God had delivered Israel out of Egypt! Then He drowned the Egyptians in the Red Sea! The people were so grateful they sang a song of praise to God (Ex. 15:1-21). However, in only a short time a nation’s gratitude turned into murmuring: “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us into the wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger” (Ex. 16:3). After God gave them manna in the morning and quails at night, along with water, they were pacified for a while.
In the third month after Israel had come out of Egypt, they camped in the wilderness of Sinai before the holy mountain (Ex. 19:1-2). Moses was instructed to say the following words to the people:
“You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Ex. 19:4-6a).
When Moses relayed these words to the people, they responded by saying, “Well, I don’t know.” Wait! That is not what they said. They answered, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do” (Ex. 19:8). Now that response is commendable. It is what they should have said, and it is what the reader wants them to say. Certainly, it is the way God wants them to respond. At that moment they had made a commitment to the God Who had shown great power over all things pertaining to this earth (animals, the seas, the sun, the elements). He had even shown power over life and death itself. Not only could He destroy the Egyptian army without Israel firing a shot, but He could sustain them even in the wilderness with food and drink.
Could there be any doubt that He was the true and living God? Since He is, how else could one respond to Him? Nor was this a one-time occurrence. God spoke the Ten Commandments to the people, but it was more than they could endure. When they ob-served the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking, they trembled and told Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die” (Ex. 20:18-19).
Moses, then, related to them many more of God’s laws in Exodus 21-23. When Israel heard them, they responded with one voice and said, “All the words which the Lord has said we will do” (Ex. 24:3). Once again, this positive affirmation is commendable. Then Moses wrote all the words of the Lord, and he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. Once more, they promised, “All that the Lord has said we will do, and be obedient” (Ex. 24:4, 7).
What Israel declared here reflects the best of intentions. Three times they proclaimed that they would do all that the Lord had said. They would be obedient to Him. So, what happened? This is the generation that died in the wilderness, concerning whom the writer of Hebrews recorded these words:
For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? For with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief…. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them: but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it (Heb. 3:16-19; 4:2).
Despite having excellent intentions, the Israelites who left Egypt died in the wilderness because they did not obey the Lord, which is due to their unbelief because the Word which they heard from God was not mixed with faith on their part. How then do we reconcile reality with their expressed desire to obey God? A Calvinist would say, “Why, they never believed in the first place.” That would make the whole nation the most contemptible of people. They would have been bold-faced liars with no good intentions whatsoever! Although such a claim might fit someone’s theology, it is not corroborated by the text.
Nothing in Exodus suggests that the people lied. Having seen all that God had done and considering what they observed at Mount Sinai, no one can doubt how impressed they were with God and His power. Furthermore, the writer of Hebrews would be left with-out a valid point to make if the people had not been saved in truth at the mount. His exhortation is that Christians not be as Israel was: “Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it” (Heb. 4:1). Christians must also be careful that they do not begin well only to fall short of entering the Promise Land.
As we read through Exodus, we see a major rebel-lion against God less than six weeks after they vowed to be obedient. While Moses was up on the mountain receiving the tablets containing God’s Ten Commandments, the people grew rebellious. To create a golden calf, however, is a greater offense than just saying, “You know, we just don’t like the way things are going.” It was a violation of the second commandment, which they heard God personally speak to them. How is it possible to fall from, “We will obey,” to “We will rebel,” in less than 40 days?
It may be that a few were never really satisfied though they pledged their allegiance to God. Because of the influence that all people have, it only takes a few to whip everyone else up into a frenzy. Later, ten spies would persuade an entire nation to reject taking the Promised Land (Num. 13-14). Not everyone want-ed Jesus put to death, either, but the leaders of the Jews persuaded the multitude to crucify Jesus. Why is this the case? Some are able to tap into our negativity and our frustrations and exploit those feelings to accomplish their own agenda.
In this instance, it was the delay—the inactivity that they were all experiencing. Their leader had left them; they did not know how long he would be gone, and they had no new instructions. Perhaps something happening was better than nothing at all. Some took ad-vantage of the dissatisfaction that had developed and led the people to rebel. Not only was there the direct violation regarding making a graven image, but the phrase, the people rose up to play, implies a kind of sensuality that often accompanied pagan rites, resulting in sexual promiscuity.
Both God and Moses reacted strongly against what had occurred. God called the people stiff-necked and volunteered to consume them (Ex. 32:9-10), but Moses pleaded for the people. When he heard and saw what was being done, however, his anger became hot, and he cast the tablets out of his hands at the foot of the mountain (v. 19). Then he had the calf ground into powder, scattered it on the water, and made Israel to drink of it (v. 20). Finally, about 3,000 who refused to repent were put to death by the sword that day (vv. 26-28). No other major rebellions occurred for several months.
Nadab and Abihu
The sons of Aaron would follow in his footsteps as high priest after Aaron died. Nadab and Abihu were privileged men. They had been invited into God’s presence. Moses, their father, themselves, and 70 elders of Israel were allowed to come up on the mountain which was ordinarily forbidden. They saw a mani-festation of God and ate in His presence (Ex. 24:9-11). Yet this honor did not mean they had license to disobey God. When they offered strange fire before the Lord rather than what He had authorized, fire came out from the Lord and devoured them (Lev. 10:1-2).
How is this event to be explained? They do not seem to have been rebellious so much as careless. At the moment they offered the profane fire, they may not have intentionally meant any disrespect, but that is precisely what it was. God had commanded them what fire to use, but for whatever reason, they used something else, and we all learn a great lesson as a result. We may only do what God authorizes. We do not have the right to substitute something that we think is better, nor can we change anything because we do not understand the reason for the commandment.
Sometimes, people today say, “I like musical instruments in singing to the Lord. David liked them. Why should we not be allowed to use them?” The answer is that they are not authorized in the New Testament as part of our worship. It does not matter whether or not we understand God’s reasoning—or if we agree. To use them without authority (Col. 3:17) is to be as offensive against God as Nadab and Abihu were. Whether one intends to disobey God is irrelevant; he does disobey when he practices what lacks authority.
The Results of Punishment
With the incident of the golden calf behind them and the example of Nadab and Abihu, the people changed their attitude and began to obey God as they had said they would. In fact, when Moses asked for a free-will offering for materials to construct the tabernacle, the people gave so enthusiastically that Moses had to command them to stop because they had too much for the task at hand (Ex. 36:5-7). Everything seems congenial until Numbers 11, when the people began to complain, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some of them (1-2).
Shortly thereafter, the people rejected the conquering of the land and nearly stoned Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and Caleb. Then it was just one rebellion after an-other until all of that generation died in the wilderness. And all these people had good intentions at one time. The same thing occurs today when people obey the gospel. Many people are thoroughly convinced and completely committed to the faith, but as time goes on, one finds them languishing in the wilderness.
Why People Do Not Leave the Church
People do not leave the Lord’s church for the same reasons that Israel did not forsake God. They do not desert because God is less powerful. The same pow-er He had in Egypt He possesses today. Once God has established His power, however, He had no need to reassert Himself. The generation that left Egypt was well aware of His ability to save them or punish them. Today, the same evidence that convicts people to become Christians remains. It does not change or become less valid.
It is not the case that God’s Word becomes any less true over a period of time. The covenant of blessing and cursing (Lev. 26; Deut. 28) continued to operate as long as Israel remained God’s chosen people. Peter’s portrayal of those who return to the corruptions of the world being like dogs that return to their vomit remains accurate (2 Pet. 2:20-22). So does what Jesus taught about those receiving the seed. Some allow the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches to choke the Word, and some want no part of persecution in any form (Matt. 13:20-22). Hebrews 10:26 still says that those who sin (on a continual basis) willfully have no more sacrifice for sins. The Lord’s teaching about heaven and hell remains the same. Truth, like God, never changes.
It is not as though the decision that causes one to say, “We will do what the Lord says and obey Him,” was the wrong decision. It was right—the best decision we ever made. Sometimes we regret a course of action that we have taken because our information was faulty and we were headed the wrong direction. But when people obey the gospel, they have the right in-formation and (presumably) the right hearts and the right intentions—to be faithful unto death.
Why People Do Leave the Church
Why did Israel become unfaithful, and why do members of the Lord’s church become unfaithful after a few months or even several years? And of those who do not actually leave, there are many who come to offer up worship to God only sporadically, being gone two or three weeks or two or three months at a time. As in the case of Israel, the answer probably lies in dissatisfaction. Perhaps someone does not like the preaching or the leadership of the local congregation. Maybe there is disdain for the song leaders or the way the Lord’s Supper is handled. Some have become upset when they are asked to wear a tie to serve.
Some may be at odds with other members of the church, while others do not think enough emphasis is placed on evangelism. Some are unhappy with just maintaining the status quo while others become upset with legitimate changes. People can find all manner of things to be dissatisfied with. Perhaps they never speak to anyone about it but just leave. (The opposite side of this problem is that some object to things that are unscriptural, but few, if anyone, in the congregation cares.)
Israel murmured, complained, and rebelled. Moses told them more than once that it was not him they were challenging but rather God. God told Samuel the same thing when the people insisted on a king centuries later: “…for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them” (1 Sam. 8:7). In effect, the people rebelled against Moses because they were dissatisfied with God’s leadership. It was just eas-ier (and safer) to criticize Moses.
Many congregations today are less than ideal, just as those in the book of Revelation were. Some have a reputation that they live but are in reality dead. Some are still doing good works—but not like they once did. Some are permitting immorality or false teaching to occur. The Christian’s obligation is to make the congregation of which he is a member the best that it can be. If the church is willing to settle for mediocrity, one should pray for new leaders and ask for Divine help (God’s providence) to make things better.
Some, however, just get bored; they think things ought to be more exciting, or they think they can get all they need from watching religious programming or reading books, which is really dangerous for someone not well-grounded. This approach allows Satan to captivate them with error. Besides, resorting to these techniques, even if they were legitimate, is not the way the Lord designed the church. Members are to fellowship one an-other, love one another, exhort one another, and en-courage one another. Such actions do not occur when one becomes a recluse. God knew what He was doing when He designed the church.
Almost everyone who is baptized for the remission of sins begins with good intentions—just as Israel had at Sinai. But the devil is relentless, and he goes to work immediately to try to dissolve them like an aspirin tablet. It is up to each Christian as to whether he succeeds or fails. Satan will have a more difficult time winning the Christian over if he stays strong by devoting himself to the Word and by spending time with mature Christians.
The Bible tells us that God does not accept excuses. Should Jesus say on the Day of Judgment, “Why did you leave My church?” what excuse sounds compelling? The Israel delivered from Egyptian bondage died in the wilderness despite their protestations of allegiance at Sinai. The Christian may be lost despite his deliverance of sin and the good intentions he had at the moment of baptism. No one should allow Satan to deceive him; one’s commitment must be mixed with faith—the kind of faith that keeps one obedient.
Much of the remainder of the first proposition debated was citing sources over the definitions of words. Clearly, brother Eaves used the lexicons and translations correctly while Johnson tried to cast doubt on what is obvious to most people. Although the debate was to examine what the Scriptures presented, John-son spent most of his time citing various “authorities.” One of those was a priest, Henry Fehreu, from an article in U.S. Catholic, 1972. Perhaps unintentionally, Fehreu stated what is the crux of the matter:
The many studies of homosexuality cannot agree on the source of homosexuality, but whether homosexuality comes from one’s own genetic makeup or from early conditioning, a homosexual is a homosexual through no fault of his own (54).
Isn’t that the mantra that advocates of homosexuality have been trying to get people to accept? A man who prefers other men neither knows nor cares what the cause is; he can’t help it. It is through no fault of his own! Could not anyone exhibit this same wrong attitude—the pedophile, the transgender individual, the adulterer, the fornicator? Who wants to take responsibility for his actions? The gambler and the drinker would like for their problems not to be their fault, too. The problem is that God does not accept such at-tempts—even if they were well-meaning.
Johnson cites Arno Karlen, who wrote the book, Sexuality and Homosexuality. He quotes Dr. Stanley Jones on page 487 as writing in 1947 that getting homosexuals to change was “quite indefensible.” He added: “Attempted treatment or alteration of the basic personality of an inborn homosexual can only be de-scribed as a moral outrage” (55). None of these “doc-tors” and “experts,” however, are as wise as the Holy Spirit who through Paul told the Corinthians regarding this and other sins, “Such were some of you.”
So, the first principle of the theology of homosexuality is that they cannot help it, and the second principle is that it is wrong to try to get them to change. The third principle implied in the book and made quite plain three decades after this debate occurred is: “You had better like it.” We now have laws against any form of homosexual “discrimination,” and who knows where this insanity will end up and how much those who affirm what the Bible does will be punished for their convictions?
