B.A.S.I.C. NEWSLETTER # 108
B.A.S.I.C. NEWSLETTER # 108
I Cor. 16:9 “For a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.”
East African Joint Pastoral Conferance
At the Foot of Mount Meru
On October 30-31 twenty one Africans and five Americans studied the Word of God together. As we gathered and proceeded it was obvious the unity of Spirit was among us. For instance in discussions on baptism of infants it was good to hear a defense of the truth by many. We met in a hotel at the foot of Mt. Meru. This is a neighbor mountain some ways from the tallest, Mt. Kilimanjaro. In this picturesque setting we had good fellowship with one another over the beautiful Word of God. Four men came from the CLC Kenya/Etago, three from the CLC Kenya/Nairobi, one from Congo and the rest from the CLCEA. We had two visiting pastors who are investigating joining the CLCEA. All the districts of the CLCEA were represented. The five of us of the CLC USA participated in not only the study sessions but in individual and group discussions.
One new pastor joined the CLCEA at the meeting. Essays: Pastor Mayhew from the CLC USA led us in a study of Luther and the Reformation going back into the history leading up to the Reformation focusing on several individuals. He then proceeded to explain about the leaders in the Reformation. He handed out to all a booklet the men could read on their own of the Life of Luther by P. Melanchthon. He concluded “Let us give thanks to our gracious LORD for using these individuals to uphold the Biblical truth of Salvation by Grace alone through faith in Jesus. The Reformation theme remains ours today – Grace alone, Faith Alone and Scripture Alone! Thanks be to God. “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God will stand forever.” Is. 40:8 This essay was especially timely as we met on the second day which was Reformation Day. Pastor Fred Ogendo from Etago CLC presented a study on Christian Growth. He defined a disciple as a follower who learns from someone. He led us in seeking to understand our purpose in life which can come only through spiritual knowledge. Pointing out the usefullness of Christian service he said, “As one uses a spoon to eat, God is also using pastors, teachers and missionaries to represent His service to all nations.” He led us in a discussion of seven principles of Christian growth: Bible study, prayer, personal holiness, service, giving, fellowship and worship. Pastor Michael Gondwe of the Tanga CLCEA delivered an essay on Be Strong in the Grace, which Paul wrote Timothy of in 2nd Tim. Pastor Gondwe wrote, “Some will say: ‘Of what use is it to exhort a man to be strong in grace, unless free will have something to do in cooperation?. I reply, what God demands from us by His Word He likewise bestows by His Spirit, so that we are strengthened in the grace which He has given to us. And yet the exhortations are not superfluous, because the Spirit of God, teaching us inwardly, causes that they shall not sound in our ears fruitlessly and to no purpose. Whoever, therefore, shall acknowledge that the present exhortation could not have been fruitful without the secret power of the Spirit, will never support free will by means of it.” It all comes through the power of God’s grace. He also had in the essay a very thorough explanation of why from Scripture we view Paul’s second letter to Timothy as written from a second imprisonment in Rome. Charles Gikonyo, who heads our CLC Kenya/Nairobi, gave “Child Baptism A Must.” After going over the reasons for baptizing all including little babies, he took us through a different approach to viewing infant baptism. “Baptism is given very strong exclamation and emphasis” in Scripture. We considered a large number of passages from the Old Testament on children, especially under judgment. He concluded, “By this I conclude that children are also not innocent of sin nor are any of us! We are all a non-people, guilty, falling far short of God’s glory and lost in our sins. Then why should children not be baptized!” Pastor Koenig, CLC USA, led in a study of Justification. After defining terms we viewed passages teaching: Universal Justification, Individual Justification, passages including both. Throughout the essay we viewed illustrations on justification out of life: a man on death row in prison…,a man in debt and overwhelmed…,the vast bank of clouds above…,a man dies and leaves a will…,a large mango tree in the village…,in the beginning God created light and then the sun, moon and stars to receive it… Our Lord is everything to us. In Him we live and move and have our being. This most important Bible teaching comes to us with such clarity from the Word because it is so vital for our life here and the abundant one beyond this veil. The Lord is our righteousness as well as everything else. 1 Cor. 1:30 In Koenig’s second essay we considered the question Why are some saved and not others? We see that our Christian religion is one of blessed paradoxes and mysteries we must accept by faith. We went over what the answer is not: some are inclined to believe, some resist less, some are chosen in eternity to hell, some cooperate more with God, some have more good in them. All of this the Word clearly rejects. We viewed passages in which we say man rejects but God converts. We looked at three passages in particular that address this question as far as it is answered on this side of eternity: Rom. 1:20-21, Acts 14:16-18, 17:24-27. Why was one saved and not the other? Think of Judas and Peter. Judas’ rejection was his own fault, though he had great advantages. Peter’s salvation was by the power of God Himself for no man can say Jesus is Lord but by the Holy Spirit. This is as far as we can proceed. Beyond this is the “secret, concealed, inscrutable.” Man’s corrupted mind does not like this for in pride it thinks it should know. Scripture has spoken and we believe. Speak Lord for your servant hears with faith. Pastor Jeremiah of the CLCEA hosted this conference. Next year we will meet in Nairobi. In addition to this conference allowing us to study His Word together, our men are developing the fellowship relationship even though separated by great distances. God be praised.
