Doctrinal Attacks Answered.

A brother asked me to read and reply to an article attacking the mid-Acts Pauline doctrine I attempt to explain on this website. Here is a link to it in its entirety from the website “”. I will go over it line by line hopefully demonstrating, with contextual rightly divided scripture, its failure and inconsistencies. This is a long but not exhaustive post. I encourage any who have specific questions to post them here or on the “Got Bible Questions” page for direct answers. Quotations in italics are taken directly from the article.

What is mid-Acts dispensationalism?

First sentence… “Dispensationalism is a theological system that recognizes various ages, or dispensations, ordained by God to order the affairs of the world.” Okay, so far so good, I can work with that. The word dispensation is used four times in the Bible (King James only of course – I wonder why?) all in the epistles of Paul (1 Corinthians 9:17, Ephesians 1:10, Ephesians 3:2, Colossians 1:25). Each time it is used, with one exception, Paul is speaking of something given specifically to him. The one exception is in reference to a future dispensation; that of “the fullness of times”. The other three directly reference some “good news” committed unto him by God. A “gospel” in Biblical terms; for the word gospel simply means good news or “joyful message” according to Webster’s 1828 dictionary.

The word dispensation also carries with it the idea of a transfer of one thing to another. A dispensary is a place or store where medicine and medical advise is given (dispensed) for free. God therefore has given Paul a joyful message that was, prior to Paul’s knowledge of it (simple logic) unknown. It was a “mystery”, a secret hid in God until the “mystery” was revealed to Paul.

Ephesians 3:3-4… “How that by revelation he made known unto ME the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)

Galatians 1:11-12… “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Also indicated is an aspect of time as well as “change” of some sort. The dispensation of the fullness of times clearly refers to a point in time somewhere in the future. The words “but now” (as we shall see) also directly indicate a change (of something) over time. Simple example; I used to be in my 40’s but now am in my 50’s. My own age changed over time. Back to the article…

Classic dispensationalism sees seven dispensations, starting with the age of innocence in the Garden of Eden and ending with the age of the millennial kingdom.” I’m not going to argue how many dispensations may or may not be. Perhaps in a future post. Suffice to say that we mid-Acts believers do see separate and distinct dispensations in the Bible where God dealt with man in a certain specific way in time and then deals with us in a different way; the author argues this position to be false. Using the above definition of dispensation and a little basic logic let’s look at a scriptural example.

Romans 3:20-21… “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. BUT NOW the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

Examining this verse we can see a change taking place. Whereas at one point in time some people (Israel) were required to follow Gods Law to achieve righteousness in His sight… “BUT NOW” (somehow) Gods righteousness is made available without the law. Something changed over time. In the past the nation Israel was required to keep the law. The old covenant IS law keeping via human effort. God the Father taught it to the Israelites who struggled mightily with it; Jesus Christ in the 4 accounts of His earthly ministry taught it to the 12 apostles. The believing Jews were doing it (supernaturally empowered) in the book of Acts (the New Testament actualized). The words Paul writes however (unless one is willfully ignorant or using corrupt “bible” translations) state clearly that Gods righteousness is NOW available without law keeping; and, that the law itself and the prophets that substantiated it were themselves witness to the change in terms.

Back to the article… “The current age, called the age of grace or the church age, is held by most dispensationalists to have begun in Acts 2 on the Day of Pentecost. At that time, the Holy Spirit came upon the believers and empowered them to fulfill the Great Commission, the church age began.” There are many “Acts 2” dispensationalists. C. I. Scofield is likely the most famous due to the “reference Bible” he annotated. Here is where mid-Acts begin to break away from the Acts 2 position. See also my response to James Perloff regarding his issues with the Scofield Bible. Author continues… “However, mid-Acts dispensationalism sees that event as still part of the dispensation of Law; the “church” in the first part of Acts was a Jewish congregation under Jewish rules, not the church of the church age. According to mid-Acts dispensationalism, the church began with the ministry of the apostle Paul in either Acts 9 (Paul’s conversion) or Acts 13 (Paul’s first missionary journey).

This is a fair representation of the mid-Acts position (Acts 9 makes sense to this believer as Paul “straightway” preached Christ in the synagogues – Acts 9:20). Pentecost is first and foremost a Jewish holy day. Webster’s 1828… 1) “A solemn festival of the Jews, so called because celebrated on the fiftieth day after the 16’th of Nisan, which was the second day of the passover. It was called the feast of weeks, because it was celebrated seven weeks after the passover. It was instituted to oblige the people to repair to the temple of the Lord to acknowledge His absolute dominion over the country, and offer Him the first fruits of their harvest; also that they might call to mind and give thanks to God for the law which He had given them at Sinai on the fiftieth day of their departure from Egypt.” 2) “Whitsuntide, a solemn feast of the church, held in commemoration of the decent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles (Acts 2).”

