Theology Versus History: Interpretation of The Narratives
The Bible is perhaps some of the most beautifully written text in the history of the world. The stories and truths told in God’s Word transcend time and offer stability in an ever changing world. Among it’s books are rich history and genres of literature such as narrative and poetry. This study will be my effort to examine theology versus history in the perspective of the features of biblical narrative (historical and narrative style), what readers should avoid when interpreting narratives, and how modern biblical interpretive theories have affected the interpretation of narrative.
The Word of God is riddled with uses of narrative within its books. I hope to focus on addressing the two main elements of historical narrative and narrative style. For many years there was a lack of the study of literary elements within the text of the Scripture, but was most likely attributed to respect for the Word of God as stated by Mr. Alter when he states, “The one obvious reason for the absence of scholarly literary interest in the Bible for so long is that, in contrast to Greek and Latin literature, the Bible was regarded for so many centuries by both Christians and Jews as the primary, unitary source of divinely revealed truth.” However, the last couple hundred years has seen a flurry of critical literary analysis of the Bible by both secular scholars and belivers alike. There are many genres of narratives such as: “reports, heroic narratives, prophet story, comedy, farewell speech, judges, popular proverb songs”, and many others. The two main features that are seen in the subject of narrative genre are historical narratives and narrative style.
Historical narratives make up a huge portion of the narrative within the Scriptures of the Bible. As Duval and Hays point out in the text, “God did not dictate most of the Bible in first person.” Therefore, He chose to reveal the history of the world through the stories and characters of the narratives within the text of the Bible. His ways and methods of delivering this history to us should not be taken lightly as Duvall states, “Since God spoke his message in specific, historical situations (i.e., to people living in particular places, speaking particular languages, adopting a particular way of life), we should take the historical sitiation seriously.” While many people in the world do not recognize this history as accurate nor true, we must not allow that to discourage us from taking this history to heart and applying it to our understanding of the whole method of God’s will for salvation and the coming of Christ. Duval and Hays point out a significant question when he asks, “Why bother to become familiar with the original historical-cultural context? We do so because it offers us a window into what God was saying to the biblical audience. Since we live in a very different context, we must recapture God’s original intended meaning as reflected in the text and framed by the ancient historical-cultural context.” He goes on to give us three areas to focus regarding the historical narrative in Scritpure which are, “the biblical writer, the biblical audience, and other historical-cultural elements” (such as terrain and local laws). It is clear that the historical elements of narrative help to shape how we view the Scripture and God as a whole, deeming it an essential part of the Word of God.
Narrative in the Bible includes many styles and techniques which come in handy when trying the draw the attention of the reader to certain situations, characters, or symbols. The authors of the text were able to insert their own personalities through the writing and inspiration of the Scripture as Robert Alter points out “Biblical narrative often withholds pieces of exposition until the moment in the story when they are immediately relevant.” God also many times would, “avoid indirect speech.” Speech or dialogue plays a large part in the narrative of Scripture. Alter even goes as far as to say that, “even thought should be reported as speech” when regarding the narrative style. Alter mentions, “Again and again the ancient Hebrew writers exploit the revelatory possibilities of this technique of contrastive dialogue.” Repetition is also a key element to narrative style. Robert Alter is clear to point out that, “One of the most imposing barriers that stands between the modern reader and the imaginative subtlety of biblical narrative is the extraordinary prominence of verbatim repetition in the Bible.” According to Mr Alter, there are several, “repetition structuring and focusing devices in biblical narratives including: leitwort, motif, theme, sequence of actions, and type-scene.” Knowledge is another key factor in narrative style. Regarding knowledge Mr. Alter mentions, “From time to time, a human figure is granted special knowledge or foreknowledge, but only through God’s discretionary help.”
What Readers Should Avoid When Interpreting Narratives
While reading narrative within the Scripture should always be a fun and entertaining experience, there are some elements and thought processes that readers may want to avoid when interpreting the narratives. These may include pre-concieved ideas based on the views of society and modern culture. Our lecture also mentions that narrative “is not: filled with hidden symbolism and meaning, intended to teach moral lessons, and written primarily to you in and individualistic sense.” These perspectives regarding the narratives can send us in directions God and ourselves, had rather us not go. With errors such as taking Scripture to prove symbolism or hidden meanings could throw off our whole understanding of God’s Word and distort the Gospel in many ways. I would argue that it is likely most cults were not started with rebelling against God’s Word in mind, but with a pre-concieved notion that there were possibly symbols and hidden meanings among other things within the Scripture narratives.
When regarding taking on the role of a character such as a judge in the Old Testament and comparing him/her to ourselves we must keep in mind the human limitations and divine hand on that judge’s life. William Klein brings up a good point when he mentions, “Such an approach to a portion of Scripture can have great value. Noting how a character is developed may help one understand whether the author wants the readers to identify with that character or to avoid imitating that person. In other instances, characterization may be deliberately ambigious.” This helps point out that we must pay close attention to the details of the story before jumping to conclusions or assumptions about a character/story. Another set of mistakes to avoid when attempting to interpret narrative is mistakes such as fallacies. Fallacies as those mentioned in our text by D.A. Carson such as, “The root fallacy, semantic anachronism, semantic obsolence, and appeal to unknown or unlikely meanings.”
