The Baptist Examiner Forum
Replies By Elder Oscar B. Mink

April 1, 1978 (This is Elder Oscar's first forum reply)
        What about a man who divorces his wife to marry another and is later saved, should he be allowed to be a member of a church?  Should he be required to leave his second wife (by whom he has children) and go back to his first wife?
        The easy divorce laws of our land have made divorce popular, and have gone a long way in wreaking havoc with the marriage institution. The general rule is that which is popular with man is hated of God, and so it is with the easy divorces which show despite to the laws of God governing marriage, divorce and remarriage.
    God rebuked Israel for their flaunting of the marriage alliances, saying, "For I hate divorce, says the Lord, the God of Israel"  (Malachi 2:16 - American Translation) The action of the man in question suing out a divorce so as to marry another is to add sin to sin, and it marks up the instability of the marriage contract wherein one or both parties are unsaved.  Any marriage where one or both parties are unsaved is on shaky ground, and especially so in this era of easy divorces.  Yet, we need to remember when a man is saved "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin" (I John 1:7), and that includes the awful sin of adultery. The divorce and remarriage in question is one of sin, and when Christ died, he atoned for all the sins of his people,  including the sins of an ill gotten divorce and the resulting marriage. Adultery is a definite and specific act.  It is not a progressive state. The bible condemns adultery in clear and uncertain terms, but it says nothing about "living in adultery."
    In that God has forgiven the man his sins, the church ought to accept him via New Testament. Baptism as a member. To divorce his second wife and go back to his first wife, assuming she would have him back, which is highly unlikely would be to make matters worse.  The first divorce was wrong. God forgave the man for this wrong. A second divorce would be wrong, and two wrongs never make a right.
    Instead of the church taking a holier-than-thou attitude toward the man, let them receive him, and encourage him in his new life, for he will meet with a host self-righteous Pharisees who will try and attach again the stigma to him which the blood of Christ has washed away.
(Submitted By Elder Medford Caudill)

April 8, 1978
        Please explain Hebrews 6:4-8.
(Hebrews 6:4-10)  "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, {5} And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, {6} If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. {7} For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: {8} But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. {9} But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. {10} For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have showed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister."
        This narrative shows how far people may go in religion, and, after all, fall away from their own steadfastness and perish forever.  Some object to the thought that anyone could go as far as those apostates had gone without being saved, but verses 9 and 10 are proof positive that this is the very case.  Verse 9 tells us that things better than what the Apostates had are the things which accompany salvation, and verse 10 tells us these "better things" are wrought by a "labor of love" and that God would not forget their labors.  True saving grace brings forth "better things" than what is stated herein of these apostates.
    Now let us note some things about these apostates, and their fatal shortcomings:
        1. They had been, at one time enlightened (verse 4), not as to the truth as it is in Christ, but as to the claims of Jesus' Messiahship.  They had more than the common light of mere profession. They had light which made them strong religionists, but which came short of the true light. At best, theirs was a natural knowledge of spiritual things.
        2. They had tasted of the "Heavenly gift" (verse 4).  A person may get a good bite of religion, like what he tastes, and would continue to eat if some of the demands connected with the eating were relaxed.  Christ did not say, "He that tasteth Me shall live by Me", but "he the eateth Me even he shall live by Me"  (John 6:57). Their tasting is contrasted with eating.
        3. They were partakers of the Holy Ghost (verse 4).  This does not mean that they were, at any time, indwelt by the Holy Spirit.  It does not say they were born of the Spirit, nor does it say that the Holy Spirit had wrought in them their measure of light. It simply means they had beheld the supernatural operations and manifestations of the Holy Spirit, and were thereby restrained in their overt sinning. In that sense, became partakers of the blessings bestowed on the church by the Holy Spirit.
        4. They had tasted the good word of God (verse 5).  They had been introduced to the prophetical Word and had believed the prophecies were fulfilled by the Apostles. Note, how the author belabours the term "taste" that is to keep the reader ever aware that he has reference to those who has yet not eaten the Word of God. Jeremiah says "Thy words were found and I did eat them" (Jeremiah 15:16.) They had tasted of the cup of the Gospel, and in some manner appreciated what they tasted, but they were unwilling to drink the full cup. An intellectual assent to the truth of the Gospel, is but to taste the Gospel, and will profit nothing.
        5. They were made aware of the powers of the age to come (verse 5).  These Hebrew Apostates had been the subjects of preaching which declared the sovereignty of God in the Old Testament economy, and of the miracles of Christ in the introduction of the New Testament.  They were instructed as to the coming again of the Messiah, and of His great power in the coming Millennial age.
        6. So while these apostates had an outward familiarity with Christianity, they had never experienced the efficacious work of the Holy Spirit inwardly. "If they shall fall away ... " (verse 6) in this verse the apostle describes the dreadful and awful frame of mind of those who after having gone so far in the right direction, fall away from it. Or as the term apostasy means, a total denunciation of their former belief. In this case, they being Hebrews, it would mean an approval of what the Jews did in crucifying Christ, and if the opportunity presented itself, they would crucify Him afresh. They totally abandon God, and, and the nature of such apostasy is so absolute that true repentance is the most alien thing to it. Thus the appropriateness of the term "impossible" (verse 4).
(Submitted By Elder Medford Caudill)

