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On The Necessity of Virtues and Values

Of an Empowering & Inspired Leader

The term values is often confused with virtues although similar in meaning virtues are characteristics and attributes (qualities and aspects) associated with the nature of God whereas values are any principles, standards, or qualities considered worthwhile and desirable (Bredfeldt 2006). Furthermore, values are determined by one’s worldview and are based on personality, family dynamics, environmental factors, social factors, cultural aspects, political views and other views of social nature. One’s view on creation, God (or the lack of, and even economics shapes one’s values as well as how one perceives and pursues the acquisition of knowledge and wisdom. Additionally one’s values are mutable and change as one’s perception and perspective changes. Our values can be influenced and manipulated by the views and teachings of others and form the basis of our morality where as our virtues are God given. The two combined form the basis for Ethics.

Ethics can be divided into three categories.  At the highest level is our Virtue our concept of God and Evil or theodicy.  Western social concepts of virtues is credited first to the Greek Philosopher Plato who views justice as the highest virtue.  Justice forms the bond that holds all the other four virtues of wisdom, courage, temperance (Self-control) and continence (abstinence from immorality especially sexually desire) in unity and congruency. Additionally, only through the exercise of knowledge and the power given within our soul can ultimate good be achieved for the form is an imperfect copy and our senses are inferior matter or existence is imperfect while essence (soul, God, spirit, knowledge) is perfect and unchanging and is the basis for all things (anonymous 2016).  The second level is one’s personal and family conception of what is right & wrong (general morality) and at the base is secular law or social and corporate structure.

Virtue, Values & Vices

Aristotle built upon Plato’s concepts but came to a different conclusion. For him matter and essence are inseparable and both are derived from God. The lower form matter thereby originated from the deity and all action originates from the potentiality of motion (anonymous 2016).   For Aristotle virtues are God given but must be developed in training and discipline in what he called means. If we for example wish exemplify High-Mindedness (Wisdom) but the over development of it this will lead to the excessive vice of pride (boastfulness, vanity). In Contrast a lack of development will lead to the vice of deficiency of foolishness ( humble-mindedness) Thus for Aristotle, virtues fail as a result of two categories’ of vices one of deficiency and one of excess as a result of a lack of discipline and training.

Aristotle’s list of virtues and vices are listed on the following chart (anonymous 2016).

VICE OF DEFICIENCY VIRTUOUS MEAN VICE OF EXCESS
Cowardice Courage Rashness
Insensibility Temperance Intemperance
Illiberality Liberality Prodigality
Pettiness Munificence Vulgarity
Humble-mindedness High-mindedness Vaingloriness
Want of Ambition Right Ambition Over-ambition
Spiritlessness Good Temper Irascibility
Surliness Friendly Civility Obsequiousness
Ironical Depreciation Sincerity Boastfulness
Boorishness Wittiness Buffoonery
Shamelessness Modesty Bashfulness
Callousness Just Resentment Spitefulness

 

Finally, one is to practice self-love and friendship or love of others, which is a communal relation, and peaceful and beautiful state of existence with the world in general (anonymous 2016). Furthermore, justice is both general and special in that it applies to the observance of both secular and moral law in occasional circumstance such as judicial and economic matters and is abstract in some instance for absolute justice, which is corrective, and often retaliatory is necessary in moral conduct and common decency.

God cannot be comprehended by practicing normal human moral insight; rather one finds God in happiness in being (anonymous 2016). For Aristotle, pain and pleasure of the mind and soul is the motivation behind the virtues and thus desire for higher pleasure one strives for the highest virtue of high-mindedness through the pursuit of knowledge, wisdom and the disciplines of means or pursuit of the other Godly virtues.

From a Biblical the character of the leader should be developed out of disciple and training from the study of God’s word, meditation, prayer, a life of obedience of faith ( reliance, dependence and trust on Christ and the Holy Spirit).   One must additionally die to flesh – born to Spirit (Rom. 12) and be without boastful pride and in loving humble servitude and in a unity of heart and mind that imitates the likeness of Christ (Phil 1-6). Through the transformation of one’s mind through various spiritual disciplines and the resistance of temptations and living by Christian Ethics, one is granted Spiritual Gifts for the glory of God and service (Rom 12-15).

Additionally, one is to be follow the guidelines of Christian character and conducts as outlined in 1 Tim: 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. This ethical code is similar to the classical code of the Greeks and summarized lists certain desirable traits of conduct for leaders and elders of the church. However, this code should become the basis for all believers conduct, as it is list some basics guidelines for virtues besides those in Romans 12-15. The Fruit of the Spirit, which results from discipline practice and training, is the highest virtues (Gal 5-16-26, Col 3:1-17) and is only given by the leading and granting of the Holy Spirit. Both lists also contain some of the more common sins or depravities of Humanity.  One should recall from Romans 1-8 Paul reminds us all though the Law illustrates us the nature of our sin and we may have all intentions to do good deeds, works actions or even obey out of obligation of the Law. Because of our sin even after being justified or declared citizens of distinction worth and righteous (elect, saints). Will fall short. Thus only by the atoning cross can any of us be truly forgiven, and it is by Christ grace and mercy that all faith is based not by anything we can accomplish. WE however must with the aid of the Holy Spirit striving to become transformed dying from the temptations of sin, forgiving others as well as our self, empowering others and spreading the Gospel to the fallen world serving as Christ like teachers in faith, hope and love.