One has to wonder where “whitsuntide” found its origins because it is certainly not located in the Bible. I found this online… “First recorded in 1175, Whitsuntide is from the Middle English word whitsone(n)tide.”  “The seventh Sunday after Easter.”  “Easter celebrated on the first Sunday after the full moon that occurs on or just after the vernal equinox.” Because we all know that’s “precisely” when Jesus was resurrected… the first Sunday after the first full moon past the spring equinox. Yea, right…

Looking at Webster’s second definition, it seems as if our religionist friends have once again created a compilation of Jewish plus pagan ritual to construct some amalgam they deem “Christianity”. A “solemn feast of the church”… which church would that be? It can only be Jewish if one is to believe the Bible. Who is our audience in Acts 2? Who is Peter addressing?

Acts 2:5… “And there were dwelling at Jerusalem JEWS, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

Acts 2:14… “But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:

Our audience is clearly made of Jewish men of every nationality. Not to get way off track chasing “holiday” rabbits but it is apparent that anything which is occurring in Acts chapter 2 has everything to do with Jewishness and not what many today call Christianity. Jews recognized the prophesied Jewish Messiah. Therefore the “Acts 2 dispensational” position has serious problems from the very beginning if it wants to include the Jerusalem church in the body of Christ. These “Kingdom saints” have as yet unfulfilled prophesy to fulfill. They cannot be members of the church which is His body; they belong to the earthly Kingdom yet to come. There are also no holy days according to the mid-Acts perspective. Why would a non-Jew include himself in such activity? Paul is clear on these things.

Colossians 2:16-17… “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

Author writes… “Classical dispensationalism sees a biblical distinction between Israel and the church; mid-Acts dispensationalism takes it further, separating the Jewish congregation in Acts 1—8 from the Gentile church (the body of Christ) from then on.

The distinction “classical dispensationalism” makes is that it transforms the Jewish believers into something other than Jewish (this is what pentecostal types call Christianity). That Peter and the 11 (and all the Jews with them) upon believing in Jesus left their Jewish religion and were “converted” to “Christianity”. There is no Biblical basis whatsoever for believing this. These were clearly Jewish men waiting for and finding their Jewish Messiah who showed up at exactly the prophesied time according to the book of Daniel. Clearly there is a difference between Israel and the church, but there is no difference between Israel and the Jerusalem church as the Jerusalem church WAS (believing) Israel. That church (called out assembly) which Jesus called “the little flock” (Luke 12:32). Clearly there is a Jewish church taking care of religious business in the Jewish temple; Peter preaches a murder indictment to them and compels them to repent of their evil deed (Acts 2:22-24, and 37-38). What makes people today (Acts 2 dispensationalists, pentecostals, methodists, baptists, catholics, etc…) think that these men “changed religions” rather than remaining true to their Jewish roots? Examine this scene in the latter chapters of Acts where Paul and James are speaking.

Acts 21:18-21… “And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present. And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry. And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law: And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.”

These men are still zealous of the law, walking after the “customs”; another word for customs is “traditions” and there’s a ton of trouble waiting in the wings of tradition as tradition remains for its own sake, not necessarily that of realities sake. If the church the body of Christ began in Acts 2, where is salvation by grace alone through faith alone in the shed blood of Christ alone? These thousands of believers, James included are following the law! Mid-Acts does indeed “take it further” and rightly separates out that which took place in Jerusalem from that which took place with Paul on the road to Damascus. Paul was hunting these Jewish believers in Christ down to capture and kill them. Paul is the one who scattered the multitudes from Jerusalem; but the apostles remained faithful to what Christ commanded and stayed in Jerusalem. Paul is the one who winds up going out into the world of heathen like me preaching NOT the Kingdom at hand as the 12 were commanded (Matthew 24:14), but the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24)!

Author writes… “According to mid-Acts dispensationalism or the Grace Movement, the apostles Peter, James, John, and the rest were still operating under the Old Covenant in Acts 1—8.” This statement is flat out wrong. The apostles were operating under the New Covenant/Testament. The OT says man must obey the law to gain righteousness with God. Didn’t work out so well for man. The NT says that God will put His Spirit within the believer and CAUSE him to be able to follow the law (Jeremiah 31:31-34, Ezekiel 36:26-27, and Hebrews 8:7-11). The author makes the grave mistake of assuming that there is either the OT or the NT in effect at any given time. He misses completely the mystery given to Paul which in essence is NO TESTAMENT whatsoever. The essential nature of grace alone through faith alone is that there are no covenant agreements between man and God at all. Grace is a freely offered gift which men can either freely accept or reject. The mid-Acts position recognizes the “mystery” time period (hidden wisdom – that which was unknown before Paul) between old and new testaments. The OT came to an end, the NT began to happen in early Acts. What the NT’s continuation was dependent upon is ALL Israel recognizing their Messiah which they failed to do; thus was the full implementation of the NT suspended. They were to be a nation of priests to the rest of the world (Exodus 19:5-6). Instead they killed their Messiah (Emmanuel – God in flesh) and God set the nation (temporarily) aside in order to do something new with Paul. But now…