How Modern Biblical Interpretive Theories Have Affected The Interpretation of Narrative
How we view narrative has a lot to do with how we interpret it as well. Dr. Elwell points out that, “Narrative captures the story, but the narrative is not the same as the story, exhaustive of the story, or meant to replace the story; yet the story is not given apart from its telling in narrative.” If one of these elements get out of balance, it could throw off the whole meaning and interpretation for that reader, but when kept in balance it can enhance the knowledge and understanding of the reader as well. Our text by Mr. Alter points out that narrative text collectively regarding the history of mankind and our faith can be conveniently referred to as “prose-fiction.” This term is used to try and justify the claim of history on the narrative texts and the stories within them. Many secular scholars will not accept the Bible as accurate history, therefore I feel that Bible scholars often feel pressured to assume terms and meanings that appeal to these secular opinions. While the movement of modern biblical interpretive theories have had a positive result regarding the narrative of Scripture, changes like these have not.
However; we view these changes, it is clear that they have certainly played a role in our interpretation of narrative. Our lecture states, “In order to interact with the current literature on hermeneutics, especially as it relates to narrative, at least a cursory knowledge of post/modern hermeneutic theory is beneficial.” The lecture goes on to point out that, “The reader must take into consideration the authorial intent of a text, which is complicated in evangelical circles because of the belief that the scriptures are both man-written and God-breathed.”
It is my hopes that any reader who opens the Bible with an equivalently open mind will be able to see how narratives play not only a vital role in the text of Scripture, but in the method of how the details and history are also delivered with such elegance and style. It is clear that our ability to understand the Word of God is as good as our ability to understand the narratives that deliver that Word. Now that we know the main elements, what we should avoid, and how modern biblical interpretative theories have affected the interpretation of narrative, we may now have a much firmer knowledge of God’s Word. Join us as we dive into the awesome wonders and wisdom of the biblical narratives.
 Robert Alter. The Art of Biblical Narrative (New York, NY: Basic Books, 2011) 17.
 William Klein et al. Introduction to Biblical Interpretation. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc., 2004) 65.
 J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays. Grasping God’s Word: A Hands On Approach to Reading, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012) 116.
 J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays. Grasping God’s Word. 116-117.
 Ibid. 117.
 Ibid. 118-121.
 Robert Alter. The Art of Biblical Narrative. 83.
 Ibid. 83.
 Ibid. 85.
 Ibid. 91.
 Ibid. 111.
 Ibid. 120-121
 Ibid. 196.
 Grand Canyon University, “Old Testament Exegesis: Exegeting the Narratives” (lecture 2, Biblical Hermeneutics, Grand Canyon University, February 16th, 2017).
 William Klein et al. Introduction to Biblical Interpretation. 65.
 D.A. Carson. Exegetical Fallacies. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2017. Web. 16 June 2017.
 Walter A. Elwell. Bakers Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology: Narrative Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2001.) 813.
 Ibid. 25
 Grand Canyon University, “Old Testament Exegesis: Exegeting the Narratives” (lecture 2, Biblical Hermeneutics, Grand Canyon University, February 16th, 2017).
 Grand Canyon University, “Old Testament Exegesis: Exegeting the Narratives”
Bible Study: The Baptism of the Holy Ghost (As Evidenced Through the Speaking in Other Tongues as The Spirit Gives the Utterance)
The Baptism of the Holy Ghost (As Evidenced Through the Speaking in Other Tongues as The Spirit Gives the Utterance)
The Bible serves as a guide and factual evidence of how famous men of God are recorded having great moments of worship with the Lord. David danced before God; Ezekiel was called to prophesy by God, Daniel saw visions, and even the modern day examples such as the Azusa street revival helped spark the Pentecostal speaking in tongues movement. The most famous event was Acts 2, involving the arrival of the Holy Spirit. Many of these events were highlighted by circumstances caused by the influence of the Holy Spirit on the individuals involved. This not only proves that the Spirit was in existence before the arrival of Pentecost, but also the Spirit can dwell in a person to do God’s will by influencing their minds and bodies. This work is an approach on my behalf to prove the validity of baptism of the Holy Ghost (as evidenced through the speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gives the utterance) through the New Scriptures. Thus, arguing the opposing views of the gifts of the Spirit and the order of the Church. This paper likewise will discuss how this occurrence affects salvation and the view of the Trinity.
The Scriptural Basis and Baptism of the Holy Ghost Defined
The baptism of the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost as most Pentecostal adherents prefer to call Him, is among the greatest mysteries of God. There are some things we can understand easily because it is something that you can touch and read, while others require more effort to be understood. However, the baptism of the Holy Spirit requires much more faith than most biblical concepts. To understand what it is, we must first define its very meaning and existence. Dr. Elwell speaking of the Prophet John mentions, “He warned of a radical inward and personal purification.” This explanation helps to explain initial baptism of the Holy Spirit upon acceptance of Christ at salvation. When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, He gives to us the gift of the Spirit which helps to protect, pray, guide us in God’s will, and be a witness in the world. However, there is more to being baptized than just the initial Holy Spirit baptism.
