Monday, 4 December 2017

True in General v True in Particular

Some statements in the Bible, while of course true in the sense in which they are made, might not be true in another sense that the Bible discusses a related topic.

For example, baptism. Peter said baptism saves us, and that's true. Baptism is part of the salvation-package. But it would be wrong to say a believer who hasn't been baptised isn't saved - because Cornelius' household believed and even received the Spirit and spoke in tongues, before being baptised.

So, it's the same with being filled with the Holy Spirit. It's true to say all believers have the Spirit of Christ. But it's also true that receiving the Spirit is, in another sense, a distinct experience to salvation - because most of the time in the Bible, believers received the Spirit as an experience distinguishable from the moment they first believed, even separated by a number of days sometimes.

And it's the same with spiritual gifts. All functions in the Church are 'gifts' in a sense, but there's another sense in which only the nine manifestations of the Spirit listed in I Cor.12:7-10 were being discussed as gifts.

Salvation is another topic. The Bible says Jesus is the Saviour of all men. But that doesn't teach universalism. Only believers are truly saved.

Israel. It's true to say all Israel will be saved. But if we want to examine the question in more detail, we might find it doesn't literally mean all citizens of the modern State of Israel. The Bible itself might unpack "all Israel" for us, in its own detailed way.

And yet many times people establish a whole doctrine on taking isolated statements a certain way. What we really should do is examine the Bible's treatment of such topics as a whole.

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