Tagged: faith

What scriptures do Word-Faith leaders use?

Previously: What’s wrong with the Word-Faith movement? 

This is the fourth in a five-part series on the Prosperity Gospel.

Download as a pdf.

Bible_Words_of_JesusFollowing are a few examples of Scriptures prosperity preachers twist to promote their health-and-wealth gospel. A more complete treatment is available in The Apologist’s Tool Kit, available at mobaptist.org/apologetics.

Prov. 6:2You have been trapped by the words of your lips – ensnared by the words of your mouth.

Word-Faith leaders quote this verse to illustrate that our words have power. If we speak positively, we get positive results. But if we speak “negative confessions,” we get negative results.

In truth, this proverb teaches nothing of the kind. Solomon simply points out that whenever you enter into an agreement with someone, you are honor-bound to fulfill it. Nowhere does Scripture teach that our words create reality.
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Freedom in Christ: Download the free Bible study on Paul’s letter to the Galatians

The apostle Paul penned his letter to the Galatians for several key reasons: 1) to defend his authority as a true apostle of Christ; 2) to affirm the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith; and 3) to illustrate that the Christian life is to be lived in the power of the Holy Spirit, not through self-imposed bondage to the law. Throughout this epistle Paul declares that true freedom may be found only in Christ.

Download the free study by Rob Phillips.

The greatest person of faith: A Roman centurion?

Thirteenth in a series of short answers to questions about the New Testament.

Consider Matt. 8:10: Hearing this, Jesus was amazed and said to those following Him, “I assure you: I have not found anyone in Israel with so great a faith” (HCSB).

In Matt. 8:5-13, a Roman centurion appeals to Jesus on behalf of an ailing servant. The Lord offers to come with the soldier and heal the servant, but the centurion replies “only say the word, and my servant will be cured.”  Jesus’ response acknowledges the centurion’s great faith. In fact, He says, “I have not found anyone in Israel with so great a faith.” So the question arises: Is the Roman centurion the person of greatest faith Jesus ever met?

That’s probably not the point of Jesus’ statement. Rather, Jesus declares that this Gentile soldier has a more accurate understanding of Jesus’ identity and purpose than most of the Jews throughout Israel, even though He came to the Jews (John 1:11). At times, Jesus limits His miracles due to a lack of faith (Matt. 13:58). He weeps over Jerusalem because the city will soon suffer the consequences of the people’s rejection of Him (Luke 19:41). And He wonders out loud whether the Son of Man will find faith on the earth when He comes (Luke 18:8). No doubt this centurion’s faith was a great encouragement to the Messiah.

As for faith, the apostle Paul writes that God has given all of us a “measure of faith” (Rom. 12:3), and the writer of Hebrews provides an extensive list of great people of faith (Heb. 11). But as for who has the greatest faith … that’s a judgment best left to God, who knows every heart and will judge righteously one day.

Sound reasons to trust the Scriptures (part 5)

This is the fifth in a nine-part series of articles offering sound reasons to believe the Bible is the Word of God.

In Systematic Theology (Vol. I), Dr. Norman Geisler presents many lines of evidence supporting claims for the Bible as the Word of God. In unique fashion, he labels each line of evidence with a word beginning with the letter “S,” making his arguments relatively easy to follow and remember. This article borrows his headings and then incorporates some of Geisler’s research with numerous other sources, which are cited.

Reason 5: The testimony of structure

  • Even though the Bible was recorded by some 40 different authors – from different backgrounds, occupations and levels of education; who spoke in three different languages; who wrote over a period of 1,500 years – there is remarkable unity amid the vast diversity of scripture’s 66 books.
  • There is throughout scripture the unfolding drama of redemption, with Jesus Christ as its central person, seen in the Old Testament by way of anticipation and in the New Testament by way of revelation.
  • The Bible proclaims a unified message: Mankind’s problem is sin, and the solution is salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Gen. 2:16-17; 3:16-19; Luke 19:10; John 3:16; 5:24; Rom. 3:10, 23; 4:4-5; 6:23; 10:9-13; Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-7).

Next – Reason 6: The testimony of the stones

Copyright 2008 by Rob Phillips

How do I know the Bible is true? (Part 8)

This is the final installment in an eight-part series addressing skeptics’ claims against the Bible. Click here to read the full series or download the article.

Objection 8: There are so many Christian denominations today, it’s clear that Christians can’t agree on what the Bible teaches.

The Handbook of Denominations in the United States (12th Edition) lists more than 200 Christian denominations in 17 broad categories, from “Baptist Churches” to “Community and New Paradigm Churches.” If Jesus prayed that His followers would be one (John 17:11), and if there is to be “one body and one Spirit … one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph. 4:4-5), why can’t Christians get along? Even within denominations such as the Southern Baptist Convention there have been major splits over issues such as the inerrancy of Scripture and the role of women in the church. Doesn’t all this contentiousness prove a fatal flaw in the Bible, since even people who study it and say they believe it can’t agree on what it teaches?

First, it should be noted that many of the disagreements among Christians are over matters of conscience, such as which day of the week to worship, dietary restrictions, or which translation of the Bible to use (see Rom. 14:1-23; 1 Cor. 10:23-33), or they focus on lesser points of doctrine, such as the mode of baptism, church polity or the manner in which missions activities are organized and funded.

Second, it should be acknowledged that Christians often have engaged in petty squabbling, internal power struggles and political wrangling, resulting in unnecessary divisions in the body of Christ, not to mention damage to the church’s reputation. The New Testament implores believers to be gracious toward and forgiving of one another; clearly, this has not always been the case.

At the same time, Christian denominations generally developed out of a desire for fellowship and joint ministry between individual churches – a biblical concept (Acts. 11:27-30), according to Charles Draper (“Why So Many Denominations?” Apologetics Study Bible, p. 1709). In addition, denominations many times began as renewal movements. The Reformed movements of the 1500s sought to restore the doctrines of the sovereignty of God and justification by faith to the church, which had all but abandoned these biblical teachings. In time, some Presbyterians drifted toward liberalism and new conservative Presbyterian groups emerged to preserve the Reformed teachings. Baptists came along within the Reformed tradition. Pentecostals and charismatics formed new unions based on their view of the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts.

There is a rich diversity among Christian denominations, and the differences between them often are not as wide as they appear. This is not to say that all differences are minor, or that all should be set aside for the sake of unity, for in Scripture Christian unity is the product of God’s Spirit working in the hearts of regenerate people and anchored in the truth of God’s Word. Some separations are, in fact, necessary. In the New Testament, many false teachers were disciplined or left the churches (see 1 Tim. 1:18-20; 1 John 2:19). In addition, the apostle Paul warns the church that false teachers will rise to prominence in the church in the days before Christ’s return (2 Tim. 3:1-9). The church today should be on guard against those who preach “another Jesus … a different spirit … a different gospel” (2 Cor. 11:4). For example, Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses claim to be Christian in their theology and practice, yet both organizations deny the central teachings of Scripture, particularly those having to do with the person and work of Christ, the person and work of the Holy Spirit, and the gospel.

Charles Draper summarizes: “The most important thing to do is to examine a church’s teaching and practice to see if it is consistent with Scripture. And finally we have to realize that in this life Christians will not agree on everything” (Ibid.).

 Copyright 2008 by Rob Phillips