Upon This Rock

FeaturedUpon This Rock

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Today I am writing about Upon This Rock.
And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 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. Matthew 16:16-18 (emphasis added)
This passage generates a lot of comments, even disagreements. Part of the reason is because we humans have a way of zooming in on only one verse or may one or two words in that verse. For example, if you only look at verse 18 you might get the impression that Peter, which means stone, is the foundation or Rock of the church. Religious doctrine has been built on that erroneous belief.
The Bible teaches us to use all of Scripture to understand Scripture. Part of this is reading, studying, and applying verses in context. Now admittedly I could have actually added a few more verses and covered 16:13-19. The first few verses has Jesus asking the disciples who they thought He was, while verse 19 deals with the keys of heaven which He gave Peter and were used in the Book of Acts. But the passage beginning in verse 16 and ending with verse 18 gives us the necessary context to understand what is happening.
Jesus was doing a play on words. Peter had just expressed his, and the other disciples, belief that Jesus “art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus then uses Peter’s name (Petros or stone, little rock)  to underline the importance of what Peter had just confessed.
You could paraphrase Jesus’ words thus, Thou art a (Petros) little rock or pebble and upon this (Petra) huge rock I will build my church. In other words, Peter had the distinct honor to declare the gospel upon which the church would be built. No other man had up to that time made that declaration. His Messianic connection had been hinted at by Anna (Luke 2:36-38) and John the Baptist (John 1:29,36), but nothing about the church.
So why is that important?
Unfortunately a false doctrine rose up teaching that Peter is the foundation of the church. Aside from the fact that any man being the foundation makes for a rather weak foundation, it also is contrary to the teaching of Christ and the Apostles that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the Foundation of the church.
Because it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, namely His death, burial, and resurrection that the believer’s eternal life rests upon. Jesus Christ shed His blood that we might have life! Later on in Scripture Christ is the Groom and the church is the Bride. It is an eternal connection. Moreover the gospel is the foundation of our salvation. Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6.
Notice He said “but by me.” We come to the Father by the blood of Jesus Christ and none other!
Nowhere are we told to worship mere man. Peter was a great man used of God, but he always was a man, while Jesus is the God/Man!
Is there anything else we can learn?
The last part of Jesus’ statement reads, “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” We Christians all too often are defensive in our war with Satan. But Christ teaches that the gates of Hell shall not prevail against the church. That’s an offensive, not defensive, statement. The Church Triumphant will eventually win the war, but right now it is pounding on the gates of Hell. Every time the gospel is heard by an unsaved person Hell trembles. Why? Because if that person turns to Christ for salvation, Hell has gotten a little less crowded. When the church is assailing the gates of Hell with the gospel it is doing its job, which is to win souls to Christ!
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship to the Stars I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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Finding a Church

FeaturedFinding a Church

Today I am writing about Finding a Church.
Before I begin let me provide this snippet: Finding a good church involves a great many things but I am including only those I’m interested in.

  • Perhaps you just moved into a new area and need a church.
  • Perhaps you plan on moving into a new area and need a church.
  • Perhaps you just received Christ as your Savior (born again) and need a good church.
  • Perhaps you’re leaving your current church and need a good church.

There are myriads of reasons for leaving a church, but I am only looking at a few.
How Should I Look for a New Church?
Let’s look at the last item: leaving your church. There are a number of reasons for leaving a church, but the Biblical reason would be doctrine. And that requires soul searching. Why did you leave? What doctrinal issue was involved? If not a doctrinal issue then maybe you should reevaluate.
For the purposes of this blog I am making some assumptions. Namely, that you are a born again believer, that you either are or want to be a fundamentalist, that you want to grow.
What is a Fundamentalist?
A fundamentalist is a person who believes in the fundamentals or basics of Scripture. The following list covers most, if not all, of the fundamentals.
With those in mind here are some ideas: The Church should:

