Priesthood of All Believers

Priesthood of All Believers

“The Priesthood of All BelieversThe Priesthood of All BelieversThe doctrine of the priesthood of all believers emerged in reaction to the sacramentalism that dominated church life and work. Sacramentalism is the belief that in the observance of the sacraments of the church special grace is conveyed to the participants—even saving grace. The priest, according to sacramentalism, has precedence over the laity in exercising the office of the church and particularly in consecrating and distributing the elements in the Lord’s Supper (called the Eucharist in some churches).Luther advocated the priesthood of all believers, which forms a central doctrine of all Protestantism. Priesthood, to him, meant that we stand before God, pray for others, intercede with God, sacrifice ourselves to Him, and proclaim the Word to one another. Universal priesthood never meant “privatism” or religious individualism. Luther believed this right was given to the community of the saints, who are a priestly generation, a royal priesthood. The priesthood of all believers means that believers have the right and duty to share the gospel and teach God’s Word. He recognized no community that did not preach the Word and no community that did not witness the gospel.In his book Concerning Ministry Luther spelled out seven rights of this universal priesthood:• to preach the Word of God• to baptize• to celebrate the sacrament (the Lord’s Supper)• to minister the office of the keys (announce divine forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ name)• to pray for others• to judge doctrine• to discern spirits.8Luther even went beyond these functions to urge Christians to engage in the mutual encouragement of the Word to each other in the church.In Luther’s day Thomas Münzer of Zwickau, Germany, denounced the immorality and abuse of priests. To Münzer, restoration would come from common people, whom he called “custodians of truth they cannot theologically articulate.” These people of God, he felt, should be able to elect their pastors. He also believed that the words that consecrate the elements in the Lord’s Supper should be said by the whole congregation as a royal, priestly people.The Reformation principle of sola fide (“faith alone”) also led to the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers. Rank-and-file believers throughout Germany, Switzerland, and the Low Countries found in this doctrine new freedoms to express their faith. The Anabaptists, Martin Bucer in Strasbourg, and many others began to address ministerial (magisterial) reform. Some felt that Martin Luther had not gone far enough in his reforms.Among Radical Reformers the question arose over the legitimacy of any ordination. The nature of the apostolate—apostolic succession—was crumbling. In their yearning to avoid cheap grace and an unholy ministry, the Anabaptists sought to transform the church. They were the true evangelicals calling on a shared ministry in the Spirit of all the people of God.Their views also extended to interpreting and handling the Word of God. They appealed to the right of the whole congregation, the laity along with the divines (clergy), to judge difficult passages of the Bible together. Baptists later developed this insight into what is known as “soul liberty,” the right of individual believers to interpret the truth of the Scriptures under the Holy Spirit’s guidance. These Radical Reformers pushed the Lutheran doctrine of the priesthood of all believers in the direction of a lay apostolate.9The floodgates of the Reformation were thus opened, allowing the common people to engage in full exercise of their spiritual gifts in the church.Before we leave this doctrine, it may help to look at the importance of the biblical truth on the subject. After all, a central tenet of the Reformation was the centrality of biblical authority.As stated earlier, the New Testament does not make a distinction between clergy and laity. Both refer to the same people. The word clergy comes from the Greek word klētos, meaning “the called,” and we get our word for laity from the word laos, meaning “people.” Both words occur in some form in 1 Peter 2:9–10. Believers in general are the called of God (Rom. 8:28, 30; 1 Cor. 1:2; 24; 1 Pet. 3:9; 5:10). The terms elect, saints, disciples, and brothers all refer to the people of God who have been called by Him.The church exists in the world as a group of people who have received God’s mercy by divine grace. Believers are ordained to carry out good works, both in a personal way and in a collective way. John Wesley understood this to mean there is no such thing as private Christianity. Believers belong to a fellowship of the called.”

8 Luther’s seven rights of the universal priesthood of all believers are summarized in Paul Althaus, The Theology of Martin Luther, trans. Robert C. Schultz (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1966), 313–18.9 For a fuller investigation of the views of the Anabaptists, see George Huntston Williams, The Radical Reformation (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1962); William R. Estep, The Anabaptist Story, 3d ed. (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1996); and C. Arnold Snyder, Anabaptist History and Theology: An Introduction (Kitchen, Ont.: Pandora, 1995) Swindoll, C. R., & Zuck, R. B. (2003). Understanding Christian theology (pp. 1119–1121). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

“The Priesthood of Believers. This (royal) high priesthood of Jesus Christ connects to the “royal priesthood” of believers: “you are … a royal priesthood, a holy nation” (1 Peter 2:9a). The obvious reference to Exodus 19:6 suggests that the church functions in this present age as God’s New Testament kingdom of priests much like the nation of Israel did in the Old Testament. As such we are responsible to carry out the ministry of proclaiming to the world “the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9b).

A closely related idea (but without the “royal” connections) is Peter’s earlier description of the church as a group of believers who are being (niv), or should allow themselves to be (nrsv), “built into a spiritual house [Jesus himself being the living and choice cornerstone, 1 Peter 2:4, 6–8] to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5). Thus, as fellow priests with Jesus we offer up to God our sacrifices of praise (Heb. 13:15), our doing good and sharing (Heb. 13:16), and ultimately our present physical bodies in the interest of conforming to his standards (Rom. 12:1–2). It is important to observe that here the corporate priesthood of the church shades into the priesthood of the individual believer. Moreover, our ministry in the gospel can be described as an offering of our very life in priestly service to the church (Phil. 2:17), by which we can produce a harvest of sanctified people whom we present to God as an acceptable offering.

Finally, corporate Israel in the Old Testament functioned as a kingdom of priests in both its mediation between God and the other nations and in its service of worship to the Lord in the sanctuary (Exod. 19:5–6). Similarly, the priesthood of the church has mediatorial features as well as aspects that correspond to the sanctuary worship of the Old Testament, sometimes expressed separately and sometimes jointly in the various New Testament passages related to the priesthood of believers.”

niv New International Version
nrsv New Revised Standard Version
Averbeck, R. E. (1996). Priest, Priesthood. In Evangelical dictionary of biblical theology (electronic ed., p. 637). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

 

“Priesthood of Believers. A Protestant principle whereby each believer has immediate access to God through the one mediator, Jesus Christ. One of the great principles of the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation, as expounded by Martin Luther, was the priesthood of all believers. Joined with justification by faith alone and the authority of Scripture alone, it cut through the tangles of medieval Catholicism that tended to place barriers between the individual Christian and God. The implications of the principle were that no priest was necessary, no saints, no Blessed Virgin Mary, to intercede for the ordinary believer. The whole medieval system of salvation, so dependent on a strong distinction between laity and clergy and the power of the latter to administer or withhold the sacraments, was thus for Protestants abolished.

The general effects of this Protestant principle were at least threefold. First, it meant that lay-people prayed directly to God through Jesus Christ, thus increasing lay involvement in private and public worship. Second, it meant that God communicated directly to the individual Christian through his Word, the Bible, thus encouraging the production of vernacular versions of Scripture and the pursuit of lay Bible study. Third, it meant anew sense of Christian liberty for the ordinary Christian, who felt no longer bound by the authority of extrabiblical traditions or by ecclesiastical hierarchies.

Transported to the American environment, without bishoprics and generally established churches, the priesthood of all believers provided a basis for greater lay influence than had characterized European Christianity. In many instances churches could form only where ministers had sufficient powers of persuasion to gather a lay following. In Puritan settings it was not uncommon for regular “private meetings” of laypeople to have as much influence as the church services and to comprise a church within the church. In some groups, such as the Quakers and later the Plymouth Brethren, the priesthood of believers came to mean that there was no recognized clergy at all.

On the negative side, the American expression of the priesthood of believers could manifest itself in a lack of reverence and in a lack of respect for the institutional church. It has contributed also to the spawning of numerous parachurch organizations, many of which have special effectiveness but frequently lack accountability.”

Bibliography. W. S. Hudson, Religion in America (1965); L. Ryken, Worldly Saints: The Puritans As They Really Were (1906); C. E. Hambrick-Stowe, The Practice of Piety: Puritan Devotional Disciplines in Seventeenth-Century New England (1982).

Reid, D. G., Linder, R. D., Shelley, B. L., & Stout, H. S. (1990). In Dictionary of Christianity in America. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

 

Holy War

Holy War

Holy War

 

The topic of Holy War is not discussed much in our churches today. Pulled up a few articles to shine some light on the subject for you bible students.

“War, Holy. Warfare as described in the Book of Deuteronomy, especially in chapter 20. Not merely a human enterprise fought by kings with trained soldiers and military equipment, it is God’s war in which he himself is involved together with his covenant people who are selected to fight in his name. The size of the army is not important; indeed, often the numbers were pared down to dramatize the fact that the victory was gained, not by military superiority, but by the action of God against his enemies. When Israel lived in obedience to God as his covenant people and went into battle under his direction, war was within the will of God, commanded by him, and accomplished through trust in him. As already observed, God was known as “a man of war,” and it is declared that “the battle is the Lord’s” (1 Sm 17:47; cf. 18:17; 25:28). With this faith on the part of the Jews, it is easy to see how a concept of holy war developed, especially when they had the conviction that their enemies were God’s enemies and that they were the people through whom God would effect his saving purposes for the world.