Author writes… “They were still dutifully keeping the Law and still meeting as a Jewish body in Jerusalem. Peter and the other apostles preached repentance to Israel, but there was no church until Paul.” Though the author believes this to be fallacy, this is absolutely correct. God empowered them to keep the law and to perform miracles and they remained with the circumcision (the Jews) in Jerusalem (Galatians 2:7-9). They were a “church” but they were not the church, the body of Christ. A church is a called out assembly of people. Called out for what purpose? The Jerusalem church was called out to administer Gods earthly Kingdom. The church which is His body is called out to take up positions in heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3).

He continues… “It was Paul, the “apostle to the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13), to whom the doctrine of the church—and the doctrine of grace—was revealed. It was only after Paul began to minister that the church actually began.” And that is exactly correct. So why does he believe this to be incorrect? His next statement follows the old vs. new testament confusion. “Thus, the only parts of the New Testament that are applicable to believers today are the Pauline Epistles. The rest of the Bible was written for Israel.” While it’s true Paul’s epistles are instructions for today’s church while the Hebrew epistles are not; and yes, both at the same time ALL the Bible (all scripture – 2 Timothy 3:16) is for our learning. The critical mistake the author makes here is that he divides the Bible where Bible publishers divide it, not where God divides it. The Pauline epistles are “No Testament” books. The New Testament does NOT begin in Matthew chapter 1 where Jesus is “born”. It begins with the death of the testator, ends in Acts 28:28 and picks up again post “rapture” (when God eventually rescinds His offer of free grace) in the book of Hebrews…

Hebrews 9:16-17… “For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.

…and the testator, Jesus Christ does not die until the end of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. When the author claims that the only parts of the NT “section” of the Bible which are for todays church are the Pauline epistles he is correctly identifying the mid-Acts position; but he wrongly believes the NT begins where publishing companies (including those who publish KJB’s) say it does. There is a page in every Bible after Malachi and before Matthew which in bold letters reads New Testament. THAT IS WRONG. A gross oversimplification at least. A satanic deception at worst.

Author makes broad and unsubstantiated claims here I’d encourage any to follow up with challenges. “There are some other problems with mid-Acts dispensationalism. In particular, its views on salvation, water baptism, and the church’s origin are based on misunderstandings of some points of Scripture.” And what might these problems be? Please demonstrate what exactly it is I am misunderstanding. Scripture please.

  1. Salvation – trust in the shed blood of Jesus Christ as complete and total payment for sin. See Simple Salvation.
  2. Water baptism – ritual cleansing for Jewish priests before entering into priestly duties. Spend some time “here“.
  3. Churches origin – Paul. 1 Tim 1:15-16… “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”

The article states… “Mid-Acts dispensationalism wrongly assumes that Paul’s revelation about the church equals the beginning of the church itself.” Recall how we defined a dispensation please. If what God told Paul about the mystery church had never before been revealed; had it been a secret hid in God since the beginning of the world (it was), how could this NOT be the beginning of something new? The nature of a mystery is that no one knows it. It is a secret. It is hidden… until the secret is revealed; in this case, until God revealed the contents of it to Paul. Recall the words BUT NOW… is the author mindless or perhaps just agenda driven?

1 Corinthians 2:7-8… “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, EVEN THE HIDDEN WISDOM, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

Col 1:25-26… “Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; Even the MYSTERY WHICH HATH BEEN HID from ages and from generations, BUT NOW is made manifest to his saints:

Romans 16:25-27… “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, BUT NOW is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.”

It gets better… “Mid-Acts dispensationalism misinterprets Galatians 2:7, “I [Paul] had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised.”

It’s actually the authors perverted bible which does the disservice here. The KJB reads crystal clear.

Galatians 2:7… “But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;

A single distorted etherial unidentifiable “gospel” in the former. Two clearly different gospel messages to two different groups of people in the later. “Things that are different cannot be the same.” This is why the King James only issue is so critical and so fiercely opposed by so many. The truth is deliberately obscured in “modern” bible versions and expounded perfectly clearly in the KJB. The last thing in the world satan wants a man to know is the mystery revealed to Paul because it demonstrates satan’s utter downfall and Gods perfect manifold wisdom.

