Know Your Bible
July 2002

Buried Alive!

There are those folks interested in spiritual matters who must think that burying a man alive is perfectly fine. You see, these folks believe that a person is born again at the point of faith. So, they think the old man is dead at that time and the new man comes alive. To them, being a new creature in Christ comes at this point.

Now most of these same folks believe that baptism is a burial. After all, doesn't the New Testament plainly say so? "Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" (Rom. 6:4). "buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead" (Col. 2:12). Hey also believe that these "born again folks" can be baptized if they choose, but it's not a big deal with them. However, if someone from among these folks should decide to be baptized, aren't they burying a man alive?

Here is how they have it:

1. Dead

2. Alive

3. Buried

Make any sense to you? Yet, these folks must think this is perfectly fine because they teach it as though it was God's truth!

What does the New Testament say? Well, it does say that one is dead in sins (Eph. 2:1, 5).It also mentions being made alive in those same passages. Yet, neither verse implies that one is made alive at the point of faith. We will have to look elsewhere.

Now, it is true that faith precedes baptism (Mk. 16:16; Acts 8:12-13, 36-38; 18:8; et al). So, if a person was "made alive" through faith, then one would be alive at this burial! However, we should examine what is taught in one of the places where being buried in baptism is found since it is there that a transition from death to life takes place. "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection" (Rom. 6:3-5).

After mentioning death in baptism, Paul uses the expression "newness of life." It seems an inescapable conclusion that this incorporates the being "made alive" of Ephesians 2:1, 5. Here, then, is the New Testament teaching about the point where one is "made alive" and it is not at the point of faith. Being "made alive" at the point of faith is lacking for Scriptural support.

Here is how the New Testament has it:

1. Dead

2. Buried

3. Alive

Compare this arrangement to the other. They are not the same, but radically different. In the physical realm dead people are buried to await the resurrection (new life). In the spiritual realm dead people are to be buried to be raised to "walk in newness of life." The parallel is clear and plain. Let us speak as the Bible speaks about death, burial and being made alive.

---Terry Sanders

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Which Church Is Right?

With the situation in the religious world being what it is, this may sound like a ridiculous question to some. We so often hear, "Join the church of your choice," or "One church is as good as another"and "It doesn't matter what you believe as long as you're sincere." This is what man says but is this what God says about it? Does it matter what church you join and support?

In Matthew 16:18 we have the first mention made of the church: Jesus said, "And I say unto you that thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it". Note that He said "church" - not churches. Jesus intended only to build one church and we must know that one is all He built.

Ephesians 4:4-6 teaches there "is one body and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." The "one body" is one church, for the body of Christ is the church, and Christ as the head of it (Eph. 1:22, 23; Col. 1:18, 24). If there is only one body and the body is the church, it follows that there is only one church.

When we look about us and see there are many "churches", there should be no doubt that something is not right! Instead of praising denominationalism, as we hear so many do, we should hang our heads in shame at the gross error and division that is its fruit. What we have now is not what Jesus intended at all.

So, which church is right? We must look to the Scriptures to know the answer and not to human opinions. We must first see what the scriptures teach concerning what constitutes the church. Who are members of the body of Christ, the church? In Acts 2:47 we learn those who were added to the church were those who were being saved. The next identifying mark of the true church is that they teach and practice only what the head of the church has authorized. Since Christ has been given all authority (Matt. 28:18), the true church follows the words of Christ. They have no creed but the Bible and no head but Christ. If a church has its own creed or recognizes anyone but Christ as its authority, it cannot be rightly called the true church. If you investigate denominations, you will find that very few do not have a creed, and most, though they claim allegiance to Christ, will reject some portion of Scripture because it does not agree with what they teach and/or practice.

The right church is the one that has wholly submitted itself to the will of Christ, and endeavors to continue in His will. The true, "right" church seeks to please Christ and not self. Even then, the "right" church will have its faults because it is made up of imperfect people; Christians still sin and they still make mistakes. If, in the true church, error is discovered, they will humble themselves and make corrections. You may not find a "perfect" church, but you can find the right one.

---E.R. Hall, Jr.

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Moving In The Wrong Direction

There are a lot of polls taken and statistics kept. Here are some disturbing figures that I clipped from my files. In 1998 there were 4.2 million unmarried couples living together in the USA, a 2% increase over 1997, but an 800% increase over 1970 (from 432,000 to 4.2 million). Will they soon outnumber married couples? Within 5 years, 55% of those cohabiting couples marry (but then they have a very high divorce rate), and 45% end the relationship. (Please read: Heb. 13:4; Rom. 7:2,3; 1 Cor. 7:2; Matt.19:3-9; Eph. 5:22,23).

In 1976 only 4% of Americans believed in fortune telling; in 1998 it had risen to 14%. Belief in spiritualism (the reality of getting in touch with spirits of the dead) went from 12% to 52%, in faith healing from 10% to 45%, in astrology from 17% to 37%, in reincarnation from 9% to 25%. (Please read: Deut. 18:9-12; Jer. 27:9; Isa. 8:19,20; 47:12,13; Gal. 5:19-21; Rev. 21:8).

These are just a small number of things in which our nation is moving in the wrong direction. Let us not go that way.

---Bill Crews

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