under what circumstances would you suggest a renewal of vows?
MN, from my observations, it is mostly a sentimental thing, kind of like a ramped up anniversary celebration. Most of the time, it strikes me as lame, but certainly lawful. It would seem to make covenantal sense after an instance of infidelity, but then the problem would be whether everybody at the ceremony knew why the ceremony was happening.
Baptism and Circumcision
I am working through your book “To A Thousand Generations” in preparation for the birth of my first child. In Chapter 6 (Circumcision in the New Covenant) you have a section called “Circumcision AD” where you discuss what Christian circumcision meant in the New Covenant. In this section, you write “First, circumcision remained an ordinance of God, marking the initiation of the one who received it as a member of the visible covenant community.” What Scripture verses can you provide to back this statement up? Yes, the apostles allowed the Jews to circumcise their children and to continue to practice the law. However, there is never any spiritual significance tied to flesh circumcision after Christ’s institution of the New Covenant, right?
The Gentiles were not required to circumcise themselves (Acts 15), but it’s not clear that New Covenant flesh circumcision did anything for the Christian Jews besides make them “feel good.” Baptism, not circumcision, was the sign of the New Covenant for the Jews (Acts 2:38). A Jew’s circumcision did not remove his need for the New Covenant sign per Acts 2:38, so I’m confused at the statement you make in “To A Thousand Generations” . . .
Can you provide some insight or further clarification as I sort through this one?
Caleb, I don’t think you can have a rite performed for a couple thousand years, with the prophets insisting that it must represent a circumcised heart through true faith, and then have it turn in a moment to a mere cultural thing. I take the sign as continuing to have its signification as long as it was allowed as a spiritual thing at all.
When Grandparents Aren’t Helping
Love all your work, kind sir.
Would you do a sermon/series/seminar, etc. on the topic of raising Christian children, with the challenge of secular grandparents who don’t respect what the parents are trying to do?
The parents are trying to give the child a better life, but the grandparents think that life can’t get any better than mindless entertainment with constant snacks and toys.
How do you build a home and honor parents, when the parents are letting termites loose on the pillars?
Myles, a lot depends on how often and how much. If the kids see the grandparents for three days a year and this happens, I would deal with it by teaching your kids before and after. But if you live in the same town, and you are dealing with this on a weekly basis, then you need to have a direct talk with them. And at some point, there has to be an “or else” introduced.
Yes and No
Have you ever interacted with or written about the Permanence View of Marriage held by John Piper and others?
I am asking specifically of the arguments against the exception clause found only in Matthew. If not, do you have any good resources (blogs, videos, books, debates)?
Thanks in advance.
Evan, I have written on the subject in several of my books, but I have not conducted a close interaction with any advocates of the permanence view. I probably need to.
Awfully Big of Me, Right?
Thank you for allowing women, who by conviction wish to simply wear a scarf or hat, covering all of mankind’s glory in worship, as was done for 1900 years. Question: are you allowed to forbid those who wish to (quietly) do so membership in the CREC? A concerned member. Thank you.
Steve, the constitution of the CREC gives latitude to local congregations in things like this. In other words, appeals to presbytery can only happen in certain specified situations. But if a pastor asked my advice, I would regard it as extremely foolish to refuse membership to someone who wore head coverings in worship, and was not disruptive over the issue.
I am really enjoying the Canon+ app you and Canon Press have created. I am a big believer in creating content to equip and teach the church, but also for plain old fun.
My wife and I reside in the Hudson Valley (New York) with our 2 little munchkins. My desire and passion is to create comedy and entertainment that will advance the Kingdom and fill the bellies of believers instead of eating the Doritos that culture is dishing out.
By God’s grace I have a talent for acting and comedy. After scanning through your app, I’ve noticed that a lot of the content is documentaries and teaching material. Here are my 2 questions to the point of this letter:
1. Are you looking for cheap, malleable labor in the realm of acting and comedy to help supply your app?
2. And if the answer to 1 is “no”, are you familiar with other Reformed Christian churches/organizations that are pursuing down that road?
Thank you for your work and your mission.
Bryan, the question is a delicate one. If the content was any good, I am sure that Canon would be eager to see it. But not all content is as good as the creators of that content think it might be. But the thing to do is to send a sample.
Watch Out Big Time
I am looking at possibly getting a degree in physics at a secular university. However, I am a Christian, I have theological issues with evolution, and I am skeptical of modern science’s views of the age of the universe. In addition, there are certain theories within modern physics that give me pause, as they could have unbibilical implications. Do you think there could be worth in getting a physics degree from a secular university, and if so, do you have any advice for how I would navigate such an environment?
