Posts Tagged ‘Doctrinal’

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The Origin of Sin – briefly stated

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

While doing research on what various Christian denominations and groups believe about the origin of sin, I ran across the following article “Where Did Sin Come From?” which explored the question of the origin of sin. The summation of the article did not answer the question at all, but left the reader with the following questions:

To answer our question, ‘Where did sin come from?’, we make the following conclusions:

1. Although Lucifer spawned the first sin, he was not the creator of the concept of sin.
2. The concept of sin has always been known to the all-knowing God.
3. Sin exists because—either it is a created concept of God brought about by God’s decrees, or, it has always co-existed as the eternal antithesis of everything that God is.
4. Sin could only experientially exist because, although God cannot sin, He made creatures who could.

I could not bear it, and emailed the webmaster with the following question:

Who wrote this nonsense? Give me a name please.

And listed the questions above. I then finished with the following statement:

This evidences a complete and total lack of understanding. Whoever wrote this, missed the mark.

The gentleman who wrote it answered back, and was gracious (considering my initial contact email) and stated that I had contested, but gave no reasons for disagreement. Moreover, he would be glad to address my concerns.

Fair enough. After all, had he been less than gracious, I would have deserved it. I thanked him for being gracious, and sent the following reply:


Sin has a cause, and that is transgression, which is brought about because of iniquity:

And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me. (Jeremiah 33:8)

Iniquity leads to transgression, which immediately results in sin.

Iniquity is the property of being unequal in any of one’s ways:

Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal? Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?  (Ezekiel 18:29-31)

When the LORD states that the ways of the people of Israel are unequal, and He then calls them to turn so iniquity will not be their ruin, He is defining what iniquity is. To help in our understanding, we can use the analogy of a math equation (which is an equality):

In thinking about equations: If we introduce into it any element that makes it unequal, what are our chances of making it equal if we don’t realize what we did? What are our chances of actually realizing we introduced an inequality? Moreover, if our understanding is not accurate because we perceive the equation wrongly (unequally — that is, not as it actually is), what are our chances of self-correction?

When a mistake is made working an equation, generally the person does not realize they erred, else they stop immediately and correct the error. However, the divergence with righteousness and iniquity here is that once a thought exists, it cannot be unthought or taken back. Since it is that the LORD judges the thoughts of the heart, once Lucifer had that one thought of being more glorious that the LORD on the throne, he committed an iniquity. Due to the very nature of inequality, he could not go back, nor find his way back.Because of this iniquity, pride arose, and Satan viewed himself to be better than the LORD God in numerous ways. Hence, he rebelled.

Now to look at righteousness: Being righteous is being equal in all one’s ways (which only the LORD God is):

Before the LORD; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity.  (Psalms 98:9)

Here, like in Ezekiel, the LORD defines another term. Only in this case, it is righteousness. Putting the two together: Righteousness is the property of being equal in ALL one’s ways, and iniquity is the property of being unequal in ANY of one’s ways. It is of necessity true that if righteousness requires for all ways to be equal, that being (or becoming) unequal in any of one’s ways, means that one has iniquity. Moreover, like the math equation, being unequal in one part, spreads to every other part — and it grows.

Once one cannot perceive correctly because of being unequal (iniquity), the determination of what is the right thing to do is clouded and misperceived. It is easy to see then how we can transgress the bounds if we have difficulty perceiving where the bounds are. As soon as we transgress, we have missed the mark (sinned).

Briefly, to answer the final points you put forth in the article:

To answer our question, ‘Where did sin come from?’, we make the following conclusions: [My answers are in square brackets — italics for the web]

1. Although Lucifer spawned the first sin, he was not the creator of the concept of sin. [There is no “concept of sin.” Sin is not a concept. Rather, is a direct result of transgression (which is exceeding the bounds – thus missing the mark), which is brought about because of iniquity. Satan exercised iniquity because he thought in his heart that he was better than the LORD sitting on the throne he was covering (the descriptions of both the LORD and Satan are in the Scriptures, and that difference is significant). The “problem” is that the LORD gave both angels and men freewill and the ability to judge, but they were not given omniscience. Hence, perception and understanding were limited. Satan lost sight of who created him and gave him all that he had. To man, Satan is beyond genius. But he lost sight of the fact that he was GIVEN that. Just like his beauty and musical ability, his intelligence was given him by the LORD God. However, once he lost sight of that, it was a mere thought of the heart to become unequal – which slipped him into iniquity. Now Satan can never return from that, but only gets more and more unequal over time.]

