Posted on Leave a comment

The Church – Part 5


ACTS 2:47

Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

First I would like to point out that this church did not begin in Acts Chapter 2. It met together on the day of Pentecost and already had at least 120 members before Pentecost (Acts 1:15).

This verse says that God added to a church that already existed. This church that He added to was local and began that day meeting together in one place. They were together in one accord.

Verse 41 of Acts Chapter 2 tells us how people were added to the church. First, they believed the Word of God, then they were baptized, then they were added to the church. The baptism here is obviously water baptism.

This is totally different from what those who believe in a universal church teach about how one becomes a member of a universal church. They teach that the Holy Spirit baptizes one into the universal body at the instant of salvation. We will deal in more depth with this concept later.

It is obvious that the church in Acts Chapter 2 was local because of the things they did. They had fellowship together around the apostle’s doctrine. They prayed and they broke bread together. How does a universal church do these things?

This passage of Scripture clearly teaches that one doesn’t become a church member instantly upon salvation, but only after water baptism. The universal church doctrine teaches that one becomes a member of the “true” church upon salvation.

No thinking student could see a universal church in this passage. In order to see the universal church in Verse 47, one must come to the verse with prejudice. Attempting to force universal church doctrine into this verse cannot be done because the context will not support the idea of anything but a local church.


For as the body in one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also in Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentile, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? if the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee; nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

Verse 13 is used by the supporters of the universal church as a proof text. It says:

For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

They understand this to be the “baptism of the Holy Spirit.” They say the Holy Spirit baptizes a person into the “universal body of Christ” at the instant of salvation.

This idea of “Holy Spirit baptism” would be difficult to reconcile with other passages of Scripture. For example, Ephesians 4:5 tells us that there is only “one baptism”. If “Holy Spirit baptism” is true baptism, then water baptism is not. On the other hand, if water baptism is true baptism then “Holy Spirit baptism” is not. It is certain that water baptism is taught in the Scriptures. Jesus was baptized in water. The apostles were baptized in water. It is part of the Great Commission. Yes, water baptism is true Christian baptism. So, where does this idea of “Holy Spirit baptism” come from? It comes from the misinterpretation of two passages, Matthew 3:11 and Luke 3:16. These two passages say that John baptized WITH water, and Jesus will baptize WITH the Holy Ghost and WITH fire.

You will notice that I put the word WITH in all capitals. Proper interpretation requires that this word should have the same meaning each time it is used in the passage. Notice that John baptized with water. Water was the element into which those baptized were immersed. Using the same meaning for the word, with the Holy Ghost, and with fire are the elements in which Jesus baptizes. The Holy Ghost does not do any baptizing in this passage.

Another issue is that Ephesians 4 also says there is only one body, and Colossians 1:24 says that the body is the church. A body is always local and the body described in I Corinthians 12 is a local body. The body here and the body mentioned in Ephesians 4 is the local New Testament church. This will be evident by the end of this book.

Now let us take a closer look at what I Corinthians 12:12-28 really means. First of all, do you really think that the body described in this passage describes a disembodied universal church? Do the members of the supposed universal body of Christ function together as described in this passage? Does one member of the supposed universal body of Christ in France suffer or rejoice with another member in China when he suffers or rejoices? No, the only interpretation that makes sense is this body is a local body, a local church.

We saw in Acts 2 that one becomes the member of a church by water baptism. Verse 13 says that one enters this body by baptism. This body is a local church. The body described in the subsequent verses is local. What makes it so difficult to understand that this is speaking of a local church and not speaking of a universal church?

There are two ways that this verse can be understood in the light of a local church. The understanding hinges on two words, “Spirit,” and “by.”

One interpretation removes the capital “S” from the word spirit. Words referring to deity were not capitalized in the Greek so the capital “S” simply means that the translators, who believed in a universal church, thought the verse was talking about the Holy Spirit. The capitalization is purely the opinion of the translators.

The Greek word pneuma, translated Spirit, has a number of meanings including wind, spirit in the sense of a spiritual being, and spirit in the sense of a spirit of agreement. Since, among other things, baptism implies a spirit of agreement with the church that baptizes them, a reasonable interpretation could be that those who had a spirit of agreement with the church would join with that church through water baptism as they did in Acts Chapter 2.

The second way this verse 13 can refer to a local church and the word “Spirit” still refer to the Holy Spirit is as follows. When a person is saved the Holy Spirit leads them to be baptized in water and to unite with the local church that baptizes them.

We have to deal with the fact that that this passage says by one Spirit, not in one spirit. The first meaning listed for the Greek word translated “by” in Strong’s Greek Dictionary is “in” and the second is “by.” Both words are correct translations of this word.

The King James translators chose the word by. Like most words in English, the word by: has a number of meanings. Webster’s 1828 dictionary says that “by” can mean through or according to. The second of these definitions fits well with the idea that according to a spirit of agreement we are, upon our baptism, placed into the membership of that one body, the local New Testament church which baptizes us. This is what the first interpretation says.

It also fits with the idea that through the influence of the Holy Spirit the new convert is led to unite with a local church through water baptism.

The point isn’t which of the two interpretations is correct, it is that there is no need to change the body in this passage from local, which the context supports, to universal, which the context does not support. The verse can, and I believe should be, interpreted as the new Christian is united with the local church through water baptism.

Both of these interpret I Corinthians 12:13 in ways that fit perfectly with what we see in Acts Chapter Two. There we see people saved, baptized in obedience to the Scriptures, and then added to the church.

The common belief is that the body of Christ is a synonym for the universal church. There is no basis for this belief. As a matter of fact, Paul, in this very passage, shows that the local church is the body of Christ.

I Corinthians 12:27 says:

Now ye are the body of Christ and members in particular.