The Second Proposition
The second round of four speeches each revolved around this proposition: “I know the Bible, which is the inspired word of God, teaches that sexual intercourse between certain human beings of the same sex is not sinful.” Johnson affirmed the proposition, and brother Eaves denied it. Johnson began by defining the words in his proposition and the terms he would be using in the discussion. His main points (which follow) are not based on the Scriptures at all, nor when he cites a verse does it always relate to the subject.
Without a reference to any principle in the Bible (and actually contrary to 1 Corinthians 6:9-11), Johnson says that one’s sexual orientation “is God-given, just as God gives us all our talents and grace” (76). One can-not help wondering, with this line of reasoning, if God gives certain individuals the ability to lie and be deceptive? Or is such not learned behavior? Of course, no Scripture accompanies this wild assertion.
His Rule No. 1 is: “God does not hold a person responsible for a same-sex act over which he or she has no control” (78). He cites Romans 2:14, Matthew 19: 11, and Luke 12:48—none of which pertain directly to the “rule” set forth. The first of these talks about the Gentiles doing by nature what is in the Law of Moses. Johnson does not bother to explain how it relates to what he just asserted. The second passage describes heterosexual marriage, and the third establishes the point that “to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.” Again, if these are supposed to be relevant to the “rule,” Johnson fails to specify how.
If Johnson means that a person is not at fault when he is victimized by another, we would all agree with that, but the way he words it would also allow for any homosexual to say, “I was born this way and have no control over it.” All who know the Word must take strenuous objection to that meaning.
Johnson’s second rule is: “The Lord is a God that wishes for all his children happiness and love (even people that do not conform to the average), John 9:2; 3:16; Luke 22:10; 7:2; Matt. 24:40” (78).
This is certainly the claim of everyone who deter-mines to contradict what the Bible teaches. How many times have we all heard someone (who is not Scripturally divorced and has no authority to marry again) say, “I just think the Lord wants me to be happy”? Apparently, a person’s personal happiness takes precedence over the will of God and obedience to His commands. One would think that physical happiness was the highest good that there could possibly be and that there is no such thing as making a sacrifice.
If such were the case, would Jesus not have been happier to remain in heaven, and would He not have been happier if He had not gone to the cross to die for our sins? He put aside His personal happiness for the greater good. John 9:2 is irrelevant to this issue, as are Luke 7:2 and 22:10. In fact, they seem to be cited to fill up space since they are in no way related to the “rule.” John 3:16 is pertinent, but it contradicts the rule. If God had desired His own personal happiness and been as selfish as human beings, He would not have sent His only begotten Son to die for our sins (John 3:16). Matthew 24:40 should probably be Matthew 22:40 (perhaps some of the others are misprinted, also). But again, love makes sacrifices, and all who are in unlawful sexual relationships should give them up in order to please God.
In Johnson’s third rule, he actually reverses the meaning of Matthew 19:12: “God does not expect people who cannot contain to live sexless lives (even people who do not measure up to the physical standards suggested in the Bible)” (79). To be certain that Mat-thew 19:12 is not misapplied, we need the context of the entire passage. The Pharisees came to Jesus with a question about marriage in order to test him. They wanted to know if a man could put away his wife for just any reason (Matt. 19:3).
Jesus appealed to the creation as a pattern for God’s design for marriage. He made them male and female (which authorizes heterosexual but not homo-sexual marriage). God also designed marriage to be permanent (“let not man separate”) (vv. 4-6). They asked why Moses allowed for divorce; Jesus answered that the reason was the hardness of their hearts, but from the beginning it was not so (vv.7-8). Then Jesus states the New Testament teaching on the subject of marriage, which will last as long as the earth stands:
“And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery” (Matt. 19:9).
God’s will is for two heterosexuals to remain married. Should a wife be unfaithful, the husband can divorce her and marry another (who is eligible) with God’s approval. If he does not have that Scriptural reason for divorce, then he commits adultery in marrying another and living with her. When Jesus taught these words, His disciples thought it over and said, “If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry” (v. 10). They were accustomed to seeing a society with looser attitudes toward marriage. But if a man could not divorce his wife at will, then maybe it was better to remain single.
At this point, Jesus says, “All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given” (v. 11). What saying cannot all accept? All cannot remain single rather than getting married. Some have that ability, but most do not (cf. 1 Cor. 7:7-9). Now this subject draws to a conclusion in verse 12:
“For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.”
If one desires to give up being married, along with its privileges, for the sake of the kingdom of heaven, and he has that natural ability to forgo sexual relations, that is a good goal. The wrong conclusion, however, would be, “Oh, then everyone else has a right to marry.” NO! Jesus just said that those who divorce their wives for some cause other than fornication do them-selves commit adultery by entering into “a marriage” with another. They may not have naturally possessed the gift of celibacy, but they must now make them-selves a eunuch for the kingdom’s sake anyway be-cause they are not authorized to marry. God does expect some to live sexless lives, and that includes any same-sex relationship, along with illicit heterosexual ones.
Rule No. 4 states: ”Since marriage is honorable in all and no specific prohibitions are given in the Bible regarding transsexual marriages then God accepts them (Hebrews 13:4)” (80). God does not need to condemn specifically every style of bizarre marriage arrangement, such as a couple reversing genders. The question is not, “Where does God condemn it?” but rather, “Where does God authorize it?” (Col. 3:17). All marriages that fit the original pattern are honorable—not those involving adulterers, et al.
Johnson’s fifth rule repeats this error; he claims that God accepts lesbian marriages because there is no prohibition against it (91-92). How warped is some-one’s thinking that, when a practice such as homosexuality is condemned, period (Rom. 1:26-27), he would then expect another Scripture forbidding marriage between those who practice what is wrong in the first place! Since the Bible condemns murder, is it really necessary to condemn mass murder, too? Again, what is needed is authorization, and none exists.
In order to try to get out from under the force of Romans 1:27, Johnson quotes from David Lipscomb. Below is what he cited:
Romans 1:27: For the women changed the natural use into that which is against nature. What the special form of this unnatural perversion of women’s lust was, we are not told. — David Lip-scomb, Commentary on Romans (Nashville, Gospel Advocate Co., 1935).
Then Johnson adds, but does not quote Lipscomb as saying that “it may have been bestiality that these women practiced together” (91). The 1986 printed edition does not have that wording, although the sense is the same. In fact, Lipscomb’s comments are on Romans 1:26—not verse 27. Johnson seems to get a great deal of his information wrong. But discounting all of his errors, what about Johnson’s use of Lipscomb?
First, Lipscomb, like any commentator is giving his opinion of the meaning of a text. It may be a well-grounded opinion, or it may not be. We cite sources to see what they thought on a matter—not as Biblical authority. Only the Bible is regarded as truth. Second, Lipscomb did not rule out lesbianism as being condemned, he just said that it might include more than that, based on Leviticus 18:23. Third, the text com-pares the sin of the women with the sin of the men by the use of the word likewise. Since the men were burning in their lust toward one another, then so were the women. Lipscomb acknowledges that the men were engaging in acts of homosexuality (40). Johnson wasted his time with this quote.
A Debased Mind
The mind that contorts itself, as Johnson’s does, is a debased and perverted mind. He cannot see any relationship (male-male, male-female, female-female) but what there is sex involved in it. Consider some of his claims throughout the remainder of the debate.
…David and Jonathan formed a sexual love unit… (92).
In Moses’ day, homosexuality was so widely accepted that it was only condemned in the most extreme situations (96). [He never explained Leviticus 18:22 or 20:13, GWS.]
The most beautiful love song ever written was composed by one woman to another (Ruth 1:16). Joseph’s respect and love for Potiphar, Daniel’s lasting love for Nebuchadnezzar and David’s love for Jonathan have rightly been compared to the loves of Socrates… (107).
Johnson slanders the names of practically everyone named in the Scriptures—and some who are not. He accuses Cain and Abel of being homosexuals, as well as Ruth and Naomi, although he further accuses the virtuous Ruth of seducing Boaz as well. Joseph’s respect and love for Potiphar was not sexual in nature. Nowhere is such a thing even hinted at. If two people of the same sex have a fondness for each other, it is immediately assumed that something intimate is going on between them even though no evidence exists for such a perverted speculation.
David is probably the favorite target for those of a debased mind. He is accused of having a sexual relationship with Jonathan and Mephibosheth, his son, and we can only wonder why he omitted Uriah, since he did not go home to sleep with Bathsheba. No one has ever read these Scriptures before, but Johnson assures us that the following renderings are what they really mean:
And Jonathan lusted greatly after David.
The body of Jonathan was joined to the body of David….
Then Jonathan and David made a marriage covenant because he loved him.
And Jonathan went to David in the woods and sensually fell upon him.
Then Saul screamed, “You are a shameful intimate lover to the Son of Jesse.”
Then King David sent and married him (122-23).
That these are fabricated, the student of the Word already knows. It was “the soul of Jonathan” that “was knit to the soul of David” (1 Sam. 18:1). They made a covenant but not a marriage covenant. Saul called Jonathan the son of a perverse, rebellious woman! The kinds of claims that Johnson makes can only come from a defiled mind that does not even have the capability of understanding a true friendship expressed in mutual love and respect; he can only envision base, sexual expression.
These farfetched and tortured interpretations result from fleshly minds that are desperate to find some way of justifying their sins. They will impugn the righteous to justify their behavior, including charging the holy and lofty with their own ungodly actions. Apparently, they have no fear of standing before God in the Judgment, having castigated the character of the noble and pure. Some go so far as to suggest the very Son of God practiced what they do. They have no shame; neither can they blush, but God will repay them for their error.
In last week’s article (1-20-13), it was reported that some academics are beginning to suggest that pedophilia be considered as a sexual orientation. It was only 34 years ago (1-8-79) that Time magazine reported that the American Psychiatric Association had established a new category for homosexuality which they called, “Sexual Orientation Disturbance.” The APA had previously, in 1973, removed homosexuality from a list of disorders, having decided that there was “no difference between the pathologies of homosexual and heterosexual men.” Of course, everyone has seen where this first step of saying that homosexuality is not ab-normal has led. Now various states have legalized same-sex marriage.
In 1979, after Time published those latest findings, Thomas Eaves wrote an article, “Sexual Orientation Dis-turbance,” which the Gospel Advocate published on February 15th of that year. He lamented that there was a concerted effort to make homosexuality normal and cited Romans 1:26-27 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 to show that God regards it as a sin despite what any culture might decide. He also noted that lesbians were de-manding that test tube babies be turned over to them so that they could raise children. He closed by saying: “Regardless of what you call it or how many defend it…homosexuality is not God’s way.”
After this assessment appeared in the Gospel Advocate, Eaves received a form letter from Dr. Paul R. Johnson, which included several pieces of propaganda from homosexual advocates. After a few exchanges, a written debate was set up, which occurred mostly (perhaps entirely) in 1979. It was not published until 1981; the debate (unfortunately) is no longer in print, but copies might be available from used book dealers. Some of the arguments from this debate will be summarized with the following goals in mind: 1) To show that the assault on truth, as evidenced by the Queen James Bible (see 1-13-13 of this publication), is scarcely surprising; these denials of the plain teaching of the Scriptures have been argued for more than 30 years; 2) homosexuals are dedicated in their efforts to re-write the Scriptures. What they were willing to affirm more than three decades ago they continue to assert without re-lenting; 3) They are as perverted in their minds and their thinking as they are in their physical practices.
The first proposition for this debate, in which there were four affirmatives and four negatives, was: “I know that the Bible, which is the inspired word of God, teach-es that all sexual intercourse between human beings of the same sex is intrinsically sinful.”
Eaves presented a good case for the truth in his opening arguments. He appealed to the pattern established by God at the beginning in Genesis 1:26-27. The fact is that, when God created human beings, He created them male and female. God could have created us as asexual beings, but he designed us as male and female for a purpose, one of which includes repro-duction. He also created male and female in His image, which means that we are far more than physical beings. We possess intellect, emotion, reasoning ability, and a spiritual nature as well. Eaves also cited Genesis 2:24 as God’s plan for marriage.
In the New Testament, Jesus cites, concerning marriage, God’s initial plan (Matt. 19:3-9). No authority exists for two men or two women to marry. None can be found for polygamy, either, which God once tolerated (under the old covenant). Nor does God authorize “group” marriage or “open” marriage or any other per-version of His Divine plan. In 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 Paul says that to avoid immorality, “let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband” (v. 2). Note that Paul does not write, “Let each man have his own partner.” The Bible exalts the man-woman relationship throughout its pages. No other arrangement is authorized, period.
The Case Against Homosexuality
Brother Eaves cited passages of Scriptures from all three covenants to show that God has never accepted the concept of homosexuality. This twofold approach forms an airtight case. On the one hand, homosexuality is not authorized or enjoined by God; on the other hand, the practice is condemned. In the Patriarchal Age, prior to the Law of Moses, those who practiced homosexuality were condemned, and it was called a sin that was “very grievous” (Gen. 18:20). Previously, the men of Sodom had been called “exceedingly wicked and sinful against the Lord” (Gen. 13:13). God destroyed Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim because of their behavior (Gen. 19). The men of Sodom were so perverted that they desired two males who were visiting the city more than two virgin ladies (which would also have been a sin, since they were entitled to neither) (Gen. 19:4-10).
