3. Dispensation Theology versus Covenant Theology and their importance to the issue of church and state relationship in America

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2. Definitions of “Separation of Church and State,” “Established Church,” and “Religious Freedom or Soul Liberty”2

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 4. Distinct Differences between Church and State Which Render Them Mutually Exclusive

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A student may not choose to delve into all the matters concerning Dispensatonalism versus Covenant Theology. Some of the studies below are optional and not necessary for a basic understanding of the spiritual or theological warfare that went on between established and dissenting, mainly Baptist, churches and their representatives in the colonies. Therefore, some of the studies noted below are noted to be “Optional.”

(1) Introduction
(2) Colonial Theological Warfare–Separation of Church and State
(3) The Essence of Dispensationalism (Optional)
(4) The Way in Which the Two Systems Meet the Requirements for a Philosophy of History (
Optional)
(5) Some Basic Teachings of Covenant Theology (Optional)
(6) Puritan Covenant Theology Exposed in the American Colonies
(7) Three Critical Factors Upon Which Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology Disagree (Optional)
(8) Dispensationalism Correctly Explains the Covenants of Law and Grace (Optional)
(9) Persecution: A Consequence of Covenant Theology
(10) History Proves Established Churches Are Vile, Viciously Persecute Heretics, and Corrupt the State, the Church, and the People (Optional)
(11) New Testament Teaching against Persecution of Heretics (Optional)
(12) Conclusion to “Dispensation Theology versus Covenant Theology and their importance to the issue of church and state relationship in America”

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Introduction: Dispensation Theology versus Covenant Theology


If you miss one part of the puzzle that is being put together in these studies, you will never see and understand the whole picture.


A publication of Churches Under Christ Ministry


Click here to go to Dispensation Theology versus Covenant Theology and Their Importance to the Issue of Church and State Relationship in America.
Click here to go to the written lessons.
Click here to go to the 3 1/2 to 6 minute video lectures.


Jerald Finney
Copyright © January 29, 2018


In order to understand religious liberty and the history of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution (freedom of speech, press, association, religion (or religious liberty); conscience; soul liberty; separation of church and state; and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances), one must understand Dispensational Theology and Covenant Theology. This is because proponents of these two theologies fought a spiritual warfare in the colonies which led to the adoption of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The Puritans were Covenant Theologians. Historic Baptists were Dispensationalists in belief, although the term Dispensational Theology was not coined until sometime in the last few hundred years. These two theologies clashed in the English colonies of America, the Baptist view prevailing at the federal level with the adoption of the First Amendment.

Christian and Secular Revisionists, as always, continue to deceive the general population in America with a revised history of the First Amendment. The contrived version of “Christian” revisionist history predominates the American Christian landscape.[i] The historical section of these studies will summarize the true history, which true scholarship has recorded from the colonial period until this very day.[ii] Contemporary Christian Revisionists use the same techniques as did their Calvinist forefathers. As Isaac Backus noted, concerning the revisionism and lies of the leaders of the established churches in the colonies:

  • “[I] appeal to the conscience of every reader, whether he can find three worse things on earth, in the management of controversy, than, first, to secretly take the point disputed for truth without any proof; then, secondly, blending that error with known truths, to make artful addresses to the affections and passions of the audience, to prejudice their minds, before they hear a word that the respondent has to say; and thirdly, if the respondent refuses to yield to such management, then to call in the secular arm to complete the argument?”[iii]

See Isaac Backus Quoted in God Betrayed to get a little understanding of the importance of his efforts and writings in the colonies for the cause of separation of church and state and religious liberty. The first major threat to the colonial establishments was instituted by Roger Williams in New England. His activities and writings forcefully revealed fallacies of certain Puritan (Calvinist) theology and Puritan persecution of “heretics” and led the founding of the first civil government in history with any lasing influence with religious liberty. See Roger Williams: Quotes and Other Information from God Betrayed.

Baptists in the colonies fought the Puritan and Anglican establishments. Isaac Backus came out of the Congregational (Puritan) Church, became a Baptist, and fought against establishment of churches, infant baptism, etc. He obviously disregarded the Calvinist allegorized interpretations of Scripture. He still called himself a Calvinist, but rejected much of classic Calvinism. Through his extensive writing and activities, he fought for separation of church and state, baptismal regeneration, and other issues in the colonies.  These studies, especially the advanced studies, extensively quote Isaac Backus, and others such as Roger Williams—another hero of the faith who arrived in Massachusetts from England in the 1630s. It is obvious from their writings that these men took a literal view of Scripture and rejected the allegorized interpretation of Catholicism and Protestantism. Their writings totally dismantled the teachings of Puritans such as John Cotton. At the same time, Cotton and other Puritans, true to form and according to their theology, lied and misrepresented truth as always. They justify lying based upon false interpretations of Scriptures such as those dealing with Rahab the harlot and the midwives in Egypt.

The warfare between various biblical theologies continues and will continue until the kingdom of heaven is established by our Lord. Most “Baptists,” not to mention members of denominations and religions, have unknowingly succumbed to false religious beliefs and philosophies as end-time prophesy unfolds as foretold in Scripture.

This and the next few teachings will, in a nutshell, explain Dispensational Theology and Covenant Theology, distinguish them, and will be invaluable in one’s quest for understanding of the biblical principle of separation of church and state and the American application thereof. To fully understand these matters will not be the goal; only the most important matters will be covered, and those in summary form. see the citations and references for more in depth analysis and study.

Covenant theology allegorizes and spiritualizes Scripture and teaches union of church and state. Covenant theology applies selected principles regarding the theocracy of Israel to Gentile civil government and the church. Dispensational theology is based upon a literal belief in Scripture which accordingly teaches separation of church and state. Although many biblical principles run from Genesis to Revelation, the rules for church and state and for the Jewish religion-state are not the same. Under Judaism (the Jewish religion as ordained by God), religion and state operated hand-in-hand under God; that is, the religion and state were unified by God, both religion and state instructed by God to work together directly under God for the same goals.

Keep in mind that there are many variations of Covenant Theology. Likewise, Dispensationalist systems of theology deviate, some alarmingly, from accurate and literal understanding and teaching on Scripture. God will not call every believer to totally understand these systems. The best thing a believer can do with God’s Word is to study it, believing what it says. When one does that, he will by definition be a dispensationalist. The important thing is that the believer read his own Bible and verify any Bible teaching. It is a serious mistake to blindly follow anyone, especially traditional Calvinist, Reformed, Catholic, Charismatic, JW, Mormon, or similar cultic teachings and teachers.


Endnotes

[i] See the History of the First Amendment or The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus which also explains why those revisionists lie about history and seek to intentionally deceive Christians.

[ii] See, List of Scholarly Resources which Explain and Comprehensively Document the True History of Religious Freedom in America

[iii] Backus, A History of New England…, Volume 1, p. 150. This comment followed and preceded illustrations of how those in favor of church/state marriage, infant baptism, etc. advance their cause.  On pp. 151-152, Mr. Backus illustrated how those in favor of infant baptism argued their position, pointing out the fallacies of their arguments. Their tactics have not changed, although in America, due to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, they no longer can call upon civil government to enforce their beliefs. Click here for Quotes of Isaac Backus in God Betrayed.

Colossians

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Contents:

DATE
CHURCH AT COLOSSE
PROBLEM AT COLOSSE
THE MESSAGE OF COLOSSIANS
COMMENTS
OUTLINE
NOTES


NOTE. For more details see, McGee, Colossians. This study is taken from that book with some modifications. The study is also available online in audio at: Colossians.


DATE A.D. 62. Four men left Rome in A.D. 62 bound for Turkey. These men had four of the most sublime compositions of the Christian faith. When these men bade farewell to the Apostle Paul, each was given an epistle to bear to his particular constituency. These four letters are in the Word of God, and they are designated the “Prison Epistles of Paul,” since he wrote them while he was imprisoned in Rome. He was awaiting a hearing before Caesar Nero. The four men and their respective places of abode were: (1) Epaphroditus from Philippi who had the Epistle to the Philippinans (Philippians 4.18). (2) Tychicus from Ephesus who had the Epistle to the Ephesians (Ephesians 6.21). (3) Epaphras from Colosse who had the Epistile to the Colossians (Colossians 4.12). (4) Onesimus, a runaway slave from Colosse, who had the Epistle to Philemon, his master (Philemon 10).

These epistles present a composite picture of Christ, the church, the Christian life, and the interrelationship and functioning of all. These different facets present the Chritian life on the highest plane.

Colossians directs our attention ot the head of the body who is Christ. The body itself is secondary. Christ is the Theme. He is the center of the circle around which all Christian living revolves. Colossians emphasizes that Christ is the fullness of God.

Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon  have been called the anatomy of the church. They belong together to make a whole.