Courage

Courage is essential and is the result of Endurance, perseverance, and often times suffering.  Courage is the ability to face one’s fears, standing firm in strength in one’s convictions and is a discipline virtue that arises from faith and relying on the practice of truth in times of crisis, adversity or suffering. Courage as a virtue is the assurance of the interdependence working of God in total trust and reliance in any situation or occasion of danger (whether perceived or actual).

Thus, with that aid of the Holy Spirit and the Authority given to the believer by Christ the sovereignty will insure the outcome is in the best interest of the Trinity of God and for his divine creation and Eternal- kingdom.  Additionally courage sparks the passion and not always the sensibility of the individual leading to actions in a situation. Wisdom is the application of knowledge, virtues, and vales in a manner that practical and is thus sensible and heartfelt or appropriate in any given situation.

Truth

Truth can be absolute or relative based on assumptions, feelings, false input of one’s senses or misguided views or actions. The Bible in inerrant when God, Christ or “The Angel of the Lord says or the Holy Spirit gives direct directives. However, the Bible is also infallible meaning it is the means and ends of achieving Faith. Both doctrines of the church are human perspectives and can be supported by the Biblical Evidence.

However, the Bible is not fully inerrant or infallible in itself and never makes an exclusive claim for one or the other. Rather truth and faith (Spirit) matched with authenticity should be seen as the Biblical doctrine  Biblical intake and teaching requires the ability to differentiate, evaluate and incorporate  historical, occasional, cultural, situational, universal, personal and finally current relevancy (Duvall and Hays 2012, 235-246).

To make a claim that either truth of faith or works or goodwill (deeds) are to be separated or combined in any a+ +b or b+ d or any other combination to achieve salvation is missing the mark. The truth is all are inseparable and holistic parts lived and in of obedience of faith for the suffering Bondservant of Christ. One style of leadership or church will not be fitting or reach and meet the needs for all people and doctrines of man will divide. Each view has strengths and weakness as every man has strength and weaknesses (Bredfeldt 2006).

The Key of Wisdom

The key is discernment with biblical guidance and application of general revelation, assessment and our experience. This enables one as an individual, the Body of Believers or universal communal church, and all who are willing to hear, see and receive the Atoning Sacrifice of Christ and the Good-News in a manner that leads to a profession of faith and the empowering and ongoing transformation to the Eikōn. This New Adam – New Kingdom fulfillment, will be granted  when final salvation and full restoration is completed upon Christ return which is only possible with the aid of others and the Holy Spirit brought forth in humble, and accepting discerning teachings of love grace and mercy.

 

Uniqueness & Diversity: The Character of a Leader

What defines ethics and sound character will vary from subculture to culture and will differ even by some degree with in the individual heart and mind of each person. A worldview is simply how an individual perceives the world and his place in creation. It is influenced by family dynamics, cultural customs, ethnicity, nationality, religious views ( doctrines and dogma & beliefs), peer pressure, inspiration, philosophical ideology, political perception,  economics, innate vales & talents , God given virtues ( often unrealized or undeveloped), knowledge, and wisdom. This list is far from complete.

Sin is the adversary of character and is like a genetic curse inherit in all humanity. Sin leads to opposition to the guidelines of the Law that is Holy and the basis of our virtuous morality. Only through Christ atoning sacrifice are we worthy and significant free from blind obligation to obedience of the Law.  In correlation by the leading of the Spirit sanctified and ethics is thus written on the heart of all who live obediently in and by faith (Rom 6-8).

Our strengths and weakness need to be assessment and evaluation and at times God uses not our strengths but our weakness ( Gen 50:20)  for the benefit his divine purpose ( Matt 28: 18-20 must be done in conjunction Matt 22:33-39). Finally, Philippians 1-11, Titus 1:6-8, 1 Timothy 3:2-7, 1 Corinthians 13, Galatians 5, Romans 12-16 as well as Matt 5-7, Eph 5, Col 3:5, and Rom 1:18-32, Rom 2-6). The Good News is since all are declared righteous and redeemed by Christ and love writes the Law on one’s heart in transformation, obedience and willing service of love.

The individual and community is being transformed and restored as long as we keep trudging running, persevering, suffering thru the race of life and praising and glorify God in all things. Thus, doing our part to advance the completion of God promise of salvation and inclusion of all who are willing into the New Adam ( Man)- Perfected reconstructed Eternal kingdom of God when Christ returns to reign in the Eschatological Age (Moo 2000).