When the Law of Moses took effect, not only was adultery condemned (Lev. 18:20); so was homosexual-ity: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination” (v. 22). Again, Leviticus 20:13 states: “If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.” Eaves also cited Deuteronomy 23:17: “There shall be no ritual harlot of the daughters of Israel, or a perverted one of the sons of Israel.” Moses is referring to both male and female prostitutes. Other verses referring to these practices are 1 Kings 14:24, 1 Kings 15:11-12, 1 Kings 22:46, and 2 Kings 23:7.
Eaves closed by pointing out several times that the sin of Sodom is mentioned elsewhere in the Scriptures. In talking about how evil Jerusalem and Judah had become, Isaiah wrote that “they declare their sin as Sodom; they do not hide it; Woe to their soul! For they have brought evil upon themselves” (Isa. 3:9). One cannot but think of the “Gay Pride” Parades where ho-mosexuals flaunt their perverted ways. Several other references are found in the Old Testament; Eaves also called attention in the New Testament to 2 Peter 2:6-8 and Jude 7. Both talk about the example of the destruction of Sodom: the former passage comments that they were an example for all who would afterward live ungodly; the latter states that they serve as an example of the suffering of eternal fire.
A Different Viewpoint
Dr. Johnson opened his first written response by saying that homosexuals are “your children, your teachers, your parents and your ministers.” He boasts that they have lived through 4,000 years of repression and have survived the Napoleonic Code, the Baltimore Catechism, and Anita Bryant (a critic of homosexuality). He predicted that they would survive Fundamen-talism, also. It was surprising that he did not include a recording of Queen’s, “We Are the Champions,” to ac-company the book! What homosexuals will not survive, however, is the Day of Judgment.
He asserted that there was not one verse in the Bible that condemned homosexuality—only abuse, excess, or inversion. He claims that what occurred in Sodom was abuse, which was certainly true when the two visitors came. But they practiced the sin all of the time—not just then. They were probably guilty of excess, also. By inversion, Johnson means homosexuals who betray their true preference and practice heterosexuality instead. He claims that it is wrong to forsake the sexual relationship that is “natural” for an individual.
He would also agree that homosexuals should not be male prostitutes, yet he does not comment on the fact that, on average, male homosexuals have more than 50 partners, which, while it may not constitute prostitution, is certainly fornication.
Most of the first negative was spent saying that Genesis 19 deals with abuse and that many of the other passages cited describe prostitution; therefore, these do not apply. Of course, he is wrong on the men of Sodom. Yes, this one case describes abuse, but that intended abuse grew out of their regular sinful practices (Gen. 13:13; 18:20). Did Johnson think this was a first-time thought—that ordinarily “straight” men saw two strangers and suddenly had inordinate desires? No, they commonly practiced homosexuality (though many of them had to be married), which caught God’s attention before the men ever arrived.
To further attempt to take away from the force of Genesis 19, Johnson cites a footnote from The Jerusalem Bible, first made available in 1966. It is a Roman Catholic Bible, and it contains a footnote on Jude 7 which states that the men of Sodom did not lust “after human beings, but after the strangers who were an-gels.” Here is a good example of the danger of foot-notes. Although they may at times be helpful, in this instance, they included an interpretation for “strange flesh” in Jude 7, implying that it belonged to the angels. The problem with this note is that nobody, including Lot, knew they were angels!
The Jerusalem Bible serves as a paraphrase rather than a translation in many passages, as do many of those listed below. But they are not very friendly to-ward the homosexual cause.
RSV: “and indulged in unnatural lust”
TCNT: “and fell into unnatural vice”
Moffatt: “and sensual perversity”
Norlie: “and homosexuality”
Knox: “and pursued unnatural lust”
Even if the text were berating the men of Sodom for trying to have carnal relations with angels (which it is clearly not), they would still be male angels.
Another dodge of homosexuals is to try to offset the force of all the plain passages showing what the sin of Sodom was by citing a verse or two that mention some of the cities other sins. Johnson lists Isaiah 3:9 (referenced already) and Ezekiel 16:49. In fact, he quotes a Catholic priest, John J. McNeil as saying:
We are dealing here with one of the supremely ironic paradoxes of history. For thousands of years in the Christian west the homosexual has been the victim of inhospitable treatment. Con-demned by the Church, he has been the victim of persecution, torture, and even death. In the name of a mistaken understanding of the crime of Sodom and Gomorrah, the true Crime of Sodom and Gomorrah continues to be repeated every day (The Church and the Homosexual 50).
What McNeil wrote is an excellent example of what Isaiah condemned: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter” (Isa. 5:20). To hear McNeil tell it, the sin of Sodom was treating others wrong—as homosexuals are treat-ed wrong. He tries to make the sinners the victims! Nothing could be more convoluted! What is wrong with his and Johnson’s reasoning is highlighted below.
1. Isaiah 3:9 talks about the openness of Sodom’s sin. They did not try to hide their perversion but rather flaunted it—just like so many do today. The Sodomites were the original in-your-face homosexuals. But they are still around. Lesbians showed up in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, January 13th, 2013, took off their T-shirts and started yelling and screeching like banshees. On their backs they had written in bold letters: “In Gay We Trust.” On the front side was written; “Shut up,” which is exactly what homosexuals want to force upon any opposition. Sadly, “Gay” has become their God. To try to make homosexuals the innocent victims is ludicrous.
2. Ezekiel 16:49 compares Judah to Samaria, whom God refers to as Sodom because of her corruption. What were some of her flaws? She was filled with pride, fullness of food and abundance of idleness (referring to material prosperity); neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. So is this the reason Sodom was destroyed? No, these were accompanying flaws. The fact that she is referred to as Sodom shows the moral corruption that was present. Verse 50 reinforces this fact: “And they were haughty and committed abomination be-fore me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit.”
3. It was God that ordered the deaths of homosexuals in the Old Testament law (Lev. 18:22; 20:13). This law was not man’s idea but the Lord’s—to prevent the spread of perversion. We are not under the Old Testament any longer, but many have never under-stood that point and therefore erroneously persecute homosexuals. We have had laws against such practices in times past in this nation, and any nation has a right to pass such laws—because of the detrimental effect on society.
4. God prescribed stoning for adultery, also, under the Old Covenant, and we used to have laws against that evil as well. These practices are fundamentally wrong and harmful to any culture. Perhaps Hester was judged harshly for her sin (The Scarlet Letter), but it would be better to have that situation than with immoral women being rewarded with government support for their sins.
5. Everyone knows the true crime of Sodom; homosexuals just try to offer up red herring arguments to take people’ eyes off the truth of the matter.
Speaking of subterfuge, that was the technique of Johnson throughout most of his responses. He went off on a tangent, talking about Biblical arguments against birth control, which was irrelevant. We all know that people have misinterpreted and misapplied Scriptures. So what? The question is, “Are Bible passages being misapplied toward homosexuals?” and the answer is no. Homosexuals go to great lengths to reinterpret those passages so that they end up being favorable to them.
The first negative speech ends with Johnson asking 6 questions, which do not advance the discussion. The first was: “If the attempted rape in Sodom had been heterosexual, would that prove that all heterosexuality was intrinsically sinful?” (24). Eaves answered: “No, because God allows heterosexual relations according to His will while He does not allow homosexual relations. The heterosexual relationship may be abused (resulting in sin) but it can exist with God’s approval” (44). In other words, God authorized heterosexual marriage, but He condemns heterosexual rape, fornication, and adultery. He never, however, authorized homosexual relationships of any kind. The rest of his questions were even more oblique and irrelevant, such as the second one: “If a person commits one same sex act, does that make him a homosexual?” Eaves answered, “No, but the act itself is sinful.”
Concerning marriage, Johnson accused Eaves of finding “a verse which says that heterosexuals can marry and quotes it to prove (?) that only heterosexuals can marry. What our brother needs is a text which says that marriage is only allowed between heterosexuals” (21-22). First of all, Johnson is not our brother by any Biblical definition of the word. Second, Eaves did not just find a verse. He appealed to the creation and the institution of marriage, and the only example involves a male and a female. Third, no example of two males or two females being married exists.
Brother Eaves kept asking for the passage that defines marriage as permitting two individuals of the same sex to enter into that relationship. All Johnson could ever come up with is Hebrews 13:4, first introduced by brother Eaves: “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” This verse does not authorize two persons of the same sex to be married any more than it does those unscripturally divorced and remarried. Homosexuals fall under the classification of fornicators (Jude 7). No verse authorized two of the same sex. No woman calls another woman wife, and no man calls another man husband. Attempts to justify homosexual marriage fail utterly.
Previously, we looked at each of the eight changes in the Queen James Version of the Bible. Except for these eight verses, this “perversion” which is now available is no different from the King James Version. Why did the “editors” perform these eight alterations? They argued that the Bible does not use the word homosexual; therefore, it could not be condemned in the Scriptures. They have attempted to set things right by removing the word from their translation. This claim is fatuous. Just because the word homosexual was not used in the KJV in 1769 does not mean that the concept did not exist in the Greek text, which it does, as seen in the previous article. When men burn in their lust one toward another, do we really need for the word homosexual to be in the text? If we were lis-tening to a radio broadcast that never used the word basketball, but we heard terminology such as dribbling, passing, shooting, fouled out, three-pointer, goal tending, top of the key, man to man or zone defense, center, forward, guard, fourth quarter, crossing the time line, full court press, referee, traveling, out of bounds, et al., would we not be able to figure out what we were listening to? Likewise, a practice can be recognizable as homosexuality even if the word was never used.
King James I
Homosexuals tend to see people and situations as corrupt as what they are; so we probably should not be surprised that they malign King James I. They say that, although he married a woman, he was bisexual—and a well-known one at that. According to them, some of his court referred to him as Queen James. In view of the fact that the editors of the QJV would not identify themselves, it is small wonder that they did not cite any sources here, either, thus proving once again that anyone can assert anything he wants.
Claims about Jesus
More than one source relates, in connection with discussing this translation, about a “vicar” in New Zea-land who put up a controversial poster outside his church building in Auckland that claims that Jesus was a homosexual. The sign says, “It’s Christmas. Time for Jesus to come out.” Jesus is in a manger that is surrounded by a rainbow halo! This action is both slan-derous and blasphemous, but such is the extent of the perversion of people like Glynn Cardy. He erroneously states, “The fact is that we don’t know what his sexual orientation was.”
Yes, we can! He was a male with the highest morality and integrity of anyone who ever lived. Evidently, Cardy does not believe 2 Peter 2:22: “Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth.” Jesus committed no sin. Yet He defined committing adultery in the heart as looking on a woman to lust after her. He did not include males in this teaching, but the same would be true of another male (Rom. 1:26-27).
Our Lord condemned fornication, period, which includes sexual relationships with anyone to whom a per-son is not married (Matt. 19:9; 15:18-20; Jude 7). But as to His sexual preference, He is a male, and He has a bride, who is described in Revelation 21:9ff. How sad—not to mention offensive—are those like Cardy who will go so far as to accuse the holy Lord and Savior of man-kind of being guilty of their perverted sin! Surely, there is a place in the very hottest regions of hell for such reprobates as he.
Another “clergyman” attempted to defend Cardy by saying he was just trying to humanize Jesus. No, he was vilifying Him, which is vastly different. The same excuse was given to justify the blasphemous movie, The Last Temptation of Christ, in which Jesus purportedly experiences a lengthy sexual fantasy while on the cross. Neither of these attempts humanizes Jesus; they transform Him into a sinner, which would ruin His qualifications as the perfect Lamb of God—the holy one being sacrificed for the sins of us—the unholy. Once Jesus is defiled by sin, He can no longer help the rest of us in overcoming sin (Heb. 4:12).
Jesus does not need to be humanized; He was human—the Son of Man. He wept at the tomb of Lazarus (John 11:35). He understood sorrows. What some mean by humanize is tarnished. He has to be sinful like the rest of us so we can identify with Him. Man is always trying to corrupt Deity, but all such efforts fail. God is holy, holy, holy (Isa. 6:8), and the puny efforts of base men will not change that.
This same defender of Cardy the Corrupt says of Jesus, “Maybe gay, maybe not. Does it matter?” Anyone who does not know the answer to that question has no business attempting to teach others Christianity, and those who have been listening to either one of these men should open their Bibles and read them immediately and then find someone who teaches the truth rather than engaging in evil surmisings. It matters that Jesus did not engage in activities that He defined as sinful. If He defined fornication, adultery, and homosexuality as sin, then He could not engage in any of those sins without being hypocritical and disqualifying Himself as the Holy Savior of the world.