CHURCH AT COLOSSE

The church at Colosse met in the home of Philemon. A great civilization and a great population were in that area. East and West meet there. Colosse was more a less a door to the Orient, to the East.

Colosse, Laodicea, Philadelphia, Sardis, Thyatira, and Pergamum were fortress cities. They had all been great cities of defense against invasion from the East. By the time of Paul, the danger had been relieved because the Roman Empire was pretty much in charge of the world by then. Pelple had lapsed into paganism and gross immorality at the time of Paul. Colosse was typical.

Paul never visited Colosse. Nonetheless, he founded the church there. Converts from Paul’s ministry at Ephesus very definitely could have come to Colosse to form the nucleus of that church. Colosse is just 75 to 100 miles east of Ephesus.


PROBLEM AT COLOSSE

Asia Minor was a center for heathenism, paganism, and the mystery religions. There was already abroad the first heresy of the church, Gnosticism. There are many forms of Gnosticism, and in Colosse there were the Essenes. There are 3 points of identification of this group:

  • They had an exclusive spirit. They were the aristocrats in wisdom. They felt that they were the They felt they had a monopoly on knowledge. They thought that they knew more than the apostles. Paul will issue them a warning in the first chapter: Colossians 1:28: “Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:” Perfection is not found in any cult or any heresy, but in Christ Jesus. All wisdom is found in Him.
  • They held speculative tenets on creation. They taught that God did not create the universe directly, but created a creature who in turn created another creature, until one finally created the physical universe. Christ was considered a creature in this long series of creations. This was known in pantheistic Greek philosophy as the demiurge. Paul refutes this in Colossians 1.15-19 and 2.18.
  • Ethically, the practiced asceticism and unrestrained licentiousness. They got the asceticism from the influence of Greek Stoicism and the unrestrained licentiousness from the influence of Greek Epicureanism. Paul refutes this in Colossians 2.16, 23 and 3.5-9.

THE MESSAGE OF COLOSSIANS

Colossains is the chart and compass which enables the believer to sail between the ever present Scylla and Charybdis. On the one hand there is always the danger of Christianity freezing into a form, into a ritual. It has done that in many areas and in many churches so that Christianity involves nothing more than going through a routine. On the other hand is the danger that Christianity will evaporate into a philosophy. The Word of God is the revelation of God as it says it is. That is not a “theory.” We find people talking about theories of inspiration and theories of atonement—that is the evaporation of Christianity into a philosophy.

So there are two dangers. One is to freeze into form and become nothing but a ritualistic church; the other is to evaporate into steam and be lost in liberalism and false philosophy. The Lord Jesus said that He was the water of life, not the ice of life or the steam of life.

The Water of Life is “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Co. 1.27). Christianity is Christ down where we live, Christ in the nitty-gritty of life, down where the rubber meets the road.

There has always been the danger of adding something to or subtracting something from Christ—the oldest heresy is the newest heresy. Christianity is not a mathematical problem of adding or subtracting. Christianity is Christ. This is what Paul teaches in this epistle: Colossians 2:9 “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” All you need is to be found in Christ.


COMMENTS

William Sunday said: “In the Ephesian epistle, the church is the primary object, and the thought passes upward to Christ as the head of the church. In the Colossian epistle, Christ is the primary object, and the thought passes downward to the church as the body of Christ.”

The dominating thought in the epistle is that Christ is all. He is all I need. He is everything. Charles Wesley said it like this in a hymn: “Thou, O Christ, art all I want; more than all in Thee I find.”

Charles Spurgeon said, “Look on thine own nothingness; be humble, but look at Jesus, thy great representative, and be glad. It will save thee many pangs if thou will learn to think of thyself as being in him”—accepted in the Beloved, finding Him our all in all.

If you are resting in Him, you will find that you don’t need to go through a ritual. You won’t need to do a lot of gyrations and genuflections. You won’t be discussing the theories of inspiration. You either believe the Bible is the Word of God, or you don’t believe the Bible is the Word of God.

The so-called intellectual approach we find in our churches today is no good. Be a genuine you and not an imitation of someone else. Don’t try to imitate intellectual men you admire. We need to get down off our high horses. The Lord Jesus is feeding sheep, not giraffes.

The practical section of Colossians shows us Christ, the fullness of God, poured out in the life of believers. The alabaster box of ointment needs to be broken today. The world not only needs to see something, it needs to smell something. The pollution of this world is giving a very bad odor in these days. We need something of the fragrance and loveliness of Jesus Christ, and only the church is permitted to break that alabaster box of ointment and let out the fragrance.


OUTLINE

  1. DOCTRINAL: Christ, the fullness of God; in Christ we are made full, Chapters 1, 2
    A. Introduction, 1.1-8
    B. Paul’s Prayer, 1.9-14
    C. Person of Christ, 1.15-19
    D. Objective Work of Christ for Sinners, 1.20-23
    E. Subjective Work of Christ for Saints, 1.24-29
    F. Christ, the Answer to Philosophy (For the Head), 2.1-15
    G. Christ, the Answer to Ritual (For the Heart), 2.16-23
  2. PRACTICAL: Christ, the fullness of God, poured out in the life through believers, Chapters 3, 4.
    A. Thoughts and Affections of Believers are Heavenly, 3.1-4
    B. Living of Believers is Holy, 3.4-4.6
    C. Fellowship of Believers is Hearty, 4.7-18

NOTES

Chapter 1

INTRODUCTION (vs1-8)

vs1-2 “An apostle of Jesus Christ,” “by the will of God.” Every church member should be functioning, doing what God has called him to do. Our gifts are different and we are each going to function a little differently.

“To the saints and faithful brethren of Christ which are at Colosse.” This saints and faithful brethren are the same. We are not saints because of what we do. We are saints because of our position. The word means to be set apart for God.

Notice that they are “in Christ,” but they are at “Colosse.” We should have an address down here, but also an address up yonder also: in Christ.

“Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” The gnostics relegated God to a place far removed from man and taught that one had to go through emanations to get to God. Paul says here that grace and peace come directly “from God our Father.” We can come directly to Him through Christ.

v3 Anyone who is in Christ Jesus has access to God the Father. “Praying always for you.”

vs4-5 Here Paul links to trinity of graces for believers: (1) faith—past; (2) love—present; and (3) hope—future. Paul talks about the good points of these believers. Faith rests upon historical facts; it is believing God. Romans 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

It is nonsense to boast of our fundamentalism and then to spend our time crucifying our brethren and attempting to find fault with them. There are too many “wonderful saints” looking down on their fellow believers who have not measured up to their high standard and are not separated like they are separated. The world is looking to see whether Christians love each other or not.

In 1 Co. 13.13, Paul lists these 3 graces, but lists them differently. He puts hope in the 2nd position and love is listed last. Why? Because love is the only thing that is going to abide. Love is for present, but it will make it to eternity.

The “hope which is laid up for you in heaven” is the blessed hope. We are to love Christ’s appearing.

The gospel is a simple message which God simply asks you to believe.

v6 Paul says the gospel has come to the Colossians as it has come to “all the world.” The gospel had penetrated into the farthest reaches of the Roman Empire of that day.

“And bringeth forth fruit.” Whereever the gospel is preached, it will bring forth fruit.

v7 Apparently, Epaphras “our dear fellowservant” is the pastor of the church at Colossee.

v8 Paul makes it clear to these Colossian believers that they would not have been able to exhibit this love unless it were by the Holy Spirit. It was to the Galatians that Paul wrote that the fruit of the Spirit is love. In this epistle, Paul dwells on the person of Christ. As he does that, the Spirit of God will take the things of Christ and will show them unto us.

PAUL’S PRAYER (vs. 9-14)

This is one of the most wonderful prayers in Scripture. He will make seven petitions, and then he will thank the Lord for the things He has already done for us.

v9 First, Paul prayed that they might be filled with knowledge “of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” Wisdom occurs forty times in this epistle.

v10 He prays that they might be pleasing to God. Third, he prays that they might be “fruitful in every good work.” The Christian is a fruit bearing branch. Christ is the vine, and we should bring froth fruit.

“Increasing in the knowledge of God.” (4th request) A Christian should not be static, but growing in the word of God.

v11 (5th) For strength and power which can only come from God; produced by the Holy Spirit. They are to be strengthened with all might “unto all patience and longsuffering” “with joyfulness.”

v12-14 Here is the list of things for which Paul is thankful.

PERSON OF CHRIST (vs15-19)

In Colossians, we come in close on the person of Christ and learn the theology of it. This is a very lofty, very exalted, and very grand section of this epistle. This provides an answer to those who would deny the deity of Jesus Christ. Paul is answering one of the oldest heresies in the church—Gnosticism.

Paul gives here 9 marks of identification of Christ which make Him different from and superior to any other person who has ever lived.