In God, Christ and Spirit,

Trent Rindoks

 

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Bibliography

anonymous. Ancient Greek Philosophy. Edited by James Fieser, Bradley Dowden, & Kirby Jeremy. 2016. http://www.iep.utm.edu/greekphi/ (accessed May 01, 2016).

 

Bredfeldt, Gary J. Great Leader, Great Teacher: Recovering the Biblical Vision for Leadership. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2006.

Duvall, Scott J., and Daniel J. Hays. Grasping God’s Word. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012.

Moo, Douglas J. Romans. NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000.

 

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THE BAPTISM OF SPIRIT THRU THE COVERING OF BLOOD

 

 

TRENTON C. RINDOKS

BIBL 364

LIBERTY UNIVERSITY

MARCH 11, 2016

 

Introduction

The accounts of Baptism in Acts clearly depict three inseparable forms of Baptism the Baptism of Water, The Covering of Blood, and the Baptism of the Spirit, although the indwelling is seen as the keys to which faith is established and maintained in the believer evident by the emphasis of the accounts in Acts. Another suitable title for this Book could be the Acts of the Spirit as the book portrays how the Holy Spirit was essential in the role of establishing the Early Church, serving as protector and comforter to the disciples and the cornerstone of faith. One could even draw a correlation between the indwelling of the Spirit to the keys of the Kingdom as fore told by Jesus as being essential to the works of salvation in the lives, hearts and minds of the followers of the Way.

Many traditions, doctrines and dogmas exists with the Body of Christ surrounding Baptism. However, there are three distinct forms of Baptism mentioned in the Bible and in Acts. The First is the Baptism of John, or Water Baptism, which is the repentance of sin and commitment of Faith and to the Body of Christ.  The Second is the Covering of Blood, or the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. This gift of grace is the actual removal of all sins past, present and future that was fully accomplished and hyper-exalted during the resurrection and ascension of The Son of Man and is available to all people through the profession of faith in Jesus Christ.  The Third is The Baptism of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit provides the Keys to the Kingdom necessary to establish, build and maintain the Faith necessary to walk through the Door of Heaven. Salvation is received once one professes believe in Jesus as the Lord, Savior and the only way of Eternal Life and Redemption of Sin. The grace given by the Covering of Blood is available to all people regardless of customs, culture, nationality or ethnicity. God does not discriminate.

A Variety Views on Spirit Baptism

The Wesleyan Position on Spirit Baptism is that is process and result of the conversion of the believer.  The terms and accounts, used in the various verses of Acts such as  the filling of the Spirit ,the pouring out of the Spirit, the receiving of the Spirit by the action of water Baptism, or through  the ability of disciple to lay hands upon another can be associated with the Resurrection, and should be viewed  as “interchangeable”.[1] The covering of Blood or the atoning sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ for all sins past, present and future is all that is required foe salvation.  By repentance or a commitment to die from the sinful nature of self, followed by a profession of faith one receives the gift of salvation and begins the journey of sanctification, which comes only by the grace of God and through Christ commandment of Love for God and others. Sanctification is equivocal to spiritual maturation and is an expression of growing love through the indwelling and gifting of the Spirit.[2]

The Pentecostal View hold one receives an initial Baptism or service, sanctification, and the Gifting of the Spirit maintain indwelling of the Spirit by obedience in Christ. The initial indwelling is a pledge for one who does not have the Holy Spirit within is Not of Christ ( Romans 8:9), Furthermore, it is a seal or down payment for the removal of sins and a sense of ownership or a belonging to the inheritance of the Kingdom of God. This serves as a promise of protection and care from the Holy Spirit. Finally, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit serves a duality of function representing the role of the temple residing in the hearts of man and a belonging in the unified Body of Christ or church. Additionally, after the initial indwelling stage the process of sanctification aided by the Holy Spirit and the provision of gifts along with the individual dying from the nature of flesh leads to spiritual maturation. The premise is justification and judgement befalls the nonbeliever but unto the believer, the indwelling of the Spirit is a promise but the Spirit may become blocked when one sins[3]. “Pentecostal usage turns Luke’s argument on its head by claiming that some Christians are not baptized in the Holy Spirit. Luke made the case, to those who might question it that all who call upon the Lord have the prophetic Spirit available to them and can no longer be denied equal status within the Kingdom.[4]

The Reformed view emphasizes, upon receives Christ the Holy Spirit is also received. In Paul’s words: ‘Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong.to him (Rom. 8:9).’One cannot declare Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit (1Cor. 12:3). The Baptism into the Body of Christ occurs in conjunction with the baptism of the Spirit[5].” Salvation, sanctification, and justification both are actions of faith and form the duality of Salvation.  Sanctification is process throughout the life of the believer. Baptism is a sign and seal accomplished by Water and Spirit Baptism. This does not account for a multitude of blessings from the Spirit in the act of salvation such as receiving of the Spirit before regeneration, the ability to pray for and seek salvation or the works of the Spirit after conversion. It also understates the need to be activated or filled with Spirit by placing an overemphasis on the process of baptism.[6]