A final comment was that Jesus always supported “the marginalized in society.” Yes, he was a friend of tax collectors. He talked to the woman at the well (John 4). He did not condemn (in a judicial sense) the woman taken in adultery, but He did tell her to sin no more (John 8: 11). Jesus never supported people in their sin—only if they repented (changed their behavior) of it. In fact, He died that all might have forgiveness of their sins. Without that forgiveness (based on changed behavior), we die in that sin, and the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6: 23). Homosexuality is a sin that must be given up; lame efforts to justify the practice (such as providing the QJV) will not save anyone.
Those who produced the Queen James Version of the Bible discussed last week (1-6-13) and on page 3 of this week undoubtedly feel totally justified in producing such a perverted work, and their rationale deserves refutation, but before considering that, why not point out that, what some have predicted for years, has now come to pass. Time and again, it has been observed that, if the defense of homosexuality is that they are “born this way,” as Lady (one of the largest misnomers in history) Gaga enjoys singing, then a defense had been established that would allow for other perversions. Are bisexuals born that way, and what about adulterers? Is there something genetic that causes them to be unfaithful? “And what of those who practice pedophilia?” many asked. “How long will it be be-fore this strategy is used to defend them?”
Some of us have warned about the Pandora effect that would result from accepting this rationale. One such warning was in a book titled, The New Absolutes, which was reviewed in Spiritual Perspectives on January 5, 1997. Below is a portion of that article:
Worse yet is the movement seeking to decriminalize pedophilia. Dr. John Money, professor emeritus of no less an institution than Johns Hopkins University, thinks that ten-year-old boys ought to be allowed to develop erotic relation-ships with older men (148). A magazine devoted to this purpose, called Paedika, although published in the Netherlands, includes a number of professors from American universities on its editorial board (270). If we ever descend to such a sleazy level, the paganization of America will be just about complete.
Some may wonder about the words Paedika and paedophilia (British), and pedophilia (American). The word comes from the Greek word for child (pais, pai-dis) and the Greek word philia, meaning “love.”
The day long prophesied of has arrived. A British publication called The Guardian wasted no time sullying the new year; on January 3rd they published an article which they titled: “Paedophilia: bringing dark desires to light” (apparently, they too have lost the art of capitalizing words in titles). Predictably, the article be-gins by saying that “experts” disagree (wow, how rare is that?) about “what causes paedophilia—and even how much harm it causes.” What? Does anyone re-member the tearful testimony of the young men who explained in court the devastating results on their lives from what Jerry Sandusky did at Penn State?
In case anyone does not feel the déjà vu sensation, this is exactly the way that the ultimate acceptance on the part of many in society began with respect to homosexuality. “Experts” began to question whether or not it was an actual perversion or whether it was some-thing that was programmed in at birth. The article cites, well, one must simply read it to believe it:
In 1976 the National Council for Civil Liberties, the respectable (and responsible) pressure group now known as Liberty, made a submission to parliament’s criminal law revision committee. It caused barely a ripple. “Childhood sexual experiences, willingly engaged in with an adult,” it read, “result in no identifiable damage.… The real need is a change in the attitude which assumes that all cases of paedophilia result in lasting damage.”
This writer registers a loud protest against calling this group either respectable or responsible. Not only is it absurd to do so, it is obvious that both the Liberty group and The Guardian both have an agenda here. Incidentally, what is The Guardian supposed to be the guardian of? Evidently, the answer is not tradition, Biblical morality, or common sense. Apparently, they have chosen to guard every form of perversion.
The article goes on to state that attitudes toward pedophilia have changed dramatically in the past three decades. Really? On whose part? Oh, the experts, of course, as the following paragraph indicates:
A liberal professor of psychology who studied in the late 1970s will see things very differently from someone working in child protection, or with convicted sex offenders. There is, astonish-ingly, not even a full academic consensus on whether consensual paedophilic relations necessarily cause harm.
Although not intended to, this paragraph pinpoints the problem that has afflicted much of society—liberal professors. Many students are smart enough to understand biases of their professors and just ignore them, but the academics have a far greater influence than they deserve to have—enough to change society. Now why would the writer of the article say that “ex-perts” disagree? If all experts agree, then how does any budding expert wannabe make a name for him-self? He does some research that contradicts the cur-rent body of thought. Maybe he comes up with the idea that Shakespeare didn’t write all of his plays. If he wants to really set the world on its ear, he claims something that is so preposterous that people actually give it credence. So, in this instance, the crazy claim is that being molested really is not actually harmful. Wild, obviously untrue assertions such as these make the moon-is-made-of-green-cheese theory look convincing.
Next the article treats us to several claims, such as that not all pedophiles are molesters or violent but can be “gentle and rational.” Sure, why don’t we elect one for mayor? Needless to say, laws against pedophilia are archaic and just focus on the nature of the offense rather than how nice these people really are. They probably take good care of their grandmothers and their dogs, too. And some research has discovered that MRI scans reveal that pedophiles have some “white matter” that others do not have, and they “may be wired differently.” The Pandora effect strikes again!
Now that the lid of the box has been opened just a little, it is time to bring in the evidence that no one would dare deny; “Two eminent researchers” testified before a Canadian parliamentary commission last year that pedophilia should be “classified as a distinct sexual orientation.” Well, that ought to convince nearly any right-thinking individual! Just regular researchers we might doubt, but eminent researchers? Surely they could not be in error!
But is there really a link to the initial response to homosexuality (which was correct, not to mention, Biblical) and the public attitude toward pedophilia? Sarah Goode of the University of Winchester, has made two studies of pedophilia and concludes:
“There are a lot of people,” she says, “who say: we outlawed homosexuality, and we were wrong. Perhaps we’re wrong about paedophilia.”
The article then informs the reader: “Social perceptions do change. Child brides were once the norm.” Hogwash! Have there been child brides (ages 8-12)? Yes. Are there still? Yes. Was it the norm in 16th century England, as stated in this article? That may be over-reaching in order to try to establish this thesis. Besides, many countries have laws to protect the perverted practice from occurring. The fact that it was done, however, does not prove that it was widely accepted or approved—hence, the outlawing of it.
One academic, Tom O’Carroll, goes so far as to say that society’s outrage against pedophilia is not justified, especially if “there’s no bullying, no coercion, no abuse of power, if the child enters into the relationship voluntarily….” This is absurdity 2. Children frequently do not know what is best for them, which is the reason that they have parents and a multitude of laws to protect them. Yet how many people are going to go along with “scientific” studies saying that young males who enter into such relationships voluntarily with older males are “nearly uncorrelated with undesirable outcomes”?
The article closes with advising all of us to avoid hysteria concerning those who desire sexual relation-ships with children. They are not monsters, and we should encourage them and support them in their decision to abstain from the practice. First, why is it that everyone who disagrees with a liberal point of view is always labeled as hysterical (or nutty)? Why cannot the aberrant be labeled nutty and those who defend them as hysterical? They certainly cannot be in possession of their faculties in doing so.
Second, those with such desires are monsters to indulge themselves in fantasies with innocent children. They need to know that it is not a normal thing to desire and that they should eradicate any such thought the moment it enters their minds. It should be driven out immediately by the force of their own will, and if it persists, they should get help immediately—but not from a psychologist who will tell them, “Oh, that’s normal.” Such thoughts are not normal, and it is time that wickedness and evil were unmasked for what they really are—affronts to both God and man!
Third, it would probably be best for anyone who had suffered with that problem to keep it to himself. Not many may feel like congratulating someone for successfully restraining himself from committing a heinous act. We do not generally congratulate murderers for not killing someone on any given day or terrorists for not unleashing bombs in a crowded subway. No one cheers his wristwatch for keeping time; he expects it to do that.
None of us should make the mistake of thinking that society would ever accept pedophilia. We said the same thing about other perversions in time past, and look at what is now considered all right. We must be prepared to say, “This taboo shall not be normalized or become common practice!” If it ever should, the paganization process will just about be complete.
Have homosexuals finally done something so outrageous that the public may at long last grow wary of their antics? It would be nice, but so far people have tolerated “Gay Pride” Parades, in which lascivious behavior has been at the forefront, the taking over of the entertainment and news media, and are beginning to cave on homosexual marriage. Now that the Queen James Version of the Bible (a homosexual-friendly version) has been published, will society finally be out-raged sufficiently to say, “Enough!”?
Released on November 27, 2012, the Queen James Version costs just $34.95 and can be ordered on-line. Anyone wanting to know who published it, who the editors are, or what scholarly credentials the translators possess will simply have to wonder. As yet, none of that information has been forthcoming. Actually, it is not really a new translation at all; it is based on the 1769 edition of the King James Version that is still being marketed around the world. But they did alter eight verses to try to remove any condemnation of the sin of homosexuality: Genesis 19:5, Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Timothy 1:10, and Jude 7. The remainder of the King James, according to reports, is unaltered.
The unnamed editors, however, do have a website on which they say: “We edited those eight verses in a way that makes homophobic interpretations impossible.” This statement is not true. They edited the verses to make them say something different from what they actually say. The only honest approach to the Scriptures is to study them to find out what they say. If someone has a bias in favor of homosexuality, then he does not care what the text actually says; he is only concerned about how it can be translated favorably toward that sin. One may as well produce the Adulterer’s Bible. Of course, it would require changing closer to 50 verses plus Mark 6:17-18; it could be called Herod’s Bible. At least that would be more subtle.
But why did they produce an entire version to alter only eight verses—especially with the name it sports? Anyone seeing someone carry such a disreputable work will know immediately that the carrier had a bias toward defending homosexuality. And then they could not take the time to produce a translation of their own! This is nothing more than an in-your-face, “I accept homosexuality as legitimate; what are you gonna do about it?” statement. Frankly, this effort is nothing more than a Jehoiakim maneuver that has gone high tech. This wretched king of Judah, when read God’s Word from a scroll, took a penknife, cut it up, and burned it in the fire (Jer. 36). All that these editors have done differently, after burning the words to which they objected, was to write in their own. Like a child who attempts to mend a broken cookie jar (without any skill or knowhow), when they finished, they puffed out their chests and said: “There, good as new.”
In the King James, the verse declares that the men of Sodom who had surrounded Lot’s house called for him to bring them out that they might “know them.” The QJV changes that portion of the text to read: “that we may rape and humiliate them.” While the men undoubtedly sought to abuse the visitors without their permission or cooperation, which would have left them humiliated, the newly stated verse is more of a com-mentary than a translation. Maybe they could make a case for “dynamic equivalence,” but even that would be difficult to do. The Hebrew word, according to The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament by Warren Baker, D.R.E. and Eugene Carpenter, Ph.D., means “to know, to learn, to perceive, to discern…. The word also refers to knowing a person sexually (Gen. 4: 1; 19:5; 1 Kgs. 1:4)” (420). It does not inherently ex-press violence or the intent of anyone to use force; it only conveys the idea of having carnal knowledge of another individual.
The QJV “translation” goes far beyond the meaning of the word. They have concluded (and rightly so) that the men intended to use force to achieve their goal, but discerning the intent of the men is drawing a conclusion from the facts; it still is not part of the definition of know. Words in a translation must be translated accurately; rape and humiliate is not a correct rendering.
Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13
The Hebrew of the first of these verses is simple and straightforward: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.” Although some sentences in the Bible tend to be long and full of participial phrases and several types of clauses, these are two simple sentences. No one has any difficulty understanding them—except homosexuals. The QJV adds the phrase, in the temple of Molech, after the word woman. Such a phrase is not in any Hebrew text. It is an opinion that has been inserted into the text—and an unwarranted one at that.
They did the same thing with the second passage in the book: “If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.” Again, the phrase, in the temple of Mo-lech, was added after the word woman. To be sure, the people were to abstain from false worship with Molech. He was not to give any of his descendants to Molech (Lev. 20:2), which defiles God’s sanctuary and profanes His name (v. 3). And if anyone protected the man who had given his descendants to Molech, that man and his family God would cut off from the people, also. He would do so to all who prostituted themselves with Molech (20:4-5). God would behave similarly toward anyone who went after mediums and familiar spirits, to prostitute himself with such things (v. 6).
However, all of those types of things are listed in the first part of Leviticus 20. Then God makes a general statement: “Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am the Lord your God (v. 7). Then Moses lists several sexual sins, but not one of them had to do with Molech. Anyone who reads the context of Leviticus 20 can easily determine what relates to false worship and what relates to holiness.
Maintaining sexual purity is also the theme of Leviticus 18. In the midst of this text—none of which has anything to do with the commands being given—there is one reference to Molech: “And you shall not let any of your descendants pass through the fire to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God: I am the Lord” (Lev. 18:20). This statement stands on its own. None of the sins before it or after it are tied into idolatry. Verse 21, although close in proximity, has nothing to do with Molech, and to add to verse 22 the words, in the temple of Molech, is presumptuous. Any reader who reads the entire chapter will be able to discern what homosexuals cannot see—because they are so desperate to find support for their sinful practices. The only connection is that pagans practice abominations.
