Monthly Archives: January 2020

Baptism That Matters

Recently, I gave a listen to 2 podcasts dealing with “baptism-related issues”. I have studied through and challenged myself regarding baptism quite a bit and am always willing to hear the convictions of others (even if I might be in disagreement). I say that to demonstrate that I am no stranger to the conversation about baptism, especially as it pertains to the doctrine held by many in the Church of Christ wherein water baptism is seen as the moment of salvation, as long as it is understood in said fashion (meaning you believe that the moment you are going under is the moment God is forgiving you of your sins against Him). I have professed my disagreement with that belief a few times now, noting that the baptism of importance is the Lord’s sovereign work in a Believer’s heart and mind, Spiritually changing their direction in life, and through that said reformation enabling a Believer to confess Christ and bear fruit for His glory.
Daniel Rogers, preacher at Hickory Street Church of Christ, recently put together a video challenging the notion, “Is baptism essential for salvation”. He highlighted that not all who are in heaven were water baptized for salvation (alluding to the Old Testament saints), however all that are in heaven are “born from above”. That would mean that water baptism is not necessarily the only way men can be saved and given an inheritance of eternal life. Daniel highlighted the importance of water baptism as identification with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (citing Acts 2:38; Romans 6:3-4), correlating to circumcision in the Old Covenant (cf. Colossians 2:11) yet giving more weight to the conscience of the Believer not the physical act (cf. 1 Peter 3:21).

Furthermore, in defense of his convictions, Daniel went into what I would refer to as emotional arguments regarding those who have not heard the message of the Gospel, or have been given a bad presentation of it, and sought to excuse them from the wrath of God. In the same manner, Daniel charged that it would be unfair of God to punish those who have desired to worship God in Spirit and in Truth, yet have not properly been compelled to be baptized in water for the remission of sins.

You can watch that video at the following link, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPiZTB2_ifA&t=1792s

Holger Neubauer, preacher at Lakeshore Church of Christ, responded disagreeably to Daniel’s video, in a fair and friendly manner. You can watch his review at the following link, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iY1asgLURQg

From the outset Holger highlighted that while he has a friendship with Daniel (among many others) his effort at seeking truth is what holds primacy. He expressed frustration with the lack of essentials being highlighted in the church. He asserted that some have given up on baptism, the Lord’s supper, Scriptural application, and even gathering as the church and this has led to the stalling of the message of fulfillment progressing in and through Christ’s Church. Listening to Holger you would think that the Church of Christ has continued to hold to a firm concrete view on water baptism and the need for those with erroneous views to be re-immersed, which isn’t necessarily the case. Dallas Burdette had put together this rather compelling studying showing “ The early reformers were not immersed with a consciousness of “remission of sins” flashing like neon lights at the time of their baptisms. The pioneers set forth their objections to the practice of rebaptizing individuals who were baptized upon the confession of their faith that Jesus is the Son of God” and should assist many Christians to exercise more toleration toward those who have not arrived at the same conclusions as themselves. Every prayer to God should call upon God to help all believers to understand that the overriding factor in baptism is one’s desire to obey God. The Scriptures teach that anyone baptized into the name of Jesus is a part of God’s kingdom. One’s longing to submit to God is the dominant principle for legitimacy in any baptism.” You can read that study at the following link, http://www.freedominchrist.net/Sermons/Baptism/Rebaptism%20in%20the%20Stone-Campbell%20Movement.htm?fbclid=IwAR0i9USf-7yIjCMozkEzN2yj5m6wt_oHHcRVCjbaXslrEBVy8rFDFjX-QSk

In his video, Holger explained that the “anointing” in 1 John 2:7 corresponds to the “seal” of 1 Corinthians 1:21-22, as the means by which one came into the “covenant faith”. Referring to what he asserts as the “immediacy of baptism”, Holger would highlight water baptism as that anointing and seal (and would show you how immediately after hearing the gospel many were “baptized” (cf. Acts 2, 8, 10, 16, 19, and 22). Therefore, Holger asserts water baptism for the remission of sins, as the identify marker of one’s being in “the faith” (which he explains as God speaks, man hears, and man obeys).
I have continued to view Holger as a great teacher and preacher of God’s truths, especially as it pertains to the “hope of Israel”, despite this area of disagreement. I tend to disagree with his view on baptism, and rather than water being the mode of identification in baptism, I would understand the Believer’s identifying and thus salvific baptism as one’s being immersed and absolved in Christ by confession, possession, and increase in Christ (cf. Romans 10:8-17; 2 Peter 1:3-11). This allows for me to see Holger’s passion and interpretation as a bit misguided, whereas he must see me as unsaved. A strange view for a follower of Him who rebuked those who have outward identifying features as prominent and as a means of being “clean”, rather than the inner identifying features (cf. Matthew 7: 15 – 29; 23:25-26). Take note of how many have professed Christ, gone to altar calls, and have even been water baptized, only to be inwardly, increasingly wicked.