  • The “image of the invisible God.” See John 1.1, 14. Christ was born flesh. That is the way that He became the image of the invisible God. How could that be? Because He is God. If He were not God, He could not have been the image of the invisible God.
  • He is “the firstborn of every creature.” This reveals His relationship to the Father and His position in the Trinity. God is the everlasting Father. Christ is the everlasting Son. “Firstborn” indicates His priority before all creation. Nowhere does Scripture teach that Jesus Christ had his beginning at Bethlehem. In Micah 5.2 we are told that He would be born in Bethlehem, but that he came forth from everlasting. Is. 9.6 tells us that “the child is born” but the “son is given.” He came out of eternity and took on Himself our humanity. Gnosticism taught that Jesus was a creature who came out of a line of created creatures, emanations from God. Paul says Jesus Christ was the firstborn of all creation, that He is back of all creation.

There are several places in Scripture where Christ is called the firstborn. He is called the firstborn of all creation; the firstborn from the dead; and the only begotten.  See Co. 1.18, Ps. 2.7; Ac. 13.32, 33.

When Christ is called the firstborn of all creation, it is not referring to His birth at Bethlehem. It means it has top priority of position. See Ps. 89.27.

Some other verses that speak of the person of Christ. He. 1.3; 1.7, 8.

This says Jesus Christ was God. See Lk. 1.35; Mt. 16.16.

  • “By hi were all things created.” He was the creator. There are two types of creation, visible and invisible. He mentions different gradations of rank in spiritual intelligences: thrones, dominions, principalities, powers. There are gradations in angelic hosts. Other verses te us that there are seraphim and cherubim, and also the archangels. Then there are just the common, everyday, vegetable variety of angels. In Ephesians, we see that our enemy is a spiritual enemy. Satan has a spiritual host that rebelled with him. There are different gradations and ranks of our spiritual enemies too.
  • All things were created “for him.” We are joint heirs of God and joint heirs with the Lord Jesus Christ. We will have a new body free from gravity. We will be able to travel throughout God’s universe. We live in tabernacles, tents. 2 Co. 5.1. 2 Co. 5.8: “willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” Eternity is the prospect ahead for us.
  • “He is before all things” (v17).
  • “By him all things consist” (v17). He holds everything together. See also He. 1.3.
  • “He is the head of the body, the church” (v18). In Ephesians, the emphasis was on the church as the body of Christ in this world. In Colossians, the emphasis is on Christ, the Head of the body. Ephesians 1:22: “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church.” Finally, in Philippians we see the church with feet walking through the world—we see the experience of the church, the experience of the believer.

“The firstborn from the dead.” There is only one man who has a glorified body today. He is the firstfruits of them that sleep. When a believer dies, the body is put to sleep, but the individual has gone to be with the Lord. When Christ comes to take His church out of the world, then that body is going to be raised on the basis of His resurrection. It is sown in corruption, but it will be raised in incorruption (1 Co. 15.42). We shall be just as He is (1 Jn. 3.2).

  • “That in all things he might have the preminence” (v18). God’s intention is that the will of Christ must prevail throughout all of God’s creation. Ps. 2.6. God is moving forward today undeviatingly, unhesitatingly, uncompromisingly toward one goal—to put Jesus Christ on the throne of this world which today is in rebellion against God. That is the objective of God.
  • “It pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell” (v19). In Philippians, Christ emptied Himself and became a servant; He emptied Himself of the glory that He had with the Father. He did not empty Himself of His deity—He was God when He came to this earth.

Here we see that the fullness of God dwells in Him. When He was on the earth, He was 100% God.

Another outline of these verses is:

  • Christ’s relationship to the Father—v 15.
  • Christ’s relationship to the creation—vs 16, 17.
  • Christ’s relationship to the church—vs. 18, 19.
  • Christ’s relationship to the cross—v. 10.

OBJECTIVE WORK OF CHRIST FOR SINNERS (vs. 20-23)

We see here the things Christ has done for us.

v20 “Having made peace through the blood of his cross” means that by His paying the penalty on the cross for your sin and my sin, peace has been made between God and the sinner. God is saying, “I have already borne the punishment, I have already paid the penalty for all your sin. I want you to know that you can come to me. Peace has already been made in Christ Jesus, if you will just turn and come to Me.” This is what Paul meant in Romans 5:1 “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

“By him to reconcile all things unto himself.” Reconciliation is toward man; redemption is toward God. Man must make a decision to be reconciled to God. Paul explains this very clearly in 2 Co. 5.18-20. God is asking man to be reconciled to Him.

“Reconcile all things.” “All things” are those which are appointed to reconciliation. Philippians 3:8 “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.” This refers to all things Paul had to lose.

“Whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” He does not mention things under the earth.  Ephesians 1:22 “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church.” What are the “all things that are going to be put nder His feet? Philippians 2:10 “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.”

Things in heaven and earth are reconciled to God, but not things under the earth. One needs to be reconciled to him in this place and in this life.

“Things in heaven.” Heaven is being made ready to receive us. John 14:2  “…I go to prepare a place for you.” By the blood of Jesus, man is brought to God. This blood also purifies things in heaven according to He. 9.23-24.

v21 A man is lost because he wants to be lost, because he is in rebellion against God. The reason people are lost is because their minds are alienated from God. There is an open hatred and hostility toward God.

v22 Here is an explicit declaration that Christ suffered in a real body. This directly countered one of the heresies of Gnosticism. Unblamable means without blemish. “Unreproveable” means unaccusable or unchargeable. God justifies the believer. He is the One who has cleared us of all guilt.

v23 The if Paul uses here is the if or argument. It means that something was if something else is true. Paul’s point is that we have been reconciled—it is an accomplished fact. If you are a child of God, you will continue in the faith grounded and settled.

SUBJECTIVE WORK OF CHRIST FOR SAINTS (vs24-29)

v24 Paul is saying that it was necessary for him to full up in suffering that which was lacking in the suffering of Christ. That is, Paul was suffering in his body for the sake of Christ’s body. It would seem to say that there was something lacking in the suffering of Christ. A second implication is that it is necessary for all believers to make up that which is lacking. Here it would seem that there is still something to be done. Paul had fulfilled Acts 9:15-16 “But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.”

The sufferings of Paul were not redemptive. There are two kinds of suffering: ministerial and mediatorial. Christ’s sufferings for us was mediatorial.

  • There are two sufferings of Christ which He endured and in which we cannot share.

He suffered as a man. He endured human suffering. As when He was born, He cried like other babies He was clad in the frail flesh and garment we as humans have. He could get hungry and thirst. He experienced loneliness. He suffered anguish and pain and sorrow. He could go to sleep in the boat because He was weary and tired.

Galatians 6:5 “For every man shall bear his own burden.” We are born alone. We feel pain alone. We each must face certain problems in life, and we face them alone. There is a sorrow that comes that no one can share with us. We become sick, and no one can take our place. Humanly speaking, we will die alone.

The second suffering He could not share was His suffering as the son of God. No mortal has ever had to endure what He went through. We see this suffering in Ps. 69.

And then He suffered as the sacrifice for the sin of the world. None of us can do that. He is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world, and none of us can enter into that suffering at all. He alone went to the cross. He was forsaken by God and forsaken by man. His blood was not the blood of martyrdom; His was the blood of sacrifice.

That is a suffering man cannot bear; He could not share that with anyone else.

  • On the other hand, there are the sufferings Christ endured which we can share. These are the sufferings Paul refers to in v24.

There is the suffering for righteousness’ sake. He suffered for righteousness’ sake. See Jn. 8.40. 1 Peter 3:14 :But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled.” 2 Timothy 3:12 “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” In the world today, athletes are lauded, people in entertainment are praised, politicians are praised, and professors are honored; but the man of God is not praised. Romans 8:36 “As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

Then there is the suffering in the measure we identify ourselves with Christ for the proclamation of the gospel. “Because as he is, so are we in this world” (1 Jn. 4.17; see also, Jn. 15.18-19). If you are not of the world, the world will hate you. If you are popular with the world, you are not popular with Christ and vice versa. When we suffer for Christ, the Lord Jesus is also suffering though us. Jesus asked Saul, “Saul, Saul, why persecutes thou me?”

See 1 Pe. 4.12-13. One thing is certain: If the gospel is to go forward today, someone must suffer. Suffering is not popular.

v25 “Dispensation” means economy. It is a stewardship. God deals with the world on the basis of different economies or stewardships. but they have always been based on the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.

Paul writes to the Gentile people in Colosse. They are a part of this new dispensation. The Gentiles are to be included in the church.