Adam, honestly it depends on how robust your immune system is, and how you have the filters set on your BS detector.
What Do They Teach Them in These Schools?
I’d like to start by confessing. I recently told my classically educated daughter that as soon as her 8th grade year was over, we would burn her intermediate Logic curriculum and roast marshmallows in the flames. Please forgive me.
Moving on to a two-part question;
What book on biblical manhood/spiritual leadership would you recommend first? I recently introduced my husband to Canon Press and was wondering.
Also, our church is going through a series on biblical sexuality and it has come to our attention that several in our small group have or are struggling with pornography—zero surprise there unfortunately, and how sad—but they have been honest about wanting accountability in this area and it has been suggested that the men meet once a month to confess/pray etc. . . . my question is, is there a process/program (I hate to use the word) that you would recommend that can maybe lend some structure to this sort of thing lest it become merely a time when they talk about the struggle and never move beyond it??
P.S. I’ve been so encouraged by your lovely wife and daughters and no longer feel guilty about my obsession with sourdough bread. Maybe I should spend more time on logic.
Suzanne, I would start with Future Men. For the men’s accountability group, I would suggest going through a book, and Fidelity might be a good fit there. And I don’t know. Maybe marshmallows roasted over a logic text imparts . . . something.
Good Move, Bad Reason
I have a friend who recently left the Roman church for the Reformed Church. Praise God for that. However, in his new enthusiasm for all things reformed I am concerned about one of his specific criticisms of Rome that he brought up to me, specifically the Jesuit’s Oath. When I did a little research on that topic what I’ve found was that the oath itself is, of course, horrendous but I also believe it to be a fraud based upon the imagination of a novelist in the early part of the 20th century. Can you give me any specific information on the Jesuit oath? I’m glad that my friend has rejected Roman teaching but I want his rejection to be based upon accurate thoughts and legitimate documents.
Bob, yeah. I don’t know a whole lot about it, but it appears to have been drafted by screechers.
It appears the Satanic ritual section of the Grammys was sponsors by Pfizer. What is it called when irony and providence have a baby?
Brendon, yes. Almost as though a higher power were at work.
A Psalm Resource
This comment may not be well-written or fair-minded but only because it is not a comment, its a question, but now that I’ve (hopefully) got your attention – can you recommend a good resource for studying the Psalms? I want to be able to turn to just the right one for any given situation. For example, when I mess up I turn to Psalm 51, this is a regular occurrence hence the familiarity.
A trustworthy commentary would also be advantageous, particularly if it is postmillish. Milis is the Irish word for sweet and is pronounced Millish.
Reza, I would recommend getting Spurgeon’s Treasury of David.
Getting Back in the Saddle
Thank you for your work, I have found it very encouraging to my faith in Christ, and in addition frequently putting a smile on my face. I am a former pastor with an M.Div. For various reasons, including the “neglected qualification,” I left the ministry after 7 years, and have had been blessed with a fairly successful administrative career in public transportation services.
I will be “eligible” to retire in 2 years, and I am reflecting on possible directions to take once that time arrives. One option might be taking a one-year educational program that would provide a “deep dive” into postmillennial studies and related culture-building strategies. Perhaps it would also be accompanied by some pastoral guidance on directions for service based on gifting and life experience. Do you have any idea if such a program exists? I think there may be many moving into a similar position these days, and for me at least, it might be an opportunity do do meaningful work toward culture before riding off into the sunset.
Gordon, I am very sorry I don’t know of anything that fits that bill. Time to crowd source—anyone?
A Dating Question
I am 22-years-old and have never dated anyone nor have I ever even attempted to date anyone. Not because I am some reclusive ogre that all the girls flee from in terror upon interaction with (at least I don’t believe that to be the case). Rather, I have high standards and do not think it is a good idea to start a relationship with a girl unless I am fairly confident she would make an excellent wife. Up until now, I have not really met anyone that satisfied my standards; and I have been perfectly content waiting on the Lord for the right girl. That being said, I think I have finally met a girl who meets my standards. She is godly, mature, modest, and friendly, comes from a great family, and is one of those rare young ladies that are willing and adept at domestic household duties. The only problem is that she is 16 and as I aforementioned I am 22. I personally do not see the 6-year age difference as that big of a deal, but it does put me in sort of an awkward situation. Society as a whole, and even within the church, views the idea of a college senior courting a high schooler as taboo. I am pretty sure that she is interested in me as we get along well and I see her gazing and smiling at me at church more than seems necessary, but I am not really sure what I am supposed to do. I have been praying about it a lot and up until now my plan has just been to continue to try and get to know her and her family better at church events and pray that her father will notice that we would make a good couple and initiate things. Or just sit back and do nothing for a couple of years until she is 18. However, I feel like there is tension and I would really like to clear the air sooner rather than later. I do not think it is fair to her or to me to continue for the next couple of years just being nice to each other and furtively making eye contact at church; leaving us both confused about what is going on. Her father is my Sunday School teacher and I feel like we have a good relationship, but it sounds like a very awkward conversation to have, telling him I would like to steal his only daughter who is just 16.