Note that Paul says “ye are the body of Christ”, not “we are the body of Christ.” This choice of words excludes Paul from this body. It makes the church of Corinth the body of Christ. It is reasonable to believe that if the church in Corinth is a body of Christ, then all other scriptural churches are also bodies of Christ.

We must also deal with the fact that it says “the” body of Christ, not “a” body of Christ. First of all, my knowledge of Greek is nowhere near that of the translators of the King James Bible. I can’t tell you why “the” is used instead of “a” in this passage. However, I do know enough Greek to know that there is no definite article in the Greek text. At the very least this means that translating this as “a body of Christ” would seem to be a correct translation, but not necessarily the only correct translation.

I do know that Paul called this church “the church of God which is at Corinth” (1 Corinthians 1:2). We also find the church at Ephesus called “the church of God” (Acts 50:28). There are also numerous times when the phrase “churches of God” is used. The fact that in one place it says “the church of God” does not mean that it is the only church of God. The fact that here it says “the body of Christ” does not mean there are no other bodies of Christ.

We are told very clearly in Scripture that the church is His (Christ’s) body. The problem is one of concept. Those who hold the doctrine of a universal church view the church as Christ’s physical body in the same sense as your or my physical body. The concept of His body is not this at all. Each church is His body in the sense that He is the owner of and the head of all scriptural churches. This is the same principle as my owning several Bibles. Each Bible is Pierre’s Bible. Each body is Christ’s body, that is it is owned by Him.

What we find in this passage is the teaching of how one becomes a member of a local church and how a local church should function as the body or unit it is meant to be. This is written to a local church which receives members through scriptural baptism and a spirit of doctrinal agreement.

Again, to interpret the universal church into this passage, one must come to it with prejudice. One must be looking to justify the belief in a universal church instead of testing one’s belief by the Scriptures.

Posted on Leave a comment

Soulwinning – Part 6

A redefinition of repentance

In the 1980s, some changed the historic Baptist definition of repentance. Two of the leaders of this were Jack Hyles and Curtis Hutson. I suspect that it was to justify their idea that bigger is better. Remember, the first question you were likely to be asked at a preachers meeting was, how many did you have Sunday?

So? What did they actually say?

“The problem and confusion is not preaching repentance but attaching the wrong definition to the word. For instance, to say that repentance means to turn from sin, or to say that repentance is a change of mind that leads to a change of action, is to give a wrong definition to the word” (Curtis Hutson, Repentance: What Does the Bible Teach? Sword of the Lord, 1986, p. 16).

He doesn’t say exactly what his definition of repentance is, but he does say that the one that has been used since the beginning is a wrong definition. I think he was referring to the same thing as Jack Hyles in this next quote.

“What makes the wrath of God abide on a person? Believing not! So, from what must a person repent in order to be saved? He must repent of that which makes him lost. Since ‘believing not’ makes him lost, ‘believing’ makes him saved. The repentance there is a turning from the thing that keeps him from being saved to the thing that saves him. So, yes, there is a repentance from unbelief in order to believe. It is simply a change of direction. It means a turning around. You are going away from believing, and you decide to turn around and believe. You change your direction; you change your mind. With your will you believe and rely upon Christ to save you. In order to believe, you have to repent of unbelief. That which makes a man lost must be corrected.” (Dr. Jack Hyles, Enemies of Soulwinning, 1993).

Here Dr. Hyles plays word games to say that all there is to repentance is to stop your unbelief, and start believing. It is stunning that two Johnny Come Latelys, who just happen to be good salesmen, can change what has been accepted for centuries, just because they say so.

The following are some quotes from those who hold to the traditional definition of repentance. I am going to slightly disagree with them, but their definitions are much closer to the truth than that of Hutson and Hyles.

Before I give the quotes, let me tell you why I disagree a bit with these men. I searched out every usage of repent in any form in English. Then I searched every Greek or Hebrew word from which they were translated. I could not find one place where these words were used to tell a lost person to repent of his sins, or of his sin in general.

John R. Rice, 1940 – “To repent literally means to have a change of mind or spirit toward God and toward sin.

IT MEANS TO TURN FROM YOUR SINS, earnestly, with all your heart, and trust in Jesus Christ to save you. You can see, then, how the man who believes in Christ repents and the man who repents believes in Christ. The jailer repented when he turned from sin to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ” (What Must I Do to Be Saved? 1940).

Actually this definition is not too far from that of Hutson and Hyles. It almost seems to equate repentance and belief. He kind of combines the two, which laid the foundation for the definition of Hutson and Hyles.

Harold Sightler, 1963 – “Recognizing his guilt, there is a TURNING FROM SIN. There is a turning to God. The actual word ‘repentance’ means a turning completely around: a change of course; a change of mind. … To think of repentance that doesn’t cause the sinner to turn gladly from his sin is impossible. … I know that we have a shallow religious movement in our times that will allow men to profess faith in Christ and at the same time continue to live in the world. Such a shallow religious faith is not real. These are mere professors and have no part with God in salvation” (Chastening and Repentance, 1963).

I can agree with most of what Brother Sightler said. His actual definition is correct, but there is nothing in Scripture that says what we are turning from is our sin.

B.R. Lakin, 1964 – “Repentance toward God — that’s TURNING AWAY FROM ALL YOUR SIN and everything you know to be wrong, and

TURNING RIGHT ABOUT FACE, then trusting Jesus Christ as your complete Redeemer” (Prepare to Meet Thy God, 1964).

How can a lost sinner, before he is saved, turn away from all of his sin? He doesn’t even know what all of his sins are.

Lester Roloff, 1965 – “Repentance is a godly sorrow for sin. REPENTANCE IS A FORSAKING OF SIN.

Real repentance is putting your trust in Jesus Christ so you will not live like that anymore. Repentance is permanent. It is a lifelong and an eternity-long experience. You will never love the devil again once you repent. You will never flirt with the devil as the habit of your life again once you get saved. You will never be happy living in sin; it will never satisfy; and the husks of the world will never fill your longing and hungering in your soul. Repentance is something a lot bigger than a lot of people think. It is essential if you go to heaven” (Repent or Perish, 1965).