There is a second “baptism” that happens with the Spirit that gives us the final push to have confidence and zeal in our witness to the world. When we look back in Acts 1:8 we see Jesus tells the disciples, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” A short while later, we see the events of Pentecost take place and that is exactly what Jesus told them would happen. They became baptized and began to witness of the Lord by default. The witness was the Spirit flowing out of them, literally with words.
When we examine Acts 2:4 we see two key words that give us the basis of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The first word being “other” or “heteros” in Greek, means according to the NIV Concordance to be “different:-another” and “different from.” Something was different in what people were hearing that day from the upper room. The definition we get for “tongues” in Greek means “glóssa.” This gives us the definition of “language, sometimes refers to the supernatural gift of tongues, and languages.” This tells us that the languages being spoken that day were most likely many kinds and were supernatural in origin, which is why onlookers were puzzled as to how they were speaking languages that they knew in Acts 2:6 that the speakers themselves were not fluent in. This was surely a “different” kind of experience. The participants who were baptized that day experienced a phenomenal overwhelming feeling that Acts 2:2 says was like “cloven tongues as of fire, and it sat upon each one of them.”
After understanding how to define the baptism of the Holy Spirit, you must understand the fundamentals and order of events. Paul Chappell gives us the order of events when he says, “First, a person is to be converted, then obey God, and then believe he/she has been baptized based upon one’s faith and the Word, and then testify to others of having received the experience.” There was only one issue that Charles Parham had with this assessment. That was, how do they prove such a baptism is present in a person? His answer came when Chappell states, ”In 1900 at his Topeka Bible School.” Parham continues saying,
As a healing evangelist he shared his belief from the cornerstone Scriptures of the new paradigm for the Holiness Movement, Acts 2; and counseled the students that the true model and pattern of assurance was the Upper Room experience. The students responded in agreement that the biblical pattern found in Acts for the reception of this experience was speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gave utterance”.
It is obvious according to this assessment that sanctification and a close relationship with God are essential to becoming baptized in the Holy Spirit. It is only in the will of God that we find ourselves seeking and receiving this gift of the Holy Spirit baptism. Gary McGee explains the process of Spirit baptism as,
Public confession of sins and ‘prayer storms’ (hours of public worship spent in loud and fervent prayer) were the most notable features in the awakening across British India. Baptists, Presbyterian, Methodist, Anglican, Lutheran, Christian and Missionary Alliance, as well as other missionaries reported unusual occurrences. These included visions, dreams, angelic visitations, the ‘burning’ sensation (experienced first at Mukti), laughter exorcism, prophesying, and even miraculous provisions of food.”
Finally, there are two different forms of “speaking in tongues” according to Lauren Winner. One form is that of prophecy which “brings words from God to a group of people.” I have met very few people that have the gift of what I call “tongue prophecy,” by where a message of tongues is given and someone in the crowd understands and translates. Since, this is a message direct from God the occasion requires silence and full attention from everyone in the room. It is amazing the stillness and calmness that comes into a room in this moment. It is as if God can make even the smallest of children silent without hesitation. It is most common to see “prayer language” tongues being spoken. This is common around the altars at prayer time and during music worship. These are often whispers or very quiet words from man to God. Many times either form is accompanied with a lot of emotion, tears, and sniffles.
Evidence and Arguments Against the Baptism of the Holy Ghost
There are many arguments from those who resist the baptism of the Holy Spirit, some are very intriguing while other aren’t. The most common argument is that the whole experience is fabricated or exaggerated. First-hand experience of this “phenomenon” by another person is easy to write off as a lie or fallacy when you are not the person experiencing it. Paul Chappell explains that, “the supernatural manifestations of Father God in biblical times are still operative today and that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is subsequent to conversion and the prayer language released at this baptism is a provision available to all believers.” Also, if it is fabricated, why does Jesus talk about it?? Are you calling our Lord and Savior a liar?
Secondly, why did the baptism happen even after the day of Pentecost? There are many who believe that the gifts of the Spirit in general are extinct or they believe in a “watered down” version of these gifts. The biggest proof that the gift of the baptism of the Holy Spirit or speaking in tongues is extinct is Acts 19:1-6. It is clear by this encounter that the believers there had been baptized under the ministry of John, but professed to have “not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost” (v.2). After Paul explained to them the process of baptism, he laid hands upon them in the name of Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost came upon them “and they spake with tongues and prophesied” (v.6). Where do we get any biblical proof that this God-given power has expired or went extinct? Does God not need us now more than ever to show the glory that He bestows upon us as light in a dark world? The answer is, there is no such proof because it never went away. The power is still real and still being given to believers in this age. Acts 2:17 should stand as proof to us that we are not only in the last days, but rather in an age of great blessings from God. Even the Southern Baptist Convention is learning the hard way. According to a recent article, “Controversy is again brewing in the Southern Baptist Convention over the practice of speaking in tongues. Last year the denomination’s International Mission Board adopted a policy that forbids considering missionary candidates who use a ‘private prayer language’.”