  • Believe the Bible to be the revealed Word of God, fully and verbally inspired of God.
  • Believe the Scriptures to be the inerrant, infallible Word of God, as found within the 66 books from Genesis to Revelation.
  • Believe God not only inspired every word, but also preserved them through the ages.
  • Believe the King James Version is the preserved Word of God for the English speaking people (Psalm 12:6-7; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 Peter 1:23-25; 2 Peter 1:19-21).
  • Believe in one God, who is eternal, self-existent, infinite, and immutable.
  • Believe He has one nature, one essence, and one substance, yet manifests Himself to man in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Timothy 1:17; James 1:17; 1 John 4:4).
  • Believe Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to be the one and only Saviour of mankind.
  • Believe Jesus Christ to be eternally God and to possess all the attributes of Deity.
  • Believe that the Lord Jesus Christ was virgin born, that He was God incarnate, and that the purposes of the incarnation were to reveal God, to redeem men, and to rule over God’s Kingdom.
  • Believe He lived a perfect, sinless life, at the end of which He was offered for all mankind as a substitutionary sacrifice for man’s sin. This sacrifice was a just payment to God for the forgiveness of sin. It was activated by His death through the shedding of His blood on the cross and was accepted by God upon His resurrection.
  • Believe He ascended into Heaven after His resurrection to be seated at the right hand of the Father, waiting for the time of receiving His church at the Rapture, and returning seven years later to earth to rule and reign as King for 1,000 years (Psalm 2:7-9; Isaiah 7:14, 9:6, 43:11; Micah 5:2; Matthew 1:25; Luke 1:26-35; John 1:1, 1:3, 14, 18, 29; Romans 3:19-25, 5:6-15; Philippians 2:5-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Timothy 2:5, 3:16; Titus 2:10-15; Hebrews 7:26, 9:24-28; 1 Peter 1:19, 2:2; 1 John 1:3; Revelation 20:1-6).Believe the Holy Spirit of God is a person who has personality and all the attributes of Deity.
  • Believe all men were born with an inherited sin nature received from our common ancestor, Adam.
  • Believe that because of this nature, man is a sinner by choice, and he is totally incapable of reforming himself or ceasing from his sin by his own power.
  • Believe the only hope of deliverance for man is turning to Jesus Christ as the only Saviour.
  • Believe that only through the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ on the cross can a man be delivered from his sin.
  • Believe that all those who reject Jesus Christ as their Saviour are already condemned to an eternity in the Lake of Fire (Genesis 5:1-5; Acts 4:19, 16:31; Romans 3:10-23, 5:6-12, 6:23, 10:9-10; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-6; Revelation 20:11-14).
  • Believe the local church is composed of members who have been saved and baptized according to the command of Christ, and have voluntarily united together for the purpose of worship, fellowship, service, and the Lord’s Table.
  • Believe all true believers will be taken up at the Rapture, just prior to the Tribulation (Matthew 16:16-18; Acts 1:15, 2:41-43, 11:15, 20:28; 1 Corinthians 15:51-58; Ephesians 1:12-14, 5:25-30; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Timothy 3:4-15).
  • Believe in the literal interpretation of the Scriptures in their grammatical and historical context.
  • Believe in the pre-tribulation Rapture of the church saints, followed by the seven-year Tribulation.
  • Believe in the pre-millennial return of Christ to the earth and His literal rule for one thousand years. Following this one thousand years is a Great White Throne judgment and then the New Heaven and new earth (1 Corinthians 15:51-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 5:1-9; Revelation 19-22).