An Anglican view on Baptism of the Spirit holds that Lukan philosophy does not guarantee Spiritual Gifts or Spirit Baptism to All believers but that Water Baptism is the initial act of dedication and a desire to repent from Sin. In addition, Luke viewed the Water –Baptism as a symbolic action or commitment to the Church itself. Spirit Baptism was reserved for the Apostles and those with a direct connection to the Apostles and was the source for the Gifts necessary for the Proclamation of the Gospel and the fulfillment of Kingdom Calling to All People of All Groups as Stated in The Great Commission. Holy Spirit Baptism can be transferred from an Apostle to a believer by the laying of Hands, or be received during Water Baptism. Furthermore, it may come upon a believer any time before or after conversion based on the desire of the Holy Spirit and at the precedence of God. Additionally, Spirit Baptism is also symbolic of judgement in the End of Days. Thus, what is paramount is the development of faith and the desire to serve the will and glory of God by caring out the Great Commission. In doing so, “One will find their way in the Kingdom of God[7].”

A final view holds that Spirit Baptism is relative to the accounts in Acts to a becoming in oneness of Spirit and a unity of heart and mind for both the Church and the believer. Bruce Terry writes a perspective on the accounts of the Holy Spirits in Acts, from the Speaking and Hearing of Tongues at Pentecost through the various conversion to Christ and the procession of Gifts as Follows. “There are not some in the church who have been baptized in the Spirit and some who have only been saved but are seeking to be baptized in the Spirit. All who are in the body of Christ were baptized in one Spirit into it.[8]” A complementary view presented by Walvoord states “All reference to Holy Spirit Baptism can be as prove of a universal Baptism of Spirit among all Christian. Secondly, Baptism of the Spirit joins the believer to the Body of Christ without distinction of any cultural or worldview prejudice.  Next, Baptism also places the believer with a direct connection to our Lord Jesus Chris himself. ‘His justification, sanctification, deliverance, access to God, inheritance, and glorification are actual and possible because of the believer’s position in Christ.’ Final considerations include that although Jesus Christ sent the Holy Spirit the Holy Spirit Acts on his own enabling the believer to fulfill the Will of God. In addition, although one can experience the Holy Spirit indwelling, sealing, and baptism, while the ground for the filling of the Spirit and all subsequent experience, is not experimental in itself.  ‘As no one ever experienced a process in regeneration, so no one ever experienced a process in the baptism of the Spirit.’ As the entire process is universal to all Christians[9].”

A Defense on Lukan Theology Today

The Eleven Apostles are commanded, “Do not leave Jerusalem but wait for the gift my father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John Baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5 NIV).”  This implies although the Apostles repented and professed believe in in Jesus they had not received the Holy Spirit, because they had only received Water Baptism, repentance and instruction and thus were not yet fully ready or commissioned into the Body of Christ.

During Pentecost, not only did the Apostles receive The Spirit and begin Speaking in tongues. Jews from every nation were filled with the Spirit and were able to hear the Spirit in their own native language. Some rejected this and as a result, Peter preached on the need of repentance.  Those who had faith and received the gift immediately. Others accepted the Gospel repented and received water Baptism. In this instance, The Baptism of the Spirit proceeds Water Baptism and is the prerequisite needed to lead many to faith in Christ and Salvation (Acts 2).

During the Account of Phillip’s mission to Samaria, we are told of the use of the Proclamation of the Gospel, which resulted in signs, and miracles the crowds paid close attention to Philip. Healing acts and exorcism were performed resulting in enthusiasm.  Most importantly, as Philip preached about the inclusive nature of the Kingdom of God in the Name and Authority of Jesus Christ men and women repented and received water baptism. John and Peter were sent to approve of the new sister church but were astonished that the believers in Samaria had not received the Spirit! The Apostles then laid hands on the new congregation so they may be baptized in the Spirit (Acts 8: 4-25). Polhill comments, “That although baptism and receipt of the Spirit are normally closely joined during conversion and commitment to Christ, it is not always the case. The account of John in Ephesus in Acts (19-5-6) is a result of the laying of hands. Additionally, the Spirit Baptism proceeds water Baptism as the Holy Spirit cannot be controlled to any human Schema.[10]” Luke most likely is not indicating that each individuals did not receive the Holy Spirit internally but that the Laying of Hands is a Pentecost like experience of an external communal nature. “The purpose of such is to designate the providence and supremacy of God and the authority of Christ over any of man’s design. This is contrasted by the story of Simon the magician and his attempts to manipulate the Spirit by his own will.”[11]