Colossians 2:15… “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

Ephesians 3:9-12… “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, WHICH FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE WORLD HATH BEEN HID in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: TO THE INTENT THAT NOW UNTO THE PRINCIPALITIES AND POWERS IN HEAVENLY PLACES MIGHT BE KNOWN BY THE CHURCH THE MANIFOLD WISDOM OF GOD According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.

The mid-Acts dispensationalist makes a distinction between a “gospel of circumcision,” taught by Peter, and a “gospel of uncircumcision,” taught by Paul. In reality, Paul is referring to different audiences, not different gospels.

We do make the distinction because the Bible makes the distinction. Your “bible” distorts it. Get a copy of Gods Word and study it. You might learn something satan does not want you to know. Something that will alter your understanding of everything.

The Jews whom Peter ministered to were saved by grace through faith, just as the Gentiles to whom Paul ministered.

Is that why they were still zealous of the law in Acts 21??? Come on man… All are saved by grace through faith but some (the Jews) have works accompanying that faith. What is a covenant at all? It is an if/then contract entered into by two or more parties. If you do “A”, then I’ll do “B”. OT and NT in a nutshell. Grace alone through faith alone by the blood alone is exactly NOT an if/then covenant agreement. It is a gift!

Mid-Acts dispensationalism or the Grace Movement denies the need for water baptism for believers, thus ignoring Jesus’ command in Matthew 28:19.

Exactly, we do deny the need because Jesus was teaching the law to priestly Israel in Matthew 28-19. The mystery had not yet been revealed to Paul. Some very special abilities follow that water baptism in this time period.

Mark 16:15-18… “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” Did the author acquire such abilities after his water baptism? Show me a man that has and I’ll show you a liar.

Just above, author states that Jews were saved by grace through faith just as believers are today. Then why is baptism required? That is a work a man might boast in (Ephesians 2:8-9). They were only to go to the rest of the world AFTER they finished up in their own backyard! There is an order to be followed. Jerusalem first as they were a nation of priests!

Acts 1:8… “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Examine Pater’s own words… the final written record of his speaking in the book of Acts.

Acts 15:11… “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.” Shall be… Peter is expecting salvation to come in the future which makes perfect sense when we read about “enduring to the end” (Matthew 24:13) and hoping to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you” (1 Peter 1:13). Israel’s national salvation is a future occurrence (Acts 3:19-21).

They exclude water baptism on the basis that the baptism of the Spirit, which occurs at salvation, has replaced water baptism.

Exactly, and here is why. We are not priests that require cleansing. Christ’s shed blood has made me clean! How can water possibly compare?

Ephesians 4:5… “One Lord, one faith, ONE baptism,

Which would ANYONE prefer, water or Holy Spirit? I’ll stay dry thank you very much and thank God He does the baptizing for me. You religionists keep your water baptism. Better yet, follow Paul as Christ commands.

1 Corinthians 1:17… “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.” God the Father sent John the Baptist to water baptize; Christ did send forth Peter and the 11 to water baptize (prepare) a nation of priests. Even though Paul water baptized a few, that was not his specific commission as the above verse clearly states.

Mid-Acts dispensationalism overlooks the fact that Gentiles were part of the early church before Paul was converted. Acts 2:10–11 makes it clear that the crowd listening to Peter preach on the Day of Pentecost included Gentile proselytes to Judaism.

We overlook nothing. A Gentile who converts to Judaism becomes what exactly? How about (wait for it, here it comes…) he becomes a Jew. Therefore Peter was preaching to JEWS in the JEWISH TEMPLE.

And Acts 8 shows how Samaritans and an Ethiopian were baptized into Christ before Paul ever started preaching the doctrine of the church or of grace.

Many people were “in Christ” before Christ began the mystery church with Paul. People can be “in Christ” according to prophecy, as the Jews were; or we can be “in Christ” via the mystery as Paul (our pattern) and anyone who hereafter believed was. There are two overarching programs both of which are “in Christ” in effect. Gods earthly program involving the nation Israel and the Gentile nations who bless them; and His heavenly program which involves the church which is His body. Both the heaven and the earth are fallen. Both require redemption “in Christ”. God has both fully under control.

Thus there was a joint church body of Jews and Gentiles before Paul began his ministry.

This is accurate but misleading as the author simply want to mash all the people together under one unspecified mish-mash “gospel”. Any Gentiles who either became Jews or pledged allegiance to Israel according to Gods prophetic instruction could be included in this church. There were a few. This does not mean the Jerusalem church and the body are all the same church. It isn’t. Jerusalem was a church with a different purpose than the church of believers which exist today. They had super powers… we do not. They had those powers in order to enable them to endure to the end of the great tribulation. They are going to need them; things are going to get really ugly.