No one needs to have any help understanding the passage as inspired by the Holy Spirit and translated by legitimate versions of the Bible. Compare the differences between the versions:
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: For even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature. And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward an-other; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet (KJV).
Their women did change their natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, left of the natural use of the woman, burned in ritual lust, one toward another; Men with men working that which is pagan and unseemly. For this cause God gave the idolators up unto vile affections, receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet (QJV).
Needless to say the word ritual is not in the Greek language. What exactly is ritual lust in the first place? Does that only occur when the men enter a temple? Outside the pagan temple they mate with women, do they, but once they enter into the temple, men suddenly strike their fancy? Who can believe it? Also, if homosexuality is practiced in a pagan temple, it is a vile practice, but otherwise it is legitimate? The absurd just keeps becoming more absurd. Anyone reading the text in a legitimate translation can discern what Paul is saying.
1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10
One easily sees how the words selected for this passage were changed. Below are a few translations which are followed by the Queen James.
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with man-kind… (KJV).
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites… (NKJ).
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor morally weak, nor promiscuous, (QJV) (Page 554).
Obviously, homosexuals and sodomites were changed to morally weak and promiscuous. Why?
The answer is obvious: a genuine translation puts homosexuals in a bad light; thus they desire to change it. Below are how other translations treat those two words.
ASV: effeminate, abusers of themselves with men
NAS: effeminate, homosexuals
ESV: men who practice homosexuality
RSV: sexual perverts
NIV: male prostitutes, homosexual offenders
To be sure, not every translation is as precise as it could be, but none of them have morally weak and promiscuous. The Greek word malakos  is an adjective that modified clothing in its three other appearances in the New Testament, where it is translated “soft” (Matt. 11:8; where it appears twice; Luke 7:25). In this instance, it refers to a man who is “soft.”
The other word in 1 Corinthians 6:9 is arsenokoitees , a word found only here in the New Testament. It is a compound word from a word meaning male  and one translated “bed”  in Hebrews 13:4. Thus, a man is in bed with another man, engaging in a same sex relationship. The English word coitus can be traced back through French and Latin, but it bears a striking resemblance to the Greek word.
The only other time the compound word  ap-pears in the New Testament is in 1 Timothy 1:10, where the King James describes those who defile themselves with mankind and the New King James again uses sodomites. This time the QJV uses the rather bland “them that defile themselves,” which could mean almost anything.
The final of the eight passages changed for this genuine perversion is Jude 7, which ought to strike terror into the hearts of all who practice homosexuality, but, no, they decided to change this verse, also. Both versions appear below:
Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire (KJV).
Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after nonhuman flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire (QJV).
It might seem inconsequential for them to change “strange” flesh to “non-human” flesh, but the difference is significant. Homosexual adherents argue that it would have been wrong to try to have intimate relations with angels; the only problem is that nothing in Genesis 19 indicates that they knew the men were angels. Now the text identifies them as angels in Genesis 19:1, which they were. But consider the first introduction we have of them, which is in Genesis 18. We know that the Lord is present with Abraham because the first verse divulges that information to us. But Abraham did not know it at the time. What he saw was three men approaching (v. 2). Addressing them as, “My Lord,” he begged them to remain with him and be refreshed. Three measures of fine meal were kneaded and made into cakes. A young calf was also prepared. Nothing indicates that Abraham knew that two of them were angels and that one was the Lord until He told Abraham what would happen.
Similarly, the reader of Genesis 19 knows that two angels came to Sodom, but neither Lot nor the men of the city give any inkling that they knew. Addressing them as, “my lords,” Lot begged them to come to his house to spend the night. When the men of Sodom came to Lot’s house, they did not ask to see the angels who floated in on clouds that afternoon; they asked for the men, that they might know them carnally (Gen. 19: 5). They would have included Lot also, since he had deigned to interfere and made judgmental statements against them, referring to their intentions as wicked.
Thus, homosexuals have no proof that the Sodomites knew that they were seeking to have intercourse with angels—not that it would have made any difference to them—but that is not the point. Those perverted men sought “strange” flesh, and the Greek word is heteros , which is usually translated “other.” In other words, men usually seek the flesh of women, but in this instance, they were seeking other flesh—that of men. Nowhere in the Bible is heteros ever translated “non-human.” That rendering comes from homosexual theology—not from the Greek word or anything demanded by the text. One might well ask, “What kind of flesh do angels have? Jesus said that in heaven men neither marry nor are given in marriage because they “are like the angels of God in heaven” (Matt. 22:30). So, if they take on a human body when they come to earth, they either have to have the appearance of a body—one whose feet can be washed and who can eat food—or they must take on a human body, in which case their flesh would be like any other male’s flesh and not nonhuman at all!
These, then, are the eight passages that distinguish the King James from the Queen James. They are not legitimate changes, supported by any better knowledge or research techniques or any evidence that has surfaced from ancient manuscripts. They are purely the machinations coming from those who are committed to a way of life that is condemned in the Scriptures. Rather than repent and seek to please the Lord, they have decided that God is on their side, and they are determined to convince everyone else of the same thing. To be sure, some translators have attempted to put their own theology into the Scriptures (relating to salvation and doctrine), but this is the first “version” to champion immorality.
Ever since the shootings at Newtown, Connecticut, people have been commenting on the causes of this tragedy. Some immediately began calling for more gun control while, after an appropriate length of time, the head of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, said (logically): “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.” The alternative is no guns at all, which most Americans do not want, and the only ones who would abide by such laws would be the good guys; bad guys would still have access to them because by definition they do not obey laws. Are there some reforms that might make society safer? Perhaps. Laws vary from state to state. Some of these might be improved, but better laws alone will not solve the problem.
We have laws against Driving Under the Influence, yet a Dallas Cowboys’ player just a few weeks ago was guilty of doing that very thing, which resulted in his friend and teammate being killed. Has anyone called for a ban on alcohol? According to the National High-way Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an estimat-ed 10,228 people in 2010 died from drunk driving acci-dents. Unfortunately, those deaths are not the only evil results of alcohol, but no one is calling for stricter laws.
In 2010, all traffic deaths amounted to 32,885, which is about the same amount of deaths reported for guns, but who is calling for a ban on automobiles? Most of us see irresponsible drivers every day; they only escape from causing accidents by the fact that careful drivers are watching out for them and can react quickly enough to avoid crashes.
The point is that society is probably not going to fix this problem with laws concerning guns, and indeed it may not be resolved at all, but there is another consid-eration, and that is trying to restore the moral values that this nation once had and which we have lost over the past five decades—not only with respect to life but Biblical morality as well.
A Culture of Death
Also getting a share of the blame in the recent shooting is the fact that we live in a society that pro-motes violence, which is true. The body count in several movies over the past few decades has been extremely high. Some of these are far more graphic than others and certainly may leave indelible impressions upon young people. Add to that the fact that the same actors who play the villains in one movie may also be seen in another and another. We all know that it is only “entertainment” and that no one really gets hurt. Does that mean (for some) that if they shoot someone in real life, he will not really die? It might for a young and im-mature person, but such an attitude could only rarely be the case.
Video games have likewise been criticized for their violence—and perhaps rightly so. Shooting people and blowing things up could well be a contributing factor for some to go on a shooting rampage. But we ought to remember that, although it is worse now, most of us have grown up with Westerns and War movies, yet we did not feel compelled to shoot others. Of course, we had a context. Shooting and killing others was in self-defense and for self-preservation. Has that context been lost? Yes, we have many movies and television programs where the killers are portrayed as admirable or likeable, in a perverted sort of way. Discernment is not easy when the bad guys appear as heroes and the good guys are little better than the villains.
But despite all of these influences, it is still the case that, at the beginning of time on earth, Cain killed his brother Abel. He did not use a gun; he had not played video games or been influenced by movies. When people choose to practice evil, there is no safeguard. It goes with the concept of free will. However, if God had eliminated the possibility of evil, He would have at the same time eliminated the opportunity for good.
The Attitude Toward Morals
As long as the world stands, therefore, evil will dwell among us. Human beings will be shot, knifed, or blown up. Wars will continue, and accidents will hap-pen. Does that mean that nothing can be done? No, it just means that, despite society’s best efforts, evil will never be eradicated. Tragedies shall always be part of the fabric of daily living. But we could do much better than we are. Two things need to be changed, and they both involve the attitudes of the American public.
The first concerns a return to the moral values in which we once stood, with a recognition that these values come from God Himself. As one Christian recently wrote, we ought to be far more concerned over going over the moral cliff than the financial cliff. We will likely not get any support from the ACLU on this issue, but the rest of society needs to quit letting a small minority dictate and bind their philosophy upon the rest of society. Many people will not like these suggestions, either, but the reason is that they are thinking with their emotions rather than using logic.
The fact is that God created us and told us what works and what does not work as far as human relationships go. Think about the two greatest commandments: 1) Love God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength; 2) Love your neighbor as yourself. Those motivated by these two principles will be kind, generous, and helpful to others. Those who are not will be prickly, spiteful, malicious, miserly, and selfish. Anyone can pretty well determine what motivates most people by observing their actions. Now the question to consider is: “Which philosophy causes most of the problems in society?
The first is based on Biblical values; the second is not. Obviously, the first is preferable for all of our sakes. So, why does the second prevail? Many of our current problems stem from trying to marginalize God in the public forum. Some insist that every time something is public, it must remain totally secular. Prayers cannot be offered practically anywhere in public (except Congress); one must be careful not to mention God or the Bible in graduation speeches. It is clear that God is to be kept hidden from the public view. If not, someone will face an expensive lawsuit.
Why do people allowed themselves to be bullied and manipulated? The reason may have something to do with the fact that Christianity does not approve of whatever their sin of choice is, and rather than stand up as they should, they remain silent because they are afraid they might be picked on next. It is easier to give into the secularists than it is to take responsibility for one’s actions. Many do not want to face up to their own bad behavior; so they are willing to let that of others slide even when it may be far worse than what they are doing. Most sins are committed for selfish reasons; what else is stealing all about? We need to return to the values set forth by God in the Scriptures; all of those points that follow stand or fall together.
1. God created man and woman, and He designed the sexual relationship for marriage (Gen. 2:18-25). All who desire the physical benefits of marriage without making the commitment that goes with it are being selfish, and it is time for them to admit it. Those who declare they are “in love” with each other and are just expressing their feelings may be fooling themselves—but probably not anyone else—certainly not God. Anyone who loves another, by definition, does what is in the other person’s best interests. It is not in anyone’s best interests to be used and cast aside, face an unwanted pregnancy, or violate God’s precept of purity (1 Cor. 6:18).
Someone will likely counter by saying, “How does what two people do in private affect society?” For one thing, how many children born out of wedlock are receiving money from the government to pay for the sin committed privately? And then, what chance do those children have for a life outside the boundaries of poverty? Immorality always comes with consequences.
2. Another flaw of modern life is the high rate of adultery, and its cause is also rooted in selfishness. In-stead of trying to resolve problems within the home, many reach out to someone else for comfort or validation. The idea of an “affair” (which doesn’t have near the sinful ring of adultery to it) seems exciting and appealing, and it masks the selfishness of the participants and the potential damage that it will probably cause. The results are often clearly seen in the amount of broken homes and those which have remained intact but are still hurting.
3. The previous subject brings us to this one—divorce, since it is so often related. First, many choose to marry someone despite warning signs and advice from friends. Christians really ought to consider the character of a prospective mate. Many have ignored warning signs and either had to live in a less-than-ideal situation or have been forced to get a divorce later on due to infidelity. Most divorces involve selfishness on at least one party in the marriage. Frequently, one party refuses to take responsibility for his actions. And what are the results of divorce? Children grow up, being shuffled back and forth between parents and likely hearing evil re-ports of the father, the mother, or both. This country needs to restore marriage to its proper place of honor and respect. We need to abide by God’s plan for a man and a woman.
4. The idea of two men or two women being “married” is ludicrous and totally foreign to God’s plan. It will cheapen marriage even more than the first three items on this list and it will open the door to redefining marriage so broadly as to be meaningless. No one will be able to deny polygamy, nor marriage be-tween members of groups of people. God set forth His pattern in Genesis 2, and He has not altered it or authorized anything different under the Christian system. Will society take a stand for God—or not?