Do I just continue to wait and see, praying that if it is the Lord’s will for us to be together her father will make a move realizing that I feel like my hands are tied? Or do I bite the bullet and tell her father I am interested and would like to get to know his daughter better whenever he thinks she is ready to start a relationship?
J, a six-year difference is not that big a deal in the big picture—when you are 76 and she is 70, it would be virtually nothing. But when you were 12 and she was 6, it would have been a very big deal. And it is also a big deal where you are now. Remember that some of the older girls you have already ruled out may have been fresh and virginal when they were 16 also. I would encourage you to sit on it for a couple of years. Date the family, and stop making eyes at her.
Thank you for your response, Doug. Might I ask for more clarity on what it means “to apply friends and family sanctions”? I think you are correct that the church he left has not applied any formal discipline. I’m not sure what that would even mean for them, especially as he had already left the church before this all came to light. I may ask, though we should say they have not and the family is not at all of one mind. If anything, those of us considering any sort of “sanctions” are much the minority. He is likely to have an invitation to some family events, whether or not repentance is demonstrated.
So what then? Do I keep my own family from those events? The relational price would be steep, but is this what Matt 19:29 speaks of? Does Romans 2:4 come into the discussion? Or Romans 12:18? And what does the 5th commandment mean for me in such a situation?
Do my wife, kids, and myself avoid holidays with him? Do we avoid talking with him or seeing him? Do we never eat with him? Or do we allow such things, but each time press for a conversation about his lack of repentance? I believe you gave similar advice to once in these letters.
I trust God and wish to handle this as He has taught in Scripture, though, wisely in faith not fear. I do fear, though, that no sanctions of mine will change his course but will bring more strife in the family.
GBS, I would communicate with him privately before the first family event. Face to face would be best, but failing that, an email would do. I would simply tell him that you are not going to make a scene at Thanksgiving, but that you did not want him to interpret that as you coming to accept what he has done in any way. And at the family events, I would not spend the afternoon swapping fishing stories with him. I would be warm, friendly, and distant.
Women in Authority
I recently spoke to the two elders at my church about 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and how I felt convicted that I should no longer serve as the head of our Hospitality team at our church. Because of the fact that I have to instruct men, point them to Scriptures that discuss the foundations for why we do what we do, and am the person that men and women alike come to to make decisions for the team, I felt I was in sin. The elders at my church are in disagreement and after I expressed my desire to submit to their authority, I felt I had to resign from the position as to obey. I haven’t been a believer for 3 years yet so there are many temptations/whisperings from the enemy that I am deceived. Yet, I want to be aware (as 1 Timothy 2:14 says) that I COULD be deceived. The view of my church and the network we are in is what I understood as complementary. However, our Sunday services and leadership of our church seem to have women more predominately featured. We don’t allow women to preach yet they do open up services with the reading of the Word as well as praying/giving announcements. I don’t want to have a critical spirit but feel like the Lord affirms over and over again that my obedience here was rooted in the overwhelming narrative of patriarchy found in Scripture.
Do you think that I was taking this piece of scripture “out of context” or “without the rest of the Bible in mind”? Do you think that 1 Timothy 2:11-15 refers ONLY to women not being permitted to exercise church discipline or preach from the pulpit?
Thank you for all you and your wife do, you both constantly bless my days with podcasts, blogs, and books.
RSN, I think your stand is exactly right. For all the obvious reasons.
Like you, I hold the preterist interpretation of Revelation, because I think it fits best with the text of the book itself (i.e. the Old Testament quotations and allusions, and the contemporary references to Jerusalem, the temple, Nero etc). To me, the internal (biblical) evidence clearly points to a preterist interpretation.