I agree that those who have repented will forsake sin, but that does not make the repentance necessary for salvation equal to the forsaking of sin.

Oliver B. Green, 1969 – “True repentance is sorrow for sin committed against a holy God and not only sorrow for sin, but TURNING FROM SIN, FORSAKING SIN AND TURNING TO GOD. Sin nailed the Savior to the cross and certainly that fact alone is sufficient reason why All who have genuinely repented hate sin and forsake sinful ways.” (Commentary of Acts of the Apostles, Acts 2:37-38, 1969).

Here again, I agree that all who have genuinely repented hate sin, and forsake sinful ways. Again, in my search of the Scriptures, I found nowhere that used the word repent in any form, in English, Greek, or Hebrew, to say that it was a turning from sin. While the result of true repentance will be a turning from, and a forsaking of, sin, it is not what the Scriptures tell us to repent of.

Now that I have thoroughly offended some of you by disagreeing with these great men of God, let me tell you what the Scriptures say we are to turn from (repent). There is a verse that tells us exactly what it is. Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, (Hebrews 6:1)

The writer has just chastised these Hebrew Christians for not being mature enough to teach others. In this verse he gives us foundation of the Christian message. It is repentance from dead works, and faith toward God.

Answer this question, In what does every religion except biblical Christianity trust for their salvation? Every one of them trusts in their own good works, at least to some degree. As long as one is trusting in something he or she has done for their salvation, including a prayer, they cannot be saved. They must turn from their dead works, and trust in the only work that can save, the work of Christ on the cross.

To be continued…

Posted on Leave a comment

The Church – Part 4


We don’t have to look at all the passages that use the word ecclesia because all will agree that most of them refer to local assemblies. Since C.I. Scofield’s Bible notes have done more than any other study Bibles to spread universal church doctrine among Baptists, we will start by looking at the twelve passages of Scripture which, taken together, supposedly teach the doctrine of the universal or “true” church. It is doubtful that, if these passages do not support a universal church, we will find other passages that do.


This is the first verse in Scofield’s chain of proof-texts that supposedly prove the existence of a universal church, or what he calls “the true church.” It reads:

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Before we look at this verse, let us look at Scofield’s conclusion concerning the “true church.” In his comment on Hebrews 12:23, he says:

“Church (true), Summary: The true church, composed of the whole number of regenerate persons from Pentecost to the first resurrection 1Co 15:52 united together and to Christ by the baptism with the Holy Spirit 1Co 12:12-13 is the body of Christ of which He is the Head Eph 1:22-23. As such, it is a holy temple for the habitation of God through the Spirit Eph 2:21-22, is ‘one flesh’ with Christ Eph 5:30-31 and espoused to Him as a chaste virgin to one husband 2Co 11:2-4.”

Now that we understand what he believed, let us examine this verse. In his notes on this verse, he admits that the word ecclesia does not naturally contain the concept of universality. Here is what he said in his notes:

“Church – Gr. ecclesia (ek = ‘out of,’ kaleo = ‘to call’), an assembly of called-out ones. The word is used of any assembly; the word itself implies no more, as, e.g., the town-meeting at Ephesus (Act. 19:39), and Israel, called out of Egypt and assembled in the wilderness (Acts 7:38).”

Since there is nothing in the immediate context to modify the normal meaning of the word ecclesia, Christ’s meaning of the word in this verse must be found in the context of all of Christ’s other uses of the word ecclesia. The next time Jesus used the word was in Matthew 18:15-18 which says:

Moreover, if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Is there any doubt that Jesus is referring to a local church here? There is no way any grievance among church brethren could be taken before a universal church. In this passage we also see that what the church binds on earth is bound in Heaven. The binding and loosing here have to do with church discipline, which cannot be done in a universal church.

All of Christ’s other usages of the word ecclesia are found in Revelation Chapters Two and Three. Since these usages are in the letters sent to local churches in Asia, we must conclude that the word is used to mean local churches, not a mystical universal church.

The reason so many think Matthew 16:18 refers to a universal church is because the word church is singular. Their conclusion is that this must be something other than a local church because Jesus did not say which specific local church He was referring to.

This shows a lack of understanding of the meaning of words in what is called the institutional usage. Words are often used in the singular to represent all of a type. Some people seem to have difficulty understanding this usage of words even though they use words this way all the time. The following examples should help clarify what is meant by the institutional usage of words.

The word man is often used to mean all of mankind. The Scriptures tell us that God made man (singular) in His own image. Does this mean that only Adam was made in the image of God? I doubt that anyone would seriously try to hold that position.

Genesis 9:6 says:

Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

Here it is obvious that by using the word man, all of mankind is meant.

Most people have no problem understanding that Henry Ford made the automobile available to the common man, do they? They don’t think that he only made one car and that only one common man had access to it, do they? No! they understand from this statement that automobiles, plural, were made available to common men, plural. Because of Henry Ford, ordinary people, not just those who were rich, could afford to have automobiles.

In Matthew 16:18 Jesus is saying that there will be an institution called a church, which He will build. This institution will be concrete local assemblies (ecclesia), with Him as the head of each local body.

As we have seen, just two chapters later Jesus gives instructions concerning church discipline. Jesus does not explain to His disciples that He is referring to a different kind of church in Matthew 18. Since He doesn’t, we must conclude that He is talking about the same thing. Since the church in Matthew 18 is local, the one in Matthew 16 must also be local. Any other interpretation violates the principles of sound interpretation, especially since every other time Jesus used the word ecclesia, He was speaking of a local church.