5. These four things alone would make a tremendous difference in today’s society, but people need to have the sense that God is our Creator. If evolution must be taught, then it should only be taught as a theory, and its consequences should also be taught. If mankind is here only as a result of a cosmic accident, then we are nothing special and are no different from apes, bats, or trees. We are all living things, and that about sums it up. Why should we mourn the loss of twenty children more than a forest fire? Some live, and some die; we live in a chance universe. If God does not exist, then how can values exist—or morals, ethics, and logic? When hurricanes or tornadoes destroy human beings, they do not sorrow or experience loss. If we are merely matter in motion, neither have we any basis for pity or sympathy. Concepts such as mercy, love and compassion do not come from nature; they come from God. We see what has happened to society when God and His values are ignored. We see more and more “senseless” crimes and greater selfishness than ever before.
Many accuse those who reject evolution as “unsci-entific”: so what scientific breakthroughs has evolution assisted with? Did that theory help put a man on the moon? What scientific achievements have advanced humankind that directly relate to the theory of evolution? When has anyone ever heard a scientist say, “We owe this fantastic medical or technological breakthrough directly to the discovery of Nebraska Man” (or even one that was not a hoax)? The theory of evolution deals with the origin of all things—not how things work. Creation is a better explanation, with the added bonus of being correct. Godless societies do not work well (con-sider the experiment of Liberal, Missouri). People need to be allowed to speak God’s name in public and to advocate what is Biblically correct. Many have reached adulthood without knowing much of anything about the true and living God.
The second attitude to restore is respect for human life—if our culture is to show any improvement. Many have begun to see the adverse effects of abortion. It aids in desensitizing ourselves to death. How many are upset that in 40 years almost 60,000,000 babies have lost their lives by means of abortion? People get upset over a few thousand Americans who have lost their lives in Afghanistan or maybe 50,000 in VietNam (which is a legitimate concern), but how many of those same protesters care about a number of deaths which is more than 1,000 times greater? More people be-come upset when a convicted killer is put to death than an innocent infant. Valuing life does not end with the unborn, but it certainly begins there.
We are told that gang members, as part of initiation, are sometimes called upon to kill someone. It does not matter who; it can be a random shooting. Allegiance to the gang is more important than the value of a human being. How have we become so callous? The past 100 years have seen a growing lawlessness in that regard, although a few have probably always been around. It does not help that writers and movie scripts reflect that same attitude.
This writer completed a book by Albert Camus the week of two shootings—the one in Portland, Oregon, at a shopping mall, and the one at the Sandy Hook school. Published first in 1942, The Stranger is a story about a man who is described as having no soul (which is accurate). He cares not for his mother. He does not grieve for her when she dies and does not even know her age. He knows a neighbor beats up his girlfriend, but it does not keep him from befriending him. Another man beats his dog, but he cares nothing about that either. He tells his fiancé that he does not love her, although he is willing to marry her, if she thinks they ought to. He kills a man for no particular reason and deems it about the same as if he did not kill him. He does not believe in God or an afterlife. Some of his words prior to his execution include these:
Nothing, nothing had the least importance, and I knew quite well why…. And on its way that breeze had leveled out all the ideas that people tried to foist on me in the equally unreal years I then was living through. What difference could they make to me, the deaths of others, or a mother’s love, or his God; or the way a man decides to live, the fate he thinks he chooses, since one and the same fate was bound to “choose” not only me but thousands of millions of privileged people…. All alike would be condemned to die one day… (152).
In other words, it makes no difference if we our-selves live or die because death will take us someday, anyway. There is no need to feel affection for others; we are just random individuals who live and die, having no particular purpose in existence. We need no ideology or morals by which to live. Whatever anyone else does is similarly irrelevant, for they are in the same position we are. Oddly enough, this book was published during WWII. It is doubtful that it raised the morale of the troops. It would not motivate anyone to do a single kind thing for anyone; it reflects utter selfishness.
This kind of thinking does result from the concept of evolution, and it has become more prevalent since the time this book was written. Many others have adopted the attitude of futility that the philosophy expresses. For that reason, people can shoot others and then kill themselves. They were going to die someday anyway. Why be considerate of anyone else? Only the most callous of individuals could commit such atrocities with no qualms and no conscience. Horrifying and unspeakable things will be done (many already have been).
Evil will always have the opportunity to exist, but we might make inroads against it by re-establishing a society that respects and values God’s Word. This is not something about which any of us can afford to be silent. Let culture, for once, do what is logical.
Some people have become confused over the difference between baptism in the name of Christ (Acts 2:38) and baptism in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19). Some teach triune (sometimes called trine) immersion—being baptized once for the Father, once for the Son, and once for the Holy Spirit. Others see distinctions between the two that are not there. Mac Deaver, for example, as his theology continues to evolve, has now arrived at the position that baptism in the name of Christ is one thing, but in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is something else. In the Spring 2011 Special Issue of Biblical Notes Quarterly, he writes that those in Samaria needed “to get out of their sins”; so they were baptized in the name of Jesus, but then he adds:
However, to become a Christian one had to be baptized not only into the name of the Lord but into the name of the Father and into the name of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19, 20) (6).
Yes, the appropriate response is to say, “What?” If the reader has never heard of such a thing, there is a good reason; such a thought is preposterous, stated by someone desperate to defend a false doctrine.
Becoming a Christian
The Holy Spirit aside (for a moment), what does the Bible teach about becoming a Christian? A consideration of Acts would be helpful. Peter told the Jewish multitude (who asked what they should do) to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for (unto) the remission (forgiveness) of their sins (Acts 2:37-38). Why does immersion in water remove sins? It is actually not the water (although God chose that element) that removes sins; it is the blood of Christ (Rev. 1:5). Sins are removed by the blood of Jesus when a person is baptized. Saul of Tarsus was told, “Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins…” (Acts 22:16).
Thus, sins (not the filth of the flesh—1 Peter 3:21) are removed in baptism. At the same time a person is washed, he is also justified and sanctified (1 Cor. 6:9-11). What a thrilling triad of truths. When someone obeys the gospel, he is washed or cleansed from his sins. They are removed, and he is forgiven of all his sins through the blood of Jesus. At the same time one is sanctified or made holy. Because of the blood of Christ, the sinner becomes a saint when all of those sins are removed. Third, the same individual is justified before God. With his sins removed he no longer stands condemned. The Lord will not pronounce him, “Guilty!” any longer. If he died the next moment, he would be received into Heaven.
But alas! he is not yet a Christian, according to Mac Deaver in the paragraph previously cited. Who would have thought that one could enter into Heaven (under the new covenant) without being a Christian? This obvious contradiction shows that Mac’s theology is false. Acts 2:41 also demonstrated that those 3,000 baptized in the name of Jesus were added to them. To whom? They were added to the number of those who believed. Later, the text says: “And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). Is it possible to be a member of the church without being a Christian? Nothing is said between Acts 2:38 and 2:47 about being baptized in the name of the Father and the name of the Holy Spirit. (Yes, to the church [NKJ] is not in some manuscripts, but brethren have nearly universally considered the phrase a valid one.)
According to Mac, a person must be baptized in the Holy Spirit in order to be a Christian. He can be saved from all his sins, be made holy, and be totally justified, yet he is not a Christian. Those baptized on Pentecost had forgiveness of sins and were added to the church but were not Christians. Also, those in Samaria, had any of them died before Peter and John arrived, would have entered into Heaven without being Christians.
Who can believe this doctrine? What prepositions are used in the Greek language in connection with baptism? Below is a chart that provides the appropriate information.
Matthew 28:19 eis
Acts 2:38 epi (en)
Acts 8:16 eis
Acts 10:48 en
Acts 19:5 eis
1 Cor. 1:13,15 eis
1 Cor. 6:11 en
The reason there are two prepositions listed for Acts 2:38 is that a few manuscripts have en instead of epi. In 1 Corinthians 1:13, 15 baptism is not in the name of Christ but Paul; the apostle substituted his name for that of Jesus to make the point that people are not to be baptized in the name of anyone but the name of Jesus. In the name of has the same purpose in either case. We see eis used four times of both Jesus and of all three personalities of the Godhead, epi used once, and en used twice. Generally speaking, en means “in,” and eis means “into” or “unto.” Epi is rendered as: “in, on, upon, into, for, about, by,” et al.
Several times the phrase, in the name, is used without the connection of baptism. Below is a chart of those instances.
Acts 3:6 en
Acts 4:10 en
Acts 4:17-18 epi
Acts 4:30 dia
Acts 5:28, 40 epi
Acts 9:27 en
Acts 16:18 en
1 Cor. 1:10 dia
1 Cor. 5:4 en
Eph. 5:20 en
Col. 3:17 en
2 Thess. 3:6 en
These are instances in which something besides baptism is done in the name of the Lord, such as Colossians 3:17: “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord….” The additional preposition in this list, dia, is translated “by,” but it has many other definitions as well.
Now we took all this care to show that it would be difficult to establish a different meaning in these verses on the basis of which preposition was used—especially since eis is used of baptism into the name of Christ just as it is of baptism into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. So the claim that baptism in the name of Jesus is only for the remission of sins while baptism into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is to receive the Holy Spirit must be based on something else. No apparent distinction readily presents itself.
What Does Into the Name Mean?
One must be careful in the use of any commentary, since many times the interpretations set forth are opinions with varying degrees of evidence backing them up. With denominational scholars one must be really careful, but when those works are only providing information—something not related to some of their false teachings—they can be helpful. One ought to wonder what being baptized “into the name” of Jesus or the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit means. The Pulpit Commentary supplies an answer. The following quotation is from their exposition of Matthew 28:19, the first time in the name of is used in connection with baptism:
The phrase does not mean merely invoking the Name, under the sanction of the great Name, but something more than this. It signifies into the power and influence of the Holy Trinity, into faith in the three Persons of God, and the duties and privileges consequent on that faith, into the family of God and obedience unto its Head.
The “into” shows the end and aim of the consecration of baptism. The “Name” of God is that by which he is known to us—that which connotes his being and his attributes, that by which there exists a conscious connection between God and ourselves….
So being baptized into the Name of God implies being placed in subjection to and communion with God himself, admitted into covenant with him. It is to be observed that the term is “name,” not “names,” thus denoting the unity of the Godhead in the Trinity of Persons (15:2:645).
Many of us would choose some different terms or ways of expressing the above thoughts, but they make it clear that, when one is baptized, he is entering into a special relationship (fellowship) with God. Since the name is singular, Mac errs by trying to distinguish between baptism into Jesus and baptism into the Father and the Holy Spirit. It is into the name of all three.
Being baptized into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit is the same thing as being baptized into the name of Jesus. Why do the Scriptures, then, state it in both ways? God generally expresses the same truth in a number of ways. Consider how many ways there are to designate the church, the body of Christ. Surely, no one tries to see some special significance when the Bible calls the kingdom of Heaven the church of God (Acts 20:28, 1 Cor. 1:2) versus the church of the living God (1 Timothy 3:15) or the churches of Christ (Rom. 16:16).
Likewise, Matthew 28:19 and Acts 2:38 are not referring to two different types of baptisms. The baptism in both cases is one and the same. Any difference between them is imagined rather than actual. Peter was present when the Lord spoke the words of Matthew 28: 19; would he preach something different in Acts 2:38?
Did the Apostles Impart Holy Spirit Baptism?
Peter preached what His Lord commissioned him to preach. There is no evidence that Acts 2:38 means something different from Matthew 28:19. Last week’s Spiritual Perspectives dealt with the meaning of Acts 8—in particular, that Peter and John imparted a spiritual gift to the Samaritans. But Mac Deaver disagrees, as his quote cited earlier on page 1 states. Mac finds two baptisms—one in the name of Jesus to get forgiveness of sins and one in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to become a Christian. Mac elaborates on his contention:
Beginning on Pentecost the baptism in water preached by the apostles was the baptism into the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. The baptism into the name of the Father and of the Holy Spirit was the baptism of the Holy Spirit Himself (6).
Once again, this allegation is nothing more than conjecture without any foundation, and it has already been answered thoroughly. But it poses another problem. According to Matthew 3:11 Jesus is the One Who was to baptize with the Holy Spirit, yet, according to Mac, it is Peter and John who baptize with the Holy Spirit in Acts 8 and Paul in Acts 19! Notice the texts:
Then they [Peter and John, GWS] laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:17).
Now when they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied (Acts 19:5-6).
This last passage harmonizes with what was previously presented here (see 5-22-11); Paul laid his hands on those he had just baptized, and they received a spiritual gift, just as the Samaritans had when Peter and John laid their hands on them. But Mac insists that they received Holy Spirit baptism. To counter the apostles’ role in Holy Spirit baptism (and he knows he has a problem with Matthew 3:11 and John 1:33), he tried to alleviate his predicament by saying that the apostles only “provided the identification of those to receive the Spirit of God” (6). That desperate explanation was also dealt with previously.