Moses believed that God declares war and sends his people into battle (Ex 17:16; Nm 31:3). On several occasions, at crucial points in warfare, the “terror of the Lord” fell upon the enemy, enabling the numerically inferior army of Israel to gain an easy victory over vastly superior forces (Jos 10:10–14; Jgs 4:12–16; 2 Sm 5:24, 25). In a time of acute military crisis Elisha is enabled to see the heavenly army of Jehovah drawn up on the hills around Samaria ready to defeat the fierce invading armies of Syria. In response to Elisha’s prayer, the Syrian soldiers are struck with blindness and rendered helpless against the Israelites (2 Kgs 6:15–23). Various means were used to determine the will of God and to assure his active participation in war. In addition to the word of the prophet (1 Kgs 22:5–23), dreams, (Jgs 7:9–14), Urim and Thummim (Ex 28:30; Lv 8:8), the ephod (1 Sm 30:7), and the ark of the covenant were employed for this purpose. The leaders of God’s troops were constantly to seek his direction for military strategy during the progress of battle, for no step was to be taken without divine approval and guidance (2 Sm 5:19–23).

Since God gave Palestine to the Jews as his own people, the land was indeed the Promised Land; it belonged by divine covenant to Israel and was in that sense “the Holy Land.” Any defense of that land against foreign invasion was a holy war. The invading enemy was trespassing upon sacred territory that belonged to God’s people by immutable decree and thus incurred the divine wrath. From this perspective the complete destruction of Israel’s enemies is necessary, particularly when the enemy was pagan and morally corrupt. A characteristic Hebrew word used for this concept, ḥērem, originally meant “devoted” and came to mean “devoted to destruction” as something hostile to the rule of God (Jos 6:17, 18). Means which may seem drastic and extreme were demanded in order to assure the success of God’s holy, saving purposes for his chosen people and ultimately for the whole world. The divine plan must not be thwarted, obstructed, or aborted by any debasing idolatry or corrupting immorality (Dt 7:1–26). Enemy cities within the boundaries of the land promised to the Jews were to be utterly destroyed, a practice known as “the ban.” Only silver, gold, and vessels of bronze and iron were to be spared. They were to be placed in the treasury of the Lord as sacred to him (Jos 6:17–21; 1 Sm 15:3). The whole city, including all life, was regarded as a sacrifice to Jehovah, emphasizing the sacrificial character of holy war. Fruitbearing trees, however, were to be spared (Dt 20:19, 20) as an example of the limitations placed upon wanton destruction of natural resources, which are God’s gifts.

When Israel departed from God and forsook his holy ways, the Lord used its enemies to chastise and discipline, to bring it back to himself, and to bring to pass his sovereign purposes. Thus God used war as a punishment against his sinning people (Is 10; Jer 25; Ez 21; Hb 1). At such a time the false prophet prophesies peace and security (Jer 28).

The fact that holy war was never engaged by means of military power and genius alone is characteristic of God’s ways with his people. The commander and often his subordinates were viewed as elected by God and endowed by the Spirit of God with a special gift for their military roles (Jgs 6:34, 35; 11:29–33). If this divine gift were lost or forfeited for any reason, the authority to lead or to command was also lost (Jgs 16:20, 21; 1 Sm 16:14). Participation in holy war required complete surrender and dedication to the service of Jehovah. There was no place for the half-hearted, the fearful, or those distracted by other involvements or obligations (Dt 20:5–9). The presence of such persons in the army would affect the unity and singlemindedness of those who were wholly committed to the cause of the Lord.

The faithful soldier who offered himself willingly in response to the divine call was considered consecrated to God’s service and was in a sense a holy servant of the Lord (Is 13:3). God is said to “walk in the midst of the camp,” and therefore the camp should be holy “that he may not see anything indecent among you, and turn away from you” (Dt 23:14). Careful regulations were observed to guarantee the ritual cleanliness of the camp: any bodily contamination required a rite of purification and excrement was buried outside the camp (vv 9–13).

Victory in holy war was completely unrelated to military superiority, either with respect to armaments or numbers of soldiers (Jgs 7; 1 Sm 14:6–23), because “he who goes over before you as a devouring fire is the Lord your God; he will destroy them and subdue them before you; so you shall drive them out, and make them perish quickly, as the Lord has promised you” (Dt 9:3; cf. 20:4). God delivers the enemy into Israel’s hand (Jgs 3:28; 7:15). He also cautions the Israelites not to think that their righteousness brought down their enemies in defeat and won the land, but that by God’s own righteousness and judgment against the wickedness of the idolatrous nations he drove them out before the army of Israel. It was because of his faithfulness to the covenant which he swore to their fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Dt 9:4, 5). God reminds Israel of their unfaithfulness, stubbornness, and unrighteousness (vv 6–29), and exhorts them to fear the Lord their God and to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve him with all their heart, and to keep all his commandments in order that he may bless them and give them peace in the land which he promised to their fathers (10:1–22). The Jews had to be reminded that it was for their disobedience and lack of faith in not going directly into the Promised Land at Kadesh-barnea that they were punished with 40 years of wandering in the Sinai wilderness (Nm 14:1–12).

In sharp contrast to such unbelief and failure to obey the will of God is the heroic example of Jonathan in his singlehanded attack against the Philistine garrison in the pass between Michmash and Geba (1 Sm 14). Convinced that the Lord would give the Philistines into his hand, Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the Lord will work for us; for nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few” (v 6). Similarly, David’s willingness to fight unassisted against the giant Goliath shows his firm trust in God—“Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (17:26).

The idea of holy war was not exclusive to Israel. Other nations also believed that their gods fought for them in military conflicts, and usually the nation with the most powerful god won the battle. When the Philistines defeated the Israelites and captured the ark, they believed that they had won the conflict because their god Dagon was stronger than Israel’s Jehovah. The biblical writer carefully makes clear that this is not the case. He explicitly points out the dramatic incident of Dagon falling on his face and being broken into pieces before the captured ark of God. In addition to this, the people of Ashdod were so terrified and afflicted with tumors that they cried, “The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us; for his hand is heavy upon us and upon Dagon our god.” Their panic and affliction continued until arrangements were made to return the ark with a guilt offering to the Israelites at Beth-shemesh (1 Sm 4–6). In the days of Mesha, king of Moab, the defeat of his army at one time was attributed to the weakness of his god Chemosh (2 Kgs 3:21–26), but his victory over the Israelites at a later time was attributed by him to the power of Chemosh. Sometimes the victory was determined by the particular place of battle, because the god of that locality was a god either of the hills, the valleys, or the plain (1 Kgs 20:28; 2 Kgs 18:33–35).

The idea of holy war was probably most intense during the time of the judges. Its centrality in the thinking of the nation of Israel diminished during the time of the monarchy. The progression of spiritual decline and apostasy brought a corresponding loss of trust in and expectancy of divine initiative and involvement in warfare. Considerations of political expediency overshadowed the holy war ideology. In protesting this apostasy, the prophets viewed war as a divine judgment against the rebellious nation and also against the proud, defiant gentile powers. The tradition of holy war was preserved mostly among the ordinary, devout people rather than among the political and military leaders, and thus it survived throughout the time of the monarchy. For example, Uriah the Hittite seemed to be more faithful to the principles of holy war than King David, whose evil desires toward Bathsheba blinded him to divine regulations governing the affairs of war and even to the basic morality of the Decalogue (2 Sm 11).

There was a distinctly teleological aspect to the concept of holy war. It looked beyond the triumphs of God in specific battles to the conclusion of all hostilities and to a final time of peace which will vindicate the righteousness and sovereignty of God’s saving purposes and display his concern and goal for his own people. Holy war is the instrument of the God of the covenant who has promised deliverance and eschatological victory. The final consummation will be preceded by a massive holy war, after which the weapons of warfare will be transformed into implements of peace (Is 2:4; Mi 4:3) under the reign of the Messiah, the Prince of Peace (Is 9:6), who will subdue all the enemies of Jehovah in a triumphant Day of the Lord (Ps 110; Dn 7; Zec 14).”

Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). War, Holy. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 2, pp. 2130–2132). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

“WAR*, HOLY Warfare as described in the book of Deuteronomy, especially in chapter 20. Not merely a human enterprise fought by kings with trained soldiers and military equipment, it is God’s war in which he himself is involved together with his covenant people who are selected to fight in his name. The size of the army is not important; indeed, sometimes the numbers were pared down to dramatize the fact that the victory was gained, not by military superiority, but by the action of God against his enemies. When Israel lived in obedience to God as his covenant people and went into battle under his direction, war was within the will of God, commanded by him, and accomplished through trust in him. God was known as “a man of war,” and it is declared that “the battle is the Lord’s” (1 Sm 17:47; cf. 18:17; 25:28). With this faith on the part of the Jews, it is easy to see how a concept of holy war developed, especially when they had the conviction that their enemies were God’s enemies and that they were the people through whom God would carry out his saving purposes for the world.

Moses believed that God declared war and sent his people into battle (Ex 17:16; Nm 31:3). On several occasions, at crucial points in warfare, the “terror of the Lord” fell upon the enemy, enabling the numerically inferior army of Israel to gain an easy victory over vastly superior forces (Jos 10:10–14; Jgs 4:12–16; 2 Sm 5:24–25). In a time of acute military crisis, Elisha was enabled to see the heavenly army of Yahweh drawn up on the hills around Samaria, ready to defeat the fierce, invading armies of Syria. In response to Elisha’s prayer, the Syrian soldiers were struck with blindness and rendered helpless against the Israelites (2 Kgs 6:15–23). Various means were used to determine the will of God and to assure his active participation in war. In addition to the word of the prophet (1 Kgs 22:5–23), Urim and Thummim (Ex 28:30; Lv 8:8), the ephod (1 Sm 30:7), and the ark of the covenant were employed for this purpose. The leaders of God’s troops constantly sought his direction for military strategy during the progress of battle, for no step was to be taken without divine approval and guidance (2 Sm 5:19–23).

