My Fourth Question to Christians: Is the History Important?
15-03-2012, 11:27 AM
My Fourth Question to Christians: Is the History Important?
I will be posting this on FB tonight. Help me clean it up.
In previous notes, I have touched upon the importance of using a literal translation of the Bible instead of a dynamic version. Now, I would like to touch upon the importance of knowing the history and the original language of the Bible.
We are going to look at three different instances in the Bible that are “common knowledge” but are opposed to the history of the time. The truth of this knowledge changes our understanding, and it ranges from a meaningless minutia, to causing churches to split, to teaching verses completely wrong.
Let’s take a look at the first one.
1) Jesus was a carpenter.
We all know what Jesus’ profession was, right? He was a carpenter. The Greek word for Jesus’ profession (Mark 6:3) was “tekton”.
A tekton was a craftsman that worked with his hands. The connotation of the word is, indeed, “carpenter”; however, a carpenter isn’t how we understand it during Jesus’ day. A carpenter was someone who was an artisan – a handyman – which means Jesus probably worked with stones and masonry more than he worked with wood.
The region in and around Galilee (where Jesus grew up) was hilly and rocky. The flora of Galilee was (is) grass, small shrubs, and very few trees. Working solely with wood was just not practical given the resources; moreover, houses of that time where not wooden. They were made of stone and clay.
So, does this knowledge affect anything? No… probably not. I’m showcasing it because it a catalyst for how history can reinvent a biblical point of view.
Southern Baptists will be the main focus in this point.
Baptism and how it should be done has actually caused rifts in denominations as well as playing a part in creating new Christian denominations. Southern Baptists reject infant baptism and believe the only valid form of baptism is submersion. They are vehement in this doctrine and do not allow any leeway. I would like to analyze and questions these beliefs.
I believe it is ridiculous that churches could be divided on such irrelevant and unnecessary debates such as infant baptism and submersion. In regards to baptism, I would venture to say, the only real, legitimate grievance on the subject of baptism is baptismal regeneration. That is, baptism saves you or washes away original sin (during infant baptism).
The majority of Protestants reject baptismal regeneration and believe that baptism is an outward sign of the covenant relationship that a believer has with God. Baptists believe solely in a believer’s baptism, which is a public showing of the person’s acceptance of Christ.
Other Protestant denominations (Lutherans, Presbyterians, Reformed, Methodist, etc) practice infant baptism. Are they wrong in this practice? Baptists say that baptism is displayed in the Bible after the acceptance of Christ; however, there are some instances of baptism that the Baptists ignore.
Household baptism is mentioned in Act as well as Corinthians. After the patriarch of the household accepts Christ, then entire household is baptized. What is the significance of this? Aforementioned, baptism is a public display of the covenant you are making with God. Baptizing does not grant salvation, so with that being said, what is so wrong with infant baptism and/or household baptism.
Its significance is that the patriarch is displaying his covenant with God to establish a Godly household and to raise his children in a Godly way. This is a public covenant that he is making with God. Infant baptism is simply a covenant with God that the parents will present themselves as Godly influences as well as the child will be raised in a Godly household.
Since Protestants accept that baptism is symbolic, it is silly to think that the symbolism is reserved just for the believer during conversion; especially when there is scripture that supports household baptism.
There is no real reason why the church should be divided on the issue of infant baptism.
This brings us to the second part of the baptism debate, and frankly, the most asinine. What is a legitimate form of baptism? Baptist believe only submersion is and will not sprinkle or pour. Again, if this is symbolic why is the focus on the “how” and not on the “why”?
Paul of Tarsus is without a doubt one of the most influential people in Christianity. Paul was baptized in a small Jewish home. Here are some pictures of what a typical home looked like.
As you can tell, the house is very small, and there was no room to submerge a person completely. It is a safe assumption that Paul was probably baptized by pouring or sprinkling.
It’s befuddling to think that Christians could be so petty and legalistic to actually debate this especially when they believe that it is symbolic.
3) Revelation 3:16
Ahhh, the infamous “lukewarm” verse. This has been taught as a warning for “fence straddlers” and “backsliders”. It is taught that God either wants you to be hot or cold, and if you’re lukewarm, He’s going to spit you out.
Here is where history and understanding come in because it COMPLETELY changes the meaning of what John is saying.
The Church of Laodicea was situated near Hierapolis’ hot springs and Colossae’s pure water supply. The hot water was used for medicinal purposes and the cool, pure water was used for refreshment. Sometimes, the water supplies would mix and become lukewarm, thus losing its hot medicinal effect and its cool, refreshing effect which made the water useless.
So, “cold” is not negative. “Cold” is just as positive as “hot”.
This verse is taught in a way that God would rather us have nothing to do with Him instead of being somewhat for Him. This is completely inaccurate. The accurate interpretation is that “hot” and “cold” are both very useful; however, the “lukewarm” is useless.
The history related to this verse completely changes its point of view and the way it’s commonly taught.
The above examples are why it’s important to learn the history of the Bible as well as the original languages.