Monday, December 11, 2006


I got to reflecting on the Bible. I think it may have had something to do with the fact that I had lunch with Monte Erwin today. Maybe even the fact that I had lunch with CB Scott Friday. Goodness knows that'll do something to you.

What I got to thinking about was this: in the process of raising two boys (most of which was done by my sweetheart, anyway), I put together a lot of stuff for Christmas and birthdays, for which instructions were needed. On the rare occasions when I actually paid any attention to them, they were quite clear. It's not hard to take part "A" and insert it into slot "Q", particularly when they even give you pictures of the part and the slot. And each and every screw, nut, bolt, etc.

Then I got to thinking about the Bible and the church and believers in general. And about differences in opinion about speaking in tongues, baptism, systems of beliefs, even which day we're supposed to worship on. Whether women can teach or preach or govern. And that's where the rub comes in.

Is Christianity supposed to be like assembling a swing set or a do-it-yourself computer desk? Go here ... pay this ... take one of these and put it into one of those... is that what it's supposed to be like? Are we all supposed to look like a row of furniture or toys when we're done?

If not, then I have to suppose that God did this on purpose. Made things purposely just vague enough that we all have to look to Him, and not to some other hooman bean like us, to tell us what He had in mind for ME when He wrote it. That'd be ok, of course, if I care enough to want to know the truth. God wrote the book ... and the Author is still alive ... so I can ask Him. If I am interested.

If this is true, it's likely we'd end up with views and opinions and interpretations which vary in some degree or another with almost everybody else.

Gosh. That's almost inhuman. Hmmmm .. that might explain why we could never conclude that God is a man. And no, don't send me cruise missiles reminding me about the Trinity, either.

Now ... against the strangeness (that the "vagueness" of scripture in some areas may be intentional), replay the fact that some things are crystal clear. Thou shalt have NO OTHER GODS. There is NO OTHER NAME by which we may be saved. NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER but by Jesus.

Why do you suppose God would DO A THING LIKE THAT? WHY? Perhaps it really is, that we must come to our own Bible-based faith, and we are to have faith that is strong enough to differ with others and still be secure in our faith. Maybe we're supposed to be staunch in what we believe. If so, how did we ever get into a system in which half the members couldn't be found by bloodhounds, and the ones who do show up look a lot like the world? And wouldn't that coincide with what they folks who wrote the BF&M ... including the Preamble ... seem to have been driving at?

Look ... those folks could have set out a cookie-cutter summary of beliefs that looked like the Westminster Confession of Faith, or any of the other confessions of faith which other denominations stand on. But they didn't. Doesn't that seem obvious?

One of the most attractive things about the Baptist Church, when I came to it from the PCA, was the BF&M. It was a broad display of beliefs that united a wide spectrum of believers, and hinted at the early church, when believers had precious little doctrine but a huge dose of the reality of Jesus. I like that then, and I still do.

If this diversity really is God-ordained, then those who are trying to narrow the definition of what it means to be a Baptist may be spitting in the face of God. We hear an awful lot about the BF&M and the Baptist traditions, but what if it was God Who was behind all that?

Personally, I'm trotting out my best Caleb impression and I'm gonna wait for the other 10 spies to die off.


At 7:11 PM, December 11, 2006, Blogger Scotte Hodel said...

When I put up ceiling fan supports in my house, there's definitely cause for looking to God for direction.

On the box: "Installs in 3 easy steps."
On the instructions: there are 15 steps.

That means that 3 are easy and ...
12 are hard. Drat.

I hope I didn't ruin your analogy with that.

At 7:24 PM, December 11, 2006, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...


For one, your'e talking about following instructions. The difference is you have a one-of-a-kind fan, with unique instructions, that's all.

Some around seem to want uniform fans. I object, usually wearing a pink hat when I do.

At 10:49 PM, December 11, 2006, Blogger CB Scott said...

Another home run, Bob and you are not even on steriods.

It is amazing what communion with the Spirit can do for a guy's creative thinking.

Merry Christmas to you and yours


At 2:33 AM, December 12, 2006, Anonymous canawedding said...

God's Word is not vague at all but when you do not start off on the right road, you will not get to your destination unless you realize your mistake and start over. The reason for all of the confusion? Jn 8:47. "He that is of God heareth the Words of God. For this cause ye hear them not because ye are not of God." God's Word has repeatedly warned that many would be deceived. Has this come true? Yes, absolutely and it has been true for a very, very long time. Are you listening?

Here is something from Daniel with some simple questions. Jn 8:31b-32. "If ye abide in my Word, then are ye truly my disciples and ye shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make you free." If you are a true disciple of the real Jesus Christ, then you will know the answers to the following simple questions:

Daniel 12:1-10, "the Man clothed in linen” describes the wise and the wicked. * (ASV, public domain)