Since God gave Palestine to his own people, the Jews, the land was indeed the Promised Land; it belonged by divine covenant to Israel and was in that sense “the Holy Land.” Any defense of that land against foreign invasion was a holy war. The invading enemy was trespassing upon sacred territory that belonged to God’s people by immutable decree and thus incurred the divine wrath. From this perspective the complete destruction of Israel’s enemies was necessary, particularly when the enemy was pagan and morally corrupt. A characteristic Hebrew word used for this concept, herem, originally meant “devoted” and came to mean “devoted to destruction” as something hostile to the rule of God (Jos 6:17–18). The divine plan must not be thwarted, obstructed, or aborted by any debasing idolatry or corrupting immorality (Dt 7). Enemy cities within the boundaries of the land promised to the Jews were to be utterly destroyed—a practice known as “the ban.” Only silver, gold, and vessels of bronze and iron were to be spared. They were to be placed in the treasury of the Lord as sacred to him (Jos 6:17–21; 1 Sm 15:3).

There was a distinctly teleological aspect to the concept of holy war. It looked beyond the triumphs of God in specific battles to the conclusion of all hostilities and to a final time of peace that will vindicate the righteousness and sovereignty of God’s saving purposes and display his concern and goal for his own people. The final consummation will be preceded by a massive holy war, after which the weapons of warfare will be transformed into implements of peace (Is 2:4; Mi 4:3) under the reign of the Messiah, the Prince of Peace (Is 9:6), who will subdue all God’s enemies in a triumphant Day of the Lord (Ps 110; Dn 7; Zec 14).”

Elwell, W. A., & Comfort, P. W. (2001). In Tyndale Bible dictionary (pp. 1289–1290). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

“Despite the fact that many nations have used Scripture passages out of context to promote martial ventures, the Old Testament does not glorify or even recommend warfare as a solution to problems. Quite the opposite: Violence is thoroughly condemned.

Lamech and his song of vengeance is an aberration in the history of man (Gen. 4:23–24). The famous heroes of old, men of renown, are not presented in a context of approbation (Gen. 6:4). Violence that filled the earth with pain was one of the major causes of the flood (Gen. 6:11). Nimrod, the mighty warrior and the first military aggressor (10:8–11), is not part of the redemptive line. The land of Nimrod is destined to be ruled by the sword (Mic. 5:6).
Simon and Levi lose their rights among the firstborn because their swords are weapons of violence. Although their massacre (Gen. 34) was for an allegedly moral purpose, it caused them to be scattered in Israel (49:5–7). When Moses killed an Egyptian to help an Israelite, he found that this method only delayed God’s deliverance (Exod. 2:12).

David is associated with the successful expansion of his realm by warfare. He cannot, however, build God’s temple because he has fought many wars and shed much blood in God’s sight (1 Chron. 22:8). When David sought to carry out a census with a military purpose it very nearly cost him his kingdom (2 Sam. 24).

Wars in the Bible have been discouraged or even stopped by prophets. The prophet Shemaiah would not allow Rehoboam to put down the rebellion of the northern tribes by force of arms (1 Kings 12:22–23). Micaiah refused to be swayed by the unanimous clamor of the war prophets (1 Kings 22).
Israel’s leaders are rebuked by the prophet Oded for bringing Judean prisoners of war into the country (2 Chron. 28:11). Judah’s leaders are destined for wrath because they sought to expand their borders when Israel was weakened by Assyrian aggression in the north (Hos. 5:10). Their aggression is compared to unscrupulous landowners who move the boundary stones to increase the size of the property.

When war is inevitable, it must be carried out humanely. Nations are not allowed to go beyond the use of reasonable force necessary to achieve their objectives. In the first two chapters of Amos foreign nations are designed for judgment because of their war crimes both against Israelites and against each other. Jehu was authorized by Yahweh to end Ahab’s dynasty, but his violence went far beyond his objectives. Thus the house of Jehu is to be punished for the massacre at Jezreel (Hos. 1:4).

The Torah contained rules to ensure wars would be conducted as humanely as possible. Female captives could not be violated. If a man saw a prisoner he wished to marry, her rights and feelings must be respected. She must be given time to mourn her family. If he later grew tired of her, he could not abuse her or sell her for money (Deut. 21:10–14). Before a city was attacked the law required that terms of peace be offered. If peace was accepted the city was not to be destroyed (Deut. 20:11). There were even conservation laws governing destruction of trees in a siege (Deut. 20:19–20).

In the Old Testament era wars were often made unnecessary by miraculous or unusual circumstances. Exodus 14 presents a standard paradigm of biblical deliverance. Moses proclaims to the people, “Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today.” The Pharaoh’s elite chariot corps is destroyed by the waters of the sea without the use of a single human weapon.

Troops besieging Elisha’s house are smitten with blindness. The prophet leads them straight into Samaria. When their eyes are opened, the prophet will not allow the king to kill them. After they are fed, they are returned to their master (2 Kings 6:18–22). Later in 2 Kings 7:6 the Aramean armies retreat because Yahweh makes a loud noise. In Hezekiah’s time, the Assyrian siege is ended by the angel of death (2 Kings 19:35).

In Jonah 3:8 the Ninevites are not faulted for their idolatry but because of their violence. God makes it clear in Jonah 4 that it is his interest to save lives, not to take them. While it is true that Yahweh will one day punish the godless nations with a sword, it will be in his own good time. It will not be because he is overwhelmed by the anger of the moment. God is not slack concerning his promises but is willing for all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). In Zechariah 1:12–13 even the angel of the Lord loses patience at this slowness and must be comforted.

The hope of the future for the people of God is not in war and conquest. It is when nations stream to the holy mountain to learn about God. It will be a time when weapons are turned into farm implements and war shall be no more (Isa. 2:1–4).”

Ferguson, P. (1996). War, Holy War. In Evangelical dictionary of biblical theology (electronic ed., pp. 807–808). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

“HOLY WAR The Hebrew word for “war” occurs more than 300 times in the OT. The strategic position of Palestine between Mesopotamia and Egypt made war a harsh reality for most of its inhabitants during biblical times. Israel gained a foothold in this land by means of a war of conquest, and thereafter, by frequently defensive actions against intruders and invaders. Unfortunately, the history of war in Israel also included several civil conflicts.For most of the ancient Near East, war was considered a sacred undertaking in which the honor and power of the national God was at stake. For Israel, however, war intimately involved the transcendent power of the God who created the heavens and the earth. The biblical writers refer to the conflicts Israel faced as the “Wars of the LORD” (Num. 21:14; 1 Sam. 18:17; 25:28). God is described as a “man of war” (Exod. 15:3; Isa. 42:13) and “mighty in battle” (Ps. 24:8). He is “the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel” (1 Sam. 17:45 NASB). It is God who leads them out and fights for them (Deut. 20:4; Josh. 10:14, 42; Judg. 4:14). God set the code of conduct in war (Deut. 20:10–18), and the spoils belong to Him (Josh. 6:19).

Before the armies of Israel went out to war, they offered a sacrifice to God (1 Sam. 7:9) and sought His guidance (2 Sam. 5:23–24). The warriors who marched into battle had to be pure and consecrated to God (Josh. 3:5). The presence of God in the arena of battle was symbolized by the ark of the covenant (1 Sam. 4:5–7). After the victory, praises were offered to God in a victory celebration (Exod. 15:1–3).

As the final act of battle, Israel was sometimes required to dedicate everything in a “ban” (herem), which meant that the people and possessions of an entire city would be set apart for God and destroyed (Deut. 7:2; 20:17; Josh. 8:2; 1 Sam. 15:3). Only the metal objects were saved (Josh. 6:18–24). Those who transgressed the ban faced dire consequences (Josh. 7).