April 15, 1978
        Please explain Hebrews 10:26.
        Text in question reads; "For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin."
    This text is a stern warning against apostasy. Verse  Verse 29 of this chapter describes the awful nature of the apostasy warned against.  Verses 27, 28, and 30 tell of the terrible judgment annexed to such an apostasy. What we have before us in considering this text is not the backsliding of a born again Christian, which all do in lesser or greater degree. A Christian may follow Jesus afar off, but all follow him (John 10:27). What we have before us is a warning against a willful, premeditated, and total abandonment of the Gospel of Christ. In the deeper sense, it is a call for all who profess the name of Christ to examine themselves whether their faith be of the intellect or of God.  Thus it is, Paul says to the Corinthian church, "Examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith, prove your ownselves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?"  (II Corinthians 13:5).
    Mere intellectual faith is a breeding ground for apostasy, and there can be no apostasy from the truth without some knowledge of the truth. The apostasy Paul refers to is not one of mere defection, but a definite rejection of the truth, and a revolt against it. In the case of the Hebrews it meant esteeming the blood of bull and goats above that of Christ. Yea, it meant a trampling underfoot of the Son of God.  With the Hebrews, it meant a turning back to the Mosaic Law, which Paul equates with a drawing back "unto perdition" (Verse 39).  Such an apostasy would be inexorable, and leave the apostate with nothing to look for but "judgment and fiery indignation" from the Lord.
    "Sin willfully" of verse 26 is more than an act of apostasy, it is a deliberate and persistent state of apostasy  The verb is the present participle and means continuous sinning. The language of the context leaves no doubt to the vehemence such apostates directed toward the Gospel of Christ. Paul was a constant object of this kind of hatred, and he said he was often in "perils of false brethren" (II Corinthians 11:26).  Paul's desire was that they would be "cut off" (Galatians 5:12).
    The sanctification of verse 29 is  a positional sanctification, such as the sanctification of Israel as a nation. The nation as a whole was set apart from the other nations of the Earth, while as yet there were many unsaved people in Israel. So it is with the Lord's true churches, they are set apart but not safe from reprobate intrusion.
    Jesus Christ is the ONE sacrifice whereby sins are forgiven. When one has intellectually accepted the Gospel which relates to that ONE sacrifice then turns away from it to a system of works, which delights in making a mockery of the Gospel and persecuting it's adherents, there remaineth no more sacrifice for his sins.
    While the unpardonable sin is not mentioned per se in the context, there is a strong implication that it is included in the actions of the apostates (verse 29).  Verse 39 leaves no doubt as to their end, i.e., perdition and perdition means utter destruction or eternal damnation.
(Submitted By Elder Medford Caudill)