“To fulfil the word of God.” This is something that had been hidden in the Old Testament. Now God has declared that the gospel must go to the Gentiles.

v26 A “mystery” is something that had not been revealed in the OT, but is now revealed. It was known in the OT that the Gentiles would be saved. The mystery, the new thing, was that God would now put Israel on the same basis as the Gentiles. God is taking both Jews and Gentiles and putting them into a new body which is the church.

v27 “Christ in you, the hope of glory”—we are in Christ.

v28 The gospel is not what we preach, but who we preach. Jesus Christ is the gospel. He is eternal life. John wrote that he was going to show us eternal life, that he had seen eternal life (see 1 J. 1.1, 2). He had seen Christ.

“Warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom.” “That we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” Perfect means complete or mature.

v29 “Striving” means to agonize. Paul is strving to do this. “According to his working, which worketh in me mightily.” This should be the desire of everyone who is working for Christ—that He would work in us  mightily to do two things: to get out the gospel that men might be saved and then to build them up in the faith. That is the two things the church should be doing today.


Chapter 2

In vs1-15 we will see that Christ is the answer to philosophy. The remainder of the chapter will show that Christ is the answer to ritual. The answer to philosophy is for the head; the answer to ritual is for the heart.

Christianity has always been in danger of evaporating into philosophy—it becomes nothing but steam; or that it will freeze into a form and become nothing more than a ritual. But Jesus Christ is the water of life. He is neither steam nor ice; neither can sustain life.  Christianity is Christ!

There were 5 errors that endangered the Colossian church which Paul will deal with in this chapter:

  • Enticing words—vs4-7
  • Philosophy—vs8-13
  • Legality—vs14-17
  • Mysticism—vs18-19
  • Asceticism—vs20-23

CHRIST, THE ANSWER FOR PHILOSOPHY (For the Head)(vs1-15)

v1 Laodicea was near Colosse. In Re. Laodicea is described as “luke warm.” “Conflict” is agony. MacPhail calls this a prayer of agony. Paul knew there was a grave danger in Colosse and Laodicea. They were in danger of going off in one of two directions. In Re., the Laodiceans were described as lukewarm. They had lost sight of the person of Christ who is the answer to both man’s head and man’s heart. Dr. McGee believes Paul meant by “For as many as have not seen my face in the flesh” means he had never been there.

v2 “Heart” indicates the entire inner man, the whole propulsive nature of man. He is praying that their hearts, their humanity, their whole persons might be comforted.  “Being knit together in love” means compacted in love. Love will draw them together. The bond that unites believers is love.

Full assurance of understanding means that believers should be moving along spiritually—they should be moving along for God. The “mystery of of God, even Christ” is the church. On the Day of Pentecost God started a new thing. He began to call out a group of people int0 the body of believers, baptized into this body. Christ has a physical body while he was on earth and he has a spiritual body here today, the church, which is made of local autonomous assemblies made up of believers.

v3 All that we need is Christ. He is the reservoir of all knowledge.

Now Paul will discuss the error of enticing words.

v4 Philosophy and psychology have been substituted for the Bible and this is the thing that is enticing to so many young preachers in our seminaries today. Many know all about Bultmann and Kant and Plato, but not much about the Word of God. There was that same danger in Colosse and Laodicea. Paul says, “Don’t let anyone beguile (victimize) you by enticing words (oratory or sweet talk).” These words cause many people to follow a certain individual instead of the Word of God. Like the Pied Piper of Hamin, he starts playing, and they start following.

v5 Paul knew that this church was standing. “Beholding your order.” Order is a  military term. Believers should be standing shoulder to shoulder. Instead, many are trying to undermine or take advantage of another believer.

“Steadfastness” means to have a solid front, to be immovable. 1 Corinthians 15:58: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

v6 Salvation is a person, the Lord Jesus Christ. We are to walk in Him, to walk in the Spirit. The Christian life is in the home, the office, the schoolroom, on the street. The way you get around in this life is to walk. You are to walk in Christ.

v7 “Rooted” means rooted like a tree, and a tree is a living thing. And we are to be “built up” as a house. “And stablished in the faith.” Faith is the way you and I lay hold on Christ.

Paul now moves on to discuss the danger of philosophy.

“Beware”—Look out! Stop, look, and listen! If you were to follow the history of philosophy beginning with Plato, including many of the church fathers, and coming down to more recent times (Kant, Locke, and Bultmann etc. who seems to be more crazy that some theologians right now), you would find that none of them have a high view of the inspiration of the Word of God. They are looking for answers to the problems of life, but they will not be found in philosophy.

A true philosopher is a seeker of truth, but truth is not found in human wisdom. Christ is the answer, the answer to philosophy (1 Co. 1.30). But false philosophy is like a blind man looking in a dark room for a black cat that isn’t there—there is no hope for its search for truth. Paul warns the Colossians to beware of this.

“After the tradition of men.” The Lord Jesus condemned the religious rulers in His day because they taught the tradition of men rather than the Word of God.

“After the rudiments of the world and not after Christ.” “Rudiments” means that which is basic, the A B C’s. Some try to build their Christian living on a simple worldly system.

Now Paul will speak of Christ.

v9 A clear cut statement of the deity of Christ.

v10 Ye “are complete in him.” You are ready for the voyage of life in Christ, and whatever you need for the voyage of life you will find in Him.

v11 Paul is telling to get rid of that which is outward. the real circumcision is the new birth. See Ga. 6.15). We become a new creature when we come to Christ and trust Him as Savior. We rest in Him; we are identified with Him.

v12 The death and resurrection of Christ is an historical fact. When Christ died, you and I died with Him; He took our place. And when He was raised, we were raised with Him, and we are now joined to a living Christ.

No outward ceremony can bring us to Christ. Salvation is accomplished by the resurrection power of God. It is not some philosophy; it’s not some gimmick; it’s not some little system; it is not the taking of some course that will enable you to live for God.

v13 Salvation is not the improvement of the old nature; it is the impartation of a new nature. Paul had to deal with two Greek philosophies—Stoicism, and Epicureanism. The Stoic taught that man was to live nobly and that death cannot matter. Hold the appetites in check and become indifferent to changing conditions. They believed that man is more than circumstances and that the soul is greater than the universe. It was a brave philosophy. The problem was how to live it.

The Epicurean taught that all is uncertain. We know not whence we came; we know not whither we go. We only know that after a brief life we disappear from this scene, and it is vain to deny ourselves any present joy in view of the possible future ill. Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die.

Both these systems attempted to deal with the flesh.—the old nature we all have, not the meat on our bones.

If you are joined to Christ, you are going to live as if you are. How close are you to Him? Do you walk with Him? Do you turn to Him in all the emergencies of this life? Is He the center of your life?

The warning against legality (vs14-17).

v14 When Christ died on the Cross, he did not die because He had broken the Ten Commandments. It was because you and I broke them, because everyone is a sinner. If Christ has saved you, you should not go back to a law you could not keep. The law was given to discipline the old nature. The believer has been given a new nature, and the law has been removed as a way of life.

v15 The spiritual victory that Christ won for the believer is of inestimable value.

CHRIST, THE ANSWER TO RITUAL (For the Heart)(vs 16-23)

vs16-17 A believer is not to observe ordinances that are only ritual and liturgical; they have no present value. God did give certain rituals in the OT. But Paul explains they were merely a “shadow of things to come.” The OT rituals were just pictures of Christ.

We come not to the warning against mysticism.

vs18-19 Paul is here condemning the Gnostics who made a pretense of wisdom.

The final warning is against asceticism.

vs 20-21 Since you have died with Christ, do not return to pre-cross living. Paul is talking about the pride that says, “I deny myself, and I don’t do these things. Just look at me. I’m really sprouting wings, and I shine my halo every morning.” “Not in any houour” means it is not of any value. If you are going to walk with Christ, you are going to have a good time.


Chapter 3

Now we come to the practical section, chapters 3 and 4. We have seen the preeminence of Christ in chapters 1 and 2.

Now we come to the place where Paul will insist that He must be made preeminent in our lives. Dedication is Christ preeminent in our lives. If Christ is preeminent in your life, then you are going to live out His life down here on earth. Paul made this clear in Co. 2.9, 10. Christ is the solution to all the problems in life.

Paul has discussed the different things that lead people away from the person of Christ—enticing words, philosophy, legality, mysticism, and asceticism.

The Christian life is to live out the life of Christ.

THOUGHTS AND AFFECTIONS OF BELIEVERS ARE HEAVENLY (vs1-4)

v1 This is the if  of argument, not the if of condition. The lives of these Colossian Christians evidenced their salvation. The evidence was faith, hope, and love—the fruit of the Spirit was in their lives. They loved the believers (Co. 1.4). Love among the believers was so important. They also had hope (Co. 1.5) which is the coming of the Lord Jesus for His children.

“Seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.” “Seek” means an urgency, desire, and ambition. The “things which are above” are the things of Christ. Paul doesn’t say here to seek out and listen to any preacher or teacher. Don’t make Dr. McGee or any man your idol. Look for a man who is just like you are.

The pastor is to preach the Word of God. Every pastor has fallen flat on his face. The Bible is the one Book which reveals the living Christ, and that should be a pastor’s purpose in teaching it.

When you read the Bible, you are looking at the real, living Christ. We are to seek Him. Real study of the Word of God will get you through to the living Christ.

v2 “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”

v3 “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” You died more than 1900 years ago when Christ died. I have been taken out of the old Adam by baptism (of the Holy Spirit).

v4 If you have any life it is Christ’s life. Christ is eternal life.

LIVING OF BELIEVERS IS HOLY (vs. 3.5-4.6)

If we are truly risen with Christ this will be evident in two areas of our lives: (1) our personal holiness, and (2) our fellowship with others who are about us. If ‘Christians’ were as afraid of sin and they are of holiness, it would be a wonderful thing.” If you have accepted Christ as your Savoiur, that is going to show in your life down here.

v5 “Mortify” means to put to death, or put in the place of death. Colossians 3:5 “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” “Fornication” means sexual immorality. “Uncleanness” includes thoughts, words, looks, gestures and the jokes we tell. “Inordinate affection” means uncontrolled passion or lust. “Evil concupiscence” means evil desires. “Covetousness, which is idolatry” means when we always must have more.

Dr. McGee says that covetousness is the root of most of the problems in our country today. 1 Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

v6-7 Men are lost bc they are sinners. God’s wrath comes on “the children of disobedience.”

v8 Believers put off all these things “anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” Anger becomes wrath when we develop an unforgiving spirit. Malice is an anger that has been nursed along, and anger that tries to take revenge and get even. There is blasphemy against God (defaming the name of God, misrepresenting Him, hating Him) and blasphemy against man (for example, saying something about another Christian that is not true). “Filthy communication out of your mouth” means foul communication and includes both that which is abusive and that which is filthy.

v9 Christians are not to lie.

v10 “Put on the new man which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.”

v11 In church, there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythina, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in al” All are brethren. Barbarian, Scythian – the most barbaric the world has known. Some of them had been won to Christ. “Christ is all and in all.”

We are in the practical section of Colossians.

v12 “The elect of God” are those who have been saved. These are clothed in the righteousness of Christ. The garments Paul is talking of are the fruit of the Holy Spirit. We can’t attain this wonderful position that I have in Christ. So you and I find ourselves cast upon Him. As it says in Song of Solomon, “Draw me, draw me.”

“Bowels of mercies” means heart of compassion. “Kindness” means to be helpful to others. “Humbleness” is meekness. “Meekness:” the emphasis here is meekness of spirit. “Longsuffering” means it burns a long time. We should not have a short fuse. We should not make snap judgments.

v13 Quarrel” means complaint. Paul is including situations where there is blame involved and the complaint is justified. What are we to do in such situations? “Even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”  We are to go to the one we have a complaint against and try to work it out. But there are some with whom y0ou cannot work out things.  When our Lord denounced the Pharisees, there is no mention of forgiveness—He just denounced them. They did not seek His forgiveness, of course. Paul’s thought here is that Christ has forgiven us so much that it won’t hurt us to forgive somebody who has stepped on our toes. We are to forgive others the same way that Christ has forgiven us.

vs14-15 “Charity” is love. We have in these 2 verses two fruits of the Spirit: love and peace. The peace of God should “rule,” govern, our hearts.

v16 “The word of Christ.” John 15:3 “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” “Dwell” means to be at home, to be given the run of the house.

“Let the peace of God rule your hearts”—let it be an umpire. Then “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom”—let it be at home. Know Him. Be familiar with the Word of Christ; study it and know what He is saying to you. He speaks to you in His Word.

“Teaching and admonishing  one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.” “Singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

v17 Paul here does not say what we should or should not do. He simply says, “Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” All you do at home, in the workplace, in relationships with others, can you say, “I am doing this in the name of the Lord Jesus.” If so, go ahead and do it.

Now Paul comes to the subject of holiness in the home. Notice he is dealing with the same things he dealt with in Ephesians. Now, he gives instructions for living.

The Word of God is inspired by the Holy Spirit. If the Word of God dwells in you richly, then you are filled with the Spirit of God. You cannot be filled with the Holy Spirit or serve Christ until you are filled with the knowledge of His Word. If God’s Word dwells in you richly, it will work itself out in your life, and it will have an effect on your home.

v18 This is for the purpose of order in the home, not for the purpose of a browbeating husband. A wife should not stay with a drunken husband and maybe beats her. She loses her own personality she loses her own dignity, and she will find herself being brought down to his level is she submits to that. She is to submit “as it is fit in the Lord.”

v19 The husband who loves his wife is the one to whom the wife is to submit.

v20 Children are to obey their parents, to honor their parents all their lives. However, the child needs to grow up. This verse is for children, for minor.

v21 Proverbs reveals that the responsibility to find God’s will for the child has been given to the parents. Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Now Paul moves to the subject of holiness on the job at the place of employment.

v22 “Don’t keep your eye on the clock. Keep your eye on Christ. He is the one you are serving.” If you are lazy, you are not dedicated to Christ. Paul had one goal: Philippians 3:13-14: “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” He had his eye, his mind, his heart, and his total affections fixed upon Jesus Christ.

v23 Work from your soul, with enthusiasm unto the Lord. This applies to everything you do. Even if you cannot go to church with enthusiasm, Dr. McGee recommends that you quit going to that church. Do everything “as to the Lord,” not to men. We are not to be menpleasers.

v24 The Lord sees all that you do. You have to give an account of your life to Him. He is going to ask that His representative be found faithful. There are a lot of humble, little-known people down here that we know nothing about that have been faithful on the job, to their employer, to their church, to their homes. They will receive a reward. “For ye serve the Lord Christ.”

v25 He is going to straighten out everything in your life and in my life that we don’t straighten out down here. It is a privilege to be in God’s service. But don’t ever think that makes you something special. When the Lord judges you, He will judge you on faithfulness.

Only the Holy Spirit working in me can attain this high and holy calling. He wants me to mirror Him in every relationship I have down here.


Chapter 4

Chapter 3 concluded with exhortations to servants or to employees. Chapter 4 will continue with exhortations to masters or to employers.

v1 The master is to do right by the servant. “Knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.” The master will stand with Christ someday. Every Christian employer, as well as employee, will stand before God some day. This gets down to where the rubber meets the road.

The next few verses present 3 more areas of Christian conduct which are important: prayer, our public walk, and speech.

v2 Pray and watch. Reminds us of Nehemiah. He prayed, worked and watched. He said, “Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them” (Ne. 4.9). “With thanksgiving.” Always thank God because He is always going to answer your prayer. Maybe it won’t be the answer you wanted, but He will answer.

vs3-4 Paul says, “Don’t forget to pray for us.” “That God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am in bonds.”

v5 The child of God has a responsibility before the world today to walk in wisdom. “Redeemin the time.”

v6 Speak with grace, “seasoned with salt.”

FELLOWSHIP OF BELIEVERS IS HEARTY (vs7-)

We come to a remarkable list of names of people Paul knew. This reveals that Paul had led many people to Christ who returned home to cites he was never able to reach directly or personally.

vs7-8 Tychicus was the pastor of the church in Ephesus. He is mentioned in Ep. 6.21, Ac. 20.4, and 2 Ti. 4.12.

v9 Onesimus was a slave of Philemon in Colosse.

v10 Aristarchus was a fellow prisoner with Paul. Marcus is John Mark, the nephew of Barnabas.  He is the writer of the gospel of Mark.

v11 “Jesus which is called Justus” is “of the circumcision.” He is one of the few Israelites in the church in Colosse, which was mostly Gentile.

v12 Epaphras was the pastor in Colosse. Now he is in prison.

v13 v14 “Luke, the beloved physician.” Paul called Demas a fellow workker when he first mentioned him. Here he simply says, “… and Demas.” This may indicate Paul isn’t sure about him. Later, Demas forsakes Paul.

v15 Christians met in homes.

v16 This epistle is to be read also in the church of Laodicea, as the letter to Laodicea is to be read in the church at Colosse.

v17 Archippus. Paul is telling him to use his gift.

v18 This is the 2nd time Paul says, “Remember my bonds.” “Grace be with you Amen.”

2. Definitions of “separation of church and state,” “established church,” and “religious freedom or soul liberty”


A Publication of Churches Under Christ Ministry


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Jerald Finney
Copyright © January 22, 2018


Separation of church and state,” “established church” and “religious freedom or soul liberty,” are inherent in the establishment clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. This lesson will define those phrases. The remaining studies and cited authorities, especially the studies on the history of the First Amendment will make perfectly clear that the definitions given here are accurate.