Why would a loving God order the wholesale extermination of the nations living in the promised land? There is no simple answer to this difficult question. Three points, however, need to be remembered. First, the concept of the ban is also found among the nations surrounding Israel. In war, every living being and every piece of property was to be dedicated to the deity. Second, the rules for placing the spoils of war under the ban appear to apply only to the cities of the nations within the promised land that God had designated as inheritance for Israel (Deut. 20:16–18). In this context, it should be noted that the OT reports the use of the ban primarily at Arad (Num. 21:2–3), the cities of Sihon and Og (Deut. 2:24; 3:6), Jericho (Josh. 6:21), Ai (Josh. 8:26), the cities of southern Canaan (Josh. 10:28–43) and Hazor (Josh. 11:11). Finally, it must be remembered that Israel was only allowed to drive out the nations living in the promised land because of their sinful abominations (Deut. 9:4–5; 18:9–14; 20:16–18). In this sense, Israel served as the instrument of God’s judgment against these sinful nations. In like manner, God would later allow another nation to march against Judah in judgment (Hab. 1:6–11).
Stephen J. Andrews”

Andrews, S. J. (2003). Holy War. In C. Brand, C. Draper, A. England, S. Bond, E. R. Clendenen, & T. C. Butler (Eds.), Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (pp. 774–775). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

“holy war. The Bible does not present Israel as fighting to spread or defend its religious beliefs; “holy war” in that sense of the term is absent from biblical teaching or narrative. In another sense, however, the Bible often presents war as a means through which God acts as deliverer, protector, and judge of Israel, often fighting and slaying enemies on Israel’s behalf. Up to the time of the monarchy (tenth century BCE) all wars involving the Israelites could be called “wars of the LORD” (Num. 21:14). Throughout this period, the Bible consistently presents God as fighting for Israel. For example, in the biblical narrative of the exodus, the Egyptian army pursues Israel and is destroyed by God’s action (Exod. 14). Deut. 20 deals specifically with rules for conducting holy war (see also 21:10–14, which gives the protocol for taking a female captive from among the conquered population). This concept of holy war flourished during the settlement of the land when Israel encountered repeated foreign invasions of its territory, but the concept changed considerably under the monarchy, when it was the king who instigated wars to serve national policy. The prophets often criticized such wars, because they were not in keeping with the divine will, and Israel’s losses or suffering as a result of war were frequently attributed to Israel’s failure to obey God and keep the covenant. The notion of holy war became an increasingly eschatological concept, associated with a decisive struggle between good and evil that would take place at the end of time. This concept continues to inform apocalyptic sections of the NT (e.g., Rev. 19:11–15).”
M.M.S.

Schaub, M. M. (2011). holy war. In M. A. Powell (Ed.), The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary (Revised and Updated) (Third Edition, p. 387). New York: HarperCollins.

Forgiveness and Consequences

Forgiveness and Consequences

Forgiveness and the consequences of sin. Does being forgiven mean that we do not suffer the consequences?

“This means, fourth, that the real sinner is anyone who insists that sin is serious before God and must require atonement and restitution. The “spiritual” man is then the one who treats all sin as an opportunity to assure the sinner, “I forgive you,” without any of the requirements of God’s law being met.
As I write this, I am thinking of two long distance telephone calls today about an adulterous man. A young woman, a new Christian, has a husband who has been for years flagrantly adulterous. The “spiritual” counsel she has received has presupposed only one binding sentence in Scripture to govern all her problems: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord” (Eph. 5:22). But no commandment of obedience to man is unconditional. The counsel given to this young woman consistently assumed that forgiveness of unrepented and continuing sin is required by God, which is radically false. Our forgiveness is to be like God’s (Matt. 6:12), and His is always in harmony with His law. Repentance, which involves a change of direction and action, is required (Matt. 18:15–17). No one requirement of Scripture can nullify another (Lev. 20:10; Deut. 22:22); the penalty for adultery cannot be eliminated by our insistence on love and forgiveness. A repentant murderer can know the forgiveness of God and man, but he cannot escape God’s required penalty for murder. His forgiveness of sins alters his theological status; his civil status calls for the death penalty according to God’s word.
Forgiveness thus has two aspects, theological and social or civil. Christ’s atonement effects theological forgiveness for the redeemed; it does not alter the civil consequences of sin as required by God.
When Paul faced the problem of incest in the Corinthian Church, he knew that no death penalty existed for the act he cited (1 Cor. 5:1). Hence his counsel is to consign the guilty over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, hoping that they could be saved by God’s grace for heaven (1 Cor. 5:5). In brief, he invoked the necessary death penalty supernaturally, while hoping for the redemption of the sinner thereby. We find that the early church used this precedent to hold those guilty of capital offenses to be legally dead and hence outside of the communion table while having fellowship after repentance.
The humanistic view of forgiveness as a human, emotional act goes hand in hand with the view of the law as a humanistic fact. The law

hand in hand with the view of the law as a humanistic fact. The law being a human product can be set aside by man. Where the law is from God, there forgiveness is only on God’s terms, and in harmony with His law.”
Rushdoony, R. J. (1994). Systematic Theology in Two Volumes (Vol. 1, pp. 602–603). Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books.

“The work of Christ, regarded as an objective satisfaction to God, secures for man the forgiveness of sins. By this we mean that the consequences of sin as an offence against the law of God are remitted. The consequences of sin as transgression are guilt and punishment, and the forgiveness of sins implies remission of both. The consciousness of guilt is the feeling that offence against the moral law as the expression of the will of God has placed us in a position of hostility to God, so that our fellowship with God is broken. Wherever the distinction between God and the world is maintained, the forsaking of God for the world, on the part of man, is seen to involve guilt, which, again, is the basis for the infliction of punishment. Forgiveness of sins is not the remission of the penal consequences of sin only, but also and primarily the remission of that guilt which makes us liable to punishment. Where sin is regarded as having a physical basis, and is referred to material or sensual nature as its source, sin is conceived of not so much as guilt but rather as suffering, and consequently emphasis is laid upon the need of redemption rather than upon the need of forgiveness of sins. In the New Testament doctrine, which gives prominence to the idea of the guilt of the sinner and the need of awakening the consciousness of that guilt, similar prominence is given to the forgiveness of sins as the presupposition of all other blessings of redemption. It was in order to acquire power to forgive sins that the Son of God became the Son of Man, and during His earthly life He exercised this power, and declared that this forgiveness was a necessary condition of peace of soul and far beyond any bodily healing in difficulty and in blessedness. It was to secure the power of dispensing this blessing that the Son of Man died and rose again, and in the institution of the Supper He declares that the purpose for which He shed His blood was the remission of sins.1 Everywhere throughout the New Testament the preaching of the forgiveness of sins is the way in which the preaching of the gospel is usually described, and the obtaining of forgiveness for sinners is regarded as the immediate result and the most precious benefit of Christ’s death. In the New Testament the forgiveness of sins is not the abolition of suffering, the removal of the penal consequences of sin, but essentially the removal of sin itself. Hence it is of the very essence of the gospel of redemption. Christ promises forgiveness of sins to all who believe on Him. Faith is the only condition for the forgiveness of those who have offended against us demanded in the Lord’s Prayer, and the much love of her to whom much had been forgiven is evidently the proof of the reality, not the condition of the obtaining, of the divine forgiveness. But, as Kaftan says, even faith in the strictest sense is not a condition, though without faith forgiveness cannot be enjoyed. What is needed is acceptance of the call to enter the kingdom, which acceptance can be given only in repentance and faith, but being given, then to all entering the kingdom there is forgiveness unconditionally. Paul makes the forgiveness of sins the basis for that new relationship which we have to God in Christ, in which, when thus possessed of the righteousness of God, we have peace with God.”

1 Matt. 9:6, 9:2; Luke 7:48, 24:45; Matt. 26:28.
Macpherson, J. (1898). Christian Dogmatics (pp. 350–351). Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark.

“With these observations and qualifications we may assent to much that is said by Whiton, Divine Satisfaction, 64, who distinguishes between forgiveness and remission: “Forgiveness is the righting of disturbed personal relations. Remission is removal of the consequences which in the natural order of things have resulted from our fault. God forgives all that is strictly personal, but remits nothing that is strictly natural in sin. He imparts to the sinner the power to bear his burden and work off his debt of consequences. Forgiveness is not remission. It is introductory to remission, just as conversion is not salvation, but introductory to salvation. The prodigal was received by his father, but he could not recover his lost patrimony. He could, however, have been led by penitence to work so hard that he earned more than he had lost.”

Strong, A. H. (1907). Systematic theology (p. 850). Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society.

“Divine forgiveness does not momentarily and immediately remove all the consequences of sin in this present life. Forgiveness does remove sin as the major barrier between sinful humans and the holy God and offer deliverance from eternal punishment for sins. But wasted strength, maimed or abused bodies, lost time, and other results of sin may not be overcome even when forgiveness has been granted.40”
40 Conner, The Gospel of Redemption, p. 161.
Garrett, J. L., Jr. (2014). Systematic Theology: Biblical, Historical, and Evangelical (Second Edition, Vol. 2, p. 326). Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock.

Structure Outline 1 John

Structure Outline 1 John

A part of the process of exegesis and hermeneutics is outlining what you are reading for clarity of understanding. Concerning the 1 John there are many opinions. Here are a few noted by New American Commentary

“7. Structure and Form of 1 John52
Few issues are more difficult in Johannine studies than the structure of 1 John. There are almost as many opinions as there are commentaries on the book. The problem lies, in part, in the fact that the genre of 1 John is something of an enigma.53 Sloyan points out that “1 John seems the least letter-like in its lack of the identification of a sender or an address to any recipients except the nonspecific ‘little children.’ It appears to be more a treatise sent broadcast to some in the John tradition.”54 Approaches to determining a structure or outline to the book can be divided into three groups: (1) traditional scholars who seek to discern basic topic or subject divisions (even sources) and an overarching outline through inductive analysis; (2) discourse analysis—linguist scholars who apply principles of semantic structural studies or “discourse linguistics” to discover the semantic relations that weave the epistle together as a unified whole; (3) rhetorical criticism—students of ancient rhetoric who seek to discover what, if any, rhetorical strategies common to the author’s world were used to set forth and further his argument.55
(1) Traditional Approaches
R. Brown provides an extensive survey of other scholars who have divided 1 John into two, three, and seven parts. His own approach will be explained later.
Sample Proposed Divisions of 1 John