All of that said, I have admitted my continued study and seeking of conviction in this area. Holger desires a response for the immediacy of baptism in the book of Acts and a lack of regard today. In a brief “car conversation” I enjoyed with Dr. William Bell after last year’s, Preterist Pilgrim Weekend, he challenged me to give a response regarding why the Ethiopian Eunuch was water baptized in Acts chapter 8. I therefore encourage all to continue to study, seek His face in prayer, and find and defend your convictions on the matter keeping in mind what reformer Martin Luther said, “…to go against conscience is neither right nor safe”.

While believing the Gospel to be the “instrument of God’s judgement” (which I agree with), both Holger and Daniel hold to an “age of accountability” and an absence of accountability for those who had/have not heard it. This rings strange to me. I would much more assert that the Gospel is designed to bring life and life to the full to God’s elect, those whom God has designed for it to edify and bring into covenant with Him, His Church and those who have yet to find and know life. This puts us at interesting odds with each other’s views regarding our urgency for the Gospel, yet, I believe we can and should work together for the glory of God.

So what’s the way forward? Well, I enjoy the challenge to mark out essentials, as have increasingly been provoked by many preachers within the Church of Christ. I appreciate and agree with the high regard for God’s work in and through His church and the necessity of having a concise message and method of explain and promoting salvation in and through Christ Jesus. Scripture asserts that we must have faith believing that God exists and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him (cf. Hebrews 11:1-6). Therefore as affirming myself and others in the faith I will stand upon the goal of the faith, which is “love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith”, (cf. 1 Timothy 1:5). With that goal in mind, I will challenge each man/woman I do ministry work with, those I lead to and in Christ, even the stranger on the street. Those whose lives demonstrate the reality of that goal, who confess and their lives profess Christ Jesus in a good and honest effort in that, I believe can say are good soil to work with (cf. Luke 8:15-17). That’s focusing on the one baptism that matters.

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2019/2020 – Renew & Review

Each year I aim to provide an review of resources and studies I found edifying throughout the previous year. Review provides a great foundation for renewal. May God provide the increase.

I started out 2019 with the goal to make it “A Fully – effective & God- glorifying year”, namely by establishing boundaries and priorities. I sought to develop spiritual disciplines and seek God’s green light (discernment) in all I do. The first blog of 2019 will follow this paragraph, wherein I explained, “2019 is going to be a year that you can expect to see more purpose, clarity, and accountability within the “Preterist Movement”.

We have marked out the need to see more practical and productive teachings regarding our living out the “fulfilled eschaton” and a continued call to accountability on behalf of Christian leaders to foster honest conversations and teachings in these regards (with the same conviction and passion they had in rebuking it).” https://mianogonewild.wordpress.com/2019/01/18/could-it-be-a-coincidence/

Being rather transparent in regards to the above statement, it would seem that 2019 was more of a preparation year than one marked by action. At The Blue Point Bible Church (www.bluepointbiblechurch.org) we seem to be getting more and more comfortable with our identity as a theological – study oriented church boasting of living out “A Thinking Faith”. To God be the glory.
For the remainder of this blog I’d like to share links for you to click on and navigate regarding books, studies, and conferences reviews that were produced in 2019.
In the book, Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend, the following statement was made, “God’s world is set up with laws and principles. Spiritual realities are as real as gravity and if you don’t know them, you will soon discover their effects”. These are those laws (I look to offer a sermon or a few on these details in the near future).
1.) Law of sowing & reaping (cf. Galatians 6:7-8)
2.) Law of responsibility (cf. Philippians 2:12-13)
3.) Law of power (cf. Romans 7:15, 19, 23; 1 John 1:8)
4.) Law of respect (Matthew 7:1-2)
5.) Law of motivation (“Freedom first, service second”)
6.) Law of evaluation (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:21)
7.) Law of proactivity
8.) Law of envy (cf. Galatians 6:4)
9.) Law of activity (cf. Matthew 25:14-30; Hebrews 10:38-39)
10.) Law of exposure (be honest and be in the light – cf. Ephesians 4:25-26; 5:13-14)
I also read and reviewed the following 2 books:

Book: Christianity & the Social Crisis in the 21st Century
https://mianogonewild.wordpress.com/2019/03/28/book-review-christianity-the-social-crisis-in-the-21st-century/