Genesis 12:1-3… “Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: AND I WILL BLESS THEM THAT BLESS THEE, AND CURSE HIM THAT CURSETH THEE: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Cornelius in Acts 10 would be the best example of such a one. He blessed the nation by giving much alms to the people and prayed to God alway. He understood his position under the nation Israel as did the samaritan women that Jesus called a dog (Mat 15:22-28). She too understood her place beneath Israel and the Lord blessed her accordingly.

Most importantly, mid-Acts dispensationalism or the Grace Movement claims there are “different gospels,” one taught by Peter and one taught by Paul. But the Old Testament (and the first part of the New Testament) does not teach salvation by works; the Jews in Galilee were not saved a different way from the Gentiles in Achaia.

There are many different gospels in the Bible. Abraham has one referencing Genesis 12 in Galatians 3:8. Your “bible” intentionally obscures them that you (author) misunderstand that which satan least of all wants you to understand… the mystery revealed to Paul. To say that the OT does not teach salvation with works is beyond ignorant. It is dishonest. There was 600 plus points of the law to keep and sacrifices to be made if one failed. At the end of the day, this author is not a Bible believer. He’s not even all that bright. He’s an agenda driven religionist who wants people to keep paying tithes to a priest class he himself supports. Religion is just another way for man to control other men.

Galatians 5:1… “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Christ died to free us from the law instituted to prove to man that he is a hopeless sinner who can’t possibly keep it. There is nothing a man can do to earn his salvation. Not baptism, not law keeping, not praying certain prayers, not anything. Such an article demonstrates beyond doubt that we all need to study the right Bible rightly divided or confusion at least, damnation at worst, will be the result.

Mid-Acts dispensationalism is opposed to several elements of orthodoxy.

We are opposed to all of “orthodox religion” actually. We simply believe what the Bible says, to whom it says it. Bible Christianity is the 100% absence of religion… religion defined as that which a man does to either please God or assuage His anger.

Its downplaying of half of the New Testament, its unwarranted exclusion of early Jewish believers from the body of Christ, its disregard of water baptism, and its allowance for a faith-plus-works gospel make the Grace Movement an unbiblical view.

Not downplaying as all scripture is for our learning, merely identifying to whom it was written. For example, who was James writing to?

James 1:1… “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, TO THE TWELVE TRIBES WHICH ARE SCATTERED ABROAD, greeting.

I assume the author is not a member of a Jewish tribe scattered by Paul. The early Jewish believers have their own prophesies and an earthly program which yet remain unfulfilled. They have no business in the heavenly church which is His body. We have Gods specific promises to us and they have the specific promises God made to them. We need to learn the difference between the two. That most people do not know the difference is why there are so many “Christian” denominations and such Biblical confusion in the world.

Matthew 19:28… “And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

The twelve Jewish apostles to the twelve Jewish tribes of Israel will sit on twelve Jewish thrones in the New Jewish Jerusalem come from heaven to earth, judging those same twelve Jewish tribes who collectively will be the worlds priest class at some point in history’s future. Today’s believers go to heaven to be with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Heaven comes to earth “as it is in heaven” to Israel in the future.

We absolutely disregard water baptism as either an aspect of works based salvation or a means of glorifying the flesh which Christ has spiritually crucified (Galatians 2:20, and 6:13). And finally, to say that we allow for works based salvation is just plain idiotic and dishonest when everything we actually say is counter to exactly that. I will leave works based salvation to those the author would prefer we listen to: Jesus, James, Peter and John…

Luke 18:18-22… “And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.  And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.” Jesus preaches commandment keeping and He commands the wealthy man to sell all that he has and distribute to the poor. Does author “follow Christ” by commandment keeping and willful poverty? I thought not…

James 2:24… “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” Paul says the exact opposite in Romans 4:1-5 establishing the mid-Acts position of grace through faith WITHOUT works. Author should re-check his own work and his own thoughts.

1 Peter 1:13… “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;” Read that one again. The grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. That’s a future event. Mid-Acts teaches that we have that grace now – without works or endurance till the end (Romans 5:11).

1 Peter 2:12… “Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, THEY MAY BY YOUR GOOD WORKS, GLORIFY GOD IN THE DAY OF VISITATION.” In the body of Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile (Galatians 3:28). Why is Peter speaking to Gentiles? Perhaps it is because he is a JEW. Why do they do good works? That the Gentiles might glorify God through them.