This is by no means considered to be an exhaustive list, but it does cover the fundamentals. You may disagree with some of these, which is your right. I have included Scripture references to support the items.
You mention the KJV Bible. Why?
Contrary to a lot of intellectual nonsense the King James Version is the only Bible today that is based on the Texus Receptus. The argument against the KJV is that there are “older” versions that are better. Since there are no originals in existence anymore it is impossible to tell which is older. That said, the King James Version is based on copies that can be traced right back to New Testament times. This is not true of many modern versions which can only be traced back to when they were found (at least one in a trash can).
How do I find out what a church believes?
Here are some ideas for that:

  • Church website – many, if not most, churches have a website where you can see their Statement of Faith
  • Tract Rack – When I visit a church I look at their tract rack, it is very revealing
  • Mission Board – another revealing source I check on when visiting a church
  • Friends – if your friends have visited the church they might be able to help
  • Sunday School teaching – you’ll learn a lot about the church’s beliefs and practices
  • Sermons – the preaching of God’s Word will always be revealing.

How often should I attend a church before making a decision?

  • I recommend at least three times. Sometimes it may take weeks to get a true picture.
  • A safe answer would be to attend as long as necessary to form a correct opinion.

What about Music?
Music can make or break a church. There are different views on the subject. One rule I would follow would be to stay away from churches which try to please everyone. These usually have Traditional and Contemporary music or services. A good question to ask is does the music honor God and lift up the name of Jesus. Does the music prepare the heart for the preaching?
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship to the Stars I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

The Church

FeaturedThe Church

Today I am writing about the Church.

In my last blog concerning the Persecuted Church I defined the church. Here is an excerpt:

When writing about the persecuted church it might be wise to take a step back and consider what church I am talking about. In this day and age the word church has become a huge umbrella that includes “Christians” that don’t really belong under that label.

So what is a Christian?

A Christian, biblically speaking, is a person who:

  • Has acknowledged he/she is a sinner
  • Knows he/she needs a Savior
  • Knows that Jesus Christ the Son of God died for his/her sin
  • Knows Jesus died, was buried, and rose from the dead 3 days/nights later
  • Has asked Jesus to save based on His shed blood and not his/her works
  • Accepts the Bible as the Word of God

This is a very tight definition on purpose. Although I believe that the KJV Bible is the only Bible for English speaking people, nowhere does the Bible indicate believing in the KJV is necessary for salvation. God gave us a simple plan of salvation and we should leave it that way.

That said, there are many people out there who claim to be Christian. Look at them carefully and you will find they are not Christians. Mr. Romney can protest all he wants but Mormons do not preach or teach about the same God as found in the Bible. Mormons are very religious and try to live a good life, but they are not Christians.

The same can be said about other faiths that claim to be Christians but depart from one or more of the points made above. And while I’m at it, not all humans are the children of God. All humans are the creation of God; He’s the Creator of all. But to be a child of God requires a definite act; i.e.., being Born Again.

Once you have defined the Christian then it is easy to find the church. It is not a denomination. It is that body of believers who are born again. Since baptism doesn’t save it wasn’t listed above, but most churches require baptism since it is the first command to a believer.

That is the excerpt. Now for a more complete definition of the church.

I said it is a body of believers who are born again.  It is also an institution authorized by the Holy Bible. Jesus Himself founded it (Matthew 16:18): “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.”

This does not make Peter anything; Christ was referring to the gospel which Peter declared (i.e., Jesus is the Christ). And in 1 Corinthians 3:11, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Jesus Christ is what the church is built upon not Peter. So far we have the church was founded by Christ, made up of believers who are born again, and is built upon the foundation of Christ Himself.

Back in Matthew 16:18 He calls it His church. So Christ is the foundation of the church and it is His church, which means that we are not at liberty to change his rules found throughout the New Testament, for its operation, doctrine, and structure. While it is possible for good men and women to differ on these things it must be acknowledged that the basis for interpretation is the Word itself.

So what is the church?

The church is a body of believers organized by the Lord Jesus, founded upon Him, and both organized and structured by Him as expressed in the Bible. Neither man nor government has the right to change God’s rules or to add to them. Government’s job is to get out of the way so that Christians can pray. If the government wants to govern all other religions, then so be it. But Christianity is under His Command.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship to the Stars I value your reviews.

If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.