BIBLE QUESTIONS –part 9
These following four questions are among 101 that are dealt with at the site: www.ovrlnd.com/Apologetics/101contradictions.html . This is all in answer to the supposed contradictions in the Bible that some Muslims put forth. Go there for some more good reading and to see how our Bible has no contradictions. There are some copyist errors, but that is all.
1. 2. 2 Samuel 24:9 gives the total population for Israel as 800,000, whereas 1 Chronicles 21:5 says it was 1,100,000.
(Category: misunderstood the historical context or misunderstood the author’s intent)
There are a number of ways to understand not only this problem but the next challenge as well, since they both refer to the same passages and to the same census.
It is possible that the differences between the two accounts are related to the unofficial and incomplete nature of the census …, or that the book of Samuel presents rounded numbers, particularly for Judah.
The more likely answer, however, is that one census includes categories of men that the other excludes. It is quite conceivable that the 1 Chronicles 21:5 figure included all the available men of fighting age, whether battle-seasoned or not, whereas the 2 Samuel 24:9 account is speaking only of those who were ready for battle. Joab’s report in 2 Samuel 24 uses the word ‘is hayil, which is translated as “mighty men”, or battle-seasoned troops, and refers to them numbering 800,000 veterans. It is reasonable that there were an additional 300,000 men of military age kept in the reserves, but not yet involved in field combat. The two groups would therefore make up the 1,100,000 men in the 1 Chronicles 21 account which does not employ the Hebrew term ‘is hayil to describe them.
(Archer 1982:188-189 and Light of Life II 1992:189-190)
1. 5. Was Ahaziah 22 (2 Kings 8:26) or 42 (2 Chronicles 22:2) when he began to rule over Jerusalem?
(Category: copyist error)
Because we are dealing with accounts which were written thousands of years ago, we would not expect to have the originals in our possession today, as they would have disintegrated long ago. We are therefore dependent on the copies taken from copies of those originals, which were in turn continually copied out over a period of centuries. Those who did the copying were prone to making two types of scribal errors. One concerned the spelling of proper names, and the other had to do with numbers.
The two examples of numerical discrepancy here have to do with a decade in the number given. Ahaziah is said to have been 22 in 2 Kings 8:26; while in 2 Chronicles 22:2 Ahaziah is said to have been 42. Fortunately there is enough additional information in the Biblical text to show that the correct number is 22. Earlier in 2 Kings 8:17 the author mentions that Ahaziah’s father Joram ben Ahab was 32 when he became King, and he died eight years later, at the age of 40. Therefore Ahaziah could not have been 42 at the time of his father’s death at age 40! Such scribal errors do not change Jewish or Christian beliefs in the least. In such a case, another portion of scripture often corrects the mistake (2 Kings 8:26 in this instance). We must also remember that the scribes who were responsible for the copies were meticulously honest in handling Biblical texts. They delivered them as they received them, without changing even obvious mistakes, which are few indeed.
(Archer 1982:206 and Light of Life II 1992:201)
1. 26. Was Jacob (Matthew 1:16) or Heli (Luke 3:23) the father of Joseph and husband of Mary?
(Category: misunderstood the Hebrew usage)
The answer to this is simple but requires some explanation. Most scholars today agree that Matthew gives the genealogy of Joseph and Luke gives that of Mary, making Jacob the father of Joseph and Heli the father of Mary.
This is shown by the two narrations of the virgin birth. Matthew 1:18-25 tells the story only from Joseph’s perspective, while Luke 1:26-56 is told wholly from Mary’s point of view.
A logical question to ask is why Joseph is mentioned in both genealogies? The answer is again simple. Luke follows strict Hebrew tradition in mentioning only males. Therefore, in this case, Mary is designated by her husband’s name.
This reasoning is clearly supported by two lines of evidence. In the first, every name in the Greek text of Luke’s genealogy, with the one exception of Joseph, is preceded by the definite article (e.g. ‘the’ Heli, ‘the’ Matthat). Although not obvious in English translations, this would strike anyone reading the Greek, who would realize that it was tracing the line of Joseph’s wife, even though his name was used.
The second line of evidence is the Jerusalem Talmud, a Jewish source. This recognizes the genealogy to be that of Mary, referring to her as the daughter of Heli (Hagigah 2:4).