Division into Two Parts

1:5–2:28
2:29–5:13

Chaine, Verde, Tomoi

1:5–2:29
3:1–5:12

Feuillet, Francis

Division into Three Parts

1:1–2:17
2:18–3:24
4:1–5:21
Thüsing

1:1–2:17
2:18–4:6
4:7–5:21
Ewald

1:1–2:26
2:27–4:6
4:7–5:21
Smit Sibinga

1:5–2:14
2:15–3:18
3:19–5:12
Erdmann

1:5–2:17
2:18–3:24
4:1–5:12
Hort, Hauck, Nestle,
Pratt,
Schnackenburg,
Schneider, THLJ,
Vogel, NEB

1:5–2:17
2:18–3:24
4:1–5:21
Gaugler

1:5–2:17
2:18–4:6
4:7–5:21
Westcott

1:5–2:27
2:28–3:24b
3:24c–5:21
Lutthart

1:5–2:27
2:28–3:24
4:1–5:12
Balz

1:5–2:27
2:28–4:6
4:7–5:12
Häring, Brooke, Jones

1:5–2:27
3:1–24
4:1–5:20
de Ambroggi

1:5–2:28
2:29–3:22
3:23–5:17
Huther

1:5–2:28
2:29–4:6
4:7–5:12
F.-M. Braun, de la
Potterie, Sk̭rinjar, SBJ

1:5–2:28
2:29–4:6
4:7–5:13
Malatesta

1:5–2:28
2:29–4:6
4:7–5:19
Nagl

1:5–2:28
2:29–4:6
4:7–5:21
Law

1:5–2:28
2:29–4:12
4:13–5:13
Dodd

1:5–2:29
3:1–4:6
4:7–5:13
JB

1:5–2:29
3:1–5:4a
5:4b–21
Bonsirven

2:3–28
2:29–4:6
4:7–5:21
Oke

Division into Seven Parts

Lohmeyer

1:1–4; 1:5–2:6; 2:7–17; 2:18–3:24; 4:1–21; 5:1–12; 5:13–21

Wilder

1:1–4; 1:5–2:17; 2:18–27; 2:28–3:24; 4:1–6; 4:7–5:12; 5:13–21

Giurisato

1:5–2:6; 2:7–17; 2:18–28; 2:29–3:10; 3:11–22; 3:23–5:4; 5:5–17

Houlden

1:5–2:11; 2:12–17; 2:18–27; 2:28–3:24; 4:1–6; 4:7–21; 5:1–1256

Each of these proposals has some measure of merit, and each has gained at least a small following. Each has also been subject to criticism, usually because they, at some point, fail to account for the “flow of argument” in the epistle.
(2) Discourse Analysis
This approach is usually applied by linguists and Bible translators. Rooted in the structuralist theories of Ferdinand de Saussure, this method looks at how grammar works on both the paragraph and discourse level. Surface structure and deep structure issues are examined. Speech-act theory and rhetorical strategies are also studied, and the text, as it is, is carefully examined. K. Pike and R. Longacre are well-known representatives of this approach to the study of texts. The following are several proposals set forth by this school.
1 John (R. Longacre)
INTRODUCTION—1:1–2:29—Embedded discourse of seven paragraphs
1:1–4
1:5–10—Covert exhortation not to profess to be sinless but to “walk in the light,” confess our sins, and enjoy forgiveness.
2:1–6—Covert exhortation not to sin.
2:7–11—A new/old command is announced and inferentially connected with a covert command to love.
2:12–17—Ethical peak of this embedded discourse. Here the writer develops his reasons for writing the epistle and warns against loving the world.
2:18–27—Doctrinal peak. Remain in Christ and in his teaching in spite of adverse teaching and practice.
2:28–29—Closure. Echoes previous paragraph: “Hold steady; don’t get sidetracked.”
BODY—3:1–5:12—Embedded discourse containing seven paragraphs
3:1–6—Mitigated covert command to purify ourselves in v. 3.
3:7–12—Mitigated covert command not to practice sin (v. 9).
3:13–18—Mitigated command (not covert) to love by laying down our lives for the brethren (v. 16b; note use of “ought”).
3:19–24—“Hortatory essence” of book given in v. 23: “We should believe on Jesus and love one another.”
4:1–6—“Doctrinal peak” of the book; believe correctly regarding Jesus Christ.
4:7–21—“Ethical peak” of the book; composed of two paragraphs (7–10 and 11–21). No mitigation now but covert exhortation: “Let us love one another.”
5:1–12—Conclusion of this embedded discourse (body) in that v. 1 refers to those who believe and love, harking back to the two previous paragraphs.
CONCLUSION—5:13–21. Theme of book clearly stated in v. 13, “that you may know.” Purpose in writing is Assurance.57
A second discourse approach comes from a student of Longacre, Helen Miehle. She builds on his treatment but reaches different conclusions at certain points.
1 John (H. Miehle)
INTRODUCTION 1:1–10
A. 1:1–4
B. 1:5–10
BODY 2:1–5:12
I. 2:1–3:6
2:1–27
2:1–17
2:1–11
2:1–6
2:7–11
2:12–14
2:15–17
2:18–25
2:26–27
2:28–3:6
II. 3:7–5:5
3:7–24
3:7–18
3:7–10
3:11–18
3:19–24
4:1–6
4:7–5:5
4:7–10
4:11–21
5:1–5
5:6–12
CLOSURE 5:13–2158
D. T.-C. Wu attempts something of an intersection between rhetorical and linguistic (discourse) approaches. Drawing upon the work of G. Guthrie and his work on Hebrews (Guthrie speaks of “rhetorico-discourse analysis”), he offers a more eclectic study.59 One will observe that his analysis is quite similar to more traditional approaches, but his method for arriving at his conclusions is not.
1 John (D. T.-C. Wu)
I. PROLOGUE: THE WORD OF LIFE (1:1–4)
II. LIGHT AND DARKNESS (1:5–2:27)
A. Walking in the Light (1:5–2:2)
(a) God is Light (1:5–1:7)
(b) Renouncing Sin (1:8–2:2)
B. The Command to Love (2:3–2:11)
(a) Knowledge of God and Keeping His Commandments (2:3–2:6)
(b) New Commandment (2:7–2:11)
C. A Digression about the Church (2:12–14)
D. Three Warnings (2:15–2:27)
(a) Warning against the World (2:15–2:17)
(b) Warning against the Antichrist (2:18–2:23)
(c) Warning against the Lie (2:24–2:27)
III. The Privileges and Responsibilities of God’s Children (2:28–4:6)
A. The Revelation of God’s Children (2:28–3:10)
(a) The Confidence of God’s Children (2:28–2:29)
(b) The Identity of God’s Children (3:1–2)
(c) God’s Children and the Children of the Devil (3:3–3:10)
B. The Community’s Message (3:11–3:12)
C. The Marks of God’s Children (3:13–3:24)
(a) Love in Community Life (3:13–3:18)
(b) Shoring up Christian Confidence (3:19–3:24)
D. Test the Spirits (4:1–6)
IV. FAITH IN GOD AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER (4:7–5:12)
A. God’s Love Evokes Human Love (4:7–4:11)
B. Confidence in God’s Love (4:12–4:18)
C. Appealing to Love Each Other (4:19–4:21)
D. The Victory of Faith (5:1–5:5)
E. Testimony to the Son (5:6–5:12)
V. EPILOGUE: FINAL REMARKS (5:13–5:21)
A. The Confidence and Certainties of Believers (5:13–5:20)
B. The Final Exhortation (5:21)
In a work prepared, in part, to assist missionaries in Bible translation, G. Sherman and J. Tuggy argue persuasively, in concert with Longacre, that 1 John “is a hortatory discourse, based on the occurrence of imperative verbs and other command forms.”60 They also point out that the surface form of 1 John is somewhat similar to modern English free poetry, making it difficult to always discern the relationship between various parts of the discourse.61 Concerning this latter observation, we would imagine all students of 1 John would heartily agree. Building on the insights of several discourse approaches to 1 John, they structure and organize the epistle as shown in the chart on p. 48.
(3) Rhetorical Criticism
The application of rhetorical criticism and strategies to the biblical material became quite popular in the latter half of the twentieth century. Although the results have been somewhat uneven, a better understanding of how biblical authors sought to persuade their audiences to see their perspective and hear their argument has certainly been enhanced.
First John has received significant attention because of both its brevity and the difficulty in deciphering its structure. As we have seen, previous approaches have failed to produce a consensus, and it is the case that this approach also fails to bring a definitive solution. A number of scholars have argued for a chiastic structure for 1 John. Note the following examples:
1 John (P. Berge)
A. The word of life 1:1–4
B. God is light 1:5–4:6
B′. God is love 4:7–5:5
A′. The witness of faith 5:6–2162
J. C. Thomas63 acknowledges the insights of Brown64 and wisely builds his proposal around “the use of similar catch words/phrases and sections which parallel one another in terms of content.” He goes on to argue that the structure of 1 John was intended to aid in its memorization.
1 John (J. C. Thomas)
A. 1:1–4—Prologue—Eternal Life
B. 1:5–2:2—Making Him a Liar (Walking)
C. 2:3–17—New Commandment
D. 2:18–27—Antichrists
E. 2:18–3:10—Confidence—Do Not Sin
F. 3:11–18—Love One Another
E′. 3:19–24—Confidence—Keep the Commands
D′. 4:1–6—Antichrists
C′. 4:7–5:5—God’s Love and Ours
B′. 5:6–12—Making Him a Liar (Testimony)
A′. 5:13–21—Conclusion—Eternal Life
In an excellent article that surveys various approaches to 1 John, P. J. Van Staden also argues “that the observance of the so-called chiastic styles presents an important key to a better understanding of the structure of 1 John.” He does not argue for an overall chiasm but believes the letter can be divided into three main sections (1:5–2:17; 2:18–3:17; 4:1–5:12), which themselves contain numerous chiastic or parallel units.65 K. Hansford argues in somewhat the same vein, stating that “the form of 1 John is a highly structural text, probably a homily or sermon, with poetic parallelisms and chiastic structures that the writer deliberately created to make his message more pleasurable and memorable for all time.”66 E. Wendland and K. Tollefson have recognized the contrastive or antithetical or dialectical strategies John employs in making his argument.67
D. Watson has attempted consistently to apply classic Greco-Roman rhetorical style and invention to 1 John. He argues:
Repetition and emphasis, so common in 1 John, is integral to the rhetor’s use of amplification techniques of Greceo-Roman rhetoric. These techniques include strong words, argumentation, comparison, accumulation, expolitio, reflexio, regressio, conduplicatio, distributio, synonymy … antithesis, personification, hyperbole, emphasis and development of commonplaces. Amplification is correctly found throughout the epistle. It must be pointed out that virtually every known rhetorical technique for amplification is utilized in the epistle.68
He identifies 1 John as primarily epideictic rhetoric (as opposed to judicial or deliberative) because its goal is to increase the readers’ commitment to values they already hold. First John was written to the faithful community as an appeal to strengthen their devotion to stay true to the gospel of Jesus Christ, a value held by both the speaker and his audience.69
Talbert believes 1 John (like 1 Peter) alternates between the twin concerns of ethics and Christology.70 Strecker focuses on the polemical nature of 1 John and outlines the book alternating Parenesis and Dogmatic Exposition.71
H. York argues that when a comparison is made between discourse analysis and rhetorical criticism, significant similarities exist and common results are gleaned. The methods can be complementary. He provides as an example a side-by-side comparison of the discourse model of Longacre and the rhetorical analysis of Klauck.
Comparative Structural Analysis of 1 John