 1. Definition of Separation of Church and State

Click the above to go to the article, “Is Separation of Church and State Found in the Constitution?

The biblical principle of “separation of church and state” is that God desires both a church and the state to choose to be under God, but desires neither to be over or to work hand in hand with the other. A church has spiritual responsibilities. The state has earthly responsibilities. The Bible contains different principles for a church and the state. God desires the two to be totally separate entities, both ordained by God who desires both to submit to Him in love and to be guided by His principles as stated in His Word. A church under God remains an eternal spiritual entity only so long as she does not inadvertently or intentionally change her status to an earthly temporal entity by placing herself under the law of man, under civil government. By placing herself under the law of man, she combines church and state and makes herself, at least partially but perhaps wholly, a temporal, legal, earthly entity.

The main example in America is the incorporated 501(c)(3) church. The rules of civil government for the corporate 501(c)(3) church are secular and such a church agrees, when she applies for and executes the status, to the rules which come with state non-profit corporation law and the rules that come with 501(c)(3). She also agrees that any disputes over violation of the rules will be decided by the authority—the state of incorporation or, for 501(c)(3) purposes, the federal government. God and the Bible will have no part of disputes as to many matters. The authority is civil government.

In other words, the corporate 501(c)(3) church has not only put herself under man’s law, not God’s law, for many matters; she has also taken herself from under the First Amendment—a statement of the Bible principle of separation of church and state (not separation of God and State—and placed herself under the Fourteenth Amendment for many purposes.

 2. Definition of “Established Church”

An established church is a church who is an integral part of the state and receives state support. She does this trough becoming a legal entity. The established church and state reach an agreement or enter into a contract whereby either the state aids the church in attaining earthly and/or spiritual goals or vice-versa and, to one degree or another, the state runs the church or the established church runs the state. The church and state work hand in hand to enforce earthly and spiritual laws and principles. In modern America state-churches are influenced, perverted, and/or perhaps dominated by state enforced satanic principles. For more on this, see What is an established church?

Historically, the established church has either been over the state, or the state has been over the established church. When the state has been over the church, the state directs the affairs of the church to a greater or lesser degree and vice-versa. In either case, the spiritual affairs of the church are mixed with the earthly responsibilities of the state. In the past, in either a church-state or state-church, leaders of both church and state operated under a false theology based upon false biblical principles. The results were (1) corruption of the church, corruption of the state, corruption of the clergy and political leaders and the members of society and the church, and (2) torture, imprisonment, and/or the killing of those who refused to bow down to the theology of the church-state or state-church. We see the former results in the church-state activities in America today. The latter results are coming.

  3. Definition of Religious Freedom or Soul Liberty

“By religious freedom, or soul liberty, is meant the natural and inalienable right of every soul to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, and to be unmolested in the exercise of that right, so long, at least, as he does not infringe upon the rights of others; that religion is, and must be a voluntary service; that only such service is acceptable to God; and, hence that no earthly power, whether civil or ecclesiastical, has any right to compel conformity to any creed or to any species of worship, or to tax a man for its support.

Religious freedom exists when every citizen has, by law, the choice, without persecution, of choosing God, false gods or a false god, or no god at all. Religious freedom, as shown in God’s Word, is what He desires in a Gentile nation. Even though He desires Gentile nations to provide for religious liberty, He also wants them to submit themselves to Him and His principles, and recognize that Jesus Christ is the Supreme Sovereign. Thus a nation modeled after biblical principles will provide for religious liberty while also operating under God and His principles.

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“This principle gives to ‘Caesar’ ‘the things that are Caesar’s,’ but it denies to Caesar ‘the things that are God’s.’ It does not make it a matter of indifference what a man believes or how he acts, but it places all on the same footing before God, the only lord of the conscience, and makes us responsible to him alone for our faith and practice. [By 1900 this doctrine was] very generally accepted, not only in Virginia, but also throughout the United States. It [had] been incorporated into our National and State Constitutions, and it [was ] the basis for our civil liberties” (Charles F. James, Documentary History of the Struggle for Religious Liberty in Virginia (Harrisonburg, VA.: Sprinkle Publications, 2007; First Published Lynchburg, VA.: J. P. Bell Company, 1900), p. 9.).

 

1. Introduction to the Biblical Doctrine of Separation of Church and State

 

A Publication of Churches Under Christ Ministry


Miss one part of the puzzle that is being put together in these studies and you will never see and understand the whole picture.


Previous Chapter:
B. Bible Doctrine of Church

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2. Definitions of “Separation of Church and State,” “Established Church,” and “Religious Freedom or Soul Liberty”

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Jerald Finney
Copyright © January 20, 2018


As these studies have already shown, God, the Supreme Ruler, ordained civil government and the church at different times, for different purposes, and for peoples with different natures. God ordained the state, the civil government, to deal with earthly matters, and the church to deal with spiritual matters. When church and state combine, the earthly combines with the spiritual and trouble lies ahead, as history proves.

Click the above to go to the article, “Is Separation of Church and State Found in the Constitution?

God desires that both civil governments and churches choose to be under Him, to operate according to His principles. At the same time, God desires separation of church and state—that is, He desires that neither the church nor the Gentile state work with or be under the other. A church who does not understand this proper relationship will be easily influenced to take earthly benefits from the state in return for forsaking her purely spiritual status and calling under Christ. Most American churches have corporate 501(c)(3) legal status; both combine church and state for earthly temporal legal reasons. Such churches are established churches, legal creatures of the state.[i]

It is the responsibility of every church, not the state—regardless of all persecutions by the state, by the church-state alliance, and/or by the world in general—to be a light and stand for and proclaim truth. This is so because a church is the only institution made up of people privy to God’s spiritual insights, and is “the pillar and ground of the truth.”[ii]  Generally speaking, those who run civil government cannot know spiritual and ultimate truth since most leaders in civil government are unregenerate (or, in rare instances, Christians who are usually spiritual babies).

Catholicism was the original church to be united with the state through the law of civil government in the early fourth century. Catholicism, most notably Augustine and much later Aquinas, developed the theology which unifies church and state through the laws of a nation. This theology justifies the persecution, torture, and murder of heretics. Established Protestant churches continued to practice this heretical theology. Church state establishments have always viciously persecuted and murdered those whom the established church has labeled to be heretical.[iii]

Established churches in the American colonies—notably, the Puritans and Anglicans—continued to persecute heretics, although due to constraints by England, not as severely as in the Old World. As always, faithful Bible stood spiritually, not physically, against the establishments. Due to the circumstances in the colonies, those heroes of the faith ultimately prevailed when the First Amendment was ratified and added to the United States Constitution.[iii]

The Covenant Theology of the Puritans, a modified form of Calvinism, which is a modification of Catholic theology, spiritualizes and allegorizes much of the Bible. Calvinism teaches union of church and state and requires the persecution of heretics.

The main opponents of Covenant Theology, union of church and state, and persecution of “heretics” in the colonies were the Baptists. The writings and history, for the most part have survived. Unlike the Old World where Protestantism and Catholicism before that successfully destroyed the books, writings, and teachings of “heretics” new forces came together in the colonies which allowed the brilliant history and writings of men such as Roger Williams, Dr. John Clarke, Isaac Backus, and other to be preserved. Sadly, Christian Revisionism, not to mention secular revisionism, has tried to blot out or pervert and hide that history and those writings.

This section will examine:

  • Covenant Theology versus the theology of the dissenting Baptists in the colonies;
  • some distinct differences between the church and the state which render them mutually exclusive;
  • Christ’s statement concerning Caesar and God and the false interpretation of Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2.13 and some other verses which are often cited out of context to support unlimited submission to the state in all earthly matters, and in all spiritual matters, with the possible exception of preaching salvation;
  • the Bible doctrine concerning the relationship of church and state.

Click here to go to a more thorough and advanced Introduction.


Endnotes

[i] See What is an established church?

[ii] 1 Ti. 3.15. Many earthly relationships and behaviors involve the application of spiritual insights. For example, God teaches, in His Word, the responsibilities of husbands to wives, wives to husbands, parents to children, children to parents, civil government to marriages and the men and women joined in marriage, civil government to children, and so forth. Although these are spiritual teachings, they are to be applied in earthly relationships to which there is a spiritual parameter. In other words, God is involved in all relationships and has outlined the ultimate consequences for behaviors, and therefore, everything is spiritual even though it may have an earthly dimension. The trouble comes when man tries to exclude God and His principles, an impossible task.

Also, every sphere of ordained government has its own God-given jurisdiction. God desires the state to stay out of family affairs unless criminal acts are involved. He wants civil government to stay out of church affairs, and the church, as an institution to stay out of state affairs. At the same time, he wants Christians to be in authority since only Christians can apply His principles in the realm of government (of course this has almost never happened). Likewise, a church has no God-given jurisdiction over a family.