2. The concept of sin has always been known to the all-knowing God. [No, the fact that creatures with free-will and the ability to judge, yet not having omniscience would have the potential to slip into iniquity, was known to the LORD God. Nevertheless, He chose to create them that way, and would deal with the consequences. The LORD God already knew what those consequences were, but He desired to create beings that would love Him of their own volition. The very nature of free-will, combined with the ability to judge, creates a situation in which the potential for iniquity exists. However, for love to be genuine, the will must be free, and to actually choose freely, one must be able to judge independently – that is, of oneself, given the facts to make a determination.]

3. Sin exists because—either it is a created concept of God brought about by God’s decrees, or, it has always co-existed as the eternal antithesis of everything that God is. [This is a false choice. We are to choose between the LORD God being the ultimate author of sin, or the core of Taoism? This is expressly man’s view, which lacks understanding of iniquity and righteousness.]

4. Sin could only experientially exist because, although God cannot sin, He made creatures who could. [Here you are closest to being right, but answer no questions. You would have to explain what you mean by “He made creatures who could.” How, and in what way?]

You are getting the essence of the doctrine. This is by no means extensive in addressing the ramifications of iniquity. But, it should briefly explain where sin came from. Of course, if you are of Calvinist or Reformed persuasion, you will likely reject everything I say.

In Christ,

Paul W. Davis

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A Question for Calvinists

Monday, August 11th, 2014

In the Scripture the following account is given of an interaction between the Lord Jesus Christ and a young man:

And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. (Matthew 19:16-21)

In light of the Calvinist doctrine of predestination, please answer the following questions:

  1. If Calvinism is true, why did the Lord Jesus Christ lie to the young man?
  2. Why did he not tell him that he was not ordained to eternal life, and there was no point in trying?
  3. Surely Jesus knew the young man would not believe. Why did he string him along with a promise he had no intention of fulfilling?
  4. In fact, what he told the young man couldn’t be fulfilled as the man was obviously not ordained to life. Why did Jesus do this?

Why did the Calvinist Jesus deceive the man (and everyone else who has knowledge of this incident) and lie to him? How is this righteous?

Here’s the short answer: It isn’t.

Moreover, no amount of logic twisting and distorting the words of Scripture are going to make it so. How can it be acceptable for the Lord Jesus to not tell the man the truth of his predicament? After all, in Matthew 23, he told the Pharisees the truth of their predicament? What would be the difference here?

If you tell one, you have to tell the other. That is the only righteous way to deal with both situations. That is the only way that is equal.

Don’t be like the Catholics and tell me “It’s a mystery.” That is a cop out and a dodge. Besides, it is obvious that there can only be one answer under Calvinist doctrine:

This ‘Jesus’ committed iniquity.

And, since the Calvinist Jesus committed iniquity, how does he pay for the sins of anyone else? How is he that “perfect sacrifice” which is necessary for the payment of the sins of those he ‘saves?’

I would like an honest answer. Unfortunately, based upon all my interaction with those holding Calvinist/Reformed doctrine, I am not going to hold my breath waiting for it. I have yet to meet one that is intellectually honest.

Still, it would be good to see the explanation.

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Why and How is the LORD God Able to Maintain His Righteousness

Sunday, July 20th, 2014

Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal? Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. (Ezekiel 18:29-30)

Why is it that the LORD God is able to maintain His righteousness, or the equality of all His ways in and of Himself.

To begin with, the LORD God is omniscient, that is, He knows all things. This is not merely having all knowledge, (which we typically think of as mere information) but includes all understanding of that information, and all wisdom to properly apply that information.

We must understand that having knowledge, which is information, is not merely enough, but one must know the significance of that information, which is understanding. One must also know how to apply the information to everything that concerns them. The ability to properly apply the information and understanding one has, is called wisdom. The Scripture is express that the LORD God’s understanding is infinite, which of necessity, means that His knowledge is infinite, or omniscient.

Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite. (Psalm 147:5)

Understanding in itself is a kind of knowledge. It does not simply deal with information, but deals with the significance of that information: that is what that information means and how it relates to everything else. Understanding is essential to wisdom, for without understanding, there is simply no way to determine the weight, or significance of one thing versus another: whether something is to be of concern, or whether it can be ignored, or is of lesser significance.

Hence, we are led to wisdom, which is essential for the construct of things. Wisdom in itself is a kind of knowledge. It is the knowledge of how information is to be applied and how it will work out as things interact. Without it, it would have been impossible for the LORD God to create anything that worked. And yet, so wise is the LORD in His creation that even in a corrupted state, it still is a wonder to behold and works quite well.

To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever. (Psalm 136:5)

The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens. (Proverbs 3:19)

Thus, when we say the LORD God is omniscient, it, in practical terms, means that the LORD God knows all that exists, and knows all the significance of everything, and is able to properly weight that information and thus apply it properly and correctly to every situation that exists or could exist, for all eternity.