Longacre (Mitigated Hortatory)
Klauck (Deliberativum)

I. Introduction (1:1–2:29)
1:5–2:17
Capitatio Benvolentiae

1:1–10

1–4

5–10

2:1–6

2:7–11

2:12–17 (ethical peak)

2:18–27 (doctrinal peak)
2:18–27
Narratio

2:28–29 Closure
2:28–29
Propositio

II. Body of the Book (3:1–5:12)

3:1–6
3:1–24
Probatio

3:7–12

3:13–18

3:19–24

4:1–6 (doctrinal peak)
4:1–21
Exhortatio

4:7–21 (ethical peak)

5:1–12
5:1–12
Peroratio

III. Closure of Epistle (5:13–21)72

York’s conclusion is basically correct. There are genuine areas of compatibility, synthesis of methodology, and agreement between the two approaches. Neither method alone or together, however, has decisively settled the issue of the structure of 1 John. Significant disagreement still exists within both disciplines, though it is clear major strides have been made in better understanding the structure, strategies, and argument of 1 John.
A Proposal: The outline we propose attempts to utilize the best insights from traditional studies, discourse analysis, and rhetorical criticism. First John does exhibit a hortatory and epideictic rhetorical strategy. We also find Brown’s proposal persuasive, which states that 1 John is modeled on the same general structure as the Fourth Gospel. Both have a fourfold division overall, with the themes of light and love developed variously in sections II and III. Note his comparison:
The Gospel of John
I. The Prologue (1:1–18)
II. The Book of Signs (1:19–12:50): “To his own he came; yet his own people did not accept him.” The public revelation of the light brought a judgment, which separated believers who came to the light from the world and “the Jews” who preferred darkness to light.
III. The Book of Glory (13:1–20:29): “But all those who did accept him he empowered to become God’s children.” The “hour” of Jesus’ glorification where he speaks and acts on behalf of a new “his own”—the believers.
CONCLUSION (20:30–31): A statement of the author’s purpose.
IV. The Epilogue (chap. 21)
I John
I. The Prologue (1:1–4)
II. Part One (1:5–3:10): The Gospel that God is light, and we must walk in the light as Jesus walked.
III. Part Two (3:11–5:12): The Gospel that we must love one another as God has loved us in Jesus Christ.
CONCLUSION (5:13–21): A statement of the author’s purpose.73
This commentary’s outline does the following:
1. It recognizes the two dominant themes of the epistle as being Light (1:5–3:10) and Love (3:11–5:12)
2. It seeks to utilize rhetorical devices such as “hinge verses” (e.g., 2:28; 5:20) and other structural markers that most scholars use to separate one subject from another.
3. The outline is itself hortatory, admonishing the reader to heed John’s expected response to his word of instruction. R. R. Reno summarizes the situation well when he writes:
The text of 1 John shimmers with what has been seen, heard and touched. The text speaks plainly, directly and clearly, and what is said is a proclamation that has the power of fellowship: our fellowship with each other, our fellowship with God and the fellowship of the Father with his Son. Like the name of God which the Psalmist invokes as the very power of salvation, a power of invocation which the author of 1 John echoes when he explains, “I write this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life” (5:13), so does the particular linguistic structure of 1 John contain the power to draw us into the fullest possible destiny in God’s love.74

52 The form and structure of 2 and 3 John are examined as part of the commentary on those letters.
53 Talbert, Reading John, 6.
54 G. S. Sloyan, Walking in the Truth (Valley Forge: Trinity Press, 1995), 1.
55 Grayston notes: “Despite the common agreement that the Epistle lacks a discernible structure or logical progression of thought, even the most pessimistic critics attempt an analysis” (The Johannine Epistles, 4). He proposes a sixfold division dependent on emphasis rather than subject matter. J. Hill argues that 1 John is an example of the “community rule” or “church order” (“A Genre for 1 John,” in The Future of Early Christianity, ed. B. A. Pearson [Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991], 367–77). His argument, though interesting, is not adequate.
New English Bible
Brown, Epistles of John, 764. Law, Tests of Life, 1–24; R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of the Epistles of St. Peter, St. John and St. Jude (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1966), 366–67; and D. Jackman, The Message of John’s Letters (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1988), 18, are representative of those who see the letter structured in the form of a spiral, inverted pyramid or cone whereby John again and again returns to address certain themes. There is certainly some truth to this perspective. Marshall (The Epistles of John, 22–30) gives a more detailed analysis of the outlines of Law, Brooke, Dodd, Malatesta, P. R. Jones, Schnackenburg, and Feuillet. He does not find any of these approaches adequate overall. He goes on to examine the redactional theories of K. Tomoi, E. von Dobschütz, Bultmann, Windisch, Preisker, Braun, Nauck, and O’Neill. He concludes that these theories also fail to account for the structure of the letter.
57 R. E. Longacre, “Exhortation and Mitigation in First John,” in Selected Technical Articles Related to Translation 9 (1983): 3–44.
58 H. Miehle, “Theme in Greek Hortatory Discourse: Van Dijk and Beekman—Callow Approaches Applied to 1 John,” Ph.D. diss., University of Texas at Arlington, 1988. Miehle obviously sees chiastic patterns in various sections. For our purposes we are more interested in simply showing her paragraph/section divisions. See G. H. Guthrie, The Structure of Hebrews: A Text-Linguistic Analysis (Leiden: Brill, 1994). Guthrie’s work is warmly commended by W. L. Lane in his commentary on Hebrews in WBC (xc).
59 D. T.-C. Wu, “An Analysis of the Structure of 1 John Using Discourse Analysis,” Ph.D. diss., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1997.
60 G. Sherman and J. C. Tuggy, A Semantic and Structural Analysis of the Johannine Epistles (Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics, 1994), 6.
61 Ibid., 7.
62 P. S. Berge, “The Word and Its Witness in John and 1 John: A Literary and Rhetorical Study,” in Word and World, Supplement Series 3 (1997): 143–62. As the title suggests, Berge sees a parallel literary relationship between the Gospel of John and 1 John. He also presents internal chiasms within his four major divisions (p. 151). The argument at this latter point is not very compelling.
63 J. C. Thomas, “The Literary Structure of 1 John,” NovT XL 4 (1998): 369–81.
64 Brown, Epistles of John, 371–72.
65 P. J. Van Staden, “The Debate on the Structure of 1 John,” Hervormde Teologiese Studies 47/ 2 (1991): 494. M. Sweazey makes a similar argument, though she divides the epistle at 1:5–2:28; 2:29–4:6; 4:7–5:13. See her “Chiastic Study of the First Epistle of John,” Master’s Thesis, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, 1986.
66 K. L. Hansford, “The Underlying Poetic Structure of 1 John,” JTT 5 (1992): 125–74.
67 E. R. Wendland, “ ‘Dear Children’ Versus the ‘Antichrists’: The Rhetoric of Reassurance in First John,” JTT 11 (1998): 40–84; K. D. Tollefson, “Certainty within the Fellowship: Dialectical Discourse in 1 John,” BTB 29, no. 2 (1999): 79–89. His outline of 1 John (p. 84) is helpful and interesting. D. Neufeld draws somewhat similar conclusions through the use of speech act theory (Reconceiving Texts as Speech Acts: An Analysis of 1 John (Leiden: Brill, 1994). His analysis is helpful at points, but many of the positions he takes on historical issues are unnecessarily skeptical and unduly suspicious.
68 D. F. Watson, “Amplification Techniques in 1 John: The Interaction of Rhetorical Style and Invention,” JSNT 51 (1993): 117–18.
69 Ibid., 119. See also Watson, “An Epideictic Strategy for Increasing Adherence to Community Values: 1 John 1:1–2:29,” in Proceedings: Eastern Great Lakes and Midwest Biblical Societies 11 (1991), 144–52.
70 Talbert, Reading John, 7.
71 Strecker, The Johannine Letters, xliv.
H. W. York, “An Analysis and Synthesis of the Exegetical Methods of Rhetorical Criticism and Discourse Analysis as Applied to the Structure of 1 John,” Ph.D. diss., Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, 1993. The two outlines come from Longacre, “Exhortation and Mitigation in First John,” in Selected Technical Articles Related to Translation 9 (1983): 3–44 (previously noted); and H.-J. Klauck, “Zur rhetorischen Analyse der Johannesbriefe,” ZNW 81 (1990): 204–24.
73 Brown, Epistles of John, 124. A. Feuillet concurs with Brown’s assessment that 1 John is patterned after the Gospel of John, though he outlines the letter differently. See his “Structure of 1 John,” BTB, vol. III, No. 2 (1973): 194–216. Van Staden’s criticism of Brown’s proposal, in our judgment, is unconvincing (“The Debate on the Structure of 1 John,” 489–90).
74 R. R. Reno, “The Marks of the Nails: Theological Exegesis of the First Letter of John for Easter,” Pro Ecclesia, Vol. VI, No. 1 (1997): 53.