Among the many other arguments against the gifts and baptism of the Spirit is that the experiences of the Pentecostal Church are relatively new and nothing like that of Acts 2. Statements by Academics such as by Thomas Christopher when he mentions, “While the emerging academic discipline of Pentecostal hermeneutics is a relatively recent phenomenon.” There is nothing recent about a “phenomenon” that has been going on for 2,000 years. Although we lack much documentation due to church history being controlled by the Catholic Church until the reformation, we know that the gift of tongues has likely never ceased. There is always someone to continue on what God has started in this world until Christ’s return. It is documented that many of these gifts and events took place even during John Wesley’s ministry. If this is true, it could take the Pentecostal Movement back well into the 1700’s.
Another common misconception regarding the baptism of the Spirit is the misunderstanding of the gift of tongues. The wrong definition for the term speaking in tongues can be found in J. Williams article where he explains, “The phenomenon of tongues (or glossolalia) is identified by many as the supernatural utterance of foreign human languages (Acts 2:4,6). While the gift of tongues may include the languages of mankind on occasion, it also is displayed as a language only understood by the Spirit and the Father (1 Corinthians 14:2). This is the case many times when a person is speaking in tongues during a personal prayer moment between them and God. There are even those who say that “tongues” interrupts the order of the service and that God does not like anything which disrupts the order of a service or creates confusion. Apparently, all the tongue talking confuses God and creates mass chaos. If that were true, would a God who is supposed to be all-powerful and all-knowing, not get confused by all the people around the world praying at the same time we do? What constitutes as order in the church service? When tongues of prophecy are given, it usually creates silence and reverence within the service, rendering this argument useless. I have never been in a Pentecostal service where there was mass-chaos with no way of understanding what is happening. The church simply waits to conclude service until the work of the Spirit is complete in the service. When God is finished, He convicts us to “wrap it up.”
The Ways the Baptism of the Holy Spirit Affects First, Second, and Third Order Doctrines Such as Salvation and View of the Trinity
There are many ways that the baptism of the Holy Spirit affects our views of salvation. First and foremost, you are not required to speak in tongues in order to be saved. Salvation is by faith alone (Romans 3:28). While this gift is a great blessing from God and will help enhance your faith experience, the thief on the Cross next to Jesus was not able to speak in tongues by the evidence given in Scripture. Even though he had just professed faith, Jesus accepted his faith and told him that he would be with Him in “paradise” (Luke 23:43). Looking at our faith journey as a long term walk, we can begin to see where the baptism of the Holy Ghost would aid in this endeavor. Scripture tells us that the way to Heaven is pretty “narrow” and the one to Hell is “wide” (Matthew 7:13). Given these details, it appears to me that walking this straight and narrow path is difficult without the true and second Spirit Baptism.
The View of the Trinity in the Pentecostal Church is no different than any other Evangelical denomination, other than the views on the blessings of the gifts. Beyond gifts, today there are few differences between most Baptist and Pentecostal worship services. In both organizations you can find hands raised, people praising God, others crying, and prayer at the altars. For some, these differences are much too big to bear. This is a second order doctrinal divide. While it may appear to some that Pentecostal worshipers give too much power and credit to the Holy Spirit, the evidence points out that those same denominations often lack respect and reverence for the Spirit. They put God in a box and steal the Spirit’s power from the people by telling them that they can’t have what Paul had in the Holy Spirit. This is true if that is what you believe. The Spirit will never be available to this extent if you do not believe. As I mentioned before, faith is a pre-requisite for the baptism of the Holy Ghost. While many disagree with the blessings that many Pentecostals take part in, we may find common ground in first order doctrines that parallel our faith as Evangelicals.
The power of the Holy Ghost is a promise and mandate of how great and powerful our God is. It also helps to show how much God cares about us as believers to provide us with unique gifts and abilities only afforded by Christians. Hebrews 13:8 explains to us that the Jesus of Acts 2 is the same God of today as He was yesterday, making the Holy Ghost the same as He was yesterday. Therefore, the same power accessible to those of Christ’s time is available today. If He is providing the same gifts of the Spirit, this includes the gift of tongues and indwelling of the Spirit as it did in Paul’s generation. While the wording of doctrines, confusion of other denominations, and the hard to explain phenomenon may give non-participants causes to doubt; there is substantial proof and eyewitness accounts (including the author) for this promise from God. As made evidenced by the Scripture that this is not a salvation issue however, it has surely enhanced many a Christians’ spiritual walk with God. It is my hope that the reader and others would at least develop a new found understanding and respect for this precious gift from God.
 Walter A. Elwell. Bakers Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology: Baptism of the Spirit (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2001.) 137.
 The Holy Bible, King James Version (unless noted otherwise)
 Edward W. Goodrick. The Strongest NIV Exhaustive Concordance: Other. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1999) 1554.
 Edward W. Goodrick. The Strongest NIV Exhaustive Concordance: Tongues. 1538
 Ibid. 1538
 Chappell, Paul G. "Tongues as the initial evidence of Baptism in the Holy Spirit--a Pentecostal perspective." Criswell Theological Review 4, no. 1 (September 2006) 46.