If the church of Mathew 16:18 was universal, why didn’t Jesus ever mention a universal church again? Doing so would have avoided any confusion about the existence of a universal church. Those who believe in a universal church do not all agree on who makes up this universal body. Some say it is all the saved of all ages. Some say it is all of those saved from Pentecost until the Rapture. Jesus could have eliminated a lot of confusion by telling us He was talking about something different in this verse if He meant something other than the normal meaning of the word ecclesia.

Another reason some object to Matthew 16:18 referring to a local church is that we are told “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Since local churches come and go, since the churches mentioned in the New Testament no longer exist, it is assumed that it must be the universal church which the gates of hell will not prevail agaist. Again, Jesus is talking about the church as an institution, not a specific individual church. He does not say that the gates of hell shall not prevail against a specific local church. What he does say is that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the church as an institution.

The promise here is not that a particular church will not fail, but that institution, which is a local church, will not fail. Many churches have come and gone over the centuries, yet we still find institutions, local churches, of the type instituted by Christ. It is not my purpose in this work to prove that there have always been local churches after the biblical model, but there are many books which you can read that give ample evidence in great detail proving this point. I would recommend the following: “The History of the Baptists” by Thomas Armitage, “Baptist Church Perpetuity” by W.A. Jarrel, and “A History of the Baptists” by John Christian.

If you were one of Christ’s disciples who heard Jesus say “I will build my church” you probably would have seen yourself as part of what He would build. Six chapters earlier, in Matthew 10, Jesus formed His disciples into a called out group of believers united into an ecclesia, a called out assembly, complete with a membership role, a pastor (Jesus), and a mission to reach the world for His kingdom. You would have understood that the church, as an institution, would stand against the gates of hell. It has done just that until this day and it will until the Rapture of the saints.

Since I used the term “Rapture of the saints,” let me digress a little. The Scriptures say nothing of a “rapture of the church,” they speak only of a catching away of those who are in Christ. In those passages which deal with the rapture, there is no specific mention of a church. Granted these statements are in letters written to churches, but we know that these were churches in a given locality, They were not one “universal” church including all Christians from Pentecost to the Rapture.

Again, if Matthew 16:18 is speaking of a universal church, why didn’t Jesus ever mention it again? If we are true to the rules of interpretation, we cannot force a universal church into this passage.

Posted on Leave a comment

Soulwinning – Part 5

How Did We Get Here

I believe there are some things that brought us to the point where our evangelism leads to empty professions of faith. In this article, I want to take a look at some of them.

A big is better attitude

I realize that all of us like to be looked up to. I also realize that those who pastor larger churches have more respect from men than those who pastor smaller churches. It ought not be this way. If you take a good look at early Christian history, one of the things that brought about the Catholic Church was larger churches dominating smaller churches.

There are several churches in America that are very large and have Bible Colleges that are training men for the ministry. It seems to me that the pastors of these churches think that because they are big, they have the responsibility of teaching the other churches how to do the same thing they have done.

It is interesting to see how many of the preachers coming from these schools try to emulate the pastor of these big churches. When God calls a man into the ministry, He calls him because that man has the characteristics He wants to use in His work. He didn’t call him to be a copy of the pastor or founder of the school he went to.

I know a pastor that graduated from one of these big schools who went to the pastor/founder of the school and asked what he expected of the students. He was told that he wanted to turn out a bunch of copies of himself. This is prideful and arrogant. When God wanted a Paul, He called Paul. When He wanted an Isaiah, He called Isaiah.

Sorry for the rabbit trail. Let me get back on track.

There are two problems with the attitude that big is better. The first is, big is not better, faithfulness is. God is more concerned how faithful a church is to His Word than He is how many members are in the church. Of course God wants His churches to grow, but not at the expense of biblical principles.

The church is also called a body in Scripture. In a body there is both healthy and unhealthy growth. It is healthy for a baby to grow into an adult. If the baby does not grow, something is seriously wrong. However, once the baby reaches adulthood, further growth is unhealthy. It leads to obesity and all kinds of physical disorders. Adults grow by multiplication of their kind and having children. This is why God ordained marriage and the family.

I believe the same is true of God’s churches. When a church is small, it should grow numerically, but when it reaches maturity it should grow by multiplication. There should be other churches born out of that church.

I live in the Bible Belt and it seems that it is impossible to be out of walking distance of a Baptist church. I can assure you that more churches are needed in our area. Many of the “Baptist” churches in our area are no longer standing for the truths of God’s word. New churches that will stand up for God are needed to take of the slack left by these churches.

Let me close this section by answering a question that should be obvious, How big is big enough?

The answer is, I don’t know, but there are some guidelines to follow. It has been found that a true shepherd can only properly shepherd about 200 sheep. To me, this is a general guideline to follow. To properly pastor people we need to really know them. We need to know their personalities, their interests, their sorrows, and their joys. In the very large churches, the pastors cannot properly pastor the people so he delegates his responsibilities to others. He becomes more of a corporate CEO than a pastor.

I can just hear some of you saying, “What about the church in Jerusalem? It had thousands of members.” This is true, but it also had the Apostles to direct it, and later in passages we find that it had divided into smaller churches.