What has led to all of this fast shuffling and false dichotomy regarding the Name is Mac’s theory that all who obey the gospel are baptized in water for the forgiveness of sins and in the Holy Spirit for direct strength and help from the Holy Spirit. Thus he has invented two parts of baptism that are necessary to become a Christian—one in water and one in the Holy Spirit. These come at different times in the New Testament. He says of those in Acts 19:
When the twelve disciples were baptized in water, that was their baptism “into the name of the Lord Jesus.” When the Holy Spirit came upon them, that was the completion of the baptismal procedure, for that is when the baptism into the name of the Father and of the Holy Spirit occurred (Acts 19:6).
Who knew that baptism was so complicated? Mac should know from his previous debating experience that when a person (such as Dan Billingsly) must resort to redefining common and obvious concepts, the reason is that he is holding to error instead of truth. But Mac does not see that he is doing that very thing with respect to his newly and hastily developed positions.
If the baptism “procedure” involves both baptism in water (as one element) and baptism in the Holy Spirit (as a second element), and these did not occur at the same time, we have an interesting situation, to say the least. Paul completed “the procedure” fairly quickly with those in Ephesus in Acts 19, but those in Samaria were dangling for days. According to Mac, the Samaritans would not have had their baptism “procedure” completed quickly. Philip baptized them in water and their sins were forgiven, but it had to take a little time for “the apostles who were at Jerusalem to hear that Samaria had received the word of God…” (Acts 8:14). Then they sent Peter and John down to them. At least a minimum of two days had to elapse before the “procedure” would be completed.
What about the apostles themselves? They were baptized by John and/or by Jesus in water (see John 1:35-51; 4:1-2) very early on, but they were not baptized in the Holy Spirit until the Day of Pentecost. Talk about a long “procedure”! Three years?
The Bible teaches that the process of the new birth is completed in the action of being baptized in water. Paul writes that non-Christians are baptized into Christ Jesus, into His death (Rom. 6:3). “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we should walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4). The old man of sin is buried in the watery grave of baptism. What arises? Is it the same person who was buried? Physically, it is, but spiritually it is another person entirely—a new babe. Sins have been washed away. That individual has been washed, sanctified, and justified. Dare we say that, in the process of the old person’s being buried and a new one’s arising from the waters, that he or she had been “born again” (John 3:3, 5)?
One was not half-born when emerging from baptism’s grave, nor did he enter a state of spiritual limbo until the “procedure” was later completed. One is either a newborn child of God, or he is not. Scriptural evidence says that he is. The old man of sin is buried, and a child of God is born (both then and now)—theories of men notwithstanding. This truth is what brethren have always taught. Let no one be swayed to depart from the truth by strange theories requiring new and bizarre definitions.
In Acts 8:14-19, the new Christians in Samaria received “the Holy Spirit.” But what did they receive? What does this expression mean? Did they receive a spiritual gift? Did they receive a non-miraculous indwelling of the Spirit? Were they baptized in the Holy Spirit? These questions are legitimate to ask, but the answer is not always easy because of the way the Holy Spirit is used in the New Testament. Further complications arise due to the fact that many have written erroneously concerning the subject, often doing nothing more than making assertions.
For decades brethren have taught that spiritual gifts were given only through the laying on of the apostles’ hands (except with Cornelius), but Mac Deaver disagrees with this doctrine (as he does with just about everything else that brethren—his former self included—have taught concerning the Holy Spirit). In his Spring 2011 issue of Biblical Notes Quarterly, he makes the following assertion (without any proof):
…the laying on of apostolic hands does not mean that the apostles were the source of the Spirit’s being given in the sense that in Acts 8 and in Acts 19, their hands provided the identification of those to receive the Holy Spirit from God….
The apostles could only give the Spirit in the sense of identifying, by the laying on of their hands, those to whom the Spirit was to be given by God (specifically by Jesus Christ—Mat. 3:11) (6).
If this allegation makes no sense to the reader, he should not fret unduly; it is a sign that he is normal and rational. Why did those receiving the Holy Spirit need to be identified? For whom was the identification necessary? Certainly, it was not for the Holy Spirit’s benefit. Can anyone imagine God needing help identifying who would receive the Spirit? The argument could never be made that the identification was for the apostles’ edification, since they are the ones who were performing the laying on of hands. Did those who had just been baptized need to know who they were? Surely, their memories could not be that dim. The only group left would be observers, perhaps those who had heard Philip preach but had not obeyed, but even they would know those who had. What we are left with is an identification process for no one in particular. What kind of sense does that make?
What do we know about Philip, who preached to the Samaritans? He is not the Philip who is one of the apostles mentioned in the gospel accounts and in Acts 1:13. This is the Philip that was selected in Acts 6 to serve along with Stephen and five other men (Acts 6:5-6) to make sure that none of the widows were neglected in the daily distribution of food (1). The reason for selecting these men to take care of the matter was that the apostles wanted to devote themselves “continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4). Philip the apostle would not have been chosen for serving tables in order to free himself up to do those other tasks.
After the death of Stephen someone named Philip went down to Samaria to preach. Was it the apostle or the one listed among the seven? The apostles, after Stephen’s death, remained in Jerusalem (Acts 8:1). So it was the one the Scriptures call Philip the evangelist who went to Samaria (Acts 21:8). Also, if this had been Philip the apostle, then the apostles would not have needed to send two apostles down to Samaria, since one would have already been there (Acts 8:14).
When Philip went down to the city of Samaria, he “preached Christ to them.” Later, when he met with the queen’s treasurer from Ethiopia, the text says that he “preached Jesus to him” (Acts 8:35). Obviously, Philip did the same thing with both audiences, and they both responded by being baptized. In the latter instance, we read that “both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him” (Acts 8:38). In the former account, it is stated that, “when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized” (Acts 8:12). This action of theirs is also referred to as “Samaria had received the word of God” (Acts 8:14) and “being baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 8:16).
Simon the Sorcerer
One of those present in Samaria was a magician named Simon who was so effective that he actually astonished the people. He got away with saying that what he did was by the great power of God (Acts 8:9). In fact, he convinced the people of that notion (Acts 8:10). He had not merely done a trick or two but managed to keep the people astonished “with his sorceries for a long time” (Acts 8:11). The text makes a point of this ability to convince the Samaritans for a reason—to serve as a contrast to the true power of God which Philip had. Simon saw all the miracles and signs that Philip did, and it convinced him to believe and be baptized (Acts 8:13). Certainly, a professional magician knows the difference between an illusion and actual power from God.
Then something occurred which not only further intrigued Simon; it tempted him as well. The apostles appointed Peter and John to go to Samaria; when they arrived, “they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit” (Acts 8:15). Now the confusion starts. What is meant by the Holy Spirit here? Is it the Holy Spirit Himself? Is it the non-miraculous indwelling? Is it a spiritual gift? Is it the baptism of the Holy Spirit? We know that, whatever it was, they did not receive it until Peter and John “laid their hands on them” (Acts 8:17). When that occurred, the text says that “they received the Holy Spirit” (Acts 8:17). Simon had already been amazed while he accompanied Philip (Acts 8:13), but now he saw something that made him extremely excited. We read:
“Now when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power, that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit” (Acts 8:18-19).
Will Mac seriously argue that Simon wanted the ability to identify “those to whom the Spirit was to be given”? How manifestly absurd is such a notion! The former sorcerer really desired to have the ability to give the Holy Spirit to people.
What Did Simon Try To Buy?
Four times in Acts 8:15-19 the giving or receiving of the Holy Spirit is mentioned, but a further definition of it is lacking—except for the fact that Simon wanted to buy the power to do the same thing the apostles did. Peter told him that his money would perish along with him because he had thought he could purchase “the gift of God” (Acts 8:20). To what does the gift of God refer? It does not refer to the gift of salvation which all receive (Eph. 2:8-9), nor does it refer to one of the nine spiritual gifts enumerated later by Paul in 1 Corinthians 12. This gift is something that only the apostles could do—impart the Holy Spirit to others. In all of the New Testament, no human being other than an apostle ever imparted the Holy Spirit to another. If anyone could have done so, then Philip would have already done it. For that reason the apostles sent Peter and John because they knew that those who were not apostles did not have the ability to give the Holy Spirit.
The Samaritans’ receiving the Holy Spirit was an event that was observable, since Simon saw it. It could not, therefore, have been a non-miraculous indwelling of the Spirit. Simon did not witness the Samaritans’ being baptized in the Holy Spirit because Jesus imparted that, and the presence of Peter and John would not have been required (Matt. 3:11). The only legitimate option remaining is that the Samaritans received a spiritual gift, but how valid is such a view? It is the best and only idea that fits all of the facts that we have.
Peter told Simon that he had neither part nor portion in this matter (Acts 8:21). The word translated “portion” (NKJ) or “lot” (KJV) in Acts 8:21 could have a special significance. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John used this word for casting “lots” for Jesus’ clothes. Luke also uses it that way in Acts 1:26, where they cast lots for Judas’ replacement and the “lot” fell upon Matthias. Luke used the Greek word twice prior to that verse. In Acts 1:17 Peter mentioned that Judas obtained a part in the ministry with the other apostles and now it was appropriate to replace him. Again, the disciples prayed in Acts 1:25 and asked the Lord to show which of the two men He had chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship. Many think that Peter was telling Simon in Acts 8:21 that he did not have a portion (part, lot) in that work.
The Evidence for the Holy Spirit’s Being a Spiritual Gift
1. First, it would have been visible and observable. In Acts 19, when Paul laid his hands on the Ephesians, “they spoke with tongues and prophesied” (Acts 19:6)
2. Heretofore, Simon had been amazed by the miracles and signs that Philip did, but the text does not say that he offered Philip money to do the same things he was doing. Nor did he offer silver and gold for the apostles to give him that gift; he coveted something even greater than that—the ability to grant those powers and abilities to others. He was looking at it from a worldly standpoint and thinking, “What a marvelous thing to be able to do—to give the Holy Spirit to whomever I desire.” He gives no indication that he planned to receive money for that conferring power; he probably was more interested in the prestige. He had been used to receiving admiration and saw this as a way to regain it.
3. The Holy Spirit can be used to designate that which He gives. In fact, we have an example of such in the parallel accounts of Matthew 7:7-11 and Luke 11:9-13. Both accounts begin with the “ask, seek, knock” verses. Both continue by explaining that parents do not give awful substitutes (such as a serpent for fish) to their children. Then consider the parallel statement that follows:
“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matt. 7:11).
“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13).
The only significant difference in these two verses is that the former alludes to what is given (and thus received), and the latter refers to the One giving good gifts—the Holy Spirit. This is easily explained by the figurative language that is often used in the Scriptures. This one is called metonymy of the cause (described in Dungan’s Hermeneutics 271), in which the cause (the Holy Spirit) is named instead of the effect (the good things). Thus, in Acts 8:15-19, the Holy Spirit is mentioned, but the astute Bible reader knows that it is a spiritual gift given by Him that is intended.
One final observation on the proposed transaction is that the idea of buying the power to be in charge of the things of God is named after the Sorcerer and is therefore called simony. According to The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, simony is defined as:
The buying or selling of ecclesiastical pardons, offices, or emoluments. [Middle English simonie, from Old French, from Late Latin, simonia, after Simon Magus, a Samaritan who offered money to the Apostles Peter and John for the power of conferring the Holy Spirit on whomever he wished. Acts 8:18-19.] (1207).
Brethren have usually understood that the above explanation is the case—so much so that it is often assumed that everyone already understands the point, thus making long explanations for it unnecessary. Andrew Connally says tersely in his 3rd major point: “The Imparting of The Holy Spirit To Work Miracles Were [sic] by the Hands of The Apostles Only (Acts 8:14-17)”; then he adds under point A: “Exclusive power of the Apostles (Acts 8:18)” (57). J. W. McGarvey wrote:
Third, Previous to the arrival of Peter and John, none of them had received the miraculous gift of the Spirit. Fourth, Upon the imposition of the hands by the two apostles, accompanied with prayers, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, conferring miraculous gifts….
But the chief thing that they did was to confer the Holy Spirit; hence, this was the chief object of their visit. If, however, Philip could have conferred this gift, the mission, so far as the chief object of it is concerned, would have been useless. This affords strong evidence that the miraculous gift of the Spirit was bestowed by no human hands except those of the apostles (92).
Notice in the above quote that McGarvey himself uses the Holy Spirit to stand for the miraculous gift conferred by Him.
Denominational writers often do not provide good interpretations of the Scriptures (such as erroneously affirming, like Mac, that the 120 were baptized in the Holy Spirit on Pentecost instead of just the twelve), but in the case of Simon, the truth is so obvious that they often get it right. Adam Clarke asks for what purpose the Holy Spirit was given and answers: “It was the miraculous gifts of the Spirit which were communicated…” (5:741). Barnes says of the giving of the Holy Spirit:
“It was something that was discernible by external effects; for Simon saw (ver. 18) that this was done by the laying on of hands” (Acts –Romans 141).