Akin, D. L. (2001). 1, 2, 3 John (Vol. 38). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
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Baptism Didache

Baptism Didache

“1 And concerning baptism,15 thus baptize ye:16 Having first said all these things, baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,17 in living water.18 2 But if thou have not living water, baptize into other water; and if thou canst not in cold, in warm. 3. But if thou have not either, pour out water thrice19 upon the head into the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit. 4. But before the baptism let the baptizer fast, and the baptized, and whatever others can; but thou shalt order the baptized to fast one or two days before.20”

15 Verse vii. 1 is found, well-nigh entire, in Apostolic Constitutions, 22, but besides this only a few words of verses 2 and 4. The chapter has naturally called out much discussion as to the mode of baptism.
16 [Elucidation I.] 17 Matt. 28:19.
18 Probably running water.
19 The previous verses point to immersion; this permits pouring in certain cases, which indicates that this mode was not unknown. The trine application of the water, and its being poured on the head, are both significant.
20 The fasting of the baptized is enjoined in Apostolic Constitutions, but that of the baptizer (and others) is peculiar to this document.

Roberts, A., Donaldson, J., & Coxe, A. C. (Eds.). (1886). The Lord’s Teaching through the Twelve Apostles to the Nations. In Fathers of the Third and Fourth Centuries: Lactantius, Venantius, Asterius, Victorinus, Dionysius, Apostolic Teaching and Constitutions, Homily, and Liturgies (Vol. 7, p. 379). Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company.

“x. Neither do we permit the laity to perform any of the offices belonging to the priesthood; as, for instance, neither the sacrifice, nor baptism, nor the laying on of hands, nor the blessing, whether the smaller or the greater: for “no one taketh this honour to himself, but he that is called of God.”7 For such sacred offices are conferred by the laying on of the hands of the bishop. But a person to whom such an office is not committed, but he seizes upon it for himself, he shall undergo the punishment of Uzziah.8”

7 Heb. 5:4.
8 2 Chron. 26.

Roberts, A., Donaldson, J., & Coxe, A. C. (Eds.). (1886). Constitutions of the Holy Apostles. In J. Donaldson (Trans.), Fathers of the Third and Fourth Centuries: Lactantius, Venantius, Asterius, Victorinus, Dionysius, Apostolic Teaching and Constitutions, Homily, and Liturgies (Vol. 7, p. 429). Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company.

“sec. ii.—on deacons and deaconesses, the rest of the clergy, and on baptism.
Let not therefore either a bishop, or a presbyter, or a deacon, or any one else of the sacerdotal catalogue, defile his tongue with calumny, lest he inherit a curse instead of a blessing; and let it also be the bishop’s business and care that no lay person utter any curse: for he ought to take care of all,—of the clergy, of the virgins, of the widows, of the laity. For which reason, O bishop, do thou ordain thy fellow-workers, the labourers for life and for righteousness, such deacons as are pleasing to God, such whom thou provest to be worthy among all the people, and such as shall be ready for the necessities of their ministration. Ordain also a deaconess who is faithful and holy, for the ministrations towards women. For sometimes he cannot send a deacon, who is a man, to the women, on account of unbelievers. Thou shalt therefore send a woman, a deaconess, on account of the imaginations of the bad. For we stand in need of a woman, a deaconess, for many necessities; and first in the baptism of women, the deacon shall anoint only their forehead with the holy oil, and after him the deaconess shall anoint them:5 for there is no necessity that the women should be seen by the men; but only in the laying on of hands the bishop shall anoint her head, as the priests and kings were formerly anointed, not because those which are now baptized are ordained priests, but as being Christians, or anointed, from Christ the Anointed, “a royal priesthood, and an holy nation, the Church of God, the pillar and ground of the marriage-chamber,”6 who formerly were not a people, but now are beloved and chosen, upon whom is called His new name7 as Isaiah the prophet witnesses, saying: “And they shall Call the people by His new name, which the Lord shall name for them.”8

concerning the sacred initiation of holy baptism.
xvi. Thou therefore, O bishop, according to that type, shalt anoint the head of those that are to be baptized, whether they be men or women, with the holy oil, for a type of the spiritual baptism. After that, either thou, O bishop, or a presbyter that is under thee, shall in the solemn form name over them the Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit, and shall dip them in the water; and let a deacon receive the man, and a deaconess the woman, that so the conferring of this inviolable seal may take place with a becoming decency. And after that, let the bishop anoint those that are baptized with ointment.
what is the meaning of baptism into christ, and on what account everything is there said or done.

xvii. This baptism, therefore, is given into the death of Jesus:9 the water is instead of the burial, and the oil instead of the Holy Ghost; the seal instead of the cross; the ointment is the confirmation of the confession; the mention of the Father as of the Author and Sender; the joint mention of the Holy Ghost as of the witness; the descent into the water the dying together with Christ; the ascent out of the water the rising again with Him. The Father is the God over all; Christ is the only-begotten God, the beloved Son, the Lord of glory; the Holy Ghost is the Comforter, who is sent by Christ, land taught by Him, and proclaims Him.”

5 [Compare Jas. 5:14.] 6 1 Pet. 2:9; 1 Tim. 3:15.
7 The words from “upon whom” to the end of the chapter are omitted in one V. ms.
8 Isa. 62:2.
9 Vid. Rom. 6:3.

Roberts, A., Donaldson, J., & Coxe, A. C. (Eds.). (1886). Constitutions of the Holy Apostles. In J. Donaldson (Trans.), Fathers of the Third and Fourth Centuries: Lactantius, Venantius, Asterius, Victorinus, Dionysius, Apostolic Teaching and Constitutions, Homily, and Liturgies (Vol. 7, p. 431). Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company.

“xxxix. For I Matthew, one of those twelve which speak to you in this doctrine, am an apostle, having myself been formerly a publican, but now have obtained mercy through believing, and have repented of my former practices, and have been vouchsafed the honour to be an apostle and preacher of the word. And Zacchæus, whom the Lord received upon his repentance and prayers to Him, was also himself in the same manner a publican at first. And, besides, even the soldiers and multitude of publicans, who came to hear the word of the Lord about repentance, heard this from the prophet John, after he had baptized them: “Do nothing more than that which is appointed you.”7 In like manner, life is not refused to the heathen, if they repent and cast away their unbelief. Esteem, therefore, every one that is convicted of any wicked action, and has not repented, as a publican or an heathen. But if he afterward repents, and turns from his error, then, as we receive the heathen, when they wish to repent, into the Church indeed to hear the word, but do not receive them to communion until they have received the seal of baptism, and are made complete Christians; so do we also permit such as these to enter only to hear, until they show the fruit of repentance, that by hearing the word they may not utterly and irrecoverably perish. But let them not be admitted to communion in prayer; and let them depart after the reading of the law, and the prophets, and the Gospel, that by such departure they may be made better in their course of life, by endeavouring to meet every day about the public assemblies, and to be frequent in prayer, that they also may be at length admitted, and that those who behold them may be affected, and be more secured by fearing to fall into the same condition.”

7 Luke 3:13.

Roberts, A., Donaldson, J., & Coxe, A. C. (Eds.). (1886). Constitutions of the Holy Apostles. In J. Donaldson (Trans.), Fathers of the Third and Fourth Centuries: Lactantius, Venantius, Asterius, Victorinus, Dionysius, Apostolic Teaching and Constitutions, Homily, and Liturgies (Vol. 7, p. 414). Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company.

 

“The idea of baptism

This might seem a silly question: was not Jesus baptized by John the Baptist (Mark 1:9, followed by Matt. 3:13 and Luke 3:21), did he not engage with his disciples in baptizing (John 4:1–2), and did he not command his followers to make disciples from all the nations and baptize them using the very words we have in the Didache (> Matt. 28:19)? However, these Gospel passages, with the possible exception of Mark whose Gospel was being preached before AD 70, are later than the instruction in the Didache. Therefore, we have to explain both the choice of the action of baptizing and how that action was linked with the memory of Jesus in the first churches.