But what worries me is that the external and historical evidence seems to point to a historicist interpretation:
— It’s the earliest known interpretation of the church.
— It has been the most widely accepted interpretation of the church through history (even the Reformers held this view).
— This interpretation often produces some eerily accurate historical events and dates to match with the text of Revelation.
Also it appears as though Roman Catholics formulated the preterist and futurist views *precisely because* people were using the book of Revelation to identify them as the power oppressing the saints. This certainly seems to ring true, especially since we have almost no mention of a preterist interpretation before the 1500s.
How do you respond to this external evidence which seems to point away from the preterist view, and towards a historicist view?
Shane, I agree that there are some historicist calls that are downright spooky. But I still see a lot more confirmation for the preterist calls. As for the lineage of the view, that troubles me a lot less. A lot of the early fathers taught some pretty weird stuff. The church was closer to the apostles then, but it was also in its infancy then.
Sorry, Can’t Say
You had recommended Judgement of the Nephilim by Ryan Pitterson. I have just now started reading it, to profit. I’d noticed that very recently he released The Final Nephilim. Was curious if you had that book on your radar, if it’s on your reading list, and what your thoughts are on it. Blessings,
Martyn, no, I hadn’t seen that. Though I suspect that I would have many more differences with him about Revelation than I do about Genesis.
When Polygamy is Legal
My jaw dropped when i read that. You are a very brave man. It is refreshing to find pastors who actually agree with Scriptures. “. . . a polygamous family could be accepted into membership, provided they agreed not to ever have the husband aspire to church office (because he is a chump), never to propagate their views to others, and never to compound the mess they have already made by taking additional wives.”
Gene, yes, I believe that is what we would do. But I am not saying it wouldn’t be a rodeo.
I have a couple things to talk about regarding one of your responses in the last letters section. First, I believe that Dustin meant Sisters in Christ, not biological sisters, and that this was mentioned to avoid one the most common dangers of marriage in general, which is marrying someone that does not follow the Lord.
Second (and this is the part I really would appreciate a response to), you call the hypothetical polygamist husband a chump. Dustin lists some pretty big names in the Bible that had multiple wives. Would it be correct to extrapolate from your comment that Abraham et al are polygamist chumps? If they are not chumps, why not?
Joel, no, Abraham is our father in the faith, and not a chump. David was a man after God’s own heart, and not a chump. The list could be multiplied. But compare it to the office of the blood avenger. A man back then could be the blood avenger for his tribe, and not be punished for murder. And he could be a true worshiper of Jehovah. But a man who bought a gun today, and appointed himself a blood avenger would be . . . an exegetical chump.
I seek some pastoral counsel. Maybe you can direct me to some helpful resources.
I am a pastor. There is a young man in his 20s in our congregation whose spiritual life has been on a massive backslide for about two years. It started with porn. It moved to foolin’ around. It’s recently expressed itself in a weekend-long hookup with a prostitute. He has “turned” every time in word, but doesn’t appear to be doing so in earnest deed. He also refuses to give up the smartphone, the foolish friends, the sleeping in till noon, the ungodly music, the endless hours of entertainment—which are dragging him down. We have sent him letters of warning and spent countless hours counseling him to make a mortification of these lusts.
My question is this: Is it ever appropriate to excommunicate a person based on a continual pattern of sin even if they continually say “I’m sorry.” Does that make sense? It feels like we’re watching a slow-motion wreck and I just wonder what discipline we can implement to help him.
PD, what I would do in a situation like this is draft a letter to him, citing his numerous moral failings, which he acknowledges as sin. Tell him that you as a session are requiring him to accept accountability from the church, an accountability that has some teeth in it. I would require him to give up his phone, for example. When he refuses, I would discipline him for that.
Where Do Calvinists Believe Sin Came From?
I am grateful to God for you and your ministry, as well as for the whole Canon Press/Christ Church organization.
In addition, thank you for answering my question from a couple of months ago.
I am trying to understand election and salvation from the Calvinist perspective. God is righteous and just in all His ways, and He is sovereign.
My question may seem very basic: Where did sin come from? Yes, Adam and Eve were tempted in the garden, and through them man fell into sin. So the blame is on Satan. But where did Satan’s sin come from? If God is sovereign over all things and brought into existence a good creation, which He did, how is sin interjected into that system? It seems to me that at least Satan/the angels must have some measure of free will in order to rebel against God. If not, then wouldn’t that place God as the ultimate author of sin?