[iii] Some resources which cover history of the union of church and state under Catholic and Protestant legal establishments (established church/states) are: The History of the First Amendment, The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus, and Introduction to the biblical doctrine of “Separation of Church and State (Covers persecution from the crucifixion of Christ by Jews, Rome (the Catholic/Roman establishment), to the Reformation, to the American colonies).

 

Testimony of Joshua Burnham and family

I was saved in February of 2014. The Lord put the desire in my heart to find his church and be a faithful member of it, but I was not very grounded in the faith. My doctrinal understanding was largely undeveloped. Consistent reading of the NIV did not help me in my lack of biblical understanding. I was persuaded by a friend to attend a church in Greenville, SC. It was a non-denominational satellite campus of a megachurch based out of Charleston. The church was very worldly, and did not understand the ordinance of the Lord’s table. Still, I thought the church was sound in my ignorance, but I didn’t think the thirty-minute commute was worth it if there was a similar church near my home.

I came across a very large non-denominational charismatic church in Spartanburg. I did not understand the charismatic issue at the time and believed that the strong relationship preaching was “fiery.” They also did not disclose that they were charismatic. The worship was largely driven by emotional outbursts. I thought this church was sound and pursued membership and eventually was “baptized.” Yet, all-the-while, I was spiritually starving from the lack of doctrinal preaching. This brought about a yearning in my spirit for more of God’s truth. The church put on small group programs. I began to faithfully attend a group geared towards young adults in the hope that I would be built up in my new faith. I began to be troubled with the conditional security false doctrine taught in the NIV. I was also listening to many reformed people from a variety of perspectives, but none of the preaching was very powerful. As I was being tossed to and fro, God mercifully brought a brother in Christ to the college. He was a KJV Independent Baptist. I spoke with him about the trouble I was having with conditional security. He very plainly told me the reason I was troubled was because I was reading a perverted Bible version. I got a KJV Bible and began reading it immediately. God revealed it through his Spirit that I was reading the words of God. I changed my reading to the KJV and after reading Romans 11:29 I had peace that God would never take away his gift from me.

Having the KJV changed everything. I noticed that the passages people were reading during the small group meetings did not match up with what my Bible said. This troubled me and caused me to become frustrated with the teaching I was being exposed to. I realized that I couldn’t listen to the reformed people online anymore, but I remained loyal to the leadership of my church. Desire for learning more led me to find internet teachers that held to the KJV only position. I came across an internet ministry that taught on a variety of topics. On the same day the Lord revealed the issues of marriage licensure and 501©3. It was obvious to me that this topic was of great importance to God, so I continued to study it out. I came across brother Finney’s materials on his website, which lead me to Pastor Cooley’s sermon “Covenant vs. Contract Marriage.” That was the first sermon I listened to from OPBC.

After studying the law in South Carolina concerning marriage licensure I realized that pastors of 501©3 churches were contractually obligated to marry people with licenses if they were going to officiate the ceremony. This left me with a decision to make. I knew that if I decided to go along with the current plan for my pastor to marry my then-fiancé and me that I would be in rebellion to God and his order. I wrote a letter rebuking the church for their idolatry and spiritual adultery and resending my membership, and brought it with me to a meeting with my pastor. I handed him the letter and informed him that I was not willing for him to marry us because the church was a 501©3. I told him that God was not pleased with how the church served mammon more than God, and that God’s desire in his word was for the church to repent and dissolve the corporation, citing the church of Laodicea. He did not receive the love of the truth, and informed me that I needed to stay away from brother Finney’s materials. The interesting thing is that I had never brought up brother Finney to anyone at the church, which means he knew about the issue previously and held the truth in unrighteousness.

I went unchurched for many months because I did not trust that any of the churches in my area were non-incorporated. I was solely listening to OPBC at the time. I always liked the idea of going to OPBC, but my plans for how I was going to practice chiropractic interfered with being obedient to God’s revealed will. The brother in Christ from my school informed me that he and his wife were attending an independent, KJV only, Baptist church in Cowpens, and that he enjoyed the preaching there and believed it to be biblical. My fiancé and I began to attend the services, and I thoroughly enjoyed the preaching of the gospel. The problem was that all they preached was the gospel. There was very little doctrinal teaching and almost no preaching on separation and God’s standards for Christian conduct. They went door knocking every weekend to ask people to come to church and hear the gospel. This vexed me because I knew that God’s way was for the church to bring the gospel out of the camp by preaching on the streets. I also knew that God’s churches were spiritual entities made up of born again Bible believing Christians. The church also owned a Christian school, and I was concerned that the church was incorporated. This was the main reason I did not pursue membership, although I did not have any evidence that the church was a creature of the state. I thought that it was certainly possible for God to have provided all of it to the church, but I thought it was still a doctrine worth bringing to the church’s attention.

I attempted to communicate these ideas to the deacons and pastor of the church by sending them sermons from Pastor Cooley. My communications went largely unnoticed. I spoke with the pastor on a one-to-one basis about simply taking God at his word, using geocentricity as an example. He told me that after reading the 200+ verses which explicitly teach egocentricity he could not find geocentricity anywhere in the Bible. This greatly troubled me, and I began to worry that the pastor did not believe the Bible. In bewilderment, he asked me if all the people who had ever taught him about creation were wrong, to which I replied “yes.”

Eventually, the brother in Christ and I asked the pastor to sit down with us and the Bible to look at the scriptures concerning these doctrines. Much to my dismay, we found ourselves in front of a panel of deacons, members, and the pastor. My intent was again to use geocentricity as an example for simple Bible faith, but there was no discussion about the word of God. Not one of the “supposed” KJV Bible believing Christians opened the Bible to prove either of us wrong about what we brought up. Instead, we were told by a member which lead songs that “you have your truth and we have our truth.” I was shocked to see that nobody had anything to say about his comment. The height of relativism had fully infiltrated the church and went totally unchecked by the leadership. My brother in Christ was beside himself in trying to plead that they would consider opening the Bible and discussing the scriptures. No ground was made and out of desperation I brought up street preaching and regenerate church membership. The pastor told me that he had never heard of somebody who believed that only saved people belong in the church. I quickly realized that these people were unwilling to let the Bible correct them, and I decided to give up on trying to win them to the truth. We mutually agreed to end the conversation, and I was told that I was not welcome back. I thanked the pastor for his time and left the church. The brother in Christ was so grieved by the entire experience that he broke down in tears and wept.

I knew that God wanted me to go to OPBC, but I was unwilling to submit my plans to God. God allowed me to slowly become more and more confused about chiropractic, and eventually I dropped out of school and gave up on the profession. Having nothing to keep my wife and I in South Carolina, we moved and began our new life in Minnesota. We were baptized in March of that year.

I recently found out that the church in Cowpens had obtained state-incorporated status in January of 2018, approximately two years after the meeting. The height of rejection of God’s word was finally realized. They were handed over to their own delusion and prostituted their congregation out to the state.

9. Heresy and Apostasy


A Publication of Churches Under Christ Ministry


If you miss one part of the puzzle that is being put together in these studies, you will never see and understand the whole picture.


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8. How To Recognize a New Testament Church

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Jerald Finney
Copyright © January 9, 2018


Prior to the return of the Lord, the visible churches, except for a remnant, will go into apostasy.[i]

“Apostasy, ‘falling away,’ is the act of professed Christians who deliberately reject revealed truth (1) as to the deity of Jesus Christ, and (2) redemption through His atoning and redeeming sacrifice.[ii] Apostasy differs therefore from error concerning truth, which may be the result of ignorance[iii] or heresy, which may be due to the snare of Satan[iv] both of which may consist with true faith. The apostate is perfectly described in 2 Timothy 4.3, 4.[v] Apostates depart from the faith, but not from the outward profession of Christianity.[vi] Apostate teachers are described in various verses in the New Testament.[vii] Apostasy in the church, as in Israel[viii] is irremediable, and awaits judgment.[ix]

Inevitably, there is no remedy for apostasy but judgment.[x] For example, Noah preached for 120 years, won no converts, and the judgment predicted by his great-grandfather fell.[xi]

“Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth” (Lu. 18.8b)?  The reference is not to personal faith, but to belief in the whole body of revealed truth.[xii] “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Ti. 4.1).

