FROM THE PEN OF AARON
JESUS, THE HERETICK
Was Jesus a heretic during his time on Earth? To answer this question let's do what we always do, go to the Bible. In the scriptures, the word heresies are mentioned three times (1st Corinthians 11:19, Galatians 5:20, and 2nd Peter 2:1) while the word heretick is mentioned once (Titus 3:10). Both words come from the Greek language and carry the same meaning. Strong concordance G141 indicates that the meaning of the word heretick is, “fitted or able to take or choose a thing," schismatic, factious, a follower of a false doctrine”. The dictionary states that heresies are, “opinion or doctrine at variance with the orthodox or accepted doctrine, especially of a church or religious system, the maintaining of such an opinion or doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church, the willful and persistent rejection of any article of faith by a baptized member of the church, any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs, customs, etc.”. The keyword from the strong concordance definition is schismatic. To be schismatic is to be a person with a schism (to be divisive). Therefore, to be a heretic, a person must stray away from a specific doctrine or belief of a religious order or sect.
YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN
Many protestant Christian movements today based their belief system on one central expression. This expression is “You must be born again”. Therefore, what does the expression “being born again” mean? This movement tells us that “being born again” restores a person to a righteous relationship with God with the ability to be a witness for Him. The concept of this movement is centered around the presence of sin and how we must manage it daily.
Apologetics according to the dictionary is the theology concerned with the defense of Christianity. It is a Greek word that means speaking in defense of something. However, there is a misunderstanding of this word among many Christians. The problem with apologetics is that it is not a biblical term, however, there are many indications that a defense of the faith is important. In Jude 1:3 he states, “Beloved when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints”. Apologetics is many times confused with an apology (which means to regret, have remorse, or feel sorrowful) for an action. But, the use of this word within the Christian community is to have an answer to those who have a question concerning your hope in Christianity. For many Christians, it is a verbal defense of Jesus to those who are unbelievers (antichrists). The purpose then is to persuade them to change their minds and the direction of their life. In other words, to become followers of Jesus. This understanding comes from the teaching that Christians are soul winners for the Lord. However, to be an apologist within Christian theology is to reason with the unlearned or unbeliever. The primary emphasis is to bring them to an understanding of the nature of good and evil. Then the listener must choose based on their relationship with God at that moment. The choice at that moment is to pick between Christ or the antichrist, day or night, light or darkness, good or evil, etc.
CONFLICT IN THE CHURCH
As mentioned in another place, over the last few years there have been conflicts in the Christian Church. These conflicts have increased to a point where the Christian Church has begun to eat its own. Today, there are conflicts as to what to do with the LGBTQ community, the relationship between the races, and the understanding of who is Jesus. However, many Reformed leaders are now weighing in on the right of women to be pastors. For many on the reform side just saying a woman is a pastor (with or without ordination) is a sin against God. This topic has recently come to the forefront when a long-standing member of the Southern Baptist Convention membership was revolted because the congregation ordained several women as pastors within the church structure. The SBC leaders cited the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message as their authority for revolting the membership of this church. It is hard for me to understand how the membership of a church could be revolted by the Southern Baptist Convention which states it is not a confessional body and that all membered churches are sovereign and autonomous. This led me to look closer into how this could happen in the body of Christ in 2023. Below is my research on the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message concerning women as pastors.
The following is the section of the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message concerning church leadership as outlined in section VI. This section is identified as THE CHURCH.
https://bfm.sbc.net/bfm2000/ is the website this information comes from.
COVENANTALISM AND THE COVENANTS
Covenantalism is a theological framework that emphasizes the concept of covenants as a central organizing principle in understanding God's relationship with humanity. It views the biblical narrative as a series of covenants that God established with various individuals and groups throughout history. This perspective significantly impacts New Testament theology by shaping the understanding of God's redemptive plan, the nature of salvation, and the relationship between the Old and New Testaments.
WHO IS PAUL?
Now to continue, other than Jesus, the most influential apologist was the Apostle Paul. The Apostle Paul was a Greco/Roman Hebrew Pharisee from the city of Tarsus in Cilicia which is present-day Turkey. During the biblical times, Paul would have been known as a Hellenistic Jewish Pharisee. It must be understood that there was a lot of conflict between the Hebrew Jews and the Hellenistic Jews as indicated in Acts 6. Paul entered the broader picture of believers in Acts 7 when he witnessed the stoning of Stephen. His influence within the greater believer’s narrative expanded when Barnabas who was a Levite took Saul (Paul) after his Damasus experience and introduced him to the apostle and spoke up for him as a true believer of Jesus in Acts 9:26-31. Later, Barnabas was sent to Antioch by the Church in Jerusalem to investigate a Church that was run by Hellenistic Jews and Gentiles. After confirming the faithfulness of the believers in Antioch, the Holy Spirit led Barnabas to Tarsus to get Paul to assist in teaching the Church at Antioch, Acts 11:25-26. Being that Antioch was a city in southern Turkey, many of the Jews there spoke what is known as Koine Greek, a language Paul was fluent in because he was from a Koine Greek-speaking city in Turkey. Also, he could go into the synagogues and teach by being a certified and qualified Jewish pharisee. It must be noted that none of the other Apostles were identified as Pharisees, therefore, they could not teach in the synagogues. Finally, it must be noted how Paul viewed himself. In Philippians 3:5-6, he states that he was circumcised on the eighth day of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee. Paul never stopped being a Pharisee but became one whose eyes had been opened by the Lord to the true meaning of the Law and Prophets which was that Jesus of Nazareth was the long-awaited Messiah. Now that we have identified who Paul is and where he came from, let us look into his value to the Lord as an interpreter of the Law and the Prophets to the koine Greek-speaking Jewish and gentile communities within the Roman Empire.