For Jews, the ritual that marked their boundary as a community, and as the assembly who had accepted the covenant, was circumcision. Circumcision, along with the sabbath and the regulations regarding food, was the mark of accepting God’s promises (Gen. 17:9–14). By the time of Jesus, indeed for more than a century before his time, circumcision was closely linked to Israel’s self-perception as the covenant people of God (1 Macc. 1:14–15, 60–61; 2 Macc. 6:10). It was the most important boundary marker separating Jew from gentile, those within the covenant from those outside it. So there was no need for any other fundamental boundary ritual—a boundary ritual is an action that distinguishes a group from those who are not-belonging-to-the-group, ‘the people’ as distinct from everyone else.
But there were many other traditions that marked transitions from one state of relationship with God to another for those who were within the covenant community. One such important ritual was that of a bath to cleanse away certain impurities before acts of worship. A leper, for instance, once clear of disease—after seeing a priest—could only be readmitted to the community after washing his clothes, shaving his hair and having had a bath (Lev. 14:2–8). And contacts with ‘impure’ bodily discharges which could make one unfit to perform the service of God were to be washed away by washing clothes and having a bath (e.g. Lev. 15:2–5). We know from archaeological discoveries that in Jewish towns there were pools for taking these special religious baths, while in Qumran there were numerous pools so that this community could see itself as always pure, and so always ready to offer praise to God. It was this ritual practice that was adopted by John the Baptist to mark out those who had accepted his preaching that the judgement of God was imminent. These were the people who had fled sin and repented, were washed by John in the living, that is, flowing, water of the Jordan, and now purified of sin could withstand coming judgement. John’s message was that the crunch was about to come upon a wicked generation: those who listened to him saw the need to separate themselves and be purified of their sins by a bathing. This washing which made his followers into the purified people may have been taken over from existing rites of purification, but it had the effect of making them a group within a group, a people within a people—and, as such, the purification bath became a boundary ritual. The followers of John were a distinct community because each of them had been baptized by him.
In the Gospels, the relationship between John and Jesus is presented, especially in Luke, as one of intimacy, harmony and seamless continuity: they were cousins, John announces Jesus, baptizes him, and then Jesus brings to perfection that which was inaugurated by John the Baptist:

‘ “After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.” I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.’ And John testified, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.’
(John 1:30–34 [NRSV])

However, this is the picture looking backwards from several generations later, and, more importantly, with hindsight the evangelists saw all that happened as part of God’s providential plan. But the relationship was far more fraught. John preached that the judgement of God was coming on a sinful generation—the crunch was coming and only those who set themselves apart would be saved. Jesus seems to have had links with this movement, but broke away from it. His message about the imminent coming of the kingdom was radically different: the Day of the Lord was not a grim day of judgement, but rather the day of the Lord’s forgiveness.

In some places in our Gospels (e.g. the image of the sheep and the goats in Matt. 25) there is a sense of dread future judgement, but these instances—which exhibit the more widespread views of the early communities—have to be seen against the broad sweep of Jesus’ statements about the coming kingdom where he addresses God as ‘Father’ and such stories as that about the welcoming father in the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11–32), or his own practice in the case of the woman taken in adultery (John 8:2–11)—a story about Jesus whose ‘laxity’ with regard to judgement shocked many early communities.

His new community was to rejoice that God had shown mercy and that that mercy would extend to all (> Meier, 1994, pp. 116–30). Whether Jesus would have seen any need for a washing to remove the ‘impurities’ of people before they could see themselves as part of the kingdom is very doubtful. There are so many stories of Jesus and the disciples eating without observing the purity laws (e.g. Mark 7:3), having contact with that which would make them impure, and not worrying about it (Matt. 8:3 and 9:20), and eating with sinners (e.g. Luke 7:34) that it appears that he considered the whole notion of impurity as having been swept away by God’s forgiving love. Purity was not a matter of cups and plates, but rather rooting out greed and self-indulgence (> Matt. 23:25). So, even though Jesus had at one stage in his life been baptized, why was there any later use for a notion of the need for a bath for impurity, and why was Jesus remembered as intimately linked with John’s bath?

The answer lies in the movement of many of John’s followers to become followers of Jesus—and it would seem that with John’s death many more of his disciples became followers of Jesus. One might imagine that if someone has left John and followed Jesus, then he or she would simply have jettisoned what was linked with John and adopt what belonged to Jesus! But this is not how human beings act, especially in religious matters: people carry their histories and their precious customs with them into the new situation. Some who changed over to Jesus may have only seen what John and Jesus had in common such as that the Lord was coming among his people or that there was another special route distinct from ‘ordinary Judaism’; others may have grafted Jesus’ teaching into what they had already heard from John; many others would not have realized the extent to which John’s teaching was still influencing them even when they thought they had moved from one prophet to another. The result was that the early communities that looked to Jesus as the Anointed One actually combined many elements from John’s teaching with elements from that of Jesus. We see this legacy in Christianity to this day: there are some people who look to the Gospels and come away with a message of God’s impending judgement, and their outlook is apocalyptic; others look at the same Gospels and think that this approach is wrong-headed. The legacy of John’s notion of the Day of the Lord as crunch, while it may not sit well with that of Jesus’ kingdom of welcome, is still with us, and is a theme that Christians return to from time to time.

One of those elements of John’s teaching that was carried over was the belief that accepting that the kingdom was at hand formed them into a distinct people apart; they were in a special relationship to the covenant; and while every Jewish boy was circumcised, this group was ritually distinct in that everyone in it, man and woman, had been baptized. For John’s followers this ritual bath was an item of major importance; it was how they thought of themselves as a group and how others thought of them—hence the sobriquet given to their prophet: ‘the baptizer’—and as such it was a custom they would have held as precious. There is a funny phenomenon we see happening time and again in religion: group practices (the ritual) remain stubbornly the same, yet how they are explained (the theology) changes with circumstances. This is counter-intuitive: we might expect that people would hold onto their theories, and that practices would vary; but it is almost never like that. A group that has made the action of ‘plunging’ a key group moment is going to keep that custom when they see one leader replaced by another, and despite the fact that the way they explain the action has changed many times. No doubt when John opted for a bathing he was thinking in terms of the law in Leviticus and of purifying the people before the terrible day of judgement—we see this in references to his preaching ‘a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins’ (Luke 3:3)—but the practice soon took on the significance of being, for those not in the group, the brand of his followers, while for those in the group it became their badge of identity: we are the community within the larger Israel that is ready for what is coming. Later, when that group came under the influence of Jesus—and now saw themselves as his followers—they continued with this badge of identity. You knew that you were part of this new People of Israel—amidst all the other Jews who were children of the covenant—because you had been through the plunging in the living water (i.e. flowing water). Baptism formed the boundary for John’s community, and it migrated to become the boundary for Jesus’ community.

However, while the action of baptism seems to have been accepted by all the followers without much difficulty—all groups seem to generate boundary rituals in one way or another—the assimilation of John’s teaching with that of Jesus would be no easy matter. In the Gospels we see stories which present the two strands living harmoniously, but the fissures that open up again and again in Christianity—as we shall see later with the practice of fasting—can often be traced to the fact of two very different visions of how God relates to us: one can be traced to John and the other to Jesus. These views were never integrated—that would have been impossible—but were shoved together as if the differences could be passed over. Every so often the glue fails and groups reject either the Jesus or the John vision of God’s love. Meanwhile most Christians, for the most part, shuffle on with the ‘lumpy mixture’ of both that we find in the early churches and their great evangelists. Baptism is a case in point: by the time of John’s death it had ceased being simply a requirement of the covenant’s law so that people could offer pure service to God and had become a mark of belonging to John’s people, then the practice continued and it came to be the mark of belonging to Jesus’ people. And as such, it became the key moment of initiation into the Way of Jesus in the Didache and has remained a key feature in Christian practice ever since—but even then, the legacy of the ‘lumpy mixture’ continued in the many divisions that have occurred in the Church over baptism. Some would argue that it was about removing sin that could lead to death (a very John-like view) and so it was very important to baptize infants—and they saw initiation as something happening afterwards; others would see baptism as fundamentally the moment of commitment to Jesus and so would argue that only adults could be baptized. Significantly, in the Didache we have the emphasis on the practice, without any attempt at ‘explaining’ its significance.”

O’Loughlin, T. (2010). The Didache: A Window on the Earliest Christians (pp. 47–53). London; Grand Rapids, MI: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; Baker Academic.

Rapture Book of Revelation

Rapture Book of Revelation

Rapture Book of Revelation

One argument that I hear from those who hold to a pretribulation rapture is that the church is not mentioned after chapter 4 of the book of Revelation.Thus the church is not here during the tribulation. According to this logic we should not call members of the church saints
saints

ESV
Re 5:8 X And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
Re 8:3 X And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne,
Re 8:4 X and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel.
Re 11:18 X The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.”
Re 13:7 X Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation,
Re 13:10 X If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.
Re 14:12 X Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.
Re 16:6 X For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink. It is what they deserve!”
Re 17:6 X And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. When I saw her, I marveled greatly.
Re 18:20 X Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, for God has given judgment for you against her!”
Re 18:24 X And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all who have been slain on earth.”
Re 19:8 X it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
Re 20:9 X And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them