In sum, the LORD God knows all things, and all out-workings that are and can be of those things and their interaction with all other things, for all time and eternity. Moreover, He knows that He knows all things which are, and knows that He knows all out-workings that are and will be. Additionally, the LORD God knows there is nothing else to know that can be known.

Without this knowledge and understanding, maintaining His righteousness would be impossible as He must know the end, and possible ends of everything that is or could be. Else, there exists the possibility of any action made by the LORD God that would be unequal in its end. This would yield unrighteousness, which is impossible with the LORD God.

But ominscience is not enough to maintain righteousness. It is not sufficient to merely have all knowledge so that in all workings accomplished, the end of all is known. Rather, one must also love equity or equality:

Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men. The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup. For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright. (Psalm 11:4-7)

(Here I speak as a man, from man’s perspective): Without a love for righteousness, there is no motivator to be righteous, though one may know all things which are, or could be, and the outworking of them all,

The LORD God delights in equity in all things, and in all His ways. It is His greatest pleasure to see things which are equal, balanced and true. Whether that equity, which is righteousness, is from the things He makes directly, or from His creatures, it is a delight to His soul to behold them.

Without this love for equity, righteousness and truth, which is in and of Himself, coupled with His omniscience, which is in and of Himself, righteousness would not be maintained.

This post updated and expanded — 07/21/2014

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Changes

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

Back in 2003-4 time frame, I penned a statement of faith that was based upon the statement of faith of the first true New Testament church I was in. What I did was essentially corrected and amended their statement as there were (and to this day still are) typographical errors, citation errors, and statements which were either nonsense, or were arcane enough so the average person could not actually understand what was expressed. Primarily, I did this to more fully express what I believed, and to solidify in my own mind how best to do that. Nothing accomplishes those purposes quite like writing.

In 2009, Ebenezer Baptist mission undertook the task of writing its statement of faith, which resulted in some changes to my statement, as I am under the authority of the mission. Most of the changes were not significant or substantial, but clarifying of held doctrines. A couple of articles were split for clarification, and one new was added (Of Liberty of the Conscience). With those basic changes the statement of faith was pretty much complete.

However, that was four years ago, and much teaching has gone on since then. There is a far better understanding of certain doctrines, and for the first time, an valid, defined, testable understanding of iniquity, transgression and sin. There is also a far better understanding of how man is made in the image of God. These things and others warranted looking again at the statement of faith to see what needed to be changed and/or clarified. This time, there are significant changes.

Do these changes alter the doctrine? Actually, no, they do not. What they do is clarify the foundations of the belief and add significant information to the doctrine, which strengthens the doctrine. Additionally, gaps and ambiguities are removed so there is no misunderstanding as to what is believed. To illustrate what I mean, article six (VI) is set forth below. First is the statement from 2009, and below it is the newly agreed to statement.

VI. Of The Creation (5/31/09)
I believe in the Genesis account of creation, and that it is to be accepted literally, and not allegorically or figuratively; that man was created directly in God’s own image and after his own likeness. I hold that all of creation was not, and is not a matter of evolution or evolutionary change of species, or development through interminable periods of time from lower to higher forms; that all animal and vegetable life was made directly, and God’s established law was and is, that they should bring forth only “after their kind.” Moreover, that the earth is approximately 6000 years old, and that the creation of the entire physical universe occurred in six, twenty-four hour days, and that on the seventh day the LORD rested.

Some things to note in the original statement from 2009 are a lack of specificity as to where everything came from, and whether the twin errors of the Gap theory and day/age theory are allowed. Moreover, only the minimum is mentioned about the creation of man. Since the majority of the rest of the statement of faith deals with man and the LORD’s provision of salvation in Christ, it is rather odd that so little is mentioned about man and how he was created, and why he is accountable.

You are free to judge, but I believe that is fixed with the following statement:

VI. Of The Creation (9/25/13)
I believe in the Genesis account of the creation of the physical universe; that it is to be accepted as factually and literally true: That all things which are, were created ex nihlo, or out of nothing, by the infinite knowledge and power of the LORD God. I reject any assertion that the account is allegorical or figurative as pertaining to the events of creation and their sequence. I reject as spurious both the “Gap” theory and “Day/Age” theory of the creation account. I hold that all of creation was not, and is not, a matter of evolution or evolutionary change of species, or development through interminable periods of time from lower to higher forms. I believe, as Scripture plainly expresses, that all animal and plant life was made directly, and God’s established law was, and is, that they should bring forth only “after their kind.” I believe that all of creation was formed fully functional, or “in-process,” as if it had always existed; that all life was created in a mature state. I hold, in accordance with the Biblical timeline, that the earth is approximately 6000 years old; that the creation of the entire physical universe occurred in six, twenty-four hour days, and that on the seventh day the LORD rested.