To be continued…

Posted on Leave a comment

The Church – Part 3

There are many different opinions on what defines the universal church. To most dispensationalists, it is a body of believers from Pentecost to the Rapture of the church. To them, the universal church includes all the saved who are alive, the dead in Christ, and those who will be saved who are not yet born. They believe that it includes believers from all denominations.
To those who follow covenant theology, it is an invisible body/church which consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the head.
These groups both believe there is some kind of mystical union that unites the members together even though they never assemble. They believe that this vast multitude is the “Body of Christ” which Paul writes about in his epistles.
To find out if this “universal body” really exists, we cannot rely on the teaching of theology books, we must go to the Scriptures. As students of the Scriptures, we must understand the meanings of the words used at the time of their use. Since we are studying the church, we must start by understanding what the Greek word “ecclesia”, which is translated “church” in our Bibles, meant to those who heard it in Bible times. We need to do an in-depth word study of this word to see how it is used in the New Testament.
The natural starting point is to check the lexicons and dictionaries of New Testament Greek. Since the most popular of these is Strong’s Greek Dictionary, part of his concordance, let us start with it. In it we find the following definition:
Strong’s Greek Dictionary

  1. εκκλησια ekklesia
    εκκλησια ekklesia ek-klay-see’-ah
    From a compound of 1537 and a derivative of 2564; a calling out, i.e. (concretely) a popular meeting, especially a religious congregation (Jewish synagogue, or Christian community of members on earth or saints in heaven or both):—assembly, church.
    This seems simple enough. We have, in our first definition, the idea of a universal church. I’ll say more about this later, but if the church didn’t exist until Pentecost, like most who believe in a universal church teach, how could the Greek word have meant “Christian community of members on earth or saints in heaven or both” when Christ used it in Matthew 16:18?
    Berry’s lexicon gives us the following definition:
    “Ecclesia…an Ekklesia, from ekstian believers, a church in one place, Ac. 11:26; often plural, as Ac. 15:41; the whole body of believers on earth, 1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians. 1:22; or in heaven, Heb. 12:23.”
    Again, how could the word have meant “the whole body of believers on earth” if the church did not exist until Pentecost?
    Vine’s definition gives us considerably more information on the meaning of the word:
    “Assembly. 1. Ekklesia, from ek, out of, and klesis, a calling (kaleo, to call), was used among the Greeks of a body of citizens gathered to discuss the affairs of State, Acts 19:39. In the Septuagint it is used to designate the gathering of Israel, summoned for any definite purpose, or gathering regarded as representative of the whole nation. In Acts 7:38 it is used of Israel; in 19:32,41, a riotous mob. It has two applications to companies of Christians, (a) to the whole company of the redeemed throughout the present era, the company of which Christ said, ‘I will build my Church,’ Matt. 16:18, and which is further described as ‘the Church which is His Body,’ Ephesians. 1:22, 5:22, (b) in the singular number (e.g., Matt. 18:17, R.V., marg., ‘congregation’), to a company consisting of professed believers, e.g., Acts 20:28; 1Cor.1:2; Gal. 1:13; l Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1; 1 Tim. 3:5, and in the plural, with reference to churches in a district.”
    We have agreement among these popular lexicographers concerning the word’s supposed double meaning. These definitions make the word ecclesia mean both a local church and a universal church. The difference would depend on the context in which it is used. If we stopped our study here, we might conclude that the concept of universality is inherent in the word “ecclesia.”
    Since these definitions come from sources that have been influenced by the teachings of the Catholic and Protestant churches, and which have the preconceived belief in a universal church, it would be a mistake to draw this conclusion. These lexicographers may have read their preconceptions into their definitions of the Greek word. In their definitions they say one of its meanings is “a Christian church, local or universal.” This could not have been the meaning of the word when Jesus first used it because the church did not exist.
    To get the true meaning we need to look at the usage of the word ecclesia at the time it was used, that is, in New Testament times. When we do that, it will become evident that these lexicographers have not given us the true classical Greek meaning of the word at the time the New Testament was written. Because of this error, many people take these definitions to the New Testament and find a universal church. It is never right to take our theological presuppositions and try to make the Scriptures fit them. We are to seek our doctrine from the Scriptures and test our theology by biblical doctrine.
    In the next chapter we will examine the verses used by many to teach that there is a universal church. Suffice to say here that lexicographers are no more infallible than others who write on biblical subjects.
    Although we can learn much from dictionaries and lexicons, we must remember that they are not always completely reliable. No man can write anything without his preconceptions having an influence on what he writes. The more the lexicographer gets into details, the less accurate he tends to be and the more presuppositions are involved.
    Words evolve in meaning. An example of this is seen in the English word “prevent.” To us it means to stop or hinder something. In the Scriptures it means to go before. As an example of this, look at I Thessalonians 4:15
    For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
    This does not say that those who are alive and remain will not stop those who are asleep from going up in the Rapture. It says those who are alive will not go before those who sleep.
    This brings us to the next step in our understanding of the word ecclesia. Looking at the etymological roots of words can give us insight into the meaning of a word, but the meanings of words evolve over time. If we look at the word prevent mentioned earlier, we see that it comes from “pre”, which means before, and “vent”, which means to go. This agrees with the biblical meaning of the word, but not with our modern understanding when we hear the word.
    Etymologically, ecclesia is made up of the two Greek roots “ek”, meaning out of, and “kaleo”, meaning to call. Etymologically the word means to call out without any regard to who is called, where they are called from, or to where they are called. In modern definitions we are usually told that ecclesia means a group of people who are called out, and nothing more. Therefore, we are told, it can mean a group of people called out of the world and separated unto God. This allows the word to be used in the sense of a universal church.
    This idea is echoed by most, if not all, lexicographers and commentators. Berkhof, Barnes, Gill, Clarke, Matthew Henry, etc. all follow the definitions given above. We could stop here and say we have found the answer. We would certainly be in good company if we did.
    To conclude that what we have seen thus far gives us a clear meaning of the New Testament usage of the word would be premature. A word is not defined at a given time in history by its etymological roots. It is defined by what it means to those to whom it is spoken at a given time in history. Remember the word prevent we discussed earlier.
    Great men of God like B. H. Carroll see things a little differently than those we have looked at so far. He said that the word “ecclesia” in New Testament times meant those called out from their homes to attend a meeting. He wrote the following in his book “Ecclesia – The Church”:
    “What, then, etymologically, is the meaning of this word? Its primary meaning is: An organized assembly whose members have been properly called out from private homes or business to attend to public affairs. This definition necessarily implies prescribed conditions of membership… Locality inheres in ecclesia. There can be no assembly now or hereafter without a place to meet.”
    We cannot settle the issue of the meaning of ecclesia etymologically because the etymology does not tell us whether it means “called out from the world at large, but not to meet”, or “called out from their homes to meet in local assemblies.” In the evolution of a word, there are three time periods that may significantly change the word’s definition. First, there is the time period in which the word was originally used. During this period the etymological evidence is the most accurate. There is also the meaning given the word at any particular time period in history. Finally, there is the period of time when the reader is considering the word. Definitions of the word can be significantly different during each of these time periods.
    We have already seen this evidence with the word prevent. To further show how words evolve, here are two other words that have changed over the centuries. ‘Hussy’ came from ‘huswife’ in Middle English, which meant a housewife but today it means a brazen or immoral woman. ‘Constable’ came from ‘comes stabuli’ which means keeper of the stable; today it means a peace officer.
    Ecclesia did not simply mean “called out” in New Testament times. It meant assembly or called out assembly. Its most common usage at the time Jesus first used it was to signify the assembly of citizens in a self-governed city/state. Citizens were called out from their homes to meet together to deal with affairs of state. The word would have never been used of a group of people called out by God to be separate from the world but who never assembled together. It always meant called out to meet together.
    The etymological support for a universal church rendering of ecclesia is at best inconclusive. Inconclusive is really an understatement because there is no support for the idea that ecclesia meant anything universal in its etymology. Those who claim that the word means those called out through, or at the time of, their salvation are imposing more on the meaning of the word that any evidence will support.
    Like any word, ecclesia must be defined by the common meaning of the word at the time it was used unless something in the context requires a different meaning. For the word to mean anything other than an assembly called out to meet together for some official reason, the context must do more than simply allow another meaning, it must require it.
    Ecclesia was not an obscure word in the first century. If it always meant an assembly in the first century, we cannot impose our 21st-century meaning upon it. As we have seen, the lexicographers have added meanings based upon the understanding of their time, rather than how the word would have been understood at the time the New Testament was written.
    All those who hold to the doctrine of the universal church readily admit that the vast majority of the instances of ecclesia in the New Testament refer to a local church. Imposing another meaning where it is not immediately obvious that it is talking about a local church must only be done if it is the only possible interpretation in the context where it is used. If we can change the meanings of words simply because the new meaning fits our doctrinal prejudices, then the Bible has no meaning at all.
    The word ecclesia was used by the Greeks of the first century exclusively to define local assemblies. The Greek word panegyros was used for more general groups of people. This word was used to describe all the people of all the Greek states. If the church were universal, panegyros is the word that would have been used to describe it.
    An honest search of classical Greek literature for any usage of the word ecclesia which would support a universal group or assembly will come up empty. Some of the greatest Greek scholars have tried and no instance of this meaning has ever been found.
    Professor Royal, of Wake Forest College, was asked if he knew of any instance of the word ecclesia being used of an unassembled or non-assembling group of people. His answer was “I do not know of any such passage in classic Greek.” Many other scholars agree with this statement.
    In the classical Greek used in the New Testament, the word ecclesia was understood by both Greeks and Jews to mean an organized assembly of the people. To the Greeks, this word meant an assembly of the citizens of a free city/state gathered by a herald blowing a horn through the streets of a town. To the Jews it would have meant something like their synagogue.
    Thus, from a survey of classical Greek usage, we see that the word ecclesia meant more than “called out.” It meant a “called out assembly,” with emphasis on the concept of a local assembly. The concept of universality cannot be supported from classical Greek usage. Indeed, the Greek definition appears to rule out the idea of a body of believers scattered through space and time, who never meet together.
    Our study thus far has shown us that the idea of universality is not inherent in the word ecclesia. It is also readily admitted by all that the predominant usage of the word in the New Testament refers to a local church. Based upon these two facts the burden of proof rests upon those who would give ecclesia a different meaning.
    We still have to look at the usage of ecclesia in the New Testament. It is possible that it is used by God to present some new doctrine not previously revealed. However, if we are to find the truth we must use proper methods as we study the New Testament. We cannot read in our theological presuppositions. The context must clearly show there is a new meaning in the passage. Consensus will not be sufficient. Remember, we are dealing with the Word of God. We are seeking what He said and what He meant. We are not to rely upon what some scholar thinks it means.
    Just because a majority declares something as truth doesn’t make it truth. The majority of Christendom believes that works are in, some way or another, involved in salvation. This does not make it so. Only an unbiased study using proper rules of interpretation can give us the correct answer.
Posted on Leave a comment

