006-John 1:12 – A Most Misused Scripture

A Most Misused Scripture

John 1:12
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

John 1:12
John 1:12 – Dana Haynes

This passage of scripture is used by the evangelical church to demonstrate that a person becomes a Christian when they accept Christ for the first time. A popular metaphorical formula was developed, probably in the 60’s to help people remember this plan of salvation. It reads like this: “Believe + Receive = Become.” In other words, if you believe in Christ and you receive Christ, you become a Christian. The problem is, this formula is wrong.

Grammar 101 – Verbs

The verb is not “become,” it is “gave.” When you believe and receive, God gives you something. He gives you the “right” to become. We don’t “become” anything upon our decision to receive the message with an open heart. While it may be true that God gives us a new gift, the “right to become his child,” this is not yet salvation!

The problem with this form of teaching lies in the conclusion it offers. The conclusion the Evangelical world presents is that a person is saved when they receive Christ. This is wrong; dangerously wrong.

The Wrong Path

When a person is taught they become a Christian when they first believe and receive, it sets them on a false path to Heaven. Just think about it. If I follow this unbiblical practice and believe I am saved at the time of my acceptance there is no point in a variety of other commands Jesus gave his disciples which always precede the forgiveness of sins. Because I believe I am already a Christian, what is the point of confession, repentance and baptism, all of which precede the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit, when we look at those issues in the Bible.

Following this incomplete pattern does not lead to salvation. Yet this pattern is presented, practice and promoted, with vigor, by most Evangelicals today. It bears a striking resemblance to a pattern Jesus identified in his own ministry. Take a look.
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005-A Dead Religion

Denominations are not in the Bible.

I recently converted the entire lesson series at A Faith that Obeys to audio. This is the first lesson from that series. Eventually, all eleven lessons will make it into the Podcast feed so be watching for them.

In case you are not aware that there is an entire video series available, it all begins at afaiththatobeys.org.

Enjoy!

Dana Haynes

Listen Now – Podcast 005 – A Dead Religion
Audio from the video series – Lesson 1

004-An Awesome Gift

A Listening Ear
A Listening Ear – Dana Haynes

Today’s lesson is something which has been on my heart for years. I have shared the Biblical Plan of Salvation with many religious leaders, pastors and elders over the years. They are pretty quick to reject it. The one common factor in each case was their lack of willingness to listen to me… to hear me out.

Several years ago, I was amazed when I discovered that the Bible actually talks about this condition quite a bit so I thought I might share that lesson with you today.

Have you ever considered the critical emphasis, the Bible places on our ability or our willingness to “listen?”

From the opening accounts of Genesis where Adam and Eve listened to… but chose not to obey God’s commands, to the very end of the ages where the angel of Revelation tells us, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches;” there is an extraordinary and unmistakeable emphasis placed on our need to constantly listen for God’s direction and commands.

Regarding God’s directions, sometimes the message comes from the most unexpected place. This is why we must always be on our toes… carefully listening. Once, God’s direction came from from a burning bush. Once it came by way of a gentle whisper. Once, it happened all over Pharaoh in the form ten plagues. Godly advice even came from Jethro, Moses father-in-law, who was a pagan priest of Median, not a Jew.

Sometimes Godly direction or prompting comes through that patient small voice of a neighbor, close relative or even a child. God’s message might come to us in a variety of ways but the only reliable verification of what we hear are the scriptures themselves. Not every prompting which seems to come from God is from God. And, we must always carefully test the message.

The only way we can ever be sure is by carefully evaluating what we hear by exposing it to the light of scripture. While God providing direction might come from a variety of sources… God’s commands… which must be obeyed… will ONLY come from the Bible.

We must carefully listen for both God’s direction and commands. Let me present a few passages of scripture and consider just how critical listening is, EVEN for salvation.
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003-Misquoting Scripture

A Serious Thing

Garden of Inspiration
The garden where we have our chats.

Everyone agrees; it is a serious thing to misquote scripture. Jer 14:14 and Deu 18:20 tells us about that! However, scripture is often misused and misquoted. There are a handful of favorites. How about, “Money is the root of all evil?” That’s a misquote. The Bible actually says, “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” Money itself is not the problem, the problem is greed. (1 Timothy 6:10)

Misusing or misquoting the Bible is commonplace. It can be excused when coming from an atheist and frankly, an atheist using the bible as his source of authority when arguing about a religious matters ought to be excused. Misquoting the bible can be understood when when it comes from a believer who is not really familiar with the scriptures. But misquoting the bible should never be tolerated when it comes from some of our greatest and most trusted biblical scholars!

A Stunning Revelation

Recently, in the course of my regular, daily Bible study, I was absolutely stunned when I realized how pervasive, entrenched and completely accepted one particular misquote has become. Entire denominations have been built around this misquote. Yet, when I stopped to really think about it, I was left flabbergasted. How could a biblical error so obvious be so missed and even accepted by some of our best biblical scholars?

Let me give you a bit of perspective and let’s see if you are not as shocked as I was when this dawned on me. When a scripture is misquoted, by definition this means the misquote is not from God. It is a twisting of the truth. We should never tolerate or accept that, right? This particular misquote leads people astray. This misquote is vigorously protected and defended, sometimes with great emotion. It is wildly popular. It is used in nearly every church. It has stood the test of time. It has been lauded and embraced by some of the greatest bible teachers and preachers in history. Many prominent scholars claim it as an infallible doctrine of holy writ… but, they are wrong. Do I have your attention?

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002-Let’s Start an Argument

Let’s start an argument!

A Pillow Fight
Pillow Fight by Allen Taylor on Unsplash

I am not suggesting the kind of heart ripping, character trashing, irrational, sort of emotional argument like cranky lover’s have. Let’s start an argument like Plato, Socrates, Aristotle or Jesus might have had. Let’s start one of those amazing arguments which ultimately leads us both down a path toward deeper, richer discoveries of truth, beauty and wisdom… a grand argument of enlightenment!

Remember how Jesus did it? An issue was raised and all he needed to do was ask one question to get the rolling ball halted in its tracks. 

“But what about you… who do YOU say I am?” 

“Whose inscription is on this coin?” 

“Tell me, John’s baptism… was it from God or from men?” 

A Cleverly Crafted Question

Wow! A good presupposition can sure crumble under the scrutiny of a clever question! In fact, really good arguments may be more about crafting the question than presenting your position! A carefully crafted, sharpened to a fine point question… at just the right time… makes us think… makes us reconsider… and if we’re humble enough, makes us surrender our weaker positions.

Let’s have the kind of argument which so strongly embraces our shared quest of drawing closer to our mysterious and majestic God, that it forms a bond between us… so strong; nothing will ever tear us apart! Let’s forge such an indomitable relationship that the rusty ol’ gates of that ancient abyss will rattle with fear! 
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