April 22, 1978 
        "How do you explain 'one body' in Ephesians 4:4, if it is not a universal body?"
        There is a consensus among students of ecclesiology regarding the metaphorical term "body" used in this text. All agree it is a reference to the Lord's church. The parting of the way comes when the question is posed, what kind of church does the term refer to? The Romanist answers with great pride, "The universal Catholic Church is the church referred to by the term 'body' in this text." Catholics believe the church is a world-wide organism under the human headship of the pope at Rome. This concept of the church is refuted simply by the Greek word "ekklesia" which in original usage meant, a called out assembly. It is this designation (Ekklesia) the Lord used in reference to His church (Matthew 16:18;18:17).  The term "Universal Church" is a misnomer, for such a church can never assemble, Therefore, the Roman Catholic concept of the church is erroneous.
    The Universal Invisible Church theorist is not long in answering the question, what kind of a church does the term "body" in Ephesians 4:4 refer too?  With a feeling of certitude, he replies, "It refers to the true church, the Universal Invisible church." To be consistent with this answer the proponent must deny the existence of the local church, for whatever Paul refers to with the term "body" we know it is "one".
    Adherents of the Universal Invisible church theory have two kinds of churches: One which they call the true church, the universal invisible church which includes all believers, and a local visible church which is constituted of a fragment of the believing aggregate.  When one of two things is referred too as true, by inference the other is denied genuineness thus it is, the universal invisible church theorist, by his doctrine which calls for two kinds of churches places himself outside of the Lord's church. The Lord's body, in the ecclesiastical sense is not anything, more or less than a local visible true church.  The Lord's churches are chaste and virtuous " (II Corinthians 11:2), and shall enter glory in "fine linen clean and white" (Revelation 19:8).
    If the one "body" of the text can be dualized, then the other six elements which constitute the foundation of church unity may also be dualized. The impossibility of which is seen when one considers such an interpretation has Paul saying, "There are two bodies, two Spirits, two hopes, two Lords, two faiths, two baptisms, and two Gods."  Such an interpretation would be ludicrous, if not so ridiculous.
    The one "body" in the text does not mean one in number but one in kind, the same as one "baptism" means one in kind.  Paul, in writing to the church at Corinth, says, "Now ye are the body of Christ ..." (I Corinthians 12:27). Now we know every saved person on the earth at the time was not in the church at Corinth. Yet Paul says to the Corinthian church "Ye are the body of Christ."  In admonishing the church at Corinth Paul says, "There should be no schism in the body ..." (I Corinthians 12:25).   They are not only an infinite number of schisms and divisions in the so called universal Invisible church, but many of their differences are of such nature that they are irreconcilable apart from the abandonment of all reasoning.
    It is the devil's delight to take those who are wise in their own conceit, having turned their ears from the truth and are feasting on fables and use them in building his ecumenical church. They are victims of that vain philosophy which says, "Nothing is either black or white, everything is a beautiful shade of gray." So they conclude that their dissimilarities are only imaginary, and the ecumenical architect realizes his diabolical designs. The last word or the bottom line concerning the ecumenical harlot is; "And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked and shall eat her flesh and burn her with fire.  For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill His will"  (Revelation 17:16-17).
(Submitted By Elder Medford Caudill)
December 22, 1979
        Does I Corinthians 3:3 teach that a born again person can be a carnal Christian, etc.?
        Yes, I Corinthians 3:1-4 teaches that a born again member of the Lord's church may at times be carnal. However, habitual carnality is a denial of the Lordship of Christ, and the negation of the profession of salvation, for carnality is the very opposite of the true Christian character. The life of the true Baptist will be that of habitual devotion to the principals of righteousness set forth in the New Testament. His old nature will on occasion assert itself, and cause him to stumble. A sheep may fall into a mud hole, but it will not long abide therein, and so it is, with the Christian whose general tenor of life is that of Bible obedience. He will on occasion fall victim to his flesh, but will not adopt carnality as a rule or code of conduct for his life.
    They that are of the flesh may profess to be Christians, and assume for a time outwardly the character of a Christian, but the trials of time will manifest their superficiality, and they will return to wallowing in the mire of this world. On the other hand, a true Christian will bemoan the fact of his liability to sin, and will lament and repent of his actual sin. Therefore, the Christian's sporadic deviation from the righteous course of his life is not indicative of a fallen character, or of a general drift into carnality.
    The person who professes to be a Christian, and is not as a rule subject to the Lordship of Christ is a false professor. He is a liar. There is no basis in Scripture for the contention of habitual carnality of a Christian. They which contend for such a theory always refer to isolated cases in the lives of godly people, such as the sin of David, Samson, Abraham's subterfuge, Peter's denial of Christ, etc. Let us not excuse these sins, nor the sins of our own lives, but let us highlight the fact that these men regretted and repented of these temporary digressions from the God honoring course of their lives.
    A goat is a goat, a dog is a dog, a hog is a hog, and cosmetic surgery can never alter that fact. Their nature remains the same no matter if they are made to look like a sheep. In due season their true nature will manifest itself, their mock appearance will be laid aside, and their stench will become so obnoxious to the true church that excisive discipline must be invoked to preserve the church.