 Chappell, Paul G. "Tongues as the initial evidence of Baptism in the Holy Spirit--a Pentecostal perspective." 46.
 Ibid. 47
 Gary B. McGee. "'Baptism of the Holy Ghost & Fire!' The Mission Legacy of Minnie F Abrams." Missiology 27, no. 4 (October 1999) accessed May 14, 2017. 517-518.
 Lauren F. Winner, "Tongue-Tied." The Christian Century (September 2002). 26,https://lopes.idm.oclc.org/loginurl=http://search.proquest.com.lopes.idm.oclc.org/docview/217222856?accountid=7374. (accessed May 14, 2017).
 Lauren F. Winner, "Tongue-Tied." 26
 Anonymous,” ‘Tongues' Resurfaces as Southern Baptist Issue." The Christian Century, Oct 17, 2006.17,https://lopes.idm.oclc.org/loginurl=http://search.proquest.com.lopes.idm.oclc.org/docview/217256432?accountid=7374.
 "Pentecostal Interpretation." In Oxford Encyclopedia of Biblical Interpretation. , edited by Thomas John Christopher. Oxford Biblical Studies Online, http://www.oxfordbiblicalstudies.com.lopes.idm.oclc.org/article/opr/t373/e32 (accessed 14-May-2017).
 Gary B. McGee. "'Baptism of the Holy Ghost & Fire!”. 517.
Q: Briefly state your current understanding of the doctrines of election and perseverance. How have the readings this week challenged your presuppositions about these themes?
The doctrines of election and perseverance are some of the most debated topics of the New Testament Scriptures that a believer may come across. These topics are debated because they are based solely on the way that the Scriptures are interpreted. Many times as believers, we adopt the doctrines of our current home church, our parents teachings, or possibly even come to a conclusion based on our own assumptions and beliefs. Regardless of how we reach those conclusions, we should adequately understand how we reached them, how the elements of those beliefs work, and we should also be able to accurately defend our doctrines.
The doctrine of election can be explained simply by stating that it is the method by which God pre-chooses us as believers or unbelievers. The doctrine of election holds to the truth that God chooses or does not choose individuals to have faith or receive salvation. How you view this doctrine is usually seen through two views of theology or Salvation, that is Arminianism and Calvinism. Arminians believe that salvation is a choice. Our text by Beth Jones best describes it by saying, “a gift of grace from God that comes before us, preceding anything we do- was for all people, not only the elect”. She also states how Arminianism gives grace the flexibility that, “enables sinners to respond to God if we do not resist his grace.”Calvinists believe that God chooses us and that we were pre-selected for His grace and salvation. Jones explains it as “priority and sovereignty of God’s grace by emphasizing God as the sole agent of salvation.”
The doctrine of perseverance also known as “perseverance of the saints”, “once saved always saved”, and many more all deal with the duration of salvation. This doctrine emphasizes that one a person is truly saved or “born again”, that they will maintain their salvation for life. Scriptures such as Jude 24 and John 10:28-29 seem to help support this doctrinal view, but there are others which seem to show us that a person can lose their salvation such as Galatians 5:1-4 where Paul explains how we can fall from grace by running back to the Law. 2 Peter 3:17 shows us that we can “fall from our secure position”. We are also told that we can be “condemned” by James 5:12.
As a Pentecostal Holiness adherent, I am a serious believer in our ability as carnal humans to backslide out of salvation. I have known many church members over the years who have been saved, but find themselves in sinful habits who say they know they are headed for Hell. I also know others who say that they had “backslidden”, were on their way to Hell, but have now been saved again. I believe this is why Jesus gives us the message of Luke 11:27. A born again believer should not be plagued by the same demons of Hell that should be cast out at salvation, but a backslidden believer is susceptible to those demons. This allows him to bring in as the scriptures tell us “seven other spirits” than there were before. I tend to be Arminian in my view of Soteriology as I feel that although God has foreknowledge of who will chose His grace, it is ultimately up to us as Jesus died for every man upon that Cross of Calvary. Our text does not change any opinion or belief I have in these matters as none of our text are equivalent to the Word of God. I understand that there may be Scriptures which do not seem to support this view, but there are also many that do which I mentioned. The truth is that God’s Word warns us of being “luke-warm” and having one foot in the church and one out. If we so choose to live our lives on the edge as to require the Lord to decide if we are deserving of salvation by pure admission or our faith, then where is our fruit? If there is no proof that we are saved by grace and forgiven of our sins, why do we have no proof of this other than a covenant of perseverance? I do not want to walk a fine line of teeter totting between salvation and damnation, but rather seal my fate with true faith in Christ and a life to prove it. Many areas of Soteriology overlap at this point, but I believe that sanctification plays a large part in determining if a Christian is really who they proclaim to be. Although I am open to discussion with all fellow believers, no text can ever change what the Word of God has already pointed out to us all. I also go into detail regarding this subject in a blog post I made last year that I wrote during my bachelor’s degree program at http://www.salvationscall.org/blog/is-there-such-a-thing-as-eternal-security.