Again, I am a Christian and affirm that God is Sovereign, and Good, and Just. As you have said, questions can be answered and doubts cannot. However, I feel like I am missing a couple of puzzle pieces and I have no idea where they went.
Any assistance on this would be much appreciated, even pointing me to articles/books/etc.
Gray, as this answer will be short, it might seem inadequate. But here goes. If Satan was the first being who sinned, then it is clear that the elements necessary for him to sin were present in the creation around and within him. None of those elements were sinful in themselves. God’s will, Satan’s will, assigned duties, etc. And yet those elements could be combined in a way that contradicted God’s preceptive will. That was the sin. But they did not and could contradict His decretive will.
Romans 13 and Moscow
In response to: Romans 13, With 13 As Lucky Number. An open letter to Gabriel Rench & Christ Church.
Congratulations. You won. You beat the unconstitutional tyranny of the Moscow City Council, the Moscow Police Department and the MPD pawns that actually arrested you.
Prosecute them to the fullest extent possible. No prisoners. No quarter. Fines. Jail time. Punitive damages. Loss of jobs. Loss of income. All of them. No exceptions, including the arresting officers who were “only following orders.”
1) Because these people do not want peace with you. They do not want to learn by your merciful example.
It’s been tried. Lots of times. Each and every time peace-loving conservatives have offered to peacefully engage the Leftist tyrants it has ended in only one way: Leftist victory. Name me one time in history where it hasn’t. I’ll wait.
If you think that extending an olive branch to these power hungry Leftist tyrants and their minions will result in peace, you are playing the fool. If you think that they will follow your compassionate example you are dead wrong. They will simply take your olive branch, fashion it into a spear and stab you with it. You cannot make peace with these people. They do not want peace with you. They want you dead. They are inhuman in their zeal for power and will stop at nothing to achieve it.
The only thing the Leftist Tyrant understands is force. It must be made so painful for the Leftist Tyrant and their minions that they will not attempt this again.
2) Leniency will serve absolutely no purpose and you will have squandered a once-in-a-life-time opportunity.
There are thousands of people who followed this case and were cheering and praying for your victory. We didn’t do that purely because you were wronged. We didn’t do this because we knew you personally. We prayed for a victory because we need to be on the offensive. We need to change the game plan. We need to stop playing defense and play the toughest offensive game we can muster. The Left does not take prisoners. The Left does not offer mercy. The Left does not play fair. They do not even understand these concepts. They only understand destruction.
3) Being a Christian does not equate to being a patsy.
I have seen too many times where Christians and conservatives in general snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory. Too many Christians act as if losing is somehow more Godly than winning. Many of us would rather be liked than be right. We rightfully want to show God’s love and mercy, and there is a time for that. This is not that time.
In your article you state, “I would, first of all, like to see a little bit of humility, some admission of wrongdoing for violating their oath of office—every city council member, the mayor, the police chief, the three arresting officers—they all swore an oath to protect my First Amendment rights and they all broke that oath . . .”
If this is all you are willing to settle for, you will see NONE OF IT. All you will get is crocodile tears and feigned cries of repentance. These very same people will be doing this all over again, except that next time, it will be done to some unfortunate person who is far less capable than you are at defending themselves. How will you feel about it when this happens and you know that you could have set a precedent and helped avoid it? These Leftist Tyrants and their minions don’t give a damn about their oath of office. They don’t give a damn about you, your family, or your church. They would rather you didn’t exist at all, and they will continue to fight you every single day until they achieve their goal. They will hate you and disrespect you more for showing them compassion than if you utterly destroy them.
If you let these people off the hook, you will have done a terrible disservice to all the people who stood with you. Your efforts will have all been in vain. You will have betrayed all those in the future that will have to fight this battle all over again against even greater odds.
There is no high road to be taken in this particular battle. An example must be made.
Every city council and police department in the nation will be watching this case. Every. Single. One.
You have been given one chance to strike a decisive blow for Liberty. Make it count. If you don’t, you will regret it for the rest of your life, and so will the rest of us.
Ken, I don’t think anybody here is thinking that leniency will win friends and influence people. So no worries. But there are practical considerations, not all of which are up to us. So please continue to pray. We want the final settlement to be a genuine disincentive to tyranny. And keep in mind that there is a second lawsuit in process related to Stickergate. Please continue to pray for all of it.
Señor Doug-o-las, Congratulations for the legal victory. Two questions.