August 9, 1980
        In regard to a born again believer who is not a member of a scriptural New Testament Baptist Church - please list all the things such a one could do that would be good and pleasing to our great God.
      The best I can do is to answer this question in part, for I do not know the fulness of God's mind in this matter, therefore I can  not 'list all the things' that the unbaptized Christian may do which would be pleasing to God.
    The unbaptized regenerate person may:
        1.) Pray acceptably unto God (Luke 23:41).
        2.) Study God's Word. Teaching precedes baptism (Matthew 28:19).

August 30, 1980
        Did those with Saul (Paul) at his conversion hear a voice or did Paul hear the voice only?
            (Acts 9:7)  "And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man."
        (Acts 22:9)  "And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me."
        (Acts 26:14)  "And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks."
    It would appear from a superficial reading or study of the above Scriptures that they who journeyed with Paul stood. Acts 26:14 says that they all fell to the earth. The other seeming contradiction,  Acts 9:7 says, "then they which journeyed with Paul heard the voice", and Acts 22:9 says, "They heard not the voice." Like all other supposed contradictions of Scripture, even those of higher criticism, these two may be erased with a brief, but diligent investigation. Acts 9:7 in connection with Acts 26:14 says, they which traveled with Paul stood and fell to the ground, and that is exactly what happened. The idea conveyed is, that when they first saw the light they stood speechless, and with quick subsequence fell to the ground prostrate. They stood as opposed to going forward, or ceased in going forward, and their falling to the ground was a normal reaction under such awesome circumstances. So, as the Scripture says, they which journeyed with Paul "stood speechless ... (and then) ... were all fallen to the earth." The same is much the case with hearing and not hearing at the same time. Many people hear the Word of God, but few hear it with understanding (Luke 8:18 John 8:47). Acts 9:8 says they which journeyed with Paul heard the voice. Acts 22:9 says, they heard not the voice. Did you ever have some person say to you, "I heard you, but what did you say?" You were heard in the one sense but in another sense you were not heard. Thus was the case with Paul's traveling companions, they heard the audible voice, but not the articulation. We have a perfect example of this in I Corinthians 14:2 where Paul speaks about the use of unknown tongues. "For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him." Had the translators rendered the word "heard' in Acts 229 'understand' as they did in I Corinthians 14:1 it would have greatly facilitated understanding of what Paul said. The men with Paul heard the voice, but they heard it not with understanding. In John 12:28-30 there is an analogy which should greatly enhance our ability to understand what Paul expressed regarding the hearing and not hearing of those with him when he was converted. Christ prayed saying, "Father, glorify Thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, sayiing , I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered, others said, An angel spake unto Him. Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of Me, but for your sakes." Note: Jesus heard and understood that the voice from heaven spoke, but they that stood by only heard the sound of the voice.
    Some went so far as to admit that the sound which they heard was a language, for they said, "an angel spake to Him". So they heard the voice in one sense, but not in the sense of understanding what the voice said.
   Acts 26:14 says that the voice which spoke to Paul was spoken "in the Hebrew tongue". It is highly probable that the men which journeyed with Paul were Roman authorities and soldiers who understood not the Hebrew language. If this was the case, then it is easy to see how they could have heard the voice, but the meaning or understanding they heard not.
    "They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. {6} We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error." (1 John 4:5-6)     The world hears the voice of the faithful Christian, but he does not speak the language of the world, so the world hears not what he says.
    There are NO contradictions in God's Word!