Soulwinning – Part 4

Churches aren’t growing

Many “soul-winning” churches are not growing. One pastor in Colorado said his church won 200 souls to Christ each year. This continued for about 10 years. At the beginning of the 10 years the church was running about 200 on Sunday morning. At the end of the 10 years, the church was running about 200. Don’t you think something is wrong with this picture?

A friend from a great “soulwinning” church told me that his church averaged winning 50 people to the Lord every week. When I asked him if his church was growing, I knew it wasn’t, he told me that it was only our obligation to win souls, not to get them into church. I can only assume he had never considered all the Great Commission has to say.

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20)

Notice that there are three parts to this commission. The first is to teach all nations. What are we to teach them? We are to teach them that there is a holy God to Whom they will answer, and when they understand this, we are to teach them the Gospel. I will expound further on this later in this book.

The second part is baptizing them. Baptism is only for those who show credible evidence of salvation. We are not to baptize everyone, we only baptize those who are saved. At baptism, the saved person becomes a member of the church under whose authority he was baptized. This means that the second part of the commission is getting the saved into a church where they can grow.

The third part of the commission is teaching the saved to observe, that means keep or put into practice, all things that our Lord has taught us.

When we carry out all three parts of the Commission, our churches will grow, both numerically and spiritually. The problem in many of our churches is, they are so busy “winning souls,” they forget to grow Christians. The purpose of the church is to bring Christians to maturity.