 Beth Felker Jones. Practicing Christian Doctrine: An Introduction to Thinking and Living Theologically. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2014), 155
 Beth Felker Jones. Practicing Christian Doctrine: An Introduction to Thinking and Living Theologically. 155
 Ibid, 154.
Q: What does it mean for humanity to be made in the image of God? Consider how this understanding contrasts secular/humanist approaches to explaining the nature and purpose of humanity
Textbooks and sources have many things to say regarding what is means for humanity to be made in the image of God, but their arguments are best described in three terms according to theological anthropology. Those terms are functionally, relationally, and substantial/noetically. These terms help us to comprehend what in what fashion we are looking at what it means to be made in the image of God. The functional view point is our likeness being in a position of “caring for God’s creation” as Beth Jones puts it. In this view we as mankind have control over all of God’s creations acting as God Himself does over us. The next view would be the relational view. This view is centered on our relationship with God. This is the more accepted and traditional view. Jones states regarding the relational view that, “To be in the image of God, therefore, might mean that humans are, at our core, beings created to exist in relationship with others.” The noetical or substantial view points out the intellectual comparisons to God such as a thought process and processing emotions. Ian McFarland points out the fact that we as humans, “possess distinct spiritual capacities that reflect God’s own transcendence of the material order.”The fact that we can reason to logical conclusions and figure out problems/concepts beyond our physical location is something that no other creature can do. Chimps can use tools to scavenge for food, but they cannot do simple algebra equations or plan a vacation. Those activities require reasoning abilities and the intellectual capacity only given to those who were created in the image of God. While I do not agree with many of Mcfarland’s statements or lack of conclusion, I agree that we must view the image of man in this fashion through all three views.
Perhaps our lecture explains God’s image best when they state, “the biblical text describes humanity as possessing a likeness to God unparalleled in all of creation. No animal or plant is given this distinction, for it is solely reserved for human beings.” They go on to say, “The image of God in humanity makes all people God-like, not in the sense of being one with his nature, but in the sense of being able to reason and act in a God-like manner toward others.” In conclusion of the class sources answer, I believe that they all lean in the direction of the substantial view while also maintaining that the other views play a small role in what it means to be created in the image of God. This stands in stark contrast to the secular/humanist viewpoint that we are indeed equal in nature and worth to all creatures. Scripture does not hold any validity in their world; therefore they will not view mankind through its scope. Our worth is not that of God’s, but rather that of any other living creature. This allows us to be seen as disposable animals no greater than any livestock of the earth. This is why our unborn children are slaughtered as sacrifices to the idol of self with its demonic sexual desires. We want the pleasure with no regard for the life it creates. It is obvious that there are huge differences in the Christian worth of mankind and his creation compared to that of the secular world.
 Ian A. McFarland. "Theological Anthropology." In Cambridge Dictionary of Christian Theology, edited by Ian A. McFarland, David A. S. Fergusson, Karen Kilby, and et. al.. Cambridge University Press, 2011. https://lopes.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/cupdct/theological_anthropology/0?institutionId=5865
 Beth Felker Jones. Practicing Christian Doctrine: An Introduction to Thinking and Living Theologically. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2014), 105
 Jones, Practicing Christian Doctrine, 105
 McFarland, "Theological Anthropology."
 Grand Canyon University, “The Doctrine of Humanity” (lecture, Christian Doctrines, Grand Canyon University, August 21, 2014).
 Grand Canyon University, “The Doctrine of Humanity”
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God’s Compassion for the Family of Saul:
The death of Saul and his three battle able sons would not be the only detriment to his family. Saul’s had a grandson named Mephibosheth, who was the son of Jonathan. Mephibosheth was already “lame in both feet”. When his caretaker heart about Saul and Jonathan’s death; she picked him up to quickly leave town, but dropped him. He was left further crippled as a result.
2 Samuel 4:4 (KJV)
4 And Jonathan, Saul's son, had a son that was lame of his feet. He was five years old when the tidings came of Saul and Jonathan out of Jezreel, and his nurse took him up, and fled: and it came to pass, as she made haste to flee, that he fell, and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth.
What part of our legacy or ministry are we allowing your sin to cripple?
You would think that after all the pain and suffering that this would be it for the family of Saul, but it wasn’t. Later is 2 Samuel 4:5-11, we find that Ish-Bosheth (another son of Saul) was resting in his home during the evening. He was resting on his bed when two raiding-band leaders named Baanah and Rechab stab Ish-Bosheth killing him. They decapitated his body and took the head to David at Hebron.
David was obviously not entertained by these attempts to win his favor which proved him to be a smart ruler by this point. Many kings would have shown these men a great deal of gratitude, thus weakening their honor. Instead, David executes these men bringing honor back to Saul’s family.