After his Mission to Samaria Phillip is commanded by an angel to go south along the Road that leads from Jerusalem to Gaza and along the way he encounters an Ethiopian royal eunuch that had just returned from Jerusalem to worship and was reading from the Servants psalm in Isiah and struggling to understand the meaning. Polhill explains many significance of the Eunuch. First, he was a God-fearing Gentile, and like Cornelius was not a full convert in to Judaism. As such, he would most likely have faced discrimination and access to the temple.[12]  One verse that may have caused the Ethiopian confusing is Isiah 56:3-8. The use of “will not be cut off” may have confused him.  As a Eunuch, he would have been castrated and thus not able to be circumcised as required to be a converted to Judaism. However, there is also a promise in these verses. “For this is what the Lord says: “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant , to them I will give within my temple and its wall  a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters; will give them an everlasting name.  That will endure forever. (Isa 56:  4-5)” The promise can be seen as inclusion into the kingdom of God without restriction but How is this to be so. God answers this as follows, “And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants. To all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant. To these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices (Baptism) will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations (Isa. 56: 6-7).” This is a prophecy of the coming of Phillip the Proclaim the Gospel so the Eunuch and later people of all ethnicity can be included in the Kingdom of God.  Thus, this is a prophecy of the beginning of the Gentile inclusion into the Kingdom of God.  After the Ethiopian receives the Gospel he is Baptized and accepted into the fellowship of believers. One can assume the Holy Spirit was received after the water baptism in this case, as he was unaware of Resurrection and Ascension of Christ and unable to deduce the Messianic Prophecy in the Servants Psalm.

In Acts 10: 44-48 as Peter is preaching the Gospel to Cornelius, his close friends the Holy Spirit descends upon the audience and the receive the Spirit and begin speaking in tongues similar to the Account of day of Pentecost. This Gentile Pentecost illustrates that the Holy Spirit can in Spirit preceding the believer baptism or profession of faith. However, Peter, orders all present to be baptized in water as a symbol of the commitment of the Body of believers. Also, of importance he himself does not performs the baptism himself but leaves the act to another disciple showing any believer has the ability to baptize another into the church and start one’s walk with Christ.

A final point like the Samaritan Pentecost and Pentecost itself this was a communal receiving of the spirit of both indwelling and filling of the Spirit illustrating Gods unstoppable nature, providence and like with the Eunuch shows all restriction against culture, nationality or custom have been broken down by the providence of God. From here on the Gift of Salvation or the Covering of Blood for all sins, past present and future and the promise of the restoration of humanity to the image of God as well as the establishment of Jesus Christ as the Authority over all the Earth has been established.

Redemption, reconciliation, Sanctification, justification, and judgement of those who are against the Kingdom of God are now in the Hands of the Savior Ruler-Advocate and King of Heaven. Available for all people of every people group should the chose to accept it. This Baptism of Blood, available by a commitment of faith via repentance and Baptism will be aided by the Baptism of the Spirit, which will impart the necessary gifts for ministry, inspiration, unity, sanctification, healing, and service.

Much more importantly, the expression of love Christ-minded and acceptance of all that will lead to the expansion and fulfillment of Kingdom Calling breaking down the barriers of discrimination and culture except when such are against the very nature of God himself.

The conversion of Saul the Persecutor of the Church to Paul the persecuted-bondservant of Christ is a unique illustration of the interworking of The Lord Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirit.  First, Lord Jesus Christ physically appears to Saul and resulting in a brilliant light that engulfed him knocking him off his feet followed by a loud thunderous voice asking him “Saul, Saul why do you persecute me?” Saul answers in a reverent tone “Who are you Lord?” Jesus responds “ I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, Get up continue to Damascus and wait for further orders on What you are to do. “ The three traveling companions of Saul hear the sound but do not see anyone and are as a result speechless. The blinded distressed and awe struck Saul is led by his companions to Damascus as commanded as evident by the fact he did not eat or drink anything for three days ( Acts 9: 1-9).  In a vision, a disciple named Ananias receives a vision of Christ through the Holy Spirit to go to the house of Judas on Straight Street for Saul of Tarsus of is coming and has been praying and you will restore his sight. Ananias questions this request, as Saul is a viscous persecutor of the Church. However, the Lord comforts him stating  “I will show him how much he must suffer for my name Saul is my Chosen Instrument to carry my name to the Gentiles, kings and the people of Israel.( Acts 10-10-16).” When Saul arrives, he is welcomed as a fellow brother, Ananias tells Saul of his personal encounters with the Christ and that he will heal him and fill him with The Spirit.  Immediately, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit heals Saul. After the Spirit Baptism, Saul is baptized and Paul the Apostle is born. Depression and distress lifts and he is able to eat regaining his strength and a new vigor for life.  Paul spends a few days among the believers of Damascus and then begins proclaiming the Gospel and proofing Jesus is the Christ with great power and vigor. However, many Jews do not receive it seek to kill him (Acts 10: 17-22). Thus, the persecutor of the Church becomes the persecuted by those who deny the faith, however the providence of God and global inclusive missionary moment is expanded in the conversion of Paul as promised to Ananias (Acts 10:15).