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (Ephesians 4:11-14)

When a church takes this seriously, soul-winning becomes a natural part of the lives of its members. This will cause good, solid growth, and will cause the community around the church to know there is something different happening in that church.

This growth may not be as rapid as that of those who use modern evangelistic methods, but it will be solid. I speak from experience because I took a church from an average attendance of 28 to an average attendance of over 70 using the principles I will give you in this book. When the new pastor came in, the church did not lose one member. The new pastor thanked me for leaving him a doctrinally sound church.

To be continued…

Posted on Leave a comment

The Church – Part 2

Baptists exist because they refused to be associated with those who changed the meaning and purpose of baptism. From the time in the second century when baptismal regeneration became prominent, until sometime after the Reformation, Baptists stood separate from the apostasy of those churches which later became the Catholic or Universal Church. Sometime after the Reformation, they became protestantized (allow me to invent a new word) and over time accepted the false doctrine of the “universal church.” If the “true church” is the “universal body of Christ” how could Baptists maintain this separation? If we all are part of one great universal church, shouldn’t we all join together in the work of Christ under the authority of the Catholic (universal) Church?

The doctrine of the universal church is the basis of the ecumenical movement. This doctrine teaches that since we are all part of the “true church” we should all join together in Christ’s service. This is not what the Scriptures teach.

I Timothy 6:3-5 tells us:

If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. (Emphasis mine.)

It is not my purpose in this book to deal in depth with the issue of separation, but this passage does tell us to withdraw ourselves from those who teach other than what the Scriptures teach. That would surely include churches that are based on false doctrine. Many denominations teach false doctrine on such important things as how one is saved. Because Baptists follow the teachings of the Scriptures, we are not to join with them, but withdraw ourselves from them.

The universal church doctrine has an effect on church discipline. How can someone be put out of a local church for immorality or false doctrine if he or she is still part of the “universal or true church?”

There are two other important doctrines that Baptists have stood for from the beginning. These are the authority of, and the autonomy of, the local church. If the “true church” is universal, is it not a bit prideful to stand for these doctrines? The Scriptures clearly teach that the church is to be unified, but if every church has the right to be self-governed, how can this unity exist? If the true church is universal, then what the Catholic (universal) Church teaches about no salvation outside the church and having a “vicar of Christ”, the Pope, to keep unity makes perfect sense. If, on the other hand, the true church is a local assembly, shouldn’t we follow the simple structure we find in Scripture to keep unity in a church?

Even though there is nothing in the New Testament to support the idea of a universal church, unless you bring the idea in from outside and try to find support, many Baptists continue to believe in and teach its existence. This doctrine undermines everything Baptists have stood for since the time of the apostles. It also flies in the face of biblical ecclesiology.

Baptists have sat at the feet of Protestants too long. We have been protestantized by using Protestant systematic theology books in our schools. It is time we cease to follow the error of the Protestants on this issue and examine the doctrine of the church from the Scriptures. Getting doctrine from theology books is always dangerous because such books are written by fallible men. If we get our doctrine of the true church from Scripture, we will find that it is the local church. The Scriptures will show the universal church to be a fraud foisted upon Baptists by the Catholics and Protestants. The Catholics developed the universal visible church and the Protestants invented a new doctrine of the universal invisible church because they needed to justify their leaving the Catholic Church. It had taught them that there was no salvation outside the church, and they found themselves outside of the Catholic Church.

C. I. Scofield probably had more to do with Baptists accepting this false universal church doctrine than any other individual. Many of us older Baptists were raised on the Scofield Bible. It was well loved by Baptists because its study notes taught dispensationalism and the pre-tribulation rapture. An online search shows that Scofield has many detractors. Most of them are trying to destroy his reputation only because they disagree with his doctrine. This is not my purpose here.

His study notes have had great influence among Bible-believing Baptists, and for the most part, this influence has been good. What I want to point out is that he was not a Baptist and some of his doctrine did not line up with Scripture. He, like all the rest of us who write on biblical subjects, was not infallible. One example of his doctrinal errors can be seen in his notes on Genesis 1:1-2 where he taught the gap theory of creation. Here is what his notes say.

Without form and void

Jer. 4:23-27; Isa. 24:1; Isa. 45:18 clearly indicate that the earth had undergone a cataclysmic change as a result of divine judgment. The face of the earth bears everywhere the marks of such a catastrophe. There are not wanting imitations which connect it with a previous testing and fall of angles.

Relative to the discussion on the church, it must be remembered that he was born into a nominal Episcopalian family. After his conversion, he was the pastor (even though he was divorced) of Congregational churches, and in his later years became a Presbyterian. He was a Protestant and held Protestant doctrine concerning the church.

The purpose of this work is to bring us back to a scriptural view of the church. I ask you to prayerfully examine this material and study it with an open mind.

To be continued…

Posted on Leave a comment

Soulwinning – Part 3

Saved People Are New Creatures

Continued …

The first passage that troubled us in our study of modern soulwinning was 2 Corinthians 5:17.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

This is talking about all saved people, those who are in Christ. You can’t be saved outside of Christ because He is the way, the truth, and the life.

Someone who is in Christ, is a new creature. It does not say he should be, he will be some day, it says he IS, present tense, a new creature. This means that it is not optional, it is automatic.

We become new creatures because our spiritual nature is made alive. It allows us to commune with the God of the universe. It really changes the person, and the change is visible to others.

There will still be a battle between the spirit and the flesh, but the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, which indwells all who are in Christ, will cause us to feel very uncomfortable when we violate God’s precepts. A true Christian who is living in violation of God’s precepts will be an unhappy person. The Holy Spirit will bring conviction and trials into his life until he repents.