To be sure, many of these commentators mingle the concepts of their traditions with the truth, but they did understand what happened with Simon and the Samaritans. The Pulpit Commentary (as do other commentaries) speaks of the apostles laying hands on the Samaritans as a kind of confirmation, which is not a Biblical but denominational concept. But even in that error is their view of what occurred at Samaria made known. Consider these comments:
In this case, as at Pentecost, the extraordinary gift of the Holy Ghost was conferred. In confirmation, now that miracles have ceased, it is the ordinary and invisible grace of the Holy Spirit that is to be looked for (18:1:252).
Nearly everyone understands that the apostles were needed to confer a spiritual gift upon the Samaritans (which is described as receiving the Holy Spirit). They were not the source of the Spirit, but His instrument in providing spiritual gifts. Mac’s idea that the apostles were only there to identify the recipients is not only inadequate; it flies in the face of rationality. Peter and John did not impart Holy Spirit baptism but rather a spiritual gift. The text speaks for itself and is clear to all who do not have an agenda or are trying to fit the information into a false system of Holy Spirit theology. All of us must examine the text closely and think logically about what it is saying; we can comprehend the Truth.
When a person jumps on a hobby horse for a ride, his destination becomes uncertain, but it may be safely predicted that he will arrive somewhere he did not intend to go—and from which he will not be able to return. When Mac Deaver, a brother in Christ and capable debater, began to travel on his direct influence pony, no one could have imagined he would be writing and advocating the positions as set forth in his book of 2007 and now the “Special Issue” of Biblical Notes Quarterly of Spring, 2011. Not only are the details of certain occurrences full of half-truths and deceit, his teaching has entered the realm of the bizarre.
Among things that he now advocates are:
1) 120 were baptized in the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost (4).
2) The Samaritans were baptized for the forgiveness of their sins; however, “to become a Christian one had to be baptized not only into the name of the Lord but into the name of the Father and into the name of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19, 20)” (6).
3) Today “the baptism in Spirit takes place at approximately the same time as water baptism does” (6).
Those who are scratching their heads and saying, “What?” should not feel alone. Those who have been agreeing with Mac up to this point should be getting a bit nervous. No matter where Mac’s horse stops along the way, there can be no question but that it is headed for the Lake of Fire!
This article will deal only with the baptism that occurred on Pentecost. Faithful brethren have taught for years that only the apostles were baptized in the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, but Mac has now concluded and declared that 120 disciples received it. And what proof does he offer? He writes:
(Dear reader, there is no way to exclude the rest of the one hundred and twenty from the “they” of Acts 2:1. We have often tried to make such an exclusion by connecting the pronoun “they” in 2:1 to its alleged antecedent, “apostles,” in 1:26. However, this is simply not conclusive. (See Acts 13:52 and 14:1, 3 for a similar case). Furthermore, if one contends that the rest of the one hundred and twenty did not receive the Holy Spirit when the apostles did, he is claiming that there was then a part of the church that was not spiritually animated by the Spirit. In other words, he is claiming that there was a part of the church that was spiritually dead!) (4).
The above quotation is an explication of a True – False question that Mac had given regarding church membership; we will limit ourselves to the errors within the parentheses. Mac minimizes the arguments in support of only the twelve receiving the Holy Spirit baptism; he certainly knows of the other factors involved but just ignored them, a custom he has of treating truth when it is not favorable to him.
In his book of 2007, Mac quoted from Andrew Connally as agreeing with him on receiving wisdom directly from God (49). Whether or not he agreed with Mac’s position on that subject could be argued both ways, but it is clear that Connally would have had no agreement with Mac on this aspect of his Holy Spirit theology. The following quote is from Connally’s Great Lessons from Acts, published by him in Seagoville, Texas (no publishing date):
While we may not be able to know from John’s statement in Matthew 3:11 who would receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, Jesus in repeating and explaining the baptismal promise of the Holy Spirit, clearly shows that it was for the Apostles only (29 emphasis his).
Goebel Music has been Mac’s close friend for many years. In fact, when he wrote his gargantuan (1,414 pages) work, A Resource and Reference Volume on the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit, he praised Mac highly. He also included Mac’s flawed syllogism that he used in his debate with Bill Lockwood (710-11). Will brother Music now stand with Mac and repudiate his own teachings which were set forth in the Fourth Annual Denton Lectures, edited by Dub McClish in 1985? On that occasion brother Music wrote:
Even though we have mentioned this outpouring of the Spirit of God as a promise and as a baptism, and on whom it came, let us just as quickly point out that it fell not upon the 120 but upon the apostles! It was a promise to the apostles (Cf. Acts 1:4-5, 8; John 16:7, 13) and no one else (61 emphasis his).
J. W. McGarvey
Brethren Music and Connally were correct in what they wrote; they were also in agreement with the vast majority of other brethren, not the least of whom is J. W. McGarvey, who commented extensively on the pronoun argument which Mac pooh-poohs in a parenthetical comment. McGarvey, a world-renowned, 19th-century scholar, observed the following in his Original Commentary on Acts:
It is important to determine who are the parties declared by Luke to be “all with one accord in one place,” for upon this depends the question whether the whole of hundred and twenty disciples, or only the twelve apostles, were filled with the Holy Spirit…. Those who suppose that the whole hundred and twenty are referred to, have to go back to the fifteenth verse of the preceding chapter to find the antecedent (24).
The truth that McGarvey states can be verified by any student of the Word. In Acts 1, Jesus had final words with His apostles and then ascended into heaven (Acts 1:9-11). One will look in vain to find anyone else mentioned in those verses but the apostles, who are first introduced in Acts 1:2, where we read that He gave commandments to His apostles. He also presented Himself alive to them after His suffering by many infallible proofs. He was seen by them 40 days as he spoke to them about things pertaining to the kingdom of God. Then He met together with them (no change in antecedent) and commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which they had heard of from Him. That promise concerned them (the apostles) being baptized by the Holy Spirit shortly (Acts 1:5). After Jesus told them (the apostles) that they would “receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them (Acts 1:5-6),” He ascended to heaven.
They (the apostles) then returned to Jerusalem and went to the upper room where they were staying; in fact they are all named in Acts 1:13. Now, for the first time, others are mentioned. These (the apostles) continued with one accord in prayer and supplication with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers (Acts 1:14). At this point a man was selected to take the place of Judas (Acts 1:15-26). It is mentioned that the number of disciples at this time was 120. After the replacement was chosen, the text simply concludes by saying that Matthias “was numbered with the eleven apostles” (Acts 1:26). As we head into chapter two, then, the last noun is apostles—not the 120.
Mac supplies Acts 13:52, 14:1, and 3 as a similar case. It is not similar. Although there is an interruption, it is clear to whom “they” refers in Acts 14:1. Notice that Paul and Barnabas are the focus of attention in Acts 13-14. The missionary journey is one that they have taken together. The Jews fought against Paul and Barnabas in Acts 13:50; the pair shook the dust off their feet and traveled to Iconium (Acts 13:51). Verse 52 is a brief comment about the disciples they left behind being filled with joy and the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:52). Then the narrative picks up again with Paul and Barnabas in Iconium (Acts 14:1). Would anyone get confused over the pronoun, they, in this case? They would not because the reader knows that the historical account is following the missionaries—not the disciples in one city. Also, since Iconium is mentioned the verse before and the one after Acts 13:52, there is no doubt to whom they refers
Likewise, in Acts 1 it is obvious that Luke has as his subject the apostles. Yes, they meet with other brethren, and they select one of them to replace Judas, but then the narrative returns to what happens to them—not the 120. McGarvey is right to point out that, if the 120 is the antecedent, one would have to go clear back to verse 15, whereas the apostles are mentioned in the verse prior to Acts 2:1.
More than an Antecedent
But there is much more proof to demonstrate that only the apostles are meant in Acts 2:1. First, the promise of baptism in the Holy Spirit was only made to the apostles in Acts 1:8. Second, all of the indications are that they were the only ones who received it. What is the verification? Others have already presented compelling evidence. Goebel Music wrote:
Then, too, it was the 12 that Peter defended in Acts 2:14, and it was to the 12 that the people directed their question and not to the 120 (Cf. 2:37). All of the ones doing the speaking were said to be “Galileans” (Acts 2:7). And it surely cannot be proved that the 120 were all Galileans (67).
Yes, nothing in the text indicates that any brethren but the apostles were speaking in tongues that day. If the women among the 120 were doing so, then they were speaking “the wonderful works of God” in public (Acts 2:11). Does Mac wish to affirm that notion? Is he so desperate to affirm his doctrine that he will have women preaching in public contrary to what the Spirit later inspired Paul to write (1 Tim. 2:11-14)?
Andrew Connally adds this observation:
Only the Apostles worked miracles until “they laid hands” on others. The miraculous Gifts of the Holy Spirit belonged to the Apostles only, until they “laid their hands” on someone else (Acts 2:43; 3:3; 3:6; 4:33; 5:12; 5:15-16; 6:6, 8) (29 emphasis his).
These comments are sufficient to prove the argument, but there is more to consider. Peter did not stand up with the 120; he stood up with the eleven (Acts 2:14). Near the close of the recorded sermon on Pentecost, Peter affirmed: “This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses” (Acts 2:32). Who is “we”—the 12 or the 120? Remember that in Acts 1:2-3 it was said that Jesus presented Himself alive to the apostles. They are the witnesses. Can it be shown that all of the 120 saw Him during that 40-day period? It cannot.
Those who were baptized that day continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine—not the doctrine of the 120 (Acts 2:42). “Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles” (Acts 2:43). The text never indicates the 120’s involvement in any of the things on Pentecost. Only the apostles are specifically mentioned. Thus, before Acts 2:1 and after Acts 2:1, the narrative is concerned with the apostles. The 120 are only briefly mentioned in the entire inspired account.
Thus, Mac’s effort to claim that the 120 were baptized in the Holy Spirit falls woefully and embarrassingly short. It is obvious that he did not study the matter thoroughly, as did J. W. McGarvey, Andrew Connally, Goebel Music, and hundreds of others who could be cited. He has joined the denominationalists and the Pentecostals in his insistence that all 120 were baptized in the Holy Spirit. They have advocated this error for decades. Do faithful brethren really want to join Mac in this departure from the truth?
Disagreeing with Mac
Of course, there is always a severe consequence for disagreeing with Mac. In this case he charges that those who do not believe all 120 were baptized in the Holy Spirit (contrary to the evidence of the text) must claim “there was then a part of the church that was not spiritually animated by the Spirit. In other words there was part of the church that was spiritually dead!” (4).
Well, that certainly sounds bad. But where is the proof for such a reckless assertion? No one has argued that a part of the church was not “spiritually animated”; but, regardless, where is the verse that promises spiritual animation, whatever that is? Is Mac implying that everyone must be baptized in the Holy Spirit as the apostles were, or they are spiritually dead? Would that be true for today, also? If this is his assertion, then he is guilty of circular reasoning. He would be guilty of using his doctrine to try to prove his doctrine.
In other words, one of Mac’s teachings is that all who become Christians today are baptized in the Spirit. While we are arguing the veracity of that claim, he cannot then assume that his overall thesis is true in trying to establish a view that leads to his conclusion. Thus, this is a smaller tenet of the larger doctrine, which means that each point must be established along the way. One cannot jump ahead to the conclusion and attempt to use it as proof of this part of his case. This tactic involves the use of circular reasoning.
Most brethren would also note that Mac’s definition of spiritual deadness is false. If those after Pentecost, apart from being baptized in the Holy Spirit, were spiritually dead, then what about those who lived before Pentecost? Was Enoch spiritually dead when God translated him? Was Abraham spiritually dead when God made the three great promises to him? Was Moses spiritually dead when he chose to suffer with the children of God rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season? Was David, a man after God’s own heart, spiritually dead? When salvation came to the household of Zaccheus, was he spiritually dead? Was the centurion that Jesus praised for his great faith spiritually dead? Was the thief on the cross spiritually dead when Jesus promised him Paradise? If it will help Mac out, these can be put in the form of true–false questions (and without parentheses).
One does not determine the meaning of a text by imposing his theory upon it; one studies a text for what it says. If ambiguity exists, then one may rightly apply other texts to it to provide the meaning, but no confusion exists in Acts 2 concerning who received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, Jesus specified reasons for their receiving what they did. The purposes were to:
1. Remind them of everything that Jesus had taught (John 14:26).
2. Guide them into all truth (teach them all things) (John 14:26; John 16:13); and
3. Show them things to come (John 16:13).
Will Mac argue that these are all available to the Christian today? If the baptism of the Holy Spirit is available today, why are not all these promises? As Goebel Music taught more than 25 years ago:
Indeed, Holy Spirit baptism was a baptism that was both temporary and limited. However, if it did occur today then we would not have to spend so much time in our studies (Cf. John 14:26; 16:13) because we would have such things brought to our remembrance (69).