When Paul arrived in Ephesus, He found some of the Disciples and asked, “Did You receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” The believers replied “No, that they have not even heard of a Holy Spirit before.” Paul asked, probably somewhat puzzled, “What sort of Baptism did you receive?” The Ephesians replied “John’s Baptism.” Paul then informs them “John’s Baptism was a Baptism of repentance. He told them to believe in one coming after him, Jesus. One Hearing this they were baptized in the Name of Jesus receiving the Baptism of the Spirit as Paul placed his hands upon them. The twelve men present began speaking in tongues and prophesying upon the indwelling and filling of the Spirit 9 (Acts 19: 1 -7)

The Lukan Prospective of Baptism of the Early Church

Luke first introduces in the book of Acts the need to freely repent from sin and receive the Baptism of John. The believer’s baptism serves the function of establishing a relationship with the body of the believer as well as symbolizes entering into a covenant with God by showing the individual is aware of a life lived in the ways of flesh or out of the sinful nature is futile. However, Luke stresses Jesus Chris provided a superior form of baptism that of the spirit. This indwelling of the Holy Spirit which may occur before the believers baptism out of one’s deeds and works of faith as a blessing by God, or may result as a result of water baptism. It may occur anytime during one’s Christian’s journey and provides the necessary cornerstone of faith to receive and proclaim the gospel. Additionally it allows one, to perform miracles, signs and wonders and protects the believer. The Spirit inspires, comforts, and works to sanctify or restore the believer to the image of Christ. Finally, when Christ died on the cross all sins for all people were forgiven and forgotten. This atoning sacrifice of blood, which was foretold by all the prophets, is the gate in to which one enters Heaven, the means of eternal life, and is affirmed by the resurrection by Jesus who now sits as the Authoritative King of Heaven and Earth, and will judge both the righteous and wicked. The only hope is provided in him through faith and the gracious gift of salvation, and in repentance and by receiving the Holy Spirit who will provide the keys of faith and tools for evangelism and sanctification.

Luke also illustrates those who do not receive the Spirit will not receive eternal life, First, telling how Simon the magician was a believer, was baptized, witnessed many signs and wonders but yet out of his desire to purchase the gift  of the Spirit and not openly receive it by grace had placed his salvation in jeopardy( Acts 8:9-24). Additionally, out of concern for the Elders of Ephesus Paul lays hands upon them and baptizes them with the Holy Spirit when he learns they have not received or heard of such a thing ( Acts 19: 1-7).  Peter and John also laid hands on the believers in Samaria so they receive the Holy Spirit when they learned they received only the Believer’s Baptism (Acts 8: 17).

Conclusion

The accounts of Baptism in Acts clearly depict three inseparable forms of Baptism the Baptism of Water, The Covering of Blood, and the Baptism of the Spirit. Although many traditions, doctrines and dogmas exists with the Body of Christ surrounding Baptism. However, there are three distinct forms of Baptism mentioned in the Bible and in Acts. The First is the Baptism of John, or Water Baptism, which is the repentance of sin and commitment of Faith and to the Body of Christ.  The Second is the Covering of Blood. This is the actual removal of all sins past, present and future that was fully accomplished on the cross and hyper-exalted during the resurrection and ascension of The Son of Man and is available to all people through the profession of faith in Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ the Authority of Heaven and Earth, the redeemer, and restorer of man to the image of God,  the judge of all humanity and the only gateway into Heaven which one must enter in faith and grace . The Final is the Baptism of The Spirit, the keys to the kingdom, the provider of Spiritual Gifts, The giver of the Fruit, inspiration and the unifying force of the mind and heart of the individual and the Church. Most significantly, The Holy Spirit through the indwelling is the foundation of for the profession of faith and the aid of sanctification which works and faith are inseparable in the unified mind, heart and life, which leads to the restoration of the image of God itself.

However, whether one receives the Spirit, before the Baptism of John, during or after is entirely up to the will of the Spirit. Additionally the manner in which the Spirit is received is at the discretion of Christ and the Spirit.  For the Wind blows as it Pleases (John 3:8).”

Bibliography

Arrington, French. “The Indwelling, Baptism, and Infilling with the Holy Spirit: A Differentiation of Terms.” Pneuma 3, no. 2 (Fall 1981): 1-10.

Bloesch, Donald G. “The Wind of Spirit: Thoughts on a Doctrinal Controversy.” Reformed Journal 23, no. 8 (1973): 11-16.

Brown, Schyler. “Water-baptism and Spirit-baptism in Luke-Acts.” Anglican Theological Review 59, no. 2 (April 1977): 135-151.

Lee, Mark. “An Evangelical Dialogue on Luke, Salvation, and Spirit Baptism.” PNEUMA 26, no. 1 (Spring 2004).

Lyon, Robert W. “Baptism and Spirit-Baptism in the New Testament.” Wesleyan Theological Journal 14, no. 1 (Spring 1979): 14-26.

Polhill, John B. The New American Commentary. Vol. 26. Nashville: BroadmenPress, B&H Publishing Group, 1992,2003.