2 Samuel 4:5-11 (NKJV)
5 Then the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, Rechab and Baanah, set out and came at about the heat of the day to the house of Ishbosheth, who was lying on his bed at noon. 6 And they came there, all the way into the house, as though to get wheat, and they stabbed him in the stomach. Then Rechab and Baanah his brother escaped. 7 For when they came into the house, he was lying on his bed in his bedroom; then they struck him and killed him, beheaded him and took his head, and were all night escaping through the plain. 8 And they brought the head of Ishbosheth to David at Hebron, and said to the king, “Here is the head of Ishbosheth, the son of Saul your enemy, who sought your life; and the Lord has avenged my lord the king this day of Saul and his descendants.”
9 But David answered Rechab and Baanah his brother, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, and said to them, “As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my life from all adversity, 10 when someone told me, saying, ‘Look, Saul is dead,’ thinking to have brought good news, I arrested him and had him executed in Ziklag—the one who thought I would give him a reward for his news. 11 How much more, when wicked men have killed a righteous person in his own house on his bed? Therefore, shall I not now require his blood at your hand and remove you from the earth?”
Many things had come against the house of Saul, but thank God for His grace and mercy! Despite our wickedness of heart, God continues to shine His grace and mercy upon us today. God honored Saul’s family in the end using the good heart of David. If you fast-forward to 2 Samuel 9:1-13, you find that Jonathan’s son is honored because of Jonathan’s brotherly covenant with David. His son Mephibosheth is brought from LoDebar and advised by King David that he would restore all the land to him that his grandfather Saul owned before. That was not all. From that day forward, Mephibosheth would be dining at the king’s table with David!
2 Samuel 9 (NKJV)
David’s Kindness to Mephibosheth
9 Now David said, “Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”
2 And there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba. So when they had called him to David, the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?”
He said, “At your service!”
3 Then the king said, “Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, to whom I may show the kindness of God?”
And Ziba said to the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan who is lame in his feet.”
4 So the king said to him, “Where is he?”
And Ziba said to the king, “Indeed he is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, in Lo Debar.”
5 Then King David sent and brought him out of the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, from Lo Debar.
6 Now when Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, had come to David, he fell on his face and prostrated himself. Then David said, “Mephibosheth?”
And he answered, “Here is your servant!”
7 So David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father’s sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather; and you shall eat bread at my table continually.”
8 Then he bowed himself, and said, “What is your servant, that you should look upon such a dead dog as I?”
9 And the king called to Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said to him, “I have given to your master’s son all that belonged to Saul and to all his house. 10 You therefore, and your sons and your servants, shall work the land for him, and you shall bring in the harvest, that your master’s son may have food to eat. But Mephibosheth your master’s son shall eat bread at my table always.” Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.
11 Then Ziba said to the king, “According to all that my lord the king has commanded his servant, so will your servant do.”
“As for Mephibosheth,” said the king, “he shall eat at my table[a] like one of the king’s sons.” 12 Mephibosheth had a young son whose name was Micha. And all who dwelt in the house of Ziba were servants of Mephibosheth. 13 So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem, for he ate continually at the king’s table. And he was lame in both his feet.
How great is our God that he would allow us at his supper table?
The crippled at heart, once friend of the enemy; now allowed at the table with the King!
Mephibosheth responds by saying, “what is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?”
Even as we turn our backs on God and it seems He is forced to take His hand of favor from over our family, it is assuring to hear how merciful God truly is.
God knew that the house of Saul had to be disbanded and disabled to prevent a coup or rivalry, but He also realized the heart of David to take in the house of Jonathan. Don’t let bitterness, anger, strife, jealousy, or sin bring you to the point that it did Saul.
If you would like to know more about sitting at the table with the king at the coming of Christ, please let us know or visit our page What Is The Gospel? Don’t be left in a sinful, crippled heart state as Saul was. Let God have that pain and hurt today. Replace it with the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ!
For Part One Click Here!
By: Dr. Jim Feeney
As a minister in Christian churches for 35 years, I have had numerous opportunities to pray for the sick. I am a firm believer in divine healing and have taught often on the subject. For an in-depth look at healing by faith (commonly called “faith healing” or “spiritual healing”) I refer the reader to my bible study entitled “Believe God for Spiritual Healing (Divine Healing)”.
In hundreds of church services over the years I have seen thousands of believers come forward to receive healing prayer. An honest assessment of the results? Some have been healed; the majority have not been healed. Many times I have asked, why is this? And I believe that the answer is becoming clearer to me.
If one studies the healing ministry of Jesus Christ in the Gospels, a recurring pattern emerges — again and again, Jesus looked to see if the sick person was showing faith to be healed, as in the scripture below:
Matthew 9:28-30 When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they replied.  Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith will it be done to you”;  and their sight was restored.Healing is “according to your faith.” Jesus had all the faith and healing power necessary, even to heal blindness. There were no questions, no doubts, in His mind about His ability to heal these two blind men. No, the variable was not Christ’s faith, but the faith of the men desiring to be healed. And when Jesus had determined that they did indeed have faith in His healing power, He cured them of their blindness.
This same pattern is seen in the ministry of the apostle Paul to a crippled man in the heathen city of Lystra. The lame man was listening to Paul preaching the Gospel. During this sermon, “Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, ‘Stand up on your feet!’ At that, the man jumped up and began to walk” (Acts 14:8-10). Did the apostle Paul have the “gifts of healing” (1 Corinthians 12:9)? Apparently so. But the healing did not occur until the lame man himself “had faith to be healed.”