2 Peter 2:20-21… “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.” Does that sound remotely like the condition-less eternal salvation mid-Acts teaches? We are COMPLETE in Christ, needing nothing else (Colossians 2:9-10). He did it all for us. We are tangled up in an evil world, and Christ has delivered us from it (Galatians 1:4).

1 John 1:7… “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” IF we walk… that is a conditional statement and thus implies works. In this case “walking in the light”. For, IF we fail to walk in the light, THEN darkness awaits, as we are not cleansed from sin. That is works based salvation.

1 John 2:3… “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.” What else does John need to say to complete my argument? Author simply desires to make the mid-Acts position look bad and by doing so, only demonstrates his own ignorance of scripture.

I will close this very long yet still not exhaustive post with two last verses. The first is a verse of warning, the second of admonition. I warn you of Bible teachers in general, myself included though I hope to be helpful. It is you dear reader who must be persuaded in your own mind what is truth (Romans 14:5). No one will stand before God in your place. He wrote a book for each and every person to read and comprehend. Not one of us should listen exclusively to what any man says the Bible says. We need to open the book and let it read us while we read it. Bible study is interaction with the living Holy Spirit of God. That’s as monumental as it gets in this world.

Colossians 2:8… “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

2 Timothy 2:15… “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

GoD and DoG

A piece just a bit off the usual well worn path.  Been a tough couple of days, it has.  I’ve titled this one for a little song written by Wendy Fransisco… let’s listen.  If your heart has strings this will give them a tug.

I study the Bible a great deal.  Not bragging, it’s a thing I love to do.  I’ve heard a lot of preachers say a lot of different things about peoples pets.  None of them truly Biblical.  What I’m going to say is not “necessarily” Biblical either but it’s based on who I know God to be as He has revealed Himself throughout time, in His progressively revealed book that is the Bible.  This is just my (hopefully at least somewhat) informed opinion.

The Bible aside for a moment, seeing this is a post about dogs, I have learned more about my relationship to God from my different dogs throughout the years than I have from any other source, go figure.  People are about as different from dogs as God is different from people.

Gods ways are not mans ways.

Isaiah 55:8…  “ For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.”

Neither are mans ways dogs ways and vise versa.  We’re very different.  Perhaps God and dog have more in common with one another than man has with either?  I wonder…

People, above and beyond all else, are complicated creatures.  Admit it… we are.  Dogs are such remarkably simple creatures; and in my studies, I’ve found that God is a very simple God as well.  He wants us to want to be with Him.  That simple.  Since before the foundations of the world were laid God knew us and had a plan and purpose for His people.  We saved are His children.  A dog as well is happiest simply being with its person.  Wherever I am in my home there are 2 dogs, a Great Dane (Moose) and a Beagle (Tucker Bean), very near by.  They are my canine children.

If you’re saved, you know God asks nothing in return for His great favor.  His love comes completely without cost or contingent.  It is pure love, unconditional in the utmost.  Understand, I’m hardly saying that dogs are little “g” gods but I will say that the love a dog presents its person is as unconditional and uncomplicated as a person is likely to experience in this here corporeal world.  Free of judgement, bias, prejudice, envy, etc. (the human flesh – Gal 5:19-21)… all things which plague the majority of complicated human relationships.  My wife and I experience none of these issues of course…

Our relationship to God (an honest one that is) is one of utter dependence.  Were it not for God, the next breath I took would have been taken in vain.  It is God and God alone who provides any lasting meaning at all to life.  Eternity underlies the essence of meaning.  If existence were not eternal, existence would be vanity.  Of course we have free will and choose to do lots of things which provide daily meaning, sustenance and enjoyment.  Without God however, meaning itself, aside from survival for survivals sake (eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die), life would lose all context.  The saved know there is far more to come after this vapor of a life passes away.  We are joint heirs with Christ who made the world and all things in it.

Rom 8:16-17…  “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

In a similar way is a dog completely dependent upon its person.  It’s he from which not only his daily sustenance comes, but any and all love and kindness the dog receives is person dependent.  That person becomes the dogs entire life.  What a realization when honestly considered.  Is it reciprocated in our relationship with God?

Our human children grow and become independent.  We as parents rightly desire this, that they eventually leave our homes to make their own ways and create their own families in the world.  By this we know we have succeeded as parents and can then enjoy life as older, wiser grandparents.  A dog remains entirely dependent upon its person throughout its entire life and we as people, whether fully realized or not, remain dependent upon God.  Given the choice a dog rarely if ever leaves its person; a person should never leave God but many times does.

Have you ever wondered, with all the trouble we humans are to God, why does He still love us?  What is it exactly we “do” for Him?  What do we provide Him that He would care so much about us?  We sin constantly, disobey, disbelieve…

Psalm 8:4…  “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

Acts 17:24-25…  “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;

In the same vein, what is it that dogs do for humans?  They poop on the floor, shed all over, bark at nothing, chew on everything, cost a fortune, fart at the most inopportune times…  but, over and above all their trouble, they have become our companions through thick and thin.  Some even have very important jobs tending to the disabled and guarding our lives and property.  They are always there for us no matter what and, as any dog lover knows, we love them no matter what.  They are truly mans best most simple friend in this world.  Might a loving God simply desire our trusting companionship as a loving human desires a dogs?   Can the (human) analogy be drawn that God loves us as we love our dogs?  I’m going out on the limb to say yes.  I personally believe God is trying to show man something about Divine Love in a K9 mutt.  Does a dog, as one of Gods creatures, reflect that loving part of God for man to witness?  I think so.  I witness it time and again personally.  Uncomplicated, uncompromised, unconditional love.  Consider, God gave all the animals to Adam for him to personally name and they had zero fear of him.  What an amazing scene, even though his true life partner had not yet been created.

Perhaps I am just being too sentimental…

The dog I had to put down the other day (Ruby – 13) was a troublemaker from the word go till she turned about 5 years old.  Disobedient, rebellious, self-willed… but somehow completely and totally adorable, as lovable and sweet a dog as ever lived.  She grew into a remarkably wise old dog, but and again, if I’m being honest with myself, I can ask the same questions the psalmist and Paul declare in the above scripture; what does dog do for me that I would love her so?  Cause I’ll tell ya, I loved that dog (and my other two) more than I love most people.  No conditions attached.  She was always thrilled to see me, even if I was gone for only 30 minutes out in the yard, and I was always thrilled to see her when I returned.  Constantly grinning and wagging her tail till the very end.

There’s a lesson here as always.  After Ruby “grew up” and became an adult dog, all she ever wanted to do was to please me.  She knew how much she was loved by the way I treated her and her only desire was to return as much of the same back to me as she was capable. The key word here I believe is TRUST.  As she grew so too did her natural instinct to trust her leader.  I can honestly say that dog would have followed me anywhere.  All throughout the Bible, in situation after situation no matter the situation, God simply asks mans to trust in what He says.  Time after time, man decides to trust in himself and not God; same as that “young” Labrador.  Believers today are asked simply to trust in the shed blood of Jesus Christ as payment in full for our transgressions.  Why is that so hard for so many?  As I’ve grown personally in Christ, I’ve simply learned to trust what God says in His book; and now that I do, the entire universe just falls naturally into place.  So simple.  Like my relationship with my adult dogs… they understand me.  I understand the Lord.

2 Tim 2:7…  “Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.

In the beginning we humans had our Creator as a direct Companion.

Gen 3:8(a)…  “And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day:

Imagine hearing the voice of God our Creator in the perfect garden just as natural as can be in the cool of a beautiful day!  This was/is Gods ultimate intent for us.  As we know, it didn’t last too long.  Demonstrated in these few words however is the entirety of creations purpose.  That God and His creatures might commune one with the other in simple uncomplicated perfection for all time.  This will occur in the future; it is His will for it to be so.

Rev 4:11…  “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

He created us for His own pleasure.  He created us not to be disobedient and defiant but for us to trust in and learn from; to live by and together with Him in His perfect wisdom.  Why did I buy that dog when she was just an 8 week old pup?  I submit that it is for the very same reasons.  My ultimate desire was to provide for that dog a beautiful and loving environment wherein we both might thoroughly enjoy each others company.  I wanted canine companionship as I have always loved dogs.  Me in my capacity as a human, she in her capacity as a canine.  Her capacity as an uncomplicated canine is in providing fun, loving companionship without guile, judgement, confusion or condition and that is no small feat.  Experiencing such here in this world is a rare treat indeed.  Few people are capable of the same in regards to one another.  She made it very easy for me to return the same wonderfully simple companionship to her…

God, because of our sin, can no longer currently dwell physically with man.  (He tried that, we killed him…)  He has put in motion a situation by which all things will eventually be redeemed back to Him in His good time.  Man, if he’s a responsible owner, does live in close physical proximity to his dog.  I didn’t get rid of Ruby when she disobeyed.  I trained her to obey.  Why?  To magnify myself above her?  No, but for her own good, that she might live a long, happy and healthy life; because without me, the dog would have not lasted long at all.  Through my consistent actions of love and rebuke toward her she learned to trust me.  As God knows what’s best for humans, I knew what was better for her than she was capable of knowing.  She, like Adam, didn’t realize the error of her ways when she “broke my commandment” not to run out into the street, for example.  A car could have hit and killed her.  That commandment was given because I loved the dog and wanted her to prosper under my care.  For whatever reasons one cares to speculate, God knew something about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that Adam didn’t, He knew that once eaten, the fruit of it was deadly; yet without it our free will choice (God or self) would be void.

Ruby was lucky that each time she chose to run out into the street a car didn’t hit her and eventually learned not to run out there; to “keep my commandment”.  Good dog.  Because of that she was rewarded with as long and wonderful a life (and an absolutely painless peaceful passing) a Labrador Retriever could have ever possibly imagined.

In this dispensation of grace there are no commandments.  We as humans, by fighting back like rabid dogs against Gods righteous and loving intent for us, have put God in the unenviable position of allowing us to do whatever it is we wish to do in this world.  He’s taken His hands temporarily off the steering wheel if you will.  The “dogs” have been left to fend for themselves, the kennel doors thrown open wide; the “flip side” of free grace; sin abounds.  Does it ever…  He has left the choice out in the open, a man can either choose God or self; God will honor either choice a man makes.  A dog can choose to either bite or lick the hand that feeds it.  Remarkable that so many dogs choose to lick and not bite.  Why do so many people choose to bite?  The answer I believe, is self.  Men look within.  That was the fruits poison.  Dogs have no ego with which to place themselves upon pedestals.  They (animals in general) never ate from the tree.  They suffer in this evil world for our transgression.  Their interest is focused on their person, with rare exception, completely and totally.

And what a rewarding experience it is for that exceptionally lucky person!  Anyone not ever knowing the simple unconditional love a dog can have for a man is truly missing out on one of life’s greatest treasures.  Life’s greatest treasure is knowing the love God has for man.

Rom 8:38-39…  “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

There is a very compelling duality here: between God, man and dog that all of us should take thoughtful personal note of.  I have and I’ve been rewarded, as Wendy notes in her song, with knowledge of that love from both sides of the equation.  It’s truly amazing.

John Hiatt performs one of my favorite tunes.  Pardon the cuss in the intro… but he nails it fairly well perfectly with  this one!

“My Dog And Me”

She marked our trail
Up the back bone ridge
How many times can one dog pee
She keeps me high as an eagle
When I’m on the skids
I guess you gotta come down eventually
Buddy I coulda gone that extra mile
For an extra bark or an extra smile
I never felt so free
It was just my dog and me
Then she gives me that look
Like she’d lay down her life
No doubt she would in a minute, man
She’d face the bullet
Oh she’d face the knife
Just to keep my butt from the fryin’ pan
Now she’s runnin’ up ahead to chase some deer
Comes back to tell me that the coast is clear
It’s a different world I see
When it’s just my dog and me
There’s a rabbit on the run
Man and beast and sky and sun
Who’s talking to the birds in the trees
Why its just my dog and me
Now it looks like we’ve been makin’ tracks
From the crack of dawn
To the end of the day
So its nice and easy down the mountain’s back
She wouldn’t know
Any other way
So its over that ridge for one last mile
‘Til we’re fast asleep by the fire side
Dreamin’ these dreams for free
Just my dog and me
I never felt so free
It was just my dog and me
Me and Doobs

This picture taken an hour before Ruby’s death.  Will you be that happy, even in physical pain?  That dog KNEW she was loved; that nothing bad would happen to her as long as I was there.  I pray I am as I KNOW where I’m going.  I KNOW, as nasty as I am, that I am loved.  Animals are innocent.  Not perfect, but sinless.  Unsaved man is guilty; a saved man is found innocent as he is “in Christ”.  It is man that brought sin and death (selfishness) into this world for which the whole of creation suffers the consequence.  It is God and God alone who provides hope of physical redemption from this evil world into His eventual new creation; freed from mans original transgression into glorious perfect companionship with Him and all other living creatures as it was in the beginning.  I for one cannot wait…

Rom 8:18-22…  “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.  For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.  For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

What an honor and privilege it is to share the lives of creatures free from petty human selfish desires.  Thank you Father for creating such wonderfully goofy loving creatures and placing them into my care.  Rest in peace Ruby.  I’ll miss you for the rest of my days.  I can’t prove it scripturally, but knowing how absolutely amazing, powerful, loving and creative our God is, I do believe I’ll see you (and Rose and Murphy) again in the magnificently perfect future world God intended all along.  I believe it because as His child, I ask it of God my Father and I don’t believe He would deny His own.  He created everything (man and dog) for the pure pleasure of creating; for simple trusting loving companionship.  I have dogs for the pure pleasure of having dogs; for simple trusting loving companionship.

If any in the DFW area are facing similar end of life decisions for their pets I cannot recommend Dr. Fiona McCord at Compassionate Care Pet Services highly enough.  What a blessing she has been.  Thank you for taking such sweet care of my girl Doc.