Terry, Bruce. “Baptized in One Spirit.” Restoration Quarterly 21, no. 4 (1978): 193-200.

Walvoord, John F. “The Person Of the Holy Spirit Part 7 The Work of the Holy Spirit in Salvation.” Biblotheca Sacra 98, no. 392 (October 1941): 422-446.

 

 

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[1] Robert W.  Lyon,  “Baptism and Spirit-Baptism in the New Testament.” Wesleyan Theological Journal 14, no. 1 (Spring 1979): 14-26.

 

[2] [2]Robert W.  Lyon,  “Baptism and Spirit-Baptism in the New Testament.” Wesleyan Theological Journal 14, no. 1 (Spring 1979): 14-26.

 

[3] French Arrington, “The Indwelling, Baptism, and Infilling with the Holy Spirit: A Differentiation of Terms.” Pneuma 3, no. 2 (Fall 1981): 1-10.

 

[4] Mark Lee, “An Evangelical Dialogue on Luke, Salvation, and Spirit Baptism.” PNEUMA 26, no. 1 (Spring 2004).

 

[5] Donald G. Bloesch, “The Wind of Spirit: Thoughts on a Doctrinal Controversy.” Reformed Journal 23, no. 8 (1973): 11-16.

 

[6] Donald G. Bloesch, “The Wind of Spirit: Thoughts on a Doctrinal Controversy.” Reformed Journal 23, no. 8 (1973): 11-16.

 

 

[7]  Schyler Brown, “Water-baptism and Spirit-baptism in Luke-Acts.” Anglican Theolgical Review 59, no. 2 (April 1977): 135-151.

 

[8] Bruce Terry, “Baptized in One Spirit.” Restoration Quarterly 21, no. 4 (1978): 193-200.

 

[9] John F. Walvoord, “The Person Of the Holy Spirit Part 7 The Work of the Holy Spirit in Salvation.” Biblotheca Sacra 98, no. 392 (October 1941): 422-446.

 

[10] Polhill, John B. The New American Commentary. Vol. 26. Nashville: BroadmenPress, B&H Publishing Group, 1992,2003.

 

[11] John B. Polhill,  The New American Commentary. Vol. 26. (Nashville: BroadmenPress, B&H Publishing Group), 1992,2003.

 

[12] John B. Polhill, The New American Commentary. Vol. 26. (Nashville: BroadmenPress, B&H Publishing Group), 1992,2003.

 

 Paul: The Instrument of God in the Advancement of the Kingdom

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The Stoning of Paul in Lystra

In Lystra Paul encounters a man who born crippled from birth. With aid of the Holy Spirit Paul discerns the man has faith in the ability to be healed and then speaks to him directly “Stand up on your feet!” Immediately the crippled man is healed. The crowed that witnessed the miracle proclaims in Lycaonian “The God’s have come upon us in Human Form!” The witnesses present associate Paul with Hermes, the God of Language, for he is the chief spokesperson and Barnabas with Zeus (Acts 14: 8-13 NIV). In response, Paul & Barnabas tear off their clothes and Paul responded, “We are only men like you and are here to tell you the God News that you must turn away from worthless things and to the Living God-Who created all creation.  In the past God let all the nations out of Mankind’s Ignorance worship as they please, or “Go their own way. Paul then proclaims that additionally in the past “the Living God provided rain from Heaven and crops of his kindness this abundance has filed your hearts with joy through the provision of food (Acts 14: 15-17 NIV).” These words however had proved difficult from keeping the crowd from sacrificing them for among the crowds were Jews from Antioch and Iconium who convinced the people the Apostles were speaking words of Blaspheme and had Paul dragged outside the city and stoned and was left dying for the people “thought he was dead “( Acts 14: 18-20 NIV).

In regards to the miracle of healing as described by Luke, this was the result of faith and in reaction the Paul by the Authority of Christ and through the Holy Spirit. Thus, the blessing or miracle serves a duality of purpose to strengthen the faith of the crippled man and to bring fourth or enable the faith of those who witnessed the miracle.  The response By Paul and Barnabas to being considered God’s by the tearing off their clothing could be sees as revealing of their own flesh or human nature.  For those familiar with the teachings of Plato the form , matter of flesh is considered to be corruptible, or changeable and those mortal and not divine while the Essence or Spirt is of a divine nature and unchanging and thus pure.  Furthermore, the focus on how God provides for all people through his provision of blessings as is evident in the rain , the seasons and crops is the use of general revelation to proof God is the Author of Creation, the living God and Salvation is inclusive to all people. However, the episode concludes with the minds and hearts of those who witnessed the miracle and heard the Good News on God as the Author of Creation being convinced that the Apostles were guilty of Blaspheme by the persuasion of the Jews in the audience who cut Paul’s sermon short. Polhill concludes, “The crowd was expecting the Good News to be a promise of material blessings.[1] However, the accusation of blaspheme is most likely centered on the ability to heal in the Authoritative Name of Jesus which was prohibited by Judaic Law. Although, the city was of Gentile origin in Faith the exposures as Charlatans by Men considered to have knowledge of the living God would certainly influence a fickle crowd expecting a reward from the Gods.   Paul’s deliverance from certain death can be seen as a miracle and a special testimony on the protective nature of the Holy Spirit. Paul mentions the incident  and how it may have slowed him down physically but strengthened him Spiritually and as such is the only matter on which he can boast (2 Cor 11:25). In 2 Corinthians 12, he continues commenting on how he can only boast on his own weaknesses and how they were used to overcome adversity. That Satan tried to stop him three times and the Providence of God prevailed. “I persevered in demonstrating among you the marks of a true apostle (In Enduring Suffering), including signs, wonders and miracles (2 Cor 12:12 NIV).”