I hold as true, that man was created directly by the LORD God, and in the similitude of God. That this likeness is found in five distinct aspects: That man is a tri-unity of parts: soul, spirit, and body; That man has the innate ability to judge; That man has free-will within the parameters of his given existence; That man is creative, being able to bring forth out of that which exists; That man has the moral imperatives of mercy, compassion, forgiveness, grace, and love. Accordingly, man is the pinnacle of the LORD’s creation. I believe that the LORD God, having bestowed upon man such attributes, holds every individual accountable for the conduct of his existence.

It is my prayer that the updated articles in the statement of faith are a benefit and a blessing as they are intended to clarify and answer why certain things are as they are. Additionally, there are three (3) new articles which are identified as necessary:

Of Righteousness and Iniquity
Of the Penalty for Sin
Of the Father

Two have already been added, and the third will be shortly. These articles are necessary as these subjects are prone to error and very little is taught and/or understood about them.

May you be blessed,

Paul W. Davis

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When We Reference Verses. . .

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

One of the problems I see among those who decide to adopt Statements of Faith, or write articles in which Scripture is referenced and quoted, is a decided lack of care about who said what in Scripture. What I mean by this, is when a verse is needed to support a point, frequently little care is taken about which verse is used, so long as it supports the point the author or church wants supported.

For instance, my personal Statement of Faith, and consequently Ebenezer Baptist’s Statement of Faith were adopted, corrected (duplicate and obviously incorrect verse references) and then modified to accurately reflect what is believed. However, at the time this was done, there was not extensive study done about what certain books of the Bible were about (specifically Job and Ecclesiastics) other than what was immediately obvious.

Hence, verse references were retained from those two books in the Statements of Faith, and not properly vetted as to applicability. The verses seemed to make the point that was desired to make, and that was the “end” of it, so to speak.

But, it is not the end of it. Rather, it is entirely unsuitable to reference someone in Scripture who said something that was correct, but nonetheless had wrong doctrine, to support a point of right doctrine. You are, or will be, shooting yourself in the proverbial foot.

For instance, in making the point about Justification in Christ, the very first passage referenced came from the book of Job and stated this:

Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said, Dominion and fear are with him, he maketh peace in his high places. Is there any number of his armies? and upon whom doth not his light arise? How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman? Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight. How much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm? (Job 25:1-6)

Because the passage speaks of man’s justification (or lack thereof) before the LORD God, it was used in the original Statement of Faith to support the point that man cannot justify himself before the LORD by his own power. Seems fair enough, and was retained as scriptural support. However, as we read further on in Job, perhaps that is not the wisest position to take:

And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. (Job 42:7)

As the LORD God makes clear here, Bildad the Shuhite did not speak the things that were proper doctrine concerning the LORD, as Job had. Specifically, the LORD is here referring to the salvation that is in Christ. Job argued for justification by faith in the Redeemer to come — which is Jesus Christ. Eliphaz and his friends, one of which is Bildad the Shuhite, did not. Rather, they argued for quid pro quo with the LORD, or what is better known as the “Prosperity Gospel.”

Not exactly a sterling reference. Also, not someone I would want to lean on to prove my point about a doctrine that he, Bildad, obviously rejected.

Suffice to say, when the article on Justification was updated, that verse reference was removed.

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Maintaining the Truth

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

This message is located at Ebenezer Baptist Church’s Lessons and Messages page, or by the direct link: Maintaining the Truth

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If Hell is Real . . . – Part 2

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

This lesson is now located on the Ebenezer Baptist Church, Messages and Lessons page, or at the direct link: If Hell is Real . . . – Part 2

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Was Saul Saved?

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

This is the lesson given in the second half Sunday night service about the indwelling of the Holy Ghost and the gift of the Holy Ghost. However, in addressing this, the issue of Saul must also be addressed. This lesson focuses on Saul and what the LORD God did with Saul as pertaining to the statement:

And the Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man. (1 Samuel 10:6)

Which gives rise to the question:

Was Saul saved?

I pray it is profitable  for you.

For those who cannot use the embedded player, wish to use a different player, or want to save the file, the following link is provided:

Was Saul Saved?

In Christ,

Paul W. Davis

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Rebellion and Authority

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

A Wednesday night lesson on what constitutes rebellion and what is authority and what is the extent of it. This is the first lesson in a series on the Christian’s relationship to government.

This lesson is now located on Ebenezer Baptist Church’s Messages and Lessons page. It can also be reached at the direct link: Rebellion and Authority.

In Christ,

Paul W. Davis

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The Unforgivable Sin

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

This lesson can be found on Ebenezer Baptist Church’s Messages and Lessons page, or by direct link here: The Unforgivable Sin

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