In the New Testament, the apostasy was treated as having already set in. In fact, the Asian churches had not disbanded, nor ceased to call themselves Christian; but they had turned away from the doctrines of grace distinctively revealed through the Apostle Paul. Thus, even in the beginning of the church, the apostle Paul and Jude were concerned with the tendency to depart from the faith due to the influence of false teachers.[xiii]

Many of our churches today, even many of our independent Bible believing churches, have perverted the gospel of Christ and turned the grace of our God into lasciviousness even though perhaps they have not verbally denied our Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Gentile world apostasy comes in seven stages.[xiv] As a result of this worldwide Gentile apostasy, mankind sinks to the depths of depravity.[xv] The apostasy is usually introduced by ungodly men who will “wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.”[xvi]

Our Lord warned against false teachers.[xvii] The Lord is obviously warning that many of His children will be deceived by the many false prophets which shall arise. With heresy and apostasy, the God-given doctrines and goal for churches and for Christians are left in the dust.  As a result, God is not glorified at all. Everything in the ultimate modern American church is for self—the headship, the “Bibles,” the doctrines taught, the preaching, the music, the dress, the goal, everything.

Peter, Paul, and Jude traced the origin of apostasy to false teachers, explained their methods of operation, and warned the church to beware of the apostasy.[xviii]

Only a little leaven can completely change and pervert the truth of the Gospel.[xix]

False teachers deny redemption truth.[xx] Others deny the truth concerning Christ’s person as Son of God, God himself.[xxi]

In Jude all phases of apostasy are seen. Jude mentions those who “ran after the error of Balaam for reward.” Many pastors and other Christians today, like Balaam, revert to human reasoning and, among other unbiblical practices, put God’s church under the state for reward—that is, for money, for popularity, or power. They may not have gone completely into apostasy, but heresy is the first step toward apostasy.

The tone of the New Testament writers when dealing with heresy and apostasy is never one of dejection or pessimism. They remained sustained and joyful.[xxii] God & His promises are still the resource of the believer.

2 Timothy, 2 Peter, Jude, and 2 & 3 John deal the personal walk and testimony of a true servant of Christ in a day of apostasy and declension. For example, Paul gives instructions for the “good soldier” in the face of apostasy.[xxiii] Paul instructed Timothy, a preacher whom Paul called his “dearly beloved son (2 Ti. 1.2)” and his “own son in the faith” (1 Ti. 1.2) as to what to do in times of apostasy.[xxiv]

“The believer’s resources in a day of general declension and apostasy  are faith (2 Ti. 1.5), the spirit (2 Ti. 1.6-7), the Word of God (2 Ti. 1.13; 3.1-17; 4.3-4), the grace of Christ (2 Ti. 2.1), separation from vessels unto dishonor (2 Ti. 2.4, 20-21), the Lord’s sure reward (2 Ti. 4.7-8), and the Lord’s faithfulness and power (2 Ti. 2.13, 19).


For more thorough studies on heresy and apostasy, to chapters numbered 4-9 at the following webpage:
The Biblical Doctrine of the Church


Endnotes

[i] “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition: who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (2 Th. 2.3-4).

[ii] 1 Jn. 4.1-3: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.’]; Phil. 3.18: “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ;” 2 Pe. 2.1: “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”

[iii] Ac. 19.1-6: “And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.”

[iv] 2 Ti. 2.25, 26 “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”

[v] 2 Ti. 4.3-4: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned into fables.”

[vi] 2 Ti. 3.5: “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof, from such turn away.”

[vii] . 2 Ti. 4.3: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;: 2 Pe. 2.1-19 [quoted here in part]: “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.  And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: … But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; …  Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; ….These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.  While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage;” Jude 4, 8, 11-13, 16: “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ…. Likewise also thesefilthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities…. Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.”

[viii] Isa. 1.5, 6; 5.5-7.

[ix] 2 Thes. 2.10-12: “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness;” 2 Pet. 2.17, 21: “These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever…. 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;” Jude 11-15; Re. 3.14-16.

[x] Is. 1.2-7, 24, 25; He. 6.4-8; 10.26-31.

[xi]  Jude 14, 15; Ge. 7.11.

[xii] See, e.g., Ro. 1.5; 1 Co. 16.13; 2 Co. 13.5; Col. 1.23, 2.7; Tit. 1.13; Jude 3.

[xiii] “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:  Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you; and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Ga. 1.6-8). “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 4).

[xiv] “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things” (Ro. 1.21-23).

[xv] “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 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 another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents. Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them”  (Ro. 1.24-32).

[xvi]  2 Ti. 3.13.

[xvii] “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Mt. 7.15). “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Mt. 7.21-23). “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Mt. 24.4-5). “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many” (Mt. 24.11). “For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect” (Mk. 13.22). “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 5.19). “But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Mt. 15.9).

[xviii] “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing he flock: Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears” (Ac. 20.28-31).

“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Ga. 1.8-9).

“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you” (Ga. 3.1)?

“For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you” (1 Co. 11.19).

“For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him” (2 Co. 11.4).

“For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision; Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake” (Tit. 1.10-11).

“Now the spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Ti. 4.1-2).

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned to fables. Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (2 Ti. 4.3-5).

“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not….  Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved wages of unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet. These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought into bondage” (2 Pe. 2.1-3, 15-19. All of 2 Pe. 2 deals with false teachers.).

“Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (2 Jn. 9-11).

“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Pe. 3.3-4).

“For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 4. Jude predicts the apostasy of the professing church and describes the cause and course of the apostasy. As in 2 Timothy and 2 Peter, the apostasy is treated as having already set in.

[xix] “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?  This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (Ga. 5.7-9).

[xx] “[False teachers] shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them and bring upon themselves swift destruction” (2 Pe. 2.1).

[xxi] “BELOVED, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them” (1 Jn. 4.1-5; see also, 1 Jn. 2.18-28).

[xxii] Although Paul as recorded in II Timothy and Peter as recorded in II Peter are aware that martyrdom is near (See 2 Ti. 4.6-8, 2 Pe. 1.14, and Jn. 21.18-19), both are apparently sustained and joyful: “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Ti. 4.7-8). The whole book of 2 Timothy reflects Paul’s joyful attitude as 2 Peter shows Peter to be likewise joyful and sustained.

[xxiii] “[B]e strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou has heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life: that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier….  Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: …  It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: If we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself….  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: …  Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (2 Ti. 2.1-4, 8, 11-13, 15-17a, 22-25).

[xxiv] “Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned into fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of the evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry” (2 Ti. 4.2-5).

Conclusion to the Doctrine of the Church


A Publication of Churches Under Christ Ministry


If you miss one part of the puzzle that is being put together in these studies, you will never see and understand the whole picture.


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Jerald Finney
Copyright © January 9, 2018


The Supreme Ruler ordained the church, as He ordained civil government. He gave churches—as He has given individual, family and civil governments—His Word wherein they can learn God’s guidelines which He desires that they choose to follow. Most churches have followed Satan’s, not God’s, principles. He has used false teachers from the beginning. As a result, apostasy crept into the church shortly after its inception. That apostasy has accelerated in America as the  tribulation approaches.

Many American churches today are heretical or apostate. They say, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing. As to them, God says, you “knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Re. 3.17). They follow the principles of the god of this world, not God’s principles. They are of this world and follow the principles of the god of this world. Christ is not of this world, nor are his followers. [i]

Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression (1 Ti. 2.14, Ro. 5.14, Ge. 3.1-6).  Christ was not deceived, but His bride was. “As the first Adam had to give up a perfect existence in order to be with his wife, so the last Adam, Christ (1 Co. 15.22, 45), stepped down from heaven to save his bride. While the first Adam ‘blew it,’ the last Adam would make everything right! (Ro. 5:12-21) Charles Wesley set this doctrine to music with the words, ‘Second Adam from above, reinstate us with thy love.’ … “The all-important verse that connects this typology to the present Laodicean apostasy is Ec. 1:9a: ‘The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done….’ Thus, the history of mankind will undoubtedly end the same way it began—with a bride being deceived!” (William P. Grady, How Satan Turned America Against God (Knoxville, Tennessee: Grady Publications, Inc., 2005), p. vii.).

Regardless of this inevitable apostasy and the events that are to follow, things are looking good for you and me—that is, if you are a Christian! Christians can have the ultimate hope: the hope that they will reign with the Lord. “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” (Ro. 8.16-17) [Bold emphasis added]. This should be a cause for great rejoicing as well as incentive to be responsible members of a local autonomous New Testament church and to make sure that every effort is made to glorify God and assure that a church remains totally under Christ in every way. The Holy Spirit is now calling out, not the subjects, but the co-heirs and co-rulers of the kingdom.[ii]

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (Jn. 3.16-19).

“[Jesus], being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Ph. 2.6-8).


Endnotes

[i] See Jn. 8.23-45.

[ii] “It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us” (2 Ti. 2.11-12).

“And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (Re. 1.6).

“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne” (Re. 3.21).

“And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” (Re. 5.10).

“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.’ 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. 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” (Ro. 8.15-18).

“Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life” (1 Co. 6.2-3)?