This verse further says that old things, our worldly actions, interests, and sins, are passed away. Notice again, this is present tense. It is something that happens as soon as a person is saved. Because of the battle between the spirit and the flesh, and because it takes some time to learn God’s precepts, there will be a time of growth, but the true Christian will become more and more like Christ the longer he lives.

This time of growth will not end as long as we are on this earth. Like a child, there will be more growth in the early years, but the growth will always be there. If there is no spiritual growth, there is reason to question whether or not there is spiritual life.

Next we are told that all things become new. This means that our desires, our attitudes, our actions, etc. will change. We will no longer want to do the sinful things we used to do. We will want to please our Heavenly Father.

Over time, the places we go and the people we hang around will change. We will love going to church. We will hate going places where sin abounds. Our sweetest fellowship will be with other Christians. We will fill our minds with the Word of God.

Good works characterize Christians

The next verse that troubled us was Ephesians 2:10. Most Christians can quote, or are at least familiar with, Ephesians 2:8-9:

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

However, few can quote verse 10:

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)

We know verses 8 and 9 so well because we like the fact that they tell us that we are saved by God’s grace, received by faith, without works. This is very important because far too many people think that works are necessary to obtain salvation. The problem is that we often push works so far away that we don’t see that, as Christians, we are to live according to good works. That is, we are to live according to the precepts of God as found in His Word.

We don’t obtain salvation because we do good works, we do good works because we have already obtained salvation. Those “Christians” who go around saying that they don’t have to follow the precepts found in God’s Word are probably not true Christians. At best, they are poorly taught Christians.

The Scriptures tell us that salvation changes a person. I know salvation changed me and my family. Today we see too many professing salvation with no desire for the things of God. They don’t read their Bibles to see what God expects of them. They don’t attend Church regularly. They aren’t concerned about the lost around them. If you read the Scriptures, you will see that it ought not be this way. Remember, 2 Corinthians 5:17, tells us that when we are in Christ, we are new creatures.

To be continued…

Posted on Leave a comment

The Church – Part 1

The purpose of this series of articles is not only to show the error of the universal (catholic) church doctrine, it is also to show the dangers of accepting this doctrine. Many of the errors in modern churches can be traced directly or indirectly to the universal church doctrine.

I find that most pastors I talk to don’t think this subject is important enough to study for themselves. I understand how busy pastors can be in these modern times. I would, however, like to remind us of what we are told in the book of Hebrews:

Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. Hebrews13:17

This verse is telling the people to obey those who have rule over them. This means their spiritual leaders like their pastor. It goes on to explain why they should obey. Notice that it says that they “watch for your souls.” This reminds me of what we are told in the book of Ezekiel:

But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand. Ezekiel 33:6

Another thing that we, as pastors, must remember is that we must give account to God for our ministry as a shepherd to God’s sheep. The responsibility of the pastor is awesome in the true sense of the word. Awe means fear and some means to fill with. The pastor should be filled with a respectful fear of God that makes him take his position seriously.

It is my hope that this little book has done a good job of condensing this subject to a readable length. It is also my hope that you will seriously consider what I have said and go to the Scriptures to see if it is so (Acts 17:10-11).

To be continued…

Posted on Leave a comment

Soulwinning – Part 2

Something is dreadfully wrong

I have written a book “Shipwreck Soulwinning” because I believe that our soulwinning is shipwrecked. Our efforts do not bring the same results we see in Scripture. I don’t think many would argue that everything is well in modern evangelism. The first problem is fewer and fewer are even pretending to get saved. The second is, most of those who make a profession of faith, show no real evidence of becoming a new creature in Christ.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

There is no shortage of evangelistic activity, it is the results that don’t measure up to the biblical standard. The product of our efforts gives little evidence of being truly changed by their “salvation experience.”

It is interesting that we talk about decisions for Christ, while the Bible never does. It talks about believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.

We recently had a big evangelistic event in Charlotte, NC. It was limited to independent Fundamental Baptists, and there was a lot of noise about the results. Although there were professions of faith, there was little effect seen in the area.

I will get in trouble for saying this, but the money would have been better spent in local church evangelism. When someone is reached for Christ through a local church, there is a connection between the convert and the church. This connection allows the church to follow up in a way that is natural. The kind of evangelistic campaign we saw in Charlotte does send the names of the people who “get saved” to a local church in the area where the person lives, but it is not the same as the church reaching them in the first place. I have been on the receiving end of this kind of names, and most of the time the “converts” had no idea what I was talking about when I visited them.

The zeal of those who are behind this kind of campaign is well intended, but it would be better to see this zeal in local churches reaching the communities where they are located. I believe this is the biblical way.

I fear that many of those “saved” with our modern evangelistic methods will hear the same thing Jesus said to those who professed to be His disciples in Matthew Chapter 7.

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:23)

Most of the churches in the area where I live have one or two revivals a year. Their goal is to see people reached for Christ. This a praiseworthy goal, but the result is that nothing changes. The churches don’t grow, and the people are not revived. They now wait for the next “revival” with great enthusiasm, but the results will be the same as the last one.

How did I come to this study

More than 35 years ago my wife and I were discussing the effects of modern soul-winning. We saw a problem that concerned us greatly. There were things that didn’t fit with what the Scriptures said about those who were won to Christ. When people got saved in the New Testament, there was a major change in their lives. They were not perfect, but their lives were different from what they were before their salvation.

It was some years before I had the time to really look into the issue, but when I did, I learned some very important principles. When I applied these principles, it changed the results of the evangelism in our church.

If you are only looking to see more professions of faith, you need read no farther, you won’t find that here. If you are interested in seeing salvation experiences that truly change the lives of people, I believe you will find this book very helpful.

When you read of the revivals in the past, you will see people with true conviction of sin crying out to a holy God, begging for His forgiveness. You will see broken and contrite hearts and real tears of godly sorrow. Isn’t this what we should be looking for?

To be continued…