1. “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince, who standeth for the children of thy people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that same time. And at that time thy people shall be delivered, everyone that shall be found written in the Book. [Read Jn 5:1-14; Jn 8:1-11; 1Jn 3-5. God, through His Son, made it possible for adults to “sin no more.” Why have so-called Christians continued to sin? As prophesied, most of them no longer believe in God’s exact original Gospel Truth. False teachers, who love their paychecks, power and pride, have been teaching false gospels. Soon, God’s amazing patience will come to an end. Most people, who think their names are written in the Lamb’s Book of eternal Life, will find out that isn’t so when it is too late to change. Read Mt 7:13-29; Mt 22:1-14. What is “good fruit?” What is the “wedding garment?” Will many be saved?]
2. And many of them, that sleep in the dust of the Earth shall awake, some to everlasting Life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. [Do you understand the following quote from Rev 3? “I know thy works … that thou hast a little Power and didst keep my Word and didst not deny my Name.” Read Jn 5:15-47; Jn 8:12-59. Only God’s exact original Gospel Truth will save those who believe, repent and obey.]
3. And they that are wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to Righteousness, as the stars forever and ever. [In Mt 6:31-33, Jesus Christ commanded everyone to seek first God’s Kingdom and God’s Righteousness. Have you obeyed His command? Read Mt 3-7; Mt 11; Mk 1:14-15; Lk 8-12; Lk 16:15-17; Ro 1:16-21; Ro 4; Ro 10:3-4; 1Co 12:13; Eph 4:4-7; Heb 11:1,6. How do we begin to be saved? Read Lk 24:44-53; Jn 20:19-31; 2Ti 3:12-17. What is the goal of “every Scripture inspired of God?” What will the Godly “wise” have and do that makes them “shine as the brightness of the firmament” according to Mt 13; Mk 4; 2Co 3-5; Php 2:1-18? What is the “treasure in earthen vessels?”]
4. But thou, O Daniel, shut up the Words and seal the Book, even to the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall be increased.” [Use a good concordance and see how critical words and their variations are used in the full context of the Scriptures. Do not trust any man-made definitions for such words as “Faith”, “Hope”, “Love”, “Grace”, “Peace”, etc. There are two kinds of “knowledge” as there are two kinds of “works”. What is the major difference between the two kinds of “knowledge” and “works”?]
5. Then I, Daniel, looked and behold, there stood other two, the one on the brink of the river on this side and the other on the brink of the river on that side. [Read Dt 32:1-6; Ps 1; Pr 23:23; Isa 55; Jn 3-4; Jn 7:37-39; Jas 1-3; Rev 7; Rev 21-22. What is the “Water of Life?” Who “freely” gives the “Water of Life?”]
6. And one said to the Man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?” [Read 1Th 5 about “times and the seasons.” Few have paid careful attention to what really matters—their own salvation! Who is “the Man clothed in linen?” Why is He “above the waters of the river?” What was being symbolized? Read Mt 14:22-33. Who walked on physical water?]
7. And I heard the Man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river when He held up His right hand and His left hand unto Heaven and sware by Him that liveth forever, that it shall be for a time, times and a half. “And when they have made an end of breaking in pieces the Power of the Holy People, all these things shall be finished.” [How can someone break “in pieces the Power of the Holy People?” Why would God allow it? Read Mt 10-12; Mt 24-25; Mk 13; Lk 19-21; Jn 14-16; Heb 8-13.]
8. And I heard but I understood not. Then said I, “O my Lord, what shall be the issue of these things?” [Read Col 1-4. The Words were sealed until the New Covenant Gospel Truth was preached as the New Testament writers described. Read 1Pe 1-5; 2Pe 1-3. How are the souls of the saved “purifed” according to Peter’s Epistle? How are the saved “begotten again” according to Peter’s Epistle? What “Water” do the “springs without Water” not have? What does the “dog” symbolize? What is the “vomit”? What does the “sow”, the pig, symbolize? What is the “mire”? Read Mk 5:1-20. How did the “swine” die?]
9. And He said, “Go thy way, Daniel, for the Words are shut up and sealed till the time of the end. [In Jn 6:45, Jesus Christ said, “It is written in the Prophets: ‘And they shall all be taught of God.’ Everyone, that hath heard from the Father and hath learned, cometh unto me.” Read Ac 13; Ro 1:1-8; 1Th 1-5. How long did it take true believers to become effective witnesses? Did they attend Bible colleges or seminaries? Did the apostles command anyone to establish such institutions or to trust in them? Read Jer 2:11-13; Jer 17:5-18; Mt 23:8-12; Jn 6:44-45; Ro 12-15:21; 1Jn 2; Rev 1-3. How do the “wise” “overcome the evil one?”]
10. Many shall purify themselves, and make themselves white and be refined but the wicked shall do wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand but they that are wise shall understand.” [Read Jn 17-21. Jesus Christ said He sends His true followers as His Father sent Him. Where can we read that the Father sent His Son to baptize with physical water? Read Ps 51; Isa 1-2; Isa 55-59; Jn 15:1-17; 1Co 6; Jas 4-5. How is a true Christian washed “whiter than snow?” How do true Christians “purify themselves, and make themselves white and be refined?” Read Mt 23; 2Co 11:1-15; 2Th 1-3; Jude. What is the lie that “the lawless one” uses to deceive? Read 1Co 1-3. True Christians will know the answers to all of these simple questions. Do not be deceived! The wicked will suffer the “shame and everlasting contempt” of Isa 66:24!]

Serving “The Lord our Righteousness” for the Glory of God the Father,
anne robare / canawedding at aol dot com / * “Daniel” was written approximately 530 B.C.

At 7:39 AM, December 12, 2006, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

CB: Thanks and Amen, brother. The Spirit can indeed be exceptional in the lives of ordinary folks.

Our families really do need to get together.

Canawedding: I'm not sure I got all your points, but thanks for stopping by and commenting.

At 10:43 AM, December 12, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having been in the kingdom for almost 36 years my doctrine has changed many times-starting at Instruction A. what we heard and believed early on. Instruction B. what God has taught us thru the Holy Spirit.
My husband and I make it a practice to look for God's voice, not in the masses, but in that still small voice. Biblical history speaks generally of the masses missing it. I don't want to.
You're right, there is no 1, 2 3. ta da!


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