Book: Kingdom Come
https://mianogonewild.wordpress.com/2019/03/16/tj-smiths-kingdom-come-review-of-wed-night-study/
It is imperative that the Christian/Preterist community gets a handle on what we are pointing to as the goal of the ages. In Ephesians 3:11, the goal of the ages was the establishing of the New Covenant body, the Church. I offered some blogs in that regard this year, and others had articles that shared some good insights as well (shared below):
Church as the Goal – Christ in Us
https://mianogonewild.wordpress.com/2019/04/23/the-church-as-the-deposit-of-his-life/

https://mianogonewild.wordpress.com/2019/12/12/sermon-outline-wisdom-understanding-christ-in-us/
The Fulfilled Lord’s Supper
http://www.bluepointbiblechurch.org/peace/?p=1694

“Every promise is for us today and will continue eternally, ie., the promise of the eternal church, which is here to save the sinner…the eternal purpose of the church, and every aspect of it, is for us for all eternity!…Everlasting life is found in the church”. – Steve Baisden
“Seeing the beauty and glorious grandeur of the great heavenly body of Christ: understand there is always hope for every living person and the Lord is not going to come and end evangelism; understanding all the benefits available to us now…” – Steve Baisden

“The fulfillment of all things provides the proper motivation for all things: God’s full presence”. – Holger Neubauer

“The Scriptures do not have as a goal, the end of the planet, but the end of a system that could not open heaven. There is no greater day in our future than what was in Peter’s immediate future and there is no greater day in our future than the day and hour of Jerusalem’s fall. That end brought an end to the Old Covenant system and opened up heaven for all the faithful through all ages (Revelation 11:9; 14:13; 15:5,8)”. – Holger Neubauer

In order to gain a wholesome and Scriptural understanding of “the hope of Israel” as outlined through the Law & the Prophets (which is what the Apostle Paul testified to in Acts 24:14 and 26:6-7), we have been studying through the Prophets chronologically in our Adult Sunday School at BPBC. As one rabbi noted, “Why the Prophetic books? Because they constitute a commentary on the Torah. Commentary is essential”. So far we have studied through Jonah, Hosea, and Amos.

Here is a list of information and resources pertaining to various Preterist conferences I had the opportunity to participate in this past year;
Debate with Sam Frost – May 2019
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=YJ6-AhFbCyE&feature=emb_title
What’s Next Bible Conference – The Blue Point Bible Church – May 2019
https://powerofpreterism.wordpress.com/2019/05/31/whats-next-2019-conference-review/
Christ & The Kingdom Conference – June 2019
https://powerofpreterism.wordpress.com/2019/06/19/christ-the-kingdom-in-psalms-proverbs-2019-ncmi-conference/
Preterist Pilgrim Weekend – July 2019
https://powerofpreterism.wordpress.com/2019/07/19/review-of-ppw-2019-preterist-pilgrim-weekend/

Pastor Miano’s SWFL trip – December 2019
http://www.bluepointbiblechurch.org/peace/?p=1867

Lastly, it is vital that we continue to go about our mission with self-examination and guarding our heart (cf. Proverbs 24:3). We studied through A.W. Pink’s resource in our Saturday Morning Bible study, and I was grateful for the following list of areas we must do the work of guarding our hearts. A. W. Pink wrote, “The Christian who means business will labor to have:
– A willing heart (cf. Exodus 35:5)
– A perfect heart (cf. 1 Chronicles 29:9)
– A tender heart (cf. 2 Chronicles 34:27)
– A broken heart (cf. Psalm 34:18)
– A united heart (cf. Psalm 86:11)
– An enlarged heart (cf. Psalms 119:32)
– A sound heart (cf. Proverbs 14:30)
– A merry heart (cf. Proverbs 15:15)
– A pure heart (cf. Matthew 5:8)
– An honest and good heart (cf. Luke 8:15)
– A single heart (cf. Ephesians 6:5)
– A true heart (cf. Hebrews 10:22)

I look forward to “seeing things clearly” in 2020 – in all facets. In my personal life I look forward to the continued “renewing of my mind” as I seek authentic conviction and a good conscience regarding priorities and hearing His voice. I mentioned the necessity of Christians/Preterists understanding what the goal of the ages was and how we live in the fulfillment. Praise God that He always brings things to completion in and through Jesus Christ (cf. Philippians 1:6). This year, even of annual Bible conference at The Blue Point Bible Church (May 2020) will focus on the completion of the Biblical story and the purpose of what God completed in Christ.
Thanks for taking time to go through this review.
By His grace and mercy,
Pastor Michael Miano
The Blue Point Bible Church – MGW Apologetics – The Power of Preterism Network

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