 

Circumcision of Timothy

During Paul’s second mission two Lystra He hears of Timothy a Disciple held in high regards whose mother is A Jew and father a Greek. Through the provision of foresight of having a like-minded brother in Christ to spread the Gospel in the Advancement of the Kingdom, Paul approaches Timothy and asks him to become part of his missionary team. As many Jews live in the Area Paul circumcises Timothy as is required by Jewish Tradition.  Polhill comments that when in a mixed Jewish marriage where the women is Jewish the child is reckoned by the lineage of the mother.[2] In such cases, Timothy would be considered a Jew although his father was a Gentile and thuds by Law and culture be required to be circumcised. Thus Paul had Timothy circumcised in order to establish a cultural relationship with the Jews to whom they were to evangelize to and the circumcision is not to be considered to be contradictory the theology of Paul or Peter that circumcision is unnecessary or unwarranted. Rather it may be seen as a vehicle to build rapport, for establishing a relationship or inclusion with the Jews, The Elect or People of God, whereas Timothy and Paul’s Greek heritage can be seen as inclusion with the Gentiles The decedents or children of God. Finally, Paul would first proclaim the Gospel in the synagogues of Jews and then to the Gentiles, which is why, it was necessary for the circumcision for Timothy. Additionally, consideration would be that Paul considered Timothy a brother, and son and the act symbolizes the act of a father offering his son to God to be admitted to the people of God and into the Kingdom as well as Paul’s acceptance of Timothy as family.

 

Debate on the Use of General Revelation to One’s Conversion

When Paul visit Athens, he was distressed at the multitude of idols in the city. (Acts 17:16)  When he started preaching about Jesus and the Resurrection, the God Fearing Greeks philosopher’s intrigued on the Concept of this foreign God brought him before Areopagus, or supreme tribunal of Athens to hear more on the matter.  Paul begins by stating that he found an inscription to the Unknown God on a statue in the city and this is who he is going to teach about.  Thus, he begins by establishing a rapport between himself and the culture of his audience in a general relative sense.

Paul then Proclaims, “God who made the world and everything is everything but does not live in Temples built by human hands for he himself is the breath of life and everything. He has made every nation and the whole Earth, controls time and proximity where one lives and has done this so we may seek him, and his teachings, for in him we move and have our Being. We are his offspring.  Therefore one must concede has his offspring we should think of the Divine Being is an icon of Gold, silver or Stone, a sign, a symbol built by Man. Of such Things, we must repent. In The Past God overlooked such ignorance but he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. This was given proof to all men in the Resurrection (Acts 17:24-31).

The use of general revelation such as the relation of nature or the use of cultural symbols, philosophy or a comparison to Christ or God to another’s worldview or religion  is often considered controversial and not an effective form of evangelism. Yet in Acts 14 and 17, Paul effectively uses these tools to covey God’s providence convert some to the faith. Although, The Episode in Acts 14 ended in Paul nearly losing his life one could argue it was because he did not explicitly state the Gospel. However, when one reads further on in Acts, Chapter 16 one finds a congregation of Believers in the area showing they mission was successful. Also, although some sneered at the idea of resurrection, Others wanted to hear more on the matter and still others came to believe among the tribunal( Acts 17: 32-34). The point is often the proper technique is more about a relationship with one’s audience and not the Gospel. It may be one of General relationship; one based on experience, or is based solely off scripture or the Gospels themselves that opens Hearts and minds of individuals. However, as faith is truly only partly a matter of works that leads to believe and more fully a matter of the Holy Spirit how one comes to believe and is converted is a matter of the individual and God and not the human agent or the message presented.

In Christ God, And Spirit,

Trent Rindoks

Bibliography

Polhill, John B. The New American Commentary. Vol. 26. Nashville: Broadmen Press, B&H Publishing Group, 1992,2003.

 

[1]

Polhill John B. The New American Commentary. Vol. 26. Nashville: BroadmenPress, B&H Publishing Group, 1992,2003.

 

 

[2]

Polhill John B. The New American Commentary. Vol. 26. Nashville: BroadmenPress, B&H Publishing Group, 1992,2003.

 

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