Therefore, it is urgent that we grow in faith to be healed. Jesus’ apostles understood the importance of this.
Luke 17:5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”That is my desire in the comments that follow — specifically, to share Scriptures that will enable us to grow in faith to receive divine healing from the Lord.
Romans 10:17, KJV So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.1) Faith comes by hearing God’s Word. Study God’s Word on the subject of healing. Use a good concordance, and look up every Bible verse (in its full context) that speaks of healing. Read Scripture-filled books on healing, such as T.L. Osborne’s classic Healing the Sick. Ask your pastor to recommend audio tapes on the subject taught by those whom God has used in healing the sick. In sum, fill your heart with what God’s Word, the Bible, says about His desire to heal our sick bodies. And as you do that, you will find yourself steadily growing in faith to receive healing from the Lord.
Matthew 9:28-30 When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they replied.  Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith will it be done to you”;  and their sight was restored.2) Jesus said to the blind men, “Do you believe that I am able...?" We grow in faith as we focus on JESUS the Healer. Acts 9:34 records the apostle Peter ministering healing to a lame man. He simply said to the paralytic, “Aeneas,... Jesus Christ heals you.” Peter used no fancy words. He didn’t need to “hype” the man’s emotions. He simply directed the man’s focus upon Jesus. Peter was convinced, as we should be, that Jesus heals!
Mark 5:28-30 ... she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.”  Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.  At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from Him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
Luke 6:19 “...power was coming from Him and healing them all.”
3) Think about Jesus’ power flowing out to you. I don’t mean some kind of mental gymnastics, nor any form of mind-over-matter. Jesus’ power to heal is real power, so real that Jesus sensed the flow of that healing power from Him. Consider Jesus, ponder His great power, and by faith see it flowing from Him to you, and you will find yourself growing in faith to receive a very real touch of healing from the Lord.
Matthew 8:2-3 A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”  Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy.4) “I am willing,” Jesus said. Let His own words establish the fact that it is Christ's will to heal! Don’t come apologetically to Jesus for healing. No! Come to Him knowing that His expressly stated intention concerning healing is: “I am willing!” Those three simple words from Jesus — "I am willing" — should establish the prayer of faith for healing strongly in your heart and on your lips.
And don’t pray the leper’s prayer (“Lord, if you are willing...”). Jesus replied by revealing the intent of His heart concerning the healing of the sick — “I am willing.” Confess that promise from Jesus regularly — "I am willing!" — and watch your faith for healing grow!
Psalms 103:2-3 Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits —  who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases...5) Faith for healing grows as we realize that Jesus has provided a package of salvation — both the forgiveness of our sins and the healing of our diseases.Too many Christians, sadly, have “forg[otten] ... all his benefits.” One of those great salvation benefits is the forgiveness of our sins. Another — not to be forgotten or ignored — is the healing of our sicknesses. The Word of the Lord tells us, “Don’t forget this!”
1 Peter 2:24 ...by his wounds you have been healed.6) Faith for divine healing grows as we remember that from God’s standpoint, healing is already DONE — “You have been healed.” Consider Matthew 8:16-17 "...[Jesus] healed all the sick.  This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.”
Notice the verb tenses that Peter and Matthew use: “...you have been healed.... He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.” Just as Jesus has already borne our sins, likewise He has already taken and carried our sicknesses. That means you don't have to carry them any longer!
Matthew 4:23-24 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.  News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them.7) Jesus’ will to heal includes YOUR sickness! He healed "every disease and sickness.” And His intent to heal includes your pain, even “severe pain.” If you have cancer, leukemia, or any other debilitating disease, it is included among the “every disease and sickness” that Jesus is pleased to heal.
We have looked at seven Scriptural ways to increase your faith for spiritual healing:
1) Remember that faith comes by hearing God’s Word.
2) Focus on Jesus the Healer.
3) Consider Jesus’ great power to heal, and allow yourself to “see” it flowing out to you, as it did to the woman with the issue of blood.
4) Remember Christ’s words to the man who was uncertain about Jesus’ will to heal: “I am willing.”
5) Don’t forget the salvation benefits of forgiveness of sins and healing of sickness.
6) Remember that Jesus “took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.”Don’t you carry them a minute longer!
7) Any affliction you have can be healed — Jesus healed “every disease and sickness.”And thankfully, “Jesus Christ is the SAME yesterday and TODAY and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Jesus healed His people 20 centuries ago, and He is still the same — He will heal you today!
Have you found yourself growing in faith for healing from God as you have read these Scripture thoughts today? If so, I encourage you to hit your "Print" button and run yourself a copy of this bible study on healing. Reread it daily for a week (or more), and watch the word of God build in you a growing faith for divine healing. May God bless you abundantly as you reflect upon these truths from His word, the Scriptures.
• If you desire some additional help in finding salvation and peace with God through Jesus Christ, our page "What Is The Gospel?" offers additional guidance. You can also email us at Salvationscall@gmail.com
Additional resources as well as this Bible study can be found at: