Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pearls Before Swine? No Longer Certain...

Ok, so I'm rethinking the stance I've taken when it comes to discussing baptism and soteriology with those who deny that Cornelius' household was saved before water baptism in Acts 10. I may not be properly applying, let alone understanding, Jesus' statements concerning throwing pearls before swine. Certainly there must be a time to shake the dust off one's feet, but I'm not sure I'm doing so in the proper timeframe or manner.

As such, Steve, Aaron, Terry, know that I recognize the possibility that I might be behaving immaturely and unbiblically, and that I will be praying about it. In the meantime, I have a request of you if you're willing.

Here is a summary (relevant to the request I'm about to make) of the argument I laid out in "Saving Cornelius," that Cornelius' household was saved before water baptism:
  1. The text says they "received the Holy Spirit," the same language used in Romans 8 and other places which say the indwelling Holy Spirit seals us in Christ, testifies within us that we are children of God, and promises us resurrection and redemption.
  2. The text says they spoke in tongues and prophesied, gifts which 1 Corinthians 12 says are among many gifts which the indwelling Holy Spirit distributes individually to those who are members of the body of Christ.
I guess what has been implicit in this argument is the denial that, post-Pentecost, God gives people these gifts apart from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and that there are multiple senses in which people receive the Holy Spirit. With that in mind, here is my request of you: Please demonstrate for me that the New Testament demonstrates one of the following post-Pentecost:
  1. The manifestation of tongues or prophecy, gifts given by God, in those who have not "received the Holy Spirit"
  2. Multiple senses in which one "receives the Holy Spirit"
If you can demonstrate either of these, I will be forced to acknowledge the ambiguity a couple of you have claimed is found in Acts 10.

Episode 14: Make It Happen

Episode 14 of the Theopologetics Podcast is now available! In this episode I discuss the sovereignty of God, demonstrating from Scripture that He is not only King over all but that He does what He pleases.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Change of Mind (For Forgiveness of Sins)

In "Be Baptized for the Forgiveness of Sins" I argued that the Greek word εἰς (eis, pronounced "ice") used in Acts 2:38 when Peter says, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for [εἰς] the forgiveness of your sins," is equivocal, meaning "subject to two or more interpretations." While the word is most often used by the New Testament authors to mean "into" or "unto," or "resulting in," I felt I had demonstrated that in at least two occurrences this is not how the word is used, in which occurrences it is used instead to mean "because of" or "on account of."

Although some of my detractors might assume I would uncritically hold firm to this response to the argument for baptismal regeneration from Acts 2:38, the reality is that I've been giving it a lot of thought and further researching the topic, and may be at the beginning of a process of changing my mind. This is not to say that I am beginning to be open to the idea that salvation isn't experienced until water baptism; the whole of Scripture militates against that heresy. Rather, I'm beginning to think that there is a better understanding of Acts 2:38 which is nevertheless fully consistent with the "grace alone through faith" gospel that Jesus and His Apostles preached.