December 27, 1980
        Please explain the ministry of reconciliation in II Corinthians 5:19-21.
        In Adam all of humankind suffered an irreparable imbalance, and man by nature is unable to reconcile his book of responsibility with the Divine standard. Man may reconcile many of his differences with his fellow creatures, but he is utterly helpless to balance his book of life with the infallible record of God. A change must be made in man, it is man who needs to be reconciled to God, it is man who erred, it is the records of man that are in total disarray, and it is man who can not, nor cares to set the record straight. The account of man is not merely out of balance, but he exhausted all of his means, assumed infinite debt, and has not the least farthing to pay toward retiring the account. Man owes God a life of perfect righteousness, but at his best state he is altogether sin ( Psalms 39:5). Thus, it was that Christ was sent to reconcile unto God an innumerable host of Adam's spiritually bankrupt children. "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;" ( I Timothy 2:5). The objects of Divine reconciliation are the elect of God, the means of reconciliation is the propitiatory death of Christ. "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." ( Romans 5:10). It is by the death of Christ that Jew and Gentile may be reconciled, and will one day be altogether reconciled with one another and with God. So it, is we read, "And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:" ( Ephesians 2:16). The sacrificial and atoning blood of Christ is the ground and basis of reconciliation. By dying in the room and stead of His people, Christ removed the sin debt, He paid it all, and not only reconciled His people unto God, but made them "... holy and unblameable andunreproveable in his sight:" ( Colossians 1:22).
    The reconciling work of Christ has been accepted and approved of God, and on the basis of this fact, Paul says to the believer, "And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled." ( Colossians 1:21). " Reconciled" is in the past tense, meaning that the believer, here and now is at peace with God, through the merits of Christ's shed blood (Colossians 1:20). The " ministry" ( II Corinthians 5:18) or " word" of reconciliation is the proclamation that the work of redemption is accomplished in Christ. "... we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." ( II Corinthians 5:20). God in and through Christ has done everything necessary to save His people, and now they may return to God without fear of retribution for their sins. Their sins were charged to their reconciling sacrifice ( Isaiah 53:6) and shall never be remembered against them anymore ( Hebrews 10:17). The Greek word from which the word "reconciled" is translated means to change. So it is, man must undergo a change, for God is immutable and never changes. The necessary change is wrought in the elect by the Spirit of God, and apart from this change none would be reconciled to God.

 January 2, 1982
        In I Corinthians 13:8 some gifts are said to pass away and one to cease. When did that happen?
        I Corinthians 13:9 says that the gifts of knowledge and prophesy were partial, that is, for a given period of time. They were special gifts, but were of a temporary nature. These two gifts (knowledge and prophesy) were to be phased out or superseded by and at the time "when that which is perfect is come" (I Corinthians 13:10). Tongues were a sign gift, "not to them that believe, but to them that believe not" (I Corinthians 14:22). Tongues were to remain in the church during its infancy period, but with the coming of maturity, tongues would cease. This is what Paul had reference to when he said, "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things" (I Corinthians 13:11).
    The church realized maturity while as yet Paul was alive, and long ere the death of the Apostle John. The Mediterranean world had already been evangelized and churches planted throughout the Roman Empire. God had brought the church to maturity, therefore, there was no further need for the gift of tongues, and they ceased about as readily as they were given. The gifts of knowledge and prophesy are spoken of as vanishing away, that is, they would gradually cease as the need for them diminished, and that need, while extending beyond the need for the gift of tongues, would in due season ("when that which is perfect is come") be non existent.
   I Corinthians 13:10 "But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away." The word "perfect" in this text means mature or complete, and is a reference to the written revelation of Jesus Christ. Knowledge and prophesy were in part or incomplete, previous to the writing of the book of Revelation by the Apostle John around 96 A. D. The book of Revelation was the final installment, making the knowledge which God has determined for this age complete, and the gifts of knowledge and prophesy vanished away.
    The remaining question to be considered is, What is " that which is perfect" in I Corinthians 13:10? It is not a reference to the person of Jesus Christ because the term " that which" is in the neuter gender. A close study of the context will reveal that the "perfect" of verse 10 is a reference to the plenary and infallible Book.

Return To O. B. Mink Page

Return To PBC Home Page

Return To PBC Home