1. I suspect this is not the last time Christians will be fighting issues like this through the courts in the coming years. When we win and enter into settlement negotiations, what’s the strategy? Inflict as much monetary pain as possible, then give away the settlement money to charity? Or demand public apologies in the local media? Or demands that offending parties are fired? Something else?
2. If God’s judgements on this land continue, the courts will become corrupt as well. Judgments will start going the other way, and Christians will be the ones ordered to pay damages. What’s the Christian response. My personal opinion is that Randy Alcorn paved the way for this many years ago in an incredibly brave way. He committed himself to a low-income future to prevent any money going to an abortion clinic through an unjust legal ruling.
I think a Christian should do everything in their power to prevent their money going to to ungodly. Christian churches need to start putting away money to take care of those whose livelihoods will be ruined for standing courageously. Agree?
Roger, agreed. And see the letter above.
To the Extent It Depends on You
I’m grateful for your podcast which (I hope) is helping me to grow more courageous in articulating my Christian faith, and challenging me helpfully on a number of points.
I was reading in Romans this morning that we should:
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Romans 12:18 ESV
As someone unafraid of controversy, who regularly flies his little Cessna into their no-fly zones (I loved this metaphor!), how do you apply this verse? I’m keen to know if you wrestle with that, or if you have theological or practical parameters that help you decisively navigate between the choices of letting something slide and kicking someone in the pants.
If we are one body with many parts, I know that we shouldn’t all be the fists, but I’d like to know the extent to which my reluctance to enter into certain frays is a) a sanctified kind of humility, patience and kindness b) down to the fact that I’m maybe not designed as a fist, but rather some more sensitive internal organ or c) cowardice.
Has God built you as a fist, do you think?
Greg, actually, when it comes to this kind of thing, I think so. I don’t believe I am a fist among family, friends, and parishioners, but I want to be a fist when the situation is yelling at everybody that a fist is needed right about now. But Paul’s requirement to be at peace with all men as much as possible applies to the fists as much as to anybody else. We have reached out privately to many of the people who posture in public as lovers of peace, offering to meet privately, but they won’t respond. And they don’t reach out to us. We have extended many a private olive branch. But some people do their fighting privately, and are public pacifists.
There are examples in Scripture where there were dual fulfillments of prophecy, an initial partial fulfillment and then a later more complete/dual fulfillment.
So can the same thing hold for Revelation: An actual partial fulfillment in 70 AD and a future complete fulfillment that is more in line with what the premillennials teach and believe?
If not, why not?
Thank you for your time,
Robbie, in principle I think this is possible—but think it is more likely with passages like Matthew 24 than Revelation, simply from the structure of the passages. But even there, I just think it is possible, not likely.
A Handful of Questions
Hello! My name is Owen, and I am 13-years-old. I go to a private Christian school . . . Recently, we have been watching the debate between you and Mr. James White about communion. Though I don’t know nearly as much about the Bible, or anything else for that matter, as you do, I do have questions about some of the things you said in that debate. At my school, I’m taught to humbly interact with things I have questions about, and I hope you don’t mind me doing that now.
One of the things you said in that debate was, “I’m teaching my kids that communion is their profession of faith.”
In 1 Corinthians 11 though, it seems that the taking of communion is a remembrance until Christ comes, not a profession. It seems that by taking communion, you are remembering, not professing.
You also said that communion was the replacement of circumcision. In the Old Testament, it seems as though circumcision was a sign that you were different, set aside for God. It set apart God’s people from the Gentiles. In Galatians though, it says that, “If you accept circumcision, Christ is of no advantage to you,” or, “Every man who accepts circumcision is obliged to keep the whole law.”
It seems that circumcision is nullified, not replaced. What now sets aside Christians from non-Christians is their faith, not circumcision. And not communion. You are not saved by taking communion, but condemned for taking communion when you are not a Christian. In Galatians, we are called to no longer accept circumcision, not replace it. Communion plays a different role in our Christian life than setting ourselves apart from non Christians. It is the act of solemnly remembering and thanking Jesus for sacrificing so much for our salvation. This seems like an incomprehensible idea for a one-year-old.
Owen, thanks for the questions. You are right that the Lord’s Supper is a remembrance/memorial, but this in no way prevents it from being a profession of faith. As often as we eat and drink, Paul says, we proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. That is a profession, a declaration.
As far as circumcision being replaced by baptism, the basis for this is in Colossians. “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead” (Colossians 2:11–12).
And we agree that nobody is saved because of baptism alone, or communion alone. The active ingredient in everything has to be evangelical faith.
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